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Full text of "An exposition of the parables, and express similitudes of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ : wherein also many things are doctrinally handled and improved by way of application .."

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" If I liave told you eartlily IhinRs, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly thinps ? " — 
JnnN iii. 12. 





TflE offioors who were sent to take or apprehend our blessed Lord, being demanded wliy 
they had not brought liim, answered, " Never man spake like this man ;" that is, as to tho 
matter or depth of divine wisdom, and with that authority and evidence of truth. But 
when we consider tliat almost all which our Lord spake to the multitude, he spake in 
parables, (and in them being liid the rich treasure of his heavenly doctrine, or such things 
that had been kept secret from the foundation of the world, that it might be fullilled which 
was spukeu by the prophets) it may seem strange that none of oiu: learned m^idern di- 
vines, nor others, have been stirred up to write an exposition upon all the parables and 
similitudes spoken by our blessed Lord in the four evangelists. Though it is true, some of 
them have most excellently written upon, and opened a few of them ; but no one author (as 
I can learn) hath in one or more volumes written upon them all, if the gi'eatest part, nor 
any exposition as I can meet with of many of them : yet what large and learned exposi- 
tions have they written upon ilivers books of the Old and New Testament ! So that what is 
here presented to your view, hath not been done by any before ; and it might have been 
wished, that some now better capable than 1 am, had been stirred up to have undertaken 
it. And (considering that the parables contain the substance of our Saviour's miuistry, and 
the profound mysteries couched therein,) the sense of my great weakness, or inabilities to 
manage so great a work, hath caused me not to undertake it without tremblings of heart, 
and many prayers and cries to God, that my heart, tongue, and pen, might be inlluenced 
and guided by the divine Spirit : though tlie want of those attainments that some have 
arrived at, beyond what I pretend to, hath been no small discouragement to me. Though 
I am persuaded I have not been left without the gracious assistance of the Spirit of Truth ; 
nor have I omitted searching into what authors I could meet with, who have either written 
upon the parables, and on the customs of the Jews, to which in many things contained in 
them our Saviour dijtli refer. Moreover, I have had regard to those f )ur rules mentioned 
by the leanied in opening of the parables, viz., theu* Properties, Qualities, Effects, Oj)era- 
tions. And that with special respect to their constitution, natural, civil, or moral, and have 
laboured to draw forth suitable propositions, which are raised and prosecuted from the 
scope or principal matter contained in one or another parable ; though perhaps I may 
varj' from the directions given by one or two authors (I have met with) about opening of 
and drawing propositions from parables, who insinuate as if no propositions nor answerable 
applications ought to be made, but from the general scope of the parable Now in this I 
am not of their opinion, for some things that may (perhaps) not so clearly appear to lie in 
the direct scope, may contain in them much instructiou, and profitable tniths may be raised 
therefrom, and improved. I remember one very learned author (j\lr. H. Knollys), 
gave direction or allowance that in opening metaphorical or paraboUcal Scriptures, we may 
enlarge so far as there is a clear analogy of faith ; yet all authors agree, tliat parables run 
not always upon all four ; that is, there are in parables some great disparities, some things 
being brought in or mentioned for illustration sake, which cannot be spiritually applied 
parallelwise. Indeed, some I find who have written on some parables, have given such a 
general exposition of the sum and scope of some, as renders tlieir exposition quite dif- 
ferent from the exposition our blessed Lord gave himself of those he unfolded unto his 
disciples : see Matt. xiii. about the Sower, and that of the Wlieat and Tares, in wliich he 
opens every particular part, and applies it. Now can any directions given by learned men 
be so safe a rule to follow in expouncUng the parables, as that rule our Saviour hath left ia 
the way taken by himself. 

One saitli to this purpose, speaking of the parables ; viz., who will or ouglit to force 
from an author such thing? which he himself never dreamed of? To which I answer, 

1. Who knows directly how far the intentions of our Lord in his parables do or may 
extend, in many words, and parts of a parable, besides the gineral main scope thereof? 

2. I would know whether he that draws propositions from a paralwlical text, may not 
be allowed the same liberty others talce in preacliing upon any other Scriptures (tliat may 
not be tropical or parabolical) provided ho keeps to the true analogy of faith ? And pray 
do not some ministers preach from one or another text of Scripture almost all the whole 
Gospel, and in doing so are they certain the Sacred Author, I mean the Holy Ghost, di- 
rectly intended or comprehended in those texts (as his main scope and design) all those things 
whicli tliey di-ow therefrom ; and perhaps very safely and profitably. I must confess I 
perceive that some men render many things (spoken by our Lord in raany parables) very 
insignificant or to little or no purjjose mentioned by him, and so not to be improved by us 
to our spiritual profit ; which to me seems to cast a kind of contempt upon the ministry of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, as well as it clearly contradicts his own exposition of those parables 
He Himself explained. 

Moreover, I think those expositions of the parables of some men, who only (or princi- 
pally) improve them to instruct people into practical duties, or rather oidy how they should 
live, than how they should believe, are worthy of blame ; as if our Saviour chiefly de- 
signed by speaking so many parables, to teach us Iiow to lead our lives, and not so much 
to open to us the great doctrine of the Gospel, or to show us the necessity of faith in him- 
self, or to instruct us into doctrinal truths ; whereas the latter seeming directly to be the 
main scope of our Lord in most of his parables. As is clearly held forth in these words 
recorded by the Evangelist St. Matthew, chap. xiii. 34, 35, " I will open my mouth in 
parables, I will utter thuigs which have been kejit secret from the foimdation of the world." 
Were the duties of moraUty, or the rules of a godly hfe, kept secret from the foundation of 
the world, until our Saviour came ? No, certaiidy, for the law of the Lord is perfect in 
that great case ; but they were the mysteries of tlie Gospel, or the mysteries of our sal- 
vation by our Lord Jesua Christ, which He mainly designed to instruct us in, by speaking 
his parables. 

Certainly nothing is more necessary to imderstand the Scripture (whether metaphorical 
or parabolical, or not) than the help, teachings, and influences of the Holy Spirit, which 
some of late (as well as formerly) as it seems to me, have cast contempt upon, to the 
dishonour of God, his Blessed Spirit, and to the scandal of our sacred religion, intimating 
as if without the knowledge of the tongues or school-divinity no men are capable, truly and 
profitably, to preach the Gospel nor understand the Scripture. 1 must confess I tldnk it a 
great blessing God hath raised up learned men among us, and readily gi-ant the knowledge 
of the tongues is very useful, but not of necessity in a minister, nor of such great use in 
order to understand the Scripture (as some talk of), provided it be gi-anted that the 
sacred Bible be truly translated (which none dares deny,) and also if a man stores 
himself with all such books that open in English, the diflerent readuig of many of the He- 
brew and Greek texts, whicli are extant, particularly those Bibles that have best quota- 
tions or marginal notes. Sii-s, the knowledge of the tongues is none of the qualifications 
laid down of one- that is to be chosen an overseer, or pastor of a chm-ch, 1 Tun. iii., and 
Tit. i. Besides, how ignorant of the doctrme of the Gospel, and of the Holy Scriptures, 
are some learned men ! '• For what man Inioweth the things of a man, save the spirit of 
a man that is in him ; even so the things of God luioweth no man, but the Spirit of God," 
1 Cor. ii. 11. Men by the knowledge of the tongues and other human arts, may under- 
stand the things of a man, or attain to more clear knowledge of things that are mere- 
ly human ; but none have a true and saving knowledge of Christ, the Gospel, or of 
spiritual things, but by the Spirit of God. " Which things we speak, not in the words 
which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spirit- 
ual things with spiritual," ver. 13. 

Let men take lieed how they cry up man's wisdom, though the simple laiowledge of 
the tongues none will or can deny to be useful. Therefore it is that stress which is 
by some laid upon it, rendering it essential in a Gospel minister, that gives the olTence. 
Pray, see what our learned annotators observe, viz., That they do not preach or argue 
philosophically, like an Athenian philosopher, but use a familiar, plain style, gi^ng forth 
the naked truths of God, without any paint or gaudy phrase. 

Moreover, I think it not amiss to recite here what a late bishop of the church of 
England hath -wiltten upon the Icnowledge of tjie tongues, viz., 

" There hath not (saith he) been a greater plague to the Christian religion than 
school divinity, whore men take upon them the liberty to propose new questions, make 
nice distinctions, and rash conclusions of divine matters, tossing them up and down 

with their tontjiieg like tennis tails ; and from hence proceedeil all the danfrerous here- 
sies, and cruel bickerings about tliem, foiling from words to blows. The first divinity 
school we read of, was set up at Alexandria, by Pantajuus, and from thence soon after 
sprang up that damnable heresy of the Arians, which oveiTan all Christendom, and 
was the cause of the destruction of so many millions of Christians, both of body and 
soul ; whicli before tliis were so gross and sensual, that none took them up but tlissolute or 
frantic people, and soon vanished. But after this school, subtle way of arguing was 
brought into Christianity, heresy gi'ew more refined, and so subtle, that the plain and 
pious fathers of the church Icnew not how to lay hold of it ; the school distinctions and 
evasions baffled them ; and so those sophistcrs proud of their conquest, triumphed, and 
carried away a specious appearance of truth as well as learning, or rather cunning, 
insomuch that many godly i)erson3 were deluded and fell into them, and many of their 
heresies continue unto this day." 

I would advise all Christians who are so bigotted to human learning, so as to 
think none ought to be allowed to preach but such who have been trained up in 
schools or universities, and have the knowledge of the tongues, to read Kev. 
Dr. Owen on the Hebrews, chap, v, who shows, that teachers were trained up 
in the primitive churches only, as being endowed with grace and ministerial gifts by 
the Lord Jesus, every church being then the great seminary for preachers. Also let 
them read llr. Crandon's answer to Mr. Baxter's Aphorisms, who tells us human learn- 
ing is of no force to decide, judge, and conclude any questions merely evangelical ; and 
that no men have done more mischief or hurt to the church of God, than learned 
men, by their nice scholastic and philosophical distinctions. Indeed, by tliis wisdom the 
Apostle shows that the world knew not God, nor can they know thereby the Lord 
Jesus Christ, nor the great doctrine of justification by his righteousness ; for this lies 
above the art and wisdom of man, let his knowledge of the tongues, or other human 
learning, be what it will. Moreover, he gives several arguments to prove that God hath 
not ordained philosophical learning to be instrumental for the promoting of the Gospel, and 
also shows by such learning many lieresics came into the church, and were defended to 
sucii a degree, that unlearned men were hard beset to confute them. 

But further he shows how the Holy Ghost shghleth, and uttereth invective terms against 
human learning or man's wisdom, 1 Cor. i. 18, 21, &c. And also how God blessed, the 
preaching of the Gospel by the unlearned, and blasted such who have used (or rather say 
I, abused) philosophicial learning : he also shows how the Gospel spread in the next ages 
after the Apostles, when most, if not all gospel ministers were unacquainted with human 
learning. — Yet let none think i speak against gi-ammar learning, or the knowledge of the 
tongues, for certainly the usefulness thereof (as I hinted) is considerable : and what cause 
have we to bless God, that he raised up such learned men in the church, as Dr. Owen, and 
multitudes more I might mention, to defend the great fundamental truths of Christ against 
heretics ; and let us be thankful that we have still such who are considerably learned 
amongst us, and I wish that worthy young men, to whom God hath given ministerial gifts, 
might be furnished with such learning, which some others want. What I have here said, 
is because some lay too great a stress upon human learning, and cry against all such mi- 
nisters who have it not. But yet I must say, that it is very evident, that the allwise God 
chose some men, who were counted " foolish and base things of the world, to confound 
the wise, &c., that no flesh should glory in his presence," 1 Cor. i. 7 — 30. 

Moreover it ought to be noted, how Paul looked upon the use of the tongues in the 
church, though they were those tongues that were the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, to 
capacitate the Apostles and first ministers to preach the Gospel to the people of divers lan- 
guages ; " I thank God 1 speak with more tongues than you ell, yet in the church I had 
rather speak five Avords with my understanding, than ten thousand words in an miknown 
tongue," 1 Cor. xiv. 18, 19. The truth is, in preaching, to speak in a language the people 
nndersrand not, it seems to serve for nothing, unless it is that the preacher would let them 
know he is a scholar. How ready is man to gloiy in his human attainments ! therefore 
Christ made use of very few, if any, who were learned in the primitive time; I know none, 
except Luke and the Apostle Paul ; yet, on the other hand, it ought to be the care of our 
churches to see that none but such men are allowed to i)reach, to whom God hath given 
competent gifts, and such also who are able to speak proper English, for the contrary 
ex)iuseth the Gospel to contempt. 

But to say no more to this, reader, I shall not in this epistle speak much as to the na- 
ture and usefulness of the pajrabolical and metaphorical Scripture, because I have spoken toit 


ia the introduction, being the substance of a sermon preached upon that account ; only let 
me add, what Mr. Caryl hath said concerning parables ; he saith, the original word signi- 
fies to rule or govern, as a prince whose righteous precepts and commands Iris people ought 
to obey, viz., (Caryl on Job 27. 1. p. 6, 7, 8). 

Speeches or sentences full of wisdom and of truth are called parables, for a threefold 

" 1. Because a wise sentence rules over the spirits of men, — Parables carry convinc- 
ing light, and so great authority, &c. 

" 2. Parables are so called, because such speeches came usually from the mouths of 
princes and great persons. 

" 3. Because whether men will submit to such speeches and truths, or not, yet their 
judgments, actions, and opinions must be tried and ruled by them. Parables are as 
touchstones of truth, they are niles, and therefore ought to rule. 

" Moreover, he (with other learned meu) says, that parables are similitudes, because 
they resemble and bear (as it were) the express image of their wisdom, gravity, modesty, 
and truth, who spake them. All words should be the image of the mind, and parables are 
the beautiful image of a beautiful mind. — A parable is taken several ways in Scripture. 

" 1. Fur any divine maxim, axiom, or principle. 

" 2. A Parable is a dark and hard saying, and is opposed to a plain speech ; 'I will 
open my mouth in a, parable. I will utter dark sayings of old,' Psal Ixxviii. 2." 

3. A man's judgment or opinion in any case, is his parable, &e. As to the power and 
efficacy a parable hath upon a man's heart when understood, evidently appears in David's 
case, when lie understood Nathan's parable : and touching the nature and usefulness of 
them, read the introduction. 

Header, thou art here presented with the labours of near twelve years, not that I preached 
every Lord's day in the morning upon the parables ; no, but generally for so long time I 
so di'] ; and I hope not without some gracious success. You will find I have enlarged much 
upon some of them more than on others. Moreover, but sh(,irt enlargements upon most par- 
ticular heads, wliicli make the sermons short ; and if I liad not done so, it would have swollen 
to another volume as big as this. Also you will find many great Gospel truths improved 
in one parable, which are also mentioned with some alterations or additions in another. 
And, now, to close with this epistle, I cannot expect to escape the censure of many in writ- 
ing upon the parables. Many men so much difler from others in respect of the sense and 
meaning of our Lord in divers things ccintained therein, but generally in the main I hope all 
will receive satisfaction, that tlie Lord hath helped me in opening of them, to whose most 
gracious blessing I shall commit these and all poor labours of mine. I shall, reader, 
during the time my dear Lord hath appointed me to remuin on earth, subscribe myself, 

Thy servant in the Gospel for his sake, 


Prom mjj House in Ilorslcydown, Sonthwarlc, 
Aug. 20lh, 1701. 



Sermon I. 


I. Similitude, Every Valley shall be 
Yillcd, &c. Luke iii. 5, 6. 
Sermon ir. 
,, HI. ... 

„ IV. ... ... 23 

V. ... ... 30 

n. Similitude, And now also the Axe is 
laid to the Hoot of the Tree, &c. 
Matt. iii. 20. 

Sermon VI. ... ... 35 

in. Similitude, Whose Fan is in His 
Hand, Matt. iii. 13. 

Sermon \li. ... ... 4:0 

lY. Similitude, Ye are the Salt of the 
Earth, &c., Matt. v. 13. 

Sermon \aii. ... ... 52 

V. SniTT.TTUDE, Ye are the Liglit of the 

World, Matt. v. 14. 

Sermon ix. ... ... 56 

VI. Similitude, Agree with thine Ad- 

versary, &c.. Matt. V. 25, 20. 

Sermonx. ... ... CI 

„ XI: ... ... CG 

VII. Similitude, Whosoever Heareth 

these Sayings of Mine, and doth 
them, &c.. Matt. vii. 2i— 20. 

Sermon XII. ... ... 72 

XIII. ... ' ... 70 

XIV. ... ... 80 

„ XV. ... ... 86 

Vin. Similitude, Can the Blind Lead 
the Blind, &c., Luke \i. ay. 

Sermon XVI. .„ ... 90 

IX. Parable, Eor which of You intend- 

ing to Build a Tower, Sitteth not 
down fijTst, &c., Luke xiv. 2S, 2y, 

Sennonxvii. ,., ... 90 

X. Parable, Or what King going to 

make War against another Kmg, 
&e., Luke xiv. 31, 32. 

Sermon xviii. ... ... 100 

XI. Parable, No man putteth a new 

Piece of Cloth into an Old Gar- 
ment, Matt. is. 10. 

Sermon XIX. ... ... 105 

„ XX. ... ... Ii9 

„ XXI. I.. ... 114 

Xn. Parable, Behold a Sower went 

forth to Sow, Matt. xiii. 3, 4, 5, 
to 30. 




Sermon xxii. 

... 119 

„ xxin. 

... 126 

„ XXIV. 

... 133 


„ XXV. 

... 13S 

„ XXVI. 

... 110 




... 151 


... IbS 



XIII. Parable, Again the Kingdom of 
Heaven is Uke unto a Merchant- 
man Seeking Goodly I'earl, Matt, 
siii. 45, 40. 

Sermon XXX. ... ICS 

„ XXXI. ... 173 


xxxiii 200 

XIV. Parable, Again the Kingdom of 

Heaven is like imto Treasure Hid 
in a Eield, Matt. xiii. 4-1. 

Sermon XXXIV. ... 207 

XV. Parable, The Kingdom of Heaven is 

likened >mto a Man which Sowed 

Good Seed in his Eield, &c.. Matt, 
siii. 24, 25. 

Sermon XXXV. ... 218 

„ XXXVI. ... 225 

„ xsxvii. ... 229 

„ xxxviii. ... 234 

XVI. Parable, The Kingdom of Heaven is 

likened unto a Grain of Mustard- 
seed, Matt. xiii. 31, 32. 
Sermon xxxix. 
„ XL. ... 

XVII. Par.vble, The Kingdom of Heaven 
is like unto Leaven ■« hich a Woman 
took and Hid, Matt. siii. 33. 

Sermon XLI. ... 

XVIII. Parable, Again the Kingdom of 
Heaven is like unto a Net cast into 
the Sea, Matt. xiii. 47, 43, 49. 

Sermon XLll. ... 

XIX. Parable, Every Scribe which is 

Instructed into the Kingdom of 
Heaven, Matt. xiii. 52. 
Sermon xLiii. 

„ XLIV. ... 

XX. Parable, The Ground of a Certain 

Rich Maubrcught forth Plentifully, 
Luke sii. 10. 

Sermon XLV. ... 

XXI. Similitude, Children Sitting in the 
Markct-pkcc Piping, Luke vii. 32. 

Sermon XLVi. ,,, ,., 







I. Sim tlittpk, Every One Salted witliFire, 

and Every Sacrifice Salted with 
Salt, Mark ix. -12, 50. 

Sermon I. ... ... 2S4- 

II. ... ... 2'.)0 

in. ... ... 297 

Till. Pabablh, Of Plaiitirp; a Vineyard, 
and Letting it out to Ilushandmen, 
Matt. xxi. 3o, 

Seruiou xxx. ,., ... 465 

„ XXXI. ... 473 

„ xxxll. ... 4S2 

„ xxxm. ... 4S7 

„ x>.xiv. 496 

IX. Pakaulb, Of the Iloiiselioldcr tliat 

Hired Lahourcrs into liis Vine- 
yard, :Matt. XX. 1. 

Sfiniou XXXV. ... 501 

,, XXXVI. ... :>IA\ 

„ xxxvll. ... .')].2 

xx.wlil, ,,. 5i(i 

Sermon xxxlx. 





II. Pakable, Of tlic ifan that fell among 

I. Parable, Of the Marriage Feast, Matt. 

Thieves Luke x. 30. 

22. vcr. 2, 


Sermon IV. 





„ V. 


11. ... 


„ VI. 


III. ... 


„ VII. ... 


IV. ... 


„ VIII. ... 




m. Paeable, Of the Lost Sheep, 
XV. 3, 10. 




VII. ... 

VIII. ... 



Sermon is. 




„ X. 





„ XI. ... 





„ XII. ... 



XII. ... 


„ XIII. ... 


XIII. ... 


Sermon XIV. ... 



XIV. . . . 


IV. Pakable, Of the Lost Groat, Luke xv. 


XV. ... 




XVI. ... 


Sermon xv. 


11 Pabable Of Ih 

e Faithful and Wise Ser 

V- Pabable, Of the Prodigal Son, 


vant. Matt 

xxiv. 25. 

xi. 12. 

Sermon XVII. 


Sermon XVI. ... 


in. Pab,uile, Of the Wise 

and Foolish 

„ XVII. ... 


Virgins Matt. xxv. 12 

„ XIX. ... 
„ XX. ... 
„ XXI. ... 
„ XXII. ... 




xvni. ... 
XIX ... 
XXI. .., 


„ XXIII..'.. 



XXII. ... 

„ XXIV. ... 




XXIV. ... 

VI. Pabable, Of the Importunate Widow, 


xxv. ... 


Matt, xviii. 12, &c. 


XXVI. ... 


Sermon xxv. ... 



Pabable, Of the Talent 

5, Matt, xxv 

„ XXVI. ... 



,. XXVII. 





VII. Pabable, Of a King who took Ac 



count of his Servants, Malt 



XXIX. ... 




xxx. ... 


Sermon xxviii. 



XXXI. ... 


„ XXIX. ... 







I. Paiuble, Of the Two Debtors, Luke vii. 

Sermon i. ... ,,. 737 

II. ... .,. 741 

III. ... ... 746 

II. P.vbable, Of the Strong Man Aimed, 

Matt. xii. 29. 

Sermon iv. ... ... 753 

III. Pabable, Of the TJnelcnn Spirit gone 

out of a Man, Matt. xii. 44. 

Surmon v. .., ... 761 

„ VI. ... ... 70S 


IV. Parable, Of tlie Barren Fig-tree, 

Luke xiii. G, 7, 8. 775 

Sermon vii. ... ,.. 7Sq 

viii. ... ;;; 7S9 

V. Parable, Of Two Sons bid to go into 

the Vineyard, Matt. xxi. 2S. 793 


VI. Parable, Of a Man Castin<; Seed 

into the Ground, Mnrk iv. 20. 

Sermon XI. ... ... 799 

VII. Similitude, Of Everv Plant God 

Hath not Planted, Matt. xv. 13. 

Sermon XII. ... 

VIII. Parable, Of the Unjust Steward 

Sermon XIII. ... 811 

» 3UV. ... ... 816 


IX. Pahable, Of the Rich Man and La- 

•> ^^- 

„ XVI. ... 

» XVII. ... 

„ XVIII. ... 

>) X"t. ... 

„ XX. 

.. XXI. ... 

" 2CXII. 

X. Parable, Of the Pharisee and Publi- 
can. ... 

Sermon xxiii. 

„ XXIV. ... 

XI. Parable, Of the Servant Ploufrhiug 

in the Field, Luke xvii. 7, 8, ice, 
Sermon xxv. ... ... §74 

XII. PaR-vble, Of the Door into the 

Slieepfold, John x. 1. 

Sermon xsvi ... 876 

XIII. Parable, Of God the Father an 
Husbandman, John xv. i, 2. 

Sermon xxvii. g$j. 









All these things spake Jesiis in parables, and without parables spake he not unto them ; 

That it mif/ht be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, J will open my mouth in para- 
bles, I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. — 
Matt. xiii. 34, 35. 

Mr Brethren, 

In these words the ministry of our blessed Saviour, in speaking in parables, is magnified, 
i. e.. they fully discover, that in his parables are contained the profound and deep things 
or mysteries of the Gospel ; and therefore the opening of them by the help of the divine Spirit, 
must needs be of no small profit unto the souls of God's people. Now my purpose at this 
time, is not to speak to the distinct parts of these words, nor to raise any doctrinal 
truths therefrom ; but to speak something of parables in general, as an introduction to the 
great work before me. 

1. I shall show you the difference between tyjncal and tropical Scriptures. 

2. Show what a parable is. 

3. Show what advantages we have by parables, above what we have by some other 

4. Lay down some rules, to know tropical Scriptures from Scriptures that are to be 
taken literally. 

5. Show you why our Saviour might speak so much in parables. 

First, Types suppose the verity of some real history, as to matter of fact ; as Tiie differ- 

the first Adam was a type or figure of Jesus Christ: so was the high-priest, tweentypu 

and many other persons under the law. Jonas being in the whale's belly, was "^.^ ""« "<"' 

a type or figure of our Saviour's lying three days in the gi-ave. tn';". " **' 


2. Types look only to matter of fact, or things done under the law ; to matter of fact, 
or things under the Gospel ; as Saruh and Hagar, Isaac and Ishmael, the paschal-lamb, &c. 
a. Types are only historical, as such, the truth agreeing with the Antitype 
See my Key makes them up, and fulfils them as to the design of God therein ; as the bra- 
to open zen serpent in its perfect signification was fidfilled, when Jesus Christ was lifted 
Metaphors, up upon the cross ; the like in respect had unto the rock that was pierced in 
the wilderness, was (as to its signification fully completed), when our Lord was 
pierced on tlie cross. 

4. Types in the Old Testament respect only some persons and things, with their proper 
antitypes under the gospel; as Christ, the gospel, and gospel-church, together with the 
spreading of the gospel ; and nature of the grace, blessings, and privileges of the members 

How to 2ndly. Tropical Scriptures, as parables, metaphors, allegories, and simili- 

rative Scrip- tudes, do not require such a necessary supposition as to matter of fact. (1.) 
tures. j^s that of the rich man and Lazarus ; there is no necessity to conclude, it in- 

tends or shows there were two such particular persons ; but by the rich man, may any 
ungodly rich man, that is of such an evil temper, be held forth, and such to be his state at 
death : and by Lazarus, may be sliowed, the state and condition of such that are very 
poor and afflicted ones, that are truly godly ; and that at deatli their souls go all to heaven, 
or into the bosom of Jesus Christ the true Abraham. See more in the exposition of that 

2. Parables and allegories take in words, sentences, and doctrines, containing matter 
of faith and manners; and are used for illustration-sake, to open and explain some hidden 
mystery that lies covered in them ; which would be hard to he miderstood unless so 

3. Therefore parables, &c., in their main scope and design, intend not matter of feet 
(as types do), but are principally doctrinal, and are brought to open the mind of God the 
better to our weak capacities, move upon our affections, and convince the conscience, as 
the parable of Nathan in David's case. That parables do not always (if ever) contain mat- 
ter of fact, is evident in respect of Jotham's parable of the Trees going to choose a King, 

4. And whereas types in the Old Testament respect only some persons and things, 
(as I said before) and their antitypes ; so they are such persons and things, wliich none 
but whom God himself made use of as types ; men are not to frame, or make types, nor 
ought any to attempt once so to do ; for after that rate men may turn all historical Scrip- 
tures into allegories, as some will have Pharaoh a type of the devil. I am satisfied that all 
persons and things that were types under the Old Testament, God hath somewhere or 
another given us grounds to believe, that they were types or figurative. 

But now as to parables, allegories, &c., they take in almost every thing, that belongs 
either to doctrine, instruction, faith, and practice. Moreover, a minister may use other 
parables and similitudes of his own framing, besides what are mentioned in the Scriptures 
for illustration sake ; which is found by experience very useful to the hearers : (yet what 
are they to Christ's parables and similitudes ?) so that tropical Scriptures, and tlie use of 
parables, are more extensive and comprehensive in their use, meaning, and application, than 
typical Scriptures are : so much as to the first thing propounded.. 
What a pa- Secondly, I shall show you what a parable is, and the nature thereof. 
Table is. 1. A parable signifies no more than a similitude, which is to make use of 

natural things by way of allusion or comparison, to open spiritual things, the better to our 
understanding; " If I have told you of earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall you 
believe if I tell you of heavenly things ?" John iii. 12. That is, if I should without using 
earthly things and similitudes, speak of the sublime nature of heavenly things, hew would 
you understand them ? 

Take what you have in our Key to open Scripture Metaphors : a parable is called 
■Ejafarw TrajafaXXfiv, which beside other significations which the subject is unconcerned in 
(for it signifies ohjicere, conjicere, detorqnere, commitlere, appropinquare, transmiltere, &c.) 
denotes conferring, comparing, or the collocation of diii'erent things. 

Jerome calls it a simiUtude, nafa(3oX, because as a previous shadow of truth, it represents 
it ; it answers to the Hebrew mashal. Properly and strictly it signifies an artificial nar- 
rative of a thing done, to signify another thing. So Glassius. 

2. In parables, it is not necessary that all the actions of men mentioned in them should 
be just actions : I mean morally just and honest, for the unjust Steward is not mentioned 


by our Saviour to justify his injustice ; but to show his care aud wisdom in providing for 
the future time. 

3. Tlierefore in parables, if we would understand the mind of God in them,»\ve must 
always take care to consider the main desigu and scope of tliem ; or wiiich way the sacred 
story tends, or what our Lord chieHy designs therein. 

" For parabolical texts one cannot well explain them (saith a French minister) but he must 
remark and observe attentively, the proper scope unto which the parable tendeth; tht're 
must be great care, especially in handling them well, to consider what the parable ainieth at 
principally, aud less principally, or primarily aud secondarily ; for there may be divers ends, 
one general and principal, and others particular and subalternate. 

" Tlieu, secondly, when the scope is discovered, we must narrowly observe wliat the 
parable is taken from, and what it tends unto the geneial end, and what unto the particular; 
examining how far every thing in the parable tendeth and serveth ; for though there are some 
things which are principally of the end of the parable, aud others which are not expressed, 
but serve only to enrich and beautify the parable ; nevertheless we must not in examin- 
ing the princiiial things, neglect the other ; as in the study of the law, so of a parable ; we 
must make the things which are of the greater importance the maiu of our labour aud ap- 
pUcatiou, yet we must uot neglect or leave out the lesser, &c. 

" There are some parables prophetical, as that of the ten virgins ; Mat. xsv. But com- 
monly they are dogmaticals, and therefore are so to be handled ; but it must be done in 
the light of the similitude, for the matter of parables have these advantages. 

" And though (saith our French author) in the explanation of parables, nothing is to be 
mentioned, but that which is properly of the end aud scope of them ; yet in the applicati.n 
we may enlarge these reports more particularly." 

4. 1 know (as he and others observe) such that handle the parables of our Saviour, 
ought to have the knowledge of natural, moral, and civil liistories, and consult classic 
authors, &c. ; which so far as I am capable I have endeavoured ; together with the customs 
and practice of the Jews and the eastern countries, also theii- plants, seeds, etc., some of 
which differ from ours. 

5. Moreover, the main scope or design of a parable, is commonly to be under- How the 
stood, either from our Saviour's more general or more particular exposition of it, or "j.''.'" ".^"ffi* 
else from his main and principal design, which may be gathered from the preface "»-v l^'un^ 
to it, or else from the conclusion thereof. As for examjile, in the parable of the '''='■'"'"''• 
Vmoyard let out to husbandmen; ilat. xxi. 33. See what precedes and what succeeds 
in that parable, so also in the parable of the rich man. 

6. It is not always to be expected, that every particular thuig, passage, or action, men- 
tioned in a parable, should be answered by something in the explication thereof. Some 
for want of considering this, run into many errors, and say the soul hath a tongue, because 
in the parable of the rich man, Luke xvi. When his soul came to lie in hell, he speaks of 
his tongue, and wanted a little water to cool it. Yet that may afford much instruction ; 
it may be that that ungodly man (or such that are represented by him) had greatly of- 
fended with his tongue, either by swearing, blaspheming, or railing on the poor ; or reproach- 
ing the godly, or by lying ; and therefore that member is mentioned, as being grievously 
tormented in those flames. 

7. Though the scope of a parable be the chief thing we sliouW attend upon, yet more gene- 
rally many other things may be made use of to the advantage of the hearers ; even so far 
as it bears a clear analogy of laith, as in metaphorical Scriptures ; as is showed in ray Key 
to open Scripture-metaphors. 

Thirdly, we have by parables divers advantages above what we have by riie profit- 
some other Scriptures. abieness of 

I rpi ti i 1 i T 7 ji parabolicnl 

X. lUey greatly tend to help the memory; we are more apt to remember Mripturc. 
stories, than other things delivered in a sermon. Besides, i)eople when they see these 
natural things before their eyes, which the Holy Ghost makes use of to explain heavenly 
things by, they presently are the better enabled to call to remembrance what they have 
heard ; as when they see a sower sow his seed, and the like. 

2. They greatly help the mind and thinking faculty, to study tiie meaning of what they 
have so heard delivered unto them. 

3. They are profitable to stir up, or to excite the affections, and to awaken the conscience ; 
as when hell in a parable is set out by a furnace of tire, and conscience by a gnawing worm ; 
and heaven and glory above, is represented by a giorious kingdom, and by a crown of glory. 


4. Also to inform the jucljniient cf the weak ; indeeil wliat couIJ any of us i1o, to under- 
stand the deep things of God, if they were not thus opened and explained unto us ? Yet 
parables tave one great disadvantage to some who hear them, that they being not explained 
to them, understand them not ; as it was in our Saviours days, it being not given unto all 
to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven ; therefore it must needs be no small 
blessing to have those parables of our blessed Lord opened unto us ; so tliat we may be 
helped rightly to understand them. 

Fourthly, I shall add here some rules, how you may know tropical and parabolical 
„ . Scriptures from Scriptures that are to be taken literally, 
figurative 1. When it is directly called a parable, " He spake a parable," &c. Yet 

Bcnpturea. j^gg^ygg gome scriptures are to be taken parabolically or figuratively, that are not 
directly called parables or similitudes. Therefore, 

2. Know and be assured, that all Scriptures are to be taken figuratively or parabolically, 
■when the literal sense would be absurd ; as when Christ says, " This is my body," and when 
he said, " I am a Door, a Vine," &c., John xv., and when it is said, " And that Rock was 
Christ," 1 Cor. x. 4. As also when our Lord saith, " Unless ye eat the flesh of the Son 
of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in jou," John vi. 53. Also those sayings, 
" Pluck out thy right eye, and cut ofl' thy right hand." Should these Scriptures be taken 
literally, how absurd would they seem to all ! 

3. When the literal sense would not reach to the great design of edification, as when 
Christ speaks of sowing ; certainly, none can suppose, our Lord went about to instruct them 
in husbandry, but in higher matters. 

4. Those Scriiitm'es must be taken figuratively, when the literal sense would obtrude clear 
falsities upon the sacred texts : As for example, " Destroy this temple, and in three days I 
will raise it up again ;" " Unless ye eat the flesh of the Son of man," &c. 

5. When the literal sense would not agree with, but be repugnant unto other Scriptures; 
as when we are bid to heap coals of fire on the heads of our enemies ; seemg it is said, 
" Eevenge not yourselves," &c. 

6. When the literal sense would render the Holy Ghost to speak impertinently ; as when 
John Baptist says, " Now is the axe laid to the root of the trees, every tree therefore 
that brings not forth good fruit ;" compared with Luke xiii. 7, " Cut it down, why cumbers 
it the ground ?" Those texts refer to unfruitful persons under the means of gospel-grace, 
not of external trees; therefore should such places of the holy Scriptures be taken literally, 
it might seem to all an impertinent way of speaking. 

Why Christ But to proceed to the last thing propounded, 

raMes.'° ''*" Fifthly, Why did our blessed Saviour speak in parables ? 

Answ. 1. I answer, because some persons (as the Jews m our Saviour's days) were 
so averse to divine knowledge, and they having contemned the means of grace, God in 
judgment gave them up to blindness of mind. " And the disciples came and said unto him, 
why speakest thou unto them in parables ? He answered and said unto them, it is given unto 
you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but unto them it is not given ; there- 
fore speak I unto them in parables, because they seeing, see not, and in hearing, hear not, 
neither do they understand," Matt. xiii. 10 — 13. 

There is a twofold knowledge of divine things : One notional, the other an eft'ective and 
experimental knowledge. Now some men only hear the mysteries of the gospel, out of cu- 
riosity to fill their heads with knowledge : this sort therefore attain to as much knowledge 
as they desire and covet after ; they do not improve to their spiritual profit what they 
hear ; therefore " in hearing they hear not, and in seeing they see not." But unto others 
it is given to understand, and embrace the truth, in the love and saving mystery and power 
tliereof. When a people have despised the knowledge of God's word in its spiritual 
elficacy, and so sin against knowledge ; they find the Gospel as a sealed book to them, 
and many truths are delivered unto them in parables, which they either seek not after 
the true knowledge of, or else think their own wisdom and learning, to be suflicient to 
unfold the mysteries of them ; and God, for their great wickedness in contemning the more 
clear and visible appearances of truth, (as the Jews did, who contemned those mighty works 
our Saviour wrought) it caused him to speak to them in parables, without aft'ording them 
the help of his Spirit, in opening theui to their understanding. " Unto you it is given to 
know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven ; but unto them that are without, all things 
are done in parables," Mark iv. 11. Unto them that are without the pale of the church, or 
are not in the election of grace, or wlio are without any saving knowledge of God, or desire 
to attain thereunto, all things seem riddles, paradoxes, or empty notions, or fruitless parables. 


2. Christ might speak often in parables, because he woukl have men be studious ami in- 
dustrious to search out profouud wisdom, like as Sampson, who, to try the wisdom of the 
Piiilistines, put forth his riddle. For as nothing is more difficult and hard to understand 
than a parable, until it is opened and explained, so nothing is more clear, when it rs fully- 
understood. A parable is like a golden mine, you must dig and search with all pains and ) 
diligence, that would find the true vein thereof. 

3. It may be to discover the great need men have of the teachings of the Holy Spirit 
to understand divine truths ; notwithstanding their gi-eatest human learning, or clearest 
natural or acquired parts, " For what man knoweth the things of a man, but the fpirit of a 
man that is in him? so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God," 1 Cor. 
ii. 11. God has revealed some things concerning liimself more plainly, but there are deep 
things of God, or great mysteries in the Scripture ; and many such are contained in these 
parables, which, until the Spirit of God hath revealed them unto men, they understand them 
not. To what a degree of light and true spiritual knowledge, did the disciples of Christ 
attain, by the teachings of the Holy Ghost (who were but "fishermen or unlearned and 
ignorant persons,") John vii. 47, 48, Acts iv. 13, above what the learned Scribes and Pha- 
risees arrived at, that contemned the Holy Spirit's teachings. 

4. No doubt but our blessed Lord spake so often in parables, to illustrate and open 
sacred truths in the mystery of them, to the understandings of those that are spiritually 
wise. Because (as you have heard) heavenly things are, in their own primitive and sub- 
lime nature, so hard to be understood. 

5. Moreover, one reason why our Lord spake in parables, was to fulfil the prophecy of 
Scripture, Psal. Ixxviii. 2, compared with Matt. xiii. 34, 3.5. '" Without a parable spake 
he nothing ; that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken by the prophet, I will open my 
mouth in parables," &c. 

6. And lastly, It may be, that the Lord's own people might the better improve all na- 
tural things unto their spiritual advantage, as to instance in some few particulars ; viz. 

1. As when you light a c mdle, and put it into a candlestick, say within thyself, thus 
must God by his Word and Spirit, light my dark heart ; and thus must not my light be 
hid, but shine forth to the profit of others. And thus of like benefit to the world, is the 
church and people of God. Also, 

2. When you taste things unsavoury for want of salt, say, how unsavoury are such 
Christians or professors, whose words and conversations are not as becometh the Gospel; 
or when you taste things very sweet and savoury, say, how savoury should I be in my 
life, or in all my words and actions ! Also, how good is grace, to season my heart and 

3. When you see men dig deep, to lay the foundation of a house upon a rock, say, 
how careful should I be, to see that my soul is built upon that rock, Jesus Christ, whom God 
hath laid in Zion. 

4. When you, good women, leaven your bread, and you see in a little time the whole 
lump is leavened ; say, thus will the true grace of God, if I receive it into my soul, leaven 
my heart and every faculty in me, and never cease until I become a new lump. 

5. When you dig up new ground for to turn it into a garden, and find there much filth, 
stones, worms and vermin of tlie earth ; say within thyself, thus naturally, in me and in all 
men, there was much filth and abominable corruption, and loathsome vermin undiscovered, 
until God by his Spirit, by powerful convictions, ploughed up the fallow ground of my heart. 

6. When you see weeds, for want of care and pains, to grow up in your garuen, which 
spoil your herbs and choice flowers; say within thyself, hoiv will the weeds of sin and un- 
belief, spoil the growth of the good seed of grace in my soul, if I by faith, repentance and 
godly care, do not daily strive to weed them out, or get these base weeds up by the roots. 

7. When you seethe fire burn the wood, or consume all combustible matter; say within 
thyself, thus will the Spirit of God, when it hath kindled in my soul, burn up and consume 
every sin in me ; as pride, vain-glory, the inordinate love of this world, wrath, envy, malice, 
revenge, undue passion, slavish fear, unbelief, hypocrisy, and all things that are of a carnal 
and combustible nature. 

8. And when you see one coal kindle and enliven another, and the fire to bum more fer- 
vently by stirring it up ; say within thyself, what a mercy is it to be in the company of, 
and daily to converse with hvely Christians ! How doth their zeal heat, and warm, 
and enliven my soul ; and what need have I to stir up that grace and gift of God that 
is in me, by fervent prayer, fresh acts of faith and holy meditation. 

',). When you see the wind blows, by wliifh means the ship you behohl before your eyes 


sail swiftly before a prosperous gale, say witliin thyself, thus shall I sail swiftly along through 
the troublesome sea of this world, when the wind of the Spirit blows upon my soul. 

Wheu you see the sun in the spring, to cause the grass, herbs, trees, and flowers put forth 
and snjell fragi'antly, say within thyself, thus it will be with my soul, if Jesus Christ draws 
near to me by the powerful influences of his Spirit, all grace will put forth, bud, and blos- 
som in me ; so that I shall become fruitful to God in righteousness and true holiness, and 
be of a fragi-ant scent in his nostrils, to the delighting the heart of Jesus. 

10. Wlien you see a great shower of rain fall on the earth, say within thyself, how fruit- 
ful would this world be if God would send that gi'eat shower of the Spirit upon the souls of 
men, promised to be poured forth in the latter days ! And when you see a small and gentle 
rain fall upon the tender herb, which softens the mould, and causes the flowers and herbs 
to sprout furth and smell sweetly, say to God, send the sweet rain and dew of thy S|)irit 
upon thy word, people, and ordinances, and upon my soul ; so shall we grow and flourish 
in thy courts. 

11. When you see the sun to shine bright and clear, and dispel all fogs and thick clouds, 
say within thyself, what glorious times will they be, when the Sun of righteousness 
will break forth in all nations, and disperse all the dark clouds of Popei-y, errors, heresy. 
Paganism, and Mahometaulsm, which now cover all kingdoms and people, making it is a dis- 
mal world. And wheu you see the sun to shine bright and clear into your house, whereby 
you discern what dust and filth is therein ; say within yourself thus, when Jesus Christ 
began to shine into my heart by his Spirit, I came to see the filth and the abominable 
evils, and pollution of my heart, which huaibles my soul, and lays me mourning at his feet. 

12. When you go to bed (death being compared to our going to rest,) say within thyself, 
it will be but a little while, before I shall lie down in the grave, and rest there until the 
morning of the resurrection. 

13. When you rise in the morning, say within thyself, over a little time I sliall arise out 
of my grave, and meet Jesus Christ in the air. 

14. When your dearest friend is displeased with yon, and comes not to visit you 
as ill former times, say, ah ! what have I done ? Oh ! how sad is it, that my dear Jesus 
has hid his face, and withdrawn himself from my poor soul ! 

15. When you are in a dark night, or in a dark room, say, how dismal will the 
blackness of darkness be, to the ungodly for evermore I Lord, let me never be shut up 
in eternal darkness. 

IG. When you see a furnace of fire, or a hot oven, tliiuk of hell or the lake of fire, into 
which the wicked shall be cast ; and admire God's free grace in Christ, who hath saved 
thee from that burning lake. 

17. When you see a man or woman very crooked, deformed, and full of filthy sores run- 
ning on them, say. such a crooked, filthy, and loathsome creature was I, before God changed 
my heart, and cleansed and healed all the stinking sores which were in my soul ; which 
rendered me more loathsome in the sight of God, than this deformed and loathsome person 
before mine eyes is. 

Lastly, When you see a sower sowing his seed, and some of it falls on the highway side, 
and some on stony places, and some among thorns, and some upon good ground, that is 
well ploughed and manured ; call to mind what our Lord speaketh in the parable of the 
sower ; and say within thyself, how few hear the word, and bring forth the fruit thereof 
unto eternal life. Lord, prepare my heart to receive thy word, that it may be like the 
good ground, or I shall be undone for ever. Let my heart be broken up and prepared by 
thy plough. that I may have a good, an upright and sincere heart. Thus parables and 
metaphorical Scriptures may be improved every day, by each particular Christian, to his 
great profit and spmtual advantage. 


1. I infer from hence, of what gi-eat use parables are : behold, my brethren, take notice 
and ponder well what has been said. 

2. This also justifies such ministers, who labour with what wisdom God hath given them, 
to open and explain the truths of the gospel unto the people, hid in these parables and 
similitudes spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ. Nay, and it justifies those who, in their 
preaching, do make use of apt similes to illustrate the matter they are upon, to affect the 
hearts of the people ; yet it greatly concerns them all to see they use fit and proper allusions, 
lest they darken counsel with words without knowledge ; and so instead of giving more light, 
expose the gospel and name of God to reproach. 


3. It also tends to reprove tliose, who turn literal, plain, or historical Scripture into 
allegories ; as well as it reproves such, wlio, like the Papists, take figurative Scripture 
literally ; as when Christ saith, " This is my body ;" they say, he speaks of his real body, 
and not liguratively. Moreover, all such who through their gross ignorance affirm,' God is 
in the form of a man, because eyes, ears, a mouth, hands, and feet, are attributed to him. 

4. Exhort. Learn to be stuilious, search into the spiritual meaning and mysteries of 
allegorical and parabolical Scripture. be wise and experienced hearers, and be sure you 
do not despise men's preaching on these parables, since the substance of our Saviour's 
ministi'y to the world is contained in them. 

5. Yet let us all take heed (which I shall endeavour to do), that we strain no metaphors 
or parables, beyond their due bounds, beyond the clear analogy of faith. But so much 
shall sene, as to the nature of similes and parables in general. 


Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low ; and the 

crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth ; 
And all flesh shall see the Salvation of God. — Luke iii. 5, G. 

The evangelist Matthew, ]\Iat. iii. 3, hath the same passage, but he speaks more briefly unto 
it ; " The voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his 
paths straight." 

Saint Luke repeats the words of the prophet Isaiah, almost word by word, it being a 
clear prophecy of John the Baptist ; " The voice of him that crielh iu the wilderness, prepare 
ye tlie way of the Lord ; make straight in the desert, u highway for our God. Eveiy valley 
shall be exalted and every mountain and hill shall be made low ; and the crooked shall 
be made straight, and the rough places plain ; and the glory of God shall be revealed 
together, and all flesh shall see it," Isa. x. 3. 

For the better coming to open these words take notice, 

1. We have the time of John's ministry. 

2. His call unto his office, " The word of God came unto John," Luke iii. 2. 

3. An account of the places where he preached : " He came into aU the country round 
about Jordan," preaching, &c. ver. 3. 

4. The subject-matter of his preaching, viz. " The Baptism of repentance for the re- 
mission of sins," ver. 3. 

5. The occasion which might prompt him to enter on his ministry, viz., the ancient pro- 
phecy of Isaiah ; Isa. xl. 3. The Holy Ghost, no doubt, bringing this into his mind, and 
discovering it to him, that he was the person there prophesied of, and that it v/as now in 
him to he fulfilled. 

6. The end and grand design of his preaching, which was, " To prepare the way of the 
Lord ;■' and make a people ready to receive our Lord Jesus Christ, and to make known 
what gi-eat things our Saviour should do : viz., level mountains, and exalt valleys, &c. 

From the main scope of these words, and design of John's ministry, it ap- The scope 
pears that he was an harbinger to Jesus Christ, and was to proclaim Ids near opened™ 
approach, &c. 

From hence we may note, that this clearly showed to all, that Jesus Christ is a most 
glorious person, yea, a great and an almighty Prince; in that he had such a renowned 
person and prophet as Jolm Baptist was, to be his harbinger, to usher him into the world : 
(Though our Lord vailed his glory at his first coming, that he might, in the days of his hu- 
miliation, the better accomplish the great work he came to do.) For our Saviour speaking 
of John, saith, that among all them born of women, there had not risen a greater prophet 
than John the Baptist ; and that he was more than a prophet : He said more than any of 
the prophets could do ; viz., that the Messiah was come, pointing to him, said, this is He. 

2. From the whole matter contained in these symbolical expressions, we may clearly 
gather that the way of our Lord and Saviour, in order to the doing of the great work he 
came about, was rough and untrodden, even like a way through a wildernesss ; and that 
he must fill up vaUies, and bring down mountams, and make crooked tilings straight, and 
rough ways smooth ; that so the glory of God might be revealed. 


3. John was ministerially to signify these things must be done, but not that he was able 
to do them ; no, no ; but saith he, every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill 
shall be brought low, &c. Meaning that the Lord Jesus Christ should do these wonderful 
things ; and he was to give waruing to the people, and tell thera the Messiah was come, 
who should do these things, and so prepare them the better to look for him, and endeavour 
to find out the mighty things our Lord was to perform. 

Therefore, they who call John tlie Baptist a pioneer to Jesus Christ ; or, one that was to 
fill up ditches, and throw down hills, &c. certainly greatly mistake the meaning of John iu 
those metaphorical expressions. Could John level mountains, and fill up or exalt vallies ? 
no no ; it was to discover what our Lord Christ should do. Other ministers may as soon 
accomplish such mighty works as John Baptist ; as will appear, in opening what may, and 
doubtless is meant, by " Every valley being e.Kalted, and every mountain and hill being 
brought low, and the crooked made straight, and the rough ways made smooth," viz. 

1. And that I may come to speak hereunto, no doubt these things more generally 
signify, the removing of all those obstacles, difliculties, impediments, and stumbling-blocks 
out of God's way unto sinners, in order to their peace and reconciliation ; and also all 
obstacles and stumbling-blocks out of the sinner's way unto God : " Slake straight a high- 
way for our God, every valley shall be exalted," &c. For in both these respects there was 
such mountains of difficulties in the way, which none but Christ Jesus could remove ; but 
unless all those things were done of which John speaks, sinners could not be saved, nor the 
glory of God (personally considered) and also in all his attributes, be revealed. For evident 
it is this was the end and design of God ; in and by Jesus Christ as Jlediator, by his " Lev- 
elling mountains and exalting vallies, " viz. " That the glory of God might be revealed." 

Therefore let not any once think, that the bare opening the scope of these metaphorical 
Particular words is enough (and so in otlier symbolical and parabolical Scriptures) and 
aimintudes ^''^'' '' f^^'^urs more of wit than any solid judgment, to attempt to show, what 
and Parables may rationally be thought to be meant by mountains, hills, vallies, crooked 
to be opened, things and rough ways. 

1. Because it would render the Holy Ghost to multiply terms and words to no purpose. 
For why might not John rather have said all impediments or obstructions sliall be removed 
out of God's way of saving of sinners, and not have told us of mountains, hills; and vallies? 

2. And also, that our Saviour himself used needless allusions in all those mysterious 
similitudes and parables he uttered, and indeed in which ihe gi-eatest part of his ministry 
to the world did consist. It is not sufficient to open only the chief scope and design of our 
Lord in speaking of every parable ; for any so to say, it doth doubtless cast great contempt 
upon his sacred preaching. 

3. Moreover, did not our blessed Saviour in all those parables and similitudes which he 
was pleased to expound unto his own disciples, open every part of them, as being signifi- 
cant ? See the." I'arahle of the sower," Jlat. xiii., and tliat of the wheat and tares. 

4. Consider what St Matthew saith about Christ's speaking iu parables, similitude, &c. 
" All these things spake Jesus in parables, and without parables spake he not unto them ; 
that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, I will utter things which have 
been kept secret from the foundation of the world," Matt. xiii. 34, o5. By this it appears, 
that uniler our Saviour's parables and symbolical allusions, that those mysteries of the gos- 
pel wliich were hid from the beginning of tlie world, are comprehended ; and therefore ought 
to be opened. 

5. There are in parabolical Scriptures (as tropical writers observe) three things to be 

1. The root, 

2. The bark. 

3. The sap or fruit. 

1. The root is the scope to which parables tend. (2.) The bark is the similitude it- 
self. And, (3.) The sap or fruit ; is the mystical sense, &c. 

Now according to these learned men some would have us to be contented with the 
root, and bark, without the fruit ; as if those fruitful trees were barren, dry, and 

See the in- In opening parables, or such like dark Scriptures, we ought (I say again) well 
troduction. ^^ ^^^ ^.j^^ ^^^^^ ^^^^ ^l^.j^^, ^^ ^j^^ jj^j^ q^^^^^^ .^jjjgjj m^^y (^g k„owu from fore- 
going or subsequent things mentioned ; and we cannot err much, if our exposition of them 
agrees with the analogy of faitli. 

6. Though we readily grant, as the proverb is, metaphors and parables do not always 


run on all four ; also, in some parables there are disparities ; at, when Christ's coming is 
compared to a thief, not like a thief unrighteously to rob aud steal, &c. Su much I 
thought good to premise, to make my way the easier in speaking to this dark similitude, 
or these metaphorical expressions. 

2.1 shall endeavour [God assisting) to open all theparts of these words, not The parts 
straining any thing beyond the analogy of faith, though I will not presume to op'-n'^'i- 
affirm every thing I may observe, is tlie direct meaning of the Holy Spirit, nor dare others 
in their expounding Scriptures less doubtful ; yet so that none shall see just cause to con- 
clude, it is not the mind or sense of the Spirit. 

3. I shall observe some propositions, or points of doctrine, from some of the cliief parts 
contained therein. 

1. J-Jut before I proceed, let it be considered (as I conceive) that the grand obstructions 
or obstacles which lie in the way of God's being reconciled to sinners, and of sinners' re- 
conciliation unto hira, are comprehended by these metaphorical expressions. 

2. And that John furetels what our Lord Jesus Christ came to do ; " every valley 
shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low ;" that is, it shall be 
done by him (as if John should say) whose way I came to prepare. 

3. Now what doctrine did John the Baptist preach, as Christ's forerunner ? Did it not 
end to exalt God's mercy to penitent believers ? Some poor sinners lay under The doctrine 
the apprehension of God's severe justice, aud they could not see mercy raised baptist 

up, but that divine justice was so magnified, that they saw not any ground to 
expect forgiveness by the mercy of a gracious God ; he declaring the soul that sinneth 
shall die, and they saw that they had sinned, aud were become guilty before God ; and he 
saith, he wdl in no wise clear the guilty. 

Every valley shall be filled ; that the people might know what our Lord would do, to 
exalt the mercy of God to undone sinners, who, like vallies, lay very low under desjion- 
deney of spirit ; John bid them repent, which the law did not admit of : this word repent 
is a most sweet word, and tends to advance mercy aud God's free-grace, aud so to fill up 
those vallies, I mean despairing and desponding sinners. When God sends a messenger 
to rebels, and commands them to repent and believe, a sweet pardon be sure is a despond- 
comprehended therein ; and this tends to fill up or exalt two vallies. |"f va"^. 

1. The lowly aud desjionding soul. 

2. The mercy of God is exalted, which was one grand design of God in sending of his 
Son to satisfy divine justice ; for mercy, and divine goodness, could not be raised to run 
level with justice, until our Saviour had made a complete satisfaction for our sins. 

Every mountain and hill shall be brought low. Certainly by mountains aud hills may 
be meant, 

1. The haughty Jews and Pharisees, who were swelled with pride ; yea, like lifted up 
high mountains and hills ; how did the Pharisee glory, " God, I thank thee, I am Seii- Kigiit- 
not as other men, nor as this Publican ?" How did they boast of their own right- mountains 
eousness ; they not understanding the purity and holiness of the law, it never being 

opened unto them in the spirituality of it, they sought justification thereby ; " They being 
ignorant of God's righteousness, went about to establish their own righteousness." Ilom.x. 3. 
Paul tells us, he was alive once without the law ; that is, when he was a pharisee. How with- 
out it? had he not the law in the letter of it? Yea, he had the law in that sense, aud was not 
without it ; but he means, he was without the true knowledge of the law : 1 thought (as 
if he shoidd say) I was safe enough, and a justified person, because I had not broken the 
law in the letter thereof, being no swearer, drunkard, adulterer, extortiouer, &c. But 
now he saw every sinful thought and lust of the heart, was a breach of the law, and laid 
the soul under God's wrath and curse. And that no righteousness save the righteousness 
of God, can justify a sinner before him: but this the " Jews and pharisees saw not, but 
thought themselves righteous, and condemned others," Lukexviii. 9 ; and fi'om hence were 
like lofty hills and mountains in their conceit ; and these mountains John showed should 
be brought low, either in a way of mercy, as Paul was ; or else in a way of judgment, 
as the Jews and Pharisees who believed not. 

2. They were like mountains, in respect had to their legal privileges, being God's cove- 
nant people, boasting " They had Abraham to their father, and never were in bondage," 
John viii. 33. John Baptist in his ministry strove to level these mountains, when he saw 
them coming to his baptism, " generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the 
wrath to come ? think not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father " — 
" Now is the axe laid to the root of the tree," Matt. iii. 7, 8, 9. He strives to cut them off 


by tlie root ; namely, from having any spiritual advantages by the covenant with Abraham, 
as they were his natural offspring, as such. 

SveTam "'^ ^^' *-°'-'^°°' speaking of John Baptist, saith, " The ministry of John the Bap- 
p. 21, is. ' tist did burn as an oven, and left them neither the root of Abraham's covenant, 
nor the branches of their own good works ; he cutteth them off from the cove- 
nant of Abraham, and by cutting them off from the root, he leaveth them no ground to 
trust to." 

Thus he says, God hath cut us off from the righteousness of our parents, and from boast- 
ing of his ordinances. 

This John Baptist declared, and thus he laboured to prepare the way of the Lord ; 
■who indeed utterly threw down these hills and mountams of the Jews' confidence, in their 
glorying of their legal covenant and birth-right privileges. 

For, my brethren, what became of these mountains and hills, who were lifted up (by 
pride and vain boasting, that they were the church of God, the only people of God) when 
our Lord at his^death took away that legal covenant and covenant-privileges ; utterly dis- 
solving their national, legal, and typical church-state, and in its room erected his gospel- 
churches, his congi-egational churches ? These hills and mountains were then brought low, 
and that people were levelled with the Gentiles, who before were as vallies, but by our 
blessed Lord were filled up, and exalted, and made fellow-heirs of the same grace, that 
the Jews that believe partook of. 

3. The Jews and Pharisees might be compared to mountains and hills, in that they 
boasted they had the key of knowledge, and were the only teachers and masters of 
Israel, and that all besides themselves were ignorant and foolish persons. Do but read 
what holy Paul speaketh of them, to bring them down level with the ground ; " Behold 
thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God. And knowest 
bis will and approvest things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law. And art 
confident thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an 
instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which bast the form of knowledge, and of the 
truth of the law," Piom. ii. 17 — 21. See here how they were lifted up, and what mighty 
confidence they had of their knowledge and learning : but how low did our Lord bring 
these mountains and hills, and what contempt bring upon them, by his leaving lawyers, 
and pharisees, and learned Piabbins to themselves, and to the carnal confidence of their 
vain and fleshly minds, in rejecting of them, and not choosing one of them to be a disciple 
of his, and choosing poor fishermen, toll-gatherers, and such that were accounted unlearned 
and ignorant men ? " And when they perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant 
men, they marvelled, and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus," 
Acts iv. 13. No men who have not been with Jesus, or have not received ministerial 
gifts and gi'aces from the Lord Jesus, is a true minister of the Gospel. My brethren, 
who were more ignorant of Christ, and of the mysteries of the Gospel, than the learned 
rabbins among the Jews ? " Nay, God hath bid these things from such, and hath revealed 
them to babes," Matt. xi. 25. And thus Christ brings low the mountains and hills, and 
exalts babes and contemptible persons (who are like vallies] to the honour of being his 
great ambassadors, and stewards of his sacred gospel mysteries. " Ye see j'our calling, 
brethren, bow that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble 
are called ; but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise," &c. 
1 Cor. i. 26, 27. And thus Jesus Christ exalts the low, the humble person, who is 
like a valley, and brings the proud and haughty, (like mountains and hills) low ; making 
good or fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah, " The lofty looks shall be humbled, and the 
haughtiness of men shall be bowed down. And the day of the Lord shall be upon every 
oiie that is lifted up, and he shall be brought low : and upon all the high mountains, and 
upon all the hills that are lifted up," Isa. ii. 11 — 14. See here how the Holy Ghost com- 
pares proud and haughty men to hills and mountains. 

Secondly, sin (as ilr. Caryl notes, speaking of this very text) may be also meant by 
Our .sins these mountains. Our sins and unworthiness, which is as a mighty mountain 
tuines""""' '" '^^^ sighti when God opens our eyes ; nay, the mountain of our sins reached 
mountain. to heaven, caDing for wrath and divine vengeance : yet our Lord Jesus Christ 
liath levelled this mountain, and hath thrown it into the sea. " Thou wilt cast 
our sins into the depths of the sea," Mich. vii. 19. 

1. Jesus Christ hath removed the guilt of our sins, by bearing them upon his own body 
on the tree ; this part of this hill is brought low in our justification and free pardon. Oh, 
what a mountain of guilt lay upon us ! 1 Pet. ii. 24. 


2. He hatli also removed the filth of our sins in sanctification, by which he hath washed 
us by the operations of his Spirit, ami by sprinkling of tlie virtue of his own blood upon 
our consciences. So that our sins and unworthiness (though like to great mountains) can- 
not hinder us, nor any poor sinner that comes to Christ, to doubt of pardon, justification, 
and eternal life. 

Tliirdly, By mountains here also may be meant, or refer unto those great Men and 
oppositions our Lord Jesus met withal, in his working out our salvation. (1.) fi^e'm<iim- 
From men. [2.) From the devil. These stood in his way like mighty moun- tains iu 
tains, like as Sanballet stood as a mountain in the way of Zerubbabel (a type buTare '*''^' 
of Christ) " And who art thou, great mountain ? Before Zerubbabel, thou brought low. 
shalt become a plain," Zech. iv. 7. 

Fourthly, As vallies may refer to despairing sinners, so mountains and hills may refer 
to haughty and presumptuous sinners ; I sjieak not here of self-righteous persons, but of 
profane and ungodly persons, who, though tliey are ungodly wretches, loving and living in 
sin, being swearers, drunkards, covetous persons, and idolaters, yet boast and glory in the 
mercy of God ; that since Christ died for sinners, they say, they doubt not of being saved. 
These are swelled with a faithless confidence, a fond credulous presumption, arising from 
a groundless persuasion of the mercy of God and the merits of Christ. Yet, it may be 
joined with some sense, and convictions of sin and the dangerous consequences thereof; 
but presently all is salved with the common air and breath of a promise misconstrued, and 
falsely applied ; they not experiencing the nature of the faith of God's elect, but are such 
whom God denounceth wrath and eternal death against. 

Therefore this is more a fancy than faith, or a sure hope ; and but a vain imagination 
that deludes them into a belief and e.xpectation of that, which they are in no likelihood of 
enjoying; for that promise that gives us Christ, gives us also a new heart, but they find 
no thorough change in them ; Christ came to save his people from their sins, not in their sins ; 
or to " Redeem us from all iniquity," Tit. ii. 14, 1 Pet. i. 18, and from a vain conversation : 
but they are not thus redeemed ; therefore they are but as mountains lifted up, or jDresume 
their state is good, and that they shall be saved, when they are at present in a state of 
death and wrath ; and these mountains Christ came to bring low, and will level them 
with the gi'ound, if ever he manifest his love and favour to them. They say, they are 
Christians, they believe in God the Father, and in his Son Jesus Christ, and rest on him ; 
but yet are swearing Christians, lying Christians, drunken and whoring Christians, which 
is a direct contradiction. A Christian is one that is like Christ, a disciple of Christ ; but 
they are more like the devil than Jesus Christ ; yet nevertheless, though they are so no- 
torious m sin and wickedness, doubt not of their salvation, but " Say in theii- hearts they 
shall have peace, though they add drunkenness to thirst," I)eut. xxix. 19, M. But see 
what God saith, and how he wiU bring these hills down, " The Lord will not spare him, 
but tlien the anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke against that man," &c. 

Fifthly, Vallies may refer to the low estate of mankind, or of God's elect, jj^^^^^j 
as considered dead in the first Adam, or as under the law and curse thereof : naturally 
and mountains may refer to Satan, or those evil spirits, who were filled with '''^'^ ^ vaiiey. 
pride, and were exalted on high in their hellish and diabolical power and kingdom 
over mankind. These spirits had man down under their feet by reason of the fall and their 
natural pravity, weakness, and inability that is in them, to withstand the force of this 
prince of the power of the air, who rules iu all the children of disobedience, and hath all 
men naturally in his chains and fetters. how high are devils exalted by means of our 
sin. over us naturally ; and how low are we laid thereby ! A\hat dominion have the evil 
angels over all mankind until renewed ! But now our blessed Lord came to bring these 
" Cursed mountains and high hills low ;" i. e., to divest them of all their power, rule, and 
authority, which they have in the hearts of God's elect, while they abide in their natural 
state. •' For this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the 
works of the devil," 1 John iii. 8. This was the end of the Son of God, or one design of 
his, in taking our natui-e and becoming Mediator betwixt God and man ; viz. To pull 
down these lofty and haughty mountains and hills, or utterly to destroy the power of the 
devil, and the very basis and whole frame of his kingdom, and that " By his making an 
end of sin, and by bringing in an everlasting righteousness," Dan. ix. See what I'aul saith, 
"And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing 
over them in it, that is, by the blood of his cross," Col. ii.15. By this means he hath brought 
these mountains and hills low, he hath Satan and all evil spirits under his feet ; Deviuiike 
Jesus Christ hath absolutely conquered, and disarmed all the whole infer- mouutaim. 


nal lake, or vanquished the power of all these cruel enemies of our souls. " By death he 
hath destroyed deatli, and him that hath the power of death, which is the devil ; and deli- 
vered them who through fear of death, were all their life-time suhject to bondage, '' Heb. ii. 
14, 15. And as these mountains are brouglit low, so poor man, fl mean God's elect, or 
all that believe in Jesus, who were hke to vallies) are filled or exalted : how high are the 
lowly, nay, poor fallen men and women, lifted up and exalted ? 

(1.) From a state of wrath to a state of gi-ace. 

(2.) From a state of death to a state of life. 

(3.) From a state of condemnation to a state of justification. 

(4.) From God's fearful curse, or curse of the law, to be blessed with all spiritual bles- 
sings in hea^•enly things in Jesus Christ. 

(5.) From being the children of Satan, or children of wi-ath ; to become the children of 
God, sons and daughters of God. 

(6.) They being under the power of Satan, are brought into the kingdom of God's dear 

(7.) And being obnoxious to the wrath of God in hell, they are madeheii's of eternal 
life, and of eternal glory in heaven. 

Sixthly, mountains and hills may refer to every lofty imagination and high thought, that 
exalteth itself in believers, or that magnifieth itself against the knowledge of God, 2 Gor. 
10. These mountains Christ doth and will bring low, and all those dejected spirits, who 
by reason of sin, and sense of their unworthiness, think themselves not worthy of the 
least bit of bread ; and can hardly hft up their heads, being so oppressed and afllicted with 
the plague of inward corruption, or by means of that body of sin and death that is in them, 
they like low valhes shall be filled and exalted. " When men are cast down, then thou 
shalt say, there is a lifting up ; and he will save the humble person," Job xxii. 29. "Let 
the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted," Jam. i. 9 ; and such who were in 
a lowly condition are lifted up. By being in Christ he is a brother, and equal now in 
dignity and spiritual honour with the highest, and most noble, and richest Christian in the 
world, nay, if the poorest saint hath more grace, is most like Christ, he is hfted up higher 
than that brother who is rich in the world, that hath not arrived to his attainments. "But 
let the brother of high degree rejoice, in that he is made low," ver. 10 ; not made low as 
to his worldly riches, but low and humble in spirit. Riches make wicked men proud 
and haughty, they are like mountains, but when Christ comes and changes their hearts, 
though they be rich, yet are humble and lowly minded. 

Seventhly, I might add, that mountauis, &c., may in a remote sense refer to the proud 
and haughty monarclis of the earth, or to tyrannical kings and princes, whom the Lord 
Jesus will in the latter days bring low, and divest of all their power and kingdoms, and 
will lift up poor Sion, or exalt his churcn and jieople, who have been a long time as low 
vallies : " The mountains of the Lord's house sliall be established in the top of the moun- 
tains, and shall be exalted above the hills," &c., Isa. ii. 2. They that are now in the 
valley, or are like vallies, shall then be like mountains, they shall be exalted ; or such who 
are now like mountains and hills, shall then become vallies : God will turn the world up- 
side down, Isa. xxiv. 1, 2 ; the wicked shall then be the tail, and the saints the head. The 
government of the world shall be in Christ's hand, and the people of the saints shall take 
and possess the kingdom to the end ; yea, and all the kingdoms under the whole heaven 
shall be given unto them, Dan. vii. 27. So much as to vallies being exalted, and mountains 
and hills brought low. 

" The crooked things shall be made strait." 
What is 1. Crooked may refer to men's crooked opinions : they speak not right of 

brooked' ^°^ > ^'^^7 '^0 I'o' judge according to the straight and equal glory of all 
things. the perfections of God's holy nature ; nor according to the strait rule of his 

holy law, but magnify the glory of his mercy, to the echpsing the glory of his justice : and 
of this crooked opinion are the Socinians, and all that magnify the pardoning grace of God, 
without having respect to a plenary satisfaction, made to the justice and law of God by 
Jesus Christ. 2. The strait rule of the law is, that " He that doth those things shall live 
in them ;" i. e., he only that never sinned, nor doth sin, shall be justified ; so that none 
can be justified by the works of the law. But the Scribes aud Pharisees, though their 
righteousness lay not even, or in a straight line with the law of God ; but was crooked, 
sometimes much short on one hand, and wide on the other. For in many things they did 
not what the law required, and in other things they did what the law forbid, or com- 
manded not ; yet they thought none (in their opinions and lives) were more straight and 
even than they, when indeed none were more crooked : but these Pharisees, w1k> 


were in opinion, principles, and practices, very crooked, Christ came to make straight ; 
and such of them that helieved, were set straight, both in faith and practice by him. 

2. Crooked tilings may refer to those false and crooked ways of worship which many 
walk in ; ways which Christ never uistituted or appointed : the word of God is the only 
rule for worship, and administration of ordinances ; now all pretended ordinances 
and divine worship, that doth not exactly agree with this rule, but vary in matter or 
manner from it, are crooked ways. 

3. Crooked may refer to the lives and conversations of men, the law of God (as it is 
in the hand of Jesus Christ,) and the glorious gospel, is the only rule of our lives ; and all 
whose lives and conversations do not agree with that rule, are crooked ways. Therefore 
in all these respects, we should lay men's opinions, their doctrine, their worship and hves 
to the line and plummet ; and if they agree not, or he not strait with the rule, Hne, and 
plummet, they are crooked things. Sin is a missing the mark, an erring from the rule, 
or tran.-g essiug God's law ; and so sinful ways are crooked ways. And as the gospel 
also is our rule m respect of our conversations, in its precepts, so also in what it holds 
forth. (1). In that hatred God thereby shows against sin,' in punishmg it in his own 
blessed Son. {2). In God's infinite love : how are we taught of God to love him and 
one another, by the love of God to us in the gift of his Son ! (3). In pity and bowels 
of compassion to one another, when in want, sorrow, and afflictions ; for what pity and 
bowels of compassion doth the gospel hold forth was in God, to such who were in distress, 
want, and misery ! (4). In humdity : what condescension and humiUty hath the Son of 
God showed ! " Who was in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with 
God, yet took upon him the form of a servant, and became obedient unto death even the 
death of the cross :" Phil. ii. ti, d. Hence he says, " Learn of me, for I am meek and 
lowly m heart," &c. Matt. xi. 29. (5). In holiness : the gospel holds forth the infinite 
hohness and righteousness of God's nature ; in that without a perfect and complete right- 
eousness no man can be justified in his sight ; as also in sending of his Son to wash away 
all our sins and filthiness in his own blood ; and in that the gospel ako shows, that with- 
out regeneration, sanctification, and holmess, no man can enter into the kingdom, nor see 
his face. (G). In forgiveness : the blessed God hath laid down a rule in the gospel 
(in his free pardon and forgiveness of great sinners) for us ; that we might learn, how 
to forgive them that trespass against us : I might proceed to many other things ; and 
as what things the gospel holds forth, should be a rule to us how to walk in this 
world, towards God and man ; so the hfe of Christ and his apostles, is our pattern. 
And all men, whose hves and conversations do not accord, or agree with the precepts of 
the law in Christ's hand, nor according to what the Gospel holds forth, nor according to 
our holy pattern, they walk in their own crooked ways ; and Christ came to make men's 
lives straight, and that they might leave all their own crooked ways. 

4. Crooked may also refer unto men's crooked spu-its ; how cross and uneven are some 
men's hearts and spirits to the word and will of God. " The carnal mind is enmity against 
God, it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be," Horn. viii. 7. But 
Jesus Christ, by the power of his Spu-it, makes their hearts and spirits to lie straight and 
even with the word and will of God. 

" And rough ways shall be made smooth." 

Hough ways may denote, or set forth, those many obstructions and stumbling-blocks 
that are in the sinner's way ; their paths are rough, many obstacles and stumbling-blocks 
being in their way, in coming to Christ, and in closing with his church and people ; wliich 
Christ by his word, gospel-ministry, and by the operations of his Spirit, removes, and so 
makes their way smooth and even. " Cast up, cast up, prepare the way, take up the 
stumbling-blocks out of the way of my people, Isa. Ivii. 14 ; which words may refer to 
the ministry of John Baptist, and to gospel ministers. 

My brethren, God caused the ways to the cities of refuge under the law, to be very 
smooth, plain, and easy, for the man-slayer ; and ordered all stumbling-blocks to be taken 
up, and rough ways to be made plain ; which was a type of Christ's making the way of 
sinners easy in coming to him, and to the Father by him. 

" And all flesh shall see the salvation of God." 

This is the design of God in his levelling mountains, and filling or exalting valleys, and 
in making crooked things straight, and rough ways smooth, viz. 

that all flesh, that is, all men that believe, may, I. See the glory of God's wisdom in 
his contriving the way of our salvation by Jesus Christ. 

Z. The glory of his infinite love, mercy, and divine goodness. 


3. The glory of his infinite justice and hohness, in tliat his justice is as much exalted 
in and by Christ, as his love and mercy. 

4. The glory of God's power, and his Almighty arm ; " Christ is the power of God, 
and the wisdom of God," 1 Cor. i. 24. All the divine attributes being united, or meeting 
together in sweet harmony in Jesus Christ ; how Almighty is God in him to save lost 
sinners ! 

5. The gloiy of his truth and faithfulness. 

('}. The glory of his free grace, being exalted alone in our salvation, and sorry man 
utterly debased and laid low. 

7. The glory of the holy law of God ; how is the law magnified and made honourable 
in Christ, who was born under it, and came to perform all tliat righteousness and obedience 
which it required of us, and in dying for us, to satisfy for our breach thereof ! Thus in 
respect of all the glorious attributes of God, the glory of God is in and by Jesus Christ 

Secondly, take the glory of God here, for his glory personally considered, (1). How 
doth the glory of God the P'ather shine forth herein, or what revelation is there of it in 
the gospel ! (2). How is the glory of God the Son revealed also ! and, (3). How is 
the glory of God the Holy Ghost likewise revealed and magnified ! And all this is done 
and displayed in Jesus Christ the llediator. And all flesh shall see it ; that is, not the 
Jews only, but also the Gentiles, or all nations; i. e., some in all nations ; nay, the whole 
world at last. 

From the opening these metaphorical expressions, two or three propositions or points of 
doctrine may be raised. 

The Doctrine 1. Doct. That there are many obstructions, stumbling-blocks. Or difficuUies 
raised. that Jesus Christ must remove, to make the way of sinners plain and smooth 

unto everlasting life. 

2. Doct. That the grand design of Christ in coming into this world, was to discover. 
To fill every reveal, and manifest the glory of God. 
brin^iow"* I shall begin with the first of these propositions. 

evt-ry lull First, I shall show you further concerning those obstacles, difficulties, and 

t "in.Tc!"" stumbling-blocks, which lie in the sinner's way in respect to their justification 
before God and eternal life, which render the way rough, &c. Also show how 
the Lord Jesus Christ doth remove these stumbling-blocks. 

First. As to the Jews, there were several stumbling-blocks in their way, as there are 
also now in the way of many persons in respect of their justification before God, and of 
eternal life, which tend to make the way rough. 

1. The law and justice of God was as an obstacle in the sinner's way : 
iusficeof"""^ ^^'I'o <^ou\([ get over it ? Mount Sinai was a burning mountain, from whence 
God a proceeded fire and smoke, blackness, and darkness, and tempest, Heb. xii. 18, 

ofdi'iflouUy, shadowing forth the terrible storms of God's wrath and indignation; which pur- 
sued the breakers of that law, to the lowest hell ; which made " Moses ex- 
ceedingly to fear and quake," verse 21. 

But Jesus Christ by his obedience to the law, and, in bearing that wrath, punish- 
ment and curse due to us for the breach thereof, hath removed this stumbling-block or diffi- 
culty out of the way. 

But the Jews did not (as many now a-days do not) see how this obstacle is removed, but 
they thought it possible to get over this mount, and it seemed to them but as a mole-lull, 
they thinking by their external conformity to the letter thereof, and so by their own legal 
righteousness, to be justified; not knowing that it required a perfect or sinless obedience, 
and that one sinful or evil thought vras a breach thereof. 

This was their ignorance, viz., they understood not the end, purpose, and design of 
God, in giving forth that ministration of the law upon Mount Sinai ; which was not given 
to the Jews (nor others) after sin entered, for life, to justify them before God. But, 

1. To make " sin appear exceeding sinful," Bom. vii. 13, and to discover how they 
(who were under that law) as well as the Gentiles, by violating the law, or works of the 
law, written in their hearts, were found guilty before God. " Now we know that what- 
soever the law saith, it saith unto them that are under the law, that every mouth might 
be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God," Bom. iii. 19. 

2. To show the need and absolute necessity of a perfect righteousness, which every 
way answered the strict requirement of the moral law ; and by tlie types and sacrifices 
of the ceremonial law, God showed the necessity of a sin-atoning sacrifice : " For it was 


impossible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sin, as to the conscience," 
Heb. ix. 13. 

3. Therefore the law in both respects served as a scliool-master, to lead sinners to 
Christ ; but neither of these they understood, but sought to be justified by their own im- 
perfect rigliteeusuess. And that the law was a stumbling-block to them, is evident by 
what Paul saith, " But Israel that followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attain- 
ed to the law of righteousness, Kom. is. 31. Wherefore ? Because they sought it not iiy 
faith, but as it were by the works of the law, for they stumbled at thatstumbliug-stone, " 
ver. 32. 

Whosoever seeks justification or righteousness to justify them, by doing or by working 
in obedience to the law, or any law, and mjt by Christ's righteousness alone, in a way of 
believing, stumble ; the law is a stumbling-block to them, being ignorant of the righteous- 
ness of God, as the Jews were. " For they being ignoraut of God"s righteousness, and 
going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the 
righteousness of God," Eom. x. 3. It is, as I have often told you, when the conscience of a 
sinner is awakened, and he sees his horrid guilt ; then he seeks for help and relief by 
his prayers, tears, leformation of life, and not in and by Jesus Christ ; and at this stumb- 
ling-block many stumble and perish, this makes the sinner's way rough, which Christ in 
the ministry of the gospel makes smooth ; telling all both Jews and Gentiles, that by the 
" works of the law shall no flesh be justified,'" Kom. iii. 20. " For had there been a law," 
(any law) " that could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law,'' 
Gal. iii. 21. Again, he saith, " If righteousness came by the law, then Christ is dead in 
vain," Gal. ii. 21. 

Secondly, Jesus Christ himself was a stumbling-block to the Jews. " But we preach Christ 
crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block," 1 Cor. i. i;3, not intentionaUy ; Christ is not 
the cause of their stumbling, but the object at whom they stumbled. 
Quest. How came this to pass ? 

Answ. 1. They thought, that the Messiah when he came, would appear in gi-eat out- 
ward grandeur, as a mighty temporal prince, to save them from all their earthly enemies ; 
they not knowing, they needed a C'ln-ist to come to die for them, to save tliem from their 
sins, wrath, and all their spiritual enemies ; yet it was said in Daniel, the Messiah should 
be cut otf. 

2. And as they stumbled at his person, so also at his shameful and ignonii- Tiie person 
nious death ; they cuuld not believe nor once imagine, that tliey could be justi- b,\,^'|'^j','J^ 
fied from sin by the obedience and righteousness of Christ, or by a person that block to tiia 
they hanged on a tree ; they could not see how their sins should be laid upon "^""^ 
another, or one in the sinner's stead. 

The Scripture saith, that the soul that sins shall die ; so that they could not see, how 
another should die in tlie stead, or room of the guilty criminal, or that God would accept 
of a surety, the just for the unjust. 

Thirdly, the word of faitli was another stumbling-block to the Jews, " Even The word oj 
them that stumble at the word ;" ( 1 Pet. ii. S.) or at the preachuig of tlie Gospel : s^u,!f,b*ing. 
our Lord told them, " That unless a man eat his flesh and drink his blood, he block. 

hath no life in him And wJien they heard this, they said, This is a hard 

saying, who can hear it ?" (Johu vi. 53, 60). By this eating, the Jews thought our 
Saviour meant a corporal eating ; " How can tliis man give us his flesh to eat ?" (ver. 52.) 
The papists say, it refers to a sacramental eating his flesh, of which our Lord speaks not; 
men may eat of that bread, and drink of that cup in the sacrament, and perish ; but this 
eating is a beUeving in Jesus Christ, or apprehending, or receiving of him by faith, who 
only is the object of that faith, which is called justifying faith ; but this beUeving to righ- 
teousness, and justification, was a mere stumbling-block to the Jews ; and so it is to many 
in our days, who would eat their own bread, and drink their own drink, and wear llieLr 
own api)arel. 

Fourthly, sin is another grand stumbling-block in the sinner's way, which Sin is a 
makes their way rough : U my sins are great, my sins are many, I am a vile j,i""[. il,"^' 
and a polluted wretch ; were I a rigliteous, a holy, and spiritual person (saith an "'e w.iy to 
ungodly man) I could believe J might be justified. If 1 had a holy heart, and a 
holy life, or were I truly humbled, and broken for my sins, then 1 could venture my soul 
upon Christ. 

Answ. 1. Now to remove this stumbling-block, and to make the sinner's bH^'^biock 
way smooth, Jesus Christ shows us in liis word, that original sin, Adam's first sin, ron^ved. 


brouglit wrath and condemnation upon all mankind, or " Judgment came to all men unto 
condemnation, and so death passed upon all men," Eom. v. 

2. Moreover, that the least actual sin is enough to damn the soul for ever ; yea, one 
evil thought, as well as ten thousand of the greatest sins, it being a breach of God's 

3. Nay, If a sinner could live and not commit one sin, yet he could not be justified there- 
by ; for " I know nothing of myself, yet am I not thereby justified ;" or if Paul should say, 
admit I did not know any sin was iu me, or now lived and sinned not ; yet my old sins, 
my former sins wculd condemn me, without I have the righteousness of Christ to stand in 
before God. 

Sirs, all our sins, original and actual, before grace and after grace ; small sins as well as 
great sins, were laid upon Jesus Christ ; he bore the sins and punishment due for all the sins 
of God's people, both past, present, and to come ; all the whole debt is paid for God's elect, 
and this thou must believe, God in Christ is reconciled and pacified towards all that be- 
lieve in Jesus : and this is the way, by which he makes the sinner's way smooth, and re- 
moves this stumbling-block out of his way, 2 Cor. v. 18, 19 ; Eom. v. 10. 

4. Sinners must not believe, that their forgiveness lies in their repentance and sorrow 
for sin, nor in their inherent holiness. I mean, it is not for the sake of their repentance, 
nor for the the worth of their faith, nor that their inherent holiness is any part, or matter 
of their justifying righteousness before Go J ; or for the sake and worth of which they are 
pardoned and justified; but only by the active and passive obedience of Christ. " Be it 
known unto you therefore, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of 
sins, and by him all that believe are justified from all things," Acts xiii. 38, 3i). 

5. Consider that repentance, sorrow for sin, and humiliation, faith itself, are the eflFects 
of Christ's death and merits ; and that all sense of sin, and such a believing or confidence, 
■which an ungodly person may have, before he obtains a vital union with Christ, are but 
dead works, and profits no man to justification ; and know also, that true repentance, &c., 
is the immediate product of saving faith, though faith itself is a fruit of God's Spirit, Giil. 
V. 22. The sense of divine love in free forgiveness, works brokenness of heart, and ti-ue 
sorrow for sin. Can a malefactor be melted into tears, for his treason and rebellion against 
his lawful sovereign, when he sees he is condemned to die ? No, no, he is rather hardened 
against him ; but when he hears that there is a proclamation come forth of a free pardon 
for all his rebellion and abominable treasons, then he is melted and falls down at the feet 
of his gracious sovereign. So it is here. 

6. To make the way yet more smooth and easy, God pronounceth a free pardon to the 
rebellious and stout-hearted ones who look unto him, " Hearken unto me, ye stout hearted, 
that are far from righteousness ; for I bring my righteousness near unto you," Isa. xlvi. 12. 
Yea, such that are not only void of righteousness, but enemies to true righteousness and 
holiness of life, that despise God's counsel, and hate instruction and the knowledge of God. 
Sure this may tend to remove this stumbling-block, or raise these vaUies, and level this 

7. The blessed God is so gi-acious in Jesus Christ, that though he afilict thee for thy sins, 
and thou art never the better, but rather worse ; yet his free grace comes leaping over 
this mountain, and all impediments and unworthiness in us whatsoever. " For tlie iniquity 
of his covetousness 1 was wroth, and I smote him, and hid me, and was wroth," Isa. Ivii. 
17, 18. Well, and was he humbled ? No. " And he went on frowardly in the way of his 
heart ;" and what will God do now with him ? Will he not pour forth his anger, and con- 
sume him for ever ? No, no. " I have seen his ways, saith the Lord, and will heal him, 
and restore comfort to him." Ay, but saith a poor believer, I cannot pray, I have almost 
given quite over praying ; such a temptation thou mayest be under, and so it was with 
some of God's people of old : nay, and they were also weary of God's ordinances and holy 
worship ; yet see how God's fi'ee gi'ace levels this mountain and removes this stumbling- 
block. " But thou hast not called upon me, Jacob, but thou hast been weary of me, 
Israel. Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt-oft'eriugs, neither hast 
thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an ofl'ering, 
nor wearied thee with incense. Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with thy money, 
neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices ; but thou hast made me to serve 
■with thy sins, and hast wearied me with thine iniquities," Isa. xhii. 22, 23. 24. Thou 
hast (as if Christ should say) made it necessary for me to take upon me the form of a ser- 
■vant, that 1 might bear the weight and carrj' away the load of thy sins ; see how our 


Lord aggravates the sins of his people, not to magnify his justice, but to exalt his mercy 
in his free pardon. " I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for my own 
Name's sake, and will not remember thy sins," v. 25. 

9. what promises hath God made to great and notorious sinners ! " Though your 
sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow ; though they be red Uke cximson, they shall 
be as wool," Isa. i. IS. 

" I say unto you, all manner of sins and blasphemy, against the Father and the Son, shall 
be forgiven unto men," &c. Matt. xii. 31. 

" Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts," or the man 
of iniquity, " the vilest man, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy 
upon him, and to our God, and he will abundantly pardon," Isa. Iv. 7. 

Let him believe in Jesus Christ, for there is no other way to return to God ; and then 
all their wicked, unbelieving, presuming, or despairing and blasphemous thoughts, shall 
be forgiven, and all acts of gross transgi'essions whatsoever. 

10. What horrid and vile sinners hath God in a way of free grace through Christ pardoned ! 
What a sinner was Manasses, JIary JIagdalene, the Jews that cried, " let his blood be on 
us, and on our children," and who murdered the Lord of life and glory ! Paul, who per- 
secuted the saints to death ; nay, what a sinner was Adam ? and yet was pardonel. 
What did God do for him ? what power had he to withstand all temptations ! nessoF*'' 
what a common ht ad was he made to all his whole oflspring ! what a stock Adam's 
had he in his hand ! and what ruin did he bring upon the whole world, as op'ened. 
well as on his own soul ! what a God did he disbeliave, contemn and despise ! 
what a holy and blessed image did he deface ! what a vile devil did he obey, and set on 
his hellish throne ! And what a curse did he by his sin bring upon the whole Creation ! 
Moreover, what were some of the Corinthians ? 1 Cor. vi. 10, 11. 

Jl. And lastly, what kind of sinners are invited to come to Christ, or to fly to God in 
him ? Such who are heavy laden with sin and horrid g'uilt. Matt. xi. 28. Backsliders 
from God, and such that had done as evil things as they could, Jer. iii. 5. And why is 
all this, but to magnify free-grace without works ; and to fill up valUes, and bring moun- 
tains low, and remove all stumbling-blocks out of the sinner's way, that the glory of 
God might be revealed ? But no more at this time. 


Evert/ valley shall be filled, and every mountain shall he brought low, and the crooked shall 
be made straight, and rough ways shall be made smooth. — Luke iii. 5. 

That there are many mountains of difficulties that Jesus Christ must remove, and several 
stumbling-blocks which he must take up, to make the sinner's way smooth unto eternal 

I have spoken already of four things, which are as mountams of difficulty or stumbling- 
blocks in the sinner's way, and have showed how Jesus Christ doth remove them. I shall 
now proceed. 

Fifthly, there is another stumbling-block which must be removed, or as a great impedi- 
ment, taken out of the sinner's way ; and that is, despair of the pardoning 
grace of God in and by Jesus Christ. °deep viu' 

1. I shall show what despair is. ley, or a 

2. Discover from whence it is, that this stumbling-block comes to Ue in the g"^' JJ^' 
sinner's way. 

3. Show the great evil and danger thereof. 

Note, despair, I have intimated, in opening these metaphorical expressions, is like a 
valley, and presumption as a mountain ; so it may be considered as a stumbling-block in 
the sinner's way. 

2. Despair of any sufficiency in ourselves, of any worth, power, and strength of our 
own, is a holy despair ; and this valley of humility and self-abasement must never be 


filled up ; we must by no means allow of self-exaltation. " No flesh must glory in his 
presence," 1 Cor. i. 29. This I do not mean. 

Despair of God's pardoning grace in Christ is that I speak of, which is either (1.) 
Private, a total privation of the habit of faith or hope ; or, (2.) Negative, a cessation of the 
act or exercise of faith and hope, at least for a time, in the sense and discerning of the 
soul itself, arising through temptation, or weakness of grace, or from the want of the ex- 
ercismg of faith and hope in God. It is despair in this sense, I chiefly purpose to speak to. 

1. L)espair refuseth all manner of comfort, or hope of mercy, under those strong con- 
victions the sinner hath of sin, wrath, and misery ; he urging the sentence of the law, not 
considering the greatness of the grace of God in Christ ; whereas faith and hope have to 
do with the promises. 

2. Utter despair takes off the soul from inclining to embrace the free favour and rich 
grace of God in Jesus Christ ; Faith and hope take hold of it, knowing " Where sin hath 
abounded, grace hath much more abounded." Rom. vi. 

ii. Despair sees more sin in the soul, tlian there is grace and pardon in Jesus Christ ; 
but faith sees more virtue in Christ's blood, and favour through him in the heart of God, 
to justify and save the soul, than there is demerit in sin, to damn and destroy it. 

4. Despair always pores upon sin, or on the disease of the soul ; and sees not the cure ; 
faith and hope eyes the Lord Jesus Christ, as that full and blessed remedy. " They said 
there is no hope," Jer. xviii. 21. 

Despair (as one observes) is very peremptory and positive in concluding against itself; 
it is resolved upon nothing but death, sin he thinks being greater than can be forgiven to a 
lost and undone creature ; as in the highest degree of faith and hope, there is assurance 
of salvation, so in despair there is a dismal and uncomfortable apprehension and per- 
suasion of eternal damnation. But hope, though it may be accompanied with many fears 
and doubts, yet hath some grounded expectation of future happiness, and therefore in a 
patient and felicitous manner waits on God in the use of means for it. 

Secondly, I shall show you from whence this stumbling-block comes to lie in the way 
of sinners. 

From 1. It ariseth from a sense that the sinner hath of the breach of God's holy 

Bp^ir arises, l^w, and his Severe sentence against aU men thereupon, who saith, he will by 
no means clear the guilty. Now to remove this, consider, that the guilt of our sins was 
charged upon Christ as our Sm-ety, and he hath made a full satisfaction to the law and 
justice of God ; so that every soul that believes, shall be acquitted in a way of justice and 
righteousness, as well as in a way of gi-ace and mercy. 

2. But, saith the despaii'ing sinner, I find naturally such pravity, such inward filth and 
corruption in my heart, that I may see there is no hope for me. 

Answ. 1. It is true, there is in all unrenewed persons a privation of 
The wofui power, an absence, a total privation ; an absence not in part but in degi'ees ; 
nersVy na°" '* '^ not only a Suspension of acts, as may be in a man that is asleep, but in a 
ture. man that is dead, when we were without strength ; Nay, without life ; not as 

Ciarkson, p. an absence of power, as in sickness, but a total privation or absence of power. 
'5. Also (as one notes) not only a total privation in the respect of power, but 

it is universal in respect of the subject of power, every part, every faculty is impotent, 
and depraved, yea, wholly deprived of power to act, do, stir or move, in a true spiritual 
manner ; the will, the understanding, the afl'ections, memory, conscience, &c. 

3. Nay, and the soul is uncapable in a natural way to receive power as a branch that 
is cut off from a tree, and is withered, is incapable to become fruitful; it is such an incapa- 
city as are in stones to become children unto Abraliam ; or that m dry bones to live, to be 
joined together, and to be animated, and made instruments of vital acts ; nothing but in- 
finite power can bring them together : regeneration is a new creation, it is God's workman- 

It is not (as woithy writers observe) 2 Cor. v. 17 ; Eph. iv. 24, only a physical want 
of power ; but a moral privation, a want of will, both unable and unwilling to be able, 
and also unable to be willing, without infinite power inchne the will, and make it willing ; 
" Ye will not come to me," John v. 40. 

Life must be given before a sinner can breathe, stir, or move, in a spiritual manner ; 
either to believe, repent, love God, subdue sin ; faith, repentance, and love to God, &c., 
are given to a sinner. Sinners are in a wretched state. " Their thoughts are only evil, 
and that continually," Gen. vi. 5 ; their lusts have power over them, they have eyes full 
of adultw-y, that cannot cease from sin. Moreover, they are all in Satan's chains, he 
liath them under his feet. But what of all this ? Is there no hope ? Must a sinner de- 


spair because he cannot help himself, quicken himself, renew himself, and change his own 
heart ? Though he may change his outward course of life, yet his heart will remain vile 
and filthy still. Yet sinners ought not to despair. For, iiow this 

1. Consider, is not God able to put a principle of life mto thee ? Cannot J,'i")ck'is'rc'- 
he quicken thee, and put a new spirit into thee ? moved. 

2. And hath he not promised to take away the heart of stone, and give a heart of 
flesh ? 

3. Were not such who have got a new heart, and are renewed and do believe, once 
in the same condition thou art in, being dead, bUnd, depraved, filthy, carried away with 
folly and vanity as thou art ? 

Object. You say right, saith the despairing soul, I do not only want power, and am 
prone to all evil, but I tind that I love vanity, and my vile lusts ; and I find in me an in- 
disposition to that which is good, and this stumbles me : sin is sweet, the world is 
pleasant, carnal conipany desirable. But I find no propensity, no desire, no love to, nor 
any delight in spiritual things ; nay, and not only an indisposition to good, but also an 
averseness, a hatred thereunto ; ' ■ There is enmity in my carnal mind against God and 
spiritual things," Rom. viii. 7 ; so that such things are wearisomeness to me, therefore I 
give up all hope, and cannot believe. Encouroge- 

Answ. To answer this, suppose thou art as bad as sin and the devil can JJerstoVe'-"" 
make thee. lievein 

1. Yet is not God able to change that vile lieart of thine ? Cannot he ^ '^'*'' 
- destroy that enmity that is in thee, and cause thee to love him, and hate all sin ? 

2. Were not those St. Paul speaks of, as bad as thou art? viz., " Thieves, covetous, 
drunkards, revilers, extortioners, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate persons, abusers of them- 
selves with mankind : and such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sancti- 
tified, but ye are justified," 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10, 11. 

3. You can be but sinners, and not worse than the chiefest of sinners, and Jesus Christ 
came into the world to save such. This is a " saying worthy of all acceptation, that 
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of wliom I am chief," 1 1'im. i. 15. But 
why, Paul, didst thou obtain mercy ? see ver. 16, " That in me first Jesus Christ might 
show forth all long-sutfering for a pattern to them, which hereafter should believe on him 
to everlasting life. Were not his sins as great as thine, and his heart as much depraved, 
his will as rebellious ? then look up to God for help, and cry for faith to believe, and 
resolve to venture on the Lord Jesus Christ. I told you the last day, what great shmers 
(besides Paul) found mercy. 

4. God hath sent me to you in this place, to treat with you as a poor despised ambas- 
sador, and to offer peace to you, thuugh you have been long rebellious against him, and 
what though you " Have spoken and done as evil things as you could ?" Jer. iii. 5. So had 
they God offered mercy to, Jer. iii. 5. " Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as 
though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be you reconciled to 
God," 2 Cor. v. 20. The ministration of the gospel is ordained to that end, that sinners 
might believe ; and God hath promised it shall accomplish that for which he hath sent it, 
Isa.lv. 11. It shall come to some in "power and not in word," only, 2 Thes. i. 4, 5. 
And why not so to you ?■ Cannot you say with the poor man in the gospel, " Lord, I believe, 
help thou my unbelief," Mark ix. 24. The moi-e impotent you are, the more need to look 
to Christ for help : " For without him you can do nothing," John xv. 5. 

5. If ye perish, it is not only because you are great sinners (though sin is the procuring 
cause thereof) but it is because you refuse to look to Christ, or refuse to accept of Jesus 
Christ, or despair of God's mercy in him, even as they perished in the wilderness, who re- 
fused to look up the brazen serpent ; " If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your 
sins," John viii. 24. What, neither believe God, when he saith there is lite in his son ? 
Not believe Christ, who saith, " Whosoever coraeth to me 1 will in no wise cast them out,'' 
John vi. 37 ; nor believe his ambassadors ' But what cause or reason have you to con- 
clude there is no Christ, no grace, no faith for you? Is there not less cause or ground for 
you to despair or to doubt, than the Jews had that put our Lord to death, and many others 
I have mentioned ? 

6. Consider how soon God was reconciled to Adam ; and whose sin was worse than his? 
Who was made ruler and lord of this nether creation ; who had no spot, no stain of sin, 
nor inward pollution in him, who had power to stand ; he was a free-wilier indeed, and 
none but he had power of himself to will and do that whicli was good ; he was set up as 
a common head of all his posterity. If thou sin, thou dost but murder thyself, or destroy 



thine own soul ; but he by his first sin murdered millions of millions, even the whole world ; 
yet he believing the free promise of God in Christ, was pardoned. 

7. That God should be reconciled in Christ, fully reconciled ; so that all his wrath is over, 
and "No fury in him" (Isa. xxvii. 4,) to all that fly to Jesus (Arist, who hath borne all God's 
vindictive wrath and justice. God is not in Christ only reconcileable, (as some speak) but 
he is reconciled ; if it were not so, what can reconcile him, or what can appease his anger ? 
Can any thing but a sacrifice ? And is there any other sin-atoning and wrath-appeasing 
sacrifice, to be offered up to God ? Can men's believing, repenting, or obedience, reconcile 
God to sinners ? Doth Christ's obedience make God reconcileable, and sinners' obedience 
reconcile him ? 'Which then ought to have the greatest glory, Christ, or sinners ? Come, 
a free pardon is offered to you once again, upon your acceptance of Jesus Christ ; for God 
is so reconciled in his Son, that he doth discharge, pardon, and acquit all those that beheve 
in him, without a satisfaction made by sinners to his law and justice, and without any 
foreseen faith or obedience (to any such end or purpose) done by them, and without any- 
thing wrought in them : faith does not make the obedience and death of Christ satisfactory 
unto God, it adds no worth to Christ's merits. Oh! admire free grace, what love and 
favour is this ! 

Should a sinner lie a thousand years in hell, and bear a part of God's vindictive justice, 
and yet then through Christ's blood and satisfactory sacrifice, be discharged and redeemed 
out of it ; all must say that would be great grace ; but such that believe, bear no part of 
his vindictive wrath ; we pay not one farthing of that debt (nor were we able) which we 
owed to God's justice : no, Christ hath borne it all, he hath paid all that we stood charged 

8. God is reconciled for ever to such that believe, and no new war shall ever arise be- 
tween God and them ; the league and covenant of peace can never be dissolved, never be 
broken, "Sion's warfare is accomplished, her sins are pardoned, for she hath received 
(Jouble for all her sin," Isa. xl. 1, 2. Christ's satisfaction was a double payment, nay, (as 
Mr. Caryl notes) it was an hundred-fold more than enough, considering the infiniteness of 
the worth of his person. Our comfort is this, our warfare is ended, and the fruits of 
Christ's death is not only pardon of all our sins, but a double favour; not only a discharge 
from hell, but grace, adoption, sonship ; nay, a marriage with Christ, and glory in heaven 
for evermore. 

Thirdly. It is not only from the sense of God's law being broken, or their sins very 
great, and their state deplorable, that some despair, " But by reason they have found aU 
Sorae means of grace hitherto ineffectual, or insufficient to them, to this very day." 

stumble and J have (saith a doubting and despaning sinner) heard many most excellent 
cause the sermons, I have sat under a powerful ministry, and yet I find I cannot beheve, 
grace'hither- 1 ^^ Still in my sins, and as bad as ever ; nay, I have had strong convictions 
to have been sometimes, but they are gone off ; I have sinned against light, promises, and 
'them. solemn covenantings with God, when under his rod, &c. 

Answ. To take up this stumbling-block, 

1. May be thou eomest to hear men, and not Christ, speak to thee; or hadst too great 
an eye upon the instruments by whom the gospel is administered ; alas ! what means this 
great noise that is abroad, of crying up one, and crying down another free-grace preacher? 
The people of this age are carnal : one is for Paul, and another for ApoUos. Sirs, the 
efficacy of the word hes not in the gifts, learning, eloquence, or abilities of ministers, but alone 
in the agency of the Holy Spirit ; " We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the ex- 
cellency of the power may be of God, and not of us," 2 Cor. iv. 7. 

2. Or may be, you looked for the efficacy and divine power to lie in the bare word ; 
alas, the Word is like Christ's flesh, without the Spirit it quickeneth no man, it profiteth 
no man. John vi. 

3. Or may be, you have heard the word out of cm-iosity, or to feed your heads only 
with notions and speculative knowledge. 

4. Or (perhaps) never prayed to God before you came to hear, that he would bless the 
word to your conversion ; for though God will do all that he hath promised, yet he will be 
sought unto by poor creatures, that he may do it for them. " I will cry unto God most 
high, to God that perforraeth all things for me," Psal. xxxvii. 2. Or, 

5. May be, the day of God's power was not, is not yet come : you must wait (as the 
poor man did) at the pool though it be thirty-eight years ; the time of healing may come 
at last. " In the day of God's power," John v. 2, 3, 4, 5 ; Psal. ex. 3 ; conviction shall 
never finally go off. 


Fourthly. Despair may arise from Satan's temptations, he hath many Despair 
ways to cause doubts and fears to rise in the mind of a poor sinner, and be Satan's sug- 
sure all despairing tliougbts that rise in the heart are from Satan. gestions. 

1. May be thou dost believe and hast hope, but because thy faith is small and weak, the 
devil will call it despair; he would make thee believe a httle grace is no grace ; he will argue 
from thy weakness in grace, thy total want of it ; as he persuades some that are strong in 
faith, that their confidence is nothing but presumption. 

2. Consider all true faith is mixed with some doubts; is our faith, our love, our patience, 
our humility perfect? Who can say he believes, and has no unbelief, and has no want of 
love to God and Jesus Christ ? Who is so meek, that never was angry, or so patient, that 
he never did unduly complain, or so humble, that he never had one high thought of him- 
self? I shall now proceed to the next thing proposed. 

Secondly, viz. speak a little to that great evil and danger of despair and unbelieving 

I. Consider, that despair casteth contempt upon the word of God, and upon ^he end and 
the ministers of Christ ; for both declare how ready, able, and willing God is danger of 
to embrace and save all that come to him by Jesus Christ ; such that despair, ''^p""'- 
render the word and ministers of Christ liars, and not to be regarded in what they say and 

II. But this is not the worst, for despair and unbeHeving thoughts cast contempt upon 
God himself, and on most of his holy attributes. (1.) On his mercy in Christ, which is 
infinite. (2.) On his justice, which is fully satisfied, towards all them that believe. (3.) 
On his power, who is able to do more abundantly than we can conceive or think. " He is 
able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him," Heb. vii. 2;') ; and the like 
might be said in respect of his wisdom, love, truth, and faithfulness.* 

III. Despairing and unbelieving thoughts, cast contempt upon that fulness that is in Jesus 
Christ, on the fulness of his merits and righteousness, and upon the efficaciousness of his blood; 
also it casteth contempt upon the faithfulness and gracious promises of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

IV. The evil of despairing and unbelieving thoughts are aggravated by the clearness and 
fulness of that testimony God hath given of the freeness of his grace, in the pardon of sin 
to all that believe. 

1. The Father bears witness. 

2. The Son bears witness. 

3. The Holy Ghost bears witness, that whosoever cometh to Christ, " Believes in 
Christ, shall not perish, but have everlasting life," Mark xvi. 16, John iii. 16. 

4. And Christ's faithful ministers bear witness also, how ready God is to receive all such. 

V. Despair is aggravated, by God"s gracious performance of his free promises to the 
greatest sinner, to thousands of sinners ; yes, to every individual sinner that ever threw 
himself upon his mercy, believing in Jesus Christ ; multitudes have tried God's faithfulness 
in his promises, and have found his word a sure word, a tried word ; who had no other 
ground to beheve but what you have : if never any sinner who cast himself upon God in 
Christ in a right manner, missed of pardon and free justification, what a sin is it for any 
to say, as to me, there is no hope ? 

VI. The evil and danger of despair is also aggravated, in that those very persons will 
and can believe mortal men, who are faithful in respect of their promises ; and yet will not 
beheve and trust a faithful God, and the ever-blessed Redeemer, who cannot lie ; so that 
the credit and reputation of God (it seems) is gone with these persons ; men in this case 
are greatly enraged and wounded, i. e., if they cannot be believed nor trusted, who are both 
able and faithful persons. 

VII. Such that despair, or believe not, give more credit to Satan, or believe the devil 
more than God : Satan puts these despairing and unbelieving thoughts (as you heard) into 
their hearts. sinner, smner, will you believe the Devil, rather than the most high and 
faithful God of heaven and earth ? 

VII. Despair exposeth a sinner (as it hath many a one) to destroy both body and soul for 
ever ; how many in despair have destroyed themselves, by self-murder, by hanging, 
drowning, and by cutting their own throats ? 

IX. It renders preaching vain, as to them " The word preached did not profit them, not 
being mixed with faith in them that heard it. Can God spread a table in the wilderness ? " 
Can God, or will he pardon my sins ? Such that believe not, profit not under the word. 

X. Despair upholds and strengthens Satan's kingdom in tlie sinner's heart, and in the 
world, and binds the guilt of all sin, the curse of the law, and the wrath of God, upon the 
unbehcving and dcspauriug person. 


To remove this stumbling-block, I shall but add one or two things more. 
The (reateat 1. Consider, sinner, that thou art allowed, or admitted to believe in Jesns 
lOTmitobe- Christ, whosoever thou art. If meat be set upon a nobleman's table, with a free 
lieve oa admittance of all that come to eat ; certainly, no hungry man need to fear, but 

Christ. |>^Q ^^ ^^^ gjj jjjg [)g\\y ■ ^vhy should he say, I shall perish with hunger, when 

he is come to such a plentiful banquet ? 

He is invited '-i- And not Only are all allowed to eat and spare not, but they are invited 
to come and |,y fjjjg great God, to come and feed on his dainties. 

Nay com- ^- ^'^J' '^hich is more, they are not only allowed to eat, and invited to this 

mandfd to feast, but Commanded to eat, and drink abundantly : if thou art a sinner, thou 
be leve. art Commanded to believe, commanded to eat; "This is his commandment, 
that ye believe on his Sou Jesus Christ," 1 John iii. 23. 

4. And thy refusing to eat, or to come to Christ, or to believe on him, will grieve him ; 
and know it is the greatest sin not to believe on Christ. 

5. Besides you must eternally perish if you do not beMeve, therefore endeavour to come, 
labour to believe ; at your utmost peril, see you do not refuse to do it. Do not say you cannot 
beUeve, but exercise such a faith as you can, or are able to do. 

How a weak Secondly, as to such who do not utterly despair, but are attended with 
may^'be" re- doubts and fears, or who are betwixt hope and despair. I shall add a word 
lieved. or two by way of direction to them. 

