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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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VOL. V. 


GAL. 5. 25. 



TITUS 1. 16. 







ft. Bvnslry, Bolt Court, Fleet Street. 





mill) reference to particular persons : 



On John. III. 6. and Gal. v. 25. 



IT was apprehended the entire thoughts of this great man, upon 
so important a subject, might he very useful to the world, and ac 
ceptable to many : and though they are only a specimen of his or 
dinary course of preaching., without any finishing hand, or further 
design, or perhaps, always his ripest thoughts ; yet they carry the 
lively signatures of the admirable genius, and excellent spirit, which 
always appeared m his composures, and rendered them so peculiar 
ly fit to instruct and impress the minds of men. Whosoever consi 
ders the compass and variety of the matter, the thread and connex 
ion of the thoughts, the striking imagery, and the pertinence and 
pungency of the expression, will see reason to admire the vast ca 
pacity of the author, and be easily disposed to forgive any lesser 
neglects and escapes j especially when he only proposed to speak 
familiarly and without any written notes, and allowed himself a 
liberty in expressing the well digested and disposed conceptions of 
his mind. 

It will be necessary for your satisfaction, as well as the readers, 
to assure you, that the same care has been taken, and the same 
method observed, in reviewing and transcribing this part of the sub 
ject, as was used in tbe other j as the manuscript was Written by the 
same skilful and diligent hand. 

The intimacy of a long friendship, and mutual respect, the en 
dearments of the nearest relation, for several of the latter years of 
his life j the high honour you always paid him, and the singular 
value be expressed for you, living and dying j give you tbe best title 
to these two volumes of posthumous discourses of die Spirit, and of 
family prayer j and to any respect we are capable of shewing you. 
We believe tbe noble argument as well as the excellent author, will 
be peculiarly acceptable and delightful to you, who were so well 
acquainted with his spirit and preaching ; and may contribute to a 
well grounded peace of mind in a clearer discerning of a regenerate 
state •, and to your daily walking in the Spirit, and improvement in 
the spiritual life. 

, This is the sincere desire of, 

Honoured Madam, 
Your respectful humble servants. 




John iii. 6 latter part. 

That which is born of the Spirit) is spirit. 

le represents the different states of men, accord 
ing to the different temper of their minds, as they are 
either carnal or spiritual; the misery and deadliness of the 
former; that "to be carnally minded is death :" the life and 
peace which is involved in the other ; that "to be spiritually 
minded is life and peace." Rom. 8. 6. We are presented in this 
text with a view of the two great fountains of that carnality and 
spirituality, which are themselves so great fountains of evil and 
good, unto the children of men, according as the one or the 
other hath place in them. The whole verse presents us with a 
view of both ; "that which is born of the flesh Is flesh 5 and that 
which is born of the Spirit, is spirit" : though I am to insist, as 
my design requires,, only upon the latter. Some perhaps, 
taking some notice, that there is a universal death reigning 
over this world, by reason of that carnality which hath spread 
itself through it ; may be prone to inquire, From whence is it, 
that so prevailing a carnality should so mortally have tainted 
the spirits of men every where ? And this our Lord gives no 
other account of, and only resolves the matter, into ordinary 
human propagation ; "that which is born of the flesh, is flesh." 
His account is not such as seems to aim at gratifying the curi 
ous, but such as wherein the sounder minded might very well 
be expected to acquiesce. It being taken for granted, that the 
higher original of human nature, was very well understood and 
known ; it might seem a sufficient account of the original of 
that corruption, which is now connate with the nature of man; 
that from apostate creatures, such as were like themselves 
bave descended, and what is born of the flesh, is nothing else 

* Preached November 25th, 1677, at Cordwainer's HaU. 


be by begetting, or being born : for so it is indifferently ren 

I. We are to consider tbe product or the effect wrought, and 
that is defined by tbe name spirit ; what is born or begotten of 
tbe Spirit, is spirit. It is needful to give some account here 
what we are not to understand by it, and then what we are. 

1 . It is very manifest we are not to understand by it the na 
tural spirit of a man ; for our Saviour is not speaking here of 
bringing men into the world, but bringing them into the 
church : He is not speaking of such a sort of begetting where 
by men are produced, but Christians. Nor is it a distinct sub 
stance from that, or another substance diverse from the spirit 
of a man ; for then a regenerate person, and an unregenerate ; 
the same person in his unregenerate, and in his regenerate 
state, would substantially differ from himself; and that you 
may easily apprehend how absurd it would be. But, 

2. As to the reason of the name and the more general im 
port of it ; by spirit we are to understand something spiritual, 
and which is of a spiritual nature ; the abstract being put for 
the concrete, which is a very ordinary elegance in the Scrip 
ture ; as well as it is many times in a contrary sense : You 
were darkness, but now ye are light in the Lord, Eph. 5. 8. 
T lie name is no more intended to hold forth to us, spirit, con 
sidered under a merely natural notion, without any adjunct, 
than, flesh, is intended to signify without any adjunct, and 
only in a merely natural sense. The thing which in general is 
intended to be held forth to us by this name, is, that frame of 
holiness, which is inwrought in souls by the Spirit of God in 
regeneration ; and which because it is a spiritual production, 
most agreeable to its productive cause, is therefore called here 
by the name of spirit. It is something which is many times in 
Scripture held forth to us by such other names as these ; 
sometimes it is called simply by the name of light ; " Now are 
ye light in the Lord ;" as if this product were nothing else 
hut a beam of vigorous vital light, darted down from heaven 
into the hearts of men. Sometimes it is called by the name of 
life ; that is used, it is true, as an expression of-a larger extent, 
than for the ^internal work of the Spirit, but it comprehends 
that too; "Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life/* 
John v. 45. Many times it is soused as that the circumstan 
ces of the place do determine it more limitedly, to that pecu 
liar sense, it is sometimes expressed by the seed of God, an 
incorruptible seed which is put into the souls of men. 1 Pet. 
1.23.1 John. 3.8, 9.10. Sometimes it is called the new 
creature. Jn Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any 
thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature, Gal. 6. 15. 


If any man is in Christ he is a new creature. It is very usual 
to speak of the effect, and the operation too, by which that 
effect is wrought, the former under the name of creature : the 
latter under the name of creation : as here it is spoken of as 
a thing begotten ; and the causative action, under the name 
of begetting. It is sometimes called the new man ; the 
image of God ; and God's workmanship. These different 
forms of expression, and if there are any more which are not 
in my thoughts, which are parallel to these, are only intended 
to signify one and the same thing ; and what is here signified 
by the name of spirit. 

But to give you somewhat a more particular account of this 
thing, this being, this creature, which is here signified by the 
name of spirit. Of this we have said it is not a distinct sub 
stance from the spirit of a man, and yet we must know con 
cerning it in the 

(1.) Place, that it is a distinct thing ; or something, though 
not of another substance, which is yet superadded to the spirit 
of a man ; and which the spirit of a man, considered according 
to its mere naturals, is destitute of ; and which therefore lies 
without the whole sphere and compass of mere nature, or any 
of the improvements thereof. It is spoken of in the Scripture 
as a thing put on : Put on the new man, which after God 
is created in righteousness and true holiness Col. 4. 10. 
There is something put off, and laid away ; the old man, 
with his deeds. This shews it to be an adjunct, or a thing 
superadded to us ; which is not only out of the compass 
of our natures, but is no more to be conceived as com 
prehended in that state, than a man's clothes which he puts on, 
are comprehended in the notion of his body. And in that it is 
called a new thing, as the new creature and the new man 5 it 
shews it to be an additional thing. 

(2.) Though it is diverse and distinct from the spirit of a man ; 
yet it is a most intimately inherent thing, and is most closely 
united, wherever it comes to obtain and take place. It is a 
spirit which gets into a man's spirit, a spirit put into spirit. 
That you may be renewed in the spirit of your minds, Eph. 
4. 23. Create in me a clean heart, renew a right spirit within 
me, Ps. li. 10. It is the divine Spirit which is the formal re 
novating principle by which we are renewed ; and our former 
natural spirit is the subject of it. And it is a thing which most 
inwardly seats and centers itself in a man's soul, and takes pos 
session of his inmost soul, which is called the spirit of the 
mind ; and which we must conceive to be to the soul, as the 
heart is to the body, so very inward and middle a part, and 
upon the account of which analogy it is that the name of heart 
is so often transferred thither to signify the inward part, or the 

VOL. V. C 


very innermost of the inner man. There it is that the Spirit 
doth most intimately inhere and reside. It is not a thing which 
lies in the surface of a man ; or consists in outward forms, or 
empty shews, or fruitless talk ; hut it is something which is got 
into a man's heart, and hath insinuated and conveyed itself 

(3.) It is alterative of its subject, or of that nature to 
which it is adjoined. It is so in it, as to make a very 
great alteration within, and to work a change where it 
comes. As leaven, to which this very thing is compar 
ed by our Lord whkh he here calls spirit, hath in it that 
fermentative virtue, by which it strangely alters the lump 
into which it is put, and whereto it is adjoined. It is 
incredible according to the accounts the chymists give, how 
very little and minute a portion shall quite alter and transform 
the mass into which it is put, so as to make it quite another 
thing. Such a thing is this begotten spirit^ it is alterative of 
its subject ; and when it gets within a man, it makes him quite 
another thing from what he was. If any man be in Christ, he 
is a new creature ; or which is all one, there is a new creature 
in him. Sometimes the whole man is spoken of as the subject 
of this production, and we are said to be new creatures, and 
the new creation is spoken of as being in us. It only carries 
this signification with it, that when a man is said to be begot 
ten or regenerated, it is only said to be so secundum quid, 
or in this peculiar respect ; as having such a thing of new pro 
duction now put into him. It is such a great change which is 
made, as that all things which were old, are said to be done 
away, and all that remains to be made new, 2 Cor. v. 17« 
This is nothing else but the same Spirit which is got into the 
heart of a man, and makes its subject new ; that is, to become 
a new heart and a right spirit, where it comes to obtain. It is 
not so with every thing which is put into another, or whereof 
another thing is contained 5 you may put water into a 
bason, and it alters it nothing ; but this is such a thing which 
alters that which it is put into, and makes it quite another 
thing ; like putting some spirits into that water which changes 
the colour and quality of it. 

(4.) It is universally diffused in its subject, as it is }n its na 
ture alterative^ of it. It is a thing universally diffused through 
the whole subject wherein it comes ; whence it is that the oper 
ration also is universal^ and it makes a thorough change. 
They are very comprehensive expressions which the apostle 
uses concerning holiness or sanctification, (1 Thes. v. 23.) 
where he prays on the behalf of the Thessalonians ; That God 
would sanctify them wholly, or throughout, that is in their 
whole spirit, soul and body : he distinguishes these 5 probably 


meaning by the former, the soul, as rational ; by the second, 
the soul as sensitive ; and by the third, the corporeal body. It 
is plain this same created, begotten spirit, being designed to 
repair what was impaired by sin, must take place and spread it 
self as far as sin had done. That had vitiated and depraved 
the whole man, and is therefore called, a man ; the old man ; 
as having extended itself to all the powers, and faculties, and 
all the parts of a man : it is a man in a man. This spirit 
therefore is to be a man in a man too, and must spread into all 
the same powers and parts, which the former had done, and 
make a new man. Though it is true indeed, that the intelli 
gent soul of man can only be formally the subject of this 
change, yet sin is by a sort of participation in the sensitive 
soul, and in the external senses and parts of the body ; and so 
must grace or holiness too. It is strange rhetoric the apostle 
uses in that collection of passages which we find in Rom. 3. 
from 10. onward, out of certain places of the old testament. 
The apostle designs to represent not only how universally sin 
had spread itself among all men ; but how it had spread itself 
through the whole of every man : as if they were so very full 
of sin, and so under the possession and power of it, that they 
belched it out of their throats, and through their lips; acted 
it with their hands ; and made haste to it with their feet : Their 
throat is an open sepulchre, with their tongues they have used 
deceit, the poison of asps is under their lips, their feet are 
swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their ways. 
They do nothing but work mischief wherever they come. Why, 
according to this same spreading, and diffusion of sin, which 
is here called flesh ; so must be that of the spirit too, enthron 
ing itself in the very inwards of the soul, and having its resi- 
cbnce there ; whilst thence it diffuses its energy and vital in 
fluence, through all the parts and powers of the man ; and lea 
vens the whole lump. Both sin and holiness are represented 
to us upon the account of their diffusive nature, by a metaphor 
of the same kind; by the apostle, 1 Cor. v. 6. and by our Sa 
viour, Mat. 13.33. 

(5.) He must understand it to be a most excellent thing ; of 
a very high and great excellence, which is here called spirit. 
It is a most pure essence, and noble production, agreeable to 
its productive cause. How vain a thing is all this material 
world, if you abstract and sever spirit from it? What a slug 
gish dull lump were all this mass of earth, and all the matter 
of the world, without spirit ? If you could imagine such a 
distinct thing as a spirit of nature, and we know there are ope 
rations which some call by that name, which in Scripture are 
.simply ascribed to this same Spirit who is laere spoken of under 


the name of the Spirit. The great Almighty Spirit of God, in 
the creation of the world, did move upon the waters ; and in 
.,- the continual sustentation, direction and government of the 
creatures, it hath its agency ; Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, 
they are created, and thou renewest the face of the earth, Psal. 
civ. 30. If we should conceive no such thing as spirit to influ 
ence this same material world, what a heap would it soon be ? 
As a house would in time become, only much sooner, which 
should never have any inhabitant, or any body to reside there ; 
for the influence, of an inhabitant is not so much to keep the 
house up, as this Almighty Spirit is to keep up the frame of na 
ture, and continue things in the course and order, wherein 
they naturally were. Upon this account, many of the more 
refined philosophers have made it very much their business, to 
speak debasingly and diminishingly of man, and to represent 
him as a despicable thing ; that is the mere body or matter se 
parate from spirit ; which plainly carries this signification with 
it, that spirit was, in their account, a most excellent sort and 
kind of being. This expression, that which is born of the 
Spirit, is spirit, holds forth this production to be such, that 
is, of the noblest kind. When the prophet would speak di 
minishingly and with contempt concerning the Egyptian pow 
er, he says, their horses are flesh and not spirit, Isa. 31. 3. 
They have no spirit in them ; an expression merely designed 
to set forth how little they were to be feared or regarded, and 
how contemptible they were. 

(6.) It is a soul rectifying, or restoring thing. It being a 
thing of a very high excellence, must needs not only render 
the spirit of a man into which it is put, a great deal more ex 
cellent than it was ; but it was withal designed to restore it to 
its pristine excellence, and make it what it was, or what it 
ought to be. It is by this work or production in the spirits of 
men, that souls are said to be restored ; Thou restorest my 
soul, Psal. '23. 3. So far as this work hath taken place in me 
he hath brought me back and made me to return, where I was 
and ought to have been. It is therefore the very rectitude of 
the soul, or setting it right again : Create a right spirit with 
in me, Psal. li. 10. 

(7«).fr i § a divine thing, as we must needs understand it. 
For it is the birth and production of the divine Spirit, and is 
immediately irom God ; and it is his very image ; and the new 
man which after God is created in righteousness and true ho 
liness. It is something which is as it were copied out of God 
himself, and whereof he is at once both the immediate effici 
ent and exemplar. And upon this account it is called, by the 
Apostle, the divine nature. 2 Pet. 1. 4. 


(8.) It is a thing by the very nature of it, instincted into a 
dependance upon God ; or immediately dependant upon him as 
to its continual subsistence. There is a natural dependance 
which is common to all creatures, and essential to them as. 
creatures. All have a kind of instinct drawn from the conti 
nual sustaining them, from the great Author of all : but this 
is a creature which depends knowingly and of choice ; and so 
as to own and avow itself to be a depending creature : I live, 
yet not I, but Christ lives in me, Gal. 2. 20. And therefore 
there are continual breathings of desire after God : As the 
hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after 
thee, OGod. Psal. xlii. 1. 

(9.) It is a creature which not only depends on God volunta 
rily and of choice, but aims at him, and tends to him as an 
end, and carries the heart and soul of a man to do so. It is 
by this same inwrought Spirit that the soul is principally recti 
fied and set right towards God, so as to design him only, and 
to do all for him. Hence this becomes the sense of such a 
one; "I desire to be nothing, Lord, but for thee. My whole 
life and being are things of no value with me, but for thy sake. 
I care not whether I live or die ; whether I am in the body or 
out of the body, is all one to me ; for to me to live is Christ ; 
and my great desire is, that Christ may be magnified in my bo 
dy, whether by life or by death. Phil. 1. 20, 21. And I 
through the law, am dead to the law, that I might live unto 
God/' Gal. 2. 19. As soon as ever he becomes, in the for 
mer sense, dead ; delivered from the law, and rescued from 
tinder the dominion and curse of it, he lives unto God. His 
life becomes a devoted thing ; and the tenour and stream of all 
his thoughts and designs, and endeavours is altogether and 
wholly to him. 

(10.) It is an active powerful thing : or a creature made for 
action and contest. It is a Spirit of power. 2 Tim. 1. 7» That 
which is born of God overcomes the world, 1 John. v. 4. This 
son of God, this product and begotten Spirit, is born of God. 
What? Shall not this son of God which is begotten of him, 
Overcome ? Nay, in whom it obtains, they are more than con 
querors : they conquer over and over ; they conquer abundant 
ly and with the greatest advantage imaginable. It is to them 
who overcome, that the crown and throne are designed at last. 
They shall have a new name ; and the heavenly hidden manna, 
and sit down with Christ upon his throne, as he overcame, and 
js set down upon the Father's throne, Rev. 3. 21. 

(11.) It is an immortal thing, and which never dies. 
Spirit is a thing which essentially carries life in it, and there 
fore can never cease to live. It is an incorruptible seed, and 


the seed of God put into the soul . He who is born of God doth 
not commit sin; for his seed remains in him, 1 John 3. 6. 
His seed, of whom he is born. Can that be a mortal thing ? 
It is observable therefore, how the apostle argues concerning 
those, whom he supposes to have been the subjects of this 
mio-hty and blessed operation of the Spirit of God. If by the 
Spirit ye mortify the deeds of the body ye shall live ; for as 
many as are led by the Spirit, are the Sons of God, Rom. 8. 14. 
He takes it for granted they are the begotten sons of God, b^ 
the Spirit. And it is as if he had said ; What do you think the 
sons of God shall not live ? hath he begotten any mortal sons, 
or such as can corrupt and die ? So those words are common 
ly, and very probably, understood to signify, Rev. 20. 6. 
Blessed and holy is he who hath part in the first resurrection ; 
over him the second death shall have no power. I will not as 
sert that to be the sense, but it is not improbable to ^ be^ so. 
They who are regenerate, and have got this Spirit of life into 
them 5 they have got that in them which will spring up into life 
everlasting : having their fruit unto holiness thety end is eter 
nal life. As our Saviour speaks, John 4. 14. and the apostle 
Paul, Rom. 6. 22. 

You have by these hints some account, what kind of thing 
this same begotten Spirit is, when it is said, that which is 
born of the Spirit is spirit. The time doth not allow at present,, 
to go farther in the explicatory part : I would hint this one 
thing by way of use before we depart, that we take heed of di 
minishing, or thinking slightly and meanly of this mighty dis 
tinguishing work of the Spirit of God. They are awful words, 
if duly considered, That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 
There is nothing to be found in all this world, worthy the 
name of spirit, but that which is born immediately of the Spi 
rit, and is its offspring. Our Saviour speaks in the other part 
of the verse manifestly in a way of contempt ; That which is 
born of the flesh is flesh : that is but flesh, which is born of 
flesh ! That is, men considered in their mere naturals only, 
or' in this present corrupted state of nature. We must under 
stand the whole being of man, to be the corrupted subject ; 
and so to be altogether comprehended, under the name of flesh; 
his very soul and natural spirit itself in opposition to Spirit, in 
the other part of the verse, as the antithesis plainly shews. 
Let a man be of never so refined intellectuals, or great accom 
plishments ; let him be never so much a man, and humanity 
cultivated to the highest pitch and degree ; without this same 
additional superadded Spirit ; he is nothing else but a lump of 
flesh. If this thought did sink into the hearts of men, what 
despicable and self loathing thoughts would they have of them- 


selves, while as yet they can find nothing of this begotten in- 
created Spirit in them ; while that Spirit is not yet come into 
me by which I live to God, and my soul is turned to him, and 
set on him, framed for him, and made active towards him, and 
on his behalf 5 all this while I am as if I were a body and no 
more, or a mere breathless carcass. For plain it is that to all 
the actions and comforts of the divine life', a man in his mere 
naturals, is as to these things, as a carcass is to the actions of 
a man : that is, a carcass can as well read and discourse, and 
travel, and trade, as a man in whom this Spirit is not, can love 
God, take pleasure in him, act in pure devotedness to him, de 
sign him as a portion, and have respect to him as such. So 
that now if men did but allow themselves the liberty of reflec 
tion, it could not be but sometime or other this would be their 
communing with themselves : "Either I have this new super- 
added Spirit, or I have not : if I have, sure such a thing as I 
have heard it is, would make some work in my soul, and shew 
itself; it could not be latent there ; I should find some changes 
and transformation wrought in me. And if I have not, then 
where am I ? In how dismal and forlorn a state ! it is for me to 
go and dwell among graves, for I am as a carcass, but a piece 
of spiritless flesh, or breathless lump." Oh that right thoughts 
of our case upon this account, might once obtain, and take 
place. If this Spirit is not in us, then we are dead creatures ; 
if we have any thing of life in us, it is because the Spirit of the 
living God hath infused, and increated it. It is of no small 
concernment if this latter is our case, to observe and view the 
Spirit of God aright. And if the former is our case, to see 
to it, and deal truly with our own souls, while any natural 
breath remains, in order to the regaining that spiritual life, by 
which we may be capable of breathing spiritually. Methinks 
one should have a restless mind after it ; Oh I have no spirit 
within me ; nothing that moves towards God ; no sense of 
him, or breathings after him. Oh that I were more acquainted 
with it. It is strange that there should be life, and no such 
motion ; and impossible there should be this begotten spirit^ 
and we should find no change within. 


have proposed in order to the explication of the text, 
these three things, 1 To consider the product here spo 
ken of, under the name of the Spirit. 2 The productive cause, 
or the divine parent, to which this birth owes itself; The spi 
rit. 3. The kind of the production expressed here by being 
born, or begotten. We have already spoken to the first of 
those, and proceed now to the 

II. The productive cause, which is here styled, in an em- 

.,— phatical sense, the Spirit. This name being spoken of the 

spirit, is commonly observed and known to be taken two ways, 

either essentially, or personally : essentially, so it signifies the 

nature of God ; the pure perfect spirituality of that blessed 

Spirit : So it is said, John 4. 24. God is a Spirit. But most 

frequently it is taken in the other sense, personally ; that is, 

to signify the person known by that name ; the third in the 

Godhead who by eternal spiration proceeds from the Father 

and Son. That which I at present design is to speak of this 

blessed Spirit, the parent of this great production, as such ; 

and therefore shall not so much discourse to you concerning 

the Spirit absolutely considered ; as in this relation, or as the 

author of this work wrought in the spirits of men. What we 

are to conceive of it, as it is a subsistence in the Godhead ; or 

what its agency and operations may be, between the Father 

and Son ; or what the kind and nature of that eternal Spirit is, 

and by what way it collectively proceeds from both, we are 

left very much in the dark, as being things of less concernment 

to us. But what is of more importance to us, we find more 

clearly, and expressly spoken of, that is, how we are to con- 

* Preached December 5th, 1677. at Container's Hall 


sider it in relation to the creation. And so we are taught most 
evidently to look upon it as the great author of all those influ 
ences and operations, which are properly attributable to God, 
or any where have place throughout the whole creation ; whether 
we speak of the old creation or the new ; and both within the 
sphere of nature and grace. 

Within the sphere of nature it must be acknowledged the 
author of universal nature, howsoever diversified, and in what 
soever creatures, and must be conceived to have influenced, 
and still to influence, all the creatures, both in the works of 
creation and providence. Both these are manifestly attributed 
to the Spirit of God in Scripture. It was said in the creation to 
be upon the waters, (Gen. I. 2.) to be every where infusing 
its vital influence, through the chaos which was then to be for 
med and digested, and put into order. By it the world is as it X. 
were new created every day ; thou sendest forth thy Spirit, 
and they are created ; and renewest the face of the earth, Psal. 
civ. 30. And by his Spirit the Lord doth garnish the heaven, 
as well as renew the face of the earth, Job. 26. 13. So that we 
do not need to seek after another distinct spirit of nature, much 
less an irrational and unintelligent one, as some fancy ; yea, * 
pagan light hath gone so far in some, as to understand it to 
be a mind, and intelligent spirit which doth every where 
diffuse formative, and governing influence, through this great 
creation. And being by its nature immense, it is every 
where at hand to answer every such purpose which the ex 
igence of the case in order to the creature's renewing, doth 
require. But our greater and more direct concern is to con 
sider it as the author of all operations, within the sphere of 
grace, and the new creation. This is it which the text doth 
manifestly intend, that is, to be the operator in that great 
work by which men are to be new formed, for that new and 
other kingdom, which God is raising up to himself in this 
world, out of the ruins of that kingdom of nature, which he 
hath, and still holds overall. And we must understand it to 
be with great propension, and the highest pleasure, that this 
blessed Spirit hath undertaken, and doth perform this so im 
portant work ; if we consider it under the name and style of the 
Spirit of grace, as it is called Heb. 10. 29. It takes itself to 
be despited when the truth is not received, or when it is reject 
ed, and men revolt from it ; which is the great instrument by ( 
which this work of the Holy Ghost is to be effected and wrought 
upon the spirits of men. As you know there can be done to 
none a greater despite than to cross them in a design, upon 
which they are intent and unto which they are carried by a 
strong propension and inclination of mind. Here lies the em 
phasis and high pitch of aggravation and the malignity of this 

VOL. V. » 


wickedness, that the Spirit of all goodness and benignity and 
love and sweetness is despited by them : They can find no 
thing else to turn the spite upon, but the Spirit of grace. 
Consider it under this character, and we must understand this 
work to be undertaken by it with the greatest propension, and 
performed with the highest pleasure. Looking down upon this 
forlorn world, and beholding all things waste, and ruin : nature 
in the best master -piece of the creation, grown degenerous, 
depraved, a poisonous and horrid thing ; why, pity and com 
passion has been stirred up to the world, and that immense 
Spirit hath gone forth full of love and goodness ; full of vital 
influence, being designed to the office of doing a blessed work, 
here and there, wherever it finds its work to lie ; and that the 
new creation might be made to spring up out of the wastes and 
desolations of the old. As a Spirit of grace we must under 
stand it very intent upon this work and highly pleased with it. 

And as a Spirit of power, we must suppose it to go on in 
this work with efficacy, and to crown it with most certain and 
glorious success. It will not be baffled out of its work, or suf 
fer itself to be put beside its office, unto which it hath been 
designed and appointed, for so happy a purpose. And wher 
ever it is that we find the state of souls bettered, and any thing 
done to form and prepare meet subjects for God's kingdom ; 
we are most manifestly taught to ascribe all such work to this 
blessed Spirit. It is his appropriate office to refine the spirits 
of men to that pitch, as that they maybe capable of their own 
name again ; that is to be called spirit, when the whole man 
before, is called flesh, till this divine work pass upon it. 

This will be evident by considering the several parts of this 
work; and you can instance in none whereunto the Spirit of 
God is not entitled. Is holy light and knowledge a part ? 
This Spirit is, upon that account, called the Spirit of know 
ledge, Isa. 11. 2. The Spirit of wisdom and revelation; Eph. 
1.17 This is implied in the following words ; The eyes of 
your understanding being enlightened, that you may know the 
hope of your calling. Is again, faith a part of this work ? as 
certainly it is ; for they who believe are said to be, born not of 
flesh nor of blood, or of the will of man but of God. John 1. 
13. Why in reference hereto, it is styled, the Spirit of faith. 
2 Cor. 4. 13. We having the same spirit of faith ; that is, the 
same with David who is quoted there ; we believe and there 
fore speak. It is plainly signified to us, that this same Spirit 
is always employed as a Spirit of faith, and works uniformly 
from age to age ; so that just as it wrought in David at so many 
hundred years distance, so it wrought in Paul. Is again, love 
a part of this work in tlie souls of men ? It is styled in Scrip* 


ture the Spirit of love. 2 Tim. 1. 7« He hath given us the 
Spirit of love. That pure and holy love by which the soul 
unites with God, becomes devoted to him, enjoys solace, and 
satisfies itself in him. And again, is hope apart of it ? Why 
it is attributed to this same Spirit : Christians do abound in 
.. hope through the powerof the Holy Ghost, Rom. 15. 13. Again, 
is joy a part, and principle in this new creation ? That is cal 
led joy in the holy Ghost, Rom. 14. 17- Is meekness a part? 
This same Spirit upon that account is called, the Spirit of 
meekness, Gal. 6'. 1. If that is understood to signify the habit 
of meekness in the soul of a Christian ; yet that connotes a re 
ference to this Spirit as the author of that gracious frame and 
disposition, and the name itself might congruously enough be 
understood of the blessed Spirit itself, as such a work is under 
the power and dominion of that Spirit, who is herein the Spirit 
of meekness in those in whom it is wrought. Is the fear of the 
Lord a part ? It is called the Spirit of the fear of the Lord, 
which rests upon him who is the rod out of the stem of Jesse, 
and a branch growing out of his roots. Isa. 11. 1. And it is 
the same Spirit, and under the same characters, which is given 
to all who are united to him ; and anointed with the same Spi 
rit. If you would have sundry such particulars as have been 
mentioned together, you have an enumeration somewhat dis 
tinct, Gal. 5. 22. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, 
long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, tem 
perance. Would you take what is more summary and compre 
hensive, and contains all such particulars together ? Holiness 
is of such a comprehensive nature : and it is called the Spi 
rit of holiness, Rom. 1.4. And the fruit of the Spirit is in 
all goodness and righteousness and truth : that universal rec 
titude which ever comes to have place in the spirits of any. 
You have the equivalent of it in another expression ; it is cal 
led the Spirit of a sound mind. 2 Tim, 1. 7- Which signifies 
an entire good habit of soul in all kinds and respects ; or that 
renovation of soul by which a man becomes a new man. So 
we are renewed in the Spirit of the mind, putting off the old 
man, and putting on the new. Eph. 4.23, 24. But if you 
go to the transcendental attributes, as I may call them, of this 
new creature, you have them still referred to this Spirit. Life 
is such a one ; for that is capable of being spoken of every 
gracious principle; it is lively faith, and lively hope, &c. 
Why, this is the Spirit of life, which gives life. 2 Cor. 3. 6. 
Power is such another ; for that is also capable of being spoken 
of every grace, it may be more or less powerful. There is the 
power of faith, the strength of love and hope, &c. And it is 
called the Spirit of power, in reference hereunto, 2 Tim. 1. 7. 


And elsewhere, the Spirit of might, Isa. 11. 2. If we go to 
what is preparatory to this work, or the convictions which must 
pass upon the spirits of men in order to it, this blessed Spirit 
is entitled to that as the great author of them. John 16. When 
the Spirit the comforter is come, he will convince the world of 
sin, and righteousness, and judgment. When the comforter 
is come : the word is indifferently capable of being rendered 
the advocate ; or the great pleader, and he who undertakes to 
manage the cause of Christ and Christianity against the world. 
He, when he is come, will make work in the spirits and con 
sciences of men ; He will make the world understand what 
they are so unapt to understand, their own sin, my righteous 
ness and the power of that judgment and government, which 
is to be set up, in order to the saving whoever shall be saved ; 
or this very kingdom, which is spoken of in the preceding verse. If 
we respect what is consequential, and following upon this work ; 
consolations of renewed souls ; they are called, the consolati 
ons of the Holy Ghost ; and the church's walking in the com 
forts of the Holy Ghost, were edified. Acts 9. 31. All their 
pre- assurances of the possessing of the eternal inheritance, are 
owing to the Spirit, as the earnest of that inheritance. Eph. 
1. 14. 2 Cor. 5. 5. And the Spirit of adoption, Rom. 8. 15. 
If we consider the pregustations and foretastes of heaven and 
glory, which souls now enjoy sometimes in their way ; these 
are called the first fruits of the Spirit, Rom. 8. 23. If we re 
spect the exercises of the new creature, when once there is an 
infused principle ; or any thing of an habitual frame of a 
holy mind, comes to obtain in us ; these are still constantly 
attributed to the Spirit. As the mortifying of sin ; If ye 
through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live, 
Rom. 8. 13. Leading a holy life, or walking in a way or 
course of holiness, is called walking in the Spirit, and being 
led by the Spirit. Gal. 5. 16. The life of Christians is here 
upon a sowing to the Spirit, whence of the Spirit they receive 
at length, life everlasting, in Gal. 6. 8. Right worship is 
attributed to the Spirit. Prayer, which is worthy of the name, 
is praying in the Holy Ghost, Jude 20. and worshipping in ge 
neral, if it is right, is worshipping in Spirit and truth, John 
4 24. which may be meant, under dominion of God's own 
Spirit. But more expressly, Phil. 3. 3. We are the circum 
cision who worship God in the Spirit. So that look upon 
what you will relating to the new creature, and every thing of 
it is attributed to the Spirit, as the productive cause. Consider 
its parts, its sum, its exercises, its properties ; consider what is 
preparatory to it, or consequently upon it ; consider what it 


doth, and what it enjoys ; and all is resolved into this great 
principle, the Spirit. 

III. We are next to consider the kind of the production, 
which is signified by a peculiar expression, begetting : for so 
it is indifferently capable of being rendered, either born or be 
gotten. This is a distinguishing sort of production ; there 
are many ways of production, to which the name of begetting 
will not square. Our further work must therefore be, to shew 
you the peculiar import of this expression, and what is design* 
ed to be signified by it. It plainly holds forth to us such 
things as these, 

J . It imports the productions to be of a living thing. Beget- 
tingis a natural, vital production. All productions are not so: but 
there is nothing properly said to be begotten, but that which 
lives. Begetting, it is true, goes as low as to the lowest kind 
of life ; as to vegetives : that is not only altrix^ and auctrix, 
but procrcatrix, which propagates its kind ; but it never goes 
lower, anci is never carried to things inanimate. They are not; 
said to beget, or be begotten, which are in their kind dead 
thing-; ; it reaches not the meaner sort of natural productions; 
much less to artificial ones. A man is not said to beget a 
house, when he builds it ; or any thing else which is made by 
the art of man. This production, inasmuch as it is signified 
by the name of begetting, signifies it to be a living thing. 
And therefore we are to know, that whatsoever it is of religion 
which any one pretends to, if it is a dead religion, and without 
life, it is an artificial religion ; and you know any thing which 
belongs to us, which doth not partake of life with us, and front 
us ; we can without any inconvenience, or trouble, shake it 
artificially, as we please, this way, or that. Many a man's 
religion is a cloak to him, which is no living thing ; and a man 
way alter and change the fashion of it ; and put it off, and on, 
and never put himself to any pain. But if a man's religion is u 
living thing, and is animated by a life, as it were, common to 
him and it ; why, that must not admit of alterations. We can 
not shape our limbs as we please, though we may our cloaths, 
for they are enlivened by that Spirit of life, which runs through 
the whole body. They who have a religion made up of dead 
formalities and duties in which there is no life, no soul ; can 
not be said to be born of the Spirit, and it is no production of 

2. It imports the production of a thing of like nature, to its 
productive cause. There is a likeness of nature between the 
cause and the effect, and from such a creature begetting, a 
creature of a like nature doth proceed. Upon this account, 
though a parent is truly said by way of begetting, to produce a 


child : yet he doth not by way of begetting make any other ef 
fect, which is not of that kind ; as a house, a picture, or suit 
ofcloaths, &c. It is very true indeed, we are not to strain 
this matter so far as if this were a univocal production which 
is here intended ; which begetting doth not properly signify : 
Yet neither is it "equivocal ; when the thing produced is of quite 
a diverse nature, from the productive cause; but there ^ is an 
analogy and proportion between the one and the other. There 
is something in that which is begotten, which doth in nature 
correspond and answer to that which doth beget, even wherein 
the one is begotten and the other begets. And what doth that 
speak ? The production here spoken of, is not the production 
of a man, as a man ; but of a saint, as a saint ; or of a Chris 
tian, as such ; and therein is an agreement, or correspondency. 
What is it which makes a saint ? That is holiness. Why we 
find this both in the cause, and in the effect. The Apostle 
presses the exhortation ; Be ye holy, as I am holy, 1 Pet. 1. 
16. It is a vain and absurd thing to call God Father, and pre 
tend to be begotten of him : if you are not holy as he is holy ; 
and nothing of his holiness appears in you. 

3. In the very business itself of regeneration, passivcness in, 
the subject is manifestly imported : for who can contribute 
to his own being born ; that is, as to the thing itself of being 
begotten. We are here indeed to consider a production not 
simpliciter, but secundum quid; that is, a creature in a crea 
ture ; or something begotten in that which was begotten be 
fore. There is a new work to be done where there was a pre 
existing subject ; and that a rational and intelligent one. 
There is much therefore properly to be done, and necessary to 
be done in order to this work, but there is nothing to be done 
in it, but only to be born : we are therein truly passive. 
Faith comes by hearing ; that is a previous thing, and that we 
may do, and can do. We can suppose nothing more subver 
sive of religion, than the contrary : for it is all one to say, 
The gospel is not at all necessary to regeneration, which is the 
end ; as to say that the hearing of it, and understanding and 
considering of it, is not necessary. The gospel is neither ne 
cessary, nor significant, nor useful to the purpose of conversion 
and regeneration, otherwise than as the minds and understand 
ings come to be employed about it; and this they do as men; 
and this way the Spirit, who is as the wind, which bloweth 
where it listeth, doth, as the season of grace is arbitrarily and 
freely chosen ; come in with that influence, by which men are 
made saints, and then capable of acting as such. 

4. The impossibility of resisting, so as to frustrate or pre 
vent it. JBeing born signifies such a way of production, 3$ 


whereto we cannot oppose ourselves, or any power which should 
prevent, or promote it. Such a resistance as should hinder 
God's designed work, or the good pleasure of his will, in this 
case, does not take place. This is intimated in this form of 
speech. For this is a production, not of a separate single sub 
stance, by itself; but a creature in a creature* It is true in 
deed that the spirit of a man, as he was constituted, before 
any such work as this came to obtain, was apt enough to resist; 
but all that aptitude to resistance shall be overcome, whenso 
ever that influence is put forth, by which this work is done. 

And here, there needs a caution too, as well as in reference 
to the former head. Some may be apt to apprehend ; if this 
work is wrought and done, by such an irresistible power, to 
which no opposition can be made ; what need we trouble our 
selves ; when God will do such a work, he will do it : it will 
never be in our power to hinder it, and we need never be afraid, 
that we shall. To this it may be said, and it ought to be se 
riously considered ; that though there is no possibility of such 
resistance to that influence by which this work is done, where 
soever it is done, which could have prevented the doing of it ; 
yet there are many previous workings, in order to it, wherein 
the Spirit of God is frequently resisted; that is, the workings 
and operations of common grace, which lead and tend to 
this special work of grace. And here lies the great dan 
ger, when in these common precursory works of the Holy 
Ghost, which have a tendency in them to this work, and by 
which it is gradually moving on ; they may resist and oppose 
themselves, to a total, utter, eternal miscarriage. The Spirit 
of God in this work, can never be resisted ; but so as that it 
will certainly overcome and effect its work. But we must 
know that he is a free Agent ; and there is reason to apprehend . 
there is the same reason in chusing the degree of operation, as 
there is of the subject. It doth not only work where it listeth; 
but to what degree it listeth of power and efficacy : and when 
it is working but at the common rate, then it suffers itself many 
times to be overcome, and yields the victory to the contend 
ing sinner. You see what the charge was upon the people of 
Israel by Stephen, Acts 7« 51. Ye stiff necked and uncircum- 
cised in heart and ear ; ye do always resist the Holy Ghost as 
your fathers did, so do ye. It is remarkable to this purpose 
what this blessed man charges that people with ; that, this was 
the genius of that people from age to age, from one generation 
to another. Ye do always resist, &c. The same spirit of 
enmity and contrariety is still propagated and transmitted from 
one age to another, your fathers are like their fathers, and 
their fathers like theirs ; and so run on back as far as you will ; 
they were always a people resisting and contending against 


the Holy Ghost : as the complaint was against^ them^not long 
before, Isai. 63. 10. They rebelled and vexed his Spirit, there 
fore he turned and fought'against them,, and became their ene 
my < And that this is the common temper, is most evident, 
and was so even in the more early ages of the world. My Spi 
rit shall not always strive with man, Gen. 6. 3. That striving- 
implies a resistance. There is great danger of resisting the 
Spirit of God, when it is in that method and way of operation, 
wherein it many times yields to the resistance. It is as if he 
should say to the sinner ; " Because thou hast so great a mind 
to get the day, and deliver thyself from under the power of my 
grace, get that unhappy victory, and perish by it." 

5. It imports the integrity and perfection of the product, 
and that the thing begotten is an entire thing. There doth 
not use to be born one simple member, but an entire creature; 
and there is a concurrence in the constitution of it, of whatso 
ever belongs to this sort and kind of creature. And though 
there are some kinds within the sphere of nature of mutilous and 
maimed persons, imperfect productions ; yet we must know, 
that this doth by a peculiarity belong to this great parent, the 
Spirit of God in reference to all those productions which are 
within the sphere of grace ; that there are never any imperfect 
productions there. His work is perfect, which is the charac 
ter of his work in general ; and especially when he is forming a 
people for himself, as he speaks Deut. 32. 4. He is the rock, 
his work is perfect, for all his ways are judgment. And of 
those who receive not the distinguishing stamp and impress 
upon them ; it is said, their spot is not the spot of his children. 
ver. 5. There is nothing in them by which they should be 
Known to be his children. Wheresoever the Spirit of God be 
gets, it begets perfect births ; that is, according to the com - 
mon distinction, and a just and necessary one, speaking of a 
perfection of parts, not of degrees. A child hath as many 
parts as a man, though not so strong and large. There is an 
entire concurrence of every gracious and holy principle in the 
heart, which goes to the composition of the new creature, 
wherever we can say, that any one is born of the Spirit. And 
therefore men who pretend to have passed this birth, and yet 
it appears most manifestly that it is but a maimed production, 
as it is in too many instances, with several sorts of persons ; 
they carry that about them, which is a confutation of their own 
pretences. As suppose the case to be this. Some pretend 
very highly to faith, but they have no humility, no meekness, 
no self denial. Why, their pretence carries along with it that 
which confutes itself; for the Holy Ghost is the author of no 
such imperfect births. There are some who pretend highly in 


point of duty towards God, and think themselves altogether 
exceptionable, in respect of the frame of their spirits and 
their performances as to the commands of the first table ; but 
bring them to the second, and there is no impression at all of 
any thing like the mind and will of God appearing in their 
hearts and lives. Men will pray, and read, and hear; go 
from sermon to sermon ; take one opportunity after another of 
attending upon religious exercises ; but in the mean time they 
will cheat and cozen, revile and reproach their neighbours 
and those they have to do with. How unlike is such a pro 
duction as this to the Spirit of God, when men are made chris- 
tians thus by halves ! 

So on the other hand, there are those who will be very punc 
tual and exact in reference to the duties of the second table, 
and it may be to an eminency, and very high degree ; so strict 
ly just in all their performances, so orderly in the relations 
•wherein they stand ; yea some very charitable, and apt to do 
good to others ; but bring them to matters which relate to 
God, and what they can say of living in communion with God; 
how their hearts stand towards praying to him, and meditating 
on him ; what inclinations or dispositions they have towards 
an eternal blessedness : to all these things they are silent 
and have nothing to say. The matter speaks itself in this 
case ; that which is born spirit of spirit, is certainly born a 
perfect thing as to all the parts which appertain and belong to 
this creature : and therefore where there are so remarkable 
maims, it is too manifest this production is none of that divine 
production by which a man is said to be born spirit of spirit. 

6*. It imports the permanency of the thing* produced, and 
that it is a fixed and settled habit in the soul. As to things 
which are merely fluid and transient, we know no such things 
to which the name of begetting, can with any propriety be ap 
plied ; as a book or glass of wine, &c. And therefore it must 
be very unsuitable to the meaning and design of such expres 
sions as these, to think that only better actions are the product 
in the work of regeneration ; and that a man is hence to be de 
nominated regenerate, because he doth better things than he 
did before ; and there is some kind of reformation and amend 
ment of life. It is true indeed the apostle says, He who doth 
righteousness is righteous, and is born of God. 1 John 2. 29. 
But what doth that mean ? Not that the doing of righteous 
ness is the productus terminus in this birth, but an argument 
that there is such a thing produced, or enabled and rendered 
capable of doing righteousness ; that is, by being made habi 
tually and internally righteous. But to think that there should 
be so many great expressions in the word of God concerning 

VOL, v. E 


this product ; that it should be called a divine nature, the new 
man, the seed of God, God's own image ; and when we come 
to inquire what this is, that any should run the matter into 
this 5 it is an action, a good action or two. What ! is the divine 
nature and image, a few good actions ? And they who are 
wont to conceive so of the matter, commonly take up with ac 
tions which are far from being any of the best too ; and so 
bring the matter to a very poor pass at last. Certainly this 
form of expression doth hold forth to us, a fixed permanent 
effect, and our habitual frame which remains and abides in the 
soul of a man, and will be an immortal thing. 

7 It imports somewhat relating to matter of privilege, 
that is, a relation to him who begets, as a child. He who is 
begotten is related as a child, to him who doth beget ; and has 
consequently a title to his care and providence ; as every parent 
thinks himself bound to make provision for his children. They 
who are begotten of God, are hence at the first step capable of 
the denomination of sons, or children. And then you know 
how the apostle rises with it, (Rom. 8. 170 ^ children, then 
heirs ; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ ; that if we 
suffer with him, we may be also glorified together. They who 
are begotten, fall under his immediate care, and he takes him 
self concerned to make provision for them ; they are a part of 
his family, the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty. If a 
man will not take care of his own, and they who are of his own 
house, he denies the faith, and is worse than an infidel: and 
it is never to be imagined that God will deal, c o with his family, 
or children. We must carry the matter of this begetting then 
as high as heaven ; He hath begotten us again to a lively 
hope — to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and which 
fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us. 1 Pet. 1. 4. We 
are not only to consider, what is born when such a production 
as this takes place ; but what such a one is born to. He is 
born an heir, an heir of God, and joint heir with Christ : a vast 
patrimony it is, which they have a share and part in. 

Now take all these things together, and it will appear not a 
mean or little work, which is intended by this expression, of 
being born or begotten spirit of spirit. Let us therefore take 
heed^of derogating from this great work, or making little of it, 
as if it were some small trivial thing. Certainly it is not a 
slight thing, which finally and eternallydistinguisheth between 
them who shall be saved, and them 'who perish ; and is the 
discriminating mark between the children of God, and other 
men ; or the new seed and race, laised up by God to himself; 
and the rest of the apostate world, who are called the seed and 
Children of the devil. There are but these two seeds in thg 


world ; and it cannot be a small thing which doth distinguish 
them. Therefore take heed of thinking little of this work. 
And as we should take heed of derogating from it, so we should 
take equal heed of arrogating too much to ourselves upon the 
account of it. For what have we contributed to our being ac 
tually born or begotten ? And take heed of censorious dis 
criminations in your own thoughts concerning persons, or 
diversely denominated parties of men, pretending to religion. 
As to say, They who are of such a way, they it is likely are 
regenerate; but they of such a way, are not regenerate. This 
is to forget that the Spirit, as the wind bloweth where it listeth, 
and we know not whence it cometh, nor whither it goes ; and 
is as much as in effect to say : " jLo ! here is Christ, and there 
is Christ !" This very work wrought in the soul is called Christ 
formed in us ; the name being put for the image or likeness. 
We should take heed of saying, Here he is, or there he is ; 
and know that the kingdom of God (and the kingdom of God 
in one notion of it, that is, subjectively considered, is not a 
diverse thing from the frame of holiness, inwrought in the 
soul) doth not consist in externals, in meats and drinks, but" 
in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost/ Rom. 14. 
37- And in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any 
thing, nar uncircumeision, but a new creature. Gal. 6.15. 
The new creature may be found in the circumcision or in the 
uncircumcision ; and it is no matter of which sort one is of, if 
the work of the new creature do not obtain, and take place. 
This is therefore much to be minded, and sought, and valued, 
even for itself, and upon the account of its own intrinsic ne 
cessity and excellence. It is enough to recommend any man 
to me, that there is a visible impress, so far as that thing 
can be visible of the new creature upon his soul ; for whoso 
ever loves him who begets, loveth him also who is begotten of 
him. 1 John 5. 1. 



T51TE have proposed to consider this truth from these words— 
That there is a work to be done upon all who shall partake 
in the kingdom of God, by which they are to be born spirit of 
spirit. — We have opened the work itself according to the seve 
ral terms in the text ; and have spoke to the effect, or produc 
tion ; that is, to make men spirit, who before were flesh ; — the 
productive cause, the Spirit, and— the kind of the production, 
which is by begetting. 

That, which we have next to speak to, is the necessity of 
this work ; that is, the necessity of it unto this end and pur 
pose ; namely, the rendering men capable of a place and part 
nership in God's kingdom. And as the former head we have 
hitherto been speaking of, does lie in the words of the text, 
looking upon them in their absolute consideration, so we are 
led to the latter, by the relative consideration of them, or in 
the reference they have to the foregoing discourse. For our 
Saviour having said before, that "except a man be born again 
of water, and of the Spirit ; he cannot see, or enter into the 
kingdom of God :" he doth in this verse, subjoin a reason why 
he cannot. "That which is bom of the flesh is flesh," and there 
fore there must be somewhat born of the Spirit which may be 
suitable thereto. In evincing therefore to you the necessity of 
such a work to such an end ; it will be requisite, 

I. To give you some account of that kingdom, for which such 
«. work as this is so necessarily preparatory. 

* Pmched December igtb, 1677. at Cordwainer's Hall. 


I will not trouble you with many distinctions about it, only 
we are necessarily to distinguish it, as we may in the common 
notion of a kingdom, into a kingdom taken formally and ac 
tively ; so it signifies the royal state, and governing power of 
a kingdom. In that since the kingdom of God or Christ, is 
manifestly understood in the prayer of the thief; " Remember 
me when thou comest into thy kingdom :" that is, into that 
dignity and royal state, which I believe thou will shortly be in. 
But then it is very often, and familiarly taken too objectively, 
for the bulk and body of the community, or the subjects who 
are under such a king. So we take ours in common speech ; 
and so is the kingdom of God very often taken, when we read 
of the increase and growth of it under the metaphorical ex 
pressions which represent it to us in the gospel. Kingdom 
taken in the former sense, doth either signify that which is more 
strictly formal, and so which is appropriate and communicable 
to the king himself, in such a kingdom ; and not communi 
cable to others with him : that is the sovereign power, 
by which he doth in common govern his subjects. Or else, 
there may be somewhat consequential to that which is more 
strictly formal; and which doth more accidentally belong to 
the king; and is communicable, and in a secondary sense, 
capable of being imparted and derived, to many at least, among 
his subjects ; those especially, whom he more particularly fa 
vours. And that is such honour and dignity as comes to be 
reflected upon such and such persons, by their relation to such 
a king. In that sense a kingdom is said to be given and 
communicated to the people of God : I appoint unto you a 
kingdom, as my Father hath appointed to me a kingdom. 
Luke 22. 29. Fear not, little flock; it is the Father's good plea 
sure to give you a kingdom. Inherit the kingdom prepared for 
you. There are several things wherein especially, favourite sub 
jects do partake in a kingdom, with him who supremely rules, 
and holds and exeicises the sovereign power. We would con^ 
sider as belonging to the state of a king, great opulency and 
riches, splendour and glory, pleasure and delight, beyond what 
we must suppose common with other men. In this respect the 
appellation is given ; Ye have reigned as kings without us ; I 
would to God you did reign, that we might reign with you, 1 
Cor. 4. 8. They were a sort of tanquam kings, speaking of 
that free state and condition wherein they were, and exempted 
from suffering : they had plentiful enjoyments beyond what 
the apostle could have. And so in this kingdom of God, all 
who do partake in it, are in these respects, said to be kings ; 
Unto him who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in 
his blood : and made us kings and priests unto God, and our 


Father. Rev. 1. 6. That is, in pursuance of God's design, and 
according to his purpose and intendment, he hath done his 
work to his hand, which he appointed him to do, in this king 
ly part. To enter into the kingdom, and behold and see the 
kingdom, which are the expressions our Saviour uses in this 
context, may very well be understood to signify one and the 
same thing ; only that one must according to the manifest im 
port, denote the first introduction into that kingly state ; and 
the other, the continued enjoyment of it ; which seeing is 
frequently expressive of in the Scripture. Nothing is more 
usual than to signify enjoyment and fruition, by sight, or visi 
on ; because that is the noblest of our external senses ; and so 
(an expression being to be used which is borrowed from sense) 
the most cmphatical, and to the present purpose ; the blessed 
ness of heaven is hence expressed by seeing ; "The Angels be 
hold the face of my Father which is in heaven. Blessed are 
the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Follow holiness, 
without which no man shall see God/' 

But we are a little further to pursue that notion of a kingdom 
as it is taken in that latter sense, objectively, and as by the 
name of a kingdom, is signified the governed community, or 
the body of the people who are under government. The king 
dom of God taken in this sense, is either made up of involun 
tary, 01* voluntary subjects ; either such whom he governs with 
their own good liking and consent ; or such as he governs 
whether they will or no, and although they never choose to be 
under his government. As for that kingdom of his, which 
takes in involuntary, unwilling subjects ; they are either such 
as are so by natural incapacity, or by vicious disinclination. 
They who are so by natural incapacity, as also unintelligent 
creatures, who are never capable of choosing God to be their 
governor and king : and they who are not willing through vi 
cious disinclination ; who though they have that nature which 
was originally capable of intellection, and so consequently of 
election and choice ; yet the pure powers and faculties by 
which they were capable of it, are now become so depraved, 
that they disaffect his kingdom, and cannot endure to be un 
der his government. And this kingdom of his, which takes in 
involuntary subjects, whether intelligent, or unintelligent, doth 
measure with the universe. It is the kingdom of nature, and 
no one needs any other qualification to be in that kingdom, 
l>ut to be in rerum natura. If he is an existent creature, he 
is in that kingdom without any more to do ; but that is not the 
kingdom here meant. 

There is therefore another kingdom which comprehends and 
takes ia only a willing people> made " willing in the day of hi& 



power ;" who with choice and consent of their own hearts, sub 
ject themselves to him, to whom it is a pleasant thought (as of 
ten as it comes into their minds) that the Lord reigns. They 
triumph in it, and please themselves and glory in it, and 
pay a joyful homage to him, as the supreme and eternal King. 
It is into this kingdom that none can enter, but they who are 
born spirit of spirit. And this kingdom also is to be'consider- 
ed in a twofold state 5 either in its inchoate, or consummate 
state. Inchoate is that which we commonly call the kingdom 
of grace ; and consummate the kingdom of glory. Now to be 
born spirit of spirit, is necessary to any one's having a place in 
this kingdom, considered either way, or in either state. The 
inchoate kingdom, you know, for a long time, lay principally 
among the people of the Jews and they were so apprehensive 
of their privilege and condition upon that account, and did so 
highly value it, that it was even a principle among them, that 
none could come into that kingdom, without being in a sort new 
born ; as some have taken notice who have been well acquaint 
ed with their antiquities and usages. And therefore they who 
ever came to be proselyted to their religion, and who were not 
native Jews ; if they arrived to that degree of proselytism, 
which made them more complete proselytes, that is, were 
proselytes of justice ; when they came to be initiated, solemn 
ly renounced their earthly relations, all their former kindred 
and acquaintance, so far that they should not have any power 
over them to detract or draw them back from the religion in 
which they were engaged. And so they were looked upon as 
men recens nati • as if they had then newly come into the 
world, and had a new sort of relations to which they were 
strangers before. And these proselytes were also hereupon so 
lemnly admitted, through the use of the ceremony of washing 
in water ; to which the words of our Saviour in the foregoing 
verse, seem to have a manifest reference : " Except a man be 
born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the 
kingdom of God." Upon this account he blames Nicodemus 
for his great ignorance, who was a master among the Jews. 
Not that we are to suppose that he thought him ignorant, that 
there was such a usage among them j but that he no more 
understood the reason and meaning of their common practice, 
and should make himself so great a stranger, to that which was 
the true import of such a ceremony. And therefore our Sa 
viour says, "Except a man is born of water, and of the Spirit ;" 
not therein laying the great stress, upon being born of water ; 
for that is a thing he admits and takes for granted : and he 
implies in this expression his intendinent to settle and establish 
that as aa ordinance transferred from the Jewish to the Chris- 


lian church, and to continue there ; but that upon which he 
lays the weight, and where the emphasis lies, is the latter ex 
pression ; "Except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit." 
As if he had said ; "You are apt to lay a great stress upon 
that ceremony you use of baptizing with water, when any per 
sons are initiated into the church of God ; and though that is 
not nothing, yet you must know, if there is not a being born 
and baptized of the Spirit, as well as of water ; it signifies no 
thing to your having a place in the kingdom of God, or to any 
one's else." This is a usual thing in Scripture to join two 
matters together, in one tenour and form of speech, where the 
stress is mainly laid upon the latter, and sometimes only upon 
it. Rom. C. 17. God be thanked that you were the s«rvants 
of sin; but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doc 
trine which was delivered to you. What are thanks given to 
God for ? These are both joined together in the same form of 
speech : sure he never intended to give thanks for their having 
been the servants of sin. But the weight and emphasis is to 
be all carried to that which follows ; "13ut you have obeyed the 
form of doctrine which was delivered to you." So here, "Ex 
cept a man is born of water, and of the Spirit/' As though he 
had said, I admit of the fitness and requisiteness that persons 
should be baptized with water ; for that is intimated here, that 
it shall obtain as a constant usage in the very kingdom of God ; 
but except unto that being born or baptized of water, there is 
the snperaddition of being born of the Spirit, which that of 
water was but a signal of, no one is any way qualified for the 
kingdom of God; and cannot have any entrance into it, ac 
cording to the inchoate, or consummate state of it. 

II. And now to evince the necessity of it, it will be only 
tieedful to consider, 

1. It would be most unsuitable to the Supreme Ruler over 
this kingdom, that any should come into it who are not new 
l)orn. For we are to consider, that this is not the kingdom 
of nature, as was said, but a kingdom founded, not in nature, 
but in choice. It is true it were no incongruity, or reflection 
upon the great and glorious King of this kingdom, if it were 

if that were all : but considering that this is a kingdom of se 
lect persons, and that he makes choice between some and 
others, and by which he distinguishes some from others 5 it 
were a most unreasonable thing in this case to suppose, that 
he should take in promiscuously persons of so vastly different 
tempers and dispositions, as they who are born only of the flesh, 


and they who are born of the Spirit ; or that when he goes to 
make a distinction, he should make a distinction without a 
difference, and should take just such as he leaves, and leave 
just such as he takes ; that were most unworthy of the divine 
wisdom, and the holiness or purity of his nature. This being 
a kingdom of chosen ones, it is to be supposed, that he should 
make them whom he chooses, suitable to himself. Therefore 
it is most strictly insisted upon, and highly charged upon them 
who come to stand visibly related to this kingdom, that they 
approve themselves suitably to it. Observe the expression of 
the apostle, 1 Thes. 2. 12. You know how I exhorted you, and 
how I comforted you, and how I charged you, that you should 
walk worthy of God, who hath called you to his kingdom and 
glory. The great stress is laid upon a suitable becoming de 
portment, such as may not be reflecting and reproachful to the 
blessed and glorious God, who had called them to his kingdom 
and glory. It was therefore upon this account necessary, inas 
much as they must be rendered suitable to their king, who 
come into this kingdom ; that the Almighty Spirit should be 
employed, go forth with power, and diffuse its mighty influence, 
and form and prepare men to be of this kingdom. And that 
was not to be done but by this begetting them spirit of spirit, 
and that they who come into this kingdom, might be at once 
both subjects and sons ; for the kingdom is spoken of both un 
der the notion of a kingdom and of a family ; that family which 
is on earth, named from our Lord Jesus Christ. Eph. 3. 15. 
It is not suitableness enough in this case, that it is a kingdom 
of rational and intelligent creatures : that would indeed give 
a natural suitableness ; God is the God of the spirits of all 
flesh. Num. 16. 22. But it is most manifest here that the spirit 
in the latter expression, is not taken in a natural sense, any 
more than flesh, in the foregoing part of the verse. Our Sa 
viour doth manifestly speak of flesh there contemptibly, and 
seems to cast an ignominy upon it; whereas mere natural flesh 
is a very innocent, harmless thing. And it is no more spirit 
that is taken in a natural sense ; but as by the flesh, is meant 
corruption and sinfulness, so by spirit is meant holiness, prin 
cipally and chiefly ; and it is therein that they must be suitable 
to him, who shall see God. You must be a holy nation, a 
holy people ; so he speaks concerning the people of the Jews, 
whose constitution was as it were a type and model of the king 
dom of God, which was afterwards to obtain in the world' in a 
greater lustre and glory, and to be perfected at length into an 
eternal kingdom, Ye shall be to me a holy people. Exod. 19. 6. 
So they became suitable to him as a peculiar treasure above all 
nations : they were a peculiar people to him in this very res- 
VOL. v. F 


pect, which certainly none can be who are not born spirit of 

2. It were unsuitable that others should be of this king 
dom, to the design and end of its constitution and appoint 
ment. We have that expressed in 1 Pet. 2. 9. a place taken 
from the forementioned, 19th of Exodus, Ye are a chosen 
generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar peo 
ple : and they are called for this end and purpose ; " to shew 
forth the praises of him who hath called you from darkness to 
his marvellous light/' This then is a constitution set up and 
formed on purpose, to be to the praise and glory of God. 
When our Lord has finished the work of his mediatorial king 
dom, and put it out of its imperfect and growing state, into that 
of consummation, wherein it is to continue and endure always; 
he will then come to be glorified in his saints, and admired in 
all them who believe, 2 Thes. 1 . 10. But alas ! what were 
there admirable or glorious in this matter, if men were to be 
gathered as it were, by a casual hand, into one body and com 
munity without making any discrimination ? It were then a 
work which had nothing glorious in it ; even when this king 
dom is rising to its complete state, and perfect maturity to 
have persons found there, who were never born into it, or had 
a temper of mind agreeable to it. It might be said in that 
case, the end was lost, and the design miscarried. And the 
greater stress is to be laid upon this, for this reason, that this 
is a second constitution, to have a pure and holy kingdom in 
this world. The kingdom of nature was pure at first 5 there 
was nothing of iniquity in it ; but there was an apostacy and 
revolt in it ; a great part made a defection ; the whole race of 
men. Now this is a design of retrieving the loss, so far as it is 
possible to be retrieved ; that is, that those angels who fell 
not should be confirmed ; and among men, who all fell, many 
should be restored : so that it was manifestly to be seen, that 
the design was, as if God had said, " I will have a kingdom 
which shall hold pure, and holy, and in which there shall be 
no more mutiny or tumult, no discord and disorder, and no 
thing of revolt or rebellion shall be known any more." This 
being the case, it was plainly his design to have such a con 
stitution as this, for his own eternal praise, and wherein he 
might be manifest, and his name continue everlastingly glori 
ous. He now forms a people for himself on purpose to be the 
eternal monuments of his praise. The exigency of the end 
aimed at in setting up this kingdom, did challenge so much> 
that it be a kingdom, of them who are born to God, and have 
a temper suitable to the state they are to come into. Where 
fore do we think God did constitute a second kingdom, but 


that he would be sure to have all things right and well there, 
hy that time he had brought things to their final result and 
issue ? We may be confident he will make sure work now, 
and have nothing in this kingdom, but what shall agree with 
the design and purpose of it, and be homogeneous to it, and all 
of a piece. And to suppose he should have such a design as 
this, and suffer himself to be foiled and baffled in it, is a most 
unreasonable and monstrous supposition. 

3. It would be altogether unsuitable to the laws and offices 
of this kingdom, whether in the present or future state of it. 
God is to be taken for their God, which is the first and most 
fundamental of all his laws : " Thou shalt have no other God 
before me." This is indeed the swearing allegiance to this 
great King upon their entrance into this kingdom. Who can 
ever do this who is not born to it ? The carnal mind is enmity 
against God ; (cannot endure his government :) for it is not 
subject to his law, neither indeed can be. Rom. 8. 7- It is ne 
ver possible any can join themselves to God as their God, with 
out having their minds spiritualized and refined into such a 
temper as can agree to him. There will be perpetual tumul- 
tuations and regrets against his authority and laws, till this 
transforming work hath passed upon them. And then after 
wards the whole course of such persons walk and deportment, 
must be a continued course of subjection and obedience. They 
must bear themselves toward God as their chosen God, and 
live entirely to him. And sure there needs another spirit than 
what is natural to man : for they are in all their after course 
to walk in the Spirit, to worship in the Spirit, to pray in the 
Spirit, to do every thing they do, in the Spirit. How necessary 
is it, upon this account, to be born spirit of spirit ? It is, and 
must be the eternal work of those who are of this kingdom, to 
love, and obey, and praise everlastingly. What is a carnal 
heart to such employment ? The laws of this kingdom require 
that these be the perpetual exercises of those who come into 
this kingdom. Carnality, should we suppose such a thing in 
this kingdom, must needs carry with it that enmity, which 
stands in direct opposition to love ; that rebellion, which 
stands in opposition to obedience ; that stupidity, which stands 
in opposition to praise. The greatness and excellencies which 
the subjects of this kingdom are eternally to praise, it were 
altogether impossible, a carnal mind, should look upon, 
without regretting ; that he is so great, to whom they are so 

4. It were most unsuitable to the grants and privileges of 
this kingdom. What is to be enjoyed in that kingdom, can 
never be enjoyed but upon this supposition, that they are born 


of the Spirit. Think of the present privileges which are grant 
ed to the subjects of this kingdom ; 

(1 .) They are brought into a state of liberty. He who is king in 
the kingdom, is not a king over slaves, but a free people ; and in 
deed their freedom consists in this, that they are so willingly 
subject. A heathen could say so much, speaking in reference 
to a kingdom which God governs, according to his apprehen 
sions of it : In regno nati sumus : Deo servire, regnare est. 
We are born in a kingdom, or into a kingdom, so it had been 
fuller to this purpose. There are none come into this king 
dom, without being born into it, or attempered and suited to it. 
And he supposes the highest privilege of being in this kingdom 
is, in being subservient to God: a to serve God," says he; u that is 
to reign." We are kings in this kingdom, rather than subjects, 
in being subject to him. The apostle James has a magnificent 
expression, but most just, and not strained ; the law which 
we are required to obey, he calls the royal law of liberty, 
chap. 1. 25. And the law of the Spirit of life in Christ 
Jesus, does make us free from the law of sin and death, Rom. 
8. 2. The felicity and duty of the subjects in this kingdom 
herein meet in one and the same point : for whereas it is their 
duty not to serve sin ; it is their privilege to be exempt from 
that vile servitude ; and they themselves are brought to resent 
it as such when once the law of the Spirit of life has made them 
free. Oh ! what an ease is it to have the yoke thrown off 
and to find a man's spirits so disentangled, as to be able to 
say ; " 1 am not restrained, as 1 have sometimes been, from 
the love and communion ot the blessed God; I am not de 
pressed and borne down towards the earth as heretofore, when 
J should ascend and get up in lively affection to heaven. It is 
a most pleasant thing to feel liberty, and find one's self set 
free." This Spirit by which persons are thus born, makes 
them free as soon as they are born : Where the Spirit of the 
Lord is, there is liberty ; that is, that Spirit which refines and 
transforms from glory unto glory : as the connexion lies, 2 
Cor. 3. 1J, 18. How inconsistent therefore must it needs be 
with those who remain still in the flesh, for such a one loves 
the bondage which it is a privilege to be freed from ; and takes 
pleasure in his chains, and is proud of them. The case is with 
him as with that servant concerning whom the supposition is 
made in the law of Moses ; that he should so love his master, 
as when the time of relaxation came, he would not go free. 
The gospel of Christ is the ministration of the Spirit, by which 
souls are begotten unto God; and whensoever any are by it 
made sons, they are made free. Therefore we read of this li 
berty as appropriate to the sons of God ; for we are not to sup- 


pose, that God's own sons should be slaves. But the bond 
age of slaves is preferred by carnal hearts, to the liberty of 
sons ; and it will be always so till they become sons ; and they 
will never be sons, till they are born again, and till it can be 
said of them, there is something produced in them which is 
spirit born of the Spirit. 

(2.) Tranquillity is a great privilege belonging to this 
kingdom. One who is not thus bom of the Spirit hath no seed 
or principle of peace in himself. To be spiritually minded is 
life and peace, and this kingdom is " righteousness and peace 
and joy in the Holy Ghost." But they who are still in the flesh, 
and not born of the Spirit, have that still in their temper and 
constitution, which is inconsistent with peace ; and which, if 
we should suppose commonly 10 obtain in that kingdom, would 
as much shatter and discompose things there, as we find 
peace is from time to time disturbed in this lower world. 
What is it which hath made this world so troublesome a region, 
but only the carnality of it ? What is it but the lust of men, 
which occasions the wars and tumults and commotions, which 
fill the world with noise and blood from age to age ? It would 
even be so above too, if you should suppose that persons should 
be generally brought thither, who were not born spirit of spirit. 

(3.) Communion with God is the great privilege of the 
subjects of this kingdom ; in some degree in this present state, 
and perfectly in the perfect state of that kingdom. But do we 
think that one who is not born spirit of spirit, will ever care to 
converse with God eternally and always ? Alas ! how little do 
they care for it now ! How little do they love the divine pre 
sence ! How wearisome a thing is an hour's attendance upon 
God, in a duty, to a carnal heart ! How would such a one 
behave himself, to be eternally in that presence, unto which 
he is so averse ! Would it be a heaven to him ? Indeed 
there is nothing which hath made hell any where but sin ; and 
if it were possible that sin could get into heaven, it would 
create a hell there too. 

5. It would be most unsuitable to the community, and all 
the fellow subjects, if any should come into that kingdom, who 
were not thus born. It was evidently the design to have them 
all of a piece, who should have place together, in this kingdom. 
When that work was designed to be set on foot which was pre 
paratory and fundamental to the perfect and glorious state of 
this kingdom, it was thought fit that he who sanctifieth and 
they who are sanctified, should be all of one : (Heb. 2. 11.) 
that is, all reduced to conformity to one and the same origi 
nal. He himself who is the Mediator, is the holy and just 
One 5 these are the characters by which we find him discrimi- 


nately mentioned ; and all who are to be gathered to him, 
must all he one with him in this thing, and he must be the 
common Sanctificr of them all ; that is, by the Spirit by which 
they are thus begotten and born ; that so they may agree and 
be suitable to him. And being so, it is manifest, there must 
be the same ground and medium of common agreement among 
all, who should be united to him, if they must all be made to 
agree to him who is holy, it cannot he but they must all agree 
to one another, being holy and sanctified ones. Heaven is 
called the " inheritance of them who are sanctified ;" and cer 
tainly the communion which they are there to have with one 
another, is to be in the highest and perfect sense, the com 
munion of saints. And it being requisite that there should be 
an agreement and oneness among all the subjects of this king 
dom , this agreement was not to be brought about, consider 
ing this kingdom must consist of persons who were unlike, 
but by reducing them who were fallen from that perfection 
which originally belonged to their natures, to a conformity to 
the rest. Therefore you find this said concerning those who 
are to be adjoined and brought into it, that they thereby actu 
ally come unto the general assembly, an innumerable com 
pany of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, and 
so constitute and make up the church of the first-born, Heb. 
12. 22, 23. You must note that first-born here is of the plural 
number, andso it signifies a church consisting of first-born ones, 
and must needs have reference to this same birth here spoken 
of in the text. It was not otherwise possible, that there should 
be an agreement or conformity when there was once an unlike- 
ness before, but by reducing some to the rest; they who were 
fallen and lapsed from their original excellence, to a con 
formity to them who stood. And therefore those angels who 
stood, remain as a standard and pattern, to which all who are 
afterward to be adjoined to this kingdom, must be made con 
formable. As soon as they are got into the account of first 
born ones, or are the first-fruits of his creatures, (Jam. 1. Is.) 
the flower and most excellent and noble part of his creation ; 
they are said to be come to them. The church made up of such, in 
conjunction with those glorious spirits, the angels who stood, 
comes to be a uniform church and kingdom. But if they 
should not be so conformed, it would be prejudicial both to the 
order and felicity of this kingdom. How both uncomely and 
uncomfortable a thing, if there should not be this conformity ! 
How uncomely would it be, that there should be some in this 
kingdom, rejoicing in the excellency and glory of their eternal 
King ; and some secretly envying him, and wishing they could 
tell how to unking him ! How indecorous, when the gene- 


rality are engaged in gladsome triumphant songs of praise ; for 
some to lower and hang the head, and dislike the very thing 
for which others do give thanks ! And how inconsistent would 
it be with the felicity of the subjects of that kingdom, that 
there should he such jars and discord among them ? Certainly 
it must be, and could not but be a torture and torment to 
them; and no doubt every thing of that kind must be excluded 
heaven, the perfect state of that kingdom. If there should be 
any one found there, who should have this for his known sense 5 
that he cannot love God, or like his government ; he cannot be 
pleased that he is Lord and King, it could not but be a tor 
ture unto the rest. When the kingdom is resigned by the Me 
diator, into the Father's hand, (1 Cor. 15. 24.) and he is to be 
all in all ; rilling every soul with his fulness ; all desires and 
wills satiating and satisfying themselves in him, in the midst of 
all these pleasures, it could not but be a tormenting thing, that 
there should be any who can take no felicity in him ; who dis^ 
like his person, and wish him off the throne ; who are offend 
ed at the purity of that state, and at that, wherein all the rest 
do place their common felicity. It would be very uncomely 
and uncomfortable to have any dissensions in that kingdom ; 
and therefore it can never be admitted, and is apparently ne 
cessary, that whoever comes into it, enter by this new birth. 

6. It would be unsuitable to the course and way of go 
vernment in this kingdom, whether you look upon it in its 
present, or future or perfect state. Consider the way of 
government in this present state. Why here God governs in 
a way somewhat suitable to the methods of government by 
men 5 that is by laws and public edicts, with threats and pro 
mises inserted into them ; that men may know what they are 
to do, and what not ; and what they are to expect by way of 
reward if they do well, and what by way of punishment, if 
they do amiss. This course of government is suited to the 
reasonable nature of man, and does well as it is managed by 
some men over others ; because they who are to be the go 
verned part, do sensibly perceive how much it is in the power 
of the governing part, either to do them good or hurt, accord 
ing as they obey or rebel. So that men's senses are in this 
case their instructors, of how great concernment it is to con 
form themselves to the laws ; and how dangerous a thing to 
attempt the violation of them. But consider how these same 
methods applied to men for their government, by an invisible 
Ruler, can signify in this case ; or what their success com 
monly is. There are as plain proposals of the law of God to 
men, as any can be by earthly rulers. It is impossible that 
human laws can be made plainer, than the divine laws are, 


in many, and those the most important, cases. The great Goci 
promises infinitely greater things than any mortal can pro 
mise ; and threatens greater things, than they can assume 
to themselves to do. But what do all these things signify, 
where men remain still in the flesh ? His laws are plain, and 
his promises very assured, and his threatenings awful and moni 
tory, to them who are once bora of the Spirit, and jiave^got 
somewhat of sense and life about them, and can perceive things 
which are above the common allay : but for them who yet re 
main strangers to this birth, and upon whom the Spirit of the 
living God hath done no such refining work it is plain that 
such men's hearts take no impressions from the plainest dis 
coveries of his will. When they are warned of the danger of a 
continued course of sin ; they who warn them are like them 
who mock : and whatsoever they represent from the divine 
promises of the blessed state of holy and sincere and obedient 
souls, is all but like a tale which is told. These methods of 
government, in the present constitution of this kingdom, will 
not suit those who are not born spirit of spirit, and till that 
Spirit come forth with that power, and in that operation, by 
which the souls of men are begotten to spiritual life. In that 
work itself, and by that work, the divine precepts and pro 
mises, and threatenings, come to be successful and effectually 
applied ; but never else, no more than the most express hu 
man laws, with the addition of the severest penalties, or pro 
mises of the highest rewards, would signify to a multitude of 
dead men. 

And then for the way of government in the future state of 
this kingdom, and when it arrives to its perfect state ; there 
we must suppose, the way of government should be, by sweet 
and secret intimations, and internal irradiations upon recep 
tive minds and hearts ; such elapses by which hidden sense is 
conveyed, even in a moment, so as that all the subjects of 
that kingdom are to obey, as it were, any wink, or nod, or 
glance of the eye ; I mean any such intimations which can as 
secretly convey the sense of the great Ruler, as they do com 
monly among us. But how manifest is it that there must be a 
great refinedness of mind and heart, to receive those gentle 
touches by which spirits are in a moment to be swayed this 
way or that. One who is yet a composition of flesh and not 
born of the Spirit, how uneapable is he of these kind impres 
sions ; these touches which are to come by so gentle a hand ; 
these so ^ insinuating ways, by which God is to slide into the 
very spirits of these blessed souls, and prompt them this way 
or that as he pleases ! 


7. It were most unsuitable to the unchangeableness and 
perpetuity of this kingdom, that any should be admitted into 
it, who are not born into it, or made spiritual as the constitu 
tion of it is. We ought in all reason to think, that such a state 
of things as is designed for perpetuity, and never to be chang- . 
ed, must be most unexceptionably perfect. It were a dismal 
thought that this kingdom should be at once both eternal, and 
imperfect : for then if it were imperfect it must be imperfect 
always ; and whatsoever were amiss in this constitution of it, 
would never be repaired, or altered. This kingdom, though 
it is in its inchoate estate, yet imperfect, that inchoate state is 
but its temporary state, which will soon be over : but then 
there must be even in the very entrance into it, an entrance 
the right way, otherwise the case will be like an error in the 
first concoction, which is never cured in the second ; that is, 
it must be by being born spirit of spirit. When any one comes 
into it, he comes into a kingdom which is to be everlasting; and 
so whatever there should be of irregularity and imperfection in 
admitting him into this kingdom, it would be an unalterable 
thing. Substantially this kingdom can never be altered : grace 
and glory do not substantially differ. That holiness, which the 
saints carry the name of such from, while they are here on 
earth, is not another or a diverse thing, from what must be 
their eternal character above ; it will be of the same kind, only 
much more perfect. That knowledge of God, and satisfaction 
in God which is to be enjoyed hereafter, is of the same kind 
and nature, with what in a more inferior degree, the saints 
partake of here ; and in that lower degree they must be attem 
pered and suited in their very constitution : otherwise there 
would be a substantial difference, between one member of this 
kingdom and another ; and which were never to be altered, 
but must last always ; because the difference which is to be 
made between the present and future state of this kingdom, is 
not substantial, but gradual only. And therefore the apostle 
argues with so much severity, (Heb. 12.) when he had been 
speaking of that which is most constituent of this kingdom, "an 
innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of just men 
made perfect," all making up together one "church of the first 
born written in heaven ; We having," says he, " received a 
kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace to serve God 
acceptably with reverence and godly fear : For our God is a 
consuming fire.'* You have now the frame and model of this 
kingdom brought among you, which is never to be shaken ; 
you are to account therefore that God will make thorough work 
in his setting up this kingdom ; that there shall be no flaws or 
defects to be found, which shall be uncapable of remedy and 

VOL, V* 6 


cure afterwards. He never intends to take this frame of things 
asunder any more, but that it shall last for ever ; and therefore 
expeet him to be a consuming fire about this work ; he is not 
to be dallied with now he hath such a work as this in his 
hands ; therefore look that you carry it acceptably to him, 
with reverence and godly fear. He will shew himself to be a 
consuming fire in the managing the work of his kingdom, and 
the setting and framing that constitution and state of things 
which he resolved never should be shaken, but should last al 
ways. And the very reason of the thing itself doth require 
that it should be so : for whatever a man designs for a long 
continuance, he would be most accurately curious about. 
That which he intends only for a day, he would be little soli 
citous how it were composed and framed ; whether there were 
such curiosity and similitude of parts, yea or no ; but that 
which he intends to be a lasting and permanent thing, that he 
would have to be very exact at first. A kingdom divided 
against itself cannot stand. Do we think that when the bles 
sed God designed a perpetual and unshaken kingdom, he would 
take that into the constitution of it, by which it would certain 
ly come to be divided against itself; and be disagreeing to it 
self, as the image or representation of Nebuchadnezzar, which 
\yas part brass, part iron, and part clay ? Surely this king 
dom must be another kind of constitution, and made better to 
agree with itself, inasmuch as it is designed to be unchange 
able and everlasting. 

Thus then you have the second thing demonstrated ; the 
necessity of being born of the Spirit in order to the having 
place in the kingdom of God. It lies in our way here to re 
flect, that since there are so many full, clear, cogent, and 
convictive reasons of this truth, that yet there should be so 
great unaptness and slowness in the spirits of men, to receive 
so vast a truth as this. Is it not an amazing thing, that 
whereas truths of another import, as soon as they appear to be 
such, are presently received, and without any more ado : and 
if they are understood to concern us, they are commonly re 
ceived with suitable affections and impressions upon men's 
minds r If you should tell a man there is an opportunity of an 
advantageous bargain ; if he once comes to believe it to be 
true, he not only assents to it, but receives it with correspon 
dent impressions on his will, resolutions, and affections ; it 
influences his practice, and he goes and does accordingly. It 
is a thing most amazing, when we consider how express the 
affirmation is, and how plain and clear the reasons are ; and 
that if once it be acknowledged a truth, it cannot but be ac 
knowledged a most important truth ; that yet we so common- 


ly hear of such matters, just as we hear a tale which is told, 
and as if it were all one to us, whether it were true or false. 
What would we think necessary v to heget an unwavering firm 
persuasion in our hearts, that such a thing is true ? Why cer 
tainly the concurrence of testimony and plain reason together, 
carry as much as our hearts can wish in order to the clearing of 
whatsoever truth. Here is the express word of the Lord of 
this kingdom ; for it is the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ, as well as the kingdom of God ; now you will 
look upon it as the greatest vanity and madness imaginable for 
any to promise himself an interest and share in the blessedness 
of that kingdom, against the express word of the Lord of it. 
Pray, by what right should you come into it, if the Lord and 
King will not admit you ? Or by what power? Where is your 
right if he deny your right ? Where is your power to evade or 
oppose, if he resist and withstand you ? If there were no more 
in the business, this were .enough, he hath spoken it, and ra 
tified it by the seal of his own Amen. Verily, verily I say 
unto you : I do assever it to you ; 1 assert it to you with all the 
peremptoriness imaginable. What should become of that 
man's soul, or what can we think of his persuasion, who is 
persuaded against the real word of the Lord of this kingdom, 
that he shall have place in it ? The reason of the thing is so 
convictive and manifest, that nothing can be more. You may 
as well think of making a composition of light and darkness, 
fire and water, of the most inconsistent things ; as to bring 
flesh and spirit together into the composition of this kingdom, 



truth we have in hand is this ; — That there is a work to 
be done upon all who partake in the kingdom of God, by 
which they are to be born spirit of spirit. — We have spoken to 
this doctrinally at large; — the Use of it is now before us. And 
that which I have first to take notice of, as a reflection which 
cannot but be of very great and common use, is, that since 
this is so plain and evident a truth, it is exceeding strange 
that it should not more commonly and visibly obtain in the be 
lief of those who profess themselves Christians. So important 
a truth believed, could not but infer that, that belief would be 
visible in the practice; and so evident a truth, one would think, 
men should not stick to believe. Wherefore there are these 
two heads, I think might be worth our while to discourse to you 
r— To let you see that it is but too visible this truth is not be 
lieved by the generality of professed Christians and — to shew 
the unreasonableness of men's disbelief in reference there 

I. I am to shew that this truth is not believed by the gene 
rality of those who call themselves Christians. And that I may 
speak more clearly and distinctly, it will be requisite — to 
tell you what I mean by their not believing this truth j and 
then — shew you that men do not believe it. 

1 . What is intended by this charge upon the generality of 
persons professing Christianity ? Here it will be necessary to 

* Preached December 26th, 1677. at Cordwainer's Hall. 


say something to you, — concerning the object, or truth, which 
is not believed ; and — something concerning the nature of that 
belief which, we complain, is wanting in reference thereunto. 

(1.) Concerning the object, it is requisite you understand 
that we mean this truth taken entirely and so as to comprehend 
together, the several things which are contained in it. As for 
instance, — that there is a change necessary to be wrouglu in 
the spirits of men — that this change must be so great and 
entire upon their spirits as to amount to another birth, or being 
born of the Spirit — that God hath such a work and design 
in hand, as the constitution of a new kingdom of obedient and 
happy subjects ; such as shall willingly obey, and gladly and 
joyfully partake and communicate with him in the glory and 
blessedness of this kingdom, and — that there is no other 
way of entrance into this kingdom but by being so born and 
connaturalized thereto. All these things are evidently con 
tained in this doctrine. Now it is constantly acknowledged, 
when you put some one or other of these things, single to a 
person, who, it may be, hath never yet admitted a serious 
thought of it ; it is likely he will say, " Yes this is true. 7 ' But 
it doth manifestly appear, that he hath never digested the 
system and frame of such truths, as they lie together, and do 
amount to this sum. And indeed that is one great fault in 
the common faith of persons professing Christianity, that it 
is a partial faith : they believe this and that particular truth, 
they will tell you, taken asunder from the rest, but consider 
such and such truths as they are a part in the general system 
of Christian truths ; and so it is most apparent, that they are 
not received and taken in. And 

(2.) Suppose any have never so distinct thoughts and appre 
hensions of the truths of the gospel ; those in particular which 
this truth sums up; yet the faith of most who profess the Chris 
tian name, it is plain is quite another thing, in the nature of 
it, than what really and truly, we ought to reckon, the belief 
of the Christian doctrine. I do not intend, when I say, these 
things are not believed, that men professing Christianity are 
arrived to an explicit disbelief, or that they reckon themselves 
unbelievers, or profess infidelity in this matter ; or that there 
is no such thing as a real assent unto such truths as this. But 
there is not that assent which according to the strictness of the 
Scripture notion, we ought to put the name of belief upon 5 
that is, they do not take it upon the authority of the great 
God, as a thing revealed from heaven to them, that it is ne 
cessary they undergo such a transforming change, in their own 
spirits, in order to their having place in this kingdom, this is^ 
not received on the authority of God, and so as accordingly to 
influence their hearts and practice, Which if it doth not do,, 


it doth nothing ; and which if it he not apt to do, it is not that 
faith, which the Scripture intends. 

2.' This then is that, which we are to make out, from several 
considerations. As, 

(I.) *That the Scripture doth commonly attribute, or gives 
intimation by which we are taught, to attribute the inef- 
licacy of the gospel doctrine, to men's disbelief of it, of 
their not believing. As that passage of the apostle, where 
in he quotes the prophet Isaiah, Rom. 10. 16. They have 
not all obeyed the gospel, for Esaias saith, Who hath be 
lieved our report ? They have not all obeyed ; and why ? Be 
cause Isaiah saith, they have not believed. The things which 
the gospel requires as matter of duty, by the precepts of it, 
would be comported with, and obeyed, if the truth of them 
were believed. They are not believed, and how is that de 
monstrated ? Why they are not obeyed. So we are told of 
the scoffers who would be in the last days ; and there is no 
thing in the days in which we live, more scoffed at, than the 
Spirit, and this work of the Spirit upon the souls of men ; who 
would walk after their own lusts, saying, Where is the promise 
of his coming ? 2. Pet. 3. 4. Because they do not helieve the 
great things contained in the gospel, therefore they scoff, and 
therefore they indulge themselves in all ungodliness. We are 
told, that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to 
every one who believes, Rom. 1. 16. Which plainly inti 
mates, that it signifies nothing with them who believe not. 
With them who believe it is a mighty powerful thing ; but 
with them who believe it not, it effects nothing : there it is 
weak and impotent. So again we are told by the apostle, 1 
Thes. 2. 13. That these Thessalonians when he first came 
among them, received the word, not as the word of man, 
but as the word of God, which worketh effectually in them 
who believe. It hath a most effectual work, where it is be 
lieved ; and wheresoever therefore it is ineffectual, and there 
are no suitable impressions, to be found upon men's spirits, 
there it is manifest, it is not believed : and 2 Thes. 2. 13. 
We are bound to give thanks to God always for you brethren ; 
for God hath chosen you to salvation through sanctification of 
the Spirit and belief of the truth. Which plainly implies, that 
the truth wherever it is believed, is accompanied with the sanc 
tifying impressions and influences of the Spirit ; and it cannot 
be understood to be believed, where it is not so. And 

(2.) Consider further, that the nature of the thing itself is 
such, arid so nearly and directly concerns, and tends to influ 
ence the practice, that it is not possible it can be truly believ 
ed, if it is not believed practically. We are to consider a vast 
difference between such kind of assents, which are conversant 


about truths, all the design whereof is compassed and attained, 
as soon as we have spoken them ; and those which have a fur 
ther design; that is, to guide and govern a man's practice, this 
way or that. Sure it is a far other kind of assent that I am to 
give, for example, to this truth ; that such a thing is poison 
and would destroy my life ; such a thing is useful food, and 
would preserve my life, than if I give to this, that the sun is so 
many hundred times bigger than the earth. The reason is, that 
that doth no way concern my practice, and it is no matter how 
superficial an assent I give it ; but the other are things which 
concern my practice, and if I do not believe them suitably, 
and with a practical belief, 1 might as soon eat the poison as 
the food. It is incompatible with the nature of these things, 
that they should be, or can be believed truly, if they are not 
believed practically ; and so as to influence the heart, and di 
rect the course, so far as that I never satisfy myself with 
knowing, that men are to be born spirit of spirit ; but drive at 
this, to be myself so born. Otherwise it is the most manifest 
thing in all the world, that I turn this great important truth, 
which most nearly concerns me, to a thing of mere imperti- 
nency to myself. Again, 

(3.) It is not consistent with the nature of a man, thoroughly 
to believe a thing to be true, and yet altogether to be uncon 
cerned about it ; supposing the thing in its own nature such as 
does nearly touch some grand concernment one way or other. 
There are two things I would remark to you concerning the na 
ture of man ; the one is, that it is capable of having some 
prospect of what is future : it is not confined to only present 
things, as it is with the brutal nature. The other is, that it 
is incapable of being indifferent about happiness and misery. 
The nature of man is capable of having a prospect of futurity, 
or somewhat beyond the present time. His rational nature 
doth in this differ, from a brute creature, that whereas that is 
confined only to the present, and can have no prospect of what 
is future ; men, as their own experience may tell them, have 
a prospect of what is future, and may befal them to-morrow, 
or the next day, or what may be a year hence, and what they 
are then to do. They have a foresight of what may be an advan 
tage, or disadvantage to them in future time. But then it is 
uncapable of being indifferent whether things should be well or 
ill with them, supposing they do indeed believe what they have 
some prospect of. Suppose you hear such a one intends to kill 
you to-morrow, and have your blood ; it is inconsistent with 
the nature of a man to be so far unconcerned, as altogether to 
be indifferent, whether his life be destroyed to-morrow or no. 
But according as he believes or disbelieves the report, so 


will be concerned or unconcerned about it. Nothing can be 
more evident. Wherefore it must necessarily also be, that 
according as men believe or disbelieve what hath that aspect 
upon their future eternal states, either that upon such terms, 
they shall have place in the kingdom of God, or be excluded 
and shut out for ever ; it is altogether impossible, if men do 
really believe what is said to them concerning these things, 
that they should be so indifferent, whether they be happy or 
miserable throughout a vast and immense eternity, as to have 
no care or concern about the matter. I add 

(4.) That the common unconcernedness about such things, 
is not to be resolved into any thing else, but their unbelief. I 
shall here more distinctly labour to evince to you these two 
things, — -that men are very generally unconcerned about 
those things which this truth hath relation to ; their spiritual 
and eternal states, and — that this their unconcernedness is 
otherwise unaccountable. 

[1.] That they are unconcerned is too apparent from sundry 
considerations : As 

First. That they are so little inquisitive, whether this great 
transforming change, hath passed upon their spirits yea or no. 
I understand there is a great necessity of being born spirit of 
spirit : What would more naturally ensue, if this were be 
lieved, than to say, Am I so born ? Or what is it to be so 
born ? Do I find any specimen or discovery of such a work 
wrought in myself? While there are so few who ever give 
themselves the trouble of such inquiries, certainly there is a 
very great unconcernedness about the matter, and such as doth 
manifestly bespeak the disbelief that there is, or needs to be 
any such thing. And 

Secondly. That men so easily take the matter for granted and 
are so easily satisfied. Certainly if there were that deep concern 
which the exigence and importance of the matter requires, men 
would not be very easy to admit of satisfaction in the case, and 
soon and slightly pass it over : and think they have done 
enough when they have asked the question, though it be an 
swered they cannot tell how. If they have thought it probable, 
the thought yet would again and again return; But am I sure ? 
Is this to be born spirit of spirit, and am I thus born ? They 
would never think they could be too sure, or that enough could 
be done to make the matter sure. 

Thirdly. That it is a thing so little insisted upon in prayer, 
•among persons who profess the Christian name, that God 
would give his Spirit for this purpose, at least that the hearts of 
people so little go out in any such petitions and requests to 
God. If it should be asked them who allow prayer to have 


any place in their practice ; which way do your hearts work 
most in prayer ? If they were to give an account of the sense 
of their hearts, would it not be this ; "Lord, grant me what ap 
pears desirable to me in this world ; that I may have my car 
nal desires satisfied to the full ?" But who insists with impor 
tunity and earnestness, upon this great thing ? "Lord, what 
soever thou grantest or deniest, grant me thy Spirit : let 
me be miserable, and reduced to poverty and beggary ; let me 
wander up and down in the want of all things ; but give me 
thy Spirit." Oh ! what loud and importunate cries would there 
be for the Spirit, if this doctrine were believed ? But God 
may withhold many things from men much more to their dis 
pleasure and dissatisfaction, than his Spirit, and about which 
they would much more sensibly complain : take away their 
estates and relations, and they complain and cry for them ; 
but he may withdraw or withhold his Spirit, and they can go 
years together, and never complain or feel themselves grieved 
at it. The very execution of the threatening, does not make 
them uneasy : " My Spirit shall not strive •" it doth not strive 
with many from day to day, and year to year ; and yet it doth 
not make them complain. This is too plain an argument, that 
it is not believed, that there is a necessity in order to the 
entering into God's kingdom, to be born of the Spirit. 

[4.] That men are so little in expectation, and no more ge 
nerally in a waiting posture, for the Spirit when, they hear of 
it. How few are there who are in such expectations, day by 
day, more than they who wait for the morning ; Oh ! when 
shall this Spirit come ? When shall the happy hour be of its 
sensible appearance in my dead and forlorn soul ? When they 
hear, that the Spirit is as the wind which bloweth where it list- 
eth ; how few are ready to say, Oh ! when shall I find its 
breathings upon me ? When will it reach me ? When shall 
I feel some of its powerful influences and refreshing gales ? 

[5.] That men are so little afraid of resisting the Spirit, and 
of giving it offence and provocation ; so as that God should 
penally retract or withhold it. Certainly if this doctrine were 
believed, men would be in a very great dread upon this ac 
count ; they would tremble to think of the possibility, or dan 
ger of giving that distaste by neglects, and resistance, to the 
spirit of grace, as to make it retire, not knowing whether ever 
it would return . Again 

[6.] That the thoughts of this concernment, do no more 
mingle with men's affairs, in which they employ themselves 
here under the sun ; and not more check their too impetuous 
pursuit of their worldly designs, which their hearts are so 
ever intent upon. If this doctrine were indeed believed, it 

VOL. v. H 


could not surely be, but that many times in the midst of se 
cular business, such thoughts would come in ; But am I yet 
born of the Spirit ? All that I do is mere idle trifling imper- 
tinency when I do not yet know, whether I am so much as 
alive, in order to heaven and God's kingdom, and the eternal 
state which is before me. How seldom throughout the day, 
can any such thoughts be crowded into the minds of men ? 
surely it would be a great check to the heat of their pursuits 
after the things of the world, if such thoughts did but now and 
then strike in ; and they could not but strike in often, if the 
matter were indeed thoroughly believed ; " I must be so born 
into heaven> or buried in all the darkness and misery of hell 
for ever/' 

[7.] If men were so concerned about this matter as the 
thorough belief of it, one would think, should infer ; such 
thoughts must needs be a very great allay to the pleasure and 
sweetness of their sensual enjoyments. When they are re 
laxing themselves to pleasure, and allowing themselves the 
liberty of excursions, into this or that kind of sensual delight ; 
certainly they could not so freely enjoy the creatures them 
selves, if it were considered ; " I am yet at a very great un 
certainty whether the divine life hath any place in my soul or 
no : whether the great work of the new creation, hath any, 
so much as the least beginnings in me r" Alas, what an infu 
sion would this be of gall and worm wood, of bitterness and 
death, into whatsoever sensual delights, which would utterly 
spoil the sweetness of them ; if it were believed that it is ne 
cessary to be thus bom ; and yet that it is uncertain whether 
we are thus born ! 

(2.) And pray then, what can we resolve this unconcernedness 
into, which is the other thing under this head ; but their dis 
belief, and that they want a thorough persuasion of this truth, 
that I must be so born , or perish ? For think of what else we 
would resolve it into : Is it the obscurity of the matter, and 
that it is merely an unintelligible thing ? But why is this un 
intelligible, that there is a work necessary to be wrought upon 
the spirits of men by the Spirit of God, to render them suitable 
to God, and capable of blessedness in him ? Indeed what can 
we think of that is plainer, if we consider the common state of 
men, and the present temper of their spirits ? and how appa 
rently necessary it is ; that their spirits must be of another tem 
per, in order to their being happy ; and that there is nothing 
to be done in this kind, but by a proportionable cause ; and 
that such an effect doth manifestly challenge to be wrought by 
such a cause ? They are to be changed by the dispensation of 
the gospel from glory unto glory ; where the progressive work 


is spoken of, of the same nature and kind with that whereof we 
are speaking; even as by the Spirit of the Lord, (2 Cor. 3. 
18.) that as does not signify similitude but identity : the work 
must be such as may plainly and evidently speak its own au 
thor ; or so as that it may be peremptorily concluded, — this 
is a work so very agreeable to the Spirit of God, that nothing 
but the Spirit of God could have done it. Now the Spirit of 
God hath wrought like itself, and worthy of itself; and what 
it, and it only could do. It is true indeed that the nature 
of the work, and all the several parts of it, and the way 
of working, may be very much unknown things to persons as 
yet unexperienced. But that there is such a work necessary 
to be done, by which the spirits of men are to be changed, and 
that the Spirit of God only can do it, I know nothing can be 
pretended more intelligible than this ; or why, at least, it 
should with any tolerable, or colourable pretence be said to be 
an unintelligible thing. It is not because men cannot under 
stand this, but because they have no mind to believe it and ad 
mit the truth about it into their hearts, that they are so little 
willing of. Or is it, that the thing is inconsiderable, and not 
worthy of their regard ? No man who hath not abjured his 
understanding, can have the face to say so. What can con 
cern me more, than whether I have a station in God's king 
dom, or not ; where the state is such as includes and compre 
hends the whole of that felicity and blessedness, which an in 
telligent nature is capable of, and being excluded that king 
dom, is to be excluded blessedness, and left a miserable crea 
ture for ever ? Certainly no man who hath not abandoned 
man, and put off himself, but must acknowledge this to be the 
greatest concernment to him of all otheis ; and that therefore 
he is not unmoved and unaffected, with this matter, because 
he thinks it inconsiderable and not worth his regard. The bu 
siness therefore still returns hither, that it is not believed : 
men will not believe it, and therefore they are not concerned. 
Thus far you see, that there is too plain evidence that this 
doctrine is not believed. The next thing would be to shew the 
unreasonableness of this disbelief. It might well astonish our 
hearts to think what there is of malignity and horror, in this 
belief among them who professedly own, that this revelation is 
from God ; but yet, it is manifest, all the while, that they do 
not believe it : or that ever it should enter into the heart of 
a creature capable of understanding its own rise and original 
from the ever blessed God, to doubt or dispute, or deny so 
plain and manifest a revelation from him as this. The case 
arrives to this state, and we cannot give it a more favourable 
one, as if such a person should say to the great God, the Lord 


of heaven and earth, ce I take thee to have spoken by thy own 
jSon, such and such words to men, but I do not believe them/' 
This it plainly comes to. He hath said, that men must be 
born again, or they can never come into the kingdom of God ; 
and if such persons would say, what is in their hearts, they 
must say too ; We do not believe it. The matter comes to a 
direct and flat contradiction, a practical one, and which is 
more and worse than a verbal one, between them and the great 
Lord and Founder of this kingdom : as if they better knew 
the mind of God in this matter, than his own Son, who came 
out of his bosom ; or better understood, who were to be of 
God's kingdom, and who not, than he into whose hands the 
management of all the affairs of this kingdom is put. Certain 
ly when this matter comes to be discussed we shall find it im 
possible to pitch upon any thing in our own thoughts which 
carries more of monstrosity and horror in it, than the disbelief 
of such a truth. 



have insisted upon this subject doctrinally at large, and 
made some entrance upon the use. That which we have, 
in the first place, inferred, is ; That this being so evident 
and important a truth, it is very strange, it should not be more 
generally believed among Christians, than apparently it is, 
We have shewed that generally it is not believed, in the last 
exercise ; and are now to shew 

II. The great unreasonableness and perversity of this dis 
belief in reference to this great important truth. We insist 
the longer and more distinctly upon this use, because it is the 
use which our Lord himself makes of his discourse, upon this 
subject, as you may see in the llth and 12th verses, which I 
shall have occasion to consider and open afterwards. The great 
unreasonableness of not believing this truth will appear, if 
you consider — how much is to be said for it and — how very 
little and insignificant any thing is, which can be said against 

1. Consider how much is to be said for it, and hath in 
part been said. As much surely as any considering person 
would think necessary to recommend a thing to his belief which 
he did not know before. I would appeal to men, what would 
they expect ? Or what condition would they require any such 
thing to be qualified with, which they would think to be a 
competently credible object of their belief ? What would they 

* Preached January Qtb, 1677, Cordwainer's Hall. 


say is necessary ? What suppositions would they make ? If 
you had a voice from heaven, or an angel sent to you on pur 
pose ; or if Christ himself should appear, and speak these 
words to you, as he did to Nicodemus ; then you would be 
lieve ? Even they who say so would soon find, if God should 
make such trials with them, it would be to as little purpose, 
as to clothe it with the evidence wherewith he doth recom 
mend it. For you see though our Lord himself did speak these 
things to Nicodemus, yet he hath cause to complain of infide 
lity still. But what. Is not a thing sufficiently credible with 
out such a recommendation as this ? Or is it not a most un 
reasonable extravagance to say, " Except ourselves, with our 
own eyes, see signs and wonders we will not believe ?" What 
have you a vision and voice for every thing you believe which 
you do not see with your own eyes ? Let it be considered what 
we have to assure us of this great truth. 

