BV 4630 .J3 1833
Janeway, James, 16367-1674
The saints' encouragement i
diligence in Christ s
DILIGENCE IN CHRIST'S SERVICE :
MOTIVES AND MEANS TO CHRISTIAN ACTIVITY.
TO WHICH IS ADDED,
AS AN EXAMPLE TO PROVE THE POINT HANDLED, THE
DEATH-BED EXPERIENCES OF MRS. B.
In keeping of them there is great reward, Psal. xix. 11.
BY JAMES "JANEW AY,
SOME TIME STUDENT OF CHRIST CHURCH, OXFORD, AND MINISTER
OF THE GOSPEL.
PUBLISHED A. D. 1673.
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The author of this Treatise is so well
known in London, and his former published
labours are deservedly so well esteemed,
that might my own opinion herein carry
it, this office of mine should be omitted as
unnecessary. He or his writings need not
my commendation, and I should think that
few readers should be so much stranger to
him as to need it. But when it must
be so, I take it for an honourable and
pleasant work to recommend persons and
things which are so laudable, as to reflect a
praise upon him that praiseth them. God
hath blessed the author with a humble, a
serious, a peaceable, and an industrious spirit :
his heart is set on the work of God, and the
winning of souls. It is a great praise to him,
that he is none of those who by pride, faction,
there is any hope of life. And many of God's
faithful servants, by the decays of nature, do
glorify God more by patience, than by acti-
vity of mind or tongue ; and can only exercise
repentance, faith, and love, by saying, " God
be merciful to me a sinner; " and, " Lord Jesus,
receive my spirit;" and, "Come, Lord Jesus,
come quickly ; O that I may see, and in the
heavenly society in perfect love, have glo-
rious communion with my God." Reader, do
but taste thyself, what is in this Treatise, by
a serious perusal, and thou wilt need no more
the invitation of
Thy unworthy fellow- servant,
Sept. 5, 1673.
TO MY BELOVED HEARERS,
ESPECIALLY THOSE WHICH ARE UNDER MY PECULIAR
I AM under many obligations to improve
my talent to the utmost for you, next to God :
it is for your service I live; you have my
thoughts, you have my cares, you have my
prayers, you have my tears, you have my love,
my joy ; for you I am mlling to spend and be
spent. I have now been labouring amongst
you, with some perils, with much weakness,
and sensible decays of nature, for about six
years ; and now feeling my body declining,
and being persuaded that I must ere long put
off this tabernacle, I thought it meet as long
as I am in this tabernacle to stir you up by
X THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY.
putting you in remembrance : moreover, I will
endeavour that you may be able after my
decease to have the great things of religion
always in remembrance. To this end I was
ready to close with the request of those that
desired the addition of this Sermon, now en-
larged, to the Life and Death of my precious
Brother : and I have added also the Death-
bed Experiences of one amongst yourselves,
which several of you were eye and ear wit-
nesses of; so that having such precedents to
draw, and such motives to quicken you, you
might (by the influence of the Spirit, and the
stiiTing up the gift and graces of God within
you) be enabled to run and not be weary, to
walk and not be faint, and to mount up with
wings like eagles, till you rest in Christ's
bosom. I have oft thought that unbelief and
laziness do ruin most souls : I have therefore
endeavoured in these two * examples to de-
monstrate the reality of invisibles, and to
fortify you against unbelief. I might also put
you in mind of the holy lives and joyful deaths
of the most of those which the Lord hath
* The Life and Death of my Brother, and Mrs. B.'s Death-
THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY. XI
removed from us. Have not your ears heard
their triumphant praises ? did you not see how
undauntedly they looked death in the face ?
could you not witness the beauty of religion
in their deportment upon a death-bed ? And
dare any of you question whether it be worth
the while to be religious .? can any of you think
diligence in soul affairs lost labour } can any
room yet be left for unbelief.? One would
think that they who have seen what we have
seen, should judge it madness to doubt about
the great truths of religion ; but yet woful
experience tells us, for all this, that the faith
of most is but like a grain of mustard seed ;
and om' frequent departing from God demon-
strates too clearly, that we have too much of
the evil heart of unbelief in us. O, my dear
brethren, that you and I had better learnt the
art of living by faith. O Lord, help our un-
belief! More faith would make us lift up
Christ in the world at another rate than most
church-members do. Oh that precious grace !
Brethren, let us labour to increase in faith ;
and' then heart purity would increase, all grace
would abound, and your fear would decrease,
and your comforts greatly flow in. It is not
XII THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY.
for nothing that tlie scripture speaks of joy
unspeakable in believing. Oh, how fain would
I, that you and I may quit ourselves like them
which do indeed believe ! The great prevail-
ing of unbelief makes me larger, the great
danger, the more instant upon this subject;
and I know, that such of you as are well
acquainted w^th your own hearts will judge
that I have not without good reason spoken
what T have. Oh that your noble and gene-
rous faith might, for the future, prove that I
have neither preached nor written in vain.
The other sin that brings so many souls to
poverty, misery, and eternal distress, is lazi-
ness and spiritual sloth. Though God hath
placed so active a soul within us ; though it
hath the greatest advantages for action, the
highest motives ; though it cannot be unac-
quainted with the shame and hazard that
indifference in these affairs doth expose men
to ; yet how strangely dull, inactive, and care-
less are the most ! how do they sleep, eat, and
trifle, whilst their great work lieth by, or is
done by the halves ! That I might cure if not
prevent this dismal lethargy, I have presented
to your constant view the life and death of an
THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY. Xlll
active christian ; and as you like his comforts
in death, so answer his activity in your lives.
And that I might, if possible, drive the nail to
the head, I made a further improvement of it,
by handling that excellent scripture, " For so
an entrance shall be ministered unto you abund-
antly into the everlasting kingdom of our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," 2 Pet. i. 11.
I now present that to your eye which lately
sounded in your ears, that it may have the
deeper impression upon your hearts and lives •
and the i30werful influence may be seen by the
world; that they may glorify your Father
which is in heaven, and say, " God is in you
of a truth." I shall desire this of you, as my
dying request^ that you would often read this
book for my sake, and practise it for your own
sake. Brethren, time is short, our work, our
Master, our wages, are great, and, not to mince
the matter, we have yet done little; God
knows, too little, little to what we should, little
to what we might, little to what others have
done, and nothing to what Christ hath done
for us ; nothing to what reward we look for,
and nothing to what God deserves ; I had
almost said, nothing to what saints and angels
XIV THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY.
in heaven do. Well, now at last let us mend
our pace ; instead of creeping let us run ;
instead of sleeping, and dreaming, let us
awake, and work diligently. In a word,
instead of being formal, slight, and lazy, let
us be spiritual, serious, and active. Begin in
your hearts, and fall to work ardently there ;
turn out vain thoughts, away with every
*' weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset
you," and rob you of your strength, your
evidences, your peace, and wound your con-
science, or leave you half dead. *' Keep your
hearts with all diligence, for from thence are
the issues of life and death." Be much in
your closets, and act gi-ace nobly in secret
duty ; then wrestle, and let not God go with-
out a blessing ! Oh, take heed of forgetting,
or being careless and slight in secret duties !
Let me tell you, the chief part of religion is
an internal thing, and if you fail here, the
whole of your profession signifieth little. Then
be active in your families; remember that
con-upt nature which was derived from you
begins to be active betimes : the devil and
wicked ones will be industrious to poison
and murder your children and servants ; and
THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY. XV
your utmost diligence is too little, considering
what is hazarded.
Then be active in your places for God,
shine in a crooked and perverse generation :
be meek, pitiful, wise, faithful, zealous, con-
stant : forget not me in your earnest prayers,
that I may have a thousand times more love
to God and souls, and that I may have more
grace, more gifts, more success. And, bre-
thren, I would preach while I live, when I
die, and when I am dead ; for this cause I
leave these lines to teach you when I am
silent in the dust. That you and I may finish
our course with joy, and have a sweet meeting
in another world, is the prayer of yours in the
Aug. 26, 1673.
For so an kntranch shall be ministered unio you abundantly into
THE EVERLASTING KINGDOM OF OUR LoRD AND SaVIOUR JeSUS ChRIST.
—2 Pet. i. 11,
Preface .......... v
Dedication ■••...... ix
The introduction .... ... 1
The division of the text, and the opening of the words . . . 4
The doctrine proposed, namely.
That they which use their utmost diligence in the things of God all their
days, shall at the last have an abundant entrance ministered to them
into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The method of handling the doctrine.
I. To inquire, What diligence it is that is required as a condition
of this promise.
II. What is implied in that abundant entrance.
III. The proof of the doctrine.
IV. How this is ministered unto the saints.
V. The reasons of the point.
/VI. Objections answered.
VII. The application of all . 8
I. What kind of diligence it is that is required as the qualification of .
this promise ; answered negatively and positively.
Negatively 1. It is not a mere external diligence . . " 8
2. Nor a partial diligence ..... 9
3. Nor a temporary diligence . . . . . .10
4. Nor a meritorious diligence . . . . . .10
But Positively there is required,
1. An internal as well as external diligence . . . .11
2. It must be a scriptural and commanded diligence . . .12
3. It is the utmost diligence . . . . .13
4. A constant diligence . . . . . .14
5. This diligence must be accompanied with profound humility . 16
II. The second thing proposed to be inquired into is, What is implied in
that abundant entrance which shall be administered to this dili-
gent saint at last.
1. It implies a sensible renovation of their natures, by which they
feel a sweet con-naturality to divine things . . . .18
2. It implies a sense of the pardon of all their sins . . .21
3. It implies peace with God . . . . . . 'Z2
4. It implies a being lifted above fears of death . . .22
5. It implies more clear and distinct apprehensions of spiritual and
invisible objects ........ 24
6. A full well-grounded assurance of proprietorship . . .21
7. The Spirit witnessing with his spirit that be is a child of God, aod
filling him with joy unspeakable . . . . 26
III. The doctrine is proved
IV. Inquiry is made how this abundant entrance is ministered into
the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ . 35
1. God doth it by shutting out whatsoever may interrupt the joyful
passage of the believer into glory . . . . .35
2. By opening what might sweeten his way . . . .36
3. By sending in provisions to feed upon in the way . . .41
4. By sending out his messengers to comfort, direct, and guide them
home . ....... 42
5. The blessed Trinity gives them a welcome to glory . 43
V. Some reasons of the doctrine are given.
1. Because of God's promise . . . . .46
2. Because by this God's glory is advanced . . - . 48
3. That he may encourage the diligent christian to go on courageous
ly, and expect greater things from God in another world . . 4i»
VI. Objections are answered.
ObJ. 1. Many wicked men live and die in peace.
Ans. This is answered . . . . . . .50
Obj. 2. The great confidence and assurance of the wicked.
A)is. By showing the difference between the peace of the diligent chris-
tian and the wicked.
1 . It differs in its original . , . . . . .51
2. In its effects ........ 53
3. In its nature ........ 54
4 In its duration . . . . . . . .55
OLj. 3. Some diligent christians may die without this great encourage-
ment. ......... 56
Ans. 1. A more general answer.
Ans. 2. A more particular answer.
1. It may be his diligence did principally reach to externals and not
. internals ......... 57
2. It may be he doth not acquaint you with what he doth feel, and
that upon good considerations . . . . .58
3. When he comes to the entrance itself then all clouds and fears
vanish ......... 59
ITsc 1. This justifieth the greatest activity and constancy of saints . 59
Tse 2. Of terror to the active and diligent sinner . . .62
Use 3. By way of examination ...... 73
Use 4. By way of exhortation, directed first to saints, then to sinners.
First, To saints, to mend their diligence, and to continue it to the end 79
Motives. 1 . Consider the frequency, earnesbicss, and solemnity of the
command ........ 79
2. Consider what examples you have to quicken your diligence . 81
3. Consider who it is you work for ..... 86
4. Consider the nature of the work . . . . .86
5. Consider what wages you are like to have in this world . . 87
6. Consider what the reward of diligence will be in another world . 87
The second part of the exhortation directed to sinners, to put them
upon being diligent for their souls and God . . . .94
Motives. 1 . Consider how greatly it doth concern you . . 98
2. All your labour is lost till you fall to this work in good earnest . 99
3. Consider what others have got by their diligence . . . 100
4. Consider how long and how earnestly you have been put upon
this diligence ........ 100
Directions. 1. First put away whatsoever may hinder you in your
work ......... 101
2. Be sure the ground-work be laid well . . . .102
3. Improve Christ's Ufe and death . . . . .103
4. Be earnest for the Spirit . . . . . .103
5. Be frequently communing with yourself, and labour to act grace
in every duty . . . . . . . .104
6. Improve all ordinances and providences, for this end . . 104
7. Maintain a constant holy sohcitude about your soul . . 105
8. Meditate upon the eye of God, and the excellency and reaUty of
invisibles , . . . . . . .105
9. Look much into the scriptures . . . .105
10. Think much of the grave, judgment, and eternity . . 106
An account of some of the Death-bed Experiences of Mrs. B. . . 107
For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abun-
dantly INTO THE everlasting KINGDOM OF OUR LURD
AND Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Pet. i. 11.
The ministers of Christ have two great em-
ployments lying upon their hands. The first is,
the conversion of sinners ; and the second is, the
edification of saints. Now the apostle Peter
seems with great vigour to carry on both these
designs; having formerly preached to the Jews,
and that with no small success, he is not a little
concerned for their strengthening, progress, and
consolation. That vineyard which the Lord had
by him planted with noble plants, he desired to
see well watered and yielding ripe and much fruit.
He was not ignorant of Satan's activity, man's
negligence, and the dismal effects of both. He
knew well enough that many seemed to begin well
that did riot end so ; that some which looked as if
they were bound for heaven, made shipwreck of
2 THE SAINTS ENCOURAGEMENT.
all before they came to the harbour, that many ran
well awhile that never came to the prize, and that
not a few which were judged to beg-in in the Spirit,
did end in the flesh. To this end, he doth what
he can to countermine the designs of hell, by
confirming and encouraging those which were al-
ready brought to yield subjection to the yoke of
Christ. It is life to faithful preachers to see their
people stand fast : it is no small grief to a father to
see his child stunted or pining under a consumption ;
surely, it is a far greater trouble to a minister of
Christ to see his hearers, that seemed sometime
lively, active, and thriving, to apostatize, decay,
and to prove but the skeletons of christians !
The apostle, that he might hinder this declining,
labours with all his might to put them upon
spiritual progress; he would fain have them run
so as to obtain, trade so as to get the true riches,
the Pearl of great price, and to fight so as to
conquer. He knew well enough that many were
called and few chosen, and that several of those
which are not far from the kingdom of heaven,
will never come there, and that it will be but a
sorry comfort to be almost saved ; for them that
are altogether damned, to be once fair for heaven
and now in hell, to be called a friend, and dealt
with as an enemy, he cannot bear the thoughts of
their eternal miscarriage. How doth he lay about
THE SAINTS ENCOURAGEMENT. 3
him both by preaching and writing to put them
upon the securing their everlasting concerns, and
not to leave the matters of the greatest conse-
quence in the world at the greatest uncertainty
and hazard! How many persuasions doth he use!
how many powerful and affectionate exhortations
doth he give them ! and how doth he back all with
the most cogent motives and considerations
imaginable ! O how fain would poor ministers
have all the people saved ! how loth are they to
leave them before they see them in the arms of
Christ ! how unwilling to have any miscarry !
In the verses preceding, the apostle had been
telling the christians he wrote to, that it was not
enough for them to escape from the pollutions of
the world : negative holiness is a poor evidence for
positive happiness. Saints must be pure, and
show the beauties of Christ and holiness in an im-
pure and filthy generation in which they live.
The name and credit of being christians ought not
to serve their turns without the nature, reality, and
sincerity : nay, true grace itself ought not to con-
tfciit a saint, but he should strive after the life,
spirit, and power of godliness. We should be en-
deavouring after higher degrees of grace, and still
forgetting what is behind, and pressing forward
towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling
of God in Christ Jesus ; which, if we do, our
4 THE SAINTS ENCOURAGEMENT.
labour shall not be in vain in the Lord. The par-
ticular arguments which he backs his exhortation
with here, are these :
First, That they should not be unfruitful in the
knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
Secondly, From the ill consequence of their not
endeavouring to make some progress, it will appear
that they never had life in the root, if there be no
such spiritual shootings out and fruit in the
branches. He that lacketh these things is blind,
and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that
he was purged from his old sins, ver. 9.
Thirdly, He puts them upon spiritual progress,
from their making their calling and election sure
by this means.
Fourthly, By this diligence and progress they
should be sure never to fall so as sinners and hypo-
crites do ; that is, they shall not deliberately and
ordinarily fall into foul and scandalous sins ; nor at
all fall finally into apostacyand damnation, ver. 10.
Fifthly, By this holy diligence and activity in
grace, they should finish their course with joy, and
so an abundant entrance should be ministered to
them abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, ver. 1 1 .
These words are a gracious promise to diligent
christians ; in which take notice of.
THE SAINTS ENCOURAGEMENT. 5
I. The promise.
II. The condition of the promise.
I. The promise itself; in which you may observe,
1. The substance.
2. The circumstances which increase and set
forth the glory of the promise.
For the substance of the promise ; it is an en-
trance into the kingdom of Christ.
For the circumstances which do so livelily set
forth the greatness and glory of this promise, we
observe, 1. This kingdom is no small one, it is the
kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
2. The security of it; it shall be. 3. Another
circumstance which doth heighten this mercy, is
the persons to whom it is given ; unto you. 4.
Another thing that maketh the mercy great, with a
witness, is the eternity of it ; the everlasting king-
dom. 5. The manner of the conveyance of all
this in a triumphant glorious manner, with great
state and joy going before ; the entrance into hea-
ven shall be ministered to them abundantly.
II. We have the condition of the promise, implied
in that word ; " So :" which bids you look back
to the foregoing verses, and by comparing them,
you will find this to be the condition of the promise.
1. True godliness.
2. The utmost diligence and activity in the ways
6 THE saints' encouragement.
3. And perseverance in so doing.
I shall speak a little by way of explication of
the words, and then raise the doctrine which I in-
tend to handle.
" So :" That is, in giving all diligence to add
one degree of grace to another, and labouring
constantly to make your calling and election sure;
in so doing, you shall have this promise made
" An entrance: " A way into glory shall be plain,
the door of heaven shall be set wide open, all
hinderances shall be removed, you shall have no-
thing to interrupt your peace, your fears shall be
blown quite over, enemies silenced ; all mountains
shall be levelled, and you shall see by the eye of
faith the gates of the New Jerusalem open to you.
^' Shall be administered : " Though it be future,
yet it is certain ; wait awhile and the joyful mes-
senger will come ; you shall have a seasonable
deliverance at death, you shallhave life; the Father
shall embrace you as children, the Son own you as
his bride, the Spirit delight in you as his habita-
tion and temple, and the angels shall stand ready
to convey your souls to glory.
