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Full text of "The complete works of Thomas Manton, D.D. : with memoir of the author"




EASTER, 1906 

< V \ 



VOL. I. 


W. LINDSAY ALEXANDER, D.D., Professor of Theology, Congregational 
Union, Edinburgh. 

JAMES BEGG, D.D., Minister of Newington Free Church, Edinburgh. 

THOMAS J. CRAWFORD, D.D., S.T.P., Professor of Divinity, University, 

D. T. K. DRUMMOND, M.A., Minister of St Thomas's Episcopal Church, 

WILLIAM H. GOOLD, D.D., Professor of Biblical Literature and Church 
History, Reformed Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh. 

ANDREW THOMSON, D.D., Minister of Broughton Place United Presby 
terian Church, Edinburgh. 





Wtify HJUmoir of % !|u:tjwr 


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MR KYLE'S Essay will form the Prefatory matter to Vol. II. ED. 





Preface, . . . . . . . .3 

Introduction, . . . . . . .4 

" Our Father which art in Heaven/' ... 39 

" Hallowed be thy name," .... 66 

" Thy kingdom come," . . .90 

" Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven," . 120 

" Give us this day our daily bread," . . . 149 

" And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors," . 167 

" And lead us not into temptation," . . . . 199 

" But deliver us from evil," . . . . .232 

"For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory," . 243 
"Forever. Amen." ...... 253 


To the Reader, ..... 257 

The Temptation of Christ, ... . 259 

Sermon I. Mat. iv. 1, . . 259 

II. iv. 2-4, ... 267 

III. iv. 5, 6, 276 

IV. iv. 7, . . . . 286 
V. iv. 8, 9, .... 301 

VI. iv. 10, . . . 313 

VII. iv. 11, . . . . 323 

The Transfiguration of Christ, . 337 

Sermon I. Mat. xvii. 1 ; Luke ix. 28, . . 337 

II. xvii. 2 ; ix. 29, . 347 


i ,K.I: 

Sermon III. Mat. xvii. 3 ; Luke ix. 30, 31, 358 

IV. xvii. 4 ; ix. 32, 33, 370 

V. xvii. 5, . 382 

VI. xvii. 5, . 392 

VII. xvii. 6-8, 402 


To the Christian Reader, . . . . .415 

Sermon I. Col. i. 14, . 417 

II. i. 15, . . . 427 

III. i. 16, . . 434 

IV. i. 17, . 444 
V. i. 18, .. . 453 

VI. i. 18, . ... 464 

VII. i. 19;ii. 9, . . 476 

VIII. i. 20, . 494 






THOUGH the lives of great and excellent persons have been always 
reckoned a useful piece of history, and scarce anything is read with 
greater entertainment, yet it has often happened that they have been 
undertaken with great disadvantage, and not till the best means of col 
lecting proper materials, either by the neglect of their friends, or the 
distant publication of their works, have been in a great measure lost. 
So it was in the Life of the famous Mr Kichard Hooker, which was 
not undertaken by Dr Walton till near seventy years after his death. 
By this means there is reason to fear some memorable passages were 
past recovery, after all inquiry, in the lately-published account of that 
extraordinary person, Mr John Howe, by Dr Calamy. And thus it 
has proved in the present case. One cannot but wonder that the life 
of a person of so great worth and general esteem, and who bore so 
great a part in the public affairs of his own time, was never attempted 
while his most intimate friends, and they who were best acquainted 
with the most remarkable passages concerning him, were yet alive. It 
has been thought, however, not improper upon this occasion to retrieve 
that error as far as may be, and lay together in one view what can be 
now gathered from some of his relations yet living, from his own writ 
ings, and the memoirs of those who published his works and were 
contemporary with him. And it is to be hoped that this short arid 
imperfect account, drawn up under disadvantage indeed, but with 
strict regard to truth, may do some justice to the memory of so excel 
lent a person and the interest he espoused, and give some entertain 
ment and instruction to the world. 

Dr THOMAS MANTON was born in the year ] 620, at Lawrence-Lydiat, 
in the county of Somerset. His father and both his grandfathers were 
ministers. He had his school-learning at the free school of Tiverton, 

1 This Memoir was originally prefixed to a second edition of Manton's works, of which 
only the iirat volume appears t<> have been published ED. 


in Devonshire. He run through his grammatical studies, and was 
qualified to enter upon academical learning at the age of fourteen, 
which was very unusual in those days, when the methods of school- 
learning were more difficult and tedious, and youth designed for the 
university were commonly detained to eighteen or nineteen years of 
age. But his parents, either judging him too young, or loth to part 
with him so soon, kept him some time longer before he was sent to 
Oxford. He was placed in Wadham College in the year 1635 ; and, 
after preparatory studies, he applied himself to divinity, which was the 
work his heart was chiefly set upon, and which he designed to make 
the business of his life. 1 By a course of unwearied diligence, joined 
with great intellectual endowments, he was early qualified for the 
work of the ministry, and took orders much sooner than was usual, 
and than he himself approved upon maturer thoughts and after he had 
more experience. There is a remarkable passage to this purpose in his 
Exposition of James, in which he expresses the humble acknowledgment 
of his fault, and which has proved monitory and affecting to others. He 
delivered it with tears in his eyes. It is on the 19th verse of the 
first chapter, ' Be slow to speak.' ' I remember/ says he, ' my faults 
this day ; I cannot excuse myself from much of crime and sin in it. 
I have been in the ministry these ten years, and yet not fully com 
pleted the thirtieth year of my age the Lord forgive my rash intru 
sion.' He was ordained by the excellent Joseph Hall, then Bishop 
of Exeter, afterwards removed to Norwich, who took particular notice 
of him upon that occasion, and expressed his apprehensions ' that he 
would prove an extraordinary person.' 2 The times when he first 
entered into the ministry were full of trouble, the king and parliament 
being at open variance, and hostilities breaking out on both sides. He 
was confined to Exeter -when it was besieged by the king's forces. 
After its surrender he went to Lime. He preached his first sermon 
at Sowton, near Exeter, on those words, ' Judge not, that ye be not 
judged,' a copy of which is now in the hands of a relation. It was 
some time before he had any fixed place for the exercise of his minis 
try. He first began at Culliton, in Devonshire, where he preached a 
weekly lecture, and was much attended and respected. There he had 
an occasion of reforming the disorderly practice of those who, after 
the example of a leading gentleman, fell to their private devotion in 
the congregation after the public worship was begun. At his coming 
to London, he was soon taken notice of as a young man of excellent 

1 Anthony Wood ('Athense Oxon.,' p. 600) says he was accounted in his college a 
hot-headed person which is as remote from what was known to be the true character of 
Dr Manton as it is agreeable to his own. If he had not been a hot-headed writer, he 
would not everywhere appear so full of prejudice and spite, nor have thrown out so many 
rash and injudicious reflections upon the best men of the Established Church who had 
any degree of temper and moderation, as well as upon the Nonconformists, and reserved 
his kindness and tenderness to the Popishly-afFected and Nonjurors. 

2 Mr Wood, ubi supra, says he became a preacher, though not in holy orders, at 
Culliton, in Devonshire ; and afterwards, that he took orders at Westminster, from 
Thomas, Bishop of Galloway, in the beginning of 1660. He seems to suppose that he 
had preached without orders all that time, when he was certainly ordained by Bishop 
Hall before he was twenty. And though he was ordained only to Deacon's orders, he 
never would submit to any other ordination. His judgment was, that he was properly 
ordained to the ministerial office, and that no power on earth had any right to divide 
and parcel it out. 


parts and growing hopes. Here he neither wanted work, nor will to 
perform it, for he was in the vigour of his youth, and applied himself 
to it with great diligence and pleasure, for which he was remarkable 
all his life. About this time he married Mrs Morgan, who was a 
daughter of a genteel family of Manston, in Sidbnry, Devon, and not 
Mr Obadiah Sedgwick's daughter, whom he succeeded in Covent Gar 
den, as Mr Wood mistakes it. She was a meek and pious woman, 
and though of a weak and tender constitution, outlived the doctor 
twenty years, who was naturally hale and strong. 

He had not been above three years in the ministry, before he had 
his first settlement, which was at Stoke Newington, in Middlesex, 
near London. He was presented to this living by the Honourable 
Colonel Popham, in whom he had a most worthy and kind patron ; l 
and was highly honoured and esteemed by him and his religious lady. 
It was here he began and finished his excellent exposition of the 
Epistle of James on his week-day lectures, which he carried on with 
out an assistant, besides his constant preaching both parts of the 
Lord's- day. This exposition has been thought by good judges to be 
one of the best models of expounding Scripture, and to have joined 
together with the greatest judgment the critical explication and prac 
tical observations upon the several parts. Some time after, he went 
through the Epistle of Jude. This, though excellent in its kind, is 
not so strictly expository, but more in a sermon way, which he says 
was more in compliance with the desires of others than with his own 
judgment. This was almost finished while he continued at Newing 
ton, and was dedicated to the Lady Popham. It is worth observing 
with what respect and sense of obligation he treats the colonel and his 
lady, and so contrary to the modern modish way of address with 
what faithfulness at the same time he warns them of their temptations 
and danger. I shall only give the reader a taste of his spirit and ex 
pression in his younger years. ' By this inscription/ says he to the 
colonel, ' the book is become not only mine, but yours. You own the 
truths to which I have witnessed ; and it will be sad for our account 
in the day of the Lord, if, after such solemn professions, you and I 
should be found in a carnal and unregenerate state. Make it your 
work to honour him who has advanced you. The differences of high 
and low, rich and poor, are only calculated for the present world, and 
cannot outlive time. The grave takes away the civil differences ; 
skulls wear no wreaths and marks of honour ; the small and great are 
there ; the servant is free from his master. So at the day of judgment 
I saw the dead, both great and small, stand before the Lord. None 
can be exempt from standing before the bar of Christ. When the 
civil difference ceases, the moral takes place ; the distinction then is, 
good and bad, not great and small. Then you will see that there is 
no birth like that to be born again of the Spirit, no tenure like an 
interest in the covenant, no estate like the inheritance of the saints, 
no magistracy like that whereby we sit at Christ's right hand judging 
angels and men. How will the faces of great men gather blackness, 
who now flourish in the pomp and splendour of an outward estate, 
but then shall become the scorn of God, and of saints and angels 

1 See ' Dedication to the Epistle of James.' 
VOL. !. b 


and these holy ones shall come forth and say, " Lo, this is the man 
who made not God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his 
riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness ! " Wealth and 
power are of no use in that day, unless it be to aggravate and increase 
the judgment. Many who are now so despicable and obscure that 
they are lost in the tale and count of the world, shall then be taken 
into the arms of Christ ; he will not be ashamed to confess them 
before men and before his Father " Father, this is one of mine." So 
also in heaven there are none poor ; all the vessels of glory are filled 
up. If there is any difference in degree, the foundation of it is laid 
in grace, not in greatness. Greatness hath nothing greater than a 
heart to be willing, and a power to be able, to do good. Then it is a 
fair resemblance of that perfection which is in God, who differs from 
man in nothing so much as in the eternity of his being, the infinite- 
ness of his power, and the unweariedness of his love and goodness. 
It is a fond ambition of men to sever these things. We all affect to 
be great, but not good ; and would be as gods, not in holiness, but in 
power. Nothing has cost the creature dearer : it turned angels into 
devils, and Adam out of Paradise. You will bear with my plainness 
and freedom other addresses would neither be comely in me nor 
pleasing to you. Our work is not to flatter greatness, but, in the 
Scripture sense, not in the humour of the age, to level mountains.' 

In his epistle to Lady Popham he tells her, ' It is a lovely conjunc 
tion when goodness and greatness meet together. Persons of estate 
and respect have more temptations and hindrances than others, but 
greater obligations to own God. The great Landlord of the world 
expects rent from every cottage, but a larger revenue from great houses. 
Now usually it falls out so, that they who hold the greatest farms pay 
the least rent. Never is God more neglected and dishonoured than in 
great men's houses, and in the very face of all his bounty. If religion 
chance to get in there, it is soon worn out again. Though vice lives 
long in families, and runs in the blood from father to son, it is a rare 
case to see strictness of religion carried on for three or four descents. 
It was the honour of Abraham's house, that from father to son, forja 
long while, they were heirs of the same promise. But where is there 
such a succession in the families of our gentry? The causes of 
which he reduces to " plenty, ill -governed," which disposes to vice, as 
a rank soil is apt to breed weeds, and to a certain " false bravery of 
spirit/' which thinks strictness inglorious, and the power of religion a 
mean thing ; and to " the marriage of children into carnal families," 
wherein they consult rather with the greatness of their houses than the 
continuance of Christ's interest in their line and posterity. How- 
careful are they that they match in their own rank for blood and 
estate ! Should they not be as careful for religion also ? All this is 
spoken, madam, to quicken you to greater care in your relation, and 
that you may settle a standing interest for Christ, so hopefully already 
begun in your house and family. Though your course of life be more 
private and confined, yet you have your service. The Scripture speaks 
of women gaining upon their husbands, seasoning the children, encour 
aging servants in the ways of godliness, especially of their own sex. 
It is said of Esther (chap. iv. 16), " I also and my maidens will fast like- 


wise." These maidens were either Jews (and then it shows what ser 
vants should be taken into a nearer attendance, such as savour of 
religion), or else, which is more probable, such as she had instructed 
in the true religion ; for they were appointed her by the eunuch, and 
were before instructed in the court fashions (chap. ii. 9). But that 
did not satisfy. She takes them to instruct them in the knowledge of 
the true God ; and, it seems, in her apartments had opportunity of 
.religious commerce with them in the worship of God.' 

He continued seven years at Newington, and possessed the general 
respect of his parishioners, though there were several persons of dif 
ferent sentiments from himself. Being generally esteemed an excel 
lent preacher, he was often employed in that work in London on the 
week-days ; and other weighty affairs sometimes called for his attend 
ance there. The custom of preaching to the sons of the clergy began 
in his time. Dr Hall (afterwards Bishop of Chester, and son of the 
famous Bishop Hall of Norwich) preached the first sermon to them, 
as Mr Manton did the second. The sermon is printed at the end of 
the third volume, in folio, upon Ps. cii. 28. He was several times, 
though not so often as some others, called to preach before the Parlia 
ment, and received their order in course for printing his sermons ; 
though, I think, he never published but two of them himself. Some 
of them are printed among his posthumous works. In all of them the 
wisdom and judgment of Dr Manton, in the suitableness of the subject 
to the circumstances of the times, and the prudent management of it 
to the best advantage, are very visible ; particularly after he had given 
his testimony among the London ministers against the death of the 
king, he was appointed to preach before the Parliament. His text was, 
Deut. xxxiii. 4, 5, ' Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance 
of the congregation of Jacob ; and he was king in Jeshurun, when the 
heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together/ 
When they were highly offended at this sermon, some of his friends 
advised him to withdraw, for some in the House talked of sending him 
to the -Tower, but he never flinched, and their heat abated. 

His removal from Newington to Covent Garden was occasioned by 
the great age of Mr Obadiah Sedgwick, who was now disabled for his 
work. The people growing uneasy, several worthy persons were pro 
posed for the place, but Mr Sedgwick would not be prevailed with to 
resign till Mr Manton was mentioned, and to that he readily yielded. 
He was presented to the living, with great respect and satisfaction, by 
his noble and generous patron, the Earl, afterwards Duke, of Bedford, 
who greatly esteemed him to his dying day, and sent him, as a mark 
of his respect, a key of the garden which then belonged to Bedford 
House, either to walk in it at his leisure, or as a convenient passage 
to the Strand. He had in this place a numerous congregation of per 
sons of great note and rank, of which number was oftentimes the 
excellent Archbishop Usher, who used to say of him, that he was one 
of the ' best preachers in England,' and that he was a ' voluminous 
preacher ; ' not that he was ever long and tedious, but because he had 
the art of reducing the substance of whole volumes into a narrow com 
pass, and representing it to great advantage. Mr Charnock used to 
say of him, that he was the ' best collector of sense of the age.' 


Dr Manton had a great respect for Mr Christopher Love, who was 
beheaded in the year 1651, by the then Parliament, for being concerned 
with some others in sending remittances abroad to support the royal 
family in their distress. I am informed that he attended him on the 
scaffold at Tower Hill, and that Mr Love, as a token of his respect, 
gave him his cloak. The doctor was resolved to preach his funeral 
sermon, which the Government understanding, signified their dis 
pleasure, and the soldiers threatened to shoot him ; but that did not 
daunt him, for he preached at St Lawrence Jury, where Mr Love had 
been minister, to a numerous congregation, though not graced with 
the pulpit cloth, or having the convenience of a cushion. He was too 
wise to lay himself open to the rage of his enemies ; but the sermon 
was printed afterwards, under the title of ' The Saint's Triumph over 
Death.' Lord Clarendon l speaks of Mr Love in terms of great dis 
respect, upon the report of a sermon he preached when he was a 
young man, at Uxbridge, at the time of the treaty. How far he 
might fail in his prudence in so nice a circumstance, I am not able to 
say ; but it appears, from the accounts of them who well knew him, 
and by the resentment his death generally met with at that time, as well 
as by several volumes of sermons printed after his death, that he was a 
person of worth and esteem. It was certainly a rash and ungenerous 
censure in the noble author, of one he knew so little at that time, and 
who afterwards lost his life for serving the royal family. 

The Government afterwards, for what reason it was best known to 
themselves, seemed at least to have an esteem for him, though he was 
far from courting their favour. When Cromwell took on him the 
Protectorship, in the year 1653, the very morning the ceremony was 
to be performed, a messenger came to Dr Manton, to acquaint him 
that he must immediately come to Whitehall. The doctor asked him 
the occasion : he told him he should know that when he came there. 
The Protector himself, without any previous notice, told him what he 
was to do, that is, to pray upon that occasion. 2 The doctor laboured 
all he could to be excused, and told him it was a work of that nature 
which required some time to consider and prepare for it. The Pro 
tector replied that he knew he was not at a loss to perform the service 
he expected from him ; and opening his study-door, he put him in with 
his hand, and bid him consider there, which was not above half an 
hour. The doctor employed that time in looking over his books, 
which, he said, was a noble collection. It was at this time, as I am 
informed, that the worthy Judge Rookesby had the misfortune, by the 
fall of a scaffold, to break his thigh, by which he always went lame, 
and was obliged to have one constantly to lead him. He was an 
upright judge, and a wise and religious person ; he was constant to 
his principles, and always attended the preaching of good old Mr 
Stretton to his dying day. 

About this time the doctor was made one of the chaplains to the 
Protector ; and appointed one of the committee to examine persons 

1 History, in folio, vol. ii., pp. 445, 446 ; vol. iii., pp. 337, 338. 

2 Whitlock, who was present, says, ' He recommended His Highness, the Parliament, 
the Council, and forces, and the whole Government and people of the three nations, to 
the blessing and protection of God.' Memorials, p. 661. 


who were to be admitted to the ministry, or inducted into livings ; as 
lie was afterwards appointed one in 1659, by an act of that Parlia 
ment in which the secluded members were restored. And though 
this proved troublesome to him, considering his constant employment 
in preaching, yet he has been heard to say, that he very seldom 
absented himself from that service, that he might, to his power, keep 
matters from running into extremes ; for there were many in those 
days, as well as in these, who were forward to run into the ministry, 
and had more zeal than knowledge ; and perhaps sometimes persons 
of worth liable to be discouraged. There is a pretty remarkable 
instance of his kind respect to a grave and sober person, who appeared 
before them (cap in hand, no doubt), and was little taken notice of, 
but by himself : he, seeing him stand, called for a chair, in respect to 
his years and appearance ; at which some of the commissioners were 
displeased. This person appeared to be of a Christian and ingenuous 
temper ; for, after the Eestoration, he was preferred to an Irish 
bishopric, perhaps an archbishopric ; for he used to give in charge 
to Bishop Worth, whose occasions often called him over to England, 
that on his first coming to London he should visit Dr Manton, and 
give his service to him, and let him know, that if he was molested in 
his preaching in England, he should be welcome in Ireland, and have 
liberty to preach in any part of his diocese undisturbed. What 
interest he had in the Protector he never employed for any sordid 
ends of his own, who might have had anything from him, but purely 
to do what service he pould to others : he never refused to apply to 
him for anything in which he could serve another, though it was not 
always with success. He was once desired by some of the principal 
Royalists to use his interest in him for sparing Dr Hewit's life, who 
was condemned for being in a plot against the then Government ; 
which he did accordingly. The Protector told him, if Dr Hewit had 
shown himself an ingenuous person, and would have owned what he 
knew was his share in the design against him, he would have spared 
his life ; but he was, he said, of so obstinate a temper, that he resolved 
he should die. The Protector convinced Dr Manton before he parted 
that he knew how far he was engaged in that plot. 

While he was minister at Covent Garden, he was invited to preach 
before the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen, and the Companies 
of the city, upon some public occasion, at St Paul's. The doctor 
chose some difficult subject, in which he had opportunity of displaying 
his judgment and learning, and appearing to the best advantage. He 
was heard with the admiration and applause of the more intelligent 
part of the audience ; and was invited to dine with my Lord Mayor, 
and received public thanks for his performance. But upon his return 
in the" evening to Covent Garden, a poor man following him, gently 
plucked him by the sleeve of his gown, and asked him if he were the 
gentleman who had preached that day before my Lord Mayor. He 
replied, he was. ' Sir,' says he, ' I came with earnest desires after 
the word of God, and hopes of getting some good to my soul, but I 
was greatly disappointed ; for I could not understand a great deal of 
what you said ; you were quite above me.' The doctor replied, with 
tears in his eyes, ' Friend, if I did not give you a sermon, you have 


given me one ; and, by the grace of God, I will never play the fool to 
preach before my Lord Mayor in such a manner again/ Upon a 
public fast at Covent Garden church, for the persecuted Protestants 
in the valleys of Piedmont, Dr Manton had got Mr Baxter, who hap 
pened to be then in London, and Dr WUkins, who was afterwards 
Bishop of Chester, to assist him. Mr Baxter opened the day, and 
preached upon the words of the prophet Amos, chap. vi. 6 : ' But they 
are not grieved for the afflictions of Joseph.' He, after his manner, 
took a great compass, and grasped the whole subject. Dr Manton 
succeeded him, and had chosen the same text : he was obliged often 
to refer to the former discourse, and to say, every now and then, 
'As it has been observed by my reverend brother/ Dr Wilkins sat 
cruelly uneasy, and reckoned that between them both he should 
have nothing left to say; for he had got the same text too. He 
insisted upon being excused, but Dr Manton obliged him to go up 
into the pulpit ; and by an ingenious artifice, he succeeded admirably. 
Before he named his text, he prepared the audience by expressing the 
fears of their narrow-spiritedness, and little concern for the interest of 
God in the world : ' For/ says he, ' without any knowledge or design 
of our own, we have all three been directed to the same words.' 
Which, spoken with the majesty and authority peculiar to the pre 
sence and spirit of that excellent person, so awakened the attention, 
and disposed the minds of the people, that he was heard with more 
regard, and was thought to do more good than both the former, 
though he had scarce a single thought throughout the sermon distinct 
from the other two. 

In the year 1660 he was very instrumental, with many other Pres 
byterian divines, in the restoration of King Charles II. It must be 
owned, by impartial judges, that the Presbyterian party, who had the 
greatest influence in the nation at that time, had the greatest share in 
that change ; nor could all the Episcopal party in the three kingdoms 
have once put it into motion, or brought it to any effect, without them, 
though they had all the favour and preferment bestowed upon them 
afterwards ; which, whether it were more just or politic, more agree 
able to the laws of equity or the rules of prudence, I leave to the 
reader to determine. 1 Perhaps, if the king had been brought in upon 
the conditions the noble Earl of Southampton would have proposed, 
and which were approved by the Earl of Clarendon, when it was too 
late, it had prevented a great deal of the arbitrary and violent pro 
ceedings of that loose and luxurious reign, and contributed to the 
safety and happiness of the prince, and people too. He was one of 
the divines appointed to wait upon the king at Breda, where they 
were well received, and for some time after greatly caressed. The 
doctor was sworn one of the king's chaplains by the Earl of Man 
chester, Lord Chamberlain, who truly honoured him. He was one 
of the commissioners at the Savoy Conference, and used his utmost 
endeavours in that unsuccessful affair. Dr Keynolds, afterwards 
Bishop of Norwich, joined with those divines who were for alterations 
in ecclesiastical affairs. He was the first who received the commis 
sion from the Bishop of London, of which he immediately acquainted 
1 See Bishop Burnet's ' History of his Own Times,' p. 89. 


Dr Manton. The original letter is now in my hands, and expresses 
the candour and goodness of that excellent person, and his great 
respect for Dr Manton. It is in these words : 

' SIR, This morning the Bishop of London sent me the commission 
about revising the Liturgy under the great seal, to take notice of; with 
direction to give notice to the commissioners who are not bishops. I went 
to Mr Calamy, and it is desired that we meet to-morrow morning at nine 
o'clock, at his house, in regard of his lameness, to advise together, and send 
a joint letter to those who are out of this town. He and I desire you not to 
fail ; and withal to call upon Dr Bates and Dr Jacomb in your way, to desire 
their company. So, with my best respects, 

' I remain your most loving brother, 


' LONDON, April 1, 1660.' 

He was offered at this time the deanery of Kochester, which Dr 
Harding was in great fear he would accept, and plied him with letters 
to come to some resolution ; having reason to hope that, upon his 
refusal, he should obtain it, as he afterwards did. The doctor kept it 
some time in suspense, being willing to see whether the king's decla 
ration could be got to pass into a law, which they had great encourage 
ments given them to expect, and which would have gone a great way 
towards uniting the principal parties in the nation, and laying the 
foundation of a lasting peace. * Many persons who had, in the former 
times, purchased bishops' and deans' lands, earnestly pressed him to 
accept the deanery, with hopes they might find better usage from him 
in renewing their leases, and offered their money for new ones, which 
he might have taken with the deanery, and quitted again in 1662, 
there being then no assent and consent imposed ; but he was above 
such underhand dealings, and scorned to enrich himself with the 
spoils of others. When he saw the most prudent and condescending 
endeavours, through the violence and ambition of some leading men, 
availed nothing to the peace of the church and the happiness of the 
nation, he sat down under the melancholy prospect of what he lived 
to see come to pass, namely, the decay of serious religion, with a flood 
of profaneness and a violent spirit of persecution. The greatest worth 
and the best pretensions met with no regard where there were any 
scruples in point of ceremony and subscription. 

In the interval between the Restoration and his ejectment, he was 
greatly esteemed by persons of the first quality at court. Sir John 
Baber used to tell him, that the king had a singular respect for him. 
Lord Chancellor Hyde was always highly civil and obliging to him. 
He had free access to him upon all occasions, which he always ini- 

1 The declaration was drawn up by Lord Chancellor Hyde, and contained, among 
other things, the following concessions : That no bishops should ordain or exercise any 
part of jurisdiction, which appertaineth to the censures of the church, without the advice 
and assistance of the presbyters : that chancellors, commissaries, and officials should be 
excluded from acts of jurisdiction; and the power of pastors in their several congrega 
tions restored ; and that liberty should be granted to all ministers to assemble monthly 
for the exercise of their pastoral persuasive power, and the promoting of knowledge and 
godliness in their flocks ; that ministers should be free from the subscription required 
by the canon, and from the oath of canonical obedience ; and that the use of the ceremonies 
should be dispensed with, where they were scrupled. 


proved, not for himself, but for the service of others. I shall only 
give a single instance. Mr James, of Berkshire, who was afterwards 
known by the name of Black James, an honest and worthy person, 
was at the point of being cast out of his living, which was a sequestra 
tion. He came to London to make friends to the Lord Chancellor, 
but could find none proper for his purpose. He was at length advised 
to go to Dr Manton, to whom he was yet a stranger, as the most 
likely to serve him in this distress. He came to him late in the even 
ing, and when he was in bed. He told his case to Mrs Manton, who 
advised him to come again in the morning, and did not doubt but the 
doctor would go with him. He answered, with great concern, that it 
would be too late ; and that if he could not put a stop to it that night, 
he and his family must be ruined. On so pressing a case the doctor 
rose, and, because it rained, went with him in a coach to the Lord 
Chancellor, at York House ; who spying the doctor in the crowd, where 
many persons were attending, called to him to know what business he 
had there at that time of night. When he acquainted him with his 
errand, my lord called to the person who stamped the orders upon 
such occasions, and asked him what he was doing ? He answered, 
' that he was just going to put the stamp to an order for passing 
away such a living.' Upon which he bid him stop ; and upon hearing 
further of the matter, bid the doctor not trouble himself, his friend 
should not be molested. He enjoyed it to the time of his ejectment, 
in 1662, which was a great support to a pretty numerous family. 
Upon his refusing the deanery, he fell under Lord Clarendon's dis 
pleasure, so fickle is the favour of the great ; and he once accused him 
to the king for dropping some treasonable expressions in a sermon. 
The king was so just and kind as to send for him, and ordered him to 
bring his notes. When he read them, the king asked, whether upon 
his word this was all that was delivered ; and upon the doctor's 
assurance that it was so, without a syllable added to it, the king said, 
' Doctor, I am satisfied, and you may be assured of my favour ; but 
look to yourself, or else Hyde will be too hard for you.' 

In whatsoever company he was, he had courage, as became a faith 
ful minister of Christ, to oppose sin ; and upon proper occasions, to 
reprove sinners. Duke Lauderdale, who pretended to carry it with 
great respect to him, in some company where the doctor was present, 
behaved himself very indecently : the doctor modestly reproved him, 
but the duke never loved him afterward. He was once at dinner at 
Lord Manchester's in Whitehall, when several persons of great note 
began to drink the king's health, a custom which then began to be 
much in vogue, and was commonly abused to great disorders. When 
it came to him, he refused to comply with it, apprehending it beneath 
the dignity of a minister to give any countenance to the sinful excess 
it so often occasioned in those times. It put a stop to it at that time, 
and Prince Kupert, who was present, inquired who he was. Many of 
the Scotch nobility greatly respected him, particularly the Duchess of 
Hamilton, who attended his ministry. Notwithstanding the great and 
weighty affairs then on foot, which took up a great part of his time, 
he never omitted his beloved work of constant preaching, to the time 
of his ejection, in 1662. He then usually resorted to his own church, 


where he was succeeded by Dr Patrick, the late Bishop of Ely. It 
happened cross, that Dr Patrick receiving a scurrilous letter from an 
unknown person, full of reflections upon himself, had so little wisdom 
at that time as to charge it upon Dr Man ton, in a letter to him, with 
very unbecoming reflections. This occasioned his not attending any 
more his preaching ; for no man living more abhorred a base and un 
worthy action. Having this occasion of speaking a little to his dis 
advantage, I shall take the opportunity of doing a piece of justice to 
the memory of that learned person, who has since, by many books of 
devotion, and excellent paraphrases and commentaries on the scripture, 
as well as by his exemplary life, done so much good to the world, and 
deserved so well of the Christian church. It has been generally 
allowed, that Dr Patrick wrote the first volumes of the ' Friendly 
Debate/ in the heat of his youth, and in the midst of his expecta 
tions ; which by aggravating some weak and uncautious expressions, 
in a few particular writers, designed to expose the Nonconformist 
ministry to contempt and ridicule. The design was afterwards carried 
on by a worse hand, and with a more virulent spirit, 1 a method 
altogether unreasonable and unworthy, because it will be always easy 
to gather rash and unadvised expressions from the weaker persons of 
any party of men, and only serves to expose religion to the scorn and 
contempt of the profane. But Bishop Patrick in his advanced age, 
and in a public debate in the House of Lords, about the ' Occasional 
Bill,' took the opportunity to declare himself to this purpose : ' That 
he had been known to write against the Dissenters with some warmth, 
in his younger years ; but that he had lived long enough to see reason 
to alter his opinion of that people, and that way of writing ; and that 
he was verily persuaded there were some who were honest men and 
good Christians, who would be neither, if they did not ordinarily go to 
church, and sometimes to the meeting ; and on the other hand, some 
were honest men and good Christians, who would be neither, if they 
did not ordinarily go to the meetings and sometimes to church.' A 
rare instance this of retractation and moderation ; which I think re 
dounds greatly to his honour, and is worthy of imitation. 

But to return to the history. After he ceased to attend upon Dr 
Patrick's ministry, he used to preach on the Lord's-day evenings in his 
own house to his family, and some few of his neighbours ; and some 
time after, on Wednesday mornings, when the violence of the times 
would allow it. Upon the increase of his hearers, he was obliged to 
lay two rooms into one ; which yet, by reason of the number of the 
people, and the straitness of the place, proved very inconvenient to him, 
especially in hot weather, and prejudicial to his health. He had lived 
in that respect and good-will in the parish, that his neighbours were 
generally civil to him, and gave him no trouble. Only a little before 
his ejectment, one Bird, a tailor, a zealous stickler for the Common 
Prayer, complained to Dr Sheldon, then Bishop of London, that Dr 
Manton deprived him of the means of his salvation ; meaning the use 
of the Common Prayer. ' Well,' says the bishop, ' all in good time ; 
but you may go to heaven without the Common Prayer.' There was 
one Justice Ball, within a few doors of him, who often threatened him, 

1 Dr Samuel Parker, afterwards Bishop of Oxford. 


and was at last as good as his word. He was sometimes in danger 
from the churchwardens, of which number there were always three. 
The Duke of Bedford having always the choice of one, took care to 
have him a friend to the doctor ; and his well-known respect to him 
gave him countenance and protection from the malice of the meaner 
people. His meeting afterwards adjoined to Lord Wharton's house in 
St Giles's, which he allowed him the convenience of, whether he was 
in town or not. The good-natured Earl of Berkshire lived next door, 
who was himself a Jansenist Papist, and offered him the liberty, when 
he was in trouble, to come to his house ; which it was easy to do, by 
only passing over a low wall which parted the gardens. 

Not long after the Act of Ejectment, when the Government was 
forming a plot for the Presbyterians, for they had none of their own, 
in a debate in the House of Lords, Dr Ward, bishop of Salisbury, 
said, ' It was time to look after them, when such men as Dr Manton 
refused to take the oaths ;' which slander was soon contradicted by 
Lord Chamberlain Manchester, who assured the House of the falseness 
of the charge ; and that he himself had administered the oath to him 
when he was sworn one of His Majesty's chaplains. The doctor took 
notice of this as very disingenuous, because, not long before, the bishop 
and he had met at Astrop Wells ; and the bishop had treated him with 
great civility, and entered into particular freedoms with him. The 
doctor, indeed, was in his judgment utterly against taking the Oxford 
oath, viz., ' That it is not lawful, upon any pretence whatsoever, to 
take up arms against the king ; and, that we will not at any time 
endeavour any alteration of the government in Church or State.' And 
when some few of his brethren were satisfied to take it upon an explica 
tion allowed them by the Lord Keeper Bridgman, that is, that the oath 
meant only unlawful endeavours, the famous Mr Gouge came from 
Hammersmith with a design to take it ; but calling upon Dr Manton 
to know his opinion of it, he was so well satisfied with the reasons of 
his judgment, that he was perfectly easy in his mind, and never took 
it afterwards. 

In the year 1670, the meetings seemed for some time to be connived 
at, and were much attended. I remember to have heard some of the 
worthy ejected ministers speak of this period with particular pleasure ; 
they observed that, after the looseness and excess which followed the 
Restoration, the reproaches and persecutions of the Nonconformists, 
for several years, and the late terrible judgments of plague and fire, 
multitudes everywhere frequented the opened meetings, some from 
curiosity, and some upon better motives ; and many were delivered 
from the prejudices they had entertained, and received the first serious 
impressions upon their minds. God remarkably owned their ministry 
at that time, and crowned it, under all their disadvantages, with an 
extraordinary success. Soon after this indulgence expired, the doctor 
was taken prisoner, on a Lord's-day, in the afternoon, just after he had 
done his sermon. The door happened to be opened to let a gentleman 
out, at the very time the Justice and his attendants were at the door ; 
who immediately rushed in, and went up-stairs ; but finding the doctor 
in his prayer, they stayed till he had done, and then took the names of 
the principal persons. The doctor being warm with preaching, they 


were so civil to take his word to come to them after some convenient 
time. He went to them to a house in the Piazzas, where many persons 
of note were gathered together ; among whom was the then Duke of 
Richmond. After some discourse, they tendered him the Oxford oath. 
Upon his refusing to take it, they threatened to send him to prison. 
It was thought they questioned their own skill to draw up a warrant 
which would be sufficient to hold him ; and that it was afterward 
drawn up by the Lord Chief- Justice Vaughan. They dismissed him, 
however, at that time, upon his promise to come to them within two 
or three days ; and then gave the warrant to a constable, and com 
mitted him to the Gatehouse ; only allowing him a day's respite, till 
his room could be got ready. This imprisonment, by the kind provi 
dence of God, was more favourable and commodious than could have 
been thought, or than his enemies designed, or than he expected. 
The keeper of the prison at that time was the Lady Broughton, who 
was noted for her strictness and severity in her office, though she 
carried it quite otherwise towards the doctor ; for she allowed him a 
large handsome room joining to the Gatehouse, with a small one 
sufficient to hold a bed. For some time it was not thought prudent to 
admit any to come to him, but his wife and servant who attended him. 
It is worth notice here, that the doctor could not omit his delightful 
work of preaching, though to so small a congregation ; which he did, 
according to his former custom, both parts of the Lord's-day and once 
on a week-day. After some time his children, and some few friends, 
to the number of twelve or fifteen, were admitted to hear him preach. 
The Lady Broughton was highly civil and obliging, and placed a great 
confidence in him. When she designed to go for a little time into the 
country, she would have ordered the keys of the common jail to be 
brought to him every night ; the doctor, smiling, told her that he, 
being a prisoner himself, could not think it proper to be the keeper 
or jailer to others. However, no person had the opening and shutting 
of the door of the house where he was but his own servant, so that 
he might have gone out of prison when he pleased, for any restraint 
he was under. When the town was pretty empty, he ventured, once 
with his keeper and once without, to visit his worthy friend Mr 
Gunston of Newington, who was agreeably surprised to see him, as he 
had a very high and hearty respect for him. Thus like Joseph, 1 'he 
found favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison ;' and the ' keeper 
of the prison' would have ' committed to his hands all the prisoners who 
were in the prison.' This, it must be owned, was a milder confine 
ment and gentler usage than many others met with in those days, 
who lay under long and close confinements, and suffered confiscation 
of goods, and banishment, and death. This Protestant persecution 
fell short indeed of dragooning and dungeons and galleys in France, 
and of the racks and tortures of the Inquisition in Spain ; but that a 
person of Dr Manton's worth and merit should be thought to deserve 
such treatment from a Government which he helped to lay the 
foundations of, and which he not only never injured, but had served 
in circumstances of danger and importance, when others of less desert 
and pretensions had all the opportunities of public service, and all the 

1 Gen. xxxix. 21, 22. 


favour and preferment, I believe will appear shocking, at this distance, 
to all impartial lovers of liberty and of their country, and fix a brand 
for ever upon the gratitude and politics of those times. 

Some time after his imprisonment, when the indulgence was re 
newed, he preached in a large room taken for him in Whitehart 
Yard, not far from his house ; but there also he was at length dis 
turbed. A band of rabble came on the Lord's-day morning to seize 
him ; but the doctor, having notice of it overnight, escaped their 
fury. Mr James Bedford was got to preach for him, who had taken 
the Oxford oath. When they found themselves disappointed, they 
were in a great rage, and took the names of several ; but did not 
detain the minister, for their malice was levelled against the doctor. 
The good Lord Wharton was there, whom they pretended not to 
know ; and upon his refusing to tell them his name, they threatened 
to send him to prison ; but they thought better of it. The place was 
fined forty pounds, and the minister twenty, which was paid by Lord 

Sir John Baber, his near neighbour, and who owed all his prefer 
ment at court to the doctor's interest there, continued his hearty 
friend, though a great courtier. He often visited the doctor, by 
which means he had opportunity of greater intelligence than most 
others. About this time there happened some difference among the 
ministers of the city, about the manner of addressing the king for his 
indulgence. Some contended earnestly to have it expressed more 
largely, and others opposed it ; for though they always thought they 
had a right to their liberty, they feared giving any countenance to the 
dispensing power, or advantage to the Papists; which were things 
well known to be in view, and much at heart at that time. The 
difference came to be known at court, and there were apprehensions 
of ill consequences. Sir John Baber carried Dr Manton and Dr Bates 
to Lord Arlington's, at Whitehall, who was then Secretary of State, 
it was supposed, by his order. When they were together, the king, 
to their great surprise, came into the room it was thought by design. 
Dr Bates pressed Dr Manton to address the king for his indulgence ; 
which he did in a few words, and with great caution ; but it was 
kindly accepted by the king, and well approved by the ministers, 
when it was communicated to them ; and put a happy end to their 
contentions about it. 1 It was by the means of Sir John Baber that 
Dr Manton and Mr Baxter were invited to confer with the Lord 
Keeper Bridgman, about a comprehension and toleration, in the year 
1668. They afterwards met with Dr Wilkins and Dr Burton. Pro 
posals were drawn up and corrected by mutual consent ; in pursuance 
of which the excellent Judge Hale prepared a bill to be laid before the 
next session of Parliament ; but it was rejected upon the first motion 
by the High Church party. 2 In the year 1674, Dr Manton and Mi- 
Baxter, with Dr Bates and Mr Pool, met with Dr Tillotson and Dr 
Stillingfleet, to consider of an accommodation, by the encouragement 
of several Lords, spiritual and temporal. They canvassed several 

1 Dr Manton gives a particular account of this interview, in a letter to Mr Baxter. 
Life, Part III., p. 37. 

s Dr Calamy's Abridgment, vol. i.. pp. 317, 342. 


draughts, and at length all agreed in one ; but when it came to be 
communicated to the bishops, several things in which they had agreed 
could not be obtained, and the whole design miscarried. So easy a 
thing it has ever been found for wise and sober men to adjust matters 
of difference, and agree upon terms of accommodation ; when nothing 
will satisfy unreasonable prejudice, and where the lust of power, and 
the bias of interest, strongly lead men the other way. 

When the indulgence was more fully fixed in 1672, the merchants, 
and other citizens of London, set up -a lecture at Pinner's Hall. Dr 
Manton was one of the six first chosen, and opened the lecture. He 
was much concerned at the little bickerings which began there in his 
time, and afterward broke out into scandalous contentions, and an 
open division at last. Mr Baxter was often censured for his preaching 
there ; and once published a sheet upon that occasion, which he called, 
' An Appeal to the Light.' His preaching upon these words, ' And 
ye will not come unto me, that you might have life/ in which he fully 
justified the great God, and laid the blame of men's destruction upon 
themselves, though it was followed by another upon these words, 
'Without me you can do nothing,' occasioned a great clamour 
against him among some people of which he complained to Dr 
Manton. The doctor, on his next turn, in the close of his sermon, 
pretty sharply rebuked them for their rash mistakes, and unbecoming 
reflections upon so worthy and useful a person. It was observed, that 
his reproof was managed with so much decency and wisdom, that he 
was not by any reflected upon for his freedom therein. He has been 
heard to express his esteem of Mr Baxter in the highest terms ; 
namely, that he thought him one of the most extraordinary persons 
the Christian church had produced since the apostles' days ; and that 
he did not look upon himself as worthy to carry his books after him. 
This was the opinion of one who knew him with the greatest intimacy 
for many years, and was a great judge of true worth. 

When he first began to grow into ill health,. he could not be per 
suaded by his friends and physicians to forbear preaching for any 
considerable time ; which had been the delightful work of his life. 
He was at length prevailed with to spend some time at Woburn, 
with Lord Wharton, for the benefit of the air. But finding little good 
by it, he returned to town on the beginning of the week, in order to ad 
minister the Lord's Supper the next Lord's-day, of which he gave notice 
to his people ; but he did not live to accomplish it. The day before 
he took his bed, he was in his study, of which he took a solemn leave, 
with hands and eyes lift up to heaven, blessing God for the many 
comfortable and serious hours he had spent there, and waiting in 
joyful hope of a state of clearer knowledge and higher enjoyments of 
God. At night he prayed with his family under great indisposition, 
and recommended himself to God's wise disposal ; desiring, ' If he 
had no further work for him to do in this world, he would take him 
to himself;' which he expressed with great serenity of mind, and an 
unreserved resignation to the divine good pleasure. When he went 
to bed he was suddenly seized with a kind of lethargy, by which he 
was deprived of his senses, to the great grief and loss of his friends 
who came to visit him. He died October 18th, 1677, in the fifty- 


seventh year of his age, and lies interred in the chancel of the church 
of Stoke Newington. 

Dr Bates preached his funeral sermon, who had a most affectionate 
esteem for him, very frequently visited him, always advised with him 
in matters of moment, and, for some years after his death, would weep 
when he spoke of him. He says of him : l ' His name is worthy of 
precious and eternal memory. God had furnished him with a rare 
union of those parts which are requisite to form an eminent minister 
of his word. A clear judgment, a rich fancy, a strong memory, and 
happy elocution met in him ; and were excellently improved by his 
diligent study. In preaching the word he was of conspicuous emi 
nence ; and none could detract from him, but from ignorance or envy. 
He was endowed with an extraordinary knowledge of the scripture ; 
and in his preaching, gave such perspicuous accounts of the order and 
dependence of divine truths, and with that felicity applied the scrip 
ture to confirm them, that every subject, by his management, was 
cultivated and improved. His discourses were so clear and convincing, 
that none, without offering violence to conscience, could resist their 
evidence ; and from hence they were effectual, not only to inspire a 
sudden flame, and raise a short commotion in the affections, but to 
make a lasting change in the life. His doctrine was uncorrupt and 
pure ; the truth according to godliness. He was far from the guilty, 
vile intention to prostitute the sacred ordinances for acquiring any 
private secular advantage ; neither did he entertain his hearers with 
impertinent subleties, empty notions, intricate disputes, dry and barren, 
without productive virtue ; but as one who always had in his eye the 
great end of his ministry, the glory of God, and the salvation of men. 
His sermons were directed to open their eyes, that they might see 
their wretched condition as sinners, to hasten their flight from the 
wrath to come, and make them humbly, and thankfully, and entirely 
receive Christ as their Prince and all-sufficient Saviour ; and to build 
up the converted in their holy faith, and more excellent love, which is 
the "fulfilling of the law:" in short, to make true Christians eminent 
in knowledge and universal obedience. 

' And as the matter of his sermons was designed for the good of 
souls, so his way of expression was proper for that end. His style was 
not exquisitely studied, not consisting of harmonious periods, but far 
distant from vulgar meanness. His expression was natural and free, 
clear and eloquent, quick and powerful ; without any spice of folly ; 
and always suitable to the simplicity and majesty of divine truth. His 
sermons afforded substantial food with delight, so that a fastidious 
mind could not disrelish them. He abhorred a vain ostentation of 
wit in handling sacred truths, so venerable and grave, and of eternal 
consequence. His fervour and earnestness in preaching was such as 
might soften and make pliant the most stubborn and obstinate spirit. 
I am not speaking of one whose talent was only voice, who laboured 
in the pulpit as if the end of preaching were the exercise of the body, 
and not for the profit of souls. But this man of God was inflamed 
with holy zeal, and from thence such expressions broke forth as were 
capable of procuring attention and consent in his hearers. He spake 
1 Dr Bates's Works, p. 771. 


as one who had a living faith within him of divine truth. From this 
union of zeal with his knowledge, he was excellently qualified to con 
vince and convert souls. His unparalleled assiduity in preaching 
declared him very sensible of those dear and strong obligations which 
lie upon ministers to be very diligent in that blessed work. This 
faithful minister abounded in the work of the Lord; and, which is 
truly admirable, though so frequent in preaching, yet was always 
superior to others, and equal to himself. He was no fomentor of 
faction, but studious of the public tranquillity ; he knew what a bless 
ing peace is, and wisely foresaw the pernicious consequences which 
attend divisions. 

' Consider him as a Christian, his life was answerable to his doc 
trine. This servant of God was like a fruitful tree, which produces 
in the branches what it contains in the root. His inward grace was 
made visible in a conversation becoming the gospel. His resolute con 
tempt of the world secured him from being wrought upon by those 
motives which tempt low spirits from their duty. He would not 
rashly throw himself into troubles, nor, spreta conscientia, avoid them. 
His generous constancy of mind in resisting the current of popular 
humour, declared his loyalty to his divine Master. His charity was 
eminent in procuring supplies for others, when in mean circumstances 
himself. But he had great experience of God's fatherly provision, to 
which his filial confidence was correspondent. I shall finish my 
character of him by observing his humility. He was deeply affected 
with the sense of his frailty and unworthiness. He considered the 
infinite purity of God, and the perfection of his law, the rule of duty ; 
and by that humbling light discovered his manifold defects. He 
expressed his thoughts to me a little before his death. " If the holy 
prophets were under strong impressions of fear upon extraordinary 
discoveries of the divine presence, how shall we poor creatures appear 
before the holy and dreadful Majesty? It is infinitely terrible to 
appear before God, the Judge of all, without the protection of the 
blood of sprinkling, which speaketh better things than that of 
Abel/' This alone relieved him, and supported his hopes. Though 
his labours were abundant, yet he knew that the work of God, pass 
ing through our hands is so blemished, that without appealing to 
pardoning mercy and grace, we cannot stand in judgment.' This 
was the subject of his last public sermon, upon 2 Tim. i. 18, which 
was published from his notes, with the second edition of his funeral 

Mr Collins, a man of a most sweet and obliging temper, as well as 
of great abilities and worth, on his turn to preach at the merchants' 
lecture, after the doctor's death, took great notice of it, and was much 
affected with the loss of so valuable a person. Good old Mr Case used 
to say, long before his death, that he should live to preach his funeral 
sermon ; and he did preach upon that occasion, when he was almost 
dead himself, for he was above eighty years of age. His text was, 
2 Kings x. 32 ; ' In those days the Lord began to cut Israel short/ 
After he had considered the text, he came to speak of several worthy 
ministers cut off by death about that time, as well as others cut off by 
the laws which forbade their preaching. The last he named was Dr 


Manton. At the mention of his name he stopped, and wept for some 
time before he could proceed ; and then said, ' If I had mentioned no 
other but Dr Manton, I might well say, that God began to cut 
England short ; ' with other expressions of his love and esteem. He 
had always a high opinion of the doctor's preaching, and w r ould often 
urge him to print. When the doctor answered him that he had not 
time, in the midst of such constant employments, to prepare anything, 
with due care, for the public view ; he would reply, ' You need only 
send your notes to the press, when you come out of the pulpit.' Dr 
Manton wrote a very ingenious and serious preface to Mr Case's 
Meditations, drawn up when he was prisoner in the Tower, and pub 
lished under the title of 'Correction, Instruction;' which is a very 
useful practical book upon the subject of afflictions. He also wrote a 
preface to the second edition of ' Smectymnus ; ' to Mr Clifford's 
' Book of the Covenant;' to ' Ignatius Jourdain's Life ;' Mr Strong's 
'Sermons of the Certainty and Eternity of Hell Torments;' and to 
the second edition, in quarto, of the Assembly's ' Confession of 
Faith/ &c. 

His works were published by several principal ministers of that 
time, and it will entertain the reader to see the high apprehensions 
they had of him, and the beautiful variety in which they represent 
them. They have indeed drawn their own character, as well as his, 
in the different turn of their mind and manner of expression. The 
first which came out was ' Twenty Sermons,' in quarto, in the 
year 1678. Dr Bates gives this fine and beautiful account of them: 
' The main design of them is to represent the inseparable connexion 
between Christian duties and privileges, wherein the essence of our 
religion consists. The gospel is not a naked, unconditionate offer of 
pardon and eternal life in favour of sinners, but upon the most con 
venient terms for the glory of God and the good of men, enforced by 
the strongest obligations upon them to receive humbly and thankfully 
those benefits. The promises are attended with commands to repent 
and believe, and persevere in a uniform practice of obedience. The 
Son of God came into the world, not to make God less holy, but 
to make us holy ; and not to vacate our duty, and free us from the 
law as a rule of obedience, for that is both impossible, and would be 
most infamous and reproachful to our Saviour. To challenge such an 
exemption in point of right is to make ourselves gods ; to usurp it in 
point of fact is to make ourselves devils. But his end was to enable 
and induce us to return to God as our rightful Lord and proper felicity, 
from whom we rebelliously and miserably fell, in seeking for happiness 
out of him. Accordingly, the gospel is called the law of faith, as it 
commands those duties upon motives of eternal hopes and fears, and 
as it will justify or condemn men with respect to their obedience or 
disobedience, which is the proper character of a law. These things 
are managed in the following sermons in that convincing, persuasive 
manner as makes them very necessary for these times, when some who 
aspire to extraordinary heights in religion, and esteem themselves 
favourites of heaven, yet wof ully neglect the duties of the lower hemi 
sphere, as righteousness, truth, and honesty ; and when carnal Chris 
tians are so numerous, who despise serious godliness as a solemn 


hypocrisy, and live in open violation of Christ's precepts, and yet 
presume to be saved by him. 

' I shall only add further, they commend to our ardent affections 
and endeavours true holiness, as distinguished from the most refined 
unregenerate morality. The doctor saw the absolute necessity of this, 
and spake with great jealousy of those who seemed in their discourses 
to make it their highest aim to improve and cultivate some moral 
virtues, as justice, temperance, benignity, c., by philosophical helps, 
representing them as becoming the dignity of our nature, agreeable to 
reason, and beneficial to society, and but transiently speaking of the 
operations of the Holy Spirit, which are as requisite to free the soul 
from the chains of sin as to release the body at last from the bands of 
death ; who seldom preach of evangelical graces, faith in the Kedeemer, 
the love of God for his admirable wisdom in our salvation, zeal for his 
glory, humility in ascribing all we can return in grateful obedience to 
the most free and powerful grace of God in Christ, which are the vital 
principles of good works, and derive the noblest forms to all virtues. 
Indeed, men may be composed and considerate in their words and 
actions, may abstain from gross enormities, and do many praiseworthy 
actions, by the rules of moral prudence, yet without the infusion of 
divine grace to cleanse their stained nature, to renew them according 
to the image of God shining in the gospel, to act them from motives 
superior to all that moral wisdom propounds, all their virtues, of 
what elevation soever, though in a heroic degree, cannot make them 
real saints. As the plant- animal has a faint resemblance of the sen 
sitive life, but remains in the lower rank of vegetables, so these have 
a shadow and appearance of the life of God, but continue in the 
corrupt state of nature. The difference is greater between sanctifying 
saving grace, wrought by the special power of the Spirit, with the holy 
operations flowing from them, and the virtuous habits and actions 
which are the effect of moral counsel and constancy, than between 
true pearls produced by the celestial beams of the sun, and counterfeit 
ones formed by the smoky heat of the fire.' No doubt the proper 
Christian graces require the influence of the Divine Spirit, and are the 
effect of nobler motives than mere pagan morality. 

In 1679 was published, in octavo, ' Eighteen Sermons on the Second 
Chapter of the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, containing the 
Description, Rise, Growth, and Fall of Antichrist ; with divers Cau 
tions and Arguments to establish Christians against the Apostasy of 
the Church of Rome.' This was well fitted for common use, and very 
seasonable at that time. In the preface to this volume, Mr Baxter 
says of him, ' How sound he was in judgment against extremes in the 
controversies of these times ; how great a lamenter of the scandalous 
and dividing mistakes of some self-conceited men ; how earnestly 
desirous of healing our present breaches, and not unacquainted with 
the proper means and terms ; how hard and successful a student ; how 
frequent and laborious a preacher ; and how highly and deservedly 
esteemed, is commonly known here. The small distaste which some 
few had of him, I took for a part of his honour, who would not win 
reputation with any by flattering them in their mistakes, or unwarrant 
able ways. He used not to serve God with that which cost him 

VOL. i. c 


nothing ; nor was of their mind who cannot expect or extol God's 
grace without denying those endeavours of men to which his necessary 
grace exciteth them. He knew that, "without Christ we can do 
nothing;" and yet that, "by Christ strengthening us, we can do all 
things" which God hath made necessary to be done by us. He was 
not of their mind who think it derogatory to the honour of Christ to 
praise his works in the souls and lives of any of his servants ; and that 
it is to the honour of his grace that his justified ones are graceless, 
and that their Judge should dishonour his own righteousness, if he 
make his disciples more righteous personally than the scribes and 
pharisees ; and will say to them, "Well done, good and faithful 
servant ; thou hast been faithful over a few things, enter thou into the 
joy of thy Lord." He knew how to regard the righteousness and . 
intercession of Christ, with pardon of sin and divine acceptance, in 
stead of legal personal perfection, without denying either the necessity 
or assigned office of our faith and repentance, and evangelical sin 
cerity in obeying Him who redeemed and justifies us. He knew the 
difference between man's being justified from the charge of being 
liable to damnation as Christless, impenitent, unbelieving, and un 
godly ; and being liable to damnation for mere sin as sin, against the 
law of innocence, which required of us no less than personal, perfect, 
and perpetual obedience. He greatly lamented the wrong which truth 
and the church underwent from those who neither know such differ 
ence, nor have humility enough to suspect their judgment, nor to 
forbear reviling those who have not as confused and unsound appre 
hensions and expressions as themselves.' 

In the year 1684 Dr Bates published his ' Exposition of the Lord's 
Prayer/ in octavo. In 1685 Mr Hurst published, in octavo, ' Several 
Discourses tending to promote Peace and Holiness among Christians;' 
and dedicated them to Arthur, Earl of Anglesea, to whom he was 
chaplain. In the same year was published, ' Christ's Temptations 
and Transfiguration explained and improved ; and Christ's Eternal 
Existence and the Dignity of his Person asserted and proved, in 
opposition to the Socinians,' in octavo. Dr Jacomb, who published 
this volume, says of him, ' That he did not so much concern himself 
in what is polemical and controversial ; but chose rather, in a plain 
way, as best suiting with sermon-work, to assert and prove the truth 
by scripture testimony and argument ; and that he has done to the 
full.' In 1703 was published, ' A Practical Exposition of Isaiah liii.' 
This, though published last, was earlier written than any of the other ; 
for so he speaks in the preface to the Exposition of James, ' I have 
the rather chosen this scripture, that it might be an allay to those 
comforts, which, in another exercise, I have endeavoured to draw out 
of Isaiah liii. I would, at the same time s carry on the doctrine of 
faith and manners, and show you your duty, together with your 
encouragement ; lest, with Ephraim, you should only love to tread 
out the corn, and refuse to break the clods. We are all apt to divorce 
comfort from duty, and content ourselves with a barren, unfruitful, 
knowledge of Christ ; as if all He required of the world were only a 
few naked, cold, unactive apprehensions of his merit, and all things 
were so done for us, that nothing remained to be done by us. This is 


the wretched conceit of many in the present age ; and, therefore, they 
abuse the sweetness of grace to looseness, and the power of it to 
laziness. Christ's merits, and the Spirit's efficacy, are the common 
places from whence they draw all the defence and excuse of their 
own wantonness and idleness/ 

Besides these lesser volumes, there are five large volumes in folio. 
The first was, ' Sermons upon the 119th Psalm/ published in the year 
1681. Dr Bates says, ' They were preached by him in his usual 
course of three times a week ; which I do not mention to lessen their 
worth, but to show how diligent and exact he was in performing his 
duty. I cannot but admire the fecundity and variety of his thoughts ; 
that though the same things so often occur in the verses of this psalm, 
yet, by a judicious observing the different arguments and motives 
whereby the psalmist enforces the same request, or some other cir 
cumstance, every sermon contains new conceptions, and proper to the 
text.' Mr Alsop says of them, ' The matter of them is spiritual, and 
speaks the author one intimately acquainted with the secrets of wis 
dom. He writes like one who knew the psalmist's heart, and felt in 
his own soul the sanctifying power of what he wrote. Their design 
is practical, beginning with the understanding, dealing with the 
affections, but still driving on the design of practical holiness. The 
manner of handling is not inferior to the dignity of the matter ; so 
plain, as to accommodate the most sublime truths to the meanest 
spiritual capacity ; and yet so elevated, as to approve itself to the most 
refined understanding; which knows how to be succinct without 
obscurity ; and, where the weight of the argument requires it, to 
enlarge without nauseous prolixity. He studied more to profit than 
please ; and yet an honest heart will be then best pleased when most 
profited. He chose rather to speak appositely than elegantly, and yet 
the judicious account propriety the greatest elegance. He laboured 
more industriously to conceal his learning than others to ostentate 
theirs ; and yet, when he would most veil it, the discerning reader 
cannot but discover it, and rejoice to find such a mass and treasure of 
useful learning couched under a well-studied and artificial plainness. 
I have admired, and must recommend to the observation of the reader, 
the fruitf ulness of the author's holy invention, accompanied with solid 
judgment, in that whereas the coincidence of the matter in this psalm 
might have superseded his labours in very many verses ; yet, without 
force, or offering violence to the sacred text, he has, either from the 
connexion of one verse with its predecessor, or the harmony between 
the parts of the same verse, found out new matter to entertain his 
own meditations, and the reader's expectations.' 

The second volume was published in 1684, and contains sermons 
on the whole of the 25th of Matthew and 17th of John, and the 6th 
and 8th of the Romans, and the 5th of the Second Epistle to the 
Corinthians. Dr Collings, who seems to have written the preface to 
this volume, says, ' In all his writings one finds a quick and fertile 
invention, governed with a solid judgment ; and the issue of both 
expressed in a grave and decent style. He had a heart full of love 
and zeal for God and his glory ; and out of the abundance of his heart 
his mouth continually spake. So frequent, and yet so learned and 


solid, preaching by the same person was little less than miraculous. 
He was a good and learned, a grave and judicious, person ; and his 
auditory never failed, though he laboured more than most preachers, 
to hear from him a pious, learned, and judicious discourse. He is 
one of those authors upon the credit of whose name not only private 
and less intelligent people, but even scholars, may venture to buy any 
book which was his.' The third volume was published in 1689, and 
contains sermons upon the llth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews ; 
with a treatise of the Life of Faith, and another of Self-denial ; and 
some preparatory sermons for the Lord's Supper, and sermons before 
the Parliament. It was dedicated to King William, soon after the 
Revolution, by Mr Howe, in as noble and masterly a preface as is, 
perhaps, anywhere to be met with. The fourth volume was published 
in 1693, and contains sermons upon several texts of scripture. It is 
directed to the Lord Philip Wharton, by Mr William Taylor, who was 
many years my lord's chaplain, and transcribed a great part of the doc 
tor's notes for the press, and was himself a person of great integrity and 
wisdom. He tells my lord, ' Though his preaching was so constant, 
yet in all his sermons may be observed a solidity of judgment, exact 
ness of method, fulness of matter, strength of argument, persuasive 
elegance, together with a serious vein of piety running through the 
whole, as few have come near him, but none have exceeded him.' 
Mr Alsop says of this volume: 'Acquired learning humbly waits 
upon divine revelation ; great ministerial gifts were managed by 
greater grace. A warm zeal, guided by solid j udgment ; a fervent 
love to saints and sinners, kindled by a burning zeal for the interest 
of a Saviour ; and a plain elegance of style adapted to the meanest 
capacity, and yet far above the contempt of the highest pretender.' 
The fifth volume was published in 1701, and contains sermons on the 
5th chapter to the Ephesians, on the 3d of the Philippians, on the 
1st chapter of the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, and on the 
3d chapter of the First Epistle of John, with one hundred and 
forty sermons on particular texts. This volume, though it appeared 
last, and after so many others, is so far from running dregs, that, 
in my opinion, it contains some of his ripest and most digested 
thoughts ; and is preferable, both for the subject and management, to 
any one of the former. This was directed to the excellent Sir Thomas 
Abney, then Lord Mayor of London, and to the Lady Abney, by Mr 
Howe ; in which he expresses his sense of Dr Man ton in this remark 
able paragraph : ' And that an eminent servant of Christ, who, 
through a tract of so many years, hath been so great and public a 
teacher and example of the ancient seriousness, piety, righteousness, 
sobriety, strictness of mariners, with most diffusive charity (for which 
London has been renowned, for some ages, beyond most cities in the 
world), should have his memory revived by such a testimony from 
persons under your character, and who hold so public a station as you 
do in it, can never be thought unbecoming, as long as clearly ex 
plained and exemplified religion, solid useful learning, and good sense, 
are in any credit in the world.' 

There are some sermons of his in the several volumes of the 
'Morning Exercises;' for Dr Manton was too considerable to be 


missed in any design which was set on foot for the public good. 
There is one in that at St Giles's, on ' Man's Impotency to Help him 
self out of the Misery he is in by Nature ;' another in that at Cripple- 
gate, about ' Strictness in Holy Duties;' a third in the Supplement, 
concerning 'The Improvement of our Baptism;' and a fourth in 
that against Popery, upon ' The Sufficiency of the Scripture.' There 
is also a funeral sermon for Mrs Jane Blackwel, upon ' The Blessed 
Estate of them who Die in the Lord,' in the year 1656. These ser 
mons, with the two before the House of Commons, 1 and one on the 
death of Mr Love, including the Exposition on James and Jude, were 
all he published himself; 2 and are written with a correct judgment 
and beautiful simplicity. His other works were all printed from his 
sermon-notes, prepared for the pulpit ; and whosoever shall consider 
the greatness of the number and variety of the subjects, the natural 
order in which they are disposed, and the skilful management ; the 
constant frequency of his preaching, and the affairs of business in 
which he was often engaged, will easily be able to make a judgment 
of his great abilities and vast application, and to make the requisite 
allowances for posthumous works ; especially when he tells us that he 
was ' humbled with the constant burden of four times a week preach 
ing;' 3 and to the last, three times; and that where 'the style seems 
too curt and abrupt, know that I sometimes reserved myself for 
sudden inculcations and enlargement.' And though, as they now 
appear, they have been well received, and very useful to younger 
ministers and Christian families, yet I believe I might safely venture 
to say, that if he had had the same leisure to compose and polish, he 
was capable of equalling any performances of that kind of the cele 
brated writers of the age ; and that hardly any, under his disadvantage, 
and so constantly employed, would have exceeded his. As no man of 
the age had a greater number of his sermons published after his 
death, perhaps it will not displease the reader to see his own judgment 
of posthumous writings. ' Let it not stumble thee,' says he, ' that 
the piece is posthumous, and comes out so long after the author's 
death ; it were to be wished that they who excel in public gifts would 
during life publish their own works, to prevent spurious obtrusions 
upon the world, and to give them their last hand and polishing, as the 
apostle Peter was careful to write before his decease (2 Pet. i. 12). 
But usually the Church's treasure is most increased by legacies. As 
Elijah let fall his mantle when he was taken up into heaven, so God's 
eminent servants, when their persons could no longer remain in this 
world, have left behind them some worthy pieces, as monuments of 
their graces, and zeal for the public welfare. Whether it be out of a 
modest sense of their own endeavours, as being loth, upon choice and 
of their own accord, to venture abroad into the world ; or whether it 
be that being occupied and taken up with other labours ; or whether 

1 One is ' Meat for the Eater ; or, Hopes of Unity in and by Divided and Distracted 
Times,' on Zech. xiv. 10. The other is 'England's Spiritual Languishing, with the 
Causes and Cure,' on Rev. ii. 3. 

2 Anthony Wood mentions ' Smectymnus Redivivus,' in answer to ' The Humble 
Remonstrance,' Lond. 1653, which I have never seen. 

3 See Preface to the Exposition on James. 


it be in conformity to Christ, who would not leave his Spirit till his 
departure ; or whether it be out of hope that their works would find 
a more kindly reception after their death, the living being more liable 
to envy and reproach, but when the author is in heaven, the work is 
more esteemed upon earth ; whether for this or that cause, usual it is 
that not only the life, but the death of God's servants have been 
profitable to the Church. By that means many useful treatises have 
been freed from that privacy and obscurity to which, by the modesty 
of their authors, they had formerly been confined.' 1 

He was a person of general learning, and had a fine collection of 
books, which sold for a considerable sum after his death ; among 
which was the noble ' Paris edition of the Councils,' in thirty 
volumes, in folio, which the bookseller offered him for sixty pounds, 
or his Sermons on the One Hundred and Nineteenth Psalm. He began 
to transcribe them fair, but finding it too great an interruption in the 
frequent returns of his stated work, Vie chose rather to pay him in 
money. His great delight was in his study, and he was scarce ever 
seen without a book in his hand, if he was not engaged in company. 
He had diligently read the Fathers, and the principal schoolmen, 
which was a fashionable piece of learning in those times. And 
though he greatly preferred the plainness and simplicity of the former 
to the art and subtilty of the latter, yet he thought that we were 
more properly the Fathers, who stood on their shoulders, and have the 
advantage of seeing farther, in several respects, than they did. Per 
haps scarce any man of the age had more diligently studied the 
scripture, or was a greater master of it. He had digested the best 
critics and commentators, and made a vast collection of judicious 
observations of his own, which appears in the pertinent and surprising 
use of the scripture upon all occasions, and the excellent glosses 
which are everywhere to be found in his writings. As he had a great 
reverence for the scripture himself, so he was observed to show a 
great zeal against using scripture phrases lightly in common conver 
sation, or without a due regard to the sense and meaning of them, as 
a profanation of the scripture and a great dishonour to God. Dr 
Bates used to say, ' that he had heard the greatest men of those times 
sometimes preach a mean sermon, but never heard Dr Manton do so 
upon any occasion.' This will appear the less surprising, if we con 
sider the great care he took about them. He generally writ the heads 
and principal branches first, and often writ them over twice after 
wards, some copies of which are now in being. When his sermon 
did not please him, nor the matter open kindly, he would lay it aside 
for that time, though it were Saturday night, and sit up all night to 
prepare a sermon upon an easier subject, and more to his satisfaction. 
If a good thought came into his mind in the night, he would light 
his candle, and put on his gown, and write sometimes for an hour 
together at a table by his bedside, though the weather was ever so 
cold. He was well read in all the ancient and modern history, which 
he made his diversion, and in which he took a particular pleasure. 
This, by the advantage of an excellent judgment and strong memory, 

1 Epistle to Dr Sibb's Comment on the First Chapter of the Second Epistle to the 


made his conversation very instructing and entertaining, and recom 
mended him particularly to young gentlemen, who used to visit him 
after their travels. He would discourse with them as if he had been 
with them upon the spot, and bring things to their remembrance which 
they had forgot ; and sometimes, to their great surprise, show a greater 
acquaintance with things abroad, attained by reading, than they had 
got by all the labour and expense of travelling. The celebrated Mr 
Edmund Waller, who first refined the English poetry, and brought it 
to the ease and correctness in which it now appears, used to say of 
him, upon this account, that ' he never discoursed with such a man 
as Dr Manton in all his life/ By this means he became a great 
judge of men and things ; and was often resorted to by persons of the 
greatest note and figure in the world. He took his degree of Bachelor 
of Arts in the year 1639, and was created Bachelor of Divinity in 
1654, and by virtue of His Majesty's letters was created Doctor of 
Divinity at the same time with Dr Bates, and several of the Koyalists, 
in 1660. 1 It was pleasantly said upon this latter occasion, that none 
could say of him that Creatio Jit ex nihilo, having both learning and 
a degree before. 

He was a strict observer of family religion. His method was this : 
he began morning and evening with a short prayer, then read a chap 
ter, his children and servants were obliged to remember some part of 
it, which he made easy and pleasant to them by a familiar exposition ; 
then he concluded with a longer prayer. Notwithstanding the labours 
of the Lord's-day, he never omitted, after an hour's respite, to repeat 
the heads of both his sermons to his family, usually walking, and then 
concluded the day with prayer and singing a psalm. His great 
acquaintance with the scriptures, and deep seriousness of mind, fur 
nished him with great pertinency and variety of expression upon all 
occasions, and preserved a great solemnity and reverence in all his 
addresses to God. His prayer after sermon usually contained the 
heads of his sermon. He was noted for a lively and affectionate 
manner of administering the Lord's Supper. He consecrated the 
elements of bread and wine apart ; and whilst they were delivering, 
he was always full of heavenly discourse. He would often utter, with 
great fervour, those words : ' Who is a God like unto thee, pardoning 
iniquity, transgression, and sin ? ' and illustrate, in an affecting 
manner, the glory of the divine mercy to the lost world, in the death 
of Christ ; and pathetically represent the danger of those who neglect 
and slight their baptismal covenant, and how terrible a witness it 
would be against them at the day of judgment. 

Monday was his chief day of rest, in which he used to attend his 
visitors. On his Wednesday lecture several persons of considerable 
quality and distinction, who went to the Established Church on the 
Lord's-day, would come to hear him. One observing to him that 
there were many coaches at his doors on those days, he answered, 
smiling, ' I have coach-hearers, but foot-payers;' and yet he was far 
from the love of filthy lucre ; for when it was proposed to him to 
bring his hearers to a subscription, he would not yield to it, but said 
his house should be free for all, as long as he could pay the rent of it. 

1 Anthony Wood'i Fasti Oxon. 


Some of his parishioners, and others who attended his ministry, used 
to present him, about Christmas, with what they collected among 
themselves, which was seldom above twelve or thirteen pounds. He 
had several persons of the first rank who belonged to his congregation, 
as the Countesses of Bedford, Manchester, Clare ; the Ladies Baker, 
Trevor, the present Lord Trevor's mother ; the Lord and Lady 
Wharton, and most of their children, &c. By this means he had 
always a considerable collection for the poor at the sacrament, which 
was a great pleasure to him. He used to say sometimes, pleasantly, 
that he had money in the poor's bag when he had little in his own. 
This he sometimes distributed among poor ministers, who were, many 
of them, at that time, in strait circumstances, as well as the poor of 
the congregation. Though he was a man of great gravity, and of a 
regular unaffected piety, yet he was extremely cheerful, and pleasant 
among his friends, and upon every proper occasion. His religion sat 
easy, and well became him, and appeared amiable and lovely to 
others. He greatly disliked the forbidding rigours of some good 
people, and the rapturous pretensions of others ; and used to say he 
had found it, by long observation, that they who would be over-godly 
at one time, would be under-godly at another. 

I shall conclude with this summary account of his person and 
character. He was of a middle stature, and of a fair and fresh 
complexion, with a great mixture of majesty and sweetness in his 
countenance. In his younger years he was very slender, but grew 
corpulent in his advanced age ; not by idleness or excess, 1 for he was 
remarkably temperate and unweariedly diligent. He had naturally a 
little appetite, and generally declined all manner of feasts ; but by a 
sedentary life, and the long confinement of the five-mile-act, which, 
he used to complain, first broke his constitution. In short, perhaps 
few men of the age in which he lived had more virtues and fewer 
failings, or were more remarkable for general knowledge, fearless 
integrity, great candour arid wisdom, sound judgment, and natural 
eloquence, copious invention, and incredible industry, zeal for the 
glory of God, and good-will to men ; for acceptance and usefulness in 
the world, and a clear and unspotted reputation, through a course of 
many years, among all parties of men. 

1 Anthony -Wood ('Athense Oxon.,' p. 600), says, 'When he took his degree at 
Oxford, he looked like a person rather fatted for the slaughter, than an apostle; being 
a round, plump, jolly man ; but the Royalists resembled apostles by their macerated 
bodies and countenances.' Which, besides the injurious falsehood of the insinuation, is 
a coarse and butcherly comparison. I doubt it would not be safe to make that the 
standing measure of apostolical men. 




VOL. r. 


SUCH is the divine matter and admirable order of the Lord's Prayer, 
as became the eternal wisdom of God, that composed and dictated it 
to his disciples. In it are opened the fountains of all our regular 
petitions, and the arguments contained to encourage our hopes for 
obtaining them. In our addresses to men, our study is to conciliate 
their favourable audience ; but God is most graciously inclined and 
ready to grant our requests, therefore we are directed to call upon 
him by the title of ' Our Father in heaven,' to assure us of his love 
and power, and thereby to excite our reverent attention, to raise our 
affections, to confirm our confidence in prayer. The supreme end 
of our desires is the glory of God, in conjunction with our own 
happiness : this is expressed in the two first petitions, that ' his 
name may be hallowed,' and ' his kingdom come/ that we may par 
take of its felicity. In order to this, our desires are directed for the 
means that are proper and effectual to accomplish it. And those are 
of two kinds the good things that conduct us, and the removal of 
those evils that obstruct our happiness. The good things are either, 
the spiritual and principal means to prepare us for glory, an entire, 
cordial, and constant obedience to the divine commands, expressed 
in the third petition, ' Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven ; ' 
or, natural and subservient, the supports and comforts of this life, 
which are contained in the fourth petition, ' Give us this day our 
daily bread.' The removal of evils is disposed according to the 
order of the good things we are to seek : we pray that our sins may 
be forgiven, the guilt of which directly excludes from his glorious 
kingdom ; that we may be preserved from temptations, that with 
draw us from observing the divine commands ; and to be delivered 
from all afflicting evils, that hinder our arrival at our blessed end. 
The conclusion is to strengthen our faith, by ascribing to our heavenly 
Father, the kingdom, power, and glory, and to express our ardent 
desires of his blessing, by saying, Amen. 

This divine comprehensive prayer is the subject of the following 
sermons, wherein the characters of Dr Manton's spirit are so con 
spicuous, as sufficiently discover them to be his ; and the reader is 
assured they have been diligently compared with his own copy. 



But thou, wlien ihou prayest, enter into thy closet; and ivlien thou hast 
shut the door, pray to thy Father, &c. MAT. VI. 6-8. 

I INTEND to go over the Lord's Prayer ; and, to make way for it, I 
shall speak a little of these foregoing verses, wherein our Lord treats 
of the duty of prayer, and the necessity of being much therein. 

In the beginning of this chapter our Lord taxeth the hypocrisy of 
the Pharisees, which was plainly to be seen in all their duties their 
alms, their prayers, and their fasting. 

I. For their alms : Christ deals with that in the first four verses. 
It seems it was their fashion, when they gave alms, to sound a trumpet ; 
and their pretence was to call all the poor within hearing, or to give 
notice that such a rabbi giveth alms to-day. Now, our Lord showeth 
that though this were the fair pretence to call the poor, yet their heart 
was merely upon their own glory, their own esteem with men ; and 
therefore he persuades his disciples to greater secrecy in this work, 
and to content themselves with God's approbation, which will be open, 
and manifest, and honourable enough in due time, when the archangel 
shall blow the trumpet to call all the world together, 1 Thes. iv. 16, 
and Christ shall publish their good works in the hearing of men and 
angels : Mat. xxv. 34-36. Thus he deals with them upon the point 
of alms. 

II. For their prayers : Christ taxeth their affectation of applause, 
because they sought out places of the greatest resort, the synagogues 
and corners of the streets, and there did put themselves into a 
praying posture, that they might be seen of men, and appear to be 
persons of great devotion, and so might the better accomplish their 
own ends, their public designs upon the stage (for the Pharisees 
were great sticklers at that time), and also their private designs upon 
widows' houses, that they might be trusted with the management of 
widows' and orphans' estates, as being devout men, and of great 
sanctity and holiness. 

In which practice there was a double failing : 

1. As to the circumstance of place, performing a personal and soli 
tary prayer in a public place, which was a great indecorum, and 
argued the action to be scenical, or brought upon the stage merely for 


public applause. And certainly that private praying which is used by 
men in churches doth justly come under our Lord's reproof. 

2. Their next failing was as to their end : ' Verily they do it to be 
seen of men.' 

Object. But what fault was there in this ? Doth not Christ himself 
direct us, in his Sermon, Mat. v. 16, ' Let your light so shine before 
men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father 
which is in heaven ' ? And yet the Pharisees are here taxed for 
praying, fasting, and giving alms, that they might be seen of men ; 
how can these places stand together ? 

By way of answer : 

1. We must distinguish of the different scope and intention of 
Christ in these two places. There, Christ's scope is to commend and 
enjoin good works to be seen of men, ad edificationem, for their 
edification ; here, his scope is to forbid us to do good works to be seen 
of men, ad ostentoMonem, for our own ostentation : There, Christian 
charity to the souls of men is commended ; and here, vainglory is 

2. Again, good works are to be distinguished. Some are so truly 
and indeed ; others only in outward show and appearance. Good 
works, that are truly so and indeed, Christ enjoins there ; hypocritical 
and feigned acts, that are only so in outward show and semblance, are 
forbidden here. To pray is a good work, take inward and outward 
acts of it together, and so it is enjoined. But hypocritical and super 
stitious prayer, which hath only the face and show of goodness, this is 

3. We must distinguish of the ends of good works ; principal and 
subordinate ; adequate and inadequate. First, the principal and 
primary end of good works must not be that we may be seen of men, 
but the glory of God ; but now the subordinate, or less principal end, 
may be to be seen of men. Again, it must not be our adequate end, 
that is, our whole and main intention and scope ; but a collateral 
and side end it may be. It is one thing to do good works, only that 
they may be seen ; it is another thing to do good works, that they 
may not only be seen, but also be imitated, to win others by them to 
give glory to God. It is one thing to do good works for the glory of 
God, another thing to do them for the glory of ourselves. We may 
do good works to be seen in the first respect, but not in the last. We 
may not pray with the Pharisees merely to be seen of men, yet we 
may let our light shine before men, to draw them to duty, and give 
more glory to God. 

4. Again, there Christ speaks of the general bent of our conver 
sation, and here only of particular and private duties. It would 
argue too much hypocrisy to do these in public, though the whole 
frame and course of our carriage before men must be religious in their 
sight. And that is agreeable to what the apostle saith, 2 Cor. 
viii. 21, ' We should provide for honest things, not only in the sight 
of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.' And, Phil. ii. 15, Chris 
tians are advised there to be ' blameless and harmless, the sons 
of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse 
generation, shining among them as lights in the world.' That which 


is obvious to the sight and observance of men, must be such as will 
become our holy calling. But our private and particular duties, 
which are to pass between God and us, these must be out of sight. 
I hope another man may approve himself to be honest and religious 
to me, though he doth not fall down and make his personal and 
private prayers before me. But to leave no scruple, if possible ; 

5. We must distinguish of the diverse significations of that phrase 
which is used here, OTTCO?, that ive may be seen. There is a twofold 
sense of OTTGK, or that. It may be taken two ways, as they speak, 
either causally or eventually. Causally, and then it implies and 
imports the end and scope why we do such a thing, namely, for this 
very purpose, that we may obtain it. And thus the Pharisees here 
did pray, OTTW?, that they might be seen of men, 'that is, this was 
their main end and scope. Thus that is taken causally. Secondly, 
that sometimes is taken eventually, and then it doth riot import the 
end and scope, but only the event that will fall out and follow upon 
such a thing. Thus tJiat is often taken in scripture. John ix. 39 : 
Christ saith there, ' For judgment I am come into the world, that 
they which see not, might see ; and that they which see, might be 
made blind/ It was not Christ's scope to do so, but Christ foresaw 
that this would be the event of his coming into the world, and, there 
fore, he saith, that, &c. So Luke xiv. 10 : Christ tells them there, 
' But when thou art bidden to a feast, go and sit down in the lowest 
room, that when he that bade thee comes, he may say unto thee, 
Friend, go up higher : then shalt thou have worship in the presence 
of them that sit at meat with thee.' That is taken eventually, not 
causally ; for Christ doth not bid them there to set themselves at the 
lower end of the table, for this very end, or to make this their scope : 
that is the thing he forbids affectation of precedency ; but that, hoc 
est, then it will follow, that is, this is likely to be the event ; then 
the master of the house will come to you if you do this. Not that it 
should be your scope to feign humility, that you may obtain the 
highest place at the table. And so may Christ's words be taken, 
' Let your light so shine/ &c. This will fall out upon it then men 
will be conscious to your Christian carriage and gracious behaviour, 
and by that means God will be much honoured and glorified. There it 
is taken eventually, but here it is taken causally. The Pharisees did 
it that they might be seen of men ; that is, this was their scope and 
principal intention. And thus may you reconcile these two places of 

Well, now, Christ having taxed them for these two faults : for their 
undue place, the synagogue and corners of the streets being unfit for 
a private and personal act of worship ; and for their end, that they 
might be seen of men, he saith, ' They have their reward.' That is, 
the whole debt is paid, they can challenge nothing at God's hands. 
God will be behindhand with none of his creatures. As they have 
what they looked for, so they must expect no more, they must be con 
tent with their penny. The phrase is borrowed from matters of con 
tract between man and man, and is a word proper to those which give 
a discharge for a debt. As creditors and money-lenders, when they 
are paid home the full sum which is due to them, then they can exact 


no more ; so here they must be contented with the empty, windy puffs 
of vainglory, and to feed upon the unsavoury breath of the people : 
they can expect no more from God, for the bond is cancelled, and they 
have received their full reward already. Briefly, here is the differ 
ence in the several rewards that the hypocrites and the children of 
God have : the hypocrites, they are all for the present, and have their 
reward, and much good may it do them ; there is not a jot behind, it 
will be in vain to expect any more : but now, for the children of God, 
your Father will reward you ; they must expect and wait for the 
future. And yet in scripture we read oftentimes that the children 
of God have their reward in this life ; but then the word in the 
original is cloven, which signifieth they have but in part ; not the 
word which is used here, aTre^pva-t, which signifies they have what 
is due, it is fulfilled, paid them. So those expressions in scripture 
are to be taken: 'Ye have eternal life,' 'and he hath,' 'and that 
ye may have/ It is often spoken in scripture of the children of God, 
so that they seem to have their reward too. They have their reward, 
but it is partially, not totally : there is something, the best things, 
yet _ behind. A child of God, he hath promises, first-fruits, some 
beginnings of communion with God here, but he looks for greater 
things to come. 

Well, then, Christ, having disproved the practice of the Pharisees, 
seeks to set his own disciples right in the management of their 
prayers, as well as in their alms. Pharisaism is very natural in the 
best. We are apt to be haunted with a carnal spirit in the best 
duties ; not only in alms, where we have to do with men, but in prayer, 
where our business lieth wholly with God; especially in public prayer; 
even there much of man will creep in. The devil is like a fly, which, 
if driven from one place, pitcheth upon another ; so drive him out of 
alms, and he will seek to taint your prayers. 

Therefore Christ, to rectify his disciples in their personal and 
solitary prayers, instructs them to withdraw into some place of recess 
and retirement, and to be content with God for witness, approver, 
and judge. 'But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet; 
and when thou hast shut thy doors, pray to thy Father which is in 
secret,' &c. 

In which words you may observe : 

I. A supposition concerning solitary prayer : ' But thou, when thou 

II. A direction about it: 'Enter into thy closet, and shut thy 
door, and pray to thy Father which is in secret.' 

III. Encouragement to perform it : ' And thy Father, which seeth 
in secret, shall reward thee openly.' Where two things are asserted : 

1. God's sight : He is conscious to thy prayers when others are not. 

2. God's reward : ' He will reward thee openly/ 
To open the circumstances of the text : 

In the supposition, ' But thou, when thou prayest,' observe : 
1. Christ takes it for granted that his disciples will pray to God. 
He doth not say ,if thou prayest, but ivhen thou prayest, as supposing 
them to be sufficiently convinced of this duty of being often with God 
. in private. 


2. I observe, again, Christ speaks of solitary prayer, when a man 
alone, and without company, pours out his heart to God. Therefore 
Christ speaks in the singular number : ' When thou prayest ; ' not 
plurally and collectively, when ye pray, or meet together in prayer. 
Therefore he doth not forbid public praying in the assemblies of the 
saints, or family-worship ; both are elsewhere required in scripture. 
God hath made promises to public and church prayer, praying with 
men or before men : Mat. xviii. 19, ' When two or three are met to 
gether, and shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall 
ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.' And 
when they shall agree in one public prayer, it seems to have a greater 
efficacy put upon it when more are interested in the same prayer 
when, with a combined force, they do as it were besiege the God of 
heaven, and will not let him go unless he leaves a blessing. Look, as 
the petition of a shire and county to authority is more than a private 
man's supplication, so when we meet as a church to pray, and as a 
family, there is combined strength. And in this sense, that saying of 
the schoolmen is orthodox enough viz., that prayer made in the 
church hath a more easy audience with God. Why? Because of 
the concurrence of many which are met there to worship God. Christ 
doth not intend in this any way to jostle out that which he seeks to 
establish elsewhere. Let your intentions be secret, though your 
prayers be public and open in the family or assemblies of the saints. 

II. Let us open the direction our Lord gives about solitary prayer. 
The direction is suited so as to avoid the double error of the Pharisees; 
their offence as to place, and as to the aim and end. 

1. Their offence as to the place : ' Enter into thy closet, and shut 
thy door.' These words are not to be taken metaphorically, nor yet 
pressed too literally. Not metaphorically, as some would carry them. 
Descend into thy heart, be serious and devout with God in the closet 
of thy soul, which is the most inward recess and retiring-place of 
man. This were to be wanton with scripture. The literal sense is 
not to be left without necessity, nor yet pressed too literally, as if 
prayer should be confined to a chamber and closet. Christ prayed in 
the mountain, Mat. xiv. 23 ; and Gen. xxiv. 63, Isaac went into the 
field to meditate. The meaning is, private prayer must be performed 
in a private place, retired from company and the sight of men as 
much as may be. 

2. Christ rectifieth them as to the end : ' Pray to thy Father which 
is in secret ; ' that is, pray to God, who is in that private place, though 
he cannot be seen with bodily eyes ; wherein Christ seems secretly to 
tax the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, who did rather pray to men than 
to God, who was invisible ; because all their aim was to be approved 
of men, and to be cried up by them as devout persons. So that what 
the Lord saith concerning fasting, Zech. vii. 5, 6, ' When ye fasted 
and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy 
years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me ? and when ye did eat, 
and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for 
yourselves ? ' So here, was this unto God ? No, though the force and 
sound of the words carried it for God, yet they were directed to men. 
When God is not made both the object and aim, it is not to him ; 


when you seek another paymaster, you decline God, yea, you make 
him your footstool, a step to some other thing. 

III. Here are the encouragements to this personal, private, and 
solitary prayer ; and they are taken from God's sight, and God's re 

1. From God's sight : ' Thy Father seeth in secret ; ' that is, ob- 
serveth thy carriage. The posture and frame of thy spirit, the 
fervour and uprightness of heart which thou manifestest in prayer, is 
all known to him. Mark, that which is the hypocrite's fear, and 
binds condemnation upon the heart of a wicked man, is here made to 
be the saints' support and ground of comfort that they pray to an 
all-seeing God : 1 John iii. 20, ' If our hearts condemn us, God is 
greater than our hearts, and knoweth all things/ Their heavenly 
Father seeth in secret ; he can interpret their groans, and read the 
language of their sighs. Though they fail as to the outside of a duty, 
and there be much brokenness of speech, yet God seeth brokenness of 
heart there, and it is that he looks after. God seeth. What is that ? 
He seeth whether thou prayest or no, and how thou prayest. (1.) He 
seeth whether thou prayest or no: mark that passage, Acts ix. 11, 
'The Lord said to Ananias, Arise, and go into the street which is 
called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul 
of Tarsus ; for behold, he prayeth.' Go into such a city, such a street, 
such a house, such a part, in such a chamber, behold he prayeth. The 
Lord knew all these circumstances. It is known unto him whether 
we toil or loiter away our time, or whether we pray in secret ; he 
knows what house, in what corner of the house, what we are doing 
there. (2.) He seeth liow you pray: Eom. viii. 27. It is pro 
pounded as the comfort of the saints, 'And he that searcheth the 
heart knoweth what is the mind of the spirit.' God knoweth you 
thoroughly, and can distinguish of your prayers, whether they be 
customary and formal, or serious acts of love to God, and communion 
with him. 

2. The other thing which is propounded here is God's reward: 
'And he will reward them openly.' How doth God reward our 
prayers? Not for any worth or dignity which is in them. What 
merit can there be in begging? What doth a beggar deserve in 
asking alms ? But it is out of his own grace and mercy, having by 
promise made himself as it were a debtor to a poor, faithful, and 
believing supplicant. But 'he will reward thee openly.' How is 
that ? Either by a sensible answer to thy prayers, as he doth often 
to his children, by granting what they pray for ; as when Daniel 
was praying in secret, God sent an angel to him, Dan. ix. 20 ; or by 
an evident blessing upon their prayers in this world, for the con- 
scionable performance of this duty. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that 
were men of much communion with God, were eminently and sensibly 
blessed ; they were rewarded openly for their secret converse with him ; 
or it may be, by giving them respect externally in the eyes of others. 
A praying people dart conviction into the consciences of men. It is 
notable that Pharaoh in his distress sent for Moses and Aaron, and 
not for the magicians. The consciences of wicked men are open at 
such a time, and they know God's children have special favour and 


great audience with him ; and he having the hearts of all men in his 
hands, can manage and dispose respect according as he pleaseth. And 
when they are in distress, this honour God hath put upon you, they 
shall send for you to pray with them ; and those which honour him, 
though but in secret, God will openly put honour upon them : 1 Sam. ii. 
'30. But chiefly this is meant at the day of judgment ; then those which 
pray in secret their heavenly Father will reward them openly. When 
thou relievest the poor, and showest comfort to the needy, they cannot 
recompense thee ; but then thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrec 
tion of the just, Luke xiv. 14. There is the great and most public 
reward of Christians : 1 Cor. iv. 5, ' Then he will bring to light the 
hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of 
the heart ; and then shall every man have praise with God ;' that 
is, every man that is praiseworthy, however he be mistaken and judged 
of the world ; for the apostle speaks it to comfort them against the 
censures of men. And mark, this is opposed to the reward which the" 
Pharisees pleased themselves with : it was much with them to be well 
thought of in such a synagogue, or before such a company of men ; 
' but your Father, which seeth in secret, will reward you openly ;' that 
is, not only in the eyes of such a city or town, but before all the 

The point is this : 

Doct. That private, solitary, and closet-prayer is a duty very neces 
sary and profitable. 

It is a necessary duty ; for Christ supposeth it of his disciples, to 
whom he speaks : ' But thou, when thou prayest,' &c. And it is pro 
fitable, for unto it God makes promises : You have a Father which 
seeth in secret, and one day shall be owned before all the world. 

First, It is a duty necessary ; and that will appear : 

1. From God's precept. That precept which requireth prayer, 
requireth secret and closet-prayer ; for God's command to pray first 
falls upon single persons, beforeit falls upon families and churches, which 
are made up of single persons. Therefore where God hath bidden thee 
to pray, you must take that precept as belonging to you in particular. 
I shall give some of the precepts : Col. iv. 2, ' Continue in prayer, and 
watch in the same with thanksgiving ;' and 1 Thes. v. 17, ' Pray without 
ceasing.' These are principally meant of our personal addresses to God, 
every man for himself ; for in joining with others, the work is rather 
imposed upon us than taken up upon choice. And that can only be at 
stated times, when they can conveniently meet together ; but we our 
selves are called upon to continue to pray, and that without ceasing ; 
that is, to be often with God, and to keep up not only a praying frame, 
but a constant correspondence with him. Surely every man which 
acknowledged a God, a Providence, and that depends upon him for 
blessings, much more every one that pretends he hath a Father in heaven, 
in whose hands are the guidance of all the things of the world, is 
bound to pray personally and alone, by himself to converse with God. 

2. I shall argue it from the example of Christ, which bindeth us, and 
hath the force of a law in things moral. As Christ's word is our rule, 
so his practice is our copy. This is true religion, to imitate him whom 
we worship. In this you must do as Christ did. Now we often read 


that Christ prayed alone he went aside to pray to God ; therefore, if 
we be Christians, so it should be with us : Mark i. 35, ' And in the 
morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out and departed 
into a solitary place, and there prayed.' He left the company of his 
disciples, with whom he often joined, that he might be alone with God 
betimes in the morning. And again you have it : Mat. xiv. 23, ' And 
when he had sent the multitude away, he went up into a mountain 
apart to pray ; and when the evening was come, he was there alone.' 
And, Luke vi. 12, it is said, ' He went out into a mountain to pray, 
and continued all night in prayer to God.' You see Christ takes all 
occasions in retiring and going apart to God. Now the pattern of 
Christ is both engaging and encouraging. 

It is very engaging. Shall we think ourselves not to need that help 
which Christ would submit unto? There are many proud persons 
which think themselves above prayer. Christ had no need to pray as 
we have ; he had the fulness of the Godhead dwelling in him bodily ; 
yet he was not above prayer. And if he had need of prayer, he 
had no need of retirement to go and pray alone ; his affections always 
served, and he was not pestered with any distraction, and all places 
and companies were alike to him ; and yet he would depart into a 
solitary place that he might be private with God. 