(1.) We have the plain reasonableness of the thing itself: 
which will appear by laying together these several considera 

[1.] That the kingdom of God imports a state of peifect fe 
licity in the highest notion of that kingdom ; or a state of pre 
paration thereto, or gradual tendency thither- ward, in the first 
or lower notion of it. This is a thing plain and obvious to all 
our thoughts, that the kingdom of God imports a state of per 
sons either perfectly happy already ; or else tending to a state 
of happiness. 

[2.] Consider that such who are no way within the compass 
of this kingdom, are not happy as yet. Look upon any man 
in his natural state, and any one will soon acknowledge, I am 
not happy as yet. I appeal to your own senses, and to the 
common sense of men, can you say, you are already happy? 
What do you know no wants ? No desires ? I wish it were 
better with me than it is ? A plain indication to every man's 
sense, that he is not happy as yet. And 

[3.] That it is not in the power of all this world to make 
men happy. He who enjoys never so much of it, it is not a 
little more will make him happy ; for it is manifest an additi 
onal degree of a good of the same kind, will not do it ; it must 
be a good of another kind. They who have most of this world, 
have they never thought themselves unhappy, or pronounced so 
concerning their present state Ante obitum nemo &c. Pagan 
light hath seen so much, that in this life no one can be happy; 
who have known how to make their best of this world, as well 
as any of us. Besides it is in the reason of the thing manifest, 
that no man can be happy, as long as he knows himself to be 
mortal. There is a gloomy thing called death still hanging 


over my head, and it will light upon me one time or other. 
Can any man be happy as long as the case is so, and while he 
hath no comfortable expectation of any thing better hereafter ? 
Men are a little pleased sometimes, while they can forget dy 
ing. But what is all that happiness which depends only upon a 
man's forgetfulness ; that is, which is capable of being undone 
and blasted by a thought ? That is a pitiful happiness, which 
a thought can destroy and blow away. Such only is that hap 
piness which this world affords, and which can grow up out of 
this earth. I conclude therefore, that nothing can be more 
evident to the common sense and experience of all men ; than 
that as they are not yet happy, so they cannot be, by any thing 
this world can give them. 

[4.] That they cannot be happy in God without having their 
spirits changed, and made suitable to him. It puts an equal 
impossibility in the way of my happiness, whether, either my 
spirit be suitable to such or such a thing, and it hath \ not 
enough in it to make me happy ; or that such another thing 
hath enough in it to make me happy, but my spirit is not suit 
able to it. As it is in reference to the matter of nourishment ; 
neither can that nourish which doth not afford fit matter, or 
suitable aliment to a man's body ; nor doth that which is ne 
ver so suitable nourish if it cannot be received, or there is an 
aversion and dislike to it. A stone cannot nourish, because 
it is not fit aliment ; and the best food cannot nourish, if the 
appetite is averse and disaffected to it. That person who can 
think of God with no pleasure, takes no complacency in him ; 
and who bears towards him, not only a cold, but an averse and 
disaffected heart can never be happy in God. And such is 
every one who is as yet only born flesh of flesh, for the carnal 
mind is enmity to God ; and they who are after the flesh, do 
savour only the things of the flesh. 

[5.] That men cannot change their own hearts, so as to at 
temper them to God, and make them suitable to him, and ca 
pable of his converse, and of being blessed in him. This must 
also be evident to every man's conscience, who doth but reflect 
and commune a little with himself. If any man say, I can 
change the temper of my own soul ; it is true it doth not love 
God, and take a present felicity in him, but I can alter it and 
bring it to that pass : any one who will say so, must be the 
most self condemned creature in all the world. Canst thou 
turn and change thy own heart, and wilt let it go as it is, averse 
and disaffected to God, one moment longer ? If they can 
work that change themselves, they are utterly inexcusable that 
they do not do it out of hand. But if they cannot, as whoso 
ever will go into that trial, will soon find ; then in the 


[6.] Place, God must do it, or it can never be done; and this 
is that begetting spirit of spirit, which we speak of, as neces 
sary to a man's coming into the kingdom of God, or being 
happy. And these considerations laid together, make it appa 
rently reasonable in itself, unto any man who will allow him 
self to consider, that such a work must be done, in order to 
such an end. Now how perverse a thing is it to disbelieve and 
reject so plain a truth, which will not admit of debate ? If a 
man bring the matter to a serious scrutiny, and will but rea 
sonably consider it, he must yield the cause, as soon as he be 
gins to think of it. 

(2.) Add thereto, the authority of the Revealer, which ought 
to silence our spirits, and bring them to a compliance with the 
revelation, though the thing were not evident, and we had 
much to say against it. And here we have a twofold revealer, 
to consider, and speak briefly of ; that is — the subordinate, and 
secondary revealer, namely, the evangelist — and the primary 
and first Revealer ; our Lord Jesus himself. If there is any 
doubt in the case, it must be concerning the one or the other 
of these ; either that this holy inspired man did not truly report 
to us Christ's words, and that he tells us Christ said what he 
never said ; or else that our Lord Jesus himself did not say 
truly, in what he said. As to the 

[1 .] Why should we think that this blessed man, should 
write clown such words as these in his gospel as spoken by 
Christ, if he had not spoke them ? If any man would think 
this matter is not to be believed upon that account ; it doth 
manifestly appear, if we would think no better of him, by the 
general strain and tenour of his writing, that he writes like a 
rational man ; and then supposing him a rational intelligent 
man., it cannot but be supposed, that he must have some de 
sign or other, in whatsoever he did set down. Now what can 
any man think his design should be, to say, that our Lord said 
such words as these, if he did not say them ? You would 
easily suppose that John being by his calling and office a dis 
ciple and apostle of Christ, that he must needs think himself, 
upon that account, concerned and engaged to promote that in 
terest, which he had now espoused, and to propagate to the ut 
most, the Christian name and profession. We cannot in rea 
son but suppose him to be very intent upon this. If he were 
so, and would disguise and palliate things, and represent 
them otherwise than they were ; surely he would have misre 
presented them to the advantage of his cause with men, and 
not to the disadvantage. If we could allow ourselves to sus 
pect ; as we who aie Christians cannot, though it is possible 
that such disallowed thoughts may sometimes start up in our 


minds ; that he would disguise or misrepresent any thing ; we 
must suppose that he would do it, so as to make the profession 
and cause, which he had undertaken, look more plausibly, and 
be more alluring and inviting^ ^and fit to draw multitudes, to 
embrace the Christian profession as he had done. But would 
any man who had such a design as this, if he would mis 
represent things, offer to put such devised things in 
those records which he was to transmit up and down the 
world, and from age to age; as he could not but know 
would be universally disrelished ; and than which it was 
impossible that any thing could be more ungrateful to the spi 
rits of men, or more opposite to their lusts and interests ? 
What to tell men that they must undergo a new birth, and must 
be born spirit of spirit, be refined into a certain sort of spiri 
tual beings by the work of God upon them ; or else they can. 
never come into the kingdom of God ? Certainly if he would 
disguise, and misrepresent, he would not have done it on that 
hand ; he would have done it rather on the other, by indulg 
ing and complying with the prejudices and lusts and interests 
of men. There remains not therefore any colour for an ima 
gination, that he should tell us, our Lord spake such words as 
these, if he did not. And there can be less pretence in the 

[2.] Place, to think or imagine, that our Lord Jesus Christ, 
did speak these words, but that he misrepresented the matter, 
and did not speak the thing as it was. For what can be sup 
posed ? that he did not know his own power, or that he did not 
know his own mind ? He who is appointed the great Lord of 
this kingdom, the very Founder of the constitution, and who is 
to gather and bring in all to it whoever shall come into it ; did 
he not know upon what terms men could be brought into the 
compass of God's kingdom ? Or was it to be supposed possi 
ble that any should intrude, and maintain their intrusion into 
this kingdom, against him and the supreme power which he 
hath in it ? Briefly consider, either he must be deceived 
himself or have a design to deceive us. Why, what should 
that aim at ? With what purpose and intent ? What was to 
be got by it ? What end could be served ? If it could consist 
with his nature, with whom guile was never found ; yet cer 
tainly it never could with his design : we cannot suppose any 
by-design he should aim at ; and with his great and main de 
sign, it holds no agreement either way. But with what hor 
ror should men's infidelity be thought of, when it doth even in 
the very substance of the thing, cast such reproaches as these 
upon our great Lord ? What is infidelity in reference to any 
gospel truth, but a disassent that this is true ; and so it is 
saying, that it is not true, when he saith, it is $ and opposing 
our sense to his plain and express word. 

VOL, V. I 


This is the complaint our Lord makes in this case ; We 
testify the things we have known ; As if he should say : " t 
speak upon knowledge; I understand all these things very well, 
they all lie before me, and within my prospect. I testify 
what I see, and is under my own eye ; and ye will not receive 
our witness. If I speak to you of earthly things, and you will 
not believe ;" (that is, in respect of the manner of their presen 
tation, not the matter represented. It was not the matter ul 
timately represented, but mediately. He speaks with reference 
to a known custom among the Jews of baptizing their prose 
lytes : the proselytes of justice, were constantly admitted by 
baptism among them ; and then forsook father and mother, 
and all their former natural relations, and came into new rela 
tions throughout. Other usages belonging to the Jewish con 
stitution, are called in Scripture by the suitable names of 
worldly and carnal things, like this expression here, of earth 
ly things. ' I speak to you of what these earthly things, which 
are in use among yourselves, do signify ; and yet, you do not 
believe me ; you will not take in what I say, when I go so fa 
miliarly to work with you, only to shew you the meaning of 
your own practice, and what is done among yourselves ;') " how 
shall you believe when I come to tell you of heavenly things ; 
which have no dependance upon, or relation to such usages 
among yourselves ; as the Son of Man's descent from heaven, 
and ascent into it again ; and his being on earth and in heaven 
at the same time?" as his w 7 ords afterwards are. "What do you 
make of this, when you will not believe me opening to you so 
plain and obvious a rudiment of religion, that men must un 
dergo a change in the temper of their spirits, signified by the 
practice, which is common and usual among yourselves, of 
baptizing them ; as if they were born into a new world, who 
come to be proselytes of your religion?" It is therefore upon the 
whole matter a thing full of horror, and which ought to make 
our hearts to tremble to think that such infidelity should lurk 
in the spirits of men who call themselves Christians, in refer 
ence to so great and unquestionable tilings of Christianity ; and 
that it should admit of any debate. Such expostulations we 
find used by our Lord elsewhere : "I come to you/' saith he, 
"in my Father's name, and you will not believe me." Monstrous 
partiality and disaffection of men's hearts, to divine truths, 
even because they are truth, and because they are divine ! So 
our Lord expressly speaks : Because I tell you the truth, you 
will not believe me, John 8. 45. As if it were truth as truth, 
which was hatedbymen; and which they therefore can not endure, 
because it is true. And when we consider too, that to believe 
a divine truth with a divine faith, is a great piece of homage 


which we pay to the great and glorious Lord of heaven and 
earth, the first and eternal truth, into whose veracity the 
whole matter is resolved. That is, the thing is therefore cer 
tainly true and credible, and to be believed as true ; because it 
comes from the first and eternal truth, and is a derivation or 
beam of light, from that original light. Tt is the homage of a 
reasonable creature to the Author of his being, to have his soul 
overwrought and swayed, by the authority of his word. Be 
cause he hath said it, I yield and submit ; I dare not but own 
it as true, and believe it as true. And then what an affront < 
must it be on the other hand, to the great and eternal God, 
when such truths as these so plainly proposed to us in 
his word, are by infidelity excluded and shut out of our 
hearts ! The authority of his word does not prevail to 
weigh and sink them down into our souls ; but they hover 
on the surface, and we entertain them with a notional 
opinion, as true ; but in the mean time, exclude them out of 
our hearts as false. For there it is that infidelity hath its 
seat, as faith hath its seat there ; With the heart man believeth 
unto righteousness. Rom. 10. 10. That assent is not worthy the 
name of faith which doth not enter into and possess and com 
mand a man's soul. Then it is indeed that a truth is enter 
tained with a divine faith, when the thing revealed is received 
not as the word of man, but as the word of God. This comes 
from the eternal God, I take it upon the authority of his word ; 
and hence it comes to be urged upon a man's heart, and to im 
press its own stamp and likeness there. This is the believing 
any thing with a divine faith. So that indeed this truth, of 
the necessity of a man's being born spirit ; that is, who do 
then come to be born spirit, at that very time ; it doth in this 
way insinuate, and get into them -, not by violence, or offering 
force to human nature ; we are to imagine no such thing ; 
but it doth by a plain and evident discovery of the truth, slide 
into it, and through it, notwithstanding all the prejudices 
which obstruct and shut up the heart of man ; and so creates 
that faith, by which men believe unto righteousness and bles 
sedness. And therefore it is plainly said, They who are of God 
do hear God's words. John 8. 47. Their hearing doth in 
clude believing : Ye therefore hear them not, because ye are 
not of God. The expression there, to be of God, is only a 
short eliptical expression, for being born or begotten of him. 
You therefore receive not his words because you are not born 
of God ; therefore his word doth not enter into you, and has 
no place in you. And certainly it ought to fill our souls with 
deep resentments, to think that there should be such an ob 
struction in the hearts of men towards God ; that a discovery 


about such an important matter, coming with so much evi 
dence from him, and upon his authority, cannot be believed $ 
when men do so ordinarily and easily believe one another, 
about matters wherein they take themselves to be very much 

Thus much then is to be said for it ; as to the little which 
can be said against it, see the close of the foregoing discourse. 
This is the first use of this truth, I should proceed to the rest, 




have at large opened the words, and made some progress 
in the use. We have inferred from hence,how strange it is 
that so plain and important a doctrine as this cannot obtain to be 
believed : that we insisted somewhat largely upon . We proceed to 
another inference, — that it is evident the design of regeneration 
is to prepare and fit men to be of God's kingdom. — This is 
that which he hath in his eye and aim, when he begets souls 
by his own Spirit in a holy spirituality, suitable to the pro 
ductive cause. It is very becoming a reasonable creature when 
he observes some great work is to be done, and there is great 
apparatus for the doing of it, to inquire, What doth all this, 
mean ? What is all this for ? We are plainly told, that such, 
a work as this is to be done upon men, as begetting them 
anew ; we see great preparations are made for it ; the gospel 
sent down from heaven on purpose 5 an office constituted and 
set up to dispense it ; time sanctified and made sacred ; so 
lemn ordinances appointed, a frame of worship instituted. It 
would certainly be great inadvertency not to consider within 
ourselves, What is all this for ? Why all this is for regenera 
ting men first ; and what is that for ? Why to bring them into, 
God's kingdom. I doubt it is not seriously considered as it 

* Preached January l6tb, 1677. at Cordwainer's Hall. 


ought to be, how great a design this is, and how intent the 
blessed God appears upon it, by begetting men of the Spirit, 
to form them for his kingdom. And from hence arrives seve 
ral subordinate instructions. As 

I. That when a man comes to be regenerate, he is born 
to very great things. If God hath given us to understand so 
much of his design, that it is on purpose, and in order to the 
instating them into his kingdom, that he hath begotten them 
spirit of spirit ; certainly it is a very great and glorious estate, 
that every regenerate person is born to. We commonly mea 
sure our judgments concerning the fortunes of this or that per 
son by his birth : we say concerning the son of a rich or great 
man, of a nobleman or prince ; that he is born an heir to great 
and ample possessions, and will certainly be a possessor of 
them ; though there are many things intervening which may 
cut off a person born to great things from ever being the pos 
sessor of them. But here the case is sure, and not liable to 
contingences, which can infer frustration and disappointment. 
It is very unreasonable all this while that we so little consider 
this, and have so mean low thoughts of the business of regene 
ration, or regenerate persons : certainly they ought to appear 
very venerable persons in our eyes. Here is one, as it is meet 
for us to judge, who is born of God, spirit of spirit ; a rerined 
being is begotten in him, which entitles him to eternal glory, 
an everlasting kingdom. Indeed it is not strange that such 
persons are obscure unto the most of the world : The world 
is said not to know God's sons : "What manner of love is this, 
that we should be called the sons of God ?" that is, made such ; 
for God's calling, is making them, what he calls them. He 
calls things which are not, and makes them existent things. 
It is subjoined, Therefore the world knows us not, because it 
knew not him, 1 John 3. 1. There is a heavenly progeny 
among them, whom the world do not know ; but though the 
world do not know God's sons, methinks, they should know 
one another, and not think so meanly of one another's state 
and condition as the rest of the world think of them. It is a 
most emphatical scripture, 1 Pet. I. 3, 4. Being begotten 
again to a lively hope — unto an inheritance incorruptible, un- 
defiled, and which fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us. 
A regenerate person is no mean person, if you consider his 
great parentage and high extraction ; or the inheritance to 
which he is born, and the high and glorious hopes which are 
before him. 

II. This Instruction also proceeds hence, that we are to 
look upon it as a very unbecoming thing, when we regre* what 
God further doth, in the prosecution of this design. He hav- 


ing begotten persons on purpose for his kingdom, and to par 
take of the glory and blessedness of its consummate state, doth 
gradually, as he hath prepared and adapted them for it, trans 
late and take up into that kingdom, such as were before born 
into it, and begotten to it. It is unreasonable to regret this, 
whether we ourselves are the spectators only ; or whether we 
also come to be the subjects of this dispensation. 

When we are spectators of it as to others, and see him tran- 
suming and taking up some out of this lower state of his king 
dom, into the more glorious state of it, whom he hath begot 
ten thereto before ; why are we to regret this ? What, that 
God should have the disposing of his own children, whom he 
hath begotten, as the Father of spirits, spirit of spirit? Indeed 
whatsoever there is of displeasure towards us in such dispensa 
tions, ought to be considered and entertained by us, with a 
due sense of it; but what there is of divine good pleasure ex 
pressed in it, ought also to be submitted to with an awful and 
complacential subjection. How unreasonable a thing is it, that 
we should grudge him his own children whom he hath begot 
ten ? We should think it very hard, if we dispose of any 
child of ours in sickness to be nursed abroad, and we cannot 
have it home without a quarrel when we think fit to have it 

And how unworthy is it when men regret to be the subjects 
of this dispensation of God ; and cannot endure the thoughts 
of going into his kingdom, the most perfect and glorious state 
of it, unto which if they are regenerate, they were born ? 
What, to be unwilling to go to our own Father, and have our 
spirits return to him, when he hath begotten them for himself? 
How vile a thing is this ! What terrene, dunghill hearts are 
ours which so cleave to this vile earth ? We should think it a 
most unnatural thing in a son, who has been long in a foreign 
country, especially if in straits and wants there ; and who is 
not so as to spiritual concernments ? and yet should regret to 
be called home by his father : for that would carry this sig 
nification with it, that he counts any miseries more tolerable 
than his father's presence. Certainly it must needs speak 
what is very unlike and unworthy of a child. I know not 
what we can have to say for ourselves, that there should be so 
few unfeigned desires, after our Father's house and our own 
home ; and when we say, we belong to his family, and have 
been born into it, and begotten of him ; that yet we never care to 
come there. Still a little longer, alittle longer, we would be here 
below, in this mean and abject state ; as though we were con 
tented to endure any thing of misery and calamity and turmoil, 
and all the impurity of this world 5 rather than be at home 


with our own Father. There is an aptness to regret God's 
known purpose ; we struggle and shrink at the thoughts of dy 
ing : but certainly that must argue a very great distemper of 
mind ; for what, would we not have the end attained ; would, 
we have the design defeated and blasted, for which we were 
born ? if we were ever born spirit of spirit, the design of it was 
to prepare us for that kingdom into which we regret to go ; 
we were born on purpose for it, and yet we would not come 

III. We further learn this instruction hence, that it is a most 
highly becoming thing for the regenerate, very much to mind 
that state for which they have been born. No one is wont to 
be blamed for minding things no higher than what be was born 
to. Many times we reckon it a piece of unwarrantable and 
unbecoming arrogance amomfmen, when they aspire to things 
beyond their sphere and compass, and aim at tilings above their 
birth : but a Christian is not to blamed, when he aspires to 
immortality and eternal glory, and all the felicity and blessed 
ness of God's kingdom above ; for it is that he is born to. It 
is justly blamed when the spirits of any are found visibly to 
sink below their birth and state to which they were born, and 
the grandeur of their families ; when men born of noble pa 
rentage, who have that which they call generous blood run 
ning in their veins, do mind only mean things, and discover 
themselves to be of abject ungenerous spirits; this is reckoned 
a great incongruity among men. And certainly there is no 
thing more unbecoming than that a Christian should mind and 
be intent upon things which are of a mean and base allay, and 
forget the kingdom he was born to. We may aspire high ; 
our birth and state will justify us in it ; for we are born of God, 
and born to a kingdom. Why, to let our thoughts grovel, and 
our affections be scattered in the dust of the earth, to embrace 
dunghills ; we have nothing whereto to impute it, but an igno 
ble and mean temper of spirit ; which certainly when we know, 
and can reflect upon, it should be far from us to allow ; and 
wherein we find ourselves guilty, we should lay our hands upon 
our mouth, for it is unaccountable, and nothing is to be said. 
See how the persons are described whom God sorts out and 
distinguishes from the rest of men, for eternal blessedness 
Rom. 2. 6'. It is said that God will judge every man accord 
ing to his works. God is represented there in the person of a 
judge, and as undertaking the work of judgment upon all this 
world ; and the world accordingly is divided into two parts, as 
the judgment of God finds them, and will distinguish them ; 
that is, they are distinguished by their final states. There are 
some who are for life, as that which by the determination of 


the judge belongs to them ; and others are for indignation and 
wrath, and tribulation and anguish. These are distinguished 
by their spirits, or present characters, in order to that final 
partition of them. These are "such who by patient continuance 
in all well doing, do seek honour and glory and immortality." 
This is the character of their spirits ; and to such when God 
will render to every one according to his works, he will render 
eternal life. The other sort are described by their character 
in reference to their state ; that is "who are contentious and do 
not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness ; to them he will 
render indignation and wrath," &c. To them who are conten 
tious : it is plain enough, if we consider the scope and current 
of the apostle's discourse, what he means by being contenti 
ous here. If you consider it in opposition to what is subjoined, 
who do not obey the truth ; or by way of collation with what 
lie had been saying in, the foregoing chapter ; " The wrath of 
God is revealed from heaven, against all ungodliness and un 
righteousness of men :" it is plain the truth which he speaks 
of all along in that discourse is practical truth ; or the truth by 
which they should be governed in their practice, and accord 
ing to which they ought to square and conduct their course. 
It is very plain the contention he means, is a contention against 
such truth ; when men's spirits resist and withstand the ten 
dency and design and dictates of it, the practical and governing 
dictates which do more or less obtain in all ; some even in the 
pagan world, and those which are more clear in the gospel ; 
but somewhat or other of practical truth there is in all. And 
this is that which is the common character of those, who shall 
finally perish ; who are contentious against that truth which 
should have governed them ; and when it should have been as 
on a throne in their souls, is shut up as in a prison. They 
held it in unrighteousness, and fettered it in chains, and pent 
it up, and confined it only to the notion of the mind ; let it 
hover only in dark ineffectual notions, and never admitted it to 
walk forth into their lives and practices ; and have that inspec 
tion and power there which it ought to have had. And that 
practical truth is resisted in nothing more than in this, when 
men addict themselves in defiance of it, to things which their 
town reason and experience tell them, are not proportionable to 
them ; to earthly, terrene things^ which they cannot but know 
are not commensurate, to intelligent and immortal spirits. 

They who are of such abject mean spirits, the Lord will be 
ashamed at last, to be called their God. Heb. 11. 16. But 
now they seek a better country, that is, a heavenly ; where 
fore God is not ashamed to be called their God. These are a 
sort of persons who approve themselves his children, and evi- 

VOL. V, K 


dence of whom they are born ; the temper of their minds, and 
the course and drift of their designs, shew of what Father they 
are descended. They mind and seek a better country, where 
fore he is not ashamed to be called their God : "These are my 
own race ; they are suitable to me." But it is a very sad and 
dreadful intimation to those who are of mean, base and earth 
ly spirits : He will be ashamed to be called their God : "These 
are no children of mine ; they were never born of my Spirit : I 
never had any such children." 

TV. We further learn^ that we are to consider them as most 
miserable creatures, who are not regenerate. Whosoever are 
for God's kingdom are regenerated on purpose to prepare them 
for it. They therefore who are net regenerate, want the radi-* 
cal, fundamental preparation ; the primordia, or first princi 
ples by which they are to be adopted to that kingdom : and 
have, in the very temper and frame of their spirits^ their doom 5 
there is this to be read concerning their states, that they are 
not for the kingdom of God. Men are entered into this king 
dom here by regeneration, or being born into it ; and so grow 
ing up here, are transplanted into the eternal, glorious king 
dom. Now it is a most miserable ease that there is but one 
inlet or way into the kingdom of God, and men should 
not be in that way, or so much as about it, or apprehend they 
have any concern to be so 5 as the case is with too many, even, 
the generality of those who are unregenerate. But then what 
is their hope, or what can it be ? Do they think to leap over this 
initial state of God's kingdom, and get into the kingdom of 
glory without ever corning into the kingdom of grace ? How 
strange a disappointment must they needs find at last ! For 
they are to consider that this countrj is the only prolific coun 
try ; they are not new bom in heaven ; there they are perfected, 
not begotten. As there are none who become first wicked in 
hell ; they are there most wicked, OK wicked to the utmost ; 
but they were first wicked here on earth ; why so it is in re 
ference to heaven too; here men must first be spiritual and ho 
ly, and born of the Spirit 5 and become most spiritual and holy, 
when they are most blessed above. And therefore they are 
certainly in a most miserable case, who since regeneration is 
designed as the preparation finally and ultimately for heaven, 
and for this eternal, glorious kingdom ; are neither regenerate, 
nor apprehensive of any concern they have to be so. 

V. We learn, that as the misery of the unregenerate is 
justly said to be great ; so their folly maybe concluded to be 
no way inferior to their misery. They are as foolish as they 
are miserable, that is, they speak and think and reckon upon 
it, that it shall be well with them hereafter, though they are 


never regenerate ; they fortify their own hearts into a confi 
dence, that they shall attain things which they were never 
born to, and have no other reason to expect. You would 
think it a great piece of madness, for a man to go about and 
say, that he expects a kingdom, and doubts not but he shall 
be a great prince ; though he walks up and down in rags, and 
is-oijly the son of a ploughman or some mean person : he 
wduld be thought fit to live in chains. Why, you will cer 
tainly say. The expectations of all unregenerate persons, to be 
hereafter happy in God's kingdom, do not carry this folly in 
it. Yea, it carries in it much greater folly ; for we cannot say, 
it is impossible that a person of a very mean parentage, should 
come to greatness in this world. Histories of former and latter 
times, give us some instances of this kind ; but you would 
think him a madman for all that, who should say so. As cer 
tainly he would be truly counted so, who should hope for every 
thing which is possible, merely because it is possible ; as he 
would be who feared every thing which is merely possible to 
come to pass that is hurtful and evil to him ; as if a man should 
fear that every bit of meat he eats should choke him ; or that 
in his ordinary walks in the streets, a tile should fall and beat 
out his brains. Thousands of such accidents are not impossible ; 
but if a man should fear them continually, it were certainly a 
great folly, and would put a great deal of misery into his life. 
It would be equally an absurd thing, to hope every thing which 
is possible, only because it is possible, and no more ; but then 
to hope for that which is simply and absolutely impossible, and 
which the shortest and quickest turn of thought would convince 
a man is so ; is a madness beyond all imagination. If you hear 
a man walking in the streets in rags, and saying. " I hope at 
some time to be a prince or great monarch before I die '," you 
cannot say, he hopes for an impossible thing : But if you 
hear an unregenerate man say, "I hope I shall have the eternal 
kingdom, though I continue unregenerate, and die just as I 
am ;" his hope is simply impossible ; for there is an inconsis 
tency even in the temper of his spirit, with the purity and fe 
licity of that kingdom ; besides the irreversible determination 
of the righteous and supreme Lord of it, and the Disposer of all 
the concerns of it. This is therefore the strongest piece of 
folly, which ever had place in any human breast, that a man 
should be yet unborn of God, and never reckon upon being 
other than he is ; and yet expect a place in God's kingdom. 

I proceed now to the third inference, — That it is a most 
wonderful mercy, that any such work as this should be done 
among the children of men, as begetting them spirit of spirit, 
in order to their coming into his kingdom, — This is a mercy for 


ever to be had in admiration, and which we can never enough 
adore, if we allow our thoughts to work a little upon the fol 
lowing considerations. 

I. The subject of it, or who they are who are thus born. 
Why, the most undeserving creatures ; for alas ! what can they 
pretend to deserve who are by nature children of wrath, and 
exposed from their birth, to his displeasure ? and altogether 
uninclined either to desire or comply with that by which such a 
work as this was to be wrought upon them : who were un 
inclined so much as to desire, "Oh that the transforming power 
of the Holy Ghost might come upon me!" or disposed to fall in 
with the motions of the Spirit in order to it ? And besides, 
•what a wonderful mercy was it that ever such impure creatures 
should be dealt withal, in such a way ? How would any of us 
like to have that for our employment to touch the ulcerous 
sores of some poor wretch lying in rags upon a dunghill, in or 
der to the cure of them ? Yea, and most disaffected and op 
posite to the work, and the worker of it, full of enmity, and 
apt to strive and contend, and rebel, against the blessed Spirit 
of God, whenever he comes to touch upon their hearts, in or 
der to such a work as this. 

II. The Author of the work, the blessed Spirit. What a 
wonderful mercy is it that the Spirit should ever come down 
amongst men, upon such a design ; and become inclined and 
engaged to diffuse its life and vital influence, in a world lost in 
carnality and death ? This appears if you consider cither its 
purity, and that the Spirit of holiness should come with such a 
design, into so impure hearts : or its high and excellent dig 
nity ; if such a work as this could have been done by the hand 
of man ; or it would have sufficed to have sent an angel, it had 
been less wonderful : but that the Spirit should come, and 
come on purpose ; as though he had said, "I myself will im 
mediately attend this aftkir, it shall be my own doing ; no 
other hand is proportionable." How highly hath he merited to 
be called the Spirit of grace ! When the malignity of men's 
hearts against it is intended to be represented and aggravated, 
it is said, they have done despite to the Spirit of grace, (Heb. 
10. 29.) the Spirit of all love and goodness and benignity and 
sweetness. Certainly we have reason to call it the Spirit of 
grace, and to account and reckon it so, who came among men 
upon such an errand as this. Or again, 

HI. The nature of this work. Why, it is begetting men, 
and what does that import ? It imports directly a total change, 
or a change throughout ; and it imports by consequence a re 
sulting relation. They who are begotten, become children to 
}iim who begets. What a mercy was this that such a thing 


should be undertaken, as a total change, and that every part 
should be made new ? If some little alteration would have 
served the turn, the Spirit of God might easily be supposed to 
be contented to do it ; but to make them new throughout, and 
in every part, which begetting signifies ; why the greatness of 
the undertaking speaks the mercifulness of the undertaker. 
And besides there is the relation which results and is conse 
quentially imported in it. The blessed God might thus have 
reasoned off the design ; "What, shall I beget them; then must 
I be their Father : and what, to have such miscreants as they, 
my children ? Why should I beget them by my Spirit, and 
become a Father to them, who are already of their father the 
devil ? shall I go to make the devil's children mine ? " 

IV. The end, which is to bring them at last into his own 
kingdom. It is a wonderful mercy, that they who are alto 
gether born in sin, and born under wrath and ' ruin, should 
have such thoughts taken up about them ; and the holy and 
eternal Spirit employed on purpose, to beget them anew, and 
form them throughout ; and bring them into the presence of 
his glory, to dwell with him and reign with him for ever. 
They so partake in this kingdom, as to be kings in it, "He wash 
ed us from our sins in his blood, and made us kings and priests 
unto God and his Father." What a wonderful mercy to engage 
the blessed Spirit to this employment about the blessed spirits 
of men, upon so important an account, and in order to so high 
and great a glory ! 




TT is the use we have in hand ; for which purpose some prae- 
tical inferences have heen recommended to you ; and others 
do yet remain. That which is the fourth inference you may 
take thus ; — That they cannot but be very gross hypocrites 
who carry that semblance and shew with them, of having a 
standing in this kingdom of God ; but were never thus born 
into it. — Here we have these two things to do ^— to shew that 
such pretenders are hypocrites upon this account and — to 
shew the absurdity and folly of that hypocrisy. 

I. That there is manifest hypocrisy in the case. In order 
to the evincing this, we need only to consider with ourselves, 
that such persons really have not a standing in God's kingdom, 
and yet that they would be taken to have. Hypocrisy is when 
persons pretend to that good which they have not. It is not 
any kind of semblance which will put a glory upon us ; but the 
simulation of some good or other ; when men pretend to be 
better, or that their state is better, than indeed it is, or 

* Preached January 23rd. 1677. at Cordwainer's Hall. 


they are. Nor is it necessary to a man's being a hypocrite 
that he should understand himself to be so ; but only that lie 
carries a shew or semblance, whether he deceives others by it 
only, or himself also ; of that good which he hath not. And 
that such persons are not of God's kingdom we have largely 
shewn already. They neither are, nor is it possible they 
should be, upon other terms than by being born into it. 
There is no other possible way to come into this kingdom, or 
to be made suitable to the nature and end of this constitution ; 
but by being new born spirit of spirit. And therefore that good 
which such persons pretend to, they have not, whoever they 
are who are not yet new born. They pretend to be the loyal 
subjects of the kingdom of God, but it is no such thing, if 
they are not by a new birth, made so ; for by their old and na 
tural birth, and as they w r ere born flesh of the flesh, they were 
never so. And yet it is very apparent on the other hand, that 
there are many who would be taken to be of that kingdom, 
though really they were never regenerate or born into it. And 
this added to the v former, evinces the matter we have in hand ; 
that such persons are egregious hypocrites, who are not of 
God's kingdom, and yet pretend to be of it. And that many 
of the unregenerate do so^ we have such evidences of it as 
these : 

1 . That they are very loth to go under the contrary re 
pute. There are none but are either subjects of this kingdom, 
or rebels against the authority and laws of it. There is no 
medium between rebellion and subjection ; all are either sub 
jects, or rebels. Now they do not profess rebellion, and think 
it inconvenient to go under the name of rebels, or avow rebel 
lion against the Majesty of heaven. It is plain they would be 
thought subjects, and are loth to wear that inscription upon 
their foreheads : Here is a rebel against heaven. They 
would be thought to be what they are not. 

2. They conform themselves to some parts of the law of 
this kingdom ; that is, in such respects wherein their compli 
ance is more easy, and less expensive, and wherein there is 
less disinclination of heart to it. There are many very easy 
externals, which being observed and complied with, a repu 
tation may be gained, without any great pains, or inconve 
nience and loss, or without imposing too much upon them 
selves. There is an external obedience to the letter of the law, 
in some of the less principal commands and precepts of it : 
For if we compare them, we must acknowledge all that duty 
which immediately terminates upon God, to be more principal 
than that which immediately terminates upon men. Possibly 
they can be so content to put on the garb of just and charita- 


ble persons ; yea, if you go with them no further than the ex 
ternals of religion, they can be content to come to the public 
assemblies, and to sit before the Lord as his people sit ; with 
their mouths, ore tenus, they shew much love, (Ezek. 33. 
latter end,) that is, they are very devout persons. And 
while they do all this, what doth it signify, but that they 
have a great mind to be taken for subjects, and some of 
God's kingdom ; and think it possible to gain a repute by 
such easy means as these, which they have no cause at all to 

3. They declare against the more open rebellions of 
others. It may be they will lift up loud outcries against very 
gross wickedness in other men, and condemn them for ap 
pearing to be, that which themselves in heart really are. 

4. They claim the privileges of the subjects of this king 
dom. They will have their children to be enrolled, even as 
theirs who are the members of it, and it may be, come them 
selves to the Lord's table. They expect the protection and 
blessing of the great King of this kingdom ; though possibly 
they may not have much recourse to him about the concerns of 
their souls ; yet they believe and hope, he will succeed them 
in their affairs, and prosper them in the world, and save them 
at last. Why, all these things plainly manifest, that they 
have a great mind to be taken to be of this kingdom, what 
really and indeed they are not ; and that there is a great deal 
of hypocrisy in the case. But 

II. We are to shew the absurdity and folly of that hypocrisy. 
This will be manifest too, if you consider these two things 
• — that it is witbout any colourable pretence, and— that it is 
without any valuable design. If one would put any semblance 
or shew of being what one is not, and manage the business 
with any wisdom or cunning, there must be these two con 
junct , that is, the disguise must be framed with a great deal 
of art; and some considerable advantage must be got by it. 
For otherwise to make such a shew to no purpose, though 
there were never so great ingenuity shewed in it, is but to play 
the fool. But now the hypocrisy which is to be found in this 
case, must needs be absurd, as having neither colourable pre 
tence, nor valuable design. 

1. It hath no sufficiently colourable pretence. Some pre 
tence there must be ; otherwise it could not be hypocrisy. 
But there wants a specious and plausible pretence in the case ; 
that is, that one sbould pretend himself to be of this kingdom 
of God, which consists all of select persons ; and yet he never 
hath been bom into such a state. To pretend to be in a state 


into which there was no imaginable way to come, and with the 
supposed denial, which we must suppose in the present case ; 
of the only way by which it was possible one could come into 
such a state. It is impossible there can be a specious pre 
tence for this. But to be a little more particular : It is plain, 
(1.) That men do in this case pretend to be that which they 
abhor. They pretend at present to be of the initial kingdom, 
or the kingdom of grace ; that is in short, they pretend to be 
saints ; every one pretends to be so, who pretends to be of this 
kingdom, for it is a kingdom of such : but being as yet un- 
regenerate, they abhor to be so, and dislike the purity of that 
state to which they do pretend. This is very gross and absurd. 

(2.) They pretend to hope for what they do not desire, and 
that is equally absurd. They hope they say to be in the con 
summate and glorious kingdom above ; but they do not desire 
to be there : for it is impossible an unregenerate, unholy 
heart can. No man can desire that which is unsuitable to his 
nature, and to which his heart, in its habitual inclinations, is 
repugnant. Every one who hath this hope in him, purifies 
himself even as he is pure, 1 John 3. 3. Now for a man to 
pretend to the hope of that, which in his own heart he doth 
not desire ; this is a most absurd pretence. For though it is 
very possible to desire that which a man doth not hope for; 
there are many such irrational desires of things which appear 
in themselves worth the having ; but which we apprehend no 
possibility of having : such childish and foolish desires and 
wouldings there may be, of what we have no hope to attain. 
But it is impossible there can be, on the other hand, the hope 
of that whereof I have no desire ; for hope doth superadd to de 
sire, and therefore doth suppose it. Whatever I hope for I 
desire : though I do not necessarily because I desire a thing 
therefore hope for it ; for to make a thing hopeful to me it 
must be possible, and it must be arduous or attended with 
some kind of appearing difficulty. But 1 may desire a thing, 
merely because it appears good, whether I apprehend it possi 
ble to be attained or no; or though there is nothing of arduous- 
ness appearing in the case. It may be the object of desiie, but 
not of hope. 

And most manifest it is, that whosoever are not thus born 
spirit of spirit, have not any desire to be partakers in this king 
dom rightly understood. That is, it is not possible that an un- 
renewed, unspiritual heart can desire the employment arid bu 
siness ; the purity and enjoyments of that state ; or the divine 
presence in which they are to converse. All by which they 
can so much as cheat themselves in the case, is only this, hav- 
YOL. v, I, 


ing taken up a defective or false notion of heaven, or a future 
state of blessedness ; they hope they say, to be happy, when 
they die, without having ever formed a right notion, what that 
happiness is, or wherein it consists. But be it what it will, 
and though it is never so mistaken a notion, it is plain they 
desire that happines which they do desire, only as it is put in 
comparison with hell, not as it stands in comparison with 
-earth. They had rather indeed be happy, with such an ima 
ginary happiness, as they fancy to themselves in heaven ; than 
to go to hell : but they had rather continue on earth perpe 
tually, enjoying the good things it affords ; than that heaven 
itself, though suited by their own imaginations never so much 
to the wish of their own hearts. An immortality on earth 
would be chosen rather. This is not to desire heaven as its 
blessedness or chief good ; for whatsoever I desire as such, I 
desire absolutely. It is impossible I can take that for my 
chief good, which I would be content never to enjoy. As 
much as they pretend to desire heaven, yet they wish never to 
come there, if they could stay in this world always, and have 
what it affords them. Therefore I say, they most absurdly 
pretend to hope for that heaven, as their best good, which 
they do not so much as desire ever to enjoy. And 

(8.) There is a great deal of absurdity in the pretence upon 
this account, that very often it is to be seen through. It is so 
thin and slight a cover that any eye may even see through it. 
All who are hypocrites are not artificial ones : there are a 
great many hypocrites, and the far greater part of them, who 
are mere bunglers at it ; they are hypocrites without any skill 
or artifice ; and so they take up a pretence which any body, 
with half an eye, may penetrate and see through. As if for 
example, a person who pretends to be a subject of God's king 
dom, and yet makes it manifest in the course of his conversa 
tion that he stands in no awe of God at all, which is a prime 
thing in that subjection. So the case is very often, as the 
Psalmist takes notice, Psalm, 36, (beginning,) The wickedness 
of the wicked saith in my heart, the fear of God is not before 
his eyes. His wickedness speaks in my heart, that he is one fear 
less of God, and who stands in no awe of him. So it is with 
many a man who professes somewhat of religion, that is, who 
doth not profess atheism, or rebellion against heaven j yet the 
wickedness of his course and practice is such as to speak in 
another man's heart, sure this man has no fear of God before 
his eyes. Now how absurd is this, to put on a covering and dis 
guise, which doth not hide a man at all ! The whole course of 
their lives proclaims them to be no other than earthly, carnal 
worldlings, while they pretend to be designing for heaven j for 


every one who professes a relation to this kingdom, is under 
stood to stand related not only to the inchoate but the con 
summate state of it, or the kingdom of heaven. But while 
they pretend themselves to do so, the pretence is easily to be 
seen through, and they who observe the ordinary course of 
their conversation, discourses and designs, easily see that they 
are mere compositions of earth ; and unless you can suppose a 
clod of clay can be carried up into heaven, they are never like 
to come there. It is to be seen that they are men, as it were 
made of earth; and all their discourses, converses, actions, 
and designs smell of earth. It is therefore observable, that 
no man can make himself more ridiculous, than when he takes 
upon himself to act a part, to act it partially, and when he 
goes to personate another man to do it absurdly : why he 
had better have contented himself to have appeared only in his 
own likeness, and in his natural face and posture. Thus the 
case is with such hypocrites ; they do, it may be, disguise 
themselves quoad hoc ) as to this particular thing ; but then 
they lay themselves open in something or other else. Just as 
if some vain person should mightily pride himself in some gay 
rich apparel, which he had thrown on upon some part of him ; 
and all the other parts appeared clothed with nothing but rags, 
or exposed to view more shameful nakedness. How ridicu 
lous should we account such a person ! And 

(4.) The pretence with many is an evanid tiling, and soon 
vanishes away. And then how great is the absurdity to make 
myself be thought, if I could then succeed so far to be thought, 
such a one yesterday, and to-day discover myself to be quite 
another ? They who pretend to be of this kingdom of God, 
and the appearance from whence they would gain to themselves, 
that estimate and reputation, being nothing that hath life in 
it ; as not being born or connatural to the new creature ; it 
will then soon be a withering and vanishing thing. As Job 
speaks of the hypocrite ; Can a rush grow without niire ? Job 8. 
1 1. Can there be verdure and greenness, and fair appearance, 
and nothing at all to maintain it ? A mere spider's web, such 
a thing is the best pretence of the hypocrite ; why how soon 
is it swept away ? It is very apparent that the living root be 
ing wanting, that which is merely external of a person's reli 
gion, will in tract of time become tiresome, and he will be 
very well content to throw it away himself, when he finds it to 
be for convenience. So we find Job speaking again concern 
ing the hypocrite, chap. 27. 10. Will he delight himself in 
the Almighty ? Will he always call upon God ? That is, he 
will not be always religious ; for calling upon God there, rs 
only a synechdoehal expression for religion in general. YVill 


he always call upon God ? No surely ; for he doth not delight 
himself in the Almighty, and hath not a temper of spirit suited 
to God ; the habitual disposition of his soul is opposite and 
averse ; God is one in whom he can take no pleasure ; and then 
you may be sure he will not call upon him always; his religi 
on will have an end, and he will soon grow weary. And how 
absurd a thing is it to make up, and wear a while a disguise, 
and have afterwards a kind of an unhappy necessity come upon 
me to have it made appear, I did but act a part, and no more? 
That is the first thing. But 

2. It is without any valuable design. For what is there 
to be got by it for a man to pretend himself to be a loyal sub 
ject of God's kingdom, who never had his heart changed and 
renewed, and made suitable to the law r s and constitutions of 
it ? Why, certainly nothing worth designing whether you 
consider the matter with reference to God or man. In refe 
rence to man ; him indeed you may deceive ; but that is to no 
purpose. In reference to God, though that were to never so 
great a purpose, yet him you can never deceive. It is true 
you may deceive man ; but what is to be got by it ? What is 
the hope of a hypocrite though he gain, when God takes 
away his soul ? Job 27- 8. Alas ! what a pitiful little will the 
greatest gain dwindle into, when God comes to take away his 
soul ? What is he the better for it then ? 

But as to God what rational design can a man form to him 
self, in reference to him, by pretending to be what in this 
case he is not ? 

(1.) It is plain he can never deceive God by that pretence. 
"Be not deceived, God is not mocked." You do but de 
ceive yourselves, as if he had said, by attempting to deceive 
him. Every man shall reap as he sows ; he who sows to the 
flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption ; he who sows to the 
Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting, Gal. 6. 8. You 
do but deceive yourselves, and not at all impose upon God, if 
being flesh you look for any better issue of things, than what 
is suitable to your state and temper ; and if not being spiri 
tual you have any expectations of that state of blessedness, 
which is only agreeable to such a temper. That puts the mat' 
ter quite out of doubt, you cannot deceive God in the case. 

(2.) You will highly provoke him, even by an attempt of it, 
or admitting an imagination in your own hearts, that you can 
do it. For what higher an affront can we put upon the infinite 
and eternal God than to suppose him like one of the idol gods 
of the nations, who hath eyes to see, and sees not ? Who 
would ever worship him as a deity, whom we think we could 


impose upon by a lie, or a false appearance ? Indeed there 
cannot be a greater absurdity, and no man can act more in 
consistently with himself than at once to profess homage to an 
object ; and think it possible at the same time to impose a cheat 
upon it. It is truly to deface my own act : I give him wor^ 
ship ; that carries the face and appearance of very high 
thoughts which I have of him, and as if I took him for a very 
excellent being but to think to impose upon him by a piece 
of falsehood; that carries the appearance of the meanest and 
most despicable thoughts of him which can be imagined. And 
therefore we find with what severity the holy God speaks, in 
that case of any man, who does but say in his heart ; I shall 
have peace, though he walks after the imaginations of his 
heart : my jealousy shall smoke against that man, Deut. 29. 19. 
20. " What, will he take up such contemptuous thoughts of 
me ? I will make him pay dear for that very thought, and my 
jealousy shall smoke against him." 

(3.) By this attempt to impose upon the blessed God by false 
appearances, we bring in very pregnant convictive testimony 
against our own souls. Hypocrisy always does that. There is 
no man who plays the hypocrite, but that which he counterfeits, 
and whereof he puts on the appearance, he doth thereby pro 
claim it to be good, and valuable ; otherwise why doth he imi 
tate or counterfeit ? People are not went to put on a false ap 
pearances, to make themselves seem worse than they are, but 
to make themselves appear better : and their very practice in 
this thing carries this testimony with it against themselves, 
that they judge that to be better, and yet decline it. They 
judge that to be a good whereof they thought .fit to clothe 
themselves with the shew ; they practically acknowledge it to 
be a good, and thereby give a mighty testimony against them 
selves. Thou thoughtest it a good and desirable thing to be a 
Christian ; otherwise why didst thou seem one ? to be sin 
cere ; otherwise why didst thou pretend to it ? And if thou 
dost think so, why didst thou not aim to be such a one ? Be-> 

(4.) They hereby lose the opportunity which they might 
otherwise have had of becoming what they seemed to be. 
The moralist speaks about the business of wisdom, Mul- 
ti ad sapientiam pervwvissent, nisi se ad sapientiarn per- 
venisse putarant : many had attained to be wise, had 
they not thought themselves to be already so. If they had 
not cozened themselves with the appearance of it, many 
might have come to have been sincere. And it is a miserable 
thing to please one's self with the shadow, all that time 


wherein one should have been getting the substance, till the 
time is expired and gone. 

But here now a question may perhaps arise, by some such 
person or other, who may fear himself not yet to be sincere, 
and may therefore say, " What am I to do in this case ? while 
I think I am not sincere and while perhaps that really is my 
case ? Am 1 to throw away all my profession ? Or am I to 
profess enmity against God ? Being not yet regenerate, and 
therefore not yet a subject, must I therefore profess my 
self a rebel ?" It would be very easy to discover what is 
duty in this case, if we do but consider and fasten upon 
what is only faulty in it. Now wheresoever there is 
hypocrisy there must be some good wanting; and there 
must be the present appearance and semblance of that good 
which is wanting. Thus it is in the present case. This good 
is wanting, a real subjection of heart and spirit to the laws and 
constitutions of God's spiritual kingdom, which is only brought 
about by the new birth. Well, but here is the appearance of 
it too, else there could not be hypocrisy. Now 7 let us consider 
where the fault lies in this case : the fault cannot lie simply 
in the appearance, but only as it is untrue ; for there are true 
appearances, as well as false. The appearance therefore is 
upon no other account faulty, but as it is false ; for if the good 
were there, whereof there is the appearance, the appearance 
would not only be lawful, but a duty. We are to hold forth 
the word of life, by which we have been made to live ; as the 
apostle directs, Phil. 2. 16*. Now therefore inasmuch as the 
fault here is, that while there is such an appearance, that good 
doth not subesse, there is not that good underneath which 
there ought to be ; so the thing now to he done, is not to throw 
away the appearance, but to have the good supplied ; that is 
in this case, to be restlessly intent to obtain that Spirit, and the 
vital influences and operations of it, by which that great trans 
forming work may be done. And how great encouragement is 
there for this at his hand, who hath told us, that if earthly pa 
rents who are evil, will give good gifts to their children ; bread 
rather than a stone; a fish rather than a scorpion; how much ra 
ther will our heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them 
who ask it ? It is not because this Spirit is out of our power, 
and not at our command, that we have not the influences and 
operations of it, according to our need ; but because we ap 
prehend not, and will not admit the serious apprehension, of 
our need. It is a kind of contempt of this blessed Spirit that 
these pleasant vital influences are so little valued by creatures 
lost in darkness and death ; that we rather content ourselves to 
be desolate, and seem careless whether we live or die for the 


present ; or are happy or miserable to all eternity. It is upon 
such accounts as these that the blessed Spirit, though the Au 
thor and Fountain of all love and goodness, and benignity, and 
sweetness, retires : and that resolution seems taken up, " My 
Spirit shall no longer strive." It is no wonder if it do not, when 
there is so little apprehension of our need of him, so little de- 
pendance upon him ; so little craving and seeking and solici 
tude, whether it be an indweller in our souls, or no: as if the 
doctrine of the Holy Ghost were a strange and new thing to 
our ears ; or we had not yet heard whether there was a Holy 
Ghost or no. 



QEVERAL inferences have been recommended to you 
already, and others remain to be added. A fifth infe 
rence, is— that the depravation of man's nature in the state 
of apostacy is total. — 'Being born denotes a total produc 
tion, and the thing produced is only somewhat substituted 
in the room of the nature depraved : and what was corrupted 
and what is substituted instead of it, must necessarily be com 
mensurate and proportionable to one another. If a man should 
have a leg or arm perish 5 he would not say, the production of 
that arm was a being born; for being born, is the production 
of all the parts together, not of this or that single part alone. 
And hence it is that that which is corrupted, and that which is 
anew produced, are in Scripture spoken of under the name of 
a man ; an old man, and a new man. The frame of graces, 
that impress of holiness, wherein the new creature doth con 
sist, must be understood to be a whole entire body of graces ; 
as the sins which meet together originally in the nature of 
man, are called by the name of the body of the sins of the fles>hj 

* Preached February 6th, 1677. at Cordwainer's Hall. 


which is to be destroyed ; and elsewhere, the body of sin. It 
is therefore a forlorn miserable state that men are antecedently 
in, to their being born spirit of spirit. And it is of no small 
consequence, that it be distinctly understood, and sink into 
our hearts, that this depravation is total, and that we need to 
be made new throughout. As we have it in 2 Cor. 5. 17« If 
any man be in Christ he is a new creature ; old things are pas 
sed away, and all things are become new. Where this is not 
understood, it is of most unhappy consequence in these two 
respects — men take not up right thoughts of the distressedness 
of their own case ; and — by consequence they never apply 
themselves to the proper business of the redress of it. 

I. They never take up right thoughts of the wretchedness 
of their own case. They understand neither the extent of it, nor 
wherein it doth especially consist. They understand not how 
extensive it is in a twofold respect, that is, to the subject dis 
affected, and the object whereunto they are disaffected. There 
is a twofold totality to be considered in this matter, both sub 
jective, and objective. The subject is disaffected universally in 
every faculty; the mind, and judgment, and will, and con 
science and affections, and executive powers ; and by a kind 
of participation, the whole outward man. The apostle apply 
ing passages out of the Old Testament, runs over the several 
parts ; Their throat is an open sepulchre, the poison of asps 
is under their' lips, their feet make haste to shed blood, &c. 
Rom. 3. This is little apprehended by them who consider not 
the work to be wrought under the notion of a birth, which 
supposes the antecedent corruption, which always leads the 
way to generation, to have been universal and total. 

And it is as little considered, that this disaffection, as it 
hath spread itself through the whole subject ; so it refers to 
the whole object, which they ought to be" otherwise affected 
to. : that is, the whole law of God, or the entire sum of their 
duty. They make nothing of it, considered as a duty and en 
joined by God, and whereby they pay a respect and homage to 
him ; and indeed every act of duty should be in that regard an 
act of religion ; and that religion is of no value, if this do not 
run through it, and is only the body and carcass of ri, but not 
the soul and spirit. This is not understood, that in reference 
to every part of duty which is enjoined, there is a disaffection 
in the spirits of men, and they are to every good work repro 
bate : that is, they do not know how to make proof of them 
selves, or approve themselves in any work they undertake 
which is truly good ; and cannot accordingly be approved of 
God in what they do or go about. 

But besides that the extent of this wretched case is not un • 

VOL. v. M 


derstood by such as do not consider, that a total depravation is 
now befallen the nature of man ; so that is waved and over 
looked which is the special thing in respect both of the object 
and subject, wherein the misery of their case doth more prin 
cipally lie : that is, in respect of the subject, the principal de 
pravation is in the heart ; in respect of the object, the princi 
pal is towards God himself. True it is indeed that by the 
corruption which hath spread itself through the world, men are 
become hateful to God, and haters of one another ; very ill- 
tempered towards one another; but we may observe that men 
are a great deal more easily brought to civility, than religion ; 
and are with much less ado, whatever their tempers and dispo^ 
sitions are, brought to be kind one to another, than to take up 
loyal and dutiful affections towards God, and deport themselves 
suitably towards him. Nothing is more plain than that this 
depravedness which is in the spirits of men, and which this be 
getting them of the Spirit is to cure, hath for its principal sub 
ject and seat, the heart ; and for the principal object the bles 
sed God. That is, the heart, as that doth contain within the 
compass of it, the judgment, will and affections of the soul ; 
will by no means endure to be exercised about God. Notional 
thoughts men can tell how to employ about him, without any 
great trouble to themselves ; they regret it not ; but deeply to 
consider, and with a design to choose him as their God ; to 
desire after him, to love him, and delight in him, and fear be 
fore him as such, therein the great disaffection of the spirit of 
a man towards God, doth especially discover itself. This 
men will not understand, while they apprehend not that the 
thing to be effected by regeneration, is to make them new at 
the heart; and to renew the heart principally towards God : 
C( Create in me a clean heart, O God ; renew a right spirit with 
in me." When once that work is done, then this becomes the 
sense and posture of the soul ; "As the hart panteth after the 
water brooks, so panteth my squl after thee, O God." A re 
newed soul presently turns itself to God, and hath a biass put 
upon it, which inclines it towards him : "Whom have I in hea 
ven, but thee ? and there is none on earth I desire in compa- 
lison of thee." He is singled out as the one Good, in which the 
soul doth centre and r^st ; " One thing have 1 desired of the 
Lord; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord for ever:" that 
is, dwell in the divine presence, and be always nigh to God. 

But this great disaffection of the heart towards God, is still 
overlooked by the generality of men, as if they did not need 
to be cured in this respect. And herein they are very much 
confirmed, because it is become so customary a thing never to 
such kind of reflections upon themselves which may na- 


turally and probably lead to the discovery of their case, in this 
regard. Men do not compare themselves with the rule, and 
what it requires the dispositions of men's spirits to God, should 
be. It summarily saith, " Love the Lord thy God with all thy 
soul, and all thy strength, and all thy mind." And they do 
not compare themselves with the examples of holy men/ for 
such they cannot but read of, if they consult their Bibles ; and 
such they may possibly sometimes converse with, who can say 
somewhat of the disposition of their spirits towards God; how 
pleasant it is to be conversant with him ; how they can enter 
tain themselves in solitude, arid what a solace it is to a vacant 
and leisure hour, wherein they can be entirely taken up in 
conversing with God. They do not compare themselves with 
the rule, or with other holy men ; but they compare them 
selves, as the apostle speaks, with themselves, (2 Cor. 10. 12.) 
and so they are not wise, or never come to understand them 
selves. They only compare themselves with themselves ; and 
they find they agree with themselves well enough; that is, 
they are such to day, as they were yesterday ; and this week 
as last ; and this year, as the year before, and for many years, 
past. They agree with themselves very well, and so only 
comparing themselves with themselves they never come to un 
derstand the case. And this is very natural for men to do, 
and not to compare themselves with any thing which will be a 
reproof to them, or look ill upon them. And indeed if they 
took measure of their own spirits by the rule or by another 
good and holy man ; they would say, " Things are not so with 
me as they should be, and as with such and such it is." When 
I put myself upon a trial, 1 find I have no disposition of heart 
to love God ; good thoughts of him are not at all delightful to me. 
But when they compare themselves with themselves, they can 
say, " 1 do not vary from myself; just such a temper of spirit as 
I had, I have." And so they think all is well, and never grow 
wise, or come to be instructed concerning the truth of their 
case. But if this great principle of truth could once obtain to 
be fixed in the minds of men, that there hath been a total de 
pravation, and their whole souls are disaffected to the whole of 
their duty ; and especially towards God, and all that duty 
which more immediately terminates on him; they would have 
quite other thoughts concerning the distressedness of their case, 
than is common with them. And it is of ill consequence that 
so plain and great a truth as this is overlooked. 

II. Hence also they apprehend not wherein their redress 
must lie. They are apt either to think that some partial re 
formation is sufficient, and if they are reformed a little in this 
«r that particular thing, then matters will be right and good, 


and will be well with them. If the drunkard take up and 
become sober, he thinks concerning himself, that he is a 
new man. If an unjust person admit a conviction, or it 
may be, is taught a little prudence by observing how much 
any thing of that kind reflects upon his reputation, and 
so he orders his affairs with more exactness, he is ready 
to look upon himself as regenerate. But if it were con 
sidered that there must be a being born, and that I am in a to 
tal corruption ; surely another cure would be thought of than 
that, and it would appear no more proportionable to the case, 
than a man whose body was all over leprous, and full of sores, 
would acquiesce in the cure of a slight scratch in his little fin 

And as they apprehend such a partial reformation sufficient, 
so they apprehend too from hence, that a vital principle is un 
necessary. It is very true indeed, that with only some partial 
maim, a principle of life may consist, but a universal corrup 
tion imports death. If the case were therefore understood aright, 
men would see it necessary in order to their cure, that they 
should be made alive, and a principle of life put into them ; 
which a total depravation speaks to be absent. They would 
never think themselves well till then, and would find that as 
they are alienated from the life of God ; so their business was 
to be made alive to God, and to Jesus Christ, as those who 
have been dead. But again, 

The sixth inference. — Since in order to any one's partaking 
of God's kingdom, he must be born spirit of spirit, we infer fur 
ther, that whosoever becomes truly and sincerely religious, a 
new creature is transmitted and communicated to him. — This 
being not understood, it is all a man's business, to contrive 
and form for himself an artificial religion ; and there are seve 
ral sad consequences ensue thereupon. As 

I. Men attempt to perform what is proper to the divine life, 
without it. The actions of the divine life which are visible to 
men, carry a kind of amiableriess in them, in the common 
consciences of men and they attempt those actions which are 
done from a principle of life, without considering, that to be 
sincerely religious, is to have a new nature. They think to do 
these actions without that life ; just as he who is observed in 
story, to have attempted the setting up of a carcass of one 
newly dead ; he would fain have it stand in the posture of a 
living body, but how to make it stand so he knew not. The 
head falls one way, and the hands another, and the legs trem 
ble under it, at last he cries out, " Deest aliquid intus, there 
wants something within" Just so do men busy themselves 
to make an artificial frame, which is indeed a dead carcass of 


religion ; they cannot tell how to inspirit it, and it will upon 
no terms do, but hang and waver this way, and that, And 
hence therefore, 

II. All the actions of religion become exceedingly grievous 
and irksome, and no pleasure is taken in them. You know it 
is a very easy thing for a man to move to and fro his own liv 
ing body, where he will ; pass into a speedy or slower motion^ 
as he sees cause, without any considerable pain or difficulty ; 
but it would be a very tedious thing to move to and fro a dead 
carcass ; that would put him to greater pain. Here lies the 
difference between these two sorts of men ; a man truly religi 
ous, and who therefore hath a new nature communicated ta 
him, (as there is where any are begotten,) and other men. 
When any do not consider this, their business is to make up 
an external frame of religion, and to act and move and carry it 
to and fro with them ; and that is alike burdensome as for a 
living man to move to arid fro a dead carcass. But to one who 
is truly and spiritually alive, his new nature which is commu 
nicated to him, doth in a natural way, animate the frame of 
religion, in which he is to act; so that the actions of it are 
easy and light, as all the acts of nature are. 

HI. Hence it is, that they are so manifestly defective imitati 
ons of religion. Their attempts and essays to do like religious 
men, have notorious and observable flaws in them, because 
they do not consider, there must be given a new nature, be 
fore I become truly religious. Some think it is only to do as 
men are taught, or only as a piece of art. And when we go 
to imitate only a natural action there will be some very obser 
vable flaw and defect ; some visible disparity in the attempt ; 
as if you should make a puppet act just like a living child, the 
difference would be soon discovered. And hence, 

IV. Religion comes to be given over. Whereas where it ever 
comes to be taken up as an artificial thing, it is taken upon 
design of some present advantage and convenience; therefore 
if the inconveniences which shall come to you thereby be 
greater by continuing it, than laying it aside ; the reason why 
it was taken up being vanished, itself must needs cease. If 
the conveniences are not greater in a course of religion, than 
the inconveniences they sought to avoid, the religion itself 
must needs cease of course ; and so it commonly doth. But 
where religion is in a man as a nature, it cannot do so. I can 
easily lay aside my cloak, but not my flesh which is vitally 
united with me, and is one thing with me, by a principle of 
life which runs through me. It is /therefore of great concern 
ment truly and thoroughly to understand this, that wherever 
any become truly religious, a new nature is communicated.. 

86 THE WORK Of Tflfi HOLY SPIRIT (sER. Vtit. 

Being taught only signifies the acquisitions of art; but being 
born, and principled and constituted of such a complexion ; 
signifies a stayed invariable principle of those actions which 
proceed from it. 

A seventh inference is — That the constitution of God's 
kingdom must needs be spiritual ; for men are born into 
it spirit of spirit, — It hath been a great modern controver 
sy, as well as an ancient one, among philosophers, whe 
ther the constitution of the universe is of primordia, which 
are mechanical, or spermetical and vital. It is a dangerous 
thing when this comes to be a matter of doubt in religion, whe 
ther the constitution of this divine kingdom is mechanical, or 
vital. According as the greater part of men practise, and as 
their habitual temper is, it seems as if it were thought that 
Christianity is nothing else but a piece of mechanism. But cer 
tainly if you are born into this kingdom, as they who come 
truly into it spirit of spirit ; then the constitution of this king 
dom is not mechanical, or an artificial contexture of things ; 
but a frame of things which doth in a spiritually- natural way, 
grow up towards that pitch it is designed to ; and is that spirit 
of life which doth diffuse itself through all the mystical body of 
Christ ; which makes the connection between part and part, 
and keeps the body entire and firm to itself, and makes it a 
consistent and stable thing. And hereupon it must needs be 

I. That whatever there is of disagreement among Christians, 
who are the living members of this kingdom and body ; it 
must needs be unnatural. The reason is, that all who are of 
this kingdom and truly belonging to it ; are born into it, and 
in that birth partake of one and the same nature, by which 
they are connaturalized to one another, and to their common 
Lord and Head : He who sanctifieth, and they who are sanc 
tified, are all of one, (Heb. 2. 11.) or make one entire piece.- 
Wherefore now what there is of disagreement among Christians, 
must needs be preternatural, and beside nature. And hence 
it is consequent, that it must needs proceed from ill designs; 
that is, from the devil and his instruments, who make it their 
business what they can, to act persons diversly ; when if these 
things be left to their natural course, and the new nature in 
men is permitted to act undisturbedly, and according to its ge 
nuine tendency ; it would all run one way. It? is needful to 
be well aware of this, whatever there is of disagreement is ac-^ 
cidental to it, and certainly proceeds from a foreign enemy, and 
somewhat without it, which sets such things on foot, and keeps 
them on foot, with an ill design towards this kingdom. If the 
new nature did run its course, and were not accidentally dis- s 
turbe J, by what is not of the constitution of this kingdom, it 


would certainly run the same way. It is one thing to say what 
is the constitution of the persons ; and another, what is the 
constitution of them as members of this kingdom and born 
into it. The corruption of their own hearts, is extrinsical to 
the constitution of this kingdom ; for it is only so far as they 
are new born that they are members of this kingdom. The 
sphere and verge of this kingdom, doth properly and directly 
take in only the spiritual part. It is a sphere of spirituality ; 
and what there is in it opposite thereunto, is alien to the con 
stitution of it, and doth not belong to it. It is a great thing to 
be well possessed with this apprehension, that the great enemy 
of this kingdom, does certainly foment whatever there is of 
disagreement among them who are born the vital members of 
it; and it must be understood to proceed from an ill design. 

II. It must argue an evil state, and the prevalency of a con 
trary principle. If there be divisions among you, are you not 
carnal ? 1 Cor. 3. 3. They who are of this kingdom are spiri 
tual; they are born into it spirit of spirit ; so they came into 
it. Therefore so far as there is a prevailing disagreement and 
dividedness in the state of things in the church of Christ ; so 
far the persons who are of that state are in a decay, and lapsed 
into carnality, and things grow worse and worse, as the church 
grows more divided. That spiritual principle which agrees 
to every member of this kingdom, as he is born into it, drives 
all to oneness. It proceeds from God, and tends to him ; all 
are children of the same Father, and they are all begotten to 
qne and the same great and lively hope of an eternal and unde- 
filed inheritance. The primordia of the new creature necessa 
rily leads to unity, among all who are of this kingdom. 

III. Where there is any departure from this said oneness, 
there is so much of the decay of the spiritual nature, by the 
communication whereof men are said to be born into this king 
dom. So much disunion as there is, so much carnality ; and 
the church is then in a languishing state spiritually, when it is 
in a divided state. The not considering this is attended with a 
double mischief very obvious; that is, that in different respects, 
the differences and disagreements among Christians, are 
thought greater and less, than indeed they are. They are 
thought greater than they are, because it is not considered how 
the nature which is every where communicated among the true 
members of this kingdom, doth make them substantially one, 
in the great and main and more principal things. There is a 
greater stress put upon the differences of those who are chris- 
tians indeed, than there ought, or can be ; in comparison of 
the small things wherein they differ. And they very much 


mistake who think them to be great ; for they necessarily a- 
gree in one common, new, spiritual, divine nature and principle 
of life : and it is impossible they should disagree in any one 
thing, comparatively to so great a thing as this. Whatsoever 
other differences there are, they are comparatively little, in 
respect of their agreement in this. They cannot differ so but 
they are all one in Christ Jesus ; whoever is in Christ is a 
new creature : they all come in him under one mould and 
stamp by their new creation. 

But then in another respect the difference is thought a great 
deal less than indeed it is among Christians. Consider chris- 
tians who are truly and sincerely such, and so the difference 
cannot be so great as many times it is thought ; but then con 
sider the difference between those who are Christians in truth, 
and those who are only so by profession ; and there the diffe 
rence, for the same reason, must be greater than it is com 
monly thought to be ; for there the difference is between a 
living thing and a dead ; as much as between a piece of nature 
and art ; a man and a statue. So that it is a very vain kind 
of confidence which such pretend to, who because they have 
made a shift to imitate and resemble a Christian, they think 
the case is well with them, when as yet they may as much dif 
fer from them whose case is truly good, as a living man doth 
from a dead carcass. 

The eighth inference is this — That love to God cannot but 
be characteristical to every regenerate person — For every 
such a one is a child of God, and born of him ; and cer 
tainly it ought to be looked upon, as the property of a child, 
to love the Father. If you love him who begat; that is 
supposed and taken for granted, as a thing not to be doubted. 
1 John 5. I. And therefore to have a heart destitute of the 
love of God, and having no love to him, is a most unreasonable 
and unnatural thing ; and a certain argument, that one is not his 
child, and hath not been born spirit of spirit. It is very true 
there may be so great a degeneration in the old decayed nature 
of man ; but in the new nature,there can never be such a de 
generation, as that a person born of God should not love him. 
It would be the greatest inconsistency imaginable ; and there 
fore a certain argument, that such were none of God's chil 
dren. For though it is very true indeed, as it is commonly 
observed, that love doth descend, more than ascend; from 
him who begets, to them who are begotten ; so love in this 
case more especially doth a great deal more descend from God 
to them who are born of him, than ascend from them to him. 
But though it descends a great deal more, yet it doth really and 
truly ascend to him, though not indeed so much. There is 
nothing more connatural to the new creature than the love of 


Godi The very heart and soul of the new creature is love to 
him primarily, and therein lies the end of the new creation, to 
form a person to God. te God is love," and every soul who is 
begotten anew by him, is turned into a like nature, and becomes 
love, as God is love. tc He who dwells in love, dwells in God> 
for God is love." There cannot but be a love-commerce, more 
or less, between God, and every new-born soul. As the true 
mother in that great proof of Solomon's wisdom, was distin 
guished by her love to her child ; so we may proportionally 
say, that a child of God is distinguished by that love which 
works towards God. We find some whom it never toucheth 
to have God dishonoured and disgraced ; but it goes to the 
heart of a true child of God, when his Father is struck at, his 
name reproached and torn, or any thing done against his interest. 
The ninth inference, — How great is the obligation upon. 
all the regenerate to the love of one another. If you love God, 
how can it be but you must have a love for them who love 
God 5 who have all one parent, all partake of one and the 
same nature, all expecting the same inheritance ; who have 
one and the same spirit, the same hope and calling ? Upon 
the consideration of their being new-born, it is evident they 
must have the same Father and inheritance : If children, then 
heirs ; and joint-heirs with one another, as well as, with 
Christ, Horn. 8. 17. And every one who loveth him who be 
gat, loveth him also who is begotten of him. By this we 
know that we love the children of God, &c. 

We further infer, tenthly— That the reason is evident, why the 
proper means of their regeneration, or spiritual birth, are very 
dear to renewed souls. There is a spiritually- natural reason for 
it. There are those in the world, who cannot believe otherwise, 
but it must be folly and fanaticism ; or a mere humour and af 
fectation, that any should discover that love to the word of the 
gospel, or the ministry of the gospel, which they do. But if 
men would consider this, it would give them a natural account 
of this love. For is it not natural to love the means by which 
even my very nature itself hath been communicated to me, 
and by which I am what I am ? The apostle gives us the 
reason why we should love the word ; As new-born babes de 
sire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby, 
(iPet. 2. 2.y that is, as those who by it are new-born. It is a 
violence to the new nature of the children of God, to withhold 
from them the word of the gospel, and the ministry of it which 
hath been instrumental to their new birth ; and cannot but in 
fer pain and anguish, to be abridged and deprived of what was 
so conducive to their spiritual beings. 

The last inference, we collect, — That this same kingdom and 

VOL. y. N 


church of God, which is truly and really so, must needs be 
a growing thing. All who are of it are born into it, and so be 
come as it were naturally subjects ; there is a new nature com 
municated to all who are in it ; and therefore it being made 
up of the spiritual nature and life, will grow, till it comes to its 
maturity. Never fear but it will grow, behold it never so lan 
guishing ; never so assaulted, struck at, and contested against. 
For all who are born into it consist of spirit and life ; and there 
fore it is impossible, but it must become a mature thing, wor 
thy both of the great Author and Founder of it ; and of the 
great design for which he formed it ; namely, that he might 
have a people to be eternally governed by a placid, gentle em 
pire, and a delightful, easy sway ; who should be ruled by a 
beck and a nod ; and to whom every intimation of his will, 
should have the force of a perfect command, without any the 
least regret ; and that all the subjects of this kingdom, should 
partake in the glory of it. And so it will be a living kingdom, 
and will be a growing thing, till it come to that glorious matu 
rity, which will answer both the greatness of the Undertaker, 
and the excel leney of the design, for which this new'natur^ 
and life was given to it. 



Gal. v. 25. 

If we live in the Spirit, let us aho walk in the Spirit* 

JN asserting the office of the Holy Ghost, or that work which 
it hath undertaken, in reference to the spirits of men ; we 
have already spoken of one great act of that office ; that is, the 
regenerating, and begetting anew of souls into God's kingdom ; 
spirit of spirit. We have now two other acts before us in 
these words ; that is, its maintaining the life, and causing all 
the right motion of regenerate souls. The former of these 
are contained in the supposition ; " If we live in the Spirit :" 
the latter is intimated in the inferred precept ; " Let us walk 
in the Spirit." Both are alike imputed to the Spirit of God 
here, and it is represented as the very element of life, and the 
spring of all holy motion to renewed souls ; which fills the 
whole region, as it were, with vitality, in which they con 
verse, and draw their continual breath. The case is in this 
respect, much like in the new creation, as in the old, and in 
the sphere of grace, as in that of nature. It is said concern 
ing the natural world, that it doth, as it were, subsist in God ; 
and it is spoken of the new creation here 5 and both in one 

* Preached February 13th. 1(5/7. at Cordwainer's Hall. 


form of expression : In him we live, and move, and have 
our being, Acts 17. 28, And here we read of living in the 
Spirit ; and walking or moving in the Spirit. There is only 
this difference in the form of expression : that whereas we have 
three distinct phrases used to set forth the dependance of the 
natural creation upon God ; — living and moving and having 
being in him ; — there are only the two former used here in re 
ference to the new creation, living and moving ; living in the 
Spirit, and walking in the Spirit. The reason of the difference 
is obvious, that we have in reference to the former, that super- 
added expression, "and have our being ;" because in this na 
tural, material, sensible world, there are many things which 
dre, that do not live : but with the new creation it is not so ; 
here, to live and to be, are one and the same thing ; and it is 
entirely and wholly a being of life. A collection of ail vital 
principles compose and make it up what it is ; and there is no 
thing in the new creation concerning which it can be said, it 
is, but lives not ; for it is all life throughout. And as philo 
sophy has been wont to teach, even modern philosophy itself, 
that creation and conservation are not diverse acts, but the 
latter only the former continued ; and that God doth by the 
continual communication of the same influence, by which he 
created and made this world, keep it in the state wherein it is, 
that it doth relapse back into its old nothing; that there would 
not need a positive act of God to destroy the world, if he would 
turn all things to nothing again, but only to suspend and with 
hold the influence by which every thing comes to be what it is ; 
so it is in the new creation or in the new creature, too. The 
very suspension of that influence by which it began to be, or 
to live (which is all one) must certainly infer the failure and ex 
tinction of the whole. 

Think therefore what it would be if all vital influence were 
suspended and withheld on a sudden from this material and 
sensible world in which we converse. You might hereupon 
frame the apprehension within yourselves of the face of the 
earth all in a sudden bestrewed with the dead carcasses of men 
and beasts, the beauty and pleasant verdure of it all vanished 
and gone, and nothing left in time but a great clod of dirt ! 
This great temple of the Deity which he inhabits by a vital 
presence, that diffuses life up and down every where, all turn 
ed into a ruinous heap. If I say, there were a suspension of 
vital influence, supposing an influence continued by which 
this material world should still be. Why, so it must be, pro- 
portionably in reference unto the new creature too. There is 
the substratum to be considered, which is a part of the natural 
creation, the soul or the man himself ; but, that vital i 


ence being suspended by wbicb the new creature was made to 
be what it was, there is nothing left but a dead man, a dead 
soul ! The temple of the Holy Ghost (as we must suppose it 
to have been, beautified and adorned with the divine image on 
every side, in every part) laid waste and desolate ! Nothing 
now but darkness and confusion, and misery and death, there 
where God dwelt ! So the case would be, if we could suppose 
such a thing as the suspension of that influence, by which the 
life of the new creature first began to spring up. 

And there is not only a parity in the cases, but in some re-» 
spects, a sameness. For we must know that all divine influ 
ence is in one respect, that is, ex parte principii, one and 
the same, and only differs, or is diversified ex parte termini, 
according as it doth terminate. We cannot conceive the di 
vine influences to be distinguished in their Fountain, that is, 
in the divine Being itself die Almighty Spirit, whence all pro 
ceeds and flows out. That Almighty Spirit, if you consider the 
operations of it, produces divers, but by an influence that is 
radically and in the Fountain one and the same. As in refer 
ence to those diversities of its operations that were performed 
to the church ; as divers as they were, they were all wrought 
by one and the same Spirit. The spirit of prophecy was not 
one spirit, and of healing another, and of tongues another, but 
one and the same Spirit did thus diversify its operations, ac 
cording as the products w 7 ere divers which were caused by it, 
and which it was afterwards to continue in that being which it 
gave. To suppose a difference or diversity of influence in the 
Fountain itself, the divine Being, were to suppose God to dif 
fer from himself, and to put somewhat in God that were not 
God; a thing most repugnant to the simplicity of the divine 
Being. But the divine influences may be diversified termina- 
tively, according to the subjects in which it is received. Na^- 
ture is various in this, and that, and the other creature (speak 
ing of the natura naturata ; as for distinction's sake, it is 
wont to be called) and the influences are diversified according 
to those diverse natures in which they terminate ; and accord 
ing to the different purposes which the exigency of those na^ 
tures doth require should be served and complied with. Am 
so that influence, which originally and in the Fountain is ona 
and the same, according as it goes forth to beget and continue % 
variety of productions of this, or that, or another kind, is an 
influence that gives and that preserves being to things concern^ 
ing which it can only be said, they are ; it is a vital influence 
to things that live ; it is a motive influence to things that move$. 
it is an intellectual influence to things that are capable of un* 
derstanding ; it is a holy influence unto what is holy, to what 


it hath made holy, and is to continue and keep so ; it is light , 
as it terminates in light 5 and love, as it terminates in love ; 
and power, as it terminates in power; and holy gracious ac 
tion as it doth terminate in such actions. 

But it is the principle of such actions, the subordinate prin 
ciple, here signified by the name of life, or included in living-, 
that we are now to speak of ; and we shall speak of the action 
which proceeds from that life, and shew how that hath rise also 
from the Spirit, when we come to the latter part of the text. 
From tbe former part the truth that we have to observe you may 
take thus — The blessed Spirit of God doth continue and main 
tain that life 5 whereof it hath been the Author, in every re 
newed soul. —We shall in speaking to this, — Very briefly open 
the words to you, that we may clear the ground which the 
truth recommended to you hath in tbe text, and — Shall next 
give you some account of the thing which is asserted therein. 

I. As to the former, you must take notice, 

1. That the if in the beginning of tbe text is not an {/"of 
dubitation, but of argumentation — u lf ye live in the Spirit." — 
The apostle does not say so as doubting, nor was his design 
to signify that he had a doubt whether they did so, yea, or no ; 
but supposing or taking that for granted, it is only a form used 
by him (as it is common in arguing hypothetically) thereupon 
to reason with tbem from such a supposed principle. The if 
therefore signifies as much as \vhereas, or since : since or in 
asmuch as ye live in tbe Spirit, therefore walk in the Spirit. 
As in Col. 3. 1. If ye tben be risen with Christ, seek tbose 
things which are above : If ye be, that is, "Since ye are; 
it is the appearance which as professing Christians ye make, 
the aspect which ye visibly hold forth to men, namely, that of 
persons united with Christ, and made alive by him ;" since ye 
are risen with Christ, therefore set your affections on things 
above ; act and do accordingly." So we are to take it here, 
and it affords us a clear ground for a positive assertion, those 
who are Christians indeed do live in the Spirit. 

2. We must note, that to live cannot reasonably be under 
stood as intending the first reception of the principle of life, 
but the continuation of that principle. This form of expression, 
namely, by the present tense, is commonly used to hold 
forth to us th« continuedness of any thing ; when we do not 
say such a thing was, or such a thing will be ; but such a thing 
is, it notes, I say, the continuedness of the thing spoken of ; 
inasmuch as the present time is that which doth connect and 
continue the two parts of time, namely, the past and the fu 
ture. And the continued state of this life is after the same 
manner expressed by the apostle in the — chapter of this epistle • 


to the Galatians verse 20. The life which I live in the flesh is 
by the faith of the Son of God, he means not, that he only 
first began to live that life by an influence received from the 
Son of God, but that he lived from day to day that life which 
he did live, that spiritual, divine life, by faith in the Son of 
God, who had loved him and given himself for him. 

Nor again must we understand this living to signify the se* 
ries of actions only proper to that life : for they are after 
wards signified by the name of walking in the other part of the 
text. It is true indeed, that living in a very common notion 
of it, does denote the continued series of the actions of one's 
life, whether good, or bad, both in Scripture and in ordinary 
language : If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die, (Rom. 8, 13.) 
that is, if ye continue to act, or walk, or converse after the 
flesh, according as that corrupt principle doth incline and dic 
tate, ye shall die. The grace of God that bringeth salvation 
hath appeared to all men, teaching us that — we should live so 
berly, righteously and godly in this present world ; that is, 
act and walk and converse so. Titus 2. 11, 12. And in com-* 
mon speech we use to say such a man lives a good or a bad life, 
intending by living, the course of his actions whether good or 
bad. But this cannot be the meaning of living here for the 
reason before mentioned; and should we so understand it, 
there would neither be argument, nor indeed congruity in the 
apostle's way of expressing himself; for it would amount to no 
more than this : If ye continue to live in the Spirit, continue 
to live in the Spirit ; or if ye continue to walk in the Spirit, 
continue to walk in the Spirit. Wherefore it is necessary that 
\ve conceive a middle sense between these two, namely, the 
first reception of the principle of life, and the continued series 
of the actions of that life ; and that middle sense is, (as hath 
been already intimated) the continuation of the vital principle 
itself. If ye live, that is, if ye have the principle of a new 
and divine life continued and maintained in you, walk in the 
Spirit as those principles would direct and guide you to do. 

3. We must note that by Spirit, or the Spirit, is manifestly 
meant the blessed eternal Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost. It 
cannot be meant of our natural spirit as is most evident : nor 
can it be meant of the new creature itself, which is in the Scrip 
ture called spirits ; (as we have had occasion lately to take 
notice again and again) for of the same Spirit which is here 
spoken of you have an enumeration of the fruits in the verses 
immediately foregoing : The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, 
meekness, temperance, &c. These we are sure, are not the 
fruits of our own natural spirit ; neither can they be said to ber 

Q$ ftfEWORfcOfrTHE HOLYSPfRlT (sER. I** 

the fruits of the new creature, for they are the new creature 
itself, those very principles whereof the new creature is com-* 
posed and doth consist. Tt is therefore manifest that by the 
Spirit we must understand the divine eternal Spirit, the bles* 
sed Spirit of God itself. 

And for that form of expression "in the Spirit, that particle* 
commonly denotes a causative influence, and signifies as much 
as by ; as though he had said, If ye live by the Spirit. Many 
instances might be given, and have upon some other occasion 
been given, to shew that the particle in t doth sometimes signify 
by, and denotes the influence of an efficient cause. But then 
it must be noted too, that it denotes the part of an efficient 
cause, or, a causal influence with a great deal more emphasis 
than if another form of expression had been used. " If ye live 
in the Spirit •/' Why it imports the continual vital immediate 
presence of the Spirit for this purpose, to maintain this life. "If 
ye live in the Spirit :" as if the soul had its very situs, its si 
tuation in a region of life which the Spirit did create and make 
unto it. As sometimes the continual present power, and do 
minion and influence of wickedness, or some wicked principle, 
is expressed the same way, by being in the flesh. When we 
were in the flesh, under the power and regnancy of any cor 
rupt, fleshly principle, the motions of sin which were by the 
law difl work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 
Rom. 7- 5. And, Thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in 
the bond of iniquity, as it is said to Simon Magus. Acts 8. 23. 
And, The world lies in wickedness : so as to be continually 
receiving in and imbibing wickedness, as it were on every 
hand. 1 John 5. 19. In like manner the soul is represented 
as imbibing life and vital influence on every part; agreeably unto 
which notion, some (and those I may reckon the best of) philo 
sophers have been wont to say, that it is a great deal more pro 
per to speak of the body of a man as being in his soul, than of 
the soul, as in the body ; that the body is in the soul, as be 
ing continually clothed with vital influence on every part, 
and which it diffuses throughout, the soul being as an element 
of life unto the body all the while they do converse, life ex 
tending even unto all the extremities, unto the most extreme 
part of the body that you can suppose. So is the soul spoken 
of here in reference to the Spirit of God; though that very in 
timate union is frequently held forth to us in Scripture by a 
kind of reciprocal and mutual in-being of one in the other, and 
the other in that. " He that dwells in love, dwells in God, and 
God in him;" they do, as it were, inhabit one another. So 
it is with the Spirit of God and the soul that spiritually lives by 
it ; it is in the Spirit, and the Spirit is in it. It is not so in 


the Spirit, as if there were any thing of itself, more intimate 
to it than the Spirit is ; but the Spirit doth as it were clothe it 
with life, fill it with life, and is all in all of life to it. 

So much therefore is now clear to you, that the truth which 
we have observed hath a very adequate ground in the text. " If 
ye live in the Spirit," since ye do so. It is a thing to be con 
cluded, that the life of those who are Christians indeed, who 
have ever come to be spiritually alive, is to be maintained and 
continued by a constant influence of the blessed Spirit. 

II. Now that we may open the truth of the thing that is as 
serted and contained in these words, it will be requisite to 
speak distinctly, — concerning the life that is to be maintained, 
and — concerning the influence that maintains it. 

1. Concerning the life to be maintained. Of that I have 
need to say the less because we have had occasion to speak 
largely of it heretofore. What it will be needful to say, you 
may take in these few propositions. 

(1 .) We are not to understand it of natural life, no, not even 
of the soul itself; but we are to understand it of life in a moral 
sense, or if you will in a spiritual and divine ; I intend one 
thing by the expressions. It is called indeed the divine life, 
or the life of God in plain terms, Eph. 4. 1 8. Being alienated 
from the life of God, having no share, no participation in the 
divine life, in God's life. 

(2.) As life in the natural sense is a principle of action ; so 
life in the moral sense is a principle of right action, or by 
which one is enabled to act aright. The soul of a man is na 
turally a living, vital, active being, it is naturally so, that is, 
it belongs to its very essence to be capable of acting. But to 
be disposed to act aright, though that was in some respect na 
tural to it too, yet it was not inseparable, as sad experience 
has taught us all. Though the spirit of a man be a living, and 
consequently an active being, made such by God in the first 
constitution of it, it is not to be supposed that he turned such 
a being as this loose into the world, when he made it, to act at 
random and according as any natural inclination might carry 
it, or external objects move it, this way or that ; but it being 
cot only a living, an active substance, but intellectual also, 
and thereby capable of government by a law, that is, of un 
derstanding its Maker's will and pleasure, and directing the 
course of its actions agreeably thereto, God hath thereupon 
thought fit to prescribe it a law, or set it rules to act and walk 
by. Now the mere power to act is life natural, but the dis 
position or ability to act aright is a supervening life, by which 
the soul is as it were conteropered and framed agreeably to the 

VOL. V. <K 


law by which it is to act, or the divine government under 
which it is placed. 

(3.) The prime and fundamental law which enters the con 
stitution of the divine government over reasonable creatures is, 
that they love the Author of their beings, his own blessed self, 
above all things ; and consequently as that love doth dictate 
most directly, that they be devoted and subject unto him as the 
supreme authority, and that they delight and take complacen 
cy, and seek rest and blessedness in him as the supreme 
good -, both which are included in that one root or principle of 
love. I am to love him, and love him above all, and then I 
do of course willingly and with cheerfulness devote myself to 
him, being acted by the power of that love so to do, and seek 
blessedness in him as the most suitable, the most agreeable 
good to my soul. 

This is but the very sum and substance of the first com 
mandment, which we are to look upon as fundamental to all 
the rest : for it were a vain thing to prescribe any farther laws 
as a God to those who will not take him for a God to them. 

This was therefore the natural method to begin the law, the 
frame of laws and constitution of government, over reasonable 
creatures with this grand precept, "Thou shalt have no other 
God but me." That is, " I will be to thee the prime object 
«f thy love, which love shall make thee devote thyself to me, 
and then make thee delight and take complacency in me as the 
supreme, both authority and goodness." Wherefore, 

(4.) This life which we are now to consider as to be maintain 
ed, must principally and chiefly consist in the love of God ; 
that is, a propension of soul towards him above and beyond all 
things else. It is a conformity unto that grand precept, " Thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all 
thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength ;" a 
direction or bent of spirit towards God. So long, or so far a 
person is said to live spiritually, as the main bent of his heart 
is toward God. If he fall from God, or in what degree soever 
he doth so fall, so far he dies ; there is a gradual death accord 
ing to all the gradual declensions of the heart from God. God 
is the great term of this life, as we have had occasion to incul 
cate formerly. When it is intended to be spoken of, it is not 
spoken of as an absolute thing, but is distinctly spoken of as a 
life that relates and refers to God. Alive to God, (Rom. vi. 11.) 
and it follows, ver. IS, Yield yourselves unto God as those that 
are alive from the dead, yield yourselves living souls unto God. 
And the apostle speaking of that life, which he says he did live 
by faith in the Son of God; (Gal. ii.) speaks of it as a life termi 
nating upon God, " 1 through the law am dead unto the law 


that I might live unto God; ver. 1 9,' in the next verse to which 
you read, " The life which I now live in the flesh, I live hy ihe 
faith of the Son of God/' it is a life that comes to me from 
and through Christ, and points my soul directly upon God, so 
as that I live to him. 

(5.) This life doth also comprehend all other gracious prin 
ciples beside that great radical one of love to God, which suit 
the spirit of a man to all the other parts of the divine law, or 
all the other laws besides. Whatsoever gracious habit or dis 
position doth attemper and reconcile my spirit to this or that 
part of the divine will revealed in his law, that I must under 
stand to be a principle included within the compass of this life 
to be maintained. For we find the expression used to signify 
the impress of the whole frame of holiness upon the soul ; it is 
but a diverse expression of the work of the new creature, which 
we find expressed again and again in Scripture by putting the' 
law in men's hearts. To put the law into the heart, why, that 
is to form the new creature there, and so continue that im 
pression upon the heart and maintain it there^ or to continue 
the life of the new creature in the soul. Whence therefore 
that law so impressed and made habitual in the spirit of a mart 
is called the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, Rom. 8, 
2. And hence also those fruits of the Spirit which we find 
mentioned in this chapter and immediately before the text, are 
to be conceived as so many vital principles all belonging to the 
constitution of the new creature, and all of them serving to 
conform the spirit of a man unto the divine law. After the 
mention of all those several principles which are called the 
fruits of the Spirit, it is said, " If we live in the Spirit, let us 
also walk in the Spirit," that is, if we have all these fruits 
\vhich are so many living principles put by the Spirit of God 
into us, if we have them, and they are continued and kept 
alive in us ; then let us walk in the Spirit ; act and do accord 
ing to these principles. 

(6.) We must farther note, that not only the continued be 
ing of all those vital principles which are called the fruits of the 
Spirit, but also the gradual improvements of their life, vigour, 
liveliness do all belong unto this life considered according to 
the more perfect state of it. For there is no degree of this or 
that thing, but hath the nature of the thing in it, and doth be 
long to the nature of the thing. And therefore I say, that by 
life here we must understand not barely the being of these 
principles continued in the soul, but supposing that the soul 
hath been improved and grown unto some strength and vigour, 
whatsoever maintenance it is to expect of that good state unto 
which it is arrived, that is under the name of life, here attri- 


buted to the Spirit, as it is its proper work to hold the soul in 
life ; according as we use to say, speaking concerning the na 
tural life, non vivere, sed valere vita est, merely not to be 
dead, is hardly worth the name of living ; but to be in health, 
to be strong, and lively and vigorous. We must conceive it 
to be within the compass of the Spirit's work, and therefore 
we put it within the compass of the object to keep up souls in 
a lively and vigorous state, and not only having put vital in 
fluences into them, merely to preserve them from being extinct. 
When we find that severe animadversion, Rev. 3. I. Thou 
hast a name that thou livest, and art dead, it appears by what 
follows that he dotii not mean by death there, simple death, 
as if there was nothing of life left, but a gradual deadness, a 
very languishing state ; for it follows, " Strengthen the things 
which remain, that are ready to die," (ver. 2.) implying that 
to live so languid a life was hardly worth the name of living • 
they were rather to be called dead, than living, while the case 
was only so with them. Therefore though it be true, that such 
a languishing is that which doth befall many a Christian who 
hath the root of life in him, yet if it be better with any, and 
if they be continued in a better state, it is to be attributed to 
the Spirit of God ; they " live in the Spirit/' If they live 
more prosperously, if their souls flourish, and are in a good 
condition, and are kept on therein, it is all owing to this Spi 
rit ; but it is owing to men's ownselves if they be in languish- 
ings and decays, that they conform not themselves to the rules 
and methods of the Holy Ghost in which they are to expect, 
and according to which they may look for its supplies, w r hereof 
we shall have occasion hereafter to speak. 

(7.) This life must be understood to include too, not only 
the principles of grace, and the vigour and liveliness of those 
principles; but also the consolations, the pleasures, the grate 
ful relishes of divine and spiritual things which are proper to 
the new creature also. For it is usual to distinguish both of 
the life of grace, and the life of comfort, as comprehended 
under the same name of life in the general. We many time$ 
find the expression used to hold forth to us any consolation 
that a good soul hath given into it upon whatsoever spiritual 
account. We live, says the apostle, if ye stand fast in the 
Lord, 1 Thes. 3. S. It is as a new life to us, a revival upon 
a distinct and superadded account, unto whatsoever doth more 
naturally and necessarily concern the very being of our life. 
And therefore according to what measures and degrees such 
pleasures, and consolations, and joys are afforded 'unto good 
souls ; we must understand them all attributed unto the Spirit 


of God, under the expression of our living in the Spirit, or 
living by it. 

(8.) As the tendency of this life is towards God as the terrrt 
of it, so the root of it is from God, as the great Author and 
Fountain of it. It must he understood to be the life of God, 
or the divine life, upon both these accounts, not only as it is 
a life that terminates upon him, but as it is a life that rises 
and springs from him, even in the very first rise of it : fof 
none can tend towards God but by him, by a power and in 
clination that is received from him, by which he draws and act* 
the soul towards himself. As was noted before, that very life 
by which the apostle says he did live to God, he says he re 
ceived it by faith from the £on of God, who had loved him # 
and given himself for him. And therefore, 

(9.) This life doth necessarily suppose union with God, with 
Christ and with the Spirit of God. He that is joined to thef 
Lord is one spirit, 1 Cor, 6. 17- Whosoever it is that is join 
ed to the Lord, is caught into a union of spirit with him, and! 
that Spirit is the continual source of life to him. It is not 
only vain and unintelligible, but most monstrously blasphe 
mous to imagine such a thing concerning this union as if it 
were an essential union with God, or a personal union witht 
any of the persons in the Godhead : the former would make 
any one God ; the latter would make us more one with that 
person, than the persons are with one another ; for we cannot 
say that the person of the Father is the person of the Son, or 
that the person of the Son is the person of the Holy Ghost,, 
the union is in essence, not in person. And therefore to talk 
as some have done of being personally united to Christ, Or witl* 
the Spirit of Christ, imports as if they were more one with 
Christ, than Christ is one with the Father, or than the Father 
is one with the Spirit ; for personal union is that, the result 
whereof is one person ; and so the two natures of Christ are' 
united. But a real union there is of those, who live this di 
vine life, with him who is the great origin and principal of it ;. 
for it were a most unreasonable and unintelligible thing, that 
a man should live by a principle of life that is disunited 
from him. There must always be a union between the thing 
which lives, and that which it lives by. I cannot live by a 
vital principle that is remote from me, or wherewith I am not, 
in one sense or another, united. And it were very absurd to 
think that such words should be put into the Bible to signify 
nothing, or carry no sense with them, "He that is joined to 
the Lord, is one Spirit." Nor can that union, though it doth 
not signify so much as an essential, or a personal union (both 
which as 1 have said to you, are absurd and blasphemous) carry 


go little as a mere presence of God, for he is equally present to 
all, more intimate to every creature than it is to itself; but it 
doth over and beside carry this, that there is a divine presence 
specified by such ends, for which it is vouchsafed upon such 
peculiar terms, upon which such a presence is not vouchsafed 
to others ; that is, he is present to them with whom he is thus 
united, as a spring and principle of life to them ; he is present 
for this very purpose, to form them for himself, to incline, 
and to continue their souls inclined towards himself, and so 
more and more gradually, to dispose and fit them to glorify 
him, to be the instruments of his glory and to be glorified with 
him, or to be the subjects of his glory ; this is the special end 
for which he is present, and which doth distinguish his pre 
sence. For we cannot (as was said before) suppose that ex 
parte Dei, on God's part, one part of himself can be more 
present thaii another, for that were to make God to differ from 
himself; butj with reference to the effects and ends, which 
such an influential presence doth work, there is a difference ; 
he is present so, as to do such a work in those, to whom he is 
thus present, as he will not, as he doth not do in others ; so 
as to be the continual spring of such motions, and, such work* 
ings and tendencies, as others, where he will not so exert his 
influence, are strangers to. And then he is present with them 
too upon terms suitable to those ends ; that is, as having 
bound himself to them to be their God, and so to be all that 
to them which it belongs to him to be, as he undertakes to be 
the God of any. He is their God, engaged to be with them by 
his continual vital presence through time, and in all eternity. 
Such a union, that is, an intimate presence for such purpo 
ses, and upon such terms, is supposed in this life, and there 
fore must be supposed to be maintained and continued all the 
while this life is continued ; that is, the soul is held with God 
and kept close to him by bonds of union, kept firm and tight 
between him and them. 

Thus you have some account of the first of these heads which 
we proposed to open to you, namely, the life to be maintain 
ed. It would become us to make some present reflection upon 
what hath been said at this time ; and that is, since we have 
heard so much said concerning such a life as this, (and more 
heretofore) "certainly there is such a life." The thought 
offers itself, that such a life is not merely talked on, or is not 
a mere empty notion, but there must certainly be such a real 
thing. This distinct sort of life, though besides what other 
kinds of life are more obvious to the common notice of the 
world, is indeed a hidden life, a secret life, your life is hid 
with Christ in Qod, Col. 3. 3. But the hiddermess of the 


thing doth suppose it to be, for that which is not, cannot be 
hid; so far is it from carrying a supposition or an inference 
that it is not. We ought therefore to possess our souls of this 
apprehension (think men of this matter what they will) there 
is really a certain sort of life which doth distinguish a holy man 
from a mere man, as truly, as there is a natural life which doth 
distinguish a mere man from a carcass, from the deserted trunk 
and body of a man. And when we consider so, how can we 
forbear to lay our hands upon our hearts, and ask ourselves the 
question ; (f Do I live this life, yea, or no ? Do I feel my 
self to live ? Do I feel an inclination and bent of heart 
towards God : some principles of life, springing up from that 
divine root, which carries my soul towards that blessed object : 
that I am acted from God to God in my ordinary course ?" We 
cannot have a greater question or of more concernment in all 
this world, to deal with our souls about, and therefore let it b$ 
seriously thought oft 




are upon the first act of the Holy Spirit in reference to 
souls born of it, held forth to us in this scripture, namely, 
in the supposition, from whence we have observed — That the 
blessed Spirit of God doth by its own influence maintain the 
life, whereof it hath been the Author unto regenerate souls. 

And here we propounded to speak, — of the life to be 
maintained, and — of the influence which maintains it. Of 
the former we have spoken already and are now to go on 

2. To the latter. Concerning which we shall — shew what kind 
of influence it is ; and — how it is ascertained unto regenerate 
souls. Or, give you some account of the nature and of the 
certainty of it. 

