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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 LUKE 13. 16. 


HEB. 12. 23. 


ON 2 COR. 5. 8. 


ON 1 COR. 15. 54. 















Uonfcoti : 





B. Jiettsley, Boll Court, Fleet Street. 





On Luke xix.41.42. 


Wherein somewhat is occasionally discoursed, 





spiritual judgments do more eminently befall a people 
great outward calamities do often ensue. We know it was so 
in the instance, which the text here insisted on refers to. But it is 
not always so ; the connection between these two sorts of judgments 
is not absolutely certain and necessary, yea and is more frequent with 
the contraries of each. For this reason therefore, and because judg* 
ments of the former kind are so unexpressibly greater, and more tre 
mendous, this discourse insists only upon them, about which serious 
monitions both have a clearer ground, and are of greater importance; 
and wholly waves the latter. 

Too many are aptfirst to fancy similitudes between the state of things 
with one people and another, and then to draw inferences j being 
perhaps imposed upon by a strong imagination in both ; which yet 
must pass with them for a spirit of prophecy, and perhaps they take it 
not well, if it do not so with others too. It were indeed the work of 
another prophet certainly to accommodate, and make application of 
what was spoken by a former, to a distinct time and people. It is 
enough for us to learn from such sayings as this of our Saviour, those 
rules of life and practice, such instructions and cautions as are com 
mon to all times, without arrogating to ourselves his prerogative, of 
foretelling events that shall happen in this or that. The affectation 
of venturing upon futurity, and of foreboding direful things to king 
doms and nations, may, besides its being without sufficient ground, 
proceed from some or other very bad principle. Dislike of the present 
methods of providence, weariness and impatiency of our present con 
dition, too great proneness to wish what we take upon ourselves to 
predict, the prediction importing more heat of anger than certainty of 
foresight, a wrathful spirit, that would presently fetch down fire from 
heaven upon such as favour not our inclinations and desires, so that 
(as the poet speaks) whole cities should be overturned at our request, 
if the heavenly powers would be so easy, as to comply with such fu 
rious imprecations : a temper that ill agrees with humanity itself, not 


to care at what rate of common calamity, and misery, a purchase be" 
made of our own immunity from sufferings . Nay, to be willing to run the 
most desparate hazard in the case, and even covet a general ruin to 
others, upon a mere apprehended possibility that our case may be 
mended by it j when it may be more probable to become much worse. 
But O how disagreeable is it to the Spirit of our merciful Lord and 
Saviour, whose name we bear, upon any terms, to delight in human! 
miseries ! The greatest honour men of that complexion are capable 
of doing the Christian name, were to disclaim it. Can such angry heats 
have place in Christian breasts, as shall render them the well pleased 
spectators, yea authors of one another's calamities and ruin ! Can the 
tears that issued from these compassionate, blessed eyes, upon the 
foresight of Jerusalem's woful catastrophe, do nothing towards the 
quenching of these flames ! 

But I add, that the too-intent fixing of our thoughts upon any sup- 
posable events in this wx>rld, argues, at least, a narrow, carnal mind, 
that draws and gathers all things into time, as despairing of eternity j 
and reckons no better state of things considerable, that is not to be 
brought about under their own present view, in this world 5 as if it 
were uncertain or insignificant, that there shall be unexceptionable, 
eternal order and rectitude in another. 

It is again as groundless, and may argue as ill a mind, to prophesy 
smooth and pleasant things, in a time of abounding wickedness. The 
safer, middle course, is, without God's express warrant, not to pro 
phesy at all, but as we have opportunity, to warn and instruct men, 
with all meekness and long-suffering j for which the Lord's ordinary 
messengers can never want his warrant. And, afterour blessed Saviour's- 
most imitable example, to scatter our tears over the impenitent, even* 
upon the (too probable) apprehension of the temporal judgments which 
liang over their heads, but most of all upon the account of their lia- 
bleness to the more dreadful ones of the other state j which in the fol 
lowing discourse, I hope it is made competently evident, this lamen 
tation of our Saviour hath ultimate reference unto. For the other, 
though we know them to be due, and most highly deserved 3 yet con 
cerning the actual infliction of them, even upon obstinate and perse 
vering sinners, we cannot pronounce. We have no settled constitu 
tion, or rule, by which we can conclude it, any more than that out 
ward felicity, or prosperity, shall be the constant portion of good 
men in this world,,. The great God hath reserved to himself a latitude 
of acting more arbitrarily, both as to threatenings and promises of 
this nature. If the accomplishment of either, could be certainly ex 
pected, it should be of the promises rather j because as to promised 
rewards God is pleased to make himself debtor, and a right accrues 
to them to whom the promise is made, if either the promise be abso 
lute, or made with any certain condition, that is actually performed. 
But God is always the creditor pcence, the right to punish wholly 
in himself, the exacting whereof he may therefore suspend, without 
any appearance of wrong, as seemeth good unto him. If therefore he may 
withhold temporal blessings, from good and pious men, to which they 
have a remote and fundamental right, as having reserved to himself 
^he judgment of the fit time and season of bestowing them ; much 


tnore doth it belong to his wisdom, to fix the "bound's of his patienca 
and long-suffering ; and determine the season of animadverting upon 
more open and insolent offenders by temporal punishments, accord 
ing as shall make most for the ends of his government, and finally 
prove more advantageous to the dignity and glory of it. The practice 
therefore of our Saviour, in speaking so positively, concerning the ap 
proaching fall and ruin of Jerusalem, is no pattern unto us. He spake 
not only with the knowledge of a prophet, but with the authority of 
a judge : and his words may be considered both as a prediction and a 
sentence. We can pretend to speak, in neither capacity, touching 
things of this nature. 

But for the everlasting punishments in another world, that belong 
to unreconciled sinners, who refuse to know the things of their peace, 
the gospel-constitution hath made the connection firm and unaltera 
ble, between their continuing, unrepented wickedness, and those pu 
nishments. When therefore we behold the impudent, provoking sins 
of the age wherein we live, against the natural, eternal law of our 
Creator, persisted in with all the marks of infidelity, and obduration, 
against the truth, and grace that so gloriously shine forth in the gos 
pel of our Redeemer, we may (after him) speak positively, he that 

believeth not shall be damned, is condemned already; shall not 

see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. If ye believe not that I 
am He, ye shall die in your sins. Except ye repent, ye shall all like 
wise perish. And heie, how doth it become us too, in comformity to 
; his great example, to speak compassionately, and as those that, in 
some measure, know the terror of the Lord ! O how doleful is the 
case, when we consider the inconsistent notions of many, with, not 
this or that particular doctrine, or article of the Christian faith, but 
with the whole sum of Christianity, the atheism of some, the avowed 
mere theism of others ! The former sort far outdoing the Jewish in 
fidelity. Which people, besides the rational means of demonstrating 
a Deity, common to them with the rest of mankind, could upon the 
account of many things peculiar to themselves, be in no suspence 
concerning this matter. How great was their reverence of the books 
of the old testament, especially those of Moses ! their knowledge 
most certain of plain, and most convincing matters of fact. How 
long the government of their nation had been an immediate theocra 
cy ! what evident tokens of the divine presence had been among them 
from age to age ! in how wonderful a manner they were brought out 
of Egypt, through the red sea, and conducted all along through 
the wilderness ! how glorious an appearance and manifestation of 
himself God afforded to them at the giving of the Jaw, upon mount 
Sinai ! and by how apparent exertions of the divine power, the former 
inhabitants were expelled, and they settled in the promised land'! 
Upon all this, they could be in no more doubt concerning the exis 
tence of a Deity, than of the sun in the firmament. Whereas we 
are put to prove, in a Christian nation, that this woiid,-and its conti 
nual successive inhabitants, have a wise intelligent Maker and JLord, 
and that all things came not into the state wherein they are, by (ne 
man can imagine what) either fatal necessity, or casualty. 


But both sorts agree in (what I would principally remark) th r - v ** 
fvelief of Christ being the Messiah. And so. with b Ui, 2 

business of Christinnity must be a fable and a eh at And s 

determined, not by men that have made it their busn r, 

and examine the matter (for the plain evid nee of thi : at 

even obtrude a conviction upon any diKgent enquhvr) but y rmch as 
have only resolved not to consid r j who have before :-.; .-.A sottkd 
their purpose, never to 7 be awed by the apprehension of an invisibla 
Ruler, into any course of life that shall bear hard upon sensual incli 
nation, have already chosen their master, enslaved ihemst Ivf-s to bru 
tal appetite, and are so habituated to that mean servility, m-ide it so 
connatural, so deeply inward to themselves, so much their very life, 
as that, through the pre-apprehended pain, and uneasiness of a violent 
rupture, in tearing themselves from themselves, it is become th ir in 
terest not to admit any serious thought. Any such thought they are 
concerned (they reckon) to fence against, as against the point of a 
sword j it strikes at their only life, the brute must die, that (by a 
happy KtzXiFyvta-ux. birth} they may be again bora men. That is the 
design of Christianity, to restore men to themselves again, and be 
cause it hath this tendency, it is therefore not to be endured. And all 
the little residue, of human wit which is yet left them (which because 
the sensual nature is predominant, is pressed into a subserviency to the 
interest, and defence of the brutal life) only serves them to turn eveiy 
thing of serious religion into ridicule, and being themselves resolved 
never to be reasoned into any seriousness, they have the confidence to 
make the trial, whether all other men can be jested out of it. 

If this were not the case, if such persons could allow themselves to 
think, and debate the matter, how certain would the victory, how 
glorious would the triumph be, of the Christian religion, over all the 
little cavils, they are wont to allege against it! Let their own con 
sciences testify in the case, whether ever they have applied themselves 
to any solemn disquisition, concerning this important affair, hut only 
contented themselves with being able, amidst transient discourse, to 
cast out, now and then, some oblique glance, against somewhat or 
other, that was appendant, or more remotely belonging, to the Chris 
tian profession (in so much haste, as not to stay for an answer) and 
because they may have surprised, sometimes, one or other, not so 
ready at a quick repartee, or who reckoned the matter to require so 
lemn, and somewhat larger discourse (which they have not had the 
patience to hear) whether they have not gone away puft, and swollen 
with the conceit, that they have whiffled Christianity away, quite off 
the stage, with their profane breath j as if its firm and solid strength, 
wherein it stands stable, as a rock of adamant, depended upon this or 
that sudden, occasional, momentary effort on the behalf of it. But 
if such have a mind to try whether any thing can be strongly said in 
defence of that sacred profession, let them considerately peruse what 
hath been written by divers to that purpose. And not to engage 
them in any very tedious longsome task, if they like not to travel 
through the somewhat abstruser work of the most learned Hugo Gro- 
tius, de veritate Christians religioais, or the more voluminous Hue- 


this his Demonstratio Evangelica, or divers others that might he 
named, let them but patiently and leisurely read over, that later very 
plain and clear, but nervous and solid discourse of Dr. Parker upon 
this subject, and judge then, whether the Christian religion want 
evid nee, or whether nothing can be alleged, why we of this age, 
so long after Christ's appearance upon the stage of the world, are to 
reckon ourselves obliged to profess Christianity, and observe the rules 
of that holy profession. 

And really, if, upon utmost search, it shall be found to have firm 
truth at the bottom, it makes itself so necessary (which must he ac 
knowledged part of that truth) that any one that hath wit enough, to 
be the author of a jest, might understand it to be a thing not to be 
jested with. It trifles with no man. And, where it is once suffici 
ently propounded, leaves it no longer indifferent whether we will be 
of it or no. Supposing it true, it is strange if we can pretend it not 
to be sufficiently propounded to us. Or that we are destitute of suf 
ficient means to come by the knowledge of that truth ! " Was this 
religion instituted only for one nation, or age ?" Did the Son of 
God descend from heaven, put on flesh, and die ? had we an incar 
nate Deity conversant among men on earth, and made a sacrifice for 
the sins of men? and hath he left the world at liberty, whether, upon 
any notice hereof, they should inquire and concern themselves about 
him or no ? being incarnate he could not, as such, be every where ; 
nor was it fit he should be long here ; or needful, (and therefore not 
fit) he should die often. It was condescension enough that he vouch 
safed once to appear, in so mean and self-abasing a form, and offered 
himself to put away sin, by the sacrifice of himself. And whereas he 
hath himself founded a dominion over us in his own blood, did die, 
and revive, and rise again, that he might be Lord of the living, and 
of the dead ; and the eternal Father hath hereupon highly exalted 
him, given him a name above every name, that at his name every knee 
should bow, and that all should confess that he is Lord, to the praise 
and glory of God: and hath required that all should honour the Son 
as himself is to be honoured ; hath given him power over all flesh ; 
and made him head of all things to the church. Was it ever intended, 
men should, generally, remain exempt from obligation, to observe, 
believe, and obey him ? was it his own intention to wave, or not in 
sist upon, his own most sacred, and so dearly acquired rights ? to quit 
his claim to the greatest part of mankind ? why did he then issue out 
his commission as soon as he was risen from the dead, to teach all 
nations, to proselyte the world to himself, to baptize them into hig 
name, (with that of the Father and the Holy Ghost. O the great an4 
venerable names that are named upon professing Christians !) Could 
it be his intention, to leave it lawful to men to choose this, or any, 
or no religion, as their humours, of fancies, or lusts should prompt 
them 5 to disregard, and deride his holy doctrines, violate and trample 
upon his just and equal laws, reject and contemn his offered favours 
and mercy, despise and profane his sacred institutions ! When he ac 
tually makes his demand, and lays his claim, what amazing guilt 


tiow swift destruction must they incur, that dare adventure to deny 
the Lord that bought them ! And they that shall do it, among a 
christianized people, upon the pretended insufficiency of the revela* 
tion they have of him, do but heighten the affront and increase the 
provocation. It is to charge the whole Christian institution with 
foolery, as pretending to oblige men, when they cannot know to 
% what, how, or upon what ground they should be obliged; to pro- 
nounce\he means and methods inept, and vain, which he hath thought 
sufficient (and only fit) for the propagating and continuing Christi 
anity in the world ; to render the rational reception of it from age to 
age, impossible, in his appointed way; or unless men should be 
taught by angels, or voices from heaven, or that miracles should be 
so very frequent, and common, as, thereby also to become useless to 
their end ; and so would be to make the whole frame of Christian re 
ligion an idle impertinency ; and, in reference to its avowed design, 
a self-repugnant thing, and consequently were to impute folly to him 
who is the wisdom of God. 

And how are other things known, of common concernment, and 
whereof an immediate knowledge is as little possible ? Can a man 
satisfy himself that he hath a title to an estate, conveyed down to 
him by very ancient writings, the witnesses whereof are long since 
dead and gone ? or that he is obliged by laws made many an age ago? 
Or could any records be preserved with more eare and concern, than 
those wherein our religion lies ? or be more secure from designed, or 
material depravation ? But this is no place to reason these things. 
Enough is said by others, referred to before. I only furthur say, if 
any that have the use of their understandings, living in a Christian 
nation, think to justify their infidelity and disobedience to the Son of 
God, by pretending they had no sufficient means to know him to be 
so, the excuse will avail them alike, as that did him, who insolently 
said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice ? I know not the 
Lord, neither will I, &c. For have not we as good means to know 
who Christ is, as the Egyptians, of that time had, to know who was 
the God ot Israel, though afterwards he was more known by the judg 
ments which he executed ? Although the knowledge of the only true 
God be natural, and the obligations thereto common to men ; yetthe 
indisposition to use their understanding this way, is so great and ge 
neral, and the express revelation that Jesus Christ was the Son of 
God, requires so much less labour to understand it, than there i& in 
arguing out the existence and attributes of God, by an inhabile, slug 
gish mind, that the difference cannot be great, if any on that side. 
This latter only needs the inquiry, whence the revelation comes, 
which as it is not difficult in itself, so this occasion, namely of its 
being proposed, doth invite and urge to it ; whereas the generality of 
the pagan world have little of external inducement, leading them into 
enquiries concerning the true God. Therefore, all circumstances con 
sidered, I see not how they that live under the gospel, can be thought 
to have less advantage and obligation, to own Jesus of Nazareth tob 
the Son of God, than the rest of the world, to own the only living 
and true God ; or that the former should be less liable to the revela- 


tkm of the wrath of God from heaven for holding supernatural truth 
in unrighteousness, than the other,, for doing so Injurious violence to 
that which is merely natural. Unto what severities then, of the divine 
wrath and justice,, even of the highest kind, do multitudes lie open in 
our days. 

For besides those (much fewer) mental, or notional, infidels, that 
believe n>ot the principles of the Christian religion, against the clearest 
evidence, how vastly greater is the number of them that are so, in heart 
and practice, against their professed belief ! that live in utter estrange 
ment from God, as without him in the world, or in open enmity against 
him, and contrariety to the known rules of the religion they profess ! 
How many that understand nothing of its principal and plainest doc 
trines ! as if nothing were requisite to distinguish the Christian from 
the pagan world, more than an empty name ; or as if the Redeemer of 
sinners had died upon the cross, that men might more securely remain 
alienated from the life qf God, not to reconcile and reduce them to 
him ! or that they might with safety indulge appetite, mind earthly 
things, make the world their God, gratify the flesh, and make provi 
sion to fulfil the lusts of it, defy heaven, affront their Maker, live in 
malice, envy, hatred to one another ! not to bless them, by turning 
them from these impieties and iniquities ! As if it were so obscurely 
hinted, as that it could not be taken notice of, that the grace of God, 
which bringeth salvation to all men hath appeared, teaching them to 
deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, 
and godly in this present world, so looking for the blessed hope. And 
lhat Christ gave himself for us, to redeem us from all iniquity, and to 
purify us to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works ! How 
many, again, are Christians, they know not why ! upon the same 
terms that others are mahometans, because it is the religion of their 
country, by fate or by accident, not by their own choice and judg 
ment ! the same inconsideration makes them be Christians, that makes 
ethers be none. 

And now, shall our Redeemer be left to weep alone, over these pe 
rishing souls 1 have we no tears to spend upon this doleful subject? 
Oh that our heads were waters, and our eyes fountains ! Is it nothing 
to us, that multitudes are sinking, going down into perdition, under 
the name of Christian, under the seal of baptism, from under the 
means of life and salvation ! perishing ! and we can do nothing to 
prevent it. We know they must perish that do not repent and turn to 
God, and love him above all, even with all their hearts and souls, and 
mind and might ; that do not believe in his Son and pay him homage, 
as their rightful Lord, sincerely subjecting themselves to his laws and 
government. But this they will not understand, or not consider. 
Our endeavours to bring them to it, ate ineffectual, it is but faint 
breath we utter. Our words drop and die between us and them ! 
We speak to them in the name of the eternal God that made them, 
of the great Jesus who bought them with his blood, and they regard 
it not. The Spirit of the Lord is in a great degree departed from a- 



nrong us, and we take it not to heart ! We are sensible of lesser 
grievances, are grieved that men will not be more entirely proselyted 
if, our several parties and persuasions, rather than that they are so 
disinclined to become prosrlytes to real Christianity, and seem more 
deeply concerned to have Christian religion so or so modified, than 
whether there shall be any such thing ! or whether men he saved 
by it ^or lost ! 

This sad case, that so many were likely to be lost under the first 
sound of the gospel j and the most examplary temper of our blessed 
Jjord in reference to it, are represented in the following treatise ; with 
design, to excite their care for their own souls, who need to be warn 
ed, and the compassions of others, for them who are so little apt to 
take warning. The good Lord grant it may be, some way or other, 
useful for good ! 





1 . 

Luke xir. 41, 42. 

And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept 
over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least 
in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace I 
but now they are hid from thine eyes. 

\^"E have here a compassionate lamentation in the midst of a 
solemn triumph. Our Lord's approach unto Jerusalem 
at this time, and his entrance into it (as the foregoing history 
shews) carried with them some face of regal and triumphal pomp, 
but with such allays, as discovered a mind most remote from os 
tentation ; and led by judgment, (not vain glory) to transmit 
through a dark umbrage, some glimmerings only of that excel 
lent majesty which both his sonship and his mediatorship enti 
tled him unto : a very modest and mean specimen of his true 
indubious royalty and kingly state: such as might rather inti 
mate than plainly declare it, and rather afford an after instruc 
tion to teachable minds, than beget a present conviction and 
dread in the stupidly obstinate and unteachable. And this ef 
fect we find it had, as is observed by another evangelical histo 
rian, who relating the same matter, how in his passage to Jeru 
salem the people met him with branches of palm-trees, and joy 
ful hosannas, he riding upon an ass's colt (as princes or judges 
to signify meekness as much as state, were wont to do, Judges, 
5. 10.) tells us, these things his disciples understood not at the 
first, but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that 
these things were written of him, and that they had done these 

things unto him, John 12. 16. For great regard was had m this 
as in all the other acts of his life and ministry, to that last and 
conclusive part, his dying a sacrifice upon the cross for the sins 
of men ; to observe all along that mediocrity, and steer that 
middle course between obscurity and a terrifying overpowering" 
glory, that this solemn oblation of himself might neither be pre 
vented, nor be disregarded. Agreeably to this design, and the 
rest of his course, he doth, in this solemnity, rather disco 
ver his royal state and dignity by a dark emblem, than by an ex 
press representation ; and shews in it more of meekness and hu 
mility, than of awful majesty and magnificence, as was formerly 
predicted, Zech. 9. 9. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, 
shout, O daughter of Jerusalem : behold, thy king cometh un 
to tliee : he is just, and having salvation, lowly, and riding upon 
an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass. 

And how little he was taken with this piece of state, is suffi 
ciently to be seen in this paragraph of the chapter. His mind 
is much more taken up in the foresight of Jerusalem's sad case; 
and therefore being come within view of it, (which he might 
very eommodiously have in the descent of the higher opposite 
hill, Mount Olive,) he beheld the city, it is said, and wept 
over it. Two things concur to make up the cause of this sor 
row : The greatness of the calamity : Jerusalem, once so dear 
to Cod, was to suffer, not a scar, but a ruin ; "The days shall 
come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about 
thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 
and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within 
thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another:" 
and The lost opportunity of preventing it ; fi If thou hadst 
known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which be 
long unto thy peace ! but now they are hid from thine eyes,*' 
ver. 42. And again, "Thou knewest not the time of thy visi 

First. The calamity was greater in his eyes, than it can be in 
ours. His large and comprehensive mind could take the compass 
of this sad case. Our thoughts cannot reach far, yet we can ap 
prehend what may make this case very deplorable ; we can con 
sider Jerusalem as the city of the great King, where was the pa 
lace and throne of the Majesty of heaven, vouchsafing to " dwell 
with men on earth." Here the divine light and glory had long 
shone : here was the sacred Shechinah, the dwelling place of 
the most high, the symbols of his presence, the seat of worship, 
the mercy seat, the place of receiving addresses, and of dispen 
sing favours : "The house of prayer for all nations." To his 
t>wn people this was the city of their solemnities, whither tfce 


tribes were wont to go up, the tribes of tbe Lord, urito the tes 
timony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord : for 
there were set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of 
David, psal. 122. 4, 5. He that was so great a lover of the 
souls of men, how grateful and dear to his heart had the place 
been where through the succession of many by-past ages the 
great God did use (though more obscurely) to unfold his kind 
propensions towards sinners, to hold solemn treaties with them, 
to make himself known, to draw and allure souls into his own 
holy worship and acquaintance ! And that now the dismal pros 
pect presents itself of desolation and ruin, ready to overwhelm 
all this glory ! and lay waste the dwellings of divine love ! his 
sorrow must be conceived proportionable to the greatness of 
this desolating change. 

Secondly. And the opportunity of prevention was quite lost ! 
There was an opportunity : " He was sent to the lost sheep of 
the house of Israel : he came to them as his own." Had they 
received him, O how joyful a place had Jerusalem been ! How 
glorious had the triumphs of the love of God been there, had 
they repented, believed, obeyed ! These were the " things that 
belonged to their peace ; " this was their opportunity, their 
" day of visitation ; " these were the things that might have 
been done within that day : but it was now too late, their day 
was over, and the things of their peace hid from their eyes : 
and how fervent were his desires, they had done otherwise! 
taken the wise and safe course. If thou hadst known ! the 
words admit the optative form, being put, as it is observed to 
be sometimes with other authors, for &ade, utinam ; O that thou 
hadst known, I wish thou hadst ; his sorrow must be proportion 
able to his love. Or otherwise we may conceive the sentence 
incomplete, part cut oifby a more emph&tical aposiopesis, tears 
interrupting speech, and imposing a more speaking silence, 
which imports an affection beyond all words. They that were 
anciently so over-officious as to rase those words " and wept 
over it " out of the canon, as thinking it unworthy so divine a 
person to shed tears, did greatly err, not knowing the Scrip 
tures (which elsewhere speak of our Lord's weeping,) nor the 
power of divine love (now become incarnate) nor indeed the 
true perfections and properties of human nature : otherwise they 
had never taken upon them to reform the gospel, and reduce 
not only Christianity, but Christ himself to the measures and 
/square of their stoical philosophy : but these have also met with 
a like-ancient confutation. 

One thing (before we proceed) needs some disquisition, 
namely, Whether this lamentation of our blessed Lord do re- 


for only or ultimately to the temporal calamity he foresaw tforri-* 
Ing upon Jerusalem : or whether it had not a further and more 
principal reference to their spiritual and eternal miseries thai 
were certain to be concomitant, and consequent thereunto I 
Where let it be considered. 

1. That very dreadful spiritual plagues and judgments did 
accompany their destruction very generally ; which every one 
knows who is acquainted with their after-story, that is that 
takes notice what spirit reigned among them, and what their* 
.behaviour was towards our Lord himself, and afterwards to 
wards his apostles and disciples all along to their fearful catas 
trophe (as it may be collected from the sacred records, and 
other history) what blindness of mind, what hardness of heart, 
what mighty prejudice, what inflexible obstinacy, against the 
clearest light, the largest mercy, the most perspicuous and most 
gracious doctrine, and the most glorious works, wrought to con-^ 
firm it, against the brightest beams and evidences of the divine 
truth, love and power ! what persevering impenitency and infi^ 
delity against God and Christ, proceeding from the bitterest 
enmity ! (Ye have both seen and hated me and my Father, John 
15. 24.) what mad rage and fury against one another, even when 
death and destruction were at the very door ! Here were all the 
tokens imaginable of the most tremendous infatuation, and of 
their being forsaken of God. Here was a concurrence of all 
kinds of spiritual judgments in the highest degree. 

2. That the concomitancy of such spiritual evils with their 
temporal destruction, our Lord foreknew as well as their tem 
poral destruction itself. It lay equally in view before him ; 
and was as much under his eye. He that knew what was in 
man, could as well tell what would be in him. And by the 
same light by which he could immediately look into hearts, he 
could as well see into futurities, and as well the one futurity as 
the other. The knowledge of the one he did not owe to his 
human understanding : to his divine understanding, whereby 
he knew all things, the other could not be hid; 

3. The connection between the impenitency and infidelity 
that prove to be final ; and eternal misery, is known to us all. 
Of his knowledge of it therefore (whose law hath made the con 
nection, besides what there is in the nature of the things them 
selves) there can be no doubt. 

4. That the miseries of the soul, especially such as prove in 
curable and eternal, are in themselves far the greatest, we all 
acknowledge : nor can we make a difficulty to believe, that our 
Lord apprehended and considered things according as they were 
in themselves, so as to allow every thing its own proper weight 
and import in liis estimating of them. These things seem all 


very evident to any eye. Now though it be confessed not im 
possible, that of things so distinct from one another as outward 
and temporal evils, and those that are spiritual and eternal, even 
befalling the same persons, one may for the present consider 
the one without attending to the other, or making distinct re 
flection thereon at the same time ; yet how unlikely is it, these 
things bordering so closely upon one another as they did, in the 
present case; that so comprehensive a mind as our Saviour's was, 
sufficiently able to inclose them both ; and so spiritual a mind, 
apt no doubt to consider most what was in itself most consider^ 
able, should in a solemn lamentation of so sad a case, wholly 
overlook the saddest part ! and stay his thoughts only upon the 
surface End outside of it ! That he mentions only the approach 
ing outward calamity, (ver. 43. 44.) was that he spake in the 
hearing of the multitude, and upon the way, but in passing, 
when there was not opportunity for large discourse ; and there 
fore he spake what might soonest strike their minds, was most 
liable to common apprehension, and might most deeply affect 
ordinary, and not yet enough prepared hearers. 

And he spake what he had no doubt, a deep sense of him 
self. Whatever of tender compassions might be expected from 
the most perfect humanity and benignity, could not be wanting 
in him, upon the foresight of such a calamity as was coming 
upon that place and people. But yet, what was the sacking 
of a city, the destroying of pompous buildings that were all of 
a perishable material, the mangling of human flesh, over which 
the worm was otherwise shortly to have had dominion * to the 
alienation of men's minds from God, their disaffection to the 
only means of their recovery, and reconciliation to him, and 
their subjection to his wrath and curse for ever ! When also it 
is plain he considered that perverse temper of mind and spirit 
in them, as the cause of their ruin ! which his own words im 
ply ; that ( ' the things which belonged to their peace were hid 
from then- eyes ;" and that the things he foretold, should be 
fall them, because "they knew not the day of their visitation." 
For what could the things be that belonged to their peace, but 
turning to God, believing in himself, as the Messiah, bringing 
forth of fruits meet for repentance ? Whence also there must 
be another latent, and concealed meaning of their peace itself; 
than only their continued amity with the Roman state ; their 
peace with heaven ; their being set right, and standing in favour 
und acceptance with God. For was it ever the first intention 
of the things enjoined in the gospel, but to entitle men to earth 
ly secular benefits ? 

Nor can we doubt but the same things lay deep in the mind 


of our blessed Lord, when he uttered these words, as when he 
spoke those so very like them., Mat. 23. 37, 38. O Jerusalem, 
Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them 
which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy 
children together even as a hen gathereth her chickens under 
her wings, and ye would not ! Behold, your house is left unto 
you desolate. These other were not spoken indeed at the same 
time, but very soon after : those we are considering, in his 
way to the city, these when he was come into it ; most pro 
bably, by the series of the evangelical history the second day, 
after his having lodged the first night at Bethany. But it is 
plain they have the same sense, and that the same things lay 
x with great weight upon his spirit ; so that the one passage may 
contribute much to the enlightening and expounding of the 

Now what can be meant by that " I would have gathered you 
as the hen her chickens under her wings ? " Could it intend a 
political meaning ; that he would have been a temporal prince 
and saviour to them ? which he so earnestly declined and dis 
claimed ; professing to the last, his kingdom was not of this 
world. It could mean no other thing, but that he would have 
reduced them back to God, have gathered and united them un 
der his own gracious and safe conduct in order thereto, have 
secured them from the divine wrath and justice, and have con 
ferred on them spiritual and eternal blessings. In a like sense 
their peace here, was no doubt more principally to be under 
stood ; and their loss and forfeiture of it, by their not under 
standing the things belonging thereto, considered and lamented. 
Therefore the principal intendment of this lamentation, 
though directly applied to a community, and the formed body 
of a people, is equally applicable unto particular persons living 
under the gospel, or to whom the ordinary means of their con 
version and salvation are vouchsafed, but are neglected bythem 
and forfeited. We may therefore thus sum up the mean 
ing and sense of these words : That it is a thing in itself very 
lamentable, and much lamented by our Lord Jesus, when such 
as living under the gospel, have had a day of grace, and an op 
portunity of knowing the things belonging to their peace, have 
so outworn that day, and lost their opportunity, that the things 
of their peace are quite hid from their eyes : where we have 
these distinct heads of discourse to be severally considered and 
insisted on. 

I. What are the things necessary to be known by such as 
live under the gospel, as immediately belonging to their peace. 

II. That they have a day or season wherein to know not these 


only, but the whole compass of their case, and what the 
knowledge of those things more immediately belonging to their 
peace supposes, and depends upon. 

UL That this day hath its bounds and limits, so that when 
it is over and lost ; those things are for ever hid from their eyes. 

IV. That this is a case to be considered with deep resent 
ment and lamentation, and was so by our Lord Jesus. 

I* What are the things necessary to be known by such as 
live under the gospel, as immediately Belonging to their peace? 
Where we are more particularly to inquire, what those things 
themselves are and what sort of knowledge of them it is that 
is here meant, and made necessary. 

1. What the things are which belong to the peace of a peo 
ple living under the gospel ? The things belonging to a people/* 
peace, are not throughout the same with all. Living, or not 
living under the gospel makes a considerable difference in the 
matter. Before the incarnation and public appearance of our 
Lord, something was not necessary among the jews, that after* 
wards became necessary. It was sufficient to them before, to 
believe in a Messiah to come, more indefinitely. Afterwards 
he plainly tells them, if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall 
die in your sins, John. 8. 24. Believing in Christ cannot be 
necessary to pagans that never heard of him, as a duty, how 
soever necessary it may be as a means. Their not believing in 
him cannot be itself a sin, though by it they should want reme 
dy for tbeir other sins. But it more concerns us who do live 
under the gospel, to apprehend aright what is necessary for our 
selves. That is a short and full summary which the apostle 
gives, Acts 20. 21. Repentance towards God, and faith in our 
Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel finds us in a state of apostacy 
from God, both as our sovereign Ruler, and sovereign Good, 
not apt to obey and glorify him, as the former, nor enjoy him, 
and be satisfied in mm, as the latter. Repentance towards 
God cures and removes this disaffection of our minds and hearts 
towards him, under both thes^ notions. By it the whole soul 
turns to him, with this sense and resolution. " I have been a 
rebellious disloyal wretch, against the high authority, and most 
rightful government of him who gave me breath, and whose crea^ 
ture I ajen, I will live no longer thus. Lo now I come back un 
to thee, Lord, thou art my Lord and God. Thee I now de 
sign to serve and obey, as the Lord of my life, thee I will fear, 
unto thee I subject myself, to live no longer after my own will, 
but thine ; I have been hitherto a miserable forlorn distressed! 
creature, destitute of any thing that could satisfy me, or make 
me happy ; have set my heart upon a vain and thorny world, 
that had noticing in it aaswerable to my real necessities, that 



Jrath flattered and mocked me often, never satisfied me, andf 
fceen wont to requite my pursuits of satisfaction from it with 
Texation and trouble, and "pierce me through with many sor 
rows." I have borne in the mean time a disaffected heart to 
wards thee, have therefore cast thee out of my thoughts, so that 
amidst all my disappointments and sorrows, it never came into 
my mind to say, " Where is God my Maker ? " I could never 
savour any thing spiritual or divine, and was ever ready, in dis 
tress, to turn myself any way than (that which I ought) towards 
thee. I now see and bemoan my folly, and with a convinced, 
self-judging heart, betake myself to thee ; the desires of my 
soul are now unto thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.. 
Whom have I in heaven but thee, or on earth that I can desire 
besides thee.*' 

This is "Repentance towards God/* and is one thing be 
longing, and most simply necessary to our peace. But though 
it be most necessary, it is not enough. It answers to some 
thing of our wretched case, but not to every thing. We were 
in our state of apostacy, averse, and disaffected to God. To 
this evil, repentance towards him is the opposite, and only pro 
per remedy. But besides our being without inclination towards 
him we were also without interest in him. We not only 
had unjustly cast off him, but were also most justly cast 
off by him. Our injustice had set us against him, and 
his justice had set him against us; we need, in order to 
our rieace with him, to be relieved as well against his 
justice, as our own injustice. What if, now we would 
return to him, lie will not receive us ? and he will not re 
ceive us for our own sakes. He must have a recompence for 
the wrong we had done him, by our rebellion against his go 
vernment, and our contempt of his goodness. Our repentance 
is no expiation. Nor had we of our own, or were capable of 
obliging him to give us the power and grace to repent. Our 
high violation of the sacred rights and honour of the godhead, 
made it necessary, in order to our peace and reconciliation, there 
should be a sacrifice, and a mediator between him and us. He 
hath judged it not honourable to him, not becoming him to treat 
with us, or vouchsafe us favours upon other terms. And since 
he thought it necessary to insist upon having a sacrifice, he 
judged it necessary too, to have one proportionable to the wrong 
done ; lest he should make the majesty of heaven cheap, or oc 
casion men to think it a light matter to have fundamentally 
overturned the common order which was settled between him 
self and men. The whole earth could not have afforded such a 
sacrifice, it must be supplied from heaven. His co-eternal Son 
made man, and so uniting heaven and earth in his own person* 


overtakes to be that sacrifice, and, in the virtue of it, to he a 
standing continual Mediator [between God and us ; through 
him, and for his sake, all acts and influences of grace are to 
proceed towards us. No sin is to be forgiven, 110 grace to be 
conferred but upon his account. It is reckoned most God-like, 
most suitable to the divine greatness, once offended, to do no 
thing that shall import favour towards sinners, but upon his 
constant interposition. Him hath he set over us, and directed 
that all our applications to himself, and all our expectations 
from him, should be through him. Him hath he exalted to be 
a Prince and a Saviour, to give us repentance and remission of 
sins. Acts 5. 31. Now to one so high in power over us, he 
expects we should pay a suitable homage. That homage the 
holy Scripture calls by the name of faith, believing on him. 
God hath set him forth to be a propitiation, through faith in 
his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins 
that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare his 
righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him 
which believeth in Jesus. Rom. 3. 25, 26. So that when by 
repentance we turn to God, as our end, we must also apply 
ourselves by faith, to our Lord Jesus Christ, as our way to that 
end. Which till we do, we are in rebellion still, and know 
Hot what belongs to our peace. He insists that his Son into 
whose hands he hath committed our affairs, should be honoured 
by usy as he himself requires to be. John 5, 23. 

Now these two things sum up our part of the covenant be 
tween God and us. By repentance we again take God for our 
God. Repenting we return to him as our God. By faith we 
take his Son for our Prince and Saviour. These things, by the 
tenour of the evangelical covenant, are required of us. Peace 
is settled between God and us (as it is usually with men towards 
one another after mutual hostilities) by striking a covenant. 
And in our case, it is a covenant by sacrifice, as you have 
seen. Nor are harder terms than these imposed upon us. 
Dost thou now, sinner, apprehend thyself gone off from God ? 
and find a war is commenced and on foot, between God and 
thee ? He can easily conquer and crush thee to nothing, but 
he offers thee terms of peace, upon which he is willing to enter 
into covenant with thee. Dost thou like his terms? Ait thou 
willing to return to him, and take him again for thy God? to 
resign and commit thyself with unfeigned trust and subjection^ 
into the hands of his Son thy Redeemer? These are "the things 
which belong to thy peace/' See that thou now know them. 

2. But what knowledge of them is it that is here meant ? 
The thing speaks itself. It is not a mere contemplative know 
ledge. We must so know them as to do them } otherwise &e 


increase of knowledge is the increase of sorrow. Thy guilt and 
misery will be^ the greater. To know any thing that concerns 
our practice, is to no purpose if we do not practise it. It was 
an hebrew form of speech, and is a common form, by words of 
knowledge to imply practice. It being taken for granted that 
in matters so very reasonable and important, if what we are to 
do, once be rightly known, it will be done. Thus elsewhere 
the same great requisites to eternal life and blessedness are ex 
pressed by our Lord. This is life eternal to know thee the only 
true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent ; it being sup 
posed and taken for granted that a true, vivid knowledge of God 
and Christ will immediately form the soul to all suitable disposi 
tions and deportments towards the one and the other ; and con 
sequently to all men also, as Christian precepts do direct to all 
the acts of sobriety, justice and charity unto which the law of 
'Christ obliges. An habitual course of sin in any kind, is incon 
sistent with this knowledge of the things of our peace, and 
therefore with our peace itself. All sin is in a true sense redu 
cible to ignorance ; and customary sinning into total destitution 
of divine knowledge. According to the usual style of the sacred 
writings, 1 Cor. 15. 34. Awake to righteousness, and sin not j 
for some have not the knowledge of God. He that sinneth, 
that is, that is a doer of sin, jeaxowo/wy, a worker of iniquity, hath 
hot seen God. 3, John 1 1 . 

II. Such as live under the gospel have a day, or a present 
opportunity, for the obtaining the knowledge of these things 
immediately belonging to their peace, and of whatsoever is be 
sides necessary thereunto. I say nothing what opportunities 
they have who never lived under the gospel ; who yet no doubt 
might generally, know more than they do ; and know better 
what they do know. It suffices us who enjoy the gospel, to un 
derstand our own advantages thereby. Nor, as to those who do 
enjoy it, is every one's day of equal clearness. How few in 
comparison, have ever seen such a day as Jerusalem at this time 
did ! made by the immediate beams of the Sun of righteousness ! 
our Lord himself vouchsafing to be their Instructor, so speaking 
as never man did ; and with such authority as far outdid their 
other teachers, and astonished the hearers. In what transports 
did he use to leave those that heard him, wheresoever he came, 
wondering at' the gracious words that came out of his mouth! 
And with what mighty and beneficial works was he wont to re 
commend his doctrine, shining in the glorious power, and sa 
vouring of the abundant mercy of heaven, so as every appre 
hensive, mind might see the Deity was incarnate, God was 
come down to treat with men, and allure them into the know 
ledge and love of himself. The word was made flesh. What 


tmprejudiced mind might not perceive it to be so ? He wa* 
there manifested and veiled at once ; both expressions are used 
concerning the same matter. The divine beams were some 
what obscured, but did yet ray through that veil; so that his 
glory was beheld as the glory of the only begotten Son of the 
Father, full of grace and truth. John 1. 14. This Sun shone 
with a mild and benign but with a powerful, vivifying light. In 
him was life, and that life was the light of men. Such a light 
created unto the jews this their day. Happy jews, if they had 
understood their own happiness ! And the days that followed, 
to them (for a while) and the gentile world were not inferior, 
in some respects brighter and more glorious (the mote copious 
gift of the Holy Ghost being reserved unto the crowning and 
enthroning of the victorious Redeemer) when the everlasting 
gospel flew like lightning to the utmost ends of the earth ; and 
the word which began to be spoken by the Lord himself, was 
confirmed by them that heard him, God also himself bearing 
them witness, with signs, and wonders, and gifts of the Holy 
Ghost. Heb. 2. 4. No such day hath been seen this many 
an age. Yet whithersoever the same gospel, for substance, comes, 
it also makes a day of the same kind, and affords always true, 
though diminished light ; whereby, however, the things of our 
peace might be understood and known. The Written gospel 
varies not ; and if it be but simply and plainly proposed (though 
to some it be proposed with more advantage, to some with less, 
yet) still we have the same things immediately relating to our 
peace extant before our eyes ; and divers things besides, which 
it concerns us to be acquainted with that we may the more dis 
tinctly, and to better purpose understand these things. For 

1. We have the true and distinct state of the quarrel between 
God and us. Pagans have understood somewhat of the apostacy 
of man from God ; that he is not in the same state wherein he 
Was at first. But while they have understood that something 
was amiss, they could scarce tell what. The Gospel reveal* 
the universal pravity of the degenerate nature even of all men, 
and of every faculty in man. That there is none that doth, 
good, no not one ; and that every one is altogether become fil* 
thy and impure, (Rom. 3. 12.) that there is an entire old man 
to be put off; wholly corrupt by deceivable lusts, (Eph. 4. 22.) 
that the axop-EroX/*, the noblest powers are vitiated, the mind and 
conscience defiled, that the spirit of the mind needs renewing, 
fe sunk into carnality; and that the carnal mind is enmity 
against God; and is not subject to his law, nor can be; (Rom. 
$. 7.) nor capable of savouring the things of God ; that the sin- 
tter is in the flesh, under the dominion and power, and in the 


possession t>f the fleshly, sensual nature, and can therefore nei 
ther obey God, nor enjoy him; that it is become impossible to 
him either to please God, or be pleased with him. That the 
sinners quarrel therefore with God is about the most appro 
priate rights of the Godhead; the controversy is who shall 
be God, which is the supreme authority and which is the su 
preme good. The former peculiarity of the Godhead, the 
lapsed creature is become so insolent, as to usurp and arro 
gate to himself. When he is become so much less than a 
man (a very beast) he will be a God. His sensual will shall 
be his only law. He lives and walks after the flesh, serves 
divers lusts and pleasures, and says "Who is Lord over me-?" 
But being conscious that he is not self-sufficient, that he must 
be beholden to somewhat foreign to himself for his satisfaction, 
and finding nothing else suitable to his sensual inclination; that 
other divine peculiarity to be the supreme good he places upon 
the sensible world; and for this purpose that shall be his God; 
so that between himself and the world he attempts to share the 
undivided Godhead. This is a controversy of a high nature, 
and about other matters than even the Jewish rabbins thought 
of, who when Jerusalem was destroyed, supposed God was 
angry with them for their neglect of the recitation of their phy 
lacteries morning and evening; or that they were not respectful 
enough of one another; or that distance enough was not observ 
ed between superiors and inferiors, &c.. The Gospel impleads 
men as rebels against their rightful Lord; but of this treason 
against the majesty of heaven men little suspect themselves 
till they are told. The gospel tells them so plainly, represents 
the matter in so clear light, tjiat they need only to contemplate 
themselves in that light, and they may see that so it is. Men 
may indeed, by resolved, stiff winking, create to themselves 
a darkness amidst the clearest light. But open thine eyes man, 
thou that livest under the gospel, set thyself to view thine own 
soul, thou wilt find it is day with thee ; thou hast a day, by 
being under the gospel, and light enough to see that this is the 
posture of thy soul, and the state of thy case Godward. And 
it is a great matter towards the understanding the things of thy 
peace, to know aright what is the true state of the quarrel be 
tween God and thee. 

2. The gospel affords light to know what the issue of this 
quarrel is sure to be, if it go on, and there be no reconciliation. 
It gives us other and plainer accounts of the punishments of the 
other world; more fully represents the extremity, and perpe 
tuity of the future miseries, and state of perdition appointed 
for the ungodly world, speaks out concerning the " Tophet 
prepared of old, the lake of fire and brimstone ;" shews the 
miseries of that state to be the immediate effects of divine dis- 


pleasure; that "the breath of the Almighty as a river of frrirri- 
stone" always foment those flames; that "indignation and wrath 
cause the tribulation and anguish" which must be the portico 
of evil doers; and how " fearful a thing it is to fall into the 
hands of the living God!"* Gives us to understand what ac 
cession men's own unaltered vicious habits will have to their 
miseries; their own outragious lusts and passions, which here 
they made it their business to satisfy, becoming their insatiable 
tormentors ; that they are to receive <ff the things done in the 
body, according to what they have done;" and that "what they 
have sowed the same also they are to reap;" and what their own 
guilty reflections will contribute, the bitings and gnawings of 
the worm that dies not, the venomous corrosions of the viper 
bred in their own bosoms, and now become a full-grown ser 
pent; what the society and insultation of devils, with whom 
they are to partake in woes and torments, and by whom they 
have been seduced and trained into that cursed partnership and 
communion; and that this fire wherein they are to be torment 
ed together is to be everlasting, "a fire never to be quenched." 
If men be left to their own conjecture only, touching the dan 
ger they incur by continuing and keeping up a war with heaven, 
and are to make their own hell, and that it be the creature on 
ly of their own imagination; it is like they will make it as easy 
and favourable as they can ; and so are little likely to be urged 
earnestly to sue for peace by the imagination of a tolerable hell. 
But if they understand it to be altogether intolerable, this may 
make them bestir themselves, and think the favour of God 
ivorth the seeking. The gospel imports favour and kindness to 
you, when it imports most of terror, in telling you so plainly 
the worst of your case if you go on in a sinful course. It makes 
you a day, by which you may make a truer judgment of the 
blackness, darkness and horror of that everlasting night that is 
coming on upon you; and lets you know that black and endless 
night is introduced by a terrible preceeding day, that day of the 
Lord the business whereof is judgment. They that live under 
the gospel cannot pretend they are in darkness so as that day 
should overtake them as a thief; and that, by surprize, they 
should be doomed and abandoned to the regions of darkness. 
The gospel forewarns you plainly of all this : which it does not 
merely to fright and torment you before the time, but that you 
may steer your course another way, and escape the place and 
state of torment. It only says this that it may render the more 
acceptable to you what it hath to say besides; and only threat 
ens you with these things if there be no reconciliation between 
God and you. But then at the same time, 

* Isa. 30, 33. Rer. 21, 8. Rom. 2, 8, Heb. 10, 31 r 



3. It also represents God to you as reconcilable through a 
Mediator. In that gospel " peace is preached to you, by Jesus 
Christ/* That gospel lets you see God in Christ reconciling 
the world unto himself, that sin may not be imputed to them* 
That gospel proclaims glory to God in the highest* peace on 
earth, good will towards men* So did the voices of angels sum 
up the glad tidings of the gospel, when that Prince of peace was 
born into th world. It tells you "God desires not the death of 
sinners* but that they may turn and live;" that he would 
"have all men be saved, and come to the knowledge of the 
truth:" that he is "long suffering towards them, not willing 
that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, 
that he "so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son^ 
that whosoever believes on him should not perish, but have 
everlasting life/* The rest of the world cannot but collect, from 
darker intimations, God's favourable propensions towards them* 
He spares them, is patient towards them, that herein, "his 
goodness might lead them to repentance." He sustains them,, 
lets them dwell in a world which they might understand was of 
his making, and whereof he is absolute Lord. "They live 
move and have their being in him, that they might seek after 
him, and by feeling find him out." He doth them " good,, 
gives them rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling their 
hearts with food and gladness." He lets "his sun shine on 
them," whose far extended beams shew forth his kindness and: 
benignity to men, even " to the utmost ends of the earth. For 
there is no speech or language whither his line and circle reaches 
not." But those are but dull and glimmering beams in com* 
parisoa of those that shine from the Sun of righteousness 
through the gospel-revelation, and in respect of that divine glory 
which appears in the face of Jesus Christ. How clearly doth 
the light of this gospel-day reveal God's design of reducing 
sinners, and reconciling them to himself by a Redeemer ! How 
canst thou but say, sinner, thou hast a day of it ? and clear 
day-light shewing thee what the good and acceptable will of 
God towards the is ? Thou art not left to guess only, tliou 
naayst be reconciled and find mercy, and to grope and feel thy 
way in the dark, unless it be a darkness of thy own making. 
And whereas a sinner, a disloyal rebellious creature, that hath 
affronted the majesty of heaven, and engaged against himself 
the wrath and justice of his Maker, and is unable to make him 
any recompence, can have no reason to hope God will shew hirn 
mercy, and be reconciled to him for Ins own sake, or for any 
thing he can do to oblige or induce him to it ; the same gospel 
shews you plainly, it is for the Redeemer's sake, and what he 
hath done and suffered to procure it. But inasmuch also as the 


sinner may easily apprehend, that it can never answer the ne 
cessities of his state and case, that God only be not his enemy, 
that he forbear hostilities towards him, pursue him not with 
vengeance to his destruction. For he finds himself an indigent 
creature, and he needs somewhat beyond what he hath ever yet 
met with to make him happy; that it is uneasy and grievous to 
wander up and down with craving desires among varieties of ob 
jects that look speciously, but which, either he cannot so far 
compass as to make a trial what there is in them, or wherewith, 
upon trial, he finds himself mocked and disappointed, and 
that really they have nothing in them : he finds himself a mor 
tal creature, and considers that if he had all that he can covet 
in this world, the increase of his present enjoyments doth but 
increase unto him trouble and anguish of heart, while he thinks 
what great things he must shortly leave and lose for ever; to go 
he knows not whither, into darksome, gloomy regions; where lie 
cannot so much as imagine any thing suitable to his inclinations 
and desires. For he knows all that is delectable to his present 
sense he must here leave behind him; and he cannot divest 
himself of all apprehensions of a future state, wherein if God 
should make him suffer nothing, yet if he have nothing, to en 
joy, he must be always miserable. 

4. The gospel, therefore, further represents to him the final, 
eternal blessedness, and glorious state, which they that are re 
conciled shall be brought into. They that live under the gospel 
are not mocked with shadows, and empty clouds, nor with fabu 
lous elysiums. Nor are they put off with some unintelligible 
notion of only being happy in the general. But are told express 
ly wherein their happiness is to consist. "Life and immortali 
ty are brought to light in the gospel/' It is given them to un 
derstand how great a good is laid up in store. "The things 
which eye hath not seen, and ear not heard, and which other 
wise could not have entered into the heart of man, the things 
of God's present and eternal kingdom, are set in view. It shews 
the future state of the reconciled shall consist not only in free* 
dom from what is evil, but in the enjoyment of the best and 
most delectable good: that God himself in all his glorious ful 
ness will be their eternal and most satisfying portion. That 
their blessedness is to lie in the perpetual fruitive vision of his 
blessed face, and in the fulness of joy, and the everlasting plea 
sures which the divine presence itself doth perpetually afford. 
And whereas their glorious Redeemer is so nearly allied to them, 
flesh of their flesh, and bone of their bone, who inasmuch as the 
children were made partakers of flesh and blood, he also him 
self likewise took part of the same, (Heb. 2. 14.) and is be 
come by special title their authorized Lord, they are assured 



(of that, than which nothing should be more grateful to them) 
"they shall be for ever with the Lord;" that they are to be 
where he is, "to behold his glory;" and shall be "joint-heirs 
with Christ," and be " glorified together with him," shall par 
take, according to their measure and capacity, in the same 
blessedness which he enjoys. Thou canst not pretend, sinner, 
who livest under the gospel, that thou hast not the light of the 
'day to shew thee what blessedness is. Heaven is opened to 
thee. Glory beams down from thence upon thee to create thee 
a day, by the light whereof thou mayest see with sufficient 
clearness, what is "the inheritance of the saints in light.'* 
And though all is not told thee, and it do not in every respect 
appear what we shall be ; so much may be foreknown that when 
he shall appear, we shall be like him, and shall see him as he 
is. 1 Johh 3. 1. 2. And because the heart, as yet carnal, 
can favour little of all this; and finding itself strange and disaf 
fected to God, affecting now to be without Christ and without 
God in the world, may easily apprehend it impossible to it to 
be happy in an undesired good, or that it can enjoy what it dis-. 
likes ; or, in the mean time, walk in a way to which it finds in 
itself nothing but utter averseness and disinclination. 

5. The gospel further shews us what is to be wrought and 
4one in us to attemper and frame our spirits to our future state 
and present way to it. It lets us know we are to be born again, 
born from above, born of God, made partakers of a divine na 
ture, that will make the temper of our spirits connatural to the 
divine presence. That whereas " God is light, and with him is 
no darkness at all ;" we, "who were darkness shall be made 
light in the Lord:" that we are to be "begotten again to a live 
ly hope, to the eternal and undefiled inheritance that is reserved 
in the heavens for us :" that we are thus to be made "meet to 
be partakers of that inheritance of the saints in light." And as 
we are to be eternally conversant with Christ, we are here to 
put on Christ, to have Christ in us the hope of glory. And 
whereas only the way of holiness and obedience leads to blessed 
ness, that we are to be " created in Christ Jesus to good works 
to walk in them." And shall thereupon find the ways prescri 
bed to us by him, who is the wisdom of God, to be all "ways 
of pleasantness and paths of peace :" that he will " put his 
Spirit into us, and cause us to walk in his statutes," and to ac* 
count that " in keeping them there is great reward." And thus 
all that is contained in that mentioned summary of the things 
belonging to bur peace, " Repentance towards God, and faith 
in our Lord Jesus Christ," will all become easy to us, and as 
the acts of nature 3 proceeding from that new and holy nature 
imparted to us. 


And whosoever thou art that livest under the gospel, canst 
thou deny that it is day with thee, as to all this ? wast thou ne 
ver told of this great necessary heart-change ? Didst thou never 
hear that the "tree must be made good that the fruit might be 
good?" that thou must become a "new creature, have old 
things done away, and all things made new?" Didst thou never 
hear of the necessity of having "a new heart, and a right spi 
rit" created and renewed in thee; that except thou wert "born 
again," or from above (as that expression may be read) thou 
couldst " never enter into the kingdom of God ?" wast thou 
kept in ignorance that a form of godliness without the power of 
k would never do thee good ? that a name to live without the 
principle of the holy, divine life would never save thee ? that a 
specious outside, that all thy external performances, while thou 
wentest with an unrenewed, earthly, carnal heart would never 
advantage thee as to thy eternal salvation and blessedness ? And 
this might help thine understanding concerning the nature of 
thy future blessedness, and will be found most agreeable to it, 
being aright understood ; for as thou art not to be blessed by a 
blessedness without thee and distant from thee, but inwrought 
into thy temper, and intimately united with thee, nor glorified 
by an external glory but by a glory revealed within thee : so neither 
canst thou be qualified for that blessed glorious state otherwise 
tlian by having the temper of thy soul made habitually holy and 
good. As what a good man partakes of happiness here is such, 
that he is u satisfied from himself," so it must be hereafter, not 
originally from himself, but by divine communication made 
most intimate to him. Didst thou not know that it belonged to 
thy peace, to have a peace-maker ? and that the Son of God 
was he ? and that he makes not the peace of those that 
despise and refuse him, or that receive him not, that come 
not to him and are not willing to come to God by him ? 
Couldst thou think, living under the gospel, that the recon 
ciliation between God and thee was not to be mutual ? that 
he would be reconciled to thee while thou wouldst not be 
reconciled to him, or shouldst still bear towards him a disaffec 
ted, implacable heart ? For couldst thou be so void of all un 
derstanding as not to apprehend what the gospel was sent to 
thee for ? or why it was necessary to be preached to thee, or 
that thou shouldst hear it ? who was to be reconciled by a gos 
pel preached to thee but thyself ? who was to be persuaded by a 
gospel sent to thee ? God, or thou ? who is to be persuaded 
but the unwilling ? The gospel, as thou hast been told, re 
veals God willing to be reconciled, and thereupon beseeches 
thee to be reconciled to him. Or could it seem likely to thee 
thou couldst ever be reconciled to God, and continue unrecon 
ciled to thy Reconciler ? To what purpose is there a days-man, 


a middle person between God arid thee, if thou wilt not rheet 
him in that middle person ? Dost thou not know that Christ 
avails thee nothing if thou still stand at a distance with him, if 
thou dost not unite and adjoin thyself to him, or art not in him ? 
And dost thou not again know that divine power and grace must 
unite thee to him ? and that a work must he wrought and done 
upon thy soul by an almighty hand, by God himself, a mighty 
transforming work to make thee capable of that union ? that 
whosoever is in Christ is a new creature ? (2 Cor. 5. 17-) that 
thou must be of God in Christ Jesus, who then is rriade unto 
thee of God also wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and 
redemption ; (1 Cor. 1. 30.) every way answering the exigen 
cy of thy case, as thou art a foolish, guilty, impure, and en 
slaved, or lost creature ? Didst thou never hear, that none can 
come to Christ but whom the Father draws ? and that he draws 
the reasonable souls of men not violently or against their wills 
(he draws, yet drags them not) but makes them willing in the 
day of power, by giving a new nature, and new inclinations to 
them. It is sure with thee not dark night, not a dubious twi 
light, but broad day as to all this. 

Yes, perhaps thou mayest say, but this makes my case the 
worse not the better ; for it gives me at length to understand 
that what is necessary to my peace and welfare is impossible to 
me ; and so the light of my day doth but serve to let me see 
myself miserable and undone, and that I have nothing to do to 
relieve and help myself. I therefore add, 

6. That by being under the gospel, men have not only light to 
understand whatsoever is any way necessary to their peace, but 
opportunity to obtain that communication of divine power and 
grace whereby to comply with the terms of it. Whereupon, if 
this be made good, you have not a pretence left you to say your 
case is the worse, or that you receive any prejudice by what 
the gospel reveals of your own impotency to relieve and help 
yourselves ; or determines touching the terms of your peace and 
salvation, making such things necessary thereto, as are to you 
impossible, and out of your own present power; unless it be a 
prejudice to you not to have your pride gratified; and that God 
hath pitched upon such a method for your salvation, as shall 
wholly turn to the praise of the glory of his grace, or that you 
are to be of him in Christ Jesus that whosoever glories might 
fc glory in the Lord. 1 Cor. 1. 30. 31. Is it for a sinner that 
hath deserved, and is ready tcr perish, to insist upon being sav 
ed with reputation? or to envy the great God upon whose plea 
sure it wholly depends whether he shall be saved or not saved, 
the entire glory of saving him? For otherwise, excepting the 
mere business of glory and reputation; is it not all one to yoa 


whether you have the power in your own hands of changing 
your hearts, of being the authors to yourselves, of that holy, new 
nature, out of which actual faith and repentance are to spring, 
or whether you may have it from the God of all grace, flowing 
to you from its own proper divine fountain ? Your case is not 
sure really the worse that your salvation from first to last is to 
be all of grace, and that it is impossible to you to repent and 
believe, while it is not simply impossible; but that he can 
effectually enable you thereto, unto whom all things are possi 
ble; supposing that he will: of which I shall speak presently. 
Nay and it is more glorious and honourable, even to you, if 
you understand yourselves, that your case is so stated as it is. 
The gospel indeed plainly tells you that your repentance must 
be given you. Christ "is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour 
to give repentance, and remission of sins." And so must 
your faith, and that frame of spirit which is the principle of all 
good works. By grace ye are saved, through faith, not of 
yourselves, it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man 
should boast : for we are his workmanship, created in Christ 
Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we 
should walk in them. Ephes. 2, 8, 10. Is it more glorious to 
have nothing in you but what is self-sprung, than to have your 
souls the seatand receptacle of divine communications; of so ex 
cellent things as could have no other than an heavenly original? 
If it were not absurd and impossible you should be self-begot 
ten, is it not much more glorious to be born of God? As they 
are said to be that receive Christ. John. 1. 12, 13. But as 
many as received him, to them gave he power to become the 
sons of God, even to them that believe on his name : which 
were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the 
will of man, but of God. 

And now that by being under the gospel, you have the op 
portunity of getting that grace, which is necessary to your 
peace and salvation; you may see, if you consider wliat the 
gospel is, and was designed for. It is the ministration of the 
Spirit ; that Spirit by which you are to be born again. John. 3. 
3, 5, 6'. The work of regeneration consists in the impregnat 
ing, and making lively and efficacious in you the holy truths 
contained in the gospel. Of his own good will begat he us 
with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits 
of his creatures, Jam. 1. 18. And again, being born again, 
not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of 
God, 1 Pet. 1. 23. So our Saviouj: prays. Sanctify them 
through thy truth, thy word is truth, John. 17. 17. The gos 
pel is upon this account called the word of life, Phil. 2. 16*. as 
by which the principles of that divine and holy life are implant- 


cd in the soul, Whereby we live to God, do what his gospel 
requires, and hath made our duty, and that ends at length irt 
eternal life. But you will say. Shall all then that live under the* 
gospel obtain this grace and holy life ? Or if they shall not^ 
or, if so far as can be collected, multitudes do not, or perhaps 
in some places that enjoy the gospel very few do, in compari 
son of them that do not, what am I better ? when perhaps it 
is far more likely that I shall perish notwithstanding, than be 
saved ? In answer to this, it must be acknowledged, that all 
that live under the gospel do not obtain life and saving grace 
by it. For then there had been no occasion for this lamentati 
on of our blessed Lord over the perishing inhabitants of Jerusa 
lem, as having lost their day, and that the things of their peace 
were now hid from their eyes, and by that instance it appears 
too possible, that even the generality of a people living under 
the gospel, may fall at length into the like forlorn and hope 
less condition. But art thou a man that thus objectest ? A 
reasonable understanding creature ? or dost thou use the reason 
and understanding of a man in objecting thus ? Didst thou ex 
pect, that when thine own wilful transgression had made thee 1 
liable to eternal death and wrath, peace and life, and salvation 
should be imposed upon thee whether thou wouldst or no, or 
notwithstanding thy most wilful neglect and contempt of them, 
and all the means of them ? Could it enter into thy mind, that 
a reasonable soul should be wrought and framed for that high 
nd blessed end, whereof it is radically capable, as a stock or a 
stone is for any use it is designed for ; without designing its 
own end or way to it ? Couldst thou think the gospel was to 
bring thee to faith and repentance whether thou didst hear it of 
no ? or ever apply thy mind to consider the meaning of it, and 
what it did propose and offer to thee ? or when thou mightest 
so easily understand that the grace of God was necessary to 
make it effectual to thee, and that it might become his power 
(or the instrument of his power) to thy salvation, couldst thou 
think it concerned thee not, to sue and supplicate to him for 
that grace ? when thy life lay upon it, and thy eternal hope ? 
Hast thou lain weltering at the foot-stool of the throne of grace 
in thine own tears (as thou hast been formerly weltering in thy 
sins and impurities) crying for grace to help thee in this time of 
thy need ? And if thou thinkest this was above thee and with 
out thy compass, hast thou done all that was within thy com 
pass in order to the obtaining of grace at God's hands ? But 
here perhaps thou wilt inquire, "Is there any thing then to be 
done by us, whereupon the grace of God may be expected cer 
tainly to follow?" To which I answer, 

(f.) That it is out of question nothing can be done by us 


to deserve it, or for which we may expect it to follow. It 
were not grace if we had obliged, or brought it by our desert 
under former preventive bonds to us. And 

(2.) What if nothing can be done by us upon which it may 
be certainly expected to follow ? Is a certainty of perishing 
better than a high probability of being saved ? 

(3.) Such as live under the gospel have reason to apprehend 
it highly propable they may obtain that grace which is necessary 
to their salvation, if they be not wanting to themselves. For 

(4.) There is generally afforded to such, that which is won 
to be called common grace. I speak not of any further extent 
of it, it is enough to our present purpose, that it extends so 
far, as to them that live under the gospel, and have thereby a 
day allowed them wherein to provide for their peace. Now 
though this grace is not yet certainly saving, yet it tends to 
that which is so. And none have cause to despair but that be^ 
ing duly improved and complied with, it may end in it. 

And this is that which requires to be insisted on, and more 
fully evinced. In order whereto let us be considered, that it is 
expressly said to such, they are to work out their salvation with 
fear and trembling for this reason, that God works (or is work 
ing tar o svtpywv ) in them, that is, statedly and continually at 
work, or is always ready to work in them, to will, and to do, 
of his own good pleasure. Phil. 2. 12, 13. The matter fails 
not on his part. He will work on in order to their salvation, 
if they work in that way of subordinate co-operation, which his 
command, and the necessity of their own case oblige them un 
to. And it is further to be considered, that where God had 
formerly afforded the symbols of his gracious presence, given 
his oracles, and settled his church, though yet in its non-age* 
and much more imperfect state, there he however communica 
ted those influences of his Spirit, that it was to be imputed to 
themselves if they came short of the saving operations of it. 
Of such it was said, thou gavest thy good Spirit to instruct 
them. Nehem. 9. 20. And to such, turn ye at my reproof, 
I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words 
unto you. Because I called and you refused, I stretched out 
my hand, and no man regarded, but ye set at nought my coun 
sel, and despised all my reproof, I also will laugh at your cala 
mity, &c. Prov. 1. 23, 24. We see whence their destruction 
came, not from God's first restraint of his Spirit, but their re 
fusing, despising, and setting at nought his counsels and re 
proofs. And when it is said, they rebelled and vexed his Spirit, 
and he therefore turned, and fought against them, and became 
their enemy, Isa. 63. 10. It appears that before, his Spirit 
was not withheld, but did variously, and often make essays and 


attempts upon them. And when Stephen immediately before 
his martyrdom thus bespeaks the descendants of these jews, 
Ye stiff necked, and uncircumcised, ye do always resist the 
Holy Ghost, as your fathers did, so do ye. Act. 7-51. It is 
implied the Holy Ghost had been always striving from age to age 
with that stubborn people : for where there is no counterstri- 
ving there can be no resistance, no more than there can be a 
war on one side only. Which also appears to have been the 
course of God's dealing with the old world, before their so ge 
neral lapse into idolatry and sensual wickedness, from that pas 
sage, Gen. 6. 3. according to the more common reading an^ 
sense of those words, 

Now whereas the gospel is eminently said to be the ministra 
tion of the Spirit in contradistinction not only to the natural re 
ligion of other nations, but the divinely instituted religion of 
the jews also, as is largely discoursed 2 Cor. 3. and more large 
ly through the epistle to the Galatians, especially chap. 4. and 
whereas we find that, in the Jewish church, the Holy Ghost 
did generally diffuse its influences, and not otherwise withhold 
them, than penally, and upon great provocation, how much more 
may it be concluded that under the gospel, the same blessed 
Spirit is very generally at work upon the souls of men, till by 
their resisting, grieving and quenching of it, they provoke it to 
retire and withdraw from them. 

And let the consciences of men living under the gospel testify 
in the case. Appeal sinner to thine own conscience ; Hast 
thou never felt any thing of conviction, by the word of God? 
hadst thou never any thought injected of turning to God, of 
reforming thy life, of making thy peace ? have no desires ever 
been raised in thee, no fears ? hast thou never had any tastes 
and relishes of pleasure in the things of God ? whence have 
these come ? What ! from thyself, who art not sufficient to 
think any thing as of thyself? that is, not any good or right 
thought. All must be from that good Spirit that hath been 
striving with thee ; and might still have been so unto a blessed 
issue for thy soul, if thou hadst not neglected and disobeyed it. 

And do not go about to excuse thyself by saying, that so all 
others have done too, it is like at one time or other ; and if 
that therefore be the rule and measure that they that contend 
against the strivings and motions of God's Spirit must be finally 
deserted, and given up to perish, who then can be saved ? 
Think not of pleading so for thy neglecting and despising the 
grace and Spirit of God. It is true that herein the great God 
shews his sovereignty, when all that enjoy the same advantages 
for salvation deserve by their slighting them to be forsaken 
alike ; he gives instances and makes examples of just severity, 


and of the victorious power of grdce as seems him good, which 
there will be further occasion to speak more of hereafter. In 
the mean time the present design is not to justify thy condem 
nation but procure thy salvation., and therefore to admonish and 
instruct thee, that, though thou art not sure, because ^spme 
others that have slighted and despised the grace and Spirit of 
God are notwithstanding conquered and saved thereby, it shall 
therefore fare as well with thee; yet thou hast reason to be con 
fident, it will be well and happy for thee if, now, thou despise 
and slight them not. And whether thou do or do not, it is 
however plain that by thy being under the gospel thou hast had 
a day, wherein to mind the things of thy^ peace, though it fs 
not tolrf thee it would last always, but the contrary is presently 
to be told thee. 

And thou mayst now see it is not only a day in respect of 
light, but influence also ; that thou mightest not only know 
notionally what belonged thereto, but efficaciously and prac 
tically, which you have heard is the knowledge here meant. 
And the concurrence of such light and influence has made thee 
a season wherein thou wast to have been at work for thy soul. 
The day is the proper season for work : when the night comesr 
Working ceases, both because that then light fails, and because 
drowsiness and sloth are more apt to possess men. And the 
night will come. For (which is the next thing We are to speak to,) 

III. This day hath its bounds and limits, so that when it is 
over, and lost With such, the things of their peace are for ever 
hid from their eyes. And that this day is not infinite and end 
less, we see in the present instance. Jerusalem had her day ; 
but that day had its' period, we see it comes to this at last, 
that noiv the things of her peace are hid from her eyes. We 
generally see the same thing, in that sinners are so earnestly 
pressed to make use of the present time. To-day if you will 
hear his voice, harden not your hearts, Psal. 95. quoted and 
urged Heb. 3. ). 8. They are admonished to seek the Lord 
while he may be found, to call upon him while he is nigh. Isa, 
55. 6. It seems some time he will not be found, and will be 
afstr off. They are told this is the accepted time, this is the 
day of salvation. Isa. 49. 8. 2 Cor. 6. 2. 

This day, with any place or people, supposes a prece 
dent night, when the day-spring from on high had not visited 
their horizon, and all within it sat in darkness, and in the re 
gion and shadow of death. Yea and there was a time, we 
know, of very general darkness, when the gospel-day, "the day 
of visitation" had not yet dawned upon the world:- "times' of 
ignorance," wherein God as it were winked upon the nations of 
the earth ; the "beams- of his eye did in a sort overshoot them, as 

VOJ,. IV. F 


the word umiftiuv imports. But when the eyelids of the motti- 
ing open upon any people, and light shines to them with direct 
beams, they are wow commanded to repent, (Act. 17- 30.) limit 
ed to the present point of time with such peremptoriness, as that 
noble Roman used towards a proud prince, asking time to de 
liberate upon the proposal made to him of withdrawing his for 
ces that molested some of the allies of that state, he draws a 
line about him with the end of his rod, and requires him now, 
out of hand, before he stirred out of that circle to make his 
choice, whether he would be a friend or enemy to the people of. 
Rome* So are sinners to understand the state of their own case. 
The God of thy life, sinner, in whose hands thy times are, 
doth with much higher right, limit thee to the present time,. 
and expects thy present answer to his just and merciful offers 
and demands. He circumscribes thy day of grace ; it is inclos 
ed on both parts, and hath an evening as well as a morning ; as- 
it had a foregoing, so it hath a subsequent night, and the latter, 
if not more dark, yet usually much more stormy than the for 
mer ! For God shuts up this day in much displeasure, which 
hath terrible effects. If it be not expressly told you what the 
condition of that night is that follows your gospel-day : if the 
watchman being asked, " What of the night ?" do only answer 
it cometh as well as the morning came; black events are sig 
nified by that more awful silence. Or it is all one if you call it 
a day ; there is enough to distinguish it from the day of grace. 
The Scriptures call such a calamitous season indifferently either 
by the name of night or day : but the latter name is used with 
some or other adjuncts to signify, that day is not meant in the 
pleasant or more grateful sense : a day of wrath, an evil day, a day 
of gloominess and thick darkness, not differing from the most. 
dismal night ; arid to be told the morning of such a day is com 
ing, is all orie^ as that the evening is coming of a bright and a 
serene day. 

And here perhaps, reader, thou wilt expect to be told what 
are the limits of this day of grace? It is indeed much more 
difficult punctually to assign those limits, than to ascertain thee 
there are such: but it is also less necessary. The wise and 
merciful God doth in matters of this nature little mind to gratify* 
our curiosity ; much less is it to be expected from him, that he 
should make known to us such things, whereof it were better 
we were ignorant, or the knowledge whereof would be much 
niore a prejudice to us than an advantage. And it were as bold 
and rash an ^undertaking, in this case, as k would be vain and 
insignificant, for any man to take upon him to say, in it, what 
God hath not said, or given him plain ground for. What I 
Conceive to be plain and useful in this matter I shall lay dowi* 


In the following propositions^ insisting more largely where the 
matter requires it, and contenting myself but to mention what 
is obvious, and clear at the first sight, 

1 . That there is a great diiference between the ends and limits 
of the day or season of grace as to particular persons, and in re 
ference to the collective body of a people, inhabiting this or 
that place. It may be over with such or such a place, so as 
that they that dwell there, shall no longer have the gospel among 
them, when as yet it may not be over with every particular per 
son belonging to it, who may be providentially cast elsewhere, 
or may have the " ingrafted word" in them, which they lose not. 
And again it may be over with some particular persons in such 
a place, when it is not yet over with that people or place, ge 
nerally considered. 

2. As to both there is a difference between the ending of such 
a day, and intermissions, or dark intervals, that may be in it. 
The gospel may be withdrawn from such a people, and be re 
stored. And God often no doubt, asio particular persons, ei 
ther deprives them of the outward means of grace, for a time 
(by sickness., or many other ways) or may for a time, forbear 
moving upon them by his Spirit, and again try them with 

3. As to particular persons, there may be much difference 
between such, as, while they lived under the gospel, gained 
the knowledge of the principal doctrines, or of the sum and sub 
stance of Christianity ; though without any sanctifying effect, 
or impression upon their hearts, and such as through their own 
negligence, lived under it in total ignorance hereof. The day 
of grace may not be over with the former, though they should 
never live under the ministry of the gospel more. For it is 
possible, while they have the seeds and principles of holy 
truth laid up in their minds, God may graciously administer to 
them many occasions of recollecting and considering them, 
wherewith be may so please to co-operate, as to enliven them, 
and make them vital and effectual to their final salvation. 
Whereas, with the other sort, when they no more enjoy the 
external mean^ the day of grace is like to be quite over, so as 
that there may be no more hope in their case than in that of 
pagans in the darkest parts of the world, and perhaps much 
less, as their guilt hath been much greater by their neglect of 
so great and important things. It may be better with Tyre and 
{Sidon, &c. 

4. That yet it is a terrible judgment to the most knowing, to 
lose the external dispensation of the gospel, while they have yet 
no sanctifying impression upon their hearts by it, and they are 
past upon a fearful hazard of being lost for ever, being left by 



the departed gospel, in an unconverted state. For they need 
the most urgent inculcations of gospel-truths, and the most 
powerful enforcing means, to engage them to consider the 
things which they know. It is the design of the gospel to heget 
not only light in the mind, but grace in the heart. And if tha^ 
were not done while they enjoyed such nieans, it is less likely 
to be done without them. And if any slighter, and more su-? 
perfieial impressions were made upon them thereby, short of 
true and thorough conversion, how great is the danger that all 
will vanish, when they cease to be pressed and urged, and call 
ed upon by the public voice of the gospel ministry any more. 
POW naturally desident is t|ie spirit of man, and apt to sink in 
fo deadness, worldliness arid carnality, eyen under the most 
lively and quickening means ; and even where a saving work 
hath been wrought; how much more when those means fail, 
and there is no vital principle within, capable of self-excitati6n, 
and improvement. O that they would consider this, who have 
got nothing by the gospel all this while, but a little cold^ 
spiritless, notional knowledge, arid are in a possibility of losing 
it before they get any thing more ! 

5. That as it is certain death ends the day of grace, with eveyy 
unconverted person, so it is very possible it may end with diyer 
before they die ; by their total loss p,f all external means; or by 
the departure of the blessed Spirit of God from them., sp as tp 
return and visit them no more. How the day of grace njay en4 
with a. person, is to be understood by considering what it is tn^J 
makes up and constitutes such a day. There must be some 
measure and proportion, of time, to make up this (or any) <J|y 
which is as the substratum and ground forelaid. Then there 
must be light superadded, otherwise it differs not from night, 
which may have the same measure of mere time. The gospel 
revelation, some way or other, must be had, as being, the light 
of such a day. And again there must be sorne degree, of \iv$- 
liness, and vital influence, the more usual concomitant c$ light; 
the night doth more dispose men to drowsiness. The sa.me gu.ri 
that enlightens the world, disseminates also an invigorating in 
fluence. If the Spirit of the living God do no way animate the 
gospel revelation, and breathe in it, we have, no 4 a y of grace. 
It is not only a day of light, but a day of powej, wherein souls 
can be wrought upon, and a pepple made willing to become the 
Lord's. Psal. 110. As the Redeemer revealed in the gospel, 
is the light of the world, so he is life to it too, though neither 
are planted^ or do take root every where. In him was life, and 
that life was the light of men. That light that rays from him 
is vital light in itself, and in its tendency and design, though 
it be disliked, and not entertained by the 


Whereas therefore these tilings must concur to make up such 
a day: if either a man's time, his life on earth expire, or if light 
quite fail him, or if all gracious influence be withheld, so as to 
be communicated no more; his day is done, the season of grace 
is over with him. Now it is plain that many a one may lose 
the gospel before his life end; and possible that all gracious in 
fluence may be restrained, while as yet the external dispensati 
on of the gospel remains. A sinner may have hardened hi$ 
heart to that degree, that God will attempt him no more, i$ 
any kind, with any design of kindness to him, not in that more 
inward, immediate way at all, that is by the motions of his Spir- 
rit, which peculiarly can import nothing but friendly incli-r 
nation, as whereby men are personally applied unto, so that 
cannot be meant ; nor by the voice of the gospel, which 
may either be continued for the sake of others, or they continu- 
$d under it, but for their heavier doom at length. Which 
though it may seem severe, is not to be thought strange, mueh 
less unrighteous. 

It is not to be thought strange to them that reacl the Bible, 
which so often speaks this sense, as when it warns and threat 
ens men with so much terror, as Heb. 10. 26,-^9. For 
if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of 
the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a cer 
tain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignatio^whieU 
shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses* law, died 
without mercy, under two or three witnesses ; Of how muclv 
sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who 
hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the 
fclood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, a.n unholy 
thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace f and 
when it tells us, after many overtures made to men in vajn, of 
his having given them up, &c. Psal. 81.11, 12. But my peo 
ple would not hearken to my voice : and Israel would none of mef 
so I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust ; and they walked 
in their own counsels ; and pronounces, Let him that is unjust, 
be unjust still, and let him which is filthy, be filthy stili, Rev. 
22. 11. and says, In thy filthiness is lewdness, because I have 
purged thee, and thou wast not purged ; thou shalt not be puj> 
ged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to 
jest upon thee. Ezek. 24. 13, Which passages seem to im 
ply a total desertion of them, and retraction of all gracious in 
fluence. And when it speaks of letting them be under the gos 
pel, and the ordinary means of salvation, for the most direful 
purposes : as that, this child (Jesus) was set fqr the fall, as 
well as for the rising, of many in Israel, Luke. 2. 34- As to 
which text the very learned Grotius glossing upon the w 


and * wWiv, says, Accedu Us qui non necdum eventum^ 
sed et consiliuniy that he is of their opinion who think that not 
the naked event, but the counsel or purpose of God is sig 
nified by it) the same with na-Osron ; and alleges several texts 
where the active of that verb must have the same sense, as to 
appoint, or ordain ; and mentions divers other places of the 
same import with this so understood ; and which therefore to : 
recite will equally serve our present purpose, as that Rom. 9. 
33. Behold I lay in Zion a stumbling stone, and rock of of 
fence. And 1 Pet. 2. 8. The stone which the builders refused, 
is made a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to 
them which stumble at the word, being disobedient, whereuntp 
also they were appointed. With that of our Saviour himself, 
John 9. 39. For judgment I am come into this world, that they 
which see not, might see ; and that they which see, might be 
made blind. And most agreeable to those former places is that 
of the prophet Isa. 28. 13. But the word of the Lord was; 
tmtp them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, Kne upon 
line, line upon line, here a little and there a little ; that they 
might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and 
taken. And we may add, that our Lord hath put us out of doubt 
that there is such a sin as that which is eminently called the sin 
against the Holy Ghost ; that men may, in such circumstances, 
and to such a degree, sin against that blessed Spirit, that he will 
never move, or breathe upon them more, but leave them to a 
liopeless ruin: though I shall not in this discourse, determine or 
discuss the nature of it. But I doubt not is somewhat else, 
than final impenrtency, and infidelity ; and that every one that 
dies, not having sincerely repented and believed, is not guilty 
of it, though every one that is guilty of it, dies impenitent and 
unbelieving ; but was guilty of it before ; so as it is not the 
mere want of time, that makes him guilty. Whereupon there 
fore, that such may outlive their day of grace, is out of ques 

But let not such, as, upon the descriptions the gospel give* 
tis of that sin, may be justly confident they have not perhaps 
committed it, therefore think themselves out of all danger of 
losing their season of making their peace with God before they 
die. Many a one may, no doubt, that never committed the un 
pardonable blasphemy against the Holy Ghost as he is the 
witness, by his wonderful works, of Christ being the Messiah* 
As one may die, by neglecting himself, that doth not poison 
himself, or cut his own throat. You will say, " But if the Spi 
rit retire from men, so as never to return, where is the differ 
ence?" I answer, The difference lies in the specific nature, and 
greater heinousness of that sin, and consequently, in the 


or degrees of its punishment. For though the reason of its un- 
pardonableness lies not principally in its greater heinousness, 
but in its direct repugnancy to the way of obtaining pardon, 
yet there is no doubt of its being much more heinous than ma 
ny other sins, for which men perish. And therefore it is ia 
proportion more severely punished. But is it not misery enough 
to dwell in darkness and woe for ever, as every one that die* 
unreconciled to God must do, unless the most intense flames 
and horror of hell .be your portion? As his case is sufficiently 
bad that must die as an ordinary felon, though he is not to be 
hanged, drawn, and quartered* 

Nor is there any place, or pretence for so prophane a thought, 
as if there were any colour of unrighteousness in this course of 
procedure with such men. Is it unjust severity to let the gos 
pel bedome deadly to them, whose own malignity perverts it, 
against its nature, and genuine tendency, into a savour of death, 
(as 2 Cor. 2. 16.) which it is, rois atvo^^v^stoi s t that is to them, 
(as the mentioned author speaks) who may be truly said to seek 
their own destruction ? or that God should intend their more 
aggravated condemnation, even from the despised gospel itself, 
who, when such light is come into the world, hate it, shew 
themselves lucifugce, tenebriones, (as he also phrases it, speak 
ing further upon that first mentioned text,) such as fly from 
the light, choose and love to lurk in darkness ? He must 
have very low thoughts of divine favour and acceptance, of Christ 
and grace, and glory, that can have hard thoughts of God, for 
his vindicating, with greatest severity, the contempt of such 
things. What could better become his glorious majesty, and 
excellent greatness, than, as all things work together for good 
towards them tliat love him, so to let all things work for the 
hurt of them that So irreconcilably hate him, and bear a dis 
affected and implacable mind towards him ? Nor doth tne 
addition of his designing the matter so, make it hard. For if k 
be just to punish such wickedness, is it unjust to intend to pu 
nish it ? and to intend to punish it according to its desert, when 
it cannot be thought unjust actually to render to men what they 
deserve ? 

We are, indeed, to account the primary intention of continu 
ing the gospel to such a people, among whom these live, is kind 
ness towards others, not this higher revenge upon them ; yet 
nothing hinders but that this revenge upon them, may also be 
the fit matter of his secondary intention. For should he in 
tend nothing concerning them ? Is he to be so unconcerned 
about his own creatures, that are under his government ? While 
things cannot fall out to him unawares, but that he hath this, 
dismal event in prospect before him, he must at least intend to 
let it be, or not to hinder it. And who can expect he should ? 

4<j fflfi 

Fof, that his gracious influence towards them should at lengtft 
fcease, is above all exception : that it ceasing, while they Iiv4 
Still under the gospel, they contract deeper guilt, arid incur hea 
vier punishment, follows of course. And who could say h 
j&onld not intefid to let it follow ? For should he take away the 
gospel from the* test, tnaf these might be less punished > tlia* 
fcthers might not be saved, because they will not ? 

Nor ca'ri he fce oMged fb interpose extraordinarily, and altef 
Ibr their safres, the course of nature arid providence, so as 
either to hasten them tne sbone* but of the wbrlcf, or cast them 
into any other part of it, where the gospel is riot, lSt they 
Should, By living stifl under it, be obnoxious to the" severer 
punishment. Pot whither woufd this lead ? He should, by 
equal reason, have been obliged to prevent men's sinning at all, 
that they might not be liable to any punishment. And so not 
fo Rave made the' world ? 6r have Otherwise framed the methods 
of m'S government, and legs suitably to a whole community of 
reasonabfe creatures; or to have" riiade an rid of the world 
Ibrig ago, and' have quitted all his great designs in it, lest; some 
should 1 sin on, and incur proportionable punishment ! or to have 
provided extraordinarily that all should db and fare alike ; and 
that it might ilevef have come to pass, that it should be less to 
lerable far Capernaum, and Chbrazin, arid Bethsaida than for 
Tyre, and Sidbn, arid SbdbmV a . n( l 6ombrrah. But is there 
unrighteousness witli God? Or is he" uririghf 6ous in taking 
vengeance ? Of is he therefore unjust, Because he will render to 
every one atfcordin^f to his works; fo them who, by patient 
continuance in well doirig, seeli glory, honour arid immortality, 
eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not' 
obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation, and 
wrath, tribulation, and anguish upon every soul of man that' 
doth evil, of the Jew first, arid' also, ofthe Gentile? Rom-. '2. 
6, -9. Doth righteousness itself iftake him unrighteous? 
O sinner, understand how much fretfer it is to avoid the stroke 
of divine justice, than accuse it*!' 1 God will be found true, and 
every man a liai', that he may Be justified when he speaks, and 
be clear when he judges. Psal. 51.4. 

6. Vet are we riot' to imagine any certain fixed rule, accord 
ing 'whereto- (except' in the case of the unpardonable sin) the 
divine dispensation is measured in cases of this nature : namely, 
That,. wl<e:n a' sinrier hath corilerided' just so long, or to such a 
degree, against liis grace and* Spirit in his gospel, he shall be 
finally rejected; or if but so long, or not to such a degree, he 
is yet certainly to lie further tried, or treated with. It is little 
to be doubted^, but he puts forth the' power of victorious grace, 
at length, upon some mere obstinate, and obdurate sinners, 


and that have longer persisted in their rebellions ; (not having 
sinned the unpardonable sin) and gives over some sooner, as it 
seems good unto him. Nor doth he herein owe an account to 
any man of his matters. Here sovereign good pleasure rules, 
and arbitrates, that is tied to no certain rule. Neither, in 
these variations, is there any shew of that blamable wpocruiroto^"* 
or accepting of persons, which, in his own word, he so express 
ly disclaims. We must distinguish matters of right, (even 
such as are so by promise only, as well as others) and matters 
of mere unpromised favour. In matters of right, to be an ac 
cepter of persons, is a thing most highly culpable with men, 
and which can have no place with the holy God : that is, when 
a human judge hath his rule before him, according whereto he 
is to estimate men's rights, in judgment ; there, to regard the 
person of the rich, or of the poor to the prejudice of the justice 
of the cause, were an insufferable iniquity; as it were also in a 
private person to withhold another's right, because he hath no 
kindness for him. So even the great God himself, though of 
mere grace, he first fixed and established the rule, (fitly there 
fore called the covenant, or law of grace) by which he will pro 
ceed in pardoning, and justifying men, or in condemning, and 
holding them guilty, both here, and in the final judgment; 
yet having fixed it, he will never recede from it ; so as either to 
acquit an impenitent unbeliever, or condemn a believing peni 
tent. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive. 
None shall be ever able to accuse him of breach of faith, or of 
transgressing his own rules of justice. We find it therefore 
said in reference to the judgment of the last day, when God 
shall render to every man according to his works, whether they 
be jews or gentiles, that there is no respect of persons with 
God. Rom. 2. 6, 11. yet (quipromisit pcenitenti veniam, non 
promisit peccanti pcenitentiam: he who has promised pardon 
to the penitent, hath not promised penitence to the sinner,) 
whereas he hath, by his evangelical law, ascertained pardon to 
one that sincerely obeys it, but hath not promised grace to ena 
ble them to do so, to them that have long continued wilfully 
disobedient and rebellious, this communication of grace is, 
therefore, left arbitrary, and to be dispensed, as the matter of 
free and unassured favour, as it seems him good. And indeed, 
if in matters of arbitrary favour, respect of persons ought to have 
no place, friendship were quite excluded the world, and would 
be swallowed up of strict and rigid justice : I ought to take all 
men for my friends alike, otherwise than as justice should oblige 
me to be more respectful to men of more merit. 

7. Wherefore no man can certainly know, or ought to con 
clude, concerning himself or others, as long as they live, tlial 



the season of grace is quite over with them. As we can con 
ceive no rule God hath set to himself to proceed by, in ordinary 
cases of this nature ; so neither is there any he hath set us to 
judge by, in this case. It were to no purpose, and could be of 
no use to men, to know so much ; therefore it were unreasona 
ble, to expect God should have settled and declared any rule, by 
which they might come by the knowledge of it. As the case is 
then, namely, there being no such rule, no such thing can be 
concluded ; for who can tell what an arbitrary, sovereign, free 
agent will do, if he declare not his own purpose himself ? How 
should it be known, when the Spirit of God hath been often work 
ing upon the soul of a man, that this or that* shall be the last 
$et, and that he will never put forth anotlier ? And why should 
God make it known ? To the person himself whose case it is, it 
is manifest it could be no benefit. Nor is it to be thought the 
holy God will ever so alter the course of his own proceedings, 
Ibut that it shall finally be seen to all the world, that every man's 
destruction was, entirely, and to the last, of himself. If God 
had made it evident to a man, that he were finally rejected, ho 
were obliged to believe it. But shall it ever be said, God hath 
made any thing a man's duty, which were inconsistent with hia 
felicity. The having shmied himself into such a condition where*-.. 
w, he is forsaken of God, is indeed inconsistent with it. And 
so the case is to stand, that his perdition be in immediate con 
nection with his sin, not with his duty. As it would be in im 
mediate, necessary connection with his duty, if he were bound 
to believe himself finally forsaken, and a lost creature. For 
that belief makes him hopeless, and a very devil, justifies his 
unbelief of the gospel, towards himself, by removing andL, 
shutting up, towards him, the object of such a faith, and con 
sequently brings the matter to this state, that he perishes, not 
because he does not believe God reconcilable toman, but be 
cause, with particular application to himself, he ought not so 
to believe.* 

And it were most unfit, and of very pernicious consequence, 
that such a tiling should be generally known concerning others. 
It were to anticipate the final judgment, to create a hell upon 
earth, to tempt them whose doom were already known, to do all 
the mischief in the world, which malice and despair can sug 
gest, and prompt them unto ; it were to mingle devils with 
men ! and fill the world with confusion ! How should parents 
know how to behave themselves towards children, a husband to 
wards the wife of his bosom in such a case, if it were known, 
they were no more to counsel, exhort, admonish them, pray 
with or for them than if they were devils ! 

* See more to this purpose in the Appendix* 


And If there were such a rule, how frequent misapplications 
would the fallible and distempered minds of men make of it ? 
so that they would he apt to fancy themselves warranted to 
judge severely, or uncharitably, (and as the truth of the case 
perhaps is) unjustly concerning others, from which they are so 
hardly withheld, when they have no such pretence to embolden 
them to it, hut are so strictly forbidden it : and the judgment- 
seat so fenced, as it is, by the most awful interdicts, against 
their usurpation and encroachments. We are therefore to reve 
rence the wisdom of the divine government, that things of this 
nature are among the arcana of it ; some of those secrets which 
belong not to us. He hath revealed what was fit and necessary 
for us and our children, and envies to man no useful knowledge. 

But it may be said, when the apostle (1 John. 5, 10.) directs 
to pray for a brother whom we see sinning a sin that is not un 
to death, and adds, there is a sin unto death, I do not say he 
shall pray for it ; is it not implied that it may be known when 
one sins that sin unto death, not only to himself, but even to 
others too? I answer it is implied there may be too probable ap 
pearances of it, and much ground to suspect and fear it concern 
ingsome, in some cases ; as when any against the highest evidence 
of the truth of the Christian religion, and that Jesus is the Christ, 
or the Messiah (the proper and most sufficiently credible testi 
mony whereof, he had mentioned in the foregoing verses, under 
heads to which the whole evidence of the truth of Christianity 
may be fitly enough reduced) do notwithstanding, from that ma-* 
lice, which blinds their understanding, persist in infidelity, or 
apostatize and relapse into it, from a former profession, there is 
great cause of suspicion, lest such have sinned that sin unto 
death. Whereupon yet it is to be observed, he doth not ex 
pressly forbid praying for the persons whose case we may doubt; 
only he doth not enjoin it, as he doth for others, but only says, 
I do not say ye shall pray for it, that is, that in his present di 
rection to pray for others, he did not intend such, but another 
sort, for whom they might pray remotely from any such suspi 
cion : namely, that he meant now such praying as ought to be 
interchanged between Christian friends, that have reason, in the 
main, to be well persuaded concerning one another. In the 
mean time intending no opposition to what is elsewhere enjoin 
ed, the praying for all men, ( 1 Tim. 2. 1 .) without the perso 
nal exclusion of any, as also our Lord himself prayed indefinite 
ly for his most malicious enemies, Father forgive them, they 
know not what they do ; though he had formerly said, there was 
such a sin as should never be forgiven; whereof it is highly 
probable some of them were guilty: yet such he doth not ex 
pressly except: but his prayer being IB the indefinite, not the 


universal form, it is to be supposed it must mean such as were 
within the compass and reach of prayer, and capable of benefit 
by it. Nor doth the apostle here direct personally to exclude 
any, only that indefinitely and in the general such must be sup^ 
posed not meant as had sinned the sin unto death; or must be 
conditionally excluded, if they had, without determining who 
had, or had not. To which purpose it is very observable, that 
a more abstract form of expression, is used in this latter clause 
of this verse. For whereas in the former positive part of the 
direction, he enjoins praying for him, or them that had not 
sinned unto death (namely concerning whom there was no 
ground for any such imagination or suspicion that they had;) 
in the negative part, concerning su'ch as might have sinned it, 
he doth not say for him or them, but for it, (that is concerning, 
in reference to it,) as if he had said, the case in general only 
to be excepted, and if persons are to be distinguished (since 
every sin is some one's sin, the sin of some person or other) 
let God distinguish, but do not you, it is enough for you to ex 
cept the sin, committed by whomsoever. And though the for 
mer part of the verse speaks of a particular person, " If a man 
see his brother sin a sin that is not unto death," which is as de 
terminate to a person as the sight of our eye can be, it doth not 
follow the latter part must suppose a like particular determination 
of any person's case, that he hath sinned it. I may have great 
reason to be .confident such and such have not, when I can only 
suspect that such a one hath. And it is a thing much less 
unlikely to be certain to oneself than another, for they that 
have sinned unto death, are no doubt so blinded and stupified 
by it, that they are not more apt or competent to observe them 
selves, and consider their case than others may be. 

8. But though none ought to conclude that their day or sea 
son of grace is quite expired, yet they ought deeply to appre 
hend the danger lest it should expire, before their necessary 
work be done, and their peace made. For though it can be of 
no use to them to know the former, and therefore they have no 
means appointed them by which to know it, it is of great use 
to apprehend the latter; and they have sufficient ground for the 
apprehension. All the cautions and warnings wherewith the 
holy Scripture abounds, of the kind with those already mention 
ed, have that manifest design. And nothing can be more 
important, or apposite to this purpose, than that solemn charge 
of the great apostle ; Phil. 2. 12. Work out your own salva 
tion with fear and trembling; considered together with the subr 
joined ground of it, ver. 13. For it is God that worketh in 
you to will, and to do, of his own good pleasure. How cor T 
respondent is the one with the other ; icork, for he works ; 


there were no working at all to any purpose, or with any hope, 
if he did not work. And work with fear and trembling, for he 
works of his own good pleasure, as if he had said " It were the 
greatest folly imaginable to trifle with one that works at so per 
fect liberty,, under no obligation, that may desist when he will ; 
to impose upon so absolutely sovereign, and arbitrary an agent, 
that owes you nothing ; and from whose former gracious opera 
tions not complied with, you can draw no argument unto any 
following ones, that because he doth, therefore he will. As 
there is no certain connection between present time, arid fu 
ture, but all time is made up of undepending, not strictly co 
herent moments, so as no man can be sure, because one now 
exists, another shall ; there is also no more certain connection 
between the arbitrary acts of a free agent within such time ; so 
that I cannot be sure, because he now darts in light upon me, 
is now convincing me, now awaking me, therefore he will still 
do so, again and again. Upon this ground then, what exhor 
tation could be more proper than this ? "work out your salvati 
on with fear and trembling." What could be more awfully 
monitory, and enforcing of it, than that he works only of mere 
good-will and pleasure ? How should I tremble to think, if I 
should be negligent, or undutiful, he may give out the next 
moment, and let the work fall, and me perish ! And there is 
more special cause for such an apprehension, upon the con 
currence of such things as these : 

( 1 .) If the workings of God's Spirit upon the soul of a man 
have been more than ordinarily strong and urgent, and do now 
cease : if there have been more powerful convictions, deeper hu 
miliations, more awakened fears, more formed purposes of a new 
life, more fervent desires, that are now all vanished and fled, 
and the sinner is returned to his old dead, and dull temper. 

(2.) If there be no disposition to reflect and consider the dif 
ference, no sense of his loss, but he apprehends such workings 
of spirit in him unnecessary troubles to him, and thinks it well 
he is delivered and eased of them. 

(3.) If in the time when he was under such workings of spirit, 
he had made known his case to his minister, or any godly friend, 
whose company he now shuns, as not willing to be put in mind, 
or hear any more of such matters. 

(4.) If hereupon he hath more indulged sensual inclination, 
taken more liberty, gone against the checks of his own consci 
ence, broken former good resolutions, involved himself in the 
guilt of any grosser sins. 

(5.) If conscience, so baffled, be now silent ; lets him alone, 
grows more sluggish and weaker (which it must) as l^is lusts 
grow stronger. 


(6.) If the same lively powerful ministry, which before affect 
cd him much, now moves him not. 

(7) If especially, he is grown into a dislike of such preach 
ing, if serious godliness, and what tends to it are hecome distaste 
ful to him, if discourses of God, and Christ, of death and judg 
ment, and of a holy life, are reckoned superfluous and needless, 
are unsavoury and disrelished ; if he have learned to put dis 
graceful names upon things of this import, and the persons that 
most value them, and live accordingly : if he hath taken the seat 
of the seorner, and makes it his business to deride, what he had 
once a reverence for, or took some complacency in. 

(8.) If, upon all this, God withdraw such a ministry, so that 
lie is now warned, and admonished, exhorted and striven with 
as formerly, no more. O the fearful danger of that man's case! 
Hath he no cause to fear lest the things of his peace should be 
for ever hid from his eyes ? Surely he hath much cause of fear, 
but not of despair. Fear would in this case be his great duty, 
and might yet prove the means of saving him ; despair would 
be his very heinous and destroying sin. If yet he would be stir 
red up to consider his case, whence he is fallen, and whither he 
is falling, and set himself to serious seeking of God, cast down 
himself before him, abase himself, cry for mercy, as for life, 
there is yet hope in his case. God may make here an instance 
"what he can obtain of himself to do for a perishing wretch! But 
IV. If with any that have lived under the gospel, their day is 
quite expired, and the things of their peace now for ever 
liid from their eyes, this is in itself a most deplorable 
case, and much lamented by our Lord Jesus himself. That 
the case is in itself most deplorable, who sees not ? A 
soul lost ! a creature capable of God ! upon its way to him ! 
near to the kingdom of God ! shipwrecked in the port ! O sin 
ner, from how high a hope art thou fallen ! into what depths of 
misery and woe ! And that it was lamented by our Lord, is in 
the text. He beheld the city, (very generally, we have reason 
to apprehend, inhabited by such wretched creatures) and wept 
over it. This was a very affectionate lamentation ; we lament 
often, very heartily, many a sad case, for which we do not shed 
tears. But tears, such tears, falling from such eyes ! the issues 
of the purest, and best governed passion that ever was, shewed 
the true greatness of the cause. Here could be no exorbitancy 
or unjust excess, nothing more than was proportionable to the 
occasion. There needs no other proof that this is a sad case, 
than that our Lord lamented it with tears, which that he did, 
we are plainly told, so that touching that, there is no place for 
doubt. All that is liable to question is, whether we are to con* 
ceive in him any like resentments of .such cases> in his present 
glorified state ? 


Indeed we cannot think heaven, a place or state of sadness, 
or lamentation; and must take heed of conceiving any thing 
there, especially on the throne of glory, unsuitable to the most 
perfect nature, and the most glorious state. We are not to 
imagine tears there; which in that happy region are wiped away 
from inferior eyes ; no grief, sorrow, or sighing, which are all 
fted away, and shall be no more : as there can be no other 
turbid passion of any kind. But when expressions that import 
anger, or grief, are used, even concerning God himself, we 
must sever in our conception, every thing of imperfection, and 
ascribe every thing of real perfection. We are not to think 
such expressions signify nothing, that they have no meaning^ 
or that nothing at all is to be attributed to him under them. 

Nor are we again to think they signify the same thing with 
what we find in ourselves, and are wont to express by those 
names. In the divine nature, there may be real, and yet most 
serene complacency, and dlsplaceney, namely, that are unac 
companied with the least commotion, and import nothing 
of imperfection, but perfection rather, as it is a perfection to 
apprehend things suitably to what in themselves they are. The 
l*olf Scriptures frequently speak of God as angry, and grieved 
for the sins of men, and their miseries which ensue therefrom. 
And a real aversion and dislike is signified tkereby, and by ma 
ny other expressions, which in us, would signify vehement agi 
tations of affection, that we are sure can have no place in him. 
We ought therefore in our own thoughts to ascribe to him that 
calm aversion of will, in reference to the sins, and miseries of 
men in general; ad, in our own apprehensions, to remove to 
the utmost distance from him, all such agitations of passion or 
afieettoa, even though some expressions that occur, carry a 
great appearance thereof, should they be understood according 
to human measures, as they are human forms of speech. As 
to instance in what is said by the glorious God himself, and 
very near in sense to what we have in the text what can be more 
pathetic, than that lamenting wish, Psal. 81. 13. O that my 
people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my 

But we must take heed lest, under the pretence that we can 
not ascribe every thing to God that such expressions seem to 
import, we therefore ascribe nothing. We ascribe nothing, 
if we do not ascribe to him a real unwillingness that men should 
sin on, and perish; and consequently a real willingness that 
they should turn to him, and live ; which so many plain texts 
assert. And therefore it is unavoidably Imposed upon us, to 
Relieve that God is truly unwilling of some things, which he 
doth not think fit to interpose his omnipoteney to hinder, and 


is truly willing of some things, which he doth not put forth h'i$ 
fcmnipotency to effect* That he most fitly makes this the or-* 
dinary course of his dispensations towards men, to govern them 
by laws, and promises, and threatenings (made most express 
to them that live under the gospel) to work upon their minds, 
their hope, and their fear, affording them the ordinary assistan 
ces of supernatural light and influence, with which he requires 
them to CQmply, and which, upon their refusing to do so, he 
may most righteously withhold, and give them the victory to 
their own ruin, though oftentimes, he doth, from a sovereignty 
of grace, put forth that greater power upon others, equally neg 
ligent and obstinate, not to enforce, but effectually to incline 
their wills, and gain a victory over them, to their salvation. 