Then the pattern of Christ is very encouraging ; for whatever 
Christ did, he sanctified in that respect his steps in every duty leave 
a blessing. Look, as Christ sanctified baptism by being baptized 
himself, and made the water of baptism to be saving and comfortable 
for us ; and the Lord's supper, by being a guest himself, and eating 
himself at his own table, so he sanctified private prayer: when he 
prayed, a virtue went out from him, he left a strength to enable us to 
pray. And it is encouraging in this respect, because he hath experi 
mented this duty. He knows how soon human strength is spent and 
put to it, for he himself hath been wrestling with God in prayer with 
all his might. His submitting to these duties gave him sympathy ; 
he knows the heart of a praying man when wrestling with God with 
all earnestness ; therefore he helpeth us in these agonies of spirit. 
Again, his praying is an encouragement against our imperfections. 
Christians, when we are alone with God, and our hearts are heavy as 
a log and stone, what a comfort is it to think Christ himself prayed, 
and that earnestly, and was once alone wrestling with God in human 
nature ! Mat. xiv. 23. And when the enemy came to attack him, he 
was alone, striving with God in prayer. He takes all occasions for 
intercourse with God ; and if you have the Spirit, you will do 

3. I might argue from God's end in pouring out the Holy Ghost ; 
wherefore hath God poured out his Spirit ? Zech. xii. 11-14, ' I will 
pour out the Spirit of grace and of supplication,' &c. He poureth 
out the Spirit, that it may break out by this vent : the Spirit of grace 
will presently run into supplication ; the whole house of Israel shall 
mourn. There is the church, they have the benefit of the pouring 
out of the Spirit ; and every household hath benefit, that he and his 
family may mourn apart, and every person apart ; that we may go 
and mourn over our case and distempers before God, and pour out our 


hearts in a holy and affectionate manner. This argument I would 
have you to note, that this was God's end in pouring out his Spirit, 
for a double reason, both to take off excuses, and to quicken diligence. 
Partly, to take off excuses, because many say they have no gifts, no 
readiness and savouriness of speech, and how can they go alone and 
pray to God ? Certainly men which have necessities, and a sense 
of them, can speak of them in one fashion or other to God ; but 
the Spirit is given to help. Such is God's condescension to the saints, 
that he hath not only provided an advocate to present our petitions 
in court, but a notary to draw them up ; not only appointed Christ for 
help against our guilt and unworthiness, but likewise the Spirit to 
help us in prayer. When we are apt to excuse ourselves by our 
weakness and insufficiency, he hath poured out the Holy Ghost, that 
we may pray apart. Partly to this end, the more to awaken our 
diligence, that God's precious gift be not bestowed upon us in vain, 
to lie idle and unemployed, he hath poured out the Spirit ; and there 
fore we should make use of it, not only that we may attend to the 
prayers of others, and join with them, but that we may make use of 
our own share of gifts and graces, and open and unfold our own case 
to God. 

4. That it is a necessary duty, I plead it from the practice of 
saints, who are a praying people. Oh how often do we read in scrip 
ture that they are alone with God, pouring out their souls in com 
plaints to him ! Nothing so natural to them as prayer ; they are 
called a 'generation of them that seek God : ' Ps. xxiv. 6. As light 
bodies are moving upward, so the saints are looking upward to God, 
and praying alone to him. Daniel was three times a day with God, 
and would not omit his hours of prayer, though his life was in danger, 
Dan. vi. 10 ; and David, ' Seven times a day do I praise thee,' Ps. 
cxix. 164 ; and Cornelius, it is said that he prayed to God always, 
Acts x. 2, not only with his family, but alone in holy soliloquies. 
He was so frequent and diligent, that he had gotten a habit of prayer 
he prayed always. Well, then, if this be the temper of God's 
people, then to be altogether unlike them when we have no delight 
in these private converses with God, or neglect them, it gives just 
cause of suspicion. 

5. Our private necessities show that it is a necessary duty, which 
cannot be so feelingly spoken to and expressed by others as by our 
selves ; and, it may be, are not so fit to be divulged and communicated 
to others. We cannot so well lay forth our hearts with such largeness 
and comfort in our own concernments before others. There is the 
plague of our own hearts, which every one must mourn over : 1 Kings 
viii. 38. As we say, no nurse like the mother ; so none so fit humbly 
with a broken heart to set forth our own wants before the Lord as our 
selves. There is some thorn in the flesh that we have cause to pray 
against again and again : ' For this I sought the Lord thrice,' saith St 
Paul, 2 Cor. xii. 7, 8. We should put promises in suit, and lay open 
our own case before the compassions of God. It is a help sometimes 
to join with others ; but at other times it would be a hindrance. We 
have peculiar necessities of our own to commend to God, therefore 

be alone. 


Secondly, This closet and solitary prayer, as it is a necessary duty, 
so it is a profitable one. 

1. It conduceth much to enlargement of heart. The more earnest 
men are, the more they desire to be alone, free from trouble and dis 
traction. When a man weeps, and is in a mournful posture, he seeks 
secrecy, that he may indulge his grief. They were to mourn apart : 
Zech. xii., and Jer. xiii. 17, ' My soul shall weep sore for your pride 
in secret places.' So here, when a man would deal most earnestly 
with God, he should seek retirement, and be alone. Christ in his 
agonies went apart from his disciples. When he would pray more 
earnestly, it is said, ' He was withdrawn from them about a stone's 
cast : ' Luke xxii. 41. It is said, 'He went apart.' Strong affections 
are loth to be disturbed and diverted, therefore seek retirement. And, 
it is notable, Jacob, when he would wrestle with God, it is said, Gen. 
xxxii. 24, 'And Jacob was left alone, and there wrestled a man with 
him until the breaking of the day.' When he had a mind to deal 
with God in good earnest, he sent away all his company. 

A hypocrite, he finds a greater flash of gifts in his public duties, 
when he prays with others, and is the mouth of others ; but is slight 
and superficial when alone with God ; if he feels anything, a little 
overly matter serves the turn. But usually God's children most 
affectionately pour out their hearts before him in private; where they 
do more particularly express their own necessities, there they find 
their affections free to wrestle with God. In public we take in the 
necessities of others, but in private our own. 

2. As it makes way for enlargement of heart on our part, so for 
secret manifestations of love on God's part. Bernard hath a saying, 
' The church's Spouse is bashful, and will not be familiar and com 
municate his loves before company, but alone.' The sweetest experi 
ences which God's saints receive many times are when they are alone 
with him. When Daniel was praying alone with great earnestness, 
the angel Gabriel was sent, and caused to fly swiftly to him to tell 
him his prayers were answered: Dan. ix. 21. And Cornelius, while 
he was praying alone, an angel of God came unto him, to report th(X 
hearing of his prayers : Acts x. 3 ; and, ver. 9, Peter, when he was 
praying alone, then God instructs him in the mystery of the calling 
of the Gentiles : then had he that vision when he was got upon the 
top of the house to pray. Before we are regenerated, God appeareth 
to us many times when we do not think of it ; but after we are re 
generated, usually he appeareth upon more eminent acts of grace 
when we are exercising ourselves, and more particularly dealing with 
God, and putting forth the strength of our souls to take hold of him 
in private. 

3. There is this profit in it : It is a mighty solace and support in 
affliction, especially when we are censured, scorned, and despised of 
men, and know not where to go to find a friend with whom we may 
unbosom our sorrow. Then to go aside, and open the matter to God, 
it is a mighty ease to the soul : Job xvi. 20, ' My friends scorn me ; 
but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.' When we have a great 
burden upon us, to go aside and open the matter to God, it gives ease 
to the heart, and vent to our grief ; as Hannah in great trouble falls 


a-praying to God, and then was no more sad : 1 Sam. i. 13. As the 
opening of a vein cooleth and refresheth in a fever, so when we make 
known our case to God, it is a mighty solace in affliction. 

4. It is a great trial of our sincerity, of our faith, love, and obedi 
ence, when we are alone, and nobody knows what we do, then to see 
him that is invisible : Heb. xi. 27 ; when we are much with God in 
private, where we have no reasons but those of duty and conscience 
to move us. Carnal hypocrites will be much in outward worship. 
They have their qualms, and pray themselves weary, and do some 
thing for fashion sake when foreign reasons move them ; but will they 
so pray as to delight themselves in the Almighty ? Will they always 
call upon God ? Job xxvii. 10. That delight in God, which puts us 
upon converses with God, affects privacy. 

5. It is a profitable duty, because of the great promises which God 
hath made to it. This secret and private prayer in the text shall 
have a public reward ; it will not be lost, for God will reward it 
openly. So Job xxii. 21 : ' Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at 
peace ; thereby good shall come unto thee.' Frequent correspondence 
with, and constant visits of God in prayer, what peace, comfort, 
quickening brings it into the soul ! So Ps. xlix. 32 : ' His soul shall 
live that seeks the Lord.' Without often seeking to God, the vitality 
of the soul is lost. We may as well expect a crop and harvest without 
sowing, as any liveliness of grace where there is not seeking of God. 
Could a man take notice of another in a crowd, whose face he never 
saw before ? So, will God own and bless you in the crowds of the 
assemblies of his people, if you mind not this duty when you are 
alone ? 


Use 1. To reprove those which neglect closet-addresses to God ; 
they wrong God and themselves. 

They wrong God ; because this is a necessary part of the 
creature's homage, of that duty he expects from them, to be owned 
not only in public assemblies, but in private. And they wrong 
themselves ; because it brings in a great deal of comfort and peace 
to the soul ; and many sweet and gracious experiences there 
are which they deprive themselves of, and a blessing upon all other 

But more particularly to show the evil of this sin : 

1. It is a sin of omission ; and these sins are very dangerous, as 
well as sins of commission. Natural conscience usually smites more 
for sins of commission, than for sins of omission. To wrong and beat 
a father seems a more heinous and unnatural act, than not to give 
him due reverence and attendance. We are sensible of sins of com 
mission ; but yet God will charge sins of omission as well as commis 
sion upon you; and so will conscience too when it is serious, when, 
against the plain knowledge of God's will, you can omit such a neces 
sary part of God's worship: James iv. 17, 'To him thatjmoweth to do 
good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin,' that is, it will be sin with a 
witness. Conscience will own it so, when it is awakened by the word, 
or by providence, or great affliction, or cast upon your death-bed. 


How will your own hearts reproach you then, that have neglected 
God, and lost such precious hours as you should have redeemed for 
communion with him ! Sins of omission argue as great a contempt 
of God's authority as sins of commission ; for the same law which 
forbids a sin, doth also require a duty from us. 

And sins of omission argue as much hatred of God as sins of com 
mission. If two should live in the same house, and never speak to 
one another, it would be taken for an argument of as great hatred as 
to fight one with another. So, when God is in us and round about 
us, and we never take time to confer with him, it argues much hatred 
and neglect of him. 

And sins of omission are an argument of our unregeneracy, as much 
as sins of commission. A man which lives in a course of drunken 
ness, filthiness, and adultery, you would judge him to be an unre- 
generate ma,n, and that he hath such a spot upon him as is not the 
spot of God's children. So, to live in a constant neglect of God, is 
an argument of unregeneracy, as much as to live in a course of de 
bauchery. The apostle, when he would describe the Ephesians by their 
unconverted state, describes it thus : Eph. ii. 12, ' That they lived 
without God in the world/ When God is not owned and called upon, 
and unless the restraints of men, the law of common education, and 
customs of nations call for it, they live without God. So Ps. xiv. 1 : 
' They are corrupt, they have done abominable works ; there is none 
that doeth good, they are altogether become filthy/ Every unregene- 
rate man is that atheist. There is some difference among unregenerate 
men. Some are less in the excesses and gross outbreakings of their 
sins and folly. Some sin more, some less ; but they all are abominable 
on this account, because they do not seek after God. And the apostle 
makes use of that argument to convince all men to be in a state of 
sin : Kom. iii. 11, ' There is none that seeketh after God/ The heart 
may be as much hardened by omissions (yea, sometimes more), than 
by commissions. As an act of sin brings a brawniness and deadness 
upon the heart, so doth the omission of a necessary duty. Not only 
the breaking of a string puts the instrument out of tune, but its being 
neglected and not looked after. Certainly by experience we find none 
so tender, so holy, so humble, and heavenly, as they which are often 
with God. This makes the heart tender, which otherwise would grow 
hard, dead, and stupid. 

2. It is not only an omission in general, but an omission of 
prayer, which is, first, a duty very natural to the saints. Prayer is a 
duty very natural and kindly to the new creature. As soon as Paul 
was converted, the first news we hear of him, Acts ix. 11, ' Behold, he 
prayeth/ As soon as we are new-born, there will be a crying out for 
relief in prayer. It is the character of the saints : Ps. xxiv. 6, 
'This is the generation of them that seek thee,' a people much in 
calling upon God. And the prophet describes them by the work of 
prayer: Zeph. iii. 10, ' My supplicants '; and, Zech. xii. 10, 'I will 
pour upon them the Spirit of grace and supplication/ Wherever 
there is a spirit of grace, it presently runneth out into prayer. Look, 
as a preacher is so called from the frequency of his work, so a Christian 
is one that calleth upon God. ' Every one that calleth on the name 


of the Lord, shall be saved:' Eom. x. 13. In vain he is called a 
preacher that never preacheth, so he is in vain called a Christian that 
never prayeth. As things of an airy nature move upward, so the 
saints are carried up to God by a kind of naturality, when they are 
gracious. God hath no tongue-tied or dumb children ; they are all 
crying, ' Abba, Father.' Then it is an omission of a duty which is of 
great importance as to our communion with God, which lieth in two 
things fruition and familiarity ; in the enjoyment of God, and in being 
familiar and often with him. Fruition we have by faith, and famili 
arity is carried on by prayer. There are two duties which are never 
out of season, hearing and prayer, both which are a holy dialogue 
betwixt God and the soul, until we come to vision, the sight of him 
in heaven. Our communion with God here is carried on by these two 
duties : we speak to God in prayer, God answereth us in the word ; 
God speaks to us in the word, and we return and echo back again to 
him in prayer. Therefore the new creature delighteth much in these 
two duties. Look, as we should be ' swift to hear/ James ix. 19, 
until we come to seeing, we should take all occasions, and be 
often in hearing. So in prayer we speak to God, and therefore should 
be redeeming time for this work. In the word God comes down to 
us, and in prayer we get up to God ; therefore, if you would be 
familiar and often with God, you must be much in prayer. This is 
of great importance. You know the very notion of prayer. It is a 
' visiting ' of God : Isa. xxvi. 16, ' Lord, in trouble have they visited 
thee ; they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them.' 
Praying to God, and visiting of God, are equivalent expressions. Now 
it argueth very little friendship to God, when we will not so much as 
come at him. Can there be any familiarity, where there is so much 
distance and strangeness as never to give God a visit ? 

3. It is the omission of personal and secret prayer, which in some 
respects should be more prized than other prayer. 

Partly, because here our converse with God is more express as to 
our own case. When we join with others, God may do it for their 
sakes, but here, Ps. cxvi. 1, 'I love the Lord, because he hath 
heard my voice and my supplication.' When we deal with him 
alone, we put the promises in suit, and may know more it is we that 
have been heard. We put God more to the trial ; we see what he 
will do for us, and upon our asking and striving. 

Partly, here we are more put to the trial what love we will express 
to our Father in secret, when we have no outward reasons, no induce 
ments from respects of men to move us. In public duties (which 
are liable and open to the observance of others), hypocrites may put 
forth themselves with great vigour, quickness, and warmth, whereas 
in private addresses to God, they are slight and careless. A Christian 
is best tried and exercised in private, in those secret intercourses be 
tween God and his own soul ; there he finds most communion with 
God, and most enlargement of heart. A man cannot so well judge of 
his spirit, and discern the workings of it in public, because other 
men's concernments and necessities, mingled with ours, are taken in, 
and because he is more liable to the notice of others. But when he 
is with God alone, he hath only reasons of conscience and duty to 


move him. When none but God is conscious and our own hearts, 
then we shall see what we do for the approbation of God, and accept 
ance with him. 

And partly, in some respects, this is to be more prized, because 
privacy and retiredness is necessary, and is a great advantage, that 
men's spirits may be settled and composed for the duty. Sinful dis 
tractions will crowd in upon us when in company, and we are thinking 
of this and that. How often do we mingle sulphur with our incense 
carnal thoughts in our worship ! How apt are we to do so in public 
duties ! But in private we are wholly at leisure to deal with God in 
a child-like liberty.* Now, will you omit this duty where you may be 
most free, without distraction, to let out the heart to God ? 

And partly, because a man will not be fit to pray in public and in 
company, which doth not often pray in secret : he will lose his savour 
and delight in this exercise, and soon grow dry, barren, sapless, and 
careless of God. Look, as in the prophet Ezekiel, you read there that 
the glory of the Lord removed from the temple by degrees : it first 
removed from the holy place, then to the altar of burnt-offerings, then 
to the threshold of the house, then to the city, then to the mount which 
was on the east side of the city ; there the glory of the Lord stood 
hovering a while, as loth to be gone, to see if the people would get it 
back again ; this seems to be some emblem and representation of 
God's dealing with particular men. First, God is cast out of the closet, 
private intercourses between God and them are neglected ; and then 
he is cast out of the family, and within a little while out of the con 
gregation ; public ordinances begin to be slighted, and to be looked 
upon as useless things ; and then men are given up to all profaneness 
and looseness, and lose all : so that religion, as it were, dieth by de 
grees, and a carnal Christian loseth more and more of the presence 
of God. And, therefore, if we would be able to pray in company, we 
must often pray in secret. 

4. Consider the mischief which followeth neglect of private con 
verse with God. Omissions make way for commissions. If a gar 
dener withholds his hand, the ground is soon grown over with weeds. 
Eestrain prayer and neglect God, and noisome lusts will abound. Our 
hearts are filled with distempers when once we cease to be frequent 
with God in private. It is said of Job, chap. xv. 4, ' Thou re- 
strainest prayer before God.' That passage is notable, Ps. xiv. 4 : 
' They eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the 
Lord.' Omit secret prayer, and some great sin will follow ; within a 
little while you will be given up to some evil course or other : either 
brutish lusts, oppression, or violence ; to hate the people of God, to 
join in a confederacy with them which cry up a confederacy against 
God. The less we converse with God in private, the more is the awe 
of God lessened. But now, a man which is often with God dareth not 
offend him so freely as others do. As they which are often with princes 
and great persons are better clothed and more neat in their apparel 
and carriage, so they which are often conversing with God grow more 
heavenly, holy, watchful, than others are ; and when we are not with 
God, not only all this is lost, but a great many evils to be found. It is 
plainly seen by men's conversations how little they converse with God. 

VOL. I. B 


But now, to avoid the stroke of this reproof, what will men do ? 
Either deny the guilt, or excuse themselves. 

First, Some will deny the guilt. They do call upon God, and use 
private prayer, therefore think themselves to be free from this reproof. 
Yea, but are you as often with God as you should be ? 

There are three sorts of persons : 

1. Some there are that omit it totally, cannot speak of redeeming 
any'time for this work. These are practical atheists, ' without God 
in the world :' Eph. ii. 12. They are heathens and pagans under a 
Christian name and profession. We should ' pray without ceasing :' 
1 Thes. v. 17 ; that is, take all praying occasions ; therefore they 
which pray not at all, all the week long God hears not from them, 
surely come under the force of this reproof. 

2. There are some which perform it seldom. Oh, how many days and 
weeks pass over their heads and God never hears from them ! The 
Lord complains of it, Jer. ii. 32 : ' They have forgotten me days with 
out number.' It was time out of mind since they were last with 

3. The most do not perform it so often as they should. And there 
fore (that I may speak with evidence and conviction) I shall answer 
the case ; what rules may be given ; how often we should be with God 
and when we are said to neglect God. 

[1.] Every day something should be done in this kind. Acts x. 2 : 
Cornelius prayed to God always, every day he had his times of fami 
liarity with God. Daniel, though with the hazard of his life, would 
not omit ' praying three times a day :' Dan. vi. 10. And David 
speaks of ' morning, evening, and noon :' Ps. Iv. 17. Though we can 
not bind all men absolutely to these hours, because of the difference 
of conditions, employments, and occasions, yet thus much we may 
gather from hence, that surely they which are most holy will be most 
frequent in this work. 

[2.] Love will direct you. They which love one another, will not be 
strange one to another : a man cannot be long out of the company of 
him whom he loveth. Christ loved Lazarus, and Mary, and Martha, 
John xi. 5, and therefore his great resort was to Bethany, to Lazarus' 
house. Surely they which love God will have frequent recourse to 
him. In the times of the gospel, God trusts love : we are not bound 
to such particular rules as under the law. Why ? For love is a liberal 
grace, and will put us upon frequent visits, and tell us when we should 
pray to God. 

[3.] The Spirit of God will direct you. There are certain times 
when God hath business with you alone ; when he doth (as it were) 
speak to you as to the prophet in another case, Ezek. iii. 22, ' Go 
forth into the plain in the desert, and there I will talk with thee.' 
So, get you to your closets, I have some business to speak with you. 
' Thou saidst, Seek ye my face : my heart answered. Thy face, Lord, 
will I seek : ' Ps. xxvii. 8. God invites you to privacy and retire 
ment ; you are sent into your closet to deal with (?od about the things 
you heard from the pulpit. This is the actual profit we get by a ser 
mon, when we deal seriously with God about what we have heard. 
When God sends for us (as it were) by his Spirit, and invites us into 


his presence by these motions, it is spiritual clownishness to refuse to 
come to him. 

[4.] Your own inward and outward necessities will put you in mind 
of it. God hath not stated what hours we shall eat and drink ; the 
seasons and quantity of it are left to our choice. God hath left many 
wants upon us, to bring us into his presence. Sometimes we want 
wisdom and counsel in darkness : James i. 5, ' If any lack wisdom, 
let him ask of God, which giveth to all men liberally.' It is an occa 
sion to bring us to God : God is the best casuist to resolve our doubts 
and guide us in our way. Sometimes we lack strength to withstand 
temptations ; the throne of grace was set up for a time of need, Heb. 
iv. 16, when any case is to be resolved, and comfort to be obtained. 
We want comfort, quickening, counsel, and all to bring us to God. 
So for outward necessities too. Certainly if a man doth but observe 
the temper of his own heart, he cannot neglect God, but will find some 
occasion or other to bring him into his presence, some errand to bring 
him to the throne of grace. We are daily to beg pardon of sin, and 
daily to beg supplies. Now, certainly, when you do not observe these 
things, you neglect God. 

Secondly, Others, to avoid it, will excuse themselves. Why, they 
would pray to God in private, but either they want time, or they want 
a convenient place, or want parts and abilities. But the truth is, they 
want a heart, and that is the cause of all ; and, indeed, when a man 
hath no heart to the work, then something is out of the way. 

1. Some plead they want time. Why, if you have time for other 
things, you should have a time for God. Shall we have a season for 
all things, and not for the most necessary work ? Hast thou time to 
eat, drink, sleep, follow thy trading (how dost thou live else ?), and no 
time to be saved no time to be familiar with God, which is the great 
est business of all ? Get it from your sleep and food, rather than be 
without this necessary duty. Jesus Christ had no such necessity as we 
have, yet it is said, Mark i. 35, ' He arose a great while before day, and 
went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.' There 
fore, must God only be encroached upon the lean kine devour the fat 
Sarah thrust out instead of Hagar and religion be crowded out of 
doors ? Felix ilia domus, ubiMarthaqueritur de Mama, That is a happy 
house where Martha complains of Mary. Martha, which was cumbered 
with much service, complained of Mary that she was at the feet of Jesus 
Christ, hearkening to his gracious counsel ; but in most houses Mary 
may complain of Martha ; religion is neglected and goes to the walls. 

'2. Some want aplace. He that doth not want a heart will find a place. 
Christ went into a mountain to pray, and Peter to the top of the house. 

3. Many say they want parts, they cannot tell how to pray. Where 
fore hath God given his Spirit ? In one fashion or other a man can 
open his case to God ; he can go and breathe out his complaints, the 
Lord will hear breathings. Go, chatter out thy requests to thy Father : 
though you can but ' chatter like a crane,' yet do it with fervency and 
with a spirit of adoption. We have not only Christ given us for an 
advocate, but the Holy Ghost to help our infirmities. He hath given 
us ' the Spirit of his Son, whereby we may cry, Abba, Father :' Gal. 
iv. 6. A child can acquaint a father with his wants. 


Use 2. To exhort God's children to frequency in this duty, and to 
much watchfulness and seriousness in the performance of it. 
First, To frequency. For arguments again to press you : 

1. It argueth more familiarity to pray to God alone than in com 
pany. He that goeth to a prince alone, and upon all occasions hath 
access to him in private, when company is gone, hath nearer friend 
ship and a greater intimacy with him than those which are only 
admitted to a speech with him in the company of others ; so, the 
oftener you are with God alone the more familiar. He loves to treat 
with you apart, as friends are most free and open to one another when 
they are alone. 

2. Then you will have a more sensible answer of your own prayers ; 
you will see what God hath done upon your requests. Dan. ix. 21, 
22. Daniel was praying for the church, and an angel comes and tells 
him, ' It is for thy prayers and supplications that I am come.' There 
fore surely a man would take some time to go and plead the promises 
with God. But further, by way of means: 

[1.] Consider the omnipresence -of God, which is the argument in 
the text : ' He is in secret, and seeth in secret.' If men were con 
vinced of that, they would make conscience of secret prayer. Look, 
as Jesus Christ says of himself, -John xvi. 32, ' You leave me alone, 
and yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.' So when you are 
alone you are not alone ; there is a Father in secret ; though nobody to 
see and hear, yet God is there. We are apt to think all is lost which 
men are not conscious to, and done in their sight. Acts x. 4 : ' Thy 
prayers and thine alms -are come up for a memorial before God.' 
God keeps a memorial of your private prayers ; there is a register kept 
in heaven, and never a prayer lost. 

[2.] Consider the excellency of communion with God. Jer. ii. 32: 
' Can a maid forget her ornaments, and a bride her attire?' Women 
are very curious and careful of their -ornaments, and will not forget 
their dressing-attire, especially a bride upon the wedding-day, she that 
is to be set forth in most costly array she makes it her business to 
put on jewels, to be seen in all her glory. God is as necessary to us as 
ornaments to a bride. We should be as mindful of communion with 
God as a bride of her dressing-ornaments. ' Yet they have forgotten 
me days without number.' Whatever is forgotten, God must not be 

[3.] Make God a good allowance ; resolve to be much in the prac 
tice of it. It is best to have set times for our religious worship. For 
persons which are sui juris, at their own dispose, it is lawful and very 
convenient to dedicate a certain part and portion of our time to the 
Lord of time. Lazy idle servants must be tasked and required to 
bring in their tale of brick ; so it is good to task the heart, to make 
God a fair, and reasonable, and convenient allotment of some part of 
our time. David had his fixed hours : ' Three times a day will I call 
upon thee.' And Daniel had his set times ; he prayed three times a day. 
Though we cannot charge you to observe these hours, yet you should 
make a prudent choice yourselves, and consecrate such a part of time 
as will suit with your occasions, your course of life, according to your 
abilities and opportunities. It is an expression of love to God to give 


him somewhat that is your own ; and it will be of exceeding profit to 
you, and make your communion with him more seasonable and orderly. 
This will make you careful and watchful how you spend your other 
hours, that you may not be unfit when times of prayer come. 1 Pet. 
iii. 7 : ' Husbands, dwell with your wives according to knowledge, that 
your prayers be not hindered.' But do not propose a task too great for 
your strength, and perplex yourselves with such an unreasonable allow 
ance as will not suit with your occasions. Men create a trouble to 
themselves, and bind themselves with chains of their own making 
when they propose more duty than they can well discharge. 

The Second Part oftJie Use. 

Do it seriously, with caution, and warily. Here Christ gives direc 
tion : ' When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and shut thy door, 
and then think of thy Father which is in secret.' We need a oreat 
deal of caution ; for : 

1. When you shut the door upon all others, you cannot shut the 
devil out of your closets ; he will crowd in. When you have bolted 
the door upon you, and shut other company out, you do not lock out 
Satan ; he is always at hand, ready to disturb us in holy duties ; where- 
ever the children of God are, he seeks to come at them. When the 
sons of God met together, Satan was in the midst of them : Job i. 
He meets in congregations, he gets into the closet. When Joshua 
the high priest was ministering before the Lord, Satan stood at his 
right hand, ready to resist him : Zech. iii. 1. 

2. There needs caution ; because in private duties there may be 
many failings and evils, which we are apt to be tainted with in our 
private addresses to God. 

[1.] There may be danger of ostentation ; therefore Christ gives 
direction here, that it should be managed with the greatest secrecy, 
both as for place, time, and voice. Let none but God be conscious to 
our drawing aside that we may be alone. Withdraw yourselves out 
of the sight and hearing of others, lest pride and ostentation creep 
upon you. The devil will seek to blast this serious acknowledgment 
to God, one way or other. 

[2.] There may be customariness, for fashion sake. It is said of 
Christ, that ' he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath-day, as his 
custom was.' We may use accustomed duties ; but we must not do 
them customarily, and for fashion sake, no more than Christ himself 
did ; for though this was his custom, yet he was not customary in 
these his synagogue attendances. We are very apt to do so, because 
we have used it for these many years. Men go on in a tract of duty, 
and regard not the ends of worship Zech. vii. 3 they come with a 
fond scruple and case of conscience to the prophet : they had an old 
custom among them to fast for the destruction of the temple ; now 
when the temple was built again, ' Should I weep in the fifth month, 
separating myself, as I have done these so many years ? ' 

[3.] Much slightness and perfunctoriness of heart you may be 
guilty of. Such is the wickedness of men, that they think God will 
be put off with anything ; and though they would set off themselves 
with applause in the hearing of others, yet how slight are they apt 


to be when they deal with God alone ! Consider, you must sanctify 
the name of God in private, as well as in public ; you must speak to 
God with reverence and fear, and not in an overly fashion. Take 
heed of this slightness; it is a great wrong to the majesty of God. 
When they offered a sickly offering, saith God, ' I am a great King, 
and my name is dreadful among the heathen : ' you do not consider 
my majesty. 

[4.] There may be this evil : resting in the work, in the tale and 
number of your prayers: Luke xviii. 12, 'I fast twice in the week.' 
Man is very apt to rest and dote upon his own worth, and to build all 
his acceptance with God upon it ; to come to God, and challenge him 
for a debt, as the Pharisee did. It is very natural to rest in those 
duties, and make them an excuse for other things. 

[5.] There may be pride, even in the exercise of our gifts. There 
is a delight in duties, which seems spiritual many times when it is 
not; as when a man delighteth in the exercise of his own gifts, 
rather than in communion with God ; when there is a secret tickling 
of heart with a conceit of our own worth ; as when, in the carriage of 
a duty, we come off roundly, and parts have their free course and 
career. This complacency and pride, it may be not only in public, 
where we have advantage to discover ourselves with applause, but in 
private, between God and our souls. When a man is conceited of his 
gifts, they may end in the private exercise of them, to the wrong of 
God. When invention is quick and free, he may have such a delight 
as may make him rest in the work, as it is a fruit of parts, rather than 
as a means of communion with God. Therefore there needs a great 
deal of caution when we are alone with our heavenly Father. 

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do; for 
they think they shall be heard /or their much speaking. Be not 
ye, therefore, like unto them; for your Father knoweth what 
things ye have need of, before ye ask him. MAT. VI. 7, 8. 

OUR Lord having spoken of the ostentation of the Pharisees, and 
their vainglory, he cometh here to dissuade from another abuse, and 
that is babbling and lip-labour. They prayed to be seen of men ; 
but the heathens were guilty of another abuse. Here take notice: 

1. Of the sin taxed. 

2. The reasons which our Lord produceth against it. 

First, the sin taxed is set forth by a double notion. Here is fiaTro- 
\oyia and 7ro\v\o<yia : the first we translate, ' vain repetitions ; ' and 
the last, ' much speaking.' Both may well go together ; for when 
men affect to say much, they will use vain repetitions, go over the 
same things again and again, which is as displeasing to God as it is 
irksome to prudent and wise men. 

But let us see a little what these words signify. The first word is 
ftarroXoryia, which we translate 'vain repetitions.' Battus was a 
foolish poet, that made long hymns, consisting of many lines, but 


such as were often repeated, both for matter and words ; and Ovid 
brings in a foolish fellow, that would be often repeating the same 
words, and doubling them over : r 

'Montibus, inquit, erant, et eraut sub montibus illis.' 

And again : 

' Et me mihi perfide prodis ? 
Me mihi prodis ? ait.' 

And from thence this word is taken, which is here used by the evan 
gelist : ftarToXoyia, or idle babbling over the same thing. And the 
scripture representeth this vain going over of the same things: 
Eccles. x. 14, ' A fool also is full of words ; a man cannot tell what 
shall be ; and what shall be after him, who can tell ? ' The most 
judicious interpreters do conceive there is a /M^yais, an imitation of 
the fool's speaking. Groundless, fruitless repetitions are here re 
proved, or the tumbling out of many insignificant words, and the 
same over and over again ; this is vain repetition. But the other 
word which Christ useth to tax the same abuse is 7ro\v\o<yia, ' much 
speaking.' It signifieth affectation of length in prayer, or using many 
words, not out of fervency of mind, but merely to prolong the duty, 
as if the length of it made it more powerful or acceptable with God, 
or a more comely piece of worship. This is what our Lord here re 
proves ; vain repetitions and much speaking. 

Secondly, here are the reasons produced against it ; they are two : 

1. That it is a heathenish custom, and that grounded upon a false 
supposition. The heathens were detestable to the Jews, and therefore 
their customs should not be taken up, especially when grounded upon 
an error, or a misapprehension of the nature of God. Now the 
heathens think they shall be heard for their much speaking, for their 
mere praying and composing hymns to their gods, with thundering 
names repeated over and over again. 

2. It is inconsistent with the true nature of God : ver. 8, ' Be not 
therefore like unto them ; for your Father knoweth what things you 
have need of, before you ask him.' Here we learn three things : 
(1.) Christianity and true religion takes up God under the notion of 
a father, that hath a care of his children. This will decide many 
questions about prayer, and what words we should use to God in the 
duty : go to God as children to their father. (2.) He is represented 
as an omniscient God one that knows all things, our wants and 
necessities. (3.) As an indulgent father, who hath a prepense and 
ready mind to help us, even before we ask. 

From the words thus opened, that which we may observe is this, 
viz. : 

Doct. That certainly it is a sin needlessly to affect length of speech, 
or vain repetitions in prayer. 

Our Lord dissuadeth us from it here, and his authority should sway 
with us. He knew the nature of prayer better than we do ; for he ap 
pointed it, and he was often in the practice and observance of it. So 
we are directed to the contrary : Eccles. v. 2, ' Be not rash with thy 
mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before 
God : for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth ; therefore let thy 
words be few.' Kemember, you have to do with a great God, and do 


not babble things over impertinently in his ears. It is a truth evident 
by the light of nature : Faucis verbis rem divinam facito (Platinus). 
If you be to worship God, a needless prolixity doth not become ad 
dresses to him. 

But because this text may be abused, I shall endeavour to clear it a 
little further. There are two extremes : the slight and careless spirit, 
and babbling. 

1. There is the slight and careless spirit, who doth the work of an 
age in a breath, and is all for starts and sudden pangs, which pass 
away like a flash of lightning in a dark room ; whose good thoughts 
are gone as soon as they rush into the heart. A poor, barren, and 
slight spirit, which is not under the influence and power of that 
celestial love which keeps the soul in converse with God, cannot 
endure to be any while with God. Alas ! we need stroke upon stroke 
to fasten anything upon the heart. We are like green wood, that 
will not presently take fire, until it lie long there, and be thoroughly 
and well warmed ; so until we have gone far in the duty, we can 
hardly get any warmth of heart. They which are short in prayer had 
need of much habitual preparation of heart. 

2. The babbler is another extreme, who thinks the commendation 
of a duty is to be long in it, and affects to say much rather than well ; 
whereas serious and short speech makes the best prayer: Prov. x. 19, 
' In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin ; ' either to God or 
men, it is true ; but especially when affected. So they do but beat 
the air, rather than pray to God. 

These, then, are the two extremes : shortness, out of barrenness or 
slightness ; or length, out of affectation ; and we must carefully avoid 
these. Christ would not justify that shortness which comes from 
slightness and barrenness of heart, nor, on the other side, indulge the 
affectation of length in prayer. 

Therefore let us a little see : 

I. What is the sin. 

II. Give you the force of our Lord's reasons here urged, or how con 
clusive our Saviour's arguments are against this practice. 

I. What is the sin ? That is necessary to be known ; for all repeti 
tions are not vain, nor is all length in prayer to be accounted babbling. 

First, for repetitions : 

1. When they express fervency and zeal, they may be used. And 
so we read, Christ prayed over the same prayer thrice : Mat. xxvi. 44, 
' my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me/ And 
another evangelist showeth that he did this out of special fervency of 
spirit : Luke xxii. 44, ' Being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly/ 
And so we read of the prophet Daniel, chap. ix. 17-19, '0 our 
God, hear the prayer of thy servant ; my God, incline thine ear, 
and hear ; Lord, hear ; Lord, forgive ; Lord, hearken and do ; 
defer not for thine own. sake, my God/ All this was out of 
vehemency ; he goes over and over again the same request. When 
we use many words of the same kind and signification, and it be out 
of vehemency and fervency of spirit, it is not forbidden. 

2. This repetition is not to be disproved 1 when there is a special 

1 That is, ' disapproved.' ED. 


emphasis and spiritual elegancy in it, as Ps. cxxxvi., you have it twenty- 
six times repeated, ' for his mercy enclureth for ever ;' because there was 
a special reason in it, his purpose there being to show the unwearied- 
ness and the unexhausted riches of God's free grace, that, notwith 
standing all the former experiences they had had, God is where he 
was at first. We waste by giving, our drop is soon spent ; but God 
is not wasted by bestowing, but hath the same mercy to do good to 
his creatures as before. Though he had done all those wonders for 
them, yet his mercy was as ready to do good to them still. All along 
God saved and blessed his people, ' for his mercy endureth for ever.' 
But as there are repetitions which have their use, so there are useless 
tautologies and vain repetitions. And such they are when they neither 
come from the heart nor go to the heart ; when they come not from 
the abundance of the heart, but rather the emptiness of the heart ; 
because we know not how to enlarge ourselves to God, therefore fall 
upon idle and useless repetitions of the same words and requests. As 
a man that hath small skill in music doth only play over the same 
note, so when men have not a full spiritual abundance, they waste 
themselves in prayer in these idle repetitions. And then they go not 
to the heart, they do not conduce to warm the affections. A vain, 
clamorous ingeminating the same thing, without faith and without 
wisdom, merely to fill up the tale of words, or to wear out a little time 
in a religious exercise, that is it which is here condemned under the 
notion of vain repetitions. 

Secondly, For the other word, 7ro\v\o<yta, or 'much speaking/ 
Every long prayer is not forbidden ; for our Lord Jesus himself ' con 
tinued all night in prayer :' Luke vi. 12. And in extraordinary duties 
of fasting, length seems to be very necessary: Esther iv. 16, 'They 
fasted and prayed together for three days and nights, without eating 
any bread.' And Solomon prayed long at the dedication of the 

But that which is forbidden is, when men speak words without 
need and without affection ; a needless lengthening out of prayer, and 
that upon a conceit that it is more acceptable to God. 

1. In the general, prayer should be short, as all examples of scrip 
ture teach us. And the Lord's Prayer, you see how concise and short 
it is, for presently upon this our Lord teacheth his disciples to pray ; 
for prayer is a spending rather than a feeding duty. Those which 
affect long speaking many times run into this : they make it a feeding 
duty, for they mingle exhortations with prayer, which is a great 
abuse. A man can bear up under the hearing of the word for an 
hour or two better than half an hour in prayer, with that necessary 
vigour of spirit which God hath required. Therefore the general rule 
is, let your words be concise, but full of affection. Look, as in vast 
and great bodies, the spirits are more diffused and scattered, and 
therefore they are more inactive than those which are of a smaller 
compass ; so, in a long prayer, there may be more of words, but less 
of life. 

2. The affectation of prolixity is naught. Usually it comes from 
some evil ground, either from pride and ostentation of gifts ; thus 
we read the Pharisees were taxed for making long prayers, Mat. xxiii. 


14, that, under the colour of them, they might devour widows' houses ; 
that is, be credited and trusted with the management of their estates ; 
or else it may come from superstition, such as is in the heathens, who 
had unworthy thoughts of God, as if he were harsh and severe, and 
delighted in much speaking, and needed to be quickened ; or it may 
come from folly, for folly abounds in words, though it be scanty in 
true affection and hearty respect to God. A wise man is content with 
words enough to express his mind: choice and measure of speech dis- 
covereth wisdom. 

3. So much time should be spent in prayer, and so many words are 
necessary as may be convenient and profitable both for ourselves and 
others. For ourselves, when we are alone, so much as may express 
faith, and may argue a great plea in the promises, and so much as 
may reach fervent desire. While the fervency continues, the speech 
should continue ; and so much as may express our filial dependence, 
that we have a sense that God is our Father, which are the ends for 
which prayer was appointed. And so as it may suit with the con- 
veniency of others, that they may be warmed, but not tired, and may 
not be exposed to the temptations of weariness, and wanderings, and 
distractions in their mind, when things are spun out unto an unrea 
sonable length ; for then it is neither pleasing to God nor profitable 
to men. Thus I have stated the offence our Lord forbids, what are 
those vain repetitions and idle babblings, such as arise from weariness 
of soul and misconceit of God, or some other base grounds ; not that 
plentiful expression which comes from a large and free heart, pouring 
out itself before the Lord. And if we be swayed by his authority, 
these things should be regarded by us, and we should remedy these 
sins in prayer. 

II. Let us come to examine our Lord's reasons which are produced 
against it, and see how conclusive they are in the case, and you will 
discern the drift of Christ's speech. 

Our Lord reasons: 

First, From the practice of the heathens : ' But when ye pray, use 
not vain repetitions, as the heathens do.' In this reason several pro 
positions are couched and contained, which deserve to be weighed 
by us. 

1. This is implied: that the heathens had a sense of the necessity 
of worship, as well as the being of a God. Though natural light be 
inferioris hemisphcerii, of the lower hemisphere, and chiefly reacheth 
to duties of the second table, of commerce between man and man ; for 
that light which was left in the heart of man since the fall, more 
directly respects our carriage towards men, and there it is more clear 
and open; yet it so far reaches to the duties of the higher hemisphere, as 
that there is some discerning too of the duties of the first table, of piety 
as well as honesty ; as that there is a God ; and if there be a God, he 
is to be worshipped ; for these two notions live and die together. The 
rude mariners were sensible of a divine power which was to be called 
upon and consulted with in case of extremity, and that the way of 
commerce was by worship : Jonah i. 5, when the storm arose, ' they 
called every man upon his god.' 

2. Though heathens were sensible of the being of a God and the 


necessity of worship, yet they were blind and dark in worship ; for 
Christ saith, ' Be not as the heathen ; for they think they shall be 
heard for their much speaking.' Usually a half light misleads men. 
The heathens, though they had some notions of an eternal Power, yet 
when they came to perform their worship, Rom. i. 21, ' They glorified 
him not as God ; but became vain/ ev TOIS SidX-ojia^otf, ' in their 
imaginations ;' that is, in their practical inferences. They saw an 
infinite, eternal Power, which was to be loved, trusted, worshipped ; 
but when they came to suit these notions to practice, to love, trust, 
and worship him, there they were vain, frivolous, and had misconceits 
of God. 

3. Their errors in worship were many. Here our Lord takes notice 
but of one, that they thought to be heard for their much speaking. 
And there the original mistake of the heathens, and that which com- 
priseth all the rest, was this, a transformation or changing of God 
into the likeness of man, which is very natural and incident to us. 
Upon all occasions we are apt to misconceive of God, and to judge 
him according to our own model and scantling: Ps. 1. 21, 'Thou 
though test I was altogether such an one as thyself.' So did these. 
Because man is wrought upon by much speaking, and carried away 
with a flood of words, therefore they thought so it would be with God. 
This transformation of the divine nature into an idol of our own 
shaping and picturing, the turning of God into the form of a cor 
ruptible man, this hath been the ground of all the miscarriage in the 

But more particularly: their error in this matter was charging 
weakness and harshness upon God, or not worshipping him according 
to his spiritual nature. 

[1.] Charging weakness upon God, as if many words did help him to 
understand their meaning, or to remember their petitions the better. 
Hence that practice of Baal's priests, 1 Kings xviii. 26, ' They called 
on the name of Baal from morning till night, Baal, hear us/ 
They were repeating and crying again and again, ' Baal/ as if their 
clamour would awaken -their god. Whence Elijah's sarcasm, ' He 
sleepeth, and must be awaked/ As those that for two hours together 
cried out, ' Great is Diana of the Ephesians ! Great is Diana of the 
Ephesians ! ' Acts xix. 34. 

[2.] Their ascribing harshness to God, as if he were hard to be en 
treated, and delighted in the pain of his creatures, and would be more 
affected with them, because they wearied themselves with the irksome- 
ness of a long prayer. Penal satisfactions are very natural. Super 
stition is a tyranny ; it vexeth the soul with unreasonable duty, affects 
outward length to the weariness of the flesh. The general conceit is, 
that man thinks God must be served with some self-denial, and the 
flesh must be displeased ; but it shall be displeased but in a little, 
and in an outward way, as Baal's priests gashed themselves ; as if 
God were pleased with our burdensome and long exercises. 

[3.] There was error in it. They did not conceive aright of the 
spiritual nature of God ; as if he were pleased with the mere task, a 
long hymn, and an idle repetition of words, without sense and affec 
tion. Whereas the Lord doth not measure prayers by prolixity, but 


by the vehemeney ; not by the labour of the external work, but by 
the inward affection manifested therein. And words are only 
accepted with him as they serve to quicken, continue, or increase our 

Secondly, Our Saviour's next reason is drawn from verse 8 : ' Be not 
ye like unto them ; for your Father knoweth what things ye have need 
of before you ask him/ It is inconsistent with the true notion of 
God. Here are three propositions, all which are of force to draw us 
off from babbling, or affectation of many words in prayer. As : 

1. That God is a Father, and that both by creation and covenant. 
By creation, to all mankind ; so he will be ready to sustain that which 
he hath made. He that hath given life will give food ; he that hath 
given a body will give raiment. Things expect supply thence from 
whence they received their being. But much more by covenant ; so 
he is our Father in Christ : ' Doubtless thou art our Father, though 
Abraham be ignorant of us,' Isa. Ixiii. 16. Well, but what is this to 
the present purpose, that God is a Father ? This is a check to bab 
bling ; therefore we should go to him in an unaffected manner, with a 
child-like spirit and dependence, with words reverent, serious, and 
plain. Children do not use to make starched speeches to their fathers 
when they want bread, but only express their natural cry, and go to 
them for such things as they stand in need of. There they speak, 
and are accepted ; and a word from a child moves the father more 
than an orator can move all his hearers. Even such a naked address 
should we make to God in a plain mariner ; for when we come to 
pray, Christ would have us take up God in the notion of a father, 
and to behave ourselves in a natural way to him ; for affected 
eloquence or loquacity in prayer is one of the main things Christ here 
disproves. 1 Prayer ought to be simple and plain ; therefore the great 
business of ' the Spirit of adoption' is to make us cry, ' Abba, Father :' 
Kom. viii. 15. 

2. He is such a Father as is not ignorant of our wants. The care 
of his providence is over all the creatures he hath made. God hath 
an inspection over them, to provide necessaries for them ; much more 
over his people. His eyes run to and fro, to find them out in all the 
places of their dispersion ; and he doth exercise his power for their 
relief : 2 Chron. xvi. 9. Now this thought should be rooted in our 
hearts when we come to pray to God : I go to a Father, which hath 
found me out in the throng of his creatures, and knows what is good 
for me. This is a great ground why we should not use battology, 
because God knows what my needs are. Words are not required for 
God's sake, but for ours ; not to inform God, but that we may perform 
our duty the better. Well, then, so far as they are useful, so far they 
should be used ; to bound- our thoughts, to warm our affections, to 
strengthen our faith. (1.) To bound our thoughts ; for an interrup 
tion in speech is sooner discerned that an interruption in meditation. 
(2.) And to warm our affections. Words at first are vent to affection, 
but afterwards they continue to increase the affection ; as a hearth is 
first warmed by the fire, and then it serves to keep in the fire. (3.) 
And they conduce to strengthen our faith, while we plead promises in 

1 'Disapproves.' ED. 


God's hearing. We wrestle with God, that we may catch a heat our 
selves. And therefore words should be only used as they conduce to 
the strengthening our faith, or continuing our affection to God ; 
longer than they serve that end in prayer, they are babbling and vain 
repetitions, and much speaking, which Christ here forbids. Consider, 
there is not a change in God, but a change in us, wrought by prayer. 
It is neither to give information to God, that he may know our mean 
ing, nor to move him and persuade him to be willing by our much 
speaking, but only to raise up our own faith and hope towards God. 

3. He is such a Father as is not unwilling to relieve us. Your 
heavenly Father is very ready to give you such things as you stand 
in need of, as Christ expresseth it, Mat. vii. 11, 'If ye, being evil, 
'know how to give good things unto your children, how much more shall 
your heavenly Father give good things to them that ask him ? ' And, 
Luke xi. 13, it is, ' How much more shall your heavenly Father give 
his Holy Spirit ? ' When you come to beg for grace, consider what 
earthly parents would do for a child. Their affections are limited, 
they are in part corrupt; and poor straitened creatures have not 
such bowels of compassion as God; and yet, when a child comes to 
them with a genuine cry, with a sense of his want and confidence of 
his father, he cannot harden his bowels against his child. This also 
checks much speaking ; for we do not pray to stir up mercy in him, 
as if he needed much entreaty, and were severe, and delighted to put 
the creature to penance. No, he is ready before we ask ; he knows 
our wants and needs, and is ready to supply us with those things we 
stand in need of, only will have this comely order observed. Some 
times he prevents our prayers before we ask : ' Before they call, I will 
answer ; and I am found of them that sought me not.' Before we 
can have a heart to come, the Lord prevents us with his blessing. And 
sometimes he gives us what we ask. This is the condescension of 
God, that when you call he will answer ; and when you cry, he doth 
in his providence say, ' What will you have, poor creatures?' And he 
gives more than we ask ; as Solomon asked wisdom, and God gave 
him more than he asked wisdom, riches, and honour. 

Object. But here is an objection. These notions seem not only to 
exclude long prayer and much speaking, but all prayer. If God 
know our wants, and is so ready to give, whether we ask or no, what 
need we open them to him in prayer at all ? 

I answer, it is God's prescribed course, and that should be enough 
to gracious hearts that will be obedient to their Father. Whatever he 
intends, though he knows our wants and resolves to answer them, yet 
it is a piece of religious manners to ask what he is about to give: 
Jer. xxix. 11, ' I know my thoughts towards you, thoughts of peace, 
yet will I be inquired of you for these things.' God knows his own 
thoughts, hath stated his decrees, and will not alter the beautiful 
course of his providence for our sakes, yet he will be sought unto. So 
Ezek. xxxvi. : God purposed to bless them, and therefore promiseth, 
I will do thus and thus for you'; yet, verse 37, ' I will yet for this 

inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.' I will do it, 
)ut you shall milk out the blessing by prayer. This course is also 
lecessary, and that both for his honour, and our profit and comfort. 


1. It is necessary for bis honour, that God may still be acknow 
ledged, that the creature may be kept up in a constant dependence 
upon God, and may go about nothing, but may ask his leave, counsel, 
and blessing : Prov. in. 6, ' In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he 
shall direct thy paths.' We ask God's leave that we may do such a 
thing, for he hath the dominion over all events. And if we are doubt 
ful, we ask his counsel, whether we may stay here or there, or dispose 
of ourselves and families, and we ask his blessing upon our resolu 
tion. Now that we may know God doth all, that he governeth all 
human affairs, that we may live upon his allowance and take our 
daily bread from his hands, and that we may see we hold all these 
things from our great landlord, therefore we pray unto him. We are 
robbers and thieves if we use the creature without his leave. God is 
the great owner of the world, who gives us our daily bread, arid all our 
supplies; therefore he will have it asked, that we may acknowledge 
our dependence. 

2. It is most for our profit. Partly, that our faith should be 
exercised in pleading God's promise, for there we put the promise in 
suit. Faith .is begotten in the word, but it is exercised in prayer ; 
therefore it is called the ' prayer of faith.' In the word, we take 
Christ from God; in prayer we present Christ to God. That prayer 
which is effectual, it is an exercise of faith : Bom. x. 14, ' How shall 
they call on him, in whom they have not believed ?' And as it con 
cerns our faith, so also our love, which is both acted and increased 
in prayer. It is acted, for it is delight in God which makes us so 
often converse with him. Thus the hypocrite: Job xxvii. 10, 'Will 
he always call upon the Lord ? Will he delight himself in the 
Almighty ? ' They that love God cannot be long from him, they that 
delight in God will be often unbosoming themselves to him. It doth 
also increase our love, for by answers of prayer we have new fuel to 
keep in this holy fire in our bosoms. We pray, and then he gives 
direct answers : Ps. cxvi. 1, ' I love the Lord, because he hath 
heard my voice and my supplication.' So our hope is exercised in 
waiting for the blessing prayed for: Ps. v. 3, '0 Lord, in the 
morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.' That 
looking up is the work of hope, when we are looking and waiting to 
see what comes in from pleading promises. It is much too for our 
peace of conscience, for it easeth us of our burthens. It is the vent 
of the soul, like the opening of a vein in a fever. When our hearts 
swell with cares, and we have a burthen upon us, and know not what 
to do, we may ease ourselves to God : Phil. iv. 6, ' Be careful for 
nothing ; but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanks 
giving, let your requests be made known to God ; and the peace of 
God shall keep your hearts.' Oh, blessed frame, that can be troubled 
at nothing here in this world, where there are so many businesses, 
encounters, temptations ! What is the way to get this calmness of 
heart ? Be much in opening your hearts to God. Let your requests 
be made known to God. Look, as in an earthquake, when the wind 
is imprisoned in the bowels of the earth, the earth heaves, and shakes, 
and quakes, until there be a vent, and the wind be got out, then all is 
quiet ; so we have many tossings and turmoilings in our minds, till 


we open and unbosom ourselves to God, and then all is quiet. Also 
it prepareth us for the improvement of mercies, when we have them 
out of the hands of God by prayer : 1 Sam. i. 27, 28, ' For this child 
I prayed,' said Hannah, ' and I will lend him unto the Lord.' Those 
mercies we expressly prayed for we are more thoroughly obliged to 
improve for God. What is won with prayer is worn with thankful 


Use 1. To caution us against many abuses in prayer, which may be 
disproved and taxed, either formally, or by just consequence. I shall 
instance in five. 

1. An idle and foolish loquacity, when men take a liberty to 
prattle anything in God's hearing, and do not consider the weight and 
importance of prayer, and what a sin it is to be ' hasty to utter any 
thing before God : ' Eccles. v. 2. It is great irreverence and contempt 
of the majesty of God, when men go hand over head about this work, 
and speak anything that comes into their mind. As men take them 
selves to be despised when others speak unseemly in their presence, 
surely it is a lessening and a despising of God, when we pour out raw, 
tumultuous, undigested thoughts, and never think of what we are to 
speak when we come to God: Ps. xlv. 1, 'My heart is inditing a 
good matter.' The word signifieth, it ' boils or fries a good matter.' 
It is an allusion to the Mincah, or meat-offering, which was to be 
boiled or fried in a pan, before it was to be presented to the Lord, 
that they might not bring a dough-baked sacrifice and offering to the 
Lord. Such ignorant, dull, senseless praying, it is a blaspheming of 
God, and a lessening of the majesty of God. 

2. A frothy eloquence, and an affected language in prayer, this 
directly comes under reproof. As if the prayer were more grateful to 
God, and he were moved by words and strains of rhetoric, and did 
accept men for their parts rather than graces. Fine phrases, and 
quaint speeches, alas ! they do not carry it with the Lord. They are 
but an empty babble in his ears, rather than a humble exercise of 
faith, hope, love, and child-like affections, and holy desires after God. 
If we would speak with God, we must speak with our hearts to him, 
rather than with our words. This is a sin of curiosity, as the other 
was of neglect. It is not words, but the spirit and life which God 
looks after. Prayer, it is not a work of oratory, the product of 
memory, invention, and parts, but a filial affection, that we may come 
to .him, as to a father, with a child-like confidence. Therefore, too 
much care of verbal eloquence in prayer, and tunable expressions, is a 
sin of the same nature with babbling. Though men should have the 
wit to avoid impertinent expressions and repetitions, yet when prayer 
smells so much of the man rather than of the Spirit of God, alas ! it is 
but like the unsavoury belches of a rotten breath in the nostrils of 
God. We should attend to matter, to the things we have to com 
municate to God, to our necessities, rather than to words. 

3. Heartless speaking, filling up the time with words, when the 
tongue outruns the heart, when men pour their breath into the air, 
but their hearts are dead and sleepy, or their hearts keep not time and 


pace with their expressions. We oftener pray with our tongues than 
with our minds, and from our memories than our consciences, and 
from our consciences than our affections, and from our affections, as 
presently stirred, than from our hearts renewed, bended, and inclined 
towards God. Be the prayer long or short, the heart must keep pace 
with our tongues. As the poet said, disticha longafacit, ' his distichs 
were tedious,' so it is tedious and irksome to God, unless we make 
supplication in the spirit : Eph. vi. 18. Kemember God will not be 

4. When men rest in outward vehemency and loud speech, saith 
Tertullian, Quibus arteriis opus est, si pro sono audiamur ! ' What 
lungs and sides must we have, if we be heard to speak to heaven by 
the noise and sound ! ' In some there is a natural vehemency and 
fierceness of speech, which is rather stirred up by the heat and agita 
tion of the bodily spirits than any vehemency of affection. There is a 
contention of speech, which is very natural to some, and differeth 
much from that holy fervour, the life and power of prayer, which is 
accompanied with reverence and child-like dependence upon God. It 
is not the loud noise of words which is best heard in heaven, but the 
fervent affectionate cries of the saints are those of the heart rather 
than of the tongue. Exod. xiv. 17, it is said, ' Moses cried to the 
Lord.' We do not read of the words he uttered ; his cry was with 
the heart. There is a crying with the soul and with the heart to 
God : Ps. x. 17, ' Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble.' 
It is the desires God hears : Ps. xxxix. 9, ' Lord, all my desire is be 
fore thee, and my groaning is not hid from thee.' The Lord needs 
not the tongue to be an interpreter between him and the hearts of his 
children. He that hears without ears can interpret prayers though 
not uttered by the tongue. Our desires are cries in the ears of the Lord 
of hosts. The vehemency of the affections may sometimes cause the ex 
tension of the voice, but alas ! without this it is but a tinkling cymbal. 

5. Popish repetition, and loose shreds of prayer often repeated, as 
they have in their liturgy over and over again ; their Gloria Patri, so 
often repeated ; their Lord have mercy ; and in their prayer made to 
Jesus, siveet Jesus, blessed Jesus ; and going over the Ave Maria, and 
this to be tumbled over upon their beads, and continuing prayer by 
tale and by number : surely these are but vain repetitions, and this 
is that much speaking which our Lord aims at. Thus I have 
despatched the abuses of prayer. 

Use '2. To give you direction in prayer, how to carry yourselves 
in this holy duty towards God in a comely manner. 
I shall give you directions : 

1. About our words in prayer. 

2. About our thoughts in prayer. 

3. About our affections in prayer. 

First, about our words. There is a use of them in prayer, to ex 
cite, and convey, and give vent to affection : Hosea xiv. 2, ' Take 
with you words, and turn to the Lord, and say, Take away all iniquity, 
and receive us graciously.' Surely the prophet doth not only pre 
scribe that they should take affections, but take with them words. 
Words have an interest in prayer. 


Now, these may be considered either when we are alone or in com 

1. When we are alone. Here take the advice of the Holy Ghost : 
Eccles. v. 2, ' God is in heaven, and thou art upon earth, therefore let 
thy words be few/ How few ? Few in weight, conscience, rever 
ence. Few in weight, affecting rather to speak matter than words ; 
concisely and feelingly, rather than with curiousness, to express what 
you have to say to God. Few in conscience. Superstition is a bas 
tard religion, and is tyrannous, and puts men upon tedious services, 
and sometimes beyond their strength. Therefore pray neither too 
short nor too long ; do it not merely to lengthen out the prayer, or 
as counting it the better for being long. The shortness and the 
length must be measured by the fervency of our hearts, our many 
necessities, and as it tendeth to the inflaming our zeal. As it can get 
up the heart, let it still be subservient to that. Few with reverence, 
and managed with that gravity, awfulness, and seriousness as would 
become an address to God. As Abraham, Gen. xviii. 31, had been 
reasoning with God before, therefore he saith, ' Let not God be angry 
if I speak to him this once,' when he renewed the suit. Thus alone. 

2. In company. There our words must be apt and orderly, mov 
ing as much as may be, not to God, but to the hearers ; managed 
with such reverence and seriousness as may suit with the gravity of 
the duty, and not increase, but cure the dulness of those with whom we 
join. And what if we did in public duties choose out words to reason 
with' God, as Job saith, chap. ix. 14, ' Choose out my words to reason 
with him ; ' if we did use preparation, and think a little before 
hand, that we may go about the duty with serious advice, and not 
with indigested thoughts ? But this hath the smallest interest in 

Secondly, Our thoughts ; that we may conceive aright of God in 
prayer, which is one of the greatest difficulties in the duty. 

1. Of his nature and being. 

2. Of his relation to us. 

3. Of his attributes. 

First, Of the nature and being of God. Every one that would 
come to God must fix this in his mind, that God is, and that God is 
a spirit ; and accordingly he must be worshipped as will suit with 
these two notions. Heb. xi. 6, ' He that cometh to God must believe 
that God is,' and then that God is a spirit ; for it is said, John iv. 24, 
' God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in 
spirit and in truth/ Oh, then, whenever you come to pray to God, 
fix these two thoughts, let them be strong in your heart : God is ; I 
do not speak to an idol, but to the living God. And God is a spirit ; 
and therefore not so much pleased with plausibleness of speech, or 
tunable cadency of words, as with a right temper of heart. Alas ! 
when we come to pray, we little think God is, or what God is. Much 
of our religion is performed to an unknown God, and, like the Samar 
itans, we worship we know not what. It is not speculations about 
the divine nature, or high-strained conceptions, which doth fit us for 
prayer : the discoursing of these things with some singularity, or 
terms removed from common understanding, this is not that which I 
VOL. i. ' o 


press you to ; but such a sight of God as prompteth us to a reverent 
and serious worshipping of him. Then we have right notions of God 
in prayer, when we are affected as Moses was, when God showed him 
his back-parts, and proclaimed his name : Exod. xxxiv., ' He made 
haste, bowed his head, and worshipped.' When our worship suiteth 
with the nature of God, it is spiritual and holy, not pompous and 
theatrical. Well, then, these two things must be deeply imprinted in 
our minds that God is, and that he is a spirit ; and then is our wor 
ship right. 

For instance : 

[1.] For the first notion, God's being. Then is our worship right, 
when it doth proclaim to all that shall observe us, or we that ob 
serve ourselves, there is a great, an infinite, eternal power, which 
sits at the upper end of causes, and governeth all according to his own 
pleasure. Alas ! the worship of many is flat atheism ; they say in 
their hearts either there is no God, or believe there is no God. There 
fore, do you worship him as becomes such a glorious being ? Is his 
mercy seen in your faith and confidence, his majesty in your humility 
and reverence, his goodness in your soul's rejoicing, his greatness and 
justice in your trembling before his throne ? The worship must be 
like the worshipped, it must have his stamp upon it. 

[2.] For the other notion, God is a spirit, therefore the soul must be 
the chief agent in the business, not the body, or any member of the 
body. Spirits they converse with spirits : the body is but employed 
by the soul, and must not guide and lead it, but be led by it. There 
fore see whether there be the spirit, otherwise that which is most 
essential to the worship is wanting. To have nothing employed but 
the tongue, and the heart about other business, is not to carry your 
selves as to a God, and a God that is a spirit. Recollect yourselves ; 
where is my soul in this worship, and how is it affected towards God ? 

Secondly, As there must be thoughts to direct us in his being and 
nature, so also in his relation as a father, as one that is inclinable 
to pardon, pity, and help you. We have the spirit of adoption given 
us for this very end and purpose, that we may cry, ' Abba, Father ; ' 
and, Gal. iv. 16, ' Because you are sons, therefore he hath sent forth the 
Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father ; ' and, Kom. 
viii. 15, 'We have received the Spirit of adoption, crying, Abba, 
Father ; ' that we may come to God in a child-like manner, dealing 
with him as with a father, acquainting him with our wants, neces 
sities, burdens, with a hope of relief and supply. 

Object, Ay, saith a distressed soul, if my heart be thus carried up 
to God, if I could discern such a Spirit of adoption prompting me to 
go to God as a father, then it would be better with me. 

To this I answer : 

1. Many times there is a child-like inclination where there is not 
a child-like familiarity and boldness. What is that child-like incli 
nation ? The soul cannot keep away from God, and that is an im 
plicit owning him as a father : Jer. iii. 19, ' Thou shalt call me, My 
father ; and shalt not turn away from me.' It is a child-like act to 
look to him for all our supplies, and to recommend our suit. As when 
a child wants anything, he goes to his father. 


2. There is a child-like reverence many times when there is not a 
child-like confidence. The soul hath an awe of God when it cannot 
explicitly own him as our God and Father, yet it owns him in the 
humbling way : Luke xv. 18, ' I have sinned against heaven and before 
thee, and am not worthy to be called thy son.' Though we cannot 
confidently approach to God as our reconciled Father, yet we come 
with humility and reverence. Lord, I would fain be, but I deserve 
not to be, called thy child. 

3. There is a child-like dependence upon God's general offer, though 
we have not an evidence of the sincerity of our particular claim. God 
offereth to be a Father in Christ to all penitent believers. Now, 
when a broken-hearted creature comes to God, and looks for mercy 
upon the account of the covenant, though he cannot see his own in 
terest ; for then we come to God, though not as our Father, yet as 
' the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ; ' and that is a relief 
in prayer, as Eph. i. 3, ' Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord 
Jesus Christ ; ' and, ver. 17, ' The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the 
Father of glory ; ' and, Eph. iii. 14, ' I bow my knees unto the Father 
of our Lord Jesus Christ.' Mark, when we come to him as the 
Father of Christ, we believe what God offereth in the covenant of 
grace namely, that he will deal kindly with us as a father with his 
children ; that he will be good to those that come to him by Christ. 
The term Father is not only to be considered with respect to the dis 
position or qualification of the persons, but the dispensation they are 
under. It is the new covenant. In the new covenant God under 
takes to be fatherly that is, to pity our miseries, to pardon our sins, 
to heal our natures, to save our persons. Now all that come for refuge 
to take hold of this hope set before them, may come to God as a 
father, if they believe the gospel in general, though they are not 
assured of God's love to themselves. 

4. There may be a child-like love to God, when yet we have not a 
sense and assurance of his paternal love to us. God hath a title -to 
our choicest and dearest love before we can make out a title to his 
highest benefits. We owe our hearts to him : Prov. xxxiii. 26, ' My 
son, give me thy heart.' If you give him your hearts, you are sons, 
though you know it not. God may be owned as a father, either by 
our sense of his fatherly love, or by our choice and esteem of him, 
optando, si non affirmando. Come as fatherless without him : Hosea 
xiv. 3 ; or, to speak it in other words, the unutterable groans of the 
Spirit do discover the spirit of adoption, as well as the unspeakable 
joys of the Spirit : 1 Pet. i. 8. There is an option and choice, though 
we be not assured of our special relation. 

5. God is glorified by an affiance, and a resolute adherence, where 
there is no assurance. When you are resolved, let him deal with you 
as an enemy, you will stick to him as a father : Jobxiii. 15, ' Though 
he slay me, yet will I trust in him.' Faith can take God as a friend 
and father, and put a good construction upon his dealings, when he 
seems to come against us as an enemy. And we give glory to God 
when we can adhere to him as our only happiness, and trust his 
fatherly kindness and goodness, though he cover himself with frowns, 
and hide himself from our prayers ; and you own him as the Father 


of mercies, though it may be you have no sense and feeling of his 
fatherly love to yon. 

6. There is a difference between the gift itself and the degree. We 
cannot say we have not the spirit of adoption because we have not so 
much of the spirit of adoption as others have I mean as to the effects. 
We may have the Spirit as a sanctifier, though not as a comforter ; 
though he doth not calm our hearts, and rebuke our fears, yet he doth 
sanctify us, and incline us to God. The Spirit was only given to Christ 
without measure, but to Christians in a different measure and propor 
tion ; and usually as you submit more to his gracious conduct, and 
overcome the enemies of your peace, the devil, the world, and the 
flesh. The impression is left upon some in a smaller, and upon 
others in a larger character. All are not of one growth and size ; 
some are more explicitly Christians, others in a riddle. Much grace 
doth more discover itself than a little grace under a heap of imper 
fection. Some are more mortified and heavenly-minded than others. 

7. When all other helps fail, faith will make use of our common 
relation to God as a Creator, as we may come to him as the work 
manship of his hands. It is better to do so than keep off from him ; 
and we may come to him as the workmanship of his hands when we 
cannot come to him as children of his family. The church saith, 
Isa. Ixiv. 8, ' Now, Lord, thou art our father : we are the clay, and 
thou our potter, and we all are the work of thy hand.' They plead 
for favour and mercy by that common relation, as he was their potter, 
and they his clay. And David, Ps. cxix. 73, ' Thy hands have made 
me and fashioned me : give me understanding, that I may learn thy 
commandments.' Surely it is some comfort to claim by the covenant 
of Noah, which was made with all mankind, when we cannot claim 
mercy by the covenant of Abraham, which was made with the family 
of the faithful. The scriptures warrant us to do so : Isa. liv. 9, ' For 
this is as the waters of Noah unto me.' All this is spoken to show 
that, one way or other, we should bring our hearts to depend upon 
him as a father, for succour and relief. 

Thirdly, His attributes. This text offereth three. God's omni- 
sciency, 'He knows ;' His fatherly care, ' Your Father knows what 
you stand in need of ;' and his readiness to help, even before we ask. 

[1.] He is omniscient : He knows our persons, for Christ calleth his 
own sheep by name : John x. 3. He knoweth every one of us by head 
and by poll, by person and name. Yea, and he knows our state and 
condition : Ps. Ivi. 8, ' Thou tellest my wanderings ; put thou my 
tears into thy bottle ; are they not in thy book ?' All our wanderings 
he tells them ; all our tears he hath a bottle for them ; to show God's 
particular notice ; they are metaphorical expressions. And he observes 
us in the very posture when we come to pray, and where. Acts ix. 
11 : Go to such a street, in such a place, and ' inquire for one Saul 
of Tarsus ; for, behold, he prayeth.' The Lord takes notice, in such 
a city, in such a street, in such a house, in such a room, and what you 
are doing when you are praying. And he seeth, not only that you 
pray, but how you pray : Eom. viii. 27, ' And he that searcheth the 
heart, knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh 
intercession for the saints, according to the will of God.' He can dis- 


cern between lusts and groans, words and affections, and such words 
as are the belches of the flesh, and such as are the breathings of the 

[2.] There is his fatherly care , for it is said, ' Your Father knows 
what things you have need of.' He knows what pincheth and press- 
eth you. It is said, 1 Pet. v. 7, ' Casting all your care upon him, for 
he careth for you.' It is not said, that he may take care of you, but 
he doth take care. God is aforehand with us, and our carking care 
doth but take the work out of God's hand which he is doing already. 
Our cares are needless, fruitless, burthensome ; but his are assiduous, 
powerful, blessed. A small matter may occasion much vexation to 
us, .but to him all things are easy. Upon these considerations, ' We 
should be careful for nothing, but make known our requests unto God :' 
Phil. iv. 6. Praying for what we want, and giving thanks for what 
we have ; ' For your Father knoweth you have need of these things :' 
Mat. vi. 32. His fatherly love will not suffer him to neglect his 
children or any of their concernments. Therefore, if you have a temp 
tation upon you to anxiety and carefulness of mind, and know not how 
to get out of such a strait and conquer such a difficulty, remember 
you have a father to provide for you : this will prevent torment 
ing tlioughtfulness, which is good for nothing but to anticipate your 

[3.] The next is, his readiness to help. This should be deeply im 
pressed upon your minds, and you should habituate these thoughts, 
how ready God is to help and to run to the cry : Ps. xxxii. 5, ' I 
said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and thou for- 
gavest the iniquity of my sin.' Before his purpose could be brought 
to pass : Isa. Ixv. 24, ' Before they call, I will answer, and whiles they 
are yet speaking, I will hear.' So Jer. xxxi. 20 : 'I heard Ephraim 
bemoaning himself,' &c. God's bowels were troubled presently. He 
is more ready to give than you to ask. This will help and direct you 
mightily in the business of prayer ; for God hath a care for his chil 
dren, and is very ready to help the weak, and relieve them in all their 

Thirdly, For directions about our affections in prayer : three things 
are required, viz., fervency, reverence, confidence. 

1. Fervency. That usually comes from two grounds, a broken 
hearted sense of our wants, and a desire of the blessing we stand 
in need of. For the broken-hearted sense of our wants, especially 
spiritual. Weaknesses are incident to the best. All Christians have 
continual need to cry to God. We have continual necessities both within 
and without. Go cry to God your Father without affectation, but not 
without affection, and seek your supplies from him. Let me tell you, 
the more grace is increased, the more sense of wants is increased ; for 
sin is more hated, defects are less borne. And then, there must be 
a desire of the blessings, especially spiritual ; our needs must stir up 
fresh longings and holy desires after God : Mat. vii. 7, ' Ask, seek, 
knock ; ' Luke xi. 8, ' For his importunity, he will rise and give.' 
We spend the earnestness of our spirits in other matters, in disputes, 
contests, earthly pursuits ; our importunate earnestness runs in a 
worldly channel. .No, no ; it must be from simplicity and sincerity, 


pouring out your hearts before him ; DO sacrifice without fire : James 
v. 16, ' The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much/ 
. 2. Keverence. A reverent respectful carriage towards our heavenly 
Father: Ps. ii. 11, 'Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with 
trembling.' Mark, there is in God a mixture of majesty and mercy ; 
so in us there must be of joy and trembling. God's love doth -not 
abase his majesty, nor his majesty diminish his love. We ought to 
know our distance from God, and to think of his superiority over us ; 
therefore we must be serious. Kemember, ' God is greatly to be 
feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all 
them that are about him,' Ps. Ixxxix. 7. 

3. With confidence : Eph. iii. 12, ' In whom we have boldness and 
access with confidence by the faith of him/ There is boldness in 
pouring out our requests to God, who will certainly hear us, and grant 
what is good. We must rely upon his goodness and power in all our 
necessities. He is so gracious in Christ that he will do that which is 
best for his glory and our good, and upon other terms we should not 
seek it. If you would not turn prayer into babbling, much speaking 
to affectation of words, take heed of these abuses, and labour to bring 
your hearts to God in this manner. 



Our Father which art in heaven. 

I HAVE insisted upon the foregoing verses, which do concern the duty 
of prayer ; let me now come to the Lord's Prayer itself. This prayer 
was formed and indited by Christ, and therefore to be highly esteemed 
by Christians : Jesus Christ, who was the wisdom of God, he knew 
both our necessities and the Father's good-will towards us ; and there 
fore surely he would give us a perfect form and directory. We are 
not absolutely tied to this form. We do not read that it was ever used 
by the apostles, though we have many of their prayers upon record in 
the Acts and in the Epistles ; yet they plainly differ as to the construc 
tion of the words ; and this very prayer is diversely set down by the 
evangelists themselves: Mat. vi. 11, * Give us this day our daily 
bread ; ' it is in other words, Luke xi. 3, ' Give us day by day our 
daily bread ;' and ver. 12, ' And forgive us our debts, as we forgive 
our debtors ; ' in Luke xi. 4, it is, ' And forgive us our sins, for we 
also forgive every one that is indebted to us.' But, however, though 
we are not tied to this form, yet I think it. may be humbly used ; for 
Christ taught his disciples how to pray while as yet they were in their 
ignorance and tenderness, and had not received the Spirit. And God 
usually puts words into sinners' mouths : Hosea xi. 2, ' Take with 
you words, and say unto him, Receive us graciously.' Look, as 
Joseph is said to feed his father and his brethren as a little child is 
nourished (as it is in the margin), there is not only food provided, but 
it is put into their mouths, Gen. xlvii. 1 2 ; so did Christ teach his 
disciples to pray, not only as directing them what they should pray 
for, but putting a form of words into their mouths. 
In this prayer there are three parts observable : 

1. The preface. 

2. The petitions themselves. 

3. The conclusion. 


In the preface we have a description of God, as always we should 
begin prayer with awful thoughts of God. God is described partly 
from his goodness and mercy Our Father; and partly from his 
greatness and majesty which art in heaven. 

I. His goodness and mercy: Our Father ; where is set forth : 

1. The relation wherein God standeth to his people, in the word 

2. Their propriety and interest in that relation, wherein, not the 
particular interest of a single believer is asserted, My Father, but the 
general interest of all the elect in Christ, Our Father. 

I shall waive all which may be said concerning prayer in general ; 
concerning the lawfulness or unlawfulness of a form in prayer ; the 
disputes concerning the use of this form ; as also all the disputes con 
cerning the object of prayer, which" we learn from hence to be God 
alone. Surely prayer is a sacrifice, and belongeth only to God ; it 
cannot be made to any other but to him, who knoweth all the prayers 
that are made in the world at the same time, and the hearts of all 
those that pray. I will also waive what might be spoken concerning 
preparation before petition ; for here there is a preface before the 
prayer itself. Neither shall I speak concerning the necessity of con 
ceiving right thoughts of God in prayer ; how we may conceive of his 
goodness, to beget a confidence ; of his majesty, to beget an awe and 

That which I shall insist upon is, the notion and relation under 
which God is here expressed, which is that of Father Our Father. 

Observe, those that would pray aright must address themselves ta 
God as a father in Jesus Christ. 

Hypocrites, at the last day, will cry, ' Lord, Lord ; ' but Christ 
hath taught us to say, 'Our Father.' 

Here I shall : 
I. Inquire in what sense God is a father. 

II. What encouragements we have from thence in prayer, when 
we can take him up under this notion and appellation. 

I. In what sense God is a father. This title may be given to God, 
either essentially, or with respect to personal relation. 

1. Essentially ; and so it is common to all the persons in the God 
head Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ; all three are God, and our 
Father. And thus, not only the first Person, but the second, is called 
' the Everlasting Father : ' Isa. ix. 6. And the Holy Ghost, being 
author of our being, is called our Maker. But, 

2. It may be ascribed to God personally. And so the first Person is 
called God the Father ; and that either with relation to Christ or to us. 

[1.] With relation to Christ, as the Son of God. So the first 
Person is called the Father, as he is the fountain of ( the Deity, com 
municating to and with him the divine essence : Ps. ii. 7, ' Thou art 
my Son, this day have I begotten thee.' The personal property of the 
Father is to beget ; and of the Son, to be begotten. . . There is an, 
eternal now, wherein God is said to beget him. Thus he may be 
called the Father of Christ, as he is the second Person, and not only 
as incarnate and Mediator. Though God be Christ's Father, as 
second Person, yet they are all equal in power, dignity, and glory ;. 


but as Mediator, God is his Father in another respect. So it is said, 
John xiv. 28, ' My Father is greater than I ' not as God, for so he 
was equal ; ' He thought it no robbery to be equal with God : ' Phil. ii. 
6. But ' greater than I ; ' that is, consider him as man and mediator, 
in the state of his humiliation ; for it is notable to consider upon what 
occasion Christ speaks these words: 'If ye love me ye would rejoice 
because I said I go unto the Father ; for my Father is greater than 
I ; ' that is, You admire me and prize my company exceedingly, 
because you see the power which I put forth in the miracles which I 
do; ye would rejoice if you understood it aright; he is .infinitely more 
glorious than I appear in this state of abasement arid humiliation. Thus, 
with respect to Christ, God, the first Person, may be called the Father. 

[2.] With respect to us ; for the first person is not only the Father 
of Christ, but our Father : John xx. 17, 'I go to my Father, and 
your Father.' We share with Christ in all his relations. As God 
was his God by covenant, so he is our God. And in this sense, per 
sonally, -it may be taken here ; for our business lieth mainly with the 
first Person, with whom Christ intercedeth for us : 1 John ii. 1, ' We 
have an advocate with the Father, even Jesus Christ the righteous.' 
Before whom doth he appear ? Before the Father. And it is to him 
to whom we direct our prayers, though not excluding the other per 
sons : Eph. iii. 14, ' I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord 
Jesus Christ.' Though it be not unlawful to pray to Christ, or to the 
Holy Ghost, for that hath been done by the saints. Stephen saith, 
' Lord Jesus, receive my spirit ;' and Jacob saith, ' The angel of the 
covenant bless the lads.' And all baptized persons are baptized in the 
name of the Son and Holy Ghost, as well as in the name of the 
Father. But usually Christian worship is terminated upon God the 
Father, as being chief in the mystery of redemption ; and so it is said, 
Eph. ii. 18, ' Through him, by one Spirit, we have access to the 
Father.' We come to him through Christ, as the meritorious cause, 
who hath procured leave for us ; and by the Spirit, as the efficient 
cause, who gives us a heart to come ; and to the Father, as the ulti 
mate object of Christian worship. Christ procureth us leave to come, 
and the Spirit gives us a heart to come : so that by the Spirit, through 
Christ, we have access to God. So that now you may see what is 
meant by the Father' Our Father.' 

,B.ut now let me distinguish again. God is a father to mankind, 

1. In a more general consideration and respect, by creation ; or, 

2. In a more special regard, by adoption. 

First, By creation God is a father. At first he gave a being to 
all .things ; but to men and angels he gave reason : John i. 4, ' And 
this life was the light of man.' Other things had life, but man had such 
a life as was light ; and so by his original constitution he became to 
be the son of God. To establish the relation of a father, there must 
be a communication of life and likeness. A painter, that makes an 
image or picture like himself, he is not the father of it, for though 
there be likeness, yet no life. The sun in propriety of speech is not 
the father of frogs and putrid creatures, which are quickened by its 
heat ; though there be life, yet there is no likeness. We keep this 


relation for univocal generations and rational creatures. Thus, by 
creation, the angels are said to be the sons of God : Job xxxviii. 7, 
' When he was laying the foundations of the earth, the sons of God 
shouted for joy ;' that is, the angels. And thus Adarn also was called 
the son of God: Luke iii. 38. Thus, by our first creation, and with 
respect to that, all men are the sons of God, children of God. And 
(mark it) in respect of God's continual concurrence to our being, though 
we have deformed ourselves, and are not the same that we were when 
we were first created ; yet still, in regard of some sorry remains of 
God's image, and the light of reason, all are sons of God, and God in 
a general sense is a father to us ; yea, more a father than our natural 
parents are. For our parents, they concur to our being but instru- 
mentally, God originally. We had our being, under God, from our 
parents : he hath the greatest hand and stroke in forming us in the 
belly, and making us to be what we are. - Which appeareth by this : 
Parents, they know not what the child will be, male or female, beau 
tiful or deformed ; they cannot tell the number of bones, muscles, 
veins, arteries, and cannot restore any of these in case they should be 
lost and spoiled ; so that he that framed us in the womb, and wonder 
fully fashioned us in the secret parts, he is our Father : Ps. cxxxix. 
14. As the writing is rather the work of the penman than of the pen, 
so we are rather the workmanship of God than of our parents ; they 
are but instruments, God is the author and fountain of that life and 
being which we still have. And again, consider, the better part of 
man is of his immediate creation, and in this respect he is called ' the 
Father of spirits :' Heb. xii. 9. They do not run in the channel of 
carnal generation or fleshly descent, but they are immediately created 
by God. And it is said, Eccles. xii. 7, ' The spirit returneth to God 
which gave it.' 

Well, then, you see how, in a general sense, and with what good 
reason, God may be called our Father. Those which we call fathers, 
they are but subordinate instruments ; the most we have from them 
is our corruption, our being depraved ; but our substance, and the 
frame and fashion of it, our being, and all that is good in it, that is 
from the Lord. 

Now, this is some advantage in prayer, to look upon God as our 
father by virtue of creation, that we can come to him as the work of 
his hands, and beseech him that he will not destroy us and suffer us 
to perish : Isa. Ixiv. 8, ' But now, Lord, thou art our father ; we 
are the clay, and thou our potter ; and we are all the work of thine 
hand.' There is a general mercy that God hath for all his creatures; 
and, therefore, as he gave us rational souls, and fashioned us in the 
womb, we may come to him and say, Lord, thou art our potter and 
we thy clay, do us good, forsake us not. 

What advantage have we in prayer from this common interest or 
general respect of God's being a father by virtue of creation ? 

[1.] This common relation binds us to pray to him. All things which 
God hath made, by a secret instinct they are carried to God for their 
supply : Ps. cxlv. 15, ' The eyes of all things look up to thee.' 
In their way they pray to him and moan to him for their supplies, 
even very beasts, young ravens, and fowls of the air. But much more 


is this man's duty, as we have reason, and can clearly own the first 
cause. And therefore upon these natural grounds the apostle reasons 
with them why they should seek after God : Acts xiv. 17. 

[2.] As this common relation binds us to pray, so it draweth common 
benefits after it: Mat. vi. 25, 26, ' Is not the life more than meat, 
and the body than raiment ? Behold the fowls of the air : for they sow 
not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns ; yet your heavenly 
Father feedeth them.' Where God hath given a life, he will give food; 
and where he gives a body, he will give raiment, according to his good 
pleasure. He doth not cast off the care of any living creature he hath 
made, as long as he will preserve it for his glory. Beasts have their 
food and provision, much more men, which are capable of knowing 
and enjoying God. 

[3.] It giveth us confidence in the power of God. He which made 
us out of nothing is able to keep, preserve, and supply us when all 
things fail, and in the midst of all dangers. Saints are able to make 
use of this common relation. And therefore it is said, 1 Pet. iv. 19, 
that we should ' commit our souls unto him in well-doing, as unto 
a faithful Creator/ The apostle speaks of such times when they car 
ried their lives in their hands from day to day. They did not know 
how soon they should be haled before tribunals and cast into prisons. 
Kemember, you have a Creator, which made you out of nothing ; and 
he can keep and preserve life when you have nothing. Thus this 
common relation is not to be forgotten, as he gives us our outward 
life and being : Ps. cxxiv. 8, ' Our help is in the name of the Lord, 
who made heaven and earth.' As if the psalmist had said, as long 
as I see these glorious monuments of his power, these things framed 
out of nothing, shall I distrust God, whatever exigence or strait I may 
be reduced to ? 

Secondly, More especially there is a particular sort of men to whom 
God is a father in Christ, and that is, to believers : John i. 12, ' To 
as many as received him, to them gave he power to be called the sons 
of God/ Those which in their natural state and condition were chil 
dren of wrath, and slaves to sin and Satan, when they come, and are 
willing to welcome and receive Christ into their hearts, in a sense of 
their misery, are willing to make out after God and Christ ; they have 
an allowance to call God Father, and may have child-like communion 
with him, and run to him in all straits, and lay open their necessities 
to him. 2 Kings iv. 19, When the child cried unto his father, he 
said, ' Carry him to his mother : ' so when we are ill at ease and in 
any straits, this is the privilege of our adoption, that we have a God 
to go to ; we may go to our Father and plead with him, as the church : 
Isa. Ixiii. 16, ' Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be 
ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not : thou, Lord, art our 
father, our redeemer.' It is good to know God under this special 
relation of a father in Christ ; and this is that which is the grace of 
adoption. Adoption is an act of free grace, by which we that were 
aliens and strangers, servants to sin and Satan, are, in and by Christ, 
made sons and daughters of God, and accordingly are so reckoned and 
treated with, to all intents and purposes. It is a great and special 
privilege, given to God's own children, by virtue of their interest in 


Christ ; and therefore it is said, 1 John iii. 1, ' Behold, what love the 
Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of 
God ! ' That is, behold it as a certain truth, and admire it as a great 
privilege. This second relation is a very great privilege, and it will 
appear to be so, if we consider : 

[1.] The persons that receive it. We that were aliens, and enemies, 
and bond-slaves ; that were of another line and stock ; that might 
' say to corruption, Thou art my father ; to the worm, Thou art my 
mother, and my sister :' Job xvii. 14. We that were cousin-germans 
to worms, a handful of enlivened dust, that we should be taken into 
such a relation to God ! We that might say indeed to the devil, Thou 
art our father, and the lusts of our father we will do : John viii. 24. 
Satan is the sinners' father, and God disclaims them. The Lord dis 
claims the people which were brought out of the land of Egypt, when 
they rebelled against him : Exod. xxxii. 7, ' The Lord said unto 
Moses, Go, get thee down, for thy people which thou broughtest out 
of .the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves.' Thy people, which 
thou hast brought, in scorn and disdain, as if God did disavow them 
from being his. And so it was with us all. When Adarn had re 
belled against God, God executed the law of the rebellious child 
against him, which was this, that he should be turned out of doors. 
So was Adam turned out of paradise, and lost his title and heritage ; 
and we were reckoned to the devil. Now, ' behold, what manner of 
love was this, that we should be called the sons of God !' 

[2.] You will wonder at it, you will behold it as an excellent privi 
lege, if you consider the nature of the privilege itself, to be sons and 
daughters of God, to be able to call God Father. This was Christ's 
own title and honour. When God had a mind to honour Christ, he 
proclaims it from heaven : Mat. iii. 17. ' This is my beloved Son, in 
whom I am well pleased/ ' Surely, if our hearts were as apprehensive 
of heavenly privileges as they are of earthly, we would admire it more. 
Earthly alliance, how is it prized ! If a great man should match 
into our blood and line, what an honour and glory do we reckon it to 
us ! 1 Sam. xviii. 23, ' Seemeth it to you a light thing to be a king's 
son-in-law ? ' Do we account this a small matter, to be related to 
kings, and princes, and potentates ? No, no ; we have high thoughts 
of it. And is not this an excellent thing, to be sons and daughters of 
God ? In all other cases, if men have children of their own, they do 
not adopt. God had a Son of his own, in whom his soul found full 
delight and complacency ; yet he would adopt and take us wretched 
creatures, he would invest us with the title of sons ; and shall it be 
said of this and that believer, here is the son of God ? behold what 
manner of love ! &c. 

[3.] Then do but consider the consequents of it, both in this life and 
the life to come. In this life, what immunities and privileges have 
we ! Free access to God ; we may come and treat with him when 
we please, as children to a father, when we stand in need of anything. 
' We have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, 
Father :' Horn. viii. 15. If we ail anything, we may go to our Father 
and acquaint him with our case and grief. And we shall have a child's 
allowance here in the world. The heirs of glory are well provided 


for in their nonage ; they have aright to a large portion ; all the good 
things of the world, meat, drink, marriage, such things they have by 
a son's right. They have a right to the creature, in and by him who 
is heir of all things, so they are established in their right which Adam 
lost : 1 Tim. iv. 3, 4. And they are under the ministry of angels ; 
the angels are sent forth to be their guardians, and to supply and pro 
vide for them. 

And then, in the life to come (for we are not only sons, but heirs), 
we have a right to the glorious inheritance ! Rom. viii. 17, ' If chil 
dren, then heirs, heirs of God.' Here all the children are heirs, male 
and female, every son and daughter an heir and joint-heirs with Christ. 
We do as it were divide heaven between us ; we have a great, blessed, 
and glorious inheritance ; poor despicable creatures, ' chosen heirs of a 
kingdom :' James ii. 5. 

[4.] You will see it was a very great privilege, if you consider how 
we come to be entitled to it : Eph. i. 5, ' Having predestinated us unto 
the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ, to himself. ' We come to 
it in and by Jesus Christ. Christ was fain to come down, and to take 
a mother upon earth, that we might have a Father in heaven. He 
comes down, and was made a man ; he became our brother, and so 
layeth the foundation for -the kindred: Heb. ii. 11. Nay, not only 
incarnate, but he died to purchase this title for us. When the busi 
ness was debated in the council of the Trinity, how lost man might 
be restored in blood, and have a right and interest in God ; and when 
justice put in exceptions against us, Jesus Christ was content to be 
'made under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons:' 
Gal. iv. 4, 5. There could be no reconciliation, no amity, no alliance, 
until sin was expiated and justice satisfied ; therefore Christ was not 
only ' made of a woman,' but ' made under the law;' first our brother 
by incarnation, and then our redeemer by his death and suffering. 
As under the law, if a man had waxen poor, the next of kin was to be 
his redeemer : Lev. xxv. 25 ; or if he had sold himself, ver. 47, one 
of his brethren was to redeem him. Christians, there was a kind of 
sale and forfeiture on our part of the inheritance and right and title 
of children ; therefore Jesus Christ, when he became a man, jure pro- 
pinquitatis, by virtue of his kindred and nearness to us, came to redeem 
his people, and purchase us to God. And this is the relation which 
is mainly intended in this place ; for mark, Christ taught his disciples 
to pray, ' Our Father ; ' others, they cannot speak of this relation ; and 
in them all that believe, and all that walk in the Spirit, these alone 
can' come to God as a father. 

II. What advantage have we in prayer by taking up God under 
this notion and relation, when we can come to him and say, ' Our 

1. It conduceth to our confidence in prayer. 

2. It furthereth our duty. 

First, It conduceth to our confidence in prayer : for it is not an 
empty title or a naked relation ; but this is the ground of all that 
favour and grace which we stand in need of, and receive from God. 
It is notable, 2 Cor. vi. 18, saith God, ' I will be a father unto you, 
and ye shall be my sons and daughters.' In other places it is said, 


Ye shall be called my sons ; but here, You shall be my sons ; you shall 
not only be called so, but be so. He will really perform all the parts 
of a father to us ; yea, no father like God. The outward father is 
but a shadow ; as in all comparisons, outward things are but the 
shadow and similitude , the reality is in inward things. A servant is 
not always a servant, there may be a release ; a husband is not 
always a husband, there may be a separation by divorce ; but a 
father is always a father, and a child a child. ' I am the true vine.' 
The outward vine is but a shadow, but Christ himself hath the true 
properties of a vine. So the outward father is but a shadow and 
similitude, the reality is in God ; none so fatherly and kind as he : 
Mat. vii. 11, ' If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto 
your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven 
give good things to them that ask him ? ' There is a lioiv much more 
upon the fatherly care of God. Natural parents, whose affections are 
stinted and limited, nay, corrupt and sinful, when a son comes for a 
fish, will not give him a scorpion, when he comes for bread, will not 
give him a stone. That were a monstrous thing, vile and unnatural. 
So Isa. xlix. 15 : ' Can a woman forget her sucking-child, that she 
should not have compassion on the son of her womb ? yea, they 
may forget, yet will I not forget thee.' Passions in females are more 
vehement ; the mother hath stronger affections. If the mother could 
do so as totally to forget that ever she had such a child, yet she would 
not forget her sucking-child a poor, shiftless, helpless babe, that can 
do nothing without the mother, a child which never provoked her, 
she would not forget such a child. They may forget, yet will I not 
forget thee. Certainly, God which hath left such an impression upon 
the hearts of parents, hath more of pity, bounty, and goodness in his 
own heart ; for whatsoever of God is in the creature, is in God in a more 
eminent manner. 

But particularly, How will God perform the parts of a father ? 

[1.] In allowing them full leave to come to him in all their neces 
sities : Gal. iv. 6, ' Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit 
of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.' There is a spirit 
that attendeth upon this state. They which are sons shall have the 
spirit of sons, and God will incline their hearts to come and call to 
him for supplies. This is a great advantage. When he gives a spirit 
of prayer, then he will be ready to hear and grant our requests ; not 
only to give us a heart to ask them, but to incline his ear : Luke xi. 
13, ' How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit 
to them that ask him ? ' When we ask for the highest blessing ; 
when we come and are importunate with him, and will take no nay. 