(1) Of the former you may have some account by consider 
ing such properties of it as those that follow, namely, 

[1.] It is a most free and arbitrary influence. It is a most 
gracious influence you know, in the very notion whereof th« 
purest liberty is implied, wherein it has first to do with souls, 
as is subjoined to the Scripture before discoursed of in John 3 
S. It is represented as " the wind that bloweth were it listeth." 
In operations of this kind the Spirit delights to discover and 
magnify a kind of sovereignty and royalty. It is a very awful 
word which hath reference, as we find, unto that consideration, 
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, in Phil- 
Preached February 26th. 16/7. at Cordwainer's Hall*. 


2. 12. The consideration is immediately added, that Cfc God 
worketh in us to will and to do of his own good pleasure." And 
I conceive there are two things hinted to us in that expression, 
namely, that whatsoever he doth of this kind, he doth with 
delight, taking a complacency in it, and enjoying, as it were, 
his own act; "he exercises loving-kindness in the earth," and in 
no kind or manner of operation so as in this, because herein lie 
doth delight. And it also intimates, that what he doth herein, 
he doth upon no obligation ; he doth at the rate of most abso 
lute liberty, so as that he might do, or might not do. Libe- 
rum est quodpotuit nonfmsse, that is free which might not 
have been. "He works of good pleasure," having no other tie 
upon him than what he takes on and lays upon himself; and 
therefore "work out your salvation," saith the apostle, "with 
fear and trembling." He works now, you do not know whe 
ther he will by and by, if you neglect him now. Therefore is 
the bles?ed Spirit mentioned with that distinguishing title of 
the free Spirit, Uphold me with thy free Spirit, Psal. 51. 12. 
It is not only efficiently so, as the great Author of liberty unto 
those souls upon whom it works effectually, and with saving 
operations, as is the sense of what we rind said in 2 Cor. 3. 17. 
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, liberty com 
municated by it unto those, who by the Spirit of the Lord, as 
it after follows, beholding as in a glass his glory, are changed 
into the same image, from glory to glory. Whilst it refines 
them, it enlarges them, defecates them, makes them capable 
of ascending, and renders them some way adequate to a large, 
universal, all comprehensive good ; it is not, I say, only so a 
free Spirit, but it is in itself free, a Spirit that so works as was 
not to be expected, and that cannot be prescribed unto. Who 
hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or, being his counsellor, 
hath taught him ? Isa. 40. 13. 

[2.] It is a very various influence, in the degrees of its com 
munication and operation. It may well be so, as being most 
free. It is not communicated alike unto all who have been 
born of this Spirit, nor to all those, nor to any of them, alike 
at all times. Some have more .light and joy, more strength 
and vigour than others have ; and the same persons have them 
selves their more lucid and turbid intervals, and in their time 
there is often a very quick succession of night and day ; there 
is sorrow in the night, and a calm in the morning, and quick in 
terchanges of such darkness and light, as in 30. Psalm. 5. 
Which variations do proceed partly, from sovereignty, as hath 
been said ; but partly also from paternal justice. From sove 
reignty we may suppose, in great part, this Spirit comes and 
goes, even as it will, as to its more observable communications. 

VOL, v. 


io discover its liberty : but oftentimes it varies the course of 
its dispensation, and the state of the soul with whom it hath to 
do, in a way of paternal justice. For as we know that there is 
such a thing as economical justice as well as political, among 
us, so there is a justice too which the holy God doth exercise 
in his own family, and among the children which have been 
begotten and born of him, as well as towards those who are 
under his government upon a more common account : and 
it is very meet and reasonable it should be so. It were a most 
incongruous thing, if he should be equally indulgent unto the 
careless and vain, and wanton, and extravagant, arid the neg 
ligent of him and their own duty; as to the serious, and 
watchful, and diligent, and those who are most studious to 
please him, and most in love with his presence. He doth in 
his displeasure many times withdraw and hide himself, for the 
rebuke of negligences and undutiful deportments towards him; 
and he doth upon the account of the same justice shew, or 
manifest himself (as our Saviour's expression is in John 14. 
21.) for the encouragement and reward of those that do more 
closely and faithfully adhere to him, and make it mote their 
business and study to please and imitate him. The Spirit is 
often grieved, and in a degree quenched by the carelessness, 
and neglects and resistances even of its own offspring, or of 
those who have been born of it ; and then the discipline of the 
family doth require that they should be put to rebuke ; and so 
its influence comes to be an often varying thing. 

[X] Yet it is so far a continual influence as is necessary for the 
maintaining of the root of this life, that that may not totally 
wither ; and therefore at the lowest ebb of those who are the 
offspring of this Spirit, there is still a sustaining influence upon 
them. As it was very low with the psalmist in the 73. psalm, 
when he was just ready to throw up all : Verily I have clean 
sed my heart in vain, verse 13. He thought it was to no 
purpose to be any longer religious ; he was become in the 
temper of his spirit so unlike a saint, that he judged himself, 
upon reflection, to be a great deal more like a beast. And yet 
he says in the :>3rd. verse, that he had been ever with God, 
"Nevertheless I am continually with ihee." Even allthat while 
there was a presence of God continued, and he was even then 
held by his right hand. So are the souls of his held in life, 
which holdeth our soul in life, Psalm 66. 9. Though that 
might have another, yet it is probable enough to have a spi 
ritual meaning, and there are passages in the context that may 
incline us to apprehend so. 

[4.] It is a still, silent, a secret, and often an unobserved in 
fluence ; such as by which no great noise is made, and many 


times doth escape the notice of them who are the suhjects of 
it. Their life is a secret kind of life, "hid with Christ in God/' 
and by such a kind of influence it is maintained. God is near 
many times, when it is not known. He was in the very place 
(and we cannot think that Jacob meant it, by his essential 
presence, for that he very well knew, but by his gracious pre 
sence) and he says that he knew it not. As though he had 
said, "I little thought of God's being so nigh." Gen. 28. 16". 
And we may at least, allude to those words, in Hos. 11.3. I 
taught Ephraim to go, taking them by their arms ; but they 
knew not that I healed them. He deals so with those who 
are born of him, as even to teach them to go, and they know 
not that it is he that carries them all along. The operation of 
the Spirit doth very much imitate that of nature, it is in a 
very still and silent way that the sap is drained in by the root, 
and ascends up the trunk of the tree, and diffuses itself to 
every branch, so that we may see that it lives, but we do not 
see how. The case is with souls that are brought to live in 
the Spirit, as with very infirm and languishing persons, who 
have been consumed, and even next to death in a putrid and 
corrupt air ; being removed into such as is pure and wholesome 
they revive, but in a very insensible way : so is this life pre 
served by a vital, spiritual influence, which is as pure air to 
them, a gentle, indulgent, benign and cherishing air ; they 
live by it, and never a whit the worse, because it is not so 
turbulent as to make a noise. 

[5.] As still and silent as it is, it is yet a very powerful and 
efficacious influence. The case requires that it should be so ; 
for it is a great thing to maintain sucli a life upon such terms. 
A thing that is so purely divine, if it. were not maintained by a 
strong hand, it were hardly to be thought how it should subsist 
in such a region as this, so every way unsuitable to it ; it is a 
life continually assaulted, often struck at ; a life employed in 
continual conflicts and crowned with many a glorious victory, 
and that implies a mighty power to be employed to preserve 
life and maintain it. When I am weak, then am I strong. 2. 
Cor. 12. 10. Sure he must be weak in one respect, and 
strong in another : weak, he must mean spiritually too : weak, 
if you consider the principle in itself, absolutely ; strong, if 
you consider it in reference to the continual aids and supplies 
that are given in. And it is plain that the exercises of this life 
require, that strength and might should be employed to main 
tain it through them. Very difficult and hard things they are, 
which those who live this life are exposed to tbe suffering of, 
and merely because they live this life, and hold it forth that 
they are, in this sense alive : as no body goes about to wound 


a dead man, there is no need of that. Therefore is that rap 
turous prayer of the apostle in Col. 1. 11, 12. that they 
might be strengthened with all might, according to his glorious 
power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness ; 
giving thanks to the Father, who had made them meet to he 
partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. Made them 
meet, by making them sons, and to inherit as sons, or to. receive 
the inheritance of the saints in light. They were born light, 
and of light, Ye were darkness, but now are ye light in the 
Lord, Ephes. 5. 8. Why, that being supposed, it required, 
as the apostle's prayer implies, an exertion of mighty, glori 
ous power, to maintain this life unto that pitch and degree, 
that they might have a greater disposition to give thanks for 
•what God had done upon them, to make them meet and capa 
ble subjects of such an inheritance, than to complain of a lit 
tle suffering. "Strengthened with all might, according to his 
glorious power," with such a kind of might as bears the very 
impress and image upon it of God's own glorious power itself; 
a might that has a glory upon it, and accords to its original : 
as you may suppose the effect, in such causations as this, to 
be very like to the cause, and to the productive influence. 
The new creature, as soon as it is born, is born to conflict, 
toil arid travel ; born for fight, and bora for victory. Such 
were the heroes, the sons of God. One so highly born, we 
must suppose born for great things ; not only to enjoy, but to 
perform; and there must be a power proportionable hereunto 
to go with this heaven-born creature. 1 have written unto 
you, young men, says the apostle, because ye are strong, and 
have overcome the wicked one, 1 John 2. 14. Whilst they 
were yet but young, they had so great a conquest to glory in. 
" Ye have overcome the wicked one," ye, calling them by the 
name of little ones, a lower rank being designed by that ex 
pression : he yet tells them, that they had overcome, her 
cause greater was he that was in them, than he that was in the 
world, chap. 4. 4. And in chap. 5. 4. he says, that what 
soever is born of God overcometh the world. The predication 
is so universal, that we can conceive no state of a person born 
of God, be he never so newly born, but he is, even in that in 
stant, made superior over this world, hath got the better of it, 
made his escape from the corruptions of it, which would hin 
der him through lust, and hath it in a degree under his feet : 
and therefore it must be a powerful influence, by which his 
life is maintained. Who are kept by the mighty power of God 
through faith unto salvation. 1 Pet. 1. 5. 

[6.J It is a connatural influence, or suitable to the nature of 
man both as reasonable and renewed. As reasonable, it dotk 


it no violence, I drew them with the cords of a man, and with 
the bands of love. Hos. 11.4. And it is accommodated unto 
all the principles of the new nature. It is an influence of faith 
to faith, of love to love, of meekness to meekness, and of hu-» 
xnility to humility, as was intimated formerly. 

[7»] It is a co-operative, or assisting influence. Such as doth 
engage us in the endeavour of preserving our own life, and 
then assists or co-operates with us therein. As the matter is in 
reference to the reflex acting of the soul, so it is, in proportion, 
in reference unto the direct. As when he would know what is 
wrought and done, or what impressions are made within, the 
Spirit beareth witness with our spirit, in that reflex way of opera 
tion. Rom. 8. 16. So it, proportionably, doth in the direct way 
of operation to, it works with our spirits, and makes use of their 
own agency, in order to the maintaining of their own life. 
And therefore as you have heard in that now-mentioned scrip 
ture, that we are kept by the mighty power of God through 
faith unto salvation, so we are told too in 1 John 5. 18. that he 
that is begotten of God, keepeth himself, and that wicked one 
toucheth him not ; he keeps himself from those deadly, mortal 
touches which would endanger his precious life ; that is, he is 
his own underkeeper. We are every one to be a brother's 
keeper, much more to ourselves ; but still in a subordinate 
sense, subservient to, and dependent upon that supreme one. 
Indeed it were a kind of a monstrous thing in the creation, that 
there should be so noble a life planted there, but destitute of 
the self-preserving faculty or disposition ; whereas every life, 
how mean soever, even that of a worm, a gnat or a fly, hath 
an aptitude in it, or a disposition accompanying it, to preserve 

[8.] It is a regular and an ordinate influence. I put these to 
gether, because they have an affinity, though they may import 
somewhat diverse notions. The Spirit works according to rule, 
or agreeably unto the word, in what it does for the maintain^ 
ing of this life. My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words 
which I have put in thy mouth shall not depart, Isa. 59. 21. 
The word and the Spirit go together among all this race. The 
Spirit breathes in the word for the maintaining of this life. 
And so it is the influence of ordinate, not of absolute power, 
which works so as that there is no proportion between what \\ 
works, and what it works by ; it works by apt and suitable 
means, and applies and directs our spirits unto such objects as 
are apt to be nutritive, or carry in them a suitable aliment for 
the maintenance of this life. Why, our natural life is main* 
tained by a divine influence too 5 we could not otherwise dra\v 
breath, or subsist a moment* But how is it maintained ? 


Not by miracle. Not in such a way as doth supersede all use-> 
ful means for that purpose : but it is maintained by God's 
preserving and directing the natural faculties that belong to us, 
unto such objects as are suitable for the maintaining of natural 
life, and may be aptly nutritive thereof. He doth not main 
tain this life of ours without eating, or drinking, or breathing; 
by an influence exclusive of all such means, nor without apt 
.and suitable means too : for it is not maintained by feeding 
-upon iron, or stones, or by drinking of poison, or by breathing 
in contagious airs, but by what is agreeable to itself, and apt 
to afford a suitable aliment to it. So it is in the spiritual life 
also; it is not maintained by an influence that doth exclude apt 
and proper means, but by this influence the mind and spirit is 
directed to intend and converse with such objects, out of which 
it can draw nourishment, and which are suitable unto this pur 
pose. God doth not maintain this life in such a way, and upon 
such terms, as that, though men mind nothing in the world 
else, but what the men of this world do, they shall live well 
notwithstanding. It is not strange if they who feed upon husks, 
who converse with nothing but shadows, and pant only after 
the dust of the earth, are very languishing souls. Things 
altogether insipid, that have no sap, or juice or savour in 
them, formalities of religion, doubtful opinions, disputes about 
minute and inconsiderable things, airy notions that are apt to 
drop, or distil nothing upon the spirit of a man, are not the 
things that this life is likely to be maintained by. 

And this influence is such as doth work by likely and apt 
means, as it enableth the soul to savour those things which are 
called the r* Unv^^ros the things of the spirit, as you have it 
in Rom. S. 5. They that are after the flesh, do mind (or sa 
vour) only the things of the flesh, but they that are after the 
Spirit, the things of the Spirit ; and so they live by good, and 
suitable and savoury food, being made capable of savouring 
that food. As new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the 
\vord, that ye may grow thereby ; a^oXov yaXa, that pure wide- 
ceitful milk, as the word there imports. 1 Pet. 2. 2. The 
way therefore in which the Spirit doth maintain and improve 
this life, and afford vigour to it, is by leading the soul often 
into heaven, and making it to converse in the invisible regions; 
and to forget this world, and that it hath any relation to it,- 
when it converses with God in spirit, and is made to look (for 
it draws down its nutriment even by the eye) by faith into the 
things that are unseen and hoped for ; whereof that faith is the 
very substance and evidence too. 

[9.] This influence is gradually perfective of the whole soul..'. 
Such as tends to improve it ; such as by which it is still grow- 


ing up to the measure of the stature of a perfect man in Christ 
Jesus, Eph. 4. 13. We infer upon all that hath been said, 
that there is such a life as this. A very obvious inference, but 
it is very sad that it should be needful to make it. For alas 1 
how hardly and slowly does it enter into the minds of most, 
that there is such a thing, notwithstanding all those many and 
great things which the word of God is full of concerning it ! 
It is very strange that we should have such accounts in Scrip 
ture of the way of begetting it, of the nature and tendency of 
it, how it is maintained, what the operations of it are, what 
the enjoyments, what the pains which it doth at any time suf 
fer, what its improvements, and what it shall end in at last, 
namely, eternal life ; and that still it should be disbelieved 
by them, who will not profess to believe the Bible a legend, 
that there is such a life. They must too certainly disbelieve 
that there is any eternal life ; for nothing can be plainer, than 
that the life, which shall never end, must sometime begin. 
But against so clear evidence there is nothing to be opposed, 
but ignorance and inexperience ; " We know no such matter, 
and therefore we will not believe it, say about it what can be 
said." But what strange folly is this ! What rashness! Such 
as any prudent man in another instance would censure and 
damn for the most vain, foolish and preposterous rashness. If 
any man shall say, that he will not believe that there is in 
another, such or such an excellency, superior to what is in 
himself, because he does not experience the same thing in 
himself, he would be thought fitter to be hooted at, than con 
futed. We do not reckon brutes capable j udges of the perfec 
tions and improveableness of the nature of men ; nor do we 
think one man a competent judge of what is in the spirit of 
another. What man knoweth the things of a man, save the 
spirit of a man that is in him ? so the things of God knoweth no 
man, but the Spirit of God, I Cor. 2. 11. Such as have been 
exercised about such matters can tell you much of the pleasure 
of philosophical knowledge ; and divers can tell you of the 
strange things that are performable by mechanical, and chy- 
mical powers and operations. Who would not think that 
countryman very ridiculous, who because he knows nothing 
at all of these matters, will therefore deny that there are any 
men in the world, that are of more excellent skill and judg 
ment than himself, about things of such a nature ? He does 
not know what belongs to chymistry, and therefore he will not 
believe there is any chymist. He knows not what belongs to as 
tronomy, and therefore he does not think there is any such skill 
as astronomical skill. This is a piece of folly which confutes it 
self, when men have no more to say, why they will not admit 


that there is a divine life, a life come from heaven, than that 
they feel in their own spirits no workings of any such life. 
They may know indeed how the case is with themselves ; that 
there is no such thing as life springing in them, that carries 
their hearts to God, and makes them still seek nearer and nearer 
union with him, thirst after his presence, and long to be near 
him ; that carries them up often into heaven, and fills them with 
heavenly joy and solace in the foretaste of that blessed expec 
ted state ; they may know, I say, that there is no such thing 
in their own hearts. But what ! will you therefore judge there 
is no such thing in all the world ? As if your knowledge were 
the measure of all reality, and there could be nothing within 
all the compass of being, but what must be within the compass 
of your understanding and experience. This is the greatest 
folly that can be thought of. We do not use so foolishly to 
conclude, when we hear of the pleasures and delicacies of such, 
and such a country spoken of, in which we have never been, 
that there is no such thing, because we have not seen it with 
our own eyes ; or, there are no such fruits, because we have 
not relished them with our taste. It w r ill be therefore of very 
great importance to us to fix the belief of this in our own souls, 
that there is such a life ; when the Spirit of the living God 
hath so much to do about it, and is continually attending it as 
his charge. Doth it employ itself about nothing ? But the 
time doth not allow to proceed. 



'E are speaking of the influence by which the divine life is 
maintained ; and have already shewn what kind of influ 
ence it is. We are now, 

(2.) To shew how it is ascertained unto regenerate souls, or, 
give you some account of the certainty of it. 

[1.] It is ascertained by the relation they hereupon come to 
stand in to God. They are his children, his begotten ones. 
You know it is naturally every one's care to provide for those 
who have been born of them, unto whom they have been 
(though but the secondary) authors of life and being. And 
the apostle argues even in this very case from this reason, 
Rom. 8. 13, 14. If ye through the Spirit do mortify tbe deeds 
of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit 
of God, they are the sons of God: as though he had said, " Do 
you think that he will not care that his own sons shall live ?" 
And the argument is yet more strong and enforcing, if you 
consider how this relation terminates, namely, more peculiarly 
and remarkably upon our very spirits ; for so you find he is 
called the Father of spirits in contradistinction unto the fathers 
of our flesh, Heb. 12. 9. Therefore the relation leads to a 
more special care and concern about the life of our spirits, and 
most especially about that life of them, which is most imnie- 

* Preached February 2;th. 1677. at Cordwainer's H*ll. 
VOL. y. * 


d'ately from him, and most resembles his own : not that na 
tural life, which we have in common with the rest of men, 
but that life which is the more peculiar product of his own 
blessed Spirit, even as it is the Spirit of grace and of holiness. 
It is in that sense (as we have formerly shewn you at large) 
that we are said to be born spirit of spirit. It is only a pro 
duction, or generation secundum qmd^ and in this peculiar 
respect, the thing produced being his own holy, living image, 
or a nature superadded to the human nature conforming unto 
his own in moral respects, and having been, in this so pecu 
liar a kind, a Parent and an Author of life, it is not at all to- 
be doubted, but the relation will draw with it the greatest care 
about that life which he hath given. 

[2.] Add hereunto the paternal love which accompanies the 
relation. There is many times the relation of a father unac 
companied with the love of a father (though it is very unnatu 
ral where it is so) but here it is not so to be understood. It 
were horrid and blasphemous to think such a thought. Do 
we suppose him, who is the very Fountain of that natural 
affection which still descends and flows down, through all the 
successive generations of the world, in an ordinary stated 
course, from father to son, to be destitute of it himself; 
that there is a penury and want, or a failure in the very Foun 
tain ? Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord 
pitieth them that fear him, Psalm 103. 13. He is the very 
Fountain and Spring of all that kindness, and pity, and com 
passion and love, that did ever reside in the hearts of any pa 
rents towards their own children, he put and placed it there ; 
therefore we are to conceive it in him, as in its highest origi 
nal, and its proper and native seat, and therefore fully and 
most invariably there. And our Saviour's argumentation to 
this very purpose, how much doth it carry of convictive evi- 
f]CJttce with it ? If ye being evil, know how to give good gifts 
unto your children, how much more will your heavenly Father 
give his Spirit unto them that ask him ? Luke 11. 13. And 
it is an instinct put into all that are of this divine progeny to 
be still looking up with craving eyes for this Spirit. It is the 
very sum of the desire of the new creature, it doth, as it were 
comprehensively enwrap all its desires ; it is its very natural 
sense, " Lord, thy Spirit !" Though it is many times a silent 
and inexplicit prayer, yet it is as it were, the voice of that new 
nature, "more of thy Spirit." The exigency of the case 
speaks, the very langours and faintings of holy souls carry 
craving in them, though they have not so formed desires, that 
they can reflect upon them and take notice of them : even as 
the parched ground doth secretly supplicate to the heavens for 


relief and supplies. Such we know the Psalmist's metaphor 
is once and again. And do we think that the Father of mer 
cies (as he is called, as well as the Father of our spirits) will 
not hear the cries, and regard the necessities, even the crying 
necessities of his own (otherwise languishing and dying) off 
spring ? He that feeds the ravens, will he starve souls ? The 
very sea monsters draw forth their hreasts, and do we think 
that there is less pity and compassion with God ? The in 
stinct is natural even in inferior nature, and stronger according 
as the order of being is more nohle in which it is to he found. 
It is true, there may be among human creatures, some more 
than monsters, so prodigiously unnatural as riot to regard the 
fruit of their own bodies. Lam. 4. 3. But suppose such a 
case ; if a woman can forget her sucking child, and not have 
compassion on the fruit of her womb, — yet will not I forget ; 
saith the Lord Isa. xlix. 15. I can never forget you: T have 
graven you upon the palms of my hands, as there it is explain 
ed. As if the design were to let us know, that he did make it 
a concern to himself never to forget, that he would always 
have a remembrancing token before his eyes, to make supply 
to the necessity of souls, as their case should require. 

[3.] Some thought may possibly occur with some ; that 
though it be true that a fatherly love doth commonly follow the 
relation, yet, where it hath been in much strength and vigour, 
possibly something or other may avert it, something may be 
done by a child to alienate the father's love ; we have there 
fore a yet farther assurance from the divine wisdom and all- 
comprehending knowledge. From which it must be under 
stood, that when he formed the design of raising up to himself, 
such a seed from among the lapsed children of men, he had 
the compass of it lying in view, and all things were present to 
his eye that should any way come to influence this design, or 
have any aspect upon it one way or Another, whether to hinder 
or promote it : and yet it is manifest that he had such a de 
sign, and hath laid arid fixed it, having all things in his view, 
even whatsoever might make most against it. Commonly if the 
minds and inclinations of persons do alter so, as that they come 
to disaffect, where heretofore they have borne a very peculiar 
love and kindness, it is upon some surprize that the alienation 
begins, something falling out unto them which was altogether 
unexpected : they did not think that such a one would have 
served them so and so, or have dealt so with them. But unto 
all-comprehending knowledge nothing is new. The blessed 
God had the entire prospect of his whole design, nor can we 
therefore suppose any thing that should alienate his paternal 
love, after he hath begun to exercise aod express it, which he 


had not obvious unto his notice before. He loves with an 
everlasting love, from everlasting, to everlasting : Having loved 
he loves to the end. John 13. 1. And whereas it may be also 
said, that though we should suppose a continuing love with a fa 
ther towards his own children, yet he may be reduced to those 
straits that he cannot do for them as he would 5 the matter 
therefore is farther ascertained, 

[4.] From his all -sufficient fulness. There is still the same 
undecaying plenitude of Spirit with him, that can never abate 
or grow less. It is a spring or fountain unexhausted and in 
exhaustible, that can never be drained or drawn dry. And 
therefore do we think, that those who have received this life 
from him shall not continue to live, when there is such love, 
and kindness, and compassion in conjunction with so rich and 
undecaying fulness ? Methinks to any reasonable understand 
ing this should make the matter very sure. Again, 

[5.] We are farther ascertained by his express promise. And 
it is very considerable unto this purpose, how noted and emi 
nent in the Scripture, especially in the New Testament (though 
we have divers instances too in the Old) the promise is of the 
Spirit. Indeed the matter is so represented to us, that we 
have reason to account., that as before Christ's coming, the 
coming of Christ was the great promise, and the hope of 
Israel ; so after the coming of Christ in the flesh, the gift of 
the Spirit was the great promise, the promise of the gospel, 
Christ being (as then he was) actually come. It is therefore to 
be observed in Acts 2. 38, 39. that the apostle in that ser 
mon calling upon his hearers (who were principally Jews, at 
least by religion) to repent, he tells them for their encourage 
ment that they should " receive the gift of the Holy Ghost : 
For the promise is unto you and to your children." Observe 
the connexion ; the giving of the Holy Ghost is spoken of by 
him as the promise, which did virtually comprehend in it the 
sum of the gospel : and virtually it did so, for if that were 
once made good, all would be sure to be made good. And 
our Saviour speaks of this as what would be a greater good, a 
good that would more than compensate his own longer abode 
and presence in the flesh among his disciples : It is expedient 
for you that I go away ; for if I go not away the Comforter will 
not come unto you, but if I depart, I will send him unto you, 
John 16. 7« Certainly it could not be expedient to part with 
a greater good for a less ; no, nor could it be said to be an ex 
pediency to part with an equal good for an equal : if then it 
were expedient that He should go, that the Spirit might come, 
that must be reckoned a good superior to his mere bodily pre 
sence and abode. And so the apostle plainly intimates in 2. 


Cor. 5 17. compared with what goes immediately before, 
Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now hence 
forth know we him no more. He speaks of the matter with 
complacency, and with a kind of jubilation ; as though he had 
said, I do not desire to know him after the flesh any more, 
that is, in comparison of what he after speaks of, namely, that 
inward, vital, spiritual union with him, by which the whole 
frame of the new creation comes to spring up in the soul. 
" If any man be in Christ he is a new creature ; old thing's are 
passed away, behold, all things are become new." And it is 
promised in John 14. 16. that this Spirit shall be given to 
abide with them for ever, in most exact correspondence unto 
the end and purpose for which he was to be given, (ver. 19.) to 
be the continual maintainer of their life. That must be a very 
constant thing to us which we are continually to live by, for if 
there were an intercision of life for a moment it would not be 
recovered. From the privation of a habit there were no re 
turn. He says therefore, " he shall give you another Comfor 
ter, that he may abide with you for ever ;" so fully to answer 
the exigence of the case, that you shall be no moment desti 
tute of his vital influence. 

[6.] We are farther assured from the consideration of the 
divine faithfulness, without the consideration whereof the pro 
mise would signify little. For there are many promises made, 
and not kept ; but " he is faithful that hath promised." The 
promise of an unfaithful person gives very little assurance ; 
but we are to add to the consideration of the express promise 
of God, that it is most simply repugnant to the perfection of 
his nature to be capable of deceiving us. In hope of eternal 
life which God that cannot lie hath promised, Tit. 1. 2. And 
that eternal life is nothing else but this life, whereof the Spirit 
hath been the Author, continued and improved unto that bles 
sed, eternal state, till it reach to that plenitude and fullness of 
life at length. A well of water springing up into everlasting 
life, John 4. 14. And God, that we might be assured that 
he will keep his word, hath added hereunto the ratification of 
his own solemn oath, that by two immutable things, in which 
it is impossible for God to lie, there might be strong consola-r 
tion to the heirs of promise, Heb. 6. 17, IB. And as I have 
said, this is the great promise, which is the very sum of the 

[7-] This continual vital influence is ascertained unto the re 
generate by their union with Christ, considered in conjunction 
with — his being constituted and appointed a Mediator between 
God and them. — As he is Mediator, he comes to have all 
that should serve the necessities of their souls lodged in his 


hand, and particularly to be the great treasury of spirit and lifo 
to them, and for them. All fulness, even by the Father's 
pleasure, dwells in him. But it may be said what is it to 
them, that Christ is full, that he is rich, that he lives, and 
that there is a fountain and treasury of life, and spirit in him ? 
What! is it nothing to them ? Why, consider that they are 
united to him, one with him. He that is joined to the Lord is 
one spirit, 1 Cor. 6. 17* And that the inwardness of this union 
might be with more life represented to us, it is said in Ephes. 
5. 30. We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his 
bones. Arid do we think, that when such rich plenitude of 
spirit and influence is in that head, he will not diffuse it, and 
make it flow to those who are his members ? that lie will have 
any members to be cut off from him as totally dead ? 

[8.] This matter is ascertained from the consideration of the 
work inchoate or already begun. A great argument this, that 
the issue and good event of such a thing will certainly be 
brought to pass, even with wise, and prudent, and consider* 
ing men. For there is no such man that doth begin a business 
which he will not carry through, if he be able. And therefore 
with the blessed God the argument is most strong. He hath 
been the Author of this life, by his Spirit, unto the souls 
that he hath renewed ; and therefore surely he will continue, 
and carry it on, and bring it to the mature and perfect state at 
last unto which he hath designed it. See how the apostle ar-* 
gues in Phil. 1.6. Being confident, (says he,) of this very 
thing, that he who hath begun a good work will perform (or 
finish) it until the day of Jesus Christ. He is not of that 
light and uncertain temper, as, having begun such an underta 
king as this, about which he hath expressed so much concern, 
and wherein it did appear his heart was so much engaged, to 
throw it off. Indeed the lubricity of a man's spirit makes him 
very susceptible of such a thing as this, to begin a design, 
and then be sick of it, grow weary, neglect it, and throw away 
all thoughts and concern about it, and divert to somewhat else; 
but it is most repugnant to the natural, essential perfection 
of the blessed God to be capable of such a change. He will 
not forsake his people (as Samuel speaks to the mourning 
Israelites in 1 Sam. 12. 22.) because it hath pleased him to 
make them his people. Though he sometimes seems, for the 
awakening of us out of our security, and the engaging of us 
unto that care and diligence, which the case requires, to re 
present himself, as if he were contesting with himself about 
this matter, whether he should continue the relation, and the 
care that belongs to it, yea, or no ; yet we see how he answers 
himself in Jer. 3.19. How shall I put thee among the child* 


ren, &c ? I said "Thou sbalt (yet) call me, My Father; and 
shalt not turn away from me." He resolves that he would with 
the relation, continue in them an instinct always to look to 
wards him as their Father. (f Thou shalt look to me as thy Fa 
ther, and shalt not turn away from me, and so will I preserve 
all things entire between thee and me." 

These considerations taken together are sufficient to ascer 
tain to a regenerate soul that may be solicitous about the state 
of its own case, that the influence shall be continued, which 
is necessary for the continued maintenance of that life whereof 
the Spirit of God hath been the Author. 

The use that we shall make of this at present shall only be 
in some few practical inferences, reserving the farther use till 
after we have considered and opened the other doctrine from 
the latter part of the verse. 

We have already (so far preventing ourselves) inferred, 

1 . That there is such a life as that which we are wont to 
call the life spiritual, distinct from, and to be superadded to 
the natural life of men. I insisted upon this before, and 
therefore do but mention it now. 

2. We may farther infer, that this life is of a most excellent 
and noble kind. Of this we are taught to make a judgment by 
the way of its being maintained. What is it maintained upon? 
They that live this life, live in the Spirit : certainly this is a 
very high way of living, and speaks the life that is to be main 
tained so, and only maintainable so, to be a life of a most ex 
cellent and noble kind. The excellency of any life is to be 
measured and judged by the objects which are suitable to it, 
and nutritive of it, or, out of which it has its sustenance and 
support. They that do live this life, as they do so, can breathe 
no other but this pure and sacred breath. They " live in the 
Spirit." They live no where but in a region of vitality, filled 
with vital influence even by the eternal Spirit : this is to live 
at a very high rate. Think therefore how excellent a life that 
is which the blessed God doth distinguish his own children by, 
from other men. 

3. Since this life is here spoken of as in this way to be con 
tinued — we learn, that it must certainly at some time or other 
begin. And therefore methinks this should be a rousing and 
awakening thought unto those who, when they hear of the 
ways and methods of maintaining and improving the spiritual 
life, have yet cause to suspect or doubt, whether as yet they 
have the very beginnings of it. Methinks it should be a chil 
ling thought unto such a heart, " How much do I hear (may 
such a one say) of mighty things, things of very great and vast 
importance, which are all impertineucies to me^ th*y signify 


nothing, nor have any suitableness in them to my case ! How 
great things do fall beside me !" ,So it must be with every one* 
that hath not yet begun to live this life. What ! not \et be 
gun ? Do we find so many things so industriously inserted 
into the Scripture, to instruct and direct tts concerning the 
ways of exercising, maintaining and improving this life, and I 
not yet feel the very beginnings of it ! O how much behind are 
men unto the whole order of Christians, of those that are sa 
indeed and in truth, and may deservedly admit the name ! 
" Some are gone so far, and I am yet to begin my course !" 

4. We hence see how great a perfection is lacking unto un- 
renewed souls. How great a perfection properly appertaining 
unto the spirit and nature of a man, and which ought to be 
found in it and with it. Why, there is a whole state of life 
yet lacking to them. A dismal thing to think of! It might 
fill a man with astonishment to think that he should be so far 
short of what a man ought to be, because he is not yet so much 
as alive towards God. You have at large heard what that life 
is by which we are said to live spiritually, and that it is not to 
be understood in a natural but in a moral sense. For admit 
that the spirit of a man is of itself naturally and essentially a 
self acting thing, yet it were not to be imagined that God 
would make such a creature, and turn it loose into this world 
to act at random : life therefore in this moral sense is a princi 
ple of acting regularly and duly towards God. And though 
there be the natural powers and faculties that belong unto the 
soul of a man, as it is such a creature in such a place and 
order of the creation, yet while they are destitute of that rec 
titude by which they are inclined to God, or apt to act and 
move towards him by rule and according to prescription, such 
a soul may as truly and fitly be said to be dead, or those pow 
ers and faculties of it to have a death in them, as the hand of 
a man's body, supposing it to retain its natural shape and 
figure, but to be altogether useless unto the ends and purposes 
for which such an organ was made : if it be raised up, it falls 
down a dead weight ; he cannot move it this way, or that: 
you will say, this is a dead thing ; yet it hath its shape still. 

It is strange to see how far some have gone in the apprehen 
sions of this matter by merely natural light You know we 
spake of this life comprehending, with the principles of grace, 
the consolations, and pleasures, and joys which are apt to re 
sult and spring from thence. Alone to have such a life, is not 
enough to denominate a person to be a living person, but to 
be well ; to be healthful and vigorous and strong. I remem* 
ber Socrates I find to speak thus (as Zenophon reports of him) 
among his dying discourses concerning life in this moral sense > 


cc Do you ask (says he) what it is to live ? I will tell you what 
it is. To live truly is to endeavour to excel in goodness ; and 
to live comfortably, or joyfully is to feel one's self to do so, or 
to feel one's self growing better and better." He calls those, 
persons that lived pleasantly, who felt themselves improving 
in respect of the good temper of their spirits. And I remem 
ber Philo-Judaeus (though he had opportunity for much more 
light than the other) giving the notion of a man, as that which 
he would have commonly to obtain, says, that " no one ought 
to be reckoned a partaker of the rational nature, that has not 
in him hope towards God." So he speaks of religion ; and 
says plainly, that " he who hath this hope in him, he only is 
to be called a man, and that the other is to be looked upon as 
no man." That was his notion. We may so far comport with 
it as to say, that there is certainly a great perfection, belong 
ing to the nature of man, wanting to them that are yet not 
come to live this life. And it is amazing to think that such a 
perfection is wanting by privation, in the proper sense, find 
not by negation only. As how dismal a thing were it, should 
we suppose all the rational powers and faculties to be on a sud 
den cut off from the nature of a man, so that he is become a 
mere brute, he cannot think a thought, every thing of reason 
and discourse is become alien to him ! And if we should sup 
pose next the faculties of the sensitive nature to be cutoff, and 
he, who was before a rational man, had the power of reason 
and speech, and could move to and fro and converse as a man, 
turned into a tree ; life he has, but no better life than that : 
and if you would suppose that life gone too, and heat last 
turned into a stone ; these were most dismal degenerations. It 
is no disparagement at all to what was originally a brute, to be 
a brute, or to a tree, to be a tree, or to a stone,' to be a stone 5 
for it has all the perfection that belongeth to such a creature, 
or to the order whereof it is in the creation of God. But when 
this life is lacking to the soul of man, there is a perfection 
lacking which did originally belong unto this order of creatures. 
For what ! Do you think that ever God made man to disaf- 
fect himself? that he ever made a reasonable creature that 
should not be capable of loving its own original, and the su 
preme good ? And whereas we find now that men do univer 
sally make themselves the centre of their own loves^ do we 
think that ever God made man to do so ? Why, it is a dread 
ful transformation then, that is come upon the nature of man, 
and a most amazing degeneracy. It would startle us, if we 
would but admit serious thoughts of it, that there should be an 
entire state of life so generally lacking among men. And es 
pecially, if any of us upon reflection, laying our hands upon 

VOL. V. R 


our hearts, do feel no movings of such a life, no heatings of a 
pulse God-ward and heaven-ward that may bespeak and be an 
indication of it. To think that I have such a thing lacking in 
me, that doth belong originally unto the nature of man ; not 
so light and trivial a thing that, if I had it, it would add some 
kind of perfection to me which might conveniently enough be 
spared ; but a whole orb and order, is lacking to me which be 
long to such a creature as I. Certainly it should put such a 
person mightily out of conceit with himself, and make him 
think, " What a monster am I in the creation of God ! I am 
no way suited to the order of creatures in which my Creator 
hath set me ; for that was an order of intelligent creatures all 
formed to the loving, adoring, and praising, and serving the 
great Author of their beings, with open eyes beholding and 
adoring his excellencies and glory ; and I have no disposition 

5. We may farther infer how great a misery is consequent, 
where persons have not begun to live this life ; there is a great 
perfection lacking in this life itself, but it infers a farther con 
sequent misery, that is, a being cut off from all conversing 
with God, a kind of exile out of that region, which is within the 
management of the Spirit, the region in which it rules, and 
which it replenishes with life, and with vital influence : for 
being dead towards God they can have no converse with him. 
If a person be dead, you know what is usual, " Bury my dead 
out of my sight." They are not fit to come into God's sight or 
to have to do with him. Would we like it well to converse 
among the dead ; or endure to have carcasses lying with us in 
our houses, and in our beds, and to be found at our tables ? 
Why, the case speaks itself ; they who are destitute of this 
life, are quite cut off from God, and from all his converse ; 
they are as it were exiles from the world and region of spirit 
and spirituality. O the strength and vigour, the joys and 
pleasures, the purity and peace of that blessed region ! But 
these are excluded by their want of this life. The Spirit can 
only statedly converse with those that are alive. It steps out 
of its region (the case were otherwise sad with us) to make 
men alive, and to draw them within the circle, as it were, 
that they may be within the reach of its continual ordinary con 
verse. But they are in no way of converse with the Spirit, as 
yet, that have not the principles of this life as yet planted in 
them. So that they are to look upon themselves as cut off 
from God, and as those with whom his Spirit hath no converse 
in a stated way.^ What it may do, what it will do in a way of 
sovereign grace is more than they know ; but it is their great 
concern to implore it, that it would come and move upon them, 


and attemper them to the region of life. They are otherwise 
cut off as from the land of the living, and have no place nor 
fellowship there. 

6*. Let us see the wonderful grace of this blessed Spirit. 
Well may it he called the Spirit of grace, Who hath done des 
pite unto the Spirit of grace, Heb. 10. 29. We should frame 
our apprehensions accordingly of this blessed Spirit, as the 
light of such a scripture would dictate, and account it the Spi 
rit of all love, and goodness, and benignity, and sweetness 
that admits such souls to have a livelihood in it. " If ye live 
in the Spirit ;" O strange goodness this ! Such impure crea 
tures so lost in darkness and death, now brought within those 
blessed confines ! That the Spirit of the living God should 
have taken them into such association with itself ! As though 
he had said, " Come, you shall live with me : here is safe 
living, comfortable living." The communion which God 
holds with such souls is called the communion of the Holy 
Ghost in 2 Cor. 13. 14. That it should come and lead souls 
out of death and darkness into the divine presence, and say to 
them, " Dwell here, in the secret of the Almighty, and under 
the shadow of his wing. His feathers shall cover you, and 
his continual influence cherish you and maintain your life : 
here you shall spend your days !" This is a wonderful 
vouchsafement. How should we magnify to ourselves the 
grace of the Spirit upon this account ! And yet farther, 

7. We see the great hazard of withdrawing ourselves from 
under the tutelage and influence of this Spirit. It is done by 
neglect, done by self-confidence, done by remitting our de- 
pendance, done by resistance, by our disobedience, our little 
obsequiousness to the Spirit : and you see the hazard of it. 
Step out of this region of life, and there is nothing but 
impure and desolate darkness. We languish and die, if we re 
tire, or recede and step without these sacred boundaries. To 
be confined and kept within them how great a vouchsafement 
is it ! And, that it is undertaken that it shall be so ! But 
though it shall be so, we are not to expect that this should be 
done without our care. We shewed you, in speaking of that 
influence, that it is an assisting and co-operative influence, 
among many other particulars. 

Lastly, We may infer, that is a most weighty and impor 
tant charge that lies upon every renewed soul. For think, 
how precious and excellent a life is to be maintained in them ; 
that spiritual, divine life, a thing which both requires and jus 
tifies their utmost care : requires it ; for what would a person 
think of it, if he should be intrusted with the care of the life 
<»f a priucej the child of a great monarch ? If any of us ha4 


such a charge committed to us, " I charge you with the life of 
this child, and to use your best care and endeavour for the 
nourishing of its life, and for the cultivating of it, and fitting 
it to the best purposes whereof it may be capable/' How 
would this engage one's utmost diligence, that it is a very im 
portant life* that is committed to my care. We have every 
one of us the care incumbent upon us of the life of a divine 
thing produced and brought forth in us, and which we are to 
apply the name first to, when we call ourselves the sons or 
children of God. There the name falls first ; it is that divine 
thing that is his son, and we are only his sons or children upon 
the account of that. To have a divine life to maintain and 
cherish in my soul, as I may have a subordinate agency, under 
the Spirit in order thereto, how should it engage my utmost 
solicitude and care, that nothing be done offensive to this life, 
that every thing be done that may tend to preserve and im 
prove it ! 

And as it requires our care, so it finally justifies it. A great 
many are apt to think, yea, and do often speak, reproachfully 
concerning those who do any thing to discover and hold forth 
the power and efficacy of such an inbeing life in them. To 
what purpose do these persons take so much more care than 
other men about their souls, and about their spiritual state as 
they are wont to call it ? Why, they have a life more than 
you to be solicitous about ; a life that you know nothing of ; a 
noble, a divine life which it is incumbent upon them to care 
for. They wonder that this race of men do not run with them 
into the same excess of riot, when they never consider, these 
are things that would be noxious to my life. It may be you 
find nothing in you, unto which such things would be an 
offence : they would hurt my very life. This hath the holy 
soul to say to justify ail that care and concern which he hath 
about the maintaining and preserving his spiritual life. And 
would not he be thought to talk every unreasonably that should 
say ; why should such, and such men, who are observed to be 
much addicted to study, and retirement, and contemplation, 
why should they inure themselves to more thoughts than the 
beasts do ? They, who apply themselves to a course of pray 
ing, meditation, &c. why should they do so more than the 
beasts, who, say they, do but cat and drink, and what is given 
them that they gather, and no more ado ? The answer would 
be obvious from such persons : "1 have a thing called reason in 
me, which I am to cultivate, and improve, and make my best 
of, which beasts have not." And is not that a sufficient answer; 
"1 have a life more in me, than other men have, which I am to 
tend, and take all possible care of ; a life capable of great 


improvements, a life of great hopes, a life put into me upon 
high accounts, and for the greatest and most noble designs." 
And therefore if any of us be tempted by the licentious persons 
of the age to run their course, and do as they do, pray let us 
learn to distinguish our cases. The matter is not with us as it 
is with them. We have somewhat else in us ; a divine thing, 
which hath a sacred life belonging to it, implanted in our na 
tures 5 which hath given us hope, and which is in us the earn 
est and pledge of a blessed eternity ; an immortal state of life : 
And what ! Shall we be prodigal of this ? Is this a thing to 
be exposed, and ventured, and thrown away, merely to com 
ply with the humour of a sensual wretch, who knows nothing 
of the matter, and is a stranger to all such affairs ? 



have heard of a twofold work of the Holy Spirit upon 
such souls as it hath regenerated, or put a principle of spi 
ritual life into, namely, — the maintaining of that life, which is 
mentioned in the former part of this verse, " If we live in the 
Spirit ;" and — the causing, and conducting, and governing the 
motions which are agreeable to that life, in the latter part, "let 
us also walk in the Spirit." — We have spoken of the former of 
these, and are now to proceed unto the latter, that is, to treat 
of that part or hand which the Holy Spirit hath, about the mo 
tions and actions of renewed souls ; and these must be con 
sidered in a reference unto that life unto which they are con 
natural, as you see they are mentioned in that reference in the 
text, te If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." 
Therefore the latter truth which we have to note to you from 
this Scripture you may take thus ; — That it belongs to their 
state, who live in the Spirit, to walk also in the Spirit. — In 
speaking to which we shall, 

J. Shew, what it is to walk in the Spirit. 

II. How it belongs unto the state of such persons so to walk. 

I. What walking in the Spirit imports. This we may un 
derstand by inquiring severally into, and then joining together 

* Preached March 6th. 1677. at Cordwainer's Hall. 


these two notions ; that is, — what walking doth import ; and 
then, — what it imports to do any thing in the Spirit. — These 
being explained and put together will give us the full and true 
import of walking in the Spirit. 

1 . Walking in the general, you know, is an expression that 
signifies action or motion ; and sometimes it is taken in a 
natural sense, and then you know what it signifies : sometimes 
it is taken in a moral sense, a sense borrowed from the natural, 
because of some analogy and agreement between the one and 
the other; and then it plainly signifies the course of a man's 
conversation. So it must necessarily be understood to signify 
here, according to the transumed or borrowed sense. And 
nothing is more ordinary in Scripture than to express the course 
of a man's conversation, whether it be good, or whether it be 
bad, by the phrase of walking ; as you cannot but have taken 
notice, such of you as have been conversant with the Scrip 
tures, how often it is said concerning the kings of Israel and 
Judah, that they walked so and so ; such, and such a one in 
the way of his fathers, and the like : where the series of his 
actions, morally considered, is most expressly intended to be 

But that we may speak more distinctly unto the notion of 
walking, because it will give much light unto the matter which 
we have before us ; as, in general, walking doth signify action 
or motion, so it also carries with it some specification of that 
action or motion, and so doth import action or motion of some 
special kind. For, though all walking is motion, yet all mo 
tion is not walking : and therefore it is an expression that 
serves to be some way restrictive of the general notion of action 
or motion. And that we may speak more clearly hereunto, 
we must take notice of something that walking doth expressly 
denote •, or that is more formally included in the notion of it ; 
and somewhat that it doth connote or import by a kind of col 
lateral signification thereof. 

(1.) There are some things which walking dothmore directly 
and formally denote. As 

[1.] It denotes a self-motion. A motion which proceeds 
from an internal principle in the thing that moves : though 
not originally \ for that cannot be supposed concerning it in a 
creature, but subordinately only. If one rolls a stone to and 
fro upon the ground, it would be very improper to say, that 
stone walks. It signifies motion from an internal principle a 
kind of self-motion. 

,, [2.] It doth most properly signify a voluntary motion. 
There may be motion from an internal principle which is not 
Toluntary, as there are many things that have a principle of 


motion in themselves, which have not the power of will $ 
tvhieh belongs only unto intellectual agents ; unto free crea~ 
tures. Now if a man be dragged this way or that, he is not 
said to walk, though he make use of his own motive power 

[3.] It imports an orderly motion. For he is not said to 
walk who only wildly skips and fetches freaks this way and 
that. And that signification is especially carried that is used 
for walking here, wx**> ; a word from whence that word *<|, 
comes, which signifies military order, the orderly motion of 
any army in rank and file : so the word is noted to signify. 
Yea, and from the same word comes a word that signifies the 
order which is observed in verse, when the composition is most 
exact and accurate, of so many feet, or making up such or 
such a form of metre ; &$•<%©'. A metrical kind of order is 
signified by this word ; so as that one's motions are measured 
lay a strict kind of rule all along. 

[4.] It imports a pleasurable motion. For you know we are 
wont to walk for our recreation. If persons go a journey, or 
the like, that is toilsome, we express that more usually by 
another word, travelling : but if a person be gone forth to 
exercise himself in order to his recreation and health, then we 
usually say, he is gone a walking. 

J5.] It is a continued motion. For he that fetches a skip 
jump now and then, this way and that, is not said to walk ; 
but walking is a course of motion continued for such a time, 

[6.] It is a progressive motion. There may be continued 
motion which is not progressive. One may continue moving 
to and fro, in the same place, for a long time together : but 
walking is a going forward. These things (as is obvious unto 
a common understanding) are carried in the notion of walking 
most expressly, and so it may be said to denote these things 
more formally. But 

(2.) There are also some things which it doth connote. And 
they are especially these two, namely : — an end) and — a 

[1.] It connotes an end ; for walking is a tendency some 
whither, or unto some term. And 

[2.] It connotes a way; for a man cannot walk, but it 
must be in some way orothe^ whether it be better, or worse. 

These things are considerable concerning the notion of 
walking. And as walking doth import a specification of motion, 
or, is a more special kind of motion ; so the addition of " in 
the Spirit" plainly imports a specification of walking, so as 
to denote a more special sort and kind of walking. 

2, We shall consider, more at large, what it is to do any thing 


in the Spirit, before we come to sum up all in joining these 
notions together. To do any thing in the Spirit, is to do it 
in the light, and in the power of the Spirit. 
. (1.) In the light of the' Spirit. For whenever it conies to 
deal with the spirits of men, it is in that way, by creating a 
light to them, which is directive of their motions. Let us 
walk in the light of the Lord, Isai. 2. 5. that is walking in 
the Spirit. To do any thing in the Spirit, is to doit in the 
light, not blindly and darkly as those that know not what they 

(2.) Tn the power of the Spirit. I will go in the strength of 
the Lord God, I will make mention of thy righteousness, even 
of thine only, Psalm *]\. 16. 

These things thus laid before you will make it plain to us 
what is carried " in walking in the Spirit." 

3. We are to put together the notions of walking, and doing 
any thing in the Spirit. And an account of the result and sum 
of what has been said may be given you in these several par 

„. (I.) To w y alk in the Spirit is to intend and tend towards an 
end which is suitable to the Spirit, It is most proper to begin 
there ; and that is, in short, walking in the Spirit imports a 
continual tendenc-y towards God, as the great end and mark 
at which one aims. And this is an end agreeable to the Spirit; 
and this, and no other, as the last and ultimate end. The 
soul that is acted by the Spirit of God is acted towards God. 
Do but observe how these things are connected in that pas 
sage Psalm 63. 8. My soul followeth hard after thee. How 
<.'omes it to do so ? Thy right hand holds me up. And what 
is that right hand ? Why, it can signify nothing else but the 
power of God, that is his Spirit, which we are taught to look 
upon as the great active principle of all the motions and ope 
rations of the creatures, whereof it can be said to be directly 
determinative. Then we may conclude that a person is acted 
by the Spirit, or walks in the Spirit, when he aims at God 
through his whole course. While men are under the power 
and rule of another, that is, a fleshly and corrupt principle, it 
is all for self that their designs lie, and the course of their 
actions run; they . are confined wholly (as hath been said 
upon an occasion) within a circle of acting from self to self: 
but when once the Spirit of God comes to have the govern 
ment and the motions of the soul, as all those motions do im* 
mediately spring from God, so they tend to him, and centre 
in him. The soul designs him, and none but him in its whole 
«ourse. And therefore, it being the great work of the Re 
deemer to reduce and bring back souls to God, what part or 

VOL. V. S 


hand the Spirit of God hath in this matter, is in pursuance of 
the Redeemer's design. Therefore we are said to "have access, 
or come to God through him by the Spirit," this is the com-* 
mon course stated for all men ; for Jew and Gentile both, for 
with such reference it is said, Through him we both have an 
access by one Spirit unto the Father, (Ephes. 2. 18.) imply 
ing that none would ever come at God, aim at God, or tend 
tow?rds him, but as, by the motive power, and in the directive 
light of the blessed Spirit, they are acted and carried towards 
him through Christ. 

(2.) Walking in the Spirit implies a constant adherence 
unto Christ by dependance and subjection. Which it must 
needs do upon the account that all walking, as I have said, 
connotes a way, and Christ is expressly represented to us as 
the way leading unto God. I am the way, no man cometh 
unto the Father, but by me. John 14. 6. And hence, as we 
have this phrase of " walking in the Spirit," so we have that 
too of walking in Christ, Col. 2. 6. And the apostle Peter 
directs such a course of walking as might put them to shame 
who should falsely accuse their good conversation in Christ. 
1 . Pet. 3. 16. And certainly it is one great part of the work 
of the Holy Ghost upon the spirits of men so to attemper and 
frame them unto the way of access to God, or the way 
wherein God can be come at, that it may become even spiri 
tually natural unto the soul to walk in that way. While they 
walk in Christ, they walk in the Spirit. It is the business of 
the Spirit to engage the soul in this way of tending and moving 
towards God, and to keep it on therein. 

(3.) It imports walking in the divine light, whereof the Spi 
rit is the continual Author unto renewed souls, And I do 
not now mean only that external light which it affords by the 
Scripture revelation, but an inward vital light which it sets up 
and continues in the soul itself, having caused "a day-spring, 
a day-star to arise there, and made a day within." The Spirit 
creates unto the soul a region of light, wherein it converses, 
while, it is said to converse in the Spirit. They unto whom 
it hath not created such a light, are said " to walk in dark 
ness ;" and whatsoever there is of external light shining round 
about them, their darkness comprehends it not, as in John 1. 
5 . But where this blessed Spirit is it makes those that were 
darkness to be light in the Lord. « Ye were sometime dark 
ness, but now are ye light in the Lord ;" well, and what 
then ; Walk as children of the light, Ephes. 5. 8. It is true, 
that light ^ doth here, as well as elsewhere, signify holiness, 
but not without reference unto intellectual light ; only it im- 
ports that intellectual light to be a practical, refining, trans*- 


forming, vital light, so as that the same thing is capable of a 
twofold denomination, of light and of life too ; as St. John 
speaking of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Sun of righteousness, 
speaks of him as under the notion of life, and saith, that life 
was the light of men, John, 1.4. It is therefore a region of 
living light which the Spirit doth create unto souls, in which 
they converse and walk : then are they said to walk in the Spi 
rit, by that work and office of the Holy Ghost, which our Sa 
viour calls " its leading persons into all truth." He promises 
in those consolatory, valedictory discourses of his to his disci 
ples, (in 14. 15. and 16. chapters of John's gospel) again and 
again the Spirit, and for this purpose, " to lead them into 
truth ;" that, you know, is the part of directive light. But 
then it is one thing to direct only by telling, so and so you 
must do; and another thing by way of instinct, or by an in 
ward prompting ; by which too a person does not go in that 
case blindfold, but with an inclination, with spontaneity, and 
seeing his way all the way he goes. He walks in the light ; 
and such a light as is directive and active to him at once. 

(4.) It imports acting by a divine power all alongthrough our 
whole course. The Spirit, where it is, is the Spirit of power, 
of love, and of a sound mind, 2 Tim. 1. 7- They are said 
to be in the Spirit, who are under the power and dominion 
of it, as John says of himself, that he was in the Spirit on the 
Lord's day, in Rev. 1. 10. Under the influence of its almighty 
power, its captivating dominion. According as when persons 
are said to be in the flesh (an expression frequently used in 
Scripture) it notes their being under the power and dominion 
of a fleshly principle. So to walk in the Spirit, is to act on all 
along under the power and governing influence of the Spirit. 
I will strengthen them in the Lord, and they shall walk up 
and down in his name, Zech. 10. 12. That one attribute, 
belonging to the divine nature, namely, the power of God, is 
more especially pointed at there. 

There is a strict connexion between this and the last men' 
tioned thing, that light and this power ; that light being a 
vital, a living light. Though we may have distinct notions of 
them, yet they are in themselves connected and most insepa- 
ble. Come ye, let us walk in the light of the Lord, Isa, 2. 
5. Even in the form of expression, though light is the thing 
which is directly spoken of, there is implied and involved 
therewith a certain active power, the being moved to go, and 
walk in that light, which, as such, was to guide them in their 
way. See what is referred to in ver. 3. He will teach us of 
his ways, and we will walk in his paths. This signifies that 
their spirits Were acted by a certain power which did incline 


them unto this thing ; and not that they were merely enlight 
ened. And whereas in this very Chapter, the expression, 
"led by the Spirit/' is made use of in ver. 18. "If ye he led 
by the Spirit, ye are not under the law;" as also in Rom. 8. 
14. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the 
sons of God ; the word which is rendered led is ayovTtzt, and 
signifies acted or moved by a certain power. As many as are 
acted by the Spirit of God ; and they that are acted by the Spi 
rit of God are not under the law, they are not cursed and con 
demned by it. 

(5.) It imports acting from spiritual habitual principles that 
are fixed and settled in the soul ; and therefore includes in it 
the exercise of all the several graces of the Spirit. For you 
must know that when we say, walking in the Spirit implies 
walking in the divine light, and by the divine power ; it is not 
to be understood as if there were nothing else but a temporary, 
present ray of light, and efforts of power from the Spirit ; and 
so that there comes to be any thing habitually fixed in the soul 
itself. But though it is very true indeed that habitual light 
&c. in the soul from the Spirit must be maintained aod con 
tinued by the Spirit, it is nevertheless to be looked upon as an 
habitual principle which is in the soul itself. And the case is 
here but as it is in nature ; for there can be no sort of life in 
all the creation, whereof God is not the Author; nor any action 
done, but the power of doing it is received from him ; though 
there are many actions which he doth not make creatures do ; 
yet there is no action in which he does not enable, or not give 
them sufficient power. But yet, notwithstanding this, we 
know that the natures of creatures are distinct from one another; 
and to say, that the divine power must do all, is to take away 
the distinction of natures wholly, and then a stone might rea 
son as well as a man, and a tree might walk to and fro as well as 
a sensitive living creature : but God's way of dealing with 
creatures in the natural creation, ordinarily, is to act them ac 
cording to, and co-work with that peculiar nature which he 
hath put into this, and that, and the other creature. So it is 
here ; there is a divine nature, consisting of many gracious, 
holy, vital principles which God puts into the soul when he 
renews it; and which are so many several parts of the new 
creature, and with these several principles, or. with this divine 
nature he concurs or co-works ; though the exigency of the 
case is such, there being a corrupt nature joined therewith in 
the same subject, that here he must continually over-power 
unto every action that is done : and it is not enough to give, or 
maintain the principle, but he must work the very act itself, 
because of a reluctant principle, which would otherwise stran- 


gle the act, and never let it be brought forth at all. But then 
we must not suppose that the power by which the work is 
done, is a thing only at this time given, and that there is no 
principle in the soul itself which it acts from ; for there is a 
principle implanted and fixed in the soul, and though that re 
quires to be acted, it is the way and method of the Spirit to act 
in and by that principle, or put that principle upon action. 
So that walking in the Spirit is walking in the exercise of the 
implanted principles of grace, and not without them, or not 
having any such work wrought or done in us ; as if a person 
should be habitually inclined one way, and yet act another ; 
believe, without a principle of faith ; or love God, without a 
principle of love ; or fear, without a principle of fear, by hav 
ing these actions erected in him by the Spirit, without the 
habits from whence they are to proceed, and to which they are 
connatural. This is not to be supposed. And therefore when 
soever any walk in the actual exercise of grace, they walk in 
the Spirit. And it is very observable to this purpose that you 
have several fruits of the Spirit, or gracious principles enume 
rated immediately before the text, ver. 22, 23. You are there 
told what the fruits of the Spirit are ; or what the principles 
are which this Spirit is the productive cause of, and then it is 
afterwards subjoined, " If we live in the Spirit," or have all 
these principles, "let us also walk in the Spirit," that is, in 
acting and exercising these principles. Hence therefore we 
read of walking by faith, (2 Cor. 5. 7-) and walking in the fear 
of the Lord, (Acts 9. 31.) and walking with God, (Mic. 6'. 8.) 
and of walking in love. Eph. 5. 2. To walk in the exercise 
of these several graces of the Spirit, is walking in the Spirit. 

(6.) It implies walking in the way of the Lord with freedom 
of choice, and from a spontaneous inclination ; from both the 
notion of walking, which is voluntary, and the addition in the 
Spirit, which is the great Author of all liberty wheresoever it 
is ; Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty, 2 Cor. 3. 
17. A person is not the less, but the more free by being im 
pelled and moved by the Spirit ; for it is the Spirit that makes 
him free and enlarges him : I will walk at liberty, says the 
Psalmist, for I keep thy precepts, psalm. 119. 46. And I 
will run the ways of thy commandments when thou shalt en 
large my heart, ver. 32. 

(7.) It implies a continued reference to a rule. To walk in 
the Spirit is not to walk extravagantly, as those that know no 
measures or limits in their walking, and are as die wild ass 
used to the wilderness. Jer. 2. 24. It is opposed to walking 
after lust, or the inclinations of corrupt nature which you know 
is the only principle of all extravagancy. This I say, says the 


apostle in the 16th verse of this chapter, "Walk in the Spirit, and 
ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh." The apostolical au 
thority and majesty, which is imported in that solemn preface, 
is of very great remark and note. This I say, this 1 determine, 
this is one of the sacred effata and dictates which I pronounce 
to you in the name of the great God and Redeemer, whose 
office and authority I bear ; u This I say, Walk in the Spirit, 
and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh/' That Spirit will 
be a principle of holy order and regularity to you in all your 
walking : So the great promise of it implies in Ezek. 36'. 27. 
I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my 
sfatutes. You shall then be willing to walk in a prescribed 
way, the way that I line and rule out unto you all along. 

(8.) It implies a complacential course of walking on in reli- 
gion. Walking in the Spirit is walking cheerfully ; it belongs 
to it, it is comprehended within the compass of it. W henever 
any have the Spirit, this lies within their walk ; it is part of 
that spiritual walk to be conversant, amidst consolations and 
joys and pleasures, and it is part of the signification of that 
expression, " Come let us walk in the light of the Lord." 
Light doth many times signify (besides knowledge, and holi 
ness) joy, delight, pleasure. Walking is a motion for recrea 
tion, as you have heard ; spiritual walking is a motion, if it be 
entirely in itself, amidst spiritual joys and comforts. The 
churches walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort 
of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied, in the before-mentioned 
V- Acts 31. That sure was walking in the Spirit. It is suit 
able to the way in which Christians are to walk, which is 
throughout, in every part of it, a way of pleasantness, and a 
path of peace, Prov. 3. 17- It is the Spirit that causes holr 
ones to walk in this way, and then sure it works in them a 
disposition suitable to the way. And if the way is pleasant, 
and the heart is suitably disposed thereunto, it cannot but be 
pleasant walking, so far as that disposition is in that pleasant 

(9.) It is a continuing in the course and practice of religion. 
For walking is a continued motion : and therefore they that are 
said to wqlk in the Spirit, do not begin in the Spirit, and then 
think to be made perfect by the flesh (as the expression is in 
Gal. 3.3.) but they continue in a course of spiritual motion, 

(10.) Lastly, Jt imports a progress in spirituality. As was 
said before, there may be a continued motion that is not pro-.- 
jfpressive ; but walking in the Spirit imports a progressive mo 
tion in a course of spirituality. When persons make still 
nearer and nearer approaches unto their end, the term of their 
course -, draw nearer and nearer to God, and as they draw 


nearer to him, find a gradual influence of divine light and life 
and power, more discernable impressions of the divine image, 
grow more and more into a suitableness to him ; are more ac 
quainted with him, are brought unto higher delectation, and to 
take more complacency in him : this is walking in the Spirit ; 
when a man's path, as it is said concerning the righteous man, 
is as the shining light, that shines more and more, brighter and 
brighter, unto the perfect day, Prov. 4. IS. As you know the 
nearer approach we make unto the light of a glorious lucid ob 
ject, the more light we have, still all along as we go, our way 
grows more and more lightsome. And strength grows and in 
creases too with the light, The righteous shall hold on his way, 
and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger, 
Job. 17. 9. There is an increase with the increase of God. 
They do not walk in the Spirit therefore who keep moving, but 
move in a circle, or in a round of empty sapless duties, keep 
up the formalities of religion, and no more ; but they walk in 
the Spirit who make a progress, who go forward, who draw 
nearer and nearer unto God, and become more suitable and 
like him, and lit for his eternal converse, and for all the pre 
sent service whereto he calls them. 



TT is tlie latter part of the verse that we are upon, from 

which, considered in that reference which it carries to the 

former, we have observed. — That it belongs to the state of 

"them, who are made alive by the Spirit of God, to walk in the 

Spirit. — We have proposed in speaking to this, to shew you, — 

what walking in the Spirit imports, and — how it belongs unto 

the state of living Christians thus to walk. — The former we have 

already spoken to, and now go on to the other, namely 

II. To evince to you, that it belongs to the state of those, 
that live in the Spirit, thus to walk in it. Now we are to shew 
you, that it belongs to the state of such, as a privilege ; and 
therein, the part of the Holy Ghost to cause and conduct all the 
holy motions of renewed souls : and also, that it belongs to 
their state, as a duty, and therein we are to shew you our part. 
The motion of this or that thing, if it can be said to be 
its own motion as this is said to be ours (for we must 
"walk in the Spirit'') signifies a part to be done by it; 
and we therefore have a part to do, in compliance with, and in 
subordination to the Spirit of God, in this thing. There can 
not be walking in the Spirit, but there must be a concurrence 
of its part, and ours ; its, according to its supremacy, and 
ours, according to our subordination. Under this second 

* Preached March 13th, 1677. at Cordwainer's Hall. 


head therefore the demonstration will lie, how it belongs, or 
that it doth belong, to the state of renewed souls to walk in tbe 
Spirit; they may, and they ought. They may, so it speaks 
their privilege, and the readiness of the Spirit still to co-ope 
rate, according to what part is assigned it ; they ought, so it 
speaks their duty; they ought so to walk, that is, so to de 
mean and carry themselves, as that they may, according to the 
prescribed and appointed methods, make sure to themselves 
the help, and concurrent influence and co-operation of the 
Spirit through their course. Both these are plainly enough 
signified to us by the very words of the text itself ; one, as im 
plied, plainly enough implied, and the other more plainly ex^ 
pressed. And it will be necessary to speak unto them severally 
and distinctly. 

1. Walking in the Spirit belongs unto the state of such as 
are spiritually alive, as a privilege proper thereunto. The in 
junction, " Walk in the Spirit,' 7 plainly supposes that the 
Spirit is communicable for this purpose, that walking in the 
Spirit is no impossible thing, that it is a thing which by a sta 
ted gracious vouchsafement appertains to the state of them to 
whom this charge is given. It is a known and unquestionable 
rule in such cases, that precepts and promises do imply one 
another : and such precept carries in it a virtual promise, any 
such promise carries in it a virtual precept. The precept sup 
poses the promise, and the promise infers the precept, that is, 
an obligation to the thing in reference whereto such and such 
help is promised to be afforded. If it should be enjoined us to 
walk in the light of the sun, it is supposed that the sun doth 
ordinarily shine. There is a connection therefore manifestly 
implied here between the action that is enjoined us, and the 
supposed communication of the Spirit in order thereto ; or 
its constant communicableness, or aptitude and readiness to 
communicate itself, according as walking in it doth require. 
For how harshly would it sound, to enjoin any one to make 
use of that wherewith he hath nothing at all to do ; to use an 
incommunicable thing, a thing to which I have no pretence, 
to which I can lay no kind of claim ! As if one should enjoin 
a child to do such or such a thing by the strength of a giant. 
It is implied that there are certain rules and methods, accprdr 
ing whereunto, in a stated way, the Spirit is ready to com 
municate and give forth itself, in reference unto all those ac 
tions and motions, proper to the state of the renewed soul, 
which are comprehended, as you have heard, under the ex* 
pression of walking. 

The Spirit's part being that therefore which we have to 
consider and speak to in the first place, as pre -supposed > 

VOL. y. T 


there are two things that I shall do in reference to that. I 
shall shew you, — what communication of the Spirit is neces 
sary unto our walking in it, and — 4he communicativeness of 
the Spirit, or its aptitude to communicate itself, unto this pur 
pose, and according unto such necessity* 

(1.) What communication of the Spirit is necessary unto 
this, that we may be said to walk in it. We have hinted to 
you already what communication is necessary, in telling you 
what walking in the Spirit implies. A communication both 
of light and power is necessary. Consider we both these* A 
communication of such light and such power, as are quite of 
another orb, and belong to another sphere than that of na 
ture ; a light that is more than natural, and a power that is 
more than natural : such light and power are necessary to our 
walking in the Spirit. We shall speak distinctly unto the one 
and the other of these. 

[1.] Walking in the Spirit doth necessarily suppose a com 
munication of spiritual light, or light from the Spirit, as the 
privilege of truly living Christians, proper to their state, which 
the exigency of their case doth require and call for. This is of 
the very primordia (as I may speak) of the new creation, that 
great work of God upon the spirits of men, by which he doth 
new mould them both for obedience and blessedness. This 
light keeps within the sphere and verge of his own people, the 
people that he doth form for himself: O house of Jacob let 
us walk in the light of the Lord. Isa. 2. 5. It plainly means 
that directive light which is to guide the course of our walking, 
as you will see, if you look back unto the 3d verse of that 
chapter, " Many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us 
go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God 
of Jacob, and lie will teach us his ways, and we will walk in 
his paths/' That we may do so, it is necessary that he teach- 
eth us his ways, and enlighten our ways, and, as it were, 
afford us a continual light through the whole course and tract of 
that way wherein we are to walk. This light is not merely an 
adventitious, uncertain thing, but a stated, settled thing. It 
is necessary that it be so in order to our walking in the Spirit. 
When God began this work of the new creation, the provision 
was, *« Let there be light," that was the care that was taken in 
the old creation, to which the apostle doth manifestly allude in 
2 Cor. 4. 6. God who commanded the light to shine out of 
darkness, hath sbmed in our hearts, to give the light of the 
knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ* 
He, that at first made light shine out of darkness, in raising 
up and forming this old world, when he comes to raise the 
new creation out of the ruins of the old, in the spirits of 


doth the same thing, and followeth the same method. He 
makes light to shine into those dark and desolate souls, that 
before were lost in darkness and death, that they may know 
which way to turn themselves, and to choose their way, what 
is to be done, and what is not to be done. We are not to 
think that this light, this more than natural light, is a thing 
separate from a vital and motive power and influence, but 
most inwardly and necessarily conjunct and connected there 
with : as the light of the sun in reference to the sensible world 
is a vigorous light, a light which hath an influence accompa 
nying it. And think we with ourselves, what a miserable de-» 
solation must presently ensue, not only darkness, but death 
too, if God should put o\t the sun, and that great luminary of 
heaven should become all on a sudden totally extinct ! What 
a universal languor would there be upon universal nature, 
even all on a sudden ! Such is the light unto the new world, 
the new creation of which I am speaking. That spiritual light, 
as was formerly intimated, is vital light, " light of life." Life 
is said to be light in that heretofore mentioned, John 1 . 4. 
And when, in Eph. 5.14. the words are directed unto souls 
that are asleep and buried, as it were, in death, "Awake thou 
that sleepest, and arise from the dead," it is superadded what 
they were to expect from Christ ; and one would think it should 
rather have been said, Christ shall give thee life ; but it is 
said, " Christ shall give thee light," implying that to be a vi 
tal light, a light that car-ties life in it ; and which, when he 
comes efficaciously and powerfully to awaken souls, and by 
his word make them arise, he must then infuse light and life 
together in one. Light is spoken of as the very composition of 
the new creature, as if it were a being all of light, " Ye were 
darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord," and this in refe 
rence to their walking as children of the light. Eph. 5. 8. 
They are made up of light, being born spirit of Spirit, as we 
had occasion formerly to note. The great and glorious God 
himself is called the God of light, they are called the children 
of light. That is their parentage. Light descended of light, 
begotten of light* " God is light, and in him is no darkness 
at all." All converse with him is walking in the light as be is 
in the light, 1 John 1. 7« — It is true, that light signifies holi 
ness, it necessarily connotes it ; but then this only, as was 
heretofore intimated, doth import and signify, that that light, 
which goes into the composition of the new creature, is effica 
cious, refining, transforming light, such as makes the soul 
some way throughout suitable unto the motions of truth, which 
are now placed in the speculative understanding. Whereas 
the case is much otherwise with unchanged, unrenewed souls* 


There is a discordancy, a disagreement between their habitual 
frame and temper, and the notions of truth which are in theft 
minds. But when the notions of truth, and the frame and dispo 
sition of the heart come to be similar unto one another, then is 
the soul said to be, as it were, a being of light, it is all light. 
" Ye were darkness," so men are in their natural and degene 
rate state, all darkness, the very light that is in them is dark 
ness, but when this change comes to be made, then are they 
(f light in the Lord." Now that which is so natural, and is 
even in the very constitution of the new creature, must needs 
be a continual thing; and so must be continually maintained, 
and is maintained by a continual influence, or irradiation of 
light from the blessed Spirit upon the soul that it hath begot. 

I might be here yet more particular, as it is not unnecessary 
to be, and shew you both in reference to what objects, and in 
reference to what acts, such light is needful for our walking in 
the Spirit. 

First. In reference to what objects such light is necessary. 
What things are there to be discovered and made known to 
them that are capable of walking in the Spirit, in reference 
whereto such a light as this is necessary ? Many objects we 
might speak of, if we would particularize, but we shall gather 
up things (because we intend to speak very briefly) under as 
general heads as we can. 

It is necessary, first, that we have light in reference to the 
end towards which we are to act or move in this course. Spi 
ritual walking, as you have heard, connotes an end ; it is ne 
cessary that there be a spiritual light in reference to that end, 
unto which the course of this spiritual walking is, and ought 
to be directed. That end, you know, is no other than the 
blessed God himself, and him considered, as in Christ ; for he 
is not otherwise accessible ; and we are never to think a thought 
of moving or tending towards him, otherwise than in Christ, 
and through him. This light is necessary to reveal both the 
Father and the Son to us. " Shew us the Father, and it suffi- 
ceth us." We need to have him shewn. The disciples ac 
knowledged so much in John 14. 8. It is only in this light 
that we can see light. Ps. 36. 9. How strangely confused 
and blundering notions of God have they, who are destitute of 
this supervening additional light ! Whatsoever objects they 
have, they are dim and without efficacy, and God is known as 
if he were not kiJjown. He hath given us an understanding that 
we may know him that is true, and we are in him. 1 John 5. 
20. And we are in him : the knowledge of God in Christ is 
that which unites, or draws the soul into union ; and that is 
the understanding given 5 that is the additional, supervening 


light. Whosoever sinneth, saith that same apostle, hath not 
seen God. 1 John 3. 6. o XSKXOTTO^V, he that is an evil doer ; 
(we cannot render it more strictly according to the letter than 
so) he hath not seen God ; that is, he that is in an unregene- 
rate state, he that yet lives a life of sin, he hath not seen God; 
no beam of true divine light hath ever yet shined in that 
wretched soul. As our Saviour tells the Jews in John 5. 37. 
Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his 
shape. Ye have not seen, ye have never found a right notion 
of God to any purpose. All that while persons are in a very ill 
condition for walking towards him, for moving and tending 
God- ward. A soul cannot move blindfold towards its end, 
but in the light, and with open eyes. And if men are alienat 
ed from the life of God, it is through the blindness of their 
hearts. Ephes. 4. 18. Persons therefore, who are brought to 
have a participation in the divine life, have a participation of 
the divine light at the same time to guide all the course of 
their motions and operations God— ward, and that continually 
supplied by his " Spirit of revelation." How strangely at a 
loss are persons to conceive of the excellencies and beauties of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom, and through whom we are to 
tend to God, till this light shine in upon them ! The apostle 
prays in behalf of the Ephesians, that " God would give them 
the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him," 
that is, our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom he had spoken before, 
Ephes. 1. 17. As if he should have said, " You can never 
come to know him, to own and acknowledge him, (the word 
there used doth signify acknowledgment) to know him to 
purpose, unless the Spirit of wisdom and revelation be given 
you for that end." Others look upon him as one without form, 
without comeliness even when they see him, as the expres 
sion is to that purpose in Isa. 53. 2. Even while men see 
him, they see no beautiful object ; no inviting, no captivating 
excellencies are beheld in him, nothing for which he is reckon-, 
ed desirable from a practical judgment. The Spirit of wis 
dom and revelation therefore is necessary to this. And when 
we consider God our end, towards whom through Christ we 
are now to be moving, the principal consideration of him as 
our end, is in that state wherein we are finally to acquiesce 
and rest in him, that is, the future state of glory and blessed 
ness. And how altogether unapprehensive of the attractive 
power of that end are those souls that are yet destitute of this 
life ! Therefore, in that mentioned Ephes. 1. 18. the apostle 
prays for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to be given to the 
Ephesians, that the eyes of their understanding being enlight 
ened, they might know the hope of their calling, and what is 


the riches of the glory of the*inheritance that God hath jn his 
saints, or, among his saints, as it may be read ; the glories of 
that state wherein the saints in common have a share. Our 
course is to he directed heaven-ward, walking in the Spirit ; 
we are to walk towards heaven, that ought to be the ten 
dency of our course all along: but how are they capable of 
walking heaven-ward,, who are destitute of the inviting, alluring 
representations of it ? And how impossible is it, that they 
should otherwise be had, than by this divine light ? Things 
which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, and which it enters not 
into the heart of man to conceive of, God has prepared for them 
that love him ; and, as it follows, he hath revealed them to us 
by his Spirit, that Spirit which teaches the deep things of God. 
1 Cor. 2. 9. 1 0. And if you carry on the discourse to the 1 2th 
verse, there you find, We have received not the spirit of the 
world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the 
things that are freely given to us of God. We come by this 
Spirit to have some right knowledge of the things that are free 
ly given, which without this light we could never have known. 
This light is necessary, secondly, to shew us our way 
from step to step. The spirituality of that duty which is re 
quired of us we can never understand aright without this Spi 
rit. To know what it is to meet with God, what it is to obey 
out of love, what it is to be in a continual, profound subjection 
of Spirit unto the authority and law of an invisible God, we 
shall never understand these things, we shall never know them 
without this light. A regenerate man has the law of God, and 
an unregenerate man may have it too ; but we find that in re 
ference to that clearer light which the regenerate person is ca 
pable of, and is possessed of more or less, he hath need to 
have his eyes open to see what there is in that law : Open 
thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy 
law. Psalm 1 19. 19. There are wonders inclosed in the law 
of God, which an unregenerate man doth not dream of, which 
escape his ken, or come not within his notice. A regenerate 
person, one who is made spiritually alive, is brought in this 
respect, as into a new world ; all things look with another 
face and aspect to him. He is said to be translated out of dark 
ness into marvellous light, $us fav^ro* amazing- light, 1. Pet. 
2. 9. When he once comes into that light, "Where am I !" 
saith he. " What a glorious light am I got into !" Look to the 
way in which he is to walk, and there is a lustre and glory 
upon it, which was ne*er apprehended before ; as, according 
to another attribute of the same way, it is said to be pleasant. 
The ways of wisdom are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths. 
are peace, Prov. 3. 17. A carnal mind never apprehends any 


pleasure in these ways, and so apprehends no glory, no amia- 
bleness in them. 

This light is necessary, thirdly, in reference to the pro 
per motives of this walking. There are such things. Indeed 
they lie very much in the objects themselves, but we may 
frame, concerning some, a diverse consideration of motives; 
and besides those that are in the objects ; that is, respect the 
spiritual and divine objects, they are desirable for themselves, 
and accordingly, the object is a motive ; but there are accessary 
and supervening motives ; as it is a very great motive to betake 
ourselves unto this region of spirituality, of spiritual light, and 
life and motion, to cast an eye upon this our world, and behold 
the vanity, the nothingness of it, and all things that do belong 
unto this compages or frame. There needs this spiritual, di 
vine light to behold that. A carnal man can never make a 
right judgment, to the purpose, of the vanity of the creature, 
of the emptiness and nothingness of all things under the sun. 
But to one that lives in the divine light, that walks and is con 
versant there, what a fleeting, despicable shadow is all this 
world, this frame of sensible things, that is vanishing under 
his eye 1 He sees how the fashion of it is passing away ; and 
by how much the more he is weaned hereby, and disengaged 
from it, so much the more is he at liberty for this spiritual 
walk which we speak of. By how much the more he gets out 
of the entangling snares of death that are below, so much the 
more is his way above, as the way of the wise is : so much the 
more is he conversant in that path, that unknown way, which 
the " vulture's eye hath not seen, and which the lion's foot 
hath not trod ;" that way of wisdom, or holiness, or life, so 
much spoken of in Job 28. 

This light is necessary, fourthly, in order to the knowledge 
of ourselves. We can never walk in the Spirit if we have not 
some competent discerning of ourselves ; and we can never 
know the weaknesses, the wants, the wiliness and deceit of 
our own spirits without the divine light. To be conversant 
therein is necessary to all such purposes, and in reference to 
our making a discovery of whatsoever is needful to be disco 
vered concerning the state, and posture, and temper, and or 
dinary ways and methods of our souls. 

Secondly, The acts in reference whereto such light is neces 
sary are these : 

w.-Itis necessary, first, in reference to the act of apprehension. 
We cannot so much as apprehend clearly and with distinction 
the things, which are heedful for us to apprehend, without this 
light of the Spirit of wisdom and revelation given for these- 
purposes, *<<r*.0**lr 


144 frHE WORK OF THE HOLY St»tR!T (sEft. XltK 

In reference unto the acts of consideration it is necessary, 
secondly, that we have this light to converse and walk in. 
Otherwise we can have no steady discerning of any thing. For 
consideration is nothing else but knowledge continued, or the 
often repeated acts of apprehension, varied this way and that, 
according to the various representations of the object about 
which I am now employing my mind. In reference to such 
an act of vision as this, that is, steady, intent vision, there 
needs steady light. I cannot have a steady view of a thing by 
a flashy and evanid light, Walking therefore in the Spirit 
doth require a continued light of the Spirit to be afforded me, 
because I have constant need to go with my eyes in my head all 
along, and to consider and ponder my way from step to step, 
from point to point, but without such a steady light, as may, 
as it were, determine my eye to such and such objects needful 
to be considered : alas ! how incapable is it of looking with a 
steady intuition, that is, of thinking composedly of any thing 
which it most concerns me to think of. Can we command our 
own thoughts ? Consult we our experience ; we can no more 
do it, than " gather up the winds in our fists." But the Spi 
rit in this way of operation, holds them steady by a command 
ing light, which keeps them, as it were under its own govern 
ment, "Look hither," and so doth determine and fixtheeye to 
that which I am called now to consider. Whence you have 
that experience pronounced and spoken out, We look not at the 
things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen ; 
for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things 
which are not seen are eternal, 2 Cor. 4. 18. The word 
which is here rendered look signifies to take aim at, vv.ovuvruv 
vpw. That is a very steady intuition which a man hath of the 
mark which he is aiming at, or the end which he designs ; he 
must always have it in his eye. And, by this looking, saith the 
apostle, " we find that notwithstanding, all the decays of the 
outward man the inward is renewed day by day," life and vi 
gour and spirit continually entering in at our eyes from that 
glorious aim which we have before us. This will need a very 
steady determination of mind unto such objects by a command 
ing light and glory that they carry with them, so as that the soul 
feels not a disposition in itself to direct or look off. 

This light is necessary, thirdly, in order to the act of dijudi- 
cation^ that is, distinguishing or discerning between things and 
things, what is of great value and account, and to be chosen, and 
what is worthless, and to be neglected ; what is to be done, and 
what is not to be done. There is a continual need through the 
whole course of our spiritual walk for the using of such a dis- 
vretive judgment between things and things, and in reference 


hereto, there needs a continual emanation of the Holy Ghost : 
for otherwise, we put good for evil, and evil for good ; light 
for darkness, and darkness for light ; bitter for sweet, and sweet 
for bitter. That sense which should be exercised to distinguish 
between good and evil, is from the blessed Spirit, residing in our 
eye, putting continually fresh vigour in it, that we may be able 
by quickness of sight to discern or see, here is somewhat to bet 
closed with, here is somewhat to be refused ; this will be good, 
that will be noxious. The apostle doth on this account pray 
(and that is a plain intimation to us, that it is the office and 
work of the Spirit of God to do the thing that he there speaks 
of; he prays) on the behalf of the Philippians, in chap. I. 9, 
10. that their love might abound yet more and more in know 
ledge and in all judgment. So we read it; but the word render 
ed judgment is capable of being rendered sense (ifata-n aM™* 
in all sense) 6( I pray that you may have your spiritual senses 
in exercise ; that you may have a judicious distinguishing sense" 
For what ? Why, " that ye may approve things that are exr 
cellent ;" so it follows, or as the words there may be read, to 
distinguish the things that differ. You are otherwise likely to 
be imposed upon, if the Spirit take not that particular care of 
you, by the deceitful appearances of things. 

In order, fourthly, to the act of determination, or coming 
to a determinative judgment, as we do upon comparing things, 
and noting the difference between one and another. We 
need the Spirit's help here, to shine with that vigorous and 
powerful light into the mind, as to bring our judgments to a 
right determination, for the rule and government of our prac 
tice, which are apt to be long hovering and in suspense, if they 
do not hastily determine amiss. You have the apostle ex 
pressing his own determining judgment, in a particular, but 
very important case in Rom. 8.18. (f I reckon," saith he; 
the word which he makes use of, is a word from whence we 
borrow the name of logic, teytfypxi, I do compute, or I 
am, by reason, come at last unto this definitive and positive 
judgment, "that the sufferings of this present time, are not 
worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed 
in us." That there should be such a positive, determinative 
judgment as that which should have the power to be influential 
upon his course, and directive of it, do you think he was not 
beholden to the illumination of the Holy Ghost ? He doth 
not speak like a doubtful, uncertain man, or one that did not 
know what to choose, or how to steer his course. " For my 
part, saith he, I thus judge ; I am at a point, having viewed 
the case round, inspected it narrowly and thoroughly, and con 
sidered all about it that is to be considered, and 1 say, that 

VOL. V. U 


these two things, the sufferings of time, and the glories of 
eternity are not to be named in the same day, there is no com 
pare between them." In order to such a determination of the 
mind as this, it is plain this light must necessarily come in? 
and there can be nothing of greater moment to the whole course 
of our walking in the Spirit than such a determinative judg 

You see therefore that a communication of light from the 
Spirit is necessary to our walking in the Spirit. A communi 
cation of power is necessary to the same purpose too; but of 
that in the ne$t discourse. 



JL Am now to shew you, 

[2.] That a communication of spiritual power is also neces 
sary that we may be capable of walking in the Spirit. It is 
said that they who shall walk in such a course as this is "with 
out weariness," must in order thereto fc renew their strength/* 
and this strength is to be from a divine communication, be 
cause it is that which we are to wait upon the Lord for, Isa. 
xl. 31. We hear of a strength in the inner man given and 
sought for, which implies it capable of being given, for this 
purpose. The Psalmist speaks his experience of its being 
given in psalm 138. 3. In the day when I cried, thou 
answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul. 
And the apostle prays that it might be given unto the Ephe- 
sians, (chap. 3. 16.) that he would grant you according to the 
riches of his glory to be strengthened with might by his Spirit 
in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, 
&c. You will never be able to act that faith wherewith to 
keep up any converse with Christ, or by which he can have 
any commodious reception in your souls, so as to dwell there, 
if you are not strengthened according to the riches of his glory 
with might by his Spirit in the inner man, in order thereunto. 

That we may speak a little more distinctly to this, it will 

Preached March 2pth. 1677. at Cordwainer's Hall, 


be requisite to shew you, — what kind of influence, or commu 
nication of power will not be sufficient in this case : and then, 
— what is, over and beside that, necessary, as what will suf 
fice for this purpose. 

First, What will not suffice. It is requisite that you have 
a right, and as clear an account as is possible of this. 

For first, It will not be sufficient to have only that common 
power afforded to us, which doth suffice for common, natural 
action : whether by that power we understand the faculties 
belonging to the reasonable nature, or whether you do also 
comprehend therewith the promptitude and aptitude of those 
faculties for common actions. This will not suffice for spiri 
tual actions, s.o that we may be said to walk in the Spirit. 
Which may easily be made to appear from such considerations 
as these. Namely, 

If only such a communication of power were sufficient, then 
no more influence is afforded unto regenerate persons than to 
the rest of men. For they have a power which doth enable 
them to the common actions which belongs to them as men, 
as reasonable creatures ; which doth enable them, not which 
doth constrain them ; or make them do many actions which 
yet they do. And again, 

Then there were as much power and influence afforded and 
given forth, in order to sinful and forbidden actions, as in 
order to good and holy, and commanded ones, which it were 
very unreasonable and horrid to think, as we shall have occa 
sion to shew you by and by. In reference to the latter, such 
an influence goes forth, as by which God doth procure that they 
shall be done, or makes them to be ; but sure we will not dare 
to say concerning forbidden actions, that he makes them to be 
done, though he gives such a power as by which they may, 
and can be done ; otherwise indeed it were impossible they 
should be done, namely, if power were not derived from him. 

Otherwise it might be poss ible that no good action should 
ever be done ; and consequently that no person should be 
saved, or finally happy. Of so great concernment it is care 
fully to distinguish between that common power, by which 
such and such actions may be done, and that power by which, 
such and such actions must, and shall be done, or shall be 
procured to be done. And again, 

Otherwise it Were not only possible that no spiritual and holy 
actions might be done, but impossible that any should. For 
it is not only impossible that any action should be done with 
out power, but it is impossible also that any action should be 
done without a power proportionable to tke kind and nature of 


that action. And since merely natural power is altogether un- 
proportionable unto the kind of holy and spiritual actions, it 
would be equally absurd to say that such actions could be done 
by so improper a power, as to say, that an action can be done 
by no power at all. If you assign an unproportionable power 
to any action, it is a perfect equivalence to no power ; for it is 
no power as to this purpose. As a power to walk is no power 
proportionable unto the offices and functions of a reasonable 
soul, so that common power by which such and such natural 
actions may be done, is no way proportionable unto spiritual 
actions, which it is undertaken shall be done, which must be 
done, in order to their blessedness in the other world, and 
their glorifying God in this, who are designed at length, even 
of the Spirit, to receive life everlasting, Gal. 6. 8. 

And in the last place, If common natural power were all that 
is requisite in this case, then no exercise of grace, or no ac 
tual grace could be said to be the gift of God, and consequent 
ly, it must be denied to be grace : for what is grace but a divine 
gift ? Common natural power in reference unto these actions 
whereunto it is adequate, never infers that those actions are td 
be referred to God as given by him. And it may very easily 
be made to appear to you, that the supposition of a power only 
for spiritual actions, (that is, the natural faculty) though yoir 
suppose never so much promptitude for common action, which 
is to be made use of even in these, could not leave us ground 
whereupon to call such and such exercises of grace divine gifts. 
For it would be very absurd to give the name of the thing rlone^ 
or to be done, to the power that must be used in the doing of 
it. If we might suppose that at all tolerable, then we must 
suppose that, because all men have natural faculties which 
must be made use of in believing, and have a promptitude for 
many other actions, which are some way congenerous, or of 
like kind, all men are believers. If it can be enough to say 
that God is the giver of faith, because he gives the natural fa 
culties which are to be made use of in believing, then we must 
say that he hath given faith to all the world, and consequently 
since all believers shall be saved, we must say too, that all the 
world shall be saved. Yea, if there were not an aversion unto 
this same work of faith, for instance, which is to be otherwise 
overcome, it were yet altogether improper so to speak, namely, 
that the power of believing is believing, that is, the natural 
power to be used for a purpose, which the spiritual power doth 
suppose. For you might every whit as well say, that the 
power of building a house, is a house ; and the power, which* 
is to be used in fighting, is a battle; the absurdity of which 


phrases, or forms of speech is obvious to every one at the first 

And if this were sufficient to say, that such and such acts or 
exercises are the gifts of God, because that natural power, 
which is presupposed in order thereto, and must be used there 
in, is given by him, then we might as well call the fruits of 
the flesh the gifts of God, as the fruits of the Spirit. For (as 
hath been intimated before) that power by which any sin 
ful or fleshly act can be done, must be supposed to have had a 
divine original, or else no such act could have been done, God 
being tbe fountain of all power whatsoever. And all acts ad 
extra> all operations that are any where put forth towards the 
creature are common to the persons of the Trinity, and are 
indeed expressly attributed to the Spirit of God. By his Spi 
rit he hath garnished the beavens, (Job 26. 13.) and renew- 
eth the face of the earth, Psalm. 104. 30. Upon this sup 
position therefore the very distinction would be taken away be 
tween the fruits of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit, which 
we see the text hath an express reference to ; and those who 
do the most vile of those fleshly acts might all that while be 
said to walk in the Spirit as those who do the best actions 
imaginable. That natural power therefore which is sufficient 
for actions in common is not sufficient there. 

Nor secondly, is the addition of gracious habits sufficient 
to our walking in the Spirit, or our doing spiritual actions. 
There must be an influence beyond that by which such habits 
are given and infused. For, 

Those habits themselves could not subsist without a conti 
nual influence: especially, it being considered, they that 
are in the souls of sinful, corrupt, degenerate men even at the 
best. They are in soils which are not natural to them. They 
are foreign plants, and do so much the more need a continual 
preservative influence. As heat which is introduced into water, 
because it is not natural unto that water, therefore needs to be 
continually cherished by a fire maintained and kept under it ; 
and if the influence of the external agent, the fire without, were 
not continued to maintain the heat within, it would soon va 
nish, and the coldness, which is natural to the water, would 
recover itself. Which argues that that quality which is foreign, 
and from without, needs a continual influence from without to 
maintain it. But that is not all, for 

Beside the influence which is necessary to maintain such 
habits, there is an influence necessary to act them in a renew 
ed soul ; otherwise they would not be acted. For these habits 
are in conjunction with contrary habits which would impede 
the other from going forth into act : which we do not need to 


reason with you much about, because we find the matter so 
expressly asserted in Scripture, even this very Gal. 5. 17. Ye 
cannot do the things that ye would. And why ? because the 
flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and these two, saith the apos 
tle, are contrary the one to the other. And here it seems more 
reasonable to understand by Spirit, the new nature, the new 
creature, which you have heard is called Spirit, in John 3. 6". 
And for that very reason is the injunction given in the \6 verse 
of this chapter, to walk in the Spirit. u Walk in the Spirit, and 
ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth 
against the Spirit, &c." He speaks to those whom he supposes 
to be furnished with the habits of grace, and yet they could 
not act for all that, unless they did walk in the Spirit ; and 
therefore walking in the Spirit must import more on the Spirit's 
part, than only its furnishing the soul, with gracious habits 
added to natural powers. And for my part, I dare not venture 
to say, what many do, that the apostle speaks of himself, in 
Rom. 7- as in a state wherein he was destitute of grace, when 
he so expressly says, that how to perform that which is good 
he did not find. Sure he was not without the habits of grace 
when he said this, yet though he had the habits of grace, there 
were times in which he could not find to do the things that 
were good. Such habits therefore do need farther influence 
than what doth infuse and maintain them, by which they may 
be capable of being brought forth into act. And therefore 

Secondly, We shall next lay down what is necessary and 
will be sufficient in this case that spiritual actions may be done, 
and so that we may be truly said to walk in the Spirit. And 
such an influence is necessary, and would be sufficient for this 
purpose as will be so efficacious as to direct and determine and 
over-rule the heart into the doing of this and that particular 
action, so that it may not only be said, as concerning common 
actions, such an action may be done by such a natural power 
put forth, but this action shall be done. In short, such an 
influence, as by which a person is not only enabled to do such 
an action, but is made to do it ; or by which the action is pro 
cured to be done : so that the very production of the action 
is referable unto the divine influence in this case, as that 
whereunto it doth actually enable and determine the doer. 
And that so much is necessary unto every spiritual and holy ac 
tion we shall prove to you from several scripture-considerations. 

We remark first, holy souls are wont to disclaim any suffi 
cient ability to do a good action. They say that it is not in 
them : that if a good action be done, it is not they that have 
done it by any power that was either natural to them, or super- 
added diverse and distinct from that, but by the issue and 


communication of a power from God when it was done. See 
how they speak unto this purpose. Look into 2. Cor. 3. 5. 
Thinking a good thought rs as little a good action as any one 
you can suppose or think of, but for that, saith he, "we are 
not sufficient of ourselves." That great apostle had not yet 
got a sufficiency into his own hand, by all his light and know 
ledge, and by all his habitual grace, for so much as the think 
ing a c;ood thought ; Not that we are sufficient of ourselves 
to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of 
God. You find his state again in that before-mentioned Rom. 
vii. 5. 21. When I would do good, evil is present with me ; so 
ver. 18. how to perform that which is good I find not. There 
was a natural power, and there were habits of grace, but yet 
there was wanting that present, actual, over-powering deter 
mination to the doing of this good action which we have told 
you is farther necessary. 

^ It is evident secondly, the blessed God himself, who knows 
us better than we do ourselves, doth expressly deny us to have 
that ability, an ability to act otherwise than as it is supplied 
and given still from time to time. Without me ye can do no 
thing, saith our Lord to his disciples in John 15. 5. He 
means it apparently of spiritual actions ; for the expression is 
t expository of that of bearing fruit, by which they should ap 
pear to be his disciples, and such fruits as for which sap and 
influence was to be derived from him the vine. As though he 
had said, <c There cannot be a good action done without me." 

And thirdly, the people of God, as they disclaim it in refe 
rence to themselves, so they ascribe it to God. When they 
Lave done any good action, they own it to have been from him ; 
as David in his own and the people of Israel's behalf in 1. 
Chron. 29. What a solemn and joyful thanksgiving to God 
is there upon this account, that lie enabled them to offer wil 
lingly ! That willingness of obligation is acknowledged unto 
God. Yea, they ascribe it to God that even such an action 
may be done ; By thee will we make mention of thy name, 
(Isa. 26. 13.) implying that they could not so much as make 
serious mention of God, without God. 

And fourthly, as they ascribe it to God, so God claims it to 
himself. He had denied it concerning them, arid they deny it 
of themselves; they ascribe it to God, and God assumes it 
to himself. He claims it as ar thing appropriate and belonging 
to him to be the author of any good action that is done by any 
of his. How plain is that passage in Phil. 2.13. It is God 
Who worketh in you both to will and to do, of his good plea 
sure. Not the inclination only is from him, as it is the puiv 
pose ef the habit to incline to this or that thing, but even the 


action itself; he works iti And so the apostle speaks con 
cerning christians in common in Phil. 1. 29* that it is given 
to them to believe ; not only the principle, but the act of 
faith is said to be the gift of God; for to believe is the act of 
faith. It is given not only to believe but to suffer, that is, 
the act of faith and the act of patience, the exercise of both 
the one and the other are given things. And it is very remark 
able to this purpose that God doth therefore promise that he 
would be the Author unto his people of their good works which 
they shall do by his Spirit. You see it is the tenour of his 
covenant in Ezek. 36. 27- I will put my Spirit within you, 
and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my 
judgments and do them. Sure this is a peculiar thing and dif 
ferent from what can be said of many other sorts of action, but 
concerning this sort of action he causes the very doing of the 
thing. Nothing can be more plain. 

We may farther argue it, fifthly, from the reference which 
holy and good actions have unto tbat same rank and order of 
things unto which spiritual habits and principles do belong. 
Take you such a sphere of good things, include good habits 
within that compass, and you must include good actions with 
in it too ; and then, if one be from God, the other must be 
from him, for every such good and perfect gift is from above, 
James 1. 17. Now will I say, if an act of grace, or a holy 
spiritual action be a good action, then it is from God, as that 
which he causes, or which he may be said to give ; it is a gift 
of his grace : and we cannot say that the habit is a spiritual 
good thing, and that the act is not, when as the habit is in or 
der to the act, and were otherwise useless. And if habitual 
grace be a good thing, we may upon that account say, that ac 
tual grace, or the exercise of grace, is better, because it is 
that to which the other is subordinate, and to which it serves, 
and therefore may with the greatest certainty and clearness be 
concluded to be a divine gift. 

We may farther argue, sixthly, from the analogy which 
there is between the direct and the reflex actions of a Chris 
tian. For consider the reflex actions, by which he looks in 
upon himself, and takes notice of such and such things wrought 
and done in him, and concludes his relation to God, as a 
child ; how are these reflex acts wrought ? By the Spirit of 
God, "bearing witness with our spirits ;" and you must suppose 
it to be the superior in this work, as it belongs to it to be. It 
must then be proportionably so in reference to the direct acts 
of a Christian too. That is, If I cannot know without the Spi 
rit's testimony witnessing with my spirit, that 1 am a child of 
God ; then 1 cannot do the direct actions which are proper t* 

VOL. V. X 


a child., without that Spirit overruling and acting my spirit in? 
that case. I cannot believe, I cannot love &c. 