Nor is his will towards the rest altogether ineffectual, though 
It have not this effect. For whosoever thou art that livest un 
der the gospel, though thou dost not know that God so wills 
thy conversion and salvation, as to effect it, whatsoever resist 
ance thou now makest ; though thou art not sure he will final 
ly overcome all thy resistance, and pluck thee as a firebrand out 
of the mouth of hell ; yet thou canst not say his good will to 
wards thee hath been without any effect at all tending thereto. 
He hath often called upon thee in his gospel, to repent and 
turn to him through Christ ; he hath waited on thee with long 
patience, and given thee time and space of repentance; he hath 
within that time, been often at work with thy soul. Hath he 
not many times let in beams of light upon thee ? shewn thee 
the evil of thy ways ? convinced thee ? awakened thee ? half- 
persuaded thee ? and thou never hadst reason to doubt, but 
that if thou hadst set thyself with serious diligence to work out 
thy own salvation, he would have wrought on, so as to hava 
brought things to a blessed issue for thy soul. 

Thou mightest discern his mind towards thee to be agreeable 
to his word, wherein he hath testified to thee he desired not 
the death of sinners, that he hath no pleasure in the death of 
Mm that dieth, or in the death of the wicked, but that he should 
turn and live, exhorted thee, expostulated with thee, and 
others in thy condition, turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die ? he 
hath told thee expressly thy stubbornness, and contending against 
him, did grieve him, and vex his Spirit, that thy sin, wherein 
thou hast indulged thyself, hath been an abomination to him, 
that it was the abominable thing which his soul hated, that 
he was broken with the whorish heart of such as thou, and pres 
sed therewith, as a cart that was full of sheaves. 

Now such expressions as these, though they are borrowed 
from man, and must be understood suitably to God, though they 
do not signify the same thing with him as they do in us, yet 


they do not signify nothing. As when hands and eyes are attribu 
ted to God, they do not signify as they do with us, yet they signify 
somewhat correspondent, as active and visive power : so these 
expressions, though they signify not, in God, such unquiet mo 
tions and passions, as they would in us, they do signify a mind 
and will, really though with the most perfect calmness and tran^ \p 
quillity, set against sin, and the horrid consequences of it, which 
yet, for greater reasons than we can understand, he may not see 
fit to do all he can to prevent. And if we know not how to re 
concile such a will in God, with some of our notions concern 
ing the divine nature ; shall we, for what we have thought of 
him, deny what he hath so expressly said of himself, or pretend 
to understand his nature better than he himself doth ? f 

And when we see from such express sayings in Scripture, re 
duced to a sense becoming God, how God's mind stands in re 
ference to sinners, and their self-destroying ways, we may thence 
apprehend what temper of mind our Lord Jesus also bears to 
wards them in the like case, even in his glorified state. For 
can you think there is a disagreement between him and the Fa 
ther about these things ? And whereas we find our blessed Lord, 
in the days of his flesh, one while complaining men would not 
come to him that they might have life, (John. 5. 40.) elsewhere 
grieved at the hardness of their hearts, (Mark. 3.5.) and here 
scattering tears over sinning and perishing Jerusalem ; we can 
not doubt but that the (innocent) perturbation, which his earthly 
state did admit, being severed, his mind is still the same, in re 
ference to cases of the same nature ; for can we think there is 
any disagreement between him and himself? We cannot there 
fore doubt but that, 

.1. He distinctly comprehends the truth of any such case. 
He beholds from the throne of his glory above, all the treaties 
which are held and managed with sinners in his name, and what 
their deportments are therein. His eyes are as a flame of fire, 
wherewith he searches hearts, and trieth reins. He hath seen 
therefore, sinner, all along, every time an offer of grace hath been 
made to thee, and been rejected; when thou hast slighted coun 
sels and warnings that have been given thee, exhortations and 
entreaties that have been pressed upon thee, for many years to 
gether, and how thou hadst hardened thy heart against reproofs 
and threatenings, against promises and allurements; and beholds 
the tendency of all this, what is like to come of it, and that, 
if thou persist, it will be bitterness in the end. 

2. That he hath a real dislike of the sinfulness of thy course. 
It is not indifferent to him whether thou obeyest, or disobeyest 
the gospel ; whether thou turn and repent or no : that he is 

f See the Appendix. 

.*ft> THE ft EI>E15 Mill's 

"mny displeased t thy trifling, sloth, negligence, irnpenitency, 
hardness of hcarr, stubborn obstinacy, and contempt of bis 
grace, and takes real offence of them. 

3. He hath real kind pvopensions towards thee, and is ready 
to receive thy returning soui, and effectually to mediate with 
the offended Majesty of heaven for thee, as long as there is any 
hope In thy case. 

4. When he sees there is no hope, he pities thee, while 
Ihou seest it not, and dost not pity thyself. Pity and mercy 
above are not names only ; it is a great reality that is signified 
by them, and that hath place there, in far higher excellency 
and perfection, than it can with us poor mortals here below. 
Ours is but borrowed, and participated from that first fountain 
and original above. Thou dost not perish ti ^lamented, even 
xvith the purest hearenly pity, though thou hast made thy case 
uncapable of remedy. As the well - tempered j tidge bewails tlte 
sad end of the malefactor, whom justice obliges hitai not to 
spare, or save. 

And now let us consider what Use is to be ftrade of all this. 
And though nothing can be useful to the pettsd&s themselves, 
whom the Redeemer thus laments as lost, yet that he doth so, 
may be of great tise to others. This will partly concern those 
who do justly apprehend this is not their case ; and partly such 
as may be in great fear that it is. 

I. For such as have reason to persuade themselves it is not 
their case. The best ground upon which any can confidently 
conclude this, is that they have in this their present day, 
through the grace of God, already effectually known the things 
of their peace, such, namely, as have sincerely, with all their 
hearts and souls turned to God, taken him to be their God, and 
devoted themselves to him, to be his: entrusting and subject 
ing themselves to the saving mercy, and governing power of 
the Redeemer, according to the tenour of the gospel-covenant, 
from which they do not find their hearts to swerve or decline, 
but resolve, through divine assistance, to persevere herein all 
their days. Now for such as with whom things are already 
brought to that comfortable conclusion, I only say to them. 

1. Rejoice and bless "God that so it is. Christ your Re 
deemer rejoices with you, and over you ; you may collect it 
from his contrary resentment of their case who are past hope ; 
if he weep over them, he, no doubt, rejoices over you. There 
is joy in heaven concerning you. Angels rejoice, your glorious 
Redeemer presiding in the joyful conceit. And should not you. 
rejoice for yourselves ? Consider what a discrimination is made 
in your case ! To how many hath that gospel been a deadly sa 
vour, which hath proved a savour of life unto life to you ! How 


many have fallen on your right hand, and your left, srmnbKag; 
at the stone of offence, which to you is become the bead-stone 
of the comer, elect, and precious ! Whence is this difference ? 
Did you never slight Christ ? never make light of offered riter- 
cy ? was your mind never blind or vain ? \ras your heart never 
hard or dead? were the terms of peace and reconciliation never 
rejected or disregarded by you? How should you admire vic 
torious grace, that would never desist from striving with you 
till it had overcome ! You are the triumph of the Redeemer's 
conquering love, who might have been of his wrath and justice! 
endeavour your spirits may taste, more and more, the sweet 
ness of reconciliation, that you may more abound in joy ancl 
praises. Is it not pleasant to you to be at peace with God ? to 
find that all controversies are taken up between him and you? 
that you can now approach him, and his terrors not make you 
afraid ! that you can enter into the secret of his presence, and 
solace yourselves in his assured favour and love ! How should 
you joy in God through Jesus Christ, by whom you have receiv 
ed the atonement ! What have you now to fear ? If, when 
you were enemies, you were reconciled by the death of Christ, 
how much more, being reconciled, shall you be saved by his life?. 
How great a thing have you to oppose to all worldly troubles ! 
If God be for you, who can be against you ? Think how mean, 
it is for the friends of God, the favourites of heaven, to be dis 
mayed at the appearances of danger that threaten them from the 
inhabitants of the earth ! what if all the world were in a posture 
of hostility againt you, when the mighty Lord of all is your 
friend ? Take heed of thinking meanly of his power and love 1 
would any one diminish to himself, whom he takes for his God? 
All people will walk, every one in the name of his God; why 
should not you much more in the name of yours, glorying in him, 
and making your boasts of him all the day long ? O the re 
proach which is cast upon the glorious name of the great God, 
by their diffidence and despondency, who visibly stand in spe 
cial relation to him, but fear the impotent malice of mortal 
man more than they can trust in his almighty love ! If indeed 
you are justified by faith, and have peace with God, it becomes 
you so to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, as also to glo 
ry in tribulation, and tell all the world that in his favour stands 
your life, and that you care not who is displease^ with you, for. 
the things wherewith, you have reason to apprehend, he is 

. 2. Demean yourselves with that care, caution, and duti- 
f ulness that become a state of reconciliation. Bethink your 
selves that your present peace and friendship with God is not 
original, and continued from thence, but hath been interrupted 


and broken; that your peace is not that of constantly innocent 
persons. You stand not in this good and happy state because 
you never offended, but as being reconciled, and who there 
fore were once enemies. And when you were brought to 
know, in that your day, which you have enjoyed, the things 
belonging to your peace, you were made to feel the smart, and 
taste the bitterness of your having been alienated, and enemies 
in your minds by wicked works. When the terrors of God did 
beset you round, and his arrows stuck fast in you, did you not 
then find trouble and sorrow ? were you not in a fearful expec 
tation of wrath and fiery indignation to consume and burn you 
up as adversaries ? Would you not then have given all the 
world for a peaceful word or look ? for any glimmering hope of 
peace ? How wary and afraid should you be of a new breach! 
How should you study acceptable deportments, and to walk 
worthy of God unto all well-pleasing! How strictly careful 
should you be to keep faith with him, and abide stedfast in his 
covenant! How concerned for his interest! and in what ago 
nies of spirit, when you behold the eruptions of enmity against 
him from any others ! not from any distrust, or fear of final 
prejudice to his interest, but from the apprehension of the un 
righteousness of the thing itself, and a dutiful love to his name, 
throne, and government. How zealous should you be to draw 
in others? how fervent in your endeavours, within your own 
sphere, and how large in your desires, extended as far as the 
sphere of the universe, that every knee might bow to him, and 
every tongue confess to him. They ought to be more deeply 
concerned for his righteous cause, that remember they were 
once most unrighteously engaged against it. And ought be 
sides to be filled with compassion towards the souls of men, yet 
in an unreconciled state, as having known by the terrors of the 
Lord, and remembering the experienced dismalness and horror 
of that state ; what it was to have divine wrath and justice arm 
ed against you with almighty power ! And to have heard the 
thunder of such a voice, " I lift my hand to heaven, and swear 
I live for ever, if I whet my glittering sword, and my hand 
take hold on vengeance, I will recompencefury to mine adver 
saries, vengeance to mine enemies ".-^- Do you not know what 
the case is like to be, when potsherds, that should strive but 
with the potsherds of the earth, venture to oppose themselves 
as antagonists to omnipotency ? And when briars and thorns 
set themselves in battle array against a consuming fire, how 
easily it can pass through, and devour, and burn them up to 
gether? And how much more fearful is their condition that 
know it not ! but are ready to rush like the horse into the bat 
tle ! Do you owe no duty, no pity to them that have the same 



nature with you, and with whom your case was once fhe same ? 
If you do indeed know the things of your peace Godward, so as 
to have made your peace, to have come to an agreement, and 
struck a covenant with him ; you have now taken his side, are 
of his confederates: not as equals hut subjects. You have 
sworn allegiance to him, and associated yourself with all them 
that have done so. There can hereupon be hut one common 
interest to him and you. Hence therefore you are most strict 
ly obliged to wish well to that interest, and promote it to your 
uttermost, in his own way, that is according to his openly 
avowed inclination and design, and the genuine constitution 
of that kingdom which he hath erected, and is intent to enlarge 
and extend further in the world. That you do well know, is a 
kingdom of grace; for his natural kingdom already confines 
with the universe, and can have no enlargement, without en 
larging the creation. Whosoever they are that contend against 
him, are not merely enemies, therefore, but rebels. And you 
see he aims to conquer them by love and goodness ; and there 
fore treats with them, and seeks to establish a kingdom over 
them, in and by a Mediator, who if he were not intent upon the 
same design, had never lamented the destruction of any of them, 
and wept over their ruin, as here you find. So therefore, should 
you long for the conversion of souls, and the enlargement of his 
kingdom this way, both out of loyalty to him, and compassion 
towards them. 

II. For such as may be in great fear, lest this prove to be their 
case. They are either such as may fear it, but do not ; or such 
as are deeply afflicted with this actual fear. 

1 . For the former sort, who are in too great danger of 
bringing themselves into this dreadful deplorate condition, but 
apprehend nothing of it. All that is to be said to them apart 
by themselves, is only to awaken them out of their drowsy, dan 
gerous slumber, and security ; and then they will be capable of 
being spoken to, together with the other sort. Let me there 

(1.) Demand of you ; do you believe there is a Lord over 
you, yea or no ? Use your thoughts, for, about matters that con 
cern you less, you can think. Do you not apprehend you have 
an invisible Owner and Ruler, that rightfully claims to himself 
an interest in you, and a governing power over you ? How came 
you into being ? You know you made not yourselves. And if 
you yet look no higher than to progenitors of your own kind, 
mortal men, as you are ; how came they into being ? You have 
so much understanding about you, if you would use it, as to 
know they could none of them make themselves more than you, 
that therefore, human race must have had its beginning 


from some superior Maker. And did not he that made thes* 
make you and all things else ? Where are your arguments ta 
prove it was otherwise, and that this world,, and all the genera 
tions of men took beginning of themselves > 'without a wise and 
mighty Creator i produce your strong reasons, upon which you 
will venture your souls, and all the possibilities of your being 
happy, or miserable to eternity ! Will your imagination make 
you safe ? and protect you against his wrath and justice, whose 
authority you will not own ? Can you, by it, uncreate your 
Creator, and nullify' the eternal Being ? or have you any thing 
else, besides your own blind imagination, to make you confident, 
that all things came of nothing, without any maker ? But if you 
know not how to think this reasonable, and apprehend you must 
allow yourselves to owe your being to an almighty Creator, let 

(2.) Ask of you how you think your life is maintained? Doth 
not he that made you live, keep you alive ? Whereas you have 
often heard that we all live, and move, and have our beings in 
him, doth it not seem most likely to you to be so ? Have you 
power of your own life? Do you think you can live as long 
as you will ? At least do you not find you need the common 
nelps of meat and drink and air and clothing, |br the support 
and comfort of your lives ? And are not all these his creatures 
as well a$ you? And can you have them, whether he will or no ? 

(3.) And how can you think that he that made and main 
tains you, hath no right to rule you ? If it were possible any 
one should as much depend upon you, wou^d you not claim 
such power over him ? Can you suppose yourself to be un 
der no obligation to please him, who hath- done so much for 
you ? and to do his will, if you can any w r ay know it ? 

(4.) And can you pretend you have no means to know it? 
That book that goes up and down under the name of his word, 
can you disprove it to be his word? If such writings should 
now first come into the world, so sincere, so awful, so holy, so, 
heavenly, bearing so expressly the divine image, avowing them 
selves to be from God, and 'the most wonderful works are 
wrought to prove them his word, the deaf made to hear, the* 
blind to see, the dumb to speak, the sick healed, the dead rais 
ed, by a word only commanding it to be so, would you not con 
fess this to be sufficient evidence that this revelation came from 
heaven. And are you not sufficiently assured they are so con 
firmed? Do you find in yourselves any inclination to cheat 
your children, in any thing that concerns their well being? 
Why should you more suspect your forefathers design, to cheat 
you in the mere reporting falsely, a matter of fact ? was not hu 
man nature the same, so many hundred years ago ? Did ever 


the enemies of tlie Christian name, in the earlier days of Chris- 
Tianity, when it was but a novelty in the world, arid as much 
hated, and endeavoured to he rooted out, as ever any professi- 
tm was, deny such matters of fact? Have not some of the 
most spiteful of them confessed it ? Did not Christians then, 
willingly sacrifice their lives by multitudes, iipon the assured 
truth of these things Have they not been ever since most 
strictly careful to preserve these writings, and transmit them, 
as wherein the all of themselves, and their posterity was con 
tained ? And where is now your new light ? where are your lat 
er discoveries, upon which, so many ages after, you are able to 
evict these writings of falsehood, or dare venture to disbelieve 
them ? 

(5.) But if you believe these writings to be divine, how ex 
pressly is it told you, in them, what the state of your case is 
Oodward, and what he requires of you? You may see you have 
displeased him, and how you are to please him, as hath beea 
shewn before in this discourse. You know that you have live& 
in the world mindless, and inobservant of him, not trusting., 
fearing, loving, or -delighting in him, declining his acquaint 
ance and converse ; seeking your own pleasure, following your 
inclination, doing your own will; as if you were supreme, ne 
ver minding to refer your actions to his precepts as your rule, 
or to his glory as your end. And from that word of his you may 
understand all this to "be very displeasing to him. And that 
you can never please him by continuing this course, but by 
breaking it off, and returning to him as your Lord, and your 
<rod : that since your case did need a redeemer, and recon 
ciler, and he hath provided and appointed one for you ; you are 
to apply yourselves to him, to commit and subject your souls to 
him, to trust in his merits and blood, and submit to his autho 
rity and government. And 

(6*.) Are you not continually called hereto by the gospel, un- 
der which you have lived all this while ? so that you are in ac 
tual, continual rebellion against him all the while you comply 
not with this call ; every breath you draw is rebellious frreath. 
There is no moment wherein this lies not upon you, by every 
moment's addition to your time. And that patience of his which 
adds by moments to your life, and should lead you to repen 
tance, is, while you repent not, perverted by you, only to the 
treasuring up of wrath against the day of wrath, and the revela 
tion of his righteous judgment. 

(7.) And do you not find, as his word also plainly tells you, 
a great aversehess and disinclination in you to any such serious 
solemn applying yourself to him, and your Redeemer ? Try 
your own hearts ; Do you not find them draw back and recoil ? 


ff you urge them, do they not still fly off ? How loth are you to 
retire ! and set yourselves to consider your case ! and unto seri 
ous seeking of God ins Christ ! both from a reluctancy, and in 
disposition to any such employment as this is itself 5 and from 
disaffection to that whereto it tends, the breaking off your for 
mer sinful course of life, and entering upon a better. And does 
not all this shew you the plain truth of what the word of God 
hath told you, that the Ethiopian may as soon change his skin, 
or the leopard his spots, as they do good, who are accustomed 
to do evil ; (Jer; 13. 23.) that you have a heart that cannot 
repent,(Rom. 2. 5.) till God give you repentance to life,(Acts 11. 
18.) that you cannot come to Christ till the Father draw you, 
John 6. 44. Do you not see your case then ? that you must 
perish if you have not help from heaven ? If God do not give 
you his grace, to overcome and cure the averseness and ma 
lignity of your nature ? that tilings are likely thus to run on 
with you as they have from day to day, and from year to year ; 
and you that are unwilling to take the course that is necessaiy 
for your salvation to day, are likely to be as unwilling to-mor 
row, and so your lives consume in vanity, till you drop into per- 
.dition ? But 

(8.) Dost thou not also know, sinner, (what hath been so 
newly shewn thee from God's word) that, by thy being under 
the gospel, thou hast a day of grace? not only as offers of 
pardon and reconciliation are made to thee in it, but also as 
through it, converting, heart-renewing grace is to be expected, 
and may be had ? that what is sufficient for the turning and 
changing of thy heart, is usually not given all at once, but as 
gentler insinuations (the injection of some good thoughts and 
desires) are complied with, more powerful influences may be ho 
ped to follow ? that therefore thou art concerned, upon any 
such thought cast into thy mind, of going now to seek God for 
the life of thy soul, to strive, thyself, against thy own disin 
clination; that if thou do not, but yield to it, and still defer, it 
may prove mortal to thee ? For is it not plain to thee in itself, 
and from what hath been said, that this day hath its limits, and 
will come to an end? Dost thou not know thou art a mortal 
creature, that thy breath is in thy nostrils ? Dost thou know 
how near thou art to the end of thy life ? and how few breaths 
there may be for thee between this present moment and eterni 
ty? Dost thou not know thy day of grace may end before thy 
life ? that thou mayst be cast far enough out of the sound 
of the gospel ? and if thou shouldst cany any notices of it with 
thee, thou who hast been so unapt to consider them, while 
they were daily pressed upon thee, wilt most probably be less 
apt when thou hearest of no such thing ? that thou mayst live 


still under the gospel, and the Spirit of grace retire from thee, 
and never attempt thee more for thy former despiting of it? For 
what obligation hast thou upon that blessed Spirit ? Or why 
shouldst thou think a Deity bound to attend upon thy triflings ? 

(9.) If yet all this move not: consider what it will be to die 
unreconciled to God! Thou hast been his enemy, he hath 
made thee gracious offers of peace, waited long upon thee, thou 
hast made light of all. The matter must 'at length end either 
in reconciliation, or vengeance ! The former is not acceptable 
to thee : art thou prepared for the latter ? canst thou sustain it? 
Is it not a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God ? 
Thou wilt not do him right, he must then, right himself upon 
thee ; dost thou think he cannot do it ? canst thou doubt his 
power ? Cast thine eyes about thee, behold the greatness (as 
far as thou canst) of this creation of his, whereof thou art but a 
very little part. He who hath made that sun over thine head, 
and stretched out those spacious heavens, who hath furnished 
them with those innumerable bright stars, who governs all their 
motions, who hath hung this earth upon nothing, who made and, 
sustains that great variety of creatures that inhabit it, can he 
not deal with thee ? a worm ! Can thine heart endure, or thine 
hands be strong if he plead with thee ? if he surround thee 
with his terrors, and set them in battle array against thee ? Hell 
and destruction are open before him, and without.,covering 3 how 
soon art thou cast in and ingulphed. Sit down, and consider 
whether thou be able, with thy impotency, to stand before 
him, that comes against thee with almighty power ! Is it not 
better to sue in time for peace ? But perhaps thou mayst say 
" I begin now to fear it is too late, I have so long slighted the 
gospel, resisted the Holy Spirit of God, abused and baffled my 
own light and conscience, that I am afraid God will quite 
abandon me, and cast me off for ever." It is well if thou do 
indeed begin to fear. That fear gives hope. Thou art then 
capable of coming into their rank who are next to be spoken 
to, namely, 

2. Such as feel themselves afflicted with the apprehension 
and dread of their having out-lived their day, and that the things 
of their peace are now irrecoverably hid from their eyes. I de 
sire to counsel such faithfully, according to that light and gui 
dance which the gospel of our Lord affords us in reference to 
any such case. 

(1.) Take heed of stifling that fear suddenly, but labour to 
improve it to some advantage, and then to cure and remove it 
by rational, evangelical means and methods. Do not as thou 
lovest tfce life of thy soul, go about suddenly, or by undue means, 
to smother or extinguish it. It is too possible, when any such 

YOJ-. IV. I 


apprehension strikes into a man's mind, because it is a sharp 
or piercing' thought, disturbs his quiet, gives him molestation r 
and some torture, to pluck out the dart too soon, and cast it 
away, Perhaps such a course is taken, as doth him unspeak 
ably more mischief, than a thousand such thoughts would ever 
do. He diverts, it may be, to vain company, or to sensuality, 
talkSj or drinks away his trouble; makes death his cure of pain, 
and to avoid the fear of hell, leaps into it. Is this indeed the 
wisest course? Either thy apprehension is reasonable, or un 
reasonable. If it should prove a reasonable apprehension, as it 
is a terrible one, would the neglect of it become a reasonable 
creature, or mend thy case? if it shall be found unreasonable, 
it may require time, and some debate to discover it to be so; 
whereby, when it is manifestly detected, with how much great 
er satisfaction is it laid aside ! Labour then to inquire rightly 
concerning tins matter, 

(2.) In this inquiry, consider diligently what the kind of 
that fear is that you find yourselves afflicted with. The fear 
that perplexes your heart, must some way correspond to the 
Apprehension you have in your mind, touching your case. Con 
sider what that is, and in what form it shews itself there. 
Doth it appear in the form of a peremptory judgment, a defi 
nitive sentence, which you have past within yourself concern 
ing your case ; that your day is over, and you are a lost creature ; 
or only of a mere doubt, lest it should prove so? The fear that 
corresponds to the former of these, makes you quite desperate, 
uud obstinately resolute against any means for the bettering of 
your condition. The fear that answers to the latter apprehen 
sion, hath a mixture of hope in it, which admits of somewhat 
to be done for your relief, and will prompt thereunto. Labour 
to discern which of these is the present temper and posture of 
your spirit. 

(3.) If you find it be the former, let no thought any longer 
ilwell in yonr mind under that form, namely, as a definitive 
sentence concerning your state. You have nothing to do to 
pass such a judgment, the tendency of It is dismal and horrid, 
as you may, yourself, perceive. And your ground for it is. 
none at all. Your conscience within you is to do the office of 
a judge; but only of an under-judge, that is to proceed strictly 
by rule, prescribed and set by the sovereign Lord, and Arbit 
er of life and death : there is one Law-giver who is able to save, 
and to destroy. Nor is your conscience, as an under-judge, 
to meddle at all, but in cases within- your cognizance. This 
about your final state is a reserved, excepted case, belonging 
only to the supreme tribunal, which you must take heed how 
you usurp. As such a judgment tends to make you desperate^ 


so there will be high presumption In this despair. Dare you 
take upon you to cancel,, and nullify to yourself the obligation 
of rr k e evangelical law ? and whereas that makes It your duty to 
repent, and believe the gospel,, to absolve yourself from this 
bond, and say, it is none of your duty, or make it impossible 
to you to do it? You have matter and eases enough within the 
cognizance of your conscience, not only the particular actions 
of your life, but your present state also, whether you be as yet 
in a state of acceptance with God, through Christ, yea or no. 
And here you have rules set you to judge by. But concerning 
your final state, or that you shall never be brought into a state 
of acceptance, you have no rule by which you can make such a 
judgment ; and therefore this judgment belongs not to you. 
Look then upon the matter of your final condition, as an exempt 
case, reserved to the future judgment, and the present deter 
mination whereof, against yourself, is without your compass 
and line, and most unsuitable to the state of probation, where 
in, you are to reckon, God continues you here, with the rest of 
men in this world ; and therefore any such judgment you should 
tear and reverse, and as such, not permit to have any place 
with you. 

(4.) Yet since, as hath been said, you are not quite to re 
ject, or obliterate any apprehension or thought touching this 
subject, make it your business to correct and reduce it to that 
form, that is, let it only for the present remain with you, 
as a doubt how your case now stands, and what issue it may at 
length have. And see that your fear thereupon be answerable 
to your apprehension, so rectified. While as yet it is not evi 
dent, you have made your peace with God, upon his known 
terms, you are to consider God hath left your case a doubtful 
case, and you are to conceive of it accordingly : and are to en 
tertain a fear concerning it, not as certainly hopeless, bat as 
uncertain. And as yours is really a doubtful case, it is a most 
important one. It concerns your souls, and your eternal well- 
being, and is not therefore to be neglected, or trifled with. 
You $o not know how God will deal with you : whether he will 
again afford you such help as he hath done^ or whether ever he 
will effectually move your heart unto conversion and salvation. 
You therefore are to work out your salvation with fear and trem 
bling, because (as was told you) he works, but of his own good 
pleasure. Your fear should not exceed this state of your case^ 
so as to exclude hope. It is of unspeakable concernment to 
youj that hope do intermingle with your fear. That will do 
much to mollify and soften your hearts, that after all the abuse 
of mercy, and imposing upon the patience of God, your neg 
lects and slights of a bleeding Saviour, your resisting and griev- 


ing the Spirit of grace, he may yet, once for all, visit your for 
lorn soul with his vital influence, and save you from going down 
to perdition ! How can your hearts but melt and break upon 
this apprehension ! And it is not a groundless one. He that 
"came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance," will 
not fail to treat them well, whom he sees beginning to listen to 
his call, and entertaining the thoughts that most directly tend 
to bring them to a compliance with it. Your hope insinuating 
itself and mingling with your fear, is highly grateful to the God 
of all grace. He takes pleasure in them that fear him, and in 
them that hope in his mercy. Psal. 147- 11. 

(5.) But see to it also that your fear be not slight and mo 
mentary, and that it .vanish not, while as yet it hath so great a 
work to do in you, namely, to engage you to accept God's own 
terms of peace and reconciliation, with all your heart and soul. 
It is of continual use, even not only in order to conversion, but 
to the converted also. Can you think those mentioned words 
were spoken to none such, Phil. 2. 12, 13 ? Or those, Heb. 4* 
1 . Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of enter 
ing into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 
And do we not find a holy fear is to contribute all along to the 
whole of progressive sanctification ? 2 Cor. J. 1. Having there 
fore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves 
from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in 
the fear of God. And that by it he preserves his own, that they 
never depart from him. Jer. 32. 40. Much more do you need 
it in your present case, while matters are yet in treaty between 
God and you. And as it should not exceed the true apprehen 
sion of your case, so nor should it come short of it. 

(6.) You should therefore in order hereto aggravate to your 
selves the just causes of your fear. Why are you afraid your 
day should be over, and the things of your peace be for ever hid 
from your eyes ? Is it not that you have sinned against much 
light, against many checks of your own consciences, against 
many very serious warnings and exhortations, many earnest im 
portunate beseechings and intreaties you have had in the minis 
try of the gospel, many motions and strivings of the Spirit of 
God thereby ? Let your thoughts dwell upon these things. 
Think what it is for the great God, the Lord of glory to have 
been slighted by a worm ! Doth not this deserve as ill things at 
the hands uf God as you can fear ? It is fit you should appre 
hend what your desert is, though perhaps mercy may interpose, 
and avert the deserved dreadful event. And if he have signi 
fied his displeasure towards you hereupon, by desisting for the 
present, and ceasing to strive with you as he hath formerly done; 
if your heart be grown more cold, and dead, and ' hard, than 


sometime it was ; if you have been left so as to fall Into grosser / 
sin, it is highly reasonable you should fear being finally for 
saken of the blessed Spirit of God, and greatly fear it, but with / 
an awful fear, that may awaken you most earnestly to endeavour 
his return to you, not with a despairing fear that will bind you 
up from any further endeavour for your soul at all. 

And if upon all this (by death or otherwise) such a ministry 
be withdrawn from you as God did work by, in some degree, 
upon you, and you find not in that kind, what is so suitable to 
your state and case ; take heed lest you be stupid under such a 
stroke. Think what it imports unto you, if God have, as it were 
said concerning any servant of his (as Ezek. 3. 26'.) I will make, 
his tongue cleave to the roof of his mouth, that he shall not be 
a reprover to you any more ! Consider that God may by this, 
be making way that " wrath may come upon you to the utter 
most/ ' and never let you have opportunity to know more, the 
things of your peace. Perhaps you may never meet with the 
man more, that shall speak so accommodately to your condition, 
that shall so closely pursue you through all the haunts and sub 
terfuges, and lurking holes, wherein your guilty convinced soul 
hath been wont to hide itself, and falsely seek to heal its own 
wounds. One of more value may be less apt, possibly, to profit 
you : as a more polished key doth not therefore alike fit every 
lock. And thy case may be such, that thou shalt never hear a 
sermon, or the voice of a preacher more. 

(7-) And now in this case recollect yourselves, what sins 
you have been formerly convinced of, under such a ministry, 
and w r hich you have persisted in notwithstanding. Were you 
never convinced of your neglecting God, and living as without 
him in the world ? of your low esteem and disregard of Christ ? 
of your worldliness, your minding only the things of this earth, 
of your carnality, pride, self-seeking, voluptuousness, your 
having been lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God ? of 
your unprofitableness in your station? wherein you ought to 
have lived more conformably to Christian rules and precepts, ac 
cording to the relations wherein God had set you? were you 
never convinced how very faulty governors you have been, or 
members of families? parents or masters, children or ser 
vants, &c. ? What will this come to at last that convictions 
have hitherto signified and served for nothing but increase of 
guilt ? 

(8.) Under all this weight and load of guilt, consider what 
you have to do for your souls ! Bethink yourselves ; are you to 
sit down and yield yourselves to perish ? Consider man, it is 
the business of thy soul, and of thine eternal state that is now 
before thee. Thou hast the dreadful flaming gulf of everlasting 


horror and misery in view, hast thou nothing left thee to do 
but to throw thyself into it ? Methinks thou shouldst sooner re 
eoncile thy thoughts to any thing than that ; and that, if any 
thing at all be to he done for thine escape, thou shouldst rather 
set thyself about it, and do it. Thou art yet alive, not yet in 
hell,, yet the patience of God spares thee, thou hast yet time 
to consider, thou hast the power to think yet left thee, and 
eanst thou use it no other way than to think of perishing? 
Think rather how not to perish. A great point is gained, if 
thou art but brought to say, "What shall I do to be saved? " which 
doth imply thou dost both apprehend the distressedness of thy 
case, and art willing to do any thing that is to be done for thy 
relief. And if thou art brought to this, thy circumstances may 
perhaps be such, that thou canst only put this question to thy 
self, and art only thyself to answer it, without a living, present 
guide, which may therefore make such a help as this needful 
to thee. Possibly some irresistible providence may have so 
east thy lot, that thou art only now to be thy own preacher; 
though it sometime was otherwise with thee ; and things were 
said to thee m^st suitable to the condition of thy soul, which 
thou wouldst not then consider. It is yet pressed upon thee to 
consider now, with some design to direct thy thoughts, that 
they run not into useless and troublesome confusion only. And 
your subject being what course you are now to take, that you 
may escape eternal wrath and ruin, it is obvious to you to ap 
prehend nothing is to be done against, or without God, buJL 
with him, and by him. Your utmost consideration can but 
bring the matter to this short point, that whereas you have 
highly offended the God that made you, incurred his wrath, 
and made him your enemy, cither to resist, or treat and suppli 
cate* That madness which would let you intend the former, 
is not capable of consideration at all. For, if yo f u consider, 
will you contend with omnipotency, or fight with an all-devour 
ing flame? And as to the latter, it is well for you, that it 
can be the matter of your consideration, that you have any en 
couragement to turn your thoughts that way. You might have 
enemies that being provoked, and having you in their power, 
would never admit of a treaty, nor regard your supplications, but 
fall upon you with merciless fury, and leave you nothing to 
think of but perishing. Here it is not so with you. The mer 
ciful God hath graciously told you, fury is not so in him, but 
that (though if briars and thorns will set themselves in battle 
against him, he will easily pass through, and burn them up to 
gether, yet) if any will take hold of his strength, that they may 
make peace with him, they shall make peace with him. Isa. 
2J. 4 y 5. You are to consider there is danger in your case, 


snd there is hope, that your sin is not so little as to need no 
forgiveness, nor too great to be forgiven. Wherefore, whose 
case soever this is, since you may be forgiven, if you duly ap 
ply yourselves, and must be forgiven, or you are undone, my 
further advice to you is, and you may, as to this, advise your 
self, having nothing else left you to do, 

(9.) That you cast yourselves down before the mercy-seat 
of God, humble yourselves deeply at his footstool, turn to him 
with all your soul, implore his mercy through Christ, make a 
.solemn covenant with him, taking him to be your God, and de~ 
voting yourself to him, to be his, accepting his Son as your 
Lord and Saviour, and resigning your soul with submission and 
trust entirely to him to be ruled and saved by him. That you 
are to do this, the case is plain and even speaks itself, how you 
are to do it may need to be more particularly told you. 

[1.] Take heed that what you do in this be not the mere 
effect of your present apprehended distress, but of the altered 
judgment, and inclination of your mind and heart* The ap 
prehension of your distressed, dangerous condition, may be a 
useful means and inducement to engage you more seriously to 
listen and attend to the proposals made to you in the gospel. 
But if upon all this, it should be the sense of your heart that 
you would rather live still as without God in the world, and 
that you would never come to any such treaty or agreement with 
him, if mere necessity, and the fear of perishing did not urge 
you to it, you are still but where you were. Therefore, though 
the feared danger was necessary to make you bethink yourself, 
and consider what God propounds to you; that consideration 
ought to have that further effect upon you, to convince you of 
the equity and desirableness of the things themselves which he 
propounds, summarily, of your betaking yourselves to him as 
your sovereign Lord, and supreme Good, to fear and love, obey 
and enjoy him, in Christ Jesus, and accordingly ought to in 
cline your heart thereto. 

[2.] You are to consider in your entering into this covenant 
with God in Christ, that it is not a transaction for the present 
only you are about, but for your whole life. This God is to 
be your God, for ever, and ever, your God, and your guide 
even to the death. Psal. 48 14. You are to live in his fear 
and love, in his service and communion all your days, and must 
understand this to be the meaning and tenour of the covenant 
which you make with him. 

[3,] And hence therefore, it is plain that your whole trans-i 
action in this matter must proceed from a new nature, and a 
new vital principle of grace and holiness in you. What you d& 


herein will otherwise neither be sincere nor lasting. You Can 
never embrace religion for itself, without this, nor continue on 
^n a religious course. What you do only from a temporary 
pang of fear upon you, is but from a kind of force that is for 
the present upon you, and will come to nothing,, as soon as the 
Impression of that fear wears off. The religion whicn is true 
and durable, is not from a spirit of fear, but of love, power 
and a sound mind. 2 Tim. 1.7- You must be a new creature, 
God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works 
that you may walk in them. The life of the new creature 
stands in love to God, as its way and course afterwards is a 
course of walking with God. If your heart be not brought to 
love God, and delight in him, you are still but dead towards 
God, and you still remain alive unto sin, as before. Where 
as, if you ever come to be a Christian indeed, you must be able 
truly to reckon yourself dead to sin, and alive to God through 
Jesus Christ. Rom. 6. 11. Whereupon in your making the 
mentioned covenant you must yield yourself to God, as one 
that is alive from the dead, as it is, ver. 13. of the same chap 
ter. A new nature and life in you, will make all that you do, 
in a way of duty, (whether immediately towards God or man, 
the whole course of godliness, righteousness and sobriety) easy 
and delightful to you. And because it is evident both from 
many plain scriptures, and your own and all men's experience, 
that you cannot be, yourselves, the authors of this holy, new life 
and nature, you must therefore further in entering into this co 

[4.] Most earnestly cry to God, and plead with him for his 
Spirit, by whom the vital unitive bond must be contracted be 
tween God in Christ and your souls. So this will be the cove 
nant of life and peace. Lord ! how generally do the Christians 
of our age deceive themselves with a self-sprung religion ! Di 
vine indeed in the institution, but merely human, in respect 
of the radication and exercise; in which respects also it must 
be divine or nothing. What are we yet to learn that a divine 
power must work and form our religion in us, as well as divine 
authority direct and enjoin it ? Do all such scriptures go for no 
thing that tell us, it is God that must create the new heart, and 
renew the right spirit in us, that he must turn us, if ever we be 
turned, that we can never come to Christ, except the Father 
draw us, &c. Nor is there any cause of discouragement in this, 
if you consider what hath before been said in this discourse. 
Jtsk and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and 
it shall be opened to you. Your heavenly Father will give his 
Spirit to them that ask, more readily than parents do bread to 
their children, and not a stone. But what if you be put to ask 


often, and wait long, this doth but the more endear the gift, 
and shew the high value of it. You are to remember how of 
ten you have grieved, resisted, and vexed this Spirit, and that 
you have made God wait long upon you. What if the absolute 
sovereign Lord of all expect your attendance upon him ? He 
waits to be gracious and blessed are they that wait for him. 
Renew your applications to him. Lay from time to time that 
covenant before you, which yourselves must be wrought up un 
to a full entire closure with. And if it be not done at one 
time, try yet if it will another, and try again and again. Re 
member it is for your life, for your soul, for your all. But do 
not satisfy yourself with only such faint motions within thee, 
as may only be the effects of thy own spirit, of thy dark, dull, 
listless, sluggish, dead, hard heart, at least not of the efficaci 
ous regenerating influence of the divine Spirit. Didst thou ne 
ver hear what mighty workings there have been in others, when 
God hath been transforming and renewing them, and drawing 
them into living union with his Son, and himself through him ? 
What an amazing penetrating light hath struck into their hearts, 
as 2 Cor. 4. 6. Such as when he was making the world, en 
lightened the chaos. Such as hath made them see things that 
concerned them as they truly were, and with their own proper 
face, God and Christ, and themselves, sin and duty, heaven 
and hell in their own true appearances ! How effectually they 
have been awakened! how the terrors of the Almighty have be 
set and seized their souls ! what agonies and pangs they have 
felt in themselves, when the voice of God hath said to them, 
Awake thou that steepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ 
shall give thee light ! Eph. 5. 14. How he hath brought them 
down at his feet, thrown them into the dust, broken them, melted 
them, made them abase themselves, loath and abhor themselves, 
filled them with sorrow, shame, confusion, and with indignation 
towards their own guilty souls, habituated them to a severity 
against themselves, unto the most sharp, and yet most unforc 
ed self-accusations, self-judging and self-condemnation ; so as 
even to make them lay claim to hell, and confess the portion 
of devils belonged to them, as their own most deserved porti 
on. And if now their eyes have been directed toward a Re 
deemer, and any glimmering of hope hath appeared to them ; 
if now they are taught to understand God saying to them, Sin 
ner, art thou yet willing to be reconciled, and accept a Sa- 
yiour ? O the transport into which it puts them ! this is life from 
the dead ! what is there hope for such a lost wretch as I ? How 
tasteful now is that melting invitation ? how pleasant an inti 
mation doth it carry with it, Come unto me all ye that are wea 
ry and heavy laden, and I will give you rest, &c. If the 



of heaven and earth do now look down from the throne of glory, 
and say, "What! sinner, wilt thou despise my favour and pardon, 
my Son, thy mighty merciful Redeemer, my grace and Spirit 
still ! What can be the return of the poor abashed wretch, over 
awed by the glory of the divine Majesty, stung with compuncti 
on, overcome with the intimation of kindness and love? I have 
heard of thee, O God, by the hearing of the ear, now mine eye 
seeth thee ; wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and 
ashes. So inwardly is the truth of that word now felt, that thou 
mayest remember and be confounded,, and never open thy mouth 
any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified towards thee, 
for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GodEzek. 16'. 63. 
But sinner, wilt thou make a covenant with me and my Christ? 
wilt thou take me for thy God, and him for thy Redeemer and 
Lord ? And may I, Lord ! yet, may I ! O admirable grace ! won 
derful sparing mercy ! that I was not thrown into hell at my first 
refusal ! Yea Lord with all my heart and soul. I renounce the 
vanities of an empty cheating world, and all the pleasures of 
sin: in thy favour stands my life. Whom have I in heaven but 
thee ? whom on earth do i desire besides thee? And O thou 
blessed Jesus, thou Prince of the kings of the earth, who hast 
loved me, and washed me from my sins in thy blood, and whom 
the eternal God hath exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to 
give repentance and remission of sins, I fall before thee, my 
Lord, and my God ; I here willingly tender my homage at the 
footstool of thy throne. I take thee for the Lord of my life. 
I absolutely surrender and resign myself to thee. Thy love 
constrains me henceforth no more to live to myself, but to thee 
who diedst for me, and didst rise again. And I subject and 
yield myself to thy blessed light and power, O Holy Spirit of 
grace, to be more and more illuminated, sanctified, and pre 
pared for every good word and work in this world, and for an 
inheritance among them that are sanctified in the other. Sin 
ner, never give thy soul leave to be at rest till thou find it 
brought to some such transaction with God (the Father, Son, 
and Spirit) as this ; so as that thou canst truly say, and dost 
feel thy heart is in it. Be not weary or impatient of waiting 
and striving, till thou canst say, this is now the very sense of 
thy soul. Such things have been done in the world (but O 
how seldom of latter days !) so God hath wrought with men to 
save them from going down to the pit, having found a ransom 
for them. And why may he not yet be expected to do so? He 
hath smitten rocks ere now, and made the waters gush out ; 
nor is his hand shortened, nor his ear heavy. Thy danger is not, 
sinner, that he will be inexorable, but lest thou shouldst. He 
will be intreated, if thou wouldst be prevailed with to intreat 
his favour with thy whole heart. 


And that thou mayest, and not throw away thy soul, and so 
great a hope through mere sloth, and loathness to be at some 
pains for thy life ; let the text, which hath been thy directory 
about the things that belong to thy peace, be also thy motive, 
as it gives thee to behold the Son of God weeping over such as 
would not know these things, Shall not the Redeemer's tears 
move thee ! O hard heart ! Consider what these tears import 
to this purpose. 

First. They signify the real depth and greatness of the mi 
sery into which thou art falling. They drop from an intellec 
tual and most comprehensive eye, that sees far, and pierces 
deep into things, hath a wide and large prospect; takes the com 
pass of that forlorn state into which unreconcilable sinners are 
hastening, in all the horror of it. The Son of God did not weep 
vain and causeless tears, or for a light matter; nor did he for him 
self either spend his own, or desire the profusion of others 
tears. Weep not for me, O daughters of Jerusalem, &c. He 
knows the value of souls, the weight of guilt, and how low it 
will press and sink them; the severity of God's justice, and the 
power of his anger, and what the fearful effects of them will be, 
when they finally fall. If thou understandest not these things 
thyself, believe him that did, at least believe his tears. 

Secondly. They signify the sincerity of his love and pity, the 
truth and tenderness of his compassion. Canst thou think his 
deceitful tears? his, who never knew guile ? was this like the 
rest of his course ? And remember that he who shed tears, did, 
from the same fountain of love and mercy, shed blood too ! Was 
that also done to deceive? Thou makest thyself some very 
considerable thing indeed, if thou thinkest the Son of God coun 
ted it worth his while to weep, and bleed, and die, to deceive 
thee into a false esteem of him and his love. But if it be the 
greatest madness imaginable to entertain any such thought, but 
that his tears were sincere and inartificial, the natural genuine 
expressions of undissembled benignity and pity, thou art then 
to consider what love and compassion thou art now sinning a- 
gainst; what bowels thou spurnest; and that if thou perishest, 
it is under such guilt as the devils themselves are not liable to, 
who never had a Redeemer bleeding for them, nor, that we 
ever find, weeping over them. 

Thirdly. They shew the remedilessness of thy case, if thou 
persist in impenitency and unbelief till the things of thy peace 
be quite hid from thine eyes. These tears will then be the last 
issues of (even defeated) love, of love that is frustrated of its 
kind design. Thou mayest perceive in these tears the steady 
unalterable laws of heaven, the inflexibleness of the divine jus 
tice, that holds thee in adamantine bonds, and hath sealed thee 


up, if thrtu prove incurably obstinate and impenitent, unto pdv 
dition; s 6 that even the Redeerrier himself, he that is mighty 
to save, cannot at length save thee, but only weep over thee, 
drop tears into thy flame, which assuage it not; but (though 
they have another design, even to express true compassion) do 
yet unavoidably heighten, and increase the fervour of it, and 
will do so to all eternity. He even tells thee, sinner, "Thou 
hast despised my blood, thou shalt yet have my tears." That 
would have saved thee, these do only lament thee lost. 

But the tears wept over others as lost and past hope, why 
should they not yet melt thee, while as yet there is hope in thy 
case? If thou be effectually melted in thy very soul, and look 
ing to him whom thou hast pierced, dost truly mourn over him, 
thou mayest assure thyself the prospect his weeping eye had of 
lost souls, did not include thee. His weeping over thee would 
argue thy case forelorn and hopeless : thy mourning over him 
will make it safe and happy. That it may be so, consider fur 
ther, that 

Fourthly. They signify how very intent he is to save souls, and 
liow gladly he would save thine, if yet thou wilt accept of mercy 
while it may be had. For if he weep over them that will not 
be saved, from the same love that is the spring of these tears, 
would saving mercies proceed to those that are become willing 
to receive them. And that love that wept over them that were 
lost, how will it glory in them that are saved? There his love 
is disappointed and vexed, crossed in its gracious intendment; but 
here having compassed it, how will he joy over thee with singing, 
and rest in his love ! And thou also, instead of being involved 
In a like ruin with the unreconciled sinners of the old Jerusalem, 
shalt be enrolled among the glorious citizens of the new, and 
triumph together with them in eternal glory. 


TIECAUSE some things, not fit to be wholly omitted, were 
as little fit to come into the body of a practical discourse, 
it was thought requisite to subjoin here the following additions, 
that will severally have reference to distinct parts of the forego 
ing discourse. 

As to what was said p. 42. of the unreasonableness, and 
ill consequence of admitting it to be any man's duty to believe 
himself utterly rejected, and forsaken of God, inasmuch as U 
would make that his duty which were repugnant to his felicity. 
This is to be evinced by a consideration, which also, even 
apart by itself, were not without its own great weight, name 
ly, that such a belief were inconsistent with his former stated 
and known duty : it were therefore inconsistent with his felicity, 
inasmuch as it would make that duty impossible to be perform 
ed, which before, was by the constitution of the evangelical 
law, made necessary to it, namely, repentance towards God, 
and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. The hope of acceptance 
is so necessary to both these, that the belief of a man's being 
finally rejected, or that he shall never be accepted, cannot but 
make them both impossible, equally impossible, as if he were 
actually in hell, as much impossible to him, as to the devils 
themselves. Nor is this impossibility, merely, from a moral 
impotency, or that obduration of heart which were confessedly 
vicious, and his great sin, but from the natural influence of 
that belief of his being for ever rejected, which (upon the men 
tioned supposition) were his duty. Besides, inasmuch as it is 
the known duty of a sinner under the gospel, to turn to God 


through Christ, and it is also declared in the same gospel (suf 
ficiently to make it the common matter of faith to Christians) 
that none can of themselves turn to God, and believe in his 
Son, without the help of special efficacious grace ; it must 
hereupon, he a man's duty also to pray for that grace which may 
enable him hereto. How deep in wickedness was Simon Ma 
gus, even in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity, when 
yet Peter calls him to repentance, and puts him upon praying 
for forgiveness, (which must imply also his praying for the 
grace to repent;} but how can a man pray for that, which, at 
the same time, he believes shall not be given him? yea, and 
which is harder, and more unaccountable, how can he stand 
obliged in duty, to pray for that which, at the same time, he 
stands obliged in duty to believe he shall not obtain ? How 
can these two contrary obligations lie upon a man at the same 
time ? or is he to look upon the former as ceased ? should he 
reckon the gospel as to him repealed ? or his impenitency and 
infidelity, even when they are at the highest, no sins ? 

I know it is obvious to object, as to all this, the case of the 
unpardonable blasphemy against the Holy Ghost? which will be 
supposed to be stated and determined in the sacred Scriptures, 
and being so, the person that hath committed it, may equally 
be thought obliged, (by a mixed assent, partly of faith to what 
Is written, partly of self-knowledge, which he ought to have of 
his own acts and state) to conclude himself guilty of it; where 
upon all the former inconvenience and difficulty will be liable 
to be urged as above. But even as to this also, I see not but 
it may fitly enough be said, that though the general nature of 
that sin be stated, and sufficiently determined in thesi, yet that 
God hath not left it determinable in hypothesi, by any particular 
person, that he hath committed it. For admit that it generally 
lies in imputing to the devil those works of the Holy Ghost, by 
which the truth of Christianity was to be demonstrated, I yet 
see not how any man can apply this to his own particular case, so 
as justly, and certainly to conclude himself guilty of it. I take 
it for granted none will ever take the notion of blasphemy in 
that strictness, but that a man may possibly be guilty of this> 
sin as well in thought, as by speech. I also doubt not but it 
will be acknowledged on all hands, that prejudice and malice 
against Christianity, must have a great ingrediency into this 
sin ; not such malice as whereby, knowing it to be the true 
religion, a man hates and detests it as such (which would sup 
pose these pharisees, whom our Saviour charges with it, or cau 
tions against it, to have been, at that time, in their judgments 
and consciences, Christians) but such malignity, and strong 
prejudice as darkens and obstructs his mind, that he judges it 


jiot to be true, against the highest evidence of its being so. It 
will also be acknowledged, that some enmity and disaffection 
to true religion is common to all men ; more especially in their 
imregeneracy, and unconverted state- 
Now let it be supposed that some person or other, of a very 
unwarrantably sceptical genius, had opportunity to know cer 
tainly the matter of fact, touching the miraculous work$ 
wrought by our Saviour, and understood withall somewhat ge 
nerally, of the doctrine which he taught; and tbat he sets him 
self as a philosopher, to consider the case. Suppose that, 
partly through prejudice against the holy design of Christianity, 
whereof there is some degree in all; and partly through short 
ness of discourse*, not having thoroughly considered the mat 
ter; he thinks it possible that some demon or other, with de 
sign, under a specious pretence, to impose upon, or amuse the 
credulous vulgar, may have done all those strange things: 
suppose his judgment should for the present more incline this 
way : what if thinking this to be the case in the instance of 
Apollonius Tyanseus, he hath not yet, upon a slighter view, 
discerned enough to distinguish them, but thinks alike of both 
cases ? yea and suppose he have spoken his sentiments to some 
or other : perhaps upon further inquiry and search, he might 
see cause to alter his judgment : and now, setting himself to 
inquire more narrowly, he perceives the unexceptionable excel 
lent scope and tendency of our Saviour's doctrine and precepts, 
considers the simplicity and purity of his life, contemplates 
further the awful greatness of his mighty works ; but amidst these 
his deliberations, he finds among the rest of Christian consti 
tutions this severe one, Mat. 12. 31, 32. and begins to fear lest, 
supposing the truth of this excellent religion, he have preclu 
ded himself of all the advantages of it by that former judgment 
of his ; what is he to do in this case ? what were he to be advi 
sed unto ? what, to pass judgment upon himself, and his case 
as desperate? or not rather to humble himself before the God 
of heaven, ask pardon for his injurious rash judgment, and 
supplicate for mercy, and for further illumination, in the mys 
tery of God, of the Father, and of Christ ? Which course, 
that it may have a blessed issue with him, who dare venture to 
deny or doubt ? And what have we to say hereupon, but that 
in great wisdom and mercy, our Saviour hath only told us there 
is such a sin, and what the general nature of it is, or wherea 
bouts it lies, but the judgment of particular cases wherein, or 
of the very pitch and degree of malignity wherewith it is com 
mitted, he hath reserved to himself; intending further to strive 
with persons by his Spirit, while he judges them yet within the 
jreach of mercy, or withhold it^ when he sees any to have arriv- 


cd to that culminating pitch of malignity, and obstinacy, where*- 
in he shall judge this sin specially to consist? And what in 
convenience is it to suppose he hath left this matter, touching 
the degree, humanly undeterminable. The knowledge of it 
can do them who have committed it no good : and probably 
they have by it so blinded and stupified their own souls, as to 
have made themselves very little capable of apprehending that 
tjiey have committed it, or of considering whether they have or 
fco. But they are sunk into a deep abyss of darkness and death, 
so as that such knowledge may be as little possible, as it would 
be useful to them. All their faculties of intellection, conside 
ration, and self-reflection, being (as to any such exercise) 
bound up in a stupifying dead sleep. 

And to what purpose should they have a rule by which to de 
termine a case, who Can receive no benefit by the deter 
mination, and Who are supposed when they are to use it, 
to have no faculty sufficiently apt to make this sad (but true) 
judgment of their case by it ? But for them who have not 
committed it, and who are consequently, yet capable of benefit 
by what should be made known about it, there is, therefore, 
fcnough made known for their real use and benefit. It will 

1. Be of real use to many such, to know their danger of run 
ning into it. And it is sufficient to that purpose, that they are 
plainly told wherein the general nature of it consists, or wherea 
bouts it lies ; without shewing them the very point that hath 
certain death in it; or letting them know just how near they 
may approach it, without being sure to perish, when there is 
danger enough in every step they take toward it. As if there 
were some horrid desert, into any part whereof no man hath any 
business to come, but in some part whereof there is a dreadful 
gulf, whence arises a contagious halitus, a contagious vapour 
which, if he come within the verge of it, will be certainly poi 
sonous and mortal to him. What need is there that any man 
should know just how near he may come, without being sure 
to die for it ? He is concerned to keep himself at a cautious 
awful distance. 

2. It may be of great use to others, that are afflicted, 
with very torturing fears lest they have committed, it to 
know that they have not. And they have enough also to sa 
tisfy them in the case. For their very fear itself, with its usual 
concomitants in such afflicted minds, is an argument to them 
that they have not. While they find in themselves any value 
of divine favour, any dread of his wrath, any disposition to con 
sider the state of their souls, with any thought or design of turn 
ing to God, and making their peace; they have reason to con 
clude God hath hitherto kept them out of that fearful gulf; and 
is yet in the way, and in treaty with them. For since we axe 


not sufficient to think any thing (that is good) of ourselves, it 
is much more reasonable to ascribe any such thought or agita 
tions of spirit that have this design to him, than to ourselves, 
and to account that he is yet at work with us (at least in the 
way of common grace) though when our thoughts drive towards 
a conclusion against ourselves, that we hav committed that 
sin, and towards despair thereupon, we are to apprehend a 
mixture of temptation in them, whicli we are concerned ear 
nestly to watch and pray against. And yet even such tempta 
tion is an argument of such a one's not having committed that 
sin. For such as the devil may apprehend more likely to have 
committed it (and it is not to be thought he can be sure who 
have) he will be less apt to trouble with such thoughts, not 
knowing what the issue of that unquietness may prove, and ap 
prehending it may occasion their escaping quite out of his snare. 
And 1 do conceive this to be a safer method, of satisfying such 
as are perplexed with this fear in our days, than to be positive in 
stating that sin so, or limiting it to such circumstances, as shall 
make it impossible to be committed in this age of the world. 
For let it be seriously considered, whether it be altogether an 
unsupposable thing, that, with some in our days, there may 
be an equivalency, in point of light and evidence of the truth of 
Christianity, unto what these Jews had, whom our Saviour 
warns of the danger of this sin, at that time when he so warn 
ed them ; his warning and cautioning them about it, implies 
that he judged them, at least in a possibility, at that time, of 
incurring the guilt of it. If the text Mat. 12. do not also im 
ply that he reckoned them, then, actually to have committed 
it. For it is said, ver. 25. he knew their thoughts, that is, 
considered the temper of their minds, and thereupon said to 
them that which follows concerning it. Let us consider where 
in their advantage towards their being ascertained of the truth 
of the Christian religion, was greater than we now can have. 
It was, chiefly, in this respect greater, that they had a nearer, 
and more immediate knowledge of the matter of fact, wherein 
that evidence which our Saviour refers to did consist. A more 
immediate way of knowing it they had ; the most immediate the 
persons whom he warns (or charges) seem not to have had : 
for those pharisees, it is said, heard of the cure of the demo 
niac, not that they saw it. They took it upon the (no doubt 
sufficiently credible) report of others. Now let it be further 
considered, what we have to balance this one single advantage. 
We have, to intelligent considering persons, rationally-suffi 
cient evidence of the same matter of fact. But how great 
things, that have since followed, have we the sufficiently cer 
tain knowledge of besides, beyond what they had in view, at 



that time. As the wonderful death of our Lord, exactly ac* 
cording to prediction, in many respects, together with all the 
unforetold amazing circumstances that attended it ! His more 
wonderful resurrection, upon which so great a stress Is laid for 
demonstrating the truth of the religion lie taught : the destruc 
tion of Jerusalem, as he foretold, and the shattered condition, 
of the Jewish nation, as was also foretold, ever since : the 
strange success of the gospel In the first, and some following 
ages, by so unlikely means, against the greatest opposition 
Imaginable*, both of jews, and pagans. Not to insist on the 
apostacy foretold, in the Christian church, -with many more 
things that might be mentioned. Let it be considered whether 
the want of a so immediate way of knowing some of these things, 
f>e not abundantly compensated by the greatness of the other 
things that are however sufficiently known. And if such as 
have wit and leisure to consider these things in our days, are of 
ten pressed to consider them, have them frequently represented, 
arid laid before their eyes, if such, I say, have in view as great 
evidence;, upon the whole, of the truth of Christianity, as these 
phaiisees had; It is then further to be considered, whether it be 
not possible that some such may equal the Jewish malice, 
against the holy design of our religion. To which I only say, 
the Lord grant that none may. But if there be really cause to 
apprehend such a danger, some other way should be thought of 
to cure the trouble of some, than by the danger, and (too pro-. 
hafrlc) ruin of others. However, none should themselves make 
their own case incurable, by concluding that they have sinned 
that sin, or by believing they are, otherwise, forsaken and re 
jected of God; so as that he will never more assist their en 
deavours to repent, and turn to him through the Mediator. 

If it be Inquired here, since, as hath been shewn, some 
may be quite forsaken of God, while yet they live in the world; 
ought such to believe then they ate not forsaken, and so be 
lieve an untruth that they may make it true, or try if they can 
better their condition by It ? I answer, nor that neither, For 
that God will further assist an obstinate sinner, that hath long 
resisted his Spirit, and despised his mercy, is no matter of 
promise, to him, and so no matter of faith. When he doth 
conquer, at length, any such, it is of mere unpromised favour; 
(as was also shewn) whereof therefore, he gives others no 
ground to despair; and for which they are deeply concerned, 
with great earnestness, to supplicate. But if it be said, how 
can they pray for that whereof they have no promise? and can 
fcave no faith, since what is not of faith is sin, Rom. 14. 23. 
I answer, that passage of Stripture would^ ia this case, b 


much misapplied. It speaks not of faith concerning 1 the cer 
tainty of any event to be expected, Imt the lawfulness of a 
work to be done, and of doubting, not concerning the event, 
but iny own act. Can any man in his wits doubt eoncemi'ng 
his own act in this case ? whether it be better to pray for the 
grace of God to save him, than slight it and perish r nor are 
they without very encouraging" promises concerning" the event,, 
that God will be a rewarder of them that diligently seek him, 
Heb. 1 1 . 6. And that whosoever shall call upon the name of 
the Lord shall be saved, Rom, 10. 13. which promises it is 
true the context of both shews, do speak of believing prayer. 
They are to faith, not of it, and import, thai God will reward 
ar?d save the believer: not that he will give faith to the obsti 
nate,, contemptuous unbeliever. If he do this, k is, (us was 
said) of unpromised bounty. But though they are not promis 
es to give faith, they should induce it ; and incline sinners to 
cast themselves down before the throne of so gracious a God, 
and seek grace to help them in their need, in confidence that 
he will never reject penitent believing prayer. They, indeed, 
that for their former wilful sinning, are utterly forsaken of God, 
will not thus apply themselves ; but our question is not what 
they will do, but what they should. Because they would not, 
therefore they were forsaken, and because they yet will not, 
they are still, and finally forsaken. Their refusal proceeds not 
from any discouragement God hath given them, bat from the 
malignity of their awn hearts. God hath not repealed his gos 
pel towards them. The connection continues firm between the 
preceptive aud promissory parts of it. Their infidelity is not 
become their duty, but remains their heinous sin, and the more 
deeply heinous by how much their own malignity holds them 
more strongly in it. 

Unto what also is discoursed p. 49. concerning anger and 
grief, (or other passions) ascribed to God, it will not be unfit 
here to add, that unless they be allowed to signify real aversion 
of will, no account is to be given what reality in him they can 
signify at all. For to say (what some do seem to satisfy them 
selves with) that they are to be understood secimdum, ejfectum 9 
according to tfte effects, not secundum affection, according 
to the affections, though true as to the negative part, is, as to 
the affirmative, very defective and short ; for the effects of an 
ger and grief, upon which those names are put, when spoken 
of God, are not themselves in him, but in us. But we are 
still at a loss what they signify in him. Such effects must 
have some cause. And if they be effects which he works, they 
must have some cause in himself that is before them, and pro 
ductive of them. This account leaves us to seek what that 


cause is, that is signified by these names. That it cannot be 
any passion, as the same names are wont to signify with us, is 
out of question. Nor indeed do those names primarily, and 
most properly signify passion in ourselves. The passion is con 
sequently only, by reason of that inferior nature in us, which 
is susceptible of it. But the aversion of our mind and will is 
before it, and, in another subject, very separable from it, and 
possible to be without it. In the blessed God we cannot un 
derstand any thing less is signified than real displeacency at the 
things whereat he is said to be angry or grieved. 

Our shallow reason indeed is apt to suggest in these matters, 
Why is not that prevented that is so displeasing ? And it would 
be said with equal reason in reference to all sin permitted to be 
in the world, why was it not prevented ? And what is to be said 
to this ? Shall it be said that sin doth not displease God ? that 
he hath no will against sin ? it is not repugnant to his will ? yes ; 
k is to his revealed will, to his law. But is that an untrue reve- 
lation? His law is not his will itself, but the signum, sign, the 
discovery of his will. Now, is it an insignificant sign? a sign 
that signifies nothing? or to which there belongs no correspon 
dent significatum ? nothing that is signified by it ? Is that 
which is signified (for sure no one will say it signifies nothing) 
his real will, yea or no? who can deny it? that will, then, 
(and a most calm, sedate, impassionate will it must be under 
stood to be) sin, and consequently the consequent miseries of 
his creatures, are repugnant unto. And what will is that? it 
is not a peremptory will concerning the event, for the event 
falls out otherwise; which were, upon that supposition, im 
possible ; for who hath resisted his will ? as was truly intimated 
by the personated questionist: (Rom. 9. 19.) but impertinent 
ly, when God's will of another (not a contrary) kind, that is, 
concerning another object, was in the same breath referred un 
to, why doth he yet find fault ? it is not the will of the event 
that is the measure of faultiness: for then there could not have 
been sin in the world, nor consequently misery, which only, by 
the Creator's pleasure, stands connected with it. For nothing 
could fall out against that irresistible will. The objector then 
destroys his own objection, so absurdly, and so manifestly, as 
not to deserv r e any other reply than that which he meets with* 
Nay, but who art thou, O man, that repliest against God ? 

And what is the other object about which the divine will is 
also conversant? matter of duty, and what stands in connection 
with it, not abstractly and separately, but as it is so connected, 
our felicity. This is objectively another will, as we justly dis 
tinguish divine acts, that respect the creature, by their indiffer 
rent objects. Against this will falls out all the sin and misery 
in the world. 


All this seems plain and clear, but is not enough. Tor it 
may be further said, When God wills this or that to be my duty, 
doth he not will this event, namely, my doing it ? . otherwise 
wherein is his will withstood, or not fulfilled in my not doing 
it ? He willed this to be my duty, and it is so. I do not, nor 
can hinder it from being so, yet I do it not, and that he willed 
not. If all that his will meant was that this should be my duty, 
but my doing it was not intended; his will is entirely accom 
plished, it hath its full effect, in that such things are consti 
tuted, and do remain my duty, upon his signification of this his 
will, my not doing it, not being within the compass of the ob 
ject, of the thing willed, 

If it be said, he willed my doing it, that is, that I should do 
It, not that I shall, the same answer will recur, namely, that 
his will hath still its full effect, this effect still remaining, that 
I should do it, but that I shall he willed not. 

It may be said, I do plainly go against his will however ; for 
his will was that I should do so, or so, and I do not what he wil 
led I should. It is true, I go herein against his will, if he 
willed not only my obligation, but my action according to it. 
And indeed it seems altogether unreasonable, and unintelligible 
that he should will to oblige me to that, which he doth not 
will me to do. 

Therefore it seems out of question, that the holy God doth 
/constantly and perpetually, in a true sense, will the universal 
obedience, and the consequent felicity of all his creatures ca 
pable thereof; that is, he doth will it with simple complacency, 
fis what were highly grateful to him, simply considered by it 
self., Who can doubt, but that purity, holiness, blessedness, 
wheresoever they were to be beheld among his creatures, would 
be a pleasing and delightful spectacle to him, being most agree 
able to the perfect excellency, purity, and benignity of his own. 
nature, and that their deformity and misery must be consequent 
ly unpleasing? But he doth not efficaciously will every thing 
that he truly wills. He never willed the obedience of all his 
intelligent creatures so, as effectually to make them all obey, 
nor their happiness, so as to make them all be happy, as the 
event shews. Nothing can be more certain, than that he did 
not so will these things ; for then nothing could have fallen out 
to the contrary, as we see much hath. Nor is it at all unworthy 
the love and goodness of his nature not so to have willed, with tkat 
effective will, the universal fulness, sinlessness, and felicity of 
all his intelligent creatures. The divine nature must comprehend 
all excellencif s in itself, and is not to be limited to that one 
only of benignity, or an aptness to acts of beneficence. For then 
it were not infinite, not absolutely perfect, and so not divine. 


All the acts of his will must be consequently conform and agree 
able to the most perfect wisdom. He doth all things accord 
ing to the counsel of his will* He wills, it is true, the recti 
tude of our actions, and what would be consequent thereto, but 
lie first, and more principally wills, the rectitude of his own. 
And not only not to do an unrighteous, but not an inept, or un 
fit thing. We find he did not think it fit efficaciously to pro 
vide concerning all men, that they should be made obedient and 
happy, as he hath concerning some. That in the general he 
makes a difference, is to be attributed to his wisdom, that is, his 
wisdom hath in the general made this determination, not to> 
deal with all alike, and so we find it ascribed to his wisdom that 
lie doth make a difference; and in what a transport is the holy 
apostle in the contemplation and celebration of it upon this ac 
count L Rom. 11. 33. O the depth of the riches both of the 
wisdom and knowledge of God ! how unsearchable are his judg 
ments, and his ways past finding out! But now when in par 
ticular, he comes to make this difference between one person, 
and another, there being no reason in the object to determine 
him this way, more than that, his designing some for the ob 
jects of special favour, and waving others (as to such special 
favour) when all were in themselves alike; in that case wisdom 
hath not so proper an exercise, but it is the work of free, un- 
obliged sovereignty here to make the choice. Having predes 
tinated us unto the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ, to 
himself, according to the good pleasure -of his will. Ephes. 
K 5. 

Yet in the mean time, while God doth not efficaciously will 
all men's obedience iritroductive of their happiness, doth it fol 
low he wills it not really at all? to say he wills it efficaciously, 
were to contradict experience, and his word; to say he wills 
it not really, were equally to contradict his word. He doth 
will it, but not primarily, and as the more principal object of 
his will, so as to effect it notwithstanding whatsoever unfitness 
he apprehends in it, namely, that he so overpower all, as to 
make them obedient and happy. He really wills it, but hath 
greater reasons than this or that man's salvation, why he ef 
fects it not. And this argues no imperfection in the divine 
will, but the perfection of it, that he wills things agreeably to 
the reasonableness and fitness of them. 




Religious Contention, 



at tfre jHm&ant's JLectutr, 






riiHIS title no body can think is meant to condemn all contention 
-- about matters of religion as carnal ; but since there is too much 
which is apparently so, it only signifies it to be the design of the fol 
lowing discourse to shew what contention that is, and when, or in 
what case, though it hath religion for its object, it may not have it 
for its principle., but that very frequently, the lust of the flesh hides it 
self under that specious name. And to shew wherein, while it affects 
to hide, yet unawares it discovers itself in the management of affairs 
of that sacred kind. Thus it often really is ; and then is that noble 
cause as ignobly served, as when (according to that father's observa 
tion) a man proves to be unfaithful even for the faith, and sacrilegi 
ous for religion. Cypr. de Simplicit. Prael. 

When in one place (Jude 3.) Christians are exhorted to contend 
earnestly for the faith -, and in another, (2 Tim. 2. 24.) we are told the 
servant of the Lord must not strive j it is plain there is a contention 
for religion, which is a duty, and there is a contention, even concern 
ing religion too, which is a sin. And that sin the apostle, in this con 
text, out of which our discourse arises, doth deservedly expose by 
the name of flesh, and of the lust, or of the works thereof ; such as 
wrath, variance, envy, hatred, &c. Whence it is easy to collect in 
what sense it is said in the mentioned place, the servant of the Lord 
must not strive, namely, as that striving excludes the gentleness, the 
aptness to instruct, and the patience, which are in the same place 



enjoined, where that striving is forbidden. And from thence it is 
equally easy to collect too, in what sense we ought to contend for 
the faith earnestly, that is, with all that earnestness which will con 
sist with these, not with such as excludes them : as earnestly as you 
will, but w r ith a sedate mind, full of charity, candour, kindness and 
benignity towards them we strive with. We ought, we see (in the 
mentioned place) to be patient towards all men. Towards fellow- 
christians there should certainly be a more peculiar brotherly kindness. 
The difference is very great, and most discernable in the effects 
between the churchs' contentions against enemies without it, and 
contentions within itself. The former unite it the more, increase its 
strength and vigour. The latter divide and enfeeble it. As to those 
of this latter kind, nothing is more evident, or deserves to be more 
considered, than that as the Christian church hath grown more car 
nal, it hath grown more contentious, and as more contentious, still 
more and more carnal. The savour hath been lost of the great things 
of the gospel, which have less matter in them of dispute or doubt, 
but w r hich only did afford proper nutriment to the life of godliness, 
and it hath diverted to lesser things, (or invented such as were, other- 
\vise, none at all) about which the contentious, disputative genius 
mijg-ht employ, and wherewith it might entertain, feed, and satiate 

Thereby it hath grown strong and vigorous, and acquired the pow 
er to transform the church from a spiritual society, enlivened, acted, 
and governed by the Spirit of Christ, into a mere carnal thing, like 
the rest of the world. Carnality hath become, and long been in it a 
governing principle, and hath torn it into God knows how many 
fragments and parties j each of which \vill now be the church, in 
close itself within its own peculiar limits, exclusive of all the rest, 
claim and appropriate to itself the rights and privileges which belong 
to the Christian church in common, yea, and even Christ himself, as 
if he were to be so inclosed or confined : and hence is it said, Lo 
here is Christ, or there he is, till he is scarce to be found any where , 
but as, through merciful indulgence, overlooking our sinful follies, 
lie is pleased to afford some tokens of his presence both here and 
there. Yet also how manifest are the tokens of his displeasure and 
retirement ! And how few will apprehend and consider the true cause! 
I will now adventure to offer these things to serious consideration. 

1. Whether for any party of Christians to make unto itself other 
limits of communion than Christ hath made, and hedge up itself with 
in those limits, excluding those whom Christwould admit, andadmitting 
those whom he would exclude, be not in itself a real sin ? When I say 
make to if self this more peculiarly concerns those who form their 
own communions, having nothing herein imposed upon them by civil 
authority. Let others censure themselves as they see cause. Theyhave a 
holy table among them, the symbol of their communion with one a- 
nother in the Lord. I would ask, "Whose is this table ? Is it the 
table of this or that man ? or party of men s or is it the Lord's table r" 


Then certainly it ought to be free to his guests, and appropriate to 
them. And who should dars to invite others, or forbid these * 

2. If it be a sin, is it riot a heinous one ? This will best be under 
stood by considering what his limits are. Nothing seems plainer than 
that it was his mind, Christianity itself should measure the commu 
nion of Christians, as such : A'isiMe Christianity their visible commu 
nion. It will here then be inquired, (as in all reason it should) what 
Christianity is. And if it be, every one will understand the inquiiy 
concerning that, as they would concerning any thing else, what is 
its essence ? Or what are its essentials, or wherein doth it consist > 
Not what are all the several accidents it may admit of ? as you would 
do, if it were inquired, What is humanity ? Now here it will be readily 
acknowledged that Christianity (as all things else that are of moral 
consideration) must be estimated more principally by its end., and that 
its final reference is not to this world, but to the world to come, and 
to a happy state there. And that, considering the miserable state 
wherein it finds the souls -of men here, and the greater misery they 
are hereafter liable to, it must design their present recovery, and final 
ly, their eternal salvation. 

That in order hereto it must propound to men some things neces 
sary to be believed, some things necessary to be done. And that both 
must intend the making of them good in order to the making them, 
happy, or the saving of them from eternal misery. That both are suf 
ficiently propounded by the kind and great Author of this constitution 
Christ himself, in his word or gospel. That this gospel, besides many 
incidental things, expressly represents some things as of absolute ne 
cessity to salvation, by which are settled the very terms of life and 
death, unto sinners, and as a principal, most comprehensive, and most 
fundamental thing to all the rest, requires men's resigning and sub 
jecting themselves unto him ; or putting themselves by solemn cove 
nant into his hands, or under his conduct, to be by him brought to 
God, and made finally happy in him. 

Whatsoever therefore is of absolute necessity to this end is essen 
tial to Christianity. Christians then are a sort of men tending to 
God and blessedness under the conduct of Christ, to whom they have 
by covenant devoted themselves, and to God in him. Visible Chris 
tians are such as are in this visible tendency, with their children, yet 
in minority, and not capable of making an understanding profession 
themselves. Such as have arrived to that capacity are no longer to 
be considered in their parents, but a part by themselves. They that 
have been sufficiently instructed in the principles of the Christian re 
ligion, that have devoted themselves to God in Christ, and live in 
their general course conformably to his holy rules, are visibly perso 
nal covenanters. It is plainly the mind of Christ, that those be re 
ceived into that plenary communion which belongs to the Christian 
state j and particularly, unto that sacred rite which is the communion 
of his body and blood, and wherein the new testament or covenant 
hath its solemn obligation, and wherein as feeder at '/, or persons in 
covenant, they have more express communion with him, and one a- 


They that are yet unacquainted with the most necessary things of Chris 
tian religion, are to be held as catechumens under instruction, if they be 
willing. They that live licentiously in the state of penitents, till they 
give that proof of their serious repentance, as that their profession there 
of appear not to be slight and ludicrous. They thatrefuse to learn, or be 
reformed ; that live in open hostility against the known laws of Christ, 
are not visible Christians, are not visibly in the way of salvation. Vi 
sible subjection and visible rebellion are inconsistencies. If therefore 
any society of men, professedly Christian, do make other limits of their 
communion 5 admitting those that Christ's rule excludes, excluding 
them whom it would admit ; especially, if the alteration be, not only 
by the making those things necessary which he hath not revealed nor 
enjoined as necessary, but which he hath not revealed or enjoined at 
all 5 and so is not only to add to Christian religion taken at large, 
but even to its essentials 3 this is substantially to change the evange 
lical covenant, to make it another thing, to break Christ's constitu 
tion, and set up another. If they be little things only that we add, 
we must know there is nihil minimum, nothing little in religion. 
What, if as little as they are, many think them sinful, and are there 
by thrown off from our communion ! The less they are, the greater 
the sin to make them necessary, to hang so great things upon them, 
break thechurchs' peace and unity by them, and of them to make anew 
gospel, new terms of life and death, a new way to heaven. And is as much 
as in us lies, to make things of highest necessity depend not only upon 
things of no necessity, but that are, in our religion, perfect nullities, not 
having any place there at all. And thereupon is, in effect to say, If you 
will not take Christianity with these additions of ours, you shall not be 
Christians, you shall have no Christian ordinances, no Christian worship ; 
we will as far as in us is, exclude you heaven itself, and all means of 
salvation. And upon the same ground upon which they may be ex 
cluded one communion by such arbitrary ^ devised measures, they may 
be excluded another also,, and be received no where. And if their 
measures differ, they all exclude one another ; and hence, so many 
churches, so many Christendoms. If this be sinful, it is a sin of the 
deepest die. Whereas the Holy Scriptures speak with such severity 
as we know they do, of the altering of man's landmarks, what may 
we think of altering God's ! And the sin is still the greater, if the 
things of highest necessity are overlooked in the mean time as trifles, 
tything of mint is stood upon, but judgment, faith, mercy, and the 
love of God passed over, (as Mat. 23. 23. Luke 11. 42.) infidel* 
poured in upon the church ! wolves and bears under the name of sheep, 
and the lambs of Christ, (which he requires to be ed) thrown out 
into the wilderness ! 

3. But if we suppose it a sin, and so heinous a one, how far doth 
the guilt of it spread ! How few among the several sorts and parties 
of Christians are innocent, if the measures of their several communi 
ons were brought under just and severe examination ! How few that 
lay th^ir communions open to visible Christians as such, excluding 
none of whatsoever denomination, nor receiving any that by Chris 
tian rational estimate canuot be judged such. 


4. How few that consider this as the provoking cause of Christ's 
being so much a stranger to the Christian church ! And how little 
is it to be hoped we shall ever see good days till this wasting evil be 
redressed ! Or that our glorious Redeemer, who is head of all things 
to the church, should ever own it by visible favours, should protect, 
cherish, enlarge it, or make it spread in the world, (and how little it 
is naturally in any probability of doing so) or that he should treat it 
as his, while it is so little itself, and so little one. In the present 
(most deplorable) state of things, private, (that is carnal) interest is 
the thing every where designed, by one party, and another. And by 
wishing the prosperity of the church, or endeavouring it, is only 
meant seeking the prosperity of our own party. So that there can be 
no united prayers, nor joint endeavours for any truly common good ; 
but what seems desirable to some, is dreaded and deprecated by all 
the rest. Thus for thirteen or fourteen hundred years hath the church 
been gradually growing a multiform, mangled, shattered, and most 
deformed thing ; broken and parceled into no body knows how many 
several sorts of communions. The measures whereof how strangely 
alien have they been from those which were genuine and primitive, that 
is, from substantial Christianity, and the things that must concur to 
make up that. Instead of sound knowledge of the few, clear, and great 
things of religion, a great many doubtful opinions ; the taking one side 
in a disputed point ; the determination of a logical question, under 
standing, or saying one understands (whether we do or no) a meta 
physical nicety ; and sometimes professing to believe somewhat that 
Scripture never said, or shews itself never to have meant, and that 
is most manifestly contraiy to all reason and common sense. 
Instead of reverent, decent, grave worship affected, scenical, 
ludicrous formalities, uncouth gesticulations, disguised countenan 
ces, with I know not what empty shews of a forced and feigned de 
votion; which things also were to serve instead of orderly, unrepro- 
vabie conversation, of serving God, and, of doing good to other men ; 
and to expiate the crimes of a very bad one, to make amends, and 
atone for the lewdest, the most licentious, and most mischievous 

In sum; not only are things most alien from real Christianity ad 
ded to it, but substituted in the room of it, and preferred before it. 
Yea, and things most destructive of it, indulged and magnified in op 
position to it. This is too generally the state of the carnalized 
Christian church. And never were there more fervent contentions 
among all sorts, whose notions, opinions, modes, and forms are to 
be preferred. 

The word of God tells us that to be carnally minded is death. 
These contests seem therefore to express great solicitude how most 
neatly to adorn a carcass, or at best how with greatest art and curi 
osity to trim, and apparel gorgeously, a languishing man, in the 
feared approaches of death, instead of endeavouring to save his life. 
But if any endeavour to that purpose were yet to be used; what 

#<? THE 

it should be ; that any man should go about to propose to the 
Christian church, were both presumptuous, and hopeless. We can 
only speak our wishes to men, and offer them in solemn supplicati 
ons to God. And it were a happy omen, if good men could once 
agree what, in particular, to pray for; it being out of question that 
such men, would not be guilty of so much hypocrisy, as to their ut 
termost, not seriously to endeavour, what they durst adventure, and 
thought it necessary to make the subject of their prayers. And one 
would think it should not be difficult to men of sincere minds, upon 
serious consideration of the present sad state of things, not only in 
general to pray for the true spiritual welfare of the church of Christ 
in the world ; but so far to be particular, as to pray in order thereto, 
that it may be more entirely one. We are told, There is one body, 
and one Spirit. Eph. 4. 4. That the Spirit, is but one, we are sure 
is true in fact: and so we are that the body animated by that Spirit, 
as it is such, can be but one also. But the apostle's business in that 
place, is not merely to assert such a union, as there already was, l>ut 
also to persuade to such a one as there yet \vas , not -, that is, 
that it might be more entire and complete than, hitherto it was 5 and 
that such a unity might be preserved in the bond of peace : and this 
in order to its growth to the measure of the stature of a perfect man 
in Christ : implying plainly enough that the less it was one, the less 
it would grow. Which also is sufficiently evident in itself. For it 
is first plain in the nature of the thing, that by how much it is more 
divided and multiform, it will appear the less considerable in the 
world, and so be less apt to attract, and draw in others. Yea, and 
its appearance and aspect will not only be less inviting and attractive ; 
but it will be offensive, and create prejudices in the minds of men against 
Christianity itself. Which appears the plain meaning of that petition of 
our blessed Lord, when he was leaving the world, John IJ . 21. That they 
all might be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they 
also may be one in us, that the world may believe that thou hast sent 
me. Implying manifestly, that if they did not appear one, it would 
strongly tempt the world to infidelity. Whereupon all good men 
have a mighty inducement to unite in this request; for more entire 
visible oneness in the Christian church, not only from the example of 
our Lord leading them in this request, but from the reason also by 
which he enforces it, that otherwise the rest of the world must be 
confirmed and obdured in their infidelity Who sees not therefore 
that the Christian interest is naturally obstructed in its extensive 
growth by the visible disunion of the Christian community ? For it 
can scarce admit to be called a society in its present torn and shat 
tered state. 

And again, its divisions bing (as they cannot be other, than) cri 
minal, the eft'ect of indulged carnality, and designed to serve the car 
nal interest of this or that party, in opposition to the rest ; they here 
by not only offend and give scandal to the world, who thereupon dis 
cern nothing of peculiar excellency in the Christian profession, wheu 


under It they see men driving but such low designs, as they them 
selves (more honestly) do without any such veil ; but they offend the 
Spirit of Christ too, who, thereupon, in great degrees, withdraws it* 
self j not totally, which could not consist with the promise, I am 
with you always, unto the end of the world; but unto such degrees 
as shall testify displeasure. Mat. 28. 20. And hence is the growth of 
the church obstructed, not only naturally, but penally too. Whence 
it is most evident, that they cannot with judgment pray for the spi 
ritual welfare of the church of Christ, who pray not for its union; 
nor with sincerity, who to their uttermost endeavour it not also. 
Nor can there be true seriousness, insomuch, but the consideration 
must ensue, what course is most likely to serve so desired an end. 
And since necessary things are most plain, and less liable to dispute 
and doubt ; and it is matter of fact, obvious to every observing eye, 
that the disccptations and divisions in the Christian church, which 
are, and have been, from age to age, do for the most part arise froni 
the addition of unnecessary things to it, which belong not to its 
constitution ; and which while some think lawful only, and at best, 
but an ornament to it, others think sinful and a deformity; it cannot 
hence but appear a thing much to be desired, and endeavoured, that 
these occasions of offence and division might cease, and be removed. 
Which even they that think such additions, to be, for the matter of 
them lawful, might yet see reason enough to desire and to endeavour 
should be taken away ; yea, though they apprehend them of some 
use j it being so manifest that the hurt which accrues by them is un 
speakably more. And besides, one would think it should not be un- 
apprehensible to any man that allows himself the free use of hi* 
thoughts, that though he should continue of the judgment, that such 
additions were in the matter of them lawful, yet the making them ad 
ditional terms of Christian communion must be highly sinful, as be 
ing the introduction of a new Christianity. Christian communioa 
being of chrislians as such. 

But this amputation is, according to the present posture of men's 
minds all the Christian world over, a thing equally to be desired and 
dispaired of : as a general union therefore is, in the mean time. We 
cannot unite with them who insist upon terms of union that we judge 
unlawful in those things. For those that insist upon terms that we 
think not simply unlawful, while yet they are different, in several 
Christian societies j we cannot, therein, unite with any ; but we 
must, for ought we know, divide from as many. That only which 
the present state of things admits of, is, that we keep ourselves uni 
ted in mind and spirit with all serious Christians, in the plain and 
necessary things wherein they all agree : that we preserve in our own 
spirits a resolved unaddictcdness to any party, in the things wherein they 
differ. That for actual andlocalcommunion(which we cannot have with 
all the Christians in the world, and can have comparatively but with 
a few) we join with them that come nearest us, that is, that we judge 
come nearest to our common ride : that (as some means hereto) 


we especially labour to centre in some such scheme of doctrmals, as 
for which all these profess to have a common reverence; that while 
our union cannot as yet be so extensive as it ought, it may be as ex 
tensive as we can; that the gospel be not hindered, and that OUF mi 
nistry may be the more successful and profitable to the promoting 
of the common salvation, among those that attend tipon it. Such 
schemes or collections of doctrines, reduced into an order (as 
gold formed into a vessel, whereas truth, as it lies in the Holy 
Scriptures is as gold in the mass) may be of use (as they have 
always been used in the church in all ages) more distinctly to in 
form others concerning our sentiments (though the use is less, that 
after thorough search and inquiry they can be of to oneself) provid 
ed, they be avowed to be looked upon, but as a mensura men&w- 
rafct, measured rule? reserving unto the Scriptures the honour ef 
being the only mensura mensurans ; measuring rule, and so that 
we only own them as agreeable to the Scriptures. And again, that 
we declare we take them to be agreeable thereto in the main, or for 
substance, without attributing a sacredness to the very words of a 
mere human composition : which indeed we cannot attribute to the 
words used in the translation of the Bible itself. And that for the 
things we believe them with a degree of assent proportionable to their 
greater or less evidence. Thib through the blessing of God, such as 
have used a sincere and ingenuous freedom one with another, have 
found an effectual expedient to deliver their minds from mutual 
doubt, concerning each other, that because of some different modes 
of expressing their sentiments, they held very different opinions, 
which they have found to be a mistake on one hand and the other ; 
and have given and received satisfaction, they intended nothing; that 
ought to be reckoned into the. account of socinian, pelagian, popish, 
arminian or antinomian errors. That fraudulent and unjust way of 
making the estimate, being justly exploded, that whosoever shall in 
some things that touch not the main points of difference, say 
as some other of these do, must therefore be of their minds through 
out. Which rule of judging would make any Christian be taken for 
a jew, a mahometan, or a pagan : there being no intelligent Chris 
tian, but must say many things that they do. 

Eut it is to be hoped this engine of the devil's is by the mercy of 
God broken, so as that the people thall be no more frighted from at 
tending to the ministry of such (be their denomination what it will) 
as use apt and proper methods to awaken, convince and save souls 
by being told they are antinomians or arminians &c. It being up 
on inquiry found, that persons so and so charged, by the rash folly 
of some that understand nothing of the difference, besides the diffe 
rent sound of those odious names, do really detest the doctrines im 
puted to them. And that furthermore, while we look upon an a- 
greement therein as a sufficient character of one sound in the faith, 
\ve do not profess to reckon every one of the things therein contain 
ed (without distinguishing their importance) necessary to that pur- 


pose. And do never intend our communion shall be limited by other 
bounds than only an agreement in those things for doctrinals, which 
we take to be of such importance and necessity, as without the be 
lief whereof a man cannot be a sincere Christian. Which certainly 
cannot but be a very few, less disputed things, among them that pro 
fess to believe the divine authority of the Scriptures, and that will 
allow them to be interpreted according to the ordinary ways of inter 
preting other writings. That formatters of practice in the worship of 
God, we be satisfied, aot to be obliged to do things, which we think 
unlawful ourselves, without entertaining the least surmise, but that 
many good men may judge some things lawful that we do not, and, 
may piactise accordingly. That we always keep ourselves in a pre 
pared temper of spirit to receive further information about doubtful 
things. That we cherish in our souls a universal sincere love to 
Christians as such ; and to men as men. That xve studiously en 
deavour in our several stations the doing the most general good we 
can. And that our whole design do terminate upon what, so far as 
we can succeed in it, must be acknowledged by all good men to be 
a real service to the church of Christ, by gathering into it as many 
as we can, considering it as made up of persons that with judgment, 
and in practice own the very substance of Christian religion. With such 
dispositions of mind as these, we shall, in this divided state of the 
Christian church, be innocent of the sinful evil of its divisions, and 
keep as much as in us is, the unity of the Spirit in the bond of 
peace. And do we yet entertain in our minds any hope that the 
Christian religion shall spread, and be more generally propagated 
through the world ? Or do we desire it should ? Or do we dread 
that it should not, through our default ? Let us then look back to the 
years of ancient time, and consider what it was when it grew and in 
creased mightily ; when without other advantages than its own self- 
recommending excellency, it every where made its own way, sub 
dued nations, proselyted enemies, defied the most fervent opposi 
tions and persecutions ; when the professors and preachers of it tri 
umphed over martvrdoms, the fierceness and fury of wild beasts and 
flames, overcame by the blood of Jesus, and the word of his testi 
mony, not loving their lives unto the death. When as Pliny ( Plin 
Epist.) writing to Trajan in favour of the Christians, intimates to him, 
they were every where so encreased both in cities and countries, 
that the pagan temples had lain almost quite desolate, and that 
there had scarce been any to buy off their sacrifices. When (about 
a hundred years af^er) Tertullian representing in apology, for them, 
their peaceableness, and how easy it were, otherwise, to them to 
relieve themselves of their sufferings, says they were become so nu 
merous in the empire, (Apol. contra Gent.) that if it were possible for 
them to withdraw themselves into some remote, obscure place, 
they who were left would even tremble at their own solitude. 
Christianity was then all life and spirit. The Christian church in 
those days flourished in purity, power, and vigour. But when for 
the space of about three hundred years together it had enjoyed the 



protection anil benignity of Christian emperors'; and was hereby bey 
eome wanton, lost in carnality, not content with itself, and its own 
native comeliness, but affected to shine in a borrowed lustre and or- 
nature, when (as harlots are wont) it began to paint, to be fond of 
gay attire, and devise things for deckings to itself most alien from its 
original state and constitution, (and which afterwards bccam the mat 
ter of bloody contentions, and cruelties,) when it grew ambitious of 
secular pomp, splendor, grandeur, and power, then was it so forsa 
ken of God, and his Spirit, that within a very few years after Boni 
face the third had obtained of the emperor Pliocas the title of univer 
sal bishop, whereby popish tyranny and superstition became more 
fully regnant in the church, (that is within loss than twenty years) 
began the senseless delusion of mahometanisua to spring up without 
the church ; and assisted by the incredible accession of force and 
arms, came at length to prevail against it (now gradually sinking 
more and more into vice and ignorance) unto that degree, that 
in process of time, what Christianity had gained from paganism, 
it lost in a great measure, unto mahometanism ;f so that in several 
pails of Christendom, where were reckoned thirty Christians for one 
pagan, there came to be thirty mahometans for one Christian. And how 
next to unchristian the Christian world is, in the nearer countries (veiy 
generally protestant as well as popish) too well known : and in the remoter, 
clivers writers inform us Lmdolphus's ./Ethiop : hist, and divers others. 

Let it now therefore be considered for how many sad centuries of 
of years Christianity hath been at an amazing stand! got no ground 
upon the whole, but rather lost much. Is this the religion which s<? 
early, by its own native light and power conquered so many nations, 
and which we expert to be the religion of the world ! Who that un 
derstands this, would not with deepest concern, and anxiety of spirit, 
inquire into the cause ! And what cause can be so obvious to our in*- 
cuiiry, as a luxurious, and a contentions carnality; which both go to 
gether, and which have enfeebled, dispirited, and lost its self-diffusing 
life and strength? What we cannot remedy, let usatleastsee, and lament! 
And let us supplicate more earnestly for the effusions of that Holy 
Spirit, which alone can give remedy to our distempers, and over 
come the lusts of the flesh, of whatsoever kind, and restore Christian, 
religion to itself, and make the Christian name great in the world. 
!For can it content us that Christianity should appear, and be count 
ed a mean, a weak, and even a ludicrous thing ? that the Son of God 
should have descended, and come down into our world ! have put on 
man ! have died upon a cross ! have ascended that he might till all 
things! diffuse spirit, light and life through the woiid! have ap 
pointed prophets, apostles, pastors and teachers for the publishing 
Ids everlasting gospel ; and at length leave men, even where the^ 
Christian name and profession doth obtain, no better men generally 
than he found them! distinguished only from the rest of the world, 
by certain peculiar notions, and by some different rites of worship j 
otherwise as flagitious, as sensual, as impious towards God, as full 
<of wrath, hatred, malice and mischievous design towards one another, 
as any pagans or infidels ever were ! and yet that they should expect 

< See in Brentwood's inquiries. 


to be saved, only because they are called Christian ! What a repre 
sentation of Christian religion is this ! 

And thus it will be reckoned of, till it come to be understood more 
generally, and more openly avowed, that Christianity is not only a 
System of doctrines (and those reducible within a little compass) but 
of precepts also, not concerning the modes of worship only, but 
men's ordinary practice, and that not only respect their external ac 
tions, but which are designed to regulate and reform their minds and 
spirits, and do lay their first obligation there, must subdue their 
inordinate appetites and passions, render them holy and harmless, 
the sons of God, shining as lights, holding forth the word of life,, 
c, Phil. 2. 15. 16. The whole frame of the Christian institution 
being animated by the divine Spirit, into whose name we are 
baptized (as well as into that of the Father and the Son) and which 
will be given where he is sought for, and not affronted. 

Let this be taken for Christianity and avowed to be so, and seri 
ously endeavoured to be propagated as such, and it will not always 
be put to vie (but as upon equal terms) with mahomctism, Judaism, 
paganism, mere deism, or whatsoever else shall exalt itself into a com 
petition with it. And let whatsoever comes not within this compass 
or is not truly and primitively chris tian, be resected and cut off 
from it, and so it will appear an entire self- agreeable thing ; and the 
Christian church be but one. While it is not so, it will be the busi 
ness and design of the most, only to promote the interest of this or 
that party. And if their sense were put into plain words, this it 'would 
be, " I am for my church or the church whereof I am, whatever be 
comes of the church of Christ," And so will a zealous endeavour 
for so narrow an interest, as that of a divided party engage and 
engross all the intention of their minds, and their religion be 
summed up in contention, and such only as hath its root in that 
division which (on the one side at least, and in great part too proba 
bly on both sides) chiefly proceeds from mere carnality. And what 
is it but religious contention, for the most part, that hath filled the 
Christian world with blood and ruins for many by past ages? Carnal 
contention, under this most specious pretence, as being conversant 
about spiritual or religious concernments, is the thing animadverted 
on (though in gentler instances, as later occasions did require) in the 
following sermons. It was little imagined when they were delivered 
from the pnlpit, they should ever have been made more public. I 
have in this publication of them partly yielded to the opinion of di 
vers, who judged they might possibly be useful to more than those 
who heard them, and to them farther upon review. But have more 
complied with a sort of necessity laid upon me, by being told if they 
were not published by me, the thing would be done (as it could) from 
broken, mistaken notes, without me. My own memorials and pre 
parations were indeed imperfect enough, as it cannot but be in the 
case of one, so often in the week, engaged in such work. I have, as 
I could, by my own recollection, and by such help as I have other 
wise had, endeavoured a full account of what was spoken, and am 
very confident nothing material is omitted. (Some in geminations or 


varied expressions of the same thing, that are pardonable, if not use 
ful to a hearer, but not so grateful, and less needful to a reader, 
I reckon not such.) But divers passages (though not distinct 
heads) that were intended, but through want of time omitted, I have 
inserted in the places to which they did belong. Wherein none can 
think there is any wrong done. I am sensible the introdactive part 
should have been in some respects, otherwise methodized. But I am 
content to let it go as it is, though I find, by the notes that were 
brought me, that some things were somewhat transposed (otherwise 
than was intended) in the delivery, from a memory, not the most 

If it do any good, it must be from the supply of the good Spirit of 
God, which I admonish all you that read seriously to seek, and ask 
from him, who hath promised, thereupon it shall be given. The very 
expectation whereof will prevent reading with a vain mind, or ill de-< 
sign, and the consequent danger of receiving hurt by what you read. 

Yours in our common Lord, 





Gal. v. xvi. 

This I my then. Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil 
the lust of the flesh. 

FTlHE last time I spake to you from these words, having large- 
-*- ly opened before the import of walking in the Spirit, I 
undertook to shew you how the flesh here is to be under 
stood, against the lusts whereof such walking in the Spirit is 
the prescribed. remedy. In the general you have been told, that 
flesh is here to he taken morally, and in that latitude, as to 
signify all sorts of moral evil, or the general depravedness of 
our corrupt nature : for though sometimes in the moral accep 
tation the sense is limited (as hath formerly been shewed) to 
grosser sins, in contradistinction to more refined, as 2. Cor. 7- 
1. and 1 John 2. 16. yet sometimes also it is so far extended^ 
as to signify all sins, as Col. 2. 11. compared with Rom. 6. 6'- 
And in this context it is plain the apostle comprehends sins of 
both these sorts under this one expression. 
. But what particular evils he more especially intended here to 
censure and caution these Galatian Christians against, under 
this one name, cannot better be understood than by consult 
ing this context itself ; in which, though we cannot say we have 
a full enumeration; we have yet very many instances, of the 
carnalities against which this remedy is directed. Some of 
them more gross, (as we have told you they might be distin 
guished) adultery, fornication, uncleanness, laciviousness, ido 
latry, witchcraft, murder, drunkenness, revellings ; and some 


other that may seem more refined, not as having less, but on 
ly a more subtle malignity in them ; such as hatred, variance,- 
emulation, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, &c. 
It may here he thought strange, that such sins as these should 
fee animadverted upon in Christian churches, (as this epistle is 
inscribed to such, the churches of Galatia, chap. 1. 2.) so 
soon after the gospel was come among them, the apostle him 
self thought it strange ; for you find him wondering at it, chap . 
1. G. I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that 
called you into the grace of Christ, to another gospel. Yea, 
and after that, with the gospel, they had received the Spirit 
too. For it is said, chap. 3. 2, 3. This only would I learn of 
you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hear 
ing of faith ? And are you so foolish, having begun in the Spirit, 
do you think to be made perfect by the flesh ? 

We are therefore to consider what sort of persons arid doc 
trines they were that corrupted and depraved those churches ; and 
whereby it will be the more apprehensible by what kind of in 
sinuations they so fur prevailed : and we may collect, in very 
great part, what they were, from divers passages of this epis 
tle itself; and indeed, from this very context. Some would 
have us think the persons were of that sect called gnostics, 
from their pretended and highly boasted knowledge. We have 
no evidence that this sect was so early known by this name ; 
but it is very likely they were that sort of men that were after 
wards so called. The characters here given them in this and 
the other apostolical epistles do much agree with what divcrs^of 
the more ancient Christian writers, and one pagan one, (Ploti- 
nus) says of that sect. Which pagan, an interpreter., and great 
admirer of his (Marsil. Fichvus.) would fain have pass for a 
Christian, because living in a time when the controversy between 
Christianity and paganism was at the height, he says nothing 
against Christianity itself, but speaks very much against these 
Pseudo-Christians, whom though that author mentions not by 
that name, this his interpreter often doth it for him, inserting 
"The gnostics" even when he is but translating, into the bo- 
tly of the work itself. 

But this less concerns us. It is however, or.t of question, 
that this sort of men very anciently called gnostics, did highly 
vaunt their great knowledge. A very tempting specious prr- 
tence 1 Though their sublimer notions, (about the ./Eons, &<*.) 
were imaginations only: fancy andiiotknowledge,oryaaw ifn*<* 
vt'/Acw. knowledge misnamed^ or falsely so called, (as we may 
borrow the apostle's expressions, 1 Tim. 6. 20. though those 
inventions were later) and could only serve to iill the minds of 
their proselytes with wind and vanity. 


But their doctrines upon which the apostle animadverts in 
this epistle, we may collect from the manifest scope and design 
of it; and that was to assert justification by faith without 
the works of the law, which they greatly perverted ; and sane* 
tiftcation by the Spirit of Christ, or the doctrine of the new 
creature, which they even quite subverted. With which false 
doctrines they conjoined a most impurely vicious life and prac 
tice; falling in much with the jews in their corrupt doctrines, 
and with the pagans in their licentious practice, Which must 
be equally tempting to carnal minds. 

And this may make it appear less strange, that all these sorts} 
of carnality, that are here mentioned in this context from ver* 
15. to the 2 1 st. should, in reference to the same sort of men, 
be so put together. For it is evident they were partly a judaiz- 
ing, and partly a paganizing sort of Christians ; as (for ends of 
their own) they affected to call themselves. They held it law 
ful for Christians to join with pagans in their solemnities of wor 
ship, which they were wont to celebrate in the temples of their 
idols. It is notorious how gross impurities and immoralities 
were in those days incorporated into the paganish worship ; such 
as made it sufficiently reasonable that idolatry should have in con 
junction with it, fornication and adultery, uncleanness and las- 
civiousness. And for the addition of witchcraft, it was not un 
accountable, there being sorceries, magical rites and dia 
bolical incantations observed to have been intermingled with 
the sacra of the pagans. And for which these (misnamed) 
Christians might have the greater kindness also, for the sake 
of Simon Magus, the father of their sect, by whom the affec 
tation thereof was transmitted to some of his noted followers, 
that thought it a glorious thing to vie with their predecessor 
in this sort of excellency. 

Nor is it alien from this purpose to take notice, that those 
diabolical rites are said to have obtained among the paganish 
Idolaters of drinking the warm blood of their sacrifices, and of 
gating things strangled with the blood in them, upon the ima 
gination that in their so doing, they did partake of the very spi 
rit of their go&s whom they worshipped ; and it is not altogether 
unsupposeable that the devil might, in some unusual manner, 
enter into them at those times, more violently agitating their 
Mood and other humours ; in the higher ferments whereof, if 
by the directer influence of the great enemy of mankind, quarrels 
and murders (as was riot unlikely) should also sometimes ensue, 
it could not but heighten the sport and triumphs of helL 

And that the decree of the apostles and elders, Acts 15. 
might havens uch a reference, prohibiting these things conjunct- 
ly ? idolatry and fornication, and things strangled, and bloody 


that they should by no means mingle with the pagans in thefcg 
horrid rites, a learned modern writer of our own hath rendered 
very probable. * And hereto those vehement dehortations of 
the apostle must answerably be understood to refer, 1 Cor. 10.7 
II. remonstrating to them, that they could not have fellowship 
with the Lord's table, and the table of devils. And I would 
not, says he, that you should have fellowship with devils. For 
hough he did not judge it unlawful to eat of the idolothyta, that 
is, things offered to idols, being sold in the shambles, he yet 
most earnestly protests against their presuming to mingle and 
partake in the horrid diabolical rites, and impure practices that 
were wont to be used at their festivals in the idol's temples. 