*' Unto you:" You that have been slighted by
the world shall be prized of God ; you that the
wicked world thought not worthy to live, Christ
thinks the world not worthy of you. You that
THE SAINTS EXCOURAGEMENT. 7
judged yourselves not to deserve the least mercy,
God shall give you the highest and greatest. All
of you that are thus diligent in the service of God,
shall be faithfully rewarded by him ; unto you,
and none but you, shall this grace and favour be
given ; when the careless, luke-warm professors
shall have the door shut against them, it shall be
opened to you.
** Abundantly:" You shall have no ordinary
privileges ; you shall go triumphing to glory :
while less active christians come with a great deal
of hazard to their port, you shall come richly
laden with graces and comforts top and top-gallant
into the harbour.
*' Into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ." You shall not need fear
the leaving the body, because it must lie in the
dust ; but glory, in that you shall leave the dung-
hill to sit in the throne ; the house of clay, to go
to the palace of God ; a prison, to go to a king-
dom ; and that not a mean one, but a glorious
one, such as Christ enjoys, that which he hath
purchased for and settled you in; and you need
not fear that the greatness, and riches, and glory
of it should expose it to hazard as is usual here
below. Be of good cheer, you shall enjoy it as
long as Christ doth, it shall never be taken away
from you, it cannot be wasted, impoverished, or
8 THE SAINTS ENCOURAGEMENT.
lost ; neither shall you be taken from it by death ;
but your happiness shall run parallel with eternity;
as long as Christ lives you shall not die, as long
as he is happy you cannot be miserable ; and till
God have lost his power and faithfulness, and
Christ his love, and eternity become short,
you shall enjoy that rest, glory, and happi-
The doctrine which I shall speak to from these
words, is this :
Doct. That they which use their utmost
DILIGENCE IN THE THINGS OF GoD ALL THEIR DAYS,
SHALL AT LAST HAVE AN ABUNDANT ENTRANCE
MINISTERED TO THEM INTO THE EVERLASTING KING-
DOM OF OUR Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
In the handling of this doctrine I shall follow
this method. I shall inquire,
I. What kind of diligence it is that is required.
II. What is implied in that abundant entrance.
III. I shall prove it.
IV. How this is ministered unto the saints.
V. I shall give some reasons of the point.
VI. I shall answer objections.
VII. I shall make some improvement of all.
I. I shall inquire what kind of diligence it is,
that is required as the qualification of this pro-
Negatively, I. It is not a mere external dili-
THE SAINTS ENCOURAGEMENT. 9
gence that will give one a sufficient title to this
promise. How many are there who spread out
their hands and make many prayers ! how many
that add fasting to their prayers, and that seem to
take some pleasure in the ordinances of God, and
seem as well pleased to hear the word as to hear
the sweetest music, or to be present when a set of
viols in concert are well handled ; yet for all this,
shall he be put off, with " Depart, I know you
not;" and this shall they have at God's hands, to
lie down in shame ! It is possible to seek and not
find, to run and never come to the prize, and fight
and yet never to conquer. O how many wear
Christ's livery, and say they do him service, that
shall receive no wages, but sorrow and misery !
Isa. i. 11, 15. Isa. Iviii. 2. Ezek. xxxiii. 31, 32.
Luke xiii. 24. Matt. vii. 21.
2. Neither will partial diligence have such a re-
ward. How common a thing is it for men to pick
and choose in the service of this great Master !
Such and such duties as are easy, and call for no
great pains or self-denial, and may carry a great
deal of credit and repute with them, such they will
perform. If to go to church twice upon the Lord's
day, and to read a chapter at night, and deal
honestly and justly by their neighbours ; if to for-
bear fornication and drunkenness will secure them,
then a great many more would go to heaven than
10 THE saints' encouragement.
are ever likely to come there, Mai. i. 9. Matt.
xxiii. 23. Luke xviii. 11.
3. Neither will diligence for awhile, which after
a little heat ends in slightness, formality, and
apostacy, be found that which will have such en-
couragement at death, and at last be crowned with
glory. Are there not too many of those which at
first are very forward professors, and seem to be
greatly in love with Christ, and zealous for religion
in its power ; but alas, how doth their righteous-
ness vanish like the morning dew ! Do they not
quickly forget their first love ? yea, some of them
wliich were ready to pull out their eyes for the
ministers of Christ, after a while are ready to pull
out their ministers' eyes ! It was a strange altera-
tion in the Jews, to hear them one day crying
" Hosannah," and the next, " Crucify him,
crucify him;" one while justifying the Lord Christ,
and another while condemning him. But yet this
is that which we see acted over and over again too
often in the world ; but let not such expect the
commendation of their Master. Do they not
put Christ again to open shame ? and with what
face then can such look for glory from him ?
Matt. xiii. 19—21. Hos. vi. 4. Gal. iii. 1, 3.
Heb. vi. 6. x. 29, 38.
4. Nor must any one expect by his own works
lo earn such wages. If we could weep and pray
THE saints' encouragement. 11
all our days ; if we never be at rest day nor night,
but be constantly pouring out our soul to God,
and be engaged every moment in either divine
meditation, reading, hearing, spiritual conference,
receiving the sacrament, and divine exercise, yet
let not such look for heaven as matter of debt and
merit. The confident and proud Pharisee is more
like to meet with a repulse than the humble publi-
can. There is not one saint in earth that can, by
all that he can do, make expiation for one vain
thought, much less deserve a dignity so unspeak-
able as a crown of glory. Nay, there is not one
saint in heaven that can say, This is the kingdom
that my holiness and diligence hath procured : it
is the rich that are like to be sent empty away.
Those who justify themselves, and are pure in
their own eyes, and say they are rich, and in-
creased in goods, and have need of nothing, may
find, when it is too late to remedy it, that they
are poor, and need every thing ; and instead of
peace, may have their hopes and confidences at
death swept down. Gal. ii. 16. Rom. iii. 20.
Eph. ii. 9. Rom. x. 3. Rev. iii. 17. Prov. xxx.
But, next, 1 shall show you positively what dili-
gence it is that shall be sure of such a reward.
1. It is an internal as well as an external dili-
gence. God is a Spirit, and they that worship
12 THE saints' encouragement.
him must worship him in spirit and in truth. God
requireth truth in the inward parts ; the under-
standing must admire him, as well as the tongue
speak of him; the will must be for him, and
choose him a-s the ultimate happiness of the soul,
as well as the knee bow to him ; the heart must
love him, as well as the lips praise him, or else he
looks upon the man as one that mocks ; prayer is
hypocrisy without the heart. In a word, all re-
ligion is but a compliment, a cheat, a lie, except
the soul be engaged for God. And if the soul be
in good earnest, and the mind be willing, God
calls that a perfect man; and you may mark this
perfect man, and behold this upright one, for the
end of that man will be peace. His beginning
may be tears, his middle wars, scars, and wounds ;
but the day is his, and he shall come off bravely
with flying colours, and his General's commenda-
tions ; a triumphant conquest and an eternal
jubilee shall be that man's portion. Sincerity
never wants a reward : uprightness and God's
presence go together, John iv. 24. Psal. li. 6.
Gal. vi. 7. Hos. xi. 12. 1 Chron. xxviii. 9. Psal.
xxxvii. 37. cxl. 13.
2. It must be a scriptural and commanded
diligence. He that is diligent in service without
his master's warrant, may, instead of a reward,
have that cutting question put to him, '' Who
THE saints' encouragement. 13
hath required these things at your hand V
Nothing is acceptable to the Lord, but what he
liath prescribed. We are never likely to be re-
warded for any thing but what God hath com-
manded. " Lord, what wilt thou have mc to do ?"
is still the language of the faithful servant. What-
soever hath God's institution upon it, is not to be
disputed but obeyed. The faithful servant's eye is
still to the rule, and he judgeth it folly to be wise
above that which is written, and little less than
blasphemy to teach God what laws he must rule
and govern his subjects by. This is that he saith
to himself and others, *'To the law and to the
testimony." The precepts of God are sweet to
him ; these he reads, these he meditates upon,
and these he desires to practise. He dares not
for his soul clip or mar the Great King's coin ;
his desire is to have respect to all God's commands,
and none else, Deut. iv. 2. Jer. vii. 31. 1 Sam.
XV. 22. Psal. cxix. 6, 20.
3. It is the utmost diligence that is required,
" So we shall have this entrance abundantly
ministered into the everlasting kingdom of our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." God is a Re-
warder of them that diligently seek ; wjiat
we do we must do with all possible diligence. All
the faculties of our soul must be engaged with all
Uieir might for God. He disparages God, Christ,
14 THE saints' encouragement,
and heaven, who looks upon them as matters to be
minded by the by. He must not look to have
the crown that doth not strive for it. It is not for
nothing that Christianity is set out often in scrip-
ture, by such expressions as intimate the greatest
diligence, fervour, resolution : and those who
thus seek shall find, those who thus run shall
obtain, those who thus fight shall triumph. Re-
member this, christians, that if ever you intend to
finish your course with joy, and to leave this world
honourably, you must set to your work in good earn-
est. Our God, souls, heaven, and eternity are
not things to be trifled with. Heaven and glory,
nay, the peace of God in this world, will abun-
dantly make amends for the utmost diligence
in all the duties of religion, and the utmost affec-
tion too, Heb. xi. 6. Matt. vi. 33. Luke xiii.
24, 25. Matt. xi. 12. 1 Tim. vi. 12. Eccl.
4. There must be a constant diligence if ever
we intend to come off at last with comfort. AVe
have our Master's eye constantly upon us, his ears
are alway open to hear us, his hand is never
weary of helping of us. Our engagements and
relations to God are constant, our wages run on
constantly, our souls are always in hazard while
their great enemy keeps the field. Our advocate
is always making intercession, and he that is not
THE saints' encouragement. 15
constant in his service, doth not well consider
what comforts he loseth, what dangers he exposeth
himself to ; and that it may be interpreted that he
doth begin to demur whether it be worth his while
to go on, and whether invisibles be not fancies,
and religion a cheat, and a course of sin to be
preferred before a life of holiness. Remember the
promise is to him that overcometh ; " He that
endureth to the end shall be saved ;" he that is
faithful to the death will be crowned with a crown
O what a pity it is that any should be so foolish
as to set out in the road to Zion, and yet tire be-
fore they are at their journey's end ! How sad a
thing is it any should begin well and end ill ; that
so many lovely blossoms should fall before they
come to perfection ! O why do not men and
women take that counsel which Christ giveth us 1
Why do they not sit down and consider what the
charges of religion may amount to, what self-de-
nial, mortification, watchfulness, and diligence,
what scoffs and reproaches, what losses and suffer-
ings it may cost them before they come to that
blessed rest, the bosom of Jesus? Man, never
take upon thee the profession of religion, except
thou art resolved to go through with it. Never
expose thyself to the scorn of the world for the
name, and to the contempt of God for want of the
16 THE saints' encouragement.
power, of goclliiiess. Would you have a short
happiness ? Can you be contented with a finite
glory ? Are you willing that that word eternal
should be left out of the lease of the saints' inherit-
ance ? They which expect everlasting rest here-
after, must be constant in their work here. As
" everlasting" is a significant word in the cove-
nant that God makes with man, so constant is a
word that must not be left out in man's articles of
service with God; and if by patient continuance
in well doing they seek for glory, and honour, and
immortality, they shall not miss of the fruit of
their hopes and labours, eternal life, Rom. ii. 7.
Psal. cxix. 112. Matt, x, 22. Heb. vi. 11,
12. Isa. xlix. 23. Col. i. 22, 23. 1 Chron.
5. This diligence must be accompanied with
profound humility. Pride is a fly that will spoil
the sweetest ointment. When we have done all,
we must say and think that we are unprofitable
servants ; and look upon it as little less than a
wonder of grace that such poor sorry performances
are not rejected with the greatest contempt, and
that God doth not say unto us, What hast thou to
do to take my name into thy mouth ? and adore
that mercy that will give a look to such vile
worms. When David is most like a man after
God's own heart, he sits down and wonders that God
THE saints' encouragement. 17
should have any regard to him. Then went king
David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said,
" Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house,
that thou hast brought me hitherto," 2 Sam. vii.
18. And, " Who am I, and what is my people,
that we should be able to offer so willingly after
this sort? for all things come of thee, and of
thine own have we given thee," 1. Chron. xxix.
14. When Paul is at his highest, he is still making
humble reflections upon God's admirable and
stupendous grace, and his own unworthiness and
vileness. And though sometimes he speaks of
what he did, yet there was a kind of necessity for
it, and he always puts the crown upon the head of
grace. If he do any thing, it is not he but Christ ;
if he labour more abundantly, and suffer above
measure, and be succeeded more than all the
apostles, he will not glory in it, but still grace
shall carry away the praise and honour of all,
Luke xvii. 10. Job ix. 2, 3. Gal. ii. 20. 1 Tim. i.
14. 1 Cor. XV. 10. Phil. iii. 8, 9.
And thus you see I have showed you what
diligence it is that so glorious a reward is promised
to, as an abundant entrance into the everlasting
kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
It is not a mere external diligence, nor a partial
diligence, nor a temporary diligence, nor a proud
meritorious diligence, that this promise is made to ;
18 THE saints' encouragement.
but an internal, spiritual, scriptural diligence. It
is the utmost diligence, wherein the whole soul and
the whole body is engaged for God ; and that
with the utmost intenseness and fervour of spirit :
and this for a constancy as to an habitual incHna-
tion and suitableness to it, and after all attributing
the reward not to debt and our merit, but pure
grace, and counting our own righteousness as
filthy rags, and desiring to be found, not having
our own righteousness, which is of the law, but the
righteousness of Christ, which is by faith.
II. What is implied in that abundant entrance
which shall be ministered to this diligent saint at last.
It speaks no ordinary kindness, his privilege
shall not be that of common believers ; not a
mere safe arrival to glory, though that alone would
infinitely recompense the greatest diligence, zeal,
and constancy of the highest saint that ever
breathed, nay, it speaks not only such a state
wherein they have good hopes through grace, and
their hopes are far greater than their fears ; but
something higher than all this. As,
1. It implieth a sensible renovation of their
natures, by which they feel their hearts wrought
up to a sweet con-naturalness to divine things.
How do they feel their thoughts going out with
freedom after spiritual matters ! how suitable is
it now to them to act for God, to design him in
THE SAINTS ENCOURAGEMENT. 19
all tilings ! how much of spirituality in their dis-
course ! even all they do hath a savour of religion
in it. O what warmth and life is there in all their
performances ! they fill up every duty, every re-
lation, every action with grace ; and though a
vein of religion run through all they do, yet it is
not forced, except you will call the power of a
new nature, a force ; and the constraining in-
fluence of love to Christ, a violence. Now the
man is able to say from, his ovv'n experience, that
the commands of Christ are not grievous, nor his
yoke heavy : he now knows what it means to
have the law of God written in his heart, and from
an inward vital principle to act with freedom, de-
light, and constancy for God. The chains are now
in a great measure knocked off, and his soul is set
at liberty, and now he is able to run and not be
weary, to walk and not to faint, and to mount up
with wings like an eagle. He now feels what it
is to love the Lord with all his heart, and soul, and
strength, and might; and he is able to make his ap-
peal to Him that knoweth all things, that he
knows that' he loveth him : and now it is no diffi-
cult thing for him to deny himself to do or suffer
anything for God. How warm is his love, and
what a flame is there in his affections to God !
how strong is his faith ! how lively his hope I how
great his patience ! how high, regular, and constant
20 THE saints' encouragement.
is his zeal ! with what meekness, and sweetness,
and charity doth he carry it to all men ; but
especially to them which are of the household of
faith I In a word, how soberly, righteously, and
godly doth the man demean himself; and how
great a conformity is there in him to the great
rule, the word, the great pattern, the Lord Christ,
and his own great hopes, a life of perfect holiness
and happiness, in a blessed eternity ! And is all
this a small matter? this saint seemeth now to
look a little like the child of such a Father as
God ; the subject of such a King as Christ ; the
spouse of that glorious and incomparable Bride-
groom, the Prince of peace. And now he is able
to say, Come, and I will tell you what God hath
done for my soul. This Captain hath made his
enemies to flee. Now sin hath no dominion over
him, and he doth no more question the truth of his
grace, than he doth his own being. O blessed
state ! how evenly, cheerfully, and honourably
must such a one walk. This is the first thing
that is implied in that abundant entrance that
shall be ministered to the diligent saint ; he shall
feel his heart suited to God in a far greater measure
than before ; and this is an excellent preparative
for glory : by this he is made meet for an inherit-
ance among the saints, Psal. cxix. 16, 35. xix.
10. Isa. Ixiv. 5. Prov. iii. 17. 1 John v. 3.
THE saints' encouragement. 21
2. It implies a lively sense of the pardon of all
his sins ; he hath heard the Lord Christ, as it were,
whispering that word in his ear, ^' Son, be of good
cheer, thy sins are forgiven." He knows through
grace that he hath repented and believed, and he
doth not at all question, but that his sins are
blotted out; and this cannot but be a time of re-
freshing to his soul. Time was that his sins did
stare him in the face, and the iniquity of his heels
did compass him about. Time was that he was
under the arrests of justice, conscience did appre-
hend and lay chains upon him, and many indict-
ments were brought in against him ; but his great
Advocate hath quashed the indictment ; bis Surety
hath paid the debts, and all the demands of justice
are satisfied ; and now, who can lay any thing to
the charge of this person ? it is Christ that justifi-
eth, who can condemn ? And is not this a desirable
state ? What would some poor debtors give to be
clear of their creditors ! what would some guilty
sinners give for an assurance of forgiveness ! what
more welcome to the malefactor than a pardon ?
"■ Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth
not his sin ! Blessed is he whose iniquity is forgiven."
Now he has no fear of hell ; that fire is quenched by
the blood of Christ ; he is now sure he shall be de-
livered from the wrath to come, Heb.viii. 12. Actsiii.
19. Psal. xxxii. 1, 2. Jam. v. 15. Rom. viii. 33, 34.
22 THE saints' ElS-COURAGEMENT.
3. It implieth, as a consequence of the former,
peace with God ; " Being justified by faith we have
peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ,"
Rom. V. 1. Now God is no longer an enemy, but
a friend ; nay, a God in covenant, a Father : and
what a privilege this is, is beyond the tongue of an
angel to express ; so that now the soul may cry
out with just admiration with the apostle, " Be-
hold what manner of love the Father hath bestow-
ed upon us, that we should be called the sons of
God : now are we the sons of God, and it doth
not yet appear what we shall be ; but we know
that when he shall appear, we shall be like him,
for we si] all see him as he is." Children of God !
Lord, what a word is that! Is not the Lord ashamed
to be their Father ? Surely if he be their Father,
they shall not want: he will feed, clothe, provide
for, and portion them. " If children, then heirs,
heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ," 2 Cor.
vi. 16, 18. 1 John iii. 1,2. Rom. viii. 14. Heb.
xii. 7. Psal. xxv. 10. xxiii. 1.