We may yet again argue, seventhly, from the many 
apostolical prayers, which we find scattered up and down irr 
the epistles, by* which actual grace, or grace in exercise is 
implored for the Christians unto whom they were written. 
Certainly such prayers were not impertinent or improper. Do 
but look into some of those passages briefly. In 2 Thes. 3. 5. 
the apostle prays that God would direct their hearts into the 
love of himself, and into the patient waiting for Christ. These 
were acts of grace, loving himself, and expecting the appear 
ance of his Son ; why, the Lord, saith he, direct your hearts 
thereinto, or determine them unto this very thing. It would 
be very strange to suppose that a man's heart should need such 
direction or determination unto another sort of actions; that is, 
that I should as much need that God should determine it to 
hate him, unto which my heart is so propense and inclined of 
itself : but as to such spiritual actions as these, you see the 
exigency of the ease is such, as to make such a prayer as this 
very proper, "Lord, direct their hearts into the love of thee, di 
rect their hearts into the expectation of thy Son.'" It is plain 
then that the very acts were referred unto the divine productive 
power, or determinative influence, not the bare inclination. 
And the apostle prays also for the Colossians, in Col. 1. 9, 
10. that they might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing* 
that expression walk (by which you have heard in the opening 
of that term in the text, acting, or exercising of grace is to be 
understood) he explains, as we did, by working; " being fruit 
ful in every good work — strengthened with all might," &C* 
The like also you find in the epistle to the Hebrews chap. 1 3. 
ver. 20, 22. The apostle there supplicates the God of peace 
who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that 
great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlast 
ing covenant, that he would make them perfect in every good 
work to do his will. Here is still the action, the exercise of 
grace, in reference unto which it is matter of prayer to God, 
that God would make them do so and so, or efficaciously de 
termine their spirits unto such actions. 

We may argue from hence, lastly, that the Scripture makes 
certain discernable characters to be as it were impressed on 
such and such actions, namely, those that are spiritual and 
holy, as by which it might be known that God was the Author 
of them. To give you an instance in that one expression in 
John 3. 20, 21. The form of expression may lie thus, in re- 
fdrence to what had been before spoken concerning the light, 
<that light in which every one must be understood to walk, that 


walks holily, or in the Spirit, as you have before heard : he 
who so walks, in such light, comes to the light, that hLs deeds 
may be made manifest that they are wrought in God. A true 
light will make it manifest that such and such works are 
-wrought in God. It is therefore necessarily supposed that there 
are some discriminative characters between works and works, 
.and that those which God makes men do are distinguishable by 
:the divine light, from tbose which he never doth so entitle 
himself to ; that holy and spiritual actions, in short, may be 
said to have been wrought in God. 

And it highly concerns us to consider, whether indeed the 
^course and tenour of our actions is capable of having this said 
concerning it. Looking over the course of my conversation, 
>can I say, " My works have been wrought in God ; bring theni 
to the light, and it will appear that they are wrought in God ?" 
Even those works wherein we have immediately to do with 
him, the works and duties of religion themselves ; O! can we 
say, that they are works wrought in God ? "I have been so 
carried out in prayer, as that I could find this prayer was 
wrought in God ; and so carried out in meditation, and con 
ferring with my own heart, in self-thoughts, that bring these 
into the light, and I can discern that they were wrought in 
•God ; the impress of the divine hand and power is visible upon 
them ?" Alas ! how plainly convictive would the light which 
we have among us be concerning most of our works, that they 
are not wrought in God, that they are done at a very great 
.distance from God, and that we have had little commerce witli 
God in them ! That little walking in the Spirit that appears 
<even among those who profess religion at this day, is a #rea£ 
testimony against us, that God hath little to do by his Spirit 
with the government of our lives ; that is, we do not put our 
selves under it, and resign ourselves to it. (As when we come 
to speak of our own part in this matter we shall have occasion 
to shew ; though there we are acted too.) The vanity and the 
deadness of our spirits, the fprmality, the licentiousness and 
the extravagancies of our spirits, alas ! they too plainly shew 
that we do not walk in the Spirit, and that our works are not 
wrought in God. There is not a religion living amongst us, 
which is God-wrought, vvhereunto we can entitle him as the 
Author of it. 

It was therefore necessary to insist, as we have done, in 
letting you understand what dependance we must have upon 
an immediate influence, as to every good work, which leaves 
not our spirits undetermined or at loose, but, they being 
averse to every thing of that kind, oversways them thereinto. 
It was necessary, I say, that the truth iu this matter should be 


held forth to us, because I am very much persuaded, that this 
is the great worm at the root of religion this day . Faith in 
the eternal Spirit is not acted to draw forth that life and influ 
ence which would make our religion a living, active thing, 
and hold it forth lovely and beautiful in the eyes of the world. 
Therefore it is that we are such languishing creatures as to the 
business of religion, and as to all spiritual actions, because it 
is not enough understood that all these works must be wrought 
in us and for us. For if that were understood, we should not 
be so self-confident as we are, when we goto duties, and conr 
cerning the government of our conversations, to cover our 
selves with a covering that is not of God's Spirit, and make 
up to ourselves a texture of religion which it never wrought for 
us, never put on us : nor should we be so inobservant of the 
motions and breathings of that Spirit, make so little of them, 
call for them so seldom, and complain so little when there is a 
cessation, a retraction of that influence from us in any measure* 
Certainly our judgments have need to be rectified about this 
matter, and actual thoughts to be revived in our hearts, that 
we canqot move a step in our spiritual way and walk without 
the help of this Spirit ; that it must do all in us and for us. 
Whilst this is not understood and considered, we wander, and 
live apart from God, and Christ, and his Spirit, as if we could 
choose our own way, and do all, that is needful for us to do, of 
ourselves ; and so we betray ourselves into ruin and death, 
when we should be soaring aloft in that way which is the way 
of the wise. For we are not to think (as we shall have occasion 
to shew) that because this Spirit govern eth our way by a strong^ 
that therefore it doth it by a violent hand. No ! but in a cer 
tain method which it hath prescribed and wherein it must act 
with our concurrence : otherwise we could not be said to 
walk in the Spirit, but should be merely passive, stupid blocks, 
and no more. We should no more walk than a stone walks^ 
when it is moved to roll by a violent hand. 



are shewing how it belongs to the state of regenerate 
persons to walk in the Spirit, and have hitherto consi 
dered it as a privilege agreeable to their state. They may do 
so. We have proposed to shew the extent of this privilege, 
or what communications of the Spirit must be understood to 
lie within the compass of it ; and the attainableness of it, or 
how ready the Spirit is to give forth these communications ac 
cording as the case shall require. As to the former of these, 
we have shewn that the privilege consists in these two things, 
namely, A communication of spiritual light, and a commu 
nication of spiritual power. Both these have been spoken to, 
and we may refer unto either, or unto both of them, not only 
such a communication as is necessary for the operations of 
grace, but even the comforting and consolatory communications 
also, which are sometimes spoken of under the name of light, 
Alight in the Lord; "and sometimes under the name of strength 
and power, as when the joy of the Lord, is said to be "the 
strength of his people." 

But we pass over unto the next head, namely, 

(2.) To shew the attainableness of the Spirit ; or how apt 

the blessed Spirit of God is to communicate and give forth such 

influence, as the case doth require, that they who live in the 

Spirit, may be capable of walking in the Spirit. And here it 

* Preached March 27tb, 1678, at Cordwainer's Hall 


is necessary, — to clear to you the sense, and then, — to evince 
the truth, of what we do now assert, namely, that unto all 
those to whom the Spirit hath been the Author of a new, di 
vine life, it is ready to communicate and give forth all needful 
influence, in order to their suitable walking. In reference to 
the former of these we shall give you some explicatory propo 
sitions, and in reference to the latter some demonstrative con 

[1.] For the clearing of the sense of what is asserted, take 
these few propositions, 

First, When we say that the Spirit is ready to communicate 
itself for such purposes, or for that general purpose which ha* 
been expressed, of our walking in the Spirit, the meaning is, 
that it is ready to do so in a stated and constant course, and 
not that it doth so only sometimes, very rarely, and now and 
then. For it were not to be imagined that this should lie as a 
stated, constant precept upon all Christians, "walk in the Spi 
rit/' if the supposed ground thereof were intercepted, and to 
be but rarely found actually in being. Walking is a continued 
thing, (as we formerly intimated) and imports the constant 
and settled course of a Christian's life or practice ; and there 
fore there were no sufficient ground upon which such an obli 
gation as this could be inferred upon the Christian, if the in 
fluence of the Spirit in order thereto were exhibited but very 

Secondly, We must understand that therefore there are 
certain rules according whereto the blessed Spirit (though as 
we find it is called in Scripture, a free Spirit) is come under 
obligation that it will be present, by a vital, active influence, 
as the great Author and Director of that course of holy motion 
unto which renewed ones are more immediately engaged. We 
must suppose that there is a connexion between their obser 
vance of such and such rules, and the Spirit's communicating 
and giving forth its influence according to those rules. This 
for explication I now lay down only in the general ; what those 
rules are we shall have occasion distinctly to tell you, when w.e 
come to the second general head, namely, to treat of our part 
in this matter, or how walking in the Spirit belongs to the 
state of souls spiritually alive as a duty. 

Thirdly, When we speak of the Spirit's being so obliged, 
you must understand it in reference to a regenerate subject. 
For within these bounds our text doth confine us : " If we live 
in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." Living in the 
Spirit is supposed. We cannot suppose that it should have 
annexed and tied its communications unto the actions, or the 
endeavour of any other sort of persons that lie without this 


compass. To such as are got into the sphere of life, are with 
in this verge, and have actual union with the Mediator, who is 
the spring and treasury of all spiritual life, and in whom all 
the promises^ all the ties and obligations that the blessed God 
hath brought himself under any way, are yea, and amen ; ta 
such, I say, we must understand that this influence is in this 
Stated way to be communicated, and may be expected. It is 
very true that others have no cause to despair, but these have 
cause and ground to believe. They have no cause to despair, 
because this Spirit is, as hath been said, a free Spirit, and, as 
"the wind bloweth where it listeth," none can tell but it may, 
one time or another, cast a favourable breath even on them. 
But these have reason to be confident, for the communications, 
of which we speak, are part of his portion, and a privilege 
belonging unto their state. We only add in the 

Fourth place, that whereas we told you, that the commu 
nications of the Holy Ghost, due unto this purpose, do compre 
hend both the influences of grace and of comfort, we must un 
derstand this obligation to be more in reference to the former, 
than to the latter, to what concerns the being of gracious ope- 
tations than the well-being. It is true, there is somewhat of 
comfort involved in the very nature of a gracious act, accord 
ing as it is wont to be said concerning natural acts, that they 
all are pleasant, or carry a kind of pleasantness with them ; so 
those acts which are connatural to the new-creature, have a 
pleasure in them, which we cannot separate even from those 
acts of that kind which seem to import most of vigour and se 
verity ; as the very acts of repentance and self-denial, if they 
be in their own kind, vital acts, proceeding from the Spirit of 
grace, and from the new nature put into the soul. One might 
appeal to the experience of Christians, whether they do not 
find pleasure in melting before the Lord, pleasure in abandon 
ing and quitting all that is dear to them, when they can fully do 
it, for his sake, and upon his account. Such consolation there 
fore as is intrinsical to any gracious act must be distinguish 
ed from that consolation which follows afterward upon re 
flection, or our taking a review of such and such gracious cha 
racters, discriminative tokens, discernable upon ourselves, and 
by which we can judge of our case. For the other pleasure is 
without intervening judgment, the acts are pleasant in them 
selves, even before we come to reflect, or take notice, or con 
sider any thing concerning our states, whereof they are, or any 
thing else discernable in ourselves may be understood to be, 
characteristical. In reference to the consequential consolations 
we must understand the Spirit to have reserved to itself a liber 
ty 5 it is more arbitrary in communications of that kind, anel 


doth upon mere sovereignty many times ^retract and withhold 
that kind of light for ends best known to itself. But in refer 
ence to those operations which are essential to the divine life, 
•we must suppose that it hath a fixed and stated course, in which 
its influence shall be communicated in order to it. Our next 
business therefore is, 

[2.] To add several considerations by which the truth of the 
thing assented may be manifested. And the 

First consideration that occurs, is what hath been sug 
gested to you already, in clearing the ground of the obser 
vation which we took up, namely, That we find it enjoined 
and laid as a command upon those who live in the Spi^ 
lit, that they walk in the Spirit. For, as you were heretofore 
told ; it would be very strangely unreasonable to enjoin one to 
walk in the sun-shine at midnight. And we find that this 
precept of walking in the Spirit is not dropped, as it were, as a 
casual thing, but even in this very chapter it is urged and 
pressed, and with a great deal of solemnity. As you see in the 
16'thver. This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall 
not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. It is introduced here with a 
solemn preface, This I say ; as though he had said, "I under* 
«tancl myself in what I say, I do not speak rashly and at ran 
dom." And with how great apostolical authority is the pre 
cept ushered in ! This I say, Walk in the Spirit. We cannot 
suppose that so solemn a charge should have been laid, if this 
had not been a certain thing, that the Spirit shall be commu 
nicated, its influences shall issue and go forth, as far as is ne 
cessary for this purpose, unto the persons that are concerned. 
We find particular precepts given again and again unto the 
same purpose ; as to instance in that spiritual action, or ope 
ration of prayer, we read of praying in the Holy Ghost ; (Jude 
20.) and praying always in the Spirit, and of worshipping God 
in the Spirit, as a stated thing, Eph. 6. 18. Phil. 3. 3. It is 
manifest that the apostle speaks of what was so, and not of 
what was very rare and occasional. So the charge, Walk in the 
Spirit, comprehends in it all duty, duty that is to run through 
our whole course, and intimates plainly that there is a com 
munication of the Spirit always ready to go forth. The thing 
which is hinted in that other precept, which doth but in terms 
and expression differ from this, Work out your own salvation 
with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you both 
to will and to do, of his good pleasure, Phil. 2. 12, 13. That 
word Katrefy*&<r6'9 imports, " labour it out even till it be finish 
ed ; till you come to the very end of your faith, the salvation 
of your souls. " This too is an injunction, which exceeds its 
ground, if we do not suppose that the following words are to 


be understood in a proportionable sense, f( God worketh in you 
to will and to do," that is, he is always ready to do so unto the 
finishing of your salvation. 

Secondly. We may consider to this purpose that Christians 
are severely blamed when holy and spiritual actions are not 
done in the proper time and season of them ; which would not 
be charged upon them, if the Spirit were only arbitrarily sus 
pended and withheld so far as was necessary to any such spiri 
tual action. The inactivity, the sloth, the omissiveness of the 
necessary duty in the season of it, the sluggish performance, 
the decays and languors that are upon the spirits of Christians 
are charged upon themselves, and, no doubt, most justly, and 
most righteously so. See but that one instance in Rev. 2. 4, 
5. Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because 
thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence 
thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works ; or else I 
will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick 
out of its place, except thou repent. Why, if the case were 
not as we now suppose it, it would only be the unhappiness of 
a soul to be left destitute of vigour and vital active power, not 
a crime. But we find it charged with great seventy as a crime', 
that there are declinings from the first love, and that the things 
are not done, which have been done heretofore. Do we think 
that God would ever have left the matter so as that the case 
should admit of this reply ? " It is true, the things which have 
been done heretofore, are not done now, but it is none of my 
fault, for there was no influence to be had, which was most 
necessary for the doing of them. My first love is lost, I do 
not love with that fervour, and life and strength as heretofore ; 
but it is no fault of mine, the Spirit did arbitrarily retire, with 
out my iniquity or transgression, upon which this languor is *"• 
come upon me." We must understand more of consistency 
in the precepts, and criminations, and communications of the 
wise and holy God, than to imagine there was place or room 
left for such explications. 

Thirdly. That the Spirit is apt to communicate itself unto 
renewed souls for such purposes, we may farther argue from 
hence, that it always can do it without any prejudice to itself. 
There is an all-sufficient fulness and plenitude of Spirit ; it is 
a perpetual spring which this influence is to go forth from. 
And therefore whilst these communications can be afforded 
without any kind of prejudice, it is not to be supposed (the 
case being as it is, between it and its own offspring, regenerate 
souls) but that they will, but that they are, always ready to be^ 
given forth: and we are sure that its fulness admits of no 
abatement by all its communications. The sun hath lost no* 

VOL. V. Y 


thing of its Warmth and influence by spending it upon the 
world for almost six thousand years together : much less can 
infinite fulness suffer diminution. I argue, 

Fourthly, from hence, that divine influence doth go forth 
unto all creatures, and is exhibited unto all natures, accord 
ing as is needful for their proper and connatural actions, and 
therefore certainly it will not be withheld from the new creature, 
and the new nature, so far as is necessary for the actions 
which are suitable to that. For this would be as strange a sup 
position, as if one would imagine a prince to be mighty liberal 
in all his provisions for his servants, but apt to starve his own 
children, the issue of his body : this is a most unsupposa- 
ble thing. It is by an influence originally divine, that every 
creature is enabled to act whatsoever it acts ; enabled, not 
made to act in many cases, but enabled. It is by a divine in 
fluence that every plant and tree brings forth after its kind, 
that the sun shines, that the fire burns, that all actions are 
done, and all motions set on foot that are any where to be 
found through the world. He gives to all breath and being : 
and all things live, and move, and have their being in him. 
He feeds the ravens, he feeds the sparrows, he takes care of 
the lilies, and do we think he will starve and famish the souls 
which he hath made to live spiritually, so as that they cannot 
be able to act, or have power to move or stir this way or that, 
in any holy or spiritual action ? This is a thing never to be 

Fifthly. The communicativeness of the Spirit upon this ac 
count is hence to be argued, that it is always before- hand with 
us in its communications. It communicates more than we 
improve. A very great argument this, that it is not unapt to 
communicate. Indeed the case is most observably so in the 
natural world, as I may speak ; that is, that active power and 
principle that works to and fro throughout, doth in proportion- 
much exceed the passive and receptive capacity. Nothing is 
more evident. The light and influence of the sun would suf 
fice many thousand such earths ; this earth is too narrow and 
too limited a thing to receive and improve all the light and in 
fluence of the sun. And then as to what falls upon this earth 
itself, how much is there of seminal virtue that is lost, as it were, 
from year to year ? As much as might suffice, for ought we know, 
for ten such earths as this, supposing that all seminal virtue 
should come to be actually prolific of what is like it in kind. 
The case is most manifestly so, as to spiritual influences and 
communications 5 we are not straitened there, the straitness 
and narrowness is in the subject, in ourselves, and that blessed 


Spirit always goes beyond us. It is a convictive appeal that the 
prophet makes in Mic. 2. f. O thou that art named the house* 
of Jacob, is the Spirit of the Lord straitened ? are these his do 
ings ? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly ? 
It argues that there is some defect, some indisposition, or in 
capacity in the subject, if things do not take, if souls do not r 
prosper. Do not my words do good to him that walketh up 
rightly ? What ! Is the Spirit of the Lord straitened ? So 
the apostle also bespeaks the Corinthians in 2 Cor. 6. 12. Ye 
are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. 
In what respect doth he mean that they were not straitened in 
them? He means plain enough, that what of the influence 
and communication of the Holy Ghost had come forth upon 
them, to dispose and frame them for that great work of treat 
ing and dealing with souls, it was not fully answered by those 
whom they did treat and deal with : " Ye are not straitened in 
us." He gives a very great demonstration of it, in what he 
speaks with such largeness and liberty of spirit, in all that 
goes before. He speaks like a man triumphing in that large 
and abundant sense, which he had of those full and flowing 
communications of the Holy Ghost, which had come in upon 
him, by which he was enabled to " do all things, to bear all 
things, to endure all things," to pass through whatsoever diffi 
culties, to be "in stripes, imprisonments, watchings, fastings, 
with all pureness, long-suffering, kindness, by the Holy Ghost, 
by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God,'* 
and so on. U O ye Corinthians," saith he, K our mouth is open 
unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, 
but in your own bowels." This argues the matter we are speak 
ing of, even a fortiori. The ministers of the gospel at that 
time were not fountains, they were but cisterns ; and if they 
were not straitened in the very cistern, much less in the foun 
tain. " Even in that communication which is come so near 
you, that cistern from whence you are to receive, there ye are 
not straitened. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are strait 
ened in your own bowels." 

Sixthly. We find it frequently insisted upon as matter of 
prayer, that communications suitable to the actions of a Chris 
tian, and the divine life might be given forth ; but it would be 
most unreasonable to suppose that we should be taught to pray 
for an incommunicable thing. This consideration we formerly 
made use of to prove that such communications are necessary, 
and it equally serves the present purpose, to prove that they 
are possible. For as we are not taught to pray but for such 
things as are of great concernment to us, so we have very lit 
tle reason to think that we should ever be taught to pray for 


such things as are not grantable, or cannot be had. But we 
find the apostle making it matter of prayer in Eph. 3. 16. That 
God would grant them according to the riches of his glory to 
be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man ; 
that so Christ might dwell in their hearts by faith, &c. inti 
mating that Christ could have no commerce with their spirits, 
but by their active faith in him. They must entertain him, 
and converse with him, believing in him, and drawing influ 
ence from him that way ; but this could never be done unless 
they were strengthened with all might by the Spirit in the in 
ner man to this purpose : and therefore this is a thing for 
which the apostle thought it fit to "bow his knees unto the God 
and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." And so, as we noted up 
on that other occasion, in praying for the Colossians that they 
<e might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing," he prays 
for an influence by which they might be enabled so to walk, 
which is the same thing as that they might walk in the Spirit. 
For it can be no other than that influence by which they were so 
to walk, te being fruitful in every good work," as you have it 
there expressed also : an influence suited to the actions and 
operations of the new creature, or of those who are made spi 
ritually alive. 

Seventhly. We may farther argue hence, that if we do not 
suppose the Spirit thus communicative, according as the case 
requires, then were the whole workmanship of the new crea 
ture in vain. For the very end of its creation is the doing of 
holy and spiritual actions, but they could never be done with 
out such an influence as by which the principles of the new 
creature may be reduced into act. We are his workmanship 
created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Eph. 2. 10. Now it 
were a most unreasonable thing, and infinitely unworthy the 
divine wisdom, that he should create such a creature for such 
a purpose, and not supply it with influence that can make it 
serve that purpose. Then might it be said as well in reference 
to the new creation, as it was said to the lapsed, apostate part of 
the old, Are all men made in vain ? Indeed they made' them 
selves so, unsuitable to the purpose for which they were made. 
But that there should be an essay to renovate things, a new 
creation, and such a sort of creature as should now certainly 
attain the end for which it was made, this is a thing never to 
be supposed. What was each principle in the new creature 
made for, but for actions suitable to that principle ? Why is 
faith put into the soul, but that the soul might be enabled to 
believe ? Why love, but that it might act love ? Why pa 
tience, but that it might exercise patience ? But after that 
these principles are all actually implanted in the soul, without 


an influence they cannot be brought forth into act, as hath been 
formerly shewn ; there must be therefore a communication of 
the Spirit, it must be still ready to communicate in ordef to 
these actings, otherwise the whole frame of the new creature 
were to no purpose. 

Eighthly. We find that Christians are called upon, and pres 
sed to increase and abound more and more in good works ; (as 
in 1 Cor. 15. 58. Be stedfast, unmoveable, always abound 
ing in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your 
labour is not in vain in the Lord. And in 1 Thes. 4. 1. We 
exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us 
how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound 
more and more) which plainly implies that there is still a pro 
portionable influence thereto, if it were attended to and im 

Ninthly. Influence for such purpose hath been owned and 
acknowledged to have been received in a way of prayer, and 
therefore we are always to look upon it as communicable. In 
the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst 
me with strength in my soul, Ps. 138. 3. There is a recorded 
experience. It is but ask, and have. " T have asked, and I 
have had upon my asking ; influence did come in. He strength 
ened me with strength in my soul." 

Tenthly, and lastly. It is matter of express promise and 
of faith, and therefore it must be a certain thing that such 
communication is to be had. Of promise, our Saviour speaks 
of it most plainly in Luke 11.13. If ye — being evil, know how 
to give good gifts unto your children : how much more shall 
your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask 
him ? He will give his Spirit to them that ask him, as readily as 
you do bread to your children, and you have great reason to 
suppose, much more readily. And in reference to holy and 
spiritual actions (for these are a Christian's fruit) our Saviour 
tells his disciples that, Let them but abide in him (which is a 
parallel expression to walking in the Spirit, for it is his Spirit 
in which they are to walk) and they shall bring forth much fruit. 
John 15.5. He hath assured us that it shall be so. And it 
is matter of faith as it is promised ; for we are plainly told, that 
we are to receive the promise of the Spirit through faith, in 
Gal. 3. 14. It therefore must be a certain thing before. For 
faitli doth not make its object be, but the object must be pre- 
existent. That which I am to believe as true, must be true 
before 1 believe it 5 I do not make it true by believing. That 
is, I am not to pitch my faith upon an object, which is hither 
to false ; and then think to make a falsehood truth by my be 
lieving, but that which I am to believe as true^ must, as hath 


been said, first be true before I believe it, and the truth of the 
thing is the reason why I am obliged to believe it. If there 
fore I am to receive the promise of the Spirit, or the promised 
Spirit, by faith, it must certainly be true before, that it is re 
ceivable, that it is to be had, that it, and its influences can 
be afforded, and are ready to be communicated. 

And the case being so, why do we wistly look upon one 
another with meagre and languishing souls, into which lean 
ness enters, which are wasting, and consuming and pining 
away under their own distempers ? There is an infinite fulness 
of Spirit, from whence we may have what is suitable to all our 
need : "that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." 
The apostle brings in that prayer of his when he had been de 
siring that they might be strengthened with might by the Spi 
rit in the inner man, in the before-mentioned Eph. 3. That 
such communications are to be had as are needful to our walk 
ing in the Spirit, it was necessary thus to insist upon it, that 
we might understand and know to what it is to be imputed, 
and where all the blame and fault ought to lie, if there be 
languishings upon us, if we do not walk in the Spirit, if our 
knees are too feeble, and we cannot walk, if we are become 
in a spiritual sense cripples, unapt, unable for spiritual motion 
and action. And therefore it concerns us to bethink ourselves 
seriously whether there be not the tokens upon us of a spiritual 
decay, languor, ineptitude for the actions and functions of the 
spiritual and Christian life. Are there not ? Can we say, that 
God is with us as he hath been wont to be with his people 
heretofore ? If he be with us, why is it thus ? According to 
that expostulation in Judges 6. 13. When, in another sense, 
that people were in a miserable, decaying state, is it not in a 
spiritual sense so with us ? Do we not fade as a leaf? Are 
there not grey hairs here and there upon us ? If the Lord be 
with us as formerly by the communications and influences of 
his Spirit, why are our hearts so low ? Why is it that so lit 
tle grace stirs ? Why is there so little faith, so little love to 
him, and so little appearance and discovery of a heavenly 
mind ? Why do the fruits of the Spirit flourish no more ? It 
concerns us to bethink ourselves. Can we say God is with us 
as he hath been with his people ? or as it may possibly be re 
membered he hath been with us > With us in our closets ? 
With us in our families ? With us at our tables ? Is he with 
us at his own table ? Is he with us in our ordinary affairs and 
converse ? Is he with us in our solemn assemblies, as he hath 
sometime been among us here ? Is this Spirit with us, as a 
Spirit of faith, a Spirit of love, and of power, and of a sound 
mind. Is it with us as a Spirit of humiliation in such a time 


as this, to abase and humble us, and lay us low in the dust 
before the Lord ? Is it with us, as a Spirit of grace and sup^ 
plication, to enable us to strive and wrestle with heaven, to 
implore earnestly, and cry aloud for mercy in such a time as 
this ? Is it with us, as a sin-mortifying Spirit, a world-cruci 
fying Spirit ; as the Spirit of meekness, and patience, and 
self-denial, and humility ; and as the Spirit of the fear of the 
Lord, as a holy and a heavenly Spirit ? If it be not, if our 
own hearts must say it is not, it is fit we should know what to 
say next, that is, that it lies upon us that it is not* It is not 
because this Spirit is not full, or is less apt to give forth its in 
fluences than formerly, but because we do not our part ; we 
do not mind walking in the Spirit as that which dotli belong to 
us, and to our state as our duty. Which is the next thing WQ 
have to speak to. 



VV E now go on 

2, To shew, that it belongs to the state of regenerate per* 
sons, to walk in the Spirit, as a duty. The former, namely, 
that it belongs to them as a privilege, is implied in the pre 
cept, as you have heard ; this latter is expressed in it, as you 
plainly see, Walk in the Spirit. It is a thing enjoined upon 
Christians, or those who are supposed to live in the Spirit, that 
they walk in it. This therefore doth imply, that somewhat is 
incumbent upon us as matter of duty, with which a participa 
tion of the Spirit, in order to our walking in it, is connected. 
And it will be here requisite — to say somewhat concerning this 
connexion, and — to give you an account of those things where 
with such participation of the Spirit is connected. 

(1 .) It is requisite to premise somewhat concerning this con 
nexion. That there is such a connexion is plain to you 
already, from what hath been said : the precept doth mani 
festly suppose it. What kind of connexion it is, I shall very 
briefly shew you, only in these two particulars, namely — that 
it is a gratuitous, and — that it is yet a sure connexion. 

[1 .] It is a gratuitous connexion. Not a natural one, as 
though it could not possibly have been but that, if such and 
such things should be by way of grace procured, or done for 

* Preached April 3d. 1678, at Cor4waiaer's HaU. 


any of the children of men, still a farther, and a 'farther com 
munication of the Spirit must needs ensue. Aixl we know 
there are many things that are so connected in their own natures 
that it would imply a contradiction, that one should be, and 
the other not. But such connexion there is not in the pre 
sent case. For if we should reflect upon any of the things 
wherewith we may suppose such a communication of the Spirit 
to be most connected, it would be apparent that the connexion 
is most gratuitous, we can reflect upon nothing wherewith it is 
more eminently connected than with faith, as we shall have 
occasion to shew presently. But no man can suppose the 
connexion to be natural between an act of faith exerted and put 
forth in and by my soul, and a participation consequent there 
upon of an influence from the eternal and almighty Spirit of 
God. For how is it concerned in me, if it did not concern it 
self? Or what claim, or challenge could there have been, if 
it had not brought itself under an obligation, of such a divine 
influence. As well might a worm that crawls upon the earth, 
command the motions of the sun, or occasion it so and so to 
communicate its influence and its light. When we say it is a 
gratuitous connexion, it imports these two things : 

First. That it is a connexion made with absolute, sovereign 
liberty : that such a connexion might have been, or might 
not have been antecedently to its being settled and made. 

Secondly, It imports not only liberty, but complacency in 
the vouchsafement : that whatsoever is done in such a way is 
done with delight, that he that doth it, takes pleasure in the 
doing of it. Indeed both these are manifestly imported in that 
expression in Phil. 2. 13. It is God that worketh in you both 
to will and to do of his good pleasure. Of his good pleasure, 
that is, so as that he might have forborne so to work, if it had 
pleased him ; and while he doth so work in us, it doth most 
highly please him so to work, or to vouchsafe that co-operative 
influence. He doth it with delight ; as it were, enjoining his 
own act, and gratifying himself in the benignity of his own 
nature, from whence it doth proceed that he works with such 
creatures as these. 

In both these ways we must understand it to be gratuitous, 
that there is an) such connexion between any thing of our duty, 
and such a participation of the Spirit. It is gratuitous the 
former way antecedently to any such connexion made and 
settled, as hath been shewn. It is gratuitous in the latter sense 
continuedly all along, while this connexion doth hold, as it 
will perpetually hold. For though it be true indeed, that after 
this connexion is once made and settled, he, who had made 
and settled it, hath brought himself under an obligation, so as 

VOL. V* Z 


that he will not rescind it, as we shall presently shew you, 
and therefore it is not now continued upon sueh terms, as that 
it may, or may not be ; yet it is gratuitous still in the latter 
sense, that is, as being continued with complacency, he never 
repenting that he hath made such a connexion, but remaining 
in the same mind still, and always 5 that we doing so and to, or 
there being such dispositions and frames of spirit inwrought in 
us, they shall be earnests and pledges to us of still farther 
communications of his Spirit, according to the tenour of his 
own law and rule, habenti dabitur, "to him that hath shall be 
given." So it is a gratuitous connexion . 

[2.] It is a sure connexion. Most stable and firm, such a % 
whereof we need not fear an alteration. This may seem not so 
well to agree with the former; if it be so free and gratuitous, 
then some may think that it should not be so sure. But the 
apostle hath taught us to argue otherwise in this case, and to 
understand the matter quite after another tenour, in that pas 
sage of his, in Rom. 4. 16. Therefore it is of faith, that it 
might be of grace, to the end that the promise might be sure 
to all the seed. That is, the evangelical promise in general, 
\vhereofthis, of the communication of the Spirit is one great 
part, yea, itself sometimes goes, in the language of the New 
Testament under the mime of — the promise. Ye shall receive 
the gift of the Holy Ghost for the promise is to you and your 
children, in Acts. 2. 38, 39. It is therefore free, that it 
might be sure. This, I confess, according to the manner of 
men, would not be thought good logic. Things in reference 
whereto men act freely, or are left to their liberty, one would 
think were very unsure. But it is not so with the blessed God 
in this case. We are so much the more ascertained by how 
much the more the root and foundation of this connexion is in 
grace. For we must consider how grace hath laid out its own 
method, and made way for the pursuing and bringing about its 
own great design. Consider it in reference to this very case, 
the communication of the Spirit ; it was obtained by a Media 
tor ; it was so designed and determined, that no influence of 
the Spirit should go forth in order to saving purposes unto the 
lost and apostate children of men, but in and through a Me 
diator. Therefore it is told us again and again in Scripture 
that it is he that sends it, or if the Father be said to send it, 
that he would send it in his name. Both these forms of ex 
pression you have in the 14th and 15th chapters of John's gos 
pel, and to the same purpose, somewhat in the 16th. And he 
was made a curse for us, for this purpose, that the blessing of 
Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, that they might re 
ceive the promise of the Spirit through faith, in Gal. 3. 14. 


And hereupon, upon the susception and undertaking of the 
Mediator, a covenant is established and settled on sure pro 
mises, a system of sure promises comprized and formed up to 
gether, in which, as was said before, this is the main thing, 
that the Spirit should be given forth. Now the whole under 
taking of the Mediator must otherwise fail and come to nothing, 
and all these promises, which are yea, and amen in him, 2 Con 
1 . 20. So that hence it cannot but be that, though, as you 
have heard, this is a connexion most arbitrarily made, yet it 
is a most sure and certain connexion notwithstanding ; inas 
much as the Spirit, wheresoever it is given forth, is given 
forth through a Mediator and upon the promise. And so we 
must understand the tenour of this connexion, as that upon 
such duty the participation of the Spirit will still ensue, in far 
ther and farther degrees ; and where there is no such thing as 
is incumbent upon us in a way of duty, there we cannot pro 
mise it to ourselves in any certain stated course, though ac 
cording to its absolute liberty, it can go forth and let out its 
influence when, and where it pleases. 

(2.) We are now to consider the things themselves that are 
charged upon us as matter of duty, wherewith the participation 
of the Spirit is connected. And they are such as these : 

[1.] A sense of our indigent state in this respect: that we 
stand in the greatest need of this blessed Spirit and its vital in 
fluences, for all the purposes of the Christian life : that we 
can do nothing, nothing as we should, not turn a hand, or 
move a foot without it. It was most reasonable, that the gra 
dual communications of this Spirit should be in connexion 
with such a disposition and temper of soul in us. For do we 
think it were honourable that the Spirit should be under an 
obligation there to be and work, where there is no apprehen 
sion at all of any work done, but what might as well be done by 
a common hand ; and that it should do the work, and we have 
the honour of it, that there should be a disposition in us to ar 
rogate it to ourselves, if there be any holy, gracious operation 
in Us, which hath a tendency to our future happy being. No 
thing is more apparent than that there was a high congruity in 
it, that the Spirit should still go forth in its gradual commu 
nications and exertions of its influence, so as that there be a 
sense still preserved in the subject to be gradually wrought 
upon, that without it we can do nothing. We may easily see 
how the matter stands in this respect, if we do but consider 
Where there have been most manifest languishings and decays, 
feebleness and weakness, as to all the actions and operations 
of the spiritual life. As to instance in the church of Laodieea, 
it is plain they were got into a posture very unsuitable unto 


walking in the Spirit, and see what their sense was of them 
selves, and of their own state all this while : Thou sayest I 
am rich and increased with goods, arid have need of nothing, 
and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and 
poor, and blind, and naked. Rev. 3. !/• If they are blind 
and maimed creatures, whom this Spirit is to have the con 
duct of, it doth justly insist upon this, that they reflect, and 
understand themselves to be blind and maimed, that they can 
not go without being led, without being supported and borne up 
in their way all along. And while there is little of this sense 
among us of our great need of the continual influence of the 
f blessed Spirit in order to the conducting the whole course of 
*** our walking, it is not much to be wondered at, if this Spirit 
do suspend and restrain its influences, and be at a very great 
distance from us. And I am afraid there is very little of this 
sense among us at this day, that it is too generally thought, 
that we can do well enough without the Spirit. There is not that 
notion and apprehension, yet there seems to be that practical 
judgment, "we do not need the Spirit;" and when we are 
left destitute of it in a great measure, we do not feel a need of it, 
and there is little complaint that the Spirit is retired, and not 
given forth as some have found it in former days. Grey Lairs are 
here and there upon us, yet we know it not (to apply those words 
to this purpose, which might mean another thing in) Hos. *]. 9, 
It is with a great many Christians as it is said to have been with 
Samson in Judges 16'. 20. He wist not that the Lord was 
departed from him. God was gone, and his great strength was 
gone, and he knew it not, but thought to have found it with 
him as at other times. When we walk on from day to day in 
a course of ordinary duty, and it may be get nothing by it, no 
life, no strength, no influence of the Spirit, how little sense 
is there all this while of its absence from us ! How few, that 
regret the matter ! One would think there should be strange 
palpitations and throbbings of heart among us, to think how 
little there is of the Spirit of the living God breathing in his 
own ordinances, and through the most sacred, weighty and 
important truths that we hear from time to time. Methinks 
our hearts should misgive us, and we should be often recount^ 
ing with ourselves, What will this come to ? A religion not 
animated by the Spirit, in which there is no life, no influence, 
what will it come to ? 

[2.] A deep apprehension, or an inward, cordial owning of 
the arbitrariness of the Spirit and its communications, and of 
our own great unworthiness thereof. This is another thing 
wherewith we are to account the stated communications of the 


Spirit are connected, That is, that there be not only a sense 
of our want and indigency, but of our very great unworthiness 
that ever that pure and Holy Spirit should touch with our souls, 
or have to do with us. This way is its virtue engaged and 
drawn forth. How was the virtue of Christ drawn forth in or 
der to the doing of cures which he wrought by the Spirit of 
God ? It is a remarkable instance to our present purpose which 
we have in Mat. 8. 8. i( Lord, I am not worthy that thou 
shouldest come under my roof;" then goes forth his influence, 
and does the thing that was desired to be done. To have only 
this notion in our minds, alas ! that signifies little, but to have 
an intimate, habitual sense inwrought in our hearts, and main 
tained there, " how most utterly unworthy we, especially, and 
indeed all men are, that ever there should have been a descent 
of the blessed Spirit of the living God ; that ever it should have 
let down any thing of its light and influence into this dismal 
and impure world." Were we more worthy that the Spirit 
of God should work among us, than among pagans ? Where 
there is an admiring sense of the arbitrariness of grace in 
this case, and our own great unworthiness, there the Spirit 
is most apt to issue forth in vital influence according to the 
necessities of our state. This is true humility and poverty of 
Spirit, to which that kingdom belongs, which, in the very 
primordia of it, is made up of righteousness and peace, and 
joy in the Holy Ghost, Mat. 5 3. compared with Rom. 14. 
17. It is to the humble soul that still more grace is given, but 
he resisteth the proud, (James 4. 6.) those who are so insolent 
as to think no divine gift too good for them. But to the hum 
ble soul that lies in the dust self-abased, and always in an apt 
posture to admire grace, if it may but have any, the least, 
breath of that influence from the blessed Spirit of God ; it may 
be expected still freely to be given forth. The high and lofty 
One that inhabiteth eternity — and dwelleth in the high and 
holy place looks to that man, even to him that is poor and of 
a contrite spirit, and trembleth at his word, Isa. Ixvi. 2. and 
Ivii. 15. And if you look back to the 14th ver. of that chapter, 
you find the expressions more apposite to our present purpose, 
Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling 
block out of the way of my people ? a I would have my peo 
ple have a fine, easy, pleasant, comfortable walk," (such as is 
their walk, who walk in the Spirit) and then it is immediately 
added, "Thus saith the high and lofty One, that inhabiteth, 
eternity, whose name is holy, 1 dwell in the high and holy place, 
with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive 
the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite 
«nes ;" so as that they shall be always in a posture for walking 


in that way thus cast up, prepared, and made level for them. 
[3.] A high valuation of spiritual influence. When we put 
the greatest price upon spiritual good things, then we are in a 
disposition to receive them from this Messed Spirit. We find 
that they who have had most of it, upon whom it hath been 
continually coming in afresh, have been full of the expressions 
of their high value of spiritual communications. And even 
where such things as are considerable, under the notion of 
means have been so highly valued, it appears rationally to be 
collected, that the end of those means was more highly valued, 
and by the expressions, by which hath been signified the 
value of the means, the value of the end hath been more sig 
nified ; as when we find so high an esteem expressed of the 
law of the word of God, by the people of God in Scripture re 
cords. Why, how do you understand it, when it is said, The 
law of thy mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and sil 
ver, in Ps. 119. 72. (and other passages of like import you 
have in that psalm, and elsewhere) what ? would we under 
stand it otherwise than of the animated word, or law ? Was 
it a dead letter, considered as such, without any reference to 
the Spirit and its influence working through it and by it, upon 
which all that price was put ? What would that have signified 
to have had a spiritless law, a law, without any such Spirit 
going with it as should make it a law of life ? The law of the 
Spirit of life you find it called, that is, according to the im 
pression that it hath upon the heart and soul, in Rom. 8. 2. 
It was, as such; that the law of God was so highly prized by 
his people, as it was the medium through which the Spirit was 
conveyed and given in from time to time. And we may mea 
sure our expectations of the Spirit to be communicated and 
given to us, very much by this thing. What is our estimation 
of such vouchsafements ? If we were indeed to speak the 
sense of our souls, we might soon find what our value is of ex 
ternal and earthly good things. We know what value we 
should have for a plentiful estate, and for a peaceful, easy 
life, so as to have our flesh in all things accommodated, and 
our sense gratified. Do we find that there is a proportionable 

-^ estimate of spiritual good things, and that is, that, according 
as their value is superior, we proportionably esteem them ? 1* 
it the sense of our souls, " Lord, whatever thou dost with me, 
let me have much of thy Spirit. Though I be poor, though I 
be miserable, though I be pinched with straits and wants all 
i my days, though 1 be exposed to wanderings, let me have thy 

/ Spirit ; take away any thing from me, withhold any thing ra 
ther than thy Spirit." And hereupon 

[4.] Earnest desire of spiritual influence. With that the 


participation, the farther participation of it is most surely con 
nected. Vehement longings, where there is some of it, are 
an earnest of still more. When the heart is panting after God, 
the living God, as the hunted hart after the water brooks, it 
is a good pledge, a pre-assuring token, that there shall be still 
more and more. How express are those words of our Saviour, 
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for 
they shall be tilled, Mat. 5. 6. To hunger and thirst after 
righteousness, is to hunger and thirst after spiritual influence ; 
which implies, that without that, all the fruits of righteousness 
languish, or could never have been. It is indeed a wonderful 
thing seriously to contemplate, that there should be a con 
nexion between such desires, and such participations there 
upon ; that ever the great God should have vouchsafed and 
condescended thus, as to make it become a stated thing, that 
they who do desire, shall partake, even of that sacred, heaven 
ly influence. We do not find it to be so, as to meaner things, 
and of a lower nature. We find not any such connexion 
between the desire of riches, and riches ; between the de 
sire of honour, and honour. There is no scripture that saith, 
If you desire to be rich, you shall be rich ; if you desire to be 
honourable and great in this world, you shall be great and ho 
nourable ; and if you desire to live a peaceful, quiet life, you 
shall live such a life in this world. But we find it said, "De 
sire, and hunger and thirst after righteousness, and you shall 
be filled." There is no such connexion of an appetite to na 
tural food, and food ; a hungry beggar cannot be sure, that 
because he is hungry, therefore he shall be satisfied, that his 
hunger will entitle him to a meal's meat : but here you find 
the case is so ; and how admirable is the grace that hath made 
it so ! Desire spiritual influence, and you shall have it ; spi 
ritual communications, and your receivings shall be according 
to your hearts. For bring a sincere desire directed to God, 
and terminated upon him, and our Saviour hath assured us, 
that if we ask, we shall receive; if we seek, we shall find ; if 
we knock, it shall be opened to us, and even in this very kind : 
look into the context of that scripture, Luke 11. 12, 13. All 
comes at last to this result, How much more will your heavenly 
Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him ? It is else 
where said, good things, and here it is said, the Holy Spirit. 
According as grace hath laid out to itself its own methods, de 
sire is a drawing thing ; it draws in vital influence from the 
blessed Spirit, even as we attract and draw in breath, in the 
ordinary course of our breathing. And it must ordinarily be 
said, that they only are destitute of spiritual influence, who 
desire it not ; and when that may be said, sure there is enough 



to be said to justify the retraction or suspension of any such 

[5.] Dependence upon It, is another thing wherewith a par 
ticipation of the Spirit is most surely connected. I live, yet 
not I, but Christ lives in me ; and the life that I live in the 
flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, 
and gave himself for me, Gal. 2. 20. They that wait on the 
Lord shall renew their strength, and mount up with wings, as 
eagles, Isa. xl. 31. How did the poor cripple (that we read of 
in Acts 3.) derive influence by which he was enabled to walk ? 
Why, he looked upon Peter and John, expecting to receive 
something from them. He drew even with his eye, a craving 
eye, an expecting eye. " Sure there is something to be gotten 
of these men." They hade him look upon them, he looked ac 
cordingly. And we are bidden to look too : 6i Look unto me— 
all the ends of the earth." Isa. 45. 22. We are directed to look 
upward, to look with an expecting eye : influence will come. 
As the eyes of all other creatures are put up unto God, and he 
is not wanting unto the work of his hands, so the new crea 
ture is prompted to do so much more, to look up intelligently, 
and with design : " With design I do it, that I may receive : 
and he who feeds ravens, and takes care of sparrows, will not 
famish souls, that look up with an expecting and begging eye, 
as those that not only know their own need, but believe his 
bounty." And indeed if there be not this in it, it is most 
highly to affront him, and then no wonder, if the stream of 
his bounty be turned another way, and never reach us. 

There are other particulars, which I should have spoken to, 
but I find the time prevents me. The design of all this will 
much drive this way, (which, I shall so far prevent myself, as 
to take notice of to you now) to let us see, that if we find not 
the Spirit communicated to us, so far as is necessary to our 
walking in the Spirit, it is through our own default, we owe 
it to ourselves. Pray, do but consider; Is it not our fault, 
if we are insensible of any need of the Spirit ? Or, of our un- 
\vorthiness of it ? Is it not a fault, if we value not the im 
mediate communications of the blessed God from his own Holy 
Spirit ? Is it no fault, to prefer dirt and vanity before the in 
fluences of that Spirit, the maintenance of present spiritual 
life, and the pledge and earnest of an eternal state of life ? Is 
it no fault, if we desire not that there should be a commerce 
between us and that Spirit ? if we think it not a thing worthy 
to be desired, worthy to be sought after ? If we could have 
the privilege of daily communication with an angel ; if we 
might have him to talk and converse with, to guide and instruct 
us from day to day in all our ways and affairs, and to comfort 


and relieve us in all our troubles and sorrows, would we ac 
count meanly of this ? or, think it a tiling fit to be made light 
of? But what comparison is there between the commerce of 
an angel, and such a commerce with the blessed Spirit of 
God ? A being taken into that communion, which is called 
the communion of the Holy Ghost, in 2 Cor. 13. 14. Is 
it not our fault, if we want the influences of the Spirit, and it 
hath no intercourse with us, merely through our neglect, and 
because we care not for it ? Is it no fault, if we will not trust 
him who hath promised, and whose word is more stable 
luan the foundations of heaven and earth ? He hath promis 
ed, and we will not believe him ! Conscience, if it do its 
part, will fasten the charge of guilt upon ourselves ; that if 
there be a retraction or suspension of spiritual communications 
from us, it is through our own fault : we walk solitarily • we 
do not walk in the Spirit, but we walk alone, and as outcasts 
from God, as those whom he hath nothing to do with, and 
who have nothing to do with him, but all through our own 
default. It is meet that we should admit the conviction of 
conscience concerning this thing, that we may not indulge 
ourselves, in so manifest, and so dangerous a delinquency. 

VOL. V. 2 A 



"E go on to mention some more of the particular duties, 
wherewith such a communication of the Spirit stands 
connected, as is requisite to our walking in the Spirit ; heside 
the five already spoken to. 

[fj.] That we obey its dictates ; resign and yield ourselves to 
its governing power. This is plainly enough signified in the 
expressions of being " led by the Spirit/' and " walking after 
the Spirit/' which we have divers times in Rom. S. and else 
where. u There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ 
Jesus, that walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." 
This imports a ductile, sequacious, guidable frame and tem 
per, an aptness to yield and comply with all the suggestions of 
that blessed Spirit. Yield yourselves to God, as those that are 
alive from the dead, Rom. 6*. 13. How manifestly distinguish 
able is the case, between going about to raise a living person 
that is fallen, and to raise a dead carcass ! A living person 
yields himself to our helping hand : " So, yield yourselves to 
God, as those that are alive :" — The word that is there used, 
is the same with that which we have in Rom. 12. 1. Present 
yourselves to God a living sacrifice : and it signifies to offer 
one's self readily for this or that, to be in a ready posture to 
do what we are prompted to and put upon. And this walking 
after the Spirit is frequently inculcated in that forementioned 
chapter, Rom. 8. 1, 4, 13. And then you have the expres- 

* Preached April i;tb, 1678. at Cordwainer's Hall 


sion of being led by the Spirit, following the other, ver. 14. 
And again in this chapter where the text lies, Gal. 5. 18. If 
ye be led by the Spirit. This word signifies to be acted by it : 
which doth also suppose a compliance on our part, and that we 
concur ; that we be in a prepared posture to act as we shall be 
from time to time acted. To rebel against the Spirit, vexati- 
ously to contend, to oppose ourselves unto its dictates, we may 
easily understand cannot be the way to entitle ourselves to its 
communications. It is promised to be — a guide to lead into 
all truth, — all that truth which is after godliness : we must 
understand it chiefly of such truth, as doth concern Christian, 
practice: but if we fall out and quarrel with our guide, and 
will not obey ; what can we expect, but that it should in just 
displeasure retire, and leave us to walk alone, or to wander as 
our own inclination shall lead us ? 

[7-] That we strictly observe and closely adhere unto ouf 
rule. This is requisite in order to our having these needful 
communications of the Spirit : for it dictates according to that 
external rule : we ought therefore to have our eye upon that, 
which all along lines the way in which we are to walk. We 
shall very unreasonably and vainly expect to have the Spirit 
still constantly following us in all our extravagancies and ex 
cursions : if it arbitrarily do so, as the Spirit many times doth; 
yet we have not reason to expect it should do so in a stated 
course. The way of the Lord is strength to the upright, Prov. 
10. 29. In their very way they meet with their strength : 
holding on their course in that way, they find themselves still 
to go from strength to strength, (ps. 84. 70 to grow stronger 
and stronger, Job 17« 9. When our w r ay is pleasing to God, 
then we may expect that by his Spirit he should converse w^ith 
us in our way ; that is, if his way like us. Two cannot walk 
together, except they be agreed; and especially if they be not 
agreed upon their way. Now we find, that the way wherein, 
we are to walk so as to please God, is prescribed and directed 
all along by his word. Ye have received of us, saith the apos 
tle, how ye ought to walk and to please God, 1 Thes. 4. 1. 
He hath directed the way by express precept ; in which if we 
walk and so please him, he will converse with us by his Spi 
rit; then we shall have his continual assisting, directing pre 
sence. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord ; and 
he delighteth in his way. Then though he fall, he shall not 
be utterly cast down ; for the Lord upholdeth him with his 
hand. Ps. 37. 23, 24. Enoch gained a testimony of Qod, 
that he so walked as to please God. Heb. 11.5. To be sure 
he had him for the guide and companion of his way. It is not 
much that we are under the same lot, that our kord Christ 


was contented to be under. John 8. 29. He that sent rrie, 
is with me ; the Father hath not left me alone ; for I do always 
those things that please him. And he doth require it of us, 
that as he did keep his Father's commandments, and abide in 
his love ; so we should keep his commandments, and abide in 
his love, (John 15. 10.) and so have his spiritual presence, or 
his Spirit to be present with us, by which he saith he would 
be present with his, when as to his outward man he must be 
removed and gone out of this state. That passage in ps. 101 . 
2. is very observable : the Psalmist resolves upon this, that 
lie would behave himself wisely in a perfect way, and that he 
would walk with a perfect heart ; would take care of his way 
that it was a strait and perfect path in which he should walk : 
and doing this, you find him in such a posture expecting, "O 
when wilt thou come unto me ?" Walking, as we told you 
before, connoted a way ; and this must be a way suitable to 
the Spirit, if we reckon upon walking in the Spirit. To walk 
in the way of our own hearts, and think that the Spirit should be 
with us there, is certainly a very foolish expectation. 

[8.] That we design all the strength and vigour, that we 
shall receive from the Spirit, in order to our walking unto 
the divine honour and glory and service, as the end of it. 
Walking doth connote an end, as well as a way. And to walk 
in the Spirit must suppose, that there be an end suitable to 
the Spirit : ami what is most immediately from God, ought to 
be most directly and entirely designed for him. And I doubt 
not but there is a very common fault among Christians as to 
this thing : they desire spiritual communications for them 
selves, because it is a very delightful and pleasurable thing to 
be carried as upon eagles' wings, to have so sensible help in 
all one's walking : therefore they desire such helps and influ 
ences as a privilege ; and sometimes lament the retraction and 
withdrawment of it merely as an infelicity, without charging 
themselves with sin in the case : and it is in the mean time 
forgotten, that what God gives upon this account is for him 
self, and we ought to have the same design with him. The 
apostle speaks of his way of living. Gal. 2. 20. 1 live, saith 
he, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which T 
now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, 
who loved me, and gave himself for me. Immediately before 
you have the end of that life, as here you have the spring and 
source of it : I through the law am dead to the law, that I 
might live unto God, ver. 19. Christ feeds and maintains that 
life, and supplies all the motive and active power belonging to 
it, which shall be devoted to himself, and terminate wholly 
upon himself. We are to look upon all these communications 


as trusts, which are to be employed according to the pleasure 
and for the service of him that doth intrust us. Who will 
commit to your trust, says Christ, the true riches, if ye have 
not heen faithful in the unrighteous mammon ? Luke 16. 11. 
The things of this life are comprehended under the "mammon, 
of unrighteousness :" to these are opposed " the true riches/' 
which must mean spiritual good things ; such riches as those 
spoken of in Eph. 3. 16. where the apostle is praying for the 
Ephesians, that God would grant them according to the riches 
of his glory, to be strengthened with might, by the Spirit in 
the inner man. Who will trust you with such riches ? It im 
plies, that such riches, wherever they are given, are given but 
as a trust, and therefore are to be employed for him that in 
trusts us with them. They are talents, that must be improved 
for him : for that passage doth refer unto the parable concern 
ing the talents, as you may see in the beginning of Luke 1 6. 
There is a great hold, as I may say, that the soul hath upon 
the Spirit and his communications by such an ingenuity as this 
is ; as we many times by ingenuities engage and oblige one 
another. When this shall be the posture of the soul and its 
sense towards God; "I only desire such strength and such 
assistances from thee, to use them for thee, for thy own work :" 
when we are ready to put such a dedication, such an inscrip 
tion upon every act that we design to do by such a received 
power, (S To thee, O Lord ; Holiness to the Lord ; I only 
desire thy influences, that I may do thy work, and be to the 
best purpose serviceable to thy name and interest in my sphere 
and station:" with such a disposition as this we may expect 
the communication of the Spirit to be most certainly connect 

Thus you see proved, how it doth belong unto the state of 
living Christians, as a duty proper thereto, to walk in the Spi 
rit ; or what there is of duty, with which the communications 
of the Spirit towards our walking in it are connected. 

Now by way of use, we have several things to infer from all 

I. Inference. Then if we do not walk in the Spirit, it 
must needs be our own fault, that we embrace not the privi 
lege that is offered, and do not the duties required. It is fit 
we should own it as our own fault, and charge it where it ought 
to lie. 

But it may perhaps here be objected ; That all these things 
that have been mentioned, as so many parts of duty in order to 
our obtaining the needful communications of the Spirit, are 
themselves the Spirit's operations : and how can they then 

1 82 THE WORK ofr THE HOLY SPIRIT (SER. xvii, 

be prerequisites unto our obtaining such communications of 
the Spirit ? To this we say, 

1. That they are requisite unto farther communications, 
such as we shall still have farther use for and need of in the 
continued course of our walking. And it is most highly con 
gruous unto the royalty of the divine bounty, to reward what 
is done by his own vouchsafement. It is his own rule and 
measure, that to them which have it shall be given, Luke 8. 
18. They that have, shall have more. He gives more grace 
upon humility. James 4i 6. He giveth more grace; where 
fore he saith, he resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the 
humble. Had he given no grace to such before ; how be 
came they humble ? His grace made them so : but then he 
gives still more grace. 

2. These are so the operations of the Spirit, as that they are 
our acts too. It is not the Spirit that believes and obeys, but 
it helps us to do so ; as we shal 1 have farther occasion to speak 

3. In such actings of renewed souls, as are in themselves 
lioly and gracious, there are certain previous actings, that lead 
to them and which may and usually do end in them. As there 
is nothing more obvious unto the ordinary experience of chris- 
tians, than that they many times begin a duty, as to pray or 
read, to hear or meditate, with very indisposed acts ; but the 
Spirit comes in amidst their work : oftentimes they have no 
such discernible assistance at first, when they begin to act. 
Therefore there is somewhat previous unto that which is strictly 
to be considered as a holy and spiritual act. 

4. There is also a preventing influence or grace of the Spirit, 
unto which it is safe to attribute even those precious tendencies 
to such acts, to holy and gracious acts. But then we must 
,also know, that this is not always efficacious, so as to end in 

holy and gracious actions : because the Spirit doth, sometimes 
from sovereignty, but more ordinarily from paternal justice* 
retire and withdraw itself, when those first overtures are not 
complied with. As is manifest from its being intimated to 
retire and withdraw upon being grieved, being resisted, being 
vexed ; as we must suppose it to be, when it is not duly com 
plied with in the applications it makes to the spirits even of 
renewed persons themselves ; for they, such as " live in the 
Spirit," are the subject of our present discourse. 

And in speaking to you of these previous tendencies unto 
good and holy actions, (which, it is fit we should attribute unto 
the Spirit of God, when we find any thing of them ; though it 
$oth not work in that over-powering way, as where it puts forth 
its efficacious influence in order to some holy and spiritual act 


to be done ;) I shall speak by way of inquiry and demand ; that. 
1 may the more engage conscience, and set it on work to judge 
in the case between God and us ; whether, if we be destitute 
of such assistances of the Spirit, as the exigency of our case 
calls for, it is not to be imputed to our manifest neglect of 
somewhat that we might have done ? Not, that we might have 
done of ourselves neither ; for we cannot of ourselves so mucl*, 
as move a finger, or stir a foot -, but that by a preventing in* 
fluence, in which the Spirit was beforehand with us, we could 
have done ? Whether, if we had tried, we should not have 
found we might have done such and such things, that would 
have been in a fair tendency unto those operations or actions 
that are in themselves strictly and formally holy and gracious ? 
Let us therefore commune a little with our own consciences, 
upon such heads as these. 

(l.y Have we not omitted to reflect and take notice of the 
way of our own walking, so as to bring the matter to a disqui 
sition ? Can I be said in my ordinary course to walk in the 
Spirit ? You know, reflection is a thing common to a Chris 
tian with another man. It is the privilege of the reasonable 
spirit of man, that it can reflect upon itself: it is a rational 
sun, that can invert its beams, and turn them inwards. The 
bodily eye cannot do so, it cannot see itself: but our mind can 
see itself, and turn in its beams to look in upon itself. If we 
did apply ourselves to do so, might we not discern whether our 
Way be transacted so, as that they can say, "This is walking in 
the Spirit, this looks like the Spirit ?" We might surely dis 
cern, whether our works can be said to be wrought in God ; 
an expression we have formerly taken notice of. But do not 
we neglect even to do this ? to survey our own way, and to 
consider with our ownselves, " Is my course like walking in 
the Spirit ?" It will be of no small service to put the question 
to ourselves often, Is it so, yea or no ? am I to approve and 
like my way, or to disapprove it ? 

(2.) Might we not be often comparing our walking with that 
of others ? As is usual with them that walk together, to mea 
sure with one another. They that are behind, take notice of 
such and such that are far before them, and thereupon mend 
their pace, and make after with more expedition. There is no 
one that mends his course of walking, but it is upon an appre 
hension of something that needs to be mended : and therefore 
that reflection is needful, that was spoken of before ; either the 
pace was not quick enough, or not regular enough, or not 
continued enough. Besides that such faults in our walking 
are to be discerned by comparing with the rule, referring to 
the perfect law of liberty ; so much might be discovered an4 


discerned, by comparing our walk with the more spiritual sort 
of christians. Sure we might do that, if we would. Might we 
not sometimes set such and such persons in our own thoughts 
before us, and think with ourselves, What a spiritual life does 
such a man live ! How strict and even is his conversation ! 
How manifest is it, that such a man walks with God, and lives 
much in heaven ! Might we not do so, and accordingly mend 
our course in walking ? For God hath set up such eminent 
christians to he examples and patterns to others; and we are 
directed " so to walk, as we have such more eminent saints for 
our example; to be followers of them, as they are of Christ/' 
We ought to do so. When we compare ourselves only with 
ourselves, we are likely to get no instruction by it, and to be 
never the wiser for that. ic Those that compare themselves 
with themselves, doing so only, are not wise;" they never 
learn any thing. But comparing ourselves with others, then 
we may receive profit and instruction ; and they may be in the 
very view of their walking, a seasonable reproof of the careless 
ness and remissness and extravagancy of ours. And what would 
it be to consider with ourselves sometimes, what even and 
happy lives do such and such live in comparison of mine ! I am 
weak, and they are strong ; I am dull and dead and languid, 
and they are quick and lively ! - This would be somewhat in an 
apt tendency towards such works and actions, as wherein our 
spiritual walk doth more directly consist. 

(3.) Do we riot neglect to consider of the sadness of our 
case? If we are deserted of the Spirit; we might discern, 
that it is not so with us as it is with others. Might we not 
hereupon sit down and think, "How sad a thing it is to be for 
saken of that blessed Spirit, or even not to have it discernibly 
present, to have that Spirit, that doth so freely and graciously 
converse with some, refuse to converse with me ; and so to be 
out gone by other christians, and left languishing alone !" I 
might think, that this is not a state to be content and well sa 
tisfied in. 

(4.) Do we not neglect to — contemplate the fulness and 
plenitude of the blessed Spirit ? — that when we find that we 
are poor and indigent, there are supplies to be had ? Do we 
not neglect to take actual knowledge of this ? This is a ten 
dency to that faith in the Spirit, which is to be acted in order 
to our drawing forth its communications : for sure I must have 
the object of my faith in view, before I can perform an act of 
faith towards it ; I cannot act faith upon that, which I do 
not think of. And by how much the more I do consider the 
plentitude and liberality and graciousness of this blessed Spirit, 
so much the more 1 see in the object to invite and draw fortl* 


an act of faith ; and I am to expect the Spirit to concur in this 
way in order to a kind of vital contract that I come to have with 
it, by which I actually partake of and draw forth influence 
from it. I must look to him, in whom my help is. They 
looked unto him, and were lightened. Ps. 34. 5. A general 
expression of the gracious influence of God by his Spirit ; they 
looked to him, and quick and lively vital influence was given 

(5.) Do we not neglect the business of self-excitation? 
Surely we are not to make nothing of this matter of stirring up 
ourselves : as there is no walking, but there are some essays 
previous thereto ; some efforts, before a man can be said actu 
ally to have walked ; a conatus or applying of himself thereto. 
Unto such a conatus is the expression accommodate, of gird 
ing up our loins in order to our spiritual walk. 1 Pet. 1. 13. 
Gird up the loins of your minds, be sober, and hope to the 
end, &c. If men design a walk, they do accingere se, they 
put themselves into a ready posture for it. So we might be 
doing in order to our receiving the Spirit's farther influence : 
though as was said, we do not do this of ourselves, as we can do 
nothing without help ; yet we should find that this is a help 
always afforded us, and wherein God is still beforehand with 
us, and which, if his helping hand were accepted in these 
things, might lead us farther unto those wherein our walking 
in the Spirit doth more formally consist. And the many pas 
sages, that we meet with in Scripture of this thing, certainly 
cannot be without their signification, are not set for ciphers 
in the Bible. As, when the apostle bids Timothy to stir up 
the gift that was in him, 2 Tim. 1. 6. avaSWi^e/y, that em- 
phatical word. And we are not to think, that what lie 
saith hath reference only to an extraordinary gift conferred 
upon him ; as the very next words that follow shew, ver. 7- 
For God hath not given us the Spirit of fear, but of pow 
er, and of love, and of a sound mind : that is, the Spirit 
in such operations wherein he is common to Christians ; 
though very likely there was a fuller measure of that, which 
did attend that ordinance of the imposition of hands, where 
of the former verse speaks ; according as a greater mea 
sure was required unto the greater work of an evangelist, 
above that of an ordinary Christian, oven a greater measure 
of special grace, or sanctifying influence. This the apos 
tle would have Timothy to blow up into a coal, as the word 
signifies, to make the fire to live again. You also find it com 
plained of as an accusation in Isa. Ixiv. 7- that no man stirred 
up himself to take hold of the Lord. There is such a striving 
with ourselves in order to such and such spiritual works and 

VOL, V. 2 JB 


actions to be done. The word in the last mentioned place is 
very emphatical, it signifies to awake, and is put unto that 
mood which in the Hebrew language signifies aetion upon one's 
self; there is no one that goes ahout to awake, to rouse 
himself, in order to the taking hold of God. Somewhat might 
be done, and is to be done to this purpose. Awake, my glory, 
says the Psalmist, ps. 57- 8. It is most probable, that by 
his glory he means his soul : " Awake, O my soul, do not lie 
drowsing always, thoti hast great work to do.'* That expres 
sion, in Col. 3. 16. which we read, admonishing one ano 
ther, is e«vr«£, and most properly signifies admonishing our* 
selves. " Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, — admo 
nishing your ownselves, speaking to your ownselves, in psalms 
and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your 
hearts to the Lord. He does not say, " We have nothing 
to do, nothing that lies upon us." Can we ntver commune 
with ourselves, and labour to awaken ourselves ? We might 
expostulate with ourselves, as the Psalmist in psalm xlii. 5. 
Why art thou cast down, O my soul ? and why art thou dis 
quieted within me ? As in reference to want of comfort, so in 
reference to indisposition to duty we have much more cause to 
chide ourselves ; (i Why dost thou lie dead and asleep, when 
thou hast so great work to do ? Arise, and walk in the light 
of the Lord." We might charge ourselves, urge our own 
souls with the obligation of the divine law which we are under; 
as the psalmist does here, " Hope thou in God for I shall yet 
praise him." We might encourage ourselves, as David in that 
great distress at Ziklag is said to have encouraged himself in 
the Lord his God. 1 Sam. 30. 6. And we might resolve with 
ourselves upon this or that thing to be done. 1 will love thee, 
O Lord my strength, Ps. 18. 1. There was a resolution of 
going upon such an exercise of love and praise, before he ac 
tually engaged in the work itself : now I will go and apply my 
self to a love-commerce with God, to enlarge and expatiate in 
his love and praises. We might say, " We will now apply our 
selves to the business, before such and such a work be actually 
done/* Are we not emissive and neglectful in such things ? 

(6.) Might we not be more frequent, or more diligent, 
serious and attentive, in our waiting upon the solemn ordinan 
ces of God ? Many of us might come oftener, or come soon 
er, or more compose ourselves to attention when we come unto 
those means, through which the Spirit of God is wont to work, 
and by which it conveys its influence. 

(7.) Might we not be much oftener in our closets, and re 
tire more frequently ? Here lies the too little observed cause 
Of the languishing of religion among us at this day ; person* 


let the business of this world so shuffle out their religion, that 
they cannot have any time to go and be apart with God ; and 
they are left so much alone, because they are so little alone : 
as was the saying of a heathen, " 1 am never less alone, than 
when I ajp alone." Many a time might we have a good meet 
ing with God in a corner, if we should allow ourselves to be a 
little there. 

(8.) Might we not be more conversant at such chosen times 
with the word of God, than we are ? It is through that, this 
Spirit breathes. Thy word hath quickened me Ps. 1 1 9. SO. 
With thy precepts thou hast quickened me, ver. 93. Through 
that word which was of his own inspiring, ygoqy Ssomwros, the 
Spirit chooses still to breathe. And is it not sad to think, that 
among many professors, the Bible should lie by as an unprofit 
able neglected history about the house, as part of the lumber 
which we know not how to make use of? The word is the 
Spirit's sword ; and the corruptions of our hearts, that are the 
great hindrances of our walking, need hewing many times; 
but we put not ourselves under the stroke of the sword by 
which this should be done. And truly, if any of us should 
live to see the time or know the place, where it might be a 
crime to have a Bible in our houses ; we should then have 
cause to reflect, that we have made so little use of it when we 
had it. 

(9.) Might we not be more in prayer upon this subject, that 
is, for the Spirit ? Might we not insist more upon it, and 
plead more earnestly for spiritual communications ? We are 
told, that u God will give his Spirit unto them that ask him;" 
unto his children, as readily as we will give bread to ours, ra 
ther than a stone. And will not we believe it ? Or if we do, 
is it a thing so little worth our looking after, to have our souls 
inhabited and animated by that blessed Spirit, to have it reside 
and rule in us ? Is this so little to be regarded by us ? I be 
lieve there will a time come with many professors, that are now 
very much asleep, when they shall value a communication of 
the Spirit more than any one enjoyment whatsoever, however 
they are now absorbed and drunk up of the spirit of this world. 
If God rend and take away ail from us, and we have nothing 
else left, nothing to trust to, but what we have from above ; 
then those things from above will be things of value. And 
what would we desire more, than to be so plainly told as we 
are, that we shall have for seeking ? Your heart shall live, 
that do seek God. Ps. 69. 32. Would you have plainer words ? 
They shall praise the Lord, that seek him ; your heart (their 
heart) shall live for ever, Ps. 22. 26. 

(10.) Might we not more abstain from the things that we 


know tend to grieve the Spirit ? Many such things there are. 
It cannot but occur to our own knowledge and thoughts,, if at 
any time they be serious, that such and such things (our own 
hearts will tell us what they are,) must needs be a grief to the 
Spirit of God ; and if I allow myself to tread such and such 
paths, the Spirit and I shall grow strangers unto one another. 
The indulging of sensual desires, allowing a liberty unto enor 
mous and exorbitant passions, letting out our spirits to the 
minding of earthly things without check and restraint, falling 
into jangles and contentions with others, cherishing our own 
enmity and discontents toward such and such persons, or upon 
such and such occasions. How do we think, that that pure 
and holy and blessed Spirit will inhabit so impure and licenti 
ous and unpeaceable breasts as ours are ? The letting out our 
thoughts and affections to vanity, so as only to be in a dispo 
sition to mind trifles and converse with them, cannot but pro 
duce a great strangeness. Do not you know, that there is 
many a serious man who would forsake your company, if he saw 
that you were in no disposition to mind any thing that was 
serious ; and that to talk of nothing but toys and trifles was 
pleasing and grateful to you ? Serious men would leave you 
upon this, and think you unsuitable company for them. 



II -Inference. In the great business of the Christian life,, it 
is not the Spirit that doth all, but there is a part incumbent 
upon us. This is manifest, when it is said to belong to us, if 
we are Christians indeed, to "walk in the Spirit/' Then the 
business of the Christian life is not to be done by the Spirit 
alone, but we have a part to do therein. And it is not unne-> 
cessary to insist a little upon this. I do not reckon this ne 
cessary, merely for the confutation of their error, who think 
otherwise ; for I cannot think there are any among us that 
are of a contrary opinion ; though some such there have been, 
and probably, enough are in the world, who have thought it to 
be a great piece of perfection to be aspired unto by Christians, 
to be merely passive in the business of religion ; and that by 
how much the more perfect they are, so much the more pas 
sive, and do so much the less in religion : but I suspect not 
any here to be of that mind. It is; upon a more practical ac 
count, that this is fit to be insisted on : for though we have no 
such formed apprehensions, yet it is too plain that most carry 
the matter as if they had nothing to do. And therefore I shall 
urge some considerations to evince what I suppose to be already 
our common belief, that there is a part incumbent upon us ; 

* Preached April i;th. 1678. at Cordwainer's Hall, 


to enliven a little that belief in our souls, and that we may be 
stirred up to walk and act more agreeably to it. 

1. The very notion of walking in the text, doth most strongly 
exclaim against the supposition of our having nothing to do. 
You have been formerly told, that if a man should roll a stone, 
or drag a log, neither of them would be said to walk. Walk 
ing is a voluntary, spontaneous motion, from an internal, and 
some way or other self-directing principle ; when we design 
the motion and choose the way wherein we are to walk, being 
enabled to choose aright. And by how much the more the 
Spirit puts forth its influence in order to our walking, so much 
the more are we at liberty ; with so much the more spontaneity 
and activity and vigour do we go on in that course unto which 
it prompts. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, 
2 Cor. 3. 17- And I will run the way of thy command 
ments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart, Ps. 119. 32. 

2. It is to be argued by an induction of such particulars, as 
we have formerly instanced in, that we have a part incumbent 
upon us. Concerning which of them would we say, that they 
are not our part ? That which begins our course, repentance 
towards God, is not that our work ? That, by which we de 
rive strength and vigour for that course of holy motion, that 
faith which is continually to supply us from the fountain with 
influence, is not this incumbent upon us ? Is it not our part 
to resign and yield ourselves, and to obey the influences and 
dictates of the blessed Spirit of God ? Can we then yet say or 
think, that we have nothing to do, or carry as if we had not ? 

But it may be said, that these are the works of the Holy 
Ghost, to repent, to believe, to resign, to obey, and the like. 

It is very true indeed. But what hinders, that even in re 
ference to one and the same work the Spirit should have its 
part, and we our part? As when a musician plays upon an 
instrument, hath not the musician and the instrument each of 
them a contribution towards the melody ? The strings do not 
sound without being touched, nor is that sound made by touch 
ing any thing but those strings. We cannot say in that ease, 
that the musician and the instrument have each of them so their 
part, as that one note is from the musician and another note 
from the instrument ; but both the musician and the instru 
ment contribute to every note. And so it is plainly here, as 
to all the holy and spiritual motions and actings of a renewed 
soul ; our spirits and the blessed Spirit of God have a kind of 
co-operation in reference to every particular act ; which plainly 
shews that we have our part all along, and much more an 
active part than that similitude we used can serve to represent. 

3. Were it not so, that we have such a part incumbent upon 


us, all the precepts that contain in them the duty which is 
charged upon us, (that is, which we ought to call duty, be 
cause they are precepts in which it is contained,) would be 
mere nullities ; and so that duty would be no duty* It would 
indeed evacuate and nullify the whole law of God, and all the 
precepts that are in his book of one kind or another. For if 
we have no part belonging to us, then his precepts oblige us 
to nothing ; and that which obliges to nothing, is no obligation : 
and so it were an apprehension in the tendency of it, directly 
subversive of the whole frame of the divine government : all 
His laws over us would carry no signification with them at all. 
Especially what sense could we make of such laws as these, 
that do in general express the whole of a Christian's course ? 
This, for instance, in the text, " Walk in the Spirit ?" Which 
you have with so much solemnity introduced in another verse 
of this same chapter ; " This 1 say, Walk in the Spirit ; and 
ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh/' ver. 16. This I say ; 
here would be great solemnity used for no purpose, the pre 
cept would carry no signification of a precept at all. And so 
of other such like scriptures. Be strong in the Lord, and in 
the power of his might, Eph. 6. 10. Be strong; What 
doth that say to us ? what doth it mean ? Can we tell how to 
make ourselves strong, and by the Lord's strength ? It plainly 
shews, that regenerate ones have somewhat to do, upon the 
doing whereof they may expect the communications of the Spi 
rit. So, Eph. 4. 18. Be ye filled with the Spirit. What a 
strange thing were it to give us such a precept as that, that we 
should be filled with the Spirit, if we had nothing to do in or 
der thereto ! It doth indeed manifestly imply the Spirit's com 
municativeness, its aptness to communicate itself in all suita 
ble and needful influences : and if we should not understand 
it so, the words would carry but such a sound, such a faint 
sound with them, as those that are supposed to be spoken by 
some charitable man, that should say to one in necessity, 
naked, and destitute of daily food, <f Be thou warm, be thou 
filled ;" but yet gives nothing needful for the body, James 2. 
15, 16. And what ! Shall we dare to imagine, that the Spi 
rit of God, that Spirit of love and grace, should indite such 
words as these, "Be ye filled with the Spirit," and yet be altoge 
ther unapt to give that which should be needful to the soul ? 
It doth plainly hold forth therefore the communicativeness of 
the Holy Ghost. But then it doth hold forth also a part in 
cumbent upon us, somewhat to be done by us, whereupon we 
are to expect such a communication, and in a stated course; 
and not to expect it otherwise, or upon other terms ; whatever 


it may arbitrarily and from a sovereignty and royalty of grace 
do, as it many times doth; 

4. Otherwise all the holy and gracious principles, all the 
graces of the Spirit, were put into the soul in vain ; they were 
needless and useless things. For pray, what use can we con 
ceive them to be of, but only to dispose the soul for holy and 
gracious actings ? And then sure it must have something to 
do. The frame and shape of every thing doth discover, even 
to a man's eye, what it was made for : the very shape of this 
or that utensil shews its use, and what purposes it will serve 
for. So the whole frame of the new creature, all the several 
principles that are ingredient into the constitution of it, plainly 
shew what they are for. And the Spirit of God doth expressly 
tell us, Eph. 2. 10. We are his workmanship, created in 
Christ Jesus unto good works, which he hath before ordained 
that we should walk in them. " We are his workmanship:" 
this is a piece of work wrought and done upon the soul, on 
purpose to fit him for the doing of good works : it is a very 
strange thing if yet it should have nothing to do. We might 
as well suppose, that the apt shape and frame of this or that 
instrument did contribute nothing to the use ; a musician 
might as well play upon a log as upon a lute. Why should 
there be that curious workmanship, as there is wrought in every 
renewed soul, if all those principles are to lie dead, and there 
is no work to be clone by such a soul ? What is the grace of 
repentance for, but that the soul might turn to God ? What is 
self-denial for, but to take it off from self? Mortification to 
wards this world, but to loose and unhinge the soul from that, 
that so it may be in a posture disengaged and free for the course 
of holy spiritual motion ? What is love for, but that it may 
move vigorously and delightfully ? Fear, but that it may move 
regularly ? Humility, but that it may move equally ? Patience, 
but that it may move steadily, and so as not to be diverted by 
the evils that it meets with in the way ? Take every particular 
grace severally, or take the entire frame of all together, and 
the very frame shews us what the new creature was for, that it 
was not to do nothing, and therefore sure that there is some 
what to be done. 

5. Were it not so, this great absurdity would follow, that 
not only the Spirit of God was to be the agent, (which indeed 
is itself absurd enough) but that that alone is to be denominated 
the agent of every work that is to be done. Not only might it 
be truly said, that the Spirit of God repents and believes ; but 
that it alone doth so : and consequently that there was no be 
liever in all the world, no penitent, no obedient person ; but 
only that these names ought to be given to the Spirit of God. 


6. The matter is hence plain, that the Scripture doth ma* 
nifestly say, that such and such things are done by the people 
of God. It is owned concerning them, that they "do believe, 
they have believed, they have received the word," and the 
like ; they have "turned to the Lord from dumb idols/' they 
have had "their labour of love," their approved works. I 
know thy works, J know by way of approbation that thou hast 
done so and so. And it being plain, that they are said to be 
the doers of such and such actions ; either they do them as 
duty, as things incumbent upon them to do, or not : if as duty, 
we have what we seek : if not, then all such persons doing 
such works must be said to have done more than their duty : 
but certainly our own hearts will tell us, if we consider, that 
do what we can we always fall abundantly short. 

These things make it plain enough, that there is a part in 
cumbent upon us to do, and that it is not the business of the 
Spirit of God to do all, in the matter of the Christian life. It 
was necessary to insist upon this ; because, if we do not admit 
the principle into our hearts, however it may hover in our 
mind and notional judgment, we can never admit into our 
hearts any conviction of our neglects of God, nor any impression 
of the many exhortations and incentives that we have unto 
greater diligence in the business of our Christian walk. We 
shall but faintly charge ourselves, and easily put off all with 
saying, the Spirit of God did not act ; and think ourselves very 
innocent and harmless all the while, though we only trifle and 
loiter in the great business of Christianity all our days. If we 
own the principle, that we ought to be doing and vyalking, as 
we profess ourselves to be living Christians ; why do we carry 
the matter, as if we believed it not ? why do we stand still, 
as if we had nothing to do, as if we could not find our hands ? 
Alas ! how little is there among us of that which ought to go 
under the name of Christian walking ! How little can we find 
in ourselves, upon a serious review of the things done by us 
from day to day, concerning which we can say, "These were a 
real part of the Christian walk, and which ought to be referred 
thither!" Surely, while we so slothfully sit still and do nothing, 
it is very needful we should be put in mind and have it urged 
upon us, that we have not nothing to do ; that we cannot sit 
still, as having no business,vbut only as those that mind it not. 

III. Inference. We may farther infer hence, not only our 
obligation to a part incumbent upon us, but also our impotency 
to walk as we should alone. If it belongs to us as living chris- 
tians, both as our privilege and duty,- to walk in the Spirit; both 
do argue, that we cannot walk alone as we ought, that we 
cannot walk acceptably and so as to please God, by ourselves, 

VOL. V. 2 C 


Such a charge as this laid upon us, "to walk in the Spirit/' car 
ries a plain signification, how incompetent we are for managing 
the course of our Christian walk without the Spirit. They that 
walk by the power of another, being acted and supported and 
borne up ; though their walking imports that they do some 
what ; yet plainly shew, by their walking so sustained, their 
impotency to steer that course of themselves. And it is need 
ful, that the conviction of this too, do sink a great deal deeper 
with us than commonly it doth ; that we can do nothing alone 
of the proper business that appertains to the Christian life ; not 
so much as move a step, or draw a breath, or think a thought; 
not so much as think any thing, as of ourselves, 2 Cor. 3. 5. 

This also is a thing, that is easily assented to, as soon as we 
hear it : but there is a very great difference to be made, be 
tween assenting to such a thing as an opinion, that we think 
carries with it a very plausible pretence for our own sloth, and 
having ourselves possessed with a deep and serious sense of it, 
as a thing plainly spoke out to us by the word of God, and 
whereof we find an inward experience in our own souls. We 
are very carefully to distinguish between these two. It is a 
very common pretence among people, that they can do nothing, 
no good thing without God, they are impotent to every thing 
that may have any tendency to their own salvation or to his 
glory ; most profess to believe this, as soon as they hear the 
words spoken : but it is too apparent by the course that most 
hold, that this is only an opinion taken up, as supposed to carry 
a very favourable aspect upon their own sloth ; and not that 
really they are of this faith. It is but a mere assumed opinion, 
with them ; not a part of their faith, nor a piece of their ex 
perience concerning themselves, that " without God they can 
do nothing." 

It is plain enough, that persons may hold things as an 
opinion, that have no influence at all to govern their practice, 
notwithstanding that they are things in their own nature never 
so practical, or that ever so much concern practice. And it is 
of some necessity to us to consider, how impotent and ineffec 
tual a thing mere opinion is to govern a man's practice. And 
to make way for this ; that you may see that men hold this doc 
trine of their own impotency unto any spiritual good but as an 
opinion, without ever understanding the grounds of it, or 
without ever considering of what use it should be, or what 
course they are to take agreeable to such an apprehension ; we 
shall shew a little the insufficiency of mere opinion to regulate 
practice. Plain it is, that many things that are in their own 
nature most practical, men have opinions about, which never 
influence their practice at all. It is a common thing for mem 


in the whole course of their lives to run counter to an opinion 
which they hold ; as I might instance in sundry of the greatest 
things, that one can think of. Men are of this opinion, that 
God is the supreme and rightful Governor of the world ; and 
yet have his laws and authority all their days in contempt. 
They are of this opinion, that God is omniscient, knows their 
hearts, and beholds all their ways ; and yet never care to ap 
prove themselves to his eye in the temper of their spirits 
or the course of their walking. They are of opinion, that all 
men as sinners are naturally liable to the wrath and justice of 
God ; and yet never go about to flee from the wrath to come. 
They are of opinion, that there is a judgment to come, and a 
state of retribution after this life for what hath been done in it; 
and yet never make it their concern to be sure, that they are 
not miserable hereafter, cast in judgment, doomed to perdition, 
but adjudged to live. Men in their whole course, even all their 
days, run directly contrary to their own opinion, in the great 
est and most important things, that can be imagined ; and that 
shews that it is a mere opinion : for a real, thorough belief of so 
great and important things, would certainly make other kind 
of work in their hearts and lives. 

And because it is so plain in the general, that men may run 
all their time against their opinion, and guide their practice 
quite contrary to their opinion about practical things ; it con 
cerns us here to be a little more strict in our inquiry, whether 
it be not so in this particular case ; that is, that men do hold 
the doctrine of their impotence for spiritual good but as an 
opinion, which they the more readily comply with, because 
they think it looks with a very favourable aspect upon that 
slothful, lazy course, which it is most agreeable to them to 
hold, and which they are very loth to alter. In this case, it 
doth them never the more good for being a true opinion ; but 
the mischief to them is, that they hold it but as an opinion and 
no otherwise :• which will appear, if you consider four things. 
If they held such a truth otherwise than as an opinion, if they 
believed it with a real faith and experienced the truth of it ; it 
must, in conjunction with the things that I am to mention, 
make strange impressions upon their spirits, and alterations in 
their course, beyond what it is found to do. For, 

1 . Together with this apprehension, that they are impotent, 
and cannot of themselves walk as they should so as to please 
God, they also know or might easily know, that they do not 
•walk so, as to have reason to think, that God is pleased with 
their walking. They may find upon a very easy reflection, 
that they do not walk in the Spirit : one would think it impos 
sible for many of the looser sort of the professors of Christianity 


to resist the evidence of so plain a thing, if they ask themselves 
the question ; " Can I say, my course and walking is like 
walking in the Spirit, such as that 1 dare entitle the Spirit to 
it as its author?" What! Is the Spirit the author of your 
minding earthly things so intently ? of seeking yourselves ? of 
casting away the thoughts of God and eternity and the other 
world ? And is not this thy walk?" Must not many say so? 
Let that then be considered by them that say, they cannot 
walk so as to please God without the Spirit ; must they not also 
be forced to say, that they do not walk in the Spirit ? And 
then add to that, 

2. The consideration whither these things tend. While 
they acknowledge, that to walk so as God may be pleased, 
without the Spirit, is not possible ; that their present course 
is not a walking in the Spirit ; and along with these, that it is 
absolutely necessary for them to walk in such a course, as that 
God may be pleased with their walking ; certainly it would put 
a reasonable, considering soul into a distress, if he would but lay 
these things together : "I cannot walk as I should without the 
Spirit, and I find I do not walk according to the Spirit, yet it 
is necessary for me that I should do so." What should be the 
end of this ? Must it not needs be to put the spirit of a man, 
if he will reasonably consider it, into the greatest agonies ima 
ginable ? None pretend to hold this doctrine of their own im- 
potency, but the same persons will say that they hold too, that 
it is necessary for them to please God in their walking. Now 
while no suitable impression is made, no lively concern exci 
ted, answerable to the exigency of such a case ; is it not plain, 
that all this is but mere opinion, a hovering opinion and no 
more ? especially if we should add hereto the considering, 

3. That the Spirit is not tied to their time : and that no 
doubt they will grant also. If now they have not the Spirit to 
influence their walking and enable them in the course of it, 
they cannot promise themselves that they shall have it the next 
hour or the next day or the next year. 

4. They know withal, that they are not masters of their own 
time ; and they do not know but that their time may be over 
and expired, before that blessed Spirit, so often neglected and 
slighted and resisted, shall ever breathe or do any effectual work 
upon their souls. 

These are things all of them as obvious as that other, that 
they are of themselves impotent. But take all these things 
together, and if there were more than mere opinion in the mat 
ter, certainly it could not but put such a soul into the greatest 
distress imaginable. " What shall I do? what shall I think of 
my case ? which way shall I turn myself ? The way wherein I 


walk I am sure cannot please God ; I cannot walk better with 
out his Spirit ; that Spirit doth not breathe or move in me in 
order to my better walking ; I cannot command that Spirit ; 
my time may shortly be over ; I may be dead and gone out of 
this world for ought I know, before that Spirit ever come to 
have any acquaintance with my spirit, any commerce with it, 
and then what will become of me ?" 

All this I urge to this purpose, that it may be taken notice 
of and reflected upon, how little it signifies for men to have 
such an opinion of their own impotency, while it is an opinion 
and no more, while it makes no impression and has no suitable 
effect. If it were firmly believed, it would certainly infer this, 
that a soul that finds it can of itself do nothing, would be put 
upon loud and importunate cries to him, who can help us to da 
all, and who must do all, that is, do the part appertaining to 
him in all and in every thing that is to be done by us in order 
to our eternal well-being. But to lie still with the apprehen 
sion that I can do nothing, when (as the case doth signify) if I 
can do nothing I must perish, supposing that nothing be done 
by a higher and a stronger hand ; and to be unconcerned whe 
ther that hand ever touch my heart, ever come near me, yea 
or no : this is a dreadful and a monstrous thing, and might 
make men amazed at themselves ; that they can profess to be 
lieve a doctrine that carries with it a face of so much terror 
to their own souls, and never be startled at it ; be well pleased 
that it casts a favourable aspect upon their sloth, while it car 
ries a most frowning one upon their safety : unless it had that 
tendency with it, (which in most it hath not,) to bring men 
upon their knees, and to set them on crying and importuning 
for that grace and Spirit, without which it is true we can do 
nothing, and without which therefore nothing but perishing i$ 
to be looked for. 



HpHERE are yet some farther inferences remaining from the 
-subject we have been upon. 

IV. Inference. Since it belongs to the state of persons living 
in the Spirit to walk in the Spirit ; then we have great reason to 
admire the grace of the Spirit, that renders this a possible thing 
to us, to walk under its constant governing influence. But 
this I shall not insist upon, because there is no part or work 
and office of the Holy Ghost in reference to the spirits of men, 
on which we have insisted already, but hath given us some 
occasion to reflect upon its wonderful vouchsafement, that it 
would have so much to do with such as we are. But as this 
occasion is renewed to us of considering it, we should renew^ 
our observation and admiration of its strange condescension in 
this thing. For would any of us deign to be obliged to have 
from day to day the guiding and conducting of all the motions 
of a worm ? And we do not need to be told, how much less 
considerable we are in reference to the great God and the 
blessed Spirit, than any the most despicable worm is to us. 

V. Inference. Since it belongs unto the state of persons 
that own themselves Christians or to live in the Spirit, (for to 
own Christianity, and to pretend to a life in the Spirit, is all 
one 5 those that profess themselves Christians, do not profess 

* Preached May 1, 1673. 


themselves dead Christians, but living ones ;) since it be 
longs, I say, to such to walk in the Spirit; then we may too 
plainly collect, that there are Very many going under that 
name, that walk so, as doth not belong to the state unto 
which they pretend. A plain and sad collection ! as the 
apostle speaks, Phil. 3. 18. Many walk, as I have told you 
often, and now tell you even weeping, as enemies of the cross 
of Christ : as those who are driving on a continual hostility 
against Christianity, and the design for which Christ was cru 
cified. I doubt there is not less cause now for such a com 
plaint, but only less sense. It is very observable, how great 
a stress is laid upon the visible decorum of a Christian's walk, 
up and down in Scripture ; how they are required to be noted 
that walk disorderly; how earnestly Christians are exhorted 
and besought to walk becomingly and laudably, so that love 
liness and amiableness, might appear in their walk. I (Paul) 
the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you, that ye walk worthy of 
the vocation wherewith ye are called, Eph. 4, 1. And he saith 
to the Thessalonians, 1 Epis. 2. 12. Ye know, how we 
have exhorted and comforted, (or, encouraged) and warned 
every one of you, even as a father doth his children ; that ye 
would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom 
and glory. And in the epistle to the Colossians, he prays on 
the behalf of them, as we find him elsewhere praying for 
others, (chap. 1. 10.) that they might walk worthy of the Lord 
unto all pleasing; so as to make a fair representation of him to 
the world, that he might be thought well of among men for 
the sake of them that bear his name and own a relation to him. 
And so to walk, that is, such worthy and becoming walking, 
and walking in the Spirit, do manifestly imply one another. 
Whatsoever is worthy, honourable, graceful in the conversation 
of Christians can never be wanting, if their conversation be 
under the constant government and regulating influence of this 
Spirit. And if the conversation of any be otherwise governed 
in the general course and tenour of it, it is plain that it is un 
der the government of some other principle. Do but see, as 
to this, the proportionable opposition between two passages, 
namely, this of the text, If ye live in the Spirit, walk also in 
the Spirit, and that in Col. 3. 7- In which ye also walked 
sometime, when ye lived in them : referring to what was 
mentioned before and after, fornication, uncleanness, inordi 
nate affection, .evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is 
idolatry, (ver. 5.) and to anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, fil 
thy communications, &c. ver. 8. &c. The course of any 
one's motion is so conform and agreeable to the principle that 
lives and rules with him. If we live in the Spirit, we walk in 


the Spirit ; as it is most befitting we should : but if we live in 
the flesh, that is, under the government and dominion of fleshly 
principles, accordingly we shall walk ; our walking will easily 
shew, what principle is regnant and in dominion. 

It would therefore be worth our while here, to point out 
some particular tilings, that are too observable in the walkings 
of many, and import a most direct repugnancy and contrariety 
unto walking in the Spirit ; which are a manifest disclaiming 
of it, as none of the governing principle of those who so walk. 

1 . A visible conformity to this world speaks a contrariety to 
Walking in the Spirit, and a repugnancy to all its influences 
and dictates. Plain it is, that the Scripture frequently speaks 
of a spirit and a spirit, that differently and oppositely influence 
the walking of men. We are told of the spirit of the world, 
and of the Spirit that is of God, 1 Cor. 2. 12. And as here 
we read of walking in the Spirit, the blessed Spirit of God ; 
so we read of another course of walking, according to the course 
of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, 
the spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience ; among 
whom we all had our conversation in times past, in the lusts 
of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind, 
Eph. 2. 2, 3. As the holy, blessed Spirit of God, wherever 
that rules, doth conform and frame the course and tenour of 
any one's conversations, in whom it so rules, unto the gospel 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, that course of walking that is direct 
ed and prescribed there: so the spirit and genius of the world 
doth conform men unto this world, and make them shape their 
course agreeable to it ; as that expression with the emphasis 
signifies, Rom. 12. 2. trwxvipoirifyarQe, Be not conformed, (be not 
configured) unto this world, so as that your visible shape, 
frame and mould, that appear obvious to every eye, should re 
present this world and hold an agreement with that ; but Be 
ye transformed by the renewing of your minds, that we may 
prove (or, give proof) what is that good and acceptable and 
perfect will of God; as those that are framed according to that, 
delivered up into the mould by which that will is revealed, to 
wit, that of the gospel-revelation; as in Rom. 6. 17 Now 
when the course of any men's walking is such as that of the men 
of the world in common, what doth it discover, but that these 
men are acted by the spirit of this world, are ingulphed and 
swallowed up of that spirit ? one spirit animates both the world 
and them, and makes them one piece with this world. And 
if we should give characters of the worldly spirit, you would 
easily see what the walking and conversation of many doth be 
speak to be the governing principle of their lives, or the spirit 
that influenceth their conversations. Plain it is, that the spi- 


rit of this world is an atheistical spirit, a sensual and earthly 
spirit, a vain and proud, a malicious and contentious spirit. 
Concerning what is obvious in the walking of persons, agree 
able unto such characters as these, give me leave a little to 

(1.) A conversation or course of walking transacted in the 
continual neglect of God, is certainly a conversation governed 
not by the Spirit of God, but by the spirit of this world. Con 
ceive of that Spirit, under what notion you will ; they that 
walk under the governing influence of the Spirit of God, walk 
as before God : Walk before me, and be thou perfect, or up 
right, Gen. 17. 1. Walk as in God's sight, as under his eye;, 
as that injunction again and again repeated to Abraham doth 
import. They walk in the fear of the Lord. Acts 9. 31. 
They, whose hearts must tell them upon reflection, " I do not 
use to walk in the fear of the Lord from day to day, my life is 
led as 'without God in the world,' as if 1 were my own, as if my 
ways were all in my own disposal, as if it were the sense of my 
heart, Who is Lord over me ? I am under my own inspection, 
as if no account was to be taken of my walk ;" it will be too 
plain for such to collect, that they walk not by the Spirit, or 
after the Spirit, or in the Spirit. For what ! Do we think, that 
that blessed Spirit can be the author to us of our forgetting God 
and leading ungodly lives ? Doth that cast his fear out of our 
hearts, which is peculiarly called the Spirit of the fear of the 
Lord? Isa. 11. 2. Doth that Spirit drive us away from God 5 
or make us unapprehensive of his presence, or make us stran 
gers to him or as persons unrelated ? 

(2.) A continued over-eager pursuit of the things of this 
world, speaks a conversation governed by the spirit of the 
world, and not by the Spirit of God. I shall not speak here of 
grosser sensualities, when it is the business of men's lives to 
satisfy the viler lusts of the flesh ; about which the case is so 
plain, that they cannot have the face to pretend, that the Spi 
rit of God should be the author of such things in their conver 
sation. And the antithesis is plain, where we have the same 
precept before, at the 16th verse of this chapter : "Walk in the 
Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh." So, fulfil 
the lusts of the flesh, and it is certain you do not walk in the 
Spirit ; for the case is as broad as long. But there is what is 
more refined, what custom and common practice hath made 
less scandalous. It is hardly thought scandalous to be an 
earthly-minded man ; one, all whose design and the whole 
business of whose life is, to lay up and amass together a great 
deal of the treasures of this earth. And it is a latent evil in 
very great part ; for one man may be very busy in the affairs 

VOL. v. 2 » 


of this world, and another the like, and yet we cannot tell 
where the hearts of one and the other are. There may be 
many good thoughts, many holy affections and actings of 
grace, intermingled with worldly affairs and business. But 
notwithstanding that, there is much (as I say,) of the air of a 
man's spirit to be seen in the constant course and tenour of his 
walking ; a certain mien and deportment, that speaks the 
complexion of his soul. They that are after the flesh, savour 
the things of the flesh, and carry a scent with them that shews 
their spirits. We say, that such or such a course of walking, 
such a word, or such an action is par homini, just like the 
man, speaks the spirit of the man. When the apostle comes 
to distinguish between walking and walking, conversation and 
conversation; we see how the minding of earthly things, and 
having a conversation in heaven, are made the distinctive cha 
racters of men, Phil. 3. ly, 20. Our business now is to put 
persons severally upon reflection into their hearts and upon 
their own walking. It is no matter what we appear, or are 
thought of by one another : but it greatly concerns us to be 
informed ourselves, what principle or spirit il is that governs 
our walking, or hath the management of our conversation. 
And it is no such difficult, at least no impossible thing, upon 
a faithful scrutiny and frequent observation, to understand, 
what are the great designs that we are driving in this world, 
and in what channel the main stream of our actions and en 
deavours run ; what are the thoughts of our hearts, what therr 
secret dispositions and propensions. When worldly objects, 
and worldly thoughts and affections are most tasteful to us, 
and most habitual and customary, what shall we say concern 
ing this case ? When it is so through the whole course of our 
walking, who must govern this walk ? Will we dare to entitle 
the Spirit of God unto the conduct and government of such a 
conversation as that ? When my walking from day to day is 
nothing else but a continual tending towards this earth, a mo 
tion downward ; is it the Spirit of God that so thrusts me down 
and depresses my spirit ? Is it that, that makes me grovel in the 
dust, and lead the life of a worm, when I might lead that of an 
angel, when I might have my way above, as the way of the 
wise is ? 

(3.) A contentious course of life speaks the Spirit of God to 
be none of the governor of our walk, but another spirit most 
surely. When men love wrangles antf contentions, cannot 
endure to live out of the fire, is the Spirit of God the 
author of that impure fire ? It is very much to be ob 
served, what the apostle hath reference to more immediately 
and directly in this very context, wherein the text lies. He 
first gives this precept of walking in the Spirit : " This I say 


then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the 
flesh," ver. 16'. See what the foregoing verses are, ver. 14 
15. All the law is fulfilled in one word, by love, (as he had 
said, ver. 13. By love serve one another.) For all the law is 
fulfilled in one word, even in this, "Thou shalt love thy neigh 
bour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take 
heed that ye be not consumed one of another." Upon which 
follows the 16th verse. The lusts of the flesh, which he hath 
more direct and immediate reference to there, are therefore 
those opposed to love, such as wrath and anger, envy and ma 
lice ; which he speaks of, both afterwards in this chapter, and 
in other of his epistles. When he comes to enumerate the 
fruits of the flesh, how great apart do things of this nature 
bear in that enumeration ! The works of the flesh are maniiest. 
And after he had named some things more grossly sensual, (as 
adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,) and inter- 
serted idolatry and witchcraft 5 then comes hatred, variance, 
emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings. And 
when he had been speaking in Col, 3.5. of the earthly mem 
bers, that must be mortified, and for which the wrath of God 
cometh on the children of disobedience ; in the which, says 
he, to those Colossians, Ye also walked sometime, when ye 
lived in them : then he adds, But now put ye off all these : 
and as he had named before fornication, uncleanness, &c. so 
now he goes on with the enumeration, mentioning farther an 
ger, wrath, malice, &c. And indeed, if we will not admit 
the apprehension deep into our souls, that it is the great busi 
ness of the Spirit of God equally and alike to enliven and ani 
mate both parts of the law of God, to turn both tables into a 
living law, transcribing them out upon the hearts and spirits of 
men ; we shall never understand the great work that is to be 
done upon our souls by the Spirit. We are to consider it a* 
the Spirit of all love and goodness and benignity and meekness ; 
and then we may easily apprehend what the fruits of this Spirit 
will be : The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteous 
ness and truth, Eph. 5.9. It is the reproach of our age, 
and (which is worse than that,) of the Christian name, that 
there are so many that conjoin eminent pretences unto religion 
and spirituality with a froward, peevish, perverse, envious, 
spiteful, malicious spirit, as if it were possible for these things 
to consist. It is not strange indeed, that a worse spirit should 
assume and put on some appearances of a better ; but you may 
be sure, that that better Spirit will never disguise itself by the. 
appearances of the worse. This is the spirit of the world, a 
Spirit that fills the world witli nothing but violence and mis 
chief, that shakes and agitates the world with perpetual comnxo- 


tions ; as it will be with it, till it dissolve and be burst 
asunder at last by the malignity of its own wickedness, and the 
wrath of God in a just conjunction therewith, coming upon 
the wicked. That spirit, and a just nemesis, that falls by 
way of punishment upon it, hath made the world so miserable 
a region, the very region of all miseries. So that any one 
may^see, that the spirit of the world hath a great hold upon 
one, if things of this import are frequently observable in the 
course of his conversation. 