All thoughts of being by their Christianity obliged and ena 
bled unto strict purity and holiness of heart and life, were out 
of doors with these seducers, and endeavoured to be extinguish 
ing in such as they could work to a compliance with them : 
whereof the apostle seemed deeply apprehensive, when he so 
earnestly inculcates, that in Christ Jesus (or in the Christian 
state) neither circumcision nor uncircumcisionwere of any avarl^ 
but a new creature, and faith working by love. 

But it must seem of all things the most unaccountable and in 
congruous, that men of so profligate sentiments and practices, 
should be for introducing a justification by the works of the law, 
in opposition to that by the faith of Christ. It is manifest they 
liatcd the holy design of Christian religion, which they pro 
fessed ; and professed it, that they might have better opportu 
nity to undermine it. Hereupon (not opening at once all the 
arcana of their way) they carry answerably to persons and oc 
casions as they occurred ; and as the apostle was all things to 
all, that he might save some, so were they, that they might 
pervert and destroy. To the Christian jews one thing, to the 
Christian gentiles another. In this their doctrine they did most 
plausibly judaize, in their impure practices they verged more 
to paganism. Pretending to Christian converts from among 1 
them, that Christ never intended to tie them to strict severities, 
or hold them under an uneasy bondage ; whereto the apostle 
seems to refer, chap. 5. 13. Ye have been called (he grants) 
to liberty, but use not (saith he) your liberty for an occasion to 
the flesh. 

Thus we must suppose that they differently applied them 
selves to such as they designed to make their proselytes, endea 
vouring to accommodate themselves in one of these to one 
sort of men, and to another sort in the other. In dealing with 
the Jewish Christians they not only denied the doctrine of justi- 

r Dr. Spencer de Ritibus Hebrxorum. 


fication by faith, (opposing thereto that of justification by the 
works of the law) but calumniated it too, as if it tended to in 
fer a liberty to sin, and make Christianity subservient to wick 
edness, whereof they knew their own to be more guilty. A 
piece of monstrous impudence (but usual with men of such 
foreheads) to endeavour the averting that charge from them 
selves^ to which they were most manifestly liable, by first charg 
ing it on the innocent. 

Hereto the apostle hath a manifest reference, when having 
first asserted against them justification by faith only, Gal. 2. 
16. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the 
law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ,, even we have believed 
in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of 
Christ, and not by the works of the law ; for by the works of the 
law shall no flesh be justified. He then vindicates the asser 
tion against their imputation, that it made Christ a patron to 
men's sins; If (saith he) while we seek tp be justified by 
Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, Is Christ there 
fore the minister of sin ? God forbid. For if I build again the 
things that I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor : For I 
through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 
I am crucified with Christ, and am in and with him dead unto 
all sin, so as not to be under the dominion of any; and death 
never more had dominion over him, when he had once died. 
And whereas they thus objecting against the doctrine of justifi 
cation by faith in Christ, that it ministered unto sin, or made 
Christ a minister thereunto, were liable to have the objection 
retorted upon them, being a sort of men themselves so very in 
famously wicked ; for this they had a double salvo, both of 
which the apostle doth industriously refute. That is, from the 
two parts of the law given by Moses, and the two sorts of the works 
of the law enjoined thereby, that is, the moral and the ritual or 
ceremonial part. In reference to the former, they fall in with 
those Jewish conceits of the merit of their good works, done 
from the principle of free will: and that in order to their jus 
tification, this merit was to be measured by the preponderation 
of their good works to their bad,* and that it was possible 
that one good work in some cases might turn the scale : that 
is, if they were equal before. Now this the apostle occurs to,, 
by shewing that they that were under the law were under a 
curse : for that if they continued not in all things written in the 
law to do them, all they did was nothing, as you may see, 
chap. 3. of this epistle, ver, 10. 

* See at large to this purpose Smith's select discourses upon this 



And then as to the ritual or ceremonial part, because their 
sacrifices were in great part expiatory of sin, and divers of their 
other performances carried a great shew of sanctity and piety in 
tliem: which their expiatory sacrifices could only be, as they 
were representative of the one propitiation, and their other ob 
servances were nothing to their sanctity, if the thing they were 
designed to signify, did not accompany the sign. They ima 
gined they were not to signify its presence, but to supply its 
absence. This notion did obtain even with the stricter sort of 
them, the pharisees themselves, who thereupon made very 
light of the weightier matters of the law, reckoning that though 
they were guilty of many immoralities in practice, their exact 
observances of the rites and ceremonies enjoined by Moses, 
would go far to make an amends ; and that their paying tyths 
of mint, annis and cummin, would serve instead of judgment, 
faith, mercy, and the love of God, which they are said to pass 
over as very light and small matters. See Matth. 23. 23* 
compared with Luke 11. 42. And herein the apostle con 
tests with these Galatian Christians, not only with vehemency, 
but with some kind of wonder, that when gospel light had come 
among them, and that having known God, or rather been 
known of him, as chap. 4. 9. they should attribute any thing 
to so beggarly rudiments as these were ; that is, being circum 
cised, and keeping days, and months, and years, &c. the 
things whereon they laid so great stress. And because they 
did so, he tells them in that 4th chapter, that he was afraid 
that he had bestowed labour in vain among them. 

In sum therefore, he makes it his business to evidence to them> 
that both their justification and their sanctification must be 
conjoined and arise together out of one and the same root, 
Christ himself, and by faith in him (without the works of the 
law) as that which must vitally unite them with him, and that 
thereby they should become actually interested in all his ful 
ness ; that fulness of righteousness which was to be found only 
in him, and no where but in him; and withal, in that fulness 
of Spirit and life, and holy influence, which also was only in 
him ; so as that the soul being united by this faith with Christ, 
must presently die to sin and live to God, chap. 2, U). 20. 
And at the same time when he delivered a man from the law 
as dead to it, he became to him a continual living spring of all 
the duty, which God did by his holy rule require and call for r 
and render the whole life of such a man a life of devotedness to 

And it is here by the way worth the while to observe how the 
apostle himself expounds that phrase of being dead to the law 
by being delivered from it* Rom, 7 1* 6* And n<* 


man can be said to be delivered from any thing, as it is a gccd, 
or an advantage to him, but as it is an evil, and doth him hurt. 
And the law hurts no man as a rule of life. But as to one slat 
ed tinder the full power of it, it is a bar against that great bles 
sing of the Spirit, (chap. 3. 13, 14.) which by its yet abiding 
curse it keeps off from him, hereby occasioning his continuance 
in sin, and then condemning him for it. Whereupon how 
clear is the current of the discourse in these words, namely, 
By the law 1 am dead to the law, that I might live to God; I 
am crucified with Christ, yet I live. As though he had said, 
The law itself hath slain me, and killed all my hopes and ex 
pectations from it : the same law that slew Christ, hath slain 
me. I am crucified with him ; which supposes his being in 
him by that faith by which he was to live ever after. In this faith 
stood his marriage to Christ, who succeeds into the room of 
the law, as the case is stated, Rom. 7- 1 5 3. &c. They that 
were settled, in reference to each other, in the conjugal state, 
as the law and the sinner were; upon the death of the onq 
(which soever it be) the relation ceases, and so the obligation 
which depended upon that relation. And thereupon, says he, 
the law itself having given me my death's wound, and killed 
me as to it, in the article of dying, I join myself to Christ, and 
yield to be crucified with him, but therein acquire with him a 
new life. Nevertheless I live; And how? Not I, but Christ 
liveth in me; and the life that I live in the flesh, is by faith in 
the Son of God, who hath loved me, and given himself for me* 
And this life I now thus live, is a life of pure and absolute de* 
votedness to God; terminated upon his interest and glory ap 
the end of it, governed by his declared will, as the rule of it. 
That is, in sum, it is a holy life, or (as before) it is a living to 
God. Whereupon he so copiously distinguishes, chap. 3. be 
tween Jews and Jews, those that were born after the flesh, and 
those born of the Spirit, the sons of the bond-woman, and of 
the free, (as he allegorically speaks,) signifying the latter on 
ly born into this new state of life. By all which he shews the 
connection to be most necessary and inviolable, between being 
justified by faith in Christ, and a life of holiness; so little op 
posite were these to one another, that one and the same faith 
was to infer both. 

But now that the large extent of this holiness of life, might 
more fully appear, the apostle signifies, that it must not only 
exclude those grosser lusts and works of the flesh, but also 
such, as because they might seem somewhat more refined, 
might be reckoned by some less criminal, he therefore inserts 
divers of this other kind also : and the state of the case did 
equally require it. For it appears (as it might well be suppos- 


ed) that so far as any were tainted with the false notions, and 
with inclinations to the impure practices before mentioned, 
they were filled with animosities, with wrath, envyings and ha 
tred towards them that had not received the taint ; and they 
might have too much place with these back again towards them. 
Whereupon there could not but be very great and high fer 
ments in these churches. Nothing therefore could be more 
requisite, or seasonable, than that several instances of this sort 
of carnality, should be put into this catalogue, namely, ha 
tred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, &c. For they were 
not to be thought (as was said) more reiined, as having less ; 
but a more subtle energy, or penetrative power of malignity in 
them. Nor indeed hath Christianity, and the Christian church 
suffered more by any sort of evils, than by those of this sort. 
Others destroy particular persons: these, besides their doing 
so, do more directly hurt the community, and tend to waste 
and destroy the church. 

Now as to those grosser carnalities mentioned in this context, 
I did formerly say somewhat briefly, and so I did as to that 
which seems the central one among those of this latter sort, 
namely, that of heresy: which 1 considered according to 
what it doth import in itself, and did design also to consider it 
in this its concomitancy, namely, of the things here mentioned 
in so near conjunction, and that are of nearer affinity with it, 
hatred, envyings, and the like. I have indeed been since in 
some svispence whether 1 should pursue that intention or no ; 
but upon serious consideration, and solemn looking up to hea 
ven for direction, I have determined not to let this sort of car 
nality pass without just animadversion. For I consider that J 
speak to a Christian assembly, who must be understood all to 
profess equal, and impartial reverence to the word of God, as 
to a revelation come down from heaven, for our direction and 
conduct thither. And therefore none dare, upon serious 
thoughts, allow in themselves any kind of regret or disgust, as 
to so material and important a part of this holy word. We are 
assured the words of God will do good to them that walk up 
rightly, that is, to upright -hearted ones ; who it must there 
fore be supposed will walk or deal uprightly in their attendance 
thereunto. And I cannot but hope that God will graciously 
hejp us to speak, and hear with that uprightness and integrity 
of heart that this word of his may do good to some, without do 
ing hurt to any. 

In speaking therefore to this sort of carnality, (for we must 
mention it by such a term as the Holy Ghost hath thought n't 
to be put upon it) 1 shall First note to you some previous 
things more generally, and then shall, Secondly, let you see: 


what appearances there may be of it in such a case as the aposr 
tie's present discourse hath reference unto, 

first. It will be of use to us, more generally, to note 
these few things : 

1 . That the several expressions of it which we find in this 
context, in closer connection with heresy, as it were guarding 
it before and behind, namely, hatred, variance, emulation, 
wrath, strife, seditions, envyings, do all note but one radical 
evil, and do all agree in one root. Whereupon it will be the 
less needful to insist upon them severally, or to give you the 
criticism of each word by itself; which it were a great deal 
more easy to do, than it will be useful, or of any avail to us. 
What I shall say therefore will be more general ; but will how 
ever give you the occasion of casting your eye upon the parti 
culars, whereby you will have the more distinct account of that 
carnality, which is here referred to by the apostle, 

2. This is needful to be noted too, that this precept of the 
apostle considered as a prescription against fulfilling the lusts 
of the flesh, has more immediate and direct reference to this 
sort of carnality. This is plain, if you will but again peruse 
the words as they lie in their closest connexion. For when he 
Jiad said in the 14th verse, That all the law is fulfilled in this 
one word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy 
self, (most of all, no doubt, one's Christian neighbour) he adds, 
But if you bite and devour one another, take heed ye be not de 
voured one of another. Then immediately come in the words 
of the text, this I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall 
not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. As though he had said, The 
lust of the flesh will be working this way, putting you upon 
biting and devouring one another. According as sentiments 
begin to differ, and minds are divided, inclinations will carry 
one this way, and another that ; and then you will be too prone 
to be at biting, and be ready to fall to devouring one another. 
Now I have no better remedy to prescribe you against both 
than this, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lusts 
of the flesh. I should have been a very unfaithful interpreter 
of this context to you, if I had not taken notice of this so im 
mediate connexion. 

3. This is further to be noted, that this sort of carnality that 
lies in strifes, in emulations, in envyings, in hatred, &c. may 
come to have its occasion of being exercised, of working, lust 
ing, and exerting itself about the doctrines of the gospel: than 
which nothing is more evident, in that you find that these 
things are put in connexion with heresies, which must be un 
derstood to be a corruption of gospel-doctrine. Very true in- 
<deed it is, that the word heresy, among the more ancient philoso- 


pliers, was used in a more gentle,, and no way infamous sense,, 
signifying only this or that sect of philosophers . But the word 
coming to be borrowed and transferred by sacred writers into 
the holy Scriptures, there it is mostly taken in a very ill sense, 
(though not always) as signifying error or corruption in doctrine, 
cf a very high and destructive nature, as Tit. 3. 10, 11. 2 
Pet. 2. 1. For though all heresy be error, or carries error in it; 
yet all error is not heresy; that must be such error as strikes 
at the root, and is conjunct with heart disaffection and malig 
nity, (as was rioted the last time) standing in opposition to 
faith, which is not a merely mental thing, but lies very prin 
cipally in the heart. Doctrinal matters are however here re 
ferred unto, even in the very notion of heresy, and therefore 
about those matters these carnalities may have place. For 
when the several passions here mentioned are raised, and do 
tumultuate in the breasts of this and that particular person* 
they soon and easily spread and propagate themselves to others, 
so as to infect the community. And then it comes to the for 
ming of it into parties, or dividing it into two sides, as the 
word J^oracrjoM (which we translate seditions,) signifies ; the one 
stated and posited as in an hostile posture against the other, till 
at length the matter arrive to that height and pitch of contu 
macious and fixed obstinacy, as in matters so important as the 
apostle's discourse reflects upon, will complete the notion of 
heresies, namely, on one side, at least; not, perhaps, with 
out great faultiness on the other, which comes next to be no- 

4. As such carnality may have place and exercise about gos 
pel-doctrine, so it is very possible it may shew itself on both 
sides, even on their part who have the truth with them, as well 
as on theirs who oppose it, and make it their business to pro 
pagate the contrary error or false doctrine. The very defence 
of truth itself may be accompanied with such carnalities, such 
strife, wrath, malice, envy, as divides the guilt between the 
divided parties, and leaves neither side innocent. 

I am, you know, by mere providence, in the series and tract 
*)fa discourse long continued upon this context, led to say what 
I now do; and I have therefore the more hope, that through 
the blessing of God, it may be of some use to us. But this 
comes most directly under our notice ; and let it be noted, that 
whereas in such contests both sides are wont to be confident 
they are in the right ; neither the one nor the other may be 
ever-confident or careless of not being in the wrong, in what 
may be of equal or greater importance than the matters them 
selves, disputed among them that agree in the substantials of 
n, or that hold the head, can be^ X<et us I say, deep- 


ly consider it, that such sinful carnality may have place, and 
exercise not only about religious concernments, but even ou. 
that side, where the truth lies ; which is from hence evident^ 
that the apostle immediately before the text, as I have noted, 
says, If you bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be 
not. bitten and consumed one of another. A great aptitude he 
therefore observed there was, to be biting on both sides, evea 
where the truth lay, and where it lay not. 

For we are here further to observe, that whereas our apostle 
sadly considered that many among these Christians of Galatia 
were lapsed, and fallen from the purity and sincerity of religi 
on; he apprehended too, that they who were not so fallen f 
took not the best course for the recovery of them that were. 
Which that admonition of his must mean, chap. 6. 1, 2, Bre 
thren, if a man be overtaken with a fault, ye which are spiri 
tual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, consider 
ing thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's 
burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. It seems he reckoned 
that the sounder part among them, and that ought (and it is 
like thought themselves) to be more spiritual, while they shew 
ed not more of a spirit of meekness towards the lapsed, were 
not so spiritual as they should be, and discovered more carna 
lity than became them, more wrath and bitterness of spirit than 
could comport with the law of Christ. They will be little awed 
by this, and be apt for all this to indulge their own furious 
passions, that think he hath no law. But though one were 
never so sure he hath the truth on his side, it is in itself a 
dreadful thing, to whomsoever shall allow himself the liberty se 
riously to think of it. For what must we conceive of such truth, 
that is to be defended in some cases, I say, that in some eases 
ought to be so ? We must surely conceive of it as a divine, a 
sacred thing, a heaven-born thing, a thing of heavenly descent, 
part of a revelation immediately come forth from the very bo 
som of God; so is the whole gospel-revelation to be looked up 
on. Now here is carnality that lusts ; such a kind of carnality 
as the context speaks of, wrath, strife, hatred, &c. Here is 
such carnality, lusting, actually lusting, seeking prey, raven 
ing for food. And what doth it feed upon ? No meaner thing 
than divine truth ! evangelical doctrines! Monstrous thought! 
(Consider, I beseech you, my friends, what this comes to ? The 
feeding an impure lust upon sacred things, or upon that which 
is divine ! 1 must have my lust satisfied, says the proud, con 
tentious spirit : wrath burns, anger boils ; sacred things are not 
spared, but fallen upon, as the prepared food of lust. It will 
be fed, they are not forborn. All reverence of God is forgot 
ten, heaven is ravaged, the most sacred mysteries of God's 


own kingdom are violated, and torn this way, and that (O hor 
rid thing!) by harpies, vultures, hy most fierce and furious lusts. 
And if a man would know, recognize, take knowledge of the 
most deeply inward sensations and intention of his own heart, 
thus it is, I must now apply my thoughts, bend my mind, to 
consider a revelation come from heaven ; And for what > For the 
end for which it was given, to enlighten, purify, quicken my soul 
towards God, renew and form it for God, to serve and enjoy 
him ? No, But on purpose to feed, to gratify a lust ! We can 
(too often) make neither better nor worse of it, but just so it is. 

These things being premised, I would now go on a little more 
particularly to shew you, 

Secondly. Wherein carnality may appear exerting itself, 
even about such things, or what will be manifest indications of 
such a carnality, as is here referred unto, acting about, or in 
reference to the things of God, the most sacred and important 
truths and doctrines of his gospel. 

1. When in comparison of some less things, wherein we 
find occasion or pretence to differ, little account is made of the 
incomparably greater things, wherein all serious Christians are 
agreed, and wherein they really cannot but be agreed. Let it but 
be considered whether pains be not taken to devise some mat 
ter or other to contend about : (that shews a great disposition, ) 
and then having found out some minuter things about which to 
differ, our differences, as little as they are, quite swallow up 
our agreements. The whole gospel signifies nothing, (though 
full of the most glorious wonders) in comparison of some punc 
tilios, either that we have invented, or that it may be doubted 
whether there be any thing in them or nothing. Here is some 
mystery in all this! A lust is to be gratified; an appetite to 
contend. This winds and wriths, this way and that, loath 
to appear but under some specious disguise of zeal for truth, in 
dignation against false doctrine, or the like; but it betrays 
itself, and unawares, shews its ugly serpentine head. For 
if the thing chosen out to be the matter of contest be thought 
worth so much, when it is manifestly either in comparison, lit 
tle, or nothing but a figment, why are not the things on all, 
hands most confessedly great, and most evident, more highly 
esteemed, loved, relished, and with gust and delight fed upon ? 
Why do not the greater things signify more to unite us in love 
and communion with all that agree with us in them, than the 
lesser things to divide us, about which we disagree ? Indeed 
the disagreements were in themselves vastly great between the 
untainted Christians of these Galatian churches, and that horrid 
sect that the apostle's discourse has manifest reference unto. 
Blessed be God there are not such disagreements amongst us. 


Bat while there is less taint of error in our minds, (as to these 
things) are we not concerned to take heed there be not as great 
a taint of this vicious carnality in our hearts ? It speaks too 
inuch of it ; when having devised a difference, we are prone to 
overlook and make little account of the great things wherein we 
Are entirely and most professedly agreed. 

If we consider the things which the doctrinal part of this 
epistle doth more expressly refer to, as I have noted already, 
how great things in reference hereto are we fully agreed in ? 
We are all agreed, that a sinner, an apostate lapsed creature,, 
can never be saved and brought to a blessed state, but he must 
be justified, and he must be sanctified. He must be justified, 
to make bis state safe; he must be sanctified, to make the tem 
per of his spirit good, capable of communion with God in this 
world, and of final eternal blessedness with him in the other. 
We are agreed, that such justification and such sanctification 
are both the effects of most absolutely free and sovereign grace, 
that none could be ever justified, but by freest grace ; that none 
can ever be sanctified but by freest grace, most absolutely and 
most sovereignly free. We are agreed, that the highest per 
fection of sanctification that can ever possibly be attained unto, 
signifies nothing at all to deserve, to procure by merit our j us- 
tification. We are agreed, that both, as they are from the most 
free and sovereign grace, so they do come through the mediation of 
Jesus Christ, the alone Mediator between God and man : that 
the righteousness is entirely and only Christ's, by which we are 
justified : that the Spirit is most entirely and only Christ's, by 
which we are sanctified; according to that in 1 Cor. 6. 9, 10^ 
1 1 . Such as are mentioned there were before the grossest and 
and vilest of sinners, fornicators, adulterers, idolaters &c. And 
such (saith the apostle) were some of you: but ye are washed, but 
ye are sanctified; but ye are justified in the name of the Lord 
Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 

You cannot but be in all these agreed. We are agreed, that 
whoever does sincerely, evangelically believe in God through 
Christ, receiver Christ, is united with him, or is in him; who 
doth by serious repentance turn to God, whose heart is won to 
love hiiri in truth as his highest and best good, who is confor 
med to the image of his Son; and who having been made wil 
ling in the day of his power, doth now render a sincere obe 
dience to him ; every such one is in a safe state, accepted with 
God, has found grace in his eyes. 

For no words of Scripture can be plainer, than that they 
that believe on Christ shall not perish, but have everlasting life, 
John 3. 16. Yea, that they have it, ver. 36*. that life is be 
gun with them, which is never to end, or which is in the sure 


way to be continued till it become everlasting : that they that 
repent, and turn from all their transgressions, their iniquities 
shall not be their ruin, Ezek. 18. 30. that God hath prepa 
red the things which eye hath not seen for them that love 

him, and will give them the crown of life according to his own 
promise, (1 Cor. 2. 9. Jam. 1. 12.) that Christ doth become 
the Author of eternal salvation to them that obey him, (Heb. 
5. 9.) that there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ, 
that walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, (Rom. 8. 1.) 
that it must turn wholly to the praise ot the glory of his grace, 
that God makes them accepted in the beloved. Eph. 1. 6. 
We do all agree, that they that do never believe, they that ne 
ver repent, they that never love God, they that are never 
brought to obey him, that live in enmity and rebellion against 
him to the last breath, must needs be in a lost state, are never 
justified, never accepted with God, are liable unto coming, and 
abiding wrath, and remain under condemnation, John 3. 16, 
36'. Luke 13, 3. Col. 3. 6. We agree, that such faith, suchrepent- 
ance, such love to God, such obedience, even in the most entire 
sincerity, are not to be considered at all, as any cause of such a 
person's acceptance with God : they do characterize the accep 
ted person, but they cause it not, they deserve nothing; nay, 
they could not, if they were perfect. No internal work of the 
Holy Ghost, though in this our present state, it were most ab 
solutely perfect, so as to exclude every thing of sin, could be 
any part of that righteousness that must justify us before God, 
To suppose that it could, would be manifestly to confound the 
offices of the Redeemer, and of the Holy Ghost. It was Christ 
that was to. merit for us ; the Holy Ghost was never to merit 
for us. It was not the Holy Ghost that died for us, nor can 
his operations or productions in us have any causative influence 
to the meriting the justified and accepted state of any person 
before God. They were never meant for that purpose, nor 
have any aptitude or accormnodateness thereunto. They can 
not make us never to have sinned; nor can atone for our ha 
ving done so. We cannot but be agreed in this, for it is plain, 
and carries its own evidence in itself: that is, suppose we a 
person, as soon as he is converted, made perfectly free from 
sin, that very moment, by some extraordinary powerful work 
of the Holy Ghost on his soul, how shall that expiate for his 
having been a sinner? Now where there are so great things 
wherein we agree, and we make little of them; things that 
should raise up our souls, and awaken all our powers uuto the high - 
est acts of love, gratitude and praise to God and bur Redeem 
er, and fill us with wonder and pleasure as often as we think 
of them; an indisposition of mind to take notice of, and 


sider such things, so as to improve and use them to the great 
purposes of the Christian life, as incentives to the love of God, 
an entire devoting of ourselves to him, vigorous and diligent 
serving of him, and walking holily and comfortably with him in 
our daily course; through a greater disposition to contend ahout 
we well know not what besides, too plainly shews much of that 
carnal disaffection, which the apostle doth he re animadvert up 
on. There are other things belonging to this same purpose 
that I find I cannot reach to at this time. 



^ / Gal. v. xvi. 

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit) and ye shall not fulfil 
the lust of the flesh* 

T HAVE begun to shew you by what indications much carna* 
lity may appear, and show itself in and about spiritual mat 
ters. As, (for instance) in the controverting, yea, even in the 
defending the truths of the gospel, and intend now to proceed* 
You have heard it does so, 

1 . When Christians, who are very far agreed in the most im 
portant things, make little of the things wherein they are agreed 
though never so great ; in comparison of the much less things 
wherein they differ. As all serious Christians must be under 
stood to agree in far greater things than it is possible for them 
to differ in. I lately mentioned to you sundry great agreements 
that I cannot doubt to be very common with serious and intelli 
gent Christians, which I shall not now stay to repeat, but add, 

2. Such carnality shows itself, when there is too much apt 
ness to lay greater stress than is needful upon some unscriptu- 
flral words in delivering Scripture doctrine. Here we may take 
Carnality as the apostle doth, 1 Cor. 3.3. While there are divi~ 
Sions among you, are you not carnal, and walk (or act) as 


There Is more of the man in it than of the Christian; when we cant 
make a shift to divide about a word, and that (in the present 
use of it) devised only hy man ; when words that are merely 
.of human stamp, and used in no such sense, or to no such pur 
pose in Scripture ; however they may be significant, yet too 
great a stress and weight is laid upon them, either by too stifly 
adhering to them on the one hand, or too vehemently decrying 
them on the other hand ; while (perhaps, and it is a certain 
and a known case) the meaning may be the same on both sides, 
and would be so, or would appear to be so, if such and sudk 
words were waved, and others more understood, were chosen, 
and used in the room of them. It is true, we are not to think 
(and no man of sense can) that we are obliged never to use 
other words in such matters, but such as the translators of the 
Bible have hit on in their version of it, as if that must consecrate 
those words, and leave all other under a profane character* 
But if it appear that any word of a doubtful signification, is mis 
understood by many, creates offence, and through some fixed, 
immovable prejudice, or prepossession that some other notion 
of it hath obtained in the minds of many, it will always be other 
wise understood by them than we intend, let it rather go for a 
nehushtan, than that the peace of the church should be broken, 
and men's minds be disturbed and disquieted by it. This is the 
case, when any such words that might be arbitrarily used or 
laid aside, are made so necessary, or so destructive, as if all re 
ligion were saved or lost by them : when one so cries up such a 
word, as if he would say, " The heavens must fall if I have not 
my word." And another decries it as much, as if he said, 
"-They must fall if it be admitted, or if I have not mine/* 
Sure there must be in this case that forbidden Xoyo^^/ar, of 
which the apostle speaks in that 1 Tim. 6. 4. which they are 
usually most apt to be guilty of, that are also guilty of what is 
put in conjunction therewith, perverse disputings of men of corrupt 
minds ; with these falls in this strife of words : whether that 
be to be understood objectively, or instrumentaHy, strife about 
words, or wordy strifes, I shall not here determine. But that 
whole context is worth our considering, ver. 3, 4, 5. If any 
(nan teach otherwise, do vnfoSd&o-xaAet, teach other, or alien 
things, or after another or alien manner, and consent not to the 
words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine which is ac 
cording to godliness : (4.) he is proud, knowing nothing, but 
4oting about questions, and strife of words, whereof cometh 
envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings : (5.) perverse disputings 
of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposingthat 
gain is godliness ; from such withdraw thyself. And therewith 
agrees what we fijid also. mejrtion.e.cl, with the charge of avoiding 


them, 2 Tim. 2. 23. Foolish and unlearned questions that geti- 
der strifes. Some may fancy they make themselves considera 
ble for learning by such altercations : but the apostle slurs that 
conceit, calling them unlearned. So I remember Seneca (De 
Brev. Vita.) says of the greeks, (calling it their disease) that 
they made much ado with certain idle questions, (as, how many 
rowers belonged to the vessel that carried Ulysses ? and such 
like, that he there mentions) whereby, says he, they did not ap 
pear more learned, but only more troublesome, 

3. when we consider with too little indulgence one another's 
mistakes and misapplications, in the use even of Scripture 
words, placing them as some may do, upon things to which 
they do not properly belong, when yet they agree about the 
things themselves. There are words in the Scripture-revela 
tion, that it may be the one or the other of disagreeing persons 
may apply to one thing, when the other (perhaps truly) thinks 
they belong more properly to another. There is an inconve 
nience in this : the case is much as if one should have an idea 
of all the streets of London in his mind as they lie, but he 
mistakes the names, and transposes them. As for instance, 
calls cheap-side cornhill, or cornhill cheap-side. He does 
not speak so intelligibly to another, but at the same time may 
have the same idea in his mind of London that another has. 
And this however, when it occurs in religious disceptations > 
ought to be considered (though there be an inconvenience in it) 
with indulgence, as knowing we are all liable to mistakes in 
greater matters. And as it is possible there may be somewhat 
of carnality, some perverseness, some cloud arising from in 
firm flesh that darkens the mind, and occasions it so to mis 
take ; so it is much greater, not to be able to bear in another 
such a mistake. 

4. When there is an agreement about the main and princi 
pal things that the Scripture-revelation contains and carries in 
it ; but there is not that agreement about their mutual respects 
and references unto one another. This is a matter indeed of 
greater importance ; there can be no true scheme given of gos 
pel truths and doctrines, if such their references and respects 
to one another be not rightly understood. But an entire true 
scheme of Christian doctrines will not enter into all minds ; 
and for the most part they are particular passages, or particu 
lar truths, that strike hearts, and that God makes use of to do 
souls good by. And if so entire a scheme will not enter into 
the minds of many, whether through their darkness or igno 
rance, or whether through any thing of prejudice, that was as 
it were forelaid in their minds : nothing remains but to be pa 
tient of it, and to do them what good we can, even upon their 


own terms, and in the way wherein they are capable of it. 
There was such an obstruction in minds among these Corin 
thians, even upon this very account of their carnality, as we 
see in that 3d. of the 1st. epistle, that the apostle tells them, 
I could not speak to you as spiritual, (it must be understood 
comparatively) but as unto carnal; and therefore as a wise in 
structor, thought it needful to keep back, to with-hold some 
things from them that he reckoned might be meat to them, solid 
meat, strong meat, because they had been hitherto unable to 
bear it, nor were yet able. It is in that case needful rather 
somewhat to *TTB;CV, to with-hold some things, or suspend, 
than by a continued and too urgent inculcation to frustrate one's 
own design ; and while we would have all enter into less capa 
ble minds, to have nothing enter. It may sometimes be, that 
when too much is endeavoured at once to be borne in upon 
them against an invincible obstruction, we only engage them 
to fortify the more strongly, and shut out all; and so we de 
feat ourselves. They gain nothing, and our whole design is 
frustrated and lost. In all our applications to the souls of men, 
there must be patient waiting, and very gradual endeavours 
used, without force and furious striving; yea, in our having to 
do with such as are yet the very vassals and captives of the de 
vil. So the apostle speaks, 2 Tim. 2. 24. The servant of the 
Lord should not strive but be patient towards (even all) men, 
and wait (even in reference to them that are hitherto altogether 
impenitent) when God will give them repentance, that they 
may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, that are 
led captive by him at his will. Much more are such methods 
to be used towards them, who call on the name of our Lord out 
of a pure heart, as he speaks a little above in the same context, 
ver. 22. And consider the extent and endearingness of this 
character. It is to be deplored that it extends not further: but 
so far as it doth extend, God forbid it should not have a most 
persuasive efficacy and power upon our spirits, to make us fol 
low righteousness, faith, charity, peace, even with ail them, 
that bear that character, that is, that call on the Lord with a 
pure heart : their Lord (as it is elsewhere) as well as ours ; be 
they of what party, or denomination, soever. 

5. Much of this carnality appears about such matters, when 
we are over intent to mould and square gospel truths and doc 
trines by human measures and models, and too earnestly strive 
to make them correspond ; that is, when we aim, beyond what 
things can admit, to stretch (or rather to shrink and contract) 
God's transactions with men, unto the scheme and model of our 
own abstract notions and definitions, or of merely human, civil, 
pr political economies, administrations and transactions ; such 


I mean as obtain among men towards one another : and so la 
bour to have the same measures take place throughout in refe 
rence to divine things, as do in human. Whereby more than 
is needful^ useful, (or indeed so much as possible to agree and 
quadrate) of logic, metaphysics ; and of civil and other law is 
introduced into theology. Illustrations indeed may be taken' 
thence, but not strict measures. It is impossible sometimes 
they should be so. Divers things are taken among men iri 
such notions, as, in delivering the doctrine of the gospel can 
not have a full and adequate place : they often will not exactly 
agree or correspond. As if in speaking of God's pardoning and 
justifying a sinner, we should take our measures of pardon and 
justification strictly from what obtains amongst men, we shall 
find a great difference and disagreement. For plain it is, that, 
according to human measures, the same person cannot be both 
pardoned and justified. He that is pardoned cannot be justified, 
and he that is justified, cannot be pardoned. But according to 
divine and gospel -measures both are truly said of the same per 
son. In the one case there is an inconsistency, in the other a 
fair agreement of the same things. He that is at a human bar 
a justified person, needs no pardon, his case admits of none : if 
he were justified, pardon were absurdly talked of: and so if he 
were pardoned, that does plainly imply that he was not justified. 
It is quite otherwise if you bring these things to the gospel, and 
God's dealing with sinners. I cannot now spend time in shew 
ing you distinctly how these things do lie, and are very capable 
of being accommodated in the sinners case ; some resemblance 
will appear, riot an exact or entire correspondency. The in 
stance however serves our present purpose, to shew that God's 
procedure and methods in his dispensations towards men, will 
not in all things square with human measures. 

Again, If we speak of the doctrine of God's covenant in Jesus 
Christ, we cannot take our measures from human covenants 
that pass between man and man, especially one private man and 
another? for there the persons are under no obligation before, 
their mutual consent. It is not so between God and man, God's 
covenants are laws as well ns covenants ; and so a man is, before 
he consents, obliged to consent. Therefore here again it ap 
pears gospel-doctrines are not to be exactly measured by human 
models. Nor should this be too earnestly endeavoured, we 
should not too much set our minds upon it; it is to offer at a 
thing in its own nature not practicable, and there is too much of 
man in it. 

6'. When there is a discernable proneness to oppose the great 
things of the gospel to one another, and to exalt or magnify one,, 
above or against another. It is too plain this may more com- 


monly come under observation, than it doth under that repre 
hension which it deserves. For instance, those two great 
things that I mentioned at first, justification and sanctification, 
both very great things, of most apparent and confessed neces 
sity to the salvation and blessedness of the souls of men ; jus 
tification, that a man's state may be good; sanctification, that 
the temper of his soul may become so. But is it not too com 
mon to magnify one of these above or against the other? to 
contend and difpute with great fervour concerning the higher 
value and excellency, the dignity or precedency of this or that, 
and to which the preference belongs ; to be so much taken up 
about the one, as seldom to think of the other ; and it may be 
not well to savour and relish the mention of it? Some are so 
taken up about the business of justification, (that admirable 
vouchsafement of grace to sinners!) that they care not to hear 
of sanctification ; and so all their religion is foreign to them, 
or lies in somewhat without them, or in a mere relative thing, 
that alters not their spirits. A strange religion ! that makes a 
man nothing the better man : or notwithstanding which, he is 
in the habitual frame of his soul, as bad as ever, vain, terrene, 
worldly-minded, proud, passionate, wrathful, malicious, vindic 
tive, false, deceitful, perhaps (for that is not worse than the rest) 
very impurely sensual. But, no man can tell why, nor to be 
sure he himself, he takes himself to be a justified person : and 
perhaps his imagination of it raises in him a sort of rapturous, 
unaccountable joy, without ground or root, and which will not 
only wither, but turn (without a seasonable and merciful change) 
into endless horror, weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth ! 
A fearful and most surprising issue and disappointment of a 
high and unmisgiving confidence, and expectation to be saved ! 
With others, whose temper, circumstances or temptations have 
less inclined them to rejoicing, their religion is made up of tor 
menting anxieties and fears, and consists in the daily revolving 
of perpetual endless doubts, whether they are justified or no ; 
without any direct, formed design of being or doing good ; by 
which they might in due time, come to have more truly com 
fortable apprehensions of the goodness of their state. They 
more care to be pardoned for being bad, than to become good i 

Again, on the other hand, there may be some so wholly taken 
up about what they are in themselves to be and do, and in the 
earnest, but too abstract, or less evangelical (and therefore less 
fruitful) endeavour after higher pitches of sanctity, without due 
reference to the grace, Spirit, and blood of a Redeemer, that 
they neglect, and look not after their justification, and accep 
tance with God in him ; nor do relish and savour as they ought, 
the doctrine of the gospel herein. Do more incline to a philo- 



sophical (and scarcely Christian) Christianity ; forgetting Christ 
to be their Redeemer, their Lord, and vital Head, and that they 
nre (or ought to be) under his conduct, and through his media 
tion, daily tending to God and blessedness. 

But now upon the whole, when there appears an aptness or 
disposition to separate these two, justification and sanctification 
from one another, or either of them from abiding in Christ, or 
to oppose them to one another, or contend about the priority of 
the one or the other (when no doubt they go together) and about 
the preference or excellency of the one above the other, which 
is the more considerable thing : herein appears much carnality 
of mind, an unsound, injudicious distempered spirit. And it is 
a like case, as if a malefactor at the same time is under sentence 
by which he is condemned to die, and under a most dangerous 
disease, that appears very probably mortal to him : he has a com 
passionate prince, willing to save his life, and he at once vouch 
safes him his pardon, and provides a very skilful and able phy 
sician for the curing of his disease : the wretched creature hear 
ing of this, falls a disputing which of these is the greatest fa 
vour, to have my disease cured, or, to have my crime pardoned ; 
and in the heat of the dispute he neglects both, looks after nei 
ther. This is indeed less supposable, in the instanced case ; 
.but how great a distemper doth it shew, that it should be so, in 
this, which is of uncxpressibly greater importance ! 

And now further it is agreed on all hands, that faith in a Re 
deemer iy necessary to salvation, with those that are adult, and 
. capable of attending to the gospel revelation ; but here, What 
disputes are there raised ? with what fervour are they managed, 
concerning the place of it, or the kind of that necessity which 
this faith is of, in order to the safe state of a sinner ? A like 
case again, as if such a condemned malefactor is told of his 
prince's professed, gracious intendments towards him, but he 
idoubts the sincerity of his professions. He gives him all desi 
rable assurances, and tells him, Do but trust me, and all shall 
be well. But he presently falls a disputing, yea, But how am I 
to consider this trust ? (we suppose it only such a trust as may 
be fitly enough placed upon a man) which way is it to contri 
bute towards my safety or welfare ? Is it to be an instrument or 
a condition ? How absurd an abuse were this of the clemency 
of a propitious prince ? If there were a public proclamation o 
pardon to many offenders at once concerned together, and they 
all agree only to disagree, to vie with one another their skill in 
criticizing upon the words, or in disputing the method, contend 
ing about the order and coherence of parts, and make it their 
business not thankfully to accept, but cavil at, to tear and man 
gle and pluck in pieces the proclamation, aud defeat tli 


design and gracious tender of their prince ? What clemency 
would not this provoke to the highest resentment and indigna 
tion? And what now can he stranger,, or more perverse, than that 
a revelation from heaven of so much good-will to men, in the 
substance so plain, and that so directly concerns the salvation 
of souls, should he so torn and mangled ? considered for no pur 
pose less than that for which it was vouchsafed, and that the 
Very end itself should he in so great part eluded, that was so 
kindly designed in it ? though yet the endeavour of salving dif 
ficulties that occur, by earnest prayer, diligent study, and 
by amicable and placid collation among brethren, or comparing 
of sentiments, sincerely designed for a clearer understanding 
the frame of the gospel-truth, or how it may be with most ad 
vantage represented to men for the promoting of the common 
salvation, can be liable to no just reprehension, being managed 
with that reverence that so sacred things challenge, and with a 
due sense of our own ignorance and imperfection. That only 
which is blamable in this case, and whereof I reckon no ac 
count can be given, or defence made, is that when, for the sub 
stance, the gospel propounds and lays before us so plain a way 
wherein men are to endeavour the saving of their souls, as 
wherein the wayfaring man, though a fool, needs not err, that is, 
there must be repentance towards God, faith in our Lord Jesus 
Christ, a renewed heart, a holy life. One comes and pretends 
to shew that order of these things -one way, so us to compose a 
scheme of them that is represented as most necessary to be ob 
served and held to. No saith another, I will give you a lighter 
scheme of salvation, another way, and mightily presses the ne 
cessity of that, and the dangerous mistakes of the other. And 
thus they cover a plain way with thorns and briars, do not in 
struct, but perplex and distract whom they should direct, 
create distinctions and oppositions of scheme to scheme, not 
only without necessity, but almost without a difference, and yet 
insist with vehemency, and lay men's salvation upon their un 
derstanding the matter so or so, when it is hoped thousands 
have been saved, that never heard of the one scheme or the 
other, as they are distinguished and opposed to each other. Who 
can justify this ? Again in the 

7. Place : When any do with great zeal contend for this or 
that opinion or notion, as very sacred and highly spiritual, (as 
they account) with no other design, than that under that pre 
tence they may indulge their own carnal inclination with the 
greater liberty. It was the very genius of this soil of men a- 
gainst whom this epistle was meant, whether they were then 
called gnostics it matters not. The name well agreed to them 
and they were known by it afterwards. They were men of much 


pretence to knowledge and sublime notions, as they counted 
them. And herein lay their religion ; and under this pretence 
they indulged themselves in all manner of licentiousness. When 
any do take up with mere notions, which they are zealous for, 
accounting them very highly spiritual ; arid under pretext of 
these, they indulge the carnality of their hearts, if not of their 
lives and practices too : and their fine notion, (as they account 
it) which they (more uncertainly) father upon the Spirit of truth 
must be substituted in the room of all that love, meekness, 
humility, heavenliness, self-denial, which are the most certain 
and undoubted fruits of this blessed Spirit : when under the 
pretence of being notional men, and of knowing a great deal 
more than most others do, any neglect their own spirits, and 
suffer pride, avarice, ambition, vindictiveness and falsehood, to 
shelter themselves under the thin cobweb of a few fine spun no 
tions ; and they can now hereupon live at random, with more 
ease to their own minds, and they think, with better reputation 
as to other men. 

Here is a glittering shew only of an airy, imagined, preten 
ded spirituality, drawn over (but which doth not hide) corrupt., 
rotten, putrid flesh. Have you never known such a case, 
when it might be said there goes a proud, ambitious man, a 
covetous man, a false man, a malicious man ; but he is a man 
of rare and singular notions, knows a great deal more than most 
others do ; and this must atone for all his crimes with God and 
man, and both quiet his conscience, and salve his credit to 
gether ! And who can doubt but this man must be very fond of 
his own opinions, and zealously contend and dispute for them 
upon any occasion (though he never so ineptly make it) when 
they are to do him so great service, and to stand him in so much 
stead, that is to supply the room for him of all real religion and 
morality. And if he have happened upon such notions as are 
really true, and revealed by Cod himself, by how much the 
more certainly divine they be, so much the greater is the wick 
edness, so basely to prostitute sacred things, truths that are 
the very offspring of heaven, unto so vile purposes. It were 
fault enough to make them serve different or other purposes than 
they are capable of, that is, to supply the room of religion and 
real goodness. What an indignity is that to religion, to sup 
pose an empty spiritless opinion can fill up its place ! A thing 
that does a man no good, for which his mind and spirit is no 
thing the better ! much more, that shelters what is so very bad ? 
Can this serve for religion ? That religion that consists with 
being proud, with being deceitful, with being malicious,, with 
being revengeful ! Learn to despise such a religion ! Much 


more that is taken up to veil over these^ and exclude all real 
goodness ! Again, 

8. When, in the maintaining any doctrine of the gospel in 
opposition to others,we industriously set ourselves to pervert their 
meaning, and impute things to them that they never say. Or 
again if we charge their opinions whom we oppose with conse 
quences which they disclaim, professing, it may be, rather to 
disclaim their former opinion, and change their judgment, than 
admit such consequences, if they could discern any connection 
between the one and the other. This surely argues a mighty 
disposition to contend, when we will quarrel with one that is 
really of our own mind ; for herein he appears to be virtually al 
ready in the same mind in a greater matter, at least, than he 
differs with us about; because no man charges another's opinion 
with a consequence, designing thereby to oblige him to change 
his opinion ; but as supposing it to be an agreed thing between 
them both, that the consequence is worse than the opinion. 
When therefore the consequence I charge is disclaimed by him 
whom I oppose, either it is justly charged, or it is not. If it 
be not, his opinion may be true, notwithstanding what I herein 
say to the contrary, and 1 am certainly so far in an error. But 
if it be justly charged, being yet disclaimed, we are formally 
agreed concerning the consequence, and are virtually agreed 
concerning the disputed point too, because he professedly dis 
avows it upon supposition such a consequence would follow, 
which yet perhaps he sees not ; and so the agreement must be 
much greater than the difference. And yet commonly this signi 
fies nothing in order to peace : that is, it is not enough, that 
I see the same things that you do, unless I also see them too with 
your eyes. 

9. When such disputes do arise at length to wrath, to angry 
strife, yea, and even to fixed enmity. What dreadful carnality 
is here ! Most deservedly so called, if you only consider flesh 
or carnality as an unreasonable, a brutal thing. For what 
can be more unreasonable or unaccountable than to fall 
out with another man, because he thinks not as I do, or re 
ceives not my sentiments, as I also do not receive his. Is 
it not to be considered, that he no further differs from me than 
I do from him ? If there be cause of anger, upon this account, 
on one side, there is the same cause on the other too ; and then 
whether shall this grow ? And how little can this avail upon a 
rational estimate ? Can any good come of it ? doth it tend to 
the clearing of truth ? Shall we see the better through the clouds 
and dust we raised ? Is a good cause served by it ? or do we 
think it possible the wrath of man should ever work the righte 
ousness of God ? And when such carnalities as these do exert 
themselves,, and the hot steams and fumes arise, which the apostle 


calls the lusts of the flesh,the flesh lusting to envy, lusting to 
wrath: what is the product (or even the productive cause) but that 
of fire whicR is without light ? And you know what fire that re 
sembles ! And if a man once find any fervour of this kind stir, or 
kindle in his breast, if he aright consider, he would no more 
cherish it, than one would do a brand thrown into his bosom from 
the infernal fire. One would think in this case, What have I stir 
ring within me ? something a-kin to hell! Can this conduce to the 
service of divine and heavenly truth ? And let it be sadly consi 
dered ; our being, upon such accounts angry with one another, 
is a dismal token of God's being angry with us all, and a pro 
voking cause of it too. Methinks that should be a qualmy thought ! 
and strike our souls with a strange damp ! Shall I indulge that in 
myself, that is a mark upon me of divine displeasure ; and upon 
all in whom it is found ? To have this Holy Spirit retire, that 
blessed Spirit of love, and of a sound mind, and to leave us un 
der the power of rebellious lusting flesh ! Can this be grateful, 
or not be a dismaying, frightful thing ? And whereas a right 
scheme of gospel-doctrine is the thing pretended to be striven 
for, 1 beseech you consider : The more entirely, and the more 
deeply, the true scheme of gospel-doctrine is inlaid in a man's 
Soul, the more certainly it must form it all into meekness, hu- 
tnility, gentleness, love, kindness #nd benignity towards fellow - 
ehristians of whatsoever denomination ; not confined, not limi 
ted, (as that of the pharisees) unto their own party ; but diffus 
ing and spreading itself to all that bear the character and cog 
nizance of Christ. The Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ is a 
Spirit of greater amplitude ; extends and diffuses itself through 
the whole body of Christ. 

Nor can any man more effectually disgrace his own cause, or 
vnake sure to worst himself in it, than by defending it wrath- 
fully. For admit that he err whom i oppose, a thousand to one 
but that my wrath is worse than his errors probably a thousand 
times worse. I go about therefore to take away a mote from his 
rye, having a beam in my own ; or am more concerned for a 
misplaced hair upon his head, than I am for a fiery ulcer in my 
own breast. We are not, it is true, to be so stoical to condemn 
the natural passion of anger, as such for sinful. But if it, ex 
ceeds its cause, and sets not with the sun, it becomes strange, 
unhallowed fire. But again in the ^ 

10. Place : There is still a further appearance of great car 
nality in such cases,when any do adventure to judge of the con 
sciences and states of them whom they oppose, or from whom 
they differ : when they ascend the tribunal, usurp the throne, 
pass sentence upon them, as men of no conscience, or^of no 
sincerity, or uprightness of heart with God. As if theirs were to 


be the universal conscience, the measure of all consciences ; 
and he that cannot be governed by their conscience must have 
none at all : or he be stark blind towards truth, towards God, 
and towards himself, that sees not every thing they see, or fan 
cy themselves to see. 

This is a most high usurpation upon divine prerogative ; and 
how can any insensibly slide into such an evil as this, in the face 
of so plain and so awful a text of Scripture, that so severely ani 
madverts upon it ? that 14th. to the Romans, in sundry verses of 
it. With what reverence and dread should it strike a man's 
soul in such a case ! When we have the rights of the Redeemer 
asserted in those whom he hath bought with his blood ? And 
are told that for this end Christ both died and rose, and revived 
that he might be Lord both of the dead and living, ver. 9, 
And it is thereupon further said to us, Who art thou that judg- 
est another's servant, as ver. 10. Why dost thou judge thy bro 
ther, or set at nought thy brother ? We must all stand before 
the judgment seat of Christ. We are all of us his, he both died, 
and revived, and rose again, that he might be Lord of all, as 
Acts 10. 36*. And here of dead aud living, that is, that he 
might be owner of all, which is the first notion of Dominus or 
Lord, and in both worlds, the visible and the invisible, that in 
to which many are dead, and deceased from hence, and so to us 
become invisible ; and many that, yet surviving, are still visi 
ble to us. So ample is his dominion ! And because the jus 
imperil, the right of government, of which judgment is the 
last, conclusive act, hath for its foundation the jus domini, 
right of dominion ; it is therefore asserted to him as the coro- 
nis and complement, the very summity of his acquired rights, 
that he is to finish all things by the last judgment, which must 
pass upon both the already dead, and the yet living. Thus is 
ground of the expostulation laid. Who art thou who presumes! 
to justle him out of this his supreme and most sacred right ? 
Perhaps the matter disputed about may be doubtful, but there 
is no doubt concerning this incommunicable authority of our 
.Lord Christ, or concerning his law against such judging. Matt. 
7- 1. And to run into certain sin, in a furious chasing of uncer 
tain error ! What consideration, what tenderness of offending, 
of affronting him, and of hazarding our own souls is there in ali 
this ? _ 

10 judge other men's consciences, is of so near affinity witk 
governing them, that they that can allow themselves to do the 
former, want only power, not will or inclination, to offer at the 
other too. Which puts the matter out of doubt, that when men 
of this temper complain of such usurpation, it is not that they 
think it an offence in itself, but -against them only; and that n 

I 2t> fi CARNAlITY OF 

consciences ouglit to be free, but their own. The proof of afi 
honest and equal mind herein is, when we judge this to be evil 
not being hurt by it ; or abhor to hurt others in this kind, when 
we have power to do it. Upon which account that passage is 
memorable of the emperor Maximilian II. to a certain prelate, 
that there was no sin, no tyranny more grievous than to affect 
dominion over men's consciences ; and that they who do so, go 
about to invade the tower of heaven. A considerable saying 
from so great a prince, that lived and died in the roman com 
munion. What shall be thought of any such protestants, that 
without any colour or shadow of a ground, besides differing 
from them in some very disputable and unimportant opinions, 
shall presume to judge of other men's consciences, ( and conse 
quently of their states God-ward) which such a one as he thought 
it so presumptuous wickedness to attempt to over-rule or go 
vern ? 

1 1 . When we over-magnify our own understandings, and as 
sume too much to ourselves. That is, do expect that our minds 
be taken for standards to all minds : as if we, of all mankind, 
were exempt from error, or the possibility of being mistaken. A 
certain sort of p/AaJLas or ay$<jaS#, an excess of love and admira 
tion of ourselves, or over-pleasedness with ourselves, too much 
self complacency, is the true(though very deep and most hidden) 
root of our common mischief in such cases. We wrap up our 
selves within ourselves, and then we are all the world. Do only 
compare ourselves with ourselves, never letting it enter into our 
minds, that others have their sentiments too, perhaps wiser 
than ours ; but abound in our own sense ; and while ( as the a- 
postle in that case says ) we are not wise, and perhaps are the 
only persons that think ourselves so, we yet take upon us, as if 
we were fit to dictate to the world, to all Christians, and to all 
mankind ; or as if we only were the men, and wisdom must 
die with us. 

This is a sort of evil, than which there is none more common, 
and none less observed ; none wherewith the guilty are so lit 
tle apt to charge themselves, or admit conviction of it. For, 
I pray, do but consider ; all the several differing parties amongst 
us do with one voice pretend to be for peace ; but how, and 
upon what terms ? Why, that all the rest are presently to be 
of their mind ; and that is all the peace that most are for. For 
where (scarce any where) is the man to be found? Or how 
great a rarity is he, that entertains the thought "That there may, 
for ought I know, be much to be redressed and corrected in 
my apprehensions of things, to make me capable of foiling in 
with that truth which ought to be common to all." There is an 
expectation with many, of a good time and state of things, be- 


fore this world end, when all shall be of one mind and judg 
ment : but the most think it must be by all men's becoming of 
their mind and judgment. And of this self-conceit it is usually 
a harder thing to fasten conviction upon men, than of most 
other evils. We have more hope in speaking against drunken 
ness, murder,, or any the grossest kind of wickedness : for there 
the conscience of the guilty falls in, and takes part with the re 
prover. But we can more easily, and more frequently do,(tliougj| 
not frequently enough) observe the faults of the inferior facul 
ties or of our external actions, than of the faculty itself which 
should observe. Our mind, which is naturally like our eye, is, 
in this, too like, that is, that it can see every thing but itself. 
It doth not, by using it, preserve its peculiar, self-reflecting 
power ; is blind towards itself, beyond what naturally belongs 
to it. An object may be too near our bodily eye to be seen. 
Our mind is herein too bodily, too much carnalized, sunk too 
deep into flesh. It is the next thing to itself; and here, not by 
its primitive nature, (by which as an intellectual sun it could re 
vert its beams, and turn them inward upon itself) but by depra 
vation, it for the most part sees nothing ; or doth worse, thinks 
itself to see what is not to be seen, certain imaginary excellencies, 
which make the man his own idol ; an object of a sort of ador 
ation to himself ; and of scorn and derision (most probably) to 
every one else. In this case every man is, however, most com 
monly innocent in his own eyes, or still thinks he is in the 
right : amidst the so vast a variety of apprehensions and senti 
ments no one suspects himself to be in the wrong. All are for 
the truth, and they are all for peace and union. By which 
some indeed, more gently, mean, they hope all will quit their 
former mistaken opinions and ways (as in great kindness to 
themselves they take for granted all men's are but their own) and 
come wholly over to them. Others that have not breasts capa 
ble of even so much charity as this, not only are as much lovers 
and admirers of themselves, but so vehement haters of all that 
presume to differ from them, that they think them not fit to live 
in the world that durst riot adventure to do so. The meaning 
therefore of their being for peace, is, that they would have all 
destroyed that are not of their minds : and then (as the romaii 
historian speaks) Quando solitudinemfecere appetta.nl pacem : 
when they have made a desolation, so that they themselves 
are left alone in the world, that, they will call peace. 

But you will say, What is to be done ? or what would I per 
suade in this case of differing apprehensions and ways still re 
maining among Christians ? I answer, Not presently to unbelieve 
all that ever a man hath believed before ; or to abandon on the, 
sudden his former sentiments, or to find fault with himself tor 



having thought tliom right. For it is a contradiction to be of 
any opinion, .and not then to think it right. Nor, therefore, is 
It scepticism, by any means, that I would advise to; as if there 
were nothing to be thought certain, but this : that whereas 
the greatest and most necessary things in religion are most plain, 
that is, either most plain in themselves, or most expressly re 
vealed in the word of God, Here let us be stedfast ourselves, 
dkhout bcksg severe towards other men. Other things, tliat 
are more matter of doubt and dispute, by how much the less 
plain they are, we should count so much the less necessary. In 
reference therefore to these less momentous things, about which 
there is with us most of jangling, there ought always to be great 
modesty, and distrust of our own understandings, and a con 
tinued readiness to receive information, with constant looking up 
to the Father of lights for further illumination, and a resoluti 
on, wherein we, with others, have attained, to walk by the same 
rule, minding the same (agreed) things, hoping God will re^ 
veal his mind to .he otherwise minded in his own time,, 
as the apostle in Phil. 3 J 6*, I/. But to hasten to a close, I fur 
ther add in the 

Last place, Such carnality greatly shews itself in an affecta 
tion and desire of having such disputes still kept a foot, and the 
contents continued without either limit or rational design. This 
shews a deep tincture, and is a plain indication of a mind to a 
very great degree carnalized, when a mighty pleasure is taken 
to see the saw drawn, and the ball kept up. And if the ques 
tion be asked, Pray how long ? So little of reasonable answer 
\-\\\\ be given, that It might as well be said in plain terms, Till. 
Jill words be spent, till speech or language foil, till Elias come. 
*>r doomsday come. So that if there were never so much rea 
son to commend the having said somewhat in defence of this or 
that disputed point, we might yet say as Seneca did of Cicero's 
so much overpraising his own consulship, u I blame him not 
for praising it without cause, but for doing it without end ;" or 
that he could never give over, or tell when he had said enough. 
Upon the same terms upon which it is now so much desired such 
disputes should be continued, when what is truly enough is al 
ready said, they might as well wish they alway should. Which 
signifies that when we say, we would have men contend for 
truth, we wish it not so much for truth's sake, as for the con 
tention's sake. By all means, say they, strive for the truth: 
not that they care so much for truth, as for the strife. For in 
some circumstances there is not an end in view, that is ratio 
nally to be designed or served by it on this side the end of all 
things. Nor consequently any good principle that is to be ex 
ercised or gratified thereby. What is needful to be said in the 

matters already referred to, for the informing- and satisfying of 
tractable minds, sincerely willing to understand the truth, lies 
within a little compass. And when, in controversy that is once 
said which truly belongs to the very point in question, the rest 
is commonly trifling and reflexion, or the perplexing of the 
matter more, and darkening counsel by words without know 
ledge. If love to truth be alleged for the principle that prompts 
men to covet so continual altercations about it, I would say 
this shews more want of love to it. For hereby they are diver 
ted from that which renders it most of all amiable, and for 
which it ought chiefly to be loved. As it is the truth according 
to godliness, and by which we are to be sanctified, and begot 
ten more and more (as of an immortal seed) iota the divine 
likeness. Experience shews how little, disputes better men's 
spirits. If we love divine truth, why do we not feed and live 
upon it, and enjoy its pleasant relishes ? but relish gravel 
more, or chaff and bran ? For thither the agitation of conti 
nued controversies about it doth soon sift it, tiie grain of flour 
(the kidney of the wheat) being passed away, and gone iroai 
us. Can none remember when the disputative humour had 
even. eaten out the power and spirit of practical religion and 
godliness ? Thither things are again tending, if either by se 
verity or mercy, (one may say rather than not otherwise, by 
merciful severity) God do not prevent and repress that tendency. 
As yet I fear the humour is violent, when the fervour of men's 
spirits is such, as to carry them over all Scripture-directions, 
and animadversions, that they signify nothing with them : on 
ly make it their business each one to animate the more vogued 
champions of their own party into the highest ferments, and cry, 
Dispute, dispute, write, write; preach, preach one against 
another ; let not the business go over so, do not keep silence. 
Thus are many, as the apostle speaks, puffed up for one against 
another, 1 Cor. 4. 6. And what, lias such a text of Scripture 
-as that no edge ? no point ? by which to lance, to pierce such a 
tumour ? No, when the humour is once up, and lias in wrapt 
men's hearts; is settled there, and hath obdured them to a 
brawny hardness ; such texts of Scripture, though so mighty 
pat and apposite, are esteemed by them but as leviathan esteems 
spears and swords, like straw and rotten wood, they do not ea 
ter into men's hearts, A strange kind of obduration ! 

And how supposable is it, -that they who are so puffed up for 
others^ may also, through the known corruption of nature even 
in the best, do herein not a little to the puffing up of them too. 
The apostle's concluding of this chapter with those cautions, 
Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, 
envying one another, immediately upon his renewing of the 


precept, (ver. 25.) of walking in the Spirit : and immediate-? 
ly before those words, (chap. 6. 1.) If a man be overtaken with 
a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit 
of meekness, shews how he understood the case to be with 
these Cralatian Christians, that as to doctrinals were yet sound 
and unfallen : that there "was yet such carnality working in 
their continued contests, (though for the truth) such pride, 
such affectation of vain-glory, such wrathfulness, as shewed it 
was not mere love to truth that kept up the contest, but some 
such worse principles. Nothing is plainer than that principles 
and ends measure one another. And when that is done, or co 
veted to be done, that serves no good end; or is so done, as 
not to serve but destroy, or hinder any end that is truly good ; 
the principle must be very bad, that moves the wheel. Disor 
derly eccentric motions betray their principle and end toge 
ther. When the carriage and conduct of an affair that carries 
with it the appearance of serving the truth, is impetuous, eag 
er, precipitant; when there is no good end in view of the pre 
sent so modified endeavour ; when enough is agreed already to 
serve the most important ends, unity among brethren, the sal 
vation of souls, and yet things are further insisted on, unneces 
sary to either, yea, prejudicial to both, and upon which the 
weight and stress of either of these cannot be laid without sin ; 
it too plainly appears vain-glory to oneself, or the slurring of a 
(designed) adversary is the end ; and then the principle is pro 
portionable. Yet even in the light, and when matters are thus 
open and in view, oppositions are pushed on, and men's spirits 
rise to that pitch, as to bear down whatever is proposed, only 
with design to make their career a little slower : yea, and they 
are apt, rather than hearken, to put opprobrious names and cha 
racters upon them that are not altogether so furious as them 

Nor have they themselves the patience to consider conse 
quences, and whether these things tend ; that is, that God is 
provoked, that the souls of men are endangered, greatly endan 
gered. I have found in my own conversation, that some even 
in distress, in agonies, have said, " Lord, be merciful to us, I 
know not which way to go; one preaches one thing, another 
preaches the quite contrary." I know they mistake; we do ge 
nerally in substance preach the same gospel. Thanks be to God 
his gospel is not confined to a few men, or to this or that par 
ty of men. But in the mean time, it is a thing of very ill con 
sequence to lay stumbling-blocks before the blind, bars and 
obstructions in the way of the weak and the lame, whereby 
they may be turned out of the way, who should rather be 


It is not considered, that where the danger is less of ah utter 
ruin to the souls of men, there is however occasioned a great 
languor and enfeeblement. They should be considered, and 
treated, not only as being weak, but lest they should be made 
so. When they are diverted from the proper means of improve 
ment and growth, and their minds are alienated from those 
means being otherwise engaged, an ill habit is contracted ; and 
when the distemper hath seized some, it spreads, and soon in 
fects more. Nutriment is dispensed, from the head through 
the body, by the co-operation of the several parts, as those 
texts, Eph. 4. 16. Col. 2. 19. do with great emphasis and ele 
gancy speak. Understand it so, that how far soever there is, 
or ought to be actual communion, every limb and joint contri 
butes something to the strength and vigour of the rest. So is 
nourishment ministered, and spreads itself in the body to its 
edifying itself in love : which love if it fail, a universal lan 
guor cannot but ensue, the free circulation of vital spirits being 
obstructed and stopped. And those that are most sensible, if 
they be not so much otherwise damnified, cannot, when they 
observe it, but be grieved, and take it bitterly to heart ; when 
the tokens appear to their view of a general decay. The living 
members of any body are pained, when the body is wasted and 
rent ; dead or stupified and ;benumbed members feel it not, 
are unapprehensive. But above all, it ought to be considered, 
(but how little is it ?) that the Holy Spirit is grieved, and doth 
(as we may fear it will more) sensibly retire : the gospel in 
which it is wont to breathe is trifled with : the glorious gospel, 
the gospel of the grace of God, (can men find nothing else t<y 
play with) by which that blessed Spirit hath begotten many a 
soul to God, and nourished them unto life eternal. That pre 
cious thing designed for so great, and sacred purposes, (as 
pampered, wanton children do with their food) they dally withy 
or quarrel about it, or squander and throw it away. How can 
this but offend ? The self-procured distempers which ciid. pre 
cede, and those that ensue, increase the offence. When it is 

said, Eph. 4. 30. Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God and 

presently subjoined, ver. 31. Let all bitterness, and wrath, 
and anger, and clamour, and evil -speaking be put away ; Is~it 
not 'left to us to collect, that these things do more peculiarly 
grieve the Spirit ? that Spirit of grace, of all love, goodness, 
sweetness and benignity. There is but one body, and one 
Spirit, a Spirit that spreads vital influence in the body. W 7 hat 
can you think of that Spirit that feels every where ? that is in 
the body a universal sentient? How can that Spirit but be 
grieved ! Passion it is not capable of, but just and sedate dis- 
pieacency, that matters should be so. How should any of us 


like it, to have our living body torn limb from limb, and part 
from part ! Though with him real commotion, and disturbance 
can have no place, intellectual resentment is infinitely greater 
and deeper than we can either feel or conceive. 

But where this angry, tumified, proud flesh is the governing 
thing, none of these tremendous consequences or considerati 
ons, while it is so, take any place. The litigious quarrelsome 
genius will throw off all, will find no leisure or room for a. calm 
thought : but though the course in which we are engaged 
should be ready to set on fire the whole course of nature, will 
be still for casting abroad firebrands, and arrows, and death ; 
and make us think this fine sport ! If indeed there were room for 
any cooler thoughts, one would think such as these should not lie 
remote. How little any of us know, or are capable of knowing 
In this our present state ! that tliey that think they know most, 
or are most conceited of their own knowledge, know nothing as 
they ought to know ; that they that are most apt to contend, 
,clo most of all fight in the dark ; that it is too possible there 
may be much knowledge without love ; how little such know 
ledge is worth ! that it profits nothing ; that it hurts, puffs 
up, when love edifies ; that the devils know more than any of 
us, while their want of love, or their hellish malignity makes 
them devils ; that as by pride comes contention, so humility 
would contribute more to peace, (and to the discerning of truth 
too) than the most fervent disceptation ; that there is no hope 
of proselyting the world to my opinion or way ; that if I can 
not be quiet till I have made such and such of my mind, I shall 
still be unquiet while others are not of it, that is, always : that 
If some one's judgment must be a standard to the world, there 
are thousands fitter for it than mine ; that they that in their 
angry contests think to shame their adversary, do commonly 
most of all shame themselves, 

But to close all, I pray let us consider, we are, professedly, 
going to heaven, that region of light, and life, and purity, and 
love. It well indeed becomes them that are upon the way thi- 
yher, modestly to inquire after truth. Humble, serious, di 
ligent endeavours to increase in divine knowledge, are very sui 
table to our present state of darkness and imperfection. The 
product of such inquiries we shall carry to heaven with us, with 
whatsoever is most akin .thereto, (besides their usefulness in 
the way thither.) We shall carry truth, and the knowledge of 
God to heaven with us ; we shall carry purity thither, devot- 
edness of soul to God and our Redeemer, divine love and jov, 
if we have their beginnings here, with whatsoever else of real 
permanent excellency, that hath a settled, fixed seat and place 


-in our souls now ; and shall there have them in perfection. 
But do we think we shall carry strife to heaven? Shall we car 
ry anger to heaven ? envyings, heart-burnings, animosities, en 
mities, hatred of our brethren and fellow-christians, shall we 
jcarry these to heaven with us? 

Let us labour to divest ourselves, and strike off from our 
spirits, every thing that shall not go with us to heaven, or is 
equally unsuitable to our end and way, that there may be no 
thing to obstruct and hinder our abundant entrance at length 
into the everlasting kingdom. 












Coloss. 11.2. 

That their hearts might he comforted, being knit together in 
love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of under- 
standing, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, 
and of the Father, and of Christ^ 

question is propounded to me ; "What may most hope 
fully be attempted to allay animosities among protestants, 
that our divisions may not be our ruin?" I must here, in the 
first place, tell you how I understand this question. First as 
to the end, the preventing of our ruin ; I take the meaning 
chiefly to be, not the ruin of our estates, trade, houses, fami 
lies 5 not our ruin, in these respects, who are Christians, but 
our ruin as we are Christians, that is, the ruin of our Christiani 
ty itself, or of the truly Christian interest among us. Second 
ly as for the means inquired after, I understand not the ques 
tion to intend, what is to be done or attempted by laws, 


public constitutions, as if our business were to teach our ab 
sent rulers, or prescribe to tbem what they should do, to whom 
we have no present call, or opportunity, to apply ourselves. 
Nor again can it be thought our business, to discuss the seve 
ral questions that are controverted among us, and shew, in 
each, what is the truth and right, wherewith every man's con 
science ought to be satisfied, and in which we should all meet 
and unite : as if we had the vanity to think of performing, by 
an hour's discourse, what the voluminous writings of some 
ages have not performed. Much less are we to attempt the 
persuading of any to go against an already formed judgment in 
these points of difference, for the sake of union ; and to seek 
the peace of the church, by breaking their peace with God, 
and their own consciences. 

But I take the question only to intend, what serious Christians 
may, and ought, to endeavour, in their private capacities, and 
agreeably with their own principles, towards the proposed end. 
And so I conceive the words read to you, contain the materials 
of a direct and full answer to the question. Which I reckon 
will appear, by opening the case the apostle's words have re 
ference to ; that will be found a case like our own ; and by 
opening the words, whereby their suitableness to that case will 
be seen, and consequently to our case also. 

First. The Case which these words have reference to (as 
indeed the general aspect of the epistle, and in great part of 
the other apostolical letters, looks much the same way) was in 
short this : That a numerous sect was already sprung up, that 
began (so early) to corrupt the simplicity and purity of the 
Christian religion, and very much to disturb the peace of the 
Christian church. A sort they were of partly judaizing, partly 
paganizing Christians, the disciples^ as they are reputed, of 
Simon Magus, who joined with the name Christian the rites 
and ceremonies of the jews, with the impurities (even in wor 
ship) of the gentiles, denying the more principal doctrines, and 
hating the holy design of Christianity 'itself, while they seemed 
to have assumed, or to retain the name, as it were on purpose 
the more effectually to wound and injure the Christian cause 
and interest. Men of high pretence to knowledge (whence 
they had the title of gnostics) filched partly from the Jewish 
cabbalism, partly from the pythagorean. By which pretenqe 
they insinuated the more plausibly with such as affected the 
knowledge of more hidden mysteries. Whereto the apostle 
seems to have reference: where he adds immediately after the 
'text, that in Christ were hid all the treasures of wisdom and 
knowledge, ver. 3. And says, he did purposely add it, lest 
any man should beguile them with enticing words ; intimating, 


there was no need to follow those vain pretenders, out of an 
affectation of sublimer knowledge, and forsake Christ in whom 
all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge were hid. 

Of the progress and genias of this sect, not only some of the 
fathers of the church give an account.* but even a noted 
philosopherf among the heathens, who writes professedly against 
them (though not a Word against Christians as such) h^th mak 
ing it his business to refute their absurd doctrines (that trie 
world was in its nature evil, and not made by God, but by some 
evil angel, &c.) and representing them as men of most immoral 
principles and practices ; worse, both in respect of their no * 
tions and morals, than Epicurus himself. It appears this sort 
of men did, in the apostles' days, not only set themselves, with 
great art and industry, to pervert as many professors of Chris 
tianity as they could, but found means (as they might by their 
compliances with the jews, who were them much spread, and 
numerously seated in sundry principal cities under the Eamaii 
power, and who were every where the bitterest enemies to 
Christianity) to raise persecution against those whom they could 
not pervert, which some passages seem to intimate in the epistle 
to the Galatians (who, as that whole epistle shews, were muck 
leavened by this sect, insomuch that the apostle is put to travel 
as in birth again, to have Christ formed in them, arid to reduce 
them back to sincere Christianity.,) namely, that some leaders 
of this sect, so set the people's minds even against the apostle 
himself, that he began to be reputed by them as an enemy, 
(chap. 4. 16.) and was persecuted under that notion, because he 
would not comply with them in the matter of circumcision (ur 
ged as an engagement to the whole law of Moses,) chap. 5.11* 
If I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution ? 
then is the offence of the cross ceased. And that they were as 
mischievous as they could be, to fellow-christians, on the 
same account, biting and devouring them that received not 
their corrupting additions to Christianity, as the circumstances 
of the text shew, ver. 35. 

How like a case this is to ours, with our popish enemies, I 
need not tell you. And now in this case ; when the faith of 
many was overthrown, so much hurt was already done, and the 
clanger of greater was so manifest, partly by the most insinua 
ting methods of seduction, partly by the terror of persecution, 
the great care was to secure the uncorrupted residue, and pre 
serve unextinct the true Christian interest. 

The urgency of this case puts the solicitous, concerned spi- 

* Clemens Alexandr. Trenaeiis Epiphanius, &c. 
f Plotinus, Enneadj 2. 1. o,. 


rit of this great apostle, into an inexpressible agony, as M* 
words do intimate : I would you knew what conflict I have, and 
not for these Colossians only, but for them of Laodicea (which 
was not very remote from Colosse) and for as many as have not 
seen my face in the flesh : for it was a common case, and up 
on him lay the care of all the churches. So that hence hi* 
musing, meditative mind, could not but be revolving many 
thoughts, and casting about for expedients, how the threaten 
ing danger might be obviated and averted. And these in the 
text, which he fastens upon, and wherein his thoughts centre, 
how apt and proper they were to that case (and consequently 
to ours which so little differs) will be seen, 

Secondly. By our opening and viewing the import of the 
text itself: Wherein he 

1 . Proposes to himself the end which he apprehended was 
most desirable, and above all things to be coveted for them ; 
That their hearts might be comforted. A word of much larger 
signification than in vulgar acceptation it is understood to be. 
nxAe<y signifies (with profane as well as the sacred writers) 
not only to administer consolation to a grieved mind, but to ex 
hort, quicken, excite, and animate, to plead and strive with 
dull and stupid, wavering and unresolved minds. It was 
thought indeed comprehensive enough to express all the opera 
tions of the divine Spirit upon the souls of men, when not on 
ly the Christian church, but the world, yet to be christianized, 
was to be the subject of them, as we see John 16'. 8. In res 
pect whereof that Holy Spirit hath its name of office, the parac 
lete, from this word. And it being the passive that is here 
used, it signifies not only the endeavours themselves, which 
are used to the purpose here intended, but the effect of them 
wherein they all terminate, a lively, vigorous, confirmed state 
and habit of souls : and that not indermite, but determined 
to one thing, the Christian faith and profession, which the 
apostle's drift and scope plainly shew. It is not to be thought, 
he so earnestly coveted and strove, that they might be jocund, 
cheerful, abounding with joy and courage, in any course, right 
or wrong ; but that they might be encouraged, established, con 
firmed in their Christianity. And if the word he here uses 
were large enough to signify (as was noted above) all that was 
necessary to make men Christians, it may as well, all that is 
necessary to continue them such. 

In short, the end which the apostle aims at, apaxXucm in 
tended to these Christians, was their establishment and con 
firmed state in their Christianity, as the effect of all apostolical 
or ministerial exhortations, persuasions, encouragements, or any 
whatsoever endeavours ; made efficacious to that purpose by 


the powerful Influence, and operation, of the Holy Ghost. -And 
that it was no lower thing than this, we have sufficient evidence, 
by comparing the close of the foregoing chapter with the be 
ginning of this. Where we find, chap. 1. 28. the avowed de 
sign of his preaching, warning, and teaching in all wisdom,was 
that he might present every man perfect in Christ Jesus, That 
whereas there were various arts and endeavours used, to adul 
terate the Christian religion, and pervert men from the simpli 
city of it, he might lose none, but to his very uttermost keep all 
in a possibility of being presented perfect in Christ Jesus at last, 
that is, that they might be all entire, complete and persevering 
Christians to the end. And for this he adds,ver. 29. he did 
labour, striving according to his working, which wrought in him 
mightily. All his labour, and the strivings of his soul, acted 
by divine power, and by a Spirit greater than his own, did aim 
at this -end. And now hereupon he intimates how fervid these 
liis strivings were, chap. 2. I. I would you did but know (what 
It is not for me to say) -T^IKM ay six, what an agony I endure ! 
how great this my conflict is for you, and for them at Laodicea, 
and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh ! And for 
what ? That their hearts might be comforted (as we read) mean 
ing manifestly the same thing he had expressed before ; that 
notwithstanding all endeavours of others to the contrary they 
might be complete and confirmed Christians to the last, 

2. We have next to consider in the text the means or what 
expedients the apostle conceives would be most effectually con 
ducing to this blessed purpose. They are two, Mutual love 
to one another ; and a clear, certain, efficacious faith of the 
gospel. The former is shortly and plainly expressed the other 
by a copious and most emphatical periphrasis, or circumlocu 
tion. He most earnestly covets to have them knit toge ther by 
both o-viA-GiZxa-Qstluv compacted, as the word imports, in the one 
sv ayaTnj, and unto or into the other, as that particle signifies as 

yravla., &C. 

(1.) Mutual love to one another: as though he had said, The 
thing were done, or much were done towards it, if they were knit to 
gether in love, compacted ; made all of a piece, if by love they 
did firmly cohere, and cleave to one another : for then it would 
be one and all : and it is scarce ever supposable they should, 
al! agree to quit their religion at once. But if that were to be 
supposed, he adds another thing that would put all out of 

(2.) A clear, certain, efficacious faith of the gospel. For the 
several expressions that follow are but a description of such a 
faith. Where we are to note, what he would have them ap 
prehend : -and thy apprehensive principle. 


[I .] What he would have them apprehend : namely, the surii 
and substance of the Christian doctrine, which he calls a mysr 
lery, both because it was so in itself, and it is often spoken of 
.under that name, by our Lord himself, Mat. 13* 11. and fami-r 
liarly by this apostle, Rom. 16'. 25. Ephes. 3. 3, 9. Col. 1. 26, 
and elsewhere : and because of the high pretence of the gnos 
tics to the knowledge of mysteries, which sometimes he slights : 
especially being unaccompanied with love, as, with them, it 
most eminently was. Though I understand all mysteries., and 
all knowledge, and have no charity, lam nothing, 1 Cor. 13. 2. 
Knowledge puiieth up, love edifies, chap. 8. 1. Sometimes, 
,a.s here, he makes the sincere doctrine of the gospel to outvy^ 
.theirs herein, intimating that such as made profession of it could 
have no temptation to go over to them for the knowledge of mys^ 
teries (unless a mystery of iniquity were more pleasing to them) 
whose very religion was that great mystery of godliness. God 
was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of an 
gels, preached unto the gentiles, believed on in the world, 
received up into glory, 1 Tim. 3. 16*. 

Now this mystery he, first, more generally characterizes, by 
calling' it the mystery of God, a divine mystery, not made one, 
by merely human fiction ; and then he very distinctly specifies 
it in the following words, and of the Father and of Christ. Where 
the former and, needs not be thought copulative, but exegetical 
and might be read even, or to wit, or it may be read, both, as it 
is usual with the Greeks as well as Latins when the copulative 
is to be repeated, so to read the former. As if it were said, By 
the mystery of God I mean, not of God alone, and abstractly 
considered ; as if it were enough to you to be mere deists : and 
that the whole superadded revelation concerning the Mediator, 
might be looked upon with indifferency or neglect (as by the 
gnostics it was known then to be, and afterwards by some of 
their great leaders, in the substance of it, with downright ha 
tred and opposition) but that which I so earnestly covet for you 
and wherein I would have you unite, and be all one, is the ac 
knowledgment of the whole mystery of God ; that is, both of 
.Father and of Christ. 

[2.] The apprehensive principle ; which we may, by a gene 
ral name, call faith, and accornmodately enough to the name 
here given us of its object, a mystery which is elsewhere called 
the mystery of faith, (1. Tim. 3. 9.) or a mystery to be believ 
ed : faith being the known principle of receiving the gospel re 
velation. But he here expresses it by words that sienify know 
ledge (TWO-IS and eKiyvuo-is, thereby intimating that the faith of 
.Christians is not to be a blind and unintelligent principle, but 
that though there were contained in the gospel, mysteries never 


to be understood, if God had not afforded a special revelation 
of them on purpose $ yet heing revealed, we ought to have a 
clear and distinct, as well as lively and practical perception of 
them. By these two words, and the other expressions he joins 
in with the former, he seems to intimate two sorts of proper 
ties which belong to that faith of the gospel which he wishes to 
them. First, The rectitude, clearness and certainty of notion. 

Secondly, The efficacy, impressiveness, andimmediateaptitude 
to have influence upon practice, which he would have it car 
ry with it. The latter properties supposing, and depending on 
the former, he there highly exaggerates the matter, and heaps 
together expressions that might with most lively emphasis set 
forth the kind of that knowledge which he conceives would he 
of so great use to them. He wishes them a ewuns a clear, 
perspicacious knowledge, and an assurance, even to a plcro- 
phory, a fulness of assurance, in their knowledge of the 
truth of the gospel. Yea he wishes them the riches, ^ATO*, 
yea and all riches, wattrot 7rXTo rys urA^opo^/ay, of that full assu 
rance, or plerophory of understanding, and knowledge of that 
truth ; apprehending that this would certainly fix them in their 
faith and profession, so as they would never recede from it. 
As when in Christ's own days many went back and walked no 
more with him, John. 6. 66. That which retained others so 
that when Christ asks, "Will ye also go away ?" (ver. 67.) they 
presently answer, "Lord to whom shall we go?" could entertain 
no such thought, was, that, besides what they believed of him 
was of greatest importance to them, Thou hast the words of 
eternal life, ver. 68. So their belief was with that assurance 
as to exclude all suspicion or doubt in the case, and we believe 
and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living 
God, ver. 69. And therefore neither canst want power to 
confer eternal life, as all thy words do import thy design and 
promise to do, nor truth to make good thy own plain words. 
And then he also knew that such a <rwe<ns or knowledge would 
produce, what he further wishes them an svfyvuo-ts, an acknow 
ledgment, an inward, vital owning, a cordial embrace, a 
lively perception of the same blessed truths, which must needs 
further most abundantly contribute, to this their so much de 
sired joint and unanimous stability. 

And now these are the two expedients by which he reckons 
they would be so closely compacted together as that no subtil - 
ty or violence could endanger them ; mutual love and a clear, 
certain, operative faith of the gospel ; if, by the one they did 
cohere with each other; and by the other, adhere to God in 
Christ ; if the one might have with them the place, power and 



bindingness of a cement, the other of a continual inclination* 
yieldingness, and compliance to the magnetism of the centre, 
they would never so fall asunder; as to give any enemies op 
portunity to be the successful authors, or the gratified specta 
tors of their ruin. Thus therefore I would sum up, the sense 
of this scripture, and the answer to the question proposed. 
" That the maintaining of sincere love among Christians, and 
the improving of their faith to greater measures of clearness, 
certainty, and efficacy in reference to the substantiate of Chris 
tianity, 'are to be endeavoured as the best means to unite, es 
tablish and preserve them, against such as design the ruin of 
the truly Christian interest." The case was at that time urg 
ing and important. A great and numerous party was formed, 
of such as did nauseate the simplicity of the Christian religion, 
and hate the true design of it. All the care was what course 
was most proper and suitable to preserve the rest. And you 
see what was then thought most proper. Counsel w r as not ta 
ken to this effect (and therefore Christians in a private capaci 
ty should not covet to have it so) (e Let us bind them by cer 
tain devised preter-evangelical canons to things never thought 
fit to be enjoined by Christ himself, severely urge the strict and 
uniform observance of them, make the terms of Christian com 
munion straiter than he ever made them, add new rituals of 
our own to his institutions, and cut off from us all that (never 
so conscientiously) scruple them." No, this was the practice 
of their common enemies, and it was to narrow and weaken 
the too much already diminished Christian interest. The order 
mentioned ver. 5. might be comely enough, without things, 
that were both unnecessary and offensive. 

Nor was it consulted and resolved to agitate the controversy 
about this power and practice, in perpetual, endless disputa 
tions, and stigmatize them that should not be enlightened and 
satisfied in these matters, as schismatical and wilful; though 
they never so sincerely adhered to the doctrine, and observed 
the laws of Christ, that is, it was neither thought fit to urge the 
unsatisfied upon doubtful things, against their consciences ; nor 
to take order that continual endeavours should he used from age 
to age to satisfy them, or that the church should be always 
vexed with vain controversies about needless things ; that, if 
they were never so lawful, might as well be let alone, without 
detriment to the Christian cause, and perhaps to its greater ad 
vantage. Yea the attempt of imposing any thing upon the 
disciples but what was necessary, is judged a tempting of God, 
(Acts 15. 10.) a bringing the matter to a trial of skill with him, 
whether he could keep the church quiet, when they took so di 
rect a course to distemper and trouble it. But it was thougty 



necessary, and sufficient, that all did unite, and were knit to 
gether in the mutual love of one another, and in a joint adhe 
rence to the great mysteries of faith and salvation. 

In the same cose, when there were so many antichrists abroad, 
and (it is likely) Ebion with his partakers made it their business 
to pervert the Christian doctrine, the same course is taken by 
the blessed apostle St* John, only to endeavour the strength 
ening of these tw r o vital principles, faith in Christ and love to 
fellow-christians, as may be seen at large in his epistles., These 
he presses, as the great commandments, upon the observation 
whereof he seems to account, the safety and peace of the sin 
cere did entirely depend. This isle's commandment, that we 
should believe on the name of his Sdiv Jesus Christ, and love 
one another, as he gave us commandment, 1 Epistle, 3. 23. He 
puts upon Christians no other distinguishing test, but Who 
soever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is bora of God: and 
Every one that loveth bim that begat, loveth him also that is 
begotten of him : (chap. 5. 1.) is only solicitous that they did 
practise the commandment they had from the beginning, that is 
that they loved one another, (2 Epist* 5.) and that they did 
abide in the doctrine of Christ, ver. 9. 

Tiie prudence and piety of those unerring guides of the 
church, (themselves under the certain guidance of the Spi 
rit of truth) directed them to bring the things wherein they 
would have Christians unite, within as narrow a compass as was 
possible, neither multiplying articles of faith, not rites of wor 
ship. These two principles (as they were thought to answer 
the apostles) would fully answer our design and present inqui 
ry. And we may adventure to say of them that they are both 
sufficient, and necessary, the apt and the only means to heal 
and save us; such as would effect our cure, and without which 
nothing will. 

Nor shall I give other answer to the proposed question, than 
what may be deduced from these two, considered according to 
what they are in themselves, and what they naturally lead and 
tend unto. I shall consider them in the order wherein the apos 
tle here mentions them, who you see reserves the more impor 
tant of them to the latter place. 

First. The sincere love of Christians to one another, would 
be a happy means of preserving the truly C hristian interest a- 
mong us. That this may be understood, we must rightly .ap 
prehend what kind of love it is that is here meant. It is speci 
fied by w^hat we find in conjunction with it, the understanding, 
and acknowledgment of the mystery of Christianity. There 
fore it must be the love of Christians to one another as such. 


Whence we collect, lest we too much extend the object of it ou 
the one hand, or contract it on the other, 

1 . That it is not the love only which we owe to one another 
as men, or human creatures merely, that is intended here. That 
were too much to enlarge it, as to our present consideration of 
it. For under that common notion, we should be as much ob 
liged to love the enemies we are to unite against, as the friends 
of religion we are to unite with, since all partake equally in hu 
man nature. It must be a more special love that shall have 
the desired influence in the present case. We cannot be pecu 
liarly endeared and united to some more than to others, 
upon a reason that is common to them with others. We 
are to love them that are born of God, and are his children, other 
wise than the children of men, or such of whom it may be said 
they are of their father the devil ; them that appear to have been 
partakers of a divine nature at another rate, than them who 
have received a mere human, or also the diabolical nature, 1 
John. 5.1. Yet this peculiar love is not to be exclusive of the 
other which is common, but must suppose it, and be superad- 
ed to it, as the reason of it is superadded. For Christianity 
supposes humanity ; and divine grace, human nature. 

2. Nor is it a love to Christians of this or that party or deno 
mination only. That were as much unduly to straiten and con- 

vfine it. The love that is owing to Christians as such, as it be 
longs to them only, so it belongs to all them who, in profession 
and practice, do own sincere and incorrupt Christianity. To 
limit our Christian love to a party of Christians, truly so called, 
is so far from serving the purpose now to be aimed at, that it re 
sists and defeats it ; and instead of a preservative union, infers 
most destructive divisions. It scatters what it should collect 
and gather. It is to love factiously ; and with an unjust love, 
that refuses to give indifferently to every one his due : (for is 
there no love due to a. disciple of Christ in the name of a disci 
ple ? ) it is founded in falsehood, and a lie, denies them to be of 
the Christian community who really are so. It presumes to remove 
the ancient land-marks, not civil but sacred, and draws on, not 
the people's curse only, but that of God himself. It is true 
(and who doubts it?) that I may and ought upon special reasons to 
love some more than others; as relation, acquaintance, obligation 
by favours received from them, more eminent degrees of true 
wortli, and real goodness; but that signifies nothing to the with 
holding of that love jvhich is due to a Christian as such, as that 
also ought not to prejudice the love I owe to a man, as he is a 

Nor am I so promiscuously to distribute this holy love, as to 
place it at random, upon every one that thinks it convenient 
for him to call himself a, Christian, though I ought to love the 


very profession, while I know not who sincerely makes it, and 
do plainly see that jews and pagans were never worse enemies 
to Christ and his religion, than a great part of the Christian 
world. But let my apprehensions be once set right concern 
ing the true essentials of Christianity, (whether consisting in 
doctrinal or vital principles,) then will my love be duly carried 
to all in whom they are found under one common notion, which 
Icoine actually to apply to this or that person, as particular oc 
casions do occur. And so shall always be in a preparation of 
mind, actually to unite in Christian love with every such per 
son, whensoever such occasions do invite me to it. And do we 
now need to be told what such an impartial truly Christian love, 
would do to our common preservation, and to prevent the ruin 
of the Christian interest ? 

(1.) How greatly would it contribute to the vigour of the 
Christian life ? For so we should all equally f 6 hold the head, 
from which all the body by joints and bands having nourish 
ment, ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase 
of God:" as afterwards in this chapter, ver. 19. Thus (as it 
is in that other parallel text of Scripture) speaking the truth in 
love, we shall grow up into him iri all things, which is the head 
even Christ : from whom the whole body fitly joined together, 
and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according 
to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh 
increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in love, Eph.4, 
15, 16. Obstructions that hinder the free circulation of blood 
and spirits, do not more certainly infer languishings in the na 
tural body, than the want of such a diffusive love, shuts up, 
and shrivels the destitute parts, and hinders the diffusion of a 
nutritive vital influence, in the body of Christ. 

(2.) It would inspire Christians generally with a sacred cou 
rage and fortitude, when they should know, and even feel them 
selves knit together in love. How doth the revolt of any con 
siderable part of an army, discourage the rest ! or if they be 
pot entire, and of a piece ! Mutual love animates them, as no 
thing more, when they are prepared to live and die together, 
arid love hath before joined, whom now, their common danger 
also joins. They otherwise signify but as so many single per 
sons, each one but caring and contriving how to shift for him 
self. Love makes them significant to one another. So 
as that every one understands himself to be the common care of 
all the rest. It makes Christians the more resolute in their ad 
herence to truth and goodness, when (from their not-doubted 
love) they are sure of the help, the counsels and prayers of the 
Christian community, and apprehend, by their declining, they 
shall grieve those whom they love, and who they know love 


them. If any imagine themselves intended to be given up, & 
sacrifices, to the rage of the common enemy, their hearts are 
the apter to sink, they are most exposed to temptations to pre 
varicate, and the rest will be apt to expect the like usage from 
them, if themselves be reduced to the like exigency, and be lia 
ble to the same temptations. 

(3.) It would certainly in our present case, extinguish or a* 
bate the so contrary unhallowed fire of our anger and wrath to 
wards one another, as the celestial beams do the baser culinary 
fire, which burns more fervently when the sun hath less power. 
Then would debates, if there must be any, be managed with 
out intemperate heat. We should be remote from being an 
gry that we cannot convey our own sentiments into another's 
mind ; which, when we are, our business is the more remote 5 
we make ourselves less capable of reasoning aptly to convince, 
and (because anger begets anger, as love doth love) render the 
other less susceptible of conviction. Why are we yet to learn 
that the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God ? 
What is gained by it? So little doth angry contention about 
small matters avail, that even they that happen to have the better 
cause lose by it, and their advantage cannot recompence the da 
mage and hurt that ensues to the church and to themselves. Our 
famous Davenant (Sent, ad Dur.) speaking of the noted contro 
versy between Stephen bishop of Rome, who, he says, as 
much as in him lay, did with a schismatical spirit tear the 
church, and Cyprian who with great lenity and Christian 
charity professes that he would not break the Lord's peace for 
diversity of opinion, nor remove any from the right of commu 
nion, concludes that erring Cyprian deserved better of the church 
of Christ than orthodox Stephen. He thought him the schis 
matic, whom he thought in the right, and that his orthodoxy 
(as it was accompanied) was more mischievous to the churchy 
than the other's error. Nor can a man do that hurt to others, 
without suffering it more principally. The distemper of his 
own spirit, what can recompence ! and how apt is it to grow in 
him ; and, while it grows in himself, to propagate itself among 
others ! Whereupon, if the want of love hinders the nourish 
ment of the body, much more do the things, which, when it is 
wanting, are wont to fill up its place. For as naturally as love 
begets love, so do wrath, er?vy, malice, calumny, beget 
one another, and spread a poison and virulency through the 
body, which necessarily wastes and tends to destroy it. How 
soon did the Christian'church cease to be itself ! and the early 
vigour of primitive Christianity degenerate into insipid, spirit 
less formality, when once it became contentious ! It broke intp' 



parties, sects multiplied, animosities grew high, and the griev 
ed Spirit of love retired from it ! which is grieved by nothing 
more than by bitterness, wrath, anger, &c. as the connexion of 
these two verses intimates, Eph. 4. 30, 31. Grieve not the 
Holy Spirit of God, . whereby ye are sealed unto the day of re 
demption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and cla 
mour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all ma- 
Jice. And to the same purpose is that, 1 Pet. 2. 1, 2. Where 
fore laying aside all malice, and all guile and hypocrisies, and 
envies, and all evil speakings, as new-born babes desire the sin 
cere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. By this 
means religion, once dispirited, loses its majesty and awful- 
ness, and even tempts and invites the assaults and insultation 
of enemies. 

(4.) It would oblige us to all acts of mutual kindness and 
friendship. If such a love did govern in us, we should be al 
ways ready to serve one another in love, to bear each other's 
burdens, to afford our mutual counsel and help to one another, 
even in our private affairs if called thereto : especially in that 
which is our common concern, the preserving and promoting 
the interest of religion \ and to our uttermost strengthen each 
other's hands herein. It would engage us to a free, amicable 
conversation with one another, upon this account ; would not 
let us do so absurd a thing as to confine our friendship to those 
of our own party, which we might as reasonably, to men of our 
own stature, or to those whose voice and air, and look, and 
mien, were likest our own. It would make us not be ashamed 
to be seen in each other's company, or be shy of owning one a- 
nother. We should not be to one another as Jews and Sama 
ritans that had no dealing with one another, or as the poet notes 
they were to other nations ; Non momtrare vias eadem nisi 
sacra colenti, not so much as to shew the war/ to one not of 
their religion. There would be no partition-wall through which 
love would not easily open a way of friendly commerce, by 
which we should insensibly slide, more and more, into one ano 
ther's hearts. Whence also, 

(5.) Prejudices would cease, and jealousies concerning each 
other. A mutual confidence would be begotten. We should 
no more suspect one another of ill designs upon each other, 
than lest our right hand should wait an opportunity of cutting 
off" the left. We should believe one another in our mutual pro 
fessions, of whatsoever sort, both of kindness to one another, 
and that we really doubt and scruple the*things which we say 
we do. 

(6.) This would hence make us earnestly covet an entire u- 
fiion in all the things wherein we differ, and contribute greatly 


to it. We are too prone many times to dislike things, for the 
disliked persons' sake who practise them. And a prevailing dis 
affection makes us unapt to understand one another ; precludes 
our entrance into one another's mind and sense : which, if 
love did once open, and inclined us more to consider the mat 
ters of difference themselves, than to imagine some reserved 
meaning and design of the persons that differ from us : it is 
likely we might find ourselves much nearer to one another, 
than we did apprehend we were ; and that it were a much ea 
sier step for the one side to go quite over to the other. But if 
that cannot be, 

(7.) It would make us much more apt to yield to one ano 
ther, and abate all that ever we can, in order to as full an ac 
commodation as is any way possible, that if we cannot agree up^ 
/on either extreme, we might at least meet in the middle. It 
would cause an emulation who should be larger in their grants 
to this purpose : as it was professed by Luther when so much was 
done at Marpurg towards an agreement between him and the 
Helvetians, that he would not allow that praise to the other 
party that they should be more desirous of peace and concord 
than he. Of which amicable conference, and of that after 
wards at Wittenburg, and several other negotiations to that 
purpose, account is given by divers :* and insisted on by 
some of our own great divines as precedential to the concord 
they endeavoured between the Saxon and the Helvetian church 
es of later tinuv, as bishop Moreton, bishop Hal], bishop 
Davenant, in their several sentences or judgments written to 
Mr. Dury upon that subject. 

And indeed when I have read the pacific writings of those 
eminent worthies, for the composing of those differences 
abroad, I could not but wonder that the same peaceable spirit 
did not endeavour with more effect the composing of our own 
much lesser differences at home. But the things of our peace 
were (as they still are) hid from our eyes,, with the more visi 
bly just severity, by how much they have been nearer us, and 
more obvious to the easy view of any but an averse eye. 
It is not for us to prescribe (as was said) to persons that are now 
in so eminent stations as these were at that time. But may we 
not hope to find with such (and where should we rather expect 
to find it ? ) that compassion and mercifulness in imitatibn of 
the blessed Jesus, their Lord and ours, as to consider and stu 
dy the necessities of souls in these respects, and at least, wil- 

* Hospinian. Histor. Sacrameritar. Thuanus, c. Though by 
Scultetus's account, that pretence was too little answered. 


lingly to connive at., and very heartily approve some indulgen 
ces and abatements in the administrations of the inferior clergy, 
as they may not think fit themselves positively to order and en 
join ? Otherwise I believe it could not but give some trouble 
to a Conscientious conforming minister, if a sober pious person, 
sound in the faith, and of a regular life, should tell him he is 
willing to use his ministry, in some of the ordinances of Christ, 
if only he would abate or dispense with some annexed ceremony 
which in conscience he dare not use or admit of. I believe it 
would trouble such a minister to deal with a person of this cha 
racter as a pagan because of his scruple, and put him upon con 
sidering whether he ought not rather to dispense with man's 
rule, than with God's. I know what the same bishop Dave- 
nant hath expressly said, that " He that believes the 
things contained in the apostle's creed, and endeavours to live a 
life agreeable to the precepts of Christ, ought not to be expung 
ed from the roll of Christians, nor be driven from communi 
on with the other members of any church whatsoever." (Ibid) 
However, truly Christian love would do herein, all that it can, 
supplying the rest by grief that it can do no more. 

(8.) It would certainly make us abstain from mutual cen 
sures of one another as insincere for our remaining differences. 
Charity that thinks no evil, would make us not need the re 
proof, Rom. 14. 4. Who art thouth at judgest another's servant? 
The common aptness hereunto among us shews how little that 
divine principle rules in our hearts, that in defiance of our rule 
and the authority of the great God and our blessed Redeemer, 
to whom all judgment is committed, and who hath so express 
ly forbidden us, to judge lest we be judged, (Mat. 7- !) we gi ye 
ourselves so vast a liberty ! and set no other bounds to our 
usurped licence of judging, than nature hath set to our power 
of thin-king, that is, think all the mischievous thoughts of them 
that differ from us that we know how to devise or invent, as if 
we would say "Our thoughts (and then by an easy advance, our 
tongues) are our own, who is Lord over us ?" I animadvert 
not on this as the fault of one party, but wheresoever it lies, 
as God knows how diffused a poison this is, among them 
that are satisfied with the public constitutions towards them 
that dissent from them, and with these back again towards 
them, and with the several parties of both these towards one 
another. This uniting, knitting love would make us refrain, not 
merely from the restraint of God's laws in this case, but from 
a benign disposition, as that which the temper of our spirits 
would abhor from. So that such as are well content with the 
public forms and rites of worship, would have no inclination to 
judge them that apprehend not things with their understandings, 



nor relish with their taste, as persons that therefore hav<* cut 
themselves off from Christ, and the hody of Christ. They 
might learn from the Cassandrian moderation, and from the 
avowed sentiments of that man * (whose temper is better to be 
liked than his terms of union) who speaking of such as being 
formerly rejected (meaning the protestants) for finding fault 
with abases in the church, had by the urgency of their con 
science altered somewhat in the way of their teaching, and the 
form of their service, and are therefore said to have fallen off 
from the church, and are numbered among heretics and schis- 
jiiatics. It is, saith he, to be inquired how rightly and justly 
this is determined of them. For there is to be considered, as 
to the church, the head and the body. From the head there 
is no departure but by doctrine disagreeable to Christ the head; 
from the body there is no departure by diversity of rites and 
opinions, but only by the defect of charity. So that this learn-* 
ed romauist neither thinks them heretics that hold the head, 
nor schismatics, for such differences as ours are, from the 
rest of the body, if love arid chanty towards them remain. And 
again, where this love remains, and bears rule, it can as little 
be, that they who are unsatisfied with the way of worship that 
more generally obtains, should censure them that are satisfied 
as insincere, merely because of this difference. It cannot per* 
mit that we should think all the black thoughts we can invent 
of them, as if because they have not our consciences they had 
none, or because they see not with our eyes, they w r ere there* 
fore both utterly, and wilfully blind. To be here more parti* 
cular, the most, you know, are for the public way of worship^ 
and of these, some are for it as tolerable only, others as the 
best way, and think all other ways of worshipping God in as 
semblies (being forbidden as they think by a just law) sinful. 
Others, dissenting, are of several sorts. Some think the con 
formity required of ministers sinful, because of previous terms 
required of them which they judge to be so, but not that which 
is required of the people. Of which sort, some that think it 
not simply unlawful, find it however less edifying to them, and 
though they can therefore partake in it at some times, think 
themselves more ordinarily bound to attend such other means 
as they find m^re conducing to their spiritual profit and advan 
tage, judging they have an undoubted right from Christ, anci? 
cntly allowed from age to age in the best times of the Chris* 
tian church, and never justly taken from them, of choosing 
the pastors to whose ordinary care and conduct, they shal} 

* Cassander de officio pii ac publics Tranquillitati^ vere amanti? 
*5rL Cassender on the offices of a pious man aad poe wtw truJV 
lovea the public peace. 


cdttmft their souls. Others judge the public way simply un 
lawful^ and therefore judge themselves bound to decline it 
wholly ; and are the more averse to any participation in it, as 
apprehending it to have no suitableness or aptitude to profit 
their souls : wherein they are the more confirmed that they be 
lieve not God will ever bless the means which he hath not ap 
pointed. Now how apt all these are unto very severe censures 
of one another, he knows not the age,, who is ignorant. One 
sort censuring the other as humoursome, factious, schismatical; 
the others them back again, as formal, popishly affected, des 
titute of any savour of spiritual things, having nothing of God 
in them, or of the life and power of godliness. 