1. Consider, it is not the degree of grace, but the truth of grace to which salvation is pro- 
mised : therefore, 

2. Put a just value upon the lowest degree of faith, and let it not seem contemptible 
in thy siglit ; let it not appear as nothing, though it be as small as a grain of mustard-seed, 
for it is of more worth than the whole world. 

3. Labour to distinguish between the weakness of grace, and grace itself under that 
weakness ; and whilst you are mourning under one, be sure thai you rejoice in the other. Do 
See the Pa- not cast away a bit of bread because thou hast no more, nor throw away one 
i-able of the pQj.jj ^yjj|j )-]jg c}]aff ; if it be but a lost groat, do not sweep it up with the dust 
behind the door. Christ came to seek a lust groat. 
4. Consider the many promises, which are made to the weakest degree of grace ; Jesus 
Christ will not quench the smoking flax, nor the bruised reed. If there be in thy heart 
a hatred of sin, and a sense of the want of righteousness, thou being taken off from resting 
on any thing short of Christ, thou hast no cause to doubt. 

5. Consider, to deny the least degree or measure of grace in us, against clear demon- 
strations and evidences brought to convince us of it. is to be cruel to our own souls ; nay, 
and (as one observes) it is a kind of denying of Jesus Christ. I have (saith he) sent in 
provision into such a soul, and have often bid him eat ; and he says, there is nothing 
before him. Is not this an affront put upon the Lord Jesus ? 

6. Christ will make weak grace victorious, all the devils of hell cannot quench the least 
degree, suiallest spark of true grace in the soul ; and it shall in due time become strong 
and mighty through God. 

7. All graces are mixed (as I have often told you) with their contraries ; no faith but 
is mixed up with some unbelief at first ; no hope without some kind of despair ; nor humility 
witliout some pride ; no grace is perfect ; that which is perfected, is not yet come : be- 
cause thou hast a weak eye, wilt thou say thou art quite blind. And to accept of a small 
favour, is the way to receive a greater. 


1. Let us dread all despair and unbeheving thoughts, about God's mercy, free grace, 
justification, and pardon in Christ ; since the evil and danger of this sin is so great. 

2. We infer also, that God is infinite in his patience and forbearance towards sinners in 
preserving of such, and calling to them, and in crying after them who cast such horrid 
contempt upon him ; yea, and upon his goodness, power, truth, and faithfulness. 

3. Admire the grace and goodness of God, in his continuance and renewal of the 
offers of pardon, to such unbelieving and desponding sinners ; also admire the love of 
Jesus Christ, who is come to fill the vallies, and level the mountains ; and to remove all 
obstacles and stumbling-blocks out of the sinner's way. 

4. what encouragement is here for great sinners, old sinners, backsliding sinners, 
Jer. iii. 12, to believe in Christ ! What though thou art the worst of men, the greatest of sin- 


ners, and under matchless guilt ; let it be so, and thou art under the blackest character, 
yet there is hope ; " Thy scarlet sins shall be made as wliite as snow," Isa. 1, 18. i. e. 
they shall be washed away in Christ's blood that very moment that thou behevest in him. 
AV'hat though thou art without Christ now, without God, and without hope ; so were they 
Paul speaks of, Eph. ii. 12. Christ is offered to sinners as sinners, he came to call 
sinners. The whole need not a physician, but they that are sick ; and such that believe 
not, sin grievously. 

5. Let all tremble who believe not, because their sins are so great, and they are not 
humbled enough, as they say ; such are digging up the foundation of God's free grace, as 
much as lieth in them ; the greater your sins are, the more need you have of a Saviour : 
the more polluted, the more need you have to go to tlie fountain to be washed ; the sicker 
thou art, the more need thou hast of a physician. 

6. You can have no true and well-grounded hope, until you believe in Christ, or come 
to him ; nothing can secure you from God's divine wrath and vengeance ; no, not your 
praying, not your hearing, not your sorrow for sin, not your tears, not the reforming your 
lives ; all is vain, until you believe in Christ, or rest on him. 

Lastly, you that do believe, strive for a gi-eater faith ; some see not, and yet believe : 
give all the glory unto God, and to Christ ; let us assume none of it to our selves, nor 
ascribe it to faith ; but to him, who is the Object and Author thereof. 


Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain shall he brouc/ht low, ^c. — Luke iii. 5. 

DocT. That there are many mountains of difficulties that Jesus Christ must remove, and 
several stumbling-blocks taken out of the way of sinners, to make their way smooth to 

eternal Ufe. Presumption 

The last day I spoke of despair, which is a great stumbling-block in the '^^^^ ^^^^^ 
way of some sinners, and showed how the Lord Jesus removes that. in the sin- 

Fifthly, presumption is another mountain Christ came to brmg low ; or, as it ""' * *'''^" 
is a stumbling-block, to take up out of the sinner's way. 

Some are so far from despairmg, that they are very confident of their salvation, and 
doubt not, but pretend they wholly rest upon Jesus Christ, and yet go on in a wicked 
course of life ; are earthly, covetous, proud, loose, vain, and carnal ; find no change of 
heart, no regeneration, no sanctification ; yet say, they doubt not of being saved : and it 
may be, there are more that stumble here than fall into the ditch or valley of desperation ; 
though Christ says, " Except a man be born again, he shall not enter into the kingdom of 
heaven," John iii. 3. And " that without holiness, no man shall see the Lord," Heb. xii. 
14 ; which consisteth in a spiritual conformity to God, and is peculiar to all God's elect 
that are called ; is the result and quintessence of all the graces of the Spirit, and effects of 
the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and fruits of true faith, and of our union with 
Christ. Moreover, as' the body without the Spii-it is dead, so faith without proper fruits 
is dead also. See the opening of the words, page II. 

1 shall here speak of this stumbling-block, I mean presumption ; in respect had to 
four sorts of people, besides them I have mentioned. 

1. Some like the Jews (of whom 1 have spoken) presume on their own righteousness ; 
and what is that ? Why, a sober and moral life, doing to all men as they would be done 
unto ; or by living up to the fight and dictates of natural conscience ; this is good, but 
such that depend on this, trust to this, make faith void, and intimate that Christ is dead 
in vain. To this sort I may add and rank all those, who pretend to a Christ within ; they 
give a new name, a blasphemous name to this inward light ; but their whole religion is no 
more than that of a sober moral man's (and some of them have not that) yet presume and 
boast of an absolute perfection in themselves, by the light within, casting seePon's 
contempt on a Christ without, and on his imputed righteousness in justification, fl^^l f^a-"" 

Moreover, there is among these, another sort near of kin to them (who are ken. 
like mountains lifted up, that God in due time will bring low) who magnify natural reli- 
gion, light and knowledge of Christ crucified, and like the Greeks of old, call it Thedcist 
foolislmess ; nay. decry all revealed and supernatural religion. They pretend condemned. 


to own and acknowledge a God, but deny he is such a God as his holy word declares him 
to be; viz., one infinite, simple, and entire essence, subsisting in three distinct Persons; 
they deny Christ and the Holy Spirit, to be God equal with the Father ; and also affirm, 
that God is raaile up wholly of mercy and goodness, and that they believe not, that justice 
is such a property of his very being, that he cannot, will not pardon sins, as a simple act 
of mercy, without a satisfaction to his law and justice. 

Yet they seem to commend moral virtue, like the old heathen, saying, God will reward 
it here with inward serenity of mind ; nay, and will also eternally, seeing it so well suits 
with his goodness and benignity : but that it doth not suit with his goodness nor justice, 
to punish sin with eternal torments. Because (say they) there is no proportion 
between temporal guilt and eternal punishment, they neither consider the na- 
How coaid ture of God, against wliom sin is committed ; nor the nature of the soul of 
justice af- man, who offends and sins against this God ; nor will they give credit to the 
ish h^'"' PJJ"" testimony of his unerring word. 

Son for our And from hence these wretched persons, who are swollen up with pride and 
tody'and'^ presumption, intimate that wicked men need not fear any hell, but only an in- 
soul? capacity for heaven, thinking that natural religion is a sure title for it, and 

that which makes men meet for it also ; so that according to them, the vilest 
sinner can but only expect a sentence of being eternally annihilated, or cease for ever to 
be, or lose their beings ; and thus they open a door to all profaueness, by exempting sin- 
ners from hell flames, and strokes of God's divine vengeance. 

These men boast of human reason, and will believe nothing but what they can compre- 
hend, or give a reason of ; and say that there is no mystery contained in the gospel, though 
the Holy Ghost testifies that " without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness, God 
manifested in the flesh," 1 Tun. iii. 16, itc. And strange it is, that they should aflirni 
they will believe nothing in divine things, that is above their reason and compre- 
hension ; and yet are forced to confess, that there are many thmgs m natui'e they cannot, 
nor could any mere man comprehend, or give a reason of. 

Above reason (as one notes), is an equivocal expression, and signifies two things. 

1. It signifies a thing which does not exceed our powers of understanding ; 
Brown. but is Concealed from us, and lies out of our reach, by some accidental impedi- 

ment or obstruction, which is impossible for us to remove. And in this sense, it is above 
our reason to know certainly what is the centre of the earth, or the cause of the flowing 
and ebbing of the sea, or the true motion of the heavenly bodies, and what order they ob- 
serve amongst themselves, and the different configuration of the little parts of matter, &c. 
That which makes those things above our reason, is not something essential to them, but 
it is that ignorance that is in us ; therefore our knowledge of them is improved by the 
help of glasses, &c., so that we may say they were above our reason, before such helps 
were found out. 

2. Things may be above our reason in their own nature, exceeding our capacities, and 
are no proper objects of those faculties of knowledge, which we are now endued withal : 
and in this sense the nature and being of God, Father, Son, and Spu-it, in one entire and 
individual essence ; the mystery of the union of the two natures in the person of Christ, 
and that of the incarnation, and the manner of the operation of the Holy Ghost ; as also 
the mystery of the resurrection, and many other things, are more properly above our rea- 
son, than earthly things are ; as eternity than time ; a spirit than a body ; the joys of hea- 
ven, than sensual pleasures ; the eternal generation of the Son, than the ordinary procrea- 
tion of man ; the operations of the Holy Spirit, than the nourishment of our bodies : there 
is as yet no proportion between these objects and faculties of knowledge. Our intellectual 
powers are not get formed and so adapted to them, as they are for those things in nature ; 
and though the Spirit reveals to believers greater knowledge than any mere natural man 
hath of them, yet St. Paul himself saith, " He knew but in part, and saw darkly, as 
through a glass," 1 Cor. xiii. 12. " What man knoweth the things of a man, save the 
Spirit of a man that is in him ? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit 
of God," 1 Cor. ii. 11. "For the natural man receiveth not the things of God, for they are 
foolishness to him ; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned," 
ver. 14. From hence it appears, these mere natural men are ignorant of gospel mysteries, 
and being under Satan's influences, tiiey speak thus, and fain would overthrow tiie whole 
of the Christian religion ; but their folly is made manifest, and these mouutams and hills 
Christ will bring low. ''They professhig themselves to be wise, they become fools," Rom. 
i, 22. 


II. TliRre is another sort, who have greater light and knowledge, as touch- Baxterian- 
ing the Christian religion, and the necessity of Christ's obedience, and dying demiKd. 
to satisfy divine justice ; yet conclude Jesus Christ having made a full comjieu- 
satiou for the breach of the law of works, or the law of perfect obedience, hath abrogated 
that law, and taken it away, and hath merited a mild law of faith and sincere obedience ; 
so that faith in the largest sense, viz., faith, repentance, and sincere obedi- 
ence, through Christ's merits, is that righteousness which justifies us before God, p^^|.l''o/*'°' 
even so far as we have attained ; for they declare that justification is imperfect, Wickhani'» 
as well as inherent sanctification, until death. Justmcation. 

Thus these men presume upon their own inherent righteousness, and so go 
about to overtlurow the doctrine of free justification by the righteousness of God. To level 
these mountains, the Holy Ghost declares, 

1. That the righteousness that justifies a sinner, is a free gift ; " But the free gift is 
of many offences to justification. They which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift 
of righteousness," &c. Rom. iv. 16, 18. How can a righteousness wrought out by us, be 
a free gift ? 

2. It is the righteousness of one, not of many, not every man's own righteousness ; 
" For as by one man's disobedience, many were made sinners ; so by the obedience of 
one, shall many be made righteous," ver. 1 9. Adam's sin was counted to us, or imputed 
to all men, as he was a common head of all his seed ; so Christ's righteousness is counted 
to us, or imputed to all his seed, as he is their common head. 

3. That righteousness that justifies a sinner in God's sight, is imputed, not inherent 
in us, but put upon us, counted or imputed ; " Blessed is the man to whom God imputeth 
righteousness," &e., Rom. iv. 6. And that righteousness might be imputed to them. Also 
" He was made sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God 
in him," 2 Cor. v. 21. Now Christ was not inherently a sinner, but by imputation of the 
sins of the elect to him ; even so that righteousness by w hich we are justified, is not inherent 
in us, but imputed to us. 

4. That righteousness that justifies us is called the righteousness of God, in contradic- 
tion to the inherent righteousness of a mere man : it is called the righteousness of God, 
because Christ is God as well as man ; it is not the essential righteousness of God, but the 
meditorial righteousness of God-man, Christ Jesus : " They being ignorant of God's right- 
eousness, went about to establish their own righteousness, and have not submitted them- 
selves to the righteousness of God," Rom. x. 3. Though these swelling mountains would, 
yet " Paul would not be found in his own righteousness, but in the righteousness of God," 
Phil. iii. 8, 9. 

5. That righteousness that justifies a sinner, is a righteousness without works ; works 
are works, whether legal or evangelical. " Even as David also describeth the blessedness 
of the man, to whom God imputeth righteousness without works : to him that worketh 
not, but believeth on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness," 
Rom. iv. 5, 6; that is, Christ's righteousness received by faith, faith objectively, not subjec- 
tively taken. 

6. The righteousness that justifies a sinner is a perfect righteousness, answering to 
the pure nature of God, and his holy law ; but our inherent righteousness is imperfect 
and as filthy rags ; therefore must these mountains be brought low. A new law ! Why 
did not God give this law of faith and sincere obedience at first ? And so have saved the 
precious blood of his Son from being shed, to purchase a law of imperfect obedience ; but 
pray did the law of perfect obedience only result from the sovereignty of God ; and not 
rather from the rectitude of his holy nature ? if from the first they may conclude, God 
repenteth he gave such a severe law, the removing of which cost him so dear. 

Take what a learned man speaketh on this occasion, " Could not man keep *'■'■ Cross— 
the law of works ? Then it seems, the first law was too strict ; this reflecteth Lawdetect- 
upon the wisdom and justice of God : it must be granted, that perfect man '^'*' 
could observe a perfect law, had God given him grace and assistance sufficient to his state 
and necessity ; and so there was no need the law should be altered, and the obedience, 
the condition of it changed from perfect to imperfect. For if perfect man could not keep 
the law of perfect obedience, with sufficient grace, how should sinful man perform the law 
of sincere obedience, having no more than sufficient grace to assist him ? Lid not God 
foreknow that man would break the law of works, and so was necessitated to make a 
new and more easy law ? Or, did not God both foreknow and permit the fall of .man, 
or could he not have hindered it ? Why then should he give way to the abrogating the 


command of perfect obedience, to bring in that of imperfect. Surely (as Augustine saith) 
God is so just, that he can allow of no evil ; and so good, that he can permit no evil ; 
except it be with a design to bring greater good out of it. If God permitted the first 
covenant to be broken, that thereby he might abase man, and magnify his own grace and 
his Son ; in bestowing heaven freely on him, and in bringing him thither by the continued 
power of pardoning and sanctifj^ing grace ; hereby God indeed doth advance his own glory, 
by changing of the covenants. 

" But that the condition of perfect obedience, being broke by man's sin, the law therefore 
should be disannulled, and a new way of treating with man set up, wherein still man 
should be something, and his works bring about his own salvation, and God be contented 
with few and very imperfect acts of obedience ; this certainly is a prejudice to his honour ; 
nor doth this make it up, i. e., that our obedience is accepted for Christ's sake ; for Christ 
only made way for removing the old covenant (say they) and the granting a new, but he 
dill not obey in our stead ; nor doth add any worth to our obedience ; unless they will 
say, that we are justified by our own sincere obedience, the righteousness of Christ making 
up the defect of it ; and so our own righteousness will be a co-ordinate cause of om- justi- 
fication with the righteousness of Christ." 

7. We are justified by grace alone, or by such a righteousness that man should not boast, 
nor have any ground or cause to boast; but the way that these men speak of, i. e., that 
we are justified by our sincere obedience, makes way for boasting. " Being justified by 
his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Whom God hath set forth, &c. 
To declare his righteousness, that God might be just, and the justifier of him that be- 
lieveth in Jesus," Rom. iii. 2i — 26. That he may appear just, or that we may know 
the purity, justice, and holiness of his nature ; that no righteousness, but that which is 
perfect, can justify us before him. AVhere is boasting then ? It is excluded. By what 
law ? Of works ? Nay, but by the law of faith. 

If it be by grace we are justified, it is not of works, any kind or sort of works whatso- 
ever, either wrought in us or done by us, either to the law or Gospel ; But it is of 
grace, &c. " And if it be grace, then it is not of works, otherwise grace is no more 
grace ; but if it be of works, then it is no more of grace, otherwise work is no more 
work," Rom. xi. 6. There is no mixing God's grace and our works together ; for one 
of these will destroy the other, it must be by works alone, or by grace alone ; by Christ's 
righteousness only, without ours, or else by our righteousness alone, without his, and then 
we may glory in ourselves, and not in our Lord Jesus Christ. 

And thus these bold presumptuous, or high and lofty mountains, are brought down. 

Alas ! Sirs, the law of perfect obedience remains the same in Christ's hand, as firm as 
ever ; though it is abrogated as a covenant of work ; yet it abides as a perfect rule of 
obedience. For it is still our duty to love God with all our hearts, souls, and strength, 
and our neighbour as ourselves ; yea, to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. 
Though this perfection we have only in Christ to justify us before God ; yet notwithstand- 
A third sort ^^g, it is our duty to press after it, and not to obey sincerely only, 
of persons m. There is anotlier sort of presumptuous sinners, who are lifted up 

way by with a mighty conceit of their faith, and persuasion that they are in Christ, 

presumption, jjefieve and doubt not of their salvation. 

1. Some of this sort are they, that tell you they believe the whole revelation of God's 
SVord and Gospel of Christ, and do not deny one truth contained therein, such is the 
assent of theii' understanding. 

2. And not only so, but they conform to all the external rules, commands, and precepts 
of Jesus Christ, and are brouglit into a visible profession of religion, and so walk that all 
true Christians take them for sincere believers ; they are baptised, break bread, give to 
the poor, &c. ; of this sort were the " foolish virgins," Matt. sxv. 1 — 3 : who presumed 
their state was good, but had not one dram of saving grace in their hearts, but only bad 
a form of godliness without the power thereof ; now some of these empty professors may 
perhaps be more confident than many true believers. 

1. Because they have but little to do with their own hearts, but labour to wash clean 
the outside of the cup and platter ; or keep their outward conversation as spotless as they 
can ; so that men may see no just cause to suspect them, and thus they go on and doubt 

2. Because Satan does not disturb and perplex them as be doth sincere Christians, he 
having (as a curious observer) found all theii- religion is but in show or appearance only ; 
they harbouring the love of the world, or some sin or another in their hearts. 


3. Because perhaps good men, nay, pious ministers, take them for sincere Christians ; 
nay, may be, a whole congregation ; and tliis tends to deceive them, and make them con- 
clude all is well, when indeed Satan hath them in his chains. 

4. They never look to God for converting gi-ace (as great sinners are forced to do, 
when awakened) because they think they are renewed already, and thus they are lifted up, 
or exalted, like hills and mountains, wliich Christ in due time, will one way or another 
bring low ; as those under despair are like vallies who shall be exalted, though the work 
is difficult on either hand, i.e., it is as hard to fill up vallies, as it is to level hills and moun- 

Pray note, that either ignorance of God's nature and of his law, or the Jf''pr'e^um' - 
ignorance of the Gospel, and the design of God therein, or else ignorance of tion in men. 
the state men are in, are the causes of presumption ; together with self-love, and that 
good opinion men are too apt to have of themselves. 

Therefore (as one well observes) " a faithless confidence, a fond credulous presumption, 
ariseth from a groimdless over-easy persuasion of tlie mercy of God towards us." To 
which I might add, also it riseth from mistaken apprehension about the death of Christ, 
and the extent thereof; and from ignorance of the nature of true faith and regeneration. 
Sirs, if it be a difficult thing ; nay, impossible for us to pursuade a profane person, to be- 
lieve his state is bad, how much harder and more impossible is it to persuade a Pharisee, 
or a zealous professor, and self-righteous, and a self-deceived man or woman, to believe 
that their condition and state is as bad, if not worse ? 

But to proceed a little further, to open the nature of presumption, and to bring these 
hills and mountains down, if Christ will put his hand to it. 

1. Presumption in most persons is, I say, no more than a strong fancy or '^^^'^ nature 
vain imagination, that carries them away into a belief of the goodness of their lion open- 
present condition, without any true ground thereof They assure themselves '"^' ~" 

of that which they possess not, nor God ever gave to them, crj'ing, peace, peace ; when 
God hath not spoken peace to them in such a state. 

2. They do not rightly distinguish between the working of conscience, and Wemustdis- 

1 Ai ■ 11 -1 11-1^ 1 111 tiuguish be- 

natural afflctions towards that good propounded m the Gos;. el, and tlie real tween tue 
and efficacious actings of faith in Christ, in order to the obtaining of it ; they natm'"i" cou- 
may find some sense of sin, and the dangerous consequents of it, but the pro- science and 
mises are misapplied. 

3. They catch at the promises with a presumptuous faith in their own sense, ^resume's"*' 
like as did the Jews in another case ; we have " Abraham to our father," John does but 
viii. 39 ; not considering that the promise ran to the spiritual seed of promises. 
Abraham only. Thus they cry we are God's elect, I beheve Christ died for me, 
concluding that faith is nothing but a confident persuasion that they are elected, and that 
Christ died for them ; Jews should have counted from their having Christ, they were 
AbraJiam's seed, and not his seed because by natural generation they proceeded from his 
loins ; so these persons do not regard the effects and nature of true faith, uor the fruits 
and effects of God's " everlasting love," Jer. xxxi. 3; election, nor of the death of Jesus 

Christ. One that 

4. Presumption in these persons fastens on some promises only, and little, on^y'for' " 
or not at all on others, viz., the promises, and privileges of pardon of sin some purti- 
and justification, and freedom from condemnation, and eternal life. But mind mis'es.'"°" 
not, (or very little) the promises of " A new heart, a new spirit, grace, and sanctifica- 
tion," Ezek. xxxvi. 25 — 27. Now it is much if the pressing of such promises be not called 
by them a legal doctrine. 

5. Presumption in them, is so strong and so sweet, that it gives them no fe'"to°apre- 
taste of the bitterness of sin, as true faith alivays doth; true faith makes sin sumptuuua 
bitter to the soul, and causeth us to loath, and abhor ourselves in the sight of *"""^"■• 
God ; thus did Job, (Job xlii. 5), and thus did Isaiah (Isa. vi. 5), and holy Paul, (Rom. vii. 
lb, 24) ; and thus God saith shall all do when he hath taken hold of them. " And then 
ye shall remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and you shall 
loath yourselves," Ezek. xx. 41. And again he saith, " That thou maj'est remember, and 
be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more, because of thy shame, when I am 
pacified towards thee, for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord," Ezek. xvi. 63. 
This all those do who have true faith ; because of tiie nature of sin as it is against God. 
Shall we not bewail ourselves for our sins, because Christ hath borne it, borne the guilt and 
Weight thereof, for us ? Yes, they do it the more upon that account, " They shall look up 


unto him whom they have pierced, and shall mourn, and be in bitterness because of him," 
Zech. X. 12, considering what sorrow he underwent. But these presumers and self-con- 
fident persons, look upon sin as a small thing, and speak slightingly of repentance, though 
it was the first doctrine John preached. Matt. iii. 1, and the first that our Saviour preached, 
Matt. iv. 17, and the first doctrine that St. Peter preached upon his receiving that great 
measure of the Spirit, Acts ii. 37. But alas these seem above repentance ; " They are 
rich, and increased in goods, and have need of nothing, and know not that they are 
wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked ;" Laodicean-like, Eev. iii. 17. 

6. Such who have this presumptuous confidence, are chiefly set upon comfort ; they are 

for cordials, when indeed corrosives are more proper for them ; they cry up the 
A person free grace of God in justification, and pardon, more than the free grace of 
by™resumpr ^*"^ ^ regeneration, faith, and new obedience ; whereas the former more refers 
tion is most to our good, to our happiness, and to our title to heaven ; they are wonder- 
fully affected with such things, but the latter refers more directly to the glory 
of God. True, the glory of God is wonderfully raised by Jesus Christ in our 
free and eternal justification, but in regeneration, holiness, and new obedience, we by the 
Spirit show forth the praises of his glory ; and hereby we bear his Likeness, and magnify 
the nature of grace, and bring forth the fruits of the Spirit. " Hereby is my Father glorified, 
that you bring forth much fruit," John xv. 8. " This people have I formed for myself, they 
shall show forth my praise," Isa. xliii. 21. And this it appears is the end of God in 
creating us anew in Christ Jesus ; nay, to this end were we chosen, "that we might be holy," 
Tit. ii. 14. And to this end we were also redeemed. 

These people think that the riches of free grace appears only in justification, or at least- 
wise they are most afl'ected with that ; but see what Paul saith, " And the grace of our 
Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love," 1 Tim i. 14. Our vocation and sancti- 
fication, our faith and love, doth abundantly set forth the free grace of God; and this all true 
behevers as much admire, which these persons take but little notice of. 

7. Presumption is easy ; it is no hard thing to presume on the mercy of God, and on 
That pre- the death and merits of Christ ; Satan will help them here, and not any ways 
is easy'."" hinder them ; but to believe truly in Christ, this is a hard and ditficult thing. 

Satan labours to oppose us in resting in a right manner on Jesus Christ ; faith 
is not easily had ; no, but after much crying to God, and beating down a man's own self; 
no man believes, but self dies ; sinful self, and religious self also. Faith is the death of 
sin, the death of the old man ; but sin and self too, live in a presumptuous person. 
Unbelief is contrary to faith, and makes head against it ; despair is contrary to faith, and 
makes head against it ; and also presumption is contrary to faitii, and makes head against it. 
Sin is opposite to faith, and a man's own legal heart is opposite to faith, and self is 
opposite to it, and Satan is the grand enemy to it ; therefore it is no easy thing to believe. 

8. Such who are carried away with this presumptuous confidence are commonly very 
Apresurop- negligent in the use of the means God directs unto, in order to the obtaining of 
ncr"ittic"in ^^'^'"& faith, as prayer, hearing of the word, &c. They are httle concerned 
prayer or about praying, they do not say. Lord, I beheve, help thou my unbehef. Mark 
other daties. ^ ^4. Alas, they have no doubts, no unbelief; that faith that is attended 

with godly fear or douhtings, it may be contemned by them, but if there are no 
true believers but such who have a full persuasion, or full assurance that Christ is theirs, 
then there is no little, or small faith, nor any weak believers, no babes in Christ, Matt, 
vi. 30, Heh. v. 12. Nor indeed can there be any further growth m faith. What is a 
higher degree of faith then a full assurance ? Moreover, to press the duties of religion upon 
men's consciences, is a very unpleasant doctrine with these men. 

9. Such who have this presumptuous confidence, talk much of what Christ has done 
A presump- for them, but very httle of what he hath wrought, and done in them. A true 
more affected helieveris as much affected with the work of the Holy Spirit, in renewing him, 
ri"'Th^' as with the love of the Father in electing him, or as with the love of the Son in 
done for iiim redeeming him. For there is equal love and grace in all the three Persons of 
hM° wrought *''^ hlessed Trinity ; nor indeed can we know that we were elected by the 
in him. Father, and redeemed by the Son, until we are efl'ectuaUy called, and renewed 
by the Holy Spirit. Therefore they love, adore, and admire the grace and goodness of 
the Holy Ghost, without whose divine operations the death of Christ is not, cannot be made 
effectual or efficacious to them. It is Christ in us the hope of glory. Col. i. 27. To 
depend upon Christ for life and salvation by his righteousness, and yet never feel, nor ex- 
perience the effects of his death, is but a bold piece of presumption. 


.10. Faith is grouniled upon the promises of God by the Spirit rightly applied to a proper 
subject ; a lost, undone, a sick, and wounded sinner : not only lost in himself, ^ presum 
but absolutely lost in the first Adam, and a child of wrath, even as others, t"""' pi-rson 
Presumptuous sinners have no such promise by the Spirit applied to them, and righuyappiy 
perhaps think their state was as good before their pretended calling, as after, "^c promises, 
though they did not know it, and never were indeed children of wrath in their conceit, 
though the Holy Ghost asserts the direct contrary, Eph. ii. 3. 

11. Those who are carried away with a presumptuous confidence, do not love to be tried 
by the marks, and characters of true faith ; no, they cannot endure such a doctrine a prcsum- 
that comes so close to their consciences; though this was Christ's doctrine. "A p'oo"* per- 
good tree brings forth good fruit," Matt. vii. 17. And Paul's doctrine, " They to be tried 
that are after the Spirit mind the things of the Spirit," Rom. viii. 5. "If any grac'l"' °^ 
man be in Christ, he is a new creature," 2 Cor. v. 17. " They that are Christ's have crucified 
the flesh, with the afl'ections and lusts," Gal. v. 24. And this was James's doctrine, " Shew 
me thy faith without thy works, I will shew thee my faith by my works," Jam. ii. 18. 
And this also was John's doctrine, " We know that we are passed from death to life, because 
we love the brethren," 1 John iii. 14. Moreover, how often are we required to try our 
selves, prove our selves, and to examine our own selves ? Now which way can we do this, 
if all signs or marks of a true behever must be decried, and by no means regarded? 

Fourthly, There are another sort of presumptuous sinners, who, like hills and mountains, 
Christ will bring low, and they are such who glory that they are true to the ^^^^ 
church, and abide in that religion in which they were born, and in which their testants like 
forefathers walked, who are zealous perhaps for such rites, ceremonies, or modes mounuilis 
of worship that are nowhere found in God's word, nor were indeed instituted ''*^"''' ^'^^ * 
by Jesus Christ. S^rS-"" 

Not but that there are many good Christians amongst this sort ; but the '*'"'•''=• 
vain confidence of the most of them ; they believe in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ 
his only-begotton Son, and in the Holy Ghost; this is very good, were theii- faith the 
faith of God's elect. Nay, more, they in their baptism are (they say) made the ciiddren 
of God, members of Christ, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven ; and beino- then fas 
they are taught to believe) regenerated and born again, they presume they shall be saved, 
though never brought indeed under a real change, but live in sin, serve sin, and the devil, and 
hate all such who are truly religious ; they are Protestants, they say, and good Christians, 
yet many of them are guilty of all gross immorahties ; and yet presume through God's mercy 
and the death of Christ, by saying their prayers, and coming to church, they shall be saved. 
But the time wiU come when Christ wiU bring down these mountains, and remove all these 
stumbling-blocks out of the way of these sinners, and all others I have mentioned. 


This may serve to awaken all sorts of persons to consider what a state and tion. '^^^ ""' 
condition they are in ; and to take heed their hope at last prove not as the spiders' web. 

2. Moreover, it may inform us what a subtle devil we have to do with ; how many ways 
hath he to deceive and eternally ruin poor sinners ; some by their despairing of God's 
mercy in Christ, and others by a vain and faithless confidence that their state is good, when 
it is very bad and dangerous. 

a. It may also serve to stir up all true Christians to praise the blessed God, who hath 
helped them over all these stumbling-blocks, and hath made their way smooth and plam 
before them. 

4. It may likewise be a caution to all to take heed what principles they do embrace, 
and to pray they may not swerve to the right hand nor the left ; it also shows what a 
blessed thing it is to be found in the true apostolical doctrine, and to have true faith and 
a holy life. 

5. Happy are they who sit under a clear gospel ministry, and understand how Christ 
doth fill up, or exalt every valley and bring low every mountain and hill ; makino- the crooked 
straight, and rough ways smooth ; so that the glory of the Lord may be revealed. 

6. Know assuredly that the levelling of mountains, is the raising up of valleys ; and 
that when man is abased, God's free grace, and the believing soul is exalted. 

7. Also, when all mountains, all obstructions are finally removed out of the way of 
believers, then they shall arrive to a perfect state, and be glorified ; which will not. be ef- 
fected in this life ; for we shall meet with some obstructions from within and from without, 
whilst we are in this body. 



And the glory of the Lord shall he revealed. — Isa. xl. 5. 

DocT. That the grand design of Christ coming unto this world, and in exalting every 
valley, and in bringing low every hill and mountain, and making that which was crooked 
straight, and rough ways smooth, was to discover, reveal, or manifest the glory of the Lord. 

My brethren, in my opening of these words, I showed you what I understood by the 
revelation of the glory of the Lord. 

I shall now insist a little further upon the opening of it. And the glory of the Lord 
shall be revealed, and all fiesh shall see it : the design of Christ in his filling every valley, 
and in bringing low every mountain and hill, it was to reveal the glory of Jehovah ; 

1. In all his blessed attributes. 

2. The glory of all the three sacred Persons in the blessed Trinity. 

3. I shall speak to both these, and briefly apply it, and so conclude with this metaphori- 

cal text. The great God designed from eternity to magnify his glory, in per- 
'?ti '^'"^ mitting the fall of man, and in bringing in a Saviour, but it was never so fully 
dom of God and clearly revealed, until Jesus Christ came, and removed all those mountains 
Chrisrsun-''^ of difficulties, and takes all stumbling-blocks out of his and our way. I say, 
dertakings. the Supreme end of God in the contriving of our salvation, was chiefly and 

principally his own glory. 1. In all the perfections of iiis nature, and more 
particularly the glory of his wisdom. 2. The subordinate end was the recovery of lost 
sinners, and the overthrow of Satan and his kingdom. The glory of God's wisdom is re- 
vealed in his works of creation and providence: " The heavens declare the glory of the 
Lord," Psal. xix. 1. but not so conspicuously, not so in every one of his attributes, nor so 
resplendently in any of them, as in the work of redemption is revealed, and wrought out 
by our Lord Jesus Christ. And, 

I. The misery of fallen man was great, and mercy pities him, and was ready to restore 
liim ; but justice, hke a high mountain interposed, and requires satisfaction ; and whatso- 
ever p'ea mercy had, justice had every way as great. Mercy might say, shall such an 
excellent creature as man was, who was created in the image of God, be lost, and mercy 
and divine goodness in God be veiled and eclipsed ? Justice might say, shall not such 
guilty criminals be punished, and shall not God be just ? Shall holiness and justice be 
vailed and eclipsed, and lose their glory ? Now divine wisdom is manifested, in finding 
out a way to reconcile infinite mercy and infinite justice, that they miglit meet in sweet 
harmony, and the glory of both be equally magnified. Divine goodness and mercy is 
exalted to the wonder of men and angels, for the divine justice receives double for all 
the injury the sin of man hath done to it ; considering the worth and dignity of the person 
that wisdom found out to bear our sin, and pay our debts. 

II. The wisdom of God is revealed in and by Christ in an astonishing manner, in taking 
occasion from the sin of man, to bring so great glory to God ; sin it is true, in its own 
nature, hath no tendency to the glory of God, but is most hateful to him, and the great- 
est dishonour is thereby done to him imaginable ; but see the wisdom of God. God 
can bring good out of sin and the fall, the highest glory to his name : he therefore per- 
mitted man to fall, 

III. That we might see the glory of God's wisdom, in restoring of poor sinners, and his 
mercy, which was hid before, (there being no proper object that the sovereignty of God 
was resolved to let it towards) until Ms wisdom sufiered man to fall under misery to a 
lamentable degree. 

My brethren, the lower man was fallen, the higher is wisdom and divine goodness 
exalted, in raising of him up again. " God's wisdom is seen (saith a worthy writer) in 
Mr. Char. bringing good to the creature out of sin ; he hath ordered sin to such an end as 
Auributes. ^ ^^^ never dreamed of, and the devils never imagined, and sin in its own nature 
!'■ '^s- could never attain ; sin in its own nature tends to no good, but that of punish- 

ment, it hath no relation to the creature's good in itself, but to his mischief; but God by an 
act of infiunite wisdom, brings good out of it to the creature, as well as glory to his own 
name ; contrary to the nature of the crime, the intention of the criminal, and design of 
the tempter. God wiUed sin, that is, he willed to permit it, that he might communicate 
himself to the creature in the most excellent manner. He willed the permission of sin 
as an occasion to bring forth the mystery of the incarnation and passion of our Saviour ; 


as he permitted tlie sin of Joseph's brethren, that he might use their evil to a good end. 
Because of his hoHness ;-=— he never willed sin as an end, but in regard of his wisdom, he 
willed to permit it as a means and occasion. And thus to draw good out of those things 
which are in their own nature contrary to good, is the highest act of wisdom. 

And thus, my brethren, from the occasion of sin, God brings the greatest glory to liim- 
self, and the higlicst good to lost creatures, that ever any were blessed with. 

Some measures of wisdom were given out in creation and providence, but the infinite 
treasures of it are opened in redemption, or revealed in Jesus Christ ; and hence he is 
called " the wisdom of God," and the gospel is called the wisdom of God, yea, " the hidden 
wisdom," 1 Cor. i. 24 ; that is so called, because it reveals God's glorious wisdom that 
was long hid as to its clearest discovery. 

IV. The wisdom of God is revealed in and by Christ, or in that glorious contrivance 
of his in the after disappointment and overthrow of the design, and work of the devil, iu 
drawing man into sin to his undoing ; no doubt Satan read his own fall in the first pro- 
mise, the seed of the woman shall break the serpent's head, though he know not what seed 
God intended thereby ; he is conquered by that nature he had cast undern Chamock 
■wi-ath and the curse. The flesh of old Adam infected us, and the flesh of the second 
Adam cures us. 

Secondly, The glory of the divine goodness, love, and mercy, is revealed in and by 
Jesus Christ. 

1. Mercy and goodness was the spring of our redemption ; it was that which stirred 
up wisdom to contrive the way, that goodness and mercy might flow forth. The glory 

2. It is called the riches of mercy and goodness ; God who is rich in mercy. ?ove',"nd' 

3. It was free and undeserved goodness, there was no obligation lay on goodness, 
God to pity fallen man. 

4. It was sovereign goodness, why should God show his love and mercy to falleii man, 
and not to fallen angels ? 

5. It is infinite and incomprehensible love, mercy, and goodness ; what, save a vile rebel, 
to give his own Son ! could God show a greater love ? certainly no greater demonstration 
of love and goodness could be manifested, considering who the Redeemer is, what he 
suffered, and for whom, and what we are delivered from, and what raised unto, by this 
blessed Redeemer ; it was greater love and goodness (saith one) than was for a time mani- 
fested to Christ himself; " God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotton Son," 
John iii. 16. 

I'hirdly, The glory of divine justice is hereby also revealed, in that man is not raised 
out of this lapsed state, as a simple act of love and mercy ; but to the highest exaltion of 
his justice, in that blessed satisfaction Christ hath made by his active and passive obe- 
dience to the law and justice, in doing and suffermg what we were to have done and 
suft'ered. Jlercy might plead, if man be ruined for ever, the creation is in vain, and that 
sweet property of God's nature, divine mercy and goodness, for ever covered and remained 
obscure to any created being. Justice miglit plead, if man be not sentenced, the law is iu 
vain, and God appears not just nor true, in his threatening : gi'ace abets mercy, that pity 
might be showed, yet justice will be injured if man be not punished ; now in Jesus 
Christ the plea of justice is answered in punishing, and the plea , of mercy in pardoning. 
Justice (saith one) shall not complain for want of punishment, nor mercy want in pardon- 
ing sins ; the love, grace, and goodness of God in Christ, is to the honour of God's truth 
and justice; he preserves "the righteousness of his law, and the counsel of his mercy, 
not by changing the sentence against sin, but the person ; laying that upon his Son as our 
Surety, which by the rigour of the law we were to endure in our own persons ; whereby 
God appears just, and justice is satisfied with the punishment due to the sinner, and mercy 
is satisfied with the merit due to our Saviour, and the truth of Ciod preserved in the 
execution of the sentence pronounced." 

Fourthly, The glory of divine power is also revealed in and by Jesus Christ, Glorious 
who is called " the power of God, and the arm of the Lord," 1 Cor. i. 24, veaied. 
Isaiah liii. 1. 

1. " In that all the divine attributes are united, and meet in sweet hannony, in and 
by the Lord Jesus, and thus God is said to be made strong, by the man of his right hand ;" 
not that Christ added any strength to the essential power of God ; no, that could not be ; 
but hereby he exerts or puts forth his united and wonderful power. 

2. His power is revealed in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, who was born without sin, 
and yet partook of our nature ; he did not take the person of any man into union with 
his own divine person, but the nature of man. 


3. His power is revealed in bis divesting, and utterly destroying the power of Satan, 
and the power of sin, both for us and in us. 

4. In his vanquishing of death by the death of his own Son, that " through death he 
might destroy him that had the power of death, and deliver them who through fear of 
death were all their life-time subject to bondage," Heb. ii. 14. 15. 

5. His power is revealed in his bringing low and removing of all those mountains of 
difficulty and stumbling-blocks that were in the way of God's being reconciled unto iis. 

6. In his quickening of all his elect " who were dead in sins and trespasses," Ephes. 
ii. 1 ; and in preserving grace in them, which though it be hut as a small spark of fire, 
yet no enemies within, nor devils without, can finally quench or extinguish it ; and in 
raisincf those who are fallen so low, to a higher, and more firm state, and to greater glory 
and happiness than man had before he fell. These things are ascribed to God's almighty 
power, i! Thess. i. 11, Eph. i. 19, Isa. xii. 1. 

7. And in raising the dead at the last day. 

„. . Fifthly, The glory of the holiness ol the Lord is revealed in our Lord Jesus 

holiness Christ. 

revealed. j^ jg^ judgment, no punishment which God ever brought on the wicked 

in this world, no, not that burning wrath in the consciences of any, nor the torments and 
groans of the damned in hell, discovereth the glory of divine holiness, like that marred 
countenance, bloody agony, bleeding sides, and dying groans of the blessed Jesus, con- 
sidering who he was, or the dignity of his person, the eternal Son of God, or the only- 
begotten of the Father. 

2. The gloi-y of hoUness is revealed in God's infinite hatred of sin, not only in punish- 
ing of his Son standing in our law-place, but in his justifying of us by the righteousness 
of him who " is God over all, blessed for evermore," Rom. ix. 5. By a righteousness far 
exceeding that of Adam's in innoceney, or that the holy angels ; for Adam's holiness and 
righteousness was but the righteousness of a mere creature, and so is the holiness and 
righteousness of angels, is the righteousness of mere creatures ; but this of God-man. 

3. In his glorious design in sending of Jesus Christ to redeem us, which was not only 
to satisfy justice, and magnify mercy, but it was also to exalt his infinite holiness, in purg- 
ing away both the guilt and filth of all sin, by the blood of his own Son. The same grace 
that inclined God to send his Son to die for us, to bear our sins, hath purchased the Holy 
Spirit, and sends it to us to renew us, and to live in us, that we being regenerated, and 
having his own image stamped on us, might be capable to enjoy communion with him here, 
and eternally hereafter : and as faith apprehends Jesus Christ to our justification by God's 
ordination, so the same faith purifies our liearts through the Spirit to our inherent sanctifi- 
cation and hoUness, by its own divine operations. 

4. In that his design is to present all his elect at last in Jesus Christ, absolutely holy, 
perfect, and without spot and blemish, Ephes. v. 27. 

The glory Sixthly. The glory of God's sovereignty and dominion over his creatures, is 

sovereign- revealed in and by Jesus Christ. 

ty revealed 1. In that he was not obliged to save any of the lost sons of Adam, by any 
in e Gospe jjgggggjjy arising from his nature, any more than he was the fallen angels. 

2. In that he did not send his Son with a pui-pose to save all men, but only 
such whom he foreknew and predestinated, and gave to him from everlasting, Rom. viii. 
29 ; The whole gospel is but a declaration of his sovereign pleasure concerning Christ 
and his elect, in him ; it is therefore called, the mystery of his will, and the purpose of his 
will ; " Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, 
but according to his own purpose and grace given us in Christ Jesus before the world 
began," Eph. i. 9 ; 2 Tim. ii. 9; Tit. iii. 5. 

And thus the glory of the Lord is revealed in respect to his glorious attributes and per- 
fections of his nature. 

Secondly, I shall show how the glory of God is revealed in the gospel, personally con- 
sidered ; or the glory of all the three Persons of the ever-blessed Trinity. 

Pray let it be considered, that though God is often called a Father in the Old Testament, 
yet how hard is it without the help of the gospel to find out where he is so called, or 
taken in distinction from the Son and the Holy Spirit, sith, father (as many di^^nes ob- 
■ serve) in some places of Scripture respects all the three Persons ; and hence the Jewish 
Piabbins, (who allow not of the New Testament) manifestly declare their ignorance touch- 
ing this great truth of the Trinity, though it may in part be imputed to that judicial blind- 
ness they are left imder, yet it must be granted, that there is in the gospel a more clear and 


discovery of this glorious mystery, then there is in tlie law or Old Testament. how 
plainly, and by manifold testimony, is this borne witness unto ! 

1. By the angels, " He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the highest," Luke 

2. By the Father himself from heaven, " And lo, a voice came from heaven, saying, 
this is my beloved Son, in whom I am a-ell pleased,'" JIatt. iii. 17. St. Peter saith, men- 
tioning this passage. " He received from God the Father honoiu- and glury, when there 
came such a voice from the excellent glory, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well 
pleased,'' ■>. Pet. i. 17. 

3. By the testimony of Christ him?elf, " I thank thee, Father; even so Father 

the Father sent me the Father hath not left me alone ; I and my Father are one," 

Matt. xi. 2.5. It is observed, he calls God Father near an hundred times in the gospeL 

4. By the testimony of the Holy Ghost, in and by the apostles ; so tliat the very 
personality of the Father is here fully revealed. 

First, the glory of the Father is hereby revealed ; my brethren, the Father in 
magnifying his Son, did not design to vail or eclipse his own glory, but to q^^ ff,""^ " 
magnify it, though all are to honour the Son, as they honour the Father ; but F.ither re- 
how did our Lord endeavour to the utmost to glorify the Father. " My doc- Gospel. 
tj'ine is not mine, but the Father's that sent me," John vi. 57. " As the 

living Father sent me, and I live by the Father 1 honour my Father," John xiv. 29. 

" I have glorified thy name, holy Father," John xvii., kc. 

6. In that whatsoever belief, succour, and saving benefit we receive, all primarily is 
ascribed to God the Father. 

(1). To the wisdom of the Father, in contriving the way of oui- redemption. 
(2). To the love, mercy, and goodness of the Father. 
(3). That all might redound to the gloiy of God the Father. 

All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ. The Father, 
be is the first Person, and he is also the first in order, in all the divine operations. 

1. The Father chose Christ to be our Suiety and Saviour. 

2. He accepted of him in our stead. 

3. He sent him into the world. 

4. He anointed him. 

5. He upheld him. 

C. He raised him from the dead, and justified him, and God the Fat her justifies us in him. 

7. Our union is of the Father; " Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made 
unto us," &c. — that is, God the Father. 

Secondly, The glory of the Son our blessed Piedeemer, is also herein revealed, and all 
3esh shall first or last see it. 

1. The glory of his person, who is God essential with the Father ; " I and my Father are 
one." He thought it not robbery to be equal with God. See " pearl of great price,"Phil. ii.6. 

2. His glory is revealed in his glorious oflices, which indeed He executed from the be- 
ginning under the Old Testament ; but the nature and exercise of his offices never were 
so fully and clearly revealed, as in the gospel, when he was actually anointed and pro- 
claimed King, Priest, and Prophet, and gave forth laws, taught his people, and sufiered for 
their sins. The „,„ry 

3. In the glory of his works, in what he did in obedience to the law, and of Goi the 
in those wonderful miracles which he wrought ; and in his death, glorious re- ed°ii' the' " 
surrection, and ascension into heaven. Gospel. 

4. The glory of Christ is revealed in respect of those glorious names or titles that are 
given to Him, and in resi>ect had to what he is made of God unto all tliem that believe 
on him, i. e., to them indeed he is all, and in all. J'or, 

5. Christ is all with God, he is all to God, and he is all from God ; we have no ac- 
ceptance but in him, we only come to God by him, and receive aU from God through 
him ; be is all in redemption, all in satisfaction, reconciliation, justification, union and 
communion, and in regeneration and sanctification, in pardun, peace, and in all glorifica- 
tion. Christ is the foundation on which we are built, the fountain in which we are 
washed, the bread of life with which we are fed, and the water of life of which we drink. 
In a word, he is our life, our light, our strength ; he is made every thing to our souls that 
we need. He is the power of God ; Christ is the great repository of all sacred truth, and 
of all grace ; and Christ is the great out-let or conduit-pipe of all that gi-ace and good- 
ness we receive from God also. Thus is the glory of the Son of God revealed. 


Lastly, his glory is revealed in that great victory and conquest he hath obtained over 
all his, and our enemies. 

The glory of Thirdly, The glory of the Holy Ghost is hereby also revealed. 
GhoS°i3 re- •'■■ -^^ ^^^^^ manifestation of his distinct personality from the Person of the 
veaied also. Father and the Son, i. e., that he is an eternal divine, existing substance or 
essence with the Father and the Son, or an intelligent voluntary divine agent ; 
he knoweth, worketh, he vs'illeth, &c., and therefore an intelligent agent. 

Now his being a distinct Person from the Father and the Son, and yet the same God in 
essence, sets forth the glory of the Holy Ghost. 

1. He is called God. 

2. The Saints are called the temple of God, because the " Holy Ghost dwells in them." 
Acts v. 3, 4 ; 1 Cor. iii. 10. 

3.. We are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and therefore 
the Spirit is the same God ; and we are thereby obliged to worship him, and live to him. 

4. He is called the Comforter, which is a personal appellation, John xiv. 20. 

5. He is the voluntary Author of all divine operations, i. e., he cherished the crea- 
tion, moved upon the waters ; yea, he made and formed them. Gen. i. ;i Psal. xxiii. 6, 
Job xxvi. 13. " The Spirit of God (saith Job) hath made me;" he spake by the pro- 
phets, he enlightened, renewed, regenerates, sanctifieth, teacheth, and guideth us. 

6. We may grieve him, nay, vex him; and so we cannot be said to do to a mere 
divine quality or operation ; grief denotes or belongs to a person, Ephes. iv. 30. 

7. He is said to appoint overseers, or give pastors, and send them forth ; " The Holy 
Ghost said, separate me Paul and Barnabas, for the work whereunto I have appointed 
them," Acts xx. 28 ; Acts xiii. 2. 

II. The glory of the love of the Holy Ghost is in the gospel, revealed in removing 
all those mountains of difficulties, that lie in the way of the conversion of sinners. (1). 
All that the Father elected, the Son redeemed, the Holy Spirit renewed and sanctifieth ; 
the love of the lather, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is the same in nature, and 
of like extent ; the Father prepared the matter of which the garment of Christ's righteous- 
ness is made ; he prepared the body of Christ, the Son wrought that garment, by his ac- 
tive and passive obedience, and the Holy Spirit puts it upon us. (2). Our union with 
Christ is by the Spirit. (3). All graces in us are the fruits of the Holy Spirit. 

III. The glorious power of the Holy Spirit is also herein revealed. (1). In quicken- 
ing us. And (2). In forming Christ in us. (3). Raising us from the dead, in his 
enabling us to mortify sin. (4). And to repel all Satan's temptations, and to overcome 
the world, (f)). Likewise in helping of us to bear all manner of trials, torments, and 
sorrows, with an undaunted courage. (7). In his helping us to perform all holy duties, 
and to exercise all our spiritual graces, and in his preserving us in a state of grace to the 
end, and in perfecting of that work in our souls. 


1. We may infer from hence, that the grand design of God in sending his Son, &c., is 
to abase man, and wholly to advance and magnify his own name and glory. 

2. That salvation is alone of God's free grace. 

a. This may tend also sharply to reprove all those who are lifted up in pride and vain 
glory, and such that ascribe part of that glory which belongs unto God, to sorry man, or 
to the will, or power, or righteousness of the creature. 

4. By it likewise we may learn to give equal honour to the Father, and to the Son, 
and to the Holy Ghost, they being all but one and the same God. " These Three are 
one," one in essence. 

5. Let all the ministers of the gospel learn from hence to exalt the Holy God, and his 
free grace in our salvation. 

6. From hence also, I infer that such who have not the gospel, are ignorant of God, in 
respect of his chiefest glory, and of their own good. 

7. And that the knowledge of Christ and the gospel, is the way to be truly wise, 
Christ being the wisdom of God, and the gospel a declaration of the depth of God's wis- 
dom ; " the wisdom of God in a mystery," which is hid from most men : those that would 
be truly wise, must leara to know Jesus Christ. And tliis wisdom also will enrich the 
soul, even to make such who understand it " wise unto everlasting life." It makes not only 
knowing heads, but knowing and gracious hearts, and thus I close with these words. 




/Ind now also the axe is laid to the root of the trees, every tree therefore that briiK/elJi vol 
forth good fniit, is hetvn down and cast into the jire. — Matt. iii. 10. 

In speaking to this symbolical te.xt, I shall, 

1. Open the scope and coherence thereof. 

2. Explain the parts ami terms therein contained. 

3. I shall observe one or two points of doctrine therefrom. 

4. Improve the whole by way of application. 

First, From the scope and coherence of the place, it is evident, that John The scope of 
Baptist endeavours to take off the Jews, particularly the Pharisees and Saddu- opened. 
cees, from the external and legal covenant God made with Abraham and his 
fleshly-seed, or offspring. See verse 7. " But when he saw many of the Pharisees and 
Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, generation of vipers, who hath 
warned you to flee from the wrath to come !'' 

Historians tells us, That there were three more eminent religious sects amongst the 
Jews, the tirst were called Essenes, of whom we do not read in the holy scripture ; their main 
doctrine N\'as fate ; they (say our annotators) ascribed all things to it. Secondly, the Sad- 
ducees were directly opposite to the Essenes, they ascribed nothing to fate, but asserted 
the Uberty and power of man's will, in the largest sense, or in the most extravagant height ; 
they denied the immortality of the soul of man, the resurrection, angels, &c., all which 
the Pharisees owned. See Act. xxiii. 8. 

Thirdly, T'he Phai'isees, who were outwardly a very zealous sort of people ; and, 
though they were tainted with that false opinion of tke freedom of man's will to 
do good, yet they ascribed much to the providence and grace tif God ; they were inter- 
preters of the law, and separated themselves from others ; they spent much time in fasting 
and prayer. 1. They held, nevertheless, a righteousness by the works of the law, by 
which they thought they were justified aud accepted of God, " And so stumbled at that 
stumbling-stone," Rom. ix. 32. 2. They gave a very corrupt interpretation of the law. o. 
They held many unwritten traditions of equal force with the law of Gud ; by which means, 
they made void the commandments of God. 4. They were a mere hypocritical sort of 
men in Uieir practices, being very strict aud zealous for the smaller matters of the law, 
and neglected the weightier things tliereof. 

Whether these Pharisees and Sadducees came with an intention to be baptized, or unly 
out of curiosity, is hard to be resolved, since it is said, " They rejected the counsel of 
God against themselves, being not baptized by John," Luke vii. 30. 

John, however, sharply treats them both, calling them " a generation of vipers," a sort 
of serpents ; of whom it is said, they make way into the world through the bowels of their 
dam. It may be upon this account, he gave them that name, or so called them, who 
tiiought through the bowels (as I may so say of their ancestors) or being the seed of Abra- 
ham, or the offspring of godly progenitors, to cume to heaven ; " who hath warned you to 
flee from the wrath to come ? What is the reason that you come to my baptism ? Whereas 
some of you think there is no resurrection, no heaven, no liell, no angels, no spirits ; or, 
you, who think you are so righteous, as you need no repentance, and so need fear no wrath 
to come. From whence comes this to pass, that you seem to fear, or to be afraid of future 
wrath, and the vengeance of an angry God ? " Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repent- 
ance," ver. 8. 

come now, and put yourselves among the crowd of poor sinners, and godly penitent 
persons; repent of your false doctrines you have taught; repent of the corrupt and wicked 
notions and opinions you hold, and of tlie vain and hypocritical lives you have led, and 
think not that a bare profession of this will do neither ; fur you must bring forth fruits of 
true repentance, fi-uits of true holiness, from a tliorough ciiange of heart that must be 
wrought in you. 

_ But, (as if he should say) I know your thoughts, I have heard what a belief you are of. 
1 on think you are in covenant with God. and so are federally holy, and in a saved aud safe 
cimdition, because you have Abraham to your father. You conclude, that the covenant God 
niaile with Abraham, and his natural or fleshly seed, was tlie covenant of grace; and so 
the promise is sure to you : aud therefore, he adds, ver. 7, " Aud think not to s.iy within 


yourselves, We liave Abraham to our Father : for I say uuto you, that God is able of these 
stones to raise up children to Abraham." 

You promise good to yourselves, because you are the natural offspring of believing 
Abraham, you rest upon your descent from him. The very same plea we find they made 
to our blessed Saviour, Job viii. 33, "We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage 
to any man. How sayest thou, ye shall be made iree ?"' We were never under the bon- 
dage of sin, as others are ; that covenant made with Abraham being the covenant of grace, 
we are thereby set at liberty, and no man shall by his doctrine make us believe the con- 
trary. We are a free people, in respect of our souls and spiritual privileges, (for they could 
not mean otherwise, because they had often been in bondage to men, in respect of external 
liberty and freedom : first to Pharaoh king of Egypt, and then to Nebuchadnezzar, and 
now were so in bondage under the Romans). I know (saith our Saviour) that ye are 
Abraham's seed, (John viii. 37 ;) according to the flesh, they were his ofi:spring ; but that 
was no spiritual advantage to them ; tliough it did give them right to legal privileges and 
ordinances under the law, yet it signified notliing now, it would not profit them under the 
gospel dispensation, they must be the spiritual seed of Abraham, and do the works of 
Abraham, and walk in his steps ; which they did not ; and therefore the Lord Jesus told 
them, " Ye are of yom- father the devU, and the lusts of you father you will do." 

John Baptist intimates the same thing, when he called them a generation of vipers ; 
though they entitled themselves to the covenant of grace, (like as some do now a-days) upon 
that, in Gen. xvii., extended to Abraham's seed, as well as to himself, and concluded, they 
were members of God's church, then on earth, and could not therefore be denied any pri- 
vilege, or ordinance, that of light belonged to covenant children. But this gi-eat prophet 
knew how blind and deceived they were, not understanding that there were two covenants 
made with Abraham ; and also a two-fold seed (viz.), a natural, and a spiritual seed: they 
thought that promise of God, made with Abraham, must be made of none effect, if they 
should not be owned or allowed to be the seed of Abraham. But, (saith the Baptist) God 
is able of these stones, to raise fcp children to Abraham. If he should turn stones into men 
and women, who have Abraham's faith, they would be certainly the true seed of Abraham, 
and not such as they were, though they naturally proceeded from his loins, according to 
the flesh ; or, God could of the Gentiles raise up children to Abraham, and so make good 
his promise to liim, who said, " In thy seed shall aU the nations of the earth be blessed,'' 
Gen. xii. 3. 

And now farther to convince them, and so to take away, for ever, all their hope and 
pretences of right to gospel-ordinances, and church-membership, by vu-tue of the covenant 
made with Abraham ; or, from the consideration of their being his natural or fleshly seed, 
be in the words I first read to you, says, " and now also the axe is laid to the root of the 
trees, therefore every tree which bringeth forth not good fruit, is hewn down and cast in- 
to the fire," ver. 10. 

Now, this now refers to time in this place, sometimes it refers to the matter, or occasion 
What is of what is spoken. " Now the axe is laid to the root of the trees ;" this is cer- 

axe^being"" ^^^^' ^^^ ^^® ^^^ ^°^ '''^ '^°^^' °'" ""^"-^ *^'^* '''™® ^" ^^^^^' '■'^ '^"^ ^'^^^ *° "'^ '"^°*- 

(now) laid, We cannot understand what the Holy Ghost intends hereby, unless we observe, 
'^' and well consider, the scope and coherence of the text, which does clearly un- 

fold the whole drift and purport of the Baptist. He shewed them before in the context, 
that their plea to gospel bajitism, was not good nor pleadable, i. e., " We are Abraham's 
seed ;" they might object and say, 

Obj. All the seed of Abraham were taken into covenant with God, and all that sprang 
from liis loins were members of the visible church ; and had right to the external rites, or- 
dinances, and privileges thereof. 

Ans. This John Baptist seems to grant, i. e., that it was so from Abraham's time un- 
til these days, or under the law or old covenant-dispensation ; they had, he denies not, a 
right to Jewish church-membership and legal ordinances : but what of that, " now tlie 
axe is laid to the root of the trees ;" that is, as Abraham was the root, or common cove- 
nanting-fatber, as concerning the flesh, out of which root, all the Jews, his natm-al off- 
spring, sprang ; and, upon which foundation, they and their natural church-state was founded : 
yet, now the axe is laid to this root, i. e., to this covenant, i. e., the legal, or external 
covenant made with Abraham ; and down must the building fall, when the foundation is 
removed ; ttown goes the trees, when the root (out of which they grew) is cut down. So 
nuch as to the scope and coherence of words. 

Secondly, I shall explain the lernip and parts of the text : 

SE1;M. VI.] THK, AXK LAID To THF. HOOT OF TltK Tlil-E. 37 

1. Show farther what is meaut bj' the root. 

2. What is intended by the trees. 

3. What is meaut by the axe. 

4. Wliat by laying the axe to tlie root of the trees, and by cutting down. 

5. What by the tire, and casting into the fii-e. 

First, by the root is meant, tliat which bears up the branches, and on which '^'^^^ ^'^™' 
the trees and branches stand and grow ; and it is from lience, from this allusion, opened, 
the Baptists makes use of these words and expressions. .i\pw the root, whereof he speaks 
(as I conceive) was that covenaut God made with Abraham, and his natural seed, or otf- 
spring; which covenant did in a mystical sense, as clearly bear up the national What is 
church of Israel, and all the trees, i. e., members or branches thereof, as com- the*rootf 
mon natural root doth the tree, or trees that grow out of it. 

2. And as by root may be meant that covenant made with Abraham, and his natural 
seed, as such (from whence the national policy, and church of the Jews, sprang, and was 
borne up, and from wheuce it grew and was to abide) until the gospel dispensation came in, 
and was established ; so also by the root may be intended the foundation of all their hopes, 
confidence, and outward privileges ; for that they (I mean the natural offspriug of Abra- 
ham), had great confidence in the flesh, by means of that legal or external ministration they 
were under, cannot be denied, and had many outward rights and privileges also, above all 
people then in the world ; and if so (I mean if this be granted, which I am sure cannot 
be denied), then it follows there was some root, ground, or foundation, which they had, 
and upon which they built, and laid claim to those outward ecclesiastical and civil rights 
and privileges ; and that the ground, root, or foundation of all this, was that covenant God 
made with Abraham and his natural seed, is apparent to all who are not wiUingly blind. 
For before those covenant transactions with &.braham, we read not that the people., from 
whom Abraham sprang, had any such rights or privileges granted to them, and what out- 
ward privileges God promised them afterwards by Moses, it is signified in divers places to 
be upon the account of the covenant made with Abraham, &c. And according to the exact 
time, told by the Lord to Abraham, God brought his natural seed out of the land of 

This, from the scope and coherence of the words therefore, I must affii-m, is prima- 
rily, and chiefly intended by the root of the trees in this place : but, 

Thirdly, by wot, in a more remote sense, may be meant the state and standing of every 
ungodly, unbelieving, and impenitent person ; let their hopes, expectation, and confidence, be 
what it will ; if he be not a good tree, a believing and true penitent person, his root, or 
foundation on which he builds, let it be what it will, cannot secure him, for down he must 
go with all his vain hopes, works, expectation, and confidence whatsoever with him, for 
" now is the axe laid to the root of the trees." 

Secondly, by trees are meant men and women, but chiefly the seed of the stock what is 
of Abraham, according to the flesli ; of whom the national church of the Jews tries!' ^^ 
was made up, and did consist ; as also, all wicked and unbelieving persons 
whatsoever, who embrace not the ofi'ers of grace in the gospel, or believe not in Jesus 
Christ. For, as the Church of God is compared to a good tree, and godly men in particular, 
are called good trees, so is the adulterated church of the Jews compared to an evil tree ; 
and wicked and ungodly persons, called, " Evil and corrupt trees," Matt. vii. 1". Yet 
it might be here noted, that they are in tliis place compared to fruit trees, though to such 
that bring not forth good frait, as (by the Prophet) the Jewish church is compared to a 
vine, and an oUve tree, though she brought forth sour grapes, Isa. v. 1, 2, 4. 

Thirdly, as to the axe, we all know an axe is that instrument used by men to cut down 
trees, at the pleasure, or for the profit of the owner thereof; by the axe here, may be in- 
tended divers things, by which God may be said to cut down impenitent sinners, or un- 
fruitful churches, or bodies and souls of men. For cutting down may refer, 

1. To the souls of men, &c. 

2. To their outward rights and privileges. 

3. To their bodies and souls both. 

4. To their external, fleshly and corrupt church-state. 

First, to the souls of sinners, which is done by an act of God's justice, when what is 
he cuts off, from profiting by the means of grace, giving them up to unbelief "^^i"''''^ 
and hardness of heart : and thus he in judgment dealt with the Jews, by <Jowu the 
giving them up to blindness of mind, when they have ears, and hear not ; '"'"" 
eyes, and sec not ; hearts, and understand not ; God utterly leaving them to a 


seared conscience, or gives them up to their own heart's lusts, and to walk in their own 
counsel. Then they, in respect of their souls, may be said to be cut down in wrath for 

2. Or, when he takes away the kingdom of God from them, i. e., the dispensation 
of the gospel. " Therefore shall the kingdom of heaven be taken from you, and given to 
another people," &c. Matt. xxi. 43. 

Secondly, it may refer to the cutting down their religious and civil rights and privi- 

1. When God takes away all the external and spiritual immunities, blessmgs, and favours, 
a people once enjoyed. 

No gospel more preached to them, no ministers to preach it, the hedge of protection 
and preservation plucked up, and ravenous beasts let in to devour them ; like as God 
threatened the national church of Israel, Isa. v. The sun to shine upon them no more, 
nor the clouds to rain upon them. This is a dismal cutting down. 

Thirdly, their bodies left to be destroyed by merciless enemies, or cut down by 
famine, sword, or pestilence, as this very people were dealt with, when God brought 
the Romans upon them, and their souls cut off for their final unbelief and impenitency. 

Fourthly, It may refer to the cutting down of their church-state, sacrifices, priest- 
hood, sabbaths, temple, and all taken away and overthrown ; and another people, another 
seed, and more spiritual church, constituted and established in the room thereof And thus 
God dealt with this people, ». e., the church of the Jews they were broken off, or cut down, 
and the Gentiles were grafted in, as the apostle shows at large, Rom. xi. 

The axe, by which they are cut down, may be. 
What i» First, the dispensation of God's providence, or time. Time is pictured with a 

by the scythe ; but then man is compared to grass, but it may be pictured with an axe, 

'^^^ since men are compared to trees ; a scythe is no fit instrument to cut down trees. 

Men, as you have heard, are here compared to trees, and when once the time set for the 
Jewisli church to stand, or abide in the world, was expired, time, or the dispensation of 
God's providence, like an axe, cut it down for ever ; and so will the prefixed time ap- 
pointed by the Lord, when it is come, even cut down at the root, the bloody idolatrous 
church of Rome ; when the beast, forty-two months are expired, down she shall go with ven- 
geance, and unless time lays the axe at her root, and at the root of all other corrupt 
churches, there will be no cutting them down, nor will there be any then able to 
save her or them. The standing of all human and ecclesiastical states and constitutions, are 
determined by the Almighty, who works all things according to the counsel of his own 

2. The axe also may refer to the gospel : the word of God is an axe to hew and square 
some persons for God's spiritual building, and to cut down others also, as trees that are 
rotten, and bear no good fruit ; "Therefore (saith the Lord) I have hewn them by the 
prophets ; and what follows, mark it, " I have slain them by the words of my mouth," Hos. 
vi. 5. The word of God either kills or cures ; it is either a savour of life unto life, or the 
savour of death unto death, 2 Cor. ii. 16. Like as sweet-meats are to some pleasant and 
comfortable, and to others pernicious and deadly. 

The abuse of gospel grace cut the Jews down, and so it will all others who slight and 
contemn it ; the word either softens or hardens, like as the sun, which shining on the wax, 
it softens that ; but shining on the clay, it hardens that. When the word comes in judg- 
ment, tlien it is like an axe in the hand of God's justice. I find one learned man speaking 
tiius on tliis place, viz., the Word of God, which is a spiritual axe, cutteth down spirit- 
ually wicked men, and hypocrites, like rotten and barren trees. This is it, which is else- 
where meant by plucking up, destroying, hardening, &c. Some, (saith he) expound this, 
not of spiritual judgments, tlireatened in his word against impenitent sinners, but of the 
power of the Romans, which were the instruments of God, to destroy utterly the unfaith- 
ful and wicked generation of the Jews. The former is (saith he) the best exposition, but I 
conceive it may refer to both. 

3. The axe may refer to men, whom God makes use of, as instruments in 
cutting his hand, to cut down and destroy a wicked and God-provoking people : 

'e°fe"to'"^ hence wicked rulers and kings, whom God raises up as instruments in his hand, 
judgment. to chastise and cut down a rebellious people, are called " his sword, and the rod 
of his wrath and indignation." Psal. xvii. 14. "Arise, Lord, disappoint him, cast him 
down, deliver uiy soul from the wicked, which is thy sword." And Urns the Assyrians 


were an axe in God's hand, to use, as he pleased, and the Romans afterwards, to the 
Jews likewise. 

Jloreover, God's Israel is called his axe " Thou art my battle-axe and weapons of war ; 
■with thee I will break in piece? the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms." God's 
people, in the last days, which are now very near, shall be his axe, by whom, as instru- 
ments in his baud, be wUl destroy Babylon, Jer. li. 20, 24. " And I will render unto 
Babylon, &c., all the evil they have done to Sion, in your sight, saith the Lord. Reward 
her as she hath rewarded you, double to her double," Rev. xviii. 0. Give her blood to 
drink, for she is worthy. " The stone cut out of the mountains without hands, shall break 
to pieces all the powers of the earth, that oppose Christ's kingdom, or that stand iu the 
way of its establishment," Dan. iii. oi, 44. 

4. By the axe, may in general be meant God's wrath ; however it is, or may I}'^ ^^^r^i7 

_ J 1 1-11 , 1 II 1 mean Godi 

be executed, or upon whom, wrath will sooner, or later, cut down all the un- wrath, 
godly, both false churches, and tyrannical powers of the earth, and all who The axe laid 
continue in unbelief and in rebellion against God. at the root 

The laying the axe to the root, discovers the final fall and ruin of sinners, ^ali ""cuuing 
whether considered as a church, or as particular persons ; dig up, or cut down ''<""' "^ *""■ 
the root, and down falls the body, and all the branches of the tree. 

Fifthly, and lastly, " therefore every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be 
hewn down and cast into the fire." Now he draws a necessary inference and conclusion 
from the premises. 

Every tree, that is, every man and woman, or every corrupt church, be they who they 
will, either Jew or Gentile, Babylonian or Christian ; if not plants of God's planting, if 
not fruitful to God, if they answer not his design and end, if they bring not forth good 
fruit, they shall be hewn down and cast into the fire of external and eternal wrath. A fire, 
saith the Lord, is kindled in my auger, and it shall burn to the lowest hell. Wrath seizes, 
and shall seize on them here ; but at last they shall be cast into hell-fire, " where the 
worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched," Mark ix. 46. 

1. The words being thus opened and explained, I shall take notice of two points of 

' 1. Doct. Now the dispensation is changed. To be of the natural root, or of the nation- 
al church of the Jews, or the seed of Abraham, according to the flesli, as such, is no ground 
of church-membership; or it is no argument for such to be admitted into the gospel church, 
or to gospel baptism. 

2. Doct. Now in the times of the Gospel, God is, and will be, severe "with all ungodly, 
uubeUeving, and impenitent sinners ; he strikes at their root, at the root of all their hopes, 
false faith, or fleshly confidence whatsoever. 

These propositions I shall not prosecute now, but shall make some brief use of what 
I have said. 

1. Caution. Take heed on what you build your hopes of justification and salvation, 
what is that which beai-s up your spirits : for if you are trees that grow not out of the true 
root, Jesus Christ, and the covenant of grace ; if you have not union with the Lord Jesus, 
or are not built on that foundation, or corner-stone, God hath laid in Sion, down you fall ; 
for " now the axe is laid to the root of the trees." 

2. Enquiry. Is not morality, a civil and honest life, doing to all as you would be done 
unto, the ground or foundation of your hopes ? Do you build upon this ? If it be so, 
tremble : remember Christ saith, " Except a man be born again, he cannot see the king- 
dom of God," John iii. 3. 

If you have no other ground of hope, but from your own moral righteousness, when 
death comes wiih his axe, down you will go, and be cast into the fire. 

3. Consider, all you profane and ungodly ones, what is that which bears your hopes 
up, what do you buUd upon ; is it not on the mere mercy of God, or death of Christ ? God 
(say you) is gracious, slow to anger, and we therefore have hopes, and do trust to that : 
Christ died for sinners, &c. You say right, God is merciful ; but what then ? Will yuu 
tlierefore presumptuously go on in ungodly and wicked courses ? Oh ! know he is just as 
well as " gracious, and will in no wise clear the guilty," Exod. xxxiv. 7. " Except ye re- 
pent therefore, ye shall all likewise perish," Luke xiii. 3, 5. Shall the goodness of Goil, 
which shuuld lead you to repentance, be thus evilly improved ; i. e., to strengthen your 
hands, and encourage you to sin against him, and provoke him ? It is, I fear, with you as 
Solomon speaks, " Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, there- 
fore the hearts of the sons of men are fully s«t iu them to do wickedly," Eccies. viii. 11. 


Christ, it is true, died for sinners, but you have no true faith in him ; he died to save 
sinners from their sins, and that thej' live to him. See my text, " now the axe is laid to 
the root of tlie trees ;" if you believe not on Christ, if you are not made new creatures, 1 
Cor. V. 17, the axe will cut you down, and with vengeance and wrath, will at last cast 
you into the fire. You must leain to know the way of salvation, and how the mercy of 
God shines forth in a Mediator. Clirist hath satisfied his justice, and by him you must 
come to God ; out of Christ, he is a consuming tire. Abused mercy, O sinner ! will be 
turned at last into fury. Except you obtain an interest in Jesus Christ, you are undone ; 
" for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighte- 
ousness of men," Rom. i. 18. 

3. Or are you self-righteous persons ? Do you build on your own righteousness, like 
the Jews and h}'pocritical Pharisees ? You, may be, think your state's good, because you 
are not swearers, drunkards, &c.. May be, you do read, pray, and hear sermons, and give 
to the poor, and do much good ; but if you build your hopes of heaven on these things ; 
down this axe will cut you also ; " Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of 
the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven," Matt. 
v. 20. Nay, you must be found in the righteousness of Christ ; " all ours is but dung," 
Phil. iii. 8, 9. You must, in a word, bring forth good fruit, every soul of you, or perish ; 
and this you cannot do, till your hearts are changed, and so you become good trees. 
Make the tree good, and then the fruit will be good; "an evil tree cannot bring forth good 
fruit," &c. All works of regenerate persons, yea, their religious duties, are but dead works, 
not good fruits ; nor can they bring forth good fruits, unless they are planted by faith into 
Jesus Clirist. Nay, I must tell you, that gospel-holiness will not save us ; it must be the 
righteousness of God by faith. 


Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroiifiMy purge his floor, and gather the wheat into 
his garner, but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire. — Matt. iii. 12. 

Oins text is metaphorically, and as touching the main scope and coherence of it, it is one 
and the same with the 10th verse of this chapter, I have already spoken unto. 

John the Baptist endeavoureth to take off the Jews from their pretended privileges, of 
Laving Abraham to their father, or their being his natural seed, or offspring ; and so con- 
sidered in covenant with God, and thought their state and condition good. Which he 
strove to eonvuice them was a mistake, an'i this he doth by that tropical expression in ver. 
10, " Now also is the axe laid to the root of the trees." And in this 12th verse, " whose fan 
is in his hand," &c. As if he should say, you shall ere long see yourselves deceived, for 
all your great confidence in the flesh, touching your external, federal, relative hoUness, and 
legal privileges : for Christ with his axe will now quickly cut you down : and with his 
fan, fan you away as chaff', if you have no better right to church-membership on earth, 
and to the glory in heaven, than that which is derived to you from the account whereof 
you boast, viz., having Abraham to your Father. So much only shall now serve as to 
the scope and coherence of the words. 

1. I shall proceed to give you the parts of this symbolical text. 

2. Open the terms hereof 

3. Note two or three points of doctrine therefrom. 

4. Apply the whole. 

First, we have the person speaking, and that is, John the Baptist. 

Secondly, the person spoken of, and that is Jesus Christ. 

Thirdly, The predicate, or what is spoken of Christ, i. e., whose fan is in his hand, &c. 

John the Baptist was a great prophet, yea, " the greatest prophet that was born of 
woman ;" having greater light and knowledge of the Messiah than any of them that went 
before him, in that he could tell them this is he. He was sent to prepare the way of the 
Lord, as his great messenger or harbinger. He therefore was well instructed into the 
nature and excellency of his Master's kingdom, which was suddenly to be set up, upon the 
removal of the old Jewish church, and church membership ; this John was he tluit the 
prophet Malachi spoke of, that God would send as his messenger, to prepare the way of the 


Lord, as also how he would do this, even by a spirit of burning, that should consume that 
people, and leave them neither root nor bnuicli, ;'. e., burn up all their hopes in respect of 
their root, viz., that external covenant, God made with Abraham, on which they stood, 
and of which they boasted : as also all that confidence they had in their own good works, 
and inherent righteousness. And this, Jolni's ministry, clearly held forth, and thereby dis- 
covered the grand effect and glorious design of Christ's doctrine, and nature of his spiritual 
kingdom, which was near at hand. 

Secondly, As touching Jesus (Jhrist, who is the person John speaks of. I shall not now 
treat of his office, power, dignity, and glory, which are more fully hinted at in the context. 
" Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear, he shall baptize you with tho Holy Ghost and with 
fire,"' ver. 11. 

But I shall pass by that, and shall explain the terms. 

1. Show you what is intended by tioor. 

2. What by the fan in Christ's hand. 

3. What is meant by the chaff. 

4. What by the wheat. 

5. What are we to understand by Christ's garner. 

6. And lastly, what is meant by the fire, and by burning up the chaff. 

First, Thoroughly purge his floor. No doubt by flour the Holy Ghost alludes _. 
to that, which, in common acceptation, is well understood by husbandmen, i. e., meant by the 
a floor is a heap of corn that is threshed out of the straw, and laid in a barn, *"'"'■ 
■wheat and chaff together ; this usually is called a floor. 

By floor here, is doubtless intended more directly and immediately the Jewish church, 
but in a more remote and comprehensive sense, any spiritual community of Christians, 
church, or body of people, professing religion. 

1. The -Jews were then God's floor (or God's people), as God himself is called a husband- 
man ; and they were a great heap, a mighty floor. But almost all chaff'; loose, vain, empty, 
carnal, and unbelieving men and women. A more profane and ungodly generation was 
hardly ever in the world; and but a very few godly ones among them, but a very little 
wheat, viz : few sincere or believing persons in all that floor, who waited for Christ's 
coming, and did when he came, in truth receive him. 

But now the Lord Jesus was come, with his fan in his hand, to separate the wheat from 
the chaff, and not let them remain any longer together on that floor in that old barn, i. e., 
in the legal Jewish church-state, according to the external covenant of peculiarity God 
made with Abraham, and his natural seed as such : which had stood near its full period of 
time prefixed by the Almighty, but now must be pulled down, Jesus Christ being come, and 
just going to build a new spiritual garner, or Gospel church, to put all his choice grain or 
wheat into ; viz., all believing and true penitent persons ; this primarily I am satisfied, is 
intended by floor. For the Jewish church was not to abide or continue any longer than till 
the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ ; it being a typical church. When the Antitype 
was come, that must needs vanish away. 

Whose fan is in his hand. A fan is a certain instrument which the husband- ^^hat ia a 
man uses to cleanse, or purge his corn from the chaff', evil seeds, and all filth f""- 
whatsoever. And this instrument he holds in his hands, and uses upon his knees, by 
which he tosses up the wheat and chaff' together, and then shakes it to and fro, moving all 
at once, by which a wind is made, and the chaff' is blown away, and the wheat separated 
and purged from it. Now John Baptist alludes to such an instrument as this. ^^^.^^ 

1. By Christ's fan is meant his word, his holy Gospel, especiaUy the doctrine cimsfs fan 
thereof; it is by this he cleanses and purges his floor. "Now you are clean 
through the word I have spoken unto you." Now the unclean person, the traitor Judas, is 
gone out from you, Through my word, i. e., through my doctrine, you believing in me, and 
receiving me by faith for righteousness and eternal life. It is said " Christ gave himself 
for his cluuxh, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the 
word," Ephes. v. 26. Cleansing here imports the means by which it is wrought, or the in- 
strument, namely the word ot the Gospel, especially the promise of free justification and 
sanctification by Christ. Sirs, this was, and still is, Christ's fan, namely, the glorious doc- 
trine of God's free grace through the redemptiiju that is in Christ's blood ; and it was by 
this fan Christ cleansed that Jewish floor, to which my text primarily refers. For the 
Jews were his floor, and now Jesus Christ was come with his fan in his hand, to purge this 
floor ; and evident it is, his holy doctrine severed or separated the wheat from the chaff; 
and by this means was the wheat gathered into Christ's gospel-garner, and the chaff blown 


away ; for as chaff cannot endure the wind of the fan, so could not those unhelieving Jews, 
and hypocritical Pharisees, endure Christ's holy and heavenly doctrine, see John vi. 52, to 
ver. 60. " How can this man give us his flesh to eat?'' They thought he spake of a na- 
tural eating of his flesh, as we eat the flesh of heasts or fish : liis doctrine was not under- 
stood by them. " Then Jesus said unto them. Verily, verily I say unto you, except you 
eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you," ver. 03. 
The eating of Christ's flesh, and drinking of his blood, is no other thing than the receiving 
Jesus Christ by faith for righteousness and eternal life. " Believing in Clirist, coming to 
Christ, looking to Christ, leaning, trusting, or staying on Christ, receiving of Christ, and 
eating of Christ," imply one and tlie same thing. It is our going out of ourselves to him, 
or feeding by faith on him, or resting, or relying on his merits, on his obedience in his life, 
and in his death, for justiiication and eternal life, without any works done by us, or 
any righteousness wrought in us, as the Apostle speaks, " But to him that worketh not, 
but believeth on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is cyunted for righteousness," Rom. 
iv. 5. 

But this mysterious and sublime doctrine the Jews could not bear, but it was such a fan 
as fanned them all away that believed not, " For they being ignorant of God's righteous- 
ness, going about to estabhsh then- own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the 
righteousness of God," Rom. x. 3. They thought their own personal inherent righteous- 
ness was that by which they must be justified, accepted, and eternally saved; they had 
meat of their own to eat, and therefore saw no need to go to their neighbours' door for it ; 
they were full, and increased in goods, and thought they had need of nothing. Andlience 
the doctrine of justification by the righteousness of Christ alone was rejected by them, it 
was not understood by them : that " Christ's flesh should be meat indeed, and his blood 
drink indeed.'' was a strange doctrine in their apprehensions ; they could not conceive how 
such things could be, (as Nicodemus spake of regeneration,) John iii. 9. Nor can any man 
whatsoever, who will receive no point of faith, but what his natural reason can comprehend. 
And thus this doctrine of our Lord Jesus was a fan in his hand, and it fanned away all the 
The disnen- "^''^^ °^ ^^^^ ni'gli'y Jewish floor, who believed not in Christ. 
Bationof God Second place, Jesus Christ hatli another fan also, and that is (I doubt not like- 
Christ's'"' "" wise intended here. The dispensation of God's providence : for this was also a fan 
)iand. in Christ's hand, by which he fanned away those unbelieving Jews, and sc purged 

his floor ; I mean, the time was now come that their national, legal, and external church- 
state umst be pulled down and dissolved, the dispensation was changed, the priesthood 
changed, and right of church-membership changed. Their having Abraham to their father, 
or being the seed of professing parents, would do them no good, nor avail them any thing, 
because the covenant of peculiarity God made with him and his natural seed as such, as 
to the date or duration thereof, was now run out and expired, the axe being now laid to the 
root of the tree, ver. 10. So that unless they receive Christ, believe in Christ, and are 
found gracious persons, fit wheat for Christ's spiritual garner or gospel-church (wliich is 
built up of lively stones) as chaff the gospel-dispensation like a fan purges them out, as 
indeed it did, and blew them all away ; and we are not alone in respect of this great truth, 
for many of our worthy brethren (who in some things dift'er from us) assert the same ; par- 
ticularly the Rev. Mr. Cotton, who speaking of this text, Matt. iii. 10, saith, " The first is 
the root of Abraham's covenant, which this people much trusted upon, and of that it is 
which John Baptist speaketh, ' Now is the axe laid to the roi>t of the tree, think not to say 
within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father,' so that all their confidence that they 
had in Abraham's covenant, temple, and tabernacle, and such things are burnt up, and so 
they have no root left them to stand upon, and tliis is one thing intended by the root. 

" Secondly, There is (saith he) something more in it ; the Lord by the power of his Si)irit 
doth cut us off from any power of our natural gifts and parts, and spiritual gifts also ; or _ 
from any confidence of our own sufficiency ; the Lord hath cut us off from any hope in the 
righteousness of our parents, and from boastuig of ordinances. And again, he saith, ' This 
we read of,' Mai. iv. 1. It is spoken of the ministry of John the Baptist, which did burn as 
an oven against all the Scribes and Pharisees, and left them neither the root of Abraham's 
covenant, nor the branch of their own good works. He cutteth them off from the cove- 
nant of Abraham, &c. And by cutting them off from the root, he leaveth them no ground 
to trust on." Thus Mr. Cotton on the covenant, p. 177, and p. 21, 22. Now evident it 
is, that nothing but the dispensation of God's providence, or the expiration of that period 
of time determined by the Almighty for the standing of the church of Israel, could cut the 
Jews ofl' as a nation, from being a church and peculiar jieople unto God ; I mean in respect 


of that legal covenant. (I deny not but that the covenant of grace God made with Abra- 
ham, and with his true spiritual seed, stands lirra for ever and ever, and none in that cove- 
nant can be cut off, nor fanned awa}'.) For the Jewish priesthood, church-state, and 
church-membership, and all their churcli-privileges were to remain until Christ came ; or 
until the time of leformation ; that is, till the gospel days and gospel-dispensation took 
place and no longer. But now that time being come, and they not seeing an end 
put to the old covenant-church, as it was made with the natural offspring of Abra- 
ham, and that their right to legal ordinances and church-membership, could not give 
them any right to gospel ordinances, nor gospel-church-membership ; and they not be- 
lieving in Christ, not accepting of the terms of the gospel, were all of necessity purged out, 
or fanned away by the fan of the New Testament dispensation, and so were no longer a 
peojile in any sense in covenant with God. 

Thirdly, Christ hath also another fan in his hand, viz., the fan of church discipline. 
And many persons falling into sin, are purged like chaff out of his floor thereby. 1. Some- 
times some evil and corrupt persons, who get among God's people (or into his church) and 
pass a while for wheat, i.e., for gracious persons, yet in time God suffers them to fall into 
one temptation or another, by which means they are fanned away. The holy Jesus by his 
wise providence making a discovery of them, and their evil tempers and dispositions. 

2. Others, whom Christ would have purged out of his church, may be suffered to such 
in some evil, corrupt, and dangerous principle, or errors in fundamentals, like that of 
" Hymeaeus and Alexander," I Tim. i. 20 ; whose errors being discovered, are 
purged uot. 

3. Also many fall into notorious and scandalous sins, and are purged out by this fan, 

4. Some who are chaff, or unsound Christians, may be suffered to take up undue offences 
against the church, or churches to whom they do belong, and by giving way to temptation, 
tliey may become unreconcileable, magnifying their own wisdom and self-couceitedness, 
so by a secret hand of God be discovered and purged out. But it must be considered that 
the use and exercise of the keys or rules of church discipline, is appointed by Cin-ist, as 
the proper fan by which those sorts of persons last mentioned, and some others, are to be 
purged out of the church, or congregation of the saints. 

1 told you that this fan of discipline takes hold of, are such tliat suck in heresies or 
capital errors; these after the first and second admonition (Tit. iii. 10), ought to be 
" rejected and delivered up to Satan, that they may not learn to blaspheme," 1 Tim. i. 'JO. 

5. Such also who refuse to hear the church after the case (in which they have offended) 
is regularly brought in against them, according to the rule contained in Matt, xviii. 17. 
The offence at first may be against one brother, and the offended party is first to tell 
him his fault between himself and his brotlier or sister that hath offended him, alone : 
whom if he can bring to see and acknowledge his evil, it is to proceed no further ; but if 
he cannot, then he is obliged by the holy law of Christ, to take one or two more, and go 
to him, and strive to convince him, and bring him to a sight and sense of his iniquity ; 
but if he cannot do it, then it ought to be brought to the church, and if lie will not hear 
the church, then the fan of excommunication is to be used in the name of Jesus (.'hrist, 
and he purged out. 

Fourthly, Jesus Christ hath also another fan in his hand to purge his floor, or cleanse 
his wheat from the chaff, filth, and defilement of sin, namely the Holy Spirit ; and by this 
means he cleanses and purifies, in a gracious manner, the souls of his own peojde : " Such 
were some of you ; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the 
name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God," 1 Cor. vi. 11. What filthy crea- 
tures were those Corintliians, before the Lord Jesus by his Spirit had purged and sanctified 

Faith, of the operation of God, is a most excellent grace ; it is by faith in the blood of 
Christ that we come to be purged from the guilt of sin ; faith applying his merits and 
righteousness unto the soul in justification ; and such is the nature thereof, that it makes 
hilly the hearts and lives of all such persons in whom it is by the Spirit wrouglit or in- 
fused in sanctification ; " And hath put no difference between them and us, ])urifying 
their hearts by faith," Acts xv. 9. Yea, it cleanseth them " From all fllthiuess of llesh 
and spirit, that they may perfect holiness in the fear of God," 2 Cor. vii. 1. 

But let me tell you that the Spirit and grace of Christ, in this respect, is as a fan, and 
rather to cleanse the saints, by piu-ging out the chatf of corruption, which naturally is iii 


their hearts an J lives, than to purge hypocrites and false professors out of the chuixh, and 
to that I principally refer here. 

Fifthly, moreover Christ hath the fan of persecution, or the sufferings of the cross, and 
all other afflictions which he brings upon his people, which he uses to purge and purify 
their souls, and his churches too. 

And from hence afflictions are compared to a refiner's fire : " He shall sit as a refiner's 
fire, and purifier of silver." He, that is, the Messiah, i.e., our Lord Jesus Clirist ; this 
his work, viz., to purge his people, who in this place are compared to silver and gold, that 
is refined : as in my test they are likened unto wlieat. In this he is compared to a refiner, 
and hath his iurnace ; in the other to an husbandman, and so hath his fan. Both these 
texts allude to the same thing, and doing the same work, namely, to sever and separate 
the clean from the unclean, the gold from the dross, the chafi^ from the wheat. And evi- 
dent it is, that persecutions, trials, and afflictions, commonly make a great discovery who 
are wheat or pure gold, viz., sincere believers : and who drossy and chaffy professors. K 
■wheat, persecution purges and purifies them : but if they are chaff, it usually fans them 
away. But he that receiveth the seed in stony places, the same is he who heareth the 
■word, and with joy receiveth it: " Yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a 
while ; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth, because of the word, by and by he is 
offended," Matt. xiii. i!0, 21. Thus the fan of persecution purges these chaffy profes- 
sors out of Christ's spiritual floor, or rather his garner : by the spirit ot judgment and by 
the spirit of burning. The rod of affliction, or furnace of persecution, cannot purge out 
the filth of sin that is in the Lord's people without the operations of the Holy Spirit ; the 
Spirit is called a Spirit of burning, because like fire it burns up and consumes the filth, 
chaff, and dross, that is in us. Before trials and persecution come, Christ seems to have 
a very great floor, a great heap, or much corn ; but when he comes to try them with his 
fan in his hand, oue great part thereof is found mere chaft', and the wind drives it away. 
So much shall suffice as to the fan in Christ's hand by which he purges his floor. 

Quest. Wliat is meant by the chaft'? 

Answ. I answer the chafl' may be understood to be twofold. 

1. Men and women who get iuto God's church, or among his people, but are not 
wheat, but vile hypocrites, pretending to be that which in truth they are not ; thus all 
that are of Israel are not Israel. Though they bore his name, were called Jews, called 
saiuts, yet were unsouud at heart, and graceless souls, or mere chaft', in God's sight. 

2. By chaff may also be intended sin, or that filth and corruption which cleaveth oft- 
times to the best of God's people, which (Christ must and will purge out. 

Quest. Why are hypocrites or ungodly persons in the church compared to chaft" ? And 
how may they be known ? 

.Answ. I answer, hypocrites and ungodly men in the church are compared to chaff; 

1. Because chaff, before it is separated from the wheat, cleaveth close to it, and it is 
hard to sever it from the wheat, and it also seems like unto it : even so some carnal and 
hypocritical professors cleave to the church, and seem to love and embrace the godly in 
their arms, and to lay them in their hearts ; they walk in company, nay in outward fel- 
lowship and church communion with them ; they pray, and break bread with them, as if 
they were really gracious, and are not known to their brethren to be otherwise : and as it 
is hard to discern them from the godly, so it is hard to separate such from them. Chaff 
is so much like to the wheat, that some have taken it at first view to be wheat ; so are 
these taken to be saints, and there may be no severing them from the congregation of the 
Lord, till Christ comes with his fan to purge his floor. 

2. They may be compared to chaff, iu regard of the gi-eat pains that is and must be 
used- to separate it from the wheat : the wheat must be threshed and fanned ; nay, fanned 
again and again, before all the chaft' can be severed from it. So unsound professors, or 
some hypocrites in the church, seem to cleave so close to the godly, and are in such seem- 
ing union and oneness with them, that the Lord sees there is no other way to sever them 
from each other, but by threshing his wheat with the flail of persecution, and then the 
chaff flies away by the wind of this fan. 

3. Chaft' is of very little worth or value unto wheat ; " What is the chaff unto the wheat, 
saith the Lord ?'' Jer. xxiii. 28. One peck of good wheat is worth many bushels of chaff. 
So ungodly men and women are of little wortli in God's sight ; a wicked man to him is loath- 
some," Prov. xiii. 5, as Solomon shows, and that which is loathsome and hateful in our sight, 
we value not, but cast away. The prayers of the wicked are abominable to the Lord, because 
their persons are not accepted in Christ. Whatsoever the ungodly do, or whatsoever show they 


make of religion, let them i)ray, hear, read, preach, or give to tlie poor, it is not regarded nor 
accepted of the Lord ; one godly person is more to him, tlian a multitude of uusauctitied 
and hypocritical persons. The tongue of the just is as choice as silver, the heart of the 
wicked is but of little worth. The best part of a child of God is his heart, though he 
thinks that is the worst of all. Saints are wheat, hypocrites chatf ; the one is gold, the 
other dross in God's esteem. Hence the Lord saitii, " Since thou wast precious in my 
sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee . therefore will 1 give men for 
thee, and people for thy life : 1 will give Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for 
thee." Isa. xliii. 3, -L God so little values graceless persons, that he will sacrifice thou- 
sands of them in love and cercy to his faithful ones. 

4 ChaflF is light and airy, it is no ponderous thing, therefore the wind carries it tliis 
way, and that way, at every turn : nay, every small breath of wind moves it to and fro ; 
whereas wheat stirs not, moves not, but abides in its place, it being a weighty and pon- 
derous thing. Even so all hypocritical and unsound professors, whatsoever they seem to 
be at some times, (by making a show of religion, and pretending to piety) yet they are 
in God's sight as light as vanity ; they are like chaff, not serious, weighty, and ponderous, 
they are but a flash, a shadow, and no substance, having mere dry, barren, aud empty 
souls. And their lightness appears and shows itself in mauy respects. 

1. It appears sometimes by their light, frothy, and airy talk and discourse. They may 
sometimes seem serious ; but if watched they will be discovered, their tongues will be- 
tray them, by their foolish and vain words, and communication. " They setting no watch 
before the door of their lips, and bridle not their tongue, therefore their rehgion is vain," 
James i. 26, as the apostle James shows. 

Christians, if you would not be found cliaff at the great day, take heed of a reviling 
tongue, lest you deceive yourselves, and all yonr religion and profession be vain. " He 
either deceiveth his own heart (saith our Annotators) in thinking himseli religious, when 
indulging himself in things contrary to religion ; or else deceiveth his own heart, being 
bhndei with self-love, and lifted up with self conceit, which is the cause of his railing, 
censuring, and speaking evil of others. Their religion is vain, empty, and to no 
purpose, having no reality in itself, and briugeth no benefit to them. 

what a reproach doth the talkative and prating person bring on the name of God. 
This man, this woman, say they, is a member of such or such a church, and see what 
vain talk, frothy words, and frivolous discourse proceed from their lips ? But much 
more evil is in such who backbite, revile, and defame others (as was hinted before.) 
This I say may discover such to be but chaff. 

2. They appear to be chaff", not only by their light, vain, idle, and back-biting tongues, 
hut also by their light behaviour ; for the hghtness of the heart is as much discovered by 
a loose and aii-y deportment, as by loose and vain words ; their wanton looks, and rol- 
ling eyes, or other unseemly and uncomely carriage, show in part what they are ; they 
being not of a grave, sober, and serious spirit, but behave themselves as if they had no 
sense of the omnisciency of God upon their hearts, nor of his holiness ; not setting the 
Lord always before them, gives cause to all to fear they are but chaff. 

3. Their light, empty, and airy attire, dresses, and antic fashions, which they wear 
and take delight in, doubtless too much discovers the lightness, vanity, and emptiness of 
their spirits. I am persuaded these high and shameless head-dresses which some women 
appear in, that come into Christian assemblies, are but as tell-tales of the vanity, pride, 
emptiness, and haughtiness of their hearts ; who but they that sell wine will put forth a 
bush ? I cannot see how a sober serious Christian woman should be satisfied to wear such 
antique dresses. Their souls sure must needs blush at the thoughts of theoi ; when 
they consider whose eyes behold them, viz., God. 

4. Such are chaff that only have the husk or shell of Christianity. Chaff is the husks 
of wheat. Many professors please themselves with the external part of religion, having 
a form of godUness, but are strangers to the life and power thereof. Like the foolish 
virgins, they have lamps, but no oil ; a name, but want the nature of true believers ; can 
talk and discourse of religion, of the covenant of grace, and excellency of Christ. They may 
have, I grant, clear notions in their heads of the mysteries of the Gospel, and defend it 
too against opposers, yet their hearts are unsanctified, and never felt nor experienced the 
work of faith with power ; they have the outside of the true Ch.istian, the shell of the 
wheat, but if tried and searched there is nothing but chaff,no kernel in them, they want 
the root of the matter. All true believers have passtd through the pangs of the new birth ; 
they found they were once dead, but are now alive ; once blind, but now they see ; once 


lost in their owu eyea, but now found ; once carnal, but now spiritual ; once bad their 
affection set on things below, but now on things above. Siu was once sweet and pleasant 
to them, but now it is bitter and loathsome in their eyes, because they see it is so iu the 
sight of God. Their judgments are informed, their understandings savingly enlightened, 
Christ and heavenly thhigs are valued and esteemed above all things here below, yea, 
above ten thousand worlds, by them ; and their understandings are not only brought to 
assent to the truth of Christ, to the glory and beauty of Christ ; but their wills also are 
subjected to him ; they are brought to consent and yield themselves to the Lord ; they 
believe and love, believe and obey, believe and suffer reproach, taking up the cross, put- 
ting on the yoke of Christ ; their affections are so changed , and under divine influences, 
that what they loved once, they hate ; and what they once hated, or liked not, they dearly 
love and approve of now. But thus it is not with chaffy professors. They may be 
changed from open profaneness to an outward reformation of life, but their hearts are not 
changed, sin is not crucilied in them, self is not subdued ; that enmity that was naturally 
in their hearts, or dislike to the life and power of strict godliness, is not removed ; they 
act only from common illuminations of the Spirit, and so they put a force upon themselves 
when found iu religious duties : and find not a natural inclination and sweet propensity in 
tlieir hearts to heavenly things. And this shows they are no more than chaff'. 

5. And lastly, chaff" I told you is light, and every breath of wind will move it, this 
way, and that way ; and if it rises high, it will, may be, blow it quite away, there being 
no kernel in it, whereas the wheat abides. 

So chaffy and vain professors are startled at every small blast of persecution, and 
presently begin to move out of their place, and shun assembling themselves with God's 
people. Nay, every wind of corrupt doctrine is ready to blow some of this sort away ; 
they are unsettled persons, that want weight, or are not rooted in the truth, wanting a 
good understanding, and a principle of saving grace in their hearts. " Be not carried 
about with divers and strange doctrines, for it is good to have the heart established with 
grace, and not with meats," Heb. xiii. 9. 

This sort are soon corrupted from the simplicity of the gospel, by the cunning crafti- 
ness of men, being ready to receive any strange notion, or close in with a new scheme 
of religion, some turning to Judaism and add Moses to Christ, or join to the gospel their 
own works. They are commonly corrupt, either in principles or practices, or in both ; 
making a stu- about the mint, anuise, and cummin, i. e., about the smaller matters of 
religion, as concerning meats and observation of days, as if in such things lay the great 
stress of Christianity. How many are there who hke those false teachers, and deluded 
people in the primitive times, plead for justification some other way than by faith only, 
and bring in their own inherent hoUness and sincere obedience, and add that to the 
„. . ,., J merits of Christ, in point of justification before God ; or exalt the power 

Sinis likened ,.,,/., . i ,• • , , . r. ^ 

to chaff, and wul 01 the creature, to tlie echpsmg the doctrme of free-grace. 
Matt. 111. 3. Secondly, By chatF may also be meant, sin, filth, and corruption, which clea- 
veth to the hearts and lives of true believers, which Christ by the fan of his 
Word, Spirit, and afflictions, as you have heard, purges out. " He shall purify the sons 
of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an oft'ering 
in righteousness." This is spoken of Jesus Christ, whose fan is in his hand. It shows 
his work and office, namely, to refine and fan his people, not only members but ministers 
also, signified by the sons of Levi, that they all may oft'er acceptable sacrifice unto God. 
Besides, our Lord Jesus sometimes makes use of wicked men as a fan in his hand to purge 
his people, and be did of old fan Israel by the Babylonians, and by the Assyrians ; " I 
will send unto Babylon fanners, as I have sometimes fanned and scattered my people by 
them ; so will I fan them by the jMedes and Persians, who shall empty the land of them," 
Jer. lix. 2. After Christ hath fanned or purged away the chaff' and filth of the daughter 
of Zion, he will fan their enemies, and they being all chaff", the wind of his indignation 
will drive them away. Let this be noted, that Christ hath many ways to fan and purge 
his people, yet still it is for their good ; and they shall lose nothmg but their chaff', their 
sin and corruptions thereby. 

" And gather his wheat into his garner." The saints are here called wheat. 

1. Wheat is a choice grain, the best grain ; so true believers are a choice people in 
Christ's sight. " The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour, " Prov. xii. 26. 
They are called " the excellent in all the earth," Psal. xvi. 3. " God calls his people his 
jewels, or choice treaure ;" Matt. iii. ult. They are men of a high and heavenly birth, of 


liigli, sublime, and excellent spirit ; they are espuused, by an excellent person f'^ie'cf ?be 

act, and are influenced by excellent principles ; and have glorious ends and aims wheat and 

in all they do. And from hence may be compared to wheat. xS^ii. "' ' 

2. Wheat hath its chaff, cleaving ofttimes close it, it will stick and cleave 'vvheie the 
so to it, that it is not easily separated. wheat is 

So it is with Christ's spiritual wlieat ; the filth or chaff of internal corrup- ^"^§^]^ "•* 
tiou is very subject to cleave to them, and hard it is for them to get rid of it. 
" When I would do good, sin is present with me ; for the good 1 would, I do 
not ; but the evil which I would not do, that do I," Rom. vii. 21 — 24. 

Oh ! wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death ? I 
am (as if he should say) even wearied with continual combating. I cannot get rid of this 
dead body, this inward tilth and corruption, the remainders of sin in my flesh ; this chaff' 
cleaves to all Christ's wheat. 

3. Wiieat is threshed with the flail, to sever it from the straw or chaff, by the hus- 
bandman ; so God, to sever the wheat, i. e., the godly from the chaffy professor, and free 
them of the filth and corruption of their own hearts, brings his flail of affliction and per- 
secution upon them. 

4. Wheat is also fanned, to cleanse it ; and it is to be noted, that the fan in the 
hand of the Imsbandman tosses up the wheat and chaff' together, and then he shakes it to 
and fro, this way, and that way, on his knees. 

So the Lord Jesus with his spiritual fan tosses the godly and hypocritical professor, by 
the same afflictions, trials, persecutions, and temptations. And what hurryings, tossings 
and tumblings to and fro in their spirits, have some Christians met with in the late times, 
and still daily meet withal. They have their ups and downs, this affliction and the other 
temptation ; this loss, and the other cross : but yet, nevertheless, they are not tossed out ; 
whilst Christ's wheat is refined, they abide fanning, (as I hinted before), but so doth not 
the carnal and light professor : " They are offended," Jlatt. xiii. 21, through this means, 
as our Saviour shows, and are ready to say with Ihat wicked man of old, " this evil is of 
the Lord, why should I wait upon him any longer ?" 1 Kings vi. 33. Believers know God 
doth it not for his pleasure, but for their profit, that they might be partakers of his holi- 
ness," Heb. xii. 10. Hence it is said, that " they endure chastening, and faint not when 
they are rebuked of the Lord." 

" And gather the wheat into his garner." 

Christ hath a two-fold garner. 

First. His Church is his garner. 

1. A garner is prepared on purpose to retain, and safely to secure the wheat in a 
heap together, where it is carefully to be looked after. So is the Church of God ap- 
pointed and prepared to receive and secure his faithful people together ; it is not built for 
chaff' and tares, and great care and pains is required of Christ's servants in looking to, 
and taking care of his spiritual wheat in his Church. 

Yet through want of care, or weakness, or want of knowledge in Christ's ministers and 
servants, in discerning who are sincere Christians, and who are not : many unsound and 
chaft'y professors are let into the church or churches of Jesus Christ, which is displeasing 
unto him, because they spoil the beauty and glory thereof, and cause many to reproach 
his faithful ones ; as it also renders them in the sight of the carnal world not to be God's 

Therefore, Christ with the fan of persecution oftentimes fans his people, to purge out 
the loose and profane from among them. 

Secondly, By the garner is meant heaven itself, into which all the elect HeaT<?n is 
shall be put at the last day, and into this garner shall none come but pure garner!" 
wheat : " And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, 
neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or that maketh a lie, but they which are written 
in the Lamb's book of life." Rev. xxi. 27. 

" But he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." 

By burning up the chaff" with unquenchable fire, is meant the direful wrach what 
of God, which sometimes seizes on ungodly persons in this world, and shall JJIIJ!},",'!'^ 
eternally take hold of all the chaff in the world to come. The wrath of God "p ";e 
is often compared to fire in the Scripture. " There went up a smoke out of '^'"'''' 
his nostrils, and a fire out of his mouth devouring ; coals were kindled by it," Psal. 
viii. 8. So in another place it is said, " A fire goeth before him," Psal. xc. 3, &c. 
" Shall thy wrath burn like fire?" Psal. Ixxxii. 4G. " His fury is poured out like fire, 
and the rocks are thrown down by him," Nab. i. 7. 

48 THE p\N IN Christ's hand. [book i. 

1. Fire is a terrible and a most amazing element, especially when it breaks forth like 
a masterless enemy, and none can stop it ; so is the wratli of God very terrible, when he 
poureth it forth in his greatest fury. what a frightful cry doth a dreadful fire that 
breaks out in a town or city cause ! what a wringing of hands ! men tremble, women 
miscarry oftentimes, children screech out, it frightens the very fowls of the air, and 
beasts of the earth, and turns aU faces into paleness ! How amazing were the flames of 
Sodom, and how terrible is the burning of mount ^Etna ! The wrath of God, when it 
furiously breaketh forth upon a people and nation, or particular person, causeth dreadful 
horror, it maketh the stoutest heart to quake, and the strongest hands feeble: " At his 
wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation^" 
Jer. X. 10. His fury is poured out like fire, and the mountains are thrown down before him. 
Can thy heart endure, or thy hands be strong, iu the day when I contend with thee ? 
" Who can stand before his indignation ?" Nab. i. 6. how will the wicked fly into holes, 
quiver like a leaf, " and cry to the rocks and mountains to fall upon them, and hide them 
from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb," 
Eev. vi. 16. 

2. Fire breaks out sometimes very suddenly, when none think of it, but all are, as they 
judge, safe and secure ; yet in a moment how are they surprised, when nothing but the 
horror and cry of, fire, fire, fire, is heard in their ears. So God's wrath, like a dreadful 
and unexpected fire, breaki out sometimes suddenly upon the ungodly. How surprising 
were the flames of Sodom, and the amazing hand-writing on Belshazzar'swall, when he 
was drinking wine in bowls ! immediately the " king's countenance was changed, arid he 
was troubled in his thoughts, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote 
one against the other: I)an. v. 5, 6. " AVhen they cry peace and safety, then sudden 
destruction cometh, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape," 1 
Thess. iii. 3. 

3. A fire sometimes breaks fijrth in the night, when men are asleep : so God comes 
upon men many times in the night of ignorance and unbelief, while they lie on their beds 
of ease and carnal security, by amazing judgments, or by suddden death. How secure 
was the old world, and the rich man in the gospel, to whom God said, " this night thy 
soul shall be required of thee ?" 