(4.) A vain walk is a discovery, that a man's conversation is 
acted and influenced by the spirit of this world, which is a 
vain spirit. Such persons, who can never find a time wherein 
to be serious, who shew this to be a thing that their hearts ab 
hor from, whom you will find always vain, though you should 
meet them never so often in a day ; as if a serious thought fled 
from their spirits as none of its element, and could not tell 
how to dwell with them ; the very countenance and shew of 
whose conversation discovers a continual vanity of spirit. 
What ! will such persons dare to entitle the Spirit of God to 
this ? Hath the Spirit of God the government of that man's 
walking, in which there is no face of seriousness, so that any 
one that sees hath reason enough to conjecture, that serious- 
ness was never akin to his spirit or had any place in it ? This 
is matter of very necessary self- reflection. We ought to com 
mune with ourselves very strictly and closely about this thing. 
Do we think, that we are under the guidance of the Spirit of 
God, and yet from day to day are unacquainted with what it 
means to have serious thoughts and serious frames and dispo 
sitions of heart about us ? 

Thus far conformity to the world speaks an unsuitableness 
and contrariety to walking in the Spirit. There are some other 
things, that are thought to be out of that verge, and are really 
beside the more common and general course of this walk ; 
which I shall mention under distinct heads from this, because 
I would speak of them as they are thought of. And therefore 
J add, 

2. Opinionativeness in the business of religion. Many 
would little suspect this to be from the spirit of this world. 
And indeed it is not the very common course of this world to 
be much concerned about such matters. But no matter from, 
what spirit it is, their own or a worse ; it is not from the Spi 
rit of God ; that doth not influence their course. But take 
aright what I mean by the term, opinionativeness : I mean 
$uch as in their ordinary course from day to day either are 
wholly taken up about speculative matters that either really be- 
loqgor that they affix to religion 5 or who only converse about 


most practical matters speculatively, as if they were matters 
of mere opinion, and not to be turned or employed to practice 
at all. A course of walking so managed as this is, certainly is 
not governed by the Spirit of God ; that is the author of no 
such persuasion to men. Men are apt to think, that they are 
very safe from sin and blame in this case, because they are 
things of religion that they are much concerned and taken up 
about. But what things ? and how are they employed about 
them ? Either they converse about the mere skirts and borders 
of religion, and keep as remote as they can from the heart and 
vitals of it, from having any commerce with such things : or, 
if the case be not so, then they presume (and it is a dreadful 
presumption,) to touch those most sacred things with sacrile 
gious hands ; to alienate the great and deep things of God, 
that appertain to his kingdom and glory, from their proper and 
genuine purposes ; that, whereas they should be the food of 
souls, and the maintenance of the spiritual life, they employ 
them only to feed curiosity, and so to satisfy a more refined lust. 
This is the very truth of the case ; and so a great many, that 
are persons of more leisure and vacancy from worldly affairs, 
spend most of their time. It is doleful to think, that the de 
sign, for which such important things are revealed to men, 
should be so little understood, and so little complied with and 
answered ; and that so great things should be perverted unto 
so mean and ill services. And it is sad to think of the injury, 
that such men do to their own souls ; they go with famished 
souls from day to day, while they have most proper and suita 
ble nutriment for them just at hand, but they will not touch, 
so as to taste or feed upon these things. Starving in the midst 
of plenty is their case : or, as if a sick man should have by 
him, in the midst of his languishing sickness, some vial of 
very choice and precious spirits, that in all likelihood would be 
relieving to him, and save him from death, but he keeps it by 
him, and will discourse to you very curiously and philosophi 
cally concerning the nature and virtues of this thing, yet never 
uses it, nor apprehends that he is concerned to use it, or that 
his case requires it ; and so dies away with a medicine at hand 
all the while, that might have saved his life. 

3. Formality in the business of religion. There are those, 
who think it cannot serve their turn to speculate all their days, 
tend, therefore would practise somewhat. But what do they 
practise ? They run in a common road of duties, in which their 
own hearts upon reflection must confess, that they never had 
the Spirit of God breathing, and never concerned themselves 
to have it so. Theirs is a religious course, and a course of 
practical religion 5 but transacted at the utmost distance from 


the Spirit of God, so that it and their spirits have no commu 
nion from day to day in the whole. They keep up a course of 
prayer in their families, and it may be in secret, go to public 
assemblies, attend upon the ordinances of worship ; but never 
find any impression upon their spirits, any warmth or vigour 
there, or a concern to look after any such thing. They think it 
well, that such a duty is over, and so that they have walked in a 
religious course, though strangers to God and his Spirit all their 

4. The neglect of the very form itself. This is too known a 
thing among some persons ; and that too under the very pre 
tence of spirituality. They are too spiritual to be bound to 
any forms of worship, or any stated course of duties; and that 
they may be more spiritual, they cast prayer out of their fami 
lies, and refuse, yea even disdain to live worshipping lives, as 
too mean for them. All these things speak a manifest repug 
nancy to walking in the Spirit. Sure it is not the governor of 
any such courses of walking as these are. 

I shall shut up all with some brief reflections upon both parts 
of the text together. 

Since it doth belong to the Spirit of God by office, as we 
have asserted, to maintain the life, and govern the walk and 
motions of Christians ; we should bethink ourselves, of how in 
dispensable necessity the communications of the Spirit for these 
purposes are unto us, and how miserable a thing it is to be 
destitute of them. We may easily apprehend how necessary 
that influence is, without which we can neither live nor move; 
and how miserable to be without it. For represent we to our 
selves the case of a poor languishing, decrepit creature, that is 
deprived of motive power ; suppose him barely to live, to have 
only life enough to feel himself in a dying condition : now is 
not the case so with many Christians, with some of those per 
haps that have the root of the matter in them ? They have but 
life enough to feel that they are consuming, and in a state 
wherein the things that remain are even ready to die ! That 
they do not die, is by divine vouchsafement, and none of their 
care. What a sad case is this ! And is it not yet worse with 
some ? They have not life enough to take any notice or make 
inquiry, whether they live or no : as persons that have some 
life left, yet may be uncapable of considering whether they are 
alive or dead. Many Christians are so far from having that 
motive power, that is to be exercised in the managing of their 
own walk, and that would be so if it were not through their own 
default ; that they are so altogether destitute also of any pre 
sence and vital influence of the Spirit, as never to consider the 


case, "Am I alive or dead ?" certainly this is a miserable case* 
And I may add. 

Where there is manifestly such a destitution, there are some 
things very intolerable, which yet are too obvious and frequent 
with many such. As, 

1 . It is intolerable in the case, to lay aside the apprehension 
of the distinction between natural and spiritual life, natural 
motion and spiritual. You may judge, whether the mention 
of this be not a most apparently needful thing. Are there not 
a great many, that spend away their days without so much as 
ever considering, that there is such a thing as spiritual life and 
motion, or a region all replenished with spiritual vitality, a 
distinct sphere from that of nature wherein alone the rest of 
men do converse ? They never think of such a distinction be 
tween world and world ; an orb of spiritual life, and that mean 
and lower orb, wherein only a low kind of animality fills up 

2. It is an intolerable thing in this case, to be unapprehen 
sive of what others find of the power and vigour of that other 
Spirit moving in them, even the Spirit of God. There are 
some, that through grace (though that is not to be vaunted of, 
and whereof it becomes none to make a boast:) feel the stirrings 
of another principle in them different from the spirit of this 
world : they feel themselves to live, and to be acted in their 
walk by a spring of life that is from above. Those that are 
without the experience of such a thing, will not believe there 
is any such thing ; as if their knowledge were to measure all 
realities ; as though they were persons commensurate in their 
understandings and experience with the whole nature of things. 
This is just for all the world, as if a languid person, that hath 
been long confined to his chamber and bed, should come to 
fancy, that his chamber arid bed were all the world, and that 
there was nothing done among mankind but .what he saw trans 
acted in his own chamber : or, if we should imagine a think 
ing power to be in the grave, and fancying a grave to be the 

3. It is intolerable, to be unconcerned about our own .part 
and share in the world and region of spiritual life and motion, 
of which we have been speaking. If there were a line to be 
drawn through the world to sever in it the living from the dead, 
and a public notification were made of this all the world over ; 
would we not then be very much concerned, on which side of 
the line we placed ourselves, that it might be where we could 
live ? But how strange is it, that in this case many are alto 
gether unconcerned, whether they are of the living or the dead 
side ! Lastly, 


4. It is a most intolerable thing, to make no applications to 
this Spirit, after we know its distance. We know it is the 
Author of life, and the Governor of all holy motions unto all the 
children of God ; and yet never apply to it, never put up a 
sigh or a cry ! How intolerable is this ! Do we know of any 
other way to live ? Do we think, that there can he such a 
thing as everlasting life, a life which shall never end, and 
which shall also never begin ? Sure if there be such a life,, it 
must sometime begin : and where will we place the begin 
ning of it, but in the communication of that spiritual, vital in 
fluence, which once given is a spring of living waters, spring 
ing up unto life eternal ? 

Let us so therefore represent the matter to ourselves ; the 
h,igh dignity, the immense fulness, the royal magnificent 
bounty and benignity of this blessed Spirit ; that we may nei 
ther neglect it, nor distrust it. Represent the tendency of all 
its communications, and consider them as the earnests and 
pledges of everlasting life, the blossomings of glory ; that 
which must be our preparation for, and our assurance of, the 
eternal state of life. And then desire such communications 
above all things. Let this be the sense of our souls, (sure 
there is reason enough, that it should be so ;) " Lord, let me 
rather live in poverty, live in pain and sickness, live in dis 
grace all my days, than live without thy Spirit ! Let not that 
Spirit be a stranger to me, but inhabit and dwell in me, act 
and move me ; and be my condition what it will in all ex 
ternal respects, I am unsolicitous, I will never capitulate, 
never dispute the matter." Till that Spirit come to be valued 
by us, and all its communications, even above all things else 
that men are wont to count dear to them, we have reason to 
apprehend, that it and we are like to continue still strangers ; 
and if we be strangers to the divine Spirit, we must be ac 
quainted with misery both in this and another state. 










Ezek. xxxix 


VOL. V. 2 B 


I apprehend little occasion to make an apology for the publication 
of the following discourses. They who relish Mr. Howe's inimi 
table spirit of piety, judgment, copiousness and force in the ma 
nagement of every subject he hath undertaken, will be glad of any 
remains of so great a man; and those who have been conversant 
with his writings, will hardly want any other voucher, besides the 
sermons themselves, that they are genuine, they so evidently carry 
in them, to a person of taste, the marks which always distinguish his 

They have not indeed had the advantage of his own masterly 
hand to prepare them for the press, and to give them their last fini 
shing j but were his discourses from the pulpit, taken first in short 
hand by the hand of a very ready and judicious writer, who after 
wards copied them out fair with the minutest exactness, as they 
were delivered. This very precise accuracy made itnecessary, that 
they should he transcribed anew, before they saw the light. This 
I have adventured to do, without the alteration or addition of any 
one thought. But, in discourses delivered by a preacher without 
notes, some repetitions naturally occur in the pulpit j and very 
usefully, to enable the hearer to discern the connexion of the dis 
course as he goes along, and to make the deeper impression. These 
might appear tedious to a reader, who hath the whole before him; 
and therefore are omitted, farther than they seemed to carry a pe 
culiar emphasis, or than a different representation of the same 
thought was apprehended to convey the idea with greater force. 
The writer appears to have religiously followed the very words of 
the author, when he cited passages of Scripture by memory. It 
was jndged proper to consult the texts themselves, and to cite them 


*s they lie in the Bible ; except where the author might he suppos 
ed out of choice to substitute another english word, as more expres 
sive of the sense of the original. The repetition also of former dis 
courses at the beginning of another sermon hath been omitted where 
nothing new occurred. But where a new thought is suggested, in 
such a repetition, it hath been carefully inserted in its proper place. 
This is all the variation I have allowed myself to make from the 
copy ; and so much I apprehend will be accounted reasonable and 
necessary by all that are acquainted with such things* 

The subject can hardly fail to be particularly acceptable. The 
reverend author hath often indeed expressed in general the same 
catholick sentiments in several of the works which he published 
himself ; and shewn his mind to have been uniformly the same as 
here, upon that head, wherein the prosperity of the Christian inte 
rest lies : that it consists not in the advancement of any party 
among christians as such, or of any distinguishing name, or in any 
mere external forms j but in real vital religion and conformity to 
God. He hath also more than once intimated his expectation of 
better times for the church of God, than the present state of it. 
But he hath no where so professedly and distinctly explained his 
sentiments concerning the latter days of the Christian church, as in 
these discourses. 

They were all preached in the course of a Wednesday-lecture, 
which he formerly kept up at Cordwainer's-hall in this city : and 
all within the year 1(3/8, as appears by the dates prefixed to each. 
A time, wherein he was in the vigour of life and height of judg 
ment, between forty and fifty years old : and within a few years 
after Ms settlement with that congregation of protestant dissenters, 
where he ministered till his death. That was a time of peculiar dis 
tress and danger, not only to protestants out of the legal establish 
ment in these kingdoms, but to the reformed interest in general 
through Europe. This may be supposed to have engaged his 
thoughts in so long attention to this subject, which animates with 
the hope of better times to come. 

There are other discourses immediately preceding these at the 
same lecture, concerning the work of the Spirit in every age upon 
particular persons ;* as these relate to his work upon the Christian 
community, to be expected in the last age. A copy of those ser 
mons, drawn up by the same writer, is fallen into the hands of a 
very worthy brother of this city, by as unexpected a providence a» 
these came into mine. I hope he may be prevailed with to intro 
duce them into the world, if those which are now offered meet with 
a favourable reception. And both these volumes together, will 
contain the sum of this great man's sentiments concerning the im 
portant doctrine of the Holy Spirit. 

If any inquire, why these sermons were not inserted in the late 
collection of Mr. Howe's works in folio : I answer j beside that it 

* These are printed first in this volume in the order in which they wer* 
preached , 


Was resolved to insert none there, but those which he had published 
himself ; so, if it had been thought proper to add more, the copy 
of these came not into my hands or within my notice, till that 
edition was made public. 

Such an index cannot be judged needful to a particular discourse; 
as I thought proper to add to that collection, where the subjects 
treated of are so various. It appeared more useful here to give a 
view of his whole scheme upon the argument, by way of contents : 
and because of the felicity of this author in descants upon Scrip 
ture, an index of the texts, which he hath taken notice of, is 
added even to this short treatise. 

May the great Lord of the harvest succeed the revived labours of 
our fathers, and the endeavours of those in the present age, who 
are called to serve him in the gospel ; and still raise a seed to serve 
him, both in the ministry and out of it, which from time to time 
shall be accounted to him for a generation. This is the hearty 
prayer of 

An unworthy Servant of 

our common Lord, 


John Evans. 
* In this edition, these are referred to the general inde*. 


Ezck xxiix. 29. 

Neither will I hide my face any more from them ; for I have 

poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel) 

saith the Lord God. 

operations of the Holy Ghost may be considered 
either as relating to particular persons, in a single and 
private capacity ; for the regenerating of souls, or implanting 
in them the principles of the divine and spiritual life ; the 
maintaining of that life ; the causing and ordering all the mo 
tions that are proper thereunto : or as having an influence upon 
the — felicity and prosperous state of the church in general. — 
For this last, the scripture that I have pitched upon, gives us 
a very plain and sufficient ground. 

It is manifest, that it is a very happy and prosperous state, 
which is here referred unto, if you look back upon this and the 
foregoing chapters, the 36th, 37th and 3Sth, which are all 
congenerous, and as it were of a piece with this. You find 
such things copiously spoken of and promised, as we are wont 
to consider in the constitution of a prosperous happy state, in 
reference to what their case required ; reduction from captivi 
ty, victory over their enemies, abundant plenty of all things, 
settled tranquillity and peace, entire union among themselves, 
both Ephraim and Judah, as you will find it expressed ; the 
renewal of God's covenant with them, after their so great and 

* Preached May Stb, 


long-continued defection and apostacy from it ; in which cov 
enant he would be their God, and take them for his people, 
and have the relation avowed and made visible to all the world, 
that he and they were thus related to one another. These 
things you may find at large in the several chapters mentioned ; 
importing all the favour that we could suppose any way con- 
ducible to make a people happy. And indeed the same thing 
is compendiously and summarily held forth in the words of the 
text themselves : " Neither will I hide my face any more from 
them ; for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Is 
rael, saith the Lord God." We cannot in few words have a 
fuller account given of a happy state. To consider these words 
themselves ; tlie contents of them are first* — A gracious pre 
diction : " Neither will I hide my face any more from them : J> 
a prediction, or prophetic promise, or a promissory prophecy 
of a most happy state : and secondly. — The reason given here 
of, why God would provide that all things should be well with 
them in other respects : "For I have poured out my Spirit 
Upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God." 

There are two things, that must be the matter of a little 
previous inquiry, in order to our taking up what we are to in 
sist upon from this scripture, namely, — The import of this ne 
gative expression ; " Neither will I hide my face any more 
from them :" and, — How we are to understand the subject of 
the promised favour here, as it is designed by this name, "the 
house of Israel." — These things being cleared, the matters 
that I intend to recommend to you and insist upon, will plainly 

First, As to the former, what this negative expression 
should mean, " Neither will I hide my face any more from 
them." It is needful, that we may understand that, to know 
what the Scripture doth often mean, and may well be supposed 
to mean here, by "the face of God." It is very plain, that it 
frequently means his providential appearances, or the aspect of 
providence one way or another. And thus we are more fre 
quently to understand it, when it is spoken of in reference to a 
community, or the collective body of a people ; yea, and 
sometimes, when in reference to particular persons too. And 
hence it will easily appear, how we are to take the opposite ex 
pressions, of his "making his face to shine 3" or of his "hid 
ing, or covering, or clouding his face." 

It appears from sundry scriptures, that by his — shewing his 
face, or — letting it be seen, — giving the sight of it, or — caus 
ing his face to shine, giving the pleasant sight of it, or — lift 
ing up the light of his countenance, — (expressions of the same 
-import,) the favourable aspect of providence is to be understood; 


when these expressions are used, as I said, more especially in 
reference to the collective body of a people. And so the hiding 
of his face, signifies as much as the change of these more 
favourable aspects of providence, for those that are more se 
vere and that do import anger and displeasure. For so, by the 
aspects and appearances of providence, it is to be understood, 
whether God be propitious and favourably inclined toward a 
people, or whether he be displeased and have a controversy 
with them : as it may be discerned in the face of a man, whe 
ther he be pleased or displeased. Wherefore you have anger 
and severity, which uses to be signified by providence, and as 
it is so signified, held forth to us under this same phrase or 
form of speech, Deut. 31. 18. 1 will surely hide my face in 
that day, for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in 
that they are turned unto other gods. See what the expression 
there is exegetical of, or with what other phrases it is joined, 
as manifestly intending the same thing ; such as, his anger be 
ing kindled against them, and his forsaking them. It is in- 
terserted among such expressions again and again. So ver. 
17. My anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and 
I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them ; and 
they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befal 
them ; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils 
come upon us, because our God is not amongst us ? In the 
same sense the word is used, chap. 32. 20. and in many 
other scriptures, in reference to bodies of men. And some 
times in reference to a particular person ; as in Job 34. 29. 
When he gives quietness, who shall give trouble ; and when 
he hides his face, who shall behold him ? Who dare behold 
him, when clouds and frowns do eclipse that bright and plea 
sant light of his countenance before lift up, whether it be against 
a nation or a particular person ? as there Elihu speaks. And 
he had been speaking before of the acts of providence, in lift 
ing up and casting down at his pleasure, and according as men's 
ways and deportments towards him in this kind or that did make 
it most suitable and fit. And therefore also the church, being 
represented as in a very afflictive condition, exposed to the 
insultations of tyrannous enemies, and having suffered very 
hard and grievous things from them ; this is the petition that 
is put up in the case, Turn us, and cause thy face to shine upon 
us, and we shall be saved. Psal. 80. 3. 19. 

Therefore it is obvious to collect, what the like expression 
here must mean ; " Neither will I hide my face any more from 
them." It must mean, that he would put them into a prospe 
rous condition ; the course of his providence toward them 
should be such as would import favour and kindness to them. 

VOL. v. 2 P 


And, " Neither will I hide my face any more from them," im 
ports the permanency and settledness of this happy and pros 
perous state ; that it should not be a short, lucid interval only ; 
but through a very considerable and continued tract of time 
this should be the posture and course of his providence to 
wards them. And then 

Secondly, For the subject of this promised favour, as it is 
designed here by the expression, " The house of Israel." 

1. I doubt not but that it hath a meaning included, as it is 
literally taken, of that very people wont to be known by that 
name, "The house of Israel/' the seed of Jacob* 

2. But I as little doubt, that it hath a farther meaning too. 
And it is an obvious observation, than which none more obvi 
ous, that the universal church, even of the gospel-constitution, 
is frequently in the prophetical scriptures of the Old Testament 
represented by this, and by the equivalent names of Jerusalem 
and Zion, and the like. And the reason was as obvious as the 
thing itself; for they were the church of God, that people, and 
they who were proselyted to them : and the prophecies of the 
Old Testament we know were first and most immediately di 
rected to them ; and were more likely to be regarded by them, 
by how much the more the church, whom these prophecies 
did concern, was more constantly designed or set forth by 
their own name. It invited them to look towards the great 
things represented and held forth in these prophecies, as things 
wherein they had a special concern, and wherein their interest 
was bound up ; though they had no reason to think, that they 
were things appropriate to them. And we find, that in the 
New Testament too the name is retained : <s All are not 
Israel, that are of Israel. He is not a Jew, that is one out 
wardly:" He means certainly a Christian. a l know the 
blasphemy of them that say they are Jews, and are not/' Rom. 
2. 28. Rev. 2. f). And we have little reason to doubt, and 
there will be occasion to make it more apparent hereafter, that 
so we are to explain the signification of this name here ; not 
to exclude the natural Israelites, but also to include the uni 
versal Christian church. 

These things being- thus far cleared, the ground will be plain 
upon which to recommend to you a twofold truth from these 
words ; namely — That there is a state of permanent serenity 
and happiness appointed for the universal church of Christ upon 
earth, and—That the immediate original and cause of that fe 
licity and happy state, is a large and general effusion or pour 
ing forth of the Spirit. — It is the latter of these that I princi 
pally intend, and shall speak more briefly to the former. 

But before I speak distinctly and severally to either of them, 


I shall do what is not usual with me ; that is, entertain you a 
while with somewhat of a preface, to give you therein an ac 
count in reference to both, and of the whole of the intended 
discourse upon this subject, what I design, and upon what 
score 1 think it useful and proper, that such a matter, as this 
is, be entertained into your consideration and my own. Here 
in I shall, first lay before you sundry things obvious unto the 
consideration of considering persons, that will serve for some 
representation of the state of the Christian church hitherto, and 
at this time, and as it may continue to be for some time hence. 
And then, secondly, shall shew you in some other particulars, 
what it is reasonable should be designed and expected in a dis 
course of this nature, and upon such a subject as this is, in 
way of accommodation to such a state of the case. 

First. As to the former ; these things I reckon very obvious 
to such as are of considering minds. 

1. That the state of the Christian church hath been for the 
most part very calamitous and sad all along hitherto, in exter 
nal respects. You know it was eminently so in the time of the 
first forming of the Christian church. The Christian name 
was a name every where spoken against ; and they, that deli 
vered themselves up to Christ, delivered themselves up to all 
manner of troubles and persecutions, even upon his account 
and for his name's sake. He foretold it unto his more imme 
diate followers, that for his name they should be hated of all 
men ; and they were to expect the most malignant hatred ; and 
he told them too of the effects agreeable and suitable to such a 
principle. The church was externally miserable in the first 
ages of it by persecutions from without : and after it arrived to 
a state of some tranquillity and peace, by the favour of the 
world and its more gentle aspect upon it ; after there was an 
Emperor of the Christian religion, that would own and patro 
nize it against the rage and fury that it was pursued with be 
fore ; then it soon bred trouble enough within itself, arid grew 
factious and divided, and broken into parts, pestered with 
heresies, and filled with varieties of contending opinions and 
sects ; and then these were continually the authors of troubles 
to one another, according as one or another could get oppor 
tunity to grasp power into its hand. This hath been the state 
of things with it all along, though there have been some more 
quiet intervals here and there, in this or that part of the Chris 
tian world. It can hardly be said, the church hath ever had 
any considerable season of tranquillity and serenity, universally 
and all at once, even in any time. 

2. It is more obvious, as we may suppose, unto the most, 
that the state of the church is externally very miserable and sad 


at this time. Those, that understand any thing of the world, 
cannot but know so much ; and we need not to except that 
part of the church at home, as you all well enough know. In 
other countries Christians are rolling and weltering in one 
another's blood ; and yoti know the shattered state of things 
within ourselves. 

3. By the present posture of affairs, the position and aspect 
of things, we cannot say that matters are in a tendency unto a 
better state ; but have rather reason to fear, that all will grow 
worse and worse. Clouds gather and thicken, and grow blacker 
and blacker, and spread far and wide over the church of Christ 
in the world, and are very likely to discharge into very tremen 
dous storms : according to human probabilities and expe 
rience nothing else is to be expected. 

4. It is to be observed too, that there hath long been a re 
traction in a very great measure of the Spirit from the church. 
There was a gradual retraction soon after that large effusion of 
it at first in the apostles days ; unto which in Acts 2. we find 
by Peter that scripture in Joel applied, "I will pour out my 
Spirit upon all flesh." Then they said it had its accomplish 
ment ; though I doubt not it is to have another and fuller ac 
complishment ; as it is no unusual thing for the same prophetic 
scripture to be said to be fulfilled again and again : as that 
passage, c "Out of Egypt 1 have recalled my Son," applied to the 
people of Israel and to Christ. A long continued retraction 
there hath been of that Spirit, which is the very life of that 
body ; whose work and business it is to act and animate it in 
every part. We are not now inquiring concerning the cause of 
the retraction. Much must be referred to sovereign pleasure, 
more to justice : for undoubtedly God hath proceeded ac 
cording to the tenour of his own rule, I will be with you, as 
long as you are with me ; and he did never in any degree leave 
his people first, that bare his name. Union always begins on 
his part ; breaches on ours. But notwithstanding that so 
large effusion of the Spirit at first, when the Gospel-light first 
dawned upon the world, and that pleasant spring of the Chris 
tian interest and religion that then appeared and shewed itself; 
how gradual was the languor, that set it a fainting and wither 
ing by steps and degrees, very discernible to those that look 
upon the histories of former days? Though yet the life and vigour 
was still much preserved, as long as the church was in a suffer 
ing state from without by the persecution of paganish enemies; 
as we know it was, for the three first centuries and more, in 
some degree and in some part of it. 

But after once the world came to cast more benign aspects 
upon it, how soon did the life and vigour of the Christian church 


evaporate and expire ? So as that there seemed to he a hody 
left in a great measure destitute of a soul ; to allude to the 
expression that the prophet Jeremiah uses to the people of Is 
rael, "Be instructed, lest my soul depart from you." The very 
soul of the church was in a great measure departed; departed 
unto that degree, that it was become such a mere piece of 
formality, that another religion takes the advantage to vie with 
the Christian ; the most fabulous, the most vain, the most 
despicable, that could be invented; and of the most despicable 
original, from Mahomet, a mean, inconsiderable, ignorant, 
illiterate man ; but a common soldier at the first, and yet the 
author of a religion so vastly spread in the world as it is at this 
day, and even so as to eat out Christianity in so considerable 
parts where it had obtained and taken place. This was argu 
ment enough of a great retraction of that Spirit, that made the 
Christian church and religion, while it was more visibly breath 
ing, a mighty, majestic, awful, commanding thing. 

About that time, when the apostacy in the Christian church 
became more visible, and the usurpation of the man of sin 
more explicit and avowed ; that is, when Boniface the third 
obtained from Phocas the Emperor the grant of the primacy ; 
about that very time, within sixteen years after, was the Alco 
ran framed. When the church was become so despicable, 
when the Christian religion was but a formality and shadow, 
then was the time to set up this despicable religion ; and no 
thing more despicable could have been set up. Yet at a 
strange rate it hath vied, so as to carry against the Christian 
interest the cause so far, and unto so great a degree, and for 
so long a time. 

And then, for the first setting up of that religion, a time 
was chosen by Satan on purpose. As the church history of 
those times doth acquaint us, there was no body to make op 
position to the Mahometan dotages and delirations. In the 
eastern church they were all busy in propagating such and such 
opinions, that they were contending about, on the one hand 
and the other, amongst themselves. And in the western 
churches they were all engaged generally, and so very busy in 
inventing new forms and ceremonies and rites, that there was 
no body at leisure, not any of the doctors in the church to be 
found, (as the history tells us,) to make any opposition, or 
write any thing against the dotages of Mahometanism, that 
then first began to appear. 

Afterwards, into how strange a darkness and stupidity did 
the Christian church and interest and religion sink ? so that 
for several ages together there was an utter vacancy and des 
titution, not only of divine, but of all. common, human know- 


ledge : nothing but the grossest and most horrid barbarism, 
that spread itself through the Christian church. And it was as 
bad, if we may not say worse, through the pride and tyranny 
of those that took upon them to be governors in the church ; 
and the viciousness, immorality and sensuality, and all other 
kinds of wickedness, that abounded among the vulgar common 
sort. And so it continued, till some later stirrings and efforts 
towards reformation : which, how partial they have been, that 
is, in how small a part, and how imperfect and incomplete 
where they have been, and what recedations, there have been, 
where any thing hath been effected and done in that kind ; 
those who know any thing of former and foreign affairs cannot 
but understand. 

And even now at this day, to cast our eyes round about us, 
whether we take nearer or more remote views, alas ! how little, 
how little is there to be discerned of the true spirit of Chris 
tianity ! Yea how much, that speaks the very opposite there 
unto, the spirit of the world ! A spirit of malignity, that is 
working and striving and contending every where, and lurking 
under the profession, the usurped and abused profession of the 
Christian name ! So that, to speak as the truth of the matter 
is, a Christian is become but just like another man : and the 
Christian church just like the rest of the world. Christianity 
hath put on the garb of Paganism in worship in a great part of 
it 5 in manners and conversation in the most part, the far 
greater part. 

5. It is to be observed and considered too, that we are still 
encountered with this twofold evil at once and in conjunction, 
wheresoever we cast our eye ; that is, the state of the church 
externally calamitous and miserable, and the retraction of the 
Spirit : and the former of these still caused by the latter. This 
is very observable too, that these two things are in a connexion, 
and conjunct. 

6'. It is to be considered farther, that we are much more 
apt to be sensible of the effect, than of the cause ; whether we 
hear of such effects abroad, or whether we feel or fear them at 
home. If we hear of great devastations of countries, towns 
sacked, battles fought, blood spilt, barbarous usages, and 
acts of violence done ; we are struck with a smarter and quick 
er sense upon the report of these things, than if we be made to 
understand, how the religion of Christians doth languish every 
where ; or when we hear of the prevailing of pride and anger 
and malice and contention ; or of formality, deadness, indif- 
ferency, lukewarmness in the things of God. That is, the 
evils, that are caused, affect us a great deal more, than those 
that we are to reflect upon as the cause, and which are all 


comprehended in that one cause, the retraction of the Spirit, 
or that it is in so great a measure retired and withdrawn. 

7. It is to be considered too, (as pursuant unto that last 
note ;) that we are a great deal more apt to covet a state of ex* 
ternal prosperity for the church, than the effusion and com-* 
munication of the Spirit, and those things which would be the 
most direct issues and effects of that. Let us deal with our 
own hearts about this matter, and consider, whether we be 
not more taken, and it do not far more highly please our ima 
gination, to represent to ourselves, or to have represented, a 
state ot external tranquillity and prosperity to the church, where 
in we think to have a part or share, or may have ; than to 
have a representation made of such a state of things, wherein 
the life and power of godliness, the mortification of sensual 
lusts, eminent self-denial, and the serious intending and de 
signing for heaven, should be things visible and conspicuous 
in every one's eye. Let us consider, whether the former of 
these do not take our hearts a great deal more than the latter, 
if it be not more pleasing and grateful to our thoughts. And 

8. It is to be considered also, that many are apt to mistake, 
and to take wrong measures, of the Christian church, and the 
Christian interest, and the Spirit that breathes in and animates 
that church : that is, to reduce all these to the measure of 
this or that party, to which they have thought fit to addict 
themselves ; and to judge it goes well or ill with the church, 
according as it goes well or ill with their own party ; and to 
judge there is more or less of the Spirit, as there is more or 
less zeal for the propugning the interest of that party : and so 
the measures of the church, and the Christian interest are 
mistaken ; but especially the Spirit of Christ most of all mis 
taken and misapprehended. The heats and fervours, which 
some have for a private, little, narrow interest of their own, 
are taken for that great, large, universalizing Spirit of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, that in all communications works with the 
greatest sweetness and benignity, and disposes the spirit of a 
man answerably herein to itself. 

9. It is to be considered, that we are -more apt to confine 
and limit our eye and thoughts unto what is present, than to 
extend them to what is future ; whether the present state of 
things be good or bad, pleasing to us or unpleasing. For if 
the state of things be good, and such as pleases us, then we 
think a change will never come ; our mountain is so strong, as 
never to be removed : and if it be bad, we are as apt to des 
pond, that things must be always just as they are now, that it 
can never be better. 


10. Those that do look forward unto what is future, if there 
be any representation set before them, any prospect of what is 
more pleasing and grateful to them, are more apt to be curi 
ous about the circumstances of such an expected state, than to 
be serious in minding the substantiate that do belong to that 
state itself. And that vain curiosity to inquire, joined with an 
overmuch boldness in some persons to determine about the 
times and seasons, when such and such things shall be, hath 
certainly been no small prejudice unto the interest of the 
Christian religion in our days, upon a twofold account. The 
disappointment hath dashed the hopes of many of the better 
sort ', and confirmed the atheism of those of the worst sort. 
Those of the better sort, many of them that have allowed 
themselves to be so curious and bold, curious in their inquiries, 
and bold in their definitions and determinations ; when they 
have found themselves disappointed, have been apt to conclude 
concerning all the concernments of religion, as concerning 
those wherein they have found themselves disappointed; as 
thinking, that their imagination was as true as the gospel 
about these things : and so, if they have not undergone the 
shock of a temptation to adhere more easily and loosely unto the 
Christian profession upon account of such disappointments ; 
yet at least their spirits have been as it were sunk into despon 
dency, because they relied upon false grounds, and which 
could not sustain a rational hope. And then the atheists and 
infidels have been highly confirmed in their scepticism and 
atheism, because such and such have been so confident of 
things, wherein they have been mistaken ; and because they 
pretended to have their ground for their belief and expectation 
out of the Scriptures, therefore those Scriptures must sure 
signify nothing. 

These things being considered, and we having the case so 
before us, as these things taken together do represent it ; then, 

Secondly. That, which is reasonable to be designed and ex 
pected in discourses of this nature, and concerning such a 
subject as we have here before us, should be comprized within 
such particulars as these. 

1. To establish the belief of this thing in the substance of it, 
being a thing so very plain in the Scripture ; that there shall 
be a permanent state of tranquillity and prosperity unto the 
church of Christ on earth. So much, I doubt not, we have a 
sufficient ground for, in the word of truth, and even in this very 
prophecy which this scripture hath relation to ; as we may 
have occasion farther to shew. 

2. To settle the apprehension fully (that we should aim at 
ea both sides ; i in speaking, and you in hearing,) of the con- 


nexion between an external prosperity, and this internal 
flourishing of religion in the church, by the communication of 
the Holy Ghost in larger and fuller measures of it : the con 
nexion of these with one another reciprocally, so as that there 
can never be an externally happy state unto the church without 
that communication of the Spirit ; and that with it there can 
not but be, if we speak of the freeing of it from intestine trou 
bles, which will be the only things that it shall be liable to 
annoyance from in all likelihood in a further course and tract 
of time. 

Take the former part of this connexion, that is, — that with 
out such a communication of the Spirit an external state of 
tranquillity and prosperity to the church can never be ; — we 
should design the fixing of this apprehension well : for certainly 
they are but vain expectations, fond wishes, to look for such 
prosperity without reference unto that large and general com 
munication of the Spirit. Experience hath done very much in 
several parts of the world, if we had no prospect nearer us, to 
discover and refute the folly of any such hope, that any 
external good state of things can make the church happy. How 
apparent is it, that if there should be never so much a favour 
able aspect of time, yet if men are left to their own spirits, and 
acted only by them, all the business will presently be for one 
person to endeavour to lurch another, and to grasp and get 
power in their hands ! And then they will presently run into 
sensuality, or make it their business to serve carnal and secu 
lar interests, grasping at this world, mingling with the spirit 
of it. Thus it cannot but be, it must be, if an effusion of the 
Spirit be not conjunct in time with any such external smiles of 
time. There can be no good time unto the church of God, 
without the giving of another Spirit, his own Spirk. That, or 
nothing, must make the church happy. 

And that cannot but do it; which is the other side of the 
connexion. For let us but recount with ourselves, what it 
must needs be, when such a Spirit shall be poured forth, as 
by which all shall be disposed and inclined to love God, and 
to devote themselves to him, and to serve his interest, and to 
love one another as themselves, and each one to rejoice in 
another's welfare, so as that the good and advantage of one 
shall be the joy and delight of all ! When men shall have no 
designs one upon another, no endeavours of tripping up one 
another's heels, nor of raising themselves upon one another's 
ruins ! This cannot but infer a good state of things, excepting 
what may be from external enemies. It is true indeed, that 
when there was the largest communication of the Spirit that 
ever was in the church, yet it was molested by pagans : hut 

VOL. V. 2 (jr 


then it was not troublesome in itself, it did not contend part 
by part with itself. And if the communication of the Spirit, 
as we have reason to expect in the latter days, be very general, 
so as not only to improve and heighten the church in respect of 
internal liveliness and vigour ; but also to increase it in extent, 
as no doubt it will ; then less of trouble is to be feared from 
without. But we shall still be miserable, and it cannot be 
avoided but we must be so, if with the smiles of the times a 
large communication of the Spirit be not conjunct. It is also 
to be designed in such a discourse, 

3. To mind more what is substantial in that good state of 
things, whereof we speak, than the circumstances that belong 
thereto ; and especially than the time and season, when it may 
be hoped any such good state of things shall commence. And 
that we may be taken off from too much busying ourselves 
about that, 1 shall shut up all with two or three considerations: 

(1.) That to have our minds and hearts more set upon the 
best state of things that it is possible the church should ever 
arrive to on earth, than upon the state of perfect felicity above, 
is a very great distemper, and which we ought to reckon in 
tolerable by any means to indulge ourselves in. We know, 
none of us can live in this world but a little while ; and that 
there is a state of perfect rest and tranquillity and glory re 
maining for the people of God. We have therefore no pre 
tence for being curious in our inquiries about what time such 
or such good things may fall out to the church of God in this 
world. It is a great piece of fondness to cast in our own 
thoughts, Is it possible that I may live to see it ? For ought 
we know, there may be but a hand's breadth between us and 
glory, if we belong to God ; to-morrow may be the time of 
our translation. We ought to live in the continual expectation 
of dying, and of coming to a better state than the church can 
ever be in here. It argues a great infirmity, a distemper in 
our spirits, that we should reflect upon with seventy, if we 
should be more curious to see a good state of things in this 
world, than to see the best that can ever be, and infinitely 
better than we can think, in heaven. And, 

(2.) That, as for that part of the good condition of the 
church, which consists in the communication of the Spirit ; so 
much of it as is necessary for us we may have at any time, if 
we be not wanting to ourselves, and are of those that belong to 
God, any of that seed that by this Spirit have been raised up 
to Christ. It must be our fault, if we have not so much of the 
Spirit as is requisite for our comfortable walking with God fa 
this world. And I add hereupon, 


(3.) That that which is common to all times, yea and com 
mon both to time and eternity, certainly ought to be the great 
est thing with us, and upon which our hearts should be most 
set. Let us but be intent upon this, to get a large measure of 
the Spirit into our own souls ; this may be had at any time, if 
we do not neglect ourselves and the rules that God hath set us ; 
and this is a thing common to time and eternity. They that 
sow to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting, Gal. 
6.8. And therefore look we upon things according to the 
proper importance of them, and what they carry in themselves. 
Sure I am, that without much of the Spirit all the best things, 
that this world can afford me, will never do me the least good : 
I may be a great deal the worse for them, but never a whit the 
better. But if I have much of this Spirit, things can never go 
ill with me ; I shall be carried through whatever hardships shall 
fall to my share ; and be within the compass of my lot, while 
I am in this world ; and never regret the thought of them, 
when once I arrive to the other shore ; but forget all these 
troubles, like the waters that pass away, as the expression is 
in Job 11. 16. 



tilings having been fbrelaid, we may adventure t<* 
enter upon the consideration of the former of the truths 
proposed, namely, — That there is a state of tranquillity and 
prosperity appointed for the church of God, for some conside 
rable tract of time here in this world. — And concerning that, 
there are two things that I shall labour to evince to you ; 
namely,— that it is a very happy and prosperous state, which 
these words do manifestly import and refer unto ; and, — that 
that state is yet future ; or that what is here predicted con 
cerning it is not yet fulfilled. 

I. That it is a very happy state of things that is here referred 
unto, is plain from the very import of the words of the text. 
(t Neither will I hide my face any more from them.'* What can 
we conceive desirable, which these expressions may not be un 
derstood to signify ? But if we understand them to signify 
only a state of external prosperity, (and because any farther 
meaning, which the words in themselves might admit of, is 
fully carried under the other expression of his pouring out hit 
Spirit ; and that is made causal of this, and nothing can be a 
cause to itself ; therefore we do understand them only of out 
ward prosperity ;) yet surely that must be a very happy and 
prosperous state, which such an expression is chosen to signify; 
that God will shine upon them with most benign aspects of 

* Preached May 15th, 


providence. What can go amiss with a people, upon whom 
he doth so ? 

And if we consider the reference of these words unto what 
goes before, and the place which they have in that series of 
discourse, with which they stand connected, and wherein they 
make a part ; it will be very evident upon review, that they 
have reference to a very happy state of things foretold. Jf you 
consider the whole book of these prophecies, you will find* 
that any thing consolatory unto this people, directly and pro 
perly said to them, except what is occasionally here and there 
let fall, doth but begin with the 36th chapter. The former 
chapters of this book are eithef full of reprehensions or com- 
minatlons of the people ; the first twenty-four chapters are 
generally taken up so : or else in predictions of judgment 
and vengeaace upon their enemies ; (which doth collaterally 
and on the by import favour to them ;) the Edomites, and the 
Egyptians, and the Amorites, the Moabites, the Philistines, 
the Tyrians, and the Sidonians. Sundry of the following chap 
ters after the twenty-four first are taken up so. But these four 
lying here all connected together, (the 36th, 37th, 38th, 39th,) 
are wholly taken up in comfortable predictions unto this peo 
ple, speaking of their happy state in themselves ; though also 
the destruction of such enemies, as did most stand in the way 
of that promised felicity, is here and there interserted. And 
then all the following chapters, the 40th, and the rest to the 
end, are a continued prophetical and emblematical description 
of the settled happy state, wherein they should be, after they 
were restored ; as in the description of the meaning and build 
ing of the city and temple you see at large. And if we should 
go to point out particulars to you, you will find, that such as 
these do properly and fully lie up and down in these chapters 
that I have mentioned, and which seem to be all of a piece 
congenerous unto one another. 

1 . Their reduction from their captivity ; that they shall all 
be brought back and gathered out of the several heathen 
nations of the world, where they were scattered and dispersed 
to and fro. 

2. The reparation of all desolation, the great building of 
their wasted cities. 

3. The great fruitfulness of their land. I will not direct you to 
the particular passages, where these things are mentioned ; but 
you may at your leisure view over these chapters, and you will 
find them all. 

4. The great multiplication and numerousness of their inha 


5. Their most entire victory and conquest over their most 
potent and troublesome enemies. 

6. Their entire union among themselves, under one king ; 
as you may see in the 37th chapter. The making of that scat 
tered people entirely one, that so divided people, so broken 
from themselves, Israel and Judah one stick in God's own 
hand. And, 

7. God's owning them visibly as his people, and taking 
them anew into covenant with himself, having pardoned their 
iniquities, and cleansed them from all their filthiness and their 
idols, and so restored the relation between himself and them. 
Certainly the concurrence of all these things cannot but make 
a very happy state. 

II. That such a state of things is yet future, requires to be 
somewhat more at large insisted on. And for the evincing of 
it, it is manifest that such predictions must have a signification 
in reference unto the people of Israel, according to one under 
standing or another of that term or name, " the house of Israel." 
And we can have but these two senses to reflect upon ; either 
that it must mean Jacob's natural seed ; or else the church of 
God in the world in common, his universal church, including 
and comprehending such of Israel, as have been or at any time 
shall be called, and brought within the compass of the Chris 
tian church. Now take either of these senses of that compel - 
lation, and I suppose it capable of being plainly enough evinc 
ed, that such a happy state of things hath not been as yet, and 
therefore is to be looked upon as still future. 

1 . If you take Israel in the former sense, it is very plain that 
these prophecies have not been accomplished to the natural seed 
of Israel. Particularly, 

(1.) That people have never been entirely restored to their 
own land. The prophecy concerning the dry bones that should 
be made to live, in chap. 37. is expressly said to concern the 
whole house of Israel, ver. 11. But it is plain, that the whole 
house of Israel in the literal sense hath not been restored. 
What became of the ten tribes we do not know. This is a 
tiling about which there is much dissentation ; but none that I 
can tell are able to determine, where or in what part of the 
world they are. It is true indeed that we find the apostle speak 
ing of the piety of the twelve tribes, Acts 26. 7« Our twelve 
tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come unto 
the promise of the resurrection. But that can only be under 
stood to mean, either that Salmanazer, when he carried away 
the ten tribes, left some ; and yet it is plain that he left very 
few, insomuch that the new inhabitants wanted some to instruct 
them in the manner of the worship of the God of the land 5 or 


that some few might return of the several tribes, here and there 
one. But that they returned in a body, we have no reason at 
all to think ; and so this prophecy hath not been fulfilled in re 
ference to the main body of the ten tribes, concerning their 
restitution, and that resurrection that is imported by the en 
livening into living men those dry bones. 

(2.) That people have never been reunited into one people, 
the two tribes and the ten. But that is expressly predicted in 
the prophecy of the two sticks made one, Ephraim or Joseph, 
and Judah. The prophet is directed to take two sticks, (chap. 
37.) emblematically to signify that twofold people, of the ten 
tribes, and the two tribes, and these sticks are represented to 
him as made one : and the Lord tells him the signification of 
the prophecy is this, that he would make these two entirely 
one people. It is plain, whatever there were of the ten tribes 
that did return from their captivity, they never came into a 
union with the two ; but they were so much divided from one 
another, even in the matter of religion, that we see by what is 
recorded in John 4. that a Samaritan woman made a scruple to 
give a little water unto one whom she took for a jew, that is, 
our Saviour himself. And they were so much divided upon 
other accounts, consequently upon that division in reference to 
matters of religion, that, as one of the heathen poets says, 
they would not so much as shew the way to one that was not of 
their religion ; Non momtrare vias^ eadem nisi sacra colenti. 
(3.) There hath been no such signal destruction of their 
enemies, as is here foretold, in the chapter where the text lies, 
and the foregoing : those enemies that are spoken of under the 
name of Gog and Magog. I shall not trouble you with the 
variety of opinions concerning the proper signification of those 
names, and the people designed by them ; but whosoever can 
be understood by them, there hath been no such thing accom 
plished in reference to the house of Israel literally taken, as 
the prophecy of so great a destruction doth import. Some 
have thought the successors of Seleucus, expressly and chiefly 
Antiochus Epiphanes, to be meant ; against whom the people 
of Israel were successful in their wars at some times. But no 
such destruction, as comes any whit near the terms of this 
prophecy, can ever be understood to have befallen those ene 
mies. There is not the least shadow nor footstep of such a 
way of destruction, as is mentioned in chap. 38. That they 
should be destroyed miraculously, by hailstones, by fire and 
brimstone, (ver. 22.) that there should be such vast multitudes 
destroyed, as that the very weapons should serve this people 
for fuel seven years together, chap. 39. 9, 10. Certainly take 
Israel in the literal sense, and understand the prediction in a 


proportionable sense, there hath been no such thing ever yet 
done and past. 

(4.) There hath been no such city built, and no such tem 
ple raised, as will answer the descriptions in these prophecies; 
as is most apparent, if you look from the 40th chapter onward 
to the end. Especially, that there should be such waters issu 
ing from the temple, rising from the sanctuaiy, and carried in a 
great river, till at last it comes, after so vast a course and tract 
of running, to fall into the dead sea, and to heal those waters. 
Take this in the literal sense, and no such thing hath ever been, 
or, for ought I know, is ever like to be ; it is very improbable 
it should. So little reason there is, either to think there hath 
been any literal accomplishment of these things, or that the 
literal sense is that whereunto we are to adhere. 

(5.) It is expressly said, that they should all have David to 
be their king, chap. 37- 24, 25. This cannot be meant literal 
ly. It was impossible he should be their king, that was dead 
so many hundred years before. Nor can we understand the 
prophecy to have been accomplished in reference to Israel 
literally taken ; for suppose you take David to mean Christ, as 
it must be taken, sure all Israel are not yet become Christians, 
they are not yet united under Christ. And therefore it is more 
than evident, that according to the literal sense of Israel, 
though we should take the things prophesied not strictly in the 
literal sense, yet they cannot be understood to have had their 
accomplishment yet. 

2. If we go the other way, and take Israel to signify the 
Christian church, and so not to exclude, but to comprehend 
Israel in the proper, natural, literal sense, being become 
Christians, so many of them as have been so, or shall be so ; 
so these prophecies have not yet been fulfilled. That is, in 
reference to the universal church, it will appear, that it hath 
had no such happy state as these prophecies do amount unto ; 
neither in point of degree, nor in point of duration and per 

(1.) They have not had a happy state unto that degree, that 
is imported in these prophecies, and which even the text it 
self doth summarily import. There are especially these three 
things to concur ; first, the destruction of their external 
enemies ; secondly, a very peaceful, composed, united state 
of things among themselves ; and thirdly, a very lively, vi 
gorous state of religion. Now a state composed and made up 
of the concurrence of these three, hath not befallen unto the 
church of God as yet. There hath been no such destruction 
of their external enemies, as can be understood to amount to 
the meaning of what is here predicted concerning that : no 


such victory obtained, as this destruction of Gog and Magog 
doth import : no such, as the success and issue of that famous 
battle of Armageddon, which some would have to be past ; 
though there is after that, a later destruction of Gog and Magog 
manifestly spoken of in the 20th of the Revelations. But for 
such, as would have that famous battle to be already past ; 
that which they pitch upon as most probable, was that great 
battle between Constantine and Maxentius ; the victory of the 
former over the latter by less than an 100,000 men, against 
the other opposing him with almost double that number. And 
it must be acknowledged, that that was a very great victory, 
and of very great concernment unto the Christian church : but 
no way at all correspondent, either unto what is foretold con 
cerning the thing itself in these prophecies of Ezekiel ; or unto 
the consequent events upon what is said of the battle of Ar 
mageddon, in Rev. 16'. 16. There was no such continued 
peaceful state, that did ensue to the church after that victory. 
There was indeed a calm and serenity in Constantine's time, 
mixed with a great deal of internal trouble within the church 
itself, and which increased upon it more afterwards, and so 
still unto greater degrees for several centuries of years ; as we 
shall have occasion to take notice more upon another head. 
There was no such flourishing state of religion that did ensue, 
answerable to the expression of the text, "1 have poured out my 
Spirit upon them, saith the Lord God." And so there was not 
a happy state, made up by the conjunction and concurrence 
'of the things which must concur. There was in Constantine's 
time, and after, much of tranquillity, by the cessation of per 
secution from without ; but there was less of the life and vigour 
and power of religion. That appeared a great deal more emi 
nently in the suffering state and condition of the church ; and 
prosperity was too hard for religion, much more than adversity 
had been ; as all, that know any thing of the history of those 
times, know. There hath been no such eminent destruction 
of the church's enemies ; no such internal tranquillity and 
peace within the church itself; no such lively vigorous flou 
rishing state of religion by the pouring forth of the Spirit ; 
there hath been no such concurrence of these, as to make up 
that measure and degree of happiness of the church, that is 
here plainly foretold. 

(2.) For the permanency and duration of such a happy state 
of things, it is apparent, that they fall unspeakably short of 
making any thing out to that purpose, who would have the 
things to be past that are here spoken of. It is a duration of a 
thousand years ; that seems referred unto as the measure of 
that happy state that is here foretold ; if you compare these pro- 

VOL. v. 2 a 


phecies of Ezekiel with those that seem so very much akin to 
them in the book of the Revelations, especially the 20th chap 
ter. Even those, that would have these things to be past, do 
acknowledge these prophecies to refer unto one time and one 
state, unto one sort of enemies, and unto the church of God 
considered under one and the same notion^ that is, the Chris 
tian church. But the difficulty is very great to assign the be 
ginning, and consequently the period, of such a thousand 

For my own part, I will not assert any of these following 
things. Either, first, That that thousand years doth precisely 
and punctually mean such a limited interval of time ; however 
more probable it may seem that it doth so, and though it be 
confessed to do so by them that would have these things to be 
past. Nor, secondly ^ That Christ shall personally appear, as 
some are bold to assert, at the battle of Armageddon ; and that 
he shall personally reign afterwards upon the earth for a thou 
sand years. Nor, thirdly, That there will be any resurrection, 
before that time do commence, of the bodies of departed 
saints. Nor, fo urth h/, That the happiness of that time shall 
consist in sensual enjoyments: which was the conceit of 
Cerinthus and his followers ; and which caused the Millenaries 
to pass under the name of so odious a sect of old, by those 
'Who had taken notice of them, Epiphanius, and Austin after 
him, and others : for they reckoned the felicity of those times 
should very much consist in a voluptuous life, that persons 
should have every thing to the full that should be grateful to 
their sense, all opportunity to indulge appetite, and the like. 
And least of all, fifthly , That in this state of things the saints 
as such, shall have any power or right given them in the pro 
perties of other men ; or that there shall be a disturbing and 
overturning of ranks and orders in civil societies. I do not 
think, that any of these things are confidently to be asserted; 
and for the two last, they carry no other face, than of things to 
be abhorred and detested. 

But I conceive that thousand years to intend a very long and 
considerable interval or tract of time, wherein the state and 
condition of the church shall be peaceful and serene and happy; 
but especially (as we shall have occasion more to shew hereaf 
ter,) by a large communication of the Holy Ghost 5 that shall 
make men have very little mind to this world, and very little 
seek such a thing as serving secular interests, and pleasing and 
gratifying their senses and sensual inclinations. 

And that this state of things is not yet past. So much, I 
think, we may with some confidence assert : that is, there is 
not such a state of things, of such a constitution as that where* 


of you have heard, that hath been in any such permanency, as 
that thousand years, though not strictly taken, yet must ration 
ally be understood to signify. They, that would have such a 
thousand years to be already past, are in very great difficulties 
about the commencement of it. Some would have it to begin 
with the beginning of Constantine's reign, and so to end pro- 
portionably from that day to a thousand years strictly ; for just 
so much time. And others would place the beginning of that 
time a considerable while after ; a hundred, or a hundred and 
forty, or a hundred and fifty years after ; that is, from the 
time of the taking and sacking of Rome by Alaricus and his 
Goths ; or by Gensericus and his Vandals ; until which des 
tructions, the latter especially, Rome did continue pagan, 
though the empire was in Christian hands ; and that therefore 
this thousand years, wherein Satan is said to be bound, began 
after (hat paganism was quite extirpated and banished from 
Rome : and yet those that go that way, still more incline to 
the former account. If so, certainly such things must be ac 
knowledged to have fallen within the compass of the thousand 
years, as the limits of them are set among themselves, as we 
would think very ill to agree with a state of things, wherein 
Satan should be bound. According to the former account, 
that persecution by Julian must come within it : it is true 
indeed that was not of long continuance, nor very bloody ; but 
a nubecula, (as Athanasius said of if,) that would soon pass 
over ; yet it was a very manifest prejudice that he did to the 
Christian interest, by those cunning arts he used in his time ; 
far more prejudice, than had been done it by the bloody per 
secutions of former times ; as may sufficiently appear by a view 
of the state of things in those days, when it was not so much 
as permitted the children of Christians to be taught any of the 
learned languages. They were particularly forbidden to be 
taught the greek : upon which occasion 1 remember Gregory 
Nazianzen hath this expression, <fc ' But I hope though we may 
not speak greek, we may be allowed to speak truth; and 
while we may be allowed to do so, as long as we have tongues, 
we will never forbear speaking/' But it was a great check, 
that was put upon the interest of Christianity by that means; 
and very unlikely to be so soon after the commencement of the 
thousand years. And besides that, all the dreadful persecution 
of the orthodox by the arians immediately falls in ; "who per 
secuted the orthodox" (as one speaks writing of those times,) 
"savins fy durius, a great deal more harshly, more severely, 
more horridly, than ever the pagans had done before them; 
when even all the world was against Athanasius, and he alone 
was forced to sustain the brunt of the whole world :" very 


unlike to a time, wherein the devil was bound ! And then 
falls in with the same time that strange and portentous growth 
of the Mahometan religion : and was that too, while Satan 
was bound ? And in the Christian church, the greatest tyranny 
among the church -governors, the greatest stupidity for several 
centuries of years among the priests and clergy, the greatest 
viciousness and debauchery among the generality of the people, 
that we can possibly tell how to frame an imagination of. Be 
sides, that within the same compass of time must fall out the 
bloody massacres of the poor Waldenses, about the llth, 12th, 
and 13th centuries. Certainly, if all this while Satan was 
bound, we can never think of a time, when he was loose. 
And therefore, in point of permanency, there hath beerj no 
such continuing happy state to the church, as yet past and 
over, which these predictions do most plainly refer unto. And 
therefore we have the thing first proposed 1 conceive in good 
measure cleared, that there is a state yet to come of very great 
tranquillity and prosperity to the church of God for some con 
siderable tract of time. 

I cannot now stand to apply this according to what it chal 
lenges ; these two things 1 shall only for the present hint to 

1. This being a matter revealed in the word of God, our 
faith ought to have an exercise upon it. We should believe, 
that there is such a state of things yet to come, and have af 
fections raised in our hearts proportionable unto such a reve 
lation. It would be unreasonable to say, that we are to be 
affected with nothing but what is present, and comes under 
our notice by way of experience, our own experience, con 
trary to the temper which Abraham discovered, who rejoiced 
in the foresight of Christ's day, then so very far off. Abraham 
rejoiced to see my day ; and he saw it, and was glad, John 8. 
56. We should foresee such a state of things with gladness ; 
our hearts should be comforted upon the apprehension of it. If 
we can have no enjoyment of future mercies that are designed 
unto the church of God, how should there have been any en 
joyment of past mercies unto them that have lived long after ? 
We find that to have been the temper of the people of God of 
old, that they have much enjoyed and lived upon ancient mer 
cies, mercies long ago past ; as you may see in such memo 
rials, as you have in the 105th, and 106th psalms, and in 
other places of Scripture. I will remember the years of the 
.right hand of the most High. Psal 77. 10. What triumphs 
and exultations do you oftentimes meet with, in the book of 
Psalms, upon the account of the destruction of Pharaoh, and 
his Egyptians, in the red sea, and the conduct of the peopj* 


of Israel through the wilderness ? Why, if memory will serve 
to fetch former mercies into our present enjoyment ; certainly 
faith should serve to fetch future mercies unto our present en 
joyment too, and give us the taste and relish of them. 

2. We should take encouragement hence against the present 
horrid atheism and wickedness, that doth so affront the inte 
rest of religion at this day. We are too much apt to pass our 
judgment upon things by very undue measures ; to judge by 
the present sight of our own eye, that that is well which we 
apprehend, or which carries a sensible appearance with it of 
being well for the present ; but to forget, that it is always 
somewhat future, that must give a determination unto that 
which is simply best or otherwise ; that a judgment is not to 
pass, till we come to the end of things, till we see what will 
become of matters in their final issue. There will be a day of 
distinguishing, even in this world, in point of the external 
favours of providence, between them that fear the Lord, and 
them that fear him not. And though now the spirit of atheism 
be insolent, so as it never was in any age, no not so much in 
any Pagan nation ; and that where the Christian name is pro 
fessed, even amongst ourselves ; do we think therefore that 
atheists and their religion shall carry the cause ? No ; if we 
will but frame to ourselves the prospect, which the word of 
God gives us an advantage and warrant to do, it would guide 
our judgments much another way ; to think, that that must 
need be the better side and the better part, which shall be suc 
cessful and prevailing at last. It is most eligible to be on that 
side, which shall finally prosper, when God comes to lay 
claim to us, to challenge our help in bearing a witness to his 
name and truth and holy ways ; " Come, who will take part 
with me against an ungodly race of men ? Who will be reli 
gious in this irreligious age ? Who fear God, when it is 
counted matter of reproach, and an argument of a weak and 
crazy spirit, for men to fear and dread an invisible Being ?" It 
would help your resolution much, would you think in this case, 
that there will be a time when God shall be visibly owned in 
the world, and when it shall cease to be a reproachful thing tq 
be a religious man, a fearer of the Lord. 



T£ have spoken already of this proposition, — That there is a 
state of very great prosperity and tranquillity, for a con 
siderable tract of time, appointed for the church of God on 
earth. — We have offered several things to assert the truth of it: 
and made some use of it, to recommend it as a lit object to be 
entertained by our faith ; and that we should take encourage* 
ment from it against the prevailing atheism and wickedness of 
this apostate world, which hath borne so much sway in it through 
many ages, upon that prospect which this truth gives us, of a 
time and state of things, wherein it shall cease to be so, where^ 
in religion shall lift up the head, and outface the wickedness 
of a corrupt and depraved race of men ; when this very earth 
itself, that hath been the stage of God's dishonour through so 
long a tract of time, shall be the stage of his glory. 

But here some may be apt to say ;— " To what purpose is all 
this, when no hope is given us of seeing any such good state 
of things in our days ? If we are not encouraged to expect, 
with our own eyes to see such a happy state of things ; had not 
we as good take all our comforts and encouragements from the 
expectation of a judgment-day to come, and an eternal state ? 
What doth it signify to have any representation made to us of a 
good state of things on earth, which we are told it is likely we 
shall fare never the better for ?" 

* Preached May 22, 1678; 


This is a thing, that requires to be distinctly discussed ; and 
therefore I shall spend some time upon it. 

1. The exception would lie as much against the putting of 
any of these things into the Bible, till at least immediately 
before the time when they should be accomplished and fulfill 
ed. And so it is an insufferable reflection upon the divine 
wisdom, that hath thought fit that such an account of things 
should be given for so long time previous unto their accom 
plishment or actual taking place. And, 

2. It is no prejudice at all, against our receiving encourage* 
ment and having our spirits fortified against the atheism of a 
wicked world by this prospect, that we may receive such en 
couragement also by the consideration of a judgment to come 
and an eternal state. For do not we know, that sundry uses 
may be made of many doctrines, as one and the same truth 
may be proved by sundry mediums ? What prejudice doth it- 
do an honest cause, if one can produce twenty arguments to 
prove the same truth, and so all result into one conclusion ? 
We reckon the truth is fortified and confirmed by it so much 
the more. And if there are sundry truths, if never so great a 
variety of truths, that all meet as it were in one point, and 
produce the same good frame and temper in our hearts ; is that 
a prejudice to us ? I hope it is so much the more an advan 
tage. But that which I shall mostly insist upon is, that — 

3. That same question or inquiry, " To what purpose is it, 
that we should hear of such things, when there is no hope given 
us to see them, or that they should be brought about in our 
time ?" This question, I say, there is no serious, considering, 
well-tempered Christian, but is best capable of answering it 
out of his own heart, He doth but need to consult with his 
own heart, when he is himself and in his right mind, and he 
will see enough even out of his own spirit, from whence to 
answer the inquiry, and to say all that needs to be said in re 
ference to it. 

To make that out : it is obvious to our notice, that there 
are two extremes, (and therefore both of them bad enough, as 
all extremes naturally are,) from whence any such inquiry can 
be supposed to proceed. A man may say, tc To what purpose 13 
it?" either from stupidity and unconcernedness, as thinking they 
need not concern themselves about any thing that is not likely 
to fall within the compass of their own time : or from fret- 
fulness, a vexatious, discontentful temper of spirit, upon hav 
ing a prospect of such things set before them, as they have no 
encouragement it may be to think they shall see. Now a sound 
and good temper and complexion of soul hath that in itself, 
which would obviate and avoid both these extremes, and let us 


see sufficient reason for these two things in opposition to them, 
to wit, first, the entertainment of such a truth with due com 
placency, notwithstanding we have no expectation to see the 
accomplishment of it in our time ; supposing we have no such 
expectation. And, secondly, to admit the delay of that ac 
complishment with composedness and quietude of mind, so as 
not to be disturbed in our own spirits with that delay, though 
such things may not receive a speedy and sudden accomplish 
ment according to our desire. The former of these would 
enable us to make a due use of such a truth as this ; and the 
latter would keep us from abusing it. By the former, we 
should be enabled to savour and relish it with complacency, 
and so as to get good out of it ; and by the latter, to avoid the 
getting of hurt, have our hearts fenced and fortified against 
any prejudicial impressions thereby. Wherefore these two 
things I shall labour to make out to you, that there are certain 
principles in every gracious and well-complexioned soul, that 
will, first, enable it to take complacency in such a truth as 
this, for the substance of it; and that will, secondly, com 
pose, so as not to admit of disturbance by the delay of its ac 
complishment; even notwithstanding it be supposed that we 
are never to see it in this world ourselves and with our own 

I. There are such principles as these, that have a tenden 
cy to make such a truth savoury to us ; notwithstanding it be 
supposed, that we shall not see it fulfilled in this world our 

1. A principle of self-denial. That will signify a great 
deal to this purpose. And you well know, there is nothing 
more deeply radical in the whole frame of practical religion 
and godliness, than that is. But certainly, if a man be of a 
self-denying spirit, he will be able to take complacency in 
somewhat else, than what doth respect his own personal con 
cernments. And is it not a most unsufferable thing, if a man 
should not ? What 1 would I fancy this great world made for 
me ? and that all the mighty wheels of providence, that roll 
and are kept in motion from time to time, are all moved with 
reference to me ? to give me a gratification and content ac- 
eording to the wish of my heart ? What an insolent thing is 
*o private and selfish a spirit as that ? 

2. A just concern for posterity would make such a truth sa 
voury. And certainly there is no well-tempered soul destitute 
of that principle. Grace doth in this, as well as it doth in 
many other things, graft upon the stock of nature. You know 
it is natural with men, upon a consciousness of mortality and 
a desire of immortality, when they find they can live no longer 


in their persons, to desire to live in their posterity, those that 
shall come after them : and it is a great solace that they na 
turally take in the hope of doing so. Now when grace comes 
to graft upon this natural stock, would not the spirit of a man 
be disposed to take a great solace in the hope and expectation, 
that those that shall come after him shall live in a better state 
upon religious accounts, than we have done in our days, or 
may be likely to do ? If such a principle as this be not to ob 
tain and take place and have an influence, what would you 
make of all the promises that were given to Abraham and Isaac 
and Jacob concerning their seed, so long before the accomplish 
ment of many of them ? What can all these promises signify, 
but upon the supposition of, and in a way of accommodation 
to, such a principle ? You see how savoury and tasteful what 
God had told David concerning his house and posterity in af- 
tertimes was to him : he was not so stupid, as not to be moved 
with any thing of that kind ; but he is as a person in an ecstacy, 
a rapture upon it, 2 Sam. 7« 1 9^ 20. "Thou hast spoken con 
cerning thy servant's house for a great while to come ; and is 
this the manner of man, O Lord God ? And what can David 
say more unto thee ?" It was a great solace to good Jacob, old 
Israel, when he was now even next to death, to think of what 
should ensue in reference to his posterity and seed, when he was 
gone. "I die, (saith he,) but God shall be with you." Gen. 48. 
21. And do not we think it were a good spirit in ourselves, if we 
could be of the same mind ? Why, though we all die, God 
shall be with them that succeed ! If they shall come into that 
land, which our eyes shall not behold, what ! can we so put off 
man and Christian both together, as to take no complacency 
in the forethoughts of what good those that may come after 
may behold and enjoy, though we enjoy it not. It was a high 
pleasure, that seems to be expressed in the contemplation of 
the future good of following generations, by the Psalmist, in 
psal. 102. 18. A people, which shall be created, shall praise 
the Lord. He was very well pleased to think of that, though 
it were then a time of very great affliction ; as you see the title 
of that psalm doth import ; whether the time present, or the 
time prophesied and foretold of : for the psalm is a prayer of 
the afflicted, when he pours out his soul to God, as there you 
have it. While they are languishing in all that affliction and 
trouble, which they are supposed then to be under; yet they 
are pleased to think of a generation to come, a people yet to be 
born, yet to be created, that shall praise God and rejoice in his 
great goodness. 

3. A loyal and dutiful love unto the blessed God himself, 
concern for his interest, tends to make such a truth sa- 

¥«,. V. 2 I 


voury, though the accomplishment of it we may perhaps never 
see in this world. Was that heart ever touched with a dutiful 
sense of his interest, that would not be pleased to think of his 
being glorified highly, upon the same stage where he has been 
so insolently affronted and provoked for so long a time? It 
was an inexpressible pleasure, that seems to have gone with 
such expressions, as these that we sometimes meet with ; "Be 
thou exalted, O God, above the heavens, and thy glory above 
all the earih ;" as we find in psalm 108. 5. and in many ex 
pressions scattered up and down the Scripture of like import. 
A truly pious soul would be mightily concerned, that God 
should at one time or other have the just attribution and reve 
nue of glory paid him, which is to arise out of this part of his 
creation, this lower, lapsed part. Considering now, how 
mean and low and wretched a place soever this world is, yet 
it is a part of the creation of God, and there is a revenue of 
glory due to him out of it ; who would not take complacency 
in the thoughts of a time, when it shall be gathered up and 
brought in, when the name of God shall be glorious on the 
earth, every knee bowing to him, and every tongue confessing 
to him ; that at least it should more generally be so, than it 
hath hitherto been ? 

4. A compassionate regard to the souls of men hath still the 
same tendency to make us relish, with a great deal of pleasure, 
the forethoughts of such a state ; wherein religion, that hath 
oeen so much under reproach for so long a tract of time, shall 
be a creditable thing, lift up the head with honour, and out 
face insolent atheism and wickedness. If we consider this, as 
that wherein the souls of men are concerned ; it cannot but be 
highly grateful to us to contemplate such better days to come. 
For by how manifest experience doth it appear, that such a 
state of things, wherein religion is a reproach, endangers and 
ruins multitudes of souls every where? How many are jeered 
and flouted out of their religion, where there have been only 
some lighter tinctures of it upon their spirits, or only some 
half inclinations towards it; while it is reckoned matter of re 
proach to be a fearer of the great God ; when to be a professed 
devotee unto the Sovereign Majesty of heaven and earth, to 
avow an awe and dread of invisible powers, is looked upon as 
an argument of a weak and effeminate mind; and when it goes 
for pure fanaticism for any to pretend to stand'in awe of an in 
visible Ruler ? It is manifest, what multitudes of souls are en 
snared unto perdition, even by the shame and reproach and 
fear of men, that religion hath been assaulted with in many 
ages, but never more than in Our own. And is it not grateful 
and pleasant, to forethink of such a time and state of things* 


after that the prince of the darkness of this world hath been by 
•uch variety of arts and methods imposing upon souls to their 
ruin ; to think, I say, of any time, wherein he shall be bound, 
and the word of God at liberty and run and be glorified, with 
out any kind of let or restraint ; wherein effectual endeavours 
shall every where be set afoot for the rescuing of souls from the 
common ruin ? Surely a just and generous love of mankind, 
refined and spiritualized as it ought to be in all our hearts, 
would, even upon that account and by its own natural tenden 
cy, make the forethoughts of such a state of things very grate 
ful ; and very much commend such a truth to our acceptance 
and entertainment ; notwithstanding the supposition, that we 
see the accomplishment of no such thing in our time. But we 
are to shew farther, that, 

II. There are principles also in every gracious person, that 
tend to compose his spirit, so as that it shall not be disquieted 
by the delay of its accomplishment ; and so will by this means 
prevent such a truth from being abused ; or procure, that there 
shall be no evil and hurtful impressions made upon our spirits 
by it. For of that there is real danger ; that, having the pros 
pect of such a state of things before our eyes, and yet no hope 
that we shall see the accomplishment of it in our own time, 
vexation and discontent and secret frettings should be provoked 
thereby. Therefore we will shew also, tbat there are princi 
ples contained in a right temper and constitution of soul, that 
will avoid that great extreme, as well as that of a stupid uncon- 
cernedness ; and compose us unto a due comporting with the 
delay of the accomplishment of such things whereof we have 
the prospect in such predictive scriptures. As, 

1. A right and well-complexioned faith concerning these 
things hath a tendency to make us brook the delay of the ac 
complishment, without any hurtful resentments of it, so as to 
be discomposed in our spirits thereby. For it is the nature of 
such a faith to feed upon the substance of things, and not to 
exercise itself so much about the minuter matters and those 
that are of mere circumstance. That is rather belonging to 
the mean principle of sense; which can tell how to converse 
with nothing but what is present, and appears clothed with all 
the circumstances of a present event. But faith is not so nar 
row or confined a principle. It can tell how to converse with 
objects that are in themselves valuable, so as to unclothe them 
of present circumstances, and to consider them more abstractly 
as lying in themselves, and to enjoy the real gain that is in 
them, without limiting or determining them unto this or that 
time, or such or such other circumstances that do accompany 
them in their existence. Faith can tell how, while we are 


here upon earth, to fly to heaven for us, and to walk to and fro 
in the invisible regions, and to fetch us down comforts anefr 
consolations from thence. And if it can forage into all eternity^ 
much more may it into a little future time, so as to fetch us 
what is relieving and comfortable from thence, according to 
what such futurity doth contain in it for that purpose. Upon 
this account we have that property of faith, that character of a 
believer, Tsa. 28. 16. " He that believeth, shall not make 
haste/' He that is a serious believer indeed, of the right stamp 
and kind, will not prematurely catch at things. That faith is 
not apt to discompose the soul, and put it into a violent and 
impetuous hurry ; but it is its natural effect to compose, to 
quiet and calm it, to keep it peaceable and sedate, till the 
events shall be duly seasoned and timed by him who hath all 
times in his own hand and power. It is very observable, if you 
consider the substance of that prophecy, which these words of 
the prophet have a relation to, "1 lay in Zion for a foundation 
a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foun 
dation ; he that beiieveth, shall not make haste." One would 
think, that, upon its being understood what that corner-stone 
meant, the very hint and intimation of such a thing should put 
all the powers of a soul, that hath the prospect of it, into a 
present hasty quick working; and that the matter should not 
admit of a moment's delay, but be presently done : so great 
a thing as the laying of that corner-stone ! But this is said 
several hundred years beforehand ; and yet " he that believeth 
shall not make haste." He shall enjoy it now by faith, taste 
the consolation of it ; and have his spirit composed unto a 
willing and peaceful deference, or referring of the matter how 
this business should be timed, or when it should be brought 
about, unto him who is the great Lord and Author and Orderer 
of all things. As apt a thing as Christ's coming in the flesh 
was to raise desire, and heighten and stir up mighty affection 
among them that looked for the consolation of Israel; yet "he 
that believeth shall not make haste." 

2. A truly Christian patience. It is the proper business of 
this to compose a man's soul. In your patience possess ye your 
own souls, Luke 21. 19. The work of patience is to make a 
man master of his own soul ; that it shall be in his power, and 
he- shall enjoy himself: for an impatient man is outed, dis 
possessed of himself ; he hath no command of himself. Now 
patience hath its exercise for keeping us in the possession of 
ourselves, not only in bearing the afflictions that lie upon us, 
but in expecting the good things that lie before us and 
which we have in prospect and view. Hope that is seen, 
is not hope : — But if we hope for that we see not, then do we 
with patience wait for it, Rom. 8. 24, 25* Ye have need of 


patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might 
receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall 
come, will come, and will not tarry, Heb. 10, 36', 37. You 
have need of patience, that you may brook and comport with, 
the delay of his coming, and not count it long. So the apos 
tle James, chap. 5. 7> 8. is pressing to patience in reference 
to the relief that was to be expected at the coming of our Lord ; 
and he tells those to whom he writes, " The husbandman hath 
long patience, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be 
ye also patient, stablish your hearts ; for the coming of the 
Lord draweth nigh." It is still drawing nearer and nearer. 
What coining that is, we shall not now dispute ; or how near, 
or how far off. But he gives them to understand, that while 
be was not as yet come, they had need of patience, to com 
pose their hearts, and to keep them composed and quiet during 
the time of their expectation. 

3. Weariness of sin will do much to this purpose. If once 
the body of death be really burdensome to us, and we would 
fain by any means in the world have the power of sin abated ; 
this will tend to compose us unto a willingness, that God 
should take any course with us, that according to his estimate 
and account may most aptly serve that end, to break the power 
of sin. Well, suppose he thinks this a fitter course for us, 
instead of letting the sun shine upon us, to make the fire burn, 
round about us; suppose he judge it titter for us to be under 
strikings and hamaaerings in order to the working offour dross, 
and beating us into a better form and figure : then a true and 
real weariness and impatiency of sin would make us contented 
to be brought to this temper through any course, so it do but 
weaken and wear sin, and break the power of it more and more. 
It would make us contented to endure harsher methods for our 
time, so it will serve that happy end, and beget in us better 
frames of spirit. For he, that is a far more competent judge 
than we are, (we have reason to conclude by the event,) doth 
judge, that such rougher means and courses are more suitable 
to our state, to help us to that better pitch and temper of spirit, 
than a prosperous state of things externally would be; such as 
is meant here by God's not hiding his face. It may be he doth 
foresee, that we should not know how to comport with such a 
state of things, that we should grow vain and foolish, earthly 
and forgetful of him, and never mind the great concerns of re 
ligion, when once trouble and calamity left us. If once we be 
brought heartily to hate sin, and to reckon that the greatest of 
all imaginable evils ; we should be very well contented, that 
God should use us with whatsoever severity, so that the power 
«f sin may be abated, and a better temper of spirit promoted. 


4. A sense of the demerit of sin, would certainly persuade 
to much composure of mind in such an expectation. He that 
considers with himself, " I am less than the least of all mer 
cies, and I have deserved not only to be under the continual 
harassings of severe providence all my days in this world, but 1 
have deserved hell ;" may keep his spirit quiet by that means, 
though he doth not see a prosperous state of things in this 
world ; especially if he have the apprehension withal of par 
doning mercy, and the sweet savour and relish of that. He 
that would be contented to have undergone any, the greatest 
agonies and distresses whatsoever, so he might but have had 
the light of God's countenance shining upon him, so he might 
"but see that those agonies and distresses of spirit did open a 
way unto a more halcyon season for his Spirit, certainly he 
would well be content to undergo any severities of dispensations 
in outward respects, and think all well, if God have pardoned 
his sin, and let fall all controversy with him. And that be 
longs to a good temper of spirit too, to apprehend sin either 
actually pardoned, or at least pardonable ; that God is recon- 
cileable, if he comply with his terms. And if I can once sa 
vour and relish such a thing as that, I may very well forbear 
indenting and capitulating with him for such a state of things 
in this world, that would be pleasing and grateful to me. 

5. A subject, governable spirit would contribute very much 
to keep us composed and quiet under such an expectation and 
delay : a spirit instructed unto obedience, and that knows 
how to be under government, and to yield a consent that God 
should rule. If we can but allow him to bear rule in all the 
kingdoms of the world, and do what he pleases on earth in his 
own way and time ; if we have our hearts formed unto this, it 
will certainly make us composed in the expectation of whatever 
were most grateful to us in this world, or during the delay of 
bringing such things about for us. We find our Saviour doth 
with some severity reflect upon his disciples, immediately be 
fore his ascension, when they put that curious question to him, 
" Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel r" 
It was an odd notion too, that they had of that kingdom ; as 
appears from other passages. Why says he, "It is not for you to 
know the times and the seasons, which the Father hath put in 
his own power/' Acts 1. 6, 7. What! are you for wresting 
the sceptre out of his hands, and will not you allow him the 
government of the world ? Are you not contented he should 
rule ? Certainly it is a very ill-tempered spirit, that will quar 
rel at this, that God is above us, that he hath the ordering and 
timing of all things in his own hand and power. Therefore a 
subject, governable spirit must needs be in this case a calm, 


composed, quiet spirit, unapt to storm and tumultuate, and to 
admit of any vexatious and unquiet thought, because such 
things are not done now, or possibly may not be done within 
our time, that we could wish to see done. You find, that it 
was indeed a very fervent desire, that Moses had of seeing the 
land of Canaan. It is worth while to take notice, how he 
pleads with God upon that account, as he recollects the story 
himself, Beut. 3. 24. &c. He is relating to the people how 
he besought the Lord at that time, when the controversy was 
about that business. " I besought the Lord," says he, "at that 
time, saying, O Lord God, thou hast begun to shew thy ser 
vant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand ; for what God is 
there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, 
and according to thy might ? I pray thee, let me go over, and 
see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly moun 
tain, and Lebanon." But how is he answered ? "I$ut the Lord 
Was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me ; and 
the Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee, speak no more to 
me of this matter, I will not be spoken to any more about the 
matter." And you see afterwards, how contentedly he goes up 
and dies on this side Jordan. "Go up and die ;" and he goes up 
and dies ; there was no more disputing about the business ; lie 
was contented to die, and not see that goodly mountain and 
Lebanon. Certainly that is a very good contentment in such 
cases, for the Lord to order what he sees meet unto our lot 
and portion. 

6. A serious diligence in present duty. Whoever have not 
a disposition of heart to mind the duty of their own time, the 
business that lies in their hand to do ; certainly their temper is 
not good. But every serious Christian can find himself so much 
to do, as to have little leisure to entertain himself unto his 
prejudice with disquieting thoughts concerning what is yet fu 
ture, whether of good or evil, within the compass of time and 
of this present lower world. And if it be observed, 1 doubt not 
but common experience will give suffrage to it, that they are 
most apt to let out their spirits extravagantly to mind the con 
cernments of future time unto anxiety, and so as to busy them 
selves most about them, who have the least mind to be busy 
about present duties. You know the looser and more careless 
and licentious Christians, that cannot endure to have their spi 
rits bound and tied down to their work, the work of their pre 
sent stations, are they that love to be making complaints ; Oh ! 
how could I serve God, if I were but in such a time ! So li 
beral are they to him of that which is not in their own power, 
which is not theirs. It is only the present time is theirs : but 
they will not serve him with that which they have, the present 


day. He that understands his work and business as a Christian, 
that is, to give up himself to prayer, and to a serious watching 
over his own heart, to the endeavour of preserving a good 
temper of spirit, or preventing a bad ; he that knows, what, it 
is to be intent upon the mortifying of corruption, and the 
quickening and exercising of one and another grace season 
ably, and as occasions do invite and call it forth into exercise ; 
such a one we may truly reckon to be very well composed in his 
own spirit, in reference to what God does or is doing in his 

7. Familiarity with death is another thing in the temper of 
a good soul, that will very much compose to a quiet peaceful 
frame, during the delay of such things as we wish to see in this 
world, in reference to the prosperous state of the church of 
God and the interest of religion. Certainly a man is to be 
reckoned so much the better Christian, by how much the more 
he is acquainted with the thoughts of dying, and hath made 
death familiar to himself. Now he that lives conversant about 
the very brink of the grave, that reckons upon living but a lit 
tle while here, but is continually expecting his dismission and 
call into eternity ; cannot surely be concerned to any great 
anxiety of mind, about what shall or shall not come in this 
world within his time. For such a one would reckon with 
himself; "Suppose I had never so great assurance, that such and 
such desirable things shall fall out next year, yet I may die 
this." No serious person will put death far from him, look 
upon it as a very distant thing ; arid therefore such will not 
be very apt to disquiet themselves with the solicitous expec 
tation of good things on this side, because they will still reckon, 
death may come between me and that expectation, if it were 
jftver so near. 

8 A heavenly frame of spirit will do more than all in this 
matter. To have the heart much taken up with the thought 
of heaven, and the rest which remains for the people of God, 
will deliver one from the danger of hurtful impressions by hav 
ing the prospect of such good things before us in this world, 
which it may be we shall not live to see. You read of those 
worthies in Heb. 1 1 . several of whom had been named in the 
verses before this which I am about to mention, ver. 13. It is 
said of them, they all died in faith, not having received the 
promises ; but they saw them afar off, and were persuaded of 
them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were 
strangers and pilgrims on the earth. And doing so, they that 
say such things, ver. 14. declare plainly that they seek a 
country ; that it is the affairs of some other country that their 
-liearts and minds are more upon, and therefore that they aro 


not so greatly concerned about the good and evil that they may 
enjoy or suffer in this country : no, they are seeking a coun 
try, knowing that their great concerns did not He much here. 
And therefore they confidently died in faith, not having receiv 
ed the promise of such and such things that they had the pros 
pect of; merely through the impression and power that a 
heavenly spirit had with them, to carry them to follow and 
mind heaven and the great concernments of the eternal world, 
that everlasting state of things. And (as was hinted before) it 
is certainly a most intolerable distemper of spirit, and wherein 
we are by no means to suffer or indulge ourselves, that there 
should be a disposition in us to be more pleased and take more 
complacency in the forethoughts of the best state of things ima 
ginable in this world, than in the forethoughts of heaven, that 
every way perfect state, unexceptionably perfect. He that can 
be contented to sin on still, that he may have his imagination 
gratified here in this world, is certainly under a great distem 
per, to speak the most gently of it. And how unreasonably 
preposterous is it, that any should prefer that which is but in 
termediate, before that which is most ultimately final ? Still 
always that which is best is at last ; that state of things is the 
only unexceptionable state, which is unalterable ; that state, 
which is never to give place to another, is the only state that is 
entirely and completely good ; it is fit, that that only should be 
so. There is no pretence for a desire of change, in reference 
to a state perfectly good ; and whatsoever state is not perfectly 
good, it is still always reasonable to expect and desire a better. 
Now all these things, I doubt not, you must confess at the 
very first view do belong to a well-tempered spirit. And if so, 
it must argue a very ill frame, if there should be any such 
sickly hankerings after the best things that we can imagine in 
this world, as that we cannot satisfy ourselves, while we have 
no hope, or no great reason to hope, that we shall see them to 
fall out within the compass of our time. 

VOL. V. 



X shall add one or two more principles of a Christian spirit to 
those already mentioned, which cannot but keep our spirits 
composed in the prospect of a better state of things on earth, 
though we have little prospect that we shall live to see it. 

9. A sincere devotedness to God and to his interest. This 
will compose, and upon the matter make us indifferent, in 
what time or state of things we live, so it may serve his inter 
est. We have that notion most clear in our minds, that we 
were not made for ourselves, nor sent into this world upon our 
own errand ; and it can never be well with us, till the temper 
of our spirits doth correspond and answer to the true light that 
shines in us, to our light in this particular thing ; so as that 
we hereupon become sincerely devoted and given up to God, as 
knowing, that this is our errand in this world, to be to him, 
and to be used by him for his own purposes and services as he 
pleases. We well know, it is very reasonable and fit, he 
should have some or other that should own him even in the 
worst of times ; and why not we ? What reason can we assign, 
why we should be the exempted persons ? Why we, rather 
than others, should not serve him in difficulties and exercises, 
and endure hard things for him, if he will have it so ? Unto 

* Preached May 29th, 1678. 


a frame and state of sincere devotedness to God such a thought 
will be very familiar, "I am not my own ;" and how strange a 
power would such a thought, seasonably admitted and well 
placed, have upon our spuls, to have them contempered to 
this apprehension, "I am none of my own ?" Sincere devoted- 
ness to God is, first, absolute and entire, so as to leave us no 
right in ourselves apart from him ; secondly, upon conviction, 
that it is the highest excellency created nature is capable of, to 
be in pure subserviency to him; thirdly, upon a thorough appre 
hension, that he is the most competent judge how every one 
of us may serve him to the best purpose, and to the most ad 
vantage to his interest ; and thereupon, fourthly, it cannot 
but be accompanied with the highest complacency and plea 
sure that we are serving him, though we are wasting ourselves 
in serving him. It cannot but be a matter of high complacen 
cy, to be sacrifices consuming in the very flames, on purpose 
for his glory and pleasure. While we apprehend he is pleased, 
it is most agreeable to such a temper of spirit to be highly our 
selves pleased too. For what, should his pleasure and ours 
be divers ? And must there be two wills and interests between 
him and us ? 

10. A religious prudent fear of misapplying prophecies, or 
astricting and determining them to this or that point of time, 
which may not be intended by the Spirit of God. It is cer 
tain, there ought to be a religious fear of this, because they 
are sacred things, and therefore not to be trifled with, or made 
use of to other purposes than they were meant for ; much less 
to serve mean purposes, to gratify our own curiosity, to please 
our fancy and imagination. And there ought to be a prudent 
fear of this, and will be in a well -tempered soul, because of 
the great hurt and danger that may attend such misapplications. 

There are two extremes, that persons are apt to run into in 
this matter \ either to set such foretold events too fur oflj or 
to make them too near : and we are prone to run into one or 
the other of them, according as the cases vary and are opposite. 
For suppose it to be either a bad state of things that is foretold, 
or suppose it a time for doing some duty unto which we are 
disinclined, then we make the time very remote ; put far off 
the evil day, think the time is not come yet of building the 
house of God, of being intent upon the duty that is incumbent 
upon us. But if they be halcyon days, and it be a grateful 
prospect of things that we have before us ; then we are as apt 
to set it too near, and to catch at these good things prematurely, 
before they be ripe and ready for us, or we for them. And 
here lies our danger. 

I cannot but recommend to you that remarkable piece of 


Scripture, in 2 Thes. 2. 1, 2. Now we beseech you, bre 
thren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our 
gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in 
mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, (or by pretended in 
spirations, nor by word, nor by letter, as from us, as that the 
day of Christ is at hand. You shall hardly meet with a more 
solemn, earnest obtestation in all the Bible, than this is : 
that is the thing I reckon it so very remarkable for. "I beseech 
you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ ;" by 
what he knew was most dear to them, and the mention where 
of would be most taking to their hearts ; if you have any kind 
ness for the thoughts of that day, any love for the appearance 
and coming of our Lord ; if ever any such thoughts have been 
grateful to your hearts : we beseech you by that coming of 
his, and by your gathering together unto him, that you be not 
soon shaken in mind, that you do not suffer yourselves to be 
discomposed by an apprehension, as if the day of Christ were 
at hand. It may peril aps be thought very strange, why the 
apostle should lay so mighty a stress upon this matter, to ob 
test in it so very earnestly. And really 1 could not but think it 
exceeding strange, if I could be of the mind, that the coming 
of Christ here spoken of were only the time of the destruction 
of Jerusalem, and that the man of sin afterwards spoken of 
were only meant of Simon Magus and his impostures, the 
feats that he was at that time supposed and believed to do ; 
which certainly could be things of no such extraordinary con 
cernment unto them, that lived so far off as Thessalonica at 
that time, and much less to the whole Christian church. But 
if we consider the thing itself, according to the ordinary notion 
that is wont to obtain concerning this day of our Lord, and 
the gathering together of all his saints unto him ; certainly it 
was a matter of most extraordinary importance, that it should 
not be apprehended as at hand. For do but think, what dis 
mal consequences would have ensued, if it should have been 
so apprehended, as if that blessed state of things were pre 
sently to take place, were even at the door. We know what 
a dreadful apostasy hath come since, hath intervened, and of 
how long continuance. If this had obtained as a part of the 
religion of Christians, that the day of the Lord was then at 
hand ; why then, — 

First. How strangely had the Christians of that time been 
diverted from the proper work and business of their present 
day ? all held at a gaze, and in an amused expectation of the 
present coming of our Lord ! 

Secondly. What a strange surprize had the afflictions been to 
/them, thatdid ensue I When they were in a present expec- 


tation of nothing but the glorious appearance of their Lord, to 
have had things come upon them that were of so directly con 
trary a nature and import ! Instead of that, to be presently 
thrown into a sea of trouble, or into tha. flames of suffering, 
how strange a surprize had it been ! 

Thirdly. What a despondency of spirit had followed upon 
their disappointment ! How had the Christian hopes every 
where languished, and their hearts even failed them and died 
within them ! As it was with them not being yet instructed 
in the constitution and design of Christ's kingdom ; whose very 
hopes did expire, when he expired. "We trusted, that it was 
he, that should have redeemed Israel." 

Fourthly. How had it caused the infidel world to triumph 
over Christianity ! How had it opened their mouths wide ! 
"This was a part of the religion of Christians, that their Christ 
was to come again in that very age ; and now even from their 
own principles, their religion is proved a cheat, a mere im 

There is certainly very great danger, and there ought there 
fore to be a religious and a prudent fear, lest we should mis 
apply prophecies, and determine them unto unintended points 
of time. It is very agreeable unto a good temper of spirit so 
to do. And if we do so, that very awe will keep us composed 
and within the bounds of modesty and good temper. 

I therefore shut up what I have to say on the first proposition 
offered from the text with this caution. That we take heed, 
lest we fail of giving a due preference unto the Spirit of holiness, 
or the Spirit of God as he is the Spirit of holiness, above what 
we give to the spirit of prophecy, as such. In so plain a case 
I need not industriously to represent to you the inequality of 
the comparison ; and how much the Spirit of holiness, as 
such, is to be preferred before the spirit of prophecy, as such. 
That is peculiar unto the children of the Most High, the sons of 
God, those that are designed for an eternal inheritance : the 
other, strangers, even a paganish Balaam, may share and par 
take in, as well as others. And what good would it do us, if 
we had the foreknowledge of all events through all succeeding 
time ? Most apparent it is, that infinite knowledge doth only 
agree with infinite power 5 and therefore that it is fit, that 
knowledge should be proportion ably bounded as power is, kept 
within as narrow limits. It would not only do us no good, but 
it would be a most unspeakable prejudice to us, to have the 
foreknowledge of all events ; that that should be the measure 
and compass of our understanding faculty, to have the know 
ledge of things future as well as of those that are present. For 
plain it is^ that the good things that we should foreknow, if we 


•see them certain not to fall out in our own time, and especial 
ly if we did foreknow that they would nearly border upon our 
time ; how should we languish in the very sight of them, that 
we should come so near, and not reach ? And for all the evils 
that we should foresee, we should thereby multiply them, and 
suffer every affliction a thousand times over ; whereas God in 
tends we should suffer it but once. We should bring the trou 
ble of all our days into every day. It was therefore certainly a 
merciful law, if we would understand it ; "Take no thought 
for to-morrow ; sufficient for the day is the evil of it." And I 
reckon it admirable wisdom, which we are all concerned to 
adore, that when it was as easy to God to have given us a ca 
talogue of all considerable events unto the end of the world, 
determined unto certain times when they should fall out, as to 
give us the ten commandments ; he hath done this, and not 
that. Is was admirable wisdom, which we ought highly to 
reverence him for, that he hath stated our case so, and doth 
keep times and seasons so hid in his own hand and power, as 
he is pleased to do. And for whatsoever satisfaction we are 
capable of taking, in apprehending the substantial truth of such 
a thing without bringing it to circumstances, that there is 
such a good state of things for the church of God in this world, 
and at one time or other will obtain ; whatever just satisfaction 
we can take in the apprehension of it, I reckon, that if we 
had that due respect that we should have unto a right tempe 
rature of our own minds and hearts, in such particulars as I 
have mentioned, we should thereby highly enhance that plea 
sure ; as much as the pleasure that a temperate man takes in 
eating and drinking is greater, than that which a furious and 
libidinous appetite is capable of taking, in a person to whom his 
very hunger is a disease. And therefore now I shall leave this 
proposition, and go on to that other truth that we observed, 

That such a good state of things can never be brought about, 
but by a great effusion of the Spirit of God. 

In speaking to this, I shall, — briefly shew what kind of 
communication of the Spirit this must be : and then — shew the 
apt and appropriate usefulness of that means unto this end, the 
bringing about of a good state of things. 

1. What kind of communication it must be. 

If we speak of it objectively, that is, in respect of the thing 
communicated; so the communication of the Spirit must in 
tend the influences and operations of the Spirit, and the con 
sequent effects and fruits of it ; its ^a^syxara ; those princi 
pally and chiefly that do accompany salvation, which proceed 
from it as the Spirit of holiness. Though yet we are not to 


exclude those ordinary gifts of the Spirit, that are statedly in 
the church, and subservient to those other. Whether ever 
any extraordinary gifts shall he renewed, that, because I know 
nothing of it, I shall affirm nothing in. 

If you speak of this communication formally, as to the na 
ture or kind of it in itself considered ; so we may understand it 
to be a very great and plentiful communication, that is here 
meant. So the very expression in the text of pouring forth 
doth import 5 the same word being used sometimes to signify 
the larger and more remarkable issues of God's wrath, when, 
as a deluge, and inundation, it breaks forth upon a people and 
overflows. It signifies (as some critical writers do observe,) 
both celerity and abundance in the effusion. And the expres 
sion having that use, to denote the breakings forth of the 
wrath and fury of God, and being now applied here to this 
purpose, it carries such an import with it, as if it had been 
said; <c My wrath was never poured forth so copiously, so 
abundantly, but that there shall be as large and copious an 
effusion of my Spirit. " I take it, that these two properties 
must be understood to belong unto this communication ; the 
fulness of it, in reference to each particular soul, or inten 
sively considered ; and the universality of it, so as that it shall 
extend unto vastly many, in comparison of what it hath done : 
but neither of them to be understood in an absolute sense. 
And so much being supposed, (as there will be occasion in 
future inferences from Scripture to let you see,) that the com 
munication will be of this kind, and qualified by such pro 
perties ; we have a sufficient ground, upon which to go on 
unto the next head, that is, to shew, 

II, The apt and appropriate usefulness of this effusion of the 
Spirit unto this purpose, to bring about a good state of things 
for the Christian church. And in doing that, we shall have 
two things to evince, — The efficacy of such an effusion of the 
Spirit unto this purpose : and — the necessity of it. That 
this means will certainly do the business, and that no 
thing else can ; that there is no other way to bring such a state 
of things about. Which things need to be insisted on particu 
larly and severally, to obviate two great evils, into which we 
are very incident ; that is, — to distrust such a spiritual means 
of our good, and of the common good, as this is : and — to 
let our minds and hearts hanker after some other means and me 
thods, that certainly will never do the business. 

There is a very great aptness to distrust such a means as 
this, to entertain very cold thoughts about it. The Spirit ! 
How should the Spirit do such a thing as this ? bring about a 
universal tranquillity and peace, and in all respects a more 


prosperous and flourishing state for the church of God in the 
world ? That same expression of the prophet, and the form 
of it, being considered, that it is expostulatory, "Is the Spi 
rit of the Lord straitened ?" Mic. 2. ?. (So the house of Jacob 
is expostulated with;) it imports a very great aptitude even in 
a professing people, to have a great deal of distrust about the 
Spirit, and the effects to be accomplished and brought about 
by it. It is a keen and pungent way of speaking to speak ex 
pos tulatorily, as here. " What ! have you learned no better, 
you house of Jacob, than to think, that the Spirit of the Lord 
can be straitened ? that there can be any limits, and bounds set 
unto its power and influence ;" 

There is as great an aptness to trust in other means, and 
let out our hearts to them. An arm of flesh signifies a great 
deal, when the power of an almighty Spirit is reckoned as no 
thing. And persons are apt to be very contriving, and prone 
to forecast, iiow such and such external forms would do our 
business, and make the church and the Christian interest hugely 
prosperous. As great an extravagancy, as if we would suppose, 
that fine sights would fill a hungry belly, or that gay clothes 
would cure an ulcerous body; (as 1 remember that is Plutarch's 
similitude ;) or a diadem cure an aching head, or a fine shoe a 
gouty foot. It is a very vain thing to think, that any thing 
that is merely external can reach this end or do this business. 
For it cannot be done by any other way, by any might or pow 
er, but by the Spirit of the living God. And therefore we 
shall speak distinctly to these two things, the efficacy, and 
necessity, of such an effusion of the Spirit unto this purpose. 

1. The efficacy of it, to bring about a very happy state of 
things to the Christian church. Do but a little recollect your 
selves, what hath been said concerning such a state of tilings? 
as we might call happy and prosperous. All is capable of be 
ing reduced to these two things, first, the more vigorous and 
lively verdure of religion, that that itself do live and prosper 
more : and then, secondly, that there go therewith external 
tranquillity and peace. Now it may easily be apprehended, 
how an effusion of the Spirit doth directly do the former; and 
we shall afterwards come to shew, how by that it doth the 
latter too. 

( I .) There is nothing that is so genuine and natural a pro 
duct of the effusion of the Spirit, as the life of religion in the 
world. And it may be shewn, how the Spirit may have art 
influence to this purpose, both mediately and immediately. 