Now is this suitable to the love that should rule among 
Christians ? or to the reverence we ought to have for that autho 
rity that forbids such judging ? It ought to be considered both 
that all have not the same understanding, nor the same gust 
and relish of things. 

[1 .] Not the same understanding. And therefore where 
conscience hath the same rule, it cannot have, with every one 
the same actual latitude, that rule, being so very diversely un 
derstood, which different estimate of consciences, the apostle 
hath express reference to, in that large and most healing dis 
course of his, Rom. 14. One (saith he, ver. 2.) believeth that 
he may eat all things, another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Nor 
doth he, in reference to such doubted things, d.etermine what 
all should do, or not do, by particular rules, concerning every 
such case, that was then depending, which it seems he reckon 
ed was not necessary, or that might afterwards fall out, which 
was little to be expected. But he lays down one general rule, 
against judging one another, which he presses with that autho 
rity, and such awful reasons as might make a Christian heart 
tremble to be guilty of it. 

And in reference to the mentioned differences among our 
selves (as well as others no nearer to the substantiate and vitals 
of our religion) there is somewhat else to be done than to con 
clude against a man's sincerity because of such differing senti 
ments and practices, and which certainly would be done, if 
truly Christian love, or even justice itself, did take place as 
they ought ; that is, it would be considered what these several 
differing parties have to say for themselves, what reasons they 
may alledge, and whether though they be not sufficient to jus 
tify their several opinions and practices (as all cannot be in the 
right) they be not such as by which a conscientious man, a 
sincere fearer of God, may be swayed, so as to take the way 
which he is found in by the ducture of an upright (though mis 
guided) conscience, and not as being under the government of 


depraved vicious inclination. As those that can, and do, yield 
the conformity that is required of ministers, though perhaps 
they wish some things altered, why may it not be supposed they 
sincerely think (though it should be mistakingly) that the 
things more liable to exception are capable of a sense wherein 
they are not unlawful: and not being so, they think themselves 
bound to take the opportunity which they this way obtain of do 
ing good to the souls of men ? others also apprehending it law 
ful, how possible is it to them from a certain reverence they 
have for antiquity, and for our own first reformers, to think it 
best and fittest to be continued ! Nor is it unsupposable that 
many of the laity may upon the same grounds have the same 

Again, divers in the ministry judging the terms unlawful up 
on which only they can have liberty for the public exercise of it; is 
it not possible they may, with a sincere conscience, think them 
selves not therefore obliged wholly to renounce their calling and 
office, to which they were duly set apart, and had by their own 
solemn vow given up themselves ; but to do so much of the 
work of it as they can have opportunity for ? And whereas 
the people, some may think the public forms and ways of wor 
ship not simply unlawful, but find them less edifying to them 
than other means which the providence of God affords them : 
and therefore do more ordinarily attend those, though sometimes 
also the other. Why should, it be thought on the one hand, or 
the other, that it is so little possible they should be guided by 
reasonable and conscientious considerations herein, that nothing 
but corrupt inclination must be understood to govern them ? Is 
it not supposuble, that accounting the public worship substan 
tially agreeable to divine institution, though in some accidentals 
too disagreeable, they may think there is more to incline them 
at some times to attend it, than totally to disown it ? For what 
worship is there on earth that is in all things incorrupt ? And 
they may apprehend it fit to testify their union with the sincere 
Christians, that may be statedly under that form, and especial 
ly in a time when the contest is so high in the world, between 
them that profess the substance of reformed Christianity, and, 
them that have so much deformed it ; and may conceive it be 
coming them, at some times, to express their own unconfined- 
ness to a party, and to use that liberty which, they think, 
should not be judged by another man's conscience, which yet 
they would have regard to, where there are not greater reasons to 
preponderate. They are indeed under a disadvantage (with them 
that are apt to use a greater liberty in their censures, than the vr 
do in their practice in these matters) when it falls out that their 
partial compliance is the means of their security from penalties; 


and their disadvantage is greater, whose judgment to this pur 
pose hath not heen formerly declared and made known. But 
they for shame ought to be silent whose total compliance gains 
them not only immunity., but great emoluments. And that 
perhaps yielded, not according to a former,, but (at that time when 
the opportunity occurred) a new and altered judgment. They 
may however know themselves to be moved by greater ends 
than secular interest : and so may these we now speak of, and 
yet may think the preservation of their earthly portion, where-? 
with they are to glorify God in this world, not too little an end 
to be designed and endeavoured by lawful means. It were a very- 
uncouth and sinful thing to do a spiritual action for a carnal end, 
but if the thing sincerely and supremely designed, be the glory 
of God, that is the most spiritual end : if it be not, that ought 
to be changed which is wrong, not that which is right : the un 
lawful end, not the lawful action, if it be lawful. If it be not, 
their good end will not justfy their action, but it will their 
sincerity ; which is all that this discourse intends. 

And then for such as decline the public worship totally, as 
judging it simply unlawful ; is it not possible they may be led 
to that practice by somewhat else than humour and factious in 
clination ? Have they not that to say, which may at least seem 
solid and strong to a conscientious man ? How jealous God did 
heretofore show himself in all the affairs of his worship ! How 
particular in the appointment even of the smallest things lie 
would have appertain to it ! How unsuitable multiplied ceremo 
nies are to the mature state of the church ! and how sensibly 
burdensome they were to the disciples of the first age as a yoke- 
not to be borne 5 and that therefore God himself, when the sea 
son of maturity, and the fulness of time came, thought fit to ab 
rogate those of his own former appointment, with no (probable) 
design to allow men the liberty of substituting others in their 
room. Why is it not to be thought that the fear of the great God 
withholds them from doing what the) judge would oftend him? 
And that, if they err, it is for fear of erring? Why can nothing 
be thought on whereto to impute their practice, but peevish hu 
mour ? Especially if that be considered (which is common to these 
two last mentioned sorts of men) that they sensibly find other 
means more edifying to them, or expect them only to be so, if 
the other be thought unlawful. If they be thought merely law 
ful, and such as may therefore be used upon weighty reasons at 
some times, but are found less edifying, who can doubt but I 
ought to use for my soul (at least in an ordinary course) the apt- 
cst means that I can ordinarily have for the promoting its edi 
fication and salvation ? Do we not reckon ourselves to owe so 


much even to our bodies ? And what is another man's opinion 
to signify against my sense and constant experience ? Is there 
not such a thing as a mental idiosyncrasy (or peculiarity of 
temper) as well as a bodily? and whereto what is most agreea 
ble, any man that is not destitute of ordinary understanding is 
the fittest judge himself: as every one, that is not a mere fool 
is so much a physician as to know what diet suits him best. 

And if it be said against the former of these two sorts, Are 
they not at all times obliged to use the means which are most 
edifying? They may say, At all times when they have nothing 
to outweigh their own present edification. But it is not impos 
sible that a conscientious judgment may esteem all the fore- 
mentioned considerations concurring, to be of more weight than 
the greater advantage hoped to be gained in that one hour* 
Nor need any man be ashamed professedly to avow that which 
may seem the least of them, the saving of himself from tem 
poral rain. For he is to be accountable to God for what porti 
on he hath intrusted him with of the good things of this life > 
arid is not to throw it away without sufficient cause. Who see* 
not that more is allowed and ordinarily done without scruple or 
censure upon the like account ? As to omit the hearing of a 
sermon, if at that time one's house be on fire, yea or if it be to 
save my neighbour's, or the plucking of an ox or sheep out of a 
ditch on the Lord's-day, when I might have been employed at 
that time in the solemn worship of God to my spiritual advan 
tage. A mere commutation unto less advantage upon an 
equally or more urgent necessity is less than omission. And 
they that shall have learned, as our Saviour directs, " What 
that means, I will have mercy and not sacrifice/' will not 
condemn the guiltless. 

Only such are concerned first to search well and be satisfied 
concerning the lawfulness of their action in itself, that they do 
it not with a self- condemning conscience, nor with a ground- 
lessly self-justifying one. And tlien especially to see to it that 
their end be right : God's interest, not their own, otherwise 
than in a due, entire subordination to his. We can never act 
innocently or comfortably in any thing, till he be in every thing 
more absolutely our all in all ; and have much more reason to 
be scrupulous, and (if others knew our hearts) were much more 
liable to censure, that, in our common affairs, he is so much 
forgotten, that we live not more entirely to him ; which we 
little animadvert upon, and are very officious to cast motes out 
of our brother's eye, when this beam is in our own. 

The design of mentioning these hints of reasons for so diffe 
rent judgments and practices, is not to shew which are strong 
est, and ought to prevail, which cannot be the business of so 


s&ort-a discourse as this, and so much of another nature ; but, 
to shew that while there is any thing colourable to be alledged 
for this or that way, true Christian love, compassion of com 
mon human frailty, and a duly humble sense of a man's own > 
would oblige him to think that conscience towards God may 
have a greater hand (though with some misguided itself) in 
guiding men the different ways they take, than is commonly 
thought. And to consider though such and such reasons seem 
not weighty to me, they may to some others, ivho are as muck 
afraid of sinning against God as I; and perhaps their under 
standings as good in other matters as mine. It would be con* 
sidered how really difficult the controversy is about the cere^ 
monies, and some other parts of conformity. Perhaps few me 
taphysical questions are disputed with more subtilty than that 
controversy is managed with, by Arch-bishop Whitgift, bi 
shop Morton, doctor Burgesse, doctor Ames, Cartwright, 
Calverwood, and others. And how very easily possible and 
pardonable is it to unlearned persons, or of weaker intellectuals, 
being obliged in order to their practice to give a judgment in. 
reference to these things one way or other, to judge amiss! 
Why should we expect every sincerely pious man to be able to 
hit the very point of truth, and right, in matters that belong, 
as bishop Davenant once said in another case non adfidem 
fundamentaleniy sed ad peritiam Theologicam, fy fortasse 
ne ad hanc quidem, sed aliquando ad curiositatem Theologo- 
rum, not to the foundation of our faith, but to the skitt of 
divines, and perhaps not to this neither, but sometimes only to 
their curiosity. What were to be done in reference to so nicely 
disputable things made part of the terms of Christian commu 
nion, is more the matter of our wish than hope, till by a gra 
cious influence God better men's minds, or by a more deeply 
felt necessity bring us to understand what is to be done. Our 
case is ill when only vexatio dat intellectum, when nothing but 
sorrow and suffering will make us wise, which is very likely 
from the righteous hand of God to be our common lot. 

In the mean time it is hard to think that he cannot be a 
sincerely pious man whose understanding is riot capable of so 
difficult things, as to make a certainly right judgment about 
them. In absolute fyfacili stat eternitas, to make things 
perfect and distinct is the property of eternity. And why 
should not the communion of, persons going into a blessed 
eternity have the same measure ? 

Andbesides the different size, and capacity of men's understand - 
Jgs, and consequently of their conscientious determinations. 

[2,] There are also as differing relishes of these things, which 
Christian lore would oblige a man to consider with equanimi- 


ty, so as thereupon to refrain hard censures. All good men 
Lave not the same relish of the various forms and modes of dis 
pensing the truths and ordinances of Christ. Some of our suf 
fering brethren in Q. Mary's days are said to have found great 
spiritual refreshing by the common prayer. And, in our own 
days, some may profess to have their hearts warmed, their af 
fections raised and elevated by it. They are no rule to us ; but 
it would less become us, hereupon to suspect their sincerity, 
than our own. Others again cannot relish such modes of wor 
ship, when in the ministry of such as use them not, they find a 
very sensible delight and savour. 

And this, by the way, shews the great difference between 
such things as have their evidence and goodness from God him 
self, and those that borrow their recommendableness only from 
human device. All good men, in all the times and ages of 
the Christian church, have a constant value and love for the 
great substantiate of religion,, which have in them that inward 
evidence and excellency, as command and captivate a rec 
tified mind and heart, whereas the mere external forms of it, 
the outward dress and garb, are variously esteemed and despised^ 
liked and disliked by the same sortof men, that is, by very sin 
cere lovers of God, not only in divers times and ages, but even 
in the same time. How different hath the esteem been of the 
liturgic forms with them who bear the same mind, full of re 
verence and love towards religion itself ! as that habit is 
thought decent at one time, which in another is despicably ri 
diculous ; whereas a person in himself comely and graceful, is 
always accounted so, by all, and at all times. 

. Now this various gust and relish cannot but have influence, 
more remotely, upon the conscientious determination of our 
choice, concerning our usual way of worshipping God. For 
how should I edify by what is disgustful to me ? Though it be 
,true that our spiritual edification lies more in the informing of 
our judgments, and confirming our resolutions, than in the 
gusts and relishes of affection^ yet who sees not that these are 
of great use even to the other ? and that it is necessary that 
at least there be not a disgust or antipathy ? What is constant 
ly less grateful, will certainly be less nutritive. That is usual 
ly necessary to nourishment ; though, alone, it be not suffi 
cient, as it is in the matter of bodily repasts, Who can 
without great prejudice be bound to eat always of a food that he 
disrelishes though he may without much inconvenience, for a 
valuable reason, do it at some time. 

And they that think all this alleged difference is but fancy, 
shew they understand little of human nature, and less of religi 
on : though they may have that in themselves too which they 


clo not so distinctly reflect upon, even that peculiar gust and 
relish, which they make so little account of. For, have they 
not as great a disgust of the others, way, as they have of theirs? 
Would they not as much regret to he tied to theirs ? Have 
they not as great a liking of their own ? And doth not common 
experience shew that there are as different mental relishes as 
bodily ? How comes one man in the matters of literature to savour 
metaphysics ? another mathematics, another history, and the 
like ? and no man's genius can he forced in these things. Why 
may there not be the like difference in the matters of religion? 
And I would fain know what that religion is worth that is with 
out a gust and savour, that is insipid and unpleasant, much 
more that would, being used in a constant course, this or that 
way, be nauseous and offensive ? 

If indeed men nauseate that which is necessary for them, the 
gospel, for instance, or religion itself, that is certainly such a 
distemper, as if the grace of God overcome it not, will be 
mortal to them, and we are not to think of relieving them, by 
withdrawing the offending object, which itself must be the 
means of their cure. But is there any parity between the sub 
stance of religion, which is of God's appointing, and the su- 
peradded modes of it, that are of our own ? 

Upon the whole, nothing is more agreeable, either to this 
divine principle of love, nothing (within our compass) more 
conducible to our end, the ceasing of our differences (which 
are most likely to die and vanish by neglect) or their ceasing to 
be inconvenient to us, than to bear calm and placid minds to 
wards one another under them, to banish all hard thoughts 
because of them. If I can contribute no way else to union, 
from this holy dictate and law of the spirit of love, I can at 
least abstain from censuring my fellow Christians. It is the, 
easiest thing in the world one would think not to do, espe 
cially not to do a thing of itself ungrateful to a well tempered 
mind ; and a great privilege not to be obliged to judge another 
man's conscience and practice, when it is so easy to misjudge 
and do wrong. Most of all when the matter wherein I pre 
sume to sit in judgment upon another is of so high a nature, 
as the posture of his heart God-ward : a matter peculiarly be 
longing to another tribunal, of divine cognizance, and which 
we all confess to be only known to God himself. And if I 
would take upon me to conclude a man insincere, and a hy 
pocrite, only because he is not of my mind in these smaller 
things that are controverted among us, how would I form my 
argument ? No one can, with sincerity, differ from that man 
whose understanding is so good and clear, as to apprehend all 
things with absolute certainty, just as they are : and then go 



on to assume (and a strange assuming it must be) But my un 
derstanding is so good and clear as, &c. It is hard to say whe 
ther the uncharitableness of the one assertion, or the arrogance 
of the other is greater ; and whether both be more immoral, or 
absurd. But the impiety is worst of all, for how insolently 
doth such a man take upon him to make a new gospel ! and 
oilier terms of salvation than God hath made ! when his sen 
timents and determinations of things which God hath never 
made necessary, must be the measure and rule of life and death 
to men ! How is the throne and judicial power of the Redeem 
er usurped which he hath founded in his blood. Who art thou 
that judgest another man's servant ? to his own master he stand- 
eth or falleth. Rom. 14. 4. Yea, he shall be holden up, 
for God is able to make him stand, (ver. 9.) For to this end 
Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord 
both of the dead and living, ver. 10. But why dost thou judge 
thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? we 
shall all stand before the judgment- seat of Christ, ver. 1 1. For 
it is written, as I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to 
me, and every tongue shall confess to God. One would think 
they that lay no restraint upon themselves in this matter of judg 
ing their brethren, upon every light occasion, reckon this 
chapter came by chance into the Bible. And that our Lord 
spake himself, at random, words that had no meaning, when 
he said, Mat. 7- 1- Judge not that you be not judged, &c. 
What man that fears God would not dread to be the framer of 
a new gospel, and of new terms of salvation ? It is a great so 
lace indeed to a sincere mind, but implies a severe rebuke, in 
the mean time, to such a self -assuming censorious spirit, that 
it may, in such a case, be so truly said, it is a much easier 
tiling to please God than man. 

They that find this measure will have the better of it, if they 
can abstain from retaliating, when as* the reason of it is the 
same on both sides. For they may say, You are to remember 
I differ no more from you in this matter, than you do from me, 
and if I judge not you about it, what greater reason have you to. 
judge me ? And they have little reason to value such a man's 
judgment concerning their duty in a doubtful matter, who can 
not see his own in so plain a case. The matter for which they 
judge me may be very doubtful, but nothing can be plainer 
than that they ought not so to judge. 

(9.) A due Christian love would oblige us, after competent 
endeavours of mutual satisfaction about the matters wherein we 
differ, to forbear further urging of one another concerning them. 
Which urging may be two ways : either by application to out, 
affections, or to our reason and judgment- 


Some perhaps find it more suitable to their own temper and 
frieasure of understanding and conscience, to go the former 
way ; and only vehemently persuade to do the thing, wherein 
tlie other shall comply with them, and in some sort justify the 
course which they have taken, without regard to the other's 
conscience, press them right or wrong to fall in with them. 
Sometimes labouring to work upon their kindness, by flattery, 
sometimes upon their fear, by threats and menaces. Sincere 
love would certainly abhor to do thus. Would it let . me violate 
another's conscience any way? The love I bear to a fellow- 
christian, if it be true, having for its measure that wherewith 
I love myself, would no more let me do it than hurt the apple 
of mine own eye. An inspirited waking conscience is as ten 
der a thing, and capable of a worse sort of hurt. If some have 
more latitude than I, and think what they may do, in present 
circumstances so far as they may, they must, would it not be 
the dictate of love patiently to admit it, especially when it 
comes to suffering. For let me put my own soul in his soul's 
stead, and would I be willing to suflfer upon another man's con 
science, and not upon my own? and forfeit the consolations 
which in a suffering condition belong to them who for consci 
ence towards God endure grief, would I, if I loved them, be 
content they had the grief, and did want the consolation ? 
There will be still found in a state of suffering, somewhat that 
will prove a common cause to good men wherein they will most 
entirely agree, whatsoever smaller things they may differ in. 
As the pious bishops Ridley and Hooper well agreed upon a 
martyrdom at the stake, in the same important cause, who be 
fore, had differed (somewhat angrily) about some ceremonies. 
Concerning which difference how pathetical is the letter * 
of the former of these to the other, when both were prisoners 
(the one at Oxford the other at London) on the same account. 
But now, my dear brother (saith he) forasmuch as we thorough 
ly agree and wholly consent together in those things which are 
the grounds, and substantial points of our religion ; against the 
which the world so furiously rageth in these our days, howso 
ever, in time past, by certain by- matters and circumstances of 
religion, your wisdom, and my simplicity (I grant) have a little 
jarred; each of us following the abundance of his own .sense 
and judgment. Now, I say, be you assured, that even with 
my whole heart, God is my witness, in the bowels of Christ, 
I love you in the truth, and for the truth's sake, which abideth, 
in us, and as I am persuaded shall, by the grace of God, abide 
in us for evermore. 

* Fox Martyr. 


Aprain, if others have less latitude ; it would he far from us 
to add to the affliction they are liable to, upon that very account, 
by a vexatious urging and importuning them. Especially to do 
it with insulting threats, and menaces, and labour to overawe 
their brethren, against their consciences, into the embracing of 
their sentiments and way. Is it possible a Christian should not 
Understand how necessary it is to every one's duty and peace that 
he exactly follow that direction of the apostle's, and esteem it 
most, sacred, Rom. 14. 5. Let every man be fully persuaded in 
his own mind ? and that we firmly resolve never to do any 
thing with regret or a misgiving heart, at least. Not against a 
prevailing doubt, for in very doubtful cases to be rid of all for- 
mido oppositi or suspicion that the matter may be otherwise, 
is perhaps impossible to me, but to do any thing against the 
preponderating inclination of my judgment and conscience, were 
great wickedness, and such as, if it were known, would make 
me unfit for any communion whatsoever. And 1 do here ap 
peal to you who most severely blame any of us for our dissent, 
from you, whether if we should thus declare to you, "That it 
is truly against our consciences to communicate with you upon 
your terms, we believe we should greatly offend God in it, and 
draw upon us his displeasure, but yet to please you, and pre 
vent our temporal inconvenience, or ruin, we will do it:" I ap 
peal to you, I say, whether we should not hereby make our 
selves uncapable of any Christian communion with you or any 
others ? This is then the plain state of the case, and you do 
even put these words into our mouths : " If we follow the dic 
tate of our consciences we must decline you ; if we go against it, 
you must decline us ; supposing we declare it, if we declare it 
not, we have nothing to qualify us for your communion but hy 
pocrisy and dissimulation ! and what do you gain by such an ac 
cession to the church ? you have gained, in any such case, not 
half the man, the outside, the carcass only, or the shadow of the 
man, that is, when you have debauched our consciences, when 
you have spoiled us, and made us worth nothing, then we are 
yours, wherein you shew nothing of love, either to us, or to 

Others again that are, themselves, men of more reason and 
conscience, take the somewhat more manly and Christian course; 
and bend themselves by argument to convince the reason, and 
satisfy the consciences of such as differ from them. But herein 
also there may be an excess, that is unprofitable and grievous 
to those they would work upon by this course : and from which 
therefore Christian love, studying the peace and quiet of their 
brethren would restrain them. " I say from the ungrateful excess 
of such an endeavour, for 1 would fain know, can there not 
herein be an excess ? Is it not supposuble that they who differ 


from me, in such lesser things, may be sometime arrived to a 
settlement and fixedness of judgment in them, as well as 1 ? Is 
it not possible they have weighed the moments of things as much 
as I have done ? Is such a cause infinite ? Is it not possible that 
all may have been said in it which is to be said, and the matter 
have been sifted to the very bran ? So that all my further ar- 
guings may serve but to argue my vain self-confidence, or abound- 
ingness in my own sense, as if all wisdom were to die with me, 
Or what if they serve at length, but to shew the incapacity of the 
subject to be wrought upon, and the different complexion of hiss 
mind I am treating with. All cannot receive all things : we 
cannot make our sentiments enter with every one. Perhaps 
they shew the weakness of his understanding, and then hath 
that direction of the apostle no authority with us ? Him that is 
weak in the faith receive, but not to doubtful disputations. 
Rom. 14. 1. He whom we account our weaker brother, and of 
slower understanding, must be received, (not cast out of 
communion) and because God himself hath received him, as> 
ver. 3. (as though he had said, Is he thought fit for God's com 
munion, notwithstanding his unsatisfied scruple, and is he un 
fit for yours ? ) and he is not to be vexed and importuned with 
continual disputation, if that apostolical precept be of any va- 
lue with us. Sometime at least, we should think, we have tried 
in such a case as far as is fit, and driven the nail as far as it 
will go. Is it not possible such a matter may be agitated be 
yond the value of it, and that more time and pains may be spent 
upon it than it is worth ? The obscurity, and perplexity of the 
controversy shews the less necessity. Things most necessary 
are most plain. Must we always in matters of confessedly little 
moment, be inculcating the same thing, rolling endlessly the 
returning stone, and obtruding our offensive crambe ? Perhaps 
as no good is done, we do much hurt. When is the saw of dis 
putation long drawn, about one thing, without ill effects ? rea 
son having at length spent its strength grows (as weak people 
are) peevish and froward ; degenerates into anger and clamour. 
In greater differences than our present ones, between the pro- 
testant churches abroad : some of more prudent and peaceable 
minds have earnestly pressed the laying aside of disputes, and 
putting a period by consent to their theological wars. Soli- 
tarum disputationum labyrinthos ne ingredi quidem conen- 
tur, they did not wish even to enter into the labyrinths of 
these unprofitable disputations, said a great divine,f in his 
days, in reference to those controversies that he would have had 
composed by an amicable brotherly conference. And that king 
of Navarre, who, at that time, seemed highly concerned for the 

f Davenant Sent. ad. Durcum. 


peace and welfare of the reformed churches (afterwards Henry 
the 4th of France) in his negotiations with divers princes to 
that purpose, gave special instructions to his embassador much 
to insist upon this, Ut acerbis illis contentionibus, quibus, et 
verbis rixati sunt inter se Thelogi, et scriptis : et ejusmodi 
disputationibus silentio tandem finis imponatur, ut Christiana 
tharitas, et animorumfratema conjunctio revucetur. (Man- 
dat. Hen. Reg. Naver. Jacobo Sigurite Legato suo 9 fyc* 
Apud Goldastum.) that, till other remedies could be used, 
an end might be put to bitter contentions and disputations, 
that Christian love and a brotherly union might be restored. 
And who sees not how much this would conduce to peace and 
union in our case too ? who sees it not that is a hearty lover of 
peace ? and that is not intent upon continuing and keeping a- 
foot a controversy, not so much as a means to that, but as an 
end, contending for contention's sake, and as a thing which he 
loves and delights in for itself? I am sure love to our brethren 
would not let us continually molest and importune them to no 
purpose. And it is fit they that urge to us, these are little 
things, which they importune us about, should know we have 
great things to mind, of eternal concernment to us. And that 
we cannot be always at leisure to mind little things, beyond the 
proportion of our little time on earth, and the little value of the 
things themselves. 

(10.) Sincere love restored and exercised more among us r 
would certainly make us forbear reviling,, and exposing one ano 
ther, and the industrious seeking one another's, ruin. For such 
as can allow themselves to do any thing that hath this tendency; 
not to preserve public order, but to gratify their private ill-will, 
not in a sudden heat and passion, but deliberately, and so as 
to pursue a formed design to this purpose ; if such men were 
capable of being reasoned with (though it were to as good pur 
pose, to talk to a storm, or reason with a whirlwind, or a 
flame of fire) I would ask them "What are you altogether un 
atonable ? will nothing divert you from this pursuit ? If any 
thing, what will ? What more gentle thing than our destruction 
do you seek, or will content you? Is it our communion ? And 
do you so recommend yourselves ? Do you not know Cain is 
said to have been of that wicked one who slew his brother ? 1 
John 3.10. And that whosoever hateth his brother is a mur 
derer ; and that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him ? 
Is it not said, John 8. 44. That such are of their father the 
devil, and the lusts of their father they will do, who was a 
murderer from the beginning ? And in the forementioned, 
1 John 3. 10. In this the children of God are manifest, and 
the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is 
not of God, neither lie that loveth not his brother ? If al! 


were like you, under what notion were we to unite with 
them ?" The apostle tells us, 1 Cor. 10. 20. 21. I would not 
that ye should have fellowship with devils, ye cannot drink 
the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils ; ye cannot be par 
takers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. And ia 
good earnest, incarnate devils (though that text do not direct^ 
ly speak of such) have too much of devil in them, to be parti 
cipants in a communion, that can seem desirable, or is likely 
to be grateful to serious Christians. I must avow it to all the 
world, it is not this or that external form I so much consider 
iin the matter of Christian union and communion, as what spi^ 
rit reigns in them with whom I would associate myself. How 
.can I endure to approach those holy mysteries, wherein all are 
to drink into one spirit, and declare their union with the God 
of love, with the Immanuel, God most nearly approaching us, 
God with us, collecting and gathering us in unto him as our 
common centre, whence the blessed spirit of holy love is to 
diffuse itself through the whole body, all enlivened by that spi 
rit, and formed by it unto all kindness, benignity, goodness 
and sweetness ! With what significancy can I do so (though 
I were never so well satisfied with the external forms and 
modes myself) if it be apparent (I say if apparent) I must cast 
in my lot and join myself with them (were they generally such) 
whose souls are under the dominion of the quite contrary spi 
rit, that fills them with malignity, with mischievous dispositi 
ons, and purposes, towards many a sincere lover of God, that 
cannot be satisfied with those forms and modes, and who de 
cline them only from a sense of duty to God, and a fear of of 
fending against the high authority of their blessed, glorious 

I know many are apt to justify themselves in their animosity, 
$nd bitterness of spirit towards others, upon a pretence that 
they bear the same disaffected mind towards them. But be 
sides that it is the most manifest, and indefensible injustice ; 
if they charge the innocent, orsuch as they are not sure are guil 
ty, if their own wrath and enmity be so potent in them as to 
enable their tainted vicious imagination to create its object, or so 
to disguise and falsely clothe it, as to render it such to them 
selves, as whereupon they may more plausibly pour out their 
fury. I say besides that, how contrary is this vindictive spirit 
to the rules and spirit, of the Christian religion ! Is this to 
love our enemies, to bless them that curse us, and despitefully 
use us, &c, ? How unlike the example of our blessed Lord 
when, even in dying agonies, he breathed forth these words and 
his soul almost at once, Father forgive them, &c : or of the 
holy martyr Stephen, Lord lay not this sin to their charge > 


How unlike is that aptness to the retaliating of injuries, to tn 
Christian temper which the renowned Calvin discovers in an e- 
pistle to Bullenger, speaking of Luther's severity towards him- 
If Luther a thousand times (saith he) call me devil, I will ac 
knowledge him for a famous servant of God; which passage 
both bishop Moreton and bishop Davenant, magnify him for^ 
and the former saith, he herein spake so calmly, so placidly^ 
*o indulgently, as if it were not a man, but humanity itself 
that uttered the words. 

Yea, and such retaliation is what paganism itself hath declaim 
ed against. (Maxim. Tyr. Dissert. 2.) A noted philosopher 
nrges that against it, that, one would think, should not need 
to be suggested to Christians, somewhat so prudential as might 
not only work upon the principle of love to others, but even 
that of self-love, that then the evil must perpetually circulate, 
and so must again and again return upon ourselves. As indeed 
if that must be the measure to revile them that revile us, (1 Pet. 
2. 23 chap. 3. 9.) and render evil for evil, railing for railing, 
we should never have done. It were a course which once be 
gun, could by that rule, never find an end. 

This then is the first part of the answer to the proposed 
question. What may be most hopefully done, &c. The en 
deavour of having our hearts knit together in love would surely 
do much towards it. And this is agreeable to any the most 
private capacity. No man can pretend his sphere is too nar 
row (if his soul be not) for the exercise of love towards fellow- 
christians. And I hope it is agreeable to all our principles. 
Sure no man Will say it is against his conscience to love his bro 
ther. And the same must be said of, 

Secondly. That other expedient, the endeavour to have our 
souls possessed with a more clear, efficacious, practical faith of 
the gospel, which was to make the other part of the answer 
to our question. And though this is the more important part, 
it is also so very evident, that we do not need to make this dis 
course swell to a bulk too unproportionable to the rest it is to 
be joined with by speaking largely to it. 

Although we have not the name of faith in this text, we 
have the thing. It is not named, but it is described, so as that 
it may easily be understood, both what it is, and how necessa 
ry to our purpose. 

1. What it is, or what measure and degree of it, that 
would be of so great use in such a case. We are told with 
reat emphasis, The riches of the full assurance of understand 
ing, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the 
Father, and of Christ. Such as whereby, 

(1.) Oui- Understandings are duly enlightened so as mentally 


to entertain aright the doctrines of the gospel, that is, first dis 
tinctly to apprehend the meaning and design of this mysterious 
revelation of God in Christ. And secondly to be fully assured of 
the truth of it. 

(2.) Such again, as whereby our hearts are overcome, so as 
practically and vitally to receive it, that is, to acknowledge, 
receive, resign, entrust and subject ourselves unto God in 
Christ revealed in it. 

(3.) And of how vast importance this is towards our establish 
ment, the confirming, fortifying and uniting of our hearts, and 
our joint preservation in our Christian state (the main thing we 
are to design, and be solicitous for) we may see in these par 

[1.] Hereby we should apprehend the things to be truly 
great wherein we are to upite. That union is not like to be 
firm and lasting, the centre whereof is a trifle. It must be 
somewhat that is of itself apt to attract and hold our hearts 
strongly to it. To attempt with excessive earnestness a union 
in external formalities that have not a value and goodness in 
themselves ; when the labour and difficulty is so great, and the 
advantage so little, how hopeless and insignificant would it be ! 
The mystery of God, even of the Father, and of Christ, how 
potently and constantly attractive would it be, if aright under 
stood and acknowledged ! Here we should understand is our 
life and our all. 

[2.] Hereby we should, in comparison apprehend all things 
else to be little. And so our differences about little things 
would languish and vanish. We should not only know, but 
consider and feelingly apprehend, that we agree in far greater 
things than we differ in ; and thence be more strongly inclined 
to hold together, by the things wherein we agree, than to con 
tend with one another about the things wherein we differ. 

[3.] Hereby our religion would revive, and become a vital 
powerful thing ; and consequently more grateful to God, and 
awful to men. 

First, More grateful to God, who is not pleased with the stench 
of carcasses, or with the dead shews of religion instead of the 
living substance. We should hereupon not be deserted of the 
divine presence, which we cannot but reckon will retire, when 
we entertain him but with insipid formalities. What became 
of the Christian interest in the world, when Christians had so 
sensibly diverted from minding the great things of religion to lit 
tle minute circumstances, about which they affected to busy them 
selves, or to the pursuit of worldly advantages and delight? 

Secondly, More awful to men ; They who are tempted to despise 



the faint languid appearances of an impotent inefficacious, spi 
ritless religion, discern a majesty in that which is visibly living, 
powerful, "avid productive of suitable fruits. Who that shall 
consider the state of the Christian church,, and the gradual de 
clining of religion for that three hundred years from Constan- 
tine's time to that of Phocas, but shall see cause at once to la 
ment the sin and folly of men, and adore the righteous severi 
ty of God? For as Christians grew gradually to be loose, wan 
ton, sensual, and their leaders contentious, luxurious, cove 
tous, proud, ambitious affecters of domination, so was the 
Christian church gradually forsaken of the divine presence. 
Inasmuch as that at the same time when Boniface obtained 
from Phocas the title of universal bishop, in defiance of the se 
vere sentence of his predecessor Gregory the great, sprang up 
the dreadful delusion of Mahomet. (Brerewood's enquiries.) 
And so spread itself to this day, through A\ia, Africa, and too 
considerable a part of Europe, that where Christians were twenty 
or thirty to one, there was now scarce one Christian to twenty or 
thirty mahometans or grosser pagans. Arid what between the 
mahometan infatuation, and the popish tyranny, good Lord! 
What is Christendom become ! when by the one, the very name 
is lost, and by the other, little else left but the name ? 

[4.] Hereby we shall be enabled most resolvedly to suffer be 
ing called to it, when it is for the great things of the gospel, the 
mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ, clearly and 
with assurance understood and acknowledged. Such a faith 
will not be without its pleasant relishes. It is an uncomforta 
ble tiling to sutler either for the mere spiritless, uncertain, 
unoperative notions and opinions, or for the unenlivened out 
ward forms of religion, that we never felt to do us good, in 
which we never tasted sweetness, or felt power, that we were 
really nothing ever the better for. But who will hesitate at suf 
fering for so great things as the substantiate of the gospel, which 
lie hath clearly understood, whereof he is fully assured, and 
which he hath practically acknowledged, and embraced, so as 
to feel the energy and power of them, and relish their delici 
ous sweetness in his soul ! And though by such suffering he 
himself perish from off this earth, his religion lives, is spread 
the more in the present age and propagated to after ages : so se 
minal and fruitful a thing is the blood of martyrs ! as hath always 
been observed. And as such a faith of the mystery of the 
gospel appears to have this tendency to the best, firmest, and 
most lasting unipn^among Christians, and the consequent preser 
vation of the Christian interest, this mystery being more generally 
considered only ; so this tendency of it would be more' distinct-, 
ly seen, if we should cons Her the more eminent and remarka- 


ble parts of it ; the mystery of the Redeemer's person : the 
Immanuel, God uniting himself with the nature of man ; his 
office ; as reconciler of God and man to each other ; his death,, 
as a propitiatory sacrifice to slay all enmity ; his victory and 
conquest over it, wherein is founded his universal empire over 
all ; his triumphant entrance into heaven, whither he is to 
collect all that ever loved, trusted,, and obeyed him, to dwell 
and be conversant together in his eternal love and praises. How 
directly do all these tend to endear and bind the hearts and 
souls of Christians to God, and him, and one another in ever 
lasting bonds ! 

Thus then we have the answer to our question in the two 
parts of the text. The former pointing out to us the subjects of 
our union, with the uniting principle by which they are to be 
combined with one another : the other the centre of it with the 
uniting principle, whereby they are all to be united in that centre. 
Use, And what now remains but that we lament the decay of 
these two principles, and, to our uttermost, endeavour the revi 
val of them. 

1 . We have great cause to lament their decay ; for how vi 
sible is it ! and how destructive to the common truly Christian, 
interest 1 It was once the usual cognisance of those of this 
holy profession, "See how these Christians love one another, and 
even refuse not to die for each other !" Now it may be, " How 
do they hate! and are like to die and perish by the hands of one 
another!" Our Lord himself gave it them to be their distin 
guishing character. " By this shall all men know that ye are 
my disciples if you love one another." Good Lord I what are 
they now to be known by ! 

And what a cloudy, wavering, uncertain, lank, spiritless 
thing is the faith of Christians in this age become! How lit 
tle are the ascertaining grounds of it understood, or endeavour 
ed to be understood ! Most content themselves to profess it 
only as the religion of their country, and which was delivered 
to them by their forefathers. And so are Christians, but upon 
the same terms, as other nations are mahometans or more gross 
pagans, as a worthy writer some time since took notice. * How 
few make it their business to see things with their own eyes, 
to believe, and be sure that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the 
living God ! How far are we from the riches of the full assur 
ance of understanding ! How little practical, and governing 
is the faith of the most ! How little doth it import of an ac 
knowledgment of the mystery of God, namely, of the Father, 
and of Christ ! How little effectual is it ! which it can be but 
in proportion to the grounds upon which it rests. When the 
gospel is received, not as the word of man, but of God, it 
works effectually in them that so believe it, 1 Thes. 2. 13. 

* Pink's trial of a Christian's love to Christ. 


2. Let us endeavour the revival of these principles. This is 
that in reference whereto we need no human laws. We need 
not edicts of princes to be our warrant for this practice, of loving 
one another, and cleaving with a more grounded lively faith to 
God and his Christ. Here is no place for scruple of consci 
ence in this matter. And as to this mutual love : What if 
others will not do their parts to make it so ? What shall we 
only love them that love us, and be fair to them that are fair 
to us, salute them that salute us ? Do not even the publicans 
the same ? what then do we more than others ? as was the just 
expostulation of our Saviour upon this supposition, Mat. 5. 47 . 

And let us endeavour the more thorough deep radi cation of 
our faith, that it may be more lively and fruitful : which this 
apostle you see (not forgetting his scope and aim) further pres 
ses in the following verses, testifying his joy for what he un 
derstood there was of it among these Christians, Though I be 
absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in the spirit, joying and 
beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ, 
ver. 5. And exhorting them to pursue the same course, As 
ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him ; 
rooted and built up in him, stablished in the faith, as ye have 
been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving ver. 6'. 7 

And what also, must we suspend the exercise and improve 
ment of our faith in the great mysteries of the gospel, till all 
others will agree upon the same thing ! Let us do our own 
part, so as we may be able to say, "Per me non stetit, it was 
not my fault, but Christians had been combined, and entirely 
one with each other, but they had been more thoroughly Chris 
tian, and more entirely united with God in Christ, that Chris 
tianity had been a more lively, powerful, awful, amiable thing. 
If the Christian community moulder, decay, be enfeebled, 
broken, dispirited, ruined in great part, this ruin shall not rest- 
under my hand." We shall have abundant consolation in our 
own souls, if we can acquit ourselves that as to these two 
things, we lamented the decay and loss, and endeavoured the 
restitution of them, and therein as .much as in us was, of thq 
Christian interest. 




discourse was preached without any, the least thought of 
its being made more public j and a considerable time passed af 
terwards, without any such intention. I thought it indeed too un- 
composed, to appear in the world -, but in a matter of no worse con 
sequence, I make no difficulty of acknowledging, that I at length chose 
rather to follow the judgment of the many hearers, that moved for 
this further publication, than my own. Therefore amidst much other 
business, and great infirmities, that are sufficiently monitory to me to 
be unconcerned for the gratifying of curiosity, in myself, or in any 
others ; I so far revised it, as very imperfect memorials would enable 
me. If anywhere it be somewhat enlarged, that can be no prejudice 
to them that heard it ; and much less to them that heard it not. 

That it may be of some use to direct our thanksgivings (and sup 
plications also) so as, without the neglect of lower and subservient 
mercies, they may have principal respect to blessings of the highest 
value j is the serious desire, and prayer of an earnest and well- wilier 
to the true prosperity of the Christian church, 

J. II. 


Col. 1, 13. 

hath delivered us from the- power of darkness, and hath 
translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. 

already know, that the occasion of our assembling to- 
gether this day is twofold ; to commemorate some for 
mer national mercies, and deliverances from certain very con 
siderable efforts of that power of darkness, which is peculiar to 
the devil's kingdom : and also, to prepare for the commemo 
ration, at the approaching season, of the much more general 
mercy of our common redemption, in the observation of a so 
lemn rite belonging to the kingdom of Christ. f The two parts 
of this text give us an apt, and suitable ground for each of 
these. For giving God thanks, for great former mercies ; and 
preparation for that designed holy solemnity. 

First. We begin, for the former of these purposes, with the 
first part of the text, " Who hath delivered us from the power 
of darkness/' And that we may see how accommodate this 
will be to the former mentioned purpose (as comprehended 
within the import of this clause, and but comprehended, it 
being of much greater latitude) some things I must previously 
note to you. As, 

1. That there is a kingdom manifestly implied in these 
words, "The power of darkness," unto which the kingdom of 
{rod's dear Son is opposite. 

2. That this kingdom can be no other than the devil's king 
dom, wh o in our Lord himself doth own to have a kingdom. If 

f It being our usual monthly season of preparation for the Lord's 


Satan be divided against himself, how then can his kingdom 
stand? Mat. 12, 26. These are our Lord's own words, and 
joined," in that context, with what sufficiently intimates that 
kingdom to be directly opposite to his own. 

3. That the distinguishing characters of these two opposite 
kingdoms, the kingdom of the devil, and the kingdom of God's 
dear Son, are darkness, and light ; the one is a kingdom of dark 
ness, and the other is a kingdom of light. The devils are called 
the rulers of the former, so stigmatized, Ephs. 6', 12. princi 
palities, and powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world. 
Our Lord's is implied to be a kingdom of light, in the words 
immediately foregoing : Giving thanks unto the Father, who 
Lath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the 
saints of light; who hath delivered us from the power of dark 
ness, &c. It is a kingdom they are to inherit, Mat. 25, 34. 
In its most perfect state it comprehends brightest light, purity, 
and glory ; as the opposite kingdom, consummate, is utter 
darkness. And so are the beginnings and first principles of each. 
Ye were darkness, now are light in the Lord Ephs. 5, 8. 
Both are seen, in the unconverted, and converted state; to turn 
them from darkness to light, and (which shews that darkness 
to be satanical) from the power of Satan, unto God, Acts 26-, 
18. As what their inheritance is hereupon to be, the next 
words shew, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and in 
heritance among them that are sanctified. And yet again, 

4. That the darkness, which characterizes the devil's king 
dom, includes those things that are directly opposite unto those 
included in the light, which characterizes the kingdom of 
Christ. The light that characterizes the kingdom of Christ, in 
cludes these two things, truth and holiness. 

These are the principal things, comprehended in the notion 
of light, as it is characteristical of the kingdom of the Son of 
God. The light of truth, objectively revealed, and subjective 
ly received, the frame of Christian doctrine, with the know 
ledge, and belief thereof; and the light of holiness, so shining 
in the lives of Christians, that men may see their good works, 
(Mat. 5, 16.) Accordingly the darkness, that doth characterize 
the devil's kingdom, doth comprehend in it falsehood and 

It comprehends in it all manner of falsehood, truth obscured 
and perverted, ignorance, error, deceit, blindness of heart, 
(Eph. 4, 18.) a wilful overlooking of the great and most neces 
sary truths, which the souls of men are, above all other, con 
cerned to take in, and admit into their inward parts. And it 
comprehends wickedness in the whole compass of it; wicked 
ness against God, all manner of impiety, idolatry, blasphemy^ 


heglect and profanation of the ordinances and institutions, 
wherein he claims to be worshipped, in the proper seasons 
thereof. Wickedness against men, all comprehended and sum- 
ed up in their hatred of one another. He that hateth his bro 
ther, is in darkness, even diabolical ; for they who emerge, 
and are recovered out of it, are said to have overcome the wicked 
one. 1 John. 2. 11, 13. And both these sorts of wickedness 
are put together, Rom. 13. 12, 13. Let us cast off the works 
ol* darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. And those 
works of darkness are said to be chambering, wantonness, riot 
ing, drunkenness, strife and envying. And Ephes. 5. 11. 
We are warned to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works 
of darkness, but rather reprove them. Which works are (ver. 
3. and 4.) said to be fornication, uncleanness, covetousness 
(which is also said to be idolatry) filthiness, foolish talking, &c. 
as things that bar us from any inheritance in the kingdom of 
Christ, or of God. And Christians are therefore forbidden to 
be partakers therein, (ver. 70 because they are light, and chil 
dren of light, ver. 8. And as it is, 1 Thes. 5. 5. of the day, 
hot of the night, nor of darkness. They are of the opposite 
kingdom, and must walk conformably thereto. Our way being 
thus far plain, we go on to add, 

5. That the power which the devil exerts and exercises, in 
this darkness, is twofold, first, spiritual and internal. Second 
ly, secular and external. 

(1 .) There is a spiritual power which he exercises in this dark 
ness, acting more immediately upon the minds and spirits of 
men. The God of this world blinds their minds, who believe 
not, 2 Cor, 4. 4. And he is said to be the spirit that works in 
the children of disobedience, Ephes. 2. 2. And the impeni 
tent, such as have not hitherto repented and turned to God, it 
is said : He leads them captive at his will, 2 Tim. 2. 26*. 

(2.) There is a secular power which he also exerts, in the 
midst of that darkness that he hath brought upon this world, 
relating, as far as he can obtain leave, to the bodies of men, 
and their external concernments and affairs ; and not only of 
particular persons, but of nations and kingdoms, especially 
where he observes any design, to be more directly formed 
against his kingdom, and interest in this world ; he thereupon 
comes to be engaged in a more open and explicit opposition. 
And so when he is the author of this or that bodily or outward 
affliction, to a particular person, as he can obtain divine per 
mission ; this is an effort of his power, in the midst of that 
darkness. Such as are rescued out of his kingdom, his design 
is to vex, because he cannot destroy them, whom he canno^ 



mortally touch ; namely, such as are born of God, and have 
a new nature, by that divine birth, the wicked one touches 
them not, (1 John. 5. 18.) that is, not mortally to make them 
sin unto death, as ver. 16*. But if he can however have 
leave to touch them in their bodies, or external concernments, 
he will rather do that than nothing; ruin them he cannot, but 
he will afflict them as he can. Therefore is he said to go about 
like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour; which is 
there meant, immediately, in reference to their external con 
cernments, as will appear if you observe the context, 1 Pet. 
5. 8. For it follows in the 9th verse, Whom resist stedfast in 
the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in 
your brethren, that are in the world. It is true, being uncer 
tain of the event, he hath a further aim to overthrow their 
faith, and by his roaring to fright them out of their religion ; 
therefore it is said : Whom resist stedfast in the faith, defeat 
his final design. But as the means to his end, when he roars, 
like a lion against any of the servants of Christ, it is with de 
sign to bring them into the most afflicted condition he can ; 
that so he may, at least, make them signify the less in that 
state of opposition wherein they are engaged against him, in the 
world. So you find the imprisonment of Christ's servants im 
puted to Satan, Rev. 2. 10. The devil shall cast some of you 
into prison, and you shall have tribulation for ten days, which 
some understand of the ten persecutions. Whatever the devif 
meant, God intended their trial, as it is there said, and the 
demonstration of the victorious power of the divine principle, 
their faith, and his spirit in them, that being tried, it might 
be found unto praise and glory 1 Pet. 1.7* And we cannot 
but doubt he let Job come on the stage, as his champion to 
combat Satan, who was the prime author of his manifold ca 
lamities; his accuser first, and his persecutor afterwards. He ac- 
cuscth him of want of integrity, Doth Job serve God for nought ? 
(chap. 1. J).) and at the same time complains of his own want 
of power to come at him : Hast thou not made a hedge about 
him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every 
side ? ver. 10. Whereupon, for the trial of Job's fidelity and 
patience, God puts all he had into the devil's power, his per 
son only excepted, which as yet he must not touch ; manifest 
therefore it is, the devil animated the Sabeahs, and Chaldeans 
to take away his oxen, and asses, and to slay his servants with. 
Jhe edge of the sword; (ver. 14. 15, 18.) that kindled the fire 
in the lower heavens, that burnt up his sheep, and servants ; 
(ver. 16.) that raised the storm from the wilderness, that smote 
the four corners of the house, where his sons and his daughters 
were eating, and drinking, and buried them in its ruins, ver. 


IS. And we are expressly told that it was the devil, upon his en 
larged licence, that smote him with those venomous hoils. 
chap. 2. 7- It was the devil that hound that daughter of Abra 
ham eighteen years, Luke. 13. 16. It was the devil that 
brought, upon the Christian church, the famed ten persecutions, 
under the pagan Roman empire, understood to be meant by the 
great red dragon, Rev. 12, 3. Whence also, he wears that very 
name, ver. 9. The great red dragon was cast out, that old ser 
pent called the devil, and Satan These are some of those ef 
forts, amidst that darkness, wherein the devil hath, and uses so 
great power. But yet further, 

6. It is manifestly a far greater deliverance to be freed from his 
spiritual power, and the horrid effects thereof, than from that 
which he may use in reference to our outward concernments. 

Therefore now, upon these mentioned considerations, on this 
former part of the text, that we may apply it suitably to our pre 
sent purpose, these two things are to be asserted and evinced. 
That to be delivered from the devil's power, in external 
respects, is a real and great deliverance : But that To be de 
livered from his power, in spiritual respects, is a much greater 

(1.) That to be delivered from the devil's power, in external 
respects, either personal, or national, is a real, and very great 
deliverance. We are to look upon that deliverance, which 
-this day we more particularly commemorate, now almost a 
hundred years ago, as a defeated plot of the devil. It carries 
that manifest aspect with it to every eye, a contrivance formed, 
and designed to be executed, by the subtilty, and power of the 
prince of the darkness of this world. I need not repeat the narra 
tive of it, being sufficiently known to you, or may be read in our 
histories ; but nothing can be plainer, than that here was a de 
sign and plot of hell and devils, contrived in the dark, and so to 
have been executed, till the execution itself should have brought 
it to light. For what darkness, but that of hell, could have so 
much fire in it ? so much of destructive rage and fury ? And 
though there was hazard in the undertaking to the instrumental 
actors, what did the devil care what became of them ? If his 
main design succeeded, he had been a great gainer, and glutted 
his ravenous appetite ; if it succeeded not, but turned upon the 
heads of the undertakers, he had been no loser, but only less a 
gainer, having some prey however to feed, but not satiate a de 
vouring appetite, which must be eternally insatiable. And 
what can be more devil like ? 

And what was the deliverance, by which God did again signa 
lize this very day fifteen years ago, but a repetition of the same 
mercy ? The .same in substance, though different in circuin- 


stance. It was from the same enemy, the same invisible, and 
the same visible enemy, that we were preserved then, and more 
lately since. And what is our continued peace and quiet hi 
therto, but the same mercy continued, under the care and con 
duct of our present sovereign? It is preservation from the 
same enemy, and from the powers of the same darkness, that 
we continue hitherto to enjoy. And this mercy is not only real, 
but great, both in itself great, and great in respect of what it in 
closes, and subserves. In itself, for it is preservation from a 
great enemy, the greatest in all the world : a daring one, that 
feared not to contend perpetually with the Almighty, and with T 
out hope of self-advantage ; who loves mischief therefore for 
mischief's sake, and working with mighty power, and power 
that works in such darkness, as to us mortals is impenetrable. 
And great, irt respect of what it incloses, and is subservient 
unto ; for it incloses the precious gospel of our Lord, yet con 
tinued unto us, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the gra 
cious communications we partake in, by and through them ; 
and is subservient to their true and proper design. And 
therefore mercy, of that kind, ought to be looked upon as real, 
and very great, which way soever you consider it. We should 
therefore take heed of being guilty of so vile ingratitude, as 
not to commemorate, with a suitable impression upon our spi 
rits, this sort of mercies, which were the foundation of the mer 
cies we have in so long a course enjoyed ; for former mercies 
are fundamental to later ones. The expression is very empha 
tical, and worthy our most serious regard, which we have, psal. 
Ixxxix. 2. For I have said, mercy shall be built up for ever. 
And how is mercy said to be built up, but as former mercies 
are fundamental to later ones ? Thus are the present mercies, 
that we enjoy this day ? founded upon the mercies of former 
days, such as we ought joyfully and thankfully to recount, with 
delight and praise ; remembering the years of the right hand of 
the most High. But yet, 

(2.) I must also note to you, that however we are to esteem 
mercies, of that kind, namely, x deliverances from the external 
power of the prince of darkness, real, and very great mercies ; 
we are yet to account deliverance from the spiritual power, ex 
erted in that darkness, much greater. 1 hope all your minds 
and hearts will close with me in this, as soon as you hear it, it 
carrying its own light and evidence in itself. For if you do but 
compare the cases of them, who have been all along the authors 
of those great calamities and miseries, to the inhabitants of 
this lower world, and especially to the church of Christ in it, 
with theirs that have been the sufferers, upon the most pecu 
liar account ; you cannot but say, the portion and lot of the 
sufferers is most unspeakably rattier to be chosen. We know 


have been the authors of those great calamities in the 
world, and in the church of God in it, for many ages by-past ; 
the same who were to have been the authors of our intended 
destruction. And in taking a view of their case, let us consider 
both their character, and their doom ; both which you may find 
set down together, in one place, viz. 2 Thes. ix. 10, 11, 12. 

[1 .] Their character, which really is enough to fright any man 
that is but master of his own reason, to see how and in what 
way they have abandoned and lost theirs, to behold men so stig 
matized, as indeed they have marked out themselves : they 
whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power; here 
is the devil's power at work in them, the horrid cause of thek 
stupendous dementation. The effects do follow : and by them 
in signs, and lying wonders, among all which wonders the great 
est wonder is themselves ; that the thing called man in them 
should be so metamorphosed, and transformed into so brutal, 
and diabolical a monster ! so destitute of understanding, so 
full of malignity, (as we shall further see, by and by) and ajl 
deceivableness of unrighteousness. So far their character is con 
tinued, and it partly further follows, interwoven with some part 
of their present doom ; as also their final doom is both inter- 
serted, and distinctly expressed. Therefore take into their cha 
racter., their being under strong delusion, the energy of deceit, 
as the greek signifies, to believe a lie ; spoken indefinitely, to 
note that any, the most absurd figment they can be imposed 
lipon to believe, that God sends them, as belonging to their 
doom, we shall consider afterwards. And we might enlarge, 
jheir character, by taking in from ver. 3. that they are apostates, 
such as were fallen away from a state of excellency ; and spo 
ken of as one person, from their oneness in spirit and design, 
as a man of sin, a son of perdition (capable of the active, as well 
as passive sense) and ver. 4. who opposes, exalteth himself above 
all that is called God, sits in his temple, is worshipped as God. 
And ver. 8. the wicked or lawless one. This is their character 
that are, and have been, through many centuries of years, the 
authors of the miseries and calamities the church of God hath 
suffered, and partly cloth suffer, and is endangered by at this 
day. In this their character, I shall take notice of two things. 

Of the great infatuation that is upon their minds. Of 

the monstrous degeneracy, not from Christianity only, but even 
from humanity too, that is to be found in the temper of their 

First. The great infatuation that is upon their minds. It 
appears that they "are under strong delusions, potent, efficacious 
ones, they are most effectually deluded. And of this 1 could 
give many instances, but shall content myself only with the 
mention ,of two. 


The first is, That great fundamental wild conceit which they 
have laid at the bottom of their whole enchanted fabric, by which 
one would wonder, how they could hope to impose on any part 
of the rational world ; or could be imposed upon themselves, 
that all the power they claim, and use, to the disturbance of 
mankind, and oppression of the Christian church, they pretend 
to have by deputation from our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, and 
t>y succession from the holy apostle Peter. By deputation from 
Christ, as if they were his deputies, in doing such monstrous 
work as this ! as if Christ had deputed them to destroy Christi* 
anity, to render it a ridiculous thing, by their inserted foole 
ries ; and odious, by their barbarous cruelties ! That He, 
who was the light of the world, should appoint them to over 
spread it with darkness ! That he, who so freely shed his blood 
to redeem it, had commissioned them so copiously to shed hu 
man, and Christian blood. To make even his church, the 
temple of the living God a shambles and slaughter-house, and 
aftright the rest of mankind from coming near it \ who yet 
could be as little safe in declining it, if they were within the 
reach of their arm ! What fearful havock did they make, un 
provoked in America, as soon as they could get any footing 
there ; destroying multitudes of (towards them) harmless, in 
nocent creatures, and who (as strangers) received them with all 
possible kindness, even to the number of no less than forty 
millions; as hath been acknowledged by some of their own his 
torians, t Their kings and princes were put to death, with 
most exquisite torture, upon the unjustifiable pretence of their 
teing infidels ; but with design to make them confess their gold 
and treasure, which they did but suspect they concealed. By 
these inhuman cruelties they laid waste whole fruitful countries, 
and turned well -peopled lands into mere desarts. And what 
other tendency could this have, than to engage the nations of 
the earth against Christians, arid Christianity itself, as a thing 
by no means to be endured in the world ; and were such mul 
titudes destroyed by Christ's direction, and to propagate the 
Christian faith ! And what commotions, wars, and bloodshed 
did they introduce into that large country of Habassia, disturb 
ing that quiet and peaceful empire, though Christian, only be- 
tause it would not be Roman ! And have we not reason to add 
the many horrid tragedies acted by them, more within our near 
notice, in the several parts of 'Europe, and in this kingdom 
particularly ; and that all this should be pretended to be done 
by a power derived from Christ ! in so open, and contemptu- 

f D. Barth. dc. 1. Casas B. of Chiap. 
| Of which see Ludolplius, and at large, D. Gcddes Ethiop, histor. 


us opposition to the laws, and spirit of Christ ! the design c 
his coming into this world ! and the very genius, and natural 
tendency of Christianity itself The things themselves are full 
of black horror. But that they should lie said to be done in 
that name, speaks the most monstrous impudence, and infatua 
tion! As if Christ had changed names with the devil, and 
laying aside that of a Saviour, had chosen to be called Abaddon, 
or Apollyon, the common destroyer of mankind. And having 
changed his mind, and his very nature, did now set himself to 
counter-act, and defeat the design for which he came into the 
world ! 

And that they have this power, by succession from St. Pe 
ter, is as idle and absurd a pretence. If he were their prede 
cessor, they were sure very unsuitable successors. Did he 
ever go before them in such work? What precepts, what 
footsteps of his have they followed? Did he ever claim a power- 
to annul, at his own pleasure, the laws and ordinances of his 
Master and Lord ? to amass treasures, to accumulate dignities, 
acquire ample revenues, to dispose of crowns and sceptres, 
and, as he should think fit, to dethrone, or unthrone the prin 
ces and potentates of this earth ? 

If he had such power, what is that to them ? How cam<s 
they by it from him ? was it because he was bishop of Rome, 
that therefore the assumed, usurped name, without the apos 
tolical office, and the (inseparable) spirit, and spiritual pow 
er, acts, and design, could create them such ? As well might 
the habit make a monk, or a beard a philosopher; by their 
fruits and works they are to be known. Our Lord reckoned 
himself sufficiently to have refuted their vain pretence, who. 
gloried in being Abraham's successors, by telling them : 
So did not Abraham, John. 8. 40. But all their learning, 
wit, and sophistry will never answer what hath been writtenf, 
to make it highly probable that St. Peter was never at Rome, 
much less sat twenty five years there. It must therefore be a 
strong delusion must make them build so mighty a fabric, up 
on so infirm and weak a foundation. 

The second thing I shall instance in, is their worshipping 
a piece of bread as a deity. What a strange infatuation is that, 
that one cannot distinguish a piece of bread from a God, or an 
object of worship ! And to believe this against the most irre 
fragable reason, and common sense, and without any pretence 
from Scripture, more plausible than it would be to say, the 

f In the modest enquiry, upon that subject 5 a work, that though 
anonymous, the author needed not be ashamed of : beside* what 
bath been said by divers others. 


sun in the firmament is a God, or that a buckler, which onrf 
turns with his hand this way or that, and wherewith men de 
fend themselves in battle, is a deity, or an object of worship ; 
because God is said in Scripture, to be a sun and a shield } 
with a thousand like instances that might be given. 

Secondly. But we are to consider also, as we proposed, and as 
belonging to the character of these men, the monstrous degene 
racy not from Christianity only ; but also, from common huma 
nity itself, that appears in the temper of their spirits. This de^ 
pends upon the former, which could not be spoken of, without 
some excursion into this; but they are distinct things, and 
therefore the latter requires to be distinctly, but briefly touch 
ed upon. And this depravedness of their spirits is that which is 
unspeakably more horrid (if any thing can be thought to be 
more so) that men, and who profess themselves Christians, 
could impose it upon themselves to be so barbarously bloody 
and cruel, to every one that is not so stupidly foolish in these 
things as themselves, that they would destroy all the rest of 
mankind, if it were in their power, for not agreeing with them 
in the same sentiments ; though to agree with them, I must 
disagree with myself, and with all other men that have yet 
their reason, and their senses left them, and the faith of ch*is- 
tians, in other points, most essential to religion. If I will not 
believe that they are deputed by Christ, as the successors of 
St. Peter, to do what they please, in secular governments, 
and religion if I will not believe a piece of bread ought to be 
worshipped as a God ; I am to be tortured to death, for this 
my disbelief 1 which is so horrid a transformation of a human 
creature, as no power of thought can frame an idea of any thing 
more monstrous, throughout the world! Namely, a Christian, 
because he is so, must be made the common butcher of man^ 
kind ! to destroy as many human lives as he can reach ! For 
if this treatment be for this reason deserved, it ought to take 
place to our utmost every where. Whence also is to be col 
lected, that men ^ might, had they not been Christians, have 
been sociable, kind, friendly, and have lived quietly, and 
pleasantly with one another ! So that Christian religion is the 
transforming principle, and obliges men to be the destroyers of 
their brethren, as much as in them lies ; and with exquisite 
torment that of burning alive, such as common humanity would 
abhor to use, towards a beast. And besides, the tortures of 
their inquisition must be thought a thousand times worse than 
burning for an hour or two ! And let now this matter be im 
partially considered, doth it not already appear, that the au 
thors of such miseries and calamities to the rest of men, and 
tke rest of Christians, especially such as are sincere, are ia 


much worse case than the poor sufferers ? We cannot but 
judge so, on the following accounts : namely, 

Here is first a transformation of minds. The minds of men, 
of reasonable creatures are transformed into the most horrid 
things ; that is, they are turned, excepting the mere human 
shape, (and every one that understands what belongs to the hu 
man essence, easily apprehends how little mere external shape 
doth, to the making of a man) they are turned into ravenous wild 
beasts, into lions, tygers, bears, wolves, destroying and tearing 
in pieces whatever comes in their way ! And do but consider, 
were it not a much more eligible thing to have the nature of 
man, the understanding of man, common humanity remaining, 
though the external shape were altered; than to have the 
shape of a man remaining, but to be in the temper of one's 
mind a tiger, a bear ravaging and destroying wheresoever one 
goes ? Such are set up as portents, prodigies, and as monito 
ry signs, both to astonish mankind, that the impression may 
be deeper and more permanent ; and thereupon to warn them, 
seasonably to repress the beginnings of any such disposition, 
fearing whither it may grow. And therefore to consider, with 
dread, how fearful a thing it is that there should be such a sort 
of creatures, in human shape, as can take delight in torment 
ing them that never did or wished them harm ; as with plea 
sure can torture others, for no other cause but merely because 
they take the same liberty of thought, which as a common 
right themselves assume ; and cannot be of their opinion, 
against common sense, and the common reason of mankind, 
and without pretence any way. If a man were to express his 
sense as to this matter, in a solemn prayer to the Almighty, 
would he not say : Lord, let me rather be the most monstrous 
deformed creature, in external shape, that ever was produced in 
this world; only let me have in me a right, nor give me up to a 
reprobate mind ! And what can we conceive more essential 
to man, than these two things, reason, and love ; and both 
these are abandoned and lost, in those men whose character 
hath been given. Their reason and love do, at least, suffer the 
highest violation both together. They believe themselves, and 
would have all others believe, against the common reason 'and 
sense of men ; and are become haters of mankind, otherwise 
than as they shall fall in with their absurd sentiments, and 
will be subservient to their cursed designs. Again, 

We shall secondly be easily induced to look upon the author's 
case, as much the less eligible, than the sufferer's, upon this 
further account ; that this horrid degeneracy, and depraved- 
ness of spirit is most entirely voluntary, and proceeds from 
their plenary consent with the devil, as an inactuating spirit 

VOL. IV. 2 A 


in them. Such Is the import of those tremendous words (that 
would make one shrug to think of them) that spirit that in- 
workcth (or hath energy) in the children of disobedience, Eph- 
2. 2. Their perfect voluntariness appears, in their most 
complacential self approbation, under so direful a transforming 
change, from man, into part brute, part devil. Others feel 
in themselves some disaffections, and distempers of spirit, 
which they deplore, lament, and contend against. These 
men glory in their own shame, and what ought to make them 
a hissing, f and reproach to the nations of the earth, they ap 
plaud them for. They declare their sin, as Sodom, justify the 
prodigious deformities of their own spirits, write volumes to 
defend them, and put on a countenance, unaccustomed to 
blushing; as if in good earnest they expected other men should 
think their cause to be good! And to what a stupendous 
height doth this raise the horror of their case ! 

But hence also it is that the devil hath that access to the in 
ward parts, into the more secret receptacles, and chambers 
of their souls ; unto which he could have none, if their con 
senting will did not open him the door. Not that there is any 
formal bargain, or contract between him and them, for his 
power, you find, works in darkness ; but he and they agree 
upon the same things, so doth the devil lead them captive at 
his will, 2 Tim. 2. 26. The sufferers, in the mean time, are 
only such ; and as they endure evils, in themselves incompa 
rably less, they do but endure them ; not being active to pro 
cure them, otherwise than by being, and doing what they ought. 
And so they have, in their suffering, that great matter of re 
lief and rejoicing, the testimony of their conscience, (2 Cor. 1. 
12.) besides the expectation of a glorious reward; while, foj? 
the authors of their sufferings, is reserved the blackness of 
darkness for ever, Jude. 13. Which leads to the considerati 
on of, 

[2.] Their doom (fur hitherto we had chiefly considered but 
their character) and this is partly present, partly final. 

Present, That for this cause, God sends them strong 
delusions, (2 Thes. 2. 11.) not by active infusion of malignity, 
whereof, on God's part, there was no possibility, nor on their 
part, any need. They have enough of their own, besides the 
addition of what that text notes, that their coming is after the 
working of Satan with all power. These are a sort of men 
abandoned of God, delivered over to Satan, under whose con 
duct they have put themselves. A fearful case ! They are, 
not by divine commission, but permission only, left in his 

t Pqpulus luthi sibiUt.. 


hands ; and now, the lusts of their father they will do, John. 
8. 44. 

Final. That they all might he damned A severe sen 
tence ! hut justified hy what went before, because ihey receiv 
ed not the love of the truth, that they might be saved ; but 
struck off from the Christian religion, what should make it 
amiable and self-recommending (and by what follows,) that 
they took pleasure in unrighteousness ; hence they are left of 
God, in order to their future damnation. Not that God made 
any men, on purpose to damn them ; but when they had con 
tracted such guilt, by sinning against the clearest light, against 
the law of their own nature, and against the law of Christ ; 
they are damned, as having marked themselves out for hell, 
jind the society of devils, whose associates and subjects they 
were before. And if it be said, of them who do evil, that good 
may come, "their damnation is just" much more of them that 
love mischief, for mischiefs sake. And who would not now 
choose the tortures of a flaming fire, for an hour or two, rather 
than be turned into hell, to endure infernal flames for ever ! 

And we may add (to shew how much greater this spiritual 
deliverance is, than deliverance from the external powers of 
darkness) that the fearful tragedies that these men act, being 
by the so manifest and immediate power of the devil, he is 
therefore most highly gratified, by having his will so far of 
them. Nothing could be more grateful to him, than to have 
made them his tools, his instruments, to fill the world and 
the Christian church with such miseries and calamities, as they 
are the voluntary authors of; and hereupon they will be the 
subjects of his triumph and scorn at last. And here, if you 
would but pause a little and consider, " What would I not ra 
ther choose, than to be the subject of the scorn and insultation 
of devils \" This is the case of this very generation of men. 
How will the devils insult over them ! "See what fools I have 
made of so great a part of mankind, how ready have they been 
to serve me, and my most horrid designs ! There is nothing 
that I would have them believe, be it never so absurd, but I 
could make them believe it ; there is nothing so horrid to act, 
but if I bid them, they are ready to act it I" And how much 
the greater will the matter of their insultation be, that such 
could be found, even in the Christian world, that should be 
made to serve his vile and horrid purposes, and so render Chris 
tianity hateful to mankind ! How hath the extent and growth 
of it, by this means, been hindered ! And it can never spread, 
till it have another kind of representation, than is given hy 
this sort of men. And consider that, in opposition to what 
was last mentioned, from the spiritual power of the devil, 


which he acts in this darkness, all the sincere are truly, and 
shall be fully delivered ; whereas from his external power they 
are many times not delivered. It is not ascertained to them, 
that they shall not he impoverished that they shall not be cast 
into prison, that they shall not be put to death; but it is cerr 
tain that Satan is dethroned in their souls, and that God will 
bruise him under their feet shortly, and they shall have oppor 
tunity and ground for eternal triumph, over all his power and 
malice. Therefore, upon all these accounts, this must be far 
the more eligible deliverance; though deliverance, in the for-r 
mcr kind, is by no means to be made light of. They that are 
sincere, are sure at last of a most glorious victory over the de-? 
vil. They shall overcome him by the blood of the Lamb, and 
by the word of his testimony ; not having loved their lives 
unto the death. And that is certainly the most desirable course 
and state, that hath the most desirable and valuable end. 

Arid according hereto should the temper of our spirits be, in 
reference to such deliverance from the power of darkness, which 
we have occasion to make mention of, this day. We ought to 
remember, with great gratitude, our preservation from those ef 
forts of this power, wherein it is exercised with reference to 
the external secular concernments of particular persons, and of 
nations, more especially our own. We have reason to bless 
God for that deliverance, that hath been wrought out for us in 
that kind; and that it hath been so often repeated, and 
so long continued. We ought to take much to heart the mer 
cies of God herein. and although we are here met under 
somewhat a distinct character, to bear a part in the solemn 
thanksgivings of this day ; we are not the less obliged to be very 
serious herein : and however, have for our part great reason 
not to expect any thing hard or grievous from such, differing 
from us, as understand religion ; between whom and us, there 
is an agreement in all the substantial thereof. We have the 
same articles of doctrine, the same institutions of w r orship, and 
the same rules of life, conversation, and practice towards bur 
sovereign, and fellow- subjects. And when there is so great an 
agreement, that which is left to be the matter of disagreement, 
can be only very little circumstantial things ; and which they, 
from whom we differ, professedly call indifferent, not tending 
therefore, in themselves, to make either better men, or better 
Christians. And whereas some of us do not think so, through 
out, that disagreement is, we hope, the rather to be pardoned, 
both because it is little, so little that there are few men of 
considering minds that, upon strict inquiry and comparing of 
thoughts, will not be found to differ in much greater things ; 
and very consistently with most entire mutual love, or at 


no design of hurt to each other. And yet the difference is 
real, and not to be dissembled, nor thrown off at pleasure ; it 
being in no man's power, that would keep a conscience void of 
offence towards God and man, to form his judgment this way, 
or that, as he will. 

And whereas there are churches abroad, and at home, where 
with we agree, and from which we differ, in these smaller 
things ; we are not willing quite to disjoin ourselves from either 
sort, in which the substance is visible of our common religion ; 
for they are in their nature and kind, one and the same. Nor 
can we apprehend how a church, or a society formed for the 
purposes of religion, can be constituted, and distinguished for 
sole communion with that, and no other, by such things as are 
confessed, on all hands, to be no parts of religion ; nor to have 
any necessary connection with it. The more truly catholic, the 
communion of Christians is, it is the more truly Christian. 
There is a mental communion, which is more intimate than 
merely local ; which yet we cannot have, with them with whom 
we judge it unlawful to have actual, local conrniunion, if there 
be occasion. But one may have both, wheresoever the essen 
tials of Christianity do appear ; not subverted by the addition of 
other things, that are inconsistent with any of those essentials : 
as the case is with them, whose black character hath been giv 
en, in this discourse. 

But though we are not to expect hard things from friends, 
we are to remember the same common enemy, to them and 
us, is still in being, and hath great power in the world ; and 
that prince of darkness, that animates them, is still powerful, 
and as full of mischief as ever. And we know not what advan 
tages our too common iniquities may, from the justice of a 
righteous God, give the common enemy against us ; where 
upon we have no reason to be secure. If things therefore 
should be brought to that state, that Smithneld fires should be 
kindled again, so as that we shall not be delivered from that 
sort of the powers of darkness ; let us labour to get into that 
good state, as to be able to bless God, even in the midst of 
flames, that we are delivered from the worst sort of the powers 
of darkness ; that the prince of this world is dethroned in our 
souls, that he is judged there. And let us labour to have that 
temper of mind, towards such as may be the authors of those 
sufferings to us, that our love towards them may not be extin 
guished. Labour that every one*of us may say from our hearts: 
Let them discover what hatred they will towards me, God for 
bid that I should not exercise true love towards them, if they 
curse me, I will bless them ; if they despitefully use me, and 
persecute me, I will pray for them. ;%_ 

Secondly. But we have also the second pait of the 


text to be briefly reflected upon. "Who hath delivered 
us from the power of darkness and translated us into 
the kingdom of his dear Son'* Our present limits allow us not 
to enlarge upon this part. And It cannot hut be thought rea 
sonable,, that this occasion being monthly, and often consider 
ed, the other but annual, and rarely returning, we should 
choose to insist more largely upon it. But how great a privi 
lege is this translation, and how unazmg ! that It should bfe 
represented to us by so endearing an expression I "Because my 
Son is dear to me, 1 will take you into his kingdom. He is not so 
dear to me, but I can be very well contented to make you par 
takers of all the blessings, that his kingdom carries in it." 

And you know that there is no kingdom but what hath its 
particular laws nd statutes and ordinances and privileges 
belonging to it. There is cne great ordinance, belong 
ing to this kingdom of our Lord's, that we are solemnly to at 
tend, the next Lord's day. If we look upon ourselves as not 
only delivered from the power of darkness, but translated into 
the kingdom of God's clear Son; this is indeed a great privilege, 
but there is no such privilege which hath not Its duty belong 
ing to It, We oiight to consider how we shall carry the matter 
upon this translation., being translated into the kingdom of 
God's dear Son ; and being to partake in the privileges that be 
long to his kingdom, how shall we deport ourselves suitably 
hereto, with what temper of spirit ; 

1 . With art admiring temper of spirii, considering the state 
fcut of which we are delivered. He hath delivered us from the 
power of darkness, he hath turned us from darkness to light, 
and from the power of satan unto God. This is that 1 am sent 
for, saith the apostle Paul, as a gospel minister, Acts. 26. 18. 
To open your eyes, and turn you from darkness to light, and 
from the power of satan unto God. Then into what a trans 
port should it put us, to think that we should have been under 
the power of the devil unto this very day, the power of the 
prince of the air, that works in the children of disobedience, 
that works energetically, as the word signifies, his work in 
them hath an energy in it, Ephes. 2. 2. Oh frightful thought! 
to have such a horrid fiend lying continually in my bosom, 
preying upon the very vitals of my soul, leading me captive at 
his will ! What the devil would have me be, and do, that I 
was, and did most readily ! 

^ 2. We should recount, with great thanksgiving, our admis 
sion into this kingdom. Think we, first, whence we are deli 
vered ; and then into what state we are admitted, into the king 
dom of his dear Son. Into what an adoring thankful frame 
should that put us, that our blessed God should translate us 


into his own Son's kingdom ! You shall hereupon be so providU 
ed and cared for, as none else in the world are besides. He 
will watch over your spirits, your souls shall be bound up in. 
the bundle of life ; you shall have all the supports and com 
forts to, that, in infinite wisdom and love, he shall judge ne 
cessary for you, in this world ; and at length be brought into 
the presence of the divine glory, with exceeding great joy ! 

3. Consider that the particular ordinances, of this kingdom 
of his, are aptly designed for your advantage. This that we 
are now to prepare for, is an ordinance belonging to that king 
dom ; I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath ap 
pointed unto me, saith our Lord, Luke 22. 29. 30. that you 
may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom, We are to 
eat and drink with him, in his kingdom ; and that ordinance, 
wherein we are to eat and drink with him, is the emblem of what 
is there finally designed and meant, when we are to sit down 
with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God. 

4. We should consider what faith is required, on our part, 
being come into such a kingdom, and having the privileges 
thereof secured unto us, by such a sealing ordinance. There 
ought to be no dubious thought of him, who so kindly invites us; 
especially when we are, in so friendly a way, eating and drink- 
king together. 

5. It is to be considered what fidelity is required of us. We 
$re to swear fealty to the King of this kingdom, never let it be 
said, we, that eat and drink at his table, have lift up our heel 
Against him. 

6. With what joy should we consider our state, in our ap 
proach to such an ordinance ; we are received as friends to the 
King's table. Let Israel rejoice, in him that made him, let the 
children of Zion rejoice in their King, Psal. cxlix. 2. Rejoicr 
greatly, O daughter of Zion, shout, O daughter of Jerusalem, 
thy King cometh, meek and lowly. Zech. ix. 9. How infinite 
ly condescending, when he treats such as we for his welcome 
guests ! And take both the parts of the text together, and they 
will give us this twofold hint of use. 

1 . Consider how solicitous we ought to be, till we know that 
we are got out of that dark and horrid kingdom, and brought 
into this kingdom of light, and grace. When we know that 
these two kingdoms divide the world, and how fearful a thing 
it is to belong to the former, and how desirable a thing to be 
long to the latter kingdom ; who would not be solicitous, till 
he knows that he is got out of tjiat horrid kingdom, into this 
blissful one, and into so safe and happy a state ? And how 
stupid negligence is it not to know, or be concerned to what 
kingdom I belong ! Dost thou not know who is thy king ? 


Whether the dear Son of God, or that accursed king ; I hope 
you will labour not long to be ignorant, in a matter of so great 
concern, but drive it to a speedy issue. 

2 With reference to both these, if you have a comfortable 
ground to hope that you are delivered from the power of dark 
ness, and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son ; be 
serious in your thanksgivings, and endeavour to arrive at great 
er degrees of gratitude, that your hearts may be more warm, and 
raised in your thanksgivings. And such thanksgivings ought 
to be gratefully expressed, in acts of mercy to the poor and nee 
dy. Blessed are the merciful, for they have received mercy, 
and shall receive it. 


VOL. IV. 2 B 




JL Have perused the papers which you sent me, and find, as far as 
I can recollect, they contain in them the substance of what was de 
livered -j with no more mistakes than is usual in writing from the 
mouth of one who is not of the slowest speakers. 

Some things hesides, which the limits of the time allowed not to 
be spoken (having some short memorials of them by me) I have ad 
ded, conceiving they might also contribute towards the good end you 
proposed to yourself, in so earnestly desiring this publication, the 
assisting of their patience, and their good and placid thoughts of 
God, who are exercised under long and languishing distempers. The 
observations which your profession hath occasioned you to make, in 
the cases of many others, hath ! doubt not let you see the need of 
somewhat to this purpose -, otherwise the example you have had so 
long before your eyes of so calm and composed a temper, in this ex 
cellent relative of yours, might have made you less apprehensive how 
great an addition a fretful inquiet spirit is, both to the sin, and the 
affliction of a sickly state. I am sensible your own affliction is great, 
in the loss you now sustain ; the relief will be great, and suitable, 
which the forethoughts of tbat state will afford, where they neither 
marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God, in 

I am, Sir, 

Yours in much sincerity, and affection, 

tp serve you in the work 

and labour of the gospel, 

J. H. 



Luke xiiJ. 1(5. 

ought not t/iis woman, being a daughter of 
whom Satan hath bound, lo these eighteen years, be 
loosed from this bond on the sabbath day f 

will soon see the occasion, and connection of these 
words, by viewing over the whole paragraph to which they 
belong, ver. 10. And he was teaching in one of the synagogues 
on the sabbath. (11.) And behold there was a woman which had 
a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, 
and could in no wise lift up herself. (12.) When Jesus saw her, 
he said to her. Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. 
(13.) And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was 
made straight, and glorified God. (14.) And the ruler of the 
synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had 
healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are 
six days in which men ought to work : in them therefore come 
and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. ( 1 5.)The Lord then 
answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite ! doth not each of you 
on the sabbath loose his ox and his ass from the stall, and lead 
him away to watering ; (16'.) And ought not this woman, being 
a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lotheseeighteen 
years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath-day? (170 And 
when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: 
and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were 
done by him. 

Inasmuch as our blessed Lord spake these words, and did 
the thing which occasoned them, upon that which was, with 
the J^ws, their Sablath-day ; it cannot be unfit for us to coa- 


aider them upon ours, they so fitly leading us to consider also 
another release, wrought for a daughter of Abraham too, on 
our Sabbath-day. It was formerly told you upon what occa 
sion, and I doubt not but you generally know upon whose ac 
count we were to divert from our usual course, and subject at 
this time. Nor could any thing have been more suitable to 
the present occasion, for not only was this daughter of Abra 
ham released from her infirmity upon the sabbath-day ; but the 
time wherein it remained upon her, in a great and m anifold 
complication, was (as her surviving consort hath acquai nted 
me, and who therefore recommended this subject) precisely 
about eighteen years. 

There are, it is true, disagreements between our case, and 
that case in the text, which do not therefore render both to 
gether less instructive to us, but the more. And, to make 
way to what may be so, you must here take notice, that these 
words are part of our Lord's defence of what he had done, in 
performing this work of mercy, wherein what he says is justly 
severe, and very clearly convictive. It is very deserved and 
just severity, that he called him, who caviled in the case, *by 
his own true name, thou hypocrite. He, under pretence of 
great sanctity, discovers the highest enmity, even against our 
blessed Lord himself, who came (being sent) upon the holiest 
and kindest design into this world. The zeal which he pre 
tends for the observation of the sabbath, could not be the 
thing that he did really mean, or that acted him in this case ; 
or it was not likely he could be ignorant of what was a known 
adjudged case among the Jews (as some of their own rabbies * 
inform us) that all needful endeavours ought to be used for the 
cure of the sick upon the sah bath-day. So as that he very 
well knew, no rule could be broken in this case. But this he 
reckons was somewhat plausible, and he pleases himself in it, 
that he could tell how to vent his spite against Christ and Chris 
tianity, under a mock-shew of great sanctimony. And our 
Lord justly calls him what indeed lie was, when he would thus 
seem what he was not. It was not that he cared for religion, 
or for any thing of real sanctity, of which a due and just ob 
servation of the sabbath was a real part ; but that he had a 
mind, as far as conveniently he could, to express his displea 
sure at that evidence aud lustre, wherewith the glorious works 

1 Vid Maiunon. constitut. dc fundam. c. 5. 9. cum Abrav. N. 
13, 14, And, as our own Dr. Lightfoot says upon that question of 
our Lord's ; Is it lawful to lieal upon the Sabbath-day ? (quoting; 
divers more of theirs to that purpose) he violated not the Sabbath se> 
Much as tlieir own canons allowed. See bis works, vol. 2. 


our Lord wrought evinced him to be the Messiah ; while yet 

ihe was struck with that awe of him, that he adventures not to *\. 

direct his reproof to him, but the people. 

It is here by the way to be noted, that they were not thus 
disaffected to our Lord, and ihe religion he was about to intro 
duce; no, but this ceremonious bigot, a ruler of the synagogue, 
was the ill-pleased disaffected person. 

I shall not trouble you with the discussion what sort of pow 
er it was that belonged to that office. Some, well acquainted 
with the Jewish writings, say that the ruler of the synagogue 
was not wont himself to officiate, as minister in sacris ; but 
his business was circa sacra, to regulate the administration. 
We consider not his power, but his ill-will and enmity against 
Christ and true .religion. The people, in the mean time, 
thronged after him in multitudes, and beheld the great works 
he wrought with joy, and glorified God. Only where was 
more power, and probably more knowledge, there was more 
too of a peevish spite and envy, that the interest of our Lord 
was, by so proper means, growing in the world. A sad (and "\ 
not a new) thing ! that religion should have most opposition, 
whence it should have most of countenance, and advantage to 
dilate and spread itself. Do any of the rulers believe on him ? 
But the people (whom they despised, and pronounced accursed 
for that reason) were more apt and forward to receive the gos 
pel, Job. J. 48. 49. The more there is of light, unaccompa 
nied with a pious inclination, the higher, the more intense 
and fervent, the finer and more subtle is the venom and nia- 
iice against Christ, and real Christianity. 

But our Lord was not diverted from his kind and compassi 
onate design, by any such obstructions as these. His love 
triumphs over them, and he make that discovery of his com 
passion which could not but carry the clearest conviction with 
it ; as his reproof carried the brightest justice. Why what saith 
he : Do not any of you loose an ox, or an ass from the stall 
on the sabbath-day ? and shall not I loose a daughter of Abra 
ham ? It is like she was a daughter of Abraham, not only as 
being a Jewess, but as being a believer, as being, according to 
Scripture language, of Abraham's seed in the spiritual sense, 
as well as the natural, and he was the more peculiarly com 
passionate upon that account ; and yet more, because her ail 
proceeded from the malignant influence of the devil. Shall 
not I loose such a one whom Satan hath bound, that great 
enemy of mankind ? Why should not 1 shew myself so much 
the more a friend, by how much the more he appears an ene 
my, and give the earliest relief the matter can admit ? 

It is very true iadeed^ his compassion was never to incline 


him to do unfit arid unseasonable things, or things that Were m> 
way subservient to his principal end 5 but such a subserviency 
being supposed, his relief must be with the earliest, to day be 
fore morrow, though it were the sabbath-day. And so now 
you have the ground of discourse plainly in view before you. 
That the devil cannot be more maliciously intent to afflict those 
that relate to God (even, when it is in his power, with bodily 
distempers) than our Lord Jesus is compassionately willing to 
relieve them, without distinction of time, when it shall be con 
sistent with, and subservient to his higher and greater purpo 
ses. In speaking to this, I shall, 

I. Touch briefly upon what is here expressed in the text, 
the hand that Satan may have in the afflictions, yea and in the 
bodily distempers of men, and even of them that belong to 
God among them. 

II. What hand our Lord Jesus has in their relief and releas- 

III. How far we may understand, or may reasonably expect 
his compassion to influence him, in such cases. 

IV. I shall shew that however the release be wrought, it is 
done very mercifully towards them that belong peculiarly to God. 

V. And so make use of all. 

I. Somewhat briefly as to that first query : What hand it is 
supposable the devil may have in the afflictions of men, and 
more particularly of them that belong to God ; as that woman, 
being a daughter of Abraham, was to be considered, as one 
within the compass of God's covenant, and not improbably as 
one that, in the strictest sense, was in covenant with God. 

1. It is plain, in the text, the devil had a direct hand in her 
distemper, called a spirit of infirmity. There were more evi 
dent, and more frequent instances of this kind in that time, 
the devil then setting himself more openly to contend against 
the incarnate Son of God, upon his more open appearance to 
rescue and recover an apostate world from under his dominion 
and tyranny. But as to more ordinary cases we may further 

2. That the devil is a constant enemy to mankind, apt and 
inclined, as far as God permits him, to do men all the mis 
chief he can. 

3. That as he first introduced sin into the world, so he hatli, 
by consequence, all the calamities that afflict it. There had 
been no death, sickness, or distemper upon the bodies of 
men, but from hence. Consider the devil therefore, as the 
prince and leader of the apostacy, who first drew man into 
transgression, and thereby rendered him liable to the justice of 
Us Maker, turned his paradise into a desart, and a region of 


immortal undecaying life into a valley of sickly languishings 
and death itself. So may he be said to have had a remoter 
hand, in binding not only this daughter of Abraham, but every 
child of Adam, in all the afflictions, maladies, and distempers 
which befall them here ; and finally in the bonds of death too, 
whereof he is said to have had the power Heb. 2. 14, 15. 
Though the children of the second Adam (with whom, for 
this purpose, he was partaker of flesh and blood, and became 
with them a son of Abraham, and of his seed) are, by being 
so bound, released and made free, both from death, and the 
bondage of fearing it, to which they were otherwise subject all 
their days ; as we shall further see anon. 

4. Though God do not ordinarily allow him more power, 
yet we may well suppose him to have more malice against these 
children of Abraham (who thereby pass into the account of his 
own children also) being more intent upon vexing and afflicting 
whom he apprehends or suspects he shall never be able to de 
stroy ; and always apt to use all the power shall be allowed him, 
to this mischievous purpose. We find that the afflictions of 
the people of God, in other kinds, and even in this kind, are 
expressly, often, attributed to the devil. In other kinds : 
Satan shall cast some of you into prison, Rev. 2. JO. And 
divers think that thorn in the flesh, which the apostle suffered, 
(2 Cor. 12.) was some acute bodily pain; and he says express 
ly : It was a messenger of Satan, sent to buffet him. He, it is 
said, smote Job with the tormenting boils that afflicted him so 
grievously, and so long, and brought the other calamities upon 
him, that you read of in his story. 

5. And again it is further to be considered, that whereas in 
all diseases the morbific matter, whether immediate in men's 
bodies, or remoter in the encompassing air, differs not from 
other matter, otherwise than only in the various disposition, 
figuration and motion of parts and particles, whereof it is made 
up ; inasmuch as the devil is called the prince of the power of 
the air, we know nothing to the contrary, but that he may 
frequently so modify that, as that it shall have most pernicious 
influences upon the bodies of men ; and upon those especially, 
so far as God permits, that he has any greater malice against. 

6. And again (supposing this) it is not a stranger thing that 
God should permit him to afflict the bodies of them that be 
long to him, than to disturb their minds. Sure their bodies 
are not more sacred. If we should suppose that he may some 
way or other perniciously agitate the humours in human bodies, 
it is no harder a supposition than that he should so variously 
form the images in the fancy, by which he tempts ; for here 
in surely he comes nearer us, and is more inward to us. 

YOL, IV. 2 C 


7. Nor is it less supposable that God should, in some in 
stances, permit the devils to follow their inclinations in afflict 
ing his people, than wicked men to follow theirs, which, in the 
general, carry them to the same thing ; when he knows how to 
turn the one to after-advantage, as well as the other. But we 
have no ground to think, notwithstanding all this, that the 
wisdom and goodness of providence will ordinarily permit that 
this agency of the devil, in the mentioned cases, shall be alto 
gether in a contra-natural way ; hut only, by so moving and 
acting with natural causes, that he may be also obviated, 
through the ordinary blessing of God, by natural means, and 
and onuses too. Much less is it reasonable that diseases should 
be themselves reckoned very devils, as was the opinion of the 
gnostics of old, wherein they much concurred with the mani- 
chees ; whom, together with them, the more honest-mind 
ed pagan Plotinus so copiously confutes (though that was more 
anciently a common opinion, the Septuagint's rendering the 
word that signifies plague by the word &//KO/O, in several pla 
ces of Scripture, seems to intimate. But the commonness of 
such an opinion, in a dark time, signifies nothing to sway ours 
this way, or that) But whatsoever hand the devil may be sup 
posed to have in their afflictions, or sicknesses that belong to 
God, we are, 

il. Sure that our Lord Jesus has a most kind hand (whenso 
ever it is) in their release, which though it were here in a more 
extraordinary and immediate way, and beside the course of 
nature, the disparity in this case signifies nothing to the les 
sening of the favour, towards those whom he vouchsafes to re 
lieve in other cases ; for the influence that he has in ordinary 
cases is as truly divine. If die cure of a diseased person be 
wrought, by his blessing, upon ordinary natural means ; hi* 
co-operating with nature is less amazing, but not less eifec*- 
tual, or less kind : as also the efflux from God is (for his own 
part) as real, when he works with second causes, as without 
them, and as immediately reaches the eftect, in both the sen-* 
ses of inimediateness, v, hereof so much noise is made in the 

And we must further know our Lord Christ is now the uni 
versal Regent of all nature, even as he is the Christ, the world 
being devolved into his hands, and all power being given to 
him both in heaven, and earth. He is Lord of all, when 
therefore any of you are sick, it is by his disposal, if you are 
recovered out of that sickness. Nor is his agency less or low 
er, whether it be by blessing a medicine, or working a mira 
cle ; his power, and love are the same either way. And 
know there is aja. honour, and acknowledgment due from chris- 


tians to their great crucified Lord, who hath founded a domin 
ion over this world in his blood, who died, and revived, and 
Tose again, that he might be Lord of living, and dead. There 
fore you are to reckon you are beholden to Christ for all your 
recoveries, and all your refreshings that you meet with, amidst 
the many infirmities and frailties of this your present mortal 

And if the release be by death, as the case is which we now 
have specially to do with, that universal power of his, over all 
lives, must be understood immediately to reach to that case 
too. It is he that measures lives, that lengthens them out, and 
cuts them shorter at his own pleasure. And as to those that 
are more peculiarly his own, it is a more peculiar, and favour 
able superintendency that he has over that affair, even of their 
very dying. Their death is precious in his sight. He with a 
most gentle tender hand unties the knot of man, releases and 
receives the dislodging soul : Lord Jesus receive my spirit, as 
dying Stephen speaks. But 

III. We are to consider how far our Lord Jesus his compas 
sion concerns him in such cases, or wherein that may move 
him to interpose in them, so as in this case he did. And here 
two things are to be asserted That his compassion has not su 
preme and principal influence in this case ; and That yet it 
hath real influence. 

1. That it hath not supreme or principal influence in such 
cases. And this doth really require to be more principally in 
sisted on, as of greater importance to narrow, terrene minds, 
that are apt to measure all things by themselves, and in refe 
rence to their own little sphere and compass ; and to them 
selves only in their present state, as they are inhabitants of 
this minute spot of earth ; as if all things ought to bend, and^ 
and yield to their present convenience and accommodation 
here. Whereupon they wonder when they are sick, and in 
pain, God doth not presently relieve and ease them ; and 
think they should do so for any friend, or neighbour, if it were 
in their power. 

Know, therefore, it was not from compassion, as the soli 
tary, or as the chief inducement that om' Lord did work this 
release for this daughter of Abraham. That cannot be suppo 
sed, for he can never be understood to make a creature, arid 
the advantages of a creature, his supreme end. That would 
have been to invert the order of things, to dethrone God, and 
deify man, and had been itself a real sort of that idolatry, 
which was one among the many horrid evils which he purpose 
ly came to redress, and give remedy to in this apostate degene 
rate world. He had a greater inducement, that is that he 


might diffuse the glory of God among the children of men ; 
and that he might give evidence thereby to the truth of his own 
mission, and prove most convincingly that he was the Messiah, 
the Son of God, the very person that was anointed, and sent 
about that great undertaking, to recover God's rights in this 
lapsed world, to bring about a reconciliation between God, and 
men. And upon this account, when he wrought cures upon 
men's bodies, it was out of a higher compassion to their souls. 
And though even this itself, of saving men's souls, was not his 
highest design, but the glory of God (as we shall see further by 
and by) yet it being truly designed by him, and more princi 
pally than their bodily ease and relief, this was an apt means to 
this his lower end. For whereas, in order to this, he was to 
manifest himself a divine Saviour; it was requisite he should 
give a joint, and an equal demonstration of the two things 
which his being so implies, his godlike power, and love. The 
former alone it did not serve his purpose to shew, which he 
might have shewn as much by inflicting plagues on men's bo 
dies, as working cures ; by striking them with blindness, 
lameness, &c. as by giving them sight and soundness. But it 
was necessary to his end his miracles should be beneficent, and 
that he should: (as it is elsewhere said in the evangelical story 
he did) go about doing good, and not make men afraid of him, 
by showing the power of a God in destructive strokes, and 
judgments ; but (which became a Saviour) express a divine good 
will towards men, and thereby make his way into their hearts^, 
bring them to understand, and own a Saviour ; and as such to 
fall in, and comply with his kind design towards them. And 
this, as it served to exalt God in this world, chiefly induced 
him to work this present cure. Jf his compassion towards a 
poor afflicted woman, labouring under bodily infirmity, were 
his principal inducement ; if therefore, she must be presently 
cured out of hand, even on the sabbath-day, because she had 
been now bound eighteen years : why, I pray you, was she 
to have been bound eighteen years ? or why bound at all ? His 
divine knowledge of the case, and power to have redressed, or 
prevented it, had as well served his compassionate inclination 
long before. Or why was not such a course formerly set on 
foot, and continued in the world, that men might be cured of 
blindness, deafness, lameness, fevers, dropsies, or whatsoever 
other maladies, easily, and by speaking a word, in any for 
mer time ? Why was it deferred to this time ? Or why hath 
not such a course been kept a foot ever since his ascension ? 
Hath heaven rendered him less merciful, and compassionate ? 
Is it so unkind, and ill natured a place ? It is true that his 
apology for the cure he now wrought, to this ruler of the syv 


nagogue, seems to have no higher reference, nor was he bound, 
unseasonably, to declare his utmost end and design,to a preju 
diced, malicious enemy. That was to speak itself, to shine by its 
own light, and by such means and methods as these, gradually 
to make its own way into less obstructed minds, insensibly 
sliding in upon them ; which might better be done (time being . 
given at leisure to consider things) by the real evidence which 
his works carried with them, than by industrious, and often- 
repeated verbal commentaries and expositions. 

He sometimes spake it out expressly, as he thought fit, to 
competent and more prepared hearers, that his great design 
was to make himself, and his errand be understood ; who he 
was, and what he came into the world for ; that he was the 
Son of God, the promised Messiah, and that his business was 
to save them that were lost; and to restore God's interest in an 
apostate lost world whose rights were to be cared for, in the 
first place. He redeemed us to God by his blood, Rev. 5. i). 
Or for the glory of God, as he summed it up in the case of 
Lazarus, when he was told of his being sick, Joh. 11.4. This 
sickness is not unto death, that is, it was not to terminate in a 
continuing death but for the glory of God, that the Son of 
man might be glorified ; the same account which this evange 
list gives of all these his great works, and why they were re 
corded, that we might believe that Jesus was the Christ, the 
Son of God, &c. chap. 20. 30. And otherwise was it so con 
siderable a thing, that a man well got out of this fearful gulf, 
as Lazarus now was, should be fetched back again ! that so 
mighty a wonder should be wrought ! that the inclosure of the 
grave should be torn open ! and the released soul should be 
again drawn down, as a bird escaped, caught back into its - 
former confinement, to converse a while longer amidst the 
impurities of a world lying in wickedness, and with shadows, 
in a world the fashion whereof passes away ! 

No, miracles were not so cheap things. We may observe 
the great, and wise God hath, for great and weighty reasons, 
been always very sparing in making very observable innovations 
upon nature, or any considerable changes in the ordinary 
course and method of natural causes, and their operations, as a 
thing less suitable to a state of probation, wherein men were to 
be held in this world. And hath only been wont to do it, 
where the inconvenience was to be balanced by preponderat 
ing greater reasons ; which might as much require that he 
should depart from the fixed rule sometimes, as other reasons ^ 
might, that he should not do it often. It was equally neces 
sary that miracles should not be common, as that there should 
fee any wrought at all ; and in great part for the same reason. 


For if they were common, they must lose the only design, for 
which they could be at all useful. If God should do, in this 
kind, what is not necessary, he should the less effect by it 
that which is ; inasmuch as they are only useful, as they are 
strange, and, in the natural way, unaccountable. But there 
is nothing so great in this kind, but ceases to be thought 
strange, if it be common ; otherwise, is not the forming of "} 
the eye, in itself as great a thing, as to give sight to the blind? 
Or the framing such a world as this as great a thing, as the 
most stupendous miracle that ever was wrought in it ? 

It was indeed necessary somewhat extraordinary should at ~~> 
first be done, to demonstrate that man, Jesus of Nazareth, to 
be the Son of God ; which it was impossible should otherwise 
be known. When that was fully done, it was not necessary 
there should still be a repetition of miracles, from age to age, 
to prove the former were wrought, or the truth of the narra 
tives which reported them. That was sufficiently to be known, 
in the ordinary way, as other matters of fact are, or other his 
tory, about which there is no doubt made among men. And 
the history of these things has greater advantages to recom 
mend it to the certain belief of after-time, than most that ever 
were writ besides, upon many accounts. It was indeed most 
becoming the majesty, wisdom, and goodness of God (taken 
together) to do what might answer the real necessities of men, 
whom he was designing to save; but not to indulge their curi 
osity, nor their unaccountable dulness, sloth, or prejudice, 
whereby they may be unapt to inquire about, or receive plain 

Therefore miracles were to be done as rarities, sometimes, 
not at all times ; and at such a time, and upon sueh an occa 
sion most of all- to notify, and signalize the Redeemer, at his 
first appearance, to draw men's eyes upon him, that they 
might take notice of him, and demean themselves towards him 
accordingly. This was to be done sufficiently once for all. 
Arid the great stupidity of the world made a matter, which 
needed some supernatural evidence, need so much in that kind., 
Except you see signs and wonders, you will not believe. And 
if he did so far comply with the necessity of degenerate huma 
nity, as to give once some signal convictive evidence that he 
was the Christ ; the divine wisdom would take care it should 
not be so often done, as to become trivial, and insignificant to 
its proper end ; the importance whereof was such, as that it 
ought to transcend any regard to the welfare of men's bodies, 
but not to exclude it : Which we now come briefly to shew, 
in the next place, namely. 

2. That though compassion towards an infirm, creature, 


under bodily distemper, was not the principal inducement 
unto this cure ; it was a real one. Our Lord doth really com 
passionate the frailties of those that relate to him, while they 
dwell in mortal flesh. He himself bears our sicknesses. He 
has a tenderness towards them, even while he doth not think it 
fit actually to release and set them free ; which makes way to 
what was proposed, in the last place, to be insisted on, as pre 
paratory to the intended use. 

IV. That in what way soever our Lord Jesus works a release 
for them that are most specially his own, from their bodily dis 
tempers ; he doth it in mercy to them. He lets their affliction 
continue upon them in mercy, greater mercy, indeed, than would 
be in an unseasonable deliverance. But when he sees it a fit 
season to give them a release, that is an unquestionable mercy 
too ; though it be not in such a way, as appears such to vulgar 

It is more easily apprehensible to be from compassion, if he 
relieves a poor, pained, weak, languishing, sickly creature, by 
giving renewed strength, and ease, and health in this world, 
But when the release is by death, as in the case we have under 
our farther present consideration, it is hard to persuade that 
this is done in mercy, that there is compassion in this case. 
There is, it is true, in this a manifest disparity, but not a dis 
advantageous one. Is it a less thing to release a holy soul from 
the body, than from bodily distempers ? It can only be so in the 
opinion of such blind moles of the earth, as the children of men, 
are now generally become. But let the case be considered ac 
cording to its true and real import. Why ! a recovery from 
sickness is but an adjournment of death, it is but death deferred 
a while. When there is a release wrought in such a way as this, 
in which hers was wrought, whom God hath lately taken from 
amongst us ; here is a cure, not only of one bodily distemper, 
but of all; not only of actual diseasedness, but of the possibili 
ty of ever being diseased more 5 here is a cure wrought, not 
only of infirmity, but of death. For the saints conquer death by 
suffering it, yea a cure, not of death only, but of mortality, of 
any liableness to death, so as it can never touch them more ; 
yea further, not only of bodily diseases, but of spiritual too, far 
worse, and more grievous than all bodily diseases, whatso 
ever ; a cure of blindness of mind, deadness, and hardness 
of heart, of all indispositions towards God, his ways, and pre 
sence, towards the most spiritual duties, and the best, and most 
excellent of our enjoyments. The body of sin, and the mortal 
body are both put off together. The imprisoned soul is set 
free, and enters upon a state of everlasting liberty \ is released 


from the bands of death, of whatsoever kind, and in the highestj 
fullest sense shall reign in life, through Jesus Christ. What 
is the decease of a saint, but a translation out of a valley of 
death, a golgotha, a place of skulls, a region where death reigns 
into the region of perfect and everlasting life ? It is not to be 
called death simply or absolutely, but with dimunition ; it is 
death only in a certain respect, when in a higher, and much 
more considerable respect, it is a birth rather, a dying out of 
one world, and a being born at the same time into another, a 
much more lightsome, a purer, and more glorious world. The 
soul is cured in a moment, of whatsoever was grievous or afflict 
ing to it ; and the body put into a certain way of cure, of being 
made from an earthly, mean, mortal thing, heavenly, spiritual, 
incorruptible, and immortal ; from a vile, a glorious body, like 
Christ's own, and by that power, by which he can subdue all 
things to himself, Phil. iii. 21. 