[2.] In supplying all our wants : Mat. vi. 12, ' Your Father which 
is in heaven knoweth you have need of these things.' A father will 
not let his child starve certainly none so fatherly as God. You have 
not such a father as is ignorant, regardless of your condition, but 
takes an exact notice of all your wants and pressures. It is notable 
to observe how God condescendeth to express the particular notice 
he taketh of the saints : Isa. xlix. 16, ' Behold, I have graven thee 
upon the palms of my hands.' As we use to tie things about our hands, 
that we may remember such a work and business ; so God doth, as it 


were, put a print and mark upon his hands ; to speak after the manner 
of men. Nay, Mat. x. 30, ' The hairs of their heads are numbered.' 
God hath a particular notice of their necessities ; and Jesus Christ, 
he is his remembrancer, one that ever appeareth before him to repre 
sent their wants : Heb. ix. 24. As the high priest in the law was 
to go in with the names of the tribes upon his breast and shoulder 
when he did minister before God: Exod. xxviii.; which is a type how 
much we are in the heart of Christ, ever presenting himself before the 
Lord on the behalf of such and such a believer. 

[3.] Pitying our miseries. As he taketh notice of them, so he will 
pity their miseries, as a father pitieth his children when he seeth them 
in an afflicted condition : Ps. ciii. 13, ' Like as a father pitieth his 
children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.' Nay, he will par 
don their sins : Mai. iii. 17, ' And I will spare them as a man spareth 
his own son which serveth him.' An only son needs not fear much if 
his father were to be his judge, though he hath done unworthily. 
They may exhaust and draw up all their pity, their bowls may shrink 
when they meet with multitude of provocations. Now, God will spare 
us as a man spares his only son nay, not only his only son, but his 
dutiful son which serves him. Many times we forget the duty of 
children, but God will not forget the mercy of a father. ' I will go 
to my father/ saith the prodigal. He had forgotten the duty of a 
child, he went into a far country and wasted his patrimony, and that 
basely and filthily upon harlots ; yet, upon his return, when he was a 
great way off, the father runs to meet him half-way, and kisseth him. 

[4.] In disciplining and treating us with much indulgence, and wis 
dom, and care. A father takes a great deal of pains in forming his 
child, and fashioning its manners and behaviour ; so doth God with 
his children. If he afflicteth, it is as a father only, with purposes of 
good, and not so as an earthly father : Heb. xii. 10, ' For verily for a 
few days they chastened us after their own pleasure ; but he for our 
profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness/ They mingle a 
great deal of passion with their correction when they are inflamed ; 
but God never mingleth passion with his rod. When he gives a bitter 
cup he is a father still : John xviii. 11. 

[5.] In providing able guardians for his children. None so attended 
as God's children are those which are adopted and taken into grace 
and favour with Christ : Heb. i. 14, Angels are ' ministering spirits, 
sent abroad for the heirs of salvation/ They have a guard of angels 
to watch over them, that they dash not their foot against a stone. 

[6.] In laying up an inheritance for them. The apostle saith, 2 
Cor. xii. 14, ' Children ought not to lay up for their parents, but parents 
for their children/ Now, God hath laid up for us, as well as laid out 
much upon us : Luke xii. 32, ' Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's 
good pleasure to give you the kingdom/ He has a kingdom, a glorious 
inheritance to bestow upon us ; and we are kept for that happy state. 
Though he hath an heir already, Jesus Christ, the heir of all things, 
yet God hath made us ' co-heirs with Christ : ' Horn. viii. 17. 

Thus, then, it is a mighty advantage. If we did take up God in 
this notion, to look upon him as a father, it would increase our con 
fidence and dependence upon him. This is a sweet relation : the 


reality is more in God than can be in an earthly father ; for he is a 
father according to his essence, knowing our necessities, pardoning 
our sins, supplying our wants, forming and fashioning our manners, 
providing able guardians for ns, and laying up a blessed inheritance 
for us in heaven. 

Secondly, As it encourageth us to pray, so it furthereth our duty in 
prayer, that we may behave ourselves with reverence, love, and grati 

[1.] With a child-like reverence and affection in prayer : Mai. i. 6, 
' If, then, I be a father, where is mine honour ? And if I be a 
master, where is my fear ? ' If we expect the supplies of children, we 
must perform the duty of children. God will be owned as a father, 
not with a fellow-like familiarity, but humbly, and with an awe of his 

[2.] With love. Now, our love to God is mainly seen by subjection 
and obedience to his laws. Thus Christ would have us take up God 
in prayer under such a relation, that we might mind our duty to him: 
1 Pet. i. 17, ' And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of 
persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your 
sojourning here in fear/ We never pray aright but when we pray 
resolving to cast off all sin. How can we call him Father, whom 
we care not continually to displease from day to day ? So the Lord 
treats his people : Jer. iii. 5, 6, ' Thou hast said, Thou art my father. 
Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest/ God 
takes it to be a contumely and reproach to himself when we do evil, 
yet come and call him Father. He takes it ill that men should come 
complimentally and flatter him with lying lips, and do not walk as 
children in holy obedience. Therefore, it is an engagement to serve 
God with holiness. 

[3.] With gratitude. When we come to pray, we must remember 
not only what we want, but what we have received, acknowledging we 
have all from him ; he is our father : Deut. xxxii. 6, ' Do ye thus 
requite the Lord, foolish people, and unwise ? Is not he thy 
father that hath bought thee ? Hath he not made thee and estab 
lished thee ? ' We must acknowledge the good we have, as well as 
that we expect to come from him. Therefore, if we would have a 
praying frame, and be eased of our solicitude, and that anxious care 
which is a disparagement to providence, it is good to take up God 
under the notion of a father, which makes us rest upon him for all 
things : Mat. vi. 25, ' Take no thought for your life, what ye shall 
eat, or what ye shall drink ; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put 
on.' Why ? ' For your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need 
of all these things.' You that are able fathers would think yourselves 
disparaged if that your children should filch and steal for their living, 
and beg and be solicitous, and go up and down from door to door for 
their maintenance and support, and not trust to your care and pro 
vision. A believer which knoweth he hath a heavenly Father will 
not be negligent in his calling, but be active and industrious in his 
way, and use those lawful means which, by the providence of God, he 
hath been brought up in ; and then, ' be careful for nothing,' as the 
apostle's advice is, Phil. iv. 6, and ' in everything, by prayer and sup- 


plication, make your request known unto God.' Oh, could we turn 
carking into prayer, and run to our Father, it would be happy for us. 
Care, and diligence, and necessary provision, that is our work and 
labour: but, for the success and event of things, leave it to God. 
When we are carking in the world with such anxiousness, and troubled 
with restless thoughts, how we should be provided for in old age, and 
what will become of us and ours, we take God's work out of his hands. 
This is a disparagement to our heavenly Father, and a reproach to 
his providence and fatherly care. Well, then, certainly this is of great 
advantage in prayer. 


Use. If it be a great advantage in prayer to take up God under the 
notion and relation of a father, then those that would pray aright, let 
this instruct and quicken them above all things. Clear up your 
adoption, that you may be able to call God Father, for otherwise, 
when you come to pray, it is a very lie to God. As Acts v. 4, when 
Ananias spake false to the apostle, saith Peter to him : ' Thou hast 
not lied unto men, but unto God.' Why ? Because he knows all that 
is done in the world. But much more do they lie unto God here ; 
this is a very disgrace and blasphemy, a contumely, rather than a 
prayer and supplication, when you will come and make God to father 
the devil's brats. When you that live in sin, and have no reverence 
and awe of God upon your hearts, shall come and pray to him, this is 
a lie which is told to the very face of God. 

But if this be a truth, that all those which would pray aright must 
clear up their adoption and get a sense of it, then here will doubts 
arise. Therefore here I shall handle three cases : 

1. What shall natural men do ? Must they desist from prayer ? 
for they have no right to it. 

2. What shall they do which have not as yet received the testimony 
of the Spirit ? For a child of God may have the right of children, 
yet have not a sense of his adoption. 

3. What are the evidences by which our adoption may be cleared 
up to us, how we may know we are taken into a child-like state ? 

First, What shall natural men do ? Must they desist from prayer ? 
for they have no right to it. 

I answer, you may see here the miserable condition of wicked men, 
how much they are bound to pray, and yet what an impossibility lieth 
upon them of praying aright. Certainly none should desist from this 
duty of prayer because they cannot perform it aright, for though we 
have lost our power and fitness, yet there is no reason God should lose 
his right and his power to our obedience. There is an obligation and 
precept from God, as a father by creation, upon all mankind ; all which 
are reasonable creatures, they are to own God as a father in this way. 
I t-ay prayer is a homage we owe to God by natural right, therefore 
no doubt wicked men do sin when they cease to pray. It is one of the 
accusations brought against natural men, and is an aggravation of 
their sin : Ps. xiv. 1, ' They do not call upon God/ Bom. iii. 10, it 
is applied to natural men. This is the misery they have subjected 
themselves to, that their prayer is turned into sin. As a natural man 
VOL. i. D 


must not omit hearing, because it is a means to bring him to be 
acquainted with God, though he cannot hear in faith, so he must 
not omit prayer, because it is one means to bring us to own God as 
a father by adoption. A man is not to turn the back upon him, but 
call him Father, as well as he can : Jer. iii, 19, ' But I said, How shall 
I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly 
heritage of the hosts of nations ? And I said, Thou shalt call me, My 
Father, and shalt not turn away from me.' Better to own God any 
way, than not to own him at all, than not to inquire after him ; to own 
him rationally, if not spiritually, to own him by choice, if not out of 
sense. If we cannot come and clear up our title to this great privilege 
by the spirit of adoption, yet any way ' Thou shalt not turn away 
from me.' We should not shut the door upon ourselves. It is required 
of a natural man, being weary of his sins, to fly to God in Christ Jesus, 
for his grace arid favour, that he might become his God and Father. 

Secondly, What shall they do which have not as yet received the 
testimony of the Spirit, that do not know their adoption ? 

I answer, a child of God may have the effects and fruits of adop 
tion, yet not always the feeling of it, to witness to him that God hath 
taken him into a child-like relation to himself. Certainly they are 
in a very uncomfortable condition, for they want a help in prayer. 
' Doubtless thou art our Father/ Oh, what an advantage is that ! How 
much of eloquence and rhetoric is there in that, when we can speak to 
God as a father ! Yet they are not to neglect their addresses to 
God, for this is a means to obtain the Spirit of adoption : Luke xi. 13, 
' He will give the Spirit to them that ask him.' Therefore, in what 
ever condition we be, we must pray ; otherwise we shut the door upon 
our hopes. You continue the want upon yourselves, and so wholly 
detain yourselves in a comfortless condition. 

There is a fourfold spiritual art we must use in prayer, when we 
have not the sense of our adoption, that we may be able to speak to 
God as our Father. 

[1.] Disclaim when you cannot apply. When you cannot clear up 
your own relation and interest, then disclaim all other confidences. 
If thou canst not say Father ; yet plead fatherless ; Hosea xiv. 3, 
' In thee the fatherless find mercy.' Come as poor, helpless, shiftless 
creatures ; seek peace and reconciliation with God in Christ. It may be 
God may take you into his favour. He is a Father of the fatherless. 

[2.] Own God in the humbling way. Learn the policy of the prodi 
gal : Luke xv. 18, 19, ' Father, I have sinned against heaven, and 
before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.' This is 
the policy and art of a humble faith, to call God Father. As Paul 
catcheth hold of the promise on the dark side : ' Jesus Christ came to 
save sinners ;' and presently he addeth, 'whereof I am chief:' so a 
believer may come and say, ' Lord, I am not worthy to be called thy 
son, make me as one of thy hired servants.' 

[3.] The third policy we should use in prayer is to call him Father 
in wish : Optando, si non affirmando. If we cannot do it by direct 
affirmation, let us do it by desire. Let us pray ourselves into this 
relation, and groan after it, that we mav have a clearer sense that God 
is our Father in Christ. 


[4.] Faith hath one art more, it maketh use of Christ Jesus. God 
hath a Son whose name signifieth much in heaven, therefore if you 
cannot come to him as your Father, come to him as the God and 
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ : Eph. iii. 14, ' For this cause I bow 
my knees to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.' Let 
Christ bring you into God's presence. He is willing to change rela 
tions with us. Take him along with you in your arms. Go to God 
in Christ's name : ' Whatsoever you ask in my name, shall be given 
to you.' 

Thirdly, But what are the evidences by which our adoption may 
be cleared up to us ? How shall we know that we are taken into a 
child-like state ? 

[1.] Consider how it is brought about. How do we come to be related 
to God by Christ Jesus ? By receiving Christ, as he is offered in the 
gospel : John i. 12, ' To as many as received him, to them gave he 
power to become the sons of God.' It is a prerogative, and special 
grant to those which receive Christ, even those that believe in his 
name, that is, those who, out of a sense of their own need, and sight of 
Christ offered in the promise, do really consent to take him for the ends 
for which God offereth him, to wit, as Prince and Saviour, that he 
might give you repentance and remission of sins, not in pretence, but 
in your hearts. These have full liberty to call God Father, to come to 
treat and deal with him, though they have not a sense of the blessed 
ness of their state, for this followeth believing : ' After you believed, 
you were sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise,' Eph. i. 13, 14. 

[2.] There is a witness which is given to the saints, that the thing 
may not always be dark and doubtful. The Holy Ghost is given as a 
witness. If you would know whether or no you are the children of 
God, see that of the apostle : Kom. viii. 16, ' The Spirit itself beareth 
witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.' As under 
the law, in the mouth of two witnesses every doubtful thing was to be 
established, Deut. xvii. 6, so here the Spirit beareth witness, together 
with our spirits, that we are the children of God. Our spirits alone 
may be lying, deceitful ; we may flatter ourselves, and think we are 
the children of God, when we are children of the devil. All 
certainly comes from the Holy Ghost ; and, therefore, the great ques 
tion which is traversed to and fro in the heart, is, whether we be God's 
children ? What is the Spirit's witness ? 

(1.) He lays down marks in scripture, which are the ground and 
decision of this debate, for the scriptures are of the Holy Ghost's 
inditing, and so may be said to bear witness : Kom. viii. 14, ' For as 
many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God:' 
1 John iii. 10, ' In this the children of God are manifest, and the 
children of the devil: whosoever doth not righteousness, is not of 
God, neither he that loveth not his brother.' Thus the Spirit beareth 
witness to our spirits, by laying down such marks as we, by our own 
spiritual sense and renewed conscience, feel to be right within our 
selves. And this is the main thing called the witness of the Spirit. 

(2.) He worketh such graces as are peculiar to God's children, and 
are evidences of our interest in the favour of God ; and therefore it is 
called ' the sanctification of the Spirit,' 2 Thes. ii. 13 ; and ' the re- 


newing of the Holy Ghost,' Titus iii. 5. Look, as John knew Christ 
to be the Son of God by the Spirit's descending and abiding upon 
him, John i. 32, so by the Spirit's work, and the Spirit's inhabitation, 
we know whether we are the children of God or no ; whether ' we 
dwell in God, and God in us, because of his Spirit that he hath 
given us ;' that is, because of those graces wrought in us. And this 
is called the seal of the Spirit ; for the Holy Ghost, stamping the 
impress of God upon the soul, working in us an answerable like 
ness to Christ, is said to be the seal ; then we have God's impress 
upon us. 

(3.) The Spirit goes further : he helpeth us to feel and discover 
those acts in ourselves. There is a stupid deadness in the conscience, 
so that we are not always sensible of our spiritual acts. Hagar saw 
not the fountain near her until God opened her eyes, so we may not 
see the work of the Spirit without the light of the Spirit. We cannot 
own grace in the midst of so much weakness and imperfection ; there 
is a misgiving of conscience : therefore the Spirit of sanctification is 
also a ' Spirit of revelation :' Eph. i. 17. The author of the grace is 
the best revealer and interpreter of it : he works, and he gives us a 
sight of it. As a workman that made a thing can best warrant it to 
the buyer, he knows the goodness and strength of it, and how it is 
framed and made ; so the Holy Ghost, which works grace, he reveals 
and discovers this grace to us. 

(4.) The Spirit helps us to compare them with the rule, and ac 
cordingly to judge of their sincerity. The Spirit opens our under 
standings, that we may be able to discern the intent and scope of 
the scripture, that so we may not be mistaken. We must plough 
with God's heifer if we would understand the riddle : ' In thy light 
we shall see light.' We shall be apt to misapply the rule, so as to judge 
of our own actions : Kom. ix. 1, 'I lie not, the Holy Ghost bearing me 
witness ;' when he had spoken of some eminent thing wrought in him. 
We are apt to lie, and feign and misapply rules, comforts, and privi 
leges ; but now the Holy Ghost bearing witness with our spirits, by 
this means we come to have a certainty. There are so many circuits, 
wiies, turnings in the heart of man, that we are not competent judge? 
of what is wrought in us ; therefore it is usually ascribed to the Spirit 
to be the searcher of the heart : Ps. cxxxix. 7, ' Whither shall I go 
from thy Spirit ? or whither shall I flee from thy presence ?' Acts 
v. 4, ' Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.' The Holy Ghost 
is rather spoken of than any other person, because it is his personal 
operation to abide in the hearts of men, and to search and try the 
reins. It is more particularly ascribed to him, though it belongs to 
all the persons. 

(5.) As the Spirit helps us to compare that which is wrought with 
the rule, the impression or thing sealed with the stamp or the thing 
sealing, so he helps us to conclude rightly of our estate. For many 
times when the premises are clear, the conclusion may be suspended, 
either out of self-love, in case of condemnation ; or out of legal fear 
and jealousy, in case of self-acquitment. Therefore the conclusion is 
of the Holy Ghost: 1 John iv. 13, ' Hereby we know that we dwell 
in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.' There 


is a great deal ado to bring us to heaven with comfort. There needs 
a person of the Godhead to satisfy us as well as to satisfy God, and 
help us to determine concerning our condition. 

(6.) He enlivens and heightens our apprehensions in all these par 
ticulars, and so fills us with comfort, and raiseth our joy upon the 
feeling of the sense of the favour of God ; for all this is the fruit of his 
operation. Therefore it is said, Horn. v. 5, l The love of God is shed 
abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us/ 
Those unspeakable glimpses of God's favour, and sweet manifestations 
of God's love in the conscience which we have, these are given by the 
Holy Ghost. There is not one act of the soul, but the Holy Ghost 
hath a stroke in it for our comfort. In every degree, all comes from 
God. So that if you would know what the witness of the Spirit is, 
consider What are the marks in scripture ? what graces are wrought 
in your hearts ? how doth the Spirit help you to discern those graces, 
to compare them to the rule, to make accordingly in these things a 
determination of our condition ? and what joy and peace have you 
thereupon wrought in your hearts by the Holy Ghost ? For an 
immediate testimony of the Spirit, the scripture knows of no such 
thing. All other is but delusion besides this. 

[3.] There are certain fruits and effects which do more sensibly 
evidence it unto the soul. What are those fruits of the Spirit of 
adoption in our hearts, by which we may further evidence it, whether 
we are the children of God or not ? 

(1.) In prayer, by a kind of naturalness or delight in this duty of holy 
commerce with God : Horn. viii. 15, ' We have received the Spirit of 
adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father ;' Gal. iv. 6, ' Because ye are 
sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, 
Abba, Father;' and Zech. xii. 10, ' I will pour upon the house of David, 
and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of sup 
plication.' Wherever the Spirit of God is dispensed, and dwelleth in 
the hearts of any, the heart of that man will be often with God. The 
Spirit of grace will put him upon supplication ; he will be often 
acquainting God with his desires, wants, fears. 

(2.) You will be mainly carried out to your inheritance in heaven. 
Those which are the children of God do look after a child's portion, 
and will look for an estate in heaven, and cannot be satisfied with 
present things. Worldly men, they have their reward : Mat. vi. 2. 
They discharge God for other things. If they may have plenty, 
honour, worldly ease, and delights here, they never look after heaven. 
As a servant hath his reward from quarter to quarter, but a child waits 
until the inheritance comes, so when we are begotten for this lively 
hope, when there is a heavenly-mindedness in you, this is a fruit of 
the Holy Ghost wrought in the heart, by which you might know you 
are the sons of God : Horn. viii. 23, ' Having the first-fruits of the 
Spirit, we groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, 
the redemption of our body.' 

(3.) By a child-like reverence and dread of God, when we are afraid 
to offend God : Jer. xxxv. 5, 6. The sons of Kechab, their father had 
commanded them that they should drink no wine ; now saith God by 
the prophet, ' Set pots full of wine, and cups, and say unto them, 


Drink ye wine ;' that is, present the temptation. No, they would not: 
' Our fathers have forbidden us/ So when a child of God is put upon 
temptation, his heart recoils, and reasons thus: ' How can I do this 
wickedness, and sin against God ? ' I dare not, my Father hath for 
bidden me. There is an awe of his heavenly Father upon him: 
1 Pet. i. 17, ' If you call on the Father, who without respect of 
persons judge th according to every man's work, pass the time of your 
sojourning here in fear.' 

We now come to speak of the possessive particle Our Father. 
The word is used for a double reason : 

1. To comfort us in the sense of our interest in God. 

2. To mind us of the common interest of all the saints in the same 
God. It is not my or thy Father only, but our Father. 

First, Observe the great condescension of Christ, that poor creatures 
are allowed to claim an interest in God. If Christ had not put these 
words in our mouths, we never had had boldness to have gone to 
God, and said, ' Doubtless thou art our Father.' But he which was 
in the bosom of God, and knew his secrets, hath told us it is very 
pleasing to God we should use this compellation to him. This is a 
privilege which cannot be sufficiently valued ; if we consider : 

[1.] The unworthiness of the persons which enjoy it: poor dust and 
ashes, sinful creatures, that were children of the devil, that we should 
lay claim and title to God for our Father. And, 

[2.] If we consider the greatness of the privilege itself : ' Oh, 
behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that 
we should be called his children ! ' 1 John iii. 1. We think it much 
when we can say, This field, this house is mine ; but surely this is 
more, to say, This God is mine. 

Again, observe here that interest is a ground of audience. So 
Christ would have us begin our prayers, ' Our Father.' God's interest 
in us, and our interest in God. God's interest in us : when Christ 
mediates for his disciples, he saith, John xvii. 6, ' Thine they were, and 
thou gavest them me/ And David : Ps.cxix. 94, ' I am thine, save me/ 
That is his argument : the reason is, because God, by taking them for 
his own, binds himself to preserve and keep them. Everybody is 
bound to look to his own : ' He that provides not for his own is worse 
than an infidel/ Now what a sweet thing is it when we can go to 
God and say, We are thine ! So it is the same, as to our interest in 
God. It is an excellent encouragement : Ps. xlii. 11, ' Hope thou 
in God/ saith David to his soul. Why ? For he is my God. And 
elsewhere, reasoning with himself: Ps. xxiii. 1, 'The Lord is my 
shepherd, I shall not want/ First, his covenant-interest is built, and 
then conclusions of hope. So 2 Sam. xxx. 6, ' David encouraged him 
self in the Lord his God/ It is sweet when we can go to God as our 
God. Luther was wont to say, God was known better by the predic 
ament of relation than by his natural properties. Why is interest 
such a sweet thing ? Because by this relation to God we have a 
claim to God, and to all that he can and will do. God hath made over 
himself, quantus quantus est, as great as great he is, for his use and 
comfort. Therefore the psalmist saith, Ps. xvi. 5, ' The Lord is the 
portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup/ A believer hath as sure 

, MAT. VI. i).] THE LOKD'S PBAYEE. 55 

a right and title to God, as a man hath to his patrimony to which he 
is born, or as any Israelite had to that share which came to him by 
lot ; so he may lay claim to God, and live upon his power and good 
ness, as a man doth upon his estate. 

Well, then, labour to see God is yours, if you would find acceptance 
with him. It is not enough to know the goodness and power of God 
in general, but we must discern our interest in him, that we may not 
only say Father, but Our Father. It is the nature of faith thus to 
appropriate and apply : John xx. 28, ' My Lord and my God.' How 
is God made ours ? How shall we know it, that we may come and 
lay our claim to him ? Behold, Christ teacheth us here to say, Our 
Father, by taking hold of his covenant ; and this is God's covenant 
notion, ' I will be your God, and you shall be my people/ When we 
give up ourselves to be God's, then he is ours. Resignation and appro 
priation go together. ' I am my beloved's ; ' there is the resignation 
of obedience : ' And he is mine ; ' there is the appropriation of faith. 
A believer cannot always say God is his, but, I am thine ; however it 
be with him, he would be no other's but the Lord's. If he cannot 
say he is God's by an especial interest, yet he will be God's by the 
resignation of his own vows. He knows God hath a better right and 
title to him than he hath to himself. 

Quest But how shall we know that we do indeed resign up ourselves 
to God ? 

I answer, When we make him our chief good and our utmost end 
that is, when we unfeignedly choose him for our portion, and set apart 
ourselves to act for his glory. 

1. When we choose and cleave to him as our all-sufficient portion: 
' The Lord is my portion, saith my soul,' Lam. iii. 24. Sometimes the 
Lord speaks to us : 'I am thy reward, I am thy salvation,' Ps. xxxv. 3. 
So the soul speaks to God : ' Thou art my portion.' When we cleave 
to God, ' He is my portion for ever,' Ps. Ixxiii. 25 ; ' Whom have I in 
heaven but thee ? ' &c. When our souls are satisfied in God, having 
enough in him, this is to give up ourselves to him. 

2. When we set apart ourselves to his use, to live and act for his 
glory, this is also entering into covenant with God. As in that formal 
matrimonial covenant that was used between the prophet and his 
wife, Hosea iii. 3, ' Thou shalt not be for another man, so will I also 
be for thee ;' so in the covenant we resolve to renounce all others, and 
to live and act for God : : The Lord hath set apart him that is godly 
for himself,' Ps. iv. 3. When we are thus set apart for God, to serve 
him and glorify him by this special dedication of ourselves to his use, 
this is the act of grace on our part. We were God's by election ; but 
he comes and takes possession for himself by the Spirit, and then the 
soul sets himself apart for God. 

Secondly, That all the saints have a common interest in the same 
God ; therefore Christ taught us to say, ' Our Father.' They have 
one Father, as well as one Spirit one Christ, one hope, and one 
heaven: Eph. iv. 6. Questionless, it is lawful to say, My Father. 
Some have disputed it, because they suppose this expression is used 
to signify Christ's singular filiation: Christ could only say, My 
Father. But it is lawful, provided we do not say it exclusively, and 


appropriating it to ourselves. But here Christ, when he giveth us 
this perfect form, teacheth us to say, ' Our Father.' As the sun in the 
firmament is every man's, and all the world's, so God is every single 
believer's God the God of all the elect. But why would Christ put 
this in this perfect pattern and form of prayer ? 

[1.] To quicken our love to the saints in prayer. When we come to 
pray, there must be a brotherly love expressed ; now that is a distinct 
thing from common love : ' Add to brotherly kindness, charity,' 2 Pet 
i. 7. When we are dealing with God in prayer, we must express 
somewhat of this brotherly love. How must we express it ? In pray 
ing for others, as well as for ourselves. Necessity will put men upon 
praying for themselves, but brotherly love will put them upon praying 
for others. Wherein must brotherly kindness be expressed in prayer ? 
In two things : 

(1.) In a fellow-feeling of their miseries, in being touched with their 
necessities, as we would be with our own. To be senseless, it is a 
spiritual excommunication, a casting ourselves out of the body. 
Members must take care for one another. We must be grieved with 
their pains. ' Who is offended,' saith the apostle, ' and I burn not ? ' 
If there be any power in such a confession or title of a Father, we 
must be wrestling with God, how well soever it be with us, remember 
ing we speak to him in whom others have a joint interest with our 

(2.) It must be expressed in wishing the same good to others as to 
ourselves. Many that pray in their own case, with what earnestness 
and importunity are they carried out ! but how flat and cold in the 
case of others ! Now, a good Christian must be as eaTnest with God 
for others as for himself. Look, what earnestness and needfulness of 
soul he showeth when he puts up prayers for himself ; the same must 
he do ' for all saints : ' Eph. vi. 18. Self-love and self-respect must 
not breathe only in our prayers ; they must be carried out with as 
much earnestness as if we would go to God in our own case. 

[2.] Again, as it showeth us what brotherly love we should express in 
prayer, so it checketh many carnal dispositions which we are guilty 
of, and Christ would mind us of them. It checks strife and conten 
tion ; we are brethren have one common Father. Everywhere meek 
ness and love : it is a qualification for prayer. ' Let the husband live 
with his wife according to knowledge, that their prayers be not 
hindered : ' 1 Pet. iii. 7. If there be such brawls in the family, how 
can the husband and wife call upon God with such a united heart as 
is requisite ? So, 1 Tim. ii. 8, 'I will that men pray everywhere, 
lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.' Not only lift up 
' pure ' hands to God, and that ' without doubting ; ' there must be 
confidence in our prayers. But that is not all : but ' without wrath ; ' 
there must be nothing of revenge and passion mingled with your sup 
plication. And then it checketh pride and disdain. Christ teacheth 
all, in all conditions, whether masters or servants, fathers or children, 
kings or beggars, all to say ' Our Father ; ' for we have all one 
Father. Thou hast not a better Christ, nor a better Father in 
heaven, than they have. The rich and the poor were to give one 
ransom under the law, Exod. xxx., to show they have all the same 


Kedeemer. The weak should not despise nor disdain the strong, nor 
the rich be ashamed to own the poor as brethren. We should never 
be ashamed to own him as a brother whom God will own as a sou. 

JVliich art in heaven. 

WE have considered the title given to God with respect to his good 
ness and mercy : He is a Father ' our Father.' Now, let us consider 
the titles given to him with respect to his greatness and majesty : 
* Which art in heaven.' From thence note: 

Doct. It is an advantage in prayer to look upon God as a Father 
in heaven. 

By way of explication, to show : 

First, What is meant by heaven. There are three heavens in the 
computation of the scripture. There is, first, the lowest heaven, that 
where the fowls of the air are, whence the rain descendeth ; therefore 
the fowls are called the ' fowls of heaven,' Job xxxv. 11 ; and, James 
v. 18, ' Elijah prayed, and the heaven gave rain.' Secondly, the 
luminary heaven, where the sun, moon, and stars are: therefore it is 
said, Mark xiii. 25, ' The stars of heaven shall fall.' Thirdly, there is 
the highest heaven, or the heaven of the blessed, spoken of Mat. vii. 
21 : ' Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into 
the kingdom of heaven ; ' that is, into the third heaven, the glorious 
heaven, the blessed presence of God. Mat. xviii. 10 : 'In heaven their 
angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven : ' 
in heaven, that is, ' the third heaven/ So it is called by Paul, 2 Cor. 
xii. 2, which was the highest part, because he saw and heard things 
which it is not lawful for a man to utter. In this heaven God is. 

Secondly, How is God there, since he is everywhere ? 

Negatively ; It is not to be understood so as if he were included 
in heaven, or locally circumscribed within the compass of it ; for ' the 
heaven of heavens cannot contain him :' 1 Kings viii. 27. In regard 
of his essence, he is in all places, being infinite and indivisible. He 
is not included within the heavens, nor excluded from earth, but filleth 
all places alike : Jer. xxiii. 24, ' Do not I fill heaven and earth ? 
saith the Lord.' But yet in an especial manner is God present in 
heaven. That appears, because there is his throne : Ps. ciii. 19, 
' He hath prepared his throne in the heavens/ Earthly kings, they 
have their thrones exalted higher than other places, but God's throne 
is above all, it is in heaven. He hath a more universal and unlimited 
empire than all the kings of the earth ; so he hath a more glorious 
throne. Heaven is the most convenient place to set forth his majesty 
and glory to the world, because of the sublimity, amplitude, and 
purity of it. And so, Isa. Ixvi. 1, ' Thus saith the Lord, The heaven 
is my throne, and the earth is rny footstool/ Heaven is his throne, 
because there is his majestical presence, more of his glory and excel 
lency is discovered : and the earth is his footstool, because there, in 
the lowest part of the world, he manifesteth his powerful presence 
the lower creatures. 


Briefly, to conceive how God is in heaven, we must consider : 

[1.] The several ways of his presence. He is in Christ, hypostatically, 
essentially, or (as the apostle speaks) bodily : Col. ii. 19, ' The ful 
ness of God dwells in him bodily.' In the temple, under the law, 
there God was present symbolically, because there were the signs and 
tokens of his presence. The Jewish temple was a sacramental place 
and type of Christ, in whose name, and by whose merit, worship was 
acceptable to God. But now, in Christians, he is present energeti 
cally, and operatively, by his Spirit. And in heaven, he there dwells 
by some eminent effects of his wisdom, power, greatness, and good 
ness. God hath showed more of his workmanship in the structure of 
the heavens than in any other part of the creation, that being the most 
glorious part of the world : Ps. xix. 1-3, ' The heavens declare the 
glory of the Lord, and the firmament showeth his handiwork/ &c. 
Certainly it is meet God should dwell in the most glorious part of the 
world ; now heaven is the most glorious part of the creation. Hea 
thens in their straits would not look to the capitol where their idols 
were ; but to heaven, where God hath impressed his majesty and 
greatness. Whenever we look upon these aspectable heavens, the vast 
expansion, the glorious luminaries, the purity of the matter, and sub 
limity of its posture, it cannot but raise our hearts to think of a glo 
rious God that dwelleth there. When we come by a poor cottage, 
we guess the inhabitant is no great person ; but when we see a mag 
nificent structure, we easily imagine some person of account dwells 
there. So, though the earth doth declare the glory of God, and show 
much of his wisdom and power, yet chiefly the heavens, whenever we 
look upon them, we cannot choose but have awful thoughts, and be 
struck with a religious horror, at the remembrance of the great God, 
which has stretched out these heavens by his wisdom and power. 

[2.] Therefore God is said to dwell in heaven, because from thence 
he manifesteth his powerful providence, wisdom, justice, and goodness. 
God is not so shut up in heaven as not to mind human affairs, and to 
take notice of what is done here below : Ps. xi. 4, ' The Lord's 
throne is in heaven : his eyes behold, his eyelids try the children of 
men.' Though his throne be in heaven, yet his providence is every 
where ; his eyes behold, he seeth how we behave ourselves in his pre 
sence ; and his eyelids try the children of men. He may seem to 
wink now and then, and to suspend the strokes of his vengeance, but 
it is but for our trial. He owneth his children from heaven : Deut. 
xxvi. 15, ' Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and 
bless thy people/ And from thence he punisheth the wicked : Bom. 
i. 18, ' The wrath of God is revealed from heaven/ 

[3.] There is God most owned by the saints and glorified angels, 
therefore he is said to dwell there ; as a king is beloved by his sub 
jects, but most immediately served and attended upon by those of his 
own court. So that in heaven, there we have the highest pattern of 
all that duty which doth immediately concern God. In this prayer, 
' Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done/ these 
three petitions concern God more immediately. Now before we put 
them up, Christ would have us think of our Father in heaven, praised 
by angels and saints that fall down before his throne, crying, Honour, 


glory, and praise. There he reigneth, his throne is there, an(i there 
he is perfectly obeyed and served without any opposition. 

[4.] There God is most enjoyed, and therefore he dwells there, for 
there he doth more immediately exhibit the fulness of his glory to the 
saints and angels. In heaven God is all in all'. Here we are supplied 
at second or third hand : Hosea ii. 18, ' I will hear the heavens, and 
the heavens shall hear the earth,' &c. But there God is immediately 
and fully enjoyed. Here there are many wants and vacuities to 
be filled up ; but ' in thy presence there is fulness of joy, and at thy 
right hand there are pleasures for evermore :' Ps. xvi. 11. Look, 
as when the flood was poured out upon the world, you read that 
the windows of heaven were opened/ Gen. vii. 11 ; the drops of 
rain were upon earth, but the cataracts and floodgates were in heaven ; 
so when he raineth down drops of sweetness upon his people, the 
floodgates are above, they are reserved for that place where they are 
fully enjoyed. 

Thirdly, Why hath God fixed and taken up his dwelling-place in 
the heavens ? I answer, 

[1.] Because mortal men they cannot endure his glorious presence: 
Deut. v. 23, ' When ye heard the voice out of the midst of the dark 
ness, for the mountain did burn with fire, ye said, Behold, the Lord 
our God hath showed us his glory, and his greatness, and we have 
heard his voice out of the midst of the fire : now therefore why should 
we die ? For this great fire will consume us ; if we hear the voice of 
the Lord our God any more, then we shall die.' Any manifestations 
of God, how easily do they overset and overcome us ! A little spiritual 
enjoyment it is too strong for us. If God pour out but a drop of 
sweetness into the heart, we are ready to cry out, Hold, Lord, it is 
enough ; our crazy vessels can endure no more. Therefore, when Christ 
was transfigured, the disciples were astonished and fell back ; they 
could not endure the emissions and beamings out of his divine glory, 
because of the weakness and incapacity of the present state : therefore 
hath God a place above, where he discovereth his glory in the utmost 
latitude. It is notable in scripture, sometimes God is said to ' dwell 
in light,' 1 Tim. vi. 16 ; and sometimes to 'make darkness his dwelling- 
place/ Ps. xviii. 11. How doth he dwell in light, and how in dark 
ness ? Because of the glorious manifestations which are above, there 
fore it is said he dwells in light ; and because of the weakness and 
incapacity of our comprehension, therefore he is said to dwell in 

[2.] To try our faith and our obedience, that he might see whether 
we would live by faith, yea or no ; whether a believer would love him 
and obey him, though he were invisible and withdrawn within the 
curtain of heaven. You know when the Israelites saw the glory 
of God, then they cried, ' All that God hath commanded us we will 
do :' Deut. v. 27. But as soon as that manifestation ceased, they were 
as bad as ever. If all were liable to sense, there would be no trial of 
this world ; but God hath shut up himself, that by this means the 
faith of the elect might be manifested : for ' faith is the evidence of 
things not seen :' Heb. xi. 1. Where there is no sight there is exer 
cise for faith. And that our love might be tried : 1 Pet. i. 8, ' Whom 


having.not seen, ye love : in whom, though now ye see him not, yet 
believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.' And 
this is that which discovereth the faithless and disobedient world : 
Job xxii. 12-14, ' Is not God in the height of heaven ? How doth 
God know ? can he judge through the dark cloud ? Thick clouds are 
si covering to him that he seeth not, and he walketh in the circuit of 

[3.] It is fit there should be a better place into which the saints 
should be translated when the course of their obedience is ended : 
Eph. i. 3, ' He hath blessed us with spiritual blessings in heavenly 
places.' The main of Christ's purchase we have in heavenly places. 
It is fit the place of trial and place of recompense should differ ; there 
fore the place of trial, that is God's footstool ; and the place of recom 
pense, that is God's throne. The world, that is a place of trial ; it is 
a common inn for sons and bastards, for the elect and reprobate ; a 
receptacle of man and beast : here God will show his bounty unto all 
his creatures ; but now, in the place of his residence, he will show his 
love to his people. Therefore, when we have been tried and exercised, 
there is a place of preferment for us. 

Fourthly, What advantage have we in prayer by considering 
God in heaven ? Very much, whether we consider God abso-. 
lutely, or with respect to a mediator ; both ways we have an advan 

.First, If we consider the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who have 
their residence in heaven ; consider them without respect to a medi 
ator. Why, the looking up to God in heaven : 

[1.] It showeth us that prayer is an act of the heart, and not of the 
lips. That it is not the sound of the voice which can pierce the 
heavens, and enter into the ears of the Lord of hosts, but sighs and 
groans of the spirit. Christians ! in prayer God is near to us, and yet 
far from us, for we must look upon him as in heaven, and we upon earth. 
How then should we converse with God in prayer ? Not by the tongue 
only, but by the heart. The commerce and communion of spirits is not 
hindered by local distance; but God is with us, and we with him, 
when our heart goeth up. 

[2.] It teacheth the great work of prayer is to lift up the heart to 
God. To withdraw the heart from all created things which we see 
and feel here below, that we may converse with God in heaven : 
Ps. cxxiii. 1, ' Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, thou that dwellest in 
the heavens;' and, Lam. iii. 41, 'Let us lift up our heart with our 
hands unto God in the heavens/ Prayer doth not consist in a multi 
tude and clatter of words, but in the getting up of the heart to God, 
that we may behave ourselves as if we were alone with God, in the 
midst of glorious saints and angels. There is a double advantage 
which we have by this getting the soul into heaven in prayer. It is a 
means to free us from distractions and doubts. To free us from 
distractions and other intercurrent thoughts. Until we get our 
hearts out of the world, as if we were dead and shut up to all present 
things, how easily is the heart carried away with the thoughts of 
earthly concernments ! Until we can separate and purge our spirits, 
how do we interline our prayers with many ridiculous thoughts ! It 


is too usual for us to deal with God as an unskilful person that will 
gather a posy for his friend, and puts in as many or more stinking 
weeds than he doth choice flowers. The flesh interposeth, and our 
carnal hearts interline and interlace our prayers with vain thoughts 
and earthly distractions. When with our censer we come to offer 
incense to God, we mingle sulphur with our incense. Therefore we 
should labour all that we can to get the heart above the world into 
the presence of God and company of the blessed, that we may deal 
with him as if we were by him in heaven, and were wholly swallowed 
up of his glory. Though our bodies are on earth, yet our spirits 
should be with our Father in heaven. For want of practising this in 
prayer, these distractions increase upon us. So for doubts, when we 
look to things below, even the very manifestations of God to us upon 
earth, we have many discouragements, dangers without and difficul 
ties within: till we get above the mists of the lower world, we can see 
nothing of clearness and comfort ; but when we can get God and our 
hearts together, then we can see there is much in the fountain, though 
nothing in the stream ; and though little on earth, yet we have a God 
in heaven. 

[3.] This impresseth an awe and reverence, if we look upon'the glory 
of God manifested in heaven, that bright and luminous place. This 
is urged by the Holy Ghost: Eccles. v. 2, ' Thou art upon earth, and 
God is in heaven; therefore let thy words be few;' Gen. xviii. 27, 
' Who am I that I should take upon me to speak unto the Lord, Avho 
am but dust and ashes?' We are poor crawling worms, and therefore, 
when we think of the majesty of God, it should impress a holy awe 
upon us. Mean persons will behave themselves with all honour and 
reverence when they supplicate to men of quality ; so should we to 
God, who is so high and so much above us ; he is in heaven. It is a 
diminution of his greatness (Mai. i. 14) when we put off God with 
anything, and come slightly and carelessly into his presence. 

[4.] It teacheth us that all our prayers should carry a correspondence 
with our great aim. What is our great aim ? To be with God in 
heaven, as remembering that is the centre and place of our rest, tc 
which we are all tending: Col. iii. 1, ' If ye then be risen with Christ, 
seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right 
hand of God/ We come to our Father which is in heaven. He will 
have his residence there, that our hearts might be there. Therefore 
the main things we should seek of God from heaven are saving graces, 
for these ' come down from above, from the Father of lights : ' James 
i. 17. We have liberty to ask supplies for the outward life, but 
chiefly we should ask spiritual and heavenly things : Mat. vi. 22, 23, 
' Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things/ 
What then ? ' First seek the kingom of God,' &c. If we have to do 
with a heavenly Father, our first and main care should be to ask 
things suitable to his being, and his excellency. If children should 
ask of their parents such a thing as is pleasing to their palate, 
possibly they might give it them ; but when they ask instruction, and 
desire to be taught, that is far more acceptable to them. When we 
ask supplies of the outward life, food, raiment, God may give it us ; 
but it is more pleasing to him when we ask for grace. In every 


prayer we should seek to be made more heavenly by conversing with 
our heavenly Father. 

[5.] It giveth us ground of confidence in God's power and absolute 
dominion over all things, for God is in heaven above all created 
beings : Ps. cxv. 3, ' Our God is in the heavens, and doth whatsoever 
he pleaseth/ So 2 Chron. xx. 6, ' Art not thou God in heaven ? 
and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen ? and in 
thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to with 
stand thee?' Oh, what an advantage is this in prayer, when we 
think of our all-sufficient God, who made heaven and earth, and hath 
fixed his throne there ! What can be too hard for him ? 

[6 .] Here is encouragement against carnal fear. Whatever the world 
doth against us, we have a Father in heaven, and this should bear us 
up against all their threatenings and oppositions. When there were 
tumults and confusions in the world, it is said, Ps. ii. 4, ' But God, 
which sits in heaven, shall laugh them to scorn.' An earthly parent 
may have a large heart, but a short hand ; though they may wish us 
well, yet they cannot defend us, and bear us out in all extremities. 
But our Father in heaven will laugh at the attempts against his 
empire and greatness. Thus considering God absolutely, it is an 
advantage to reflect upon him as a Father in heaven. 

But I suppose this expression hath respect to a mediator. There 

Secondly, Let us look upon God with respect to a mediator, for so 
I think we are chiefly bound to consider our Father in heaven, 
because of Christ which sits there at his right hand : Heb. viii. 1. It 
is said there, ' He sat down on the right hand of the throne of the 
Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary/ Oh, this is 
comfortable to think of. In heaven we have a Saviour, Jesus Christ, 
representing our persons and presenting our prayers to God, by which 
means God is reconciled and well pleased with us. So that our duty 
in prayer is to look up to heaven, and to see Christ at God's right 
hand as our high priest, mediating for us that we may be accepted 
with God. 

A notable resemblance we have between God's presence in the 
tabernacle or temple, and God's presence in heaven. 

" In the temple you know there were three partitions. There was 
the outward court, and the sanctuary, as the apostle calls it, where 
the table of shew-bread was set, and there was the holy place, the holy 
of holies. Just so in heaven there are three partitions ; there is the 
airy heaven, and the starry heaven, and the heaven of heavens : the 
lower heaven, which answers to the outward court ; the starry heaven 
which answers to the sanctuary ; and the heaven of heavens, which 
answers to the holy of holies by a fit analogy and proportion. Well, in 
the holy of holies, saith the apostle, there was the golden censer and the 
mercy-seat : Heb. ix. 4. There you find God conspicuously manifesteth 
his presence, and gives answers to his people : ' At the mercy-seat, 
there will I answer thee, saith the Lord.' So here, in this heaven of 
heavens, there is a mercy-seat, there is a throne of grace, and there God 
will answer. We may ' come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may 
obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need:' Heb. iv. 16. 


Into this holy of holies none but the high priest did enter, and that once 
a year, after the sacrifice of atonement for the whole congregation : 
then the high priest was to come into the holy of holies, he was to pass 
through the veil with blood and with sweet incense in his hand. Just 
thus is Jesus entered into the heaven of heavens for us. He is gone 
there to present his blood and sufferings, to appear before God for us, 
to present himself as a sweet-smelling sacrifice : Heb ix. 24 ; Eph. v. 
2. Now the high priest, when he went with this blood in to the 
mercy-seat, he went in with the names of the twelve tribes upon his 
breast and shoulder, as Jesus also doth appear before God for us, 
representing our persons continually before his Father. Now about 
the mercy-seat, there were cherubims, and figures of angels ; just 
about the ark, there they stooped down, to show the angels do attend 
about the throne, to despatch messages abroad into the world, and convey 
blessings to the saints. There is a throne of grace, a mercy-seat, a 
mediator there, angels at God's beck, ready to send up and down, to 
and fro, for the good of the saints. And mark, not only hath Jesus 
this liberty to enter into this heaven of heavens, but all the saints have 
a liberty to enter, and that not only at death, but in their life-time ; 
for saith the apostle, Heb. x. 19, ' Having therefore boldness to enter 
into the holiest, by the blood of Jesus/ All of us, not only when we 
die, and personally go to God, do we enter into the holy of holies, but 
now we have boldness. It relateth to prayer, for the word signifieth 
liberty of speech. This holy of holies, which was closed and shut up 
against us before, is opened by the blood of Jesus ; the veil is rent, 
and now all saints have a privilege to come freely to converse with 
God. It is good to observe the difference between the holy of holies, 
and the heaven of heavens. The Jews their sanctum sanctorum was 
earthly ; but our holy of holies is heavenly. Into theirs, which was 
as it were God's bed-chamber, the common people were not admitted; 
none but the high priest could enter into the holy of holies. But now 
into ours all believers may enter and converse with God. There the 
high priest could enter but once a year ; now we may come to the 
throne of grace as often as we have a cause to present to God. There 
the high priest he entered with the blood of beasts; but we enter 
by the blood of the Son of God. Oh, what a great privilege is this, 
that we have a Father in heaven ! In this respect the holy place is 
now open to us. Though we have not a personal access till death, 
yet by the blood of Jesus we may come with boldness, presenting our 
selves before the Lord with all our wants and desires. The great 
distance between heaven and earth shall not hinder our communion 
with God, if we have a friend above." 

Therefore it is very comfortable now to say, ' Our Father which 
art in heaven ; ' that is, our gracious and reconciled Father, in and 
by Christ. 


If we have a Father in heaven, let us look up to heaven often. 

1. If we have a Father in heaven, and a Saviour at his right hand, 
to do all things that are needful for us, let us look upon the aspect- 
able heavens with an eye of sense, with our bodily eyes. It is good 


to contemplate the glory of the heavenly bodies, or the outside of that 
court which God hath provided for the saints. It is not an idle specu 
lation I press you to ; the saints of God have thought it to be worthy 
of their morning and evening thoughts. It is notable, David doth, in 
two psalms especially, contemplate heaven ; one seems to be a nightly, 
the other a morning, meditation. The night meditation you have 
Ps. viii. 3 : 'When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, 
the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained.' David was got 
abroad in a moon-shining night, looks up, and had his heart affected. 
But now the 19th Psalm, that seems to be a morning meditation ; he 
speaks of the ' sun coming out like a bridegroom from his chamber in 
the east,' and displaying his beams, and heat, and influences to the 
world ; and then saith he, ver. 1, ' The heavens declare the glory of God/ 
Morning and evening, or whenever you go abroad to see the beauty of 
the outward heavens, say, I have a Father there, a Christ there ; this is 
the pavement of that palace which God hath provided for the saints. 
Christians, it is a sweet meditation when you can say, He that made 
all things is there. It will be a delightful, profitable thing sometimes, 
with an eye of sense, to take a view of our Father's palace, as much 
as we can see of it here below. 

2. Let me especially press you to this : with an eye of faith to look 
within the veil; and whenever you come to pray, to see God in 
heaven, and Christ at his right hand. The great work of faith is to see 
him that is invisible ; and the great duty of prayer is to get a sight of 
God in heaven, and Christ at his right hand. What Stephen did miracu 
lously, or in an ecstasy, we must do graciously fti prayer. Now it is 
said of Stephen, Acts vii. 56, ' Behold, I see the heavens opened, and 
the Son of man standing on the right hand of God/ There is a great 
deal of difference about Stephen's sight : how the heavens could be 
opened, which are a solid body, and cannot be divided as fluid air, 
and so come together again ; how he could see the glory of God with 
his corporal senses, which is invisible ; how he could see Christ at 
such a distance, the eye not being able to reach so far. Some think 
it to be a mere intellectual vision, or a vision of faith ; that is, he did 
so firmly believe, and had the comfort of it in his heart, as if he had 
seen it with his eyes. So they think Stephen saw the glory of God, 
and Christ at his right hand, as Abraham saw Christ's day and re 
joiced ; that is, he saw it by faith. Some think it to be a prophetical 
vision, by seeing those things objected to his fancy by imaginary 
species ; as Isaiah saw God in a vision Isa. vi. and as Pauls 
rapture. Some think it a symbolical vision ; that he saw these things 
represented by some corporal images, as John saw the Holy Ghost 
descending in 'the form of a dove. Some think his bodily eyes did 
pierce the clouds, and got a sight of the glory of Christ. Whatever it 
be, there must be such a sight in prayer, something answerable to 
this. In a spiritual way, this must ever be done : Ps. v. 3, ' I will 
pray,' saith the psalmist, ' and look up.' There is a looking up re 
quired in all prayer, a seeing the invisible God by faith. If you 
would have God look down upon you from his holy habitation, you 
must look up with an eye of faith, and converse with God in heaven: 
Ps. Ixiii. 4, ' I will lift up my hands in thy name.' If you would have 


God look upon you with an eye of compassion, you must look up, and 
see Christ at his right hand, by an eye of faith. 

3. Let us love our Father ; love God in Christ, and love the place 
for his sake, where his residence is. 

[1.] Love God in Christ : Ps. Ixxiii. 25, ' Whom have I in heaven 
but thee ? ' When God hath been so gracious to you ! Christians, 
if I had no other argument to press you to love God but that he 
which is in heaven offereth to be your father in Christ Jesus, it 
might suffice ; because it is a great condescension that the God of 
heaven will look upon poor broken-hearted creatures that he whose 
throne is in heaven would look upon him that is of a trembling spirit : 
Isa. Ixvi. 2. ' That the high and lofty One, that dwelleth in the high 
and holy place, will look to him that is of a contrite heart :' Isa. Ivii. 
15. That he that is the Lord of heaven and earth will be our 
Father, and own us and bless us ! A great condescension on God's 
part, and a great dignity also is put upon us ; and how should our 
hearts be affected with it ! Therefore, though there be a great dis 
tance between heaven and earth, it should not lessen our affections to 
God. He is mindful of us, visits us at every turn ; we are dear and 
tender to him ; therefore let the Lord be dear to you. The butler, 
when he was exalted, forgot Joseph ; but Christ is not grown stately 
with his advancement he doth not forget us. Oh, let not us forget 
God. Let us manifest our love, by being often with him at the 
throne of grace, with our Father which is in heaven. A child is never 
well but when in the mother's lap or under the father's wing: so 
should it be with us, with a humble affection coming into the presence 
of God, and getting into the bosom of our heavenly Father. Never 
delight in anything so much as conversing with him, and serious 
addresses to him in prayer. Again : 

[2.] Love the place for his sake ; God is there, and Christ is there. 
We have cause to love the place for our own sakes ; and in a short 
time, if you continue patient in well-doing, you will be with God. It 
is not only God's throne, but it is your house: 2 Cor. v. 1, ' We look 
for an house in heaven, not made with hands.' It is a place ap 
pointed for our everlasting abode ; therefore all our hopes, desires, 
and delights should run that way. But chiefly I would press you to 
love it for his sake, the place where your heavenly Father dwells. 
God hath not taken his denomination from earth, which is the place 
of corruption; but from heaven, which is the place of glory and 
happiness. Oh, let us not forget our heavenly Father's house. We 
are too apt to say, It is good to- be here. Christians, let us draw home 
apace ; let us grow more heavenly-minded every day ; seek the things 
which are above ; prize it rather upon this occasion, because if we 
were more heavenly in the frame of our hearts, we would be more 
heavenly in our solemn approaches to God. What is the reason a 
man is haunted with the world, and things which are of a worldly 
interest and concern, when he comes to prayer ? It is because his 
heart is taken with these thingrs. 

VOL. I. 


Hallowed be thy name. 

WE are now come to the first petition of the Lord's Prayer ; there 
three things will fall under discussion : 

I. The order of this petition. 
II. The necessity of putting up such a request to God. 

III. The sense and meaning of the petition itself. 

I. Of the order ; it is the first of all the six. The petitions of the 
Lord's Prayer may thus be ranked: The four first concern the 
obtaining of good ; and the two last, the removal of evil either the 
removal of evil past, and already committed, or the removal of evil 
future, and such as may be admitted by the temptation of the devil. 
Among the former, those things that do more immediately concern 
the glory of God, they have the first place. In this petition, the 
glory of God is both desired and promised on our part ; for every 
prayer is both an expression of a desire, and also an implicit vow or 
a solemn obligation that we take upon ourselves to prosecute what we 
ask. Prayer, it is a preaching to ourselves in God's hearing. We 
speak to God to warm ourselves, not for his information, but for our 

From the order observe : 

Doct. That those things are to be desired in the first place, and with 
the greatest affection, which do concern the glory of God. The first 
petition is, ' Hallowed be thy name.' 

Here to show : 

1. Why thL petition is put first. 

2. Present some reasons of the point. 

First, This petition is put first, for a double reason : 
1. Partly to show that this must be the end of all our requests. All 
that we desire and pray for, in behalf of ourselves and others, must be 
subordinate to this end. All these things must be asked, that by the 
accomplishment of them God may be brought more in request in the 
world. See all the other petitions in this prayer, how they are suited 
to this end in scripture. When we say, ' Thy kingdom come,' what 
do we beg that for, but ultimately the glory of God ? Phil. ii. 10, 11, 
' God hath given him a name which is above every name, that every 
tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God 
the Father/ When we say, ' Thy will be done in earth, as it is in 
heaven,' it is still to the glory of God : Mat. v. 16, ' That our good 
works may still shine forth before men here upon earth, that they may 
glorify 'our Father which is in heaven.' When we ask our daily 
bread, and provisions for the present life, it is still that he may be 
glorified in our comfortable use of the creature : 1 Cor. x. 31, ' Whether 
therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of 
God.' When we ask for the remission of sins, it is that God may be 
glorified in Christ : Bom. iii. 25, 26, ' Whom God hath set forth to 
be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteous 
ness for the remission of sins that are past, that he may be just,' &c. 
When we beg freedom from temptation, it is that we may not dis 
honour God : Prov. xxx. 9. ' Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, 


Who is the Lord ? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of 
my God in vain.' Still that God may be glorified in every condition. 
When we ask deliverance from evil : Ps. 1. 15, ' Call upon me in the 
day of trouble ; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me/ So 
that the glory of God, in all requests that we make to him, like oil, 
still swims on the top, and must be the end of all the rest ; for other 
things are but means in subordination to it. 

2. It notes that our chiefest care and affection should be carried out 
to the glory of God when we pray. We should rather forget ourselves 
than forget God. God must be remembered in the first place. There 
is nothing more precious than God himself, therefore nothing should 
be more dear to us than his glory. This is the great difference 
between the upright and the hypocrite : the hypocrite never seeks 
God but when his necessities do require it, not in and for himself; 
but when the upright come to seek God, it is for God in the first 
place their main care is about God's concernments rather than their 
own. Though they seek their own happiness in him, and they are 
allowed so to do ; yet it is mainly God's glory which they seek, not 
their own interests and concernments. See that: Ps. cxv. 1, 'Not 
unto us, not unto us, Lord, but unto thy name give glory, for thy 
mercy, and for thy truth's sake.' It is not a doxology, or form of 
thanksgiving, but a prayer ; not for our safety and welfare, so much 
as thy glory ; not to reek and satisfy our revenge upon our adver 
saries ; not for the establishment of our interest ; but for the glory of 
thy grace and truth, that God may be known to be a God keeping 
covenant ; for mercy and truth are the two pillars of the covenant. 
It is a great dishonouring of God when anything is sought from him 
"more than himself, or not for himself. Saith Austin, it is but a carnal 
affection in prayer when men seek self more than God. Self and God 
are the two things that come in competition. Now there are several 
sorts of self ; there is carnal self, natural self, spiritual self, and glori 
fied self. Above all these God must have the pre-eminence. 

[1.] Carnal self. By a foolish mistake we take our lusts to be our 
selves : Col. iii. 5, ' Mortify your members here upon earth.' And 
these members he makes to be fornication, uncleanness, and the 
like. Our sins are as dear to us as any essential or intregal part of 
the body ; they are our members. Now, these should have no room 
in our prayers at all, though usually they have the first place : James 
iv. 3, ' Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may 
consume it upon your lusts.' Our prayers should be the breathings 
of the spirit, and usually they are but the belches and eructations of 
the flesh. And for these it is we are so instant and earnest with God. 
We would have God bless us in some revengeful and carnal enter 
prise. We deal with God as the thief that lighted his candle at the 
lamps of the altar. So many would make God a party in their carnal 
designs : Prov. xxi. 27, ' The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomina 
tion ; how much more when he bringeth it with a wicked mind ? ' 
It is an abomination when it is at the best ; but when he hath an ill 
aim, then it is an abomination with a witness. Foolish creatures 
vainly imagine to entice heaven to their lure. Balaam builded altars 
and sacrificed, out of hope that God would curse his own people, and 


engage in Moab's quarrel ; like the man in the Gospel that would 
make no other use of Christ than to compose his civil difference : Luke 
xii. 13. He comes to him as a man of authority, ' Master, speak to my 
brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.' We all look upon 
God, tanquam aliquem magnum, as Austin said he did in his infancy, 
as some great power that would serve all our carnal turns. In this 
sense we make God to serve our sins, Isa. xliii. 24, when we would 
have God to contribute to our lusts, to our pride, wantonness, revenge. 
This is such a foolish request, as if a wife should beg of her husband 
to give her leave to go on with her adulteries. Survey all the peti 
tions which are in this present platform of prayer, there is not one 
that is calculated for such an evil purpose as our revenge, pomp, 
pride, pleasure. Carnal self surely must give way to God. 

[2.] There is a natural self, when we seek our own temporal felicity. 
Christ hath allowed these natural desires a room in our prayers ; but 
they must keep their order and their place : first, God's glory ; and 
then, our safety. The obtaining of natural good is put in the last 
place. And, therefore, when our thoughts only run upon temporal 
felicity and outward supplies, it is not prayer, but a brutish cry : 
Hosea vii. 14, ' They howl upon their beds for corn, wine, and oil.' 
Beasts are sensible of their pain, and are carried by natural instinct 
to seek their own welfare, as well as men. And, therefore, when this 
is our first and only request, it is a perversion of that order which 
Christ hath set down in this perfect form of prayer. 

[3.] There is spiritual self, which is valuable either in point of 
justification or acceptance with God, or in point of sanctification and 
conformity to him. Now, as these blessings cannot be severed from 
God's glory where they are really enjoyed, so they must not be severed 
in our prayers, nor preferred before it. To ask pardon as a separate 
benefit as it concerns our ease and quiet, not as it concerns God's 
glory, is a perversion and a diversion of our prayers. The main thing 
which God intends should be the main thing in our requests, is, ' the 
praise of his glorious grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the 
beloved,' Eph. i. 6. And, therefore, this is the main thing which the 
soul intends : Ps. Ixxix. 9, ' Help us, God of our salvation, for the 
glory of thy name ; and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy 
name's sake.' The argument is not taken from themselves merely, 
or from their own misery, but from God's glory. If God could not 
be more glorified in our pardon and acceptance with him than in our 
death and damnation, it were an evil thing to desire pardon. But 
now when God hath abundantly cleared up this to us, that he is no 
loser by acts of mercy ; that this conduceth more to the exalting of his 
great name, to accept poor sinners to mercy ; the soul goeth with the 
more confidence to beg it of God, that he would purge us from our 
filthiness for his name's sake. But now men's thoughts are wholly 
taken up with their own peace and safety, and take no care for God's 
honour. This is but a selfish request, or an offer of nature after ease. 
For the other part, to ask for grace and conformity to God's will, 
merely as it is a perfection of our nature abstractly from God's glory, 
it is not a right request. It is contrary to the very nature of grace, 
whose tendency is to God in the first place, that his name may 


be glorified, that we should be to the praise of his glorious grace. 
Grace wrought in us is but a creature, and not to be preferred before 
the Creator. See how the apostle prays: 2 Thes. i. 11, 12, ' We pray 
always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, 
and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith 
with power : that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified 
in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the 
Lord Jesus Christ.' That is a regular prayer, when all our spiritual 
interests are swallowed up in God, and we beg that his name may be 
glorified in us and upon us. 

[4.] There is glorified self, which standeth in the eternal fruition of 
God. Man was made for two ends to glorify God, and to enjoy him. 
Now our crown of glory must be laid at God's feet ; as the elders, 
Eev. iv. 10, ' Saying, Thou art worthy, Lord, to receive glory, and 
honour, and power/ All our desires must give place to this, that he 
may be glorified in our eternal happiness ; and we are to beg it no 
further than as it may stand with his honour. Man's chief end, and 
so his chief request, in respect of himself, is, to enjoy God ; but with 
respect to God, so it is the highest only of subordinate ends ; for the 
highest, chiefly and absolutely, is the glorifying of God. 

Well then, therefore, this is put first, to show that our chiefest care 
and affection should mainly run upon the glory of God, and that God 
might be advanced and lifted up on high. 

Secondly, To give you some reasons why those things which con 
cern the glory of God must be sought in the first place, and with the 
greatest affection : 

1. As we are reasonable creatures, it is fit it should be so. In all 
regular desires the end is first intended, and then the means. But 
now the glory of God, that is the end of all things : Prov. xvi. 4, ' The 
Lord hath made all things for himself;' that is, for his own glory, for 
the manifesting of his excellency. And so our redemption : Luke ii. 
14, ' Glory be to God on high.' When God came to show his good 
will in Christ, it was to make way for his glory : as it begins in good 
will, so it must end in glory. This is the end of all the privileges we 
have by nature and grace. Now God's glory is the end of our being 
and service, and therefore must be first taken care of in our prayers ; 
first his glory, and then our profit, for the end is the first thing in 
tended by any rational agent. 

2. As we are the children of God by adoption. The great duty of 
children is to honour their parents. God pleads for honour upon this 
account : Mai. i. 6, ' If I be father, where is my honour ? ' So that 
if you consent to the preface, and say, ' Our Father ; ' then the next 
request will be, ' Hallowed be thy name.' If we would own ourselves 
in such a relation, then we must make it our chief desire and care 
that God might be glorified by ourselves and others. Every kind of 
honour will not serve our heavenly Father. He must not be honoured 
as an ordinary iather, in a common notion, but as an infinite and eter 
nal Majesty ; and to prefer anything to his interest or glory, or to 
equal anything to him, it is to make an idol of it, and to renounce 
him to be our father. The case of earthly parents is not always so. 
But now you renounce God when an idol is set in the throne ; when 


any interest or concernment of yours is preferred before God, and 
before his interest and concernment. 

3. That which is of most value and consideration should be sought 
first. Now God's glory it hath an infinite excellency above all other 
things. The glory of God is of more worth than all creatures, than 
their being and happiness. The end is more worthy than that which 
serveth and conduceth to the end. Meats and drinks they were made 
for the body, therefore are not so good as the body. Who would dig 
for iron with mattocks of gold ? The means or instrument is better 
worth than the purchase. Now no matter what becomes of us, so God 
may be glorified. As it is said of David, ' Thou art better than ten 
thousand of us ;' therefore, though they exposed their bodies to hazard, 
they thought it not safe for him. So is God better than the whole 
world of men or angels. Our first care must be that he may be glo 
rified, then let other things succeed in their place. 

4. The example of Christ shows how much the glory of God should 
be cared for, and preferred before the creature's good : John xii. 27, 
28, ' Father, save me from this hour.' There was the innocent and 
sinless inclination of his human nature. ' But for this cause came I 
unto this hour ; Father, glorify thy name.' He doth not so earnestly 
insist upon that, but submits all his human concernments, though 
exceeding precious, that they might give way to the glory of God ; 
and he had no respect to his own ease, or to the innocent inclination 
of his human nature, or to the felt comforts of the Godhead. Now 
Christ's example it is the best instruction. He taught us how we 
should behave ourselves to our heavenly Father ; and, therefore, we 
should learn to prefer the honour of God before our own ease ; and 
if God but get up, though we be kept low and poor, yet we should be 
contented. Look, as all natural things will act against their particu 
lar inclination for a general good ; as to avoid a vacuity, the air will 
descend, and the water ascend, that there may not be a confusion or 
dissolution of the frame of nature : so hath Christ taught us still to 
prefer a general good. ' Father, glorify thyself ;' that is it we must 
insist upon, though it be with our loss, suffering, trouble, yea, some 
times with our trouble of conscience, we must be content. 

5. From the nature of prayer. The whole spiritual life it is a 
living to God : Gal. ii. 19, 'I am dead to the law, that I might live 
unto God.' The whole tendency and ordination of all acts of the 
spiritual life they are to God. Even the natural life is overruled 
and directed to this end ; there is an eating and drinking to God ; the 
meat and drink we take, if God be not the last end of it, it is but a 
meat-offering and a drink-offering to our own appetite, and a sacri 
fice to Moloch. Now, much more in acts of immediate worship, there 
God will be principally regarded, for their respect and tendency is 
mainly to God. In our whole life we are God's, dedicated to him. 
Every godly man is set apart for God. A man that is a Christian 
must be ' holy in all manner of conversation,' 1 Pet. i. 15. A Chris 
tian must look upon himself as one that is dedicated to God, when he 
is at his meals, in his trade and calling ; and grace is to run out in 
every act. But much more is this tendency of grace to bewray itself 
in our solemn sequestration of ourselves when we mate our nearer 


approaches to him : Lev. x. 3, ' I will be sanctified in them that come 
nigh me, and before all the people will I be glorified.' What is it to 
sanctify God ? A thing is sanctified when it is set apart ; and God is 
sanctified when we set apart ourselves wholly for him when he hath 
more than common affections and common respects. And therefore 
in prayer, in the first place, we should go to God for God, and surely 
in such a request we are likely to speed. 

6. Love to God, if it be unfeigned, and hath any strength in the 
soul, will necessarily put us upon this. Love seeks the good of the 
party beloved, as much or more than its own. Those which love have 
all things in common between them, and one counts it done to him 
self what is done to the other ; so it is in the love between us and 
God. Look, as Christ loves the saints, and counteth whatever you do 
to them it is done to him, because done to those whom he loved 
Mat. xxv. : so, reciprocally, the saint which loves God, what is done 
to God is done to us : when God is honoured, we are comforted as 
much or more than with our own benefit ; and when God is dis 
honoured, we have the grief and sorrow : Ps. Ixix. 9, ' The reproaches 
of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.' Or if they hear 
God's name rent in pieces, and men dishonour him by their filthy 
lives, it goeth to their hearts ; for God and they have but one com 
mon interest nay, they prefer God's interest before their own or 
any other's : John xxi. 15, ' Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more 
than these ? ' By the world's maxim, love should begin at home ; 
but by Christ's direction, it beginneth with God They are more 
tender of God's glory than their own lives and outward comfort : ' I 
count not my life dear to me/ saith Paul. Thus you see what reason 
there is why our main care and thoughts should be taken up about 
the concernments of God, and about the glory of his holy name. 

Use 1. To reprove us, that we are no more affected with God's 
glory. Oh, how little do we aim at and regard it in our prayers ! We 
should seek it, not only above the profits and pleasures of this life, but 
even above life itself ; yea, above life present and to come. But alas ! 
since the fall, we are corrupt, and wholly poisoned with self-love ; we 
prefer every base interest and trifle before God ; nay, we prefer carnal 
self before God. Some are wholly brutish ; and so they may wallow 
in ease and pleasure, and eat the fat and drink the sweet, never think 
of God, care not how God is dishonoured, both by themselves and 
others. And then some, oh, how tender are they in matters of their 
own concernment, and affected with it, more than for the glory of 
God ! John xii. 43. They are more affected with their own honour, 
and their own loss and reproach, than with God's dishonour or God's 
glory. If their own reputation be but hazarded a little, oh, how it 
stings them to the heart ! But if they be faulty towards God, they 
can pass it over without trouble. A word of disgrace, a little con 
tempt cast upon our persons, kindles the coals and fills us with rage ; 
but we can hear God's name dishonoured, and not be moved with it. 
When they pray, if they beg outward blessings, if they ask anything, 
it is for their lusts, not for God ; it is but to feed their pomp and ex 
cess, and that they may shine in the pomp and splendour of external 
accommodations. If they beg quickening and enlargement, it is 


for their own honour, that their lusts may be fed by the con 
tributions of heaven ; so, by a wicked design, they would even 
make God to serve the devil. The best of us, when we come to pray, 
what a deep sense have we of our own wants, and no desire of the 
glory of God ! If we beg daily bread, maintenance, and protection, 
we do not beg it as a talent to be improved for our master's use, but 
as fuel for our lusts. If we beg deliverance, it is because we are in 
pain, and ill at ease ; not that we may honour and glorify God, that 
mercy and truth may shine forth. If we beg pardon, it is only to get 
rid of the smart, and be enlarged out of the stocks of conscience. If 
they beg grace, it is but a lazy wish after sanctification, because they 
are convinced there is no other way to be happy. If they beg eternal 
glory, they do not beg it for God, it appears plainly, because they can 
be content to dishonour God long, provided they at length may be 
saved. Most of us pray without a heart set to glorify God, and to 
bring honour unto his great name. Though a man hath never so 
much sense and feeling in his prayer, yet if his heart be not duly set 
as to the glory of God, his prayer is turned into sin. It is not the 
manner or the vehemency only, for a carnal spring may send forth high 
tides of affection, and motions that come from lust may be earnest and 
very rapid ; therefore it is not enough to have fervour and vehemency, 
but when our aim is to honour and glorify God : Zech. vii. 5, 6, 
' When ye fasted, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me ? And when 
ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did you not eat for yourselves, and 
drink for yourselves ? ' 

Use 2. For exhortation, to press us to seek the glory of God above 
all things. Take these arguments : 

1. How necessary it is the Lord should have his glory. The 
world serves for no other purpose ; it is made and continued for this 
end: Rev. iv. 11, 'Thou art worthy, Lord, to receive glory, and 
honour, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy 
pleasure they are and were created.' All that God hath made, it was 
for his own glory; and, Eom. xi. 36, ' For of him, and through him, 
and to him are all things ; to whom be glory for ever. Amen/ Of 
him, in a way of creation ; through him, by way of providential in 
fluence and supportation^ that they may be to him in their final tend 
ency and result. God did not make us for ourselves, but his own glory. 

2. It is a singular benefit to be admitted to sanctify God's name. 
Oh that poor worms should come and put the crown upon God's head ! 
and that he will count anything we can do to be a glory to himself: 
1 Chron. xxix. 14, ' But who am I, and what is -my people, that we 
should be able to offer so willingly after this sort ? For all things 
come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.' 

3. Consider how much it concerneth us, that we may make some 
restitution for our former dishonouring of God ; therefore we should 
be more zealous in this work. How forward have we been to dis 
honour God in thought, word, and deed, before the Lord wrought 
upon us ! There is not a mercy but we have abused it, nor anything 
we have meddled with, but one way or other we have turned it to the 
Lord's reproach and dishonour. Now when the Lord hath put grace 
in our hearts, when we are ' a people formed for his praise ' Isa. xliii. 


when he hath made us anew, we should think of making some 
restitution, some amends to God, and should zealously affect his glory 
above all things. 

Use 3. For trial. Do we prefer the glory of God in the first place ? 
Take these marks : 

1. Then we would be content with our loss, provided the name 
of God may gain any respect in the world ; and so he may be magni 
fied, no matter what becomes of us, and our interest and concernment : 
Phil. i. 20. The apostle expresseth there a kind of indifferency : so 
' Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by 
death.' Oh, then it is a sign you make it your purpose, drift, and care, 
when you are contented to do or be anything that God will have you 
to be or do. This holds good, not only in temporal concernments, 
when you are content to want necessary food, &c., but it holds also in 
spiritual concernments: as to sense of pardon, though God should 
suspend the consolations of his Spirit, yet, if it be for the glory of his 
grace, I am to be content ; nay, in some cases God's glory is more to 
be cared for than our own salvation, if they two could come in com 
petition ; but that case never falls out with the creature our salva 
tion is conjoined with the glory of God. But yet, in supposition, if it 
should, as Paul and Moses puts the supposition Exod. xxxii. 32, 
' Blot me, I pray thee, out of the book which thou hast written ' so 
God might be honoured in saving that people. So Horn. ix. 3, ' For 
I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, 
my kinsmen according to the flesh.' It was not a rash speech, a 
thing spoken out of an unadvised passion : see but with what a serious 
preface it is ushered in, ver. 1, 'God is my witness, I lie not, my 
conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost." He calls God 
to witness this was the real disposition of his heart, and he speaks 
advisedly, and with good deliberation. 

Object. But is it lawful thus to wish to be accursed ? Certainly 
Paul could not wish himself to love Christ less, or to be less beloved 
of him ; for these things we cannot part with .them without sin ; but 
in our enjoyment of Christ there is a happy part, some personal 
happiness which resulteth to us. Now all this he could lay at God's 
feet. How so ? What, for others ? A regular love begins at home, 
and every man is bound to look to his own salvation first, and then 
the salvation of others. But that was not the case ; it was not their 
salvation and Paul's salvation which was in competition, but the glory 
of God, and the common salvation of the Jews, and Paul's particular 
salvation. It was a mighty prejudice to the gospel that the people 
from whom Christ's messengers proceeded for the law went out of 
Sion, the gospel came out from among the Jews that so many of 
them were prejudiced, and a mighty eclipse to the glory of God. 
Now he could lay down all his personal happiness at God's feet, he 
speaks in supposition, if such a case falls out. But, however, this is 
a clear rule : the glory of God must be preferred before our own 
salvation. In some cases there will be need of this rule. For in 
stance, there is many a man that possibly is convinced of a false 
religion ; and the first question men make is, if they can be saved in 
such a religion, but many men are hardened in Popery. When, there- 


fore, a man is contented to continue in a false religion, and dishonour 
God with his compliance there, provided he may be saved, he prefers 
his own salvation before the glory of God ; and in case of the delay of 
repentance, when men dally with God, and put off the work of return 
ing to the Lord until another time, or hereafter it is time enough to 
repent, these men prize their salvation before the glory of God. If 
it were true upon that supposition, that if ever they shall be saved, 
they are contented God shall be dishonoured a great deal longer, and 
that if they be saved at length this will satisfy them. 

Quest, But how may we discern that we make the glory of God the 
first and chief thing we aim at in prayer ? 

1. Partly by the work of your own thoughts. The end is first in 
intention, though last in execution. When you are praying for a 
public mercy against an enemy, what runs in your thoughts? 
Revenge, safety, and your own personal happiness, or God's glory? 
'What wilt thou do, Lord, unto thy great name?' Josh. vii. 9. 
Are you pleasing yourselves with suppositions of your escape and 
deliverance, and reeking your wrath upon your adversaries ? So in 
prayer for strength and quickening, what is it that runs in your mind ? 
Are you entertaining your spirit with dreams of applause, and feeding 
your minds with the sweetness of popular acclamation ? 

2. By the manner of praying, absolutely for God's glory, but for all 
other things with a sweet submission to God's will : John xii. 27, 
' Father, save me from this hour : but for this cause came I unto this 
hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from 
heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.' 
Christ is absolute in the request, and he receives an answer. Is this 
enough ? Do you mainly press God with this, that he might provide 
for his own glorious name, that his name might not lie under 
reproach ? But now carnal aims do make affection impetuous and 
impatient of check and denial. Rachel must have children, or die. 
When the heart is set upon earthly success, pleasure, or comfort, then 
they cannot brook a denial without murmuring. The children of 
God only accept of God's glory, and in all other things they leave 
themselves to God's disposal, and therefore this is the main thing. 

3. Partly too by the disposition of your hearts when your prayers 
are accomplished, and God hath given any blessing you pray for. 
We do not ask it for God's glory, if we do not use it for God's glory. 
The time of having mercies is the time of trial, and therefore when 
we consume our mercies upon our lusts, when they do not conduce to 
check our sins, it is a sign God's glory is not the thing intended as it 
should be. 

Thus for the order of this petition. 

II. The necessity of putting up such a request to God. It is his 
charge to us in the third commandment, that we should sanctify his 
name: ' Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain/ 
The positive part of that commandment is, thou shalt sanctify it. 
Now here we make it matter of prayer to God : ' Hallowed be thy 
name.' From whence let me observe : 

Doct. Those that would have God's name hallowed and glorified, 
must seriously deal with God about it. 


There are several reasons why we must put up such requests to 
God. I might argue from the utility and the necessity of it. 
First, The utility. We put up these requests to God : 

1. That we may more solemnly warn ourselves of our own duty. 
In prayer there is an implicit vow, or solemn obligation, that we take 
upon ourselves to prosecute what they ask. It is a preaching to our 
selves in God's hearing. So that every word we speak to God is a 
lesson to us, and our requests are so many exhortations to glorify his 
holy name. With what face can we ask that which we are wholly 
reckless and neglectful of? Then we shall certainly come under 
that character : Mat. xv. 7, 8, ' This people draweth nigh unto me 
with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips ; but their heart 
is far from me.' It is the greatest mockage of God to ask, unless 
we have a mind to pursue and diligently to attend to this work 
and business, that the name of God may be glorified in us and 
upon us. 

2. That we may have a due sense and grief for God's honour. 
God's children they are troubled to see God dishonoured. Lot's 
righteous soul was vexed, not with Sodom's injuries, but with Sodom's 
sins, 2 Pet. ii. 8. And David saith : ' Rivers of tears run down mine 
eyes, because men keep not thy law/ Ps. cxix. 136. Many will scarce 
weep for their own sins, where they have advantage of remorse of 
conscience ; but when they are zealously affected with God's glory, 
they will weep for others' sins. When his name is torn and rent in 
pieces, it is a grief of heart to them. Now God will have us ask this, 
that this holy sense of spiritual grief may be kept up ; for when it 
is become the matter of our requests, then we are interested in the 
glory of God. We are loth to see things miscarry where we have 
petitioned and begged for others ; so when we have begged the glory 
of his name, it will further this spiritual sense and grief of heart when 
his name is dishonoured. 

3. That we may count it as great a blessing when God is glorified 
as when we are saved. ' Continue in prayer,' saith the apostle, ' and 
watch thereunto with thanksgiving.' When we have been instant 
with God in prayer, that he might be glorified, then we shall count it 
as great a blessing when he is glorified as when we are saved. 
Prayer makes way for the increase of our esteem, and engages us to 
observe the return. When we have asked it of God, we will be 
affected with it then. When we see all his works praise him, what a 
comfort will this be to the soul : ' Bless the Lord, my soul/ Ps. 
ciii. 22. 

But secondly, Let me show the necessity of dealing with God about 
it. The necessity will appear both in respect of persons and things ; 
when we beg that God's name may be hallowed, we beg dispositions 
of heart and occasions. 

First, The necessity will appear in respect of persons, both as to 
ourselves and others. 

First, In respect of ourselves, there is a great necessity that we should 
deal with God about the hallowing of his name; because we need direc 
tion, sincerity, quickening, submission to God, humility, and holiness. 

To instance in these six things : 


1. We need direction. The habits of grace are God's gifts, and the 
exercise of grace is another thing ; to actuate, quicken, guide, and 
direct it : 2 Thes. iii. 5, ' The Lord direct your hearts to the love 
of God.' And so in prayer, and in honouring of God. In prayer, 
' we know not ' how or ' what to pray for as we ought.' Though we 
have grace, yet we need direction. A ship that is well rigged, yet 
needs a skilful pilot : Horn. viii. 26, ' Likewise the Spirit also helpeth 
our infirmities ; for we know not what we should pray for as we 
ought/ How much are we to seek to give God his due honour ! 
' Of ourselves we cannot so much as think a good thought :' 2 Cor. 
iii, 5. There is an utter insufficiency in us to meditate of God, and 
conceive aright of his excellency, and give him the honour which is 
due to him. None of us but needs daily to go to God, that we may 
be taught how to hallow and sanctify his name. 

2. We need quickening, being so backward to this duty. All the 
lepers could beg help, and but one returned to give God the glory. 
There is much dulness and deadness of heart as to the praising of 
God, and glorifying of God. Self-love will put us upon other things ; 
but it is grace must quicken us to glorify him and praise him. 
When we go to God for ourselves, our necessities will sharpen our 
affections, and put a shrill accent upon our prayers. But now when 
we beg of God for God, then there is a greater restraint upon us. 
And therefore David saith, Ps. li. 15, ' Open thou my lips, and my 
mouth shall show forth thy praise.' We need God to open our 
mouths ; that is, enlarge our hearts and quicken our affections. How 
apt are we to turn the back upon the mercy-seat ! Ezek. xlvi. 9. 
If a man came in at the north gate he was to go out at the south 
gate, but never at the same door. Why ? That he might not turn 
his back upon the mercy-seat. When we have prayed, we are apt to 
forget that God which hath blessed us ; and therefore that our hearts 
might be enlarged and quickened, we need to go to God. 

3. We need uprightness and sincerity, that we may mind the 
glory of God. This is not a work of nature, but grace : Phil. ii. 21, 
' All men seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.' 
There is the fruit and effect of nature, it puts men upon seeking their 
own things, worldly ease, profit, and pleasure. Every creature natu 
rally seeks its own welfare ; but to make the glory of God our great 
aim and pursuit, it is grace puts upon that. Water ascends no higher 
than it descends, so nature cannot rise beyond itself. The stream 
cannot rise above the fountain, and above the principle. A man that 
hath nothing but nature, he cannot unfeignedly seek the things which 
are of God. The old man with the deceitful lusts, that is the natural 
man. The upright heart, that unfeignedly seeks God, needs grace 
from above. Without influence from God, our actions cannot have a 
tendency to God. We shall prefer our interest before God's glory, if 
we have no higher principle than what our hearts furnish us with. 

4. We must go to God for submission. Now there is a double 
submission required, which if we have not, we shall find it marvel 
lously difficult to glorify God. One, as to the choice of instruments ; 
another, as to the way and means by which God will bring about his 
own glory. 


[1.] As to the choice of instruments. There is in us an envy, and 
wicked emulation. Oh, how hard a matter is it to rejoice in the gifts, 
and graces,' and services of others, and be content with the dispensa 
tion, when God will cast us by as unworthy, and use others for the 
glorifying of his name ! Therefore that we may refer the choice of 
instruments to God, we need go to him and say, Lord, ' hallowed be 
thy name ;' do it which way, and by whom thou pleasest. We are 
troubled, if others glorify God, and not we, or more than we ; if they 
be more holy, more useful, or more serious, self will not yield to this. 
Now by putting up this prayer to God, we refer it to him to choose 
the instrument whom he will employ. It was a commendable 
modesty and self-denial in John Baptist, which is described, John iii. 13, 
' He must increase, I must decrease.' When we are contented to be 
abased and obscured, provided Christ may be honoured and exalted ; 
and be content with such a dispensation, though with our loss and 
decrease. Many are of a private station, and straitened in gifts, and 
can have no public instrumentality for God ; now these need to pray, 
' Hallowed be thy name,' that they may rejoice when God useth others 
whom he hath furnished with greater abilities. 

[2.] A submission for the way ; that we may submit to those un- 
pleasing means and circumstances of his providence, that God will 
take up and make use of, for the glorifying of his holy name. Many 
times we must be content, not only to be active instruments, but pas 
sive objects of God's glory. And therefore if God will glorify himself 
by our poverty, or our disgrace, our pain and sickness, we must be 
content. Therefore we need to deal with God seriously about this 
matter, that we may submit to the Lord's will, as Jesus Christ did : 
John xii. 27, 28, ' Save me from this hour ; but for this cause came 
I unto this hour : Father, glorify thy name. And there was a voice 
from heaven that said, I have glorified it, and will glorify it again/ 
Put me to shame, suffering, to endure the cross, the curse, so thou 
mayest be glorified. This was the humble submission of Christ Jesus, 
and such a submission should be in us. The martyrs were contented 
to be bound to the stake, if that way God will use them to his glory. 
Phil. i. 20, saith Paul, ' So Christ shall be magnified in my body, 
whether it be by life, or by death :' if my body be taken to heaven 
in glory, or whether it be exercised or worn out with ministerial 
labour. We need to deal with God that we may have the end, and 
leave the means to his own choosing ; that God may be glorified in 
our condition, whatever it be. If he will have us rich and full, that 
he might be glorified in our bounty ; if he will have us poor and low, 
that he may be glorified in our patience ; if he will have us healthy, 
that he may be glorified in our labour ; if he will have us sick, that 
he may be glorified in our pain ; if he will have us live, that he may 
be glorified in our lives ; if he will have us die, that he may be glori 
fied in our deaths : and therefore, ' Whether we live or die, we are 
the Lord's :' Rom. xiv. 9. A Christian is to be like a die in the^hand 
of providence, content whether he be cast high or low, and not to 
grudge at it, whether he will continue us longer or take us out 01 the 
world. As a servant employed beyond the seas, if his master will 
have him tarry, there he tarries ; if he would have him come home, 


home he comes : so that we had need to deal seriously with God about 
this submissive spirit. 

[5.] Humility ; that we may not put the crown upon our own heads, 
but may cast it at the Lamb's feet ; that we may not take the glory 
of our graces to ourselves. God's great aim in the covenant is, ' that 
no flesh should glory in itself ; but whosoever glories, may glory in 
the Lord:' 1 Cor. i. 27-31. He would have us still come and own 
him, in all that we are, and in all that we do. As the good servant 
gave account of his diligence, Luke xix. 16, he doth not say, My in 
dustry, but, ' Thy pound hath gained ten pounds.' And Paul was a 
zealous instrument, that went up and down doing good; he ' laboured 
more abundantly than they all : yet not I, but the grace of God, 
which was with me :' 1 Cor. xv. 10. In this case if we would honour 
and glorify God, we must do as Joab did, when he was likely to take 
Kabbah : he sent for David to gather up more forces, and encamp 
against the city and take it, ' Lest I take the city, and it be called 
after my name :' 2 Sam. xii. 28. How careful was he that his 
sovereign might have the honour ! So careful should we be that the 
crown be set upon Christ's head, and that he may have the glory of 
our graces and services, that they may not be called after our own 
name, that God may be more owned in them than we. Now what 
more natural, than for creatures to intercept the revenues of the crown 
of heaven, and to convert them to their own use ? It is a vile sacri 
lege, to rob God of the glory of that grace he hath bestowed upon us ; 
and yet what more common ? The flesh is apt to interpose upon all 
occasions ; and therefore we need to put up this request, ' Hallowed 
be thy name/ 

[6.] There is holiness required, that we may not be a disgrace to 
God and a dishonour to him. The Lord saith, Ezek. xx. 9, ' That 
his name should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom 
they (his people) were.' The sin of God's people doth stain the 
honour of God, and profane his name. When men profess much to be 
a people near God, and live carnally and loosely, they dishonour God 
exceedingly by their conversation. Men judge by what is visible and 
sensible, and so they think of God by his servants and worshippers ; as 
the heathens did of Christ in Salvian's time, If he was a holy Christ, 
certainly Christians would live more temperately, justly, and soberly. 
They are apt to think of God by his worshippers, and by the people 
that profess themselves so near and dear to him ; therefore it concerns 
us to walk so, that our lives may honour him : Mat. v. 16, ' Let your 
light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and 
glorify your Father which is in heaven.' As the loins of the poor 
(saith Job) blessed him, Job xxxi. 20, namely, as they were fed and 
clothed by his bounty ; so our lives may glorify God. David saith, 
Ps. cxix. 7, ' Then shall I praise thee with uprightness of heart, when 
I have learned thy righteous judgment.' There is no way to praise 
God entirely and sincerely until we have learned both to know and do 
his will. Keal praise is the praise God looks after. Otherwise we 
do but serve Christ as the devil served him, who would carry him upon 
the top of the mountain, but it was with an intent to bid him throw 
himself down again. So we seem to exalt God much in our talk and 


'profession; yea, but we throw him down, when we pollute him and 
deny him in our conversation. Our lives are the scandal of religion, 
and a pollution and blot to the name of God. So that with respect 
to ourselves, you see, what need we have to go to God. that he will give 
us grace that we may please him and glorify his name. 

Secondly, In regard of others. A Christian cannot be content to 
glorify God himself, but he would have all about him to glorify God. 
.As fire turns all things round about it into fire ; and leaven, it spreads 
still, until it hath subdued the whole lump : so is grace a diffusive, 
a spreading thing. As far as we can reach and diffuse our influence, 
we would have God brought into request with all round about us. 
' Being converted/ saith Christ to Peter, ' strengthen thy brethren.' 
So it will be where there is true grace. Mules, and creatures which 
are of a mongrel and bastard race, they beget not after their kind : 
so bastard Christians are not for the calling in of others, and the 
gaining of those about them. But a true Christian will be earnest, 
and much in this matter. Now their hearts are not in our power, but 
in God's ; therefore we need to be much in prayer, and make this our 
main request, Lord, ' hallowed be thy name.' For hereby, 

1. We acknowledge God's dominion over the spirits of men, which 
is a great honour to God, and a quieting to us. It is a title often 
given to God in scripture, that he is the ' God of the spirits of all flesh.' 
If they had a magistrate to choose, they go to God : Num. xxvii. 16, 
' Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the 
congregation.' If a judgment to be averted, Num. xvi. 22, ' God, 
the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be 
wroth with all the congregation ? ' This is a great honour to God, when 
we acknowledge the power and dominion that he hath over the hearts 
and spirits of men. To roll a stone is not so much as to rule the 
creatures ; and to keep the sun in its course is not so much as to rule 
the spirits of men, and to work them to the glorifying of his holy 
name. God can turn the hearts of men this way and that way, 
according as he pleaseth : Prov. xxi. 1, ' The king's heart is in the 
hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water;, he turneth it whithersoever he 
will.' As a man can dispose of a watercourse, turn it hither and 
thither as the necessities of his field or garden require, so can God 
draw out the hearts and respects of men. Surely there would not be 
so many disorders in the world if we did often reflect upon this 
attribute, or did deal .with God about his power over the spirits of 
men. We are wrathful, and think nothing but the confusion of men 
would serve the turn, and there is no riddance of our burden but by 
the destruction of those who stand in our way ; whereas the conversion 
of men, a change of their spirits and hearts, would be a better cure, 
and bring more honour to God, and safety with it. The truth is, we 
look more to men than to God, and that is the reason why we pitch 
rather upon the destruction than the conversion of others. Destruc 
tion, that may be executed by the creature ; but conversion, that is a 
power (to order and regulate the spirits of men) which God hath re 
served in his own hands. One angel could destroy above a hundred 
and eighty thousand in Sennacherib's camp in one night ; but all the 
angels, with their united strength, cannot draw in one heart to God. 


But now the God of the spirits of all flesh, who is too hard for him ? 
Oh, did we often reflect upon this, we would be dealing with God about 
this matter, that he would work upon the spirits of men. If there be 
a wicked ruler, or an obstinate child or servant, &c., that he would 
sanctify himself upon them, and change their hearts. 

2. You discover much love to God, when, as you would not dis 
honour him yourselves, so you are careful others may not dishonour 
him. ' Praise him, all ye ends of the earth,' Ps. xcviii. 4, and c. 1. 
You would have all the world own him. Private spirits that would 
impale and enclose religion, that they may shine alone, they do not 
love God, but themselves, their own credit, and their own profit. 
' Would to God all the Lord's people were prophets ! ' Num. xi. 29. 
That was a free and noble speech. God is resembled to the sun, be 
cause it is he that must shine alone ; but the church is compared 
to the moon and stars, where all may shine, but every star in its own 
glory. True Christians would have all to be as they are, unless it be 
with respect to their bonds and incumbrances. 

3. You discover love to others, you would have them glorify God. 
The angels, they rejoice when a sinner is converted ; they have a great 
love to souls, Luke xv. 7. And so do Christians ; the more spiritual 
they are, the more they come near to the blessed spirits above, and 
the more affected they are with the good done to others, and with 
their conversion. Saith Paul, Horn. ix. 3 : ' I could wish that my 
self were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen accord 
ing to the flesh.' Such a zeal and entire affection he had to the souls 
of others, that he could lay all his personal happiness at Christ's feet. 
And thus you see what need we have to deal seriously with God in 
this business, if indeed we make this our aim. Especially those which 
are in public relations, as Paul was, which had an office put upon 
him to procure the salvation of others, how will their hearts run out 
upon it ! 

Secondly, It is needful we should deal with God about the sancti 
fying of his name, as in regard of persons, so of things and events. 
God hath the disposal of all -events in his own hands. There are 
many things which concern the glory of God that are out of our reach, 
and are wholly in God's hands ; and therefore it discovers our love 
to his glory, and our submission to his wise and powerful government 
of all affairs, when we deal with God about it, and refer the matter 
to his disposal, and say, Lord, ' hallowed be thy name/ take the work 
into thy own hands. We discover our love to his glory, because we 
make it a part of our request that all these events may conduce to 
the glory of his majesty. As Joshua, when Israel fell before their 
enemies : Josh. vii. 9, ' Lord, what wilt thou do for thy great name ? ' 
There was his trouble. And Moses : Num. xiv. 15, 16, What will the 
nations say round about ? ' Because the Lord was not able to bring 
this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath 
slain them in the wilderness.' It goeth near to the heart of God's 
children when they see anything that will tend to God's reproach. 