[I.] Mediately ; it may have an influence to the promoting 
4>f the life and vigour and power of religion, by the inter ventk>o 
of some other things : As, 


First. By means of the kings and potentates of tfre earth. 
We have had experience, how in all times and ages our own 
nation hath felt the different influences of the princes, under 
which we have been. But we are not now to be confined 
within so narrow bounds ; for we are speaking of the state of 
the church of God in the general. And think how it will be, 
if such scriptures ever come to have a fuller accomplishment 
than they have yet had ; when in all the parts of the Christian 
world kings shall be nursing fathers, queens nursing mothers ; 
when the church shall suck the breasts of kings, when the 
glory of the Gentiles shall by them be brought into it. How 
much will it make for the prosperity of religion every where in 
the world when these shall become in all places the proper 
characters of princes, (as they are the characters of what should 
be ;) that they scatter the wicked with their eyes, that they are 
just, ruling in the fear of the Lord, and are upon the people, 
as showers upon the mown grass, and as clear shinings after 
rain, are men of courage, men fearing God and hating covet- 
ousness ? Think whether this will not do much to the making 
of a happy state as to the interest of religion in the world, 
when they shall universally concur or very generally in the 
practical acknowledgment, that Christ is King of kings, and 
Lord of lords, willingly resign as it were their sceptres, or 
hold them only in a direct and designed subordination and sub 
serviency to him and his sceptre. 

Secondly. By and through them, upon whom the work of 
the gospel is incumbent in the church, the ministers of it. 
In such a time, when the Spirit shall be poured forth plenti 
fully, sure they shall have their proportionable share. And when 
such a time as that shall once come, I believe you will hear 
much other kind of sermons, or they will, who shall live to 
such a time, than you are wont to do now a days : souls will 
surely be dealt withal at another kind of rate. It is plain, too 
sadly plain, there is a great retraction of the Spirit of God even 
from us : we know not how to speak living sense unto souls, 
how to get within you : our words die in our mouths, or 
drop and die between you and us. We even faint, when we 
speak ; long experienced unsuccessfulness makes us despond : 
we speak cot as persons that hope to prevail, that expect to 
make you serious, heavenly, mindful of God, and to walk 
more like Christians. The methods of alluring and convincing 
souls, even that some of us have known, are lost from amongst 
us in a great part. There have been other ways taken, than 
we can tell how now to fall upon, for the mollifying of the ob 
durate, and the awakening of the secure, and the convincing 
and the persuading of the obstinate, and the winning of the dis- 

VOL. V. 2 L 


affected. Sure there will be a larger share, that will come even 
to the part of ministers, when such an effusion of the Spirit 
shall be, as is here signified : that they shall know how to 
speak to better purpose, with more compassion and sense, with 
more seriousness, with more authority and allurement, than 
we now find we can. 

Other ways also we may suppose the Spirit to have mediate 
influence by others for this purpose. 1 shall only close this 
discourse with saying somewhat to an objection that some may 
be apt to make. 

" But to what great purpose is it, may some say, to speak 
of what the Spirit will do, when it shall be so largely and plen 
tifully poured forth ? This we do not doubt, but when the 
Spirit comes it will do very great matters ; (as the Jews' expec 
tation was, * When Elias cometh, he will restore all things;') 
but what shall we do in the mean time ? and what good will 
the foreknowledge of this do us now ?" 

Certainly it will import us not a little even now, to know 
which way we are to look, what it is that will do our business, 
and must do it ; to be at least delivered from that impertinent 
trouble of making vain attempts, and of expecting that to be 
done any other way, which can never be. Our experience 
shews us, alas ! it is not this nor that external frame of things, 
that can mend our case. Should we riot be as bad, as any 
other men can be to us, if there be not another spirit ? Hath 
not experience shewn it ? And to have a disposition to be 
continually making attempts, wherein we are sure to be disap 
pointed, and can bring about nothing, so that we shall but 
traffic for the wind ; it is but to add mockery to the torment 
of our disease. It is indeed a part of the disease itself, to 
have a kind of pruriency, and itch to trying things, that would 
make our case so much the worse. A prosperous state of 
things externally, some are ready to imagine, would itself do 
all. Alas ! What an impertinency were that, and how little 
to the purpose ? In all likelihood it would make us ten thou 
sand times worse, than the sharpest sufferings could ever 
make us, or let us be, according to God's ordinary methods. 
And to know, that we are to look one way, is certainly a great 
advantage ; that we may hence at least learn not to look a con 
trary way ; that when we hear it is the effusion of this Spirit 
must do our business, we should not let our spirits run into 
union with another kind of spirit: as It is with all such, that, 
when a state of things displeases them, are ready to cry out, 
"Let fire come down from heaven, and make a present destruc 
tion of all." " You know not what spirit you are of," saith our 
in this case. Is this like the gentle workings of that bee 


nign and sweet Spirit that we are told must do our business ? 
And it would be a great advantage to us, if the apprehension 
of this did so constantly and habitually possess our souls, and 
sink into our hearts, as to frame all our deportments according 
ly ; and that this might be understood to be our only avowed 
expectation and hope. It would deliver the rest of men from 
fear about us ; for certainly no man hath any reason to be 
afraid of the Spirit of God : that never did any one any hurt. 
It can never do men any hurt surely to be made better by its 
operations in so easy a way, and to be brought into so easy a 
state, as that will be sure to issue in. Hereupon we shall de 
liver ourselves and the world about us from a great deal of in 
convenience, if once this be but understood, and avowed, and 
seconded by all suitable deportments, that we only expect the 
Spirit of the blessed God to change the state of things in the 
world, and to make it better and more favourable unto the re 
ligion of serious Christians. 




'E have been treating of the mediate influence of the Spi 
rit in order to the more prosperous and flourishing state 
of religion in the world : and have shewn what influence it 
may have unto this purpose, by the magistracy, and by the 
ministry, being exercised immediately upon them, and so 
working mediately by them for the promoting of religion 
amongst others, by those that stand invested with the glory of 
these great offices. We shall go on to shew what influence it 
may have, 

Thirdly. By means of family order. And it is too obvious 
unto common observation, how religion hath decayed, and 
the interest of it declined by the disuse and deficiency of this 
means ; since families have become so much the nurseries of 
vice and wickedness, that were much more generally the seed- 
plots of religion. 

I doubt not but many of you can remember the time, when 
in this city family discipline was much another thing than now 
it is ; and the sobriety and diligence and regularity of youth 
much more than now ; and fewer known to miscarry than at 
this time. And it is too plain a case, that the miscarriage of 
so many doth owe itself much to this, the neglect and letting 
down of family government, and the banishing of religion out 
.•f families, at least in a very great degree: that there is so 

* Preached June 5th, 1678 


little calling upon the name of God, so little of family worship, 
family instruction, family discipline ; that there are so few 
governors of families, of whom it may be said ; as concerning 
Abraham, " I know Abraham:" What will he do ? He will 
command his household, Gen. 18. 19. How few will the state 
of the case admit that character to be given of in our days ! 
How little care is taken to ground them that are under the 
charge and inspection of masters of families, in the principles 
of religion ! Do we observe from sabbath to sabbath, that 
they profit by ordinances ? whether they are going forward or 
backward in the business of religion ? And where the fathers 
of families have, or pretend to have less time, how much 
might be done by the mothers among the younger children, 
and the servants of their own sex ? And whereas by the su 
perior heads of families want of time is very much pretended, 
pray, whose is your time, do you reckon ? And whose busi 
ness is it, that you have to do in the world, God's or your 
own ? And if you will say, that the duties of your callings are 
part of the business that God will have you do ; it is but too 
possible to do God's business as our own ; and therefore it is 
to be considered, whether you do that business as God's or as 
your own : and suppose it never so much God's, and intend 
ed for him ; Doth the doing of part excuse the neglect of the 
rest ? And the lesser and much inferior part, the neglect of 
the more noble and principal parts of your business ? Or would 
you think, that that servant did discharge himself faithfully, to 
the office or obligations under which he is, who, when you 
commit to him in a stated course many sorts of business to be 
done, spends all his time about one, and neglects all the rest, 
and the main and most important parts of the business you have 
put into his hands ? And I think it might be considered too 
to good purpose, whether (since there hath been so great a 
neglect of keeping up order and government and worship in, 
families, and the thing that is at the first challenge replied by 
every one is lack of time,) the city is grown much richer than 
it was in those former days, when men could spare more time 
for such purposes than they do now ? 

Whatsoever there is of digression in this, I submit it to your 
own judgment, how needful and seasonable it is, and whether 
it be pertinent and proper. But I make no doubt, that, when 
soever God shall restore religion in the world, and make it 
again to prosper, and more to prosper, as we hope he will ; it 
will be by this means in very great part. Much will be done 
towards it, when it shall please God to stir up the hearts of 
those, that are governors of families, parents and masters, and 
to set them with effect on their duty in these things ; when 


they shall be brought more to tender the precious immortal 
souls under their care, and be filled with a more just zeal 
against the licentiousness and growing debauchery of the 
world. I make no doubt, but when it shall be so, this will 
be found to do a great deal towards the reviving and restoring 
religion amongst men. There will be a time, when it shall be 
said severally, and singly concerning the families of Israel, 
that God is the God of all their families, (as it is in Jer. 3 1 . 
1.) and they shall be his people ; so as that the relation shall 
not be only with the bulk and body of the people in gross, but 
even with particular families. And this, it is said, should be 
in the latter days, if you look back to the close of the foregoing 
chapter, chap. 30. 24. In the latter days, ye shall consider it. 
And at the same time, saith the Lord, will I be the God of all 
the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. And it is 
said, it should be at such a time, as wherein there should be 
planting of vines upon the mountains of Samaria, (chap. 31 . 5.) 
and when the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim should cry, 
"Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion, unto the Lord our God/' 
(ver. (>.) when the people of Ephraim, that is, of the other 
ten tribes that use to go under that name, and those that did 
belong to Samaria, should go to Zion, as heretofore ; a thing 
which certainly Vmth not yet been. 

Fourthly. By means of the more common and general exam 
ple of serious and exemplary religion in the professors of it. 
That is one great means, by which \ve may suppose the Spirit 
of God will work much, when it hath made religion to revive 
and live in some, to make their exemplary walking the means 
of diffusing religion unto others. Religion is now, as it is ex 
emplified in the walking and practice of the most, a very little 
alluring thing, very little amiable ; it carries little of invitation 
in it, little by which we may suppose it capable of proselyting 
the world, and captivating of men generally to the love of it. 
The mean, low, abject spirit that is discovered by some, and 
the contentious, jangling and quarrelsome spirit that is disco 
vered by others, carry little of allurement in them to strangers, 
and signify little to the making of proselytes, and the winning 
of persons to the love of religion. We have reason to expect 
that God will work mightily to make religion spread, by a cer 
tain aptitude that there shall be in it, when grown more lively 
and more vigorous, and a brighter shining and more glorious 
thing in the world, to attract hearts into the good liking of it. 

We go on to speak — 

[2.] Of its more immediate and direct influence upon the 
souls themselves to be wrought upon ; which was the second 
b§ad propounded to be spoken to. And so we are to reckon. 


that its greater influence, (when there shall he such an effusion 
of the Spirit, as we have been speaking of,) will shew itself in 
these two great and noble effects : — In numerous conversions : 
and, — In the high improvement and growth of those that sin 
cerely embrace religion, their eminent holiness: which, 
when we consider, will make the matter we were last speaking 
of more apprehensible to us, what example may do to the 
speaking of it yet further and further, as things once growing, 
grow apace ; especially such things as are themselves of a very 
growing and diffusive nature. The Scripture speaks very much 
in many places to both these purposes. 

First. There are many scriptures, that respect the matter of 
the church's increase by numerous conversions. Which is 
an increase as to its extent, as the other will be as to its glory* 
To instance in some few of the scriptures, that speak of the 
enlargement of the church by numerous conversions. We are 
told in Isaiah 2. 2, &c. what shall coirie to pass' in the last days. 
You have these two forms of expression, the latter da^s, and 
the last days. The expression of the latter days doth more ge 
nerally, according to the language of the Jews, intend the 
times of the Messiah. They divided time into these three 
great parts, the time or age before the law, the age under the. 
law, and the age (as they called it) of the Messiah. The ex* 
pression is here the last days, which seems rather to import 
the latter part of the latter time ; as there is still later and 
later, till it come to the very last. Now c< in the last days, 
the mountain of the Lord's house" (which is spoken by way of 
allusion to Zion, and the temple that stood upon that moun 
tain) " shall be established in the top of the mountains, and 
shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto 
it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us 
go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God 
of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in 
his paths ; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the 
word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among 
the nations, and shall rebuke many people, and they shall 
beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into prun 
ing hooks : nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nei 
ther shall they learn war any more." Such a time as that the 
world hath not yet known, so as that it should be said gene 
rally concerning it, that this great effusion of the Spirit, and 
such a cessation from hostilities and wars in the world, should 
be concomitant and conjunct with one another : we have not 
had hitherto opportunity to observe a coincidency of these two 
things. To the same purpose is that in the prophecy of 
Micah, which I mention as being of so near affinity with the 


very letter of this text, Mic. 4.1, 2. "In the last days it 
shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord 
shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall 
be exalted above the hills, and people shall flow unto it. And 
many nations shall come, and say, Come and let us go up to 
the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, 
£c." The same words as before, with very little variation. 
And that passage of a great prince's dream, Daniel 2. 34, 35. 
of " the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, that be 
came a great mountain, and filled the earth ;" J can, for my 
part, neither understand it in so carnal a sense as some do, 
nor in so limited a sense as others. Certainly it must signify 
some greater thing, than we have yet seen. And such numer 
ous accessions to the church by the power of the Holy Ghost in 
converting work, seem plainly intended and pointed out, Isaiah 
liv. 1. " Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear ; break forth 
into singing and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with 
child : for more are the children of the desolate," (of her that 
was so,) " than the children of the married wife, saith the 
Lord." There should be a far greater fruitfulness, than in 
the time of their more formed, stable church state, when they 
appeared a people in covenant-relation, married to God. This, 
though spoken directly and immediately of the Jewish church, 
means in and by them the universal Gospel church, whom that 
church did in some sort typically represent. " Enlarge the 
place of thy tent, (so it follows, ver. 2, 3.) and let them 
stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations ; spare not, length 
en thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes : For thou shalt 
break forth on the right hand, and on the left, and thy seed 
shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be 
inhabited." The like is in Isa. Ixvi. 6, &c. "A voice of 
noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the 
Lord that rendereth recompence to his enemies. Before she 
travailed, she brought forth ; before her pain came, she was 
delivered of a man-child. Who hath heard such a thing ? who 
hath seen such things ? shall the earth be made to bring forth 
in one day ? or shall a nation be born at once ?" What can 
this intend, but some such mighty effusion of the Spirit, by 
which there shall be great collections and gatherings in of 
souls as it were on a sudden ? To the same purpose in Isaiah 
60.5. " Thou shalt see and flow together, and thine heart 
shall fear and be enlarged, because the abundance of the sea 
shall be converted unto thee," (the islanders or those that 
inhabit the more maritime places,) " and the forces of the 
Gentiles shall come unto thee." This is introduced in verse 
4. " Lift up thine eyes round about and see : all they gather 


themselves together, they come to thee, thy sons shall come 
from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side." And 
ver. 8. (f Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves 
to the windows ?" Gathering in like great flocks of doves, 
that as a dense opacous cloud darken the air as they fly ! 
Which numerous increase is most emphatically signified by the 
apt and elegant metaphor used, psalm 110. 3. where it is said 
the subjects of Christ's kingdom should be multiplied " as 
dew from the womb of the morning." That is a vast and spa 
cious womb ; imagine, how innumerable drops of dew distil 
out from thence ; such shall the multitude of the converts be in 
the Christian church. That such scriptures have been fulfilling 
ever since the first dawnings of Christianity, there is no doubt ; 
but the magnificence of the expressions of many of these pro 
phecies, seem yet to be very far from being answered by cor 
respondent effects. The passage in Joel 2. 28. where it is 
said, that " the Spirit shall be poured forth upon all flesh," 
we are told, it is true, in Acts 2. 16. that it had its accom 
plishment : " This is that which was spoken by the prophet," 
saith Peter, when the people began to wonder at what they 
saw, upon that strange pouring forth of the Spirit on the day 
of Pentecost. But it is plain, that he did not intend, that the 
completion of that prophecy was confined to that point of time. 
For afterwards, in ver. 37- he tells them that were now awaken 
ed, and cried, "Men and brethren, what shall we do ?" that 
they must "repent and be baptized, and they should receive 
the gift of the Holy Ghost." For, saith he, "the promise" 
(that promise most apparently, that he had reference to before,) 
"is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar oft', 
even as many as the Lord our God shall call." So that all that 
was intended in that prophecy is not fulfilled, till God hath 
done calling. And many other scriptures seem to intimate, 
that there shall be a time of far more general calling, than hath 
been hitherto ; when the receiving and gathering in "of the 
Jews shall be as life from the dead," as a resurrection from the 
dead, Rom. 11. 15. And when the fulness of the Gentiles 
shall come in, ver. 25. The way of speaking implies, that 
that fulness or plenitude was yet behind, to succeed after the 
apostle's time ; and no such time hath succeeded yet. 

Secondly. There are many scriptures also, that speak of the 
great improvement and growth of Christians by the immediate 
Vork of the Spirit of God. When I say, immediate, I do not 
mean, as if it did work without means ; but that by the means 
it doth itself immediately reach its subject ; and therefore, that 
all the operations of the Spirit, whether in converting or in 
building up of souls, lie not in the instruments, but strike 

VOL. V, 2 M 


through all, so as to reach their subject. But that only on the 
by. Many scriptures speak of the great improvement of the 
church in point of holiness; so that it shall increase, not only 
in extent, but in glory, and in respect of the lustre, loveliness 
and splendour of religion in it ; that it shall become a much 
more beautiful and attractive thing, according to the represen 
tation which it shall have in the profession and conversation of 
them that sincerely embrace it. Which I suppose to be more 
especially pointed at in such passages as these. Isaiah Ix. 1, 2, 
3. " Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the 
Lord is risen upon thee. For behold, the darkness shall cover 
the earth, and gross darkness the people ; but the Lord shall 
arise upon thce, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And 
the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the bright 
ness of thy rising." This speaks that religion should be so 
glorious a thing in its own subject, as by that means to be in 
viting and attractive to those that were without the church ; 
and so doth directly and immediately speak of such an effect, 
as should be wrought by the Spirit of God upon persons seri 
ously religious themselves, to make them far to excel and out 
shine the glory of former times and ages. This also is the 
more peculiar aspect and reference of that prophecy in Mai. 4. 
2. " But unto you that fear my name, shall the Sun of righ 
teousness arise with healing under his wings. " That is, in 
that day of the Lord spoken of in ver. l . " Behold, the day 
cometh, that shall burn as an oven ; and all the proud, yea 
and all that do wickedly shall be stubble, and the day that 
cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it 
shall leave them neither root nor branch." Here is a predic 
tion of such an operation of the Spirit, as hath the actual 
fearers of God already for the subject of it ; upon them the 
Sun of righteousness shall arise with reviving cherishing beams, 
and make them spring and prosper and flourish even as calves 
of the stall, as it is there expressed. Religion will not then 
be such a faint, languid, impotent thing, as now it is, that 
makes men differ very little from other men, makes them but 
to look and walk and converse as others do. 

Thirdly. Other scriptures speak of both thes.e effects toge 
ther; and so of the increase of the church both ways at once, 
both in extent and glory. As I reckon all those may be under 
stood to have that import, that speak of the new heavens and 
the new earth that should be in the latter times : which are 
only metaphorical expressions ; the heaven and the earth be 
ing the universe, making up the frame and compages of na 
ture. These expressions are only borrowed, and denote how 
-universal and glorious a change should be in the world $ for 


these new heavens and that new earth are specified by the 
same adjunct, wherein dwelleth righteousness, in one of those 
texts. We have it mentioned twice in the prophecy of Isaiah, 
that he would create new heavens, and a new earth, chap. 65. 
17. chap. 66. 22. And in 2 Pet. 3. 13. that in these there 
should dwell righteousness. The renovation should consist in 
this ; and both the universality and the intensive perfection of 
it are signified. The heavens and the earth, that is, the whole 
frame of things, should he the subject of the, alteration ; and 
this alteration should be a renovation, the making of them new, 
that is, better ; as the newness of things is an ordinary Scrip 
ture expression of the excellency of them. Now the creation 
of these must refer to this time of the great restitution : as 
John speaks, Rev. 21. 1. " 1 saw a new heaven and a new 
earth ; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away;" 
the former frame of things was all vanished and gone ; nothing 
was like its former self, but all things were made new, as is 
added ver. 5. a day, wherein there should be as it were a 
new making of the world. The following texts also speak of 
that double increase of the church jointly, Isa. 32. 14, 15. A 
time and state of great desolation is spoken of as preceding, 
and to be continued. Till when ? "Until the Spirit be poured 
upon us from on high :" and what then ? "The wilderness shall 
be a fruitful field." There is the taking in of more from the 
world, extending the territories of the church further, the in 
closing of much more of the wilderness than hath hitherto 
been : "and the fruitful field be counted for a forest:" that, 
which was before reckoned a fruitful field, be counted to have 
been but as a forest, in comparison of what it shall be improv 
ed to : there is the increase of the church in respect of the 
liveliness and power of religion among converts. So in chap. 
35. 1, 2. "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad 
for them, and the desart shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. 
It shall blossom abundantly^ and rejoice even with joy and 
singing ; the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the ex 
cellency of Carmel and Sharon ; they shall see the glory of the 
Lord, and the excellency of our God." 

And both these effects, numerous conversions, and the high 
improvements of converts, are so connatural, so congenerous, 
do so very well agree with one another, that we may very well 
suppose them to go together, that the former will be accompa 
nied with the latter. For this great effusion of the Spirit we 
must understand to be sanative, intended for the healing of a 
diseased world, and to repair the corrupted forlorn state of 
things ; and therefore must be proportionable to the state of 
the case, in reference whereto it is to be a means of cure. It 


is very apparent, that wickedness, as it is the more diffusive, 
is always the more malignant. The diffusion and the malignity 
are wont to accompany one another ; just as it is with diseases, 
the plague and other distempers that are noisome and dange 
rous ; they are always more mortal as they are more contagious 
and spreading ; and so are extensively and intensively worse at 
the same time. And it must be proportionably so in the means 
of cure ; there must he such a pouring forth of the Spirit, that 
will answer the exigency of the case in both respects, that there 
be very numerous conversions, and a great improvement of 
converts unto higher and more excellent pitches of religion, 
than have been usually known in former times. 

Objection. But here it may be said, that it is very difficult 
to conceive, how all this should be, considering what the pre 
sent state and posture of the world is. As if we cast our eyes 
about us and consider, how it is in vast parts of it yet over 
run with paganism, in others with mahometanism, in others 
with antichristian pollutions and abominations : when we 
consider, how it is generally sunk in atheism and oblivion of 
God, drenched in wickedness : and even that part of it 
that is called Christian, how little it is better than the rest. 
The great doctrines of the Christian religion, the incarnation, 
the death, the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, the fu 
ture judgment, and the eternal states of men, all become even 
as antiquated things ! professedly believed for fashion's sake, 
because it is not convenient to pretend to be of no religion : 
but yet all these things lie with the most as ineffectual, insipid, 
unoperative notions in their minds that do nothing ; and not 
withstanding which they are and practise, just as they would 
do, if they believed no such things. When we consider this 
to be the present state and posture of the world, it is hard to 
conceive, how such a change as this is should come. And 
many may be apt to say in reference to this same IlxX/yymova, 
this renovation or regeneration of the church, the restitution 
of religion, as Nicodemus said concerning the regeneration of 
a particular person, " How can these things be ?" 

Answer. Indeed the long continued restraints of the acts of 
absolute omnipotency make it even to seem but equal to im- 
potency ; and men expect as little from the one as from the 
other. When great and extraordinary things have not been 
done through a long tract of time, they are no more expected 
or looked for from the most potent cause, than they are from 
a most impotent. And therefore, when any great thing is 
done for the church and interest of God in the world, it comes 
under this character, things that we looked not for, (Isa. 64. 3.) 
things that do even surprise and transcend expectation, and 


which no man would have thought of. Men are very^unapt 
to entertain the belief and expectation of things, that are so 
much above the verge and sphere of ordinary observation. We 
expect to see what we have been wont to see ; and men are 
apt to measure their faith by their eyes for the most part in re 
ference to such things, that that can be done which they have 
seen done ; but are hardly brought to raise their faith and ex 
pectation to higher pitches than so. 

To make things therefore as conceivable as we can, we 
shall point out briefly, in what way and by what methods and 
steps we may suppose so great a change to be brought about 
by such an effusion of the Spirit. For, as was said, it will not 
do the business with most, that the Spirit of God can do all 
this, which will be granted at the very first hearing : but a 
lively apprehension of these events to be brought about is not 
ordinarily begotten, but by seeing a way traced out, from 
point to point, and from step to step, how and by what degrees 
such a work may be carried on ; and then the representation in 
that way being somewhat more lively, the impression that is 
made by it on the spirits of men is accordingly more lively. 
But of this more particularly hereafter. 

I shall shut up the present discourse with desiring you to re 
mind and reflect upon the tendency of all this ; that our souls 
may be possessed with a serious apprehension, and thence 
have a lively hope begotten in them, of such a time and state 
of things to come, wherein religion shall prosper and flourish 
in the world, though now it be at so low an ebb. I may say 
to you, as Paul did to Agrippa, Acts 2G. 8. Why should it 
be thought an incredible thing, that God should raise the 
dead ? why should it be thought an incredible thing, that there 
should be a resurrection of religion ? Thy dead men shall live, 
and together with my dead body shall they arise. He hath said 
it, that knows how to make it good -, "who is the resurrection 
and the life," Isa. 26. 19. 

And really it would signify much to us, to have our hearts 
filled with present hope ; though we have no hope, (as was 
formerly supposed, admitting that supposition,) of seeing it 
with our own eyes in our own days. Such a hope would how 
ever not be unaccompanied with a vital joy. "Abraham rejoic 
ed to see my day ; and he saw it, and was glad ;" though it 
was above two thousand years before. Plain it is, there is not 
a more stupifying, benumbing thing in all the world, than 
mere despair. To look upon such a sad face and aspect of 
things through the world, as we have before our eyes ; to look 
upon it despairingly, and with the apprehension that it never 
will, never can be better 5 nothing can more stupify and bind 


up the powers of our souls, and sink us into a desponding 
meanness of spirit. But hope is a kind of anticipated enjoy 
ment, and gives a present participation in the expected plea 
santness of those days, how long soever they may yet be off 
from us. By such a lively hope, we have a presentation, a feel 
ing in our own spirits of what is to come, that should even 
make our hearts rejoice, and our bones to flourish as an herb. 
Religion shall not be an inglorious thing in the world always : 
it will not always be ignominious to be serious, to be a fearer 
of the Lord, to be a designer for heaven and for a blessed 
eternity. When these things, that common and prevailing 
custom hath made ridiculous, with their own high reasonable 
ness, shall have custom itself and a common reputation con 
curring ; how will religion at that time lift up its head, when 
there is such a blessed conjunction ? it is strange to think, 
that so very absurd things, as the neglecting of God, the for 
getting of eternity, the disregarding of men's souls and ever 
lasting concernments, should even be justified by custom, so 
that nobody is ashamed of them, because they do but as other 
men do in these tilings : to be immersed all their life time in 
the world, to mind nothing else but earthly business, as if they 
were made all of earth, and only for earth ; such most absurd 
things even seem to be justified by common practice ; men are 
not ashamed of them, because they are but like their neigh 
bours. But when persons shall agree with one another in be 
ing serious, heavenly, avowing the fear of God, in express 
devotedness and subjection to him ; when the concurrence of 
common practice shall be taken in with the high reasonable 
ness of the things themselves , how magnificently will religion 
look in that day ! And if we would but labour so to represent 
the matter to ourselves beforehand ; by a lively hope of such a 
state of things we should have the anticipated enjoyment of the 
felicity of those times ; and have a great deal of reason, though 
it may be we are to suffer hard and grievous things in the 
meanwhile, to compose ourselves, and to enter upon that 
state of suffering very cheerfully; to wait patiently and pray 
earnestly, that of so great a harvest of spiritual blessings to 
come upon the world in future time, we may have some first- 
fruits in the mean time. As it is not unusual, when some 
very great and general shower is ready to fall, some precious 
scattering drops light here and there as fore-runners; 

And we should encourage ourselves in the expectation of a 
present portion, sufficient for our present turn and the exigency 
of our own case; for we have this comfortable consideration 
before us, that there is always so much of the Spirit to be had, 
that will serve the necessities of every Christian that seriously 


seeks it. He will give his Spirit to his children that ask him, 
as readily surely as they that are evil will give good gifts to 
theirs. At all times there is so much of the Spirit to be had, 
as, though it will not mend the world, will mend us ; if it 
will not better the external state of things, it will better our 
spirits ; and so, if not keep off suffering, yet will prepare and 
qualify us for it ; and that sure is a greater thing, than to have 
suffering kept off; for that is but an external and natural evil, 
this internal and spiritual. It would be a great thing, if per 
sons would admit the conviction of this, (and there is not a 
plainer thing in all the world,) that patience is better than im 
munity from suffering : that great and noble effect of the Spi 
rit of God upon the soul, whereby it is brought into an entire 
possession of itself ! Is that to be compared with a little ad 
vantage that only my flesh and outward man is capable of ? 
Good things are to be estimated by the greatness and nobleness 
of their subjects. Sure a good of the mind, of the soul, must 
needs be far better than that which is only a good of the body, 
of this perishing external frame ; and therefore for us, it is as 
great a thing as we can reasonably wish, that we may have such 
a portion of the Spirit imparted to us, that will qualify us to 
pass well and comfortably through any time. And have not we 
reason to expect this, even upon what is foretold us concerning 
what shall be done in the world hereafter ? May not I look up 
with a great deal of hope and encouragement, and say, " Lord, 
that Spirit of thine that shall one day so flow down upon the 
world, may not I have some portion of it to answer my present 
necessities ? and that Spirit, that can new make the world, 
that can create new heavens and a new earth, cannot that 
new make one poor soul? cannot it better one poor heart ?" 
To have a new heart and a right spirit created and renewed in. 
us, is better to us, than all the world : and we have no reason 
to look up diffidently and with despondency, but with hearts 
full of expectation. He will give his Spirit to them that ask 



have told you, wherein a good state for the church 
would consist, to wit, in these two things concurring, — 
the flourishing of religion, and — outward peace. — I have said, 
concurring • for if they should be so severed, as that external 
prosperity should go unaccompanied with much of the power 
and life of religion, the case would be much worse with the 
church of God, rather than better. So true the observation is, 
that religion brought forth riches, and then the daughter de 
stroyed the mother. We must say in this case somewhat like 
what they have been wont to say, who would give a favourable 
representation of Epicurus, and his doctrine concerning the 
matter of felicity, that would make his notion of it to consist of 
satisfaction of mind and indolency of the body. There must 
be a like concurrence of two such things to make up an entire 
and completely happy state to the church ; principally a pros 
perous state of religion, and then (that which would be very 
much adjumental and accessory,) a peaceful and sedate exter 
nal state of things. 

This being supposed, and having told you what sort of com 
munication of the Spirit is to be expected, we came to shew 
the apt and appropriate usefulness of the means to the end. 

* Preached June 12, 1678. 


For the clearing of this, we proposed to speak — of the efficacy ', 
and, — of the necessity of this mean or cause to bring about 
the end. 

We are yet upon the former of these heads, the efficacy of 
this effusion of the Spirit to work a very happy state of things 
in the church of God. We have shewn, what it is easily sup- 
posable the Spirit may do towards this purpose, both by way 
of mediate and of immediate influence; both in producing nu 
merous conversions, and then high improvements of converts : 
and in reference to both have mentioned many scriptures, and 
might many more, to let you see, what we are taught and en 
couraged to expect. 

We would now use some endeavour, for the facilitating of 
our belief concerning this matter, and to render it more easily 
apprehensible and familiar to our own thoughts ; that it might 
not be looked upon as an impossible thing, or as altogether un 
likely and improbable to be brought to pass. To this purpose 
let us consider, — what hath been done in like kind hereto 
fore : — in what way such a thing may be supposed to be brought 
about ; by what steps, and in what method, and by the con 
spiracy and consent of what subordinate causes such a thing 
may be effected : and — how suitable and congruous every way 
it is to the blessed God to do such a thing. 

First. We may a little help ourselves in this matter, by tak 
ing an estimate from what hath been, unto what may be. 
Much hath been done in the like kind heretofore. You know, 
how it was with the Christian church in its beginnings, in its 
very primordia, when the light of the gospel was but dawning 
upon the world. How great and unexpected were the chan 
ges, that were brought about then all on a sudden ! Partly in 
our Lord's time ; and more especially, when the Spirit was 
more eminently poured forth afterwards in the apostles' days ! 
Insomuch that you find the matter represented by such expres 
sions as these, concerning Christ himself in his own time ; 
"Behold, the whole world is gone after him," John. 12. 19. So 
the anxious and vexed minds of the rulers amongst the people 
did suggest to them ; " We have lost all, the whole world 
will be his proselytes at this rate." But especially when the 
Spirit came to be poured forth after his resurrection and ascen 
sion ; by that same means, "not by might nor by power, but by 
Spirit," what strange things were done ? and who would have 
expected such things to have been done then, that had lived at 
that time ; if it should have been foretold, that twelve men 
should convert so great a part of the world ? and with what 
amused, diffident spirits did they receive their own comanissions 

VOL, V. 2 N 


and instructions, when that strange thing was said to them, 
" Go you, and teach all nations ?" Suppose twelve persons 
should be picked out from among us, and such a charge given 
them, "Go and proselyte the world unto serious religion !" Yet 
we know what was done. It is said in one place, Acts 19. 26. 
This Paul hath turned away much people ; this one man : and 
in another, Acts 17. 6. Those that have turned the world up 
side down, are come hither also* Thousands were converted 
at a sermon, the sound of the gospel flying to the utmost ends 
of the earth. And this was but in pursuance of what Christ 
foretold should be done by his Spirit. These men did not 
levy armies to carry religion abroad into the world. When 
their hearts seemed to fail and sink within them, as despairing 
from the greatness of the enterprize, and the meanness of such 
agents as themselves were ; they were only directed to stay and 
wait awhile, till they should receive power from on high. Acts 
1.4,8. And when at last it came, with what wonders did 
these men fill the world ! Christ told them therefore, John 17. 
7, &c. It is expedient for you, that 1 go away ; for if I go 
not away, the Comforter will not come unto you ; but if I de 
part, I will send him unto you : and when he is come, he will 
convince the world. We read it, Ci the Comforter." The word 
signifies, (and it would be more fitly unto that purpose read,) 
the advocate, or the pleader ; so ^oi^K^ros more properly im 
ports. " When that mighty Pleader comes ; my Agent, that I 
intend shall negotiate my affairs for me (when I am gone,) 
against an infidel world ; then let him alone, he shall deal 
with the world, as infidel and wicked as it is. c He shall con 
vince of sin, and righteousness, and judgment/ Whereas I 
have been reproached as a blasphemer, and a deceiver of the 
people, and one that hath designed only to set up for myself, 
and to acquire a name and reputation among men : he shall 
urge on my behalf the sin of the world in not believing in me ; 
and my righteousness, both personal and imputable, capable 
of being applied unto others ; and he shall urge efficaciously 
the business of judgment upon the usurping prince of this 
world, and dethrone him, and cast him down." And so it did 
succeed in very great part. 

And how lively and vigorous was the religion of the primi 
tive Christians at that time, those first owners and professors 
«f the Christian faith ! how did hcavenliness, spirituality, and 
the life and power that was from above, sparkle in their pro 
fession and conversation ! That one might see them walking 
like so many pieces of immortality, dropped down from heaven, 
and tending thitherward ; all full of God, and full of Christ, 
and full of heaven, and full of glory : and this world was no-- 


thing to them ; trampled upon as a despicable, contemptible 

Now we may say with ourselves, Quicquid fieri potuit, po- 
test : that which could have been done, and ive see was done, 
may still be done. " Is the Spirit of the Lord straitened ? Is 
his arm shortened ? " 

Secondly. It would very much facilitate the belief of such a 
thing, at least the apprehension of it as very possible, to con 
sider, in what easy and apt ways, and by how fit and suitable a 
method, such a work as this may be carried on. And it will 
be, I reckon, to good purpose to insist a little here : for when 
the workings of any extraordinary divine power have been long 
withheld and restrained, (as was said,) the thoughts and ap 
prehensions of such a thing is very much vanished out of the 
minds of men ; and they expect generally as little from abso 
lute omnipotency as from mere impotency, because their eye 
sight is usually the measure of their expectation. Therefore 
the more easy steps we may suppose to be taken in such a 
work, so much the more apprehensible the thing will be, and 
so much the more vivid the apprehension, and the deeper the 
impression upon our hearts ; which is the great thing we should 
aim at in the hearing of any gospel-truth or doctrine whatso 

Now it must be acknowledged, that a very great and ex- 
^raordinary exertion of divine power, the power of the blessed 
Spirit, is necessary in this case. Such an extraordinary effort 
of absolute omnipotency there was at first to create the world : 
but when once it was created, there was a settlement of a cer 
tain law or course of nature, and a stating of all second causes 
in their proper stations and subordinations, in which the affairs 
cf the world have ever since been carried on in an equal and 
very little varied course; which hath given atheists occasion to 
cavil, (i All things are as they were from the beginning, even 
unto this day." This may assist us to apprehend, how things 
being once by so wonderful a hand put well onwards towards a 
good state, the course may be continued, and the great inte 
rest of religion improved more and more. Suppose it be some 
what proportionably in this new creation, the making new 
heavens and a new earth, as it was in the making of the world 
at first. There must once be an extraordinary effort of omni 
potency or an almighty power : but that being once supposed, 
it is easily apprehensible, how many things may concur and 
fall in, what a conspiracy of inferior and subservient causes 
there may be, to promote and help on the reviving of religion 
in the world. That extraordinary effusion of the Spirit there*- 
fore once supposed, we will go on to particulars that will be 


easily supposable to succeed, and to be subservient and mi 
nistering causes in this work. 

There will, first, be a great observation, no doubt, of whatso 
ever shall be at first done in this kind, for the recovery of re 
ligion in the world. It is a matter that will naturally draw ob 
servation. The course, wherein the interest and kingdom of 
God is ordinarily promoted in the world, is rather governed by 
that maxim ; The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, 
Luke 17- 20. The affairs of it are carried on in a more still 
and calm and silent way. But when God does (as we must 
suppose him to do,) step out of his course in this case ; no 
doubt that first effect, or the Spirit of God, when it comes to 
shake the spirits of men somewhat generally, and makes them 
bestir themselves ; this cannot but be a very noted thing. If 
any considerable number in one such city as this should all on 
a sudden be struck, and a remarkable change be made upon 
them ; if several notoriously debauched and dissolute persons 
should become very serious, sober, praying men ; some noted 
to be very great worldlings, that one could never hear any 
thing from but what savoured of earth or an earthly design, 
now become eminently godly, spiritual, heavenly in all their 
conversation : this would be very much observed and taken no 
tice of, as somewhat a strange and new thing. And, 

Upon such observation, secondly, the minds of men will be 
filled with wonder, and much amusement. " What a strange 
thing is this, that such a great number of people will not be as 
they have been, and do as they have done ! Such as could drink 
and swear and rant with the rest of their dissolute neighbours, 
are now taken up all of a sudden, and do no such thing ! We 
can hear them speaking of God and heaven and eternity, unto 
whom all thoughts of any such thingseemed perfect strangers !" 
Men will be very apt to be amused, when such a thing as this 
shall be. 

That amusement and wonder, thirdly, will beget discourse 
about it from person to person. It will grow, as we may easily 
apprehend, into matter of talk, what changes appear in such 
and such. 

Such discourse, fourthly, it is very supposable, may put many 
persons upon search and inquiry ; first into the truth of the 
matter of fact, and then into the tendency of such a thing, 
whither it drives, what kind of change it is. Is it true, yea or 
no, that such things really are ? and when once it comes to be 
found really true, that there are great numbers of persons upon 
whom there is a very eminent and remarkable turn and change, 
either to make debauched persons become religious, or such as 
Were before religious to become more visibly serious and lively 


and active in the business of religion ; when it is found, I say, 
to be so, the matter itself, which such persons come to be 
changed to, naturally comes under inquiry : Whither do these 
persons tend ? what do these impressions, that are now upon 
their minds, put them upon ? and it is found, that they are 
urged by such impressions to mind God and the Redeemer of 
souls more, the concernments of eternity and another world ; 
and to help all others to do so too, as much as in them lies. 
These things do very aptly succeed to one another. And so 
far the case was like this, in Acts 2. upon that first eminent 
effusion of the Spirit. The matter came to be noised abroad, 
(ver. 6.) and the multitude came together. And ver. 7- They 
were all amazed, and marvelled : very great amusement was 
upon the minds of men. Though it is true there was some 
what miraculous in the case, that is, the power of speaking 
variety of languages all of a sudden ; and we suspend any judg 
ment for the present, about what we are to expect hereafter in 
the church of God of the same thing or of any thing of like 
kind. But to have so much, as is of ordinary and common 
concernment to souls, wrought and done, as hath been men 
tioned, somewhat generally ; this cannot but infer much ob 
servation, much wonder and amusement of mind with others, 
much discourse and talk upon the subject, and thereupon in 
quiry both into the truth and tendency of the matter of fact. 

Upon such inquiry, fifthly, we may suppose there will ensue 
approbation ; that is, at least a judicious approbation, that shall 
go as far as the judgment and conscience, though it may not 
suddenly descend upon the heart and affections : we may pro 
mise ourselves that, such being the nature of religious con 
cernments, and their high reasonableness so very apparent. 
What is it that these men drive at ? whither do these new im 
pressions on their minds carry them ? Why, only to mind the 
great Lord and Original and Author of all things ! to give over, 
living, as the most of men have heretofore done, in a total ob 
livion and neglect of their own original ! How strange is it 
for men lately come into being, to live in this world and never 
think ; How came we into being ? how came there to be such 
a thing as man on earth ? such a world as this ? so various or 
ders of creatures in it ? All that religion tends to, when it 
comes to revive in the spirits of men, is but to engage them to 
look back to their own original, to consider whence they sprang; 
and what duty they owe there, what reverence and fear and 
love ; and what expectations they may have from that great 
and eternal and all-comprehending Being, from whom the yand 
all things did proceed and whereas they find themselves in a 
lapse and apostacy with the rest of mankind^ and have the dis- 


covery of a Redeemer ; and of God restoring and recovering 
souls by him ; to consider, what trust, what love, what sub 
jection, what entire devotcdncss is justly claimed as most due 
and fit to be paid to him. When religion aims at no other 
things than these ; we may promise ourselves, that the inquiry 
"will end in approbation : all this is equal and righteous and good; 
men can have notbing to say against it. The concernments of 
religion are of that sort and kind, that they will admit of search 
and bear an inquiry : and men are only therefore not approvers 
of religion at least, because they inquire not, and so can un 
derstand no reason imaginable why men should pretend to any 
religion at all. But the same reasons will urge a thousand 
times more for the greatest and deepest seriousness in religion : 
for the mere formality of religion, without the substance and 
soul, is the most absurd and ridiculous thing in all the world, 
and for which least is to be said. The profession of downright 
atheism were a great deal more rational, than to pretend to the 
belief of such a deity that can be pleased with trifles and sha 
dows ; than to worship such a thing for a God, that cannot 
tell whether I love him or no, and fear him or no, and have a 
heart really propense and devoted to him or no. The inquiry 
and discussion of the case must be supposed to infer great ap 

That is likely, sixthly, to infer an apprehension of somewhat 
divine in it. When it shall be seen, that men are strangely 
wrought upon, and very great changes made upon them ; and 
when being discoursed with, and the things unto which their 
spirits tend being examined and searched into, they are found 
to speak words of truth and soberness, and not like mad and 
distracted men, that are beside themselves ; (as the apostles 
were fain to apologi/e once and again, when so strange things 
began to be wrought by their ministry at the first, in Acts 2. 
15, 16. and chap. 26. 25.) This must be supposed also very 
apt and likely to succeed, that there will be an apprehension 
in the case, that there is something divine in all this ; some 
misgiving or suspicion of it ; " Sure it is of God, that there is 
this change and turn upon the spirits of so many men ! Sure 
there is some divine hand in it !" We find, that there were 
such apprehensions of somewhat divine in the matter, when so 
great things were wrought at first by the ministry of the apos 
tles. The most malicious enemies were full of doubt, where- 
unto this would grow, Acts 5. 24. And one of their wisest 
men saith, in yer. 39. "If it (this thing) be of God/'— that if 
imports a suspicion, some doubt and apprehension of the thing 
as not improbable : " Perhaps this is of God, that there are 
begun such alterations in many men ; that those who lived be- 


fore as if they were altogether made of earth, now are come' to 
mind nothing but heaven and eternity and the concernments of 
another world. It is very likely, that there is a divine hand in 
this matter ; for the more we inquire and search, the less we 
have to say against what these men do ; we cannot see but it ' 
is highly reasonable, that men should live, as they say we 
should, in more serious observance of, and devotedness and 
love to the great Lord of heaven and earth, and the Redeemer 
of sinners." And, 

Hereupon, seventhly, succeeds naturally a favourable inclina 
tion towards religion, in those who have hitherto been strangers, 
at least, to the power and life of it. When they see it sparkle 
in the conversations of others ; when they see persons that were 
become like other men, (for that is the present state of the 
world, and it is-too much to be feared that it will grow more 
and more so, that those who have been very forward professors 
of religion fall to decay, and their profession like an old gar 
ment grows threadbare, and is worn off from them by piece 
meal, and they cease to be what they were ; family orders are 
thrown off, no worship, no calling upon God ; they let them 
selves be ingulfed of the world, as if they were here in the 
world for nothing else than to drive designs for a few days ; 
eternity and everlasting concernments being quite forgot,) 
when it shall be said, that men, whatever they were before, 
are awakening out of this drowsy, dead sleep, and returning 
from that dreadful apostacy ; and a spirit of seriousness and 
life and vigour, begins to shew itself; and religion and holiness 
(as I was saying,) shall sparkle in the lives of them, in whose 
conversation there was hardly the least glimmering of it ap 
pearing before : then so amiable and lovely a thing, as well 
as highly reasonable, religion is, that it will draw favourable 
inclination ; especially when that apprehension goes along, 
that there is certainly some divine impression upon men's minds, 
that makes them to bestir themselves and to alter their course 
from what it was, and that induces so many to do thus as it 
were at once. For there is a natural reverence of what is ap 
prehended to be divine ; this naturally draws a kind of venera 
tion. It was indeed strange, how the world could be imposed 
upon to believe such figments and fables as they did ; but be 
ing made to believe them, we see what was the natural opera 
tion of that veneration, which resides in the spirits of men, of 
things apprehended divine. For the image that dropped down 
from Jupiter ; mentioned in Acts 19. 35. it is strange, how 
the people could be made to believe, that such an image fell 
down out of heaven : but being made to believe it, nature fol 
lowed its own course ; that is, most highly to reverence what 


they apprehended to be of a divine descent, and what came 
from above. All the city, all that city of Ephesus, was a wor 
shipper of the image that they were told came down from Ju 
piter. A favourable propension there will be towards religion, 
when once men come generally to take notice of it as a divine 
thing; of divine descent, as it is of a divine tendency. And 
so it was in that first great work of this kind, which we read of 
in Acts 2. That numerous multitude of converts, three thou 
sand at one sermon, continued in breaking of bread from house 
to house, and did cat their meat with gladness and singleness 
of heart, (ver. 46.) Praising God, and having favour with all 
the people, ver. 47. Religion, when it comes to be itself and 
to look like itself, will very much attract favour from all that 
behold the genuine, natural workings and tendencies of it. 

Hereupon, eighthly 9 doth unavoidably ensue ageneral repu 
tation to serious religion, which will signify a great deal to this. 
When serious religion shall by these means be brought into cre 
dit, then the work will drive on apace, and the chariot-wheels 
move easily. Let us but bethink ourselves, what the reputation 
even of so despicable a thing as wickedness itself doth in the 
world ; how it spreads, when common practice hath once given 
it a reputation. Things, that at other times persons would 
have been ashamed of, or even that they should be suspected 
concerning them, afterwards they come to glory in : and when 
once the restraint of shame is gone off from the spirits of men, 
it is a strange liberty they find to do wickedly ; now they can 
easily go from one wickedness to another, from bad to worse, 
and still to worse ; for the restraint is gone, that bound up 
their spirits before. When the shame then of being seriously 
religious shall cease, and it shall become a reputation in the 
world ; think, what that will signify in the case of so highly 
reasonable and beautiful a thing, as religion in itself is. Com 
mon reputation gives a patronage to so horrid, so ignomini 
ous a thing as wickedness : what will not so lovely and praise 
worthy a tiling, as religion is in the very heart and conscience 
of men that allow themselves to consider it, gain of reputation 
and by it in such a case; when every man shall be the more 
esteemed of, by how much the more he appears a sincerely 
religious man ; when no man shall be afraid to avow himself a 
fearer of the great Lord of heaven and earth, but this shall be 
reckoned in every one's account a high glory; when every one 
shall be ready to give suffrage to it, and to say, it is reasonable 
we should all be so ? Then may we suppose religion to be 
riding on prosperously, conquering and to conquer ; then may 
we expect the arrows of the great Author of it to be sharp in 
the hearts of men, the way of access will he easy into the in- 


wards of men's souls, the great truths and doctrines of religion 
will come under no prejudice, men will not be shy and asham 
ed to entertain them, or afraid what the tendency of enter 
taining them will be, or what course they shall be thereby en 
gaged in, that may possibly prove injurious to them in point 
of reputation or worldly interest one way or another. 

These things being all taken together, it seems we have a 
pretty apt method, and a representation of fair and easy steps, 
In which we may suppose such a work to be carried on ; when 
once there is that great effort of the almighty power of the 
Spirit, to cause somewhat general rousings and awakenings in 
the spirits of men, to make them a little bestir themselves 
and look about them, with respect to the concernments of the 
Maker of this world, and their relation and tendency to another 
world. And when we see how such a thing may be carried on 
from step to step, the apprehension of it should not be thrown 
aside as very remote and alien, and as if it were altogether 
unlikely that any such thing should ever be done in the 
world. You know that great inundations, as they gradually 
Spread in circuit, so they increase and grow more copious by a 
continual accession of new rivulets and springs to them, where- 
ever they spread : so it is in such a work as this of the Spirit of 
God. That Almighty Spirit, the further it goes, the more it 
engages and takes in the concurrence of the spirits of men, as 
so many rivulets into the great and common inundation. For 
the expression of pouring forth the Spirit seems to favour that 
metaphor and to look towards it ; as the communications of 
the Spirit are frequently in Scripture spoken of under the same 
metaphor of streams of water, rivers of water. So it is also in 
a common conflagration ; (the workings of the Spirit are re 
presented by both these elements :) the further the fire 
spreads, still the more matter it meets with, the more com- 
bustible matter ; and that way still more and more increases 
itself, even intensively, according as it spreads more extensive 
ly : because it still meets with more fuel to feed upon. We 
might thus render this business very easy and familiar to our 
own thoughts, by considering how such a communication of 
the Spirit once begun and set on foot doth spread and propa 
gate itself, even in an ordinary and easy way and method fur 
ther and further. 

I shall only close at present with one hint, which may point 
out to us one thing more, as a way to make this apprehension 
most familiar to us. It would certainly be most clearly appre 
hensible, how such a work may be wrought, by getting as 
much of it as is posible exemplified in ourselves, upon our own 
souls. If once we come to find and feel the Spirit of the liv- 

VOL, V. 2O 


ing God seizing our spirits, coming with an almighty and ir 
resistible power upon us ; if we can but feel the fire burn 
within, and find it refining us, consuming our dross, melting 
and mollifying us, new moulding us, quickening and enlarg 
ing us ; it will be very easy to apprehend then, how such a work 
may be carried on in the world. For if I have but the notion 
of a unit in my mind, I can soon apprehend a bigger num 
ber ; it is but adding one unit to that, and another to that, 
and so on, till I come to a greater number. If 1 can but find 
and experience such a mighty operation of that blessed Spirit 
upon my own soul, it is easy then to conceive thus ; if it be so 
with another, and another, and another, religion will in this 
way become a very lively prosperous thing in the world* It is 
but the multiplying of instances, and the thing is done : and 
he that can do so by me, can do the same by another, and 
another, and so onwards. And methinks we should not rest 
ourselves satisfied, till we find somewhat, till we find more of 
this within ourselves. Oh what a miserable thing is a chris- 
tian, when he is dead ! we look with a great deal of compas 
sion upon the death of any thing ; but the case claims so much 
the more, by how much the life is more noble that is extinct 
or seems extinct ; or when the life once supposed to have been, 
now appears as if it were quite extinct. Is the expiration of 
this natural life a thing to be beheld with pity ? what is it to 
lose, or to appear at least deprived of the life of a child of 
God ? to be destitute of such a life, which I have at least pre 
tended to, and carried some appearance and semblance of? 
The death of a peasant is a considerable thing, and it were 
barbarous not to take notice of it with a resentment : but 
when it comes to be talked, A great «nan is dead, a nobleman, 
a prince ; this makes a great noise and ring in the world ; and 
such a person having been of any use and account in his age, 
liis exit is not without a great lamentation. If I had but a fin 
ger dead, it would be an affliction : but if I look into myself, 
lo, there I behold the death of a soul, a reasonable, intelligent 
spirit; that ought to live the life of God, devoted to God, in 
commerce with God : I look into it, and it is dead. Oh ! how 
intolerable a thing should this be to me ! till I find some reviv- 
ings, some stirrings, some indications of life ; that is, till I 
find religion live ; that I have somewhat more than an empty, 
naked, spiritless form of religion ; that I can now go and pray, 
and have life in my prayer ; go and hear the word and find life 
in my hearing. Of all deaths there is none so dreadful and so 
to be lamented, as that of religion, and certainly most of all in 
ourselves; that my religion is a dead thing : How impatient 
should i be, to find it revived ! And if I will but be restless 


in this, and make it my daily business importunately to sup 
plicate the Father of spirits, " Take pity of thine own off 
spring, let me not lie languishing still in death ; and I at last 
obtain a merciful audience, (as it is plainly said, that the heart 
shall live, that seeks God ;) then I have such an exemplification 
in my own soul of the matter we have been discoursing of, as 
that I can easily represent to myself; " When such a work is 
done in others, as is done in my own soul, and comes to be 
made common amongst others; then will religion be a very 
lively, prosperous, flourishing thing in the world. " And that 
certainly is the best way of all others to make this thing appre 
hensible to ourselves, to get the thoughts of it familiarized to 
us, in how easy a way religion should grow and spread among 



TT was thought requisite to lay before you some considerations* 
that might facilitate the apprehension and belief of the re 
vival and prosperous state of religion in the world. Three were 
mentioned to that purpose. 

First. The consideration of what hath been done in this 
kind heretofore, when the Spirit was so eminently poured forth 
at first. 

Secondly. The consideration, by how easy steps and in how 
apt a method it is supposable, that such a work may be done. 
These have been spoken of. 

If once it please God to say, he will do such and such things, 
we need not to be told how. " Is any thing too hard for me ? 
saith the Lord." That should be enough for us : but we find, 
that commonly it is not enough ; experience doth too com 
monly shew that. And therefore the supposition of such a 
gradual progress, as hath been mentioned, doth much facilitate 
the apprehension of such a thing : though we do not imply or 
suppose in all this, that any thing the less power is exerted ; 
but only that it is put forth in a way more familiar to our 
thoughts. As in the creation of the world there was an ex 
ertion even of absolute power, the almightiness (as I may 

Preached June IQth, 1678 


speak) of power : but that absolute power soon became ordi- 
nate ; and that order and chain of causes, and tbe method of 
their operations and peculiar virtues, which we are wont to call 
by the name of nature, universal and particular nature, soon 
came to be fixed and settled; according whereto God hath 
since continued the world, and propagated the individuals of 
every sort and kind of creatures, or propagated the kind in 
those individuals. This is not to suppose more and less power^ 
but is only a various exertion of the same power. But when 
power is exerted in this latter way, it is more apprehensible by 
us, how it goes forth to do such and such things. It is said in 
Heb. 11. 3. Through faith we understand, that the worlds 
were framed by the word of God. By faith : how is that ? 
Why, faith is said, in the clause a little before, to be the "evi 
dence of things not seen.*' We were none of us at the making 
of the world, we saw not how things were done then ; but we 
have the matter imparted to us by God himself, we have a di 
vine testimony in the case ; the history committed into sacred 
records ; by which we are informed, not only that the world 
was made, but how it was made, by what steps and by how- 
gradual a progression the great God went on in the doing of 
that stupendous work. And hereupon it is said, "by faith we 
understand," n^ti voa^sv • that is, as that word signifies, by 
faith we come to have the formed, explicit notion in our mindsj 
to have distinct thoughts and apprehensions how such a work 
was done. Thus we learn, how much was done such a day, 
and how much such a day ; light created the first day ; the se 
cond, the firmament ; the third, the earth, dry land, and the 
seas or the gathering together of the waters into one place ; and 
then herbs and trees and beasts, &c. according to their several 
kinds ; and so on. Now this begets a clearer and more dis 
tinct apprehension in our minds of the way of making the 
world, than if it had been only said, that the world was at 
first made by God. We understand it by faith, have a notion 
begot in our minds clear and distinct by faith ; inasmuch as, or 
so far as the testimony is distinct and clear, which we have 
concerning this matter. Though it is true, reason would go 
far to demonstrate, that this world had a beginning ; yet rea 
soning could never have helped us to vos/v, distinctly to under 
stand, in what steps or in how easy and fit a method that great 
work was carried on. So now in making the world anew, 
erecting the new heavens and the new earth wherein dwelleth 
righteousness, wherein it shall dwell; we certainly can more 
distinctly apprehend how that work is done, if it be represent 
ed as done by such a kind of gradation as you have heard of, 
that* if we were put to it to conceive it done all at once. 


There is no less power required to the continuing of this world 
as it is, than was to the making of it what it is : for it is the 
continual exertion of the same power that doth it. But our 
thoughts are not so liahle to be amused, (they are not at all 
amused,) to see a continual succession of things in the natural 
way of production. It gives us no difficulty or trouble, to see 
how children are born, how the kinds of other creatures are 
propagated : whereas it would greatly amuse us, to think of 
men and beasts and trees and herbs, all starting up of a sudden 
out of nothing. Though we cannot, upon a reasonable con 
sideration of the case, but acknowledge, that it were as easy a 
thing for God to have created man, as he did Adam, by an 
immediate hand, as it is to continue the race of mankind in 
that way wherein he dotli it ; the operation would not be harder 
to him : yet it was, it seems, in the judgment of his infinite 
wisdom, less apt ; and it would be harder and more unappre- 
hensible unto us. So, we must acknowledge too, that it were 
no harder a thing for God, "of stones to raise up children 
unto Abraham," to make Christians, proselytes to religion that 
way, than to convert men by the gospel : but this, which he 
hath chosen to be his ordinary way, we have reason and obli 
gation to account the fittest way ; and it is away more familiar 
and easily conceivable to our thoughts. And therefore it doth 
much towards the facilitating the apprehension and belief of 
this great change, to consider, by how easy steps and in how 
apt a method such a work as this may be done. And this will 
be very considerable unto such persons that take notice, (which 
any observing man would,) how little apt the wise and holy 
God is to step out of his usual course, farther than the plain 
necessity of the case, in reference to such or such great ends 
of his, doth require. But then add w r e hereto, 

Thirdly. The consideration, how highly suitable it is to the 
blessed God to do this work. Doth it not look like a godlike 
work ? doth it not carry the aspect of a godlike undertaking 
and performance, a thing worthy of God, to restore religion 
and improve it much farther in the world ? We shall shew, in 
what particular respects it is suitable to him. 

It is, first, very suitable to his most mysterious wisdom: the 
glory whereof it is to do things, that none could contrive to do 
besides ; and especially to rescue and recover what seemed lost 
and hopeless, when the sentence of death was as it were ac-' 
tually thereupon, that is, religion. This is the attribute of 
divine wisdom, to recover things out of so dreadful a degene 
racy ; to retrieve matters, when the case was so desperate unto 
all men's apprehensions. It is the choice of divine wisdom to 
do so, to find an expedient even in the last necessity : accord- 


ing to that monumental name, which Abraham put upon the 
mount, where he was to have sacrificed his son, Jehovah -jireh; 
the Lord will see, or, the Lord will provide and take care : 
an instance thought tit to be upon record unto all succeeding 
time, as a discovery what the choice of the divine wisdom is, 
that is, to take things even when they are desperate, and to 
find out an expedient to salve all. An instance like to that I 
remember Plutarch * takes notice of, that one Metella in a 
certain great exigence was to have been sacrificed, but was 
prevented by the miraculous substitution of a heifer in the 
room of the intended victim : so possibly pagans might have 
fabulously imitated, what some way or other they came to have 
heard from the sacred records. But so the case seems to be 
with religion, when God shall so wonderfully retrieve it ; as it 
was with the heir of the promise, the knife just at the very 
throat. There was a contrivance suitable to the wisdom of 
God, to hit upon this critical juncture of time, to rescue him 
from so near a death, when he seemed even upon expiring. 
And as he was fetched from death even in a figure ; (his father 
received him from thence in a figure, Heb. 11. 19.) so it 
must be with religion too. The son of the free-woman, Isaac, 
was the emblem of it : it is as it were in a like figure to be fetch 
ed from death, by a kind of resurrection from the dead ; 
life from the dead, as the apostle speaks ; when the time shall 
be of bringing in the fulness of the Gentiles, and the saving of 
all Israel. How glorious the display of divine wisdom, to let 
so gross darkness cover the world, so black and gloomy a day 
be upon it, that shall issue at last in so much brightness and 
so glorious light ! even in the evening, as it is in Zech. 14. 7« 
wherein the Lord shall be king over all the earth ; and there 
shall be one Lord, and his name one, ver. 1). Then comes 
that bright and glorious evening after a black and gloomy day: 
not perfect darkness ; there is not such in ,the spiritual world^ 
when things are at the worst ; as they use to say there is not in 
the natural world, non dantur puree tenebrce : so it is there 
said, that the light shall not be clear nor dark, ver. 6. It shall 
be, as if it were neither day nor night, ver. 7» In that day, 
(and it shall be one day known to the Lord, neither day nor 
night,) at evening-time it shall be light. You know how great 
a change the diurnal return of the sun makes; and were it not 
that the thing is usual and we are accustomed to it, that would 
be thought a strange matter. How vast is the change, that, 
when darkness is upon the spacious hemisphere, all of a sud 
den the return of the sun should clothe all with so much light 

* Plutarchi Parallel, inter Op. Moral. Edit. H. Steph. (Graec.) 
Vol. i. p. 559. 


and lustre and glory, as we see it doth ? such vicissitudes the 
wisdom of God hath thought fit : hut especially it hath been 
reckoned more suitable to his wisdom, to carry things on from 
obscurer and less considerable beginnings unto perfect and 
more glorious issues, so that in the evening it shall be light : 
all the foregoing day did look more like night than day. That 
we reckon a great work of wisdom, to be able to find out a 
way of doing the most unexpected things, that no one would 
have thought of, further than as it may please him to give any 
previous intimations of his purpose, what he will do. 

It is, secondly, most suitable to that supreme interest which 
he hath in this lower world, that propriety and dominion which 
he claims in it to himself by a most rightful claim ; to procure 
himself a more universal actual acknowledgment and subjection, 
than hitherto : whether we speak of his natural interest, as he 
is the God and the Creator of the world ; (this lower part, this 
inferior region is a part of his creation too ;) or of his acquired 1 
interest by the Redeemer ; and I more especially intend the 
latter. When I consider the magnificent things, that the 
Scripture speaks concerning the interest of the Redeemer in 
this world, this lapsed apostate world ; (such as this, Mat. 
28. 18, 19. All power is given unto rne in heaven and in 
earth : Go ye therefore, and teach all nations ; make men 
know, that they belong to me and are all my right ; lay my 
claim to them, proclaim my right, challenge my interest for 
me, proselyte them to me ; baptize them into my name, 
with the Father's and the Holy Ghost's ;) this doth import, as 
if some time or other he meant to have a more actual acknow 
ledgment and subjection in this world, than hitherto. If we 
look upon such a text as that, He died, and revived, and rose 
again, that he might be Lord both of the living and the dead, 
Rom. 14. 9. The living and the dead comprehend all that 
we can think of ; and it signifies as much as, that he might be 
the universal Lord of all. Having paid so dear a price, do we 
not think, that he will make more of the purchase, than hi 
therto he hath? as you have it pursued in that 14th to the 
Romans in several expressions, ver. 7« 9. None of us liveth 
to himself, and no man dieth to himself. — For to this end 
Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be 
Lord both of the dead and living. That invitation to all the 
ends of the earth is of as strong import this way, Isa. 45. 22. 
Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth. Ob 
serve the solemnity and majesty of the following words, ver. 
23. I have sworn by myself, "the word is gone out of my 
mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me 
every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Which say- 


ing is expressly applied to the Lord Christ by the apostle in 
Phil. 2. 11. Consider to the same purpose the solemnity of 
his inauguration, and the largeness of the grant made to him 
thereupon, Ps. 2. 6, 7- I have set m y King upon my holy hill 
of Zion : I will declare the decree ;— Thou art my Son, this 
day have I begotten thee, This day, that is, the resurrection- 
day ; that is the eminently intended sense, as the apostle's 
quoting of it in Acts 13. 33. plainly signifies. This day have I 
begotten thee ; thou art now to me the firstborn from the dead, 
the first-begotten of them that slept : and being my firstborn 
art a great heir ; and this is thy inheritance : — I will give thee 
the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of 
the earth for thy possession, ver. 8. Sure that signifies more 
than mere right and title. And think how pursuantly to that 
it is foretold, Rev. 11. 15. that, upon the sounding of the se 
venth trumpet, the voice should be, the proclamation should., 
go forth, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms 
of our Lord and of his Christ." They are become so; that 
must needs be in some other way than they could be under 
stood to be so before : they were always so in right and title* 
It is very suitable to that supreme and sovereign interest that 
he hath, at one time or another to assert his right ; especially 
considering it as a disputed right : for how long hath this in 
terest been contested about by the usurping God of this world, 
the prince of the darkness of this world ! he who hath tyran 
nized in the dark, and made it so much his business to keep 
all men from knowing any other Lord ! 

It is, thirdly, most suitable unto the immense almighty power, 
by which he is able to subdue all things to himself. It will be 
upon that account a god-like work, worthy of such an Agent. 
To make all mountains vanish before Zerubbabel, Zech. 4. 7- 
to bring about what seemed so very difficult, and even unex 
pected to all men ; this is a thing becoming God, to do what 
no one else could do. It is the acknowledgment therefore that 
is given him as God, a glorifying him as God, which we find 
done by Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. 20. 12. We know not what 
to do ; but our eyes are upon thee. That is as much as to 
confess, that when all created power is at a nonplus and can 
do no more, (we can do no more) yet thou hast still somewhat 
to do, when there is nothing remaining to be done by any hand 
else. And it is very subsidiary in this case, and helpful to our 
apprehension and faith, to consider the immensity and omnis 
cience of that Spirit, whereby this great work is to be done ; to 
think that that Spirit is already every where ; as in psalm 139. 7. 
Whither shall I go from thy Spirit ? and whither shall I flee from 

VttL. Y. 2 F 


thy presence ? whether I think of heaven or earth, or of any the 
remotest parts heyond the seas, there thy Spirit is. He doth 
not need to go far in order to the doing of these great things ; 
but only to exert a present influence, where he is already, 
having all things subsisting in him, living, moving, and having 
their beings in him. And when we consider, how great the 
efficacy is of that great apostate, impure spirit, that in Scrip 
ture uses to go under the name of Satan or the devil, to keep 
the world in darkness and ignorance, to hold them off from 
God ; (the course of the world is said to be after the power of 
the prince of the air, the spirit that workcth in the hearts of the 
children of disobedience, Eph. 2. 2.) when we think, that 
his influence should be so diffused and extensive, as that it is 
thought fit to be said, that the whole world lies sv ru novepv, 
which is capable of being read, in the evil one, in the wicked 
one, (1 John 5. 15).) how should faith triumph in the appre 
hension of the absolute immensity and omnipresence of the 
blessed Spirit, by which this great work is to be wrought, and 
done in the world ! when, as we know, Satan cannot be every 
•where, he makes use of many hands, many instruments : but 
this Spirit, that works all in all immediately itself, how agree 
able is it to it to be the author of such a work as this, the re- 
riving of religion out of that dismal death that is so generally 
upon it in the world ! 

We cannot but apprehend it, fourthly, most suitable to the 
divine goodness, that boundless, flowing goodness ; that, after 
the prince of darkness, the Apollyon, the destroyer of souls 
hath been leading still his multitudes down to perdition from 
age to age, with so little check or restraint, a time should 
come, when in so visible a way the spoil should be rescued 
out of the hand of the terrible and the strong ; and the Son of 
God come in for his portion and share, that it was said should 
be divided to him, Isaiah 53. 12. How like will such a dis 
pensation as this be unto that first joyful sound of the gospel 
by the ministry of angels, " Glory to God in the highest, peace 
on earth, and good- will toward men ?" how agreeable to this 
will that be which we find in Kev. 21. 3. When that voice 
shall be heard, concerning a thing then actually done and 
taking place, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and 
he will dwell with them ; and they shall be his people, and 
God himself shall be with them, and be their God: and all 
tears shall be wiped away;" as it follows, ver. 4. certainly it 
is very godlike upon this account, that such a thing should be. 
To reflect upon such passages of Scripture ; "God so loved the 
world, that he gave his only-begotten Son/' &c. « After that 
the kindness and love of God to man appeared/ 


and the large goodness which such expressions signify ; me- 
thinks should prevent its being thought strange, that more 
large correspondent effects of such goodness are expected, be 
fore the end of all things shall come. 

I must add here by way of caution, that it is true, it is not 
safe to conclude from what we conceive suitable to God to do, 
that such a thing shall certainly be done : a stress were not to 
be laid upon that kind of arguing, if we would suppose that ar 
gument to be the original and principal. But having other 
grounds to rely upon, which you have heard, it is very aptly 
subsidiary ; and signifies very considerably as an addition, to 
have the apprehension of such a work as every way most suita 
ble to God and worthy of him. And when we find upon other 
grounds, that is, from what God hath expressly said and fore 
told, that we have cause to receive and entertain such a truth ; 
we have reason to entertain it with a great deal more compla 
cency, and to solace and satisfy ourselves in it the more, by 
how much the more we apprehend of suitableness and con- 
gruity and fitness in it, and how every way it becomes that 
great God that is to be the Author of this blessed work. We 
may venture after him to speak of what is suitable; that is, 
when he hath told us what he will do, or when we have seen 
what he doth, then it is fit for us to say this was very wor 
thy of God, fit for him to do ; or it will be so, whenever he 
shall please to do it, if it be what we are yet expecting him 
from his word to do. 

But if it be objected here ; If in these several respects it be 
a thing suitable to God to do such a work as this, why was it 
not done long ago ? inasmuch as this was as good a reason at 
any other time, as it can be in any time yet to come ; since 
God's wisdom, his sovereign dominion, his power and might, 
his grace and goodness, were always the same ? 

To that I shall shortly say, 

(i.) That if it be a thing very suitable to God to do, as we 
have represented, certainly it seems a great deal more likely, 
and a far more probable way of reasoning, from its not being 
done, to expect that at some time or other it shall, than that it 
never shall. But we have told you we rely upon other grounds, 
and take in that consideration only as subsidiary and adjumen- 
tal, to facilitate our apprehension and belief of what God hath 
foretold in his word. But I add, 

(ii.) That there are but these two things, that we can have 
to consider in this matter, and to give an account of ; the delay 
ing of such a work so long, and the doing it at last : and I doubt 
not but a very unexceptionable account may be given of both. 

p.] For.the delaying of it so lorrf . Truly we have reasoa 


enough to resolve that into that justice, against which no one 
that ever considers can open his mouth in this case. Is it to 
be thought strange, that God should so long withhold his light 
and influence from a world in so wilful an apostacy and dege 
neracy and rebellion through so many ages 5 that hath always 
taken care to propagate the enmity, and to keep on foot the 
rebellion, so as that always, when lie comes to look down upon 
the world, this is the prospect that he hath of it, this the ac 
count of things ; looking down from heaven upon the children 
of men, he seeth, that there is none that docth good, none 
that understand and seek God, psalm 53. 1, 2. Men affect 
distance from him, they please themselves to be without him 
in the world. Is it to be thought strange r is it not highly 
just, that he should make that their long continued doom, 
which had been their horrid choice ? You affect to be without 
God ! Be so, in your own loved darkness and death ! Men 
might see, that things are not well with them, that they are 
in an unhappy state ; it is visible. Ira Dei est vita mortalis, 
is an ancient saying, this mortal life is the very wrath of 
God. Men might apprehend, that God is angry, that they 
are not such creatures as man was made at first : heathens 
have apprehended and spoken of the apostacy. But when they 
are miserable, and feel themselves so, yet they do not return 
to him, and seek after him : they cannot help themselves, to 
mend the temper of their own spirits, which they might easily 
discern is far out of course ; yet they do not cry for help. It 
is highly glorious triumphant justice, to withhold so despised 
and neglected a presence and influence from so vile and wicked 
a generation. But then, 

[ii.] For doing such a thing at last notwithstanding, good 
account may be given also Inasmuch as this cannot be said to 
be a thing, to which justice most strictly and indispensibly and 
perpetually obliges, but a thing which it doth highly approve ; 
wisdom and sovereignty may most fitly interpose at pleasure, 
and when it shall be thought fit. God may let his action 
against the world fall when he will, though he have a rnost 
righteous one : and, as the apostle speaks, Rom. 11. 22. con 
cerning this case, the restitution of the Jews, which shall be 
unto the Gentiles also life from the dead, when all shall be 
gathered in at once ; we are to expect instances, in the mixed 
course of God's dispensation, both of his severity and goodness: 
and finally, when that time comes, when all Israel shall be 
saved, and the fulness of the Gentiles be brought in, the mat 
ter is to be resolved into such an exclamation, as that which 
the apostle makes, (ver. 33.) "Oh the depth of the riches both* 
of the wisdom and knowledge of God !" It is to be referred 


xinto his wisdom and sovereignty, to time things as seems 
good to him. The times and seasons are hid in his own pow 
er, Acts 1. 7- Hidden from us, but in his power to state and 
settle and determine when and as he pleases. What is more 
agreeahle unto so absolute a Sovereign; and so wise a one, than 
such an arbitrary timing of the dispensation of grace, whenever 
it shall have its course ? 

And for our own part ; as we have that reason to adore so 
vereign wisdom and goodness, whenever they shall have their 
exercise in this kind ; so in the mean time we have reason to 
be silent, and our mouths to be stopped, while God doth as 
yet defer and delay the time of that pouring forth of his Spirit. 
We have reason to be silent, if it be our lot in our age to be 
under the restaints of that blessed Spirit. When was there 
ever any age in the world, that might more fitly be pitched 
upon for the object, upon which justice should have its exer 
cise in this kind ? was there ever an age, wherein the Spirit 
was more grieved, more striven against ? wherein God should 
have more cause and reason to say, My Spirit shall not strive 
with you ? with whomsoever of all mortals it strives, it shall 
not strive with you ! To cast our eyes abroad, and consider 
the state of the world ; and to look on the state of things 
at home : — for the nations about us, we have heard how 
they have been for years together; what reformations do 
we hear of ? what dispositions to return to God ? men 
cry because of the oppressions of the mighty ; but none 
say, " Where is God our Maker?" every where there 
is that disposition to groan and languish and die under their 
pressure ; but no inquiries after God : and whereas they 
cannot turn to him without him, (and we acknowledge that 
for a principle,) help in order thereto is not implored. We 
can feel what is externally afflictive; the divine absence we 
feel not : when his soul is departed from us, we are not con 
cerned to be without the Spirit : asJer. G. 8. Lest my soul 
depart from thee. He speaks of that presence of his as a soul 
to that people ; as it truly and really is to a people professing 
the name of God : his special presence is the soul of such a 
people, as they are such a people ; holds things together, 
keeps up and maintains life and order. Be instructed, lest 
my soul be gone. When his presence and Spirit retire and 
are withdrawn, it is as discernible in the state of things among 
a people, as a man can distinguish a carcass from a living 
man. God is gone, his soul is departed, the soul which he 
had put into such a people, which was active and at work 
amongst them. Well ! but we are men still for all that, we 
are reasonable creatures, and have an apprehensive understand- 


ing of the word, and faculties remaining to us ; so that we 
might know, that such a presence is gone, and we are misera 
ble thereby ; and there might one would think, be some la- 
mentings after the Lord : but where almost are they to be 
found? if we could have the world at will, enjoy what would 
gratify sensual inclination, God might be gone and keep away 
from us, and few would concern themselves with the matter. 
Have we any thing then to say, that the season is deferred of 
pouring forth this Spirit ? No. If we consider the resistance 
grievance and vexation, that it hath met withal in our age 

and amongst us; it is not strange, if God should determine, "My 
Spirit shall not strive with you ; whatever good thoughts I 
may have towards those that shall succeed and come up hereaf 
ter." But yet notwithstanding, it is most suitable and congru 
ous, that at one time or another so great a work as this, the 
recovery of religion from under so dismal a darkness and so great 
Si death, should be done. And all these things together serve 
to evince, that this means hath an efficacy, which we have rea 
son to believe both can and will do this work, so as to make 
religion to prosper and flourish in the world sooner or later. 



have shewn at large the efficacy of the means assigned 
in the text, a plentiful effusion of the Spirit, for bring 
ing about a happy state of things to the Christian church ; m 
one of those two things, that must be supposed to concur in 
making up such a happy state ; namely, 

(1.) For the revival of the power of religion, f Without 
which the other branch, which we are farther to consider, 
would signify very little to the good state of the church. But 
this being presupposed, we now proceed to shew, how effica 
cious a means the revival of religion and the prosperous flourish 
ing state of that, by the Spirit poured forth, would be. 

(2.) For bringing about an externally happy state of thingg 
in the church of God. And it would be so, — By removing the 
causes of public calamities : and — By working whatsoever 
doth positively tend unto public good. 

[1.] By removing the causes of public calamities : both the 
deserving, and the working causes. 

First. What does deserve public calamities ? What so far 
provokes divine displeasure, as to inflict thena, or to let them 
fcefal a people. Nothing doth this but sin, that only troubles 
a people, and causes an unhappy and inprosperous state of 

* Preached June 26, 1678. f See page 25$. 


things, the hiding of God's face, as the text expresses it. It 
doth as it were cause an ireful aspect in the countenance of 
providence ; makes that otherwise shining, smiling face to be 
hidden and obscure, and clothes it with terror, that it is not 
to be beheld. The Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot 
save, nor his ear heavy that it cannot hear; but your iniquities 
have separated between you and your God, and your sins have 
hid his face from you ; m the language of the text, Isaiah 59. 
1,2. So it hath been threatened that it should be, and so in 
event it hath been, upon any of the more notable apostacies of 
the church of God. This hath constantly insued, his hiding 
his face ; that is, his altering the course of providence, so as 
that its aspect hath become ireful and terrible. It is foretold, 
that so it should be upon such delinquencies. God says to 
Moses, Deut. 81. 16, &c. Behold, thoushalt sleep with thy 
fathers, and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after 
the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to 
be amongst them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant 
which I have made with them. And what will come of that ? 
Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and 
I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and 
they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall be- 
fal them ; so that they will say in that day, Are not these, evils 
come upon us, because our God is not amongst us ? and the 
like you have, chap. 32. 18, &c. Of the rock that begat thee 
thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee. 
And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the 
provoking of his sons and of his daughters. And he said, I 
will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be ; 
for they are a very fro ward generation, &c. Such threaten ings 
you find unto the Christian churches too, in the 2d and 3d 
chapters of the revelations. There it is threatened to the 
churches of Ephesus, and Pergamos, and Sardis, and Laodi- 
cea ; that inasmuch as there were such and such things, where 
in they were notoriously delinquent; " If you do not repent, 
I will remove your candlestick, Rev. 2. 5. If you do not re 
pent, I will fight against you with the sword of my mouth, ver. 
16." (That means no doubt the threatenings of the word made, 
operative, and brought to execution : as in Hos. 6. 5. I have 
hewed them by the prophets ; I have slain them by the words 
of my mouth.) " Except thou repent, I will come against 
thee as a thief, Rev. 3. 3. And, because thou art lukewarm 
and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. — . 
Be zealous therefore and repent, ver. 16, 19." And thus it' 
hath also in event been, according to the tenour of these threats. 
If you look over those Psalms, which are the records of the 


carriage and deportment of God's own peculiar people towards 
him, and of his dealing with them thereupon ; the 78th, 105th, 
and 106th ; all hath but verified that one thing mentioned in 
Lev. 26. 23, 24. that when they should walk contrary unto him 
then would he also walk contrary unto them ; that is, he hid 
his face, as you have heard the import of that expression. And 
it is with the same cloud that he doth as it were cover his face 
and them too. He covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud 
in his anger, Lam. 2. 1. So he often did that people of 
the Jews. And so he hath the Christian churches too in great 
displeasure : those seven in Asia, those in Greece, and in many 
other parts of the world that have been famous. 

What is it now, that must counterwork that wickedness, 
which provokes God thus to hide his face ? we know bis Spirit 
must do it : when he pours out liis Spirit, be ceases to hide his 
face. That is a quick refining fire, purges the dross ; without 
the purging of which the whole lump is called reprobate silver, 
rejected of the Lord. When the matter was consulted of, the 
blessed God is represented as it were disputing with himself, 
whether not to abandon and disinherit his Israel : and when at 
length the contrary resolution is taken up, what do you find to 
be the concurrent resolution with that of not casting them off 
and laying them aside ? Jer. 3. 19. I said, how shall I put 
thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a 
goodly heritage of the hosts of nations ? thus the matter is re 
solved, as in a subserviency to the resolution not to cast them 
off; Thou shalt call me, my Father, and shalt not turn away 
from me. te I will put a sonlike disposition into thee, and so 
the relation shall be continued, and I will not disinherit thee. v 
Thus the thoughts of that severity, of disinheriting and aban 
doning, came to be laid aside. But the Spirit poured forth 
removes also. 

Secondly. The working causes, as well as the provoking 
causes of such calamities to the church of God; both without 
and within itself. 

i. Causes without the church itself; the injurious violence 
of open avowed enemies, the atheistical, infidel, idolatrous 
world ; and all reducible to that head, by which the church of 
God may be endangered. The effusion of the Spirit will re 
move this cause of public calamities, either, 

(i.) By subduing such enemies and breaking their power. 
And while God is among his people and hath not hid his face, 
they may venture to defy all the world. Gird yourselves, and 
ye shall be broken in pieces : gird yourselves, and ye shall be 
broken in pieces. Take counsel together, and it shall come to 
nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is 
with u.s, Isa. 8. 9, 10* * f Our matters are in a good state : for 

V. 2 


we are not deserted and forsaken of the divine presence, ofur 
defence and our glory." How is all the enemies power gloried 
over upon this account in the 66 psalm, and in many like 
places of Scripture ! In that time, when they shall generally 
fear the Lord from the west., and his glory from the rising of 
the sun ; then it is said, When the enemy shall come in like a 
flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him, 
(Isa. 59. 19.) that is, animate and fill up every part; so as that 
all that oppose, shall even melt away before him. Or, 

(ii.) They shall be overawed, so as thereby to be made to 
surcease and desist from attempts of hostility against the 
church. For the church, when religion lives in it, (as you 
know that is to be the first eftect of the Spirit to this purpose,) 
becomes terrible as an army with banners ; as the expression 
is, Cant. 6. 4. Upon life, order will be sure to insue, and 
with that goes majesty, and with that terror. There is an awful 
majesty, you know, sits in the face of a man, while he lives; 
but if he once become a carcass, the fowls of the air and the 
beasts of the field, and even the very worms of the earth dare 
prey upon him. So it is with the church ; when it is dead, 
when religion is become a mere piece of empty, spiritless for 
mality, this makes it look but just like other parts of the world ; 
they will say of it, What are they better than we ? The religion 
of Christians, if you look only to the external formalities of it, 
hath not so much of a superiority or higher excellency, but 
that it will be a disregarded thing with them who can easily 
distinguish between vivid religion and dead. But when the 
Spirit of the living God puts forth itself in discernible effects, 
and such as carry an awful aspect with them unto the common 
reason of men ; religion then grows a venerable thing, and the 
very purpose of opposition and hostility is checked and counter 
manded, and even quite laid aside. Or else, 

(iii,) They becojue kindly affected by this means unto the 
church ; to those that are seriously religious in the world, 
which we suppose to be, upon so general a pouring forth of the 
Spirit, a very common thing. Their hearts incline to favour, as 
we have noted upon another occasion before, that it is apt to be. 
When there are manifest appearances of God in the restoring 
of religion, it appears that the thing is of the Lord, the hand 
of heaven is seen in it. When it was very remarkably so 
among, the first converts, it is said, they had favour with all 
the people, Acts 2. 47. Upon those manifest appearances of 
God on behalf of the Israelites under the Egyptian oppression, 
the Egyptians at length came to favour them. The Lord gave 
the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, (Exod. 11.3.) 
for they manifestly saw, that God was for them. So natural a 


respect, from somewhat of a remaining congenerousness, the 
manifest appearance of any thing divine did of old draw from 
the reasonahle nature of man ! Yea, 

(iv.) They become sincerely proselyted very generally : that 
is to he supposed from the many scriptures formerly opened. 
And so the causes of offence and disturbance to the church 
from without very much cease, from the vast extension and 
spreading of its territories : they that were enemies to true 
Christians on every side, become such even of themselves. That 
transforming power and influence, which religion and the Spi 
rit of God poured forth will have upon the generality of the 
spirits of men, is the thing designedly held forth by such ex 
pressions as these, Isaiah 11.6, &c. The wolf shall dwell 
with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; 
and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together; and 
a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall 
feed, their young ones shall lie down together ; and the lion 
shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play 
on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand 
on the cockatrice' den. It is subjoined to all this, (ver. 9.) 
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain ; for 
the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the 
waters cover the sea. Religion shall so diffuse itself, and the 
Spirit of God go forth with that transforming power, as to 
turn leopards and lions and beasts of prey into lambs, to make 
men of ravenous dispositions to become sincere Christians : ac 
cording to the influence and power of the Spirit of Christ, the 
knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters do 
the sea, and so there shall be no hurting nor destroying in all 
the holy mountain of the Lord. My design, as hath been of 
ten intimated, is more to shew the connexion of these things 
with one another, than to define the circumstances of the state 
itself, and when it shall be. In the same manner I conceive 
the expression is to be understood in psalm 45. 5. where, 
speaking of the prosperous state and progress of the kingdom 
of Christ, its great improvements, when he shall go on prospe 
rously, conquering and to conquer, he saith ; "Thy arrow shall 
be sharp in the hearts of enemies, whereby the people shall 
fall under thee. Thy arrow shall be directed even into their 
very hearts, and so they shall become subject unto thy rule by 
means of the impressions made upon their hearts." 

ii. Causes of trouble and calamity, within the church it 
self, will by the same means be made to cease too. 

We are told, what those causes are by the apostle James, 
chap. 4. 1. From whence come wars and fightings among your 
tome they not hence, even of your lusts ? Indeed this is th^ 


same cause that was before mentioned, but considered as dis 
quieting and troubling the church of God in the world in another 
way of operation. The wickedness of the world may be con 
sidered, either with reference to the object of it, the great and 
blessed God, against whom all sin of whatsoever kind is ulti 
mately directed ; or with reference to the general subject of it, 
the world itself which lies in wickedness. According to the 
former notion of it, as it works in direct reference to God, 
it is the moral cause of calamities ; it provokes God to in 
flict them, as hath been shewn. But beside that, it is to 
be considered in the other notion, in reference to the sub~ 
ject : and so it hath an immediate malignant efficiency of its 
own, to work public calamities. 

Plain it is, that the covetousness, the pride, the wrathful- 
ness, the envy, the malice, that every where so much abound 
in the Christian church, are the source of its wars, the things 
that disquiet it, and will not let it rest : and (which involves 
them all,) self-love ; a radical evil, from whence spring all the 
other, arid consequently all the miseries, that do or at any time 
have infested the church of God in this world. Jt is the ob 
servation of a pagan, that a people's self-love is (as he calls it,) 
the cause of all sins ; that too earnest love that every one 
unduly bears to himself. And the apostle Paul, speaking of 
the perilous times that should be in the latter age of the world 
or the last times, (meaning by that phrase the latter part of the 
age from the Messiah to the end of the world, according to 
the known division of time into three ages by the Jews ;) ^sig- 
nifies that the perilousness of those times should then principal 
ly appear, when there should be a more notorious discovery of 
that great principle of self-love every where in the world. In 
deed that hath been a principle ruling the world, ever since 
the breaking off of man from God. Yet we know there are some 
times of more prevailing wickedness in the world, than others 
are : and this is the character of those perilous times of the last 
age, that men should be lovers of their own selves, p/Aat/To/, 2 
Tim. 3. 1, 2. Or, as the apostle Peter, speaking of the same 
latter times, expresses it, 2 Pet. 2. 10. Men shall be avQachis. 

It is very obvious how all the other particular evils spring 
from this one root. What is pride but an overweening conceit 
of a man's self ? too much complacency in, and admiration of 
one's self. What is covetousness, but a labouring to grasp. all 
to one's self? Envy rises, because I see others have the good 
things which I would fain have myself. When it fares better 
with a man than it doth with others, then he is proud ; whea 
it fares better with others than it does with him, then he is en 
vious. When he is proud updh the former account, that sub- 


dues him to the dominion of such other evils, as have most 
affinity with that; it makes him wrathful, malicious, revenge 
ful, and the like. All these miseries, in respect whereof the 
last days are said to he perilous, are by the apostles in the fore- 
mentioned places referred unto self-love, self-pleasing, as the 
proper diagnostics and characters of such a state of the world. 
But what kind of self-love is it ? or what kind of self is it the 
love of? It is our most ignoble, meanest self, the basest part of 
ourselves ; the body, the sensitive life, and the good things 
that are suitable and subservient to that. This self is the great 
idol set up all the world over, and the undue love of it is the, 
idolatry by which that idol is served : terrene and earthly good, 
in the several kinds and sorts of it, are the several sorts 
of sacrifices, by which that idol is from time to time provided 
for. This being the true state of the case, as wickedness 
doth more prevail and abound, there is still the higher con 
testation between idol and idol : so many men, so many 
idols; and so many altars set up for each several idol. 
And this makes all the hurry and commotion in each part 
and corner, every man labouring to grasp as much as he 
can to the service of his own idol, his own private and particu 
lar interest. This hath draw 7 n that inundation of miseries upon 
the church of God ; the wickedness of men hath thus broke 
out like a flood. The floods of ungodly men, acted by such 
principles, and by that one principle as radical to all the rest, 
Lave overwhelmed the world and the church with miseries. 

And where is the cure ? Only the Spirit of the Lord lifting 
up a standard against these floods ; and that by turning men 
from trangression in Zion, Isa. lix. 19. 20. by counterworking 
that wickedness, that hath prevailed so far and to so high a de 
gree. The Spirit of the living God only can purge and com 
pose at once the troubled state of things. Wickedness can 
never admit any such thing as quiet. The wicked are like the 
troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire 
and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked, 
Isa. 57. 20, 21. They can neither admit it themselves, nor 
permit it to others. Now here the great purifier must be the 
Spirit poured forth ; spoken of under the metaphorical expres 
sions of a refiner's fire, and of fuller's soap, Mai. 3. 2. That 
is a quick and fervent fire, and will certainly make away with 
the dross and wickedness, when once it comes to pour forth its 
mighty and fervent influences to that blessed purpose ; even 
though there should be a state of things, as is foretold in Zech. 
13. 8, 9. when two third parts of the land should be cut off 
and die, and only a third be left : that shall be refined, as 
silver is refined 3 and tried, as gold, is tried. It is but 


one and the same labour, that gives purity and peace. The 
same thing that defiles, disturbs : and the same thing that 
purges, pacifies, and brings all to a quiet state and happy com 
posure. So the Spirit poured forth will be a most efficacious 
means to bring about a good state, by removing the causes of 
public miseries. And also, 

[2.] By working whatsoever hath a positive tendency to the 
good and happiness of the church. To evidence this, I shall 
speak, first, of the principles, which it doth implant. And, 
secondly, of the effects, which it works by those implanted 
principles, tending to the common prosperity of the whole 
church . 

i. The principles, which it doth implant. We may com 
prehend them all summarily under the name of the divine 
image, which it is the great business of the Spirit to restore 
among men. And I shall particularize no lower than to these 
two heads, — divine light, and — love ; which the Spirit of God 
poured forth settles and plants in the minds of men. These 
are the two great things, wherein men are capable of imitating 
God. By one of the pen-men of holy writ, the apostle St. 
John, in one and the same epistle, God is said to be both light 
and love. God is light, 1 John 1.5. God is love, chap. 4. 
16'. These made somewhat generally to obtain amongst men, 
cannot but infer a most happy state. 

(i.) Light. When this is diffused, when the knowledge of 
God comes to cover the earth, (as was said,) as the waters do 
the sea, it cannot but make a happy peaceful state. There 
is nothing terrible in light. " A sphere of light (as I remem 
ber a heathen speaks,) hath nothing in it that can he disqui- 
etive ; and therefore therein can be nothing but perfect tran 
quillity." Where-ever men are quarrelling with one another, 
they are quarrelling in the dark, scuffling and fighting with one 
another in the dark ; though every man thinks he sees, which 
makes the matter so much the worse. It is a real, but an un- 
imagined, unapprehended darkness, that overspreads the world; 
and in that darkness men are working all the mischiefs and 
miseries to themselves that can be thought of. There will be 
an end to that, when the divine light comes and spreads itself 
(as it were) in men's lives. 

(ii.) Love. When God implants his love in the minds of 
jnen, there needs no more. Even that one thing is enough to 
make a happy world, the love of God dwelling in every breast, 
transforming them into love. He that dwelleth in love, dwell- 
eth in God, and God in him, 1 John 4. 16. A most certain 
assurance, that all will be well. And I would speak of these 
three branches of divine love, (for it is all divine in respect of 


the root and principle,) as conducing to make the world happy: 
supreme love to God ; a due and well regulated love of every 
man to himself ; and love to every other man as to himself* 
But of these hereafter. 

I shall now close with a short word of Use. By the drift and 
tenour of what hath been hitherto discoursed, you may see, 
that the good and felicity of every person, and so of the church 
in common, though it come at last in the issue to he an exter 
nal thing, yet in the root and principle is an internal thing. 
Every man's happiness or misery grows within himself; and 
so the common happiness and misery of the church of God 
grow principally and chiefly within itself. It is the saying of 
a heathen, Epictetus I mean, u The character or note of an 
idiot or plebeian is this, that he places the expectation of all 
his good or of all his evil from without ; whereas the note, the 
certain character of a philosopher, (of a wise or virtuous man, 
so he means by that term,) is to place all his expectation of 
good or evil in things that are within himself." It were well 
if we could but learn this document from a heathen ; and learn 
it well, so as to have the sense of it deeply infixed in our 
minds and hearts : that hearing of these several causes that 
work the calamities and troubles of the church of God, we 
would consider, that, according to our participation in any such 
calamities, these evils in ourselves do contribute a great deal 
more to them than the evils in any other men. Let us be con 
vinced of this. Do but apprehend, that if the ambition, or 
pride, or covetousness, or malice of another man may hurt me, 
these things within myself do hurt me much more ; and there 
is some spice or other of them in each of our natures. Why 
should not we be convinced of so plain a thing ; i» not a dart 
in my own breast worse than in an enemy's hand ? if I think 
myself concerned to know, what the pride and covetousness, 
and malice and ambition of such and such a man may do against 
me ; if I have any tincture of these evils, (as who dares say he 
hath not ?) within my own soul ; have not I a nearer thing to 
regret, than the evil that only lies in another man ? To expect 
or fear all our hurt from without, and not to fear the next and 
nearest evil, is the greatest stupidity imaginable. 

And then for the causes of common good, and so of our own, 
as that is involved : we hear, it may be, with a great deal oi 7 
complacency of such principles generally implanted in the 
minds of men. What glorious times would they be, if all 
other men were such lovers of God, such orderly lovers of 
themselves, and such lovers of their neighbours^ as they should 
be ? but is it not of a great deal more concernment to our own 
felicity, thai we be so ourselves ? can the goodness, the piety, 


the righteousness, the benignity of other men do me good, Jit 
comparison of what these things lodged and deeply rooted in 
my own soul would do ? It is true, it were a most desirahle 
thing to have all the world religious : but if all the rest of the 
world were so, and my own soul vacant of it; what should I be 
the better for that ? if all other men were lovers of their own 
souls, it would be happy for them ; but nothing to me, if 1 
despised my own. Therefore let us learn, what our own pre 
sent business must be ; to labour to have the causes of com 
mon calamity wrought out from ourselves, and the causes of 
common felicity and prosperity inwrought into ourselves. We 
cannot tell how to mend the state and condition of the world ; 
and our duty reaches not so far : but we have each of us a work 
to do at home, in our own bosoms. And if ever we expect to 
see good days, it must be in this way, by being good and do 
ing good. Psalm 34, 11. 



are considering the principles, which the Spirit poured 
forth doth implant, conducive to the general prosperity 
and felicity of the people of God. And, as was said before, of 
the evil and mischievous principles, that naturally work their 
calamity and misery, that they may be all reduced to an inordi 
nate self-love ; so the go@d principles, which have a tendency 
to their welfare, may all be referred unto one common head, 
that of a due and well-tempered, well-proportioned love. 
When the Spirit of God comes to make a good and happy 
state of things to obtain and take place in the church ; the 
work of that Spirit, poured forth for this purpose, is to write 
the laws of God in the hearts of his people. So you may find, 
(where there is a manifest reference to that future happy state 
promised, and which we are yet expecting and waiting for 5) he 
speaks in that and in parallel scriptures of giving his Spirit, 
and of its immediate workings and operations. And this is its 
general work, to write his law in the hearts of his people, Jer. 
31.33. Now the law, we are told, all the law is fulfilled in 
that one word, Love, Gal. 5. 14. That is the sum and 
epitome of the whole law. And if we descend a little more to 
particulars, these three branches of a holy grsuious love will 

'Preached August 28th, 1678 
VOt, Y. 2 R 


do the whole business : that is, — that love to God, which he 
requires and claims : — that love of particular persons, each 
of them to themselves,, which is due and regular : and — their 
love to other men, as to themselves ; or measured by that love, 
which they duly bear to themselves. 

[I.] Consider what the love of God is, according as the law- 
requires ; arid that we must therefore believe will be, when 
God pours forth his Spirit generally, and by it writes his law 
upon the hearts of men. Here is the first and great thing in 
the law, as our Lord Jesus Christ himself gives us the system 
of it, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and 
with all thy soul and with all thy mind, Matth, 22. 37, 38. 
What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the 
Lord thy God, &c. and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy 
God with all thy heart and with all thy soul ? Deut. 10. 12. 
Do but consider, what this would do to make a happy world 
or a happy church, to have the love of God exalted into its 
just dominion and supremacy in the minds and souls of men : 
that is, suppose a universal agreement among men to love 
God with one consent, with all their minds and with all their 
souls and with all their strength, as far as the bounds of the 
church may be set. There must be considerable in this love to 
God; first, Zeal for his interest and honour: and, secondly, 
Desire of happiness in him. One is love to him, as our su 
preme atid sovereign Lord : the other love to him, as our su 
preme and sovereign Good, our Portion and Felicity. Now, 

Do but suppose, first, a general agreement amongst us in 
the former of these, — that entire devotedness unto the interest of 
God, which his love doth most certainly include and must pos 
sess the hearts of men with: — what an influence must this have! 
when there shall be no other contention amongst men, than 
who can do most for God, who can most greaten him in the 
world ; when men shall generally agree in an entire devotedness 
unto the sovereign, supreme interest of the Lord of heaven and 
earth ; do not you think, that would do much of this happy 
business ? for what cause of contention can there be amongst 
men then ? there are no quarrels in heaven ; where that is the 
entire business of all, the thing wherein all consent and agree, 
to praise and honour, to adore and glorify their common Ruler 
and Lord : and so far as the happy state we are speaking of 
shall obtain in the church of God on earth, so far that will be 
the very image of the church of God in heaven. Where there 
is an agreement among persons upon an evil principle, do but 
consider how it compacts such people amongst themselves : 
see how united the people of Ephesus were in a false religion ! 
-as is noted by that orator, who bespoke them on occasion of 


the commotion amongst them upon the apostle Paul's coming 
thither, in Acts 1 J). 35. u What man is there, that knoweth 
not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the 

freat goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from 
upiter?" It was it seems a most observable unanimity, that 
•was amongst this people in this one thing, unto that degree, 
that the whole city is said to be but one worshipper. Now 
when the church shall come to be but one worshipper of the 
great God, all devoted to him to serve his interest ; when there 
shall be but one altar, the many altars mentioned before being 
all overturned by that inundation of the Spirit poured forth, 
and now but one great interest to be served ; must not this 
make a happy state of things so far as it obtains? it is the mul 
tiplicity and privateness of men's designs and ends, that sets 
all the world together by the ears, and makes men every where 
ready to tear one another in pieces : whether they go under the 
Christian name, or not, that makes no difference in the case ; 
as certainly a wolf is never a whit the less a wolf for being clo 
thed with a sheep's skin. But when persons shall become 
one, consenting and agreeing, by the influence of that great 
principle of divine love, in the main design and business of re 
ligion ; this must produce a happy harmony. It is a very plain 
case, that if you draw a circumferential line, and place one cen 
tre within that circumference, you may draw as many straight 
direct lines as you will from any part of the circumference to 
that centre, and it is impossible you should ever make them to 
intersect or interfere with one another : but let there be several 
centres, and then you cannot draw lines from any part, but 
they must necessarily intersect and cross one another ever and 
anon. Here is the case before us. It is the making of many 
centres, that causes men to interfere, while every man makes 
his own self his end : no two men's interests can throughout 
and always agree ; but that which this or that man does, to 
please and serve himself, disserves or displeases somebody else, 
and hereupon comes a quarrel. It is manifest, that sincere re 
ligion would cure all this : when there is but one end, and 
every man's business is to serve and glorify their common Maker 
$nd Lord; when all thus agree in the love of God, there 
would be no interfering : and how would that contribute to ex 
ternal prosperity ! 