4. A consuming fire destroys, wastes, and devours exceedingly ; as Sodom found, and 
London also, by woeful experience. So God when he breaks forth in his wrath and fury, 
he makes most lamentable desolation. " The Lord shall swallow them up in his wrath, 
and the fire shall devour them," Psal. xxi. 9, 10. The wrath of God is compared to a 
consuming fire : " For our God is a consuming fire," Heb. xii. ult. 

5. A consuming and raging fire spares none, the palace of the prince, no more than 
the cottage of the peasant ; the mighty oaks, as well as the lowest slmibs, are devoured 
by it. So the wrath of God seizetli, and will seize on all wicked men ; on the mighty and 
lionourable of the earth, as well as the poor and contemptible ones ; the king on his 
thrones, as well as the beggar on the dunghill. " His wrath shall he on every one that 
is proud and lifted up, and he shall be brought down ; upon all the cedars of Lebanon, and 
upon all the oaks of Bashan," Isa. ii. 12 — 16. " He will come upon princes as upon 
mortar, the whole earth shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy, neither their gold 
nor silver shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's wrath," Zeph. i. 18. 

6. 'Wood, hay, stubble, chaft", and tares, are fit fuel for the fire to seize upon, and such 
things that are combustible make it to burn the more vehemently. And if strong towers 
cannot stand before a consuming fire, how is it possible for briars and thorns ? Some 
sinners are hke stubble fully dry : they are fit fuel for the wrath of God, like fire, to take 
hold of. what horrid guilt lies upon some men's consciences 1 Just like a great heap 
or pile of wood, well diied. or cart loads of straw, or dry stubble : " What if God will 
to show his wrath, and make his power known, endured with much long suA'aring, the 
vessels of wrath fitted to destruction ?" Eom. ix. 22. 

A long coui'se in sin, custom in sin, resisting the gi-ace of God, slighting convictions, 
hardening the heart against reproof, stifling the accusations of conscience, and abusing the 
patience and long suflering of God, fits men for tlie fire of his wrath ; " Whilst they are 
folden together as thorns, and whilst they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be de- 
voured as stubble full dry," Nah. i. 10. 

7. A dreadful fire, when it breaks out, turns all joy into sorrow, and makes a day of 
mirth a day of mourning : so the consuming wrath of God, whether it seizes on the con- 
sciences of men only whilst aUve in the body, or on body and soul both here, or on the 



soul at death, it turns all joy into sorrow. what extremity of misery Jo such feel ! ask 
Judas or Spira, they could tell you. 

b. Fire is a most cruel and dreadful tormentor ; if a man be cast into a fire, what in- 
tolerable pain and anguish doth it put him to ; but alas, alas, that is nothing to the wrath 
of God, when God kindles it in the consciences of men, nor to hell fii-e. You will say, 
it is a fearful thing to fall into a furious fii-e, into a burning furnace ; but, sirs, how 
much more dreadful it is to fall under the wrath of God ! " It is a fearful thing to fall 
into the hands of the living God : for our God is a consuming fire," Heb. ii. 12. If il be 
terrible to have a finger, a foot, or a hand to be burned off, or to have the whole body 
cast into a furnace of boiling oil, (as some of the holy martyrs were) how then can sin- 
ners, who are as chaff, bear the thoughts of God's wrath and vindictive vengeance, 
which is far more intolerable than any fii-e into which any mortal was ever cast ? For, 

1. Other fire burns only the external part, or tempor.il, or corporal matter ; but the 
fire of God's wrath burns and torments the spirit, the soul, the invisible part. 

2. Elementary fii-e is seen, but internal wrath is only felt inwardly, it cannot be seen. 

3. The fiercest fire that ever was kindled hath been overcome, and by engines or 
instruments put out ; but the fire of God's wrath, when kindled, and the soul thrown into 
hell, cannot be put out, nor be extinguished ; it is unquenchable fire. Though tlie burn- 
ing of mount Etna aud other burning mountains is impossible for man to extinguish, yet 
doubtless they shall not burn always, they will be put out ; but wrath shall burn for 
ever. So much as to the explanation of our text. From hence we may observe divers 
propositions or points of doctrine. 

1. Doct. The old floor is gone, it is removed, viz., the old .Jewish Church, or national 
Church of Israel, the wheat that was in it being taken into Christ's gospel garner, and the 
chaff, or all graceless persons, " or unbelievers, are fanned away," Eph. ii. 16. Now 
Christ hath removed the partition-wall that was between Jew and Gentile, and hath recon- 
ciled both unto God in one body, 2 Cor. v. 17. Now there is no knowing men after the flesh, 
fleshly privileges, i. e., being the seed of Abraham, or being the seed of believers as such, 
gives no right to spiritual, saving, and eternal blessings. Both those two people, .Jews and 
Gentiles, that believe, of twain are made one, i. e., one new man, or one Christian or 
Gospel Church. And this is done by Jesus Christ, who by his fan, or dispensation of the New 
Testament, hath abolished the old covenant right of church-membership ; not the fleshly 
seed, but the spiritual seed of Abraham, are to be received into Christ's Gospel garner ; 
" Ye as lively stones are built up a spiritual house," 1 Pet. ii. 5., &c. But this I shall 
not prosecute. 

2. Doct. Jesus Christ would have none but pure wheat he gathered into his garner ; 
not the fleshly and spiritual seed, not the believer and the unbeliever, not godly ,ones and 
ungodly ones, not the chaff" and the wheat, as it was under the law, in the national church 
of the Jews. Nut whole parishes, or whole nations ; no, no, none but true Christians, or 
holy persons, sanctified aud sincere, and truly gracious souls. 

3. Doct. Christ's great work and office is to purge his people, to cleanse them, and 
make them holy, and to sever the wheat from the chaft', the pure from the impure ; or to 
separate hypocrites from iiis church, and purge his saints from all their inward filth and 
corruption : he would have no chaff there, none that are lalse-hearted and unsound, such 
will he first or last purge out ; and he will make them that are good to be much better, 
more clean, more holy, more pure, he will purge out tiie chaff' of hypocrites, unbelief, 
pride, passion, covetousness, vain-glory, carnality, and all manner of corruption whatso- 
ever that is in them. He sits as a refiner and purifier of sUver, and he will throughly 
" purge away their dross, and take away all their tin," Isa. i. 25. The time draws near 
in which " the sinners in Zion shall he afraid, fearfulness shall surprise the iiypocrites: 
who amongst us shall dwell with devouring fire ? who amongst us shall dwell with ever- 
lasting burnings ?" Isa. xxxiii. 1 4. 

4. Doct. jUI true believers, or all Christ's wheat, shall be saved, shall be received in- 
to heaven, or be gathered into his glorious garner above, and into which place no wicked 
person, no false-hearted professor, no hypocrite, no carnal and self-decei\ed gospeller, shall 
come. Though some of this sort get into the church militant, they shall not get into the 
church triumphant; though they may get a seeming place m his gamer below, yet they shall 
have no place in his glorious barn or garner above. Sirs, you that seem to take delight 
in the company of the saints, and seem to feed and lie down with Christ's sheep, yet know 
you shall one day be separated as goats from the sheep, as foohsh virgins from the wise 


as chaff from the wheat, and as dross from the gold ; all you that are not sincere must go 
to your place ; and those that shall be set at Christ's right-hand, shall receive the king- 
dom prepared for them, and all that shall be on his left-hand, must go into " everlasting 
fire, prepared for the devil and his angels," Matt. xxv. 41. 

5. Doct. A discrimination day will come, a day of severing the good from the 
bad, &c. 

6. Doct. The wrath of God is like fire, it is intolerable ; or the misery and torments 
The iTTath pf tj^e damned, or of all hypocrites and unbelievers, will be dismal and amazing ; 
whether or there is no expressing how fearful their condition is and will be, who fall un- 
eitenrnMa ''^'" '■^^ vindictive wrath and vengeance of an angry God. I shall not speak 
intolerable, now to either of these propositions, but at present I shall close with a word or 
two by way of use. 


1. Caution. Take heed you are not chaff, or prove not chaff, when the fanner comes 
to fan you. see you are not loose, carnal, and empty professors ; if you have only a form 
of godliness, the name of Christ only, or lamps, and no more, sad will it be with you ; if 
you are not solid, weighty, and ponderous Christians. If you experience not the divine power 
of godliness, the sin-killing, the soul-quickening, the heart-transformmg, and God-exalting 
power of Christ's Spirit, you are undone. 

Take a few motives to stir you up to take heed. 

1. The fanner is coming with his fan in his hand : A providence may be near, yea, 
such a providence and dispensation which you little think or dream of. I might have 
showed you that the whole earth is but Christ's common floor, and he is now about to fan 
this mighty floor ; he hath many fans to do this. What are his fearful judgments but as 
a fan in his hand, whether it be war, pestilence, or famine, or other strange judgment, it is 
and will be but as a fan to purge the earth, and consume the ungodly, or blow them away 
as chaff. 

What amazing earthquakes have there been lately in divers places. Have not we in 
England, in London, felt some of it, (as well as must nations in Europe) though not like to 
that in Jamaica, and some other places ? Are not these fearful tokens and signs of God's 
wrath and indignation ? Are they not harbingers and presages of what is coming upon the 
world, and of the end thereof ? Look to it, th(;re is great wrath at the door. 1 am afraid 
thousands will be suddenly surprised, and paleness of face take hold of them. God is cer- 
tainly about to shake and toss the earth to and fro : the seven vials of his wrath will quickly 
now begin to be poured out : expect all of you to be tossed and fanned, as wheat and chaff 
is tossed and shook tocether : " The Hon hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord hath 
spoken, who can but prophesy ?" Amos iii. 8. There is a worse earthquake near, as the 
wicked shall find it ; yea, such an earthquake that will make all their hearts to tremble, 
which will shake down the foundations of mystery p.abylon, and all false states ; it will 
be such a one that never was since the world began ; these which have been of late, may 
be but signs and forerunners of that. In the earthquake which is near, the tenth part 
of the great city shall fall, and seven thousand of the names of men, or names given to 
religious men, that were never given to them by -Jesus Christ, mere antichristiau names, 
shall be no more, strange will be the effects of it no doubt. what will you do in the 
day of God's wrath if ye are chaff, or but counterfeit Christians ? If not sincere, if not in 
Christ, " Thou shalt be visited of the Lord in earthquakes and a great noise," &c., Isa. 
xxix. 6. Great changes, commotions, mutations, and revolutions, will suddenly come from 
the Lord of hosts : " He will make the earth empty, and turn it up-side down, and it shall 
be as with the people, so with the priest," Isa. xxiv. 1. He will fan, shake, and tumble 
the people together ; you will find distress of nations, and perplexity with a witness, in 
a short time ; nay, no doubt, but the day of judgment and end of the worid, or coming 
of Christ ; is very near ; for he hath foretold these things as signs thereof " that there shall 
be great earthquakes in divers places," Matt. ii. 4. 

2. If you be I'haff among the wheat, you spoil the beauty and glory of the wheat ; you 
bring a reproach upon the saints and upon the church ; the ways of God are evil spoken of 
through vour means ; your pride, your covetousness, your back-biting and detracting tongue, 
and unjust dealmg, liinders the propagation of the gospel ; your formality, deadness, shght- 
ing and neglecting of the worship of God, and want of zeal, and love to Christ and to his 


people, have bitter effects on the unbelieving world, as well as it will have on your 
own souls. 

3. If you are chaff, you shall ere long be separated or severed from the wheat : there 
is a time near that will discover all, and make a full discrimination " between the righteous 
and the wicked, between him that serveth the Lord, and him that serveth him not," Mai. 
iii. 18. There shall not (ere long") be a Canaanite in tlie house of God any more. 

4. Nay, and (remember) the chaff shall be burned with unquenchable lire ; into hell 
at last all false-hearted, light, and loose professors, shall be thrown. O take heed for your 
soul's sake, that you rest not upon a bare profession, or on a name of Christian. 

5. This may inform us also, that Christ hath a gracious end in bringing persecutions 
and trials on his people ; it shows us why he uses the fan, as severe providences, judgments, 
and afflictions : it is, you have heard, to purge, to purify them, and to separate the chaff 
from them. do not then think it strange concerning fiery trials, as if some strange thing 
had befallen you. 

Exhort. Let me exhort you to see to it in time, that you be not deceived, and to prove 
chaff, and vain persons, empty and foolish virgins at last. 

Motives. 1. how far may men go, and yet be but almost Christians ! remember 

2. Many when Chiist comes shall have great confidence, and go forth to meet him, 
and yet be found foolish ones : some deceive their own hearts, and others have hearts deceived 
them, by trusting in them, and never examine how matters are between God and their own 

3. Men may preach and prophesy, yea, speak as if they had the tongue of men and 
angels, 1 Cor. xiii. 1, 2, and east out devils in Christ's name, and yet be nothing ; they 
may preach, no doubt, to the conversion of others, and yet may not be converted 1,hem- 

4. Wheat is commonly weighed, to know the goodness of it ; so God weighs the actions 
of men : thou art weighed in the balance, and art found wanting : weighed in a balance, 
alluding to the weighing of gold or goods exactly in scales. God tries men and women, 
that all may know he will proceed justly and righteously with them ; he weighs them in 
the balance of the sanctuary, or tries them by the touch-stone of his word, and if found 
full weight, or pure goW, then he declares that they are his, and he owns them as his peo- 
ple, as his wheat ; but if too light, or hold not weight, but are greatly wanting, there being 
no worth in them, but are dross, chaff, light, and empty persons, unsound and unsanctified 
ones, then he rejects them as none of his, but are as reprobate silver, false coin, people 
of no value with him. 

As he weighs men, so he weighs their works, their graces, their duties, to see whether 
they hold weight, whether true and righteous or not ; whether their grace be true grace, 
special grace, not common grace, and their gifts counterteit gifts, or mere natural gifts, or 
only human and acquired gifts. Some boast of false gifts, which as Solomon tells us, is 
like clouds and wind without rain. What a stir doth a vain person make of a strong me- 
mory, crying it up as if it was a spiritual gift, and as if none were true ministers but such 
who have a great memory, and can deliver all they have got by their study, by the strength of 
their memory. Alas, all men of any sense know, that is but a natural gift, which some 
wicked men have, as well as some good men ; but let him know, God knows what men's 
hearts are, what their ends and designs are, as well as what the matter of their worship 
is, which they perform to God ; that is, whether it hath his image stamped upon it ; or is 
of his authority, his own appointment, his own institution, or but human inventions : he 
also weighs the manner how they perform all divine worship towards him, from what 
principle, life, power, end, and design ; whether it is from a changed heart, from unfeigned 
faith and love to Christ, in sincerity, with zeal, and to glorify God ; if not, he will disco- 
ver them, weigh them, and they will be found wanting, and be found no bettei' than chaff 
at last. Though they may seek ways to hide and cover their wickedness, and false spi- 
rits, and base designs, yet let them know, he that weighs the hill in scales, and the moun- 
tains in balances, doth and will weigh them, and find out all their cursed deeds, their pride, 
their malice, and put a rebuke upon their backsliding and detracting tongues : " Talk 
(saith Hannah) no more so exceeding proudly, let not arrogaiicy come out of thy mouth ; 
for God is a God of knowleilge, and by him actions are weighed," 1 Sam. ii. 3. Thou 
Peninnah (as our annotators note) "speak no more so insolently and reproachfully of me as 
thou hast done ; he knoweth thy heart, and all that pride, euvy, and conti>nipt of me, 
which thy own conscience knows, and thy perverse carriage towards me : God ponderetb, 

E 2 


and trieth all men's thoughts and acticins, as a just judge, to give to every one according 
to their works. 

Oh what a motive should this he to us all ! God weighs our persons, our graces, our 
gifts, our duties, and all our services, in scales : take heed you are not found too light, 
found wanting, as be sure you will, if you be found chaff, when put into the balance of 
the sanctuary. 

Directions Direction. 1. If you would not be found chaff, try and weigh your spirits, 

selves. your persons, your faith, your love : see if it holds weight by the king's stand- 

ard, see on what foundation you are built : have you dug deep, and laid your foundation 
on a rock ? What love have you to Christ ? Is He precious to your souls, the chiefest 
of ten thousand ? What love have you to the children of God ? How do you carry it 
at home and abroad ? Do you feed the hungry, visit the sick, and clothe the naked ? Is 
Christ's family, Christ's servants, Christ's poor, more in your esteem, love, and affections, 
than sons and daughters, than brethren and sisters, that are not his children ? If you do not 
love Christ more than father and mother, son or daughter, you may justly fear whether 
you are wheat or no ! And if it be so, that you do so love him, and his saints, minis- 
ters and people, it will appear whUst you live : and when you come to die, you will not 
forget Christ then, his people and interest then. think on this ! 

2. And to you, sinners, if you would be found wheat in the day of Christ, then receive 
Christ's tnie doctrine, labour to distinguish between truth and error; beware of that strange 
and new scheme that darkens the free-gi-ace of God, and tends to destroy the covenant of 
grace ; remember to exalt Christ alone in your salvation. How do some turn the gospel 
of God's free-^race into a law, by the performance of which, as the conditions of life and 
justification, tell thee, thy salvation doth depeud. See what subtle opposers (of the clear- 
est gospel) are risen up amongst us, and labour to avoid them ; though their tongues should 
seem to be tipped with silver, yet then- doctrine is copper. 

3. Be sure build on Christ alone, and see that that faith thou hast in him, be the faith 
of God's elect, which sanctifies both heart and life, and is attended with good fruits ; you 
must work from hfe, and not for life. 

Consolat. 1. Lastly, by way of comfort and consolation : be not afraid, child of 
God, thouo-h thou art in Christ's fan, and art tossed iip and down with temptations, trials, 
and afflictions. Know that his design is wholly herein for thy good ; it is but to purge 
out thy chaff, that thou, as pure white wheat, mayest shine the more bright and clear in 
grace and oospel-holiness, for sin and corruption spoil thy beauty to all that behold thee. 
No doctrine tends to promote gospel-holiness, like the doctrine of God's free-grace: " Shall 
we sin because grace hath abounded ?" God forbid. Rom. vi. 1. 

2. what a mercy of mercies it is that God's wratli is appeased towards you. Christ's 
blood has quenched this dreadful fire, as to you who believe, and mdeed nothing else 
could do it. bless God for Christ, and for that river of water which proceeds from him, 
to the e.xtinguishing this flaming fire ; he hath borne it, and aUayed it, nay, quite put it 
out, so that yoa shall never feel the burning or tormenting nature thereof. 

3. Thou shalt at last, whosoever thou art, if wheat, be gathered into his gamer ; viz., 
into heaven itself, for Christ will not lose one grain of his spiritual wheat, not one sheep 
of his shall perish ; " He that has begun that good work in thee, will perform it to the day 
of Christ," Phil. i. 6. 

He will gather his wheat into his garner, but the chaff he will burn up with un- 
quenchable fire. 


Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt hath lost its savour, wherewith shall it be 
salted? Thence it is good for nothing but to be trodden under foot of men. — Matt. v. xiii. 

These words are metaphorical, they were spoken by our blessed Saviour, and in them are 

The parts contained three parts. 

opened. 1. Something asserted, " ye are the salt of the earth." 

2 A supposition, or something supposed ; " but if the salt hath lost its savour," &c. 

'd. Tak-ing that which is supposed to be granted ; the third thing containeth a necesssvry 
conclusion ; " it is thenceforth good for nothing," &c. 


The persons here spoken of, are tlie disciples of Clirist. 

1. Considered as ti-ue Christians. 

2. As ministers, who are compared to salt. 

1. I shall show in what respect they may be compared to salt. 

2. Why called the salt of the earth. 

H. Observe one or two points of doctrine from hence. 
4. Apply the whole. 

1. They may be compared to salt, in respect of the gi-ace of God given to them, for na- 
turally they are not salt, nor savoury, any more than others ; but grace is compared to salt, 
" every sacrifice shall be salted with salt," Mark ix. 49. 

2. Saints and true ministers of the gospel may be compared to salt, in re- in what 
sped of their holy and savoury doctrine, those seasonable principles, and blessed j|fn,^,°aJg ° 
truths, professed and preached by them, tend to salt the world ; as false doc- compared to 
trine is called conupt doctrine, so true doctrine, savoury and pure doctrine to '* '" 

the souls of men, is like savoury meat well and fitly seasoned for the body. 

What would become of the world, was it not for that holy doctrine and savoury truths 
that Christ's ministers preach ? Even all the earth, and souls of men, would putrefy, aud 
like corrupt flesh (for want of being salted) stink and become good for nothing ; what hath 
cornipted the Popish and Mahometan world, but false and corrupt doctrine ? Moreover, 
what a multitude among us, for not being salted with good doctrine, are corrupted and 
stink in the nostrils of God ? 

3. The saints, &c., may be compared to salt in respect of their savoury words ; " Let 
your speech be always with grace seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to 
answer every man," Col. iv. 6. Hence, in another place, the same apostle saith, " EvU 
communication corrupteth good manners," 1 Cor. xv. 33. Our words should not be tinc- 
tured with gall ; put gall on meat, you spoil it. Brethren, a vile and malicious tongue is 
like gall, it is of a poisonous and embittering nature ; so also is a frothy aud profane 
tongue, a filthy and unclean tongue, tends to corrupt youth ; nay, all that are pleased and 
duhghted in such ungodly talk, but sweet, gentle, heavenly and savoury words, season all 
company, and tends to preserve the souls of men in this loose and licentious age. " A 
mild auswer turns away wrath," Prov. xxix. 8. 

4. The saints are compared to salt, in respect of their holy and savoury conversation : 
they by their pious deportment, just and holy life, and Christian behaviour, do put a curb 
upon the lusts of men, tliey are the salt of the earth, by their good example, this way they 
season others. , 

Secondly, Why are the saints and ministers of Christ compared to salt. 
Answ. Upon the consideration of the excellent properties or qualities of salt. 
1. Salt is very profitable, it keeps and preserves meats, and other things from 
putrefaction, which would soon stink and perish, were it not salted with salt. ^°}'^- 'he 

iL' ii ji 1 ■ ,, I 11 ■ . „ nati.re of salt 

bo tue godly are a people very profitable unto the world, in preservnig of is opened, as 
it from corruption aud spiritual pollution. -race'^^Tn '° 

1. They are a means to keep the earth from being totally corrupted by evil and 'hose words, 
pestilent errors and damnable heresies ; they are helped to correct and confute 

bold heretics, and to defend the holy tmths of Christ from their poisonous no- Every sec- 
tions ; and observable it is to see how God hath this way in every age, had ^^"^^ ??*!' 

. J J o > be salted 

some salt, 1 mean some most excellent nistrunients to stand up to preserve with salt, to 
and defend his blessed truth against prevailiug errors, which otherwise to all the'readerf" 
appearance would have totally corrupted the earth. 

2. They are like unto salt, to preserve the earth and the souls of men, from being spoiled 
by profaneness and hellish debauchery ; they are helped by their doctrine and holy lives to 
put a check to that over-spreading wickedness that threateneth every age in which they 
live ; the world this way would soon become so filthy and abominable, that it would stink 
so in the nostrils of God, that he would tread it down under his feet, were it not for the 

2ndly. A little salt seasons much meat, and so prevents its perishmg : so a little of this 
spiritual salt, I mean, a few godly persons, seasons much people, and prevents their pe- 
rishing : what a little of this salt, for some time kept off or prevented Goil's wrath from 
being poured forth upon Sodom. Brethren, Lot was the salt of Sodom, whilst he was in 
it, and had there been but a little more of that salt in that city, even but ten righteous 
ones therein, it had not perished. In like manner may we not say in our days, as the pro- 
phet said of old, " Except the Lord of Hosts had left us a vei^ small remnant, we should 
have been as Sodom, and been like unto Gomorrah," Gen. xviii. 32, Isa. i, 9. 


3rdly. Salt draws putrefying matter out of meat, by which means it appears it is of a 
purging quality ; so gracic^us Christians, by their doctrine and holy example (especially 
ministers) draw out rottenness and filth out of the hearts, tongues, and lives of men, even 
as God's Spirit accompanies their word and example. 

4thly. Salt seasons, and makes meats and other things savoury. So godly Christians 
and ministers season the minds of men (as instruments iu God's hand, by the operation of 
the word and Spirit) with savoury thoughts, meditations, and discourses and practices. 

5thly. Salt is of a hot and fiery nature, being cast into the fire, it sparkles and bums 
furiously. So the saints by the Holy Spirit are made holy, fervent, and zealous for God 
and his truth ; how holy was David, who could say, " The zeal of thy house hath eaten 
me up :'' and by their doctrine, how zealous are others also made, as were those we read 
of ; " Many also of them which used curious arts, brought their books together, and burned 
them before all men, and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces 
of silver," Acts xix. 19. Coals that bum but slowly, yet by laying them close together, 
and blow upon them, will suon burn vehemently, so the saints of God heat one another ; 
one live coal or Uvely Christian (if God doth but please to blow upon them,) causes many 
to kindle in zeal for God, and in love to God. 

6thly. Salt stirs up thirst in them that receive it ; so a godly minister by his heavenly 
doctrine, when his word is received, causeth all such to thirst after Christ, and after a like- 
ness tti liim ; as also when some hear them speak of their experiences, and of what sweet- 
ness they find in God's ways, and in his love and favour. 

7thly. Salt makes meat fit for food, and meet to be received by such who want it ; so 
a holy and good life and conversation in those who profess the gospel, makes the word 
savoury, fit and meet to be received by poor sinners. It is this which commends the gospel 
and doctrine thereof to a blind and deceived world ; but how unsavoury is a good doctrine 
in the mouth of a wicked man, (or one that is scandalous in his life). What little relish 
hath the word that comes forth out of such unholy and unsanctified lips. 

Sthly. Salt may lose its saltuess in a great degree, nay, may quite lose it, and become 
good for nothing. — So may a sincere Christian become unsavoury in his life, or decay in 
grace and piety ; also such who never were sincere, may utterly lose that seeming grace 
and savour they once had, or seemed to have. 

9thly. If salt hath lost its savour utterly, it is good for nothing, (flesh that is corrupt 
and not good for men to eat, may yet be good to feed dogs) but salt that has lost its sa- 
vour is good for nothing : naturalists tell us, that salt which hath lost its savour, if it be 
laid upon land causeth barrenness. So hypocrites, or unsavoury professors, that once 
seemed holy, religious, and devout persons, and exemplary to others, when they apotatize 
finally and totally, they are the worst of mortals, neither fit to live nor die ; they also 
make the church barren, or by their wicked example hinder the increase thereof, causing 
the good ways of the Lord to be reproached, and his people contemned ; and God will at 
last tread all such under foot in his wrath, to their fearful min and damnation in hell, for 
ever and ever. But so much as to the second thing proposed. 

Doct. The saints of God, and the faithful ministers of the gospel, are a great blessing to 
the world, or the true interest of the nations in which they dwell. The 
The saints a World is not Worthy of them, yet they receive marvellous benefit by them ; they 
great bless- are not unfitly called " the pillars of the earth ;" the earth would sink were it 
world.' ' not for God's elect ones ; it would soon be so loathsome, were it not for this salt, 
God would presently destroy it ; and indeed no sooner are all God's elect gathered 
to him, but he will consume the world by the flames. of his incensed wrath. Was not Noah 
the interest of the earth iu his days, for not so much as a small seed had (doubtless) been 
spared, had not he been found righteous in that generation ? And was not Lot the true 
interest of Sodom, while he dwelt among them ? " I cannot do any thing till thou come thi- 
ther," Gen. xix. Was not Jacob the true interest to Laban ? Was not he blessed for Jacob's 
sake ? The like I might speak of Joseph to his master, and to the whole land of Egypt. 


1. From hence also I infer that grace is a most excellent thing. 

2. It appears that there is a vast difference between God's people and others ; but what 
hath made this difference ? All naturally are alike ; it is only grace that makes some men 
to excel others ; " The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour," Prov. xii. 2Q. 

3. From hence we may see what the cause is that some places are more vile, filthy, and 
abominable than others ; it is because they have no salt, to season them, or but a little ; 
i. e., but few gracious men, and godly ministers among them. 


4. From hence also we may infer, that the earth is naturally unsavoury ; they are 
loathsome in God's sight. All are as unsavoury meat, and things not salted, until they 
receive the true grace of God, and have gracious persons among them. 

5. This shows what the duty of the saints is, and what true ministers should do. They 
should season the place, the town, the city, the family where they dwell. 1. They should 
season them by savoury wortls, savoury discourse, and communication ; such words that may 
administer grace to the hearers. Spiritual discourse becomes the children of God in all 
company, and at all fit and proper seasons, and to put a rebuke upon profane and idle talk ; 
for in this it will appear they are the salt of the earth. 2. And not only by their words, 
but also by their works, and savoury behaviour, and holy conversation. 

6. It therefore affords also sharp reproof and reprehension to such professors who would 
be looked upon to be the salt of the earth, who themselves need salting. how unsavoury 
are some professors, nay, church-members ! Instead of preserving sinners by their holy 
instruction and precious example, they rather corrupt them, and harden them in their evil 
ways. Some can be as vain, as foolish, as wanton, as proud, as others are ; do not many 
of them pursue the world as eagerly as most carnal people ? And are not others ready 
to get into every foolish and idle fashion ! What are these but like unsavoury salt ? 

7. Moreover, this may serve to discover the sad and fearful state of all false and unsa- 
voury Christians ; they are like salt that hath lost its savour, which is henceforth good 
for nothing ; they are worse, and do more hurt to religion, than the vilest people on the 
earth. Others cannot render the ways of God so reproachful, nor cause the name of God 
to be blasphemed as these do. Let therefore these unholy and unsavoury professors trem- 
ble, for God will suddenly in his wrath tread them under his feet, nay, cast them to the 
dunghill ; I mean to hell, where all such hke unsavoury and filthy creatures are, and must 
lie for ever. 

8. Let me exhort all Christians, especially ministers, to see that they are savoury in 
doctrine and conversation : ministers should preach savoury and wholesome doctrine ; 
not law, but gospel ; not Moses, but Christ ; not error, bnt sound truth ; not men's tra- 
ditions, but Christ's holy and plain institutions ; and to deliver the gospel in sound and 
wholesome words and expressions with all gravity, that it may appear savoury food to all 
that hear them ; and let all take heed of scandalous sins, for by these the name of the 
Lord is blasphemed : religion brought to contempt and reproach : the hearts of all that are 
sincere, greatly grieved, and the conversion of sinners hindered, and the damnation of 
many souls furthered. 

9. It may be matter of comfort to the godly. what use are they of to the world ! 
By them the world is preserved, that is, God preserves it for their sakes, they keep the earth 
from such horrid pollution, as instruments in God's hands, that it doth not stink in the 
nostrils of God to such a degree, as to provoke him to destroy it ; their holy and sa- 
voury lives make good men lift up their heads with boldness ; though unjustly reproached, 
it tends to stop the mouths of the wicked, and to put to silence the ignorance of foolish 
men, nay, it often proves not only a means of conviction, but of the conversion of sinners, 
even of such that will not be won by the word. It also gives great evidence to their own 
consciences of their uprightness when unrighteously charged, as Job and others were ; 
"Whose ox have I taken, or whose ass, or of whose hands have I received a bribe?" 
1 Sam. xii. 3. 

lU. This also may discover the folly and blindness of wicked men that strive to root 
the godly out of the earth ; it may well be said that the world is not worthy of them, 
since they receive so many great benefits and blessings from them, and yet they would not 
have them Uve among them. 

Lastly, it may serve to deter and caution all professors against apostacy ; our Lord bids 
us nimeraber Lot's wife, she for not being savoury, or for looking back, was turned into 
a pillar of salt, nay, into a standing and an abiding pillar, that all may take warning by 
her ; and might not one reason of this be to show that one example of God's severity upon 
her, might tend to be sufficiently to salt or season all Christians to the end of the world 
against the sin of apostacy. No doubt but our Saviour in this similitude refers to that 
horrid sin ; "If any man draws back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him," Heb. x. 38. 
Nay, he will be so far from taking delight or pleasure in him, that his soul will abhor him ; 
he is so highly displeased with his sin, that his very soul abominates his person, and takes 
pleasure in his misery and fearful damnation ; the Lord help all therefore that profess the 
Gospel, to remember that they should be as salt, and tremble at the thoughts of being 
unsavoury, either in life or doctrine. 



Ye are the light of the world; a city set on a hill cannot be hid. — Matt. v. 14. 

In these words our Lord makes use of a two-fold simile. 

1. The saiuts are compared to light. 

2. To a city set upon a hill. " Ye are the hght of the world." Before he told them they 
were the salt of the earth ; ye that are my disciples, but especially ye tliat are my apos- 
tles, my ministers, who preach my Gospel, " ye are the light of the world." The method I 
shall take in speaking unto this fruitful similitude, shall be, 

1. To give you the various acceptations of tliis word, [light.] 

1. To show you in what respects the saints and ministers of the Gospel are called 
the light of the world. 

3. Observe two or three points of doctrine from hence. 

4. Apply the whole. 

1. Light is taken sometimes for a thing of little value ; our souls loathed this light 
bread," Numb. xxi. 5 ; they esteemed it as a light or small thing, they did not value it ; he 
that setteth light by his father is accursed. 

2. Sometimes it refers to loose persons. " Abimelech hired vain and light persons," 
Judg. ix. 4. But these things are remote to that which is intended by the word in this 

3. Light is that which is opposed to darkness ; there is a three-fold light. (1.) Natu- 
ral. (2.) Artificial. (3.) Eternal and spiritual. 

1. Natural light is that of the sun, moon, and stars, by which our natural eyes are 

2. Artificial light, is that of a candle, lamp, &c. 

3. Eternal and spiritual light. 

1. God is light, he is that eternal and uncreated light ; he is that original of all natural 
and spiritual light, and like as the light of the moon and stars proceeds from the sun, so 
all spiritual light proceeds from God ; he is the fountain of all light, yea, that wonderful 
light that is in Christ, considered as Mediator, proceeded from God ; though Christ con- 
sidered as God, is the same original light, and fountain of light. 

2. Christ is called light, yea, the light of the world. " In him was life, and the life was 
the light of men," John i. 4. " That was the true hght that lighteth every man that 
Cometh into the world," Verse 9. This denotes his having light in himself, as consider- 
ed. The eternal Word, or ever-blessed God, he hath lightened with the light of reason 
and understanding, every man that cometh into the world ; or if it be taken for divine 
light, then it signifies no more but only those who are spiritually enlightened by him, for 
no man hath any true light but what he hath received from Jesus Christ ; but because 
the Holy Ghost in this place speaketh of Christ considered as God or Creator, I cannot 
see he refers to any other light here, but that light which is said to be in the Gentiles, 
viz., the light of natural conscience, which is materially the same with the moral law of 
God that was given to Israel.' Jesus Christ is called " the light of the Gentiles, and the 
sun of righteousness," Mai. iv. 2. Christ is the great Sun of the world ; look what use the 
sun in the firmament of heaven is of to this visible world ; such is Christ to mankind in a 
spiritual sense, especially to all believers, and to the church of God ; this Sun giveth light 
to all who have the eyes of their understanding opened, or true faith infused into their 

3. The word of God is also called light, " Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light 
to my paths," Psal. cxix. 105. The word of God like unto light, hath a directive quality 
in it. It is that unerring rule or infallible guide in all matters of religion, both in respect 
of faith and practice. 

4. The doctrine of the Gospel is called light, " Lest the light of the glorious Gospel of 
Christ should shine upon them," 2 Cor. iv. 4, 6.- Lux est clari'as sen splendor in corpore 
luminoso, vel extra a corpore luminoso exiens, the Gospel is as light, a clarity brightness 
or splendour in a lumuious body ; such glory dotli proceed from it, that the brightness of 
the, blessed God, in all his glorious attributes or perfections of his nature, shines forth 


5. The saints and niLnisters of Christ are called light or lights ; John the Baptist is 
called a hurning and shining light ; and saith Paul, speaking unto the saints, " Ye are 
light in the Lord," Eph. v. 8. They have not only received light, or have the light of 
grace in them, but are a light to others ; "Ye are the light of the world." 

6. And lastly, light sometimes refers to the blessedness of heaven, or light of eternal 
glory ; " Who hath made us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light," Col. i. 12. 
So much as to the first thing proposed. 

Secondly, I shall show you in what respects the saints may be called the light of the 

1. Negatively. 2. Positi\ely. 

1. Negatively, not in themselves, for Christ only is the light of the world how the 
as considered simply in himself: saints in themselves are but dark bodies, (as *'*'"'?^fl[? 
astronomers tells us the moon is) but they are such who have received great of the world, 
light from the Sun of righteousness ; they, like a candle being lighted, give 

light to all in the house. 

2. Not that they can give or communicate the light of saving grace to others ; no, no, 
all light of grace and of saving knowledge, is from Jesus Christ ; therefore in this sense, 
he only is the light of the world. The wise vii-gins could not give of their oil unto the 
foolish ; a minister though he may have much gi'ace in his own soul, yet he cannot com- 
municate one drachm of it to his poor unbelieving wife or children, though he should see 
her or them ready to drop into hell. 

3. The saints are not such a light as to be the only rule or guide by which nor ministers 
others should walk ; no, no, whether you take them as they are a body united ''';<= ""'/"'^ 
together, 1 mean a church, or as particular persons ; and though such that ex- and practice. 
eel others, as Paul and Peter, &c. The saints, ministers, nor the church, are 

a light to the world in this sense : they are not the rule of our faith and practice, for woe 
to the world, had God left us no better rule to walk by than they, because the best of men, 
yea, the best of ministers, and the best of churches, may, and doubtless do err in many 
things. True, this had been the pretence of the blind Papists, and that by which they 
have deceived the world ; they assert the church is the rule, or the Pope, or church and 
Pope, (they are at a loss where to fix their pretended infallibility) yet they say we first 
must find the church, and then take the scriptures from her, because she is the only rule. 
beware of this delusion : all good Protestants ever have abominated this cursed doctrine 
(as they have cause to do) and afiirra that the word of God alone is that rule which he 
hath left us, and by it we are to find out the true church, that is, know the true church by the 
Scriptures, and not the Scriptures by the church ; Paul himself would not have any to fol- 
low him any further then he followed Christ. 

4. The saints and ministers of the Gospel are not so a light, as that there is no dark- 
ness, no ignorance, no error, no sin at all in them. Brethren, in this sense none but God 
and Christ is Light; " in him is light and no darkness at all," 1 John i. 5 ; every Chris- 
tian may say with David, " who can know his errors ?" " If we say we have no sin, we 
deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us," 1 John i. 8, And doth not Paul say, that 
" he knew but in part ?" 1 Cor. xiii. Besides, did he not cry out, " Oh wretched man 
that I am — When I would do good, eril is present with me ?" Rom. vii. 24. Sirs, the 
best of men are but so, the light of the world, as in everj' thing they may preach or prac- 
tice, they ought to be followed. But to proceed. 

Secondly and positively, the saints and ministers of Christ have much light j^^ ^^^^ 
and knowledge communicated unto them from Christ, by which means (as they sense the 
are savingly enlightened) they are a light to the world ; like as the moon and ughtof the 
stars, receive their light from the sun to give light to the earth in the night ; wo'id- 
hence Christ's ministers are called stars, they are the light of the world, as compared to 
stars, " the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches," Rev. i. 20, and these Christ 
holds m his right hand, ver. 16. Which shows that gi-eat honour and dignity Ministers are 
he hath conferred on them, as also then- blessed safety, security, and protection. 'jj° ^f^l^ ^ 
This may put a rebuke upon those who slight and desiiise Clirist's poor minis- they are 

. -KT .1 ■ '^ , , ° ,• • 1 .• 1 compared to 

ters. JNow they may be compared to the stars upon divers considerations, and einn. 
so the light of the world. 

1. As the stars receive their light from the sun, so the saints and ministers of Christ do 
receive their light of grace and knowledge from Christ. " What hast thou which thou hast 
not received? And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace," John i. 16-. 

2. Stars are placed by the Lord in the firmament of heaven, to give light to the earth ; 


and so in like manner, are the ministers of Christ placed in the chnrch, (which is often- 
times called heaven) to give light to the world, which is in darkness and in the night of 
sin, of ignorance, and error. 

3. The stars are a great ornament to the heavens ; they sparkle and shine there as so 
many rare and glorious jewels or diamonds. Even so the ministers of Christ are, or ought 
to be, a great and glorious ornament unio the church, and to shine therein like the stars of 
the first magnitude in grace, gifts, and true holiness. 

4. The stars sometimes are obscured : the clouds shadow them, and they shine not ; 
they give very little or uo light at all. 

So it is sometimes with the ministers of Christ, they fall through Satan's temptations ; 
and by reason of the corruptions of their own hearts into sin, as David and Peter did, and 
are thereby brought under great obscurity and darkness, that they shine not until they get 
out of those dark clouds. 

5. Stars differ in glory, some appear not so bright and splendent as others ; all are not 
stars of the first magnitude : even so the ministers of Christ, and saints of God, greatly 
differ in respect of that grace, and those spiritual gifts which they have received from 
Jesus Christ. Some have great parts, they excel m wisdom and knowledge, like as Paul, 
who was a glorious light, and outshone many of Christ's ministers ; moreover, we have had 
in latter days, some that have been like stars of the first or greatest magnitude. What a 
Luther was a light was blessed Luther in the last age. And what great lights have we had 
grcatiight, in this age? Though none shone more splendidly (in my judgment,) in our 
great Ught ^ays, than renowned Dr. Owen, but, considering all circumstances, I think 
also Bunyan should not be thought a very small star, he having not tliose human 
improvements, in respect of learning, &c., as others have, yet shone very bright and 
outdid many others. 

6. Stars give their light only in the night. So Christ's ministers and holy people only 
give light unto the world, whilst the night of this world shall last, which now is far spent, 
and the day of Christ's coming is near, when those stars shall be all fixed in the highest 
heavens, and shall be no more of use to give light to the earth. brethren ! let us long 
for the morning of that eternal day, when all these stars shall be transfixed in other orbs 
above, and not dart down their light any more for the use of men ; but let us bless God 
for that little light these stare do give, whilst the dark night of this worhl abides. 

7. Stars have good and evil influences upon all natural bodies, and things on earth, as 
astronomers observe. 

So the ministers of thrist have by their lives and doctrine, also good and evil influences 
upon the souls of men ; to some they are " the savour of life unto life, and to others, the 
savour of death unto death," 2 Cor. ii. 16. The gospel in its ministration hath hardening 
influences on some, as well as softening influences on others ; yet as God orders all the in- 
fluences of the stars as he pleaseth, so it is he that gives all success to the ministry of the 

Ministers the -niilyj As the saints and ministers of Christ are compared to stars, and are 
light of the the hght of the world in that respect, so also they are compared to candles, 
compared to their light is compared I say, to the light of a candle ; " Neither do men light a 
a candle. candle and put it under a bushel, but put it into a candlestick, and it giveth 
light unto all that are in the house," Matt. v. 15. 

Though the light of the stars be far greater than the light of a candle, yet aU know a 
candle gives much more light to such that are in that house where it is lighted and set up 
in the night than the stars do ; though the stars give a more extensive light, yet 
their Ught is but dim as to us, by reason of their vast distance from us. 

1. A candle gives no light until it is lighted, it is until then a dark body. So the saints 
give no light until they are enlightened with the Spirit of God, or have received divine 
grace and spiritual gifts. 

2. A candle must be put into a candlestick, that so it may the better give light to all 
the house. So ministers ought to be set or placed orderly in the church which is com- 
pared to a golden candlestick, Rev. i. d. Such preachers ought to be disowned, who are 
not set in a due and orderly manner in some regular church or candlestick, the light must 
shine in and from Zion. " Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty God hath shined," Rev. i. 

3. A candle, or lamp, that it may give the better light, ought to be often snuffed 
and trimmed, for else by means of the ashes, the light wiU be but very dim. So the 
saints and ministers of tlie Gospel, should hke the wise virgins, trim their lamps. Matt. xxv. 
7: that is, they should get all that deadness and earthliness from their spirits by 


the quickening operations of grace. A worldly spirit spoils the light, it is like ashes, 
that hinders the caudle from burning clear, also they should get rid of their remaining ig- 
norances of divine truths. Some caudles give but a very dim light by this means, 
and others want topping ; they are swelled in pride and haughtiness to such a degree, that 
they give hardly any liglit at all, so that men by these means stumble : the candle gives 
them not light to see their way, or find out that filth and cori'uptlon that is in their house, 
(I mean their heax'ts.) 

4. A candle wasteth itself by giving light unto others. So poor ministers, especially some 
of them, spend their strength, and bring their bodies to utter weakness, by their hard studies, 
and pamful aud laborious preaching, to the profit of others. 

5. A candle is not to be hid or put under a bushel or bed : no more ought a servant of 
Christ, to whom God hath given ministerial gifts, being able to edify the church, and give 
the light of knowledge to the world, to hide those gifts, or refuse to exercise them, but 
ought to be set up in the pulpit as a candle in a candlestick, to give light to all. 

Thirdly, In what respects are the saints and ministers of Christ, the light of the world? 

1. 1 answer, By that holy and glorious doctrine which they have received and preach 
unto the world, in this they are the light of it. How dark are those nations and regions of 
the earth where there is no knowledge of the gospel, or where there are no gracious 
Christians and ministers to hold forth the light of saving truth ? Was not famous Luther 
the light of the world in his time upon this account ? For like as when light break- 
eth forth, darkness is thereby expelled : even so by the rising of that glorious star, and by 
virtue of that doctrine he preached of free justification by the righteousness of Christ alone, 
how was Popish darkness vanquished ? 

2. They are the light of the world by their holy and heavenly lives. "Let your 
light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your.Fa- 
ther which is in heaven," Matt. v. 16 ; that is, let the light of your doctrine, which 
you have received from me, and the light of your holy conversations, so shine before 
men ; but by the following words, it is the latter which 1 conclude is principally 
meant. The saints should not do good works to be seen of men for their own glory, 
or for vain glory sake, (as hypocrites do,) yet they should do good works, and let 
them be seen, that God may be glorified. " Herein is my Father glorified, if you 
bear much fruit," John xv. 8. Not that we can add any thing to the essential glory 
of God, but we are to manifest or declare hereby his glory : nay, it doth tend to excite 
and stir up others who see our holy lives and good works, to praise and glorify God, from 
whom all grace, by which all good works are performed, doth proceed. This bhows, that 
all acceptable services are done by the help and influence of special efficacious grace 
requhred from God, otherwise (I mean, if we do good works by the mere power and liberty 
of our own wills,) it would rather tend to our own glory than to the glory of God. 

Brethren, as the candle ought not to be hid, but to be seen, that so it may give light to 
all that are in the house; so ought not Christians to hide their convictions of sin or of duty, 
they must not quench the Spirit, or put out that spark of divine fire, which God hath 
kindled in them, but let it be seen, and not conceal their religion, or those convictions they 
are under out of shame or fear of reproach ; nor neglect prayer, reading, hearing, or 
heavenly converse under any pretence whatsoever: yet they saould see rightly to time 
everything, and labour to avoid hypocrisy, and shun all just occasions which may cause 
them to be suspected as guilty of it. 

1. Doct. The world is in darkness, they are in the night, else there would be no need 
of light, or to set up candles. 

2. Doct. God is pleased out of his infinite grace and mercy to the world, to afford light 
unto it. 

3. Doct. The people of God, and ministers of the gt)spel, are as lights to this world 
where they are, whilst darkness or the night doth continue. 

I shall only speak a little to the first of these propositions. 

1. Prove it. 

2. Show their woful condition thereby. 

1. That the world is in darkness or in the night, appears by the testimony of divers 
scriptm-es, " for they that sleep, sleep in the night, " 1 Thess. v. 7 ; by their sleeping 
in sin and ignorance, they show that they are in the niglit, or are in darkness ; " for ye 
were sometimes darkness, but are now light in the Lord," Ephes. v. 8. Yea, the saints 
of God who are the the children of the day, were once in darkness as well as others : nay, 
were darkness ; works of sin, are from hence called works of darkness, " have no fellow- 


ship witli the unfruitful '.vorks of darkness," Ephes. v. 11. This further appears, because 
the saints are said to be " delivered out of the power of darkness," Col. i. 1.3 ; that is, out 
of the world in whom the priuce of darkness rules and tyrannizes, and keeps all the ungodly 
of the earth in his bonds and chains of darkness ; the devil is called " The prince of the 
darkness of this world," Ephes. vi. 12. Jesus Christ was sent " to give light to them 
that sit in darkness," Luke i. 79. 

Secondly, Thek misery upon this account is gi-eat. 

1. Darkness is uncomfortable ; so it is to be in spiritual darkness. How uncomfortable 
was it to the Egyptians to be in that thick darkness that might be felt, so what comfort 
can a poor sinner have that is in spiritual darkness, " Who walk in the valley of the sha- 
dow of death." 

2. Darkness is dangerous, especially when a man's way lies among pits, snares, and 
where there are lions and devouring creatures. So it is dangerous to be in spiritual dark- 
ness, because sinners pass through a howling wilderness ; this world is full of dangerous 
pits and snares, where devils and hellish deceivers lie in wait to prey upon them, nay, 
thej walk upon the brink of the bottomless pit. 

3. I)arkness is fearful, we read of the horror of darkness ; so the state of spiritual dark- 
ness, or to be in the state of nature, is fearful ; terrors attend such on every side, both 
from within, and from without, an unconverted sinner is a Magor Misabid, like as was 
Pashur, Gen. xv. 12. 

1. Is it not a fearful thing to be led by the devil, left to the power of the devil, to the 
will and power of the God of this world ? they know not whither they go, Ephes. ii. 2, 3. 

2. Is it not a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, or to lie under his 
wrath and cm'se ? Heb. xii. ult. 

3. Is it not a fearful thing to lodge in the next room to hell ? 

4. Is it not a fearful thing to have the guilt of sin charged on their souls ; but so it is 
with all that are in darkness, or in an unrenewed state ? 

5. Is it not a fearful thing to be without God, without Christ, and without hope in the 
world ? Eph. ii. 12. 

G. Is it not a fearful thing to be condemned to die, to die eternally, always a dying, yet 
cannot die ? Now all unconverted sinners are condemned to die such a death. 


1. I infer, it is a dangerous thing to be led by this blind and dark world, or by them 
that walk according to the course of this world, or to follow the multitude in their ways 
and sinful practices, this is to walk in darkness. 

2. I infer, what great folly is in the people of the world, they hate the samts and min- 
isters of Christ, who are appointed by the Lord to be a light to them. How many of the 
world would, if they could, destroy the saints and ministers of Christ, it is because they 
love darkness and hate the light. 

3. They may teach all to prize Christ's ministers, from whom they receive so much 
good ; they by their divine doctrine enlighten the earth ; " I send thee to open their eyes, 
(that is the Gentiles) and to turn them from darkness to light," &c.. Acts xxvi. 17, 18. 

4. Let ministers also learn from hence to discharge their work and office in all faithful- 
ness, that they may he lights wiiere they live ; it behoves tliem to see they preach the 
gospel clearly without errors, and plainly without obscure terms and words which the 
people understand not. I am sure in so doing, they are not a light to the world ; it may 
be also a caution to them to take heed how they live ; we must live religion, live Christ 
as well as preach Christ ; our conversations must give light as well as our doctrine. 

5. Let all take heed what ministers they are led by, that they be disciples of Jesus 
Christ, and mmisters of his making. All ministers are not the light of the world ; no, 
none but the true ministers of Christ, and they are known three ways. 1. By their call 
to the ministry. 1. They are regenerated men, and have received grace and ministerial 
gifts of Christ. 2. They are regularly called, and empowered to preach by the church 
with whom they are members ; they also take not up the ministry for filthy lucre's sake, 
but in love to Christ preach freely, and as freely the people should minister to them in all 
good things. 3. They preach Christ, Jesus Christ is the sum and substance of then- min- 
istry ; they preach not Moses, nor the traditions of men, nor magnify the righteousness of 
man, but their whole design is to abase the creature, and exalt Jesus Christ; they preach 
not themselves, " but Jesus Christ the Lord ;" they preach a whole Christ, and nothing 
but Christ, and so are the light of the world. 


6. Pray tliat your ministers may have much light, much clear knowledge, since they are 
the liglit of the world, and that they may not at any time be clouded. 

7. Lastly, Bewail the loss of faithful ministers ; oh what a sad loss it is to lose any of 
our glorious lights ! how many are gone, and how few raised up in their stead ! 


Agree with thine adversary quicMy. whilst thnu art in the way with him, lest at any time thy 
adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast 
into prison. Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence, until thou 
hast paid the uttermost farthing, — Matt. v. 2.0, 26. 
I WILL not deny but that our Saviour may design by these words to advise such who are 
fallen into the hands of an external adversaiy (whom they have provoked) to endeavour 
to a^ree with him, whilst they are in a way to do it, from the consideration of The occasion 
the temporal danger which (otherwise) may follow, especially when they are in "peakLg "^'^ 
the hands of sue!) who stand upon acts of strict justice. Yet certainly he had "'^se words, 
in uttering of these words higher and more important matter in his mind ; so that besides 
the literal, there is a mystical sense, wliich we ought to search into ; indeed our late an- 
notators, after they speak of the first, they also allude to the second or metaphorical signifi- 
cation, viz. " Let my disciples who have been, or may be overtaken with great Theannou 
faults, by repentance, and faith in me, make their peace with God in this life, amrs sense 
lest dying in irapenitency, they be under the eternal displeasure and wrath of " " "^"^ ^' 
God, from whence they shall never be delivered." Also Marlorate saith, that these words, 
" Lest at any time thy adversary deliver thee to the judge," &c. That some expouml it 
metaphorically, and that the similitude very aptly refers to God, &c. 2. Besides we find 
our Saviour uttered the same words in substance, without respect had to what St. Mat- 
thew speaks of, as antecedent to them, St. Luke xii. 56. 3. Also how often do worthy 
ministers refer to it, as a symbolical or parabolical allusion ; especially in respect to the 
last clause; " Verily, 1 say unto thee, thou shalt not come out thence until thou hast paid 
the utmost farthing.'" What man stands so upon strict justice, that he will not turgive the 
least part of a debt, but will have every farthing paid ? God is indeed not only just, but 
justice itself, and therefore forgives no man, without a full satisfaction made to his justice ; 
and therefore, 1. I conclude our Lord refers chiefly to the holy God. 1. This therefore 
may be one main scope and design of this similitude. 2. The great danger all unre- 
conciled sinners are in of falling into the hands of the living God, who is a riie scope 
worse adversary, if an adversary, than any mortal man can be. 3. To show of tiie words 
to sinners there is a way found out by which they may attain to peace and re- 
conciliation with God. 4. And that they should not delay in tlie use of all means to en- 
deavour after it, whilst the day of grace lasteth, or " before the things of their peace be 
hid from their eyes ;" for it is evident, our Lord did not preach this sermon to his disciples 
only, but to the multitude also, ver. 1. Even to such who were not in a reconciled state, 
so that he seems to take an occasion from what precedes (about ofl'ending a brotlier) to in- 
stract them about a higher concernment, i. e., that such who have God for their adversary, 
should above all things labour to obtain peace and reconciliation with him ; and this indeed 
on other occasions was his frequent practice, that he might improve temporal things, to 
the spiritual profit and advantage of his hearers. So much as to the scope hereof. 
Secondly, I shall proceed tu open the parts of this simile. 

1. By the adversary, I understand, as I have hinted, the holy and ju^t God The parts 
is meant, who is set out often in the Scriptures to be an adversary to all un- "'"^"^ ' 
godly men. 

2. The persons he directs his advice or counsel to, are all unreconciled sinners, who 
have not laid down their arms, but remain in a state of rebellion against God. 

3. By the judge may be meant the Lord Jesus Christ, Acts xvii. ol, who is appoint- 
ed, and ordained the judge of the quick and the dead : " The Father judgeih no man, 
but hath committed all judgment to the Son," John v. 12. 

4. By the ofiicer (some read it, jailor,) may be meant death, or divine justice ; death as 
a sergeant, may be said to arrest a guilty sinner, when Christ the judge gives him a com- 
mission to seize him, or cut him down. 

5. By the prison, no doubt is meant hell, out of which there is no redemption ; were it 
not this prison, why should our Lord use this great asseveration, " Verily 1 say unto yoft. 


he shall not come out thence, until he hath paid the utmost farthing." He doth not use 
sucli an expression certainly to confirm small matters, or things only of a temporal con- 
cernment : besides men commonly, though provoked, do not always stand upon severe 
justice, so as not to release a prisoner witiiout the payment of the whole debt ; justice and 
mercy are not essentials of man's nature, but only qualities (or virtues) ; and severe justice 
in men may be, and sometimes is, mere cruelty, but God's nature is just, he is essentially 
and absolutely just : yea, justice itself, as well as he is love, holiness, goodness, truth, 
&c. These are not qualities in God, but they are his attributes, or essential properties, so 
that he can as soon cease to be God, as cease to be just, righteous, and good. 

Thirdly, In the words we have. 
The parte 1. An exhortation, or a duty enjoined ; " agree with thine adversary." 
opene . 2 Tijg time expressed, when, quiciily, or now presently, or without delay. 

3. We have a threefold motive, to excite, or to stir men up to this. 

(1). Is taken from the consideration of the means of grace God affords, whilst thou art 
in the way with him ; or whilst he calls and extends mercy and means of reconciliation to 
the sinner. 

(2). From the consideration of the uncertainty of the continuation of the mercy and for- 
bearance of God, lest at any time, or before thou art aware. 

(3). From the fearful consequence of delay, and of the punishment that will unavoid- 
ably follow ; He delivers thee to the judge, that is, God delivers the sinner into Christ's 
liand, not as a Saviour, but as an offended and just judge, who will deliver him up also 
into the hands of death and divine justice, and so his soul is sent to hell. From the words 
thus opened and explained, I shall take notice of several propositions or points of doc- 

Doct. 1. That God is an adversary to all unbelieving and impenitent sinners. 

Doct. 2. That it is the great duty of guilty or unbeheving sinners, to labour after peace 
and reconciliation with God, or accept of the offers of his grace and favour, in and by 
Jesus Christ. 

Doct. 3. That sinners ought to seek peace and reconciliation with God presently or 
without delay. 

Doct. 4. That a person who is not reconciled to God, is at all times in danger of wrath 
and divine vengeance, or of being sent to hell. 

Even this very day, this morning, this night, or at any time ; or if he lives until to- 
morrow, one day, one week, one month, or one year longer, it may be then how uncer- 
tain is the life of a poor sinner ! And how uncertain are the means of grace also ! 
Whether persons are young or old, rich or poor, strong or weak, male or female, in health 
or sickness, they are in danger, if not reconciled to God, at any time of being delivered up 
into the hands of an offended judge, and of being thrown into hell. I shall speak a 
little to the first of these propositions, viz., that God is an adversary to sinners, &c. 

And 1. I shall show how God became an adversary to man. 

2. How it appears he is an adversary to sinners. 

3. Show what a kind of adversary God is. 

How God First. Let this be considered, i. e., God was a friend to man, and took de- 

raan'8 light in him whilst he abode in the state of innocency, but by sin and disobedi- 

enemy. gj^^g . ^^ eating of the forbidden fruit, God cast him off, and became an enemy 

unto him : man rebelled originally against God, and God cannot but be an adversary to 
rebellious sinners. " They rebelled, and vexed his Spirit, therefore he was turned to be 
their enemy, and he fought against them," Isa. Ixiii. 10. By original and actual sin, the 
hearts of men are set against God ; resisting his authority, crossing his wiU, and violating 
his holy law: and from thence he became their adversary. 

Secondly, It appears many ways that God is an adversary to sinners. 

1. By declaring his wrath and anger against them : " God judgeth the righteous, and 
he is angry with the wicked every day. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against 
all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, Pvom. i. 18. 

2. By whetting of his sword, he appears to be an adversary to all unbelieving sinners ; 
" He will whet his sword, he hath bent his bow and made it ready : he hath prepared for 
him the instruments of death," Psal. vii. 12. What can more clearly discover God to be 
an enemy to sinners than this, to prepare war against them ? 

3. By his fearful threatenings and pronunciation of his anger against them; every where 
in this word, it evidently appears, that he is an adversary to them : " upon the wicked he 
shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest, this shall be the portion 


of their cup," Psal. i. 16. " Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish," Luke xiii. 

4. By his abhorrence of them, some say that God only abhors the sins of some wicked 
men, but not their persons, but this is not true ; " The wicked (saith the Psalmist) boast- 
eth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth," Psal. x. 2. 
He abhorreth not their sin only, but their persons also. " Three shepherds also I cut oflf 
in one month, and my soul loatheth them, and their souls also abhorred me," Zech. xi. 
8. Every ungodly person, as sinners, God abhorreth. 

5. By his laying the whole race of sinful mankind under his wrath, curse, and sentence 
of condemnation, and in that state all abide : that is, under his wrath, whilst they continue 
in unbelief: " He that beUeveth not the Son hath not life, but the wrath of God abidethon 
him," John iii. 36. Every man in the world was a child of wrath by nature," Ephes. ii. 
3 ; and God is an enemy unto them all, without distinction there is no difference. 

Thirdly, I shall show you what an adversary God is to all unbehevers. 

1. God is an enemy with just cause, not without good reason he became an adversary 
to sinners ; he was provoked and stirred up by acts of highest treason and rebellion ; how 
was man honoured at first ! What dignity and glory did God confer upon him, in creat- 
ing him in his own image, and in making him a prince and ruler over all things and crea- 
tures on earth ! And how abominably did he revolt from God, and conspire wdth the devil 
against his Maker ! 

2. God is a strong and an invincible adversary, who is a match for him ? Or who can 
stand before his indignation ? " God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth and is furious, the 
Lord taketh vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies, the 
elect themselves are his enemies before called ; the mountains quake at him, and the hiils 
melt, and the earth is burnt at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. 
Who can stand before his indignation, and who can abide in the fierceness of his a&ger ; 
his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him ?" Nahum i. 2. 5, 
6. Man can stand no more before the wrath of this terrible God, than stubble can stand 
before a devouring fire : " Who would set briars and thorns against me in battle ? I 
would go through them, and burn them together," Isa. xxvii. 4. He is an adversary 
clothed with might, power, terror, and majesty, he hath made mighty kings as stubble to 
his bow, and emperors as chaff before the whirlwind. 

3. God is a wise and skilful adversary, he knows how to marshal his host, and set his 
battle in array, and how with ease to revenge himself of his enemies : " He is wise in 
heart, and mighty in strength," Job ix. 4. There is no device, no policy, nor crafty coun- 
sel against this adversary, the Lord of Hosts. 

4. God is an incensed enemy, wrath hath been long kindling in his heart : and at last 
if sinners lay not down their arms, it will be poured forth like fire upon them. 

5. God is a victorious and a prevailing adversary : when he rises up he devours at once ; 
he shall cry, " He shall roar, he shall prevail against his enemies," Isa. xliv. 19. 

6. Yet he is a forbearing and long-suffering adversary, he seeks not all advantages to 
destroy and avenge himself of his enemies. how willing is he to put an end to that 
fearful war that is between him and poor sinners ; he sends his ambassadors to ofier peace, 
and to intreat them to be reconciled ; he puts out his white flag to draw them, and to al- 
lure them to lay down their arms, and to accept of mercy and free pardon, before the 
bloody flag is put up. 

7. In Jesus Christ he is reconciled ; though he is an enemy to all sinners who have not 
• Christ's satisfaction applied to them, his wrath is appeased in Christ, or by the sacrifice of 

his Son, and fury is not in him towards any that are in Jesus Christ, or who plead the 
satisfaction he has given, and that atonement he hath made by his blood ; yet to such, I 
say, who stand out and refuse to come in, or accept of this atoning sacrifice, or to believe 
in Jesus Christ, or who seek by some other ways to make their peare with God ; his 
frightful and soul amazing wrath will overtake and devour with dreadful vengeance and 

Fourthly, I shall endeavour to prove or to demonstrate, that it is the duty and highest 
concernment of sinners to accept of terms of peace with God. 

1. Because the sinner first broke with God, the breach was not made by the holy Creator, 
but by man the wretched creature. God made man upright, but he hath sought out many in- 
ventions. Man first began this fearful war, he took up arms against !iis Maker, and there- 
fore it is his duty and mterest to accept of peace while he is in the way, or may be re- 
ceived into favour with God. 


2. Because it is an unjust and uureasonable rebellion ; shall the subject strive to dethrone 
his sovereign, and set up a sworn traitor in his place ? Or shall the creature contemn and 
raise up war against his glorious Creator, who not only gave him his being, but feeds, clothes, 
and preserves him continually what a rebel is sorry man, and what ground and reason 
is there why he should strive to be at peace and reconciled unto God ! 

'■i. Because if they do not speedily take hold of peace, the mischief and wrong will fall 
upon themselves : what hath the sinner already suffered ? and what may he furtiier expect 
to meet with, if be continues in his rebelHon and enmity against God? how poor and 
wretched hath this war already made him ; and how miserable will he be in the end ; and, 
yet will he not be convinced of this his madness and folly ; their swords will turn back 
into their own bowels, and pierce their own souls. 

4. What cost and charge hath Goil been at to reconcile sinners to himself? God has 
sacrificed his own Son to procure their peace and reconciliation ; this is the way he took, this is 
the way by which his wrath is appeased, and liis offended justice satisfied ; " AH things are of 
God, who hath reconciled us unto himself by Jesus Christ," 2 Cor. v. 18, 19. Our blessed 
Jonah was thrown into the sea of God's wrath, to lay that dreadful storm our sins bad 
raised ; the honour of God's justice, and sanctification of the law, must be vindicated ; we 
have not peace with God, as a simple act of mercy, but in a way of satisfaction to injured 
justice ! but such who do not accept of this Christ, this succour, and fly to God by him, 
God will have war with for ever. It is indeed to abuse infinite wisdom, justice, love, good- 
ness, and mercy, for sinners any other way to seek peace and reconciliation with God, or to 
refuse this way. 

5. Because you are not able to deal with, or to stand against this adversary : are you a 
match for him ? will you run upon the bosses of his buckler ? He is a God of influences 
and authority, he commands all. The frogs invade Pharaoh, the stars fight against Sisera, an 
angel destroyed a whole army of Assyrians in a night, the watchers cut down Nebuchad- 
nezzar, and sent him to graze mth oxen, and tosses Belshazzar from the throne ; and dost 
thou think to escape his awful frowns ? can any by strength prevail ? or will thy riches 
profit thee in the day of wrath ? Or canst thou out-wit infinite wisdom ? He t;iketh the 
wise in their own craftiness, and by power shaU none prevail. " He is of one mind, and 
who can turn him?" Job xxiii. 13. " His counsel shall stand, and he will do all his 
pleasure," Isa. xl. 10. " Whosoever hardeneth his heart against him and prospereil ?" 
Job. ix. 4 ? Wilt thou resolve to go on in thy sinful course. Jet God say what he will, 
ministers say what they will, and gndly parents say what they will ; nay, and thy con- 
science never so often and severely rebuke thee and terrify thy soul ? And yet for all this 
wilt thou swear, lie, be drunk, and commit uncleanness ; nay, " Add drunkenness to thirst, 
and say thou shall have peace ? hear what God saith and tremble, the Lord will not 
spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, 
and all the curses that are written in this book shall be upon him, and the Lord shall blot 
out his name from under heaven," Dent. xxix. 1 9, 20. Thou hardenest thy heart against 
him, when thou dost delay to close with Christ, and dost stifle those convictions thou 
mayest be under of sin and danger ; every act of sin hardens the heart against God ; 
what, shall neither the word nor the rod break thy heart ? 

6. Now peace may be had with God : this is the time, the things of thy peace are not 
yet hid from thine eyes ; mind the words, " whilst thou art in the way with him." Oh 
wonder that thou art out of hell, or that the day of grace is not yet ended ; believe God 
is willing to be at peace with you, he is ready to pardon, and thou mayest not live until 
to-mon-ow, therefore it is thy wisdom to accept of peace to-day. 

7. Christ's ambassadors do offer peace to you in their great Master's name ; what an- 
swer will you give them ? He will call them home in a short time. " Now then we are 
ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's 
stead be ye reconciled to God," 2 Cor. v. 20. What, doth God and Jesus Christ entreat 
and beseech you to be reconciled, and dare you refuse ? Nay, is God in Christ reconciled, 
and will you reject this Christ, and that peace he hath made by his own blood? 

8' Moreover, you may have peace on easy terms, youi' sins are the plague and sores of 
y^ ur souls ; no man but would be cured of the plague, or of a mortal disease ; are you 
not willing to throw your filthy rags away, to be clotlied with a glorious robe, or to accept 
of a plaisterto heal your wounds? Would a man wounded with a spear, not have it 
pulled out of his side ? You are polluted, and it was to wash and be clean. What 
poor virgin woidd think it a hard thing, to yield to be espoused to a glorious prince, 
when courted by him ? Doth not Christ deserve your choicest love and affections ? 


True, to the flesh tin; terms are hard, it is like pulling' out a right eye, &c. But 
the Spirit of God makes it easy to the soul ; it is but to believe and be saved, and tJiat 
faith God is also ready to give to thee. 

9. If you refuse peace to-day, your adversary may deliver you to the judge to-mor- 
row, and the judge to the officer, and you be cast into hell ; and what will you do then ? 
Verily you shall not come out thence, until you have paid the utmost farthing you owe 
to God's justice. 

10. It is peace with God, the mighty God, he will become thy friend, and thou wilt 
see in Christ all his wrath is over for ever. 

11. Thou hereby shalt see thou art actually brought into the bonds of the cove- 
nant, and in a league of lasting peace and real friendship ; so that God's enemies 
will be thy enemies, and such that are his friends, will be tliy friends, his strength 
will be engaged for thee, to help and succour thee at all times, both of afflictions and 

J 2. Thou wilt have soul-peace, peace -within, as well as peace with God ; " Great 
peace have they tliat love thy law," Psal. cxix. 165 ; it is indeed, " Peace that passeth 
all understanding," Phil. iv. 7. what is it to have peace with God ? It is per- 
fect peace, " Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace," Isa. x.xvi. 3 ; and this peace opens 
a blessed trade, even free access to God, thou shalt have communion with him, and 
enjoy many other high and glorious privileges also, therefore it is tliy wisdom and interest, 
and the interest of all siunere, quickly to accept of peace with God. 


This may serve to reprove such who say God is no adversary to the persons gf the 
elect, whilst in their sins, ami unbelievers, though they are swearers, blasphemers, 
drunkards, whoremongers, murderers, &c., because in his Son he is reconciled, or Christ 
liath satisfied the justice of God fur all their sins. Cannot they distinguish between the 
satisfaction of Christ, or that atonement he bath made for sinners, and the application of 
it to the sinner's person and conscience ? Sure they are ignorant of the holy nature of 
God, and do not believe the truth of his word, or the record thereof. 

Object. 1. God is (say these men) unchangeable, and therefore how can his elect be 
at one time under his wrath, and another time in his love ? Can such ever be children of 
wrath, and God an enemy to them whom he loved from eternity ? Thus they argue. 

Ansa^. You look upon God as upon man ; as if love and hatred were but qualities in 
God ; that which we call love, and that which we call hatred, in God is all on reconci- 
iine, saith Reverend Jer. Burroughs, but in us they are two things, two acts ; '/s.'""' ^' 
one while God acts in a way of love, and at another time in a way of wrath, 
but the change is not in God, but in those objects towards whom his love or wrath is 
manifested. God himself (saith he) is one- pure act, one in his own holy na- How God 
ture, though in his acting towards creatures, he seems to us as it were divi'ied, J"Y '"' ""'? 
when all is but the several ways of the manifestation of his own infinite es- yet hate tha 
sence. Pray did not God love the angels that fell when they were holy inid s.imc pi-rdon. 
pure creatures? And yet now they are become devils, and doth he not l;,!;e them ? Yet 
is there from hence any change in. God ? We must distinguish between what God is in 
himself, and his actings and manifestations of himself to creatures. j\Iaii in a state of in- 
nocency was, as it were (saith Mr. Burroughs) white glass, and God shiued thereon in a 
way of love and goodness to man ; the same man falls, and is dyed red by his sin, and let 
him now be presented unto God, and the ways of God are bloody, and appear full of wrath ; 
let this man be converted, and then again the glass is changed, and God presentetli himself 
another way, i.e., in love and sweet complacency : but he is still the same God, only ac- 
cording to the several ways of the creature, so are his several actings ; whose ways to us 
are past finding out : therefore tliose that would speak of God, as he is in himself, who is 
but one act, leatl people into abundance of errors, because they are not able to manage 
their apprehensions of him as he is in himself, page 'M. We converts (saith the Apostle), 
were the children of wrath as well as others, in that respect there was no difference be- 
tween us and others. I will put this to these men, i.e , was not there a time when 
Christ was under God's wrath ? Yet God loved his Son from all eternity. Sirs, that 
wrath of God due to us under which the elect were fallen, Christ came under, and from 
hence we may see that the elect were under wrath, and God acted as an enemy to them; 
and yet he loved them, as he saw them in his Son from eternity, and also acted in a way 


of love, pit}', and good-will towards them from everlastinrr, Jer. :<xxi. 3. God, saitli nii- 
other author, hates no man's person, simply considered as liis creatnre, but he hates tliem 
as ungodly or wicked persons, and so he could not but hate elect shiners, as \rell as he 
hates their sins, and siufal state ; and ho hates them also, go as to withliold (fur a time) 
the eflects of his lovo from them. We call (saith lie) tlie effects of God's grace, grace ; 
and the effects of his wrath, wrath ; as God is said to repent when he causes the effects of 
anger to cease ; God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself; the meritorious and 
wrath-appeasing sacrifice is paid once for all, but it is in Christ for us, and not applied to 
any adult person, until they believe ; wo must bo in Christ, if God be reconciled to us, 
and we to him ; in him only is God well pleased, that is, witli none else but them that are 
in Jesus Ciirist. 

2. Bewail the state of all nnhelievers, all who are in a state of enmity and rebellion 
against God. what a fearful thing is it to have God for an adversary, and to fall into 
the hands of the living God ! 

3. Here is great encouragement for sinners to fly to God by Jesus Christ, God being in 
his Son well pleased and reconciled, though ho is not well pleased, nor actually reconciled 
to the person of any wicked, ungodly, and unbelieving sinner ; and such who assert the con- 
trarj', speak not that which is right of the lioly God, but contradict the testimony of the 
word of truth. Let no siuner therefore once imagine CJod can be at peace with him, delight 
in him, or be reconciled to his person, whilst he is an unbeliever, or lives in, and love 
his horrid sins and abominable lusts } but let him lay hold of God's free offers of peace, 
and strive to obtain the grace of God, and faith in Christ, to change and purify both his 
heart and life. 

4. Terror. This may bo for a use of terror to all such, as resist and fight against God, 
and slight all the offers of bis grace and free pardon, in and through Jesus Clirist ; wliat 
will they do in the day of his fierce anger? " He will then speak to him in his wrath, 
and vex tliem in his sore displeasure," Psa. ii. 5. Yea, he will thunder out of heaven 
against them, and break them all to pieces, who is able to gather heaven up in the folds 
as a curtain, and roll it together as a scroll of parchment, and break up the fountain of the 
great deeps of his wrath, and open the windows of lieaven, and drown them in a deluge of 
his divine vengeance, and aft'right them by rattling peals of thunder, or cut them to pieces 
with thunderbolts, and amazing hail, fire, and brimstone. Quake, ye haughty, and God- 
contemning infidels, whither will you fly ? Or where can you find a place to hide your- 
selves from this incensed adversary when he rises up to the prey, and his hands takes hold 
of judgment? 

5. But sing, ye saints, rejoice ye righteous ; this terrible God is your Father, your Friend, 
he is at peace with you, and will plead your cause against your enemies ; and he will hide 
you in tlie day of his wrath, and be your rcfiige when he comes forth in flames and Hashes 
of fire, to burn up the earth, and to consume the proud and all the wicked like unto stubble. 
" The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens 
and the earth shall shake ; but the Lord will be hope of his people, and tlie sti-cngth of the 
children of Israel," Joel iii. IC. 


Ayree with thine adversary quickly, &.C.- — Jlatt. v. 25, 20. 
I SHALL proceed to the next proposition, &c. 

Doct. 3. That sinners ought without delay, quickly, presently, to seek peace and re- 
concilation with Ciod. 

1. I shall show you what is necessary for sinners to know and to do, in order to their 
being reconciled unto God. 

2. Give you the purport of this word " quickly." 

3. Give you the reasons why tliey should agree with their adversary quickly, or without 

1. It is absolutely necessary that such sinners who would have peace, do know the blessed 
God, or what a God he is ; that he is a holy God, his nature is holy ; that he is originally 
and esseutially holy, yea infinitely holy, and hatetli all sin and wickedness, and all that 
live in sin and rebellion against him. 

2. And they ought also to know the holiness and purity of his blessed law, which lays 
unbelieving sinners under wrath and the curse. 


'i. Tlioy Piifflit to Icnow the justice of God, wlio will not acquit any guilty siiiuer, but 
will in)|ik':ul mercy, unless the sinner can plead a full satisfiiction is made for his sins to the 
injured law and justice of God. 

4. Sinners ouj,d!t to know the mercy of God is exceeding great, and that love and good- 
ness are as absolutely the essential properties of God's nature as holiness and justice. 

5. They ought to Imow the channel in which mercy, love, and goodness, only runs down 
like a mighty btreani, or the way by wliieh God displays his mercy and pardoning grace 
to sinners, which infinite wisdom found out, which is that way, and that way alone, by 
which his divine wrath is appeased, and infinite justice is satisfied ; viz., by the sacrifice 
and obedience of Jesus Christ, who was ofl'ered up in our stead; the just for the unjust, 
that he might bring us to God, or make our peace by the blood of his cross. 

II. Sinners ought to know the insufficiency of all other ways and means whatsoever, in 
order to their obtaining peace and reconciliation with God. 

1. That no other sacrifice can ajipease the wrath of God ; no, though a sinner should 
ofier a thousand rams, or ten thousand rivers of oil, or give his first-born, the fruit of his 
body for the sin of his soul, Mich. vi. 7. Jfuch less the sacrifice of bulls and goats. 

'J. That his repentance cannot satisfy divine justice, no, though ho could shed tears of 

3. Nor his leaving off his sins ; no, though he could live and sin no more, because his 
former sins, the old score, would cast him into hell ; will not running into God's debt any 

more, satisfy for sin and debts committed, or contracted in times past ? 

4. No more ought the sinner to think his faith, either as a habit or a gi'acions act, can 
satisfy divine justice, or ap})oase God"s anger for his sins ; for faith is imperfect, through his 
sin cleaving to it ; who can say his faith is perfect, or any other gi'ace ? No, our faith 
needs a Saviour, or rather that unbelief that cleaves to our faith. Sirs, faith suhjeStively 
taken, justifies us not, or makes not our peace with God ; but objectively considered ; I 
mean, it is Christ that faith apprehends: Jesus Christ, the object of fiiith. Doth faith 
make the obedience and death of Christ satisfactory unto God ? Poth that pay our debts 
and satisfy divine justice, because that way the atonement is received or applied to us ? 

f). Nor is it our inherent righteousness, nor our religious duties that can make our peace 
with God; all our own righteousness is but unrighteousness in the eye of severe justice. 
Hence it is compared to " filthy rags or dung," Phil. iii. S, in comparison of the righte- 
ousness of God. Therefore sinners ought to know that regeneration and 
sanctification cannot make their peace with God, or satisfy for their sins; for ^"ilrth^'put 
although no man can enter into the kingdom of heaven that is not born again, to an old 
and niado inherently holy, yet neither of these doth, or can atone for sins, B'"'""^"^- 
nor appease God's wrath ; therefore do not think, though you become new creatures, that 
regeneration can procure or purchase your peace, or make reconciliation with God ; it doth 
indeed make us meet for heaven, but it gives us no right or title to it. Grace in us is but a 
creature, and regeneration is but in jiart ; whilst we are in this world, there is much sin 
and corruption remaining in the best of saints. 

III. Therefore sinners must know that it is Christ's obedience only, his blood Qui- pcaGi.' is 
und merits, his sin-atoning sacrifice that makes our peace. it is a most dan- oniynyiik- by 
gerous thuig for any to build their hopes of God's favour and peace with him " ^ ' " " 
upon any thing wrought in them, or done by them. Moreover, it is not your pleading 
God's mercy that will avail you anything, unless you eye the way in which he lets his 
mercy run forth. God's mercy will not acquit a sinner to the eclipsing the glory of his 
justice and holiness. Mercy indeed moved infinite wisdom to find out the ransom, but to 
plead for pardon without respect to Christ's bloody sacrifice, is the way to turn mercy into 
fury. Shall a condemned criminal sue to his sovereign for pardon upon the simple score or 
account of mercy, after tlie king had sacrificed his own son, to satisfy the law and justice 
for those his horrid offences ; this would but enrage his abused sovereign. Jlight he not 
say, Thou ignorant wretch, did I not sacrifice my son to make thy peace ? why dost thou 
not plead the inerits of his blood, in which my mercy and justice are both magnified 'f 
He that would have pardon and peace with God, ought well to consider these things. 
They must despair of hel|) or relief any otlierway, therefore seek it by Jesus Christ alone. 
We must die to our own righteousness, as St. Paul did, and count all that is gain to us as loss 
for Christ, that we may befouiidinhira,andclothed with his,righteousnessonly,I'hil.iii.S,'J, if 
we would have peace with God ; or else the law will let fly his killing arrows against us, 
aud divine justice will throw us into hell. Woe to such who build upon their own inhe- 
ent righteousness, or boast of a state of perfection iu themselves, or place their title to 

F 2 


heaven nn tlieii- inhcveiit sanctification, or mix works with Chrisfs merits in point of jus- 
tification, reconciliation, and peace with God. 

IV. Such sinners who would have peace witli God, must resolve to lay down their 
arms, and fight agaiust God no more. Dare a condemned rebel approach the throne of liis 
incensed sovereign, to beg pardon with his sword in his hand, as if he would sheath it in 
the bowels of his prince ? 

1. Kesolve not to sin any more, whether God will pardon thee or not; do not hug any 
idol in thy heart. 

2. Be convinced that this world in its riches, honours, and sensual pleasures, is a 
cursed enemy to thy soul, and while it smiles upon thee, ii secretly and unawares cuts thy 
throat ; do not be fond of a name amongst men ; self is a grand idol, self-love, self-interest, 
self-righteousness ; beware of human applauses, and vain glory. 

3. Take heed thou dost not love husband, wife, children, or estate, above Christ, and 
so in love to them neglect to seek peace with God through Jesus Christ. 

4. Take heed of resting on that knowledge, and upon those outward privileges thou 
hast attained ; I may say to thee, alluding to that passage, 2 Kings ix. 18, " Is it peace ? 
and Jehu said, what hast thou to do with peace ? turn thou behind me," .ver. 22. " And 
it came to pass when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, is it peace, Jehu ? And he answered 
and said, wliat peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel, and her withcrafts 
are so many ?" put away your idols, your strange gods ; let no trust, no relation, no 
duty, no attainment be your idol, if you would have peace with God ; what peace so long 
as men love the world above God ? What peace whilst thou art a swearer, a drunkard, 
a liar, a back-biter, a whoremonger ? What peace so loi% as pride, covetousness, and other 
abominable lusts, reign and predominate in the sinner's heart. 

Sinners y_ Agree you must with your ad\ersary quickly, accept presently of the 

of peace' free offers of grace in Christ, and be united to him by the Holy Spirit ; it is 
presently. ^^^jy j^ t\iQni in Clirist : I say again, that God is reconciled in Christ, and 
therefore cry to God to give thee his Spirit, to bring thy soul to accept, espouse, and unite 
thee to the Lord Jesus, and so to enable thee to beheve in him, John iii. 36, Mark xvi. 
16 ; for he that believeth not, God's wrath abides upon, and such shall perish. " He that 
believeth not shall be damned ;" nay, he " that believeth not is condemned already," and 
abides condemned, because he believes not in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

VI. You must be bom again, if'you ever come to have ])eace with God, for though re- 
generation does not reconcile God to us, (as you have heard) yet we must have the old 
nature, that evil nature changed, and that enmity that is in our minds against God removed. 
God will ever have war with the old nature, and with all such in whom that old enmity 
remains ; therefore marvel not that Christ says, "ye must be born again ;" you cannot love God 
till then, nor the things of Ciod, nor enjoy communion and fellowship with God and Jesus 
Christ, nor delight in him, until you find a new heart, or partake of the divine nature. God 
hath promised to circumcise our hearts to love him, and to give us a new heart. plead 
liis absolute promises, take hold of his absolute promises, and observe the proclamation of 
peace and reconciliation God hath sent out, and daily makes in the ministry of his word ; 
Sinners lay hold of the first summons, do not delay, your life lies at stake. 

^%ow°t' ^'^^- You must know the power of God in Christ to save to the uttermost, 

otchv.stto all that come unto him ; and also how ready and willing he is to pardon all 
wh^ t y""'' ^'"®' t'^'^""!^ never so many, or never so great, Heb. vii. 25. 

courage- Object. But lam noi sure that God will pardon me, and be at peace with me. 

nm^iav°e"to Answ. 1. Observe this well. Our Lord hath said, " That whosoever cometh 
believe. unto me, I will in no wise cast him out," John vi. 30, 37, that is, I will re- 
ceive him, he shall be pardoned, and have peace ; never did any come to God by Christ, 
but found acceptance, and therefore thou shalt if thou dost come luito him. 

2. Thou hast as much ground to believe that God will pardcm thee, and be at peace 
with thee, as any of those sinners had, who have found mercy, and now have peace with 
God ; they could not find their names in the proclamation, no more than you can, but the 
promise to sinners, to all that see themselves lost, and undone sinners. 

3. Many as bad. nay perhaps worse sinners than you, have found mercy, and been re- 
ceived into favour with God. 

4. If thou canst not believe, cry to God to help thy unbelief; he will give faith to thee, 
if thou dost but cry to him, and wait nn him in the use of all means he hath or- 

5. Hath not God sent his ambassadors to ofler peace to you, and doth not he command 


you to believe in his Son, and tells you that he will abumlautly paiilou all that tui-i to him : 
" though their sins be as red as scarlet, he will make them as white as snou. ' Isa. i. 18. 
What would you have more ? 

Secondly, I shall show you what this word quickly doth denote ; " agreo with thine 
adversary quickly." 

1. It is to do a thins with great haste, make ready three measures of flue whatquick- 

^ ly iloth ilu 

meal quickly, that is, make haste ; " Abraham made haste to fetch a calf, he ply, 

ran unto the herd — and he hasted to dress it," (jen. xviii. 7, so such who would have 

peace with God, must make great haste, and speed to do it. 

2. The word signifies utmost diligence : " Thou shalt go down quickly, and come to tlie 
place," 1 Sam. x.^c. 19. Sinners should endeavour after pardon and peace, by closing 
with Christ witii the utermost care and diligence imaginable. 

3. It denotes the doing of a thing without tho least delay or lingering. " I'uke thy 
bill, and sit down quickly, and write tifty," Luke xvi. G. So here ; this great work must 
uot be delayed one moment, nor be deferred until to-morrow. 

Thirdly, I shall give you the reasons of this and so confirm this proposition by art/u- 

I. Because it is business of the highest concernment in the world : Can you eat, drink, 
or sleep, whilst God is your enemy, and his wrath abides upon you ? Will you why sinners 
play with your souls, and trifle about things of an eternal concernment ? \\ ere ^cccDtof "^^ 
you not sent into this world to seek after God ? he is accounted a foolish man peace, 
that neglects his seedtime, his market, or exchange-time: Doth our Lord say m vain, 
" Strive to enter in at the strait gate ?" Luke xiii. '24. What, are there none here that will 
stir up themselves to take hold of God ? Will you all plead excuses ? Your blood then be 
upon your own heads. I have given you warning this day, to agree with your adversary 
now speedily, and without delay. 

II. Because the present time is the very season in which God commands you to seek 
him, and be at peace with him, " To-day if you will hear hisvoice, harden not your hearts," 
Heb. iii. 15. " Behold, now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation," 2 Cor. vi. 
2. Behold, take notice of it, would you have pardon, be accepted, and have peace with God ? 
Behold this is the time, the accepted time, the day of salvation ; but if you do uot now lay 
hold of Christ, it may be the day of your damnation ; It is uot the time you like or approve 
of, sad 1 that God"s time should not be your time : Is ii meet you should choose the proper 
time, or God ? 

III. Because the neglect of the present time, is to neglect the time of y.iur visitation : 
" that thou hadst known, at least in this thy day, the things that belong t.i thy peace," 
Luke xix. i'l. If you stay till to-morruw, you may never have another offer of peace 
made to you : the proclamation is, that you rebels lay down your arms, and kiss the Son, 
submit yourselves to his mercy this very day, if you would have pardon and peace with 

IV. Because the day of your lives it is but short and very uncertain ; nay, and the day 
of God's patience, or the day of grace, may be but short also, as it is very uncertain. We 
know how many hours are in a natural day, but we know not the number of the days of our 
lives : and we are bid " not to boast ourselves of to-morrow, because we know nut what 
a day may bring forth," Prov. xxvii. 1. We know not also how long God's may be, 
this I say, brethren, the time is short ; make haste, what you do, do quickly : doth not 
God say now, Christ says quickly ? " Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace," 
Job xxii. 2l. If you remain ignorant of God, or know not God in Christ, you can expect 
no peace : or if you think to acquaint yourselves with him hereafter, it may not do ; you 
must do it now : shall God say now, and you say no, not now, uot to-day, but to-morrow? 
If God's now be not regarded, and Christ not closed with this day, thy soul may be m hell 
to morrow ; " This uight shall thy soul be required of thee.'' Dare you disobey God's calls, 
and refuse his now ? is it not an act of the greatest folly as well of rebellion ? why do you 
delay ? would a condemned criminal when sent to by his prince to haste and come quickly 
to him, even to-day, say no, I'll defer it till to-morrow ? All woidd say he was out of his 
wits should he so do : Alas, saitii he, if I go not to-day, execution-day may be to-morrow. 
Consider, sinner, what thou doest, thou that sayest thou wilt turn to God to-morrow, or art 
not resolved to do it to-day ; thy purpose it appears is to be wicked to-day, such sin with 
full resolution : and what if God says, thou shalt have thy clioice, thy lusts to-day, thy 
pleasures to-day, tiiy carnal delights and profits to-day, and be damned to-morrow ; thou 
shalt be hardened to-day, and be cast into hell to-morrow. Were your house on fire to- 


(lay, would you say you will cmlravour to qiuii'h it to-morrrnv ? or li.id yu a cliild f.illcu 
into the river to-day, would you say you would pull it out lu-nioiTow? Seneca, tliiiu'_;Ii a 
heathen, coudoinus many tliat call themselves Chi-istians; it is the folly of a man (saitli lie| 
to think to live, when a thousand to one but he will be dead and rotten ! what folly is 
it in men to tliink of closing with Christ, and get peace with God when they are old ! 
•\vliereas thousands are cut off while young. Let mo ask you a few questions. 

1. Is not peace with God worth seeking ? is it not absolutely necessary ? can you be 
happy without it ? I laiow you will say nothing is more needful, why do you not then 
quickly seek after it? 

2. Did Jesus Christ out-bid himself in dying for us who were enemies to God ? was 
lie unwise to die to make our peace, or was it worth the price of bis most precious 
blood, and is it not worth your serious thought, prayers, and tears, and greatest dili- 
gence to seek after the merits and blessing thereof? 

3. Or do }'0U think God will be better pleased with the dregs of your days, than with 
the chief and prime of your days ? You will s.iy no, why tlien do you reserve them and 
waste the best of your time, days, and strength, in the service of sin and Satan ? 

4. Or do you think that you shall be in a better capacity to mind heavenly things 
lioreaftcr. when sickness, pain, and anguish seize on you, and when God's Spirit perliaps 
will be withdrawn from you, or strive no more with you? 

5. Or is it fit for r. servant to say, to-morrow I will go and work in thy vineyard, when 
his master says go to-day ? will you deal with the holy God, as you would not be 
dealt with yourself? 

Oral as Mn V. Mind these words well, lest at any time tlic adversary deliver ihee to 
rcjigniy '""y the judge. Thy times are in God's liand; he may act when ho ])leaselli in a 
"ut""u ■.•n"a ^'"^y "^ sovereignty, i. c., at any time he may give thee up into the hands of 
Riiiiior. - divine Justice and cut thee off; death may seize on thee this day, this night, 
or at any time, even before you are aware. Man knows not his time. 

VI. "When once the Judge dehvers thee to the OHicer, and thou art cast into prison, 
how dismal will thy state bo for ever? There is no redemption out of hell. Could sin- 
ners satisfy divine justice by suffering, though they lay in torments ten thousand years, 
they might come out tiience ; but, because the suiferings of a finite creature cannot satisfy 
infinite justice, who demands the uttermost farthing, they must lie in those flames 
to an endless eternity. For thougk Christ satisfied for all the sins of the elect, or paid 
the uttermost farthing in a short space of time, yet the sinner cannot ; sinners in hell sin 
eternally, and therefore must suffer eternally. Christ, saith one, endured the penal death 
of men, not the spiritual death of men : and that in the nature of it, not in the continuance, 
not in the despair and moral evils that follow upon it. Such sins as the damned are 
guilty of, are not essential to the nature of the punishment, but arise from the inherent 
unrighteousness of the person sufi'ering ; neither is the eternal duration of the punishment 
essential to its nature, but ariscth from the infinite nature of the suffering creature, which 
renders a commensurate satisfaction from him impossible. ]3ut the infinite holiness of 
Clirist's nature was a bar against the sins which are committed by others under wrath ; 
and the infinite satisfaction be made, by means of the grandeur and dignity of his Person, 
was a bar against the etetual duration of the puniblimcnt. 


with'^Goii is ^''^"°"^ hence I infer, that the sinner's peace and reconciliation witli God, is 
!i mystery. a gi'cat mystery; Christ did not ])lead with the Father, pray and iutreat the 
Father only to be at peace with us ; no, but he bled, ho died, to procure our peace. 
" AVe speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which God ordained 
before the world began, to our glory," 1 Cor. ii. 7. 

2. That our peace and reconciliation with God, is alone of his free gi-acc. It is 
free to us, though Christ paid dear for it : sinners could not make their own jieace 
with Goil, neither do anything to reconcile God to them, or them to God ; no, God alone 
is the Author of it, and it flows from him as an act of infinite love, grace, and favour, 
lie found out the great Peace-maker, he sent him into the world, he accepted him as our 
Surety in our stead ; he anointed him, upheld him, and raised him up from he dead ; 
he, by the power of his Spirit, changes our hearts, bows our wills, draws our affections, and 
makes us yiehl to receive the Lord Jesus Christ, and to accept of that peace he made by 
his blood. 

3. We also iiif.-r from hence, that God the Father, who is the Aulhor of our peace 


and reconciliation, ouglit to receive eqiml glory witli our Lord Jesus ,yj?,(. ^;;"|f,J 
Cliiist, who liath inaile our peace; and lliut we ought equally to exalt the of ourpe»ra. 
Holy Ghost, who applies this peace to us, and who works out all that enmity which was 
in our liearts against God ; and so makes the blood of atonement efficacious to our 

4. That it is a certain, a sure, and an abiding peace ; " The covenant of my it is sure 
peace shall not be removed, saith the Lord who hath mercy on thee." This '"""'''" 
jieace is according to God's eternal counsel : it is founded ujion his unalterable decree and 
pinpose in Jesus Christ, and it is coniirmed by the blood of his Son, and the outli of 
God, Ileb. vi. 17 — 19. Shall any of them miss of peace and reconciliation with God, 
lor whom Christ died, and to whom this peace is applied ? No, no, that is impossible. 
" liCt God be true, and every man a liar." 

5. We may infer that Christ as Mediator doth the whole work, or all for cimst alone 
us, about our peace : he reconciles God to us, and us to God, so lays his conoiitr. 
hands upon both. 

0. We also may infer from hence, that he that would agree with God (who ^'''Jelf a'. m 
is an enemy to sinners whilst they remain in their sins) and have peace with in our pi-Za.-, 
him, must receive the Holy Spirit, and so be united to Jesus Christ, and must J*"*'' ^'■ 
believe in him, receive him by faith, or perish for ever. And all that the Father gave to 
his Son, shall be thus imited to him ; they shall believe, or come to Christ, John vi. 37. 

7. We may infer, that to reject Jesus Christ, or not to receive liim who Tiie evil of 
li.'ith made our peace, is an abominable evil, the worst sin any soul can be jwacu'waii 
guilty of. Hath God done all this, Christ done all this, for sinners' peace, and <i«"J- 
shall any wickedly refuse to accept it ? Or shall they think of getting peace witli God 
some other way, even by their own worlcs, reformation of life, or by their rig1iteou?ness, 
repentance, and sincere obedience ? Let such fear of falling into hell, and so perish for 
ever. " For there is no other name given under heaven whereby we must be saved, 
if ever we are saved," Acts iv. 1:^. 

8. We infer from whence it is that we are made accepted in tlie sight of God, /. e., 
it is in the beloved ; and by this means also we have free access to God ; our peace being 
made, and we justified, we may come with boldness to the throne of grace, by the blood 
of Jesus. 

9. We infer also, that God is reconciled to sinners tpon honourable terms ; 

God every way is magnified, and suffers not in any of his blessed attributes. Gospei-pcace 
Had we only been pardoned as an act of simple mercy, perhaps the devil "!]"" tcJllls.' ' 
wciuld cry, where is now the glory of thy justice, the glory of tliy truth and 
holiness, and the sanction of thy law ? 

10. This may serve to abase man, humble man : here is peace made with- Man ii.itcci 
out sorry man's seeking, or man's prociu'ing, nay, and without any desert of uiipKoxc" 
mankind? Did we deserve this favour, such love, such a Saviour? What 

did Christ die for us when we were enemies ? " Where is boasting then ? " " All things are 
of God," &c., that man might be nothing, but cry out, the riclies of God's grace! who 
v.'orks all our works in us and for us. 

F.xhort. sinners, sinners ! make haste, and quickly agree with your sinners cx- 
advehary, i. e., embrace Jesus Christ, labour to know and receive the atone- jj"""^ '°,. 
ment, and the things of your peace, lest they are hid from your eyes, or before peacu by 
yiiu are' given up to hardness of heart, itc, or into the hands of your •-""*' '-'■■'"^• 
righteous Judge, whose lamb-like nature will be turned into fury, and like a lion will 
tear you in pieces. And let the sight of a bleeding Jesus upon the cross, 'Winitis sin? 
move you into tears, and melt your hearts to think that no other ways you could Iiavo 
peace and reconciliation with God. What is sin ? what a kind of breach did it 
make between God and us, that nothing but the blood of his own Son could make up 
that breach? 

Comfort. What consolations here to all that Are reconciled to God ; tliere will never 
any more be a breach between God and you ; lie is your Father in Jesus Christ, he 
will defend your cause, and take care of your jiersons, and fight against and subdue 
all vour cnemief; and keep your souls in perfect peace vhose minds arc stayed upon 



Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of nine, and doelh them, I will liken him 

unto a wise man that built his house vpon a rock. 
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and heat upon that 

house, and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock. — Matt. vii. 2.4., 25. 

1 Sermon This is an express similitude, (and as my purpose is to open and explain all 
juiv 2° tlie parables contained in the four Evangelists) so likewise all the priucipal 
"S3. similitudes which our blessed Saviour made use of. 

The method I shall take shall bo as followeth : 

First, open every part of this similitude. 

Secondly, I shall take notice of the chief points of doctrine that lie therein. 

Thirdly, apply the whole. 

First, Christ's sayings may comprehend his whole doctrine. 

1 . The doctrine of faith and repentance, for in these two things did part 

meant by the ^^ l^i^ sayiugs consist, nay, the first and chief of them. This doctrine on 

sayings uf these sayings, he began to offer just after he was baptized, when he first 

""'' entered on this ministi-j'. " Saying, the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of 

God is at hand, repent ye and believe the Gospel," !Matt. i. 10 — 15. 

2. The doctrine of regeneration. " Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man 
be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," John iii. ii. 

3. The doctrine of self-denial. 

Then said Jesus to his disciples, " If any man will come after me, let him deny 
himself, and take up his cross and follow me," Matt. xvi. 24. 

But more particularly, that doctrine, and those saying of his, which he uttered in 
the mount. Matt. v. ; to which these of my text, particularly refer. 

1. Wherein he presseth a holy life, and openeth the nature and spirituality of the 
moral law. 

2, The doctrine of righteousness, showing that we must have a righteousness that ex- 
ceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, Matt. v. 20. 

Quest. What was the righteousness of the Pharisees ? 
What the Answ. I am not ignorant that some afiirm it was only a formal hypocritical 

rigiiteousness righteousness, because many of the Scribes and Pharisees were charged by 
see's was.^"^'" our Lord with horrid hypocrisy. 

And this they would have here meant, to bring in man's own inherent 
righteousness, or our sincere obedience to the precepts of the law and Gospel, to be that 
righteousness which exceeds the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees ; thereby to 
exclude the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, to be intended by our blessed Lord. 

Now, though we deny not but that some of the Scribes and Pharisees were guilty of 
abominable hypocrisy, and consequently all their righteousness was but in show, and out- 
ward appearance ; also mixed with many vain rites, ceremonies, and traditions : yet evi- 
dent it is, all of them were not of this sort, but some might act out of moral sincerity : 
and can we think that our Saviour alluded to that righteousness that was in the grosser 
and courser sort of the Pharisees, and not to the. righteousness of those of them that 
acted in moral uprightness towards God, as Paul did whilst he was a Pharisee, as he tes- 
tified before the counsel ; " Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before 
God imtil this day," Acts xxiii. 1. That he acted in uprightness, or morally in all good 
conscience towards God, in obedience to the law while a Pharisee ; I think there is no 
doubt to be made of this ; Saul certainly was no hypocrite, though misled, and ignorant 
of that justifying righteousness that is in Christ only ; which when he came to believe, he 
so valued, " That his own rig*hteousness he accounted but dung," Phil. iii. 8, 9, 10, in 
comparison of it. 

2. So that it appears, the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees was a self-righte- 


ousness, a legal rigliteousness, an inliereiit righteousness, or righteousness of works. A 
righteousness in conformity to the letter of the law, not to the perfection or spirituality of 
the law. 

Our Lord shows, that our righteousness, if we enter into heaven, must exceed tlie 
very best that any of the Pharisees had, (viz.) 

1. It must be a perfect righteousness, a spotless rigiiteousness ; viz., the righteousness 
of God through faith in Jesus Chiist, for our justificatiun 

2. He may also comprehend that sincere, inherent righteousness that is in believers, 
that flows from faith, and union with Christ, and right principles, which tends to sanctify 
and cleanse both our hearts and lives. 

But such who preach the righteousness our Lord speaks of, (as exceeding the righte- 
ousness of the Scribes, &c.,) to be only a sincere, inward, and outward conf innity to tlie 
rules and precepts of the Gospel, no doubt are mistaken. For should a man gain an in- 
herent righteousness, that exceeds the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, will that 
justify him at God's bar ; or give him a title to, and an entrance into the kingdom of 
heaven ? 

Certainly, whosoever he be that obtains the highest degree of an inherent righteous- 
ness, and resteth on that, thinking that will save him, he is blind and deceived, and in 
danger to fall into hell ; for all works either done by us, or wrought in us, arc utterly ex- 
cluded in point of justification. 

Christ's righteousness only is our alone title to eternal life, witliout any of ours being 
joined with it, (though by the operations of the Holy Spirit, and blessed effects ui faith, 
and union with Christ) we are made meet, or fit for that glorious " inheritance of the 
saints in light," Col. i. 12. 

It was not Abraham's nor David's own inherent righteousness that justified and .saved 
them, though theirs did far exceed tlie righteousness of any of the Scribes or I'harisees, 
because it was the effects of faith and union with Christ. 

" Abraham believed, and it was counted to him for righteousness," Piom. iv. 3, that 
is, by faith he saw Christ and believed on him ; Christ's righteousness to apprehend, 
justified him. " Now to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the 
ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness," Eom. iv. 5. " Enter not into judgment 
(saith David) with thy servant, for in thy sight shall no flesh living be justified," Psal. 
cxliii. 2. All our righteousness (saith the prophet) is but as filthy rags ; therefore our 
Saviour by his sayings, doth not put us upon doing, or working for life ; no, no, though 
we exceed therein the Scribes and the Pharisees ; but to show that we must look out for 
a perfect righteousness to another ; that is, look by faith to Christ, beUeve in him for 
righteousness; " Believe on the Lord .Jesus, and thou shalt be saved," Acts xvi. 31. 
" If ye beheve not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins," John viii. 24. " When 3'e 
have done all, say ye are unprofitable servants." Heaven is not a reward of debt, but of 

3. Our Lord alludes to those sayings of his, of heart purity ; not only, not to commit 
the act of adultery, but also, not to look upon a woman to commit adultery with her, 
Matt. v. 28. 

4. To cut off a right.-hand lusts, and jjull out a right-eye lusts. Also, 

5. Not to be angry with our brother without cause; showing that we may be guilty 
of murder without committing the overt-act of murder ; thereby to convince us that it is 
impossible for us to keep the holy law of God, and to be justified thereby, and so to lead 
us to rely, and depend upon his perfect obedience unto it, in our nature and stead : like- 
wise to those sayings of his about abstinence and secret prayer ; also to " agiee with thine 
adversary quickly," Matt. v. 2.5, that is, to plead the atonement he hath made for our 
sins ; and to that atisfaction he hath given to the law and justice of God. Moreover, 
what he said about mourning for sin, labouring after poverty of spirit, to be meek, and 
" hunger and thirst after righteousness, to bear reproaches and persecution patiently for 
his sake ; to be the salt of the earth, and light of the worid," Matt. v. 3 — 13 ; as also 
to be " merciful, as our Father that is in heaven is merciful and perfect," ver. 48 ; 
that is, to labour after the implantation of grace, and to obtain an impress of God's image 
upon our souls, or to experience the same holiness, as to its nature and quality (though 
we cannot arrive to the same in respect to degrees thereof.) So much as to what those 
sayings of Christ my text refers to. 

Secondly, What is meant by hearing of Christ's sayings ? 

Answ. 1. To hear his word and sayings with attention, to hear in hearing; 


^\.''"Vi' ■■'"■" ^°°'° ^^''" "°'' '"^"'' "*■ !i". t''^')' ^\'''' net come where C'lnist's iloctiino and 
sayings. ' " sayings are preaelioil ; others ilu not rcganl wliat tlicy liear, but liear cuiclossly. 
2. To liear his sayinj;s and lioly doctrine, as it is his word, not as tlie 
word of man, but as it is indeed tlie Word of God. Tims those in Thessalonicu Jieard it, 
and received it, wliicli becomes elfectual in all that believe. 

3. They hear Christ's sayings with holy tienibling. Thus the good king Josiah heard 
the book of the law. " Princes (saith David) persecuted me without a cause, but my heart 
s-tandeth in awe of tliy word," Psal. e.xi.x. IG I . 

If they heard the words of Closes with sucii trembling and holy awe, who was but 
the servant, and but a man as we are ; with what tear and awe should we hear Christ's 
word, who is the Son of God, the Lord from heaven ; we certainly should give the more 
earnest heed to the things he says ; " To this man will I look that is poor, and that 
trembleth at my word," Isa. l.wi. 2. 

S. To hear Christ's sayings and heavenly doctrine believingly ; '" Who hath believed 
our report ?" Isa. liii. 1. !Many that heard our Saviour's sayings did not believe; they 
did not give that credence to his doctrine which they gave to such that came in their own 
names to deceive them : yet it is one thing to believe Christ's sayings to be true, and an- 
other thing truly to believe in him, aud receive him, and rest upon him, for life and salvation. 
5. To hear with understanding ; many hear but remaiu ignorant of their state, do not 
understand the purport of the word, which is to convince them of the evil of sin, and of 
llieir woful and undone condi'.ion thereby, and of the necessity of a Jlediator, or of a Sa- 
viour ; as also of the excellency of that blessed Saviour, together with that mighty power 
and ability that he is clothed with to save. They licar and understand, that there is an 
absolute necessity of faith in Christ, of receiving him, resting and relying upon him f(jr 
salvation ; these are they that rightly hear the word and sayings of Jesus Christ ; " But 
he that receiveth seed into good ground, is he that heareth the word, and understandcth it 
which also beareth fruit," &c., Matt. xiii. 23. 

C. The wise hearer hears Christ's sayings and retains them, lie is not a forgetful hearer ; 
lie sees the excellency of the word ; likes and approves of the sayings and doctrine of 
Jesus Clmst ; he is like to Mary who pondered, " And kept all these sayings in her heart." 
These persons, with holy David, love God's word above gold, yea, above fine gold ; 
" therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to bo right, and hate every false 
way," Psal. cxix. 127, 128. 

7. It is a hearing of Christ's word and sayings subjectively ; such hear and come to 
Christ. " Whosoever Cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, &c. Luke vi. 47. In 
coming to Christ they hear, and in hearing, come, that is, then believe, and receive Jesus 

What is it to Thirdly, what is meant by doing Christ's sayings ? 

(Uitjiirisi's Answ. 1. It is to believe whatsoever is matter of faith; and to do 

t-ayuiHs. _^^^j practise whatsoever is matter of practice and duty. 

2. He may be said to do what (Christ saith that hath his whole trust and dependence 
upon hiui, or that resteth wholly upon Christ's merits and righteousness for justilicalion 
and eternal life; " This is the work of God that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." 
Brethren, this is one of the sayings of Christ ; you are for working, for doing, (as if Christ 
should say) I will therefore resolve and answer our question, " What shall we do to 
work the work of God?" Vcr. 28. That which ChhI would have you do, or is his v<irk. 
i.e., that which he had commanded you to do, is, that you believe on him whom he halli 
sent. Sirs, none do Christ's sayings but such that believe on him. 

o. To do Christ's sayings is to yield ready and hearty obedience to the precepts he 
liath given forth in the Gospel ; some will not hear what Christ says ; others will hear, 
but they hear carelessly ; others hear but do not. " If I am your Lord and Jlaster, why 
do ye not what 1 say ? Not every one that saith unlo me, Lord, Lord, but he that doeth 
the wdl of my Father which is in heaven," Matt. vii. 21. 