But that is not all ; it is not enough we discover that, but also oui' 
submission to his wise and powerful government, when we refer the 
matter to his disposal, and can see that he can work out his own ends 


out of all the confusions which happen there ; out of sins, errors, wars, 
blood : Ps. Ixxvi. 10, ' The wrath of man shall praise thee ; the re 
mainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.' In the Septuagint it is, the 
wrath of man shall keep holy day to thee, shall increase a festival for 
thee. God many times gets up in the world upon Satan's shoulders. 
When matters are ravelled and disordered, he can find out the right 
end of the thread, and how to disentangle us again ; and when we have 
spoiled a business, he can dispose it for good, and make an advan 
tage of those things which seem to obscure the glory of his name. 

By the way, both these must go together, our love to his glory, and 
our submission to his providence. Our love to his glory ; for we 
should not be altogether reckless and careless how things go ; and 
yet not carking, because of the wisdom and power of his providence. 
The truth is, we should be more solicitous about duties than events. 
The glory of events belongeth to God himself, and we are not to take 
his work out of his hand, but mind him in it. Look, as some would 
learn their schoolfellows' lesson better than their own ; so we would 
have things carried thus and thus. And so by murmuring we tax provi 
dence, rather than adore it, and we eclipse the glory of God. Yet we 
must be sensible of the reproaches cast upon God, and must pray to 
the Lord to vindicate and right his name, to take the way and means 
into his own hands. 

Thus you have seen the necessity of putting up such a request to 
God, ' Hallowed be thy name.' 

Use 1. Is for information. It informs us that whatever we be 
stow upon God, we have it from God at first: 1 Chron. xxix. 11, ' Of 
thine own have we given thee.' The King of all the earth, we cannot 
pay him any tribute but out of his own exchequer. When we are 
best affected to God's interest, and pray for God's concernments, we 
must beg the grace which maketh us to do so. It is his own gift. It 
is he must enable and incline us, quicken and direct us. So that in 
all things he is Alpha and Omega we begin in him, whenever we 
end in him. And when we do most for God, we have all from him. 

Use 2. For direction in the matter of glorifying God, in four pro 

[1.] This life is not to be valued, but as it yieldeth us opportunities 
for this end and purpose, to glorify God. We were not sent into the 
world to live for ourselves, but for God. If we could make ourselves, 
then we could live to ourselves. If we could be our own cause, then 
we might be our own end. But God made us for himself, and sent 
us into the world for himself. Christ saith : John xvii. 4, ' Father, 
I have glorified thee on earth,' &c. It is not our duty only to glorify 
God in heaven, to join in concert with the angels in their hallelujahs 
above, where we may glorify him without distraction, weariness, and 
weakness ; but here on earth, in the midst of difficulties and tempta 
tions. There are none sent into the world to be idle, or to ' bring 
forth fruit to themselves/ Hosea x. 1 ; to improve their pains l and 
strength, to promote merely their own interest ; but God's glory must 
be our chief work and aim while we are here upon earth, this must 
be the purpose and intent of our lives. 

1 Qu. ' gains ' ? ED. 

VOL. I. F 


[2.] Every man, besides his general calling, hath his own work and 
course of service whereby to glorify and honour God : John xvii. 4, ' I 
have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.' As in a great 
house one hath one employment, one another : so God hath designed 
to every man his work he hath to do, and the calling he must be in ; 
some in one calling, and some in another ; but they all have their ser 
vice and work given them to do for God's glory. 

[3.] In discharge of this work, as they must do all for God, so they 
can do nothing without God. Every morning we should revive the 
sense of it upon ourselves, as the care of our work and aim, so the sense 
of our impotency. This day I am to live with God ; but how un 
able am I, and how easily shall I dishonour him ! 'The way of man 
is not in himself,' Jer. x. 23. When a Christian goeth abroad in the 
morning, he must remember he is at Christ's dispose ; he is not to do 
as he pleaseth, but to be guided by rule, and act for God's glory, and 
fetch in strength from Christ : Col. iii. 17, ' Whatsoever ye do in 
word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.' Not only in 
our duties or immediate converses with God, but in our sports, busi 
ness, recreation. What is it to do things in the name of Christ, 
that is, to do it according to Christ's will and command ? He hath 
allowed us time for recreation, for conversing with God, and calling 
in Christ's help, and aiming at his glory. If we have anything to do 
for God, we must do it in his own strength, in every word and deed. 

[4.] You are directed again, when the glory of God and sanctifying 
of his name either sticks with us, or sticks abroad, God must be 
specially consulted with in the case. When our hearts are backward, 
then. ' Lord, open thou my lips ; ' Lord, affect me with a sense of thy 
kindness and mercy. When it sticks abroad, when such events fall 
out, as for a while God's name is obscured, and seems to be clouded, 
' Lord, what wilt thou do for thy great name ?' 

III. Having opened the order of the words, and the reasons of putting 
up such a request to God, I now come to the sense of the petition, ' Hal 
lowed be thy name.' Four things will come under consideration : 

1. What is meant by the name of God. 

2. What it is to hallow and sanctify it. 

3. I shall take notice of the form of the proposal, ajiaa-OrjTM, 

4. The note of distinction, thy name. 
First, What is meant by God's name ? 

1. God himself. 

2. Anything whereby he is made known. 

[1.] God himself. Name, by an Hebraism, is put for the person 
itself. Thus : Kev. iii. 4, ' Thou hast a few names even in Sardis, 
which have not defiled their garments;' that is, many persons ; so : 
Acts i. 15, it is said there, ' The number of the names together were 
about one hundred and twenty,' that is of persons. So it is used in 
the present case. God's name is put for God himself: Ps. xx. 1, 
' The name of the God of Jacob defend thee ! ' That is, God himself. 
So : Ps. xliv. 5, ' Through thy name will we tread them under that rise 
up against us ;' that is, by thee. And to believe in the name of Christ 
is to believe in Christ himself. Name is put for person, for the im- 


mediate object of faith is the person of Christ : John i. 12, ' To as 
many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of 
God, even to them that believe on his name.' 

[2.] Anything whereby he is made known to us, Nomen quasi 
notamen. As a man is known by his name, so God's titles and attri 
butes, his ordinances, his works, his word, are his name, chiefly the 
two latter. For his works, they are a part of the name of God : 
Ps. viii. 1, the burden of that psalm is twice repeated, ' Lord, our 
Lord, how great is thy name in all the earth ! ' By the name there, 
is meant God made known in his works of creation and providence, for 
he speaks there of sun, moon, and stars, which proclaim an eternal power 
to all the world ; and he speaks of such a name as is in all the earth. 
And, Ps. cxlvii. 19, 20, ' He hath not dealt so with any nation,' and 
given them his word, statutes, and ordinances ; every one hath not 
that privilege. But, ' How great is thy name in all the earth ! ' That 
is, how manifestly art thou made known by thy works ! But above 
all, by name is meant his word : Ps. cxxxviii. 2, ' Thou hast magnified 
thy word above all thy name.' There is more of God to be seen in his 
word, than in all the creatures of the world, and in all his other works 
besides. We understand more of God than can be taken up by the 
creation. It helps us to interpret the book of nature and providence; 
there we have his titles, attributes, ordinances ; there we have his 
greatest work, in which he hath discovered so much of his name, the 
mystery of redemption, which is not elsewhere to be known. Thus by 
the name of God is meant God himself, as he hath made known him 
self in the word. We desire that he may be sanctified, that he may 
with honour and reverence be received everywhere. 

Secondly, The second thing to be explained, what is meant by 
hallowed? In scripture God is said sometimes to be magnified, some 
times to be justified, sometimes to be glorified, and sometimes to be 
sanctified. Now it is not here said, Magnificetur nomen tuum, or 
gloriftcetur, but sanctificetur let thy name be sanctified. All these 
terms do express how God is to be honoured by the creature, and they 
have all distinct notions. God is said to be magnified : Luke i. 46, 
' My soul doth magnify the Lord.' To magnify God argueth a high 
esteem or a due sense of his greatness. Again, God is said to be 
justified : Luke vii. 29, ' The people and the publicans justified God.' 
What is it to justify God ? To justify is to acquit from accusation, 
and when that word is applied to God, it signifieth our owning of him 
notwithstanding the prejudices of the world against him. To glorify 
God is to make him known to others, and to bring him into request 
with others, for glory it is clara cum laude notitia, a public fame or 
knowledge of excellency. Thus Christ saith, John xvii. 10, ' I am 
glorified in them;' speaking of his apostles, because by their means 
he was made known to the world. All these are included in the word 
of the text. Yet there is somewhat more intended by to be sanctified. 
When is God then said to be sanctified ? 

To hallow and to sanctify is to set apart from common use, and so 
to sanctify the name of God, is to use it in a separate manner, with 
that reverence and respect which is not used to anything else. So that 
when we pray that God's name may be hallowed or sanctified, we 


desire that, according as lie hath made known himself in the word, so 
he may be known, reverenced, and esteemed in the world. Known 
to be the only true God : 1 Kings xviii. 36, 'Let it be known this day 
that thou art God in Israel, 'and accordingly worshipped and glorified 
in the hearts and lives of men. 

The third thing to open is the form of proposal, a^iaaO^rw. It is 
not sancfificemus, let us hallow, but sanctificetur, let it be hallowed, 
for in this form of speech, all the persons concerned in this work are 
included God, ourselves, and others. 

[1.] God is to be included in the prayer, that we may express our 
sense of his providence working all things for the glory of his holy 
name, yea, discovering his excellency, showing himself to be the holy 
God : Ezek. xxxviii. 23, ' I will magnify myself, and sanctify myself, 
and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know 
that 1 am the Lord/ The Lord magnifieth himself by the more 
eminent effects of his care and providence, but he sanctifieth himself 
chiefly by blessing and defending the godly, and by punishing and 
afflicting the wicked, for thereby he declareth his holiness, the purity 
of his nature, and his love to saints ; so that when we say, ' Hallowed 
be thy name,' we mean, Lord, declare thyself to be a holy God, by 
putting a distinction between men and men in the course of thy provi 
dence, and owning thy people from heaven. 

[2.] We include ourselves when we say, ' Hallowed be thy name,' 
for it is especially the duty of God's people : Isa. xxix. 23, ' They shall 
sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear 
the God of Israel.' It is our duty, by our religious carriage, to evi 
dence that we have a holy God. This must be our first care, that we 
ourselves be sanctified, and to sanctify our sanctifier, the Holy One 
of Israel. Some, they would have God glorified by others, but do not 
look to themselves how they sanctify God. Now God hath made this 
to be a great part of our care, that his own people should not only 
magnify and glorify him, but sanctify him ; therefore he rather makes 
them good than great. When he would make men great, then he 
shows his magnificence, to be the almighty disposer of the riches of the 
world ; but when he makes them good, then he expects to be sanctified, 
that his people should discover that he is a holy One ; that he is holy 
in himself, for we add nothing to him when we sanctify him, but only 
discover him to be such a one. In short, God sanctifieth us effectively 
by working grace and holiness in us, and we sanctify him relatively, 
objectively, declaratively, declaring him to be a holy God, and that we 
are a people belonging to this God. 

[3.] The speech is so formed that others may be included, and that 
we may express our sense of their dishonouring God, as a thing that is 
grievous to us, that we may show how near it goeth to our heart to see 
the ignorance, atheism, and blasphemy that is in the world. They would 
have the holy God to be sanctified abroad, either by the conversion of 
men, or by their punishment. And so it is meant : Isa. v. 16, ' God 
that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.' That is, his holiness 
and hatred of sin shall appear, either in the conversion of obstinate 
sinners, that God may be sanctified by them, or else for punishment, 
that God may be sanctified upon them. 


Fourthly, The next thing is the note of distinction, ' Hallowed be 
thy name,' not ours. There seems to be a secret opposition between 
our name and the name of God. When we come to pray, we should 
distinctly remember whose name is to be glorified, that God may be 
at the end of every request. We beg of God many times, but we 
think of ourselves ; our hearts run upon our own name, and upon our 
own esteem. How often do we come to him with a selfish aim, as if 
we would draw God into our own designs and purposes ! None are 
so unfit to glorify God, and so unwelcome to him, as those that are so 
wedded and vehemently addicted to their own honour and esteem in 
the world. Therefore Christ, by way of distinction, by way of opposi 
tion to this innate disposition that is in us, he would have us to say, 
'Hallowed be tliy name.' That which gives most honour to God is 
believing: Eom. iv. 19, 20, Abraham was 'strong' in faith, giving 
glory to God.' Now, none so unfit for the work as they that seek 
glory for themselves : John v. 44, ' How can ye believe, which receive 
honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God 
only ? ' Affectation of vainglory, or splendour of our own name, is a 
temper inconsistent with faith, which is the grace that gives honour to 
God. I say, when we hunt after respect from men, and make that the 
chiefest scope of our actions, God's glory will certainly lie in the dust ; 
when we are to suffer ignominy and abasement for his sake, the care 
of God's glory will be laid aside. The great sin of the old world was 
this : Gen. xi. 4, ' Let us make us a name. ' There are many conceits 
about that enterprise, what that people should aim at there in building 
so great and so vast a tower, before God confounded their tongues. 
Some, interpreting that place, ' Let us build us a tower even to 
heaven,' think this was their intention, to make a way into heaven. 
But it is not likely they would be so foolish that had so late experi 
ence of the flood, and, when the ark rested upon the top of the highest 
mountains, found themselves to be at so great and vast a distance 
from heaven. Some think it was (as Josephus) to secure themselves 
from another flood ; but that was sufficiently done by God's promise, 
who had engaged to them he would no more destroy the earth by 
water ; and if that were their intention, why should they build in the 
plain, between the two rivers of Tigris and Euphrates? Moses gives 
the main reason there, that they might have an immortal name among 
posterity. But now see how ill they reckon that do reckon without God. 
Those that are so busy about their own name, how soon will God blast 
them ! When in any action we do not seek glory to God, but ourselves, 
it is the ready way to be destroyed. This was the means to bury them 
in perpetual- oblivion. Nebuchadnezzar, when he re-edified the city, 
Dan. iv. 30 : 'Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house 
of the kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honour of my 
majesty ? ' How doth God disappoint him, and turn him out among 
the beasts ! Thus are we sure to be disappointed and blasted, when 
our hearts run altogether upon our own name. But now Christ saith 
thy name ; when we are careful of that, this is the way to prosper. 
From the words thus illustrated, I shall only observe : 
DocL That God will be so glorified in the world as that his name 
may be hallowed or sanctified. 


Here I shall show : 

1. How many ways God's name is sanctified. 

2. Why God will be so glorified as that he may be sanctified. 
First, How many ways is God's name sanctified ? I answer, either 

upon us, or by us. 

[1.] Upon us, by the righteous executions and judgments of his 
providence : and so God is sanctified when he doth by a high hand of 
power recover and extort the glory of his holiness from the dead and 
stupid world ; as by that notable stroke of the Bethshemites, when 
fifty thousand were slain for peeping into the ark: 1 Sam. vi. 20. 
This was the result of all : ' Who is able to stand before this holy 
Lord God ? ' There he discovered himself to be a holy God, to be 
one that hath a high displeasure against the creature's disobedience. 
Now when he doth by a high hand extort this from the wicked, or 
from his children, then he sanctifieth himself upon us. 

[2.] By us. And so he is sanctified in our thoughts, words, and 
actions ; in our heart, tongue, or life. 

1. In our hearts : 1 Pet. 3, 15, ' Sanctify the Lord God in your 
heart.' How is God sanctified in our hearts ? 

[1.] When we have awful thoughts of his majesty : Ps. cxi. 9, 'Holy 
and reverend is his name.' Not only when we speak of the name of 
God, but when we think of it, we should be seriously affected. But, 

[2.] More especially God is sanctified when, in straits, difficulties, 
and dangers, we can bear ourselves upon the power and sufficiency of 
God, and go on resolutely and cheerfully with our duty, notwithstand 
ing discouragements. This is to sanctify the Lord God in our hearts. 
I shall prove it by two places where the phrase is used ; one is, 1 Pet. 
iii. 15, ' Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh 
you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.' 
Mark, the Christians that did profess the name of God, which spake 
of God as their hope or object of their religion, were in great danger. 
Now what direction doth he give them, that they might not be afraid, 
but bear up ? For he speaks before : * Be not afraid of their terror, or 
be troubled ; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts/ See the 
same phrase used for the same purpose: Isa. viii. 13, 'Sanctify the 
Lord of hosts himself, and let him be your fear, and let him be your 
dread.' He opposeth it plainly there to carnal fear : ver. 12, ' Say ye 
not a confederacy to all them to whom this people shall say a con 
federacy ; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid ; but sanctify the 
Lord of hosts himself, and let him be your fear.' How comes this 
direction to be used in the present case ? Thus ; to sanctify is to set 
apart ; and to sanctify God is to set apart, as the alone object of fear 
and trust, that he alone is to be feared and trusted, so that we can 
see no match for God among the creatures ; therefore we are to 
embolden ourselves in the Lord, and go on cheerfully, when we can 
counterbalance all fears and dangers with his surpassing excellency. 
To glorify God is to do that which simply and absolutely tendeth to 
the manifestation of his excellency, without any relation to the creature ; 
but to sanctify God is to set God above the creature, to do that which 
tends to exalt his greatness and excellency from and above all terrors, 
and all the discouragements that we can have from the creature ; it is 


to. ascribe that greatness, that power and glory, to God alone, which, 
cannot be ascribed to anything else, and so to go on cheerfully with 
our duty, whatever difficulties we meet with. Thus Moses was 
chidden, that was amazed with present difficulty: Num. xx. 12, 'And 
the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, 
to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel ; therefore ye shall 
not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them/ 
Because they were discouraged, and thought they should never carry 
on their business, therefore God saith, ' Ye believe not to sanctify 
me : ' you sanctify not God, or set him aloft, as the alone and supreme 
object of fear and trust. It is a practical acknowledgment of God's 
matchless excellency. Thus we sanctify God in our hearts. 

2. God is sanctified with our tongues, when we use God's name, 
titles, ordinances, and word, as holy things ; when we speak of the 
Lord with reverence, and with great seriousness of heart, not taking 
his name in vain ; especially when we are deeply affected with his 
praise. It is no slight thing to praise God. God's people, when they 
have gone about it, see a need of the greatest help: Ps. li. 15, 'O 
Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.' 
And Ps. xlv. 1 : ' My heart is inditing a good matter ; ' my heart fries 
or boils a good matter: when we will not give God dough-baked 
praise, nor speak of his name slightly, but so as becomes his greatness 
and surpassing excellency. 

3. In our actions. Our actions may be parted into two things, 
worship, and ordinary conversation. 

(1.) In our worship, there God especially will be sanctified. Lev. 
x. 3, ' I will be sanctified in all that draw near unto me.' God is very 
tender of his worship : sancta sanctis, holy things must be managed 
by holy men in a holy manner. Therefore, what is it to sanctify God 
when we draw nigh to him ? To have a more excellent frame of heart 
in worship than we have about other things. As in prayer, the frame 
of our hearts must not be common ; we must not go about it with such 
a frame of heart as we go about our callings, worldly business, and 
converses with men : but there must be some special reverence, such 
as is peculiar to him. When we draw near to God in the word, he 
will be sanctified. The word must be received with meekness, and by 
faith applied to our souls, as an instrument designed to our endless 

S)od. When we have a peculiar reverence for God, and a respect to 
od in all our approaches ; Eccles. v. 1, ' Look to thy feet when thou 
goest to the house of God : ' we must not go about these holy services 
hand over head, but with great caution and heed. Thus is God 
sanctified in worship, or in our immediate converse with him. 

(2.) In our ordinary conversation. Then God is sanctified ; when 
our life is ordered so that we may give men occasion to say, that 
surely he is a holy God whom we serve. By two things you may 
know you sanctify God in your conversations: when you walk as 
remembering you have a holy God, and when you walk as discovering 
to others you have a holy God. 

[1.] When you walk as remembering yourselves that you have a 
holy God, therefore you must be watchful and strict. It is notable, 
when the Israelites were making a hasty promise, Joshua puts them 


in mind, chap. xxiv. 9, ' You cannot serve the Lord, for he is a holy 
God.' So we should remember when we give up ourselves to God, he 
is a holy and jealous God, that is narrowly observant, and he will not 
be put off with anything that is common. 

[2.] As discovering you have a holy God. A carnal worshipper 
profaneth the memory of God in the world. But now a Christian 
that walks according to his holy calling, that is holy in all manner of 
conversation, he discovereth what a God he hath. 1 Pet. ii. 9, ' That 
ye should show forth the praises of him, who hath called you out of 
darkness into his marvellous light.' We are not only to conceive and 
make use of them to beget fear and reverence in our hearts of the all- 
seeing God, but are to show them forth, to evidence them to others. 
We should discover more than a human excellency, that so those 
which look upon us may say, These are the servants of the holy God. 

Secondly, For the reasons why God will be so glorified, that he 
may be sanctified. 

1. Because this is the glory that is due to his name. Ps. xcvi. 8, 
' Give unto the Lord the glory due to his name.' Every glory will 
not serve the turn, but such glory as is proper and peculiar for that 
God we serve. It is a stated rule in scripture, that respects to God 
must be proportioned to the nature of God. God is a spirit, there 
fore will be worshipped in spirit and truth. God is a God of 
peace, therefore lift up your hands without wrath and doubting. God 
is a holy God, therefore will be sanctified. They which worship the 
sun, among the heathens, they used a flying horse, as a thing most 
suitable to the swift motions of the sun. Well, then, they that will 
glorify and honour God with a glory due to his name, must sanctify 
him as well as honour him. Why ? For God is ' glorious in holi 
ness/ Exod. xv. 11. This is that which God counteth to be his chief 
excellency, and the glory which he will manifest among the sons of 

2. This is that glory which God affects, and therefore the saints 
will give it him, Isa. vi. 3. The holy angels, what do they cry out 
when they honour God ? They do not acknowledge his power and 
dominion over all creatures as Lord of all ; but they give him his 
peculiar glory, ' Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts ; the whole earth 
is full of his glory.' So David, Ps. ciii. 1, ' Bless the Lord, my soul ; 
yea, all that is within me, bless his holy name.' That is the notion 
upon which he pitcheth, he would praise God with such praise as is 
welcome and acceptable to him. 

3. This is the attribute which is most eclipsed and most blotted out 
in the hearts of the sons of men, because of God's patience, because he 
doth not take vengeance of all the sins of men : ' Thou thoughtest I 
was altogether such a one as thyself,' Ps. 1. 21. Certainly if men did 
not blot and stain God in their thoughts, if they did not fancy an un 
reasonable indulgence, such as is not comely and proper to his majesty, 
they could not go on in sin, and think God could be so pure ; there 
fore he will be so glorified, that he may be sanctified. 

Use. To press us so to glorify God, as we may also sanctify him. 
Let this be your care. To quicken you, remember 

1. God is much offended with his people that do not sanctify him. 


Moses and Aaron, as choice and as dear to God as they were, yet you 
know what the Lord saith, Num. xx. 12, ' Because ye believed me not, 
to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel ; therefore ye shall 
not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.' 
When Moses and Aaron murmured, and spake unadvisedly, and did 
not sanctify him, nor carry God's excellency aloft, they shall not enter. 
And God remembereth this a great while after, in that, Deut. xxxii. 
51, ' Because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel, 
at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin ; because 
ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel, thou shalt 
not go into the land which I give the children of Israel.' Well, then, 
though God's children should get to heaven, yet if they do not sanctify 
God they will want many a privilege. God will remember this against 
them ; for he takes it ill when his people will not sanctify him as 
becoming his peculiar excellency. 

2. If you do not sanctify God, then you pollute God, and stain his 
memory in the world : Ezek. xxxvi. 20, ' Ye have profaned my holy 
name among the heathen.' How is God polluted ? Not intrinsically ; 
God cannot receive any pollution from us. It is here, as in that case, 
' A man that lusteth after a woman, hath committed adultery already 
in his heart/ Mat. v. 28. The man pollutes the woman in his heart, 
while she remains spotless and undefiled. So in this case we blemish 
God in appearance, as much as in us lies we pollute and blot God, 
though he remains pure and undefiled. You make heathens think 
as if you had an unholy God. Well, then, glorify God. 

For directions : 

1. Be holy. The praise of the wicked is a disgrace to him, it is an 
obscuring of his praise : 1 Pet. i. 15, ' As he which hath called you is 
holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.' 

2. Study his name, if ye would sanctify his name : Ps. ix. 10, 
' They that know his name will put their trust in him.' 

3. Submit to his providence without murmuring. When we can 
speak well of him, though he seem to deal most hardly; as the 
Bethshemites, when there was such a slaughter made among them, 
fifty thousand slain ; they do not say, murmuringly, Who can stand 
before this severe, cruel God ? but before ' this holy God ? ' They 
own his holiness in the dispensation, though it were so dreadful, 1 
Sam. vi. 20. It is a great glory to God when you own him as just 
in all his ways, when he deals most hardly. Whatsoever be our lot 
and portion, yet he is a holy God. But to cavil and murmur, it is to 
tax and blemish God before the world. 

4. Live to public ends, that is, to draw God into request with 
others. Let this be the aim of your conversation, not only to get 
holiness enough to bring you to heaven, but to allure others, and 
recommend God to them, that by the purity and strictness of your 
conversation you might gain upon others, and bring them to be in 
love with God, and acquainted with him. 

And lastly, Be sensible when God's name is dishonoured by your 
selves and others, not enduring the least profanation of it. 


Thy kingdom come. 

THE first petition concerneth the end, the rest the means. Now, 
among all the means, none hath such a near and immediate respect to 
the glory of God as Christ's kingdom ; for here there is more of God 
discovered, more of his infinite grace, justice, wisdom, and power than 
possibly can be elsewhere. All other things are for the church, and 
the church for Christ as head and king, and Christ for God, 1 Cor. iii. 
22, 23. So that Christ's kingdom is the primary means of advancing 
God's glory ; and therefore among all the means it must be sought in 
the first place. Mat. vi. 33, ' Seek first the kingdom of God/ First, 
not above the glory of God, it doth not come in competition with that, 
but above all other things whatsoever, before pardon and grace. 

In the words observe three things : 

I. We grant a kingdom. 
II. By way of distinction and appropriation we say, thy kingdom. 

III. By way of supplication, we beg of God that it may come. 

The concession, the distinction, the supplication are the three things 
to be opened. 

I. First, The concession of a kingdom, which our heavenly Father 
hath. A kingdom in the general signifieth the government of a people 
under one head or governor ; and therefore the term may be fitly 
applied to God, who alone is supreme, and we are all under his 

Now, God's kingdom is twofold : 

1. Universal. 

2. More particular and special. 

First, There is a universal kingdom over all things ; over angels 
and devils; over men elect and reprobate; over beasts and living 
creatures ; and over inanimate things, sun, moon, and stars. This is 
spoken of: 1 Chron. xxix. 11, ' Thine is the kingdom, Lord, and 
thou are exalted as head above all.' And again : Ps. ciii. 19, ' The 
Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom 
ruleth over all.' There is no such monarch as God is, for largeness of 
empire, for absoluteness of power, and sublimity of his throne. This 
is not principally understood here, but is implied as a foundation and 
ground of faith, whereupon we may deal with God about that king 
dom, which is specially intended in this request. 

Secondly, More particularly and especially, God hath a kingdom 
over a certain order and estate of men. Of this especial kingdom there 
are two notable branches and considerations. One is that adminis 
tration which belongeth to the present life, and is called ' the king 
dom of grace ; ' and the other belongeth to the life to come, and is 
called ' the kingdom of glory.' 

1. The kingdom of grace is spoken of in many places, specially 
that : Luke xvii. 20, 21, 'When he was demanded of the Pharisees 
when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, 
The kingdom of God cometh not with observation. Neither shall 
they say, Lo here ! or, lo there ! for, behold, the kingdom of God is 
within you/ or ' among you.' He speaks of a kingdom of God that 


was already come among them in the dispensation of his grace by 
Christ. And, then, the other belongeth to the life to come, called the 
kingdom of glory : Mat. xxv. 34, ' Come, ye blessed of my Father, in 
herit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world ; ' 
1 Cor. xv. 50, ' Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.' 

Now, the kingdom of grace may be considered two ways, as exter 
nally administered, and as internally received. 

[1.] As externally administered inthe ordinances and means of grace, 
as the word and seals, and censures, and the like. In this sense it is 
said : Mat. xxi. 43, ' The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and 
given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.' The gospel or 
means of grace administered in the visible face of the church, they 
are called God's kingdom upon earth, and a very great privilege they 
are when they are bestowed upon any people. Surely, when Christ 
saith, ' The kingdom of God shall be taken from you/ he doth not 
mean it of the inward kingdom, that they had not, that cannot be 
lost, but of the outward and external means. 

[2.] As internally received ; and then by it is meant the grace of 
God, which rules in the hearts of the elect, and causeth their souls 
to submit and subject themselves unto the obedience of Christ, and 
unto his sceptre, and to his word and Spirit, that this is that king 
dom properly which is within us. This is ' the kingdom of God which 
consisteth in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost,' Kom. 
xiv. 17. And this differeth from the kingdom of glory, not so much 
in nature as in degree. 

Well, then, that by the kingdom of God is here meant, not his 
general empire over all the world, and all the things of the world, 
though that be not wholly excluded, but his special kingdom, which 
he doth administer by Christ : and that either as externally managed 
by ordinances and visible means of grace, or as internally received and 
administered in the hearts of the elect. This is that kingdom we beg 
that it may nourish and get ground more and more. 

2. Then for the kingdom of glory, it is either begun and inchoate, 
or else consummate and perfect. 

[1.] It is begun and inchoate upon our translation to heaven in the 
very moment of death, in which Christ reigns in the other world in 
the spirits of just men made perfect that is, being perfectly freed 
from sin, and admitted into the clear and immediate vision and frui 
tion of God, though our bodies abide in the grave, expecting full 
redemption and deliverance. That there is such a kingdom carried 
on many scriptures intimate : Phil. i. 23, ' I desire to depart, and to 
be with Christ.' As soon as the saints are loosed from the body, they 
are with Christ under his government : Luke xxiii. 43. ' This day 
shalt thou be with me in paradise.' As soon as Christ died he was in 
paradise, and there was the good thief with him. The scriptures do 
riot establish any such drowsy conceit as the sleep of souls, or such an 
estate wherein they do not enjoy God. We read of ' the spirits of 
just men made perfect/ which make up the congregation which is 
above, of which Christ is head : Heb. xii. 23. As the spirits of the 
wicked are in prison, 1 Pet. iii. 19, that is, in hell. This is the king 
dom of glory begun. 


[2.] There is a kingdom of glory consummate, when sin and death is 
utterly abolished, and the elect perfectly separated from the reprobate, 
and conducted into heaven, and there remain with the Lord for ever. 
This is a kingdom : Mat. xxv. 34, ' Come, ye blessed of my Father, 
inherit the kingdom prepared for you.' The full and final estate 
we enjoy after the general judgment and resurrection, that is called 
a kingdom. Well, now, you see what is meant by the kingdom we 
pray for. 

II. Secondly, Here is a note of distinction, tliy kingdom, by which 
the kingdom here spoken of is limited by particular reference to God, 
not only to difference it from the kingdoms of men, which are sub 
ordinate to it, but those adverse kingdoms which are set up against 
God ; as the kingdom of sin, Satan, antichrist, the destruction of which 
we intend when we pray for the advancement of God's kingdom, as I 
shall show you. 

III. Thirdly, Here is the supplication or the request which we make 
to God about this kingdom, eX^ereo, let it come. What do we mean 
by that ? This word must be applied to the several acceptations of 
Christ's kingdom. 

1. If you apply it to the external kingdom of grace, then when we 
say, Thy kingdom come, the meaning is, let the gospel be published, 
let churches be set up everywhere, let them be continued and main 
tained against all the malignity of the world, and opposition of the 
devil : and in the publication of the gospel, where the sound of it 
hath not been heard, that God would come there in the power of his 
Spirit, and draw people into communion with himself : Mat. xii. 28, 
' If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God 
is come unto you/ meaning in the public tenders thereof. Saith he, 
if this miracle doth clearly, as it doth in your consciences, evidence my 
mission, then you may know the kingdom of God is come that is, 
that there is a publication of the gospel of grace. Then we pray for 
the continuance of this privilege, notwithstanding opposition, that 
Christ may stand his ground. This is that we seek of God, that he 
may maintain his interest among the nations of the world, that the 
gates of hell may not prevail against his kingdom. 

2. If you refer to the internal part of this kingdom, then we beg 
the beginning, the progress, and the final consummation of it. First, 
The beginning or the erection of a throne for Christ in our hearts, 
and the hearts of others, that he may fully exercise regal power. 
Secondly, The increase of this kingdom by holiness and obedience, and 
sincere subjection to him ; for the kingdom of grace is so come 
already, that it will still be coming yet more and more. So long as 
we need to pray, so long shall we have cause to say, ' Thy kingdom 
come.' Thirdly, The consummation of it, when the fulness of glory in 
the second coming of Christ shall be revealed ; when our head shall 
be glorious, and his day shall come, rjfiepa Kvpiov. For the present 
it is man's day, so the scripture seems to call it ; but then it is the 
day of the Lord, when all the devils shall stoop, and enemies receive 
their final doom, and the saints shall have the crown of glory put upon 
their heads in the sight of all the world. 

Well, the sum of all is this, that though this petition do mainly 


concern the special kingdom, which God administereth by Christ, yet 
God's universal kingdom, the kingdom of his power and providence, 
is a mighty support and prop to our faith in making this request to 
God. When we consider what an unlimited power God hath over 
all creatures, even devils themselves, to dispose of them for his own 
glory, and his church's good ; we need not be discouraged though 
Christ's kingdom be opposed in the world, but should with the more 
confidence deal with God about it. 

That which I shall handle upon this petition will fall under these 
two points : 

1. That God hath a kingdom, which he will administer and manage 
for his own glory. 

2. All those which are well affected to God's glory should desire 
the coming of this kingdom, and seriously deal with God about it. 

For the first, namely 

Doct. 1. That God hath a kingdom, which he will administer and 
manage for his own glory. 

I speak not of the kingdom of his power and providence, but of the 
dispensation of grace by Christ. The evangelical gospel state is com 
pared to a kingdom ; as, Mat. iii. 2, ' The kingdom of heaven is at 
hand.' So to the disciples, Mat. x. 7, ' And as ye go, preach, saying, 
The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' And so Christ himself. 

It may be called so with very good reason, for in this kingdom 
there is a monarch, Jesus Christ, to whom all power and authority is 
given. God the Father calls him 'my king:' Ps. ii. 6, 'I have set 
my king upon my holy hill.' And this king hath his throne in the 
consciences of men, where thoughts are brought into captivity to him : 
2 Cor. x. 5. And he hath his royal sceptre, Ps. ex. 3, which is 
called ' the rod of his strength.' And he hath his subjects, and they 
are the saints : Rev. xv. 3, ' king of saints.' And he hath his laws 
and constitutions ; we read of ' the law of faith,' and ' the law of 
liberty.' And in this kingdom there are privileges, and royal im 
munities ; there is freedom from the curse of the law, and from the 
power of sin, and from the destructive influence of Satan and the 
world. And here are punishments and rewards both for body and 
soul ; there is hell and heaven. Now, because all these things do so 
fitly suit, therefore is the gospel called a kingdom. It will not be 
amiss to insist upon some of these. 

1. The state of the gospel, or evangelical state, it is God's kingdom, 
in regard of the monarch whom God hath set up, that is, Jesus Christ, 
the great Lord of all things. There is no king like him : God hath 
made him ' higher than the kings of the earth/ Ps. Ixxxix. 27. How 
doth he exceed all other monarchs and potentates in the world ? 
Partly for largeness of command and territory. All kings and mon 
archs have certain bounds and limits by which their empire is ter 
minated ; but Christ is the true catholic king, his government runs 
throughout the whole circuit of nature and providence; he hath 
power over all flesh, John xvii. 2, yea, devils themselves are to stoop 
to him : Phil. ii. 10, every thing under the earth is to bow the knee 
to Christ. Partly for the excellency of his throne. This king hath 
a double throne, one in heaven, the other in the heart of a humble 


sinner, which is his second heaven: Isa. Ivii. 15. And in both these 
respects there is no monarch like Christ. ' He hath prepared his 
throne in the heavens, and his kindom ruleth over all,' Ps. ciii. 19. 
Earthly kings, that their majesty may appear to their subjects, have 
their thrones usually exalted ; there were six steps to Solomon's 
throne ; a description of it you have in 1 Kings x. 18, 19. But what is 
this to the throne of Christ, which God hath fixed above in the 
heavens ? The whole globe of sea and earth is but as one point, and 
there are ten thousand times ten thousands of angels about his throne. 
The supporters of this throne are justice and mercy. And in regard 
of his other throne also in the hearts of men : the power of outward 
potentates reacheth but to the bodies of men, they can take cogni 
sance of nothing but of external conformity to their laws : but 
Christ gives laws to the thoughts : 2 Cor. x. 5. So for his royal 
furniture : other princes, they have their chariots, and coaches, and 
horses, &c. ; but ' he makes the clouds his chariot, and walketh 
upon the wings of the wind,' Ps. civ. 3. Riding up and down in 
the world, dispensing mercies and judgments. So for troops and 
armies to support his dignity, all the hosts of heaven are obedient 
to him ; one angel in one night destroyed in Sennacherib's army an 
hundred fourscore and five thousand. Hostility against him must 
needs be deadly. He is above in heaven, and can rain down fire and 
brimstone upon us, and cannot be resisted. He is higher than the 
kings of the earth too, because none hath so good a right and title 
to rule as this king hath, whom God hath set upon his holy hill of 
Sion. God's dominion over the creatures is founded in creation. 
Other kings find their subjects ; he makes them. He hath the first 
and chief right, there is nothing we have but he made. We depend 
upon him every moment for his providential assistance, therefore he 
hath the highest right and title. No creature can be sui juris, at his 
own dispose. And he hath a right by conquest and by purchase ; he 
hath bought us, and ' given his life a ransom for many,' Mat. xx. 28. 
Christ is opposed there to worldly potentates ; they must be served, 
but he came to minister. Subjects, their blood and lives must go to 
preserve the rights of the prince ; but he gave his life. And he hath a 
right too by contract and covenant. All that are subjects of his 
kingdom have sworn allegiance. He hath such an absolute right that 
thou canst call nothing thy own. We think, indeed, our lips are our 
own, Ps. xii. 4 : and our estates our own ; as Nabal, 1 Sam. xxv. 
11, ' Shall I take my bread, and my water, and my flesh?' &c. All 
you have it belongeth to this king by right of creation and provi 
dence. Therefore in all these respects he is higher than the kings of 
the earth. 

2. The gospel state is set forth as a kingdom, in regard of the 
subjects and their privileges. . The gospel doth not only reveal a king, 
but maketh all kings : ' He hath made us to be kings and priests,' &c., 
Rev. i. 5. All those that submit to him. So that, indeed, Christ 
may properly be styled Rex regum, King of kings. As the king of 
Assyria made his boast, Isa. x. 8, ' Are not my princes altogether 
kings ? ' A vaunting speech of his, that his princes and favourites 
were, for power and authority, as good as kings. But Christ may 


say so. Are not my subjects altogether kings ? Not only kings in 
regard of their spiritual power and command they have over them 
selves, ruling their own spirits in the fear of God, while others are 
slaves to their base affections ; but in point of their privileges. They 
have kingly privileges, they are made kings ; they are royally 
attended by angels, they are sent forth to be as guardians to the 
heirs of promise : Heb. i. 14. They have royal immunities, from 
the curse of the law, from the damnable influence of sin ; they may 
as well pluck Christ from the throne, as pluck the elect out of that 
state wherein they are. As David said, ' Is it a small thing to be the 
king's son-in-law?' so, is it a small thing to be the sons of God, 
co-heirs with Christ ? This honour and glory doth God put upon his 
saints. And there is the greatest pleasure and contentment in this 
state ; for this kingdom, which all the saints are interested in, it 
consisteth in 'righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost:' 
Rom. xiv. 17. And surely these consolations of God should not be 
small to us. It is a state of most absolute freedom and sovereignty : 
John viii. 36, ' If the Son shall make you free, then shall ye be free 
indeed/ Many a monarch which ruleth over men may be a captive to 
his own lusts ; but these are free. There are the richest revenues 
and increase which belong to Christ's subjects. ' All things are yours ; 
whether Paul, or Apollos/ &c. : 1 Cor. iii. 21. They are ours by cove 
nant, and when they come into our possession, by the fair allowance 
of God's providence, we have them with a blessing, and may use them 
with a great deal of comfort. 

3. In regard of the laws and manner of administration. I shall 
not speak of the external political government of the church, which 
questionless is monarchical, I mean in regard of Christ the Head ; 
though it be aristocratical in regard of officers, and, in some respect, 
democratical, with reference to the consent of the people in all church 
acts. But there are laws and sanctions by which this body of men 
and this kingdom is governed : James ii. 8, ' If ye fulfil the royal 
law.' It is called the royal law, not only as it requires noble work, 
but in regard of the dignity of the author, and firmness of the obliga 
tion. All the precepts of faith, repentance, and gospel-walking, are 
as so many royal edicts, which Christ hath set forth to signify his 
pleasure to his people. How slightly soever we think of these gospel 
injunctions, they are the laws and instructions of the great king. 

4. In regard of punishments and rewards. Christ, who is a king 
by nature, might rule us with a rod of iron ; yet he is pleased to 
govern us as a father and prince, that he might cast the bands of a 
man upon us. Christ, as a king, punisheth, and, as a king, rewardeth: 
Prov. xvi. 14, 'The wrath of a king is as messengers of death.' 
When a king is angry it is as if a messenger should come and tell us 
we must die. How great is the wrath of the king of kings ! He 
cannot endure to be slighted in his regal power : Luke xix. 27, ' But 
those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, 
bring them hither, and slay them before me.' Christ himself will see 
execution done, in his own sight and presence, upon those rebels that 
will not submit to his rule and government. How should the hearts 
of wicked men tremble, which have violated the laws of Christ, and 


affronted his authority, when they consider how odious this is, how 
certainly Christ will see execution done upon them ! When Adonijah 
and his guests heard of Solomon sitting upon his throne, and the shouts 
and acclamations of joy and applause, they were stricken with fear, 
and fled every one several ways : 1 Kings i. 49. You that cherish 
3 r our lusts, which stand out against the sovereignty of Christ, that 
will not let him rule over you, whose hearts say (though their tongues 
dare not), ' We will not have this man to reign over us ;' you that 
seem to put him by his kingdom, he is furnished with absolute and 
irresistible power to destroy you, and will one day come and say, 
Bring forth these drunkards, worldlings, voluptuous, that would not 
I should reign over them ; those that durst venture upon known sin 
against the checks of their own conscience : how will their hearts 
tremble in the last day at the shouts and acclamations of the 
-saints, when they shall welcome this great king, when he shall come 
forth in all his royalty and sovereignty ! And as for punishment 
Christ will show himself as a king, so for rewards. Kings do not 
give trifles. Araunah ' gave like a king to a king :' 2 Sam. xxiv. 23. 
He was of the blood-royal of the Jebusites, and he gave worthy of 
his extraction. And so Christ will give like a king. God propounds 
nothing that was cheap and unworthy, but he ' gives you a kingdom :' 
Luke xii. 32. The poor of this world are ' heirs of a kingdom/ the 
fairest kingdom that ever was, or ever will be ; as poor and as des 
picable as now they are, yet they shall have a kingdom. What can 
you wish for and desire more than a kingdom ? All shall reign with 
Christ for evermore ; which shows the folly of carnal men that will 
hazard so great and so blessed hopes. Thus I have shown you why 
the gospel state is compared to a kingdom. 

Now, let me tell you it is a spiritual kingdom, not such as comes 
with observation. Jesus Christ, when he was inaugurated into the 
throne, when he was to sit down at God's right hand, how doth he 
manifest it ? He gives gifts, as princes use to do at their coronation, 
but they are spiritual gifts : Eph. iv. 8. And he sent abroad ambas 
sadors, poor fishermen, they and their successors, to go and treat with 
the world: 2 Cor. v. 19. Indeed, they had a mighty power with them, 
as becoming such a great king, as was under the vail of meanness and 
weakness ; it was carried on in a spiritual manner. And still he doth 
administer his kingdom, not by force ; he rules not by the power of 
the sword, but by his word and Spirit, so he governefch his people. 
The publication of the gospel is a ' sending forth the rod of his 
strength:' Ps. ex. 2. And the Holy Ghost, as Christ's viceroy, he 
governeth them, and administereth all things that are necessary to his 
kingdom ; he doth it by the Holy Ghost, as his deputy. The Father 
chooseth a sort of men, gives them to Christ ; the Son dieth for them, 
that they may be subjects of his kingdom, and he commits them to be 
governed and ruled by the Holy Ghost : he useth the ministry of 
men, and so unites them to Christ ; and Christ brings them to the 
Father by his intercession, committing them to his care and love ; and 
by a final tradition at last, which is the last act of Christ's media 
torial kingdom, 1 Cor. xv. 24, he shall deliver them up to the Father. 
The Spirit, blessing the ministry of men, works faith, by which we 


are united to Christ ; and Christ intercedes for us, and will bring us 
to God again. And in this spiritual manner is this kingdom carried 
on. So that if we would enter into this kingdom, we must go to God 
the Father, and confess we are rebels and traitors, but desire he 
would not enter into judgment with us, but seek to be reconciled to 
God the Father. Now, as God bade the friends of Job to go to Job, 
chap. xlii. 8, so God sends us to Christ, in whom alone he is well 
pleased with the creature. If we go to the Son, he refers us to the 
Spirit, to be reclaimed from our impurity and rebellion. If we go to 
the Spirit, he refers us to Moses and the prophets, pastors and 
teachers ; there we shall hear of him in Christ's way, and there we 
feel the rod of Christ's strength, the efficacy of his grace put into our 

Thus are we brought into his kingdom, and made to be a mystical 
body and spiritual society, in whom Christ rules ; and there we come 
to enjoy those freedoms I spake of ; and our obedience to this king 
dom is carried on in a spiritual manner. In worship, we give our 
homage to God ; in the word, we come to learn his laws ; in the 
sacraments, we renew our oath of allegiance to this king ; in alms and 
charity, we pay him tribute ; in prayer, we ask his leave, acknowledg 
ing his dominion ; and praise, it is our rent to the great Lord, from 
whom we hold all things. And thus is Christ's kingdom carried on 
in a spiritual manner. 

Use 1. The use is to press you to come under this kingdom. 
Consider w T hat God hath proffered to draw you off from your carnal 
delights and sinful pleasures : no less than a kingdom to bear you 
out, to call you off from your sins. Oh, do not answer, as the olive-tree 
and the vine in Jotham's parable : Judges ix. 9, ' Shall I leave my 
fatness, and go to be promoted over the trees ? ' God comes to a 
worldling, and makes him a proffer of this blessed state, which is 
represented by a kingdom Shall I leave all my sports and worldly 
hopes ? (according as the man is affected) . Shall I renounce my 
pleasures, live a strict and austere life? Must I leave off projects, 
saith a worldling, and depend upon the reversion of heaven ? Oh, con 
sider it is for a glorious kingdom. Men will do much for an earthly 
crown, though lined with cares, for this golden ball, which all hunt 
after, and doth occasion so many stirs in the world. Turn your 
ambition this way. You may aspire to a crown, to the kingdom of 
heaven, without the crime of treason. This is a faithful ambition : it 
is indeed treason against the kingdom of heaven, not to look after this 
crown, and plot, contrive, and act, and offer violence for the obtaining 
of it. And, therefore, come under this kingdom ; if you do not, you 
will be left under the power of a worse : 2 Chron. xii. 8, God saith, 
he would give them up to the king of Egypt ; why ? ' They shall be 
his servants, that they may know my service, and the service of the 
kingdoms of the countries : ' that they might see what difference there 
is between serving God and serving others. If you refuse God's 
government, you are under a worse, under sin, and the power of dark 
ness ; you are under your own lusts ; nay, and by a just judgment 
God may give you over to live in bondage to unmerciful men. How 
many kings and lords doth he serve that will not serve one Lord ? 

VOL. T. G 


Oh, therefore, renounce those other lords that have dominion over 
you, and come under this kingdom which God hath set up. 
Use 2. To press the children of God : 

1. To walk worthy of the gospel : it is a kingdom. The apostle 
hath an exhortation and charge to this purpose : 1 Thes. ii. 11, 12, 
' That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his 
kingdom and glory/ Walk in obedience to Christ, that is one thing. 
Christ is a king by a natural right ; God hath chosen him, God hath 
set him upon his holy hill : ' The Lord hath made him to be head 
over all things/ Eph. i. 22. Nay, the church chooseth Christ : ' They 
shall appoint to themselves one head,' Hosea i. 11. And, therefore, for 
you that are called to his kingdom and glory, that have entered into 
covenant with Christ, that have subscribed to him as head and king ; 
for you to be disobedient, give way to sin, it is worse in you. ' Will 
ye go away also ? ' saith Christ to his disciples. Christ hath a right 
to reign over wicked men; but you have actually chosen him. 
Treason is less culpable, in those which have not submitted to a power 
and prince, and owned him for their king, than in those that have 
sworn faith and allegiance. You have passed under the bond of the 
holy oath ; ' God hath called you to his kingdom and glory / there 
fore you should be more obedient than to allow a disloyal thought or 
rebellious lust against Christ. 

2. As you should be more holy, wary, watchful, that you do not 
break the laws of Christ, for you have consented to him ; so live as 
kings, exercising all acts of regality within your own souls, ruling your 
own spirits, exercising judgment over your own hearts, and over every 
affection that will not be bridled. It is a disgrace to the regal estate 
of the gospel for you to be over-mastered by a lust, to lie under the 
power of any sin ; yet thus it is, God's children are conflicting with 
one sin or other more than the rest. So far you have not experience 
of that truth : John viii. 32, ' And ye shall know the truth, and the 
truth shall make you free/ A man that liveth in bondage to his 
lusts, how can he choose but doubt of those glorious privileges ? Have 
you found the state of the gospel to be a kingdom ? do you walk 
worthy of the gospel ? 

3. It teacheth us contempt of the world and earthly things : Phil, 
iii. 14, ' I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of 
God in Jesus Christ.' It is not for princes to embrace a dunghill, nor 
for eagles to catch flies. Kemember, thou wilt one day be a king with 
God in glory, and therefore shouldst not be as low and base as the men 
of the world are, but walk worthy of God, who hath called you to a 
royal state. 

4. A generous confidence in the midst of the troubles and abase 
ments of the world. What though you be accounted as the scurf and 
offscouring of all things ? Though your outward condition be low and 
mean, know the worth of your high calling in Christ. How poor and 
despicable soever you are in this world, yet you are heirs of a crown 
and kingdom. Therefore remember you are princes, that walk up and 
down in disguise in a foreign country. If you are kept in a mean 
condition, it is but a disguise God hath put upon you. We are the 
sons of God, though for the present it doth not appear what we shall 


be. God's heirs make little show in the world. But there is a high 
dignity, a mighty privilege put upon you ; you are called to be heirs 
of this kingdom, and this blessed and royal estate, which God hath 
provided for them that love him. 

Use 3. Are we translated into this kingdom ? Col. i. 13, ' He hath 
delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the 
kingdom of his dear Son/ Every man naturally is under other lords, 
the devil hath dominion over him, and he is under the government 
of his own lusts; but now are we translated into the kingdom of 

The second point is : 

Doct. 2. All those that are affected with God's glory should desire 
the coming of this kingdom, and seriously deal with God about it. 

None else can rescue and pluck them out of the power of darkness, 
and deliver them, from the thraldom of those other lords that hold 
them, and none else can defend and preserve thenu 

I shall handle the point : 

1. In a private respect. 

2. In a public respect. 

First, In a private respect. Every man should desire that the 
kingdom of God should come down and be set up in his own heart. 
Here I must repeat and apply the distinctions of Christ's kingdom. 
He is to desire the kingdom of grace and the kingdom of glory may 
come to himself and others. 

1. The kingdom of grace, that it may be begun, continued, and 

First, That this kingdom may be begun, and a throne erected for 
Christ in our hearts. The great necessity of this request will be 
evidenced in these considerations : 

[1.] That every man by nature is under another king, under the 
kingdom of sin and Satan. Satan is the monarch, and sin is the 
sceptre. Christ and the devil divide the world ; either we belong to 
the one or the other. Now the devil, by reason of the fall of Adam, 
he hath the start of Christ, and the Lord Jesus coming to possess the 
heart, doth not seize upon it as a waste which belongeth to the next 
occupier, but he seizeth upon it as already possessed by Satan. The 
devil quietly ruleth in the hearts of the unregenerate ; he keeps house, 
and all the goods are in peace, Luke xi. 21 ; and therefore wicked 
spirits are called, ' The rulers of the darkness of this world,' Eph. vi. 
12. All the ignorant and carnal part of the world falls to his share, 
and he doth not easily quit possession. Christ indeed employeth men 
to wrestle with principalities and powers. The work of the ministry 
is to shake and batter the empire of the devil. You must be turned, 
you must be rescued. You must be turned : Acts xxvi. 18, ' To turn 
them from the power of Satan unto God/ You must be rescued and 
plucked out of this captivity by the strong hand: Col. i. 13, ' Who hath 
delivered us from the power of Satan ;' who hath taken us out of 
darkness by a powerful rescue. Even as the Israelites were brought 
out of Egypt ' by a strong hand and stretched-out arm,' so are we 
brought out of the power of darkness. By such an irresistible power 
of grace must God recover you, otherwise men yield themselves up 


to his sceptre. Look, as the Spirit of God works holy motions and 
gracious desires in the hearts of God's children, so the devil is ' at work 
in the children of disobedience,' Eph. ii. 2, framing wicked devices, 
carnal desires, evil thoughts against God. Man is such a perfect slave 
to the devil that he can do nothing but sin. 

[2.] This kingdom which Satan exerciseth is an invisible kingdom. 
The devil doth not sensibly appear to his vassals and slaves. When 
Christ's kingdom and regiment was more external, so was the devil's 
also. As when God was served by sacrifices, and delivered his mind 
by oracles, so men did then more professedly own the devil by observ 
ing his prescribed rites of worship, and by being deluded by lying 
oracles, and answers to their prayers and questions. But now, since 
the kingdom of Christ is more spiritual, and managed by the Holy 
Ghost in the hearts of his saints, so is Satan's kingdom invisible. So 
that men may be Christ's subjects by external profession, and the 
devil's by internal- obedience and constitution of mind, though they 
worship not by pagan rites, as he ruleth in their hearts, ' and takes 
them off from obeying the gospel they profess. ' The god of this world 
hath blinded their eyes : ' 2 Cor. iv. 4. All carnal men, however they 
defy Satan, and abominate the thought of serving him, yet while they 
remain in their sin and ignorance, they still hold the crown upon 
the devil's head. Look, as God's subjects may own him in verbal 
pretence, yet their hearts may be far from him : Mat. xv. 8. So that 
wicked men may defy the devil in pretence and words, and cannot 
endure to hear of him ; but they are under the god of this world, he 
hath blinded their hearts. So that this kingdom is to be fought for 
in the heart. Christ made a great inroad upon the devil, beat him 
out of his quarters ; yet, as the sea gets in one place what it loseth in 
another, so though the devil hath lost ground in the Christian world 
as to external profession, whilst people renounce the superstitions of 
the Gentiles, yet still he gets ground in the hearts of wicked men by 
their carnal dispositions ; his empire is upheld still, though professedly 
they are subjects of Christ. 

[3.] Until Satan be cast out of the throne, Christ can have no 
entertainment in the heart. The ark and Dagon cannot sink and 
stand together ; either the ark must be removed, or Dagon will down 
upon his face : so 2 Cor. vi. 14, ' What communion hath Christ with 
Belial, and light with darkness ?' It is impossible both kingdoms can 
stand together, or both kings be set up in the same heart. The 
marriage-bed will admit no partner nor rival. A man must be under 
Christ or Satan. Until he be cast out, Christ hath no room to be 
entertained : Mat. vi. 24, ' No man can serve two masters ; ye cannot 
serve God and Mammon.' Look upon the devil under that notion, 
as he is Mammon, as he doth entice to worldliness : it is impossible to 
serve him and Christ. Both masters have work enough for their 
servants, and their commands are contrary. If two masters consent 
to employ one man in the self-same business, though they are two men, 
yet they are but one master. But now to execute the wills of men 
which differ in their design, and which have a several and full interest 
in our labours and actions, it is as impossible as to move two contrary 
ways at once. Well, then, Mammon and Christ. Belial and Christ, 


divide the world. It is impossible to be under Belial and Christ ; both 
have full work for us to do, and their designs are contrary. So that 
either it must appear we have changed masters, or we are under the 
power of the devil still. We must come out of the power of darkness, 
else we cannot be brought into the kingdom of the Lord Jesus, that 
we may obtain remission of sins. 

[4.] Satan may be cast out in part, and yet still retain a supreme 
interest in the heart. I prove it out of that parable, Mat. xii. 43-45: 
1 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through 
dry places, seeking rest, but findeth none. Then he saith, I will return 
into my house, from whence I came out,' &c. Out of that parable we 
may plainly conclude there may be a shaking of Satan's empire, Satan 
may be cast out of a man in some sort, yet the man not plainly re 
newed. Well, how may he be cast out, and yet his empire remain 
unbroken ? He may be cast out partly by conviction and illumina 
tion ; yet as long as any lust remaineth there unmortified and unsub 
dued, he still keeps his sovereignty in the heart. Many begin to be 
troubled, and to be thoughtful about eternity, that see better, yet they 
do that which is worse in the issue. When there is a conflict between 
corruption and conviction, corruption carrieth it away. As iron often 
heated and often quenched is so much the harder ; so, when they had 
some wamblings of conscience, and the heart begins to boggle, and 
after this sin breaks out the more. This is the scope of that place : 
they were convinced of a better estate, and had some thoughts of the 
Messiah, but did not give him entertainment. Again, the devil may 
be cast out in regard of some external reformation. A man may a 
little wash his polluted life and abstain from gross sins, yet Satan have 
full possession of the inner man. A man may abjure his former ill 
life, and for a while carry it fair, but afterwards retain his former 
filthiness, and keep a secret league with his lusts, and so he is en 
tangled again, and then ' his latter end is worse than his beginning ;' 
and as it is in 2 Pet. ii. 22, ' The dog is turned to his own vomit 
again, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire/ A 
prisoner which hath made some escape, if ever the gaoler get him into 
his clutches, is sure to be laden with irons ; so one that hath had some 
partial reformation, oh, when the devil gets such a man into his power 
again, he is ten times worse than he was before. 

[5.] The difficulty of casting off the sovereignty of Satan, liett 
partly in ourselves and partly in the devil. 

Partly in ourselves. As in the Israelites going out of Egypt, the 
difficulty lay, not only in gaining the consent of Pharaoh, for he pur 
sues after them when they were gone, but also in persuading the 
people to give their consent it was long ere Israel desired to be gone 
so in our natural condition, the mind of man is so depraved that he 
thinks his bondage to be his freedom, and that there is no such merry 
life as to wallow in carnal satisfactions ; and our affections are so far 
engaged to this sinful estate, that we dote upon our shackles, and are 
unwilling to hear of a change. The first step of coming out of this 
kingdom of darkness is when we find it to be a heavy burthen, and 
grow weary of the devil's government, though it be but out of a prin 
ciple of self-love, Isa. xxvi. 13: '0 Lord, other lords besides thec 


have had dominion over us ; but by thee only will we make mention 
of thy name.' Yea, but as soon as we begin to have any serious 
thoughts of that miserable state in which we are, Satan interposeth, 
dealing with us as Pharaoh did with the Israelites. The Israelites 
complain their bondage was very sore ; what doth Pharaoh ? He 
doubles the burthen : Exod. v. 17, ' You are idle/ &c. ; so that out of 
bondage of soul they would not hearken to Moses. Just so Satan deals 
with us. When souls begin to be serious, and to leave off fleshly and 
worldly lusts, and to give up themselves to God that they may be 
directed in the way of holiness and obtain eternal life, then he doubles 
our burthens. Corruptions are never more stirring than after some 
conviction : Rom. vii. 9, ' When the commandment came, sin revived, 
and I died ;' not only as to a deeper sense of the guilt of it, but as to 
its struggling for life. The bullock at the first yoking is most unruly ; 
so we which are unaccustomed to the yoke, when we begin once to take 
it upon us, there is a mighty backwardness. Fire at first kindling 
makes abundance of smoke ; so when conviction is stirring, corruption 
is more exasperated. The devil is very jealous of the first beam of 
light which breaks into the heart, and of every ordinance which con 
veys it ; therefore sets corruptions at work, that it may appear to be a 
vain hope of ever escaping his clutches : so men are tired and give 
over, and think it is to no purpose. But if light increases to more 
trouble, the devil seeks to elude the importunity of it by delay ; as 
Pharaoh put off Moses and Aaron still by delay : or else by compromising 
and compounding the business ; as Pharaoh, when he saw the people 
would go, God would have them go, then they shall not go far : Exod. 
viii. 28. So if men will be thinking of Christ's service, and coming under 
his government, they shall go, but not far ; they shall come and pray, 
and come arid hear now and then, and make a general profession, but 
not too far in Christ's quarters ; he is afraid of that. Just as Pharaoh 
stood hucking still ; they must go a good way into the wilderness, 
otherwise it should be an abomination to the Egyptians, yet their 
little ones must stay. If people will not only hear and pray, but 
begin to reform, and cleanse their lives, yet he must have a pledge, 
some lust, as a nest-egg, left in the heart, some darling sin that must 
keep up the devil's empire. Then they must leave their herds, then 
leave their flocks ; no, not a hoof. Ah ! how long is it, when we are 
under this power of darkness, ere we are free, and get rid of the 
government of Satan ! 

[6.] We can never be sure that Satan is wholly cast out until Christ 
be seriously received and entertained as Lord and King, until he dwell 
and rule in the heart by faith. Alas ! there may be some brabble 
now and then between us and our sins, and some partial dislikes ; but 
until you heartily consent to take another king, that you will be 
governed and ordered by, you are not his subjects, but remain in the 
same state : John i. 12, ' As many as received him, to them gave he 
power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his 
name.' We are children of the devil before, under his standard and 
government; but when we receive him, then we are under another 
king, another power : when we receive what God offered, receive Christ 
as Lord and King, when the whole soul opens the door to Christ, that 


the King of glory may come in, and dwell with us, and reign over us, 
then is his kingdom set up. The first offer of the gospel is Christ as 
Prince and Saviour : Acts v. 31. And the main thing the business 
sticks at is Christ's regal power : Luke xix. 14, ' We will not have 
this man to reign over us.' Now, when we receive him with all our 
hearts, and though before we had but mean thoughts of him, now he 
begins to be welcome to us, and with the dearest embraces of our 
souls we entertain him ; and with a willing resignation we give up 
ourselves, not only by a consent of dependence, to rest upon him for 
reconciliation with God, but by a willing subjection to obey him, and 
give up the keys of the heart, and lay them at Christ's feet : as Paul, 
Acts ix. 16, ' Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?' When you 
desire nothing more but that his kingdom might come, the King of 
glory himself, than that he might bring righteousness, peace, and joy 
in the Holy Ghost ; until then you are not entered into his kingdom. 

[7.] Christ is not received and entertained as Lord and King, but 
where his laws are obeyed: Col. ii. 6, ' As ye have therefore received 
Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.' If you receive him as 
Lord and King, so also obey him. And Heb. xii. 28, ' We receiving 
a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace whereby we may 
serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear.' In this prayer, 
first, we say, ' Thy kingdom come,' and then presently we add, ' Thy 
will be done.' We do but prattle over the Lord's Prayer, and say it 
with our lips only, until we are resolved to do what God would have 
us to do love and hate, fear and rejoice, as God directs. Until we 
are brought to this frame, we do not in good earnest say, ' Thy king 
dom come.' An earthly king will ' do according to his will : ' Dan. xi. 
3. So Christ stands- upon his will in his law. If you have taken 
God for your God, and Jesus Christ for your King, then say, with 
David, Ps. cxliii. 10, ' Teach me to do thy will, for thou art my God. J 
It is a universal maxim, ' His servants you are whom you do obey.' 
Where is your obedience? If subjects of grace, ' Every thought is 
brought in subjection :' 2 Cor. x. 5. You will watch not only against 
your irregular actions, but every thought which lifts up itself against 
the obedience of Christ. There will be a greater tenderness upon us 
not to break any of the holy laws which belong to Christ's government. 
Hereby you may know whether you come under another king, Do you 
fear a commandment ? That is the description of a good man : Prov. 
xiii. 13. It is not he that feareth a punishment, but he that feareth 
a commandment, when the heart is brought under an awe of Christ's 
laws ; so that when a man is tempted to sin, Oh, I dare not; the Lord 
hath commanded me the contrary. This is more than if a flaming 
sword stood in his way. When we have such workings of heart when 
we are tempted to this and that sin, so when we are doing any duty, 
though irksome to flesh and blood, yet it is the will of my Lord, to 
whom I have entirely given up myself in a way of subjection ; this 
is a sign you are brought under his government. 

[8.] None can obey his laws but by the virtue and power of his 
Spirit. The new covenant, it is not only a law, but ' the law of the 
Spirit of life which is in Christ.' So it is called by the apostle, Horn. 
viii. 2. It is not a bare literal command that shall urge us to duty ; 


but it giveth strength and efficacy to the heart. Other kings, they 
give laws, that men may keep them by their own strength ; but now 
Christ, he would be owned as a king, not only in a way of subjection, 
but establish a constant dependence. He is a king, not only to 
require, but to give repentance, Acts v. 31 ; not only to make a law, 
but to write and work a sense of this new covenant-gift upon the 
heart, Heb. viii. 10. He doth not only set up his ordinances, laws, 
constitutions, but there is power goeth along with the dispensation of 
this kingdom, and thereby we are fitted and enabled to love, serve, 
and please God ; and then are we under the kingdom of God, when 
we are under the spiritual power of it. It is not only necessary to 
obey his laws, but that we do it by virtue of his power and Spirit : 
' The kingdom of God stands not in word, but in power,' 1 Cor. iv. 20. 
That we may both acknowledge his authority and wait for his strength. 
This is a true submission, when we look for all from him, and serve 
him in the strength of his own grace. 

[9.] All those that act through the virtue and power of his Spirit, 
they do unfeignedly seek his glory, and make Christ to be not only 
their principle, but their end ; for having a new principle, they have a 
new tendency; acting in the power of the Spirit, their hearts are 
carried out to seek Christ's interest and Christ's glory. When they 
can say with the apostle, Phil. i. 21, ' To me to live is Christ,' when 
their whole business is to set up Christ. We set up ourselves in the 
room of Christ, if he be not at the end of all: 2 Thes. i. 11, 12, 
' That God might fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the 
work of faith with power, and that Christ may be glorified in you.' If 
you have the power of Christ's kingdom, this will be the immediate 
result and issue of it, that Christ may be honoured and set up, not 
only as a lawgiver and fountain of grace, but as the last end. If to us 
to live is Christ, then is the kingdom of God come into our heart. 
For this we pray, that the Lord would so break the yoke and govern 
ment of Satan, that we may receive the Lord Jesus into our heart, 
that we may come under the awe of his laws, and in the power of his 
grace may seek his kingdom and glory. 

To conclude : All this grace is offered to you ; if you refuse the 
offer, your condition is worse than if it had never been tendered to 
you. The Lord hath sent his Son to help you out of the power of the 
devil, and bring you in heart and life again to himself ; if you refuse 
this, then ' This is the condemnation, that light is come into the 
world, and men love darkness rather than light :' John iii. 19. The 
Lord Jesus, when he comes in flaming fire to render vengeance, it 
shall be upon them that do not obey his government, 2 Thes. i. 8, 
that did not acknowledge God to be their sovereign. There will be a 
sore vengeance on them which had the gospel tendered, and this 
wonderful provision brought home to them, and left to their choice, 
and yet have turned their backs upon it. 

Secondly, We beg the continuance of it, that he would maintain this 
kingdom in our heart, and preserve us in this state ; for those which 
can call God Father, are still to say, ' Thy kingdom come.' It is not 
enough to go to Christ to begin it, but to carry it on, and to keep 
and ' preserve us unto his heavenly kingdom,' 2 Tim. iv. 18 ; that 


we may not revolt to the devil's side after we have chosen God for our 
God, and so our latter end be worse than our beginning. 

Thirdly, We pray for the increase of it, that it may get ground 
more and more. There are some relics of the kingdom of darkness 
yet left, and there is something wanting to the kingdom of grace ; we 
are troubled and molested still. Though sin doth not get the throne, 
though the regency of it is cast down, yet it is not cast out in regard 
of inherence. ' Sin shall not have dominion over you ;' that is all 
we can hope for : Rom. vi. 14. We cannot hope for an extinction 
of sin, but only that it shall not have dominion. As the beasts in 
Dan. vii. 12, though their dominion was taken away, yet their lives 
were prolonged for a season and time. The reign, power, and 
dominion of sin is taken down, yet it continues for our exercise and 
molestation. Now, we desire he might rule in us by his grace, and 
that of the increase of his government there may be no end. 

II. For the kingdom of glory, which, in this private consideration 
(as it concerns each person), is to begin at death. And when we 
desire the coming of the kingdom of glory, we do two things : we 
express our readiness for it, or our desire after it. 

1. Our readiness for it ; at least, the kingdom of God is ready for 
us if we were ready for it ; as the apostle saith, 1 Pet. iv. 5. God 
is ready to judge, but we are not ready to be judged. And therefore 
we read of the kingdom of heaven prepared for us, and of men 
prepared for the kingdom of heaven. It is prepared for the saints : 
Mat. xxv. 34, ' A kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of 
the world.' And the saints prepared for it : Rom. ix. 23, ' Vessels of 
mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory/ And this is that 
which the apostle gives thanks for unto the Father : ' Which hath 
made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in 
light,' Col. i. 12. Before we come to heaven, there is a right to 
heaven ; we are made meet, more mortified and weaned from present 
things, often in communion with God here, and so for ever with the 
Lord hereafter. We are still to have our eyes to our rest and happy 
state, that we may be made ready for it. We express our readiness, 
or we beg it. 

2. That we may express our desires after the enjoyment of it. A 
Christian is to desire the company of Christ : Phil. i. 23, ' I desire to 
be dissolved, and to be with Christ;' and he is to hasten the coming 
of the day of God : 2 Pet. iii. 12. 

Now because this cannot be but by our death, therefore here we 
may examine a case or two. 

Case 1. First, about longing for death. Is it lawful to desire 
death ? The law doth not only forbid acts, but thoughts and 
desires ; therefore is it lawful to long for death ? 

Ans. Yes ; but yet we are not anxiously to long after it till the 
time come ; not to grow weary of life out of desperation and tiresome 
ness of the cross, as Jonah did, chap. iv. 3 ; but in order to God s 
glory and accomplishment of our happiness. See more at large, 
Ps. cxix. verse 17. 1 

Case 2. Secondly, Do all that have an interest in Christ desire to 

1 In a subsequent volume. ED. 


die ? Is not death terrible ? Certainly death, is terrible, both as a 
natural and a penal evil ; as in itself it is the curse of the covenant ; 
and as it depriveth us of life, the chiefest blessing. Yet we should 
train up ourselves in an expectation of death ; we should look and 
long for it, that, when the time is come, we might be willing 
to give up ourselves into the hands of God. It is required of a 
Christian that he should not only be passive in his own death, to die 
in peace, but active. How ? to hasten his death ? No ; but to 
resign up himself willingly into the hands of God, that his soul 
might not be taken away, but given up and commended to God. 
We should be willing to be in the arms of Christ, to be there where 
he is, to behold his glory. If Christ had such a good- will to men as 
that he longed to be with us, solacing his heart with the thought of 
it before all worlds, Prov. viii. 31 he was thinking of us, how he 
should come down, and converse with men surely we should not 
be so backward to go to Christ. And, therefore, as Jacob's spirit 
revived when he saw the chariots Joseph sent to carry him into 
Egypt, so our hearts should be more cheerful and comfortable when 
death approacheth : especially since death is ours, it is changed ; 
therefore we should be framing ourselves to such a temper of heart 
by degrees that we might be ready. 

Use 1. For reproof to those that would be glad in their hearts if 
Christ's kingdom would never come. As to the kingdom of grace, in 
the external administration, they ' hate the light, and will not come 
to the light, lest their deeds should be reproved :' John iii. 20. A 
wicked man is loth to be troubled. God's witnesses are the world's 
torment : Kev. xi. 10, ' They tormented them that dwelt on the 
earth.' A man that is bodily blind would have a fit guide ; but these 
wretchedly blind sinners, nothing so troublesome and hateful to them 
as one that would lead them to the kingdom of God. And then as 
to internal grace, when this kingdom of heaven breaks in upon their 
hearts, when any light and power darts in, they seek to put it out ; 
they ' resist the Holy Ghost,' Acts vii. 51, and refuse his call. And 
for the kingdom of glory, they say, ' It is good to be here,' and would 
not change their portion here for their portion in paradise. 

Use 2. To exhort us to desire the coming of Christ's kingdom to 
ourselves. If you have any love to the Lord's glory, or your own 
good, you should do it : Eev. iii. 20, ' Behold, I stand at the door 
and knock : if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come 
in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me/ Will you not 
open to God that hath the best right? Will you not set open the doors 
to the King of glory, when Christ comes to bring entertainment to 
you, to sup with you ? Again, all men (will they, nill they) are 
subject to Christ : either they must come and touch his golden sceptre, 
or feel the bruises of his iron mace ; they must own him as king : 
' Every knee shall bow,' Phil. ii. 10. Therefore be more willing to 
have the kingdom of glory come. Again, if God be not your king, 
you will have a worse master, every sin, every lust : Titus iii. 3, ' Serv 
ing divers lusts and pleasures.' You will be at the beck of every lust 
and carnal motion, and the devil will be your master to purpose ; for 
upon the refusal of Christ's government, there is a judicial tradition, 


you are given up to your own heart's lusts : Ps. Ixxxi. 12, ' Israel 
would none of me ; so I gave them up to their own hearts' lusts, and 
they walked in their own counsels.' And to Satan, to be ensnared by 
him : 2 Tim. ii. 26, ' Taken captive by him at his will and pleasure/ 
Not to buffet them, as Paul was, but to ensnare and harden their 
hearts. Again, if you be not subject to God, you go about to make 
God subject to you in effect. You would have the kingdom of glory, 
and yet continue in your lusts : Isa. xliii. 24, ' Thou hast made me 
to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities/ 
When you would have God patient, hold his hand, and be merciful to 
you, and yet would continue in your lusts, then you make God serve 
with your sins. Again, many temporal inconveniences will follow, if 
we do not give way to the kingdom of Christ to seize upon us. When 
we make no difference between God's service and the service of other 
lords, then he gives us up to the service of men, to a foreign enemy, 
to an oppressive magistrate, or breaks the staff of government among 
men, that we might know what it is to be under his service and 
government. Therefore give willing entertainment to the kingdom 
of Christ. 

So much for the private consideration of this request, ' Thy king 
dom come ; ' that is, to us and our persons, both the kingdom of grace 
and the kingdom of glory. 

Secondly, Having spoken of the kingdom of Christ in a private, 
now I come to speak of it in a public, consideration. And that is 
twofold : 

1. The public visible administration of the kingdom of grace. 

2. The public and solemn administration of the kingdom of glory 
at the day of judgment, when enemies shall have their final doom, and 
saints have their crowns set upon their heads in the sight of all the 

I shall speak of both, but (because the discourse may be more fresh 
and lively) upon other texts. 

1. The public visible administration of the kingdom of grace, on 
Ps. li. 18, ' Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion : build thou the 
walls of thy Jerusalem.' 

2. The kingdom of glory, on Eev. xxii. 20, ' Surely I come quickly : 
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus/ 

For the first. Though the church be never so afflicted, Ps. cii. 14, 
when all is defaced, as to external appearance, lying in a ruinous 
heap, yet it is beloved and pitied by God's servants : ' Thy servants 
take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof/ There is 
nothing God's people desire so much as Zion's welfare : Ps. cvi. 5, 
* That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the 
gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance/ And 
David in this psalm, Ps. li. 18, having prayed for himself, prayeth for 
mercy to the church and state : ' Do good in thy good pleasure unto 
Zion ; build thou the walls of thy Jerusalem/ But how cometh David, 
who was in the depth of private humiliation, so suddenly to fall upon 
the case of the church ? There was a special reason for annexing this 
request to his own private complaints and confessions. The reasons 
will occasion so many observations. 


[1.] Because of the offence, scandal, and mischief done to the church 
by his fall ; and to make amends, he prayeth the more earnestly, let 
not Zion fare the worse for my sake. From thence observe, that the 
sins of particular persons oft bring a mischief upon the whole com 
munity. David had made a breach in the walls of God's protection, 
and left them naked, and more in danger of judgment : ' Therefore 
do good,' &c. 

[2.] David was not only a private member, but a prince, and their 
sins have a more universal influence. The sins of magistrates draw 
down judgments on their people, all smart for their miscarriages. 
Hezekiah's pride cost Israel dear : 2 Chron. xxxii. 25, ' Wrath was 
upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem.' It did not stay upon his 
person. As a great oak cannot fall but all the shrubs about it suffer 
loss. But, 

[3.] David having some comfortable assurance of the pardon of his 
sins, doth now seek mercy for the church. From thence observe, that 
we are never fit to pray for the public, till we have made our peace with 
God ; as the priests under the law offered sacrifice, ' first for their 
own sins, and then for the people's : ' Heb. vii. 27. 

[4.] Because being brought by such a solemn but sad occasion into 
God's presence, he could not but have some thoughts of Zion. And 
from thence observe, that we should never come to God upon any 
private occasion but we should remember the public. We are to pray 
in love as well as faith. Christ hath not taught us to say, ' My Father,' 
but, ' Our Father,' to show that we should take in the interests and 
concernments of the whole body, that there may be a spirit of com 
munion breathing in our prayers. David doth not only say, ' Have 
mercy upon me according to thy loving-kindness,' but, ' Do good unto 
Zion in thy good pleasure.' Every living member will be careful for 
the body. Members should be careful one for another, much more 
for the whole. Is any member pained or grieved ? all suffer. If 
the toe be trod upon, the tongue complaineth, you have hurt me ; but 
now much more when all is concerned. Therefore we should not 
altogether seek our own things, but wrestle with God for the public. 

I. This reproveth divers sorts of people. Some are enemies to the 
public welfare, as vipers eat out the dam's belly, especially enemies 
to Zion : ' Down with it, down with it, even to the ground ! ' What 
monsters hath this age brought forth ! Others are indifferent and 
careless which goeth up, Christ or Antichrist; they only mind the 
matters of their own interest and concernment : ' All seek their own 
things.' As to the public interest of the church, let all go how it 
will. Let me tell you, to be selfish is a sort of self-excommunication ; 
you cast yourselves out of the bundle of life. And to be senseless, it 
is an implicit renouncing the body. Others there are that are gracious, 
but full of discontent at some passages of providence, and these seem 
to have lost their public affections. It is a sad symptom when a 
praying people are discouraged from praying for public welfare. God 
is very tender of the prayers of his people ; he is loth they should be 
lost, and sorry they cannot be granted. We may sin in ceasing to 
pray. It is a sad judgment when the hearts of God's people are taken 
off from praying. Again, those that pray too coldly for the public, 


not as those that would do their work. There is a great decay of the 
spirit of prayer, which is also a sad presage. But now to show you : 
II. What we should pray for for Zion. 

1. The dilatation or enlargement of it throughout the world. The 
more ample God's heritage is, the more is his glory known : Prov. xiv. 
28, ' In the multitude of the people is the king's honour ; ' and the 
glory of a shepherd lieth in the number of his flock. So Christ's king 
dom, the more it is enlarged, the more honour God hath : Ps. Ixvii. 2, 
' That thy way may be known among the heathen, and thy saving 
health among all nations.' Especially when the fulness of the Gen 
tiles is brought in, Ps. liv. 2 ; and when the Jews are brought in, 
Hosea iii. 5. To be instrumental to enlarge Christ's kingdom, it is an 
honour to us to draw on Christ's triumphant chariot, let us be sure 
to have a hand in it. These prayers, if sincere, are never in vain ; if 
they profit not others, they promote the kingdom of God in ourselves. 

2. The preservation and defence of the churches already planted, 
frustrating the plots and power of the enemies : That God would be 
' a wall of fire round about them,' Zech. ii. 5. Qui comminus arceat 
et eminus terreat. When at the weakest, God can protect them, 
bridling by his secret power the rage of adversaries, or defeating their 

3. For comfort and deliverance in afflictions. We should pity the 
distressed church, as before ; that God would redeem them out of 
all their troubles. Every true member of the church hath life from 
Christ ; and that life giveth feeling, and that feeling affection and 
sympathy to rejoice and mourn. They that mourn for Zion rejoice 
with her : Isa. Ixvi. 10, ' Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with 
her, all ye that love her ; rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn 
for her.' 

4. For the furniture of the church, a supply of all good, internal 
and external. 

[1.] Internal. That God would bless them with ordinances, enrich 
them with graces, preserve truth and unity, and continue his presence 
with them: his ordinances, that they may enjoy them in purity, that 
the word, seals, and censures may be rightly administered till the 
Lord come. These are things pertaining to the kingdom of God, 
concerning which Christ spake to the disciples : Acts i. 3. These are 
to be kept till Christ's appearing : \ Tim. vi. 14. It is an honour to 
God, and of great profit to the church, and a rejoicing to God's 
people, to see them pure and unmixed : ' Though absent in the flesh, 
yet I am with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order/ 
Col. ii. 5. And then that God would enrich them with his presence : 
Mat. xxviii. 20, ' Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the 
world.' It is God that giveth the increase : ' Paul may plant, and 
Apollos water ; but God giveth the increase,' 1 Cor. iii. 6 for convic 
tion, conversion, confirmation. It was not the ark, nor mercy-seat 
covered with cherubims, but the answer from between the cherubims, 
given immediately by God, that manifested his presence. It is not the 
sound of the gospel, or outward ministry, but the work of his Spirit : 
Ps. Ixxxiv. 2, ' My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of 
the Lord ; my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.' And 


Acts x. 44, it is said, ' The Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard 
the word/ And then for unity : Christ hath called us into a body, not 
only into a family, but into a body. It was Christ's own prayer : John 
xvii., ' Let them be one/ Disputes will not heal, but prayers may. 

[-2.] For external helps. We should pray that God would give us 
pastors after his own heart : Mat. ix. 38, ' Pray ye the Lord of the 
harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest/ Men 
that will discharge their duty with all faithfulness, men whose hearts 
are set to the building up of Christ's kingdom, labourers. And then 
for schools of learning. A man that hath many orchards will also 
have seminaries of young plants to maintain them. Schools are 
seminaries, without which the church falleth to decay. And then for 
good magistrates, to patronise and protect God's people, and promote 
his work with them : Isa. xlix. 23, there is a promise, ' Kings shall be 
thy nursing-fathers, and their queens thy nursing-mothers,' &c. Kest 
from persecution is a great blessing: Acts ix. 31, 'Then had the 
churches rest, and were edified ; and walking in the fear of God, and the 
comforts of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied/ It is a great mercy 
that the church hath any breathings. These are the things that we 
should pray for for Zion. 

Thus much shall suffice to be spoken of the kingdom of Christ in a 
public consideration, with respect, first, to the public visible adminis 
tration of the kingdom of grace. 

I come now to speak of the second, viz., the public and solemn 
administration of the kingdom of glory ; and for that I shall insist on 
that portion of scripture : Kev. xxii. 20, ' Surely I come quickly. 
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus/ 

Here you have 
I. Christ's proclamation. 

II. The church's acclamation in answer thereunto. 
I. Christ's proclamation : ' Surely I come quickly/ Where take 
notice of two things : 

1. His asseveration : Surely. 

2. His assertion : / come quickly. 

1. His asseveration : Surely. It is a certain truth, though we do 
not so easily receive it. All notable truths, about which there is the 
greatest suspicion in the heart of the creature, you will find them thus 
averred in scripture ; as Isa. liii. 4, ' Surely he hath borne our griefs, 
and carried our sorrows/ The dying of the Son of God is so 
mysterious that the Holy Ghost propounds it with a note of averment, 
Surely; that is, how unlikely soever it seems, yet this is a certain truth. 
So here the coming of Christ is a thing so future, so little regarded 
by epicures and atheists, that it is propounded with a like note of 
averment, ' Surely I come quickly/ Herein secretly is our unbelief 
taxed, and also our confidence engaged. 

2. You have his assertion : / come quickly. Let me explain 
what is meant by the coming of Christ. There is a twofold coming 
of Christ a personal, and a virtual. Some think that the virtual 
coming is here meant, his coming in the efficacy of his Spirit, or in 
the power of his providence, to accomplish those predictions. Here are 
many things prophesied of, and behold, ' I come quickly;' you shall find 


these things presently produced upon the stage of the world. So some 
carry it. I think rather it is to be meant of his personal coming. There 
are two mystical scriptures which do express all the intercourse which 
passeth between God and the church in the world, and they are both 
closed up with a desire of Christ's coming. The Canticles is one, 
which declareth the communion and intercourse which is between 
Christ and his church ; and you will find it thus closed up : Cant, 
viii. 14, ' Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe, or to a 
young hart upon the mountains of spices.' And so here, in this book 
of the Kevelation, where are the like intercourses recorded, it is closed 
up with this : ' Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.' The personal 
coming, I suppose, is here meant. Now Christ's personal coming, it 
is but twofold the first, and the second. The scripture knows of no 
other coming : Heb. ix. 28, ' He shall appear the second time without 
sin unto salvation.' It is but a fond dream to think of a personal 
reign before Christ's coming to judgment. They reckon without book 
that look for any other. There was his first coming, which was to 
suffer ; his second coming is to reign. The first his gracious, and 
this his glorious coming. The former is past, and the latter is yet 

' I come quickly.' How shall we make good that ? 

[1.] In general, Christ's absence from the church is not long. Though 
you reflect upon the whole flux of time, from his ascension to his 
second coming, it is but a moment to eternity ; some hundreds of 
years, that may be easily counted. 

[2.] It is no longer than need requires. The high priest, when he 
was gotten within the veil, was to tarry there until his ministration 
was ended, until he had appeared before G-od, and represented him 
self for all the tribes, then he was to come out to bless the people. 
Jesus Christ tarrieth within the veil but until all the elect be 
gathered. ' He is not slack,' 2 Pet. iii. 9, but we are hasty. Our 
times are present with us, but we must leave him to his own time to 
go and come. 

[3.] Christ speaks this of the latter end of the world, and then it 
will not be long when once he begins to set forth. The old prophecies 
are accomplishing apace; and how little preparation soever there 
seems to be for this work, it comes apace. It is said of the anti- 
christian state, ' Her plagues shall come upon her in one day:' Eev. 
xviii. 8. And of the Jews it is said, 'A nation shall be born at 
once :' Isa. Ixvi. 8. So much for the first part. 

-II. Here is the church's acclamation : ' Amen. So, Lord Jesus, 
come quickly.' This acclamation is double: 

1. Implicit, and enfolded in the word Amen. 

2. Explicit, and unfolded : ' Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.' 

1. For the implicit acclamation of the church, in the word Amen. 
The word sometimes is taken nominally : Eev. iii. 14, ' Thus saith 
the Amen, the faithful and true Witness.' He that is Amen, as it is 
explained there, true and faithful, that will certainly give a being to 
his promises. Sometimes it is used adverbially, and translated verily. 
It is either an affectionate desire ' Let it be,' or a great asseveration 
' It shall be.' It hath in it an affectionate desire : Jer. xxviii. 6, the 


prophet said, 'Amen, the Lord do so, the Lord perform thy words,' 
&c. When he had prophesied peace to the people : ' Amen, the Lord 
perform thy words ;' not to confirm the truth of his prophecy, but to 
express his own wish and hearty desire, if it might stand with the will 
of God. Then it expresseth a firm belief that it shall be done. Thus 
Christ often saith, ' Amen, verily, verily I say unto you,' by way of 
strong asseveration. Well, then, the church expresseth her faith and 
desire implicitly : Amen, Lord, that it were so ; and surely, Lord, 
it shall be so ; we believe it, and we desire it with all our hearts. 

2. Explicitly : ' Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.' From this 
latter clause I might observe many things. 

[1.] The sweet and blessed harmony that is between Christ and the 
church. Christ's voice and the church's voice are unisons. Christ 
saith, ' I come/ And the church, like a quick echo, takes the word 
out of Christ's mouth, ' Even so, come.' There is the same Spirit 
in Christ and in the church ; for it is his Spirit that resides with 
us. Christ, he speaks in a way proper to him, by way of promise, 
' I come.' And the church in a way proper to her, by way of 
prayer, ' Even so, come.' 

[2.] I might observe that, in the close of the world, we should most 
earnestly desire Christ's coming. We have the advantage of former 
times. To us Christ saith, ' I come quickly.' Now the set time almost 
is come, therefore our pulses should beat more strongly in putting up 
this request to Christ. Tertullian shows that the primitive Christians 
did pray pro mora finis, that the end might not come too soon, Christ 
having as yet but a small interest in the world, they expecting enlarge 
ment upon earth ; but we have more cause to look for the accomplishment 
of his kingdom in heaven. They expected the revelation of Antichrist, 
and we expect the destruction of Antichrist. They, that God might 
be known in the world ; we, that he might be no longer dishonoured 
in the world. When great promises are near their accomplishment, 
there is a more lively spirit stirring in the hearts of the saints : Dan. 
ix. 2, 3, ' I understood by books the number of the years whereof the 
word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would 
accomplish, seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. And I set 
my face to the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplication.' 

But quitting these notes, I shall mainly insist upon this point, viz. : 

Doct. That the church, and all the faithful members of it, do really 
and heartily desire Christ's second coming. 

They look for it, they long for it, they wait for it. They look for 
it: Phil. iii. 20, 'Our conversation is in heaven ; from whence also we look 
for the Saviour, the Lord JesusChrist.' Theyreckon upon it, as Eebekah 
espied Isaac afar off. He is gone within the veil, he is appearing 
before God, but he will come out again. When they see the clouds, 
upon these one day will our Saviour come. Then they long for it. It 
is their description : 2 Tim. iv. 8, ' They love his appearing.' Wicked 
men and guilty sinners hate and abhor it, he being to come to them 
as a terrible judge. Malefactors do not long for the assizes. But now 
the saints, who are absolved and washed in the blood of Christ, it doth 
them good to the heart to think of it, that one day Christ will appear 
in all his glory. And then they wait for it : 1 Thes. i. 10, ' They wait 


for his Son from heaven, even Jesus, who hath delivered us from 
wrath to come.' It is ' wrath to come,' something behind the coming 
of Christ, which makes it so terrible. Hell makes the day of judg 
ment terrible. The devil could not endure to hear of Christ's coming, 
Mat. viii. 29, ' Art thou come to torment us?' &c. So wicked men 
have the spirit of the devil ; it is a torment and bondage to them to 
think of the Judge's coming. But those which have their discharge, 
they wait for it. It supports and bears up their hearts in the midst 
of their present afflictions, and they go on cheerfully in their work, 
notwithstanding lets and troubles. 

To give some reasons why the faithful members of Christ so really 
and heartily desire Christ's second coming. They are of three 
sorts : 

1 . Some in respect of the person who is to come. 

2. Some in respect of the persons which desire his coming. 

3. Some in respect of the coming itself. 
I. In respect of him who is to come. 

1. His person, that we may see him. The children of God have 
delighted to look upon him through a veil, and have had a kind of 
heaven upon earth from beholding his face in the glass of an ordinance. 
Looking upon him in the veil of ordinances hath been a mighty com 
fort and refreshing to them ; now they would desire to see his person 
face to face. They know by hearsay this great Redeemer and Saviour 
of theirs ; he wooeth them by proxy. As Eliezer, Abraham's servant, 
was to go abroad and seek for a match for his master's son, so the 
great business of the ministers of God is to set forth our Master's Son. 
Now the saints would fain see him. Nay, they have not only heard 
of him, but believed in him, and received him into their hearts. Nay, 
not only believed in him, but they have loved him greatly : 1 Pet. i. 
8, ' Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him 
not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.' 
It hath been a ravishing thought to them to think of Christ. And 
they have tasted : 1 Pet. ii. 3, ' If so be ye have tasted that the 
Lord is gracious/ And they have felt him in the drawings -of the 
Spirit ; they live by his life, they have found a virtue going out from 
him. Now all that they desire is, that they may see this great person, 
who hath been their Redeemer and Saviour. 

2. Consider him as in his person, so in his relations to them. Here 
are two titles : ' Even so, Lord Jesus.' He is Lord, and he is Jesus. 
He is Lord, as a master and husband ; as Sarah called Abraham, 
Lord. As a Master: good servants will look for their master's coming: 
Mat. xxiv. 46. And surely such a Master should be longed for and 
looked for, for when he comes, he will not come empty-handed : ' Be 
hold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me,' Rev. xxii. 12. Here 
Christ's servants have their vales, but not their wages. Here they 
have present maintenance, that is all they have now, but then they 
shall have their reward and wages. Here they have their earnest, but 
then they shall have the full sum. Under the law masters were charged 
severely not to defraud their servants of their hire why ? He hath 
lift up his soul to him ; that is, in the middle of his hard labours this 
was his comfort : when the work of the day was over, he should have 

VOL. I. H 


his wages and his hire at night. So you have lift up your souls to 
him ; the great pay-day will come, and this hath borne you up in all 
your labours and travail of your soul. Therefore, as he is our Lord, so 
we should look for him. And then as our Husband; this is a sweeter 
relation : ( The bride saith, Come,' Kev. xxii. 17. We are here con 
tracted and betrothed to Christ : ' I will betroth thee to me,' Hosea ii. 
19. But the day of solemn espousals is hereafter. Here we are betrothed 
to Christ in the covenant of grace ; Christ hath taken a token from 
us, and left a token with us. He hath taken human flesh, carried our 
nature to heaven, that he might be mindful of us, and hath left the 
Spirit with us. Now there will be a longing, looking, and waiting for 
this day of solemn espousals. And as he is Lord, so he is Jesus, a 
Saviour. With what melting wishes doth the captive long for a 
Saviour and Kedeemer ! Now ' we look for a Saviour from heaven.' 
Christ is a Saviour now, but not a perfect Saviour to the uttermost ; 
never till then. Therefore the day of judgment is called ' the day of 
redemption:' Eph. iv. 30. There is something left, that every coming 
of Christ might bring some benefit ; something of misery left upon us 
to the last day. Here we have enemies within and without. Within, 
mighty lusts ; and therefore his coming is ' like a refiner's fire,' Mai. 
iii. 2, ' and fullers' soap.' His first and second coming we find oft in 
the Old Testament put together. His coming is ' to present us holy, 
without spot and blemish:' Eph. v. 27. Our present state is but a 
convalescency, a recovery out of sickness by degrees. There is some 
fruit of sin left upon the body, until the day of the general resurrec 
tion, that we may have new matter of glorifying G-od just as we are 
entering into heaven. Therefore that every corning of Christ might 
bring us a new benefit, the body is to die. The old Adam is not quite 
abolished until God be all in all. And so for enemies without us. 
Here we dwell among wicked men, whose sins are a grievance to us, 
and whose injuries are a very great molestation and trouble. We live 
here, like Lot in Sodom : ' His righteous soul was vexed with their 
ungodly deeds/ their filthy conversation. But then there will be a 
perfect separation between the sheep and the goats. Here we are 
exposed to many persecutions ; here Antichrist is but consuming ; 
there he shall totally and utterly be abolished. 