4. This abundant entrance implieth yet further,
a being loosed from all fears of death, and a
triumphant looking into the grave, and beyond it
into eternity. How easy a thing is it now to die !
how confidently can the man meet the King of
terrors ! Death hath now lost his sting, tlie grave
its darkness and horror : and the believer can now
THE saints' encovragement. 23
say with courage and joy, " Now, Death, do thy
work as soon as thou wilt ; my soul is ready for
its flight, through mercy my work is not now to
do; I can speak it from my heart, ' O Death,
where is thy sting? O Grave, where is tliy vic-
tory V " He is able to speak in the language of
that blessed saint; " Now let thy servant depart
in peace ; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation."
Death is now a friend, and not an enemy. '' O
how I long," saith this faithful one, *' to see that
which most dread !" When he is in health, he
thinks with joy of sickness ; when he is sick, he
could be very well contented to be more sick ;
when heart, and flesh, and all fail, he knows that
God will not fail him, but is his portion for ever.
He can speak of his winding-sheet, and burial, and
rottenness, as a harmless rest which will renew his
strength, as knowing that these vile bodies shall
be like unto the glorious body of the Lord
Christ. He is glad at heart to see the symptoms
of his dissolution, and he goes into eternity with
as much content and satisfaction, as the betrothed
virgin goes to her marriage, or the labourer to
receive his wages, or the victorious soldier into the
presence of his prince. And what can make that
man miserable who is lifted up above the fears of
death, and desires of life ; who can think of
death, judgment, and eternity joyfully? 1 Cor.
24 THE saints' encouragement.
XV. 55. Luke ii. 29. 2 Cor. v. 1—4. PhiL
5. Another thing that is implied in this abun-
dant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, is this ; a more
clear, distinct apprehension of spiritual and in-
visible objects, and a more sensible experience of
the reality of gospel mysteries. How low and
childish are the conceptions, that a child of God
hath of God and all his attributes, of Christ and
all his offices and relations, when he is in his
infancy and minority, to what he hath when he
comes to this spiritual manhood ! He now looks
with Stephen's eyes, he " beholds the glory of
God, and the Lord Christ sitting at the right hand
of God." He sometimes saw, as it were, darkly ;
but now with open face beholding as in a glass
the glory of the Lord, he is changed into the same
image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of
tlie Lord. How admirably doth the man now
discourse of heaven, as if he had some of Paul's
visions ! how highly doth he extol that goodly
land, as if he stood upon the top of Pisgah ! hov/
excellently doth he set forth the beauties of Christ,
as if he had been upon the mount, and had seen
him transfigured, or had lain on his bosom ! 1 Cor.
xiii. 11.2 Cor. iii. 18. 2 Tim. ii. 7. Prov. xxviii. 5.
6. Another thing that makes his passage into
THE SAIXTS' ENCOURAGEMENT. 25
eternity more glorious, is a lively, full, well-
grounded assurance of liis interest in the eternal
inheritance : all that I have said had been but a
fancy, a delusion, a misery, without proprietorship;
and proprietorship that is not known loseth its
sweetness. But to understand the things that are
graciously given, and upon good grounds to be
able to sayj " All this is mine;" to speak what
David did, and to be able to make it good, " The
Lord is my portion ;" to call God Father, and
Christ Redeemer, and heaven his inheritance ; and
to be able to show the evidences of all, and to
clear one's claim ; O that is the rich heir indeed !
How doth such a one rejoice when he reads his
Father's will and testament, in which so glorious
an estate is given to and settled upon him for
ever ! when he seriously considers what a doleful
undone condition most are in ! and what a differ-
ence grace hath made between him and them,
when he contemplates what he hath in hand, and
what in reversion, and how well all is secured,
upon the promise and oath of the Most High, the
unchangeable nature of God, the death of the
testator, so that earth and hell cannot rob, cheat,
or wrong him, and heaven will not ! When he
considers seriously the greatness, the nearness, the
certainty, and the eternity of his glory ; how can
it fail to bring a little heaven unto his soul, and
26 THE saints' encouragement.
even antedate the glories of that future world, as
much as man is capable of bearing them in this
mortal state, Heb. x. 22. Cant. ii. 16. Psal. xvi.
5. 1 John iii. 2, 19, 21. iv. 13. Psal. Ixxiii. 25, 26.
2 Tim. iv. 8.
7. And to make the glory, yet if possible, still
far greater upon earth, and that the saints may
have " an abundant entrance into the everlasting
kintcdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ;"
it is required, that the Spirit should witness with
his spirit, that he is a child of God, and fill him
with joy unspeakable, and full of glory. And
this is the very highest pitch on this side glory ;
this is the earnest of the inheritance ; this is little
less than a draught of those rivers, and that foun-
tain of pleasure, '' which is at the right hand of
God for evermore." Now the man is a Httle able
to tell you what that " white stone " means, and
that " new name" which no one knows, save he
that hath it ; he is, as it were, lifted up into the
third heaven, and sees and hears things unutter-
able. Now his affections are too big to be clothed
with words ; he loves, he rejoices, he admires, he
adores God, and he is in such a spiritual strait be-
tween God's service here, and glory above, that he
scarce knows what to do. Sometimes he is so full
of praise, that he cannot be at leisure to do any
thing, but praise and magnify that rich grace which
THE SAIXIS' EXCOURAGEMEXT. 27
hath done such wonders for him, that hath looked
upon so vile a creature, and taken him into his
bosom. '' O what is man, that God should be
mindful of him, and the son of man that he should
visit him ?" And then he turns himself to God, and
breaks forth into hallelujahs, " Blessing, and
honour, and glory, and praise be to him that sits
upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and
ever." And again, he saith, ''Hallelujah;"
" What shall I render to the Lord for all his good-
ness? ten thousand praises to the King of saints for
his incomparable kindness to a poor worm !
Who am I, that the Lord should deal thus familiarly
with me ? why me. Lord, why me, and pass by
thousands ? even so. Father, for it seemeth good in
thine eyes. O the glory, the transcendent, the
excellent glory that I feel ! O what a sight do I
see ! ' Sure this is no ether than the gate of
heaven ;' sure I am now in the suburbs of the
New Jerusalem ! Love and praise is now my
business. ' O magnify the Lord with me ; come,
let us exalt his name together, let us make his
praise glorious ; let us shout for joy, and triumph
in his goodness. Come all ye inhabitants of the
world, and praise him ; let every thing that hath
breath praise him ; let the mountains and hills
praise him ; let the seas praise him, and the floods
clap their hands.' Come, let us rejoice together,
28 THE saints' encouragement.
the Lord hath found his poor prodigal, the Father
has fallen upon his neck and kissed him ; and his
kisses are like heaven, and his love worth ten
worlds. Come, help me to love and praise him ;
come, help me, O ye mighty angels, you under-
stand and are well skilled in this work ; let all
praise him, all is too little ; and if ten heavens of
angels, and ten thousand worlds of saints should
all praise him, it would be infinitely short of that
glory and praise which is due to his name. Well,
I am contented to be overcome ; I am enraptured,
and yet I am willing to be so : the love, the beauty,
the riches of that incomparable, royal, glorious
One, makes all the crowns of the world dirt ;
their beauties, deformity, their excellency, a
shadow, a bubble, nothing. I am overpowered ;
that far more exceeding and eternal weight of
glory begins to rest upon my head. O take time
away, O how I long for eternity, and then I could
bear that weight better. I want nothing now but
an actual and eternal possession ; ' Come, Lord
Jesus, come quickly; mine eyes have seen thy sal-
vation, now let thy servant depart in peace.' But
yet I am not so hasty, but that I am heartily will-
ing to stay tliy leisure ; if thou hast any doing or
suffering work, any thing that may promote thy
glory, and the interest of thy Son, Lord, send me.
I am ready ; only bear thy poor creature company.
THE saints' encouragement. 29
and according to thy word, be with thy servant,
and I am wiOing ; come reproaches, scoffs, bands,
scourgings, racks, all is nothing ; I count not my
life dear, so I may serve this Master. I can do
all things, but it is all from grace, thanks be to
Christ who strengthens me : if he should withdraw,
I should be as faint and weak as another man.
Christ is my all, and to him will I give all glory,
praise, love, and obedience."
Thus the soul is so straitened, that it cannot tell
what to do ; it is taken up with God, his glory
and praise ; and yet his honour upon earth, and
the miserable state of poor besotted sinners, must
not be forgotten. With what pity and bowels
doth this saint look down upon the frantic world !
with what affection doth he bem.oan their madness,
who make nothing of all this glory, who can scorn
this joy, as if it were but the effect of a distemper-
ed fancy 1 " O " saith he, " that you did but
know what I know, and see with my eyes ! O
that I could but tell you what I feel and experi-
ence ! I will venture my salvation upon it, that the
joys of the Holy Ghost are infinitely more sweet
than those carnal delights, which you are so much
taken up with. O do but try, * O taste and see
how good the Lord is.' And if upon a thorough
trial, you do not find it better than I can express,
and you repent your choice, then say that the
30 THE SAINTS ENCOURAGEMENT.
bible was false, that saints are mistaken, and re-
ligion is a cheat ; but till you have tried what a
life of holiness is, do not condemn it ; till you
know what excellency there is in God and Christ,
do not reject them ; till you understand what the
peace of God is, do not laugh at it, as if it were a
fancy. O come, look upon a dying man and
wonder ; I challenge you amongst all your gal-
lant champions to bring one that can look death
in the face with such joy. I challenge all your
sensual epicures to tell me what pleasures are to
be compared to what a believer sometimes is feast-
ed with." Then he falls upon them with earnest-
ness, and pleads with them for their poor souls'
sake, not so foolishly to undervalue that which is
of such unspeakable worth. " O why wmU you
die ? what do you mean to feed like swine, when
you may be feasted with the children ? what do
you think will be the end of your carnal pleasures,
will they end in such triumphant joys ?" And so
he speaks a good word for God ; and if in such
a blessed state one can be sad, and a man within
sight of heaven can be grieved, he is troubled that
every body doth not love, admire, and serve God
at the same or a better rate, than himself. And
thus he continues waiting and longing, and yet
patiently looking for his Master's coming ; and
when he cometh, O how w^elcome is he I how
THE SAlNTb' ENCOURAGEMENT. 31
cheerfully and joyfully doth he resign his spirit !
how confidently doth he appear before God as one
that he was no stranger to ! Never did child after
some absence in a far country more gladly come
to his father's house, never did loving wife enter-
tain her tender husband with more content ; never
did loyal subject come into his prince's presence
with more pleasure, than this precious soul doth
go to God ! Eph. i. 13, 14. iv. 30. 1 Pet.
i. 8. Isa. Ixi. 10. Cant. i. 4. ii. 3. Psal. Ixiii.
3. Heb. vi. 18. Psal. v. 12. John xiv. 18. Isa.
And thus I have showed you w^hat this abundant
entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord
and Saviour Jesus Christ doth imply. It implies
a sensible renovation of their natures and a
sw^eet suitableness to God, a lively sense of the
pardon of all our sins, and a peace with God, a
being lifted above fears, a more clear and distinct
apprehension of invisibles, as to their reality and
excellency, and a well-grounded assurance of our
proprietorship and interest in the great things of
another world, and of the nearness of the posses-
sion and the eternity of enjoyment, and the Spirit
sealing up the soul to the day of redemption, and
filling it with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.
And is it now worth the while to be a christian ?
Is the labour in vain, and the pains without some
32 THE saints' encouragement.
fruit ? Blessed are the people that are in such a
case ; yea, blessed are the people whose God is
III. The next thing I promised to do, was, to
demonstrate and prove, that the saint who is thus
diligent, as I mentioned, shall have such a glorious
entrance ministered to him, into the everlasting
kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
What doth the scripture prove more fully, " Say
to the righteous, It shall be well with them ; for
they shall eat the fruit of their doings," Isa. iii. 10
And will God expose the reputation of his
prophets, and command them to speak that in his
name, which he will not see made good to a tittle ?
'' He that hath my commandments, and keepeth
them, he it is that loveth me ; and he that loveth
me shall be loved of my Father ; and I will love
him, and manifest myself unto him," John xiv. 21.
" Great peace have they that love thy law, and
nothing shall offend them," Psal. cxix. 165.
" Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither
have entered into the heart of man, the things
which God hath prepared for them that love
him," 1 Cor. ii. 9. "Mark the perfect man, and
behold the upright ; for the end of that man is
peace," Psal. xxxvii. 37. Multitudes of scrip-
tures speak the same thing, and that which God
hath spoken, saints have experienced : ask David
THE S.AIXTS' ENCOURAGExMENT. 33
whether God hath ever been worse than his word,
and he will tell you " Truly, God is good unto
Israel ; even to them that are of an upright heart,"
Psal. Ixxiii. 1. And upon this account, he is still
calling upon all to love, trust, and obey him, and
tells them, however he might sometimes be under
a temptation and mistake, yet that it is good for
him to draw nigh to God, ver. 28. Upon this ac-
count, he calls to all to bless and magnify the
Lord with him, Psal. xxxiv. 3. What is it makes
Paul to long to be dissolved ? What causeth him
to speak of death as an innocent, harmless thing ?
Whence is it that that good old saint saith, " Now
let thy servant depart in peace," but because
" his eyes had seen his salvation?" Are there
not many thousands of the people of God that
have been able to subscribe to these truths ? It
may be they were sometimes sowing in tears, but
when the harvest of death came, they reaped a
crop of consolation. What else meant their joys
and praise in sickness, pains, death ? There are
a great many, as well as David, who could say,
that God was their exceeding joy, Psal. xliii. 4.
'^ Weeping may endure for a night, but joy
cometh in the morning," Psal. xxx. 5. It is the
duty and privilege of the saints of God to rejoice
and shout for joy, Psal. xxxii. 11, And how can
they fail to rejoice when God is theirs ? and if
34 THE saints' excouragemext.
God be for them, who can be against them ? This,
this is that which hath made the people of God
even burst out into praises, when some carnal
people did even wonder how they could hold from
cursing. "■ Come," saith one, " and I will tell
you what God hath done for my soul." " Thanks
be to God for his unspeakable gift," saith another.
^' O blessed be God for a Christ and a pardon; I
would not now be to live for a world. O how
glad am I, that death is so near ; but why should
I talk of death, it is too harsh a word, I shall rest,
I shall sleep in the bosom of the Lord, I shall not
die but live." " O," saith another, " if this be
dying, dying is sweet!" " Welcome the will of
God," saith another : and how many of the dili-
gent servants of Christ could as willingly lie down
in their graves as in their beds. Sirs, have none
of you been eye and ear witnesses of such things
as these ? did you never see one that hath re-
ceived the sentence of death from his doctor, as
cheerfully as the condemned malefactor hath a
reprieve or pardon ? Did you never hear one that
had but little breath, spending of it in singing and
praise ? if you have not, I thank God I have more
than once or twice. And doth not all this prove,
that the diligent shall have his reward ; and that
the active saint shall have an abundant entrance
into glory. Surely if it hath been so frequently
THE SAIXTS ENCOURAGEMENT. 60
promised, and so often experienced, there is little
reason why any one should doubt but it shall be
so still. God's arm is not weakened, his affection
to holiness is not abated, neither is his treasure in
the least lessened ; what he hath done he will do,
and we may with very good reason argue from past
experience to future expectations.
IV. I come to inquire how this abundant
entrance is ministered into the everlasting king-
dom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
1. God doth it by shutting out whatsoever may
interrupt the joyful and triumphant passage of the
believer to his glorious rest. All the mountains
shall be levelled, and crooked things made
straight. Whatsoever may hinder his smooth and
easy progress, is in a great measure removed ; the
mountains of sins are cast into the depth of the
sea, his iniquities are done away as a cloud, and
his transgressions as a thick cloud. Sin's power
is quite weakened, and it lies now gasping ready
to fetch its last breath. The conscience is fully
pacified, the demands of the law are satisfied, the
blood of Christ hath quite cleared the score, the
surety hath received an acquittance, Christ's re-
surrection and ascension to glory was his full dis-
charge, and he hath given an acquittance also to
the sinner, and promised to secure him for ever
against all the creditors, and to keep off all arrests.
36 THE SAI^^TS' ENCOURAGEMENT.
Now he need not fear, Satan is silenced, the great
accuser hath done his worst, and now he is cast
out, and who can lay any thing to the charge of
this elect one ? it is Christ that justifies, who can
condemn ? Rom. viii. 34. Time was when the poor
debtor durst scarce look out of doors for fear of
arrest ; he was in continual fear of being appre-
hended, imprisoned, arraigned, cast, condemned,
and executed ; but he is now secured against all,
'' There is no condemnation to them which are in
Christ Jesus," Rom. viii. 1. He is now a free
man, and therefore a glad man ; now he can
walk amongst bones and skulls without any dread ;
the grave hath now lost its horror; it is now but
a close chamber to sleep securely in till the wed-
ding clothes are quite made, and the mansion-
house ready, and the bridegroom and retinue
shall come to awaken him, Isa. xliv. 22. Col.
ii. 14, 15. Gal. iii. 13. Rom. v. 19. iv. 25.
2 Cor. V. 19, 21. Heb. x. 11, 12, 14, 18—22.
2. God doth minister to the diligent saints an
entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord
and Saviour Jesus Christ, as by shutting out and
removing what might hinder their joyful passage,
so by opening what might hasten and sweeten
their way. He opens his book, and lets them see
their names written there ; he opens the promises.
THE saints' E^XOURAGEMEXT. 37
and lets them read what he hath given them there.
All the great and precious promises are to them
Yea and Amen, truly fulfilled and fulfilling ; the
great records of heaven are unsealed to him ;
and he is made to understand that God had a
design of kindness upon him before the foundations
of the world ; he beholds the very arms and
bosom of the Father opened ready to embrace
him, he hears a sweet voice as it were sounding in
his ear, Come, my child, enter into thy chamber and
hide thyself, till my indignation be over, Isa. xxvi.
20. His eyes are now opened, and he is anointed
with spiritual eye-salve, and his understanding is
enlightened wonderfully : he hath reason, faith,
the word, the Spirit to give him light. Methinks
he looks like a king in his triumphant chariot go-
ing his progress. How pleasant is his journey I
now which w^ay soever he looks, he sees matter of
joy and praise, and that which doth make his
passage glorious : if he look backward, he re-
members with comfort the battles that hav^e been
fought under his valiant Captain ; he beholds the
Egyptians dead upon the shore, he sees Sihon king
of the Amorites and Og the king of Bashan sub-
dued : he is now almost come out of the wilderness,
now he is out of danger of the lions, bears, and
serpents ; he sees the field quite cleared, except
here and there a gasping enemy that lieth bleeding
38 THE saints' encouragement.
of his mortal wounds ; and he can now say, as
Paul, " I have fought the good fight, I have
finished my course, I have kept the faith ; hence-
forth there is laid up for me a crown of righteous-
ness, which the Lord the righteous Judge shall
give me at that day ; and not to me only, but unto
all them also that love his appearing," 2 Tim. iv. 7,
8. O how sweet a thing is it to remember the years
of the right hand of the Most High ! ^' At such a
place the Lord first began in mercy to take hold
of me ; at another he came in with seasonable
supplies, and there he wooed me, and after a while
he got my heart ! O I would not for a world
that the work were undone ; it was the best day's
work that I ever made since I was born ; then,
then Christ betrothed me to himself, and since that
I have been fed richly, and strengthened greatly,
and in some measure been enabled to walk before
the Lord in integrity and uprightness of heart."