4. They that uprightly do Clirisfs sayings, do them sincerely, in truth, not out of 
by-ends and aims ; neither for loaves, not fur self and carnal profit, nor for self-ajiplauso. 
'• Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye seek me not because ye saw the miracles, but 
because ye did not eat of the loaves, and were Idled," John vii. 2G. Some have low, 
carnal, and base ends in hearing and doing Christ's sayings ; but such who are truly wise, 
act as those St. Paid speaks of : " But ye have obeyed from the heart, that form of 
doctrine that was delivered unto you:" liom vii. 17. The divhie doctrine hath great 
eilicacy on the liearts of these persons ; the word makes an imiiression upon their souls, so 
that with joy and delight they obey it. 

;F.nM. XII.] THE snllUTl'DK OF lIKAniNC CIiniSTS BAV1NT.5. 75 

5. Tlicy do Clirist's royin^'s fnnii right iiriiic,ii)Ios, fi-oin a piincipk' of life, from f:iith 
ill, anil love to Clirist : if yo lovo mo, kcc'i) my commandmunts ; tliat oliodii'iice whiL-h 
lirocuc.ls not from failli and love, is not rrgardcd, nor accepted of by Jesus Christ. 

0. Tliey are such that do all Christ's sayings ; " Ye arc my friends if ye do whatso- 
nver I say," Jolin xv. 14. Nothing more clearly declares, or expresses our lovo to 
Christ, than our ohedieuce to all his precepts, or our imiversal obedience to him ; " Tlien 
shall I not be ashamed when I have respect unto all thy commandments," Psal. cxix. G. 

7. Such continue ui doing Christ's sayings ; they abide in their obedience, they obey 
always, or continue in well doing. 

Fourthly, What is meant by his house? lie is like to a man that built his house, &c. 

1. 1 answer, P.y this house is, doubtless, meant his hope of salvation ; " Whoso hope 
sliall be cut' off, and whose trust shall bo as the spider's web,'' Job. viii. 14. He shall 
lean on his house, but it shall not stand. 

1. A house is that which we rest in, and where we take our repose ; a true believer 
restcth on Christ, ho builds his house, i. e., his hope, his soul, and all he doth, on Christ ; 
he that Lath a right hope, a true faith, he hath a firm and well-built house, where he 
reposeth himself, or resteth continually. 

2. A house is a place of shelter to us, in a tempestuous or stormy season, when rain, 
h.iil, suDw, thunder, &c., are like to annoy us ; so this man that builds his hope in Christ, 
is secured and safe, when tjatan raises storms of temptations upon liim ; he is safe also 
from iho thundering.s of mount Sinai, or the thunderbolts of the kuv and of the wrath of 
(iod, which all unbelievers lie open to. 

». A house is often assaulted by tliievcs, and if not firm and strong, may be broke 
up, and all tliat dwell in it may be robbed, nay murdered; so is the hope of a Christian 
I'i'lcvi attacked by Satan, and if his faith and hui)e was not built upon Christ, he was cer- 
tainly in danger of losuig all he hath ; nay, his precious soul for ever. 

Fifthly, What is meant by the Kock ? 

I answer, by the rock is no doubt meant Jesus Christ ; he is often called a ^yj!i",\ ,'fy. 
rock ; " The Lord is my rock and my fo'.tress." I'sal. xviii. 1. " A\'ho tim lotk on 
is a rock save our God V Lord, my rock be not silent," verse ol. I'sal. inanbuUiU. 
xxviii. 1. " Upon this rock will I build my church," Matt. xvi. 16 ; 1 Cor. x. 4. 

Jesus Christ may be fitly compared to a rock ; 

1. A rock is a firm anil immovable thing, therefore good for a foun- ciirist is na 
dation ; that which is built on a rock, stands sure ; so Clirist is a firm and \""k. '" 
sure foundation ; " Upon tliis rock I will build my Church, and the gates of licll shall 
not prevail against it," JIatt. xvi. 18. 

2. Christ may be compared to a rock, in regard that in ancient liaics people bnilt 
their liouscs in rocks, as well as built upon tliem ; " they liewed out houses, or habita- 
tions in rocks," Isa. xxii. IG. Christ is a believer's spiritual habitation; "they, 
like the dove, make their dwelling in the clifts of the rock," Psal. xc. L " He that 
dwellelh in lovo, dwelleth in God," 1 John iv. IG. 

li. A rock in Locus Excelsus, an high place; tliough it hath its bottom Christ a iiicii 
deep, yet is the top high and the towering, fur above the surface of the '■"'^'^• 
earth : so Jesus Christ, though in his humiliation he was laid low, that wo mi"ht build 
uiion him, yet in the dignity of his person, he being God, the most liigh God, as well 
as man, he is high, far 'above all conceptions of our hearts ; as the Mediator he is also 
exalted at God's right hand, far above all heavens; and in his power and sovereign 
authority he is lilted up, having absolute dominion over .angels, devils, and men. 

4. Ivocks are strong, and were made use of for i)laces of defence ; no ciirist is a 
fortifications like some rocks, they are impregnable : Lavid for security fled ^"■""b ■'""''• 
into a rock ; in this respect Christ may also be comj)ared to a rock, because he is our 
refuge from the wrath and vengeance of God, the curse of the law, and rage of 
wicked men, sin, and devils ; a beUever iu Christ is safe, his dwelling place is im- 

5. liocks being high, or eminent places for height, arc useful to take a P,''"'', '" " 

1 4. . e \ "7 i • 1 1 , ,. • 1 bltssud 1)10- 

pleasant prospect ; from hence a person may see alar oil ; he that by laith puct. 

ascends to the top of this spiritural rock, may take a survey of heaven, yea, (.f the 

glory of God, in all his attributes, to llie joy of bis soul. 

G. liocks are durable, permai'jent, and lasting; Jcjus Christ hath the ciirist is a 

stability of a rock, he is the same yesterday, to day, and for ever ; hence he 'lura'i'^'wi'' 

is called, the Eock of Ages. 


7. Rocks yield the purest water ; most pleasant springs come from them ; no water 
is so clear as that whicli comes percolated through rocks ; " Brethren, all our springs 
are in Christ, and flow from him ; the Spirit proceeds from the throne of God and the 
Lamb," Eev. xxii. ]. He was also the antitype of the rock smitten in the wilderness, 
from whence waters flowed to refresh the Israelites, till they came to Canaan ; all our 
divine consolations and comforts flow from a smitten and crucified Saviour, till we come 
to heaven ; we live upon this rock, as well as build upon him. 

8. And as a rock affords sweet refreshing shadow for weary travellers ; Jesus 
Christ is that rock whose shadow is good ; he is as the shadow of a great rock in a 
chist-ir k '^''"'^'"3'' land; it is he that keeps off all the hot scorching Learns of God's 

of offence to Wrath. 

*°™'^' 6. "Hocks are dangerous to stumble at, or to fall from ; Jesus Christ is 

called a rock of oft'ence, many stumble at his person, some at his doctrine and ordin- 
ances ; some fall on him, and others fall from him, whose state of all is the worst ; after 
they have made a high profession, and have attaineil great speculative knowledge, they 
fall, and all they built uiion him ; and down they go to the lowest hell. 

brethren, how should we prize our rock, out of whom flows precious water, houey, 
and oil. He is a rich, a living rock, a high rock, a strong rock, an invincible rock, a 
feeding and fattening rock ; he is (as it were) as a rock of pearls and diamonds ; yea, and 
an eternal rock : he converts all that build rightly upon him unto precious stones, and 
communicates life to them ; so do no rocks ; he far excels all rocks ; " Their rock is not 
like our rock." 

This wise builder is said to " dig deep, and lay his foundation on a rock," Luke»vi. 
48. As St. Luke notes, he never gives over searching and digging into the word of God, 
and his design and purpose, until he finds good ground, or a good bottom and 
foundation to build upon. Which I propose further to open in the prosecution of one 
point of doctrine from hence. 


Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto 
a wise man. — ilatt. vii. i!4, 25. 

This similitude I have already explained, and now shall note one or two points of 
doctrine therefrom, viz. 

Doct. 1. That every godly man is a wise man, a wbe builder. 

I purpose, in speaking to this proposition, to do these three things. 

First, Show and prove that every godly man is a wise msn, or why so called. 

Secondly, Show you wherein his wisdom doth consist, according to the purport of this 

Thirdly, Apply it. 

First, He is a wise man, because he prefers the good of his soul before all things in 
this world, 
"^refers ren° ^- "^^ prefers the good of his soul, before the temporal good of his body, 
pion above and this certainly demonstrates him to be a wise man, considering how precious 
temporal ^ thing the soul is, as shall God willing be opened. 

A wLse man 2. He prefers religion itself above a bare name of being religious. Alas ! 
prefers reii- Jiqw many are there who content themselves with the notion of divine truth, 
name. or with an empty vessel. " The fooUsh virgins took lamps, but took no oil ; 

but the wise took oil in their vessels," Matt. xxv. 3. 4 ; and for thus doing, they are wise 

o. Because they prefer the approbation of God, above the approbation of men. They 
value not that honour that comes from men, tliey regard not the applause of men, so that 
tliey can but have the praise of God, and be accepted by him. 

4. Because a godly man considers his future well being. "And the Lord commended 

SKRM. XIII.] TiiF. siMiT.iTrnE OF nEAniNT, Christ's sayixgs. 77 

the unjiist steward, because he hail dnne ■n-isely," &c. Luke xvi. 8. "furY'staie 
Brelbreii, our blessed Saviour doth nol commend the unjust steward cUi>.uy. 
for his honesty ; He calls him an unjust steward ; honesty he had not ; hut he 
commends him for his policy, in providing for himself for the time to come, or a 
future state. We cannot wrong our blessed Master, whilst we improve his goods, his 
grace, and all spiritual or external gifts given to us, to our utmost advantage and protit ; 
we are allowed to contrive our own good ; he that is wise, is wise for himself, servants 
among men who study their own interest, and convert tiieir master's money to their own 
use, do abominably, and God will jdague them for their injustice ; but believers may, nay, 
ought to put all that grace they have into exercise to tlieir own profit here, a believer is 
and to their own eternal advantage, or future happiness; and all that thus Jo, are ^i"'!,'!'!,,"'^ for 
accounted Ikithful servants. Nay, and in this thing lies the difference there is be- iiilnseif. 
tween a sincere Christian and an liypocrite, the one trades for himself that he may be hap- 
py here in this world ; tlie other only eyes the glory of (jod, and liis own future profit, his 
future honour and happiness ; a foolish man he is that chiefly minds his present good ; the 
ober a wise man, he seeks his own future well being. Brethren, do not mistake me, 
while we seek our own eternal profit, and well being, we bring glory to God, nay, God 
hath no honour from any but from such who so wisely lay out their Lord's goods, or those 
talents he hath intrusted them with, as to provide for their future estate, for by this means 
we do what God commands, and answer his end in bestowing spiritual gifts and grace upon 
us, " They are given for every man to profit withal," 1 Cor. xii. 7 ; and by bringing 
forth fruit tlms to ourselves for ever, God is glorified. In this lay the wisdom of the un- 
just steward, viz., in providing for himself for the future time, and for this our Lord 
commended him. Now, beloved, if he is counted wise, that provides for an after time liiat 
is uncertain, and at most not a moment when compared to eternity, how wise are they 
wlio take care to live everlastingly in glory, possesseil of all true joys and deUghts ! 

1. A godly man ponders well all future dangers. 

2. All future safety and securitj-, how he may avoid and escape the one, and enjoy the 
other. If he builds not with wisduin, he foresees the danger that will follow, for his sou! 
will fail into hell. 

Brethren, if tliere was no greater evil than earthly or temporal evil, nor any gi'eater 
good tiiaii earthly or temporal gooil ; then the men of this world would appear to all, to 
be the wisest men, and the godly would be the greatest fools of all men. But alas, alas ! 
what is the greatest sorrow or torment here to the torments of hell ? Or the greatest joy, 
and worldly riches and glory, to the glory of heaven ? 

3dly. A godly mm may be looked upon to be wise, because he so consults He is a wise 
matters, that he may not suffer the loss of all his labour and cost ; such who sees he suf- 
hear Christ's sayings and do them not, that do not believe in him, nor obey fTowTy'""* 
his precepts ; though they may make a visible profession, and do many things, building, 
and give to the poor, and suffer much external loss, yet all their labour, pains, and costs, 
and future hopes, will be utterly lost ; but a true Christian is so wise as to chise savingly 
with Christ, and obey his precepts, by which he knows his labour will not be in vain in 
the Lord. 

4. A godly man is a wise man, because he complies with, and approves of that a wise man 
great and glorious design, and purpose of God in Jesus Christ ; it being the on thrsamf 
contrivance of his infinile wisdom, this way only lo restore and save lost man : design God 
Now seeing a true Christian accepteth of Christ alone, and builds upon him as thrworid. '" 
the only foundation, it shows he is a wise man. 

5. Because he seeks the honour of his blessed Lord and Master, and there- , ^j, 

by keeps in his love and favour ; it is not his own good only, but Christ's glory chiefly sceiis 
which he seeks, and this is a great point of wisdom. '' Why call ye me Lord, of ch'lstl"" 
Lord, and do not what I say ? It is not every one that saith to me. Lord, 
Lord," Luke. vi. 46. Is be a wise nian that bath a good prince to be his master, and yet 
never regards his master's interest nor honour, nor values his love and special favour, but 
ratlier doth expose his pruice to great reproach and shame ; now a godly man by doing 
what Christ says, honours him, and so abides in his love. '"If ye keep my commandments, 
ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father's commamlnients, and abide in 
his love," John xv. I'J. A father commands his child to do this or that which he knows 
will be for his own good ; now, if he doth it not, as the child suffers, so his Father liath 
shame and contempt cast upon him thereby also. " A wise son makes a glad father, but a 
foolish son causeth shame." 


" A son lioiioiirctli his father, ami a servnut his master," j\Ial. i. C ; tliat is, every wise 
ami obedient son and servant. 

Gllilj". Because nothing but God, and an interest in him, and the eternal enjoyment of 
this God, will satisfy his soul ; if God bo the chief good, tlien to place all our 
A wise man ]|npe and happiness in him, ami to enjoy him, must needs be a part of high- 
riiicfi'st est wisdom. " He that keepeth his commandments, dwellcth in God, and 

good. QqJ j^ i^ijji^" 1 John. iii. 24, This man hath God to be his God ; what man 

is wise, save this man only ? Others have the shell, but this man hath the kernel ; 
others have the cabinet, and that contents them, but this man hath also the jewel. 
He is a wise 7thly. Eecauso these men are the declared friends of Jesus Christ, and only 
raTchri't favourites of heaven ; " Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command 
sir his you," John. xv. 14. What can be a greater part of wisdom than to obtain the 

iricud. favour and friendship of Jesus Christ ? I do not say, by doing of Christ say- 

ings, we purchase or procure Christ's love and fi'iendship : no, no, his favour cannot be 
bought, but he doth freely vouchsafe this blessing to his chosen, who obey his word : it is 
hereby we are assured of his love : " He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, 
he it is that loveth me, and ho that loveth me, shall be beloved of my Father." A mau 
may have Christ's commandments iu his Bible, and in his head, and in mouth, and in the 
notion of them : he may know what his commands be, but he may not have them in his 
heart, he may not keep them, or be subject to them : but a godly man loves them, ap- 
proves them, and sincerely keeps them, and reaps the benefit and blessings of them, ami 
therefore is a wise man. 

He is a wise 8. He is a wise man, because he is resolved to keep a good conscience : bre- 
k''""s a'cood tl"'fii, conscience is a tender thing, and to oft'end it is a piece of greatest folly; 
conscience, it is for a man- to arm himself to murder his o\vn soul, or kill himself; better 
to have all men in the world against us, and to reproach us, than to have our own 
consciences to accuse and reproach us. Moreover, nothing more fully evinceth, or is 
a clearer evidence of a man's integi-ity, than v.'lien he keepeth a conscience void of 
offence towards God, and towai-ds men: hence holy Job saith, "My integrity I hold 
fast, and I will not let it go : my heart shall not reproach me as long as I live." 
That man certainly is an hj-pocrite, that doth not impartially all the commands of 
Christ, according to his light, or doth not whatsoever he says : universal obedience is a 
mighty proof of sincerity. " Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect to all thy 
commandments," I'sal. cxix. G. An hypocrite will do some things, but he faulters and 
declines to do every thing, which he is convinced to be his duty : " Now I know that 
thou fearest me," (ien. xxii. 10. Why so? because he did not refuse to obey God in the hard- 
est and most difficult thing, even in oft'ering up his son Isaac, whom he so dearly loved. 
True wisdom Dlhly. A godly man who keeps Christ's sayings, is a wise man, because he 
frommJoui- <^eparts from iniquity: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom : and 
ty. ' to depart from evil, that is understanding," Job xxviii. 28. Now to keep Christ's 
sayings, is to depart from evil : " For obedience is better than sacrifice, and to hearken 
than the fat of lambs : But rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness as ini- 
quity and idolatry," 1 Sam. xv. 22, 2;i 

Certainly, if it be the greatest folly to disobey God's precepts, it ranst be gi-eat wisdom, 
sincerely, and from right principles to keep them. " Jly son, forget not my law, but let 
thine heart keep my commandments: for length of days, and long life, and peace shall tliey 
add to thee," Prov. iii. 1, 2, 3. This is the way of peace here, and of eternal peace 
and honour hereafter : " Keep therefore, and do them, for this is your wisdom and your 
understanding," I'eut. iv. 6. 

And as they who keep Christ's word, are wise, so such that keep them not, are fools. 
" They have rejected the word of the Lord, and what wisdom is in them ?" Jer. viii. 9. 
They only He is a wise man, because he is wise unto salvation ; all others 

"re ^vi3e"'t'' ^'""^ '^'^'y ^'^^ '^° S^*" ^^'^ world, in heaping up earthly riches ; such things that 
salvation, are uncertain, and which cannot profit in the day of wrath; they do but load 
themselves with thick clay, and weary themselves for very vanity : but a godly man 
is not satisfied with earthly riches, earthly honours ! nd pleasures, hut he is for the 
riches and glory of heaven : it is a crown of glory that is in his eye, nothing but God 
himself will satisfy him. This man, brethren, is under a clear promise of eternal hfe : 
I mean, he that obeys Christ and keepeth his sayings. 

" And being made perfect, he became the Autlior of eternal salvation unto all that 
obey him," Heb. v. 9. These persons have a declared right to future glory which Christ 


l)atli purcliasotl, anil tl .it God hath promised. " rU^sfPil arc ihey tliat dn his coui- 
maiidmonts, tiiat thoy may have right to tlio troc ot life, and may cuter in tliniu'^h 
tiio tjates into Iho city," liev. xxii. 14. Even into that city is so glorious, tiic fuiuuUi- 
tions of whicli are laid with precious stones, and the city pure gold. 

A r P L I C A T I X. 

I. If thcso things bo so, \vc infer, tliat all wicked men, thongli never so wise with 
the wisdom of this world, are the worst of fools. Ungodly men think the saints are 
guilty of fully in contemning all earthly riches, honours, and pleasures, for Christ's sake. 
Ihit the saints of God know all carnal and graceless jierson; are fools, Christ called 
the covetous rich man a fool. " Thou fool, this night thy snul shall he required of then, 
then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided ?'' But raoru as touching 
their fully, when I came to speak to the next verse. 

II. Be exhorted, to enquire what the commands or sayings of Jesus Christ are? 
Now understand they are of two sorts. 

1. Precepts that are purely moral, which contain our duty to God, and our duty to 

2. Such precepts that are merely positive, and thope also are of two sorts. 

First, Such that are essential to salvation, as faith in Christ ; this is one of Christ's com- 

2. Repentance, self-denial, taking up our cross, nnd following him, aud leading of a holy 
and godly life, prayer, &c. 

3. Duties of charity, and acts of bounty, and all other divine graces, though they are 
Christ's gift, yet he hath enjoined us to labour after them, and to strive to increase and 
abound in them. 

Secondly, There are also precepts that appertain to the worship of God, and the dis- 
ci|)line of the church, as preaching and hearing the word of God, and the holy ordiiiances 
of the Gos[)el, as baptism and the Lord's Supper, and church-fellowship ; and there are also 
some sayings of Christ that appertain to the disciplining of the church, which are men- 
tioned in ]\Iatt. xxviii. All whicli sayings and holy precepts, all true Christians should 
with great care and faithfulness, observe and keep. 

c A u T I \. 

Lot sinners know it behoveth them to see they rest not satisfied in their obedience 
thinking by that way to obtain the love and favour of God ; for no obedience Caution 3. 
can make your state good : I mean, you should mt think that any obedience, either 
to moral or positive precepts, while you abide unbelievers, will, or can profit you anything. 

Your first business is to labour after true faith, to believe in Jesus Christ, and obtain 
union with him ; your persons must be lirst accepted, before any duty of obedience can be 
accepted. All works of obedience before faith aud regeneration, jdeaso not God, nor 
profit the creature; you must first come to Christ, (as his sayings direct you,) and then 
" take his yoke upon you, aud learn of him," Matt. xi. 26, 2O. The tree must be first 
made good, before the fruit cau be good. " Au evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit," 
Luke vi. 43. 

God had first a respect to Abel, aud then to his offering : obedience follows true faith, as 
the fruit of it. 


This may also serve to reprove all those Christians, that content themselves in doing some 
of Christ's sayings, and never enquire after all things, whatsoever he hath commanded them. 

2. Also it may reprehend such, who, when convinced of a duty or ordinance, yet delay 
to obey Jesus Christ in it. " I made haste and delayed not to keep thy precepts ;" " Arise 
(saith Ananias to Paul) and be baptized, why tarriest thou?" It may call into question 
the truth of your grace and sincerity, when you are convinced of an ordinance, and 
you delay or refuse to yield obedience unto Christ in it ; you may fear that your house will 
not stand the winds of Satan's temptation, nor the floods of persecution, if you do not all 
the sayings of Jesus Christ. 

This also may yield much comfort to sincere Christians, and be an evidence of their up- 
rightness, when they are universal in their obedience to Christ. He that says he loveth 
God, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar. " By this we kuow, that ■yve love the 

so thf; snni.iTuriF. of hkakino purist's SAYiyns. [BorvK i. 

cliiklren of God, wlien we love rmil an.l keep his coinni:ui:l:iir'iits : this is love, tliat we keep 
his commandments, and his conniiiiiidisients are not grievous." 1 John v. 2, 3. David, by 
this means, came to have an evidence of his sincerity. " Then sliall I not be asjiaraed, 
■when I have respect to all thy commandments." 

2. This ten<ls to show that your love is true love, and your faith is true faith. Satan 
may get strong advantages against such persons who are partial in their obedience to Jesus 
Christ ; such do, as it were, put a sword into their enemy's hand. 

3. Hereby also you come umler the clear promise of eternal life, and have grounds to 
hope you shall stand, "when the winds blow, and the floods come and beat against your 
house." But sc much at this time. 


Tlierefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth *them, I tvill liken him 
to a wise man that built his house upon a rock, &c. — Matt. vii. 2i, 25. 

Sermon 3. Doct. 1. Every godly man is a wise man, and a wise builder, 
preached i'n I. I have showu j'ou why he is called a wise man. 
Jui7. 1693. J gj^^jj proceed to the ne.xt thing. 

II. Show you wherein his wisdom doth consist. 

I have done with the first, and shall speak to the second head, viz., show wherein his 
wisdom doth consist. 

1. A godly man's wisdom doth consist in his thonghtfulness of his soul. 
coiis1™th°i'u Should a man have treasure of great value committed to his trust, and 
the care of he take no care of it, or not regard what becomes of it ; would not all say such 
a one is a fool or a mad-man, especially if lost, the loss would be his own, it 
would wholly fall upon himself. 

Now the soul of man is of great worth, yea, of an inconceivable value ; and every man 
hath this precious soul committed to his charge. And that the soul is of great worth or 
value, see what our blessed Saviour saith, " What is a man profited if he gain the whole 
world, and lose his own soul," Matt. x\-i. 20. It appears that it is such treasure, such a 
jewel, that it is more worth than all the world. Should a man, to get the world, lose his 
life, what would his profit he? Much more, should he lose his body and soul too, or lose 
his natural life here, his everlasting hfe hereafter. Such certainly would be looked upon 
by all to be fools, but wicked men are far greater fools, because they lose their souls for 
less than the ten thousandth part of the world ; perhaps for the gain of one shilling, nay, 
may be of a groat ; for what do they less who are unjust in their dealings ; and for a 
very small matter of gain, will cheat and wrong their neighbour. Nay, for tlie sake of 
some base and filthy lusts that perhaps tend to ruin the body as well as the soul, do ex- 
pose both to eternal flames. 

l!ut further, to demonstrate the great worth and preciousuess of the soul, consider 
these things following. 

Theprecious. ^- "^^'^ ^°"^ ^''''•' originally made in the image of God ; it was made capable 
ness of the to bear an impression of the divine and holy image of the blessed God ; in 
^°" ■ which consisteth the nature and substance of it, for the soul bears some like- 

ness or resemblance of God, being spiritual, invisible, imniortal, &c. 

II. In its powers and faculties, being endowed with reason of understanding, and free- 
dom of choice, as it came out of God's hands. 

III. In respect of these singular endowments, wherewith God hath adorned it, as 
knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, 1 Cor. i. 30, Eph. iv. 24, in which chiefly, the 
apostle shows the imagi- of God consisteth ; and though that imiiression of God's image was 
lost, marred, and spoiled by sin, or defaced by the fall, yet it is capable by the work and 
operations of the Spirit, to receive a second and new impression of the same image a^ain. 

2. The soul is capable of divine contemplation on God, and on the works of God. "My 
spirit made diligent search," Psal. Ixxvii. 6, saith David. Again he saith, " I am fearfully 
and wonderfully made, and that my soul knoweth right well," Psal. cxxxis. 14, The soul 
can find out the glory and greatness, infinite power, and wisdom, of the blessed Creator ; 


by searching into, and contemplating on the rareness, greatness, and wonder fuhiess of his 
works, and operations of his hands ; which no other creature on earth is able, or capable to 
do : and this is only from the excellency of the nature and faculties of the soul. 

3. The soul is capable of divine union with God. " He that is joined to the Lord is one 
spirit," 1 Cor. vi. 17. The soul is not essentially, but mystically one with Christ ; our 
spirit is united to Christ, and by virtue of this union of the soul, the body is brouglit into 
the same union also, for the body and soul, jointly considered, is the member of Clirist. 
And from hence Paul takes his argument, to deter the saints from the sin of uucleanness; 
but were it not from the e.xcellent nature of the soul, man could not have partaken of this 
high and glorious privilege. 

4. The soul is capable of divine inspiration. In this the glory of man excels all other 
creatures on earth. " There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth 
him understanding," Job xxxii. 8. No doubt the text refers to the reasonable soul, or 
those vessels in which natural reason hath its seat and exercise, as a worthy 

divine notes, " Surely there is a spirit in man," an excellent soul in man that is cap^32°3!°''' 
eajmble, when God pleaseth to breathe upon it, to receive spiritual life and hght, 
and high discoveries or inspirations of the Almighty. Jlan's soul is like a glorious house 
that requires suitable furniture. The soul of man I may compare to the moon, it is a light 
capable to shine gloriously, when the Sun of Righteousness shines upon it. 

There is a light of acceptation. Such a light is the spirit of man ; and there is a light 
of information : such a light is Chi'ist, or the Spirit of Christ. 

5. The price that bought or redeemed the soul, shows the great worth and ^ „^^i 
value of it. God the Father gave his own begotten Son to ransom our souls price paid 
from sin, wrath, and hell. Jesus Christ gave himself, poured forth his own pre- the'sour.'" 
cious blood to redeem the soul. " We were not redeemed with corruptible 

things, as silver and gold from a vain conversation ; but with the precious blood of Christ, 
as of a Lamb without sjwt," 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. 

6. Moreover, the food the soul liveth upon, which is the flesh and blood of Jesus 
Christ, shows the natui'e and worth of it ; as also the clothes that God puts upon Te so ui 

it, or that one glorious robe, namely the perfect righteousness of Christ, which spj^-ituUi 
is of infinite worth, together with those rich ornaments with which God adorns *'"»''• 
it, sets out the excellencies of it, which are the graces of the Holy Spirit, they is precious, 
being all in the sight of God, of great price. 

7. The communion it is capable of enjoj-ing with God, even with the Father and his 
Son Jesus Christ, demonstrates its transcendant excellency ; " Truly our fellowship is with 
the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ," 1 John i. 3 ; and that unwearied endeavou r 
of Satan to destroy it, and that continual care of God to preserve, keep, and defend it, 
shows the value of it ; moreover, it appears, in that all wise men ever preferred the worth 
of their souls above all thmgs on earth ; these things to show the soul, it is a very 
precious jewel. 

tithly and lastly, its immortality mightly evinceth this great truth ; the soul The soul 
is precious, it cannot die, nor be annihilated. i^uumoita . 

Secondly, The wisdom of a behever, or of a godly man, consisteth in his care to pro- 
vide a house, or in building a house for his precious soul. 

Some will provide a house for this son, and that daughter, and every one takes ^ ,vise imm 
care to get a house to put their heads in ; but oh ! how few are there who have bjiiids a bouse 
so much wisdom as to provide a house to shelter, secure, and preserve their 
precious and immortal souls ! Now a good man doth not only provide a house for his soul, 
but also a firm house while, it is in the body, and also when it leaves this body. " For we 
know that if our earthly house of tliis tabernacle were dissolved ; we have a house not made 
with hands, eternal in the heavens," 2 Cor. v. 1. The soul is the iuhabiter, and the body 
is here called a habitation or a tabernacle, which will soon be dissolved. But such is the 
care and wisdom of every true Christian, that he sees to provide a better house for his soul 
at death ; that his soul may not then be naked, or with(jut a dwelling-place. "In my Fa- 
ther's house are many mansions," John xiv. 2, saith our Saviour. Many stately dwelling- 
places, of which " the spirits of just men made perfect," are now possessed. Wicked men 
are such fools, that they build houses for the body only, none for their souls, and they are 
such houses that are of short duration, in which they know not they shall dwell one day ; 
but a godly man is so wise as to build an house that will stand for ever. The souls of un- 
believers, at death, shall be turned out of their bodies naked, or have no safe dwelling-place 
to go unto ; and since they provide for their souls no house, God m his wrath hath pro- 


viiled a ilwelling for all such, a bouse indeed that they will not like. It will be an uneasy 
and troublesome habitation. " Who among us shall dwell with devouring fire ? A\'ho 
amoug us shall dwell with everlasting fire?" Isa. xxxiii. 14. 
A wise ni. A godly niau's wisdom consisteth in building his house upon a good 

bSilds on a ^"'^ ^^^"^ foundation. 

firm founda- A foolish peison either builds his house on the sand, on a false foundation, 
a v?ise"chrL ""^ ®'^^ without a foundation. " He that heareth these sayings of mine and 
tian, doeth them not, is like a man, that without a foundation, built au house upon 

the earth," Luke vi. 49. 

1. Brethren, some persons build their house or hope of heaven upon God's outward 
Some build favours or external blessings, which he is pleased to bestow upon them ; as 
Gmrs'iavour "'^l'^^' bonours, and earthly prosperity. They conclude from hence, they are 
on external in a good condition, and that God loves them ; and since he gives them such a 
essmgs. large portion of earthly blessings, he will not deny them the blessings of heaven. 
But, alas, they mistake ! Some men will be rich, they value earthly riches above a portion 
in God, or an interest in Jesus Christ. Therefore God, in wrath and judgment, may give 
them the desire of their hearts, and, like an oft'ended and displeased father, (who cuts off 
his disobedient children by his last will and testament with a shilling, or some small matter) 
so God, I say, may cut off these with a portion only in this life, therefore our Lord pro- 
nounces a woe to this sort of people. " Woe unto you that are rich, for ye have received 
your consolation," Luke vi. 24. Not because they were rich, but because they desired no 
better riches ; they prized earthly riches as their portion, and chiefest good. Was not the 
rich glutton blessed with abundance of the good things of this world ? Yet when he died, 
he went to hell for all that, Luke xvi. 19. Is it an argument that the great Turk is in 
the special favour of God, and many other proud tyrants, because they have so great a por- 
tion of earthly riches and honours bestowed upon them ? 

Some build ^^^Y- I told you the last day, that some build their hopes of heaven on ex- 
on birth- ternal birth-privileges, because they are the children of godly parents, thus the 
privilege, jg^.g jj^jjj^ ., -yyg jj^^g Abraham to our Father," Matt, xxxix. 10. When 
our Saviour endeavoured, by his doctrine, to bring them to believe in him : they answered 
" We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man, how sayest thou ye 
shall be made free ?" John viii. 33. What doth this privilege signify ? " The children of 
the flesh, these are not the children of God," Eom. ix. 8. All are born children of wrath by 
nature. We read of one of Abraham's seed, according to the flesh, crying out in hell, as 
he said, " Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip 
of his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame," Luke xvi. 2. 
Some build 3. Some people build their hopes of heaven on morality, or principles of 

justlceor™ common justice and civil honesty ; doing to all men as they would be done 
morality. unto, which Christianity teacheth all to do ; but if this could save the soul 
from wrath and hell, Christ is dead in vain, and faith utterly made void. But the truth 
is, we have such teachers in these days, that strive to subvert the gospel, and establish 
the old pagan religion, contemning the mysteries of the cross of Christ, and justification 
by his imputed righteousness. 

Some build 4 Others build on their learning, and on learned men, hke them, who, 
men. of old, said, " Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed on him ? but 

this people who know not the law are cursed," John vii. 4S, 49. Is it a good argu- 
ment that popery is true Christianity, because Bellarmin was, and many papists and 
Jesuits are, learned men ; evident it is, the " World by wisdom knew not God," 1 Cor. 
i. 21, that is, by their own wisdom, by all their human arts and sciences ; nor " are 
many wise men after the flesh called," 1 Cor. i. 2G. 

.Some build 5. Some build on their church, they believe as the church believes ; thus 
church!" the papists, and too many common Protestants at this day ; as if the church 
was the only rule, and not God's word ; and as if we were to try the word of God 
by the doctrme of the church, and not the doctruie of the church by the worJ of 

Some build 6. Others buUd their house or hope of heaven on their own inherent graces, 
graces"^""' holiness, and righteousness, with Christ's merits, that is to say, their inherent 
righteousness is part of the matter of then- justification before God ; Christ having, by his 
merits, purchased such a mild law of grace (and by his obedience, removed the rigid and 
severe law of perfect righteousness) that our faith and sincere obedience is the material 
(!ause of our justification ; which dangerous error I have lately detected when I was upon 
Eom. iv 5. 


7. Some builJ tlioir hope on their duties : they hear sermons, read GoiVs snnie build 
■word, pray often, both in their closets and famihes, and are very charitable to on'^thel?"''* 
the poor ; this is good, but it is a bad foundation to build our house or hope of duties. 
heaven upon. Brethren, our duties ouglit to be performed from right principles, and to a 
right end : ! say some, if that man that is so just, so holy, so charitable, do not go to 
heaven. Lord, have mercy upon us : though they know not what his faith is, liis principles 
are, or what his aims or ends be. Some of the Jews and Pharisees were very devout per- 
sons, as Paul before converted, yet they stumbled at that stumbling-stone, " they being 
ignorant of God's righteousness;" Rom. X. 3, by that means perished for ever. I have 
mentioned all these, to show they are but foolish buihlers. 

But a true believer, he lays a better foundation ; he builds on a rock, his wisdom appears 
in that : " he builds on that foundation with God hath laid in Sion," Isa. xxvii. 16. " And 
other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ," 1 Cor. iii. 
11. He builds only upon Christ, wholly upon Christ, or on Christ, and nothing else ; he 
doth not mix his own works with Christ's merits, nor his own inherent hohuess, and sincere 
obedience, with the complete and perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, and in this his wis- 
dom Cometh. 

IV. The wisdom of a true Christian consisteth in digging deep : (I hinted at this in 
the explanation] but I shall now speak more fully to it, you know the allusion ; if it be 
a great and famous building, some magnificent fabric whicli a man designs to build, he 
will dig deep to lay a firm and sure foundation, he digs until he comes to a rock, or sound 
bottom : now it is a great and glorious fabric that a Christian is to build, a building that 
is to stand for ever, and endure all storms and assaults of Satan, and all other enemies of 
the soul. Besides, pardon of sin, justification, and eternal life, are great things ; and the 
soul being so excellent, so precious, the house that is to be built for it, ought to bear some 
proportion unto it ; also Jesus Christ the prince of kings of the earth, designs to dwell 
with the soul, so that it may be truly said to be a house for the great king ; therefore, 
on all these respects, it behoveth us so dig deep, aud to lay a safe and sure foun- 

Quest. What doth this digging deep, denote, or into what may the soul be said 
to dig? 

Ansvv. 1. I answer, the soul of a believer digs deep into the nature of w'hat dig- 
God, to find out what righteousness will comport and suit with the righteous- dotii denote, 
ness and infinite holiness of God. 

1. He digs and searches into the divine nature and perfections of God, or consults his 
attributes, to see whether God forgives sin, as a pure or mere act of his sovereign mercy, 
without a satisfaction to his ofi'ended justice, or not. 

2. Whether it is consistent with the gloiy of his infinite wisdom, in the salvation of sin- 
ners, to raise the honour of one of his glorious attributes, to darken or eclipse the glory of 
others ; and they find out by searching or digging, that God cannot, will not impeach the 
attribute of his justice, to magnify the attribute of his mercy. Justice is a property of his 
nature, or of the divine essence, as well as mercy. 

3. He finds out by digging, or by diligent search, that no righteousness can comport with 
God's infinite holiness, to the justification of a sinner, but that which is perfect, or a sinless 
righteousness ; and this leads him to budd on the righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. That 
is to say, he finds out that a man must either be in himself, naturally and inherently, and 
absolutely perfect, without sin, or else have the perfect and sinless righteousness of Christ 
imputed to him, if ever he be justified at God's bar. 

4. He finds that a sinner is made righteous, accounted righteous, declared and ])ro- 
nounced righteous in the righteousness of another, (that is, in the righteousness of Christ) 
and tiiat this only comports with the wisdom, holiness, and justice of God. 

2ndly. He digs deep into the nature and tenour of the holy law of God ; and he finds 
that in point of justification, the law doth require a perfect righteousness, it being a written 
impression of God's holy nature ; and denounceth wrath, death, and the curse u])on'aU 
and every particular soul " that contmueth not in all things that are therein written, to 
do them," Gal. iii. 10. 

Hence he finds that the law must be perfectly kept, and a full satisfaction must be 
made for the breach of it by man, or by his surety ; and this leads liim to Christ, and 
wholly to build upon him. Since no man can either answer the precepts thereof, in point 
of perfect righteousness, nor make an atonement for the breach thereof ; thus " by tlie 
deeds or works of the law, no flesh can be justified in the sight of God." 

G 2 


He dig! into 3Jly. He (ligs deep into the mysteries of God's eternal purpose, design, and 
and purpose Council of saving lost man by Jesus Christ ; that man might be utterly abased, 
of God. and God, in a way of free and sovereign gi-ace, might be exalted : "Who hath 

saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works ; but according to 
his own purpose and gi-ace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." 
" By grace ye are saved, through faith," &c,, 2 Tim. i. 9, Eph. ii. 8. And lest man, in any 
respect, should boast or ascribe any part of salvation to his own power, or to the will of 
the creature, the apostle adds (though we cannot have actual interest in Christ, and sal- 
vation by Christ without faith) that " Faith is not of ourselves," nor the fruit or product 
of our natural power, but " it is the gift of God." And thus (as it was foretold by the pro- 
phet) man is abased ; " And the loftiness of man bowed down, and the haughtiness of 
man made low, and the Lord alone exalted," Isa. ii. 17. 

^t '''fhe'd'^'' 4thly. The wisdom of a godly man doth consist in his digging into the pravity 
praTity of of human nature, and abominable evil of original sin, and treacherousness of 
nature. ^^^^"^ '^'^'"'^ '^'^^^ hearts ; there being naturally in us a propensity to all evil, 

though not an equal propensity in all to every sin, jet it is so in all more or less ; the seed 
of every sin being in every man and woman that comes into the world : " As all men are 
said to be in the first man vu-tually, in prima cunctifuimiis patrce ; so may all sins, in 
respect to this propensity in all, be said to be in the first sin, the sin of our birth and 
nature," (Clarkson's, p. 3.) 

Hereby man also became miserable, by being obnoxious to the wrath of God, and utterly 
unable to deliver himself from sin, and that just and deserved vengeance due to it; being 
" by nature dead in sins and trespasses." Brethren, this sin he sees is worse, and more 
sinful than the most grievous actual sin, that ever hath, or can be committed. 

1. For no man was an actual sinner before he was born, but by original 
origina'i "in. sin all weve sinners in their mothers' womb. 

2. Actual sin is the fruit, but this is the root of all sin. 

3. Actual sin only breaks the law in being, the very time it is in acting ; but this is a 
continual violation of the law, without any interruption, or least intermission, from that 
instant of the soul's conjunction with the body to the hour of our dissolution. 

4. It is the cause of all actual sin, it is the egg that produceth the cursed cockatrice. 

5. It is a contagion that hath spread over the whole man, and hath corrupted the soul 
in all its faculties, and the body in all its members, making both soul and body a lump of 
filth, and cursed pollution. 

6. It is so habitual and so rooted in all, that nothing but the infinite power of God can 
conquer it ; nothing but Almighty Power can subdue its prevailing strength ; common im- 
provements of natural light and abilities, may much overcome, or restrain all gross acts 
of sin ; but nothing but saving grace infused, can overcome these vicious habits. 

7. It hath defaced in us the image of God, rendering us averse to all that is spiritually 
good ; in this evil nature the devil reigns and keeps his court, and all is subject to his wUI 
and lusts. 

8. It renders all men naturally brutish, nay, far worse ; their reason being lost or cor- 
rupted, they are like bears, swine, lions, dogs, from whence it is that the Scripture com- 
pares wicked men to such animals ; nay it was by this sin that the whole creation came 
to be corrupted, and the creatures brought into bondage and misery ; yea, the very ground 
was, for this sin, cursed for man's sake. 

9. He digs deep into the fulness, (as well as into the freencss) of God's grace in Christ : 
what blessed digging is here ! I may allude to that passage in Job ; " Surely there is 
a vein for silver, and a place for gold, where they find it; there is a path which no fowl 
knoweth, and the vulture's eye hath not seen," Job xxviii. 1. But this wise man dis- 
cerneth this precious vein of heavenly treasure, whilst be digs into the depths of divine 
love, and that fidness that is in Christ ; he finds, (as there is no light but in this sun, nor 
any water but in this fountain) so there is an infinite fulness of all grace, and whatsoever 
any sinner or believer needs in Jesus Christ. 

W. The wisdom of a godly man consisteth in building his house of proper and fit ma- 
terials ; others build with corrupt and deceitful matter ; whether carnal worldlings, or 
hypocritical professors. In which their folly doth consist (as shall, God willing, be showed 
in its place) but this man builds with gold, silver, and precious stones, for so may the doc- 
trine, ordinances, and truths of the gospel, be called ; bemg all pillars of God's hewing. 

VII. His wisdom consisteth in building by rule, i. e., according to the exact rule 
of God's word, and according to the pattern left for all good and gracious men ; he 


builds by faith, and according to the rule of the new creature ; lie doth 

not build upon faith, but by faith only, upon the object of faith, Jesus ^™\,|"''*™ 

Christ ; as Abraham and all the faithful ever did. building by 

VIII. His wisdom doth consist La building in the proper time. He doth God"word. 
not defer building his soul on Christ to another day, which he foresees is un- 
certain ; but he takes the present time, whilst it is called to-day, not knowing what to- 
morrow may bring forth. 

IX. His wisdom consisteth in setting down to account the cost. Which our Lord in- 
timateth, is necessary in aU that will build : " For which of you intending to build a 
tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish. 
Lest haply after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it ; all that behold 
it mock him, saying, this man began to build, and was not able to finish," Luke xiv. 28 29. 

He therefore counts all the charge and cost he must be at from first to the in a fit and 

last. proper time. 

1. What the digging up the old foundation will cost him. 

2. What old habits must be changed, and what right-eye sins must be pulled out, and 
what right-hand sins must be cut off. 

3. What old companions must be forsaken, and what enticements must be withstood 
and resisted. 

4. ^^^lat reproaches for Christ's sake must be borne, and what external losses and per- 
secutions must be endured. 

5. He counts his own weakness and inability to do any of these things, and so consults 
the power, faithfulness, and promises of Christ, on which he solely and wholly depends, 
and thereby knows and is sure he cannot fail; he doth not begin nor go on in his own 
strength, but sees his riches and strength is in Jesus Christ, and therefore streugtheneth 
himself in that grace that is in him, which is sufiicient for him, as Paul was told after he 
had begun to build, when assaulted by the messenger of Satan. 

6. He accounts what temptations must be withstood, from Satan, from his carnal rela- 
tions, and from the corruptions of his own heart. 

7. And what reproaches and persecutions must be endured. 


From hence we may infer, that many men are greatly mistaken about tnie wisdom ; 
some think that chief wisdom consisteth in being wise, to gain the world, in heaping up 
gold and silver, or to attain to earthly honour and gi-andeur among men. 

But alas ! it lies not in these things, but in providing for another world, to get a true 
title of the crown of glory, to have an everlasting house for the soul when this life is ended. 

Others think it is wisdom enough to hear God's word, or the sayings of Christ, and to 
be esteemed godly men, or to have a name to live: but such do but deceive themselves ; 
for true wisdom, it appears, consisteth in getting true faith in Christ, such faith that works 
by love, which leads the soul to yield obedience, yea, universal obedience to all the com- 
mandments of Jesus Christ. 

Quest. A question might here be propounded, viz., AVliat is the nature of true obe- 
dience, or whose obedience is accepted ? 

Answ. I answer, divers things are to be considered, if a full resolution be given to this 

1. The person must be one that is accepted of God ; it is not our obedience that can 
make our persons accepted of God, but our persons must be first accepted in Christ, for 
out of him there is no acceptation ; God had first a respect to Abel, and then to his ofl'er- 
ing : no unbeliever, let him do what he will, is regarded by the Lord. 

2. In true obedience, the matter of it must be considered, and that is, the sayings of 
Christ, which are twofold. 

1. All moral precepts. 

2. All mere positive precepts ; the first are agreeing to the light of nature. The se- 
cond are contained in the New Testament, given forth by Christ as Mediator. 

3. True obedience consisteth in right principles, from whence it proceedeth ; all true 
obedience must and doth proceed from a principle of faith and love. 

4. We must also consider the pattern of, true obedience ; tliat our pattern is our Lord 
Jesus ; he hath left us an example, what, and how to obey. 


5. True obedience must be considered as to tbe manner of it ; it must be sincere, 
hearty, or from the heart. 

6. It must be universal, all Christ's sayings. 

7. It must be done by the Spirit, or in Christ's strength. 

8. True obedience consisteth in a right timing of it, it must be done presently, or as 
soon as the soul is convinced of its duty, not dehiyed. 

9. True obedience consisteth in a right end, i.e., that God may be glorified, or to glo- 
rify God ; not out of self-ends. 

10. True obedience is constant ; we must obey always without intermission or growing 

11. In true obedience, the rule must be considered, which is the word and will of God, 
not the traditions of men, but the commands of God in his word. Only, 

lithly, and lastly. It must be pure obedience, not mixed; everything Christ hath com- 
nuuuk'd or doth require, and nothing else. 


And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not. shall be likened 
to a foolish man thai built his house upon the sand, ver. 26. And the rain descended, 
and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell, and 
great was the fall of it. — Matt. vii. 2(3, 27. 

Our text doth afford us several other points of doctrine besides what I have mentioned, 
viz. : 

Doct. 1. That it is not enough to hear what Christ says, or to be hearers of the word 

Lioct. 2. That it is dangerous to build our hope of heaven on the sand, or without a 
sure foundation. 

Doct. 3. That as such who hear Christ's sayings and do them not, are foohsh builders, 
so the time will come to try their house or hope, and the fall of all such builders will 
be great and dreadful. 

It is the last of these I intend to speak to at this time, and so conclude with all I shall 

1. Show you what times they are, that will try the house or hope of these foolish 

2. Give you the causes or reasons why the house of these builders will fall, 

3. Show you wherein the greatness of then- fall doth and will appear, or why it is said 
the fall is great. 

1. Times of temptations that wiil try the hope of these professors, and all others. 
Temptations may be, 

1. From God. 

2. From Satan. 

3. From the world. 

4. At death. 

5. At judgment. 

1. From God. Thus God tempted Abraham ; that is, he tried him, God 
S(iiug!*"'° ^^^^^ ^'^ ^*'*'^' '^''^'^ l''s lo'^6> ^ried his sincerity ; the winds of temptations 
came, and his house stood, for he did what God said to him, though it was 
hard to offer up his only son Isaac, -whom he so dearly loved. Another whose heart was 
not right with God, could not have stood such a temptation, such a trial as this was, he 
would doubtless have argued after this manner, viz. : 

1 . Lord, wilt thou have me be guilty of murder ? nay, murder my own son ? 

2. Will not this bring shame and reproach upon me, and open the mouths of the 
wicked ? 

3. Besides, is he not the child of promise ? Shall thy promise be frustrated ? 

4. My wife Sarah will think me a bloody fiusbaud, and a most cruel Father, should I 
Ju it. 


5. Also he is Sarah's child as well as mine, and the son of her old age ; she hath 
equal right to him, and interest in him; if she will consent that 1 should slay him, and 
make her childless, I may the better do it. 

6. But. Lord, it may break her heart, should I do this thing. 

Sirs, that man whose heai-t is not sincere, when God calls for his beloved Isaac, it will 
discover it at such a time, and his house will shake. Thus God also tried Job ; certainly, 
had not he built his hope well, that storm that came upon him had blowed it down ; but 
he stood. God is said to visit man every moniing, and to try him every moment. 
Job vii. 18. 

God doth many ways try professors. G^d^tri^t^ 

1. He brings some men into a state of poverty to try them ; he takes builders, 
away all their substance, to see whether they can trust in him, and depend upon him at 
such a time, and live by faith on the care and providence of God. " Thy God led thee 
these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee and to prove thee, to know what was 
in thy heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments or no, ver. 2. And he hum- 
bled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, &c. And fed thee with manna, which thou knewest 
not, neither did thy fathers know ; that he might make thee know, that man doth not 
live by bread alone, but by every word tliat proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord, 
doth man live," ver. 3. Deut. viii. 2, 3. 

2. He, to try their graces, or sincerity, ofttimes sets objects of charity before them who 
are rich, to see whether they will feed or clothe them or not ; God doth not only bring 
some persons into a state of want and poverty to try them, but also to try others : " The 
poor ye have always with you :" there shaU be objects of cliarity to the end, that grace in 
iiis people may come under trial. " I was hungiy, and you fed me, thirsty, and you gave 
me drink," &c.. Matt. xxv. 3'). Eich men are but stewards of what they have, and must 
distribute and give forth of their treasure, or have in their possession, as their Lord di- 
recteth them ; and if they do not, it will be found they are unfaithful stewards ; many 
persons little tliink what the end and design of the Lord is, in gi'ving them the riches of 
this worhl ; they see not it as a trial of their love to him, for what they give to the poor 
saints, Christ takes it as given unto himself; " Inasmuch as j'ou have done it unto one of 
the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me," Matt. xxv. 40. 

3. God sometimes bringeth those who profess the Gospel into the wilderness, or into a 
bewildered state, to ti-y them, to see whether they can trust in the Lord, and stay them- 
selves upon their God, when they walk in darkness, and have no light, Isa. 1. 10. Some 
in such an hour fall, and utterly elespau: of God's mercy. Walking in darkness sometimes 
denotes outward calamities and afflictions, but principally it signifies the want of comfort 
or inward peace, being under terror of conscience : a false professor may have some 
seeming peace and comfort, though it commonly doth arise from what he possesseth of 
riches, outward peace or applause from men, and if these faO, his heart dies within 

Now God may stop up these springs of false comfort, to show him the rottenness and 
baseness of his heart, and unsafeness of his condition ; that it is not God tliat he liveth 
upon, it is not his love, his favour, that is the joy of his soul, but it is self which he aim- 
eth at in all he doeth. But now if a man be sincere, though God takes away all his out- 
ward comforts, and suffers him to fall under the frowns of men, to such a degree that 
they slight and disesteem him ; and also withholds the comforts of his Spirit, or hideth his 
face from him, yet he bears it, and says, " I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because 
I have sinned against him," Mich. vii. 9. He is not offended, but still holds fast his inte- 
grity, as Job did ; he endures this trial, and hath hope still in God : " I will wait on the 
Lord that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him," Isa. viii. 17. 

Quest. Wherefore doth God try his saints ? 

(1). Answ. God doeth this to show us, that the spring of all true comfort lies in him- 
self, and that we are dependmg creatures, and that he himself keeps the key of his own 
treasury, and hands forth unto us as he seeth good. 

(2). That we may have a trial and proof of our faith, and of all other graces ; " Ye 
are in heaviness through manifold temptations ; that the trial of your faith being much 
more precious than gold which perisheth, being tried in the fire, may be found to glory, 
praise, and honour," 1 Pet. i. 7. 

4. God, to try men, suffers them sometimes to fall into evil company, to see whether 
they will stand or fall in such an hour ; thus was Peter tried when he was in the high- 
priest's hull ; " A damsel came unto him, and said. Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee, 


Matt. xxvi. C9. See how he fultered at this time, who had made such a bold and brave 
confession of Christ before this. Trial he could not bear. " But he denied before the mall, 
saying, I know not the man : and when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw 
him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. 
And again he denied it with an oath, I do not know the man," Matt. xxvi. 70 — 72. 
When God leaves his dear children to their own strength, they fall immediately : some 
persons who have made a profession of the Gospel, and showed much zeal for God, when 
they have fallen into the company of wicked men, such who are scoflers, they have fal- 
tered and fallen abominably, so that this way they have been tried, and overcome ; though 
all sincere Christians, with Peter, have been recovered again ; God would not cast out all 
the Canaanites, but left them to try his people Israel. 

5. God brings sometimes a flood of tribulation and persecution" upon his people to try 
them ; and then ofttimes the foolish builder faUs : " Yet hath he not root in himself, but 
endureth for awhile ; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth, because of the word, by 
and by, he is offended," Matt. xiii. 21. This storm beateth down their house. " Who is 
wise, and he shall understand these things ? prudent, and he shall know them ? for the 
way of the Lord is right, and the just shall walk in them, but the transgressors shall fall 
therein, Hos. xiv. 9. 

Secondly, Satan is suffered also to try and tempt men. 
Satan will 1- God lets him raise up a storm of trouble upon his people, as in Job's case, 
t^"'th*°'^ that the devil and wicked men may see the uprightness and sincerity of their 
house we hearts ; nay, and that they may have the clearer evidence of it themselves, for 
hare built. ^^ know not our own hearts, nor the strength of our graces so fully, until we 
come to be tried. 

2. Satan is suffered to tempt us to sin, and violate God"s holy precepts, as he tempted 
our first parents ; he presents his golden baits of pleasure or profit, to allure our souls. 
Tush, saith he, you may do it and have repentance as Peter had ; many good men have 
done as bad things as this is, or that is ; thus was Achan tempted by the devil and his own 
evil heart, to covet a wedge of gold, and a goodly Babylonish garment, Josh. vii. 21 ; 
many false professors and fooUsh builders, fall by this trial, and with the dog, turn 
to their own vomit, and with the swine to their wallowing in the mire. 

3. Satan also tempts men, whose hearts are not right with God, to presume, and though 
in their sin, and under the power of unbelief, yet to rely on the mercy of God, and merits 
of Christ. 

4. Others he tempts to despair, and utterly to doubt of the pardoning gi-ace of God, 
through the blood of Jesus Christ ; he tells them that their sins are so great, God will not 
forgive them, or else, that their day of grace is past. 

5. Others he tempts to delay the work of their salvation. Says he, It is time enough 
yet, God will accept of you if you come to him at the eleventh hour ; you may be a young 
saint and an old devil, if you begin so soon you will not hold out to the end. 

6. He tempts others to trust to their own doings, their own works of righteousness ; by 
this means some thousands fall into bell, and are never convinced of the need of the right- 
eousness of Christ, but remain ignorant of the way to the Father. 

7. Others he tempts to neglect the means of gi'aee ; not to hear the word, or to hear it 
carelessly, also wholly to neglect prayer and reading, or to rest upon these duties. 

Thirdly, The world also doth and will try all sorts of professors. I am persuaded 
The world great numbers are, by this means, shaken, and their house thrown down ; it may 
win try us said of the world, as it is of the harlot, or adulterous woman ; " She hath cast 
buiid?ng down many wounded, yea, many strong men have been slain by her," Prov. 
also. yjj_ 26. Some, by the riches of the world, fall short of heaven. The young 

man's hope and house which he had built of legal materials, fell with one blast from this 
quarter; " he went away very sorrowful, for he had great possessions." The love of this 
world also overthrew Demas, he could not stand that storm of temptation that he met 
See the pa- withal. And, as riches, honours, and the sinful pleasures of the world over- 
rabie of the throw many on the one hand, so do the cares of the world on the other hand ; 
Matl^xiii. poverty may prove as fatal as riches ; it is tlie cares of this life as well 
as riches that choke the word ; how good then is it to cry with Agur, " Give 
me neither poverty nor riches," &c. 

Fourthly, But if these trials, and ai such times cannot prevail, or do not prevail to beat 
down the hope and house of foolish builders, yet there is another hour and enemy that 
will do it, and that is death. If the hypocrites' house doth not fall in the day of 


temptation, nor persecution, yet down it goes at the hour of death ; if his 
hope should abide whilst he lives, yet it will fail when he comes to die ; " For a/° a ^storm 
what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh sg^inst the 
away his soul ?" John xxvii. 8. Though he hath gained many gifts, much hupe wc 
riches, a name and great applause among men, yet death puts an end, and ^'"'''• 
quite cuts off all his hope ; when he dies all his hopes die. " And the hypocrite's hope 
shall perish, whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be as the spiders' web," 
ver. 14. " He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand ; he shall hold it fast, but 
it shall not endure," Job viii. 14, I 5. He builds his house of rotten and false materials, his 
liouse or hope is built with worldly or earthly materials, or else with counterfeit or false 
spiritual materials, as moral or inherent righteousness, or on spiritual or acquired gifts, or 
on vain glory, and a name among men. 

Fifthly and lastly. At the day of judgment his hope and house shall fall for ever; all 
his cries, his pleading then will do him no good, nor avail him any thing : 
" Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name ? And in thy name done many ment^daf 
wonderful works ?" Down goes his house, his hope, with body and soul, to the^great 
hell, and he shall perish for ever. So much as to the first thing proposed. trial. 

Secondly, I shaU show you the cause and reasons of the fall of his house. 

1. It is because he never attained to a work of true saving grace ; he never The cause 
truly believed in Jesus Christ, and so built not his house on a rock : let a man o*'""/ f'.''' °'' 

,.,,,., , . , , • 1 . • , 1 t"e foolish • 

bund his house never so high and strong in his own conceit, that never dug builder's 
so deep as to know what his state was by nature, his house will fall. house. 

2. Because be was blinded by the god of this world, the devil, and his own deceitful 
heart were too hard for him ; he builds his house with such materials that could not bear 
the shock and storm that comes upon him. 

3. Because his heart was never changed, he hath no meetness for heaven ; he is unholy, 
unsanctiiied, and no unholy thing can enter into the kingdom of heaven, therefore down 
he falls into hell. 

4. The enemy can throw down that house, spoil that hope that is not fixed on Christ, 
and the sinner has no power to help himself, he cannot keep his house up ; such strong 
enemies come against him, who are clothed with such power, to throw him down, which 
he cannot withstand : besides, he is alone and hath none to help him, neither friend nor 
brother ; God will not, Christ will not, nor can he stand before the accusing and sin-con- 
demnuig law, that lets fiy its bitter curses against him ; much less can he stand against 
the dreadful and incensed wrath of an oftended God. If divine mercy and infinite good- 
ness plead against him for contemning of Jesus Christ, whither will he fly for refuge ? 
Who can stand before God's indignation ? it is from hence, and for these causes, his house, 
his hope, and his soul must fall. 

Thirdly, 1 shall show you wherein the greatness of the fall of these persons 
doth appear; " and great was the fall of it." The ^eat- 

1. It is because it is the fall of their souls as well as their house they had fail of the 
built ; the more excellent a thing is, the more great is the loss of it. As life by"^ foolish 
is precious ; now if a house falls and kills those who live it, that fall is ac- buiwer. 
counted a sad and dismal fall ; or if a king falls in a battle, that is esteemed a great fall, 
because he is worth many thousand common soldiers. Now the soul is of great worth ; 
what is the whole world to the precious soul wliich God hath given to us ? What is the 
worth of our natural lives, when compared to our immortal souls ? If your souls perish 
when your hope perishes, the fall of your house be great ; other houses may fall, yet the 
lives of the people who dwelt therein may be saved, but it is not so here. 

2. The fall of such will be great, because great was then- expectation ; they were ele- 
vated in their thoughts, doubted not perhaps of a blessed eternity ; concluded, with the 
Jews, their state was good, because they were Abraham's seed ; it is therefore an unex- 
pected jfall, and so a great fall, like that of Haman's, who thought of nothing less 
than of the highest exaltation, but sad news came that he must be hanged on the 
gallows which he had made for Mordecai, Est. vii. 8, 9. It is as when a man thinks 
he hath found a precious stone of a great value, and is wonderfully elevated thereby, and 
Concludes he is made for ever by it, but when it is tried, it proves but a mere counterfeit. 
how is he disappointed, and ashamed of his vain boast ! or as when a mnn thinks he is 
an heir to a crown, and mighty kiugdom, and seems not to donbt of his title ; but when 
his right and title comes to be examiued, it is no such matter, he did but deceive himself, 
and as a false traitor, hath his head cut off ; how great is his fall ! So it is here, some 


men think they liave grace, think tliey are heirs of glory, but when they come to die, they 
find themselves mistaken ; hence their fall will be great. 

3. Because they had built their house so high in their own conceit, that the top of it 
reached almost up to heaven, this makes the fall of their house the greater : perhaps some 
of them were not far from the kingdom of heaven, as our Saviour told the young man, 
" Thou art not far from the kingdom of God," Mark xii. 35. When a merchant with a 
very rich ship is come almost home, and quite in sight of his port, is suddenly cast away; 
oh how great is his loss ! Some are exalted to heaven in respect of the means of grace, 
light, and knowledge, and yet fall at last ; their fall is therefore great : " And thou, Caper- 
naum, that art exalted unto heaven, shaltbe brought down to hell," Mat. xi. 23. 
ver'^''iow' '^' because the fall of their house, and hope of heaven, is a falhng down to 

anon into hell hell; when they thought of being saved, they, alas! are damned; instead of 
being blessed for ever, they are cursed for ever ; instead of dwelling in heaven, they see 
they must dwell in everlasting fii-e. This shows the foil of their house will be great. 
Their house ^' l^^cause their house can never be built again. When London fell by fire, 
can never 1666, it would have been a far greater fall, if it could have been built no more 
again,' ^ov ever; but lo, a new city, and far more glorious, is raised out of its ashes, 

't"'"i'f 'ii' ^"^' ruins : but there is no building a house again for the fallen soul, that is in 
hell ; no Christ for them, no faith, no hope there ; there is no redemption out 
of hell, they are lost, yea, lost to eternity. This will be the fate and fall of Babylon, and 
therefore her fall will be great. " And Babylon, &c. — shall be as when God overthrew 
Sodom and Gomorrah," Isa. xiii. 19. And thus it will be with those foolish builders, who 
lose their souls and bodies, it will be a final loss, yea, an eternal loss there is no hope for 
the damned, therefore their fall is and will be gi-eat. 


1. Tremble all ye foolish builders, who hear Christ's sayings, but do them not, that hear 
his word, but do nut beUeve ; who are reformed perhaps in your lives, but not changed in 
your hearts. 

2. Be exhorted to try yourselves, examine your hearts, see with what materials you have 
built your house, I mean your hope for heaven ; if it be not upon Jesus Christ, if it be on 
the sands of your own works, or inherent righteousness, or on your duties, or upon your 
external privileges, or on gifts, parts, or knowledge, or traditions ; pull down your 
house and new build it, build it on the only and sure foundation. " Other foundation can 
no man lay than that which is already laid, which is Jesus Christ," 1 Cor. iii. 11. 

3. Let all professors prepare for a storm ; the winds will blow, tlie rain will fall, and 
the floods will come ; you shall all be tried ; God will try every man's work. If tempta- 
tions of Satan, if tribulation and persecution from men, do not beat down your house and 
hope, yet death will. 

4. 'VVe infer from hence, that the state of false professors, or all such who are no more 
than bare hearers of the word, is very sad and deplorable, their hope will be as the spider's 

5. Sinners, doubtless you have got some house, or hope, or another ; but any hope will 
not serve your turn. how near may you be to a storm, death may be at the door, and 
then your hope will perish, and yout souls be lost. 

6. What comfort is here for believers, they are safe ! 


yind he spake a parable unto them. Can the blind lead the blind ; shall they not both fall 
into the ditch ? — Luke vi. 39. 

Our late annotators on this place say by a parable, " Here is to be understood, a pro- 
verbial saying, which hath some darkness in it, as being brought to express or signify more 
than the words naturally do express ; proverbial speeches are applicable to more cases than 
one," &e. I find tliat tropical writers, as Azorius, Gillius, Morton, &c., say. That a para- 
ble is a continued metaphor, or an allegory of words, Xi^ius, which is a continuation of 


.tropes, especially metaphors. Though learned Glassius seems to differ from them. A pa- 
rable, according to Jerome, is a comparison made of things different in nature : others say, 
A parable is a comparison or a similitude : hence Marloret, in his exposition of St. Mat- 
thew, Every where when we read Christ spake a parable, lie saith a similitude, a parcemia, 
a proverb, or an adagy, with respect to its obscurity, and is called JEnigma, or a riddle, 
as Delaun notes. However, tiiis saying is called a parable (i. e.,) a dark say- 
ing. Our Saviour, referring to something else than what the literal sense de- sacra 0^204 
notes, viz., from one that is blind or without bodily sight, leading such that 
are blind, he shows the danger of men who are led by blind preachers, or teachers, viz., 
such that understand not the mysteries of God, Christ, and the gospel, or who are spiri- 
tually blind, and without the light of saving knowledge, and the true teachings of the Spirit 
of God. And evident it is, that our blessed Saviour apphed these words more directly to 
the Scribes and Pharisees, the Jewish leaders, and liabbins, or those giudes amongst them, 
who, notwthstauding all their gi-eat human literature, natural reason, and philosophical 
learning, were ignorant of Christ, and of the only way of salvation by him ; therefore, as 
Justin Jlartyr excellently shows, Iiifelix est sapientia extra verbum Dei sapere, &c. That 
it is not the formality of academical degrees, nor philosophical dexterity, which is to be 
exercised in the things that may be known by tlie light of reason, or variety of languages, 
that qualifies a preacher. And true it is, for a man may understand all languages, and all 
human arts, and sciences, and yet be but a blind leader, or one that is ignorant of Christ ; 
hence Paul saith, " That the world by wisdom knew not God ;" and from most of these 
was the gospel, and the " Mysteries of the kingdom of heaven," hid, as our Lord shows. 
Matt. xi. ^.'). The occasion of these words (as it seems to me) may rise from what our 
Lord said of the Pharisees and Jewish doctors, in respect to their false interpretations of 
the law, as St. ilatthew shows more clearly. Matt. v. Our Lord called them blind guides: 
" Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat," &c. So that his design herein is to forewarn 
all people to take heed they are not led by blind guides, or by teachers who are not in- 
spired, or illuminated with the Spirit of God, or endowed with saving knowledge, beinc 
not ministers of Christ's making, having not received true grace, nor tliose ministerial gifts, 
which Jesus Clirist gave when he ascended on high. 

The words contain a twofold interrogation. 1. " Can the blind lead the blind ?" 2. 
" Shall they not both fall into the ditch ?' Eph. iv. 8, II , 12, 13. That is, can they 
safely, securely lead them ? This interrogation hath in it a strong negation, (i. e.) they 
cannot safely, wisely, or securely lead the blind who are blind themselves ; " shall they 
not both fall into the ditch ?" This question contains the highest aflirmation ; yea, " they 
shall both fall," &c., that is, both perish ; signifying, that such people, that are led by 
blind, ignorant, or false teachers, shall fall into hell at last. The words being thus briefly 
opened, I shall observe one or two propositions from hence. 

Doct. 1. lliat some men, wlio pretend to be leaders or teachers of the t.i,„ a . • 

• . n , ,. 1 1 1 , 111 jnenoctrxne 

people, are spu-itualiy blmd, as they also are that are tauglit by them. raised. 

Doct. 2. That such teachers or ministers, who are spiritually blind, and all those Wind 
people, who are taught by them, are in danger of perisliing eternally together. 

I shall speak briefly to both tliese points of doctrine. As to the first I shall, 

1. Show in what respect men may be said to be blind in a spiritual sense. 

2. Piun the parallel. 

3. Shall show who they are that are blind leaders of the blind. 

4. Apply it. 

There is a threefold spbitual blindness. 1. Such that are in their natural ■*:''""','? 
state, being never savingly enlightened ; and in this sense all are blind, ig- are blind, 
norant, or without the true knowledge of God naturally, or as they came into band"""^ 
the world ; by nature as all are dead, deail in sin and trespasses, so they are 
all spiritually blind. "And kuewest not that thou art miseraole, poor, and blind." — "And 
the eyes of the blind shall see." Hence our Saviour was sent " to open blind eyes," Rev. 
iii. 17, Isa. xxix. 18, Isa. xlii. 7. The eyes of their understanding is darkened, and 
when they receive the Holy Spirit, their ejes are opened, and never till then, Eph. i. 18. 
2. Some men are not only naturally in a spiritual sense blind, but judicially bhnd. God in 
judgment smites them with spiritual blindness, so that they shaU never see, never under- 
stand : " In seeing they shall not see, neither perceive : for judgment I am come into this 
world, that they that see not might not see, and that they that see might be made bUnd," 
John ix. 39, (i. e.) some who are spiritually blind with the rest of mankind, I am come to 
give sight unto, or to open their eyes ; but others who think they see, and urc able to lead 


such that are bliaJ. I am come to make them blind, or this will be the effect, or event 
of my ministry and doctrine, viz. through their perverseness, and unbelief, and contempt of 
me, I will give them up to utter blindness of mind, and hardness of lieart ; " But now ye 
say we see, therefore your sin remaineth," ver. 41. Some are sensible of their blindness, 
they are blind in their own sight, none are worse blind, or darker in their own apprehen- 
sion, than such whose eyes Christ hath opened, or than beUevers ; by reason that some 
darkness remains in them, they cry out of their woful ignorance, and blindness, declaring 
they see but in part, and know but in part; nay, know nothing as they ought to know. 

Secondly, I shall run a parallel betwixt such who are blind in a literal sense, and they 
who are spiritually blind. 

Sinners 1- Some are born bhnd, never saw ; so all men (as I hinted] were born 

are born blind, (i. e.) they come into the world under the power of of sin, and spiritual 
blindness, for as they are under a privation of spiritual life, so it follows that 
they are also blind. 

Sin hath nut ^^- Some men are bhnd casually, by some accident, or through age. Adam 
out the eyes before the fall could see ; man's eye-sight was good originally, he was created 
o sinners. ^^ knowledge, he bore the Image of God ; but sin put out his eyes, he lost 
(and all mankind in him) the true knowledge of God, when he lost God's Image, and so 
came short of the glory of God. 

They know ^^^- Blind men know not whither they go, nor where they are, nor the 

not whither danger they are in ; may be upon the brink of a deep pit, or just entering into 
'^ ^°' a lion's den, or on the edge of a dangerous river, or fearful lake, &c. So those 

that are spiritually blind, they know not the way they take or go in, neither in respect of 
their worship and principles of religion ; nor the way of their lives and evil practices. 
They may think they are in the way of God, and that their false notions are the traths of 
Christ, when indeed they are abominable errors. They being given up to the delusions of 
the devil, and have their understanding darkened ; moreover, they may be just upon 
the brink of ruin, and ready to fall into hell, and yet may not know anything of their eternal 
danger, nor know they are in Satan's snares or den, and paw of that lion. 

IV. Let the sun shine never so bright, yet a blind man sees it not ; it is 
Ungodly sin- all one to liim as if it was midnight. So though the Gospel be preached never 
saw th^^sun. SO clearly and powerfully, yet wicked men, or such as are left to spiritual 
blindness, see not. They know not truth from error, light from darkness, 
until the eyes of their understandings are enlightened ; and this is the grand evil and misery 
of all mere natural men. 

Sinners ^- ^ ™^" ''°'"° ^^™'' never knew, nor can he know what light is, but only 

know not by imagination, or, as he is told, he knows it not by experience. So those 
ritua/nght that are spiritually blind never knew what the light of God's countenance is, 
"• the saving light of Christ, or illuminations of the Holy Spirit are ; nor can 

they know this, until the eyes of their minds and understanding are opened. True, they 
maj' be told how raisuig, how pleasant, and sweet, chvine light is, or the knowledge of Christ 
is, the enjoyment of the love and favour of God is ; but they know not any of these things 
by experience, and therefore all they can know or speak of them, is but what they have read, 
or heard others declare, or make known of them. 

Blind men ^^- '^^^J ^hat are blind, can discern neither the beauty that is in one ob- 
cannot dis- ject that Stands before them, nor the deformity of another. So such who are 
cfhri5t"'beau- without the saving light or knowledge of God in Jesus Christ, see no beauty, 
ty- uo glory, either in God himself or in Jesus Christ ; though he be the most 

amiable and most glorious object in heaven and earth. For as no blind man can be affected, 
or smitten with earthly beauty, so can no blind sinner be affected with the loveliness, glory, 
and beauty of the person of Christ, or with the preeiousness of divine things. It is by rea- 
son the eyes of our souls are enlightened to behold the Sun of Righteousness, that we cry 
out with the spouse, " He is the chiefest among ten thousand, — and is altogether lovely," 
Cant. V. 10, 16. " For the light is sweet, and it is a pleasant thing for the eyes to behold 
the sun," Eccl. xi. 7. So is spiritual light to believers, whose eyes behold the Sun of 

VII. They who are in darkness, or utterly Mind, cannot discern things that 

cannot'°d^" differ, nor judge of colours. So men spiritually blind cannot discern nor 

«"" things know the things of God, " For what man knoweth the things of a man, save 

the spirit of a man which is in him ? even so the things of God knoweth no 

man but the Spirit of God ;" that is, no man but he whose eyes are enlightened by the 


Spirit of God. " For, (saith the apostle,) we have not received the spirit of the world, but 
the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given us of God — 
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. for they are foolishness 
unto him ; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned," 1 Cor. ii. 11, 
12, 14. By a natural man is meant such a one that is in the state of nature, and hath not 
received the Spirit of God, and the divine illuminations thereof, and so is spii-itually blind. 

VIII. It is th« greatest folly in the world for a man that is blind, to choose 
a blind person to lead bim, he being thereby exposed equally to dismal The folly of 
dangers with his guide. So what greater folly can any be guilty of, than for biind'gmde. 
such who are spiritually blind, or wholly ignorant of Christ, and of the only 
way to eternal life, to choose such to guide or lead them, who are as blind and as ignorant 
as themselves, in respect of Christ, and of salvation by him. But, what a multitude of 
such foolish and ignorant persons are there in the world. And this brings me to the next 
thing proposed to be opened. 

Thirdly, Who are blind teachers, or blind guides, or how may they be 

known? bSdl'arters 

Now blind guides may be either considered absolutely, or comparatively, oi the blind. 

(1.) Such preachers are blind guides, who are utterly in darkness, or 
without any saving grace and knowledge of Christ. Or (2ndly,) Such who, though they may 
be savingly enlightened, and have the true knowledge of Jesus Christ, yet in respect to some 
others, who have received much gieater knowledge, abilities, and experience, they may be 
said to be blind, or ignorant teadiers ; for all that have grace, and true spiritual knowledge, 
so as to be renewed, and become truly gracious persons, are not fit to be preachers 
or teachers of others ; yet it is better to be led by a man who hath a dim sight, than by 
one that is utterly bhnd. But to proceed, and speak first of such spiritual guides who are 
totally, or utterly blind and ignorant, as to saving knowledge. 

I. He that is not a converted man, a renewed man, having not received the Holy Spirit 
to enlighten his dark mind and understanding, if he take upon him to be a teacher or a guide 
to the blind, he himself is to be sure a blind leader of the blmd. Yet some of this sort may 
have knowing heads, though they are blind in their hearts, or without the saving know- 
ledge of God and Jesus Christ themselves ; and know not by experience what it is to be 
born again, neither ever tasted nor know how good God is, and bow precious Jesus Christ 
is. Yet there may not be such danger to be led by some of this sort, as there is in being 
led by others, whose hearts and heads too are dark, or without the knowledge of the Gos- 
pel ; (yet having received spiritual gifts and clear heads, or much light and knowledge as 
to the doctrine of the Ciospel,) are not bliud guides in that sense, and should therefore be 
acquitted of this name of blind leading of the blind. They are blind as to their state, but 
as teachers they are not bliud ; but were this sort known, they ought not to be admitted to 
be ministers of the Gospel. Unto the wicked, God saith "What hast thou to do to declare 
my statutes, or that thou shouldst take my covenant into thy mouth ?" Psal. 1. 16. None 
are true ministers of Christ but such only, which he approves of, or who are gracious men, 
that truly love him, and can tell what God hath done for their souls, who by their own ex- 
perience are able to open the nature of true faith, and regeneration. The ministration of 
the Gospel ought to be committed to faithful men. " And the things that thou hast heard 
of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to 
teach others also," 2 Tim. ii. 2. 

(II.) Such are blind leaders that know, not who the true Christ of God is, ^"cbcreth t 
that know not the true Messiah, and yet take upon them to be preachers and know not 
teachers of the people. The Scribes and Pharisees knew not that Jesus Christ Jh^^i^gre^n*' 
was the tnie Saviour, the true Messiah, and yet pretended they were instruc- ofciiristis, 
tors of the foolish guides to the blind, and a light to them that were in dark- guides, 
ness, Kom. ii. 18 — 20. So all such now who pretend they are guides and in- 
structors of the people who deny the Lord Christ, or Jesus of Nazareth, to be God, of the 
essence of the Father, and truly man of the substance of the blessed Vii-giu, they know not 
who, or whom the true Messiah is, and therefore are blind guides, false teachers, and de- 
ceivers. For what can betray greater ignorance than this ? What, preach a fa'^e (^hrist? 
Err about the object of worship ? If Jesus of Nazareth was not the most high God, but a 
mere man, he was, as they said, a blasphemer, and so a deceiver ; for he bore witness that 
he and the Father were one, that is, one in essence, and was the only-begotten Son of God; 
Christ is the Son of God by an eternal generation. ^Moreover, was he not so the Son of 
God, he could not be our Saviour, because we have no Saviour but God only, none that 


can save us from sin and eternal wrath. " I am Goil, and there is none else, besides me 
there is no Saviour," Isa. xliii. 11. And then also, it is idolatry to give the same divine 
worship to him that belongs to God only ; but this worship is given, and ought to be given 
to Jesus Christ, as Mediator. " All the angels are required to worship him," Heb. i. 6. 

Therefore the Arians, Socinians, and the Caffionites, are blind guides. More- 
TheArians, over, such teachers that deny the true Saviour is truly man of our 
c''ffl">nites nature, without us, now in heaven, and in respect of his human nature can 
and Quakers be but in One place at one time, are bhnd guides. For Christ died as con- 
of'tuebund^' cerning the flesh, but had he not been man as well as God, he could not have 

died ; that Christ therefore that never died, nor could die, is a false Christ ; or 
who is not " Bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh." And from hence it appears, the 
Quakers, who pretend to be teachers, are false teachers, or blind leaders of the blind ; for 
none but he that was the seed of the woman, is or can be the true Saviour. " He was made 
of a woman, and was of the seed of David according to the flesh. — He took on him the 
seed of Abraham," Gen. iii. 1.5, Acts ii. 30, Gal.iv. 4, Heb. ii. 16. But the Quakers say, 
Christ was never seen of fleshly eyes, and reproach them that say he is a man, consisting 
of the same nature with us (though glorified) now in heaven. One told me, he knew not 
where that body is, that rose from the dead. 

(III.) All legal teachers are bhnd leaders. I mean such that preach justification by the 
works of the law, or by the righteousness of man in conformity to the law. Tlus doctrine 
the Scribes and Jewish doctors taught, whom our Saviour called blind leaders of the blind, 
they preached justification by doing, or by a man's own righteousness, and not by Christ, 
or by his righteousness alone. " They being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going 
about to establish their own righteousness, have not submittted themselves to the righteous- 
ness of God," Rom. x. 3. " They sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of 

the law," Rom. ix. 32. These men pervert the Gospel of Christ ; nay. 
Legal preach another Gospel than that which Christ and his apostles preached : and 

Flktfguidea. hence Paul told the Galatians, " They were removed to another Gospel, by 

these blind and false teachers, whose doctrine they had too far adhered unto. 
Gal. i. 0. " For if righteousness came by the law, then Christ is dead in vain," Gal. ii. 21. 
and this is to frustrate the grace of God ; therefore whoever they are that bring in men's 
own inherent righteousness to justify them before God, are blind leaders of the blind. 
Snchthat i^^-) Such who preach up morality, or a sober moral life to be sufficient 

preach mo^ ^q justify and Save the souls of men ; or do not strive to take people off from 
tion to " any thing that they can do, or from depentUng upon any good works of their 
are bUnd own, or to trust in any thing, save upon Jesus Christ alone, are blind leaders 
guides. of the blind, and will all fall into the ditch at last, unless God in mercy 

opens their eyes ; for this sort are as blind as the Jews and Jewish Rabbins were : for 
had there been a law (any law) tliat could have given life, verily righteousness had been 
by the law. Gal. iii. 21. While Paul was a Pharisee, no doubt but he was a good moral 
man, and had as much legal righteousness as any have now in our days. For he says, he 
had walked in all good conversation, even until that day. Acts xxiii. 1 ; and as touch- 
ing the righteousness which i*s of the law, he was blameless, Phil. iii. 7, 8 ; but all this 
he counted but dung, when his eyes were truly opened, and he believed in Jesus Christ. 
" Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, you 
cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven," Matt. v. 20. 

Sucb that (V.) Such teachers that preach for doctrine the commandments of men, 

preach mens Qf. traditions, and inventions of men, or that call devised worship, divine wor- 

tradition are . , , . . . t> r^i • ^ ^^'^ i 

blind leaders ship, or precepts ol men to be the institutions ot Christ, and would impose such 
ofthebiidd. j.;jgg j^j^j superstitions upon the consciences of men, are blind leaders of the 
blind. These things our blessed Saviour charged the Scribes and Pharisees with, whom 
he called blind leaders of the blind, " teaching for doctrine the commandments of «ien," 
Matt. XV. 9 ; and such who have made void the commandments of God through their 

(VI.) All that preach not justification, and salvation by Jesus Christ alone, or that 
preach not that holy doctrine delivered by Christ and his apostles, and which was con- 
firmed by miracles, are blind guides. 

(Vn.) Such that deny the written word to be the Word of God, and the only rule of 
faith and practice. • 



1. Infer. Sin is a miscliievous evil. wliat hatli man done in sinning f.™i""'f'J('" 
against God ! he is become blind thereby, sin hath put the eyes of his under- ridi man mid 
standing. ^''^"''^• 

2. what a deplorable state are all men in naturally ! how grievous a thing is it, 
to be blind, born blind, and never to see the sun. 

3. I infer, that sinners are punished with the worst of bluidness. (1.) Because it is 
the bhndness of the soul ; what is natural blindness to spiritual blindness ? Many who 
have lost their natural sight, ai'e happy, have blessed divine light in their souls, being 
savingly enlightened. (2.) Others know they are blind, such I mean that have lost their 
natural sight ; but sinners know not, will not believe they are blind. (3.) And such who 
are deprived of their bodily sight, are glad to accept of one to lead them : but some blind 
sinners desire not any guide, and others choose Wind guides to lead them. (4.) Others 
that are blind, bewail their bhndness, mourn for being dark, and having no sight ; but 
sinners never bewail their want of sight, or mourn in being spiritually blind. (5.) Poor 
blind men and women would account it no small mercy to have their sight restored to 
them, but sinners love darkness rather than light. (6.) Such who are naturally blind, 
are willing and ready to take warning wlien in danger of falling into a ditch, or into the 
fire, or into a river. But blind sinners contemn all warning given to them of, or falling 
into the deep ditch of God's eternal wrath, or into the lake of eternal fire and brimstone. 
Oh there is no bhndness like spiritual blmdness. 

4. I infer. No man can by any power of his own arrive to true spiritual sight ; no, it 
must be God that opens the eyes of such that were born bhnd, it requh'es almighty pow- 
er. Conversion work is a miraculous work, it raises the dead, and opens the eyes of 
the blind. 

5. Learn from hence to pity the blind, such blind that pity not themselves. 

6. Be exhorted to praise God for the Gospel, which is sent to open blind eyes. But 
if sinners come to see, they must have their eyes also opened. The bhnd see not the sun 
though it shines in its strength. pray for the Spirit to open your eyes, to see the Sun 
of righteousness. 

7. You that see, have a twofold cause to praise God, 1. For the light of information : 
2. For the light of ac^peptation. 

8. Terror, why wretched sinners, what do you mean to choose, to be led by blind 
guides ? Whither will you, and they that lead you, fall at last ? Take heed who you 
are led by. 

9. You that see, praise and admire infinite grace, and walk as chihlren of the light. 

10. Bewail them most of all, that are smitten with spiritual blindness. For as God 
smote the Sodomites with natural blindness, so hath he smote many with spiritual blind- 
ness, in a way of judgment. Some are left to hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, 
and others in wrath left to beheve a lie, or given up to " strong delusions, that they 
might be damned, because they received not the truth in the love of it, that they might 
be saved," 2 Thess. ii. 

11. Trial. By this all may know, whether they see or not. what a vast difference 
is there between being utterly blind, and having clear eye-sight. " One thing I know (said 
the man that Christ opened his eyes) that whereas I was blind, I now see," John ix. 25. 
Can you say so ? Be sure if you see, you can remember how woful bhnd and ignorant 
you once were, and also do know, when and by what means you came to see ; and do 
also not a little admire infinite grace, that God should open your blind eyes, or give you 
the sa^■ing knowledge of himself, in the face of Jesus Christ, and how sweet is the light 
of saving knowledge to your souls ! Also what wonderful things do you see in God's 
law, and in Christ, and in the blessed Gospel, what dangers do you see, and know how 
to avoid them ; and what do you experience of a change, that is wrought in you, to what 
your state was once 1 And how do you prize the hght, and hate darkness, the darkness 
of sin, and all errors. 

12. Bewail them that are blind ; are not some of your children and friends blind, stone 
blind, and know it not ? mourn over them, and cry to God, to open their eyes. Also 
bewail a blind and dark world, and that is led and resolved to be led by bhnd leaders. 
Cry that God would enlighten the earth, and send more leaders, who have clear sight and 
knowledge of God, .lesus Christ, and of the salvation he hath wrought out. 



For which of you inlending to build a tower, silteth not down first, and counteth the cost, 

whether he have sufficient to finish it. 
Lest haply after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all begin to mock him, 
saying, this man began to build, and was not able to finish. — Luke xiv. 28, ii), 30. 

This parable was spoken by our blessed Saviour, to the multitude, as it is expressfd in 
ver. 25. And there went great multitudes with him, and he turned and said unto them, 
" If any man come unto me, and hate not his fatlier, and mother, and wife, and children, 
and brethren, and sister, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple," ver. 26. " And 
whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple," ver. 27. 
And then it follows. " For which of you intending to build," &c. So that the main design 
and scope of this and the parable immediately following, of going to war, are to put all 
persons upon considering, and weighing well, (before they take upon them the profession 
of religion, or give themselves up to be members of his Church) what it will cost them, 
what pains, and what loss, or what they must do, and expect to meet withal for his sake. 

In this parable the work of a Christian is compared to a building, in the other to a 
warfare ; and to both these things frequently in the Scripture, the work and business of a 
Christian professor and a holy life are compared, botli by our Lord himself, and his apos- • 
ties : in Matt. vii. 24, a true believer is likened to a wise builder : and a hypocrite to 
a foolish builder, that built his house on the sand ; which I have opened. 
" Which of you intending to build a tower ;" he that builds, puts what was in his thoughts, 
Abuiider intention, and purpose, into execution: he first designs, or resolves within 

pose^nto^'. liimself, that he will build, &c. So every person, before he takes upon him the 
ecution. profession of the Gospel, or becomes a disciple of Christ, first thinks upon it, 

ponders, and weighs well the matter in his mind, and then fully resolves that he will do 
it. And he that is wise, will also consider well, what cost, and what pains, or labour he 
must be at, in building of such a tower, or house. (1.) He considers, what cost, and 
pains, the digging up the old foundation may be to him, and the removing all the rubbish. 
It win cost ^°^ removing the rubbish of the old Temple, cost the J^ws much pains and 
much pains cost ; SO every sinner should consider, what the digging up the old foundation 
to lay the'' o( nature, and the covenant of works, will cost him, and also the rooting 
foundation, out of all evil habits of sin. 

itwiii cost 2. What pains it will cost him to dig deep, to lay the foundation of a high 

to renmve' tower. For that must be done, or his building may soon fall. So every spi- 
anoidfoun- ritual builder should consider, what it will cost him, to lay the foundation 
stone, Jesus Christ, at the bottom of all his building, which he cannot do, but 
he must dig deep into the eternal counsel and purpose of God, and also into the covenant, 
and blessed compact between the Father and the Son from all eternity, and this wiU cost 
him much wisdom and pains also. 

To build a tower. Certainly, our Lord, on purpose, mentioned a tuwer, rather than any 
other building, and perhaps to signify, that the top of our spiritual building must reach up 
to heaven, or otherwise it will be vain to build : for though the builders of Babel were 
fools, to think that they could build a tower to save them from the deluge of God's wrath, 
or that way to get up to heaven ; yet he that builds in a right manner upon Christ, shall 
find, and that when be hath finished his building, or received the end of his faith, he shall 
reach heaven, so that an entrance into it shall be ministered abundantly unto him, (i. e.) 
he shall receive the salvation of his soul. 

" Sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost :" If he be wise, he will not rashly under- 
take so great a work ; so every sinner ought deliberately, not hastily, rashly, or inconsider- 
ately, to enter into a visible profession of religion, or become a disciple of Jesus Christ ; but 
count the whole cost, viz., that he must part with all his sins, though never so sweet, plea- 
sant, or profitable to him in times past ; and that he must not only deny, or part with sin- 
ful self, but with religious self also, or with all his own righteousness, in point of trust, or 
dependance, yea, and with natural self likewise, wife, children, brethren, sisters, and his 
own hfe also ; he must part with all, when Christ calls for it ; nay, he must hate all these 
presently ; that is, he must have a lesser love to any of these relations, and to his own life. 

SF.RM. XVIl.J • THE PAttABLF. OF liUIT.DlXr. A TOWi-.R. 97 

than to the Lord Jesus Christ : a lesser love is in thescriptuie called, a hatred. Leah is said 
to be hated by Jacob, because he loved Rachel better than she : " And when the Lord 
saw, that Leah was hated, he opened her womb," &c.. Gen. xxix. 31. Moreover, he must 
consider, that his name wi 1 be reproached, vilified, and despised b}' the men of the world, 
if he begins once to cleave to Jesus Christ, and become a member of liis visible church, and a 
professor of the gospel ; and be accounted every day as a sheep for the slaughter--" They shall 
put you out of the synagogue : ) ea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think 
he doeth God service," John xvi. 2. Now these things our Lord made known, and spake 
this parable on purpose also, that all persons, who seem inclined to follow him, should con- 
sider well of, even ponder in their minds, what it will cost them ; he would have us know 
the worst that can befal us in following of him, that when troubles rise, none might 
be oflfended, nor have cause to say, I was not told of these things before I began to 

" Whether they have to finish it." We readsufficient, but that is a supplement, whether 
they have enough, or that which is sufficient to finish the whole work, or ^o man is 
to hold out in your Christian course to the end. Now I conceive our blessed |"','Jsg™{o°^ 
Saviour intended by these words to discover the insufficiency, or that great build this 
weakness, and inability that is in every person, considered as in himself, '""'■"- 
to go on to perfect the great building, or salvation of his owu soul, that so he might put 
every one upon considering in whom his sufficiency alone lies, or who it is that is his 
strength, before he begins to profess the Lord Jesus. Brethren, he that thinks (when he 
begins to build) he hath in himself sufficient wisdom, strength, grace, and courage to finish, 
hath neither sat down to count what he hath, nor what it will cost him to begin and finish 
the building of this tower. But he that counts Christ's righteousness his righteousnes, and 
the strength of Christ, his strength, and that grace that is in Christ, to be treasured up in 
the Lord Jesus for him, and as he builds on Christ the whole of his salvation, so trusteth 
alone upon him for supportation, or for whatsoever he sees needful, or necessary for him, in 
order to finish this spiritual building, certainly he hath wisely sat down, and counted the 
cost, and knows where he may have sufficient supply, at all times to perfect the whole work : 
" For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded, that he is able to keep that which 
I have committed to him, against that day," 2 Tim. i. 12. Our Lord would have us know, 
that without him we can do nothing, John xv. 5 ; and this we should consider, and know 
at first, and so count our own wealcness, and yet find out that great mine of riches which 
we have in Jesus Christ, that so we may be able to say with Paul, "I can do all things 
through Jesus Clirist that strengtheneth me." 

" Lest haply after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish ; all that behold it 
begin to mock him," &c. Parables, as I have told you, do not ruu always on all four ; the 
scope of this parable chiefly should be observed : a man may lay a foundation of a house 
well, and yet may not be able to finish it, but expose himself to shame and reproach ; but 
he that lays Christ as the foundation of his faith, hope, and salvation, or begins in a true 
and right manner to build, having saving faith in Jesus Christ, shall be enalded to finish. 
But some lay the foundation of their building on the sand, or build not rightly on Christ, 
(i. e.) not upon his merits, on his righteousness, on his power, on his witdoni, on his pro- 
mises, and on his faithfulness, they build not on Christ, but rather upon their own righte- 
ousness, on their own power, and on their sufficiency, they glory in themselves ; and these, 
when they have begun, or have laid a foundation thus, are not able to finish, and so men 
begin to mock them ; for suffering some losses in professing of Christ, yet after all fail in 
their profession : a high tower had need to have a good and firm foundation, for else it may 
fall before it is finished. 

Our Lord here compares the faith and wovkof a Christian, to a man's building of a tower, 
and from hence note, 

Doct. A Christian is, or may be compared to a man that builds a tower, a noble build- 
ding, not a cottage, and therefore should count the cost. 

1. I shall show you what a tower or building it is, or why it is called a tower. 

2. I shall show you why a Christian is said to build a tower. 

3. That every believer should consider so well the matter as to count the cost. 

4. Apply it. 

1. In opening those words of our Lord Matt. vii. (He that heareth these saying of 
mine and doeth them, &c.) T have showed that every true (Christian is coni)>ared to a 
huilder, and therefore shall pass by that here, and show you why he is said to build a 


1. A tower is no small building, but a noble structure, one of the chiefest of buildings : so 
a believer's spiritual building is a most noble building. This appears, 

1. Upon the consideration of the contriver of it, which was the great God, by his own 
eternal wisdom : wliat a kind of tower is this, a building is this, that infinite wisdom 
was the contriver, viz. To build us up in Jesus Christ ; " but ye, beloved, building up your 
selves on your most holy faith," &c. Every beUever is a builder, but God contrived the 
building, and also gives directions how to build ; the foundation, the materials, and the 
skilful putting all together, was found out, ordained, or appointed by Almighty God. 

2. It is a noble building, because the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation of it, and was 
also first laid by the Father, in his eternal decree and purposes, (i!.) Christ laid him- 
self for this foundation. (1.) In and by that holy doctrine he taught. (2.) By his own 
actual obedience, and by what he suffered. (3.) In the holy example of his life, as our 

3. The Apostles also laid Christ for the only foundation of this noble tower and struc- 
ture, by their doctrine and practice, 1 have laid the foundation, &c. 

4. Every believer also lays Christ for a foundation, by beheving, resting, or relying 
alone upon him. 

II. It is a noble building, or a famous tower, because the design of it is to pre- 
serve the soul from all its enemies, and from aU dangers whatsoever, to eternal life. 

III. This spiritual building may be called a tower, because a Christian is a soldier, and 
this building is to be his fortress, and if he builds on Chi-ist or rightly upon the only foun- 
dation, he need not fear all the gun-shot of satan, sin, the flesh, and the world, though he 
must expect to be battered severely by these enemies. 

IV. It may be called a tower, because the top of it must reach up to heaven : he 
builds for another world, and must gi-adually proceed until he come to heaven ; he hath 
not finished this tower untU then, not till an entrance be administered to him into the ever- 
lasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

Secondly, why is a Christian said to build this tower ? 
May be fit- I. Because he is to believe in Jesus Christ; faith is required of him, or 

buiidinR " believing in Christ ; that which we build upon, we trust in it, or rely upon, 
upon Christ, go in this sense we build on Christ ; that is, we trust in him, venture our souls 
on him, we build our faith, our hope, expectation, and eternal life on Jesus Christ ; and so 
may be said to build this famous tower of our salvation. 

But pray note, it is God that finds aU the materials, our " Faith is not of ourselves, it is 
the gift of God," Eph. ii. 8. So our hope is not oidy in God, but also of God ; he also 
gives strength, skill, and courage ; and is at all the charge of the whole building ; but as 
we are requii'ed to work out our own Salvation, so we are commanded to ; " building up 
yourselves in your most holy faith," Jude 20 ; by trusting in God through Jesus Christ, or 
by exercising faith in his word and promises, and adding unto our faith virtue, and unto 
virtue knowledge, and unto knowledge temperance, &c. And thus he may be said to build, 
and still make a further progression, until he have finished the building, or receive the end 
of his faith, the salvation of his soul. 

Thirdly, that every believer should consider so weU the matter, as to count the cost. 

1. I shall note here wliat he should consider : 

2. Why count the cost. 

I. He should consider well what foundation he builds this tower upon, because there is 
but one ; " Other foundation can no man lay then that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ," 
1 Cor. iii. 11. 

Because if he builds his hopes of salvation upon any other foundation, his tower wUl fall, 
though he build never so high, or never such a glorious profession of rehgion in the sight 
of men. 

II. He should consider and ponder well what he should build upon this foundation, viz. 
His faith, his liope, his soul, his justification, his redemption, his sanctification ; in a word 
his soul, every thing, even aU his whole salvation must be built upon Christ alone, and 
upon nothing else. 

ni. He should consider when he should build, and that is presently ; he must not delay 
building one hour, for he is in danger of falling into hell every moment : " I made haste and 
delayed not, to keep thy precepts," saith David. 

IV. He should consider, how he must build, viz., that is by faith, or by believing, by 
trusting in, or relying upon Jesus Christ only : not by working, not by doing, no, but by 
believing : not on Christ's righteousness, and on his own inherent righteousness together ; 


but on Christ's merits and righteousness alone, exclusive of all tilings, either as wrought in 
him, and done by him ; not on his own sincere obedience, but on Christ's obedience ; not 
on his faith , but on the object of his faith, the Lord Jesus Chrfet ; and the blessed God and 
Father, in, and by Christ Jesus. 

Quest. Why should he sit down and count the costs ? 

1. Because it will be a very costly building to him. (1.) He must give y^^ ^ j. 
up all his cursed sins and lusts, though as dear to him in times past, as a right 

whatsoever he once accounted gain. (3.) He must part with all his for- ""","'„",'," 
mer companions, and expect they vdU mock and deride him (as I hinted be- 
fore) and may be his own Hfe also. 

2. Because great storms may rise, and floods come, and beat upon his high tower : and 
he should count the damage he may sustain in such storms. 

3. Because he is not able either to begin, nor to build, or lay one stone by his own 
strength ; and if he knows not tliis, or doth not utterly despair of any power, or ability of 
his own, he will never be able to finish, and then men will mock him, aud say, " This man 
begun to build, but was not able to finish." 

4. He must account, how rich, how strong, and able he is in Jesus Christ ; and if he 
knows, that Christ is liis strength, (as well as his rigliteousness,) he counts the cost aright ; 
and if he depends wholly, constantly, he need not fear, but he shall have wherewith to 
finish this famous tower, [i. e.,) the salvation of his precious soul. 


1.- This reprehends all rash and inconsiderate persons, who through some Reproof, 
sudden slash of zeal (which may prove like a land flood) set out in a visible profession of 
Christ and the gospel. Alas, sirs, though men should not delay in closing with Christ, and 
flying from the wrath to come, yet they should do nothing rashly, or without weighing the 
matter deliberately. Some young people I fear have showed no small folly this way. 

2. This may inform us of the reason, there are so many who grow cold, inform, 
and soon falter, and fall ofi", or decline in their zeal, and seeming love to Christ, his truth 
aud people, they counted not the cost, what corruptions they must mortify, what temp- 
tations they must withstand, and what reproaches they must expect to meet with, and 
what enemies they may find, and what relations they may enrage, and stir up against 

3. Let all from hence be exhorted, who have it in their hearts, to begin to E.\hort. 
build, or to come forth into a visible profession of Christ, to count the cost, and not expose 
themselves by their incousiderateuess to the reproach of men, either to the grief of the 
godly, or to the contempt and scorn of the wicked. 

4. Yet let none from hence be discouraged, or decline closing with Christ, Encouragment. 
or with his people ; for if they are sincere and gi'acious persons, they will understand, that 
the almighty power of God is engaged to help them. what promises hath he made 
to all who truly beheve in him, and rest upon him, tliough they have no might, no riches, 
nor strength in themselves ; yet they may say with the psalmist, " J\ly flesh and my heart 
faileth, but God is the strength of ray heart, and my portion for ever," Psal. Ixxiii. 26. 
There are none that have cause to fear, but false professors, or such whose hearts are not 
right with God ; therefore let such lay to heart what hath been said. 

5. Count also all the external charge, which a visible profession of religion may expose 
you to ; for the interest of Christ, and the charge of his church, must be borne : I do not 
call this loss, for it will be none in the end. For by casting their bread upon the waters, 
they shall find it again after many days. But yet nevertheless this ought to be considered, 
and reckoned up, before a man begins to build this tower. 

6. How great is the work of a Christian ; building is not only costly work, inference, 
but a very laborious work also, especially to build a strong and mighty tower : therefore 
know it is no lazy life, no, such must work hard : we read of the " work of faith, and la- 
bour of love," &c., Heb. vi. 10. 

7. Let all learn, on what foundation to build, and not refuse the chief cor- Direction, 
ner stone, for what foundation soever they lay besides Christ, let them be assured, they 
will not be able to finish ; but shall come to shame, and be mocked at last. depend 
wholly upon God in Jesus Christ ; you must know his money pays for all : yet you shall 
not miscarry for want of money to finish, if in all your wants you go to him, by faith, and 

H 2 


prayer ! and you that build on hiin, or on this rock, the gates of hell shall never prevail 
against you. 

Your tower will stand firm* and endure all the battering rams, and roaring cannon Satan 
lets fly against it ; neither need you fear any mines, for your tower is built upon such a 
hard rock, that the cunning miner, Satan, cannot pierce it, no pick-axe of the devil can en- 
ter into this rock, nor can the enemy storm your strong tower ; for besides its strength the 
Lord of hosts dwells therein, and Jesus Christ is always within the walls thereof: your 
tower is also fenced round with salvation, which God liad prepared for walls and bulwarks. 
For as it is thus with Sion in general, so the same fortification has every believer, " Walk 
about Zion, and go round about her, tell the towers thereof, mark well her bulwarks, con- 
sider her palaces, that ye may tell it to the generations following ; for this God, is our God 
for ever and ever ; he will be our God even unto death," Psal. xlviii. 12, 13, 14. 

Moreover, the enemy cannot starve you, or cut off your provision, " for he shall dwell on 
high, his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks, bread shall be given him, aud his 
waters shall be sure," Isa. xxxin. IG. 

what comfort is here for you that wisely build on the Lord Jesus, whose faith stands in 
the wisdom and power of God ; though others are not able to finish, yet you shall^ but so 
much to this parable. 


Or what king going to war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whe- 
ther he be able with ten thousand to meet Mm thai cometh against him with twenty thou- 
sand ? 

Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desirelh con- 
ditions of peace. 

So likewise, whosoever he be of you, that forsakelh not all tha t he hath, he cannot be my 
disciple. — Luke xiv. 31, 32, 33. 

The design and purport of this parable is the same with that which precedes about build- 
ing a tower, &c., which I have opened according to that smaU light received. 
1 he scope of ggth being to put all men that purpose to become disciples of Christ, first 
bie^ '"' "' to count the cost, as to what they must part with, the ditficulties they must 
run, and what oppositions they must expect to meet withal in their Christian warfare. 

Though probably this may have more in it than the former : may not the king that comes 
with twenty thousand refer in a remote sense to the great God ? 

A sinner here is compared to a King, though he hath lost his kingdom, and is abdicated : 
all the glory and regal power he had in his first state, is gone ; he also is an enemy to God, 
and while he remains in his unconverted state wars against his Maker ; thougli his men (I 
mean) all his noble faculties, are corrupted, and have deserted and gone over to his enemy, 
the devil ; and now the mighty king, the dreadful God, is coming out against him, who is 
more than twenty thousand strong, nay. more than ten thousand times ten thousand stronger 
than he. what millions of millions of angels hath God, or what mighty armies hath the 
Lord of hosts ! but alas he needs not any of them ; himself alone is clothed with infinite 
power, might, and majesty, and can crush in a moment like a moth all the numberless 
numbers of men and devils ; therefore a sinner had best sit down, and consult wliether or 
no he is a match for this mighty and terrible king, the Lord of hosts : which alas he may 
soon understand he is not, though he had all the powers and armies on earth, and devils 
of bell at his command, to assist him : and tlierefore it his wisdom, before the great God 
comes too near towards him in a way of divine wrath, and vengeance, to lay down 
his arms, and accept of an embassage of peace, offered to him in and by Jesus Christ. 

ludeed the sinner ought to send to treat first, and submit himself upon any terms to the 
great God of heaven and earth ; but this the Lord foresaw man could not, would not do, 
and therefore out of his infinite love, bowels and pity, he sends his ambassadors to per- 
suade him to submit himself, and be reconciled to his otfended Creator : this holds a good 
analogy of faith : but by considering the scope and design of the parable, this is not chiefly 
(if at all) intended here, and therefore I shall pass this by, and speak to the parts briefly, 
by way of exposition. 


" Or what king going to make war," &c. That is, what man or what sinner going to war 
against sin, the world, the flesh and the devil : Our Lord se^s here to put some seeming 
lionour upon sorry man, by comparing him to a king ; he was so at first, even tlie king of 
this nether creation, all things were put into his hand. 

Going to war, " sitteth not first and consulteth whether he is able," &c. A sinner ought 
to consult his own strength, and consider that he with all the powers of his soul, is but ten 
thousand, and all deceitful and treacherous soldiers too. 

" Whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that comes against him with twenty 
thousand." Satan hath more than two to his one, nay, more than ten to his one. 

1. He hath all the whole hosts of the infernal lake, all the evil spirits, or s.itanstrong- 
many legions of fallen angels in his army, and all expert soldiers, and filled fui'man^'^y 
also with rage, against the poor, weak, and impotent sinner. tii.-in s.ii'nta 

2. The world in all its cursed snares and allurements its riches, honours, seiv'es."^™ 
and pleasures, Satan has no muster up, as another mighty army. 

3. This black king also hath got great strength in the poor sinner's own Satan has a 
house, or small isle, viz., inbred corruption, who have corrupted to his party own house, 
all the Strength aud powers of his soul. Now is it not necessary for him to 

consult his own strength, aud despair by any force or might of his own to prevail, in this 
great enterprize ? Certainly lie must desist and yield himself overmatched, or else look 
out for some assistance from some other prince, who may espouse his quarrel, aud help him ; 
and one also that is every way able to repel and vanquish tiie powerful prince of darkness, 
withall his foucesand mighty hosts; especially, considering that the kingthat comes out against 
him, is a most subtil enemy, that ever drew sword against God or sinners, and as he is 
crafty, and full of subtilty, and mighty strong and powerful, so also is filled full of rage, 
enmity, and malice against every poor mortal, that is resolved to desert his service, and 
return to the Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover, he is well armed, being called the strQjig man 
armed, Luke xi. 21. 

What now should a poor sinner do ? He cannot once suppose himself able to make 
head against all the powers of darkness, that are both within and without. And if he 
enters again into a covenant of peace, with sin, Satan, and the world, he is Noplace 
undone, (the parable runs not so far on all four as to allow him to do that) no, niust be 
no league must the sinner make either with sin, the devil, or this wurld. sin uor 

From hence note, Satan. 

Doct. 1. Tlie work or life of a Christian is a warfare. 

Doct. 2. That a sinner who designs to close with Christ, and become Ins disciple, 
should first consult matters well, and then take courage, and not fear any enemy, but re- 
solvedly pursue his great and good design. 

It is the last of these I purpose briefly to speak to or open. 

By consulting he may know, that he hath one with liim, that will asfist Iiim, so that 
he need not fear, nor desist his design and purpose, though his enemy be a hundred thou- 
sand strong, and he hath no strength, uor power of his own, to withstand so great a force. 
And no doubt this our blessed Lord chiefly designed to instruct all his followers in, by 
speaking this parable, or in making use of this allusion. 

The Philistines were greedy to know wherein Sampson's great strength lay, which when 
his Delilah knew, she, by cutting of his hair, destroyed his strength ; but no Delilah, no 
sin, no devil, can spoil or rob a true believer of his strength, which, though it lies not in 
his hair, yet it lies in his head (I mean) in Jesus Christ, who is the head of the body, the 
Church and every member thereof, and this he that begins to go forth on the spiritual 
warfare, ought to know, aud should sit down, and consult ; and hereby he will see, 
that he is able to maintain a war, and be a victor over sin, the flesli, the world, and the 
devil, though never so weak in himself; and without Christ can do nothing, John xv. 5. 
But what of this? Yet through Christ's strength, or in the power of his might, we can 
do all things, and therefore need not fear, but through the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be 
able to meet the black jfince, though he comes forth against us with all his hellish forces. 