II. If we respect the persons desiring this coming, there is some 
thing in them to move them to it. There is : 

1. The Spirit of Christ. 

2. Certain graces which do necessarily issue themselves into this 

3. Certain experiences they have, which put them upon this 

1. There is the Spirit of Christ : 'The Spirit and the bride saith, 
Come,' Eev. xxii. 17. The Holy Ghost breedeth this desire in the 
church. Nature saith, it is good to be here ; but this is a disposition 
above nature, the Spirit in the bride. The flesh and corrupt nature 
saith, ' Depart ; ' but the Spirit saith, ' Come.' The great work of the 
Spirit is to bring us and Christ together ; he comes from the Father 
and the Son, to bring us to the Father by the Son. All he doth 
is to bring Christ and the spouse together ; therefore he enkindleth 


in the hearts of God's people a strong and earnest desire of his 

2. There are graces planted in us ; faith, hope, love, zeal. Faith, 
that is the ground of this desire. Christ saith he comes quickly ; 
and this provokes and draws up the desire to believe Christ will be as 
good as his word : John xiv. 2, 3, ' I go to my Father, and will come 
again to receive you to myself.' Christ hath ever been plain-hearted 
with us : he saith, ' I come ; ' and the church saith, ' Amen,' in a 
way of faith, ' Even so, come/ If Christ had gone away in discon 
tent, and with a threatening in his mouth that we should never have 
seen his face more, then we could have had but cold hopes and faint 
desires ; but he parted in love, and left a promise with us. The 
church and the believing soul saith, I have his word for it : he hath 
ever been punctual hitherto, and kept his word to a tittle, and hath 
said, ' I will come again.' This upholdeth the hearts of believers 
during his absence ; for they reason thus : What need had Christ to 
flatter or deceive us, or promise more than he will perform ? Would 
we flatter a worm that we can easily crush ? He can strike us dead 
if we do not please him; he hath been true in all things, and we have 
ever found him plain-hearted. .Then there is hope planted in the 
saints. Hope is faith's handmaid, it looks for that which we believe: 
faith determines the certainty of the thing, then hope looks for it. 
This grace was made on purpose that we might reach out to heaven 
and see if our beloved be coming, that we might expect our full and 
future happiness. God not only provides a glorious estate for us, but 
grace to expect it ; he works this hope in us that we might look after 
it : 1 Pet. i. 3, ' He hath begotten us again unto a lively hope.' Then 
there is love in the saints to Christ. This is an affection of union, it 
desires to be with the party beloved ; he desireth to be with us, and 
we with him. Love awakeneth earnest longings : ' Oh, come, come ! 
why is his chariot so long a-coming ? ' As a loving wife stands upon 
the shore ready to welcome her expected husband, so doth love in 
the saints ; they desire to be with Christ, therefore, they long for the 
kingdom of God coming to themselves out of love : Phil. i. 23, ' I 
desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ.' And upon the same 
ground they desire the general resurrection of the church. Especially 
is this inflamed with the thoughts of Christ's love to us. He hath 
removed his bodily presence from us, yet he cannot be satisfied until 
he and we meet again : John xiv. 3, ' I will come again, and receive 
you to myself, that where I am, there ye may be also ; ' and John 
xvii. 24, ' And that you may be there with me, to behold my glory/ 
Christ is not satisfied in his glorious estate until we be with him, till 
he hath our company, and we be beatified with the sight of him. 
Before his coming in the flesh, he delighted to be with the saints be 
fore the world was : Prov. viii. 31. And when the world was made, 
before his incarnation, he took pleasure to come and appear in the 
fashion of a man, and converse with his people in human shape. In 
the days of his flesh, he delighted to spend his time and busy himself 
among them that are faithful. And when he was to go from us, he 
did assure us of returning, and cannot be quiet until we be with 
him. So, reciprocally, and according to our measure, doth love work 


in us ; we cannot be without Christ, therefore we long to be with 

Then zeal is planted in the saints, and a tenderness for his glory. 
It is not their interest only which makes them desire his coming, but 
that the king may sit upon the throne, that Christ may reign in the 
most perfect manner, that the day of manifestation may come, that all 
mists and clouds which are upon his person may vanish. The saints 
that love the glory of God as well as their own salvation, nay, above 
their own salvation, are longing for that time when Christ shall be seen 
in all his glory, that he may be dishonoured no more, that sin and 
opposition may have an end. Here God hath not his perfect glory, 
neither from us nor from the wicked, neither from angels nor devils : 
not his perfect glory from us, and therefore the saints long for that 
time when Christ may be more admired in them ; it is the comfort of 
their souls that God is glorified in their glory, that there will a time 
come when he shall be admired and glorified in their glory, and when 
they shall praise him for evermore, without weakness and distraction. 
And then the wicked, that they may oppose and dishonour him no 
more, that the whole course of justice may be seen in the history of the 
world, which shall be produced at the day of judgment ; that his 
power may be seen, when devils and all ungodly men are trodden 
underfoot, and all offences taken away, and all opposite powers are 
abolished. First, Christ would zealously affect us to the glory of 
God : ' Hallowed be thy name ; ' then he would have us pray, ' Thy 
kingdom come,' that our zeal for God's glory might make us earnest 
and instant for his kingdom. Then, 

3. There are certain experiences that we have here which set us 
a-longing and groaning for this time : Kom. viii. 23, ' We which have 
the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves, waiting for the 
adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.' When they have 
tasted of the clusters of Canaan, oh, they long to see the land ; they 
long that Jesus, the captain of their salvation, the spiritual Joshua, 
may lead them into the good land. The church hath here enjoyed 
Christ in her house : ' I brought him into my mother's house,' Cant. 
iii. 4. Now they would enjoy him in his own house, have a more 
plentiful enjoyment of him. Wherefore have we a taste, but to long 
for a fuller banquet ? Why doth God give out such a pittance, but 
to awaken our desires to look for more ? Indeed these beginnings are 
sweet, and are a wonderful mercy ; to hear Christ say in a promise, 
' Come to me, that you may have life.' But when once they have em 
braced this, they will be longing for another call, for the great voice 
to say, ' Come, ye blessed of my Father,' &c. When Christ biddeth 
them welcome into the kingdom of heaven, to the crown of glory ; 
when we can get any joy in the Holy Ghost, a little peace of con 
science, any sweet experience of our being cleansed from sin, this is 
reviving and comfortable. But why is this given, but to set us a-long 
ing for the whole harvest ? for this is but the first-fruits. It is sweet 
now to find pardon of sin, and any comfortable feeling of God's love in 
the conscience ; to have any doubt resolved, any fear silenced and sup 
pressed ; to have a glimpse of the light of God's countenance, a little 
elevation of the heart in duty. Now this draws on the soul to long 

MAT-. VI. 10.] THE LORD'S PRAYER. 117 

for more ; for we begin then to think, What a sweet reviving will it 
be when we enjoy the full of all these things ! If there be but one 
promise now set home upon our hearts, though here we have only the 
right, not enjoyment ; if we have but our right cleared up to a pro 
mise, it is very reviving. God gives us this experience, that we may 
long to enjoy the thing promised, the full possession of it. When you 
have gone away feasted with loves at the Lord's table, thou hast said, 
One hour's communion with God is better than all the world. If thy 
heart was melted a little in duty, if it was affected with godly sorrow 
for sin, it hath yielded thee more comfort than all the mirth and 
music which fond worldlings cheer themselves withal, than all their 
jollity. Now this is but given as a foretaste, as a prelibation, and to 
awaken our desires after more. In the Lord's Supper many times we 
come and drink of that cup which God hath tempered for us ; this is 
but a dark presignification of the ' new wine we shall drink in our 
Father's kingdom,' Mat. xxvi. 29, and of those eternal comforts we 
shall have there, and those unmixed joys in the presence of Christ. 
Therefore, because of the tastes they have had, and those beginnings 
of glory, their hearts will be more enlarged and drawn out to look for 
more, and long for that happy time when all this shall be accomplished. 
III. There may be arguments taken and drawn from the coming 
itself, that they long for his coming. Wherefore doth Christ come ? 
what are the ends of it ? It is to manifest his love to the saints 
mainly, as to punish his enemies and glorify his justice. 

1. I will mention the first ; to gather the saints together, to draw 
all his scattered people into one holy body and communion: Ps. 1. 5, 
' Gather my saints together unto me, those that have made a covenant 
with me by sacrifice.' Now they are scattered up and down, as God 
hath service for them to do ; one here, another there : they are spread 
in several places, where they are like two or three berries in the upper 
most top of the bough. That psalm is generally acknowledged to be 
spoken of the day of judgment ; then they are gathered to meet in one 
great assembly. The psalmist speaks of ' the great congregation of 
the righteous,' where the ' sinners shall not stand : ' Ps. i. 5. At that 
great day when Christ comes, all the saints shall make but one 
assembly and one congregation. As the wicked shall be bundled 
together, and the tares cast into unquenchable fire, so all the saints 
shall be gathered together into one great assembly, and this glads 
their hearts. Therefore we are not feasted to the full, because we 
have not all our company ; all the guests do not meet together until 
the day the Son of God comes to bless the elect. 

2. He comes to proclaim our pardon, and to pronounce the sen 
tence of our acquittance juridically in court, as judge upon the throne. 
Our pardon is passed and sealed as to conscience, then he will blot 
out all our sins ; therefore it is said, Acts iii. 19, ' That your iniquities 
may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the 
presence of the Lord.' He comes then to comfort and refresh the 
souls of the saints, by proclaiming their pardon in the ears of all the 
world. To whomsoever the throne of Christ is terrible, it should not 
be terrible to the saints : if he comes as a judge to them, he comes to 
acquit them upon the throne ; he means no trouble to them. 


3. He comes to crown us. Certainly there is a longing for this 
day and coming ; for what is his work ? He comes to crown the 
saints : 2 Tim. iv. 8, ' Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of 
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at 
that day/ Then he comes to put the crown of righteousness upon our 
heads, and invest us with all the fruits of his purchase; then the 
godly Christian comes to have his crown: 1 Pet. v. 4, 'When the 
chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory, that 
fadeth not away.' He that hath been careful to honour God in his 
relation, then the great Shepherd comes to put the crown of glory, 
which fades not away, upon his head. 

Are the children of God always in this frame, as to desire his 
coming ? Many tremble at the thoughts of it, and can have no com 
fort, for want of assurance of God's love ; and many times the saints 
do not feel such inclinations, and such ardent and strong desires. 

I answer : 

1. The meanest saint hath some inclination this way ; he cannot 
but desire Christ should come into his heart and bless him, in turning 
him from his sins ; and that he should come to judgment, since com 
fort and reward is more naturally embraced than duty. Whoever is 
begotten to God, is ' begotten to a lively hope,' 1 Pet. i. 3 ; his heart 
is carried this way, though not with so much strength and lively 
motions as others are. Yet I grant, 

2. Sometimes there may be a drowsiness and indisposition, when 
their lamps are not burning, when they are grown careless and fallen 
asleep ; as the wise virgins slept, as well as the foolish, by a sluggish 
security. And the saints may find themselves indisposed, possibly by 
the remission of their watchfulness ; they may contract an indisposi 
tion, yet there is a spirit stirring this way, which begins with the new 
birth, and still continues, though it doth not always alike put forth 
itself. A wife desires her husband's coming home, yet it may be all 
is not in such good order. Now, all Christians desire the coming of 
Christ ; but they are not so watchful, therefore are not so lively. Secu 
rity brings deadness, until God awakens them by some sharp affliction. 
The needle that is touched with the loadstone yet may a little be 
discomposed and turned aside, but it settles again. This is the right 
posture and frame of a gracious soul, to be thus earnestly bent and 
carried out after the coming of Christ. 

3. I answer again : The church doth really and heartily desire 
this coming, though they may tremble at some circumstances of it. 
When we think of this great day, and of the book that shall be opened, 
and the impartial proceedings, there is some degree of bondage still 
left in the saints, that doth a little weaken their confidence and bold 
ness. 1 John iv. 18 we are told : ' Perfect love casteth out fear, 
because fear hath torment/ Until our graces are perfect, there is 
something of fear. 


Use 1. To reprove those that do not desire the coming of Christ, 
but put off the thoughts of it. Why ? Because it casts a damp upon 
their fleshly rejoicing ; which put far away the day of the Lord, the 


evil day,; it is so to them : Amos vi. 3. They wish it would never 
come, and would be glad in their hearts to hear such news. Why ? 
For Christ's coming is their torment and burden ; they look upon it 
as a day of vengeance and an evil day, therefore are loth to entertain 
the thought of it. Saith Austin, ' Canst thou pray that the kingdom 
of God may come, when thou art afraid the kingdom of God should 
come ? ' A carnal man cannot say the Lord's Prayer without being 
.afraid ; they tremble at the remembrance of it ; they are afraid it 
should be true, and afraid to be heard. If it might go by their voice, 
Christ should never come. The voice of corrupt nature is, ' Depart 
from us ; and what can the Almighty do for them ? ' Job xxii. 17. 
Or if they do desire it, it is but in a slight, formal manner ; as those 
in the prophet that w r ould see the day of the Lord, yet they could not 
bear it : Amos v. 18, ' Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord ; 
to what end is it for you ? The day of the Lord is darkness, and not 
light/ They little consider what they are doing, and what is their 
danger, when they are making such a prayer to God, ' Thy kingdom 

Use 2. For trial. How are you affected towards the coming of 
Christ ? Are you carried out with such an inclination and bent of 
heart, as the day of your perfection, and the day of your solemn enjoy 
ment of God, requireth ? Is the bent of your heart carried out to 
things to come ? If there be looking, then there would : 

1. Be a preparing. A man that expects and desires the coming of 
a great person to his house will make all things ready, is careful to 
furnish himself ; when all is sluttish and nasty, and nothing of pro 
vision, do you look for your guest ? What have you done as to the 
day of Christ's coming ? Have you judged yourselves ? 1 Cor. xi. 31, 
' If we would j udge ourselves, we should not be judged.' Have you ever 
seriously passed sentence upon yourselves, according to the law, that 
you may be found in Christ? Horn. viii. 1, 'There is no condemna 
tion to them that are in Christ.' That you may have Christ's righteous 
ness to bear you out in that day against Christ's judgment ? Are 
you so as you would be found in him ? Do you ' live soberly, right 
eously, and godly in this present world ' ? Strict walking is a pre 
paring and providing for this day; you do but provide for terror 
when you give way to sin : 2 Pet. iii. 10, 11, ' The day of the Lord will 
come as a thief in the night ; therefore what manner of persons should 
ye be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting 
unto the coming of the day of God?' We should be trimniing up our 

2. What kind of entertainment do you give to Christ now ? Do 
you entertain him for the present into your hearts, in his ordinances ? 
A woman that never cares to hear from her husband, doth she long 
for his coming ? Oh, be careful now to get Christ into your hearts ! 

3. What doth this expectation produce ? what revivings in the fore 
thoughts of it ? John viii. 56, ' Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and 
he saw it and was glad.' He means the day of his incarnation, the 
day of his abode in the world. Abraham foresaw, by the eagle eye of 
his faith, through all mists, clouds, veils, and ceremonies ; he got a 
sight of Christ's day, and it did him good at heart. Do the appre- 


hensions of it make your hearts spring and leap within you for joy ? 
What groanings longings, what dealing with God about it doth it 
produce ? Horn. viii. 19, ' For the earnest expectation of the creature 
waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.' What support and 
strength doth it give you against the burdens and sorrows of this pre 
sent life, to remember Christ will come ? 

Use 3. To press us to this sweet affection and disposition of the 
saints. I might mention the profit of it ; this longing, looking, and 
waiting for the coming of Christ, it will make us heavenly in our con 
versation. Christ is there : where should we converse most but where 
Christ is ? And it makes us faithful in improving our talents : ' Our 
Lord will come, and reckon with his servants,' Luke xix. 15. 

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 

WE are come to the third petition, which is fitly subjoined to the 
former. In the preface we own our relation to God, ' Our Father.' 
In the first petition we express our care of his glory ; in the second, 
our desires of his kingdom ; and now we beg obedience to his will. 
We may judge of our respect to his name and kingdom by our obedi 
ence to his will, without which we neither sanctify his name nor 
submit to his kingdom. The kingdom of God implieth two things, 
his government over us, or the privileges which we enjoy thereby. 

1. As it is taken for his government over us, so there is a fair con 
nexion between these two requests. Before, we pray that God would 
rule us, and now, for a soft and pliable heart, that we may be ruled by 
him. Christ is not our king when we do our own will. These two 
are distinct ; government is one thing, and obedience to it another : 
as, Mat. vi. 33, ' The kingdom of God,' and ' the righteousness 
thereof/ they are distinguished. The kingdom of God we plead for 
in the second petition, and here for the righteousness thereof ; that 
Christ may not be a titular prince and sovereign, as certainly he is, 
when we do our own will. Every sovereign stands upon his own will, 
and the more absolute, still the more his will is to be looked upon as 
a law and rule. Now, God being so absolute a sovereign, it is but fit 
his will should be done in the perfectest manner : ' Thy will be done 
in earth, as it is in heaven.' 

2. If you take the kingdom of God for the privileges of his govern 
ment, especially if they be considered in their consummation and final 
accomplishment, for that which the scripture calls the kingdom of 
God, by doing God's will we enter into his kingdom : see Mat. vii. 21 , 
' Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the 
kingdom of heaven ; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is 
in heaven.' It is not the blandishment of a spiritual compliment, but 
a true and hearty subjection to the will of God', that availeth in God's 
kingdom, and is intended by this petitionary clause, ' Thy will be done.' 

Here consider 
I. The substance of the petition. 
II. The circumstances thereof. 


The substance of the petition, ' Thy will be done.' The circum 
stances are two : The place where, which indeed intimateth the per 
sons by whom, by men here ' upon earth' Then the manner is set 
down in a comparison, ' Upon earth, as it is in heaven' 

Let me first open these passages, then observe somewhat. 

I. The substance of the petition, ' Thy will be done ;' and there : 

1. The matter about which it is conversant, the will of God. 

2. The request about it, Thy will be done. 

First, The matter of the request, Thy will. God's name was under 
consideration in the first petition, his kingdom in the second, and now 
his will. And then here is a note of appropriation, Thy will, in con 
tradistinction to all others. 

God's will, it signifieth two things, either his decree concerning 
future events, or else that which God hath revealed concerning our 
duty his intended or commanded will. The first is spoken of, Kom. 
ix. 19, ' Who hath resisted his will ?' that is, his decree and his pur 
pose ; and the second, his revealed pleasure concerning our duty, is 
spoken of, 1 Thes. iv. 3, ' This is the will of God, even your sanctifica- 
tion.' The will not of his purpose, but it is his law, his revealed 
pleasure. Now it is not meant here of God's decree or secret will. 
Why? God's secret will, that is not known, therefore how can it be 
done upon earth ? To that all are subject, reprobates, devils. But 
here this petition speaks of a will which is to be done in conformity 
to the good angels. Again, we may, without sin, will that which God 
wills not by his secret will, as the life of a sick parent, which God 
purposeth to take away. Nay, a man may fulfil this secret will and 
yet perish for ever, as Judas, and many which break his command 
ments and yet fulfil his decrees, that do that which God had deter 
mined before to be done in his secret purpose ; as it is said, Acts iv. 
28, ' To do that which his hand and counsel had determined before to 
be done.' Therefore his secret will is not here meant, but the will of 
God revealed. Therefore let me here distinguish again : The will of 
God is revealed two ways, in his word and in his works ; the one to 
be done by us, the other to be done upon us : the one is Voluntas de 
nobis, God's will concerning us ; the other, Voluntas in nobis, God's 
will in us, and to be done by us ; the one maketh way for our active, 
the other for our passive obedience. Our active obedience hath 
respect to his laws and commands, but our passive to his providence. 
We show as much obedience in the one as in the other, in patience as 
in holiness : for as in holiness we own God as the supreme lawgiver, 
so in patience we own him as the supreme Lord, that hath a dominion 
over all events and all things which fall out in the world. In the one, 
we pray Ut nihil Dei displiceat nobis, that nothing which comes from 
God may provoke us to unseemly passion ; in the other, we pray Ut 
nihil nostrum displiceat Deo, that nothing which comes from us may 
provoke God by unseemly and undutiful carriage. We principally 
pray for the latter here, that we may fulfil his will revealed in the 
word, and yet the other cannot be excluded. Take but this reason, 
because the saints in scripture express their subjection to God's provi 
dence in words very agreeable to this request, to the form of this peti 
tion ; as those believers, when they saw God had determined Paul's 


journey to Jerusalem, when he went bound in the Spirit, notwith 
standing the dangers of it, and their loss by his departure, they said, 
' The will of the Lord be done/ Acts xxi. 14. And Christ himself, 
speaking of his passion, Mat. xxvi. 39, ' Not as I will, but as thou 
wilt : ' and ' not ray will, but thine, be done/ Luke xxii. 42. So that 
we pray both for the one and the other, though with a plain difference. 
Why ? For our active obedience must be even without a conditional 
desire that the commands of God should be repealed; we cannot so 
much as desire God should disannul his law, and repeal those statutes 
he hath enacted. Yet we may desire conditionally, if God see fit, the 
removal of our affliction, and that condition of life to which we are 
determined by his providence : ' The commandment is not grievous ' 
in itself, 1 John v. 3, yet the affliction in its own nature is grievous, 
Heb. xii. 11. We may desire more knowledge of God's law, yet we 
may not desire more experience of affliction ; the one is more abso 
lutely necessary than the other. We are not only to obey actively, 
but to love the commandments of God, and to have our hearts carried 
out in a greater esteem, and to prefer them before liberty itself ; but I 
doubt whether we are so concerning our afflictions, to prefer them 
before freedom and exemption, and the welfare of our nature. 

Well, then, you see what is meant by the will of God, which is the 
matter about which this is conversant. 

Then here is the note of appropriation, Thy will, in opposition to our 
own will, the will of Satan, the wills of men. 

[1.] To our own will, which is the proudest enemy Christ hath on 
this side hell, and the cause of all the mischief which doth befall us. 
The great contest between us and God is, whose will shall stand, God's 
will, or ours ? In every sin we slight the will of God, and set up our 
own. We ' despise the commandment/ 2 Sam. xii. 9 : not grossly 
and formally; David did not slight the commandment, and say, ' Tush! 
it is a foolish law ;' but by necessary interpretation we slight the law 
of God, and set up our own will. Therefore, when we pray that God's 
will may be done, we do in effect renounce our own will, those ' wills 
of the flesh and mind/ Eph. ii. 3, which the apostle speaks of ; so it is 
in the Greek. The soul is never renewed until the will be renewed, 
till the will be broken. And therefore self-denial is made one of the 
first principles of Christianity, the denying of our own will. The will 
is the leading part of the soul. Though the new creature begins with 
the mind, yet it comes not to any perfection, it is not formed until 
the will be subdued to God, until grace be seated in the heart. When 
a man treadeth on a dry hide, one part or other will be apt to rebound 
and leap up against him, till he stands in the middle and centre : so, 
until grace be seated in the heart, corruption will recoil. When a 
bird's wings are broken, it can fly no longer ; so when the will is sub 
dued, then the work of grace begins. The mind is the counsellor, 
but the will is the monarch and prince, which sways and rules all in 
the soul. Again, the will is more corrupted than the mind ; the 
understanding is much blinded, but the will is more depraved. The 
mind hath a little light, and is apt to take God's part sometimes, by 
suggesting good motions ; but the will doth more abhor and refuse 
good than the understanding is ignorant of it. "We are convinced often 


when not converted. Therefore this is the main thing, that our corrupt 
wills may be subdued to God : Let thy will be done, not our own. 

[2.] Thy will, in opposition to Satan's will. Our lusts are called 
his lusts : John viii. 44, ' The lusts of your father the devil ye will 
do/ They are of his inspiring, of his cherishing ; the grand incubus 
of hell is the father of these brats and sinful productions. So, 2 Tim. 
ii. 26, the Holy Ghost speaks of carnal men, that they are ' taken cap 
tive by Satan at his will 'and pleasure.' Wicked men are at Satan's 
beck, and they do his will. The devil sets such a lust at work, the 
man obeys presently : the devil stirs such lusts by his arts and engines, 
and observes such a lust will be most prevalent at such a time ; the 
man is taken by Satan's will. Now, Thy will, &c., we desire the Lord's 
grace, that we may not comply with the devil's motions. 

[3.] Thy will, in opposition to the wills of men : 1 Pet. iv. 2, ' That 
he no longer should live to the lusts of men, but to the will of God ;' 
not according to the wills of men, but according to the will of God. 
In our natural state we are apt to be swayed by the lusts and humours 
of others, according as the posture of our interest is determined ; and 
therefore it is a good piece of self-denial to cease from the lusts of 
men, from the humours and customs of those whom we fear and from 
whom we hope. And until we cease from men, in vain do we expect 
to serve God. 

Thus for the matter about which this request is conversant, ' Thy 

Secondly, Here is the request itself, Be done; what doth this 
imply, when we say, ' Let thy will be done ' ? 

[1.] We beg a heart to do it : Deut. v. 29, ' Oh that there were such 
an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my com 
mandments always ! ' It is not enough to set ourselves to do what 
God hath commanded ; but we must get a renewed, sanctified heart. 

[2.] We beg skill to do it : Ps. cxliii. 10, ' Teach me to do thy 
will, for thou art my God.' We beg that God would teach us, and 
lead us forth in the obedience of his will. 

[3.] We beg strength to do it. It is said, Heb. xiii. 21, ' The God 
of peace, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you 
perfect in every good work, to do his will.' We beg strength, that 
we may do what is pleasing in his sight. In our will there is a double 
mischief; it is opposite to and averse from God : Horn. viii. 7, ' The 
carnal mind is enmity against God ; for it is not subject to the law of 
God, nor indeed can be.' And it is strongly inclined to other things ; 
and this both by nature and by evil custom. There is an aversion 
from God, which is natural, and which is increased by custom ; there 
fore it is God must give us a heart to do his will, and skill and strength. 
Thus God he must draw us off from other things, which is called the 
' circumcising of the heart/ Deut. xxx. 6. He must draw us off, and 
he must draw us on too. As he pares away the foreskin, the fleshi 
ness which cleaves to our hearts, and inclineth us to.seekour own will, 
in hunting after pleasures, honours, profits : so doth the Lord draw 
us to himself : Cant. i. 4, ' Draw me, and we will run after tb.ee/ 

II. Let us come to the circumstances of the petition, ' In earth, as 
it is in heaven/ 


First, The place, wherein also the persons are noted, in eartJi, 
that is, by the men which live upon earth. Why is this mentioned, 
on earth ? 

[1.] The earth is a place of our exercise and trial, and now is the 
time to show our self-denial and our obedience to God, to deny our 
own will and do the will of God : John xvii. 4, ' I have glorified thee 
upon earth/ This is a work that must not be suspended until we 
come to heaven ; it will not be thankworthy then, when there is no 
interruption, no trouble, no molestation there : but here, ' I have glori 
fied thee on earth,' where so few mind the work, and where there are 
so many distractions and temptations to divert us. 

[2.] The earth is the only place where this work is begun, or else 
it shall never be done hereafter : instance in anything that is the will 
of God. Here we must believe, or there we shall never enjoy : Luke 
ii. 14, ' Peace upon earth.' Now God offereth grace, and now it is 
his will we should come out of our sins, and accept of Christ to the 
ends for which he hath appointed him. And here we must be sanc 
tified, else we shall be filthy for evermore. Corn grows in the field, 
but it is laid up in the barn. Now is the time of minding this work, 
here upon earth. 

[3.] That while we are upon earth, we might long for that happy 
estate we shall have in heaven, wherein we might serve God. There 
fore Christ in his prayer would have us think how r God is glorified 
and obeyed there, that we might send up hearty wishes after that 
perfect estate, when we shall serve God without weariness, and with 
out distraction. 

[4.] Upon earth, to show that we pray not for those in the other 
world, but for those upon earth. We do not pray for the saints departed, 
they are out of harm's way, past our prayers, being in their final estate. 
We pray not for the dead, but for the living. Thus for the first cir 
cumstance in this petition, the place where. 

Secondly, There remains nothing but the last, and that is the man 
ner how this is to be done : ' As it is in heaven.' Chrysostom ob 
serves that this clause may be referred to all the former petitions : 
' Hallowed be thy name upon earth, as it is in heaven ;' ' Thy king 
dom come upon earth, as it is in heaven.' But certainly most proper 
it is to the matter in hand. But what is tho sense ? How is God 
obeyed in heaven ? 

There are in scripture three heavens, the airy heaven, the starry 
heaven, and the heaven of heavens. In all these heavens God's will 
is done. God is obeyed in the lower heaven, you shall see in Ps. 
cxlviii. 8, ' fire, hail, snow, and vapours, stormy winds, fulfilling his 
word/ Winds and storms, and all those things which seem to be 
most tempestuous and unruly, to be the disorders of nature, they are at 
God's beck. Then in the starry heaven, ver. 6, ' He hath made a 
decree which shall not pass : ' they are under a law and statute, and 
are not exorbitant and eccentric, do not alter their path ; the sun 
riseth, sets, and knows the just point of his compass. But it is 
chiefly meant of the heaven of heavens, where angels and blessed 
spirits are, and they obey God perfectly : Ps. ciii. 20, 21, ' Bless the 
Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, 


hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the Lord, all ye his 
hosts, ye ministers of his that do his pleasure.' The angels do his 
commandments, and are hearkening to the voice of his word, are at 
God's beck, to be sent up and down, to ascend and descend as God will 
have them ; so with respect to this doth Christ say, ' Thy will be done 
in earth, as it is in heaven.' 

But here, again, why is this added, As it is in heaven f 

1. To sweeten our subjection to God's will. We upon earth are not 
held to a harder law and task than they in heaven. The angels, 
they are not sui juris, at their own dispose : they have many 
privileges above man, yet have no exemption from homage and 
duty to God. They have an exemption and freedom from trouble, 
and sickness, and disease, and the necessities of meat and drink, and 
all the molestations and infirmities of the flesh which we lie under, 
but are not freed from the will of God, but they obey his command 
ments, hearkening to the voice of his word. These courtiers of heaven 
are servants of God, and fellows with us in the same obedience ; none 
is too great to obey God. The angels, which excel in strength, they 
obey his will, and so must we ; nay, they obey his will with a holy 
awe and fear, that they may not displease him in the least ; for it is 
said of Michael the archangel, Jude 9, that 'he durst not bring 
against the devil a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke 
thee.' He had not boldness to speak one uncomely word, 'or one 
unseemly word, to do anything that was displeasing to God. 

2. As to sweeten our obedience, so to show us the reasonableness of 
this obedience. We would have the happiness of the angels, and, 
therefore, certainly we should come into a fellowship in their duty ; 
it is but equal we should imitate their holiness. If we would have 
communion with them in glory, we should have communion also with 
them in grace. Mat. xxii. 30, it is said, we shall be la-dyj\.oi, ' like 
the angels of God.' We seek after the same glory and happiness 
which they have : to stand before the Lord and to behold his face ; 
that is their happiness. Surely if we would have the reward of 
angels, which we upon earth are aspiring and looking after, it is but 
equal we should do the work of angels, and write after their copy. 

3. Therefore doth Christ use this comparison, that we might not 
miscarry by a low example. How apt are we to follow the track, and 
to take up with an easy and low rate of obedience: Luke xviii. 11, 
that put great confidence in that, ' God, I thank thee I am not as 
other men.' Now because we have few good examples in the world, 
and those we have have their spots and defects, and are very susceptible 
of evils, and apt to miscarry by them, therefore Christ would carry us 
up to look after a heavenly and celestial pattern ; he propoundeth the 
angelical perfection as a pattern and example. He that shoots at a 
star, will shoot higher than he that aims at a shrub : surely the 
higher the pattern that we aim at, the greater will our obedience be. 
Wicked men they think that everything is enough in religion, though 
it be never so little ; but the godly cannot so easily satisfy themselves, 
they are pressing and hastening on more and more. 

4. To teach us that we are not only to look to the quid, but to the 
quomodo; not only to wlmt we do, but also in what manner we yield 


obedience to God ; therefore Christ would not teach us to pray only, 
' Thy will be done,' but ' as it is in heaven/ in such a manner. God 
respects not only the doing of what he hath required, but also the 
manner of it, that we may not only do good, but well ; it is the 
adverb which crowns the action. We are to consider with what 
heart we go about it : Prov. xvi. 2, ' The Lord weigheth the spirits.' 
That which he putteth into the balance of the sanctuary is, with what 
spirit, with what heart, we go about the work ; that is it he weigheth 
and regardeth. Now that we may look not only to the matter of 
obedience, but also to the manner how we do it, therefore doth Christ 
give us this pattern. 

Object. But you will say, Our obedience is accompanied with many 
defects and infirmities; therefore, how can we serve God as the 
angels do in heaven ? How shall we take comfort in our obedience 
if this be our pattern ? 

I answer : 

1. Though we cannot do it in the same measure, yet we should do 
it in the same manner ; though there be not an exact equality, yet 
there should be some answerable resemblance. Our obedience should 
not be wholly different in the kind and manner of it from theirs which 
serve God in heaven, though for the degree and rate we cannot come 
up to their pattern. 

2. Though we do not attain to this perfection in this life, yet we 
must aim after it, long for it, and pray for it. Aim after it, not 
sluggishly content ourselves with any low degrees of obedience, but 
aim at the highest. And to long for it : there is a time coming when 
we shall be perfect ; when we shall be not only as the angels are, but 
as Christ is : ' We shall be like him,' 1 John iii. 2. And we pray for 
that on earth which is expected in heaven ; we pray for what we do 
expect from the final and consummate estate, when we shall be as the 
angels of God, and perfectly do his will. 

I come to the points ; they are three : 

1. It concerns them very much that would in prayer own God as 
a father, and pretend a respect to his glory and kingdom, to see 
that his will be done here upon earth. 

2. It is the Lord that giveth to will and to do those things which 
are pleasing in his sight. 

3. God doth not only look to this, that his will be done, but to the 
manner how it is done. 

I. It concerneth them very much that would in prayer own God 
as a father, and pretend a respect to his glory and kingdom, to see 
that his will be done here upon earth. 

I shall prove it : 

First, By the arguments intimated in the point. 

1. As we pray to God, we should see his will be done, upon a 
double account as real and successful. 

[1.] As we would express a reality and sincerity in prayer. They 
mock God that pray they might do his will, yet have no care to do 
it, that declaim against their lusts, yet hug them and keep them 
warm in their bosoms. We oftener pray from our memories than 
our consciences, and oftener from our consciences than our affections. 

MAT. VI. 10.] THE LORD'S PRAYJ;R. 127 

From our memory, as we repeat words by rote, without sense, or 
feeling, or consideration of the importance of them. From our 
consciences, rather than affections. Austin observes of himself : 
while he was under the power of his lusts he would pray against 
concupiscence, but his heart would say, A t noli modo, timebam enim 
ne me exaudiret Deus ; ' But, Lord, not yet ; for I am afraid lest God 
should hear me/ Conscience tells us that such things must be done 
and asked ; thus we put a little of our conscience in prayer, but 
nothing of affection and serious desire. Many would be loth God 
should take them at their words, when they seem to resign up them 
selves to his will, and think of parting with their lusts ; it is bitter 
and irksome to them : as Phaltiel, Michal's husband, ' went after her, 
going and weeping/ 2 Sam. iii. 16. Now if we would manifest our 
prayers to be real, we should labour to perform the same ; otherwise 
we are but like those soldiers which spat upon Christ and buffeted 
him, yet cried, 'Hail, King of the Jews;' so it is but a mockage to 
say, ' Thy will be done/ yet have no care to do it: Mat. xv. 8, 
' This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth 
me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.' There is no 
reality in the prayer, whatever be in it, if the heart be not in it. 
Some men's prayers are but the fruit of wit and memory ; others but 
the result of their judgments, what is fit to be done, rather than of 
their hearts, what they desire to be done : and they are only good so 
far as they do more solemnly express God's right, not their inward 

[2.] If we would have our prayers successful. Ps. Ixvi. 18, 'If I 
regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me/ Clearly, if 
we will not do God's will, there is no reason he should regard our 
will. If I regard iniquity in my heart, there may be sin in the heart ; 
but if I regard it there, God will not hear me, if I entertain an affec 
tion to it. When the wind blows, some cold air will get into the 
chamber, though the door be shut never so close ; but to leave the 
door open for it doth not argue such a care of health as is requisite. 
There will be sin in the children of God, but it is not allowed. Love 
to any known sin makes our prayers to God to be without success. 
So Prov. xxviii. 9, ' He that turneth away his ear from hearing the 
law, even his prayer shall be abomination/ God useth often the law 
of retaliation, will pay home sinners in their own coin : we will not 
hear him, therefore he will not hear us. The same argument we have 
to urge to God in prayer, that God hath to urge to us for duty and 
obedience. What argument will you use to awaken your confidence 
and affection ? ' By the blood of Christ we have boldness to come to 
him,' Heb. x. 19, and Eph. iii. 12. This is not only an argument to be 
urged in expectation of mercy, but also in the enforcement of duty, 
when God beseecheth you by the bowels of Christ to do his will, and 
to mind his work. If the blood of Christ cannot prevail with us, to 
bring us up to the will of God, how can we expect it should prevail 
with God to bring us in returns of blessing ? When God speaks we 
slight him, therefore when we speak God may cast off our prayers. 

God speaks more wisely to us than we can to him ; we stammer, 
and lisp, and speak foolishly in our prayers to God. There is far more 


reason why we should hear God than God hear us ; for there is more 
equity in his precepts than there is reason in our prayers, and we are 
bound to obey God's will more than he is to grant our request ; and 
therefore if we would not have God turn away his ear from our prayers, 
we should not turn away our ears from hearing his law and counsel : 
John ix. 31, ' Now we know that God heareth not sinners ; but if any 
man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.' It 
is a general maxim, Those which were ready to deprave Christ's 
actions were possessed of the truth of this : ' If any man worship 
him, and do his will, him he heareth,' John ix. 31. It is not enough to 
keep up a form of worshipping, but we must be tender of his will ; that 
is the way to get a gracious answer. Thus as we pray we are bound. 

2. As God's children, so we must do his will : Mai. i. 6, ' If I be 
a father, where is mine honour ? and if I be a master, Avhere is my 
fear ? ' Relations to God are not bare titles and grounds, whereby 
we may expect favour from God ; but they carry in their bosom obli 
gations to duty on our part. Many will give God good words and 
fair titles, but there is no care had of complying with his will. Nay, 
your owning that relation will aggravate your sin, and be a witness 
against you. You owned me your father, and have not done my will. 
So Mat. xii. 50, ' Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is 
in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.' These 
may be sure of a comfortable relation to God, and that God will own 
them in that claim, when they make it their business to do his will ; 
otherwise you reproach God rather than worship him. When you 
do your own will, and call God Father, you lay the devil's brats at his 
door ; you pretend to God, and take his name upon you ; therefore 
those that say, ' Our Father,' must also say, ' Thy will be done/ 

3. Those that would have respect to God's glory must do his will. 
This is the honour of God, when you are at his command. God 
gloried in Abraham ; rather Cyrus than Abraham is there meant, as 
the context shows : see Isa. xlvi. 11. Isa. xli. 2, ' The man from the 
east, whom I have called to my foot.' When you are at his beck, 
ready to go step by step with God, as God leads you, you are ready to 
follow. It was the honour of the centurion that had his soldiers at 
such a command, that ' when he said to one, Go, he went ; and to 
another, Come, and he came,' Mat. viii. So it is God's honour, when 
he can bid you do nothing but you are ready to obey, though with the 
greatest hazard and loss of all. 

4. Our subjection to his kingdom. God stands upon his authority. 
What is a king without obedience ? Christ is never received as king 
but where his will is obeyed, otherwise we mock him with an empty 
title. The high priest's servants said, ' Hail, King of the Jews,' in 
mockage; thus it is to own him as king, when we will not yield 
obedience. Then do we desire that his kingdom may come indeed 
and in power, when we resolve to do his will, to love as God will have 
us, and hate, fear, and hope as God will : Ps. cxliii. 10, : Thou art 
my God ; teach me to do thy will.' If you own God as sovereign, you 
must be in subjection to his will. Thus this prayer will yield us 
arguments, as we own him as a father, as we profess respect to his 
glory and kingdom. 


Secondly, I shall bring other arguments to persuade this, to make 
conscience of God's will. 

1. The example of Christ Jesus, who wholly yielded up himself to 
the will of God ; and wilt thou stand upon thy terms ? John v. 30, 
' I seek not mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.' Christ 
did not seek to please his human, his own natural will, but the will 
of his Father. This is true religion, to be like him whom we worship. 
Now, we are never like Christ until we make doing of God's will to 
be the great business of our lives. Wherefore doth he come into the 
world ? He tells you ; to do his Father's will : Luke ii. 49, ' Wist ye 
not that 1 must be about my Father's business ? ' This was his sole 
employment ; so it should be ours, if we have the same mind which 
Christ had. 

2. Consider God's right. We are not at our own dispose, but at 
the Lord's use. God hath a right in us, as he created us. The per 
fection of everything lieth in fulfilling the Creator's will, for that is the 
end wherefore they were made. The creatures ' are all thy servants, 
and continue this day according to thine ordinances,' Ps. cxix. 91. 
We owe our being, and all we have, from him. We see among men 
dependence begets observance ; a man that lives upon another will be 
careful to please him. Thou boldest all by the indulgence and bounty 
of God, therefore it should be thy study to do his will. Jesus Christ 
hath bought thee : 1 Cor. vi. 20, ' Glorify the Lord in your souls and 
bodies, which are God's.' That is God's which he hath bought. A 
servant that was bought, when men were sold for slaves, he was his 
master's money ; so his strength, time, service belonged to his master. 
We are God's, because he hath bought us, therefore we cannot live as 
we will ; for this is the property of a servant, that he cannot live as 
he will. Again, as God hath begotten us anew, regenerated us, what 
is the aim of his grace ? ' That we should no longer live in the flesh, 
to the lust of men, but to the will of God,' 1 Pet. iv. 2. It is the aim 
of grace to cure the disorders of the will, and to bring us to a stricter 
bond of duty and service to God. And indeed if grace hath had its 
fruit and power upon you, you will give up yourselves to God. Cant, 
vii. 10, ' I am my beloved's.' You are your beloved's, to be used by 
him as he pleaseth. So that unless you will retract your vows, you 
will make conscience of doing the will of God, for he hath a manifest 
right in you. 

3. Consider our own incapacity. There is great reason why our 
wills should be given up to the will of God, because we are not able 
to 'manage them ourselves. By the law of nations, fools and madmen 
must have a guardian ; they have lost the dominion and power over 
themselves, they are to be ruled by another, they are slaves by nature, 
that must be guided by another : Tit. iii. 3. We are all by nature 
fools, and it is the greatest mischief that can be to be left to our own 
wills ; and therefore, when God requireth the resignation of our wills, 
it is but as the taking of a sword out of a madman's hand, which will 
be the cause of his own mischief and ruin. Nemo Iccditur nisi a 
seipso, ' No man is hurt by any but himself, though he maybe troubled 
by others.' Now, since we cannot manage our own will, it is fit we 
should have a guardian ; and who is more wise than God to govern 

VOL. I. I 


us? A merchant, though he owns the ship, and hath stored it with 
goods, yet because he hath no skill in the art of navigation, he suffer- 
eth the pilot to guide it. Certainly we shall but shipwreck ourselves 
unless we give up ourselves to be guided by the Spirit of God accord 
ing to his will. 

4. The benefit that accrueth to us by doing his will we shall 
have his favour here and his glory hereafter. His favour here, which 
is -that which endeareth us to God : Acts xiii. 22, ' I have found a 
man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.' These are 
men after God's own heart, that do his will. And though we have 
great infirmities, yet because we are bent to do his will, they will be 
passed over ; as David had his infirmities, yet because it was in his 
heart to do the will of God, therefore this is a man after mine own 
heart. And you shall have the glory of God hereafter : 1 John ii. 17, 
' The world passeth away and the lusts thereof : but he that doeth the 
will of God abideth for ever.' Those things that our wills carry us to 
they perish. The inclination of our heart carrieth us to the world, 
riches, honours, pleasures ; but the will of God carrieth us to an ever 
lasting estate. ' The world passeth away, and the lusts thereof.' 
There will a time come when those things we will, and are so strongly 
addicted to and lust for, will be gone we shall have no relish, no 
savour in them, no appetite to them. When men are leaving the world, 
then they cry out how the world hath deceived them ; but now ' he 
that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.' Never any repented of 
doing the will of God ; this will stick by us to all eternity, and bring 
us to everlasting happiness. 

Use 1. To show how far they are from any sincere respect to God, 
that upon the least occasion transgress his will, and break through 
bonds and restraints God hath set to them. The heart is never right 
but when it lieth under the awe of a command. Many will fear a 
punishment ; but it is said, Prov. xiii. 13, ' He that feareth the com 
mandment : ' if the commandment stands in his way he dares not 
break through, it is more than a hedge of thorns, or if lions stood in 
the way. But on the other side, when men make no bones of a com 
mandment, when they will ' transgress for a pair of shoes ' (as the 
prophet saith), when every small temptation is enough to draw them 
off from God, it showeth how little sincere respect they have to God. 

Use 2. It serves to press us to a more tender regard to the will of 
God. To this end consider these motives : 

1. His absolute authority to command : 1 Tim. vi. 15, c Who is 
the blessed and only potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords ; ' 
his will is enough I am the Lord, you shall do thus and thus. 

2. Consider the equity of what he hath commanded : Rom. vii. 12, 
' The commandment is holy, and just, and good.' Nothing God 
commandeth but what is agreeable to his own nature, and what is 
suited to our benefit. It is no burden to live justly, soberly, and 
holily in communion with God ; it is not a burden, but a great ad 
vantage. The yoke of Christ is a bountiful yoke. Our service and 
duty hath its own reward in the very mouth and bosom of it. It is 
no great wrong to us to govern our affections, to live soberly, chastely, 
and in the exercise of holy services ; here is nothing but what raiseth 


and sublimates tlie nature of man. If the commandment of God had 
been to offer our children in sacrifice, or any of those barbarities which 
were practised among the Gentiles, yet this had been enough, ' I am 
the Lord;' but when he hath given such holy and good commands, 
which makes you live more like men, like reasonable creatures, you 
should be tender of the Lord's will. 

3. To be given up to our own will is a great judgment. When 
the Lord hath a mind to destroy a people, he gives them up to their 
own will : Ps. Ixxxi. 12, ' Israel would none of me ; so I gave them 
up unto their own hearts' lust ; and they walked in their own coun 
sels.' It is the greatest judgment which can be laid upon any creature, 
that he may have his own will. A man may be given up to Satan, 
yet recover : 1 Cor. v. 5, ' Deliver such an one to Satan for the destruc 
tion of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord 
Jesus.' He may be given up to Satan for his exercise and trial ; but 
when he is given up to himself, to the sway of his own heart, to be 
besotted with his own counsels, and to have his own lusts, what a 
heavy judgment is this ! When Balaam would not be satisfied, God 
said to him, ' Go,' Num. xxii. 35. He had his answer before, again 
and again, but he would be inquiring still ; ' Go,' and that was his 

4. It is the truest liberty to be subject to the will of God. Then, 
' when the Son of God shall make you free, you shall be free indeed,' 
John viii. 36. How doth the Son of God make us free ? Not from 
duty, but for duty. He that lieth under the dominion and power of 
any sin is a very slave. But then are we free indeed, when we are 
loosed, not from a due subjection to God, but from the power of the 
devil. It is not liberty to be free to do what we please, good or evil ; 
but the more determined we are to good, the more freedom for that is 
a liberty which comes nearest to the liberty of God, who is a most free 
agent and yet cannot sin. Such a liberty is in God, Christ, and the 
angels in heaven : surely they do not live a slavish life that are 
ever praising and lauding of God. It will be the greatest pleasure in 
the issue to deny our own will and do the will of God. The more 
we are enlarged for this, the greater is our happiness. Then we have 
the happiness of the spirits of just men. None among men have 
greater happiness than glorified saints, yet none have less of their own 
will. Why should we account that a bondage which is part of our 
happiness ? In heaven glorified spirits there are not complaining of 
any burden, yet they have no will of their own, but they will and nill 
as God doth. 

5. He that hath a heart bent to do the will of God, he hath the 
clearest knowledge of the mind of God : John vii. 17, ' He that will 
do the will of God, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of 
God.' It is not the sharpness of parts that pierceth into a truth, 
especially into a controverted truth, when the dust of contention is 
raised ; but he that is most close in walking with God, it is he that 
knoweth his mind. A blunt iron, when hot and in the fire, will pierce 
deeper into an inch board than a sharper tool that is cold ; so a man 
that hath pure affections for God, a heart to do the will of God, 
pierceth deeper many times into controverted truth, and sees more of 


the mind of God in that truth than a man of parts doth. There arc 
many mistakes about the will of God. Now make conscience of 
obedience, do not consult with the interest of your own private 
passions, and then you shall know the mind of God. It is just with 
God to withhold the light from them that consult with their lusts and 
interests and carnal humours, for these blind the mind, and only like 
and dislike things as they shall relish with their lusts. 

6. God will surely punish the violation of his will. This implieth 
two things : 

[1.] That God takes notice of it ; he observes whether his will be 
done, yea or no. The Eechabites were tender of the commandment 
of their dead father, who could not take cognizance of their actions ; 
but it was the will of their father, and they would keep to the will of 
the dead : Jer. xxxv. 14. But now the Lord seeth whether his will be 
kept, yea or no : Prov. xv. 3, ' The eyes of the Lord are in every place, 
beholding the evil and the good.' Wherever you are, God is with you. 
As the prophet said to Gehazi, ' Went not mine heart with thee ? ' 
2 Kings v. 26, meaning his prophetical spirit. The Lord's Spirit goeth 
along with "us wherever we go, he observes what we do. When Jesus 
Christ was in the throng, he saith, ' Who is it that toucheth me ?' 
He was sensible virtue passed out from him when one touched him by 
faith. So in the throng of creatures we depend upon God he knows 
what virtue goeth out to preserve thee and me in being. These are 
fit instances to ingenerate in our minds a sense of God's omniscience. 

[2.] He will severely punish : James iv. 12, ' There is one lawgiver, 
who is able to save and to destroy.' There are many lawgivers in the 
world, that have power of life and death, but that is only of life tem 
poral ; but there is one Lawgiver that can reward with eternal life, 
and punish with eternal death. So God truly and properly hath the 
power of life and death. Therefore, since he can punish so severely, 
we should not stand out against God's will. Many times the doing 
God's will is irksome to flesh and blood, but remember hell will be 
worse. When we press men to faith, repentance, and new obedience, 
and tell them this is the will of God concerning you, that you do 
believe in Christ, walk holily and humbly with God, what saith the 
man ? Shall I mope myself, and sit mourning in a corner, and spend 
my life in a dark melancholy manner, in going from one duty to 
another ? This is far better than to sit howling under the wrath of 
God for evermore. 

For directions. If you would do the will of God, then 

1. There must be some solemn time of resigning and giving up thy 
will to him. Naturally we are averse. Now, whosoever is brought 
unto God, he comes and lays down the weapons of his defiance at God's 
feet. God hath a right to us, and he will have this right confirmed 
by our grant and consent : Rom. xii. 1, ' I beseech you by the mercies 
of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable 
unto God.' There cannot be a more acceptable sacrifice to God than 
the resignation of our own will to him : See how Paul comes and 
layeth down the buckler, when God had him under : Acts ix. 6, ' And 
he, trembling and astonished, said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to 
do ?' There will be a time when you will solemnly give up the keys 


of your own hearts to God, and bid him come and enter. Paul, that 
now did nothing but threaten and breathe out terror to the children 
of God, when God had humbled him, then he lies at God's feet. When 
you are truly humbled, you will desire God to come and take posses 
sion of your hearts, and resolve to come under his yoke : Mat. xi. 28, 
'Take my yoke upon you, and you shall find rest for your souls.' 
Christ will force it upon none. In the matrimonial contract, consent 
is not to be forced : ' Take my yoke.' 

2. When you give up yourselves to God, it must be without bounds 
and reservations : ' That ye may stand perfect and complete in the 
will of God,' Col. iv. 42. That was his prayer for them : and, Acts 
xiii. 22, ' I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after my own 
heart ; he shall fulfil all my will.' We should so perfectly obey, as if 
we had no will of our own, not reserving a property in anything. Our 
thoughts are not our own to dispose, nor our desires nor delights, but 
as God will. The least sin reserved is a pledge of the devil's interest 
and right in us. And therefore give up all to God, resign up your 
selves wholly to him, as remembering that every motion, every thought, 
every affection, is under a rule, and in every action we should say, 
Will God have this to be done, yea or no ? 

3. There are some special things concerning which God hath more 
expressly signified his will and given special charge, and these we 
should make greatest conscience of, how distasteful soever they be to 
flesh and blood, or prejudicial to our own interest. For instance, 
concerning repentance and turning from sin, Ezek. xxxiii. 11, you 
have God's oath that he delights in it : 'As I live, saith the Lord 
God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the 
wicked turn from his way, and live.' And God ' would not have any 
to perish, but that all should come to repentance,' 2 Pet. iii. 9. This 
is the will of God ; he hath told you what a great deal of pleasure he 
takes in repentance, that you should come and mourn over your sins, 
and bewail your stragglings. When a profane Esau knew what his 
father desired, he takes his bow to go and kill venison ; when we 
know anything more pleasing to God, we should do it. And then he 
takes pleasure also in the work of faith, believing in Christ : John vi. 
29, ' This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath 
sent : and 1 John iii. 23, ' This is his commandment, that we should 
believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ.' Therefore we should be 
much in the work of faith, and in receiving Christ, that we may 
accomplish the good pleasure of God in us. It is very pleasing to 
God we should thus repent, believe, and return to him. The very 
first motion, how welcome is it to the Lord ! Ps. xxxii. 5, ' I said, I 
will confess my transgressions unto the Lord ; and thou forgavest the 
iniquity of my sin/ ISo Luke xv. 20 : the father ran to meet him when 
the prodigal thought of returning. So that you should live a sanctified 
life: 1 Thes. iv. 3, ' This is the will of God, even your sanctification/ 
That you should walk holily, God hath expressly declared his will. 
Then for duties of relations, God takes a great deal of pleasure in 
obedience to magistrates, parents, masters: 1 Pet. ii. 15, 'For so is 
the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the igno 
rance of foolish men.' Then, that we should observe providences, ever 


be in a thankful frame : 1 Thes. v. 18, ' In everything give thanks ; 
for this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus, concerning you.' It is a 
great rebellion and disobedience not to obey God's solemn charge. 

4. We should be willing to obey God, whatever it cost us. The 
least sin is not to be committed to avoid the greatest trouble. You 
would think it were a small sin for Moses to tarry in Pharaoh's court, 
where he might be helpful to the people of God, yet he ' chose rather 
to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures 
of sin for a season,' Heb. xi. 25. 

5. For the greatest good that possibly can come of it, we should not 
cross God's revealed will. Many times this is a snare. Men think to 
be justified by their good intentions. We must not do evil that good 
may come thereof : Rom. iii. 8. If one lie could save the world, we 
were not to do it, for the least evil is not to be done contrary to God's 
will, though the greatest good come of it. 

Use 3. Examine how you stand affected to God's will. This is very 
needful, because 

1. There be many mistakes about it. 

2. Hereby we may discern whether we are thus entirely affected 
with the Lord's will. 

Men flatter themselves with a pretence of obedience, and cry, ' Lord, 
Lord,' but do not do his will. They give God good words, but do not 
break out into an actual contest ; as those wretches, Jer. xviii. 12, 
' We will every one do the imagination of his evil heart :' and Jer. 
xliv. 17, ' We will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of 
our own mouth.' There are many things wherein we are apt to mis 
take. As, 

[1.] We pretend to do -God'e will in general, but when it comes to 
particulars we stick at it. Usually, when we take up duty by the 
lump, it doth not exasperate opposite propensions and inclinations. 
This is our great fault, we please and flatter ourselves with notions 
and abstract conceits. What say you to this will of God concerning 
you in particular? How forward were the Israelites! Oh, they 
would do the whole will of God ; they run away with the general 
notion. Yea, but saith Joshua, chap.xxiv. 19, ' Ye cannot serve the Lord, 
for he is an holy God, he is a jealous God ; he will not forgive your 
transgressions nor your sins.' We will do the will of God in general, 
but when it comes to cross our lusts and private inclinations, these 
make us grudge at it, and shrink back again. 

[2.] Some commend and approve the will of God, and talk of it, but 
do not practise it. It is here, ' Thy will be done ; ' it is not, Let it be 
talked of, spoken and conferred of by me, but done. And it is not 
giving good words. You know the parable of the two sons : One said, 
' I will not, and did ;' the other, ' I go, sir, and went not/ Mat. xxi. 
29, 30. Where Christ prefers the open sinner before the hypocrite, 
that is talking of God's will, and seems at a distance to be like the 
carbuncle, all of a fire, but touch him, he is key-cold. When we are 
approving much of the will of God in our judgments, and commend 
ing of it, and do it not, this is in effect to say, I know what my Father 
commands me, but I will do as I list. 

[3.] Another deceit about the will of God is this : For the present, 


while we are in a good humour, when our lusts lie low, when the 
heart is warm under the impulsions of a present conviction or per 
suasion, men have high thoughts of doing the will of God : Deut. v. 
27, ' Speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto 
thee ; we will hear it, and do it.' There are several acts of our wills ; 
there is consent, choice, intention, and prosecution. It is not enough 
to consent : these things may be extorted from us by moral persuasion ; 
but there must be a serious choice, an invincible resolution, such an 
intention as is prosecuted with all manner of industry and serious 
endeavours, whatever disappointments we meet with from God and men. 
Then this intention or invincible resolution is such as will not be broken 
by difficulties, weakened by loss of interest, not discouraged by the many 
disappointments we meet with, even in our waiting upon God. 

[4.] We have many times a seeming awe upon the conscience, and so 
are urged to do God's will, yet the heart is averse from God all the 
while ; therefore they strive to bring God's will and theirs together, to 
compromise the difference. A notable instance of this you have in 
Balaam. He had a message sent to him, and a great bribe. Now he had 
a carnal heart, which ran out upon the wages of unrighteousness, 
and, therefore, though he knew the people of Israel were blessed of 
the Lord, yet first he will go to God : Num. xxii. 8, ; Lodge here 
this night, and I will bring you word again, as the Lord shall speak 
unto me.' He is very tender, he durst not go with them, unless the 
Lord say, Go. But God denies him : ver. 12, ' Thou shalt not go with 
them.' What then ? The Lord refuseth to give him leave. Then 
Balak sends more honourable messengers, and propounds rewards 
again. Then his carnal will is for God : ver. 18, Balaam answered, 
' If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot 
go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more/ Was 
not this spoken with an honest mind, think you ? This was the 
dictate of his conscience ; not for a houseful of gold durst he go 
against God the Lord. Yet you shall find it was a sore temptation 
to him, for he goes again to God: ver. 19, ' Tarry here this night, 
that I may know what the Lord will say unto me more.' Then saith 
God, Go, when he saw his heart was set for the wages of unrighteous 
ness. There was a reluctancy in his conscience, he durst not go, 
therefore he would fain bring the will of God to his will. In many 
cases we are thus divided between our own affections and God's 
will, between our interests and the will of God. 

It is a case often falls out, when there is a quarrel between convic 
tion and corruption. When light is active and strong in conscience, 
men dare not go against the apparent will of God, yet their hearts 
hang another way. We have one carnal affection or other, and then 
all our business is to bring God's will and ours together ; and how to 
disguise and palliate the matter, that with greatest leave to conscience 
we may seem to contradict the will of God. 

[5.] A fifth deceit about the will of God, and that is, a wish that we 
were brought under the power of it, as he that stretched himself 
upon his bed, and said, Oh, that this were to labour ! Many men have 
a velleity, a languid and incomplete will ; they have a wish, but not 
a volition, not a serious desire ; and sometimes they may draw it out 


to a cold prayer that God would make them better. It is just like a 
man that should lie down and complain, Oh, that I were at such a 
place ! and never travel. Would I had performed such a task ! yet 
puts not his hand to the work. Men would, but they will not, set 
themselves in good earnest to get the grace they wish for, there is 
not striving to accomplish their will. A chapman no doubt would 
have the wares, it is like he hath a cold wish, but will not come to 
the price ; I will buy it whatever it cost me. They have not those 
active and industrious resolutions, such a strong and serious bent of 
heart towards God, but only a few wishes. 

[6.] Halving the will of God ; as in many cases many will do part 
of the will of God, but not all, they come not fully up to the mind of 
God. For instance, they will take notice of some great command 
ment, but not of the least. We cannot dispense with ourselves in the 
least: Mat. v. 19, ' Whosoever shall break one of the least command 
ments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the 
kingdom of heaven.' We are apt to say ' It is but a little one, and 
my soul shall live.' No sin is little which is committed against a 
great God. It argueth more wickedness to break with God for a 
trifle and a very small matter, it argueth more corruption ; as a little 
force will make a heavy body move downward. Again, in another case, 
the ceremonialist stands upon some lesser things ; as the Jews, John 
xviii. 28, 'would not go into the judgment-hall lest they should be 
defiled,' yet they could seek the life of the Lord of glory. They are 
not brought under the dominion of the Lord's grace, faith, repentance, 
holiness, and the weightier things of the law ; these are things they 
regard not. This is hypocrisy. Like one that comes into a shop to 
buy a pennyworth and steals a pound's worth ; so they are punctual 
in lesser things, that they may make bold with God in greater. Again, 
some will do the will of God in public, where they may be observed ; 
but not in private, and when alone. They make a fair show in the 
world, but in their families their converse is more loose and careless : 
Ps. ci. 2, ' I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.' A man 
that is truly holy will show it at home and abroad, in his closet and 
secret retirements, everywhere he makes conscience of the will of God. 
Many times we strain ourselves and put forth our gifts in public ; 
God will be served with our utmost in secret also ; and the will of 
God is expressed concerning the inward as well as the outward man, 
and we must make conscience of both : Isa. Iv. 7, ' Let the wicked 
man forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts/ &c. 
Not only make conscience of our way, our outward course, but of our 
thoughts as well as our actions, for the thoughts fall under a law. 
So some will make conscience of the first-table duties, and neglect 
the second ; and some of the second, and neglect the first. Some are 
very punctual in dealing with men, but neglectful of God : Rom. 
i. 18, ' The wrath of God is revealed from heaven, against all ungod 
liness and unrighteousness of men.' Both tables are owned from 
heaven. Some will not wrong their neighbour of a farthing, but 
stick not to rob God of all that faith, fear, love, trust, worship, that 
is due to him. Many that will not defile their bodies with promis 
cuous copulation, yet are adulterers and adulteresses to God, their 


hearts straggling from God, doting upon the creature to the wrong of 
God. Many condemn the rebellion of Absalom, and rise up against 
their heavenly Father, and are murderers, that strike at the being of 
God. They are tender of wronging the reputation of men, yet dis 
honour God, and are never troubled. So, on the other side, others 
fear and worship, but in their dealings are very unconscionable ; they 
will not swear an oath, but are very uncharitable, censuring their 
brethren without pity and remorse. This is the fashion of the world, 
to be in with one duty and out with another. 

[7.] A loathness to know the will of God, to search and inquire into 
it, argueth deceit, and that we are loath to come under the power of it. 
Some men shrewdly suspect it is true, but are loath to inquire into it : 
John iii. 20, ' Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither 
cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.' They have a 
shrewd guess about the ways of God, but will riot search to be 
satisfied : 2 Pet. iii. 5, ' They are willingly ignorant.' As Tertullian 
saith of the heathens, they would not search into the Christian religion, 
because they had a mind to hate it ; so these are loath to inquire 
further into the will of God. There is a great deal of deceit in it ; 
it shows we are afraid to come too near a suspected truth. Again, 
now and then when lusts are under some restraint, men seem to lie 
much under the will of God. A horse that is kept low is easily ruled 
by the rider, but when fed high he grows headstrong. Many times 
in a mean condition a man seems to make conscience of doing the 
will of God ; but when prosperous, he waxeth wanton and disobedient : 
Jer. v. 5, 'I will get me to the great men, but these have altogether 
broken the yoke and burst the bonds.' 

So that there are a great many mistakes about doing the will of 
God, therefore you had need search. 

Secondly, How shall we know we are rightly affected with the will 
of God? 

[1.] When God's will is reason enough for what he hath required of 
us ; when a man is so sensible of God's will that this is instead of all 
reasons. Obedience is never right but when it is done upon the mere 
sight of God's will. This is enough to a gracious heart, that this is 
the will of God, 1 Pet. ii. 15, 1 Thes. v. 18, though the duty be 
never so cross to our own desires and interests. This is to obey the 
commandment for the commandment's sake, without any other reason 
or inducement. There is, indeed, ratio formalis and ratio motiva, 
the formal reasons of obedience and the motives of obedience. The 
formal reason of obedience is the sight of God's will, the motives to 
obedience are rewards and a dread of punishment. The formal reason 
is God's will ; and this is pure obedience, to do what God wills be 
cause God wills it. 

[2.] When a man is very inquisitive to know what is the will of his 
heavenly Father. When he doth not only practise what he knows, 
but searcheth that he may know more : Rom. xii. 2, ' That ye may 
prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God ;' and, 
Eph. v. 17, ' Be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of 
the Lord is.' When a man is desirous to know the whole will of God, 
not for curiosity but for practice, that he might do it. When the 


understanding hath a confused notion of a thing they will not know 
it distinctly, but when men search, and are willing to find out the 
counsel of God in all things that they may come up to it, this is a 
sign the heart is rightly affected to the will of God. 

[3.] Hereby may you know your affection to God's will, by keeping 
yourselves from your sins : Ps. xviii. 23, ' I was upright before him, 
and kept myself from mine iniquity.' There is an iniquity that we 
may call ours, upon which the will is most passionately addicted ; 
be it worldliness, sensuality, inordinate desire of reputation and re 
spect with men. Now, when we are plucking out our right eye, and 
cutting off our right hand, Mat. v. 29 when we are mortifying and 
subduing our lusts when we can deny ourselves in those things to 
which the heart is most wedded, that is a sign of compliance with the 
will of God. 

The second point. 

Doct. 2. That it is the Lord which giveth to will and to do those 
things which are pleasing in his sight. 

Therefore we ask it of him, ' Thy will be done/ that is, as I ex 
plained it, we ask of him a heart, skill, and strength to do his holy will. 

Here I shall tell you : 

1. What I mean by the point. 

2. Give you the proof of it. 

I. What I mean by the point : 

1. I mean thus, that in the work of conversion God doth all : 
Ezek. xi. 19, ' I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit 
within you ; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and I 
will give them an heart of flesh.' The benefit of a tender sanctified 
heart is God's gift : Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27, ' A new heart also will I give 
you, and a new spirit will I put within you : and I will take away 
the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh, 
and I will cause you to walk in my statutes.' Mark, a new heart 
that is, another heart, a heart to understand, a heart to love, a heart 
to do the will of God, he gives it. He doth not only offer it, or pre 
pare it, make way for it, but ' I will give you a heart of flesh/ 

2. This is that I mean, that after conversion God still concurreth. 
He doth not only give the habit of grace, but actual help in the work 
of obedience. ' He worketh all our works in us/ Isa. xxvi. 12. His 
actual help is necessary to direct, quicken, strengthen, protect, and 
defend us. To direct us : Ps. Ixxiii. 24, ' Thou shalt guide me by 
thy counsel, and bring me to thy glory/ In our way to heaven, we 
need not only a rule and path, but a guide. The rule is the law of 
God, but the guide is the Spirit of God. To quicken and excite us 
by effectual motions : a drowsiness and a deadness is apt to creep upon 
our hearts, and we see in the same duty it is a hard matter to keep up 
the same frame of spirit, the same vigour of affection, life, and warmth ; 
and therefore we had need go to God often, as David: Ps. cxix. 
37, ' Quicken thou me in thy way/ It is God which doth renew the 
vigour of the life of grace upon all occasions, when it begins to languish 
and droop. To corroborate and strengthen what we have received : 
Eph. iii. 16, the apostle prays there that he would ' strengthen with 
might by his Spirit in the inner man ; ' and, 1 Pet. v. 10, ' Make 


you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you/ There are many words 
heaped up there to show how God is interested in maintaining and 
keeping afoot that which he hath planted in the soul. In protecting 
and defending them against the incursions and assaults of the devil, 
who always lieth in wait to surprise the soul, to withdraw us from 
God. The regenerate are not only escaped out of his clutches, but 
are advanced and appointed to be Satan's judges, which an envious 
and proud spirit cannot endure ; therefore he maligns, assaults, and 
besiegeth them with temptations daily. Now, it is God that defends : 
John xvii. 11, ' Keep through thine own name those whom thou 
hast given me ; ' by thy name that is, by thy power. 

3. God must not only help us in the general, and upon weighty 
occasions, but in every act, from the "beginning of the spiritual life to 
the end. It is not enough to say that the first principles and motions 
are of God, but the flowing forth of all motions and actions, accord 
ing to those principles : Phil. ii. 13, 'It is God that worketh in you 
both to will and to do of his good pleasure/ God not only gives the 
desire and purpose, but he gives grace to the good which we will and 
purpose to do. These two are distinct ; and we may have assistance 
in one kind and not in another ; willing and doing, I mean, are dif 
ferent. Paul saith, Bom. vii. 18 : 'To will is present with me ; but 
how to perform that which is good I find not/ To will is more than 
to think; and to exert, and put forth our will into action, it is more 
than both ; and in all we need God's help. We cannot think a good 
thought, nor conceive a holy purpose, much less perform a good action, 
without God, so that every moment we need renewed strength. As 
long as the work of grace is powerful and renewed in us, so long we 
are kept in a warm and healthful frame ; but we grow vain, loose, 
earthly, carnal again, and off from God, when this heat and warmth 
of grace is withdrawn ; and therefore God still concurreth in the 
whole business of our obedience to him. 

II. Having showed what I mean, and how far God is interested in 
this work, what need we have to desire we may do his will; let us 
prove it. And because it is a weighty point, I shall prove it by parts. 

1. As to the first grace, that it is God alone which frames our 
hearts to the obedience of his will. 

2. That when we are thus framed by grace, after conversion, it is 
God still concurs, and must help us to do his will. 

First, As to the first grace, I shall prove that it is God alone, by 
the power of his own Spirit, which frames our hearts to the obedience 
of his- will. This will appear by considering : 

(1.) What man is by nature. 

(2.) The words by which our cure is expressed, and the way God 
takes to put us into a course of obedience. 

(3.) What the scripture speaks as to the utter impotency of man, to 
the framing of his heart to the obedience of God's will. 

(1.) First, This will appear by those notions or emphatical terms by 
which the scripture doth set forth man's condition before God works 
upon him. He is one that is ' born in sin : ' Ps. li. 5, ' Behold, I was 
shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me ;' and 
things natural are not easily altered. And as he is born in sin, so he 


is greedy of sin: Job xv. 16, ' He drinketh in iniquity like water;' 
it noteth a vehement propension, as greedy to sin as a thirsty man to 
drink. Thirst is the most implacable appetite, hunger is far better 
borne. It is the constant frame of his heart : Gen. vi. 5, ' Every 
imagination of the thoughts of his heart is only evil continually.' Oh, 
how many aggravating and increasing circumstances are there named. 
There is a mint that is always at work ; the mind is coining evil 
thoughts, and the heart evil desires and carnal motions; and the 
memory is the closet and storehouse where they are lodged and kept. 
This is the case of man, born in sin, greedy arid thirsty of sin, and 
one whose thoughts are evil continually. 

But may not a man be reclaimed ? Oh no, for he hath a heart of 
stone : Ezek. xxxvi. 26, ' I will take away the heart of stone.' Every 
man that comes to be converted hath a heart of stone ; and what is 
that? insensible, inflexible. Insensible, he hath no feeling of his 
condition ; inflexible, he will not be moved and wrought upon by the 
word, and the Spirit, and providence. How many means are wasted 
upon him, and to no purpose ! And Jer. xvii. 9, ' The heart is deceit 
ful above all things, and desperately wicked : who can know it ?' It 
invents all kinds of shifts and excuses to elude God, or rather to cheat 
itself. When God comes to work upon man, it slides away from 
under his hand, as if salvation itself should not save them. Yea, but 
is not the New Testament more favourable to man than the Old ? Or, 
is not man grown better now there is so much of God's grace dis 
covered ? I answer, there is a perfect harmony between the Testa 
ments: there he is styled ' a child of wrath by nature,' Eph. ii. 3; the 
elect as well as others were so. There you will find him to be a 
' servant of sin/ Rom. vi. 17. Never such an imperious master as sin 
is, never such a willing servant as man is. Sin never leaves com 
manding, and we love to work, and therefore are at its beck. There 
you will find him to be represented as a man that hath a ' blind un 
derstanding,' and a ' hard heart,' and one that is ' averse from the 
life of God/ Eph. iv. 18. There you will find him to be one that is 
an 'enemy to the law of God,' 'enmity' itself, Rom. viii. 7; one that 
neither will nor ' can please God/ One that is blind, and knows not 
what to do : 2 Pet. i. 9, ' He that lacketh these things is blind/ and 
with such a blindness as is far worse than bodily. A man that is 
blind in his bodily eyes, would think it to be a great happiness to 
have a fit guide : as in Acts xiii. 11, when Elymas was smitten blind, 
' he sought about for somebody to lead him by the hand.' But he 
that is spiritually blind, cannot endure to have a guide ; or if one 
would lead him, and direct him in the right way, he is angry. And 
as the scripture represents him as blind, so without strength : Rom. 
v. 9, ' Dead in trespasses and sins;' Eph. ii. 5, yea, worse than dead ; 
a dead man doth no more hurt, his evil dieth with him ; but there is 
a life of resistance and rebellion against God that goeth along. I have 
spoken but little, yet put all together, and then it shows what a miser 
able wretched creature man is. 

The scripture doth not speak this by chance, it is not an hyperbole 
used once or twice, but everywhere, where it speaks of this matter, it 
sets out man to be blind, hard, dead, obstinate, and averse from God. 


Certainly man contributes little to his own conversion, if the word of 
God sets him out everywhere to be such a one; he cannot hunger and 
thirst after Christ, that drinks in iniquity like water. Nothing in his 
nature to carry him to grace, who is altogether sinful. 

If the scripture had only said that man had accustomed himself to 
sin, and was not born in sin : if it had said that man is very prone, 
and not greedy and thirsty in iniquity : if it had only said that man 
.did often think evil, but not continually: if the scripture had said 
that man was somewhat obstinate, but not a stone, an adamant, and 
like the nether mill-stone : that he had been indifferent to God and 
the world, God and the flesh, and not a professed enemy : that he 
had been a captive of sin, and not a servant of sin : that man had 
been weak and not dead : only a neuter and not a rebel : then there 
might have been something in man ; and the work of conversion and 
reducing to God had not been so great. But the scripture saith the 
quite contrary, that man is all this and much more, therefore this 
clears it up, that his conversion is not in himself, but it is God must 
work this good work upon him, or else he can never be renewed. 

(2.) Secondly, Let us consider the terms how the cure is wrought. Cer 
tainly to remedy so great an evil, requireth an omnipotent, an almighty 
power. Therefore see how conversion is described in scripture, sometimes 
by enlightening the mind : Eph. i. 18, ' The eyes of your understanding 
being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling,' 
&c. Man, the best creature on this side heaven, is stark blind in the 
things of God. If he should go to see with the light of nature, how 
would he grope at noon-day ! If he should put on the spectacles of 
art he will but be little better. Nay, let him take further the glass 
of the word, yet how blind in a spiritual sense. Something there 
must be done upon the faculty ; the object must not only be revealed, 
but the eye must be enlightened. There are thick scales upon his 
eye, as Paul had in his blindness, that must be taken off, before he 
can see into the things of God. 

But is this all, enlightening the eye ? No ; the scripture describeth 
this work of God by opening of the heart : Acts xvi. 14, ' God opened 
the heart of Lydia, that she attended unto the things which were 
spoken of Paul.' God doth not only knock at the heart that he doth 
by his word, and by the external means but he openeth the heart ; he 
must open the door before he can come in, enter, and take possession. 

As to the means, God trieth key after key, one providence after 
another. As when a man would open a door, he knows not what key 
will fit the lock, he trieth key after key ; so God trieth one cross, one 
affliction after another, one sermon, one message after another ; but 
until he puts his fingers upon the hole of the lock, we shall not open. 

But these words are not emphatical enough, therefore it is expressed 
by a regeneration: John iii. 3, 'Except a man be born again, he 
cannot see the kingdom of God.' Mark, they must not only be re 
formed, but must be regenerated and born again. 

Now, because this is an ordinary work which falleth out in the 
course of causes, therefore there is a more solemn notion used, it is 
expressed by a resurrection : Eph. ii. 5, ' He hath raised you up to 
gether with Christ.' Yea, but that which hath been may be again, 


therefore it is expressed not only by a resurrection, but by a creation : 
Eph. ii. 10, ' We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto 
good works : ' 2 Cor. iv. 6, ' He that commandeth the light to shine 
out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts. 5 And we are called new 
creatures. And higher than this, it is expressed not only by a creation, 
but by a victory and overcoming. It is resembled by beating and 
binding of the strong man, and rescuing and taking away his prey 
from him : Luke xi. 21, 22; 1 John iv. 4. 'By bringing into captivity 
every proud thought to the obedience of Christ,' 2 Cor. x. 5. 

These expressions the scripture useth to set out the mystery of 
grace, the power of God that worketh in us. What is wanting in one 
is supplied in another. 

(3.) The third thing I shall produce ; That the scripture doth 
expressly deny any power in man to convert himself to God : 1 Cor. 
ii. 14, ' The natural man cannot know the things of the Spirit of God, 
because they are spiritually discerned ; ' and as he cannot know, so he 
cannot obey : Eom. viii. 7, ' The carnal mind is enmity against God ; 
for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be ; and they 
cannot please God : ' ver. 8. And they cannot come to Christ : John 
vi. 44, ' No man can come to me except the Father draw him.' And 
they cannot do anything without Christ, John xv. 15 ; and they 
cannot think a good thought, 2 Cor. iii. 5 : and they cannot bring 
forth good fruit, Mat. vii. 18 ; and they cannot speak a good word, 
Mat. xii. 34 ; and they cannot believe, John xii. 39 ; and they cannot 
do that which is good, Jer. xiii. 23, ' Ye that are accustomed to do 
evil, cannot do good.' From whence doth all this deficiency in them 
arise ? Partly from nature, partly from custom. Besides the natural 
there is a customary and habitual depravation. By nature we are 
averse from God, and by custom we are more confirmed in this evil 
aversation from God. Man, by lying long in his unregeneracy, hath his 
averseness from God increased and strengthened upon him. Naturally 
we are in love with the world, and have declined God and the things 
of God. Consider him in his naturals, he ' cannot know the things of 
the Spirit:' 1 Cor. ii. 14. And the carnal mind cannot be subject to 
the law of God, being at enmity against him, Horn. viii. 7. There are 
other places express this cannot, which derive it from custom ; they 
are become slaves to their lusts, and their sins have gotten such a hand 
over them that they know not how to break them off : Jer. xiii. 23, 
' Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots ? Then 
may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.' And so where 
it is said : John xii. 39, ' They could not believe.' Naturally man 
is unable ; but that place speaks of another degree of impossibility 
through contracted obstinacy and judicial obduration. Thus you see 
man is wholly impotent as to this work, and it is the Lord alone must 
do it. 

Object. But here is an objection. If it be so that man hath such an 
utter impotency to convert himself to God, how can it stand with the 
mercy of God, as the creator of mankind, to require the debt of obedi 
ence from him that is not able to pay ? How can it stand with the 
justice of God to punish him with eternal death, for the neglect of 
that which he is not able to do ? and how can it stand with the wisdom 


of the supreme lawgiver, to exhort him by promises and threatenings, 
who hath no power to do what he is exhorted to do ? 
I answer : 

1. As to the first; how can it stand with the mercy of God to 
require the debt of obedience from him that is not able to pay ? God 
hath not lost his right, though man hath lost his power; their impotency 
doth not dissolve their obligation. A drunken servant is a servant 
still. It is against all reason a master should lose his right by the 
servant's default. A prodigal debtor hath nothing to pay, yet he is 
liable to be sued for the debt without any injustice. God contracted 
with us in Adam, and gave us a power which we lost by his fall ; 
and therefore though our power be gone, yet God may demand his due 
to obey and please him ; especially since this obedience God required 
of Adam, was not only due by covenant and positive law, but by im 
mutable right and natural justice of man. Men think it harsh to 
suffer for Adam's fault, to which they were not conscious and actually 

Yea, but consider, every man will find an Adam in his own heart. 
The old man is there, we are still sinning away those relics of natural 
light in conscience, and those few moral inclinations which are left. 
There is a little ability and strength he hath as a man, and shall not 
God challenge the debt of obedience from a proud prodigal debtor, that 
is weakening and wasting himself more and more ? We are proud, 
therefore God may exact it of us. We think we are able to obey and 
do his will, when we are weak ; we are poor, yet think ourselves rich ; 
therefore God may admonish us of our duty, demand his right to show 
our impotency and beggary, and that we may not pretend we were 
not called upon for what we owe. But man is not only a proud 
debtor, but we are prodigal debtors ; those relics of conscience and 
moral and human inclinations, which escaped out of the ruins of the 
fall, we lose those things every day, and embezzle them away by the 
service of sin. Therefore it standeth fully with the clemency of God, 
as creator of mankind, to require the debt of him that wastes that little 
stock he hath. 

2. As to the other part, how it can stand with the justice of God to 
punish him with eternal death, for the neglect of that he cannot do. 
I answer : Besides natural impotency, there is voluntary. We must 
not consider man merely as impotent to good, but as delighting in 
evil, as loving it with all his heart. This cannot indeed is a ivill not, 
it is a voluntary impotence. ' You will not come to me, that ye might 
have life:' John v. 40. Our impotency lies in our obstinacy. So man 
is left without excuse, because we freely refuse the grace offered, and 
by continuing in sin we increase our bondage, and draw an inveterate 
custom upon ourselves, and so grow every day more obstinate against 

3. As to the last, how can it stand with the wisdom of God to exhort 
him with promises and threatenings, that hath no power to do that 
which he is exhorted to ? 

I answer : These exhortations, they carry their own blessing with 
them to those to whom God means them for good. As God's creating 
word carried with it its power : ' Be there light, and there was light ; ' 


and as Christ's word carried forth his power, it was not in vain to say, 
' Lazarus, come forth/ though he was dead, and could not hear it ; 
there was a mighty power went with the word ; so there is power 
goes along with the exhortations of the gospel, to work grace in the 
hearts of those to whom God intends it as a blessing. 

Yea, but if this be for the elect's sake only, and to convey that power 
to them, to what use doth it stand to others ? If the elect did dwell 
alone, and were a distinct community among themselves, the objection 
were plausible ; but they are hidden among others : therefore repro 
bates are called obiter, by the by, as others are called according to 
purpose ; and therefore they have the benefit of the common call and 
the common offer. The world stands for the elect's sake, yet others 
have the benefit of the world and worldly things. So the word is 
preached for the elect's sake, yet others have the benefit of an external 
call. The sun shines, though blind men see it not. The rain falls 
upon rocks and mountains, as well as fruitful valleys ; so God may 
suffer these exhortations to light upon wicked men. And again, as 
to them, it is for their conviction ; it is to bridle their corruptions ; it 
is at least a means to civilise them, and keep them from growing 
worse : therefore such kind of doctrines and persuasions restrain their 
wickedness. Therefore it stands well enough with the wisdom of the 
lawgiver to call upon men, and invite them with promises and 
threatenings, to repentance. 

Therefore now let me show how doth God reduce and frame our 
hearts to the obedience of his will. The ways God useth are of two 
sorts, moral and real. 

[1.] God works morally, so as to preserve man's nature, and the 
principles thereof; therefore he works by sweet inclination, not with 
violence. So he comes with blandishments and comfortable words : 
Hosea ii. 14, ' I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and 
speak comfortably unto her.' So, Gen. ix. 27, ' The Lord shall 
persuade Japhet, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem.' By fair 
and kindly words, he draweth on men to the liking of the gospel. He 
offereth no violence to our natural principles, but to our corruptions. 
God doth not make the will to be no will, but to be a good will ; he 
restoreth the faculties to their right use and exercise ; he layeth forth 
the beauty and excellency of his grace, and a glorious estate he sets 
before our eyes, and so outbids temptation, and draweth our hearts to 
himself. And God not only doth work suitably to our general 
nature, as we are reasonable creatures, but suitably to the particular 
frame of the heart. Some are of a stout and stubborn temper, and 
will not be subdued by milder means and motives; therefore God 
breaks them with fears and terrors, and with a spirit of conviction ; 
and others, he draws them on by love, and by a gentle application. 

That God hath respect to men's particular tempers was figured in 
those extraordinary ways of appearance and manifestation ; they are 
fitted according to the state of men. To Moses, that was a shepherd, 
and was acquainted with bushes, God appears in a bush of fire ; and 
to the wise men, that were skilled in the motions of the heavenly 
bodies, he appears in a star; and to Peter, that was a fisherman, he 
appears to him, and shows his power first in the draught of fishes, 


So still these are pledges of this kind of dispensation : that God will 
work suitably, not only to our general nature as men, but to our par 
ticular state and temper. Yea, yet further, to set on this moral way of 
working, there is a fit subordination of the circumstances of provi 
dence. God ' takes the wild asses in their month ; ' and he hath his 
reason wherein to surprise the hearts of sinners: Prov. xxv. 11, 'A 
word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.' God 
comes in in a fit season ; as when a soul is humbled by some sudden 
accident ; as one was converted by seeing a man fall down dead suddenly 
by him. God ordereth some providences to work, and awaken the 
hearts of men ; or else by some great affliction : Hos. ii. 14, ' I will 
bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her/ God 
finds many a sinner in the briars, as Abraham found the lamb. Stub 
born humours are then most broken. Metal in the furnace is capable 
of any form. God may suit and dispose us so that he may come in 
in a fit season to the soul, or in terrors of conscience, when the heart 
is scourged with remorse for great sins. All this is God's moral work. 

[2.] There is a real work, which goes along with this persuasion : 
there is an almighty power ; for bare persuasion cannot make the 
blind to see, the dead to live, or open the heart of man, that is so 
desperately and obstinately wicked, until he puts his fingers upon the 
holes of the lock, until he begins to open the heart. 

Concerning this real work, observe it is secret, yet thorough and 
prevailing, so as the effect doth follow, when God will convert. The 
exact manner of God's drawing is unknown. Austin calls it an 
inward, hidden, and unspeakable power, which God putteth forth 
together with the word. It is marvellous in our eyes ; but he that 
knew how to create souls knows how to work upon them. This 
power, it is like the influences of the heavens, which so insinuate 
themselves with the operation of second causes, that they cannot be 
seen ; so there is such a mighty power working in us, though we 
cannot tell how to express it. We cannot say there is no such power, 
because we do not know what it is. 

And as this power is secret, so when this power is put forth it is 
prevailing : he works prevailingly, so as the effect must necessarily 
follow. The grace God gives to men, to convert them, it is not a 
power to be converted, repent, and believe, if they will ; no, but he 
gives repentance, he gives faith, and works so as the effect shall suc 
ceed : he works efficaciously and determinately, so as to oppose all the 
resistance of the will, and accomplish his work. 

That is the first branch. 

Secondly, When we are thus framed by grace, after conversion God 
still concurreth, and must help us to do his will. He doth not only 
give us the habit of grace, but actual help in the work of obedience : 
Isa. xxvi. 12, ' Thou hast wrought all our works in us.' 

But why is it that still the Lord worketh in us, both to will and to 
do, unto the last ; and not only begins with us, but still keeps grace 
in his own hands, so as we shall have our supplies from heaven from 
day to day ? 

There are several reasons : 

[1.] Because it endeareth God to a gracious soul. The more visits 

VOL. I. K 


we have from God, and the more he is mindful of us at every turn, 
the more is God endeared to us. In such a duty, there we met with 
comfort and enlargement, because God was there ; that is noted and 
regarded, so that the Lord is rendered the more precious. The ex 
periment we have of God in every duty doth the more make us prize 
his grace. As David, Ps. cxix. 93, ' I will never forget thy precepts, 
for with them thou hast quickened me.' I shall never forget such a 
sermon, and such a prayer, because there I met with God. So in 
affliction, Rom. v. 3, ' Patience worketh experience ; ' or in such a 
conflict, we had such a support : this endeareth God to the soul. As 
mutual acts of kindness do maintain a friendship between man and 
man, so do these renewed acts of love, and of God's care and kindness 
over us, maintain a friendship between God and us. 

[2.] It engageth us to a constant dependence upon God, and com 
munion with him. It is dependence which maintains the commerce 
between heaven and earth. Now, if we did keep the stock ourselves, 
God and we should soon grow strangers. When the prodigal had his 
portion in his own hands, he goes out of his father's house : Luke xv. 
The throne of grace would lie neglected and unfrequented. If we did 
not stand in need of daily receivings, when would the Lord hear 
from us ? And therefore, to oblige us to a constant dependence, God 
will keep the grace in his own hands, that ever we may have some 
thing to drive us to himself, some necessities upon us ; for the throne 
of grace is for a time of need : Heb. iv. 1 6. 

[3.] This is that which keeps us humble, and that upon several con 
siderations. All we have, it is by gift ; and then what can we be 
proud of ? Not only the habits of grace themselves, but also those 
actual incitements which are necessary to draw them forth into act. 
So that of all our excellencies we may say, Alas ! it is but borrowed ; 
and if we be proud of them, we are but proud we are more in debt 
than others : when most enlarged and most assisted, it is from God. 
We would laugh if a groom should be proud of his master's horse 
and his master's cloak; shall we usurp that honour that is due to 
God ? ' What hast thou that thou didst not receive ? ' 1 Cor. iv. 7. 
And then we have it from hand to mouth. That which we have re 
ceived will not bear us out, unless God come in with new influences 
of grace. We should soon grow proud if God did not direct us, and 
give out the renewed evidences of his love day after day ; and we 
should not acknowledge our benefactor if God should do all at once : 
therefore he lesseneth and weakeneth our corruptions by degrees, and 
by the renewed influences of his grace ; and by this means we are 
made sensible of the mutability of our own nature. God left Heze- 
kiah, ' to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart/ 
2 Chron. xxxii. 31. God hath so dispensed grace that he will be 
going and coming as to actual influence ; therefore sometimes he will 
leave us, that he may discover a man to himself. Though we have 
grace planted in our hearts, and are renewed, yet if God leave us, how 
weak and foolish are we ! We are renewed, but not fully recovered of 
that maim and bruise we got by the fall of Adam, and we cannot do as 
we will. If God withdraw his quickening, his strength, secret corruption 
will break forth, and our indisposition to holy things will soon appear. 


[4.] Then it is for the honour of the Lord's grace. It doth abun 
dantly provide for the glory of grace, that from first to last we are 
indebted to God ; not only for those permanent and fixed habits which 
constitute the new creature, but for those daily supplies without which 
the motions of the spirit are at a stand. And this is that which 
makes the saints still to put the crown upon grace's head. When the 
servants gave an account of improving of their talents, saith one of 
them, Luke xix. 16, ' Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds :' he 
doth not say, ' My industry/ but, ' thy pound.' So Paul, Gal. ii. 20, 
' I live ;' yea, but he interposeth presently, 'Yet not I, but Christ 
liveth in me.' They are ever ascribing all to God, because they see 
they can do nothing without him. When we come to heaven, it is a 
question which we shall admire most, grace or glory, the glory of that 
estate into which we are brought, or else grace, which was the foun 
dation of it. Oh, when we see all that was done and suffered for God, 
it was from God : ' Of thine own have we given thee.' How will the 
soul admire the riches of his glorious grace ! We have not only 
traded with his money, but by his direction ; and when our stock was 
embezzled he supplied us at every turn. For these ends the Lord 
still keeps grace in his own hands, that we can do nothing to any pur 
pose unless he be pleased to concur, by the influences and quickenings 
of his own Spirit. 

Use. The use shall only be in these two branches : 

1. In doing any good work, let us do all things in him as well as 
to him. Let us not only make this our scope, that we may do it to 
God, but let us make his grace our principle : otherwise, when we go 
to work for God without God, it will befall us as it did Sampson, that 
thought to go out and shake himself as in former times, but his locks 
were cut and his strength gone. Men that have had former ex 
periences, think to find a like vigour of affection, a like raisedness of 
spirit, a like savouriness of expression ; but if they take not God along 
with them, they find their strength is gone, their affections dead, that 
all their spirits are dry and sapless, and that they do not go forth with 
such life and power as formerly. Therefore, whenever you go about 
a good work, say, as David, 'I will go forth in the strength of 

2. It directs us in ascribing the honour of what we have done. It 
is dangerous to assume divine honour to ourselves or accept it from 
others ; but we must give the Lord the glory, whose concurrence doth 
all the work. Kemember, we have received all from God, and God must 
have all the glory and honour ; if others should ascribe it to us, we 
are not to take it. To conceal and receive stolen goods, brings us 
within the compass of theft, as well as to steal them ourselves. So, 
when others would ascribe anything to us, still let the Lord have the 
glory of every work and business. 

The third point. 

Doct. 3. We are not only to look to this, that his will be done, but 
to the manner how it is done. 

It is not for the honour of his majesty to be put off with anything ; 
we must serve him with all our mind and strength: Mai. i. 14, 'When 
ye brought that which was torn, and lame, and sick, should I accept 


this of your hands ? saith the Lord. I am a great king, saith the 
Lord of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.' We are 
to aim at the highest manner of serving God. There is an ardent 
desire in the saints to be perfect : ' If by any means they would attain 
to the resurrection of the dead,' Phil. iii. 11 ; that is, that happy and 
sinless state they shall enjoy hereafter. The manner is more consid 
erable than the work itself. A man may sin in doing good, but he 
cannot sin in doing well ; therefore the manner is that which is mainly 
stood upon in scripture. God doth not only look that we pray, but 
it must be fervent effectual prayer, not a drowsy devotion ; not only 
that we hear, but take heed how we hear ; not only that we serve him, 
but serve him instantly; not only run, but so run. The great thing 
that is put into the balance of the sanctuary, when God comes to weigh 
the actions of men, what doth he consider ? He weighs the spirits : 
Prov. xvi. 2, ' All the ways of man are right in his own eyes ; but the 
Lord weigheth the spirits ;' that is, he considers with what frame of 
heart, and in what manner, we go about anything we do for him. 
And therefore this is the main thing we should look after, in what 
manner we serve him, even as the angels do in heaven ; not in an 
ordinary but perfect manner. 

But wherein doth the resemblance hold ; how should we be as the 
angels ? 

1. In conformity to the angels, we must serve God readily. The 
angels are represented as ' with wings,' Isa. vi. 2 : and the angel 
Gabriel is said to ' fly swiftly' upon God's message ; they are heark 
ening for God's word, and go on God's errand. So we should be ready 
and speedy in our obedience : Ps. cxix. 60, ' I made haste, and delayed 
not to keep thy commandments/ It is not enough to keep God's com 
mandments, but we must make haste ; that is, before the strength of 
the present impulsion be lost, and those fervours which are upon us 
be cooled. 

2. Willingly and cheerfully, and without murmuring. Angels are 
ready at God's beck ; they are ministering spirits, even to the meanest 
saints ; God hath sent them abroad for the heirs of salvation ; they 
are as guardians to them, to look after them in all their ways. The 
devils, what Christ bids them do, do it murmuringly ; the unclean 
spirit would not come out without rending and tearing, Mark ix. ; 
Christ's presence was a burthen to them, Mat. viii. When we do 
things with reluctancy, murmuringly, we are more like the devils than 
the angels. When the devils obey his word, they are forced to it by the 
absolute power of Christ ; yet they do it not with willingness and 
freeness, as the good angels do. But we are to do it freely : ' I delight 
to do thy will, my God/ Ps. xl. 8. And, John iv. 34, ' It is my 
meat and drink to do the will of him that sent me.' That was the 
dish Christ loved. 

3. Constantly and unweariedly. Thus do the angels in heaven. 
The devils they abode not in the truth ; but angels, they do it with 
out weariness; they rest not day nor night, but are still lauding, 
praising, and serving God, and are never weary. God in communion 
is ever new and fresh to them ; the face of their heavenly Father is as 
lovely as at the first moment ; no weariness or satiety creeps upon those 


good spirits. Thus should we do it without weariness, and then we 
shall reap if we faint not. 

4. Faithfully, not picking and choosing : ' They hearken to the 
voice of his word,' whatever it be, be it to ascend or descend. So we, 
if it be to go backward for God, though it be against the bent of our 
hearts. David is said to be ' a man after God's heart,' because he did 
' all God's will/ Acts xiii. 22 : all which should be a pattern for us, 
and we should strive to come up to it. 

Give us this day our daily bread. 