Do but consider the other thing, which true love to God in 
cludes, that is, secondly, the desire of him as our portion, our 
best and supreme good; if that shall once come to be univer 
sal, (as it shall be, whenever the happy time comes, when the 
gpirit shall generally write the law of God in the hearts of men;) 
it mitet needs make stirs and contentions and troubles to cease" 


from amongst men, so far as it doth obtain. For, (as was in 
timated before,) where self-love is the ruling principle, self 
the great idol, and something or other of terrene good the sa 
crifice wherewith this idol is to be served ; so the business of 
every man is to grasp in all that he can of the good things of 
this earth for himself. Now terrene good is (as our bodily part 
itself is, unto which it is most adapted and suited,) of such a 
nature, that it cannot be severed and divided into parts with 
out being diminished and lessened in the several parts : it is 
not partible without diminution ; so that the more one enjoys 
of it, the less every one else enjoys. But now, when the bles 
sed God himself is the best good to every one, every one en 
joys his share without the diminution of other's share. It is 
from the limitedness and unpartibleness of terrene good, with 
out the lessening of the several parts, that it comes to be the 
object or occasion, about which or upon account whereof there 
is so much exercise of concupiscence, inordinate desire, envy, 
malice ; every one labouring to catch from another, as think 
ing another's portion to be more than comes to his share, and 
his own less than should come to his : there is the occasion, 
(and the corrupt nature of man is apt to take occasion from any 
thing,) for stirring the lusts and passions I am speaking of, in 
reference to earthly good. But there is no occasion at all for 
the exercise of any such disquieting passions here : when there 
is a common agreement to make God their portion, to esteem 
him so with the Psalmist, "Whom have I in heaven but thee ? 
and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee;" when 
this comes to be the common sense with men, no man's share 
is diminished by the greater and larger enjoyments of another. 
And therefore you do not find, that there is wont to be any ex 
ercise of disquieting passions in this case. Did you ever know 
any man, that entertained malice against another, because he 
himself desired to have very much of God, and he thought the 
other enjoyed more ; there is no place or pretence at all for 
any such thing ; because let another have ever so much, there 
is enough in the same fountain for him and for me too. 

[ii.] Consider, what love towards a man's self is in the due 
kind and degree of it ; and how that, when it shall come to 
obtain generally amongst men, must make towards the good 
and happy state of the church. That due and just love of a 
man's self, will have its exercise in these two things ; first, a 
strict care of his mind and inner man. And, secondly, a due 
care also of the body or outward man. 

A very strict care, first, of the mind and inner man. I re^ 
giember a heathen, speaking of self-love, saith j u It is true 


indeed, that every man ought to have a love to himself; there 
is a self-love that is divine, which God makes him to bear to 
himself. 7 ' And by how much the more a man is a lover of 
himself with that kind of love, so much the less is he apt to 
disquiet other men, or to contribute any thing to common mi 
series. Now he that loves himself duly and aright, will prin 
cipally and in the first place love his own soul ; he will labour 
to cultivate that, to fit it for God, for his service and enjoy 
ment : and about soul-concernments men's interests do not 
differ. Will you but suppose men thus employed and busied, 
intently taken up about their own eternal felicity and the pre 
sent forming of their spirits in order thereto : such will not 
have leisure to give trouble to other men. They, that are all 
busy about this great affair, to intend their own spirits, to 
keep their hearts with all diligence, to depress whatsoever may 
be troublesome to themselves or offensive to God within them, 
to improve and adorn their souls, to fit them for, and render 
them capable of a blessed eternity ; you may be sure will find 
very little leisure to concern themselves with the affairs of the 
world, to the trouble and disquiet of that : though, if they 
can be any way serviceable, they will be most earnest and 
ready to do that, from the same temper and disposition of spi 
rit. They are the most troublesome people every where, that 
do least mind their own souls, and have least business to do at 

A due care, secondly, of the body also is included in regu 
lar self-love. And that would signify not a little to a happy 
time ; that is, if there were that care commonly taken of the 
outward man, and of what doth more immediately influence that, 
the appetites and affections and passions of the lower soul, wherein 
the true notion of temperance consists; which is one of the fruits 
of the Spirit, Gal. 5. 23. If men could generally keep the flesh 
and its Inordinate cravings under a government, so that it shall 
not be gratified in every thing that it would, nor sensual inclina 
tions be suffered to grow into exorbitances : if all those things, 
that need to be corrected and reduced to order by sumptuary 
laws, were so reduced by a living law in every man's own self: 
Jf men were generally become by inward inclination chaste, so 
ber ; willing to content themselves with what is useful for the 
ends and purposes of nature, without making provision for the 
flesh and its lusts, to satisfy and content them ; not addicting 
themselves to eat or drink more than is necessary, or to idleness 
and sloth and other pieces of indulgence to the flesh : there 
would be connected with such things as these, contentedness 
in every man's mind 5 (for lust is more costly than nature, 


covets more and must have more ;) and hereupon necessarily 
a great deal of tranquillity and peace For while men's minds 
are contented within themselves, they are very little apt to 
give discontent to others : hut persons discontented themselves, 
restless and full of trouble, (which they are only by their lust,) 
are fit instruments then to give all the world trouble, so far as 
their power can go. Nor would it be a small ingredient in the 
common external happiness of such a time, that by this means 
there would be a more general healthiness of body among peo 
ple. If that great fruit of the Spirit, temperance, did com 
monly obtain ; (by which we are able each one to possess his 
vessel, his own body, in sanctification and honour, 1 Thes. 4. 
4. to attend his own body even as the temple of the Holy 
Ghost ;) then there would not he that general cause of com 
plaint concerning consuming and loathsome sicknesses, that 
are the great calamity of the age, and owing so manifestly in 
a high degree to unbridled lust. In that happy state of tbe 
church of God, wherein it is said, that the inhabitants of Zion 
shall not say they are sick, shall have no more cause to com 
plain of sickness, because they shall be forgiven their iniquity, 
(Isaiah S3. 24.) I reckon, that forgiveness of sin hath a refer 
ence to that happy state of things, not only as it puts a stop to 
the inundations of divine judgments in other kinds but also as 
it hath a direct tendency to keep off the evil mentioned : that 
is, when sin is forgiven, the power of it is broken at the same 
time : God doth never forgive sin, and leave it reigning ; but 
he forgives and breaks the power of it at once. Now r , as when 
sin is not forgiven, men are left to the swing and impetus of 
their own lusts, and so are the executioners of God's vengeance 
upon themselves : so, when sin is forgiven, it languishes and 
dies ; such a people grow more pure, holy, temperate, chaste, 
sober in all their conversation ; and so there comes to be less 
appearance of sickness and ails, and those calamities with 
which men naturally afflict their own flesh by the indulgence of 
their lusts. So that by the Spirit poured forth, and so a prin 
ciple of due love to a man's self being once implanted and ex 
cited and kept in due exercise, it must infer generally both 
more contented minds and more healthful bodies ; and these 
things cannot but signify a great deal to make a very good 

There is another branch of love, that must obtain, when 
God comes to write his law in the hearts of men by his Spirit ; 
Jove as it respects other men. But of this hereafter. 

By what hath been said, it seems a plain case, that the Spi 
rit of God poured forth would make a very happy external state 
of things. And since it is so proper and direct a means, and 


would be so efficacious, were it poured forth; truly it cannot 
bi.t be matter of very sad reflection, that the thing should not 
be done ; that there should be so great, so dreadful a restraint 
of this blessed Spirit in our time and age, as we have cause to 
observe and complain of. It is matter of sad reflection, if you 
consider, what as an effect, it carries the signification of ; and 
also what farther mournful effects it carries a presignification of, 
as a cause. 

Consider, first, what an evil it carries in it (he signification 
of, as an effect. The principle of such a restraint must needs 
be a very great degree of divine displeasure. It is the highest 
expression of such displeasure, that we can think of, and the 
most dreadful piece of vengeance, when God saith ; Now be 
cause men have offended me at so high a rate, I will take away 
iny Spirit from them. This was the act of vengeance, where 
with he punished the provocations of the old world, when the 
wickedness of man was great in the earth, and the imagination 
of his heart was all evil, and that continually: "Well !" saithhe, 
"My Spirit shall no more strive with man, (Gen. 6. 3, 5.) I have 
done, my Spirit shall strive no more." It signifies the displea 
sure to be so much the greater,by how much the easier such a 
happy work as this might be wrought and brought about amongst 
us : it is no more but to let his Spirit breathe ; and all our trou 
bles, and all the causes of them must vanish at once : no, but 
saith God, "My Spirit shall not breathe, shall not strive." The 
event speaks the determination and purpose : it doth not breathe 
or strive : are we so stupid as not to observe that ? is there that 
Spirit of love, of prayer and supplication stirring, as hath been 
wont ? it is very terrible to think, that there should be such a 
restraint of that blessed Spirit, upon account of the significa 
tion made by it of divine displeasure. 

• Consider, secondly, the presignification it also carries with 
it of most dreadful effects to ensue, when in displeasure his 
Spirit retires and is gone. The not pouring forth of the Spirit 
signifies, that wrath must be poured forth. When the Spirit 
is restrained, wrath shall not be restrained long. The pour 
ing forth of the Spirit and of wrath do, as it were, keep turns ; 
there is an alternation between them. When the Spirit is not 
poured forth, then there is blindness, hardness, an eye that 
cannot see, an ear that cannot hear, and a heart that cannot 
understand ; as you have them joined in Isaiah 6. 10. And 
ho\v long must this continue ? Lord, how long ? saith the pro 
phet there, ver. 1 1 . it follows, " Until the cities be wasted with 
out inhabitant, and the houses without man." That is the an 
swer given. And therefore methinks we should be all in a kind 
of trembling expectation, while the matter is so manifest, that 


this blessed Spirit is under restraint. What doth it signify^ 
but a purpose and determination of the offended majesty of the 
blessed God ? "Let the lusts of men have their swing, let them 
rend and tear one another by the violent agitations and hurries 
of their own furious lusts." He hides his face all the while. I 
will hide my face, saith he, 1 will see what their end shall be, 
Deut. 32. 20. It is not difficult to apprehend, what will come 
of them, when once I give them up and leave them to them 
selves : then there need no other hands to be armed against 
them but their own ; they will soon be self-destroyers : each 
man would be so to himself, if given up to the furious hurry 
and impetus of indwelling lust. Certainly we have reason to 
conclude, that this age hath highly displeased the Lord, that 
his Spirit is so much withdrawn, that could so easily work a 
cure : but yet lie will not, he thinks fit to express resentment 
by holding under restraint that Spirit, that could rectify and set 
all right, and make us a very happy people in a moment. 



are yet speaking of the tendency of that radical princl* 
pie of love to make an external happy state of things, 
Which we are to expect the Spirit when poured forth to implant* 
We have spoken of love to God, and of regular self-love ; and 
of the influence which these severally must have towards a 
prosperous state. 

[iii.] Consider what love to other men, as to themselves, 
would do in this matter. This supposes that second branch we 
have heen insisting on, a due love to ourselves, as not only al 
lowed but enjoined us ; when it is made the measure of the love 
we are to bear and exercise toward other men : and therefore, 
as being a deeper and more fundamental law of nature, that 
must be supposed to be more excellent and noble in its own 
kind. Perfectessimum in suo genere est mensura reliquo- 
rum. But the Spirit, whose work and business it is to write 
the laws of God in the hearts of men, when he shall be poured 
forth, will write this also, that they love other men as they 
ought to love themselves : especially in the latter days, the 
times which our discourse refers to. Because so great a part 
of that law is wrapped up in this love; therefore it cannot but 
fce that iu those latter days, when God doth design to reform 

« Prcacted September 4, 1678. 
VOI-. V. 2* 


and new mould things, the felicity and happy state of things 
shall be brought about very much by the mediation and inter- 
veniency of this love and the influence thereof. And because 
this love hath a most direct influence this way, I have designed 
the more to enlarge upon it ; and shall speak of it according 
to that double reference, which our subject obliges us to con 
sider ; that is, — its reference to God and his Spirit, as the au 
thor of it ; and — its reference unto a happy state of things, as 
that which is to be brought about by it — its reference upwards 
to God, and downwards to the world — which two considered 
together will amount to thus much; that by God's working of 
this love more generally amongst men, that happy and blessed 
issue, that we are speaking of, is to be accomplished. 

Consider we, fast, its reference to God and to his Spirit i 
which wo are necessarily to consider ; otherwise the pouring 
forth of the Spirit would not include it. And it is requisite we 
should insist upon this, inasmuch as such love is too commonly 
meanly thought of : it were well, if there were not cause to 
say, that too generally professors of religion at a higher and 
stricter rate had not too low an opinion of this love in the 
scripture-regulation of it, the loving of others as ourselves, 
the measure unto which it is to be adjusted. And true it is in 
deed, that they who know no more of this matter than only the 
mere sound of the words, they into whose heart the thing ne 
ver entered, and with whom it never yet became a vital, living 
law will think it but a mean thing. It looks in such persons 
eyes, while it is only clothed with a verbal representation and 
no more, as a meanly habited person at their doors, whom they 
guess at only by his garb : and if such a one should have mean 
ness objected to him only from thence, and the case will ad 
mit it ; it is but a doing himself right to speak of his paren 
tage, and tell how nobly he is descended. And so much are 
we to do on the behalf of this love, to let you know it is a 
heaven-born thing, descended of God, that owes itself to hea 
ven : it is of no lower and meaner extraction than so. Do not 
think I mean by it that common carnal love, which wicked 
men as such may bear one to another ; which is a more mean 
and less innocent love, than that which birds and beasts have 
to those of their own kind : but 1 mean that love, whereby 
any are enabled to love men as men, and holy men as holy 
men, in God, and for God's sake, and upon his account. This 
is a heavenly, divine thing, the product of the blessed, eternal 
Spirit of God alone. For evincing of that, weigh these several 
considerations, which the Scriptures do plainly and plentifully 
afford us. Namely, first, 

That even this love is called the love of God. So it is most 


plainly in 1 John 3. 17- Whoso hath this world's goods, and 
seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of 
compassion from him ; how dwelleth the love of God in him ? 
So noble and sublime a thing is not to be more meanly spoken 
of, it is to be called the love of God: no title inferior to that 
is suitable to it. Again, secondly, 

That God is called the God of this love. Live in peace, and 
the God of love and peace shall be with you, 2 Cor. 13. 11. 
And thirdly, 

It is also expressly said to be of God, and men upon the ac 
count of this love to be born of God. So in 1 John 4. 7» 8, 
Beloved, let us love one another; for love (this love plain 
ly,) is of God; and every one that loveth, is born of God, 
and knoweth God ; is acquainted with God, intimate and 
inward with God; as a man's own children would be with 
liim, that are born of him, in whom his own nature is. Where 
upon, on the other hand, they are spoken of as mere stran 
gers to God, such as have nothing to do with him, nor he 
with them, that are destitute of this love. He that loveth not, 
knoweth not God ; for God is love. Again, fourthly, 

That it is plainly made a character of the elect of God, dis 
tinguishing and severing of them from the refuse world, Colos. 
S. 12. Put on, as the elect of God, bowels of mercies, kind 
ness, &c. Intimating plainly to us, that wheresoever God 
doth place his own love, there he doth impress and beget this 
love. Again, fifthly, 

It is placed amongst the fruits of the Spirit, and even in the 
front of them, Gal. 5. 22. The fruit of the Spirit is love ; in 
opposition to the hatred, wrath, strife, &c. mentioned in the 
foregoing verses as the works of the flesh. And we are told in 
Eph. 5.9. that the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and 
righteousness and truth — in all goodness : — it is the proper 
work of the Spirit upon the spirits of men to fill them with 
goodness, propensions and inclinations to do good ; and so to 
beget in them that love, which must be the spring of all such 
doing of good. Hence sixthly, 

Walking iii the Spirit is directed with a special eye and re 
ference unto the exercise of this love ; as you may see in Gal. 
5. the 14th, 15th, and 16'th verses compared together. All 
the law is fulfilled in one word, (he means the whole law of the 
second table,) even in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as 
thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, (the opposite 
to this love, or that which follows upon the want of it, or from 
the opposite principle,) take heed that ye be not consumed one 
of another. This 1 say then, (observe the inference,) Walk in 
the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. To walk 
in the Spirit is to walk in the exercise of this love. Seventhly, 


It is spoken of as a peculiar, inseparable concomitant of 
that light, which is from God and the Spirit of God, and made 
and transmitted by the gospel. Observe to this purpose, 1 
John 2. 7, &c. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto 
you, but an old commandment which ye had from the begin 
ning : the old commandment is the word, which ye have 
heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I 
write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you ; be 
cause the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. 
He that saith, he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in 
darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother, abideth 
in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 
But he that hateth his brother, is in darkness, and walketh in 
darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that 
darkness hath blinded his eyes. A new commandment this is, 
and now new : not new, in respect of the substance of it ; for 
so it is one of the ancient, substantial, fundamental, great 
laws of nature ; and wheresoever the revelation of God's mind 
and will is to be found, that is and was ever to be found : but 
new, in respect to that more glorious way of recommendation, 
which it now hath in and by the gospel, and the Spirit of 
Christ; which, wheresoever it comes to obtain, in what soul 
soever, transforms that soul into a heavenly region, a region 
of calm and mild and benign and holy light : in that light 
dwells this love, amidst that light ; as the contrary, hatred, is 
a fiend that lives and lurks in darkness, and can dwell no 
where else. They that are destitute of this principle, have dark 
ness for their region ; they can dwell no where but in malig 
nant, disconsolate darkness ; there they wander as forlorn be 
wildered creatures. The apostle Peter having spoken of this 
love under several names, brotherly-kindness, charity, and other 
expressions that are congenerous, tells us, 2. Pet. 1.9. He 
that lacketh these things, is blind, and cannot see far off, and 
hath forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Eighthly, 

It closely adheres unto that principle of life, which is 
begotten in all the children of God, when they become his 
children. The begetting of souls unto God, is certainly the 
implanting in them and deriving to them a principle of divine 
life. With that principle this love is complicated, or it is a 
part of that very principle ; so as that by it the children of God 
and the children of the devil are distinguished from one ano 
ther.^ He that hath this principle, hath passed from death to 
life, is in a state of life : as you may find by comparing together 
several verses of the 1 John 3. In this the children of God are 
manifest, and the children of the devil : whosoever doth not 
righteousness, is not of God, (therefore he is of the devily) 


neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the mes 
sage, that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love 
one another : not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and 
slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him ? because his 
own works were evil, and his brother's righteous, ver. 10, 11, 
12. and ver. 14. We know, that we have passed from death 
to life, because we love the brethren : he that loveth not his 
brother, abideth in death ; hath no participation of that vital 
principle. He is a murderer, ver. 15. and ye know, that no 
murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. None that is apt 
to destroy the life of another, can be supposed to have a prin 
ciple of divine life in himself, the beginning of eternal life. 
So that, divide the world into two seeds, and they are God's 
and the devil's. Those that are God's, live the life of God ; 
have a life derived and communicated to them from God, 
wherein this same love is a part : and they that are destitute of 
it, are all to be reckoned to the other seed ; they belong to the 
devil's kingdom ; for to be destitute of this, implies a being 
possessed with the contrary principle : no man's soul can be 
neutral in this case. But as to all such good principles, as 
are due unto the original rectitude of man arid his nature as 
originally right ; if these be wanting, they are privatively want 
ing, and are excluded by the opposite principle obtaining and 
having place in their room and stead : the soul of man had 
that and such principles as are duly belonging to him ; it can 
not be resa tabula ; but if the true and proper impression be 
not there, there is another impression, and not none. And 
therefore it is consequent, tenthly, 

That this love must needs be a great part of the divine image 
and nature, that is to be found in all that appertain to God. 

All these things taken together do sufficiently entitle the 
Spirit of God to it, as the great Author and Parent of it. And 
that being once plain and clear, 

We may, secondly, consider the other reference of this love, 
its reference downwards towards the world : and it cannot but 
be consequent, that wheresoever the Spirit poured forth doth 
work, it must needs work a very happy state of things, and 
would make this world a very pleasant region. For what ! 
would it not make, think you, very happy days indeed to have 
men generally made like God, transformed into the divine 
image ? God is love ; and he that loves, bears his image : he, 
whose soul is under the dominion of such a love, is a true 
living representation of all the goodness and benignity and 
sweetness of God's own blessed nature : and would it not 
make a happy state, if men were generally made such ? so to 
bear themselves to one another, so to converse and walk toge- 


ther, as holding forth the image of God, according to the dic 
tates of a nature received from God, a divine nature put into 
them ; but for the particular eviction of this, it will appear by 
considering the proper, natural, genuine workings of such 
love, being itself once inwrought. Consider to that purpose, — 
what it would exclude, and — what it would beget. First, 

What it would exclude. 

It would, first, exclude all hard thoughts amongst men con 
cerning one another. Love thinketh no evil ; as one of the 
characters of it is in 1 Cor. 13.5. Farther than necessity and 
irrefragable evidence doth impose, it would not take up so 
much as an ill thought of any one. It is full of candour and 
ingenuity, and apt to make the best construction of every word 
and action, and takes every thing in the best sense that is ca 
pable of being put upon it. And wbat a spring of mischief and 
misery in the world would be shut up, dried up, if that prone - 
ness to hard, harsh, and frequently unjust thoughts, were by 
the workings of such a Spirit of love erased out of the minds 
and hearts of men ! 

It would, secondly, exclude every thing of pride and insolence 
towards others, vying with them, envying of them, which pro 
ceeds from pride. Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 
1 Cor. 13. 4. 

It would, thirdly, exclude selfish designs ; and with what 
tragedies and desolations do they fill the world ? Love seeketh not 
her own things 1 Cor. 13. 5. The exhortation is, Phil. 2. 4. 
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on 
the things of others. Indeed it comes from that pride men 
tioned before, that men thi nk all belongs to them, and if they 
can grasp ever so much, it is no more than their due : and 
therefore we have these things so conjoined in the place just 
mentioned, ver. 3. 4. Each esteeming other better than them 
selves, and, not seeking his own things, but also the things of 

Men are so much intent upon seeking their own things, are 
all for themselves ; because every man is apt to esteem him 
self before all other men : but when we come to esteem others 
better than ourselves, (I am worthy of nothing, any mean 
thing is good enough for me ;) then pride and selfihness are 
both excluded together by love. 

It will, fourthly, exclude all aptness to injure another. Love 
tvorketh no ill to his neighbour, Rom. 13. 10. Love so mea 
sured, whereby I love my neighbour even as myself, and whence 
therefore it comes to pass that I would no more hurt him than 
I would myself, and would no more cheat him than I would 
myself, no more oppress and crush him than I would myself ; 


would not this make a happy world, do we think ? the fruit of 
the Spirit is in all righteousness, Eph. 5. 9. 

As it would by these means exclude all aptness to offend 
others ; so it would, fifthly, exclude a proneness to receive 
offence ; and so make greatly to the quiet of the world. A 
good man, one himself full of love and goodness, is very little 
prone to take offence. As a heathen philosopher said concern 
ing such a one; " A good man neither doth injure, nor is 
apt to resent an injury." So another discourses largely to shew, 
that in sapientem non cadit injuria : injury doth not fall, 
doth not enter and sink (he means) into the mind and soul of a 
good, a wise and virtuous man. This love excludes a captious 
disposition, apt to take offence at every thing, and to pick 
quarrels upon any or upon no occasion. What happy families 
would there be, what happy neighbours, when such a disposition 
should be excluded and banished by the over-ruling power of a 
Spirit of love ? there would be no fractions in families, no parties,, 
no maligning of one another ; which commonly have their rise 
from an aptness to snarl at anything that goes cross. Secondly^ 

What it would beget. 

It would, first, beget mutual trust and confidence among men 
and Christians in one another ; which makes not a little unto 
the common welfare. How sad is the case, when a man still 
continually converses with them whom he cannot trust, and 
they cannot trust him ! A mutual confidence and trust in one 
another is fundamental to all society, to the good and prospe 
rity of it. The apostle desires to be delivered from unreasona 
ble and wicked men, that have no faith, 2 Thes. 3. 2. It is 
probable he means, that have not trustiness, faith in the pas 
sive sense ; that are unconversable men, such in whom we can 
place no faith. It is a dreadful thing to live in such a world 
or age, when a man must perpetually stand upon his guard, be 
so very cautious in all his converses and words and actions : 
" I do not know whom to trust, whom to deal with/* When' 
this Spirit of love shall have to do more in the world, as men 
are generally made more sincere and good ; so they shall ge 
nerally be more trusted : jealousy and suspicion and mistrust 
and misgiving thoughts concerning one another are gone, and 
they are secure concerning one another ; as no more suspect 
ing, that such a man hath an ill design upon me, than 1 have 
upon myself. 

It would, secondly, produce mutual pity. That wouldbe a good 
World, when every man resents another's condition even as his 
own, and weeps with them that weep, as well as rejoices with 
them that do rejoice, Rom. 12. 15. 

It would, thirdly, produce a promptitude to do one another 


good upon all occasions. Such a love, by the Spirit poured 
forth coming commonly to obtain, will make men dispossed to 
do good, as opportunity occurs, Gal. 6. 10. As we have oppor 
tunity let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who 
are of the household of faith. 

It will, fourthly, beget a delight in one another's welfare, a 
well-pleasedness in the prosperity of others, that all things go 
well with them. 

It will, fifthly, introduce mutual converse, solace and delight 
in one another's society. When a man shall see the face of his 
friend or neighbour as the face of an angel of God ; he full of 
love, and the other full of love ; nothing but goodness flowing 
and reflowing; this will surely make a good time, when the 
Spirit of God poured forth shall generally influence the spirit! 
of men unto such a temper. 

This must needs make a very happy state of things, make 
the church on earth the very emblem of the church in heaven ; 
as the truth and sincerity of religion and godliness is not ano 
ther thing from the felicity and blessedness of heaven, in the 
nature and kind. It is the same church, that hath the pri- 
mordials of blessedness here, and the perfection of it hereafter. 
This is one great part of that blessedness, when all are inclined 
by the operation of that Spirit, whose fruit is in all goodness, 
to seek and desire and rejoice in the good of one another, as 
they would do for their own. 

We can now easily frame to ourselves the idea of a very happy 
time ; and we ought to believe, that the Spirit of God can 
work all that we can think, and a great deal more, when his 
own time and pleasure is. What hath been suggested, must 
produce tranquillity in every man's own spirit ; which will in 
fer common tranquillity. They, that have themselves un 
quiet, disturbed spirits, are the great troublers of the world. 
Therefore the devil works all that mischief to mankind, be 
cause he is himself a restless creature, going up and down, 
seeking a rest, but finding none. Men will be at rest in their 
own spirits, when they come to be under the possession and 
dominion of such a spirit as we have spoken of. 



"E have been evincing the efficacy and sufficiency of an 
effusion of the blessed Spirit, such as we hope for in the 
latter times, to produce not only a prosperous state of religion, 
but also an external peaceful state of the church, in conse 
quence of the other : and this last, not only by removing the 
causes of general calamities ; but by working likewise whatever 
hath a positive tendency to public good. Upon this head it 
was proposed to consider, — The principles, which the Spirit 
poured forth is supposed to implant. These have been dis 
tinctly considered, f And we now proceed to consider, 

ii. The effects, which the Spirit works by those implanted 
principles, tending to the common prosperity of the whole 
church. They may be reduced to these two, Union, and 
Order: which will, both of them, promote very happy time s 
for the church of God. 

(i.) Union amongst Christians is one of those great effects, 
which are to be wrought by the Spirit poured forth, as a thing 
wherein such a good state of things, doth very much consist. 
Here I shall shew, 

[i.] That such a union amongst Christians will contribute 
tery much to a happy state in the church of God, whenever 

;, * Preached September 18th. 1678. f See page 302. 
TOL, Y. 2 T 


it is brought about. It would, first, secure it very mucb from 
external violence. Hereby it would be terrible "as an army 
with banners," would dismay enemies, and such as might de 
sign to trouble it. Such union would make way for undisturb 
ed communion. And, secondly, within the church itself there 
would be free and pleasant commerce. Christians would not 
be at a loss and difficulty, what way they were to take in order 
to the stated discharge of incumbent Christian duties. And 
what in both these respects such a union will contribute unto 
the common felicity of the Christian church, we are too well 
taught to apprehend, by our experience and observation of 
what we have felt or heard of the mischiefs and miseries of the 
church in both these kinds. How miserably hath Christendom 
been worried by the Turkish power, upon account of its own 
divisions ? and within the Christian church itself, never hath 
it suffered more turmoils and trouble and vexation than from 
intestine division. It hath been a common observation in the 
former days, that the arian persecution was as cruel and wast 
ing to the sincere Christians us ever the paganish persecutions 
were; and some have reckoned, a great deal more. And we do 
not needto tell you, what the popish persecutions have been upon 
the protestants, and what persecutions have been even among 
protestants of one another. The church hath first been broken 
into parties, then these several divided parties have fallen to 
contending, and those contentions have grown to that height, 
that nothing less than the ruin of each several party hath been 
designed by another. And you cannot but observe or have 
known, that differences upon the slightest and most trivial 
matters have been managed with that heat and animosity, that 
nothing less could content and satisfy than even to crush unto 
utter ruin those that have dissented. But where were all that 
contention, if the contending parties were become all one ? 
and where were ail that hatred and enmity and malice, that 
hath managed these contentions ? For what ! doth any united 
thing, entire within itself, hate itself, and seek to ruin itself? 
I proceed therefore to shew, 

[ii.] That it is the work of God's own Spirit to effect such a 
union ; and consequently, that when it shall be generally pour 
ed forth, sucli a union must needs generally obtain. And 
the matter will be very clear from sundry Scripture-considera-r 
tions : as first, 

We find in Scripture this matter mystically and allegoricalljr. 
represented ; that is, that by the anointing of this Spirit, that 
precious ointment plentifully poured forth upon the head of 
pur great High-priest, and diffusing itself unto all that apper 
tain and belong to his body, that good and pleasant thing 


should be brought about, of brethren's dwelling together in 
unity. This is typically represented by the ointment shed upon 
Aaron, diffused unto the skirts of his garments. Ps. 133. 1.2. 
It can have no other meaning, but that the anointing of the 
Holy Ghost, eminently and in the first place upon our Lord 
Jesus Christ, and thence diffused to all that relate to his body, 
brings this blessed thing about. 

We find, secondly, this anointing of the Holy Ghost upon 
Christians mentioned in Scripture as the great preservative 
against divisions. So you may see by perusing the greater 
part of 1 John chap. 2. There is a discourse (as it is much 
the subject of the epistle,) about the vital love that ought to be 
amongst the brethren ; and thence he comes to take notice of 
a danger that would threaten Christians, from the many anti 
christs that would arise, and that had in part risen, ver. 18. As 
ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there 
many antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last time. 
For so it was said that it should be in the latter times, or in 
the last part of time, even that from Christ unto the end of 
the world. Now wheresoever there are such antichrists start 
ing up, pro-christs, mock-christs, those concerning whom it 
should be said, "Here is Christ, and there is Christ;" every one 
of these makes it his business to draw away a part ; and so all 
their design is division, to snatch to themselves and draw or? 
from Christ : (he that gathers not with him, scattereth ;) their 
endeavour and aim is to divide. But, as a great preservative 
against the malignity of this design, the apostle tells them, 
that they had an unction from the Holy One, ver. 20. There 
was their security : and at ver. 26. 27. These things have I 
written unto you, concerning them that seduce you. But the 
anointing which ye have received of him, abideth in you : the 
anointing of this Spirit, whereof we speak. A plain significa 
tion, that the genuine work of this Spirit is to unite, and to 
hold the parts of the body of Christ united, tight and firm unto 
.one another. As much as if he should have said ; lf You 
were lost, the body of Christ were dissolved, were it not for 
such an anointing : there are many that make it their business 
to draw away here a limb and there a limb, to pluck and dis 
sect it part from part ; but ye have an anointing, there is all 
your security/' 

Again, thirdly, the divisions, which fall out in the church 
of Christ, we find in Scripture attributed unto the want and ab 
sence and destitution of the Spirit. A plain argument, that 
union is its work where it is, and according to the degree in 
which it is amongst the people of God. .Jude 19. These be 
they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. 


And as a like note and expression of sensuality, you have the 
apostle Paul speaking, in Rom. 16. 17, 18, Mark them 
which cause divisions and offences, — and avoid them : for they 
that are such, serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, hut their own 
belly. A sensual sort of men, amongst whom there is little 
appearance of the Spirit, of being governed by the pure and 
Holy Spirit of God. And whom can we think him to reflect 
upon in such expressions, those that separate themselves, and 
cause divisions, but such as do make new terms of communion 
in the church of Christ, which Christ himself hath never made, 
and insist upon them; "You shall not have communion with us, 
unless you will come to these terms ?" as the Gnostics of old 
did; patching up a religion, partly out of Judaism, and partly 
out of Heathenism, and partly out of Christianity ; and so 
making themselves a distinct body upon new terms from the 
rest of christians. And so the papists have since done ; and 
being associated and compacted together upon these terms, now 
assume to themselves the name and title of the church ; they 
only are the church ! cutting off themselves by such measures 
as these from all the rest of christians, as if they were none of 
the church, because they do not consent with them in things 
that are beside Christianity and against it. And by how much 
the less and more minute the things are, by which persons 
make such difference and distinction, upon which they sort and 
sever themselves from the rest of christians, so as to exclude 
all others ; so much the more groundless and ridiculous is the 
division. A like case, as if a company of men should agree 
amongst themselves to be distinguished from other men by 
such or such a habit, such or such a colour of their garments, 
and call themselves mankind, and deny all others to be man 
kind : or as if a party in the city should distinguish themselves 
by some little trivial distinction, and call themselves the city, 
and deny all the rest to be citizens. This is from not having 
the Spirit. That Spirit, wheresoever it is and works in power, 
works like itself, suitably unto the greatness and excellency, 
of such a Spirit, and suitably to the grand designs of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, whose Spirit it is. It possesses and takes up the 
minds of men with things that are great, and does not teach 
them to insist upon themselves, or to impose and urge upon 
others, niceties and small trivial matters. Js this like the Spi 
rit of the great and holy God ? like the wisdom and holiness of 
that Spirit ? or suitable to the greatness of those designs, 
which it is to manage amongst men ? So they, that divide 
upon such accounts as these are, "are sensual, not having the 
Spirit, and serve not the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own bel 
lies." And therefore according to the degree in which such di- 


visions have taken place amongst Christians, they have been 
spoken of not as spiritual, but as carnal. 1 could not speak 
tintoyou as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal ; saith the apos 
tle to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 3. I. "I could not tell how to 
look upon you, or converse with you, or apply myself to you, 
as spiritually-minded men ; but as men miserably carnal, even 
lost in carnality" : for whereas there is among you envying, and 
strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men ? ver. 
3. It is not like a Christian spirit, like the Christian design, 
but like other men. And therefore we also find, that where 
the works of the flesh are enumerated, Gal. 5. ver. 19, &c. 
among them come seditions, heresies, ^t^o^txa-ixt and a/fso-ar; 
by which there are sidings, part-takings, part set against part, 
one party against another ; and severings, divulsions and rend- 
ings in the church, plucking it as it were piece-meal this way 
and that. In opposition whereto divers things, that have the 
contrary tendency, as love, meekness, peace &c. are made the 
fruits of the Spirit in the following verses. 

The unity, that doth obtain in the Christian church, in what 
degree soever it doth obtain is, fourthly, called the unity of the 
Spirit : as in Eph. 4.3. Endeavouring to keep the unity of 
the Spirit in the bond of peace. A unity therefore no doubt 
it is, whereof the Spirit is the author and the preserver ; ac 
cording as it doth keep the bond of peace unbroken amongst 
Christians, keeps them in a peaceable temper and deportment 
towards one another. The Spirit of God is the warrantee of the 
church's peace, and it is his part to preserve it entire ; but yet 
so, as that every one hath a part of his own in a way of duty, 
and in subordination to the Spirit of God, to act too ; and 
must contribute to it, each one in his place and station. And 
therefore, as though there be never so potent a warrantee of 
peace amongst nations, it is possible that these nations may by 
their own default fall foul upon one another ; so it may be pro- 
portionably in this case. Christians by indulging the first ris 
ings of another spirit, a contentious, malignant spirit, may 
grieve that Spirit that is to be their preserver, causing it to re 
tire and withdraw ; and so he may leave them to look on, and 
see what their end will be, and what they will bring matters to 
themselves : as, when he hides his face, and withdraws his 
Spirit, the great God saith, I will hide my face, and see what 
their end will be, Deut. 32. 20. But what unity there is, that 
is true and of the right kind, is the unity of the Spirit : and 
that shews it is his proper work, where it doth obtain, and ac 
cording to the measure wherein it is poured forth, to cause and 
preserve such unity. 
: The subject of s*uch a union is, fifthly, also the seat and 


receptacle and habitation of the communicated Spirit. ^ That, 
which is the subject of such a union, is also the subject and 
dwelling-place (as I may speak,) of the indwelling Spirit : it 
comes to dwell there, where the proper subject of this union 
is. That is a signification to us, that it hath a great influence 
upon this union ; that where it dwells, there cannot but be 
some union, a union even in the main and principal things 
amongst all living Christians. They are all corne as lively 
stones unto the living corner-stone, (1 Pet. 2. 4, 5.) and com 
pacted into a habitation of God through the Spirit, Eph, 2. 
22. Where the union is, there the Spirit is, in contradistinc 
tion to all the rest of the world. That part, where the Spirit 
of God inhabits, is his church. And therefore to be added to 
the church, or to become Christians, if a man become so in 
deed, is at the same time to receive the Spirit. Received ye 
the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith ? 
are ye so foolish, having begun in the Spirit ? Gal. 3. 2, 8. 
They were supposed to have received the Spirit and to have be 
gun in the Spirit, inasmuch as they were Christians. And 
therefore one of the last things, that the apostle Peter spoke 
to his hearers, in that sermon by which so many thousands 
were converted, was, Repent, — and ye shall receive the Holy 
Ghost, Acts 2. 38. If ye be converts in truth, the Holy 
Ghost immediately comes upon you. Indeed in their becom 
ing converts it seizes them : and when it hath made them con 
verts, and formed them into a habitation, then it comes and 
dwells, and they receive it as an inhabitant ; as a house must 
be built, before it be inhabited : and he that was the builder, 
is the inhabiter. Hereupon it is said, that they that have not 
the Spirit of Christ are none of his, Rom. 8. 9. They that are 
related to him, and they that are unrelated, are discerned by 
this, the having or not having his Spirit : Christ's Spirit en 
ters and possesses all his. The true Christian church, the mys 
tical body of our Lord Jesus Christ, as that is the seat and 
subject of the union whereof we are speaking, so it is also the 
residence of the Spirit : and therefore certainly the Spirit hath 
much to do in the business of this union. 

The very cause of this union amongst christians, sixthly, so 
far as it doth obtain, is the oneness of this Spirit. It is be 
cause that Spirit is one, that dwells every where in them all, 
that they are one. And so it doth appear, that the Spirit is not 
only there seated, and dwells in the same subject where the 
Mnion is ; but it is the very cause, why there is such a union in 
t}ie body, because it dwells in every part of it. There is one 
body, and^one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your 
calling, Eph. 4. 4. And the reason, why the members of the 


body, though they are many, are yet said to make but one bo 
dy, is, because by one Spirit they are all baptized into one 
body, and have been made to drink into one Spirit, 1 Cor. 1 2* 
13. As if it should have been said ; (< You are so little one 
upon any other account, or under any other notion, than only 
as one Spirit hath diffused itself amongst you and cements you 
together, and refers and disposes you towards one another ; 
that the body of Christ would be no more one than a rope of 
sand, there would be no more cohesion of the parts, but if 
there were opportunity, part would be severed from part. The 
body, though it consist of many members, yet is all one body, 
because ye have been "all baptized into one Spirit, and made to 
drink into one Spirit :" referring to the two sacraments, bap 
tism, and the supper of our Lord ; as both of them significa 
tive of the union, which persons do then enter into with the 
rest of tbe body ; and as they are confirmed in it with the rest 
of the body, according as they make use of, or are subjected to, 
one or the other of these rites. And so you know it is in the 
natural body. What other reason can we render, why so many 
parts should all but constitute one man ? he hath one bond, 
one internal living bond, one soul. If there were one soul in 
one part, and another soul in another part ; one soul in a leg, 
and another in an arm, another in an eye, and another in an 
ear ; then it would not be one man, but many. The union is 
to be reduced into this, that there is but one soul as a consis 
tent standing principle. For the parts of a man's body, as the 
parts of a church, are in a continual flux, continually passing ; 
they wear and waste, and there is a constant succession of new 
parts, to make up the pretermission of the former that are past 
away and gone : and yet there is but one man still, notwith 
standing that great change of parts in the several successions of 
time in his life, because he hath still but one soul. And so the 
church is still but one and the same thing, because it hath one 
Spirit, that in all times hath acted uniformly and equally. 

It appears, seventhly, to be proper to the Spirit to work and 
maintain such a union as this ; inasmuch as the principal ope 
ration, which it doth exert and put forth as the chief and main 
work which it doth, doth always necessarily imply this, of 
uniting and keeping the parts of the body united, as a secondary 
and consequential work. It cannot do its principal work, but 
it must do this. What is its principal and main work? it is 
(as hath been intimated,) unto the church of Christ, even as a 
soul unto the body. And what is the office and business of the 
soul to the body ? it is to animate the body, to enliven it in the 
several parts of it : but that it could never do, but by uniting 
the parts and keeping them united. You know, that if a 


finger or a toe, or a leg or an arm be cut off from the body, the 
soul enlivens that no longer : therefore it animates it, as it 
keeps it united with the body. The case is manifestly thus, 
here : the Spirit of God keeps the body alive, and all the se 
veral parts of the body which it animates, by holding them to 
gether : as all the members of this body partake of other privi 
leges in a community, as they belong to the body ; as for in 
stance, that of peace, and that communion which it includes 
and carries in it. Ye are called to it, saith the apostle, in one 
body, Col. 3. 14. Ye are to share and partake in such a pri 
vilege, as being all of a p ; ece, all of one body ; called in one. 
body to this great commerce of Christian peace and communion. 
You know, that full peace between people and people, nation 
and nation, doth include commerce. So we may say of life 
too ; persons are called to the participation of life all in one 
body, as being parts of that body, they come to share in life. 
The Spirit doth not animate, but as it unites, and keeps united 
the several parts which it animates ; no more than our soul 
•will animate any part of our body that is once separate from it. 
Now this plainly argues it to be the work of the Spirit to effect 
«nd maintain this union. 

All the terms of this union, eighthly, wherein Christians do 
meet, are such whercunto they are disposed and inclined by this 
Spirit. You have these terms in Eph. 4. 4, &c. The apostle had 
eaid, that there was one body and one Spirit. Now wherein doth 
this Spirit make this body one ? Why, even as ye are called in 
one hope of your calling ; inasmuch as they have all one hope, 
and all one Lord, and one faith, and one baptism, and one God 
and Father of them all. Now it is manifest, that it is the work 
of the Spirit to draw and dispose the hearts of Christians to 
meet in these common terms. As, to meet in this as a com 
mon term, in one hope, one blessedness and state of life. 
You know how the rest of the world are divided about blessed 
ness ; ono places his confidence in this sort of good, and 
another in that sort : there be numbered up no less than 
two hundred and eighty eight opinions among the heathens 
heretofore about blessedness, wherein it should consist : now 
how comes all sincere Christians to agree in this, to hope for 
blessedness all in one thing, in that state of life and glory that 
is hereafter to be enjoyed ? and that all in all times of the 
world should have met in the same hope ? All this must be 
owing to one cause, and proceed from one principle. The- 
rest of men are divided ; why are they united in this hope? and 
so, as to the rest, if we should run over them. They have all 
one Lord, sincerely agree to be subject to that one head ; "He 
sliall rule over us, we will all trust him, and all obey him* 


They have all one faith ; are all of one religion as to the essen 
tials and main of it, believe all the same substantial truths, and 
all by one and the same sort and kind of faith ; have the same 
object of faith in the main, and the same subject too in the na 
ture and kind of it. They have all one baptism ; which is not 
to be understood so much of the signum, as of the res signa- 
ta, what is signified by it, that is, the covenant and agreement 
that passes between God and them that are baptized with hig 
Spirit ; unto whom the external baptism comes to obtain the 
thing which is intended to be signified corresponding in them* 
They all agree in one baptism, all come under one title, all 
give up and devote themselves under the bond of God's cove 
nant alike, and in one and the same covenant : for God doth 
not make one covenant with one person, and another covenant 
with another ; but they all meet in the same covenant "Am* 
one God and Father of all." How come they all to have this 
one God and Father ? it is one Spirit, that disposes and forms 
them hereunto. And in short, holiness, real substantial good 
ness, which doth some way or other include all these, as meet 
ing in every one of them, and so uniting them : all sincere 
Christians meet in that. And how come they to meet in it ? 
by chance ? no certainly ; but by one designing cause, that 
works them all the same way. That so great a community, so 
vast a body as the Christians of all times and ages, the people 
of God, in all the parts of the world and in all times of it, 
should all meet and unite in so many things, and in this one 
thing, namely, substantial goodness and holiness ; must needs 
be all from one cause : they being things too, wherein they 
cannot be supposed to agree naturally ; for naturally, men are 
most disagreeing and repugnant as to such things as these* 
And therefore we may see, (that which it is very remarkable 
that a heathen should say, speaking of concord in a city,) 
ff That there can be no concord at all in any thing, if there be 
not some common notices, wherein persons shall meet and 
agree. So (speaking in reference to common and ordinary af 
fairs,) it were impossible that persons should agree about the 
numbers of things, if there were not amongst them some com 
mon knowledge about the difference of numbers. If one per 
son should understand one to be the number five, and another 
should understand it by another thiug ; or if persons could not 
generally understand so much of the matter of number, as to 
distinguish five from seven, (one number from another ;) they 
could have no agreement in any common matter, wherein num 
ber was concerned. And so, saith he, If there be any accord 
about things that come under measure ; it is to be supposed, 
that there must be a common notice amongst all sue h persons, 

VOL. V. 2V 


so far as to understand the difference between a palm and a cu 
bit. And so there will be no agreement in things, that are of 
greater concernment to the good of a city, but by agreeing in 
this, that all agree to be good men : they cannot be good citi 
zens, without being good men." But how should men come 
to be so ? how should there come to be such a number of men, 
all agreeing in one thing and design, to be all for God in a 
world that is revolted and apostatized from him ? It must be all 
from one cause and principle. It is one and the same Spirit, 
that in all times and ages works and disposes the spirits of such 
one way ; so as that you may observe, that in all times there 
have been amongst Christians the same complaints, the same 
desires, the same designs ; they have had the same sense of 
things. Such a uniformity, as doth appear even in the seve 
ral successions of time, signifies, that there is one common 
unitive principle, that hath obtained amongst them all' in all 
times ; and so accordingly, that such a union must needs be the 
proper work of this blessed Spirit. 

Observe, ninthly, When a people do fall off, and break 
themselves off from God, (which they never do, but as this Spi 
rit departs and leaves them,) according to that degree wherein 
they do so, they are broken off from one another, broken asun 
der amongst themselves. This we have emblematically repre 
sented in Zecli. 11. by the two staves of beauty and bands. 
When one of them, the staff of beauty, was broken, (that was 
the representation of the union that was between God and 
them ;) next the staff of bands is presently broken, (which was 
the representation of the union between Judah and Israel, of 
the people amongst themselves,) ver. 10. 11, 14. When God 
saith, Loammi, ye shall be my people no more ; then the con 
sequence is this, they cease to be a people ; they are no more 
one people, when they cease to be his. The case is not so 
with those who have professed visible relation to God, as with 
the rest of the world, in this thing. Others make shift to sub 
sist and live without God, that is, they gain flourishing king 
doms and common-wealths and cities ; and it may be a people 
professing the name of God may expect to have it so with them 
too, if God should depart from them : but his presence is as a 
soul amongst such a people; "Be instructed, lest my soul depart 
from you :" and if a man's soul go from him, he doth not then 
become a creature of the next inferior rank, a beast, but a car 
case. IF this soul depart from a people professing relation to 
"God, (as there is a divine presence that is larger than the most 
special presence, and yet more restrained than the general pre 
sence that he affords to men as men ;) they do not then become 
like another people, but they become no people. Be instruct- 


ed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee ; lest thou 
become desolate, a land not inhabited, Jer. 6. 8. They may 
think, it may be, that it will be with them as with other na 
tions, when God is gone : but see what a rebuke any such 
hope meets with, in Hos. 9. 1. Rejoice not, O Israel, for 
joy, as other people ; for thou hast gone a whoring from thy 
God, &c. The case will not be with you as with other peo-» 
pie ; you have forsaken your God, torn yourselves off from 
him. When the staff of beauty is broken, the staff of bands is 
broken too ; and such a people as fall off from God, fall asun 
der : that it comes to at last ; as the body of a man, when the 
soul is gone, dissolves and turns to dust. 

And in the last place, tenthly, In the time of the revival of 
the church from under the state of death they have been in ; 
when God so revives it, he unites it part to part. How clearly 
have you this represented in vision after vision, in the whole 
37th chapter of Ezekiel ? when the Spirit of life entered into 
those dry and dead bones, when he breathed upon them and 
made them live, he made them one, he made them a great 
army, ver. 10. And the next thing that you hear of is, this 
people's being made one stick in God's hand ; Judah and Is 
rael one stick, united with one another ; and in God's hand, to 
signify him to be the centre of that union, ver. 19. When 
there is a recovery of the church out of a lapsed, apostatized 
state, out of that death that hath been upon it ; then also part 
comes to part ; as there the bones came together ; and flesh, 
and sinews ; and so every thing falls into its own place and or 
der in each particular body; and all these bodies into such an 
order, as to make one collective and well-formed body. And 
so it is very plain too^ that ^vhen God doth design to bring that 
state of things about in his church, as that he will now have 
his covenant with them to obtain everlastingly, so as never 
more to turn away from doing them good ; then he hath pro 
mised that he will give them one heart and one way. Even at 
the same time, when he comes to be more visibly and eminent 
ly in the view of the world engaged to such a people as their 
God, and to have taken them exemptly from all other people 
to be his people ; when this comes to be more explicit and no 
torious, so that all the world may take notice of it, and so that 
he will dwell with them, and be visibly present amongst them, 
have his glory amidst them, and not cease to do them good ; 
(so these things are expressed, Jer. 32. 37, — 41.) at the same 
time he gives them one heart and one way, so as that they are 
no more a rent and torn and shattered people, but all one, all 
agreeing about the very way of their walking with God accord 
ing to that relation wherein they stand to him. 


All these things do evidence, that such a union is the pro 
per work of the Spirit ; and that when it shall be poured forth 
generally and copiously, then this union shall obtain in a very 
greit and visible glory". I should after all this speak a little 
more particularly to a twofold inquiry concerning this union : 
but of that hereafter. 

From what hath thus far been said we may take notice, that 
our own divisions are a very sad argument to us, that the Spi 
rit is in a great measure retired and withdrawn ; that little of 
the Spirit is working amongst Christians in our times, in com 
parison of what hath been, and in comparison of what we may 
hope will yet be. But it is grievous, whatsoever hath been, 
whatsoever shall be, that it is our lot to be in such a time, 
when there should be such a gloomy overcast upon the glory of 
the Christian church in this respect. What we see and what 
we hear of that distance and disunion amongst Christians, is a 
sad argument, that the church is in a dismal lapse, the Spirit 
of God is in a great measure gone from amongst us, life retir 
ed and gone. If it were amongst us to enliven, it would be 
ujs to unite. 



which we have been upon in the last discourse, was; 
— that union amongst them that own and bear the Chris 
tian name, we may reckon, will be one great effect of the 
Spirit poured forth; upon which the happiness of the church will 
greatly depend. — Two things have already been spoken to upon 
this head, namely, — that such a union is of great concernment 
to the happiness and prosperity of the church : and — that it is 
the proper work of the Spirit of God to effect it ; and conse 
quently, that when that Spirit shall be generally poured forth, 
such a union cannot but generally obtain. 

[iii.] There are two farther inquiries, which it will be requi 
site we somewhat insist upon relating to this matter : namely, — 
What kind of union this shall be, which we may expect the 
Spirit poured forth to accomplish: and — secondly, in what 
way we may expect the Spirit to accomplish it. 

We inquire, jfirst y what kind of union we may expect it to be. 

And we may expect it shall be such in the general, as where 
in the duty and happiness of the Christian church shall in very 
great measure consist ; such as is required as matter of duty, 
and promised as matter of gift ; and which will contribute 
much to the church's felicity. But inasmuch as we neither ex* 

* Preached September 25th, 1678 


pect the church of God on earth to be perfectly sinless, nor 
perfectly happy ; therefore we cannot expect this union to be 
perfect : nor therefore can we suppose any such things requi 
site to it, as must be thought requisite unto a perfect union. 
We cannot think it necessary, that this Spirit poured forth 
should be, as poured forth or communicated, an infallible 
spirit in order thereto, when it comes to be amongst men or 
in them : which you know some have thought very necessary 
in order to any union in the church of God ; but have pretend 
ed highly to it, without being able to agree where to fix the 
seat of the spirit of infallibility they pretend to have amongst 
them. And since a union and agreement in holiness is as 
necessary for the church of God, as in truth ; one would think 
there should have been as much pretence to an impeccable 
spirit as to an infallible, and every whit for as valuable reason : 
but they have been ashamed to pretend to the former, whilst 
the pretenders have been so notoriously vicious and vile in the 
view of all the world. And certainly, if there were an infal 
lible spirit amongst such men, we may justly say it did male 
hibitare, it was ill-lodged and unfitly in the midst of so horrid 
impurities ; and did no more become them, than a jewel of 
gold a swine's snout. But that we may be a little more parti 
cular here, we shall briefly shew, — what a union we are not 
to expect : — what union there already is amongst all living 
Christians : and — what union we are farther to look and hope 

Consider, first, what union we are not to expect. 

Not such, as that all shall agree in the same measure of 
knowledge ; and consequently, that there will not be an iden 
tity and sameness of apprehension throughout in all things; 
for then there must be the same measure of knowledge. There 
is no man, that thinks differently from another man but he 
thinks so differently either truly or falsely ; and wherever the 
falsity lies, on the one hand or the other, there lies so much 
ignorance : but it is never to be thought, that all will have just 
the same measure of knowledge. 

Nor can we, reasonably expect an agreement with all in the 
same pitch of holiness ; that all will be holy alike ; no one more 
holy, more spiritual, more heavenly than another. 

Nor are we to expect, that all should agree in the same 
measure of joy or consolation ; that there should be the 
same sensations of divine pleasure in all, the same pleasant 
motions ot holy and spiritual affections ; which, be they as holy 
and spiritual as they will, yet must also be complexional in a 
degree, and depend much even upon the bodily temper, where 
in no man can think that all shall ever agree. 

Nor can there be, such a union, as shall infer, that all 


must be of the same rank and order, the same station 
and use in the church of God ; which indeed would not be 
long to the perfection of union, but imperfection ; it would be 
confusion, instead of regular and perfect union. Such kind of 
union we are not to expect. 

And it is to be considered farther in reference to this mat 
ter, secondly, What kind of union there already is. And cer 
tainly some union there is among all these that are sincere 
and living Christians : such I chiefly intend as the subject 
of the union, whereof I am discoursing. And there is, 
and cannot but be amongst all such, a union in those great 
and substantial things, which we have already had occasion to 
take notice of, in Eph. 4. 3, 4. They are all one body, one 
living, animated body by one and the same Spirit. They have 
all one hope of their calling, one happiness and end; one 
Lord, one faith ; they are all substantially of one religion ; 
one baptism, meaning by that (as hath been noted,) not so 
much the signum as the signatmn ; they are all comprehend 
ed within the bond of the same covenant of life and peace. 
They have all one God the Father of all, who is of all, and in 
all, and through all. 

And, which sums up all this, one way or another, they are 
all united in one common head. The apostle, speaking of 
Christ, says, He is the head of the body, the church, Col. 1. 
18. And to the same purpose, in Eph. 1. 22,23. And by 
virtue of that union they have with Christ the Mediator, the 
head of the church, it comes to pass, that they do unite and 
agree besides in all the other things that were mentioned. 
They are all of his body. It is from him they all partake of 
that one and the same Spirit. It is he that hath opened heaven 
to them, given them a prospect of an eternal blessed state, 
brought life and immortality to light before their eyes : they 
are called by him in that one hope of their calling. It is a re 
velation from God by him, that is the matter of their common 
faith. He is the Mediator of that covenant, that comprehends 
them all. It is he that reduces and restores and reunites them 
to God, and sets all things right between him and them. 
Therefore herein is the sum qf their union, that they have all 
one Head, wherein they are united. 

And this their common Head is not only a political, but a 
vital Head ; as is apparently enough represented in those most 
emphatical expressions, Eplj. 4. 15, 16. where the metaphor 
is distinctly pursued of a union between the head and the bo 
dy : that speaking the truth in love," we way grow up into him 
in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom th<* 
whole body fitly joined together and compacted, -by 4hat 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. With which agrees that in Col. 1. 
IS. He is the head of the body, the church, who is the be 
ginning, the first-born from the dead, &c. And that in chap. 
2. 1 9, Not holding the head, from which all the body by joints 
and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, 
mcreaseth with the increase of God. All these expressions 
speak a vital union, such as every member in the body hath 
with the head, being by proper ligaments jointed into its own 
place, and so connected with those that finally and ultimately 
have more immediate connection with the head ; from whence 
there are those several ductus, those conveyances of spirits, by 
which the head doth bejcome a fountain of directive and mo 
tive influence unto the whole body. And so is our Lord Jesus 
Christ unto the church a fountain both of directive and motive 
influence, of light and life. 

He is a Fountain of light to all true christians. For every 
beam of true light is a ray from that Sun of righteousness, shines 
from and through the Lord Jesus Christ. We are under a dis 
pensation, wherein the Father speaks to us by his Son, who is 
the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his per 
son, Heb. 1. 2. 3. This world were universally a region of 
nothing else but pure mere darkness, were it not for him, the 
light that lighteneth every one that cometli into the world, ac 
cording to the several variations and degrees and kinds of light 
that shine here and there. And, 

He is also a fountain of life and vital influence. That very 
light is vital light, the light of life. The life was the light of 
men, John 1 . 4. And for all that have real union with him, 
it is because he lives, that they live also. 

Herein therefore they have union with this Head. They all 
participate together in the light of divine truth, whereof he 
hath been the teacher; of all that saving wisdom and knowledge 
that is treasured up in him. In him are hid all the treasures 
of wisdom and knowledge, Col. 2. 3. And all that are really 
of his body, unite and meet in a participation of necessary light 
and knowledge from him ; they partake according to their 
measure of necessary truth from that Fountain, so much as is 
essential unto the Christian religion, and necessarily concurs 
unto the constituting of that. And they all agree in the par 
ticipation of motive and active influence from him, for the per 
formance of all the essentially necessary duties and exercises 
that do belong to the Christian life. Such a union there is 
amongst all sincere christians. This is implied in the expres 
sion of holding the head before mentioned. They truly hold 


the head, who are so united to it, as that by virtue of that 
union they receive and derive thence the knowledge and per 
ception of all essentially requisite truth, and that life and pow 
er that is also requisite to the duty that lies upon Christians as 

There hath been a great deal of controversy, between the re 
formed and those of the roman church, about that distinction 
of the essentials and extra-essentials of Christianity. But let 
inen cavil as long as they will, it would manifestly be the most 
absurd thing in all the world to deny the distinction : for if any 
would deny it, I would inquire of them ; Which part of the 
distinction is it, that you would deny ? would you deny, that 
there are essential parts of Christianity ? or else, that there are 
extra-essential parts ? if the distinction be not good, one of 
these parts must be denied. But if any would say, there are 
no essential parts ; that would be to say, that the Christian re 
ligion hath no being ; for certainly that is nothing, unto which 
nothing is essential. And to say, that there are no extra-es 
sential parts, is to say, that a man cannot be a Christian unless 
lie knows every thing of truth, and unless he punctually do 
every thing of duty, whether he know it or not : then a man 
could not be a Christian unless he did certainly know the 
meaning of the number "six hundred sixty six," and a thou 
sand difficult passages besides up and down the Scripture. So 
that in effect, to deny the distinction of essential and extra-es 
sential parts in Christianity, or of it, must either be to deny 
that there is any such thing as Christianity, or that there is any 
such thing as a Christian : if there be no essential parts, Chris 
tianity is nothing ; for that is nothing, to which nothing is es 
sential : and if there be none extra-essential, then there are no 
Christians -, for certainly there is no man, that knows and does 
every thing that belongs to the Christian religion. But that 
there are essential parts, and therefore extra- essential too, is 
most evident : and which the essential parts be, in contradis 
tinction to all others, is not obscurely intimated to us in the 
Scripture itself, in such mmmas of Christian doctrine and 
practice, as we have pointed to us here and there in some re 
markable texts. As, when we are told, 1 Cor. 8. 6. To us 
there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and 
we in him ; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all 
things, and we by him. Where we have the great objects, 
upon which religion terminates ; God considered as God, the 
end ; and Christ the mediator, the way to that end. And then 
we are not without what is summary too of the acts to be done 
in reference to those objects. The apostle, speaking of the 
course he had taken in unfolding the mysteries of the gospel, 

VOL. V* V» 2 X 


resolves all into this sum ; he had been testifying both to Jews 
and Greeks repentance toward God, and faith towards our 
Lord Jesus Christ, Acts 20. 21. Which are such acts or parts of 
Christian practice, as belong to the indication of the Chris 
tian course at first, and then to be continued afterwards through 
it ; but so as to comprehend many particulars of practice be 
sides ; whereof our Lord Jesus Christ gives us another sum 
mary, Mat. 22. 37? &c. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God 
with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 
And, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, On these two 
commandments, saith he, hang all the law and the prophets. 
And indeed you have objects and acts implicitly comprehended 
together in that great summary, that is expressive of the faith, 
into which Christ directed his apostles to proselyte all nations, 
into which they were to baptize them ; that is, into the name 
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Mat. 28. 
19. Where the Father is to be considered as the end, the 
Son as the way, and the Spirit as the great principle to move 
souls towards that end through that way. Now there are none, 
that are sincere and living christians, but do and must unite 
in such things as these, these great essentials and substantials 
of the Christian religion. 

But it may now be said ; If there be so much union amongst 
all christians already in these so great and substantial things ; 
what farther union must we look for ? which was the next 
thing we proposed to speak to upon this head ; 

To consider, thirdly, what farther union we are yet to ex 
pect and hope for. And it must be acknowledged, and ought 
to be lamented, that there is all this union with very much 
disunion ; such disunion, that is in a high degree dishonour 
able to God, scandalous to the world, and uncomfortable to 
the Christian community within itself. You well know, that 
there may be one house standing upon one foundation • and yet 
miserably shattered, ill-supported, ill-covered. There may be 
one large family, all under one family-governor; and yet many 
sidings and contentions in it, many parties and part-takings 
this way and that. The like may be said of a city, a kingdom, 
an army, or any such aggregate* body. The like may be said 
even of a man himself, that hath, while he is a man, several 
parts united in him ; but yet this living man may be sick, very 
sick, and even nigh to death, in a most languishing state : 
soul and body are still united, and several parts in the body 
still united with one another ; but it may be some dying, some 
dead, all languishing at least ; and, as the case is in some dis 
eases, one member falling foul upon another, the man beating, 
hurting, wounding himself : the parts are still in union ; but 


this is a union very remote from what belongs to a sound, 
sober, healthy man, in good plight every way. And so the 
matter is with the Christian church too. We do acknowledge 
such a union in all the fore-mentioned things, in all things of 
that nature : but it is with a most scandalous and pernicious 
disunion. We do not think that the Spirit of God hath totally 
forsaken the Christian church ; but it is plain, it is miserably 
languishing and next to death ; according to the import of that 
expression to the Sardian church, Rev. 3. 2. Strengthen the 
things that remain, that are ready to die. There is truth, but 
wrapt up in obscurity, and held in unrighteousness ; as is too 
obvious to common observation. And therefore it is another 
sort of union than this is, in respect of the degree and perfec 
tion of it, that we are yet to look for ; and which certainly the 
Spirit, when poured forth copiously and generally, (as we are 
encouraged to hope it will be) will effect and bring about. 
This union, which we are to expect, (as indeed the union, 
which already we have in nature and kind,) is to be both intel 
lectual and cordial. We are to expect an improvement of it 
,unto a much higher degree in both these kinds, a higher union 
footh of judgment and love. 

But are to expect, first, a higher intellectual union, than 
we hitherto find; a nearer union and agreement in mind and 
judgment amongst Christians. And it is very unreasonable not 
to expect it, when we consider how plain and express the 
charge is concerning that kind of union : it is very unrea 
sonable to think, that the people of God, the community 
of Christians, shall be always in so notorious a discrcpency 
from their rule, even in this particular case. See the solem 
nity of that charge, in I Cor. 1. 10. Now I beseech you, 
brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all 
spea^k the same thing, and that there be no divisions among 
you ; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind 
and in the same judgment. Do we think the Christian com 
munity shall be never nearer the rule in this case, than it is L 
We have reason to expect it shall; and especially since we 
find it is so expressly foretold, that in the latter days (which 
this discourse we have in hand hath reference to,) one heart 
shall be given, and one way, Jer. 32. 39. Certainly there 
shall be so much agreement in minds and judgments, as shall 
lead the people of God all into one way; for such a word cannot 
fall to the ground, and is not put into the Bible to stand for a 
cipher there. And we have it expressly promised, that of them 
that are all intent to press forwards towards the same mark, and 
wherein they have attained, to do all to their uttermost to walk 
by the same rule j if in any thing they be otherwise minded* 


God shall reveal this to them, Phil. 3. 15, 16. It is also ex 
pressly promised by our Lord Christ himself, that they that will 
do his will, shall know the doctrine whether it be of God, yea 
or no, John 7- 17- Certainly, when the Spirit comes to be 
so copiously and generally poured forth, men will be attem 
pered more to the will of God ; there will be more earnest 
minding and endeavouring to do his will ; self-will will not be 
the common rule and law amongst those that bear the name of 
Christians, as now it is : and upon this is that great promise 
grounded ; all that is required is, '* If any man will do his will, 
he shall know his doctrine." There is no so necessary and cer 
tain qualification for the knowledge of divine truth, as sinceri 
ty ; when men do inquire for truth, not to gratify curiosity, 
not to serve an interest, not to keep up a party, not to pro 
mote a base design ; but with sincere hearts, that they may un 
derstand what the good and acceptable will of the Lord is. 
They that are intent upon this, our Lord Christ will not fail 
them, nor break his promise, that such as will do his will, shall 
know the doctrine. There is a peculiar gust and relish, which 
the truth that is after godliness always carries in it to persons 
that are alive and well, and that have their senses exercised to 
discern between good and evil. Cannot my taste discern per 
verse things ? saith Job, chap. 6. 30. Has not a lively Chris 
tian a taste to discern some things that are obstructive and des 
tructive to the Christian religion and the Christian interest in 
the world ? a person alive, and with senses exercised, will 
taste it out ; even as the new-born babe desires sincere milk, 
while it would refuse that which is corrupt and mixed with any 
thing ungrateful. Herein we are to expect much more of an 
intellectual union, or union in judgment concerning the great 
truths of God. 

We arc to expect, secondly, a much nearer and more inward cor 
dial union of love. When the Spirit was more eminently poured 
forth upon Christ's ascension, see how it was with Christians in 
that respect, Acts 2. 4G. They continued daily with one accord 
in the temple. Our translation renders it too faintly ; c^oQv^ov^ 
they met together all with one mind ; so the expresssion literally 
signifies. And Chap. 4. 32. it is said, that believers were all of one 

heart and One Soul, rvos Tr^Qas TCM Tusiwrxvluvw i) xa^iz x.a.1 w iJ't'PC''* 

put. Of the multitude that believed there was but one heart 
and soul : as if they were a community, all acted and ani 
mated by one soul. However unlike itself the church of God 
is grown in a long tract of time, the Spirit of. God is not 
grown unlike itself; and therefore, when it comes to be pour 
ed forth as it hath been, it will still act as it hath done, uni 
formly and agreeably to itself - 3 and make them, that now arc 


many parties, divided and shattered, broken this way and that, 
all one entire piece. How passionately longing do the apos 
tle's expressions import him to be, in reference to this one 
thing, that is, the union composed of the two things I have 
mentioned, of a union in mind and judgment, and of a clo 
sure in heart and love, in Col. 2. 1, 2. I would, tha't ye knew 
what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, 
and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh : that 
their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, 
and unto all the riches of the full assurance of understanding, 
to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the 
Father, and of Christ. This is the union that he covets ; and 
we must know, that that Spirit, who is to be the author of this 
union, was no doubt the author of these very desires and long 
ings of the apostle's soul about it : it acts agreeably to Itself. 
He desired and longed so earnestly for this, that they might be 
knit together both in love and understanding, to the acknow 
ledgment of the mystery of God, both the Father and the Son. 
And what have there been, even from the dictate and direction 
of the Spirit, so earnest longings for ? why, though so long 
before, we are to account these very longings to be the earnests 
of the thing desired, and so to expect that whereof they are the 

We thus far see, what union we are not to expect, what 
already is, and what we are to expect and look for farther thari 
yet there is, or than yet we see. 

Upon -all this, while as yet we behold so little of so desirable 
a thing, we have reason to account that it is with the church 
•f God a time of his hiding his face, and of the restraint of his 
Spirit. I will no more hide my face, I will pour out my Spi 
rit. While the Spirit is not poured forth, even with reference 
to this blessed end and work ; this is the notion which we ought 
to have concerning the present state of the Christian church ; 
it is a time of God's hiding his face from them ; the bright 
And glorious face, that hath shone upon it sometimes, and 
that we are to expect should shine, is yet obscured and hid. 
And what should our posture be upon that account ? while we 
tnust reckon this the common state and case of the Christian 
church at this day ; in what posture should our souls be ; and 

1 . It ought to be a very mournful posture. How hath he 
covered with a cloud in his anger the daughter of his people ? 
how is her glory confounded ? when he did decline to go with 
the people of Israel farther on in their way towards Canaan, 
saying, I will send an angel before thee, and 1 will drive out 
the Canaanite, the Amorite, &c. lie shall destroy them, for 


you. " But 1 will not go up in the midst of thee, I will not go 
with you any further :" the people, it is said, when they heard 
these evil tidings, mourned, and no man did put on him hig 
ornaments, Exod. 33. 2, 3, 4. It is a mourning time, when 
the bridegroom is withdrawn : and there is no sadder token^ 
that he is withdrawn, than to behold the confusions, which 
have ensued in his absence. 

2. It ought to be an expecting, a waiting posture. Sure this 
dark and gloomy night will be succeeded by a morning : it will 
not be a perpetual, eternal night ; there will be a time, when 
the hid face will again appear, and the cloud remove. I will 
wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob^ 
and 1 will look for him, Isa. 8. 17« And it should be an ear 
nest, desirous, longing expectation. There can be no more 
dismal token upon us, than to be indifferent : he is gone, hit 
face is hid, he is not to be seen ; and whether he come to 
wards us again, whether we shall see him again any more, we 
matter it not ; this would be the most dismal token. 



JJESIDES the principles, which the Spirit of God, wllen 
copiously and generally poured forth,, will work in each 
individual person, tending to create a happy state of things 
in the church ; we proposed to speak of two general effects, 
that must have the Christian community as such, for the sub 
ject of them, and not individual persons only, namely, union 
and order. 

Much hath been said upon the former, the desirable effect 
of union. It hath been shewn, that the happiness of the 
church doth much depend upon this, and that it is the proper 
work of the Spirit of God to effect it : and then the last time 
we came to speak to a twofold inquiry : — to what kind of 
union this is to be. This we have gone through, and now 

To consider, secondly,, in what way the Spirit of God poured 
forth may be expected to effect this union. 

And there is no doubt but it will effect it by the same means, 
by which it shall revive and recover religion ; of which we 
have so largely spoken, f At the same time when it makes 
the Christian church a living church, it^will make it one, that 
is, in that higher and more eminent degree, whereof we have? 

* Preached October 2, 16*78. t See page. 256, &c. 


been speaking. It is but one and the same thing, or is done 
eadem opera, the making the church more holy and the mak 
ing it one : what brings Christians nearer to God and Christ, 
will certainly and infallibly at once bring them nearer to one 
another. For it is manifest, that the greatest differences, that 
are to be found in the Christian world, lie between the godly 
and the ungodly, the converted and the unconverted, the sin 
cere and the insincere : whatever differences there are amongst 
the people of God themselves, those are still the greatest dif 
ferences which lie between them and those who are not o£ 
them ; for there the disagreement is about having the Lord for 
our God. Every ungodly man is his own idol ; he hath yet 
this first step to take in religion, the choosing of God alone to 
be his God : now the difference must needs be vast, between, 
those that take the Lord for their God, and those that take him 
not, but serve a base and despicable idol, self, and make all 
to their very uttermost subservient unto that. The sincere and 
Insincere differ about their last end ; which is the greatest dif 
ference that can be imagined. All men's courses are shaped 
and directed by the ends, which they propose to themselves : 
and to have the Lord for our God, and to have him for our 
supreme and ultimate end, is all one. Now how vastly must 
those ways needs differ, that lead to two directly contrary ends? 
therefore still the greatest difference cannot but be between the 
godly and the earthly carnal-minded man, who hath himself 
for his God, and all the world, if he could compass it, fora 
sacrifice to his own idol, himself. Men of that temper and 
complexion of soul are the men that stand most off from union, 
and that are the greatest schismatics in all the world ; it can 
not but be so. Therefore, whensoever the Spirit of God pour 
ed forth shall make men agree in having the Lord for their 
God, this God shall be our God ; when men shall become 
more generally sincere and thorough Christians ; then it cannot 
but be, that they shall be united with one another, and agree 
in far greater things than it is possible they can differ from one 
another in. And therefore in the forementioned, Jer. 32. 38, 
39. at the same time when it is said, they shall be my people, 
and I will be their God ; it is immediately added, And I will 
give them one heart and one way. This union cannot but be 
the result of more lively, serious religion, and of deeper impres 
sions of godliness and of the divine image upon the souls of 
men. Not only as that union between the blessed persons in 
the Godhead is the pattern of union amongst the people of 
God ; that they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and 
I in thee, John 17.21. But also as such a union is the cer 
tain and necessary result of other excellencies, wherein the 


divine image doth consist, and wherein holy ones do and can 
not but resemble God. One apostle giving an account of God, 
how we are to conceive of him, gives it us under these two no 
tions, that he is light, and that he is love, 1 John 1.5. chap. 
4. 8, 16. The image of God in these two things, more gene 
rally and vividly impressed upon men, doth this whole business, 
makes them all one. How blessed a union would there be, 
when Christians shall generally appear the representations of the 
blessed God himself in these two things, a composition, as it 
were, of light and love. 

Therefore, to give you more distinctly the account, how or 
in what way the Spirit poured forth should bring about this 
union ; it will be, — By increasing of light and knowledge 
amongst them that bear the Christian name every where in the 
world : and — By giving greater measures of grace. By the 
former, men shall generally come to be more knowing in things 
necessary to the union ; and by the latter, they shall be inore 
patient of dissent from one another in things less necessary to 
be known. 

This will be, first, by an increase of light and knowledge in 
things more necessary to be known. I do not mean here mere 
ly notional knowledge ; as the apostle doth not mean that of 
God, when he saith, that God is light ; but I mean that know 
ledge received in the minds of Christians, that lies in the next 
immediate tendency to holiness ; the knowledge of tiie truth 
that is after godliness, as such, in that designed and direct 
tendency, as it doth attemper and dispose the minds of men 
unto the reception of truth as sanctifying. Sanctify them by 
thy truth; thy word is truth, John 17- !?• We are bound to 
give thanks always to God for you, — that he hath chosen you 
unto salvation, through sane tin* cat ion of the Spirit, and belief 
of the truth, 2 Thes. 2. 13. The truth, as it lies in an im 
mediate tendency to godliness, and is transformative of the 
soul into a holy and godly frame ; so we must conceive it to be 
impressed in order to this blessed work : otherwise there wants 
the cement, and that which should hold hearts together, as 
intent -and directed all towards one common design and end. 
And unto this purpose, we must suppose the Spirit poured 
forth shall heal the disaffection of men's minds unto such truth) 
or unto truth considered under that notion and upon that ac 
count. It hath a great work to do for this end upon the minds 
of men; the union that is to be brought about (as was observ 
ed upon the former head,) being necessarily intellectual first, 
and then cordial. It is in the mind that the first concoction of 
truth must be wrought, in order to a further and more perfect 
concoction in the heart afterwards. And whereas there is a 
YOL. r. 2 Y 


manifold distempeniture and malady even in the minds of men, 
that renders them uncapable of useful, practical gospel-know 
ledge ; *he great work of the Spirit of God must be to remove 
and heal those infirmities and maladies of the mind, and to do 
it generally amongst Christians ; that so they may be brought 
to increase in the knowledge of God, in divine knowledge ; as 
the expression is, Col- 1. 1C. I might make a copious enume 
ration here of many such maladies and distempers in the mind, 
by which it becomes disaffected to truth : and which appear 
now to be epidemical evils, and need therefore a universal 
effusion of the Spirit to cure them, and so to bring about the 
intellectual union, of which we speak. These maladies, though 
some of them be in the mind itself, yet most of them are origi 
nally in the heart, and thence come to affect and distemper the 
mind, and render it less susceptive of useful and savoury know 
ledge. As, 

There is an unapprehensiveness too generally observable in 
the minds of men ; a dulncss towards the apprehension of truth. 
The Spirit of God, when it comes to be generally poured forth, 
(as it was said to be upon the Messiah himself, on whom it 
was poured forth without measure, and thence to be transfused, 
as from a common fountain, unto all that have vital union with 
him,) will make men of quick understanding in the fear of the 
Lord ; as it is expressed, Isa. 11. 3. 

There is a slothful oscitancy in the minds of most ; a re- 
gardlessness and uriconcernedness to know the great and deep 
things of God ; and that causes a great disagreement and dis 
union in the Christian world. There are many that stint them 
selves : they think they know enough, and desire to know no 
more, and cannot endure to be out-gone by others, or that 
any should exceed their measure. As these latter times, with 
reference to which we speak, will certainly be times of very 
much knowledge ; so they will be of very much inquiry : Many 
shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased, Dan. 
12. 4. There will not be a slothful, oscitant sitting down with 
a present measure and attainment, but there will be a follow 
ing on to know the Lord, as you have it, Hos. 6. 3. and 
then the promise of "his going forth shall be prepared as the 
morning ;" as it immediately follows. There will be always 
new and fresh breakings forth of divine light, ready to reward 
the endeavour of them that seriously set themselves to inquire 
and seek after it. 

There is very generally observable with many much credulity; 
aptness to take up reports. The simple, says Solomon, be- 
lieveth every word. Prov. 14. 15. And hence it comes to pass, 
that every one, that can tell a plausible story, and a little set 


off any fancy and novel invention of his own, makes it pre 
sently to obtain and pass for a revelation : and hence comes, 
as is obvious to common observation, much of that division 
that hath been observable in our days. 

There is also, on the contrary hand, an excessive increduli 
ty, or unaptness to believe things ; because they are very great 
and glorious, and exceed the measures of our preconceptions 
or preconceived thoughts : the evil of which our Saviour up 
braids his disciples with, that they were slow of heart to believe 
all that the prophets had spoken, the things contained in the 
divine revelation that had been made before by the prophets 
concerning him, Luke 24. 25. 

There is inconsideration ; an inability to consider and weigh 
things, to ponder and balance them as the case may require. 
Men are apt, rashly and without using their understandings, 
to take up things upon their very first appearance. It is spo 
ken concerning these latter days, in Isaiah 32. 4. that even 
the heart of the rash shall understand knowledge ; of those 
that were so, before they shall be cured of that malady. There 
is also an unaptness to consider, as well as an inability and 
indisposition to it ; many times from a kind of superstitious 
fear, that men think they must not use their understandings to 
examine and search into things, that it is not yet permitted to 
them to do so : as if God had given men faculties, which they 
were not to use : they might as well be afraid to look upon an 
object with their eyes, and to pry into it, and to labour that 
way to distinguish between one thing and another. 

There is, opposite to that, a certain petidancy of mind ; 
when men will make it their business to tear and unravel all 
principles, and they must have their reason satisfied in every 
thing, or they will be satisfied in nothing. 

There is an in judiciousness ; an inability to conclude ; after 
considering never so much, never so long when the balance 
will never be \ cast. So many are ever learning, and never 
come to the knowledge of the truth, Q Tim. 3. 7- never con 
clude, never determine ; but are always as children tossed to 
and fro. 

There is, again, a certain scepticism ofmindvtitli a great 
many ; that when others have stated and settled, even by com 
mon agreement and consent in the Christian church, such con 
clusions, yet declaim against every thing as uncertain ; not only 
from a peculiar inability to make a judgment ; but from a prin 
ciple that there is no judgment to be made, and that there is 
nothing certain at all, or ought to be looked upon as such : 
which hath starved the Christian church and made it languish 
for a long time, as to the matter of sound knowledge. 


There is instability of judgment ; that when men have con 
cluded and determined upon good evidence, this is true and 
ought to be adhered to accordingly, yet they are presently off 
again ; and therefore are so remote from agreeing with the ge 
nerality of other Christians, that they are never found long to 
agree with themselves. 

There is, as what is more directly opposite to the former, a 
certain kind of obstinacy of mind, prejudice, a fixed prepos 
session with corrupt and false principles, that once imhibed 
shall never be quitted; and which doth very frequently pro 
ceed from an enslavedness unto human dictates : that is, that 
they have taken some one or other to be a leader to them, and 
an orator ; and so give away that faith, which is due only unto 
a divine revelation, and ought to pitch and centre there, unto 
the fallible judgment of a man ; in direct contradiction to that 
rule of our Lord Christ, Call no man rabbi, call no man mas 
ter upon earth, Mat. 23. 8, 10, Do not enslave your minds 
and judgments to any man. 

It must l)e supposed, that whenever the Spirit of God doth 
that blessed work in the world, to revive and recover religion 
and Christianity, it will unite Christians even by this means, 
the curing of these great maladies and distempers, that are in 
the minds of men so generally, and by which they are rendered 
indisposed and averse to the entertainment and retention of 
sound gospel-knowledge. For this Spirit, where it is given, 
is the spirit of a sound mind, 2 Tim. 1. 7« The word, that is 
rendered soundness of mind there, 0-u^ovKr/j.os^ signifies sobri 
ety, a spirit of sobriety. Indeed that word doth commonly 
misguide men ; and they apply it unto a thing far inferior in 
nature and dignity unto that which it truly fcignifies ; as if it 
were to be opposed only to gross sensual wickedness. But so 
briety, as the very notation of the word doth import, hath its 
seat and subject in the mind, and doth firstly and chiefly affect 
that, A sound mind and a sober mind is all one. Till the 
Spirit of God do in these several respects cure men's minds, it 
is impossible there should be union or agreement ; unless men 
do agree only in being diseased ; or (which would not do the 
business neither,) unless they could agree all to be in one dis 
ease, which would be a very unhappy union also. When there 
fore the Spirit of the living God shall universally come forth 
upon men, and create the world Christians, and create the 
Christian world a region of light ; when it shall generally make 
men apprehensive, inquiring, serious, considerate, judicious, 
lovers of the truth even for itself, sincere, so as to entertain 
truth with no other design than only that the life of godliness 
may be promoted and served by it -, there cannot but then be in 


a very great degree the happy union obtaining amongst chris- 
tians, whereof we have spoken. 

But yet, when all this is done, we cannot suppose by it, that 
men should be brought to know all things ; but still there will 
be many things, wherein they cannot but remain ignorant, and 
consequently dissent and differ in many things from one ano 

Therefore the Spirit of God poured forth must be supposed 
also to effect this union, secondly, by making Christians more 
generally patient of dissent from one another, in less necessary 
things which they may not still so generally know. And, if we 
consider, what the genuine operations of the blessed Spirit of 
God are, and what kind of Spirit that is wherever it comes to 
obtain ; this cannot but be the general temper of Christians, 
when that Spirit shall be eminently poured forth ; that they shall 
be very patient of dissent from one another in things wherein 
they continue to dissent. 

For, we must suppose, first, that the Spirit being generally 
so poured forth, there will be a greater ability to distinguish 
between truths that are of Scripture- revelation, and those that 
are not ; and consequently which it is matter of duty to believe, 
and which not. For undoubtedly there is to he such a dis 
tinction made between truth and truth, as any one may easily 
see at the first view. For we must know, that a thing is not 
therefore the necessary object of my assent, because it is true ; 
but because it is evident, or because it is credible ; either evi 
dent in itself, or recommended as credible to me by the autho 
rity of him that doth reveal it. I am not bound therefore to 
believe a thing immediately, because it is in itself true ; for 
that it may be, and yet I have no means to know it to be so, 
but then is the obligation inferred upon me to believe such a 
thing, when it is clothed with sufficient evidence to recom 
mend itself unto my understanding. And whereas there are 
some things that God hath revealed, even all things that are 
any ways necessary either to the being or the well-being of re 
ligion ; I must consider those things that lie not within the 
compass of that revelation, as what God hath left unto men in 
medio ; he has left them undetermined, and so they may be 
matter of very innocent disagreement, of discourse and decer- 
tation, without any concernedness, on the one part or the 

Amongst revealed truths, we may suppose men will, se 
condly, be enabled to distinguish between the greater and the 
less, between those that are more necessary and less necessary. 

We must suppose, thirdly, Christians then to be generally 
more spiritual, and apt to be taken up more with the great 


things of religion ; and less apt to be greatly and deeply con 
cerned about matters of less consequence, so as to disturb and 
break the order and peace of the church upon the account of 

We must, fourthly, suppose them then to be more holy : less 
opinionative, less conceited and humoursome ; which is that 
kind of knowledge that the aposde doth oppose to love, as not 
only unedifying, but destructive of edification, 1 Cor. 8. l,&c. 
Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man 
think that he knoweth any thing, if he knows with a conceited 
reflection upon his own knowledge, admiring himself upon ac 
count of it ; he knowdh nothing yet as he ought to know. Ig 
norance is better than his knowledge. Men will think more 
meanly of themselves and their own judgments, and either 
more highly or more charitably of other men ; either think, 
that possibly they may see that which themselves see not ; or 
if they cannot apprehend so, yet at least that the men are sin 
cere and upright-hearted towards God ; as it is meet for them 
to judge, and not to be insolently censorious of such as do in 
such or such little matters differ from them ; not to attribute 
to perverseness of mind every man's dissention of opinion from 
their own. 

They must needs, fifthly, be supposed to be more compas 
sionate unto those, whom they suppose to know less than them 
selves ; as knowing, that there are many things which them 
selves are ignorant of, and they shall never attain to know all 
things as long as they live. There are still all the genuine 
workings of the Spirit of God, so far as it obtains and prevails 
over the spirits of men ; and so this among the rest. 

Christians will undoubtedly then, sixthly, be formed unto a 
more awful and reverential subjection to God's own prescribed 
rules, concerning the boundaries and terms of Christian com 
munion. Men will not then dare to make terms of their own 
to limit the communion of Christians as such ; to devise new 
terms which Christ was never the author of, and will never 
own : but the authority of such a law will obtain in the hearts 
of Christians, that are become so serious and subject to the 
authority of God as they must then be supposed to be, so as 
that they will extend their communion as far as it can be judg 
ed that God will extend his, and Christ will extend his. For 
that is the measure, that is given us, in these two passages. 
In one place it is said, Rom. 14. 1, 3. Receive such a one, 
for God hath received him : receive him for all his doubting, 
for all his difference from you : and why ? because the Lord 
hath received him. In the other place it is thus expressed, 
chap. 15.7. Receive ye one another, as Christ bath received 


us 5 to the glory of God. God receives such a one into his 
communion ; and shall not I receive him into mine ? Christ 
receives such a one, even unto the glory of the Father ; and 
shall not J receive him into my fellowship ? when once the spi 
rits of men come to be awed into a subjection unto the divine 
authority in this thing, so as to reckon it profane to prescribe 
bounds and terms unto Christian communion, other than God 
and Christ have prescribed themselves ; then no doubt will this 
blessed effect obtain and take place in the Christian church, 
then will it become an entire united thing, one thing within it 
self, and never till then. As long as we must have terms of 
Christian communion of men's own devising, according to the 
different humours of men, they will still vary,, and so we shall 
never know where to be. 

Thus we have considered that first effect to be expected from 
the Spirit generally poured forth, in order to promote the peace 
ful state of the church, namely, the union of Christians amongst 
themselves *. I would add something concerning another par 
ticular mentioned, as conducive also to the same peaceful state. 

(ii.) Order is another blessed effect to be looked for from the 
pouring out of the Spirit, and that belongs unto the Christian 
community as a community, and is most necessary unto the 
making up of that happy time and state of things, whereof we 
have been speaking. It is very plain, that this superadds 
somewhat unto union. It is a bad union, where there is not 
order. Union speaks the compactiveness of parts ; order the 
due situation of them, that every one be in that place which 
duly belongs to it. Suppose there were never so much union 
in the parts of the natural body, but the eyes were placed where 
the ears should be, and the hands where the feet should be ; 
notwithstanding all the union of parts, the lack of order would 
make this thing uncomfortable to itself, and deformed and 
monstrous in the view of others. There are many members in 
one and the same body; and these members have all their dis 
tinct place and use and purpose that they serve for, as the 
apostle at large discourses, 1 Cor. 12. Now the Spirit of God 
cannot be poured forth, but it will infer a comely order in the 
Christian church : by the same operation by which it gives it 
life, it will give it shape and comeliness, and a due figure and 
disposition of parts within itself. It was well said concerning 
this matter by a worthy person ; " God will certainly not be 
wanting in point of shape and comely order to a church, that 
hath a principle of life within itself." He that clothes lilies, 
and gives life unto the sensitive creatures, and gives them their 

* See page 321. 


own proper shape also ; will no doubt do so unto the lively bo 
dy of his own Son : he will never be wanting to it in point of 
shape and comely order, when it comes to be a lively vigorous 
tiling : by how much the fuller of life, so much certainly the 
order will be the more comely and pleasant, by its own choice, 
and much more as directed by his rules. To evince this, 
consider these several things. 

p.] The Spirit poured forth comes to be, in them that re 
ceive it, as a certain kind of nature ; it is called the divine na 
ture. Nature, you know, acts uniformly and orderly in all its 
operations. How regular are the courses of nature ? how con 
stant the returns of days and nights, of summer and winter ? 
how strictly do all the species and kinds of things keep all their 
own kind, "retain their properties, colours, virtues, ways and 
methods of operation ? The Spirit of God, working (as it is 
received in the hearts of christians.) even as a certain kind of 
nature, must needs work uniformly ; and so have a steady ten 
dency to the begetting and keeping up of order in the wholt* 
coin in unity, that shall be aggregated by it. 

pi.] It cannot be, but that, by how much the Spirit doth 
more obtain and shall be generally poured forth amongst inrn, 
each one will be more peculiarly adapted and fitted to the bu 
siness of his own station, so as that he will thereupon choose 
that as fittest for him. 

pit.] It cannot be, but that all men will be more debased 
and humbled, and eqiril estimators of themselves and therefore 
apprehend not themselves fit for a station, unto which they are 
not called. 

pv.] The Spirit poured forth will no doubt make men more 
generally apprehensive of, and reverentially subject to the 
authority of God himself, in all his own ordinances and ap 
pointments : and therefore, where one is to teach, and others 
to be taught ; some to govern, others to be governed ; thn 
authority, that doth design men unto more public stations and 
capacities, will be considered as divine. We notionally know 
so much already ; but it will be another thing, when that im 
pression is made upon the hearts of christians ; "He thatdes- 
piseth, despiseth not man, but God." 

[v.] The Spirit poured forth cannot be without making 
men generally very tender of the community, unto which they 
belong ; and of the whole Christian community in general : as 
every one can easily apprehend, how this would be prejudiced, 
if order be broken, and men commonly allow themselves the 
liberty to step out of their own ranks and stations, to be and 
do what they are not called to be or do. 

The concurrence of these things cannot but infer, that 
whenever the Spirit of God shall be l generally poured forth, tbe 


Christian church will fall into order : there will need no great 
hammering in reference to that, the business will even do of 
itself. All will know, and all will mind their own stations 
and the business of them; and apprehend their own unfitness 
for any station, unto which God doth not call ; and appre 
hend their privilege in not being" so called, in being exempt 
from the number and burden of more public stations : as cer 
tainly exemption, if it were understood, is a very great privi 
lege ; when God doth not lay any farther charge upon me, than 
only to intend the business of a narrower station and a les 
ser sphere ; when 1 can be vacant unto God, and for his com 
merce, and there walk with him undisturbly within my own 
line ; while others are eaten up with cares and solicitudes con 
cerning the common affairs, that they are concerned in, and in 
trusted with the management of. No doubt the Spirit of God 
will help every man to make a true judgment of things, when 
it comes to be generally poured forth : and this, that hath been 
just spoken of, cannot but be judged ; because it is a very great 
privilege to have freedom and vacancy for the proper business 
of a Christian as such, within his own calling and verge ; when 
God shall, as it were providentially, say unto a man, (t I lay 
no other charge upon thee, but to walk with me in thy own 
station and within the bounds of thy own calling, to make me 
the entire object of thy love and delight, and at all times to so 
lace thyself with me ; I exempt thee from things, that would 
disturb and disquiet and divert from the business and delights 
of such a continued course of walking with me." When this 
comes to be generally understood, there will be little disposition 
in the minds of men to break order, by usurping upon what 
belongs not to them. 

Thus far you see, that little else can bethought needful to 
the bringing about of a very happy time and state of things, be 
sides the pouring forth of the Spirit. 

VOL. V. 2 Z 



W ] 

'E have been shewing In many discourses, what a good 
state of things or happy times are to be brought about 
by the Spirit of God poured forth. And hitherto we have been 
endeavouring at large to evince the efficacy and sufficiency of 
this means to the end mentioned ; which was the first thing f 
undertaken to be made evident. We are now to proceed to 
shew — 

2. The necessity of this means to reach such an end: that 
as it is a sufficient means, you may also understand it to be the 
only means, of bringing such a work about. And for evincing 
this, two things, clear enough in themselves, seem abundantly 
sufficient ; namely, — that nothing can mend the world, but 
what mends the spirits of men : and, — that nothing can ef 
fectually do that but the Spirit of the Lord poured forth. 
These are things that shine into our minds and understandings 
with their own light. 

(I). As io the former ; What else do we think can mend the 
times, but what mends men's spirits ? doth not every thing 
necessarily act and work just as it is ? how can the posture of 
the world come to be other than at present, if the active prin 
ciples of men's spirits continue the same ? 

* Preached September 18th. 16/8. f See page 250*. 


(2.) And as to the latter ; What besides the Spirit of God can 
effectually mend the spirits of men, so as to make the state of 
things thoroughly and generally better ? 

What other cause can be universal enough, and spread its 
influence far and wide, to make a better world ? There wants a 
cause in this case, that can diffuse and influence a vast way. 
That a nation should be born in a day, that the earth should 
be filled with the knowledge of God, that there should be new 
heavens and a new earth; this needs a cause that can work 
every where : andjwhat else can do this but the Spirit of the 
Lord ? And again, 

What other cause is potent enough, of sufficient energy, of 
virtue piercing and penetrative enough, to do such a work as 
must be done upon the spirits of men, before the state of things 
will come to be better ? what else can shiver rocks, and melt 
down mountains, and make rough places plain ? what else, do 
you think, can dissolve adamantine hearts, subdue insolent 
passions, assuage and mortify furious lusts ? what else can 
change men's natures, transform the very habit of their minds, 
and make them generally quite other men, other creatures, 
than they have been ? unto what agent inferior to this can we 
attribute the ability to create ? New heavens and a new earth 
are to be created, Isa. 65. 17- You know how they were creat 
ed at first : "By faith we understand, that the worlds were creat 
ed by the word of God." The heavens and the earth were the 
products of the breath of his mouth, with all that is contained 
in them : so must the spiritual creation be, as much as the na 
tural. What, do we think, can make all the violences and 
mischiefs to cease out of the earth, that fill it with continual 
tragedies every where, and more or less at all times ? Nothing 
is more evident, than that the Spirit of the Lord alone is a 
cause proportionable to such an expected effect. 
. And the matter will be yet more evident, if you do but con 
sider these two things together. 

[1.] That the spirits of men are most horribly depraved, and 
wickedly bent in themselves to such things as tend to nothing 
but destruction and calamity. It is said of men universally, 
that destruction and misery are in their ways, Rom. 3. 16. 

[2.] That all these wicked inclinations of men's spirits are 
continually fostered and fomented by another spirit distinct 
from their's, and over and beside their's. The spirit that work- 
cth in the hearts of the children of disobedience, (Eph. 2. 2.) 
makes the world and the church miserable, so far as it prevails. 
Now what can we oppose to that spirit, but the Spirit of the 
living God ? While that spirit is the great tormenter and dis 
turber of the world, that disquiejs all things, that sets the spi- 


rits of men on work against God and against one another every 
where, that hath deluged the world with an inundation of wick 
edness : what but the Spirit of the Lord can lift up a stand 
ard against it ? 

But that the apprehension of this matter may yet settle and 
fix more deeply with us ; (for it is of great concernment that 
it should do so, that we may know whither to direct our eye ;) 
let us hut enumerate a little all the probable means besides 
that we can think of, which might make the times good ; and 
think, how inefficacious and altogether to no purpose they 
would be, without the Spirit of the Lord poured forth and 
working with mighty efficacy every where upon the spirits of 

First, Think, what the preaching of the gospel would do. 
That, it must be supposed,, will be very general, far more ge 
neral than it is, to bring about such a state of things as we ex 
pect and hope for, before time end. But, alas ! what would 
preaching do, if we could suppose it never so general, while 
the Spirit of the living God restrains and withholds his influ 
ences ? Indeed it is not to be supposed, that there could be a 
general preaching of the gospel amongst men, without the 
mighty work of the Spirit of God to prepare the way : but if 
there were, to how little purpose is our preaching, where that 
Spirit works not ? We may as well attempt to batter strong 
walls with the breath of our mouths, as to do good upon men's 
souls without the Spirit of God. If there were preachers every 
where, that could "speak witli the tongues of men and of an 
gels," what would it signify ? "Do I persuade men?" saith the 
apostle. Alas ! it is above us to persuade men ; it is a matter 
of very great difficulty in things that are but of common con 
cernment. How hard to alter the mind arid will of a man, 
once set and bent already upon this or that thing of a secular 
nature, that hath reference only to earthly affairs ! The hea 
thens themselves have been taught by that light that hath shone 
amongst them, to attribute unto a Deity the business of per 
suading men, to acknowledge it a numen that ever comes to 
have a persuasive power over men's minds. When the Son of 
God himself was the preacher, how little was effected, till the 
time came of the Spirit's being so copiously poured forth ? He 
that spake, his enemies being judges, so as never man spake! 
into whose lips grace was poured forth ! his hearers wondering 
at the gracious words that proceeded from his mouth ! astonish 
ed sometimes at his doctrine ! for they could distinguish, and 
see, that he taught with authority, and not as the scribes : yet 
how little was done ! All ended in the martyrdom of the prea 
cher, and not long after in the destruction of the people for 


the greatest part. When that Spirit was poured forth, then 
thousands at a sermon were subdued and brought under by the 
power of the gospel : but it was not yet given in that plentiful 
measure, while as yet Jesus was not glorified. And if it had 
not been given upon Jesus's glorification, what could have 
enough fortified the hearts of these poor disciples, to under 
take the converting of the world, the going to teach all nations, 
to proselyte mankind ? How much, how unspeakably too big 
had such an attempt appeared for their undertaking, if a mighty 
Spirit had not come forth to raise them above themselves, to 
make them somewhat beyond men 1 How could they ever have 
thought of going about such a thing as that, wherein they were 
to be and actually were the successful instruments? Without ir^ 
what success could have been hoped for, howsoever attempt 
ed ? Possibly it may be thought, that human endeavours might 
have done much at least towards the proselyting of mankind to 
the Christian profession : so much might have been discovered 
of the reasonableness of that religion, as that it might have 
been thought fit, somewhat generally, so far as men could be 
dealt with, to entertain and embrace the Christian name. 
Truly even that was very unlikely ; that it should have been 
ordinarily in the power of any rhetorick or of any reason, ge 
nerally to persuade men to forsake a religion, wherein they had 
been bred and born, and which was delivered down to them 
from their forefathers, whether Jews or Pagans : it was very 
unlikely, that mere argument should prevail so far on the world, 
But suppose it did, 

Secondly, Consider, what mere nominal Christianity would 
do to the bettering of the world. What doth it now to the 
bettering of the state of things,, where it obtains ? Wherein are 
the nominal Christians better than other men ? wherein are 
they better towards God and Christ ? The case is apparent, that 
though atheism and infidelity be conquered in men's minds 
and understandings by the strength of reason or of education, 
yet still the stronger fort in the heart remains inexpungable, 
till the Spirit of the living God comes to deal effectually with 
the hearts of men : and so that consequently there is as great 
enmity against God and Christ, even in the Christian world as 
out of it. And wherein are men better in Christendom to 
wards one another, than the pagans and mahometans are ? 
wherein better ? where is there more deceit and fraud, more 
enmity and malice, more oppression and cruelty, than amongst 
the nominal Christians ? If we take true measures of the Chris 
tian religion, and apprehend it to be what indeed it is ; if we 
will say, that it is faith in God through Christ, or devotedness 
to God through Christ ; or if we will say, that it doth consist, 


as no doubt in very great part it doth, in an imitation of Christ, 
in being like-minded to Christ in purity, heavenliness, spiri 
tuality, in self-denial, meekness, patience, peaceableness, 
aptitude to do good all that ever we can : if this be the Chris 
tian religion, we may confidently say, that Christianity hath 
not more bitter enemies in all the world than professed chris- 
tians : I wish we could not say so. And where throughout this 
world have there ever been more bloody wars, fierce commo 
tions, dreadful ruins and devastations, than amongst chris- 
tians ? Therefore think, how little towards the bettering of the 
world and mending of the times, nominal Christianity doth or 
can do without the Spirit of God : the world is filled with 
plagues notwithstanding, and whatsoever tends to make it mi 
serable, in those very parts where that obtains. But then, 

Thirdly, It may be supposed, that these very judgments 
themselves might effect somewhat to the purpose, to calm and 
subdue men's spirits, and so bring about a more sedate and 
composed state of things at last. And most true indeed it is, 
that they are very apt means to that purpose. But means, you 
must still remember, are but means, and suppose an agent 
that is to use them ; as a sword will not cut without a hand to 
manage it, and a proportionable hand. The inhabitants of the 
world should learn righteousness, when God's judgments are 
abroad in the earth, Isa. 26'. 9. But do they? Do not we all 
know that nations, countries, towns, cities, may more easily 
be ruined than reformed, more easily be harassed and crushed 
all to pieces than purged ? Do we need instances ? We cannot 
find a more bright one than the nearest to ourselves, to our 
own view. If we do but cast an eye upon this very city, it 
hath been wasted by judgment upon judgment : think what 
the plague hath done, what the fire hath done, what poverty 
invading as an armed man here and there hath done. Is the 
city more reformed ? grown more pious and serious ? doth the 
life of religion appear more in it ? is it become more sober and 
just ? Let this be seriously considered, and then think, what 
even judgments themselves, as severe as can be thought, are 
like to effect in the world without the Spirit poured forth. 
You have heard enough of the commotions and hurries of the 
world in other parts ; but do you hear of its being grown much 
better even in those parts ? And admit that such judgments 
should sober men's spirits generally, and reduce them to more 
calmness, that men should by very weariness be at length 
brought to be at rest, and so a peaceable and prosperous state 
of things ensue : yet what would that alone do to make the 
times good ? 