But to speak more distinctly to this proposition, I shall 

1. Show particularly, what a poor sinner, who designs to enter upon this war, should 

2. Show, why he should first sit down, and consult with himself. &c. Sinners 

3A_„i„;,. should con- 

• Apply It. suit the 

1. He should consult the charge of this war : no war can be carried on {'hewar"^ 
without charge and expense, no more can this spiritual war, and this is 


hinted in the precedent parable. Building is costly as well as war ; we must resolve to 
lose all things, that we may^all our own, or expend all, give up all that we once counted 
gain to us, for Christ's sake. He that spares one beloved lust, will be worsted, and lose 
the field ; or is not willing to part with all he hath. 

II. He should consult what great hardship he must undergo. A soldier's life is attended 
with hardship many ways. (1.) He must not expect to lodge always on beds of down, 
but to lie on the cold ground. (2.) Also sometimes to fare hard. (3.) And not have that 
rest and sleep which others have. (4.) And likewise be exposed to cold and bitter storms 
in winter, and to hot scorching heat in summer. (5.) And to tedious and weary marches, 
as well as to the dangerous assaults of his enemy : so the Christian soldier must expect to 
endure gi'eat hardship. Hence Paul (speaking to Timothy) saith, "Thou therefore endure 
hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ," 2 Tim. ii. 3 ; as a Christian, and much more 
as a minister, he must look to meet with hardships ; the life of a Christian is no easy life ; 
what hardships have the people of God in every age met withal 1 like soldiers, they some- 
times have no certain dwelling place, as Paul saith, and as many poor French Protestants 
at this very time experience ; we are strangers and pilgrims ou earth. " I beseech ye, as 
strangers and pilgrims, abstain from i3eshy lusts, which war against the soul," 1 Pet. ii. 
11. (2.) Sometunes also they meet with days of famine, and years of drought, when the 
bread of thei)' souls seems to fail, there being no open vision, but seek the food of their 
souls with the peril of their lives. Nor do they always live on the fat things of God's 
house, but may want the light of God's countenance, and be ready to say, their hope is 
cut off. (3.) Besides they must not sleep as others do, but always be on their watch ; 
watch and pi ay always, &c. " Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids, 
deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bkd from the hand of the 
fowler. (4.) Moreover, what cold blasts and storms of alBiction, and temptations do be- 
lievers frequently meet with ! and also what scorching heat of persecution, which some 
faint hearted soldiers cannot endure. (5.) And sometimes by this means they are forced 
to long marches, even to fly from one city to another, nay, fi"om one kingdom to another, 
and that they may do by the directions their Captain hath given them. " When they per- 
secute you in this city, fly ye into another," &c. Matt. x. 23. 

III. They should considt the[cause of the war, and absolute necessity thereof. Sometimes 
there is such necessity to take up arms, that if it be not done, a kingdom may be lost: the 
justness and goodness of the cause, and necessity of a war, are to be considered well. 
The cause of So hkewise every soul that would be a soldier of Jesus Christ, should con- 
eln'an^'""*' sider, and carefully consult the righteousness, and justness of the war against 
Satan must sin, and the devil, &c. As also the necessity of it, they must take up arms, 

and fight, or else perish for ever : for these enemies design the murder of 
every soul, if possible, and put all to the sword. Sin and Satan are grand and merci- 
less tyrants, and such that we must resist, and take up arms against, and never have peace 
with, or otherwise remain declared rebels and traitors to the great God and King of hea- 
ven and earth. 

IV. They should also consult the length, or duration of the war. Whoever takes up 
arms, and lift themselves under the command of Jesus Christ, must resolve to abide his 
soldiers as long as they live ; this spii-itual war will last all our days. " And, we must re- 
sist unto blood, (if called to it) striving against sin," Heb. xii. 4. 

V. They must consider, at whose charge the war is to be carried on, and maintained, 
for if any think they are rich enough themselves to bear the expense thereof, they will 
certainly fail, and be soon overcome. The whole charge is borne by the Lord Jesus Christ, 
whose riches and treasure is infinite ; and therefore inexhaustible, so that we need not 
fear want of any thing needful for us ; " For the Lord God is a Sun and a shield, he will 
give gi-ace and glory, and no good thing will be withhold from them that walk uprightly," 
Psai. Ixxxiv. 11. 

The time yj They should considt, or well consider the manner and time, when they 

sidered, must list themselves under this glorious GeneraljKhe Lord of Hosts, and 

iTsted undM ^^°^ ^'^0, what armour they must put on, and what the armour is. For if 
Christ. they consult the excellency of the spiritual armour, they need not fear the 

force, power, and craft of the King that comes forth against them ; it is armour of proof. 
As to the time oi lifting themselves, it is just when Christ calls them, that is to-day, " while 
it is called to-day," Heb. iii. 13. Many are called at the third hour, that is in youth; 
these are always readily entertained : " I love them that love me, and they that seek me 
early, shall find me," Prov. viii. 17. They are lifted into some of Christ's companies, in 
and by baptism, where they must keep rank and file, and learn all the art of order, and 


spiritual discipline. The armour is, (1.) Their loins girt about with truth, Eph. vi. 14, 
17; being sincere, and always kept in the bounds of truth; and, (2.) Their feet shod 
with the preparation of the Gospel of peace ; (3.) Also they must take the shield of faith ; 
they must strive for due preparedness to every work and duty, with purpose of heart to 
cleave to the Lord ; and by'faith as with a shield resist all the fiery darts of the devil ; 
(4.) For an helmet take the hope of salvation, and (5.) Always have the sword of the 
Spirit in their baud, which is the word of God ; and with skill use it to the wounding all 
their enemies. (6.) Praying always, and watching thereunto with all perseverance. 

Vn. They must consult tlie strength, policy, wrath, and cruelty of Satan, We must 
and other enemies, which I have already hinted something about. stren'^th of 

VUI. The}' must consult, and be sensible of their own weakness, and never <>«<• enemies, 
engage in their own names, nor in their own strength ; but always " be strong in 
the Lord, and in the power of his might ;" as David came out against Gohah. So 
through God we shall do valiantly ; " My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the 
strength of my heart, and my portion for ever," Psal. Ixxiii. 26. To be strong in the 
Lord, &c., is always to trust in him, and rely upon him for wisdom, power, and aid at aU 
times ; we must not trust in that grace we have already received, nor in any of our own 
inherent grace, but in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 

IX. They must consult the power, and irresistible strength of their Captain, the Lord 
Jesus Christ. 

They must know, (1). That he is almighty ; and also have a firm persuasion of this. 

(2). Also act faith in him. 

(3). And know that he hath engaged himself, by his faithful promises, to help them, and 
fight for them at all times, " And that he will never fail them, nor forsake them," as he 
did not Joshua of old. Josh. i. 5. " Fear not, worm Jacob, I will help thee, saith the 
Lord. Fear thou not, for I am with thee, be not dismayed, for I am thy God," Isa. xU. 
10, 13, 14. 

X. They must consult the covenant of peace, the oath and promises of God the Father, 
unto Christ as Mediator, and in him to all beUevers. Moreover, how in that covenant all 
the elect are put into Christ's hand, not only to redeem them, to renew them, but also to 
aid, help, and assist, and to fight for them, yea, and to strengthen and support them, as 
likewise that the cause is his, and our enemies his enemies. 

XI. They must consult that relation they stand into their Captain, he hath espoused 
and marries them for ever that list themselves to fight under his banner, and that his love 
is an everlasting and an unchai^eable love, so that they need not fear his leaving them to 
war alone, or suffer their enemies to prevail ; who is a match for them, for no sin, no 
world, no devil, no enemy, but he can subdue and vanquish in a moment. 

XII. Tiey should also consult and know, that all their enemies are already conquered ; 
the king that comes forth against him, is a slain or conquered enemy, our blessed Captain 
hath led " him captive, and hath triumphed over principalities and powers, and made a 
shew of them openly." Sirs, believers are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ, 
Col. ii. 15. Because other warriors know not assuredly that they shall conquer, but all 
Christ's faithful sohUers are assured of the victory ; they have it already in their head, and 
they shall have it actually in their own persons, " they shall never perish, neither shall any 
pluck them out of my hand," &c. John x. 28. 

XIII. They should consult the honour of God, and the honour and exaltation, and 
glory of their blessed Captain, and prefer that above their lives. While we seek glory, he 
will seek our good ; should we be worsted, the dishonour would fall on our Lord Jesus 

XIV. Moreover, they should consult the nature of the crown for which they fight. 
Every samt, every soldier, shall be crowned with a crown of glory. " Be thou faithful 

unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life," Rev. ii. 10. " I have fought the 

good fight, I have kept the faith." Well, what of this ? " Henceforth there is laid up 
for me a crown of righteousness, which God the righteous Judge wiU give to me in that 
day," 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8. Aye, but Paul he was a nonsuch, a champion for Christ. Pray read 
the next words, " And not to me only, but to all them also that love his appearing." And 
not only a crown but they shall sit on his throne. " He that overcometh will I g^aut to sit 
with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am sat down with my Father in his 
throne," Rev. iii. 21. 

Now if thou consultest all these things, thou wilt not be afraid to go forth in this war- 
fare against that king that comes against thee with his twenty thousand, though thou art 


weak, and not one hundred strong, provided thou art well armed, a man lorn of God, and 
Why a Bin- united to Jesus Christ, and in covenant with him. 

"it'domi and Secondly, I snail give you one or two reasons, why sinners should sit down 
consult. and consult these things, before they enter into these wars. 

1. Because man is naturally a self-confident creature, and thinks he can do wonderful 
things by his own strength, but did he know how weak he is, and how deceitful his 
heart is, and all the powers of his soul, he woul'd not pride it so in himself, nor ever ven- 
ture to go forth in his own strength, against one who is so much stronger than he. Is sin- 
ful man a match for Satan ? or can he destroy and overcome sin who lies dead, or slain, at 
the feet of sin and the devil already ? No, for a man reneweil, one quickened, one that is 
also well armed, is no more able to vanquish his spiritual enemies, without Christ's special 
and immediate assistance, than a child is able to encounter with a giant. 

2. Becaue all that ever engaged these enemies, not consulting their own weakness, but 
went out in their own strength, were put to flight and utterly beat and spoiled. When 
Peter did, thus, he came off with broken bones, " Though all deny thee, yet will not I."' 
He shoidd first have sat down and consulted better, for none indeed denied bis Lord so 
basely as he did, and it was through self-confidence, or through trusting to his own strength, 
or not consulting his own impotence without special assistance. 

3. Because our Lord would have none of his soldiers be surprised, either by the power, 
wrath, malice, or subtilty of the enemy ; he hath therefore given us warning of the dan- 
ger, and discovered what aU his disciples may, nay, must look to meet with, that so when 
troubles come, persecution and trials come, none of them might be offended in him. 

4. It is that we might be ready prepared for the worst that can come. Fore-warned, 
fore-armed ; and that we might be much in prayer, and in the exercise of faith at all times 
of need, and utterly despair of our own abilities. " We had the sentence of death in our- 
selves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God that raiseth the dead," 2 
Cor. i. 9. 


Information, i This informs us, that the work of a Christian is no easy, but a very hard 
and difficult work. What is a harder undertaking, or attended with greater trouble than 
that of a soldier ? 

2. Moreover it may inform us, what the reason is, that so many professors who seem- 
ed zealous in times of peace and liberty have deserted in an hour of trial and persecutions. 
Alas, they did not sit down and consult what a mighty force, or what troops of temptation, 
&c., troops of opposition from without, and from within, they should meet withal. 

3. It may be of use to all poor convinced sinners that purpose to follow Jesus Christ, 
first of all to ponder and well weigh the nature, troubles, and difficulties of a Christian life, 
as I hinted under the foregoing parable. 

4. It also may tend to convince us of the great strength and power of Satan and other 
enemies of our souls, and the need we have to be well armed, and to stand always upon 
watch, and never give way to self-confidence. We (saith Paul) have no confidence in the 
flesh. J\iy brethren, to trust in ourselves is to depart from the Lord, and yield ourselves 
up into the hands of our enemies. For whom we (as considered in ourselves) are no 
match ; for if Satan can meet with us alone, or not in the strength and power of Christ, 
down we go. 

Terror. 5. It sliows also the woeful condition of such who are in a state of unbelief, who have 
not the power of Christ to help and assist them. Is it any wonder to see the devil (who 
rules and reigns in the hearts of the children of disobedience) taken captive by him at his 
will, and led away into all manner of sins and cursed abominations ? there is a multitude 
of this sort ; what can a naked man do to oppose, or vanquish a strong man armed ? 

6. It may likewise be improved by way of encouragement and comfort to all sincere 
believers. For, 

Ck)mfort. (1). From hence they may see what a good cause they are engaged in ; a good 
cause greatly animates pious soldiers in the face of all difficulties. 

(2). They may also sec, that though they are weak in themselves, and the enemy 
stronger than they, yet that in the Lord they have such strength, that the powers of hell 
and darkness cannot withstand. For, 1. The eternal God is on their side, the Father 
of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2. Jesus Christ the iUediator, their victorious Captain, com- 
mands and heads them ; he leads them on and encounters with all their enemies, whom 
none cau withstand, and who is not only a powerful Captain, but wise also, even the wis- 


dom of God, and can outwit Satan in all his devices. 3. The Holy Spirit is always at 
hand to assist, aid, and influence them in all attempts and just enterprises, who in power, 
&c., is equal with the Father and the Son. 4. They have all the heavenly hosts, I mean 
the holy angels, on their side, and to fight for them, who like liorses and chariuts of fire, 
are continually round about them, as they were about the prophet Elisha. " And when the ser- 
vant of the man of God was risen early and gone forth, behold an host compassed the city both 
with horses and chariots, and his servant said unto him, Alas! master, how shall we do? And 
he answered, fear not, for they that are with us are more than tliey that are against us. And 
Elisha prayed and said. Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see, and the Lord 
opened the eyes of the young man, and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots 
of fire roundabout Elisha," 2 Kings vi. 15, IG, 17. Thus the angels of the Lord are 
employed to save and defend all the people of God ; they encamp round about them that 
fear him, and that fight under the banner of the Lord Jesus Christ. 5. They have also 
all the prayers of the Lord's people continually for them ; there is not one believer, but 
hath the constant prayers of the universal church for him, and against his enemies, whose 
prayers are always most prevalent with God. This was that fire which went out of the 
mouths of the two witnesses. " And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of 
their mouths, and devoureth their enemies," Rev. xi. 5. Their prayers are like fire to 
burn and destroy ; for as none can stand before consuming fire, so none can stand before 
the prayers of the saints of God, when God fires their prayers with his Spirit. Now all 
these things being considered, what little cause- have any poor believers to fear what force 
of hell comes against them ? besides, they are sure of victory. But so much as to this use- 
ful parable. 


No man putfeth a new piece of cloth into an old garment, for that which is put to it to Jill it 
up, taketh from the garment, and thi rent is made worse. Matt. ix. 16, 17. 

Neither do men put ueiv wine into old bottles, &c., Mark ii. 21. No man also seweth apiece 
of cloth to an old garment, &c. 

And he spake also a parable unto them : no man putteth a new piece of a garment upon an old. 

— Luke V. 36, 37. 

Our annotators think that our Saviour refers here in these two parables ^°°\^ •*"- 

A 1 1 . 1-11 , p , , . T notations. 

to What precedes immediately the two verses before our text, about his dis- 
ciples not fasting : viz. " It is not (say they) yet a time of mourning for my disciples, yet 
do not envy them, there will shortly come a time, when as to my bodily ■,t,e scope 
presence I shall be taken away from them ; then they shall mourn. The se- of the words 
cond thing (say they) lie illustrateth by a two-fold similitude, — viz. Should "^^"'^ 
I impose upon them the severe exercises of religion, it might discourage them, and be a 
temptation to them to look back. — Tiiis is a portion of Scripture, which much comniendeth 
prudence to ministers \n teaching their people as they are able to bear, &c. Though I 
have a great value for these learned men, in many things they have said upon several dark 
texts, yet I cannot agree with tliem as to the design of our Saviour in these two parables, 
(there being nothing m my judgment, in what they say, that is correspondent witli the 
design of our Saviour herein) for could not the disciples of Christ bear the duty of fasting, 
&c., without being put upon temptation to leave their Master? Strange ! had not they a 
principle of grace in them sufiicient to bear them up in discharge of that duty ? or had our 
Lord not power to strengthen them in it, if he had seen good to have enjoined it upon 

2. Were the disciples' garments old garments, or such that needed a new piece of cloth 
to niend'them, or were they like old liottles that would not hold new wine ? and where are 
hard duties of religion, I pray, compared to winu ? No doubt the reason why Christ's dis- 
ciples did not fast, was from the reason he gives, ver. 15, "Because the The reason 
liridegi-oom was yet with them:" but he doth not allude to that matter in why ciirisfs 
these two symbolical allusions ; for from that foot of an account these similies dla ''nit 
bear no correspondent signifiation, but must allude to something else of a quite "^''" ''"'''• 
different nature. 


1. Therefore I shall give you (as I understand) the main scope and coherence of these 
parabolical allusions, or the drift and design of our Saviour in them. 

2. Explain all the terms and parts herein contained. 

3. Take notice of such truths or propositions that necessarily arise therefrom. 

4. And apply the whole. 

The scope First, I conclude that our Lord rather alludes in these similies to what he 
ofihis.pa- said in ver. 12, 13, 14. The Pharisees were offended with him, because 
he ate with publicans and sinners : " Why eateth your Master with pubUcans 
and sinners ?" ver. 11. They were so righteous in then- own eyes, that they despised 
others. And this made our Lord say, that God " will have mercy and not sacrifice ; for 
I am come, not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance, " ver. 13. The Pharisees 
thought that the whole of religion lay in the discharge of duties, in sacrifices, prayer, 
fasting, and other hke performances ; and upon this the disciples of John came and asked 
him, why they and the Pharisees fasted often, and his disciples fasted not at all, ver. 14. 

Now, to convince them of the unprofitableness of all duties of religion performed by un- 
renewed persons, he brings in these two parables : the Pharisees, as if he should say, 
think themselves holy and righteous persons, and they pray, and fast, but it is all in vain, 
whUst they remain in their old nature. For all theu- own righteousness is but as filthy 
rags, or like an old rotten garment, which cannot be mended by any acts of obedience, as 
sacrifices, prayer, fasting, &c. 

And (2) they are like old broken bottles, that cannot hold new wine, but will let it aU 

So much shall suffice as to the scope hereof. 

Secondly, We shall open and explain the parts and terms contamed in this two-fold 

1. Show what is meant by the old garment. 

2. What is meant or intended by the new piece of cloth put to the old garment. 

3. What by the rent being made worse. 

4. Show what is intended by old bottles. 

5. And what by new wine. 

G. What by putting in new wine. 

"No man putteth a new piece, a new garment, on an old," verse 16. 

1. By an old garment, I understand is meant a man's own righteousness : 

man's own the righteousness of an unrenewed person may be compared to an old gar- 
righteous- jjjgjjf 

ness 13 com- *"^ "• 

pared to a 1. Because it is as old as Adam ; it is that righteousness which we derived 

garmen . from him in his fallen estate, that garment which is near six thousand years 
old, must needs be looked upon to be very old. 

2. Because it is worn out, being rotten, rent, and torn, and abominably defiled, filthy, 
polluted, so that it stinks in the nostrils of God, and renders such who have it upon them, 
loathed also in his sight, as an old filthy garment doth render a person in the sight of 

3. An old garment pre-supposeth that it was once a new, a firm, and a good garment ; 
and so was man's own righteousness in the state of innocency, a new and beautiful gar- 
ment ; our first parents were curiously clothed, as they came out of God's hand, before 
they smned, and fell from that state ; but now that clothing or garment which should cover 
their souls, is rotten, and torn, and good for notliing. 

4. An old garment needs mentling if it can be mended ; so such that know not how to 
buy them a new one, strive to piece and patch then- old. Thus many sinners strive (as 
did the Pliarisees) to mend their old garment, and patch it together with their duties, as 
prayers, fasting, and giving to the poor ; as some now in our days strive to patch their 
old garment, by putting a piece of a new garment to it, viz., part of Christ's righteousness 
to their own ragged righteousness, which is, alas, so rotten that it will not hold together 
to cover then- nakedness in the sight of God, nor will it bear a piece of Christ's righteous- 
ness ; many sinners are ignorant that Christ's righteousness cannot be parted, nor their 
own bear mending ; these cannot mix together; neither will they beg, or seek to him for 
a whole new garment that hath it ready for them ; but unless they can purchase a gar- 
ment with their own money, they are so proud that they will rather wear their old one : 
nor do they see any need of a new one, but only to have the old mended with a piece of 
Christ's righteousness. 

Quest. But why is righteousness compared imto a garment ? 


Answ. 1. I answer. Because a garment is to cover nakedness, so a man 
sees that lie is naked in the sight of God without a righteousness, since the RightMns- 
fall, and therefore, like Adam, he goes about to sew fig-leaves together: red'to a 
I mean, he labours to get a rigliteousness of his own making to cover him. garment. 

2. Because a garment is that which covers the shame of msiakind : now ^ ^arroe 
sin, or the horrid guilt of a profane and debauched life, is ihe shame of any covers our 
soul ; as Solomon saith, " Sm is the shame of any people." And to cover *''*°'<^- 
this shame some poor wretches pray, fast, read the word of God, and give alms, and do 
many other religious duties, which like a garment is to hide or prevent that shame or re- 
proach their sins they think otherwise will expose them unto ; though others like to mere 
brutes commit all manner of wickedness and are not ashamed ; but are Iil%e such as the 
prophet complains of; " Were they ashamed when they committed all abominations ? nay, 
they were not ashamed, neither would they blush," Jer. viii. 12. 

3. Righteousness may be compared to a garment, because of the usefulness of it. 

A garment is good to keep off piercing heat, or the scorching beams of the sun in sum- 

Even so men need a spiritual garment to keep off the scorching beams of God's wrath, 
though no garment of our own making can do this. No, no, none but the complete robe 
of Christ's righteousness. 

Because our righteousness cannot answer all the demands of God's holy law. Neither 
doth it suit with the purity of God's nature, nor can it satisfy his offended justice. 

4. Rigliteousness may be compared to a garment, in respect of ornament ; if it be a fair 
and rich robe, it renders the person that hath it on very comely to all that see him. 

So doth a perfect and complete righteousness render the soul that hath it on very comely 
in the sight of God. 

But if it be a ragged and filthy garment it renders the person that wears it to be poor 
and contemptible ; and so doth a man's old rotten and filthy robe of his own righteoiisness 
render him odious in God's sight. 

5. Righteousness may be compared to a garment, because we judge of the honour, 
greatness, nobleness, and grandeur of a person, by the garment he wears ; " Those that 
are clothed in soft raiment are in king's houses," Matt. xi. 8 ; Luke vii. 25. 

Such who are clothed with the rich robe of righteousness are persons of no mean quality ; 
they are more honourable than their brethren, or more excellent than their neighbours. 
Behevers are king's children, and are allowed to dwell in his house, and to be richly 
clothed ; they are the most excellent in all the earth, though they are contemptible ones 
in the sight of the ungodly of the earth.. 

6. Righteousness may be compared to a garment, because a garment tends to keep a 
man warm in the winter. 

So a perfect and complete righteousness tends to keep the soul warm, such have divine 
heat in them, they are wann in the winter of afflictions, and in cold storms of tribulation ; 
and in the sharp time of Satan's temptations ; it is the righteousness of Christ in justifica- 
tion, also inherent holiness and sincerity in sanctification, keeps believers warm. It is the 
thoughts of these, the knowledge of these, that comforts and cherishes the souls of true 
Christians in such a time, like as a garment comforts and cherishes the body in a cold and 
bitter frost and snow. 

7. A garment preserves the body of him that hath it on from thorns and ^ varment 
briers, as he passeth though a wilderness, or the like. So the righteousness preserves 

of God preserves the soul from Satan's darts, and from those pricking thorns ^oU|n]g so 
of divine wrath ; and the scratching briers of a wounded and accusmg con- d"th Christ's 

science. ness pre- 

But an old rotten ragged garment, as a man passes through briers and ^""'^ "'^ 
thorns will not, cannot preserve him from wounds or sore scratches he may 
meet withal ; for such a garment cannot preserve itself, but will be torn to 
pieces thereby. ^^,^ 

bo the righteousness of the creature, or our own righteousness, that sorry garment 
old garment, cannot presers-e the soul from the piercing thorns of divine ven- gerte the 
geance, nor of Satan's temptations ; nay, but justice, the law, and divine wrath body, 
will soon tear that garment to pieces, nor can it preserve us from Satan's fiery 
darts ; for notwithstanding this covering, these thorns will soon wound the soul to death. 

If otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, &c. 


Quest. What is meant by the rent, or as St. Mark saith, matle worse ; " And the new 
agreeth not with the old," Mark ii. 21, according to St. Luke? 

What is 1. Answ. I answer, it may represent the state of all self-righteous persons, 

tSe^'ren'/ ''^^0 seek to patch their old garment by that they call new obedience, or by 
made worse. Christ's merits or righteousness added to their own righteousness : for by this 
means their state is rendered worse than the state of the profane, or ungodly sinners, or 
that of Publicans and Harlots, as our Saviour shows, the Pharisees made their proselytes 
" twofold more the children of the devil than they were before," Matt, xxiii. 15, a greater 
rent makes the garment worse. So patching our old spiritual garment after this manner, 
makes the state of the soul worse, (i. e.,) it causes a gi-eater wound, or their state to be 
more dangerous, and they more unlikely to be cured, or brought to beheve, and wholly to 
rely upon Christ. 

How the 1. Made worse, because such, like the pharisees, think their state is better, 

•■^"J '* and that the breach between them and the great God is now made up ; whereas 

worse. it is no such thing ; by patching their old garment with duties, or with part of 

Christ's rigliteousness, they conclude all is well, and hence they are called such that are 
whole, and that think they need no Physician : what said the proud pharisee, " God I 
thank thee I am not as other men, nor as this publican," Luke xviii. 11. 

2. Their state is worse, or the wound or rent is worse, because through this means they 
see no need to look out for a garment, no, they have, they conclude, so well patched up 
their old one, they have no occasion for a new garment ; " They being ignorant of God's 
righteousness, went about to establish their own righteousness, and have not submitted 
themselves to the righteousness of God," Rom. x. 3. 

3. A worse rent, because the old garment will not, cannot mix together with this new 
piece of righteousness, nor the new with that ; the old is so rotten it will not hold sewing ; 
our Saviour refers to such an old garment that is good for nothing, it is eaten of moths, or 
rotten. Cannot grace be joined to works ? grace and works, my brethren, will not mix or hold 
together ; " And if by grace, then it is not by works, otherwise grace is no more grace ; 
but if it be of works, then it is no more of grace, or otherwise work is no more work," Kom. 
xi. (J. There is no mixing of the works of the creature with the free grace of God : the 
righteousness of Christ will not mix with our righteousness in our justification before God. 
For one of these tends to destroy the other ; for whatsoever comes free is of grace alone, 
and it is free ; but that which is of works is a debt, or else grace is not grace, or work is 
not work. 

Yet we have some in our days, like those in the Apostles' time, who strive to mis these 
two together, and this will in time make a greater rent in their consciences, if ever God be 
pleased to open their eyes, or they will have gi-eater condemnation ; sad it is to see how 
some Christians seek justification by Christ, and by their own faith and smcere obedience. 

" Neither do men put new wine into old bottles." 

Quest. What is meant by old bottles ? 

Answ. I answer, the old heart, the carnal and unrenewed heart. " I am like a new bot- 
tle," &c., that is, my heart. Why is the old unrenewed heart compared to an old broken 

Why the 1. I answer, because a bottle is a proper receptacle of liquor, as of oil or 

compared to wuie, &c., SO is the heart of man a proper receptacle of divine knowledge, 
a bottle. grace, joy, peace, comfort, and the like. 

2. Because a bottle of itself, is an empty thing, it must be filled, or have liquor put in- 
to it, before there is, or can be any in it ; so is the heart of man of itself naturally empty 
of whatsoever is truly good, spiritually good ; grace must be put into it before one drop 
will he there ; all naturally are without God, " without Christ, and without hope," Eph. 
ii. 12. 

3 Because a broken bottle cannot hold new wine ; no more can an old and unrenewed 
heart hold or retain saving peace, joy, and comfort, but the heart must be made new. 

Quest. Why doth our Saviour say men do not put new wine into old bottles, for some 
old bottles will hold new wine as well as such that are new, and not break nor spill the 

^neisnot Answ. I answer, our blessed Lord it is evident refers to bottles that are 

put into cracked or broken bottles, or such bottles that are very old and rotten ; and 

houiea!^ the old heart, the unregenerate heart, is like to such a broken, cracked, or old 

rotten bottle, that will not hold or retain the wine of divine consolations, or the wine of 


heavenly comfort, if it were put in ; unless at the same time the heart was renewed, it would 

all presently run uut again like a leaky vessel ; lleb. ii. 1 ; nay, grace itself (was not the heart 
reuuwedj should it be put into the heart, would be utterly lost; but grace put int.. lii.j IkmvL, 
new wakes it in an instant. A cracked or broken buttle must be uew made, or if it be a glass 
bottle, it must be by the glass-maker be melted down ; su must the ohl unrenewed heart, like 
a cracked bell, or cracked glass bottle, melted down by the divine Spirit, and be new cast 
or uew made, before God will pour in the wine of heavenly consolation, the heart must be 
melted in the fire of God's Spirit, there is no mending of it. Some strive to amend the 
old garment, and the old bottle, but it cannot be done ; we must have a whole new gar- 
ment, the righteousness of Christ for our justification, and a new heart through the Spirit's 
operation, for our sanctification. 

" Puts new wine," &c. what 

Quest. 5. What is meant by the new wine ? meant 

Answ. By the uew wine here may be meant all those choice blessings which Jiai^ 
are the concomitants of grace. 

Wine being put in scripture for all sorts of choice things ; " buy wine and milk," &c., 
Isa. Iv. 1. Peace, inward joy, or those consolatious of God that are not small, may be 
here intended ; and this wine is only put into new bottles, (i. e.,) into renewed or regene- 
rated hearts. 

1. Wine is a choice thing, the choicest of drink ; so inward joy, peace, and spiritual con- 
solation, are most choice things. 

'■i. Wine is the fruit of a good tree, or of a precious plant. ^nsohIt!on» 

So inward joy, peace, and spiritual consolations, are the fruits of the true wine of God are 
Jesus Christ, or of the Holy Spu-it, and grace thereof, John xv. 1. towmef'' 

3. Wine is highly esteemed for its most excellent virtue ; it hath a pleasant 
taste, and strengthens decayed nature. 

So the comforts and consolations of God are highly prized, or esteemed by every true 
believer ; they taste most sweet to a regenerate heart, and also greatly tend to strengthen 
the soul in times of weakness ; " The joy of the Lord is yom- strength," Nehemiah viii. 10. 

4. Wine makes glad the heart of man, so these spiritual consolations rejoice the new 
creature. " Thou hast put gladness into my heart, more than in the time that their corn and 
wine increased," Psal. iv. 7. He that drinks of this wine, though sad before, will forget 
his sorrows. Note also, that 

1. "No man having drunk of old wine," viz., Luke v. 39; the delights of the flesh, 
carnal pleasures, or earthly comforts, straightway desu-eth new, that is true spiritual joy 
and consolation ; no, he cannot straightway, or presently upon drinking the old, tasting 
the seeming sweetness of that, loving and relisliing of that, before he is changed, or has 
got a new heart, desire those joys, and spiritual consolations of Christ and of the Holy 

" Putteth new wine into new bottles." 

6. Quest. What may be meant by putting new wine into new bottles ? 

Answ. I answer ; it may be intended or meant, Christ putting divine consolations into 
a new heart ; at that very time the Spirit brmgs the soul into union with Christ, and the 
lieart is changed, and so receives and retams those spiritual comforts and consolations ; God 
makes the heart new, or gives a new heart, and then fills it with his precious wine of joy 
and peace/ 

Tims I have opened all the parts of this parable ; and should proceed to raise one or two 
propositions from hence, but shall say no more at this time. 


No man putteth a new piece of cloth to an old garment. Or as Luke reads it, No man 
puts a piece of a new garment upon an old. — Luke v. 36. 

I HAVE already opened all the terms and parts of this parable, and I shall now observe 
one or two points of doctrine from hence. 

Doct. 1. That such who would be saved and accepted of God, must not thmk to patch 


their old garment, by putting of a part or piece of Christ's righteousness, or liis merits 
unto it, but must throw it quite away in point of justification; or that Christ and his 
righteousness, as a whole new garment, must he put on, before they, or any of their duties, 
prayer, fastings, &c., can he accepted of God. 

1. This I shall endeavour to prove. 

2. And then apply it. 

Why the I- Because grace and works will not, cannot mix together, they being di- 

oid parment rectly of a quite different nature, the one will destroy the other, like as a 
cannot be'a- piece of a new garment would destroy an old, rotten, moth-eaten gai-ment (or 
mended. make the rent worse) but because I opened this the last day, in the exposition 

of the terms, I shall pass it by now. 

II. Because aU the saints of God have ever esteemed or looked upon all their own 
righteousness, in point of justification, as filthy rags ; " But we are aU as an unclean thing, 
and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags," Isa. Ixiv. 6. 

Some perhaps wiD say, that these persons that the prophet speaks of, were not believers, 
nor such who had arrived to faith and sincere obedience, but were ungodly persons, hypo- 
crites, or such like people. I answer. They were such who could call Gud Father, see 
ver. 8. " But now, Lord, thou art our Father." Moreover, the prophet includes him- 
self amongst the rest ; though it is true, at that time they were under great declensions, 
yet by comparing this text with others, it appeareth very clear, that all tlie inherent right- 
eousness of the best of saints, when compared to the righteousness of Christ, is but as filthy 
rags, or as mere dung." See what the holy apostle Paul saith ; " Yea, doubtless, and I 
Gospel obe- accouut all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ 
dience, or Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count 
inherent them but dung, that I may win Christ," Phil. iii. 8. He did not only dises- 

nlss'asflt isem all his Jewish privilege, and legal righteousness, which he had before 
thy rags, convert«d, and counted them as dung, in respect of his justification before God, 
pare^to'Se ^i"'' ^^^^ ^^ showE he did not ascribe his being accepted and justified in God's 
righteons- sight to his own obedience, or to that inherent righteousness which he had at- 
tained unto after he was renewed, and had so many years served God in his 
apostolic office and ministry ; he puts in all, both what he had attained before grace, and 
after grace ; " Yea doubtless I account," I do now account of aU things which I have now 
been helped to do, or is wrought in me, as dung in comparison of Clurist, and the righte- 
ousness of God in him. But know, Paul did not thus account of his own inherent holi- 
ness, &c., simply considered in itself; no, no, for as so considered, sanctification being the 
work of the Spirit, is to be highly valued ; but in respect had to his trusting in that, or de- 
pendance upon it, touching his justification and acceptation with God, or in comparison of 
the righteousness of Christ, which alone (without his inherent sanctification) justified him 
at the bar of God, or in God's sight. 

III. Because to mix works and grace together, or our own righteousness with the 
righteousness of Christ, is directly opposite to the design of God in the gospel (or in the 
glorious contrivance of om- salvation by a Mediator) and it tends to eclipse the doctrine of 
free grace, and so to take off the crown from Christ's head ; " By grace ye are saved, 
through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God," Eph. ii. 8. It is alone of 
the free favour of God, from the first to the last, wholly of grace, exclusive of anything 
of the creature ; that so God might have all the glory unto himself; "Not by, works of 
righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us," &c.. Tit. iii. 
5. " That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of 
eternal life," ver. 7. No works either ceremonial or moral, have any hand in our justi- 
fication in God's sight. 

IV. Because to jom any thing of the creatui'e's with Christ's merits or obedience, is to 
let in boasting, or to make way for men to glory in themselves ; " Where is boasting 
then ? it is excluded ; by what law ? law of works ; nay, but by the law of faith," Rom. 
iii. 27. If my own old, or new personal and inherent righteousness, is joined ■nith the 
merits of Christ, or through the virtue of his merits it justifies me, then I have room to 
boast : as the apostle speaks of Abraham, " If Abraham were justified by works, he had 
whereof to glory, but not before God," Rom. iv. 2. But according to the doctrine that 
some men preach, a man's own righteousness is that which covers him, or, that hides his 
nakedness ; and Clirist's righteousness is but to amend a hole, or to patch then- old gar- 
ment : nay, and it is their own hand also that puts this new piece to their old garment. 
For the Spirit of God will not piece their old garment, he only seeks Christ's honour ; 


" He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine and show it to you," John xvi. 14. 
Will the Holy Ghost give part of the glory of our salvation to the creature ; Now the 
tendency of their doctrine is this, viz. That I may be saved, I may thank God, (Christ 
has made God reconcilable) but if I am saved, 1 may thank myself, for my diligence in 
acting faith, and yielding sincere obetlience to the gospel procures it ; for they affirm, God 
doth no more for the salvation of them that are "saved, than he doth to save them that 
perish ; the will of man being left to determine the wiiole issue of the ministry of the gos- 
pel ; not that the Holy Spirit inclines or bows the will, but he leaves the will to act ac- 
cording to its own natural powers, and so this must needs open a door to boasting. But 
were it thus, certainly not one soul would ever be saved, because the will of all men natu- 
rally is so depraved, con-upted, and carried away to sin and vanity, that nothing but the 
mighty power of God put forth by the Spirit, can remove that averseness, prejudice, and 
enmity which is in it, to God, and the things of God. 

V. Because such a garment is a dishonourable and a contemptible garment, The saints 
for believers to be clothed with. Doth it, my brethren, become king's chil- patched 
dren to be clothed with a patched coat ? Shall samts, who are the sons and garment 
daughters of the God of heaven and eai-th, the true heirs of glory, be clothed ?^y thim'. 
with their old over-worn rags of their own righteousness, pierced with part of 

Christ's righteousness ? What a dishonour would it be to Christ, to work out a righte- 
ousness to no other purpose, or end, than to piece our old garment. Brethren, the robe 
with which the spouse, the king's daughter, is said to be clothed with, is all made of 
" Wrought gold, and raiment of needle-work," Psal. xlv. 9, 13, which shows 
the curiousness, richness, and most excellency of it ; and how contrai-y is this ^",,™'"', ^ 
to an old rotten garment pieced, and patched together with a new piece of an ow 
cloth. Would a man patch an old garment with a new piece of cloth of ^^tha" 

gold ? piece of 

Object. " The king's daughter is all glorious within," therefore this must go'Jd. ** 
refer to her own inherent righteousness, Psal. xlv. 13. 

Answ. I answer, we deny not but that may refer to the glory of the new creature, and 
so to the sanctification of the Holy Spirit ; but pray observe the very next words, " her 
clothing is wrought gold ;" this is not that righteousness wrought in her, no, but that 
righteousness, or that robe which is put upon her. As it is said in another place, " He 
hat'n clothed me with the robe of righteousness," Isa. Ixi. 10; hence it is called " right- 
eousness unto aU, and upon all them that believe," Kom. iii. 22. Our justifying righteous- 
nessis not a righteousness inherent, a righteousness wrought within us, but a righteous- 
ness wrought without us by the active and passive obedience of Jesus Christ, and put upon 
us, or imputed to us by the Lord. 

VI. Because our justifying righteousness hath no flaw, no rent, no seam, no spot in it ; 
but it is all glorious, holy, and pure ; now to add any part of Christ's new robe, to our 
old garment, cannot change that which is ours ; no, ours would still be sinful and abomi- 
nable as ever, in the sight of God's most pure and piercing eyes. Brethren, what think 
you, can a king dehght in his bride, to see her clothed in an old patched garment, though 
it should be " spangled i,vith pearls, and rich diamonds ?" See Isa. Ixii. 4, 5. 

VII. Because that righteousness by which we are justified, is said to be the " righteousness ' 
of God," Rom. x. 3 ; nor the essential righteousness of God. But 

1. It is called " the righteousness of God," Phil. iii. 9, in contradis- Jf„*ht«)UB-*' ° 
tinction to the righteousness of a mere creature. ne"s8 is called 

2. Because it is the righteousness which God requires (viz. a perfect ousnefs'of 
and complete righteousness) in order to our justification in his sight. God. 

3. Because it is that righteousness which comports, and every way suits with the holi- 
ness, justice, and all other blessed attributes of God ; God's infinite justice and holiness 
cannot find the least flaw, spot, or defect in the righteousness of Christ ; but bis holiness 
and justice would soon espy it (the old garment, though never so well pieced) very vile, 
defective, and abominable, so as to be abhorred by him, and him that trusteth to it, or 
has it on, how firmly soever it be patched. 

4. Because it is that righteousness which the wisdom of God hath found out, and none 
hut he could find it ; none could buy it or procure it with gold or silver, nor any other 
ways ; no, neither men nor angels. 

5. Because it is a righteousness which answereth all the demands of the holy moral 
law of God, not only the penal jiart thereof, (as these raen preach) but also the preceptory 
part thereof ; excluding the active obedience of Christ from being any part of that righte- 


ousness, which is imputed to us, and wliere is the sanction of the hiw ; or how is the law 
made glorious by Christ's obedience to our justification. " The Lord is well jileased for his 
righteousness" sake, he will magnify the law, and make it honourable," Isa. xlii. 21. 

Brethren, do we who assert justification by Christ's active and passive obedience make 
void the law ; is the law violated? The apostle's answers, " God forbid, we establish the 
law," Eom. iii. 31, inasmuch that we attain through faith to a perfect righteousness, by 
being interested in the must perfect and complete righteousness of Christ, in respect of 
the precep tory and penal part thereuf. And in that also because hereby every type is ful- 
filled; and particularly those that disallow of all mixtures, as the ploughing with an ox 
and an ass, or to wear a garment of linen and woollen, or to cause beasts to gender of 
divers kinds ; clearly intimating that nothing of the creature must be put to, or mixed 
with the righteousness of Christ in our justification before God (as well as all mixtures in 
divine worship) are here forbidden. 

6. It may also be called the righteousness of God, because it is such a righteousness 
which wholly tends to exalt the glory of God, and his own free and undeserved grace and 
favour, and also doth abase the creature. 

7; Because it is that righteousness which God hath ordamed, instituted, and appointed 
to justify us in his sight. 

VIII. Christ's righteousness alone must be put on, as a whole new garment pieced and 
patched with it, because that righteousness by which we are justified, is a righteousness 
without the law, and without works : " But now the righteousness of God without the 
law is manifested, &c., that is, without their own personal obedience to the moral law, or 
any other law whatsoever. " But to him that works not, but believeth on him that jus- 
fieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness," Rom. iv. 5. Were it by works, 
or by our own righteousness, salvation would be of debt, as Paul affirms. " Now to him 
that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt," Eom. iv. 4. Though we 
are not taken off of doing works of righteousness by the free grace of God, yet we are taken 
off of it as to that end, purpose, and design, some speak of, (i.e.,) it is not that we may 
be justified thereby, nor is it a condition that procures our interest in Christ, or that gives 
us a right and title to eternal life ; but it is to glorify God, and to demonstrate our faith 
in, and thankfulness unto God in Jesus Christ. 

IX. Because, had our own righteousness any part or share in clothing us in our justifi- 
cation, how could the righteousness of another be said to be imputed to us, or Christ be 
said to be the " Lord our righteousness, or be made of God unto us wisdom, righteousness, 
sanctification, and redemption," 1 Cor. i. 30. As Christ was not made sin for us by any 
sin inherent in him, so neither are we made righteous by any righteousness inherent in us, 
but by the righteousness of Christ imputed to us. 

X. Because then also it would not be by the righteousness of one man that we are 
clothed or justified : " Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to 
condemnation ; even so by the righteousness of one the free-gift came upon all men unto 
justification of life," Rom. v. 18. That is, as all the seed of the first Adam were brought 
into a state of condemnation by the imputation of his first sin unto them : even so the free 
gift of righteousness came upon all the seed of the second Adam by the imputation of his 
righteousness to their justification, unto eternal life. And as all in Adam died, so in 
Christ, or all in him, are made alive. Now I say, were it every man's own righteousness, 
through Christ's merits, that which clothes and justifies them, then it could not be said 
to be alone done by the righteousness of one, which the apostles asserts it is. " For as 
by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so. by the obedience of one shall 
many be made righteous," Rom. v. 19. Adam as a public person brought death on all 
his posterity, whom he represented : so Christ as a pubUc person, brought life to aU 
whom he representeth, viz., all the elect, or such that are given to him for his seed. 

XI. Christ and his righteousness, as a whole new garment, must be put upon us, &c., 
and not an old garment patched with part of a new one. 

1. Because " all things are become new," 2 Cor.'v. 17 ; wholly new, a new covenant, 
a new priesthood, a new Church-state, and new church membersh^j, and a new right to 
that membership : so a new robe of righteousness, to clothe all that are to be members of 
this new Gospel Church. 

Argu. If all things in the new covenant are new, wholly new, then a whole new robe 
to clothe us, and not an old one pieced with Christ's new garment, or by his passive 
obedience or merits ? 

Obj. It is for our new obedience we contend ; we do not plead for the righteousness of 
the old law. 


Answ. I answer, what though tliis be so, tliat }-ou do not pkaJ for the oM garment, 
as you perceive it is rent, or torn before conversion ; yet you plead fur it as it is piecej 
or amended by the Spirit's operations. It is but the old one new vamped, it is the fiibt 
Adam's still, (I mean) the righteousness of mere sinful creatures, though wrought by him 
by the Spirit's assistance, or patched by the help of divine grace. We will grant them, 
that the righteousness of sanctiiication is a new garment, yet that is not without spot, or 
stain ; besides that needs daily to be amended ; but if they intend this by the new gar- 
ment, then they confound justification with sanctification, and also then no believer is com- 
plete, or without sin in point of justitication in this life, nor until he hath his sanctification 
perfect, or complete. But how then can Christ's spouse be said to be undefiled, and to have 
no spot in her ? 


First I infer from lience that mankind, or all men and women naturally are ' inference, 
blind and wofuUy ignorant of God's righteousness, in tliat they go about to estabhsh tlieir 
own, as the Jews of old did, Rom. x. 3 ; they think by amending their ways, by their 
faith, repentance, and reformation of life ; by their prayers, tears, anil good deeds, to be 
accepted and justified with God; which, alas, all they who so do, (i.e.,) rest upon these 
things, or that trust to these duties, or thus seek to piece their old garment ; they will cer- 
tainly perish for ever, as the Jews did. 

2. Yet let none conclude, that I hereby discourage any persons from en- ' inference. 
deavouring after a reformation of life, or to amend their lives ; no, God forbid ; the light 
of natural conscience doth excite all who hearkens unto it, to c st off all acts of sin, and 
to live sober and moral lives, as well as the word of God presses this upon their consciences. 
But the purport of what I have laboured to do, is to take all men off from resting up.m, 
or trusting unto such amendment of life for justification, or salvation : nay, and to show 
the danger such are in, who think to piece and patch their old garment by holy and re- 
ligious duties, or inherent righteousness, or in joining their own works, faith and obedience, 
with Christ's merits, or by walking up to the gospel rule as a new and mild law of evan- 
gelical hoUness. 

'V 3. We also infer, that new obedience, and a holy conversation, though it be ' inference, 
part of our sanctification, yet it is no part of our justification ; and that all such that dif- 
fer from us here, do but go about to patch the old garment, though it be done by the as- 
sistance of grace, or the Spirit of God. 

4. Moreover we infer, that justification and sanctification are two distinct * inference, 
things, and ought not to be confounded together ; and that sanctification as a garment may 
be amended, or become more perfect ; but that justification is always one and the same, 
and is complete ; it being the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to all that do 

5. That for any to trust to a reformed life, &c., is nothing else than for information. 
a man to endeavour to piece his old garment, as the Pharisees did ; and that no duties, 
as prayer, givings alms, fasting, and the like, can render any man to be in a good condition, 
or in a saved state. Because his own personal righteousness cannot satisfy the justice of 
God, for the sins he committed in times past, nor can he live (let him do his utmost) with- 
out sin, for the time to come . by which means it follows, that all he doth, the justice and 
holiness of God, and his just and righteous law will find so much sin and filth to cleave unto 
him, that God will abhor him and all his righteousness, and condemn him to everlasting 
flames.' Besides, it is to mix God's pure gold with the sinner's filthy dross ; or to sow 
Christ's glorious robe of righteousness to his filthy rags, or to put a choice jewel on a 
swine's snout. 

6. By way of exhortation, sinners, be persuaded to cast off, and throw E-^hort. 
away all your own righteousness, in point of justification, that so you may be clothed 
with the whole, perfect, and complete garment of Christ's righteousness. 

You must come naked to Jesus Christ : " And knowest not that thou art poor, miser- 
able, wretched, and naked," Rev. iii. 17. Some pride it in their own old and filthy rags, 
as Laodicea did, and think they want nothing, but will trust to theit duties, prayers, and 
repentance, faith and reformation of hfe ; and wherein these seem to be defective, they 
will fly to Christ, to make up that which is wanting. 

1. Direction. Study the nature of God, consider his infinite holiness and Di^c'ion- 
justice, though he be gracious, merciful, &c., yet " he will by no means clear the guilty," 
Exod. xxxiv. 6. 


2. Study the purity of God's law, that condemns all to eternal vengeance who are not 
clothed with a perfect and sinless righteousness. 

3. Study to understand the end and design of Christ in his taking our nature on him, 
being made of a woman, made under the law ; and in his perfect obedience to the law, 
and bearing the penalty or punishment due to us for our breaking of it, as our blessed 
head, and Representative. 

4. Attend upon the preaching of the gospel : " For therein is the righteousness of God 
revealed," Rom. i. 17, and by it is faith wrought. 

Comfon. Yor comfort and consolation to you, that have seen all your own righteous- 

ness as old rotten rags, and have cast it away, and count it but dung that you may win 
Christ. happy souls ! blessed are your eyes ! for you see. how richly are you clothed, 
what a noble robe have you on, the hardest duties to you are easy. You act out of love, 
knowing you are accepted in Christ, and always are in a safe state, being ever justified ; 
you shall not be found naked, now nor at death, or in the judgment-day, nor to eternity. 
For in a righteousness excelling that of the holy angels you shall shine for evermore, Amen. 


Neither do men put new wine into old bottles. — Matt. ix. 17. 

3 Predic, I CLOSED with the former part of this parable the last time. 
is^Te"?. There is one proposition I purpose to open from the latter, and so conclude 

with both, viz. 
Doot. The heart of man must be made new, or there is an absolute necessity of regene- 
ration, before any person can receive the wine of true spiritual consolation. 

1. I shall prove it. 

2. I shall apply it. 

My bretiiren, as sin brought a change upon mankind in Adam, from that state they were 
in by creation, so must a change pass upon all that would be saved from that state of cor- 
ruption, in which naturally all remain, by reason of the fall. 
A two-fold 1- A relative change, 
change pass- 2. A real change. 
vers. ' The first is a change of state. 

The second is a change of heart, or disposition. 

The first is made in justification. 

The second is made in, and by regeneration. 

It is this change 1 am to speak to, and open, it being that which our Lord (as T con- 
ceive) doth here refer to. 

And though the first of these, viz., the relative change, may precede in order of nature, 
yet not in order of time. For a person as soon as he is in a justified state, he is at that 
very instant of time also regenerated. 

But to proceed to prove the proposition, that there is an absolute necessity that the 
heart of man be new made. 

I. In respect of Gospel revelation, (God's word I mean) fully shows this must be 
" Marvel not that I say unto thee, that ye must be born again," John iii. 7. Ye must 
ye that are Jews, ye doctors and masters in Israel, ye that are sober and religious persons, 
ye that pray, fast, give alms, pay tithes, ye that are legally righteous, and learned men 
ye must be born again as well as pagans, publicans antl harlots, or profane persons. " Verily, 
I say unto you, except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God," John iii. 
3. There is no obtaining the kingdom of heaven without the new birth, or a spiritual 
and saving renovation of the whole man, soul and body. 

II. This is the unchangeable decree of God, as it is revealed in the Gospel. " There- 
fore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature," 2 Cor. v. 17, or of the new 
creation, which, as our annotators observe, argues the greatest change imaginable, and 
such a one can be wrought in the soul by no other power than the almighty power of God. 


OM things are passed away, old affections, passions, notions, (to. He liath tlui same soul, 
but new qualities, new apprehensions, and new hght in his understanding, new desires, 
new inclinations, in his will, new thoughts, counsels, and designs, as well as he hath got 
new clothing, a new robe of righteousness. What signifieth (as if our Saviour should say) 
all those things which the Pharisees do ? though they pray oft, &c., will this avail them 
any thing, whilst they are in a state of nature, and their hearts are carnal, nay, like old 
broken bottles ? the wine of heavenly consolation my Father will not put into such men's 
hearts, he hath decreed that all that are saved shall be regenerated. 

III. The carnal heart of man must be changed or new made, because until then it 
cannot hold the new wine, should God put it in, it would all run out, (to follow the meta- 
phor ;) what saith the apostle, " The natural man receiveth not the things of God ; nei- 
ther can he perceive them, because they are spiritually discerned," 1 Cor. ii. 14. He cannot 
receive them, because his heart is full of other things, full of sin and filthiness ; which like pitch 
cleaves to the bottle, but put iu pure water or wine, it will run all out. The carnal heart 
is like a sieve which will hold chaff or bran, but it will hold no water or wine. 

The heart of a sinner is leaky, like a broken vessel, it is no proper receptacle for spiri- 
tual thuigs. 

IV. Wisdom teacheth men not to put choice wine into a cracked or broken bottle ; so 
the wisdom of God is such that he will not put his costly and most precious new wine into 
an unrenewed heart, he will not lose it ; for should he do so, both the bottle and wine would 
perish ; for, as I hinted in the explication, if it was possible for grace to be put into a car- 
nal heart, and the heart not changed thereby, grace itself would be utterly lost, as wine put 
into a sieve or broken bottle. Though it is true, the Holy Spirit is infused into a sinner's 
heart, but at that very instant that it is infused or put into the soul of a sinner, it works 
a blessed change therein ; and so it retains the wine of heavenly consolation. 

V. The heart of man must be new made, or clianged, because the carnal heari cannot 
please God, nor be subject to the law of God. Brethren, the state of sin is a state of en- 
mity against God ; will a prince take a swine into his embraces, or will he hang pearls or 
diamonds upon a filthy stinking old garment ? No sure, no more will Christ take a vile 
rebellious and filthy sinner into his spiritual embraces ; now this cursed enmity which is in 
the sinner's heart naturally, cannot be removed till the heart is changed or new made. 

1 . True, the nature of men may be restrained from acts of gross wickedness by com- 
mon grace, or by the prosecution of severe human laws, or by the terrors of God's divine 
law ; but yet neither of these can change their hearts. 

2. Neither can good education do it. For no doubt but Ishmael had as good educa- 
tion as Isaac ; certainly Abraham was not wanting in his duty to him, what saith the 
blessed God concerning him ? "I know him tiiat he will command his children and his 
household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord," &c. Gen. xviii. 19. 

Yet for all this his sou Ishmael was an ungodly child, and one that scoffed at religion 
and true piety. So no doubt but Esau had as good education as Jacob, Isaac gave him 
the same good counsel and instruction which he gave to Jacob ; but Esau still continued 
a profane person notwithstanding, and retained his old evil nature and disposition still, and 
became no new man. Education may restram from acts of sin, but cannot change the 
heart from the love of sin. 

VI. The heart of man must be new made, or changed, because there is in all unre- 
newed persons, an unfitness, an unwillingness, and an utter inability to do any thing that 
is truly and spiritually good. 

1. There is in them an unfitness ; as a fool or ignorant man is unfit to be made a 
judge, so a man that knows not God is unfit to judge of spiritual things, or to be trusted 
with them, or to have communion with him ; he knows not what they are, he cannot re- 
lish or favour the things of the Spirit, " for they are foolishness unto him," 1 Cor. ii. 14. 

2. There is an unwillingness in all unrenewed persons to receive these spiritual things. 
A natural man is like a wild ass-co}t. " Vain man would be wise, though man be born 
like a wild ass's colt," Job. xii. 12. He is born so, it is natural, and hereditary, and there- 
fore common to all men ; they are not only ignorant anil weak, but also wilful, stubborn, 
heady, and rebellious. 

No beast is more wild and brutish than man in respect of spiritual things, until he is 
changed. A man, saith Mr. Caryl on Job, cap. 11, 12, is like a beast, for wantonness, lust, 
and vanity. And in regard of stubbornness, every wicked man is " a son of Belial, a son 
without a yoke ; " Ye wiU not come to me that ye might have Ufe,'" John v. 40. You are 
unwilling, you have no will this way, to be saved in believing in me, to cleave to me, to 


build all your hopes of heaven upon me ; no, you have other ways, you think to he saved 
by your reading the law, and conforming your lives to tlie external precepts of that, your 
hearts are carnal, your wills are rebellious ; now from hence it is that the heart must be 

3. There is in all men naturally not only an unwillingness to that which is spiiitually 
good, but also au utter inability or want of power ; and this must needs be so. 

1. Because man before grace is spiiitually dead ; can a dead man act or do any natu- 
ral or moral acts ? You will say, no, that is impossible; even so no man that is spiritual- 
ly dead can perform any true spiritual acts of obedience unto God. Ti'ue, he may do that 
which is naturally and morally good, but not that which is spiritually good. " You hath 
he quickened that were dead in sins anrl trespasses," Eph. ii. 1, 2, 3. Beloved, every 
cres.ture acts according to that principle he hath, or according to his nature. 

As a mere sensitive creature acts only according to sense, and rational creatures accord- 
ing to mere rational principles. Hence it is some men in these days, because they have re- 
ceived no higher principles, do decry all revealed religion, and are for no other than mere 
natural religion, which they can comprehend by their natural reason. 

But now a true spiritual man acts and doth every thing by that spiritual vital principle 
he hath received ; he goes out of himself by acts of faith, and believes that which he cannot 
comprehend by mere natural reason. 

2. Can a blind man judge of colours, or see the beauty of an object to delight in it ? 
Or can a swine delight in the glory of a king's palace ? All men naturally are in a spiri- 
tual sense, blind, and cannot see the beauty of Christ, to fall in love with him ; they caa 
see no beauty in holiness; no, it is good for nought in their sight ; and as a dead man must 
be quickened before he can breathe, hear, see, act, and walk ; so must a sinner be spiri- 
tually quickened before he hath any spiritual power or ability to do anything that is 
spiritually good. " Without me you can do nothing," John xv. 5 ; that is, without union 
with me, or life from me. 

VII. Because (as it appeareth from hence,) all men are naturally, wholly depraved and 
corrupted, like cracked and broken bottles, there is no amending of them, they must (as 
you heard] be melted down and new made ; their understanding is darkened, nay, they are 
darkness. " Ye that were sometimes darkness," Ephes. v. 8 ; darkness in the abstract. 
Their wills rebellious, their aifections carnal, " Their minds and consciences are defiled," 
Tit. i. 1.5. Now as there is an universal depravation, so there must be an universal reno- 

VIII. Because God doth not, will not, nay, cannot accept of any service but what is 
spiritual. " God is a Spirit," John iv. 24. Service therefore must be suited or propor- 
tioned to his holy nature and being. " We must pray in the Spirit, and sing in and with 
the Spirit, not only with our spirits, but also with the Spirit of God. Therefore it follow- 
eth that we must be spiritual persons, this must be before we can perform spiritual service 
or taste of spiritual comforts. Some of the kings of Judea did that which was right in the 
sight of God, but not with perfect hearts ; they did it not from a renewed heart, and so not 
in sincerity of heart. It was right as to the matter of it, i. e., it was that which God com- 
manded, but not performed from right principles, and also not to a right end. " They have 
not cried to me with their hearts, when they howled on their beds," Hos. vii. 14. The 
prayers of unrenewed persons is hut as the howling of a dog, in the ears of God, hence said 
to be an abomination unto him. 

IX. The heart of man must be made new, because God accepteth of no service but what 
is done freely, voluntarily, and not by the mere force of natural conscience, or for fear of 
hell. But now the old heart hath in it an aversion to any thing that is spiritually good ; 
none act freely (as well as they act not in love to God, and to glorify him,) but such only 
who have received a new heart. Holy duties are a great burthen to an unsauctified spirit ; 
a carnal heart can find no sweetness in divine consolations. " What fellowship hatli light 
with darkness ?" Do but call to mind what conceptions you had of the things of God be- 
fore your conversion ; was the word sweet to you ? Did you delight in prayer, or in hea- 
venly communication, or were not such things rather bitter and unpleasant to you ? Car- 
nal men love not to hear of spiritual converse or discourse, therefore theu- hearts must be 

X. Because the old heart, or the hearts of all men unrenewed, are full 
nock on re- of hypocrisy ; they may profess religion, but it is from false principles, and to 
gcneraUon. ^j-Qng ends. Self is in the bottom of all. " Ye fasted not to me, even to me, 
saith the Lord." 

S'.-HM. XXI.] THF. PARiBI.E OF T/.F. Nl W WINF. 117 

Bretbren, there is ?.n artificial, as well as a natural iiiotiun. Take off the weijjhts of a 
clock, and it will preseutly stand still. So if a mere natural man or a hypueriie, lojti his 
ends in his profession of religion, he presently draws back or grows cold and heartless ; but 
a natural motion continues or abides, because of that life which is the cause of its moving ; 
but so it is not with an artificial motion ; the sole of your shoe will soon wear out, but so 
will not the sole of your foot ; no, but they will grow more hard every day if you go di- 
rectly upon them, because the one is artificial, and the other natural. '" The righteous shall 
hold on his way, and he that hath clean liands, shall grow stronger and stronger," Job xvi. 
9. But all unconverted persons, or mere natural men, will either die in h , pocrisy, or perish 
in apostacy. Though they seem never so zealous for God, and religion, " They do all to 
be seen of men," Matt, xxiii. 5. 

XI. Because, until a man is renewed, they can take no delight in Cmd, nor can God 
take delight in them ; they are only earthly, have earthly and carnal hearts, and therefore 
earthly and sensual things are their chiefest delight. " Tlipy that are after the flesh, mind 
the things of the flesh," Eom. viii. 5. Either they mind such things that are absolutely 
evil, as " the lusts of the flesh," Gal. v. 19 — 21 ; or else such things as are occasionally 
evil, as riches, honours, pleasures, &c. These are the things of the flesh, and such things 
as all carnal and unregenerate persons, favour, affect, and take delight in. And it is only 
the new nature, the renewed heart, that makes the soul to delight in God as the chief good. 
Interest in God, adoption and regeneration, go always together in the same subject ; he that 
is a child of God, hath the image of God stamped upon his soul. I say, it is the new heart 
only, which is capable to enjoy communion with God ; a likeness in nature is a spring of 
fellowship. A man will never espouse a beast, as we have a parable, " Birds of a feather 
will flock together." 

XII. And as it ■ is thus absolutely necessary (in respect to a state of grace,) that 
the heart be made new ; so, as revered Charuock shows, it is also in respect to g state of 
glory ; for as an unsauctified, or an unrenewed person can take no delight in God, or find 
any consolation in Christ in this world, having no grace ; so they could not find any joy, 
or comfort, were they in heaven, for heaven is no place of sensual pleasure. What should 
carnal men do in heaven ? They cannot taste of the joys that are there, because they are 
all spiritual, and their hearts are carnal; they love not God, nor the things of God, while 
they are here on earth, nor the saints and people of God, their company is hateful to them, 
their heavenlj converse is grievous to such, and death will not change their hearts ; and as 
they die in a state of enmity against God, so that enmity will evermore remain in them. 
But, brethren, I do not say that the new nature, or new heart, doth give us a title to hea- 
ven ; no, it is Christ's righteousness alone that is our title to glory above ; but it is rege- 
neration which gives us a meetness for it. " Who hath made us meet to be partakers of 
the inheritance of the saints in light," Col. i. 12. And, as without this new heart, and new 
nature, heaven could be no heaven to us ; so no unrenewed person can perform, or dis- 
charge the duties of heaven, as the same author excellently shows. 

1. They cannot attend upon God, who is holy ; they cannot come near him, but be 
consumed, for unto such, God is as a consuming fire. God's presence would be 
very terrible to such. 

2. They cannot contemplate on God, nor be ravished with the glory of his holiness, 
grace, and infinite goodness. 

3. 'I'hey cannot love God, nor make him the object of their affections. Love is a grace 
that remains for ever. 

4. Nor can they sing the praises of God for what they received from him while on earth ; 
the song of the saints will be sweet in remembrance of his redeeming love, and regenera- 
ting grace and love, but they never knew what either of these things were, and therefore 
cannot sing that song. 

5. They cannot love the saints in heaven (were they there) who are all made perfect in 
holiness ; evident it is, that wicked men iiate the saints of God here, because of their holi- 
ness, and of that likeness there is in them to God ; and if this uiakes the ungodly contemn 
the saints, who do but in part resemble the Holy God, while here ; how much more would 
they hate them, were it possible for them to be with those glorified saints in heaven, who 
are all made completely perfect in holiness. 


1. We infer from hence, that the ignorance of men is exceeding great, about i!ie nature 
and excellency of the new birth. They, alas! know not what it is, bnt are ready to say 


with Nicotlemus, " How can these things be ?" John iii. 9. The natural man receiveth not 
the things of God. 

2. We infer, tliat saving and regenerating gi-ace is of infinite worth and value. What 
must that cause be which hatli such most blessed and glorious effects ? that is precious 
seed which produceth such excellent fruit. 

3. We also infer, that all those duties, as prayer, fasting, &c, which many (like the 
Pharisees) rest upon, and trust in, are but vain and fruitless things ; for if the duties and 
inherent holiness of sanctified persons, are comparatively but as dung, what are the duties 
and pretended righteousness of such who were never regenerated? "No man putteth 
new wine into old bottles." God will not put in the wine of heavenly joy and con- 
solation into carnal and unrenewed hearts. 

4. j\Ioreover, how fruitless and insufficient is all that speculative knowledge which 
men unrenewed have attained. Knowledge puffs up : what is human learning, or arts 
and sciences, which those have and glory in, who never knew the nature and power 
of the new-birth ? Are such men fit to be preachers of the Gospel ? Can they open 
the nature of regeneration by experience, who are wholly ignorant of it, or know not 
what it is ? 

•5. How blind are they that take reformation for regeneration ; who think, because 
a profane man hath left his swearing, his drunkenness, his whoring, cheating, or thieving, 
&c. ; and now lives a sober life, therefore he is a new creature. Brethren, a man 
may be reformed that is not renewed, though a man can be renewed but he is reformed ? 
a man may have a changed life, that hath not a changed heart ; he may with king Saul, 
become another man, but not become a new man. 

6. This also shows that morality can save no person. The heathen (many of them I 
mean,) were excellent moralists, and multitudes amongst us, think their state is happy upon 
this account, and yet are in tlie gall of bitterness. 

7. Moreover we infer, that all such who rest on a presumptuous faith, who boast that 
they rely on Christ, trust in the righteousness of Christ, and yet were never changed or 
born again, but are under the delusion of the devil, and in a fearful condition. 

8. Also what signifies all that an unrenewed person doth, though he reads, prays, is 
bapti^ied, breaks bread with God's people, and is called a saint ? alas, perish he must for 
all this, if he be not born again. 

II. Examine and try yourselves ; are you such who have got the new wine in new 
bottles ? Are you such who have passed through the pangs of the new birth ? What 
hatred have you of sin, as it is sin ? What love have you of true godliness ? Can you 
taste how sweet pardon of sin and peace with God if ? Is this world as a wilderness to 
you, are you dead to it ? Are the riches of grace prized by you above gold and silver ? 
Are your hearts changed, and lives changed ? What light is there in your understandings ? 
are your wills bowed to the will of God, and to a loving and liking of the work of holiness, 
as well as to a loving the reward of holiness ? Are your affections changed, your desires, 
your fears, your passions? what object doth your love run out to? 

III. You that find that you have gut new hearts, what cause of joy, what consolation 
may this administer unto you ! True, you may be born again, and yet for some time may 
not know it ; all have not arrived to the faith of assurance ; yet how sweet and com- 
fortable is it to know we are in Christ, and born of God. 

1. Such who have new hearts, new bottles, shall have the new wine poured into them, 
and they shall taste how sweet and pleasant it is first or last ; and such will not say the 
old wine of earthly comforts is best, but rather look upon it as ditch or kennel water. 
Brethren, because you are children, you shall have the best things of your Father's house ; 
you shall be clothed as king's children, and be fed as king's children. 

2. Moreover, being children, you are heirs ; " if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and 
joint heirs with Christ," Rom. viii. 17. 

3. And being children, begotten and born of God, you shall ever be children ; for you 
know we must be children of such parents, and have their nature who begot us ; we can- 
not cease being their children ; believers may be disobedient children, and break his 
laws, &c. But if so, he will but chasten us, as a father ; we shall be his children still ; 
chikh-en we must be and in his love, for this relation will abide for ever. 

Lastly, One word of exhortation, and I have done. 

1. Bless God for tlie gospel, you that are smners, and for the ministration thereof; for 
by preaching God is pleased to sow that seed, by which your hearts may be renewed ; the 
word of God is the seed of regeneration. I do not say the bare word is the seed ; no. hut 


as the Spirit does accompany the word : " being born agitiii, not of corruptible seed, but 
of incorruptible, by the word that liveth and abidetli for ever," 1 Pet. i. 23. 

Where the gospel comes in word only, there no change is wrought ; but there is, my 
brethren, a divine power that goes along with the gospel, where it is made effectual to any 
poor soul. 

2. Highly honour and esteem the Holy Spirit, for it is by bis special agency alone that 
regeneration is wrought ; hence it is said, that believers are " born of the Spirit," John iii. 
5, 6 ; and so are Spirit, or spiritual. 

3. Attend daily upon the word, neglect no opportunity, because you know not when, 
whether by this, or by that sermon, the Spirit may work upon your souls : " The wind 
blows where it listeth," John iii. ti ; so the Holy Spirit is a free agent, ami works when 
and how he pleaseth. 

4. Cry mightily to God to send the Spirit to work in, and by the word on your souls ; 
and be sure, see you do not grieve nor quench the Holy Spirit of God, nor weary out the 
Holy Spirit. God told the old world, " That his Spirit should not always strive with 
man," Gen. vi. 3. 

5. Do not trust to your own power, or once think you can become new creatures when 
you please ; no, no, doth the child begotten in the womb contribute anything to its own 
being, or to its conception ? O abominate the evil notion of free-will, and strive to exalt 
God's free-grace. 


Take heed of the notion that some promote, i. e., as if your state may be good, or you 
under a relative change, that have not passed under a real change ; for know as- 
suredly, you remain children of wrath, until you have the Spirit infused into your souls, 
and remain condemned in the first Adam. Nay, and the Holy Spirit will convince you 
this is your condition, if ever he thoroughly works and operates in your hearts. The Holy 
Ghcst convinceth all whom he takes hold of, that their state is bad and miserable before 
special vocation. therefore wait for the Spirit, who both works conviction and regene- 
ration; to whom with the Father, and the Son, be glory for evermore. Amen. 


And he spake many things unio them in parables, saying, Behold a sower went forth to sow. 
— Matt. xiii. 3, — 23. 

My Brethren, in the opening of this parable, I shall proceed in that method J,^^. V'^yf^ 
which I purpose to take in speaking generally unto them all, viz. 31. 

First, Give an account of the main design of our blessed Lord, in his speaking of this 
parable, or give the scope thereof. 

Secondly, explain (according to what our Saviour himself hath done) every part thereof. 

1. More generally. 

2. More partcularly, open some things which our Lord hath not. 

Thirdly, I shall raise some propositions, or points of doctrine from the chief or principal 
parts, and prosecute them in my usual method with the necessary improvements. 

First, One great design of this parable (as I conceive), is to show the ex- .j-^^ ^^ 
cellent nature of the word of God, in that it is the seed of all grace in the of the para- 
hand of the Spirit ; or as it is by the influences of the Spirit, received into an *' 
heart prepared by the convictions of the Holy Ghost. 

Secondly, ((Considering the great multitudes that were gathered together to hear the 
word of God at that time, as the second verse shows) It is evident, that one year of 
reason or main design of Christ's speaking this parable, was to convince them, Christ's 
that it is not enough or sufficient to hear the word of God preached, but that "'"""'">'■ 
many may hear it, who are never effectually wrought upon by it, but shall eternally perish. 

Thirdly, It might be the design of our Saviour, also hereby to show, that but few com- 
paratively, prove right hearers of the word. Three sorts of ground proving bad, and only 
but one in four good ground; intimating, but very few hearers have their hearts broken 
up, or prepared by the convictions of the Holy Spirit, to receive Jesus Christ. 

Fourthly, Another main design of this parable, might be to show that grace is .not of 


ourselves, or from nature ; but tliat is a supernatural work or blessing flowing from the 
The year of Lord Jesus Christ. The heart must be lirst dug up, or be plouglied up by the 
Christ's mi- Holy Ghust, that it may become like good tillage, before the seed of the 
»"»"•/. 2. -word will take root and bring forth fruit uuto perfectiou, which three sorts of 
hearers never experience. 

Fifthly, Also it might be to discover the cause of men's damnation, or of their final 
apostacy, viz.. Because their hearts were never right with God. 

Sixthly, Also to discover that some men who never were sincere or upright Christians, 
might nevertheless go very far in a profession of the gospel, as is signified by the stony 
and thorny ground. So that most evident it is, that tiis blessed parable gives us to un- 
derstand the ditfereut effect, or success the preaching of the gospel hath upon those that 
hear it. So much as to the design and scope of the parable. 

_,. Secondly, Take our Lord's general exposition of the several parts of the 

opened. parable. For he, upon the desire, and humble request of his disciples, opened 


" Hear ye the parable of the sower," ver. 18. Mark addeth somewhat more, which 
seems to be in the nature of a gentle reproof: '' Know ye not this parable, how then will 
ye know all parablf s ?" Mark iv. 13. That is, the sense and meaning of them ; considering 
that God hath graciously opened your eyes, or given you to understand the mysteries of 
the kingdom of heaven ; but if it be so, you as yet understand it not ; hear and consider, 
that I by this parable, do discover unto you the different eflects the preaching of the gos- 
pel or word of God hath upon the hearts of the sons of men. 

" A sower went out to sow," ver. 3. The sower is the Son of Man ; his word it is, 
" Thou hast the words of everlasting life," John vi. GS. The Gospel is not the word of 
men, but the word of God. But more comprehensively, the faithful ministers of the gos- 
pel ; they that preach the word, may be said to sow the seed, but indeed it is our Lord 
Jesus that is more properly the sower; he it is that sows the seed of the word by them, 
they are but Christ's seedsmen. 

" And when he sowed, some fell by the way-side, and the fowls came and devoured 
them up," ver. 4. Our Saviour explaineth this: " When any one heareth the word of the 
Hiehway- kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth 
side-ground, ^-^^ray that which is sown in his heart ; this is he which received the seed by 
the way-side," ver. 19. By the wicked one is meant the devil. 
Doct. Satan is the wicked one, or is called tiie wicked one. 

1. By way of eminency, Satan is that wicked one, or may be so called, because he hath 
utterly lost his original purity, or holy nature. 

2. Because he is universally wicked, filthy, and abominable, and so remains, and will 
abide for ever. 

3. Because all wickedness is originally from the devil, as all holiness is from God. 

4. Because the devU continually terapteth, euticeth, or draws men to commit wicked- 
ness ; from these reasons, and many others, Satan may be called the wicked one, 1 John 
V. ] 8, in whom all ungodly sinners are said to lie. The gospel is called the word of the king- 
dom. Mat. xiii. 19, because it is the instrument by which Christ raiseth up his spiritual church, 
or kingdom in this world ; or bringeth men and women into his kingdom on earth, and also 
prepareth tliein for the kingdom of glory. The seed is the word of God. By the several 
soris of ground is meant the several sorts of hearers, or the natural state of their hearts. 

" And some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth, and forthwith they 
sprunc up, because they had no deepness of earth ; and when the sun was up they were 
scorched, and because they had no root they withered away," ver. 5, 6. What Matthew 
calls stonv gi'ound, Luke calls a rock, Luke viii. 13. Our blessed Saviour explaineth this 
in ver. M, 21. " But he that receiveth the seed into stony places, is the same which 
heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it. Yet hath he no root in himself, but 
enihireth for awhile ; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by 
a:id by he is offended," Luke viii. l--i. By the sun rising up, &c., our Savioui- shows is 
meant tribulation or persecution, which Luke calleth a time of temptation, because such 
times are times of great trials or temptations, as shall (God willing) be opened, when I 
come more particularly to this sort of ground. Our Lord showeth two causes of such 
hearers falUng away. 

1. Internal. 

2. External. 

And the former (as our worthy annotators show) is the cause of the latter : by " not 


having depth of earth," and so wanting root, &c., 1 conceive is meant the want of tho- 
rough conviction; their rocky or stony hearts were never broken by the hammer of the 
word; and by wanting root, no doubt is meant .a princijile of true grace in th^'ir hearts, 
which is elsewhere called the " root of the matter," Job xix. 28, They never weie savingly 
united to Jesus Christ, they had not the true faith of God's elect, nor ever sincerely loved 
the Lord Jesus, they were never born of God, because the seed remained not in them. 
There was some seeming work began upon them, 1 John iii. 9 ; perhaps tlieir att'ections 
might be stirred up with some flashes or warmth, and transient joy, but it was but like a 
land flood ; they had self in their eye in all they ilid, either self-interest, self-honour, &c., 
they could not lose their estates, liberty, and lives, for the sake of Jesus Christ. 

" And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them," ver. 7. 

Our Lord opened this part of the parable also, ver. 22, " He also that receiveth seed 
amongst the thorns is he that heareth the word, and the cares of this life, and the ileceit- 
fulness of riches choke the word, and he becometb unfruitful." Slark adds, " And the 
lusts of other things entering, choke the word," Mark iv. 19. Luke saith, " And that 
which fell among thorns are they, which when they have heard, go forth, are choked with 
cares, -Mid riches, and pleasures of this life, and bring forth no fruit unto perfection," Luke 
viii. 14. 

What is meant by thorns, or by the cares of this hfe, and by the deceitfulness of riches, 
I shall endeavour to open more particularly when I come to speak to this sort of ground, 
or hearers of the word ; Ihe^e no doubt went a great way, and made a profession of the 
gospel, were church-members, or not profane in their lives and couversations ; but seemed 
to bid fair for the kingdom of heaven, like as the foolish virgins did. They might for a 
great while attend upon the word, and ordinances of Christ ; and seem devout persons, but 
their hearts were never crucified to the love of this world. 

" But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundred-fold, some 
sixty-fold, and some thirty-fold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear," ver. 8, 9, 10. 

See our Saviour's general exposition of the good ground, ver. 23 ; " But he that received 
seed into the good ground, is he that heareth the word and understandeth it, which 
also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth some an hundred-fold, some sixty, and some thirty." 
Luke addeth, " But that on the good ground are they which in an honest and good heart 
having heard the word, keep it, and being forth fruit with patience," Luke viii. 15. 

Here an objection might be made. 

Obj. How can any man before grace is infused, be said to be good? are not all the 
hearts of men evil naturally ? 

Ans. I told you in the introduction the last time, that no parable ought to be strained 
beyond the analogy of faitli. I'herefore here is more included than is expressed. This 
must be received as an undeniable truth, that no man naturally can be said to have a good 
and honest heart. " All are gone out of the way, there is none righteous, no not one. 
There is none that understandetli, there is none that seeketh after God,'' Rom. iii. II, 
12. " All are dead in sins and trespasses, all (even the elect themselves) by nature are 
children of wrath as others," Eph. ii. 1, 2, 3. 

Therefore we are to understand, that what one parable, or simile, or place of Scripture, 
doth not so fully open or explain, another doth. 

2. It is God's grace, or the work of his Spirit only, which makes the heart good ; it is 
he that gives this good understanding. The heart is evil and not good, until it is changed 
or new made ; which none can do but God himself He therefore hath promised " to take 
away the heart of stone, and to give a heart of flesh ;" all have rocky, stony, and thorny 
hearts by nature, and so abide, imtil they are new made. 

3. There is a two-fold work of the Spirit. (1.) A work of conviction, this is called " a 
ploughing up the fallow ground of our hearts," Hos. x. 12. 

(2.) A work of renovation, and of sanctidcation ; and both these works of the Spirit 
tend to the making the heart good ; though in order of nature the first passes on the soul 
before the second. 

It appears from this parable, that all believers or sincere Christians do not bring forth 
the Uke quantity of fruit to God ; some bring forth a hundred, some sixty, and some but 
thirty-fold, yet all is fruit of the same nature or quality. All have not received the same 
gifts, the same number of talents, nor the same degree of grace ; all are not in the same 
places, offices, and stations in the church ; and so are not in a capacity to bring forth fruit 
(as to the degree) either of profit to the church (or the members thereof,) nor to the souls 
of men, and to the glory of God. 


2. All have not the same time allowed unto them to continue in this world ; the same 
length of time to grow and to do service for God, and tiierefore it is not to be expected all 
should bring forth the same quantity or measure of spiritual fruit. 

So much as to the more general exposition of this parable. 

1 shall proceed to a more particular opening and explication of this parable. 

" A Sower went out to sow." 

There are three things to be noted in the words. 

1. The agent, a sower, Jesus Christ. 

2. His action, he went forth. 

3. His design, purpose, or end in going forth, viz., to sow his seed. 

1. Note, That tlie hearts of men and women are Christ's spiritual hus- 
ot^ men*''^ bandry. The whole world is his, he hath power to dispose of all creatures as 
Christ's he pleaseth, either to till, plough, manure ; and sow every sort of ground, or 

us an ry, ^^ j^^ ^j^^^ ^^^^ ^^ mankind to lie barren, untilled, and unsown, as seemeth 
good in his sight ; " The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof." An husbandman 
may do what he will with his own land. 

Quest. But some may say. Are not mimisters sowers ? what difference is there between 
Christ's sowing, and ministers sowing the seed of the word " 

1. Ans. I answer, Jesus Christ is the principal sower, the master sower; ministers are 
his servants, who have the honour to be "Workers together with him," 2 Cor. vi. 1 : 
" If we have sown unto you spiritual things," &c., 1 Cor. ix. 11. 

2. Christ sows his own by creation, considered as God ; his by redemption and pur- 
chase, considered as Mediator, and by the free donation of the Father, " knowing the Fa- 
ther had given all things into his hand," John xiii. 3. Ministers themselves are his, their 
hearts are Christ's tillage, he sows the seed of grace in them, they are not their own. 
Therefore the ground that they sow is none of theirs ; also Jesus Christ sows his own 
seed ; a sower went forth to sow his seed. Ministers have no seed of their own, their 
doctrine, and the words which they preach, is the word of Christ. 

3. Christ is a most wise and skilful bower, he hath a perfect knowledge of all sorts of 
ground. So have not his ministers ; they know not men's hearts. 

4. Christ is a universal Sower ; all the seed of the word that ever was sown, was 
sown by him. A minister sows but a small quantity of seed, and but on a little ground. 

5. Jesus Christ is an efficacious Sower; he can speak to men's hearts, and cause the 
seed which he sows to take root, and bring forth fruit. But so cannot a minister. Christ 
can cause the rain to fall upon the seed that he sows ; nay, he is the Sun of righteousness, 
that must and doth shine upon the souls of men, to cause the seed to grow : " 'I'hou blessest 
the bud of the earth, thou crownest the year with goodness, and thy paths drop fatness," 
Psal. Ixv. 16. But ministers can do none of this; what says the apostle? "Paul may 
plant, and ApoUos water, but God gives the increase," 1 Cor. iii. 6. 

II. We have the action of this sower : " A sower went forth to sow." 
Brethren, Jesus Christ may be said to go forth to sow three manner of ways. 

1. In his own person, thus he went forth to preach (as soon as he was baptized) or to 
sow the seed of his word in Judea, Jeiusalem, and all the regions round about. 

2. In the ministry of his servants Christ may be said to go forth to sow, (for as he is 
said to baptize when his disciples did it by his authority) so he may be said to preach, or 
sow the seed of the gospel, when his ministers do it in his name, in his stead, or by his 
authority, John iv. 1, 2. 

'■^. He may be said to go forth to sow his seed by his Spirit, and this only is his more 
effectual and efficacious way : the seed never takes root until it is thus sown in the Jieart ; 
for though the word is called the seed, yet doubtless the Spirit more properly or primarily 
is the seed ; seeing all the power, virtue, and efficacy of the word, lies in the Holy Spirit ; 
the gospel coming to a sinner in word only, never works a change, no man is born again 
by the word without the Spirit accompanies it. 

III. Consider the end and purpose of the sower sowing his seed, which is, the conver- 
sion of sinners by preaching the Gospel : " He began to preach, saying, repent and be- 
lieve he Gospel," Mark i. 15 ; and this is his design by employing of his servants, or in 
sowing the seed, or in preaching the Gospel. His seed, not cunning devised fables, not 
the traditions of men, not decrees and canons of general counsels, but his own holy and 
heavenly doctrine : " My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me," John vii. 16: Christ 
received his seed, (i.e.,) his doctrine from his Father ; " The things that I have heard of 
my Father, those speak I in the world." John viii. 26. 


Doct. 1. The preaching of the word is the sowiug of tl)e divine seed in . 
the hearts of men ; or as the word is compareil to seed, so the preaching of it Chn'st'r 
is the sowiug of that seed, and ministers are Clirist's seeds-men. For seedsmen. 

1. They lilte seeds-men must sow the seed in its proper season, as Christ hir:self did ■ 
" I must work the work of him that sent me, while it is day," — " Now is the accepted 
time." 2 Cor. vi. 2. 

2. They must sow their seed, let it be what weather it will, a time of peace, or a time 
of persecution. 

3. They must sow no seed of their own, but what is Christ's seed, his doctrine ; " Thou 
shall not sow thy vineyard with divers sorts of seed," I)eut. xxii. 'J. 

4. Ministers must sow or preach all Christ's seed : as he showed them all things he had 
received of the Father, so they must preach the whole counsel of God. 

5. Constantly, as long as the seed-time lasteth : " In the morning sow thy seed, and 
in the evening withhold nut tliiue hand," Eccl. xi. G. 

I'. They sow, but the whole success is of Goii, and though they see but little fruit, yet 
they must preach. 

Secondly. 1 shall show you, why the word is compared to seed. ^''^h""" 

1. Seed sjiriugs not outof tlie ground naturally: no, but before it can grow compared to 
and bring forth fruit, it must be sowed ; for naturally no ground brings forth ^'^^'^■ 
wheat, barley, herbs, or choice flowers, until it is first sown, or planted. So 

mankind can bring forth no spiritual or sacred fruit unto God, before they sit under the 
word, or have thee seed of grace infused, or sown in their hearts ; it is true, nature im- 
proved may produce that wliich is naturally and morally good ; but not that which is truly 
spiritually good ; the heart must be made good, before the fruit can be good : •' A corrupt 
tree cannot bear good fruit,'' Matt. vii. 17. As the earth naturally of itself produceth 
nothing but weeds, grass, nettles, briers, and thorns ; so all men before grace is sowed or 
infused into their hearts, bring forth nothing but sin, or the fruits of depraved and corrupt 
nature, or that which is natural. 

Therefore the jiroduct of natural conscience, or natural light improved, is not the fruit 
of divine grace ; much less is it the Christ of God, which the Quakers boldly affirm it is. 

2. Seed, let it be of wheat, or barley, or seed of herbs or flowers, or whatsoever else, 
it is the choicest of each sort respectively. 

If it be of wheat, it is the best of wheat ; or if barley, it is the best of barley. 

So in like manner the seed of the word, which is called " the incorruptible seed, by 
which believers are born again," is the best of all seeds ; the word of God, and true grace, 
is of an excellent nature. 

a. Until seed is sown, there will be no increase, the ground must receive it : so the 
heart of man must take in, or sinners by faith receive the word of Christ, or the choice 
seed of grace ; or there will be no spiritual increase : as bread feeds no man until he eat 
it, so Jesus Christ is of no spiritual profit, nor his word eflicacious and effectual imto a 
smner, until it is by faith received, or Christ spiritually fed upon. " Except ye eat the 
flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you," John vi. .53. 

4. Seed, sometimes which is sown, lies a considerable time in the ground, before it 
springs up, or visibly appears, it must have time to take root. 

Even so and in like manner the Word of God, which is sown in the heart of a sinner, 
sometimes doth not presently appear, though it be not always so ; for as some ground 
that is more rich, or by the rain that fiills upon it, and the most powerful influences of the 
sun produceth the visible growth thereof quickly ; so by the divine and more strong and 
efficacious influences of the Spirit of Christ, some seed sown in some sinners' hearts, pre- 
sently, or in a very short time, its rctoting, its growth appeareth, as it did in those three 
thousand that Peter preached to. Acts ii. 37, 4U, 41. 

5. Clods of the earth being not broken, oft-times obstruct or hinder the springing up of 
seed, or it is from thence it appears not to have taken root so soon as in some other 
ground ; so likewise through the power of Satan's temptations, or the inward filth and cor- 
ruption of the heart, the seetl of the word is for a time obstructed, or hindered from root- 
ing, and springing up in some souls of men ami women. 

6. A husbandman observes the proper time and seasou of sowing his seed : so doth 
Jesus Christ and^ his faithful ministers ; " I must work tlte work of him that sent me, 
while it is day," John ix. 4. " Behold now is the accepted time, behold now is the day 
«f salvation," 2 Cor. \i. 2. The sjiiritual seed-time will not last always. 

121 rav. vakablt; of the sower opfnf.p. Tbook i. 

7. Men are not sparins in sowing their seed, but scatter it abroad plentifully, though 
they expect not that all the seed which is sown, should take root, and bring forth. 

So our Lord Jesus plentifully, and in a most gracious manner disperseth the seed of the 
Word ; the Gospel is preached to multitudes, although he knows all the seed which is 
sown will not take rooting in all sinners' hearts, and bring forth tlie fruit thereof. Here 
is but one sort of ground of four, which produceth the desired effects. 

8. A husbandman sows his seed on what ground he pleaseth, soaie he lets lie barren, 
and never ploughs it up, nor tills or manures it ; and wlio shall blame hira if he doth thus? 
Christ sows "^^ likewise Jesus Christ is pleased to send his Word and blessed gospel to 
his seed on one nation and people, and not unto another. Some regions of the earth, 
hepieSs" he lets lie barren, without the knowledge of the gospel, or knowledge of sal- 
vation, they never had the word preached unto them. Moreover, many peo- 
ple in those nations, to whom the gospel is sent, never had it preached unto them, in the 
power and purity of it, but they are left like unto fallow or unploughed and untilled 
ground : yet who can say unto God, " Why dost thou do thus," Matt. xx. 15 ? May not 
1 do what I please with my own ? As he himself intimateth in another parable ; shall he 
not have the same power and prerogative to do in this matter, as every hushaudmau hath ? 

9. No storms nor bad weather hinder a husbandman from sowing his seed. " He that 
regardeth the wind shall never sow," Eccl. xi. 4. 

So and in like manner Christ's ministers must see that they preach the word in season, 
and out of season,* at all times : even in days of persecution as well as in times of peace 
and liberty. 

10. It is observed that the earlier seed is sown, the better it is rooted, and made 
capable to endure the sharpness of the winter. 

So the word, or seed of grace, the sooner, or earlier it is sown in the hearts of young 
people, and they receive it in the love thereof, they being renewed, and sanctitleil thereby, 
even in the llower of their days ; the more firmly are they confirmed in the truth, and 
having longer experience, it tends the better to root them in grace and holiness. 

11. And lastly, some seed (as it is showed in this parable) falls on the highway-side, 
and some on stony and thorny ground : but none but good ground bringeth forth fruit. 

So it is with the seed of the word : yet the fault lies not in the seed, nor in the sower; 
but iu the ground, viz., it is from the evil heart, the unbelieving heart, that the seed of 
the word brings forth no fruit ; " the word preached did not profit them, it being not 
mixed with faith in them that heard it," Heb. iv. 2. 

Quest. Why are the hearts of men compared to ground ? 
Why the Answ. I answer, for many reasons : (1.) Ground is sometimes bought or 

hearts of purchased before the husbandman will manure it. So Jesus Christ boufrht or 

men are ^ . ^ 

compared purchased all his elect ones, and because he loved and purchased them, there- 
to ground. £gj.g j^g pjQugjjg ^p (]jg fallow ground of their hearts, tills and sows the seed 
of grace in their souls. 

2. Ground is the proper soil for seed to grow in : so are the hearts of men the proper 
soil for the seed of the word. 

3. Ground nevertheless must be first ploughed up, or be well manured (as hath been 
hinted) before it is sowed, or the seed will not take root, and for want of this oft-times the 
seed becomes unprofitable. So likewise must the hearts of men and women be dug or 
ploughed up by convictions of the Holy Spirit, or be throughly broken by the plough of 
the gospel, or the seed of grace can take no root. " Break up the fallow ground, sow to 
yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy," Hos. x. 12. 

Brethren, this one cause, why the highway-side ground, the stony and thorny ground 
brought forth no fruit to perfection. Had the hearts of all those persons signiiied hereby, 
been throughly broken, ploughed up and manured, why might not they have brought forth 
fruit, as the good ground did ? what is it that makes barren, thorny, or stony ground 
good, which naturally is bad ? Is it not that cost and pains which the husbandman taketh 
iu manuring, dunging, &c. ? Can the ground make itself better ? no surely. 

So it is that pains and cost the Lord useth (who is called the good Husbandman) John 
XV. 1) upon the hearts, the evil and barren hearts of sinners, which makes them good. 
No man hath any skill or power of his own to change those evil and vicious habits of his 
own heart : but such is the pride of men naturally, they think they have power of them- 
selves to believe in Uhrist, to repent, and convert, or turn to God, and so never seek to 
him, or look unto him to do it. And how just is it in God utterly to leave such creatures 
unto themselves. 


If God tlieretore did not put forth his almighty power in a waj' of sovereign grace upon 
t}ie hearts of some men, he wouhl have no right and lasting frnit from any creatures, 
but all would remain barren, notwithstanding the sowing the seed, or preaching of the Gos- 
pel. Nor is God obliged any more to put forth this power upon all that huve the word 
preached unto them, than he is to send the Gospel into the dark heathen nations of the 
earth. It is intinite mercy in God he is pleased to make any men's hearts like good ground, 
since he first made man upright, yea, very good, but he by his many inventions hath made 
his heart so vile and abominable. The heart not 

4. Ground is not known of what nature it is, until it be dug or plowed up ; known until 
it may perhaps seem good to the sight, but when it is broken up, stones, and tions ia plow' 
evil roots, and much nauseous filth appear. «<i up- 
Even just thus it is with the hearts of men ; until God by his Spirit searcheth them and 

breaks them into pieces, by the powerful operations uf his own Spirit, and discovers the filth 
of them ; they alas do not know their own hearts. Those Jews Peter preached to, (Acts 
ii.) did not know what abominable wretches they were, until they were pricked at the heart, 
or broken to pieces under the word, as it was an instrument of God's power, in the hand of 
the Spirit. The like also I might mind concerning the woman of Samaria, who, when 
Christ's word reached her heart by powerful convictions, she cried out, " Come see a man 
that told me all that ever I did, is not this the Christ?" John iv. 29. Christ's word laid 
all her sins before her eyes, which made her to know he was the Christ ; and also to loathe 
and abhor herself. Brethren, the plough makes deep gashes, or pierceth into the ground : 
so doth the Spirit of God pierce the hearts of poor suaners, causing deep wounds in tlieir 
souls and consciences. 

5. Husbandmen find it hard and difficult to break up some ground, it is so stony and 

So Christ lays on blow after blow by the hammer of his word, in the hand of his Spirit, 
before some sinner's hearts are bi'oken and made fit soil for the seed of grace. " Is not my 
word like fire, and hke a hammer, to brtak the rock in pieces,"' Jer. xxiii. 29. 

The best ploughing is when the earth is softened and mollified with showers J^f, of^tbl 
of rain from heaven ; the hearts of men may be compared to ground upon the spiritsofteni 
same account ; for the gospel, or word of God, never works so kindly and 
effectually, for the mollifying, and ploughing up the fallow ground thereof, until God lets 
the divine rain of Ins Spirit come down upon them. " I will pour upon the house of David 
and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace, and of supplication, anil they 
shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as a 
man mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness as one is in bitterness for his first 
born," Zech. xii. 10. The Holy Spirit is like to rain that falls upon the earth, it makes 
the heart fit to receive the heavenly seed. This makes that great diti'erence there is be- 
tween ground and ground ; I mean between one man's heart and another. The Holy Spirit 
causeth a poor sinner to look upon Jesus Christ, whom his sins pierced, and to weep bitterly. 

7. Like as that ground is not well ploughed up, where the plough jumps or skips over 
some part thereof; so the heart of a sinner is not savingly and effectually wrought ujjon, 
when any faculty of the soul is not reached, or under a thftfough change by tlie divine influ- 
ences of the Spirit. Some have their consciences ploughed up or awakened, and their under- 
standings somewhat ejilightened, (as it was with Balaam) and yet their wills and aft'ections 
may not at all be touched. The divine plough as it were, jumps over the rugged and re- 
bellious will, that bows not, yields not to Jesus Christ, nor are their att'ections renewed, and 
set upon him as the chiefest object ; hence, notwithstanding that fight Balaam had received 
into his understanding, (who spake of God, and of the glory of Jesus Christ, anil of the hap- 
piness of the people of Israel at such a rate, or in such a raised and elegant manner, as if he 
had been a true believer) yet how fain would he have cursed Israel, which shows the vile- 
ness and rebelliousness of his will ; and also it is expressly said, that " he loved the wages 
of unrighteousness," 2 Pet. ii. 15. 

8. New ground is easier broken up than that which hath lain a long time barren and 

So the hearts of young people are soonest and easier broken and wrought The wimie 

upon, than the hearts of old and hardened sinners, though it is true if God will briLnured' 
work, all are aldie to him, to whom nothing is hard. 

y. Some ground (it is observed) continueth bad, after all the pains that an ^c','"soone»t 

husbandman uses, or cost laid out upon it, nay so bail tliat it is neither good wrought 

for tillage, nor pasture, and therefore he lets it alone, and bestows no pains ''''"°' . 
more upon it. Thus it is also with the heaits of some people (as it was of old with the p«o- 


pie of Israel,) God plants some people by a river, and they grow and thrive like to willows, 
but others are like miry places. " And it shall come to pass, that everything that liveth 
J, . which moveth, whithersoever the liver shall come shall live, but the miry places 

iiera-^made thereof, and tlie marshes thereof shall not be healed," Ezek. xlvii. 9. This 
good, river may signify the doctrine of the Gospel. Yet the^e waters do not heal 

the miry places and marshes ; earth and water mixed together makes a miry place, so 
when the word is preached, and the corruptions of men's hearts mixed with it, instead of 
the word being mixed with faith, these mens' hearts become miry places, and so like ground 
that is good for nothing ; they may hold some trutlis of God, or receive divine truths into 
their heads, but retain the love of sin in their hearts, and their hearts cast up nothing but 
" mire and dirt," Isa. Ivii. 19, 20. Brethren, it is observed, the longer the water stands 
on some ground the worse it is ; so the longer some men sit under tlie word, and means 
of grace, the worse they are, even the more filthy, worldly, and unbelieving, until God 
says of them as of Ephraim, " Let them alone;" or as our Lord of the barren tig-tree, 
" Never fruit grow on thee henceforth for ever," Matt. xxi. 19. 

Great skiu ^^- Ground that is to be sowed, is with great skill and care ploughed up ; 

required in the plough must not go too deep, lest the seed be buried too low ; nor too 
andfohf ' shallow, lest there be not earth enough to cover it from the danger of the 
preaching. fowls of heaven ; nor have that depth of earth proper for it to take good root. 
So the word of God, through the convictions of the Spirit upon the spirits of sinners, is 
guided by the wisdom of God. So that the plough of the gospel doth not go too deep, lest 
it drive the soul into despair, nor too shallow ; but that it may break up the whole heart, 
or effectually work (in conviction) upon every faculty thereof. 

11. An husbandman, by liis pains and cost, can restore lost land, such that was very 
barren, and unlikely ever to become good and fruitful. 

Even so the blessed God can by the work of his word and Spirit, restore barren and 
fi-uitless souls, such that were very unlikely ever to become good and gracious Christians : 
and as an husbandman strives to root out the weeds, and destroy the vermin ; and by car- 
rying out his compost to fatten it, he makes the ground good ; so God bj the efficacious 
operations of his Spirit, he destroys the weeds of sin, and corruptions of the heart, and so 
makes tlie heart good, and gracious, that it is with such souls as it is with a barren tree 
which Job speaks of: " For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout 
again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease," Job xiv. 7. " Though the root 
thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground ;" ver. 8, " Yet 
through the scent of water it will bud and bring forth boughs like a plant," ver 9. 


When any one liearelh the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the 
wicked one and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart ; this is he ivhich recciveth 
the seed by the tvay side." — Matt. xiii. 19. 

Brethren, I shall endeavour to do three things in opening this part of the parable. 

First, I shall show you the nature of the high way ground. 

Secondly, I shall show you how the devil may be said to catch away the word out of 
the hearts of this sort of hearers. 

Thirdly, Give you the causes or reasons of it, and also show you why devils are com- 
pared to the fowls of heaven. 
The nature l- High-way side ground is very hard, or such ground which is not 

of the high- ploughed Up. 

opened. So these persons' hearts are verj' hard, not only by nature ; but also by a 

continued custom in sin. Hence they are said to make their hearts as hard 
as the nether mill-stone. Moreover, these were never ploughed up, by the convictions of 
the Spirit of God, nor mollified by heavenly rain. 

IL The ground by the high-way side, commonly beareth no grass, or but very little, 
nothing but weeds, or being wholly barren. 

Even so this sort of men bring forth, hardly so much as the grass of morality, the com- 
mon product of nature ; nothing proceedeth from them but horrid wickedness, or the filthy 


weeds and corruptions of sin, or fruits of the flesh, they are the worst of men, must un- 
godly and profane persons that are signified hereby. Such who make no profession of 

III. High-way ground, or ground by the high-way side, is oftentimes very unprofitable, 
hence called king's waste. Though perhaps a poor man's cow, may now and then get a 
mouthful or two of grass on such ground. 

So these persons are very unprofitable in their lives unto God and bis people ; they nei- 
ther bring forth fruit to the honour of God, nor to the good and benefit of men ; no spiritual 
increase or sacred fruit can be expected from these persons, though perhaps now and tlien 
they may be a little helpful to the poor, by giving them a mouthful or two of bread, or 
giving them some small matter when they die ; they may show, though very wicked some 
small ueiglibuurly kindness. 

IV. Every foot treads upon the highway ground, the common path of travellers lies 
there. Other ground is fenced in to keep them out, as also to prevent the breaking in of 
mischievous beasts ; hut the highway lies open and common to all. 

1. So iu these persons hearts every lust, filthy corruption, and cursed co- what travel- 
gitation, hath a free passage ; In them is the way of evil. Brethren, every the highway 
evil habit, or wicked custom in sin, is like a common road or beaten path. A b™""''- 
way of sin is far worse than to be overtaken by the power of temptation, with 

some evil action, or deed of darkness. " Therefore David desired, that God would search 
him, to see whether there was in him a way of evil," Psal. cxxxix. 23. That is, some evil 
habit of sin that was never changed ; it is, my brethren, this which discovers a man's state 
to be naught, or that he is not renewed. 

2. This sort of men is the way of earthly or worldly thoughts, they pass to and fro 
every moment as travellers on the highway. 

3. These persons hearts also is the highway of a worse traveller, namely, tl^e devil, 
for, like as God is said to walk in his people, " I will dwell in them, and walk in them," 
2 Cor. vi. 16, so the devil walks up and down by his evil suggestions, and filthy motions 
in the hearts of these ungodly ones. 

4. Moreover, these people are not by God's care and providence fenced Highway 

, ^ , ^ , /■ /-. T . ,-1 , 1 . 11 ground not 

m, to keepbatan out; the careful eye oi God is like a hedge to a holy person, fenced in. 
and his Spirit is as a strong fence to repulse and keep Satan out ; from spoiling and de- 
vouring them and theirs. " Hast thou not made a hedge about him, and about all he hath 
on every side ?" Job i. 10. Believers are like a field, or garden enclosed, to prevent the 
danger they are from this watchful traveller ; hut thus it is not with this sort of men, for 
they, like the highway, lie open to Satan's temptations. 

V. The seed which falls on the highway-side, is either trodden by the feet of travel- 
lers, or else caught up, and devoured by the fowls of the air. Even so, and in Uke man- 
ner, the word that is either trodden down by the cursed feet and power of lusts, and love 
of this world, or temptations, and suggestions of Satan, or else the wicked one catcheth it 
out of their hearts ; by which means tliey bring forth no fruit of the word, but lose all the 
profit others receive thereby. 

Secondly, I shall show you what ways and devices Satan hath to catch the word out of 
these persons' hearts. 

They received the, word ; this implies some kind of notional reception of it, hut it is as 
our Lord told the unbelieving Jews, his word had no abiding in them. But, jj^,^ ^y,^ ^^ 

1. To proceed, no sooner do they hear the word, but Satan darts in evil vii catches 
and hurtful thoughts, perhaps such as these following. of men's 

1. Why should I regard what this minister says ? he is but a man, he hearts, 
tells me, " I must be born again, or I shall never see the kingdom of God," J(jhn iii. 3. 
" and that if I do not believe in Christ, 1 shall be damned," Mark xvi. 16. It is but his 
opinion, his thoughts, he may be mistaken ; for if this be so, what will become of the most 
of men in the world ? 

2. In another of this sort he raises up prejudice against the preacher ; perhaps some 
have unjustly reproached him, as they did of old vilify the prophet Jeremiah ; report, say 
they, and we will report ; and by this means the devil may catch the word out of his 
heart. Brethren, by this device the devil caught the word out of the hearts of many per- 
sons who heard our Saviour preach, i. e., by rendering him odious unto the people by his 
cursed instruments which he employed, calling him a " ghittunous person, a wine-bibber ; 
a friend of publicans and sinners," Matt. xi. 19. 

3. To another Satan may suggest such thoughts as these, i. e., it is evident I am a 


Christian, a member of Christ, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven ; I was born of 
Cliristiau parents, and am in covenant with God, and so in the pale of the church, and 
therefore in a good and safe condition. I was regenerated by my baptism, when an infant, 
what doctrine is this ? " Must I be born again twice ?'' Matt. iii. 9, 10, 11, 12, After 
this manner, or by this subtle snare, tlie devil deceived the Jews of all the benefit of the 
word. " We are Abraham's seed," John. viii. 33. 

4. Saith Satan to others, "If you hearken to such doctrine which these men preach, you 
will become a mere raome, and then farewell to all the sweet comforts of this world ; for 
you will be mad, or else fall certainly into desperation ; and so become utterly uncapabie 
to follow your employment, by which means your family will be brought to beggary." And 
unto these suggestions these adhere, and so the devil catches the word away that was 
sown upon their heart, for into their heart it never entered." 

5. Other cif this sort of hearers, Satan fills full of earthly thoughts ; so that as soon as 
he hath heard a word which greatly concerns him, it is presently lost in a crowd of worldly 
cogitations ; perhaps the person is poor, and he is thinking where to borrow a little money ; 
or having met with some losses, or disappointments the week past, this so perpleseth his 
mind, that he can think of nothing else. Or may be he has some bad debts, and his 
thoughts are taken up about them. Also another having a good trade the week before, 
he is thinking how much he hath gained, and by that means the devil catchefh away the 
word which he newly heard. Or possibly some body hath injured him, and he is thinking 
how to right himself ; or being defamed, he is so disturbed, that he cannot bear (to his 
profit) what the minister says, or least wise not retain it in his mind, by which means the 
devil catcheth the word out of his thoughts, and it becomes unprofitable. Or if a young 
person, it may be he is in love, and while he is hearing of the word, he is consulting how 
to act, in order to obtain the person he hath set bis heart upon. And this man is by 
Satan, so fijled with these thoughts, that he catches away the word. Or, perhaps the 
devil fills others of this sort which disquieting thoughts about the times, deadness of trade, 
and dearness of corn, and by that way he catches away the word they hear preached. Or, 
says Satan to others ( by his inward suggestions) "Thou art young, and these things belong 
to aged people, who are going out of the world ; it will be time enough to mind the con- 
The subtuty cernments of thy soul many years hence ;" and so the devil catches the word 
of Satan. put of theii' hearts. Or, if the person be old, and is brought under .the word, 
and begins to lay what he hears to heart, the devil presently injects such thoughts into 
bis heart as these, i.e., " Thou wast called formerly, and thou didst slight that call, and ofter 
of God's grace, and didst stifle those convictions thou hadst then ; that was the day of thy 
visitation ; but now it is too late, thy day is gone," and so the devil catcheth the word cut 
(or rather) off of bis heart. Another, Satan persuades to rest on the performance of du- 
ties ; perhaps they read and pray, and though they are very ungodly, will swear, lie, be 
drunk ; yet soon upon it they seem troubled, and get upon their knees and pray, and make 
promises to reform, but yet are again overcome with the same evils ; but then by being 
troubled, and by praying again, they think all is well ; they apply these duties to heal 
their sinful souls, and by that means the devil catcheth the word from them, so that they 
are never renewed, but perish in their sins. Satan suggesteth in others, 'that if they re- 
gard the word which they hear, so as to become religious, they will be reproached, and de- 
rided ; nay, may sometime or another be persecuted and thrown into prison, and be utter- 
ly undone ; and the thoughts of such things they cannot bear ; and by this means Satan 
also catcheth the word away from these. Moreover, Satan strives to deceive them, by 
telling them that many find repentance at last when they come to lie upon a death-bed ; 
and from thence, saith a sinner, this is, no doubt, a truth therefore why may not I ? many 
have taken their fill of all the delights and pleasures of this world, and have been happy for 
ever in heaven also ; and I hope so may 1, and thus Satan catches the word out of their 
hearts, before it had taken any root therein. Furthermore, the devil tells them, that their 
condition is as good, as the condition of many thousands in the woild. I shall therefore 
(saith the poor deluded soul) speed as well as they ; as if it were any relief to a poor con- 
demned criminal, that great numbers are like to suft'er the shameful death with him- 
self. These and many other ways the devil bath to catch the word out of the hearts 
of them that bear it. 