WE are now come to the second sort of petitions, that concern our 
selves, as the former did more immediately concern God. Now you 
may observe the style in the prayer is altered. It was before, Thy 
name, Thy kingdom, Thy will ; now it is, Give us, and Forgive us, 
&c. Before, our Lord had taught us to speak in a third person, ' Thy 
will be done ;' and now in a second person, ' Give us this day : ' which 
is not so to be understood as if we were not at all concerned in the 
former part of the Lord's Prayer. In those petitions, the benefit is not 
God's, but ours. When his name is sanctified, his kingdom cometh, 
and his will is done ; these things do not only concern the glory of 
God, but also our benefit. It is our advantage when God is honoured 
by the coming of Christ's kingdom and -the subjection of our hearts 
unto himself. But these latter petitions do more immediately concern 
us. Now, among these, in the first place, we pray for the necessary 
provisions of the present life. Some make a scruple why such a prayer 
should be put in the first place. Surely not to show the value of 
these things above pardon and grace ; but this is the last of the suppli 
cations. The Lord's Prayer may be divided into supplications and 
deprecations. Among the supplications, there we prayed, first, for the 
glory of God ; next, for the kingdom of God ; next, for our subjection 
to that kingdom ; and, in the last place, we pray for daily bread, or 
sustentation of the present life. But the other two are deprecations ; 
and that either of evil already committed, and so we pray for pardon 
of sin, ' Forgive us our trespasses; ' or deprecation of evil that is likely 
to be admitted, and so we pray against temptation, ' Lead us not into 
temptation :' so that this request is put into a fit order. First, we 
seek God's glory as the end ; his kingdom as the primary means ; our 
subjection to that kingdom as the next means ; and last of all, our 
comfortable subsistence in the world as a remote subservient help, that 
we may be in a capacity to serve and glorify God. 

In this petition there is : 

I. The thing asked, and that is bread, by which is meant all things 
necessary for the maintenance of this life. 

Now this is set forth : 

1. By a note of propriety, our bread. 

2. By an adjunct of time, daily bread. 

II. The manner of asking, give ; we ask it as a gift of God. 
III. The persons for whom we ask, Give us; as many as are 


supposed to be in a family together. Those that can call God 
Father by the Spirit, they may come with most confidence to God 
about daily supplies. 

IV. The renewing of our request, a-^fMepov, ' this day :' there is very 
much in that ; we ask but from morning till night : ' Give us this 
day our daily bread.' 

Before I come to explain these circumstances, let me observe in 
general : 

Doct. 1. That it is the Lord which doth bestow upon us freely and 
graciously the good things of this life. 

It is bread we ask, and we ask it of God, and to God we say, 
' Give.' All which circumstances do fully make out the point. 

This point again must be made good by parts : 

1. That God giveth it. 

2. That he freely and graciously giveth it. 

First, I shall show you how God is interested in the common 
mercies we do enjoy ; and how every one, high or low, rich or poor, 
full or in a mean condition, of what rank soever they be, even those 
that have the greatest store and plenty of worldly accommodations, 
they must come from morning to morning and deal with God for 
daily bread. 
, Those common mercies which we do enjoy : 

[1.] God gives us the possession of them, for he is the absolute 
Lord of all things both in heaven and in earth, and whatsoever is 
possessed by any creature, it is by his indulgence ; for the primitive 
and original right was in him: Ps. xxiv. 1, ' The earth is the Lord's, 
and the fulness thereof ; the world, and they that dwell therein.' It 
is all God's ; we hold it in fee from him, for he is the great landlord 
who hath leased out all these blessings to the sons of men. The 
earth is first the Lord's, and then by a grant he hath given it to men 
to enjoy : Ps. cxv. 16, ' The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's ; 
but the earth hath he given to the children of men.' He hath given 
it to men partly by a general grant, and leave given to enjoy and 
occupy it as the place of our service. But that is not all ; he doth 
not only give the earth in general to men, but he makes a particular 
allotment ; the particular designation of every man's portion of what 
he shall enjoy in the world, it is of God. And so it is said, Acts 
xvii. 26, ' He hath determined the bounds of their habitation.' God 
hath not only appointed in general the earth to be the place of our 
service for a while, but he hath determined how much every one shall 
possess, what shall fall to his share. These things come not by 
chance, or by the gift of others, or by our own industry, but by the 
peculiar designation of God's providence. However they come to us, 
God must be owned in the possession ; whether they come to us by 
donation, purchase, labour, or by inheritance, yet they are originally 
by God, who by these means bestoweth them upon us. If they 
come by donation, or the gift of others, the hearts of men are in 
God's hands, and he it was that disposed them to be bountiful to us, 
that appointed them to be instruments of his providence, to nourish 
us. He that sends a present, he is the giver, not the servant which 
brings it. So, though others be employed as instruments, it is the 


Lord which made them able and willing to do us good. If they 
come to us by inheritance, it is the providence of God that a man is 
born of rich friends and not of beggars : Prov. xxii. 2, ' The rich and 
poor meet together ; the Lord is the maker of them all/ He that 
hath cast the world first into hills and valleys, it was he that disposed 
of men, some into a high, and some into a low condition. If they 
come to us by our own labour and purchase, still God gave it to us : 
Deut. viii. 14-18, ' Take heed that thine heart be not lilted up, and 
thou forget the Lord thy God ; for it is he that giveth thee power to 
get wealth.' He doth not leave second causes to their own power and 
force, as if he were only an idle spectator in the world. No, he gives 
the skill and industry to manage affairs, and success upon lawful 
undertakings ; the faculty and the use, it is all from God. Though a 
man hath never so many outward advantages, yet, unless the Lord 
concur with his blessing, all would be to no purpose. 

[2.] As God gives us the possession, so he gives us a right and title to 
them. There is a twofold right to these common blessings ; a provi 
dential and a covenant right. Dominium politicum fundatur in pro- 
videntia ; ' Our civil right to things is founded upon God's providence: ' 
but Dominium evangelicum fundatur in gratia; 'Our gospel right to 
things is founded upon God's grace.' (1.) He gives the providential 
right, and thus all wicked men possess outward things, and the 
plenty they enjoy is as the fruits and gifts of God's common bounty ; 
it is their portion, he hath given it to them : Ps. xvii. 14, ' Which 
have their portion in this life,' whatever falleth to their share in a 
fair way, and in the course of God's providence ; they are not 
usurpers merely for possessing, but for abusing, what they have. 
They have not only a civil right by the laws of men, to prevent the 
incroachment of others, but a providential right before God ; and are 
not simply responsible for possession, but for their ill use and 
administration. (2.) There is a covenant right to these blessings : 
so only believers have a right to creature comforts by God's special 
love ; and so, ' That little that a righteous man hath is better than 
the treasures of many wicked,' Ps. xxxvii. 16 ; as the mean fare of a 
poor subject is better than the large allowance of a condemned traitor. 
Every wicked man is a traitor to God, and hath only an allowance 
until he be destroyed. But that little which a man hath, seasoned 
with God's love, is better than all the mighty increase of wicked men. 
Now, this covenant right we have by Christ, who is 'heir of all 
things,' Heb. i. 2 ; Christ hath the original right to them, and we 
by him come to have a covenant right. So it is said, 1 Cor. iii. 23, 
' Things present, and things to come, all are yours.' As things to 
come, the day of judgment is theirs; so things present are theirs by a 
new title from him. So it is said, 1 Tim. iv. 5, marriage, meats, 
and drinks, and all creatures, are made for them that believe. They 
that believe have only a gospel right to them. To draw it to the 
present thing, we do not only beg a possession of these things, but a 
right ; not only a providential, but a covenant right, that we may 
enjoy them as the gifts of God's fatherly love and compassion to us, 
that we may take our bread out of Christ's hands, that we may look 
upon it as swimming to us in his blood, and all our mercies as wrapt 


up in his bowels ; and then they will be sweet, and relish much better 
with a gracious soul, because he can not only taste the creature, but 
the love of God in the creature. 

[3.] He gives the continuance of our blessings, that we may keep 
what we have ; for unless the Lord do daily support us, we cannot 
keep our comforts for one day. How soon can God blast them ! It 
is at his pleasure to do what he will with you. He gave Satan power 
over Job's estate : chap. i. 12, ' Behold, all that he hath is in thy 
power.' Our life, it is continued to us by the indulgence of God, and 
by his providential influence and supportation. For as the beams of 
the sun are no longer continued in the air than the sun shineth, or, 
as the water retains the impress and stamp no longer than the seal 
is kept on it, so when God takes off his providential influence, all 
vanisheth into nothing. Thus he is said, Heb. i. 3, to ' uphold all 
things by the word of his power/ As a weighty thing is upheld in 
the hand of a man, when he looseneth his hand all falls to the ground ; 
so it is said, Job xii. 10, ' In whose hand is the soul of every living 
thing, and the breath of all mankind.' God by his almighty grasp 
holdeth all things in his own hands, and if he should but let loose his 
hand, all would fall to nothing and disappear : Job vi. 9. For it is 
from the intimate support and influence of his providence that we 
have our lives. So our comforts, they are continued to us by God. 
Alas ! in themselves they are poor fugacious things ! Haman was to 
day high in honour, and to-morrow high upon the gallows. ' Riches 
make themselves wings, and fly away as an eagle towards heaven : ' Prov. 
xxiii. 5. The Holy Ghost seems there to compare riches to a flock 
of birds, which pitcheth in a man's field to-night, but to-morrow they 
are gone. Who is the richer for a flock of wild fowls because they 
pitch in his field now ? So all these outward things are so flying 
that they are soon gone by many accidents, unless he preserves them 
and continues our possession of them. For God he can give a charge 
and commission to the fire, to the fury of men, one way or other, to 
deprive us of these things : ' Behold, all he hath is in thy hands,' Job 
i. 12. When a man hath gotten abundance of worldly comforts about 
him, and seemeth to be intrenched and provided against all hazards, 
the man is taken away, and cannot enjoy what he had heaped together 
with a great deal of care and solicitude. 

[4.] We beg leave to use them. It is good manners in religion to 
ask God's leave in all things. It is robbery to make use of a man's 
goods, and to waste and consume them without his leave. We must 
ask God's leave upon this account, because, though God gives these 
good things to men, yet he still reserves the property in himself ; for 
by distributing blessings to the creature, he never intended to divest 
himself of the right. As a husbandman, by scattering his corn in the 
field, did not dispossess himself, but still keeps a right and means to 
have the increase ; so when the Lord scattereth his blessings, we only 
receive them as stewards, not as owners and proprietors : God still is 
the supreme Lord, and only hath the property and dominion. In life 
it is clear man is not dominus vitce, but custos ; not lord of his life, 
but only the steward and guardian of it ; he cannot live or die at his 
own pleasure : if a man kills himself he runs the danger of God's law. 


What is said of life is true also of his estate : he is not an owner so 
much as a steward ; that is the notion of our possession : we are 
stewards, and must render an account to God.: Hos. ii. 9, ' I will re 
turn and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the 
season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax/ Though God 
hath communicated these things to the children of men, yet he hath 
reserved the dominion in his own hands : so Hag. ii. 8, ' The silver 
is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts.' He never 
disposed anything so into the creature's hands, but still he hath 
reserved a right and interest in it ; and therefore it is, Gen. xiv. 1 9. 
that the Lord is not only called the creator of heaven and earth, but 
'possessor of heaven and earth.' He is not only the possessor, of 
heaven where he dwells, which he hath reserved to his own use, but 
he is possessor of earth, which he hath committed to the use of men. 
And God will have his right acknowledged from day to day. 

[5.] It is he thatgiveth us ability to use them : we beg that we may 
not only have the comforts, but life and strength to use them ; for God 
can blast us in the very midst of our enjoyments. It is the case of 
many, when they have hunted after a worldly portion, and begin to 
think, now I will sit down and enjoy it; when the gain is come into his 
hands, and he thinks to waste 1 that which he hath got in hunting, 
death takes him away, and he hath not power to use them. Thus it 
was with the rich fool ; when he began to sing lullabies to his soul, and 
enjoy what he had got, he is taken away by death : Luke xii. 29, 
' Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee ; then whose 
shall those things be which thou hast provided?' And it is stiid, Num. 
xt. 33, when those people had gotten quails, that ' while the flesh Avas yet 
between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled 
against the people ; and the Lord smote them with a very great plague.' 
And that nobleman which saw plenty in Samaria, but could not taste 
of it : 2 Kings vii. 19. So Job xxi. 23, ' One dieth in his full strength, 
being wholly at ease and quiet : ' when he has gotten abundance of 
worldly comforts about him, death seizes on him of a sudden. 

[6.] God yet is further interested in these mercies, so as to give us a 
sanctified use of them, that we may take our bread out of God's hands 
with prayer and thanksgiving, and due acknowledgments of God. In 
1 Tim. iv. 4, 5, ' Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be 
refused, if it be received with thanksgiving ; for it is sanctified by the 
word of God and prayer.' Then are the creatures sanctified to us, 
when we enjoy God in them ; when our hearts are raised to think of 
the donor, and can love him the more for every gift. Carnal men, 
like swine, raven upon the acorns, but look not up to the oak from 
whence they drop. In the Canticles, the spouse's eyes are compared 
to dove's eyes. They which make the allusion say this is the mean 
ing : look, as a dove pecks, and looks upward ; so upon every grain of 
mere/ , we should look up to the God of mercies : it is not enough to 
tap'.e the sweet of the creatures, but also to own God, his love and 
Bounty in them, so to have them sanctified to us. This is the privi 
lege we have as men, that we can know the first cause, and who is the 
benefactor. All creatures subsist upon the first cause, but are not 

1 Qu. "taste?" ED. 


capable of knowing it. And this is our privilege as Christians, to 
have this capacity reduced into act. It is of the Lord's grace to give 
us a sanctified use of these things. 

[7.] We beg of G-od the natural blessing upon the holy use of out 
ward comforts, so as they may continue us in health and vigour for 
the service of God ; for nothing will prosper with us but by his bless 
ing : Ps. cvi. 15, ' He gave them their request, but sent leanness into 
their souls ; ' that is, they had no natural comfort by that which they 
had obtained. God may give a man meat, yet not an appetite ; he 
may not give him the comfortable use of it, a blessing with it. And 
therefore the apostle makes it to be an argument of God's bounty to 
the heathen, that as he gave them food, so he gave them gladness of 
heart : Acts xiv. 17, ' He gave them rain from heaven, and fruitful 
seasons, filling their hearts with food and gladness ; ' that is, gave them 
a comfortable use, a blessing upon the use of outward things. And 
Lev. xx vi., you will find a distinction between ' bread/ and the ' staff 
of bread.' We may have bread, yet not the staff of bread. Many have 
worldly comforts, but not with a natural blessing: Eccles. iii. 13, 
' That every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his 
labour ; it is the gift of God : ' not only that he should have increase 
by his labour, but enjoy good ; to have the comfortable use of that 

[8.] Contentation is one of God's blessings that we ask in this prayer, 
' Give us this day our daily bread ; ' that is, such provisions as are 
necessary for us, contentment and quiet of mind in the enjoyment : 
Joel ii. 19, ' Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye 
shall be satisfied therewith.' It is not only a blessing we should look 
after, but contentment, that our minds may be suited to our condition, 
for then the creature is more sweet and comfortable to us. The happi 
ness of man doth not lie in his abundance, but in the suitableness of 
his mind to his estate : Luke xii. 15, ' A man's life consisteth not in 
the abundance of things which he possesseth.' There is a twofold war 
within a man, both which must be taken up before a man can have 
comfort ; there is a war between a man and his conscience, and this 
breeds trouble of mind ; and there is a war between his affections and 
his condition, and this breeds murmuring and envious repining. Say, 
Yea, Lord, and let us be contented with thy gift. This for the first 
thing, how God is concerned in these outward comforts. 

Secondly, That the Lord doth freely and graciously give these good 
things to us, that is, merely out of his bounty and goodness. It is not 
from his strict remunerative justice, but out of his grace. The very 
air we breathe in, the bread we eat, our common blessings, be they 
never so mean, we have them all from grace, and all from the tender 
mercy of the Lord. Ps. cxxxvi. 25, you have there the story of the 
notable effects of God's mercy, and he concludes it thus : ' Who giveth 
food to all flesh ; for his mercy endureth for ever.' Mark, the 
psalmist doth not only ascribe those mighty victories, those glorious 
instances of his love and power, to his unchangeable mercy, but our 
daily bread. In eminent deliverances of the church we will acknow 
ledge mercy ; yea, but we should do it in every bit of meat we eat, for 
the same reason is rendered all along. What is the reason his people 


smote Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og the king of Bashan, and 
rescued his people so often out of danger ? Tor his rnercy endureth for 
ever.' And what is the reason he giveth food to all flesh ? ' For his 
mercy endureth for ever.' It is not only mercy which gives us Christ, 
and salvation by Christ, and all those glorious deliverances and 
triumphs over the enemies of the church ; but it is mercy which fur- 
.nisheth our tables, it is mercy that we taste with our mouths and wear 
at our backs. It is notable, our Lord Jesus, when there were but five 
barley loaves and two fishes, John vi. 11, ' He lift up his eyes and 
gave thanks.' Though our provision be never so homely and slender, 
yet God's grace and mercy must be acknowledged. 

But to evidence this by some considerations that certainly it is of 
the mercy of the Lord that he giveth bread to the creature : God 
giveth these mercies 

1. To those that cannot return any service to him. 

2. To those that will not return any service to him. 

3. When we are at our best we cannot deserve them. 

4. We deserve the quite contrary. 

[1.] He giveth these mercies to those that cannot return any service 
to him ; the beasts, and fowls of the air, the young ravens : Ps. 
cxlv. 16, ' Thou openest thy hand, and satisfiest the desire of every 
living thing.' What can the beasts, or fishes, or fowls of the air 
deserve at God's hand ? What honour and service can they bring to 
him? Only they have a bountiful Creator, from whom they receive their 

So as to infants. Alas ! what can they deserve at his hand ? When 
God rocks their cradles, and nourisheth them from the dug, what 
service can they do to God ? Isa. xlvi. 3, 4, ' By me,' saith the Lord, 
' you are borne from the belly, and carried from the womb ; and even 
to your old age, I am he ; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you.' 
Mark, not only in old age, when we ha*ve done God service, doth he 
maintain us ; but from the womb, the belly, before we could do any 
thing for him, we were tenderly handled by him. He alludeth to 
parents and nurses, which carry their younglings in their arms. In 
infancy we are not in a capacity to know the God of our mercies, and 
look after him ; yet he looked after us then, when we could not per 
form one act of love and kindness to him. The psalmist takes notice 
of this : Ps. xxii. 9, 10, ' Thou art he that took me out of the womb ; 
thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. I 
was cast upon thee from the womb ; thou art my God from my 
mother's belly.' Christians, before ever you could do anything for 
him or yourselves, before you could improve his mercy, when you 
could not know who was your benefactor, who it was that nourished 
and cherished you, yet then God rocked your cradles, kept you from 
many dangers, nursed you, and brought you up, and carried you in 
the tender arms of his providence. 

[2.] God gives these mercies to those that will not serve him when 
they can : Isa. i. 2, 'I have nourished and brought up children, and 
they have rebelled against me.' There are many in the world whom 
God protects, supplies, and provides them of all necessaries, yet they 
return nothing but disobedience, contempt, rebellion, and unthankful- 


ness. The sun doth not shine by chance, but at God's disposal : Mat. 
v. 45, ' He makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and 
sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.' Most of those which are 
fed at God's table, and maintained at his expense and care, they are 
his enemies ; and many times the more men receive from him the 
worse they are. Look, as beasts towards man, when they are in good 
plight they grow fierce, and are ready to destroy those which nourish 
them, so, when we are plentifully supplied, we kick with the heel, 
wax wanton, and forgetful of God. Or as a froward child scratcheth 
the breast which suckles it, so we rebel against God that nourished 
us, and brought us up, and dishonour our heavenly Father that pro 
vides these blessings for us. Parisiensis hath a saying, ' They which 
hold the greatest farms many times pay the least rent/ So the great 
ones of the world, they which have most of God's bounty, give him 
the least acknowledgment. 

[3.] When we do our best we cannot deserve these mercies, or merit 
aught at God's hands ; for all we do is already due to God, as we are 
his creatures, and the paying new debts will not quit old scores. The 
question is propounded : Job xxii. 2, ' Can a man be profitable unto 
God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself ? ' See the 
answer : chap. xxxv. 7, ' If thou be righteous, what givest thou him ? 
or what receiveth he of thine hand ? ' And wherein is God profited if 
a man's ways be perfect ? And, therefore, whatever God doth for 
creatures, he doth it freely, because he cannot be obliged by any act 
of ours and pre-engaged. Thus Adam in innocency could not obtain 
the blessing but by virtue of the covenant, nor merit aught at God's 
hands, that is, put any obligation upon God ; and, therefore, certainly 
now we cannot. And partly, too, because whatever we do, it will not 
carry a proportion with these common mercies. We are proud crea 
tures, and think of a condignity of works, and to merit from heaven 
these mercies. But, alas ! there is no comparison ; and if God would 
deal with us upon merit and strict commutative justice, we cannot 
give him a valuable compensation for temporal mercies : Gen. xxxii. 
10, ' I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies which thou hast 
showed unto thy servant.' Though none of God's mercies can simply 
be said to be little, for whatsoever comes from a great God should be 
great in our value and esteem, as a small remembrance from a great 
person is much prized ; therefore no mercy is simply little, but com 
paratively. Now the least mercies some have, and others the greatest 
temporal things. When we are put into the balance, we 'and all our 
worth and deservings cannot counterpoise the least mercy, or merit 
the daily bread we have from God. And then the little good we do, 
it is merely by the grace that we have received. If one man differs 
from another, who made him differ ? It is but a new gift, he is the 
more indebted to God. 

[4.] We deserve the contrary. We have forfeited our lives, and all 
our comforts ; we have put ourselves out of God's protection by sin. 
Death waylaid us when we were in our mother's womb ; and as soon 
as we were born there was a sentence in force against us: Rom. 
v. 12, ' Death came upon all, for that all have sinned.' And still we 
continue the forfeiture. We provoke God to cut us off. It is a kind 


of pardoning mercy by which we subsist every moment. This is 
sensible in case of sickness, when our lives and comforts slide from us, 
when there is but a step between us and death, when the old covenant 
comes to be put in suit, and God seems to be executing the sentence 
of the law. And that is the reason why the temporal deliverance of 
the wicked and impenitent is called a remission : as Ps. Ixxviii. 38, 
' But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed 
them not.' And Mat. xviii. 26, 27, 28, ' Have patience with me, 
and I will pay thee all. And the lord of that servant was moved 
with compassion, and forgave him the debt.' Why is it called a 
remission ? Improperly, because it was a reprieve from the temporal 
judgment for a time ; it was not an executing the sentence which was 
in force against us ; and it was not from anything in the sinner, but 
from God's pity over his creatures. And a godly man, every time his 
life and comforts are in danger, hath a pardon renewed at that time : 
Isa. xxxviii. 17, ' Thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the 
pit of corruption ; for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.' 
They are loved out of danger, and loved out of sickness ; the pardon 
ing mercy of God is indeed renewed to them. 


Use 1. For information, in two branches : 

First, That God will give his people temporal things. Not only 
pardon, and grace, and glory ; but ' no good thing will he withhold : ' 
Ps. Ixxxi. 11. Many say they can trust God for eternal life, but can 
not trust him for daily bread. This is an utter mistake. Certainly 
it is far more easy to trust God for daily bread than for eternal life ; 
because there are more difficulties, more natural prejudices, against 
these greater mercies of pardon and eternal life, than there can be 
against the daily effects of God's bounty. It is a harder matter to 
work through our natural prejudices, which lie against eternal life, 
than to work through that distrust which lies against God's care over 
us and provision for us. Why ? For God's common bounty it reach- 
eth to all his creatures, even to the smallest worm ; his mercy is over 
all his works. And surely it is more easy to believe his common 
bounty than his special love, which runs in a distinct channel to such 
a sort of men. 

But because many have too weak a faith about temporal things, let 
us consider how willing God is to distribute and give out these sup 
plies. Several things I might mention. 

1. God's respect to the bodies of his people is a mighty ground and 
encouragement. God is in covenant with the body as well as the soul. 
Jesus Christ proves the resurrection from thence, that God is ' the 
God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob : ' Mat. xxii. 32. This argument 
can never be made good, but upon the supposition that God is in 
covenant with Abraham's body, with the whole believer ; and there 
fore the mark of circumcision was in their flesh, as the water of bap 
tism is sprinkled upon our bodies. Well, then, if the bodies of the 
saints be in covenant with God, certainly some of the promises of the 
covenant do concern the body and sustentation of the present life. 
But that is not all, but Jesus Christ hath purchased both body and 


soul : 1 Cor. vi. 20, ' Ye are bought with a price ; therefore glorify 
God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God s/ Not only the 
soul is Christ's, but the body. 

You will say, That is ground of service ; but what ! can it be in 
ferred that therefore God will provide for us ? It is not only a ground 
of our service, but of Christ's care of us. If Christ had only purchased 
our service, yet it were a ground of hope. If you expect work and 
service from a body, you will give maintenance to that body. But 
Christ's purchase implieth his care over that he hath purchased ; for 
the interest God hath in us in redemption is a gracious interest, God 
had an interest in us before we were redeemed ; we could not make 
void his right by any rebellion of ours. But then God hath such an 
interest in us as engaged and solicited him to destroy us. Look, as a 
prince hath an interest in his subjects, if they rebel and revolt from 
their obedience, they cannot disannul his right, but it is such a right 
as binds him to pursue and chastise them until they return to their 
duty, so God hath a right to the fallen creature, but it was such a 
right as solicited vengeance. But the right Christ purchased was a 
gracious right, that God might protect and preserve us. Well, then, 
if Christ purchased body and soul, he hath obtained, not only that 
God should be gracious to our souls, but gracious to our bodies ; then 
the argument runs clearly for confirming the faith of the saints in 
expectation of temporal benefits. 

2. God hath given us greater things, therefore he will not stand 
upon the less ; when a man hath been at great cost, he will not lose 
it. The Lord hath given us his Christ : Rom. viii. 32, ' He that 
spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he 
not with him also freely give us all things ? ' Can any man be so 
illogical, so ill-skilled in consequences, as not to conclude from thence, 
if God give us Christ, with him he will give us all things ? So 
Mat. vi. 33, ' Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, 
and all other things shall be added to you.' 

3. These things are dispensed to inferior, yea, to the worst of his 
creatures : Ps. cxlvii. 9, ' He giveth to the beast his food, and to -the 
young ravens which cry.' Will God maintain the beasts of the field, 
and will he not maintain his children ? It is monstrous and unna 
tural to think thus, that God will not support you, and bear you out 
in your work. This is Christ's own argument : Mat. vi. 34, ' Take 
therefore no thought for the morrow ; for the morrow shall take 
thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil 
thereof/ Daily bread is in your Father's power, and he gives it gra 
ciously to all his creatures, and therefore certainly he will give it to 
you. Thus you may see with what confidence you may expect daily 

Secondly, It informs us that we may ask temporal things, if we ask 
them lawfully. It is true, prayers to God for spiritual things are 
more acceptable. As your child pleaseth you better when it comes 
to you to be taught its book, rather than when it comes for an apple, 
so it is more pleasing to God when you come for the Mediator's bless 
ing and spiritual things : Acts iii. 26, ' God hath sent him to bless you, 
in turning away every one of you from his iniquities/ But yet we may 


ask other things. Why ? For they are good and useful to us in the 
course of our service, and without them we are exposed to many 
temptations. And prayer easeth you of a deal of carking about them : 
Phil. iv. 6, ' Be careful for nothing ; but in everything by prayer and 
supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto 
God/ We may ask them, but it must be lawfully ; and that, for order, 
not in the first place. That is howling, when we come to God merely 
for corn, wine, and oil ; when we prefer these things before his favour 
and the graces of his Spirit. Then it must be lawful, too, as to the 
manner : a moderate proportion, not to set God a task to maintain 
you at such a rate, but to ask a moderate allowance. Christ teacheth 
us here to pray for bread, which is a necessary allowance : Prov. 
xxx. 8, ' Feed me with food convenient for me.' And, 1 Tim. vi. 8, 
' If we have food and raiment, let us therewith be content/ And 
then ask them with humility and submission to the will of God. We 
ought to say, as in James iv. 15, ' If the Lord will, we will go to such 
a place, and get gain/ And then lawfully, too, as to the end ; not for 
an unlawful end, for. ostentation and riot, that we may live at large 
and at ease : James iv. 3, ' Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask 
amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts/ But we must ask it 
for a good end : Ps. cxv. 1, ' Not unto us, Lord, not unto us, but 
unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake/ 
Lord, not for our ease, or our plenty, but that thy name may be 
glorified, that we may be supported in service. And then again, law 
fully as to the plea. We must not come and challenge it, as if it were 
our due ; we must not use the plea of merit, but of mercy. Our 
Saviour doth not say, Let this bread come to us anyhow, as he saith, 
' Let thy will be done ; ' our subjection to God is due ; but, ' Give us 
this day our daily bread,' acknowledging the Lord's mercy. 

Use 2. Let us not place our confidence in second causes, but in God, 
by whose goodness and providence over us all temporal things do 
come unto us ; for without him all our carking and labour is nothing ; 
and if we have our wishes without labour, yet we shall not have our 
comfort and blessing without God : Mat. vi. 27. Which of you, by 
taking thought, can add one cubit to his stature ? ' By taking thought, 
he meaneth anxious care about success. We cannot change the colour 
of a hair by all our anxious thoughts. We cannot make ourselves 
stronger or taller. Many a man is pierced through with worldly cares, 
and still the world frowns upon him, so all his care comes to nothing. 
Prov. x. 4, it is said, ' The hand of the diligent maketh rich/ Com 
pare it with ver. 22, and it is said, ' The blessing of the Lord, it mak 
eth rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it/ Most commonly they that 
are diligent they thrive with their diligence ; yea, but if that be all, 
if they have not the Lord's blessing, they have not that sweetness and 
peace when they have gotten abundance. Oh, therefore, let us place 
our confidence, not in second causes, but in God. 

Use 3. Let us be thankful to God for these worldly things that we 
enjoy. I urge this: 

First, Because of the danger of ingratitude. Usually we never 
forget God more than when he remembereth us most. When men 
have what they would have, then God is neglected ; thejr grow care- 


less in prayer, or flat and cold in the performance of it. There is a 
great deal of difference between men poor and rich. When poor, they 
will seem to put a natural fervency into their prayers ; but when rich, 
they grow cold and careless. Mark what the Lord saith, Hos. xiii. 
6, ' They were filled, and their heart was exalted ; therefore have they 
forgotten me.' Oh, how frequent is this, that many having been kept 
under a great sense of God in a low condition, but when they have 
been well at ease, then they bear it up as if they could live without 
God. The bucket comes to the river with an empty mouth, gaping 
to receive its fulness, as it were ; but when it is full, the bottom is 
turned towards it. So it is very usual with men to turn their backs 
upon the mercy-seat, and when the Lord hath given them great in 
crease in worldly things, and leased out a great estate to them, he hath 
very little rent from them. Now, because this is usual, therefore those 
whom God hath blessed with the supplies of the present life, how 
should they study thankfulness ! 

Secondly, Because of the equity of it. Consider what an equity 
there is, that we should be thankful for outward blessings. 

1. They are good in themselves. 

2. They come from God. 

3. They come from the Lord's grace and mercy. 

[1.] They are good in themselves. Food and raiment is good, and 
' every creature of God is good,' 1 Tim. iv. 4. They are good things, 
though not the best things. They are good for ourselves, that we may 
serve God more cheerfully. The Lord would have the Levites and 
priests have their portion, that they might be encouraged in the law of 
the Lord : 2 Chron. xxxi. 4. Now these things are good to encourage 
us, and support us in our work. Man consists of two parts, of a body 
and of a soul. Now whether we look to the one or the other, you will 
have many arguments to love and praise God, not only for what he 
hath done for our souls, but likewise for our bodies. And they are 
good, because they prevent many snares and temptations : Prov. 
xxx. 9, ' Lest I be poor and steal, and take the name of my God in 
vain.' Diseases which arise from fulness are more common ; but 
diseases which arise from indigence and emptiness, they are more 
dangerous. So diseases of prosperity they are more common, it is a 
rank soil and yields more weeds; but diseases which arise from 
poverty breed atheism, irreligion, and rebellion against God. They 
are good, as they make us more useful for God and man. For God, 
as having more advantages for the honouring of God : Prov. iii. 9, 
' Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first-fruits of all 
thine increase.' And of doing good to others : ' That we may have to 
distribute to them that need,' Eph. iv. 28. Oh, we should all covet 
and affect mightily, to have wherewith to relieve the necessities of 

[2.] As they are blessings, so they are blessings which do not come 
by chance, or by man's providence : 1 Tim. vi. 17, ' The living God, 
who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.' The people of God are 
plentifully provided for. Your tables are well furnished, backs well 
clothed ; it is God which gives you richly to enjoy them, and he must 
be acknowledged. As David doth : 1 Chron. xxix. 14, ' For all things 

MAT. -VI. 11.] THE LORD'S FRAYEU. 161 

come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.' Then, ver. 16, 
4 Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee 
an house for thine holy name, cometh of thine hand, and is all thine 
own.' Though you yourselves have been purchasers of your own estate, 
and carvers of your own fortune (as man is most apt to forget God there), 
yea, but though you have prepared and brought together a great deal 
of store, yet, Lord, all cornes from thee. It sweeteneth the mercy. 
When you are at the table, to be carved to by a great person, their 
remembrance is counted a greater favour than the meal itself. So it 
is not barely the comfort we have by the creature which sweeteneth it, 
but when we think of the donor, that the great God should think of 
us, that it is God who spreads our table for us, that doth put this 
meat and drink before us. It was he that ' gave seed to the sower, 
and bread for food/ 2 Cor. ix. 10. When we take it immediately out 
of God's hands, it is much sweeter. And not only so, but also it is 
the more sanctified. When we look to second causes, we shall surely 
abuse the mercy : Hosea ii. 8, ' For she did not know that I gave her 
corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold.' What 
then ? ' Therefore she prepared it for Baal/ W T hen God's kindness 
is not taken notice of, when we do not see God in our mercies, we 
shall not use them for God. That man will surely improve his com 
forts ill that doth not see God in them. Now that which comes from 
God leads the heart to God again, then the creature is sanctified. 
Therefore acknowledge God in these outward things. We should say 
of every morsel of bread, This is God's gift to me ; of every night's 
sleep, This is the Lord's goodness. When God is acknowledged in 
these outward things, he takes it the more kindly, and we are the 
better for it ; the mercy is the sweeter and the more sanctified. 

[3.] They not only come from God, but from the Lord's free grace 
and mercy. These are two distinct notions, by which God's goodness 
is set out, and they are both significant and expressive in the present 
case : Grace, that doth all freely ; mercy, that pitieth the miserable. 

(1.) Then we have them from grace. Grace is at liberty to give 
them to whom it will. Well, there is grace in these outward things ; 
for God gives them to whom he will ; to some, not to others. Oh, 
when we consider the distinction between us and others every one 
hath not such liberal supplies, nay, many of those of whom the world 
is not worthy surely this is merely the Lord's goodness. Prov. xxii. 
2, ' The rich and the poor meet together, the Lord is the maker of 
them- all.' They had the same maker that you had (others which are 
destitute), therefore why is it you have more than they ? It is merely 
from grace. Why is one vessel framed for an honourable use, and 
another for a baser use ? So it pleased the potter. God, as the great 
master of the scenes, appointeth to every man what part he shall act, 
merely out of his own grace ; he is bound to none. It was a good 
speech of Tamerlane, the great conqueror of the East, to Bajazet : 
What did God see in thee, that are blind in one eye, and me, that am 
lame of one leg, that he should make us, passing by many others, the 
lords of so many opulent and mighty kingdoms ? A savoury speech 
from an infidel ! What did God see in any of us, to exalt, cherish, 
and supply us, and let pass many others, who, for moral excellencies 

VOL. i. " L 


and virtuous endowments, do far exceed us ? When we consider this 
distinction, then, 'Even so, Father, because it pleased thee ' There 
is a kind of election and reprobation in these common mercies ; that 
is Orod will dispense them to one and not to another; he will be 
glorified in their poverty and glorified in thy wealth ; and therefore 
there is grace in it. 

(2.) There is a mercy in it, that pitieth the miserable. How doth 
it appear these good things come from mercy ? Because of our want 
and because of our forfeiture. 

(1st.) Our want and our indigence. Oh, when we think what shiftless 
creatures we should have been if he had not provided for us Ps xl 
17 1 am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh upon me/ If we were 
but sensible of our own weakness, and emptiness, and manifold neces 
sities we would admire that God should think of us, such forlorn and 
wretched creatures; or that our baseness and poverty doth not make 
us contemptible to God : Ps. xxxiv. 6, ' This poor man cried, and the 
Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.' He doth not 
say, 1 his wise man, this eminent saint, but this poor man. This was 
the doctrine of the Gentiles That the divine power did only care 
lor the great and weighty concernments of the world, but other things 
3 leltto their own event and to their own chance ; as if God, in the 
great throng of business, were not at leisure to attend every private 
mans request. These were the fond surmises the Gentiles had of 
Uott; but we are taught better. ' This poor man cried unto the Lord 
and he heard him.' Poor men in the world, when they have anything 
to do with great persons, they must look long, wait, pray, and pay to 
seek their face and favour, and at length meet with a rough answer 
and sour look. But God will not shut the door ; the throne of grace 
lies open for every comer. You will say, this would sweeten mercies 
to the poor. Nay, it concerns not only those that are actually poor 
but the great ones of the world (for they are poor and shiftless in 
themselves if God did not provide for them) ; others are but glasses 
where they might see their own misery. If they did well weigh the 
wants and necessities of others, they might see what would have been 
their own case if the Lord had not been merciful unto them. As Austin 
when he saw a beggar frisking and leaping after his belly was filled,' 
the spectacle wrought much upon him that he had not such rejoicing 
in God, who tasted so much of his abundance. Saith Chrysostom If 
you are not thankful for health, go to the spittals and lazar-houses 
and see what might have been your own case. Thus if you are not 
thankful for abundance, go to the families where there are children 
that want bread. It is the Lord's mercy to the richest, for they were 
miserable and indigent. It is a great mercy to relieve those from 
hand to mouth ; but you that have abundance, it is a double mercy to 
you, for he prevents the necessity before it was felt. As Ps. xxi. 3, 
Thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness.' David takes 
notice of the goodness of God to him. Before the need is felt and 
observed, you are stored ; and this should be a great endearment of 
the Lord's mercy to you. 

(2d.) It is mercy, if we consider not only our want, but our forfeiture. 
It is not only mercy, but pardoning mercy ; at least a reprieving from 


trouble, for we deserved the contrary. There is a kind of temporary 
pardon, which continueth all these blessings. It is as great a curse 
as possibly David could thunder out against obstinate sinners and 
God's implacable enemies : Ps. xxviii. 4, ' Give them according to 
their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours.' Do 
we think this would be matter of mischief only to David's enemies ? 
No ; every one of us, if we had our deserts, we should soon be shift 
less, harbourless, begging from door to door, yea, howling for one drop 
of mercy to cool our tongues. Oh, then, surely the Lord is to be 
praised and acknowledged in bestowing the good things of this present 
life. Well, then 

As these blessings come from God, let them carry up your heart to 
God again. As all rivers they run from the sea, and they discharge 
themselves into the sea again, so let all be returned to God with 
thankfulness, with acknowledgments that you have received them 
from God. I shall urge it with one example : Jesus Christ, though 
he were heir, Lord of all things, ' Who thought it no robbery to be 
equal with God,' yet you find him ever giving thanks when he used 
the creatures : Mat. xv. 36. And it is the main thing John taketh 
notice of, and passeth by the miracle : John vi. 23, ' Where they did 
eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks.' Nigh to Tiberias, 
there was the place where our Lord fed many with five' loaves and 
two fishes ; but he only saith this, ' Where they did eat bread, after 
that the Lord had given thanks.' He saw this was a notable circum 
stance, so he doth but cursorily mention the miracle, only calls it eat 
ing bread, but expressly mentioneth Christ's blessing the creature. He 
would teach us that the blessing of all enjoyments is in God's hand. 

Use 4. If the Lord be the donor and giver of all these outward 
things, let us beware we do not abuse these gifts of God, as occasions 
of sinning against the giver, that we fight not against him with his 
own weapons. Jesus Christ, speaking to his own disciples, though 
they were trained up with him, a company chosen out, and select 
family, who were to be his heralds and ambassadors to the world, yet 
he gives them this caution : Luke xxi. 34, 'Take heed to yourselves, 
lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunk 
enness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.' 
He saw it needful to warn his own disciples. We had two common 
parents, Adam and Noah, and one miscarried by eating, and the other 
by drinking ; these sins are natural to us. The throat is a slippery 
place, and had need well be looked unto. Mark, Christ there doth 
not mean surfeiting and drunkenness merely in a gross notion. When 
we hear of surfeiting and drunkenness, we think of spuing, staggering, 
reeling, vomiting, and the like ; but we are to consider it in a stricter 
notion : ' Take heed lest the heart be overcharged.' The heart may 
be overcharged when the stomach is not ; that is, when we are less 
apt to praise God, grow more lumpish and heavy, or rather when we 
settle into a sensual frame of spirit, and by an inordinate delight in 
our present portion, are taken off from minding better things. Look, 
as the heart is overcharged with the cares of the world, so likewise 
with creature delights and comforts of this world, when it is set for 
ease and vanity. Many that would be leathers of the other drunken- 


ness, yet are guilty of this kind of surfeiting and drunkenness ; the 
heart is overcharged with an inordinate affection to present things. 
There cannot be a more heavy judgment than when our table is made 
our snare : Ps. Ixix. 22. A snare, it is God's spiritual judgment ; when 
the comforts of this life serve not so much to lengthen and strengthen 
life, but when their hearts are hardened in sin, and they grow neglect 
ful of God and heavenly things. Raining snares is an argument of 
God's hatred. First, ' The Lord shall rain snares ;' and then, ' Brim 
stone and an horrible tempest shall be their portion/ Ps. xi. 6. So 
it makes way for his eternal anger. 

Use 5. Let us be contented with that portion which God hath given 
us of worldly things, if the Lord be the donor. Why ? 

1. Because God stands upon his sovereignty; you must stand to 
God's allowance, though he gives to others more and to you less ; for 
God is supreme, and will not be controlled in the disposal of what is 
his own. The goodman of the house pleaded, Mat. xx. 13-15, 
' Friend, I do thee no wrong ; is it not lawful for me to do what I 
will with mine own ?' The fulness of the earth and all is his ; and, 
therefore, though others have better trading, and finer apparel, and be 
more amply provided for than we are, God is sovereign, and will give 
according to his pleasure, and you must be content. 

2. Nothing is deserved, and therefore certainly everything should 
be kindly taken. If a man be kept at free cost, and maintained at 
your expense, you take it very ill if he murmur and dislike his diet. 
Certainly we are all maintained at free cost, and, therefore, we should 
with all humble coritentation receive whatever God will put into our 

3. God knows what proportion is best for us ; he is a God of judg 
ment, and knows what is most convenient for us, for he is a wise God. 
It is the shepherd must choose the pasture, not the sheep. Leave it 
to God to give you that which is convenient and suitable to your con 
dition of life. A shoe may be too big for the foot, and a garment too 
great for the body, as Saul's armour was too large for little David : 
1 Sam. xvii. God will give you that which is convenient, that which 
is agreeable to you. A garment, when too long, proves a dirty rag ; 
we may have too much ; and therefore God he carves out our allowance 
with a wise hand. 

4. God doth not only give suitable to your condition, but suitable 
to your strength, such a portion as you are able to bear. God layeth 
affliction upon his people, and he gives them mercies as they are able 
to bear ; if they had more, they would have more snares, more temp 
tations. You find it hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of 
heaven : Mat. xix. 24. A man may take a larger draught than he is 
able to bear ; so God proportioneth every man's condition according 
to his spiritual strength ; every man is not able to bear a very high 
prosperous estate : Heb. xiii. 5, ' Let your conversation be without 
covetousness ; and be content with such things as ye have: for he 
hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee ;' then you will 
live upon the promise. But when men set God a task, and he must 
maintain them at such a rate, that ends in mischief and distrust : Ps. 
Ixxviii. 19, ' Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?' &c. 


5. Contentation is one of God's gifts that we ask in this prayer, 
' Give us this day our daily bread ;' that is, we ask to be contented 
with our portion. Contentment and quietness of mind with what we 
do enjoy, it is a great blessing : Joel ii. 19. See what the Lord saith. 
there by his prophet : ' I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye 
shall be satisfied therewith.' The bare and simple blessing doth nofc 
speak so much of God's love as when we are satisfied, when we have 
contentment in it ; that is the greater blessing. When our minds are 
suited to our condition, then the creature is more sweet, more comfort 
able. Your happiness lies not in abundance, but in contentment: 
Luke xii. 15. This doth not make a man happy, that he hath much ; 
but this, that he is contented ; he hath what God will give him. All 
spiritual miseries may be referred to these two things : a war between 
a man and his conscience, and a war between his affections and his 

6. There may be as much love in a lesser portion as in a greater. 
There is the same affection to a small younger child, though he hath 
not so large an allowance as the elder brother ; yet, saith he, My father 
loves me as well as him ; not that I have a double portion, but I have 
as much of my father's love. So a child of God may say, God loves 
me, though he hath given another more and me less. Be content with 
what falls to your share, and with your allowance by the wise designa 
tion and allotment of God's providence. Thus much for the first 

A word of a second, viz. : 

Doct. 2. In asking temporal things, Christ hath stinted us to a day, 
* Give us, (nf)ij,epov, this day, our daily bread.' 

God in an extraordinary manner fed his people in the wilderness ; 
the manna stank if they had kept it another day ; they had it from 
day to day. What is the reason Christ saith, ' Give us this day' ? 

1. That every day we may pray to God. Therefore it is not, Give 
us this month, or year, but day ; because every day God will hear from 
us : 1 Thes. v. 17, ' Pray without ceasing.' God would not have us 
too long out 'of his company, but by a frequent commerce he would 
have us acquainted and familiar with him. This is required, that you 
should not let a day pass over your head but God must hear from 
you, for your patent lasts but for a day ; you have a lease from God 
of your comforts and mercies, but it is expired unless you renew it 
again by prayer. How much do they differ from the heart of God's 
children, that could be contented, like the high priest of old, to come 
to the mercy- seat but once a year ! Now the Lord would have us 
come every day to the throne of grace. 

2. Every day, because there should be family prayer ; for all that 
take their meat together are to come, and say to God, ' Give us this 
day our daily bread/ It is not said, ' Give me,' but ' Give us.' There 
fore you see how little of love and fear of God is there, where, week 
after week, they call not upon God's name. 

3. To make way for our gratitude and thankfulness. Our mercies, 
they flow not from God all at once, but some to-day, and some to 
morrow, for we take them day by day ; all together, they are too heavy 
for us to wield and manage : Ps. Ixviii. 19, ' Who daily loadeth us 


with benefits.' Our mercies, they come in greater number and a 
greater measure than we are able to acknowledge, make use of, or be 
thankful for. Therefore, this is the burden of gracious hearts, that 
mercies come so thick and fast they cannot be thankful enough for 
them ; but to help us, God distributes them by parcels. Who loadeih 
us daily, some to-day, some to-morrow, and every day, that we may 
not forget God, but may have a new argument to praise him. 

4. To show us every day we should renew our dependence upon 
God for temporal things. There is no day but we stand in need of 
the Lord's blessing, of sanctification, of comfort, th#t they may not be 
a snare, that there is still need of new strength, new grace, and new 

5. Again, ' Give us this day' that we may not burden ourselves 
with overmuch thoughtfulness, that we might not solicitously cark 
for to-morrow : Mat. vi. 34, ' Sufficient unto the day is the evil 
thereof.' Every day affords business, trouble, care, and burden enough; 
we need not anticipate and pre-occupy the cares of the next day ; 
God would not have us overborne with solicitude, but look no further 
than this day. 

6. Christ would teach us that worldly things should be sought in a 
moderate proportion ; if we have sufficient for a day, for the present 
want, we should not grasp at too much. Ships lightly laden will pass 
through the sea, but when we take too great a burden, the ship will 
easily sink with every storm. We have sore troubles to pass through 
in the world ; now when we are overburdened with present things we 
have more snares and temptations. 

7. Christ would train us up with thoughts of our lives' uncertainty : 
James iv. 13, ' Say not, This and this I will do to-day or to-morrow : 
What is your life ? it is but a vapour.' One being invited to dinner 
the next day, said, For these many years I have not had a to-morrow ; 
meaning he was providing every day for his last day. We do not 
know whether we have another day, but are apt to sing lullabies to 
our souls, and say, ' Soul, take thine ease, thou hast goods laid up for 
many years,' Luke xii. 19. We are sottishly secure, and dream of 
many years, whereas God tells us only of to-day. 

8. To awaken us after heavenly things. When we seek bread for 
the present life, then give us ' this day ; ' but now come to me, saith 
Christ, and I will give you bread that shall nourish you ' to eternal 
life,' bread that endureth for ever : John vi. 27, ' Labour not for the 
meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto ever 
lasting life.' There is meat that will endure for ever, but for the 
present we beg only for this day : 1 Pet. i. 4, ' To an inheritance 
incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in 
heaven for you.' That is an eternal state, this but of a short and 
of a small continuance. You see what need you have to go to God, 
that he will most plentifully provide for you. 


And forgive us our debts, as ive forgive our debtor*,. 

WE have now done with the supplications of this prayer, and are come 
to the deprecations. The supplications are those petitions which we 
make to God for obtaining of that which is good. The deprecations 
are those petitions we make to God for removing of that which is evil. 
Now of this latter sort there are two : (1.) We pray for the remission 
of evil that is already committed ; (2.) We pray for the prevention of 
the evil which may be inflicted. The first of these is the petition we 
have now in hand. Here, 

1. The petition is proposed, ' Forgive us our debts.' 

2. It is confirmed by an argument, ' As we forgive our debtors/ 
In the first, take notice: 

I. Of the object, or matter of this petition, and that is, debts. 
II. The subject or persons praying, us. 

III. The person to whom we pray, our heavenly Father, who alone 
can forgive our sins. 

IV. The act of God about this object, forgive. 

Then the petition is confirmed by an argument, which is taken 
from our forgiving of others. 
In which there is an argument. 

1. A simili, from a like disposition in us. Thus, what is good in 
us was first in God, for he is the pattern of all perfection. If we have 
such a disposition planted in our hearts, and if it be a virtue in us, 
surely the same disposition is in God, for the first being wanteth no 

2. The argument may be taken a dispart, or a minori ad majus, 
from the less to the greater. If we, that have but a drop of mercy, 
can forgive the offences done to us, surely the infinite God, that is 
mercy itself, he hath more bowels and more pity : ' For his ways are 
above our ways, as high as the heaven is above the earth/ Isa. Iv. 9. 
So it seems the argument is propounded : Luke xi. 4, ' Forgive us 
our sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us." 

3. The argument may be taken from the condition or the qualifica 
tion of those that are to expect pardon. They are such that, out of a 
sense of God's mercy to them, and the love of God shed abroad in 
their hearts, are inclined and disposed to show mercy to others. So 
Christ explains it, ver. 14, making it a condition or qualification on 
our part : ' If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father 
will also forgive you.' But this will be more abundantly clear when 
I come to examine that clause. 

Before we come to the petition itself, the connexion is to be con 
sidered, for the particle and links it to the former petition. After 
' Hallowed be thy name,' he doth not say, 'And thy kingdom come ;' 
they are propounded as distinct sentences : but, ' Give us this day our 
daily bread, and forgive us our debts,' for three reasons : 

[1.] Without pardon all the good things of this life will do us no 
good. They are but as a full diet, or as a rich suit, to a condemned 
person ; they will not comfort him and allay his present fears. Until 
we are pardoned, we are under a sentence, ready for execution and 


therefore we cannot have that comfort in outward things until we 
have some interest in God's fatherly mercy. A man that is con 
demned hath the king's allowance until execution. So it is the 
indulgence of God to a wicked man to give him many outward things, 
though he is condemned already. We should not satisfy ourselves 
with daily bread without a sense of some interest in pardoning mercy. 

[2.] To show us our unworthiness. Our sins are so many and 
grievous that we are not worthy of one morsel of bread to put- in our 
mouths. When we say, ' Give us this day,' &c. , we need presently 
to say, ' Forgive us our sins.' There is a forfeiture even of these 
common blessings : Gen. xxxii. 10, ' I am not worthy of the least of 
all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast showed unto 
thy servant.' All that we have we have from mercy, and it is mercy 
undeserved. As we are creatures, there can be no common right 
between God and us to engage him to give temporal blessings, for we 
owe ourselves wholly to him, as being created out of nothing. Chil 
dren cannot oblige their parents. But much more, as we are guilty 
creatures, it is merely of the mercy of the Lord. 

[3.] These are joined together because sin is the great obstacle and 
hindrance of all the blessings which we expect from God : Jer. v. 25, 
' Your sins have withheld good things from you.' When mercy comes 
to us, sin stands in the way and turns it back again, so that it cannot 
have so clear a passage to us. Therefore God must forgive before he 
can give, that is, bestow these outward things as a blessing on us. 

Having spoken of this connexion, let me observe something from 
the petition itself. 

The first thing I shall observe is the notion by which sin is set out, 
' Forgive us our debts.' The point is : 

Doct. 1. That sins come under the notion of debts. 

In Luke xi. 4, it is, ' Forgive us our sins.' There is a twofold debt 
which man oweth to God. 

1. A debt of duty. 

2. A debt of punishment. 

[1.] A debt of duty, worship, and obedience ; this is a debt we owe 
to God. In this sense it is said, Rom. viii. 12, ' We are debtors, not 
to the flesh, to live after the flesh.' In which negative the affirmative 
is clearly implied, that we are debtors to God, to live to God ; 
debtors to the Spirit, to live after the Spirit. By the law of creation, 
we were not appointed to serve and please the flesh, but to serve God: 
Luke xvii. 10, ' When you have done all those things which are com 
manded you, say, We are unprofitable servants, we have done that 
which was our debt or duty to do.' Obedience, worship, and service, 
is a debt we owe to God, by virtue of that interest which he hath in 
us, and command he hath over us. And so you have that speech, 
Gal. v. 3, that we are debtors to the whole law, as we come under the 
obedience of it. 

[2.] A debt of punishment, which we are fallen into through the 
neglect of our duty. Punishment is due to us as wages : Eom vi. 
23, ' The wages of sin is death.' God hath, as it were, made a con 
tract with us, that if we will sin we must take our wages ; we must 
take what it comes to. 


Now in this petition, when we say, ' Forgive us our debts,' we do not 
desire to be discharged of the duty we owe to God, but to be acquitted 
of the guilt and punishment. The faults or sins that we are guilty of 
oblige us and bind us to the punishment ; and therefore sins are called 
debts. The original debt we owe is obedience ; and in case of default, 
the next debt we owe is punishment. Look, as in a contract and 
bond, if the party observe not the condition, then he is liable to the 
forfeiture : so God dealt with man by way of covenant, and the tenor 
of it was exact obedience ; and this covenant had a sanction or an 
obligation annexed : in case obedience was not exactly performed, we 
should be accursed, and suffer all manner of misery in this life and the 
next. Now, by the fall, we incurred this penalty ; and therefore, as 
lost and undone creatures, we run to God's mercy, and beg him to 
forgive the debt, or the forfeiture of that bond of obedience wherein 
man standeth bound to God by the law. 

A little to make it good, before I come to the body of the petition, 
let me show how sin is a debt, wherein it agrees. That will appear 
if you can consider : 

1. Our danger by sin. 

2. Our remedy from sin. 

In both the parts you will find sin is considered as a debt. 

First, If you consider our danger by sin. 

[1.] There is a creditor to whom the debt is due, and that is God : 
Luke vii. 41, when he would set out God's mercy he saitb, ' There 
was a certain creditor which had two debtors,' &c. God is there set 
forth under the notion and similitude of a creditor. God is a creditor, 
partly as our creator, and partly as a lawgiver, and partly as a judge. 
As our creator and benefactor, from whom we have received all that 
we have : it was the Lord that gave to every man his talents to trade 
withal ; to some more, to some less : Mat. xxv. Thus God hath trusted 
us with life, and all other blessings. But then, as a lawgiver : if God 
had given us life, strength, parts, wealth, that we should do with them 
what we would, though the gift would oblige us, in point of grati 
tude, to serve our benefactor, yet we had not been so responsible for 
our defaults. But we are under a law to serve him and honour him 
that made us and gave us what we have. God did not dispossess 
himself of an interest in them. He did not give them to us as owners 
and proprietors, to do with them what we would ; but he gave them 
to us as stewards: our life and employment here is a stewardship. 
Nay, God is not only a lawgiver, but also a judge ; he will call us to 
an account. He doth oblige us as a creator, but imposeth a necessity 
upon us of obeying and serving him as a lawgiver; and not only 
makes a law, but will take an account of men, how they observe the 
law of their creation. There will a time come when the lord of 
those servants will come and reckon with them, and require his own 
with usury : Luke xix. 23. He will require this debt and service - at 
our hands, else we must endure the penalty. Well, this is the con 
nexion : he that abuseth God's mercy as a creator offends him as a 
lawgiver, and is justly punished by him as a judge. There are 
many never think of this, therefore are not sensible of these great re 
lations, nor that they shall answer for all their talents, strength, 


and time, and advantages they have in the world. Thus there is a 

[2.] As a debtor is bound to make satisfaction to the creditor, or else 
is liable to the process of the law, which may be commenced against 
him, so are we all to God, bodies and souls ; we are become vTroSucos 
TO> eco, ' guilty before the Lord : ' Horn. iii. 19. So we translate it. 
We are under the sentence of the law, liable to the process of his re 
venging justice, and one day God will pursue his righteous law against 
us. All the fallen creatures are quite become bankrupt ; we can never 
pay the original debt of obedience, therefore must be left to lie under 
the debt of punishment. 

[3.] Look, as debts stand upon record, and are charged upon some 
book of account, that they may not be forgot, so God hath his book 
of account a book of remembrance, as it is called : Mai. iii. 16. All 
our words, speeches, actions, they are all upon record ; what means 
we have enjoyed, what mercies, what opportunities, what calls, and 
what messages of his love and grace : Job xiv. 17, ' My iniquity is 
sealed up in a bag.' As men's writings or bonds, which they have to 
show for their debts owing to them, are sealed up in a bag, so Job 
useth that similitude. Thus is sin represented as a thing that is upon 
record, and cannot be forgotten. Many times' we lose the memory of 
what we have done in childhood and infancy, but all is upon record ; 
and your iniquities will one day find you out, though you have for 
gotten, and think never to hear of them more. 

[4.] A day of reckoning will come, when God will put the bond in 
suit, and all shall be called to an account. Sometimes God reckoneth 
with sinners, in part, in this world, but surely in the next. Death is 
but the summons to come to an account with God: Luke xvi. 2, 
' Give an account of thy stewardship, for thou mayest be no longer 
steward.' That passage of the parable is applicable to death : ' That 
when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations,' ver. 9. 
When the soul is turned out of doors, when it is cited to appear 
before the tribunal of God, then we give up our account. But espe 
cially at the great day : Rev. xx. 12, ' And I saw the dead, small and 
great, stand before God, and the books were opened;' that is, the 
book of conscience and the book of God's remembrance. There are 
two books, that are written within and without, upon which all our 
actions are stamped : they are now closed in a great measure ; we 
know not what is in these great books. One of the books (that of 
conscience) is in our own keeping, yet we cannot deface and blot it 
out. These books at that day will be opened ; conscience, by the 
power of God, shall be extended to the recognition of all our ways. 
Conscience writes when it speaks not : many times it doth not smite 
for sins we are guilty of ; but there stands the debt charged, upon 
which we shall be responsible. 

[5.] After this reckoning there is execution. A bankrupt that cannot 
satisfy his creditor is cast into prison ; so God hath his prison for 
impenitent, disobedient, and obstinate sinners: 1 Pet. iii. 19, 'He 
went and preached unto the spirits in prison.' It is a dismal prison, 
where poor captive prisoners are held in chains of darkness ; that is, 
under the horrors of their own despairing fears, looking for the 


judgment of the Lord, when they shall be cast into this prison, and 
no getting out again, until they have paid the utmost farthing : Luke 
xii. 50. And that will never be as to the sinner : he is, as it were, 
always satisfying, and can never be said to have satisfied, the justice 
of God. 

Thus you see how sin is a debt, and what correspondence there is 
between them the obligation of punishment that ariseth from sin. 
But now it differeth from all other debts. 

(1.) No debt to man can be so great as our debt to God, both for 
number and weight. Mat. xviii. 24, compared with ver. 28 : you 
shall see there the parable of the lord forgiving 'ten thousand 
talents ; ' and the servant goes and takes his brother by the throat, 
and requireth from him a debt of 'an hundred pence.' Mark, 
offences done to God are greater than offences done to us ; for there 
is as much difference and disproportion as between an hundred and 
ten thousand. And then the debt of the fellow-servant was but pence, 
an hundred pence ; but the debt due to the lord, that was talents ; 
and a talent is reckoned to be one hundred and eighty-seven pounds 
ten shillings. Our sins against God are more and more heavy than 
any which our brethren can commit against us. Pence, talents ; one 
hundred and ten thousand : there is the difference and disproportion. 
Oh that we had a due sense of what it is to sin against God, against 
an infinite majesty ! To strike a private person is not so much as to 
strike an officer of justice ; and that is not so much as to strike the 
supreme magistrate. What is it to sin against God ? and how often 
do we ? All our imaginations are only evil, and that continually ; 
and therefore all our sins against God will arise to a vast and heavy 
debt, because of the infiniteness of the object against whom sin is com 

(2.) In other debts there is a day of payment set them ; in this debt 
there is none. God doth not tell us when he will put the bond in 
suit against us ; he may surprise us ere we are aware. Luke xii. 20 : 
when he dreamed of many years, ' Thou fool, this night.' The 
spirits now in prison did as little think of that doleful place as those 
sinners which are alive. It may be to-day, to-morrow, the next hour : 
Gen. iv. 7, ' Sin lieth at the door.' There is a sentence and curse that 
waylays him. Sin, for the punishment of sin ; it is ready to seize 
upon him, and pluck him by the throat, and bring him into God's 
presence. Still the curse hovers over the head of obstinate and im 
penitent sinners. 

(3.) In other debts, if the goods are taken by way of execution, and 
suffice, the person is free ; but here God aims at the person, and the 
whole person. ' Body and soul are cast into hell fire/ Mat. x. 28. 

(4.) Here there can be no shifting, no avoiding the danger. If you 
fly from God, you do but fly to God ; from God, as willing to be a 
friend ; to God, who is sure to be revenged. ' Whither shall I fly 
from thy Spirit ? If I go into the depths, thou art there/ Ps. cxxxix. 
God is here, there, and everywhere. 

(5.) All other debts cease at death ; when a man dieth, we say his 
debts are paid : but here execution begins, then the law takes the sin 
ner by the throat, and drags him to everlasting punishment, and doth 


in effect say, Pay me what thou owest. Death is God's arrest. As 
soon as the soul steps out of the world, presently it is attached and 
seized, and forfeited into the hands of God's justice. How many are 
there that lie under this danger and never think of it ! Spiritual 
debts they are not so sensible of as literal. A man that is deeply in 
debt, and in danger of an arrest, cannot sleep, eat, walk abroad, but 
his fears are upon him. Augustus bought his quilt or bed, that could 
sleep soundly when he owed so many thousand sesterces. But poor 
senseless sinners never think of danger until they are plunged into it, 
and then there is no escape. 

Secondly, The metaphor will also hold good as to our remedy and ' 
recovery, how we come out of this debt. A debtor that is insolvent is 
undone, unless there be some means found out to satisfy the creditor : 
so we must altogether lie under the wrath of God, unless satisfaction 
be made. Therefore, Jesus Christ, in the 

[1.] Place, comes under the notion of a surety. Because he took the 
debt of man upon himself, therefore, Heb. vii. 22, he is called, ' the 
surety of a better testament/ When Christ undertook the business 
of our salvation, he did in effect say, as Paul to Philemon, ver. 18, 
' If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee aught, put that on mine 
account : ' so did Jesus Christ in effect say to God, Let me be made a 
sin, and made a curse for them. He that was a judge, was willing to 
become a party, and to pay what he owed. David, in the type of 
Christ, saith, Ps. Ixix. 4, ' I restored that which I took not away.' He 
did not take away any honour from God : it was we that robbed God 
of the glory of his justice, authority, and truth ; that trampled them 
under our feet : but Christ made restitution and amends to God. 

[2J Having condescended to become our surety, he made full satis 
faction, by suffering the punishment which was due to us : Isa. liii. 4, 
' Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.' That 
which we should have borne upon our own backs, and would have 
crushed us for ever, that he hath borne, and he hath carried. Christ 
was to be the sinner in law, and was to suffer in our stead. Solomon 
hath a passage concerning suretyship : Prov. xi. 15, ' He that is 
surety for a stranger, shall smart for it ; ' or, as the Hebrew will bear 
it, ' sore bruised;' or, as it is in the margin, 'shall be bruised and sore 
broken.' And the same word is used concerning Christ, that was our 
surety : Isa. liii. 10, ' It pleased the Father to bruise him.' Christ is 
our surety, therefore he was bruised and broken, he suffered what we 
should have suffered. It is true, there are some circumstances of our 
punishment which Christ suffered not, as a great part of our punish 
ment in hell ; there is the worm of conscience and despair, and the 
eternity of torments ; but this was not essential to the punishment, 
but did only arise from the guilt and from the weakness of the party 
that is punished, because we cannot work through it otherwise. Christ 
paid the full price which divine justice demanded, and so made satis 
faction for us. 

[3.] Christ satisfying as our surety, all those which had an interest 
in his death, they are set free from the wrath of God, they have a re 
lease from this great debt owed. As when the ram was taken. Isaac 
was let go ; so when Christ was taken, the sinner is released and dis- 


charged : Job xxxiii. 24, ' Deliver him from going down to the pit ; 
1 have found a ransom/ Certainly God will not exact the debt twice, 
of the surety and of the principal person ; our surety having paid the 
debt for us, therefore we go free. And, therefore, if our consciences 
should pursue us at law, we may answer, Christ was taken for us, 'He 
was bruised for our iniquities, and he bore the chastisement of our 

[4.] Christ hath not only satisfied for the punishment, but he hath 
procured favour for us ; wherein he differeth from an ordinary and 
common surety. Christ does not only free us from bonds, but also 
hath brought us into grace and favour with the creator, lawgiver, and 
judge. There is a double notion of Christ's death ; that of a ransom 
for the delivery of a captive, and as a merit and price which was 
given for eternal life. The death of Christ did not only dissolve the 
obligation which lay upon us to suffer the penalty for the breach of 
the law, and so deliver us from the wrath to come ; but it was a price 
that was given to purchase grace, favour, and heaven for us, which is 
called, Eph. i. 14, ' The purchased possession.' Now, why must our 
surety instate us thus into favour ? Because Christ was such a surety 
as did not only pay the forfeiture, but also the principal ; that is, he 
did not only make satisfaction for the trespass and offence (which is 
the payment of the forfeiture), but also he established a righteousness 
answerable to the law (which is the payment of the principal), and of 
that original debt which God first required of the creature ; for there 
is a debt of duty and service which Christ performeth and establisheth 
as a righteousness for us. 

[5.] From hence in his name there is proclaimed redemption to the 
captives, freedom to poor prisoners that were in debt, and weak, and 
could not acquit themselves. And therefore the publication of the 
gospel is compared to the year of jubilee : Luke iv. 19, Christ came 
* to preach the acceptable year of the Lord/ It relates to .the year of 
jubilee, wherein all debts were cancelled ; it was a year of general 
releasement, proclaimed by sound of trumpet, that every man should 
return to his inheritance, and all debts dissolved and done away : Lev. 
xxv. 9, 10. So Jesus Christ saith, ' The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, 
to preach the acceptable year of the Lord ; ' that is, to proclaim to poor 
captives a release of all debts, and all bonds which are upon them. 

[6.] All those that come to God by Christ are interested in the 
comfort of this offer and proclamation of grace, and may plead with 
God about their discharge from this great and heavy debt. I put it 
mainly in that notion (those that come to God by Christ), because you 
will find that is the description of those whom Christ means to save : 
Heb. vii. 25, ' He is able to save them to the uttermost that come 
unto God by him/ Who are those that come unto God by him ? 
Those that in Christ's name do seriously, and with brokenness of 
heart, deal with him about a release and a discharge. To come to 
God by him, it is to come in his name, to plead his propitiation, or 
his satisfaction, as the only meritorious cause ; and the promise of 
God in Christ to blot out our offences, as the only ground of hope ; 
and as to ourselves, acknowledging the debt ; that is, in confessing our 
sins, and our desert of punishment, with a purpose to forsake them. 


(1 ) There is required an acknowledgment of the debt. God stands 
upon it that his justice may be owned with a due sense, according to 
the tenor of the first covenant : for though the satisfaction be made 
by another, and that by a surety of God's providing ; yet God wil 
have the creature know they are under so heavy a debt, that he wil 
have them feel it in brokenness of heart; not know it only in a general 
conviction, but confess their sins: 1 John i. 9, ' If we confess our 
sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.' When we come 
with true remorse, and confess we have offended so just, so holy, so- 
merciful a Father, it must be grievous to us in the remembrance of 
it You must not only confess sin as a wrong, but as a debt : sin 
hath wronged God, and it is also a debt binding you over to a punish 
ment we could never endure, nor make God any satisfaction lor. 
Therefore David, when he would have God's bond crossed and can 
celled see how he pleads : Ps. li. 2, 3, ' Lord, blot _out mine 
offences, for I acknowledge my transgressions ; and my sin is ever be 
fore me ' Blot it out, for I acknowledge it ; that is, I submit to 
thy instituted course ; I submit to the justice of the first covenant. 

(2 ) The satisfaction of Christ must be pleaded also by a sinner in the 
court of heaven, in a believing manner, that there may be an owning 
of the surety. All parties that are interested in this business must 
consent Now God and Christ they are agreed about the business of 
salvation: God hath agreed to take satisfaction from Christ, e and 
Christ hath agreed to make this satisfaction to God : all the business 
now is about the sinner's consent, or about his ready acceptation of % 
Jesus Christ and we never heartily indeed consent to this, that 
Christ shall be our surety, and he the person that must release and 
discharge this debt, until we look upon him by an eye of faith, as one 
that tore the bond and handwriting that was against us. Ihe law is 
called ' the handwriting that was against us; ' there is the bond which 
was to be put in suit : now, Col. ii. 14, He hath torn, or < blotted out 
the handwriting of ordinances, that was against us, which was con 
trary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. He hath 
disannulled the law, which binds to suffer the wrath of God. The law 
was the bond by which our death was ratified. 

(3 ) There is required an unfeigned purpose to forsake sin. 
that hath been released 'of his debt, must not still run into new 

Ohriflfc never blotted out our debts that we might renew them, and 
eo on upon a new score of offending God again ; this is to dally with 
God, to run into the snare when he hath broken it for us and given 
us an escape, to plunge ourselves into new debts again. 

In this prayer, ' Forgive us our debts,' then presently, Lead us 
not into temptation.' Therefore we must purpose to forsake sin other 
wise we do not draw nigh to God with a true heart : Heb. x. M. We 
do but deal falsely with God in all the confessions we make, and m 
all the pleas of faith, unless there be an unfeigned purpose to renounc< 
all sin and cast it off as a thing that will undo our souls. _ Ihus, 
Christians, must you sue out your release and discharge in yoi 
surety's name. . ., , 

Use 1. The use is, first, to show us the misery of an impenitent, 


unpardoned sinner ; he. hath a vast debt upon him, that will surely 
undo him unless he doth in time get a discharge. He is bound over 
to suffer the wrath of God for evermore, and no hand can loose him 
but God's. Many times they think of no such matter, and cry, ' Peace, 
peace/ to themselves ; but it is not the debtor which must cancel the 
book, but the creditor. Have you a discharge from God ? where is 
your legal qualification ? poor creatures, what will you do ? Many 
take care that they may owe nothing to any man ; oh ! but what do 
you owe to God ? To live in doubt and in fear of an arrest, oh, what 
misery is that ! But when sin lieth at the door, ready to attack you 
every moment and hale you to the prison of hell, that is most dread 
ful. Therefore think of it seriously ; how do accounts stand between 
God and you ? Sinners are loth to think of it. When the lord 
came to reckon with his servants, Mat. xviii. 24, it is said, ' One was 
brought to him which owed him ten thousand talents :' he was loth 
to come to an account, he would fain keep out of the way, but he was 
brought to him. So we are unwilling to be called to account, we shift 
and delay, and will not think of our misery : but the putting off sin will 
not put it away ; our not thinking of our misery will not help us out, 
and will not be a release and discharge. 

2. If sins be debts, and an increasing debt, so that man is ever 
treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath ; it presseth us to be 
more careful to get out of this condition. Saith Solomon, Prov. vi. 
3-5 : If thou beest in debt, ' flee as a swift roe from the hand of the 
hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.' Oh, it is a sad 
thing to lie in our sins ! If you be under this debt, ' give not sleep 
to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids ; get away like the swift 
roe from the hand of the hunter,' &c. And what I say concerning a 
state of sin, I say concerning daily failings ; make your peace with 
God betimes ; if you have contracted a new debt, make all even be 
tween God and your souls, that you may not sleep in your sins. 

3. This should make us more cautious that we do not commit sin : 
why ? it is a debt that will render you obnoxious to the wrath of 
God ; in itself it merits eternal death : oh, therefore, sin no more, do 
not run again into the snare ! When you give way to sin, you hazard 
the comfort of your acquittance by Christ : Ps. Ixxxv. 8, ' The Lord 
will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints ; but let them not 
turn again to folly.' If the Lord hath given you your peace, and 
some hope of your being discharged of this heavy debt, take heed of 
meddling with forbidden fruit, and running into debt again. 

II. From the subject or persons which make this prayer, ' Forgive 
us,' observe, 

Doct. Even those that call God Father, ought to beg, daily and 
humbly, pardon of their sins. 

Forgive us ; who is that us that can say in faith, Our Father, daily? 
For this is a pattern for daily prayer, as the word (rr/pepov in the former 
petition noteth. We need beg, for Christ hath taught us here to sue out 
our discharge : in which begging there is an exercise of faith eyeing 
Christ : Eom. iii. 25, ' God hath set forth him to be a propitiation 
through faith in his blood.' And there is an exercise also of repent 
ance, as to mourning for sin : 1 John i. 9, and Prov. xxviii. 13, ' He 


that confesseth and forsaketli his sin, shall have mercy :' and as to 
loathing of sin, Acts iii. 19, ' Repent ye therefore, and be converted, 
that your sins may- be blotted out.' And certainly it must be humbly 
begged ; for if we seek pardon we must seek it in God's way. We do 
not beg God to rescind and, make void his laws, and those wise consti 
tutions he hath appointed whereby the creature shall receive this 
grace ; and the manner wherein he will deal and transact this business 
with the offending creature : but we seek it as exercising our renewed 
repentance ; that is, mourning for sin, and loathing of sin. But of 
this more hereafter. 

Now, that the best of God's children should -be dealing with God 
about a pardon of their sins, I shall argue it : 

1. From the necessity. 

2. The utility and profit of such a course. 

First, The necessity of this will appear two ways : 

"!.] From the condition of God's children here in the world. 

2.] From the way wherein God will give out a pardon. 

1.] From the condition of God's children here in this world. The 
best are not so fully sanctified in this life but there is some sin found 
in them; not only they who walk with no care, but even they that 
set the most narrow watch over their ways, they are not so sanctified 
but they need daily to go to God. 

(1.) They have original sin which remaineth with them to the last, 
they have the sinning sin which the apostle speaks of. Paul corn- 
plains of the body of death : Rom. vii. 23, 24, ' Who shall deliver me 
from it ?' The Hebrews were wont to propound their wishes by way 
of question ; as, ' Oh that salvation were come out of Zion ! ' It is in 
the Hebrew, 'Who shall bring salvation out of Zion?' So, 'Who 
will lead me into Edom ?' that is, ' Oh that I were led into Edom/ that 
I might display the banner there, because of God's truth. So, ' Who 
shall deliver me from the body of this death ?' that is, ' Oh that I were 
delivered !' Where the reign of sin is broken, yet there it remains ; 
though it be cast doion in regard of regency, yet it is not cast out in 
regard of inherency. As the ivy that is gotten into the wall, cut away 
the boughs, branches, stubs, yet still there will be some sproutings 
out again until the wall be pulled down ; so until these earthly taber 
nacles of ours be tumbled in the dust, though we are mortifying and 
subduing of sin, yet there will be a budding and sprouting out again. 

(2.) There are many actual sins: James iii. 2, 'In many things 
we offend all ;' and Eccles. vii. 20, ' There is not a just man upon 
earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not :' that is, that sins not either 
in omitting of good or committing of evil : our offences are either 
total or partial. Partial offences ; though a child of God loves God, 
fears God, trusts in God, yet not in that purity and perfection that 
he hath required of him ; though he serves God and obeys him, yet 
not with that liberty, delight, reverence, which he hath required. 
There is an omission in part in every act : there is not that perfection 
which God deserveth, who is to be served with all our might, with all 
our strength. Our principles are divided ; there is flesh and spirit ; 
there is a mixture in all our actions. Sometimes there is a total omis 
sion, the spiritual life is at a stand, many times all acts of respect 


are intermitted. Then for commissions, sometimes, out of ignorance, 
they do not see what is to be done. Though they have a general reso 
lution to do the whole will of God, yet many times they mistake. Our 
light is but in part : And ' who can understand his errors ? Cleanse 
me from secret sins :' Ps. xix. 12. We sin out of ignorance, as a man 
in the dark may jostle against his friend. Sometimes by imprudence 
and inconsideration, as a man that is not heedful, though he knows it, 
he may mistake his way. Many are overtaken in a fault : Gal. vi. 1 ; 
that is, unawares, and besides their intention. Sometimes, out of 
incogitancy and sudden incursion, they may not only be overtaken 
but overborne, ' drawn away by their own lusts,' James i. 14 : overcome 
by the prevalency of passion and corrupt affection ; so sin gets the 
upper hand. Thus it is with the children of God. Look, as it was 
said of the Romans, that in battle they were overcome, but never in 
war ; though a child of God hath the best of it at last, yet in many 
particular conflicts he is overborne by the violence of temptation and 
his own corrupt lusts. Thus there is a necessity of begging daily par 
don, if we consider the condition of the saints while they are here in 
the world, who carry a sinning nature about them, a corrupt issue 
that will never be dried up while they are in the world ; and also 
they are guilty of many actual sins, both of omission and commission. 

Secondly, The necessity of it will appear from the way wherein God 
gives a pardon, which is upon the creature's humble submission, and 
seeking of terms of grace ; so that whatsoever right we have to remis 
sion in Christ, though we have a general right to remission and 
pardon of sin, yet we must seek to apply that right, and beg the use 
of it for our daily pardon and acceptance with God. This will appear 
by considering (1.) The nature of this request ; (2.) The right that 
a justified person hath to the pardon of his daily sins. 

1. What we beg for when we say, Forgive us our sins. Five things 
we ask of God : 

1.] The grant of a pardon. 

2. The continuance of this privilege. 

3. The sense and comfort of it. 
4.] The increase of that sense. 

5.] The effects of pardon, or a freedom from those penal evils that 
are fruits of sin. 

(1.) The grant of a pardon, that God would accept the satisfaction of 
Christ for our sins, and look upon us as righteous in him. Jesus 
Christ himself was to sue out the fruits of his purchase : Ps. ii. 8 r 
' Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, 
and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.' Though he 
had a right to be received into heaven, to sit down at the right hand 
of God, and administer the kingdom for the comfort of his elect ones, 
yet ' ask of me.' And so we are to sue out our right : Ps. xxxii. 5, 
' I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord ; and thou 
forgavest the iniquity of my sin.' What then ? ' For this cause shall 
every one that is godly pray unto thee.' Though God be so ready to 
forgive as soon as we conceive a purpose he gives out a pardon yet 
we are to call upon God. God will have us to sue out the grant of a 
pardon. Why ? Because he would deal with us as a sovereign, therefore 

VOL. I. M 


doth he require the submission of our faith. It was of grace that he 
would appoint a satisfaction for us, which he did not for the fallen 
angels ; and it was much more grace that he would give that satis 
faction, give that price, out of his own treasury. Christ was not 
a mediator of our choosing, but God's ; and therefore, though 
justice be fully satisfied, yet the debt is humbly to be acknowledged 
by the creature, and we are to sue out terms of grace. And again, 
the application to us is merely grace, when so many thousands perish 
in their sins ; therefore we are to beg, to sue out this grace, that we 
may have the benefit of Christ's death. God doth it, that in begging 
we may acknowledge our own misery, and how unable we are to make 
satisfaction : Ps. cxliii. 2, ' In thy sight no flesh can be justified ;' and 
Ps. cxxx. 3, 4, ' If thou shouldest mark iniquities, Lord, who shall 
stand ? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be 
feared.' Before God will give us an interest in this forgiveness, we 
are to come and confess ourselves utterly to be insolvent, and also to 
own Jesus Christ as the means, that we may solemnly and explicitly 
own our Eedeemer, who was appointed by God, and procured this 
benefit for us : 1 John ii. 1, ' And if any man sin, we have an advocate 
with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.' God hath required 
we should sue it out, and own our advocate, as well as confess our 
selves unable to satisfy, that we might know who is our advocate. 
In the type of the brazen serpent, Num. xxi. 8, ' And the Lord said 
unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole : and it 
shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon 
it, shall live.' Mark, though God set up a sign of salvation (as it is 
called elsewhere), yet when you shall look upon him you shall live. So 
God would have us sue out the grant by looking to Christ, that so our 
interest may be established : John iii. 14, 15, ' And as Moses lifted up 
the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted 
up ; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have 
eternal life.' That whosoever ' believeth in him/ that was the intent 
of looking upon it, that we might fix our faith on Christ, and come 
tinder the shelter of his wing. We beg, upon a sense of our own 
unworthiness, the acceptance of Christ's satisfaction for us. 

(2.) We pray for the continuance of pardon ; though we are already 
justified, yet ' Forgive us our sins.' As in daily bread, though we have 
it by us, and God hath stored us with blessings in our houses, yet we 
beg the continuance and use of it; so whatever right we have to 
pardoning mercy, yet we beg the continuance of it, for two reasons: 
Partly because justification is not complete until the day of judg 
ment, but mercy is still in fieri, that is, God is still a-doing : Acts 
iii. 19, ' That your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refresh 
ing shall come from the presence of the Lord.' Then are our sins 
blotted out, then is this privilege complete. We read of forgiveness 
in this world, and forgiveness in the world to come, Mat. xii. 32. 
Forgiven in this world, when accepted to grace and favour with 
God ; and forgiven in the world to come, when this privilege is com 
plete, and fully made up to the elect. Some effects of sin remain till 
then ; as death, which came into the world by sin, remains upon the 
body till then then our sin is blotted out, when all the fruits of it 


are vanished and done away. So that whilst any penal evils that are 
introduced by sin remain, we ought to pray for pardon, that God 
would not repent of his mercy. Look, as when we are in a state of 
sanctification, we pray for the continuance of sanctification, as well as 
the increase of it, because of the relics of sin, though our persever 
ance in grace and sanctification be as much secured by God's promise 
as our perseverance in God's favour, and the gift of justification ; so 
we pray for the continuance of pardon, because the evils of sin yet 
remain in part. And partly, because God, for our exercise, will make 
us feel the smart of old sins, which are already pardoned ; as an old 
bruise, though it be healed, yet ever and anon we may feel it upon 
change of weather. Accusations of conscience may return for sins 
already pardoned ; as Job xiii. 26, ' Thou makest me possess the 
iniquities of my youth.' Though a man be reconciled to God, and in 
favour with him, yet the sins of his youth will trouble him after he 
hath obtained the pardon of them. God may make these return with 
a horrible and frightful appearance upon the conscience ; their visage 
may be terrible to look upon. Though these sins are blotted out, 
Satan may make the remembrance of them very frightful ; and God, 
in his holy, wise dispensation, may permit it for our humiliation. 
Though this be no intrenching of the pardon already past, yet it may 
exceedingly terrify the soul, and overcloud our comfort, and therefore 
we must beg the continuance of this benefit. Go to God as David 
did : P&. xxv. 6, 7, ' Kemember, Lord, thy tender mercies and thy 
loving-kindness, for they have been ever of old. Eemember not the 
sins of my youth, nor my transgressions/ He begs God's ancient 
mercies would continue with him. He acknowledged he had received 
mercy of old ; he could run up to eternity, that had been for ever of 
old ; yet, Lord, remember not against me the sins of my youth. When 
the sense of old sins are renewed, we must renew petitions for the 
pardon of them. It is usual with God, when we are negligent, to 
permit the devil to make use of affliction to revive old sins, that they 
may stare afresh in the view of the eye of conscience ; therefore we 
had need to beg the continuance of this privilege, for it is not com 
plete. Though the pardon itself be not abrogated, yet the comfort of 
it may be much intrenched upon, and old sins may come and terrify 
the soul with a very hideous aspect. 

(3.) We beg here the sense and manifestation of pardon, thoughitbe 
not the only thing we pray for. ' Forgive us our sins,' that is, let us 
know it. God may blot sins out of his book, when he doth not blot 
them out of our consciences. There is the book of conscience, and the 
book of God's remembrance. The book of God's remembrance may 
be cancelled (to speak after the manner of men) ; as soon as we believe 
and repent, then the handwriting which was against us is torn ; but he 
blots it out of our consciences when the worm of conscience is killed 
by the application of the blood of Christ through the Spirit, when we 
are 'sprinkled from an evil conscience/ as the expression is, Heb. 
x. 22. And David is earnest with God for this benefit, the sense of 
his pardon : Ps. K. 8, 12, ' Make me to hear joy and gladness ; that 
the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice ; and restore unto 
me the joy of thy salvation.' Nathan had told him his sins were 


pardoned, yet he wanted the joy of God's salvation, that ancient free 
spirit, that comforting, enlarging spirit he was wont to have. God 
may forgive in heaven, when he does not forgive in our sense and 
feeling ; therefore we beg the manifestation of it by the comforts of 
the gospel. 

(4.) We beg the increase of that sense, for this sense is given out in 
a different latitude. Spiritual sense is not in all alike quick and 
lively ; many have only a probable certainty, but have many doubts 
some have comfort, but never arrive to peace. Comfort, you know, 
is that thing which holds up itself against encounters when we are 
confronted ; so there may be many doubts when the preponderating 
part of the soul inclineth to comfort. Some have peace for the present, 
rest from trouble of conscience ; others have joy, which is a degree above 
peace and comfort. 

(5.) We beg the effects of pardon, or freedom from those penal evils 
which are continued upon God's children, and are the fruits ^of sin. 
Clearly this is intended, for we beg of God to pardon us as we pardon 
others ; that is, fully, entirely to forgive, forget. We beg of God to for 
give us our sins ; that is, to mitigate those troubles, evils, and afflictions, 
which are the fruits of sin. It is true, when a man is justified, the 
state of his person is altered ; yet sin is the same in itself, it deserves 
all manner of evils ; therefore we beg not only a release from wrath to 
come, but from those other temporal evils that dog us at the heels. 
Sin is the same still, though the person is not the same. It is still the 
violation of a holy law, an affront done to a holy God, an inconven 
ience upon the precious soul ; it brings a blot upon us, an inclination 
to sin again ; nay, it brings eternal death. Though it do not bring 
eternal death upon pardoned persons, yet it may occasion temporal 
trouble. God hath still reserved this liberty in the covenant : that he 
will 'visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with 
stripes ; nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from, 
him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail,' Ps. Ixxxix. 32, 33. And Prov. 
xi. 31, ' The righteous shall be recompensed in the earth ; ' that is, he 
shall smart for his evil-doings. A child of God, when he sinneth 
against him, though he be not executed, yet he may be branded, he 
may have a mark of shame put upon him, his pilgrimage may be made 
uncomfortable, and these may be fully consistent with God's grace and 
love. Therefore we beg a release from these penal evils, that as the 
guilt, so the punishment also may be abolished. 

2. The right that a justified person hath to the pardon of his 
daily sins. 

Pardon of sin is to be considered : (1.) in. the impetration of it ; (2.) 
the offer; (3.) the judicial application, or legal absolution of the sinner. 

[1.] In the impetration and purchase of it. So when, Heb. x. 14, 
' By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified/ 
there needed no more to expiate them to satisfy justice. 

[2.] In the offer of it. So God hath proclaimed pardon upon the 
condition of repentance: Ezek. xxxiii. 11, ' Say unto them, As I live, 
saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked ; but 
that the wicked turn from his way and live : turn ye, turn ye from 
your evil ways ; for why will ye die, house of Israel ? ' 


[3.] In the judicial application, or legal absolution of a sinner. God 
in his word hath pronounced the legal absolution of every one that 
believeth in Christ. As soon as we repent and believe, a threefold 
benefit we have : 

(1.) The state of the person is altered ; he is a child of God : John 
i. 12, ' To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become 
the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.' He hath 
full leave to call God Father, a kind of fatherly dealing from him. 
Translated from a state of wrath to the state of grace, from a child of 
the devil he is made a child of God, never to be cast out of his family. 

(2.) The actual remission of all past sins : Eom. iii. 25, ' To declare 
his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the 
ibrbearance of God.' It would be a license to sin if his sins were 
remitted before committed. 

(3.) A right to the remission of daily sins, or free leave to make use 
of the fountain of mercy, that is always running, and is opened in the 
house of God for the comfort of believers : Zech. xiii. 1, ' In that day 
there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the 
inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.' 

Secondly, The utility and profit of such a course. See Sermon on 
Psalm XXXII. 1, Sermon xx.l 

Use. The use is to press us to be often dealing with God about the 
pardon of our sins, by a general and daily humiliation ; none are 
exempted from bewailing the evil of sin. The death of Christ doth 
not put less evil into sin ; it is still damning in its own nature ; it is 
still the violation of a holy law, an affront to a holy God, an incon 
venience to thy precious soul. When Christ paid the price for our 
sins, it was upon this condition : that we should renew our faith and 
repentance ; that we should sue out our discharge in his name ; that 
when we sin we may come and humble ourselves before the Lord. 
Under the law, if a man were unclean, he was to wash his clothes 
before evening ; he was not to sleep in his uncleanness. So if you 
have defiled yourselves, you should go wash in the laver that God 
hath appointed. The Lord taught his people under the law the 
repeating a daily sacrifice, morning and evening. If one be fallen out 
with another, God hath advised us, before the sun be set, to go and 
be reconciled to our brother ; and wilt thou lie under the wrath of 
God for one night ? If we would oftener use this course, the work of 
repentance would not be so hard. Wounds are best cured at first, 
before they are suffered to fester and rankle into a sore ; so are sins 
before they grow longer upon us. And if we did oftener thus reckon 
with ourselves, we should have less to do when we come to die. 
Therefore do as wise merchants ; at the foot of every page draw up 
the account, so help it forward ; so it will not be hard to sum up a 
long account, and reckon up our whole lives, and beg a release of all 
our debts ; therefore daily come and humble yourselves before the 
Lord. The oftener you do this, the sooner you will have the comfort 
of pardon ; but when you keep off from God, and delay, you suffer the 
loss of peace, and the loss of God's favour ; and hardness of heart, and 
atheism, and carnal security increase upon you. 
1 In a subsequent volume. ED. 


As we forgive our debtors. 

I come to the last branch. Hence observe : 
Doct. 3. Those that would rightly pray to be forgiven of God, they 
must forgive others. 

First, I shall give you the explication ; Secondly, The reasons. 
For explication, I shall speak to three things : 

1. Who are debtors. 

2. What respect our forgiving of others hath to God's forgiving 
of us. 

3. In what manner we must forgive others. 

First, Who are our debtors. It is not meant in a vulgar sense, of 
those only which stand engaged for a sum of money due to us ; but 
of all such as have offended us in word or deed. There is a duty we 
owe to one another, which, when we omit, or act contrary unto it, we 
are not only debtors to God, but to one another ; and the doers of the 
injury are bound to repair the wrong, and to make restitution. In 
this large sense is the word debtors here taken, with respect to the 
person that hath done the injury. He becomes a debtor, is to make 
satisfaction, and suffer the punishment which the wrong deserves. 

Secondly, What respect hath our forgiving of others to God's for 
giving us ? 

I shall speak to it negatively and positively. 

1. Negatively. 

[1.] It is not a meritorious cause, or a merit and price given to God, 
why he should pardon us, for that is only the blood of Christ. Every 
act of ours is due, it is imperfect, and no way proportionate to the 
mercies we expect ; and therefore it cannot be meritorious before God. 
It is due, it is a duty we are bound to do, and paying off new debts 
doth not quit old scores. God hath laid such a law upon us, that we 
are to forgive others. That cannot expiate former offences. And it 
is imperfect too. The remembrance of injuries sticks too close to us. 
When we do most heartily and entirely forgive others, even then we 
have too great a sense of the injury and wrong that is offered to us. 
Now that which needs pardon cannot deserve pardon. And it is dis 
proportionate to the mercy which we expect. What a vast disparity 
and difference is there between God's pardoning of us and our par 
doning of others, whether we respect the persons that are interested 
in this action, or the subject-matter, or manner and way of doing, or 
the fruit and issue of the action. 

First, In the persons pardoning. What proportion can there be 
between God and man, the Creator and the creature ? God he is 
most free, and bound to none, of infinite dignity and perfection, which 
can neither be increased nor lessened by any act of ours, for him or 
against him ; but we live in perfect dependence upon God's pleasure, 
are subject to his command, and bound to do his will ; and therefore 
what is our forgiving our fellow-creatures, made out of the same dust, 
animated by the same soul, and every way equal with us by nature, 
when they wrong us in our petty interests ? What proportion is there 
between this forgiving and God's forgiving ? he that is of so infinite a 
majesty, his forgiving the violations of his holy law ? 


And secondly, To the subject-matter, that which is forgiven, there is 
no proportion. When we compare the multitude or magnitude, the 
greatness, and the number of offences forgiven of the one side and the 
other, we see there is a mighty disproportion. We forgive pence, and 
God talents ; we an hundred pence, he ten thousand talents: Mat. xviii. 

So, thirdly, The manner of forgiving : on God's part, by discharging 
us freely, and exacting a full satisfaction from Christ ; therefore our 
forgiving can hold no comparison with it, which is an act of duty, and 
conformity t6 God's law. 

And fourthly, As to the fruit and issue of the action. Our good and 
evil doth not reach to God. Though our forgiving of others be an 
action of profit to ourselves, yet no fruit redounds to God. And 
therefore there being no proportion between finite and infinite, there 
can be no such proportion between our forgiving and God's forgiving, 
as that this act may be meritorious before God. Thus it is not 
brought here as merit, as that which doth oblige and bind God 
meritoriously to forgive us. 

[2.] It is not a pattern or rule. We do not mean our forgiving 
should be a pattern of forgiving to God. So as is taken, indeed, ver. 
10, ' Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven ; ' there it implies 
a conformity to the pattern. But when we say, ' Forgive us, as we 
forgive,' it doth not mean here a pattern or rule. We imitate God, 
but God doth not imitate us, in forgiving offences ; and it would be 
ill with us if God should forgive us no better than we forgive one 
another. God is matchless in all his perfections ; there is no work 
like his : Ps. Ixxxvi. 8. As God is matchless in other things, so in 
pardoning mercy. ' As the heavens are above the earth, so are his 
ways above our ways, and his thoughts above our thoughts : ' Isa. Iv. 
9. And upon this very occasion the Lord will multiply to pardon : 
' As far as the heavens,' c. This is the greatest distance we can 
conceive. The heavens, they are at such a vast distance from the 
earth, that the stars, though they be great and glorious luminaries, 
yet they seem to be but like so many spangles and sparks. This is 
the distance and disproportion which is made between God's mercy 
and ours : Hosea xi. 9, ' I will not return to destroy Ephraim ; for I 
am God, and not man.' If God should forgive but only as man doth, 
it would be ill for Ephraim if he had to do with revengeful man. 
God acteth according to the infiniteness of his own nature, far above 
the law and manner of all created beings. Therefore it is not put 
here as a pattern and rule. 