Fourthly, What I say, would a prosperous state of things did 


{meaning it only of external prosperity) to better the condition 
of the church of God? Such a good state of things for the 
church, must, as hath been said, first and in the principle 
place consist in the flourishing of religion, and then but se 
condarily in external tranquillity. What would the latter of 
these do without the former ? and what would become of the 
former without the Spirit poured forth ? If we had never so 
happy times in external respects, what would be the issue of it, 
in reference to the state and condition of the church of God ? 
We should then have, as was noted of old, golden chalices and 
wooden priests : the church would be a glorious sepulchre, 
splendid without, but full of rottenness and corruption within. 
Would this better our case ? It is very plain, that there could 
be nothing more beside the purpose of mending the state of the 
church, than prosperity without a great measure of the Spirit. 
It would be good in subserviency, nothing in substitution : it 
might serve the Spirit, but cannot supply its place : much 
might be done under the management of the Spirit by such a 
state of things towards the promoting and furthering of reli 
gion ; but without that Spirit all would go to ruin : religion 
would soon languish away and come to nothing, the sun of ex 
ternal prosperity would exhale the life and spirit and vigour of 
it ; as experience has often shewn that it has done heretofore. 
And what external prosperity can there be, while the minds of 
men are so very various, divided into varieties of parties this 
way and that ? There cannot be a prosperous state, while only 
one party is uppermost, and all the rest under oppression. 
When the church of God hath been in so divided a condition, 
have you ever known or read or heard of any such state of 
things, that hath been so favourable, as to deserve to be called 
a prosperous state ? If it hath been favourable to some, yet it 
hath, it may be, been equally or more unfavourable unto very 
many, that perhaps were better men than those whom the 
times smiled upon. And so it cannot but still be, where there 
are many parties : every party cannot be uppermost : and un 
less the Spirit of God new mould men's spirits, whatever party 
were uppermost, they would make it their business to crush 
and vex and disquiet all the rest. And can that be a state fit to 
be called prosperous ? But 

Fifthly, That, which the minds of many may be apt to run 
upon, is, that some very exact form of government in the 
. church would be the specific, or rather the panpharmacon, to 
cure all diseases in the church of God, and make a very happy 
time. A frame of things exactly squared according to their ap 
prehension, they think, would soon do the business. The minds 
efrnany are apt to run much upon this project. But most 


forms, that can be thought on, have been tried ; and what have 
they done, while the Spirit of God hath not animated the ex 
ternal form ? or what hope remains, that any thing could be 
done by an external lifeless form, if never so excellent and 
unexceptionable, never so agreeable to rule? The expectation, 
that that would do the business, is, as if a person were dan 
gerously and extremely sick, even next to death, and any 
should go about to trim him up and dress him neatly, put on him 
a well made suit, and expect that should effect his cure. Alas! 
what needs there amongst us such curiosity for a dead thing ? 
We are dead, the Spirit of God is retiring, retired in a very 
great degree : to what purpose would it be to shape and figure 
a dead thing this way or that ? Just to as much purpose, as the 
endeavour of him that we read of in Plutarch, who would fain 
erect a newly dead body in the posture of a living man; but 
alas ! the legs yielded, the hands fell, the head dropped on one 
side ; so that the poor defeated person was forced to cry out at 
last, " Deest aliqnid intus, I find there is something wanting 
within : there wants a living soul to support and animate the 
frame." So it must be in our case too, if there were ever so 
exact order. You may suppose from what was formerly said, 
that order is a most excellent and desirable thing, and ne 
cessary to the prosperity of the church of God. But what 
is the order and frame of a thing that is dead ? If a plot of 
ground should be laid out fora garden ; square it never so ac 
curately, let it have never so exact a figure, bestow upon it 
every thing of ornament that art can invent ; yet if nature also 
do not do its part, if the sun never shine upon it, if no showers 
or dews ever descend, would it be, think you, a. pleasant flou 
rishing garden ? We have all of us reason to have done expect 
ing much from lifeless outward forms, even the best constitu 
tion imaginable : while a spirit of life from above breathes not, 
despair that that will ever work miracles, or do any great things 
amongst us. 

Besides, the best form of things that can be supposed, that 
is, such as would be more serviceable than others unto the ends 
and purposes which would be aimed at, to depress wickedness 
and keep things composed and in order, could never last long, 
if a Spirit from God do not animate it. Lust and wickedness, 
which it goes about to curb, and which might be less in some 
external fruits of it, so long as it should continue curbed, yet 
would grow too strong and break the bonds. As you know, 
that, let the body of a man be never so comely and beautiful 
and well proportioned, yet all that excellent structure and fa- 
brick will soon dissolve after death ; beauty is gone all of a 
sudden, ghastliness succeeds in the room of it, and in time it 


will corrupt and putrify within ; and that corruption will break 
forth, so as to break the external frame and cause part to drop 
from part. Therefore never expect a mere external frame of 
things to better our case much or long, to do any miracles in 
that kind. And I may add, as that leads me. 

Sixthly, That indeed the very power of working miracles it 
self, which is but an external means, would not better the 
world and men's spirits, without the Spirit of God accompany 
ing. It is true indeed they could not be wrought without that 
Spirit in the agent ; but that would not do without the Spirit as 
a diffused soul. Many may be ready to imagine, that if God 
would but do some very strange things amongst men, work 
many astonishing wonders, fill the world and the time with 
prodigies ; then, whereas his memorial is in so great part ex 
tinct, these things would effectually convince men of their 
atheism and infidelity, and so all would be set right. But 
what did miracles do with the Jews of old ? who were brought 
out of Egypt by a succession of miracles, by plague upon 
plague inflicted on the land of Egypt, till they were constrained 
to let Israel go ! who were brought through the red sea by 3. 
most astonishing miracle, the sea dividing on the one hand and 
on the other, and their enemies pursuing destroyed, only by 
withdrawing that miraculous power, and letting the sea unite 
again ! who were led through the wilderness by a continual 
miracle, the pillar of cloud and fire ; and fed by another, man 
na, bread from heaven ! who had the great God himself ap 
pearing with so stupendous a glory upon mount Sinai ; speak 
ing with the voice of words, that six hundred thousand might 
hear at once, the law, the ten words ! yet the body of that 
people lapse into idolatry, while the divine glory was in view- 
before their eyes, and after it had been by so dreadful a voice 
immediately before, forbidden with the utmost severity. And 
their after-ingratitude, infidelity, mutinies, rebellions, mur- 
murings, testify how little miracles did amongst them. How 
little did they do in Christ's time ? those that he himself 
wrought ? restoring hearing to the deaf, and sight to the blind, 
and speech to the dumb, and life to the dead? how little was 
effected, save only to heighten and aggravate the wickedness 
which shewed itself so invincible? All these are external 

But if we should think of what is internal too ; the common 
notions of religion ; the practical dictates of natural conscience, 
that do more or less obtain every- where amongst men ; the 
light and knowledge, that comes by the gospel-discovery, 
where that obtains; common prudence, and respect to self-in 
terest : how little do these things do towards the composing of 

VOL. V. 3 & 


the world and the bettering of the times ? It is plain, that 
light is more easily extinguished than lust. When it comes to 
a contest, when there is a competition between corruption and 
conscience ; alas ! how much more intent are men to mor 
tify their consciences, than to mortify their corruptions ? How 
feeble and impotent a thing is their light ! All the light that 
shines doth but testify against them, rather than direct or re 
form them ; and will do no more, till the almighty Spirit go 
forth. And for that of prudence and respect to interest, that 
is the very thing that undoes men ; that is, that every man will 
be prudent for himself, and mind a particular interest of his 
own ; this fills the world with tumults and blood, with mis 
chiefs and miseries every-where : so that, that which should 
be men's preserver, is their destroyer, even self-love. 

The sum of all is this. This ought to make us despair, that 
ever we shall see a better world and state of things, till this 
blessed Spirit be poured down upon our heads. Without that, 
things will be growing worse and worse; it cannot be but they 
will do so : do not we see, that they have done so ? The Spirit 
is in a great measure gone, retired even from Christian assem 
blies. When do we hear of the conversion of a soul, of any 
stricken and pierced to the heart by the word of God ? And 
what is that like to come to, think we ? what would it come 
to in this city, if always in a continued course the burials 
should exceed the births ? Must it not be the very desolation 
of all at last ? If we should speak of burials in a moral sense ; 
alas ! doth the number of converts equal the number of apos 
tates ? But take it in a natural sense, as all are dying ; do we 
think, that there are Christians brought in, serious Christians, 
effectually become so, in any proportionable number to the 
deaths of good people amongst us ? What doth this tend to, 
but the extinction of religion ? And not to speak of the rampant 
wickedness of those who have cast off all sense and fear of God 
and godliness, but only how those who profess religion dege 
nerate and grow worse and worse ; it is very dismal to think, 
how coldly affected they are towards religion, towards the or 
dinances of it, towards the divine presence ; how eagerly they 
fly at the world, when the clouds gather so thick and black, 
and all things seem to conspire to a storm . their ordinary bu 
siness, all their business must go on just as it did, except that 
of souls, except that for eternity and another world; which 
must be neglected, as it was wont* to be. Is not this the case ? 
If there be opportunities of solemn prayer, of mourning and 
fasting, of putting in for a part and share of the expected mer 
cy ; how do many, if we may not say the most of them that 
profess religon amongst us, as it were disclaim their part ? fof 


they will bear no part amongst them that cry for mercy. Think, 
what this will come to, if the Spirit of the living God be still 
withheld, and do not awaken men, and reduce their spirits to 
a better state. Despised ordinances, contemned worship, 
neglected seasons and opportunities of grace, how dreadful a 
testimony will they bear in the consciences of many, if once 
light should come to be extinguished amongst us, and all the 
frame of things, wherein they seem to take comfort, should be 
dissolved and shattered in pieces ! 



JlT remains now to make some improvement of so great and 
important a subject, as we have been upon — The dependance 
of the happy state of the church of God upon the pouring forth 
of his Spirit : — which shall be in certain practical notes or co 
rollaries, that are deducible from the whole of what hath been 
opened to you. And we shall begin, where we ended at the 
close of the last discourse. 

1. Since the happiness of the church doth so immediately 
and necessarily depend upon a pouring forth of the Spirit ; it 
must needs be of very dreadful import, when that Spirit retires ; 
when there is a manifest suspension of its light and influence. 
Every gradual retraction of that Spirit speaks a vergency to 
death, to a total dissolution ; as if the whole frame of the 
church were ready to drop asunder. It is a dismal thing, when 
that which is the only light and life of it retires, visibly with 
draws ; when that Spirit breathes not as it hath done through 
the world, souls are not born by it unto God in a proportion to 
what hath been ; considering, that this is the only way of en-* 
tering into God's kingdom, either in the initial or consummate 
state of it, the kingdom of grace or the kingdom of glory. H 
is a dismal thing, when conversions are grown rare, and infe* 

* Preached October 16, 


lior in number to apostacies : when Christians are not born so 
fast as they die, whether in the moral sense, or in the natural j 
for all die alike. This ought to be considered as a thing of 
dreadful import, when the Spirit works not as he hath been 
wont, for the rescuing of souls out of a precedent death : and 
farther, when those that live, languish ; and much more, 
when death insensibly creeps on them that have but a name to 
live : as you know it doth with many languishing persons, seiz 
ing one limb first and then another, so that the man is dead 
while he is alive. With how many is it so, that have lost 
themselves either in the cares or pleasures of this world, and 
are dead while they live ? This it becomes us to consider as a 
most melancholy case. If all the happiness and weal of the 
church depend upon the pouring out of the Spirit, how dread 
ful is it, when there is a discernible retraction ! 

2. All our hope of good lying in the pouring forth of the 
Spirit, it is very strange, that the retraction of it should not be 
considered with more sense ; that we are not more apprehen 
sive of so dismal a case as that is. It is a case exceeding 
gloomy in itself, as hath been said ; but how strange is it, that 
we should so little understand and consider it as such ! that 
this should be our danger, lest God should be quite gone from 
amongst us before we know it ! that life is retiring, but we 
perceive it not ! Alas ! with too many there is scarce life 
enough left to feel themselves die, or light enough to perceive 
that darkness is gathering upon them. Strange, that men 
should be dying, and say they are alive ! Light is diminishing 
and blindness increasing and growing upon them, yet they say 
they see well, and carry it as if nothing ailed them ! This is a 
etrange infatuation upon the minds of men, even of the pro 
fessors of religion in our time : we keep up our wonted course 
while we can, our wonted forms and ways of worship ; we as 
semble as we have been accustomed to do, we have praying 
and preaching and other ordinances of the gospel : but there is 
not the wonted Spirit, such appearances and demonstrations 
of the power and presence of the Spirit as formerly, and yet we 
seem not aware of it. We do as we have been wont at other 
times ; but we find it not with our souls in what we do, as 
Christians were used to find it : as it is said of that mighty man 
Samson ; he said, I will go out as at other times before, and 
shake myself, but he wist not that the Lord was departed from 
him, Judg. 16. 20. So, we seem not to know that the Lord 
is departing, but say we will do as at other times : indeed we 
reach not him ; he said he would go forth and shake himself 
as at other times ; we do not that, but as the complaint is in, 
&a. 64. 7« STJ is our case j There is none (scarce any,) that stir 


up themselves to take hold of God ; for, as it there follows, he 
hath hid his face from us and consumed us, we are consuming, 
because of our iniquities. We are pining away, hut not aware 
of it : grey hairs are here and there upon us, hut we seem not 
to know it. We read concerning men in general in the dying 
hour, Eccl. 8. 8. No man hath power over the spirit to re 
tain the spirit, neither hath he power in the day of death. 
When the soul must dislodge and be gone, no man can hold 
it ; but they would if they could, men are loth to die ; they 
would retain the spirit longer, if it were any way in their pow 
er : what strivings and strugglings for breath are there in dying 
men ? but there seems with us hardly to be so much as that, 
" Oh that we could retain the Spirit of life and grace !" It is 
not indeed in our power, any more than to retain the depart 
ing, dislodging soul, when the hour is come that it must be 
gone : but it is strange, that we should not be filled with 
complaint, that we should cross what is so common as to be a 
proverb ; every thing would live, but it seems so would not 
we. When God as it were says to us by what he doth, (the 
most emphatical way of speaking,) "My Spirit shall not always 
strive," it shall no longer strive; for it is actually withheld from 
striving ; yet we dread not this greatest of all threats, and when 
die threatening is enforced by a gradual execution, an execution 
already in a dreadful degree : not to be afraid what this will 
come to, is very strange. 

3. We further collect, that such a dismal state of things is 
likely immediately to forego the more eminent effusion of the 
Spirit, and the sinning of the light of God's face, here spoken 
of. When the time approaches, concerning which the text 
speaks, then a most dismal gloominess and darkness must be 
expected to precede. That is plainly implied, when it is said, 
"1 will no more hide my face :" 1 have done it hitherto, but will 
not do it any more : it bespeaks, that till the time of this emi 
nent effusion there was a very displeased hiding of God's face, 
and a great retraction and holding back of the Spirit. Other 
scriptures, that relate as I conceive to the same eminent sea 
son, intimate also a dreadful foregoing desolation. The pro 
phet Isaiah (chap. 32.) describes the desolation of the Christian 
church, (for I doubt not his prediction is ultimately meant of 
that,) by the emblem of the land of Israel's lying waste, and the 
great city, the metropolis being all ruined, the very houses of 
joy in the joyous city covered over with briars and thorns, ver. 
13.14. And thus it is said it should be, ver. 15. Until the 
Spirit be poured upon us from on high ; then the wilderness 
shall be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a 
fprest ; that which was before- reckoned a fruitful field, shall 


now seem to have been but a wild forest, in comparison of die 
fruitf ulness it shall now arrive at by tbe effusion of the Spirit. 
So that great pouring of it forth, in Ezek. 37- meant no doubt 
of the same time with this in the text, is preceded by such a 
forlorn and desolate state of the church, that it is represented 
by the emblem of a slaughtered army covering all the ground 
about with the dead carcasses, till the Spirit of life enter into 
them, bring bone to bone, cover them with flesh, and form 
them all into a regular army of living men again, ver. 1. — 14. 
It imports, that almost a universal death, next to total, will be- 
upon the church before this happy day. And do not we seem 
in a tendency thither ? we seem to be descending gradually 
into the dark shady vale, the region of darkness and of death : 
nor must we expect it to be silent darkness; no doubt it will 
rather imitate that of hell, a region turbid as well as dark. A 
night seems approaching, that will be equally stormy and 
gloomy; for it is the season of God's anger. It is never to be 
thought, that he will be neutral towards us ; if he be not a 
friend, he will be an enemy ; when he ceases to be our light 
and life and hope and joy, it cannot be but he must become an 
astonishing terror. " Be not a terror unto me, thou art my 
hope;'' says the prophet, Jer. 17- 17- When he is not the 
one, he must be the other. Are we prepared to meet him in 
such a way and in such a time ? It cannot but be a dreadful 
time, the time of managing his controversy: when he hidetli 
his face in displeasure, that is not all, it is not a bare hiding. 
Observe the passage in Deut. 31.17- " Then my anger shall 
be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, 
and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devour 
ed, and many evils and troubles shall befall them :" and what 
then ? It follows, " So that they will say in that day, Are not 
these evils come upon us, because our God is not amongst us? 
and I will surely hide my face in that day;" as it follows again in 
ver. 18. This is to make a way for wrath ; and when you can 
see him no longer, you shall hear from him in a most terrible 

The case of the Christian church' seems to be as Israel waa 
represented, in Psal. 106. S5. &c. They were mingled among 
the heathen, and learned their works : and they served their 
idolsj which were a snare unto them. And, ver. 3U. Thus 
they xvere defiled with their own works ; (now they are called 
their own, since they had adopted them, and so made them 
their own ;) and went a whoring with their own inventions. 
What follows there, and what may we expect to follow in the 
like case ? "For this the Lord abhorred his own inheritance.'* 
ver. 40. Now take them who will, they are an abomination to 


the Lord, he seems to care no more for them. As to the former: 
part, is not this manifestly our case ; the Christian religion is 
in great part become paganish. We lately shewed, how little 
good nominal Christianity doth to the world, where that only 
doth obtain. How plain is it, that Christianity hath let in 
paganism unto a dreadful degree ! And now, when the time 
of controversy comes, the day of recompence arid year of ven 
geance, which is in God's heart, how terrible a day will that 
be ! When that day comes, that shall burn as an oven, and 
all the hemisphere as it were of the church be as a fiery vault i 
when the Lord shall bathe his sword in heaven, as the ei-v 
pression is in Jsa. 3 i. 5. as it were drench it with vivid celes 
tial fire, that it may pierce like lightning ! when he shall 
whet his glittering sword, lift up his hand to heaven, and say, 
1 live for ever, I will render vengeance to mine enemies : (Deut« 
32. 40, 41 .) when he shall set himself to contest with the An- 
tichristian spirit, that hath lurked under the assumed and in 
jurious pretence and profession of the Christian name; the 
apostatical, the worldly spirit, that hath entered into the 
church, and wrought in it with such malignity : that spirit of 
envy, malice, hatred, bitterness ; that prophane, atheistical 
spirit ; that spirit of hypocrisy and formality ! when he shall 
come to a direct contest and grapple with all among whom that 
spirit dwells arid rules; how can we think but that will be a very 
dreadful day ? And do we know how near it is ? May it not 
for ought we know be ever at hand ? May we not be upon the 
very borders of that turbid darkness, in which all the rage of 
hell shall play its part, the spirits of men be let loose, the de 
vils not yet bound and ready to do their uttermost, when they 
know their time is short ; the very hour and power of darkness, 
when all things shall conspire to make the church a chaos and 
place of confusion, when the elements shall be as it were com 
missioned to fight one another, and the powers of heaven shall 
shake ? How are we prepared, in what posture to enter into 
such a state as that is ? It is a dismal thing to live a winter, a 
continual night, in such a place as you have heard Greenland 
to be : one would not do it, unless unavoidable necessity 
drove; and if one must, he would make provision for such a 
winter- night all that he could. How then are we provided for 
such a time ? 

4, We may note again hence, how adorable the power and 
greatness of that Spirit is, that can turn such a chaos, such a 
state of darkness and horror and confusion, into light and peace, 
into life and beauty, into harmony and glory. How adorable 
is that Spirit ! how great and glorious should it be in our eyes 
that account ! Let us use our thoughts as much as we 


will, we cannot make a too gloomy representation of the time 
just spoken of, wherein the Lord's face shall be hid, and the 
Spirit withheld. But when we have dwelt in the contempla 
tion of the sadness and dismalness of that time awhile, then 
what cause have we, and what advantage thence to take our 
rise to greaten and heighten our thoughts concerning this bles- 
sed Almighty Spirit, that can make so happy a change as soon 
as it comes forth, as soon as the divine light shines again ? What 
a change will it be ! Amidst all those calamities that the 
church complains of, (psalm 80.) see where they apprehend 
the redress to be. Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face 
to shine, and we shall be saved ; which is repeated no less than 
-three times in this psalm ver. 3, 7* 19. We are cured all of a 
sudden, all things are redressed, if thou do but turn us and 
cause thy face to shine. How soon doth the appearance, the 
first visit of the sun to the horizon wherein we are, transform 
a region of darkness into pleasant light ! Look upon that wretch 
ed state of things wherein the Christian church is, and 
wherein we may well expect it farther to be, and in a deeper 
degree : if we think, that however when the Spirit is poured 
out, all is well, how adorable ought that Spirit to be to us ! 
that mighty Spirit, that can even of a sudden new create the 
world, make new heavens and new earth, diffuse its light and 
influence every where, clothe all with lustre and glory ! And 
truly I believe we must be brought to have higher thoughts of 
the Spirit than we have, before we see so good days as we 
would wish we might. Alas ! how diminishingly is it conceiv 
ed and spoken of amongst us ! We have the name of the Spi 
rit or of the Holy Ghost many times in our mouths, when our 
hearts ascribe not honour to him : we glorify him not as God 
in our conceptions : no, the notions of our minds and disposi 
tions of our hearts are with too many, as if we had not "heard 
whether there be any Holy. Ghost ;" or as if it signified a mere 
nothing with us. But it concerns us to greaten our thoughts 
concerning the Spirit of the living God. When it works as 
the vSpirit of nature, it renews the face of the earth, replen 
ishes all the region with life. What would this creation be, if 
all divine influence were retracted and withheld, by which every 
thing lives, and which is attributed to the Spirit of God, as the 
active principle that works every wherein the creation of the 
world, moving upon the abyss in the renewing of it from time 
to time ? By him and from him there is such a thing as life in 
all the creation ; he works all in all. But consider it also as a 
Spirit of holiness, of divine life and power in the spirits of men; 
what a mighty Agent is that, that can spread such an influence 
every where, unto the remotest corners of this world ! and 
VOL. v. 3 B 


can reach every heart of those that belong to God, and all at 
once ; and pierce into them with so mighty power, that though 
all the art in the world cannot persuade and change the mind 
of a man, even in a matter of common concernment, if he be 
resolved, yet this Spirit can transform where it touches, and 
overcome, if it will, even in the first attempt ! Oh ! What 
homage should our souls within us pay to this Almighty Spi 
rit ! In how prostrate a posture should we be ! How should 
we adore that Spirit, that can, when it will, fill all, cver^ 
where with light and life ! 

5. We collect farther, that the grace of the Spirit is most 
admirably condescending, that it will ever vouchsafe to come* 
down into such a world as this is : that there should be a time, 
in which such a favour is designed, as this, "I will pour out my 
Spirit." Well may it be called the Spirit of grace, the Spirit 
of all goodness and benignity and sweetness, that it will ever 
vouchsafe to visit our world, a world so drenched in impurity, 
and so environed with malignant darkness. How well does th* 
name agree, "The Spirit of grace !" So hellish is the malignity, 
that would despise such a Spirit : he is called so on purpose, 
we may suppose, by the author to the Hebrews, to aggravate 
that malignity ; and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace, 
Heb, 10. 29. But how magnificently glorious is that grace, 
that will finally overcome this malignity ! That this Spirit will 
come down, and spread its light and influences through so 
much deformity and pollution and darkness, as is every wher® 
in this world ; that it should become a soul unto such a world ! 
What if an angel of God would humble himself to become a 
soul to a worm, to animate a worm ? but a stranger humilia 
tion far it is, that the Spirit of God should become as it were a 
soul to such a world as this. God says, U I have poured out my 
Spirit upon it, and now, will no more hide my face :" it should 
put our hearts into raptures. How should we fall down and 
adore the Spirit of life and grace ! Wilt thou do this ? wilt 
them come down into such a world as this ! 

.6. We may note farther, that the face of God shall never 
shine, but where he doth pour out his Spirit. His face will 
always remain hid towards the church, till the time comes that 
he pours out his Spirit. It will be of good service to consider 
this. Many vainly promise themselves halcyon days without 
the consideration of any influence of the Spirit connected with 
it; as if the aspects of providence could be favourable to them, 
and they could do well enough without the Spirit : if we can 
but enjoy peace and tranquillity, free trade and liberty to walk 
without check or control in* the ways that we like best, 
though without the other; yet we are apt to think, that our 


happiness would be sufficiently provided for. But we are not 
to expect, that the aspects of providence will be favourable, 
without a concurring effusion of the divine Spirit : it is nei 
ther like to be; nor would be to any good purpose, if it should. 

It is not like to be ; for why should we suppose it should ? 
what is the church of God, when the Spirit is withdrawn and 
gone ? what are they that call themselves of it, more than 
other men ? If the Spirit be gone, what is it but an Aceldama? 
a Golgotha ! a place of skulls, a place of carcasses ! Do we 
think, that the divine glory shall only serve to adorn sepul 
chres ? that the more glorious and pleasing aspects of provi 
dence shall only serve for that ? You cannot long sever and 
keep off from death internal rottenness and corruption : and 
surely it is very unlikely, that God should take pleasure to dis 
cover himself and to display his glory among such, in the 
more remarkable works of his favourable providence. 

And to what purpose would it be, if he should ? What should 
we be the better for a state of external tranquillity and peace, 
if the Spirit be withheld ? Sure you will think religion to be 
necessary at least to the church ; otherwise what distinguishes 
that from another community of men ? But what a sad frame of 
religion must there be, if the Spirit of God be not in it ? we 
cannot call that state prosperous to the church wherein the spi 
rit breathes not, unless sensuality will be the felicity of the 
church ; unless we think ourselves warranted to abandon all 
care of the soul, and the belief of immortality and of a world 
to come, as if these were only mistakes and delusions : for 
great external prosperity to the church without the Spirit ac 
companying it, commonly issues in irreligion. That alone 
deserves to be esteemed a good sta*e of things for the church 
of God, wherein the people of God every where are working 
and framing for a blessed eternity : and that they will never 
l»e without much of jthe divine Spirit. 









THE favourable acceptance, which the generality of serious chr!** 
tians have given to Mr. Howe's late posthumous treatise concern 
ing the prosperous state of the Christian Interest before the end of 
time, hath encouraged me to take the same pains in fitting for the 
press the following sermons of the same excellent author concern 
ing family-religion. The copy, transcribed by some unknown, but 
skilful hand, different from that by which the sermons already pub 
lished were preserved, was communicated to me by my worthy 
friend Mr. Herman Hood. 

In the treatise just mentioned, Mr. Howe speaks of this as one of 
the ways, by which we may hope that the Spirit poured out will 
produce the better state of religion which we are expectiiTg, namely, 
by means of family order * more generally and vigorously set oni 
foot among the professors of Christianity. And certainly we can 
not reasonably entertain strong hopes of the revival of the power of 
godliness either in our own age or the succeeding, till this neces 
sary part of the form of it becomes general among christians. As 
long as a customary neglect prevails in seasoning the rising age with 
proper instructions in the families to which they belong ; while our 
youth, that spring from parents or are intrusted with masters who 
bear a Christian name, grow up altogether disused from the daily 
exercises of social piety ; the seed of the church will soon be lost 
among the men of the world, and religion must die away without 
some rery supernatural reviving, 

* Page 260. 


This just apprehension occasioned that agreement among the 
protestant dissenting ministers of this city, of which mention is 
made at the beginning of these discourses, that were preached in 
pursuance of it in the year 1093, to engage the attention of their 
several congregations at one and the same time to this very great 
and important duty. Mr. George Hammond at that time published 
a discourse upon the subject, at the desire of the united ministers ; 
to which Mr. Matthew Barker annexed an appendix : and Mr. 
Samuel Slater printed a course of sermons upon the head. I have 
beenmf ormed that, that general endeavour had the good effect by 
God's blessing to dispose several heads of families to setup religious 
exercises in them. 

Another effort was made lately with as general concurrence by 
our ministers in the city, on November. 20. 1720, to enforce the 
jame needful practice ; I hope not altogether without success. 

But still is there not too visible reason to fear, that the neglect of 
family-religion is a growing evil among us ? Without prying unne 
cessarily into the affairs of families, it is unavoidable to those who 
have any conversation in the world, to hear from such as have been 
servants or residents in the houses of many who make great pre 
tensions to religion without doors, that there is no more acknow 
ledgment of God among them in daily family-devotion, than if they 
believed no such being. 

I thought therefore, that it might be serviceable to publish this 
short set of discourses upon the argument j which appear to me to 
have placed the duty upon the most clear and indisputable foot, so 
as to be fit to reach all that are open to conviction j with a plain 
ness for the greatest part suitable to the meanest capacity, and yet 
with a strength not to be evaded by the most judicious, and at the 
same time with a life and spirituality fit to impress every serious 

It is no wonder to find people, who evidently discover a disaffec 
tion to religion, hardly drawn to the stated practice of its exercises 
in their houses. Till their hearts are touched with a lively sense 
and relish of true piety, it cannot be expected that they should be 
forward this way, but rather keep themselves in countenance in their 
neglect by the number of like examples among such as have not cast 
off all pretence to religion. The wonder is, that any, who give 
reason from the rest of their conduct for apprehending them in the 
judgment of charity to have religion at heart, yet should omit so 
plain and profitable a duty. 

The common reasons alleged by such are, either their inability 
to express themselves properly in family-devotion ; or an insupera 
ble modesty, which will not allow them to speak before others \v v ith 
any freedom of thought or tolerable possession of themselves. 

And I freely allow, that the one or the other of these may be the 
case with persons sincerely religious, so far as to hinder them from 
the performance of family-worship to edification, at least at first, 
without the assistance of forms. But in God's name let none con 
tinue the omission of so plain a duty, out of a superstitious preju- 


•dice againt precomposed prayers. Our forefathers the puritans were 
far from having an aversion to forms as such. Nor is our dissent 
founded upon a dislike of all use of them even in public ; we only 
declare against the use of some passages which appear to us excep 
tionable, and against being so tied down to them, as to be obliged 
invariably to use them without alteration or addition. Most sober 
writers have concurred in advising to make use of them in the cases 
mentioned, till people can arrive at more improvement of judgment 
and a greater presence of mind. Many dissenters have published 
" forms for the assistance of those" to whom they were needful : as 
in Mr. Baxter's family-book ; Mr. Murray's closet-devotions, re 
commended by Mr. Henry : Mr. Henry hath published some him 
self, at the end of his method of prayer. And as Mr. Howe in one 
of the following discourses declares his judgment for the use of 
them, rather than the duty should be omitted} so his practice was 
agreeable. There is a small book in octavo, entitled "prayers for fa 
milies," printed by Mr/Thomas Parkhurst without any author's name, 
about the year 1/95 ; of which the late reverend Mr. Jeremiah 
Smith gave me this account many years ago. Upon the marriage 
of a daughter of the right honourable Philip Lord Wharton, the 
lady being desirous to have the worship of God kept up in the fami 
ly into which she was entering, requested Mr. Howe, Mr. Wil 
liam Taylor then his Lordship's chaplain, and Mr. Smith, to draw 
up some prayers for that purpose. Mr. Smith, according to his 
usual modesty, declined bearing a part in the service. But Mr. 
Howe and Mr. Taylor complied with the request ; and their com 
posures were privately printed, and made use of in that Lady's fa 

I only mention these things, to prevent the misapprehension of 
any, as if in what I have said I had offered any thing singular. All 
who love religion in earnest, whether in or out ol the public esta 
blishment, whether in their judgments they prefer praying by forms 
or otherwise, will I doubt not agree in this j that it is better that 
God should be worshipped either the one way or the other both in 
secret, and in families, and in public assemblies, than that men 
should live in any of these respects, as " without God in the world". 

For my own part, I should be glad that every head of a family 
were fully capable from time to time to represent the case of that 
under his charge with propriety and life, in supplication and praise 
and confession, according to all varying circumstances. But 
where that cannot be, yet I rejoice to know or to hear of a family, 
that seriously and solemnly calls upon the Lord in any way. Those 
who begin with a form, may find themselves gradually emboldened 
to go farther ; and either totally in time lay that way aside ; or 
sometimes pray the one way and sometimes the other^ as they fiud 
the temper of their spirits to be j or, if they cannot get over the 
difficulties, which first made it necessary for them to use the assis* 
tance of other's composures, yet they may be able gradually to inter 
sperse a sentence here and there suitable to special occurrences ia 
their family, without any tremor. 

VOL. V. 3 C 


And after all, whether our words flow from the abundance of th> 
lieart, or we endeavour to excite affections answerable to what the 
words before us suggest ; if the God who knows the heart sees sin 
cerity paid true devotion in the worshipper ; it will undoubtedly be 
accepted, according to that a man hath, and not according to that 
•which he hath not. 

I commend these discourses to the perusal of all serious Christians, 
though of differing persuasions in lesser matters, earnestly begging, 
that by God's blessing they may reach the end of the author ia 
preaching them, and of the transcriber in preparing them for public 
view ; namely, the revival of religion in families, and by that means 
the diffusing of it far and wide in the present generation and in thos£ 
which are to come. 

I am 

Your hearty well-wisher 

for your best interests, 

May 11. 1726. 



Joshua xxiv. 15. 

But as for me and my house > we will seme the Lord. 

HPHIS is the magnanimous resolution of that great and good 
man, Joshua, notwithstanding the supposed revolt of all the 
people of Israel from God, who had been bound to him by the^ 
most sacred and endearing ties. "Though yau," says he, should 
all go off and apostatize from God, even to a man, after all the 
great and glorious things that he hath wrought among you and 
for you ; that shall not alter me : through his grace, the course 
that I will take, and that mine shall take, whom I can have 
any influence upon or any power over, shall be the same it 
was. I and my house will serve the Lord notwithstanding. 
Though you should all turn pagans and idolaters to a man, that 
shall not overturn the religion of my family or of my closet, 
but there shall be serving of the Lord still/' 

It hath been an unanimous resolution among the ministers 
of indulged congregations in and about this city, to insist upon 
the subject of family- worship, even all at once, at least as many 
as to whom it was possible ; and to begin upon it this very day, as 
I doubt not they generally do. And I should as little doubt the 
approbation and concurrence of divers other reverend persons 
in the ministry, who are not of that character, if there had been 
the same opportunity of consulting them and of knowing their 
sense ; that is, of as many as do seriously desire and covet to 
,see the prosperous and flourishing state of serious, vital and, 

* Preached December 25th, 160/3 


practical religion and godliness in our days. But they, who 
could confer and agree to concur in such an endeavour as this, 
have done it with all the cheerfulness and unanimity that could 
be thought. Indeed, since that resolution was taken, a provi 
dence hath occurred among us, which some might reckon would 
liave diverted and altered it for the present : a farther breach, 
which God hath made upon our congregation, by the late de 
cease of a considerable and very useful member of it, worthy 
Mr. Collet. Of whom divers might expect to hear a distinct ac 
count given them ; apprehending, that it would not be so much 
an ornament to him or to his name when gone, as a means of 
instruction to them who are left behind. 

But 1 am under restraint as to this • partly by my relation 5 
but more principally by his own express prohibition, who de 
clared his unwillingness to be made the subject of a funeral 
sermon. And that prohibition was equal (as any might under 
stand,) to the most copious one that could have been made by 
way of commendation. For it more represented the temper of 
his spirit, than my words could have done ; the meekness, the 
humility, the modesty of it ; and was most agreeable to the 
habitual frame, from whence the way of his walking proceed 
ed ; steady, but still and without noise ; and shewed how wil 
ling he was, that his exit out of this world might be with as 
much silence, as his course through it was. 

Yet however, had I been to have preached a funeral sermon 
upon his account, I should never have laid aside for that the 
thoughts of this text. For I could not have found one in the 
whole Bible, from whence I might have more taken occasion 
to represent him, as to his person and as to his family, as an 
example of both personal and domestical religion, single and 
family godliness. And indeed were they who profess godliness 
generally in these respects like him, there would be much less 
need of preaching upon such a subject, or of taking up such a 
resolution as you have heard hath been general in reference 

But it hath been generally apprehended and feared, by them 
whom God hath set as watchmen amongst us, that the case is 
too much otherwise ; and that the religion of families languish- 
cth, or indeed hath no place at all in many families, where 
yet there is a profession of and a pretence unto godliness above 
the common rate. For my own part, I do not know that there 
is th!\s sinful omission with any of you that have families ; 1 do 
not know that there is : and therefore I cannot be understood, 
without great injury to me, to intend a reflection upon any par 
ticular person. But yet for all that, I cannot think a discourse 
upon this subject needless ; for it is possible, many may be 


guilty of this omission, though I know nothing of it ; who do 
not covet to pry into families, beyond any particular occasion 
or call that I may have thereunto. And if it be so, it is not 
to be despaired of, but that through the blessing of God his 
word may be made use of to effect a conviction and a reforma 
tion of so great and so unsufferable an evil. 

And it is possible too, that it may serve for the confirmatiori 
of such in that good course, as may be tempted to desist from 
it. For have none ever come within the compass of your 
knowledge, who have for some time continued to practise and 
keep on foot the worship of God in their families, but have at 
length abandoned it and given it over ? That is a far fouler case. 
Turpius ejicitur, quam non admit titur : it is a more igno 
minious thing to throw y OUT religion and your Godoutofyour 
families, than never to have admitted them. I would labour 
to fortify all, as much as is possible, against that temptation. 

And it is possible farther to be useful to divers, who yet 
have not families, but who may have ; so as to be a guide and 
incentive to their purpose and practice for the future, when 
there shall be such occasions. 

And even to us all, who are ever so resolute m the present 
use and for the continuance of this holy course, it may be use 
ful for our quickening to manage this holy work with more se 
riousness, with more vigour, with more spirituality, and to 
better purpose, than we have been any of us to wont to do. 

And as to the subject itself, you see the words of this text 
are very plain words. I and my house will serve the Lord. 
The word, house, indeed doth sometimes signify more largely; 
but it cannot be understood to signify any thing else here but 
an houshold : and so we are saved from any thing of a dispu 
tation about that matter. For Joshua speaks only of them, for 
whom he would answer, at least as to their visible practice, 
and whom he had a power over. " I and my house will serve 
the Lord." And he contradistinguished! the case of his own 
family from the supposed different common case. For he sup- 
poseth all the rest to be gone off to paganism or the service of 
other gods ; notwithstanding which the practice of his house 
and family should be the same that it was. 

And for the term, serve, it is true the hebrew word here 
used is rendered promiscuously by the Septuagint in several 
places, so as sometimes to signify A«T^«, that is, that service 
which is peculiar and appropriate to God under the notion of 
worship to him ; and sometimes to signify £«A«a, service in a 
much larger sense. Therefore I lay no stress upon the word, 
abstractly considered ; but only considered according to the 
^resent circumstances. Abstractly considered, it is very true 


it doth sometimes signify not only service to God, but to man. 
And again being referred to God, it sometimes signifies any 
other service or obedience or duty, besides worship ; as we are 
to obey and comport with his pleasure in other things besides 
worshipping of him : and then this word serves to express that 
service. But in this place it can signify nothing but worship* 
That is most plain. It signifieth that sort of service, which 
must either be paid to the true God, or will be paid to false 
ones. " You may serve other gods ; but I and my house will 
serve the Lord." So that it is worship or religion that is meant 
here, and nothing else. And therefore about that, there is 
no place or room left for disputation. And now so much be 
ing plain, you find a twofold resolution expressed in the text. 

First. Concerning personal religion : the religion of a sin 
gle person, solitary worship ; that worship, that may be con 
fined to a man's soul and to his closet. "1 will serve the Lord : 
I will be a worshipper of him, as long as I live, let the rest of 
the world do what they will." And then here is a resolution 
expressed too, 

Secondly, Concerning family-religion ; and that as the care 
of the family-master, the governor of the family. He did not 
think he should answer the obligation that lay upon him as- 
such, or do the part incumbent on him as so related, if he 
should shut up himself and his religion in a closet. No, but 
"I and my house will serve the Lord;" implying his resolution, 
both to do what was incumbent upon himself in worshipping 
God even among them, and to use the power he had to oblige 
them to a compliance and concurrence therein. Otherwise he 
must be thought to have spoken absurdly, when he says, u As for 
my house, we will serve the Lord ;" if he must not be under 
stood to have the authority in his own family to oblige them to 
attend thereupon. 

It is the latter of these, which it suits our purpose to speak 
unto ; though we shall in the close, God willing, look back 
upon the other two, as there will be occasion. The text will 
give it, and the series of the discourse will lead to it. So 
that, that which is left as the designed subject of my present 
discourse, is family-religion ; the religion that belongs to a 
family as such, and which it belongs to a family as such to set 
on foot and to keep on foot in the family. 

And here T cannot but be apprehensive, that wherever there 
is among professed Christians a disinclination and aversion 
from such a course and practice as this, there will be (that they 
may give themselves a relief, that they may have some pre 
tence and shelter against the urgency of what may be said in 
such a case,) an aptness qUmourously to insist aud cry outj. 


"But where is your proof? what proof have you, that there 
ought to be such a thing as family-religion ? where is it requir 
ed, that we must so, and so often, or in such and such a con 
tinued course, attend upon God in the performance of family- 
duties, and the exercises of domestical religion ?" I doubt 
not, but by the blessing of God you will find, that there is 
proof clear and strong enough ; as it was to be expected there 
should be in so important a case, and upon which so much de 
pends. But before 1 come to give you any, I shall lay down 
some few things by way of preparation and premise. As, 

1. That whereas this is matter of doubt, and is to be matter 
of dispute ; that which is doubted of, is to be generally sup 
posed not the substance of the thing spoken of, but only this or 
that circumstance. I hope that generally the matter that any 
would have brought into dispute, or for which they would de 
sire proof, is not, whether there should be any such thing as 
religion in the world, or no* That cannot be the question 
with any, that call themselves Christians, with any reason or 
modesty, at least till they have renounced that name : nor can 
any make that a question, consistently with themselves and 
with the dictates of human nature, unless they will renounce 
the name of man too. But the question must be, whether 
there ought to be religion in a family as such ; and to be per 
formed so, and so often, or in so orderly, continued and stat 
ed a course. Hereupon I would add, 

2. That where the substance of any duty is agreed to be 
plainly required, it would be the most unreasonable thing in 
all the world to throw it off, upon a pretence, that such and 
s»uch circumstances are not enjoined. Nothing can be more 
unreasonably absurd than that. For so you would come to 
throw out of the world the most undoubted parts of all religion 

•whatsoever, the most essential, most noble, and substantial 
parts. There could be nothing of solitary and personal religion 
upon such terms. For instance ; at this rate a man should be 
excused from ever remembering God as long as he lived, from 
ever having any thought of him, because Scripture doth not 
expressly tell us how often in a day we should think of him. 
And the same may be said of all other vital acts of religion. 
At this rate no body should be obliged to love God, because we 
are not told how often in a day we must put forth an act of love 
to him : and no body should be obliged to fear God, to exert 
any reverential acts towards him, because we are not told at 
what hour of the day it must be. And so for social worship, 
there could be no such thing upon these terms : if any man 
should say, I am not obliged to worship God in Christian soci 
eties any where, because he hath not expressly told us, you 


shall come together at nine, or ten, or eleven o'clock for such 
purposes. And so under that pretence here would be an end of 
all religion, because every circumstance, and particularly this 
of time and frequency, is not stated expressly and determined 
in Scripture. I add, 

8 . That wheresoever the substance of any duty is expressly 
enjoined, and the circumstances are not determined ; if it be 
plain and evident, that the thing is necessary, (and I will now 
suppose, that so family-religion is, as well as religion in ge 
neral, as that which I hope you will see proved;) then it is 
left to us to choose the circumstances ; but not to choose them 
arbitrarily, or unfitly, or inconsistently with the end and de 
sign of the duty. This is one of the good man's characters, 
that he orders his affairs with discretion, (psalm 112. 5.) with 
judgment, as the word admits to be read : he judiciously con 
siders the several obligations that lie upon him, so as seasona 
bly to answer them all. If the thing itself be manifestly en 
joined^ it is required of us, that we find out the way of cir 
cumstantiating it, so as may most comport with the mind and 
pleasure of the legislator in laying us under such an obligation : 
and at our peril be it, if we do not find the circumstances, 
when the thing is required to be done. 

As for instance, to suit this with a parallel case ; you know 
it is an obligation upon family-masters to take care as to ex 
ternals for them that are of the household. He that doth not 
provide for them of his own house, hath denied the faith, and 
is worse than an infidel. 1 Tim. 5. 8. This charge lies upon 
him, that according to his ability he is to provide for his do 
mestics : it is enforced upon him by a general law and pre 
cept : " Thou shalt do no murder." He would be a murderer 
before God, and before all rational and considering men, that 
should famish his family, when he could provide for them, and 
when his pretence is nothing else but this, " God hath not told 
me in his word how many meals they shall have in a day, or 
at what hour of the day I am to dine or sup them ; he hath not 
said, it shall be at eleven or twelve or one a clock, or at seven 
or eight, that I shall so and so provide for them." This man 
will be nothing less than a murderer, than if the particular hour 
were told him in the Bible, when he must take care that they 
shall have that which is convenient and competent for their 
meat and drink. And I hope, in process of time we shall 
come to evince, that they are not less liable to be found guilty 
as murderers before God, that do famish the souls of them 
that are committed to their charge ; but that that guilt is un 
speakably more foul and horrid and hateful. And therefore I. 


4. That when any thing hy general rules is enjoined in Scrip 
ture, then we are to use our understandings in deducing and bring 
ing down that general rule to particular cases. For the Scrip 
tures were written not for brutes, but for men ; for an intelli 
gent sort of creatures, that have understandings about them, and 
are capable of using them, so as to deduce and collect particu 
lars out of generals, and so as to infer from such and such plain 
grounds suitable conclusions and inferences : and what is by 
manifest and just deductions to be drawn from a Scripture- 
ground^ will equally oblige, as if it were certisverhis, expres 
sed in the Scripture itself. God doth speak to us as men, and 
it doth not beseem the majesty of God to trifle with his crea 
tures. Indeed it would be thought unfit for the majesty of a 
prince, a secular prince, to descend to every little punctilio, 
when his mind in his public edicts is plainly enough expressed. 
It may better be expected, that there should be a grandeur ob 
served by the supreme and universal Lord of all ; and we should 
not expect him to descend to every minute thing, to gratify 
the litigious cavilling humour of every one that hath a mind to 
find all the flaws he can in God's commands, rather than obey 
them ; even all the flaws and defects that he can any way sup 

The great cry in this case is, " Js not the Scripture a perfect 
rule both of faith and manners ? And therefore what is not 
to be found there, as to faith, we are not bound to believe; as 
to manners or practice, we are not bound to do." This is the 
allegation, when any have a mind rather to throw off such a 
piece of duty towards him that gave them breath, than to com 
port with his mind and pleasure in it. I therefore add, 

5. That divers things, not so expressly contained in Scrip 
ture, will be found equally to oblige, if they be matters of prac 
tice. They will equally oblige to such practice, though not 
in so many words expressed in Scripture, if by any other light, 
than what is contained in Scripture as such, it shall be made to 
appear, that they are just and necessary. 

You will say, What other light ? I say, the light and law of 
nature. For we are to know, that the Scriptures were not 
written to repeal the law of nature. That is an unrepealable 
law, never possibly to be repealed, while God is God, and 
man is man. For therefore is it called the law of nature, be 
cause it results from the correspondency between the nature of 
man and the nature of God ; and so is as impossible to be re 
pealed, as it is impossible at once, that God should be ungod- 
ded, and that you should be nullified and reduced to nothing, 
It is true indeed, if the former were, the latter would be. 
But the former being altogether impossible, as long as a rea- 

VOL. V, 3 J> 


sdnable creature continueth such, the obligation of the law of 
nature will unalterably lie upon it. 

You are therefore to consider ; Was there no sin or duty In 
the world, before the Scriptures were written, for two thousand 
years together ? when we are told, that before the law sin was 
In the world ; but sin is not imputed, when there is no law. 
Rom. 5. 13. And therefore there was this law of nature, in 
respect whereof men are a law unto themselves. Rom. 2. 14. 
That is, if they will look impartially and faithfully into their 
own souls, and not wilfully overlook their natural dictates and 
Sentiments ; if they will commune with themselves. And the 
very writing of the Scriptures doth suppose this, and all preach 
ing according to the Scriptures supposeth it. Otherwise what 
means the apostle's saying in that text, 2 Cor. 4. 2. Recom 
mending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of 
<jod ? That, which upon an impartial appeal to the conscience 
of a man in the sight of God he shall be obliged to judge is just 
and equal, binds his practice, and hath its ground in Scripture 
too, though every circumstance relating hereunto be not 
found there. 

Scriptural revelation doth graft upon nature, that is, it sup 
poseth us men. Otherwise to what purpose were it to put 
such a book into our hands ; if we were not with dependance, 
with subordination, to apply our own understandings to consi 
der what is contained there; still expecting and looking up to the 
Father of lights, from whom this collection of truths doth come 
to us, that he would irradiate or direct our minds, and enable 
us to discern his mind, as it is signified to us the one or the 
other way ? All appeals unto the judgments and consciences 
of men were in vain and to no purpose, if what I now say were 
not to be admitted. I speak to wise men ; says the apostle, 
judge ye what I say, 1 Cor, 10. 15. God's own expostulations 
with men suppose it. " Are not my ways equal ? are not your 
ways unequal ?" Ezek. 18. 29. All this doth suppose, that 
there is an understanding and a conscience, that is capable of 
judging. And whatsoever shall appear just and requisite and 
necessary unto that principle, must be understood to oblige by 
the authority of the Supreme Legislator, whose law this is. For 
he, that has made us and made our natures, has made this law 
that is written there. 

Therefore this law is an inviolable law, and most deeply 
fundamental to all that we have contained in the Bible ; which 
is but a superadded light. Inasmuch as it is most true, that 
this law of nature doth not declare, what is to be done by apos 
tate and lost creatures in order to their recovery ; therefore a 
supervening light is Heedful, The law of nat»re Was impressed 


upon the mind of innocent man, and respected his innocent 
state. But then, those that were obligations of duty laid upon 
him in that state, are incessant obligations. What ! will God 
say, "Because my creature has made a defection from me, shall he 
by his own fault excuse himself from duty, and nullify the obli 
gation of my law ?" If that did oblige men to worship God, and 
oblige societies to worship him, lesser societies, supposing 
there had been such, while the state of innocency lasted; do 
we think, that that obligation is taken off by sin, by men's 
having offended and made a defection from God ? As if men, 
could nullify God's laws by disobeying them. And therefore, 
I say, what doth by the law of nature appear to be necessary, 
will equally oblige our practice, as if it were in so many ex 
press words in Scripture. And in the last place, I propose this 
to be considered too, 

6. That it is a master-piece of the devil's artifice, to oppose 
the means of our direction in matters of practice to one another, 
and to their common end. And they are most stupid creatures, 
who will suffer themselves to be befooled by him in this matter. 
A great artifice of the devil ! first to go about to oppose the 
light of nature, that is simply and truly such, (and there are 
characters, by which that may be discerned, though that is 
not the business of this hour,) unto Scripture-light ; and then 
to oppose one piece of Scripture to another ; and then to make 
it be thought, that all together is insufficient to the true end : 
or else to set the means against the end. This is a great de 
sign that he hath been driving, ever since there was a church 
in the world ; and to engage men in broils and disputes upon, 
such seeming oppositions ; but all to divert the practice of 
what was really most necessary unto men's serving of God in 
this world, and their being happy with him in the other : and 
then to represent the means as insufficient to the end, and by 
consequence as opposite ; as if all together would not serve, 
because one alone will note As indeed this is plain, that the 
light of nature alone will not serve to enable a man to glorify 
God as God, and to conduct a man to a final felicity in him. 
Therefore, says the devil, " It is of no use at all ;" and so men 
are to be given up to enthusiasm. Thus he imposeth upon 
one sort of men. Again, if such and such things be found not to 
be contained expressly in the Scripture-revelation, then Scrip 
ture-revelation alone is represented as insufficient; and there 
upon there must be I know not how many traditions and in 
ventions of men pitched upon, to supply or make up the defects 
of Scripture ; or otherwise, upon pretence pf this insufficiency, 
the end, that should be served by it, is represented as impos 
sible to be served ; and the Scripture shall be pretended to 


throw religion out of the world, beeause it is no sufficient 
means to serve it : and at last men shall be left to live irreli 
giously, according to the disinclination and bent of a disaffect 
ed heart. 

God hath not left us altogether "ignorant of Satan's devices ;" 
and "in vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird." When 
he would so grossly impose upon its in so plain cases, we arc 
very foolish creatures, sillier than the silliest bird, if we will 
suffer ourselves to be beguiled and imposed upon ; especially as 
to such parts and pieces of our religion, as upon which all our 
present comfort and welfare, and our future and eternal hopes 
do so immediately depend. It would be great folly in so plain 
a case. 

Do but consider a little, wherein this doth appear most plain, 
so that every one may understand it if he will. Take the most 
unquestionable and indisputable things, that lie within the 
compass of natural revelation, and that cannot be understood 
to serve any ill purpose, or to gratify any corrupt inclination in 
the heart of a man, but directly the contrary; take these na 
tural sentiments, and take the whole compass of Scripture to 
gether with them ; and here is that, which in point of rule 
both for faith and practice is every way sufficient to serve its 
end. When we say, the Scripture is a complete rule, we do 
not mean as severed and cut off from the law of nature, or in 
opposition to that, or as excluding that ; but as including it ; 
and as excluding only the unnecessary and arbitrary inventions 
of men, and the additions that they think fit to subnect to it. 
Take the Scripture, in conjunction with the frame of most un 
questionably natural dictates and sentiments ; and here we have 
an entire discovery of all that is requisite to our acceptable 
walking with God. And indeed all those more essential ne 
cessary dictates of the law of nature are contained in the Scrip 
ture. But there are many things, that are still to be borrow 
ed from thence, which may respect tlie matter of undetermined 
circumstances ; and circumstances of that kind, that they are 
necessary to actions to be done. Not merely unnecessary cir 
cumstances. For if any would take their advantage and occa 
sion from thence, to devise what circumstances they please ; 
that is a groundless and injurious pretence. There can be no 
action done but with circumstances ; and the determination of 
some circumstances is necessary : as, it is impossible for an 
assembly ever to meet together, if they do not agree upon a 
time : there can be no such thing as social worship, if the 
persons that are to associate do not agree. Such a circumstance 
as this is necessary, because there cannot be worship without 
it. But for unnecessary circumstances, which signify nothing- 


to the work, and without which it may be, and may be as well 
and perhaps better; these cannot be fetched from the law of 
nature. But from the law of nature I can fetch this circum 
stance ; if I be obliged to worship God, then I must find some 
time for it. And if persons be obliged to worship God toge 
ther, then they must find some time to come together. And 
therefore all that is substantial in religion, though a great deal 
of it be in the law of nature, you have it over again in Scrip 
ture. And for whatsoever of circumstance is necessary unto 
such exercises of religion, if you have not all those circumstan 
ces in the Scripture, yet the law of nature compared with Scrip 
ture will oblige you to find out fit circumstances ; such as by 
which it shall be possible for the enjoined duty to be done, and 
such as without which it cannot be done. 

And so in this sense the Scripture is a perfect rule, in oppo 
sition to unnecessary inventions ; but not in opposition to the 
necessary parts of the law of nature, or whatsoever that is ne^ 
cessarily to be directive to us in. As, if Scripture say, "Wor 
ship God ;" the law of nature saith the same thing ; but it over 
and above obligeth me to circumstance it duly, and so as that 
the thing designed may be possible to be done. And if both 
together do lay me under an obligation to this or that part or 
kind of religion and duty, my obligation will be indisputable 
and indispensible hereupon. 

These preparations being laid, we shall (God willing,) go 
en hereafter to evince to you the obligation that is upon us to 
family-worship ; on the governors of families to take care, that 
it be set up ; and to oblige those under their charge to concur $ 
and their obligation spontaneously and willingly to concur*. 



T&ECAUSE I lay a great stress in the argument before us 
-" upon the law of nature, as you may see by what hath been 
already offered ; it may be requisite, before I proceed upon the 
forelairl grounds to the proofs, that I should obviate some 
things which may arise in the minds of some or other concern 
ing this law. 

Objection. It may be said; "To lay a weight in this matter 
upon the law of nature, is to lay it upon the most uncertain 
thing in all the world- Who can tell, what the law of nature 
is ? How obscure and dark, how dubious and mutable a thing 
doth it seem to be ; depending with one man upon this or that 
apprehension or fancy or inclination, and with others upon 
another ?" To this I would say as follows, 

1. The law of nature, as it lies in the minds of men, is a 
mightily shattered thing. But, 

2. It is not equally obscure in all things. 

3. In reference to what I design to appeal to it in, it is most 
clear and indisputable : and I shall lay a weight and stress 
upon it no where else, but where it is so. 

4. As to what relates to this matter, religion and the woi> 

* Preache4 December 1/tk 


ship of God in general, and which we shall afterwards have oc 
casion to deduce and draw down to family- worship ; it is so very 
plain, that is, the general is so plain, that I may be as sure 
what the law of nature is in the case, as I may be that contra 
dictions cannot be true. For the worship of God or religion 
doth carry that in it, the assertion or affirmation whereof must 
as necessarily exclude the contrary, as one proposition must 
exclude another contradictory to it. 

For instance. When I worship God, my worshipping of 
him doth imply these affirmations in it ; that he is supreme, 
that he is the best of beings, that all things do depend upon 
him, that I have my own absolute dependance upon him, that 
in his favour stands my life, that his displeasure and anger 
towards me riot reconciled must be a mortal and destructive 
thing to me. My declining or refusing to worship him impli- 
eth all the contrary negations. If the former affirmations be 
true ; ("and the conscience of every man may be applied unto, 
whether they be not true ;) the contrary negations can no more 
fce true, that is, the contradictory, than it is possible for the 
same thing to be tine and false. 

So little do we need to be at an uncertainty or in a suspense, 
what the law of nature, as we shall refer to it, is. It is nothing 
else, but that essential reference between God and his crea 
tures, which, upon, the supposed existence of both, is ne 
cessarily and unavoidably, whether I think of it, yea or no. 
It is not an uncertain or mutable thing ; it doth not depend 
upon my thinking or not thinking of it. Whether I think or 
think not, whether 1 sleep or wake ; if God is and I am, such 
obligations must lie upon me necessarily and unalterably in this 
state of the case. That is, there are these tilings to be consi 
dered in God ; and such really is the state of things between 
liim and me, that I cannot but be Under such obligations. 
And therefore it is vain to suppose, that the law of nature in 
these respects is an arbitrary and changeable thing. It is no 
more changeable, than the essential references must be between 
God and me, while he exists, and I exist : so that I cannot 
make these obligations to be by my thinking of them, nor can 
I unthink them into nothing. 

And when we therefore read of the law of nature as a law 
written in us, as the apostle's expression is ; that must suppose 
it to have been, before it is written, that is, in order of nature 
before. For what is it that is written? Something that was beir 
fore, at least in the order of nature. Those mutual references 
must be between God and us, which are only founded upon our 
own natures. They had a pre-existence ; that is, whether 
there he any such impression upon me or no ; if it remain, or 


if it be blotted out, that doth not nullify the obligations be 
tween me and my Maker. And it those obligations do unal 
terably and indispensibly lie upon me in reference to myself, 
it will be a very easy deduction, when we come to that, to 
shew that they must lie upon me also, in reference to those 
that I am concerned for. And hereupon, though after the apos 
tle we call this a "law written in our hearts," we must consider 
it as antecedent to that impression. Cicero, a heathen, calls it 
non script a sed nata lex, a law lorn with us; which results 
from the very existence of such a creature, of such a nature, 
related to the Supreme Being as his offspring, or one that hath 
immediately been raised up out of nothing by him. 

But now upon all this, such preparatories being forelaid, 
We shall proceed to the proof of what hath been asserted ; 

that is, That it is incumbent upon the governors of families 

to take care that there be such a thing as family-religion 

preserved and kept up in their families as such.- We 

must here note to you, that by the exercises of religion 
in families, we do not mean, that all the exercises of religion 
must be there ; that every instituted Christian ordinance can 
have place in a family. We do not intend that, unless in such 
families as may be also churches ; as we read of some such in 
Scripture. But we mean such exercises of religion, as a fami 
ly is the capable seat and subject of ; as it is of those parts 
of merely natural worship, which are wont to be referred to 
that head : as prayer, comprehending confession of sin, and 
thanksgiving for mercies ; and instruction, the endeavour of 
knowing and of being acquainted with the mind and will of 
God, touching what we are to believe concerning him, and 
touching what we are to do in a way of duty towards him. 
These are things, which lie within the compass of natural 

It is true, that there are instttuted ordinances of worship be 
sides, (as even these mentioned are instituted, as well as na 
tural,) that do belong to a certain specified seat and subject ; 
to wit, such and such societies, which the very institution it 
self doth characterize and notify as the apt and convenient seat 
and subject of such worship. Those I do not speak of. But 
that such parts of worship, that have been spoken of, which 
are natural as well as instituted, namely, praying to God, and 
instruction in the matters that concern us towards him, do be 
long to families as such, I shall labour to evince and make out 
to you. And 1 shall endeavour to do this, partly upon rational* 
and partly upon scriptural grounds. And I shall do it in re 
ference to these two things 3 


I. To the substance of family-religion ; that there ought to 
he such a thing as family-religion, containing those two sub 
stantial parts that 1 have mentioned. And, 

II. To the frequency thereof ; when and how often such 
and such acts and exercises of religion ought to be perform 

I. That there ought to be such a thing as family-religion, 
made up of the mentioned parts, family -prayer, fm&family~ 

1. I shall labour to make out this to you upon rational 
grounds. And to that purpose I shall give you one general ar^ 
gument, — from the notion of religion generally considered— 
which, as such, must be understood to carry with it a double 
respect, namely, — to its object — the great God : and — to 
its subject — a reasonable or intelligent creature, or a collec 
tion of such, by whom it is to be performed. Under the for 
mer notion, or in the former reference, it is to be looked upon 
as a duty to him, to whom I perform it, or such and such ex 
ercises of it. Under the latter notion, it is to be looked upon, 
as a thing necessary for ourselves, for our own welfare and ad 
vantage, present and eternal. 

The former notion doth not extinguish or exclude the other. 
But it sheweth, how admirably God hath connected things, 
even in their natures ; and with how tender regard to his crea 
tures, that shall continue in, or that shall be reduced to an 
obediential or governable state and posture towards him : that 
they cannot do what is for his honour and glory, but they must 
be promoting their own true interest at the same time and by 
jthe same thing; that as religion is a homage to the eter 
nal Being, a debt that the reasonable nature ought to pay him ; 
so it is as to ourselves a means to refine our spirits, to purge 
them from terrene dross ; in the acts and exercises of which, we 
converse with the best of beings, the most pure, the most glo 
rious, the most vital ; and so derive an enlivening and purify 
ing influence into our own souls. These notions are not incon 
sistent, or exclusive of one another. But the Author of our 
being hath so kindly ordered the state of things between him 
self and us, that that which sums up all our duty, sums up all 
our felicity too, Love to God : this sums up all that we are 
to do, and all that we are to enjoy. By one and the same love, 
we vitally do all that can be done by us in point of duty, and 
vitally enjoy all that can be enjoyed by us in point of felicity. 
Therefore wonder not, that there should be these two referen 
ces of religion, that belong to it in itself most abstractly con 
sidered, so that we cannot consider or form a notion, of it, but 

VOL. v. 3. B 


we must involve both of these : for it must be performed to 
some one, and by some one. There can be no such thing as 
vital religion, but it must be terminated upon God, and sub 
jected in ourselves and so cannot but have these distinct refer 
ences with it. Hereupon then, 

(1.) Consider religion according to the former reference, as 
a homage to God ; and if it be found equally to be a homage 
to him from a family, as it is from a single person, then the 
obligation to family-religion will be indispensible and indispu 
table upon this ground. We shall consider, how this obliga 
tion as to persons doth arise, that is, to pay such a continual 
homage to God as religion includes and involves in it. 

[1.] As he is the most excellent of all beings, so there is an 
obligation to worship him, or to bear a religious disposition and 
affection of soul towards him. That name of God, which in 
cludes all divine excellencies and perfections in it, "is exalted 
above all blessing and praise." Neh. 9. 5. Hence it is con 
sequent, that my capacity measures my obligation. And I pray 
consider that ; and let your own thoughts, as you hear it, ex 
amine it. If the divine name, comprehensive of all excellen 
cies, be exalted above all blessing and praise ; then I can never 
go beyond what I owe in point of homage thereunto. And 
therefore it cannot be, but that capacity must measure obliga 
tion. If I am capable of doing so much in a way of homage to 
the supreme and most excellent Being, I am bound to come up 
to that. If I can do more, I must still do that more ; and 
so on still ; because this blessed name is exalted above all 
blessing and praise. If I have a capacity then in my own per 
son to do any thing in a way of duty towards this most excel 
lent Being, whereunto therefore I owe that duty ; whatsoever 
that capacity of mine extends to, I am to serve arid glorify him 
according to the utmost of it. And if I am to be considered, 
not only in my own single personal capacity, but as the head of 
a family also ; then, if capacity do measure obligation, I am 
to do all that in me lies, that he may have as much honour 
from my family, as he is to have from me ; because it is as 
much owing, and 1 can never overdo in point of duty towards 
him, in whatever capacity I stand. 

Suppose then my single capacity to be indeed improved to 
serve and glorify him, but that I neglect the other ; may not 
he come and say, " There is another capacity in which you 
stand, pray what do you for me in that ? Do you owe me no 
duty, as you are the master of a family, and have the care of 
others upon you ? Both you and those for whom you are con 
cerned owe me duty in that capacity ; and you are concerned to 
see that that duty be done, by reason of the authority that you 


jhave over them, and the obligation that you can subordinated 
lay upon them/' This is implied in the text ; te As for me and 
my house, we will serve the Lord." He supposeth that capa 
city inherent in him, that he could not only do such duty or 
service himself, but that he could oblige those that were under 
his care. 

Now where is that man, that dare stand forth and say, "It 
is true I owe all the homage I am capable of performing, for 
my own person, to that most excellent of all beings, because 
he is most excellent, and because his name is far exalted above 
all blessing and praise ; but my family owes him nothing, or I 
owe him nothing for my family ?" Whereas you are in the 
capacity of a governor of a family, as well as in a single capa 
city ; and may do still more to glorify that name in your fami 
ly-capacity, than you could do in the other alone : but while 
there is a capacity unanswered of glorifying the most excellent 
Being, an obligation must remain upon me to answer it, since 
I can never here exceed or even come up to what he deserves. 

[2.] The obligation to religion ariseth also from our depen- 
dance upon the Divine Being for our first and for our c6ntinued 
being, as he is our Creator, and our continual Preserver, and 
consequently our Owner. And can any man say, " God hath 
created me, but he hath not created mine ! He continually 
preserves and sustains me, but he doth not preserve and sustain 
mine !" But if 1 owe him my all, upon account of my own de- 
pendanceon him, for my being, and for my hoped and expec 
ted well-being, present and eternal ; is not the case so with my 
family also ? Js he not the Proprietor and Owner of that, as 
well as of myself ? Who would not tremble to say, " God hath 
no interest in my family, no right there ?" And if he hath an 
interest and propriety there, shall he not be owned and have 
a homage paid him by my family as such ? And I being a 
certain sponsor for them, and set over them, am bound to do 
all that in me is, that the obligation upon them be answered, 
as well as that personally upon myself. 

[3.] The dueness of religion as a homage to God, may be 
farther argued from the very nature of man : nut only with 
reference to personal, but to domestical religion, as he is na 
turally not only a reasonable, but a sociable creature. As he 
is a reasonable creature, so he owes religion as a homage to 
him, who has been the Author of this rational, intelligent nature 
to him. As he is a sociable creature, so he owes social religion, 
or worship in society : and in that society first, wlierein he 
js first capable of rendering it, that is, in his family. This 
obligation lies upon him, and is always first to be answered. 
There was .social worship in families, before there could be 


other social worship. And that obligation, if it lay once, 
lieth always upon the same sort of persons. As God hath 
made me a creature apt for society, and hath cast me into such 
societies, 1 am obliged to worship him in them, by the very 
law of my own nature. 

[4.] This debt of religion to God, even as from a family, is 
to be argued from the very constitution of families. They are 
divine plantations settled by God himself, for this very end and 
purpose, to be nurseries of religion and godliness. If God be 
the Author of such a constitution, and if religion be the end 
for which he hath purposely constituted them, then certainly 
there ought to be family-religion and godliness. For the for 
mer, nothing is plainer. " God setteth the solitary in families." 
Psalm 6'S. 6'. God hath so provided, that men should not live 
single and apart in this world in an ordinary course ; but he 
hath so stated things, that they must be united and meet to 
gether first in families. And he in his providence makes so 
many single persons to be so and so related, as to constitute a 
family. And what will he have these families for ? Plainly to be 
seminaries of religion. And see, how his design for that purpose 
may be evinced. If the most fundamental relation in a fami 
ly, the conjugal relation, be for that end, and was appointed by 
God for that end, then certainly the family must be in the design 
of its constitution set up for that end : but the former is plain. 
The fundamental relation in the family was, that God might 
have out of it a godly seed ; as the original constitution of fa 
milies is referred to in Mai. 2. 15. "Did not he make one" fop 
one at first? "And wherefore one ? That he might seek a 
godly seed." He did not design the original constitution of 
that fundamental relation, by which mankind was to be con 
tinued and propagated in this world, only that there might be 
a continual descent of human nature; but that religion might 
still be transmitted from age to age. And this design of his he 
never quits. For is it a supposable thing, that his creature, 
by revolting from him, and sinning against the obligation of 
that law, which was naturally and primarily laid upon him as 
he was such a creature, should be capable thereby of nullifying 
God's constitution, or making such obligation to cease : 

Nothing then can be plainer, than that, if God have ap 
pointed families to be nurseries of religion from age to age irt 
this world, there must then be such a thing as family-religion* 
Otherwise why should he seek such a godly seed out of human 
families, more than out of the cells of wild beasts, if there 
were no such thing as religion and godliness designed by him 
to be kept up in families > How shall godliness spring up 


with human nature in families, if there be no such thing as 
family-godliness carefully maintained and kept up in the seve 
ral exercises of it there ? 

Thus far the obligation unto religion, as it is a debt to God,, 
and equally concerning families as persons, may be plainly in 
ferred from rational grounds : and that these things were not 
^inapprehensible to men, even by natural light ; though they 
depend not thereupon ; for whether we understand this or un 
derstand it not, this truly is the state of the case. But that 
the thing hath such a foundation in nature, may be collected 
hence, that they who have had no other light than merely na 
tural, have apprehended an obligation upon them to family- 
religion. For otherwise how came it to pass, that besides 
their temple-worship, among the pagans they had their lares, 
their penates to worship in their families, their family and do- 
anestical gods, as they called them ? Whence came it to pass, 
that Laban had his gods in his house, which were carried away 
from him by Rachel ? Whence was it, that Micah had his 
idol in his house, and his domestical priest to manage religion 
In his family ? As in Judg. 18. you have the story at large, 
from ver. 14. But you may say, " All this was but idolatry.'* 

But then I would appeal to your reason or any man's else ; 
In the room and stead of what stood that idolatry ? Was it to 
be supposed, that it must stand in the room of irreligion, or in 
the room of no religion ? Or did it only stand in the stead of 
true religion ? Let any man answer by the rules of reason and 
conscience, when he considers this case. Here was idolatrous 
worship in families among wilder pagans ; they had their lares, 
their penates. What was to be in the room of this ? Or what 
was this to be in the room of ? Was it to be in the room of 
«o religion, or of true religion ? Sure it must be in the room 
of true religion ; and tbat it had supplanted. It did not stand 
in the room of no religion, or no religion was not to be the. 
thing which should succeed it, if this idolatrous worship were, 
to be removed out of such families. 

So may this matter be argued concerning family-religion and 
the dueness of it ; if you consider religion in general as a ho 
mage owing to God, and equally owing to him from a family 
as from single persons ; and to which a single person, if he be 
also a master of a family, is equally obliged for them as for 
himself to do the utmost that he can, that it should be render 
ed to God as a debt to the divine. Majesty. 



prove that there ought to be such a thing as family-re* 

ligion, it hath been proposed to consider both the rational 
and the scriptural grounds, upon which it stands. 

For the former, the rational grounds of it, we have cho 
sen to insist upon one general argument from the nature of 
religion ; which, as hath been observed, is to be considered 
under a twofold notion, both of which it naturally involves ; — as 
a homage to God, and — as an advantage to men. — If it be 
found in this double reference to concern men in families as 
such, then it ought upon both accounts to have place there. 

We have already considered it for this purpose in the 
former reference, as a homage to God. Proceed we now to 
the other branch. 

(2.) Consider religion as an advantage to men. And if upon 
that account too, the reason of the thing doth as much reach my 
family, as it doth myself ; then family-religion ought to be 
inferred upon me as a charge, as an obligation necessarily in 
cumbent, as well as personal religion. Plain it is, that reli 
gion is the greatest advantage to a man that he is any way ca 
pable of. Do not we know, that he is an undone, lost creature, 

* Preached December 24, 


separate from God, having nothing to do with God ? It is by 
religion, that he comes to have to do with God. He neither 
trusts him nor loves him nor feareth him nordelighteth in him, 
if there be no religion ; for these are all the essential, vital parts 
of it. And therefore religion, as it is that hy which I have to 
do with God, is necessary for me. And it id necessary for 
jnine, as much as for me. 

And a twofold consideration will evince to us the obligation, 
that must lie upon family-governors to introduce and to keep 
up religion in their families, upon this account, as a necessary 
advantage to them ; namely, paternal love, and paternal fide 
lity. When I sayypaternal, it is not as if I would confine the 
duty as owing from a parent to a child only. For the notion 
of paternal goeth farther. Every family-governor is a pater 
familias, in a sort, a father unto the whole family ; as a prince 
is a father to the whole community which he governs. And so) 
it is a sort of paternal love and paternal fidelity, that he oweth 
and is chargeable w r ith in reference to the whole family, who 
is the head and gorernor of it. Whereupon it is, that duty 
among all relatives is summed up in the fifth commandment^ 
" Honour thy father and thy mother." We must thereupon 
understand it to be implied, that all superiors are signified by 
father and mother, and all inferiors by children, the implied 
opposite term. Hereupon then I say, that 

[1.] Paternal love doth oblige the governor of a family, the 
paterfamilias, to take care, that family-religion do obtain in 
his family, as it is a necessary advantage to them. The thing 
speaks itself so plainly, that I need not insist upon it ; but only 
direct your thoughts thereupon to the contrary, that you may 
see, with how odious and frightful a visage that will look. If pa 
ternal love do oblige and would prompt to such a care of a family, 
as that religion may obtain and take place among them, as a ne 
cessary advantage which they cannot want ; then the contrary 
unto this, must speak in the root the contrary unto love : and that 
contrary must be the most horrid thing in this case that can be 
thought, that is, cruelty unto the very height. For, as this 
love speaks tenderness, mercifulness, compassion to the souls 
of men, that I cannot endure to see them perish in ignorance 
of God and estrangement from him and neglect of him ; the 
contrary must needs speak the most horrid and the most bar 
barous cruelty ; as if a man should say, and not care if it was 
written in his forehead, "I mind not what becomes of the souls 
of men that are committed to my charge, 1 care not whether 
they be saved or perish, whether they be happy or miserable to 
all eternity," With how horrid and frightful a visage doth this 


look, only to represent and state the matter just as it is ! And 

[2.] Paternal fidelity doth oblige to it also. For there is a 
trust committed by the great and universal Lord of all to every 
master of a family, over them that are under his charge ; and 
In reference to them he is a trustee. It is virtually said to every 
one, by the divine law and providence compared and put to 
gether; "I constitute thee my trustee in reference to this 
part of mankind, as many as are collected and gathered into 
thy family, and belong to it, whether naturally or by acces 
sion ; they are thy charge, 1 intrust them to thee." There 
upon, as hath been noted to you formerly, from 1 Tim. 5. 8. 
He that doth not provide for his own, and especially for those 
of his own house, hath denied the faith, and is worse than an 
infidel. The word is very emphatical, -7r/>ovo« ; he that doth 
not use his mind and forethought about the affairs and concerns 
of his family. Let it be but according to common reason con 
sidered, how far that providing for one's own must extend* 
And to say, that one that doth it not is worse than an infidel, 
is to say, that infidels even by the light and law of nature may 
be directed to do much, in reference to the care of their fami 
lies in matters of religion. As is intimated by what was noted 
to you the last time about their lares and their penatcs, their 
household gods to worship in families, besides the worship 
which they used to pay in the temples ; and whereof you have 
instances in Laban's and in Micah's families. And whereas it 
may be obvious to say, "But all this was but idolatry:" this 
must indeed be confessed to be true. But what was to be in 
the room of that idolatry ? Sure true religion, and not irre- 
ligion ! So that room should have been filled up. And no 
man, that doth but commune with himself and consult his own 
understanding, can allow himself upon serious thoughts to 
think, " I do owe, even upon account of a trust reposed in 
me, a care and concern about the outward man of the several 
individual persons of my family, but none at all about their 
souls ; I am to take care, that they have meat and drink and 
all necessaries for their bodies, but about their souls 1 am to 
fake no care/' Men will know one day, that they owe an ac 
count and a severe account too unto the Author of all nature, if 
they allow themselves to violate the law of nature ; which is not 
an arbitrary thing, doth not depend upon the minds of men, or 
what they think or think not. But whether they think or not, 
the nature of things alters not; but God will be a God still, 
end a creature will be a creature still, and the respects the same 
between God and a creature. So that it is an idle mistake to 
think, that the law of nature is a mutable thing. Men do so 
impose upon themselves, merely upon this ground, that they 


think there is no law of nature but what exists in men's minds; 
whereas it lies even in the nature of things, and their natural 
references to one another. It is to he considered in its objec 
tive state, before it be considered in its subjective. Those 
respects that result betwen one thing and another, and espe 
cially between Creator and creature, will be unalterably the 
same, whatsoever is, or is not in our minds. 

And so whether you consider religion as a homage to God, 
or as an advantage to man, you see the obligation that will lie 
upon men either way unto family-religion. But then, accord 
ing to the method proposed, 

2. I come to evince to you the substance of the thing, 
that there ought to be family-religion, from scripture-grounds. 

(1.) I shall labour to establish the general foundation upon 
jsuch grounds ; namely, that there is a charge lying upon the 
governors of families to take care, that there be such a thing 
as family-religion ; that there may be no shifting here ; but 
that they may know, where the obligation primarily lies, and 
where the fault lieth, if it be not answered : that it is in-» 
cumbent upon heads of families, to settle and keep on foot re 
ligion in them. 

[1.] If there be a power given them, there is a care lying 
upon them. These two will answer one another. But they 
have a power given them. The station of superiority, wherein 
God hath set them, speaks that. "Honour thy father and thy 
mother." In reference to the inferior relatives of the family 
they have a governing power : and if there is a duty to be paid 
them, then there is a power wherewith they are invested, that 
renders them the due objects thereof. Therefore the great God 
himself, speaking of himself as invested with such capacities, 
and personating the governor of a family, saith, (Malac. 1 . 6.) 
" A son honoureth his father : I am a father, where is the ho 
nour due to me hereupon ? A servant feareth or reverenceth 
his master ; I am a master, where is my reverence ?" There 
fore there is an honour and reverence due to fathers and mas 
ters as such, and therefore a power conferred upon them j and 
with a power a care cannot but be incumbent. 

[2.] How otherwise was it possible for Joshua, as here in the 
text, to undertake for his family as well .as himself ? to be a 
sponsor for them ? "But as for me and my house, we will serve 
the Lord." 

[3.] How comes it to pass, that Abraham is so highly com 
mended for this, and his example recommended, that he would 
command his household, that they should keep the way of the 
Lord ! That he should use an authority, ajid lay an obligation. 

VOL. Y. 3 F 


Upon them to keep God's ways, that is, no doiiht, to attend 
upon the exercises of religion ? 

[4.] If there were not such a charge and care lying upon * 
family-master, what meaning can we suppose the words of the 
fourth commandment should have ! " Thou shalt remember to 
keep holy the Sabbath-day, thou, and thy son, and thy daugh 
ter, and thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, and even the 
stranger," a lodger. Whence is this, that such a charge 
should be laid upon the pater-familias f though as is commonly 
and very aptly observed, it doth comprehend together the con 
jugal relatives, who are spoken to hut as one person. These- 
two are one ; and then the other relatives in the family ensue, 
"thy son, thy daugher," &c. Yea and if there be a stranger, he 
is to partake, if in the provisions, in the religion of the family 
too. And I remember it to have been one of the meditations of 
Mr. Fuller in his miscellanies ; that, having had a person of 
great quality one night lodged under his roof as a stranger, out 
of an excess of modesty he forbore the duties of his family that 
night : and he hath a penitential meditation hereupon, ac 
knowledging his great fault, and making very solemn resolution* 
and vows never to be guilty of the like again ; but if any one, 
though never so great, did partake in the provisions, he should 
partake in the religion of his family. 

But that this charge should be laid upon the family-master, 
even about that piece of religion, the observation of the Lord's 
day ; it bespeaks a charge from God incumbent upon the pater* 
familias in reference to the religion of the family. 

And if any should yet pretend to have a doubt ; I would have 
them to consider the matter with caution, whether there be 
any such charge lying upon them. Truly it concerns men, in 
point of prudence, to beware how they are shy of owning an 
authority in their families : for if you should pretend to doubt 
it, you would teach them it may be to doubt and to deny it too, 
and so make yourself to signify nothing in your family. But 
if that is but of small concernment to you ; it is of the greatest 
concern imaginable, in reference to him whom you represent, 
and with whose authority you are invested. You have so much 
of the power of God lodged and seated in you ; and it is treach 
ery and falsehood to the great Lord and Ruler of the world, to 
let his authority, wherewith he hath invested you, be neglected 
and slighted and trampled upon, or not exerted and put forth 
to the uttermost for the ends for which he hath so seated it. 

And if yet any should think, that such a charge is not suf 
ficiently evinced to lie upon them ; I would very fain know, in 
reference to what relative of the family you think it lieth not ? 


First. In reference to the conjugal relatives, they are joint 
partakers therein ; and there is a duty incumbent upon both , 
even upon the inferior relative, especially in case of the other's 
absence or indisposition. But it lieth supremely upon him that 
is first in that relation., who is required to dwell with his wife, 
even as a man of knowledge, according to knowledge ; (1 Pet. 
3. 70 implying therefore, that he hath a charge even in refer 
ence to her. And it is his great iniquity, if he do not labour 
to render himself capable to discharge it ; to add to her treasury 
of knowledge of divine things, that concern her Godward. 
They are to be mutual helpers one to another, in reference to 
jthe concernments of their souls and a future state, and to the 
joint duty, which they owe to the Author of their being, as 
partakers together u of the grace of life." But the charge lieth 
chiefly here, (though it be mutual towards one another,) upon 
the superior relative ; though each is also to endeavour to the 
uttermost the saving of the other's soul, " What knowest thou, 

wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband ? or how knowest 
thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?" (1 Cor. 
7» 16'.) Both are as it were to engage to their uttermost in aa 
endeavour to save one another's souls. 

Secondly. In reference to children, there can never be any 
doubt ; who are sprung from you, in reference to the souls of 
whom you have a special charge lying upon you. It is true, 
you did not make their souls ; there is another Father of their 
spirits. You are the fathers of their flesh, not of their spirits ; 
as these two are contradistinguished in Heb. 1 2. 9. But you 
are the means of those souls coming into union with mortal 
flesh, and of bringing them into a world of snares and tempta 
tions dangerous to their souls Can it then be, that you should 
be exempt from care and concern in reference to their souls ? 

Thirdly. As to servants, God hath charged them to obey you. 
He hath most expressly directed you to command them equally, 
as knowing yourselves to be under a command, that you have a 
Master in heaven, and are to command them for his ends and 
purposes. Nothing is plainer, if you look to Eph. 6. Col. 3. 
& 4. 1. Tim. 6. where these relative duties are spoken of. So 
that they come by contract, as your children do by nature, 
under your commanding and governing power and authority. 
And that power infers care, and principally about their souls. 

1 could appeal to any master of servants in such a case. Do 
you expect, that your servants should serve you only with their 
hands ? Do you not expect they should serve you with their 
minds and understandings, as well as their limbs ? Sure then 
their inward man, their souls are to be cared for by you, as 
Well as their outward man, their bodies. You would not 


have them to do you only such service as you can receive^ from 
a beast ; and therefore you are to take care of their spirits, as 
well as their brutal part. 

So much I reckoned it was necessary to lay down here upon 
Scripture-grounds, to clear our foundation, that there is such 
a thing as a charge, a care lying upon governors of families 
over the families which God hath entrusted them with, to keep 
tip religion there. Hereupon, 

(2.) We shall proceed to give you proof upon scripture- grounds , 
that there ought to be in particular those two parts of family- 
religion maintained and kept up by them, upon whom this care 
and charge hath been evinced to lie ; to wit, family-instruction^ 
and family-prayer. And we shall endeavour to evince both. 

[1.] From such scriptures, as either command the one or the 
other of these, in such terms as that it may be discernible that 
the obligation will reach to families ; that is, to the family-go 
vernors in reference to the family : either express precepts ; 
or virtual precepts, such passages as some way imply and infer 
precepts, and are so applicable, or from whence inferences 
may be collected and drawn. As, 

First. For family-instruction. You have a most express 
command upon masters of families, that they shall teach the 
substance of religion to them who are under their care : nothing* 
can be plainer than those words in Deut. G. After this was 
given in charge in general, (which contains all religion in it,) 
ver. 5, 6. " Thou shah love the Lord thy God with all thine 
heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might : and 
these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine 
heart." Then it follows, ver. 7- "And thou shalt teach them 
diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou 
sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and 
when thou liestdovvn, and when thou risest up." Observe what 
they were to teach them ; the substance of religion, all com 
prehended in the love of God, which is the fulfilling of the 
law : "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, &c. And these words," 
and all that may be referred thither, to that great and all-com 
prehending topic, "thou shalt teach and diligently teach thj' 
children." Children means the family, as we noted to you be 
fore; an apt synecdochical expression, as pater-familiar is the 
head of the whole family. ** And thou shalt teach them, when 
thou sittest in thine house." It is true, there are other occa 
sions to be taken : but this speaks a stated teaching, to have 
times on purpose to collect and gather the family, and to set 
one's self in the authority of a family-master, and there instruct 
teach those under his care and charge, in the great substaa* 



tials of religion. You have the same thing inculcated in Deut. 
11. 19. 

And more general precepts of the same kind are applicable 
plainly enough unto this purpose. As, when we are re 
quired to "exhort one another," and to do it "daily, while it is 
called to-day, lest any be hardened through the deceitfulness of 
sin." Heb. 3. 13. And to have the word of Christ dwelling 
richly in us, that we may teach and admonish one another. 
Col. 3- 16. How obvious is it to any one of common sense to 
infer, that if I owe this occasionally unto a fellow-christian, l! 
owe it statedly to my own family ? If there were no such ex 
press precept, and a man had this to allege in the judgment of 
the great day, Lord, thou gavest me no command ; suppose 
there were no such positive commands, as those in Deuterono 
my, and that in Proverbs for instructing and training up chil 
dren in the way they should go : suppose such general pre-* 
cepts as those just mentioned were alleged to any man in the 
great day, "You knew well enough, that it was a duty lying 
upon you towards any fellow-christian, as there was occasion^ 
to teach and exhort and instruct him ; and he was under the 
'Same obligation towards you ; had you not reason and under 
standing enough to make an inference, that if you owe so much 
to another occasionally, you must owe much more statedly to 
your own ?" What could a man say, if this were urged upon 
him from the tribunal of the Supreme Judge ? 

Secondly. For family-prayer, such general precepts, as the 
Scripture is full of, are capable enough of application to this par 
ticular case. And we owe so much to God, yea to ourselves, to 
our own nature, as we are creatures endued with a reasonable 
nature, as to make the inference. That is, that when we are 
charged to pray with all prayer and with all supplication, we 
collect hence; sure it cannot be said^ that family-prayer is no 

And it is a very observable thing, though I have not found it 
observed, to this purpose ; that in those several places of 
Scripture, where the duties of domestical relatives are largely 
spoken of, immediately thereupon there is a charge given 
about prayer, or some mention of prayer. Thus, after the 
hpostle had directed in the 5th and 6th chapters to the Ephe- 
sians ; Ye wives, carry it so and so to your husbands, and ye 
husbands to your wives ; ye children to your parents, and parents 
to children ; ye servants to masters, and masters to servants ; 
and after some directions given to arm ourselves for spiritual 
conflicts; he immediately subjoins, (chap. 6. 18.) " Praying; 
always with all prayer and supplication." So in Col. 4 .2. just 
&J[tej: a summary of the several duties of family- relatives, follows 


this exhortation; "Continue in prayer :" implying, that there 
inust be a continued course of family- prayer between these se 
veral family-relations, or else all is in vain and to no purpose. 
And when the apostle Peter had given like directions, all is 
enforced upon this consideration, that "the eyes of the Lord are 
over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers." 
1 Pet. 3. 12. Be sure you do so and so, and let your consider 
ation be orderly and regular, as ever you expect your prayer* 
should be answered, that in your families shall from time to 
time be put up. 

And if to pray, when there is occasion, with other chris- 
tians be highly recommended by our Saviour himself, as more 
grateful, and likely to be more successful, when "two or three 
are met together ;" if to do so with any two or three be so re 
commended, then most of all with those of our own family ; 
because with them the occasions are more frequent, and may 
more easily be had, and the obligation is deeper and stronger ; 
as any man, that considers what it is to have a family, and to 
have a charge lying upon him in reference thereto, cannot but 

J But beside direct precepts ; either referring to a family in 
particular ; or enjoining both family-instruction and family- 
prayer to fellow-christians in general, which must be more ob 
ligatory in reference to those, with whom we have a particular 
concernment; besides these, I say, there are virtual precepts, 
or rules extendable unto this case, that may with great cogency 
and evidence of reason be applied to it ; which suppose matter 
of precept in the case. 

As, when the religion of families is spoken of as matter of 
divine acceptance : that implieth it to be agreeable to God's 
preceptive will, without which nothing could be acceptable. 
As when it is spoken by way of encomium, that "the voice of 
joy and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous ;" (ps. 
118. 15.) the solemnities of religion there are most manifestly 
intended. Goto the dwelling of a righteous man, and there 
you may hear the voice of rejoicing and praise : it belongs to 
a\ighteous man as such, therefore it cannot be the common, 
carnal rejoicing of the wicked that is there meant : but it 
must be a holy, religious thanksgiving and praising of God ; 
which is but a synecdochical expression of all the other parts 
of his worship ; as if he had said, "You may so distinguish the 
houses and tabernacles of the righteous and unrighteous. You 
may pass the unrighteous man's dwelling, and there you hear 
swearing and blaspheming of God, it may be higher jollity than 
in the other : but in the other you hear the voice of joy aod 
salvation : God is owned and taken notice of;" 


So again, when we are told, what complacency God doth 
differently take in the solemnities of his own worship, (psalm, 
87 • 2.) " The Lord loveth the gates of Zion, more than all the 
dwellings of Jacob." He is more honoured and glorified by 
the public solemnities of worship ; and therefore doth take more 
complacency hi them. Yet there is a complacency he also 
takes in the worship performed in the several habitations of his 
people. Why doth God love the gates of Zion, more than all 
the dwellings of Jacob, but only because there was the seat of 
more public, solemn religion ? But when it is said, he loveth 
them more ; it is intimated that he loveth the dwellings of Ja 
cob too ; and upon the same account, because every such, 
dwelling was 'to be looked upon as a seat of religion. For 
Zion was loved and delighted in under no other notion, and the 
Several dwellings of Jacob are delighted in under the same no 
tion ; though less, as they are less public and solemn. 

And again, threatenings and menaces do imply precepts, foe 
violations of which they are given out. As that terrible one, 
Jer. 10. 25. Pour out thy fury, thine indignation, upon the/ 
heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call 
not upon thy name. It is an imprecation ; but what is impre 
cated by an inspired person, is denounced by that God that in 
spires him. It is very true indeed, that families are frequently 
taken in a larger sense, sometimes they signify nations : but 
both being put together in the text, it is manifestly the desigrt 
of the Holy Ghost to notify to us irreligious families, compos* 
ing and making up irreligious nations. For what is a profane* 
carnal nation and people made up of ? Heathen and nations 
are all one. When nations then are first mentioned, and af 
terwards families ; it is plain, they are mentioned as constitu 
ent parts of atheistical, ungodly, and irreligious nations. And 
when it is said, "Pour out thy fury upon such;" it signifies a 
denunciation of divine fury upon such. Dismal, horrid clouds 
of wrath hang over such families, that will be discharged in. 
terrible destructive storms. 

But beside what may be thus collected from precepts, which 
are expressly so, or virtual, implied ones $ we shall proceed*, 
to evince this to you, 

[2.] From recommended examples in Scripture ; examples 
in reference to one or the other, or both of those parts of fa 
mily-religion already mentioned, family-instruction, or family* 
prayer. And one, or the other, or sometimes both together, 
we find recommended examples of, as ancient as we have any 
records whatsoever. 

The religion at first, that began so early in the world, that 
of sacrificing, which could never be without invocation^ could 


but be domestical : whether you iook back as high as Abel, 
or look forward at your leisure. Do but peruse the short his 
tory of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in all their several com- 
morations and com migrations ; you hear of their settling no 
where, or removing no. whither, but there was presently an 
altar built for worship, and for calling on the name of the Lord. 
You have a treatise on those passages, called "A family altar," 
written by a worthy servant of Christ, Mr. Oliver Heywood j 
which would be of singular use for those who have a mind to 
peruse a short book on this subject. You read of two altars set 
up, in one chapter, upon a twofold removal of that great saint 
Abraham : at such a place he pitcheth, and there he builds 
an altar. And by and by to such a place he removes, and 
there he places an altar for calling on the name of the Lord, for 
the solemn worship of his family. Gen. 12. 7? 8, So you find 
it afterwards, to be with Isaac, and Jacob in their removals, or 
in their settlings,, this way or that, or in this place or that. 

That instance also of Job is very considerable to this pur-* 
pose ; who, in the absence of his sons and daughters offers sa-. 
orifices for them, Job. 1. 5. Which could never be unaccom 
panied with solemn invocation and calling upon God. And 
thus, it is said, he did continually. It was a stated course 
with him ; he did not omit it, when they were absent ; for ha 
must be understood to have a great family about him even then. 
And it is implied to have been his stated course, whether his. 
children were with him or not \ he kept up a course of family-? 
religion all along. 

That action of David, though I do not find it taken notice 
of by others, seems to me to be mighty observable to this pur 
pose ; that in the history given us of his bringing home of the 
ark to the place which he had appointed for it, we find how 
greatly he was transported with the solemnity of that action 
and undertaking. But when all that was over, which was pub 
lic and solemn, we are told, that he retired at length to bless 
his household, 2 Sam. 6, 20. He went home to bless his 
household. Nothing is more probable, than that this was a 
stated course with him ; and that he had so contrived and or 
dered the work of that public solemnity, as that it might not. 
interfere with the worship of his family : and therefore, 
amidst all the great pompous triumph, wherein he was more 
publicly engaged, upon this account he bethinks himself; 
" Well now my hour of prayer is come at home ;" and so the 
matter was prudently ordered, that that solemnity being over, 
be might return home to perform the ordinary duty that was 
to be done there, that is, to bless his household, and call 
upon the name of the Lord there. If you compare this, witJi 


that which was his declared resolution, in psalm 101. 2. " I 
will behave myself wisely in a perfect way ; — 1 will walk within 
my house with a perfect heart ;" " I will keep an even steady 
course, there shall be no baulks, no ups and downs in my way 
in my family ;" undoubtedly meaning a way of religion. If 
you compare, I say, that resolution, with his sudden bethink 
ing himself, when he had been engaged in that great solem 
nity but now mentioned, " Now the time is come that I must 
go home and bless my house •" it appears to have been a stated 
thing with him. 

If from thence you look further to that great instance of 
Daniel j when he was, though a great prince in another land, 
yet an exile from his own ; and that terrible and severe inter 
dict was published, that for thirty days no man should pray to 
God or man, but to the prince of those countries only ; (a 
snare purposely laid for Daniel's life,) you read, that he went 
on in his course, as he was wont to do, as it is expressly said ; 
and no doubt but those wretched conspirators against his life 
knew his course, otherwise they could not have laid this snare 
for him. And how should they know it ? It is said, Dan. 6. 
10. He went into his house, and his windows being open in 
his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees 
three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks unto his 
God, as he did aforetime. It was a stated course with him. 
And that this must be family-prayer, and the ordinary religion 
of his household, is the most reasonable supposition imaginable. 
For otherwise, if it were secret closet-prayer, how should it be 
known to have been his course before ? and how should they be 
able to accuse him now ? But consider him as a great prince 
in a foreign country, and as having a family, and how heroic 
and generous a resolution he had taken up, and with how 
holy a fortitude and bravery of spirit, to own God against that 
insolent decree of the wicked creatures who would arrogate that 
honour to the prince that was only due to God. Considering 
all these things, it is with the greatest reason imaginable to be 
supposed, that this was a stated course with him of family-re 
ligion. He resolved, that his worship should be, as it was 
aforetime, open in his house. And thereupon the advantage 
was taken against him. 

The instance of the centurion is very observable, and obser 
ved by many, in Acts 10. 2. He is said to be a devout man, 
a religious man, that feared God, (that is an ordinary expres 
sion to signify worship ; he was a worshipper of God,) with all 
Jiis house. He was a worshipping person, and his family a 
worshipping family : " And he prayed unto God alvvay." After 
wards you read in the chapter, that at the time when the an- 

VOL. v. 3 « 



gel appeared to him, he was praying in his house, (ver. 30.) 
house being put for household, as is ordinary. He was pray 
ing in his family in his ordinary course ; and there he had the 
benign appearance of that kind messenger from heaven, to di 
rect him to the way, by which he might come to a more distinct 
knowledge of the Mediator, and of worshipping God in Christ. 
According to the light he had, and the sincerity that God had 
given him in proportion thereunto, his acceptance above was 
declared before. But God resolved to help him, in the me 
thod and way which he most approved, unto more distinct no 
tices ; and these he is directed how to come by, even at th6 
time when he was engaged in his domestic performances of 
religion in his house. 

We need not farther to insist for the eviction of this truth in 
the general, that there ought to be such a thing as family-reli 
gion. It were easy, if necessary, to add to all these consider 
ations, (and it ought to have some weight,) the accounts that 
we otherwise have of the practice of the primitive church, in 
those earlier times of it whereof we have any account, since 
the completing of the canon of Scripture. That is, we are 
told by some of the ancients, and in some of the early centu 
ries, of the twofold social prayer that was in common use 
among them, family-prayer and church-prayer, or prayer in 
their church-assemblies. We are told, what things they were 
wont to insist upon in prayer. Besides the spiritual blessings, 
which they continually and daily sought, and apprehended 
themselves to need, they were wont to pray for the lives of the 
emperors that ruled over them, though they were then pagans. 
And this (saith that ancient author,) was their constant practice, 
both in their prayers in public assemblies, and in their own 

Having gone through what I thought fit to offer in proof of 
the substance of family-religion, that there ought to be such a 
thing; I shall only hint this to you for a close; That the 
great thing, which will either facilitate or obstruct a general 
compliance with the mind of God in this matter, will be the 
consideration that men shall have of their families, that is, 
whether they will consider them as constitutions for this world, 
or for the world to come. If you can but agree with yourselves, 
under which of these notions to look upon your families; ac 
cordingly your compliance with the mind of God in this mat 
ter will either be facile or difficult. 

It is true, we are to have a very distinct consideration of the 
nature of societies, from the ends of them. There are societies, 
that in their design, and consequently in their nature, are 
purely civil : and others, that in their design, and conse* 


quently in their nature and constitution, are purely sacred. 
Of the former sort are kingdoms and nations and incorporate 
towns, and the like ; they are in their very nature, because 
they are from their ends, purely civil. There are those that 
are purely sacred, as churches ; the very end and design, upon