Thirdly, I shall show you what the reason is why the devil hath such power to 
catch the word out of the hearts of this sort of hearers. 

1. It is because their hearts being hard, and never mollified, the word can liave no 


rooting in them, what secil can take root in ground tliat is so trodden upon, The ^ason 
that is as liard ahnost as a rock. vii hath sucii 

2. It is because God, as a just and fearful judgment, leaves them unto ^"" J^ 
theu- own hearts' lusts, thej' being so in love with sin, and the vanities of this t)ie word, 
evil world, esteeming earthly riches, honours, and pleasures of sui, above 
Jesus Christ. 

Quest. Why are the devils compared to the fowls of heaven ? 

Answ. 1. Some fowls are fowls of prey, ravenous fowls : the devils are Why the evil 

, ,-,, 1 r ^ • 1- spirits are 

compared unto such fowls, because tliey are of a destructive nature, seeking compared to 
how they may prey upon poor innocent Christians, and daily devour unwary ^'j.aven'^'^ "^ 
and ignorant siunners ; like as some fowls live upon their prey, so those evil 
spirits live (as it were) upon preying upon, and destroying the souls of sinners. 

'2. Some fowls of prey have a quick and piercing eye, as the eagle : even so these evil 
spirits have a very quick and piercing sight ; if any sinner seems to be secure, they will 
soon on a sudden prey upon him : for as eagles with all diligence and subtilty watch for 
their prey, so do these evil and wicked spirits to destroy men's souls. 

'd. The fowls of prev, especially eagles, have their residence in the air, they love the 
upward regions ; and by that means have the greater advantage and opportunity to prey 
upon creatures below ; even so these wicked spirits have their residence in the air ; hence 
the devil is called " the prince of the power of the air," Eph. ii. 2, 3 ; and also by this 
means poor mortals are in the greater danger, they having much advantage of us by being 
above us, and find hereby an opportunity to devour such that are not aware of them. 

4. The fowls of the air are great destroyers of seed, when it is newly sown ; and 
therefore the husbandman appoints his servants to drive them away : so these evU spirits 
are very busy in the time when the spiritual seed of the word is newly preached, to catch 
it up out of the hearts, or out of the mind and thoughts of all such that hear it, and 
hence the blessed God gives strict charge to all to resist them, and by faith and prayer, 
with a promise Satan shall fly from us. 

5; Fowls come down upon their prey on a sudden, as a kite in a moment catches up a 

So the devil liere is said to catch the seed of the word out of these peoples' „ ,, ,„ 

1 1-11 -11 1 r. 1.1 How the ae- 

liearts ; which denote a quick and speedy motion. Satan sees there is need vii catohea 

for him to do what he doth, (as it were with a jirk) he sees it is not safe for of thrheart. 

him to let sinners muse and contemplate upon the word, nor on their own 

dangerous condition ; lest the seed should begin to root in their hearts, (i.e.) get into their 

understandings, and into their affections. 

It is said, when Abraham had killed his beasts, (viz.,) " an heifer of three years old, 
and a she-goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtle-dove, and a 
young pigeon, the fowls came down upon the carcasses, and Abraham tbove them away," 
Gen. XV. 10, 11 : even so these evil fowls, or wicked spirits, come down to disturb and 
disquiet the saints, when they are in the discharge of holy duties ; or are offering up spi- 
ritual sacrifices unto God, wliich they ought to drive away by a stout resistance of them 
in all their temptations, through the assistance of the Spirit of God. Bloreover, 

6. Where the seed is newly sown, thither it is observed oft-times great multitudes of 
evil and hurtful fowls will resort, so that sometimes the gi'ound is covered with them. 

So no doubt where the word of God in the assemblies of his people is powerfully 
preached, there are multitudes of those evil spirits, who strive to catch up the seed, there- 
by to make a prey of the souls of such they may destroy. 


1. with what care and diligence should sinners attend upon the word, and lay it np 
in their hearts 1 This was David's care : " Thy word have I Iiid in my heart," &c., 
Psal. cxix. 9. This is the way to prevent Satan from catchiug it up. 

2. Let all that hear the word beware, what thoughts they adhere to, or entertain ; least 
they are ensnared by the evU spirits. 

3. This also may inform all persons, how it behoveth them to find out, and not to be 
ignorant of Satan's devices : moreover it appears from hence, what the cause is, that so 
few in the world, who hear the word of God, do receive it in the love of it ; for certainly 
there are many more people comprehended by the highway-side ground than of anj^, if not 
more than of all the other three sorts, I mean such that remain openly wicked, and are 
never brought into any visible profession of religion. 


4. From hence we also may infer, that thfre is a necessity of sowing tlie seeJ of the 
word. Ministers must ])reacl], as husbandmen must sow ; if they sow not, they cannot ex- 
pect to reap : so il ministers preach not, they cannot expect any souls should be converted 
by them ; he shall reap no harvest that sows no seed. 

2. So he that sows sparingly, or but a little seed, shall reap sparingly, or have but a 
thin harvest. 

3. A seeds-man (you heard) must not regard the cold, neither the wind, uor storms . 
so a minister must not fear reproaches nor persecution. 

f). Terror ; this may aiford terror to careless hearers, such that regard not how they 
hear. Take heed how you hear. The word of God is to this sort of hearers the savour 
of death unto death ; if the word softens not, it hardens ; if men hear not to their salva- 
tion, the}' hear to their damnation. The word of God is like a sword with two edges, if 
it do not kill their sins, it will kill their souls. If it tends not to fit them for heaven, 
it will tit them for hell. 

6. Careless hearers are the worst of all hearers : as the highway ground is the worst 
of all sorts of ground ; there is no hope, that ever the seed of the word should take root 
in these men's hearts : true, the seed may fall upon such ground, but it cannot fall into it ; 
the stony and thorny gi'ound was bad, but yet nevertheless they are said to receive the 
seed ; it seemed to be covered, but these tread it under their feet, they despise the word, 
and let the devil catch it up, or take it oflf of their hearts : our Saviour, as Gregory saith, 
Non indiget expositione, sed admonitione. Christ hath expounded this to our hand. The 
word hath no abiding in these persons, they hear, but resolve to continue in their evil and 
wicked courses, these have certainly the mark of reprobation up n them ; they hear, but 
understand not, it is a mark of a child of God to understand the word : " To you it is 
given to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven," Luke. viii. 10. 

1. They desire not after knowledge, but are wise in their own conceit, and know as 
much as is sufficient, as they think to salvation. 

2. Such hear negligently, or remissly, and are in a worse condition than those that never 
had the gospel, their sin is more heinous, and their state is more desperate ! " If I had not 
come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin," John xv. 22 ; that is, they had not 
sinned with such severe aggravations, " but now they have no cloak for their sin,'" 2^Chron. 
xxxvi. 15, 10. They of old that despised the word, and abused God's prophets, wrath 
came upon them, untU there was no remedy ; the higher persons are lifted up to heaven 
in respect of the means of gi'ace, the lower they yill fall into hell. 

The gospel, according as it is heard, is either the gi-eatest blessing, or mercy, or the 
greatest judgment. It is either a blessing, or else a curse ; it either binds us with cords 
of love to God, or with the bonds of wrath and death ; it either softens or hardens. 

3. Such persons are left inexcusable, they are hereby prepared for judgment, and judge 
themselves unworthy of eternal life; such are justly rejected of God, because they des- 
pise and neglect the means of their cure ; the preaching of the gospel is to them that be- 
heve " the power of God unto salvation," Kom. i. 16. Let me caution all that hear the 
word to beware of Satan ; 

Then coraetli the wicked one. 

Quest. Whither comes he ? 

I answer, he comes into the assemblies of God's people, he comes where the good seed 
is sown. Many devils or wicked spirits attend and wait to catch the word out of the 
men's thoughts and hearts, whilest it is preached. take heed of those ravenous fowls. 

Quest. When doth Satan come ? 

Answ. When any begin to hear, and diligently to attend upon the word of God ; 
" Whensoever any man heareth the word of the kingdom," Matt. xiii. 19 ; he fears no 
person, noble nor ignoble, old or young ; though you see him not, he being a spirit, yet 
he is by you, he stands among the children of God : Satan, my brethren, comes always 
to cliurch, he is one of the first that comes, and the last that goes from thence ; when any 
word that suits the state of a sinner, falls from the mouth of the preacher, then comes 
the wicked one to catch it away. 

Quest. How doth Satan come ? 

1. I answer, he comes by darting into the heart, roving, and wandering thoughts, to 
take the hearer's mind quite away from that which concerns his everlasting welfare ; he 
cumes by putting vain and idle cogitations into his heart and mind. 

2. He comes to see if he can rock the hearer ijf the woril asleep, or make him drowsy 
or heavy under the word : what is the cause, think you, that people are so subject to fall 


asleep under the word ? nay, more ready tlien to take a nap, than when tliey are else- 
where ? Alas, it is from Satan. I have heard of a woman that chose to go to the place 
of God's worship, or where, and when the word was preached, that she might have a 
soimd sleep ; she found at such times she could sooner sleep, than at any otlier time or 

3. He comes by many inward suggestions (as 1 have showed you) to stir up their na- 
tural corruption, and fill them with prejudice against the word. 

Quest. Why doth Satan thus come ? What end hath he in it ? 

Answ. No good end, you may be sure. 

1 . He comes as thieves comes to rob and steal ; his end and design is to'steal the 
word out of the heart. The devil is a gi'eat thief, he is not a pocket-picker, but a heart- 
picker ; he comes not to get away your gold or silver, but that which is of for greater 
value, viz., the word. 

2. His end is to hinder all that hear the word, (if possible) from believing ; he is not 
so great an enemy to the hearing of the word, as he is to the believing and riglit applying 
of it ; he never loses the sinner, until the sinner believes, and truly takes hold of Jesus 
Christ. Christ prays for all his elect, that they may believe ; faith ruins Satan's desiijn, 
and spoils his kingdom ; faith unites the soul to Christ, therefore it is no wonder the 
devil is such an enemy to believing : faith is that shield whereby we quench all Satan's 
fiery darts ; it is that by which we resist him, and overcome him. 

3. He comes to hinder sinners from considering, knowing, and understanding the word ; 
none receive it truly, but such that understand it ; that know the necessity and excellency 
of God's word. 

4. He comes to obstruct and hinder sinners of salvation, and so to blind men's minds 
that they may be lost lor ever. 

Quest. I !ut why ? to catch the word out of the heart ? 

Answ. Because if he can get it out of the heart, he knows it can do no why Satan 
soul any good ; he cares not liow much of the word a man gets into his mouth, '**'','^'^? ,,'" 
or into his head, so that he can keep it out of his heart, or catch it out of word out of 
that. ""■' '"^'"^• 

2. Because if once the heart truly receives the word, Satan knows it will soon take 
root there, and cause the soul to bring forth fruit. 

3. 15ecause the word rightly received into the heart, is like to leaven that will quickly 
leaven the whole lump. 

4. Because if once the word of God be hid in the heart, he knows he cannot steal it 
away ; David well understood this, and therefore he says, " Thy word have 1 hid iu my 
heart," Psal. cxix. 11. 

5. Because he knows when the word is truly received into the heart, Christ is at that 
time received also, and the soul is happy for ever. then a stronger than he comes, and 
binds the strong man armed. 

6. And lastly, Because the devil knows if he can but hinder the word from brooding and 
rooting on, or in the heart, the best sermon that can be i)reached will be inelTectual to that 
jierson. No wonder then that Saian strives to catch the word out of the hearts of sinners ; 
lie doth, it is true, what he can, to hinder a man from hearing the word, for fear he should 
not be able to prevent its being received ; for it must be took into the ear before it can 
be received (as it is preached) iuto the heart. 

see what ground your hearts are, examine yourselves ; for according to Trial, 
the nature of the ground, will the success of the seed that is sown be ; are your liearts 
whU ploughed up, or has the Spirit of God, by convictions, broken and pierced your 
hearts, so that you, like them of old, are made to cry out, " Sirs, what shall we do?" 

And be sure do not think it enough to hear the word, content not yourselves to come to 
hear, lest Satan's coming prevents thy profiting by it. From hence we may learn that 
Satan hath more knowledge of the nature of the word, than many sinners have. For, 

1. Satan knows that the preaching of the word tends to the ruin of his interest and 
kingdom in this world. 

2. Satan knows the preaching of the word is an instrument in God's hand to the con- 
version and salvation of sinners. 

3. Satan knows that faith comes by hearing, and that a bare hearing of the word can 
profit no person to the salvation of their souls. Moreover it informs us, that we can come 
to no meeting of the godly to hear God's woril, but we may expect to meet with Satan 
there. watch him, ye poor unwary hearers ! have a godly jealousy, lest it is he that 

K 2 



keeps you sometimes at home, and also causes you to be sleepy and drowsy under tlie 
Wfird when you do come ; or that raiseth such thoughts and ■wanderings in your hearts, or 
tliat fills you with prejudice either against the word or the preacher thereof. Let notliing 
hinder thee from hearing the word of God; nor let a simple hearing of it satisfy thee. 
So much to the first sort of ground, viz., the highway-side -ground. 


But he that receiveth the seediii stoni/ places, — Matt. xiii. 20, 21, 22. 

Theee things are to be considered in these words. 

1. The natiu'e of the ground ; some fell in stony places. 

2. The success of the seed ; for a time it sprang up, but in the end it withered. 

3. The cause and reason why and wherefore it withered, and brought not forth fruit 
unto perfection. I shall begin with the first of these, viz., the nature or quality of the 

Th ture ^- Stony ground wants breaking up ; let rocky or stony ground be but well 

of the stony broken up, and mollified and mixed with earth, seed will grow, and bring 
ground. jgj,j,j j.j.j,-j ,^^jQ perfection. 

So these persons enter into a profession of religion, before their hearts were thoroughly 
broken in the sense of sin ; they never saw the baseness and hardness of their hearts ; true 
faith works contrition and godly sorrow only in those hearts where the seed of the word 
takes root, and who continue fruitful unto the end. But these remain hardened in their 
sin ; their wills being stubborn and rebellious, though they seem to be aft'ected with the 
word ; their consciences may be somewhat awakened and enlightened, and their aflections 
suddenly raised, before they were brought under a true sense of sin : the natural hardness 
of their hearts remains, of which they are ignorant. 

2. Stony ground is cold ; what is colder than a stone ? So these persons abide without 
any divine warmth, or spiritual heat in their souls, because they are without a vital prin- 
ciple, they have not the life of true grace in them, from whence all spu-itual heat flows ; 
the Sun of righteousness never enlivened them, though they might experience the common 
illuminations of the Spirit, as the apostle shows elsewhere. Heb. vi. 4. 

3. Their hearts may be compared to stony ground, from the heaviness or lumpishness 
of their spirits ; a stone is heavy and not easily removed out of its place ; the earth is its 
proper centre ; you may perhaps by your strength cast a heavy stone up a little way into 
the air, but do'mi it falls again ; so these hearers are heavy and lumpish, and not soon re- 
moved out of their evil course, but by the improvement of natural powers, or strength of 
common light and knowledge, they may be somewhat raised in their desires and affections 
towards heavenly things ; but in a short time tliey cleave again to the earth theii- own pro- 
per centre, still they remain earthly and carnal inwardly. 

4. Stony or rocky ground doth not drink in the rain that fiills from heaven ; it is ob- 
served that the rain glides off a rock, and very little of it soaks in : perhaps there may be 
a little earth, and ia that some seed may take some small rooting. 

So this sort of hearers do not receive with the word, the Holy Spirit, but do resist the 
more effectual influences and operations thereof ; we read of the former and latter rain, 
which God's elect receive. 

Where is ■*■• The former rain molhfies or softeneth their hearts, and so tends to 

the former root the divine seeds, and makcth it to sprout ; and the latter rain ripeneth 
Snonhe the soul for the harvest of glory, by bringing forth the fruits of the Spirit, 
Spirit. and of a holy life. But these wanted the mollil'ying power and operations of 

the Holy Ghost ; they never experienced the Spirifs rooting influences ; the apostle prays 
for the saint to whom he writes; " that Christ might dwell in their hearts by faith, that 
they might be rooted and grounded in love," Eph. iii. 17. JMy brethren, faith roots the 
seed of the word by the Spirit in the understanding, and in the will ; for the rooting of 
the seed in the heart, chiefly consisteth in the assent of the understanding, and consent of 
the will, and this is done by the Holy Spirit in its first workings and operations. But 
these professors who have rocky hearts, taking not in the spiritual rain ia either of those 
respects, Clu-ist is not received, nor doth he dwell in their hearts. And from hence they 
are not rooted in love ; they seem to have some love to Christ, but as it is not sincere, so 
it abides not ; they are not rooted in love. The former rain, by rooting the seed of grace 


in believers, infusetb divine liabits ; wbom wbence all gracious acts procecJ, as the effect 
from the cause. Anil the latter rain strengtheus those habits, and enables the soul from 
right principles, and to a right end, to discharge all holy duties, acts of piety, and gospel 

But these stony-ground professors have not the habits of grace, and therefore they con- 
tinue not in holy duties, but for want of oil in their vessels, their lamps go out. " Why 
persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in him," Job xix. 28. By the 
root of the matter here, is doubtless meant the truth of grace, i. e., The saving habit of 
faith, and love ; he was a sincere and upright man, but this root is not found m these per- 
sons mentioned in my text. 

5. All the hearts of men are naturally hard, stony, and like a rock, yet the Jf^^if^"^^ 
hammer of the word can, and doth oft-times break it to pieces : " Is not my naturaUy 
word like fire and hke a hammer, that breaks the rock in pieces," Jer. xxiii. " ' 

29 ; therefore it evidently follows, that these persons' hearts were never changed, not- 
withstanding they become professors of the gospel, and seem to be disciples of Christ. 

6. Stony ground seems to be the fruit of the curse for man's sin, and it renders 
that part of the earth barren, and hinders the seed that is sown upon it from bringing 
forth fruit. 

So these persons seem stiU to be under the curse ; for by the stonyness and hardness 
of their hearts, tlie seed of the word is rendered as unfruitful as any stony-ground doth, 
or can render the natural seed to be, that is sown upon it. 

7. Stony ground by reason of the little earth that is found there, it bi-ingeth forth only 
the blade of the corn, it never comes to a kernel, nor to brmg forth fruit for him that 
sowed it. 

So these professors for want of deepness of earth, or for want of a sound judgment, a 
broken heart, and a good understanding, they only bring forth the externals of religion ; 
they get a name, and an outward profession, and discharge external duties and ordinances, 
or no more than the stalk or blade of a Christian profession, or form of godliness, without 
the power thereof ; no fruit of saving-grace, no inward sanotification, nor gospel holiness : 
and though they promised fair for awhile, and when they first set out or began to be re- 
ligious, many thought them sincere, yet they continue not long in their course of a visi- 
ble profession. 

8. Stony ground, when the sun rises high and begins to shine hot upon it, the scorching 
beams thereof soon causeth the blade to wdk and wither away. 

So these professors wlien persecution ariseth because of the word, they fade and wither, 
they cannot bear the trials of the cross, nor stand in a day of persecution. 
Now the cause of their decay is two-fold. 

1. Internal, in themselves, for want of root, or depth of earth, this is the chief cause. 

2. External, from the »corching sun of persecution, temptation, and tribulation. 
From hence they wither. 

1. Their hearts are not good nor upright with God, may be aim at self in all they do, 
or have not inward sincerity, perhaps get a profession to make that as a bridge to 
carry them to heaven, but cannot wade through the waters of temptations, nor swim 
through the floods of persecution and tribulation ; they cannot bear bitter reproaches, 
scuffs, and jeers for Christ, nor loss of goods, estates, and life for his sake; when they see 
they cannot hold their profession without bemg m danger of lnsiug their names, liberties, 
estates, places of profit, pleasures, or honours, and lives, they are presently offended. 

Thus having showed why the hearts of some sort of hearers are compared to stony 

I shall observe from hence one or two points of doctrine. 

Doct. 1. Stony or hard-hearted hearers may go a great way in the profession of the 
Christian religion, and yet be lost for ever. 

1. I shall show you how far this sort may go. 

2. Show you from whence it is they go so far. 

3. Show you the cause or reason why they go no farther. 4. Apply it. 

First, They may hear the word of God with diligence, these are not like 
to the high-way siile ground, these do nut scoff" at the word, nor despise the ^J™,^,, 
ministers of the gospel ; moreover they do not let Satan steal it away as soon llL■url■r^ go 
jvs they iiear it preached, but it hath some short abiding in thera. 'in'll'ifrofli'-^ 

11. They may be zealous hearers, or be very forward to hear, nay, hear it s'o"- 
with gladness, as Herod heard Jolin tlie Baptist. 


III. They may receive tlie word into their hearts, they may sucUlenly receive it ; "anon 
receiveth it," that is, (saith a noted writer") immediately, they hear Christ died for sinners, 
and the doctrine pleaseth them, tliey are affected with these tidings and catch hold of the 
word, and receive it into their thoughts, and their affections are somewhat raised by it to 
such a degree, that they seem transjiorted by it. 

IV. From hence it is said that they received it with joy. The word is received into 
their affections, more than it is into their judgments and solid understandings. They did 
not count the cost, nor did they esteem tlie word above the love of the world ; our Saviour 
saith of some of John's hearers, " ye rejoiced in the light for a season," John v. 35. 

V. It is said they believed for awhile, they are a sort of believers, though not true be- 
lievers ; many of the Jews believed in Christ, " But he did not commit himself unto them," 
John ii. 24. 

They had no saving union with the Lord Jesus, he did not take them into bis bosom, 
be knowing that their hearts were not sincere ; these give credit to the truth of the gos- 
pel, they arrive to the faith of credence, or a dogmatical faith, like many in our days ; 
they do not doubt of the truth of the Christian religion, of the truth of the Protestant re- 
ligion; these are said " to believe for a while," Luke viii. IH, but not with a true saving 
faith ; they believe not with the faith of God'? elect ; " Simon Magus believed," Acts viii. 
13. There is mention made in the Scripture of divers sorts of faith. 

True faith unites the soul to Christ, in our understanding, will, and affections, and 
wherever it is, it purifies the heart, therefore that faith which any unrenewed or ungodly 
persons have, is not true saving faith. Act. xv. 9. 

The nature This faith therefore being but a temporary faith is not of the right kind, it 

of the faith is not the faith of the operation of God ; true faith never faileth : " 1 have 
not^aving. prayed for thee that thy faith fail not ," Col. ii. 10, Luke xii. 32 ; though it 
may fail in the act, yet it cannot fail in the habit. 

2. It is a general faith, or a common faith ; it lies I mean in the general and common 
love of God to all, it comprehendeth a belief of the Scriptures, not a special and particular 
apjilication of the object of justifying faith, Jesus Christ in the promises. 

The devils no doubt believe the truth of the Scriptures, as well as they believe there is 
a God. 

3. This faith is only seated in the understanding, but not in the will ; there is an assent 
of the one, but not a consent of the other ; this sort of hearers may believe all the attri- 
butes of God, i. e., that God is just, holy, wise, faithful, good, and gracious, almighty, &c., 
and yet never are brought to trust in him, and rest upon him ; they do not make him the 
object of their souls' affections, holy fear, and dependence ; they may have believing heads, 
but not believing hearts ; they believe God is good, but never tasted how good he is ; be- 
lieve he is able to save, but never threw their souls upon him in Jesus Christ, to be saved : 
it is, my brethren, a faith without experience, they believe the tmth of the word, but never 
felt the power of it upon their own souls ; they believe the truth of the promises, but never 
tasted the sweets of the promises. 

4. This is a faith without true brokenness of heart, their hearts (notwithstanding they 
are said to believe) abide hard and stony. True Christians " look up to him that they 
pierced, and mourn," Zech. xii. 10. That is, they believe in Christ and are broken, they 
have soft hearts, but these do not so believe ; therefore it is not true faith they have. 

5. This faith doth not change or transform them into the image of Christ, nor cause 
them to abide fruitful ; it makes them professors, but not tme behevers, they beheve a 
man must be a new creature that would be saved, but they are not made new creatures 
that they may be saved ; they believe (as one observes) they must be changed, but are not 
changed by beheving. 

What obedi- ^^l-- The Stony gi-ound hearers may yield obedience to all external duties 
encoisnot or ordinances ; thev may read, nrav, f,we to the poor, attend frequently upon 

true obedience 'i.;'o i i__./i 

the word, nay, may be baptized, as Simon the sorcerer was, Act. vm. 
I do not say they may obey gospel ordinances, and perform gospel duties from right 
jjrinciples, nor to a riglit end, they may be right m the matter of their obedience, but not 
in the manner of it. They may do that which is right in the sight of God, (as some of 
the kings of Juda did) but not with a perfect heart ; though evident it is, these sort of per- 
sons do not whatsoever God commandeth them ; some of the hardest things which he re- 
quireth of them they do not ; they do not " Pull out their right eye lusts, nor cut off right 
hand lusts, they do not deny themselves, take up their ci'oss, and follow Cli rist whitherso- 
ever he goeth," Matt. xvi. 23, 24, 25. 


They are not universal in their obedience, noristlicir obedience evangelical, neither con- 
stant and abiding ; they do not " Obey always even unto the end." Their obedieuee is not 
right in the spring of it, the motive of it, nor rule of it ; a man may obey the law, 
and yet not love the law ; " if ye love me keep my commandments," John xv. ; but they 
do some of his commandments, and yet sincerely love him not. 

VII. The stony ground hearers may become members of a visible church of Chri?t, 
and break bread with the church, and be owned for faitliful brethi-en, lilie as tlie foolish 
vkgins were, and no doubt the wise took them to be good Christians ; they were not 
known to be unsoimd to tliem. 

Vm. They may have a great zeal for all the externals of religion, as the Pharisees 
had ; " I bear them record that they have a zeal of God," saitli the apostle concerning the 
Jews, but it was not according to knowledge," Rom. x. 2 ; commonly the zeal of this 
sort of professors, appears in their conformity to the smaller matters of religion, as the 
Pharisees were extremely zealous in payment of tithes of mint, annis, and cummin ; but neg- 
lected the weightier things of the law, as justice, mercy, faith, and the love of God. Be- 
sides their zeal, as it is partial so it is inconstant ; their zeal doth not burn long, it is but 
for a time, they quickly cool in their zeal. Moreover, it is commonly a selfish zeal ; " Come, 
(saith Jehu) and see my zeal for the Lord of Hosts," 2 King x. 16 ; when, alas, it was a 
zeal for his own glory and interest. 

IX. The stony ground hearers may leave all gross acts of sin, as swearing, lying, 
drunkenness, uncleanness, and the like ; but for all this they may not hate those sins which 
they leave. Sin may seem to be out of their conversation, but not out of their affections. 
They are other creatures, but not new creatures ; they are changed in their lives, 
but not in their hearts. Nor let this seem strange to any, for pray to what a degree of 
outward reformation did many of the Heathens attain unto, by the improvement of the 
dark hght of natui'e, as touching all gross sins. Nay, in subduing of many of the unruly 
passions of their hearts. Now those persons who sit under the hearing of the gospel, have 
far greater advantages by the means of common light and knowledge, than those Heathens 
ever had ; besides, they have more powerful motives, by hearing of that future reward God 
hath promised to the truly godly, and the fearful punishment of all that are ungodly, that 
live and die in their sins. 

X. And lastly. They may have some inward joy, as to the liopes they have of heaven ; 
it is said of this sort, " They take delight in approaching to God," Isa. Iviii. 2. I do not 
say, they rejoice in tlie word, or delight in it, because of the purity of it ; no, that no hy- 
pocrite can do ; but because of the profit of it, or because of the future reward it promiseth ; 
or their delight in the word may arise from the eloquence of the preacher, it pleaseth their 
ears ; " It is as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well 
on an instrument," Ezek. xxxiii. 32. These men have hopes to be saved, but it is not 
built upon a sure foundation. We read of the hope of the hypocrite, and of his leaning 
upon his house, but because it is not well built, it shall fall for all that ; perhaps they 
ground their hopes upon that external change that hath passed upon them, or upon those 
external duties they have performed : men of no grace, may be men of great hope ; it is 
not a hope in Christ that riseth from faith and union with him, or from wliat he hath done 
for them, but from what they have done ; " We have prophesied in thy name," &c. Heb. 
vi. 16 — 18. We have fasted, say they ; the hope of a true Christian is both sure and 
steadfast, it is built lipon Cluist alone, and on the covenant of grace, promise, and oath of 
God, and the excellent nature of it is known by its efi'ects : " Eveiy man that hath this 
hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure," 1 John iii. 3 ; he that is not in Christ, 
is without any sure hope of heaven. This was that mystery Paul preached among the 
Gentiles, " which is Christ in you the hope of glory," Col. i. 27. Such that have Christ 
dwelhng -in their hearts by faith, have a certain and sure hope of eternal life; but so 
had not the stony ground liearers ; but because the thorny ground hearers go fur- 
ther than these, I shall say no more unto this head now. 

Secondly, from whence is it, that the stony ground hearers go so far? 

1. These hearers go so far in a way of profession, and performance of duties of religion, 
from those common illuminations of the word and Spirit of God ; hence they are said 
" OMce to be enlightened," Heb. vi. 4, 5, tliey are brought by the light of the word to see 
the state of man by nature is very wretched and deplorable ; how was hard-hearted Ba- 
laam enlightened in this respect ; he knew the condition of such that died unrenewed was 
sad ; therefore cried out, " let me die the death of the righteous, let my last end be like 
his." Natural conscience being enhglitcned, convince* these persons, that they are siruier.s. 


and in a lost and woful condition, and tlierefore tjicy cannot rest in tlie present state tliey 
are in, and therefore strive to step out of it into a profession of religion : no doubt Felix 
was under great convictions, and Herod also, who upon those convictions did many things, 
and heard John the Baptist gladly. 

2. It may be from the effects of that faith they had ; for though they had not the faith of 
God's elect, yet their temporary faith was not wholly without some product ; the seed 
sprang up, there was the stalk or blade of a visible profession, they reformed tlieir ways, 
and left their old course of life ; as the product of that faith, which they had obtained 
through hearing of the word ; a temporary faith will bring forth some kind of temporary 

3. It may arise fi-om a heat of love and ailection to some ministers, that this sort of 
Affection to hearers do go so far. One observes, curiosity and novelty goes a great way 
some minis- with this sort of people ; a new preacher, that hath a fluent tongue, and an 

elegant way of delivery, takes with them exceedingly ; liow will they run 
after him, and croud to hear such an one : you must know they are nuich raised iu affec- 
tions, but weak hi judgment. 

4. Self-respect and honour may cause them to go far, merely to get a name, may be 
they will largely contribute to such a minister they do affect, and seem very zealous for 
a time, that they may be taken notice of to be men that love religion ; many persons 
greatly affect a name among men, and it is not a little way that this will carry them. 

5. It may be self-profit : so long as this sort of hopes of receiving any thing by Christ, 
they will follow him : how earnestly and zealously did some follow Christ, they took ship- 
ping to follow him, but what was the cause, saith our Saviour ; " Verily, verily, I say 
unto you, ye seek me not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye eat of the loaves 
and were filled," John vi. 28 ; but when there is no more profit, no loaves, they cease 
following of Christ ; this sort will adhere to Christ, as Demas did, until they meet witli 
greater advantages or earthly profit, then they leave him, as he did, out of love to this 
present evil world, 

6. It may aiise from that seeming sweetness and satisfaction they meet with from 
within themselves, whilst they continue in the profession of religion, and in the discharge 
of spiritual duties; hence they are said to " taste of the good Word of God," Heb. vi. 
5, 6 ; it is but a taste of it, they feed not upon it, nor digest it, yet nevertheless that 
taste they have (though it be but like a cook's licking his fingers) helps them to go forward, 
and do many things. 

7. It may be from a desire they have of being saved ; there is a natural desire in all 
men to be delivered from that which is evil, and hurtful to them, and to enjoy that which 
is good ; now they believe there is a future state of blessedness to be had, and therefore 
go far in the way of a profession to obtain it. The young man cried out, " Good JIaster, 
what good thing shall I do tiiat I may inherit eternal life ?" This sort know there is au 
eternal life to be had, and they think it is to be had by doing ; something they conclude 
they must do for it ; they no doubt seek it by their own righteousness, as the Jews did, 
and this spurs them on to do much, and to go far in the ways of doing and obedience. 

8. It may arise from that consideration of that shame and reproach (tliey conceive) all 
such that lie under that are openly wicked and profane : an ungodly person is one that 
exposeth himself to the contempt of all mere moral and civilized people. 

9. Moreover, slavish fear, or a dread of hell and eternal damnation, may be the cause 
why these persons go so far in the way of Christianity ; they seem to fly from the wi'ath 
to come. 

Be sure it is from Satau's subtilty, or the delusions of the devil ; for no doubt some of 
this sort may think they are saints, or true believers, and under the promises of eternal 
happiness ; their hearts deceive them, or Satan deceives them, concluding they are in the 
ready way to heaven; yet perhaps some of them may deceive tlieir own hearts, for so do 
all those whose conscience condemn them for hypocrisy, yet not to such a degree, but 
sometimes they may have hopes their state is good. 

Thirdly, from whence is it that the stony ground hearers go no further in the ways of 
From 1. Ausw. I answer, it may arise from that great ignorance that is in 

iTtiTes^epro ^'"^'" ' ^''"^ o'^*^ '^^ ^'"'^ ^™''^'^' ''^''•'' l*'''"-'^*' ''>eir miuds, am! hence it is they 
lessorsgo go no further ; being persuaded they ha\e received the grace of God, lie- 

no furtuer. cause of that great light and knowledge they have attained unto in the mys.- 
teries of the Gospel (lifts are lil<e gi'ace, and because they have the one, they couciudc 


they have received the otlier also ; if amau tliinks, or is persuaded he hath got a sure 
title to such or such an estate, he will trouble himself no further to search records, nor 
employ lawyers to that purpose ; I mean that so he may make such an estate more sure 
unto him : because they are so much in duties, so constant in performance of prayer, so 
frequent under the word, give so much to the poor saints, they do not doubt but all is well 
witli them, and that they need nut go further to search their liearts, thougli they see they 
have many sins clea\ing unto them ; yet wliat of that ? they see all men, yet the best of 
saints are not without manifold mlirmities ; in many tilings we offend all: who say they are 
witliout sin ? Thus they seem to " make themselves ricli, wlieu (as Solomon observes) 
tliey have nothing," Prov. xiii. 7. It is a very dangerous thing for a man to think he is 
rich, and increased in goods, and hath need of notliing ; for many of these " know not 
that they are wretched, and njiserable, and poor, and blind, and naked," Kev. iii. 17. It 
is lamentable for a man to think lumself something, when lie is nothing. 

2. It ariscth from tlie unsoundness of their hearts, the ground is not good, and there- 
fore cannot bring forth more fruit, or better fruit than it doth. Our Saviour shows in my 
text, that their hearts are stony, or rocky, that is, very liard ; yetj in them there is some 
earth, though not depth of earth, sulhcient for tlie rooting of the seed. Now what doth 
this denote, but that there is a work upon one faculty, and not upon another. Their un- 
derstanding is somewhat enlightened, and their conscience a little touched, and in those 
two faculties the seed seems to be received ; tliough the work upon those facidties is not 
efficacious, there is no depth of earth, that is, no thorough and eifectual convictions passeth 
upon them, and as to their wills they are still stubborn, hard, rebellious, stony, and hke 
a rock, being never mollified, bowed, nor broken to pieces ; and their affections are as 
carnal as ever ; and from hence it is they go no further. And 

3. From hence it appeareth, that it riseth from the tleceitfuhiess of the heart, that these 
persons go no further, as their hearts are divided, so they are deceitful, as every natural 
man's heart is ; " The lieart is deceitful above all things, and desperately evil, who can 
know it ?" Jer. xvii. 19. ilauy things are deceitful; we read of the deceitfuhiess of 
beauty, of a deceitful tongue, of the deceitfulness of riches, of friends, of the deceitfuhiess 
of sin, and of the deceitfulness of the devil, Psal. Iii. 4, and Job. vi. 15 ; but thu heart is 
said to be deceitful above all things. Was not the heart of man very deceitful, Satan 
could not deceive him. 0, says some, I thank God, I have a good heart . tliough I do 
not make such a show of religion, now tliese are be sure most fearfully deceived, for where 
true grace is in the soul, the heart appears to such a one, most filthy and loathsome above 
all things ; " He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool," Trov. xxviii. ^G. 

4. This sort of hearers go no further by reason of their abominable pride : " God, I 
thank thee I am not as other men are, &c., not as this publican." Tell these professors 
that they have cause to doubt of the goodness of their state, their hearts will rise at you, 
and their spirits will swell with pride and self-conceitedness : look to yourselves, trouble 
not yourself with me, I know my condition ; thus perhaps they will retort upon you ; a 
fool rageth and is confident. 

5. They go no further, because they never had real union with Christ, they had no vital 
principle in them, they act rather from an artificial principle, than from a principle of life. 

U. These stony-ground hearers go no further because there is some lust, or secret sin or 
another hid in their hearts ; there is no hypocrite but he hath some L)elilah, some beloved 
hist, that he harbors and lodges in his bosom ; though such may go far, yet they will not 
liold out to the end ; the young man tliat came running to Christ, bid fair for heaven, but 
one sin he hugged in his breast, and would not part with, and that was the sin of covet- 
ousness, his heart was set upon his earthly riches ; " He went away sorrowful, because he 
had great possesions." 

7. Another reason may be through a sad mistake, they being not able to discern be- 
tween the nature of special and common grace ; I am persuaded this is the ruin of many 
pi'ofessors. There is, my brethren, a great resemblance between these two ; many are 
cheated, you know, by counterfeit money ; they take it fur current coin ; a man may pass 
imder a great change, and yet not pass through a saving change. He may become an- 
other man, but not be a new man. He may (as one observes} take a work of conviction 
and reformation, for a work of regeneration ; because he is become a religious and a great 
professor, he thinks he is a true believer, but (as the proverb is) all is not gold that glitters, 
so there may be an outward sunctificatioii, where there is no inward renovation ; the Pha- 
risees " made clean the outside of the cup and [datter," but invi'ardly were very vile, 
filtliy, and unclean. 


8. No doulit, but one cause t.lie?e professors signified by the stony ground, go no further 
in their pretended zeal and Christianity, may be, because tbey were never brought under 
the convictions of the Spirit, or the application of the law of God to their hearts and con- 
sciences ; they never saw themselves slain or dead, by the power of the killing letter ; " I 
was alive without the law," Rom. vii. 9. That is, without the true sense of the spiritu- 
ality and severity of the law. I saw not that 1 was condemned, and slain by it, by rea- 
son every lust or evil thought of the heart, is a breach of the holy law of God, and lays 
the soul under God's wrath, and the curse ; he was for a time without the law, that is, 
without the knowledge of the law, he was not without the letter of the law, but spiritually 
he was without it, he felt not the soul-kdliug eificacy of it upon his own heart, convincing 
him of his lost and undone condition. " But when the commandment came sin revived, 
and I died;" that is, when the word or law of God came mth power upon his soul, it 
broke his stony heart to pieces, it was set home so effectually upon his conscience, that 
then he saw his estate was desperate, and that all his own righteousness was but fllthiness, 
or as dogs' meat ; by reason he could not answer all the precepts of it, so as to live and 
not sin ; and that nothing but a perfect righteousness could justify him at the bar of God's 
justice. But, alas ! the stony-ground hearers were never thus broken, slain, and dead ; 
they were never made sensible of their own wretched and deplorable state by original 
sin, and by reason of their actual breach of God's holy law, but take up with some sudden 
flashes of joy by hearing the glad tidings of the gospel. But when they find they must 
forsake all for Christ's sake, persecution and tribulation, because of the world rising upon 
them, they are offended, and fall away. But no more at this time. 


Buthe that received the seed in stony places, &c., — Matt. xiii. 20. 

" Thet on the rock, are they which when they hear, receive the word with joy, and these 
have no root, which for awhile believe, and in time of temptation fall away," Luke viii. 13. 

1. I have showed you that the stony ground professors may go a great way in their re- 
ligious course. 

2. Also from whence it is they go so far. And, 

3. Why tlioy go no further. 

I shall now make some improvement of what I have said. 

1. Infer. 1. Infer. From hence we may infer, that many professors may be, and 
doubtless are greatly deceived as to their eternal state ; a man may be taken for a saiut 
on earth, that is no saint in heaven, I mean in God's sight ; be may strive to enter into 
heaven, but shall not be able ; people may be forward hearers, and zealous professors, and 
yet fall short of God's eternal rest. 

2. Infer. 2. That it is not an easy thing to be saved, the " way is narrow, and the 
gate straight, that leadeth to life, and few there be that find it," Matt. vii. 14. Though 
Christ hath opened a door to salvation, and made the way easy by shedding his own blood, 
yet sin makes it very hard to find ; in respect of sinners themselves, it is very hard and 
difiicult to be '■aved, they are so in love with their lusts, and with the carnal things of this 
world. Kegeneration is a very naiTow way, to believe and not to work for life, is a para- 
dos to corrupt mortals. 

3. Infer. 3. This being so, what will be the end of such that never hear the word 
at all, who never tread one step in the way of a visible profession, if so rffany perish that 
go so far, certainly their state is very sad who never made any beginning in religion? 
if professors may perish, what will become of the profane ? 

2. Exhort. The second use shall be by way of exhortation to try ourselves. 

1. Do not slightly pass over the work of self-examination, nor take up with a bare pro- 
fession, or with an empty name. 

2. Do you see a stony gi'ound hearer receive the word with joy ? what will become of 
thee, that takes no delight in hearing of it? if the sermon be but an hour long, thou art 
weary, and tired out? ! doubtless, thou art in the gall of bitterness. 

3. If an unsound heart may find some sweetness in the word, what wilt thou do, that 
finds none, that cannot relish it at all, that never tasted of the good word of God? 


4. If such that attain to great light and knnwleilge of the things of God, and truths of 
the gospel, may be damned, wliat will Income of ail ignorant people, such who are wiflinut 
understanding; " Tliey are a people without understanding, therefore he that made tlicm 
■will not save them; and he that formed them will show them no favour," Isa. xxvii. 11. 

5. how dangerous a thing is it to lay a false foundation, and build our salvation upon 
it ? If a man be not right in the main, if he build not upon Jesus Christ, if the root of the 
matter be not in him, if he miss in the fundamental work, if he be without true grace in 
his heart, he is a lost man. 

6. Beware your hearts deceive you not, trust not your own hearts. how many de- 
ceits are there ! because many see tliey have gi'eat gifts, they think that they have true 
grace; others, because they are reformed persons, they think they are converted persmis. 

7. Know God will try you at one time or another ; " Every man's work shall bo tried 
by fire." When the sun was up, these stony-ground professors withered away ; the sun 
of persecution may rise and scorch men severely, and that quickly too. 

8. lloreover, know Satan will try you, he will come with his sieve to sift you ; as well 
as Christ with his fan to fan you. 

However, death will try us all, and if deceived when death comes, down to hell such 
must go. 

No man can receive any hurt or injury, by searching his own heart and state ; it is be 
sure a had sign a man is ready to break, that is not willing to cast up his books, or least- 
wise he fears things are bad, so it is a bad sign thy heart and state is naught, if thou art 
afraid to be tried ur searched thoroughly ; a true Christian cries with David, " Search me, 
Lord, and know my heart, try me, and know my thoughts, and see if there be any evil 
way in me," Psal. cxxxix. :^3, 2-i. 

Examine thyself, was thy heiu-t ever thoroughly broken ? did sin ever E^ani'°- 
revive by the force and strength of the law, and thou died ? didst ever cry out as being 
pricked at the heart? Is there no secret sin, or way of sin, in thy soul allowed and in- 
dulged ? Hast thou no I>eliiah lying in thy bosom ? What are thy ends and aims ? 
look well to them ; is not thy end in thy making of a profession, to get a name? is it not 
self-interest, self-profit, or ajiplause ? or is it not merely to get heaven, or to be happy ? 
is not happiness more in thy eye than holiness ? O then fear, examine thyself about the 
nature of thy inward joy ; duth thy joy rise from that sense thou hast (if God's love, and 
light of his countenance ? Is it in the word, because of the purity of it ? Is it holy joy ? 
Is it in God and Jesus Christ ? " We rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in 
the flesh," PhU. iii. 3. Kot in what we have done, or in what is wrought in us, but in 
what Christ hath done for us, and is made to us. Even wisdom and righteousness, sanc- 
tification and redemption ; is God himself, Jesus Christ himself, thy joy, and cliiefest delight? 
Doth thy joy continue ? the joy of an hypocrite is but for a moment, his joy soon abates. 
Canst thou rejoice in being abased, reproached, and persecuted for Christ's sake ? joy in 
tribulation ? Eejoice in the Lord when all outward comforts fail thee ? " Although the 
fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vine ; the labour of the olive shall 
fail, and the field shall yield no meat, and the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and 
there shall be no herd in the stalls," Hab. iii. 17. " Yet will 1 rejoice in the Lord, I will 
jiiy in the God of my salvation," ver. 18. Is thy heart low when thy condition in the 
world is advanced ? Canst thou abase thyself before God, and mourn most for those sins 
before God, that appear least before men ? Dost thuu bring forth all the fruits of the 
Spirit? these stony ground professors bring forth but the blade, or stalk of external duties, 
not the graces of the Spirit ; not faith, love, meekness, humility, long-sufi'ering, temperance, 
charity, and patience. Doth thy fruit remain ? Dost thou not cease bearing fruit in times 
of drought ? if so, no fear of the goodness of thy state. 

1. " And some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth ; verses 5, 6. 

" And forthwith they sprung up because they had no deepness of earth." 

" And when tiie sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root, they 

We shall consider the cause and reason of the withering of the stony ground hearers 
more distinctly. 

But before we^speak of that, observe, 

Iioct. Persecution and tribulation upon the account of the cross, is compared to the san's 
scorching beams, or the burning heat and influences thereof, when the sun is up. 

By the sun our Saviour shows, is meant persecution and tribulation, ver. iJU, 21. 


■\viiy the I. The siiii when it is risen high, towards noon, scorchclh such things 
fntr beam?'is *'"^'' ^^''i^t rootiug iu the earth. So persecution scorcheth those professors 
imiaiit perse- that waut grace, or the root of the matter in them. 

cution. 2_ The sun so scorcheth such things that tliey soon liang their heads, and 

wither. So unsound professors do soon hang down tlieir lieads, and wither in their seem- 
ing zeal and hohness, as soon as persecution rises higii. 

3. Though the sun shines never so hot and scorcliing, yet that seed and tender blade 
that is well rooted, and daily watered, grows and flourishes the more. So all sincere 
Christians, though persecution may be never so hot, they being well rooted in Jesus Christ, 
and watered with divine showers of God's Spirit, do grow and flourish the more in grace 
and heavenhnoss. " The more Israel was oppressed, the more he multiplied." It is ob- 
served that the saints never thrived, and grew more, than iu the times of the ten hot per- 
secutions. See the different effects persecution hath on sincere and false professors. 

4. The hot beams of the sun tends to tan or make black those persons that are much 
under the influences of it ; so the sun takes away all that seeming spiritual beauty that was 
in unsound professors. Common grace is like an artificial beauty, or a natural beauty im- 
proved by art, but when the sun of persecution is up, and scorcheth them sore, this beauty 
vanisheth away ; and they seem to be the same persons they were before they made any 
profession of religion. 

5. The sun of persecution makes sincere Christians black also, externally in the sight 
of men. Yet they are then comely in God's sight. " I am black but comely, because the 
sun hath looked upon me," Cant. i. 5, G. Most men judge of blackness and comeliness by 
a mere sensual eye. Job seemed black when he sat upon the dunghill ; and thus all the 
godly in the sight of carnal persons (when they are blackened and villiiied by their cruel 
persecutors) seem black. 

6. Many find some shadowy place at noon, when the sun shines most hot : so believers 
find a shadowy place in the hottest time of persecution. "Tell me, thou whom my soul 
loveth, where thou feedest, and where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon," &c.. Cant. i. 
7. Jesus Christ refreshes their souls in such times by his blessed presence, promises, and 
ordinances ; he is unto them " as a shadow of a great rock in a weary land," Isa. xxxii. 2. 
Thus we see the sun hath quite different ett'ects upon some things it shineth hot upon, to 
what it hath on other things ; and those different effects arise from the nature of those 
things upon which it shines ; and so likewise hath the sun of persecution different effects 
upon professors of the Gospel ; for such who are sincere, it tentls to riuicken them, to revive 
them, and to cause such to take the deeper root. 

But the unsound and hypocritical professor is soon scorched thereby, and withereth 
away ; but the cause is in the persons, or in the matter on which this metaphorical sun 
shineth ; this brings me to the next thing I promised to speak to, viz., to show you the 
cause of the withering of these professors, signified by the stony ground. 

" And as soon as it spruug up, it withereth away, because it lacked moisture," Luke 
viii. C. 

Doct. Withering is the fearful fate of all stony ground hearers. I shall speak to this 
withering and spiritual barrenness. 

1. As to the evil or badness of the cause that produces such evil eft'ects. 

2. As to the evil or badness of the efl'ects produced by such evil causes. 

First. As the badness of the evil cause or causes of withering, and spiritual barrenness. 
, ] . The tirincipal and positive cause of the withering of these professors 

The causes of ... :• i • i , 

spiritual wi- IS the stonyness ot their hearts, 
theriugs. 2. Privative cause. 

1. Want of moisture. 

2. Want of earth. 

3. ^\■ant of taking root. 

Before I proceed, let me premise one or two things. 
Tiiere is a 1. That there is a partial decay, or a partial withering. 
pjirtKii wjth- There is some degree of hardness of heart also attendmg the best of saints, 
cay.° but I am to speak of a total and final withering, of such that are never re^ 

newed again, and of such hardness of heart, that cleaves only to unsound and unmortiiied 
The cause of professors. And now, I Siiy, the principal and positive cause of this total and 
final wither- Jjjj.jj witheriui', is the stonvness or hardness of these men's hearts, like as this 
cay. seed fell upon a rock, some gi'ound, though very stony, or full of stones, (we 

daily see by experience) brings forth fruit to perfection ; but if seed falls upon a rock, 


though tliere may be a little earth ; yet that seed never brings forth fruit to the harvest. 
Now these men's hearts were all of one piece, as it were ; all a rock, and nothing but a 
rock ; tiie little earth that was found there (as I conceive) was nothing but natural con- 
science, somewhat enlightened, or awakened by the preaching of the word, all the other 
faculties remaia imder tlie power of their natural hardness, and original pravity. I say, 
all the earth that seems to be in these men's hearts (in which the seed seemed to 
take some small root) was in their consciences only ; their understandings being not savingly 
enlightened, nor tiieir wills brought over to receive Christ ; but remained rebellious, and 
their affections earthly and carnal, no eifectual change having passed upon them. 

2. A rock will i-esist the plough, and the strokes of the hammer ; so the stony heart is 
not pierced, nor is it proper soil for the seed to take root in. " Their heart is as the nether 
mill-stone, or like the leviathian," Job xH. 15. Now this is the evil cause of that barren- 
ness, and withering that is in these men's soids. 

To bring forth fruit (you have heard) the ground must be soft, the soil must A rock can- 
be mellow ; but how can a stone or rock bo made soft ? These men under "orth frult"^ 
the word, or under the means of softening, become more hard ; that which 
tends to soften others, hardens tliese ; in them is not only a natural, but also an acquired 
hardness. " He stretcheth out his hand against God ; and strengtheneth himself against 
the Almighty," .Tob xv. 25. " Pharaoh hardened his heart before the Lord, and would not 
let Israel go," Exod. v. 

Let me give you the characters of a hard-hearted person, or the properties of a stony and 
hard heart. 

1. When a sinner sits under the powerful preaching of the word, or under Sipns of a 
a ministry, where the nature of sin and the law, in its killing and condemning '^' ueart. 
power is opened, and the woful state of all men by nature, is clearly evinced ; and yet the 
man is not stirred, nor in the least measure awakened, but concludes all is weU with. him ; 
this shows his heart is hard, it is a rock. 

2. When a minister openeth the infinite love of God to imdone sinners, in The Iotc of 
the gift of Christ, as also the nature of Christ's sufferings in his name, in his not'a'rMky 
body, and in his soul, which may be enough (as some think, to break a heart heart. 

of stone) yet this and that man regards it not, he melts not, mourns not, or thinks not of 
the evil of his sins, which thus exposed the Son of God to bear divine wrath, and the pangs 
of hell for sinners. 

3. It is a sign of a hard and rocky heart, in those who sitting under such a sermon or 
ministry, where many are broken into pieces ; but the word toucheih them not, they are 
not wrought upon, though the hammer of the word is lifted up, and blow after blow laid on, 
but no impression is made on their hearts. This shows that then- hearts are as a rock. " Is 
not ray word like fire, and as a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces ?" Jer. xxii. 29. It 
appears some rocky hearts are broken by the hammer of the word, but others are so har- 
dened they are not broken thereby. 

4. When all that impression which the preaching of tlie word doth make on a man's 
heart is chiefly on his conscience, that may jield a little, and give way, and the aft'ections 
be stirred somewhat up, but the will of the person remains obstinate and rebellious as ever. 
This is a sign of a stony-hearted professor ; many of the Jews that heard onr Saviour, were 
touched in their consciences, or much convinced under his preaching, and seemed to have 
some love and affections to him, insomuch that it is said, they believed on him. " But Jesus 
did not commit himself unto them," John ii. 24. Because he knew their hearts remained 
carnal and hard still, and therefore he told them, " They were the servants of sin, and of 
their father the devil," John viii. 34, 44. 

5. When men, though they hear of the nature of God's justice and holiness, as it is 
displayed both in tlie law and Gospel ; yet presumptuously rely upon his mercy, and remaia 
without dread or fear of the wrath and majesty of God ; these men's hearts are not only 
hard, but they persist to harden themselves against God more and more. 

6. When a person sees the patience of God in his delaying of his judgments. The goodness 
and it makes him rather worse ; because God is slow to wrath, lie is swift to 2f uod ha"d° 
sin ; if the execution of judgment are not at the heels of sin, they conclude enssomesin- 
there is no danger. It is with them as Solomon observes, " Because sentence '^"^' 
against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the hearts of the sons of men are 
fully set in them to do e\-il," Eccl. viii. 11. 

7. When a man hath been often reproved for this and that sin, and yet he hardeneth 
his neck ; it is not the preaching and lamentations of ministers, nor their tears, nor the tears 


of their godly parents, or other relationa, that will melt them, or work upon tliem ; this is 
a sign their hearts are hard. 

8. When all the eifects, the word and Spirit of God hath upon a man, is 
A professor only to change his course, or causeth liira to leave only the gross acts of sin, 
stonr heart* '^^ '^ reform liis life, and so to take upon liim the profession of religion, hut 
ed hearer. never changed his heart, or infused new habits therein, but tliat he still re- 
mains unregenerate, harbouring tliis and that lust m his bosom, it is a sign he 
is a stony-hearted professor. 

9. When a person, though a professor, is told of his pride, passion, covetousness, or 
worldly mindedness, or of the neglect of his duty to God, or to the poor saints ; he shall 
fly in the face of the reprover, and may be reflect on him, and become his enemy ; it is a 
sad sign he is one of the stony ground professors ; you know if you sometimes strike at a 
stone it will rebound, and perhaps fly in your face, and wound you ; even just thus do these 
persons oft-times blemish, or wound a faithful minister, or friend, that reproves them : 
Whereas a true Christian takes reproof kindly ; " Let the righteous smite me, it shall be 
a kindness ; and let him reprove me, it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my 
head ; for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities," Psal. csli. 5. He that is sin- 
cere is far from being otfended with him that in love reproveth him ; he will rather bless 
God for the faithfulness, and kindness of his friend, he will the more pray for such iu 
their trouble and afflictions, and not insult over them that pity and pray for them. 

10. When a man's conscience shall often reprove him fur evils he lives in, or for 
neglect of duties, anil yet he turn a deaf ear to the checks and rebukes thereof, and will 
not lay his sin to heart, and return to God, but stifles those motions of his conscience ; 
this is another sign of one of those stony ground professors . 

Now this is the direct cause of barrenness and withering : it is, I say, the direct, the 
The priva- inward, and positive cause thereof 

tiye cause of I shall now proceed to the inward privative cause, as they are laid down 
wi enng. ^^ j^^j,j^ ^.j^^ Evangelist, viz., want of moistness, earth, and _root, or rooting. 

Now all these proceed from the former cause, viz., the harduess of their hearts, for tl]e 
Taylor heart being hard and stony underneath (as a worthy divine observeth) affords 

neither earth, or rooting, or moisture to the seed. 

The words do not ultimate as if there was no earth, or nothing in then- hearts for the 
seed to fasten upon, hut there was no depth of earth, or but a slight rooting in the con- 
science, and aft'ections only, no depth of judgment, small understanding, nor any rooting 
in the will, eXi^xe ■ttoMui, as Mark notes, not much earth. 

For want of earth, by which I understand the want of saving knowledge, or an enlight- 
ened judgment, and a true understanding ; the word rather was received into their heads, 
than into thek hearts : some slight convictions, and some sudden flashes of joy, from the 
seeming heat of their affections they might have, or such may have ; but they take up 
with a general notional knowledge of divine truths, they taste the good word of God, 
Heb. vi. 5, but do not feed upon it, nor thoroughly digest it ; tliey taste some sweetness in 
the word, but receive not strengthening and soul-saving nourishment by it : all the fruit 
that they bring forth, are but the effects of natural conscience, or work of common grace. 
They never digged deep enough in their own hearts and state by nature, nor tried and ex- 
amined themselves, nor did they dig deep into the truths and mysteries of the gospel, to 
make by saving faith an application of Christ's merits unto their own souls ; and from 
hence in a short time they wither away, like as seed doth that is sown upon the top of a 

" They had not root in themselves," Matt. xiil. 6, not the root of the matter in them, 
viz., no saving faith, no true love to Christ, nor any other special grace of the Spirit ; 
faith cannot take root in these, because tliere is no ground in the will and understanding 
for it ; grace hath its chief rooting in these noble faculties, so that ignorance is a cause of 
their barrenness and withering : ignorance of themselves, I mean of their own woful con- 
dition, ignorance of God's holy nature and blessed law : ignorance of Christ ; they never 
had a true sph-itual knowledge of the Lord Jesus, he was never received by faith into their 
hearts ; see how Paul prayeth for the saints, " That Christ may dwell in their hearts by 
faith ; that ye being rooted and grounded in love," &c. And to know the love of Christ, 
which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God," Eph. iii. 
17. Lut in these men there is no rooting, no ground for faith, and love, to take root in. 

So that it also appeareth, that unbelief is a grand cause of their withering ; what worlf 
soever passeth upon a man, if he does not truly behove in Christ, or hath not the work of 


faith witli power passetli on liiin, the seed of tlie word can have no rooting in such a one, 
and though he may seem a lively Cliristian, and zealous for the external parts of religion 
for awhile, and many may think there is some greenness on his branches, yet he will 
wither in an hour of temptation, or tribulation, and fall away : they have, it is true, some 
kind of faith ; it is said they believed, but their faith was but a temporary faith, they did 
not believe to the saving of the soul, as the apostle speaks, Heb. x. 39 ; they had the foith 
of credence, a historical, or dogmatical faith, but the faith of God's elect they had not, 
for that never fails in the seed, or habit of it ; I have prayed for thee, that tliy faith fail 
not. It is only, brethren, the fruit of such a faith that is not saving these men have, and 
all the fruit they bring forth, is but the external duties of obedience, and their care is more 
for the blade and stalk, than for the root that should bear it ; their unsettled faith risetli 
from an unconstant and wavering principle, and not from a sound inward apprehension of 
Christ ; and as is the cause, such is the effects; (i.e.,) they are as changeable as their faith, 
and every wind of doctrine, and waving, and wheeling of times of providence, carry them 
about, and they come to nothing. 

" It withered, because it lacked moisture," Luke viii. 6. 

(1.) By moisture I understand the Spirit of God is meant. The Holy ^.^Jn'jf j^e 
Spirit is compared to water often in the Scripture, and it is the Spirit that lackof mois- 
causeth that moisture, softness, and tenderness of our hearts ; and evident it ^'"^' 
is, as without rain or moisture no seed will grow and bring forth fruit to perfection, so 
without the Spirit of Christ the word will be barren, and such that hear it will bring forth 
no fruit unto eternal life. So that the evil cause of these men's withering, is for want of 
the Spirit, and the effects of it, viz., the moisturing, softening, and fructifying influences 
thereof. Brethren, pray remember that as the seed which is sown in the earth takes 
root, grows, and brings forth fruit by the continual showers that fall upon it ; even So the 
seed or word of God is rooted, grows, and brings forth spiritual fruit, by the acts and in- 
fluences of the Spirit ; " without me ye can do nothing," John xv. 5 ; that is, without 
union with Christ, and a continual supply of the Spirit from Christ, no soul can bring 
forth fruit. 

2. By moisture may also be meant, that special effect of the Holy Spirit upon the soul, 
viz., compunction, there is not the moisture of godly sorrow for sin in these Mr. Tho. 
professors, they want effectual mortification, tliey never (as some of the Taylor, 
saints have) " watered their couch with tears," Psal. vi. 6 ; these waters, these tears of 
true repentance, they are utter strangers unto ; the hardness of their hearts hi)ider the 
descent of water from above, as to its abiding upon them : and also the ascent of water 
from below ; it is too great pain for them to afflict their souls, their tears were soon dried 
up, and the rain that falls from heaven perhaps for a while might lie on their spirits, but 
it was just as the rain that falls on a rock ; there may be some moisture, and the small 
earth that is thereon, makes it take it in, but when the sun is up, it is dried away : so 
the common influences of the Spirit may be in these men, and natural conscience for 
awhile receives it, and there seems to spring up the green blade of external holiness and 
obedience ; but when the sun of temptation and tribulation is up, they wither away. 

Thus I have showed you the badness of the cause that produceth such evil effects ; viz. 

1. Hardness of heart. 

2. The want of deepness of earth ; viz., the want of saving knowledge, a good judg- 
ment, or a right understanding, much ignorance abiding in them. 

3. Want of rooting, viz., the want of faith, union with Christ, and love to him. 

4. The want of the Spirit, from whence all spiritual moisture flows, or all saving graces. 
Secondly, I shall now show you the badness of those eti'ects that proceed from such 

evil causes. 

1. Barrenness ; this is the ^uit of the curse, and, as 1 hinted, it denotes that these 
men are still under the curse of the law ; there can be no true fruit to God without union 
with Christ ; we are said to be " married to him that God hath raised from the dead, 
that we might bring forth fi-uit to God," Kom. vii. 4 ; but these men were never married 
to Jesus Christ, they not savingly believing in him, nor partaking of his Spirit. 

2. Another evil eft'ect that attend these professors, is earthliness, or Earthly 
worldly-mindednoss, their hearts being not changed, they still mind earthly an effect of a 
things ; as they cannot bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, because not made w'tijering. 
spiritual, so they bring forth the fruits of the flesh, being carnal and unrcgencrate; and 
no doubt but it is partly this sort of professors that expose the name of God, and religion 
to reproach, and make so much trouble in churches. 


Lukewarm- ^' Lukewarmiiess in religious duties, or that great neglect and remissness 

ncs's an effect in the performance of them, is also the eft'ect of the badness of these men's 
of witherju.:;. jjejjyts ; what liveliness of spirit can be expected from such who are dead, or 
■without a principle of spiritual life ? they discharge all religious duties by the help of na- 
tural conscience, or by the power of the common gifts of the Spirit, and not by the grace 
and special influences of the Spirit. 

Pride ano- "i- Pride, conceitedness, or liaughtiness of heart, is likewise the effects of 

ther effect. this evil cause, or causes; viz., it flows from hardness of their hearts, their 
want of grace, of faith, aud the indwelling of the Spirit of Jesus Christ ; a tender heart 
is an humble heart ; faith causes a man to think soberly of himself, or shows him his 
own emptiness and poverty, and that nothingness that is in himself. 

But unbelief is attended with pride, and vain glory, and haughtiness of heart ; no doubt 
but many in the Church of the Laodieeans were but stony ground professors, and how 
rich, full, and proud were they ! how conceited, and confident of their good estate ! 
" Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing," 
Eev. iii. 17. 

uncharita- 5. Another bad effect that is produced by these evil causes, is that great 

effect of *" uncharitableness and envy which are in this sort of professors ; they being 
withering. barren of grace, and so wanting particularly that precious grace of love, are 
filled with prejudice and enmity against such that are far better than themselves. It is, be- 
loved, the character of an hypocrite, to spy the mote that is in his brother's eye, but sees 
not the beam that is in his own eye," Matt. vii. 3, 4 ; they will mark every slip, or every 
blemish of others, and represent them as in a magnifying glass, but cannot endure to be told of 
their own faults ; such that are frequently abroad, and seldom at home, may be suspected to 
be stony- ground professors; had they not hard hearts, they could not grieve the souls of 
their poor brethren, and afflict and trouble those churches, where they, are members, as 
sometimes they do ; if they cannot have their will, or what they would have done, woe to 
them that oppose them ; for they will endeavour to render them odious to all, or cast dirt 
enough, besure, thinking some perhaps may stick ; " "Wrath is cruel, and anger outrageous, 
but who can stand before envy ?" Prov. xxvii. 4. Uncharitableness and envy is worse 
than wrath or anger, because sudden wrath or anger may soon be gone, but envy is more 
lasting ; wrath or anger also may be caused by some great provocation, or injury done to 
a person ; but envy and an uncharitable and censorious spirit may not rise from any such 
cause, but ratber from the pride of the person's own heart, and that malignity of his mind, 
being grieved for another man's happiness, or that honour and respect others may have 
above himself. Envy is also more deeply rooted in the heart, and implacable ; whereas 
the other passions are soon allayed, iloreover, this vice has more hurtful and mischievous 
eft'ects ; such care not if they ruin the person they malign and envy. It may .be a question, 
whether envy is consistent with grace, or a gracious heart, or not ? 

6. Contention is another evil effect of these bad causes, and the immediate 

Contention f,.„jt; gf envv and malignity. What contention do some professors make in 
anotlier ef- , . „ ,,.-' ., ^ •' , . , , , , , ^ , , 

feot. their families, and amongst their neighbours, and between one member and 

another ? nay, what strife and contention in churches, which is worst of aU, do they too 
often make ? A sower of discord among brethren, is one that the Lord hates ; he hates 
both the sower, and the seed he sows. 

Strife aud contention sometimes ariseth from pride and a Diotrepheous spirit, occasioned 
by such that love to have the pre-eminence amongst churches, saith John, speaking of 
that evil person, " I will remember liis deeds which he doth, prating against us with mali- 
cious words," 3 John x. This hath of late times too much appeared in some persons, 
which gives just cause to fear they are but stony-ground professors. 
Schism and 7. Sedition, schism, and divisions in churches, is also the evil effects that 

anotlier ef Aows from these stony-ground professors, tearing and rending congregations 
feet, to pieces, to gratify their own lusts and horrid pride ; were not these men 

void of the true grace, or not hard-hearted persons, could they act so much like the devil 
as they do ? Sure they would rather let their own names and reputation suffer, than dis- 
turb, divide, and break to pieces the church, or churches of Jesus Clirist ; I know a gi-a- 
cious man may be overcome wdth grand and grievous temptations, but it may be feared 
most of this sort are ill persons. For this fruit is too much like that which stony-ground, 
or a rock beareth, viz., briars and thorns ; you may perhaps see thorns and briars grow 
on a rock ; so nothing seems more like to thorns and briars than contention, sedition, and 
divisions. these are grievous pricldng and piercing thorns, wounding all gracious aud 
tender-hearted Christians, and making whole churches to bleed. 


8. Inconstancy, unsettledness of mind, or wavcringiiess of heart, is likewise inconstnnry 
the effects of a stony heart ; they being not well rnot«d in the truth, or not anotiier cf 
receiving the truth in the love of it, are often left to delusions; " And are ''■°'' 
carried away by every wind of doctrine by the sleigiit of men, and cunning craftiness, 
whereby they lie in wait to deceive," Eph. iv. 14. That tree, or plant, that is not well 
rooted, is soon shaken down, or rooted up. What is the cause, think you, that Quakerism 
bath carried away so many professors ? Alas, you may soon come to a solution iu the 
case, they generally may be such, and I am persuaded are, that never had the root of the 
matter in them, they were not men well rooted in Christ, had no true faith in, nor love to 
Christ, nor were they men of a good, solid and settled judgment, but rather led by af- 
fections, and something they call heat and warmth of heart, as if that was the way to 
judge who were in the right way, and who in the wrong : how easy is it for Satan to 
transform himself into an angel of Ught, and fill deluded souls with false joy, and pretended 
raptui'es ! A comet, or false star, may make a great blaze, and give more light than a 
true natural star may. 

9. Decay of love to God, to Christ, to religion, and to the truth of God, 

and people of God, is another effect produced by these evil causes. Love Decay of 
may decay, it is true, in sincere Christians, but those decays are but partial, and effect of 
but in this sort it is total. how soon is their zeal for God, and love to God w"i>i"ng8. 
and his tnith and people, quite gone, the interest of Christ may stand or fall, sink or swim 
for tliem, they care not ; their hard and stony hearts will not be moved, by all the argu- 
ments poor ministers may use, they will not stretch out their hand to preserve it ; they 
will not part with their money, though ministers want necessaries, and the poor starve ; 
sm-e this must needs be the fruits, and effects of an hard and rocky heart ; the tears of 
ministers, nor cries of the church, and of the poor saints, will not melt them, nor move 
them to love and pity. They are like Ephraim, their " Goodness is as the morning cloud, 
and as the early dew it goeth away," Hos. vi. 4. Their zeal for God, his name, honour, 
worship, and interest, and seeming piety, is soon gone ; it is not the zeal of God's house, 
but for their own house, which eateth them up. 

10. Moreover, that fearful neglect of the worship of God, in attendance Fearful ne- 
upon his public ordinances, is an effect of these evil causes. Brethren, as Kieciof 
they neglect, or are remiss in private duties, a small matter will keep them ship ^another 
from hearing the word, and the holy table of the Lord ; thus their blade and effect- 
leaves wither, they cannot keep up an honourable profession of religion ; as 

they have not true faith, so they hold not fast a profession of faith, it is no marvel they 
bear not fruit, when their very kaves are withered. The blessed man the Psalmist says, 
" His leaf shall not wither," Psal. i. 3; he shall be green and flourishing in his profession, 
and fruitful ui his conversation. 

11. Backbiting, whispering, and a detracting tongue is also another effect, that attends 
these evil causes in tliese men. It is no wonder they will reproach their brethren, when 
their hard hearts stick not at a worse evil ; viz., to expose tlie holy name of God to con- 
tempt, by their pride, carnality, covetousness, and earthly-mindeduess, and other evils, 
they are found guilty of. All these things are the fruit, the sad fruit of a stony and hard- 
hearted professor ; " He that baekbiteth with his tongue, and taketh up a reproach against 
his neighbour, shall not ascend God's holy hill," Psal. xv. 3. ■^fefec?' 

12. Apostacy is also another sad effect: brethren, none of the stony ground of decay or 
hearers, but they either die in hj'pocrisy, or perish by apostacy. Sigli " 

1. Their apostacy at first may be but partial, but it doth not always so end ; this apos- 
tacy in them, ariseth for the want of miion with Christ, or not having a vital principle in 
them ; and it may be considered under four general heads. 

1. In judgment 

2. In affection. 

3. In practice. 

4. In respect of means. 

1. Many of them decline, or let go the true orthodox faith, as to some of Apostacy. 
the main fundamental principles thereof ; and either sucking in Socinian er- ment.''" 
rors, or Baxterian errors, or some as bad as they ; being sadly corrupted in, 
and about the doctrine of justification ; some of them, as at this day, assert, that unbe- 
lievers and vile ungodly sinners, may be actually justified, and in a good estate. Others 
make faith and obedience a part of the matter of our justification ; this I call a partial 
apostacy, in respect of judgment, though it may extend to more principles than these I 
here mention. 


2 In affcc- -■ Tbey fall from their first love ; I mean that seemuig love wliich they 
t'on- jiretendeil to have at first. They appearing once fervent in spirit, and most 

devout in maintaining of religion, but afterwards cool and become indift'erent. 

3 Aposiacy 3. They grow careless and carnal, and walk like other men, conforming to 
in pnictice. {],g ],^gg jimj odious fashious and customs of the world, and are light and wan- 
ton in their words and gestures ; tUey seemed once to be like the Galatians, 

(j. e.) could pull out their eyes for their ministers, or thought nothing too much to part 
with whicli they wanted or stood m need of; but now it is quite otherwise, they draw oft', 
and may be stick not to violate, and break their own covenant with the church and minis- 
ters thereof 

4. Moreover, as to the use of that means God hath left for the preservation 
nseofmeans. of the soul in life and liveliness ; that there may be greenness on our branches, 
and no withering ; they fall ofl; and forsake the assembling of themselves with 
that church with which they solemnly covenanted to walk, and to attend upon the ordi- 
nances and ministry therein, Heb. x. 25 ; may be, formerly, the word seemed sweet to them, 
but now i)erhai)s it is like dry bread to them, or light manna ; they forsooth cannot profit 
by that ministry, under which they pretended they received their new birth. 

Others may be formerly prayed much or very often, and read the word of God, and 
with some seeming fervour of spuit discharged those duties ; but may bo now ]iray but 
little, or very seldom, and that with a cool and flat spirit ; their hand grows heavy, that 
(as one observes as in i\Ioses' case) Aaron and Hur have much ado to support them ; may 
be some of their families were once praying families, but now prayerless faniihes. And so 
by degi-ees they decay until they become nothuig, but cleave wholly to the world, and 
perish in apostacy. But no more at this time. 


Bvt he (hat rccciveth Ihe seed into stony places, &c., Matt. xiii. 20, 21. Tliey on the rock, &.C., 
Luke viii. 13. 

DocT. Withering is the fearful fate of the stony-ground professors. They all fall away 
from that grace and holiness they seemed to have. 

1. I have opened the badness of the cause, or causes, that produceth such evil eft'ects. 

2. I have also showed the badness of those effects produced by such an evil cause or 

3. I shall now proceed to show the great danger and fearful condition of such that thus 
wither and fall away. 

4. Give you the signs of withering. 

5. I shall apply the whole, and so conclude with this sort of professors. 

1. Such seem to disappoint the holy God of his expectation (to speak after the manner 
of men) for properly God is not, cannot be disappointed ; but like as a man when he hath 
taken pains wdth a piece of ground, and hath sowed it with good seed, he expectcth that it 
should bring forth fruit answerable to that cost and pains he lays out ; so the Lord is said 
to look tor, or expect fruit from such persons, he by his ministers takes pains with in order 
to their fruitfulness in grace and holiness; " Wherefore when I looked that it should hriug 
forth grapes, brought it forth wUd grapes," &c., Isa. v. 4. 

Th f rf 1 "• These persons are hateful to God, in that they seem to declare to all the 

state of world, there is not that good to be found in God, and m his ways, which the 

opene^d^^ blessed word, ministers, and all sincere Christians do affirm there is ; nay, 
and this also upon a taste and trial they have made of the ways and things of 
God. For by then- cleaving to their former lusts, and to the love of this- world, after they 
have made a profession of religion, they hereby clearly intimate, tliat the pleasures of sin, 
the riches and honours of this world, are better than whatsoever good can be found in God, 
or in his Son Jesus Christ, and in his ways and ordinances. For like as a good man in 
renouncing all the ways of sin, and vanities of the world, for Christ's sake, and (like Moses 
esteems reproaches of Christ better than all the glory of Pharaoh's court) do thereby cast 
contempt upon the devil, his works, ways, and kingdom ; so these men on the other hand 
by forsaking God and his holy truth, do thereby cast contempt upon (Jod, (.'lirist, and his 
ways, works, and kingdom, which must needs be hateful to the blessed God, and to our 


Lord Jesus Christ. For they like tlie evil spies of olil, bring up an evil report upon the 
good land. 

Secondly, The danger and evil of witliering is further demonstrated by ''|{.','^r'f 
considering the evil efi'eets of it, in resijeet of the church of God, and gracious withering 
Christians. o'fThr'" 

1. They bring an horrible scandal upon the church, on the saints, and on churcu of 
all that dwell in heaven, by their forsaking the good ways of God ; this tends 
to bring the Lord's people into reproach, to the grief of strong Christians, and the slumbling 
and ofience of the weak. 

Thirdly, Li respect of the world these men's sin, and danger is also aggravated ; " A\'oe 
to the world because of offences — But rather woe to liini by whom the offence conieth," 
Matt, xviii. 7. The wicked are hereby stumbled, and their mouths opened to blaspheme 
God, his ways, and people ; and many of them are hereby confirmed and hardened in their 
evil ways. You see, say they, what they are, they are a company of hypocrites, and de- 

Foiu'thly, Li respect of this sin itself, no sin is more odious, and dangerous. 

1. We commonly say, relapses are far more dangerous than the disease. Also, 

'2. S:i,tan, when lie returns to his former house, and finds it empty of grace (however it 
had been seemingly swept and garnished) "takes with him seven more wicked spirits than 

3. This sin of withering and barrenness is commonly punished with other sins, viz. 

1. With blindness of mind. 

2. With judicial hardness of heart. 

3. With a seared conscience. 

4. And with final impenitence ; " So I gave thera up to their own hearts' lusts, and 
they walked in their own counsels," Psal. Ixxxi. 12. 

5. It leads them to sin the mipardonable sin ; ic is none but this sort, and those com- 
prehended under the thorny gi-ound, that sin the sin against the Holy Ghost ; " They are 
such tliat have been once enlightened," Heb. vi. 4, 5, 6. 

Fifthly, The evil and danger of such is great in respect to themselves, who thus decline, 
wither, and fall away. And thus appears, 

L It is an evident sign, that they are hypocrites, and were not such they seemed to be; 
for the good ground brings forth fruit to eternal life ; no sincere person can finally fall 
away ; " The righteous shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands, shall grow 
stronger and stronger," Job. xvii. 9. 

2. They are near unto cursing. That ground that is barren and mifruitful, " is nigh 
unto cursing," Heb. vi. 8 ; nay, under the curse already, barrenness is a fruit of the curse. 

3. They by turnmg with the dog to his vomit again, and with the sow to her wallowing 
in the mire, " show their latter end to be worse than the beginning," 2 Pet. ii. 20. 

4. Their end will be burning, as they are nigh unto cursing, so their end is to be burned, 
what, alas, remains for this sort, who finally fall away ? " But a certain fearful looking 
for of judgment and fiery indignation, which devoiu- the adversaries," Heb. x. 27. 

Quest. How may it be known that a man is in a withering, decaying, and dying con- 
dition ? 

I. Self-confidence. , When a person resteth in a general hope of his good scif-cona- 
estate, without searching, trying, or examinmg himself, this is a sign his con- dence a 
dition is naught, and that he is in a decaying state; a lively Christian will not Kiog™' 
take up with a fancied hope, but does try himself, and search his own heart, 

and cries to God also to search and try him. 

II. When a man doth not love, nay, he cannot bear a tiying, nor a searching doctrine, 
it is another sign of withering ; he is like to a tradesman, that fears he runs behind in the 
world, but lothe to cast up his books, lest he should find things worse than he perhaps hopes 
they are ; or he is like a man, that hath a sore skinned over, and because he is in no great 
pain, he hopes it is near cured ; but if you lay your hand hard on it, he cries out, being 
not able to bear it. 

III. When a man's conscience is not so tender as it once was, now he can 

talk vainly, frothily, and in other things, as to his garbs, gestures, and beha- When the 
viour allow him or herself that liberty, wliicli once their conscience would not nortendcr.'' 
suffer them to do ; this doubtless is a sign he or they are going back, or in a 
withering estate ; strictness of life, and holy and circumspect wallcing, is a good sign of a 
growing in grace, and the contrary of spiritual decay. 

L 2 


■When mar- ^^ ' ^^ ''^" ^ mail's prayers are short, or prays but seldom, and that with 

cr is neg- souie difficulty too, being hardly able to bring his heart to it ; this is another 

'"'^ ■ siga. As you kuow it is a sign, that a person is in a languishing condition as 

to his body, when he fetches his breath short, or breathes with difficulty. 

V. When corruptions of the heart, especially that sin that doth so easily beset a man, 
gets strength, or prevails more and more; this is a sign he is in a decaying and in a wi- 
thering condition. 

WTiena ^^' ^^1®° ^ '"^" cannot stand in an hour of temptation, but is overcome, 

man falls it may be a sign of bis withering condition ; for pray observe the words in 
of tempt" my text, " In times of temptation they fall away." This is what the apostle 
t'oi. James shows, " For the sun is no sooner risen with burning heat, but it wi- 

thereth the grass, and the flower thereof faileth," Jam. i. 11. It is the grass, observe it 
well, that which is the product uf nature, the sun doth not cause the wheat to wither ; 
now these professors bring forth only the fruit of natural conscience, not the fruit of saving 
grace. And hence it is that they cannot stand in an hour of trial and temptation ; " Bles- 
sed is the man that enduretli temptation," ver. 12. 

When there is a gnawing worm at the root, sometmies the seed though it be come up, 
yet the blade is observed to wither ; and yet the cause is not soon discerned, but when the 
husbandman comes, and searches the root, he finds a worm there, that has spoiled it, 
which made it hold down its head. So in these there is a worm at their root, and they 
wither ; I mean some secret sin allowed and lived in, and conscience upon this gnaws 
them, an accusing conscience, a condemning guilty conscience, shows such are in a wither- 
ing and dying condition. 

VII. When sweet showers that fall from heaven, and blessed shinings cause others to 
thrive, fructify, and flourish ; and yet these thrive not, grow not ; it is a dangerous sign of 

So when a man sits under a fruitful ministry, that God is pleased to own, and graciously 
to bless it to the growth of many souls ; but some that sit under it grow not, or receive no 
spiritual profit by it, it is a sign of their withering ; and it must needs be so, when the 
chief means of growth in grace is wholly ineffectual to them. 

VIII. Feebleness of knees, or lameness, is a sign of decay in grace ; how many are found 
to halt between hope and despair, they halt perhaps between two opinions, between truth 
and error, and know not which to choose ; one while they seem to take up a resolution to 
abide in the truth which they have received ; and at another time that resolution is near 
gone, and they are ready to resolve, to cleave to some other new and strange notions, 
and thus they halt and are ready to be turned out of the way ; or may be they halt be- 
tween God and mannnon ; one while they seem to be for God and religion, but at another 
time grow cold God-ward, and set their hearts upon the vanities of this world ; now this 
is a great sign they are in a decaying and withering state. 

Deadneaa a ^^- Deadness of spirit is another sign of withering ; when a man is cold 

Bignof de- and dead, and without a heart, or not so lively and brisk in spirit as he was 
°*^^' formerly ; he has a prize in liis hands, but hath no heart to improve it, Prov. 

xvii. 18 ; spiritual discourse was once more sweet to him than it is now, the word more 
sweet than it is now, he had more sense and feeling in him than he hath now ; now small 
sins are no sms with him, and great sins but small and little ; he can do that wliich 
once he could not, but his conscience would fly in his face. No heart to attend on the 
word, no heait to cherish convictions, no heart to obey Christ's precepts, nor apply his 
promises, no heart to do good, and to communicate, no heart to plead for God and his 
people ; no, he is grown dead and cold to all these things. 

siothfiiinea ^- Slpepiuess, love to sleep, and will not be roused up, though the man 

a sign of de- hears that wrath is just ready to be poured forth on the whole land, nay, on 
'^"*'*' the whole earth, and many are awakened, and get upon the watch tower ; 

but no warnings, no thunderings, either by the word or works of God, will awaken these ; 
this is a sign they are in a dying and withering condition. They are both insensible of 
their sins and of their estates, and also of their dangers, neither grieve for their own 
iniquities, nor for the sins and iniquities of others. 

XJ. When the blade of corn is weak and sickly, it is a sign it is in a decaying and 
wi thering condition. 

So when a professor seems weak, and can hardly hold up his head in his external pro- 
fession, but it is in a sickly state of soul, weak in knowledge of divine things, weak in his 
afFectione, weak in his purposes and resolutions, it is a sign he is iu a decaying state. 


XII. Blastiag is a sign of withering ; sometimes corn looks well and hopeful, promising 
fair, but on a sudden the husbandman sees it is blasted, which makes him fear he shall 
reap no crop tjiere. 

So some professors for a time seem to promise fair, and are very hopeful : but God for 
just cause (as a judgment upon them) blasteth them in their gifts and seeming graces, and 
presently they decay and wither away ; mamy times it is observed, it is thus with some 
men : God has sent a blast and a mildew upon their soids, that they are not like the per- 
sons they seemed a little before to be ; and this is another sign of withering. 


Infer. From hence I infer, that it is no certain sign a man is a child of ^"*'«'■• 
God, and shall he saved, because he hears the Word of God preached, or lo^ es to hear 
sermons, or makes a ■\'isible profession of religion, and becomes a church member, and does 
many things that are commendable, or praiseworthy, for all these things are common to 
reprobate or unsound professors as with elect ones ; nay, though a man holds out in re- 
ligious practices for many years unsuspected, yet afterwards he may decay and wither. 

Be exhorted to take heed lest you wither away, as the stony ground Exhort, 
hearers do ; " Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart 
of unbelief, in departing from the living God," Heb. iii. 12. UnbeUef, though it is 
in itself but a denial to assent to, or to rely on God in Christ according to the revelation 
of his will in the gospel ; yet it is the rise or spring of all other sins ; and the seeming 
womb (as one observes) from whence issueth all unrighteousness, hardness of heart, and it 
is the loot of withering, and oft-times of final apostacy. 

Quest. What should we do to prevent withering ? 

1. Answ. Never rest untU you do arrive to some good and certain demon- -what we 
strations of your union with Christ ; for if a man he not grafted into Christ must do to 
by the Spirit, he will not abide long in a profession of the Gospel, before he withering, 
withers and decays in his profession, zeal, and seeming piety ; " Abide in me, 

and I in yuu, as the branch cannot bear fruit, except it abide in the vine : no more can ye 
except ye abide in me," John xv. 4. No man can abide in Christ, that was never grafted 
into him ; true he may be externally in him, by a visible profession, or in the vine the 
Church, that sometimes^bears Christ's name ; and such are said to be in Christ. But with- 
out our being spiritually or internally in him, vve can brmg forth no fruit to perfection : 
" We are married to Christ, that we might bring forth fruit to God," Rom. vii. 4. 

2. Be sure see you are truly regenerated, or born again ; the tree must be made good, 
before the fruit can be good, as to the nature of it, as well as to the abiding or duration 
of it. It is the good ground that brings forth fruit to eternal life : now no man's ground 
(I mean his heart) is naturally good, it is grace only that makes the heart good. 

3. Be sure, see that your faith is of the right kind, or is the faith of the operation of God. 
True faith is always attended with good fruits, yea such fruit tiiat remains ; true believers 
shall not cease bearing fruit : " Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose 
hope the Lord is ; for he shall be as a tree phuited by the water, and that spreadeth out 
her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but his leaf shall be green, 
and shall not be careful' in the year of drought, neither shall cease yielding fruit," Jer. 
xvii. 7, 8. 

Trusting in God, and believing truly in God through Jesus Christ, is one and the same 
thing ; such always draw saving or divine virtue from Christ, which keeps them alive, 
and prevents their withering ; a temporai'y faith is not the faith of God's elect, they that 
believe but for a time, will bring forth fruit but for a time ; such cannot bear the heat 
when it cometh ; nor stand in the year of drought. 

4. Labour to have a sound judgment, to discern between truth and error ; this is com- 
monly obtained by sitting under a sound true Gospel ministry ; if we would not wither, 
we must be grounded, and built upon the foundation of tlie prophets and apostles : it is 
for want of a good understanding that some full into errors, and so wither and die away. 

5. Get also a sound and steadfast persuasion of tlie truth thou professest ; be not 
satisfied with having the truth in thy bible, nor in thy head, or mouth, to talk of it, or 
dispute for it ; but get it into thy heart, see thou hast an experimental knowledge of the 
nature, and power of divine truth, in thy owni soul. Many do not receive the truth in 
the love of it: and they are such that wither and fall away; either by being carried 
away by the craftiness of deceivers into detestable errors and heresies, or else are over- 
come with the love of this present evil world, as Demas was. 



If a man hatli tasted how good and gracious the Lord is, and of Christ's love, and his 
merits, lie will never totally wither, and fade away ; sincerity will preserve him. 

If you experience how sweet the favour of God is, the love of Christ is, you will find 
it stronger than death ; no waters can quench it, nor can the floods drown it ; you will 
not hang down your head, nor remain in a doubtful suspense of your salvation, nor ever 
wither away and come to notliing. • 

(i. See that thy heart and conscience is always kept tender, making strait steps for thy 
feet, and do not give way to the sin, or any time to the neglect of thy duties ; it is for 
■want of tenderness of heart many wither ; the stony gi'ound is hard, therefore brings no 
fruit forth unto perfection ; inward guilt -will be like a worm at the root ; if we allow our- 
selves in any known sin, or regard iniquity in our hearts, in vain do we pray for grace and 
the influences of the Sphit, to keep us alive ; for God will not hear thy prayers, as David 
shows, if we regard iniquity in our hearts. 

7. See that you daily attend upon the word, and ordinances of God, and be much in 
meditation. " They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength ; they sliall mount 
up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint," 
Isa. xli. 31 ; This will be an excellent means to prevent withering, and decaying in grace 
and hohness. Can a man expect to be strong that forsakes his food, or will not eat? if 
once our appetite is gone, our strength will soon be gone ; now the word and ordinances 
of God are the food of the soul, it is that which tends to strengthen our hearts: I mean, 
God thereby doth in a gracious manner strengthen us ; " Wait upon the Lord, be of good 
courage, and he shall strengthen thy heart ; wait I say on the Lord," Psal. xxvii. 14. 
But do not only wait on the Lord in hearing of his word, and in the Lord's Supper, and in 
meditation ; hut also in prayer ; be much in prayer, cry often, and mightily to God, if 
you would not wither, and decay in grace ; a man may live that cannot breathe, or with- 
out breathing, as well as a Christian may live, and be lively without praying ; for iirayer, 
spiritual prayer, is the breath of the new creature ; two things are absolutely necessary 
in order to spii-itual growth. 

First, our being born again, or getting a changed heart. 

Secondly, our being fed, and daily nourished with the food of the word : " As new- 
born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby," 1 Pet. ii. 2. 

8. See that you daily keep close to God in the holy fellowship and communion of the 
saints, in receiving and communicating with them, and let not small things impede or hin- 
der thee from thy indispensible duty herein, if thou wouldest not decay and wither : nay, 
abide constantly in that place and fellowship where thou art a member ; let not thy place 
be empty at any time, if thou art able to go thither. " Tell me, thou whom my soul 
loveth where thou feedest, and where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon," Cant. i. 7. 
At noon, that is when the sun is up, and shines very hot, i.e., when persecution rises be- 
cause of the word : it is to be feared, the stony ground hearers did not take care when 
the sun was up to get among the saints, under the shadow of Christ, in his house, but abode 
alone, abroad in the word ; and so they were scorched. " Not forsaking tlie assembling 
of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another daily, so much 
the more as we see the day approaching." 

9.. Think often of the shortness of your lives ; many think they shall have time enough 
to recover themselves hereafter; whereas did they but look upon themselves just a going 
to die, or that death was at the door, they would act and live otherwise ; that is to say, be 
more serious and careful in watching their hearts, and ways. " Be ye also ready, for in such 
an horn- as you think not, the Son of ILin will come," Jlatt. xxiv. 44. ^^'e know not how 
short our lives may be, therefore should be always on our watch. " Watch therefore, for 
ye know not what hour your Lord will come." This doubtless (as we find by experience) 
will be a gi'eat help to our leading of a sober, and heavenly life, and so prevent withering. 

10. Add one grace to another. . " Besides this, giving all dihgence add to your faith 
virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, 
and to patience godhness, and to godliness brotherly kindness ; and to brotherly kindness 
charity," 2 Pet. i. 5 — 7. Faith being in exercise it will set all other graces on 
work ; " For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither 
be barren, nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," ver. 8. 
Nay, more, they will make us active, lively, green, and floiu'ishing in our profession, and 
blessed knowledge of Christ; and that to such a degree, that we shall never wither 
nor decay in gi'aee and holiness. 

llthly. If you would not decay or wither, you must see that you early weed your own 


hearts ; you know tliat weeds oftentimes choke tlie seed, and cause it to be weak, and so to 
wither ; therefore you will weed your corn and your gardens. So must we weed our liearts 
day hy day, or else one sin or corruption or another, will spoil the seed of grace 
that is sown in them. We must weed out that pride, that inordinate love to *^"'',),l"i'''i'' 
the world, that passion, that unbelief, that carnality of our affections, and that weeded, to 
hypocrisy, and deadncss out of our hearts that remain; this we must do, if therfugs. ^''' 
we would not wither and decay in our souls, as the stony-ground professors did. 

12. See that you are never offended at the word, as the counterfeit Christian sometimes 
is. " When tribulation and persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended." 
Men may be offended three ways. 

1. Wlien the word puts them to this choice, i. e., whether they will have J^'^" "^ °^- 
Christ or the world ; wliether they will have Christ and forego their trades, ways because 
tli«ir goods, their friends, their liberty, and their lives for Christ ; or forego "^ ''"^ ^"'"''• 
Christ, forsake Christ for these thipgs. Now when tliis choice was put to the young man 
in the Gospel, rather than he would part with his possessions, he bids Christ farewell ; he 
was offended and went away sorrowful. This choice hath offended many in our days, and 
therefore some have cleaved to the false church, and to human rites and ceremonies, rather 
thuu be exposed to suffer loss and want in the world, and bear persecution for Christ's sake. 

2. When the doctrine of Christ is too hard for their understanding, or because it lies 
above their own human reason, they are by and by offended. They will have no religion 
that wholly depends upon the revelation of God's word, but only that which comports with 
their natural reason, and natural knowledge. They must do something for to save them- 
selves, must work for hfe, to believe for righteousness, to trust to and depend upon ano- 
ther's righteousness, this doctrine they are offended at. Hence in these days what dangerous 
books are published, asserting that there is nothing in the Gospel wliich is above our own 
human reason to comprehend. Thus the Jews that heard our blessed Saviour say, ".-That 
unless a man eat his flesh, and drink his blood, he had no life in him," John vi. 60. They 
were oft'ended, and went their way. 

3. Wiien the word pursues them close, and follows them home to their consciences, 
telling them that every secret sin and lust, though never so pleasant or profitable, must be 
parted with ; they are oll'ended when it tells them their right eye must be pulled out, and 
their right hand must be cut oft', or begins once to touch or meddle with theii' Herodias, 
their bosom sin, they are oft'ended, and they wither away. Now a true believer takes Christ 
for better or worse, whithersoever he goes, he ^^^U follow liira, though it be to the cross. 
W'hatsover he commands us to do, we must obey him, though it be to ofl'er up our own be- 
loved Isaacs, if we would never wither or decay in grace and holiness. 

13. Kesolve to endui'e any hardness for Jesus Christ: the design of Christ in persecu- 
tion and tribulation is to try his people, that it may be seen and known who are sound and 
sincere, and who are not. A niighty wind many times shakes down an old rotten 
house, and floods overthrow houses built upon the sands : a weak and feeble person cannot 
go up a mighty hill ; also a tender and sickly man cannot Lear to lie all night in the field, 
on the cold ground, in a frosty and bitter season. So none but such whom gi-ace fortifies 
and enables to endure hardness, trouble, and persecution, can abide to the end in their holy 
profession under trials. 

4. From hence we may infer, from ■whence it is that so many professors fall away in a 
time of persecution. Alas, their hearts were not right with God, their hearts were hard and 


jind sonte fell among thorns, and the Ihnrns sjnavy tip tvilh it, and choked it. — JIatt. 

xiii. 7. 
Verse 22, our Lord opens this part of the parable, and shows what are meant by thorns. 
" lie also that receiveth the seed among thorns, is l.'e that liearcth, and the cares of Ibis 
world, and the dcceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it bccometh unfruitful." 
Thorns, by what our Lord here declares, do signify or mean two things. 

1. The cares of the world, which refer to the poorer sort. 

2. The dcceitfulness of riches, which refer to the richer sort ; both the poor and rich, are 
in danger by these thorns to be undone for ever. 


1. I shall show you the nature of thorny ground. 

2. Sliow wh}' the cares of this world are compared tfi thorns. 

3. ^A'hy the riches of this world are so compared also ; and likewise why they are called 
deceitful riches. , 

To begin with the first of these. 
What sort of ^' Thorny ground wants ploughing u)i and manuring, " For thus .saith 
ground the Lord to the men of Judah aud Jerusalem. Break up the fallow ground, and 

KTouml is. sow not among thorns," Jer. iv. 3. The meaning is, they should take care 
about their hearts, and labour to root out the thorns, i. <?., the inordinate love 
of this world, and not let either worldly cares, nor the deceitfulness of riches, hinder the 
rooting of the word, or the grace of God hi their soids. 

2. The plough must go deep to reach the roots of every thorn. So the root of every sin, 
particularly unbelief, the inordinate love of the world, and cursed hypocrisy, the immode- 
rate love of, and cares about the things of this li!e, are not easily rooted out. 

3. Thorns choke the seed ; they spread this way and that way, so that the seed can- 
not spring up but the thorns spring up with it. So unbelief and sinful cares spread them- 
selves into many branches, whicli choke the word and make it unprofitable and unfruitful. 

(1.) Pride. This is one evil branch ; they know enough, yea, as much as the preacher 
(in their own conceit) they are rich in their own eyes, and have need of nothing. 

(2.) Self-confidence. AVho were more confident as touching the goodness of their con- 
dition than the Jews? see Rom. ii. 17, 18. Faith makes the soul very diligent to try and 
search the heart, but unbelief makes a man careless ; he regards not his own heart, not 
doubting but Christ is his, and his state is safe. " I went by the field of tlie slothful, by 
the vineyard of the man void of understanding, and so it was all grown over with thorns, 
and nettles had covered the face thereof," Prov. xxiv. 30, 31. 

4. From hence immoderate cares spring up, they have no time to pray, no time to hear 
with diligence the word of God, no time to meilitate ; no, all their time is little enough to 
get bread, and to think how to get out of debt, or how to improve what they have, or in- 
crease and keep their worldly riches. 

5. Thorns hinder the influences of the'sun from causing the seed to take root. So the 
evils of these men's hearts, particularly the cares of the world, and the deceitfulness of 
riches, hinder serious meditation ; by which means the influences of the Spirit are 
obstructed, also they quench the Spiiit's motions, and the common operations thereof, nay, 
resist the Holy Ghost in this respect. 

6. All the showers of heaven cannot make the thorny gi-ound to bring forth fruit, until 
the thorns are rooted up. No, though the rain falls upon it very often. So such who are 
filled full of earthly cares, and set then' hearts upon the riches of this world, though the 
divine rain falls often upon them, yet their hearts are never the better, they bear nothing 
hut thorns and briers. Heb. vi. 7. 

7. It is a very unpleasant sight to see a field of wheat run over with thorns, briers, and 
nettles, and it greatly grieves the husbandman to see it. So it is grievous to Christ, and 
to a faithful minister, to see his hearers so earthly, worldly, and carnal ; they cannot 
attend upon the word timely, nor with holy diligence, the world has got so much room in 
their hearts, 

8. That ground that brings forth thorns and briers is rejected, and is near unto curs- 
ing ; so those men who bring forth no fruit to God, though the heavenly rain falls often 
upon them, yet nothing but thorns appear ; all their talk is about the world, either be- 
waiMng their losses, or speaking of the badness of the times, nothing of the badness of their 
hearts ; " These persons are rejected, and are nigh unto cursing, whose end will be burn- 
Why the ing," Heb. vi. 7, 8. 

cares of the Secondly, why are the cares of the world like unto thorns ? 

likened to 1. As thorus have their rooting in the earth, or ground that is naught ; 

thoma. gg jjj(, y^ij-gg of tlie world-have their rooting in an evil and carnal heart. 

2. Thorns and briers, as one observes, are dens for serpents, and recptacles for poison- 
ous and hurtful worms. So the cares of the world, unmortitied lusts, and an earthly spi- 
rit, is a fit den and receptacle for Satan, that old serpent, and the gnawing worm of an ac- 
cusing conscience, there this worm is bred and nourished. 

3. Thorns are every way (as it were) armed and ready to wound and tare him that 
meddles with them ; so they that give way to the inordinate cares of the world, and 
will be rich, labour to be rich, fall into many "hurtful lusts which drown men in destruc- 
tion and perdition, and pierc* themselves through with many sorrows," 1 Tim. vi. 9, 10. 


4. Tliorns are uniu-otitable things; the fruit they bear is of little worlli, but conmimily 
tends to feeil the fowls of the air ; so the cares of the workl and an lieart set upon riches, 
are good for nothing but to feed the devil and a devilish sensual heart. " ^^'ho by taking 
care can add one cubit to his stature," Matt. vi. 27. 

5. Thorns quite cover some ground, and eat up the heart of the land where they grow. 
So cares and the love of worldly riches overspread some men's hearts, and eat up all their 
time and thoughts, that should other ways be eni])loyed about their precious souls. 

6. And as thorns at last are cast into the fire, and are burned ; so should we cast all 
inordinate cares and covetous desires into the flames of the divine fire, that the Holy Spirit 
may burn them up, and utterly consume them. 

i. Thorns must be rooted out of laud if ever it be made good tillage; so must all 
worldly cares be rooted out of our hearts if ever they become good soil for the seed of the 

8. A man that lies upon thorns can have no sweet rest. So he that gives way to the 
cai'es of the world, or tlnat sets his heart upon deceitful riches, shall never have inward 
peace, joy, and comfort in Jesus Christ; nay, many cannot by the means of worldly cares 
takes their natural rest, their troublesome thoughts hinder them from bodily repose and 
quiet sleep. 

Doct. The cares of this life and love of riches are very sinful and dangerous, or lawful 
things, by an inordinate thoughtfulness about them, and love to them, are pernicious to 
the soul. 

1. I shall prove this proposition. 

2. Apply it. 

1. What hath been said, makes this truth very clear ; but consider fiir- ij^., . <^""5' 
ther, that these hearers appear better than the former, their hearts are not so and ncUes 
hard ; there is somekind of tenderness in these ; the seed of the word seems 'i''ngyo"s- 
to have some deeper rooting in these than in the stony ground hearers, they hear with 
more joy, and stand longer in their profession ; but yet their hearts retaining an inordinate 
love to the world, after all, they fall utterly away, and perish eternally. 

2. These cares choke the word, and make it unfi-uitful, ftierefore most dangerous aud 
pernicious to the soul. 

3. The stony ground hearers no doubt did allow themselves in such sins, that this 
sort could not, may be these cast off all gross acts of immorality, while the other Uves in 
some secret course of wickedness, though hid fi'om the world ; yet these lose then' souls 
by overloving, or setting their hearts upon the lawful things of this world. Aud from 
hence we may see what a mischievous thing it is to become a professor without a changed 
heart, or being renewed. 

4. That which is the root of all evil, must needs be a most dangerous thing ; but the 
love of money is the root of all evil. And the mordinate love of any earthly thing, or en- 
joyment, is idolatry; the Apostle positively saith, "that covetousness is idolatry," Col. iii. 5. 
That which a person chiefly sets his heart upon, or loves with a superlative love, is his 
god, whether husband, wife, child, gold, silver, house, land, or his own belly. No notori- 
ous and open acts of wickedness, is more hateful to Gud than this ; it is as bad as to fall 
down before a graven image. Moreover, in vain are all those directions that some worthy 
men give to sinners to get rid of these cares, and love of the riches, honours, and pleasures, 
of the world, unless first they obtain union with Christ, and feel the efficacious operations 
of the Spirit in true regeneration. " For they that are after the flesh mind the things of 
the flesh," Eom. viii. 5, 6, 7. And will until they are born of the Spirit. 

True the blade of a visible profession, may spring up, but the seed of the word that 
should be rooted in the soul, is choked by these thorns. 

They may receive the word into their understanding in some measure, but their wills 
are never brought over to a full and hearty consent, to love and embrace the Lord Jesus 
Christ, or to receive the truth in the love of it ; the word of God hath no abiding in these; 
it is not hid in their hearts. 

Tlie thonis sprung up and choked it. Note, that not only unlawful things, J^^^ of ubuf 
but the abuse of lawful, do shut men out of tlie kingdom of heaven. It is not ing of law. 
only whoredom, adultery, drunkemiess, svveai'ing, murder, lying, or stealing, '"' """k*- 
that tend to choke the word, but the abuse of lawful profits, lawful cares, and lawful de- 
sires ; the old world (as one observes) eat and drank, built and planted, married and were 
given in marriage; wliy all these things were lawful, but they abused these tilings. What 
is more lawful than to purchase a farm, or a yoke of oxen, or to niany a wife. But if 


men will in doing these tilings refuse to come to Clirist, or prefer it above a marriage with 
the Lord Jesus, the Lord saitli, they shall never taste of my supper. 
Bating and Eating and drinking is lawful, but when meu feed without fear, or eat and 
may'become <lriik to make provision for the flesh, it is not only unlawful, but a damning 
a snare. evil ; to put on apparel decently, to cover our nakedness is very lawful, but 

they that dress themselves in immodest apparel to tempt unto uncleauness, or in new, 
strange, and fantastical attire, that exposeth religion to reproach, such putting on of appa- 
rel is abominable, or when people can spare pounds to deck and adorn their body, and can 
liardly afford a poor child of God a shilling, or will have fine clothes, and yet cannot pay 
their debts, it is Iiateful to God, or take more care to adorn their bodies, than their souls. 
Marriage What is more lawful than marriage ? but when men marry the portion ra- 

may become , , , i i i ,-, , i , t 

a snare. ther than the person, or marry such that tliey like and never regard the di- 

vine precept, in the Lord, and to please his wife, casteth off his profession ; or when the 
husband or wife is more beloved than Jesus Christ ; or the marriage-bed becomes a snare, 
or is defiled, it is abominable, or when a man abuses his wife, and makes her life uncom- 
fortable to her, or takes no due care to provide either for wife or children. How is mar- 
riage, though a lawful thing, abused ! 

What is more lawful than company or society with men ? but when a man shall choose 
evil company, and be a companion of drunkards, it is abominable. 

Or what is more lawful than for a man to take care to get bread, and to provide for 
his family, and in an honest way to keep or get out of debt ? but if men neglect the wor- 
ship of God, or be in their shops when they should be in the Church, or to get bread will 
take unlawful courses, or to enrich themselves, pinch or grip the poor, or labour more for the 
"meat that perishes, than for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life," John vi. 
27, or when carking and distractful cares fill their heads and u n-ts so tliat they forget 
God, and take his name in vain, or steal, it is abominable. 

A trade may What is more lawful than for a man to foUow his trade and employment ? 
snare. And if Ciod bless him, so that he grows rich, he may comfortably enjoy what 

he hath, but if he in trading over-reaches his neighbours, and tells a company of lies, prais- 
ing goods beyond what he oftght and knows of them, or minds his particular calling more 
than his general, or neglects the poor, and all acts of bounty, this lawful and necessary 
thing, is abused. Or what is more lawful than a feast, but if meu or women will eat and 
drink to excess, such feasts are abused. 


1 Inference. gee what ways Satan hath to ruin the souls of men, and to hinder tlie bless- 
ed eft'ects the word of God should have on their hearts. 

2. If lawful things when abused may destroy the soul, and he as piercing thorns, what 
venom and poison is there in those things, the very bare use of which is unlawful or a 
palpable breach of God's law, what thorns and snares do such walk upon. Our Lord speak- 
ing of the people of the " old world in the days of Noah," Luke. xvii. 2^, makes no men- 
tion of their more beastly sins, as pride, uncleanness, sodomy, &c. And this might be (as 

2 Inference. Taylor observes) to show what fearful plagues such vile enormous courses bring 
upon men, when lawful things immoderately used were punished with the vengeance of God. 

1 Exhort. }}, Take heed you ofl'end not, exceed not in the use of lawful things, al- 
though you venture not upon things unlawful in themselves, it is bad sleejiing upon a bed of 
thorns ; but how then do such wound themselves, saith one, that dare venture over a 
hedge of sharp and fearful curses by which God hath fenced and hedged his law. that 
bold sinners, shameless harlots. Whoremongers, debauched, drunkards, blasphemers, and 
profaners of the Lord's day, would lay these things to heart ! 

2 Exhort. 4. Do not go to the out-side, or top of your liberty ; it is better to pinch 
thy carcase than pamper the flesh, and so wound the Spirit. Take St. Paul's counsel ; 
This I say, brethren, the time is short ; it remaineth that both they that have wives be as 
though they had none ; And they that weep, as though they wept not, and they that re- 
joice, as though they rejoiced not ; and they that buy, as though they possessed not. And 
they that use the world as not abusing it, for the fashion of the world passcth away,'' 1 
Cor. vh. 29, 30, 31. In the use of the earthly things learn to find out the profit and 
sweetness of spiritual things ; whilst thou cherishes and feeds thy body, think how tbou 
shouldst have I'ood and refreshment for thy soul, and in labouriug for bread, think what 
gi-eat pains thou shouldst take for the bread of life ; and in thy enjoying of lawful pleasures, 
remember the joys and pleasures of heaven, that are at Ciod's right haml for evermore, 


that have no snare attoniling tliem, but are satisfying anJ eternal. This (saitli one) is an 
holy alchimy, to draw gold out of lead, heaven out of earth, and grace out of nature. 

5. When you enjoy peace and plenty, take heed your hearts do not forget God or grow 
wanton like to Jesurun of old, " who waxed fat, and kicked against the Lord — and lightly 
esteemed of the God of his salvation," Deut. xxsii. 15. How abominable is it whilst God 
loads us with his mercies, we should load him with our iniquities, or whilst we receive his 
wages we should do the devil's work ; when God raiseth our states highest, let us strive to 
have our hearts lowest. 

" And the cares of tliis world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he bc- 
conicth unfruitful," vcr. 22. 

These two things undo the thorny ground hearers. 

(1.) The cares of this world. 

[2.) The deceitfulness of riches. 

A little farther to both these, as to cares. 

1. They are cares about the things of this life. (1.) What wo shall eat, what we shall 
driuk, or wherewith we shall be clothed. 