V. And now for use. 

1 . Learn that there is no inconsistency in the case, that the 
same person should be at once the subject of long continued 
bodily affliction, and of divine compassion. These are recon- 
cileable things, sickly languishings, under which one may be 
ready to fail ; and compassions that fail not. This is a com 
mon theme, but the due consideration of it is too little common. 
.Let it now be considered, with impartial equity, and with deep 
seriousness. Do you think the all-comprehending mind of the 
Son of God now first began to pity this daughter of Abraham ? 
While he was not yet ascended, this attribution is given him ; 
otherwise, no doubt, than as a false compliment ; Lord, thou 
knowest all things Since his ascension, we are assured he 
hath a feeling of our infirmities, so as to be touched with them, 
a continuing sympathy, remembering the inconveniencies of 
thai state he had passed through, (as she once, non ignara 
tnali, S)C. tiot unmindful of the evil,fyc.) and is always ready, 
therefore, to do the part of a faithful, and merciful high priest. 
Before his descent,we must, with equal reason, suppose him to 
have an entire prospect of the sad case of wretched mortals, in 
tHs miserable world of ours. What else made him descend? 
And after that he was descended, this mark could not but lie 
still before the eye of his divine mind, to which all his works 
were known from the beginning of the world. Yet tlie cure is 
deferred, the release is not given till the appointed season. 
When it is the case of any of you to be afflicted with long sick 
ness, and to feel the tediousness of a lingering disease (count 
upon it that it may be so, as it is like it hath been, with divers 
of you) do not then permit the matter to the censure of an in 
competent, partial judge. If you consult flesh and blood, if 


sense be to pronounce in the case and give judgment, how 
hard will it be to persuade that you are not neglected in your 
languishings, that your groans and faintings are unpitiecl ; 
though you are so plainly told : That whom the Lord loves, he 
chastens ? Are you not ready to say, How can this stand with 
being, at the same time, the object of divine pity ? If he pity 
me, would he let me lie, and languish thus, in so miserable a 
plight, day after day, and year after year ? Yes, these things 
very well agree, and I would fain shortly evince to you that 
they do. 

(1.) His compassion may sufficiently be evidenced in another 
kind and by another sortof instances. Sure it will speak compas 
sion, if he frequently visit his frail infirm creatures, and by his 
visitation preserve their spirits, if he support them, if he refresh 
them, this is grace. My grace shall be sufficient for thee, 
saith he to the great apostle, when he refused to release him 
from that thorn in the flesh, that messenger of Satan that did 
buffet him. 

(2.)Besides, compassion may appear by this kind of dispensa 
tion itself. It may not only carry that with it, but in it, which 
may shew good-will. If long continued affliction may be sup 
posed to proceed from compassion, it doth much more consist 
with it. It may proceed from compassion, and bear the rela 
tion to it of an effect to the cause. We find it expressly so X 
said in Scripture, and who can so truly speak God's mind as 
himself? He afflicts in very faithfulness,, and as many as the 
Lord loves, he chastens, and scourges every son whom he re 
ceives, Prov. iii. 12. quoted, Heb. xii. 5, u.Rcv. iii. ly. Affliction 
must be the effect of his real, and most sincere good-will, and 
compassion, though of long continuance, if it be apt, and in 
tended to do you good, in higher and in greater regards than 
those wherein you suffer, Or if the good your affliction does 
you, or is fitly designed to do you, be of a nobler and more ex 
cellent kind, than that whereof it deprives you ; it must be un 
derstood, not only to be consistent with kindness and good-will, 
but to be produced of it. For the same principle that intends 
the end, must also intend the proper means that serve to effect 
it. Now the kind of this good is thus to be estimated. You 
read Psal. ciii. 13. As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord 
pities them that fear him. As a father. The relation he is in 
to them, is that of a father to his children. But. we must un 
derstand, under what notion, he is related ; and we are told, 
Heb. xii. 9, 10, Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh 
which corrected us, and we gave them reverence ; shall we 
not then much rather be in subjection to the Father of our spi 
rits, and live ? For they, verily for a few days, chastened uS 

VOL. iv. 2 D, 


after their own pleasure ; but he for our profit, that we might 
be partakers of his holiness. We have here an account where 
the relation terminates, and see both the object of his more 
special kindness and good-will, which accompany the relation, 
and the end of it., He is the Father of their spirits, whence, 
therefore, we may collect, the object of that love, which goes 
witli the relation, must be their spirits also : the end of it is 
k ir spiritual advantage, to make them partakers of his own 
holiness. His holiness is a lofty word, and carries -the matter 
high. Understanding it soberly (as we may be sure it was 
meant) it must signify the holiness which he hath himself im 
pressed, and the impression whereof is the lively resemblance 
and image of his own. And is not this a good of a nobler, and 
more excellent kind, than we can lose by a sickness ? better 
than the ease of this vile flesh, that was made out of dust, and 
tends thither? The object is their spirits,, for there the kindness, 
that belongs to the relation, must terminate, where the relation 
terminates. How much more shall we not be subject to the 
Father of our spirits, and live ? The Father of our spirits is there 
contradistinguished from the fathers of our flesh. God is not 
the father of our flesh, but the Father of our spirits ; He is the 
Creator of our flesh too,, our flesh is his creature, but not his 
offspring. There must be a similitude and likeness of nature 
between a father, and a child, which there is not necessarily be 
tween a maker, and the thing made. In respect of our spiri 
tual part, we are his offspring ; and he is so a Father to us, both 
as the souls of men in common bear his natural image, and, if 
they be regenerate, as they bear his holy image too. And the 
case may be so, that the suffering of our flesh is necessary for 
the advantage of our spirits. Our flesh may suffer so, as that 
the spirit shall be the better for it ; and then pity itself, com 
passion itself must not only permit, but cause and produce such 
a course of dispensation, as whereby that end shall be attained, 
the making us partakers of his holiness. So the apostle speaks 
of his own case : Though our outward man perish, yet our in 
ward man is renewed day by day, 2 Cor. iv. 16. Though our 
outward man perish. We are compassed about with deaths, 
that are continually beating down the walls of this outward man, 
they are beating upon it, and are likely to infer its perishing ; 
and if it perish, let it perish, I am not solicitous as though he 
had said about that. If it must come down, let it come down ; 
in the midst of all these outward assaults, our inward man is 
renewed day by day, gathers a fresh, and increasing strength, 
and vigour, whilst this outward man is tending to dissolution 
and dust. And several ways such continued afflictions^ upon the 


outward man, may make for the advantage of the inward man, 
in the best kind. 

[1.] As they withdraw, and take off the mind and heart from \ 
this worhl, a debasing and defiling thing; and which trans 
forms the soul; that converses too much with it, into a dunghill, 
fills it with ill savour. But what doth all this world signify to 
a sickly, pained person ? 

[2.] As it engages them to be much in prayer. Nothing is more 
suitable, than that an afflicted life, be a life of much prayer. Is any 
man afflicted, let him pray, Jam. v. 13. Much affliction hath a 
natural aptitude to incline men this way. In their affliction they 
will seek me early, Hos. v. 15. It is a dictate of nature, even 
when grace, as yet, hath no possession ; but which through 
God's blessing, may, by this means, help to introduce it. For 
it urges the soul Godward, who is the God of all grace : obliges 
it to converse with him, whereby somewhat better may be gam 
ed than is sought. In their afflictions they will be submissive 
and lie at my feet, saith God ; they will seek me early, from 
whom, otherwise, I should never hear, it may be, all their life 
long. Oh ! that you would understand the matter so, when 
God afflicts in such kinds, so as his hand touches your very 
bone and flesh ; this is the design of it, to make you pray, to 
bring you upon your knees, to put you into a supplicating pos 
ture : if he can, upon any terms, hear from you, though you 
seek him but for bodily ease and refreshing, it may be a means 
of the greatest advantage to you, ere God have done with you, 
when once he has brought you, by this means, to treat ; when 
he has got you into a more tractable disposition, there is hope 
in the case. If thus he open your ear to discipline, and be to 
you an interpreter, one of a thousand, to shew you his righte 
ousness ; he may seal instruction to you, and save your soul 
from going down to the pit, having found a ransom for you, 
Job xxxiii. 15. &c. 

But for those that have a real interest in God, and union 
with Christ, that which occasions much prayer, is likely 
to be the means of much spiritual improvement, and advantage 
to them. 

[3.] It puts several suitable graces upon exercise/and by being *\ 
exercised, they grow. It tries their faith, and improves it. 
Faith is, in such a case as this, necessarily called forth into 
act, if there be the principle ; and as it acts, it grows, and be 
comes more and more strong, and lively. Their patience is 
exercised by it, and perfected; and that has a great influence 
upon their universal perfection. Let patience have its perfect 
work, that you may be perfect, Jam. 1 . 2, 3, 4. There will be 
a universal langpur (as if he should have said) upon your 


spirits, if you be impatient ; if you cannot suffer (as patience 
is an ability for suffering) if you can by no means endure, with 
out tempestuous agitations, or sullen despondencies of spi 
rit. But if patience have "its perfect work, that will infer 
a universal healthfulness, and good habit into your whole 
soul. * 

Their love to Cod is, in such a case, eminently tried, and 
improved. Blessed is the man that endures temptation (tentative 
affliction is there meant, as above, ver. 2.) For when he is tried, 
he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath pro 
mised to them that love him, (Jam. i, 12.) which implies, their 
love to him is the great thing put upon trial, in that case. And 
it is a great trial of love to God, a very improvable opportunity 
of discerning its sincerity, when, upon a long affliction, you 
can appeal to God, and say : Thou knowest I love thee ; though 
thou smite and kill, I will still love thee. No discontentful 
'notion, no repining thought shall ever be allowed a place in, 
my breast ; there may le sighs., but no murmurings, groans, 
Aut no tumults, nothing of displeasure against thy holy plea 

1 4.] It occasions such to live much upon the borders of eter 
nity. Under affliction we look not to the things that are seen 
and temporal ; but to the things that are unseen, and eternal ; 
which make us count our affliction, though long, but momen 
tary, '2 Cor. i\ r . ]/', 18. And those souls will prosper and 
flourish that liuve so unspeakably more to do with the other 
world, than with this, it is in this way that the afflictions of 
tins present stare do work for us the far more exceeding, and 
eternal weight of glory, (ver. 170 as they direct our eye forward, 
while we look, (IB.) not to the things that are seen, which 
are but temporal : but to the things that are unseen, and eter 
nal. Life and spirit, strength and vigour enter, as though 
be had said, at our eye, which is prompted by the horror of 
I rightful spectacles in this scene of tilings, to look to another, 
where all things appear lightsome, pleasant, and glorious. 

There are other considerations, whereby you might argue to 
yourselves not only the consistency, but the great suitableness 
of an afflicted state in this world, with God's favour, kindness, 
and compassion towards you. As that when he is more highly 
provoked, he threatens not to afflict, as the heaviest of penal 
ties. Why should they be smitten any more? Isa. 1. 5. i 
will no more punish your daughters, &c. Hos. iv. 14. Ephra~ 
|m is joined to idols, let him alone, ver. 1J- And again also. 
That his Covenant obliges him to it, as to them, who are, 
Oil stricter terms in covenant with him, Christ's own seed be- 


ing signified by David's ; as by David is manifestly Christ 
himself, Psal. Ixxxix. Where you may see how, and after 
what tenor his covenant runs, ver. 30, 34. Accord 
ing whereto he himself elsewhere acknowledges, that in very 
faithfulness God had afflicted him, (Psal. cxix. 75.) that 
in experience, we are apt to grow remiss, secure and negli 
gent, when all things are externally well with us. And let us 
but appeal to ourselves, how much a wakeful temper of spirit, 
under affliction, is better than carelessness, and vanity of mind, 
accompanied with fleshly ease and pleasure : that we can our 
selves easily apprehend, that it may not only consist with the 
tenderness of a parent to have the wound of a child searched, 
though with much pain ; but proceed from it : that in heaven 
our judgment of things will be right and incorrupt, where we 
shall apprehend no cause of complaint, that through many sick 
nesses, diseases, and death itself, our way was made for us thi 
ther. And if that shall then be a true judgment, the thing it 
self must be as true now. But these I hastily hint, and pas s 
to some further use. 

2. We may next collect, that since it is out of doubt fhe devil 
may have some hand in our outward affliction; we are concerned 
to take so much the more care, that he may not have his end 
upon us by it. A hand he may have, and we cannot deter 
mine how far ; but whether it be more or less, great care we 
are concerned to take how to frustrate his design. He has the 
most mischievous ends that can be, and designs worse things to 
us than the affliction, which is the means, whatsoever that be. 
He would fain engage us in a controversy with God, would 
have us contend with him, murmur, fret, blaspheme and curse 
God ; and therewith send out our last, and dying breath. That 
was his design upon Job. Let us labour to frustrate it, as he 
did. Divers of the ancients (Justian Martyr, Jerome, Cyprian, 
and Austin) speak much to this purpose, how great a design the 
devil drives in being the author of sicknesses and diseases to 
men, that he might make them apply themselves to him, and 
divert from God; as that wicked prince did, whom by the 
prophet we find so sharply reproved for it, as if there were no 
God in Israel, that he went to the god of Ekron (some de 
mon or other, as w r e bave reason to think) The last mention 
ed of these authors speaks of it as just matter of excommuni 
cation, w r hen those that bear the name of Christians shall, in 
such cases, use means bearing no natural proportion or aecom- 
jrnodateness to the end, charms, spells, &c. for ease, or cure 
of maladies ; wherein no relief could reasonably be expected, 
but from the devil's agency, who may be officious enough, if 
especially he have first hurt, to heal too, that by practising 


upon their bodies, he may entangle their souls ; and (according 
to his wont of running counter to God, who wounds tK. he 
may the more effectually heal and save) by a present temporary 
cure, wound mortally, and finally destroy. 

He hath not left the world (no not the Christian world) 
quite ignorant of his methods in these kinds, of training men, 
by gradual steps, into things, first, that seem innocent, and 
then into such familiarities (whether their real distress, or their 
curiosity were the first handle he took hold of them by, or the 
engine by which he drew them) till, at length, it come to ex 
press covenanting. If the matter come not so far, it is rare to 
come off from the least tarnperings without a scratch. He 
that is born of God, keeps himself, that the evil one may not 
touch him, (1 John. 5. 18.) as knowing he designs to touch 
mortally, and, if he touch, to kill. If it proceed so far as a 
solemn league, how tragical consequences doth story abound 
with! That of count Matiscon (plucked away by the devil 
from among divers persons of quality, whom he was entertain 
ing, and at noon-day, whirled in the air three times about the 
city, in open view of the people, to whom he in vain cried for help) 
reported by some historians ; and that of an infamous magician 
of Saltzburg, and divers others, are instances both very extra 
ordinary, and very monitory. But as to a future ruin, which he 
finally aims to involve men in, with himself ; he hath not faster 
hold of any, than those that have learnt to ridicule every thing 
of this kind, and who have put so much sadducism into their 
creed (consisting of so many negatives, or things they believe 
not, that they scarce leave enough positive to admit that name) 
as to think there is no such creature, perhaps as being consci 
ous there can be no worse than themselves. But how near is 
he to them that think him out of the universe ! 

3. Since it is possible the devil may bind even those that 
belong to God, with some kind of bodily affliction or other 5 it 
is the more to be apprehended, how much worse bonds they 
arc, in which he binds those that do not belong to him. Oh ! 
that you would be serious here ! How many such sad cases are 
there, amongst even them as may be feared that are called 
Christians, concerning which it may be said, here is a soul that 
satan hath bound, not eighteen, but, it may be, thirty, forty, 
fifty years ! Oh ! when shall this soul be released, that satan 
hath so long bound ! 

4. As from the devil's malice to the bodies of men, we may 
collect his greater malice to their souls ; so we may judge pro 
portionally of Christ's compassions, that as they incline him to 
give them all suitable relief in their bodily afflictions, as far as 
can consist with those measures which infinite wisdom hath 


pitched upon, for the government of this present world, and 
as shall fall in with the design of his office of a Redeemer and 
Saviour to us; so they much more incline him to relieve em- 
bondaged souls. For this doth most directly fall in with his 
design, and is the proper business of his office ; the other may 
be only collateral to it, and as it were to be done on the bye, 
He came not into this world to procure that men might not be 
sick, or pained, or be presently restored to health, and ease ; 
but he came and died, that souls might live ; to procure for 
them pardon, reconciliation with God, all needful assisting 
influences of grace, and eternal life. Of these therefore they 
may be most assured, if they duly apply themselves. And 
some encouragement to expect so much they may draw, even 
from this instance. This infirm woman, in order to bodily 
cure, did apply herself to him, she came after him, as others 
did, for this purpose, and did, in a sort, put herself in the 
way of his healing influence. Now if any of you find your 
souls are yet held by the devil, in worse bonds ; apply your 
selves to the merciful compassionate Jesus : there is hope in 
the case. Oh ! will you not say so much to him for a soul in 
bondage ? Lord, loose this poor soul of mine, that satan hath 
bound for so many sad years. Do but labour to know you are 
bound, to feel your bonds. Whatsoever there is of prevailing 
sin in you, it is a bond, by which the devil holds your souls. 
The wicked are held in the cords of their own iniquities, Prov. 
5. 22. And sins are said to be the works of satan, from which 
it is the design of the Redeeme to loose us. The Son of God 
was for this purpose manifested, that he might destroy (we 
read) it is that he might dissolve the works of the devil, as 
though he had said, that he might release, and unbind souls, 
that the devil as yet holds in fast bonds. And you may find 
you are so bound, when upon self-reflection you take notice, 
you are ordinarily restrained from what you should do, against 
the light and conviction of your own minds and judgments ; 
that is, you find, if you reflect, a conviction hath taken place in 
your consciences that you ought to love God, but there is with 
you no such motion of soul, no inclination towards him 5 you 
ought, in a stated course, to pray, and pour out your soul to 
him, but you are bound, you cannot offer at it, you have no 
liberty for it, your terrene inclination, or love to vanity plucks 
you back ; you ought to walk in the ways of God, but you are 
fettered you cannot move a foot ; you ought to do the works 
of God, but you are manacled, you cannot stir a hand. Are 
you so bound, and will you not know it ? What ! never feel 
your bonds ; when once they are felt, you will soon begin to 
tery, and supplicate. And if once you shall be brought sen- 


ously, and incessantly to supplicate, it may be hoped the re 
lease will follow. Was our Lord so compassionate towards 
infirm bodies, in the days of his flesh in this world ; and do we 
think he, above, is less compassionate to souls ? Can it be 
thought heaven hath altered him to your disadvantage ? Is he 
less kind, benign, and less apt to do good, now he is enthron 
ed in glory ? Why should you not believe he will give release 
unto your captived embondaged souls, if you implore his help 
and mercy, with seriousness, and insist upon it, and do not 
give him over ? Say to him, Jesus, thou Son of God, have 
mercy on me ; for do you not know it is his office ? The Spi 
rit of the Lord was upon him, to proclaim liberty to the cap 
tives, and opening of prisons to them that are bound, Isa. 
Ixi. 1. What! will you be bound all your days, and never 
lift up a cry to the great Redeemer and Saviour of souls, to 
give you release ? How deservedly should these bonds end 
with you in the chains, wherein the devils themselves shall for 
ever be bound with you ? 

5. We may collect, there is an awful regard due to the 
sabbath-day. When our Lord justified the cure now wrought 
on their sabbath, only on this account, that it was an act of 
mercy towards a daughter of Abraham ; by the exception of 
such a case he strengthens the general rule, and intimates so 
holy a day should not., upon light occasions, be otherwise em 
ployed, than for the proper end of its appointment. Though 
our day be not the same, the business of it, in great part, is; 
by the reason given in the fourth commandment, which being 
placed among the rest of those ten words, so many ways re 
markably distinguished from the other laws given the Jews, 
and signifying that these were intended not to them alone, but 
to mankind, and given upon a reason common to man ; the 
words also not necessarily signifying more, than there should 
be a seventh day kept as sacred to God, reserving it to after 
significations of his pleasure to mark out, and signalize this or 
that day, as he should see lit. And our Saviour having told us 
expressly : The sabbath was made for man (that is as men, 
not for Jews, as Jews) These considerations taken together, 
with many more (not lit to be here mentioned) do challenge a 
very great regard to the day, which we have cause to think it 
is the will of God we should keep as our sabbath. 

6'. That there is somewhat of privilege due, by gracious 
vouchsafement and grant, to the children of Abraham, to 
Abraham's seed, that is, to speak by analogy, to the children of 
covenanted parents. Abraham is considerable here, as being 
under that notion, a father ; whosoever of you therefore are 
the children of such, as were of the faith of Abraham, and you 


are how come to that adult state,, wherein you are capable of 
transacting with God for yourselves, and wherein the transitus 
is made from minority to maturity : if now you own the God of 
your fathers, if you will now say, my father's God shall be my 
God ; he keeps mercy for thousands of them that love him, 
and keep his commandments, that is, if there were a thousand 
generations of such, (generations being spoken of so immediate 
ly before, namely, that he would visit iniquity upon them 
that hate him, to the third, and fourth generation ; but shew 
mercy to them that love him, and keep his commandments, 
unto a thousand generations, that is to never so many) if you 
will not, when now grown up, disavow your father's God, if 
you will avow and own him, and devote yourselves to him ; he 
will be your God, as well as theirs. Here is now the privilege 
due to Abraham's children, or to the children of covenanted 
parents. God has an early preventive interest in them, upon 
which they may lay their claim to him, as their God ; if they 
will but now give up themselves to him, and stand to his cove 
nant. But if you will not do so, but slight, and reject the God 
of your fathers, then your birth privilege can signify nothing to 
you ; then think not to say with yourselves,We have Abraham 
to our father, in that 3d. of Matthew's gospel ; for God will 
never want children, he is able of stones to raise up children to 
Abraham, as if he had said, rather stones than you. And then 
indeed, upon a true account, Abraham is none of your father, 
as our Lord Jesus tells the Jews, if you were Abraham's chil 
dren, you would do the works of Abraham. You do so and so, 
thus did not Abraham, Johnviii. 39, 40. Pray consider what 
Abraham was, and how he lived on earth, like an inhabitant 
of heaven, as an heir of the heavenly country, his business 
was to seek the better country, that is, the heavenly ; where 
fore God was not ashamed to be called his God ; as in that 1 1th. 
to the Heb. ver. 16. But if you will go from day to day gro 
velling in the dust of the earth, this did not Abraham. If you 
will spend your lives in the pursuit of vanity and trifles, this did 
not Abraham. There is a great privilege belonging by gospel 
grant, unto the children of covenanted parents, if they do not 
forfeit it, by neglecting, and practically disavowing their father's 

7. But I further infer hence, that since this compassion has 
a real, though not a principal hand in the release that is given 
to them that belong to God, in whatsoever way they are released, 
from all their infirmities, and ails, and afflictions in this world ; 
it very much becomes, and much concerns all the children of 
Abraham patiently to wait for it, in God's own way. Patient- 

TOL, IV. 2 E 


ly, I say, in God's own way wait for it. The children of Abra 
ham shall be loosened sooner or later, and in one way or other, 
though very long, though so many years bound by such and 
such afflicting distempers. You have a great instance of this 
kind in that daughter of Abraham, whom God hath called a- 
way from us. In all that long exercise, the main thing she was 
ever wont to insist upon, was that in all this affliction she might 
gain patience, submission, and instruction. And in her later 
time, when she drew nearer to eternity, was more in view of it, 
that was the great subject wherewith she entertained herself, 
and was conversant much with somewhat more lately written 
upon that subject, as by Mr. Shower (now known to most or 
you) and by another author. And her last entertainment, as I 
have been told (as to helps from creatures in any such kind) was 
the repetition of what some of you have heard concerning the 
Immanuel, wherewith she formerly pleased herself, as being, it 
is likely much habituated in the temper of her spirit to the 
thoughts of him ; that having, by agreement with her pious 
consort, been their motto,* at their first coming together, Im- 
nianuel, God with us. 

cS. I shall only add one instruction more, to shut up all, that 
since our Lord Jesus hath such an agency, and even with com- 

^ passion in the release of those that do belong to him, from their 
jiiHicting infirmities ; we should all of us labour, with a due 
and right frame, and disposition of spirit to behold any such 
releasement. It is a great matter to be able to behold instances 
of that kind., with a right frame of mind, and spirit. If one be 
released by recovery, into ase, health, and strength in this 
world; it is easily and readily made matter of joy. Is one re 
covered out of a long and languishing sickness? Friends and re 
lations behold it with great complacency nnd gladness of heart. 
But if a godly friend be released by dying, truly we can hardly 
make ourselves believe that this is a release, or so valuable a 
release ; so much are we under the government of sense, so 
Uttie doth that faith signify with us, or do its part, that is the 
substance of what we hope for, and the evidence of what we 
see not. No ! This is to go with us for no release. We look 
only upon the sensible, that is, upon the gloomy part of such a 
dispensation,, when such a one is gone, released, set at liberty(as 
a bird out of the cage, or the snare) we can hardly tell how to 
considefit as a release, we will not be induced to apprehend it 
so. There are no dispositions, no deportments commonly that 
suit such an apprehension. And Oh ! how unbecoming and in- 

t congruous a thing, when Christ is, in that way, about releasing 

% The #osy on their wedding ring. 


such a one, to have a holy soul just upon the confines of a glo 
rious blessed eternity, compassed about with sighs, sobs, tears, 
and lamentations. How great an incongruity ! I have many 
times thought with myself, the love and kindness of friends and 
relations is very pleasant in life, but grievous at death. It is 
indeed, in some respects, a very desirable thing (if God shall 
vouchsafe it) to die with one's friends about one. It may be 
one may need some little bodily relief, in those last hours ; be 
sides that, some proper thoughts may be suggested by them, to 
mingle with one's own. And, if God afford the use of reason, and 
speech, and the supply of his own Spirit, one may possibly, in 
this last juncture, be a means of some good to them. One may 
possibly say that that may abide with them, and be of future ad 
vantage to them. But in other respects, if the related friendly 
by-standers cannot duly temper themselves., if they are apter 
to receive or do more hurt, than good, if Christians do not la 
bour to shew a truly Christian spirit, in such a case; their pre 
sence has very little eligible in it. And, indeed, the deport 
ment even of those that profess Christianity, about their de 
ceasing godly friends, is such for the most part, as if the 
foundations of all religion were shaken with them, and as if they 
had a design to shake them too, if possible, in such with 
whom they are now to part ; as if it were to be called in ques 
tion, whether what God hath said concerning another world, 
and the blessed state of the innumerable and holy assembly 
above be true or no, or were not doubted to be false, and a so 
lemn fiction, invented to delude mortals here on earth. 

It is little considered how opposite such a temper of spi 
rit, as commonly appears in us, is to the very design of all 
Christianity. For doth not the whole of Christianity terminate 
upon eternity, and upon another state and world ? Now do but 
consider the inconsistencies that are to be found in this case, 
between the carriage, and temper of many that profess Chris 
tianity, and their very profession itself. They acknowledge, 
they own that the design of Christ's appearing 1 here in this 
world, and of his dying upon the cross, was to bring us to God, 
to bring the many sons to glory. They grant that this is not 
to be done all at once, not all in a day ; but it is to be done by 
degrees. Here he takes up one, and there another ; leaving 
others still to transmit religion, and continue it on to the end 
of time. So far they agree with our common Lord, r and seem 
to approve the divine determinations, in all these steps of his 
proceedure. But yet for all this, if they might have their own 
will, Christ should not have one to ascend to him, of those for 
whom he died, and himself ascended to open heaven for them/ 


and to prepare a place for their reception, as their Fore-runner, 
there. I say not one to ascend after him, for they take up 
with a general approving of this design of his. Very well ! say 
they, it is fitly ordered, his method is wise, and just, and kind, 
and let him take them that belong to him, when he thinks fit, 
only let him excuse my family ; let him take whom he will, 
only let him touch no relation of mine, not my husband, wife, 
child, brother, sister, take whom he will, but let all mine alone. 
I agree to all he shall do well enough, only let him allow me my 
exception. But if every one be of this temper and resolution, 
for themselves and theirs, according to this tendency and 
course of things, he shall have none at all to ascend ; none to 
bring with him, when he returns. Those that are dead in Je 
sus, he is to bring with him. No, he should be solitary, and 
unattended for all them. They, and all their relations would 
be immortal upon earth. How ill doth this agree, and accord 
w r ith the Christian scheme and model of things ? 

But you will say, what ! would I persuade you to be indif 
ferent, and not to love, and care for your relatives, or be un 
willing to part with them 1 No. All that I persuade to is, 
that there be a mixture in your temper, and such a mixture, as 
that the prevailing ingredient therein may agree with the strong 
er and weightier reason. It is not that I would have love ex 
tinguished among relatives, but I would have it moderated and 
subdued, to that degree as to admit of being governed by su*- 
perior, greater, and nobler considerations. Do you think 
Christ did expect, or design that his disciples should not love 
him ? And yet he tells them. John. 14. 28. If you loved 
me, you would rejoice that 1 say I go to my Father. And who 
in all this world could ever have such a loss, as they of him, 
dwelling in flesh among them ? Yet, says he, if you loved me, 
you would rejoice that I say I go to my Father. And when 
the apostle, visibly tending towards death, by the prediction 
given concerning him, (Acts. 21. 13.) said to the disciples 
round about him : What mean you to weep, and to break my 
heart ? I am ready, not only to be bound, but to die for the 
name of Jesus if there had not been a faulty excess in the af 
fection they expressed, certainly he would not have rebuked it, 
he would not have blamed what he thought not blame-worthy. 

In short, it were desirable (if God see good) to die amidst 
the pleasant friends and relatives, who were not ill-pleased that 
we lived ; that living, and dying, breath might mingle, and 
ascend together in prayers, and praises to the blessed Lord of 
heaven and earth, the God of our lives ; if then we could part 
with consent, a rational, and a joyful consent. 


Otherwise, to die with ceremony, to die amongst the fashion 
able bemoanings, and lamentations, as if we despaired of 
futurity ! One would say (with humble submission to the di 
vine pleasure) Lord ! Let me rather die alone ! in perfect 
solitude ! in some unfrequented wood, or on the top of some 
far remote mountain ! where none might interrupt the solemn 
transactions between thy glorious blessed self, and my joyfully 
departing, self-resigning soul ! 

But in all this we must refer ourselves to God's holy plea 
sure, who will dispose of us, living, and dying, in the best, 
the wisest, and the kindest way. 








J|_ Can be at no loss for inducements to prefix your ladyship's name 
to this discourse. I know the subject is grateful to you, and if I 
only give you the occasion hereby of revolving in your mind this sub 
lime context, you will entertain yourself from it, with more enlarged 
and exalted thoughts, than this discourse, especially confined within 
so narrow limits, can suggest. 

And your ladyship knows so much of the incomparable queen, 
that you can the more easily believe the rest. I reckon you, Madam, 
a great frequenter of that assembly above, to which she is now ad 
joined. You have, besides the greater attractives that are common 
to all serious Christians, a very peculiar one, to draw your mind of 
ten thither. A joint-root with you is there by trans plantation, and a 
noble branch, from you both, and in whom two illustrious families 
meet, is, under your care, shooting upwards also. All indeed that 
have true honour for him, will earnestly covet he may be long service 
able to the most valuable purposes, in this world ; and that, by the 
blessing of heaven upon his approaching nuptials (with one from 
whom may be expected all that so sweet and tender a bud, now be 
ginning to open, can promise) he may, in due time, spread forth 
many branches, that may flourish here j but it is to be hoped he will 
be found to have a greater mind, than can be confined to so low, 
and little a thing, as this earth is. 

The thought may much the better be digested, that terrestrial nup 
tials will some time end in funerals ; if once, by God's prescribed 
methods, it can be made certain to us also, that those funerals shall 
end in celestial triumphs. 

Your ladyship's eyes (which better serve for heaven, than earth) 
being observably much directed upward, will give aim and direction 
to theirs, who depend upon you, to look the same way ; and withal 
draw down from thence continual blessings upon yourself, and them. 
Which is the serious desire, and hope of, 


Your Ladyship's most Obedient, 

and Obliged Humble Servant, 

VOL. IV. 2 F 


Heb. xn. 23. latter part. 

And to the spirits of just men', made perfect. 

JLjET me invite back your eye to the foregoing words, that 
are in nearer connection with these, ver. 22. But ye are 
come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, 
the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of 
angels, ver. 23. To the general assembly, and church of the 
first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge 
of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. 

We have had this last week a public solemnity, that was be 
comingly great and magnificent, upon a sad and mournful oc 
casion, the last act of a doleful scene that hath lasted many 
weeks. You know I have taken notice to you (my usual hear 
ers) of the first, and saddest, the leading part in this tragedy, 
once and again ; nor would I have this last to pass us, without 
some instructive observation and remark. Jt will the more in 
struct us, the less it detains us ; or if only taking a due (not, 
I mean, a slight and too hasty, but yet a transient) notice of 
it, we be prompted by it to look forward, from what was in its 
own kind most deservedly great, to what is incomparably great 
er, in a more excellent kind. 

In such a funeral solemnity, for so great and excellent a perso- 


nage, there is what may most fitly entertain awhile ; there is not 
that which ought finally to terminate a wise and a judicious eye. 
Honours done to the memory of great persons deceased have, 
by the wisdom of all nations, been counted decencies, and 
even debts ; when especially the deceased have been some 
time, and might have been much longer public blessings : 
Then indeed it is that such rites are most fitly (as they are 
usually) called Justa. But we are too prone to be taken only 
with the mere pomp of such spectacles, and, which is the in 
firmity of our too degenerate spirits, to be wholly possessed 
with fanciful ideas ; as those were intimated to be, which were 
from a spectacle of the same common kind, though on a very di 
verse occasion, by that elegant expressionism voX\w Qamo-ias, 
Acts. 25 23. such as do but amuse our imagination, 
awhile, but must of course vanish, and cannot stay long with 
us. But we need that somewhat greater, and too latent to 
strike our eye, should another way enter, and teach our mind; 
making such expressions there, as may claim an abode, and 
that ought to remain, and dwell with us. You read of a very 
solemn funeral, Gen. 1. The whole country into which the 
march was made, was amused at the state and greatness of 
that mournful cavalcade, wherein it is said, ver. 9. there were 
chariots, and horsemen, even a very great company. That 
which you have many of you so lately seen, and no doubt all of 
you heard of, was a most august funeral solemnity ; such as 
whereof less concerned foreign spectators might say, as the 
canaanites by mistake did of that, ver. 1 1 . This is a grievous 
mourning to the Egyptians. 

They were indeed anciently the most celebrated mourners, 
for such as died from amongst them, in all the world, in re 
spect of their funeral rites, and of their monuments for the 
dead^Diod. sj c> \ m \ .) o f which they are said to have taken more 
care than of the habitations of the living 5 accounting these 
they were to inhabit only a short time, but those they reckoned 
their atims o/xy, their eternal habitations. An imagination, 
which how wild soever it were of the habitations of souls 
(which only could be supposed capable of being pleased with 
them) yet implied their belief of their immortality, whereof 
some have, groundlessly, thought them the first assertors. (He 
rod. Euterp.) But the Canaanites were, as was intimated, 
mistaken in apprehending that to be chiefly an Egyptian mourn 
ing. The true Israelites (those that were such indeed) were 
the true, Concerned mourners. The father of Israel was dead, 
as now with us, the mother. A political, though not a natu 
ral, nor merely an economical one : a mother, not in the 
narrower and more minute, but in'the larger and most noble 


sense ; not of a single family only, but of nations. The Egyp 
tians assisted to make up the shew in that mourning, but were 
probably the prepared (as their posterity were the active) instru 
ments of the slavery and misery of that people ; with whom 
they were now seeming sharers in lamentation. 

Ours was a mourning not less grievous than theirs, not more 
grievous than just to the English nation, that is, to whom the soil 
and the genius are together native, that are not of an Egyptian 
spirit, Unto which, as things happen (to its power, or to its 
impotency) there is a radical innate disposition, either to make 
slaves, or to be such. There is a sort of people (as was once 
said) born to slavery, to whom it is a birthright. They 
have it in their natures, and no other state, as he most aptly 
spake, (Plin. Paneg.) is agreeable or becoming to them. 
Quos non decet esse nisi servos. They know not what to do 
with liberty, any more than that silly creature that used to haunt 
the dunghill, with the pearl. Therefore they can but suitably 
value the restorers and assertors of it. No irons can be heavier, 
or less tolerable to them, than a generous, and a Christian state 
of freedom. Therefore if none else will do them the kind office 
to put them into gentler shackles, they grow so unnaturally 
cruel, as to shackle themselves, in the ignoblest sort of bon 
dage. Prov. 5. 22. They are held in the cords of their own 
sins, and make the chain, whereby they are to be dragged. 
(Sen. Trag.) Brutish appetites and inclinations are to them se 
verer taskmasters, than it can ever be in their power to become 
to others. They can themselves, at the utmost, but domineer 
over other men's externals ; but these have subdued their wills, 
and tyrannize in their very minds. 

Thus it is with them in relation to their governing, and tfyeir 
being governed ; and their policy and religion come both out of 
the same mint. To them this season of sorrow is a time of fes 
tivity, and laughter, who, when they have suffered a more mon 
strous transformation themselves, can easily turn the house of 
mourning into that of mirth. Eccles. 7 4. The wise man tells us 
what sort of people they are, whose heart is in this latter house; 
and what is to be thought of such mirth and laughter chap. 2. 
2. And indeed without a serious repentance (by which men 
do resipiscere, or become wise) theirs is like to prove the Sar 
donic 's laughter, a certain prelude to death and ruin. 

But it is to be hoped, this sort of men do dwindle into a not 
much regardable paucity. The current of the nation runs against 
them, which must turn and constrain them to fall in with it. 
For, we had upon the late sad occasion a panegyris. We 
find that word in the intrqductive part of the text, and though 


it Is more commonly applied to a multitude, gathered on other 
occasions, it disagrees not to that orderly great concourse on 
that mournful occasion, a general assembly, that is a national 
one, met then on purpose to mourn ; a nation assembled, and 
mourning in their representative. It was decent it should be 
so, a loss so national, so general a sorrow were with no eon- 
gruity otherwise to be represented and expressed. Our mourn 
ing was therefore by all the estates of the kingdom, the head 
only mourning, with greater and more decent majesty in retire 
ment, or being (as is usual in solemn mournings) hid, and co 
vered on that day. So was the whole legislature concerned in 
that sorrow, as if it were ordained by statute, or as if our 
mourning were as that for an excellent prince also (2. Chron. 
35. 25.) by an ordinance in our Israel ; and as if our tears and 
lamentations were, as before they were by merit, to be also 
made due by law ! Death marched in state and triumph that 
day, the king of terrors took the throne, and filled that part 
which it had made vacant, having plucked away from thence 
not only so bright an ornament, but so glorious an instrument, 
in our government ; and all the orders of the realm, as captives, 
attended the chariot of the conquerer. England had lost its 
delight, its pleasant comeliness, and even half its soul. No 
thing could correspond to such a case, but a national groan, 
as of an half-expiring kingdom, ready almost to breathe its last, 
and give up the ghost, 

It must be confessed, our just tribute to the memory of our 
admirable queen can never be said to be fully paid; nor can 
this discourse leave out occasional reflections that may be of 
this import. But my present design is to endeavour our minds 
may be drawn upwards, and to make that improvement of this 
most instructive providence, unto which this chosen text will 
direct. Not to entertain you with her character, and praises 
(for it is the same thing to characterize, and to praise her) that 
part is performed in divers excellent discourses, which I have 
read, as I believe many of you have, and I hope with fruit as 
well as approbation ; and (as there is cause) with great admi 
ration of the divine goodness, that so illustriously shone forth 
in her, and that vouchsafed, so long, to intrust the people of 
England with so rare a jewel, whose lustre, was yet exceeded 
by its real virtues. By which also we may make our estimate 
of the displeasure wherewith it is so soon withdrawn, and 
caught away from us, so as to entertain the age (as our divine 
Herbert) with a mirth but opened, and shut tip again a 
burning and a shining light (for so she also was in a true sense, 
and in her proper sphere) in the light whereof we rejoiced but 
a season. 


But every such providence hath its dark side, and its bright, 
View it downward as it looks upon us who remain beneath, 
and we behold blackness, and darkness, and a horrible tem 
pest. Such a state of things we may fear our queen hath left 
unto us who stay below, while we do so. But look we upon it 
upwards, whither she is ascended, and whither we are profes 
sedly tending, and are in some sort come, if we be followers of 
them, who through faith, and patience have inherited the pro 
mises ; and we find it is to momtf Sion, and unto the city of 
die living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable 
company of angels, to the general assembly, and church of the 
first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge 
of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. And hi 
ther (that we may fetch instruction out of terror, out of the 
eater meat, and life out of death) let us bend and apply our 

We have had a mournful sad solemnity and assembly, though 
decently pompous and great ; England's glory clad in sables, 
and glittering in a cloud. But now let us lift up our eye, and 
endeavour it may penetrate through this darkness, and behold 
the glorious spectacle which this context presents us with. 
Funeral solemnities, even for pious and holy persons, and that 
were of greatest use in the world, are dull and gloomy specta 
cles, if they are only considered in their retrospection, without 
prospect; or if they only solemnize their exit out of this world 
of ours, but be understood to have no reference to their ascent 
and entrance into the regions of immortality and bliss above. 
And, without this, we see ourselves out done by the Egyptians 
themselves, with whom their funeral apparatus had reference 
to a subsequent immortality. 

These words are illusive, and promiscuously refer, partly to 
things known and famous among the Greeks, but are more 
principally accommodate to these Christian Israelites, or He 
brews, to whom they are writ (and in a scheme of speech, fa 
miliar and well known to them) have respect to their passage 
out of Egypt (as the 3d and 4th chapters of this epistle also 
have) towards the land of their promised inheritance, whereof 
the remains of their venerable ancestor and head, holy Jacob, 
or Israel, had by divine instinct and direction, in that mention 
ed solemn funeral procession been conveyed before, to take a 
$ort of typical and prophetical prepossession of it for them. 
They are in the whole a figure, an allegory, which is expounded, 
Gal. 3. In their way to their terrestrial Canaan, this people 
come to mount Sinai. The emblem of their Jewish church 
state, under rigorous severities, which they were to pass from; 
SQ sJW} we The text expresses what they were come, 


were tending to, the representation whereof hath a double re 
ference, intermediate to the state and constitution of the Chris 
tian church, and final to the heavenly state ; the former being 
both a resemblance, and some degree of the latter. 

Ye are come (saith he) to mount Sion, the seat of the sacred 
temple, the shecinah, the habitation of the divine presence, not 
ambulatory, as the tabernacle was, while they were journeying 
through the wilderness, but the fixed residence of the eternal 
King, where the order of worship was to be continued, to the 
fulness of time ; as afterwards in the Christian church it was to 
be permanent, and unchanged to the end of time ; and in the 
heavenly state unalterable and eternal. And here, in opposi 
tion to the case at mount Sinai, where the people were to stay 
beneath the mount (whereas they were to go up to the house 
of God, on mount Sion) they are now to ascend, and be higher 
than heaven ;f as their glorious Head, and Lord is said to be ; J 
to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to 
signify the vicinity wherein God will have his people be to him, 
as Jerusalem was to Sion, their houses and dwellings being 
near to his own, the city to the temple. And this passage 
mav also look back upon their former state ; whereas they had 
heretofore nothing but wilderness, they had now a city. To 
which that also agrees, Heb. 10, 16. Their earlier progeni 
tors were wanderers and strangers even in Canaan itself, but 
now God had prepared for them a city in the heavenly Canaan, 
as before he did in the earthly. But lest their minds should 
stay in the external sign, he lets them know he means the hea 
venly Jerusalem, that is, the Christian church, which was the 
kingdom of heaven begun ; and heaven itself, as being that 
kingdom, in its final and consummate state. To an innumera 
ble company of angels, /*vf /o-<v, which though in the singular it 
signifies a definite number ; being here put plurally, may well 
be understood to signify indefinitely a numberless multitude : or 
whereas some selected sqadrons might only attend the solemni 
ty of giving the law at mount Sinai, here is the whole heavenly 
host, whose stated office it is to guard the church below, and 
worship the Majesty of heaven above: to the general assem 
bly, the Travjyyf/r the glorious confessus of all orders of bles 
sed spirits 5 which as it may be supposed constant, at all times, 
so is as supposable to he more frequented and solemn at some, 
and whither any may resort, as quick as the glance of an eye or 
a thought ; and perhaps do at appointed seasons, so as to make 
more solemn appearances before the throne of God, as the laws 

rw ovpxvov Chrys. iii loc. jHeb. vii. 26. 
^ Ex< p^o5 evr&vQx trohis. Id. ibid. 


dnd usages of that blessed world shall require. And we may 
well understand here an allusion to the appointed time, at which 
there was a resort from all parts of Judea to Jerusalem ; and 
as in the Christian church are, at set seasons, more numerous 
and solemn assemblies. Here may also be an allusion to the 
Panathenaica, the more general conventions of all the people 
of Athens, upon some solemn occasions, which were wont to 
be called iroMyvps. These can be referred to but as faint re 
semblances and shadows (whether they were the Jewish, or the 
Grecian assemblies) of this universal conversation, that fills the 
vast expanse of heaven ; in comparison whereof not only this 
little earth of ours but the whole vortice, to which it belongs, 
can be considered but as a very minute spot or point. The inha 
bitants that people those immense, pure and bright regions., in 
their grand stated solemn assembly, make the term to which 
holy souls, ascending from among us, are continually coming. 
And here with what ineffable pleasure must these pure celes 
tial intelligences, all filled with light, wisdom, life, benigni 
ty, love, and joy, converse with one another ; behold, reve 
rence, love, worship, and enjoy their sovereign Lord, display 
ing his glory perpetually before them, and making his rich im 
mense goodness diffuse itself, and flow in rivers of pleasure 
most copiously among them ! 

The church of the first-born written in heaven. These all 
constitute but one church, of whatsoever orders those blessed 
spirits are. And they are all said to be first-born, the church 
here meant consisting only of such, in whom the divine life, 
or the holy living image of God hath place ; they having all 
the privileges which did belong to the first-born, the inheri 
tance, the principality, and the priesthood : for all God's 
sons are also heirs, Rom. 8. 17- And they are all made kings, 
and priests, (Rev. 1 . 6.) having all their crowns, which they often 
cast down before the supreme King ; and their employment be 
ing perpetual oblation of praise, adoration and all possible ac 
knowledgement to him. They are all of excellent dignity, and 
every one enrolled so that none have a place there, by over 
sight, casualty, or intrusion. We must here understand an 
allusion to what citizens need not be told, the known custom 
of registering such as were civ itate donati, or made free. 

And to God the judge of all. This may have reference to 
that office of the judge in the. Olympic concertations, to whom 
it belonged to determine who were victors, and to whom the 
garlands or crowns were justly due. Here the privilege is, 
that they whose cause is to be tried, are sure of righteous judg 
ment, and that they may approach the enthroned majesty of 
heaven itself. None of them are denied liberty of access to the 

VOL. IV. 2 G 


throne of glory above, as in the Christian church none are to 
the throne of grace below. 

And to the spirits of just men made perfect. This shews they 
all make but one church, even such spirits as have dwelt in 
flesh, being received into the communion of those whose dwel 
ling never was witli flesh. And, in the mean time, those that 
yet continue in these low earthly stations, as soon as the prin 
ciples of the divine life have place in them, belong, and are 
related to that glorious community ; for they are said to be al 
ready come thereto, and all together compose but one family. 
For there is but one paterfamilias^ of whom the whole family 
in heaven, and earth is said to be named, Ephes. 3. 15. Now 
tor the encouragement of Christians unto a faithful perse ve 
ranee, through all the difficulties of this their present conflict 
ing, imperfect state, is this glorious representation made of 
the blessed issue, their labours and sufferings shall have at 
last. Whither they shall be gathered at the finishing of their 
course, and how (locllike, how worthy of himself the end shall 
be, into which he will run up all things, when the state of 
probation and preparation is over with his intelligent creatures, 
and the stable, permanent eternal state conies to take place ; 
which, because it. is final, can admit no more changes, and 
because it is perfect, can no more need any. Hither chris- 
tians are to come, and in some sense the sincere are said to be, 
come already. And now upon this part of the term of their 
access, namely, that they are come to (the spirits of the just 
made perfect) we are to stay awhile, and shall consider, f 

L The perfection the spirits of the just do finally arrive to, 
in their future state. 

il. In what sense, sincere Christians^ in their present state, can 
be said to be come to them, who are so made perfect: And then 
III. Add some reflections. 

I. For the former of these, we may easily admit this 
being made perfect to be an agonistical phrase, as some of great 
note and worth have expounded it; and unto which that in the 
beginning of this chapter, of running the race set before us (as. 
though he had said, the way laid out between the lines on 
each hand) doth plainly lead us. But it should hereupon be 
remote from us to think, that a mere relative dignity, or any 
external honours, are the things we must principally under 
stand to be conferred, or which these adept i must 'be now 
thought to have obtained. It is a real, inward, subjective 
perfection, by which they all become most excellent creatures, 
that must be chiefly meant. Perfection, taken in the moral 
sense, doth, in tfie language of the holy Scriptures, contain a 
threefold gradation. 

1 . At the lowest, sincerity ; as when our Saviour propo- 


ges to that querist,, Mat. 19. 21. If he would be perfect,, to 
sell all he had, and give to the poor, following him, with the 
expectation of no other reeompence but of a treasure In heaven. 
If a man's soul be not in a disposition to comport with such 
terms, upon a sufficient signification of our Lord's pleasure, 
that he shall now do so ; or if at any time this be the case, 
that he must either forego all this world, and even life itself, 
or else renounce Christ and Christianity : he is not yet in a 
right posture towards his last end. He hath not taken the 
Lord for his God, and best good ; his heart more strongly ad 
heres to this present world. But if he have arrived hither, 
which is his first step, resolving upon his true and right end!, 
which he will supremely pursue, against whatsoever. competi 
tion of less valuable things j he is now, in the lowest sense, 
perfect, that is, a resolved, thorough Christian. 

2. An eminent improvement, greater maturity in divine 
knowledge, and all other Christian virtues. As when the 
apostle, blaming the slower progress of the Christian He 
brews, chap. 5. 13, 14. that they were yet so unskilful in 
the word of righteousness, and only capable of milk,, not the 
strong meat, fit for persons come to a more grown age, nor 
had their senses as yet well exercised, Sec. he exhorts them, 
chap, 6. 1. leaving the first principles of the Christian doc 
trine, to go on to perfection . 

3. The third is the consummate state of a Christian: so is a per 
fect man expounded by being come to the measure of the sta 
ture of the fulness of Christ. That state, to which all gifts 
given by our ascended, conquering, crowned Redeemer ; the 
whole gospel, the apostolate, the entire ministry, the whole 
frame and constitution of the Christian church, all evangeli 
cal truths and institutions, with whatsoever illuminations and 
influences we can suppose superaddcd to all these, have ulti 
mate and final reference. And the state to which all shall 

come, (Eph. 4. 8, 13.) is this most perfect state, 

in respect whereof the apostle says of himself, that he had not 
yet attained, nor was already perfect, Phil. 3.12. I do not 
reckon the mere natural perfection, either of the inner or 
outer, man, to be here necessarily excluded ; but that the 
moral is chiefly intended, and of that the ultimate consumma- 
tive degrees, still reserving room for such additions as will fol 
low "the final judgment. 

And I doubt it is not enough considered, how much the fe 
licity of the future state depends upon such perfection of the 
subject of it. Concerning the object of felicity, we are agreed 
it can be no other than the hlessed God himself, the all-com 
prehending goodj fully adequate to the highest and most en- 


larked reasonable desires. But the contemperation of our fa 
culties to the holy, blissful object, is so necessary to our satis 
fying fruition, that without that we are no more capable there-^ 
of, than a brute of the festivities of a quaint oration, or a 
stone of the relishes of the most pleasant meats and drinks. 
That meetness, which the apostle speaks of, Col. 1. 12. To 
be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light ; is of no 
small importance to our participation itself. 

We are too apt to fill our minds with ideas of a heaven 
made up of external, out-side glories, forgetti ng we must 
have the kingdom of God within us, hereafter, in its perfect, 
as well as here, in its initial state : a kingdom that consists in 
righteousness, first, a universal holy rectitude of all our 
powers ; then consequently in peace, and joy. The perfect 
cure of all the distempers of our spirits, and a confirmed most 
perfectly happy temper, is of most absolute necessity to the 
blessedness of the heavenly state ; and without it any imagin 
ed external glory will signify no more to our satisfaction, than 
rich and gorgeous apparel can give the desired content and 
ease to an ulcerous diseased body ; or (as the Plutar. moralist 
speaks) a diadem to an aching head, a gay slipper to a pained 
foot, or a gold ring to a sore finger. 

Let a soul be supposed actually adjoined to that glorious as 
sembly, and church above, that is yet unacquainted with God, 
strange, and disaffected to him, alienated from the divine life, 
still carnally minded, loving most, and looking back with a 
lingering eye towards this present world and state of things, full 
of pride, haughtiness, and self-magnifying thoughts, of envy, 
wrath, hatred, contentiousness, of deceit, guilefulness and 
dissimulation, filled with ravenous lusts, and inordinate, in 
satiable desires after impossible things ; such a soul will only 
seem to have mistaken its way, place, state, and company, 
and can only be a fit associate for devils, and infernal spirits. 
Its condition would be equally uneasy to itself, and all about 
it; the outrage of its own lusts and passions would create to it 
a hell, in the midst of heaven, arid be to it as a thousand 
devils, both for wickedness, and for torment. 

But to give you a summary of this internal perfection of the 
spirits of just men, in their most perfect state, I cannot give 
you a fuller and more comprehensive one than is expressed in 
those few words. 1 John. 3. 3. We shall be like him, for 
we shall see him as he is. Where are two things conjoined, 
that together express the perfect state of these blessed spirits, 
likeness to God ; and the vision of him. 

And these two are so connected, as to admit of a twofold 
reference each to other ; either that this likeness to God be 


Considered as preparative for the vision of him, and so that the 
latter words be considered as an argument of the former, 
namely, that because it is designed we shall live in the perpe 
tual vision of God, it is therefore necessary we should be like 
him, .without which we can be no way capable of such a sight, 
or of beholding so bright a glory. Or else, that the vision of 
God be perpetually productive of this likeness to him ; and so 
that the latter words be understood not only to contain an ar 
gument, whence we may conclude this likeness must be, but 
also to express the immediate cause by which it is. As the 
form of expression will admit either of these references, so I 
doubt not the nature of the tiling will require that we take them 
in both. There could be no such vision of God as is here 
meant, if there were not some previous likeness to him, in our 
former state. And when, in our final state, we are first ad 
mitted to that beatific glorious vision, by that means, we may 
reasonably understand will ensue the perfection of that likeness. 
Whereof also it is to be considered, that vision (which spoken 
of the mind is knowledge) must not only be taken for a cause, 
but a part ; for the image of God is at first renewed (and with 
equal reason must be supposed at last perfected) in know 
ledge Col. 3. 10. 

This image or likeness of God therefore, if we consider the 
natural order of working upon an intelligent subject, must as 
to that part of it which hath its seat in the mind or understand 
ing faculty/, be caused by the immediate irradiation of the di 
vine light and glory upon that, and be the cause of the rest. 
]But both together are the inherent subjective perfection of 
these blessed spirits of the just, and comprehend all that be 
longs to this their moral perfection ; the latter being itself also 
virtually comprehended in the former. 

The vision of God therefore, or their perfect knowledge of 
him, with whom they must ever have most of ail to do, as 
the principal object of their fruition and enjoyment, must be 
the primary and the leading thing in this their perfection ; for 
no doubt it is that perfection which directly concerns their ul 
timate satisfaction and blessedness, which is here intended, 
with which their eternal employment is most conjunct and 
complicated, as we shall after see. They enjoy, and adore the 
same blessed object at once, and in doing the one, do the other. 
And besides the knowledge of him, there must be by his beams, 
and in his light (Psal. 36. 9.) the perfect knowledge of all that 
it is needful or requisite they should know 5 without which, 
since all their enjoyments in the heavenly state must be in. 
their first rise intellectual, it would be impossible they should 
jever perfectly enjoy any thing at all. And that this perfection 


of just men's spirits is intended to be summarily comprehend 
ed in the perfection of their knowledge, is more than Intimat 
ed, by that series of discourse which we find,, 1 Cor. 13. 9, 
12. the apostle, comparing the imperfection of our pre 
sent, with the perfection of our future state, sums up all in 
this : That we know now but in part, and that then we shall 
$mow as we are known. But the perfection of this knowledge 
ie seems more to state in the manner of knowing, than in the 
extent and compass of the things known. That in this latter 
respect it rnay admit of increase, they cannot doubt who con 
sider the finite capacity of a created mind, and the mighty ad 
vantages we shall have for continual improvement, both from 
the clear discovery of thing*, in that bright and glorious light, 
and from the reeeptrveness of our enlarged and most apprehen 
sive minds, But that state can admit of no culpable ignorance, 
Bor of any that shall more infer infelicity, than include sin-. 

Therefore now to speak more distinctly, We take this per 
fection of the spirits of the just to be principally meant of their 
moral perfection, such as excludes all sin, and all misery^ as 
morality comprehends and connects together sanctity, the good- 
jsess of the means ; and. felicity,, the goodness of the end : the 
former most directly,, but most certainly inferring the latter. 
If therefore we say this Is their sinless perfection,* we say alt 
that the case requires. In that it is said to be the perfection of 
spirits, it mast indeed suppose al! that natural perfection which 
belongs to such a sort of creatures., as such, in their own 
kind. But inasmuch as the specification is added (of the just) 
it is their moral perfection, or most perfectly holy rectitude, 
from which their blessedness is inseparable, that seems ulti 
mately intended. But now whereas this their ultimate perfec 
tion hath been said to be virtually contained and summed up 
in knowledge, we are hereupon to consider how this may ap 
pear to be a complete summary of all such perfection. And 
nothing can more evidently appear, if you join together. The 
true matter or object,, and right manner or nature of this know 

(1 .) The true and proper object of it must be, not omnict sci- 
%ile 3 all that may he known , but whatsoever they can be obliged 
or concerned to know, or that is requisite to their duty and 
felicity ; all that lies within their compass, as they are crea 
tures, that in such a distinct sphere, or in their own proper 
order, are to correspond to the ends of their creation, that is, 
to glorify the Author of their beings, and be happy in him. 
Infinite knowledge belongs not to tbem, is not competent to 
their nature, nor necessary either to their employment, or to 
their blessedness in the heavenly state. Whatsoever knowledge 


Is requisite to these ends, will be included in this their final 

It is, by the way, to be observed how this matter is express- 
ed ? made perfect, which signifies our arriving to this perfecti 
on out of an imperfect state. We were created with an origin 
al perfection, sufficient to a state of probation. By our 
apostacy we became sinfully imperfect, all have sinned, and 
come short of the glory of God, Rom, 3. 23. We have been 
put upon a new trial by our Redeemer. Their perfection, who 
have run out their course, is, by the grace of God, and by his 
methods, restored, and improved to its just pitch. They are 
now, their trial being over, set in a consummate rectitude to 
wards the ends of their creation; and herein are endowed with 
all the knowledge they need, namely, of such things as, ia 
Deference to those ends, they can any way be concerned with. 

With the blessed God himself they are most of all concern 
ed, for him they are eternally to adore and enjoy. Therefore 
that their perfection should be virtually included in divine 
knowledge, is congruous to the state of their case, and to die 
language of the holy Scriptures ; which expresses their most 
perfect state by the vision of God, in the mentioned 1 John, 3, 
2. and Mat. 5. 8. Heb. 12. 14. &c. Which phrase is not 
borrowed from the sight of the eye, and transferred to that of 
the mind, at random, or without (most probable) design. It 
most aptly signifies the great facility of this knowledge that 
it is not toilsome, there is little labour in it, it is not such as 
requires great pains ; it is but intuition, not a cautious, wary 
ratiocination, wherein we use to be very solicitous, lest we draw 
any irregular or untrue consequences. We do very easily, and 
on the sudden, without suspicion, or fear of error, only be 
hold what is offered to our view. This is a great perfection of 
mind with these blessed spirits, to be capable of knowing the 
greatest things so easily, and so soon, to know by seeing. 
And their aptness hereto is a moral perfection, for the clear 
ness of the discovery infers their greater obligation to attend, 
and not to divert from what shall cost them so little. The 
blessed God's manifestation of himself, in that brightest and 
most glorious light, is not only evidently supposed, for in hjs 
light only can we see light, ^Psal. 36. 9.) but it is emphatical 
ly expressed in the before- mentioned text, 1 Cor. 13. 12. of 
seeing face to face; which signifies, on his part, gracious 
vouchsafemcnt, his offering his blessed face to view, that he 
hides it not, nor turns it away, as here sometimes he doth, in 
just displeasure. And his face means even his most conspicu 
ous glory, such as, in this state of mortality, it would be mor 
tal to us to beheld : for no man, not so divine a man as Moses 


himself, could see his face and live. And it signifies, on 
their part who are thus made perfect, their applying and turn 
ing their face towards his, namely, that they see not casually, 
or by fortuitous glances, but eye to eye, by direct and most 
voluntary intuition ; which therefore, on their part, implies 
moral perfection, the will directing and commanding the eye, 
and upon unexpressible relishes of joy and pleasure forbidding 
is diversion, holds it steady and intent. ^ Here our ignorance 
of God is culpable, being voluntary, not liking to retain him in 
our knowledge, Rom. 1. 28. There our knowledge is in- 
culpable and sinless, being chosen, purposed, and always, 
principally, for its most proper ends, the perfect adoration 
and fruition of the blessed object we so fixedly behold, and so 
earnestly covet to know. 

It is also fit to be noted, that the very fruition of the blessed 
God itself, which the holy Scripture includes in our vision of 
him, is not only our very blessedness itself, but it is our duty 
too. It is a thing enjoined us, and comprehended in that first 
and great commandment : Thou shalt love the Lord thy God 
with- all thy heart, and soul, and might, and mind ; which 
who can perfectly do, without a complacential acquiescence, 
arid final rest of their will in him, as the best, the most per 
fect, and all-comprehending good ? And hereupon, though 
we are wont to distinguish our glorifying God, and enjoying 
him ; they are most manifestly co-incident, and but noti- 
onally distinct. For in this our fruitive acquiescence or will in 
him stands our highest veneration, our most practical, most 
significant acknowledgement and testimony concerning him, 
as the highest, the most complete, and most absolutely perfect 
good 5 in that we seek no further, but take up our final rest in 
him. This is to give him the proper glory of his godhead, to 
glorify him as God. And therefore this being the fullest sense 
of that great and summary command, it is only a commanding 
us to be happy. As, on the other hand, the misery of the in 
telligent creature is his greatest, and most injurious iniquity, 
an aversion of will from the blessed God, a testimony against 
him, as none of the best good, and the greatest indignity 
which created nature can put upon him, who is goodness itself. 
Thus then is the knowledge or vision of God, even as it is frui 
tive, a moral perfection. But the divine knowledge, more at 
large, of these holy spirits, though it be principally conversant 
about God, as its noblest object; excludes not their applying 
their minds to other objects too, according to their concern 
ment with them. And yet, 

(2.) How aptly this perfection is included in such knowlenge, 
will further apoear, if you consider the manner of knowing, or 


the special nature and kind of this vision or knowledge, namely 
that it is not that slight, ineffectual, merely notional, insipid 
knowledge, which unregenerate minds are now wont to have of 
the most evident truths ; namely, that, for instance, that God 
is the most excellent, the most perfect, the most desirable, as 
well as the most adorable good ; which knowledge, because it 
answers not the true end of divine knowledge, is called igno 
rance : whereupon they are said to be alienated from the 
life of God, through the ignorance that is in them. Ephes. 4. 
18. But that ignorance is paraphrased by blindness of heart, 
that is, a most perfectly voluntary and chosen ignorance, found 
ed in aversion of will. And elsewhere, (Jer. 4. 3, 6.) 

by a refusing to know God, a saying to him, Depart from us, 
we desire not the knowledge of thy ways, Job. 21. 14. Where 
upon the light that is in such is said to be very darkness, and 
then how great is that darkness ! Mat. 6. 23. 

This knowledge, or vision, now in perfection, is most 
deeply and inwardly penetrative, efficacious, and transforming, 
admits a light which spreads and transfuses itself through the 
whole soul. So it is, at first, in every truly regenerate spirit ; 
whereby such a one is begotten into the divine likeness, his 
image is impressed upon it, which, as hath been noted, is said 
to be renewed in knowledge, Col. 3. 10. So that, as by so 
lemn message to the sons of men, God is declared to be pure 
light, 1 John. 1.5. This then is the message which we have 
heard of him, and declare to you, that God is light, and with 
him is no darkness at all. And as he is the original, the pa 
ternal light, the Father of lights, (James. 1. 170 so they that 
are born of him are said to be light itself, and the children of 
light. Ye were darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord ; 
walk as children of light, Eph. 5. 8. And they are there 
fore said, as the sons of God, to shine as lights, (Phil. 2. 15.) 
or required to do so; for the words bear either form. This 
so energetical, efficacious light, is, in the mentioned texts, 
manifestly -intended to connote holiness ; as it doth also, Rom. 
13. 12. which the antithesis there shews : works of dark 
ness, and armour of light : and in many other places. 

Accordingly the whole, even of practical religion and god 
liness, is in the holy Scriptures expressed by the knowledge 
of God, 2 Chron. 30. 22. It is signified to be in its own na 
ture sanctifying, and inconsistent with prevailing sin, (1 Cor. 
15. 34.) in which they that live are therefore said to be desti 
tute of it, who are also upon the same account said not to have 
had any sight of God ; 3 John. ver. 11. He that sinneth (the 
word is KotKowoiuvy a doer, or worker of sin) hath not seen 
God. The light which this vision of God receives, must much 

VOL. IV. 2 H 


more, in the perfected spirits of the just, be supposed so pre 
valent and victorious, as quite to have chased away and ex 
pelled all remainders of this impure darkness. Every such 
spirit is therefore become as it were an orb of purest, most 
operative, and lively light, an intellectual, and a self-actuat 
ing sun, full of fervour and motive power, besides mere light. 
Whereupon whatsoever this light and knowledge discovers it 
is fit for such a soul to be, it is ; and fit for it to do, it can 
never fail to do it. 

Therefore the making of such spirits perfect must be under 
stood, in greatest part, to consist in restoring the order of 
their faculties towards each other ; which was broken by the 
apostacy to that degree, and they so debilitated and become 
so languid, so impotent and enfeebled, that neither could the 
one faculty lead, nor the other follow. Whence light, even 
about the most practical, and the most important matters ima 
ginable, true notions, right sentiments, signified no more to 
command, to govern, to form and direct the inclinations and 
motions of the soul ; than if, as to all its sentiments about 
these matters, you did put false instead of true, wrong instead of 
right, most absurd, most impossible, instead of most congruous, 
most necessary. Take, for instance, the idea of God, let it be 
supposed to comprehend (as every one grants it doth, whether 
lie acknowledge his existence or no) all conceivable, all pos 
sible excellencies ; that it means an infinite, eternal, ever- 
living, self subsisting being, most perfectly intelligent, wise, 
true, holy, righteous, powerful, and blessed, the original of 
life, being, and blessedness to the creation, according to the 
several kinds, natures, and capacities of his creatures, the 
supreme and sovereign Lord of all, to whom it belongs to go 
vern and dispose of what he hath made, of most immense and 
abounding goodness and benignity, most bountiful to the in 
digent, compassionate to the miserable, reconcilable to the 
guilty, propitious to the penitent, most complacentially kind, 
with highest delight, to the holy and the good, severe only 
to the obstinately impenitent and implacable, that will by no 
means or methods be reclaimed. 

Take we, again, from hence the measures by which we are 
to judge what ought to be the dispositions and deportments of* 
his reasonable creatures towards him ; that they be entirely 
composed and made up of love, reverence, humility, depen- 
dance, devotedness, subjection, gratitude and adoration. And 
suppose we that, in the theory, this be. as it generally is, ad 
mitted and acknowledged as the just and most regular conse 
quence of the former. And let us again suppose, that we be 
ing made after his image, which in the natural part remains, 


arid is still common to mankind ; and as to the moral part, is 
restored in all that are regenerate and born of God. And that 
therefore we ought to love universally all mankind, to wish and 
do well to them, as to ourselves ; and no more to injure any 
man, than we would destroy, pull in pieces, or offer violence 
to our own life and being. And that we ought, with a more 
peculiar delectation, to embrace and love all holy and good 
men, without other distinction, than as any appear more to ex 
cel in goodness. 

Our light about these things is so clear, they are so little 
disputable, and so difficult it is to form any argument to the 
contrary ; that few ever set themselves, by any explicit or 
formed thoughts, to oppose or contend against them. It is 
not (at least, not generally) so much as attempted to disprove 
them, or assert contrary principles in opposition to them. 
Therefore that the dispositions and common practice of men do 
so little agree with these principles, is not that their notions 
are herein doubtful, but spiritless ; their light is not uncer 
tain, but weak and impotent. And hereupon their knowledge 
signifies as little to its proper end, as if their apprehensions 
touching these things were none at all, or quite contrary to 
what they are. 

They as much neglect and slight the blessed God, or decline 
to be concerned with him, as if they denied all the things of 
him which his idea contains; or as if they affirmed all the 
things of him, which it most directly excludes. They shun, 
they fly from him, as if they thought him the worst of beings ; 
while they acknowledge him the best and most excellent good, 
disobey, and affront him, as if they thought he had no right 
to rule them ; while they confess him the sovereign Lord of all 
the world. And steer their course both towards him, and one 
another, in as direct repugnancy to his rules, as if they thought 
them all ranversed ; and that the most opposite system of laws 
and precepts were given them, by some undoubted authority, 
to regulate all their practice. 

It would amaze a thinking man that all this should be so ! 
That intelligent creatures, that the reasonable, living, immor 
tal spirits of men should be sunk to so low a pitch of degeneracy 
and vileness ! But much more, that it being so apparently 
thus, it should be so seldom reflected on ! that men are not 
afraid of themselves ! that they appear not as so many frightful 
monsters, each in their own eyes ! That they consider not, 
what are these faculties for ; Why have I such notions of truth 
in my mind ; why have I a will whereby to choose, resolve, 
act, and be accordingly ? what a distorted misshapen crea 
ture is this soul of mine j every thing in me running counter 


to right and fit* f Whatever hath thus fatally perverted all their 
powers, hath stupified them too ; so as not only not to find 
fault, hut to applaud and be well pleased with themselves for 
all this. 

But now shall we not take our advantage from hence, to con 
ceive and be enamoured of the rectitude, the amiableness of 
this most excellent state of the perfected spirits of the just ! 
Now doth comely order succeed, instead of the most horrid de 
formity ; distorted limbs are set right, the ligaments and con 
nection of the disjointed faculties to each other are restored ; 
and whatsoever the enlightened mind suggests as fit and due, 
presently obtains. No complaint remains of seeing what is 
better, and doing what is worse ; or that when good should be 
done, evil is present. There is nothing but perfect regularity, 
harmony, and agreement. All things move smoothly, and 
with constant equability and decorum. Right dictates of the 
leading faculty, and ready compliance of such as are to follow, 
make with them a perpetual, even, and uninterrupted course. 

Likeness to God, therefore, in every other just respect, 
certainly ensues, upon such preceding knowledge of him ; for 
the kind and nature of that knowledge being, as it ought to be, 
powerful, vigorous, transforming of the whole soul, and the 
will ductile and compliant ; agreeable impressions do most 
certainly take place. As now, beholding we are chang 
ed, 2 Cor. 3. 18. Much more in that state where the in 
jected divine beams are so strong, and vivid, and the receptive 
"disposition so prompt, free, apt and facile. Therefore to be made 
like God, is to be made perfect, according to the ultimate in- 
tendment of these words. The vision, or knowledge of God, 
in the heavenly state, being never intended for idle, ineffec 
tual speculation ; as this perfection is riot otherwise to be un 
derstood, than with reference to the ends we were made for; 
that we may be immediately capable of, and apt for everlasting 
adoration, and fruition of the blessed God, in a joint, and 
most full consent, and communion, with the general assembly, 
the whole community of all the blessed spirits besides, whose 
eternal work, and delight this will be. 

This likeness to God must yet be understood with exception 
to the divine peculiarities, as hath been elsewhere shewn f 
(whether we now refer, only to save the labour of transcribing.) . 
In respect of which peculiarities also there must be, on our 
part, a correspondency, that is, a likeness with allowance for 
necessary disagreement ; as between a seal and the impression 
where what is convex in the one, is hollow in the other, an4 

f- Blessedness of the Righteous. 


yet otherwise like, that is, correspondent to each other too. So 
the case is between the blessed God's all-sufficient fulness, 
and our receptive emptiness ; between his supremacy, and our 
subjection. In respect to other things, common to him and 
us, with the rest of those happy spirits that inhabit the regions 
of light and bliss, spirituality itself, life and vigour, know 
ledge, wisdom, holiness, love, serenity, benignity, mercy, 
peace, and joy, there is a nearer resemblance; these things 
passing under the same name with him, and with us, but with 
the infinite inequality still of God, and creature. 

Now let us here give ourselves leave to pause awhile, and 
contemplate those innumerable multitudes of pure and happy 
creatures, perfected, or ever perfect spirits, that inhabit and 
replenish those ample spacious regions above, the vast (and to 
us, or to any thought of ours) immense and endless tracts of 
light and glory. Consider them every one composed, and made 
up of lively light, and love, as we are told God is light, 1 
John, 1. 5. and God is love, chap. 4. ver. 16. Consider 
them all as most intelligent, and knowing creatures, even of 
the most profound and bidden mysteries, that here were wont 
to perplex and puzzle the most inquisitive mind ; ignorant of 
nothing, or apt to comprehend any thing, needful, and plea 
sant to be known, or lawful to be inquired into ; curious to 
know nothing useless, or unlawful ; most perfectly wise crea 
tures, prudent sages, endowed with a self governing wisdom, 
so as easily without a vexatious solicitude and anxiety, but 
with a noble freedom, to order and command all their thoughts, 
appetitions, actions, and deportments towards God, them 
selves, and one another, so as never to be guilty of mistake 
or error, in any motion of mind or will ; never to omit any 
thing in its season, or do any thing out of season. Consider 
them whether in solemn assembly (which may be stated and 
perpetual, by successively appointed numbers for ought we 
know) or diverting and retiring, or faring to and fro, as in 
clination, with allowance, or command, may direct. Yet 
all every where full of God, continually receiving the vital, 
satisfying, glorious communications of the every where pre 
sent, self-manifesting Deity ; all full of reverence, and most 
dutiful love to the eternal Father of spirits, his eternal Son, 
and Spirit : all formed into perpetual, lowliest, and most 
grateful adoration, with highest delight and pleasure, all ap 
prehensive of their depending state, and that they owe their 
all to that fulness which filleth all in all. Every one in his 
own eyes a self-nothing, having no separate divided interest^ 
sentiment, will, or inclination. Every one continually self- 
consistent, agreeing with himself, ever free of all jself-dis- 


pleasure, never finding any cause, or shadow of a cause, for 
any angry self-reflection upon any undue thought or wish in 
that their present, perfect state ; though not unmindful what 
they were, or might have been, and ascribing their present 
state, and stability, to the grace of God, and dedicating their 
all to the praise and glory of that most free and unaccountable 
grace; all well assured, and unsuspiciously conscious, with 
^inexpressible satisfaction, of their acceptance with God, and 
placing with the fullest sense and relish their very life in his 
favour. All full of the most complacential benignity towards 
one another, counting each one's felicity his own, and every 
one's enjoyments being accordingly multiplied so many thou 
sand-fold, as he apprehends every one as perfectly pleased and 
happy as himself. 

Let but anyone recount these things with himself, as he easily 
may, with far greater enlargement of thoughts, many more such 
things as these ; and he needs not be at a loss for a notion of this 
perfect state of the spirits of the just. And for further con 
firmation, as well as for a somewhat more distinct and explicit 
conception hereof, let it be moreover considered, What was 
the undertaking and design of our Redeemer, to whom the next 
words direct our. eye : And to Jesus, the mediator of the new 
covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, &c. He was to be 
the restorer of these once lost, apostate spirits, and besides 
reconciling them to God by his blood, that speaks better things 
than that of Abel, was to impart his own Spirit to them ; and 
by the tenour of that new testament, or covenant, whereof he 
was Mediator, was not only to procure that their sins and ini^ 
quities should be remembered no more ; but that the divine laws 
should be put in their minds, and written in their hearts, chap. 
8. 10, 12. They are therefore, by the blood of the everlasting 
covenant to be made perfect, (chap. 13. 20. 21.) in every good 
work to do his will, having all that wrought in them which is 
well pleasing in his sight, through Christ Jesus. Now when 
shall he be said to have accomplished his design ? Not till 
every one be presented perfect (Col. 1. 28.) and faultless, in 
the presence of the divine glory. Jude 24. Do but consider 
what was a design worthy of so great an undertaker, the Son of 
God ; and of his being engaged so deeply, of his being so ear 
nestly intent upon it, as to become first a man, then a sacri 
fice to effect it. 

Consider his death, and resurrection, wherein he will have 
all that belong to him to have a consortium, a participation 
with him, and conformity to him ; as is largely discoursed, 
Phil. 3. and hence we are to make our estimate what is the 
mark and prize of the high calling of God in Christ, ver. 12. 14. 


This can be no other than final consummate Christianity, the 
Christians high calling in termino ; and which they that are 
inchoatively perfect or sincere, must be so minded, as to de 
sign it for themselves, ver. 15. Therefore let me but tell 
any man, so that he can understand me, what true Christiani 
ty now is, and he can tell me what heaven is. Let me tell 
him what it is to be a sincere Christian, in this present state ; 
and he can tell me what it is to be perfect, in the heavenly 
state. The writing God's law in the heart truly, and perfectly, 
goes far towards both. 

The two great commandments impressed, that are both ful 
filled in love, are of vast compass to this purpose, and with the 
certain connexa, comprehend all : Thou shalt love the Lord 

thy God with all thine heart, &c. And thy neighbour 

as thyself, &c. What a heaven upon earth would these two 
create, reduced to practice ! and when the impression is per 
fect, what needs there more ? But God knows, men too 
commonly measure their heaven by their Christianity, on the 
wrong hand; a Christianity, and a heaven, both external 
and foreign to them. God deliver me from this so palpable 
and destructive a delusion of a Christianity, and a heaven fo 
reign to my soul ! A religion, and a felicity that touch not 
our minds, that never impress our inner man ; what can we be 
the better for them ; What ! to be imposed upon by so ab 
surd a mis-conceit, and so repugnant to Scripture ? which so 
expressly tells us, that glory, we are finally to expect, is a 
glory whereby we are to be glorified, made glorious, and to be 
revealed in us, and wherein we are to partake with Christ. 
Rom. 8. I7j 18. Or did the Son of God put on man, and 
suffer so deeply for us, with a design upon us less than this ? 
But now my work is done (nor do my limits allow me to enlarge) 
in reference to the. 

II Head of discourse proposed : In what sense sincere 
Christians may be said to be already come to the spirits of the 
just made perfect. Enough may be collected from what hath 
been said. It is to be understood. 

1 . In a relative sense, they are come, they already belong 
to that general assembly, that church which the myriads of 
angels, and the perfected spirits of the just are of. A local 
coming none can pretend in this case to dream of, they are said 
to be come to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusa 
lem. Such were truly said to be come into the very constitu 
tion of the Roman Policy, that were civitate donati, admit 
ted freemen, though they lived a thousand miles of. 

2. I a real sense, by a gradual, but true participation of 


the prfonordia, the first and most constituent principles, arid 
perfections of the heavenly state. 

And now, if that were the thing designed, there is a most 
adequate ground work laid for a true, and the most ample 
encomium of that rare person, our never too deeply lamented, 
nor too highly renowned queen, whose funeials drew my 
thoughts to this theme. View the perfections of the spirits 
of the just, as they were growing, and more eminently 
grown towards their highest pitch ; and here is our ground* 
Do not wonder it is laid as high as heaven, for thence 
they begin, as well as end there. By most benign in 
fluences from thence, though the plant was' set on earth, they 
had an early bud, in concealment ; but we have seen them 
blossom in open view, still aspiring thitherward, as there they 
are fully blown. Her otherwise royal parentage, was thus in 
comparably more royal. The lustre of her excellent virtues 
had all the advantage which they could have by dwelling well; 
as the endowments (what they were) of a great prince hereto 
fore, were noted to have had the contrary disadvantage. It 
was common sense, not the poet's authority, that could make 
the apprehension take place : that virtue is more grateful, 
exerted from a comely body. So illustrious an instance would 
give more countenance, than the most argumentative philoso 
phy, to the opinion, that souls have a great, subordinate, 
agency in forming their own mansions: which the more one 
apprehends, the less credulous he would be of their original 
equality. It must be a very peculiar genius, that could stamp 
so inimitable and undeceiving signatures, as appeared in her 
majesty's most graceful countenance, in her comely mien and 
looks, and all her deportments. Whosoever should behold the 
fabric she inhabited, made up of pulchritude, and state ; 
must conclude some very lovely and venerable inhabitant dwelt 
there. But nearer approaches discovered such excellencies of 
the indwelling mind, that quickness of apprehension, that 
clearness and strength of reason, that solidity of judgment, 
that complectionate goodness, sv$vtx which that noble philo- 
pher speaks of, as the seed-plot of virtues; that must soon 
beget, not conviction only, but admiration. 

Such were the bounties of nature in the forming a rare and 
excellent person, but how munificent were the largesses of 
grace ! That reverence of the divine Majesty that appeared in 
her whole course, a life transacted under the government of 
religion, 'her constant care to avoid what she thought sinful, 
and readiness to do what she judged might be serviceable to 
the interest of God, her detestation of the profligate wicked 
ness, that she knew to be dishonourable and offensive to him, 


of all the principles that any way tended thereto. Her 
continued conversation with God, in the constant practice of 
religious duties, and in all the exercises of godliness that be 
longed to her (most beloved and frequented) closet, the family^ 
6r more solemn assembly, her most composed seriousness in 
attendance upon the worship of God, in the way which sli 
chose (and which that she chose no on could think strange) 
the natural, and most unaffected appearances hereof, the re- 
hiotest from ostentation, but which could not quite he hid, 
nor ought, when in religious assemblies we are to testify we all 
Worship the same God, and that all our applications, and ad 
dresses, have one centre above, and are all to be directed to 
one and the same glorious object (unless one would have the 
feligion of the church be allowed the retiredness of a closet, or 
reduce joint social worship, wherein all are, some way or other, 
to express their unanimity and consent, unto that which is 
merely solitary and single) her assiduity in her religious Course^ 
the seasons, order, and constancy whereof seemed to be govern* 
ed by the ordinances of heaven, that ascertain the succession 
of day and night, so that what was said so long ago of that 
famed person's justice (and which equally may of hers) might: 
have a nobler application to her religion : that one might as 
soon divert the course of the sun, as turn her from her daily 
course in religious duties : this argued a steady principle, and 
of the highest excellency, that of divine love. Any other 
Would have its more frequent qualms, and inequalities. The 
remark was wise and weighty, concerning the insincere man, 
Job. 27. 10. Will he delight himself in the Almighty r will 
he always call upon God ? That course is never like to be 
even, uniform, and continued, that springs not from love 5 
or is not sweetened by delight and pleasure. All these are to 
us great indications of a copious communication of divine grace, 
and that she received not the grace of God in vain. I cannot 
here omit her reverential regard for the Lord's day, which at 
the Hague I had a very particular occasion to take notice of. On 
a Saturday, a vessel (the paequet-boat) was stranded not far 
from thence, which lying very near the shore, I viewed (hap 
pening to be thereabouts at that time) till the last passengers 
Were brought (as all were) safe off. Multitudes went to see 
it, and her highness being informed of it, said she was willing 
to see it too, but thought she should not, for it was then too 
late for that evening, and she reckoned by Monday it would be 
shivered to pieces (though it remaining entire till then, she 
was pleased to view it that day) but she resolved, she added : 
she would not give so ill an example, as to go see it on the 
^Lord's day. 

VOL. IV. 2 I 


Next to her exemplary piety towards God> shone with a se 
cond lustre her most amiable benignity towards men ; and pe~ 
culiarly towards them whom she judged pious, of whatsoever 
persuasion, in respect of the circumstances of religion* She 
opened not her mouth, but with wisdom, and in her tongue 
was the law of kindness. She hath divers times expressed her 
acceptance, value, and desire of their prayers, whom she knew 
in some modes of worship to differ from her; a^s one that well 
understood, that the kingdom of God stands not in lesser 
things, but in righteousness, peace, &c-. and that they who 
in these things serve Christ, are acceptable to God, and are to 
be approved of men. She was not inaccessible to such of her 
subjects, whose dissentient judgments, in some such things, 
put them into lower circumstances. Great she was in all va 
luable excellencies, nor greater in any, than in her most con 
descending goodness. Her singular humility adorned all the 
.rest. Speaking once of a good thing, which she intended, she 
added: But of myself I can do nothing ; and somewhat be- 
Ing by one (of two more only) then present, interposed, she 
tmswered : she hoped God would help her. She is, as tlm 
text speaks, gone to mount Sion, in the highest sense of that 
phrase. And to sum up all, he that will read the character, 
Psal. xv. and xxiv. of an inhabitant of that holy hill, will 
there read her true and most just character. Wherein I can* 
not omit to take notice, how sacred she reckoned her word. I 
linow with whom she hath sometimes conferred, whether hav 
ing given a promise of such a seeming import, she could con- 
sistently therewith do so or so ; saying, That whatever pre 
judice it were to her, she would never depart from her word. 

These rich endowments every way accomplished her for all 
the duties that belonged to her, whether in her Christian, con-* 
jugal 5 or political capacity. Which if we consider together, 
the world cannot give an instance, for many by-past ages, of 
so much lost out of it, in one person. When did Christianity 
lose so conspicuous an ornament ? A king so delectable, and 
helpful a consort ? A kingdom so venerable, and beloved a 
sovereign ? For our king how are we concerned to pray. 
Lord,, remember David, and all his afflictions ? And we are 
to hope he hath some such sincere purposes, and vows deeply 
infixed in his heart, as those subjoined in that Psah cxxxii* 
which will engage the divine presence with him, by which^ 
neither shall his pressures be intolerable, nor his difficulties 
insuperable ; but his bow shall abide in strength, and the 
arms of his hands be made strong, by the hands of the mighty 
God of Jacob. Gen. xlix. 24. But England, England ! How 
deplorable is thy case 1 la what agonies should every con-* 

heart he for thee, C Ding? and I 1 In the latter days 
God grant they be not too late) thou nmyest consider, 
that after many former, defeatfc? methods, tliou bjjtlst ft prince 
(yea, princes) studiously intent upon making thee- a reformed, 
happy people. Is there now no cause to fear, test ft be deter- 
mined ; Let him that is fihb.y > fee filthy slili; ajndbim that k 
W>jus.t 9 be unjust stilL 

Few caa be ignorant of tTie evcTeavtnzFs of OUT most ^raerotzs 
queen, to th-at purpose. And I am persuaded nothing did more 
fecomr^ead our deceased, excellent archbishop to hr Majesty^ 
than- that she knew liis beart to be as bers, ir> tlia.t design, 
namely, of a general .reformation o-fmanners^ that initsi bave 
concerned ali pajties, ; ami witliout \\4ik:li ( lea cKngfswd 1 prepar 
ing us tbeneta) union, aad the cessation of paTties,. was little 
i*> have been hoped fo* fc And' so far as 1 cou.lt} wndei f stand y tbe 
attempt of it was as- little -intended ; being otherwise snot likely to 
with either a blessing froiB God, or any siifEeleiit dis}x>- 
to it witb men. Great dispositions m.ust, witb much 
to: God, be acknowledged m those wbo> hold tbat s- 
j>rem>e, and tins, subordinate station)-* But siieh a wrk t& not 
Jikefy ta succeed, till (by wbatsoever Fttean) rmads be byoght 
ic. that temper, that it will even do JtselfL A>\tl that two sweh 
peysoins* sboultl fee re moved out of them, wit In w not iueb mose 
tban a month's, time, is an awful umbrage to us of a divine de 
termination : that less geatle met hods, are titter tWus. And 
God's- boly wilt be done !: 

UK It is- now obvious to any consIdering'perso'M^ tbat e>any very 
useful reflections might be made upon the text, a&cttbeoc&asJ- 
on together* I shall slmt ap thk pycseiit discourse witk tljes- 
tbat follow^ 

1 . It oug-Trt to be most remote- ftxB ias ta confine^ iR c^ir 
yarrow- thoughts-, sincere religion and godKuess ; t& a party, 
iis.tiaguisbed by Itttle things ; and most extjea-essentfa! tbeie- 
to.. Take we that great apostle's doeu.niejit i J peretve Ged 
is no jespeeter of persons, and what be said of nutkms;, zaay 
ot we as aptly say tbat of all such parties-^ They that fear 
God, and woi-k Bgbteousness > are -accepted of bin^Ae^ 30. 

Let us once ^earn to reckon substantial godEncss. a greater 
thing, titan the- u&ingv or not using tliis o? tl>at cpeiiio^ 
nd account that faith,,, nskercyy judgment-^ and the fowe of 
God,, are not ta fee past over for as- little thiags> as t?i?e thhtug 
I'raint,, ai>nise > and conumm I belie ve, theje -are few i ili^ 
xvortd^ if they east their eyes about tbeiB^. but might tn\T| say 
(what I tbank Goe^. 1 have often tbougkt) thai ol B 
^ie& that boM ehe s^bsiastials ef religx>% I have 
l &r grater vdi^ tbat myself 


tian, Signify more with us, than to belong to a so or so 

shaped, or figured church. 

A noted writer, among the ancients, brings in one, saying, 
by way of exprobration to Christians : There is Socrates, the 
prince of wisdom, if any among you be so great, let them 
imitate him, if they can. What persuasion among us can 
produce a greater example, than we have been now consider 
ing; or more worthy the imitation even of private Christians? 
.. 2. The spirits of the just on earth are in a great propin 
quity, and have a near alliance to heaven. They are not there 
to have the first foundations laid of their blessed state, but are 
only to be made perfect. They have in them here the first 
principles, the elements of their final blessedness ; heaven 
in little, as the acorn contains the tree, or the embryo the 

3. The just in this world are of the church in heaven. 
They are come to the general assembly, the church of the first 
born, &c. All sincere Christians, whether in heaven or earth 
(as hath been noted) make but one family, Ephes. 3. J5. 
Good God ! Can our little differences, here, set us at greater 
distance than heaven, and earth ! The observation is worth 
considering of that wise, and noble person : f It will be found 
a matter of great moment and use, to define what, and of what 
latitude those points arc, which discorporate men from the 

body of the church And if any think this hath been done, 

now long ago, let them seriously consider with what sincerity, 

and moderation the same hath been performed &c. And 

if it had not been done with due sincerity, and moderation in 
his days, it is much to be doubted whether it have since. In 
the mean time it is to be considered, that what differenceth 
anything, constitutes it; and if a church (of whatsoever de 
nomination) be constituted in its superstructure (though its 
foundation be good) of hay, and stubble, of things that can 
belong to no church, as a church, it must some time or other 
Suffer loss : And though the builders be saved, it must be by 
a more penetrative, than an imagined, purgatory-fire. 

4. Angels must have kind propensions towards men, es 
pecially good men, in this world, knowing these are of the 
same society arid church with them ; though the divine wis 
dom hath not judged it suitable to our present state of probati 
on, there should be an open, and common intercourse between 
them and us. It is however a great incongruity we should 
have strange, uncouth, shy, frightful, or unfrequent thoughts 
pf them, in the mean time. 

f Lord Viscount Verul. Adv. of Learn, lib. 9. 


o. When we find any excellent persons, in our world, at* 
tain far and high towards the perfection of the heavenly state 5 
it ought to be a great encouragement to us, and is an obligation 
to aspire to some like pitch. We see it is not an impossible^ 
or an impracticable thing ; and should disdain to crawl now as 
worms, when we are to soar as angels. 

6'. We ought hereupon to acknowledge and adore the mu~ 
nificence, and power of divine grace, that it should design the 
making of such abjects as we, fit to be associated with such an 
assembly, the innumerable company of angels, and the spirits 
of the just made perfect; and will not fail to effect it, if we 
comply with the apt methods, appointed for that blessed pur 

7. When such ascend, and are taken up from us, that God 
had eminently prepared for translation ; we should take great 
care lest we unduly regret it. That we do not envy heaven its 
own, to which they are more akin, than to our earth ; and 
which had a greater right in them, than we could pretend. 

8. We should look upon funeral solemnities for such, with 
more prospect than retrospect, and consider them as directing 
our eye less downward to our own forsaken world, than up 
wards to the celestial regions, and inhabitants. To such, to 
die, is to be born ; they die only out of our mean world, and 
are born into a most glorious one. Their funerals should be cele 
brations of their ascent, and an exulting joy should therefore, in 
that case, not be quite banished from funeral sorrows, but be 
allowed to mingle therewith, as sun-beams glittering in a cloud. 
When the greatest person was leaving this world, that ever 
lived in it, he says : If you loved me, you would rejoice that 
I say, I go to the Father. We should bear our part in the 
joys of heaven, upon this occasion, if we relate to it. And 
when we are told, there is joy there, among the angels of God, 
for the conversion of such, who are thereby but prepared to 
come to their assembly ; we may conclude there is much more 
for their glorification, when they are fully come, and joined to 
it. Funeral solemnities are very dull melancholy shews, 
without such references forwards, and upwards. With how 
different a temper of mind would two persons have been the 
spectators of Jacob's funeral, the one of whom should have 
looked no further than the Canaanites, or Egyptians did, who 
would only say, Some great person is dead ; but the other, by 
divine illumination is enabled to apprehend, this dust here 
mingles with the earth of this land, to presignify this people, 
of whom he was the head, must possess it. Yea, moreover, 
here the great God will fix his residence and throne, upon such 
a mount shall be the palace of the supreme King. Here, after 


great mutations; and revolutions and great destruction both 
Egyptians, and Canaanites,, shall this people have a long sueces^, 
$ion of princes, and rulers that shall beof themselves. And all- this, 
fcutas representing a king, and kingdom that shall rule > and spread 
Qver all the earth, and reach up at length into heaves.. Canaar* 
shall be a holy land. Unto Sion's king shall tributary princes, 
bring their gifts, out of Egypt, and Ethiopia stretch out hep 
hands 5, and all nations serve him. His empire shall confine, 
with the universe, and all power be given him both in heaven^ 
and earth.. With what a large and raised mind would such a 
oae have beheld this funeral ! What better Canaan, thaa we 
HC*V behoM* we shall have ia, this world, God knows ! And 
we should be the less solicitous to know intermediate things^ 
when w.e>are so fully ascertained of the glorious end of all 
th&igs* And let us reflect upon the solemn pomp of that late 
inaumful assembly,, that lamented our queen's departure oi&fe 
^f our world, comparing it with the transcended magnificence 
$sse.mbly > kxto which she ^received aboxe* 













you assigned unto me that part not of forming a memo* 
rial for your excellent deceased consort (which is reserved to 
the fittest hand) but of instructing the people upon the occasion of 
her decease ; this text of Scripture occurring also to my thoughts 
(which I reckoned might sufficiently agree with the design you ge 
nerally recommended to me, though I am sensible how little the pro 
secution did so) it put me upon considering with how great disad 
vantage we set ourselves, at any time, to reason against bodily in 
clination j the great antagonist we have to contend against, in all 
our ministerial labours ! An attempt which, if a higher power set 
not in with us, looks like the opposing of our faint breath to thestea-* 
dy course of a mighty river ! 

I have often thought of Cicero's wonder : " That since we con 
sist of a mind, and a body, the skill of curing and preserving the 
body is so admired, as to have been thought a divine invention ; 
that which refers to the mind is neither so desired, before it be lound 
out, nor so cultivated afterwards, nor is approved and acceptable to 
so many. Yea is even to the most, suspected, and hateful \" 

Even the tyrant Phalaris tells one, in an epistle (though by way 
of menace) that whereas a good physician may cure a distempered 
body, death is the only physician for a distempered mind. It 
works not indeed a universal cure. But of such on whom it 
may, how few are there that count not the remedy worse than the 
disease ! Yet how many thousands are there, that for greater hoped 
bodily advantages, afterwards, endure much more pain and trouble, 
than there is in dying ! 

We are a mysterious sort of creatures ! Yet I acknowledge the 
TV is lorn of God is great and admirable, in planting in our natures 90 

VOL. IV. 2 K. 


strong a love of this bodily life, without which the best, would be 
more impatient of living on earth, so long as God thinks it requisite 
they should j and to the worst, death would not be a sufficiently 
formidable punishment ; and consequently human laws and justice 
would be, in great part, eluded, 

And the same divine wisdom is not less admirable, in providing 
there should so generally be so much of mutual love, as doth obtain 
among near friends and relatives ; for thereby their cohabitation 
and mutual offices towards each other are made pleasant and easy ; 
which is a great compensation for the concomitant evil, that by the 
same love their parting with one another cannot but be rendered 

liut for you, who live so much upon the borders, and in the plea 
sant view of the other state; the one sepaiation is, I doubt not, 
much easier to your sense, and the other to your fore-thoughts, than 
they are with the most. A perfect indifferency towards this present 
bodily state and life, is, in mine eyes, a most covetable thing, and 
my daily aim 3 wherein I entreat your prayers may assist, 

Your most respectful, though most unworthy 
Jfellow servant, and expectant in the work, 

and hope of the gospel, 

J. H. 


2. Cor. V. 8. 

We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent 
from the body, and to be present with the Lord* 

solemn face qf this assembly seems to tell me, that 
you already know the present, special occasion of it ; and 
that I scarce need to tell any of you, that our worthy, honour 
ed friend, Mrs. Baxter is dead. You have (it is like most of 
you) often met her in this place, when her pleased looks were 
wont to shew what delight she took to have many share in those 
great advantages, wherein she had a more peculiar interest ; 
you are now to meet her here no more, hut are met yourselves 
to lament together, that oar world hath lost so desirable an in 
habitant ; and to learn (as I hope you design) what so instruc 
tive an occasion shall (of itself, or as it may be improved) 
serve to teach us. 

It doth of itself most obviously teach the common document, 
that we, who are of the same make and mould, must all die too. 
And our own prudence should hereupon advance one step fur 
ther, and apprehend it a most covetable thing, that the tem 
per of our minds might comply with this unalterable state oi 
our case ; and that we be in a disposition, since we must die, 
to die willingly, and with our own consent. Nothing can be 
more irrational, or unhappy, than to be engaged in a continual 
quarrel with necessity, which will prevail, and be too hard for 
us at last. No course is so wise in itself, or good for us, as 
to be reconciled to what we cannot avoid 5 to bear a facile 


yielding mind towards a determination, which admits of no re 

And the subject, now to be insisted on, may help us to im 
prove the sad occasion to this very important purpose ; and shew 
us that dying, which cannot be willed for itself, may be joined 
with somewhat else which may, and ought to be so ; and in that 
conjunction become the object of a rational, and most complacen- 
tial willingness. A subject recommended to me (though not the 
special text) by one, than whom I know no-man that was better 
able to make a fit choice ; as (in the present case) none cou!4 
have that right to choose. I cannot stay to discuss and open the 
most fruitful, pleasant series of discourse, in the foregoing 
verses, though there will be occasion to reflect somewhat upon 
it by and by; but, in the text,, the apostle asserts two things 
concerning the temper of his spirit, in reference to death : 
His confidence, and complacency, 0app//.v, xa/ f^oxs/xsv. 

First. His confidence, or his courage and fortitude "we are 
confident, I say," he had said it before, ver. 6'. We are always 
confident ; and assigned the cause : knowing that while we 
are present in the body, we are absent from the Lord. And de 
clared the kind of that knowledge (namely, which he had cf 
that presence of the Lord, whereof he was deprived, by being 
present in the body) that is, that it was the knowledge of faith, 
not of sight, ver. J. Now here he adds : We are confident, 1 
say. It notes a deliberate courage, and the fixedness of it ; 
that it was not a sudden fit, a passion soon over. He had 
said above; QzppHvres iravrors, We are confident at all times ; it 
was his habitual temper. And here the ingemination signifies 
increase, as if he had said : We grow more and more bold, 
and adventurous, while we consider the state of our case, and 
what we suffer by our presence in the body. Sense of injury 
or damage heightens, and adds an edge unto true valour. We 
would venture upon a thousand deaths, if the matter were left 
entirely to our own option, rather than be thus withheld any 
longer from the presence of our blessed Lord ; a thing whereof 
nothing but duty to him could make us patient. We are not 
destitute of the fortitude to enable us even to rush upon death, 
without more ado, if he did say the word ; but as yet he bids 
us stay, and his supreme and holy will must in all things de 
termine ours. Therefore it is immediately subjoined, in the 
midst of this high transport, ver. 9. Wherefore we labour, that 
whether present, or absent, we might be accepted of him, or 
well-pleasing to him, (tvai^ot a-v\<a va;) we less mind the 
pleasing ourselves, than him. We are indifferent to life or. 
death, being in the body, or out of it, in comparison, of that; 


his pleasure is more to us than either. Here the highest for 
titude yields and submits itself, otherwise, and for his own 
part, and as to what concerned his own inclination singly, and 
in the divided sense, the apostle to his confidence doth 

Secondly. Add complacency. We are better pleased (eu&>jej 
fw,aAMv) This is a distinct thing (a valiant man will venture 
upon wounds and death, but is not pleased with them) but in 
reference to so excellent an object, and occasion, they must 
mingle, and the latter runs into the former. We are willing 
rather (as we read it) to be absent from the body, and present 
with the Lord. The word which we read willing, signifies to 
approve or like well, not a merely judicious, but complacen^ 
tial approbation ; the word, whence comes the *v&>xi often 
ascribed to God in Scripture, which signifies the high satisfac 
tion he takes in all his purposes, and determinations. The 
tySox/av 0e>.y,/u,aV, Ephes. 1 . 5. is certainly no tautology, but 
speaks how perfectly and pleasingly he agrees, and (as it were) 
consents with himself, in all that ever he had resolved on. 
This rather, says the apostle, is our euSox/*, the thing that 
would please us best, and wherein we should most highly sa- 
tisfy ourselves. It would not be the matter of our submission 
only, or whereto we could yield, when we cannot help it ; but 
of our highest joy and pleasure. According as we find it was 
with the Psalmist, (psal. xvi.) in the same case (which though 
it had a further meaning in reference to Christ, had a true 
meaning as to himself also) therefore my heart is glad, my 
glory rejoices, my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt 
not leave my soul in sheol, the state of the dead, nor suffer thine 
holy One to see corruption, but wilt shew me the path of life ; 
and no matter though it lie through the dark shady vale, it leads 
however into that blessed presence of thine (the same with that 
in the text) where is fulness of joy ; and unto that right-hand 
(that high and honourable station) where are pleasures for 
evermore. Both these, the apostle's courage and fortitude, 
and his complacency or well-pleasedness have express reference 
to the state of death, or of being absent from the body. The 
one respects it as a formidable (but superable) evil, the 
other as a desirable, and most delectable good. But both 
have reference to it in its concomitancy, or tendency, 
namely, as absence from the body should be accompanied 
(or be immediately followed) with being present with the 
Lord. The sense therefore of the whole verse, may be fitly 
expressed thus : That it is the genuine temper of holy souls, 
not only to venture with confidence upon the state of absence, 
or reparation from the body ; but to choose it with great com 
placency and gladness, that they may be present wit;h the Lord. 


Body, we are not here to understand so generally, as if he 
affected, or counted upon a perpetual final state of separation 
from any body at all. No, the temper of his spirit had nothing 
in it so undutiful, or unnatural ; no such reluctation, or dis 
position to contend against the common lot of men, the law of 
human nature, and the comely order which the Author of our 
beings, and of all nature, hath settled in the universe ; that 
whereas one sort of creatures, that have life, should be wholly 
confined to terrestrial bodies; another, quite exempt from 
them ; ours should be a middle nature, between the angeli 
cal, and the brutal. So as we should, with the former, par 
take of intellectual immortal spirit ; and a mortal body made 
up, and organized of earthly materials, with the latter : which 
yet we might also depose, and reassume, changed and refined 
from terrene dross. The apostle's temper hath in it nothing 
of rebellion, or regret against this most apt and congruous or 
der and constitution ; he had no impatient proud resentment 
of that gradual debasement and inferiority that, in this respect, 
we are made a little lower than the angels. When Porphyry 
tells us, in the life of Plotinus, that he blushed as often as he 
thought of his being a body, it was agreeable enough to his no 
tion of the pre -existence of the soul ; that is, if it were true, 
that the original state of human spirits was the same with that 
of angels (which this is no fit season to dispute against) and 
that by their own fault, some way or other, they lapsed and 
slid down into grosser matter, and were caught into vital union 
with it, there was just cause of shame indeed. Apuleius's 
transformation (which many of you know what it means) if it 
had been real, was not more ignominious. 