And then he looks inward, and there he sees the
glorious workmanship of God, the image of
Christ upon every faculty of the soul, every room
richly furnished by the great King, since he came
to dwell with him ; and now his body and soul is
employed for nobler use than before ; and he be-
liolds grace in the inward parts ; there are faith, love,
joy, hope, he is all glorious within like the temple
of the Holy Ghost. He looks upward, and be-
THE saints' excouragemext. 39
hold, there is the glorious habitation of his Father;
there is his treasure, estate ; there is liis Lord and
dear Redeemer ; there are all his true friends, or
there they will be ere long. He looks forward,
and lo, a cloud of witnesses that are running be-
fore him ; he looks beyond the grave into a
blessed eternity, and it is no small pleasure to
him to think, that this vile body shall be made
like unto the glorious body of the Lord Jesus
Christ ; it doth not a little comfort him to know
that this mortal shall put on immortality, and this
corruptible shall put on incorruption, and death
shall be swallowed up of victory. Yea, the very
thoughts of the dissolution of this world are de-
lightful to him : with what comfort doth he
meditate upon that approaching day, when the
earth shall burn like an oven, and the elements
shall melt with fervent heat, and the graves shall
be opened, and the earth and sea shall give up their
dead, and the angels shall gather the elect from
the four quarters of the earth ; and how triumpli-
antly shall they meet the Lord in the clouds ; and
what a brave shout will all the sons of God give,
when they shall see that glorious beautiful One !
And that day they see not very far off, they do
with joy behold his harbingers coming to make
ready for his appearance. It puts life into his
duties, and quickens his hope to see Christ, as it
40 THE saints' ENCOURAGEiMENT.
were, onward on his journey to fetch him ; and he
thinks of judgment with the greatest content of
all, when all the attributes of God shall be so
much glorified, Christ so admired and completely-
enjoyed, and himself fully acquitted and fixed in
unspeakable glory. And then he looks round
about him, and beholds most of the world in a
miserable, Christless, and almost hopeless state ;
except a miracle of mercy speedily convert them,
they are as surely damned, as God is happy.
And wdio made me to differ ? O admirable grace !
Hallelujah, blessed and for ever blessed be God,
that looked upon such a one, when he passed by
thousands ! And then he looks downward, and
there he sees by faith, millions in that dreadful
prison, and the door shut upon them, and himself
at liberty, and the door of God's house, the gates
of the New Jerusalem, the bosom of Christ open
to him : and how can all this fail to administer
abundance of consolation to this man? Can such
a one as this is be sad ? Is it possible for him to
keep his heart from love, joy, and light, and his
tongue from praises ? And thus God dotli minister
an abundant entrance to the diligent saint, by
opening his own arms, and the believer's eyes,
and showing him such things are even unutterably
excellent, infinitely desirable, eternally glorious,
Psal. XXV. 14. Rev. iii. 7. 2 Cor. iii. 18. Ephes. i.
THE saints' excouragement. 41
18. 1 John V. 20. Eph. iii. 16—19. Rom. vi. 5,
3. A saint's journey home is made more com-
fortable, and his entrance to that city more sweet,
his journey more pleasant, by the admirable pro-
Msions that are laid him in, to feed upon in the
road. Believe it, sirs, a saint hath rare fare,
gallant cheer, and rich diet, and all at free cost ;
he is feasted all the day long ; he is brought oft
into the banqueting-house, and hath the rarest,
the costliest, the wholesomest diet, that which is
most hearty and strengthening, that which is most
dainty and pleasant, and the greatest variety,
and nothing is wanting that may make his state
happy, except a full enjoyment of glory itself.
The Lord gives him all the experiences of his
power and goodness to his churches in former ages
to feed his hopes on ; nay, many choice provi-
dences, many answers of prayers, many foretastes
of glory, many ordinances, especially that great
one of the Lord's supper, in which Christ and
all his benefits are served up in a royal dish to
refresh and feast, the faith, hope, and love of the
saints. And that which sweetens all, is this ; he
knows that all this is but a little, to what he shall
shortly live upon when he comes to the marriage-
supper ; then he shall always be feasted and never
surfeited. And besides all this, he hath the sweet
42 THE saints' encouragement.
and refresliing incomes of the Spirit, filling him
with such true pleasure, that he can easily spare
the most sumptuous banquet the noblest feast,
and highest worldly delights, as infinitely short of
one hour's treatment in his great Friend's chamber.
And if this be his entertainment in the inn, what
shall he have at the court ? if this heavenly manna
be his food in the wilderness, at what a rate is he
like to live when he comes into Canaan ? if this
be the provision of the way, what is that of the
country ? Isa. xxv. 6. Prov. ix. 2. Cant. ii. 4.
Psal. xxiii. 1, &c. John vi. 55. Psal. Ixxiv. 14.
4. That his entrance may be abundantly glo-
rious, God doth send out his blessed messengers
and servants to guide and direct him ; and to
comfort and encourage him, and to lead him safely
and joyfully to his palace. Sometimes God sends
a word, and guides him by his counsel, till he
hath brought him to glory ; at another time,
his ministers are sent to do the work of inferior
angels, to preach glad tidings of great joy, to
open the treasures of Divine love to him, and to
show him Christ, righteousness, and their justifi-
cation ; the righteousness that is imparted to
them, and their sanctification, their royal robes,
and the bridegroom, and to help to dress them,
for glory ; sometimes the saints and fellow-chris-
tians are sent out to visit and congratulate his
THE S-AINTS' ENCOURAGEMENT. 43
nearness to the kingdom ; and to send him off
with a shout of praises into a happy eternity, and
to complete all, to express his love yet further,
the great King sends his own attendants and
chariot, the blessed angels to bring their precious
souls, as soon as ever they leave those mansions
of clay, into his own blessed presence; and O how
glad of this office ! how sweetly do those minis-
tering spirits warble out their praises at their
marriage and coronation, who were so glad at
their conversion! Isa. xxx. 21. Job xxxiii. 23.
Luke xvi. 22.
5. To make their entrance most magnificent
and triumphant, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
the blessed Trinity, are ready to give them a wel-
come to glory. Now that which was in the eternal
counsels is come to pass ; if the Father loved
them when they were crying and praying, if he
did not despise their broken spirit, if grace im-
perfect was so great a delight to him, what is it
to hear his children praising, to see them come
safe and sound to his house, and to look upon his
own image in some perfection and beauty, to see
his look like himself, and full of love, joy, and
beauty, to see the spouse of his only Son arrived
safe to the harbour, and the fruit of his purchase
and love ; surely this must be a sight well pleasing
to the Father. And as for the Son, without con-
44 THE saints' encouragement.
troversy, he is not a little pleased to behold his
royal bride in her princely attire, all glorious and
lovely by the beauty and jewels that he adorned
her with. Surely the first word of salutation will
be, Come, thou blessed of my Father, and beloved
of the Son, inherit the kingdom prepared for thee
before the world had a being. Methinks when I
read the history of Isaac's going out into the field
to meet Rebecca, when I observe their kind greet-
ing, and how cheerfully and gladly he led her into
his tent, and how thoroughly his mother's death is
forgot, and her room well filled by his wife, it puts
me a little in mind of the far greater love and
kindness of the Prince of peace to his Rebecca ;
he did not only send his servant to woo and get
her heart, but he came himself, and would not be
satisfied, whatever it cost him, till he had got her
love; his prayers, pains, blood, nothing is too good
for her, though so mean, poor, deformed ; he
mends all by his love, and makes her rich, beauti-
ful, and strong, and sees of the travail of his soul,
and is satisfied ; how much more when she hath
loyally followed his commands, and loved him
above heaven and earth, and is brought like a
queen into his presence, will he meet her with
gladness, and carry her into his court and royal
palace, and there rejoice over her for ever ! He
now sees that his poverty hath made his wife ricli,
THE SAI"NTS' ENCOURAGEMENT. 45
liis emptiness filled her, his death given her
And what a sweet blast doth the blessed Spirit
breathe upon him ! and how doth he in a moment
ripen all his graces and comforts ! and without
doubt, if the Spirit be grieved when he is rejected,
he is pleased when received, and his work is
brought to perfection. But, alas, I am here at a
stand, it doth not yet appear what will be then,
but God will do far abundantly above what we
can think ; and therefore I have warrant to speak
so high as I do.
I might add the glorious saints that have long
since possessed that blessed inheritance, that
through many tribulations are come to rest, how
glad will they be to see them come safe also !
they are not a little pleased that one more is
brought to serve God more highly and honour-
ably, and to help them to praise him, and make
the concert yet more full and complete. If Aaron
were glad at heart to go out and meet with Moses
when he came to deliver the poor Israelites out
of their bondage, how glad will Moses, Elias,
Paul, and millions more of saints, be to see the
Israelite and perfect conqueror come within
the walls of the glorious Zion, free from all
his former slaveries, and in a state of glorious
liberty with the Son of God, 1 John ii. 28. Matt.
46 THE saints' encouragement.
XXV. 34, 46. Heb. xii. 22, 23. Matt. xxv. 23.
Thus I have despatched the fourth thing that I
promised to speak to, and that was to show yon
how this entrance is ministered abundantly into
the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ. It is done by shutting out and remov-
ing whatsoever may any way obstruct their com-
fortable passage ; and by opening their way, and
making it plain, and showing them beforehand
what might contribute to the delightfulness of
their journey; and by laying them in on the road
full, rich, dainty provision, and all at free cost ; and
by sending out messengers, especially his minis-
ters and angels, to make their passage more com-
fortable, sure, and honourable ; and lastly, by a
welcome to glory by God the Father, Son, and
Holy Ghost, saints and angels ; and if this be not
*' an abundant entrance," I know not what is or
V. I come now to give you some reasons why
the diligent saint shall be thus rewarded.
1. God hath promised it to them. He hath
said, that their labour shall not be in vain ; and
that in keeping the commands of God there shall
be a great reward, and that he is a Rewarder of
them that diligently seek him. Is it not His pro-
mise, who cannot be worse than his word, that " the
THE saints' excouragemext. 47
righteous shall be glad in the Lord ; and all the
upright in heart shall glory," Psal. Ixiv. 10. If a
cup of cold water shall in no wise lose its reward,
shall he that gives body, and soul, and estate, and
every thing to God, lose his ? Hath not Christ
more than once promised great things to his dili-
gent servants, that patiently continue in well
doing ? ''To him that overcometh, I will give to
eat of the tree of life," Rev. ii. 7. .*' He shall not
be hurt of the second death," ver. 11. *' I will
give him to eat of the hidden manna, and a white
stone, &c. and a crown of life," ver. 17. " He
that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in
white raiment, and I will not blot out his name
out of the book of life ; but I will confess his
name before my Father, and before his angels,"
Rev. iii. 5. " Him that overcometh, will I make
a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go
no more out ; and I will write upon him the name
of my God, and the name of the city of my God^
the New Jerusalem which cometh down from
heaven, from my God, and my new name," ver.
12. ''To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit
down with me on my throne, as I overcame and
am set down with my Father on his throne," ver.
21. " If ye love me keep my commandments:
and I will pray the Father, and he shall give you
another Comforter, that he may abide with you for
48 THE saints' encouragement.
ever," John xiv. 15, 16. ''And whatsoever we
ask, we receive of him ; because we keep his
commandments, and do those things that are
pleasing in his sight. He that keepeth his com-
mandments dvvelleth in him, and he in him,"
1 John iii. 22, 24. " The work of righteousness
shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness,
quietness, and assurance for ever," Isa. xxxii. 17.
I shall add but one promise more, '' They that
wait on the Lord shall renew their strength ; they
shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall
run and not be weary, and they shall walk and
not faint, Isa. xl. 31.
2. Another reason why the diligent saint shall
have " an entrance ministered abundantly into the
everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour,"
is, because of his own glory, which is the more
advanced. What a mighty revenue of praise
and love doth God receive by manifesting so much
of his love in this world to his poor saints ! How
clearly doth he demonstrate the reality and excel-
lency of invisibles by it ! how much of his good-
ness and faithfulness is thereby discovered ! how
doth it vindicate his omniscience, his purity, and
spirituality ! what a miglity conviction of his
being to the wicked and atheistical world ! What
clearer proof can there be to sense of the justice
of God, and of the vast difference that he will
THE saints' encouragement. 49
make between them that fear, love, and diligently
serve him, and them that set light by his counsels,
undervalue his commands, and despise his rewards
or threats? Heb. vi. 10. Mai. iii. 18. compared
with iv. 1, 2.
3. The last reason that I shall now give (though
more might be added) is, that he may encourage
the diligent, and make them go on resolvedly
without fainting, and expect yet greater things,
and raise their hopes yet higher still, and make
the lazy to mend their pace ; and all to say,
" Verily there is a reward for the righteous :
verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth,"
Psal. Iviii. 11. And that it is not in vain to serve
the Lord, the Lord will have his people to have a
word to answer the scoffer, who asks him \vhat he
gets by all his prayers, and tears, and preciseness.
When his soul is solaced, he saith, " This is the
joy that I prayed for, this the riches, the food that
I laboured for, this is the God in whom I have
trusted ; and if the earnest penny be so great,
what is the full sum ? Fall on therefore, O my
soul, and despise the scorns of fools, keep thy eye
upon the recompence of the reward," Heb. x. 23.
Isa. XXV. 9. Psal. xliv. 8. Jer. iv. 2. Isa. xlv.
VI. I come now to answer some objections,
which may seem to contradict this truth, wliich
50 THE SAINTS ENCOURAGEMENT.
liatli been so largely proved : and the first objec-
tion is this.
Obj. 1. Do not many wicked men live and
die in peace? doth not David complain, "That
there are no bands in their death : that they are
not in trouble as other men?" Psal. Ixxiii. 4.
Doth not Job speak almost at the same rate ? Job
xxi. 7. What privilege then hath a saint above a
sinner ? what advantage hath the diligent believer
more than the sluggard ? and what benefit and
profit the industrious Christian more than the for-
mal hypocrite ? and what difference is there be-
tween their peace ? and how cometh it to pass,
that some of them which live like devils, die like
I answer. What you call peace deserves not
such a sweet name ; for '' there is no peace, saith
my God, to the wicked ; " but it is carnal confi-
dence and presumption ; and they are so far from
this true peace, that is akin to heaven, that there
is but a step between them and the state of the
damned, and they owe all their peace to their ig-
norance and hardness of heart, and searedness of
conscience. O did they but know what a case
they are in, they would soon cry out with amaze-
ment. What shall we do to be saved ? and be so
far from being displeased with the minister that
jogs them, and saith, '' Awake, sleeper, what
THE SAIXTS' EXCOURAGEMEN 51
meanest thou," that they would wonder that he is
no more earnest and loud in his cry, and more
pitiful in his endeavours to bring them out of that
dreadful letharg-y and stupidness, that he now
perceives them to lie under. And who would
desire such a rest as a lethargy, swoon, or apoplexy
brings ? who would reckon he sleeps securely,
when he lieth in the devil's cradle ? who that un-
derstands himself would have a peace, that he
must be beholden to a league with hell for ? Isa.
Ivii. 21. 1 Tim. iv. 2. Ephes. iv. 18, 19. Isa.
Obj. 2. But I have heard these men speak of
their hopes and confidence in the Lord, and bless
God for their assurance of the pardon of their sins ;
and ask them if they have made their peace with
God, and they will answer, that they thank God,
that's a work is not now to do ; I pray therefore
show us the difference between these two sorts of
men, which seem to be very unlike one another in
There is as much difference between their peace,
as there is between light and darkness, heaven and
hell, something and nothing.
1 . They differ in their original and foundation :
the rise of the peace of a saint is from the promise,
his comforts are scripture consolations ; he finds
that rich grace hath wrought in him the condition
52 THE saints' encouragement.
of the promise, and upon a serious debate with his
own spirit, and thorough discoursing the matter
with his own heart, it brings in this witness for
him, that he hath had a discovery of his poor,
lost, undone state, that he hath in some measure
been convinced of sin and misery, that he hath
been convinced of his own utter inability to save
himself, that he hath seen an absolute necessity
of Christ, an infinite fulness and excellency in
him, that he hath been enabled to receive him
upon his own terms, and to resign up all to him,
that he hath been made to leave sin, as to the love
and liking of it, and to be affectionately willing
to take God the Father for the ultimate happiness
and portion of his soul, God the Son for the only
way to the Father, and his Redeemer, God the
Holy Ghost to enlighten, sanctify, and comfort
Iiim, and to endeavour to give up his whole man,
body and soul, to the obedience of his whole will,
with the utmost intentness of spirit, with delibe-
ration, judgment, and resolution to stand by this
choice, by the strength of God, for ever. And
this he hath frequently found upon inquiry, to be
the constant frame of his spirit ; and therefore
the scripture pronouncing such blessed, he is
liumbly bold to own what grace hath done for
him. Now this man's hopes and confidence have
a good foundation, it is built upon the foundation
THE saints' encouragement, 53
of prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ being the
chief corner-stone ; it is a peace of God's appro-
bation, of God's signing and sealing.
But now on the other side, the peace which the
hypocrite hath is built upon the sand, he hath not
one promise that he can rationally lay any claim
to ; nay, the whole word of God assaults him,
and tells him how vain his confidence is ; and
that if, for all this, he will speak peace to himself,
that he must try shortly whether he can make it
good, when conscience, scripture, law and gospel,
God and man, appear in the field against him.
In a word, the cause of his peace is ignorance,
hardness, deadness. The god of this world hath
blinded his eyes : God is author of the saint's peace,
and the devil of the sinner's. Matt. vii. 24, &c.
Phil. iv. 7. Luke xi. 21. Rom. xv. 4.
2. They differ in their concomitants and effects.
The saint hath always these things accompanying
his comforts ; admiration of God's pardoning
grace, and wonder that there should be such a
thing as mercy for him; magnifying of the blessed
Jesus, who was the great manager of that great
affair, the peace between God and his soul; a holy,
thankful, fruitful life; a humble judging of him-
self, and a pitying of others : when the Spirit hath
grafted true peace in the soul, these are the fruits
which if bears. But is it thus with the formal
54 THE saints' encouragement.
hypocrite; judge, I pray, rightly, and see what
fruits his peace brings forth : are they not the
grapes of Sodom and the fruits of Gomorrah?
doth he indeed admire and adore the patience of
God towards him ? doth he not rather make bold
with God, and turn his grace into wantonness ?
How little doth he esteem his omniscience, power,
spirituality, purity ! how far is he from sanctifying
the Lord in his heart, and making him his fear
and dread ! how vilely doth he undervalue and
prostitute his holy name, using it only in an oath,
or when he taketh it into his filthy mouth without
any reverence or sense of his excellency ! And as
for Christ, he makes light of him, and prefers every
cursed lust, any vile companion, yea, the dirt he
treads on, shall I say more, the devil himself,
before him. What else is the meaning of his ser-
vice, activity, and constancy to carry on the inte-
rest of hell, and the unsuitableness, contempt, and
opposition that he makes against the advancing of
the interest of the Lord Christ ? I need say no
more. In a word, for all his peace with God, he
is at war with his nature, laws, Son, Spirit, ser-
vice ; and yet how foolishly doth he boast of peace,
comfort, hopes, and justify himself and censure
his betters ! James iii. 18. Gal. v. 19, &c. Deut.