2. Care how to get out of debt, or fear of want, or lying in a prison. 

3. Care about the times, or what will become of us or our chUdren, such dismal days 
being expected. 

4. Being perplexed about losses, badness of trade and disappointments, they are of this 

Quest. But are all earthly cares sinful, and unlawful ? 

Answ. " Be careful for nothing,'' Phil. iv. (5 ; that is, solicitously, or anxiously careful, 
or be not overwhelmed with inordinate cares, they are these cares which choke the word ; 
ior not all kind of care is unlawful. 

1. For we may take notice of our outward condition, we may take notice of AUkimiof 
what we have, and what we have lost ; yet be content with our present state, u'niuwfui. 

2. Every one ought to have a moderate and provident care of his own worldly concerns, 
and follow his business so as to eat his own bread, and provide for his family, or he is 
worse in that than an infidel. 

3. We may be afiected also with our outward losses, though not to distress our minds, 
but lay it so to heart, as to enquire why it is thus ? Have we not sinned ? 

4. If we are prosperous in the world, we should be so thoughtful, as to remember what 
our state was once, and how Gud has blessed us ; " With my staff I came over this Jordan, 
and now lo I am become two bands," said good old Jacob. 

5. How in a lawful way to repair our losses, and how all we have may be employed to 
the glory of God, and good of his people. 

6. Lawful cares may be attended with moderate fear, hope or joy ; such that ariseth 
from the sense of the little worth of all earthly things ; our fear or joy should be according 
to the nature of those things, our thoughts are let out about. 

7. Moderate joy for the good things received, or moderate grief for the evils we lie un- 
der, are both lawful. 

Quest. Tlow may a person know when his care is excessive, inordinate, and sinful ? 

1. When the mind is wholly, or almost altogether taken up about earthly wheu cares 
things, there being hardly any room for better thoughts in our hearts; our "'e sinful, 
thoughts being too many, &c., too frequent running out to these tilings. t 

2. When we let our thoughts and care run out on earthly things in an unseasonable 
time, as when we are in God's holy worship ; the Jews on their sabbath day, were not to 
think their own thoughts ; what shall we present our bodies before the Lord, and let the 
world, nay, sin and the devil, have our hearts ? God looks at our hearts, sees and observes 
our thouglits when we are in his service ; " their hearts go after their covetousness." 

3. When cares or earthly thoughts hurry, and hale our souls and spirits into disorder, 
or when they throng and crowd in upon our minds, that we find inward commotion, and 
our souls like the restless sea, be sure then your care exceeds all due bounds. 

4. When worldly cares and thoughts are perplexing and vexatious, so that we cannot 
sleep quietly, by reason of our thoughtfulness about the things of this life, the soul being 
filled with pain and great sorrow. 

5. When our care is more to get the riches of this world, than the riches of grace and 
the riches of glory ; more about earth than heaven, more on time than on eternity ; " While 
we look not on things that are seen," 2 Cor. iv. Iti. Alas ! but all do not thus ; some look 
on things that are seen, and but little on things tliat arc eternal, or not seen ; some take 


more care to make sure an estate tlian to make their calling and election sure ; more thought- 
ful to get bread, or heap up gold and silver, than to get eternal life, or the meat which 
perishes not, " Labour not for the meat that perishes," that is, not chiefly, John vi. 27. 

6. When our cares and careful thoughts hinder us from enjoying what we have, or eats 
up all the comfort of what we do profess ; when a man lies in his bed, as if he lay upon 
thorns. Earthly cares (as you have heard) are of a pricldng and piercing nature, they 
embitter the soul, wound the soul. 

7. When so disquieting, that they indispose us to holy duties, so that we cannot break 
through the crowd of careful thoughts, to converse with God ; or if we do it, it is but sel- 
dom, and with much difficulty. 

(1.) Perhaps rarely think of the soul, or what that wants. 

(2.) Nor on what God has done for our souls. 

(3.) Nor can we meditate but little on spiritual things and objects ; the mind is so filled 
with earthly cogitations. 

6. When through worldly cares and thoughtfulness we forgot the time of God's holy 
■worship (as some say) alas I forgot the hour when such a meeting was to begin, my thoughts 
were so hurried with many things. what abominable a thing is this ! certauily they do 
not forget their dining-time, nor their supper-time, they forget not to feed their bodies, but 
forgot to feed their souls. 

9. When distracting cares have got the ruling and predominating power over a poor 
creature, so that he cannot recal them, but they carry him away captive ; they cannot 
say as Abraham did (in another case) to his servants ; " stay you here whUe I and the lad 
go up yonder to worship." 

10. When your cares and thoughts are unbelieving and distrustful, and take the heart 
off depending upon God, you cannot rely upon his promises and faithfulness, or when they 
carry a man into a lawful way and means, either to get bread, or increase their substance, 
or in a way that is doubtful, or whether lawful or not. Perhaps it is an unlawful trade, 
or it is to live upon extortion or unlawful use for money, or by selling of goods for unlaw- 
ful gam or profit ; or above what they may be had for of others, or by pinching the labourer, 
or forcing a man to sell his goods cheaper than he can afi'ord them, and so feed on his ne- 

Lastly. When we care more for earthly things than for the things of God, " The un- 
married careth for the things of the Lord," &c., 1 Cor. vii. 32. 


Exhort. be exhorted to fly all sinful and perplexing cares ! 


1. It is a breach of God's holy precept ; " Take no care what you shall eat, or what you 
shall drink, nor yet for you bodies, what you shall put on," Matt. vi. 25, 2G ; will you 
violate Christ's command or holy precept ? 

The sinful- II. The sinfulness of these inordinate thoughts and distracting cares are 

orratl"" fetlier aggravated. 

eaies. 1. It argties that such are not contented with their present state, which 

every one is commanded to be ; " content with such things as you have ;" not what others- 
have, or what you had once. 

2. It argues, such like not God's providential government of the world ; they seem to 
arraign the wisdom of God at their bar, as if they knew better than God, what was best 
for them ; 0, say they, what abundance of riclies have some, and I am poor, and want 
bread ! why is this thus ? they have much health, and I am always weak, sickly, and in 
pain ! sirs, God knows that sickness is better than health for you ; and may be the riches 
that some have, are given them in judgment, to their hurt, and not for their good, or per- 
haps it is all they shall have, it is their portion ; and would you then change your condition 
and estate for theirs ? 

III. Consider, all your perplexing cares are vain and fruitless; "Who by taking care can 
add one cubit to his stature ?" Matt. vi. 27, this is not the way to get bread. It is vain to 
rise up early, and sit up late, and to eat the bread of carefulness. It is the worst food you 
can feed on ; care wUl never fill your bellies, nor your purses ; no, it will sooner break 
your hearts. 

IV. Because there is no need of it ; one is enough to take care, if he be 

one that is able to supply all our wants, and willing and faithful also. Breth- JJieiramci^ 
ren, Christ takes care of us ; " Cast your care upon him, for he cares for you," ous carta. 


1 I'et. V. 7, Again he saith, " In notlung be careful," &c., Phil. iv. G. Nay, Christ does 
not ouly take care of us, but tlie Father also ; " Your heavenly Fatlier knoweth you have 
need of all these things," Matt. vi. 32. Can you not trust God with all your concernments ? 

V. To give way to these inordinate cares, is to act below a rich man's child, t!ie child, 
may be, hath but a little or nothing in his own possession, perhaps, no money at all ; but 
what of that, saith the child, my father is a rich man, he hath many thousands, I shall 
have what he sees 1 need ; so he takes no care. learn wisdom by such a child, is not 
your Father very ricli ? " is not the earth the Lord's, mid the fulness tliereof ?" What, though 
you and I have but a little in our own keeping, our Father is the King of heaven and 
eartii, and shall any of his cliildren fear they shall want any good thing ; but we must leave 
him to judge in the case. David saith, " The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not lack ;'' 
but he miglit have said, the Lord is my Father, I shall not lack. The relation of a child 
is nearer ilian that of a sheep to the shepherd. 

VL It is a reproach, and scandalous to religion ; it shows (1.) As if you cannot find 
satisfaction in God, without the creature. (2.) Naj', it is a sign you are carnally minded, 
and that you have not your dependence and trust in God, or doubt of his care and faith- 
fulness. (3.) That you are not well taught, or else ill proficients ; you have not " learned 
in whatsoever state you are, therewitli to be content," Phil. iv. 11. This was a lesson 
that Paul had learned : moreover, it shows you have not seen tliat all earthly things are 
vanity. See, saith the ungodly, how this man, this woman, who are professors, and boast 
of a part in Christ, and know how good God is, how uneasy he is, because he wants the 
riches of this world, or enjoys no more health, or meets with losses and crosses in his tem- 
poral affairs ; what faith has he more than other men ? is this the man that makes his 
boast of God ? 

VII. They are very sinful, because they hinder better thoughts, they thrust all good 
thoughts and lieavenly care out of the heart ; nay, thrust Christ out, who should dw.ell in 
our hearts, in our minds and thoughts, continually, but there is no room for him in this 

VIII. It is heathenish, and it is a sign you are no better than others, and ^'- Dodd. 
have no higher dependeuce on Ciod than heathens have ; nay, that you are like them. 
" After all these things do the Gentiles seek," Matt. vi. 32. 

IX. I'liat it is hurtful to your own souls, further appears. 

1. May it not disoblige Christ from taking care of you, to take his work out of his hand, 
and take care for yourselves. 

2. It hinders the efficacy of the word and ordiuances of God ; " The cares of this world, 
and the deceitfulness of riciies, choke the word," Matt. xiii. 22. No wonder you profit not 
under the word ; may be your thoughts are on the world when you sit under the preaching 
of the gospel. 

X. It hinders us from preparing for Christ's coming ; " Take heed to yourselves, lest 
at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and druukenuess, and the cares of 
tjiis life, and so that day come upon you unawares." 

XL It shows that the hearts of such are naught. 

1. That they are earthly, and mind carnal things. 

2. That their wills are not bowed to the will of God, but that much unmortified lusts 
remain in you. 

3. And that you do not first, chiefly, and above all things, " seek the kingdom of heaven," 
Matt. vi. 3o. ' 

Quest. How shall we get rid of sinful care ? ""™ *" ^^ 

1. Ans. Consider the evil of them, and how dishonourable it is for you thus tracting 
to let your hearts run after earthly things. '""''^" 

2. Consider the relation you stand in to God, and that you are his children. remem- 
ber what a Father you have. 

3. Live by faith upon the promises ; " Trust in the Lord and do good, and verily thou 
shalt be fed," Psal. xxxvii. 3 ; " They that fear the Lord, shall want no good thing," 
Psal. xxxiv. 10. 

4. Believe in the all-sufiiciency of God ; " I am God Almighty," Gen. xvii. 1 ; this is 
enough. Thus Abraham was supported. 

5. Consult the wisdom of God, so you will be content with the portion he gives you, or 
what things you have, not what others have, or what you have had, but what you now 
have; " Having food and raiment, therewitli be content," Heb. xiii. 5. 

0. Uemember G.id is faithful, who hath promised that he will help you, and never leave 
or forsake you. 


7. Call to reniemlu-ance your former exiierionce, liuw in furuier straits he lielped you, 
and aijpeared for you. Thus PaviJ was relieved, when in fears and straits. 

Lastly, Live much on the thoughts of death; a httle will serve our turn while we are 


And thorns fpriaui iip and choked them. — ]Matt. xiii. 7. 

See our Saviour's exposition, ver. 22, " And the cares of this world, and the deceitfuhiess 
of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful." 

1. By thorns are meant 

(1.) The cares of this hfe, and that I have spoken to. 

(2.) The deceitfulness of riches. 
Mr. Taylor. Wealth (saith one) in spina purifjens ; pricking thorns, full of molestation. 

Howriciics " They that will be rich piercc themselves through with many sorrows," 1 
tiiorns.'^ Tim. vi. 10, will be rich ; they pursue after riches, whether God please to 

give them in a way of mercy or not, yet their hearts are set upon wealth, though they 
prove like pricking thorns to him ; as a man walking through thorns is pricked on every 
side, before him and behmd him." So saith my author, a man greedy of gain, the craving 
thoughts of getting, the labour and toil of iucreasmg, the fear of losing, the sorrow of 
leaving, prick him on every side. 

2. Thorns are choking. So it was riches that choked Demas, he loved this present 
evil world, he would cast off Christ and sacrifice to an idol, before he would miss of riches. 
Riches choked also the young man in the gospel, so that he could not swallow down Christ's 
holy doctrine, of selling all, and giving to the poor ; multitudes have been this way choked 
in every age of the church. 

3. Thorns, when the blossom is upon them, are deceiving, they seem pleasant to the 
sight, hut let men touch them with their tender hands, they soon wound him. So riches 
are deceitful things, they smile in a man's face, and secretly pierce his heart; also a man 
tbuiks he has fast hold of them, but lo, on a sudden " They take themselves wings, and 
fly away like an eagle to heaven," Prov. xxiii. 5. 

Doct. Riches are dangerous, deceitful, and hurtful things. 

1. Negatively, they are not evil nor hurtful in themselves. 

2. But in the affirmative, through the evil of men's hearts, and the temptations of Satan, 
they are hurtful, evil, and deceitful. Riches to a godly man, who hath a heart to use tliein 
to the glory of God, are a great blessing, but to most men they prove a plague and a curse. 

I shall endeavour to do two things. 

1. Show the evils and snares that attend riches. , 

2. Show they are deceitful. 

3. Apply it. 

I. Tiie evils that attend riches, are expressed by our blessed Saviour, viz., "They 
choke the word ;" like as thorns choke good seed where it is sown. 

How riches 1- I'^^y tend to choke the wm-d by tilling the thoughts of such men to such 

choke the a degree, that the word can have no room in the hearts of such pereons to 
take root ; they mind earthly things. They take up room (saith one) where 
the seed should root and grow. The inordinate love of the world stuffs the 

Taylor. heart with worldly desires and motions, so that they cannot think of any of 

their spiritual wants. 

II. They are in their love and affections to such a degree that they are the rich man's 
god ; they prefer riches above Christ. The young man in the gospel left Jesus Christ ra- 
ther than he would part with his great possessions. And Demas, for the love to the riches 
of this present evil world, cast oft' Christ and the Christian religion ; " Demas hath forsalcen 
me, having loved this present world," 2 Tim. iv. 10. Not that riches are the cause of 
carrying away the heart ; no, but are as an occasion ; the cause is not in them, but in the 
evil heart of man, that is so prone naturally to be set upon them, they so suit and agree 
with the corruptions and natural inclination of men's evil hearts. 

SERjr. XXMIl.] TUli I'AItAIiLE OF TllL bOWKIl 01>i'.Si:.U. 159 

III. The evil of riclies appears from wliat our Saviour sailli, viz., " It is as as lianl f.ir 
a camel to go through the eye of a neeille, as it is for a rich man to enter mto the kint;- 
(lom of heaven,"' Matt. xix. i!4. He never saitli thus of poor men, or that a poor man 
shall hanlly enter into the kingilom of heaven ; no, but saith he, " the poor received tlie 
gospel. * So that it appears, though poverty has many snares attending it, yet riches have 
more and gi-eater ; but not that it is impossible for those who are rich, to be saved ; (no, 
all things with God are possible :) but it is exceeding hard and difficult, to speak after the 
manner of men, they ai'e so great a snare and obstruction to them who have their hearts 

set upon them. Kiclies ore 

IV. The evil of riches lies in their bewitching nature ; they have a strange i'ng'Batuje.''' 
influence upon men's hearts. 

1. This appears by that greedy desire men have after them, when they see tliem com- 
ing ; how restless are they, to add heap to heap, join house to house, and land to land; 
a little will not serve their turn. Job. v. 5. 

2. By the great pains, they take, and amazing dangers they run, to grow rich and great 
in the world, '• He putteth forth his hand upon the rock ; he overturneth the mountains 
by the roots," Job. xxviii. 9. If rocks stand in his way of finding gold or silver, he will 
batter those rocks ; or if mountains do binder him, he will undermine them, or cut through 
thera ; what hazards do they run by sea, and what perils and dangers by land, to get riches 
and honours : they will venture theur lives for them, and sooner lose their lives than part 
with them. The reasons may be these why they thus prize riches. 

1. Because they are connatural unto man: man is (saith Mr. Carj'l) a ?Tj!5: ""^"J ^P 
kin unto the earth, and the tilings of the earth ; he was made of the earth, or ami wtuem'' 
of the dust, and what is gold hut yellow earth, or the dust of the ground ? '■'<='i<^^- 

He whose original is of the earth, and hath obtained no other birth, seeketh the earth : 
" He is of the earth, andspeaketh of the eai-th," John iii. 31, and minds earthly tliinge. 

2. Earthly tilings, gold and silver glitter, or have a shining beauty or glory in them, 
and so are a bewitching or ensnaring object of the eye. I saw a wedge of gold, and a 
goodly Babylonish garment ; 'Well, and what then ? I coveted thera ; my eye was smitten 
with them, and my heart desired them ; covetousness is called the lust of the eyes, 1 John 
ii. 10 ; it is that which the eye lusteth after, and earthly men walk by the sight of 
their eyes, they only look at things that arc seen ; they have no spiritual sight, they can- 
not see eternal things : and gold, silver, and earthly treasure, are best of all things their 
eyes can see or look upon. 

3. Because they find the continual need and great usefulnes of these things : money is 
a defence, Eccl. vii. 12. iVay, money auswereth all things, Eccl. x. 19. What may not a 
man have of all desirable things here, that has abundance of money ? It answers beauty, 
gallantry, nobility, and what not ? 

4. It raiseth men up in repute and honour in the world : estimation and gi-andcur flow 
in with riches : poverty bringoth contempt ; the poor are trod upon, and despised, but the 
rich have many friends. Such who are of low and base birth, if once they grow very rich, 
they may be made knights, earls, lords, &c. JMoney jirocurcs great titles, and great 
places : poor men are not made rulers, and governors of towns and cities, &c., no, they are 
the rich. 

5. Because riches deliver men from many outward evils, and supply men with all earthly 
comforts ; when the poor suffer want, and are in necessities. 

V. Riches are evil in respect had to many temporal dangers, they expose Kiciies evil 
men's lives : how many have lost their sweet lives for the sake of their money ! "f temponii 
the son has murdered the father, the heir the prince, out of love to riches and '•""g'^"- 
honour, to get their estates, crowns, and kingdoms : and we might fill a volume of stories 
of this kind. " Come cast in thy lot with us, let us lie in wait for blood ; we shall find 
all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil," Prov. i. 13, 14. 

VI. Riches are evil and pernicious things, because multitudes of men for the Miches evil 
love of them, have jnerced themselves through with many sorrows : " they fall expo"f to '^^ 
into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts," &c., 1 '"anymares, 
Tim. vi. 9, 10. Agrdn, he saith, " While some have coveted after, they have erred from 
the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows." Some by outward 
losses have run distracted ; others have laid violent hands upon themselves, and many have 
wounded their own consciences. 

VII. llany by the love of riches have lost their precious souls ; and this our Saviour 


showetli ill this place, in respect of some of these hearers. Therefore riches are evil and 

dangerous tilings. 

Riches are Secondly, riches are deceitful things. 

deceitful. J j,j respect of what things they deceive men of. 

2. In respect of the way by which they <lo deceive. 
„, . . I. Riches deceive men of the blessings of the word of God ; they are by the 

deceive men love of wealth cheated of, and have lost those convictions which they have 
"'■ had in their hearts, of the evil of sin, and of the need of Christ. 

II. Riches deceive men of their time, cheat ami rob them of those seasons they might 
have had of hearing the word : what opportunities by the inordinate love of the world have 
many been deceived of ! They must attend their trades, their shops, or see to get in their 
d( bts, or tell their money, when they should have been at a meeting, or in hearing the 
word of God. 

III. Riches deceive men of profiting under the word when they come to hear it ; their 
hearts run after their covetousness, they can give no account of what the minister said, 
their heads and hearts were so filled with other things ; perhaps they are thinking of what 
is owing them, or what they have got by this or that bargain, or how to lay out their 
money to their further advantage, when they should hear, and labour to receive the word 
of God into their hearts. 

IV. Riches, or the love of the world, deceive men of Christ, or of espousing of -lesus 
Christ ; when they are bid to come to the marriage , one hath " brought three yoke of oxen, 
and he must needs go to try them ; another hath bought a farm and he must go and see 
it ; and another hath married a wife, and lie cannot come," ilatt. xxii. 5 ; no doubt it was 
a wife that was an enemy to religion and godliness, but perhaps she w;;s fair, or had a 
great store of money ; however, these outward things, or riches were so in their heart, that 
Christ is slighted, these men make light of those great things of another world. 

V. Riches deceive them of eternal life, they cannot part with their money for Christ's 
sake ; a place in God's house would be too chargeable for them : what give so much to the 
pastor, and so much to the pour ? and may be, saith a rich man, troubles may come, and 
I may lose all I have at once : therefore he will rather lose Ms soul and heaven, than ex- 
pose his estate to such hazard. 

VI. Riches deceive men of the love of God ; " for if any man love the world, the love 
of the Father is not in him," 1 John i. 15. And as men by the love of riches are de- 
prived of God's love, so hereby they incur his wrath ; some bless the covetous whom the 
Lord abhorreth, Psal. ciii. 3. God hates a covetous person, and no wonder, since he is an 
idolator. Col. iii. 5. 

Secondly, in what way, how or after what manner doth riches deceive wicked men ? 
now riches 1- By its promises (1.) They promise peace, satisfaction, and content to 

deceive. hig mind, but the poor wretch is deceived, he finds none, for these satisfy not. 

" He that loveth silver, shall not be satisfied with silver," &c., Eccl. v. 10. We see this 
true by daily experience, let men get many thousands, yet they covet after more, and are 
never satisfied. 

2. Riches promise security ; the man thinks when once he hath got them he shall hold 
them, keep them, and be' for ever sure of them ; but, lo, on a suddeu they fly away ; for 
" Riches certainly make themselves wings, and ily away as an eagle towards heaven," 
Prov. x.xiii. .">. Which denotes two things. (1.) That riches sometimes fly away swiftly, 
they are soon gone. (2.) That they often fly away irrecoverably, there is no recalling 
them ; Ihey are Ij'ing riches they promise to continue with the owner, but deceive him, 
and may be called lying vanities ; yet they are not deceitful objectively, as sin and the devil 
are, but by means of the evil of men's hearts that trust in them, man deceives himself by 
them : they are only deceitfid through the deceit of the heart. 

f3.) They promise safety in times of trouble, and in this respect they deceive men also ; 
" for riches profit not in the day of wrath," Prov. xi. 12. " Your silver and yoirr gold shaU 
not deliver you," Ezek. vii. 9, neither in the day of conscience, when God that way lets 
out his wrath ; nor in the days of outward calamity, nor at the hour of death, nor at the 
day of judgment, yet the rich man's wealth is his strong tower, (i. e.) he trusteth in it. 

VII. Riches do not only deceive the possessor, but the poor also. Perhaps a poor man 
hath a rich brother or sister. 0, saith he, I shall not want, nor be exposed to beg, because 
my brother is worth thousands : but riches are so got into his brother's heart, that there is 
no love, no pity, no charity to be found in him to so near a relation, the poor man is de- 


*^eiveJ : many have lain in prison for debt, who have had rich relations ; many times a 
stranger is a better friend than a brother. 

VU. They deceive a man's own heart : 0, saith a poor man, bad I but the riches of 
such, or such men, what good would I do ? but sometimes when God hath raised such to 
great riches, they have proved as niggardly and as covetous as those which before they 
condemned upon that account ; such deceitfiil things riches are to a carnal heart. 

Quest. "Who are they that are deceived by riches ? how may they be known ? 

1. Such who through love to riches will not attend upon the word, but pre- M'hoare 
fer the world above the word, the present good more than future good. riche*^*^ ' 

2. Such who desire more after the riches of the world than after grace : 

many say, " Who will shew us any good ?" Psal. iv. 6; and but few say, " Lord, lift up the 
light of thy countenance ui>on us." Many thirst more for gold, than for God or Jesus Christ. 

3. Such are deceived, who look upon riches and other earthly things of this world, 
as the chiefest things or business they have to mind, or seek after while they are here. 

4. Such who will run themselves into great snares or temptations for the sake of 
wealth and riches. What hazards mil some men run, though they are told of the snares 
of such a trade, of such an office, of such a company ; yet because it is gainful, nothing 
can change their minds, but tliey proceed in it, and will not be dissuaded from it. 

5. Such that clog themselves with too much business, so that their hearts are almost 
distracted ; alas, they allow themselves no time for holy duties, no leisure for the service 
of God, neither pray morning nor night ; they regard neither the public nor private wor- 
ship of God, they have no time to meditate on the word, or on what thej' perhaps hear on 
the Lord's day, and so the word is choked by these thorns. 

6. You may know who are deceived by riches, by their talk, their speech betrayeth 
them. " Out of the abundance of the heart their tongues speak, they are of the world, 
therefore sj^eak of the world." No sooner do they go from hearmg of a sermon liut (if 
you observe them) they are discoursing of worldly things, not a word of what they heard. 

7. Such who place then: chief delight, content and happiness in the things of this 
world, when riches flow in upon them, that is their greatest joy, and if they lose, or go behind 
Land, and fear theii' estate declines, that is their chiefest and greatest sorrow and grief. 

8. Such who do that which is unjust to increase their wealth, even dig down to hell, 
or fall down before the devil as it were, to get riches, they care not who they wrong or ruin, 
60 that they can but augment their riches, and go off with it without danger from men, or 
from the law of the land. 

9. Such whose hearts are earthly, where your treasure is there is your heart also. 
Now some men show that the riches cf this world are their chiefest treasure, because 
there their hearts are. " They that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh," liom. 
viii. 5. These men will be rich, that is, their resolution and all their study and contriv- 
ance, their hearts are fully set upon the world, let who will take heaven, they are for a 
present portion, they are for a heaven here, though they lose their souls for ever. 

These ai'e they that the riches of the world deceive, and by these thorns the word is 

10. Such that hear the word, and make a profession of it, and are counted saints, who 
nevertheless retam the love of the world in their hearts to such a degree, that they 
give but a little to the poor saints, nor to support the ministry, and that grudgingly 
also, it is more too out of fear they should be suspected, or out of shame, than from love 
to Christ, or to the poor saints and faithful ministers. May be a man tiiat gets his 
bread by his hard labour, will give more than these persons, though they may be 
iiave hundreds, but that is for their children, or relatiuus, not for Christ, not to uphold 
his sinking interest, no, let that stand or fall, they lay it not to heart, may be when they 
die, they will give hundreds to tliis son, or to that daughter, but five or ten jiounds 
they tliink enough, nay, a gi-eat deal, to give to the pour, or to support the Church 
or ministry where they were members, thus they also are deceived by the riches of 
this world, and prove themselves part of the thorny ground. 


I. Look upon riches as dangerous things, and leara from hence to pray inference. 
as Agur did, " Give me neither poverty nor riches," &c. Prov. sxx. 8. how few pray 
agauist riches. 


II. If riches increase, talve beeJ of your liearts, and as David sailh, " Set not your 
heart upon them," Psal. Ixii. 10. Tliey tend to steal the heart away from God. 

III. Happy are they wlio are in a middle state, neither rich nor poor, these men are 
in the best condition of all others, therefore let such be content, though they never grow 

Inference. JY_ J j^fgj. )-]]^f^ gy(;]j jjjgjj .^y],Q g^^g j.j(,]j^ j,jjj ygj good, great, and yet gra- 

cious, have great cause to praise God ; riches to such are a great blessing. what a mercy 
is it to a church to have many of this sort among them ! they give liberally according to 
their abundance ; riches to them are given in mercy to themselves, and to others also. 

V. Do not take undue ways to be rich. beware of that, follow no unlawful calling 
or ways to get riches, or to gee a livelihood, but choose honest trades, and beware of ex- 

VI. Let such that are rich, labour to be rich in good works, and to be humble, for 
riches are apt to puff men with pride. 


But the other fell into f/ood ground, and brought forth fruit, &c. — Matt. xiii. 8 

But he that received the seed into good ground is he that heareth the word, and 

understandeth it, and beareth fruit, and hringeth forth some an hundred-fold, some 

sixli/, some thirty, ver. 'J.3. 
But that on the good ground, are they which with an honest and good heart having 

heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. — Luke xviii. 15. 

This is the fourth sort of ground, and that only which is good ; all the other three was 
very bad and unfruitful. 

First, there are five thmgs mentioned concerning this good ground, or those who are 
honest hearers. 

1. They hear the word. 

2. They understand it. 

3. They keep it. 

4. They bring forth fruit (though not all to the same degi-ee). 

5. They bring forth fruit with patience, Thougli all do not brmg forth the same 
quantity of fruit, yet aU have good and honest hearts, and it is the same fruit in quality. 

Doct. Some ground is good, or some bearers are sincere and honest-hearted persons. 
In speakmg to this, 

1. I shall show you, how this ground came to be good. 

2. Show what a good and honest heart is. 

All Eround i_ Negatively, there is no ground naturally good, but all is alike cvil and 
bad. barren. " Every imagination of men's hearts (yea, the hearts of men) are 

evil, and that continually," Gen. vi. 5. All by nature are children of wrath, there is none 
that understandeth, &c. Eph. ii. 3. " All are gone out of the way, there is none that doetli 
good, no not one, there is no difference, Ac. Kom. iii. 11, 12, 13. Jews and Gentiles, the 
elect and reprobate, are all alike by nature. 

2. Therefore in the affirmative, the difference is of God's making ; as he makes one 
Christian to excel another in gifts and graces, so he only it is that makes the difference 
between some hearers and others. 

( 1. Good ground pre-supposeth a previous work of the Holy Spirit, to prepare it and 
make it fit to receive the seed, at, or before the sowing of it, which is showed by another 
metaphor ; the Word of God is compared to a plough ; " He that sets his hand to the plough, 
&c." Luke ix. 62. The plough is the Gospel, and he that setteth his hand to it, is one that 
prpfesseth the Gospel. Plough up the fallow-ground, and sow not among thorns, that 
ground that is not well ploughed and manured before the seed is sown, is bad. Every man's 
heart naturally lies barren, stony or thorny, until by the comdctions of the word and Spirit 
it is prepared or ploughed up. This way only the heart of a sinner is made good. God 
breaks the hard and rocky heart to pieces, and makes soft and tender ; "He takes away 
the heart of stone and gives a heart of flesl^" Ezck. xsxvi. 20. Not that this is done be- 


fore the seed of the word is sown, or grace is infused, but it is at one and tlie same time ; 
the same word is as a plough, and also seed to these hearers, yet the fust work of the 
Spii-it on God's elect in order of nature, as to its operation, is that of conviction. " He shall 
convince the world of sin," &c. John xvi. 7, 8. And then follows regeneration, a new 
heart, in which heart the seed of the word (i. e.,) true holiness springs up, and such only 
hrings forth fruit. The tree must first he made good. No man can make his own evil 
heart good, he cannot make himself a new heart, no, that is the work of the Holy Sjiirit. 
•' Create in me a clean heart," I'sal. h. 10 ; it is done by Almighty power, it is a creating 
operation, " A new heart will I give them," &c. Ezek. xsxvi. 2t3. The same seed that 
produceth faith in the soul, doth by powerful convictions melt and mollify the heart, and 
also purges and jnirifies it, and so the ground becomes good. And this work is done at 
once, in a moment. God works not as man works, man first ploughs, and then sows ; but 
God doth both together by the seed of the word, and workings of his Spirit on the soul. 

1. Tliere is therefore fu'st the gi-ace of preparation in order of nature, the How the 
gix)und is ploughed np ; i. e., eveiy faculty of the soul is effectually wrought to be good!'' 
upon ; the work of the plougli, (saith one) is but opus ordinahile, a preparative work ; in 
order to sowing the seed, the gi'ound must be well ploughed ; there must be no baulks, all the 
thorns, briars, and nettles must be turned up by the roots. So the Holy Spu-it works 
upon the whole heart, and changes every faculty as to its evil quality, both the conscience, 
judgment, understanding, the will and the affections. 

2. Then the new heart follows, or the renavation of the whole soul appears^ 

3. There are also the heavenly influences ; the seed is watered by sweet showers, and 
by the shiuings or fi-uctit'ying influences of the sun : so God causes the dew ""d showers 
of his grace, and the shinings and fructifjing influences of the Sun of righteousness, to 
descend upon the hearts of these hearers ; the Spirit sprmkles daily the blood of Chi-ist, 
or applies the virtue thereof to their souls, and that causes them to grow and brijg forth 
much fniit : and as it is observed, the blood of beasts, applied to the root of trees, makes 
them very fruitful ; so the heart, I say, becomes fi-iiitful through the -virtue of Christ's 
blood applied by faith. 

SecontUy, I shaU show you what kind of a heart a good heart is, or in what respect it 
may be called a good heart. How to know 

I. A good heart is a new heart, and regenerated heart. * sood heart. 

n. It is a heart united to God and to Jesus Christ : imion with Christ makes the heart 
good ; it is a heart that loves Christ, delights in Christ, that cleaves to him in all cordial 
affections ; it is not divided between Christ and sin, nor between Christ and the world. 

III. It is a beheving heai-t ; such believe with all their heart, or with a whole heart, 
tnistmg in Christ, resting on Christ alone, and on nothing else, for righteousness, justifica- 
tion, and eternal hfe. Acts viii. 37. They that have a good and honest heart, rejoice in 
Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, Phil. iii. 3 ; such account all things but 
as dung in comparison with Jesus Christ ; he is most dear and precious to them ; they 
sufler the loss of all things for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, Phil. iii. 
s, 9 ; whatsoever they did before, with Paul, account gain to them, is parted with for 

IV. A good and honest heart is a humble heart, a tender and contrite heart, Hah. ii. 4 ; 
it is not a heart hfled up ; " Behold his soul, that is lifted up, is not upright in him." 

Quest. 'WTiat is it to have a heart lifted up ? 

1. Answ. To be strongly conceited of themselves, as to their parts and attaioments 
above others, because of their leaiTdng, natural or acquired parts, or spiritual gifts, casting 
a slight and contempt upon others, as if they were not worth regai'd, in comparison of 
themselves ; some men glory in then- knowledge of the tongues, and cast all others under 
reproach, that have not human learnmg, magnifying that above the Spu-it's teacliings, or 
the gilts and gi-aces thereof; " Be not wise in thine own eyes," Prov. iii. 7; there is more 
hope of a fool than of him. A humble Christian thinks he knows nothing, or has not the 
knowledge of a man ; thus Agur ; " Sure I am more brutish than any man, and have not 
the understanding of a man," Prov. xxx. 2 : but a proud person is puffed up with a con- 
ceit of his own understanding. 

2. Such who think others can teach them no more than they know already. 

3. Such who are so conceited of their own wisdom, that when they have sucked in a 
principle, wherein they differ from the whole body of the godly, and have no arguments 
to defend it from God's word ; yet will go on and maintain it, and though they have no 
answer, yet will not hold their peace. 


4. When the thing is of small moment (perhaps the observation of a day), yet they 
will lay great stress upon it, and disturb the peace of a whole congregation about it ; this 
shows they are proud and conceited. 

5. Such who when they have proselyted others to their notion, glory in it, whereas he 
should keep it to himself, and not seek to ensnare weak and unwary persons, who are 
ready to be tossed about with every wind of doctrine. 

G. AVhen men aim at self-applause, or are vain-glorious, the souls of such are lifted up. 

7. When a man's notions are directly against plain and express Scriptures, and such 
that cast reproach upon religion, and upon the office and operations of the Holy Ghost : 
some say the elect were in as good a state and a condition before eftectual calling as after- 
wards, and so a vital union with Christ, and regeneration, is rendered as a small thing ; 
or such who glory in their own strength, or magnify the power of the creature, and will 
of man. 

8. Or when a man endeavours to make others little to exalt himself. 

9. Or such who are uneasy under the providences of God, and foolishly in their hearts 
condemn the wisdom of God, and are impatient under his hand, or seek undue ways to 
deliver themselves, have a heart lifted up : this is a dangerous thing ; " Pride goes before 
destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall," Prov. xvi. 18. God has made no pro- 
mise to such ; no, " He resisteth the proud, but gives gi-ace to the humble ; God abhor- 
reth the proud," Prov. xvi. 5. And such Paul shows, " Know nothing, but doting on 
questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railing, and evil surmisings," 
1 Tim. vi. 4. 

V. An honest and a good heart is an understanding heart ; he heareth the word, and 
understandeth it. 

1. He understandeth it is not the word of man, but the word of God. 

2. He receives it not from the eloquence of the preacher, nor because it affects his ears, 
but because it reacheth his heart. 

3. Not from thg love he has to the minister, but in love to Christ, whose word it is. 

4. He receives it into his understanding, or believes it not barely with the faith of 
credence or human faith, but with a divine faith, a faith wrought in Him by the Holy 
Ghost, or with the faith of the operation of God, he doth not receive the word into his 
head only, but into his heart also. 

5. He understands the worth of the word, he sees it is rich treasure, he knows that 
Christ is hid in this field. 

G. He understands the doctrine of the Gospel, and the word of righteousness, and it is 
so called. 

7. He understands the power and efficacy of the word ; he esperienceth " that the word 
is like fire, and a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces ;" and that it works physically 
on his soul. 

VI. A good and honest heart is a perfect heart, a sincere or upright heart (i.e.), he 
wants no essential part of a true Christian, as a perfect man-child hath all the parts, and 
wants no limb, no member, or no essential part of a man : he follows Christ not for 
loaves, nor for profit or applause ; he is the same in private as in public, and no changes 
change him ; he is for the work as well as for the wages, for the cross as well as for the 

VII. It is an obedient heart ; he follows Christ whithersoever he goes ; he wiU do 
whatsoever Christ saith, because he loves the Lord Jesus ; such " obey from the heart the 
form of doctrine, Kom. vi. 17 : his obedience is evangelical, universal, and continual ; he 
obeys from right principles, he obeys Christ in every command, yea, in the hardest thing, 
and continues to obey to the end. 

VIII. It is a fiiithful heart, will do everything as God requires it to be done, that, and 
no more ; neither diminish from the commission Christ hath given, nor make any alter- 
ation, nor add thereunto ; " Beloved, thou doest faithfully all thou doast," &c., 3 John v. 
Abraham, Moses, and all the godly, acted in all truth and faithfulness in their obedience 
to God. 

IX. It is a jealous heart ; such take great heed lest their hearts should deceive them, 
or not be right with God ; " Search me, Lord, and know my heart," Psal. cxxxix. 23 ; 

" try me, and know my reins ; make my heart found in thy statutes, that I may never 

be ashamed," Psal. cxix. 80. They know the heart is deceitful, therefore are jealous 
over it. 

X. It is a fruitful heart. 


Thirdly, What fmit does a good heart bring forth ? 

1. Fruits of lioUness. 

2. It brings forth the fruits of the Spirit, the fiTiits of faith, love, and meekness. 

3. The fniit of mercy, and charity. 

4. Justice : Lo, half my goods I give to the poor ; such also will (if able), if they have 
wronged any man, make restitution ; " If I have taken away from any man by false ac- 
cusation, I restore him fourfold." 

5. They bring forth much fruit, some an hundred-fold, some sixty, and some thirty- 
fold : all do not bring forth the like quantity ; some have not so great a measure of grace, 
nor like gifts ; one receiveth two talents, another five, and each brings forth fruit accord- 
ing to the degrees or measure of grace and gifts received. 

6. They bring forth ripe fruit, and fruit in due season ; it is good fruit, and it is fruit 
also according to the cost and pains God is at with us ; " What could I have done more 
for my vineyard than I have done ?" Isa. v. 4. Some answer not the charge and cost 
Christ is at with them ; if a man lays out more cost on some ground than on others, he 
exjiects more fruit from that gi-ound : so doth Jesus Christ. 

7. They bring forth fruit with patience. They continue in well doing, and wait on 
God for all the good which he hath promised ; they bear up under trouble and afflictions 
with patience. " He that believes shall not make haste :" they endure sharp providences, 
like as the wheat endures sharp frosts, and also abide fruitful in years of drought, Jer. 
xvii. 8. 


1. Infer. From hence we may infer, that the cause why many that hear the Word are 
unfruitful, and profit not, is by reason of their corrupt, barren, and evil hearts ; it is im- 
possible that an unconverted person, or a carnal heart, should bring forth good fruit : a 
bitter fountain may as well send forth sweet water, or a fig-tree bear olive berries, or a 
thorn bear figs. 

U. That God accepteth of no religious duties, which are performed by an unrenewed 
person, though he may preach, read, bear, give to the poor, yet being all done by a man 
void of grace, or by one whose person is not accepted, his duties are not accepted, but are 
rather an abomination unto the Lord ; neither can anything which simiers can do, bring 
them into a state of acceptation with God ; none are accepted but only in Christ ; " who 
hath made us accepted in the Beloved," Eph. i. 6. 

lU. That the hearts of all men naturally are evil, or like bad ground, bring forth 
only evil and corrupt fruit. 

IV. That God alone prepares the heart for the seed ; it is he that makes the 
ground good ; no ground can make itself good, no, it is the work of the husbandman ; 
the sinner is \yholly passive in the work of regeneration, grace works physically on tlio heart. 

V. That the reason why some men fall away from the profession they make of re- 
li^on, is because their hearts were never right in the sight of God, or were never changed. 

VI. That no sincere believer doth, or can fall away totally and finally, so .sincere be- 
as to perish ; all who received the work into good and honest hearts, brought JjJt '^''\o,^'j"' 
forth fruit unto eternal life, they hold out to the end. " We are not of them and finally 
that draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the aw^y. 
soul," Heb. X. 39. Apostates are of another sort, i.e., either of the stony or thorny 
ground, and indeed of all either of those sort of hearers fall into apostacy. or perish in hy- 
pocrisy. But good and honest hearted professors hold out to the end. This being a great 
and comfortable truth, though denied by many persons (and some of which I hope are 
good Christians, whose experiences I am persuaded contradict their principles) I shall here 
give some reasons or arguments to prove they who are true believers camiot totally and finally 
fall awaj. 

1. Arg. Because tliey are elected or chosen to eternal life, all that are '• A'K"- 
elected do truly believe in Christ, and they are ordained to be saved as well as to be sanc- 
tified ; if it be impossible for the elect finally to be deceived by false prophets, then it is 
impossible for the elect totally and finally to perish ; but it is impossible for the elect finally 
to be deceived, ergo. See what our Saviom- saith, " If it were possible they should de- 
ceive the very elect," Matt. \xiv. 24. Our Saviour by tlicse words shows, it is impossible 
for the elect finally to be deceived ; though they may fall, yet they shall rise again. 

2. Arg. If the elect are not ordained only to be saved, but also to be fruilfuf, and 


that their fruit shall remain, then they cannot totally and finally perish. But tlie elect 
are not only chosen to be saved, but to be fruitful, and that their fruit should remain, enjo. 
See the words of our Lord, " Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained 
you that you sliould go and bring fortii fruit, and that your fruit sliould remain," John 
V. 16. It is worthy of our noting, that our Saviour in these words anticipates his disci- 
ples as to a doubt that might rise in them; he having just before told tliem, that some 
branches tliat were in him by an outward profession, or externally in him, might wither 
and be cut off, and he cast into the fire. From hence they might say. Lord, if this be so, 
we may also become unfruitful, and as withered branches be cut offand perish for ever. 

Now to prevent any such doubt, he brings in these words, pray observe the scope and 

rise of what our Lord here said, and then will appear to you the exposition of what he 
spoke in the beginning of this chapter, which many bring as an argument to prove, that 
such who are in Clirist, may iitterly perish ; whereas he shows, he does not there refer to 
his elect, or such who obtain a vital union with himself, but to such believers as the stony 
and thorny ground hearers were. 

0, it is a mighty word, " Ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit." Can 
the absolute decree and purpose of God be made of none efi'ect ? Nay, and " that your 
fruit should remain," Jer. xvii. 8 ; that is, that you shall not cease to hear fruit, as the 
prophet speaks. 

Some shall ^' ^'^^' "^^^ Covenant of grace secures them from final falling ; Christ 
ijiing forth has engaged in that holy compact for all the elect, to preserve them unto eter- 
fo "the end' ^'^^ 1^^^ '> ^'^^ Father hath put them as sheep into his hand, as their Surety and 

the reasons Sliepherd : " They shall never perish, nor can any pluck them 

thereof. out of my hand," John x. 28. iloreover, God hath sworn to Christ the true 

David in this covenant, " that his seed shall endure for ever." His seed are 
all true believers ; all that are born of God ; this covenant is " ordered in all things and 
sure," 2 Sam. xxiii. 5 ; it cannot be dissolved nor broken ; it is made with Christ for us, 
who is oWiged to perform all the conditions that 'were agreed imto between the Fa- 
ther and Himself, before the world began ; which was to die for us, to renew us, and 
to preserve us to eternal life. 

If the love of God be unchangeable, and everlasting, if the covenant between God the 
Father and God the Sou as MetUator cannot be broken, if God hath sworn that the seed 
of Christ shall endure for ever ; if Christ hath undertaken to preserve us by his almighty 
power to salvation, and hath said none of his sheep shall perish ; if none, i. e., neither sin, 
Satan, the world, nor any thing else, can pluck them out of his hand, or separate them 
from the love of God ; then true believers can never totally and finally perish ; but all 
these things are so : ergo. 

4. Arg Ts taken from the death, resurrection, ascension, and intercession of Jesus Christ. 

If Christ in the room and stead of all his elect, and hath borne all God's vindictive ven- 
geance for them, and God is for ever reconciled to them by the death of his Son ; if they 
were all virtually quickened and raised from the dead in him, and they did representa- 
tively also all ascend in him who was their Head, and are all virtually now glorified in him 
in heaven ; if Christ intercedes for all his elect, or prays that their faith may never utterly 
fail, if he prays that they may be kept from all evil that is damnable, and may all be with 
him where he is ; theu no true believer can fall totally and finally from a state of grace, 
so as to perish. But all these things are undoubtedly so, as I could abundantly prove : ergo. 

5. Arg. Our union with Christ is an indissolvaljle union, and this secures all true be- 
lievers from final falhng. It is like the union tliat is between the Father and Jesus Christ 
as Mediator ; " I in them, anc^thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one," John 
xvii. 23, or into one ; into this union Christ prayed all that believe may be taken ; " Nei- 
ther pray I for these alone, but for them also, which shall believe on me through their 
word, that they all may be one, as thou. Father, art in me, and 1 in thee, that they also 
may be one in us," &c., John xvii. 20, 21. 

If the union between the Father and Jesus Christ can never be dissolved or broken, 
and believers are brought into as firm a union, then behevers can never finally fall, 
but the former is true, ergo. 

6. Arg. My next argument is taken from the indwclluig or cohabitation of the Holy 
Spirit in all believerb ; the Spirit hath taken up his abode in them for ever; "Hedwelleth 
in you, and shall be in you, — that he may abide with you for ever," John xiv. 17, verse 
10. If the holy Spirit dwells in believers, and shall abide in them, to uphold, guide, lead, 
strengthen, support, confirm, and preserve them to the end of their days, they can never 
finally fall. But this I have, and might more abundantly prove, ergo. 


Lastl}'. If all tliat receive the word iiito good and honest hearts, do bring fortli fniit 
unto eternal life ; then none of them shall finally fall : but this our Lord doth positively 
affirm, crcio. 

VII. We infer, that the Word of God is not understood as to its worth, excellency, 
power, or efficacy by many hearers ; they feel not, know not, experience not the worth 
and virtue thereof ; no, none but sincere Christians experience this. 

Exhort. 1. 0, in-ize the Word of God; esteem it above your necessary food ; value it 
more than much fine gold ; it is with the Sphrit the immortal seed, by which an immortal 
babe is begotten, and fed to everlasting life. 

2. Show you are good ground by your fruitfuhiess, in holiness, in grace, in all the 
graces and fruits of the Spirit, and iu all good duties, good deeds, and good works. 


That I may press you to labour after fruitfulness in grace and holiness : 

1. Consider you were chosen to be holy, or ordained to go and bring forth fruit, 
&c. You caimot know you are God's elect, unless you are holy and fruitiul persons. 

2. You are united and married to Christ, that you should bring forth, Iiom. vii. 4. 

3. God hath made your hearts hke good ground, to the end you should be a holy and 
fruitful people. 

4. God hath bestowed much cost and pains on us, that we might be made fruitful 
Christians, and as the effects thereof, he looks and expects we should be fruitful. 

5. He gives us fruitful seasons, fruitful showers, and fruitful shinings, and all to 
this end and purpose. 

6. It is our fruitfuhiess in grace and holiness that is the gloiy of believers, and that which 
commends religion to the blind and barren world. 

7. This tends also to the glory of God ; " Hereby is my Father glorified that you bear 
much fruit, and so shall ye be my disciples," John xv. 8. 

8. If after all the showers tliat fell from heaven, any remain like evil and bad 
ground, " bring forth briers and thorns, such are near to cursing, and whose end is to be 
burued," Heb. vi. 7, 8. 

9. We are created iu Christ Jesus to good works, and ordained to walk in them, Eph. 
ii. 10. 

10. No man's faith is known to be true, but by its fiuits or good works, though holi- 
ness and good works cannot justify our persons, yet they justify our faith, and render us 
justified persons before men, and to our own consciences also. 

Obj. If believers cannot fall away, what need is there to press them to lead an holy 

1. Answ. To glorify God : besides they are as much ordained to holiness as they are 
unto happiness, or to use the means, as well as to enjoy the end. 

2. It is in weU-doing we are to seek eternal life : " to them who by a patient continu- 
ance in well-doing, seek for glory and honour, and immortality, eternal life," Iiom. ii. 7. 

Quest. Why are there so many cautions and take heeds, given to us in epistles the 
apostles wrote, lest we fall, if behevers cannot finally fall so as to perish ? 

1. Answ. The epistles were wrote to the churches, and all were not true Christians 
that were got into the churches of the saints ; therefore there was need to caution all to 
abide steadfast, and to take heed, lest some appeared to be but false professors. 

2. Because believers may fall foully, though they cannot fall finally, they may througli 
Satan's temptations, and the evil that remains in them, wound their own souls, and greatly 
dishonour God ; and therefore there is need of those cautions and take-hoeds. But if 
they are sincere, they cannot finally fall ; " if they had been of us, no doubt but they 
would have continued with us." Therefore those in Heb. vi. 4, o, who tasted of the good 
word of God, etc., and fell away, were not true believers, as Paul in ver. 'J, shows, they 
liad not those things which accompany salvation, or do always accompany or attend true 

And thus I shall close with this parable. 



Affain (he Mngdom of heaven is like unto a merchantman seeking goodly pearl, who 
when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and 
bonght it. — Matt. xiii. 45, 46. 

The year of In speaking unto this parable, I sliall in my usnal method. 

Chnst. 32. 2. Open what the design or chief intention of our blessed Lord is, in 

speaking of it. 

-• Open the parts thereof. 

3. Eaise one or two points of doctrine therefrom, and in onr usual method prosecute 

Thede- 1. Pouhtless oiir blessed Saviour in tliis parable deslgneth two things, 

scope^of (1-) To set forth the excellencj- of the gospel dispensation, there lying in 

bie ouened '' ''' P''^''^'^"^ pearl, which they that are truly wise will seek, and part with all 
to purchase. 

(."^•J io set forth the transcendent worth and excellency of the pearl of great price. 
Whntis This I conceive is the main scope and design of our Lord in this parable, 

the'k/n"-^ 2ndlj, I shall explain the parts thereof, 

domof" " Again the kingdom of heaven is like," &c. 

eaven. jg^ ^j^^ kingdom of heaven I understand is meant the gospel dispensation ; 

l^rilvTm' ^^^ ^^ '^ '° several other Parables) or the true and spiritual ministration thereof; 
nistry 2. in which the special grace and favour of God is comprehended, and extend 

■wiio is u"to 'he sons and daughters of men. 

meant by fo a merchantman. The merchantman may mean, any person who seeks 

chant man. after, or labours for such things that are of an excellent and spiritual nature. 
Seeking goodly pearl. Pearls are the choicest things, merchants trade or 
venture to sea for : Therefore doubtless these goodly pearls that a spiritual merchant seeks, 
are some of the choicest things of God ; as peace and reconciliation with God, pardou of 
sin. and eternal life. 

Who when he hath found one pearl of great price : by this one pearl of great price is 
meant our Lord Jesus Christ ; and so I tliink it is taken by all expositors generally. 

Went and sold all that he had : that is he parted with all things, which before he 
valued, or did esteem to be gain to him, that he might obtain this precious pearl, as Paul 
speaks, Phil. iii. 8, 9. Whether external riches, honours, pleasures, so far as they are 
sinful, or carry the heart away from God : he parts with all his sins, his unrighteousness ; 
moreover, he parts with his own righteousness, also in point of justification, tliat so he 
might have Christ and his righteousness to justify him in the sight of God. 

" And bought it :" but it is " without money and without price," Isa. Iv. 1, 2 ; he came 
to accept of Christ, or to receive Jesus Christ upon those very terms he is offered in the 
gospel, viz., freely. 

So much briefly by way of explanation of the several parts of this parable. 

Thbdly, I shall take notice of two or three points of doctrine from this short exposi- 
tion, and shall, God assisting, more fully prove and demonstrate the truth of the exposi- 
tion, and make improvement thereof. 

Doct. That a man in seeking after heavenly things, viz., grace and glory, may be com- 
pared unto a merchant. 

2. I shall show, in what respects a man, in seeking after heavenly things, may be com- 
pared to an earthly merchant. 

2. Show, that spiritual merchandizes are the most rare, or the most excellent merchan- 
dizes in the wor'd. 

3. Improve it. 

1. A merchant is one that trades or deals for the good things of this world, and he 
makes it his cliief business ; so a man that seeks after heavenly things, he trades or deals 
in spiritual commodities, and he makes religion his chief business : hence saith Paul to 
Timothy, " meditate upon these things, give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting 
may appear to all men," 1 Tim. iv. 15. 

IL A merchant sometimes trades and deals in things of great worth, as here in this 
parable is expressed, viz., goodly pearl ; what is more valued than gold, silver, precious 
stones, and goodly pearl ? 


So a professor or a Christian, one tliat seeks tliose things that are above, trailes in such 
things or commodities, which are of very groat worth, as the favour of GoJ, redemption, 
reconciliation with God, justitication, pardon of sin, and eternal life ; these are things of 
the highest value, yea, beyond all coiiiiiutation, what may be compared to them ! earthly 
things are but mere dirt, toys, and trifles to these things ; no onyx, sapphir, clirystal, coral, 
topaz, or rubies, may compare to heavenly things, or to the things which the spiritual 
merchant deals in, and for. 

III. A merchant sets his heart, his mind, and chiefest thoughts upon his merchandize ; 
I mean he prefers those things, and in good earnest pursues after them above all things 
upon the earth. 

So a spiritual merchant, or a true Christian, sets his heart and chiefest thoughts upon 
heavenly things, he " sets his affections on things above, and not on things that are upon 
the earth : our conversation is in heaven," &c.. Col. iii. 1, and Phil. iii. 20, and Rom. viii. 
5. Other people mind the things of this world, or the things of the flesh, and labour 
after the meat that perisheth : but these mind the things of the Spirit, and chiefly 
" Labour after that meat which endureth unto eternal life," John vi. 27. 

IV. A merchant sometimes ventures to sea, and runs many great dangers a merchant 
(in seeking goodly pearls, and after rich merchandizes) both by storms, rocks, S^ngfrsl'' 
and sands, and pirates also. 

So a ti-ue Christian is exposed to'great difficulties, and runs many dangers, who ventures 
out into a visible profession of religion ; on tlie sea of this world ; what storms of re- 
proaches, temptations and persecutions is he oft-times exposed unto ? i Tlu"ough many 
tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of heaven. ) 

V. A merchant at tirst hath not tliat skill in trading as he attains or gets afterwards : 
old dealers have more judgment and greater experience, than such who have newly begim 
to trade. 

So a man when he first begins to sf ek after God, or to mind heavenly things, he hath 
not that understanding, that knowledge and judgment in the matters of religion, as an old 
Christian ; he is but a babe in understandmg, yet by degrees he attains to more light, 
knowledge, and experience, especially when he seeks after knowledge as after " silver, 
and searches for it as for hid treasure," Prov. ii. 4. 

VI. A merchant ought to know the nature and value of those commodities he deals in 
and the whole mystery of merchandizing. 

So a true Cliristian or spiritual merchant labours to know the transcendent worth, nature 
and value of all spiritual things, and the whole mystery of godliness ; mdeed this know- 
ledge is not easy to attain luito. 

The Christian religion is very mysterious ; " without controversy great is the mystery of 
godliness, God manifested in the flesh," &c. We read of the mystery of the faith ; " we 
preach Christ in a mystery, even the hidden mystery," &c., 1 Tim. iii. HJ. Some things 
are to be believed, and are articles of our faith, that are above our reason to comprehend, 
as the three Persons in the Godhead, and the mystery of the two natures in the Person of 
Christ : there is also a mystery in the doctrine of satisfaction, and in the doctrine of union 
with Christ, and in the doctrine of justification. Now every spiritual merchant should 
labour to know and understand as much as he is able, or God is pleased to reveal of these 
and other great gospel mysteries ; the holy apostles, who were teachers of those mysteries, 
and stewards of the mysteries of God, confessed that they themselves " knew but in part, 
and saw things but darkly as through a glass,'" 1 Cor. xiii. 12. a wise mer- 

VII. A merchant is very careful of his business, when he hath met with di'i?g" j't and 
loss, lest he run out, and waste his substance, and so at last be undone. careful 

So a spiritual merchant, or a professor of religion, is very thoughtful, and full of trouble, 
and takes the more care, when he sees, or doth perceive he goes backward rather than 
fonvard, or decays in zeal, faith, love, &c., lest he should prove an hypocrite, and so come 
to nothing. 

VIII. A merchant, if he know wliat pearls be, may be soon, and easily 

cheated by false and counterfeit pearl. So many a spiritual merchant, if he ^'"re}"ants 

know not what the person of Christ is, or what it doth consist of, he may sii«"i'j \"^^^ 

pasily be cheated of the true Christ, and trust in a false Christ, believe in a norciicateU 

false Christ. Some think Christ is but a mere creature, or not God of the «>f .|[,','= ''''"■■ 
essence of the Father, and man of the substance of Mary ; and so own and 

believe in a false Christ ; others think the light wliicli is in all men, is the true Christ. 
And tills is from the ignorance of the person of the Son of God. 


So some that ilo not know what true faith in Christ is, are cheated with a folse, or a 
counterfeit i'aitli. Others Icuow not what gospel repentance is, and by this means they 
take legal repentance for evangelical repentance : therefore it doth behove all Christians ' 
to learn ■wisdom, and to get a good understanding. 

Spiritual i-^- -^ merchant trades to foreign parts, they fetch their treasure from afar, 

nierchaiits So a Spiritual merchant trades to lieaveu, which may be called a far 

countiy. country. ' Tlie church is compared to a merchant-ship, she brings her food 

from afar ; as a believer lays up treasure in heaven, so by faith and prayer 
they fetch their treasure from thence. \ 

X. A merchant has his correspondent in those far countries to which he trades, who 
receives their merchandize, and makes returns of more gainful things and commodities, 
iiath also bis ^° all true Christians have their blessed Correspondent in heaven, who 
correspon- ma.nageth all their concerns, viz., the Lord Jesus Christ, v/ho receives all 

their duties, and makes return of precious mercies. They have " beauty for 
ashes, and the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness," 
Isa. Ixi. 3. 

XI. A merchant is very careful to attend the exchange, or the place where the mer- 
chants meet together, and where they hear, and learn how their affairs go abroad, and 
there have opportunity oft-times either to sell or buy more goods. Jloreover, if they 
neglect, or are remiss in their attendance upon the exchange, it gives just cause of sus- 
picion they may soon break, and so cease to be merchants. 

Spiritual gg spiritual merchants are very careful to attend the solemn meetings 

BiioiUd ob- of tlie saints, where tliey hear of and from Jesus Christ, and as they there 
chaBge^of receive from him, so they make returns of praise to him ; but when any one 
times. member grows careless or remiss in their attendance on tljose days when the 

Church assembles together, it gives cause to fear such persons are in a decaying condition, 
and will soon give up that profession they have made of the truth of Christ: " Not for- 
saking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is," &c., Heb. x. 25. 

XII. J\ferchants take great care to keep their books or their accounts well, they are 
often in their counting house. 

Spiritual 1. That they may know whether they lose or gain, go forward or backward, 

si'iOTUdTee whioh indeed they cannot well any otherwise understand. 

their ac- 2. That thov may see a goo'd end of tlieir afl'airs, and that thev are not 

oouatB.well. ^^.^.^„g^^,^ ■ ^ 

3. That they may have the more comfort in the management of their business. 

And thus also do all the saints, they laboui' to cast up their accoimts, i.e., examine their 
hearts, or try themselves : " I communed with my heart, and my spirit made diligent 
search." So 

1. If professors do not know their hearts, they know not what state or condition they 
are in, whether they are renewed or not, born again or not, in a state of grace or not. 

2. Unless they try and examine their hearts, they do not know whether they grow in 
grace, or decay therein ; increase in faith, love, and zeal, or decay in those graces, and 
so are in a withering condition. 

3. A man is wliat his heart is, not simply what his profession is, what his talk is, or 
what his seeming continuance is, but what his heart is. 

4. A man cannot know his own heart unless he searcli and try it ; nothing is so deceit- 
ful as the heart ; it is " deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can 
Spiritual l^now it ?" Jer. xvii. 9. 

"'^'•ciiandiz- Secondly, I shall show you, these are the best and chiefest merchandize hi 

the world, or no merchandizes like spiritual merchandizes. 
(1.) This is the merchandize of wisdom, and the merchandize of it (saith Solomon) is 
better than the merchandize of silver, and the gain thereof than fine ffold," 

Spiritual ^ ... . > b o : 

iMcrcban- PrOV. lu. 14. 

bisf ""^ -'■■ Because the nature of those things these merchants trade in, far excel 

all the things of this world. 
All other things are of little worth to the grace of God, the love of God, union and 
communion with God, to have God to be our Ciod, and Christ to be our Christ, to trade in 
gold tried in the fire ; Rev. ii. 3,18; what gold is like that gold ? and white raiment to 
be clothed, to trade with the riches, the unsearchable riches of Christ ; nay, the pearl of 
great price, to make such an exchange of all wliich he ,have, as to obtain Jesus Christ, 
and a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 


II. Ml the things of tlio world are but vanity. " Vanity of vanities, saith the proaclier, 
all is vanity," Eccl. i. 2. Tint there is real substance iu these tilings, in tliese merchamli/es. 
" I leail ill tlio way of righteousness, iu the midst of the patlis of judgment ; that I may cause 
tliose that love uie to iuliorit substance, and I will fill their treasures," Pro v. viii. 20, 21. 

III. These merchandizes are best, because they are incorruptible; all Earthly 

tliieves may steal tht'.i ; but neither can moths, nor rust corrupt, Jire con- iuoon-uptibio 
sume, nor thieves steal these treasures, these goodly pearls. 

IV. The rareness or scarcity of these morciiandizes, or these rich commodities, show 
tlieir mast excellent nature ; diamonds, precious stones, especially such that are of a 
great bigness : things are not only estejmed as most e.Kcelleut from then- great worth, but 
because they are very scares, and rare to come at ; and such tliat have diem are made 
exceeding rich by them, they need no greater riches : it is not to bo imagined what some 
precious stones and pearls (the}' being very scarce) are worth. 

Now tlie things tliat these spiritual merchants trade for, seek and do obtain, are ex- 
ceeding rare, or very scarce ; hardly one man in a thousand that trade in the world, lind 
these goodly pearls ; with the pearl of great price : U how few find the sparkling dia- 
mond of true and saving grace, and the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, justification, 
and assurance of eternal life. Tliese merchandizes are the best merchandize, this trade is 
tlie best trade that any can foUow ;. though they are such commodities that are very scarce, 
and very few do find them, yet they are to be had. " Surely there is a vein for silver, 
and a place for gold where they fine it," Job xxviii. 1. '" As for the earth, out of it 
Cometh bread, and under it is turned up as it were fire," ver. 5. " The stones of it are 
the place of sapphires, and it hath dust of gold," ver. G. Even so there is a place where 
these pearls are found, a field whore heavenly treasure lies hid, though but few have-skill 
to find [them, or seek where they are to be had. " There is a path which no fowl 
knoweth, and which tlie vulture's eye hath not seen ; the lions whelps have not trod on it, 
nor the tierce lion passeth by it," ver. 7, 8, 

Wicked men who dig in the eartli, those vultures of the wilderness, and ravenous lions 
and other beasts of prey, seek not for, nor do they know where these pearls, and rich 
treasure is to be had : " The mysteries of tiie kingdom of heaven are hid from the wise 
and prudent, and revealed to babes and sucklings," JMatt. xi. 25. 

V. These merchandizes were bought with a dear price, by the Son of SpWtuai 

/-111 . 1-71 .1, 1 ,■ ■ • -111 mercliauuize 

God, he first laid down the lull sum that divine justice demanded, and got cost dear, 
them into his own hand for his elect ; or else they could never have found 
them, though they have fought for them all the days of their lives : now the great price 
which was paid for these spiritual good things, tends to show the excellency and incom- 
parable worth and value of them : true, the costliness of some commodities do not disco- 
ver the worth of them ; for some from their fancy may give more for that which they pur- 
cliase, than it is worth. As such wlio m getting tlie world, lose their souls, give more for 
it than the whole world is worth. But certamly our Lord Jesus well loiew [who is the 
wisdom of God) there is not only a great worth in the soul, which he bought out of the 
hands of wrath, and divine justice, but also in the blessings of grace and glory, which by 
the same purchase or price, he procured for his people. Brethren, all spiritual good iliiogs 
which behcvers trade for, were bought or purchased with the price of Christ's most jircci- 
ous blood ; and let none think Christ paid too dear for them, since an interest in God 
himself whom we lost by sin, is included in this purchase. 

VI. They are soul treasures, such that suit witli, and answer all the wants Spiritual 

r .1 • 1 ■ , , . ... .. thuifis suit 

01 the precious and immortal soul ot man, and thoretore are most excellent witii the 
tilings iu their- own nature ; nay, they do not only tend to supply, and answer Boui'wamT"" 
all the wants and necessities of the soul, but also enrich, satisfy, and fiitten 
the precious souls of men ; " Wherefore do you spend money for that which is not bread, 
and your labour for that which satisfieth not ; hearken diligently unto me, and eat you 
that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness," Isa. v. 2, 6. " Tliey shall 
Btill bring forth fruit iu old age, they shall be fat and Uourisliuig, to shew that the Lord 
is upright, and there is no um-ighteousness in him," Psal. xcii. 14, 15. 

VII. These merchandizes are the best, (and so they prove themselves the spiritual 
wisest of merchants) because of their duration, this shows the excellency of J,^',';"*^*™ 
these things they trade in ; all the things of tiiis world are but momentary, n:irdura"' 
they are sometimes gone iu a moment, and cannot last long, the world passetii "'^"- 


away, anrl all things therein, " The things that are seen, are temporal," 2 Cor iv. 18, but 
spiritual tilings, wliich are not seen with fleshly eyes, they are eternal ; they are riches, 
honours, and pleasures, that abide for evermore. The acts indeed of grace may fail, but 
the habit of grace can never be lost, a man that is a true Cliristian, cau never be undone, 
he cannot run out of all and break, because Jesus Christ is his Surety, he hath undertaken 
for him, and hath obliged himself to supply him with all things he needs ; he is a believer's 
great insurer, other merchants oft-times are undone, one storm at sea may ruin them and 
bring them to utter beggary. 

Christ is a VIII. This brings me to the next thing, which shows the excellency of 

Correspon- these spiritual merchandizes, viz., their correspondent who these mercliants 
dent. trade with, or that manages all their concernments, and is engaged to make 

them sure and safe returns from afar; I mean from heaven, whither they trade, and from 
whence all theii- good things come : now as Jesus Christ is their correspondent, so he is 
such an undertaker, that they need not fear any thing can miscarry, which is in his hand. 

1. From the consideration of that blessed covenant he entered into with the Father for 
them in eternity, or ever the earth was, which was not only to die for them, (whom the 
Father gave to him), and pay all their debts (not only that of perfect obedience to the law), 
but also fully to satisfj' divine justice for their breach thereof. 

2. And not only so, but to set them up with a suiEcient stock of gi-ace, knowledge, and 
spiritual wisdom, which this trade calls for, or doth requu-e. 

3. And if they at any time through weakness, negligence, -or temptation, do decay, or 
waste any of that stock, which is in their own hands, he has engaged by virtue of his cove- 
nant, (as he is their Surety), to supply them afresh from that fulness which is in himself 

4. Moreover the promise and oath of God secures them from utter faiUng, or being un- 
done, " My God shall supply all your need, accordmg to his riches in glory by Jesus 
Christ," Phil. iv. 19. 

5. They also for their further encouragement know the power, ability, wisdom, love, 
care, and ftdthfulness of the Lord Jesus Christ, as he is able to help them, and knows how 
to do it ; so his love to his saints, and his faithfulness every way secures them, as doth also 
that relation they stand in to him, they are his choicest friends, yea, the members of his 
mystical body ; nay, more than all, his people are his spouse, his bride, his wife ; and what 
will not the husband do for his beloved's comfort ? 

IX. These merchandizes are the best merchandizes, and these merchants the wisest 
merchants, doth appear in respect of the terms on which they trade. 
The blessed I. All the goods, in which, or for which they trade, are freely given to 

whteh be- them, though they are said to buy these things, yet it is, as I said, a buy- 
lievers ing " without money and without price," Isa. Iv. 1, no man can buy other 

^^ ^' merchandizes without money or money worth ; but the gi'eat God imparts all 

his spiritual treasures freely ; " Thinkest thou that the gift of God may be purchased with 
money," Acts viii. 20. S(jme think they must get some previous qualifications, before they 
trade with Christ, come to Christ or believe in Christ ; and what is this but like bringing 
something like money with them, they dare not come in their sins and filthiness, but would 
fain get on some comely dress or garment spun out of their own bowels, I mean their own in- 
herent righteousness, and this they think may render them acceptable to Jesus Christ ; but 
let such fear lest their money perish with them ; for all spiritual treasure, or heavenly 
merchandizes are given freely ; " And whosoever will let liim take of the water of life 
freely," Rev. xxii. 17, the poorest and vilest sinner is imated to come to Christ, and such 
who are far from righteousness ; though thou hast no money, thou mayest be received 
amongst the company of these merchants. what good news is this for ungodly sinners, 
for publicans and great sinners ! for such Christ loves still to deal or trade with. 

Therefore they ai'e the best merchandizes, because these commodities are freely given, it 
cannot indeed stand consistent with the design of redemption grace, which is to advance the 
glory of God in his abundant goodness, and to cut oif all boasting, and cause of boasting, 
to admit of any thing of the creature, that looks like money, to procure a right to these 
things : nay, what we have of our own wliich we must part with, yea, even, our best is but 
like filthy rags ; and what are fiJthy rags worth ? what can they purchase ? what are 
they good for ? 

h-ivc th? ^- Tli6se are the best merchandizes, or this is the best trade, because of 

best returns, the returns, these merchants have from Jesus Christ. 

1. They have quick returns; " And it shall come to pass, that before they call I will 
answer, and while they are speaking I will hear," Isa. Ixv. 24. Here is no staying for 


the wiml, no delay of the sliip's retui'ii, it is but asking and receiving ; seek and you shall 
find, find what ? even goodly iiearl, nay, the pearl of great price. 

2. It is the best trade, because the merchandizes are such rich commodities, the chiofust 
of all is a pearl of intinite value, as you will hear hereafter. These merchants do not trade 
for toys and rattles, no, but for the richest pearls and precious stones, things of an inesti- 
mable worth. 

3. Because the returns are also certain, they are sure of succeeding and of growing rich, 
truly and eternally rich. 

4. Not only rich, but great and noble also ; All these merchants are advanced to miglify 
honour or dignity ; they are all made hereby " Kings and princes, of whom the world is 
not worthy," Prov. xii. 20, Psal. xvi. S ; they in honour are the most excellent in all the 
earth, sons and daughters of God, born of God, they walk with God, and have union and 
communion " with Father and the Son," 1 John i. 2, 3 ; and have the attendance of the 
lioly angels ; they administer to them, wait on them, guard and defend them. 


I. See who are people of the greatest wisdom ; certainly all the wise men of this 
world are but fools, what do the merchants gain that trade to India ? what are those mer- 
ciiandize to these ? what is their gain to the gain of godliness ? 

II. Admire. Is it not strange, suice these merchandizes are so precious, and the riches 
tlicse merchants gain so great, that so few will follow this trade, I mean trade for heaven, or 
deal with Jesus Christ, or seek for these goodly pearls ! what folly possesseth the poor; 
you have no stock to be earthly merchants, and yet refuse to become spiritual merchants ! 

3. What reproof also is here to such who will venture their lives, their goods, nay, their 
souls, for the riches of this world ; and yet will not venture the loss of earthly honour, to 
gain these merchandizes. 

4. Exhort. Be persuaded sinners, to turn spiritual merchants ; labour to recover your 
lost understanding, and seek after these goodly pearls, viz., an interest in God, pardon of 
sin, and peace of conscience. U seek after these pearls, and labour after tlie kuowletlge of 
the worth of things, and to know how you may find this God, pardon and peace, which ia 
no otherways to be obtained, but by finding of Jesus Christ, the pearl of great price. 

Enlightened persons whilst they seek after goodly pearls, find one pearl, and in finding 
that tliey meet with a vast number of other rich pearls also. 

3. This is matter of greatest comfort and consolation that can be to all true believers : 
how happy are you that are spiritual merchants, who seek goodly pearls, and have found 
the pearl of great price ! bless and magnify God I exalt free grace, who put you upon 
seeking heavenly treasure : let your lives be lives of praise, and thanksgiving unto God ; 
and as you have, entered upon this trade, never be weary, nor faint in your minds, knowing 
that your labour shaU not be in vain in the Lord ; your gain is great here, but it will be 
more admii-able, and greater hereafter. Amen. 


Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant-man seeking goodly pearls, who when 
he had found one pearl of. great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. — Jlatt. 
xiii. 45, 46. 

I HAVE, my brethren, briefly opened the several parts of this parable, and have also 
noted one point of doctrine from the first part thereof; viz., that a man in seeking after 
lieavenly things, may be fitly compared to an earthly merchant. I have prosecuted this, 
and shall now proceed to another proposition. 

2. Doct. That the Lord Jesus Christ (the pearl of great price) is most pre- ^hc second 
cious, excellent, or of infinite worth and value. doc'trinc." 

In speaking unto this proposition. 

I. I shall show you, why Christ is compared to a pearl. 


2. Show you ^\herein tlie excellency, worth, anil preeiousness of Christ doth cousist. 

3. Show you, where he is to be sought, and also how. 

4. Show you, what buying this pearl cloth denote. 

5. Apply it. 

First, I shall show you, why Christ is compared to a pearl, to the richest 

Why Christ r.pivl 

iscomparea F^aii. ,. „ , ,• i , . 

to iieiiri. I. Pearls, naturalists tell us, have a strange buth and original. Phuy 

saith. Shell-fish is the wonderful geuiture of a peai'l, congealed into a diapha- 
nous stone, and the shell is called the mother of pearl. Now at a certain time 
of the year tliis shell-fish opens itself, and takes in a certain moist dew, after which they 
grow big, until they bring forth the pearl. By, which it seems they have their birth from 
heaven in a marvellous manner. 

I hope I may without offence mention this parallel-wise with the birth of the ' ' pearl of 
great price." 

Our Lord Jesus Christ, whose birth according to the flesh, or his conception, was mar- 
vellous ; God manifested in the flesh. A woman shall compass a man, a virgin, the 
mother of this transcendent pearl, (as touchmg his human nature) was overshadowed by 
the Holy Ghost, and when her time was come, she brought forth the pearl of pearls, viz. 
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

IL Some pearls are of a very great worth. Pliny teDs us, that they are the most 
sovereign commodity throughout the whole world ; moreover, he speaks of one pearl that 
Cleopatra had, which was of an admirable value. 

Our Lord Jesus Christ no doubt is compared to a pearl of great price upon this account 
chiefly. He is of an mestimable worth aud value. God hath many rich pearls ; but Jesus 
Christ is the richest and most precious of them all ; the holy angels are pearls, and very 
precious unto God ; and also the saints are pearls in his sight ; " Since thou wast precious 
in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee," Isa. xliii. 4. BeUevers 
or godly persons are called his jewels or choice treasure ; " They shall be mine in that 
day I make up my jewels," Mai. iii. 17 ; but what are these jewels, these pearls, to this 
pearl ? All their glory, worth, and esceilencies flow from Christ ; he makes them pre- 
cious. But he in himself, and of and from himself originally and eternally, is previous, 
and a most excellent pearl, there is none hive unto him, neither in heaven, nor on earth ; 
he is called " a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation," Isa. xxviii. 
16. And in another place he is called " a living stone, disallowed of men, but chosen of 
God, and precious" — " yea, elect, precious," 1 Pet. ii. 4, 6. He is precious to God the Fa- 
ther, precious to the holy angels, and wonderfully precious to all believers, 1 Pet. ii. 7 ; 
he is to the Spouse " the chiefest among ten thousands," Cant. v. 10. 

III. Pearls have a hidden virtue in them, though but small iu bigness, yet great in ef- 
ficacy, they are rich, and a most sovereign cordial, being (as naturalists observe) good 
against poison, also do preserve, strengthen, and revive the natural spirits. 
Wonderful ^^^"^ Christ hath a hidden virtue in him, though he be Uttle in the eyes 

virtue in of camal persons, and vile impostors, yet such who receive him by faith, find 

pearfof'^ woudcrful virtuo in him ; " I perceive (saith he to the woman that touched 
great price. j^jm") ti^^t virtue is gone out of me," Luke viii. 46. 

1. Such who receive this sacred pearl by faith, though they were dead, it immediately 
quickens them ; and raiseth them from the dead to a state of spiritual life, Eph. ii. 1. 
There is such a spirit in this pearl of great price, that whosoever receiveth it, are imme- 
diately brought to life, though they .have lain a long time dead in the fii'st Adam, in the 
grave of sin. 

2. The same Spirit also opens blind eyes ; such who receive inwardly this pearl, have 
the " Eyes of their understandings enlightened," Eph. i. 18, though they were born bhnd ; 
nor is there any besides Jesus Christ can give sight to the blind ; he doth not only raise 
the dead, but also gives them sight ; " his hfe is the light of men," John i. 4, 5. This 
life was originally in the eternal AVord, aud not only'so, but he conveyeth life and light to 
mankind, both a rational and spiiutual life and light ; all men that come into the world re- 
ceive the light of rational creatures ; but none but such who have union with him, receive 
the light of grace. " Then spake Jesus again to them, I am the light of the world, he that 
followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the hght of life," John viii. 13. 
The light of life, and the life of light is all one. Kow as he is Creator he gave man light ; 
man was created iu a state of light by Jesus Christ, (i. e.) in a state of knowledge, of ho- 
liness and real joy and comfort ; but this light, this knowledge, hoUness, joy and comfort, 


mankiiul loss by the fall ; but tliroufr'i Clirist, or by this pearl it is restored again ; all that 
receive liim have the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in their souls: " God, 
who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shiucd in our hearts to give the 
light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ," 2 Cor. iv. 0. 
Great light of knowledge was in man at his first creation, and hence the light of God is 
said to consist in knowledge ; " Having put on the new man, which is renewed iu knowledge, 
after the image of him that created him," Col. iii. 10. And as it cousisteth in the true 
knowledge of God; so also in holiness, because the image of God was not only in know- 
ledge, but " in righteousness and true holiness," Eph. iv. 2i. No unholy unsauctified per- 
son can have fellowship with God : but what saith John : " If we walk in the light, as he 
is in the light, we have fellowship one with another," 1 John i. 1 , 2, 3 ; not with God only, 
or with the Father and the Son, but also with one another ; but tiiis light of saving know- 
ledge, righteousness, and true holiness, joy and comfort, no man partakes of, but only he 
that receives this pearl, or partakes of his divine Spirit. 

3. Sloreover, this pearl inwardly received dissolves and infallibly cures a cure for 
the stone in the heart, I mean, it breaks the hard and stony heart. None |h« f*™^ in 
ever truly received Jesus Christ, but found this blessed operation or virtue to 

to be in him ; they immediately see the evil of sin, that plague of all plagues, and cry out, 
what shall we do ; what a good, a holy, a just and gracious God have I offended, re- 
sisted, contemned, and rebelled against ! 

4. Such is the vii'tue of this sacred pearl, that it expels and purges out the poison of 
sin, which is in the soul ; as such who find this pearl are immediately justified, acquitted, 
and pronounced righteous before God, and for ever freed from condemnation, according to 
God's ordination and gracious design and purpose. So like\vise by virtue of that faith, by 
which a poor sinner does receive the Lord Jesus, he comes to be sanctified, and the soul 
purged from the contagion of sin, and cured of that plague, though some of the old rehcs 
of it may remain, Kom. vi. 14 ; yet sin as to its power and dominion is broken, it reigns 
no more in any person that receives this precious pearl, 

0. Such is the hidden virtue that is in Jesus Christ, or in this pearl, that when a. man 
finds it, and partakes thereof inwardly, it fills him with joy and earthly comfort. There- 
fore it is said, " We rejoice in all our tribulation." The people of Samaria had no sooner 
found this pearl, Jesus Christ, but it is said, "There was great joy in that city," Acts viii. 
8. The soul hath cause of joy, unspeakable joy, considering how happy for ever he is 
made thereby ; for this pearl is made all in aU things unto him who receiveth it. 

G. Such is the virtue of this pearl, that such who receive it, are presently wonderfully 
revived, though their spirits were ready to faint, and die away just before; it strangely 
revives a drooping spirit, Christ " revives the spirits of the humble, and the hearts of the 
contrite ones," Isa. Ivii. 15. There is no cordial can revive a faint and desponding spirit, 
but Jesus Christ ; other cordials may revive the natural spirits, but this revives the precious 
and immortal soul ; it doth not only raise it from the dead and give light, but it enhvens 
it, and makes it full of activity, ai»d fills it fuU of sweet consolation. 

7. It bath also a wonderful virtue in it to strengthen the heart, and make such strong that 
receive it, and very fearless, in the midst of all dangers whatsoever, so that they are not 
afraid what man can do unto them ; they are hereby enabled and made strong to perform 
holy duties, strong to bear heavy burdens, and strong to mortify their inward corruptions, 
and also strong to resist and overcome all Satan's temptations. Such are " strong iu the 
Lord, and in the power of his might," they are " strengthened according to his glorious 
power, unto all patience, and long-sufi'ering with joyfulness." Such that have experienced 
the virtue of this pearl, have been enabled to go through the worst of torments ; nay, they 
have rejoiced in the midst of the flames ; " We glory (saith the "apostle) in tribulations," 
Horn. v. 3 ; not only in their future happiness, but in their present sufferings. 

8. Such is the virtue of this pearl, that such that receive it, cannot die ; as Christ is 
compared to a pearl, so to bread, yea to the Bread of life : " This is the Bread that came 
down from heaven, that a man may cat thereof, and not die," Jolm vi. 50. " He that 
cateth of tliis Bread, shaU live for ever," ver. 58. It is meant of receiving or believing 
in Jesus Christ ; to eat, to feed upon, to receive, or to believe m Christ, is aU one and the 
same thing. 

He who finds this pearl (i. e.) that comes to Christ, feeds on Christ, or applies the Lord 
Jesus, or the virtue of his obedience, liis blood and merits, to his own soul, shall live for 
ever ; that is, he shall not die the second death, Rev. xx. 11, or uot di« eternally. 

U. It hath such virtue in it, that such who receive it, it cures of the burning fever, of 


passion, envy, and malice ; making the soul milil, peaceable, gentle, and full of pity, mercv, 
and good fruits, " without partiality, and without hypocrisy," Jam. iii. 17 ; nay, when once 
Christ is found and received by a poor sinner, his inordinate love and passion to the things 
of this world is immediately abated, he becomes dead to the world, and to the lusts of the 
eyes, and to the lusts of the flesh. 

10. Moreover, this pearl is a most sovereign remedy to cure the tympany of pride ; it 
makes the proud humble, laying the soul at the foot of God, even to loathe and abhor him- 
self, and to repent in dust and ashes ; and to be ashamed of sin, and of his own ritditeous- 
ness, yea, " confounded, and never to open his mouth more," Job. xlii. G, Isa. vi. 5, 6, 
Ezek. xvi. G3, 

Thus hath this pearl many most excellent hidden virtues in it, which few ever come to 
understand, or have the experience of. 

IV. Pearls are of a splendid and oriental brightness, both Vy^ithout and within. 

Jesus Christ may well be compared to a pearl upon this account ; he being the " Bright- 
ness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person," Heb. i. 3. He outshines 
in glory and brightness all the angels of heaven ; the beauteous and glorious excellencies of 
thispearl, i. e., the Lord Jesus Christ, is the same in shining with the Father ; being the bright- 
ness of his glory, the light of light, the glory of all glory ; he is the Father's essential glory. 
The glory or brightness in any creature, is but a faint resemblance of the being and glory 
of God. But more of this hereafter. 

V. Pearls, nay, one pearl of great price eni'iches him that finds it. He that meets with 
such a pearl needs no other riches, but is made for ever, as touching this world. 

So they that find the pearl of great price, Jesus Christ, or lay hold on him, are greatly 
enriched ; they are spiritually rich, truly rich, yea, and eternally rich. We read of the 
" Unsearchable riches of Christ," Eph. iii. b. And whatsoever riches are in Christ, they 
are his riches that find him, like as a man that finds a pearl : whatsoever that pearl is worth, 
so far is that man enriched by it, because the pearl is his, he hath the whole interest in it, 
and right to it ; he may say, it is my pearl. 

So a believer that finds Jesus Christ may say, Christ is mine, the riches of Christ are mine, 
they are my riches, I have interest in him. Thomas cries, " My Lord and my God," and 
Paul appropriates Christ to himself. " Yea, doubtless, and I account all things but loss for 
the excellency of Jesus Christ my Lord," &c., Phil. iii. 8. It is propriety that makes a 
thing valuable to a person, and according to the worth of that thing is the person enriched ; 
but though Christ be a pearl, a rich pearl, yet was he a pearl that could not be found (like 
a pearl that lies at the bottom of the sea) no man could be enriched by him ; or if a pearl 
be found, yet if the man cannot lay any just claim to it, but it is presently seized by the 
prince or lord of the manor, he would not be enriched by it, nor indeed any ways the better 
for it. But he that finds this precious pearl, Jesus Christ, it is his own, this God is his God, 
and this Christ is his Christ, and his God and Christ for ever. 

VI. Some men when they have found a rich pearl, a pearl of great price, they know 
not the worth of it ; they perhaps think some other pearis are of equal value, or as rich as 
that, which they have found. 

So some, when they have found Jesus Christ, they know not the worth, the riches and 
excellency of him, but are ready to esteem other goodly pearls equally with Christ, as the 
ciirist excels P^'T'i'l of grace, of pardon, and peace. But certainly this argues great weak- 
au spiritual uess, great ignorance, and that they are strangely beclouded. For what is 
pearls. grace, the pearl of faith, the pearl of pardon, the pearl of peace, and the pearl 

of inherent holiness, to the Person of Jesus Christ ? Is there not a vast difterence between 
the person that thou lovest and hast set thy heart upon, and the portion ? Dost thou 
esteem the portion equal with the person ? This shows thy love may justly be suspected. 
So it is here, if thou valuest anything above or equal with Christ, nay, though it be grace 
itself, it will show that thou art not sincere, but hypocritical. Though grace is a goodly 
pearl, i. e., the grace of faith, love, humility, temperance, patience, &c., and also though dis- 
obedience and inherent holiness ai'e goodly pearls, which all spiritual merchants seek, in 
seekuig of Jesus Christ. But alas ! alas ! a Christian who is thoroughly enlightened, doth 
with Paul, account all these things (though pearls in themselves) but as dung in compari- 
son of the Lord Jesus Christ, I mean the Person of Christ. 

Such therefore, that prefer grace, or their own obedience and inherent righteousness, 
with the Person of Christ, or magnify their righteousness above the righteousness of Christ, 
or mix it with Christ's righteousness in point of justification, may justly be suspected not 
to be true Christians, (or at least) but erroneous, if not hypocritical persons. 


YII. This being so, it followeth from hence, that it behoveth Lim that finds a peai'l of 
great price to know it well what it is, and also its just value, or the true worth and rich- 
ness thereof; lest he be cheated and part with it for pearls of little value, in comparison of tliat. 

So and in hke manner ought a believer to know Jesus Christ, the Person of Christ, the 
worth of Christ, the excellencies of Christ, lest he be deceived ; alas ! he may boast of a 
false Christ, and thmk he hath foimd the true pearl, when it is a false, a coimterfiet, or a 
bastard pearl. Many in these days glor}' in a Christ within, affirming the light that is in 
all men, is the true Christ, and deny that the true Christ was ever seen 
with carnal eyes ; or heard with fleshly or carnal ears ; nay, affirm that the The Quakers 
body of Jesus of Nazareth was but a garment, which the true Christ did true™ Christ! 
wear, or a house in which the true Christ did dwell ; and also utterly deny, 
that Christ is now in heaven above, or that that very body that rose from the dead is now 
glorified in heaven. But certainly these men are fools ; they pretend to seek for goodly 
pearls, but know not who, or what the pearl of great price is. They know not the Person 
of Christ, their Chi-ist never died, the light within cannot die, nor hath that any blood to 
shed ; being only an inward quality, it hath no bodily substance. But Paid saith, " He 
preached how Christ died according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and rose 
again the third day, according to the Scriptures," 1 Cor. xv. 3 — 8, and that he was seen 
after he rose from the dead, "first by Cephas, then by the twelve, and after that he was seen 
of above five hundred brethren at once." ^Moreover, there are some who deny Christ is 
God of the essence of the Father, or the most liigh God. Now these men do not know 
this pearl ; that Christ is but of little worth who is not very God, the true God ; or can 
such a Christ save us, for we have no Saviour but God only. Christ must be God, or he is no 
Saviour. It therefore greatly behoveth all Christians to have wisdom and skill, to discern 
between a pretended Christ, or a false Christ, and the true Christ ; as it doth behove a mer- 
chant that trades for pearls, to know true pearls, precious pearls from false pearls, or -else 
they may be soon cheated, and utterly be undone. Also they ought to know the excellencies 
of Christ, and wherein he is rich, and why he is so wonderfully rich. 
A little to open this. 

1. Clu'ist is rich as he is God, the riches of the eternal Godhead are in him. "For 
you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for wherein the ' 
our sakes he became poor," &c., 2 Cor. viii. 0. Is God rich ? Is not the Jj^^^f ^^_ 
■whole world, the whole earth, and all things in it, the Lord's? Even the sist. 

cattle upon a thousand hills, so rich is our Lord Jesus Christ ; for he is God, therefore all 
things are his. 

2. Christ is rich in goodness. " Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness," Kom. ii. 
4. His rich love and favour is infinite. 

3. Christ is rich in wisdom and knowledge. " In him are hid all the treasures of wis- 
dom and knowledge," Col. ii. 3. 

4. Christ is rich in the grace of redemption. " By whom have we redemption through 
his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace," Eph. i. 7. 

5. Christ is rich in glory. " And what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance in 
his saints," Eph. i. 18. And again he saith, " That he would grant unto you according to 
the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might in the inward man," Eph. iii. 16. 

Now that this pearl is a rich pearl, or that Christ is rich, exceedingly rich, 
as Mediator, appears further. as'^siedia'toJ! 

(1.) By what God hath bestowed on him as so considered, for as Medi- 
ator lie " is heir of all things, he hath the Heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost 
parts of the earth for his possession," Heb. i. 2, Psal. ii. 8. 

(2.) We may know Christ is rich, by considering of the multitudes he hath enriched, 
even many millions ; and yet is not he one farthing the poorer than he was before. 

(3.) It appears Christ is rich, " because it pleased the Father that in him all fulness 
should dwell," Col. i. 19. There is in him not only abundance, but also a fulness of re- 
dundance ; he is not only a fountain that is full, but also overflows. 

But because I have spoken fully concerning the riches of Christ in the par- Scc the par- 
able of the marriage-supper, I shall add no more as to this here, but direct my miniage-"^^ 
reader to that. supper oiion- 

VIII. Pearls, rich pearls, or pearls of great price, are commonly kept in ^ " '"' ' • 
the possession of noble persons, who are adorned with them, and are known to be honour- 
able and noble persons, by being decked and adorned with precious stones, and rich pearls. 
No high-born prince but is enriched, beautified, and adorned with the richest pearls. 


Christ id the So the saints who are noble born, born from above, born of Gotl, are tlie 
ornament''of i^ost excellent in all the earth, and these only are adorned with rich pearls, 
believers. goodly pearls ; grace is as chains of gold, or a necklace of pearl about their 
neck," Psal. xvi. 3. Wisdom and knowledge, and the fear of the Lord are to be sought for 
above all things. " For they (as Solomon declares) shall he an ornament of gi'ace unto thy 
head, and chams about thy neclv," Prov. i. 19. "I decked thee also with ornaments, and 1 put 
bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain about thy neck," Ezek. xvi. 11. " And I put jewels 
on thy forehead, and ear-rings on thy ears." Thus all the king's children, or the most ex- 
cellent in all the earth, are adorned with pearls and diamonds. But though all the gi-aces 
of the Spirit are as pearls, jewels, and glorious ornaments to believers, yet this one rick 
pearl, Jesus Christ, renders them more noble and honourable than do all other pearls, what- 
soever, with which they are adorned. 

Moreover, no person hath, nor ever had one goodly pearl, until they parted with all they 
had, and received Jesus Christ. Christ first gives himself, and with himself he bestows all 
other goodly pearls ; nor hath any man or woman this pearl, but he is adorned and beauti- 
fied with all other choice and precious pearls ; also the Spirit is first received, which imites 
the soul to Christ, and then all grace immediately adorn that person, by which he is known 
to have Christ, and to be an honourable person. " To you that believe he is precious," 
1 Pet. ii. 7, or is an honour : and by this believers are known to be the children of God, 
or the sons and daughters of the King of kings ; for none of the base born of this have this 
pearl, this Christ, nor are beautified with these spiritual pearls ; no, they are but beggars,' 
mere slaves, and vassels of sin, and the devil, who are not bom of God, though they have 
never so high an earthly birth, or earthly honour, or earthly riches, yet they are not ex- 
cellent ones in God's esteem. 


The nppiioa- You young maidens, would you gladly deck yourselves with rich ornaments, 
t'""- or have a necklace of pearls ? Here is one, but are you willing to part with 

all for this pearl, for this Christ ? This is that you must do. labour for Christ, seek 
and search to find this pearl, to believe in the Lord Jesus, or receive him, so you shall be 
richly ado'-n''d. and become glorious and amiable in the sight of God and all good men. 

1 Inference. 2. See what ignorance is in the merchants of this world ; they see a worth 
and value in eartUy pearls, but see no worth in this heavenly pearl ; they know not the ■ 
preciousness of Jesus Chiist ; they cry, " He hath no form nor comeliness, and when we 
shall see him there is no beauty that we should desii-e him," Isa. liii. 2. 

2 Inference. 3. What fools are sinners, who v\'Ul venture any danger, and go through 
all difficulties to get earthly treasure ; earthly pearls they will go to sea for them, and be 
tossed upon the swelling waves, the proud waves, and run a thousand hazards, to obtain 
gold, silver, precious stones, and rich pearls, yea, and part with all they have for an earth- 
ly pearl of great price ; and yet they will venture upon no danger, run no difliculties to 
get this spiritual pearl, though it be of infinite worth, and will make them traly happy, m 
body end sotil both, yea, happy here whOst they live, and happy when they die, and hap- 
py to eternity. 

3 Inference. 4. Furthermore, what folly and madness is in those sinners, who when 
they hear that there is such a pearl to be had, and also ai'e told how it may be bought, 
and they have it for their own, yet slight it, and value it not worth partmg with their own 
righteousness for it, or to account all they have as dung in comparison of it. Poor wretch- 
es, they esteem filthy rags above this pearl ; nay, and others value their earthly riches, 
and great possessions, like the young man, in the gospel, before Jesus Christ this precious 
pearl ; and others prize their lusts and abominable sins above this pearl ; will not part 
with one fdthy lust, Lf in so doing they were assured to have Jesus Christ. 

Exhort. 5. Sinners, let me exhort you to search for the pearl of gi-eat price, " Seek 

after it as silver, and search for it as for hid treasures," Prov. ii. 4, for then you have a 
promise of finding it. Piead the next verse, " Then thou shalt understand the fear of the 
Lord, and find the biowledge of God," v. 5. The true knowledge of God lies in our knowing 
of Jesus Chi-ist ; for all knowledge of God as a Creator or a Benefactor, will profit no man 
to salvation, unless they know him and Jesus Christ, and know the worth of Christ, the 
excellencies of Christ, in his person, in his ofiices, and in his work, which they must do, 
or else they cannot be saved. " For this is life eternal, that they may laiow thee the true 
God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent," John xvii. 3. 

Inform. 6. This may inform us, that it is no small blessing to have the gospel, and 

to be under a gracious ministration thereof, since there lies hid in it such a rich and pre- 


cious pearl. Sirs, what come ye hither for this ilty ? arc you not some of those merchants 
that seek goodly pearls ? and is it not the pearl of great price you desire, and long after, 
and arc willing to have upon any terms whatsoever ? Well, if it be thus, you w ill prize 
the word of God, the gospel of Christ, and the r.;inistry thereof, for here, here he is to ho 
found, as you may fiuther hear hereafter. Some, alas ! seek where Christ is not, they 
seek the living amongst the dead ; they seek Christ in the broad way, others think to lind 
him on their beds, by their cold and formal prayers. C) Icnow the vein where this 
gold is dug, the place where this pearl lies hid, and if you find it not presently, yet bo not 
cUscouraged, if ye follow on to know the Lord, then shall ye know him; remember Christ's 
gracious promise, seek and you shall find ; say within yourselves, we must have this Christ, 
this pearl, or we shall be undone for ever. " If you believe not that I am he, you shall 
die in your sins," John viii. 24. 
And now, my brethren, 

7. You that have found this pearl, rejoice ; blessed are ye for ever, what hath God 
done for you ! how rich are you ! you have Christ, and cannot lose him, " He that find- 
eth me findeth life," Prov. viii. 35. You have life because you have Christ. 

8. But talve heed that none of you are deceived, and place your hope on a Caution, 
false Christ ; you beard some know not a true pearl from a bastard pearl, and so by ignor- 
ance are undone. O how do many trust in a false Christ, have their faith fixed on a mere 
creature, their Christ they say is not God most high, but the first creature that God made, 
and only a God by office. For the Lord's sake, take heed, for there are many false Christs, 
in our days ; and false prophets are also risen up, and have decei^-ed many, yea, a multi- 
tude of poor miserable creatiu-es. Some cry up a Christ within, and deny that Christ 
who is in heaven, i.e., the man Christ Jesus, (as you have newly heard) ; therefore beware 
of the error of the wicked, do not let their seeming holiness and outward conversations 
deceive you. Satan can transform himself into an angel of light, and cause his ministers 
to seem ministers of righteousness. Therefore know, we are fallen into perilous times, no 
days have been more evil than these are, therefore watch, and sleep not as others do, lest 
being led away with the error of the wicked, you fall from your own stedfastness. 

But to proceed, 

Secondly, I shall now endeavour to show you wherein the excellencies, ■\viierem the 
worth, and preciousness of the Lord Jesus Christ doth consist. of ci'S's^" 

I'ii'st, the great worth, excellency, preciousness, and infinite transcendency person dotii 
of Jesus Christ, consistetli in the excellencies of his glorious person. My 
brethren, I told ye that unless a man know a pearl. I mean knoweth what it The chief ox- 
is, he knoweth not the great worth of it. So, and in like manner, unless a "iJ^rt"^ °^ 
person knows the Lord Jesus Christ, he knows not the worth, the value, the consLsteth m 
excellencies, and the preciousness of Jesus Clirist. We must know who, or of Ms person 
what the person of Christ is, if we would his personal excellencies. " What 
think ye of Christ ?" Jlatt. xxii. 42. And again our Lord said unto his disciples, " Whom da 
men say that I the Son of man am," ILitt. xvi. 13. Certainly this is a most weighty and 
great point, that our Lord should take such great care to instruct his disciples into this 
matter, that they might know how or whom he was. 

Secondly, The worth and excellencies of the pearl of great price, i. e., the Lord Jesus 
Christ, consistetli in his .personal excellencies. 

Thirdly, Christ's worth and excellencies consist in his offices and work as Mediator. 

I. To begin with the first of these, it is acknowledged by all that jirofess the true 
Christian religion, that Jesus Christ is the only foundation of our faith, of our hope, and 
salvation. "Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus 
Christ," 1 Cor. hi. 11. 

And it is as necessary to know who, or what Christ is, or what his person ^. .^ . 
consisteth of, that is to say, who is the true pearl, the true Christ, or he that know whom 
is the true Saviour : for if any man is at a loss, or doubtful in his mind in this ^''"'"'' '*• 
case, or that he cannot arrive to a certain knowledge who, or what the person of Christ 
is, or doth consist of, or mistakes about it, how can he be said to know the pearl of groat 
price, or the worth and transcendency of it ? 

]\Ioroover, there is an absolute necessity of our knowledge of Christ, and that \vc should 
also acknowledge, own, and believe in that individual Person, as he made known himself 
to himself to his disciples, does appear by those two questions i)Ut forth by himself, the 
one to the Jews, the other unto his own disciples, as I just now huited. 
Inference. What think you of Christ, whose Sou is he ? 

K 2 


AnJ unfo his disciples, "\Miom do men say I the Son of man am ?" Peter replied, (iii- 
limating some said one thing, and others another. But lie, whom do you say I am ? Peter 
then in the njune of the rest said,) " thou art Christ." That is, that very jierson whom he 
saw with his natural eyes, and who spake unto him, even he was the Christ of God, and 
Pearl of great price. 

Inference. Christ (my brethren) signifies anomted, and so may refer to his human na- 

ture, which the second Person of the Trinity took into union with himself, not that he took 
any man's person into that union with his own divine person. No, the human uatm'e con- 
sisteth in the person of the Son of God, not of itself, but by virtue of the hypostatical 
union, it consisteth in this person. 

Mind well, and observe Peter's further answer, i. e., the Son of the living God, that 
refers to his Godliead. Moreover, consider what oiu- Lord said, and pronounced upon 
Peter's answer, i. e., " Flesh and blood liath not revealed this unto tliee, but my Fatlier 
which is in heaven. And I say unto thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build 
my Churcli," &c. That is, upon myself, or upon tliis very faith of thine, or belief of my 
ihe Church person, thus owned, and confessed by thee, viz., I being God and man in one 
Christ "as"" person, God of the essence of my Father, and truly man, of the seed of David, 
Goa-man. or of the substance of the blessed virgin. Now upon CIn-ist, God and Man in 
one person, as thus owned, believed in, and confessed by St. Peter, is the Gospel Church 

Argu. 1. Arg. 1. And from hence I therefore thus argue, if the gospel church, 

and every believer, is buQt upon this Christ, this Eock, or Christ thus acknowledged, 
owned, and believed in ; then it is of absolute necessity that we luiow his person, i. e., 
who, or whom the true Christ is ; and thus believe concerning him. But the^ospel 
church, and every believer, is thus built, &c., and therefure there is an absolute necessity 
to know who or whom Christ is, and thus to believe concerning him. 

5. If men do not believe, or know, that this individual person is the true Christ, the 
true Messiali and only SaNaour, tliey must die in their sins ; then it is of absolute necessity 
thus to beUeve, own, and acknowledge him. But it evidently appeareth, that all such that 
do not thus believe, own, and acknowledge him, shall die in their sins. Therefore all must 
thus believe, &c. Pray observe what he saith unto the Jews : " For if ye believe not that 
I am he, ye shall die in your sins," Jolm viii. 24. Our Lord doth not here so much refer 
to faith, by which we beheve or apprehend him, but the person who is apprehended : as if 
he should have said ; If you do not believe that I am he, i. e., this my individual Person, 
God and man, or the " Immanuel, God with us," Matt. i. 23, or God in our nature ; God 
manifested in the flesh," 1 Tim. iii. 16, (i. e.) in that particular body of flesh, the divine 
and human nature making but one person, ye " shaU die in your sins." 
Such that ^- I' ^5 0^ absolute necessity thus to believe concerning Christ ; for if the 

deny Christ Lord Clirist, who died for our sms, be truly God of the essence of the Father, 
and man in «ind verily and truly man of the same substance of the blessed virgin ; then 

den '"the" ^'■"^'^ '^^° '^^"y ^'™ ^° '° ^'^' '^° " ^^^^ ^^^^ 'Lord that bought them, and so 
Christ of bring upon themselves swift destruction." But the former cannot be denied ; 
*^°'^' therefore all such who do deny the Lord, (i. e.,) that individual person to be 

God j\Ian, deny the Lord that bought them, &c. 

Furthermore, my brethren, if the denial of the Person of Christ, or who or whom he is, 
" be a damnable heresy ;" See 2 Pet. ii. 1, then it is of absolute necessity thus to believe con- 
cerning liim ; but the denial of the Person of Christ, or who or whom he is, is a damnable heresy. 
They no doubt concluded, they were bought by that Christ they preached, but denied his 
Christ in Person, who or whom he was. All men were in some sense bought by Jesus 

fome sense Christ, viz., tliey have the continuance of then- lives by his death, or a re- 
mem " prieve for a time thereby from the execution of that sentence they are under. 

7. If all our hope of eternal life, or of being saved from hell depends upon our stedfast 
behef, that the Son of God, or the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, took our natm-e into 
union Vi'ith himself, so as to be God and man in one Person : then it is of absolute necessity 
thus to believe concerning him. But this is all our hope of eternal life, and of being saved 
from hell ; for if he be not man of that very nature that siinied, (though he was without 
sin) what gromid have we to believe we can be saved by him ? God required man to keep 
the law of his creation, or the first covenant, and man, or is Siu-ety (one in the same na- 
tiu-e) must do ir, if we are ever justified. For the law being broken by us, it was " weak 
through the flesh, and what it could not do, God sending his own Son in the likeness of 

SKrsr. yj.xi.] the PAH.UiLE of the peael of great price. 181 

sinful flesh. — And for sin condemnefl sin in the flosli, that tlie righteousness of the law 
might he fulflllcil in us,'* &c., Kom. viii. 3, 4. Moreover, we, or our Surety in our nature 
must satisfj' for our hreach of tlie said law ; therefore, as he must be man to Iceep the law, 
and die iu our stead, so he must be God to satisfy Divine Justice, which none, but one that 
could give an intinite satisfaction, could do ; for the satisfaction and atonement made by 
Jesus Christ, rises from the dignity and worth of his Person, he being God as well as man. 

I shall now endeavour to prove that Jesus Christ, or -Jesus of Nazareth, ^1,^;,^ is 
was, and is God of the same essence with the Father, or God by nature, and JJJ''(J"q'^ 
did in his Divine Person exist from everlasting. 

1. By plain texts of Scripture. 

2. By arguments taken therefrom. 

1. The first Scripture shall be that in .John eh. i. ver. 1. Dr. jims. 

" In the beginning was tlie Word." That is, (as one well observes) the Goodwin, 
first step, and that " Word was with God ;" that is a second. " And the Word was in 
the beginning with God," that is a third ; "And the Word was God,"' that is a fourth. 
He might have shut them all up in this sentence, " The word was God, with God in the 
beginning." But he puts it into several positive assertions ; yea, and begins with the 
lowest, namely his having existed, " the Word was," and that in the beginning; and then 
that be tells us what he is, i. e. a person distinct from God, (that is, from the Fatiier) "he 
was with God," and yet was God,, that is, of the same essence. 

1. A little briefly of his existence, when, and how long. And then, 

2. Of his Person and personal existence, and personal worth and excellen- 
cies. Concerning 

1. He is a Person who did actually exist before he came into the world, existencu of 
and tabernacled in flesh, or assumed our nature: and that he existed all cifrist***^ °'^ 
along t!;e whole time of this world, both in tlie beginning of it, and before 
the world was, even from eternity. " It is strange (saith this worthy author) that the So- ; 
ciniaus should so impudently (in the light of the gospel and scripture) say that Christ be- 
gan then to exist actually, when he was first conceived by the Holy Ghost in the womb of 
the virgin, and that before he had only existed but in promise, as the day of judo-meut doth 
now. And also such who hold Christ to be but a manifestation of God in man's flesh. God 
indeed, say they, was afore, but Christ being but the manifestation of the Godhead in man's 
nature, existed not until Christ the manifestation of him." Whereby they not only deny 
him to be a person who did manifest God ; but also necessarily declare the Christ they 
own, had no existence until that manifestation of God in man's nature. Therefore he fur- 
ther adds, " For the existence of that which is only and barely a manifestation, lies only 
being a manifestation of something that existed afore, but itself not till then. And this 
is even as if a man should say and affirm that what other men call the sun, is all one with 
what we call the day ; and nothing else, which you know, bcgms in the moruin", and 
ceaseth at night. Aud is but the shine and manifestation of the sun when it risetti, and 
appears above oiur hemisphere, or this part of the world ; but look as the sun is a body of 
light that existetli afore it is day with us, and the appearance of it is that which maketh 
day, so Christ the Sun of righteousness is not the bare manifestation of God, but a per- 
son that existed with God, yea, and was God ; afore that manifestation of God made by 
him in this world. And he is not only the bringing in, or manifestation of life and immor- 
tahty which was in God ; but he himself was that eternal life which was with the Fatlier 
as distinct from him, and was manifested to us, 1 John i. 2. So that life and innnortality 
is made manifest by his appearance, as of a person that brings it, and manifests it with the 
manifestation of himself, 2 Tim. i. 1 3, and who is said to manifest him'self p,. ^.^ , 
unto us as well as the Father," Job xiv. 21. Thus Peverend Dr. Goodvrin. wm on tiij 

2. ^\'e find in another Scripture, that he existed (or was a distinct person of uod,''^'' 
from the Father) before he came into the world. " AA'lierefure, when he P- *2. 
came into the world, he saith, a body hast thou prepared me," Ileh. x. 5. — And again 
he saith, " Lo I come to do thy will, God," ver. 7. Here is a person distinct from God 
the Father, a [me] and an [I], and distinct also from his human nature he was to assume 
which he calls a body prepared for him. A person he is that speaks to God, as one know- 
ing and understanding what be was about to do. 