But it appears the apostle affected not a state, wherein he 
should be simply naked, or unclothed of any body at all ; for 
he longs to be clothed upon with his heavenly house, ver. 2* 
And whereas he tells us, ver. 4. That which he groaned for, 
was not to be unclothed, but clothed upon ; that being unclo 
thed, doth not mean the act, but the state, thatis, that he did 
not covet or aspire to a perpetual final state of being naked, or 
without any body at all. For so he speaks, ver. 3. If so be 
(as we read) that being clothed, we shall not be found naked. 
The particle ays admits to be read, since that, inasmuch as, 
for truly ; and so the 2d. and 3d. verses will be connected 
thus ; In this, (ver. 2.) that is, for this, namely, for this cause, 
as EV often signifies causality (not in this house, for mru and 
HUB will not agree) we groan earnestly, desiring to be clothed 
upon with our house which is from heaven, that is of heaven, 
or suitable to heaven (| denotes here, as often, the matter 
whereof a thing is formed and made) a body made up of a 


heavenly material ; or (which is all one) an earthly hody refin 
ed, and transformed into such a one. And then he subjoins 
the reason why his desire is so conditioned, and limited, or 
runs only in this particular current to have not, no hody at all, 
but only not such a body. He wishes to have a body made 
more habile, and commodious, and fitter for the uses of a glo 
rified soul (which hath its own more inward clothing peculiar 
to itself, in respect whereof that of such a body would be an 
additional one, a superinvestiture, as the word we&;<r<r0i im 
ports) his desire is thus limited and modified for this reason. 
Inasmuch as, being thus clothed, we shall not be found nak 
ed, ver. 3. or without any body at all ; which the law of our 
creation admits us not to affect, or aspire unto. And there 
fore in qualifying our desire thus, we shall contain ourselves 
within our own bounds, and not offer at any thing whereof 
humanity is, by the Creator's pleasure, and constitution unca- 
pable. Therefore he inculcates the same thing over again. 
We groan not to be unclothed, but only to be clothed upon ; 
ver. 4. where that unclothed (the thing he desired not) must 
signify the state, and not the act only, is evident ; in that 
being clothed (the thing which he did desire) must plainly be 
so understood. For was it only an entrance into glory he de 
sired, and not continuance in a glorified state ? Nor can this 
being unclothed much less, refer as an act to the present 
clothing of this earthly body, as if it were our being divested 
of that which he intended in this 4th. verse, as the thing he 
desired not, for then the 4th. verse would contradict this 8th. 
where he tells us he did desire it. The meaning then is, that 
he did not desire to be exempted from wearing a body, or to 
be without any at all : he did only covet to be absent from 
this body (gross and terrene as now it was) that he might be 
present with the Lord $ with which he found being in such a 
body, and in the several accompanying circumstances of this 
bodily state, to be inconsistent. Wherefore it was a terres 
trial body (the earthly house of this tabernacle, as it is ver. 1 .) 
which he was now better pleased to quit upon this account. 

And I say it is the genuine temper of a holy soul to be 
like-minded, not their constant, explicit, discernable sense. 
We must allow for accidents (as we shall note afterwards) but 
when they are themselves, and in their right mind, and so 
far as the holy divine life doth prevail in them, this is their 

And now, that I may more fully open this matter to you, I 

It Endeavour to uafold, somewhat more distinctly, the 


state of the case, in reference whereto good and holy souls ard 
thus affected. 

II. Shall shew you what is theif true and genuine temper^ 
or how it is that they stand affected, in reference to that case. 

III. Shall discover how agreeable this temper is to the gene 
ral frame and complexion of a holy soul. 

IV. And then make such reflections upon the whole, as may 
be more especially useful to ourselves. 

I. We are to take, as much as we can, a distinct view and 
state of the case. We see the apostle speaks by way of com 
parison, ev$ox/x,6 i*<zXfav, we are willing rather. We are there 
fore to consider (that we may comprehend clearly the true state 
of this case) what the things are which he compares ; and be 
tween which his mind might be supposed, as it were, to have 
been before (at least in order of nature before) in some sus 
pense, till at last it come so complacentially to incline, and be 
determined this one way. Take the account of the whole case 
in these particulars. 

1 . There are here two principal terms, between which the 
motion and inclination of such a mind lies, from the one to 
the other. The Lord and the Body. Both do as it were at 
tract and draw (or are apt to do) two several ways. The Lord 
strongly draws on the one hand, and the body hangs on, and 
iiolds, and draws in as strongly to itself as it can, on the other, 
The body as having us present in it. And how? not locally 
only, but in the way of vital union, and communion with it. 
And that shews how we are to understand being present with 
the Lord too, not by a mere local presence, but of more inti 
mate vital union and commerce. Where, as in the union be 
tween the soul and body, the more excellent communicate* 
life, the other receives it ; so it must be here. Though now 
the Lord is present thus, in some measure (which this attrac 
tion supposes) yet speaking comparatively, that presence is 
absence, in respect of what we are to look for hereafter. Both 
these unions are very mysterious, and both infer very strong 
and powerful drawing, or holding together of the things so 

There is no greater mystery in nature, than the union be 
tween the soul and body. That a mind and spirit should be so 
tied and linked with a clod of clay, that, while that remains in 
a due temper, it cannot by any ait or power free itself! It 
can by an act of the will move a hand, or foot, or the whole 
body; but cannot move from it one inch. If it move hither 
and thither, or by a leap upward do ascend a little, the body 
still follows ; it cannot shake or throw it off. We cannot take 
ourselves out ; by any allowable means we cannot, nor by any 


at all (that are at least within mere human power) as long as 
the temperament lasts. While that remains, we cannot go ; 
if that fail, we cannot stay ; though there he so many open 
avenues (could we suppose any material bounds to hem in, or 
exclude a spirit) we cannot go out or in at pleasure. A won 
derful thing ! and I wonder we no more wonder at our own 
make and frame in this respect, that we do not, with reve 
rent submissive adoration, discern and confess how far we are 
outwitted, and overpowered by our wise and great Creator ; 
that we not only cannot undo his work upon us, in this respect; 
but that we cannot so much as understand it. What so much 
akin are a mind and a piece of earth, a clod and a thought, 
that they should be thus affixed to one another ; or that there 
should be such a thing in nature as thinking clay ! But here 
upon, what advantage hath this body upon the soul our spirit ! 
In the natural union is grounded a moral one, of love and af 
fection ; which (on the soul's part) draws and binds it down 
with mighty efficacy. 

Again, how mysterious and ineffable is the union of the 
Lord, and the soul ; and how more highly venerable, as this 
is a sacred mystery ! And who would not admire at their proud 
disdainful folly, that while they cannot explain the union be 
tween the soul and body, are ready to jeer at their just, hum 
ble, and modest ignorance, that call this other a mystical uni 
on ? or, because they know not what to make of it, would 
make nothing, and will not allow there should be any such 
thing, or would have it be next to nothing. Have those words 
no sense belonging to them, or not a great sense, (1 Cor. 6. I/.) 
But he that is joined, unto the Lord, is one spirit ? And, upon 
this supernatural union also (be it what it will) methinks the 
binding, and drawing power of love should not be less ! 

2. We must conceive in our minds, as distinctly as we 
can, the peculiar adjuncts of each of these more principal 
terms ; that is, on the part of the body first, we are to consi 
der a sensible, a grossly corporeal world, to- which this body 
doth connaturalize us, and whereto we are attempered by our 
being in the body, and living this bodily life. This body, 
while we live in it, is the terminus uniens, the medium, the 
unitive bond between us and it. In this world we find our 
selves encompassed with objects that are suitable, grateful, 
and entertaining to our bodily senses, and the several princi 
ples, perceptions, and appetites that belong to the bodily life ; 
and these things familiarize and habituate us to this world, and 
make us, as it were, one with it. There is, particularly, a 
bodily people, as is intimated in the text, that we are asso 
ciated with by our being in the body. The words $r/*w*< and 

VOL. IV. 2 L 


fx$y(A.vcroii, in this verse (and the same are used verse the 6th an4 
9th) signify there is such a people of which we are, and from 
which we would be dissociated 5 >&v*w is civis, incola, or in- 
digena, an inhabitant, or native among this or that people ; as 
exfto/Aor is peregrinus one that lives abroad and is severed from 
the people he belonged unto. The apostle considers himself, 
while in the body, as living among such a sort of people as* 
dwell in bodies, a like sort of people to himself ; and would 
be no longer a home-dweller with these, but travel away from 
them, to join and be a dweller with another people. 

For also, on the other hand, he considers, with the Lord, 
an invisible world, where he resides; and an incorporeal peo 
ple, he presides over. So that the case here is, are we wil 
ling to be dispeopled from this bodily sort of people, and 
peopled with that incorporeal sort, the world, and community 
of spirits ? 

3. It is further to be considered in this case, that we are 
related both ways, related to the body, and related to the 
Lord ; to the one people, and the other, the one claims an 
interest in us, and so doth the other. We have many earthly 
alliances, it is true, and we have many heavenly ; we are re 
lated to both worlds, and have affairs lying in both. And 
now what mighty pleadings might the case admit, on the one 
hand, and the other ? Were the body, apart, capable of 
pleading for itself, to this effect it must bespeak the soul : " I 
am thy body, 1 was 'nade and formed for thee, and someway, 
by thee. Thou hast so long inhabited and dwelt with me, and 
in me. Thou art my soul, my life, my strength, if thou be 
absent, I am a carcass, and fall to dirt ; and thou wilt be a 
maimed thing, and scarce thy whole-self/* But though it can 
not dictate, and do not utter such words ; nature doth itself 
plead more strongly, than words can. 

And again, how much more potently might the Lord plead 
for his having the soul more closely united, and intimately 
conversant with himself! " Thou art one of the souls I have 
loved and chosen, which were given to me, and for which I 
offered up my own soul. I have visited thee in thy low and 
abject state, said to thee, in thy blood, Live, have inspired 
thee with a heavenly, sacred, divine life, the root, and se 
minal principle of a perfect, glorious, eternal life. Let this 
body drop, which hath been long thy burden! let it fall and 
die, it matters not ! Yet since thou lovest it, I will restore it 
thee again, pure and glorious, like mine own. I am the re 
surrection and the life, he that believeth in me ? though he 
were dead, yet shall he live, John. 1 1 . 25. Never fear to ven 
ture thyself with me ; nor to commit thy body to my after-care," 



And now'all the question will be, Which alleges the more 
considerable things ? and the matter will be estimated, as the 
temper of the soul is. An earthly sordid soul, when the oveiv 
tare is made to it of such a translation, will be ready to say, 
as the Shunamite (2 Kings. 4. 13.) did to the prophet, when he 
offered to speak for her to the king (perhaps that her husband 
might be called to court, and made a great man) I dwell 
among my own people (an answer that in her case well express 
ed the true greatness of a contented min:l, but in this case 
nojthing more mean) I am well where 1 am, and dwell among 
a people like myself. So saith the degenerate abject soul, 
sunk into a deep oblivion of its own country 5 Here 1 dwell a 
fixed inhabitant of this world, among a corporeal people, where 
I make one. And we find how it is with this sort of people, each 
one charms another, and they grow familiar, have mutual ties 
upon one another, and there is a loathsomeness to part. Es 
pecially as here, in this lower world, we are variously dispos 
ed, and cast into several mutual relations to one another ; hus 
bands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters, 
all dwelling in bodies alike, cohabiting, eating and drink 
ing daily, and conversing together. These are great and sen- 
;sible endearments, by which the minds of men become as 
it were knit, and united to one another. How are men's spi 
rits fixed to their own countries ! Nescio qua natale solum 

dulcedine it is by an inexpressible pleasure and sweetness, 

that the people of one country are as it were linked and held 

But would not a heavenly, new-born soul say, No, this is 
none of my country, I seek a better, and am here but a pil 
grim and stranger ; this is none of my people ? So it was with 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that conversed in the earthly Canaan, 
but as in a strange country ; their mind being gone towards 
that other, which they sought. And accordingly you find it 
said of each of them, in their story, when they quite left this 
world (as also of Moses and Aaron, afterwards) that they were 
gathered to their people ; a people that were more their own. 
And surely, as God (who was not ashamed to be called their 
God) is not the God of the dead, but of the living ; we must 
understand this was not the congregation of the dead, to which 
these were gathered, otherwise than in a low, relative sense, 
as to us only and our world. Holy men, as they die out of one 
world, are born into another, to associate with them tliat 
dwell in light ; and be joined to a glorious community above, 
the general assembly, the innumerable company of angels, and 
the spirits of just men made perfect : where all love and 
adore, praise and triumph together. 


4. It is again to be taken into the state of this case, that 
we have, one way or other, actual present notices of both the 
states, which both sorts of objects, that stand in this compe 
tition, belong unto. Of the one, by sense and experience ; 
we so know what it is to live in the body, and in a sensible 
world, and among a corporeal people : of the other, by faith ; 
by believing as we are told by one who we are sure can have 
no design, or inclination to deceive us. There are many man 
sions saith he, in ray Father's house, as good accommodations, 
as suitable society (and sufficient!^ numerous, which the many 
mansions implies) to be sure as any you have met with here. 
Faith is, in this case, to serve us instead of eyes, it is the 
substance of things hoped for, the evidence of- the things 
not seen; (Heb. 11.1.) as we have the notion of a country 
where we have not been, by the description of a person whom 
we can trust, and that we think intends not to abuse us by 
forgeries, and false representations. In reference to this coun-p 
try, we walk and guide ourselves by sight, in our converses, 
and affairs wherein we have to do with it; as to that other, by 
faith : as ver. 7- it is implied. 

5. Yet further it is to be considered, that this body, and 
this bodily people and world have the present possession of us. 
And though the spiritualized mind do as it were step forth, and 
place itself between both, when it is to make its choice ; yet 
the objects of the one sort are much nearer, the other are far 
distant, and much more remote. 

6*. That it cannot but be apprehended, that though the 
one sort of things hath the faster hold, the other sort are 
things of greater value ; the one hath the more entire present 
possession of us, the other, the better right. Thus we see 
the case stated. 

II. We are next to shew what the temper is of a holy 
soul (that is, its proper and most genuine temper) in reference 
to this supposed state of the case. We are willing rather, or 
have a more complacential inclination to be unpeopled from the 
body, and this bodily sort of people ; and to be peopled with 
the Lord, and that sort of incorporeal people, over which he 
more immediately presides in the upper world. He speaks 
comparatively, as the case requires, and because all compari 
son is founded in somewhat absolute; therefore a simple dispo 
sition, both ways, is supposed. Whence then, 

1 . This temper is not to despise, and hate the body, it imparts 
no disdainful aversion to it, or to this present state. 

2. Nor is it an impetuous precipitant tendency towards 
the Lord, impatient of delay, mutinous against the divine dis 
posal; or that declines present duty, and catches at the 


y, the crown and prize, before the prescribed race be run 
out. A holy man is at once dutiful and wise, as a servant he 
refuses not the obedience of life : and as a wise man,* embraces 
the gain of death. 

3. But it is considerate, the effect of much foregoing de 
liberation, and of a thorough perspection of the case ; BOOT** 
ver. 6. knowing, or considering that while we are at home in 
the body, we are absent from the Lord. This choice is not 
made blindly, and in the dark. 

4. It is very determinate and full, being made up of the 
mixture of fortitude and complacency, as was said ; the one 
whereof copes with the evil, of being severed from the body ; 
the other entertains the good of being present with the Lord, 
Therefore this is the sense of a pious soul in the present case: 
as though he had said, " I do indeed love this body well, and 
reckon it a grievous thing to be severed from it, if that part of 
the case be singly considered, and alone by itself ; but consi 
dering it in comparison with the other part, what is this body to 
me ? What is it as an object of love, in comparison of being 
with the Lord ? What is death to me as an object of fear, in 
comparison of being absent from the Lord ! which is a death 
many thousand times more deadly than the other. 

III. The agreeableness of this temper to the general frame, 
and complexion of a holy soul as such. Which will appear, 
if we consider what sort of frame or impression, in the ge 
neral, that is that doth distinguish a sincerely pious person 
from another man and the more eminent principles in par 
ticular that are constituent of it, and do as it were compose and 
make it up. 

1 . The general frame of a holy soul, as such, is natural to 
it. It is not an artificial thing, a piece of mechanism, a lifeless 
engine, nor a superficial, an external form, an evanid impres 
sion. It is the effect of a creation (as Scripture often speaks) by 
which the man becomes a new creature, and hath a nature pecu 
liar to him, as other creatures have; or of regeneration, by which 
he is said to be born anew. Which forms of speech, whatever 
they have of different signification, do agree in this, that they 
signify a certain nature to be the thing produced. This nature 
is said to be divine, (2. Pet. i. 4.^ somewhat born of God, as it 
is expressed, 1. John. v. 4. and in many places more. And it is 
an intellectual nature, or the restored rectitude of such a being. 
Now who can think but what is so peculiarly from God, a touch 
and impress from him upon an intelligent subject, should with de 
sign, choice and complacency, tend to him, and make the soul 

* Ambros, de bono mortis. 


do so ? Especially, when it is so purposely designed for remedy 
of the apostacy, wherein men are revolted and gone off from 
him ? Will Le suffer himself to be defeated in a design, upon 
which he is so industriously intent ? Or is it supposable the 
all-wise God should so mistake himself, as to do such a work 
upon the spirit of man, on set purpose for an end which it is no 
way apt to serve ; yea, and when he now takes him in hand, a 
second time ? Nor can it be but this impression of God upon 
the soul, must have principal reference to our final state. It is 
a kind of nature, and must therefore tend to what is most per 
fect in its own kind. But we need not reason, in a matter where 
in the word of God so plainly unfolds the scope, and the success 
of this his own work. By it we are said to be alive to God, 
through Jesus Christ, (Rom. vi. II.) to turn, and move, and 
act towards him, as many scriptures speak. And towards him 
as he is most perfectly to be served, and enjoyed, in the most 
perfect state of life. 

We are said to be begotten again, to a lively hope (1 Pet. 
L 3. where hope is taken objectively, as the following words 
shew) to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth 
not away, reserved in heaven for us. And when, elsewhere, 
it had been said : Every one that doth righteousness is born of 
him, 1 John. ii. 29. there is immediately subjoined, chap. iii. 
1, 2. a description of the future blessedness ; whereto it is 
presently added, ver. 3. and every man that hath this hope in 
him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure : implying the hope 
of that blessed state to be connate, implanted as a vital princi 
ple of the new, and divine nature. And all hope, we know, in 
volves desire in it ; which is here intimated to be so powerful 
and prevailing, as to shape and form a man's whole course to 
an agreeable tenour : which it could not do, if hope were not 
superadded to desire ; for no man pursues an end whereof he 
despairs. And what else is living religion, but a tendency to 
blessedness ? a seeking honour, glory, and immortality, by a 
patient continuance in well doing, Rom. ii. 7- Nor need we 
look further than this context, for evidence that this divine im 
pression upon the soul hath this reference ; for when, ver. 4. 
the apostle had avowed the fervour of his desire after that state 
wherein mortality should be swallowed up of life, he immedi 
ately adds, ver. 5. Now he that hath wrought us for this self 
same thing, is God, &c. And indeed, after that transforming 
touch, the great business of such a soul, in this world, isbut a 
dressing itself for the divine presence, a preparation for that 
state, wherein we are for ever to be with the Lord. And it 
is not only an incongruity, but an inconsistency ; not only that 
which is not fit, but not possible that a man should ever de- 


sign that as his end, which he cares not ever to attain ; or that 
for his last end, which he doth not supremely desire. 

2. If we consider particular principles that belong to this 
holy divine nature, the more noble and eminent are faith and 
love. The former is the perceptive, visive principle ; the other 
the motive, and fruitive. And these, though they have their 
other manifold references, have yet, both, their final to that 
state of absence from this body, and presence with the Lord ; 
the one eying, the other coveting it, as that wherein the soul 
is to take up its final rest. Here some consideration should be 
had of objections, that some may be apt to make use of, to shift 
off the urgency of this truth, and excuse the unsuitable temper 
of their spirits to it. 

(1.) That they are unassured about their states Godward, and 
how can they be willing to die, and be absent from the body, or 
not be afraid of the Lord's presence, whom they may, for ought 
they know, find an angry vindictive Judge, when they appear 
before him ? 

Answer. This, which is the most considerable objection 
that the matter admits of, if it were directly pointed against 
this truth, as it hath been laid down, would answer itself. 
For it is not dying simply that is the object of this inclina 
tion, but dying eonjunctly with being with the Lord, in his 
blessed joyous presence. Do not therefore divide the object, 
and that objection is no objection. You are unwilling to die, 
and be banished the divine presence ; but are you unwilling to 
die, and enjoy it ? Or, upon supposition you should, are you 
willing ? This is all that we make characteristical, and distinguish 
ing. Where there is only an aversion to leave this bodily life 
and state, upon a fear we shall not be admitted into that blessed 
presence ; there is only an accidental obstruction to the more 
explicit, distinct and discernable exertions of desire this way ; 
which obstruction, if it be removed, the soul would then follow 
the course which the divine, and holy principle in it doth natu 
rally incline to : but the mortal token is, when there is no such 
doubt, and yet there is still a prevailing aversion ; when men 
make no question, if they die they shall go to God, and yet they 
are not willing to go. In the former case, there is a supreme 
desire of being with God, only suspended ; take off that sus 
pension, and that desire runs its natural course. In the other 
case, there is no desire at all. And the difference is, as be 
tween a living man that would fain go to such a place, but he 
is held, and therefore goes not ; and one that is not held, but is 
dead, and cannot stir at all. For the life of the soul towards 
God is love, aversion therefore is (not an absolute, but) re 
spective death, or quoad hoc, a death towards him ; or, as to 
this thing, namely, being with him. 


(2.) As for the objection of being more serviceable to children 1 , 
friends, relations, or the glory of God in the world, and his 
church in it ; upon which last account this apostle, (Phil. i. 22, 
23, 24.) thougli he express a desire to be dissolved and to be 
with Christ, yet is in a strait, and seems also very well pleased 
to abide in the flesh a longer time : he can himself best judge 
of our serviceableness. The meaning is not that we should be 
willing to leave the body before he would have us, but that we 
should not be unwilling then. And because we know not when 
his time will be, and it may be presently for ought we know ; 
we should be always willing and desirous, upon that supposi 
tion. Our desire herein should not be absolute, and peremp 
tory, but subordinate, and apt to be determined by his will; 
which can determine nothing but what will be most for his own 
glory, and for their best good who belong to him. 

But as to this instance of the apostle, we must cojnsider what 
there was peculiar in the apostle's case, and what is common 
or ought to be, to all serious Christians. There is no doubt 
there was this more peculiar to him (and to persons in such a 
capacity and station as his was) namely as he was an apostle, he 
was one that had seen the Lord, which was a qualification for 
the more special work of that office ; whereupon he was as an 
eye witness, to testify of his resurrection ; upon which so great 
a stress lay, in asserting the truth of the Christian religion, and 
propagating it with the greater assurance in the world. To 
testify as an apostle, therefore, could not be done by one of a 
following age. And it is very probable when he expresses, to 
the Philippians, (ver. 25.) his knowledge he should abide and 
continue yet longer with them all, that is, with the Christian 
church in the world (for we cannot suppose he was to continue 
at Philippi) for the furtherance of the common cause of the 
Christian faith, which was their common joy (and which would 
no doubt he increased intensively and extensively at once) he 
had some secret intimation, that all his work in this kind was 
not yet over. Nor were such monitions and advertisements 
tinfrequent with the apostles, that specially related to the cir 
cumstances of their work. And so entirely was he devoted to the 
Christian interest, that wherein lie saw he might be sopeculiarly 
serviceable to it, he expresses a well pleasedness to be so, as well 
as a confidence that he should : as we all ought to do, in re- 
lerence to any such significations of the divine will concerning 
<u:s, if they were afforded to us. But as to what there is, in 
this instance, that is common and imitable to the generality 
of Christians, it is no other than what we press from the text 
we have in hand : a desire to depart, and be with Christ, as 
that which is far better for us ; submitted to the regulation of 


the divine will, as to the time of our departure, and accompa 
nied with a cheerful willingness to serve him here, to our ut 
termost, in the mean time. But we have withal little reason 
to think we can do God greater service, or glorify him more 
here, than above. There is indeed other service to he done 
below, which is necessary in its own kind, and must, and shall 
be done by some or other. But is our service fit, in point of 
excellency and value, to be compared with that of glorified spi 
rits in the upper regions ? We serve God by doing his will, 
which is, surely, most perfectly done above. And our glorify 
ing him, is,to acknowledge and adore his glorious excellencies : 
not to add the glory to him which he hath not ; but to cele 
brate and magnify that which he hath : whereof certainly the 
large minds of glorified creatures are far more capable. He 
never needs hands for any work he hath to do, but can form 
instruments as he pleases. And what is our little point of earth 
or any service that can be performed by us here, in comparison 
of the spacious heavens, and the noble employments of those 
glorious orders of creatures above, which all bear their parts in 
the great affairs of the vast, and widely extended heavenly 
kingdom ? We might as well suppose, that because there is, in 
a prince's family, employment below stairs for cooks, and but 
lers, or such like underlings ; that therefore their service is 
more considerable than that of great officers, and ministers of 

3. And for what may be thought, by some, that this seems an 
unnatural inclination ; we must understand what we say, and 
what our own nature is, when we talk of what is natural, or un 
natural to us. Ours is a compounded nature, that is not sim 
ply unnatural, that is contrary to an inferior nature, and agree 
able to a superior. The most deeply fundamental law, of the 
intellectual nature in us, was to be most addicted to the su 
preme good. The apostacy of this world from God, and its 
lapse into carnality is its most unnatural state. To have an 
inclination to the body is natural, bat to be more addicted to it, 
than to God, is most contrary to the sincere dictates of origi 
nal, pure and primitive nature. 

IV. There are now, for our use, many things to be inferred, 

1 . We see here, from the immediate connexion between be 
ing absent from the body, and present with the Lord, there is 
no place for the intervening sleep of the separate soul. Can 
such a presence with the Lord, as is here meant, consist with 
sleeping ? or is sleeping more desirable than the converse with 
him our present state admits ? But of this, much is said else 

2. Death is not so formidable a thing as we commonly 

VOL. IV. 2 M 


fancy. We are confident and willing rather. There is a for 
titude that can oppose the terrors of death, and overcome. 
How many have we known die triumphing ! 

3. We see that men of spiritual minds, have another 
notion of that which we call self, or personality, than is vulgar 
and common. For who are the we that speak of being ab 
sent from the body, and present with the Lord ? The body 
seems excluded chat notion, which we know cannot be absent 
from itself. How like in sound is this to Animus cujusque is 
guisque ? or that the soul is the man ? I would not indeed 
drive this so high as some platonists are wont to do, as if the 
man were nothing else but a soulj sometimes using a body. 
Nor do therefore think the body is no more to him, than our 
clothes to the body, because the apostle in this context uses 
that similitude ; for that is not to be conceived otherwise, than 
(as is usual in such illustrations) with dissimilitude. A vital 
union must be acknowledged, only neither is it agreeable with 
their self-debasing thoughts, that seem to make the body the 
more considerable part of themselves, that measure good and 
evil by it, as if what were grateful to the body were simply good 
for them, and that which offends the body simply evil ; that 
speak or think of themselves, as if they were all body, forget 
that there is belonging to them an o ea-u avQpuwo;, as well as an 
o t%u y an inner man, and an outer : that the latter may be de 
caying, when the other is renewed day by day*; that the Father 
of our spirits may often see cause to let our flesh suffer (and, at 
last, perish) for the advantage of our spirits, Heb. xii. 9, 10. 
So distinct are their interests and gratifications, and some 
times inconsistent* When men make therefore this bodily bru 
tal self their centre and end, how sordid and unchristian is their 
temper ! And how improvable by some more noble-minded 
pagans, that had better learned the precept inculcated by some 
of them, of reverencing themselves ! Of whom we find onef 
speaking, with a sort of disdain , Is this body, I ? Another j 
saying, he might be killed and not hurt ; and upbraiding to hi* 
friends their ignorance, when they inquired how he would be 
buried ; as if he could be buried, who, he said, should be gone 
far enough out of their hands. Another JJ; that the tyrant that 
made him to be beaten to death with iron mallets, might break 
that vessel of his, but himself he could not touch. 

4. We learn, that when God removes any of our dear godly 
friends and relatives out of the body, though he displease us, 
he highly pleases them ; for it is that they desire rather. And 
we are sure he pleases himself, for what can induce him, or make 

* 2 Cor. iv. 16. f Epict. J Socrat. ff Anaxarcb. 


it possible to him to do any thing against his own pleasure ; we 
are too apt to consider our own interest and satisfaction apart 
from theirs and God's, in such cases. And hence is that too 
vulgar and practical error, among many very serious Christians ; 
that when such as are dear to them are taken away, they reckon 
their thoughts are to be principally employed, in considering 
such a thing as afflictive, or punitive to them. It is true that 
the affliction of that, as well as of any other kind, should put us 
upon very serious inquiry and search what the sin is, that may more 
especially have deserved it. But that ought, upon all occasions 
to be principally considered in any case, that is principal. As 
God did not make such a creature principally to please me, so 
nor doth he take away such a on.e principally to displease me. 
God's interest is supreme, their own next, mine comes after 
both the other. Therefore when the stream of thoughts and 
affections hath run principally, in such a case, upon our own 
affliction, it is time to check it, and begin to consider, with 
some pleasure, how the Lord and that translated soul are now 
pleased in one another ! He hath his end upon his own crea 
ture, and it hath its end, and rest in him. 

5. We see the admirable power of divine grace, that it pre 
vails against even the natural love of this bodily life ; not 
where discontent, and weariness of life contribute ; but even 
where there is a willingness to live too, upon a valuable consi 
deration, as this apostle doth elsewhere express himself, name 
ly, in the place before noted : and how easily the divine plea 
sure could reconcile him to life, notwithstanding what is said 
in the text, is sufficiently signified in the words immediately 
following it. And the effect is permanent, not a sudden trans 
port; (wherein many are induced to throw away their lives, upon 
much lower motives) this appears to be an habitual inclination. 
At distant times, we find the apostle in the same temper. That 
is not surely from the power of nature, that is so much against 
it, as the stream of nature now runs, that is, that a man 
should be willing to be plucked in pieces, and severed from 
himself! And we see, (ver. 5.) whereto it is expressly ascribed i 
He that hath wrought us to the selfsame thing, is God. 

6. How black is their character, and how sad their state 
that are more addicted to the body, and this bodily life, than 
to the Lord, and that holy blessed life we are to partake in with 
him ! Their character is black and horrid, as it is diverse from 
that which truly belongs to all the people of God, that ever lived 
on earth ; and so doth distinguish them from such, and place 
them among another sort of men that belong not to him ; such 
as have their portion in this life, their good things here, and 
who are to expect nothing hereafter, but woe and wailing. And 


who would not be affrighted, that finds a mark upon him that 
severs him from the whole assembly of the just, and the bless 
ed ! Their state is also therefore sad and dismal, inasmuch as 
what theyplace their highest felicity in (their abode in the body) 
they know will continue but a little while. Who could ever, by 
their love of this bodily life, procure it to be perpetuated ? or by 
their dread of mortality, make themselves immortal ? Have not 
others, in all former ages, loved thebody,andthis world as much? 
and what is become of them? Hath not death still swept the stage 
from generation to generation ? and taken all away, willing or un 
willing? To have all my good bound up in whatlcannot keep! and 
to be in a continual dread of what I cannot avoid ! what can be 
more disconsolate? How grievous will it be to be torn out of the 
body ! not to resign the soul, but have it drawn forth as a rus 
ty sword out of the sheath; a thing which our utmost unwilling 
ness will make the more painful, but cannot defer ? No man 
hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit, nor hath he pow 
er in death, Eccles. viii. 8. How uncomfortable, when the Lord's 
presence, the common joy of all good souls, is to me a dread ! By 
the same degrees, by which an abode in the body is over desired, 
is that presence dreaded and disaffected. And how deplorate is 
the case,when this body is the best shelter I have from that pre 
sence! Would I lurk in the body and lie hid from the presence of the 
Lord? How easily, and how soon will my fortress be beaten down 
and laid in the dust! and I be left naked and exposed! and then how 
fearful things do ensue ! But what now, doth this feaVful case 
admit of no remedy ? It can admit but of this only one, which 
therefore I would now recommend and press, the serious effec 
tual endeavour of being, to a just degree, alienated from the 
body, and of having the undue love repressed and wrought down, 
of this bodily life. Mistake not, I go not about to persuade all 
promiscuously, out of hand and without more ado to desire 
death, or absence from the body. The desires of reasonable 
creatures should be reasonable, the product of valuable consi 
derations, and rational inducements. The present case of too 
many, the Lord knows, admits not they should be willing to 
die ; who are they that they should desire the day of the Lord ? 
a day of such gloominess and darkness, as it is likely, should it 
now dawn, to prove to them ? No, but let all endeavour to get 
into that state, and have their affairs in such a posture thai they 
may be, upon good terms, reconciled to the grave ; and that 
separation from the body may be the matter, with them, of a 
rational, and truly Christian choice. And since, as hath been 
said, there are two terms between which the inclination and 
motion of our souls, in this case, must lie, from the one to the 
other, namely^ the body, and the Lord, life in the body, and 



with the Lord \ let such things be considered on botlr hands, 
as may justly tend to diminish and lessen our inclination and 
love to the one, and increase it towards the other. So as that 
all things being considered, and upon the whole, this may be 
the reasonable and self-justifying result, to be well pleased ra 
ther to be absent from the body, and to be present with the 
Lord. And, 

(1.) On the part of the body and this bodily life, consider, 
how costly it is to you ! You lay out upon it (the most do) 
most of your time, thoughts, cares ; the greater part, most 
or even all, of your estates. All the callings you can think of 
in the world, and which all help to maintain, at no little ex- 
pence, are wholly for the body ; what costly attendants must 
it have of cooks, bakers, brewers, mercers, physicians, lawyers, 
and what not ? One only excepted that refers to the soul. And 
again, when all is done, how little serviceable is it ! when you 
would employ it, sometimes it is sick, sometimes lame, some 
times lames the mind and intellect too, that it cannot do its office, 
merely through the distemper of bodily organs, is at all times dull, 
sluggish, indisposed ; the spirit is willing, but the flesh weak. 

Yea moreover how disserviceable ! hinders your doing good, 
prompts to the doing much evil. What a world of mischief is 
done among men, merely by bodily lusts, and to serve fleshly 
appetite ; these fill the world with confusion, and miseries of 
all sorts. All catch from others what they can, for the service 
of the body ; hence is competition of interests and designs ; no 
man's portion is enough for him to serve the body, (or the 
mind, as it is depraved by bodily inclinations) and so the world 
is torn by its inhabitants, countries wasted and laid desolate ; 
religion itself made subservient to fleshly interest, and thence 
is the occasion of many a bloody contest, of oppressions, per 
secutions, and violences ; whereby many times it so falls out, 
that such as are most vigorously engaged in a design of serving 
the body, destroy it, their own as well as other men's. And 
(which is most dreadful) souls are numerously lost and perish 
in the scuffle, yea and very oft upon the account, or pretence of 
religion, whose only design it is to save souls ! And how many 
to save their bodies, destroy even their own souls ! Not having 
learned that instruction of our Saviour's : not to fear them that 
can only kill the body ; or being unable to suffer some lesser 
bodily inconveniences, apostatize, and abandon their religion, 
whereby that, and their souls too become sacrifices to the safe 
ty and accommodation of an idolized lump of clay ! And how 
certainly (if a seasonable repentance do not intervene) do they, 
who only thus tempt the souls of other men, destroy their 
own ! nor can it be doubted at this time of day, and after the 


experience of so many ages, wherein Christianity hath been so 
visibly and grossly carnalized, but that it is a religion perverted 
to the support of the bodily and animal interest, that hath thus 
embroiled the Christian world. How plain is it, that they who 
desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, to strut in pomp, to glit 
ter in secular grandeur and splendor, to live inunrebuked sensual 
ease and fulness, are the men that would constrain others to 
their carnal observances ! men that serve not our Lord Jesus 
Christ, but their own bellies. Who can think it is pure love to 
souls, and zeal for the true ends of the holy peaceable religion, 
of our blessed Jesus, that makes them so vexatious and trou 
blesome to all, whom their fleshly arm can reach and ruin, and 
whom their spirit and way cannot allure and win ? Who that un 
derstands religion, and the true design of it, and the blessed 
end wherein it will shortly terminate, would not be glad to be 
rescued out of this large diffusive unquiet empire of the body, 
that extends itself over all things, mingling its odious impuri 
ties, even with what is most sacred ! Who would not long to be 
from under this reign of the beast, if he might have a fair way 
of escape ! And where religion is not in the case, what multi 
tudes of terrene creatures, earthly-minded men, are stupidly 
going down to perdition daily, and destroying their souls by 
mere neglect, while they are driving designs for the body ! 
Which yet in the mean time, is at the best but a prison to the 
soul. O how could they love God ! admire and praise him ! 
were they once out of this body ! But it is not enough to a sub 
ject, wherein love is implanted and is a part of its nature, to 
have only the prospect of what is unlovely, or be told only what 
is not to he loved. There must be somewhat to invite and 
draw, as well as to repel and drive off. Therefore, 

(2.) Consider also, on the other part, the Lord, and that life 
you are to transact and live with him. Little can now be said ; 
you are not ignorant where much is, and your own thoughts 
may, upon much conversing with the holy oracles, suggest yet 
more. And you have need to use your thoughts here, the more 
largely, where your sense doth not instruct you, as on the other 
part it doth. Consider the description which you are copious 
ly furnished with, both of him and of the state in which you 
are to be present with him. Recount his glorious excellencies 
his immense and all-sufficient fulness, his wisdom, power, ho 
liness, and love in absolute perfection. Consider his high, 
equal, comely, amiable regency over the blessed community 
above, that spiritual incorporeal people, the pleased joyful in 
habitants of the celestial regions. And that he rules over them 
and communicates himself universally to them, in a state of 
perfect light, purity, peace, love and pleasure, that is also im- 


mutable, and never to know end. There is nothing capable of 
attracting an intellectual nature, which is not here ! 

(3.) But on both parts, suffer yourselves to be directed also. 

[1.] Take heed of over-indulging the body, keep it in subjec 
tion, use it, and serve it not. Primitive nature, and the Crea 
tor's wise and holy pleasure, ordained it to serve. Lose not 
yourselves in it, take heed you be not buried, where you should 
but dwell, and that you make not your mansion your grave. 
Mansion do I say ? Call it as this apostle doth, and another, (2 
Pet. i.) your tabernacle only, a tent pitched for you, but for a 
little while. Every day look upon it, and without fond pity, as 
destined to rottenness and corruption ; and as that, which when 
it ceases to be your cloathing, must be worms' meat. Labour 
to make the thoughts easy and familiar to yourselves of leaving 
it, think it not an uncouth thing. How doth that part of the 
creation, that is inferior to you, abound with like instances ? 
of fruits springing up out of this earth, and growing to ripeness 
and maturity, with husks, shells, or other integuments, which 
then fall off; such as never ripen, they and their enfoldings rot 
together. Esteem it your perfection, when your shell will fall 
off easily, and cleaves not so close, as to put you to pain when 
it is to be severed from you. 

Endeavour the holy and heavenly nature may grow more and 
more mature in you ; so death will be the more also an unre- 
gretted thing to your thoughts. By all means labour to over 
come the fear of it, which that you might, our Lord also took 
a body. Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and 
blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, that 
through death he might destroy him that had the power of 
death, that is the devil ; and deliver them, who through fear of 
death were all their lifetime subject to bondage, (Heb. ii. 14, 
15.) Reckon not much of that fear, which is only the mere 
regret of sensitive nature, purely involuntary ; and that can no 
more obey the empire of the mind, or be regulated by it, 
than you can make straight a crooked leg by a mere act of 
your will, or make your body not feel pain : a fear, from which 
the perfection of our nature, in our blessed Lord himself, was 
not exempt. But it is one thing to extinguish even that fear, 
another to overcome it ; the former is impossible to you, the 
latter necessary. It is overcome, when a superior principle go 
verns you and your resolutions and course, as it did our Lord; 
he did not, because of it, spare himself and decline dying. You 
may feel perhaps somewhat of such a fear (a secret shrug) when 
you are to be let blood, or have a wound searched. It governs 
not in such a less important case, when, being convinced it is 
requisite, you omit not the thing notwithstanding. Labour here- 


in to be hardy, and merciless to this flesh, upon the fore-thoughfs 
of the time when God will allow you to step forth, and go out 
of the body : and say to it, with an obdured mind, for all thy 
craving, and shrinking, Thou shalt be thrown off. 

Labour it may not only not be the matter of your prevailing 
fear, butbe the matterof your hope. Look towards the approach 
ing season, with pleasant cheerful expectation ; aspire (as it 
belongs to you to do, who have received the first-fruits of the 
Spirit, that blessed Spirit of adoption) and groan for the adop 
tion (the season of your being more solemnly owned for sons) 
namely, the redemption of thebody. Rom. viii. 23. Which though 
it ultimately refer to the resurrection, may be allowed to have 
an incomplete meaning, in reference to death too; for I see not 
but atirokvrguo-n rs crupotfos, may admit such a construction, as 
enrokvrgjo-n ruv 9rapaWwv, Heb. ix. 15. that is, that redemption 
of the body may mean redemption from it, wherein it is bur 
densome, a grievance and penalty, here, as well as there. The 
redemption of transgressions, doth truly mean liberation from the 
penalty of them ; from which penal evil of, and by the body, so 
materially, at least, it is, we are not perfectly freed, as our bles 
sedness is not perfect till mortality be swallowed up of life, and 
all the adopted, the many sons, be all brought to glory together. 

How happy in the mean time is your case, when death be 
comes the matter of your rational well grounded hope ! You 
have many hopes, wherein you are liable to disappointment ; you 
will then have one sure hope, and that will be worth them all, 
none can prevent you of this hope. Many other things, you justly 
hope for, are hindered by ill-minded men of their accomplish 
ment ; but all the wit and power, of your most spiteful ene 
mies, can never hinder you from dying. And how are you fenced 
against all the intervening troubles of life ! Nihil metuit qui 
optat mori, you have nothing to fear, if you desire to die ; no 
thing what, at least, death will shortly put an end to. Make 
this your aim, to have life for the matter of your patience, and 
death of your desire. 

[2.] On the other part also, labour to be upon good terms with 
the Lord, secure it that he be yours. Your way to that is short 
and expedite, the same by which we become his, Ezek. xvi. 8. 
I entered into covenant with thee, and thou becamest mine. 
Solemnly and unfeignedly accept him, and surrender yourselves; 
without this who can expect but to hear from him at* last : De 
part from me I know you not ? Know of yourselves, demand an 
account, are you sincerely willing to be his ? and to take him 
for yours, without limitation or reserves ? Matters are then 
agreed between him and you, and who can break or disannul 
the agreement ? Who can come between him and you ? loftea 


think of the high transport, wherewith those words are uttered: 
the excellent knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. Phil. iii. 8. 
This is Christian religion, not in a system, but as it is a vital 
principle and habit in the soul, inclining us, making us pro- 
pense towards our blessed Lord, addicting and subduing us to 
him, uniting us with him, whereby we come to know by in 
ward sensations, to feel the transfusions of his spiritful light 
and influence, and our souls thereby caught, and bound up in 
the bundle of life. So we have Christ formed within, his holy- 
truth, doctrines, precepts, promises, inwrought into the temper 
of our spirits. And, as it follows in that context, Phil. iii. to 
have him, according to the states wherein he successively was, 
by correspondent impressions represented in us ; so as that we 
come to bear the image of him^ crucified, and dying, first ; then 
reviving, and rising ; and afterwards, ascending and glorified. 
To know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fel 
lowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death; 
if, by any means^ we might attain unto the resurrection of the 
dead, ver. 10^ 11* 

Let us not be at rest till we find it thus, in some measure, 
with us. If we feel ourselves, after this manner, internally 
and initially conformed to him, this will be both a preparative, 
and a pledge of our future perfect conformity, both internal, 
and external. It will fit us to be ever with the Lord, and as 
sure us we shall, and can be no where else ; that he and we 
shall not to eternity dwell asunder. We shall neither fear to 
be externally conformed to him in his death, to quit and lay 
down the body as he did ; nor despair of attaining with him 
the resurrection of the dead, and of being present with him in 
glory. Or, that he shall recover for us, out of the dust, our 
vile abject bodies (the TO a-u^oc, TW Tawetvua-eus v>(tuv) the body of 
our humiliation, wherein we were humbled, as he was in his 
(as it follows in that, Phil. iii. ver. 21.) and make it like his 
own glorious body, (<n/ft/x,of pov, conform, and agreeable) by that 
power, by which he is able even to subdue all things to himself. 
In the mean time, as this present state admits, converse much 
with him every day ; be not strangers to him, often recognize, 
and renew your engagements to him. Revolve in your thoughts 
his interest in you, and yours in him ; and the nearer relation 
which there is between him and you, than that between you 
and this body. Recount with yourselves the permanency and 
lastingness of that relation ; that whereas this body, as now it 
is, a terrestrial body, will not be yours long ; he is to be your 
God for ever : that, though death must shortly separate you 
from this body, neither life, nor death, principalities nor pow 
ers, things present, nor things to come, shall ever separate you 



from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord* 
While this body is a body of death to you, he is your life, your 
hope and your exceeding joy, your better, more laudable, and 
more excellent self, more intimate to you, than you can be to 
'yourself, as hath been anciently, and often said, and for the ob 
taining whose presence, absence from the body is a very small 

A great prince,* in an epistle to that philosopher, tells him : 
I seem to myself not to be a man, as the saying is, while I am 
absent from lambiicus, or while I am not conversant (ov crvvu ) with 
him, that we can better endure our Lord's absence, is sure 
ly a thing itself not to be endured ; we should labour, that 
our acquaintance with him (such as is fit to be between so 
great a majesty, and such mean creatures as we,) should grow 
daily. Yea, and endeavour to make the thoughts more fami 
liar to ourselves, of spiritual beings in the general ; for we are 
to serve, and converse with him in a glorious community of 
such creatures : An innumerable company of angels, the ge 
neral assembly, and the church of the first-born, and the spirits 
of just men made perfect, (Heb. xii. 23.) in a region where an 
earthly body, remaining such, can have no place. Why do we 
make the thoughts of a spirit, out of a body, so strange to our 
selves ? We meet with hundreds of spirits in bodies, and mov 
ing bodies to and fro in the streets ever} day, and are not start 
led at it. Is a body so much nearer akin to us than a spirit, 
that we must have so mean a thing to come between, to medi 
ate and reconcile us to it ? Why are we afraid of what we are 
so nearly allied unto ? Can we not endure to see or think of a 
man at liberty (suppose it were a friend, or a brother) if we our 
selves were in prison ? The more easy you make the apprehen 
sion to yourselves of a disembodied spirit, that is, free, Lmedn, 
of any terrestrial body, the better we shall relish the thoughts 
of him who is the head of that glorious society, you are to be 
gathered unto ; for the Lord is that Spirit, the eminent, Al 
mighty, and all governing Spirit, (to be ever beheld too in his 
glorified body, us an eternal monument of his undertaking for 
us, and an assuring endearment of his relation to us,) the 
better your minds will comply with the preconceived iiea we 
are to entertain ourselves with, of the constitution, order, em 
ployment, and delights of that vast collection of heavenly as 
sociates we shall dwell with for ever. And the more will you 
still im-line to In*, absent from this body, that (among them) 
you may be ever present with the Lord. 

* Julian Ep. ad Imblic. 


And if you thus cherish this pleasant inclination, think how 
grateful it will be, when it comes to be satisfied ! How natural 
is that rest that ends in the centre, to which a thing is carried 
by a natural motion ! How pleasantly doth the departed soul 
of that good gentlewoman, whose decease we lament, solace it 
self in the presence of her glorious Lord! I shall say little con 
cerning her, you will have her just memorial more at large ere 
long. I had indeed the opportunity, by an occasional abode 
some days under the same roof (several years before she came 
into that relation wherein she finished her course) to observe her 
strangely vivid, and great wit, and very sober conversation. 
But the turn and bent of her spirit towards God and heaven, 
more remarkably appeared a considerable time after ; which 
when it did, she shewed how much more she studied the inter 
est of her soul, than the body ; and how much more she valued 
mental and spiritual excellencies, than worldly advantages, in 
the choice of her consort, whom she accepted to be the com 
panion, and guide of her life. 

She gave proof herein of the real greatness of her spirit, and 
how much she disdained to be guided by their vulgar measures 
that have not wit, and reason, and religion enough to value the 
accomplishments of the mind, and inner man ; and to under 
stand that knowledge, holiness, a heavenly heart, entire de- 
votedness to the Redeemer, a willingness to spend and be spent 
in the service of God, are better and more valuable things, than 
so many hundreds, or thousands a year. And that no external 
circumstances can so far dignify a drunkard, an atheist, a pro 
fane wretch ; as that (compared with one that bears such cha 
racters) he should deserve to be simply reckoned the better 
man. And that mere sober carnality, and ungodliness suffice 
not to cast the balance ; or that have so little of these qualifi 
cations for the making a true judgment, as to think that calling 
dishonourable and a diminution to a man, that refers immedi 
ately to the soul, and the unseen world, and that relates and sets 
him nearest to God. 

She knew how to make her estimate of the honour of a fa 
mily, and a pedigree, as things valuable in their kind ; without 
allowing herself so much vanity, as to reckon they were things 
of the most excellent kind, and to which nothing personal could 
be equal. And well understood, of the personal endowments 
of the body, and the mind, which were to have the preference. 
Her life might teach all those, especially of her own sex, that 
>a life's time in the body, is for some other purposes than to in 
dulge, and trim, and adorn the body ; which is most minded 
by them, who (as that shews) have, in the mean time, most 
neglected, and, God knows, most depraved, and deformed souls. 


I hope her example, more fully and publicly represented, will 
more generally teach : in the mean time, this instance of our 
common mortality should teach us all. We see this state of 
life in the body, is not that we were finally made lor ; yet how 
few seriously look beyond it ! And it is amazing to think how 
little the deaths of others signify, to the making us mind our 
own. We behave ourselves as if death were a thing only to be 
undergone by some few persons, here and there 5 and that the 
most should escape, and as if we took it for granted we should 
beofthe exempted number. How soon are impressions, from such 
occasions, talked, and trifled, and laughed, and jested away! Shall 
we now learn more to study, and understand our own natures ? to 
contemplate ourselves, and our duty thereupon ? that we are a 
mortal, immortal sort of creatures : that we are sojourners 
only in a body, which we must shortly leave to dust, and worms 7 
that we are creatures united with bodies, but separable 
from them ? Let each of us think, "I am one that can live in a 
body, and can live out of a body. While I live in one, that 
body is not mine, I dwell not in mine own : " that the body 
must be for the Lord, as he will then be for the body : that 
we shall dwell comfortless and miserable in the body, if we 
dwell in it solitary and alone, and have not with us a bettej 
inhabitant : that our bodies are to be mansions for a Deity, 
houses for religion, temples of the Holy Ghost. O the venera 
ble thoughts we should have of these bodies upon this ac 
count ! how careful should we be not to debase them, not to 
alienate them. If any man corrupt the temple of God, him 
will he destroy, I Cor. iii. 16. Will a man rob God? break 
and violate his house ? how horrid a burglary ! Shall we agree 
to resign these bodies, and this bodily life ? Our meeting will 
have been to good purpose, might this be the united sense of 
this dissolving assembly : " Lord, here we surrender and dis 
claim (otherwise than for, and under thee) all right and title 
to these bodies and lives of ours. We present our bodies holy, 
acceptable, living sacrifices, as our reasonable service/' Let 
us do so, and remember we are hereafter not to live to our^ 
selves, nor to die, at length, to ourselves, but living anc} dy 
ing to be the Lord '&. 


C&tfettan's Crtump!) obe? 







TV/I" Y offering this discourse to the eye of the world, together with 
-**-*- your own, shews how great power our ancient friendship 
hath given you, over me j whereof I have the less unpleasant sense, 
believing you will understand it so ; who, in great part, know how 
difficult my circumstances made it to me, to comply with your desire 
herein. Your opinion of the fitness of publishing so uncomposed a 
thing, discovers how far you were subject also to the same power; 
whose judgment I am little apt to distrust, where it meets not with 
this bias 

It will be a joy to me, if it help to mitigate your sorrow, which 
is in great part justified by the greatness of your loss, in being se 
parated, after so long conversation, from so excellent a consort, 
that lived in this world so much above it. 

I reckon it an evidence of the real greatness of her spirit, that she 
thought that so little a thing, wherein others place greatness ; and 
that in almost forty years acquaintance with you both, I should 
never hear of her nearness to a noble family, till, occasionally, since 
her death. It seems the blood that filled her veins, did not swell 
her mind. And her heavenly birth and relation to the house and 
family of God, made her forget her earthly kindred, and parents* 

Sir, though, whom God hath joined together, no man might put 
asunder -, yet when he that made the union, makes the separation, 
there is no saying to him : What dost thou ? we must awhile tug 
with the difficulties of our state, and work ; wherein the hope of 
helping some (as God shall graciously help us) to gain this victory 
over death, and of being, at length through his grace, victors our 
selves, will be a constant relief and support to you, and 

Your very respectful brother, 

and fellow-servant in the labours of the Gospel. 

jr. H. 


I Cor. xv. 54 the latter part. 
Death is swallowed up in victory. 

foregoing words signify this saying to have been, before 
written elsewhere. So when this corruptible shall have put 
on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, 
then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is 
swallowed up, &c. And we find it before written, (Isa. xxv. 8.) 
in express words, and (Hos. xiii, 14.1 in such as are equivalent. 
What their dependance or meaning is, in either of those places 
cannot be discussed, within our present, narrow limits. Only 
it is sufficiently manifest that sundry passages in the holy Scrip 
ture are said to be brought to pass, over and over ; once and 
again ; as that of Rachel's weeping for her children : and of 
God's bringing his Son out of Egypt : with divers others. This 
great saying may have had some partial and gradual accom 
plishment, within the current of time, when in reference to a 
people more specially related to God, and in some more notable 
delinquency and defection from him, he may have given a just, 
but limited commission to death, to make great ravage and de 
structions among them ; so that it hath even rode in triumph, 
made a huge carnage, strowed their country with carcasses, 
turned their rich land, more enriched with human blood, into 
an Aceldama, and thereupon, but into a place of sepulture, and 
of graves ; and yet, when it hath gone as far as his designed 
limits, and executed all his pleasure, he may have stopped it LR 

VOL. IV. 2 O 


its career, and said : Hither thou shalt come and no further, 
now, cease and give over (as Hos. xiii. 14.) and so may have 
ransomed the residue from the power of the grave, and been the 
destruction of their destroyers, plaguing them who were their 
plagues. This in the next intention hereof may respect the 
people of the Jews, who being returned from their (now fore 
seen) captivity, might in the prophetic style be spoken of as a. 
people, risen from the dead,and newly sprung up out of the 
grave ; but miht have a further reference to the yet future 
state of the Christian church, as Isa. xxv. 6, 7? 8. seems to carry 
it ; when so great a death as hath long been upon it, as well as 
the rest of the world, it may be hoped shall be swallowed up in 
a very glorious victory ! But this saying is introduced here, as 
having its final and ultimate completion, in conjunction with 
what is mentioned besides, in this context, namely, when in 
the close and shutting up of time, the trumpet shall sound, as 
we are told elsewhere, it shall at the coming of our Lord, and 
the dead (those that died in him, first,*) be raised, the liv 
ing changed, so as to bear the heavenly Adam's image, when 
this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal, 
immortality ; then shall be brought to pass this saying (what 
ever preludes thereto, as was written, there may have been be 
fore) Death is swallowed up in victoiy. 

And according to this its fullest sense, is this saying to be 
the subject of our present consideration. The expression is 
highly rhetorical, but there is a most rational, solid sense in 
tended under it ; for which no words can be too big, or of too 
great a sound. Our business must be to explain, and apply 
this saying. And, 

I. For explication of its rational import, we shall shew, * 
the import, and the reasonableness of it. 

1 . It imports, in general, God's determination to put a per 
petual end to death, to make it cease in perpetuum, as a noted 
expositor expresses it,f shewing that the parallel Hebrew phrase 
is usually rendered forever, 2 Sam. ii. 26'. Jer. iii. 5. and in di 
vers other places. But that we may give a more distinct ac 
count of its meaning, several things are to be noted ; 

(I.) That death, as it is here spoken of, supposes a certain 
limited subject. Its being mentioned in this chapter, and else 
where, as if it were itself a suppositum and an intelligent de 
signing one, is an elegant and a usual figure. The holy Scrip 
tures, and common speech abound with this sort of prosopopoeia- 
and it hath its special usefulness, when (as in the present case) 
what we are more to remark, and consider with greater inten- 

* 1 Thes. iv. 16, f Grot, in loc. 


tion of mind, is so represented, that is, when to things of mi 
nute, or of no entity, but of great concernment (such mere pri 
vations as death, or sin) a sort of personality is ascribed, at 
tended with terrible aspects and appearances ; it tends more 
effectually to rouse our minds, and engage our attention, whe 
ther we are to consider, and magnify our danger by them, or 
our deliverance, and to behold them as attempting upon us, or, 
as overcome. But speaking strictly, we must take things as 
in themselves they are. Death therefore must be considered, 
in reference to some subject or other. Abstractly considered, 
it is but a notion. As it actually hath taken place, it must be 
the death of this, or that person. And as it is finally to be 
overcome, and have an end, it must have a limited subject, 
and not be understood of all, absolutely and universally ; 
for then there would be no such thing as eternal death, 
which hath no end. And how the subject, here suppos 
ed, is to be limited ; the series of discourse, through the 
chapter, shews they are such as are Christ's, (ver. 23.) and to 
whom he is peculiarly the first-fruits, (ibid :) such as shall bear 
his heavenly image, (ver. 49.) and, as elsewhere, whose vile 
bodies shall be made like his glorious one, (Phil. iii. 21 .) such 
.as shall have spiritual, incorruptible, immortal bodies like his, 
and with him inherit the kingdom of God, and through him ob 
tain this victory, ver. 50. 57. 

(2.) This limitation of death to be overcome, to such a sub 
ject only, connotes the extent of it to the whole of that subject, 
as that is composed of an inner and an outer man, 2 Cor. iv. 
16. It were frigid, and comfortless to suppose, if it were sup- 
posable, that this glorious conquest of death should extend no 
further than the giving us a fair specious outside ; and that our 
mind and spirit should not partake, or be nothing the better 
for it. It^is plain the apostle's scope through this chapter is 
more to assert the future subsistence of the soul, than the re- 
composure of the body, as his arguments shew ; though what 
was necessary to be said concerning the future state of that also, 
as not neglected. But what he is now saying, in this part of 
the chapter, concerns not what is common to men, but what 
is peculiar to good and holy men. And therefore, as it re 
spects their nobler part, must intend more than its mere sub 
sistence in another state, which is common to good and bad, 
and signify the perfection of the holy divine life, which shall 
be at last entirely victorious, and swallow up death, in its up 
most extent, and specially as it was opposite to that life. 
Death I mean, as it was so heavily incumbent upon the minds 
and spirits of good men themselves, and was their most intolera-~ 
fcle .burden 5 extorting from them such groans as that, Horn. 


vii. 24. O wretched man that 1 am, who shall deliver me from 
this body of death ! Nor indeed is this death sensible or griev 
ous, or ever felt, but where the opposite life hath some place. 
Total death knows no grievances, makes no complaints. They 
that lie buried in the earth, are in their own element, where 
no such thing weighs upon them ; a terrene carnal mind is no 
burden to such souls, as are quite dead in trespasses and sins. 
I hope I need not tell you that though the souls of men are 
universally immortal in the natural sense, they are not so in the 
moral. Morality comprehends the means and end, virtue and 
felicity ; or in terms more agreeable to our Christian ethics, or 
that are often er heard by them that live under the gospel, holi 
ness and blessedness. These are signified by spiritual life, 
or life in the spiritually moral sense : and so are sin and mi 
sery, by the opposite death. And no man hath reason to think 
it strange, that life and death are estimated, by such measures ; 
or that a temper of spirit, habitually and fixedly good or evil, 
should be signified by being alive, or dead, if we consider how 
perfect an equivalency there is between them in the moral 
sense, and being naturally alive or dead. For wherein do we 
usually state the notion of natural life, but in a self-moving 
power ? Now let any ordinary understanding be appealed to in 
the case, and who would not say it were as good, not to be 
able to move at all, as to move in so perpetual disorder, as 
never to attain any end, such motion should serve for. The 
ends of a reasonable creature's motions must be duty to its Ma 
ker, and felicity to itself. If all its motions be such as import 
constant hostility towards God, infelicity and torment to itself; 
this is to be dead, not simply and naturally, it is true, but res 
pectively, and not in some by, and less considerable respect, 
tut in respect of the principal and most important purposes of 
life. So that in full equivalency, such a one is as dead, to all 
valuable intents and purposes whatsoever. Therefore such are 
only said to be alive in a true and the most proper sense, that are 
alive to God through Jesus Christ, (Rom. vi. 11.) or that do 
yield themselves to God as those that are alive from the dead, 
(ver. 13.) it being the proper business of their life to serve God, 
and enjoy him. Others that only live in sinful pleasure, are 
dead while they live, 1 Tim. v. 6'. Nor hath such a notion 
of life and death been altogether strange, even among heathens, 
wlien we find it said by one of no mean note : That a wicked 
man is dead, as a soul may be said to die ; * and to it, it is a 
death, when it is (too deeply f) plunged, immersed into th* 
body so as to be sunk down into matter, and replete with 

* Qs *v "Vvxp $yo/. ^ BtGxfilia-pw. Plotin. JEnn. 1. 


it. (Besides much more that might be produced from others 
of like import.) And how agreeable is this passage to that, Rom. 
viii. 6. To be carnally minded is death. 

Upon the whole, I cannot indeed conceive, that since death 
is often taken, and that most reasonably, in so great a latitude, 
as to admit of comprehending this sense ; and since, in these 
latter verses, the apostle is speaking of a final deliverance from 
it, as the special privilege of such as are in union with Christ, 
not of what is common to all men, but that victory over death 
in this respect, as it imports aversion from God, or indisposition 
towards him, must be within his meaning, and that he was far 
from confining it to bodily death only, or from intending, in re 
ference to the soul, and mere natural immortality of that alone : 
but that death, in its utmost latitude, was now, in reference to 
this sort of men whom his present discourse intends, to be en 
tirely swallowed up in victory, or in a perfect plenitude of victo 
rious life, as 2 Cor. v. 4. So much, which was more requisite 
to be insisted on, being clear, we shall less need to enlarge upon, 
what follows. As that, 

(3.) This victory supposes a war : or that life and death were 
before in a continual struggle. So we find the case is, even 
this lower world is full of vitality. Yet death hath spread it 
self through it, and cast over it a dark and dismal shadow every 
where, according as sin, which introduced it, is diffused and 
spread. Death is therefore mentioned as an enemy, ver. 26. 
And so we understand it, natural death as an enemy to nature ; 
spiritual, to grace. In the body, numerous maladies, and round 
about it, multitudes of adverse rencounters are striving to infer 
death. In and about the mind and spirit, worse diseases, and 
temptations have the like tendency. Temptations, I say, the 
mention whereof was not to be omitted, as pointing at the 
tempter, the wicked one, who first brought sin and death into 
this world of ours. And who is (though the concealed) the 
first and most proper seat of the enmity, which gives death the 
denomination of an enemy ; which is so called indefinitely, the 
last enemy, that we might not understand it to be our enemy only 
but more an enemy against God than us, from whom the spite 
ful apostate aimed and gloried to pluck away, and bury in death 
and ruin, the whole race of human creatures. In the mean 
time nature in all, and grace in the regenerate are counter- 
striving. In the former, the self-preserving principle is more 
sensibly vigorous, but less successful ; but they who are born 
of God, are better assisted by their divine Keeper, in subordina 
tion to whom they are enabled effectually to keep themselves, 
that the wicked one (mortally) touches them not, (1 Johnv. 18.) 


but, as must be supposed, not without continual watching and 
striving as in war is usual. 

(4.) Where such a war and striving, end not in victory, on 
the one side, they end in victory on the other. This is conse 
quent upon what hath been said, of the limited subject here 
spoken of. Death is not universally overcome, with some it is 
left to be conceived therefore as a conqueror. We see how it 
is with the two hemispheres of our globe, when in the one, the 
light is chasing the darkness of the foregoing night, and we 
behold the morning gradually spreading itself upon the moun 
tains, and it shines brighter and brighter unto perfect day ; so 
in the other a feebler light doth more and more retire and yield 
till at length it be quite swallowed up in the victorious darkness 
of a black and horrid midnight. It is much after the same rate 
here with this difference, that vicissitudes and alternations 
cease ; and whether darkness and the shadow of death, or the 
light of life be finally victorious, they are so, as hath been said, 
for ever. With the one sort, that is, W 7 ith the righteous, a vital 
light arises in the midst of darkness : a type of their spiritual, 
and a prelude to their eternal state. They have a quickening 
Tight within, under all clouds of present ignominy and trouble, 
and an eternal day awaits them. Now death worketh in them, 
and surrounds them on every side, for awhile, and gains a tem 
porary victory, over their bodily life ; which while it is doing, 
and their outward man is perishing, their inward man is renew 
ed day by day. But at length even that vanquished life revives, 
and that more noble life, which is hid with Christ in God, (Col. 
iii. 3.) and of which he says : That whosoever lives, and believes 
in him, shall never die, (John. xi. 26'.) becomes perfect, for it is 
pure life ; as that is said to be pure, which is plenum sui, et 
minimum hahet alieni, full of itself , without mixture of any 
thing alien from it ; having quite swallowed up whatsoever 
was opposite, or disagreeable. So doth life, in the several kinds 
and degrees of it, flourish with them, in a permanent, perpetual 
and most consistent state. And as regal power is often found 
ed in just conquest, they do even reign in life, by Jesus Christ, 
Horn. v. 17. 21. But for the other sort, that sorry, pitiful, 
dying life they have, wherein they are even dead while they live 
will be swallowed up in a victorious, eternal, death ; in which 
there remains to them, a perpetual night, and the blackness of 
darkness for ever. We are next to consider, 

2. The reasonableness of the divine determination, which 
this saying imports. And that is to be collected, by reminding 
who it is that hath so determined, he that can effect all his de- 
terminatioiiSj and do all his pleasure. The reason of his intend- 


znents, and performances, must be fetched from himself, and 
the perfection of his own nature ; unto which nothing can be 
more agreeable. When death, let in by sin, hath been reign 
ing, doing the part of a king, as Rom. v. 17, over so great apart 
of God's creation, it can be little suitable to him, who doth all 
things after the counsel of his will, (Eph. i. It.) to let it reign 
for ever. Sometime it must be swallowed up in victory. Q- 
therwise, his own glory would suffer a perpetual eclipse, and 
the felicity of his redeemed should never be complete. Nei 
ther of which, as we are taught to apprehend the state of things 
can consist with the absolute perfection of his being. 

( 1 .) Can we think it agreeable to him, to suffer such a per 
petual solecism or incongruity within his dominion, that when 
death, by means of a most criminal apostacy, had made so great 
an inroad into the nobler part of his creation, that is, had bro 
ken in amongst creatures capable of immortality (who indeed 
otherwise had not been capable of sin) and thereby darkened 
the glory which shone more brightly in such an order of crea 
tures ! it should be so always that is, that such a sort of 
creatures should be perpetually continued, to be born, and sin, 
and die. Sometime we must think this course of things should 
have an end, and not by yielding an everlasting conquest to an 
enemy. We can well conceive it most worthy of God, whect 
he had made such creatures, unto whom liberty was as agree 
able as holiness and felicity, to leave them to themselves a- 
while, as probationers and candidates for that state of immor 
tal life, whereof they were not incapable. It well became a 
self-sufficient Being, and an absolute Sovereign, to let them 
understand dependance, and subjection ; and that their state 
was precarious, not his : to let them feel the cost of ungovern- 
ableness, and self-will, and the disagreeableness thereof to their 
condition who were not self-subsistent, and had not their good in 
their own hands : if, being put upon this trial, they would trans 
gress, and open a way for death to come in upon them, the real 
loss could only be their own, and none of his. He had no rea 
son therefore to prevent it, by so unseasonable an interposition, 
as should prevent the orderly connection between duty, and fe^ 
licity ; that is, the precedency of the former to the other. All 
this was a most unexceptionable procedure. But then, when 
being left to themselves, they as men, or as Adam had trans 
gressed, (Hos. vi. 7.) and done like themselves, that is, like frail, 
mutable creatures, in their lapse into sin and death ; how op 
portune was it for him, now, to do more illustriously like him 
self, that is, by so surprising, unthought of* methods, as the 
gospel reveals, to recover to himself this glory out of the cloud, 
and make it shine more brightly than ever, in this final victory 


over death, and him that had the power of it ! So that it shall 
at last retain no dominion over any, but such as by their own 
choice, during a new state of trial, remained in an inviolable 
union with that prince of darkness, and death. How glorious 
will the triumphs of this victory be, over the grand apostate ! 
And how unsupposable is it, that he should have occasion left 
him to glory in an eternal conquest 1 And, 

(2.) It is not a light thing to him, whose nature is love, that 
without this final victory the felicity of the redeemed should ne 
ver be fully accomplished. Antecedently to the gospel revelation, 
it would seem more agreeable to the nature of God, that some 
should be rescued from the power of death, than that all should 
lie under it for ever. But we, to whom that revelation is vouch 
safed, cannot now but think it the most unlikely thing in the 
world, that the design of Almighty love should finally be defeat 
ed; and that such as are in vital union with the Redeemer, should 
either be overcome at last by death, or remain in an eternal 
struggle with it. Whence nothing can be conceived, in this 
ease, but that, as to them, death must be swallowed up in this 
glorious everlasting victory. 

Whereupon how admirable a display will there herein be of 
sundry the most known attributes and excellencies of the divine 
nature, as his wisdom, power, goodness, holiness, justice, and 
truth, in the whole conduct, and in this final issue of things 1 
as might be distinctly shewn of each, if we were not within 
limits. He at first dealt with them very suitably to their natures, 
at length he deals with them according to his own : that it 
may be the theme of eternal contemplation to themselves, and 
the whole intelligent world, how far his ways are above their 
ways, and his thoughts above their thoughts, Isa. Iv. 8. And that 
as, at first, he thought it not fit to hinder them from doing 
as too little became such creatures ; nothing should at last hin 
der him from doing, as became a God. 

II. But come we now to the use. And, 

1 . Do we find this saying, in the sacred word of God, that 
death is to be swallowed up in victory ? then we are not to 
doubt, but so it shall be. A plenary assent is to be given to it. 
But what sort of assent ? Not that which arises from the sight 
of our eye. If that were to be our only informer, we see no 
such thing ; but quite the contrary. That represents death to 
us as the only conqueror, it visibly swallows up all in victory, 
wheresoever it makes a seizure. Nothing stands before it ! we 
behold it turning every where living men and women, like our 
selves, into breathless lumps of earth ! It irresistibly introduces 
itself, and life is fled, and gone ! Such as conversed with us, 
walked to and fro amongst us, reasoned, discoursed with us, 


managed business, pursued designs, delighted themselves with 
us, and gave us delight, become death's captives before our 
eyes, are bound in its bands, and we cannot redeem them, nor 
save ourselves. Where then is this swallowing up of death in 
victory ? which is itself so constantly victorious ! Our reason 
may tell us it shall not be always and universally so, but it flut 
ters, and hallucinates. It is the divine word that must at last 
put the matter out of doubt ; and our faith therein, which is 
the substance of what we hope for, and the evidence of what we 
do not see. If faith be to assure our hearts in this matter, it 
must be as it relies upon his word, who can do this, and hath 
said he will. If we believe his power, that renders it possible to 
us ; if his word, that makes it certain. Hath he said it ? Who 
then shall gainsay it ? It is one of the true and faithful say 
ings of God. 

2. If this be a credible saying, it is certainly a very com 
fortable one. If we can but make that first step, and perceive 
this not to be a hard or incredible saying ; it is very obvious to 
make a second, and acknowledge it to be a very consolatory 
saying : and that both in reference to the past death of our 
friends and relatives, even such as were nearest, and most dear 
to us ; and in reference to our own, most certainly future and 
expected death. In the one case, and the other, we are to look 
upon it as a comfortable saying, that this mighty raging enemy 
shall have all his power lost, and swallowed up, in so glorious 
a victory, one day. 

(1.) It is surely a very comfortable saying, in the former of 
these cases, the case of our losing friends and relations very dear 
unto us. And there only needs this to make it most delicious - 
ly pleasant, that is, to have a comfortable persuasion concern 
ing such, that they are part of Christ's seed, they are some of 
them, in reference to whom Christ is, in the most peculiar sense, 
the first-fruits, so as that they have a preassurance of victory in 
his conquest and victory over death and the grave. And we 
have great reason to be so persuaded concerning that worthy 
gentlewoman, whose late decease is the more special occasion of 
this solemn assembly at this time. She was one who (as such 
as had most opportunity to observe, and best ability to judge, 
did reckon) had given abundant evidence of the work of God's 
saving grace upon her own spirit, and who thereupon did long 
walk with God in a very continued course ; so indeed, as that 
though her comforts were observed not to be rapturous, yet they 
were steady and even ; so as that she was rarely troubled with 
doubts, to give obstruction or hinderance to her in her Christian 
course : if any such doubt did arise, it soon vanished, and she 
(juickly, through the mercy of God, received satisfaction, and 

V9L. IV. 2 P 


so went cheerfully on in her way. She was abundant in read 
ing, especially of the Holy Book ; that was her business and de 
light, She very little cared to concern herself in reading writ 
ings that were merely notional, or polemical and disputative j 
but the most practical ones she was most of all taken with, such 
as treated of the other state, and of the duties of Christians ir* 
the mean time in reference thereto ; future felicity, and pre 
sent spiritual-mindedness, that has so certain connexion there 
with, and so direct a tendency thereto, were, with her, the de 
lightful subjects, which she chose to read of, and meditate 

Her temper was observed to be even, betwixt a freeness, and 
reservedness. She was not melancholy, though much inclined 
to solitariness ; and would frequently lament, that so much of 
her precious time was passed away, either in necessary business 
or civil conversation, that was not to be avoided. It was ob 
served that her disposition was most highly charitable, very apt 
to give, even to her uttermost, as occasions did occur. 

In reference to her children, her care was most tender. Much* 
of her time was spent in instructing them, while under ber in 
struction, and within her reach ; teaching them their catechisnfc 
with the proofs at large, and how to apply the proofs to the an 
swer, so as to bring them to a distinct understanding thereof* 
And in this way and course she passed through the world. Her 
last sickness did very little alter the temper of her spirit, it watf 
calm and sedate all along. Only so much does deserve a remark 
that she was prepossessed with an apprehension that she should 
die suddenly , so much of God r s secret he was pleased to im 
part to her, as he sometimes does to more inward friends ; that 
discoveiy he vouchsafed to her, as to a favourite, to let her have 
some kind of pre-signification, that her passage out of this world 
should be very quick, whensoever it came : and so it was, that 
sitting in her chair, amidst familiar discourse, in a demidiated 
sentence, she made a full stop, and life was ended, before that 
could have an end. 

Now certainly the decease of such a one ought not to be la 
mented with that bitter sorrow, as if there were no such thing^ 
as this, that death were certainty to be swallowed up in victory, 
in an entire and complete victory, with reference to such a one* 
It seems iqdeed, in such cases, as was said to you before, unto 
the judgment of our sense, that death only overcomes, we see 
not beyond that ; it turns a living creature into a dead clod, 
and so it is laid among such, it is buried in the grave, our sight 
goes no further. But when we are persuaded, by the word of 
the Ix>rd, that this mortal shall put on immortality, and this 
corruptible, incorruptiot^ and death be swallowed up in sucli a 


, as you have heard ; certainly this takes away the cause 
of all bitter and reliefless sorrow. 

I am not unapprehensive that reverend brother, whom this 
stroke touches more nearly, is much fitter to administer this 
consolation, than receive it from such a one as I. But as we 
may any of us put in for our share, as our case may require and 
can admit, in what is so generally spoken with reference to 
Christians dying in the Lord, and their surviving fellow- chris- 
tians, that as yet live in him, 1 Thes. iv. from verse 13, onward 
to the end : so, we are directed to comfort one another there 
with. Be patient, I pray you, while I present to you this most 
suitable portion of Scripture. "I would not have you to be igno 
rant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sor 
row not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe 
that Jesus died, and rose again, even them also, which sleep in 
Jesus, will God bring with him* For this we say unto you, by 
the word of the Lord, that we which are alive, and remain unto 
the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are 
asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with 
a shout, with the voice of the arch-angel, and with the trump 
of God ; and the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we which 
are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in 
the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air ; and so shall we be 
ever with the Lord : wherefore comfort one another with these 
words." We shall be in a great promptitude and disposition of 
spirit to do so, if these words be looked upon as divine sayings, 
as the words of the living and immortal God. My friends, do 
you not find there is spirit in these words ? Is there not strong 
consolation in them > How can we but think so, unless our 
whole religion be with us but a fable ? This concerns us all 
upon the common Christian account, who are but a residue, a 
remnant, escaped, and exempted awhile from being part of the 
spoils and triumphs of death ; which hath slaughtered, and 
thrown into the dust, probably a much greater number of our 
friends and relatives, than we ourselves do make, who are left 
behind. And it is likely we have been most of us divers times 
mourners, upon such occasions. This shews upon what ac 
count, and in what case, we may intermingle very reviving con 
solations with our sorrows, and that we ought freely, as the 
occasion recurs, to apply it to ourselves, and one another. 

But I withal think there may be somewhat of more special 
import, tending to repress intemperate sorrow, on such an oc 
casion, in that of Ezek. xxiv. 16. 1 think there may be some 
what, I say, collected, besides what was more peculiar and ap 
propriate by way of signal to the prophet himself, that may 
reach the last mentioned case. It was a tiling enjoined 


him : that he should not mourn nor weep, nor should his tears 
run down, when God should take away from him the desire of his 
eyes with a stroke. I reckon that, as we have seen, Christians 
should not mourn like other men ; so the Lord's prophets are 
not to mourn altogether like others of his people, but somewhat 
more of restraint they are to put upon themselves, that they 
may discover a higher excellency, or somewhat a greater mea 
sure of that spirit of faith ruling in them, that gives a great al 
lay to present things, whether good or evil, as it begets clearer 
and more vivid apprehensions of things yet future and out of 
sight. And that as all believers should endeavour, in things of 
common concernment to all, to be exemplary to one another, 
and to other men ; so they who are so much nearer to God, in 
office and relation, should be examples to believers in conver 
sation, spirit, faith, 1 Tim. iv. 12. 

(2.) This should be very comfortable too unto them that are 
in union with Christ, in reference to their own future death, 
which they are continually to expect. Death is often saying to 
us repeatedly, and very sensibly, to our very bone and our flesh 
you shall be my prey shortly ; at least, sooner or later. It is 
ready to make its seizure upon us, when, we do not know ; but 
we are sure some time, it will. 

But, my friends, it does not become Christians to look upon 
this thing, called death, as so formidable a thing, as it is com 
monly reckoned ; it is ignominious to our profession, not to be 
endured amongst them that have life and immortality brought 
to light, and set in view before their eyes in the gospel ; such 
as profess to be united with Christ, who hath life in himself, 
and imparts it to all that are so united, such a life, hid with 
Christ in God ; and hope that when he who is their life shall 
appear, they shall appear with him in glory. It becomes not 
such to die continually, by the fear of dying, or that the very 
thoughts of death should be deadly to them. 

This is remote from what was much observed to be the tem 
per and character of primitive Christians. A heathen prince* 
who thoroughly understood them not, censures them too hard 
ly, as being in the other extreme (though he at length became 
kinder to them) as if they rashly threw themselves upon death. 
Whereas he says, the soul should rationally, and becomingly be 
In readiness to be loosed from the body, A^oyta-pewf, xai at&vus. 
But how come we to lose our character, and our glory ! How 
degenerated a thing is the Christianity of our age ! To die with 
out regret, is counted an attainment ; it should be with glad 
ness, (psal. xvi. 9, 11.) and upon the considerations there 

* Marc, Antonin. de vit. sua lib. 11. 


mentioned, as being now upon the confines of that world of 
perfect purity, bliss, and joy ; and having so great an assurance 
that the intermediate death, we are to go through, is no soon 
er suffered, than overcome ! 

We should deal closely with ourselves in this. Do we think 
this saying a fable, or a trifle ? Have these words no meaning ? 
We should labour to come to a point, and say, If we have no 
reason to disbelieve them, we will believe them absolutely ; and 
live as having gained our point, and overcome already ; that is, 
who are as sure of victory, as of death. Some overcome by 
dying, as others are overcome by it. There are, who are not 
hurt by the second death. If death strike once, it thereby puts 
it out of its own power ever to strike a second time, or hurt 
them more. Let us once bring our case to that state as to live 
in continual defiance of death, let it strike when it will. Depen- 
dance, only on the grace and Spirit of Christ, must give us this 
confidence ; not an opinion that we are ourselves strong enough 
to act separately, but that knowing our relation to him, we are, 
through him that loved us, more than conquerors, or as that 
Vffs^Diu^svj Rom. viii. 37- may be understood to signify, we are 
a glorious triumphant sort of conquerors. We not only con 
quer, but triumph too, through him that loved us, being per 
suaded that neither death, nor life shall separate us from his 
love so a noted expositor understands that word, observing how 
great a delight this apostle takes, when he would heighten a 
matter, in the use of that particle vin?. 

It is elsewhere said, (Colos. iii. 3.) Ye are dead, but your life, 
&e. We are dead, that is, in ourselves, we are a sort of dead, 
or dying creatures, death hath almost got the possession of us 
already, has partly seized, and partly sentenced us to die, and 
irreversibly. This the apostle intimates, where he adds what 
you have heard : Ye have a life hid with Christ in God, that 
life is safe, and out of the reach of death, no death can touch 
that life. They that are born of God, have in reference to this 
life (though the other must be given up) a self preserving prin 
ciple and power in them, 1 John v. 18. They keep themselves, 
that the evil one touches them not ; that is, not mortally, or 
with any deadly touch. In having a new, holy, divine life ; 
they have an assuring pledge also of the permanency, perpetui 
ty, and everlastingness of it. If a man have once drank of that 
water which Christ gives, it shall be in him a perpetual fountain, 
a well of water springing up into everlasting life, John iv. 14. 

Are we Christians, and with the springings of this life do we 
not feel a lively joy springing, and exulting in our hearts ! Add 
vital Christianity to the rational nature, and lothness to die is a 
repugnancy, and a reproach to both. Christianity so plainly 


stating our case, reason should judge upon it ; and suitable af 
fections arise in us thereupon, as they would if our Christianity 
were vital, and the product of the divine Spirit. Then, how 
should we hless God that we are mortal ! and that it is not in 
the power of all this world to keep us from dying out of it, 
when we know in how glorious a victory that death will be swal 
lowed up ! But it may be said, by some : "We should very lit 
tle fear death, if we did know our interest in Christ, if we were 
not in great uncertainty, and had not our hearts hanging in 
doubt within us, about this thing. And therefore, 

3. This saying should be monitory to us (as it is a credible, 
as it is a comfortable, so it is a monitory saying also) Death 
shall be swallowed up in victory. This said, in reference to 
some (which cannot be meant as to all) so great a thing, spoken 
with restriction, ought to make them of whom it is not meant 
look about them ! With what solicitude should we concern our 
selves, to be at a certainty ! Am I one of them, in reference to 
whom death shall be swallowed up in such a victory ? It should 
awaken us to consider, Have we made our interest sure in our 
Lord Jesus Christ, that great Prince and Lord of life ? He that 
hath the Son hath life. It is eternal life that is spoken of in 
that context, I John. v. 11, 12. This is the record that GocJ 
hath given us, eternal life ; and this life is in his Son ; that is a 
this eternal life. He that hath the Son, hath this life ; he that 
hath not the Son, hath not this life. Spiritual life, and eternal 
life are all one, all of a piece, the same in nature and kind; the 
one will grow up into the other. 

That life only is here meant, that will be eternal life. To 
the same sense is that : He that believeth in me, shall never 
die, John. xi. 26'. These are plain words. He hath a life in 
him that is immortal, sacred, and not liable to be touched. It 
was before said : They that believe in him, if dead, shall live, 
ver. 25. But not only that, but it is further added : they that 
believe in him shall never die.* If dead, they shall live ; if 
they live, they shall never die. What means this? That they have 
a life, besides this bodily one ; which is continued through 
death. Of this line or thread, death makes no intercision. 
But we can never justify it to God, or our own understandings, 
to rest in a dubious uncertainty about a matter of so vast con 
sequence as this. Unconcernedness here, is the most unacv 
countable thing in the whole world ; that is, whether we have 
only that life in us which will end in the darkness and rotten 
ness of a grave, and a horrid hell ; or that which runs into e- 
*rnal life ? Things will come to this issue very shortly with us 

* Via, Ham. in loc. 


that either death must, as to us, be swallowed up in victory, or 
We be swallowed up of victorious death; nor have we any ways 
to ascertain our own state, but, as was said, by uniting with the 
Prince of life ; that is, by receiving him in all the capacities 
wherein we are to be concerned with him ; and by resigning 
ourselves entirely to him. For if we must have him, that we 
may have life ; how can we otherwise, have him but by receiv 
ing him. The gospel, under which we live, can only be a sa 
vour of life to us, as it disposes us hereunto. Recollect your 
selves then, how do your Lord's days, and other seasons of at 
tending this gospel, pass over with you ? Have you long ex 
pected life, and (wbich is less likely) do you meet with conti 
nual and total disappointments ? And doth it cause with you no 
qualmish thoughts ? But it is infinitely a sadder case, if you 
never feel yourselves begin to live, and yet are never disappoint 
ed; because you never attend upon the gospel-dispensation with 
any such design or hope. Is the matter thus, that if you speak 
the truth of your case, you must say : "I have a soul dead to all 
the actions, motions, sensations, enjoyments, of a divine and 
spiritual life." And shall it be always thus, by our own consent 
with any of us ? We have however the rational, intellectual life, 
and can think ; do we think it is fit for us to rest satisfied and 
secure, in such a state ? What, satisfied in the midst of death ? 
such a death ? while we are capable of apprehending at once 
the horror, the danger, and the remedibleness of our case? What 
will this come to ? It can only be holy, divine life that must be 
victorious over death, as the warring, opposite principle : if there 
be nothing to oppose it, what shall conquer? Death is in that case 
total, and upon such terms, till life begin to spring in thy soul, 
thou must reckon it likely to be eternal. Yet let none so mis 
take as to imagine this life an enthusiastical thing, that must 
discover itself in rapturous extatical motions, or go for nothing. 
It perfects our faculties, therefore destroys them not ; and chief 
ly consists in a rational judgment, choice, and love of what is 
most worthy of us ; what is fittest to be done by us, and what is 
with fullest satisfaction to be enjoyed ; with a stedfast, most re 
solved adherence thereunto. 

4* This saying ought to be instructive to us, in reference e- 
specially to this one thing, that is, that we abstain from rash 
censures of providence, that God lets death be regnant in so 
great a part of his creation, so long a time. It shall be swallow 
ed up in victory, let that solve with us the phenomenon. It 
seems indeed, an untoward one, and miht at first, be an amazing 
spectacle, even to the blessed angels themselves, to beholcl so 
great a revolt in heaven, ; and afterwards to take notice of an- 
intelligent world, of creature* beneath them, successively^ 


through one first delinquent drawn in as accomplices, into a lik. 
defection ; and death hereby spreading its horrid shadow, and 
extending its power, over so great and so noble a part of the uni 
verse ! Committing such wastes, making such desolations, from 
age to age, in so great a part of the creation of God ! But there 
are many alleviating considerations, that should compose our 
spirits to a rational quietude, and be satisfying and pacifying to 
our minds with reference to this thing. Let me but name some 
few to you which I shall leave with you for this purpose. 

(1.) Do but consider how minute a part of the creation of 
God, this globe, this point, this punctilio rather of our earth is, 
where death has reigned, and so long had place. 

(2.) Consider how much of life there is in, and about this 
little world of ours. When upon one single mole-hill, you see 
the brisk motions and efforts of so many hundred lives, you have 
reason to apprehend there is a great deal of vitality about this 
little spot of earth. 

(3.) Consider and collect how probable it is, that as we gs 
higher and higher, the nobler and finer parts of God's creation 
must be much more replenished with a nobler, and more excel 
lent sort of life. It is very unreasonable to think, that this 
clod of earth should be so full of life ; and that in higher and 
pure regions there should not be a richer plenitude of life, or of 
such inhabitants as live nobler and more excellent lives than 
we. And, 

(4.) For ought we know, death never reaches higher than 
this earth of ours, and what is in a nearer vicinity to it. And 
that, therefore, there be vast and ample regions, incomparably 
beyond the range of our eye, or thought, where now no death 
ever comes; after the detrusion of the first revolters, from those 
bright regions. When we are told, Eph. iv. 10. our Lord Jesus 
Christ is ascended far above all heavens, as it were a fond at 
tempt to pretend to count them, so it were rash philosophising, 
to go about to describe them. But can we suppose them spa 
cious, wild wastes ? or not suppose them replenished with num 
berless numbers of excellent creatures that, in their confirmed 
state, fear no death ; and continually pay a willing, joyful ho 
mage to their great preserver. For every knee must bow to him 
of things in heaven, Phil. ii. 10. And when we are told, Eph. 
i. 20, 21. God hath set him at his own right hand, in the hea 
venly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, 
and dominion, and every name &c. And 1 Pet. iii. 22. That 
he is on the right hand of God, angels, and authorities, and pow 
ers being made subject to him. Though we cannot form dis 
tinct thoughts what those dynasties, principalities and domini 
ons are ', yet we cannot but suppose those unconceivably vast 


and ample Regions fully peopled, with immortal inhabitants,that 
reign in life, in a more excellent sense. For it being said our 
Ix>rd ascended far above all heavens, that he might fill all things, 
(Eph. iv. 10.) this must suppose suitable recipients. And if 
his influences reach down in such plenty to our minute earth 
(as ver. 11, 12, 13.) how copious are they here \ 

(5.) Consider that here, where death has made its inrode, 
though the apostate spirits surround us, and encompass this 
earth of ours, and go to and fro throwing death among us every 
where ; yet even here is a glorious offspring continually arising, 
the Redeemer's seed, in whom a divine life is gradually spring 
ing up from age to age. So that, at length, they make a great 
multitude, which no man can number, standing before the 
throne, clothed with white robes, and, as ensigns of victory, hav 
ing palms in their hands, Rev. vii. 9. Here is life then disse 
minated through all this death, that inwraps our world, which 
for ought we know, is the centre of death ; it may be here, for 
ought we can tell, and no where else (here, or hereabouts) and 
yet even here, a holy divine life is insinuating and spreading 
itself, even among us, over whom death has reigned ; and there 
are great numbers, that having received abundance of grace, 
and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus 
Christ, Rom. v. 17. Here is supposed a kingdom, with a coun 
ter kingdom, and one head against another ; one that brought in 
death and condemnation upon the world, but another that brings 
in righteousness, and life. And that here, even in this lower 
region, the Redeemer should have so large a portion^ (we know 
not how large) this very much narrows the confines of death. 
And let it be further considered, 

(6.) That where death shall be perpetual, it is there but self- 
procured. They only lie under death, that loved it. All they 
that hate me, love death* Prov. viii. 36. They inwrap them 
selves in death, they make a covenant with it. That sin, which 
is death, which carries death, and hell in itself, that they loved: 
it was so, it is true, with the rest, that finally perish not ; but it 
was not always so. The grace of God made a difference, not to 
be quarrelled at, when striving with many, it is victorious with 
some. But of those with whom it is hot so, it must be said, as 
their final, never-altered sense, even to the last, they would not 
be plucked out of the gulph, that deadly gulph, where they 
therefore lie, as in their most agreeable element. And let it 
further be considered, 

(7.) That for the death that shall be perpetual, it is to be 
confined, and go no further. Before it was diffused and conti 
nually more and more diffusing itself. But in the future state of 
tilings, when time has run to its period* and the affairs of it are 

VOJ-. IV. 2 Q 


shut up by the final judgment, death and hell are now to be cast 
into the lake of fire and brimstone, which is the second death* 
Rev. xx. 14. All death is now to be gathered into death, hell 
into hell. It shall be contracted, gathered into itself. It is 
true, it will be therefore consummate, finished, perfect in its 
kind, or full of itself, as that which is without mixture cannot 
but be, (as was noted before) here will be pure death, without 
mixture, and which therefore will have no allay. But then, 
whereas formerly it ranged to and fro uncontrouled, nowjit is con 
fined to its own narrower circle, and can have no new subject ; 
and shall therefore give no further trouble or disturbance to the 
rest of God's creation. Moreover, consider, 

(8.) That this victory will not be gradual only, but total and 
entire. Every thing of mortality, that was hanging about these* 
glorious victors, shall be swallowed up in perfect, and in end 
less life. Death is unstung first, disarmed, and then easily 
overcome. Its sting is said to be sin, the deadliest thing in 
death. A plain further proof, by the way, the intended death 
also, in the moral sense. And the insulting inquiry, " Where is- 
it?" implies it is not any where to be found, and signifies a total 
abolition of it ; and, by consequence, must infer that every 
thing of death besides must, as to them, for ever cease and be 
no more. Which also the phrase of swallowing up, doth with 
great emphasis express. And this completes the vindication of 
providence, that is, in this whole affair \ and not only vindicates 
but magnifies the conduct of the supreme disposer of all things* 
For by this means, as his wisdom, power and goodness are most 
highly illustrated ; so the trial of his people's faith, the great 
instrument of this their victory, as well as of that over the 
world, (1 John v. 4.) is found unto praise, honour and glory at 
the appearing of Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. i. 7- And they find> 
what, by patient continuance in well-doing, they were enjoined 
to seek, which shews they were not vainly put upon so noble a 
pursuit, honour, glory, immortality, to their actual attainment 
of eternal life, Rom. ii.'7 

Now therefore shall this saying be made good, in its fullest 
sense j and if there shall be such a victory, so glorious a one 
won at last : surely we should be tuning our instruments, and 
labouring to get our hearts into a frame to sing the eorwxio, the* 
triumphant song, ver. 55, 56. and conclude it, as ver. 57- 
Thanks be to God, that giveth us the victory, through our Lord 
Jesus Christ. 



Concerning the possibility of a 


n a letter, 












JL INTEND not this discourse shall be concerned in what this 
author hath said of the several explications given by the 
persons named on his title page. The only thing it is design 
ed for, is the discoursing with him that single point which he 
refers to, in his twenty-ninth and thirtieth pages, and which in. 
this controversy, is on all hands, confessed to be the cardinal 
one, namely, Whether a trinity in the Godhead be possible 
or no? 

I put not the question about three persons ; both because I 
will not, in so short a discourse as I intend to make this, be 
engaged in discussing the unagreed notion of a person'; and be 
cause the Scripture lays not that necessity upon me, though I 
do not think the use of that term, in this affair, either blama- 
ble or indefensible. But I shall inquire .whether the Father, 
the Son, or Word, and the Holy Ghost cannot possibly admit of 
sufficient distinction from one another to answer the parts and 
purposes severally assigned them by the Scripture, in the Chris 
tian economy, and yet be each of them God, consistently with 


this most inviolable and indubitable truth, that there can be 
but one God, 

This author concludes it to be impossible in the mentioned 
pages of his discourse, and thereupon seems to judge it neces 
sary that two of them be excluded the Godhead, as many others, 
some going the Arian, some the Photinian, more lately called 
the Socinian way, have done before him. He acknowledges 
page 30. col. 1 there may be "some secret revealed by God, be* 
cause it was above human capacity to discover it ; and some 
times also to comprehend how it can be," but adds, " there is 
a vast difference between my not being able to conceive how a 
thing should be, and a clear apprehension, and sight that it can^- 
not be." What he says thus far is unexceptionable, and 1 hearti 
ly concur with him in it. But for what he subjoins, (wherein 
he might have spoken his mind of the matter in controversy 
with as much advantage to his cause, without reflecting upon 
his adversaries, as if they considered these things either with no 
intention, or with no sincerity, not allowing them even the 
never so little of the one or the other) that, "three distinct Al*- 
mighty and All-knowingpersons, should be but one Almighty, or 
but one All-knowing, or but one God, a man, who considers with 
never so little intention and sincerity, clearly sees that it canr- 
not be. In short, that it is not a mystery, but, as Dr. South 
speaks, an absurdity and a contradiction." This is that I would 
consider with him, if he will affix these words of his, " a man 
who considers, &c. clearly sees it cannot be ; and it 5s an abr- 
surdity and a contradiction/' to the question as I have sec it 
clown above. In the mean time he cannot be ignorant that as 
he hath represented the matter, he hath here either not truly, 
or at least not fairly, given the sense of any of them whom h<s 
pretended to oppose. 

For when by those words, "But that three divine persons, or 
that three distinct Almighty and All-knowingpersons should be 
but one Almighty, but one All-knowing, or but one God," he 
would slyly insinuate to his unwary and less attentive reader 
that the same men held three Almighties, and but one; he well 
knows, and elsewhere confesses, (though he might suppose that 
some readers would not beat leisure to compare one place of his 
writings with another, but hastily run away with the apprehen 
sion, that such as were not of his mind spake nothing but non^ 
sense and contradictions,) that not only his later opposers since 
P. Lumbard, as he speaks, but divers much more ancient, as 
Athanasius, and the rest of the Nicene fathers, &c. denied three 
Almighties, though they affirmed each of the persons to be Al 
mighty, understanding omnipotency, as they do omnisciency, 
fco be an attribute not of the person, as such, but of the essence 


S such which they affirm to be but one, that is^ that they arte 
each of them Almighty, by communication in one and the same 
almighty essence. And if their sentiment be so very absurd, 
he needed the less to fear representing it as it is. 

And the other who seems to grant three Almighties, doth 
never say there is but one Almighty ; though such say too there 
Is but one God, placing the unity of the Godhead in some 
what else, as he hath himself taken notice 5 which is remote 
from express self-contradiction also. But I shall concern my 
self no further about the one or the other of these ways of ex 
plaining the doctrine of the three persons. Only shall inquire 
concerning the possibility of such a trinity in the Godhead as 
was above expressed, requiting the uncharitableness of this 
author, in imputing carelessness or insincerity to all, that think 
it possible, with so much charity, as to believe he woald not (a- 
gainst the plain tenour of Scripture) have rejected the doctrine 
of the trinity, as he professes to do that of the incarnation, if 
he had not thought it every way impossible. And here I pre 

First. That the present undertaking is not to shew that the Fa 
ther, Son, and Holy Ghost are three, and but one, in the same 
respect, which I would adventure, in this author's words, to 
say, no man that considers with never so little intention and 
sincerity, would offer at. But when they are supposed to be but 
one, in respect of Deity, they are thought to be three in some 
other respect. 

Secondly. That what I now design is only to represent this mat 
ter as possible to be some way, and in the way here proposed for 
ought we know, not as definitely certain, to be this way or that. 
The former is enough to our present purpose, that is, if any 
way it can be conceived, without absurdity or contradiction, 
that these may be three with sufficient distinction to found the 
distinct attributes which the Scriptures do severally give them, 
so as some things may be affirmed of some one, and not be af 
firmed of the other of them, and yet their unity in Godhead be 
conserved, our point is gained ; and the clamour of this and 
every other, opposer ought to cease, for our asserting what 
every one that considers clearly sees cannot be. 

Now, so much being forelaid, that we may proceed witU 
clearness and satisfaction of mind If we would understand 
whether it be possible that these three may be sufficiently dis 
tinguished for the mentioned purpose, and yet be one in God 
head, or in divine being ; we are to recollect ourselves antf 
consider what we are wont and find ourselves indispensibly 
obliged to conceive of that ever blessed Being, and what i* 
with less certainty or evideiice said or thought of it -There 


I. We cannot but acknowledge that whereas We' dd with 
greatest certainty and clearness conceive of it as an intellectual 
Jteing, comprehensive, with that, of infinite and universal per 
fection, so we do, most expressly, though this be implied in 
universal perfection, conclude it a Being most necessarily exis 
tent ; which God hath himself been pleased to signify to us by 
the appropriated name I am, or I am what I am. 

Hereby is this most excellent of Beings infinitely distinguish 
ed from all creatures, or from the whole creation. All created 
being is merely contingent, that is, (according to the true no 
tion of contingency) dependant upon will and pleasure. So he 
Jiath himself taught us to distinguish ; and with such distinc 
tion to conceive of the creation, Rev. 4.11- Thou hast made 
all things, and for, (or by, /) thy pleasure (or will Qs^y^oe, cr) 
they are, or were created. Whatsoever being is necessarily ex 
istent, the excellency of its nature being such, as that it was 
fcecessary to it to exist, or impossible not to exist, is God, or 
is Divine Being. Notwithstanding what some have imagined 
of necessary matter, we might adventure to affirm this univer 
sally of all necessary being, that it is divine, taking it to be 
plainly demonstrable, and to have been demonstrated beyond 
all contradiction, by the learned Dr. Cudworth, and many 
others long before him. And doubt not to evince (though that 
is not the present business) that supposing the imagination of 
necessary matter were true, this sensible world could never- 
possibly have been made of it, by any power whatsoever ; the 
only pretence for which it is imagined. But if any have a mind 
to make this a dispute, to avoivd being unseasonably involved 
in it at this time, it will serve my present purpose to assert 
only, whatsoever intellectual being is necessarily existent is 

And on the other hand, whatsoever being is contingent, that 
is, such as that it depended on a mere intervening act of will, 
(namely, even the sovereign and supreme will) whether it 
should be or not be^ is created, or is creature* 

II. Whatsoever simplicity the ever blessed God hath by any 
express revelation claimed to himself, or can by evident and 
irrefragable reason be demonstrated to belong to him, as a per 
fection, we ought humbly and with all possible reverence and 
adoration, to ascribe to him. But such simplicity as he hath 
not claimed, as is arbitrarily ascribed to him by over-bold, and 
adventurous intruders into the deep and most profound arcana 
of the divine nature, such as can never be proved to belong to 
him, or to be any real perfection, such as would prove an im 
perfection, and a blemish, would render the divine nature less 
intelligible, more impossible to be so far conceived as is requi- 


Site, as would discompose and disturb our minds, confound 
our conceptions, make our apprehensions of his other known 
perfections less distinct or inconsistent, render him less adora 
ble^ or less an object of religion, or such as is manifestly un- 
reconcilable with his plain affirmations concerning himself, we 
ought not to impose it upon ourselves, or be so far imposed 
upon, as to ascribe to him such simplicity. 

It would be an over-officious and too meanly servile religious 
ness to be awed by the sophistry of presumptuous scholastic wits, 
into a subscription to their confident determinations concerning 
the being of God, that such and such things are necessary or 
impossible thereto, beyond what the plain undisguised reason 
of things, or his own express word do evince : to imagine ai 
sacf edness in their rash conclusions, so as to be afraid of search 
ing into thenl, of of examining whether they have any firm and 
solid ground or bottom : to allow the schools the making of our 
Bible, or the forming of our creed, who license (and even sport) 
themselves to philosophize upon the nature of God with as pe- 
tulent, and irreverent a liberty, as they would upon a worm, or 
any^ the meanest insect, while yet they can pronounce little 
with certainty even concerning that, hath nothing in it either 
Of the christiafi or the man. It will become as well as concern 
us, to disencumber our minds, and release them from the en 
tanglements of theif unproved dictates ; whatsoever authority 
they may have acquired, only by having ben long, and com 
monly, taken for granted. Thef more reverence We have of" 
God, the less we are to have for such men, as have themselves 
expressed little. 

III. Such as have thought themselves obliged by the plairi 
word of God to acknowledge a trinity in the Godhead, name 
ly of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but withal to diminish 
the distinction of the one from the other, so as even to make it 
next to nothing, by reason of the straits into whicli uriexamin- 
ed maxims have cast their minds, concerning the divine sim 
plicity ; have yet not thought that to be absolute or omnimo- 
dousi, For the allowing of three somewhats in the divine na 
ture (and what less could have been said ?) cannot consist with 
absolute simplicity in all respects, inasmuch as they cannot bef 
three without differing, in some respect, from one another. 