3. The saint's joys and comforts differ in their
THE saints' encouragement. 55
very nature ; the saint's joys are spiritual, the
hypocrite's carnal and sensual ; the saint's rational,
the formalist's brutish, and against both scripture
and reason : the saint's joys are solid, great, and
glorious, the hypocrite's are frothy, small, and
shameful, Deut. xxix. 19. Eccl. ii. 2. Jam. iii. 15.
4. Their comforts differ in their growth and
continuance. The believer's comforts were a great
while under the clouds of fear, and that Divine
seed was long sown before it grew up to such a
harvest ; and although he be still reaping, yet a
fresh harvest is still growing, and he shall never
make an end of gathering them in ; his peace and
comforts grow stronger and stronger, as troubles,
and sickness, and trials come upon him, and at
death they are greatest of all ; for then he enters
into his Master's joy, and enjoys his peace till the
Almighty hath lost his power, which will last till
the infinite riches of heaven's glory are spent, and
eternity is at an end. As for the hypocrite, his
peace is short-lived ; at the furthest death will
put an end to it, and then you shall see what is
become of all his peace, joy, hopes ; when instead
of comfort he shall lie down in shame, and awake
in eternal horror. And who would desire such
deceitful joys, that, ere a man is aware, leave him
in everlasting torments ? I have been the longer
56 THE saints' excouragement.
in the answering of this objection, because it is
common, and millions of those that bear the name
of Christ are cheated and eternally mined with
such a false peace. And what sayest thou that
readest these lines, which of these two is thy
peace ? Lay down the book, and consider, and let
not thy heart be quiet till thou understand what
foundation its quiet rest is built upon. Tell it
that many times it is a sign that the strong man
armed hath got possession, when all things are in
peace. Ask thy soul, whether it ever understood
its natural enmity against God, whether that be
in any measure laid down. Art thou reconciled
to the holy nature, laws, and service of God ? and
hast thou commenced an irreconcilable war
against sin ? is Christ thy Captain, the Spirit thy
Assistant ? and who usually carries the field, the
flesh or Spirit ? O be not contented till you have
a good account given in from conscience and ex-
perience in this great affair ; for it is a matter of
life or death, and a business of the highest conse-
quence imaginable ; and till this witness be well
settled, I will not give a rush for all thy comforts,
peace, and hopes, Job viii. 13. Isa. xxxiii. 14. Job
XX. 5. Prov. xiv. 32. Isa. xxxv. 10.
Obj. 3. But for all that hath been said con-
cerning the abundant entrance that the diligent
saint shall have into the everlasting kingdom of
THE saints' excouragement, 57
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, experience
tells us, that many a diligent saint goes off without
any comfort, and their sun sets in a cloud.
I grant this may be sometimes. God may for
reasons best known to his wisdom, conceal his
love from his dear children, till they see it cleared
beyond doubt. Christ himself, when he was just
a dying, w-as under a desertion, and cried out in
great bitterness of spirit, " My God, my God,
why hast thou forsaken me ? " Therefore I will
not, I cannot lay it down as a universal, infallible
rule, that all saints in this life shall have such un-
speakable joys, such rich consolation. But yet
this is God's usual way, and he bids us mark it,
and count upon it, '' the end of the upright shall
be peace." And now^ I shall more directly answer.
1. It may be the person that you judged so
diligent, was not so ; it may be his diligence
reached principally to his external actions. The
greatest work of a saint is an invisible work, and,
it may be, here might be a great failure; it may be,
though he was diligent in hearing, frequent in
discoursing, constant in duty, yet for all that he
might want much of that faith, and love, and spirit-
uality, and importunity, and watchfulness in duty
that is required ; and no wonder then at all if the
poor man have his comfort to seek ; for in these
things lieth the life, activity, and beauty of
58 THE saints' encouragemext.
Christianity. I am persuaded that it is a great rarity
for one that is much exercised in these vital acts of
religion to want the evidence of his reality and
sincerity, except it be merely for the further trial
and exercise of his grace; and then it is but for a
while usually, and then the Lord comes in with
the greater comfort, and the consolations of Christ
are then the more sweet. I must also except per-
sons under the power of melancholy ; and yet even
such usually have some considerable discoveries
of Divine love before they die. We must also dis-
tinguish between diseases ; if the disease disturb the
fancy, and interrupt the clear use of the under-
standing, you must remember that it is the disease,
and not the man speaks then ; and therefore be
sure you censure neither the person nor religion
in such a case.
2. It may be the man may experience more
than he thinks fit to acquaint you or any one else
with. Do you know what intercourse is carried
on between a dying saint and a living God ? it may
be he hath not breath to speak, or words to express
what he feels or enjoys ; it may be he doth not at
present judge that he is bound to tell every body
what he knows or feels ; it may be he may be
silent for fear of discouraging other saints, that
have not the same comfort that he hath ; it may
be he is afraid of being thought too highly of, and
THE saints' encouragement. 59
that Christ should lose what is his due , it may be,
if it Vv'ere to some judicious saints or minister, he
might speak more freely than to you.
3. When he comes to entrance, then all clouds
vanish, all fears are removed ; and what tongue
can speak the joys that such a soul feels ? As
soon as ever the door is opened for the soul to go
out, angels stand ready to receive it, and heaven's
gates are open to let it in, and Christ's arms to
embrace it ; and can that soul which enjoys a
Christ in glory, want any thing to make his hap-
piness complete ? And this every diligent saint
doth most certainly do. When they leave this world
they have a welcome to a better ; then all tears are
wiped away from their eyes ; and wlien they are
in heaven, the first moment's glory will make them
forget the greatest sorrows that were antecedent
VII. I am now come to make some improve-
ment of what hath been delivered.
Use 1. If the diligent saints shall have such
** an abundant entrance ministered unto them into
the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ," then this justifies their greatest
seriousness, activity, and constancy in the ways of
Sirs, You need wonder no longer why the be-
liever doth so much, but rather that he doth not a
60 THE saints' encouragement.
thousand times more. Blame his exactness no
longer ; remember it is for eternity : call not his
preciseness folly, till you can prove that the king-
dom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is
worth nothing. Say not that they are foolish,
unreasonable men, till you can make it appear,
that they have made a losing bargain by parting
with all to buy the pearl of great price. Never
term them mad men, till you can make good your
charge. When you see their crowns upon their
heads, then cry out upon them for fools for striv-
ing to' win it, if you can ! When you see their
triumphant joys upon a death-bed, and hear their
praises, and see tTieir smiling when others would
be quaking, then deride their diligence as needless !
When you see the lazy hypocrite rejected, and
the faithful owned, rewarded, glorified, and God
calling them wise, then call them fools I Stay but
a while, and you shall see the fire they made such
haste to escape from. Let us reason the case a
little with this wise man, that laughs at holiness
as a low, needless, unprofitable business. Is it
a piece of folly to get the greatest riches, the
highest honours, to take the sweetest and safest
pleasures? is getting of a kingdom in your judg-
ment such a mad thing ? is conquering enemies,
obtaining the most glorious victories, a foolish
thing ? What will you say, that an everlasting
THE saints' encouragement. 61
inheritance is no riches ? is the being in the pre-
sence of God, and having his ear and heart, hand
and glory, no honour ? are the consolations of
the Spirit, the joys of heaven, and the pleasures
that are at God's right hand for ever, nothing ? is
freedom from all misery, and possessing all hap-
piness, nothing ? if life and death, heaven and hell,
be all nothing, what is something? If the mer-
chant always make a good voyage, and hath still
a sure, a saving, a gainful return, you shall scarce
jeer him out of his trade ; if the malefactor or
debtor have got his life, pardon, and liberty, you
shall scarce make him believe that he was a fool
for accepting it ; neither will the diligent and
active saint be disheartened from following the
trade, which hath brought in such a vast and in-
credible return, and is like to bring him in more
and more still. His debts are all paid, and his
pardon sealed, and he is in a state of glorious
liberty ; and having tasted the sweetness of it,
that man shall have somewhat to do that should
persuade him to return to his prison, and to fall
in love with his fetters. O what do you mean,
O ye deluded and bewitched sinners, that you are
not contented to go on madly to hell, but you
must scoff at all for fools, that are not as despe-
rately mad as yourselves ! If you count everlasting-
condemnation but a light business, because you
62 THE saints' encouragemekt.
are blind, and see not how great that wrath, how
intolerable the torment, and yet how unavoidable
and eternal, blame not those whose eyes are en-
lightened, to see all this, if they venture not. And
on the other hand, if God, glory, and eternity be
little things in your judgment, blame not those
who understand them better, if they count them
weighty. And stay till you know what heaven
and hell mean, before you call men madmen and
fools for securing the one and avoiding the other.
Cliristians, be not in the least disheartened, but
rather quickened ; quit you like men, be strong ;
behold the crown, win it, and wear it ; let nothing
discourage you ; methinks that far more exceeding
and eternal weight of glory should make all
hinderances insignificant that stand in the way of
getting or keeping it, Isa. lix. 15. 1 Pet. iv. 4.
Isa. liv. 17.
Use 2. If the diligent saint shall have a glori-
ous " entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," what shall the ac-
tive sinner have, that doth evil with both hands,
that draws iniquity as it were with cart-ropes ;
whose heart is full of wickedness, and who takes
pleasure in impiety ; to whom it is meat and drink
to oppose the will of God ; whose inward part is
very wickedness, and whose mind is fully set upon
it, — come what will, on he will go in spite of warn-
THE saints' encouragement. 63
ings, in spite of entreaties, in spite of judgments ; —
that care nothing for all ; whose throat is an open
sepulchre, whose mouth is full of cursing, bitter-
ness, blasphemy ; who is posting on to destruction,
as if he feared to come too late ; who hath stifled
and seared his conscience, and broke through all
that hath stood in his way ; who is unwearied,
laborious, and constant to the devil, though he hath
had but a pitiful requital for his pains ? — surely if
the saint shall have a glorious entrance into the
kingdom of Christ, the sinner shall have a dismal
entrance into the everlasting kingdom of darkness.
Whatsoever might sweeten his condition formerly
shall then imbitter it ; his comforts shall be shut
out; his great estate brings him in a poor revenue
of joys, to think how many thousands he had, and
that all cannot purchase him one moment's ease ;
the sweetness of his estate is turned into bitterness,
when he is forced to have leisure, now in spite of
his heart, to sit down and consider what a poor,
insignificant, unprofitable thing he ventured his
soul for. His old companions are now shut out,
he could be glad at heart to bid them farewell to
eternity : this is all the poor help of his friends,
that they stand by bewailing his departure, and
not one of them can speak one word of comfort to
him without hazard to its own. It is but sorry
relief to him to look upon this and that person.
64 THE saints' encouragement.
and to think I must either part company for ever,
or meet at the dreadful place of execution. It
may be the faithful minister may be shut out, lest
he should tell him plainly what his case is. O
what a sad case must the sinner be in ! all help and
hope is shut out, and instead of plays, friends,
pleasures, (all which he must take his leave of for
ever,) he beholds a dreadful door opened, and in
come God's Serjeants to apprehend him, and no
bail can be taken. And when the door is once
open, O what a flock of unwelcome guests come
in ! Now conscience will give him a visit whether
he will or no, and tell him such a story as makes
his heart ache : then how doth the guilty sinner
tremble ! The indictment the law brings in is
black, the witnesses many and clear, and the
sinner is condemned for his life and soul for eter-
nity. His sins stare him in the face, and wrath
and vengeance are just ready to seize him ; he feels
now that sin and hell, which he made so light of,
are no jesting things. Which way soever the
man looks, he sees nothing but horror, misery,
ruin. If he look backward, what hath he left to
comfort him, but the sad remembrance of his past
enjoyment, for which he must now give an exact
account ? and sin and pleasure in the review upon
a death-bed is another kind of thing than it was
in the committing:.
THE saints' encouragement. 65
Now farewell fine houses and gardens, farewell
hawking and hunting, farewell taverns, plays,
vicious company. And if he look forwards,
what doth he behold that can yield him any great
content ? One of the most desirable and pleasantest
sights that he sees before him, is the grave, and if
that were all, it were well, though he were buried
in a dunghill. I will not say, how dismal that
dark vault is to him, that was all for his liberty,
and w^ont to take his rest on down, and stretch
himself upon a bed of ivory ; for him that was
wont to fare deliciously every day, to be food
for vermin ; for him, that had his constant at-
tendants about him, to have none but a few worms
to w^ait on him : but pain, sickness, death, corrup-
tion, are the least of those evils that he sees before
him : the prison were not so dreadful, were it not
for the Judge, assizes, and execution. O how
dreadful a sight must it be to see the dreadful lake
burning with fire and brimstone, into which he
must be cast ! how strange a prospect to see, in-
stead of flattering attendants, the devils ready to
seize upon his trembling soul, and hell opening
its mouth ready to receive him, and to shut the
door of hope and mercy upon him for ever ! to
look up and see an angry God, who is able to
pass that irreversible and terrible sentence upon
him, " Depart, thou cursed ;" and to see Christ
66 THE saints' excouragement.
accusing him, while he pleads for and acquits those
whom he hated and persecuted ; and to look round
about, and to see none that hath one word to
speak for him, none to pacify the Judge, divert or
prolong the sentence or execution, none to mitigate
his torments ! Will the sinner then make a laugh-
ing business of damnation ? will God's judging his
soul be a small matter then ? will the precise and
diligent saint be then called or esteemed a fool, a
madman ? will not the thoughts of these things
upon a death-bed cool the sinner's courage ?
And what hath he now to bear up his sinking
spirits ? what is there to support him from crying
out in horror and despair ? what is it that can
make a man in this case lift up his head with any
comfort or content? what remains now but a
fearful expectation of fiery indignation ? And
hath not this man some of the sparks of hell flung
into his conscience ? doth not the never-dying
worm begin to gnaw ? is not the fire already
kindled that shall never be quenched ? And what
provisions are now laid in to live upon ? what must
be his food, what his drink, what his clothing, his
inheritance, his lodging, his employment, his com-
panions ? must he not feed upon the fruit of his
own folly ? must he not drink of the cup of God's
wrath ? must he not lodge in a bed of flames ?
shall not his employment be to reap the crop of
THE saints' encouragement. 67
sorrows for ever which he sowed in time ? are not
the devils and damned like to be his companions
for ever ?
And whilst the poor despised believer, who
dreaded the place of torment, and who thought
the wrath to come no light matter, is escaped, and
is landed safe in eternal glory, and is blessing,
and loving, and enjoying of God in unspeakable
and eternal glory, he must lie under the weight
of Divine wrath, and must not have one drop to
cool his flaming; tono;ue. And wlien saints are
welcomed to glory, what a greeting is he like to
have when he comes into the society of lost spirits !
O how will they curse the day that ever they had
a being, that ever they saw one another ! how
will they rue their folly that ever they should en-
courage one another to venture upon such intoler-
able torments, that they should purchase the short
pleasures of sin with such sorrows ! O that ever
men who had reasonable souls should be so be-
witched ! but now, will they or will they not,
bear it they must.
They that would not give themselves time and
leisure to think of these things when they might
have been prevented, must now take eternity to
repent, and consider what they have done, and
what they have undone, what they have lost, and
what they have found. And O how doth the
68 THE sai:nts' encouragemext.
thoughts of that unchangeable state sink the
sinner ! If after millions of millions of ages he
were to have the least hopes, respite, or ease, it
were comparatively tolerable I But O that for
ever, that eternity, that, that is the cutting
And what dost thou say to all this, O thou care-
less unconverted sinner ? is sin and pleasure still
as desirable as ever ? is it worth the while for a
quarter of an hour's gratifying one's lust to run
the hazard of all these miseries ? can you still find
in your heart to make a mock of sin ? is judg-
ment, damnation, hell, still nothing ? art thou
willing to venture for all this ? shall nothing but
feeling make thee be wise and believe that there
is a hell ? Come, reason the case with me, and
do not madly cast away your soul, and lose heaven
for nothing. Are these things indeed so incon-
siderable as that they do not deserve a serious
tliought? have you matters of greater concern to
trouble your head with ? I pray you do me the
kindness, and yourself the right, to produce some
of those weighty things that are of such vast im-
portance, as that the salvation of a soul must be
neglected for them. What is it that is more necessary
than holiness ? Come, speak like a man of reason :
is it the entertainment of a friend ? is it the
company of your vicious connexions ? is it the
THE saints' encouragement. 69
getting of a good place in a play-house ? are these
the matters of importance ? is it feasting, drinking,
or other carnal indulgences ? is ruining your soul
more necessary than the saving of it ? must these
stand in competition with Christ's holiness and
glory ? dare you vindicate and justify this before
the great Judge at that day ? Will it be a suffi-
cient plea to say, Lord, I was not at leisure to
serve thee, I had so much work to do for the devil
that I had no time? or will this excuse be signifi-
cant, when the Judge shall say. Sinner, what reason
hadst thou to slight my laws, to despise my Son,
and refuse life and happiness ? Dare you answer,
and say, I had my lusts to gratify, the world to
look after, and I thought never to have seen this
day ? And wilt thou still, for all this, put it to the
venture, will you after such warnings go on ?
For your soul's sake, consider how you shall
answer in the day of God, when holiness and
justice shall sit on the bench : O ask thy soul what
it means, call it to the bar, judge and condemn
thy folly, and for your life venture no longer at
your careless rate, lest you repent too late, and
cry out upon a death-bed with amazement, " How
shall Ido to appear before the terrible Judge? how
shall I bear his wrath, and how shall I avoid his
Once more, debate the thing soberly, it is not
70 THE saints' encouragement.
yet too late, and I can scarce let thee go till I see
thee in a better mind. You have read what con-
dition a diligent saint is like to be in when he comes
to die, and what entertainment he is like to meet
with in another world ; and you have heard what
the lazy formalist or diligent sinner is like to
meet with when he comes to die. Come, man, now,
and make a wise and speedy choice ; which- of
these conditions is most desirable, which would
you be in when you come to die ? I know you
would die the death of the righteous, and wish
yourlatter endmay belikehis. Oman, why should
not his life be as desirable as his death ? what is
there in his life that should make thee loth to
imitate it ? what art thou afraid of in his practice,
tliat thou art so unwilling to follow it ? Is it
lioliness that thou dreadest so much ? why, if that
be the thing, it must be confessed, that without it
there is no seeing of God : but would holiness
disparage or undo thee that thou art so afraid of
it ? will holiness make thee miserable ? then how
comes God who is perfect in holiness to be so in
happiness ? how come saints and angels above to
be so blessed? is not holiness and a conformity
to God the greatest part of their happiness ? and
how came that triumphant saint by his comforts,
but by a discovery of the glorious image of God
upon his soul ? The more holiness, the more
THE saints' encouragement. 71
pleasure and joy. It is Satan and the ignorant
world that would persuade you, that when you
come to be truly religious, you must take leave of
Come, friend, it is for your soul and life ; do
not so easily believe those that never tried what
religion is, and have no good will for you or God ;
believe neither the devil nor the world, nor any of
them all, in a business of such moment ; but
search and try, and believe that God who cannot
lie, and that word which so many millions have
found made good ; believe them that were once
as foolish as you, and could hardly be brought
out of that mind, but now they would not for a
world but they had changed their mind.