3. We find him to exist before John Baptist ; though John was conceived and born some 
months afore him, John bare witness of him, " and cried, saying, This was he of ^\hoin I 
spake, he that cometh after me is preferred before me, for he was before me, Juhu i. 15, 
As God he was before John, and as man he came after John. 


4: He existed before the prophets. Job saitb, "be kuew that his Recleemer liveJ," 
Jobxix. 25; not that he should live, but that he did then live or exist -when be spake 
those words ; he saith not he shall live, he speaks of tlie Redeeuier's life without any dis- 
tinction of time, past or to come ; he liveth, he being God is for ever, or lived from eter- 
nity ; he is the " Prince of life," Acts ii. ; and therefore existed then, and from ever- 
lasting. Isaiah saw him ; " Woe is me, I am undone, for mine eyes have seen the King, 
the Lord of Hosts," Isa. vi. 5. That this was Christ, is evident, saith the Holy Ghost, 
speaking of Christ ; " These tliiags said Isaias when he saw his glory, aad spake of him.," 
John xii. 41. 

5. He existed in the times of Moses : " Neither tempt Christ as some of them did," 1 
Cor. X. 10. 

6. He existed before Abraham, as he himself testified ; " Before Abraham was I am," 
John viu. 58. Much the same with what God spake to Moses ; " I am that I am, before 
the day was, I am ;" so Isa. xliii. 13 ; I am, signifying the eternity, and uninterrupted 
being of Christ's divine Person and existence. 

7. He was before Noah. For this is he who preached by Noah to the old world, or to 
those who were disobedient then, whose spirits are now in prison. 

8. He existed before the world was made. " Thou Lord hast laid the foundation of the 
earth (speaking of Christ) and the heavens are the works of thy hands," Heb. i. 10; how 
could he make all things at the beginning, if he himself was not before all things, did not 
exist. " The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before his works of old : I 
was set up from everlasting, or ever the earth was ; when there was no depths, I was 
brought forth, when there was no fountains abounding with water, before the mountains 
were settled, before the hills, was I brought forth," Prov. viii. 22, 23, 24, 25, 30. Then 
was I by him as one brought up with him, and I was daily his delight," &c. See Mich. 
V. 2. " But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of 
Judah, yet out of thee sliall he come forth unto me, that is to bo Kuler in Israel. Whose 
goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." 

Furthermore, how fully doth the prophet Isaiah show, that there was a blessed council 
held, and a compact or covenant between the Father and the Son, about the redemption of 
God's elect. And Paul shows that this council was held before the world began, 2 Tim. 
i. 9, and that we had in Christ a promise of eternal life before the world was made, Tit. i. 
1, 2. Indeed, can any person think that the whole contrivance or platform of oiu: salva- 
tion was not laid in eternity between the Father and the Son, &c. 

But this could not be if Christ, or the second Person of the Trinity did not exist from ever- 
lasting. If there was a promise made to him, and to us in him before the world began, then 
it follows undeniably, that he did exist before the world begun, but such a promise was 
then made. Erffo. 

Another text that proves Christ is God by nature, is that of Paul, Piom. ix. 5. " Whose 
are the Father's, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all God 
blessed for ever. Amen." Compared with Phil. ii. 6. " Who being in the form of God 
thought it not robbery to be equal with God," &c. So Col. i. 17. " And he is before all 
tbmgs, and by him all things consist, and he is the Head of the body, the church. God 
manifested in the flesh," 1 Tim. iii. 16. " He is the brightness of the Father's glory, and 
the express image of his Person," Heb. i. 2, 3. 

Arguments Secondly, Take a few arguments to prove that Christ is the Most High God, 

uodheaa 'of '^'^^'^^ shows the infinite worth, dignity, and excellency of the pearl of great 
Christ. price. 

1. Argu. He that hath all the incommunicable names of God most high given to hmi, 
is God most high, or the same essence with the Father. But Jesus Christ hath all the in- 
communicable names of God most high given to him, therefore be is God most high, or of 
the same essence with the Father. 

1. He is called Most Mighty. " Gu-d on thy sword, Most Mighty," Psal. xlv. 3. 

2. He is called the Pirst and the Last. 

3. He is called the only wise God. " To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and 
majesty, domuiiou and power, both now and for ever. Amen," Jude 25. 

The title Saviour in the Now Testament, is pecidiarly given to our Lord Jesus Christ, 
not excluding God the Father, nor the Holy Ghost. 

4. He is called the JMighty God, Isa. ix. 6. 

5. He is called the Holy One. " Thou wilt not leave my sOul in kcU, nor suffer thy 
Holy Que to see coixuption," Psal. xvi, 10. 


G. He is called the Saviour, nay, our only Saviour. 

7. He is called Jehovah. " Jehovah our righteousness." 

8. He is caUod the Everlasting Father, Isa. ix. 6. 

9. He is called I Am, Johu viii. Stj. " Before Abraham was I Ara," that is, what I 
am, I will be ; and was from everlasting, or a self existence as to his Deity. 

10. He is called " God over all blessed for evermore," Ilom. ix. a. 

11. He is called the true God. " And ye are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus 
Christ, this is the true God, and eternal life," 1 John v. 20. 

Now what mere creature or created being, did God ever give such titles unto, or call by 
such names, which are peculiar to himself alone ? 

II. Argu. He that liath all the incommunicable attributes of God given, au the in- 
or ascribed unto him, together with God's peculiar works and operations, is the tie attributes 
Most High God; but all the incommunicable attributes of God are given, or ofGoaarem 
ascribed unto Christ, together with God's peculiar works and operations, there- "''^'""' '""'' 
fore Christ is the Most High God. 

1. Argu. Jesus Christ is eternal ; he that was before all things were, is eternal. Eut 
Christ was before all tilings were; therefore Christ is eternal, and therefore the Most 
High God. I'rov. viii. 20, Col. xvii., John i. 1, 2, Heb. i. 3. 

2. Argu. He that made all things, and laid the foundation of the earth,' is the Most 
High God ; but Jesus Christ tuade all things, and laid the foundation of the earth. Ergo, 
Jesus Christ is the Most High God. John i. 1 — 3, Heb. i. 8, 10, I!ev. iv. 11. 

3. Argu. He that upholds all things by the word of his power, " and by whom all things 
consist," Col. i. 17, Heb. i. 3. He is the Most High God, but Jesus Christ upholds all 
things by the word of his power, and by him all things consist, therefore he is the Most 
High God. 

4. Argu. Omnisciency is ascribed to Jesus Chi-ist. He that knows all tilings, and 
searcheth the heart and the reins, is the Most High God ; but Jesus Christ knows all things, 
and searcheth the heart and the reins ; therefore Le is the Most High God. " Jesus 
knowing their thoughts said," &c. Matt. ix. 4. " And Jesus knowing all things that should 
come upon him, went forth," John xviii. 4. "And Peter said, Lord, thou kuowcst all 
things, thou knowest that I love thee ; and all the churches shall know t].J. I am ho that 
searcheth the heart and reins, and wQl give to every one according to his works," Jolm xxi. 
17, iiev. ii. 23. He knows not only our external acts, and deeds, but our thoughts, inten- 
tions, puri}oses, designs, ends, and aims, and inclinations of all our hearts. 

5. Argu. He that is omnipotent, is the Most High God. But Jesus Christ is omnipo- 
tent or almighty in power, and therefore he is the ]\Iost High God. Christ is not only called 
Almighty, but the Almighty. "lam Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, 
the first and the last, the Almighty," liev. i. 8. 

6. Argu. He that is omniscient, is the Most High God ; but Jesus Christ is omnipre- 
sent. Ergo, therefore the Jlost High God. " Lo I am with you always to the end of the 
world," Matt, xxviii. 20. " And where two or three are met together in my name, there 
am I in the midst of ihem." 

Jesus Christ is said to be equal with God, as well as co-etemal and co-essential. 

Arg. 7. He that is co-eternal, co-essential, and co-equal with the I'ather, 
is the Most High God; but Jesus Christ is co-eternal, co-essential, and co- Ciirkt i.s on- 
equal with the I'ather, therefore he is the Most High God. " ^\'ho being in co'c'iuaiwiiit 
the form of God, he thought it nut robbery to be equal with God," Phil. ii. 5, G. ""> Faihtr. 
He did not judge it to be any wrong or usurpation to be acknowledged to be 
equal with God the Father, being a subsisteiit in tiie same nature and pssencc with liim. 
It is not said, he thought not to do tliis robbery as to make himself equal with God, as the 
Socinians would read it, no, but he thought it not robbery to be equal with God ; he had 
not this e(juality by usurpation, rior by gift, but he was so essentially, and eternally. 
what a pearl of infinite price is this pearl ! 

The fulness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus Christ bodily. From whence I argue. 

Arg. 8. He in whom the whole Godhead, or the Godhead bodily doth abide or dwell, 
is the Most High God, but the whole Godhead, or the Godhead bodily, abides or dwells in 
Jeais Christ, therefore Jesus Christ is the Most High God. " For m him dwelleth tin- ful- 
ness of the Godhead bodily," Col. ii. tl. Christ was not only a partaker of the divine na- 
ture, as the saints are said to do ; no, but the fulness of the Godhead, or whole Godhead, 
or Deity is in him, or the whole essence ol God. " There are three that bear witness in 
heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one," Jolm v. 7. This 


text hath so baffled many blasplieinous heretics, that some of them would not have it to be 
canonical, alleging it is not in some Greek copies. Yet as a late author notes, St. Cyprian 
when he argaed for the unity of the Godhead in the three Persons, cites this test. And 
Tertullian (saith he) assertmg this to be the Christian doctrine, i. e., that the Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost, were each of them God, and yet the Godliead not divided, proved it from 
this text, Hi tres ununi junt; and then he remarks from the gender, that they were not 
unus but wmm, i. e., not one in person, but one in essence. 

Infinite wisdom and Icnowledge is attributed or inscribed to Jesus Christ, he is wisdom 
itself, yea, the only wise God, " In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom," &c. 
„. . , Argu. 'J. He that is all-wise, or infinite in wisdom, or in wliom all wisdom 

oaiy wise is hid, is the Most High God, but Christ Jesus is all-wise, or infinite in wisdom, 
*^'"*- Ergo. Jesus Christ is the Host High God. 

The like I might speak of his holiness, he being called the Holy One, and Isaiah heard 
the anfels cry to him, " Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts," Isa. vi. 15. 

Ar"-u. 10. He that is the Holy One of God, the Holy One of Israel, or infinitely holy, 
is God most high ; but Christ is the Holy One of God, the Holy One of Israel, infinitely 
holy. Ercjo, Christ is God most high; 

III. Argu. He to whom spiritual or divine worship, honour and adoration 
Divine wor- joth belong, even the same divine worship, honour, and adoration that is due 
given^to" ° to God the Father, is the IMost High God ; but .sphitual worship, lionoiu-, and 
Jesus Christ, adoration, even the same divine worship, lionour, and adoration that belongs 
imto God the Father, belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ, Ergo, he is the Most High God. 
It is the will of the Father " Tliat all men should honour the Son as they honour the Fa- 
ther, he that hopoureth not the Son, Iionoureth not the Fatlier," &c., John v. 23. 

God the Father doth not command this honour to be given to Christ absolutely as God, 
but distinctly as the Son in our nature, or as Mediator, i. e., this worship and honour is to 
bn given to Jesus of Nazareth. It is also to show that no less honour is due to the Second 
Person of the Trinity, because he took our nature into union with his Divine Person ; and 
so as Mediator, became God's servant. " And when he brouglit the first begotten into 
the world, he said, let all the angels of God worship him," Heb. i. tJ. Adore him, bow 
down before him. " Worship him, all ye gods," Psal. xcvii. 7. And as all tlie angels of 
heaven and potentates of the earth, as kings, who are called gods, are to worship him ; so 
the like command is given to the church. " He is thy Lord, and worship thou him," Psal. 
xlv. 11, speaking of Jesus Christ; And thus we find all do that are in heaven and earth. 

" The four beasts, and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb. And tliey 
sunT a new song, saying, worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, 
and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And;every creature which 
is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such that are in the sea, and all 
that are in them, I heard saying. Blessing, honour, glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth 
upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts and the four 
and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever," Eev. v. 8 — 
13. what wretch upon the earth dares to deny Jesus Christ to be God Most High, or 
assert he is but a mere creature ? AVill God give his honour to another, to a mere creature, 
or to one who is not of the same essence with himself ? 

This worship is given to Christ as Mediator, the formal reason of which worship is his 
divine natm-e, and his having redeemed us is one special motive of it. " Thou wast slain 
and hast redeemed us," Acts. xx. 28. This is the gi-eat motive of this'amazmg adoration. 
And as adoration belongs to Jesus Christ, so also doth invocation, which is another branch 
of divine honom'. 

Argu. 12. He to whom we ought to pray or make our supplication, is the JMost High 
God ; but we ought to pray, and make our supplication to Jesus Christ, Ergo, he is the 
Most High God. All believers come to the Father by him, they address themselves to 
their blessed Advocate and Intercessor ; the first martyr committed his soul to Jesus Cin-ist, 
" He called upon God, saying. Lord Jesus, receive my Spirit ;" agam he said, " Lord, lay 
not this sin to their charge," Acts vii. 59, 60. Thus also the samts and gospel church 
were distinguished from all others. " With all that call on tlie name of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, both their Lord and ours," 1 Cor. i. 2. .„...:rt 

Jesus Christ ^'^8'- 13. He that can hear distinctly, and answer a thousand thousand 
hears the persons prayers, all put up the same moment of time, is no mere creatm-e, but 
SsMd snt the most High God ; but Jesus Christ can do this. Ergo, he is the ilost High 
onetime. (jQfi jf tjiig (jg denied, i. c., tl)at Ciirist can distinctly hear, and answer, so 


many jir.ayei's, put up at one and tlie saino moment of time, what land of an Advocate do 
they make liini to be ? or do they aildress themselves to liiin as tlieir Advocate at all ? 

Arg. 11. He that hatli power to forgive all iniquity, or can acquit sinners from vin- 
dictive justice, is tlie Most High God ; but Jesus Clirist thus forgivetli sins, Ergo, he is 
the Jlost High God. The Jews no doubt were right in tliat they said, who can forgive 
sins but God? That is, that hath power to forgive the offence, as it is against God and 
his infinite justice. " But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to 
forgive sins — take up thy bed and walk," !Matt. ix. 6. 

The Son of man, that is Christ as Jlediator, he is God as well as Man, yea, the same 
Most High God, he hath power to forgive sins. 

Arg. 15. He that could raise tlie dead by his own power, and did raise up the tem- 
ple of his own body when it was in the grave, and shall also raise up all the dead at the 
last day, is the Most High God ; but all this Christ hath done, or will do, Ergo, Clirist is 
the Most God. " All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and come forth," John 
V. 28, 29. He it is also that raiseth them, quickens them that are spiritually dead, " You 
hath he quickened," &c. Eph. ii. 1, 2. 

Now from the whole I argue thus, if .Jesus Christ be the Jlost High God, then he is a 
pearl of infinite worth ; nothing sets forth the excellencies and preciousness of Christ, more 
than the dignity, glory, and excellencies of his person. 

But to proceed, he is not God only of the essence of the Father, but truly man, of the 
su])stance and very nature of " Jlary, and so flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone," 
Eph. v. 30 ; indeed if he was not, our finding him could no more enrich us than it might 
the fallen angels, as I have hinted. 

1. He is called Iramanuel, God with us, or God in om* flesh, i. e., in that Christ is 
particular body of flesh he took in the womb of the Virgin. " Great is the wdfaTooo! 
mystery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh," 1 Tim. iii. 16. Not in every n»an's 
flesh, no but in that body of flesh only, he taking that very flesh or human nature into aa 
h}^)ostatical union with his own divine person, and so is both God and man in one person. 
God was manifested in the flesh, I say, in that individual body prepared for him, or in 
that very flesh that he assumed, or took into union with himself. 

" A woman shall compass a mau," Jer. xxx. 22, tliat is, by a wonderful conception, by 
the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, and hence it is said he was made of a woman, and 
therefore called the seed of the woman, and the seed of Abraham ; "in thy seed shall all 
the nations of the earth be blessed." 

2. He was conceived of the Virgin, and bom of her, and sucked her paps. 

3. It is said, " He took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed 
of Abraham. Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he took part of 
the same," Heb. ii. 14, 16. 

4. God sware to David, that " of the fruit of his loins he would raise up Christ to sit 
upon his throne," Acts ii. 30. Therefore such that deny he took the same flesh, or that 
his human natuie was indeed the seed of David, do render the Holy God to be forsworn ; 
which is tlie highest blasphemy to assert. 

5. He is the root and otispring of David, David's Lord, and David's Son ; inference, 
he is the root of David in respect to his Godhead, and the offspring of David in respect to 
his humanhood ; as he iS God he is David's Dord, and as mau he is David's Sou ; which 
shows he consists of two distinct natures in one person. 

G. It was only a kinsman under the law that had the right to redeem, &c., therefore 
Christ must be of our very nature, or else he is not one of our brethren, nor our kinsman. 

7. Nor could he be our Surety, if not of our very nature ; because it was man made 
of earth that sinned, and the nature, the justice, holiness, and truth of God, requires to 
atone for sin, and satisfy divine justice. And, indeed, if this was not absolutely necessary, 
there had been no need for him to assume our nature, or to be made of a woman, made 
under the law, even that law that we had broken. 

Therefore from hence it followeth, that it is a most dangerous thing, nay, 
a damnable heresy to deny Jesus Christ to be the Most High God, and man The. danger- 
of our very natu re. itics that foi- 

Consider (as I have showed) that the chief part of Christ's personal excel- Ife^yin""',!!, 
lency consists in the dignity of his person, or in consideration of who he is. deny of 

2. Moreover, that such that deny Christ is the Most High God, or the *^'"''"* 
Son of God by an eternal generation, co-essential and co-equal with the Fa- 


(feny the' *^^'"' render our blessed Lord to^be a deceiver, or an imposter, and so justify 
deity of the wicked Jews, in calling him a blasphemer, in sajang he being a man made 

de/'iiim^to bimself equal with God ; he telling them that he and his Father were one. 
beadeceiver. 3. If you kuow uot Ms worth, his great price, or the dignity of his per- 
son, i. e., that he is truly God, how dare you give that worship to him that is due to God only? 
5. To deny Jesus Christ to be the Most High God, renders all that worship him, or 
give divine adoration to him, to be guilty of gross idolatry, and it is accordiug to their 
hellish notion, as bad to adore and worship Jesus Christ, as it was in tlie Israehtes to wor- 
ship the golden calf, or in the heathen who worshipped them who by nature were no gods ; 
for this must be so if he be not God by nature, but a mere creature. 

5. It also reflects on the care, faithfulness, and holiness of God the Father towards 
poor mankind, and that he in his word leads us into the sui of idolatry (which his holy 
nature so much abhors) in requiring all to honour the Son as they honour the Father ; and 
in saying he was God, and in the begmning with God, and equal with God, nay, the true 
God, the only wise God, and God over all ; and telling us also that he made all things, 
and by him all things consist, and commanding all the holy angels to worship him, and that 
he searcheth the hearts, and tries the reins, and knows all men; what man can from hence 
but conclude he is bound to give divine worship and adoration imto Jesus Christ ? For 
would God the Father in his wisdom have left all these things on record in his word, had 
not Christ been God by nature, or of the same essence with himself? I desire this may 
be well considered. 

If Christ be '^- Moreover, if Jesus of Nazareth is not the Most High God, he cannot 
not God most be our Saviour, nor ought we to put our trust in him ; for none is our Saviour 
nol he" OUT Ijut God aloue. " I am God, and besides me there is no Saviour," Isa. xliii. 
Saviour. jj, also he saith, " Cuised is the man that trusteth in man, and maketh 

flesh his arm," Jer. xvu. 5. If, therefore, Christ be no more than a mere creature, or not 
God by nature, we are cursed of God if we trust m him, or beheve in him, and rely upon 
liim for righteousness and eternal life. 

7. Furthermore, then also Jesus Christ could not satisfy divine justice for our sins, 
which were imputed to him as he stood in our law-place; because aiiuite being, or a mere 
creature could not satisfy infinite justice, it being from the dignity of his holy person ( lie 
being God) that his obedience and death were satisfactory unto God ; and then also it will 
If Christ be foUow that we are still in our sins, and cannot be justified by his righteousness. 
?^n?t°''bea? 8. Besides it must also (if Christ be not the Slost High God) be a vain 
our prayers, thing to pray to, Or call upon the Lord Jesus Christ, because he neither knows 
our wants, nor can he hear our cries ; and yet we find that the saints did call upon him, 
and we also daily do it in all our prayers and approaches to the Father in his name, nor 
ought we any other way come unto God. " Ko man cometh to the Father but by me," 
John xiv. 6. 

9. Again, if Christ is not God most high, he cannot judge the world at the last day, 
because he knoweth not the secrets of all licarts ; " For none knoweth and searches the 
heart but God alone," Jer. xvii. 10. Besides, it is positively said, that " he shall not 
judge after the sight of the eyes, nor after the hearing of his ears," Isa. xi. 3. That is, he 
shall not need any to come into witness against any person, or give in evidences against a 
prisoner, after which all other judges try and condemn gudty criminals. 
They that l*-*. Such that deny the Lord Jesus Christ to be Most High God, and man 

deny Christ of the Seed of Abraham, deny the written "Word of God, and cast contempt 
over'aii°ca8t upon it, and charge the Holy Cihost with a lie, who testifieth in many places 
contempt on jj^j^f jjg jg regUy God and truly man in one person. 

God, for it II. To deny the Godhead of Christ, is to deny Iiim the glory of our sal- 
Mserts he is yj^tion. Shall a mere creature share or equally partake ■s^ ith God the I'ather, 
in the honour of such a glorious and so great a salvation as the salvation of 
the gospel is ? 

Caffins, ohj. Obj. Christ is blessed of God, and hath a God, therefore he is not the Most 
High God. 
Answ. If Christ was not man as well as God, this objection hath something in it ; 
now as he is Man, God-Man, or Mediator, ho is called God's Seivant, and was sent of 
God, blessed of God, anointed of God, and hath God to be his God. Sometimes the 
scripture speaks of him considered as God, or alluding only to his deity ; and sometimes 
it speaks of him as Man, or Jlediator, Luke i. 35, and Gal. iv. 4, and so in those places, 
God the Father is his God, I say, in respect of his human nature, and as Mediator be- 


tweea GoJ auJ man ; but in respect of his divine nature he is the same oae Gol, thjiyh 
a ilistinct pei-soa from the Father. 

Obj. If the Fatlier be the only true GoJ, tlien Clirist is not the true GjJ, but this lie 
himself saith. " That they may know thee the only true GoJ," John .xvii. 3. 
Answ. The term, only, or alone, the true GoJ, is not to be applied to thoe. How we are 
i.e., the Father, but to GoJ, anJ then the sense is this, to know thee to be ''t|,I|"'*",a to 
that GoJ, which is the only true GoJ ; and as our divines show, this appears bu tuc only 
from 1 John v. 20, where Christ is said to be the true God, wiiich could not "'"" 
be, if the Father was the only true God, considered distinct from the Sjn. 
[2.) Therefore the term only is not exclusive of the otlier two Persons in the blessed 
Trinity, but only of idol gods, which are false gods. 

Thus I have showed you, that the transcendent worth and excellencies of Christ the 
pearl of great price, consisteth in the excellency and dignity of his sacred Person : he 
being the Most High God co-essential with the Father, I should now proceed to speak to 
the second thing, viz., further to open more particularly his personal excellencies as God- 
Man, but that 1 will leave to the next time. 


I. I infer from hence, that such who deny Christ to be the Jlost High God, are grand 
heretics, and so in a fearful state and condition. 

II. And as bad heretics they are, and in the like gull of bitterness, who deny him to 
be man of the seed of David. Both these sorts of deceivers deny the Lord that bonght 
them. Beware therefore of their pernicious principles, and deceitful arguing, who tell 
you, because the whole lump of the first Adam was corrupted, if Christ took of the na- 
ture of the hrst Adam, he could not be without sin, and so needed to offer up a sacrifice 
for himself, as the priest under the law did. Thus they argue. 

1. Answ. Could not God by the overshadowing the blessed virgin in that hyposta- 
tical union, sanctify that part of her nature, which he so took into uuion with himself 

2. He did not take the person of any man unto union with his divine person, but only 
the nature of man ; for we see not how any one man begotten in the common manner of 
generation, could be freed from the imputation of Adam's sin and natural defilement there- 
of; but Christ in respect of his human nature, being no one person proceeding from the 
first Adam by the common way of natural generation, but being begotten in the womb of 
the virgin by the Holy Ghost, and the human nature, body and soul, subsisting only in 
ihe Person of the Son of God, hence he could not come under the first Adam's sin, as be- 
ing naturally guUty thereof, but was holy and pure from original detilement. 

3. And since the Holy Ghost bears witness that he was of David's seed according to 
the llesh, and yet born without sm, we ought steadfastly to believe this testimony, and 
make it an article of our faith, though our weak capacities cannot fully comprehend how 
this could be, and it argues great pride in any otherwise to thmk or athrm, because their 
narrow and dark reason caunot take it in, or their judgments conceive of it, or give a de- 
monstration therof: yet what reason can any give, that he that proceeded not by propa- 
gation or in a natural way by common generation, or as being no niihvidual person from 
Adam's loins (subsisting 01 himself before the hypostatical union) should be guilty of his 
sin : either as Adam was a federal head, or otherwise, 1 see not, 

4. Take heed who you hear, you know not how some very near you favour one 
Caffin's abominable heresies. 

5. Let believers comfort themselves with the thoughts of the pre-existence of their 
Head : " Ye know him that was from the beginning, which ye have heard," &c, 1 John i. 

5. trust in him, and cleave to him, as your joy, chiefost delight, and choicest trea- 
sure ; " All things bemg made by him and for him ; who was the same yesterday, is to- 
day, and will be for ever," Heb. xiii. 8. 

7. Adore him, say, " Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, riches, and 
wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing," Kev. v. 12. 

8. Also adnure bis love and great condescension in taking oui' nature into union with 
his divine person, and live to him all your days. 



Jfjain the Jcitydom of heaven is like a merchantman sceJcin^ ffoodli/ pearls, icho ivhen he 
had found one pearl of great price, &C.' — Matt. xiii. 45, 26. 

The doctrine, my brethren, tliat I am upon is this, viz., that Jesus Clu-ist, the pearl of 
great price, is most precious, excellent, or of infinite worth and value. 

I have gone tlirough the first thing, proposed under the second general head of dis- 
course, viz., to show j^ou wherein the infinite worth and excellencies of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, the pearl of great price, doth consist, viz., in respect unto his person; he being the 
Most High God, or the only begotten of the Father, very God, and yet truly man, 
in one glorious Person. 

Secondly, I shaU now proceed to show you, it doth consist also in other of his personal 
excellencies, as also in respect of that honour God hath conferred on him, and in what he 
hath made him to be unto his church. 

But first let me sum up that which I said the last day, in respect of his person, in one 
or two argnements. 

The former 1- Argu. That person who is truly and really God, God by nature, or 

demonstra- the Most High God, co-eternal, co-essential, and co-equal with the Father, is 
Chrfsrs a most excellent person, and infinitely or inconceivably glorious : but this I 

glory sum- j^^yg proved Jesus Christ is. Ergo. And therefore I said the excellencies 
of his Person is the chiefest part of his personal excellencies. 

Let this always be well considered, viz., that all the perfections of the adorable Deity, 
or Godhead of the second Person, are ascribed to Jesus Christ, or to Jesus of Nazareth, 
or to Christ, considered as Jlediator ; and that as he is not Jesus Christ without his hu- 
manity : for as the body is not the whole person of a complete man, without the soul, so 
the human nature of Christ is not tiie complete and individual person of Jesus of Naza- 
reth, or the Man Christ Jesus, without his Godhead or divine nature, so that aU the per- 
fections of the eternal God, I say, meet in, and belong to the Person of our Lord Jesus 

I do not mean that God only is in that Person, but that that vei-y Person is God : for that 
which constitutes a thing, or is an essential of it, or that of which that thing doth consist, 
if that essential part be wanting, that thing cannot be said to be there ; we do not say 
the body or external part of a man is the man without his soul, but we call it the body 
of a man : so Christ is no real person, no Christ without liis Deity, because the human 
nature which the Son of God took into union with his Divine Person, doth not subsist of 
or in itself, (though a human body and soul) but in the I)iviue Person of the Son of God. 
All the per- So that both natures constitute the Lord Jesus Christ our Piedeemer. 
Goti°the°Fa- "' ^^'S^- He that is eternal, or from everlasting, omnipotent, omniscient, 
ther meet in infinitely holy, infinitely wise, that is, infinitely just ami true, infinitely good and 
'''*'■ patient, or in whose person all other glorious perfections of the blessed Ciod 

shines forth, so that " He is tlie brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image 
of his Person," Heb. i. 2, 3, is a most excellent, and a most glorious Person ; but all 
these perfections I have proved are in Jesus Christ our Redeemer, therefore he is a 
most excellent and a most glorious Person. 

Indeed were not Jesus Christ infinitely good, and so the Most High God, we ought not 
to make him our chiefest good, nor place our chiefest happiness in him, nor make him to 
be the only object of our aftections, so as to love'him with all our hearts, with aU our souls, 
and with all our strength. For it would be horrid wickedness thus to do, in giving that 
glory of God unto another, which is peculiar to himself. Moreover, was not Jesus Christ 
infinitely patient, he could not bear all those horrid reproaches, contempt, and indignities, 
that are cast upon him in these (as well as in former) days ; how is he degi-aded in his 
Person ? Iji his love, mercy, and patience and goodness ? How is his name blasphemed, 
his authority, power, and dignity contemned, his ordinances slighted, and his members torn 
in pieces and trodden under foot ? what is the patience, long-suflering, and forbearance 
of the Lord Jesus Christ ! 

Heretics, such as are the Arians, Socinians, Eutichians, and Caflinites, blaspheme him, 
ungod Mm, and take the crown oil his head, rendering him no more than a mere creature. 
The Quakers utterly deny he hath any personal existence, or that he is an individual Per- 
son or God-Man, now in heaven above, but strive to make people believe be is nothing 


but a mere inward or divine quality of light or po\*er in all men. And profiuie and un- 
godly sinners swear and blaspheme his name, and swear by his blood and wounds every 
day, and how doth he bear and forbear with all these grand abuses and indignities ! 
"Was he no more than a man, and could be revenged upon these blasphemers and contemners 
of his person, his glory, and liis authority, would lie not soon do it ? nay, had long ago ut- 
terly consumed and destroyed them in his anger, certainly he is the Most High God, one 
endowed with infinite patience, evidently appears from hence. 

Secondly, to proceed, the Lord Jesus Christ hath other personal excellencies, considered 
God-man, now glorified in heaven. 

1. His person is the most glorious'and ineffable effect of divine wisdom. God's acts or works 
of creation in making this world, with men and angels, and in indowing manldnd with ex- 
cellent principles of a rational intelligent nature, and a conscience attesting his subjection 
and subordination, to God and also his works of divuie providence, are aD glorious effects of 
his great wisdom and power. But the divine excellencies of the person of Jesus Christ, as 
the foundation of the new creation, and as the mystery of godliness, were the chief and most 
ineffable effects of God's glorious wisdom, as reverend Owen showeth — not of See Dr. 
his divine person absolutely considered as a distinct person from the Father, ti,e'S.rb°n 
or as simply God ; for as so considered he is not the effect of divine wisdom of ciirist. 
and power, but the essential wisdom and power of God ; but we speak of him as incarnate, 
as he assumed our nature into personal union and subsistence with himself. 

His conception in the womb of the virgin, as to the integrity of human na-T ^'"^ '"'" 
ture (saitn be) was a mu-aeulous operation ot divme power, but the prevention ; ture of 
of that nature from any subsistence of its own, by its assumption into personal ; ^Jjed not' 
union with the Son of God, in the first instance of its conception, is that which J^ of itself, 
is above all miracles ; a mystery it is, and of those dimensions as no creature diviie na- 
can compreliend, &e., so far above the order of all creating or providential *'"'*• 
operations, that it wholly transcends the sphere of them that are most mira- 
culous. Herein God did glorify all the properties of the divine nature, acting in a way of 
infinite wisdom, grace, and condescension. The depths of the mystery hereof, are open 
only unto him whose understanding is infinite, and which no created understanding can 
comprehend. All things were produced and effected by an outward emanation of power 
from God in creation, " He said, let there be light, and there was light." But this assump- 
tion of our nature into hj'postatical imion with the Son of God, this constitution of one and 
the same individual person, in two natures so infinitely distinct as those of God and man ; 
whereby the eternal was made in time, the infinite became finite, the immortal mortal, yet 
continuing eternal, infinite, immortal, is that singular expression of divine wisdom, goodness, 
and power, wherein God will be admired and glorified iinto all eternity. Herein was that 
change introduced mto the whole first creation, whereby the blessed angels were exalted, 
and Satan and his works ruined, mankind recovered from all dismal apostacy, all things 
made new, all things in heaven and earth reconciled and gathered into one head, and a re- 
venue of eternal glorj' raised unto God, incomparably above what the first constitution of 
all things, in order of nature, could yield unto him. 

The mysteriousness of the assumption of the human nature, into union with the divine wis- 
dom purpose, and design of God therein, wonderfully tends to set forth the personal excellen- 
cies of Jesus Christ. ".The word was made flesh, and dwelt among us," John i. 14, but 
what word was this ? even that which was in the beginning, and which was God ; and yet 
a person distinct fi'om God, and from hence said to be with God, and he also ii ow the 
who made all things. " The word was made flesh," not by any change of his gJid'to'be 
own nature or essence (as some heretics assert) nor by any trausubstantiation niade flesh, 
of the divine nature into the human, nor by ceasmg to be what it was ; but by becoming 
what he was not, in taldng our nature to his o;\ti, to be his own, whereby he Dr. Owen. 
dwelt among us. 

Herein shines forth the personal excellencies of Jesus Christ, and this is the glorj^ of the 
Christian religiun, the basis and foundation that bears the whole superstructure, aud the 
root whereon it grows, as the Dr. well observed, natural religion in its first constitution, 
in the state of pure incorruptcd nature, was orderly, beautiful, and glorious ; man being made 
in the image of God, was fit and able to glorify him as God. But whereas what perfec- 
tion God had communicated unto our nature, he having not united it unto himself in a per- 
sonal union, the iitbric of it quickly fell to the ground, the want of this foundation made it 
obnoxious unto ruin ; God manifested herein that no gracious relation between him and our 
nature, could be so near aud intimate, uor stable and permanent, unless our nature was as- 


Eumed into personal union and subsistence with himself, on this consideration let us by- 
faith behold Clirist, and apprehend him to be, as indeed he is, the power of God, and the 
wisdom of God unto salvation ; and thus looking upon him let us admire liim, as the pearl 
of great price, who puts a glory upon the whole of our religion, and on all his whole church, 
and on all who are united to him, " in whom all things consist," Col. i. 17, and who is the 
" chiefest among ten thousand," Cant. v. 10. 

ciii-ist tiie Thirdly, the glory and personal excellencies of Christ appear further, in 

poeftoryof *''^^'' ^'® ^^ ^^^ great storehouse, or repository of all sacred truth, whether truth 
all divine be considered essentially, or dcclaratively, the first is God himself, the other 
''"' ■ is the councils of his will ; as Christ is the same God and essence with the Fa- 

Dr. Owen. i\iev, he is essentially the truth, and as God-man or Mediator, he declareth 
or maketh known all truth, or the whole council and will of God, " For no man hath seen 
God at any time, the only begotten, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared 
him," John i. 18. Christ therefore is the trutli (1.) Essential as God, and (2.) Substan- 
tially in opposition to tjrpes and shadows ; and (3.) he is the truth efiiciently, as all truth 
is by him fully and effectually declared ; and also (4.) subjectively, as all divine truth re- 
lating to the saving knowledge of God, is treasured up in him ; he may therefore well say, 
I am the truth. And therefore we, if we would know the truth, we must look for it as it 
is in Jesus. — For 

1. Christ is the light of truth, whatever light of grace, love, and truth shines into our 
hearts, it is as it proceeds from him ; it is made known and revealed by him, " in whom 
are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge," Col. ii. 3 ; that is, whatsoever is need- 
ful for us to know, concerning God, or our justification, vocation, sanctification, and eter- 
nal fife ; or of his will, councils, and what we are to believe and practice. 

2. In respect of efficacy or power Christ is the truth, it is from the person of Christ, that 
all divme and efficacious influences and operations of grace proceed : as light, heat, and fruit- 
fulnes'sj flow from the sun, therefore they who reject the person of Christ, or are not 
united to him ; or upon whom he hath not yet ever shone, or sent forth his special and 
most powerful influences, are dead, barren, dark, and undone creatures. 

Fourthly, the personal excellencies of Christ shine forth in respect had to his offices as 
king, priest, and prophet, and in his exercise of each of them. But pray note, that the 
exercise of all his offices do depend upon the excellency of his person, as being God, and 
not man only, for his being God gave efficacy to Ins blessed sacrifice, which he once offer- 
ed up for sin. 

The glory 1. As being God, he hath all power as a king, to subdue us to himself, and 

kiiSy or *° vanquish all our enemies, whether without or within, as sin, Satan, the 
fice? world, death, and the grave. 

2. And as being God, he only is able to execute his prophetical office. 

The .ciory (1.) For how else could he have took the charge of the church, and every 

ilrophetfcai believer fi-om the beginning of the world, and before his incarnation ? 
office. [2.) How else could he now teach, guide, and influence the whole univer- 

sal church, and every member thereof. 

(3.) How else could he have inspired the prophets, the apostles, and all his ministers 
from the beginning to the end of the world ? 

(4.) How else coidd he give us hearts to understand, as well as understanding to know 
and do his will ? 

(5.) How else could he be with his saints, to teach, guide, and lead them to the end of 
the world ? 

(6.) Else how could he make his own word efficacious and efl'ectual to the souls of sin- 
ners, or by his speaking make the dead hear, and open blind eyes ? 

(7.) How else could he teach the simple, the ignorant, nay fools, so that they shall not 
err, and make them wiser than the prudent and all tlie wise men of this world ? 

(8.) How else could he teach men, and seal up instruction to them in the night, when 
deep sleep has seized upon them ? who but God can do these things ? 

Put all now together, and then consider what a glorious person Jesus Christ is, as ho is 
a priest, a king, and a prophet. 

The piory 1. What a priest is he that is both the altar, the sacrifice, and the priest 

pricsUy'^ also that offers up that sacrifice ? 

office. 2. "\^'hat a priest is he that did sacrifice himsulf, or offers up hiiuself a 

sacrifice unto God ! 

3. What a priest is he, who by the worth of his sacrifice hath by one oflering for ever 


fully atoned, and satisfied infinite justice for all the sins of God's people, both past, present, 
and to come, and lias left no room for any other atoning and wrath-appeasing sacrifice, to 
be offered up to God for ever, and also himself sprinkles his own blood, and pleads its vir- 
tue now in heaven for us. 

Secondly, What a King is he, that is King of kings, yea the Prince of all the kings of the 
earth, and that gives kings theii- authority, their power, their wisdom (if they rule well) and 
tlicii- kingdoms also unto them, that can set up one, pull down another at his pleasure. 

2. What a King he is that is king of heaven and of earth, and of hell, that has power 
and authority over men, angels, and devils, that can subdue in one moment tyrant sin, ty- 
rant world, tyrant Satan, tyrant flesh, tyrant death, and tyrant grave ; that can by one word 
of his mouth cliangc the heart, enhghten the mind, bow the rebellious will, regulate disor- 
derly aflections, deliver from all dangers, scatter all fears, strengthen under all weaknesses, 
and give courage and undauntedness of spirit to the faint and weak-hearted ones. 

3. What a Prophet is he. (1). That knows all the whole wOl and councils of God 
(2). That is equal with God in knowledge. 

4. What a prophet is he that can give an hearing ear, a seeing eye, and an under- 
standing heart. 

5. What a Prophet is lie, that teacheth powerfully, efi'octually, and efficaciously, nay, 
infalhbly ; who in his council, teachings, and instruction cannot err. 

Fifthly, the glory, life, and power of the Christian religion, with aU the J^.XS' 
acts and duties which properly belong thereunto, with all the benefits and oifChn.stcon- 
privilegcs we receive by it, or by virtue of it, with the whole glory and ho- Ireat'honoSf 
nour that riseth thereby unto God, have all of them their formal nature and thatisdueto 
reason (as one well notes) from their respect and relation unto the person of 
Jesus Christ, nor is he a Christian who is otherwise minded. Dr. Owen 

The person of Christ is the object of divine honour and worship ; I bring p°rsou''pa"'c 
not this m now to prove he is God, as before I did) but to discover what ex- 112. "' 
cellencies belong and cleave to his person. True, the formal object and rea- 
son of divine adoration due to Christ, is his divine nature and its essential infinite excel- 
lencies. For the person of Christ having in it the fulness of the Godhead, there is not the 
less honour due unto him because he assumed our nature, and united it unto himself, than 
was due to him before, or is due unto the person of the Father, or the Holy Ghost. 
Wherefore the person of Christ is primarily the object of divine honour, upon tho account 
of his divine nature ; nor was there any divine adoration due to him, were he not truly 
God, or God over all blessed for evermore. 

Brethren, I am speaking of Christ in his whole entire person, i. e., the Son inference, 
of God incarnate, God manifest in the flesh, and I say that his infinite condescension in the 
assumption of our nature, did no ways divest him of his divine excellencies, though for a 
time they were vailed from the eyes of men, when " He made himself of no reputation, 
and took on him the form of a servant," Phil. ii. 6, 7. And let none think they please 
God the Father, who ascribe all honour to him, and debase the Son. For what saith our 
Lord ? " He that honours not the Son, honours not the Father." We say the same lio- 
uour is due to the Son as is due to the 1 ather ; nay, and " this is the will of the Father, 
that all should honour the Son even as they honour the Father," John v. 23 ; even the 
same adoration, the same divine worship, the same trust or faith we have in God, we must 
have in Christ, and the' same invocation, and the same love and obedience. " Ye believe 
in God, believe also in me," John xiv. 1, as God equal with my Father. To ascribe 
unto any creature anythiug that is proper and iieculiar unto God, or any divine excellency, 
is idolati-y ; therefore we do not honour God the Father with one kind of honour, and the 
Son, with another ; for that were not to honour the Son even as we honour the Father. 
And though this honour is to be given to Christ by the Father's command, considered as 
Mediator, yet originally, upon the account of his oneness in nature with the Father, it is 
our duty thus to adore, honour, love, and reverence him. 

If we are to pray unto Christ, if we are to believe in Christ, trust in him, as on our only 
Savioui', if we are to love with the same love wherewith we ought to love the Father, if 
we are to fall down before him, and worship even as we are to fall down before God the 
Father and worship him, then Jesus Chiist is a most excellent and glorious person ; nay, 
his personal excellencies are infinite and inconceivable. But all these things we are to do, 

^^°' o Christ's pcr- 

Sixthly, Such are the personal excellencies of our Lord Jesus Christ, that son ihc 
he in his person God-man, is that glorious sluice, conduit-pipe, or conveyance duu-pipe. of 
of all those blessings, and that communicable good unto us, wliich is in God ; *" biesiinss. 


not one dram of any good thing, any favours, grace, and comfort, either to body or 
soul, flows from God to us, but it all comes to us through Jesus Christ. So that as the 
person of Christ considered as God is the fountain of all good, and as he is Mediator, 
he is the great repository of all good ; even so also he is the sluice or outlet through 
whom all good is conveyed, or flows from God into our empty vessels, (like as Joseph 
had all the corn of Egypt in his own possession, so he gave it forth to all that came 
to him). My brethren, we have no life, no light, no grace, no pardon, no strength, no 
blessing ; but what we receive immediately from the hands of Jesus Christ ; it is all from 
God the Father through Christ by the Holy Ghost, even through Christ's merits and his 
gracious intercession ; and, as we receive all things from God through Christ, so all our 
returns of praises imto the Father must be in and through Christ ; so that we must always 
not only give glory imto God the Father and to Jesus Christ, &c., but also give " glory 
unto God, tlu'ough Christ for ever. Amen," Rom. xvi. 27. 

Seventhly, another personal excellency of Christ is his wonderful beauty 
one of and transcendent lovehness, by which means he is represented as the most 

sonaf V-Sei- a'^'i'^aljle and lovely object in heaven and earth, attracting and drawing forth 
lencies. our hearts' love and affections to him. 

bfe'of th"*" IJivme excellencies in God, are a proper adequate object of our love, but 
Marriage especially divinc goodness, that endearing attribute of the Holy God. " God 
oiTued. is love — how great is his goodness," Psal. iii. 19. Now that which caus- 

eth his goodness to be admired and prized so much the more by us, is because 
it comprehends the riches, mercy, gi'ace, and bounty, which answers all our wants and ne- 
cessities, and tends to make us happy, truly happy here, and eternally happy hereafter. 

But wherein doth this beauty, love, goodness, mercy and bounty appear, but in the per- 
son of Christ ? It is in Christ that we see God's glorious amiableness, love, goodness, and 
mercy, so as to desire him, and to set our hearts upon him, above all other things in heaven 
and earth. " In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only 
begotten Son into the world that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we 
loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins," 1 John 
iv. 0, 10. But though God is love, or of a nature infinitely good and gracious, and so the 
object of all divine love and delight, yet if there be no way for us to attain unto the Icnowledge 
of this good God, or as to participate of his goodness, how should we let forth our hearts 
towards him ? Now it is only in the person of Christ, God's infinite bounty and love to us is 
manifested, and by whom we come to taste how sweet and consolatory it is ; the love of 
God can no other way be Icuown to us but by his love in Christ; this is the cause, the foun- 
tain and spring of all our love imto him ; in Christ we know this God may be enjoyed, and 
that we come to be united to him ;' I say it is manifested in and by the person of Christ. 
How it ap- 1. Because in him both natiires are united, even he is God and man in 
^eTre""' One person. And so, 

unitedtoand 0. ^ ^qqj- jg hereby opened for our union with God ; it is hereby we see 
and'through ground to hope that we shall taste of the sweetness of his love, and enjoy God 

Jesus Christ, fg^. g^g^^ 

Furthermore, when the soul takes a view by faith of the goodness of God, 
as it is manifested in Christ (that is, the essential excellencies of his nature) as exerting 
themselves in him, the soul reacheth after him with its uttermost desures, longing for his 
embraces, and it is restless until it attaui to a perfect fruition of him. 

4. Moreover, in Christ the soul sees God's love is a conjugal or an espousal love, which 
is the sweetest of all love, it is not only the love of friendship, or of a master to a servant, 
or of a father to a son, but the love of a bridegroom to his bride, or beloved spouse. 

5. Nay, the person of Christ, as it is clothed with all the essential properties of divine 
nature, all the glory and beauty of heaven shines forth in him. And as we see him cloth- 
ed with our nature, he appears more clearly to our understanding as a fit and proper ob- 
ject of om- love and afi'ections; as being in our nature " he is bone of our bone, and flesh 
of om- flesh," for we caimot attain to such an idea of God, considered as in himseU', as we 
The Beauty can as he is manifested in the flesh, therefore God hath condescended to bring 
Chris1?°God- foi'^ ii Christ an express image of his own person. And as he is thus in re- 
man, spect of his divine nature, so as man now glorified in heaven, what beauty 
shines forth in him ! God designed to let out, or manifest his infinite and mcouceivable 
glory in the man Christ Jesus. A man, and yet God, a spotless man, a man without blemish, 
who never knew sin ; in whom all perfections of God and man meet ; that so he might be- 
come the proper object of our highest, best, and choicest affections, ily brethren, can heaven 

srnM. XXXII.] the p An able of the phakl of great peicf. 103 

and earth make or constitute a glorious and mrst excellent person, wliy then here he is ; 
Je?iis Christ is the .clorj- of heaver, and the heaiity of the earth ; the glory of the upper and 
of the nether world thine forth in the person of Jesus Christ. 

If created light he cicrious in the sun, if glory ho gieat in holy angels, much more God's 
essential glory ; purity, heauty, wisdom, holiness, power, justice, truth, mercy, and good- 
ness, are glorious. Ko heing is gloiy in the abstract, but God ; and this fundamental ex- 
cellency shines forth in the person of Christ. " We heheld his glory as the glory of the 
only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth," John i. 14. 

1. We have here an object heheld, [Christ] the Son of God ; not Christ only, but the 
glory of Christ. 

2. A specification of that glory, the glory of the only-begotten of the Father, not the 
glory of a mere man, not the glorj- of the created sun, not the glory of an angel, but the 
glory of one out-shining all things, and creatures, i. e., the glory of the only-begotten of 
the Father. 

^^'e beheld, others did not ; we by faith saw his glory, we with our external eyes heheld 
the person in whom this glory shone forth, though veiled to others. "We beheld his glory 
in his words, doctrine, miracles, and in his transfiguration, resurrection, and in his ascen- 
sion. My brethren, the excellencies of Christ's person, as the eflects of the divine counsel, 
wisdom, and goodness, beauty and glory, renders Christ's person altogether lovely. Cant. 
V. 10. Tlie whole hook of Solomon's Song is little else save a mystical declaration of the 
mutual love between Christ and believers, and a great part of it consists in such a de- 
scription of his Person and personal excellencies, as may render him most amiable and 
desirable to our souls. " He is fairer than the children of men," Psal. xlv. ii. But do not 
mistake, his heauty is a hidden beauty, a spiritual beauty, which is only discerned by the 
eye of our soids, such who can contemplate upon the uncreated glories of the divine n ture, 
cannot but admire him with the psalmist, and say, " Whom have I in heaven but thee," 
&c., Psal. Ixxiii. 2"). 

Eighthly, Furthermore, that fulness which is in the person of Christ sets 
forth wonderfully his personal excellencies ; " It pleased the Father that in xhe fulness 
him should all fulness dwell." j." ci.ristsefs 

Bnt lor the better opemng of tins, let us consider what Christ is full of. sonai excei- 

1. There is in the person of Christ a fulness of divinity. " In him dwel- ^™"'^^- 
leth the fulness of the Godhead bodily," Col. ii. 0. Not of gifts or operations "^"^'J'".* 9- '^^- 
of the Deity only, which flow from the Godhead (which saints and angels Christ. 
receive in measure) but the Godhead itself, wholly or in the fulness of it ; 

this fulness is in none but in Christ, in the Father, and the Holy Ghost. 

2. There is in the person of Christ a fulness of the Spirit. (1.) The unctiou of the Sjiiiit 
by which the two natures were united in that glorious hypostatical union. (2.) A 
fulness of the Spirit of unction, he being anointed with the oil of gladness above his 

II. A fulness of merit and satisfaction is in Jesus Christ, he being a complete and per- 
fect Mediator. This appears, 

1. He hath paid a full price, or satisfied for all our sins. 

2. He hath made a full atonement. 

3. He hath obtained' our full discharge from the law and justice of God, from sin, 
wrath, death, and hell. 

4. He hath procured a full and complete justification for all the elect. 

5. He hath obtained a full remission of iiins, or pardon of all our sins, and has it in his 
possession to give forth to his elect. 

G. There is in Christ a fulness of power or authority to give eternal life to all that be- 
lieve in him, or which the Father hath given unto him. 

III. There is in him a fulness of life, he is the fountain of life ; and hence he is called 
a fjuickcnrng Spirit. " I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,'" John xiv. 5, IG; as he 
is the original of life, the Prince of hfc. So that spiritual life we have, is derived from 
him, no dead sinner can quicken himself. Brethren, both the life of nature, grace and 
glory, is in and from Christ. And how many thousands hath he quickened, or given a 
principle of divine life unto, 

IV. There is in the person of Christ a fulness of grace, " And of his fulness liave all 
we received, and gi-ace for grace." John i. IG. 

1. Grace, favour, or rich bounty ; this he is full of. " Ye know the grace of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor." 


2. Grace, (i. p.) that which makes believers gracious, viz., the fruits of tlie Spirit, the 
person of Christ is the fountain of all grace which is in the saints. Grace is poured into 
thy lips," Psal. xlv. 3. His gracious words and gracious deeds proceeded from his gracious 

V. The person of Clu-ist is full of righteousness, as the sea is full of water, or the sun 
is full of light; he is therefore called the " Sun of righteousness," Mai. iv. 2. His glorious 
robe of rights .usiiess cover thousands cf naked sinners. 

VI. The person of Christ is full of wisdom and knowledge. " In him are hid all the 
treasures of wisdom and knowledge," Col. i. 3. 

VII. Lastly, In Christ is a fulness of salvation, and not of salvation only, but of all 
things which do accompany salvation. All these things flow from the person of Christ, 
and appertain to his personal excellencies as he is Mediator. 

Li him is a soul-fulness, a seasonable fulness, a suitable fulness, a satisfying, and a 
soul-enrichiug, and a soul-fattening fulness. 

The excel- Ninthly, Another personal excellency that is in Christ, is his most excel- 

ciir'K'^ spi- l*^"!' spirit. It is said of Daniel, there was a most excellent spirit in him, but 
rit does con- -whsX an excellent spirit there is in Jesus Christ, in whose spirit was no stain, 
most excel- HO pollution, nothing of natural defilement. 

lent spirit. ^ J Jq ygj- aUuJe to the Holy Ghost that was in Him without measure, but 

rit cur?st^^is" t''^*' spirit which appertains to His human nature, or His spirit considered as 
of- man ; he in this respect was endued " with a spirit of wisdom, of the spirit of 

counsel, and of might, the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord," Isa. si. 2. His 
Christ is of Spirit far exceeds the spirits of all men : — For 

sublime I. He is of a subhme spirit, a raised spirit, contemnmg this world, and all 

^^"^^ ' the glory thereof; seeking the glory of his Father alone. 

II. He is of a free spirit ; free from earthly entanglements, free from the bondage of 
sin and fervile fear ; though he became a Servant, yet he had the spirit of a Son ; free 
from the slavisli fear of God, men, or devils ; free in all acts of love and bounty, not 
seeking or asking any thing but the tribute of thankfulness from such he gives his great 
and glorious gifts and graces unto. 

III. He is of a most generous spirit, gave like himself, yet sought not himself, but the 
honour of his Father, and our good ; he takes no advantages against such that slight and 
despise his bounty, and gi-acious ofi'ers of peace and pardon, but waits still upon them, yea, 
and gives gifts to the rebellious also, and to stout-hearted sinners, who are far from 
righteousness ; nor doth he seek present revenge on them that hate him, though he could 
in a moment destroy them all with the breaih of his mouth. Also so generous was he, as 
to give all he had. part with ail he had, even with his own Ufe, for our sakes: nay, as 
to do all that work which was our business, or our work, and to pay all our debts, and 
suffer all our hell pangs, and bear all our sicknesses and sorrows, all our burdens, nay, and 
gives his own robe to clothe us, and his own flesh to feed our hungry souls, and his own 
blood to satisfy our thu'sty souls. 

IV. Christ is of a strong and courageous spirit ; strong to resist temptations, strong to 
bear afflictions, strong to overcome all difficulties that stood in his way ; yea, so courageous, 
as nothing could discourage him in his work, though earth and hell combine together 
against him, and his own disciples leave him, and his Father hides his face from him in 
the hour of his greatest sorrows, straits, and sufferings, as it was foretold of him ; " He 
shall not {nil, nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth," Isa. xlii. 4. 

V. Christ is of a holy and heavenly spirit ; as in his lips, so in his heart and spirit, 
there was no guile : " He is holy, and harmless, undefiled, separated from sinners :" he 
never had one evil thought, as he never spoke one evil word. 

VI. Christ is of an humble, of a meek, and of a condescending spkit : " Learn of me, 
for I am meek and lowly," Matt. xi. 29. " He humbled himself, and became obedient 
unto death, even the death of the cross," Phil. ii. 5, 6, 7. that the same mind and the 
same spirit was in us ; shall the prmce be meek and lowly in heart, and be content to ride 
on an ass, and on a colt the foal of an ass, and shall liis servant be proud and haughty? 

VII. Christ is of a public spirit ; not a narrow, base, straightened spirit. Sh-s, he was 
contented to be made a common, or a public head to all liis people, and to stand charged 
with all our sins, and to suffer in our stead, yea, bear that curse and wrath that was due 
to us for our iniquities ; his heart was enlarged toward God, to exalt God, magnify God 
in all his attributes, and to magnify the law of God, and also to save lost man. "He was 
cut off, but not for his own sms," Dan. ix. 26. He had no sins of his own, " But fur the 


transgressions of his people was be smitten," Isa. liii. 8. He did not only seek tlie i>ub- 
lic good, but did it also with the gi'eatest frceness imaginable, and wth the greatest loss 
and sorrow to liimself, both in his name, riches, and life also. 

VIII. Christ is of an active and lively spirit. The zeal of God's house even eat hiin 
up. He was not only quick in understanding, but quick and lively in all acts of obedience. 
tlie greatness of that work, which he lUd in a short time, even in the space of three 
j'ears and a half. 

IX. Christ is of a compassionate spirit, full of bowels, love, and pity. " Who can 
have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way," Heb. v. 2. How' 
ready is lie to forgive the gi-eatest of his enemies ? Even the vilest sinners that fly to 
him for mercy ! He sometimes aggravates the sins of his own people, when it is but to 
show his abundant grace, love, pity, and pardoning mercy to them,, see Isa. xliii. 22, 26, 
compared with Isa. Ivii. 17, 19. 

X. Christ is of an obedient spirit. " Lo, I come to do thy will, God," Heb. x. 7. 
"It was his meat and drink to do the will of his Father that sent Him," John iv. 34. He 
was ready to stoop to the hardest thing his Father sent him to do. " Though he was a 
Son, yet learneil obedience by the things which he suffered," Heb. v. 8. 

XI. Christ is of a patient and submissive spirit, he bore all thmgs the Father laid upon 
him patiently, without complaining and murmuring. " As a sheep is dumb before the 
shearer, so he opened not his mouth," Isa. liii. 7. 

XII. Christ is of a faithful spirit. He was faithful to God as a Son, and he is faith- 
ful to all his people, in all his promises, and imder all those providences which he is pleas- 
ed to exercise them. 

Now put all these things together, and do they not show the most transcendent excel- 
lencies, which attend Christ's person ? 

Tenthly, the personal excellencies of Christ also appears, in respect of those things he 
is made unto his church and people, he is our only Mediator, our Surety, Testator, God's 
great ambassador, a King to rule us, a Priest to atone for our sins, a Prophet to teach us, 
a Foundation on which we build, a Sun to give us light, a Spirit to quicken us, the Way, 
the Truth, the Life ; he is a robe to clothe us, our food to feed us, our Captain to conquer 
all our enemies (who has overcome sin, the world, devils, death, liell, and the gi\ave for 
us) a Bridegi-oom to espouse us, and our heaven to glorify us : he is made of God to all 
that are in him, " Wisdom and righteousness, sanctlfication and redemption," 1 Cor. i. .^0. 
In a word his personal excellencies are such, that he is all in all ; he is all in sanctlfica- 
tion, justification, adoption, union, and communion, pardon of sm, peace, reconciliation, 
regeneration, vocation, and in salvation. 

Now if Christ, the pearl of great price, be so excellent a person, if this be so, if all 
these and mauy other most glorious personal excellencies are in him, what happy men 
and women are they who find Jesus Christ, and liave a true interest iu him, and right un- 
to him ? and what would not any person part with (who loiows his infinite worth) to have 
him to be their own for ever ? 

2. We may also infer from hence, that but a very few Icnow the Lord Jesus Christ, nor 
understand whom he is, nor the true worth and excellencies that are in his sacred person. 

3. what fools are tliey that lay aside this corner-stone, or disallow of this foundation, 
and build upon the sand, or without a foundation. 

4. Moreover, let such tremble who tread this Christ under their feet, and exalt a false 
Christ above him, a Christ formed out of their own vain imaginations, or strive to ungoa 
him, and render him but to he a mere creature ; such a Christ is not worth one farthhig, 
and those that trust in such a Christ shall perish : dare they malie a mere man their Sa- 
viom', and give the glory of God unto another. 

But to proceed to another proposition or point of doctrine, observe. 

*' And when he had found one pearl," &c. 

Doct. 2. That aU such wlio would find Jesus Christ, must seek liiui. 

1. I shall show where they must seek this pearl. 

2. When tliey must seek it. 

3. How they must seek for it. 

4. ^\^ly they must seek it. 5. Apply it. nms^noT' 
As to the place where you should seek Jesus Christ the pearl of gi-eat price, sotit chri^t. 
First, negatively, not on your beds ; thus the spouse sought her beloved ; " By night 


on my bed I sought liim -whom my soul lovetli, I sought him, but I founil him not," Cant, 
iii. 1. Certainly this denotes a cold, lazy seeking ; Christ is not found upon the bed of 

2. You must not seelc Jesus Christ in the broad way ; the spouse found him not there, 
no, she passed from thence, before she found him. Many seek in dead, carnal, and in in- 
vented forms, in that worship, and in such rites and services, that God never instituted. 
Pearls are not found in high-ways, or in the broad road, wliere multitudes pass. 

3. You must not seek Jesus Christ within your own hearts ; no, he is not there. All 
men naturally are without God, and without Clivist, and without the Holy Spirit, and 
without hope. 

4. You must not seek him on mount Sinai, not by the works of the law, he is not 

You must not seek him by doirg, or by your own righteousness. 
Nor by outward reformation of your lives ; you may be reforr.-ed, but not meet with 
Jesus Christ. 


First, pearls must be sought for where they are to be had. Pliny says, that they are 
usually found at the bottom of the sea : so Christ must be sought where he is to be found. 
Where we 1. You must seek him in tlie depths, in the great deeps of God"s eternal 

muat^Feek council, there you may find him, for there he lay hid from everlasting. I do 
of great not mean you should seek or pry into deep councils that are not revealed, but 

'^"'^''" in those councils that are now opened in God's word, and in that council held 

between the Father and the Son in eternity, there you may find him, and also in that cove- 
nant and blessed compact that was between them botli, there you shall find mention is 
made of him, and meet with him. 

II. You must seek him in tlie depths of eternal wisdom, and in God's glorious purpose 
and decree, for there also he lay long bid from the blind world, until God made known 
the blessed contrivance of his mfinite wisdom. 

III. You must seek him in the covenant of grace and of redemption, as the head and 
great representative and surety of all God's elect. 

IV. You must seek him in the depths of God's eternal love. If you do not search in- 
to the treasures of infinite love, grace, and divine goodness, you wiU never find this pearl ; 
do not mistake me, the fountains of these great deeps are now opened, so that you may 
by faith dive into tliis sea, and search for this pearl, and also soon find it. 

Y. You must seelc this pearl in the revelation of God's eternal council, that -is the field 
where this rich treasm-e lies hid. (1.) In the types and sacrifices under the law, there he 
is to be found by such who have a piercing sight, and can see through all those dark vales, 
which hid him out of the sight of blind and unbelieving men and women. (2.) You 
must seek him in tlie revelation God made of him in the prophesies of the jirophets. (3.) 
and more especially you must seek Jesus Christ in the glorious gospel. They to whom 
the gospel is hid, Jesus Christ is hid, and such that understand the mystery of the gospel, 
whose eyes God hath opened to behold the glory of God that shines forth therein, they 
find Jesus Christ. " For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath 
shined in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God, in the face of Jesus," 
2 Cor. iv. 6. 

But others to whom the gospel is hid (who think it is only a rule of good manners, or 
a new law of evanguhcal obedience) Satan hath I'.inded their minds, lest the light of the 
glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, shine upon them. Christ shines not at 
all on some of these, and but darkly on others, ver. 3, 4. 

VI. .You must seek this learl by believing, by faith : Clirist is found by believing, but 
such that will not hear the gospel preached, utterly neglect the chief means or way of find- 
ing Jesm Christ ; for the gospel is an instrument of the mighty " power of God unto tlie 
salvation of every one that lieveth," Rom. i. 10. 

True unto some it comes •' in word only, and not in power," 1 Thess. i. 5 ; nor by the 
efficacious operations of the Holy Ghost : " Now to him that is of power to establish you 
according to my Gospel, and the preachmg of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of 
the mystery, which was kept secret smce the world began. But now is made manifest, 
and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting 
God made known to all nations for the obedience of faith be glory," &c. Pvom. xvi. 25, 2(5. 

SEKSI. XXXIl.] THE I'AU.iBLE OK Tilli I'EAEL 07 GKliAT I'l.ICE. 107 

how little is tlie go?iel understood, how few by Aiith search into it, and yet nowhere 
else is CJirist to be found : true, you may find the gospel preached to Adam, and liiul the 
pearl there ; aud the gospel preached to Abraham, and find Christ there ; but such who 
look not on Abraham as a tj'pe of Christ, or a covenanting head of all his true spiritual 
seed, or of all the elect, (distinct irom his being a covenanting head to all his natural seed 
as such ;) may deceive themselves and their poor undone olispring. " If any man be in 
Christ, lie is one of Abraham's seed, and an heir accordin,. to promise," See Gal. iii. IG, 

aud 29. Christ must 

VII. You must seek this pearl in the promises of God, in the promises of tjJo^y" ",![' '"^ 
the new covenant, or of the Gospel ; for there he is to be ouud : 1 do not 

speak of conditional promises, according to the tenure of the law, or covenant of wojks, 
but of the absolute promises ; pray observe well what I say. (1.) You are not to expect 
that you shall find Jesus Christ upou conditions, which you are to p'-rfonn as a fit qualifi- 
cation, or as an antecedent condition, that is required of the sinner, in order to the bles- 
sings consequent tiiereupon, by virtue of the promise, and so consequently the benefits 
and mercies granted are suspended by the blessed God, till those conditions are performed, 
which conditions the unrenewed sinner hath power to answer, aud may, or may not per- 
form. I know some will tell you, that you must have Christ this way, or on such con- 
ditions ? why, the conditions are repentance, faith, and sincere obedience; this they say, 
but is this gospel ? for if faith and repentance be part of the covenar.t, or such things 
which are promised therein ; -then they cannot be the conditions upon which we shall have 
Christ, (Sec. Ilut a new heart, faith, and repentance, &c., are promised, as part of the 
matter of the covenant of giace, therefore not such conditions of it . " I will take away 
the heart of stone, and I will give them a heart of flesh ; I will be their God, and they 
shall be my people," Ezek. xxxvi. 25, 2C. " All that the Father hath given to me, shall 
come unto me,'' John vi. 37. Shall come ; that is, they shall believe in me ; " faith is 
the gift of God," Eph. ii. 8. 

(2.) If you would find Christ in the promise, be not satisfied with any promise that 
may come into your minds, unless you can take hold of Christ in that promise, it is Christ 
received in the promise that relieves the sinner ; without this the promise can do the soul 
no good. 

VIII. You must seek Christ in the way of your duty, in reading, meditation, and 
prayer, as well as in hearing the word. Certainly seeking of this pearl, seeking of Christ 
dotli take in prayer : seek the Lord while he may be found : seek him by crying to him, 
calling upon hira, and by pouring out your souls before him : if thou criest after know- 
ledge, and,hfteth up thy voice for uuderstandir.g, then thou shalt find it. 

God will, Christ will be found of them that seek ; but pray consider that it is Christ 
who first gives poor sinners a heart to seek hira, before he can do this : Christ first seeks 
us, and finds us, before we seek hira, or can find him; he by his Spirit first apprehends 
us, and then he enables us to apprehend hira ; he opens our eyes to see the worth, the 
beauty, and glory that is in him, aud ilie:i we desire him, long for him, pant after hiui. 

Secondly, as I have showed you, where you must seek Jesus Christ, the 'WIilu we 
pearl of gxeat price ; so now I shall show when, or at what time you should 3i"uV''''' 
seek him. Chiist. 

I. Early. " I love them that love me, and they that seek me early shall find me," 
Prov. viii. 17. 

1. Now to seek this peerless pearl early, is to seek him before and above ■\vemust 
all other things, before riclies, before honours, before pleasures, or any earthly pear'of 
thing, or enjoyment whatsoever. JIany seek earth before heaven, earthly great jirico. 
pearls above and more than this heavenly pearl, or this world before Jesus Christ. How 
do many persons enquire alter, and earnestly seek for preferment, or- to enrich themselves, 
and add to the substance : say they, can you tell me how I may improve my stock, im- 
prove my trade, and increase my earthly riches ; others they perhaps enquire after a good 
place, a good service, or a good wife ; these things lie nearest their hearts, and these things 
they seek before aud above the pearl of great price ; nay, never may be tliink Christ, nor 
ask after Christ, and so they set a far greater value on these earthly thmgs, tlian upon the 
Lord Jesus ; they are not lilce Jloses, who refused to be called " the son of I'haraoli's 
daughter, and all the glory of Egypt, and the pleasures of sin that are for a season, esteem- 
ing the reproaches of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egj-pt," lleb. xi. 24, 25. 

2. To seek this pearl early, " is to seek the Lord while he may be found, aud to call 
upon him while he is near," Isa. Iv. 0. God hath set a time, fixeil a time, when he will 


be foiiud, auJ to seek him then, is to seek him oarly ; again God hath a time in which ho 
draws near to poor sinners by his word and ordinances, and by the influences and most 
gracious operations upon their hearts, and they that seek him then, do seek him early. 

3. To seek tliis pearl early, is to seek when God calls. True, God calls once, yea 
twice, and man perceiveth it not ; thus he called Samuel, aud though he did not hear, (so 
as to know whose voice it was) at first calling, yet feeling he did hear before God had done 
callino- of him, he heard aud sought the Lord early, but certainly it is dangerous not to 
hear at God's first call ; he may not call some once, yea twice, nay, and again also ; yet 
let none presume upon frequent warnings, or repeated calls of God ; what a caution may 
that word be, viz., Prov. i. " Because 1 called aud you refused"— why, what then, pray read 
ver. 28. " They shall call upon me, but I will not hear, they shall seek me early, but shall 
not find me;" early, that is in their affliction, may be as soon as they are sick, and fear they 
shall die ; alas, man knows not his time, therefore his misery is great in the earth. 

4. To seek the pearl of great price early, is to seek in due time, " God shall help her, 
and that right early," Psal xlvi. 5 ; that is, seasonably, in a due and fit time, when it will 
most make for his glory and his people's good. So we should in due time, i. e., at such a 
time wheu he may receive the most good, when mercy and pardoning grace will be most 
seasonable and sweet to our souls, as when we come under convictions of sin, and our souls 
are sick and wounded, and our wounds bleed. then it is a seasonable time to get Christ, 
to fly to him, and to beUeve in him, every thing is beautiful in its season. When a man 
has just received a grievous wound, that is the time to get a plaster ; or as soon as a 
person is taken dangerously sick, that is the time to seek a physician, so as soon as thou feel- 
est the weight of sin, the burden of sin, and thy conscience is awakened, then seek Jesus 
Christ, then at that very time, and not to delay. This it is to seek Christ early. 

5. To seek Christ early, is to seek him in the days of our youth, " Eemember now thy 
Creator," &c., Eccl. xii. 1. Kemeraber his love in finding out a Piedeemer, and in send- 
in" him into the world. remember that he is a just, as well as a gracious God. 

Christ must H. The pearl of great price should be sought when the Holy Spirit strives 

whii8t°the with thee; the time of the strivings, motions, and workings of the Spirit is 
Holy Spir^ Christ's time and way of seeking us, and that is the time of our seeking him, 
a sinner. Christ came too seek and save that whicli was lost ; all was an act of pre- 

venting grace ; the Holy Ghost comes to enlighten our understanding, to awaken our sleepy 
consciences, to bow and incline our rebellious wills, and to change our carnal afl'ections ; 
and know, ye sinners, this is the time you should seek, if ever you hope to find the pearl 
of threat price ; even when the Holy Spirit begins to act, or move, and to operate upon your 
hearts : sinners only act Christ-ward, as they are acted, and move, as they are by the Spi- 
rit and by a divine principle moved. A dead carcase, or a stone, may as soon move of it- 
self, as a dead sinner can stir, act, or do in a spiritual manner, imless he be influenced and 
moved by the Holy Spirit. 

III. Wheu we have a full gale of the Spirit. 

The time for a merchant to hoist his sails, and set out to sea, is when he 
be'soueh"*' has a fan- wind ; 0, says he, now I must be gone, I have been becalmed a 
when the great whUe, but now the wind blows the right way, I have a sweet gale. Even 
Spfrft blows'! so we should set out on our voyage to seek the pearl of great price, when we 
have a powerful gale, or strong operations of the word and Spirit upon our hearts. 
A merchant-man makes four, nay, may be ten times more speed, wiien he has a full and 
stronf "ale of wind, than he can at other times ; sometimes may be he makes way, and then 
he meets with contrary winds, and is. drove back again. And thus it is with spiritual mer- 
chants, that seek the pearl of great price ; now perhaps the wind of the Spirit blows, then 
they are as it were upon the wing. how they pray, read, hear, meditate ; their souls are 
filled with love and longings after Jesus Christ : but by-and-by a contrary wind rises, Satan 
raises a storm, to drive the soul back again, and fill it full of fears and doublings. Take 
heed you do not lose a fair wind, and beware of contrary winds raised by Satan, by sin, 
by wicked relations, and by the world, or by an evil heart. 

IV. You must seek Jesus Christ to-day, even now, " To-day if you will hear his voice, 
harden not you hearts," Heb. iii. 7 ; nay, and this the Holy Ghost says, we do not only tell 
you to-day, this very day you must do it ; hut God says, to-day, Christ says to-day, " To- 
day "0 and work in my vineyard," Matt. xxi. 28 ; and the Holy Spirit says to-day, if you 
will hear his voice. And dare sinners say, no, not to-day, it is time enough yet, I will stay 
till to-morrow : " Boast not thyself of to-morrow, for thou knowest not what a day may 
brin--' forth," Prov. xxvii. 1. Some perhaps may make fair promises, and say to-day, I go 


sir, but go not ; like one of tlie sons bid to go to work in the viuej-arJ. Alas, as I have 
told you, present promises about closing with Christ hereafter, are but seldom, if ever per- 

V. If some of you are come to the eleventh hour, certainly this is the time, or never, 
for such to seek Jesus Christ. Some of you are come almost to the end of your voyage, 
or end of your race, I mean the end of your lives. There are but few sands in your glass, 
your ship is old, and ready to be broken up. It is, I feai-, too late for some to set out 
now on the seas of temptation, and opposition, to seek the pearl of great price, but if God 
give a call to any now at the eleventh hour, it is not too late for them ; but if Christ be 
not sought, be not received at this time, suc-li are undone, and shall perish, for ever. 

Thirdly, how must the pearl of great price be sought? 

1. Piligently. Naturahsts tells us, that a choice and rare pearl is not to be found with- 
out curious and diligent searching. Pliny saith, they that find such pearls, must run 
through many dangers, amongst those huge and terrible sea monsters and great rocks. So 
they that would find Jesus Christ, the pearl of great price, must seek and search with all 
wisdom, care, and diligence, and endeavour to sail betwixt the dangerous rocks of presump- 
tion, on the one hand, and despair, on the other hand : how many are split, and sutler 
shipwreck upon one of these rocks, and so never find the pearl, never rightly believe, nor 
receive Jesus Christ. 

Moreover, all ought to take heed of those monsters that are in our seas, I mean among 
us, i. e., cruel and abominable imposters, who deny the Lord Jesus Christ, who preach up 
a false Christ, and others who deny any Christ, or utterly cast oif all revealed religion, or 
the whole Christian faith. Some render Christ to be of no value or worth at all ; also 
some deny his imputed righteousness, and make their own righteousness the matter of their 
justification before God ; these men may fitly be compared to huge sea monsters, that make 
the finding of Christ a very dilhcult thing. 

2. You must seek with much skill and divine wisdom ; first to seek in the right way, 
not by repenting and reformation of life, or by obedience, or inherent righteousness, to 
think to find Jesus Christ ; no, this is nut the way to find Christ, if thou wouldst be an 
honest moral man, thou must reform thy hie, and obey all moral precepts ; but thou mayest 
be further from finding of Christ, when that is done, than now whilst tliou art a profane 
and inigodly sinner ; for pubhcans" and harlots go into the kingdom of heaven befure those 
wlio are self-rigliteous, or sober and civilized persons. — You must know the way to find 
Christ is by believing. 

II. You must have wisdom to kuow the true Christ, and wisdom to know the right 
time. Vt'ilt thou apply a plaster to that place, where there is no wound, and put on a 
robe given to thee as being naked, when thou in thy own conceit, art well clothed. 

III. You must seek with full purpose and resolution of thy heart and soul, not fearing 
what men or devUs can do unto thee, though thy wife rages, and is stirred up against 
thee, to dissuade thee, or a laisbaud, or a father, or mother, or son, or daughter, or neigh- 
bours, pretended friends, remember what our blessed Saviour saith, Matt. x. 37 ; re- 
solve to have Christ, though it cost thee thy life, every siu must die, and seK must die, 
and thou must resist unto blood if ciUled to it. 

IV. Thou must seek Christ as one that kuowest the great want, need, and g^^ .^ j^^^j 
necessity of huu, as been undone witliout him ; and if thou art an unrenewed woHWseuk 
person, thou must seek him as one that is without God, and without CLrisi, Ii,u'li''knoff 
m the world. u'nu ""' 

V. Again, thou must seek Christ as one who is convinced of that great 
worth and excellency of him. 

VI. Believingly, not doubting, but there is salvation to be had in Christ ^.j^^.^j ^^^ 
for the vilest of sinners, also believing his power ;aid willingness to save thee, be suupiit 

if thou art helped to come to him, cleaving to him, and resting upon him. beUcving y. 

VII. Seek with longings, breathings, and pantings after him. Joseph and Mary sought 
Jesus sorrowing from the greatness of their love. 

\'III. Seek with an heart inclined, touched with the loadstone of his love ; see Prov. ii. 

IX. Seek constantly and unweariedly, never give over until thou hast found him. 

X. Seek him sincerely, not for the loaves, not for secular profit nor applause, nor out of 
vain-gloiy ; not simply to be saved by him, or for what he has, but for his own sake, what 
he is, and from a sense of his infinite j^lory and preciousncss ; see John vi. -G. 



And when he had found one pearl of fjreat price. — Matt. xiii. 45, 4G. 

The last day I slioweJ you how Christ the Pearl of great price must be sought. 

Fourthly, and lastly, I shall now proceed to show you why he must be sought, or give 
you the reasons why sinners sliould seek him. 

ciiristcarae ^- ^ihiners sliould seek -Jesus Ciirist, the Pearl of great price, because he 

lo seek sin- came to seek them. 

iwe'they"^" 1- He souglit the salvation of sinners in entering into covenant with the 

(ugut to Father for them in eternity : it was to recover those lost siimers which the 

Fatlier gave him, that caused him to become our Surety, and to enter into 
lliat holy and liappy compact witli God the Father. 

2. In his takmg our nature upon him, and in coming into this world, it was to seek lost 

3. By his death, in liis bearmg of our sins upon his own body on the tree, it was to seek 
and save sinners, and to bring them to God: " For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, 
the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God," 1 Pet. iii. 18. 

4. Jesus Christ seeks sinners by the mmistration of the gospel, wherever the gospel is 
sent, it is sent to seek and bring sinners hume to God ; and it may give us ground to be- 
lieve in those places where tlie gospel comes, are some sinners which were given to him, 
and whilst the gospel is continued in a place, certainly there are some yet not called, not 
found or converted. 

5. Christ seeks siraicrs by his intercession, now in heaven ; he doth not only pray or in- 
tercede for believers, but for sinners; " He made intercession for transgressors," Isa. Iii. 12. 

G. Ciirist seeks sinners by the motions of his Spirit on their hearts and consciences, and 
when convictions of the Spirit sieze, and are strong upon the sinner's heart, tlien Jesus 
Christ may be said to have found tlie sinner, though the sinner may not have found him. 

II. Sinners should seek Ciirist, because seeking him, and finding him, are 
Why sin- coupled together: "Then shall ye seek me, and find me, vdien ye search 

liers should ,, ^ -in i ^ ?, r ■ •! .. \Tr-M -i • - • i 

seek this after me v.-ith all your hearts, Jer. xxix. 16. Wul any say it is m vain to 

pearl. seek Jesus Christ, they may as well say it is in vain for ministers to preach to 

sinners, and in vain for them to hear, read, pray ; hearing and believing, nay, hearing and 
living are joined together ; for as " faith comes by hearing," so life comes by hearing also : 
" Hear, and thy soul shall live," Isa. Iv. 3. This Sndmg, this hearing, and this believing 
is all one and the same thing ; when seeking of Chi-ist is of no use, preacliiug will be of no 
use also. But know, ye sinners, that seeking of Ciirist, and finding him are jomed to- 
gether. Therefore it is an indispensible duty for sinners to seek Jesus Christ. 

III. Because the promise runs to them that seek : " Seek, and ye shall find, ask and ye 
shall receive," jMatt. vii.7 ; though he that seeks not believingly, hath no promise of finding, 
nor hath he that asketh, unless he ask in faith ; yet such who do seek in a right manner, 
have the promise of God, that cannot lie made to them ; " He that seeketh me early, shall 
find me," Prov. viii. 17. 

IV. Sinners should seek Christ, " the pearl of great price," because they are commanded ' 
so to do : " Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near," 
Isa. Iv. 6. Again it is said : " Seek ye the Lord, and ye shall live," Amos v. 6. When 
thou saidst, seek my face, my heart answered, Thy face. Lord, I will seek," Psal. xxvii. 
8. God saith, seek me, and will the sinner refuse thus to do ; a duty here is enjoined, and 
a promise is annexed. 

V. Because salvation is only in Jesus Christ; all that seek justification and eternal life, 
and do not seek Jesus Christ, shall certainly perish: " Neither is there salvation in any 
other ; for there is no other name given under heaven whereby we must be saved," Acts 
iv. 1 2. No other name, or tiling, not by repenting, nor mourning for sin, no, not by leav- 
ing off sin, or reformation of life, not by good works, nor by mhereiit righteousness, not by 
being baptized, nor by receiving the Lord's Supper, no, uur by giving to the poor, nor by 
sufi'ering for Christ or religion ; for there is no salvation to be had but by Christ alone. 
In the way of duty and of ordinances you ought to seek him, and may meet with him ; 
but if any rest on their duties, works, or righteousness, nay, on laith itself as the matter 
by which they hope to be justified and saved, they will certainly perish. It is not faith 


itself, but Christ tliat faith receives, oi' thu ulijoi-t faith relics upon, that saves us. Dtith 
my liand that applies the plaster to my wouml cure nie ? No, it is the plaster ; nay, the 
hand of faith is given to us also to apply the balm : " P.y grace ye are saved, throa-^h faith, 
and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God ; not of works lest any man should b^ast," 
Eph. ii. S, 9. NoiV since salvation is to be had in none, iu nothing, but iu Christ, or by 
the pearl of great price, how doth it beliove all poor sinners to seek liiia. 

VI. Sinners should seek Christ, because by nature, or as in the first Adam, they are 
without him ; the merchant before he sought the pearl had it not : " At that time ye were 
without Christ," Eph. ii. 12. At that time, what time ? Why, " when they were dead in 
sins and trespasses," Eph. ii. 1, 2. 

VII. Sinners should seek Christ, because the law condemns them, under God's fearful 
wrath, and the sentence of death every sinner retains, until they have found Jesus Clirist, 
or do believe iu liim. " He that hath the Son hath life, but he that hath not the Son hath 
not life, but tjie wrath of God abideth on him," John iii. 3G. 

VIII. Shiners slioidd seek Christ to save them, because the devil seeks to destroy them: 
" Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devd walketh about seeking whom ho 
may devour," 1 Pet. v. 8. 

how many ways hath Satan by which he seeks to destroy poor sinners ! there are 
many ways by which sinners may perish and be damned, but there is but one way by 
which they can be saved. 

Lastly, Sinners should seek the pearl of great price, from the consideration of thai infi- 
nite wortli and value of him, and that good they will find in him, of which I have largely 
spoken, and shall now in a few words the application. 


Let me tell you what Christ is to them that find him. 
Fu-st, be exhorted to seek him, and delay not. For, 

I. He that hath Christ hath life ; this the apostle asserts: " He that hath ^i^^^^. j^^ 
the Son hath life, he that hath not the Son, hath not life," I John v. 12. luitii that 
He is the Dread of life, and such that feed upon him shall never perish. " He •'^"' ^'"''''• 
that findeth me findeth life, and shall ohtahi favour of the Lord," Prov. viii. 35. 

II. He that finds Christ hath a discharge from eternal death, he is justified, pardoned, 
sanctified ; nay, he hath aU things ; " All is yours, ye are Christ's,'' &c. 

1. All the things of this life are theirs ; that is, so far as God sees them good for them, 
who would have any earthly tiling for his hurt ? 

2. They have all they have without the curse ; wicked men may have more of the 
things of this world than behevers, but they have every thing with a curse, riches with a 
curse, honoui's and pleasures with a curse. Nay, 

3. The people of God have all they possess with a blessing upon them, every thmg is 
blessed to them, even afflictions, losses, poverty, sickness, and death itself. 

III. Whatsoever Christ is made to behevers, that he is made to every one that finds 
him. Two things such should consider, that would find and know how precious a pearl 
Christ is. 

1. What he is in himself. 

2. What he is and will be to him that finds him. 

1. Whatsoever a great and inconceivable portion is to a man in a natural sense, that is 
Christ, and much more to him that finds him in a spiritual sense ; for he is our portion 
and inheritance of our souls for ever, Psal, :-.vi. 5, xxxiii. 2G, Lam. iii. 2-1. 

2. What honour and external happiness attends a virgin that is espoused and mai'ried 
to a mighty and excellent prince, what peace, what glory, what satisfaction doth she meet 
withal ? that and much more is Christ to every one that finds him in a spu'itual sense, for 
every behever is espoused and married to him, liom. vii. 4, 2 Cor. xi. 2. 

3. What bread is to a hungry person, or drink to a thirsty person in a natural way, that 
is Christ, the Pearl of great price, to every soui that finds in a spiritual way ; he is the 
Bread of God, the Bread of li^p, and Water of life to the soul. 

4. What clotiiing is to a naked man, to the body, that is Christ to the soul that finds 
him : " Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ," liom. xiii. 14. We put liim on as a garment 
in justification, and in sanctification also. 

5. What rest is to a weary person m a nattu'al way, that is Christ, and much more, (for 
his rest is glorious,) in a spiritual way, " Come to me ail ye that labour and are heavy 
laUcn, and I will give you rest," Matt. xi. 2d. 


6. "Wlmt peace is to a troubled ami wounded conscience, tliat is Christ to him that finds 
him ; he gives present quiet, and everlasting peace to the soul tliat hafli him, and knows 
he hath him. 

7. What sight is to one that was born blind, that is Christ in a spiritual way to every 
soul that finds him. 

8. What liberty is to one who has been in bonds, (in prison, in captivity, or slavery) in 
a natm-al way, that is Christ and much more in a spiritual way to him that finds him : 
" If the Son make you free, then are you free indeed," John viii. 36. 

9. ^^'hat millions of gold and silver is to a poor man, not worth a groat in respect of 
the things of this world, money answering all things ; that and much more is Christ to 
that man that finds him in a spiritual sense. 

10. What abundance of corn is to a nation in time of famine, (when its inhabitants 
were forced to feed on husks) that is Christ and much more to a hungry soul that finds 
him, who (like the Prodigal) feed on Ijusks which the swine did eat. 

11. What a pardon is to a condemned rebel just ready to be executed, that is Christ 
in a spiritual sense to a condemned sinner when he finds him, who was under the fearful 
sentence of divine vengeance. 

12. What ease and a perfect cure is to a man tormented with intolerable pain, (whe- 
ther of the stone, gout, or what is worse,) that is Christ to a tormented despairing soul, 
that finds him : or what a healing and infallible balm, is to a man mortally wounded, that 
is Christ to a wounded sinner that finds him. 

13. In a word, what it is to be perfectly delivered from whatsoever is evil, either here 
in this world, or hereafter in the world to come, that is and will Christ be to every one 
that finds him. 

14. And what it is to be perfectly possessed with whatsoever is truly, really, and spiri- 
tually good ; that is or will Christ be to every one that finds him. 

Secondly, from hence I infer, that that person that seeks not the pearl of great price, 
is a notorious fool, or out of his wits ; who but a fool or a mad-man would neglect seek- 
ing of such a pearl ? 

Thirdly, how will sinners lament their folly in seeking other things more than Christ, 
nay utterly neglect the seeking of him. 

Fourthly, I infer, that such who have got Christ, or have found this pearl, are the 
most happy people in the world. 

I come now to the last clause of this parable. 

" And sold all he had, and bought it." 

No marvel he sold all he had to buy such a pearl. 

1. I shall show you what may be meant by selling all he had. 

2. What may be meant by buying this pearl. 

Selhng all he had, signifies no more than his parting \^•ith whatsoever his 
'What it Is to lieart was inordinately set upon before he found this pearl, 
the pearl of 1. With all his sius and horrid lusts; all that find Christ part willingly 

great pnca ^^.■^^Y^ every evil habit, and with every evil act of sin and wickedness, and 
it is by the Spirit and gi-ace of Christ, he is helped to do this : a sinner 
finds Christ before he can part with his sins and iniquities. 

2. All his old company with whom he took dehght, and among whom he oft dis- 
honoured God ; he parts also with them with an abhorrence. 

3. All his former hopes of heaven, and the foundation on which he built that hope. 

He that Hill ^i- ^^ ^"® ''^^'" external privileges, of which (like Paul when a Phari- 

iiaye Christ gee) he might boast. 

hi"owii inhe- &• AH his own good works, and inherent righteousness in point of justifi- 
rentrigijte- cation, he sold also, or parted with. I do not mean he did not now any 
good works, or ceased being morally just and righteous: no, God forbid, 
but he parted with them so as not to expect acceptation and justification by those things 
in the sight of God. Pray see what Paul says he did when he found Jesus Christ ; he 
reckoned up all his legal privileges, and that righteousness lie had when a Pharisee, and 
says, " But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss lor Christ," Phil. iii. 7. 

Obj. 1 Perhaps some may say, true, he sold all his legal privileges and legal righteous- 
ness, but not his gospel inherent righteousness. 

Gospel rich- Answ. Yea, he parted with all his own gospel righteousness also in point 
teousncss of justification. "\ea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excel- 

tcdlvit^tHa"' lency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, my Lord, for whom I have suffered 


the loss of all things, and do count them hut dung that I may win Christ." Pr'in're*™ot' 
This is the selling all to have the pearl. St. Paul did not disclaim that of justitica- 
righteousness he had before his conversion only, but he speaks now in the ''""• 
present tense, I count all things, &c. He first speaks uf what he had and did count gain 
to him, and also what now he had done, or was wrought in him since a believer and an 
apostle, he sold all, parted with all his former and present inherent righteousness in point 
of trust or dependence, or in respect had to his justification before God ; nay, and counted 
both in comparison of Christ, the knowledge of Christ and liis righteousness, to be but 
dung or dogs-meat, as th« word signifies : " And be found in him not having ray own 
righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the 
righteousness which is of God by faith," Phil. iii. 9. 

Wiatsoever righteousness we have of our own, it is a righteousness of the law, as the 
law is in the hand of Christ, as a perfect rule of obedience ; but the righteousness of God 
is set in durect opposition to tlie righteousness of any mere creature, and so is the righte- 
ousness of faith, placed in direct opposition to works : and from hence it is that Paul saith, 
" ^od imputeth righteousness without works," Rom. iv. 6. Faith and works, or grace 
and works, are opposed one to the other, not only faith and the works of the law, but 
works as such of what kind soever as done by the creature, are excluded in our justification ; 
this further appears. 

1. See what Paul saith in Rom. iv. " Now to him that worketli is the ^^^^"al-e' 
reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt," Rom. iv. 4 ; that is, him that e-iciurted in 
worketh with a design to procure justification by what he doth ; this would t.on ''before*" 
render salvation to be a debt, let the work be of any kind whatsoever. <iod. 

2. Because that wliich is procured by works, is not had by grace : " And if by grace, 
then it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace, but if it be by works, then 
it is no more of grace, otherwise work is no more work," Rom. xi. 6. It must be wholly 
of works, or; else whoOy of grace, for these two cannot mix, they being directly contrary 
one to the other. 

3. Because all boasting is excluded ; by reason we are justified and saved by faith or 
grace alone : " By grace ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gilt 
of God ; not of works, lest any man should boast," Rom. iii. 27, and Eph. ii. 8. If they 
are works of the moral law, or of the ceremonial law, or gospel works, still it sliould be 
of works, and the same reason remain for boasting. But if there is in our justification no 
room for boasting, there is no room for works ; but there is no room for boasting. Ergo 
there is no room for works, but all works are excluded in our justification in the sight of God. 

Thus it ajipears he that sells all to have Christ, sells or parts with aU his own works 
and inherent righteousness in justification. 

"And bought it." 

It is not a proper buying, where the intrinsical value is given, or some- What buy- 
thing one man gives to procure another thing, for the sake of which he hath dofu'dcuote 
it as a purchasing or procuring condition ; but it is called a buying, because 
a man in buying parts with something he hath, to receive another thing which he hath 
not ; " but it is a buying witliout money and without price ; that is, without money or 
money's worth ; and what can that be less or more, but a free giving, and a free receiving : 
for any other buying is utterly inconsistent with the free grace of God in the gospel ; for 
righteousness is called a free gift ; Christ is called the gift of God. Faith the gift of 
God, and salvation or water of life is given freely, and all of God's free and absolute 
promises without any conditions required of us, to procure any one gospel blessing. Tlie 
gift of God cannot be purchased with our money, or by any thing we have to give for it : 
doth God sell his Son and liimself to sinners '? pray wliat doth he receive at our hands : 
" If thou be righteous, what givest thou to him, and what recei\eth he at thy hands," Job 
XXXV. 7. Before grace, or before God gives us this pearl, what have we to give luito 
God, but a bundle of imrighteousness ? Doth our filthy rags purchase Christ and his 
rigliteousness ? Or doth he receive those rags ofus ? No, no, wc must cast them away, and 
all other idols as abominable things. For. 

1. He that God gives Christ unto, is righteous by an imputed righteous Christ is a 
ness ; Christ's righteousness is freely given to him, imputed, or counted to ''"^S'"- 
be his, as an act of mere sovereign grace. 

2. God when he gives Christ to a sinner, gives him his Spirit also, as his own free gift ; 
and with the Holy Spirit he gives faith the fruit of the Spirit, and so the sinner comes to 
be renewed, and is inherently sanctified, aud by virtue of these free gifts wc come to 


have a righteous principle planted in us, ami are made righteous as an act of God's free 
grace, inherently righteous. 

3. Also every one that hath received this giace, or this free gift, is a righteous person, 
by a practical righteousness he dotli lighteousuess ; the one is a righteousness by regenera- 
tion, this is a righteousness by conversation, as the effects of the former ; " He that doth 
lighteousness is righteous," 1 John in. 7 ; that is, he is in a righteous state through justi- 
fication ; and hath a righeousness planted in him in sanctification. What givest thou un- 
to him ? The meaning is, thou givest nothing to him ; a free gift is the bestowing of 
something where there was no obligation lay upon the donor ; that is, a free gift which a 
person is not bound to bestow by any rule or law of righteousness upon any procuring cor.- 
ditiou or tenns requked of the receiver ; but it is only given freely, as an absolute act of 
special love and favour ; such a gift is Christ, and tlje Spirit of Christ, and faith to receive 

Obj. But doth not faith, repentance, &c., purchase, or buy the pearl ? 
Ffiith d th •*■■ ^''^^'^- iio^^' "^^^ faith, etc., be said to purchase Christ, when it and 
! ot purchase repentance both are given as a free gift of God ? Alas, we receive f(oth 
(hrist. these graces at the hand of God, and as a fruit of the Spirit, a mun receives 

the Spirit, and so Christ takes hold of him before he can apprehend Christ, or actually 
J eceive him ; and faith is not of ourselves, tliough it is the sinner that believes, as it was 
Lazarus that lived, and the life he had was his life, but yet it was a life in a supernatural 
manner given to him. 

2. God bids us believe ; so Christ bid Lazarus come forth out of the grave ; he that 
commands us to believe, hath promised to give that gi-ace to his elect, by which they shall 
LeUeve, and Christ takes hold of him ; God receives nothing of our hands, but all is given 
unto us freely. 

Obj. But faith is an antecedent condition, and it signifies no more than 
Jfr. riavcrs an act of ours, which though it be neither perfect m every degree, nor in the 
e;rora" pi'jss. l^ast meritorious of the benefit conferred, nor performed ui our natural strength, 
yet according to tbe constitution of the covenant it is required of us in order 
to the blessing consequent thereupon, by virtue of the promise ; and consequently the 
mercies granted in this order, are and must be suspended by the donor, or thspose of 
them, till it be performed. Such a condition we afiirra faith is. 

1. Answ. The antecedent condition according to these men, purcLaseth 
■\viiat a kind *'^^ estate Or blessings promised ; the lawyers reckon it is the purchase money, 
oi condition saith Dr. Chauncy, the consequent condition gets it, it is the quit rent ; which 
iiiithtobe.''^ if it be not paid, the Lord can enter and take the estate. So faith, &c., they 
will have to be the antecedent condition money, deposited and laid down be- 
clndmonBor ^"'"^ ^^^^ ^^^^^ anything of the spirituid estate. And they say it signifies 
ci use of jus- no more than an act of oui-s, and pray whose should it be but ours, if the con- 
uod^s's^lit." dition to be performed by us ? and why is this put in, it signifies no more ? 
LTnless the meaning is, tbat Christ and his righteousness should be shut out, 
i.ud it should be reckoned under the nature of this condition, merely as our own act, with- 
out respect to Christ the author of it, and Christ the true object of it. They tell us it is 
a negative qualification. Yet say 

It is not perfect in every degree. AVhafs the meaning of that ? This insinuates as if 
it were perfect in some degrees, and imperfect in other degi-ees. I had 
r. auncy. ^^jjQygjjj jjq gj-ace was perfect in degrees, though it be true as to kind. But they 
will have it perfect in some degrees, and imperfect in other degrees ; pray, in what de- 
gree is this condition perfect, and in what imperfect ? And whether that be not an im- 
perfect covenant that hath an imperfect condition ? 

It is not the least meritorious of tht benefits conferred, by no means, (J. e.,) by any 
iLtrmsical value and worth, either adequate to, or excelling the benefits received. 

Answ. No, their meaning is, what they have (saith one) is well worth their money ; 
it is a good bargain : but by their favour (saith he) every federal condition is expacto 
n.eritorious ; so that they may t'liallenge their bargain upon the performance, if it be but 
20 guineas, to purchase an i;100. per annum, so that we have only then- word for it, 
that it is not meritorious, when it is so really ; the nature of the thing speaks it so to 
be to the understanding of all men of sense. No, no, do not think to wheedle Christ out 
of his merits, and God out of his honour, of his free grace, and us out of the comfort of both. 

They say. It is not performed in our natural strength. 

Answ. No, and yet a condition of a covenant made with man ; a most unreasonable 

SF.r.M. xxxm.] th;; paeablf, of thii rr.Aiii:, of gufat price. 205 

thiiiff to require a condition of a covenant, of one that we know liatli _ 
no strength to perform it. If a rich mnn sliould offer an estate ofi£1000 ' "'"°'''^- 
per year, to a poor man, that he knew was not worth a gi'oat, provided ho fotcl;e.l 
twenty pounds of iiis own money, tliis act would be reckoned a ridiculing tliis poor 
wretch. God did not require that small condition of Adam, but that he was actually 
endowed with strength to perform it. They will say, God gives them ability to perform 
it ; so he did Adam, previous to the covenant. As the rich man may tell the poor 
sir, I will give you the .£20 to pay me for my estate ; he will say, well sir, when you give 
it to me, I will bargain with you, and when I have it, tliough you gave it to me, 1 shall 
reckon it my money, as much as if I had raised it myself, or another had given it to me ; 
and if we bargam, yet it is a bargaui, and whato\ er I have of you is debt, and I can sue 
for it as purchased by me, saith the paor man. Now see how well qualified this condi- 
tion is. 

My brethren, believe it, God makes no such bai'gain with sinners as this ; there is no 
such buying of this pearl, as these men say. 

They say according to the constitution of the covenant, this condition is required of us 
in order to the blessing consequent thereupon, by virtue of the promise. 

This, as our author notes, is a parados indeed ; what do they mean by the constitu- 
tion of the covenant ? is it not according to other covenants by the constitution of their 
new scheme ? is it not by a condition on the creature's part, to be performed, and a pro- 
mise thereupon annexed ? and is not the condition (saith the Dr.) performed fcederale 
rncritum ? or do this and live, ordo fcederalis, and the blessings consequent ex pacta there- 
fore a debt ; think not to beat us out of our senses, that the blessings of a covenant are 
only conseqiientia ordinis vel porsteritatis ; as one man follows another in a narrow path, • 
or ordine vel virtnte pacli, in or to a fosderal right and challenge of the benefits as a due 

2. How can faith be a condition of the covenant of grace, whereas it is a part or a 
branch of the said covenant ? 

Have not they the pearl, who have the spirit and faith given to them ? or doth not God 
give men faith? but contrariwise it is their own act (without the seed thereof being first 
infused in them) and so Christ is purchased with their money. 

3. AVhat condition can he that is dead perform ? or are not all before quickened by a 
vital principle infused into them spiritually dead ? 

4. Or is there any covenant of grace made with sinners, but that only made with Christ, 
and in him for all, and with aU the elect ? And hath not Christ obliged himself to God 
the Father, to answer all the conditions on their behalf (i. e.) work all their works in them 
and for them, as an act of free grace alone ? 

Obj. But our new scheme men we say, the mercies granted in our sense must be sus- 
pended by the donor or disposer of them, till the condition (which is faith) be performed. 

Answ. You bid poor sinners come and buy, and you say not with the prophet, without 
money and without price ; but they must have a parcel of money first to do it, implying 
still that sinners must bring faith, &c., repentance, itc, along with them, or there is no 
Christ for them ; and that is as hard to bring as the money of perfect righteousness. For 
faith is wrought in the soul by the power of God, nay, according to his exceeding and al- 
mighty power, and in the same manner that he wrouglit in Christ, when he raised him 
up from the dead, as Paul shows, Eph. i. 19. Though we have not Christ -^vithout faith, 
so we have not faith without Christ, and both are promised and given freely ; and faith it- 
self is not a purchasing and procuring condition of the blessings promised, but one d the 
blessings of the covenant, and free and absolute promises of God ; " I \rill be their God, 
and they shall be my people. — I will take away the heart of stone, and I will give them 
a heart of flesh. — I will put a new Spirit in them — I will put my Spirit upon them — I 
will put my law iu their hearts, and write it in their inward parts." 

If a man must have faith, before he can have Christ, and buy the pearl with that faith, 
which is his act ; then salvation is by works, and, with money, and not jwithout money 
and price ; and that which is worse, if faith be not contained in the free promise, as a 
part of the covenant between the Father and Son, but men must work it out of their own 
bowels, or get it as their own money to buy ; it is impossible for any man ever to purchase 
tliis pearl, but all men must without remedy perish for evermore. 

Quest. But doth not the gospel require faith as a condition of justification and eternal 
life ? 


pomfition ■'■• -^"S"'- ^^^ ^^ a Condition of connexion by way of order, as one tiling 

faith is of dependetli on another (as our author observes) in logic, if a creature be a man, 
nnd eternal ''^ is a rational creature ; or if God be the first cause, he is the Creator of all 
lif**- things. And in this sense (saith he) creation is a condition of salvation, if a 

Dr.Chauncy. nian be saved, he must be created ; so if a man believe, he shall be saved; be- 
lieving is a condition of connexion, a state of grace, is thus a condition of a 
state of glory, by way of connexion in tlie promise, but one is not the federal condition 
of another, but both come in as the gift of grace. In this sense the covenant contains all 
the conditions of order and dependence in the exhibition and performance ; the hearing 
the word is the condition of faith, but hearing is not a federal condition ; so the giving the 
Spirit is the condition of our union with Christ and of faith, and faith the condition of our 
receiving of pardon, and living a holy life — and holiness the condition of seeuig God, and 
of having eternal life ; but these kinds of conditions are federal entitling conditions to the 
promise, but are contained in the promise, and denote the connexion and dependence of 
one promised benefit with another. 

2. Though faith be required of them that are saved, yea, and repentance, regeneration, 
holiness, and a new heart also ; yet these blessings are all promised in the covenant, as 
part thereof. But faith itself is no federal condition, but only serves to show what God wiU 
do for, and work in such that he as tin act of free grace will save. 

Ba-xterism From hence we may see how wofully blind they are, who assert faith, 

detected. repentance, and sincere obedience are not only federal conditions of justifica- 

tion, but also are the matter or material cause thereof. And this is to buy the peai'l indeed 
with our own money. 

Thus having shown what is meant by buying the pearl, I shall run in some few things 
parallel-wise about buying, though the disparities are great, as hath been showed. 

" And bought it." 
A parallel 1. He that buys a pearl, must know where it is to be had, he seeks it 
tUepeari^" and finds it. First, So a poor sinner must know where to find Christ, and he 
seeks him and finds him, which finding is believing, as I have shown. 

2. They that would buy must know the market-day, and repair thither. So must a sin- 
ner attend on the word and ministry of the Gospel, that would have Jesus Christ. 

3. Buyers commonly ask the price of that they would buy. So sinners should ask the 
price or terms on which they must have Christ, and that is freely (without money, and with- 
out price) or not at all ; they must come without money to this market. Good news for 
the poor. 

4. Some come to market only to cheapen, ask the price of, way of buying, and that is 
all. So do some here ; they thmk it is time enough to buy hereafter, and resolve to keep 
tlieir sins and the love of the world in their hearts at present. 

5. Some that come to buy like not the terms, they are full of money, and scorn to re- 
ceive all freely ; no, they are proud and haughty, it is too cheap for them. So some sin- 
ners will have no pearl, no Christ, unless they have it for their money, or on the conditions 
of faith, repentance, and sincere obedience. 

0. Some come to buy too late, the market-day is over. So many (like the foolish vir- 
gins,) come too late to buy. See that parable. 

7. In buying, some things ai-e parted with, though it be not of any great value in res- 
pect of what they receive thereupon. So such who would have Christ the Pearl of great price, 
must do as Paul did, viz., part with all that is gain to them, or what they have set their 
hearts upon, or is their own, whether sinful pleasures, riches, or honours, inordinate desires ; 
yea, and all their shis and lusts whatsoever ; and also (as I said) with all their old hopes of 
heaven, and all their own righteousness, good deeds, or good works in point of trust or de- 
pendence, or in respect of justification in God's sight. But these terms the young man in 
the Gospel did not like of, therefore refused this pearl, and many now-a-days are like unto 

8. Some refuse to buy in the proper season, and afterwards cry out against themselves 
for their folly. So they that contemn Jesus Christ, or refuse this pearl, out of love to sin, 
or love to religious or righteous self, will bewail their folly to an endless eternity. 


First, Be exhorted to buy the pearl. 

1. You that are poor, aud have no money sure will buy, i. e., you will have Christ, for 
you have nothmg to trust to, or depend upon, for eternal life, if you buy not, none will. 




" Again the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field, which, when a man 
hath found he hidelh, and for joy thereof goeth and sell-eth all he hath, and buyelh 
that field." — Matt. xiii. 44. 

Ix two parables in tbis chapter our Lord comparetli the kingiloin of beaven to 

tbings of small -worth or value, viz., grain of nmstard-seed, anil to leaven, from and scoi'.?"of 

the nature or quality of those tbiugs. But here he makes use of tbis and that ti"s parable 

of the pearl, to set forth the kingdom of beaven, by that which is excellent in "'"'"'■ 

its own nature, viz., by treasure, that the faithful might prefer the blessings of the Gospel 

and divine grace, as things of great worth ; for what is esteemed by manldnd more than 

treasure of gi-eat value ? 

2. The kingdom of beaven may be compared to treasure hid, etc., to show that Chris 
and divine gi'ace, or spiritual riches, are hid from the carnal eyes of the men of tbis world ; 
and hence it tis they have such low and contemptible thoughts of these things, they being 
of a spiritual and invisible nature ui themselves, are not discerned but by him, whose un- 
derstandmg is enlightened by the Spirit of God. " ^V'hat man knoweth the things of a man, 
save the spirit of a man that is hi him ; so the things of God knoweth no man but the Spu-it 
of God," 1 Cor. ii. 11. 

3. To show that men who would find Jesus Christ and all spiritual blessings in him, 
must search with great care and pains after them. 

4. To discover that be who finds tbis spiritual treasure, must part with all that he 
esteems to be gain xmto him, or is valued by him, that he may have, and possess divine 
riches as his own. 

" The kingdom of heaven," &c. 

By the kingdom of heaven here, according to all expositors (I have meet with) is meant 
the word of the kingdom, or the dispensation of the Gospel, together with the gi-ace and favour 
of God ; all grace being dispensed by Christ the Mediator of the new covenant, who is a 
king, (as well as a priest and prophet), and it also tends to the erecting, setting up, and 
leading men into Christ's spiritual kingdom here, and unto bis eternal kingdom hereafter ; 
and from hence it is called the kmgdom of heaven. 

" Is Idee unto treasure," &c. 

Though wicked men do generally love riches, or earthly treasure, yet they are ignorant 
of tbis, they do not account any thing to be treasure, but such tbings only which maketh 
men earthly, rich, and great in this world. But by this parable (and that of the pearl) our 
Saviour shows us there is better treasure than that which is earthly and visible to the car- 
nal eyes, which tends to make men spiritually rich, and eternally happy. 

There is, my brethren, a real and inconceivable worth in Jesus Christ and the spiritual 
blessings we have in and with him (as you have heard in my opening the parable of the pearl 
of great price,) this our Lord clearly shows by calling it treasure, that so all might with the 
greater diligence seek it. Christ is called a pearl, nay, a pearl of great price, and the Word 
is compared to gold, yea, preferable to much fine gold. Also the apostle calls the knowledge 
of Christ, and the great mysteries of the Gospel, treasure. " We have this treasure 
in earthen vessels," 2 Cor. iv. 7. The grace and fulness which is in our Saviour, is called