Since therefore there is a necessity apprehended of acknow 
ledging three such somewhats in the Godhead, both because 
the word of God (who best understands his own nature) doth 
speak of three in it so plainly, that without notorious violence, 
it cannot be understood otherwise, an'd because it affirms some 
things of one or other of them, which it affirms not of the rest ; 
it will therefore be necessary to admit a true distinction between 

VOL. IV. 2 R 


them, otherwise they cannot be three : and wfe to say there i 
so much, as is requisite to found the distinct affirmations, which 
we find in God's word, concerning this or that, apart from the 
other ; otherwise we shall, in effect, deny what God affirms j 
and modest to confess that how great the distinction is, with 
precise and particular limitation, we do not know nor dare be 
curious to determine or inquire : only that as it cannot be less, 
than is sufficient to sustain distinct predicates or attributions ; 
so it cannot be so great, as to intrench upon the unity of the* 
Godhead.. Which limits, on the one hand, and the other, God 
hath himself plainly set us. 

IV. Therefore since we may offend very highly by an arro 
gant pretence to the knowledge we have not, but shall not of 
fend by confessing the ignorance which we cannot (and there* 
fore need not) remedy, we should abstain from confident con 
clusions in the dark, and at random, especially concerning the 
nature of God ; and for instance from saying, We clearly see a 
sufficient distinction of Father, Son, and Spirit, i,n the God 
head cannot be, or is impossible. It expresses too little reve 
rence of God, as if his being had any, or so narrow, limits as 
to be presently seen through ; an over-magnifying opinion of 
ourselves, as if our eye could penetrate that vast and sacred 
darkness, or the glorious light (equally impervious to us) where 
in God dwells ; too great rudeness to the rest of men, more 
than implicitly representing all mankind besides as stark blind^ 
who can discern nothing of what we pretend clearly to see. 

And it is manifest this cannot be said to be impossible, upon 
any other pretence, but that it consists not with the unity of 
the Godhead, in opposition to the multiplication thereof, or 
with tkat simplicity, which stands in opposition to the concur 
rence in all perfections therein, with distinction greater than 
hath hcea commonly thought to belong to the divine nature. 
For the former, we are at a certainty : but for the latter, how da 
we know what the original, natural state of the Pivine Being is, 
in this Fespe^t ? or what simplicity belongs to it ? or what it 
may contain or comprehend in it, consistently with the unity 
thereof ; o* so, but that it may still be but one Divine Being > 
What distinction, and unity (conserved together) we can have, 
otherwise, MM idea of, without any apprehended inconsistency^ 
absurdity or contradiction, we shall rashly pronounce to be im 
possible (or somewhat imperfectly resembled thereby) in the 
Divine Being, unless we understood it better than we do- 
Some prints and characters of that most perfect Being may be- 
apprehended in the creatures, especially that are intelligent ^ 
such being expressly said to have been made in the image o 
God. And if here we find oneness^ with distinction^ meeting 


together in the same created intelligent being, this may as 
sist our understandings in conceiving what is possible to be (in 
much higher perfection) though not to the concluding what 
certainly is, in the uncreated. 

V. Waving the many artificial unions of distinct things, that 
united, and continuing distinct, make one thing under one 
name, I shall only consider what is natural, and give instance 
in what is nearest us, our very selves though the truth is, we 
know so little of our own nature, that it is a strange assuming 
when we confidently determine what is impossible to be in the 
divine nature, besides what he hath told us, or made our own 
faculties plainly tell us is so ; and what he hath made any man's 
faculties to tell him, he hath made all men's that can use 

But so much we manifestly find in ourselves, that we have 
three natures in us very sufficiently distinguishable, and that 
are intimately united, the vegetative, sensitive, and the intel 
lective. So that notwithstanding their manifest distinction, no 
one scruples when they are united, to call the whole the hu 
man nature. Or if any make a difficulty, or would raise a dis 
pute about the distinction of these three natures, I for the pre 
sent content myself with what is more obvious, not doubting to 
reach any mark by degrees, namely, that we are made up of a 
mind, and a body, somewhat that can think, and somewhat that 
cannot ; sufficiently distinct, yet so united, that not only every 
one, without hesitation, calls that thing made up of them one 
man; but also every one that considers deeply, will be tran 
sported with wonder by what more than magical knot or tye, 
two things so little akin, should be so held together, that the 
one that hath the power of will and choice cannot sever itself, 
and return into the same union with the other at pleasure. 

VI. Since we find this is a thing actually done, the making 
up of two things of so different natures into one thing, that puts 
the matter out of doubt that this w r as a thing possible to be 
done, it was what God could do, for he hath done it. And if 
that were possible to him, to unite two things of so very different 
natures into one thing ; let any colourable reason be assigned 
me, why it should not be as possible to him, to unite two things 
of a like nature, that is, if it were possible to him, to unite a 
spirit and a body, why is it less possible to him to have united 
two spirits f And then I further inquire, if it were possible to 
him to unite two, would it not be as possible to unite three ? 
Let reason here be put upon its utmost stretch, and tell me 
what in all this is less possible than what we see is actually 
-done ! Will any man say two or three spirits united, being of 


the same nature, will mingle, be confounded, run into one ano 
ther, and lose their distinction ? I ask, supposing them to pre 
exist apart, antecedently to tjieir union ; are they not now dis 
tinguished by their own individual essences, let them be ;is 
much united as our souls- and bodies are, why should they not 
as much remain distinct by their singular essences ? Ther$ 
is no more hazard of their losing their distinction, by the simi 
litude of their natures, than of our soul and body, transmuting 
one another by their dissimilitude. 

I know not but the dictates of so vogued an author with many 
in this age, as Spinosa, may signify somewhat with some inta 
whose hands this may fall ; who, with design bad enough, says, 
that from whence one might collect the remaining distinction 
of two things of the same nature in such a supposed union, 
were the more easily conceivable of the two, that is, than of 
two things of different natures. For in his Posthumous Ethics, 
de Deo, He lays this down in explication of his second defi-r 
nition, Cogitatio alia cogitatione terminatur. At corpus non 
terminatur cogitatione, nee cogitatio corpore, one thought is, 
terminated by another : but the body is not terminated by 
thought, nor thought by the body. Some may regard him in 
this, and it would do our business. For my part, I care not to 
be s,o much beholden to him ; for it would at the long run, 
overdo it ; and I know his meaning. But I see not but two 
congenerous natures are equally capable of being united, re-? 
taining their distinction, as two of a different kind, and that 
sufficiently serves the present purpose. 

However, let any man tell me, why it should be impossible 
to God so to unite three spirits, as by his own power to fix their 
limits also, and by a perpetual law inwrought in their distinct 
beings to keep them distinct, so that they shall remain everlast 
ingly united, but not identified ; and by virtue of that union, 
be some one thing, which must, yet, want a name, as much, 
and as truly, as our soul and body united do constitute one man. 
Nor is it now the question, whether such a union would be con 
venient or inconvenient, apt or inapt ; but all the question is, 
whether it be possible or impossible ; which is as much as we 
are concerned in at this time. Put you will say, Suppose it be 
possible, to what purpose is all th}s ? how remote is it from 
the supposed Trinity in the Godhead ? You will see to what 
purpose it is by and bye. I therefore add, 

VII. That if su.ch a union of three things, whether of like or 
of different natures, so as that they shall be truly one thing, and 
yet remain distinct., though united, can be effected, as one may 
with certainty pronpimce, there is nothing more impossible, or 


Unconceivable in it, than we find is actually clone, then it is not 
intrinsically impossible, or objectively ; it is not imposssible in 
itself. No power can effect what is simply, and in itself jm-. 
possible. There is therefore no contradiction, no repugnancy, 
or inconsistency, as to the thing, nor consequently any shadow 
of absurdity in the conception hereof. Whereupon, 

VIII. If such a union with such distinction be not impossi 
ble in itself, so that by a competent power it is sufficiently pos 
sible to be effected, or made ; we are to consider whether it will 
appear more impossible, or whether I shall have a conception in 
my own mind any thing more incongruous if I conceive such, 
a union, with such distinction, unmade, or that is original and 
eternal, in an unmade, or uncreated Being. For we are first to 
consider the thing in itself, abstractly from made or unmade, 
created or uncreated being. And if it pass clear of contradic 
tion or absurdity, in its abstract notion, we are so far safe, and 
are not liable to be charged as having the conception in our 
minds of an impossible, absurd, or self-repugnant thing. So 
that clamour and cry of the adversary must cease, or be itself 
absurd, and without pretence. This now supposed union with 
such distinction, must if it be judged impossible, as it is in our 
thoughts introduced into unmade being, can no longer be judg 
ed impossible, as it is a union of distinct things, but only as it 
is unmade, or is supposed to have place in the unmade eter 
nal Being. 

IX. This is that then we have further to consider, whether, 
supposing it possible that three spiritual beings might as well 
be made or created in a state of so near union with continuing 
distinction, as to admit of becoming one spiritual being, to be 
called by some fit name, which might easily be found ouj, if 
the thing were produced, as that a spiritual being, and a corpo 
real being may be made and created in a state of so near union 
with continuing distinction, as to become one spiritual-corpo 
real being, called by the name of man ; I say, whether suppos 
ing the former of these to be as possible to be done, or created, 
as the latter, which we see done already : we may not as well 
suppose somewhat like it, but infinitely more perfect to be ori 
ginal, and^eternal in the uncreated Being ? If the first be pos 
sible, the next actual, what pretence is there to think the last 

X. I might add, as that which may be expected to be signi 
ficant with such as do seriously believe the doctrines both of the 
incarnation, and the trinity, though I know it will signify no^ 
thing with them, who with equal contempt reject both, that the 
union of the two natures, the human, made up of a human body 
and a human soul, which are two exceedingly different natures, 
with the divine, which is a third and infinitely more 


from both the other, in one person, namely, of the Son of God, 
cannot certainly appear to any considering person, more con 
ceivable or possible, than that which we now suppose, but as 
sert not, of three distinct essences united in the One Godhead, 
upon any account, but this only, that this is supposed to be an 
unmade, eternal union, the other made and temporal ; which 
renders not the one less conceivable than the other, as it is 
union, but only as in the several terms of this union it is suppo 
sed eternally to have place in the Being of God ; whereas that 
other union, in respect of one of its terms is acknowledged de 
novo to have place there. 

In short, here is a spiritual created being, a human soul, set 
ting aside for the present the consideration of the human body, 
which united therewith made up the man, Christ, confessed ta 
be in hypostatical union with the uncreated spiritual being of 
God, not as that being is in the person of the Father, nor is in 
the person of the Holy Ghost, for then they should have be 
come man too ; but as it was in the person of the Son only ; 
why shall it be thought less possible that three uncreated spi 
ritual beings may be in so near a union with each other as to be 
one Gody as that a created spirit, and body too, should be in so 
near a union with one of the persons in the Godhead only, as 
therewith to be one person ? will it not hereby be much more 
easily apprehensible how one of the persons (as the common 
way of speaking is) should be incarnate, and not the other two ? 
Will not the notion of person itself be much more unexception 
able, when it shall be supposed to have its own individual na 
ture ? And why is a natural, eternal union of uncreated natures 
with continual distinction, or without confusion sufficient unto 
the unity of the Godhead, less supposable, than a temporal con 
tracted union with created natures without confusion too, that 
shall be sufficient to the unity of a person ? will it be any thing 
more contrary to such simplicity of the divine nature as is neces 
sarily to be ascribed thereto ? or will it be tritheism, and incon 
sistent with the acknowledged inviolable unity of the Godhead? 

XL That we may proceed to speak to both, let these things 
be considered with seriousness and sobriety of mind, as to our 
selves ; with all possible reverence towards the blessed God, 
and with just candour and equanimity towards other men. And 
first we must leave it to any one's future representation (not 
being hitherto able to discern any thing) what there is in all 
this that is here supposed any way repugnant to such simplici 
ty, as God any where claims to his own being, or that plain 
reason will constrain us to ascribe to him, or that is really in 
itself any perfection. We are sure God hath not by his word 
taught us to ascribe to him universal absolute simplicity ; or 
suggested to us any such notices as directly and evidently infer 


jbt to belong to him : nor hath seemed at all intent upon cau 
tioning of us lest we should not ascribe it. The word we find 
not among his Attributes mentioned in the Holy Scriptures. 
The thing, so far as it signifies any general perfection, we are 
sure belongs to him ; but the Scriptures are not written with 
visible design to obviate any danger of our misconceiving his na- 
ture, by not apprehending it to be in every respect most abso 
lutely simple. It doth teach us to conceive of him as most 
powerful, most wise, most gracious ; and doth not teach us to 
conceive all these in the abstract, namely, power 1 , wisdom and 
goodness to be the same thing. Yet we easily apprehend by re 
flecting upon ourselves, that, without multiplying the subject, 
these may all reside together in the same man. But our diffi 
culty is greater to conceive what is commonly taught, that these 
without real distinction, or with formal only, as contradistin 
guished to the difference of thing front thing, are in the abstract 
affirmable of God, that he is power, wisdom, goodness : that 
to his being belongs so absolute simplick-y, that we must not 
look upon these as things really distinguishable, there, from; 
one another, but as different conceptions of the same thing. We? 
must conceive of things as we can, not as we cannot ; and are- 
only concerned to take heed of unrevealed, and undemonstra- 
ble, and peremptory conceptions concerning that glorious most 
incomprehensible and ever blessed Being ; to beware of too cu 
rious prying into the nature of God, when it was so penal to- 
look unduly into, or even to touch that only-hallowed symbol of 
his presence, his ark ! beyond what he hath revealed expressly 
or we can most clearly, by generally received light, apprehend. 
When we know there is a knowledge of him so reserved from 
as, whereof our minds are so little receptive, that it seemed all 
one, whether he told us, he did dwell in thick darkness, or in, 
inaccessible light. It will be a reproach to us, if we shall need 
to be taught reverence of him by pagans ; or that such a docu 
ment should need[to be given us for our admonition, as that very 
ancient inscription in one of their temples imported, " I am 
whatsoever was, is, or shall be, and who is he that shall draw 
aside my vail ? " 

XII. If we should suppose three spiritual necessary beings, 
the one whereof were mere power (or furious might) destitute 
of either wisdom, or goodness ; another mere wisdom (or craft 
rather) destitute of either goodness or power ; a third mere 
goodness (or fond and fruitless kindness) destitute of either" 
power or wisdom, existing separately and apart from each 
other : this triple conception would overthrow itself, and must 
certainly allow little ease to any considering mind. Nor coul(f 
any of these be Gqd, But if we conceive essential power^wis- 


dom, and goodness concurring in one spiritual necessarily e^ 
istent Being, in which are each of these, not only, by the! 
vtftxufnns mutual penetration usually acknowledged in the three 1 
persons, totally permeating one another (which signifying but 
mere presence, as we may express it, is in comparison, a small 
thing) but really and vitally united, by so much a nearer, and 
more perfect union than hath ever come under our notice a- 
mong created beings, of partly corporeal, partly incorporeal 
natures, by how much beings of purest spirituality may be 
fcpter to the most intimate union, than when one is quite of a 
different nature from the other, and as whatsoever union is 
supposable to be, originally, eternally, and by natural necessi 
ty, in the most perfect being, may be thought inexpressibly 
more perfect than any other. And if, hereupon, we further 
conceive the most entire, perpetual, everlasting intercourse 
and communion of these three, so originally united, that what 
is conceivable of perfection, or excellency in any one of these^ 
is as much the others^ for whatsoever exercises or operations, 
as his own $ I cannot apprehend what there is of repugnancy, 
contraction, or absurdity in this supposition ; nor any thing- 
that, by any measures he hath given us to govern our concep 
tions of him, appears unbecoming or unworthy of God. There 
Is, it is true, less simplicity, but more perfection ascribed here 
by to the divine Being, entirely considered ; and more intelli 
gibly, than if you go about to impose upon yourself the notion 
of most absolute omnimodous simplicity therein. There would 
be yet more absolute simplicity ascribed unto an eternal Beingj 
if you should conceive in it mere power exclusive of wisdom, 
and goodness and so of the rest ; but infinitely less perfection. 
And, if that would avail any thing, I could easily produce more 
school -men, than one, of no small note, concurring in this 
sentiment that simplicitas, si sumatur in tota sua amplitu- 
dinc, non dicit perfectionem simpliciter^ simplicity if it be 
taken in its ivhole extent, does not describe absolute perfec 
tion. But I count it not worth the while. 

XIII. And let it be here again observed, I speak not of this, 
as any certain determination, that thus things are in the Deity ; 
but as a possible supposition of what, for ought we know, may 
be. If any say this gives us the notion of a compounded Deity, 
or of a composition in it ; I only say the term, composition, 
seems to imply a pre-existing component that brings such things 
together, and supposes such and such more simple things to have 
pre-existed apart or separate, and to be brought afterwards to 
gether into a united state. Whereupon I peremptorily deny any 
composition in the being of God. And let any man from what 
liatli been hitherto saidj or supposed, infer it, if he can. Im- 


agine this of the Godhead, and you shall, we acknowledge, 
conceive most untruly, most unworthily, most injuriously of 
God ; and what is most absolutely impossible to agree to the 
Divine Being. And for this reason only, that I know of, that 
carries any shadow of importance in it, many have been so apt, 
without the least warrant from any revelation God hath given of 
himself, to ascribe to him an unintelligible simplicity 5 appre 
hending they must otherwise admit a composition in his most 
sacred essence, that is, the putting of things together that 
were separate, to make it up ; which must suppose it a new 
production, that once was not, and from an imperfect state by 
the coalition of things once severed, to have arrived to the per 
fection we ascribe to the Divine Being ; which sort of being 
cannot, without the most absurd and blasphemous contradiction, 
ever admit to be called God. But if we suppose most perfect, 
essential power, wisdom, love, by original, eternal and most 
natural necessity to have co-existed in that being most intimate 
ly united, though distinct; that seemingly important reason, 
will appear but a shadow, and accordingly vanish as such. 

And indeed this is no more than what, in effect, such as dis 
course upon this subject do commonly say (though perhaps 
some may less consider the ducture and sequel of their own 
professed sentiments) when they speak of the incomprehensi- 
bleness of God's essence, and how impossible it is a finite 
mind should form or receive a full and complete idea of it ,- or 
wh en they therefore saj, that any conceptions we can have of 
the wisdom, goodness, or any other attribute of the Divine Be 
ing, are still but inadequate conceptions ; whereby they must 
mean, when we consider for instance the wisdom of God that 
we not only fall infinitely short of conceiving all that belongs to 
the Divine Being, in that kind, but that there is also infinitely 
more belonging thereto, in other kinds, than it is possible that 
conception can contain or express. And when we have the 
conception in our minds of the divine wisdom, do we not appre 
hend there is really somewhat else in the Divine Being, whereof 
that term hath no signification ? or will we say his wisdom and 
his power are really the same thing ? as they must either be the 
same, or divers things : if we say they are the same, we must, I 
doubt, confess ourselves to say what we do not understand, es 
pecially when, in the abstract, we affirm them of one another, 
and of God ; and accordingly say that wisdom is power, and 
power is wisdom, and the one of these is God, and the other, 
God. I know a formal distinction is commonly admitted, that 
is, that the conception of the one is not included in the concep 
tion of the other. But are these different conceptions true or 
false ? If false^ why are they admitted ? if true, _tbere must be 

VOL. IV* 2 S 


somewhat in the nature of the thing corresponding to therrr* 
But if we say they are distinct, but most intimately, and eter 
nally united in the Divine Being, by a necessary, natural union, 
or that it is not impossible so to be, what we say will, I think, 
agree with itself, and not disagree with any other conception 
v/e are obKged to have concerning the blessed God. 

In the mean tmte r I profess not to judge, we are under the 
precise notions of power, wisdom and goodness, to conceive of 
the Father, Son and Holy Ghost : nor that the notions we have 
of those, or any other divine perfections, do exactly correspond 
to what, in God r is signified by these names ; but I reckon, 
that what relief and ease is given: our minds by their being dis 
entangled from any apprehended necessity of thinking these to 
be the very same things, may facilitate to us our apprehending 
the Father, Son and Spirit to be sufficiently distinct, for our af 
firming, or understanding the affirmation, of some things con 
cerning some one, without including the other of them. 

XIV. But some perhaps will say, while we thus amplify the 
distinction of these glorious three, we shall seem to have too 
friendly a look towards, or shall say in effect, what Dr. Sherlock 
is so highly blamed for saying, and make three Gods. I an 
swer, that if with sincere minds we inquire after truth, for its 
own sake, we shall little regard the friendship o* enmity, ho 
nour or dishonour of this or that man If this were indeed so 
doth what was true become false, because such a man hath 
said it ? But it is remote from being so* There is no more, 
here positively asserted than generally so much distinction be 
tween the Father, Son, and Spirit, as is in itself necessary to 
the founding the distinct attributions, which in the Scriptures 
are severally given them that when the word or wisdom was 
said to be with God (understanding it, as the ease requires 
with God the Father 1 ) in the creation of all things-, we may not 
think, nothing more is said than that he was with himself; that 
when the Word is said to be made flesh, it is equally said the 
Father was made flesh, or the Holy Ghost ; that when the 
Holy Ghost is said to have proceeded fromy or have been sent by 
the Father, or the Son, lie is said to have proceeded from him 
self, or have sent himself. But, in the mean time this is of 
fered without determining precisely, how great distinction is ne 
cessary to this purpose. It is not here positively said these three 
are three distinct substances, three infinite minds or spirits. 
We again and again insist, and inculcate, how becoming, and 
necessary it is to abstain from over-bold inquiries,, or positive 
determinations concerning the limits, or the extent of this dis 
tinction, beyond what the Scriptures have, in general, made 
necessary to the mentioned purpose \ that we may not throw 


ourselves into guilt, nor cast our minds into unnecessary straits, 
by affirming this or that to be necessary, or impossible in these 

XV. The case is only thus, that since we arc plainly led by 
the express revelation God hath made of himself to us in his 
word, to admit a trinal conception of him, or to conceive this 
threefold distinction in his being, of Father, Son, and Spirit ; 
since we have so much to greaten that distinction, divers things 
being said of each of these, that must not be understood of either 
of the other ; since we have nothing to limit it on the other 
hand, but the unity of the Godhead, which we are sure can 
be but One, both from the plain word of God, and the nature 
of the thing itself ; since we are assured both these may con 
sist, namely, this trinity > and this unity, by being told there 
are three, (1 John 5.7) and these three (that is plainly, continu 
ing three) are , one thing ; which one thing, can mean no 
thing else but Godhead; as is also said concerning two of them, 
elsewhere, (there being no occasion, then, to mention the 
third) I and my Father are one thing John 10,30, We are here 
upon unavoidably put upon it to cast in our own minds (and 
are concerned to do it with the most religious reverence and 
profoundest humility) what sort of thing this most sacred God- 
nead may be, unto which this oneness is ascribed, with three 
fold distinction. And manifestly finding there are in the crea 
tion made unions, with sufficient remaining distinction, par 
ticularly in ourselves, that we are a soul and a body (things of 
so very different natures) that often the soul is called the man, 
(not excluding the body) and the body, or our flesh called the 
man (not excluding the soul) we are plainly led to apprehend 
that it is rather more easily possible there might be two spirits 
(so much more agreeing in nature) so united, as to be one thing, 
and yet continuing distinct ; und if two, there might as well be 
three, if the Creator pleased. And hence we are led further to 
apprehend, that if such a made union, with continuing dis 
tinction be possible in created being, it is for ought we know, 
not impossible in the uncreated ; that there may be such an 
eternal unmade union, with continuing distinction. And all 
this being only represented as possible to be thus, without con 
cluding that thus it certainly is ; sufficiently serves our pur 
pose, that no pretence might remain of excluding the eternal 
Word; and the eternal Spirit, the Godhead, as if a trinity 
therein were contradictious and impossible, repugnant to 
reason, and common .sense. Were now is the coinciden- 
cy ? 

XVI. Nor is there, hereupon, so great a remaining difficul 
ty to salve the unity of the Godhead 5 when the supposition is 


taken in, of the natural, eternal, necessary union of these three 
that hath been mentioned. 

And it shall be considered, that the Godhead is not suppos 
ed more necessarily to exist, than these three are to coexist in 
the nearest and most intimate union with each other therein. 
That Spiritual Being which exists necessarily, and is every way 
absolutely perfect, whether it consist of three in one, or of 
only one, is God. We could never have known, it is true, 
that there are such three coexisting in this one God, if he him 
self had not told us. What man knoweth the things of a man, 
but the spirit of a man that is in him ? even so the things of 
God none knoweth but the Spirit of God. 1 Cor. 2. 11. In 
telling us this he hath told us no impossible, no unconceiv 
able thing. It is absurd, and very irreligious presumption to 
say this cannot be. If a worm were so far capable of thought, 
as to determine this or that concerning our nature ; and that 
such a thing were impossible to belong to it, which we find to 
be in it, we should trample upon it ! More admirable divine 
patience spares us ! He hath only let us know that this is the 
state of his essence, whereof we should have been otherwise ig 
norant. This is its constitution, (as if it were said ita se habet 
comparatam) thus it is in, and of itself, that there are three 
in it to be conceived, under the distinct notions of Father, Son, 
and Spirit, without telling us expressly how far they are dis 
tinct, in terms of art, or in scholastic forms of speech. But 
he considered us as men, reasonable creatures ; and that 
when he tells us there are three existing in his being, of each 
of which some things are said, that must not be understood 
spoken of the other, and yet that there is but one God : we 
are not uncapable of understanding, that these three must agree 
in Godhead ; and yet that they must be sufficiently distinct, 
unto this purpose, that we may distinctly conceive of, apply 
ourselves to, and expect from, the one and the other of them. 
And the frame of our religion is therefore ordered for us ac 
cordingly, that is, for us to whom he hath revealed so much. 
Others, to whom such notices are not given, he expects should 
deport themselves towards him, according to the light which 
they have, not which they have not. 

XVII. But an hypothesis in this affair, which leaves out the 
the very nexus, that natural, eternal union, or leaves it out 
of its proper place, and insists upon mutual consciousness, 
which, at the most, is but a consequence thereof, wants the 
principal thing requisite to the salving the unity of the Godhead. 
Jf two or three created spirits had never so perfect a mutual 
perfection of one another, that would not constitute them one 
*hing, though it probably argue them to be so ; and but proha- 


My ; for God might, no doubt, give them a mutual insight 
into one another, without making them one ; but if he should 
create them in as near a union, as our soul and body are in 
with one another (and it is very apprehensible they might be 
created in a much nearer, and more permanent one, both 
being of the same nature, and neither subject to decay) they 
would as truly, admit to be called one something (as such a 
creature might well enough be called, till a fitter name were 
found out) notwithstanding their supposed continuing distinc 
tion, as fitly, as our soul and body united, are, notwithstand 
ing their continuing distinction, called one man. And I do 
sincerely profess such a union, with perpetual distinction, 
seems to me every whit as conceivable, being supposed unmade, 
uncreated, and eternal, as any union is among creatures, that 
must therefore be a made thing, or a temporal production. 

And whereas the necessity of existence (most unquestionably 
of an intellectual being) is a most certain, and fundamental at 
tribute of Deity : the Father, Son, and Spirit being supposed 
necessarily existent, in this united state, they cannot but be 
God ; and the Godhead by reason of this necessary union can 
not but be one ; yet so, as that when you predicate Godhead, 
or the name of God of any one of them, you herein express a 
true, but an inadequate conception of God ; that is, the Father 
is God, not excluding the Son, and Holy Ghost ; the Son is 
God, not excluding the Father and the Holy Ghost ; the Holy 
Ghost is God, not excluding the Father and the Son. Thus our 
body is the man, not excluding the soul ; our soul is the man ; 
not excluding the body. Therefore their union in Godhead be 
ing so strict and close, notwithstanding their distinction, to say 
that any one of them is God, in exclusion of the other two, 
would not be a true predication. It is indeed said, the Father 
is the only true God ; but that neither excludes the Son, nor 
the Holy Ghost from being the true God also ; (John 17. 3.) 
each of them communicating in that Godhead which only is 
true. It had been quite another thing, if it had been said, Thou 
Father only, art the true God. 

XVIII. The order moreover, is this way also very clearly pre 
served and fitly complied with, of priority and posteriority (not 
of time, as every one sees, but nature) which the names Father, 
Son, and Spirit do more than intimate. For the Father (usual 
ly called by divines thefons trinitatis, fountain of the trinity) 
being by this appellation plainly signified to be first in this sa 
cred triad ; the Son, as that title imports, to be of the Father ; 
and the Spirit to be of, or from, both the other : let these two 
latter be considered as being of, or from the first, not by any in 
tervening act of will, by which it might have been possible they 


should not have been so ; but by natural, necessary, eternal 
promanation; so as that necessity of existence is hereby made 
as truly to agree to them as to the first, which is acknowledged 
the most fundamental attribute of Deity. This promanation 
is hereby sufficiently distinguished from creation ; and these 
two set infinitely above all creatures, or the whole universe of 
created beings. Nor is there hereby any place left for that 
unapt application of a son and a grandson deriving themselves 
from the grandfather, or two brothers from one father, p. 17- 
of these considerations. 

And although it be also true, and readily acknowledged, 
that there are numerous instances of involuntary productions 
among the creatures, and which are therefore to be deemed a 
sort of natural and necessary productions ; yet that necessity 
not being absolute, but ex hypothesi only, that is, upon suppo 
sition of their productive causes, and all things requisite to 
those productions, being so, and so, aptly posited in order 
thereto, all which depended upon one sovereign will at first, so 
that all might have been otherwise, this signifies nothing to 
exempt them out of the state and rank of creatures, or invali 
date this most unalterable distinction between created being, 
and uncreated. 

.XIX. But if here it shall be urged to me that one individual 
necessarily existent Spiritual Being alone is God, and is all that 
is signified by the name of God; and therefore that three distinct 
individual, necessarily existent, spiritual Beings must unavoid 
ably be three distinct Gods : 

I would say, if by one individual, necessarily existent, Spi 
ritual Being, you mean one such Being, comprehending Father, 
Son and Holy Ghost taken together, I grant it. But if by one 
individual, necessarily existent, spiritual being, you mean either 
the Father, Son or Holy Ghost, taken sejunctly, I deny it ; for 
both the other are truly signified by the name of God too, as 
well as that one. 

I therefore say, the term individual, must in this case now 
supposed (as possible, not as certain) admit of a twofold appli 
cation ; either to the distinct essence of the Father, or of the 
Son, or of the Holy Ghost ; or to the entire essence of the God 
head, in which these three do concur. Each of these conceived 
by itself are (according to this supposition) individual essences, 
but conceived together, they are the entire individual essence of 
God. For there is but one such essence, and no more, and it 
can never be multiplied, nor divided into more of the same 
name and nature : as the body and soul of a man, are one in 
dividual body, and one individual soul, but both together are but 
one individual maa ; and the case would be the same, if a man 


did consist of two, or three spirits so (or more nearly) united, 
together, as his soul and body are. Especially if you should 
suppose, which is the supposition of no impossible or uncon 
ceivable thing, that these three spirits which together, as we 
now do suppose, do constitute a man, were created with an ap 
titude to this united coexistence, but with an impossibility of 
existing separately, except to the divine power which created 
them conjunct, and might separate them so as to make them 
exist apart : which yet cannot be the case in respect of three 
such uncreated spiritual beings, whose union is supposed to be 
by natural, eternal necessity, as their essences are ; and are 
therefore most absolutely inseparable. 

XX. Or if it should be said, I make the notion of God to 
comprehend Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and a Godhead 
besides common to these three : 

I answer ; nothing I have said or supposed, implies any such 
thing ; or that the notion of God imports any thing more of 
real being, than is- contained in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 
taken together, and most intimately, naturally, and vitally, by 
eternal necessity, united with one another. As in a created 
being, consisting of more things than one taken together and 
united ; a man for instance, there is nothing more of real enti 
ty, besides what is contained in his body and his soul united 
and taken together. It is true that this term, a man, speaks 
somewhat very diverse from a human body taken alone or a hu 
man soul taken alone, or from both, separately taken ; but 
nothing divers from both united, and taken together. And for 
what this may be unjustly collected to imply of composition, 
repugnant to divine perfection, it is before obviated. Sect. 13. 

If therefore it be asked, " What do we conceive under the 
notion of God, but a necessary, spiritual Being >" I answer, 
that this is a true notion of God, and may be passable enough, 
among pagans, for a full one. But we Christians are taught 
to conceive under the notion of God, a necessary spiritual 
Being, in which Father, Son, and Spirit, do so necessarily 
coexist, as to constitute that Being ; and that when we con 
ceive any one of them to be God, that is but an inadequate, not 
an entire and full conception of the Godhead. Nor will any 
place remain for that trivial cavil, that if each of these have 
Godhead in him, he therefore hath a trinity in him ; but that 
he is one of the three who together are the One God, by ne 
cessary, natural, eternal union. 

Which union is also quite of another kind than that of three 
men (as for instance, of Peter, James and John) partaking in 
the same kind of nature ; who notwithstanding, exist sepa 
rately, and apart fporn eael} other. These three are supposed 


to coexist in natural, necessary, eternal, and most intimate 
union, so as to be one Divine Being. 

Nor is it any prejudice against our thus stating the notion of 
the Godhead, that we know of no such union in all the crea 
tion, that may assist our conception of this union. What 
incongruity is there in supposing, in this respect, as well as in- 
many others, somewhat most peculiarly appropriate to the be 
ing of God ? If there be no such actual union in the creation, 
it is enough to our purpose, if such a one were possible to have 
been. And we do know of the actual union of two things of 
very different natures so as to be one thing, and have no reason 
to think the union of two or more things of the same sort of 
nature, with sufficient remaining distinction, less possible or 
less intelligible. 

XXI. Upon the whole, let such a union be conceived in the be-. 
ing of God, with such distinction, and one would think (though 
the complexions of men's minds do strangely and unaccounta 
bly differ) the absolute perfection of the Deity, and especially 
the perfect felicity thereof, should be much the more appre 
hensible with us. When we consider the most delicious so 
ciety which would hence ensue, among the so entirely con 
sentient Father, Son, and Spirit, with whom there is so per 
fect rectitude, everlasting harmony, mutual complacency, unto 
highest delectation ; according to our way of conceiving things, 
who are taught by our own nature (which also hath in it the. 
divine image) to reckon no enjoyment pleasant, without the 
consociation of some other with us therein ; we for our parts 
cannot but hereby have in our minds a more gustful idea of a 
blessed state, than we can conceive in mere eternal solitude. 

God speaks to us, as men, and will not blame us for con 
ceiving things so infinitely above us, according to the capacity 
of our natures ; provided we do riot assume to ourselves to be a 
measure for our conceptions of him ; further than as he is him- 
self pleased to warrant, and direct us herein. Some likeness 
we may (taught by himself) apprehend between him and us, 
but with infinite (not inequality only, but) unlikeness. And 
for this case of delectation in society, we must suppose an im- ^ 
mense difference between him an all-sufficient, self-sufficient 
Being, comprehending in himself the infinite fulness of what 
soever is most excellent and delectable, and ourselves, who 
have in us but a very minute portion of being, goodness, or fe 
licity, and whom he hath made to stand much in need of one 
another, and most of all of him. 

But when, looking into ourselves, we find there is in us a 
disposition, often upon no necessity, but sometimes, from 
*some sort of benignity of temper, unto conversation with others ^ 


we have no reason, when other things concur, arid do fairly 
induce, and lead our thoughts this way, to apprehend any in 
congruity in supposing he may have some distinct object of the 
same sort of propension in his own most perfect Being too, and 
therewith such a propension itself also. 

XXII. As to what concerns ourselves, the observation is not 
altogether unapposite, what Cicero treating of friendship^ 
discourses of perpetual solitude, "that the affectation of it must 
signify the worst of ill humour, and the most savage nature in 
the world. And supposing one of so soiir and morose a humour^ 
as to shun and hate the conversation of men, he would not en 
dure it, to be without some one or other to whom he might 
disgorge the virulency of that his malignant humour. Or that 
supposing such a thing could happen, that God should take a 
man quite out of the society of men, and place him in absolute 
solitude, supplied with the abundance of whatsoever nature 
could covet besides ; Who, saith he, is so made of iron, as to 
endure that kind of life ?" And he introduces Architas Taren- 
tinus reported to speak to this purpose, " that if one could 
ascend into heaven, behold the frame of the world, and the 
beauty of every star, his admiration would be unpleasant to him 
alone, which would be most delicious, if he had some one to 
whom to express his sense of the whole." 

We are not, I say, strictly to measure God by ourselves in 
this ; further than as he himself prompts and leads us. But 
if we so form our conception of divine bliss, as not to exclude 
from it somewhat, whereof that delight in society, which we 
find in ourselves may be an imperfect faint resemblance ; 
it seems not altogether disagreeable to what the Scriptures 
also teach us to conceive concerning him, when they bring in 
the eternal wisdom, saying, as one distinct from the prime 
Author, and Parent of all things. Then was I by him, as one 
brought up with him, and daily his delight. Prov. 8. 30. ^ 

XXIII. However, let the whole of what hath been hitherto 
proposed be taken together, and to me, it appears our concep 
tion of the sacred trinunity will be so remote from any shadow 
of inconsistency or repugnancy, that no necessity can remain 
upon us of torturing wit, and racking invention to the utter 
most, to do a laboured and artificial violence (by I know not 
what screws and engines) to so numerous plain texts of Scrip 
ture, only to undeify our glorious Redeemer, and do the utmost 
despite to the Spirit of grace. We may be content to let the 
worcTof God (or what we pretend to own for a divine revelation) 
stand as it is, and undistorted, speak its own sense. And 
when we find the Former of all things speaking as We or Us. 

VOL. iv. 2 T 

DrstotiRSE or 

(Gen. 1. 2G.) when we find another (Prov. S. 22.) /, possess* 
ed by the Ix)rd, in the beginning of his way, before his works 
of old ; so as that he says of himself (as distinct from the other) 
I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the 
earth was^ and y When he prepared the heavens I was there, 
&c.(ver.270 vvnenwen ^ t ^ ecn ^^b rn f rus 5 tQe Son 
called also the mighty God, and (as in reference to us he fitly 
might) the everlasting Father. (Isra. ix. 6.) when we are told 
of the ruler that was to comte out of Bethlehem-Ephrata, that 
his goings forth were from everlasting : (Mic. 5. 2.) that, The 
word was in the beginning with God, and was God that all 
things were made by him, and without him nothing was made, 
that was made that this word was made flesh that his glory 
was beheld as the glory of the only begotten Son of the Father, 
full of grace and truth : (Johrr 1. 11.) even that same he that 
above was said to have been in the beginning with God, anef to 
be God : that when lie who was said' to have come down from 
heaven, (John 3* 13.) was, even while he was on earth, at 
that time, said to be m heaven :- that we are told by himself, 
he and his Father are one thing: (John 10. 30.) -*-that he is 
not only said to know the heart, but to know all things : (John 
21. 170 that even he who according to the flesh came of the 
Israelites, (Rom 1 . 9. 5.) is yet expressly said to be over all, God 
blessed for ever :4hat when he was in the form of God, he 
humbled himself to the taking on him the form of a servant, 
avid to be found in fashion as a man : (Phil. 2. 6.)- that it is 
said, all things Were created by him y that are in heaven, and 
'on earth, visible and invisible, thrones, dominions, princi 
palities, powers, -and that all things were created by himj 
ami for him ; (Col. 1. 16.) than which nothing could have been 
sai^l more peculiar or appropriate to Deity, that even of the 
Son of God it is said, he is the true God and eternal-life : (I. 
John 5. 20.} that we are soplainly told, he is Alpha and Omega, 
(Rev. I. 8.) the first and the last/ he that was, and is, ancfis 
to come, the Lord Almighty, (chap. 2. 23.) the beginning' of 
the creation of God i the searcher of hearts ; (chap.- 3. 14.) * 
that the Spirit of God is said to search all things,- even the deep 
things of God : (1 Cor. 2. 10.) -that lying to him is said to be 
lying to God : (Acts. 5*$.} that the great Christian solemnity 
baptism, is directed to be in the name of the Father, Son, and* 
Holy Ghost : that it is so distinctly said, there are three that 
bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word^ and the Spirit, 
and that these three are one thing. 1 John 5. 7- 

I cannot imagine what should oblige us so studiously to wire* 
draw all this to quite other meanings. 

XXIV. And for the- leaving' out 'of this last mentioned text 


in iome copies, what hath been said (not to mention divers 
others) by the famously learned Dr. Hammond upon that place, 
is so reasonable, so moderate, so charitable to the opposite 
party, and so apt to satisfy impartial and unprejudiced minds, 
that one would scarce think, after the reading of it, any real 
doubt can remain concerning the authenticness of that 7th verse 
}n 1 John, 5. 

Wherefore now taking all these texts together ; with many 
more that might have been mentioned, I must indeed profess to 
wonder, that with men of so good sense, as our socinian ad 
versaries are accounted, this consideration should not have 
more place and weight, namely, That It being so obvious to 
any reader of the Scriptures to apprehend from so numerous 
texts, that Deity must belong to the Son of God, and that 
there wants not sufficient inducement to conceive so of the 
Holy Ghost also 5 there should be no more caution given in the 
Scriptures themselves to prevent mistake (3f there were any) in. 
apprehending the matter accordingly : and to obviate the un 
speakable consequent danger of erring in a case of so vast im* 
portance. How unagreeable it is to all our notions of God ; 
and to his usual procedure in eases of less consequence I How 
little doth it consist with his being so wise and so compassion 
ate a lover of the souls of men, to let them be so fatally expos-* 
ed unto so inevitable, and so destructive a delusion ! that the 
whole Christian church should through so many centuries of 
years, be even trained into so horrid and continued idolatry by 
himself who so severely forbids it ! I cannot allow myself to 
think men of that persuasion insincere in their professing to be 
lieve the divine authority of the holy Scriptures, when the lead 
er and head of their party, wrote a book, that is not without 
nerves in defence of it. But I confess I cannot devise, with 
what design they can think those Scriptures were written ! or 
why they should count it a thing worthy of infinite wisdom to 
vouchsafe such a revelation to men, allowing them to treat and 
use it as they do ! And that till some great socinian wits should 
arise fifteen hundred years after, to rectify their notions in 
these things, men should generally be in so great hazard of be^ 
ing deceived into damnation, by those very Scriptures, which 
were professedly written to make them wise to salvation ! 

XXV. Nor is it of so weighty importance in this controver 
sy, to cast the balance the other way, that a noted critic 
(upon what introducement needs not be determined) changed 
his judgment, or that his posthumous interpretations of some 
texts (if they were his interpretations) carry an appearance of 
his having changed it; because he thought such texts might 
possibly admit to be interpreted otherwise, than they usually 


were, by such as alleged chem for the trinity, or the (disputed) 
Deity of the Son or Spirit, or that the cause must he lost, upon 
his deserting it, or that he was still to be reckoned of the op 
posite party (as the author calls it) and that such texts as 
we most relied upon, were therefore given up by some of our 

And it is really a great assuming, when a man shall adven 
ture to pronounce so peremptorily, against the so common 
judgment of the Christian church, without any colour or proof, 
that our copies, are false copies, our translations, our expli 
cations false, and the generality of the wisest, the most in 
quisitive, most pious, and most judicious assertors of the Chris 
tian cause, for so many continued ages, fools, or cheats for 
owning and avowing them ; for no other imaginable reason, 
Lut only because they make against him ! How will he prove 
any copies we rely upon to be false ? Is it because he is pleas 
ed to suspect them ? And is an interpretation false, because 
the words can possibly be tortured unto some other sense ? Let 
him name me the text, wherein any doctrine is supposed to be 
delivered that is of merely supernatural revelation, of which it 
is not possible to devise some other meaning, not more remote, 
alien, or unimaginable, than theirs, of most of the disputed 

Nor indeed do we need to except that natural sentiment in it 
self, that there is but one God, (which this author takes such 
pains to prove, as if he thought, or would make other men think 
we denied it.) For though it is so generally acknowledged, doth 
lie not know it is not so generally understood in the same sense? 
Against whom doth he write ? Doth he not know they under 
stand this oneness in one sense, he, in another ? they in such a 
sense as admits a trinity, he in a sense that excludes it ? 

But (for such things as did need a superadded verbal revela 
tion) how easy is it to an inventive, pervicacious wit, to wrest 
words this way, or that. 

XX VI. The Scriptures were written for the instruction of sober 
learners 5 not for the pastime of contentious wits, that affect 
only to play tricks upon them. At their rate of interpreting, 
among whom he ranks himself, it is impossible any doctrine can 
with certainty, be founded upon them. Take the first chapter of 
St. John's gospel for instance, and what doctrine can be asserted 
in plainer words, than the Deity of Christ, in the three first ver 
ses of that chapter ? Set any man of an ordinary, unprepossess 
ed understanding, to read "them, and when he finds that by the 
word is meant Jesus Christ (which themselves admit) see if he 
will not judge it plainly taught, that Jesus Christ is God, in 
the most eminent, known sense ; especially when he shall take 


notice of so many other texts, that, according to their most 
obvious appearance, carry the same sense. But it is first, 
through mere shortness of discourse, taken for granted, and 
rashly concluded on, that it is absolutely impossible, if the 
Father be God, the Son can be God too (or the Holy Ghost) 
upon a presumption, that we can know every thing that belongs 
to the divine nature ; and what is possible to be in it, and what 
not ; and next, there is hereupon not only a license imagined, 
but an obligation, and necessity, to shake heaven and earth, or 
tear that divine word that is more stable, into a thousand 
pieces, or expound it to nothing, to make it comply with that 
forelaid presumptuous determination. Whereas if we could but 
bend our minds so far to comply with the plain ducture of that 
revelation God hath made unto us of himself ; as to apprehend 
that in the most only Godhead there may be distinctions, which 
we particularly understand not, sufficient to found the doctrine 
of a trinity therein, and very consistent with the unity of it; we 
should save the divine word, and our own minds, from unjust 
torture, both at once. And our task, herein will be the easier, 
that we are neither concerned nor allowed to determine, that 
thiags are precisely so, or so ; but only to suppose it possible 
that so they may be, for ought that we know. Which will I 
am certain not be so hard, nor so bold an undertaking, as his, 
who shall take upon him to prove, that any thing here suppos 
ed is impossible. 

Indeed if any one would run the discourse into the abyss of 
infinity, he may soon create such difficulties to himself, as it 
ought not to be thought strange, if they be greater than any hu 
man understanding can expedite. But not greater than any 
man will be entangled in, that shall set himself to consider in 
finity upon other accounts 5 which yet he will find it imposed 
upon him unavoidably to admit whether he will or no: not 
greater than this author will be equally concerned in, upon his 
doing that right to truth, in opposition to the former leaders 
of his own party, as to acknowledge the omnipresence of the 
divine essence, (p. 23.) which he will find, let him try it when 
he will : nor yet so great, nor accompanied with so gross, so 
palpable and horrid absurdities, as he will soon be encountered 
with, should he retract his grant, or entertain the monstrous 
ly maimed, and most deformed, impious, conceit of a finite, 
or limited Deity ! 

XXVII. Yet also in this present case, the impossibility to 
our narrow minds of comprehending infinity, is most rationally 
Improvable to our very just advantage. It ought to be upbraid 
ed to none as a pretext, or a cover to sloth, or dulness. It is 
po reproach to us that we are creatures, and have not infinite 


capacities. And it ought to quiet our minds, that they may so 
certainly know they have limits ; within which, we are to con^r 
tent ourselves with such notions, about indemonstrable, and 
lunrevealed things, as they can, with greatest ease to them 
selves, find room for. 

I can reflect upon nothing in what is here proposed, but what 
is intelligible without much toil, or much metaphysics. As 
matters, of so common concernment, ought, to our uttermost, 
to be represented in such a way that they may be so : we need 
not be concerned in scholastic disquisitions about union ; or by 
what peculiar name to call that which is here supposed. It is 
enough for us to know there may be a real, natural, vital, and 
very intimate union, of things that shall, notwithstanding it, 
continue distinct, and that shall, by it, be truly one. Nor do 
we need to be anxiously curious in stating the notions of per 
son and personality, of suppositum and suppositality, though I 
think not the term person disallowable in the present case. 
Nor will I say what that noted man (so noted that I need not 
name him, and who was as much acquainted with metaphysics 
as most in his age) published to the world above twenty years 
ago, that he counted the notion of the schools about supposi- 
tum a foolery. For J do well know, the thing itself, which 
Our Christian metaphysicians intended, to be of no small impor? 
tance in our religion, and especially to, t Jie doctrine of redempti 
on, and of our Redeemer. 

XXVIII, But I reckon they that go the more metaphysical 
Way, and content themselves with the modal distinction of three 
persons in the Godhead, say nothing herein that can be prov 
ed absurd or contradictious. As to what is commonly urged, 
that if there be three persons in the Deity, each person must 
have its distinct individual essence, as well as its distinct per 
sonality, 1 would deny the consequence, and say, that though 
this be true in created persons (taking person in the strict me 
taphysical sense) it is not necessary to be so in uncreated . 
that the reason is not the same between finite things and infi 
nite ; and would put them to prove, if they can, that the same 
infinite essence cannot be whole and undivided in three several 
persons ; knowing there can be nothing more difficult urged in 
the case, than may against the divine omnipresence ; which 
irrefragable reasons, as well as the plainest testimony of Scrip 
ture will oblige us to acknowledge. 

But I think, though this hypothesis abstractly considered, 
and by itself, is not indefensible; it doth not altogether so well 
square with the Christian economy, nor so easily allow that 
distinction to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which 


requisite to found the distinct attributions that are severally 
given them in the Holy Scriptures. 

XXIX. To conclude, I only wish these things might be 
considered, and discoursed with less confidence, and peremp 
tory determination *, with a greater awe of what is divine and 
sacred ; and that we may more confine ourselves to the plain 
words of Scripture in this matter, and be content therewith* 
I generally blame it in the socinians (who appear otherwise rati 
onal and considering men) that they seem to have formed their 
belief of things, not possible to be known but by the Scrip-* 
tur es, without them ; and then think they are by all Imagina 
ble arts, and they care not what violence, (as Socinus himself 
Iiath in effect confessed) to mould and form them according to 
their preconceived sense. Common modesty, and civility, one 
would have thought, should have made Schlictingius abstain 
from prefixing, and continuing that as a running title to a long 
chapter : Articulus Evangelicorum de Trinitate cum sensu, 
communi pugnat ; the doctrine of the orthodox respecting 
the trinity is inconsistent with common sense; engrossing com 
mon sense to himself and his party, and reproaching the ge 
nerality of Christians, as not understanding common sense. 
iThey should take upon them less, and not vaunt, as if they 
were the men, and wisdom must die with them. 

For this author, I congratulate his nearer approach to us,, 
from those who were formerly leaders of his party, in the 
dioctrines of God's omnipresence, and the perceptive ness, and 
activity of separate souls. He writes with sprightliness and 
vigour. And, I doubt not, believes really, what he writes 
with so little seeming doubt. And because his spirit appears 
to be of a more generous, exalted pitch, than to comport with 
any thing against his judgment, for secular interest and advan 
tage, I reckon it the greater pity it should want the addition 
of what would be very ornamental to it, and which he wishes to 
two of the persons, to whom he makes himself an antagonist, 
more of the tenderness and catholic chanty of genuine Chris 
tianity, (p* 12. col. 2.) to accompany those his abilities 
and learning, which would not thereby be the lesser (as he 
Speaks) nor the less conspicuous. 

I believe few woafd have thought him to see the less clearly, 
if he had been content to see for himself,: not for mankind. 
And if he had not talked at that rate, as if he carried the eyes 
of all the world in his pocket, they would have been less apt 
to think he carried his own there. Nor had his performance, 
in this writing of his, lost any thing of real Value, if in a dis 
course upon so grave a subject, some lepidtti&s liad been 
ut, as that of Dukinea del 


And to allude to what he says of Dr. Cudworth, nis displea 
sure will not hurt so rough an author as Arnobius, so many ages 
after he is dead, if he should happen to offend him, by having 
once said, Dissoluti est pectoris in rebus seriis qucerere 
toluptatem fyc. it is the mark of a depraved mind to seek 
for amusement in serious subjects. 

But for all of us, I hope we may say Without offence to any, 
common human frailty should be more considered, and that we 
know but in part, and in how small a part ! We should, here 
upon, be more equal to one another* And when it is obvious 
to every one, how we are straitened in this matter, and that we 
ought to suppose one another intently aiming to reconcile thd 
Scripture-discovery with natural sentiments, should not un- 
charitably censure, or labour to expose one another, that any 
seem more satisfied with their own method than with ours. 
What an odd and almost ludicrous spectacle do we give to the 
blessed angels that supervise us (if their benignity did not 
more prompt them to compassion) when they behold us fight 
ing in the dark, about things we so little understand ; or, when 
we all labour under a gradual blindness, objecting it to one 
another, and one accusing another that he abandons not his 
own too weak sight, to see only by his (perhaps) blinder 

Thus, Sir, you have my sense what I think safe, and 
enough to be said in this weighty matter. To you, these* 
thoughts are not new, with whom they have been com 
municated and discoursed heretofore, long ago. And I be- 
lieve you may so far recollect yourself, as to remember the 
principal ground was suggested to you, upon which this dis 
course now rests ; namely necessity of existence, and contin* 
gency ; emanations absolutely independent upon any will at all; 
and the arbitrary productions of the divine will, as the suf 
ficient and most fundamental difference between what is un 
created and what is created ; and upon this very account, as 
that which might give scope and room to our thoughts, to con 
ceive the doctrine of the trinity, consistently with the unity 
of the Godhead ; and so, as that the Son, though truly from 
the Father; and the Holy Ghost, though truly from both, shall 
yet appear infinitely distinguished from all created beings what 

So much you know was under consideration with us above 
twenty years ago ; and was afterwards imparted to many more ? 
long before there was any mention or forethought, within our 
notice, of such a revival of former controversies, upon this sub - 
feet, as we have lately seen. 

This occasion, now given, hath put me upon revolving 


aiiew these former thoughts; and upon digesting them into 
some order,, such as it is, for public view. If they shall prove 
to be of any use, it appears they will not be out of season; and 
it will be grateful to me to be any way serviceable to so worthy 
a cause. If they shall be found altogether useless ; being evict* 
ed either of iiripertinency, or untruth, it shall not be ungrate* 
ful ; for I thank God, I find not a disposition in my mind to 
be fond of any notions of mine, as they are such, nor to be 
more adventurous, or confident, in determining of things hid, 
not only in so profound, but in most sacred darkness, than I 
have all along expressed myself. I ought indeed to be the more 
cautious of offending in this kind, that being the thing I blame, 
the positive asserting this or that to be impossible, or not pos 
sibly competent to the nature of God, which by his own word, 
or the manifest reason of things doth not plainly appear to be 
so : much more which his word doth as plainly as it is possi 
ble any thing can be expressed by words, ascribe to him. The 
only thing I assert is, that a trinity in the Godhead may be pos 
sible, for ought we know, in the way that I have proposed : at 
least it is so, for any thing that I do as yet know. And so con 
fident I am of the truth, and true meaning of his word, reveal 
ing a trinity in his eternal Godhead, that I strongly hope, if ever 
it shall be proved to be impossible upon these terms that I have 
here set down ; by the same, or by equal light, the possibility 
of it some other way, will appear too, that is, that not only a 
trinity in the unity of the Godhead is a possible thing; ; but 
that it is also possible that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost may 
be sufficiently distinguished to answer the frame and design of 
Christianity : and that will equally serve my purpose. For so 
however, will the scandal be removed, that may seem to lie 
upon our holy religion, through the industrious misrepresenta 
tion which is made of it, by sceptics, -deists, or atheists, as if it 
were made up of inconsistencies and absurdities, and were fitter 
to be entertained with laughter than faith : and being effectu 
ally vindicated, it will be the more successfully propagated, and 
more cheerfully practised ; which is all that is coveted and 
sought by 


Your very respectful, 

humble servant, &c. 

VOL, l\\ 

330 ACAL51 


TTAVING the copies of some letters by me, which I wrote to 
Dr. Wallis between two and three years ago, upon this 
subject; I think, Sir, it is not improper, and perhaps it may be 
some way useful, to let them accompany this to yourself. And 
here I shall freely tell you my principal inducement, (taking 
notice in some of the doctor's printed letters ; of others tohim^ 
contained in them) to send him incognito one also ; but with 
that reason against printing it, which you find towards the end 
of the first letter. 

It was really the apprehension, which had long remained 
with me. that the simplicity, which (if the notion of it were 
stretched too far) not the Scriptures, but the schools have taught 
Us to ascribe to the being of God, was that alone which hath 
given us difficulty, in conceiving a trinity in the only one 

It is not the unity ^ or oneliness of the Godhead ; but the 
simplicity of it, as the school-men have stated it, that hath 
created the matter of dispute. Unity, you know, denies more 
of the same; simplicity denies more in it. Concerning the 
former tljat there could be no more Gods than one, we are at a 
point ; flie reason of the thing itself, and the holy Scriptures 
so expressly asserting it, leave it out of dispute. 

All the doubt is about the latter. Not whether such a thing 
belongs to the nature of God; but concerning the just expli 
cation of it. As it is a real excellency, not a blemish ; and 
not merely a moral, but a natural excellency, there 'Can be W 


doubt of its belonging to the divine nature ; but if you under 
stand it as exclusive of all variety therein, you find not any ex 
press mention of such an attribute of God in the Scriptures. 
They are silent in the matter. It hath no authority, but of 
the schools. That and the reason that can be brought for it 
must give it its whole and only support. It is the only thing 
that must open, and give way, to admit the doctrine of the tri 
nity $ and it is the only thing that needs to do so. For we 
none of us assert a trinity of Gods ; but a trinity in the God 
head. Jt is the only thing that can to the adversaries of the 
trinity with any colourable pretence seem opposite to it. And 
which therefore I thought the only thing that remained to be sift- 
5 d and examined, if they will state it in an opposition thereto. 
And consider, what so mighty and invincible strength of reason 
it had, whence alone either to shock the authority, or pervert 
the plain meaning of the holy Scriptures, discompose the whole 
^frame of Christian religion, disturb the peace of the church, 
perplex very thinking minds, subvert the faith of some, and 
turn it into ridicule with too many. 

I reckoned the Dr. (as I still do, notwithstanding the con 
tempt this author hath of him) a person of a very clear, un- 
muddied understanding. I found him, by what he expressed 
in his first letter of the trinity, not apt to be awed by the au 
thority of the schools, nor any bigot to them, as leaving de 
clined their notion of a person, and fixing upon another, (less 
answering, as I apprehend, the scheme and design of Chris 
tianity) I thought it easy, and reputable enough to him to add, 
what might be requisite in this matter, without contradicting 
(directly, or discernibly) any thing he had said. I gave him 
the opportunity of doing it, as from himself, without seeming 
to have the least thing to that purpose suggested to him by any 
other. I had myself, I think, seen and considered the main 
strength of the schoolmen's reasonings concerning that sim 
plicity, which they will have to be divine ; and, for ought I do 
,yet know, have competently occurred to it in this foregoing 
letter, and partly in what you will now find I wrote to him. 
But what there is of real infirmity, or impertinency to this 
* case (as it is, and ought to be represented) in their arguings, I 
reckoned he would both see and evince more clearly than I . 

Therefore I greatly desired to have engaged him upon this 
point ' y but I could not prevail. And am therefore willing that 
what I wrote then with design of the greatest privacy, should 
now become public. Not that I think it hath so great value in 
itself ; but that perhaps it may further serve to excite some 
others more able and more at leisure to search and inquire into 
this matter ; and either to improve^ or disprove what I have es- 


sayed. And which of the two it is, it is all one 'to me. For I 
have no interest or design, but that of truth, and the service of 
the Christian cause. 

I was so little apprehensive of any such future use to be made 
of these letters, that I kept no account of the dates, except 
that one of the two latter (which both only refer to the first) I 
find, by the copy I have in my hands, to have been sent Decem 
ber, 19th. 1691 f I remember it was a long time, and guess it 
might be six or eight weeks, before I heard any thing of the 
first, after I had sent it. Probably it might have been setit in 
October, or the beginning of November before. I at length 
heard of it very casually, being in a house in London, whither 
the doctor's eighth letter was newly arrived (then no secret) 
in order to impression. I then found this my first letter was 
lightly touched, but mistaken ; which occasioned (it being a 
post-iiight) my second. That was followed by the third, the 
next post after, when I had a little more time wherein to ex 
press my mind, though I still concealed my name, as it is yet 
fittest to do, my main business in my letter to you lying with a 
person, who (blamelessly enough) conceals his. 

These two latter of my letters to the Dr. produced some al 
teration in that paragraph of his eighth letter, which relates to 
my first. But yet no way answering the design for which I 
wrote it. You have them now together exactly according to 
the copies I have by me, excepting one or two circumstantial 
things fitly enough left out, or somewhat altered. And they 
Lad all slept long enough, if this occasion had not brqught them 
to light. 

But before I give them to you, let me suggest some things 
further to you concerning the foregoing letter to yourself. You 
may apprehend that some will think it strange (if not an incon 
sistency) that 1 should suppose it possible an absolute ornnimo- 
dous simplicity may not belong to the Divine Being, when yet 
I absolutely deny all composition in it. 

And I apprehend too some may think so, at least awhile ; 
but such as have considered well, will not think so, and such 
as shall, I presume will not long. For, 

1. If I had denied the simplicity of the divine nature, had 
the inference been just, that therefore I must grant a composi 
tion? How many instances might be given of one opposite 
not agreeing to this or that thing, when also the other doth as 
little agree ! And most of all doth the transcendent excellen 
cy of the divine nature, exempt it from the limiting by-partiti 
ons to which creatures are subject. 

Take reason in the proper sense for arriving gradually by ar 
gumentation from the knowledge of more evident, to the know- 


ledge of obscurer things, and so we cannot say the divine na 
ture is rational. But is it therefore to be called irrational ? 
Faith and hope agree not to it. Are we therefore to think infi 
delity or despair do not disagree ? 

It is indeed more generally apprehended, we can scarce have 
the notion of any thing that strictly, or otherwise than by some 
very defective analogy, agrees to him, and to us, Some pa 
gans, and some Christians from them (not in derogation, but) 
in great reverence to the high excellency of the Deity, not ex 
cepting the most common notion of all other, even that of be 
ing itself; make his being and substance to be superessen* 
tial, and supers ubstantial. It is out of doubt that whatsoever 
perfection is in us, is not the same thing in him formally, but 
in an unconceivable transcendent eminency only. Do therefore 
their contraries agree to him ? 

2. I am far from denying the simplicity of the blessed nature 
of God, which I ascribe to him in the highest perfection which 
it is capable of signifying. I most peremptorily affirm not only 
all the simplicity which he expressly affirms of himself ; but 
all that can by just consequence be inferred from any affirma* 
tion of his ; or that can by plain reason be evinced any other 
way. Whatsoever is any real perfection. &c. Sect. 11. 

It is true while I affirm such a simplicity as excludes all com 
position, in the sense already given, I affirm not such as ex 
cludes all variety : not such as excludes a trinity, which he 
so plainly affirms, #nd with such distinction, as his affirma* 
tions concerning it imply, and make requisite. 

I further judge that though the Scriptures do not expressly 
ascribe simplicity to the being of God, as a natural excellency, 
they say that which implies it, as such, to belong to him ; as 
when they bring him in saying of himself, " 1 am what I am. " 
This must imply his nature to exclude every thing that is alien 
from itself. I take it, as it signifies (besides a moral) a mere 
natural excellency, to import a most perfect purity of essence. 
And I understand that to be purum, pure, which is plenum 
sui, full of itself 9 and quod nihil habet alieni, which con 
tains nothing foreign from itself. I do therefore take the na 
tural simplicity of the Divine Being to exclude the ingrediency 
of any thing that can infer in it, conflict, decay, chance, dis 
turbance or infelicity in the least degree ; and to include what* 
soever infers the contraries of all these ; serenity, tranquility, 
harmony, stability, delight and joy, in highest perfection ; as 
necessity of existence also doth; and that for all this, it by 
no means needs to exclude a trinity, but to include it rather. 

But I judge human (and even all created) minds very incom 
petent judges of the divine simplicity, We know not what the 


divine nature may include consistently with its own perfection!, 
nor what it must, as necessary thereto. Our eye is no judge of 
corporeal simplicity. In darkness it j discerns nothing out sim 
plicity, without distinction of things : in more dusky light the 
*whole horizon appears most simple, and every where like itself: 
in brighter light, we perceive great varieties, and much greater 
if a microscope assist our eye. But of all the aerial people that 
^replenish the region (except rare appearances to very few) we 
^ee none. Here want not objects, but a finer eye. 
It is much at this rate with our minds in beholding the spi*- 
ritual sphere of beings, most of all the uncreated, which is.rer 
motest, and furthest above, out of our sight. We behold sim 
plicity ! and what do we make of that ? vast undistinguished 
^vacuity ! sad, immense solitude ! only this at first view. If we 
draw nearer, and fix our eye, we think we apprehend some-' 
what, but dubiously hallucinate, as the half-cured blind man 
did, when he thought he saw men like trees. 

But if a voice which we acknowledge divine, speak to us out 

xt>f the profound abyss, and tell us of grateful varieties and dis-> 

tinctions in it ; Good God ! shall we not believe it ? Or shall 

we say we clearly see that is not, which only we do not se,e ? 

This seems like somewhat worse than blindness ! 

Now follow the Letters. 



SENT IN 1691. 


J Could much please myself in revolving in my own mind the 
very respectful thoughts and veneration I have long^ had for 
you, and in conversing with the grateful and entertaining idea 
which I have not abitrarily, but by your irresistible imposition 
received ; and retained of you many years, on the account of 
your former most useful and acceptable performances, and 
which is both renewed and heightened greatly by your late, 
clear, prudent, and piously modest discourses (both letters and 
sermons) of that awful mystery, the trinity in the Godhead. 
But as I can neither satisfy myself of the fitness of making an 
encomium of you the matter of a letter to yourself; so nor can 
I hope to please you by doing a thing in itself so inept, and so 
insignificant to you. I shall better do both, if I shall offer any 
thing to you concerning this mentioned subject, your further 
consideration whereof may prove a further benefit to the world. 
In what you have already said concerning it, you have used 
that great caution, and so well guarded yourself, as not so far 
as I can apprehend, to give an adversary in this single point, 
the least advantage. That which I would in the general, 'hum 
bly offer, is, whether you have said so much as, with safety; 


might be said, and as the case may require, for the gaining of 
a just advantage to the common Christian cause. 

We design, in fight, not only to keep ourselves safe, but to 
overcome, and not in pr cello, in battle only, but in bello, in war* 
In wars indeed of this sort, both our own safety and victory, 
are less to be valued than truth. Which, being of a piece, 
can be injured in no part, without some damage to the whole 
frame of congenerous truth. And as it is very possible, while 
an enemy is withstood attacking some one fort, a greater loss 
may not be provided against elsewhere ; it may so fall out in 
affairs of this kind too, that the care of defending some one 
truth may be accompanied \vith a present not attending to the 
jeopardy of divers others. The nearer we approach an adver 
sary (within just limits) in these rational decertations, the less 
he can have to say against us. But being well resolved our 
selves about the main point of disagreement, we then take care 
not to come so near, as to fall in with him, pass into his tents^ 
and give away our main cause. 

I am, worthiest Sir, far from assuming so much to myself, 
or detracting so much from you, as to give a judgment that 
this really is done in your discourses about the trinity. I only 
submit it to your own most penetrating judgment, what may 
be further requisite and possible in this matter, to take away 
any appearances hereof, and prevent ill consequences that may 
too easily ensue. I have, for my own part, long imposed it 
upon myself to abstain from any positive conceptions concern 
ing the Godhead, beyond what I find expressly contained in 
the divine revelation, or what the reason of things, either ante- 
cendently thereto, or consequentially thereupon, doth most 
evidently persuade and require ; and do greatly approve the 
same caution, which I cannot but observe with you : but de 
sire it may be weighed whether such measures may not, and 
must not lead us further* 

As for the word person, you prudently profess not to be fond 
of it, the thing being agreed, though you also truly judge it a 
good word, and sufficiently warranted. For the notion signified 
by it, you all along seem to decline that of the schools, or the 
metaphysical one, which, you know, makes it to be a rational, 
or intelligent suppositum ; and to take up with (what I think I 
may, wanting a fitter that is a more comprehensive word, call) 
the civil notion of it ; which will allow the same man to be ca 
pable of sustaining three or more persons, supposing his cir 
cumstances or qualifications to be such or such, as to that pur-^ 
pose you speak both in your letters and sermons. 

Now whereas you have also told us, letter the first, that by 
personality you mean that distinction (whatever it be) by whici 


the three persons are distinguished each from other that which 
with great submission, and most profound respect to you, I 
propose to your further consideration^ will be capable of being 
resolved into these two inquiries Whether only such a distinc 
tion of the divine persons, as this amounts to, will be sufficient 
to found the several attributions which the holy Scriptures give 
distinctly and severally to them, and to preserve the scheme of 
Christian religion entire, which is wont to be deduced from 
these sacred writings, and Whether" some further distinction 
may not be admitted as possible, consistently with the solved 
unity of the Godhead. 

1. As to the former of these. 

(1.) Whereas you think the word person to be a good word, 
and sufficiently warranted by Scripture, as (Heb. 1*3.) where 
the Son is called the express image of his Father's Person ; al 
leging that so we render the word hypostasis which is there used, 
and do mean by it what you think to be there meant ; I desire 
you would please to consider whether the word hypostasis, ac* 
cording to the common use of it will admit to be so taken, as 
you explain yourself to mean by the word person, for though 
the latin word persona, as you say, according to the true and 
ancient sense, may well enough admit to be so taken, as that 
the same man might sustain three persons, I offer it to your 
re-consideration, whether ever you have observed the word hy 
postasis, in any sort of authors, when it signifies any person, 
at all (for I know that it frequently signifies somewhat else than, 
a person) to be taken in that sense. And whether one hypos 
tasis so taken as it uses to be when it signifies a person, may 
not be capable of sustaining three of those persons which you 
here describe. And whether, according to this sense you mean 
not God to be only one such hypostasis. 

(2.) Be pleased further hereupon to consider how well it 
agrees with this supposition of God's being but one hypostasis 
or intelligent suppositum, so frequently to speak, as the Holy 
Scriptures do of the Father, Son or Word, the Spirit or Holy 
Ghost, as three distinct Fs or He's. The Lord possessed me 
(as the divine word or wisdom is brought in speaking) in the 
beginning of his way I was set up from everlasting, (Prov. 
8. 22, 23.) when he prepared the heavens I was there, (ver. 

27.) Then was I by him, (ver. 30, &c.) The Word was 

with God, (John 1. 1.) He was in the world, (ver. 10.) we 
beheld his glory, (ver. 14.) and of the Spirit, He dwelleth 
with you, (John 14. I/.) The Holy Ghost whom the Father 
will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, (ver. 26) 
And whom I will send you from the Father, he shall testify of 
me, (chap. 15. 26.) And \y.hen he is conie, he will reprove the 

VOL. iv. 2 x 


world (chap. 16. 8.) And the observation seems to me as 
weighty, as it is usual, that, in some of the mentioned chapters, 
the somewhat hard synthesis of constructing SKMOS with w^rtyx* 
even where wapaxXx/o* is not the nearer suppositum, but, in 
one place, a very remote one, (and one would think too remote 
to be referred to, ver. 13, 14. is rather chosen to be used 
than that the Spirit should not be spoken of as a distinct he, or 
rather than lie should be Called it, which could not so fitly no 
tify a person. If the sarfte man were a king, a general, and a 
father, I doubt whether that would give sufficient ground to his 
being called he, and he, and he. 

(2) But the distinct predicates spoken of the three sacred 
persons in the Godhead seem much more to challenge a greater 
distinction of the persons than your notion of a person doth 
seem to admit : that of sending and being sent, spoken so 
often of the -first in reference to the second and of the first and 
second in reference to the third, as not to need the quoting of 
places. If the same man were a king, a general, and a judge, 
methinks it would not well square with the usual forms of speak 
ing among men (and God speaks to men as men) to say, that, 
as the first, he sends the two latter, that is himself. 

And one would think our being required to be baptized in the 
distinct names of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost should sig 
nify some greater distinction. 

As also that three are said to bear witness in heaven. I doubt 
that in a cause wherein our law requires two or more witnesses, 
the same man that should be a father, a brother, and a sou, 
would scarce thereupon be admitted for three witnesses. 

And how the incarnation of the Son can be understood ac 
cording to your notion of person, without the Father's and 
Holy Ghost's incarnation also, I confess I cannot apprehend; 
Your notion of a person contradistinct to the scholastic no 
tion, as was said before, seems to leave the Godhead to be but 
one hrflwstasis, or person in the latter sense. How then are 
we to conceive of the hypostatical union ? The assumed nature 
will be as much hy politically united with the Father, or the 
Spirit, as with the Son. 

(3.) And doth not this civil, or merely respective notion of 
a person, the other being left, fall in with the Antitrinitariaii ? 
Will it not make us Unitarians only, as they affect to call them 
selves ? Would any of them (as you are pleased to take notice^ 
letter 6*. p. 1, 2.) say, none but a mad-man would deny there 
may be three persons in one God, have been so mad (not yet 
professing themselves converts) as to say so, if they had not 
supposed their cause not hurt by this notion of a person ? For, 
(as you well say, letter I.j we need not be fond of words, so the 


thing "be agreed, so have they equal reason to say, we need riot 
be afraid of words, if in the sense you agree with us. And 
with one sort of them I only desire you to consider how great 
an appearance the asserting only of three persons, in the one 
sense, quitting the other, will carry off an agreement. 

And have they not all the advantage left them which they 
eek in arguing against the satisfaction made by our Saviour 
from the necessity of an alterity, that in the business of mak 
ing satisfaction there must be alter atque alter, one ivho sa 
tisfies, and another ivho is satisfied. I do very well know, 
what instances are brought of human rulers making satisfac 
tion for delinquents, but there is no parity in the cases, they 
being themselves debtors to the governed community, as God 
is not, who hath with most undoubted righteousness made all 
things for himself. 

(4.) And consider whether by your notion of a person you 
forsake not the generality of them, who have gone, as to this 
point, under the repute of orthodox? who no doubt have under 
stood by three persons, three intelligent hypostases; though they 
have differed in thinking, some of them that only a rpovof wa^ecas 
a mode of subsistence was the genitum or spiratum as to the 
two latter : a notion that is either too fine, or too little solid, 
for some minds to grasp, or take any hold of : others that the 
divine nature might itself be some way said to be communica 
ted to them. But I pass to the 

2. Inquiry : Whether some further distinction may not be 
admitted as possible? The only thing that straitens us here, is 
the most unquestionable unity or wiiclty (as we may call it) of 
the Godhead. Which, if it cannot be otherwise defended, 
I must yet for my part, notwithstanding these hardships (and 
I know no man with whom I could do it with more inclina- 
tion)fall in with you. But I must crave it of you so far to fall in 
with you know not who, as to apply your clearer mind, as, I 
do my more cloudy one, to consider whether it can or no. You 
will here say, Further than what ? and what would I have fur 
ther ? 

To the former of these, I only say, further than the assert 
ing, in very deed, but one hypostasis, in the Godhead, dis 
tinguished no otherwise into three, than by certain relative ca 
pacities, like those which may among men be sustained by one 
and the same man ; and which distinction, as you after add, is 
analogous to what, in created beings, is called distinctio mo- 
dalis : a modal distinction. 

To the latter, I desire you to observe what I generally pro 
pose, not that we may positively assert any further determi 
nate distinction as certain and known ; but only whether we 


may not admit some further distinction to be possible, in con 
sistency with the unity of the Godhead. I do equally detest 
and dread to speak with rash and peremptory confidence about 
things both so mysterious and so sacred. But may we not mo 
destly say, that if to that economy which God hath represented 
himself in his word, to bear, and keep afoot, towards his crea 
tures, any further distinction than hath been assigned is neces 
sary, it is also possible, and may be, for ought we know ; if 
indeed we know nothing to the contrary. What is impossible 
we are sure cannot be necessary. But God himself best, and 
only knows his own nature, and what his own meaning is in 
the representation he hath made to us. If we sincerely aim to 
understand his meaning, that we may bear ourselves towards him 
accordingly, he will with merciful indulgence consider our 
short, or mis-apprehensions, But we need not say there is not 
this or that distinction, if really we do not know there is not. 
While we know so little of natures inferior to our own, and 
even of our own nature, and how things are distinguished that 
belong to ourselves, we have little reason to be shy of confess 
ing ignorance about the nature of God. 

Therefore I most entirely agree to the two conclusions of the 
ingenious W. J. wherewith he concludes his letter. But in 
the mean time (and pursuantly enough thereto) cannot but 
doubt the concludingness of his very acute reasonings against, 
at least, some of the expressions of that learned person (Dr. 
Sherlock.) which he animadverts upon, as, I perceive you also 
do (p. 16.) of your seventh letter. And even W. J. himself: 
for with a pious modesty he tells us-r concerning infinite na 
tures he presumes not to determine. Letter, (p, 8.) 

What he objects against that author having said the divine 
persons are three beings really distinct (wherein I instance, not 
intending to run through that elaborate letter) that then there 
must be three distinct essences- seems to me a ira^fyov, an un 
necessary labour. I doubt not the author will easily admit it. 
But what will be the consequence ? That therefore there are 
three Deities ? That cannot be his meaning, nor be consequent 
from it, if he only mean that the Deity comprehends in it three 
such essences. If indeed he think those three beings are as 
distinct as Peter, James, and John ; what is said by W. J. 
against him, I think irrefragable, that then they are no other 
wise one, than Peter, James, and John ; and by him against 
himself; for Peter, James, and John are not mutually self- 
conscious, as they are asserted to be, which mutual self-con 
sciousness, since it is supposed to make the three divine per^ 
sons one, cannot be supposed to leave them so distinct, as they 
jre with whom it is n,ot found. 


As to what is observed of the defective expression of this 
unitive principle by the word consciousness, that bare consci 
ousness, without consent, is no more than bare omnisciency. 
Sure it is not so much. For consciousness doth not signify 
omnisciency. We are conscious to ourselves, yet are not om 
niscient. But I reckon, (as I find he also doth) that even con 
sent added to consciousness, would yet leave the expression de 
fective, and still want the unifying power which is sought 
after. For it would infer no more than a sort of moral union, 
which in the kind of it, may be found among men, between, 
whom there is so little of natural union (speaking of the nume 
rical nature) that they are actually separate. 

But now may we not suppose (as that which is possible, and 
actually is, for ought we know) what may be fundamental to 
both consciousness and consent, a natural union even of the nu 
merical natures ? Such a union would not infer a unity, or 
identity of these natures, essences, substances, or beings 
themselves. For as W. J. hath well argued, (Letter, p. 5, 
6'.) "Substances upon union are not confounded or identified, 
or brought to unity of substance, but continuing numerically 
distinct substances acquire some mutual community or commu 
nication of operations, &c." And deferring the consideration a- 
while what this would signify towards the unity, notwithstand 
ing, of the Godhead, we shall take notice how accommodate- 
ly to our present purpose W. J. speaks in what follows, where 
instancing in the chief unions that are known to us, he says, 
"Our soul and body are two substances really distinct, and in 
close union with one another. But notwithstanding this, they 
continue distinct substances under that union, In like manner 
the human soul of Christ is in union with the Logos, or second 
person of the trinity, which we call an hypos tatical union. 
But neither doth this union make a unity of substance. For 
the two substances of the divine and human natures continue 
distinct under that union." It is true, he adds, "which must not 
be allowed in the unity of the Godhead, where there can be no 
plurality or multiplicity of substances." Nor do I say that it 
must, I only say, Do we know, or are we sure there is no sort 
of plurality ? 

But if we are sure that there are temporal unions (that is be 
gun in time) as in ourselves for instance, of two substances 
that make but one man, and in our Saviour a human nature and 
divine that make but one Immanuel. How do we know but 
that there may be three in the Godhead that make but one God ? 
And the rather, because this being supposed, it must also be 
supposed that they are necessarily and eternally united, and 
With a conjunct natural impossibility of ever being, or haying- 


been otherwise, whereof the absolute immutability of God must 
upon that supposition most certainly assure us. And such a 
supposed union will be most remote from making the Deity an 
aggregate. And for any thing of composition, I reckon we are 
most strictly bound to believe every thing of the most perfect 
simplicity of the Divine Being which his word informs us of, 
and to assent to every thing that is with plain evidence demon 
strable of it. But not every thing which the schools would im 
pose wpon its, without such testimony or evidence. For as 
none can " know the things of a man, but the spirit of a man 
which is in him, so nor can any know the things of God, but 
the Spirit of God. " Nor can I think the argument conclud 
ing from the imperfection of a being, in which distinct things 
concur that were separate, or are de novo united, to the im 
perfection of a being, in which things some way distinct are 
necessarily and eternally self-united. Nor can therefore agree 
with W. J. that we are to look (universally) upon real distinc 
tion as a mark of separability ; or that clear and distinct con 
ception is to us the rule of partibility. For though I will not 
affirm that to be the state of all created spirits ; yet I cannot 
deny it to be possible that God might have created such a being, 
as should have in it distinct (assignable) parts, all of them es<- 
sential to it, and not separable from it without the cessation 
of the whole. But now, as the accession of the human nature 
to the divine in the hypostatical union infers no imperfection to 
the divine, so much less would what things we may suppose 
naturally, necessarily, and eternally united in the Godhead in 
fer any imperfection therein. 

I easily admit what is said by W. J. letter, page 8. That 
we have no better definition of God, than that he is^ a Spirit 
infinitely perfect But then, being so far taught by himself my 
conception of him, I must include in it, this trinal distinction, 
or a triple somewhat which he affirms of himself, and without 
which, or any one whereof, he were not infinitely perfect, and 
consequently not God, and that all together do make one God. 
As you most aptly say of your resemblance of him, a cube, 
there are in it three dimensions truly distinct from each other, 
yet all these are but one cube, and if any one of the' three 
were wanting, it were not a cube. 

Set this down then for the notion of God, that he is a Spirit 
infinitely perfect, comprehending in that omnimodous perfec*- 
tion a trinal distinction, or three persons truly distinct, each 
whereof is God. What will be the consequence ? that there 
fore there are three Gods ? Not at all, but that each of these 
partaking divine nature give us an inadequate, and all together 
a most perfectly adequate and entire notion of God. Npr 


would the language of this hypothesis being pressed to speak 
out (as he says in his letter) be this these are not fit to be cal 
led three Godjs 5 bat not possible (with any truth) to be so 

^ And whereas he after tells us, these three being united by 
similitude of nature, mutual consciousness, consent, co-opera 
tion under the greatest union possible ; and in that state of 
union do constitute the ro &*o, the entire all-comprehensive 
Godhead, and adds, this looks somewhat like a conceivable 
thing. To this I note two things : 

First, That he makes it not look like so conceivable a thing, 
as it really may do. For he leaves out the most important 
thing that was as supposable as any of the rest, and prior to a 
mere similitude, namely, a natural union of these (supposed) 
distinct essences, without which they are not unde* the great 
est union possible ; and which, being supposed necessary, and 
eternal, cannot admit these should be more than one God. 

Secondly, I note that what he opposes to it (so defectively 
represented) is as defective, that the Christian trinity doth not 
use to be represented thus, &c. What hurt is there in it, if 
it can be more intelligibly represented than hath been used ? 
But his gentle treatment of this hypothesis, which he thought, 
as he represents it, not altogether unintelligible, and which 
with some help may be more intelligible, became one inquiring 
what might most safely, and with least torture to our own 
minds, be said, or thought in so awful a mystery. It however 
seems not proper to call this an hypostatical union much 
less to say it amounts to no more. It amounts not to so much. 
For an hypostatical or personal union would make the terms 
united (the unita, the things or somewhats under this union) 
become by it one hypostasis or person ; whereas this union 
must leave them distinct persons or hypostases, but makes 
them one God. In the use of the phrase hypostatical or per 
sonal union the denomination is not taken from the subject of 
the union, as if the design were to signify that to be divers hy- 
postases, or persons, but from the effect or result of the men 
tioned union, to signify that which results to be one person or 
hypostasis. As the matter is plain in the instance wherein it 
is of most noted use, the case of the two natures united in the 
one person of the Son of God ; where the things united are not 
supposed to be two persons, but two natures so conjoined, as 
yet to make but one person, which therefore is the negative 
result or effect of the union, namely, that the person is not 
multiplied by the accession of another nature, but remains still 
only one. But this were a union quite of another kind, namely, 
of the three hypostasts, stiUrenjairiing distinct, and concurring in 


one Godhead. And may not this be supposed without pfejif-* 
dice to its perfection. 

For the schools themselves suppose themselves not to admit 
a composition prejudicial to the perfection of the Godhead^ 
when they admit three modes of subsistence, which are distinct 
from one another, and from the Godhead, which they must 
admit. For if each of them were the very Godhead, each of 
them (as is urged against us by you know who) must have three 
persons belonging to it, as the Godhead hath. And yourself 
acknowledge three somewhats in the Godhead distinct, or else 
they could not be three. I will not here urge that if they be 
three somewhats, they must be three things, not three nothings; 
for however uneasy it is to assign a medium between something 
and nothing, I shall wave that metaphysical contest. But yet 
collect, that simplicity in the very strictest sense that can be 
conceived, is not, in your account, to be ascribed to God, 
either according to his own word, or the reason of things. 

It may here be urged, How can we conceive this natural union 
(as I have adventured to phrase it) of the three persons, sup 
posing them distinct things, substances, or spirits ? Is such a 
union conceivable, as shall make them be but one God, and 
not be such, as shall make them cease to be three distinct 
things, substances, or spirits ? We find indeed the mention 
ed unions of soul and body in ourselves, and of the two natures 
in Christ consistent enough with manifest distinction ; but then 
the things united are in themselves of most different natures. 
But if things of so congenerous a nature be united, will not 
their distinction be lost in their union ? 

I answer, First. That a spirit and a spirit are numerically 
as distinct, as a body and a spirit. 4 n{ ^> Secondly, thaj: we 
may certainly conceive it ajs possible t6 God to have united two 
or three created spirits, and by as strict union as is between our 
souls and bodies, without confounding them ; and I reckon the 
union between our souls and bodies much more wonderful than 
that would have been. Why then is an unmade, uncreated 
union of three spirits less conceivable as that which is to be pre 
supposed to their mutual consciousness ? 

I shall not move, or meddle with, any controversy about the 
infinity of these three supposed substances or spirits, it being 
acknowledged on all hands that contemplations of that kind 
cannot but be above our measure. And well knowing how 
much easier it is to puzzle oneself upon that question, Anpos- 
sit dari infinitum infinito infinitim, whether one infinite can 
be tidded to another so as to increase its infinity, than to 
apeak satisfyingly, and unexceptionably about it to another. 
And though I will not use the expressions, as signifying my 


forhled judgment, that there are three things, substances, or 
spirits in the Godhead (as you, that there are three somewhats) 
yet, as I have many years thought, I do still think that what 
the learned W. J. doth but more lightly touch of the Son, and 
the Holy Ghost being produced (which term I use, but reciting 
it, as he doth) not by a voluntary external, but by an internal, 
necessary, and emanative act, hath great weight in it. 

In short my sense hath long lain thus, and I submit it to 
your searching and candid judgment, namely, That though we 
need not have determinate thoughts, how far the Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost are distinguished ; yet we must conceive them 
in the general to be so far distinguished, as is really necessary 
to the founding the distinct attributions which the Scriptures do 
distinctly give them. And that whatever distinction is truly 
necessary to that purpose, will yet not hinder the participati 
on of the two latter with the first in the Godhead, which can 
be but one> because that though we are led by plain Scripture, 
and the very import of that word, to conceive of the Father as 
the Fountain, yet the Son being from him, and the Holy 
Ghost from them both, not contingently, or dependently on 
\vill and pleasure ; but by eternal, natural, necessary promana- 
tion, these two latter are infinitely distinguished from the 
whole creation : inasmuch as all creatures are contingent be 
ings, or dependent upon will and pleasure, as the character is 
given us of created things,. (Rev. 4. 11.) Thou hast made all 
things, and for thy pleasure they are and were Created. But 
that whatever, is what it is necessarily, is God. For I have no 
doubt but the dreams of some, more anciently, and of late, 
concerning necessary matter, and the sophisms of Spinosa and 
some others, tending to prove the necessity and identity of all 
substance are (with what they aim to evince) demonstrably 
false. The sum of all will be this, 

(1.) That we can be more certain of nothing than that there 
is but one God. 

(2.) We are most sure the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost 
ate sufficiently distinguished to give a just ground to the dis 
tinct attributions, which are in the Scripture severally given to 

(3.) We are not sure what that sufficient distinction is : (where 
in I find you saying with me over and over) but whereas you 
rightly make the word person applicable to God, but in a sense 
analogous to that which obtains of it with men ; why may it 
not be said it may be fitly applicable, for ought we know, in a 
sense analogous to that notion of it among men, which makes 
a person signify an intelligent hypostasis, and so three dis 
tinct persons, three distinct intelligent hypostases* 

VOL. IV. 2 Y 


(4.) But if that sufficient distinction can be no less, than 
that there be in the Godhead, three distinct intelligent hypos- 
tases, each having its own distinct singular intelligent nature, 
with its proper personality belonging to it, we know nothing to 
the contrary, but that the necessary eternal nature of the God 
head may admit thereof. Jf any can from plain Scripture tes 
timony, or cogent reason evince the contrary, let the evidence 
be produced. In the mean time we need not impose upon 
ourselves any formal denial of it. 

(5.) If the contrary can be evidenced, and that hereupon it 
be designed to conclude that there can be but one intelligent 
hypostasis in the Godhead, and therefore that the Son, and 
the Holy Ghost are but creatures, the last refuge must be ta 
deny the former consequence, and to allege that though the 
same finite singular nature cannot well be understood to remain 
entirely to one, and be communicated entirely to another, and! 
another, the case will not be the same speaking of an infinite 


If what is here said shall occasion to you any new thoughts 
that you shall judge may be of common use, I conceive there 
will be no need of publishing my letter, but only that you be 
pleased to communicate your own sentiments, as from your 
self, which will have so much the more of authority and useful 
ness with them. The most considerable thing that I have hint 
ed, is the necessary promanation of the Son, and Holy Ghost, 
that must distinguish them from contingent beings, and so 
from creatures ; which If you think improveable to any good 
purpose, as it hath been with me a thought many years old, so 
I suppose it not new to you, and being now resumed by you, 
upon this occasion, you will easily cultivate it to better advan 
tage than any words of mine can give it. 

But if you think it adviseable that any part of my letter be 
published, if you please to signify your mind to that purpose in 
one line marked it will come sealed to my view, and 
will give opportunity of offering my thoughts to you, what 
parts I would have suppressed, which will be such only, a 
shall leave the rest the fuller testimony of my being, 


Your most sincere honourer and most 
respectful humble servant, 


Poiret's method of proving a trinity in the Godhead, though 
it call itself mathematical or geometrical, is with me much less 
convictive, thaivthe plain scriptural way. 




eighth letter happening to come to my view hefore it 
was printed off, I have the opportunity of taking notice to 
you that it quite misrepresents the intent of the letter to you 
Subscribed Anonymous, which it makes to be the defending or 
excusing some expressions of Dr. Sherlock's; which indeed was 
the least considerable thing, if it were any thing at all in the 
design of that letter, and not altogether accidental to it. The 
true design of it was, that there might be a clearer foundation 
asserted (as possible at least) to the doctrine of the incarnation 
and satisfaction of the Son of God. Nor can the forte quod sic 
here be solved by iheforfe quod non, the exigency of the case 
being such, as that if more be possible it will be highly requi 
site ; and that it cannot well be avoided to assert more, unless 
it can be clearly evinced that more is impossible. Nor yet is it 
necessary to determine how much more is necessary. But not 
only the commonly received frame of Christian doctrine, doth 
seem to require somewhat beyond what the mere civil or re 
spective notion of the word person imports ; but also the plain 
letter of Scripture, which says (Heb. 1.3.) that the Son of God is 
the express image of the Father's hypostasis, which seems to 
signify there are two hypostases, and other Scriptures seem to 
say enough, whence we may with parity of reason collect a third. 
Now that letter intimates, I think, sufficient matter of doubt, 
whether hypostasis doth not signify much more than person, 
in your sense. 


The principal thing, that letter humbly offered to consideration 
that is, whether supposing a greater distinction than you have 
assigned be necessary, it may not be defended, by the just sup- 
posal that the promanation of the second or third persons (or 
hypostases rather) howsoever diverse they are, is by natural 
eternal necessity, not contingent, or depending upon will and 
pleasure, as all created being is and doth is altogether waved. 
That letter was written with design of giving you the occasion 
of considering what might be further requisite and possible to 
be asserted for the serving of the truth, and with that sincerity 
and plenitude of respect to you that it might be wholly in your 
own power to do it in such a way, as wherein not at all to dis 
serve yourself. Which temper of mind is still the same with 

Rev, Sir, 

Your most unfeigned honourer, 
and humble servant, 

December, 1C, 91, 




Worthy Sir, 

Am loath troublesomely to importune you. But the very 
little time I had for the view of your eighth letter, before 
I wrote mine by the last post not allowing me fully to write my 
sense as to that part which concerned my former letter, I take 
leave now to add, that my design in it (as well as the professed 
design of the letter itself) was to offer you the occasion of em 
ploying that clear understanding, wherewith God hath blest 
you, above most, in considering whether a greater latitude 
cannot be allowed us in conceiving the distinction of the three 
in the Godhead consistently with the unity thereof, than your 
notion of a person will extend to. And if it can, whether it 
ought not to be represented (at least as possible) to give a less 
exceptionable ground to the doctrines of the incarnation and 
satisfaction of the second person, in order whereto it seems to 
me highly requisite. This was that I really intended, and not 
the vindicating the sentiments of that author, which you might 
observe that letter animadverts upon. The Scripture seems to 
allow a greater latitude, by the ground it gives us to apprehend 
three hypostases ; which so much differ from the notion you 
give of persons, that one hypostasis may sustain three such 
persons as you describe. The only thing that seems to straiten 
us in this matter, is the usual doctrine of the schools about the 
divine simplicity. I confess I greatly coveted to have had 
your thoughts engaged in sifting and examining that doctrine ; 


so far as to consider whether there be really any thing in it, 
cogent and demonstrable that will be repugnant to what is over 
turned in that letter. And I the rather desired more room 
might be gained in this matter, apprehending the Unitarians 
(as they more lately affect to call themselves) might upon the 
whole, think you more theirs, than ours ; and while they agree 
with you concerning the possibility of such a trinity as you as- 
serl, may judge their advantage against the other mentioned 
doctrines, no less than it was. 

My desiring that letter of mine might not be printed, was 
most agreeable to what I intended in writing it ; that was, only 
to suggest to you somewhat (very loosely) that I reckoned you 
more capable than any man I knew, to cultivate, and improve, 
to the great service of the common Christian cause. And that 
you might seem to say, what you might, upon your own search, 
find safe and fit to be said, as merely from yourself, without tak- 
Jng notice what occasion was given you by any such letter at all. 
Had 1 designed it for public view, it would have been written with 
more care, and with more (expressed) respect to you. But if 
upon the whole, you judge there is nothing in it considerable to 
the purposes it mentions, my further request is, you will please 
rather to suppress that part of your letter which concerns it (for 
which I suppose there is yet opportunity) and take no notice 
any such letter came to your hands. I am, 

Reverend Sir, 

Your most respectful, 

Humble servant, 
December, 19. 91. Anonymous. 





1 . Of the unity of the Godhead there can be no doubt, ft 
being in reason demonstrable and most expressly, often, assert 
ed in Scripture. 

2. That there is a trinity in the Godhead, of Father, Son, 
or Word, and Holy Ghost is the plain, obvious sense of so many 
scriptures, that it apparently tends to frustrate the design of the 
whole Scripture-revelation, and to make it useless, not to ad 
mit this trinity, or otherwise to understand such scriptures. 

3. That therefore the devising any other sense of such scrip 
tures ought by no means to be attempted, unless this trinity in 
the Godhead can be evidently demonstrated to be impossible. 

4. That the impossibility of it can never be demonstrated 
from the mere unity of the Godhead, which may be such, as 
to admit these distinctions in it, for ought we know. 

5. Nothing is more appropriate to the Godhead than to be 
a necessarily existent, intelligent Being ; since all creatures 
whether intelligent, or unintelligent, are contingent, depend 
ing upon the will of the necessary, intelligent, Being. 

6'. If therefore the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost do coexist 
in the Godhead necessarily, they cannot but be God. 

7. And if the first be conceived as thefountain, the second as 
by natural, necessary (not voluntary) promanation from the first, 
the third by natural, necessary (not voluntary) spiration, so 


that neither of these latter, could have heen otherwise \ Hiig 
aptly agrees with the notions of Father, Son, and Spirit dis 
tinctly put upon them, and infinitely distinguishes the two lat 
ter from all creatures that depend upoti will and pleasure. 

8. Whatever distinction there be of these three among them* 
selves, yet the first being the Original, the second being by 
that promanation necessarily and eternally united with the first, 
the third by sucli spiration united necessarily and eternally with 
both the other, inasmuch as eternity, and necessity of existence 
admit no change, this union must be inviolable, and everlast 
ing, and thereupon the Godhead which they constitute^ can be 
tut one. 

9. We have anlong the creatiifes, and evert in ourselves, in 
stances of very different natures, continuing distinct, but so 
united, as to be one thing; and it were more easily supposable 
of congenerous natures. 

10. If such union with distinction be impossible in the 
Godhead, it must not be from any repugnancy in the thing it 
self, since very intimate union, with continuing distinction, is 
in itself no impossible thing ; but from somewhat peculiar to 
the Divine Being. 

1 1 . That peculiarity, since it cannot be unity (which be 
cause it may admit distinctions in one and the same thing, we 
are not sure it cannot be so in the Godhead) must be that sim 
plicity commonly wont to be ascribed to the divine nature. 

12. Such simplicity as shall exclude that distinction, 
which shall appear necessary in the present case, is not by ex 
press Scripture any where ascribed to God ; and therefore must 
be rationally demonstrated of him^ if it shall be judged to be 
long at all to him. 

13. Absolute simplicity is not a perfection, nor is by any as 
cribed to God* Not by the socinians themselves, who ascribe 
to him the several intellectual and moral excellencies, that are 
attributed to him in the Scripture, of which they give very dif 
ferent definitions, as may be seen in their own Volkelius at 
large, which should signify them not to be counted, in all re 
spects, the same thing. 

14. That is not a just consequence, which is the most plau 
sible one that seems capable of being alleged for such absolute 
simplicity, that otherwise there would be a composition admit 
ted in the divine nature, which would import an imperfection 
inconsistent with Deity. For the several excellencies that con 
cur in it, howsoever distinguished, being never put together, 
nor having ever existed apart, but in eternal, necessary union, 
though they may make some sort of variety, import no proper 
composition^ and carry with them more apparent 


than absolute omnimodous simplicity can be conceived to do. 

15. Such a supposed possible variety even of individual na 
tures in the Deity, some way differing from each other, infers 
not an unbounded liberty of conceiving what pluralities therein 
we please or can imagine. The divine revelation, which could 
only justify, doth also limit us, herein, mentioning three dis 
tinct Ps or He's, and no more. 

1 6. The several attributes which are common to these three, 
do to our apprehension, and way of conceiving things, require 
less distinction ; no more, for ought we know, than may arise 
from their being variously modified, according to the distincti 
on of objects, or other extrinsical things, to which they may 
be referred. 

We that so little know how our own souls, and the powers 
and principles that belong to them do differ from one another, 
and from them, must be supposed more ignorant, and should 
be less curious, in this. 

VOL. IV. 2 Z 





To the Defence of Dr. SHERLOCK'S Notion 


Crinftp m (Hnttp, 





I find a postscript to the newly published defence of Dr Sher-> 
lock's notion of the Trinity in Unity, takes notice of the 
inquiry concerning the possibility of a trinity in the Godhead. 
He that writes it seems somewhat out of humour, or not in such 
as it is decent to hope is more usual with him : and I cannot 
guess for what, unless that one, whom he imagines a dissen 
ter, hath adventured to cast his eyes, that way that he did his. 
But for the imagination he may have as little ground, as I to 
think the dean's defender is the dean: and as little as he had 
to say the inquirer took great care that no man should suspect 
that he favours the dean in his notions. Here he is quite out in 
his guess ; for the inquirer took no such care at all, but nakedly 
to represent his own sentiments as they were, whether they 
agreed with the dean's, or wherein they differed : and really 
cares not who knows that he hath not so little kindness either 
for the truth or for him, as to abandon or decline what he 
thinks to be true for his sake, or (as he expressed himself p. 311 
of that discourse) because he said it. 

But the defender represents the dean as much of another 
temper, and that he will thank him for not favouring him in his 
notions. But yet he says, that though the inquirer doth not 
in every particular say what the dean says, yet he says what 
will justify him against the charge of tritheism. And is there 
any hurt to him in that? What a strange man doth he make the 


dean ! as if he could not be pleased unless he alone did engross 
truth ! will he thank a man for not favouring his notions, and 
yet would blame him for not saying in every particular what he 
says, though he say what will justify him against the heaviest 
charge framed against him ! may one neither be allowed to 
agree with him, nor disagree ? 

But Sir, the defender's discourse hath no design (nor I be 
lieve he himself) to disprove the possibility of a trinity in the 
ever blessed Godhead. Therefore the inquirer is safe from him 
as to the principal design he is concerned for, it is all one to 
him if it still appear possible in what way it be so represented, 
that is iateDigible, consistent with itself, and with other truth; 
so that it is hardly worth the while to him, further to inquire 
whether the dean's hypothesis or his be better, if either be 
found unexceptionably, safe and good. But because the de 
fender hath, to give preference to the one, misrepresented 
both with some appearing disadvantage to the cause itself, what 
he says ought to be considered. And the whole matter will be 
reduced to this twofold inquiry : whether the inquirer hath 
said more than the dean, or more than is defensible, of the dis-. 
tinction of the sacred three in the Godhead : and whether the 
dean hath said so much as the inquirer, or so much as was re* 
quisite of their union. 

1. For the former, the defender, p. 103. mentions the 
dean's notion of three infinite minds or spirits : and makes the 
inquirer to have been proving three spirits, three distinct es 
sences, three individual natures, in the Godhead; and then 
adds u for my part, I cannot tell where the difference is, un 
less it be in the term infinite/' It is indeed strange the inquirer 
should have said more than the dean, if there were no difference, 
unless in the term infinite, wherein he must have said infinite 
ly less 

But he at length, apprehends another difference, though he 
after labours to make it none, namely, that the inquirer dis 
putes, but asserts nothing, and he fancies he doth so to shelter 
himself from the anirnadverter, of whom he says he seems to 
be terribly afraid. Here he puts the dean into a fit of kindness 
and good nature, allowing the inquirer to partake with him in 
his fears, though not in his notions, as more sacred. But he 
herein understands not the inquirer, who if he had been so 
terribly afraid, could very easily have said nothing : and who 
was really afraid of a greater animadverter, thinking it too 
great boldness, under his eye, to speak confidently of his own 
peculiarities, and that lie folded up in so venerable darkness. 
He thought it enough, in opposition to the daring person (who 
soever he was) with whom he was concerned that so perempto- 


lily pronounced the trinity an absurdity, a contradiction, non 
sense, and an impossibility, to represent what he proposed as 
possible for ought he knew. 

And now the defender will have the dean to have done no 
more. And with all my heart let him have done no more, if he 
and his animadverter, and the rest of the world will so agree it: 
but he will have the inquirer to have done more, and to be 
much more exposed to the charge of tritheism, by asserting 
three distinct essences, three individual natures, and three spi 
ritual beings in the Godhead. This is indeed very marvellous, 
that the inquirer should expose himself to the charge of trithe 
ism by asserting all this, when but a few lines before upon the 
same page, he is said to have asserted nothing ! But he may 
as well make the inquirer in asserting nothing to have asserted, 
all this, as the dean in asserting all this to have asserted no 

And where the inquirer hath said in express words that the 
sacred three are three distinct substances I cannot find. And 
we must in great part alter the common notion of substance to 
make it affirmable of God at all, namely, that it doth substare 
accidentibus, subsist in accidents, which I believe the dean 
will no more than the inquirer suppose the Divine Being to ad 
mit. But it is true, that there is somewhat more considerable 
in the notion of substance, according whereto, if the dean can 
make a shift to avoid the having of any inconvenient thing prov 
ed upon him by consequence, I hope the inquirer may find a, 
way to escape as well. 

But whereas he says, the dean allows but one divine essence, 
and one individual nature in the Godhead repeated in three per 
sons, but without multiplication, as he says he had already ex 
plained it. This hath occasioned me to look back to that ex 
planation, and if he think the allowing but one divine essence, 
and one individual nature in the Godhead, will agree with what 
the dean hath said in his vindication, I shall not envy him, nor 
now go about to disprove it. But I confess I see not how it can 
agree with what the defender says in this his explanation itself, 
when p. 23. he tells us, the Son is the living subsisting image 
of the Father, and the image and the prototype cannot be the 
same, but must be two. No man is his own image, nor is an 
image, the image of itself. And he adds, this is so self-evident^ 
&c. But whereas the distinction all this while might be under 
stood to be but modal, and that appears to be the defender's 
present (whatever was the dean's former) meaning, that the 
three subsistences differ only in their different manner of sub 
sisting, yet with this meaning his other words do little agree, 
for he plainly asserts a real distinction of three in the same in- 


dividual numerical nature. And who did ever make a real dis 
tinction to be but modal ? More expressly he had said before, 
(p. 18,) the divine nature is one individual nature, but not one 
single nature, for one single nature can be but one person 
whether in God or man. 