Well, now, man, what sayest thou ? art thou
resolved immediately to retire into thy chamber ?
art thou resolved to fall upon thy face before the
Lord, and not let thy heart be at rest in its sleepy
carelessness, nor cease to pray to the Lord till he
hath enlightened thee, till he hath discovered the
evil of sin, the beauty of Christ, the emptiness of
the creature, and the fulness of the Creator to
thee ? If thou art, I will be bold to tell tliee,
thy labour shall not be in vain ; God will
quickly hear Ephraim bemoaning of himself, the
Father's arms and heart will soon be open,
the prodigal shall, for all this, be welcome.
72 THE saints' encouragement.
But if still thou art resolved not to trouble thyself
with the thoughts of these things, thou wilt not
hazard the loss of thy lusts and swinish pleasures,
thou wilt not displease thy friends, thou wilt not
be laughed at for a fool, but on thou wilt go, and
do as others do, whatever may come of it, then
thank yourself if you miss comfort when you come
to die ; then make the best of your pleasures, gold,
interest, friends ; let them bribe death, and protect
you from the arrest, and hold the Serjeant's hands ;
let them put in bail for you, if they can ; let them
stand between you, and justice, and your accusers,
quash the indictment, bribe the Judge, stop the
sentence or execution, if they can : but let me tell
thee, none at all can do it, nor dare attempt it : and
I leave these lines as a standing witness against
thee, that I gave thee fair warning, and made an
advantageous offer to thee in the name of God ;
but thou didst foolislily, obstinately, resolvedly
reject life, and choose death. Therefore blame
not Justice if he give you that misery which you
did choose, and deny you that happiness which
you did reject. I have done my message, and if
you will not be prevailed with, who can help it?
I tell you again, look for it ; for as sure as God
liveth, you shall find it true, that sin will be bit-
terness in the end, Mic. vii. 3. Jer. iii. 5. ii. 25.
Rom. iii. 13, &c. Matt. xxv. 46. compared with
THE SAIXTS' ENCOrRAGEMEXT. 73
41, &c. Rev. xiv. 10, 11. Matt. xxii. 13.
Psal. ix. 7. Luke xvi. 23, 24, &c. Heb. x. 27.
Isa, xxxiii. 14.
Use 3. If the dilig-ent saint, and none but he,
shall have this '' abundant entrance ministered to
him into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ," then let us all examine
whether we be these diligent saints, that we may-
beforehand know what we are to look for. Well
now, let us commune with our own hearts,
and not be satisfied till they bring in a true ac-
Are we the persons that have made it our busi-
ness to be religious ? have we worshipped God in
spirit and in truth ? have our hearts been indeed
engaged for him ? have we as great a love for him
as ever we had for the world, or sin, or relations ?
is this the great care of our lives, and that which
we seek in the first and chief place, that we may
be found of him in peace ? have we indeed sought
to serve God with all our hearts, and strength, and
might ? have we kept our eye still to the rule,
and endeavoured to walk according to that rule ?
hath the word of God been our meditation, de-
light, practice ? have we stirred up our hearts
when they began to flag and grow dull, lazy, and
tired ? Do we act grace in duty, and labour to
get it stronger and stronger, and corruption weaker
74 THE saints' encouragement.
and weaker ? do we keep up our watch and take
heed to our spirits ? do we feel what a sweet suit-
ableness to God means ? and that the duties of
relig-ion are in a manner natural to us, and we are
never better than when we are more immediately
engaged in the service of God ? Do we feel our
wills bowed to the Divine will, and a sweet com-
posedness of spirit under all God's dispensations ?
that nothing greatly troubles us but what is dis-
pleasing unto God ? Do we feel our heart loving,
delighting, and rejoicing in God ? Is there no-
thing in the world that we desire so much as a
greater conformity to God, and a complete enjoy-
ment of him to all eternity ? Have we a high re-
spect to all his commands, and an opposition to
all sin ? Are we ready for all good works, and
this with intentness, affection, and constancy ?
Are we always of this mind, and do we not repent
our choice ? Are we never weary of our Master,
and his work ? are we contented very well with
his wages, and time of payment ? Is this indeed
the habitual frame of our spirits ? and are we re-
solved in the strength of God thus to continue to
the end ? and yet do we look up to the righteous-
ness of Christ, as that alone which we must trust
to? and do we look upon our own as imperfect,
filthy, loathsome ? Do we adore that mercy
which hath found out such an excellent way to
THE saints' encouragement. 75
save the honour of all God's attributes, and yet
to be the life of our souls, and thus attribute elec-
tion, vocation, justification, adoption, sanctifica-
tion, and glorification, to pure, free, infinite grace ?
Why, if this be the frame of our spirits, if this
be indeed our practice, experience, and resolution,
why then I can say we are the persons that shall
have peace in death, joy and life after death, and
confidence in glory, and eternal happiness in the
day of judgment ; we are they that shall have
" an abundant entrance into the everlasting king-
dom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
But alas, alas, where are these noble souls to
be found ? who is there almost that engages his
heart to lay hold upon God ? who knows what it
is to wrestle, strive, run ? O how faint, dull, and
heavy are we ! how much unsuitableness to God,
how hard to get to duty, and how little of the
heart in it ! Where is the man that knows what
it is to act faith and love, and humility in duty,
that is truly importunate, active, spiritual, and con-
tinues so for any time ? How hard a thing do we
find it to watch with Christ one hour, much more
to keep up our watch day and night, and to be
constantly upon our guard ! how few valiant sol-
diers hath our Captain now ! w^here are those re-
solute brave souls to be found that quit themselves
gallantly ? O where is that ancient spirit which
76 THE saints' encouragement.
sometimes actuated the children of God ? Do we
indeed run as if a crown were the prize ? do we
indeed work as if heaven were the wages ? do we
in good earnest use that diligence which becomes
persons who are securing their lives, souls, and an
everlasting kingdom ? O how basely do we un-
dervalue that glory by our slightness in seeking,
carelessness in securing, and folly in hazarding it !
Have not the best of us all a great deal of rea-
son to cry out of our unbelief, stupidness, and
atheism ? is this all we do for a kingdom ? Will
not the men of the world rise against us and con-
demn us, that they should rise up early and lie
down late, and all to get a little food and raiment,
or some poor temporal advantage? Will not the
wicked sinners condemn us, that take so much pains
to enjoy their pleasures, and gratify their appetites,
and ruin themselves ? Will not the poor ants re-
proach us, that labour so industriously to lay in
provision for a time of need in summer ? O what
do we mean ? how lazily and unconcernedly do
we manage a work of the greatest profit, pleasure,
and necessity ! What ! is the price of that great
pearl fallen ! is Christ now worth nothing ? hath
heaven lost its excellency ? can that which some-
times could not be obtained without all diligence
be now got with none at all ? Hath Christ now
abated any thing of that spirituality, activity, and
THE SAINTS ENCOURAGEMENT. / 7
vigour, which sometimes he did require of his
servants ? Can heaven be got upon easier terms
than he lays down in his w^ord ? is this sleepy,
luke-warm profession, this cold, formal praying,
being in an agony ? Is this the contending, striv-
ing, watching, labouring, that the scripture speaks
of ? Surely he that speaks of being in labour more
abundant, of mortifying the deeds of the flesh, of
walking in the Spirit, meant another thing than
our heartless, barren, cold duties, which we too
commonly put off God and our conscience with.
O with what face can we look for such glorious
things from God when we do so little for God ?
It is no wonder at all that most of us live at great
uncertainties, it is no wonder that we are much in
the dark, and that our fears are usually as great
as our hopes. Whom may we thank for all this,
but our lazy, trifling, careless hearts ? Does tlie
husbandman expect a good crop at harvest with-
out ploughing or sowing ? doth the tradesman
expect an estate should drop into his hands with-
out his OW'U industry ? doth the soldier expect to
secure his life, to conquer his enemy, to get his
commander's commendation and reward by sleep-
ing ? No more can a professor rationally look for
such great things as the peace of God, joy in the
Holy Ghost, and a triumphant entrance into
the city of God, w^ithout a humble, diligent,
78 THE saints' encouragement.
constant respect to the commands of his great
You cry out for want of comfort, and complain
that you have not an assurance ; why, let me
ask you, what do you do towards the procuring of
this great thing ? do you pray and strive in prayer ?
do you watch your thoughts, affections, passions ?
have you any government over your spirits? do
you live a life of faith ? do you exercise love,
zeal, meekness, patience, self-denial ? do you live
above the world ? do you live in heaven in your
affections, designs, and conversation ? do you
exercise yourself unto godliness, and make re-
ligion the great work of your life ? do you keep
a conscience void of offence towards God and all
men ? If not, I pray, instead of complaining for
want of comfort, complain for want of grace ; cry
out upon your unbelieving, lazy, treacherous,
worldly heart ; bewail your want of love to God,
your unsuitableness to spiritual things, your igno-
rance, your atheism, your want of prizing of Christ.
Bemoan your unfaithfulness to God, your own
soul, and others ; bewail your barrenness under
all the cost and charge of the great Husbandman,
and turn your complaints into endeavours. Go
to tlie blood of Christ, beg the Spirit, improve
ordinances, stir up your lazy hearts, and let them
not be at quiet in their dull, heavy, unactive
THE SAINTS ENCOURAGEMENT. 79
profession ; Psal. iv. 4. Isa. Ixiv. 7. Jer. xxx. 21.
Cant. V, 3. Jer. viii. 6.
Use 4. I shall now come to a word of exhort-
ation ; and that I shall direct first to saints, and
then to sinners.
First, I shall exhort saints. Is ft that the dili-
gentsaint shall have " an abundant entrance minis-
tered unto him into the everlasting kingdom of our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?" then let me hence
put myself, and you that are believers, upon the
greatest diligence, activity, and vigour, lest we fall
short of this glorious privilege.
Motive 1. Consider how frequently, how ear-
nestly, and with what solemnity it is commanded
by God himself. Did you never read, "Get wis-
dom, get understanding: forget it not ; neither
decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake
her not, and she shall preserve thee : love her, and
she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal
thing; therefore get wisdom : and with all thy
getting get understanding," &c. Prov. iv. 5, 6, 7.
The word " get" is buy in Hebrew ; and it is as
much as if the Spirit of God had said, You have
now an open market, and an excellent bargain
offered ; buy it at any rate, it is worth your money ;
get it whatever it cost you, though it be prayers,
tears, and strong cries, though it cost you your
right hand or right eye, your beloved sin, the
80 THE saints' encouragement.
mortification of your dearest lust, the exactest watch-
fulness and self-denial. Nay, though it cost you
your estate, your liberty, your life, you cannot
lose by it. Whatever you neglect, neglect not the
looking after this ; your utmost diligence is well
bestowed on such a work, the highest price is not
too much for such a pearl ; if you be wise, get it
upon any terms in the world. Doth not our
apostle in the verses foregoing put them upon
diligence; nay, all diligence? 2 Pet. i. 5, 10.
Doth not the prophet plead with men with a
great deal of earnestness about their careless-
ness in this great affair? Isa. Iv. 2. "Where-
fore do you spend your money for that which
is not bread ? and your labour for that which
satisfieth not ? hearken diligently unto me, and
eat ye that which is good, and let your soul
delight itself in fatness." Doth not the Lord
Christ commend those violent ones that took the
kingdom of heaven by storm, and put us upon
the same work ? What else doth he mean by those
precepts," Labour not for the meat which perisheth,
but for the meat v^^hich endureth unto everlastins-
life ?" John vi. 27. And, " Seek first the kingdom
of heaven, and the righteousness thereof:" and,
"Strive to enter in at the strait gate," Luke xiii. 24.
Do not the apostles put us upon the like work ?
What else is the signification of those words which
THE saints' encouragement. 81
are so frequent in their writings, running, wrest-
ling, contending, fighting ? to what purpose else
are their cautions ? How many take heeds have
we ! how often are w^e bid to make sure, to work
out our salvation with fear and trembling ! to take
fast hold of instruction ! to hold out ! to endure to
the end and overcome ! How many scriptures
might I produce of this nature ! and what do they
all speak, but the indispensable duty that the
command of our great Master layeth upon us, to
use our utmost diligence in matters that concern
his glory and our eternal welfare ? And shall the
precepts of God be slighted ? are his commands
of no authority ? are his laws of no force ? Well
then, if God be our Father, let us do him that
honour, as well as ourselves that kindness and
honour, to obey him. If Christ be indeed our
Lord, Master, Husband, let us show that we are
his subjects, servants, and spouse, by our ready
compliance with his equal, sweet, and holy com-
2. Consider, as you have many precepts for
this duty, so you have many precedents to excite
you. All the true servants of God are labourers ;
if you could look into all the closets of believers,
you should see them there wrestling with God
upon their knees by prayer ; if you could look
into their hearts, you might see them always in the
82 THE saints' encouragement.
soldier's posture. Little doth the world think what
some of them are doing in their spirits, and what
work is carried on within, while they let their
hearts run up and down without control. They
see them eating and drinking, and walking and
working, and they think by this they are like
themselves ; but they understand not what food
their souls live on, what trade their souls drive,
what pains their souls take for an inheritance for
ever. Every true saint takes pains and works
hard ; and would we be called servants, and ex-
pect wages, and do little or no work ; methinks
the diligence of some should shame us into greater
activity. What ! are not our souls as precious as
theirs ? would not the loss of them be as sad to
us as them ? will not our grace, peace, and glory
be as well worth the looking after as theirs ?
O at what a pitiful rate do some, that we would
hope have the root of the matter in them, live,
compared with others ! how humbly, patiently,
and zealously have some saints walked ! how
holily did the prophets, apostles, and martyrs live !
and was their labour lost ? do we think they did
too much for heaven ? dare we condemn them as
too precise, too careful to please God and secure
heaven ? do not we applaud their zeal, courage, con-
stancy, and can we commend them without con-
demning ourselves ? was their activity highly
THE SAI!<TS' ENCOURAGEMENT, 83
lovely and honourable, and is not our neglect
shameful, who do nothing like them ? why should
not we do as much as they ? is not the obligation
as great upon us as them ? is not the Master the
same, the wages the same ? O what do we mean
that we are so sleepy, careless, slothful? Did Peter
and Paul pray as we do ? did David praise and
love God as we do ? did the primitive saints hear
sermons with such unconcerned spirits as we do ?
do we look as if we could cheerfully look into a
prison and embrace our chains as an ornament ?
do we act as if we could step cheerfully up a
ladder to a gibbet, or hug a faggot and stake ?
O let us look about us, we fall exceedingly short
of the saints of former days ! O where is that
spirit that once breathed amongst the people of
God ? Come, sirs, let us up and be doing, and the
Lord be with us : we have a cloud of witnesses
that is gone before us ; they all served their Master
faithfully while they were here, and now they are
above they do it better. O now how finely do
they warble out the praises of the Most High !
how warm are their hearts I how lively, cheerful,
and constant ! O what brave servants hath God
above ! O that there were some proportion between
our services here and theirs above ! O that we were
more naturalized to Divine employments ! O that
the commands of God were our pleasure ! O that
84 THE saints' excouragemext.
God would help, warm, and quicken our graces,
that we may do his will upon earth as it is done
by saints and angels in heaven !
If such examples be too high, and beyond our
view and observation, may we not learn sornething
of our fellow-creatures here below ? doth not God
send us dull scholars to school to the fowls, beasts,
insects ? " Go to the ant, thou sluggard ; consider
her ways, and be wise ; which having no guide,
overseer, or ruler, providethher meat in the summer,
and gathereth her food in the harvest," Prov. vi.
6 — 11. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard?
when wilt thou arise out of sleep ? doth not the
diligence of the poor husbandman, mechanic, or
labourer greatly reproach us ; nay, the racers at
the Olympic games, the fencers, (the apostle alludes
to such,) who did all for a poor prize ; their acti-
vity and curiosity may condemn us ; for they did
it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incor-
ruptible ; they were not sure to obtain, but we
may so run, not as uncertainly, and so fight, not as
those that beat the air, 1 Cor. ix. 25, 26. O what
a deal ado there is to get and keep a little of that
wliich some call riches, whilst the true riches are
contemned ! Awake, O christian, and look about
thee ; be as diligent for heaven as the earth, take
as much pains for eternal glory as men do for
worldly honour, be as careful about the substance
THE saints' encouragement. 85
as they are about tlie shadow, and then when they
are bewailing their folly, thou wilt be enjoying
the fruit of thy labour and hopes, unspeakable
If all these examples signify little, if things on
earth and lieaven be not regarded, then turn
thine eye and look down on the diligence of hell.
Dost thou not see what pains the devil takes to
deceive, tempt, and ruin thee and others ? and
will not this continually engage thee to watchful-
ness ? Dost thou never observe the poor bewitched
world, and deluded sinner, what rising early, what
watching, what hazard do they run, and all for
the gratifying of their lusts, and the pleasing of
the devil, and the damnation of their own soul ?
and they do not grudge their pains, nor think
much of their labour, nor at present repent their
cost. Fye, christian, fyc ; shall the devil do so
much for our ruin, and we so little to resist him,
and save ourselves ? shall sinners think nothing
too good for their lusts, and we think every thing
too good for God ? shall they take so much pains
for hell, and we so little for heaven ? Come, for
shame, let us up and be doing, and mend our
pace, and work hard, and be followers of them who
through faith and patience are inheritors of the
promise. Heb. xii. 1, &c. vi. 12. 1 Pet. v.
86 THE saints' encouragement.
3. Consider, to make you more diligent, for
whom it is that you work. Doth not God de-
serve well at your hands ? is there any in heaven or
earth, that you have greater reason to serve ? do
you never consider what obligations you are under,
who gave you your being, who subjected the crea-
tures to you, who both defended and kept you all
your days ? is it not Him whom 1 would have you
serve with more activity ? Is a dull, grumbling,
slothful spirit becoming one under such engage-
ment, from whom are all thy present enjoyments,
from whom thy future expectations ? And do you
think that God looks for but a little of you ?
Are you not called his peculiar people, and should
not you be zealous of good works ? is not Christ
your Redeemer, and was that a kindness to be
forgot and slighted ? O where is gratitude and
If goodness can quicken obedience, who is bet-
ter to us than God ? if the Master's eye signify
any thing, when is it otF us ? if his greatness can
provoke us, who among the sons of the mighty is
comparable to him ? as Luke vii. 4. Rev. v. 12.
Psal. c. 3. xxxvi. 6. Rev. v. 9.
4. Consider the nature of the work. It is no
dirty, low, dishonourable service that we are put
upon, but that which would very well become the
greatest princes that ever wore a crown. God's
THE saints' encouragement. 87
service would ennoble honours, make crowns glo-
rious, and put a true worth and dignity upon that
which without it is but a name, a shadow, and
worse than nothing. What is it that the Lord
our God doth require of us, but to do justly, to
love mercy, and walk humbly with our God ?