[3.] It doth not import priority of order, as if our acts had the 
precedency of God's ; or as if we did or could heartily forgive others 
before God hath shown any mercy to us. No ; in all acts of love, 
God is first ; his mercy to us is the cause of our mercy to others. 
As the wall reflects and casts back the heat upon the stander-by when 
first warmed with the beams of the sun, so, when our hearts are 
melted with a sense of God's mercy, his love to us is the cause of our 
love and kindness to others : 1 John iv. 19, ' We love him, because he 
first loved us ;' that is, we love him, and others for his sake ; for 
love to God implies that. Why ? Because he hath been first with us. 
And then it is the motive and pattern of it. In that parable, Mat. 


xviii. 32, 33, God's forgiving is the motive to our forgiving : ' I 
forgave thee all thy debt ; and shouldest not thou have compassion on 
thy fellow-servant ?' In those that have true pardon it causeth them 
to forgive others out of a sense of God's mercy ; that is, they are 
disposed and inclined to show mercy to others. But in others that 
think themselves pardoned, and have only a temporary pardon and 
reprieve (such as is there spoken of), it is a motive which should 
prevail with them, though it doth not. Nay, it is the pattern of our 
love to others : Eph. iv. 32, ' Forgiving one another, even as God for 
Christ's sake hath forgiven you ;' in that manner, and according to 
that example. 

[4.] It doth not import an exact equality, but some kind of 
resemblance. As, it is a note of similitude, not equality, either of 
measure or manner ; it only irnplieth that there is some correspondent 
action, something like done on our part. So, Luke vi. 36, ' Be 
merciful, as your heavenly Father is merciful/ As, notes the 
certainty of the truth, though not the exact proportion ; there will 
be something answerable to God. 

2. But positively to show what respect it hath. 

[1.] It is a condition or moral qualification which is found in persons 
pardoned : Mat. vi. 14, ' For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your 
heavenly Father will also forgive you : ' but, ver. 15, ' If ye forgive 
not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your 
trespasses.' These two are inseparably conjoined, God's pardoning of 
us, and our pardoning of others. The grant of a pardon, that is given 
out at the same time when this disposition is wrought in us ; but the 
sense of a pardon, that is a thing subsequent to this disposition. And 
when we find this disposition in us, we come to understand how we 
are pardoned of God. 

[2.] It is an evidence, a sign or note of a pardoned sinner. When a 
man's heart is entendered by the Lord's grace, and inclined to show 
mercy, here is his evidence : Mat. v. 7, ' Blessed are the merciful, for 
they shall obtain mercy.' The stamp or impression shows that the 
seal hath been there ; so this is an evidence to us whereby we may 
make out our title to the Lord's mercy, that we have received mercy 
from the Lord. 

[3.] It is a necessary effect of God's pardoning mercy shed abroad in 
our hearts ; for mercy begets mercy, as heat doth heat : Titus iii. 
2, 3, ' Show meekness to all men ; for we ourselves also were some 
times foolish, disobedient,' &c. There is none so tender to others as 
they which have received mercy themselves ; that know how gently 
God hath dealt with them, and did not take the advantage of their 

[4.] It is put here to show that it is a duty incumbent upon them 
that are pardoned. God hath laid this necessity upon men. And 
that may be one reason why this clause is inserted, that every time we 
come to pray and beg pardon, we may bind ourselves to this practice, 
and warn ourselves more solemnly of our duty, and undertake it in 
the sight of God. So that when we say, ' Forgive us our debts, as we 
forgive our debtors,' it is a certain undertaking or solemn promise we 
Tnake to God, if he will show mercy to us, this will incline us to 


show mercy to others. In earnest requests, we are wont to bind our 
selves to necessary duties. 

[5.] It is an argument breeding confidence in God's pardoning 
mercy. When we, that have so much of the old leaven, that sour, 
revengeful nature, in us, yet when we have received but a spark of 
grace, it makes us ready to forgive others; then what may we 
imagine in God ! What is our drop, to that infinite sea of fulness 
that is in him ! Clearly thus it is urged in that clause, Luke xi. 4, 
* And forgive us our sins ; for we also forgive every one that is 
indebted to us.' There is a special emphasis upon that, for we also ; 
that is, we that have so little grace, we that are so revengeful and 
passionate by nature, we also forgive those that are indebted to us. 
Therefore the gracious God, in all goodness, and in all moral 
perfections, doth far exceed the creature ; and if this be in us, what 
is there in God ? This kind of reasoning is often used in scripture ; 
as Mat. vii. 11, 'If ye then, being evil, know how to give good 
gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is 
in heaven give good things to them that ask him?' If evil men 
hath such bowels and affections towards their children, certainly there 
is more of this goodness and kindness in God. 

Thirdly, Wherein this forgiving of others doth consist ? 

1. In forbearing others. 

2. In acquitting others. 

3. In doing good to them. 

[1.] In forbearing one another and withholding ourselves from 
revenge. This is a thing that is distant from forgiving, and accord 
ingly we shall find it so propounded by the apostle : Col. iii. 13, 
' Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have 
a quarrel against any ; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.' 
Mark, there is first forbearing and then forgiving. What is forbear 
ing ? A ceasing from acts of revenge, which, though they be sweet to 
nature, yet they are contrary to grace. Some men will say, We will 
do to him as he hath done to us : Prov. xxiv. 29, ' Say not, I will do 
so to him as he hath done to me ; I will render to the man according 
to his work.' Corrupt nature thirsteth for revenge, and hath a strong 
inclination this way ; but grace should give check to it : ' Say not,' &c. 
Men think it is a base thing, and argueth a low, pusillanimous spirit, 
to put up with wrongs and injuries: oh, it argueth a stupid baseness. 
But this is that which giveth a man a victory over himself ; nay, 
it gives a man the truest victory over his enemy, when he forbears to 
revenge. It gives a man a victory over himself, which is better than the 
most noble actions amongst the sons of men : Prov. xvi. 32, ' He that 
overcometh his own spirit is more than he that taketh a city.' 
There is a spirit in us that is boisterous, turbulent, and revengeful, 
apt to retaliate and return injury for injury. Now, when we can bridle 
this, this is an overcoming of our -own spirits. But that is the true 
weakness of spirit, when a man is easily overcome by his own passion. 
And then hath our enemy a true victory over us, when his injuries 
overcome us so far as we can break God's laws to be quit with him. 
Therefore the apostle saith : Horn. xii. 21, 'Be not overcome of evil, 
but overcome evil with good.' Then is grace victorious, and then 


hath a man a noble and brave spirit, not when he . is overcome by 
evil (for that argueth weakness), but when he can overcome evil. 
And it is God's way to shame the party that did the wrong and to 
overcome him too : it is the best way to get the victory over him. 
When David had Saul at an advantage in the cave, and cut off the 
lap of his garment, and did forbear any act of revenge against him, 
Saul was melted, and said to David, ' Thou art more righteous than 
I,' 1 Sam. xxiv. 17. Though he had such a hostile mind against 
him, and chased and 'pursued him up and down, yet when David 
forebore revenge when it was in his power, it overcame him, and he 
falls a-weeping. So the captains of the Syrians, when the prophet 
had blinded them, and led them from Dothan to Samaria, what saith 
the king of Israel ? is he ready to kill them presently ? No : 2 Kings 
vi. 22, ' Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and 
drink, and go to their master.' He was kind to them ; and what 
followeth ? ' They did no more annoy Israel.' This wrought upon 
the hearts of the Syrians, so that they would not come and trouble 
them any more. 

[2.] In forgiving, it is not only required of Christians to forbear 
the avenging of themselves, but also actually to forgive and pardon 
those that have done them wrongs. They must not only forbear acts 
of revenge, but all desires of revenge must be rooted out of their 
hearts. Men may tolerate or forbear others for want of a handsome 
opportunity of executing their purposes ; but the scripture saith, 
' Forbearing one another, forgiving one another.' This forgiving im- 
plieth the laying down of all anger, and hatred, and all desire of 
revenge. Now this should be done, not only in word, but sincerely 
and universally. 

(1.) Sincerely, and with the heart. In the conclusion of that 
parable, Christ doth not say, If ye do not forgive, thus it shall be done 
to you ; but, ' If ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother 
their trespasses, so also shall my heavenly Father do to you/ We 
must not only do this, but do it from the heart. Joseph, when his 
brethren came to him and submitted themselves, did not only remit 
the offence, but his bowels yearned towards them, and his heart was 
towards them : Glen. 1. 17. Then, 

(2.) It must be done universally, whatever the wrong be, be it to 
our persons, names, or estates. To our persons : Acts vii. 60, Stephen, 
when they stoned him, he said, ' Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.' 
Though they had done him so great an injury as to deprive him of 
his life and service, yet, ' Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.' So 
to our names : When Shimei came barking against David the poor 
man was driven out of Jerusalem by a rebellious son, and this wicked 
wretch takes advantage against David and rails at him yet David 
forgives him when restored to his crown : ' He shall not die,' 2 Sam. 
xix. 23. Nay, he sware to him. So his estate : When a debtor is 
not able to pay, and yet submits. So Paul bids Philemon to forgive 
the wrongs of Onesimus : ' Put it on my score,' Philem. 18, that is, 
for my sake forgive this wrong. 

[3.] We must be ready to perform all offices of love to them : Luke 
vi. 27, ' Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.' Mark, 


do not only forbear to execute your wrath and revenge upon them, 
but do good to them; yea, though they be enemies upon a religious 
ground ; though religion be made a party in the quarrel, and so 
engage us to the greater fury, when that which should bridle our 
passions is the fuel to them : ' Pray for them which despitefully use 
you and persecute you,' Mat. v. 44. Miriam, when she had wronged 
Moses, yet he falls a-praying for her, Num. xii. 13, that the Lord 
would forgive the sin and heal her. 

For the reasons why those that would rightly pray to be forgiven 
of God must forgive others it should be so, it will be so there is a 
congruency and a necessity. 

1. The congruency, it should be so. It is fit that he that beggeth 
mercy should show mercy ; it is exceedingly congruous. For this is 
a general rule : that we should do as we would be done unto ; and, 
therefore, if we need mercy from God, we should show mercy to others, 
and without it we can never pray in faith. He that doth not exer 
cise love can never pray in faith. Why ? His own revengeful dis 
position will still prejudice his mind, and make him conclude against 
the audience of his prayers ; for certainly we muse on others as we 
use ourselves. And that is one reason of our unbelief, why we are so 
hardly brought to believe all that tender mercy which is in God; 
because it is so irksome to us to forgive seven times a day, we are apt 
to frame our conclusions according to the disposition of our own heart. 
Can we think God will forgive when we ourselves will not forgive ? 
A man's own prayers will be confuted. What is more equal than to do 
as we would be done unto ? And therefore it is- but equal, if he 
entreat mercy for himself, he should show it unto others. Look, as 
the centurion reasoned of God's power, from the command that he had 
over his soldiers : Mat, viii. 9, ' I am a man under authority, and I 
say to one, Go, and he goeth ; and to another, Come, and he cometh/ 
Those things we are accustomed to, they are apt to run in our minds 
when we come to think of God. Now he that kept his soldiers under 
discipline that if he said, Go, they go, he reasons thus of God: 
Surely God hath power to chase away diseases. So accordingly should 
we reason of God's mercy according to the mercy that we find in our- 
selves.^ Therefore it is very notable that when Christ had spoken of 
forgiving our brethren, 'not only seven times, but seventy times seven,' 
the disciples said unto the Lord, ' Increase our faith,' Luke xvii. 5. 
How doth this come in ? In the 4th verse Christ had spoken that 
they should forgive not only seven times, but seventy times seven ; 
and they do not say, Lord, increase our charity, but our faith ; imply 
ing that we cannot have such large thoughts of God when our own 
hearts are so straitened by revenge and our private passions. 

2.^ In point of necessity ; as it should be so, so it will be so ; for 
God's mercy will have an influence upon us to make us merciful. All 
God's actions to us imprint their stamp in us. His election of us 
makes us to choose him and his ways; his love to us makes us love him 
again, who hath loved us first; so his forgiving of us makes us to forgive 
our brethren. There is an answerable impression left upon the soul 
to every act of God. Why? For a true believer is God's image : 'The 
new man is created after God/ Eph. iv. 24 ; and therefore he acts as 


God. Certainly, if there be such a disposition in our heavenly 
Father, it will be in us if we have an interest in him. Look, as a 
child hath part for part, and limb for limb, answerable to his father, 
though not so big in stature and bulk ; so hath a child of God, which 
is created after God, he hath all the divine perfections in some 
measure in his soul. And this consideration is of more force, be 
cause the new creature cannot be maimed and defective in every 1 part, 
but is entire, lacking nothing. And therefore, if God forgive others, 
certainly the godly will be inclinable to forgive too. 

Use 1. Here is a ground of trial whether we are pardoned or no: Is 
our revengeful disposition, that is so natural and so pleasing to us, 
mortified ? That is one trial or evidence whether we are forgiven of 
God ; can we freely from the heart forgive others ? 

Object. But it may be objected against this : Do you place so much 
in this property of forgiving others ? It doth not agree only to par 
doned sinners, because we see some carnal men are of a weak and 
stupid spirit, not sensible of injuries. And, on the other side, many 
of God's children find it hard to obtain 2 to the perfect oblivion of 
injuries that is required of them. 

Ans. As to the first part, I. answer: We do not speak of this 
disposition as proceeding from an easy temper, but as it proceedeth 
from grace ; when, in conscience towards God, and out of a sense of 
his love to us in Christ, our hearts, being tendered and melted towards 
others, to show them such mercy as we ourselves have received from 
the Lord ; that is the evidence. And again, we do not press to judge 
by this evidence single and alone, but in conjunction with others; 
when they are humbly penitent, and confessing their sins, and turn to 
the Lord, which is the great evangelical condition : Job xxxiii. 27, 
' If any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it 
profited me not,' then will he restore light to him. When a man 
is soundly touched with remorse, and seeth the folly of his former 
courses, and asketh pardon of God, then is God gracious to him. But 
this is that we say, that this disposition of pardon, in conjunction with 
the great evangelical condition of faith and repentance, it helpeth to 
make the evidence more clear. 

2. As to the other part of the objection, which was this : it will be 
a great weakening of the confidence of God's children who cannot get 
such a perfect oblivion of injuries they have received, but find their 
minds working too much this way : 

I answer : As long as we live in the world there will be flesh and 
spirit, corruption as well as grace ; there will be an intermixture of 
the operations of each. Carnal nature is prone to revenge, but grace 
prevaileth and inclineth to a pardon. Well, then, if this be the pre 
valent inclination of the soul, and that which we strive by all good 
means to cherish in us, this meek disposition, passing by of wrongs 
we receive by others, then we may take comfort by this evidence, 
though there be some reluctances and regrudgings of the old nature. 

Use 2. To press us to this ready inclination to forgive wrongs and 
injuries. We are not so perfect but we all need it from one another. 
There will be mutual offences while we are in the world, especially in 

i That is, ' any.' ED. 2 Qu. ' attain ' ? ED. 


a time when religious differences are on foot ; therefore it concerns us 
to look after this disposition of forgiving others, as we would be for 
given of God. Human society cannot well be upheld without this 
mutual forbearance and forgiving. Now imitate your heavenly Father. 
No man can wrong us so much as we daily trespass against him, and 
yet God pardoneth us. He doth not only pardon the lesser failings, 
some venial errors, and sins of incogitancy and sudden surreption, 
which creep upon us we know not how ; but he pardons the greatest 
sins, though they be as scarlet: Isa. i. 18. Those that are of a crimson 
hue, God can wash them out in the blood of Christ. And mark, 
what is it then that you will stand upon ? Is it the greatness of the 
offence? God pardons great sins. Or is it the baseness of those 
that injure you (this is the circumstance) when we, have received 
wrong from those which are our inferiors, that owe us more reverence 
and respect ? What are we to God ? Notwithstanding the baseness 
of those which affront him daily, all men to him are but ' as the drop 
of the bucket, and the small dust of the balance,' Isa. xl. 15 ; yet God 
pardons them. And then again, cast in the consideration of God's 
omnipotency. He is able to right himself of the wrongs done to him, 
and no man can call him to an account. Many times it is not in our 
power : ' He can cast body and soul into hell,' Mat. x. 28. God is 
thus offended, and by saucy dust that is ready to fly in his face, in 
considerable man ; and yet the Lord pardons, and this he doth freely: 
Luke vii. 42, ' He frankly forgave them both/ And he pardons fully, 
as if it were never committed : Micah vii. 19, ' He casts all our sins 
into the depths of the sea.' Then he pardons frequently : His ' free 
gift is of many offences unto justification/ Rom. v. 16. And he 
' multiplies to pardon,' Isa. Iv. 7. And mark, he pardons too (in 
some sense) before they repent ; there is a purpose ; he provided Christ 
before we were born. And he gives us grace to repent, or else we 
could never humble ourselves at his feet, the offended God ; he gives 
them the grace whereby they shall acknowledge the offence. Christ 
prayed for his persecutors when they had no sense of the injury they had 
done him ; they were converted by that prayer afterwards : Luke xxiii. 
34, ' Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do ;' therefore 
certainly much more when they repent and submit. Oh, therefore, let 
us not be drawn hardly to this duty ; or, at least, we should not upon 
every petty offence cherish hatred and rancour against our brethren. 

But here are certain cases that would come into debate. 

First Case. Whether it be consistent with this temper, forgiving of 
others, to seek reparation of wrongs in a way of justice, and pursue 
men at law for offences they have committed against us ? 

Ans. Yes. For, 

1. Certainly one law doth not cross another. By the law of charity 
the law of justice is not made void. A magistrate, though he be a 
Christian, and bound to forgive others, is not bound up from executing 
his office against public offenders. Nor yet are private men tied from 
having recourse to the magistrate for restoration to their right, or 
reparation of their wrong. For to demand one's right is not contrary 
to love, nor to seek to amend and humble the party nocent by the 
magistrate's authority, who is ' the minister of God for good/ Born. 


xiii. 4 ; and that others may ' hear and fear/ Deut. xix. 20 ; and 
the party damnified may for the future live in peace. Forgiving is an 
act of private jurisdiction. The offence, as far as it is private to us, 
it may be forgiven ; but there are many such offences as are not only 
an offence to us, but to the public order, and that must be left to the 
process of the law. 

2. Whosoever useth this remedy must look to his own heart, that 
he be not acted with private revenge, nor with a spirit of rigour or 
rancour against the party offending ; but that he be carried out with 
zeal to justice, with pity to the person, that he and others may not be 
hardened in sin. For this is the general law of Christ, that ' all 
things should be done in love/ 1 Cor. xvi. 14. Therefore when we 
are acted by our private passion and secret desires of revenge, we 
abuse God's ordinance of magistracy, and make it to lacquey upon our 
lusts. And therefore there must be a taking heed to the frame of our 
own hearts, that they be upright in these things. Though it seem 
hard to flesh and blood, yet remember flesh and blood shall not inherit 
the kingdom of God. Grace must frame your hearts to the obedience 
of God's will. 

3. These remedies from authority must be in weighty cases, and in 
matters of moment and importance. Their contending in law one 
with another about the smallest matters is that which the apostle 
taxeth : 1 Cor. vi. 7. Not upon every trifling occasion. It must be 
after other means are tried and used ; as the help of friends to com 
pound the matter, for charity trieth all things : 1 Cor. xiii. 4. And 
the apostle saith, 1 Cor. vi. 5, 'Is there none to judge between you?' 
that is, none to decide and arbitrate the difference, for the refuge to 
authority should be our last remedy. And it must be too when the 
party wronging is able to make satisfaction, otherwise it is rigour and 
inhumanity : 2 Kings iv. 1. As when the creditors came to take the 
sons of the widow for bondmen. When you are rigorous with those 
that come to poverty, not by their own default, but by the discharge of 
their duty brought poverty upon themselves, it is contrary to Chris 
tianity. Look, as physicians deal with quicksilver, after many dis 
tillations they make it useful in medicines ; so, after many preparations 
is this course to be taken. 

Second Case. Whether, in forgiving injuries, we are bound to 
tarry for the repentance of the party ? The ground of doubting is, 
because Christ saith, Luke xvii. 3, ' If thy brother trespass against 
thee, rebuke him; and, if he repent, forgive him;' and because of 
God's example, who doth not forgive an obstinate sinner, but him that 
repents. Certainly, even before repentance, we are bound to lay aside 
revenge, and in many cases to go and reconcile ourselves with others. 
Saith our Saviour, ' If thou hast aught against any one, go reconcile 
thyself to him, and then come and offer thy gift/ It is not said, If 
any have aught against thee, but, If thou hast aught against any one*. 1 
I confess, in some cases, it is enough to lay it aside before the Lord. 
But at other times, we are to seek reconciliation with the party which 
hath wronged us. But this case is mightily to be guided by spiritual 
prudence. As for God's example, God is superior, bound to none, he acts 
1 This seems to be inaccurate. ED. 


freely ; it is his mercy that pardons any; and yet God gives us a heart to 
repent of his good pleasure, he begins with a sinner. But this is nothing 
to our case who are under law, who are bound to forgive others. 

III. The person to whom we pray, Our heavenly Father. 

The note is, that God doth alone forgive sin. 

There is a double forgiveness of sin in heaven and in a man's own 
conscience ; and therefore sometimes compared to the blotting out of 
something out of a book, sometimes to the blotting out of a cloud. To 
the blotting out of a book : Isa. xliii. 25, ' I, even I, am he that 
blotteth out thy transgressions, for mine own sake, and will not 
remember thy sins ; ' that it may be no more remembered or charged 
upon us. To the blotting out of a cloud : Isa. xliv. 22, ' I have 
blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions, and as a cloud thy 
sins ;' as the sun when it breaketh forth in its strength dispelleth the 
mists and clouds. Sin interpose th as a cloud, hindering the light of 
God's countenance from shining forth upon us. Both these are God's 
work ; to blot the book and to blot out the cloud. 

1. Pardoning of sin in the court of heaven, it belongeth to God 
peculiarly : Dan. ix. 9, ' To the Lord our God belong mercies and for 
givenesses,' &c. It is God alone can do it, for two reasons : 

[1.] He is the wronged party. 

[2.] He is the supreme judge. 

(1.) He is the wronged party, against whom the offence is committed: 
Ps. li. 4, ' Against thee, against thee only, have I sinned.' He had 
sinned against Bathsheba, against Uriah, whose death he projected. 
How is it said ' against thee only' ? There may be wrong and hurt 
done to a creature, but the sin is against God, as it is a breach of his 
law, and a despising of his sovereign authority ; the injury done to the 
creature is nothing in comparison of the offence done to God, against 
so many obligations wherein we stand bound to him. Amongst men, 
we distinguish between the crime and the wrong. And a criminal 
action is one thing, and an action of wrong and trespass is another. If 
a man steal from another, it is not enough to make him restitution, 
but he must satisfy the law. 

(2.) He is the supreme judge. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as one 
God, are the judge of all the earth, to whom they must be accountable 
for the offence : Gen. xviii. 25, ' Shall not the judge of all the earth 
do right?' But in the mystery of redemption, the Father, as first in 
order of the persons, is represented as the judge, to whom the satisfac 
tion is tendered, and who doth authoritatively pass a sentence of abso 
lution. And therefore it is said, 1 John ii. 1, ' We have an advocate 
with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.' He is to deal with him 
as the supreme judge ; and ' it is God that justifieth/ Kom. viii. 33. 
The whole business of our acquitment is carried on by the Father, 
who is to receive the satisfaction, and our humble addresses for pardon. 

But to answer some objections that may arise. 

Object. 1. It is said, Mat. ix. 6, ' The Son of man hath power on 
earth to forgive sins/ 

I answer : That is brought there as an argument of his Godhead. 
He that was the Son of man was also very God ; and therefore upon 
earth, in the time of his humiliation, he had power to forgive sins, for 


he ceased not to be God when incarnate. And it became him to dis 
cover himself, as by his divine power in the work of miracles, so his 
divine authority in the forgiveness of sins. 

Object. 2. Is taken from the text, ' Forgive us our debts, as we for 
give those that trespass against us.' 

I answer : In sin, there is the obliquity or fault in it, and the hurt 
or detriment that redounds to man by it. As it is a breach of the law 
of God, or an offence to his infinite majesty, God can only pardon it, 
or dispense with it. As it is a hurt to us, so restitution is to be made 
to man, and man can pardon or forgive it. 

Object. 3. It is said, John xx. 23, ' Whosesoever sins ye remit, they 
are remitted unto them ; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are 
retained.' So that it seemeth man hath a power to remit sins. 

I answer : They do it declaratively, and by commission from God. 
The officers of the church have the keys of the kingdom of heaven 
committed to them ; the key of knowledge or doctrine, and the key of 
order and discipline. Accordingly this power is called, ' The keys of 
the kingdom of heaven/ Mat. xvi. 19. And the use of them is to 
open or shut the doors of God's house, and to ' bind or loose/ as the 
expression is, Mat. xviii. 18. That is, to pronounce guilty and liable 
to judgment, or to absolve and set free declaratively and in God's 
name ; or, as it is literally expressed in the place alleged, to remit or 
retain. The key of doctrine is exercised about all sin as sin, were it 
never so secret and inward ; and the key of order and discipline about 
sin only as it is scandalous and infectious. Now what they act minis 
terially, according to their commission, it is ratified in heaven, for it is 
a declaration or intimation of the sentence already passed there. So 
that a declarative and ministerial power is given to the church ; but 
the authoritative power of forgiving sins, that God hath reserved to 
himself. Man can remit doctriually, and by way of judicial procedure, 
but that is only by way of commission and ministerial deputation. 
Such as are penitent, and feel the bonds of their sins, they do declara 
tively absolve and loose them, or take off the censure judicially inflicted 
for their scandalous carriage. This ministerial forgiving, however 
carnal hearts may slight it, both in doctrine and discipline, yet being 
according to the rules of the word, is owned by God, and the penitent 
shall feel it to their encouragement, and the obstinate to their terror. 

2. As he pardoneth sin in the conscience ; and there God alone 
can forgive sin, or speak peace to the soul upon a double account : 

[1.] Because of his authority. 

[2.] Because of his power. 

(1.) Because of his authority. Conscience is God's deputy, and till 
God be pacified, conscience is not pacified upon sound and solid terms. 
Therefore it is said, where conscience doth its office, 1 John iii. 20, 21 , 
' If our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts, and 
knoweth all things ; if our hearts condemn us not, then have we con 
fidence towards God.' God is greater than our consciences. His 
authority is greater, for God is supreme, whose sentence is decisive. 
Now, though conscience should not do its office, 1 Cor. iv. 4, ' For I 
know nothing by myself, yet am I not hereby justified : but he that 
judgeth me is the Lord.' All depends upon God's testimony. 


(2.) Because of his power, who only can still the conscience : Isa. 
Ivii. 19, ' I create the fruit of the lips to be, peace, peace;' that is, 
the lips of his ministers or messengers, who bring the glad tidings of 
peace, or the reconcilement of God to his people : and therefore it is 
called ' the peace of God,' Phil. iv. 7, as wrought by him. The gospel 
is a sovereign plaster, but it is God's hand that must make it stick 
upon the soul, otherwise we hear words and return words : it is by 
the lively operation of his Spirit that our hearts are settled. God 
cometh in with a sovereign powerful act upon the soul, otherwise 
one grief or sad thought doth but awaken another. Till he ' com 
mand loving-kindness,' Ps. xlii. 8, we are still followed with temp 
tation; as the rain swells the rivers, and rivers the sea, and in 
the sea one wave impelleth another, so doth one temptation raise 

Use 1. It reproveth those that do not deal with God about the 
pardon of their sins. If God alone pardon sins, then God must be 
sought to about it. For though there be none in earth to call us to an 
account, yet God may call us to an account ; and then what shall we 
do ? Many, if they escape the judgment of man, think they are safe ; 
but alas ! your iniquities will find you out. You think they are past, 
and never more to be remembered ; but they will find you out in this 
world or the next ; our business lieth not with man so much as with 
God. Therefore this should be the question of your souls : Job xxxi. 
14, ' What then shall I do when God riseth up ? and when he visiteth, 
what shall I answer him ?' Which way shall I turn myself when 
God calleth me to an account ? He will come and inquire into our 
ways ; are you provided of an answer ? David's sin was secret ; his 
plot for the destruction of Uriah closely carried. Nathan tells him, 
2 Sam. xii. 12, ' Thou didst it secretly.' But, 'against thee have I 
sinned.' Many escape blame with men, but God's wrath maketh 
inquisition for sinners. You cannot escape his search and vengeance 
if you do not treat with him about a pardon. 

Use 2. It shows the folly of those that have nothing to show for 
the pardon of their sins, but their own secure presumptions ; it is 
God's act to pardon sin. Man may forget his sin, but if God remem 
ber it he is miserable. Man may hide his sin, but if God bring it to 
light ; man may put off the thoughts, but if God doth not put away ; 
man may excuse his sin, but if God aggravate it; the debtor may 
deny the debt, but if the book be not crossed, he is responsible : Ps. 
xxxii. 1,2,' Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin 
is covered ; blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not 
iniquity,' &c. We must have God's act to show for our discharge, 
then we may triumph : ' It is God that justifieth, who is he that con- 
demneth ?' &c., Horn. viii. 33, 34. God is the offended party, and the 
supreme judge. Then conscience hath nothing to do with us, nor 
Satan, neither as accuser or executioner. Not as an accuser, for then 
he is but a slanderer ; not as an executioner, for he is turned out of 
office : Heb. ii. 14, ' That he might destroy him that had the power 
of death, even the devil.' Have you your pardon from God ? Is your 
discharge from him ? When have it we from God ? 

1. Have it you from his mouth, in the word, or prayer, upon suing 

VOL. i. N 


to him in Christ's name, and earnest waiting upon him ? If men 
would consider how they come by their peace, they would sooner be 
undeceived. You were praying and wrestling with God, and so your 
comfort came. God speaketh peace. But when it groweth upon you, 
you know not how ; it was a thing you never laboured for ; like 
Jonah's gourd, it grew up in a night ; it is but a fond dream. 

2. Have it you under his hand? Is it a peace upon scripture 
terms? of faith: Horn. v. 1, ' Therefore being justified by faith, we 
have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ :' repentance : 
Luke xxiv. 47, ' That repentance and remission of sins should be 
preached in his name among all nations,' &c. ; and the exercise of 
holiness, then have you God's word to show for it. But if it be 
not a peace consistent with scripture rules, nay, you are afraid of the 
word, John iii. 20, you are loth to be tried, it is a naughty heart. 

3. Have it you under his seal ? 2 Cor. i. 22, ' Who hath also sealed 
us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.' Have you 
the impress of God upon you, God's seal, his image? Doth the 
Spirit of promise assure your hearts before God, that you can live in 
the strength of this comfort and go about duties cheerfully ? Then 
it is God's pardon ; otherwise it is but your own absolution, which is 
worth nothing. 

Use 3. It showeth that we need not fear the censures of men, nor 
the hatred of the ungodly ; for it is God pardoneth, and who can con 
demn ? God will not ask their vote and suffrage who shall be accepted 
to life and who not: 1 Cor. iv. 3, ' But with me it is a very small 
thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment,' &c. A 
man must expect censure that will be faithful to God ; but if he acquit 
us, it is no matter what our guilty fellow-creatures say. 

Use 4. Is comfort to broken-hearted sinners ; to those that need 
and desire pardon. It is well for them that God doth not put them 
off to others, but reserveth this power of pardoning sins to himself. 

1. It is his glory to forgive sins: Exod. xxxiii. 18, ' And he said, 
I beseech thee show me thy glory ;' compared with Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7, 
' And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the 
Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in 
goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, 
transgression, and sin,' &c. It is not only the glory of a man, who is 
so offensive himself and so passionate, that this passion will draw him 
to what is unseemly, but of God. 

2. It is his glory, not only above the creatures, but above all that is 
called god in the world : Micah vii. 18, ' Who is a God like unto thee, 
that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the rem 
nant of his heritage ? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he 
delighteth in mercy/ The heathen gods were known by their terrors 
rather than their benefits, and feared rather for their revenges than 
their mercies. We may boast of him above all idol gods upon this 
account. He is known among his people, not so much by acts of 
power, as acts of grace, and the greatness of his mercy, in pardoning 
sins for Christ's sake. 

3. He is willing to dispense a pardon : Micah vii. 18, ' He delight 
eth in mercy.' God delighteth in himself, and all his attributes, and 

MAT. VI. 12.] 



the manifestation of them in the world ; but above all in his mercy. 
Justice is ' his strange act,' Isa. xxviii. 21. There is not anything 
more pleasing to him. It is the mercy of God that he hath drawn 
up a petition for us ; he would never have taught us to have asked 
mercy by prayer, if he had not been willing to show us mercy. 

4. God will do it for his own sake, and not for any foreign reasons : 
Isa. xliii. 25, ' I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for 
mine own sake/ and out of a respect to his own honour. See 
how God casts up his accounts. It is mercy : Jer. iii. 12, 'I am 
merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever.' So his 
truth : Ps. cvi. 45, ' He remembered for them his covenant, and 
repented according to the multitude of his mercies.' Not from any 
desert of theirs, who do so neglect him and wrong him ; God will do 
it upon his own reasons. 

5. He will do it in such a way as man doth not, in a way of infinite 
mercy : Hosea xi. 9, ' I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger; 
for I am God, and not. man/' It is the great advantage of us sinners 
that we have to do with God and not man in our miscarriages ; for 
man's pity and mercy may be exhausted, be it never so great. What ! 
seven times a day ? But God is infinite. Man may think it dishon 
ourable to agree with an inferior when he stoops not to him ; but God 
is so far above the creature that we are below his indignation. Man is 
soon wearied, but not God : Isa. Iv. 8, 9, ' For my thoughts are not 
your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For 
as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than 
your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.' 

I now come to the fourth and last consideration. 
IV. That forgiveness of sins is one great benefit that we must ask 
of God in prayer. Here it will be needful to show : 

First, The necessity of treating with God about forgiveness. 

Secondly, The nature of this benefit 

Thirdly, The terms how God dispenseth it. 

First, The necessity will appear in these propositions : 

1. Man hath a conscience: Horn. ii. 15, 
excusing,' &c. A beast cannot reflect. 

2. A conscience inferreth a law. 

3. A law inferreth a sanction. 

4. A sanction inferreth a judgment. 

5. A judgment inferreth a condemnation to the fallen creature. 

6. There is no avoiding this condemnation, unless God set up a 
chancery, or another court of grace. 

7. If God set up another court, our plea must be grace. Of this 
see more at large, ' Twenty Sermons,' Sermon 1 on Ps. xxxii. 1 , 2. 

Secondly, The nature of this benefit, or manner how God for- 

1. Freely. 

2. Fully. 

[1.] Freely, and merely upon the impulsions of his own grace : Isa. 
xliii. 25, ' I, even I, am he that forgiveth your iniquities for my name's 
sake.' Nothing else could move him to it but his own mercy ; and he 
could have chosen whether he would have done so, yea or no for he 

Thoughts accusing or 


spared not the angels, but offereth pardon to man, and all men are 
not actually pardoned. And, therefore, the only reason why he showeth 
us mercy and not others, is merely his own grace. The intervention 
of Christ's merit doth not hinder the freedom of it, though dearly 
purchased by Christ, yet freely bestowed on us. For it is said, Horn, 
iii. 24, ' Justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is 
in Christ.' Why ? Partly because it was mercy that he would not 
prosecute his right against us. Partly because he found out the way 
how to recompense the wrong done by sin unto his majesty, and out 
of his love sent his Son to make this recompense for us: John iii. 16. 
It was love set all a-work. And lastly, not excited hereunto by any 
worth on our parts, but the external moving cause was only our 
misery, and the internal moving cause his own grace. Nor is the 
freedom of this act infringed by requiring faith and repentance on our 
part, because that only showeth the way and order wherein this grace is 
dispensed, not the cause why. It is not for the worth of our repentance, 
or as if there were any merit in it. A malefactor, that beggeth his 
pardon on his knees, doth not deserve a pardon ; only the majesty of 
the prince requireth that it should be submissively asked. These are 
not conditions of merit, but order ; not the cause, but the way of 
grace's working. And these conditions are wrought in us by grace : 
Acts v. 31 ; not required only, but given. In all other covenants, the 
party contracting is bound to perform what he promiseth by his own 
strength. But in the covenant of grace, God doth not only require 
that we should believe and repent, but causeth it in us. Conditions 
of the covenant are conditions in the covenant. God requireth faith 
and repentance, and giveth faith and repentance. Compare Isa. lix. 
20, with Kom. xi. 26. It is Christ's gift as well as his precept ; so 
that when we come about pardon of sin, we have only to do with 
grace. We beg pardon, and a heart to receive it. It is a free 

[2.] It is a full pardon. It is full in several respects. (1.) Because 
where the party is forgiven, he is accepted with God as if he had 
never sinned : Ps. ciii. 12, ' As far as the east is from the west, so far 
hath he removed our transgressions from us/ And Micah vii. 19, 
' Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depth of the sea ; ' Isa. xxxviii. 
17, ' Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.' It shall not be 
remembered nor laid to their charge any more. It is true, for a while 
after they may trouble the conscience, as when the storm ceaseth, the 
waves roll for a while afterwards ; so may sin in the consciences of 
God's children work trouble, after the fiducial application of the blood 
of Christ. But the storm ceaseth by degrees ; and it is possible that 
the commitment of new sins may revive old guilt, as a new strain 
may make us sensible of an old bruise. Yet we must distinguish 
between the full grant of a pardon, from the full sense of it. When 
we are not thankful, humble, fruitful, former sins may come into 
remembrance, and God may permit it, as matter of humiliation to 
us, and to quicken us to seek after new confirmation of our right and 
interest. Yet God's pardon is never reversed, nor will the sin be 
charged again, or put in suit against him, to the final condemnation 
of the person so pardoned. Once more : though the sins of the justified 


should be remembered at the day of judgment, it will uot be to the 
confusion of their faces, but the exaltation and praise of the Lord's 
grace. Then is this acquittance in all respects full. (2.) It is full, 
because where God forgiveth one sin, he will forgive all : Ps. ciii. 3, 
' Who pardoneth all thy sins ;' and Micah vii. 19, ' Thou wilt cast all 
their sins into the depth of the sea/ Sins original, actual ; of omission, 
commission ; small, great ; secret, open ; lust that boileth in the 
heart, and breaketh out in the life ; sins of worship, of ordinary con 
versation. Look in the bill what owest thou ? A Christian is 
amazed when he cometh to a serious account with God ; but the self- 
judging sinner needeth not be discouraged when he cometh to God. 
For where God pardoneth all that is past, the fountain stands daily 
open for him to flee unto, with all his faults as they are committed ; 
and upon the renewing of his faith and repentance, he shall obtain his 
pardon. All sins are mortal, all of them damnable. Therefore if all 
sins be not pardoned, he remaineth in danger of the curse, and one 
sin let alone is sufficient to exclude us out of heaven. Therefore all 
is pardoned, first or last. Justice hath no more to seek of Christ. 
And we have all leave to sue out our pardon in Christ's name. He is 
under that covenant that will pardon all. 

[3.] It is full; because where God forgiveth the sin, he also forgiveth 
the punishment. It will not stand with God's mercy to forgive the 
debt, and yet to require the payment. It is a mocking to say, I for 
give you the debt, and yet cast the man into prison ; and to pardon 
the malefactor, and yet leave him liable to execution. Here in the 
text, God forgiveth us, as we are bound to forgive our brother, not in 
part, but in whole. Guilt is nothing but an obligation to punishment 
(1.) As to eternal punishment, it is clear : Horn. v. 9. The eternal 
promises and threatenings, being of things absolutely good and evil, 
are therefore absolute and peremptory, that is certain. (2.) But now 
as to temporal afflictions, there is some difficulty, for where the whole 
punishment is done away, such grace and payment of any part of the 
debt cannot stand together. That pardon which is given upon 
valuable and sufficient price is full and perfect. Jesus Christ satis 
fied the justice of God for all our sins. How is it, then, that the saints 
are subject to so many afflictions ? (1.) So far as sin remains, so far 
some penal evil remains : when the dominion of it is broken, there 
remains no condemnation, but yet some affliction, and when it is 
wholly gone, there is no evil at all. We are not yet purged from all 
sin ; and, therefore, (2.) these afflictions are not satisfactory punish 
ments, and need not, as to the completing of our justification, but are 
helps to us, as the furtherance of our sanctification ; and so are of great 
use [1.] To make us hate sin more. If we only knew the sweetness of 
it, and not the bitterness, we would not be so shy of it. Now the bitter 
ness of it is seen by the effects : Jer. ii. 19, ' Thine own wickedness shall 
correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee ; know there 
fore, and see, that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken 
the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God 
of hosts/ [2.] It will cause us to prize our deliverance by Christ. If 
affliction be so grievous, what would hell be ? 1 Cor. xi. 32, ' But 
when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not 


be condemned with the world.' It is a gentle remembrance of hell- 
pains, or a fair warning to avoid them, when scorched or singed a 
little. [3.J To make us walk more humbly. We forget ourselves, and 
are apt to be puffed up. Paul saith, 2 Cor. xii. 7, ' Lest I should be 
exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, 
there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to 
buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.' 

[4.] It is full, because where God forgiveth sin, there are many con 
sequent benefits. 

(1.) God is reconciled: Rom. v. 1, 'Therefore being justified by 
faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.' This 
is the great blessing, and our great work is to make and keep peace 
with God ; to have no cloud between us and his face. Light is 
pleasant : what then is the light of his countenance, that filleth us with 
a peace that passes understanding? We would have a powerful 
friend, especially if we need him : Acts xii. 20 ; they sought peace 
with Herod, 'because their country was nourished by the king's 
country ; ' so should we do : we cannot live without God. If sin be 
pardoned, then we are at peace with God, and may have free access to 
him, with a free use of all that is his. 

(2.) A heart sanctified is a connexed benefit : 1 Cor. vi. 11, ' And 
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 1 John i. 9. 
Sin is considerable in the guilt and filth of it, as it rendereth us 
obnoxious to God's justice, or as it tainteth our faculties and actions. 
According to this double respect, Christ destroyeth sin, and no man 
hath benefit by him that is not freed from the guilt and filth thereof. 
Christ was sent into the world to restore God's image in us. But the 
image of God consisteth in the participation of holiness, as well as the 
participation of blessedness ; for God, that is happy and blessed, is 
also holy and good. The filthiness of sin is opposite to holiness, and 
the guilt of it to blessedness ; so that either Christ must restore but 
half the image of God, or he must give us this double benefit. If he 
should give us one without the other, many inconveniences would 
follow; therefore both are given: he justifieth that he may sanctify, 
and he sanctifieth that he may glorify. 

(3.) Providence is blessed : the curse is taken out of our blessings, 
and the sting out of our afflictions. As long as sin remains unpardoned 
our blessings are cursed : Mai. ii. 2, ' If ye will not hear, and if ye will 
not lay it to heart, to give glory to my name, saith the Lord of hosts, 
I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings ; 
yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.' 
There will be a worm in our manna, our ' table will become a snare,' 
Ps. Ixix. 22. But when once sin is pardoned, the sting of misery is 
taken away : 1 Cor. xv. 56, ' The sting of death is sin, and the strength 
of sin is the law : but thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory 
through our Lord Jesus Christ.' Crosses are not curses. 

(4.) We have a right to heaven, which is the great ground of hope : 
Rom. v. 10, ' For it, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God 
by the death of his Son. much more, being reconciled, we shall be 
saved by his life.' 


Thirdly, The terms upon which it is dispensed are faith and re 

1. Faith: Acts x. 43, ' To him give all the prophets witness, that, 
through his name, whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission 
of sins.' Faith is necessary to honour the mercy of God, to own the 
surety, to consent to his undertaking, to encourage the creature to look 
after this benefit. 

2. Kepentance, which implieth a sorrow for sin, with a serious 
purpose of forsaking it. Sorrow for sin : no man can seriously desire 
a pardon but he that is touched with a sense of his sin, moved and 
troubled at it. And then, for purpose of forsaking : Ezek. xxxiii. 12, 
' As for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the 
day that he turneth from his wickedness.' Sin pardoned must be 
left ; otherwise, a pardon given to a wicked man would be a con 
firmation of his sin, or a concession of leave to sin. Well, then, let 
us seek pardon of God in this way. 

And lead us not into temptation. 

WE are now come to the sixth petition, which is doubly expressed : 

1. Negatively, Lead us not into temptation. 

2. Affirmatively, But deliver us from evil. 

The first part doth more concern preventing grace, that we may 
not fall into evil; and the second, recovering grace, that if we fall 
into evil we may not be overcome of it, nor overwhelmed by it, but 
may find deliverance from the Lord. Here we pray : (1.) that we may 
not be tempted ; or, (2.) if the Lord see it fit we should be tempted, 
that we may not yield ; or, (3.) if we yield, that we may not totally be 
overcome. As the former petition concerned the guilt of sin, so this 
concerns the reign and power of it. 

In this first part, take notice : 

First, Of the evil deprecated, or that which we pray against, and 
that is, temptation. 

Secondly, The manner of deprecation, Lead us not. 

In which there is something implied, and something formalty asked. 

1. Something implied ; and tihat is : 

[1.] God's providence. When we say to God, ' Lead us not,' we do 
acknowledge he hath the disposal of temptation. 

[2.] God's justice, and our desert ; that for former sins, God may 
surfer this evil to befall us. We have so often provoked the Lord, 
that in a judicial manner he may suffer us to be tempted. 

[3.] Our weakness ; that we are unable to stand under such a con 
dition by our own strength, therefore we go to God. 

2. Something formally asked ; that is, either that God would pre 
vent the temptation, or, if he should use such a dispensation towards 
us, give us grace to overcome it. 

Of these things I shall speak in their order. 

First, Of the evil deprecated ; and from thence observe : 


Doct. 1. That temptations are a usual evil, wherewith we encounter 
in the present world. 

Here I shall : 

I. Open the nature of temptations. 
II. I shall give you some observations concerning them. 

III. The reasons of it. 

I. For the nature of temptations. 

Temptation is a proving or making trial of a thing or person ; what 
he is, and what he will do. And thus sometimes we are said to tempt 
God, and at other times God is said to tempt us. 

1. We are said to tempt God when we put it to the proof whether 
he will be as good as his word, either in the comminatory or promissory 
part thereof: Ps. xcv. 9, 'When your fathers tempted me, proved 
me, and saw my works ; ' they tempted God, as they put him often 
upon the trial. To note that, by the way, there is a twofold tempting 
or proving of God, either in a way of duty or sin. (1 . ) In a way of duty, 
when we wait to see his promise fulfilled ; and so, Mai. iii. 10, ' Prove 
me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the 
windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing/ Come pay your 
tithes and offerings : he would have the portion which belonged to 
himself : ' and prove me now herewith,' &c. God submits to a trial 
from experience, w r hen we wait for the good promised. Thus we try 
God, and try his word : Ps. xviii. 30, ' The word of the Lord is a tried 
word ; he is a buckler to all those that trust in him/ All those 
which build upon it, that wait to see what God will do, they will find 
it, upon experience, to be accomplished to a tittle; never did any 
build upon it, or wait for the accomplishment of it, in vain. (2.) In a 
way of sin. Many ways we are said to tempt God. When we set 
God a task, in satisfying our conceits and carnal affections : Ps. Ixxviii. 
18, ' They tempted God in their hearts, by asking meat for their 
lusts ; ' and when we will not believe in him, but upon conditions of 
our own making ; or when we confine him to our means, or time, or 
manner of working ; or would have some extraordinary proof of his 
being, and power, and goodness ; or see whether God will punish us 
though we sin against him. All these ways we are said to tempt God 
in a way of sin. But that is not my business now. Therefore, 

2. As man tempts God, so is man himself tempted. Now man is 
either tempted : 

First, By God. 

Secondly, By Satan. 

Thirdly, By his own heart. 

First, Man is tempted by God : Gen. xxii. 1, ' And it came to pass, 
after these things, that God did tempt Abraham/ How is God said 
to tempt man ? When he trieth what is in us : Deut. viii. 2, ' To 
humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart ; ' 
either what of grace, or what of sin, is in our heart. 

[1.] What of grace. Thus the Lord tries us by afflictions, by 
delays of promises, and other means becoming his holy nature. By 
afflictions, for they are called a trial: 1 Pet. i. 6, 'Now for a season, 
if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations/ The 
afflictions of the gospel are called temptations. And so by delay of 


promises: God trieth us sometimes by delaying the accomplish 
ment of his promise ; as in Ps. cv. 19, ' Until the time that his word 
came, the word of the Lord tried him ; ' that is, until the promise was 
fulfilled and accomplished. A man is put to trial of all the grace that 
is in his heart. 

[2]. God tries what corruption there is in us. He trieth this either 
by offering occasions, or withdrawing his grace, or by permitting 
Satan to tempt us. 

(1.) By offering occasions in the course of his providence : God puts 
us upon trial there ; sometimes by want, sometimes by fulness. By 
want : John vi. 5, 6, ' Whence shall we buy bread, that these may 
eat ?' saith Christ to Philip. ' And this he said to prove him , for he 
himself knew what he would do.' Christ will have the weakness of 
his followers tried, as well as their strength. And he trieth his people 
often by this kind of trial, when there are many mouths and no meat, 
and a man cannot see which way his visible supplies shall come in : 
this he doth to prove them, to see whether they will look only to out 
ward likelihood and probabilities, or rest themselves upon God's pro 
mise and all-sufficiency ; or else, by fulness and outward prosperity, 
to see if they will forget him. I confess I do not remember where 
this is called a trial in scripture, unless there be somewhat in that 
place, Deut. viii. 16, ' He fed thee with manna in the wilderness, that 
he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good 
at thy latter end.' Possibly the trial there might lie in this : because 
they had but from hand to mouth, or because it was not that meat 
which their lusts craved, but that which God saw fit for them. But, 
however, though prosperity be not called so, yet certainly it is in 
itself a trial : Prov. xxx. 9, ' Give me not riches, lest I be full, and 
deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord ? ' Lust in us makes it to be a 
temptation, and the godly have been often foiled by it ; and they need 
learn ' how to abound, as well as how to be abased,' Phil. iv. 12. They 
need learn how to avoid the snares of a prosperous condition. David, 
it was a trial to him ; while he was wandering in the wilderness, he 
had such tenderness, that his heart smote him when he cut off the 
lap of Saul's garment, while he was chased like a partridge upon the 
mountains, wandering up and down, from forest to forest. But when 
he was walking at ease upon the terrace of his palace in Jerusalem, 
then he falls into blood and uncleanness ; and therefore his estate was 
a trial, and he lieth in it, notwithstanding all his former tenderness of 
heart, until he was roused up by Nathan the prophet. And certainly, 
as to the wicked, it is a very great temptation, judicially inflicted, 
disposed of to them by God's judgment : they are plagued by worldly 
felicity ; and it is part of their curse that they ' shall be written in the 
earth,' Jer. xvii. 13 ; and suitable to this purpose, God saith, Jer. vi. 
21 , ' Behold, I will lay stumbling-blocks before this people, and the 
fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them/ How doth God 
lay stumbling-blocks? If men will find the sin, God may with 
justice enough find the occasion ; he will give them some outward 
condition that is a snare to them. As we may try a servant whom 
we have just cause to suspect, by laying something in the way, that 
his filching humour may be discovered, without any breach of justice; 


so the wicked, that harden their hearts against God, God may give 
them their hearts' desire, and worldly happiness, and so it may cause 
them to stumble. 

(2.) God trieth us also by withdrawing his grace, as in 2 Chron. 
xxxii. 31 , ' God left him to try him, that he might know all that was 
in his heart.' It is needful sometimes that we should see our weak 
ness as well as our strength, and how unable we are to stand without 
grace, that we may be sensible whence we stand, and which without 
temptation could not so well be. 

(3.) God tries us, by permitting the temptations of Satan and his 
instruments ; for surely these things do not befall us without a pro 
vidence. Job xii. 16, ' The deceived and the deceiver are his,' his 
creatures ; and nothing can be done or suffered in this kind without 
God's providence. See it in Christ's instance, Mat. iv. 1, it is said, 
' He was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the 
devil ; ' that is, led by the good and Holy Spirit to be tempted by the 
evil spirit. So, 2 Sam. xxiv. 1, compared with 1 Chron. xxi. 1: God 
moved David, and Satan provoked David, to number the people ; that 
is, God did let loose Satan upon David, to accomplish the righteous 
ends of his providence. And many of those arrows which are shot at 
us, though they come immediately from Satan's bow, yet they are 
taken out of God's quiver. God, as a just judge, may give us up to 
Satan as his minister and executioner. Well, then, this is one way 
of God's tempting, permitting of Satan to tempt. And as Satan, so 
his instruments, God tries us by them. Deut. xiii. 1-3, ' If there 
arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, thou shalt not 
hearken unto him.' Why ? ' For the Lord your God proveth you, 
to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart, and 
with all your soul/ God proveth. When there are delusions abroad 
and errors broached, it is ' that the approved may be made manifest/ 
1 Cor. xi. 19. God letteth loose these winds of error and delusion 
that the solid grain may be distinguished from the light chaff, and 
that he may discover his own people, and whether we have received 
truths upon evidence, or taken them up only upon hearsay. All these 
ways may God be said to tempt. 

Now concerning this, take these rules : 

(1.) God's tempting is not to inform himself, but to discover his 
creatures to themselves and others. Not to inform himself, for ' he 
knows our thoughts afar off/ Ps. cxxxix. 2 ; that is, he knows not 
only the conclusion and event, and management of things near, 
but he knows the very remote preparation aforehand ; he knows what 
kind of thoughts we will have, and workings of spirit. As a man that 
is up in the air may see a river in its rise, and fountain, and course, 
and fall of it seeth it all at once ; whereas another which stands by 
the banks can only see the water as it passeth by. God seeth all 
things in their fountain and cause, as well as in their issue and event 
he seeth all things together ; therefore it is not for his own informa 
tion. But the meaning is, therefore doth God try us, that what is 
known to him, and yet unknown to ourselves, that that which lodgeth 
and lieth hid in our heart may be discovered to us. That we may not 
be conceited of more than we have, and that the evil which before lay 


hid and was unseen may be cured when it is discovered. And, on 
the other hand, that grace may not lie sleeping in a dead and inactive 
habit, but be drawn out into act and view, for his glory and praise. 

(2.) God's tempting is always good, and for good ; his tempting is 
either in mercy or in judgment. In mercy : and so when he trieth the 
graces of his people ; or when he means more especially to discover 
the failings of his people, it is all good. When he tries the graces of 
his people, there is no doubt of that. When God hath furnished a 
man with grace, that he may, without any impeachment of his good 
ness, put him upon trial, and use creatures for that end for which he 
hath fitted them ; as a man which hath made and bought a thing 
may prove it and try the strength of it. Or when the intent of the 
dispensation is to try their weakness, that is good also, and for good ; 
as when a man tries a leaky vessel, with an intent to make it stanch. 
So when God tempts us by sharp afflictions, or any other course, it is 
for good : Heb. xii. 10, ' He, verily, for our profit, that we might be 
partakers of his holiness.' A man that hath a disease upon him, it 
may be by walking or stirring the humours the disease may appear, 
it is for good ; it is better it should be discovered, that he may in time 
look after a remedy, than lurk and lie hid in the body to his utter 
undoing ; so it is for good our corruptions and weaknesses should be 
discovered, that they may be made sound. Ay, .but when God brings 
it in judgment, yet that is for good ; that is, for his own glory and his 
church's good, though not for the good of the party. For the church's 
good, that naughtiness where it is might in time be discovered : Prov. 
xxvi. 26, ' Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be 
showed before the whole congregation/ lest men get a name that they 
might do religion a mischief. And it is for the glory of God that men 
may appear what they are. Here is no stain upon God's justice for 
all this. He that pierceth a vessel, if it run dreggy with musty or 
poisonous liquor, the fault is not in him that pierceth it, but in the 
liquor itself: he that pierceth or broacheth it doth only discover what 
is within, that if it be unsavoury he may cast it into the kennel. So, 
it is not the fault of God which pierceth, discovereth, and letteth out 
our corruption ; the fault is in ourselves : we have those things within 
which are discovered as soon as God puts us upon a trial. 

(3.) God tempts no man, as temptation is taken properly for a so 
licitation to sin : James i. 13, ' Let no man say, when he is tempted, I 
am tempted of God : for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither 
tempteth he any man.' Mark, the apostle proves it, that in this sense 
God cannot tempt, because of the unchangeable holiness of his nature. 
In temptation we must distinguish between the mere trial, and the 
solicitation to sin ; the mere trial, that is from God ; but the solicitation 
to sin, that is from Satan and ourselves. God solicits no man to sin. 
It is true, God may try us, trouble us, toss us, exercise our faith, hope, 
and patience. God is the author of our trouble ; but the devil is the 
author of our sin, who sinneth himself, and soliciteth others to sin. 

(4.) When we say, ' Lead us not into temptation/ we do not beg a 
total exemption from God's trials, but only a removal of the judgment 
of them. Not a total exemption, for then we must go out of the 
world, for while we are here every condition is a trial to us, and every 


enjoyment. Afflictions and trouble more or less put to trial, and 
therefore temptation in this sense is a necessary part of that warfare 
we must encounter and grapple withal while we are in the world. 
Prosperity tries us, to see if we be then mindful of God when all 
things succeed well ; and adversity tries us, to see if we can patiently 
depend upon God. But it is the judgment of trials that we deprecate, 
that they may not come upon us as a judgment, or that our trial may 
be so moderate that we may stand our ground. When doth a trial 
come as a judgment ? When it is immoderate and beyond our 
strength, either in a way of prosperity or adversity, but chiefly in a 
way of adversity ; for that is most commonly set out in a way of trial 
in scripture. When it is immoderate and beyond our strength, 1 
Cor. x. 13, God hath promised to his people that ' they shall not be 
tempted above that they are able to bear ; but will with the tempta 
tion also make a way to escape, that they may be able to bear it.' 
God's conduct is very gentle. As Jacob drove on as the little ones 
were able to bear, so doth God proportion his dispensations to his 
people's strength, not to their deservings, but he considers what they 
are able to bear. Either God keeps off greater trials, or gives in 
greater strength ; a sweeter sense of his love, or a greater measure of 
gracious support. A child would sink under that load that a strong 
back bears without any grudging. Now, this is that we ask of God, 
according to his promise, that our temptation may be not immoderate 
and too hard for us. Or else it is a judgment when it proves a provoca 
tion to sin ; and so God's temptation, which was meant for our good, we 
may abuse it, and take occasion thence to sin ; as when we murmur 
under the cross, or turn our worldly comforts into an occasion to.the 
flesh. Now, to prevent the judgment which may be in these tempta 
tions ; in all the trials which befall us, we should fear more the 
offence against God than our own smart, or the power of the devil, or 
any inconvenience that may accrue to us in natural evils which we 
feel. When we are under afflictions, we should be more solicitous 
that we do not offend God, that he would keep us from murmuring 
and dishonouring his name, then we should be about our ease and 
safety ; for this is to prevent the judgment of the temptation. This 
was Paul's comfort when he was drawing to the conclusion of his life : 
2 Tim. iv. 18, ' The Lord hath delivered me out of the mouth of the 
lion, and he shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve 
me unto his heavenly kingdom.' And so, in good things that we 
enjoy, we should fear more offending God with them than the losing 
of them ; for the loss of his favour is more than the loss of our com 
forts. A man that loseth his worldly portion, this loss may be recom 
pensed ; but he that loseth the favour of God, that breach cannot be 
made up by any worldly comforts whatsoever. 

(5.) In passive evils, which are the usual trials of God's people, we 
are not to seek them, but to submit to them when they come upon us. 
We are not to seek them : Mat. xvi. 24, ' If any man will be my dis 
ciple, let him take up his cross.' When clearly it is our cross, that is, 
when it lies in our way, and we cannot decline it, then take it up and 
fit his back to it. So James i. 2, ' My brethren, count it all joy when 
ye fall into divers temptations.' He doth not say when ye run into 


them, lout fall into them. We are not to draw them upon ourselves. 
Afflictions are not to be sought and desired, but improved. Chris 
tians, we never know when it is well with us : sometimes we question 
God's love, because we have no afflictions and trials ; anon we are 
questioning his love, because we have nothing but afflictions. In all 
these things we should refer ourselves to God ; not desire troubles, 
but bear them patiently and quietly when he lays them upon our backs. 

(6.) Again, for those trials which come from God. When God 
tempts us, or trieth his people in mercy, he hath a great deal of care 
of them under their trials. As a goldsmith, when he casts his metal 
into the furnace, he doth not lose it there, and look after it no more ; 
but sits, and pries, and looks to see if it be not too hot, that nothing 
be spilt, nothing lost. So it is said, Mai. iii. 3, ' And he shall sit as a 
refiner and purifier of silver : and he shall purify the sons of Levi, 
and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord 
an offering in righteousness.' The Lord will observe his people when 
they are under trial, how to moderate affliction, how to refresh them 
with seasonable comfort, that all this might better them, and bring 
them to good. 

(7.) Though in our trials we manifest weakness as well as grace, yet 
that weakness is to be done away. You must remember weakness is 
manifested that it may be removed, and grace manifested that it may 
be strengthened. When gold and silver is tried in the furnace, there 
is not only pure metal discovered, but also the drossy part mingled 
with it ; but it is so discovered that it may be severed from the gold. 
Such is our trial ; it may discover a great deal of dross and sin in us. 
But this is our comfort, that as it doth discover sin, so it conduceth 
to mortify sin. Therefore saith Job, chap, xxiii. 10, ' When he hath 
tried me, I shall come forth as gold ; ' that is, purified and refined, 
and having the drossy part eaten out. 

(8.) God permits us to be tempted of Satan and his instruments for 
his glory and our good. For his glory ; that his power may be dis 
covered in our preservation, in upholding that grace he hath put 
into us : 2 Cor. xii. 10, ' Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in 
reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's 
sake : for when I am weak, then am I strong.' We should be glad 
that God be glorified, though with our great inconvenience. And it 
is for our good ; to correct our pride and vainglory. When Peter 
presumed of his strength, then God left him to be tempted of the 
damsel, Mat. xxvi. 33, 70. 

(9.) When God permitteth Satan to exercise us, though he suspends 
the victory, yet if he give us grace to fight and to maintain the com 
bat, it is a great mercy. For so he dealt with Paul when he had to 
do with the messenger of Satan (Satan was in that trouble, be it what 
it will) he had only this answer, 2 Cor. xii. 9, ' My grace is suffi 
cient for thee : for my strength is made perfect in weakness.' Three 
times he had been with God, and then he gets his answer, and it was 
only this, ' My grace,' &c. Jesus Christ in his conflict and combat was 
answered as to support, and so was heard in the things he feared. So 
if God give strength to the soul, it is an answer, though he do not take 
off the trial. 


Secondly, There are temptations from Satan, as well as from God, 
who is called the tempter : Mat. iv. 3. Now the devil's temptations 
they are evil, and for evil. How doth the devil tempt ? 

[1.] By propounding objects ; as Luke iv. 5, ' He showed unto him 
all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time/ He had nothing 
to work upon within, therefore he propounds outward objects. So 
still the devil tempts us with a curious eye to take in the object, that 
it may be a bait and snare to the soul. Achan takes notice of it him 
self : Josh. vii. 21, ' When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish 
garment, and a wedge of gold, then I coveted them, and took them.' 
I saw, I coveted, and I took : the eye awakens desire, and desire that 
inclines to practise. So Prov. xxiii. 31, ' Look not thou upon the wine 
when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth 
itself aright.' Unless we shut the windows of the soul, this pestilent 
plague gets in by the senses. The heart is corrupted by objects that 
we take in by the senses, as it corrupted Eve, dealt with her first by 
the sense ; the forbidden fruit was full in her way, then the devil sets 
upon her. 

[2.] He tempts by the persuasion of instruments, who are the devil's 
spokesmen: thus was Joseph tempted by the enticements and blandish 
ments of his mistress, Gen. xxxix. 7. And many times the devil sets 
nearest friends and relations to weaken their zeal, and withdraw their 
hearts from God : Mat. xvi. 23. Saith Christ to Peter, ' Get thee be 
hind me, Satan.' It was Peter said it, yet Christ rebuked Satan, for 
the devil had a hand in it ; he makes one of Christ's disciples his in 

[3.] He doth it by internal suggestion : 1 Chron. xxi. 1, ' And Satan 
stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel ; ' that 
is, by internal suggestion. John xiii. 2, ' The devil put it into the 
heart of Judas to betray him.' He haunts and pesters the hearts of 
men by vain thoughts and carnal imaginations. So ' the god of this 
world ' is said to ' blind their minds,' 2 Cor. iv. 4. 

[4.] By stirring up the humours of our body. When he seeth men 
inclined to wrath, and angry motions, or lust, the devil, joins, and 
makes the tempest the more violent. He knows what use to make of 
an angry look, a wanton glance ; he knows how to tempt, by awaken 
ing the humours of our own body against us. 

Take some observations here. 

(1.) In all sins Satan joineth; he is not idle, but makes use of every 
inclination of ours ; as he sees the tree leaning, he joins issue. But 
some sins are purely of his suggestion ; horrid sins, and such as are so 
very evil, that they could come from no other but from the devil : such 
sins as could not be acted by man in an ordinary course of sinning. 
As Judas his treason : though he were devil enough to plot such a 
thing, yet it is said, Satan put it into his heart. And such singular 
diabolical suggestions may be darted into the bosom of believers some 
times ; thoughts of atheism, blasphemy, unnatural sins, self-murder, 
suspicion of the gospel ; these things the devil throws in. Therefore, 
Eph. vi. 16, believers are warned to quench these fiery darts, that the 
devil hurls into the souls of men. 

(2.) Every man is haunted with special temptations, from temper, 


sex, age, custom, calling, company, course of affairs ; these things are 
often spoken of in scripture. From temper: God makes use of 
temper ; for though he plants all grace in the hearts of the regener 
ate, yet there are certain graces wherein they are eminent ; as Timothy 
for temperance, Moses for meekness, &c. Thus Paul speaks of the law 
in his members : Eom. vii. 23. The devil may find forces from the 
temper of the hody to destroy the soul. So also from sex ; as he 4 be 
guiled Eve,' 2 Cor. xi. 3. And from age: we read of ' youthful lusts,' 
2 Tim. ii. 22. And how strong the devil is about young ones : 1 
John ii. 13, ' I have written unto you, young men, because ye have 
overcome the wicked one.' They are most assaulted with pride, with 
youthful lusts suitable to their age. So from custom and education : 
Ps. xviii. 23, ' I kept myself from mine iniquity.' Every man hath 
his iniquity ; that is, such as his education and custom hath wrought 
upon him, which makes the sin prevail over other sins. A child of 
God hath a predominant sin, not over grace, for that is inconsistent 
with sincerity ; but some master-sin which prevails over the rest ; 
according as the channel is cut, so corrupt nature runs, but some in 
this channel, and some in that : every man hath his special sin, and 
accordingly the devil plies him. Then our calling is a special temp 
tation : 1 Tim. iii. 6, the apostle speaks that a bishop should ' not be 
a novice, lest, being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation 
of the devil ; ' pride, and ostentation of gifts, and vainglory in such 
public service. Many other sins follow every calling: therefore if you 
would be skilled in Satan's enterprises, you must mind temper, age, 
calling. So company : as a man's company is, his soul is insensibly 
tainted. As a man that walks in the sun is tanned before he is aware, 
so are the souls of men sullied arid defiled by carnal company before 
they be aware. A man would think, of all sins, passion is so uncomely 
that it should not tempt another man : yet it is said, Prov. xxii. 24, 
25, ' Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man 
thou shalt not go ; lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy 
soul : ' for the more accustomed to them, the less odious they seem ; 
so by little and little, our spirits are shaped and fitted for such a sin. 
There are certain sins that are more special temptations. Look, as 
every disease hath a diet which suits with it, so all sins in the soul. 
Satan knows what baits we will catch at. It may be, a man that is 
addicted to the pleasures of the flesh may despise profit, and there 
fore the devil will not ply him that way. So a man that is addicted 
to gain despiseth pleasure. The devil suits him with a bait that 
suits the disease of his soul. It is an opinion the devils have their 
several wards and quarters ; some for such a sort of sinners, others for 
another sort. Look, as the heathens had several gods (which were 
indeed devils), as Bacchus, the god of riot, or patron of good-fellowship; 
and Venus, of wantonness and love ; and Mars, the devil of revenge 
ful and angry spirits : and we read of Mammon for wealth : Mat. 
vi. 24. I know it is &fictio personce, to make the matter more sensi 
ble ; there is a person feigned. But there may be something of this 
truth in it, that the devils have several quarters, some to humour 
the covetous, others enticing the wanton, others lie leigers in taverns 
and drinking- houses, to draw men to beastly excess; and others 


about the revengeful, to awaken their rage. But all this, however it 
be (it is the opinion of some), should make us watchful over our 
own desires and inclinations, for that is it the devil makes use of to 
Bet upon us. 

(3.) The sin of the devil tempting must be distinguished from our 
sin in consenting. If the devil tempt, and we consent not, it is his 
sin. The envious man may throw weeds over the garden wall ; but if 
we do not suffer them to root there, it is not the gardener's fault, but 
the fault of the envious man : so the devil may fling in temptations, 
fiery darts, atheistical or blasphemous thoughts; yet if we throw them 
out with indignation, and give no harbour and entertainment to them 
there, it is our misery, but the devil's sin ; and therefore, if our hearts 
abhor them at the very first rising, though they be man's cross, they 
will be put upon Satan's account. 

(4.) Satan, if he cannot prevail by the first temptation to draw us to 
sin, he will seek to prevail by a second or subsequent temptation, to 
draw us to trouble and discomfort. If he cannot weaken grace, he 
may molest and disturb our comfort by flinging in a blasphemous 
thought, which is abhorred by a Christian. If he cannot draw you to 
deny God, then he will seek to cloud things, that you may suspect 
your own estate ; and thus our way is made wearisome to us. Look, 
as a candle which sticks to a stone wall, though it cannot burn the 
wall, yet it smutcheth and defileth it ; so the children of God, when 
the devil seeks to make their temptations stick, though he doth not 
burn their hearts with these fiery darts of blasphemy and atheism 
they catch not there yet they weaken our comfort ; and then his 
second temptation is to bring us to doubt of God's love, to doubt of 
our own faith, and to draw us to impatiency and murmuring at God's 
hand. Therefore it should be our care, not only to withstand the 
devil's first temptation, but his second also. 

(5.) Certainly they cannot stand long that seem to give up themselves 
to Satan's snares. How may this be done ? Any carnal affection 
unmortified layeth us open to the devil : 1 Tim. vi. 9, ' They that 
will be rich, fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish 
and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition/ If 
a man cherish his worldliness, and do not mortify it, he lieth ready 
to be seized upon as a ready prey for Satan. Judas, he had the bag, 
and he lay open to the devil ; his worldliness increased upon him, so 
the devil entereth into him. Again, when we ride into the devil's 
quarters and will parley with temptation, when we freely open the win 
dows of the senses unto alluring objects, and can dally with the snare 
and play about the temptation, then we do but tempt God to leave us, 
and tempt the devil to surprise us. And therefore ' be sober, be watch 
ful, for your adversary, the devil, walketh about like a roaring lion, 
seeking whom he may devour/ 1 Pet. v. 8. ' Be sober ;' what is 
sobriety ? A holy moderation in the use of worldly things. Be sure 
not to leave any carnal affection unmortified. And then be watchful ; 
take heed not to play about the temptation, nor put yourselves upon 
occasions of sin, for then we lie open to the devil, and give him an 
advantage against us. Thus much for the second sort of temptations, 
such as come from Satan. 


The third sort of temptations are those which .arise from our 
own hearts ; so we call these urgings and solicitations to sin which 
we feel in our bosoms. Concerning this also I shall give some obser 

[1.] If there were no devil to tempt us, yet the heart of man is fruit 
ful enough of all that is evil : Mat. xv. 19, ' Out of the heart proceed 
evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, 
blasphemies.' There is a black catalogue, and all comes out of the 
heart of man. And among the rest, observe, there is murder, which 
strikes at the life of man ; and blasphemy, which strikes at the honour 
and being of God. Though the devil should stand by and say nothing 
to us, we have enough within us to put us upon all kind of evil : 
Jer. xvii. 9, ' The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately 
wicked ; who can know it ?' As to actual sins, there is a difference ; 
but as to original sin, it is the same in all. All the sins that ever have 
been or shall be committed in the world, they are virtually in our 
natures, they are but original sin acted and drawn out this way and 
that way, as all numbers are but one multiplied: Cain's murder, 
Judas's treason, Julian's apostasy and enmity to Christ, the seed and 
root of all is in our nature ; and if we were but left to ourselves, and 
had the same temptations and occasions, we should be as bad as others ; 
such as we would not imagine that ever we should commit is in our 
heart : 2 Kings viii. 13, ' Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this 
great thing ? ' when he had been told of those horrid cruelties he 
should act upon the women and children of Israel. No man knows 
the depth of his own wickedness, if loosened of his chain and the 
restraints are taken off. At first nature abhors them in the conceit 
of them ; but when God permits us to lie under the temptation, and 
fair occasion, man is not to be trusted. We see, in this respect, what 
need there is to pray that God would not leave us under the power of 
temptation, because the heart of man is prone, naturally inclinable, to 
all evil. There are new actual sins, but there is no new original sin, 
that is but one and the same in all persons and at all times ; the root 
of all the mischief which hath been in the world is within us. 

[2.] That without the flesh, the world and the devil can have no 
. power over us. A man cannot be compelled to sin against his own 
consent ; he may be compelled to suffer temptation, but he is a sinner 
by his own choice. The world would not hurt us were it not for lust 
in the heart : 2 Pet. i. 4, ' Escaping the corruption of the world 
through lust/ I say, it is not the beauty or sweetness of the creature, 
but lust, which is our ruin and undoing, and that makes the world 
so dangerous unto us. A spider sucketh poison from the same flower 
from which a bee would suck honey ; the fault is not in the flower, 
but in the spider : the devil can do nothing unless we give him leave. 
The fire is kindled in our own bosoms, Satan only do$h blow it up 
into a flame. Saith Nazianzen, we have the coals in our own hearts, 
the devil doth but come and blow them up : suggestion doth nothing 
without consent. In vain doth one knock at the door, and none with 
in to look out and make answer ; so, all other temptations would be in 
vain, if there were not somewhat within that would close with what is 
suggested from Satan : James i. 14, ' Every man is tempted, when he 

VOL. I. O 


is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed/ by his own concupiscence. 
If your hearts did not yield, if you did resist, the devil and the world 
could not force you. When Satan came to Christ, he might molest 
him, but he 'found nothing in him,' John xiv. 30 ; as a glass of pure 
water may be shaken, but there is no filth, no mud there discovered. 
But now, the best of men, they have somewhat within them, naughti 
ness and corruption enough in their own hearts, upon which Satan 
may work and inflame them with his fiery darts. In short, we may 
commit sin without Satan, but Satan cannot betray us to sin without 
ourselves ; cannot have his desire upon us without us. 

[3.] The flesh doth not only make us flexible and yielding to temp 
tations, but is active and stirring in our hearts, to force and impel us 
thereunto. There is ' a law in our members/ Bom. vii. 23, a power 
ful active principle within us, that is always urging us to sin. We 
think and speak too gently of our own corrupt hearts when we think 
the corruption is sleepy, and works not until it be irritated by outward 
objects and Satan's suggestions. No, there is an active, stirring 
principle within us, that poureth out sin as a fountain doth waters, 
though nobody comes to drink of them ; as Gen. vi. 5, ' Every imagi 
nation of the thoughts of his heart is only evil continually.' There 
is a mint in man's heart that is always at work coining evil thoughts, 
evil desires, evil motions ; and ' the flesh lusteth against the spirit/ 
G-al. v. 17 : And ' Sin wrought in me all manner of concupiscence/ 
Rom. vii. 8. Though there were no other occasion to irritate, but 
God's law and the motions of his Spirit, yet there is a continual fer 
mentation wrought by these corrupt humours in our hearts. Natural 
concupiscence doth not lie idle in them, but is active and warring ; and 
the objects that are in the world, and the solicitations of the devil make 
it more violent. 

[4.] The temptations of the flesh and the world go in conjunction, 
and do mutually help one another. And therefore it is said, 1 John 
ii. 16, ' For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of 
the eyes/ &c. Mark, whatever is in the world, he doth not 
mention the object, but the lusts, because these are complicated and 
folded up together in the temptation. The bait is the world, but 
the appetite and desire we have from the flesh. And this is intimated 
in that passage, James i. 14, ' Every man is tempted when he is 
drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.' There are two words there, 
drawn away, and enticed : the drawing away notes the vehemency 
of desire or inclination of our own hearts ; and the enticement, that is 
from the object. Both ways doth corruption work, by force and 
flattery. The great bait is pleasure, the contentment that we take 
in outward enjoyments. And we are carried out to it by the 
vehement propension of corrupt nature. 

[5.] This vehement propension of corrupt nature to outward things 
is set at work by a hope of gaining them, or a fear to lose them ; 
and so we are assaulted on every hand, by right-hand and left-hand 
temptations. By right-hand temptations, from the flatteries and 
comforts of the world, which are the more dangerous because of their 
easy insinuation into, and strong operation upon our hearts, and so 
our comforts prove a snare to us, and ' an occasion to the flesh/ as 


the apostle saitli, Gal. v. 13. And then there are left-hand tempta 
tions, which arise from shame or fear of worldly evils, as the other 
did arise from a desire or hope of good. So the apostle : Gal. vi. 12, 
' As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain 
you to be circumcised ; only lest they should suffer persecution for 
the cross of Christ/ That was their temporising then to comply with 
the Jews, who had some national privileges under the Roman 
government, and had better security to their worldly interests than 
possibly thorough Christians could have. Now, to avoid both these, 
the apostle, when he presseth Christians to all those graces which are 
necessary, he presseth them to temperance and patience : 2 Pet. i. 
5, 6, ' Add to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience/ 
Both these are armour of proof against worldly temptations ; temper 
ance against the delights, and patience against the evils and troubles 
of the world. It was never yet so well with the world but that 
Christians (those that are so in good earnest, that mean to go to 
heaven and keep a good conscience) will be assaulted on both sides. 

[6.] That there is no avoiding either of these snares and temptations 
as long as any carnal affection remaineth unmortified. For until a 
man be dead to worldly comforts, and hardened against worldly 
sorrows, he doth but lie naked and open to Satan : 1 Tim. vi. 9, ' He 
that will be rich, falls into temptation and a snare/ And what is 
said of riches, the same is true of pleasure : he that is vehemently 
addicted that way will soon come to put God out of the throne, and 
make his belly and his pleasure his God : 2 Tim. iii. 4, ' Lovers of 
pleasures more than lovers of God/ Any lust that is cherished and 
indulged will betray us. As for honour : John v. 44, ' How can ye 
believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour 
that cometh from God only ? ' True faith cannot be planted in that 
heart that is not purified, until there be a prevailing interest 
established for Christ over all carnal affections. Grace bears no 
sway in us, and hath no power over us. The ambition and love of 
respect from men will necessarily make us unsound in the profession 
of godliness. Well, then, it stands us upon to allow and cherish no 
secret sin, but to observe what are the tender parts of our hearts, 
or which way our corruptions lie, where subjection to God is most apt 
to stick with us : Ps. cxix. 133, ' Order my steps in thy word ; and 
let not any iniquity have dominion over me/ Though we seem to 
have a zeal in other things, yet if one lust be indulged, we shall soon 
swerve from our duty. True obedience to God is inconsistent with 
the dominion of any one lust or corrupt affection. I say, though a 
man, out of some slender and insufficient touch of religion upon his 
heart, may go right for a while, and do many things gladly, yet that 
corruption which is indulged, and under the power of which a man 
lieth, will at length draw him off from God ; and therefore no one 
sin should have dominion over us. When doth sin reign or have 
dominion over us ? When we do not endeavour to mortify it, and to 
cut off the provisions that may feed that lust. Chrysostom's observa 
tion is: The apostle doth not say, Let it not tyrannise over you. but, Let 
it not reign over you ; that is, when you suffer it to have a quiet 
reign in your hearts. 


[7.] The more we sin upon the mere impulsion of the flesh, and 
without an external temptation, the more heinous is our offence, for 
then the heart is carried of its own accord to sin : Ezek. xvi. 33, 34, 
' They give gifts to all whores ; but thou givest thy gifts to all thy 
lovers, and hirest them, that they may come unto thee for thy 
whoredoms. And the contrary is in thee from other women in thy 
whoredoms, whereas none followeth thee to commit whoredoms : and 
in. that thou givest a reward, and no reward is given unto thee, there 
fore thou art contrary.' These are expressions to set forth their 
idolatry. But that which is intended there is this : that they were 
not desired or solicited, but merely carried to sin by their own proper 
motion, which exceedingly aggravateth sin. Why? For then it is a 
sign the heart is carried of its own accord by its own weight, as a 
heavy body is moved downward, not by the impression of outward 
force, but by its own natural propension. 

Now, when do men thus merely sin upon the impulsions of the 
flesh ? I will instance in three cases : 

(1.) When the temptation is so small and inconsiderable that it 
should not sway with any reasonable man. It is said in Amos ii. 6, 
' They sold the poor for a pair of shoes.' And ' for a piece of bread 
will that man trangress,' Prov. xxviii. 21. When pleasure and 
profit is so inconsiderable as that it could not rationally make up a 
temptation, then men sin merely upon the corruptions of their own 
flesh. When the devil hath to do with great souls, such as Christ 
was, he propounds the glory of all the world : Mat. iv. Oh ! but a 
lesser price will serve the turn with those that are deeply engaged 
already, that are biased with their own propension. For instance, a 
little ease and carnal satisfaction, a slothful humour, is enough to take 
them off from the sweetness of communion with God, and the pleasure 
and contentment that they might enjoy with him in holy exercises. 
Look, as in general, it is a great aggravation of all sin that for such 
paltry trifles we turn the back upon God and his grace. All sinners 
do so ; they part with all their hopes by Christ for a mess of pottage, 
for a little present pleasure ; that is profaneness indeed: Heb. xii. 
1-6. So in particular things, when the smallest temptation seems to 
be strong enough to draw off our hearts from our duty, to bring us 
to a sin of omission, when it is needful to go and converse with God 
in secret ; a little ease and sloth hangs upon us, and we cannot shake 
it off : or when we are drawn to a sin of commission by an inconsider 
able matter, by the smallest worldly interest as can be mentioned, for 
a piece of bread, and a pair of shoes. 

(2.) When men tempt themselves, or provoke Satan to tempt them. 
As those which ' make provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts 
thereof,' Rom. xiii. 14 ; that cater for their lusts, and contrive how to 
feed them, and how to cherish those inordinate affections in their 
hearts ; that run into the devil's quarters, that bespeak a temptation ; 
or, as it is, James v. 5, that ' nourish their hearts, as in a day of 
slaughter.' To nourish our hearts, is to feed our lusts, to put strength 
into the enemy's hand. When a commander sent to his prince to 
know how he should keep such a rebellious town in order, he sent him 
this answer : That he should starve the dog, and strengthen the clog ; 


that he should weaken the city, and strengthen the garrison, that 
was his meaning. Truly, what was his advice in that outward case,, 
that is the duty of a Christian ; to weaken his lusts, and still to be 
strengthening grace. He should be increasing the better part, and 
putting the spirit in heart by godly exercises ; by treasuring up 
promises, getting arguments and fresh encouragements against sin ; 
and by weakening the flesh, starving and cutting off provisions for 
the flesh. But, on the contrary, when men cater for the flesh, provide 
for it, indulge carnal distempers, and feed them with that diet which 
they affect, these tempt themselves, and seem willing to lie under 
their bondage, and to be glad of it. 

(3.) When a man is a sinner to his loss, and hath reasons of nature 
to dissuade him, as well as reasons of grace, riot only religion, but his 
civil interests, would counsel him to do otherwise ; as he that brings 
a blot upon his name or ruin upon his estate by evil courses ; when 
men ' draw on iniquity with a cart rope,' as the expression is, Isa. 
v. 18 ; that is, when it is not pleasure, but a very toil and burden and 
temporal inconvenience to them to be sinful ; that industriously make 
it their business ; those that are ' holden with the cords of their own 
sins,' Prov. v. 22. He speaks of such as did bring temporal incon 
veniences upon themselves, as did consume their flesh and their own 
bodies ; these certainly are those that have cause to complain of their 
own hearts, not to put it on Satan, but themselves. 

II. Having opened the nature of temptations, I come now to give 
the reasons why this is so usual an evil we encounter with in the 
world temptation. 

1. God permits it for his own glory, to discover the power, the 
freeness and riches of his grace, that men may be driven the more 
earnestly to sue out their peace in the name of Jesus Christ. Luther 
propounds this reason : Though man be prone to sin of himself of 
his own accord, yet God suffers the tempter to be in the world, 
because man is backward to seek mercy and grace by Christ ; and 
therefore God urgeth him with sore temptations. Certainly this 
reason was given by him not amiss. You know, when Paul felt those 
paroxysms and sad counter-buffs in his own spirit, this makes him 
bless God for Jesus Christ : Horn. vii. 25. ' But thanks be to God, 
through Jesus Christ our Lord/ It makes him reflect upon the 
grace of God in Christ. We keep off from the throne of grace till 
temptations drive us thither. As when the sheep wander, the 
shepherd lets loose his dog upon them ; not to worry them, but to 
bring them back to the fold again : so God lets loose Satan to drive 
us to himself. 

2. For the trial of that grace which he hath wrought in us. Grace 
doth better appear in temptation than out of it. The greatness of 
the woman of Canaan's faith would never have been discovered, had 
it not been for Christ's answer and denial : Mat. xv. 25-28 ; then, 
' woman, great is thy faith.' The glory of that grace which God 
hath wrought in his people would not be discovered so much, were it 
not for the great trials he puts them upon : Heb . xi. 17, ' By faith 
Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac.' Before we go to heaven 
we shall have our trials, and shall be tried in our dearest comforts, 


and choicest worldly contentments ; and all to see what faith we have, 
and what loyalty to God in the midst of these trials. A great 
tempest discovereth the goodness of a ship and skill of the pilot ; and 
so these great trials they discover the soundness of our hearts, and 
the fruit of that grace which God hath wrought in us. Gold is most 
tried in the fire, and discovered to be pure and perfect. Stars that 
lie hid in the day shine in the night. We have but dry notions of 
the comforts of Christianity, and make them matter of talk, until we 
are put upon great trials, then is our belief and sense of them proved. 
A gilded potsherd may shine until it comes to scouring, but then the 
varnish and paint is worn off. The valour and worth of a soldier is 
not known in times of peace and when he is out of action. When we 
are put to some difficulty and straits, then is faith seen. Now this is 
a very pleasing spectacle to God, to see them approve their faith and 
loyalty to his majesty. 

3. Temptations, as they serve to prove, so also to humble us, that 
we may never be proud of what we have, or conceited of what we have 
not. As Paul, that he might not be exalted above measure, he was 
buffeted with a messenger of Satan : 2 Cor. xii. 7. Poor bladders we 
are, soon blown up and swollen into vanity and vain conceits of our 
selves, therefore had need be pricked, that we may let out those swell 
ing winds. A ship that is laden with precious ware, needs to be 
ballasted with wood, stones, or contemptible stuff. But why will God 
humble us by temptations, and such kind of temptations as are solici 
tations to evil ? Answer, Spiritual evils need a spiritual cure. Out 
ward afflictions they humble, but not so much as temptations do; 
they are not so conducible to humble a gracious heart as temptations 
to sin. Why ? For then the breach is made upon our souls, and the 
assault is given to that which a gracious man counts to be dear, and 
therefore these are suffered to come upon us. If anything will humble 
a child of God, this will do it. It may be he may bear up under 
losses tolerably, but when his peace comes to be assaulted, and his 
grace, this will humble him to purpose. Worldly men, they value 
their estate by their outward interest, but a child of God by his peace 
of conscience, and his thriving in grace. Oh, this wounds him to the 
heart, when in either of these he suffers loss ; this sets him a-praying 
and groaning to God, as Paul groans bitterly when he felt those gripes 
of sin, and those reluctances in his heart: ' wretched man!' &c. 
Afflictions, they conduce to ' humble and prove ' us, Deut. viii. 16. 
And besides, too, the Lord loves to make the cause of our mischief to 
be the means of our cure. This giveth us the sight of some corrup 
tion we saw not before. 

4. God permits this exercise to his people to conform us to Christ. 
We must pledge him in his own cup, it must go round ; he himself 
was tempted : Heb. ii. 7. Christ hath felt the weight, burden, and 
trouble of temptations, and knows the danger of them. Now th,e dis 
ciple is not above his lord, nor the scholar above his master. The 
devil, that did set upon Christ, will not be afraid of us. 

5. By temptations to sin God mortifieth sin ; not only that sin to 
which we are tempted, but others, that we may not be so heedless. 
When we have smarted under temptation, we are not so indulgent to 


corruption as before ; we do not let our senses nor affections run 
loose. As David speaks, that he got this by his fall : Ps. li. 6, ' In 
the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.' Oh, I shall be 
wiser and more circumspect for this all my life. When men have 
smarted they grow more cautious ; and so, by the overruling and good 
hand of God, our sins do us service in our passage to heaven, as well 
as our graces ; and God's children may say, they had sinned more if 
they had sinned less : they are more acquainted with the wiles and 
depths of Satan and naughtiness of their own hearts, and so are more 

6. To make us more meek to others: Gal. vi. 1, ' If any man be 
fallen, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meek 
ness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.' We are very apt 
to be severe and fierce upon the failings of others ; but now, when we 
are tempted ourselves, we learn more pity and compassion towards 
them. Severe censurers are left to some great temptation, that they 
may be acquainted with their own frailties ; they are tempted to some 
sins, to which their hearts were not so inclinable before. Well, then, 
that we may pity others, mourn over them, and have a fellow-feeling 
of their condition, God will make us know the heart of a tempted 
man, that we may have more compassion over poor tempted souls. 
Possibly that may be a part of the apostle's sense: 2 Cor. i. 6, 
' Whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation ; 
or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.' 
Persons in office in the church, they are afflicted and tempted ; and, 
it may be, have a greater measure of afflictions and temptations, that 
they may show more pity to other souls. Therefore Luther was wont 
to say, three things made a minister, viz., prayer, meditation, and 
temptation. When he is much in communion with God, much in 
the study of the word, and hath been exercised in temptation, then he 
will be of a tender and compassionate heart over others ; and that he 
may help them out of the snares of the devil, he is more fitted to his 
work by temptation. 

7. It occasions much experience of the care and providence of God, 
and the comforts of his promises. A man doth not know what the 
comforts of faith mean till he be exercised by temptation. And spiritual 
experiences will countervail all other troubles. This is an hour of 
temptation : Kev. iii. 10. What should we do in this hour of temp 
tation ? Be not over-confident, nor over-diffident, in an hour when 
God casts us upon trying times. Not over-confident, in casting your 
selves upon needless troubles without cause : Mat. xiv. 28. Peter 
said, ' Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.' Peter 
thought he could do anything in the strength of Christ's word ; Peter 
seeks a call before it be given him. Nor yet be over-backward and 
diffident to own God, and the truths of God. As Paul taxed Peter 
for dissembling : Gal. ii. 12. When those false brethren were likely to 
bring great trouble, Peter dissembled, and runs with them, and sepa 
rates himself from the purer sort of Christians, he is taxed there for 
it. We should not run into them without cause, nor yet be ashamed 
to own the ways of God, those which are most agreeable to his holy 
word. Not be solicitous so much about events as duties ; for God is 


far more concerned than we, and hath a greater interest than we can 
have. What is our interest, and the interest of our families and our 
children, to the great interest of God, the safety of his children, the 
safety of his glory, and cause of his church ? Be not troubled about 
events, for all our business is to understand our duty, that we may not 
sin, but keep blameless in the hour of temptation. 

Use. If temptations be a usual evil, wherewith we encounter in the 
present world, then 

First, We should not be dismayed at them. 

Secondly, We should be prepared for them. 

First, We should not be dismayed at them, as if some strange 
thing did befall us. When we enter into the lists with Satan, resist 
the devil. Why? 1 Pet. v. 9, ' For all those things are accomplished 
in your brethren that are in the flesh.' They are all troubled with a 
busy devil, a naughty world, and a corrupt heart ! And why should 
we look for a total exemption, and to go to heaven in an unusual 

That we may not be dismayed by temptation, I shall give you 
several considerations. 

[1.] We took an oath to fight under Christ's banner. Baptism it is 
sacramentum militare, our military oath, which we took to fight in 
Christ's cause, against all the oppositions and difficulties we meet with 
in the world: 1 Pet. iii. 21. The apostle calls baptism ' The answer 
cf a good conscience towards God.' An answer supposeth a question. 
It is an allusion to the questions propounded by the catechist to the 
catechumen. When they came to desire baptism, they asked them, 
Abrenuncias ? Dost thou renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil ? 
And they answered, A brenuncio, I do renounce them. So Credisf 
Dost thou believe in Jesus Christ with all thy heart ? as Philip pro 
pounds the question to the eunuch ; and they answered, Credo, I do 
believe. Wilt thou undertake to walk in all holy obedience ? and 
the answer is, I do undertake before God. Conscience, which is God's 
deputy, puts the question, in God's name, to those which take the 
seals of his covenant, Are you willing to renounce the flesh and worldly 
vanities ? Will you cleave to God, and his ways, whatever they cost 
you? Whosoever makes this answer,, is supposed that he makes it 
knowingly, that he doth understand the difficulties of salvation, and 
what he must meet with in his way to heaven. So the apostle saith, 
' You are not debtors to the flesh,' Rom. viii. 12. A man is a debtor 
to another, either by the obligation of some received benefit, or by his 
solemn promise and engagement ; both are of use in that place. They 
that would seek the well-being of their souls, need not gratify the flesh. 
They that are engaged to walk after the Spirit, and come under the 
bond of a holy oath, and that are thus solemnly engaged, cannot 
expect to carry on the profession of godliness without conflicts and 
multiplied difficulties. 

[2.] That is not the happiest condition which is most quiet and free 
from the temptations of Satan ; for Luke xi. 21, ' When the strong 
man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace.' When the 
devil hath quiet possession, he doth not trouble men. The sea must 
needs be smooth and calm when wind and tide go one way. There 


are some which suspect their condition, because of continual tempta 
tion ; and others, because they have no temptation. Neither is a safe 
rule, for t-he time of our conflict may not yet be come. But if any 
have cause to suspect themselves, it is the last sort ; for they that are 
least troubled may be most hurt ; they are quiet and secure, because 
Satan hath got them into his snare, and hath a quiet dominion in 
their souls. 

[3.] Jesus Christ himself was tempted, and therefore we should not 
be dismayed with temptations. Upon several accounts is this a 
comfort to us ; partly, as it shows that we cannot look for an exemp 
tion, for the captain of our salvation was thus exercised, Heb. ii. 10. 
Be not disconsolate, it becomes good soldiers to follow their captain. 
We are to pledge him in this cup. He was tempted, therefore we 
shall be tempted. Partly and chiefly, because now he is more likely 
10 pity us. It is said, Heb. ii. 18, ' Wherefore he is able to succour 
those that are tempted/ Jesus Christ hath felt the weight and trouble 
of temptations, therefore sure he will pity us if we lie under griefs 
and dangers ; as a man that hath been shipwrecked himself is the more 
likely to pity others in their distress when they have lost all. One 
that knows evils by guess and imagination, knows them only at a 
distance, and doth not know how evil they are ; but he that knows 
them by experience, he knows them at hand, and by such a smart 
sense as must needs leave a deep stroke and impression upon the soul. 
So Jesus Christ, that hath had an experimental knowledge, that 
knows the heart of a tempted man, can more feelingly succour those 
that are tempted ; his heart becomes tender by experience ; he knows 
the danger and troubles we are subject unto ; therefore be not dis 
mayed. And partly too, because by suffering this evil in his own 
person, he hath pulled out the sting of temptation. Christ sanctified 
every condition that he passed through ; his being poor hath pulled 
out the sting of poverty. It is the more comportable now to a 
godly [poor man, one that hath an interest in Christ. His dying 
hath pulled out the sting of death ; so that what is to him a prison 
(Isa. liii. 8, 'He shall be taken from prison and from judgment') 
is to us a bed of ease : Isa. Ivii. 2, ' They shall rest in their 
beds ;' so his being tempted hath unstung temptations, and hath 
made them not so grievous. And partly too, as he hath directed us 
how to stand out, and with what kind of weapons to foil Satan. 
Christ, that is a pattern of doing and suffering, is also a pattern of 
resisting. He that left us an example of doing the will of God, and 
of suffering with meekness, and when he was reviled, reviled not 
again ; so in resisting temptations hath he left us an example, hath 
taught us how to grapple with the devil, and in what manner to repress 
his temptation ; therefore we should not be altogether dismayed. 