I shall not here discuss with him the criticism upon which he 
lays so mighty stress of one individual nature and one single 
nature but take the terms he chooses, and if the divine nature 
be not one single nature, it must be double, it must be triple. 
And what doth this come to less than three natures ? unless all 
ordinary forms of speech must be quite abandoned and forsaken. 
And wherein doth it come short of what is said by the inquirer ? 
p. 318. "This term individual must (in the case now sup 
posed, as possible not as certain) admit of a twofold appli 
cation either to the distinct essence of the Father, or of the Son, 
or of the Holy Ghost ; or to the entire essence of the Godhead, 
in which these three do concur. Each of these conceived by 
itself, are (according to this supposition) individual essences, 
but conceived together they are the entire individual essence of 
God, for there is but one sucli essence and no more, and it can 
never be multiplied nor divided into more of the same name and 
nature." Duplicity, triplicity, are admitted; simplicity re 
jected. If simple and single be of the same signification 
where is the difference, but that the one thinks absolute omni- 
modous simplicity is not to be affirmed of the divine nature, as 
lie often speaks : the other says downright, it is not single or 
simple without limitation. The one denies multiplication of 
it, so doth the other. The one indeed speaks positively, the 
other doth but suppose what he says as possible, not certain. 
And there is indeed some difference between supposing a thing 
as possible for ought one knows ; and affirming it so positively, 
as to impute heresy, and nonsense, to all gainsayers. But both 
bring for proof, the same thing, the incarnation ; as in the 
postscript, the defender takes notice the inquirer doth, p. 102. 
And so doth he himself in his letter, p. 102, "The divine nature 
was incarnate in Christ, he was perfect God and perfect man, 
and if there was but one single divine nature in all three persons, 
this one single divine nature was incarnate, and therefore the 
Father and the Holy Ghost who are this single divine nature, as 
well as the Son, must be as much incarnate as the Son was.'* 
He makes the contrary absurd. And brings in (fitly enough) 
Victorinus Afer teaching, that we ought not to say, nor is it 
lawful to say, there is but one substance, that is, as he para^ 
phrases it, one single subsisting nature (therefore there must be 
three single subsisting natures) and three persons. For if this 


same substance did and suffered all (patri-passiani ct nos) 
we must be Patripassians, which God forbid. 

And what the defender alleges from the ancients, (Letter 
p. 24. 25.) against the sabellians,, allowing only a trinity of 
names and his taking the rpowot y^a.^us in the concrete not in. 
abstract, fully enough speaks the inquirer's sense, his account 
ing the contrary too fine and metaphysical for him was what 
was written to Dr. Wallis, (Calm Discourse, p. 339.) too fine 
or too little solid, &c. 

In short, till it can be effectually proved, that mind and spirit 
do not signify somewhat as absolute as nature or essence (or ra 
ther more than the former, which signifies the principle of opera 
tion as of the other being,) and till it can be as well proved, that 
asserting a thing as certain, so as to pronounce it heresy and 
nonsense to think otherwise, is less than only to propose it as 
possible, or inquire whether it be so or no, the dean must be 
judged by every one that understands common sense, to have 
heightened the distinction of three persons at least as much as 
the inquirer. And whether the inquirer have supposed more 
than is defensible against the defender's objections, will be con 
sidered by and by in its proper place. In the mean time let 

2. Be examined whether the dean has said as much for 
salving the unity of the Godhead as the inquirer, or as much as 
is requisite to that purpose. And here our business will be 
short, for it all turns upon that one single point, whether mu 
tual consciousness be that union which must be acknowledged, 
or suppose it only. For which we need only appeal to com 
mon reason, whether being do not in the natural order precede 
even the power of working, and consequently whether being" 
united vitally, precede not the possibility of acting agreeably 
to that united state, whereupon the inquiry is not concerning 
actual conscience only, but (as he speaks) consciousness. Is 
it possible any three persons or intelligent subsistences, should 
naturally have vital perception of each other's internal motions 
and sensations, without being vitally preunited ? I say natural 
ly, for that God might give to three created spirits a temporary 
perception of each other without bringing them into a stated 
2tnion each with other, is little to be doubted ; as a spirit may 
assume a body and animate it pro tempore without being sub 
stantially united with it. And if that body were also a spirit 
they might pro tempore for ought we know by extraordinary 
divine disposition (for within the ordinary course of nature we 
know of no such intimacy of created spirits to another) be quasi 
animcBy the cause of life to one another. But if naturally they were 
{so to mingle and transfuse sensations mutually into each other^ 

VOL. IV. 3 A 


they must be naturally, first, in vital union with one another^ 
Nor therefore did the inquirer mistake the dean's notion as the 
defender fancies in the passage he quotes p. 101. as if lie took 
mutual consciousness for mere mutual perspection. For though 
scire^to know* abstractly taken, doth not signify more than per- 
sjricere, to look through, yet the inquirer in that passage speak 
ing of a never so perfect mutual perspection properly enough 
expressed thereby as great a reeling such spirits were supposed 
to have of each other, in themselves, as mutual consciousness 
is apt to signify, or as the dean can yet be supposed to have 
meant, that perspection being more perfect which produces 
gusts and relishes suitable to the object, than that which stays 
in mere speculation only. 

And upon the whole, it seems very strange the defender 
should say, "if such an internal, vital sensation, be not an es 
sential union, he believes no man can tell what it is." For 
how can such actual sensation be imagined to be union ? As 
well might the use of sense itself (speaking of any thing singly 
to which it belongs) be said to be its constituent form, or (con 
sequently) the doing any thing that proceeds from reason, be 
the form of a man. So the writing a book, should be the au 
thor. And whereas he says "it is certain the dean took it to be 
so, and therefore he did not leave out a natural eternal union ; JT 
it follows, indeed, that he did not leave it out^ in his mind 
and design, but he nevertheless left it out of his book, and 
therefore said not enough there, to salve the unity of the God 
head, but ought to have insisted upon somewhat prior to mu 
tual consciousness, as constituent of that unity, and which 
might make the three one, and not merely argue them to be 

But now (p. 105.) he comes to find as great fault with the in 
quirer's way of maintaining this unity, and because he is resolv 
ed to dislike it, if he cannot find it faulty, sets himself to make 
it so. The temper of mind wherewith he writes (pX 105,) and 
onwards to the end, so soon, and so constantly shews itself, 
that no man whose mind is not in the same disorder will upon 
trial apprehend any thing in it, but such heat as dwells in dark 
ness. And he himself hath given the document which may be 
a measure to any apprehensive reader. "True divine wisdom 
rests not on an illnatured, and perverse spirit ;" (See his 
letter, p. 1 .) I understand it, "while the ill fit lasts." But it is 
strange he could write those words without any self-reflection. 
The thing to be revenged Is, that the inquirer did freely 
speak his t noil g nts > wherein he judged the dean's hypothesis 
defective h* 8 not taking notice of what he reckoned naturally 
Antecedent an( * fundamental to mutual consciousness : a most 


intimate, natural, necessary, eternal union of the sacred three. 
If the inquirer spake sincerely, as he understood the matter, 
and him ; and it evidently appear the defender did not so, 1 
only say the wronged person hath much the advantage and 
wishes him no other harm, than such gentle regrets, as are ne 
cessary to set him right with himself, and his higher Judge. He 
says, he (the inquirer) represents this unity by the union of 
soul and body, and by the union of the divine and human nature, 

It is true, he partly doth so, but more fully by .the (suppos 
ed union of) three created spirits (to which he that will may sec, 
he only makes that a lower step) and he says, (with respect es 
pecially to the former of these) "That a union supposable to 
be originally, eternally, and by natural necessity in the most 
perfect Being, is to be thought unexpressibly more perfect than 
any other." But (he adds) " these are personal unions, and 
therefore cannot be the unity of the Godhead." And he very 
well knew (for he had but little before cited the passage) that 
the inquirer never intended them so, but only to represent that 
the union of the three in the Godhead, could not be reasonably 
thought less possible. 

What he further adds is much stranger (and yet herein I am 
resolved to put charity towards him to the utmost stretch, as 
he professes to have done his understanding) for he says as far 
as he can possibly understand and that he should be glad to be 
better informed, though there is some reason to apprehend that 
former displeasure darkened his understanding, (and even dim 
med his eye-sight) which yet I hope hath its more lucid intervals, 
and that this distemper is not a fixed habit with him. And 
what is it now that he cannot possibly understand otherwise ? 
that no other union will satisfy him (namely, the inquirer) but 
such a union of three spiritual beings and individual natures as 
by their composition constitute the Godhead, as the compositi 
on of soul and body do the man, that is, he cannot understand 
but he means what he expressly denies. Who can help so cross 
an understanding ? If he had not had his very finger upon the 
place where the inquirer says in express words "1 peremptorily 
deny all composition in the being of God," (Calm Discourse 
p. 312.) this had been more excusable (besides much said to the 
same purpose elsewhere. (Calm Discourse p. 332.) It had 
been ingenuous in any man not to impute that to another, as his 
meaning, which in the plainest terms he disavows, as none of 
his meaning : And it had been prudent in the dean (or his de 
fender) of all mankind not to have done so in the present case, 
as will further be seen in due time. But he takes it for an af- 
jfront, when he fancies a man to come too near him. 


He adds, "for this reason he disputes earnestly against the 
universal, absolute, omnimodous simplicity of the divine na 
ture, and will not allow that wisdom, power, and goodness, are 
the same thing in God, and distinguished into different concep 
tions by us, only through the weakness of our understandings, 
which cannot comprehend an infinite Being in one thought, and 
therefore must, as well as we can, contemplate him by parts.'* 
I know not what he means by earnestly, the matter was weigh 
ty, and it is true, he was in writing about it in no disposition to 
jest. But it is said "he disputed against the universal, abso 
lute, omnimodous simplicity of the divine nature." I hope 
the defender in this means honestly, but he speaks very impro 
perly, for it supposes him to think that the universal, absolute, 
omnimodous simplicity, so earnestly disputed against, did really 
belong to the divine nature, but I can scarce believe him to 
think so, and therefore he should have said, his disputation tend 
ed to prove it not to belong. If he (namely, the defender, or 
the dean) did really think it did, they, or he, must be very sin 
gular in that sentiment. I would have them name me the man 
that ever laid down and asserted such a position. Some I 
know have said of that sacred Being, that it is summe simplex, 
simple in the highest sense, or more simple than any thing else, 
but that imports not universal, absolute, omnimodous simpli 
city, which is impossible to be a perfection, or therefore to 
belong to the divine nature. No man that ever acknowledged 
a trinity of persons even modally distinguished, could ever pre 
tend it, for such simplicity excludes all modes. Nay, the an- 
titrinitarians themselves can never be for it, as the calm dis 
course hath shewn, p. 352. And if the dean be, he is gone 
into the remotest extreme from what he held (and plainly 
enough seems still to hold) that ever man of sense did. 

But for what is added, that he "will not allow that wisdom, 
power and goodness, are the same thing in God :" this is not 
fairly said, civility allows me not to say, untruly. There is no 
word in the place he cites, nor any where in that book, that 
signifies not allowing, it is intimated we are not instructed "by 
the Scripture to conceive of the divine nature, as, in every 
respect, most absolutely simple/' or that power, wisdom, 
goodness in the abstract, are the same thing, and that our dif 
ficulty is great to apprehend them really undistinguishable. 
And let me seriously ask himself, doth he in good earnest think 
it is only through the weakness of our understandings that we 
distinguish the notions of the divine wisdom, power and good 
ness ? certainly it were great weakness of understanding to de~ 
fine them alike. I believe he never met with the writer yet 
that distinguished them less, than rations ratiocinata^rectson in 


its subject in contradistinction to ratiocinante, reason in its ex 
ercise : which implies somewhat corresponding to our distinct 
notions of them (eminently and not formally) in natura rei, the 
nature of the thing. 

And whereas he further says, "This prepared his way to 
make goodness, wisdom, power, a natural trinity in unity," 
herein the defender is mistaken. This is not the trinity which 
the inquirer's discourse was ever intended to terminate in, as 
he himself hath expressly said,, and the defender takes notice of 
it, which makes me wonder how he could think it was so in 
tended, citing the very passage, (vide page 314.) where the in 
quirer "professes, not to judge, that we are under the precise 
notions of power, wisdom and goodness, to conceive of the 
Father, Son and Holy Ghost." But why then were these 
three so much discoursed of before ? They are three most ce 
lebrated divine attributes, wherein we have our most immediate 
and very principal concern. And some have thought the trinity 
was most fitly to be conceived by them : the inquirer did not 
think so ; but he thought first, it would be requisite to have 
our minds disentangled from any apprehended necessity of con 
ceiving them to be in all respects the very same things, nor are 
they the very same, if they be so distinguished, as is expressed 
in the sixteenth of the summary propositions ; (Calm Discourse 
vide page 353,) where also they are each of them said to be 
common to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, whence therefore 
it is impossible they should be thought to distinguish Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost. But that some distinction being ad 
mitted even of them, this might facilitate to us our conception 
of the greater distinction which must be, of Father, Son and 
Spirit, as is expressed p. 314. Indeed he did not think fit to 
interrupt his discourse by staying to shew reasons why he did 
not rest in that account alone of the trinity, though it might 
seem plausible, or not absurd, but proceeded further to what 
was more satisfying to himself, and might be so to other men. 
And (as the intervening series of his discourse leads thereto) 
this is more directly done page 317- &c. especially where he 
comes to speak of the necessary coexistence, arc! the (as neces 
sary and natural) order of the Father, Son and Spirit, towards 
each other. The second being, not by any intervening act of 
will, but by necessary, eternal promanation, from the first, and 
the third from them both. And the true reason why power, 
wisdom and goodness, were not thought expressive of the dis 
tinction of Father, Son and Spirit, but common to each of them 
(as is said, summary Propositions 16'.) was, that the two latter 
cannot but be necessary emanations, most connatural to their 
original, as is truly suggested by the defender, p. 111. 


If you object (as the defender brings in the inquirer, saying) 
That this gives us the notion of a compounded Deity, &c. this r 
that is, the supposition, that absolute omnimodous simplicity, 
belongs not to it, is the thing which may be thought to give us 
this notion. And he tells us, he (the inquirer) answers this 
difficulty, by giving us a new notion of a compositum. And 
what is that which he calls a new notion ? that a compositum 
seems to imply a pre-existing component, that brings such 
things together, and supposes such and such more simple 
things to have pre-existed apart, or separate, and to be brought 
afterwards together into a united state. 

And indeed is this a new notion ? as new as the creation ? 
Let him shew me an instance through the whole created uni 
verse of beings (and for the uncreated being the defender (now 
at this time) disputes against any composition there, and the 
inquirer denies any) first, where there hath been a compositum 
without a pre-existing component, or next the compounded 
parts whereof, if substantial did not in order of nature pre-exist 
separate; that is, whether esse simpliciier, simply to be; do not 
naturally precede esse tale, to be in a particular form, or which 
is all one, to our present purpose, whether they were not ca 
pable hereof if the Creator pleased. Let any man, I say, tell 
me where was there ever a compositum made by substantial 
union, that did not consist of once separate or of separable 

But note his admirable following supposition, "that is to say, 
that if a man, suppose, who consists of body and soul, had been 
from eternity, without a maker, and his soul, and body had 
never subsisted apart, he could not have been said to have been 
a compounded creature?" This is said with design most 
groundlessly (as we shall see) to fasten an absurd consequence 
upon the inquirer, and see how it lucks : Did ever any man 
undertake to reprove an absurdity with greater absurdity ? a 
creature without a Maker ! what sort of creature must this be ! 
we have a pretty saying quoted in the defender's letter ; "He 
that writes lies down ;" and we are apt enough too, when we 
write to trip and fall down, and ought in such cases to be mer 
ciful to one another, even though he that falls should be in no 
danger of hurting his forehead, much more if he be. What 
was another man's turn now, may be mine next. 

But let the supposition proceed, and put we being instead 
of creature, which no doubt was the defender's meaning, for 
creature he must needs know it could not be that had no Maker. 
And what then ? "why he should not*' (says he) "have been 
said to be compounded, though he would have had the same 
parts that he has now :" We have here a self- confounding 


supposition, which having done that first, cannot hurt him 
whom it was designed to confound, being taken in season. 
Grant one, and you grant a thousand. A being made up of a 
soul and^a body, is so imperfect an entity, as could not be of it 
self. Nothing is of itself which is not absolutely perfect* If 
he mind to disprove this, let him try his faculty when he pleases 
against it, and (which I sincerely believe he never intends) to 
gether with it, against all religion. But besides, he hath de 
stroyed his own supposition himself (to put us out of that dan 
ger) by saying in plain words, p. 107. "We have no notion of 
an eternal and necessary existence, but in an absolute perfect 
and infinite nature." Now say I, what is so perfect, and hath 
whatever belongs to it necessarily, though distinguishable 
things belong to it, hath no parts, for what are parts, but such, 
things as can be parted ? such things as never were parted, 
and never can be, (as it is nonsense to talk of those things be 
ing parted that are united necessarily, and of themselves) are 
no parts, ifpartiri, whence they are so called, must not (and 
herein he cannot so fool the whole Christian world as to make 
it concur with him) lose its signification to serve a turn. Though 
the things be real, their partibility is not real. If any indeed 
will call them parts, because they may be conceived or con 
templated apart, as parts merely conceptible are no prejudice 
to the perfection of the Divine Being, so are such conceivable 
parts acknowledged by this author himself in express words ; 
"we cannot comprehend an infinite Being in one thought, and 
therefore must as well as we can contemplate him by parts/' 
His letter, p. 105. God can as little admit to be a part of 
any thing, as to have any thing a part of him. And yet it is 
no prejudice to the dignity and perfection of his being, to con 
ceive of him conjunctly with other things, as when we make 
him a part (subject or predicate) of a proposition- All his 
disputation therefore against parts and composition in the Deity, 
is against a figment, or no present adversary. For my part I 
am of his mind, and I should be obliged to thank him that this 
once he vouchsafes to let me be on his side, when he knows I 
am, if he did not take so vast pains to make others not know it. 
How hard a thing is it for an angry man (especially when he 
knows not why) to write with a sincere mind. 

But hath he in all this fervent bluster a present concern at 
this time for the honour of the Divine Being ? (as God forbid I 
should think he never hath) what is that he supposes injurious 
to it ? Is it the words, parts and compounds ? or is it the 
things supposed to be united in the Divine Being ? The words 
he knows to be his own, and let him dispose of them more in 
eptly if he can tell how : parts that were never put together, 


never parted, nor ever shall be the one or other ; that is, that 
never were or will be parts : and a compound of such parts ! 
But now for the things upon which he would obtrude these 
words, three essences, natures, (or if you please, infinite minds 
or spirits) signified by the names of Father, Son and Holy 
Ghost, in eternal union, but distinct in the Being of God. 
Let us consider his disputation against them united, or in union, 
according to its double aspect : First, upon the hypothesis or 
supposition of them : Secondly, upon himself. 

First, Consider his disputation as levelled against the hypo 
thesis or supposition of such distinct essences, natures, minds, 
spirits, in necessary, eternal union in the Divine Being. And 
one of his arguments against it, is in those words of his one 
principal argument against it (here put out parts and composi 
tion which are his own, and we have no more to do with them) 
is, that God is eternal and unmade, and whatsoever (hath parts, 
says he) hath such essences in it, must have a maker. And 
here let him prove his consequence, and his business is done, 
namely, both ways, as will be seen by and by. But let him 
shew the inconsistency between a thing's having such distinct 
essences naturally and necessarily united in it, (as the suppo 
sition to be argued against is, and before ought to have been 
justly stated) and it is being eternal and unmade. But how 
that is to be evinced I cannot so much as guess ; confident af 
firmation, against the most obvious tenour of God's own word, 
is of little account, Who shall ascend into the heavens ? or 
fathom the depths ? or can have that perspection of God's in 
comprehensible nature, as without (and visibly against) his own 
revelation to be able, without great rashness, to pronounce so 
concerning him ? But so toyish an argument as here follows, 
is worse than the position ; that is, when one shall say, that 
for ought we know there may be three distinct essences by an 
eternal unmade union, united into one, in the being of God ; 
any man should say, and be so vain as to expect to be regard 
ed, that because they are united by an eternal and unmade 
union, therefore they are not united by an eternal and unmade 
union ! If there be not a contradiction in the terms to dis 
prove a thing, by itself, is to say nothing, or is all one with 
proving a thing by itself. He proceeds, to what hath nothing 
in it like an argument, but against his own conceit of parts, 
and that very trifling too. "There can be but one eternal na 
ture in God : but if there be three there must be three." 
This it is now come to, proving his point by itself. Here he 
makes sure work to have nothing denied, but then nothing is 
proved, no advance is made ; if there be three, there must be 
three. But if there be three what ? eternal jparfo : there 


be tliree different natures, or else they would be the same. 

(What ! though distinct ?) But this supposes somebody said the 
first : and who ? himself ; therefore he is disproving him 
self. If I had said so, I would have denied his consequence, 
for there may be similar parts : whereas by different, he seems 
to mean dissimilar. He says "not only distinct, but different na 
tures." Now you have that wonderful thing talked of some 
times, but never brought to view before, a distinction without 
a difference. It is strange how any things should be distinct, 
and no way different. What distinguishes them if they differ 
by nothing ? This different, applied to this present case, is his 
own word, coined to introduce a notion that is not new to 
Christians only, but to all mankind. If by different natures he 
means (as he seems) of a different kind, who thought of such a 
difference ? But I trow, things that differ in number, do as 
truly differ (however essentially cohereing) though not so widely. 
His next is, that though we have a natural notion of an eter 
nal Being, we have no notion of three eternal essences (which 
again I put instead of his parts) which necessarily coexist in an 
eternal union. Doth he mean we are to disbelieve every thing 
of God whereof we have not a natural notion ? Then to what 
purpose is a divine revelation ? Is this notion of God pretend 
ed to be natural ? It is enough, if such a notion be most fa 
voured by his own revelation,who best understands his own na 
ture, and there be no evident natural notion against it. He 
forgot that he had said, (Defence, p. 5.) "If every thing which 
we have no positive idea of must be allowed to contradict rea 
son, we shall find contradictions enough ;" adding, "We must 
confess a great many things to be true, which we have no idea 
of, &c." He adds, "once more we have no notion of an eternal 
and necessary existence, but in an absolutely perfect and infi 
nite nature, but if there be" (I here again leave out his three 
parts, because I design to consider if there be any thing of 
strength brought against what was supposed possible by the in 
quirer, not against his fiction, which I trouble not myself any 
further with) "three spiritual Beings neither of them can be 
absolutely perfect and infinite," (I would rather have said none, 
or no one, than neither, since the discourse is of more than 
two. I thought the meaning of uter and nueter had been 
agreed long ago,) "though we could suppose their union to 
make such a perfect Being, because they are not the same, and 
^neither) no one of them is the whole," &c. 

This is the only thing that ever came under my notice among 
the scho6l-men, that hath any appearing strength in it, against 
the hypothesis which I have proposed as possible for ought I 
.knew. They generally dispute against many sorts of composi- 

TOL. 1Y. 3 B 



tions in the.being of God> which I am not concerned in : that 
of matter and form, which is alien from this affair, of quanti 
tative parts, which is as alien : of subject and accident, which 
touches us not : of act and power, which doth it as little : 
each subsistent, being eternally in utmost actuality. And by 
sundry sorts and methods of argument, whereof only this can 
seern to signify any thing against the present supposition. And 
it wholly resolves into the notion of infinity, about which I 
generally spoke my sense in that first Letter to Dr. Wallis. 
(See Calm Discourse, p. 344.) And as I there intimated 
how much easier it is to puzzle another upon that subject than 
to satisfy oneself, so 1 here say, that I doubt not to give any 
man as much trouble about it in respect of quantitative exten 
sion, as he can me, in this. I think it demonstrable that on6 
Infinite can never be from another by voluntary production, 
that it cannot by necessary emanation, I think not so. In the 
mean time when we are told so plainly by the divine oracles, of 
a sacred three, that are each of them God, and of some onfc 
whereof some things are spoken that are not, nor can be of the 
others ; I think it easier to count three than to determine of 
infiniteness : and accordingly to form one's belief. But of this 
more when we come to compare him with himself. And for 
what he discourses of the aspect this supposition hath upon the 
Trinity, and the Homo-ousion : (p. 108. 109. 110.) it all 
proceeds still upon his own fiction of parts, and upon the in 
vidious straining of that similitude of the union of soul and 
body, as he himself doth tantum non confess ; except that he 
lessens it by saying most untruly that he (the inquirer) doth 
expressly own the consequence. Therefore if he do not own the 
consequence, then the defender confesses himself to have in 
vidiously devised it; and what is it ? That if all three by this 
composition are but one God, neither of them by himself is true 
and perfect God. The divinity is like the english. But both 
his own. The inquirer denies both antecedent (which he 
knows) and consequent too. Leave out by this composition, 
(his own figment) and his argument as much disproves any 
trinity at all as it doth the present hypothesis. 

But wherein doth the inquirer own it ? because such a simi 
litude is used (as it is often in that discourse) of the union be 
tween soul and body (declared elsewhere to be unexpressibly 
defective) that therefore the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are 
each of them by himself no more truly Lord or God, according 
to the Athanasian creed, or otherwise than in as improper a 
sense, as the body of a man, excluding the soul, is a man, or 
a human person. Or as if Deity were no more in one of the 
persons, than, humanity in a carcass ! who that looks upon all 


this with equal eyes, but will rather choose as doubtful a notion, 
than so apparently ill a spirit ! Are similitudes ever wont to 
be alike throughout, to what they are brought to illustrate ? It 
might as well be said, because he mentions with approbation 
such as illustrate the doctrine of the trinity by a tree audits 
branches, that, therefore, there we are to expect leaves and 
blossoms. Is it strange the created universe should not afford 
us an exact representation of uncreated Being ? How could 
he but think of that ; "To whom do ye liken me ?" At least 
one would have thought he should not have forgot what lie had 
so lately said himself. "We must grant we have no perfect 
example of any such union in nature/' Letter, p. 5. What 
appetite in him is it, that now seeks what nature doth not af 
ford ? A very unnatural one, we may conclude. It were 
trifling to repeat what was said, and was so plain, before, that 
the union between soul and body was never brought to illus 
trate personal union but essential. The former is here imagin 
ed without pretence, there being no mention or occasion for 
the mentioning of persons in the place he alleges. (Calm Dis 
course p. 3170 But to make out his violent consequence he 
foists in a supposition, that never came into any man's imagi 
nation but a socinian's and his own : (Which 1 say, contradis 
tinguishing him to them, that the matter may (as it ought) ap 
pear the more strange. His Letter p. 1 10.) If God be a per 
son, he can be but one. Is God the appropriate name of a 
person ? then indeed there will be but one person 5 but who 
here says so but himself? The name God is the name of the 
essence, not the distinguishing name of a person. But if three 
intelligent natures be united in one Deity, each will be persons, 
and each will be God, and all will be one God ; not by parts, 
other than conceptible, undivided, and inseparable, as -the 
soul and body of a man are not. Which sufficiently conserves 
the Christian trinity from such furious and impotent attaques 
as these. And the homo-ousiotes is most entirely conserved 
too. For what are three spiritual natures no more the same, 
than (as he grossly speaks) the soul and body are ? no more than 
"an intelligent mind, and a piece of clay ? by what consequence 
is this said, from any thing in the inquirer's hypothesis ? 
Whereas also he expressly insists, that the Father, as Fans tri- 
nitatis, is first, (Calm Discourse p. 316.) the Son of the Father, 
the Holy Ghost from both. Is not the water in the streams, 
the same that was in the fountain ? and are not the several at 
tributes expressly spoken of as common to these three ? (Calm 
Discourse p. 353.) Essential power, wisdom, gc odness, (which 
are denied to be the precise notions of Father, Son, and Spirit) 
said by more than a wptxvws 9 as that may be understood to 


signify, mere presence, (how intimate soever) but by real vital 
union, as much each one's as any one's ? and all other con 
ceivable perfections besides ? Why were these words read 
with eyes refusing their office, to let them into the reader's 
mind ? whence also how fabulous is the talk of power begetting 
wisdom, &c. (Postscript to his Letter p. 111.) against what is 
so plainly said of the order of priority and posteriority, &c. 
(Calm Discourse p. 3 17-) 

There had been some prudence seen in all this conduct, if 
the defender could have taken effectual care, that every thing 
should have been blotted out of all the copies of that discourse, 
but what he would have thought fit to be permitted to the view 
of other eyes than his own. For then, though in so gross pre 
varication he had not preserved his innocency, he might have 
saved in some degree his reputation. Yet also he should have 
taken some heed that anger might not so have discoloured his 
eye, as to make so injudicious a choice what to confess and what 
to conceal. For had he not himself blabbed, that it was said, 
we are not under the precise notions of power, wisdom and 
goodness, to conceive of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost ; he 
might more plausibly have formed his odd births, and fathered 
them where he doth. But wrath indulged will show its govern 
ing power. And all this fury and vengeance (upon the inqui 
rer, and the dean too) he reckoned was due, only because it 
was so presumptuously thought, that somewhat in his hypothe 
sis (or which he defends) might have been better, and that he 
(probably) sees it might ; so much a greater thing (in some ill 
fits) is the gratifying a humour than the Christian cause ! 

But let us now see how all this turns upon himself. And 
how directly his ill polished (not to say envenomed) darts, 
missing their designed mark, strike into that very breast which 
he undertakes to defend. Whereas there are two things, prin 
cipally to be designed in a discourse of this subject. Namely, 

1 . The explaining the unity of the Father, Son and Holy 
Ghost, so as that though they are some way three, they may 
yet be concluded to be in Godhead but one. 

2. The evincing notwithstanding that unity, the possibility 
of their sufficient distinction, to admit the distinct predicates 
that are severally spoken of them in the Holy Scriptures. 

The inquirer's discourse chiefly insists upon these two things. 

1. That necessity of existence is the most fundamental at 
tribute of Deity. And that therefore the Father, as the Foun 
tain, being necessarily of himself : the Son, necessarily of the 
Father : the Holy Ghost, necessarily from them both, each 
cannot but be God, and the same, one God, (In reference t& 
die former purpose.) 


2. That absolute omnimodous simplicity, being never as* 
fcerted, in Scripture, of the Divine Being, nor capable of being, 
otherwise, demonstrated of it, and it being impossible, either 
from Scripture, or rational evidence, accurately to assign the 
limits thereof, and determine what simplicity belongs to that 
ever blessed Being, and what not : if it be necessary to our 
apprehending how such distinct predicates and attributions 
may severally belong, to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 
that we conceive three distinct essences necessarily coexisting, 
in an eternal, vital, inseparable union in the Divine Being; 
the thing may be in itself possible for ought we know. And 
this is propounded to serve the latter purpose. 

The defender of the dean seems to think otherwise of these 
two things, namely, of necessity of existence, common to the 
sacred three, which will prove each of them to be God, and, be 
longing to them in the mentioned order, as Father, Son, and 
Spirit, will prove them, necessarily, to be one God. 

And of what is said of simplicity, which might admit their 
sufficient distinction ; of both these, [ say, he seems to think 
otherwise by neglecting both, lest that discourse should be 
thought any way pertinent, or useful to its end. And disputes 
vehemently against the latter, how strongly and successfully, 
he does it, in respect of the truth of the thing, we have seen. 
But whether weakly or strongly, that his disputation tends to 
wound the dean's cause, all that it can, shall now be made, 

It is notorious the dean hath asserted, so positively, three 
infinite Minds or Spirits, that the benign interpretation where 
with this defender would salve the matter, (a new vocabulary 
being to be made for him on purpose, and the reason of things 
quite altered) will to any man of sense seem rather ludicrous, 
than sufficient, without express retractation. For which the 
inquirer thinks he is upon somewhat better terms, than he, ^ if 
there were occasion for it, both by the tenour of his whole dis 
course, and by what he hath particularly said in the 28 sec. 
Calm Discourse p. 326. But after the interpretation offered, see 
whether such things are not said over and over in the defence, 
as make the defender (and the dean if he speak his sense) most 
obnoxious to the whole argumentation in the postscript. So 
as, if a part was acted, it was carried so untowardly, that it 
seemed to be quite forgotten what part it was, and all the blows 
(for it was come now to offending instead of defending) fall di 
rectly upon him, whom the actor had undertaken to defend. 

It hath been noted already, that the defender says expressly* 
(Defence p. 16. p. 18.) "the divine nature is one individual na 
ture," (and so says the inquirer, Calm Discourse p. 313.) 


but not one single nature ; (then it must be double and triple, 
not absolutely simple, as also the inquirer says) to which he 
(namely, the defender) adds, "one single nature can be but 
one person, whether in God or man." Now let any man judge 
whether all his reasonings are not most directly applicable 
against him, (if they signify any thing) which are contained in 
his postscript, p. 106, 107, 108. &c. 

How furiously doth he exagitate that saying, "When you 
predicate Godhead, or the name of God, of any one of them, 
(namely, Father, Son, or Holy Ghost) you herein express a 
true but inadequate conception of God," &c. insisting that the 
whole "undivided divine nature" (no doubt it is everlastingly 
undivided wherever it is) "subsists entirely, in three distinct 
persons" This the inquirer never denied, though he charges 
it upon him, that he makes no one of the persons to be true and 
perfect God. Postscript p. 108. But how well doth that 
agree with what he had himself said, (defence, p. 26) Though 
God be the most absolute, complete, independent Being, yet 
neither the Son, nor the Holy Ghost, can be said to be, an 
absolute, complete, independent God. He falsely charges it 
upon the inquirer that he makes the persons severally not per 
fect God, and he denies two of them to be complete God. To 
say not perfect, is criminal (as indeed it is) to say not com 
plete is innocent ! But his saying the Son and Holy Ghost are 
not complete God ; how doth it consist with what is said, post 
script p. 109. "The same whole entire divinity distinctly and 
inseparably subsists in the person of the Son and of the Holy 
Ghost." What is wanting to make him complete God, in 
whom "the whole, entire divinity subsists?" No wonder if he 
quarrel with all the world who so little agree with him, whose 
defence he undertakes, or with himself. In the mean time 
the inquirer hath the less reason to complain, when he mani 
festly treats himself as ill as him. 

I only add, that for his Discourse concerning "the one Divi 
nity, or one Divine Nature, subsisting wholly and entirely, three 
times," (whereas 1 had thought the three persons had subsist 
ed at all times, and all at once) Defence p. 26, &c. And the 
persons of the Son and Holy Spirit, not being emanations p. 
28. Not the Son, because he is the Father's image : and an 
image is not an emanation, but a reflection : (but how should 
there be a reflected image without an emanation ?) " nor the 
Holy Ghost being vpoGoX-n, something proceeding not in the 
sense of emanation, but of the mysterious procession," I shall 
make no guesses about it (for it concerns not the inquirer) only 
I think it very secure against the formidable objection which 
he mentions p. 35. of its being too intelligible. 


Upon the whole matter I see not what service it can do him, 
to put intelligent person instead of mind. For I thought every 
person had been intelligent. Boethius's definition which he 
alleges plainly implies so much, and one would think he must 
know that it is the usual notion of person to understand by it 
suppositum rationale or intelligents . Therefore methinks he 
should not reckon it necessary to distinguish persons (as he 
doth by this addition of intelligent) into such as are persons 
and such as are no persons. 

But since he expressly says (and I think for the most part 
truly, Defence p. 30.) "that the three persons or subsistences, in 
the ever blessed trinity are three real, substantial subsistences, 
each of which hath entirely, all the perfections of the divine 
nature, divine wisdom, power, and goodness ; and therefore 
each of them is eternal, infinite mind, as distinct from each 
other as any other three persons ; and this he believes, the 
dean will no more recant, than he will renounce a trinity ; for 
all the wit of man, cannot find a medium, between a substan 
tial trinity, and a trinity of names, or a trinity of mere modes, 
respects arid relations in the same single essence, which is no 
trinity at all." As also he had said much to the same purpose 
before, " that to talk of three subsistences in the abstract,, 
without three that subsist, or of one single nature which hath 
three subsistences, when it is impossible that in singularity 
there can be more than one subsistence, &c." I believe he 
will find no small difficulty to name what it is, that with the 
peculiar distinct manner of subsistence makes a person ; not 
the very same common nature, for the persons cannot be dis 
tinguished from each other by that which is common to them 
all. Therefore the divine nature which is common to the three, 
must according to him comprehend three single natures, and 
not be absolutely simple. Hither must be his resort at last, 
after all his earnest disputation against it. And these he will 
have to be parts, which because they are undivided, imparti 
ble, inseparable, everlastingly and necessarily united, I do 
reckon the inquirer did with very sufficient reason, and with 
just decency (and doth still continue very peremptorily to) 

And whereas he contends that the whole divine nature is en 
tirely in each subsistence, (as he does again and again) I think 
the term whole, improper, where there are no proper parts. 
And I doubt not, when he gives place to cooler thoughts, he 
will see cause to qualify that assertion. For if he strictly mean, 
that every thing that belongs to the Godhead is in each person; 
I see not how he will fetch himself from the socinian^ conse- 
j that then each person must have a trinity subsisting in 


It, and be Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. For I doubt not lie 
will acknowledge that the entire divinity includes in it the 
Father, Son and Holy Ghost. And therefore he must be be 
holden to an inadequate notion in this very case, when all is 
done, how much soever he hath contended against it. I do- 
however think it safe and free from any other difficulty, than what 
we unavoidably have, in conceiving infinites, to say, That all 
perfection is in each subsistent (which I like better than sub 
sistence, as more expressive of the concrete) as far as their na 
tural, necessary, eternal order, towards one another, as the 
first is the fountain or radix, the second from that, and the 
third from both, can possibly admit. All must be originally 
in the Father, with whom, the other two have that intimate, 
vital, eternal union, that what is in him the other communicate 
therein, in as full perfection as is inconceivable, and more 
than it is possible for us, or for any finite mind to conceive. 
Therefore since that difference which only proceeds from that 
natural, eternal order, is conjecturable only, but is really un 
known, unrevealed and inscrutable ; it is better, herein, to- 
confess the imperfection of that knowledge which we have, 
than to boast that whieh we have not, or aspire t6 that which 
we cannot have. 





Addressed to H. H. about the TRINITY. 




a letter to tf>e former JFtfenO. 




Addressed to H. H. about the Trinity. 

see, Sir, I make no haste to tell you my thoughts of 
what hath been published since my last to you, against 
my sentiments touching the Holy Trinity. I saw the matter 
less required my time and thoughts, than my other affairs : and 
so little, that I was almost indifferent whether I took any notice 
thereof or no. There is really nothing of argument in what I have 
seen, but what I had suggested before, and objected to myself, 
in those very discourses of mine, now animadverted on : which 
not having prevented, with me, the opinion I am of, can as 
little alter it, and should as little any man's else. But a little 
leisure, as it can, without extortion, be gained from other oc 
casions, I do not much grudge to bestow on this. 

I find myself concerned in the late considerations on the ex 
plications of the doctrine of the trinity in a letter to H. H. 
The author is pleased to give me the honour of a name, a lank, 
unvocal one. It is so contrived, that one may easily guess 
whom he means ; but the reason of his doing so I cannot 
guess. Is it because he knew himself, what he would have 
others believe ? 

But I suppose he as well knew his own name. If he knew 
not the former, he ran the hazard of injuring either the suppos* 


ed author, or the true, or both. I could, I believe, make as 
shrewd a guess at his name, and express it as plainly. But I 
think it not civil to do so ; because I apprehend he hath some 
reason to conceal it, whereof I think he hdth a right to be the 
judge. But I will not prescribe to him rules of civility, of 
\vhich that he is a great judge, I will not allow myself to doubt. 

Yet I will not suppose him to have so very diminishing 
thoughts of our Saviour, as not to acknowledge and reverence 
the authority of that great rule of his, which he knows gained 
reverence with some who called nbt themselves Christians, 
''Whatsoever you would that men should do to you fyc*" 
Nor can divine what greater reason he should have to hide his 
own name, than to expose mine, or make the person he indi- 
gitates, be thought the author of the discourse he intended to 
expose ; since no man can imagine how, as the Christian world 
is constituted, any one can be more obnoxious for denying 
three persons, than for asserting three Gods : which latter his 
impotent attempt aims to make that author do. 

For his censures of that author's style, and difficulty to be 
understood, they offend me not. But so I have known some 
pretend deafness, to what they were unwilling to hear. There 
is indeed one place Sober Inquiry, p. 309. in the end of sect : 
6. were must should have been left out, upon the adding after 
wards of can ; that might give one some trouble. In which 
yet, the supposal of an (not unusual) asyndeton, would, with 
out the help of magic, have relieved a considering reader. And 
for his compliments, as they do me no real good, so, I thank 
God, they hurt me not. I dwell at home, and better know 
sny own furniture, than another can. For himself, I discern, 
nd readily acknowledge in him, those excellent accomplish 
ments, for which I most heartily wish him an advocate in a 
better cause, without (Jespair he will yet prove so ; when I 
take notice of some passages which look like indications of a 
erious temper of mind, as of choosing God, and the honour 
of his name, for our portion and design 3 and that he lives in 
vain, who knows not his Maker, and his God, with the like. 

But on the other hand, I was as heartily sorry to meet with 
an expression of so different a strain, on so awful a subject, of 
' making a coat for the moon/' That precept which Josephug 
inserts among those given the Jews, doth for the reason it hath 
in it, abstracting from its authority, deserve to be considered, 

BAao-^>7/xW?o &s iw^tis $sitt, y Tfo^ets jL\\au vo{Atfy<ri ', Let HO one 

blaspheme the gods which other nations ivorship. * It seems 
to import a decency to the rest of mankind, whose notions of a 
Deity did not argue them sunk into the lowest degrees of sot - 
tishnesp and stupidity. Good Sir, what needed (think you) so 

* Lib. 4. Jud : 


adventurous boldness, in so lubricous a case ! It gains nothing 
to a man's cause either of strength or reputation with wise and 
good men. A sound argument will be as sound without it. 
Nor should I much value having them on my side, whom I 
can hope to make laugh at so hazardous a jest. I can never 
indeed have any great veneration for a morose sourness, what 
soever affected appearance it may have with it, of a simulated 
sanctimony or religiousness ; but I should think it no hardship 
upon me to repress that levity, as to attempt dancing upon the 
brink of so tremendous a precipice. And would always express 
myself with suspicion, and a supposed possibility of being mis 
taken, in a case wherein I find many of noted judgment and 
integrity, in the succession of several ages, differing from me. 
But go we on to the cause itself, where he pretends,^-First to 
give a view of the sober inquirer's hypothesis : And then to 
argue against it. 

As to the former. He doth it, I am loath to say, with less 
fairness than from a person of his (otherwise) appearing inge 
nuity, one would expect. For he really makes me to have 
said more than I ever did, in divers instances ; and much less 
than I have expressly said ; and that he cannot have so little 
understanding as not to know was most material to the cause 
in hand. 

He represents me, p. 40. col. 1. saying the persons are dis 
tinct essences, numerical natures, beings, substances; and 
col. 2. That I hold them to be three spirits ; when in the 
close of one of those paragraphs, namely, Calm Discourse, p. 
341. I recite the words of W. J. "In the unity of the 
Godhead there must be no plurality or multiplicity of substances 
allowed :" and do add, Nor do I say that there must. And 
p. 314. "I do not positively say there are three distinct 
substances, minds, or spirits." I would ask this my learned 
antagonist, Have saying, and not saying, the same significati 
on? And again, when (Calm Discourse, p. 345.) my words 
are, "I will not use the expressions, as signifying my formed 
judgment, that there are three things, substances or spirits in 
the Godhead ; how could he say, I hold the three persons to 
be three spirits ? Is any man, according to the ordinary way 
of speaking, said to hold what is not his formed judgment ? If 
he only propose things whereof he doubts, to be considered 
and discussed by others, in order to the forming of it, and by 
gentle ventilation to sift out truth, it the rather argues him 
not to hold this or that. 

And I think much service might be done to the common in 
terest of religion, by such a free mutual communication of even 
more doubtful thoughts, if such disquisitions were pursued with 


more candour, and with less confidence and prepossession of 
mind, or addictedness to the interest of any party whatsoever. 
Jf it were rather endeavoured, to reason one another into, or 
out of, this or that opinion, than either by sophistical collusi 
ons to cheat, or to hector by great words, one that is not of my 
mind. Or if the design were less to expose an adversary, than 
to clear the matter in controversy. 

Besides, that if such equanimity did more generally appear, 
and govern, in transactions of this nature, it would produce a 
greater liberty in communicating our thoughts, about some of 
the more vogued and fashionable opinions, by exempting each 
other from the fear of ill treatment, in the most sensible kind. 
It being too manifest, that the same confident insulting genius, 
ivhich makes a man think himself competent to be a standard 
to mankind, would also make him impatient of dissent, and 
tempt him to do worse, than reproach one that differs from 
him, if it were in his power. And the club or faggot-arguments 
must be expected to take place, where what he thinks rational 
ones, did not do the business. This only on the by. 

In the mean time that there is a trinity in the Godhead, is 
no matter of doubt with me ; but only whether this be the best 
way of explaining and defending it. If this be not the best, or 
sufficient, some other will, I believe, or hath been found out 
by some other. Of which I have spoken my sense not only in 
definitely. (Calm Discourse p. S29.)but particularly of the more 
common way ; not that I did then, or have yet thought it the 
best, but not indefensible, p. 326. 

And I must now sincerely profess, That the perusal of these 
very considerations gives me more confidence about this hypo 
thesis, than I allowed myself before ; finding that the very sa 
gacious author of them, of whose abilities and industry together, 
I really have that opinion, as to count him the most likely to 
confute it of all the modern antitrinitarians, hath no other way 
to deal with it, than first, both partially and invidiously to re 
present it, and then, rather to trifle than argue against it. He 
first paints it out in false and ugly colours, before he comes to 
reasoning. And then, when he should reason, he says nothing 
that hath so much as a colour. It seems to me an argument of 
a suspected ill cause on his side, that he thought it need 
ful to prepossess the reader with the imagination of I know not 
(and I believe he knows not) what gross ideas, as he 
romances, belonging to this hypothesis. Because from 
those words, (Prov. 8. 30.) Then was I by him, as one brought 
up with him, and daily his delight ; the author speaks of the 
delicious society, which these words intimate, the eternal 


clom, and the prime Author and Parent of all things, to have 
each with other 

For my part, I have little doubt but this ingenious writer 
is so well acquainted with the gust and relish of intellectual 
delurht, that he chose to expose his adversary bv using that odd 
expression of gross idea so causelessly, in accommodation only 
to the genius of some other men, whom he thought fit to hu 
mour, rather than his own. Nor can he be so little acquaint 
ed with the paganish theology, as not to apprehend a vast dis 
agreement between this and that, and a much greater agree 
ment between the paganish notion of the Deity, and his own. 

For the questions which he supposes me to put, and makes 
me answer as he thinks fit, by misapplied passages of that dis 
course, I hope it will appear they were either prevented, or 
answered at another rate. At length he says, "The butt-end 
of this hypothesis, &c." I like not that phrase the worse for 
the author's sake, of whom it seems borrowed, whose memory 
greater things will make live, when we are forgot. But let 
him proceed The butt-end of this hypothesis is the true 
strength of it. But that true strength he hath either had the 
hap not to observe, or taken the care not to represent, that is, 
from what is so often inculcated in that discourse, the neces 
sary existence of two hypostases of, arid in the first, and of an 
omnimodous simplicity groundlessly supposed in the Divine Be 
ing, he hath kept himself at a wary cautious distance, when he 
might apprehend there was its strength. Therefore I cannot 
also but observe, that as he hath marked this hypothesis, with 
(most undue) ill characters ; so he hath maimed it too, of 
what was most considerable belonging to it, that he might ex 
pose it by the former means, so as to make it need much de 
fence ; and that by the latter, it might seem quite destitute of 
any defence at all. 

And now when (not without some untoward disfigurations) 
it hath thus far escaped his hands, and is (in none of the best 
shapes) set up only to be beaten down ; the argument he first 
attacks it with, is the inartificial one of authority. And yet his 
argument from this topic, is only negative, that the opinion 
he would confute wants authority, " that the inquirer was the 
first that ever dreamt of it : and that no learned divine of any 
persuasion will subscribe to it :" As if he had said. It is false, 
and impossible to be true. The inquirer only proposing what he 
offered, as possible for ought we know, is not otherwise op 
posed than by asserting it to be impossible. This therefore he 
must say, or he saith nothing to the purpose ; and why now is 
it impossible ? Because no body said it before. So, then, was 
every- tiling that any man first said; but afterwards, by being- 


often spoken, it might, it seems, at length become true ! For 
any learned divines subscribing to it, I suppose he intends that 
in the strict sense. And so the inquirer never said he would 
subscribe it himself otherwise than that his judgment did more 
incline to it, as liable to less exception than other ways of de 
fending the doctrine of the trinity, or than denying it, which 
he thought least defensible of all. 

But now supposing one should find learned divines of the 
same mind, (and perhaps some may be found more confident 
than he) I would ask the considerator, whether he will therefore 
confess a trinity a possible thing ? If not, he deals not fairly, 
to put the inquirer upon quoting authorities to no purpose : or 
that he would have them conclude him, by whom he will not 
be concluded himself. 

He seems indeed himself to have forgot the question (with 
which afterwards he charges the inquirer) as it is set down, So 
ber Inquiry p. 301 . Whether a trinity in the Godhead be a pos 
sible thing ? This was the question, not what John, or Tho 
mas, or James such a one thought ? But while he pretends to 
think no body else is of the inquirer's mind in the particular 
point he is now speaking to, that is, the delicious society the 
divine hypostases are supposed to have with each other ; give 
me leave freely to discourse this matter. I would fain know 
what it is, wherein he supposes the inquirer to have over-shot 
his mark : or of what makes he here so mighty a wonderment ? 
It can be but one of these two things : 'either that there are 
three divine persons in the Godhead really distinct ; or, that 
they have (if there be) a delicious society or conversation with 
each other. Will he say the former is a singular opinion ? or 
that it is novel ? Was there never a real trinitarian in the world 
before ? Doth he not, in his own express words, sort the in 
quirer with one, whom he will not deny to be a learned divine, 
p. 43. of these his present considerations, col. 1. (( The author 
of the 28 propositions,and Mr. H w, "as he calls the inquirer, 
are honest men, and real trinitarians." By which former 
character he hath, I dare say, ten thousand times more grati 
fied his ambition, than by calling him learned too. And I be 
lieve he will as little think this a novel opinion, as a singular 
one. Nor shall I thank him for acknowledging it to have been 
the opinion of the fathers, generally, not only Ante-Nicene and 
Nicem, but Post-Nicene too, for some following ages, unto 
that of P. Lombard, so obvious it is to every one that will but 
more slightly search. 

For my part, I will not except Justin Martyr himself, whom 
I the rather mention, both as he was one of the more ancient 
t)f the fathers ; and as I may also call him, the father of 


medalists ; nor his notion eveu about the Homo-ousian-Trinity, 
as he expressly styles it. E*0. TT/S-. For though it will require 
more time than I now intend to bestow to give a distinct ac 
count of every passage throughout that discourse of his, yet his 
expression of the r owoi wateus must not be so taken, as if it 
were to be torn away from its coherence, a'nd from itself. When 

therefore he Says the TO /XEV ayfwulov, xa/ yevmrw, KXI exirofrJlo*, the 

being unbegotten, begotten, and having proceeded, are not 
names of the essence, but T^OTTO/ vrt^zus, modes of subsis 
tence ; he must mean they are not immediately names of the 
essence, but mediately they cannot but be so. For what do 
they modify ? not nothing. When they are said to be modes 
of subsistence, what is it that subsists ? We cannot pluck 
away these modes of subsistence from that which subsists, and 
whereof they are the modes. Arid what is that ? You will 
say the ^nx, o-<a, the one essence, which he had mentioned be 
fore ; and that one essence is, it is true, as perfectly one, as 
it is possible ; for what is of itself, and what are from that, to 
be with each other, that is, that they are congenerous, as the 
sun and its rays, (according to that Heb. 1. 3. awat/ya^* vns 
Sofus-, the eftu/gency of glory) or as mind, and (where there is 
nothing else but substance) consubstantial thought or word. 
Therefore this oneness of essence must be taken in so large and 
extensive a sense, as that it may admit of these differences. 
For so he afterwards plainly speaks, if " ^y, etynmruf E^; if 
the one (the Father) hath his existence without being begotten, 
o ynrftus, another (the Son) by being begotten, TO &, exwo^evW, 
but that (the Holy Ghost) by having proceeded, here it befals 
us to behold differences (rex. m lia$ofxs) or the things that im 
port difference." There must be a sense, therefore, wherein 
he understood this essence to be most truly one ; and a sense 
wherein he also understood it to have its differences, and those 
too not unimportant ones, as being unbegotten, and being be 
gotten, signify no light differences. 

Arid in what latitude of sense he understood the oneness of 
essence, whereof he had before spoken, may be seen in his 
following explication, when what he said he would have be 
-a<p<rsoy, more manifest ; he makes Adam's peculiar mode of 
subsistence to be that he was yevyuV, AA Sianrhoto-Qsis, not be 
gotten, but made by God's own hand ; but for them that were 
from him, he intimates theirs to be, that they were begotten, 
not made. If then you inquire concerning the same essence 
that was common to him and them, you still find that man is, 
the y-TroxE^Evov, the subject, whether of formation, as to him, 
or of generation, as to them. And who apprehends not in 
what latitude of sense the human nature is one, which is com-- 

VOL, IV. 3 D 


mon to Adam, and his posterity ? Though the divine nature 
is incomparably more one, which is common to the Father, 
Son, and Spirit, as xve have formerly insisted, and shall fur 
ther shew it cannot but be, in all necessary, and continually 
depending emanations. 

Yet 1 might, if there were need, again (as to this part) 
quote the considerator to himself. For I suppose he will not 
disown the considerations in 1693. in which, page 15. col. 1. 
are these words, "Dr. Cud worth by a great number of very per<- 
tinent and home-quotations, hath proved that his explication 
(I mean that part of it which makes the three persons to be so 
many distinct essences, or substances) is the doctrine of the 
principal, if not of all the fathers, as well as of the platonists." 
And it is added, "and I (for my own part) do grant it." Upon 
the whole then, I reckon that as to this first part, we stand 
clear not only to the rest of the world, but with this author 
himself, that to be a real trinitaritm is not so unheard of a thing, 
or what no learned divine of any persuasion ever dreamt of be 
fore the inquirer. But now for the 

Second part. The delicious society supposed to be between 
(or rather among) the three persons. Is this a dream ! And 
so strange a one ! Why, good Sir ! Can you suppose three 
persons, that is, three intellectual subsistences, perfectly wise, 
holy, and good, coexisting with, inexisting in one another 
to have no society ? or that society not to be delicious ? He 
says, How can it be ? I say, How can it "but be ? Herein I 
am sure the inquirer hath far more company than in the for 
mer. For whether the three persons have all the same nume 
rical essence, or three distinct ; all agree they most delight 
fully converse. Will he pretend never to have read any that 
make love (as it were intercurrent between the two first,) the 
character of the third ? In short ; Is it the thing he quarrels 
with as singuiar, or the word ? At the thing, supposing three 
persons, lie can have no quarrel, without quarrelling with the 
common sense of mankind. For the word, he hath more wit 
and knowledge of language than to pretend to find fault with 
that. For let him but consult expositors (even the known cri 
tics) upon the mentioned place Prov. 8. (whom, in so plain a 
case, I will not be at the pains to quote and transcribe) and 
take notice whether none read those words, fill in deliciis* 
Therefore 1 believe the considerator will be so ingenuous, as 
to perceive, he hath, in this part of his discourse, grossly over 
shot, or undershot, or shot wide of his own mark, if indeed he 
had any, or did not (letting his bolt fly too soon) shoot at ro 
vers, before he had taken steady aim at any thing. In short, 


all this dust could be raised but with design only because he 
could not enlighten his readers, to blind them. 

But DOW when he should eome by solid argument to disprove 
the hypothesis, by shewing that three individual divine natures, 
or essences, can possibly have no nexua^ so as to become one 
entire divine nature, and, at t'he same time, (which this hypo 
thesis supposes) remain still three individual divine natures and 
essences, he thinks fit to leave it to another to do it for him, 
who, he says, if he cannot prove this, can prove nothing. 
And when we see that proof, it will be time enough to consider 

In the mean time I cannot here but note what I will neither, 
in charity, call forgery in the considerator, nor, in civility, 
ignorance, but it cannot be less than great oversight ; his 
talk of these three, so united as to become one : the inquirer 
never spake (nor dreamt) of their becoming one, but of their 
being naturally, necessarily, and eternally so. 

Then he comes to put the question, as (he says) it is between, 
the inquirer and the socinians. And he puts it thus, How 
three distinct, several, individual, divine beings, essences, or 
substances, should remain three several individual substances, 
and yet, at the same time, be united into one divine substance 
called God ? One would have thought, when he had so newly 
waved the former question, as wherein lie-meant not to be con 
cerned, he should presently have put a new one, upon which 
he intended to engage himself. But we have the same over 
again, even with the same ill look of an equivalent phrase unto 
becoming -united into one, to insinuate to his reader, as if his 
antagonist thought these three were de novo united, not in, but 
into one. Which he knew must have a haish sound, and as 
well knew it to be most repugnant to the inquirer's most declar 
ed sentiment. Nor will it be any presumption, if I take the 
liberty to set down the question according to the inquirer's 
mind, who hath as much reason to know it, as he; and I am, 
sure it will be more agreeable to the tenour of his discourse now 
referred to, "Whether the TO v, or the Divine Being, may not 
possibly, for ought we know, contain three natures, or essences, 
under the names of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, so far dis 
tinct, as is necessary to found the distinct predications or attri 
butions severally given them in the Holy Scriptures, and yet 
be eternally, necessarily, naturally, vitally so united, as not 
withstanding that remaining distinction, to be one God.'' And 
let us now see what he hath to say ; to the inquirer's illustra 
tions of it, as possible : and what he brings to prove it impos 

1. As to the former part. He first falls upon what the inquirer 


had said concerning the vegetative, sensitive, and intellec 
tive natures in ourselves. And upon this he insists so operous- 
ly, as if the whole weight of the cause had heen laid upon it, and 
seems to think the inquirer had forgot the question, when he men 
tioned it ; because he says, those are only distinct faculties, not 
persons, or substances (though persons were not in his questi 
on) without ever taking any notice of the inquirer's waving it, 
with these words, ''that he would content himself with what 
was more obvious." But this is all art: to raise a mighty 
posse, and labour to seem to those that he believed would read 
what he wrote only, not what the other did, most effectually 
to expunge what he saw was neglected, though not altogether 
useless, as we shall see anon. 

In the mean time, it is observable how needlessly he slurs 
himself in this his first brisk onset. He says, "No man ever 
pretended that the vegetative, sensitive, and intellective fa 
culties (or powers) are so many distinct, individual persons, 
substances, or essences, we grant, &c." 

What did no man ever pretend that these three distinct na 
tures, the vegetative, sensitive, intellective, were in man, 
three distinct substances, or souls, concurring by a certain sub 
ordination in him ? What necessity was there, that to heighten 
his triumph, in the opinion of his credulous followers, he 
should, with so glorious a confidence, put on the vain and false 
shew of having all the world on his side ; and herein either dis 
semble his knowledge, or grossly betray his ignorance in the 
mere history of philosophy ; and most imprudently silppose 
all his readers as ignorant, as he would seem ! What, did he 
never hear of an Averroist in the world ? Doth he not know 
that physician and philosopher, and his followers, earnestly 
contended for what he says no man ever pretended to ? Or 
that divers other commentators upon Aristotle, have some abet 
ted, others as vehemently opposed them in it ? Not to insist 
also that some thought the Intellectus <dgens, and Patiens, 
the active and passive intellect, to be distinct substances, 
belonging to the nature of man, as others had also other con 
ceits about the former ? And if he look some hundreds of 
years back, as far as the time, and extant work of Nemesius, 
bishop and philosopher (as he writes himself) of the nature of 
man, (who lived in the time of Gregory Nazianzen, as appears 
by an epistle of his written to him, and prefixed to that little 
book of his) he will find that author takes notice there were di 
vers that took man to consist of mind, soul, and body, and 

that Some did doubt, Tlortgov vzgo&iXQuv o vas r-n -^vyvi, as aXXos AA 

wpan avlw enowiv, 8>'c. whether the mind supervening to the soul 
a wu to the other ', did not make the latter intelligent. Cap. 1 . 


And in several other parts of that work, easy, if it were neces 
sary to be recited, he speaks it as the judgment of some, KS' 
EXV%V mat us Xoyov 4/i>%w, that the unreasonable nature in man 
did exist by itself, as being of itself an unreasonable soul, 
not a part of the reasonable, accounting it one of the greatest 
absurdities) ruv xrov&trMi, that the unreasonable soul should 
be a part of that ivhich is reasonable, cap. 1 6. 

And he carries us yet much further back, referringus toPlotinus, 
(Enn. 6. lib. 7 cap. 5, 6, 7?&c.) in whom any that will, may read 
much more to that purpose in many places. It matters not whe 
ther this opinion be true or false, bat agreat mistake (or misrepre 
sentation) it was, to say no man ever pretended to it. And be 
that as it will ; if all the readers will suspend their judgments, 
that a trinity in the Godhead is impossible, till the considerator 
shall have proved, by plain demonstration, the concurrence of 
three such spirits (a vegetative, sensitive and intellective) vitally 
united in the constitution of man, is a thing simply impossible, 
I believe he will not in haste, have many proselytes. 

I, for my part, as his own eyes might have told him, laid no 
stress upon it; but only mentioned it in transitu, as I was going 
on to what is obvious, and in view to every man, the union be 
tween our soul and body. Nor was I solicitous to find this an 
exact parallel, as he fancies I was obliged to do. What if 
there be no exact parallel ? Will any man of a sober mind, or 
that is master of his own thoughts, conclude every thing impos 
sible in the uncreated Being, whereof there is not an exact pa 
rallel in the creation ? If any man will stand upon this, come 
make an argument of it, let us see it in form, and try its 
strength. Whatsoever hath not its exact parallel in the crea 
tion, is impossible in God, &c. He will sooner prove him 
self ridiculous, than prove his point by such a medium. 

It is enough for a sober man's purpose, in such a case as we 
are now considering, if we find such things actually are (or 
might as easily be, as what we see actually is) among the crea 
tures, that are of as difficult conception, and explication, as 
what appears represented in the inquirer's hypothesis concern 
ing a trinity. It is trifling to attempt to give, or to ask a pa 
rallel exact per omnia : in all things. It abundantly serves 
any reasonable purpose, if there be a parallel quoad hoc, 
namely, in respect of the facility or difficulty of conception. 
And though the vegetative, sensitive, and intellective natures 
be not so many distinct substances, a trinity is not less con 
ceivable in the Divine Being, than three such natures, or na 
tural powers, in the one human nature. 

And whoever they be that will not simplify the Divine Being 
into nothing (as the excellent author of the 28 propositions 


speaks) must also acknowledge the most real perfections in the 
.Divine Being, though not univocal, but infinitely transcendent 
to any thing in us. And are they no way distinct ? Let any 
sober understanding judge, wili the same notion agree to them 
all ? Is his knowledge, throughout, the same with his effec 
tive power ? Then he must make himself. For who can 
doubt he knows himself ? And is his will the self-same undis- 
tinguishable perfection, in him, with his knowledge ? Then 
the purposes of his will must be to effect all that he can. For 
doth he not know all that he can do ? And the complacencies 
of his will must be as much in what is evil, as good, even in 
the most odious turpitude of the vilest, and most immoral evils! 
For he knows both alike. I know what is commonly said of 
extrinsical denominations : but are such denominations true^ 
or false ? Have they any thing in re correspondent to them, 
or have they not ? Then some distinction there must be of 
these perfections themselves. If so, how are they distinguish 
ed ? 

And there appears great reason, from God's own word, to. 
conceive greater distinction of the three hypostases in his be 
ing, than of the attributes which are common to them, as is 
said, Sober Inquiry, vide page 353. In reference whereto, it 
is not improper or impertinent to mention such differences, an 
we find in our own being, though they be not distinct substan 
ces. Less distinction in ourselves may lead us to conceive tha 
possibility of greater in him 5 in whom we are wont to appre 
hend nothing but substance. 

What he adds concerning the union of soul and body in our 
selves, (which he cannot deny to be distinct substances) is, 
from a man of so good sense, so surprisingly strange, and re 
mote from the purpose, that one would scarce think it from the 
same man ; but that he left this part to some other of the club, 
and afterwards wrote on, himself, without reading it over; or 
this was with him (what we are all liable to) some drowsy in 

For when he had himself recited as the inquirer's words, or 
sense, " If there be this union between two so contrary natures 
and substances, as the soul and body, why may there not be a, 
like union between two or three created spirits ?" he, without 
shadow of a pretence, feigns the inquirer again to have forgot 
the question, because soul and body are not both intelligent 
substances. And why, Sir, doth this argue him to have for 
got the question > It is as if he expected a man to be at the 
top of the. stairs, as soon as he touched the first step. In a se 
ries of discourse, must the beginning touch the end, leaving 
out what is to come between^ and connect both parts ? What 


then serve mediums for ? And so farewell to all reasoning* 
since nothing can be proved by itself. He expected, it seems? 
I should have proved " three intelligent natures might be unit 
ed, because three intelligent natures might be united!" 

But say I (and so he repeats) if there be so near union be 
tween things of so contrary natures as soul and body, why not 
between two or three created spirits ? The question is, as ha 
now states it himself, why may not three intelligent substan 
ces be united ? And hither he (with palpable violence) im 
mediately refers the mention of the union of soul and body ^ 
and says he, u Why Sir, are body and soul intelligent sub 
stances ?" And, say I, But why, Sir, are not the three (sup 
posed) created spirits intelligent substances ? And now, 
thinks he, will my easy admiring readers, that read me only, 
and not him, say, What a baffle hath he given the inquirer ! 

What an ignorant man is this Mr. to talk of soul and body, 

as both intelligent 'substances ? But if any of them happen 
upon the inquirer's book too, then must they say, How scurvily 
doth this matter turn upon himself ! how inconsiderate a 
prevaricator was he that took upon him the present part of a 
considerer, so to represent him ! And I myself would say, 
had I the opportunity of free discourse with him in a corner, 
(which because I have not, I say it here) Sir, is this sincere 
writing ? Is this the way to sift out truth ? And I must fur 
ther say, this looks like a man stung by the pungency of the 
present question. u If soul and body, things of so contrary 
natures, that is, of an intelligent and unintelligent nature, 
can be united into one (human) nature, why may not three 
created spirits, all intelligent natures, be as well united into 
some one thing ? It appears you knew not what to say to it ; 
and would fain seem to say something, when you really had 
nothing to say, and therefore so egregiously tergiversate., and 
feign yourself not to understand it, or that your antagonist did 
not understand himself. The inquirer's scope was manifest. 
Nothing was to be got by so grossly perverting it. Is there no 
argument but a part f Might you not plainly see, he here 
argued a fortiori ? If contrary natures might be so united, 
why not much rather like natures ? 

When you ask me this question, "Do not body and soul re 
main two substances, a bodily, and a spiritual, notwithstand 
ing their concurrence to the constitution of a man ? I answer, 
Yes. And I thank you, Sir, for this kind look towards my 
hypothesis. If they were not so, the mention of this union had 
no way served it. You know it is only union, with continu 
ing distinction, that is for my purpose. I doubt you nodded a 
little, when you asked me that question ; and I do annuerc. 


But when the discourse was only of a natural union, what, 
in the name of wonder, made you dream of a christmas-pye ? 
Had you wrote it at the same time of year I am now writing, I 
should have wondered less. But either you had some particu 
lar, preternatural appetite to that sort of delicate ; or you gave 
your fancy a random liberty, to make your pen write whatever 
came to your finger's end, and that whirled you unaware into a 
pastry, and so, hy mere chance, you came to have your finger 
in the pye. Or you thought to try whether this wild ramble 
might not issue as luckily for you, as Dr. Echard's jargon of 
words fortuitously put together (to ridicule Hobbes's fatal chain 
of thoughts) at length ending in a napkin ; which was mightily 
for your turn, in your present case. 

But upon the whole matter, when you let your mind so un 
warily be in patinis, among the pots, your cookery quite spoil 
ed your philosophy. Otherwise, when you had newly read those 
words in the Sober Inquiry, as I find you had page 307. "Wa 
ving the many artificial unions of distinct things, that united, 
and continuing distinct, make one thing under one name, I 
shall only consider what is natural" you would never have let 
it (your mind, I mean so fine a thing) be huddled up, and sop 
ped, with meat, plums, sugar, wine, in a christmas-pye ; or 
have thought that the union of a human soul with a human bo 
dy was like such a jumble as this. I believe when some amorg 
the antients made use of this union of soul and body, (as 1 find 
they have) to represent a very sacred, namely, the hypostati- 
cal one, they little thought it would be so debased ; or that 
any thing would be said of it so extravagant as this* And, if 
we design doing any body good by writing, let us give over 
this way of talk, lest people think, what I remember Cicero 
once said of the epicureans arguing, that they do not so much 
consider, as sortiri, cast lots what to say. But now it is like 
we may come to some closer discourse. We see what is sad 
to the inquirer's elucidation of his hypothesis to represent it 
possible, which by mere oversight and incogitance (as I hope 
now appears) was too hastily pronounced an oversight, or in- 

2. We are next to consider what he says to prove it impossi 
ble. And so far as I can apprehend the drift of the discourse, 
what he alleges will be reduced to these two heads of argument: 
namely, that three such hypostases (or subsistents, as 1 have 
chosen to call them) can have no possible nexus, by which to 
be one God: (I.) Because they are all supposed intelligent : 
end (2.) Because they can neither be said to be finite, nor in 
finite. He should not therefore have said the hypothesis was 
mere incogitance and oversight 5 for he knows I saw, and con* 


sidered them both. ; (In the Sober Inquiry itself; the former, 
page 308. the latter, page 325. with page 344.) and thought 
them unconcluding then, as I still think. Nor do I find the 
considerer hath now added any strength to either of them. 
But I shall, since he is importune, go to the reconsideration 
of them with him. And 

(1.) As to the former, I cannot so much as imagine what 
should make him, confessing (which he could not help) the 
actual Union of an intelligent and unintelligent being, deny the 
possible union of intelligent beings. He seems to apprehend . 
many dangerous things in it, that if he cannot reason, he may 
frighten a man out of it, and out of his wits too. It will infer 
associating, discoursing, solacing. But where lies the danger 
of all this ? or to whom is it dangerous. He says it introduces 
three omniscient, Almighty Beings, as I expressly call them, 
associating, &c. But he cites no place where, and I challenge 
him to name any persons among whom, I so expressly called 
them. He may indeed tell where I blamed him for representing 
some of his adversaries, as affirming three Almighties, and de 
nying more than one ; but that is not expressly calling them so 
myself. And he may know in time it is one thing expressly to 
call them so, and another to put him (as he is concerned) to 
disprove it. 

Aye, but it will further infer tritheism. It will make three 
Gods. And if this be not to make three Gods, it can never be 
made appear that the pagans held more Gods Yes, if there be 
no natural, vital nexus, if they be not united in one, of which 
the pagans never talked : or, if they be co-ordinate, not sub 
ordinate, as. Dr. Cudworth speaks. And I add, if that sub 
ordination be, not arbitrary, but by necessary, natural, con 
tinual emanation of the second from the first, and of the third 
from both the other ; so as that their goings forth may be truly 
from everlasting, as is said of the one, and may as well be 
conceived of another of them. 

1 would have the trinitarians be content with the reproach of 
falling in, quoad hoc, in this particular, with Plato ; and not 
envy their antagonists the honour of more closely following 
Mahomet. And, Sir, there Is more paganism in denying 
this, and the divine revelation upon which it is grounded, than 
in supposing it. 

No. But there can be no such nexui. Conversation, con 
sociation, mutual harmony, agreement, and delectation can 
not be conceived, but between beings so distinct and diverse, 
that they can be one in no natural respect, but only in a civil, 
or economical. This is loud, and earnest. But why can 
there not ? Setting aside noise and clamour, I want to know 

YPL. IV. 3 B 


a reason, why intelligent beings may not be as intimately, and 
naturally united with one another, as unintelligent, and intel 
ligent ? And if so, why sucli union should spoil mutual con - 
versation and delight ? Perhaps his mind and mine might not 
do well together ; for he cannot conceive, and I, for my part, 
cannot but conceive, that most perfect intelligent natures, vi 
tally united, must have the most delightful conversation, har-> 
mony, and agreement together ; and so much the more, by 
how much the more perfect they are, and by how much more 
prefect their union is. 

Whereas then I expect a reason, why intelligent beings can 
not be capable of natural union, and no other is given me, but 
because they are intelligent. And again, why such beings na 
turally united cannot converse, and no other is given me, but 
because they are naturally united, that is, such things cannot 
be, because they cannot be. But how much the less such 
reasons have to convince, they have the more to confirm me, 
that the hypothesis I have proposed is not capable of being dis 
proved. And for my increased confidence I must profess my 
self so far beholden to the considerator. 

This, in the mean time, I do here declare, that I see not so 
much as the shadow of a reason from him, why three spiritual, 
or intelligent beings cannot be naturally and vitally united with 
each other, with continuing distinction, so as to be really and 
truly one thing. If they cannot, I would know why ? that is, 
Why they cannot as well, or much rather than the soul and 
body, so as to be one entire man. If they can, such a created 
union is acknowledged possible ; which is all that part of our 
discourse contends for. And it is enough for our present pur 
pose ; for this will be a union of o/noscia, that is, of things of 
the same nature, the soul and body are srtna-tx that is, things 
of very different natures. And it sufficiently prepared our way f 
as was intended, to advance further, and add, 

That if such a created or made union be possible, it cannot 
be understood why a like uncreated or unmade union should be 
thought impossible. 

And if it be possible, the noisy clamour, that a trinity in the 
Godhead is impossible, or that it will infer tritheism, must 
cease, and be hushed into everlasting silence. Or if it shall 
still be resolved to be kept up, to carry on the begun humour, 
can only serve to frighten children, or unthinking people ; but 
can never be made articulate enough, to have any signification 
with men of sense. For when the Father is acknowledged on 
all hands to be the original, or fountain -being, existing neces,- 
sarily, and eternally of himself ; the Son existing by eternal 
wouianatiou necessarily of, and from, and in the Father j the 


Holy Ghost of, and in them both ; these, because they all 
exist necessarily, cannot but be each of them God, and, be 
cause they exist in necessary, natural, eternal union, cannot 
but be one God. 

And he that shall attempt to maketritheism of tins, will sooner 
prove himself not the third part of a wise man, than from 
hence prove three Gods. We may truly and fitly say the Fa 
ther is God, the Son is God, the Holy Ghost is God. But 
that form of speech, the Father is a God, the Son is a God, 
the Holy Ghost is a God, I think unjustifiable. The former 
way of speaking well agrees with the homo-ousiotes of the 
Deity, the substance whereof is congenerous. You may fitly 
say of three drops of the same water, they are each of them 
Water. But if you should say they are each of them a water, 
one jKOirfd understand you to mean they were all drops of so 
many different sorts of water. I do upon the whole judge the 
substance or essence of the three hypostases to be as perfectly 
one, as can possibly consist with the emanation of some from 
other of them. But now next, 

(2.) In his way to his second topic of argumentation, he is 
guilty of a strange sort of omission, that is, he twice over says 
he will omit, what he greatly insists upon,, as a mighty mat 
ter, that this (meaning the inquirer's hypothesis) is heresy 
among those of his own party, whether they be the nominal, 
or the real trinitarians, who all agree, that each of the divine 
persons is perfect God, in the most adequate and perfect sense ; 
and this too, as such person is considered sejunctly, or as the 
Athanasian creed speaks, by himself, &c. 

To this I only say, in the first place, that, if this weigh any 
thing, it ought in reason to be as heavy upon him, as me ; 
for I believe the same people that will call this account of the 
trinity heresy, will call his denial of it heresy much more. But 
if he be not concerned at that, I am the more obliged to him, 
that he hath a kinder concern for me than himself. And if he 
really have, let it ease his mind to know, that let the opinion 
be heresy never so much, I, for my part, am however resolv 
ed to be no heretic, as he, and they may well enough see, 
by the whole tenour of that discourse. 

But yet I humbly crave leave to differ from him in this, as 
-well as in greater matters. I am apt enough indeed to think 
that the nominal trinitarians will judge the opinion of the real 
trinitarians to want truth; and the real will, perhaps, more 
truly judge theirs to want sense. But neither the one, nor 
the other will say that each of the divine persons is perfect 
God, in the most adequate and perfect sense. For both 
cannot but agree that God, in the most adequate and 
perfect sense, includes Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; 


bnt they will none of them say that each, or any of thfe 
persons is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And I am very 
confident, he that shall so represent them, will betray them by 
it into such inconveniencies, and so much against their mind 
and intent, that if ever they did trust him, as 1 believe they 
never did this considerator, to express their sense for them, 
they never will do it more. As for Athanasius himself, whose 
creed he mentions, though he often speaks of an equality of 
the persons in point of Godhead ; yet he also often, (torn. 2. 
p. 576'.) most expressly excepts the differences (which I take to 
be very important) of being unbegotten, begotten, and pro 
ceeding : And which is a difference with a witness, in his 
questions and answers ; he asks, "How many causes are there in 
God ?"< (Q. 11. vnoo-K iria,) and answers, " one only, and that 
is the Father/' And then asks"(Q. 12. woo-* ahal*) "How many 
effects, or things caused?" And answers "two, the Son and 
the Spirit.'-' And adds, "the Father is called a cause, because 
he begets the Son, and sends out the 'Spirit : the Son and Spi 
rit are said to be caused, because the Son is begotten, and 
doth not beget ; the Spirit is sent forth, and doth not send/' 
Now can he be thought all this while to mean an absolute equa 
lity ? And whereas he uses the term ttwxiixtos, which our 
author renders sejunctly, or by himself 9 that he may make it 
eem opposite to what is said by the inquirer, page 373. I, for 
my part, say, as Athanasius doth, that each of these persons 
is fMvat^xus singly God, and Lord ; but I say not, as he doth 
not } (and he denies what the Sober Inquiry denies, in the men 
tioned place,) "that any one of the persons sejunctly, is all that 
is signified by the name of God," which words this author slily 
leaves out, for what purpose he best knows. But his purpose, 
be it what it will, can no longer be served by it, than till the 
reader shall take the pains to cast back his eye upon the Sober 
Inquiry, vide page 3V8. And I must here put the considerator 
in mind of what I will not suppose him ignorant, but inadvertent 
only, at this time ; That one may be sejoined, ^ or abstracted 
from another two ways, or by a twofold abstraction, precisive, 
or negative : that we may truly say of the Father, Son, or 
Holy Ghost, that the one of them is, or is not God, abstract 
ing from both the other, according as you differently abstract. 
If you abstract any one of the persons from both the other by 
precisive abstraction; and each of them is God or Lord, ^ovx^mus 
or singly considered : but if by negative abstraction ; you sever 
any one from the other, so as to say the one is God, and not 
the other, or any one is all that is signified by the name of God, 
I deny it, as before I did ; for so you would exclude the other 
two the Godhead ; which is but what was expressly enough 
$aid, Sober Inquiry, page 317* The Father is God, but not ex,- 


pluding the Son and the Holy Ghost, the Son is God, hut not 
excluding &c. 

And if (as this author quotes) we are compelled hy the 
Christian verity so to speak, I wonder it should not compel 
him, as it is Christian verity, or at least as it is verity, as well 
as^the rest of Christians, or mankind. Why hath he only the 
privilege of exemption from heing compelled by truth ? Atha- 
nasius's word is *rx*&bwS*. we are necessitated ; and if the 
considerator's own translation grieve him, he might relieve 
himself by considering that all necessity is not compulsive. 
And because he hath brought me to Athanasius, I shall take 
the occasion to say, I cannot apprehend him to have any sen 
timent contrary to this hypothesis. His business was against 
the arians, or the ariomanites (as he often called them, as sym 
bolizing also with Manes.) And because with them the contro 
versy was, f c whether the Son and Spirit were creatures ?'* in op-? 
position hereto he constantly asserts their consubstantiality 
ivith the Father, never intending (for ought that appears) that 
their being was numerically the same with his ; but of the same 
kind, uncreated, coessential, coeternal with his own. For 
so he expressly speaks in his Qucestiones alice, other or ad 
ditional questions, that is, asking (quest. 6.) " How many 
essences ^oa-xs wi*s, that is, how many sorts of essence (as the 
answer will direct us to understand it) do you acknowledge 
in God?" 

The answer is, I say, te one essence, one nature, one form 5 ' 
(/.*o<piv) and adds, "one. kind," (EV ysvos) which sufficiently ex 
pounds all the rest. He acknowledged no different kinds of 
essence or nature in the Godhead, but that one only, which 
was eternal and uncreated; agreeably to what he elsewhere 
says against the followers of Sabellius. cf lt is impossible 
things not eternal-beings, not partaking Godhead, should be 
ranked, or put in the same order with the Godhead." * Af 
terwards speaking of the Father and the Son, he says, 
rotaros i?iv oios KXXEIVOS, the one is such (not the same) as the 
other, the other such as he. Arid that the Son was not to be 
conceived under another species (x*0 ersgov etios) nor under a 
strange and foreign character (levov %fa>c\<*) but was God as 
the Father. And I appeal to any man's understanding and 
conscience, If that great author believed a numerical sameness 
of essence, common to the three persons, what should make 
him blame the sabellians for making the Son ^vouo-iov, not 
o/Aoaow, when by the latter in that case, he must mean the 
the same thing as by the former ? f 

? Contra Sahellu Gregaies. f E*0. ir/.$v Tom, 1. p< 241. Edit, Park 


In the forecited questions, he expressly says we were to ac 
knowledge in the Deity r? xro^x, three individuals. Answer 
to question 7- ubiprius. And elsewhere he as distinctly as 
serts rgtx ta^aty^xra. three things. And what could he mean hy 
three things, not three deities, (as he often inculcates) but he 
must certainly mean three entities, three essences ; for by 
three things, he could not possibly mean three non-entities, or 
three nothings. His great care plainly was to assert the true 
Deity of the Son and Spirit, or their pre-eternity, or that it 
could never be said ( ore ** w) there was a time when they 
were not, which he inculcates in a hundred places, still insist 
ing that one deity, one essence was common to them, but still 
with distinction ; and as warmly inveighs against Sabellius and 
P. Samosatensis, as against Arius, every whit. 

And that which puts his meaning quite out of doubt, speak-* 
ing * how the Father, Son and Spirit, though of one and the 
same sort of essence, are three hypostases, he plainly says the 
nature wherein they partake is so one, as the human nature is 
one in all men. We men, saith he, consisting of a body and 
a soul, are all ^ixs QWSUS, KXI sa-ixs of one nature and substance^ 
or essence ; but we are many hypostases. And to the same 
purpose (Dial. 2. de Trinitate) his anomceos comparing the 
Father, Son and Spirit, to a bishop, presbyter, and deacon y 
he brings in the orthodox saying, they have all the same nature, 
being each of them man ; as an angel, a man, and a horse> 
have different natures. 

In the mean time, because men are not inseparably, and 
vitally united with one another, as the Divine Persons are, and 
cannot but be, by reason of the necessary, eternal, perpetual 
emanation of the two latter from the first, they cannot admit 
to be called one man, as the three persons in the Godhead, are 
and cannot but be one God. Inasmuch as these three Divine 
Persons partake real Godhead (as existing necessarily each of 
them) they are each truly God : but because they partake it in 
necessary, eternal, vital union ; and so that the first is the ra 
dix, the second perpetually springing from the first, and the 
third from both the other, they are therefore together one God 
as branches, though really distinct from each other, and the 
root, are altogether notwithstanding but one tree, and all 
omoousialy or consubstantial to one another ; which is an il 
lustration familiar with the antients. And if there be any, 
tiow a days, that will call this heresy, (though as I said, I will 
be no heretic however) yet if I must make a choice, I had ra 
ther be a heretic with the Ante-Nicene and Nicene fathers, and 
Post-Nieene, for ought appears to the contrary, through some 
following centuries, than be reputed orthodox with P. Lum- 

* Tractat. de Definitionibus, Tom. 2. 45, ubi vid. plura, 


bard, &c. whom a German divine, not of meanest account- 
calls "one of the four evangelists of antichrist." 

But having now done with what he said he would omit, but 
did not, (though he might to every whit as good purpose) we 
come to what he overlooks not, because (he intimates) he can 
not. And let^us see whether he looks into it, to any better 
purpose, than if he had quite overlooked it. He is indeed the 
more excusable that he overlooks it not, because (he says) he 
could not. In that case there is no remedy. Nor do I see 
how he well could, when the sober inquirer had once and again 
so directly put it in his view, and, as was said, objected it to 
himself. But he thinks, however, to make an irrefragable 
battering-ram of it, wherewith to shiver this doctrine of the 
trinity all to pieces, and he brings it into play with the two 
horns before mentioned. The Father, he says, for instance, 
is either infinite in his substance, his wisdom, his power, his 
goodness,^ or he is not. With the like pompous apparatus, 
and even in the same terms, I find a series of argumentation 
is by a noted sceptic adorned, and set forth against the being 

of any God at all. edit rt 0ov, 1o/ W7reg<x<T[Aevov -n avetgov, &c. 

If there be any Divine Being, it is either finite or infinite, 
&$c. * And he reasons upon each head, as the matter could 
admit, and probably thought as well of the performance as our 
author doth of his. 

But let us see how much to the purpose our author uses it in 
the present case. The inquirer had represented three really 
distinct subsistents in the Godhead as possible, for ought we 
know, not presuming to determine herein, this way or that, 
beyond what is plain in itself, or plainly revealed. And so 
still he thinks it may be, for ought he knows ; for he professes 
not to know any thing to the contrary. Yes, saith the conside- 
rator, but I do. No doubt, if any man. But say I, How 
know you $ I know, saith he, they can neither be finite, nor 
infinite, therefore there can be no such thing at all. But, say 
J, Do you know what infinite is, or can you comprehend it * 
Yes, very well, says he, for I have an infinite all compre 
hending mind, f What a cyclop! c understanding is this ! Nay, 
and he pretends he can comprehend the very being of God 
(otherwise all religion must cease) after he had granted, " we 
(including himself) cannot comprehend the least spire of grass." 
And yet that being of God is nothing else with him, but e*is~. 
tence, (that is not to be nothing) which he there vafrously in- 

* Sext. Empir. adversus Mathematicos, Lib. 8. 
-j- Considerations on the Lord Bishop of Worcester's Sermon p. /, 8, 


serts, but very imprudently ; for every one sees he said it oriijf 
to avoid the purpose he was to speak to, and so said it not td 
&ny present good purpose at all ? As if it had been the bishop's 
word, and all one with God's being. It is true that his being 
includes his existence : but hath he therefore a clear, distinct 
and adequate conception what God is, because he, indistinctly, 
conceives a being, vulgarly signified by the name of God, doth 
exist ? Bring the matter to creatures, and because he knows, 
as he may by the sight of his eye, that such a creature exists j 
doth he therefore understand its nature ? Existence is to be 
extra causas, distinct from its causes, and this is common to all 
creatures ; as to be necessarily, and without a cause, is pecu 
liar to God. If therefore existence, and their being be all one, 
all creatures are the! same, and differ not from one another; 
for to be extra causas is that wherein they all agree. And ex 
tend it further, as existence is to be, in rerum natura, ab 
stracting from being caused, or uncaused ; and so God, and 
creatures will be all one* And see whether this will not make 
all religion cease too ? 

But if lie say^ though existence abstractly taken, distinguishes 
not God from creatures ; yet his existence doth distinguish 
him. Very true ; but that leads us back to the considera 
tion of his being, of what sort that is. Which therefore, if he 
had pleased, he might as well have let stand before as it was ; 
and might have considered that existence, and that which doth 
exist, are not of the same import. Or that it is not all one, td 
say that God doth exist, and what he is that doth exist. 

But it will be worth the while to examine a little further this 
author's comprehension of infinites. He says it is to have a 
clear, distinct, and adequate conception of them, so he com 
prehends the infinite attributes of God. His eternity, that is, 
that duration by which he is without all beginning, and end. 
This tells us what it is not. But doth it tell us what it is ? 
It is as though he should say. An infinite duration is a bound 
less duration : A grammatical definition \ or rather a mere' 
translation of latin into english. And so he might teach a mere 
latinist what boundless is, by turning the english back again 
into latin. And greatly hath he edified his disciple \ . As much 
as he should, without such change of language, by saying in 
vasion is invasion. And doth he give any better account of 
infinite wisdom and power? Are his conceptions of them 
clear and distinct ? It is possible to know much, and not be 
very wise. I do not think that therefore, which he gives, a 
very good account of wisdom. Again, knowing is doing some 
what. He speaks not now of making this or that, but more 
generally of doing any thing. Nor doth any one know any 


thing, but what he^can know. Therefore his wisdom is pow 
er; for so is an ability to know, power, as truly, as an ability 
to do any thing else. Here is confusion therefore, instead of 
distinction. And to the comprehending any thing, [ should 
think it as requisite a man's conception be true, as distinct. 
Now when he pretends to have distinct conceptions of God's 
infinite wisdom and power, if also his conceptions be true, 
those infinite attributes are distinct. I am sure he compre 
hends them not, if, whereas he clearly conceives them dis 
tinct, they are not so. But if they are distinct, they are dis 
tinct, what ? Substances ? or accidents ? If the former, ac 
cording to him, distinct divine substances must be distinct 
Gods. ^ If the latter, let him weather the difficulties as he can 
of admitting accidents in 'the Divine Being. Either way, he 
must as little pretend tobelieve an omnimodous simplicity there, 
as the inquirer. But would he then have him give better and 
fuller conceptions of these infinite attributes, or rather of the 
infinity of them, which is his present business ? No, ' no, 
that is none of the inquirer's part. He pretends not to com 
prehend infiniteness. It is enough for owe, among mortals, to 
offer at that ingens ausum, so great a thing ! 

When again he says his conception of the infinite, divine 
wisdom, power, &c. is adequate, telling us they are those pro 
perties whereby God knows, and can do, whatsoever implies 
not a contradiction to be known, and done : I ask, but doth 
he comprehend in his mind all those things which it implies 
not a contradiction for him to know and do ? If not, what is 
become of his adequate conception ? He may so comprehend 
all that the most learned book contains, because he knows the 
title, or something of its cover ; and he hath a very adequate 
conception of all that is contained in the universe, because he 
hath some general notion of what is signified by the word world. 
Let him then pretend as long as he please to comprehend infi 
niteness, no sober man will believe him, and the less, because 
he pretends it. If he put his mind upon the trial, and deal 
justly and truly when he hath tried, I would ask him, let him 
put the notion of infiniteness upon what he pleases, space, for 
instance, whether, as he thinks away any whatsoever bounds 
of it, new ones do not immediately succeed ; and let him 
think away those, whether still he doth not presently conceive 
new ? Yes, but he can divert and think no more of it, that is, 
he can think what infinite is, by not thinking ! And yet if he 
did understand infinites never so well, it would be no small 
spite to him if a man did but assert the infiniteness of one of 
the persons, (the Father) and only evs^stt as to the other two, 
as knowing their intimate union with him, makes his wisdom, 

VOL. IV. 3 F 


power, &C. as truly theirs, as if it first resided in themselves ; 
his argument is quite undone by it to all intents and purposes. 

But I shall however, further state and weigh this case of 
knowing, or not knowing, three such hypostases cannot be in 
finite : and shew what might cast a thinking man upon, 
supposing they may be all infinite for ought one knows : and 
-then consider the difficulty that is in it. 

1 . As to the former. That the Father virtually (or eminent 
ly rather) comprehends all being, created and uncreated, 
there is no doubt. Nor again, that what is from him, by per 
petual, natural, necessary emanation, cannot but be homoousial 
to himself, the Athanasian differences only supposed, of be 
ing unbegotten, and begotten, &c. 

2. But how to understand these is the difficulty; that is, 
How the same numerical nature is both begotten, and not be 
gotten ; nor will I determine it. Let them do it that can bet 
ter. I, for my part, as I have said, assert nothing in this 
matter, only have proposed to be considered what may be 
thought possible herein. 

But if any would set themselves to consider this matter, I 
would have them take the difficulty they are to consider, en 
tirely, and as it truly is in itself; that they may not be short 
in their reckoning. And to that purpose to bethink themselves 
what is the proper character (as Athanasius, and before him 
Justin Martyr phrase it) or modus of the Son (for instance) 
that it is to be begotten. This methinks should bear very hard 
upon the mere medalists, who hereupon must say, that to be 
begotten is the only thing begotten, and so consequently that 
to be begotten, is the thing that is peculiarly said to be incar 
nate, and that suffered, &c. For they must assign that which 
distinguishes the Son from the Father, otherwise they will 
make the Father be begotten, which is somewhat harder than 
to be patripassians, or to make him to have suffered. 

But it must also be upon the matter even the same difficulty, 
to say, " the same numerical nature, with the modus, is be 
gotten." For then the same numerical nature must still be 
both unbegotten, and begotten, which is very hard. And if 
they reply, Yes, but under a distinct modus : Well ; but what 
is that distinct modus f And when they find it is but to be be 
gotten, they must be hugely abashed, as one of less deep 
thought than they would think. For so, the nature being com 
mon both to the Father and the Son, all that is peculiar to 
the begotten, from the begetter, will still be but to be begot 
ten ; that is, when the question is asked, What only is begot 
ten ? the answer will be but as above, To be begotten. It hath 
hitherto, therefore, been only inquired, whether it will not 


seem easier to suppose each subsistent to have its own singular 
nature, though homoousial, as, the two latter heing by ema 
nation from the first, it cannot but be ? Which hath been 
often inculcated, and is plain in itself. Mere arbitrary produc 
tions may be very diverse from their original, but purely natural, 
especially emanative, cannot be so. And then the only con 
siderable difficulty which remains is this now before us, namely, 
the finiteness or infiniteness of these three hypostases : it 
is plain they cannot be all finite. But here our present adver 
sary places his principal pains and labour, to prove, what he 
knows no body will deny, that they cannot be so. And hence 
lie carries away glorious trophies, that three, or three thousand 
finites, will never make one infinite. Spolia ampla, ample 
spoils ! 

But how knows he they are not all infinite? That, in short, which 
he hath here to say, is but this, and can be no more than this, till 
his thoughts have run through and compassed the never-utmost 
range of infiniteness, namely, That he knows they are not, he 
knows not what ! But how can he soberly say that ? How can 
he either affirm or deny of another what he doth not understand^? 
Js this his demonstration of the impossibility of a trinity in the 
Godhead ? Suppose the Father infinite, cannot the other two 
be infinite also, for ought he knows ? How doth he know 
they cannot ? By the same medium, by which he knows it, 
he may make other mortals know it too, if he think fit to com 
municate it. Which, from so mighty confidence, especially 
when he pretends it to be so easy, I have hitherto expected, 
but in vain. Is it because the first is infinite, therefore the two 
other cannot be so ? I am sure he ought not to say so, whatever 
others may, or whatsoever the truth of the tiling is (which we 
shall inquire into by and by) for he hath over and over acknow 
ledged more infinites than one ; as when he ascribes infinite 
comprehension to the mind of man (as hath been noted,) page 
8. of these considerations. He doth not indeed say the mind is 
simply in itself infinite, but it is so in respect of its comprehen 
sion, which comprehension must therefore be infinite. How 
agreeable or consistent these terms are, the infinite compre 
hension of a finite mind, we are not to consider ; let him take 
care for that, who can easily make light of such trivial difficul 
ties as these. But in the mean time this infinite comprehen 
sion is an infinite something, not an infinite nothing ; and then 
so many minds, so many comprehensions, and so many infi 
nites. No doubt he includes his own mind ; and it is possible 
he may think some other minds as comprehensive as his own. 
And ought not to think it impossible, supposing an uncreated, 
eternal Word, and Spirit, in the Deity, that they may be mil- 


nite, as well as the comprehension of his own and some other 
minds.* Besides what he seems to grant of infinite guilts, and 
punishments due, though he doth not grant the sacrifice of 
Christ to be an equivalent for them. All shews he thinks there 
may be many infinites, and even in the same kind. 

But though to him, to whom it is not easy to guess what 
would be difficult, this would seem a very vincible difficulty ; 
it is of much greater importance, that we may do right to truth, 
to consider it, as it is in itself. And I acknowledge it (as I 
have said over and over) to be in itself, a great difficulty, as all 
sober men have been wont to do, that have had any occasion to 
employ their thoughts that way. 

But my part herein hath less of difficulty in it ; which is only 
to expect, and examine, what another will attempt to prove 
from this topic, not to assert any thing myself. My opponent 
takes upon him boldly to pronounce, ff there cannot be three' 
distinct hypostases in the Deity." Why ? say I. Because 
saith he, that will suppose each of them infinite, which cannot 
be. I say, Why can it not be ? He perhaps may tell me, If 
any one be infinite, nothing can be added thereto, or be with 
out its compass, much less can there be another infinite added 
to the former. I only now say, you talk confidently in the 
dark, you know riot what: and so as to involve yourself in 
contradictions, do what you can : in saying nothing can be 
added to what is infinite: and in pretending to know, 
if any tiling can be added, how much, or how little 

First. In saying nothing can be added to, or be without the 
compass of, what is infinite. For then there could be no crea 
tion, which I cannot doubt him to grant. Before there was 
any, was there not an infinitude of being in the eternal God 
head ? And hath the creation nothing in it of real being ? Or 
will you say the being of the creature is the being of God? I 
know what may be said (and is elsewhere said) to this, and it 
will better serve my purpose than his. 

Secondly, In pretending to know what can, or cannot be ad 
ded. Or that, in the way of necessary eternal emanation, 
there cannot be an infinite addition ; though not in the way of 
voluntary, or arbitrary and temporary production. The reason 
of the difference is too obvious to need elucidation to them 
that can consider. But for your part (I must tell my antago 
nist) you have concluded yourself, even as to that which car 
ries the greatest appearance of impossibility: come off as you 
can. You say, (considerations, page 8.) " a body of an inch 

* These Coiwideratioris., p. 31,32. 


square, is not only not infinite in extension, but is a very small 
body ; yet it hath this infinite power, to be divisible to infini 
ty." So, I suppose, you must say of half that inch, of a 
quarter, or the thousandth part of it, much more of two, or 
twenty, or a thousand inches. You say, indeed, " this body 
itself is not infinite." Nor will I insist upon the trite and 
common objection against you. " How can any thing be divi 
sible into parts which it hath not in it?" Which yet men have 
not talked away, by talking it often over. Still hceret laterf, 
the arrow sticks Nor of an infinite power being lodged in a 
finite (and so minute a) subject. But, in the mean time, here 
are infinites upon infinites, an infinite power upon an infinite 
power multiplied infinitely 5 and still these infinite powers great 
er and less than other, as either the inch is augmented, or di 
minished. And he saith (Ibid.) " the mind of man hath the 
property of infinite or eternal duration." Therefore so many 
minds, so many infinites. And he must suppose the infinite 
duration of some minds to be gi eater than of others, unless he 
think his own mind to be as old as Adam's ; or do not only hold 
their pre-existence, but that they were all created in the same 
moment. Which if he do, I am sure he can never prove. 
And so, for ought he knows, there may not only be many infi 
nites, but one greater than another. 

What therefore exceeds all limits that are assignable, or any 
way conceivable by us, as we are sure the Divine Being doth, 
it is impossible for us to know what differences that vast infini 
tude contains. And we shall, therefore, but talk at random, 
and with much more presumption than knowledge, when we 
take upon us to pronounce it impossible, there should be three 
infinite hypostases in the Godhead. Especially considering 
that most intimate vital union that they are supposed to have 
each with other, in respect whereof, the Son is said to be 
swBoroflof, inexisting in the Father (as Athanasius's phrase is) 
agreeably to the language of Scripture, John 14. 11. and else 
where. And which, by parity of reason, is to be conceived of 
the Holy Ghost too, who is also said to search all things, even 
the deep things of God, 1 Cor., 2. 10. In respect of which 
union, and the wanyw?* mutual permeation which may 
thence be collected, whatever of real perfection, wisdom, 
power, goodness. &c. is in any one, is each one's as truly as 
any one's, all being originally in the Father, as the first and 
cverliving Fountain of all. Arid was said, Sober Inquiry, p. 

But whereas the considerator urges, " If the Father be infi 
nite in his substance, in his wisdom, his power, his goodness, he 
is God in the most adequate and perfect sense of the word." I 


say, Well, and what then? If therefore he mean the Son and 
the Holy Ghost must be excluded the Godhead, let him prove 
his consequence if he can. And he may find the answer to it, 
Sober Inquiry, page 3 19. I shall not transcribe, nor love, 
when I have written a book, to write it over again. His notion 
may fit pagans well enough, or those who are not otherwise 
taught. Christians are directed to understand that the Deity 
includes Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Their equality I ac 
knowledge with the mentioned Athanasian exception ; notwith 
standing which, that they equally communicate in the most 
characteristic difference, of the Deity, from all creatures, 
namely, necessity of existence, is conceivable enough. 

To sum up all, the considerator I understand, even by the 
whole management of his discourse, and especially by the con 
clusion of that part wherein the inquirer is concerned, to have 
most entirely given up this cause, as ever did any man. The 
inquirer's only undertaking was to maintain " the possibility of 
a trinity in the Godhead," in opposition to his former, daring 
assertion, of its being impossible, and nonsense. 

He now, in conclusion, says, the inquirer saw there must 
,be a nexus ; intimating, if there can, that he hath gained his 
point; but, it is added, "he durst not venture to say what it 
was/* To which I must say, 

That this is most uncautiously said ; I will not say, deceitful 
ly, though I know it is said untruly ; and he might have known 
(or remembered) too, that he (the inquirer) often spoke of it, 
as a necessary, natural, eternal, vital, and most intimate uni 
on. He further says, he only explains it by the union of soul 
and body. Which again, 

First. Is so great a misrepresentation, that I wonder he 
would say it here, when he himself but two or three pages off 
recites as the inquirer's word, "If God could unite into one, 
two such contrary natures, let any man give me a reason why 
he might not (much more) first make, and then unite two, and 
if two, why not three Spirits, &c/* Is this only to explain it 
by the union of soul and body ? 

But by the way that "first make, and then unite*' was none of 
the inquirer's, but appears thrust in to make what was mani 
festly possible, seem impossible. Sic notus let two sub 
stances be created entire, with no natural propension to each 
other, they are capable of no natural union, without change 
of their natures. Who sees not, it were a contradiction to 
suppose them, the same still, and not the same ? But sup 
pose them created with mutual aptitudes to union, and united, 
what should hinder but they may continue united, without be 
ing confounded? 


Secondly. And it is said impertinently, as well as untruly ; 

conscience believe this a good argument " such a union, that 
is natural, necessary, Sac. hath no pattern or parallel in the 
creation ; therefore it is impossible in the nature of God ?" 

For what he adds, "That the soul and body in a man are 
not united into one substance or essence, nor possibly can be;" 
the cause indeed depends not on it, but lies remote from it. 
Methinks however it is very feat, and shews him pinched, that 
he can be brought to this ! Hath a man no substance ? Is he 
a shadow ? Or hath he no essence ? Is he a non-entity ? or 19 
his essence a body ? Then a body is a man. Or is his essence 
a spirit? Then, a spirit is a man. If he say either of these, 
I wish he would tell us the quantity of those propositions, that 
we may know whether he means that every body is a man, or 
every spirit is a man ? I am sure where the essence is, there 
must be the essentiatum. Or whether soul and body united, 
make nothing different from either, or both disunited ? Or 
^whether a man be only such a thing as a pye ? Or why might 
not a pudding serve as well, if made up of several ingredients ? 
He hath greatly indeed obliged mankind for such an honour 
done them ! If indeed the cause depended on it, he would 
have good store of philosophers to confute, and all that have 
any concern for their own kind, before he could disprove the 
possibility of the supposed union in the Deity, and you have 
nothing for it but his bare word : which (at least, without the 
.addition of his name) will not do the business , Nor, if he 
could also bring us a demonstration against the union of soul 
and body, can he thereby prove such a union as we suppose in 
the Godhead impossible. The case is quite another. The 
union of the soul and body was never by me called essential ; 
for I well know, if they were essentially united, in the strict 
sense they could never be disunited. But it is commonly cal 
led a substantial union, and I called it natural in respect of the 
principle, nature, in contradistinction to art. As for the 

posed union we speak of in the Deity, that, being necessary, 
original, eternal, it must be essential, or none ; but with such 
distinction as before was supposed, For it was union, not 
identity, that was meant, which union, with such distinction, 
till they be proved impossible, the inquirer's cause is untouch 
ed. And is certainly to any such purpose, not in the least 
touched by the considerator. Whether there be any such union 
that may admit to be called essential among the creatures, dot!) 


neither make nor mar. We have never said there was, nor 
doth the stress of the cause lie upon it. 

I find indeed an ingenious, merry gentleman animadverts 
upon a postscript written against the Sober Inquiry, and upon 
a letter in answer to it, who at a venture calls all essential 
union, essential contradiction, and substantial nonsense. 
Who this is, I will not pretend to guess, only I guess him not 
to be the same with the considerator, for this, besides other