What doth he command, but what is an advance-
ment of our natures, a privilege, an honour ? O
that w^e did indeed understand our work aright,
and then we should need but few more motives to
go about it. Mic. vi. 8. Titus ii. 14. Ezek. xviii.
29. Psal. cxlvii. 20.
5. Consider what wages you are like to have in
this world. In keeping of God's commands there
is great reward, his work itself is wages. Oh, the
sweetness, peace, joy that is in hand, especially if
there be great diligence and fidelity. To have a
title to a good estate, and to be able to clear it,
though we be not quite of age, methinks should
have somewhat of pleasure in it. Turn back, and
read over again what you have read, and sit down,
and consider whether there be not enough in it to
put us upon doing what we do with all our might :
Psal. xix. 11. Prov. iii. 17. Isa. xxxii. 17. Rom.
6. Consider what reward diligence is like to
have in another world. Who can utter the thou-
sand thousandth part of what a saint is worth ?
88 THE saints' encouragement.
The riches, glory, and pleasures of ten thousand
worlds are all nothing to what a believer shall enjoy,
as soon as ever he is called home by his Master.
But I need go no farther than my text ; read it,
and ponder well every word, " The everlasting
kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
Read them again and again. Do you know what
the meaning of all those words is ? A kingdom !
What will not some do and venture for a king-
dom? What thoughts, care, counsel, what seek-
ing for allies, what promises, yea, what rewards to
those that can help them to get and secure it ?
what cost too great, what fighting, watching, dili-
gence, is thought much of ? Invincible difficulties
are levelled, unspeakable hazards overlooked,
and I will not say, sometimes the damnation
of a soul is reckoned a small matter if it stand
in the way of a crown and kingdom ; but I
tell you, nay, God tells you, that these kingdoms
below are poor things to that above. All the
crowns, and sceptres, and jewels of all the monarchs
under heaven laid together, are but a heap of
rubbish compared to that kingdom. Kingdoms
have their bounds, and the greatest monarchs have
the limits of their dominion ; their glory may be
eclipsed by civil or foreign troubles; and a thousand
occurrences may make that man's heart ache whose
head is dignified with a crown royal : but it is far
THE SAINTS ENCOURAGEMENT. 89
Otherwise in this kingdom ; it is a kingdom that
liath no bounds, wliose peace and glory is inter-
rupted with no wars, famine, plague, fire, or troubles.
Nothing but glory, pleasure, joy, happiness is
there, no impurities, divisions, sickness, nothing
that offends. What joy, triumph, honour, is
there I and every one that comes there is a king,
hath his crown. Oh, what a place is that where
so many millions of kings meet ! Blessed are those
that are advanced to that honour, and happy are
those which shall be advanced to that dignity !
that, that is preferment indeed, worth praying,
watching, striving, fighting, venturing all for. Oh,
the glory, riches, privileges of this kingdom !
How sweet and healthful an air is that where none
shall say, I am sick ! how delightful a place must
that needs be, where are rivers of pleasures, and
that infinite fountain of full joy for evermore !
No need of watching, guard, fighting ; a complete
victory hath put an end to all these things ; and
what remains but the fruit of so glorious a con-
quest, joy, feasting, and a triumphant jubilee ?
What hath the saint then to do, but to behold the
glory of his palace, to view the rarity of his city,
the New Jerusalem, and to praise, love, and enjoy
God in unspeakable happiness ?
But, that which makes this kingdom still more
desirable, and worthy of the greatest diligence to
90 THE saints' encouragement.
get and secure, is, that it is an everlasting
KINGDOM. Here tlie greatest kings, after a few
years at most, in spite of power, art, dignity,
policy, must themselves become subjects to the
king of terrors, and bow their necks to his sceptre;
and instead of a stately palace, princely grandeur
and pomp, instead of a glorious kingdom, must lie
down in darkness, dwell in the dust, and leave
nothing behind them, but some poor remembrances
of their greatness ; which, it may be, a little time
may quite deface, wear out, devour. But this is
a kingdom that hath no end, neither shall mortal-
ity disparage the glory of these kings. Eternity
may be written upon the gates of their palace, and
immortality upon the head of every king. After
ten millions of millions of ages their kingdom
shall be as glorious as the first day they took the
possession of it, their comforts as fresh, their bo-
dies and souls as strong, active, and lively as they
were when they were first awakened by the resur-
rection. All that a saint now does or suffers is
short, but all that he receives and enjoys then will
be eternal; his life eternal life, his joy everlasting
joy, his inheritance an eternal inheritance, his
kingdom, crown, glory, all eternal ; and is not all
this worth using all diligence for? Shall I, can I
say more still to quicken industry ? It is the
kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
THE saints' encouragement. 91
There we shall have his blessed company, which
makes heaven more glorious than else it would
be; there we shall see his face, have his embraces,
lie in his bosom, and be joint heirs with him for
ever. Oh, what would not some give to see as
little of Christ here, as James and John did ! but,
oh, what a sight will that be to see Him face to
face who is infinitely more glorious than all cre-
ated excellences ! But here I am at a stand
Let faith and meditation go on still till the soul is
in an ecstasy of admiration and affection : as for
words, they are infinitely short of the nature of the
thing And what sayest thou now, O weary la-
bourer, dost thou not find a new life to animate
thy soul ? Does not thy heart begin to burn ? Is
not all this like oil to make the wheels run more
swiftly ? Canst thou still be lukewarm and indif-
ferent ? Is there any room left for sloth still ?
What! dost thou make nothing of Christ, Saviotir,
kingdom, eternity ? Have all these words of
weight lost their significancy ? Once more, awake
for shame, and mend thy pace ; this slow walk
disparages your faith, your Christ, your kingdom.
If all this will not prevail with us to make more
haste, what will ? Lift up thine eyes and look
before thee ; remember where you are. Is not
this the vineyard ? and what ! shall we loiter there ?
Is not this the market-place, and shall we idle
92 THE SAINTS ENCOURAGEMENT.
there ? And if such kind of motives have lost their
efficacy, consider the shortness of your time, the
greatness of your work, the many hinderances
that you may meet with, and the unspeakable
danger of sleeping when such an enemy is at
your gates. And if yet thou remain sluggish, read
that one scripture, " Thou wicked and slothful
servant, -thou oughtest to have put out my
money to the exchangers ; and then at my coming
I should have received mine own with usury.
Take therefore the talent from him, and give it
unto him that hath ten talents. For unto every
one that hath shall be given, and he shall have
abundance : but from him that hath not, shall be
taken away even that which he hath. And cast
ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness,
there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth,"
Matt. XXV. 26—30. Dan. xii. 2. 2 Thess. ii. 16.
Psal. cxxxiii. 3. xvi. 11.
And what sayest thou now, O my soul, will
this dull doing serve the turn still ? have the pre-
cepts of God no authority ? have so many ex-
amples and precedents no influence ? can you pos-
sibly over-do where the relation is so near, and the
obligation so deep ? doth not the work commend
itself ? doth it not bring wages along with it ? Is
a kingdom worth nothing ? Is eternity short ? and
are Christ and Jesus words of no great power ?
THE saints' encouragement. 93
Who now can find in his heart to be so unkind to
God, and cruel to himself, as to be sluggish still ?
Give me leave to expostulate the case a little with
thee, O my soul, for I cannot be satisfied, I will
not let thee be at quiet, tiU the matter is mended.
Believers, shall I speak one word more, and reason
the cause with you ; hath not the Lord opened
your eyes and given you some sight of the excel-
lency and reality of invisibles, hath he not given
you your spiritual senses, was there not a time that
you could say he was altogether lovely ? How
sweet once were his commands ! When thou wert
praying, and weeping, and wrestling, and Christ
came and wiped thine eyes, and kissed thee, and
gave thee his blessing, was it not pleasant ? were
those duties lost ? was that labour in vain ? art
thou now half in the mind that all was but a
fancy ? What could the atheists say worse ? what
can gratify the devil more ? what more provoking
to your dearest Friend ? Didst thou not then make
thy boast and tell what God had done for thy
soul, and invite others to taste and see, and was
that feast but a dream ? O for shame, belie not
infinite goodness. Is this your thanks for so un-
speakable a gift ? doth not your trifling in the things
of God blaspheme him before the whole world,
and as it were tell them that you cannot tell, whe-
ther heaven be not a shadow, or Christ a Master
94 THE saints' encouragement.
\vorth serving, and religion an employment worth
engaging in with all one's soul ? I pray, how do
you think they construe your formality and sloth,
but thus ? Surely there is no great matter in those
things that ministers talk so much of, Christ,
lieaven, holiness ; for if there were, one would
think that those who pretended to them should
pursue matters of such consequence with incom-
parably more seriousness, diligence, and activity.
O little do we think what wrong our laziness doth
to the cause of God ! O therefore, for God's sake,
for your souls' sake, for the sake of the poor world,
who are in hazard of being hardened in their sins
by it, let us stir up ourselves, and fall to our great
work, like men and women that are under the deep
impressions of the reality, glory, eternity, and
nearness of that invisible estate ; and that seeing
such a thing is attainable, cannot take up with any
thing below " an abundant entrance into the
everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ." This is all I shall say at present
with relation to the first part of the exhortation,
which was directed to the people of God.
Second, I shall exhort sinners. I now address
myself to the poor mad world, that are busy
indeed ; but what is it about, but in ruining
themselves ? they are diligent indeed, but it is in
tlie service of a hard master ; they take a great
THE saints' encouragement. 95
deal of pains, but it is to little purpose, except
dishonouring God, and ruining their own and
others' souls. O ye simple ones, it is to you that
the mighty Jehovah hath sent me ; to you I
must cry, and you I must once more warn to
flee from the wrath to come. Hold, sinner, hold,
why drivest thou on so furiously? whither art thou
going so hastily ? What is it you spend your
time, your thought, and money upon ? what
wages are you like to have for such work ? will
this swearing, cursing, sensuality, indeed end in
everlasting happiness ? is that way ye are running
in the way to heaven ? is it not the way to death,
misery, and hell ? Before you step one step
further, in the name of God, I charge you to stand.
Be \vell advised what you do ; as the Lord liveth,
you are a dead man if you go on in that road :
all that have gone on in it have dearly repented.
But behold I show you a more excellent way ; and
my soul for yours, if you keep in that way, if you
do not come safe to your journey's end, and sup
nobly at night, and sleep soft and quietly till the
morning. What say you, will you take my
counsel, or rather Christ's advice ? You are hard
at work; I would now have you work that it may
be worth the while ; I would have you take pains
for considerable gains ; I would have you labour
for such wages as may maintain you comfortably.
96 THE saints' encouragement.
Have you not heard and read, what the diligent
and faithful servant shall have, that works with
all his might in God's vineyard ? his penny will
be worth all the pounds that the rich worldling
doth so greedily seek ; his pay will be in such
coin as hath worth and weight in it, and will go
current in another world ; his reward will be an
everlasting crown of glory. And what do you
say to this poor, deluded sinner ? is there any thing
in sin better than a kingdom ? Can Satan give
such an inheritance as heaven ? can he bestow a
crown of glory upon his servant ? What do you
think of all that hath been said ? dare you stand
forth and say that it is a fancy, a cheat, a lie ?
Speak man, and show yourself a man in what you
say, and not a stark fool, a brute, a mad-man ; if
you are well in your senses, I fear not a fair
debate. If truth itself may be credited, I doubt
not but I shall have your assent and consent to
what I have and shall say ; come sinner, stand
forth, I say, and answer. Dost thou believe that
there is a God ? is not this God infinitely good,
holy, and true ? do you indeed believe this ? well,
and do you believe that his word shall be made
good to a tittle? that his commands are just?
that there is a necessity of obeying them ? that
all his promises shall be fulfilled, and that his
threaten ings must have execution ? Do you give
THE saints' encouragement. 97
your hearty assent to all this ? What ! and go
on still, or sit down without fear and trembling ?
Why man, what dost mean ? art thou contented to
dwell with everlasting burnings ? or is an eternity
of glory a light matter? is it wisdom, reason to
prefer dung before jewels, misery before happiness,
hell before heaven ? Dare you stand by it and
own it before God and angels, when you see the
saint's crowns, and the sinner's chains, prison,
flames, that the sinner's choice is best, and Satan's
service better than Christ's ? whatsoever you
think now, I know what note you will then be in. O
how will you wish in vain that you had but taken as
much pains for heaven as you did for hell ! O
that you were but in the case that those glorious
ones are in ; how will you bless them, and in spite
of your heart judge them wise, and yourself a
fool ! and will venture still I Come, sinner, for
God's sake, for thy soul's sake, turn speedily, and
use as much diligence to save thy soul, as thou
didst before to lose it. What is there in sin, and
Satan, and hell, that thou shouldst be so fond of
them, and venture so hard, and be at such cost
and pains for them? Speak, man, what hast thou
to say in the praise of sin, that thou dost so aftec-
tionately cleave to it, as if it were thy life, thy joy,
thy heaven ? What hast thou to speak for the
honour of thy master the devil, that thou servest
98 THE SAINTS ENCOURAGEMENT.
him so faithfully, diligently, constantly ? I am
persuaded thou hast not one word to say ; and
I am sure thou hast no reason in the world on
thy side, and I am as confident that all thou wilt
get by them at last will be shame and sorrow.
Well, now arc you of the same mind still, or will
you change your master and employment, and
with all your might serve the Lord ? What do
you say, will you or no ? Have you any thing to
object against him or his service ? What harm
would religion, in its power, do you ? What is
there in godliness that makes you so much afraid
of closing with it ? Which of all God's com-
mands are unreasonable ? What doth he require
of thee but what is infinitely for thy profit? Is
there anything in holiness that a wise man need
be afraid of ? Is to love the Lord our God with
all our heart and soul, and our neighbour as our-
selves, so dismal a thing ? Is a life of purity, and
joy, and communion with God so tedious a thing,
that one had better venture upon eternal flames
than such a life ? Once more, I come to know
what your resolution is in this matter, and to per-
suade you, if possible, instead of being diligent
for nothing, to be so for something. And that I
may prevail, I shall lay before you these following
1. Consider, sinner, of what vast concern this
THE saints' encouragement. 99
matter is that I am dealing with you about. Were
it a small thing, I should more contentedly bear a
denial, but it is a business of the greatest import-
ance in the world : it is your life, the life of your
soul; it is an inheritance, a kingdom, your com-
fort, honour, interest, every thing : I say again, it
is your all ; and what would not a man in his wits
do to get and secure all ; such an all as all the
glory of the world is but dung to it ; a glorious
and eternal happiness : oh that you did but know
what a proposal I make ! Oh, that you did indeed
believe, and then I should not need to question
but that I might spare urging of more motives to
engage your heart and soul in diligent serving of
God and securing your soul.
2. Consider, to how little advantage you labour,
till you in good earnest .set about this work. Your
time, pains, and cost is lost ; till then your get-
tings are inconsiderable. Suppose that (which
I believe none but a madman expects) you
could gain the whole world ; and if you lose your
soul can you boast of your bargain. Consider
whether it be worth while to rise up early, and lie
down late, and fill one's head and heart with care,
and all for a shadow, and that which profits not ;
when that pains, and those thoughts, if rightly
expended, might bring in a vast income upon
which you might live well for ever. O be not so
100 THE saints' encouragement.
hasty to run after a butterfly, so eager in the pur-
suit of vanity, so diligent about that which will
turn to no account, while Christ, heaven, and
glory may be had with a great deal less trouble.
3. Consider what others have got by their dili-
gence. Inquire of any of all the saints, and ask
them whetlier praying, hearing, receiving the sacra-
ment, loving God, believing, hoping, nay watch-
ing, denying themselves, enduring of affliction,
bearing of crosses, hath not been more profitable
to them than the pleasures of sin, which some-
times they also were such fools as to be taken
with ? Ask David whether his serving of God, or
his crown, brought him in the greater revenue ?
and he will soon answer you, that the light of
God's countenance is better than mountains of
gold and silver, than rivers of wine and oil, than
the greatest increase of corn. Time would fail me
to mention Enoch, Noah, Elijah, Daniel, Ezekiel,
Paul, and millions more, what joys, pleasure,
honours, intimacy with God here, and eternal hap-
4. Consider what arguments, what entreaties,
what importunities we use in persuading you. I
beseech you in Christ's stead, take fast hold of
wisdom, come into Christ's vineyard. Oh, why
stand you here all the day idle ? I might add
many more motives : Oh, consider who it is for
THE SAIXTS' ENCOURAGEMENT. 101
whom I would have you work ; it is the God that
feeds you, and can and will make you happy if
you serve him faithfully; it is for Christ who re-
deemed you, and will give you a crown of life if
you diligently follow him till death ; it is for your
own soul. Oh, consider what great offers are
made you, and what dreadful damages you will
sustain if you do not speedily comply. Now God
is willing to accept of you for his servant and
child, and promiseth life and heaven for your
reward. Time is short, it will quickly be too late ;
the greatest diligence is little enough : what you do,
do quickly, and do it with all your might : so you
also may have an abundant entrance, &c.
I shall conclude all with a few words of direc-
tion to all, what they should do to get this dili-
gence, and an " abundant entrance into the ever-
lasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Direction 1. Put away from you whatsoever
may hinder your diligence, darken your evidences,
and make the thoughts of God, death, and judg-
ment dismal to you. Be sure you cast off your
works of darkness; let not one sin be entertained
in your heart with love and liking; take heed of a
secret beloved sin, beware of unbelief. Take heed
of being pleased too much with the world and
carnal delights ; dread sensuality, wicked company
102 THE saints' encouragement.
slightness and formality in duty ; have a care of
letting fall your watch, and Avilful laziness, and
putting the matters of your soul to the venture.
There is no running with fetters ; and no working
in chains and shackles, no coming to this joy
except these hinderances be removed, never expect
to come triumphantly to heaven except this direc-
tion be observed. Nay all your peace, joy,
and hopes, if you do not take this course, are
worth nothing, Heb. xii. 1. Isa, Iv. 7. i. 16,
2. Be sure tlie first and grand work be v/el'l
laid in deep humility, sound conversion, and a
heart-change. If the will be really turned from
sin to God, and your heart in good earnest set for
him, it is a mighty help to quicken diligence.
What will such a man think much of ? what pains
will he be at in searching his heart, in searching
the scriptures, and in comparing him.self with the
rule ! O search and try yourself, and do it with
fear and jealousy ; remember how deceitful your
heart is, beg of God to try you, and let this be one
of your constant petitions, Let my heart be sound
in tliy statutes, that I may never be ashamed. Do
not easily take it for granted that you are con-
verted, beg, beg some faithful minister to search
you to the quick, and remember a godly jealousy
doth always become you, and that the most con-
THE SAI>rT5' ENCOURAGEMENT. 103
fident are seldom right. Acts iii. 19. ii. 37. Psal.
cxix. 80. Matt. vii. 24, 25.
3. Be constantly looking unto Jesus and the
promises. Improve Christ in all his offices and
relations : let his life make you more humble,
meek, self-denying, obedient, zealous, lively, and
spiritual ; let his death kill sin ; and let his resur-
rection raise your affections, and set your heart on
heaven where Christ dwells. Urge his promise,
whereby he hath engaged to be with his saints to
the end of tlie world, and to give thera his peace.
Remember the word upon which he hath made you
to trust ; a sound faith in Christ and the promises
would bring in strength and consolation : if we
lived more upon Christ and less upon ourselves,
more upon the promises and less upon sense, we
might have other kind of comforts in life and
death than most have : Heb. xii. 2. John xiv. 27.
Rom. XV. 13.
4. Be earnest for the Spirit. If you ask more
of it, and with more importunity, you would have
no denial; you have Christ's advice to encourage
your endeavours and Ijopes. It is by the Spirit
the soul is set at liberty; it is by the Spirit that we
mortify the deeds of the flesh ; it is the Spirit that
fills us with sighings and groanings unutterable ;
it is that which fills us with joy unspeakable and
full of glory. The fruit of the Spirit is joy and
104 THE saints' encouragement.
peace : O, quench not the Spirit, but be most
earnest in your prayers for it. Gal. v. 22. Rom.
5. Let not a day pass without serious commun-
ing with your own hearts. Inquire of your poor
soul whether there be anything of the acting of
grace in duty, anything of faith, love, humility,
zeal ; what answer you have of prayer, what of
God you enjoy in all ordinances. In all companies
inquire what progress you make heavenwards,
and what declinings and backslidings you are
guilty of, and do not bear with your hearts when
they begin to be dull, indifferent, and formal. And
adore Divine goodness if you feel any fresh gales
and spiritual joys ; be sure you give the glory of
all to grace, and think still of yourself as a poor
unprofitable servant. Psal. iv. 4. 2 Cor. xiii. 5.
Jer. viii. 6. Psal. cxix. 59, 60.
6. Improve all ordinances, providences, and so-
cieties for the quickening of your graces, the
raising your experiences, and bringing you nearer
to God. There is a divine art and skill, if we
could learn it, of turning every thing into gold,
and making ourselves richer by losses, stronger
by weakness, healthful by sickness, and making
every gale to fill our sails, and bring us nearer to
our harbour. Prov. x. 29. Psal. xxv. 10. Rom.
viii. 28. Isa. xl. 31.
THE saints' encouragement. 105
7. Maintain a constant, holy care and solici-
tude about your soul. Remember tliat to serve
God and save your soul is your business, and that
all other things are little or nothing, but as they
have respect to this. O stir up yourselves with all
your might in all duties, and count it a madness
to be careless and slight in anything* that concerns
God and your souls. Do what you can possibly
to shake your sloth off; do all with your might
which relateth directly to God, and your eternal
state. Psalm cxix. 5. Matt. vi. 33.
8. Meditate upon the eye of God, the excel-
lency and reality of invisibles. Is it possible to
be dull and idle in the presence of such a master
as we serve ? What made Enoch, Noah, Abraham,
David, to live at such a rate as they did ? Did not
faith quicken their obedience, and make unseen
things present ? did not that show them the glory,
and assure them of nearness and proprietorship ?
Oh, let us look to the things that are not seen, and
less to the things that are seen, and then we shall
quickly be of Paul's mind, to prefer heaven before
earth, and ever long to be dissolved, that we may
be with Christ.
9. Look often into the scriptures, and dwell
upon the truths that are there. What precious
promises are there! who can believe them, and be
slothful in God's service ? You may with joy
106 THE saints' encouragement.
draw water out of these wells of consolation :
Rom. XV, 4. Psalm cxix. 14, 15, 16, &c. xix. 10.
10. Think much of the grave, judg-ment, and
eternity. In thus doing, you may be quickened
in duty, filled with experience, and at last come to
this blessed privilege, to have ** an abundant en-
trance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord
and Saviour Jesus Christ."
O that none of us might now take up \vith a
lazy profession, but labour with all our might, to
arrive to this blessed pitch, to live humbly, holily,
honourably, and to die triumphantly I
OK SOME OF THE
DEATH-BED EXPERIENCES OF MRS. B.
TAKEN FROM HER OWX MOUTH IN SHORT HAND.
Mrs. B not long before her last sickness
was under several hurries and temptations, which
the Lord was in some measure pleased to help me
to remove. And no sooner was she under some
composure in spirit, but the Lord was pleased to
visit her with a fever, in which he did to admira-
tion manifest himself to her. I wrote down some
particulars from her own mouth when I went to
The first time that I observed anything extraor-
dinary in her sickness, she cried out with holy
admiration at God's condescension to her, and
said, '' I am like little Zaccheus, that have been
climbing and looking after Christ, and longing to
see him ; and he hath looked upon me, and come
to my house, and feasted me; I have supped with
108 DEATH-BED EXPERIEXCES OF MRS. B.
him, and he with me, and his banner over me was
love : how sweet are his flagons of love ! I have
found that his promises are all true and unspeak-
ably sweet : he hath not said to the seed of Jacob
Seek my face in vain. Upon him will I wait. I
am but a blast, a nothing, and yet I have found
the truth of his love to my soul, and now I know
I shall live for ever. I have done my work, I
have fought the good fight ; henceforth there re-
mains for me a crown incorruptible that fadeth not
away. Satan desired to sift me, but Christ hath
prayed for me. If I had not had Christ to fly to,
and help me now, I had been in a sad condition
indeed. But blessed be free grace, I know Christ
loves me dearly, and I love him dearly, but he
loves most. As long as I have lain here, Christ
hath not been absent from me one moment, and
if he seemed to withdraw, it was but a very little,
and to see how I did value his love and could
bear his absence."
Then one speaking concerning the privileges
of the elect ; she said, " O how blessed are the
citizens of Zion, but I cannot tell how to lift up
my heart in the praises of the King of Zion as I
would ; when I come to the New Jerusalem I shall
do it better : the people of God will then wonder
that Christ should do so much for them, when
they were so poor, and deserved so little. Oh
DEATH-BED EXPERIENCES OF MRS. B. 109
admired be his glory ! how doth he now draw me
with his goodness ! I had thought a low place
good enough, and too good for me; but God hath
provided a high place for me, but what it is I can-
not tell, but that I shall have it I am sure. I am
in such a condition now, that I cannot say as the
psalmist. Oh, * spare me that I may recover
a little strength,' but, Oh take me as soon as
tljou wilt, for thou hast strengthened me with
strength in my soul : * I know that my Redeemer
liveth.' Oh, that all of you that are present did
but feel what I now through infinite mercy feel !
Then she particidarly prayed for me, that God
w^ould mightily own and encourage me, and then,
she said, none of your enemies shall prosper. Oh,
the refreshings ! oh, the refreshings that I now
feel ! Christ hath been Master, Father, Husband
unto me ; and indeed what hath not Christ been
to my soul ? he condescended to furnish the room
of my heart for his own delight, and mine too." —
I then spoke more largely of the excellency of
Christ to her, and of the glory of the invisible
world that she was going to, at which she cried out,
'' Oh, I would not have Christ to seek nov/ for a
world ; if I had my work now to do, I should
have been trembling instead of rejoicing and
praising God. God hath made this bed easy to
me, he hath not left nor forsaken me. If death
110 DEATH-BED EXPERIENCES OF MRS. B.
Stands here, Christ stands there, and so long I
care not ; death hath now lost his sting. Oh, how-
doth the love of Christ satisfy me every morning !
Oh, that sweet sentence, how it rings in my ears,
* Come ye blessed of my Father.'"
This sentence was often in her mouth with a
holy triumph, " Oh, how ready is Christ to pity
poor creatures !"
I told her that the Lord had given her that
white stone, and in that a new name written, which
none knew but they that had it. She soon burst
out at this, " I would not nov/ give one farthing
for a whole world ; unseen things appear real and
great, and these lower things are now nothing.
So gracious is the Lord to me, that he doth not
suffer Satan so much as to tempt me now, he is
quite chained up. I was sometimes afraid lest
when the Bridegroom came I should not be ready,
but rich grace hath blown away my fears. I can,
through mercy, say I am ready ; come now, Lord,
as soon as thou wilt, my work is done. He will
keep them in perfect peace whose hearts are stayed
upon him. Oh, how rich am 1 1 There is not a
promise in the whole bible but I can say is mine.
Oh, blessed be free grace, let Satan pluck and
pull if he dare, he shall never pluck me out of the
arms of Christ. * Who shall separate me from the
love of Christ ? Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all
DEATir-BED EXPERIENCES OF MRS. B. Ill
that is within me, bless his holy name ! he hath
pardoned all my sins, and hath loved rae with an
After this, I prayed with her ; both in and after
prayer she seemed to be in the very suburbs of
heaven, and immediately cried out, ''Oh, how do
I long ! Oh, how do I long to be with Jesus ! ' In
my Father's house are many mansions.' Oh,
Christ hath prepared a place for me ; and it is but
yet a little while, and he will come and fetch me.
'Amen. Even so come, Lord Jesus.' He makes
no tarrying, I will wait his leisure ; becomes, he is
never absent from me, he stands by me, and
smiles upon me, and maketh me so long to die ;
I cannot tell what to do, I do so long to be in his
arms ! Lord, come ; dear Lord, come as soon as
thou wilt, I am ready. Oh, come, Lord, and show
thyself to thy poor saints, quicken their graces.
Oil, that they may be steady, and be still pressing
on to the mark of the high calling. My dear Re-
deemer loves me, and speaks a good word for me,
and for every one that layeth hold upon him.
He loveth us first. Lord, give thy love to every
one here, and let none of these that come to see
me miss of heaven.
" Bless the children of thy poor handmaid, and
give them thy grace, and keep them as thou hast
kept their poor mother. Thou hast bid me delight
112 DEATH-BED EXPERIENCES OF MRS. B.
myself in the Lord ; and thou hast said, I shall have
the desires of my heart. I do delight in thee, O
Lord ; and what do I desire more than to please
thee, to enjoy thee, and to leave thee for a Father
and portion for my children ? 1 have him whom
my soul loves, whom my soul deHghts in. My
dear friends, now Christ is preaching to you by
poor me the sweetness and excellency that is in
himself. Oh, who that knows Christ can live
without him ? Sirs, is not speaking experimentally
and feelingly of Christ sweet? Sure I have
not long to be here."
Then speaking to one of her children, she said,
"The Lord give thee a double portion of his
grace. Oh, Christ, he is altogether lovely, he
is so lovely, that I cannot sufficiently set forth my
well-beloved : ' My beloved is mine, and I am his.'
I know God will be a Father to my children ; I
rest in the faith of it. Oh that my children may
not have their work to do when they are in this
condition! Oh, who knows what a terrible thing
it is to die without a Christ ? but it is sweet to go
to Jesus ; and if it be so sweet to enjoy Christ,
how bitter must it be to want him ! Oh, how do I
long to be dissolved, and to be with Christ ! "
Then she prayed again excellently well for me,
and for my special preservation in particular : and
after prayer, she said, " I have a grant, I know it
DEATH-BED EXPERIENCES OF MRS. B. 113
shall not go ill with you ; ' The rod of the wicked
shall not always rest upon the back of the righte-
ous.'" Yea, she appointed me a text to preach
upon at her funeral: " I had fainted, unless I had
believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the
land of the living," Psal. xxvii. 13. Being asked
whether she would have some of a cordial ; she
answered, " No, no, away with your cordials, Jesus
Christ is now my only cordial, O how do I long
to be in his presence : * In his presence is fulness
of joy, at his right hand are pleasures for ever-
more. How amiable are thy tabernacles, how
pleasant is thy dwelling-place, O Lord of hosts, to
me !' No tongue can disclose what I feel. I can
say, ' Eye hath not seen, neither hath ear heard,
nor can it enter into the Jieart of man to conceive
what Christ hath' bought for me, ' laid up for me,'
given to m.e."
All this while she lay smiling and triumphing
like one that was more than a conqueror
through Christ that did strengthen her : and
after a while she turned to me and said, "O
sir, I am one of those that you shall not be
ashamed of in the day of judgment ; the Lord
hath made you a happy instrument to my poor
soul." Then she quoted many sweet and precious
promises, such as that, 'Come unto me, ye that are
weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest/
114 DEATII-BED EXPERILXCES OF MRS. B.
&c. "Oh, what a pattern is this ! all is mine,
and Christ is mine, and I am his ; life and death,
all is mine, but all is free grace ; none of all this is
from any excellency in me more than another ; all
is pure grace, all is from Christ ; I have given
away all to Christ, I have referred all to Christ,
and he hath done all things well for me. While
I lie here my soul is panting after Christ ; but
shortly my body shall be at rest from all these
pains, but my soul shall be in better rest."
Some did interrupt her in her talking, and de-
sired that she would let others speak, or compose
herself to rest. She answered, " If I talked idly,
you might hinder; but when I speak what my heart
is full of, why should you hinder me from praising
my God, and speaking of the faithfulness and
sweetness of Christ ?"
Her sight was now taken away, and her face
seemed somewhat swelled with pain ; yet she did
not complain in the least of her pain, but said,
*' It is true, I have not now any great comeliness^
but yet Christ loves me, and I shall be as white
as snow when my Bridegroom presents me to his
Father." A while after her nurse gave her some-
thing to drink ; after which she said, " I shall
shortly drink it new in my Father's kingdom. One
of Christ's cordials is worth a thousand of these."
One that was by said, ^' Ah, thirsty soul," when
DE.^TH-BED EXPERIENCES OF MRS. B, 115
she drank, but said she, " Christ hath poured
water upon my dry and thirsty land, and floods
upon my wilderness. If a doctor should come
now to me, and say, '■ What, would you live V
I would say, I had rather immediately go to
Christ. I would give all the praise that I am able
to the Lord for his wonderful kindnesses to me.
I have begged many a time, and often, that no-
thing might satisfy me but Christ, and that I
might not be contented till I had a fulness in
Christ ; and now I can say, Christ hath answered
me. I am satisfied with his love ; the desires of
the faithful shall be granted. I have laid hold
upon the Lord, like a lion : I have boldly fed
upon Christ, and I am now like a giant refreshed
with new wine. He saith. Ask, and you shall
have, and I am sure I have found him as good as
his w^ord. No soul seeks but he finds, if he will
continue seeking ; no soul knocks, but Christ
is ready to come and open, if he do not bolt him
One came to see her when her sight was dim or
left, and she said to her, '' I should be glad to
see you, but I am contented, I see better things."
Being in great pain and removed, she said, " I
am now in the Red sea, and the wilderness, but I
shall quickly be in the land of Canaan." Then
she spoke to some that were about her, and
116 DEATH-BED EXPERIENCES OF MRS. B.-
exhorted them : " Begin your work as soon as you
can, and follow after Christ; though there be a
little trouble for a while, yet follow him still,
' his paths will be pleasantness, and his ways
peace.' If there be anything in the ways of
Christ that is uneasy, he will shortly remove that.
Christ hath me under his sweet wings : O that
the black cypress were over me, Oh that I were
at rest ! but be patient, O my soul, it is but a
Then she prayed again for all the church that
she stood related to, that God would bring them
all triumphing to glory. *' Oh, friends," said she,
" look well to the inward part, search every cor-
ner." When she perceived some to be weeping
about her, she said, '^ Oh, weep not for me, for
I rejoice, and Christ rejoiceth in me ; weep for
yourselves. Oh sirs, begin betimes : there is
God's early, and man's ; God's is presently, man's
is at death, or in old age, or distress ; oh, seek
God now presently, and take this from me, Begin
with God, and he will end with you. The
Lord hath had respect unto the low estate of his
handmaid, therefore my soul doth and shall mag-
nify him for ever."
One said. That it was but a little while and
she would be at rest. She said, '' Oh come, Lord
Jesus, if it were now, I care not ; come, Lord,
DEATII-BED EXPERIENCES OF MUS. B. 117
bring death ; oh, that I could see deatli a com-
ing ! Christ is mine, and I am his. Come now,
death, and do thy work. ' My Beloved is the
chiefest of ten thousand ! ' Oh, he is so lovely !
Oh, I see his lovely face by faith. Oh, how he
smiles ! Oh, my dear Saviour !
'' Oil, my dear friends, methinks you should
beg of God to take me, now you see me thus
transported with his love. Oh, what a blessed
saying do I hear, ' Come, thou blessed of my Fa-
ther ! ' Oh, the blessed which are in the other
world, they make Christ himself glad to see them,
he rejoiceth over them ! Friends, my breath is
even gone, I can not talk any more now."
But by and by she began again; and said,
*' But why should I not lay out my largest penny
whilst I have it to spend — ? The Lord strengthen
all your graces." It being the Saturday before the
sacrament, she said, " The Lord be with his guests
to-morrow, and make them welcome at his table ;
the Lord walk among them, and dwell in the
midst of them. — I was afraid I was a hypocrite, but
now I know I am not ; I am now growing stronger
and stronger, and so I shall do till I am perfect
in Christ. ' Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all
that is within me, bless his holy name.' I shall
praise him now as long as I have a being."
It being late, and we being about to depart, she
118 DEATH-BED EXPERIENCES OF MRS. B.
said, ''Oh, what a blessed meeting shall we
shortly have ! how shall we rejoice and praise God
together ! "
Upon the Lord's day she continued in an admir-
able frame, more and more blessing and praising
God : saying, " Oh, that I had but breath to praise
him." After I had prayed with her, the Lord was
pleased to give her a little more breath, and she
quickly spent it for him. And, oh, at what a
rate did she praise the Lord ! her joys increased
wonderfully ; and then she said, " Oh, how I long
to die, but yet I will patiently submit to life."
Upon monday she began to be in greater pains
than ordinary, and then she begged that the Lord
would give her faith and patience, adding, "But
the will of the Lord be done. Oh, what a case
were I in, if my work were now to do ! Satan
would this day have tempted me to impatience,
but the Lord did rebuke him and strengthen me."
Upon tuesday she was exceedingly weak, and
when her speech began to fail her, she said, " My
heart is as full as it can hold, though I cannot
now speak it so well : God hath strengthened me,
or else I could not lie thus. God is good still ; the
Lord doth condescend to my senses, and deals
familiarly with his poor handmaid; I live not now
by faith so much as by sense."
Being asked how she did, she answered, " God
DEATH-FED EXPERIENCES Of MRS. C. 119
is good Still ; all is mine." Then she disowned her
own righteousness, and attributed all to free grace.
Then she said to me, *' All the promises are mine,
and you have helped me to lay a good claim to
Being asked again, how she did ; she an-
swered, *' I am in great pain," (and then death
was upon her,) " but I am willing to He in this pain,
if it were a twelvemonth, nay, as long as the
Lord will, so he do but still continue these un-
speakable joys." These were the last w^ords she
spoke in my hearing. But after I left her, she
continued in the same frame till between eleven
and twelve o'clock at night, and then she judged
that she heard sweet music, and could not be sa-
tisfied, but that I must be sent for to hear that
melody ; but before I could come to her she was
joined in the glorious concert above.
KUMGAY : pniNIEn BY J. R. AN'P C. CHILDS.
TOWNSEND BOOK BINDERY