[4.] Consider the comforts of the tempted. Abundantly hath God 
provided for his servants in their conflicts. 

(1.) Jesus Christ, our general, the captain of our salvation, in 
whose quarrel we are engaged, hath overcome all our enemies, we are 
interested in his victory : John xvi. 33, ' In the world ye shall have 
tribulation ; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.' We 
may have many pressing and searching troubles, but the sting of 


them is gone. Non pugna sublata est, scd victoria : Christ hath not 
taken away the combat, we must fight ; but the victory is sure, he 
hath overcome the world. This is our comfort when we are full of 
faintings and fears, that all things are vanquished and overcome by 
Christ ; that though they terrify us, yet they shall not hurt us. 
Though Christ will not exempt us from battle, yet we have to do with 
the devil, the world, and death, which are all vanquished enemies. 

(2.) He hath a tender sense and knowledge of our estate. Christ 
saith to Peter, ' Satan hath a desire to have you, that he may sift you 
as wheat ; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not,' Luke 
xxii. 32. Christ's love and mercy is never more at work for his people 
than when they are most assaulted by Satan ; then is he interceding for 
them : John xiii. 1, ' Jesus having loved his own which were in the world, 
he loved them unto the end.' When Christ was about to go to heaven, 
he thought, My own are to be left in the world, they are exposed to 
great temptation ; and that set his heart a- work, as if he had said, 
Poor creatures ! they are undone if I help them not. So, Zech. iii. 1, 2, 
'And he showed me Joshua, the high priest, standing before the 
angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. 
And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, Satan ; even 
the Lord that hath chosen Jesusalem rebuke thee : is not this a 
brand plucked out of the fire ? ' ' And he showed me ! ' Our whole case 
and danger it is clearly known to Christ. He knows how Satan 
molests and troubles you in your approaches to God ; how he seeks 
to divert your thoughts, to weaken your confidence. We have a 
friend and advocate that puts forth the strength of his mediation and 
intercession, and is zealous and affectionate for the welfare of his 
people. ' The Lord, that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee/ 

(3.) He is engaged in the battle, and fights with us, by renewing 
the strength of his own grace : Phil. iv. 13, ' I can do all things 
through Christ which strengtheneth me.' He gives relief and help, 
according to the nature of the conflict. If there be duty to be done, 
burden to be borne, or battle to be fought, Christ is giving in supply. 
As the olive-trees (Zech. iv. 11, 12) were always dropping into the 
lamps, so is he dropping in strength and grace into the heart: Ps. xvi. 
8, ' I have set the Lord always before me ; because he is at my right 
hand, I shall not be moved.' When a man hath an able second, he 
doth with the more courage go to the conflict. God is on our right 
hand, he is our second ; his grace comes into the combat, and then the 
field cannot be lost. If we would exercise faith in God we might be 
the more confident. 

(4.) He will reward us when we have done. Hold fast to the end, 
and I will give thee a crown of life, a garland of immortality, that 
shall never wither. If you will but hold out, continue to fight the 
good fight of faith, there will a time of triumph come. He that is 
now a soldier shall be a conqueror, when the crown of righteousness 
shall be put upon his head, 2 Tim. iv. 8. And mark that: Rom. xvi. 
20, ' And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.' 

It is troublesome to be in the world, but shortly God shall bruise 
Satan. Mark, he doth not only say, God shall tread Satan, but tread 
him under your feet, triumph over him. As Joshua called upon his 


companions, Come set your feet upon the necks of these kings, when 
they were hid in the cave ; so the God of peace shall tread Satan 
under your feet shortly. Then your comfort will be- greater, the 
more dangers you have gone through. As travellers, when they are 
come to their inn, and to their home, they sweetly remember the 
trouble and danger of the road ; so, when we are come to heaven, these 
temptations will increase our rejoicing, and our triumph in God. 

(5.) Even before the battle a believer may be sure of victory. In 
other fights the event is uncertain. Non ccque glorietur accinctus, 
ac discinctus, ' Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast him 
self as he that putteth it off,' 1 Kings xx. 11. When a field is won 
then they will rejoice. But a believer, when he goes to fight, is sure 
to have the best of it beforehand, in bello, the war, though not in 
prcelio, the particular conflict. Why ? Because the Father and 
Jesus Christ are stronger than all his enemies ; they cannot pluck the 
believer out of his hands : John x. 28, 29, ' I give to them eternal 
life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of 
my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all ; and 
none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand/ This is the 
privilege which Christ conferreth upon his sheep, upon those which 
have an interest in him ; though they have many shakings and toss- 
ings in their condition, yet their final perseverance is certain. Christ 
is so unchangeable in the purposes of his love, ' I will give to them 
eternal life ;' and so invincible in the power of his grace, ' None shall 
pluck them out of my Father's hand ;' nothing shall be able to hinder 
their perseverance. Now, though the fight be long and troublesome, 
yet this is one of God's encouragements, you are sure of victory at 
last. Therefore how muck .doth it concern us to get an interest in 
Christ, that we may keep on in this way and in this hope. 

Secondly, Let us be provided and prepared against temptations. 
And to this end I shall 

First, Give some directions how to resist temptations in general. 

Secondly, What to do in a special hour of temptation which comes 
upon the world : 

When there are terrors without, and we know not what evil may 
be a-coming, and our hearts are full of doubt, how we may support 
and bear up ourselves. 

First, To direct you as to temptations in general. 

[l.J You must be completely armed : Eph. vi. 11, ' Put on the whole 
armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the 
devil/ Not a piece only, but the whole armour of God, otherwise you 
will never come off with honour and safety from the spiritual conflict. 
The poets feign of their Achilles that he was vulnerable only in the 
heel, and there he got his death- wound. A Christian, though he be 
never so well furnished in other parts, yet if any part be left naked, 
you are in danger. Our first parents were wounded in their heel. 
Who would have thought, that they which had such vast knowledge 
of God arid his creatures, that they should be enticed by appetite ? 
And Solomon, who had the upper part of his soul so well guarded, 
that he should be enticed by women ? To see men of great know 
ledge to be unmortified and miscarry by their sensual appetite, is sad. 


A Christian must have no saving grace wanting : 2 Pet i. 5, ' Add 
to your faith, virtue ; and to virtue, knowledge,' &c. There is all the 
graces, and they must come out in their turn. We need faith and 
virtue, zeal and holiness ; and knowledge to guide it, and patience to 
arm it against the troubles of the present life ; and we need tem 
perance to moderate our affections to our worldly enjoyments ; and 
godliness, that we may be frequent in communion with God ; and 
brotherly-kindness, that we may preserve peace among our brethren, 
and may not make fractions and ruptures in the church ; and we need 
charity, that we may be useful to all that are about us. There is use 
and work for all graces, one time or other : sometimes we shall be 
tempted to a neglect of God, at other times we shall be tempted to 
make a breach upon brotherly-kindness, at other times there will be 
a breach of charity. Sometimes the devil seeks to tempt us to fleshly 
wickedness, therefore we need temperance ; sometimes to spiritual 
wickedness, to error, therefore we need knowledge; sometimes to raging 
with despair, then we need faith. We need the whole armour of God, 
for Satan hath his various ways of battery and assault : sometimes 
through ignorance we miscarry and run into error ; sometimes for 
want of faith we run into despair and discomfort ; sometimes for want 
of temperance violent corrupt lusts overset the soul. 

[2.] We must often pray to God for renewed influences; we must 
not only get habits of grace, but pray for a renewed influence. It is 
notable, next to the spiritual armour, the apostle mentioneth prayer : 
Eph. vi. 18, ' Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the 
Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance/ We never 
receive so much from God upon earth as to stand in need of no more. 
And therefore though you put on the whole armour of God, yet 
' praying always with all supplication in the Spirit/ Why ? Because 
without the Lord's special assistance, whereby he actuates those graces, 
we can never defend ourselves nor offend the adversaries, or do any 
thing to purpose in the spiritual life. Strength of grace inherent will 
not bear us out against new assaults. Habitual grace it needs actual 
influence ; partly, that these graces may be applied and excited to 
work : Phil. ii. 13, ' He giveth to will and to do/ God giveth to do; 
that is, excites that strength you have, and carrieth it out to work ; and 
then that it may be directed in work : 2 Thes. iii. 5, ' And the Lord 
direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting 
for Christ.' Every time we would make use of the helmet of salva 
tion, when we would lift up the head and wait for the mercy of God. 
The Lord direct you ; we must be directed : and not only so, but 
that it may be supplied with new strength, for it is said, Isa. xl. 29, 
' He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no power he 
increaseth strength/ And he doth continue it : Luke xxii. 32, ' I have 
prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not/ Thus will God keep us in 
dependence for those liberal aids and constant supplies of his grace, 
without which we cannot use the grace that we have. 

[3.] You must resist: 1 Pet. v. 9, ' Whom resist, steadfast in the faith ;' 
James iv. 7, ' Kesist the devil, and he will flee from you/ Stand your 
ground, and then Satan falls. 

In all those assaults, Satan hath only weapons offensive, as fiery 


darts ; none defensive. We have not only the sword of the Spirit, 
which is an offensive weapon, but the shield of faith, that is a de 
fensive piece of armour ; therefore your safety lieth in resisting. 

Now, this resistance must be : 

(1.) Not faint and cold, but strong and vehement. 

(2.) Thorough and total. 

(3.) Constant and perpetual. 

(1.) Not faint and cold. Some kind of resistance may be made by 
general and common grace. The light of nature will rise up in 
defiance of many sins, especially at first ; but this must be earnest 
and vehement ; it is against the enemies of your soul: Paul's resist 
ance was with serious dislikes and deep groans: Rom. vii. 15, 24, 
' The evil that I hate;' and ' wretched man ! how shall I be de 
livered ? ' In most cases, a detestation or peremptory denial is enough. 
"When the devil tempts Christ to worship him : Mat. iv. 10, ' Get 
thee behind me, Satan.' In other cases, there must be serious dis 
putes and repulses. When Eve speaks faintly and coldly, the devil 
renews his assaults with more violence : Gen. iii. 1-3, ' Hath God 
said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden ? And the woman 
said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the 
garden ; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the 
garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, 
lest ye die.' She speaks there warmly, and with too impatient a re 
sentment of the restraint, and too cold in the commination and 
threatening. Therefore the devil works upon her, when he saw she 
amplifieth the restraint ; for she saith more indeed : ' We must neither 
eat nor touch it.' A faint denial is a kind of grant, and therefore 
your repulse to Satan must be vehement and strong. In many cases, 
slight Satan answer with indignation ; as though a dog barks, yet 
the traveller goes by : Satan cannot endure contempt. At other 
times, argue for God strongly. Now, the great argument that 
quickens you to this lively and vehement resistance is, to consider thy 
soul is in danger, and all thy eternal concernments. So some ex 
pound that, Eph. vi. 12, 'We fight not against flesh and blood, but 
against spiritual wickedness in high places ; ' in ' heavenly places ' it 
is in the original. No worldly concernments must go so near as that 
which concerns the eternal good and salvation of your souls. What 
would the devil have from thee but thy soul and thy precious enjoy 
ments, thy peace of conscience, communion with God, thy hopes of 
eternal life ? And when Satan comes, and bids nothing but worldly 
vanities, we should repel them with indignation. A merchant that 
hath a precious commodity, and a chapman bids him a base price, 
he puts up his wares with indignation, and will not so much as regard 
him or hear him ; so when the devil comes, and would cheat you of 
your precious enjoyments, you should repel him with indignation, when 
there is such base and unworthy trifles to come in competition with 
your great hopes : as Christ, Mat. xvi. 26, ' What is a man profited if 
he shall gain the whole world and lose his soul ? or what shall a man 
give in exchange for his soul ? ' What ! shall I lose my soul, my 
hopes, and happiness and all for such paltry things, for a little 
temporal advantage ? 


(2.) It must be a thorough and total resistance: when you yield, 
the devil encroacheth upon you. We are bid, in the Canticles, to 
' take the little foxes,' to dash Babylon's brats in pieces : we should 
not yield to Satan a little. The devil at first cannot hope to prevail 
for greater things, therefore he seems more modest in his temptations ; 
ay, but lesser sticks set the greater on fire : when ye entertain lesser 
temptations, this kindles in your souls, and it is easily blown up into 
a great flame in your conscience. At first, when the devil came to 
our first parents, ' Hath God said ? ' and then, ' You shall not surely 
die.' ' Hath God said you shall not eat of the fruit of the garden ? ' 
The first temptation was more modest. The approaches of Satan to 
the soul are gradual he, asks but a little ; ay, but it is a great matter 
if we grant it. Consider, the evil of temptation is better kept out 
than got out. The stone on the top of the hill, when it begins to roll 
downward, it is a hard thing to stay it ; we cannot say how far it will 
go. Saith the deceived heart, I will yield but little, and never yield 
again. The devil will carry thee further and further, until he hath 
left no tenderness in thy conscience. As many that thought to venture 
but a shilling or two, yet, by the secret witchery of gaming, they play 
away their estate, clothes and all ; so many that think they will sin but 
little at first, at last sin away all principles of conscience and pro 
fession of godliness. 

(3.) It must not be temporary, for a while, but perpetual. It con 
cerns us not only to stand out against the first assault of Satan, but a 
long siege. Satan, what he cannot gain by argument, seeks to procure 
by importunity. But ' resist him.' saith the apostle, ' steadfastlyin the 
faith,' 1 Pet. v. 9. As his instrument spake to Joseph, ' from day to 
day,' she ceased not, Gen. xxxix. 10. Deformed objects, when 
accustomed to them, seem not so odious ; so the devil hopes to prevail 
at last, at least temptation will not seem so odious. But you must 
keep your zeal to the last, as we rate away an importunate beggar 
that will not be answered : to yield at last is to lose the glory of the 
conflict. Grace must not only have its work, but ' its perfect work,' 
James i. 4 ; so let all our graces, temperance, godliness, and brotherly 
kindness, have their perfect work. 

[4.] There is required watchfulness : 1 Pet. v. 8, ' Be sober, be 
vigilant.' You that are not ignorant of Satan's devices should watch 
that you give not him an advantage, 2 Cor. ii. 11 ; nor an occasion, 
2 Cor. xi. 12, lest Satan tempt you ; nor a pretence, Gal. v. 13, to the 
flesh. Certainly, he that would not be foiled needs a great deal of 
holy moderation, and constant jealousy over his heart ; he had need 
to guard his senses : Ps. cxix. 37, ' Turn away mine eyes from behold 
ing vanity ; ' and to look to his company : Ps. cxix. 115, ' Depart from 
me, ye evil-doers, for I w r ill keep the commandments of my God ; ' 
and to avoid all occasions of sin, not rush into them, but keep out of 
the way : Prov. iv. 14, ' Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go 
not in the way of evil men ; ' for this is to ride into the devil's 
quarters, to run into the mouth of danger. Heretofore these were 
wholesome instructions, and why should they not be so now ? The 
devil is not less subtle, or sin less odious and dangerous ; only we are 
more foolhardy, therefore stand not at such a distance as we should 


from occasions. It is easier to avoid the occasion than the sin when 
occasion is offered ; as it is easier for a bird to fly from the snare than, 
when entangled, to avoid danger. Therefore, when you run into 
harm's way, you tempt Satan to tempt ; and when you look not to 
yourselves, it is just with God to let you fall into the snare. 

Secondly, There are special times of temptation, when Christians 
should look to themselves. There is an evil day : Eph. vi. 13, ' That 
ye may be able to stand in the evil 'day.' And there is an hour of 
temptation upon the world : Kev. iii. 10, ' I will keep thee from the 
hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world.' There are 
certain times when God is proving what men will do, and when the 
devil is likely to make a great advantage of our discontents and afflic 
tions, when things fall cross to our desires, and we know not what evil 
waits for us ; how should we do to behave ourselves ? 

[1.] Be not over-confident' or over-diffident. Not over-confident, in 
running beyond the bounds of our calling, to cast ourselves into dangers 
and hazards of temptation. Nor over-diffident, by base flying from, or 
giving way when God calls for valiant resistance. Both ways is the 
devil likely to assault us ; either by making us. foolhardy. So Satan 
seeks to drive us beyond the bounds of our calling, to put us out of 
our place, that we may be a prey to him. As men use to trouble the 
water, that they may rouse the fish, and draw them into the snare, 
and drive them out of places of safety where they rest ; so the devil 
seeks to put us out of our safety. Peter would needs come to Christ : 
Mat. xiv. 28, ' Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the 
water ; ' and we see he sinks before he could accomplish his purpose. 
So when we are over-confident, and run out of our calling upon hazards, 
then we are ever and anon ready to sink. But we should not turn 
back when God calls us to a valiant resistance : ' Should such a man 
as I flee ? ' Neh. vi. 11. Observe Peter's dastardliness when he ven 
tures without a call into the priest's hall ; a question of the damsel's 
overturns him. He that was so cowardly when he was out of his way, 
look upon his boldness when he was in his work : Acts iv. 7 unto ver. 
13, ' When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, they marvelled/ 
John was the disciple of love, and Peter was the fearful disciple ; yet 
how full of boldness, courage, and zeal when they were called and 
singled out to give proof of the reality of God's grace ! And therefore 
we should never be over-forward, nor over-backward, but own God in 
his truth when we are in our calling. Let not Satan bring you out of 
your place to cast yourselves as a prey to him. 

[2.] In an hour of temptation, we should be more solicitous about 
duties than events, and about sins than dangers. As to events, God 
is concerned as well as you, and he will order them for his own glory. 
It should be your great care that you may be kept blameless to his 
heavenly kingdom : 2 Tim. iv. 17, 18, ' The Lord, that hath delivered 
me out of the mouth of the lion, shall deliver me from every evil 
work, arid will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom.' However 
God deal with you as to events, and whatever dangers attend you, this 
should be your care mainly, that you may not sin, but be kept blame 
less. David often begged direction, that he might be guided in his 
trouble, and not falter, and do anything unseemly. 


[3.] Be more jealous of Satan's wiles than of his open assaults. 
Natural courage, and the bravery of a common and ordinary resolu 
tion, together with deep engagement of credit and interest, may do 
much to make us stand out against assaults, against open force and 
violence of evil men ; but there needs a great deal of judgment to 
stand out against the wiles and crafts of the devil. Flesh and blood 
will not so easily bear us out against the secret ensnarings of the 
heart. The young prophet doth thunder out his message against the 
king, 1 Kings xiii. 3, yet was enticed by the wiles of the old prophet. 
So we may stand out against an open assault and apparent violence, 
but take heed of the secret wiles of Satan. 

[4.] The wiles of Satan are to enforce and draw us into those cor 
ruptions which are incident to the season. Here is the great point of 
spiritual wisdom, to be seasoned in our mortification, and to withstand 
the spiritual evil that is apt to grow upon us in the time of our fears : 
Ps. Ivi. 3, ' What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.' Then our 
great business is, to cherish our dependence upon God, to prevent 
distrust and unbelieving thoughts of God's providence. As, on the 
other side, in a time when we are likely to be corrupted with ease and 
prosperity, then our business is to watch against security and deadness 
of heart, which is apt to grow upon us. As Nazianzen said, When 
things go prosperous with me, I read the Lamentations of Jeremiah, 
I remember the mournful passages which befall the people of God, 
and that is my cure. So to prevent despondency in a time of fears, 
to encourage our souls to dependence. 

Now, when our wills are crossed, dangers attend us on every side, 
and we know not how far evil will break out to the overturning of all. 
What are the sins incident to such a time of trouble ? and how do the 
wiles of Satan come upon us ? 

(1.) Impatience : Gen. xxx. 1, when the will of Rachel was crossed, 
she said unto Jacob, ' Give me children, or else I die/ When we im 
patiently fret against the Lord : Ps. xxxvii. 1, ' Fret not thyself 
because of evil-doers ; neither be thou envious against the workers of 

(2.) Murmuring and repining against the Lord, that is another 
snare : Jonah iv. 9, ' I do well to be angry, even unto death;' when 
he was crossed. Discontent at God's providence gratifieth Satan 
exceedingly ; when we will justify ourselves, and think it a kind of 
zeal to be angry, and pet against providence. 

(3.) A spirit of revenge against instruments, when we do not sweetly 
calm the heart with the remembrance of God's hand : 2 Sam. xvi. 9, 
' Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king ? Let me go over, 
I pray thee, and take off his head.' Thus when wicked men disturb 
order, the heart is apt to rise in revenge, therefore we are to cairn our 

(4.) There is fainting in duty ; when we begin to give over prayer, 
and are discouraged, and are loth to wrestle with God in an ordinance: 
Heb. xii. 12, ' Lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble 
knees.' When a man's hands begin to wax feeble, and he is dis 
couraged in the ways of the Lord : ' My foot had well-nigh slipped,' 
saith David, Ps. Ixxiii. 2. 


(5.) There is closing with sinful means, and running to them for an 
escape ; as Saul, when he was crossed : 1 Sam. xxviii. 7, ' Seek me a 
woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire 
of her.' When we go to carnal shifts, and unworthy means, these are 
very natural to us. 

(6.) Despair and distrustful thoughts of God, though we have had 
much experience of his goodness. David, 1 Sam. xxvii. 1, ' I shall 
now perish one day by the hand of Saul,' after all his experience. 

(7.) Questioning our interest in God, by reason of crosses, or the 
doubtful posture of our affairs : Judges vi. 13, 'If the Lord be with 
us, why then is all this befallen us ? ' 

These are the wiles of Satan. Eide out the storm upon gospel 
encouragements. This will bear us up, it is but a moment to eternity. 
It is but ' a light affliction, and will work for us a far more exceeding 
and eternal weight of glory/ 2 Cor. iv. 17. 
The second point is this : 

Doct. 2. That if we would not be overcome by the evil of tempta 
tions, we should earnestly deal with God about them. 

For so doth our Lord direct us here (' Lead us not into temptation ') 
to come to God himself. 

There are two reasons I shall consider of in this discourse : 
First, We cannot be tempted without the will of God. 
Secondly, Nor resist without the power of God. 
Therefore we should deal with God earnestly in all our tempta 

First, We cannot be tempted without the will of God. That God 
hath a providence in and about temptations, is clear from the scrip 
ture : Mat. iv. 1, ' Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilder 
ness, to be tempted of the devil.' The Holy Spirit had a hand in it, 
as well as the evil spirit. So, 2 Sam. xxiv. 1, ' God moved David to 
number Israel and Judah;' but in 1 Chron. xxi. 1, it is said, 'And 
Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.' 
Satan, he cannot tempt without leave from God. As a lion cannot 
stir out of his cage, until the keeper brings him out, so the devil, this 
roaring lion, is held by the irresistible chains of God's providence, and 
cannot stir until God brings him out. 
Consider two things : 

[1.] To be led into temptation is more than simply to be tempted. 
God's permitting us to be tempted is not so much as God's leading 
us into temptation, for these are two distinct phrases. God may 
permit or suffer us to be tempted, as a lord or sovereign, which hath 
power over his own creature, for the trial and exercise of grace, and can 
absolutely dispose of it according to his own will ; but he leads us into 
temptation as a judge. And therefore this is one of the comforts 
which Job propounds to himself, when Satan had a liberty to molest 
him : Job ix. 12, ' He taketh away, who can hinder him ? who shall 
say unto him, What doest thou?' The general of an army may, 
according to. his discretion, lead which band he pleaseth, and set them 
in the forlorn hope, in a place of the greatest danger, and appoint for 
reserves which part of the army he pleaseth. So God may single out 
his champions to combat for his glory, and may leave others in a more 
VOL. i. p 


quiet posture, according as he pleaseth. Thus, as a sovereign agent, 
God may suffer to be tempted. But now,, to lead into temptation, 
that is another thing, and implieth something of punishment, or as it 
is expressed, Mat. xxvi. 41, ' Pray that ye enter not into temptation.' 
We enter into it by our own voluntary motion, as having forfeited 
his protection. But then God leads us in as a judge, puts the male 
factor into the executioner's or officer's hands : so doth God lead us into 
temptation ; it is a judicial act, especially when left to perish under 
the weight of a temptation. 

[2.] Consider God as a judge ; he may lead us into temptation 
two ways : either he may act in way of correction, to manifest his 
fatherly indignation ; or by way of strict punishment. And so, in 
respect of his fatherly correction, God may give us up to a vexing, or 
to an ensnaring temptation. He may lead the godly into temptation, 
that they may be molested and troubled ; and may lead the wicked 
into temptation, that they may be seduced and led away for their 
eternal ruin. There is a vexing temptation God useth for the correc 
tion of his own children ; and thus Paul was buffeted by Satan, lest 
he should be exalted above measure : 2 Cor. xii. 7. The shepherd 
sets his dog upon the strayed sheep, not to worry him, but to lodge 
him, and bring him back again into the fold : so doth God suffer his 
children to be buffeted and exercised by Satan, to their great trouble, 
but for their good in the issue ; for he knoweth how to turn all these 
things for good. Then there is an ensnaring temptation, by which the 
wicked are entangled in a way of sin ; and so Satan, as God's execu 
tioner, is said sometimes to blind the eyes of wicked men, lest the 
light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine unto them, 2 Cor. 
iv. 4 ; and sometimes to harden their hearts, John xii. 40, ' lest they 
should be converted and healed. ' For the punishment of former sins, 
God may give up the wicked to be blinded and hardened by Satan to 
their own destruction, which is one of the most dreadful acts of God, 
as a Judge, on this side hell. 

Certainly then, when we are tempted, we have great cause to deal 
with God about the temptation, for he hath a hand : either he may 
suffer us to be tempted, as lord and sovereign ; or may lead us into 
temptation, either in a way of fatherly correction, or as a mere punish 
ment, that we may more ruin and destroy ourselves. 

I come now to the second reason. 

Secondly, God alone can give strength to resist and overcome the 
temptation ; and therefore we should deal with him very earnestly 
about it : Kom. xvi. 20, ' The God of peace shall bruise Satan under 
your feet shortly.' It is God that treads down Satan, but under your 
feet. We fight it out, but the author of the victory is the God of 
peace. We are interested in it (for we trample upon Satan with our 
own feet), but God's is the grace. Our faculties are not only exercised, 
but our graces. 

Briefly, two ways doth God concur with the saints in resisting 

First, God plants all those graces in their hearts that are necessary 
to the conflict To speak of those three essential graces, faith, fear, 
and love ; these are all necessary for the resistance of a temptation. 


That faith is necessary, 1 Pet. v. 9, ' Whom resist, steadfast in the 
faith.' And fear and love, that they also are necessary, I shall prove 
thus : Satan's weapons against us, and his way of assaulting, are either 
subtile wiles or fiery darts : ' That ye may be able to stand against 
the wiles of the devil, and quench all the fiery darts of 'the wicked,' 
Eph. vi. 11, 16. As he assaults us by fiery darts, by raging and bois 
terous temptations, take the shield of faith, cover all with the 
righteousness of Christ, and with a sense of your privileges by Christ, 
and that is it which maintains the heart, and keeps it against the fiery 
darts of the devil. But as he assaults us by his wiles, there fear and 
the love of God comes in, and is necessary for us. For there are two 
sorts of wiles that Satan useth for the destroying of our souls : one is, 
to convey the temptation by such means as are most taking with the 
person tempted ; and the other is, disguising and turning himself into 
an angel of light, colouring the temptation. 

For the first, namely, as he suiteth every distemper of our souls 
with a proper diet or food, or tempts us by such means as are likely to 
prevail, as if a man were tempted by sensual delight ; there the love of 
God is necessary. Why ? For nothing but the love of God will make 
us deny that which is so near and pleasing to us, or that affection 
which grows upon the apprehension of his "grace in Christ ; therefore 
the grace of God is said to teach us to ' deny all ungodliness and 
worldly lusts : ' Titus ii. 12. 

[2.] For the other wile. As Satan doth transform himself into an 
angel of light, and cover his base designs with plausible pretences ; 
for instance, revenge shall be accounted zeal ; he will disguise it so 
as that the very apostles shall count it zeal for the glory of God when 
they called for ' fire from heaven to consume them, even as Elias did :' 
Luke ix. 54. And carnal counsel shall be counted pity and natural 
affection : Mat. xvi. 22, ' Peter took him and began to rebuke him, 
saying, Be it far from thee, Lord : this shall not be unto thee.' He 
shall be the devil's agent to tempt Christ, and his carnal counsel shall 
be looked upon as pity to his Master. And licentiousness shall be 
Christian liberty, and our liberty by Christ shall be used as an occa 
sion to the flesh: Gal. v. 13. And an immoderate use of carnal 
pleasure shall be Christian rejoicing or Christian cheerfulness. There 
fore, as there needs love to withstand the potency of temptation, by 
the suitableness of the bait to our own affections, so there needs the 
fear of God : Prov. xiv. 27, ' The fear of the Lord is a fountain of 
life, to depart from the snares of death.' When the devil, by his 
wiles, is laying snares for us, snares of death, the fear of the Lord is 
a fountain of life. A man that is afraid to offend God, and to abuse 
his liberty, or run into any excess, under colour of grace, is very 
cautious and watchful, and thereby is not so soon surprised. Thus, 
when the soul is inflamed by the vehement heat of boiling lusts, or 
raging despair, faith is necessary: Luke xxii. 31, 32, 'Satan hath 
desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat ; but I have 
prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.' Faith laying hold upon 
Christ's righteousness, and waiting for his grace, teaches us to over 
come in such conflicts. 

But why should I instance in these three graces only, when we are 



bidden to ' put on the whole armour of God' ? Eph. vi. 11, 13. If we 
would come off with honour in this conflict, we must be completely 
armed ; no power of the soul or sense of the body must be left naked 
and without a guard, therefore not one saving grace can be wanting. 

A Christian is set forth as armed from head to foot. There is for 
the head a helmet of salvation, which is hope ; a breastplate of 
righteousness ; the girdle of truth ; for shoes, the gospel of peace ; the 
shield of faith ; the sword of the Spirit. These are the graces neces 
sary to resist temptation, and these we have from God. A Christian 
hath not only weapons offensive, but defensive ; not only a sword, 
but also a shield. Satan hath only weapons offensive, as darts ; he 
hath darts to wound the soul. Again, observe, there is no piece of 
armour for the back. Why? Because there is no flight in this 
spiritual warfare ; we must stand to it : James iv. 7, ' Kesist the devil, 
and he will flee from you/ 

But let us see what are the pieces of the spiritual armour. The 
apostle begins with ' the girdle of truth/ by which is meant, not truth 
of doctrine (for that is the sword of the Spirit), but sincerity, or an 
honest intention ; when a man endeavoureth to be both to God and 
man what he seems to be. Now, it is the Lord that must renew the 
right spirit within us. Satan he assaults us with wiles, but our 
armour of proof against him is the girdle of truth. We stand against 
the wiles of Satan, but we must not fight against him with his own 
weapons, and put off wiles with wiles ; sincerity and honest intention, 
that is our strength ; this is the girdle to the loins, it gives strength 
and courage to the soul. And then there is ' the breastplate of 
righteousness/ or that grace which puts us upon a holy conversation, 
suitable to God's will revealed in his word, whereby we endeavour to 
give God and man their due ; it secures the breast and vital parts, the 
seed of inherent grace in the heart ; an honest fixed purpose to obey 
God in all things. The next thing, the feet must be shod ; we shall 
meet with rough ways in our passage to heaven, and what is that 
which is armour of proof for our feet ? ' The preparation of the gospel 
of peace/ a sense of our peace and friendship made up between God 
and us through Christ. Without this we shall never follow God in 
the way of duty when we meet with difficulties and hardships, But 
' above all, take the shield of faith.' A shield covers the body, but that 
which gives defence to all is faith : without this a man is naked. 
Destitute of Christ's imputed righteousness, he wants his covenant- 
strength ; it applieth Christ's righteousness, and engageth the power 
of God on our behalf. Then there is ' the helmet of salvation/ which 
is hope : I Thes. v. 8. A well-grounded hope of salvation, it makes 
us hold up the head in the midst of all waves and sore assaults ; that 
is, it is our great motive and encouragement in the work of sanctifi- 
cation. Then there is ' the sword of the Spirit/ which is both offen 
sive and defensive ; it wardeth off Satan's blows, and makes him fly 
back from us as one wounded and ashamed. These are the graces. 
Now God gives them to us, and therefore he is called ' The God of all 
grace/ 1 Pet. v. 10. Why ? because he requires it only ? No, but 
because he giveth it also. And it is called ' The armour of God/ 
ver. 11. God is the author, God is the maker, God is the inventor of 


this armour, and he doth freely bestow it upon us. The apostle bids 
us ' take the whole armour of God/ ver. 13, that is, take it out of 
God's hand. This armour is not of our making and procuring, but 
made to our hands by God himself. 

Secondly, He actuates these graces by putting good motions into 
our hearts, or sweet and gracious thoughts, whereby all the fore- 
mentioned graces are drawn out. When we are conflicting with sin 
in an hour of temptation, faith is set a- work: ' That God may fulfil 
all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with 
power,' 2 Thes. i. 11 ; that is, by a divine power and influence quick 
ening it into acts. Joseph, when he was assaulted by a grievous 
temptation, he had a gracious motion and thought put into his mind : 
' How can I do this wickedness, and sin against God ?' Gen. xxxix. 9. 
Still there is a seasonable remembrance of things by the Spirit, whose 
office it is to bring all things to remembrance : John xiv. 26. The 
Spirit doth not only teach us all things, but brings things to our 
remembrance, when we have need of any truth to be set home upon 
the heart ; either such a truth as forbids the evil to which we are 
tempted, or that speaketh comfort and encouragement to us under 
such a cross ; or pressing such a duty as we hang off from. The 
seasonable remembrance of truths is the great actual help which 
we have from God. Jesus Christ himself, by seasonable urging the 
scriptures, defeated the temptation wherewith he was assaulted: 
Mat. iv. 10, 11. The word quickeneth in affliction: Ps. cxix. 50. 
Some proper comfort is borne in upon the soul by the power of God. 
It is not the bare remembrance of truth, but the secret power of God 
which enliveneth it, and makes it effectual in its season to defeat the 

Use. It directs you what to do in temptations, to go to God for 
help and strength against them. Briefly, when you treat with God, it 
should be under a threefold notion : 

1. As the author and giver of grace. 

2. As the sovereign giver and disposer of it, according to his own will. 

3. As a judge, by temptation correcting some foregoing sin by the 
present temptation. 

1. Treat with God as the author and giver of grace : James i. 17, 
' He is the father of lights, from whom every good and perfect gift 
cometh down.' And so 

[1.] We ought to come to him as renouncing our strength, and 
waiting for his grace as able to help us. That address Jehoshaphat 
made in a temporal case is good also in a spiritual : 2 Chron. xx. 12, 
' Lord, we have no might ; our eyes are unto thee.' There is a renouncing 
of their own strength, and a dependence upon God. There must be a 
renouncing of all self-dependence, for God ' gives grace to the humble/ 
James iv. 6. The word humble is to be understood not morally, to 
those that are of a lowly carriage towards men, of a meek spirit ; but 
it is understood spiritually, of those that, in the brokenness of their 
hearts, acknowledge their own nothingness and weakness : to these he 
gives grace. God withholdeth and withdraweth his influences when 
we do not acknowledge the daily and hourly necessity of grace when 
we do not desire it with such vehemency as we were wont, nor re- 


ceive it with such thankfulness and rejoicing. In these three last 
petitions of the Lord's Prayer : ' Give us this day our daily bread ; ' 
then, ' Forgive us our trespasses ; ' then, ' Lead us not into temptation : ' 
we beg daily bread, daily pardon, daily strength. We can neither 
live without the one nor the other : we cannot live without daily 
bread, nor live comfortably without daily pardon, nor live Jwlily with 
out daily grace. And therefore you are to ' wait upon God all the day,' 
Ps. xxv. 5 ; and Ps. xvi. 8, ' I have set the Lord always before me/ 
Now, we may be said to set the Lord before us, either in point of 
reverence, when we are sensible of his eye and presence, or in point of 
dependence, when we are still waiting for his strength ; and that is 
the meaning there, ' He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.' 
Look, as a glass without a foot falls to the ground, and is broken as 
soon as it is set out of hand, such a sensible Christian apprehends 
himself to be if he be out of the hands of God ; he is broken, and falls 
to pieces. Therefore, in this sense, he goes to God, and desires him 
to keep him from temptation. Dependence begets observance. If 
the creature could once but live of himself, though it were but for a 
while, God would seldom hear from him. This is that which is the 
bridle upon the new creature, to keep up his constant commerce with 

[2.] We must go to him with confidence, in an actual dependence 
upon the all-sufficiency of his grace. It is not enough to apprehend 
our weakness, but we must also go forth in the strength of God ; that 
is, hold up our hearts with a sense of this, that God is able to bear 
us up, and defeat all our spiritual enemies. God would not take off 
the temptation from Paul, 2 Cor. xii. 9, but saith, ' My grace is 
sufficient for thee.' He can either weaken temptation, or give in 
further supply of strength ; therefore encourage yourselves in the 
power of the Lord. The devil cannot tempt us one jot further than 
the Lord will permit him ; his malice is limited and restrained : if 
you be in Satan's hands, Satan is in God's hands, and can do nothing 
without his leave and permission ; he begs leave to enter into the 
herd of swine, much less can he enter into the sheep of his pasture. 

2. Look upon God, not only as the giver of grace, but as the 
sovereign giver and disposer of it according to his own will : Phil. ii. 
13, 'It is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good 
pleasure.' His giving of grace is altogether free, as what measure of 
assistance we shall have, and by what means it shall be supplied. 
God may enlarge or abate the degree of his influence, according to 
his own will. Now, thus we must come to him, with submission to 
his good pleasure, either for taking off the temptation, or continuing 
it for your exercise, or the measure of your supply. When you 
murmur and fret, it is a sign you have too good thoughts of your 
selves ; when we prescribe to God, it argues some ascribing to our 
selves. You are to endeavour, indeed, to pray, and use all good means 
to come out of temptation; but submit, if the Lord be pleased to 
continue his exercise upon you. Nay, though God should continue 
the temptation, and for the present not give out those measures of 
grace necessary for you, yet you must not murmur, but lie at his feet ; 
for God is Lord of his own grace. 


3. You are to look upon God as a judge, correcting some foregoing 
sin by your present temptation. And therefore 

[1.] You must humble yourselves under his mighty hand, when 
you are exercised with great and sore temptations, and accept the 
punishment of your iniquity without murmuring ; that is the only 
way to get it off, when you own it as the fruit of sin : Lev. xxvi. 41, 
' If then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept 
of the punishment of their iniquity ; ' and Micah vii. 9, ' I will bear the 
indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him.' Acknow 
ledge the justice of his providence in this trouble that is brought upon 
you. A Christian must not only look to the malice of Satan in his 
temptations, but to the justice of God. Look, as in outward afflic 
tions, we are not to reflect upon instruments : Job did not say, ' The 
Chaldean and Sabean hath taken,' but ' The Lord hath taken,' chap. i. 
23 so in these spiritual afflictions, take the temptation out of God's 
hand, as a judge. Though Satan pursue you with fiery darts, with 
temptations horrible and terrible, yet look upon it as the fruit of some 
foregoing sin. If he should tempt you by injection of despairing 
fears or blasphemous thoughts, these are not your sins, but they may 
be a punishment for your sins ; so you ought to humble yourselves 
under the mighty hand of God. When you are vexed with such 
temptations as pierce and prick you in your veins, as David speaks ; 
when the devil bears in blasphemous thoughts upon the heart, they 
are his sins, but your corrections, justly ordered by God. It may be 
it is for the correction of your sin that you have provoked God to 
afflict you thus ; and this rod, if it smart, it was dipped in your own 
guilt, and it is a fruit of God's fatherly indignation for your folly 
and vanity ; for God may thus manifest it, by giving thee up to this 
severe discipline, to be tempted and vexed by Satan. Now, it is your 
duty to be sensible of your sin, and say, as Sion in her troubles, Lam. 
i. 18, ' The Lord is righteous, for I have rebelled against his com 

[2.] Find out and remove the cause of sin, when God lets loose 
Satan upon us. Paul discerned it presently as usually God's rod 
brings light along with it when he was buffeted with a messenger of 
Satan ; it was that he might not be ' exalted above measure,' 2 Cor. 
xii. 7. Now that which hath provoked God to exercise us with this 
discipline, that may be known sometimes by the time when this 
temptation surpriseth us : if it tread upon the heels of some immediate 
and foregoing provocation that is the sin you should humble your 
selves for; or by that ill frame and posture of spirit wherein the 
temptation found you, as Paul's heart was likely puffed up and ex 
alted with his spiritual enjoyments ; therefore God lets loose Satan. 
Sometimes by the nature of the temptation itself, for God suits punish 
ments to sins, and apt and proper remedies to every disease ; or else 
the sin will be cast up by workings of conscience in a way of remorse, 
as in a tempest that which is at bottom comes on top ; or God will 
discover it by his Spirit, when you go and seek to him. When 
temptation is grievous and sore, go to God and say, Lord, why is it 
thus with me ? Job xxxiv. 31, 32, ' Surely it is meet to be said unto 
God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more. That 


which I see not, teach thou me ; if I have done iniquity, I will do no 
more.' Pray for a discovery of your secret sin, and what is the mind 
of God in the dispensation. Now, when you have found out the cause 
of the sin, this is the direction, to remove the cause ; for until we 
let the sin go, God will continue the punishment ; though we strive, 
pray, and ask counsel, our burden will still be continued upon us, 
until sin be mortified in us, though in some measure it be removed 
out of our hearts. 

But deliver us from evil. 

WE come to the close. The words airo rov Trovrjpov may be rendered, 
either ' from the evil one,' or ' from the evil thing.' 

First, From the evil one: Mat. xiii. 19, ' Then cometh, o Trovrjpb?, 
the evil one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart ; ' 
and 1 John ii. 13, ' I will write unto you, young men, because ye have 
overcome, rov Trowjpbv, the wicked one ; ' and 1 John v. 18, ' He that 
is begotten of God keepeth himself, and, o TTOZ^O?, that wicked one, 
toucheth him not ; ' Eph. vi. 16, ' Take the shield of faith, wherewith 
ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked,' rov 
TTovypov, of that wicked one. In all these places the devil is so called, 
because his great business is to draw, and drive others to sin ; and 
therefore, as God is ' the holy one,' so Satan is called ' the wicked one.' 

Secondly, It may be rendered that evil thing : Mat. v. 37, 
'Whatsoever is more than, these cometh, e/c rov Trovrjpov, of 
evil ; ' Mat. v. 39, ' But I say unto you, firj avrio-rfjvai rat Trovrjpy, 
resist not evil.' We are commanded to resist the devil, and therefore 
in that place clearly it is put for the evil thing; and so in many other 
places. Now which of these senses shall we prefer ? 

First, If it be meant of the evil one, or Satan, the words will bear 
a good sense, thus: If God, for our trial and further humiliation, shall 
suffer us to be tempted by the devil, yet we desire that he may not 
have his will upon us, that we be not kept under his power. 

To make good this interpretation, know the devil may fitly be 
called 'the evil one,' for he is the oldest sinner; he sins from the 
beginning : 1 John iii. 8. And he is the greatest sinner, therefore he 
is called, Eph. vi. 12, ' spiritual wickedness ; ' his sins are in the high 
est degree sinful, every sin of his is a sin against the Holy Ghost, 
against full light, and with malice and spite against God and the 
saints. And he is the father of sin, John viii. 44. As Jubal was 
' the father of all such as handle the harp and organ/ Gen. iv. 21 ; 
that is, he was the first that taught the use of that instrument : so all 
the sins in the world are by his furtherance, both actual and original ; 
therefore he may be fitly called the evil one. 

Again, he hath a great stroke in temptation, that he is the artificer, 
the designer, the improver of them ; therefore he is called, o Treipd&v, 
' the tempter/ Mat. iv. 3. Well, then, ' Lead us not into temptation, 
but deliver us from the evil one.' 

Secondly, we may render it indefinitely, as we do, ' Deliver us from 


evil, 1 that is, from sin. And fitly is this so called, because it is the 
greatest evil, above poverty, sickness, and worldly loss. Everything 
which doth harm us, that may be called evil. Now sin doth most hurt ; 
nothing so much as sin. Why ? Because it doth endamage our in 
ward man, and endanger our everlasting hopes. 

[1.] It doth endamage our inward man, and hindereth and diminish- 
eth our comfortable communion with God. Other things may harm the 
man, but they do not touch the Christian ; and therefore saith the 
apostle, 2 Cor. iv. 16, ' For which cause we faint not; but though our 
outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.' 
Breaches made upon the outward man come not so near as a breach 
made upon the inward man ; therefore we faint not, so long as the 
inward man is safe. 

[2.] It doth endanger our everlasting hopes and concernments, and 
therefore it is the greatest evil. All afflictions do but reach our tem 
poral, but sin reacheth our eternal concernments ; and therefore the 
apostle promiseth himself this kind of deliverance, as that which was 
most worthy : 2 Tim. iv. 17, 18, ' I was delivered out of the mouth of 
the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and 
will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom.' Well, then, you see it 
may be rendered the evil one, or the evil thing. The word carrieth it 
for sin ; tcaicbv denoteth the evil of afflictions, and malum posnce, as 
well as malum culpce ; but Trovrjpov never but evil of fault. And we 
need not anxiously dispute whether the one or the other, for one can 
not be understood without respect to the other. Therefore I shall take 
it in a general sense that evil which results from temptations, whether 
they arise from Satan, the world, or our own hearts. 

From the words thus opened, the points will be two : 

First, That while we are in this valley of tears and snares, we should 
with earnestness and confidence pray to be delivered from evil. 

Secondly, To be kept from the evil of sin is a greater mercy than to 
be kept from the trouble of temptation. 

I observe the first point, because Christ thus directed us to pray to 
God. The second, because the evil of sin is intended. For the first, 
we should pray with earnestness, because of our danger, and with 
confidence, because of God's undertaking. The Lord Jesus knows 
what requests are most acceptable to his Father. Now when he 
would give a perfect pattern and platform of prayer, he bids you pray 
thus : ' Deliver us from evil.' Nay, we have not only Christ's direc 
tion, but Christ's example : John xvii. 15, ' I pray not that thou 
shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep 
them from the evil.' He did not absolutely pray for an exemption 
from temptation, though he knew the world would be a tempestuous 
place, that his people must expect strong assaults Lord, take them 
not out of the world, but keep them from the evil ; so here, ' Deliver 
us from evil.' 

First, We should pray with earnestness, because of our danger from 
the enemies of our salvation, which are the devil, the world, and the 
flesh ; in respect of all which, we pray to be delivered from evil. 

[1.] From the evil which the devil designs against us. Both bad and 
good men have need to make this prayer : bad men have need ; good 


men will have a heart certainly to pray thus to God, if they consider 
their danger. 

(1.) Natural and unconverted men, they are under the power of the 
devil, if they were sensible of it ; for the devils are said to be ' rulers 
of the darkness of this world,' Eph. vi. 12. By which is meant the 
wicked, ignorant, and carnal part of the world, whether they live in 
Gentilism, or within the pale and line of Christ's communion; over all 
those that live in their unrenewed state of sin and ignorance, over all 
these, Satan hath an empire and dominion. And mark, when God 
carried on his kingdom in a way of sensible manifestation, by visions, 
oracles, and miracles, so did Satan visibly govern the pagan world by 
apparitions, oracles, lying wonders, and sensible manifestations of him 
self. But now, w T hen God's kingdom is spiritual, ' the kingdom of 
God is within yon,' Luke xvii. 21, so by proportion, Satan's king 
dom is spiritual too; he rules in the hearts of men, though they little 
think of it. All natural men, whether they be pagans or Christians, 
though outwardly and apparently they may renounce the devil's king 
dom, and do not seem to have such open communion with him, as the 
Gentiles that consulted with his oracles, and were instructed by his 
apparitions, acted by his power, and offered sacrifice to him : but 
spiritually, all natural men are under the devil ; for, 1 John iii. 8, 
' He that committeth sin is of the devil ;' that is, he belongeth to him. 
How is he of the devil ? They are his children : Acts xiii. 10, ' O 
thou child of the devil.' And they are his subjects, he ruleth in them , 
he hath a kingdom among men, which by all means he goeth about to 
maintain: Mat. xii. 26, ' If Satan be divided against himself, how then 
can his kingdom stand ? ' And they are his workhouses, he worketh 
in them : Eph. ii. 2, ' The spirit that worketh in the children of dis 
obedience.' The devil is hard at work in a wicked man's heart, 
framing evil thoughts, carnal motions ; urging them to break God's 
laws ; drawing them on to more sin and villainy ; fills their hearts with 
lying, and all manner of sins: Acts v. 3, 'Why hath Satan filled thine 
heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?' He binds them with prejudices, and 
will not suffer them to hearken to the glorious gospel : 2 Cor. iv. 4, 
' In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them 
which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should 
shine unto them.' He blinds and holds them captive at his will and 
pleasure, their souls are fettered : 2 Tim. ii. 26. And sometimes he 
oppresses their bodies (for Satan carrieth on his kingdom by force, 
tyranny, fears, and bondage) ; and therefore it is said, Acts x. 38, that 
Christ ' went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of 
the devil.' Yet further, as God's executioner, he hath the power over 
death for their torment : Heb. ii. 14, ' That through death he might 
destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.' And un 
less the Lord be merciful, he never ceaseth canying on wicked men, 
until both they and he are for ever in hell : Mat. xxv. 41, ' Depart 
from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his 
angels.' All this is spoken, to show carnal men their condition. Oh 
that they would seriously think of it ! When they do evil, when they 
slight the motions of God's grace, they are under Satan ; and not only 
by force, as a child of God may be sometimes, but they are willingly 


ignorant : 2 Pet. iii. 5. The more willingly we commit sin, still the 
more we are under the power of the devil. Well, then, if any have 
need to say, ' Deliver us from evil,' certainly unrenewed carnal men 
have need to go to God, and say, ' Lord, pluck us out of evil ;' as the 
same expression is used, Col. i. 13, ' Who hath delivered us from the 
power of darkness,' O? eppvcraTo, who hath delivered us with a strong 
hand. Oh, go to God, in the name of Christ; there is no way of 
escape until God pluck you out by main forte. And mark, this power 
by which we are delivered, God conveyeth by the preaching of the word, 
which was appointed to turn us from darkness unto light, and from the 
power of Satan unto God, Acts xxvi. 18 ; and therefore hearken to 
God's counsel before your condition grow incurable, and wait upon 
the ordinances ; for the more you neglect and contemn the means of 
your recovery, your misery increaseth upon you ; for every day you 
are still more given up to Satan by the just judgment of God, and to 
be captivated and taken by him at his will and pleasure by the snares 
he sets for you. 

(2.) Good men, or God's own children, though they are delivered 
from the power of Satan, and brought into the kingdom of Christ, yet 
they are not wholly free in this world, but are sometimes caught by 
Satan's wiles, Eph. vi. 11, sometimes wounded by his fiery darts, ver. 
16. Their lusts and their consciences are sometimes set a-raging ; 
though he hath no allowed authority over their hearts, yet he exer- 
ciseth a tyrannical power ; though he cannot rule them, yet he ceaseth 
not to assault them, if it were but to vex and trouble them. Briefly, 
the children of God have cause to pray, Deliver us from evil, in regard 
of Satan, because Satan hath a hand in their persecutions, and like 
wise a hand in their temptations to sin. It is he that instigateth their 
enemies to persecute them, and it is he that,inflameth their lusts. 

(1st.) In stirring up their enemies to persecute them. All the 
troubles of the children of God, they come originally from the 
devil : Luke xxii. 53, ' This is your hour, and the power of darkness/ 
We do not read that Satan did immediately vex Christ ; and how 
was that hour then said to be the power of darkness ? Why, by setting 
his instruments a-work to crucify him. And as he dealt with the head, 
so with the members: Rev. xii. 12, ' The devil hath great wrath, for 
he knoweth he hath but a short time.' When his kingdom begins to 
totter and shake, then he stirs up all his wrath, and inflames his in 
struments, as dying beasts bite hardest. So, Eev. xvi. 14, we read of 
the spirits of devils that go forth unto the kings of the earth, to stir 
them up against the saints. If you could behold, with your bodily 
eyes, this evil spirit hanging upon the ears of great men, and buzzing 
into them, and stirring them up, and the common people, and ani 
mating them against the children of God, you would more admire at 
the wonders of God's providence that you do subsist. Oh, how they 
are acted by this wrathful spirit ! 

(2d.) By inflaming our lusts and corruptions. So, 1 Cor. vii. 5, lest 
Satan tempt you by your incontinency, sets lusts a-boiling, either to 
vex the saints or to ensnare them. It is possible he may sometimes 
prevail with God's own children to draw them to some particular act 
of gross sin, as 2 Sam. xi. 4, as when David defiled himself with lust, 


that thereby he may dishonour God ; for by this means the name of 
God was blasphemed, 2 Sam. xii. 14. Or that thereby he may dis 
turb their peace, for this made David lie roaring, Ps. xxxii. 3, 4 ; his 
radical moisture was even wasted and exhausted. Or else to spiritual 
sins, as murmuring, repining against God, distrust of providence when 
under crosses. Or when they are in their comforts, to drive them to 
carnal complacency and neglect of holy things, disuse of communion 
with God. Or to inordinate passions or spiritual wickedness, such as is 
not conversant about carnal passions or fleshly lusts, but spiritual pride, 
error, and unbelief. Certainly those that have anything of experience 
of the spiritual life cannot be ignorant of Satan's enterprises. 

Well, then, we had need go to God to deliver us from evil : for 
outward evils, for the protection of his providence ; for these God hath 
undertaken : Ps. 1. 15, ' Call upon me in the day of trouble ; I will 
deliver thee.' Satan is in God's chains ; he could not enter into the 
herd of swine without leave ; therefore certainly he cannot get among 
the sheep of Christ's fold. It is the saying of Tertullian, If the bristles 
of swine be numbered, the hairs of our head are numbered ; therefore 
you had need go to God (' Deliver us from evil '), that persecution 
may not rage over you, that he may hedge you in by his provi 
dence, Job i. 10, and that he would be as a wall of fire round about 

As to inward evils, so we go to God for wisdom and strength ; for 
Satan assaults us both ways, by wiles and darts : when he comes in a 
way of violence, he comes with fiery darts ; but when he doth lie in 
ambush, there he hath his wiles to entice us with a seeming good. 

(1.) Beg wisdom, that you may espy the wiles of Satan, and may 
not be caught unawares, for he is ' transformed into an angel of light,' 
2 Cor. xi. 14. Mark, the devil doth not care so much to ride his own 
horses, to act and draw wicked men to evil ; he hath them sure enough ; 
but he laboureth to employ the saints in his work, if he can, to get 
one which belongs to God to do his business ; therefore he changeth 
himself into an angel of light. The temptation is disguised with very 
plausible pretences ; then a child of God may be a factor for Satan, 
and an instrument of the devil. For instance, would Peter have ever 
made a motion for Satan if he had seen his hand ? Oh, no ; the temp 
tation was disguised to him when he persuaded his Master from suf 
fering. He covereth his foul designs with plausible pretences. Carnal 
counsel shall be pity and natural affection ; Mat. xvi. 22, 23, ' Let not 
these things be ; be it far from thee, Lord : this shall not be unto 
thee. He said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan ; thou art an 
offence unto me.' At another time, the disciples, when their Master 
was slighted and contemned, they thought certainly they should do as 
Elias did, call for fire from heaven to consume them, Luke ix. 54. 
Kevenge will often go for zeal for God. Kevenge, or storming at per 
sonal affronts or injuries done to ourselves, is looked upon as zeal ; 
then the disciples may not know what spirit they are of. Many times 
we are acted by the devil when we think we are acted by the Spirit of 
God, and that which seems to be zeal is nothing but revenge. There 
fore we had need go to God : Lord, deliver us from evil ; we are 


poor unwary creatures ; that we may not be ensnared by fair pretences 
and surprised by his enterprises. And thus we beg wisdom. 

(2.) We pray for strength to withstand his darts, that we may take 
the armour of God and withstand the evil one, Eph. vi. 13. Alas ! 
of ourselves we cannot deliver ourselves from the least evil, or stand 
out against the least assault ; therefore it is God alone that must keep 
the feet of his saints, 1 Sam. ii. 9. Therefore we go to him, that we 
may get his covenant strength, that we may be ' strong in the power 
of his might,' to conflict with Satan. Well, then, in regard of the 
first enemy of our salvation, the devil, we had need pray earnestly, 
that we may not be prevailed over by his arts ; it is God alone that 
can keep us. 

[2.] The world, that is another evil which is, as it were, the devil's 
chessboard ; we can hardly move backward or forward but he is ready 
to attack us and surprise us by one creature or another, and draw us 
into the snare. Therefore it is said, Gal. i. 4, that Christ ' gave him 
self for us, that he might deliver us from this present evil world.' 
That is one way of being delivered from evil, when we are delivered 
from an evil world. It concerns us, and it is a great point of religion, 
to be ' kept unspotted from the world,' James i. 27. The whole world 
is full of evils and temptations, and we cannot walk anywhere but we 
are likely to be defiled. The things of the world, the men of the 

(1.) The things of the world. All conditions of life become a snare 
to us, prosperity, adversity : Prov. xxx. 8, 9, ' Give me neither poverty 
nor riches ; feed me with food convenient for me,' &c., ' lest I be full, 
and deny thee,' &c. Either condition hath its snares. A garment too 
short will not cover our nakedness, and too long proves lacinia prce- 
pendens, ready to trip up our heels ; and therefore both the one and 
the other condition are very dangerous. Many carry themselves well in 
one condition, but quite miscarry in another. As Ephraim was as a 
cake not turned, baked on the one side, Hosea vii. 8, quite dough on the 
other. Or as it is said of Joab, 1 Kings ii. 28, ' He turned after Adoni- 
jah, though he turned not after Absalom.' Some miscarry in adversity, 
others in prosperity. Indeed more under prosperity. Diseases which 
grow out of fulness are more rife than those which grow out of want ; 
and fat and fertile soils are more rank of weeds. God's children most 
miscarry when all things are prosperous and flow in upon them, when 
they have lived in plenty. David was not soiled while he wandered 
up and down in the wilderness ; but when he walked upon the terrace 
of his palace in Jerusalem, then he fell to lust and blood. The un- 
soundness of a vessel is not seen when it is empty ; but when filled 
with water, then we see whether it be stanch, or leaky or no. 

But the other condition is not without its snares neither. In 
adversity we are apt to be impatient, as well as in prosperity to be 
forgetful of God ; and therefore we had need learn how to go up hill 
and down hill, to ' know how to abound, and how to be abased,' Phil, 
iv. 12. Look, as the wind doth rise from all corners, so do tempta 
tions. When we are kept low and bare, or in danger, then we are full 
of worldly fears, distrusts, cares, grow base, pusillanimous, and have not 
the spirit and generosity of a Christian. In a high condition we are 


proud, secure, forgetful of changes, vain, wanton ; and press towards 
heaven less, and grow dead to good things. 

(2.) As from the things of the world, so from the men of the world. 
We are apt to be poisoned by their bad example, and easily catch a 
sickness one from another. Good men may receive a taint : Isa. vi. 5, 
' I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of 
unclean lips.' Open excesses do soon, manifest their own odiousness. 
I confess, a man that runs into open excess, we are not so much in 
danger of being enticed by him to the like practice ; but we learn of 
one another secretly to be cold, careless, and less mortified. I say, 
though we are not carried into inordinate practices and gross wicked 
nesses by the example of others, yet we learn to be cold in the profes 
sion of godliness, formal, less stirring in the way of holiness, and 
sometimes ensnared by their counsels. The flood and torrent of evil 
examples and counsels is so great, that it carrieth away men : Gal. ii. 
13, ' Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulati -n.' And 
the wills of men is one of our snares, 1 Pet. iv. 2. And besides, we 
are in danger to be terrified by their frowns, and act unseemly : Isa. 
viii. 13, ' Fear not their fear, nor be afraid.' Out of the fear of men 
we are apt to miscarry in our duty to God. Well, then, we need to 
go to God to be delivered from the evil of the world, that we may not 
be infected nor terrified by the men of the world ; or, which is the 
more usual temptation, corrupted by the things of the world. The 
world doth secretly and slightly insinuate with us ; and therefore keep 
us from evil. 

Now how comes the world to be evil ? 

In two things, when both our care and our delight is lessened to 
wards heavenly things. 

(1.) When our care is lessened, when we are not so serious, so fre 
quent in communion with God as we were wont to be ; as Martha, that 
was ' cumbered about many things,' but Mary ' had chosen the better 
part,' Luke x. 42. When you begin to lessen your cares of duty, and 
Hagar thrusts Sarah out of doors, when the son of the bond-woman 
begins to mock at the son of the free-woman, when religion begins 
to be looked upon but as mopishness ; to be so nice, precise, and so 
careful to maintain constant commerce with God ; and begin to have 
lessening thoughts of God, and religion goes to the walls. So, 

(2.) When our delight is less in heavenly things, when we have lost 
our savour of the word, and ordinances, and Sabbaths, and they are 
not so sweet as before : 1 John ii. 16, 'If any man love the world, the 
love of the Father is not in him.' When the love of the world hath 
made you weary of the love of God, when your heart goes a-whoring 
from God, the chief good. As when the affections are scattered, a man 
is tempted to look upon other objects, the wife of the bosom is 
defrauded of her right ; so God is defrauded by an over-delight in the 
creature, the world intercepts your delight : Ps. Ixxiii. 27, 28, ' Thou 
hast destroyed all them that go a-whoring from thee ; but it is good 
for me to draw nigh to God.' When our delight in communion with 
God is lessened by delight in the creature, it is spiritual adultery. 
Now when worldly objects are so continually with us, soliciting our 
affections, and drawing us away from God, oh what need have the 


best of us to pray, ' Lord, keep us from evil ! ' The soul doth easily 
receive a taint from the objects to which we are accustomed ; therefore 
they which live in the world had need to take heed of a worldly spirit. 
The continual presence of the object doth secretly entice the heart ; as 
long suits prevail at length, and green wood kindles by long lying in 
the fire. Insensibly is the heart drawn away from God, and you shall 
find less savour in holy things. 

[3.] We had need to pray earnestly, Lord, keep us from evil, because 
we are in danger of that other enemy, the flesh. There is not only 
an evil without us, as the devil and the world, but an evil within us : 
' An evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God,' Heb. 
iii. 12. An evil heart, that is full of urgings and solicitations to sin. 
There are not only snares and temptations in the world, but there is 
a flexibleness in the party tempted : James i. 14, ' Every man is 
tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed,' viro 
rij<f IStas e-jriOvfjiia?, of his own lust. The fire burns in our own 
hearts, Satan doth but blow up the flame. There is bad liquor in 
the vessel, Satan doth but only give it vent, and set it abroach with 
violence. We carry sinning natures about with us, therefore, Lord, 
' Deliver us from evil.' The evil of the world would do no more hurt 
than the fire doth to a stone, if we were not combustible matter : ' The 
corruption that is in the world through lust,' 2 Pet. i. 4. The danger 
of living in the world doth not stand in this, because here are so many 
enticements and baits for every sense ; but it is the corruption through 
lust ; as the venom is not in the flower, but in the spider. The Philis 
tines could not prevail against Samson if Delilah, on whom he doted, 
had not lulled him asleep ; or as Balaam first corrupted Israel before he 
could curse them or bring them any harm : so corruption in the heart 
makes us liable to Satan's malice. There is a treacherous party within 
to open the door to Satan, without which all outward force could not 
annoy us. 

Well, then, we had need go to God : Lord, ' Deliver us from evil.' 

Where we beg : 

(1.) That God would weaken the strength of inbred corruption, that 
we may not be foiled by it. Paul groans sadly, Bom. vii. 24, ' 
wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this 
death?' It is a question, but it implieth a wish, for the Hebrews 
propose their wishes by way of question ; that is, Oh that I were de 
livered ! It is a great mercy to be kept from falling into sin : ' kept 
from every evil work,' 2 Tim. iv. 18. 

(2.) If we be foiled by our corruption, we beg that we may not lie in 
it, nor grow weary of our resistance, nor cast away our weapons, and 
suffer sin to have a quiet reign : Ps. cxix. 133, ' Let not any iniquity 
have dominion over me.' We cannot hope for a total exemption from 
sin, but, Lord, let it not reign over us. How shall we know when 
sin reigns ? When there is no course of mortification set up against it, 
to break the power, force, and tyranny of it. Take this distinction : 
There are remaining and reserved corruptions ; sin remains where it 
doth not reign ; but reserved corruption, that is reigning. I will 
explain it thus : sin remains when, notwithstanding all our endea 
vours, yet it still haunts and pesters us, though praying, watching, 


striving, waiting, and depending upon God for strength ; but it is 
reserved when you let it alone and are loth to touch it, but rather 
cherish, dandle, and foster it in the heart, and make provision for it. 
Therefore then are we delivered from evil when we recover by repent 
ance ; and though we suffer by the tyranny of sin, we will not let it 
alone to have a quiet reign in our hearts, do not live under the power 
of corruptions. Sin let alone will do us further mischief. 

Secondly, As we have reason to pray to God with earnestness, be 
cause of our danger; so with confidence, because of God's undertaking : 
2 Thes. iii. 3, ' The Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep 
you from evil/ God hath undertaken to keep those who, with humble 
and broken hearts, do come to him to be kept from evil ; that are 
watchful, serious, and careful to get evils redressed as soon as discerned ; 
therefore we may come with an assured confidence to be delivered from 
all evil. 

How far hath God undertaken to keep his people from evils and 
dangers in this life ? I answer : 

[1.] So far as may be hurtful to their souls : 1 Cor. x. 13, ' God is 
faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able ; 
but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may 
be able to bear it.' It is part of God's faithfulness to keep you from 
evil, to proportion and temper temptation to your strength. God 
suits the burden to every back, he drives on as the little ones are able 
to bear ; therefore certainly he will mitigate temptation, or give in 
supply of strength. 

[2.] God will keep you from the evil of sin so far as it is deadly ; 
that is, that it be not a sin unto death, 1 John v. 16 ; and that it may 
not reign in our mortal bodies, for you are dead to it : Eom. vi. 14, 
1 For sin shall not have dominion over you ; for ye are not under the 
law, but under grace.' 

[3.] God undertakes for our final deliverance from all evil upon 
our translation to heaven. This is included in this prayer, that we 
may at length come to that state where is no sorrow, no sin, no 
assault and temptation from Satan, that we may be kept from all 
wickedness : Ps. xxxiv. 19, ' Many are the afflictions of the righteous; 
but the Lord delivereth him out of them all/ There is a time when 
God delivereth us from all at once, and that is by death and our 
translation into heaven. 

Well, then, let us fly to God for deliverance, waiting for his help. 

Doct. That to be kept from the evil of temptation is a greater mercy 
than to be kept from the trouble of temptation. 

1 Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil ;' that is, 
if we be led into temptation, let us be kept from the evil of it. 

First, It is a more wonderful providence to be kept from evil than 
from temptation ; esse bonum facile est, ubi quod vetat esse remotum 
est. It is no great matter to be chaste or honest, when there is no 
temptation to the contrary. Ay, but to keep our integrity in the midst 
of assaults and temptations, there is the wonder. If a garrison be never 
assaulted, it is no wonder that it standeth exempt from the calamity 
of war. This is like the bush that was burned, yet not consumed ; 
exercised with temptation from day to day, and yet kept from evil. 


And in this sense God's power is more glorified than in keeping the 
angels ; for the angels are out of gun-shot and harm's way, and not 
liable to temptations. But to preserve a poor weak creature in the 
midst of temptation, oh, how is the power of God ' made perfect in 
weakness ! ' 2 Cor. xii. 9 : perfected, that is, gloriously discovered. 

Secondly, The evil of sin is greater than the evil of affliction or 

[1.] The evil of sin is the greater evil, because it separateth from 
God : Isa. lix. 2. It is an aversion from the chiefest good. Affliction 
doth not separate from God, it is a means to make us draw nigh to 
him. Poverty, sickness, blindness, loss of goods, let a man be never 
so low and loathsome, yet if in a state of grace, the Lord taketh plea 
sure in him, and he is near and dear to God ; God kisseth him with 
the kisses of his mouth ; nothing is loathsome to God but sin. 

[2.] Sin is evil in itself, whether we feel it or no ; affliction is not 
evil in itself, but in our sense and feeling : Heb. xii. 11. Sin is evil, 
whether we feel it or no ; it is worse when we do not feel it : ' Past 
feeling,' Eph. iv. 19, when our conscience is benumbed. 

[3.] Affliction, or malum pcence, is an act of divine justice ; but 
malum culpce is an act of man's corruptness. For the first, affliction, 
Amos vi. 3, ' Is there any evil, and the Lord hath not done it ?' But 
sin is the devil's work in us : 1 John iii. 8, ' He that committeth sin, 
is of the devil ; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this 
purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the 
works of the devil.' And John viii. 34, ' Whosoever committeth sin, 
is the servant of sin.' The one cometh from a just God, the other from 
our corrupt hearts. The one is the act of a holy God, the other the 
act of a sinful creature. 

[4.] The death of Christ falls more directly upon this benefit ex 
emption from sin : Mat. i. 21, ' He shall save his people from their 
sins ;' Acts iii. 26, ' God having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to 
bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities ;' not 
troubles or sorrows, but sins. 

[5.] Affliction is a more particular temporal evil, but sin is an 
infinite universal evil. Sickness depriveth us of health, poverty of 
wealth, &c., and every adverse providence doth but oppose some par 
ticular temporal good ; but sin depriveth us of God, who is the foun 
tain of our comfort ; the other but of some limited comfort. 

[6.] Afflictions are sent to remove sin : Heb. xii. 11, ' Now no 
chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous ; never 
theless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto 
them which are exercised thereby ;' Isa. xxvi. 9, ' When thy judg 
ments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn right 
eousness: ' but sin is not sent to remove affliction. Now the end must 
be greater than the means, both as to prosecution and aversation. As 
to prosecution ; to dig for iron with mattocks of gold and silver. So 
in aversation ; if death were not worse than the pain of physic, no man 
would take physic to avoid death. 

[7.] Affliction is the effect of God's love : Heb. xii. 6, ' Whom the 
Lord loveth he chasteneth.' But to be left to sin is an effect of God's 
anger. God doth not always exempt from troubles ; yet if he keep 

VOL. I. Q 


from spiritual hurt thereby, if he sanctify the trouble, support us with 
sufficient grace, 2 Cor. xii. 9 ; if preserved from evil, howsoever tempted 
and exercised, it is enough. 

Use 1. To reprove our folly. We complain of other things, but 
we do not complain of sin, which is the greatest evil. This is contrary 
to the spirit of God's children, who rejoice in troubles, but not in sins : 
2 Cor. xii. 9, ' Most gladly therefore will I rejoice in infirmities, that 
the power of Christ may rest upon me.' They groan bitterly under 
sins : Horn. vii. 23, ' wretched man ! ' &c. If any man had cause to 
complain of afflictions, Paul had : in perils often, whipped, persecuted, 
stoned. But the body of sin and death was the greatest burden : lusts 
troubled him more than scourges ; his captivity to the law of sin more 
than prisons. When affliction sitteth too close, sin sits loose. In afflic 
tion there is some offence done us, but in sin the wrong is done to God. 
And what are we to God ? Afflictions may be good, but sin is never 
good. The body suffereth by affliction, but the soul suffereth by sin 
loss of grace and comfort, which are not to be valued by all the world's 
enjoyments. The evil of affliction is but for a moment like rain, it 
drieth up of its own accord ; but the evil of sin is for ever, unless it be 
pardoned and taken away. Sin is the cause of all the evils of afflic 
tion ; therefore when we complain, we should complain, not so much 
of the smart, as of the cause of it. 

2. It directsth us : 

[1.] How to pray to God against sin rather than trouble. This is 
indeed to be delivered from evil : 2 Tim. iv. 18, Paul reckoned upon 
that, ' He will deliver me from every evil work.' When afflicted, you 
should rather desire to have the affliction sanctified than removed ; 
you will be most careful for that ; saints do not pray for the interests 
of the old man rather than the new man. To be freed from trouble 
is a common mercy, but to have it sanctified is a special mercy. 
Carnal men may be without affliction, but carnal men cannot have 
experience of grace. Bare deliverance is no sign of special love. 

[2.] In our choice. It was a heavy charge they put upon Job: 
Job xxxvi. 21, 'Thou hast chosen iniquity rather than affliction.' 
Sometimes we are put upon the trial, to lose the favour of God or the 
favour of men, duty and danger: here content myself, gratify my 
lusts and interests ; there offend God. Out of the temptation, we 
could easily judge that all the misery in the world is to be endured 
rather than commit the least sin. But how is it upon a trial, when a 
worldly convenience and a spiritual inconvenience is proposed ? By 
choosing sin, a man cannot altogether escape affliction here or here 
after. Wickedness, though it prosper a while, yet at length it proveth 
a snare. 

3. It directeth us to submit to God's providence, and to own mercy 
in it. Though God doth not exempt us from troubles, yet if he keep 
us from hurt thereby, if he sanctify the trouble, and support us with 
grace sufficient, it is his mercy to us. For Daniel to be put into the 
lions' den was not so great a judgment as for Nebuchadnezzar to have 
the heart of a beast. To be given up to our own hearts' lusts, to 
commit any sin, it is a greater cross than any misery that can light 
upon us ; therefore let us be patient under affliction. Our great care 


should be, not to dishonour God in any condition. God hath pro 
mised to be with his people in their afflictions to comfort them ; but 
hath never promised to be with his people in their sins : ' I will be 
with you in the fire, and in the water/ as the Son of God was with 
the three children in the fiery furnace. But God is departed when 
they sin ; I will go to my own place. Sin hindereth prayer, but 
afflictions quicken it : Isa. xxvi. 16, ' Lord, in trouble have they visited 
thee ; they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them.' 
In affliction it is a time to put the promises in suit ; it doth not hinder 
our access to God and the throne of grace, but driveth us to it. But 
sin increaseth our bondage, maketh us stand at a distance, and grow 
shy of God. The fruit of sin is shame, Kom. vi. 21. 

4. It teaches us how to wait and hope for the issue of our prayers. 
Pray that ye enter not into temptation ; yet be not absolute in that, 
but to be kept from evil, that what way soever we are tried we may be 
kept from the evil of sin. 

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. 


IN these words we have the conclusion of all, and that which giveth 
us confidence in the requests we make to God. 

First, The confirmation is taken from the excellency of God, to 
whom we pray ; where there is a declaration of what belongeth to 

Secondly, The duration and perpetuity, for ever. 

Three things are mentioned as belonging to God kingdom, power, 
and glory. 

1. By kingdom is meant God's right and authority over all things, 
by which he can dispose of them according to his own pleasure. 

2. By power is meant his sufficiency to execute this right, and to 
do what he pleaseth, both in heaven and earth. 

3. The final cause of all is his glory. ' Thine is the glory,' or the 
honour of all things in the world belongs to thee. Glory is excel 
lency discovered with praise. We desire that he may be more honoured 
and brought into request and esteem. 

Secondly, We have the obsignation and sealing of our requests in 
the word Amen; which is, signaculum fidei, an expression of our 
faith and hope. And actus desiderii, the strength of our desire. 
There is the Amen of faith, and the A men of hearty desire; as by 
and by. 

Now let us look upon this conclusion, first, as a doxology or expres 
sion of praise to God : and the note is : 

Doct. That hi every address to God, lauding or praising of God 
is necessary. 

For in this perfect form of prayer Christ teacheth us, not only to 
ask things needful for ourselves, but to ascribe to God things proper 
to him. 

There are two words used in this case in scripture, praise and 


blessing. Praise relatetli to God's excellency, and blessing to his 
benefits : Ps. cxlv. 10, ' All thy works shall praise thee, Lord ; and 
thy saints shall bless thee/ All the works of God declare his excel 
lency ; but the saints will ever be ascribing to God the benefits they 
have received from him. So they are spoken of as things, though 
somewhat alike, yet as distinct : Neh. ix. 5, ' Blessed be thy glorious 
name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.' Our praise 
cannot reach the excellency of his nature ; nor our blessing express 
the worth of his benefits. Both may be here intended. For thine is 
kingdom and power, relateth to his excellency, and thine is the glory, 
to his benefits ; for God's glory is the reflex of all his works, and so 
expresseth the benefits showed to the sons of men, especially to his 
people. Well, then, whenever you would pray to God to bless you, 
you must bless God again, and praise his name : Eph. i. 3, 'Blessed 
be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us 
with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.' It is the 
echo and reflex of his grace and mercy to the creatures. God blesseth 
us, and we bless God ; as the echo returneth the word, or the wall 
beateth back the beams of the sun. Only consider, we bless God far 
otherwise than he blesseth us : God's blessing is operative, ours 
declarative ; his words are accompanied with power : benedicere is 
benefacere. He doth good ; we speak good when we remember the 
blessed effects of his grace, and tell what he hath done for our 

The reasons why we are to mingle praises and thanksgivings witli 
our requests are these : 

[1.] Because this complieth more with the great end of worship ; 
which is not so much the relief of man as the honour of God ; there 
fore we should not only intend the supply of our necessities, for that 
is but a brutish cry, howling for corn, wine, and oil, Hosea vii. 14 ; 
but we should intend also the honour of God : Ps. 1. 23, ' Whoso 
offereth praise glorifieth me.' A man may offer requests to God, yet 
not honour him, but seek himself ; but he that offereth praise glori 
fieth me. He that doth affectionately, and from his heart, give God 
the honour of his attributes and titles in scripture, he glorifieth him ; 
and therefore worship being for the glory of God, that should not be 
left out. 

[2.] This is the most effectual spiritual oratory, or way of praying : 
Ps. Ixvii. 5, ' Let the people praise thee, God, let all the people 
praise thee.' What then ? ' Then shall the earth yield her increase ; and 
God, even our own God, shall bless us.' We have comforts increased 
the more we praise God for what we have already received. The 
more vapours go up, the more showers come down ; as the rivers 
receive so they pour out, and all run into the sea again. There is a 
constant circular course and recourse from the sea unto the sea. So 
there is between God and us ; the more we praise him the more our 
blessings come down ; and the more his blessings come down the 
more we praise him again ; so that we do not so much bless God as 
bless ourselves. When the springs lie low we pour a little water into 
the pump, not to enrich the fountain, but to bring up more for our 


[3.] It is the noblest part of worship, and most excellent and 
acceptable service. It is a great honour to creatures to bestow 
blessing upon God. In other duties God is bestowing something on 
us ; but in praise (according to our manner, and as creatures can) we 
bestow something upon God. In prayer, we come as beggars, expect 
ing an alms ; in hearing, we come as scholars and disciples, expecting 
instruction from God. Here (according to our measure and ability) 
we give something to him ; not because he needs it, being infinitely 
perfect, but because he deserves it, being infinitely gracious. This is 
the work of angels and glorified saints. Other duties more agree 
with our imperfect state, as hearing and prayer, that our wants may 
be supplied ; but this duty agrees with our state when we are most 
perfect. Love is the grace of heaven, and praise the duty of heaven ; 
we are for vials, they harps : prayer is our main work, and praise 

Use. To reprove us, that we are altogether for the supply of our 
necessities, but little think of giving God the honour due to his name. 
Either we meddle not with it at all, or do it in a very flighty fashion. 
In this perfect form the glory of God is the Alpha and Omega, the 
beginning and the ending of this short prayer. The first petition it is 
for God's glory, and the final conclusion also. And therefore it 
is verily a fault that God is no more praised. In our addresses to 
him (Ps. xxii. 3) it is said, ' thou that inhabitest the praises of 
Israel ;' the meaning is, dwellest in Israel, where he is praised of 
them, because it is the great work they are about. 

Surely our assemblies should more resound with the praises of God. 
In church worship there should be a mixture of harps, which are 
instruments of praise, as well as ' vials full of odours, which are the 
prayers of the saints,' Rev. v. 8. But usually we thrust gratulation, 
thanksgiving, and praise, into a narrow room, and are scanty therein, 
but can be large and copious in expressing our wants and begging a 
supply. This duty is made too great a stranger in your dealings 
with God. What are the reasons of this defect ? 

[1.] Self-love. We are eager to have blessings, but we forget to 
return to give God the glory. Prayer is a work of necessity, but 
praise a work of duty and homage. Self-love puts us upon prayer, 
but the love of God upon praise. Now, because we are so full of 
self-love, therefore are we so backward to this duty. 

[2.] A second cause is our stupid negligence ; we do not gather up 
matter of thanksgiving, and observe God's gracious dealing with us, 
that we may have wherewith to enlarge ourselves in giving glory to 
his name : Col. iv. 2, ' Continue in prayer, and watch in the same 
with thanksgiving/ We should continually observe God's answers 
and visits of love, and what attributes he makes good to us in the 
course of his providence. But out of spiritual laziness we do not take 
notice of these things, therefore no wonder if we are backward to 
speak good of his name, but are always whining, murmuring, and 

Secondly, It is not only a doxology, but a full one, and very expres 
sive of the excellency of God. From whence note : 

Doct. The saints are not niggardly and sparing in praising of God ; 


kingdom, power, and glory, and all that is excellent, they ascribe to 

A gracious heart hath such a sense of God's worth and excellency 
that he thinks he can never speak honourably enough of it. See how 
David enlargeth himself very suitably to what is spoken here: 
1 Chron. xxix. 10-13, ' And David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God, 
for ever and ever : thine, Lord, is the greatness, and the power, 
and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty : thine is the kingdom, 
Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Now therefore, our 
God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name/ Oh, when once 
a child of God falls upon speaking of God, he cannot tell how to come 
out of the meditation : he seeth so much is due to God that he heaps 
words upon words. So 1 Tim. i. 17, ' Now unto the king eternal, 
immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory, for ever 
and ever. Amen/ And in many other places of scripture. Now, 
this copiousness in praising of God is, partly, because of the excel 
lency of the object: Neb. ix. 5, 'Blessed be thy glorious name, 
which is exalted above all blessing and praise/ When they have 
done what they can to bless God, remember his benefits, or praise 
God, and recount his excellencies, still they come too far short ; 
therefore when we cannot do all, we should do much. And partly, 
it is from the greatness and largeness of their affection ; they think 
never to have done enough for God, whom they love so much. David 
saith, ' I will praise him yet more and more/ They cannot satisfy 
themselves by taking up the excellency of God in one notion only ; 
therefore majesty, greatness, glory, wisdom, and power, they mention 
all things which are honourable and glorious. 

Use. The use is again to reprove us for being so cold and sparing 
this way. It argueth a want of a due sense of God's excellency and 
straitness of spiritual affection ; therefore we should study God more, 
and observe his manifold excellencies. Get a greater esteem of him in 
your hearts, for ' out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth will 
speak/ We should be calling upon ourselves, as David, Ps. ciii. 1 : 
' Bless the Lord, my soul ; and all that is within me, bless his holy 

Thirdly, I observe again, it is brought in with a for, as relating 
to the foregoing petitions : ' Lead us not into temptation, but "deliver 
us from evil : for thine is the kingdom,' &c. 

What respect hath this doxology to the foregoing requests ? 

First, It serves to increase our confidence in prayer. 

Secondly, Our reverence and affection. 

Thirdly, To regulate and direct our prayers : 

[1.] As to the person to whom we .pray. 

[2.] As to the manner of asking. 

[3.] As to the persons praying. 

Let us see all these requests. 1 

First, The great end is to increase our confidence. Observe, 

DocL It is a great relief to a soul, in praying to God, to consider 
that his is the kingdom, power, and glory ; and all these for ever. 

His is the kingdom. 

1 Qu. 'respects?' ED. 


God hath the sovereign government of all things. And then his 
right to govern is backed with all-sufficient power and strength ; and 
so he can dispose of his sovereignty for the bringing to pass what we 
expect from him. 

Authority is one thing, and power another, but they both meet in 
God ; he hath all power and authority. 

And then, his is the glory : he is concerned as well as we ; yea 
more, his interest is greater than ours, for the glory of all belongs to 
him : and all this, not for a time, but for ever. These are the encour 
agements to raise our confidence that our prayers shall be heard and 
granted when we ask anything according to his will. 

There are two things that give us confidence in any that we sue to 
if he be able and willing. Now God is able to grant our requests, and 
very prone and willing also. We are taught it sufficiently in this prayer ; 
for we begin with him as Father, and we end with him as a glorious and 
powerful king ; his fatherly aifection, on the one hand, shows that he 
is willing ; and his royal power, on the other, that he is able : so that 
if we ask anything according to his will, we need not doubt. We may 
gather his power and will out of this very clause : His power ; for his 
is the kingdom, and power, or a right and authority, backed with 
absolute all-sufficiency. Then his will, ' Thine is the glory ;' it is his 
glory to grant our petitions, not only matter of happiness to us, but of 
glory to God, therefore we need not doubt. 

But more particularly : 

[1.] There is confidence established by that, that his is the king 
dom. God's kingdom is either universal, over all men or things ; or 
particular and special, which notes his relation to the saints, to those 
which have given up themselves to his government, to be guided 
by him to everlasting glory: and both these are grounds of con 

(1.) His universal kingdom over all persons and things in the world. 
This kingdom is an absolute monarchy, with a plenary dominion and 
propriety grounded upon his creation of them. There is a twofold 
dominion dominium jurisdictionis, and dominium proprietatis. The 
one is such as a king hath over his subjects ; the other, such as a 
king hath in his goods and lands : the latter is greater than the 
former. A king hath a dominion of jurisdiction over his subjects to 
command and govern them ; but he hath not such an absolute pro 
priety in their persons as he hath in his own goods and lands ; he may 
dispose of them absolutely at his own pleasure, but his jurisdiction is 
limited. In short, we must distinguish of his dominion as a ruler, 
and as an owner. But both these, they concur in God, and that in 
the highest degree, for God is owner as well as ruler ; he made all 
things out of nothing, therefore hath a more absolute dominion over 
us than any potentate or king can have, not only over his subjects, but 
his goods ; and can govern all things, men, angels, and devils, accord 
ing to his pleasure. It is more absolute than any superiority in the 
world, and more universal, as comprising all persons and things. God 
hath right to be king, because he gave being to all things, which no 
earthly potentate can : therefore the author must be owner. All 
other kings are liable to be called to account and reckoning by 

248 AN EXPOSITION OF [M.\T. VI. 13. 

this great king, for their administration ; but God is absolute and 

Now this is a great encouragement to us, that we go to a G-od that 
hatn an absolute right, for which he is responsible to none. We go 
not to a servant or a subordinate agent, who may be controlled by a 
higher power, and whose act may be disannulled ; but to an absolute 
lord, to whom none can say, ' What doest thou ?' Job ix. 12. Here is 
the comfort of a believer, that he goes immediately to the fountain 
and owner of all things ; the absolute lord of all the world is his father ; 
the sovereign and free disposing of all things is in his hand. If we 
expect anything from subordinate instruments, God's leave must first 
be asked, or they can do nothing for us ; but he can do what he 
pleaseth, it is his own : Mat. xx. 15, ' Is it not lawful for me to do 
what I will with mine own ?' None can call him to an account. 

(2.) His relation to the saints. It is the duty of a king to defend 
his subjects, and provide for their welfare ; so God, being king, will 
see that it be well with those that are under his government. It con 
cerns you much to get an interest to be under this king, then to 
mention it in prayer : Ps. xliv. 4, ' Thou art my king, God ; com 
mand deliverances for Jacob/ If you want anything for yourselves or 
the church, put God in mind of his relation to you : ' Thou art my 
king.' Let not this interest lie neglected or unpleaded. All the 
benefit which subjects can expect from a potent king you may expect 
from God. 

Again, the word command is notable, and expresseth the case to 
the full : ' command deliverances.' All things are at God's command 
and beck ; if he do but speak the word, or give out order to second 
causes, if; is all done in a trice. So Ps. v. 2, ' Hearken unto the voice 
of my cry, my king and my God : for unto thee will I pray.' To thee, 
and to none other. Why should we go to servants, when we may go 
to the king himself? So Ps. Ixxiv. 12, ' For God is my king of 
old, working salvation in the midst of the earth/ God will defend 
his kingdom, and right his injured subjects. Therefore, if we would 
have any blessing to be accomplished for ourselves, or for the public, 
let us go to God : ' Thine is the kingdom/ And more especially, if 
we would have any good thing to be done by those in authority and 
subordinate power over us, do not so much treat with them as with 
God. Let us beseech God to persuade and incline their hearts, for 
his is the kingdom ; he can move them to do what shall be for the 
glory of his name, and the comfort and benefit of his afflicted people. 
Let us go to God, who is the sovereign king ; he can give you to ' live 
a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty,' 1 Tim. ii. 2. 
Or, he can give you favour ; dispose of their hearts to do good to his 
people: Neh. i. 11, 'Prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and 
grant him mercy in the sight of this man ; for I was the king's cup 
bearer/ The sovereign disposal of all things is in the hand of God. 

[2.] Thine is the power. This also is an argument of confidence, 
that God hath not only a kingdom, but power to back it. Titles 
without power make authority ridiculous, and beget scorn, not rever 
ence and respect. But now God's kingdom is accompanied with 
power and all-sufficiency. He hath right to command all, and no 


creature can be too hard for him. Earthly kings, when they have 
authority and power, yet it is limited : 2 Kings vi. 27, When the 
woman came to the king of Israel, ' Help, my lord, king. And he 
said, If the Lord do not help thee, whence shall I help thee ? ' But 
God's is an unlimited power: an absolute right and an unlimited 
power, they meet fitly in God ; therefore this is an encouragement to 
go to him. Christians, that power of God which educed all things 
out of nothing, which established the heavens, which fixed the earth ; 
that power of God, it is the ground of our confidence : Ps. cxxi. 2, 
' My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.' This 
power should we depend upon. 

We can ask nothing but what God is able to give, yea, above our 
asking: Eph. iii. 20, 'Now unto him that is able to do exceeding 
abundantly above all that we ask or think.' Our thoughts are vast, 
and our desires very craving, and yet beyond all that we can ask or 
think, 'According to the mighty power that worketh in us.' We 
cannot empty the ocean with a nut- shell, nor comprehend the infinite 
God, and raise our thoughts to the vast extent of his power, only we 
must go to some instances of God's power ; that power which made the 
world out of nothing, and that power which wrought in you, where 
there is such infinite resistance. We may go to God and say, Mat. 
viii. 2, ' Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.' You need not 
trouble yourselves about his will ; he is so good and gracious, prone 
and ready to do good; so inclinable: he is your heavenly Father. 
But that which is most questioned is the sufficiency of God ; can you 
believe his power ? Now determine but that, Lord, thou canst, and 
that is a great relief to the soul. Our wants are not so many but God 
is able to supply them ; our enemies and corruptions not so strong but 
God is able to subdue them : surely your heavenly Father will do what 
is in the power of his hand. A beggar, when he seeth an ordinary 
man coming, lets him pass without much importunity ; but when he 
seeth a man well habited, well attended, and with rich accoutrements, 
he runs close to him, and will not let him alone, but follows him with 
his clamour, knows it is in his power to help him. So this should 
encourage us to go to the mighty God, which made heaven and earth, 
and all things out of nothing. 

The third argument which Christ propounds, ' Thine is the glory.' 
The honour and glory of all will redound to God, as the comfort 
accrueth to us ; it is for God's honour to show forth his power in our 
relief, and to be as good as his word. Now this is a ground of con 
fidence, that he hath joined his glory and our good together ; and that 
God's praise waiteth, while our deliverance waiteth : Ps. Ixv. 1, ' Praise 
waiteth for thee, God, in Zion.' You think your comfort stays, 
and all this while God's honour waits. So Ps. cxii. 1, ' Praise ye the 
Lord ; blessed is the man that feareth the Lord.' It is the Lord's 
praise that his servants are the only and blessed people in the world ; 
and this is a wonderful ground of confidence. Think, surely God's 
glory he will be chary and tender of ; he will provide for the glory of 
his great name. There is nothing God stands upon more than upon 
the glory of his name ; nothing prevaileth with God more than that. 
If God were a loser by your comforts, if he could not save or bless 


thee without wrong done to himself, we might be discouraged. But 
when you come and plead with him, as Abigail, It will be no grief of 
heart unto my lord to forgive thy servant ;' so it will be no loss to God 
if he show mercy and pity to such poor creatures as we are ; you then 
may pray more freely and boldly. If thy comforts were inconsistent 
with his glory, or were not so greatly exalted by it, then it were 
another matter ; but all makes for the glory of his name. If our good 
and happiness were only concerned in it, there might be some suspi 
cion ; but the glory of God is concerned, which is more worth than all 
the world. We are unworthy to be heard and accepted, but God is 
worthy to be honoured. It is for the honour of God to choose base, 
mean, and contemptible things, and to show forth the riches, good 
ness, power, and treasure of his glory. Much of our trouble and 
distrust comes only from reflecting upon our own good in the mercies 
that we ask, as if God were not concerned in them, whereas the Lord 
is concerned as well as you. As the ivy wrapped about the tree cannot 
be hurt, except you do hurt to the tree, so the Lord hath twisted our 
concernment about his own honour and glory. Thus the saints plead 
God's glory as an argument : Jer. xiv. 7, ' Lord, though our iniqui 
ties testify against us, do thou it for thy name's sake.' They do not 
tell him what he shall do, but do thou that which shall be for thy 
glory. So Ezek. xxxvi. 22, ' Thus saith the Lord God, I do not this 
for your sakes, house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake ; ' so 
Isa. xlviii. 9, ' For my name's sake will I defer mine anger, and for 
my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.' 

[4.] The duration, far ever. All excellencies which are in God, they 
are eternally in God. God is an infinite, simple, independent being, 
the cause of all things, but caused by none ; therefore he was from 
everlasting, and will be to everlasting : Ps. xc. 2, ' Before the moun 
tains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the 
world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.' If there 
were a time when God was not, then there was a time when nothing 
was ; and then there would never have been anything, unless nothing 
could make all things. Therefore God is eternally glorious ; for what 
ever is in God is originally in himself, and absolutely without depend 
ence on any other, to everlasting. How loosely do honours sit upon 
men ! Every disease shakes them out of their kingdom, power, and 
glory ; and within a little while the state, show, and all the command 
of earthly kings will fade away, and come to nothing. Governors and 
government may die, principalities grow old and infirm, and sicken 
and die, as well as princes ; kingdoms expire, like kings, and they like 
us : Ps. Ixxxii. 6, 7, ' I have said, Ye are gods ; and all of you are 
children of the Most High: but ye shall die like men.' 'But thy 
throne, God, is for ever and ever,' Ps. xlv. 6. His kingdom, and 
power, and glory, they are without beginning and without end. Now 
this is also a ground of confidence and dependence upon God. Earthly 
kings, when they perish, their favourites are counted offenders: 1 
Kings i. 21, 'When my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, 
that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders/ When other 
governors are set up, they and their children will be found offenders. 
But our king lives for ever ; therefore this should encourage us to be 


oftener in attendance upon God, performing it with all diligence and 
seriousness, rather than court the humours and lusts of earthly poten 
tates, who die like one of the people, and leave us exposed to the rage 
and wrath of others that do succeed them. But God is the same that 
ever he was, to all those that ever called upon his name. God is where 
he was at first : I AM is his name ; there is no wrinkle upon the brow 
of eternity. ' His arm is not short, that it cannot save ; or his ear 
heavy, that it cannot hear,' Isa. lix. 1. Whatever he hath been to his 
people that have called upon him in former ages, he is the same still. 
So Isa. li. 9, ' Awake, awake, put on strength, arm of the Lord ; 
awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not 
it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon ? ' God hath done 
great things for his people : he smote Kahab, and killed the dragon 
(meaning Pharaoh) ; and God is the same God still his kingdom, 
power, and glory are for ever ; and God will be your God too for ever 
more. Look, as this doth increase the terror of the damned in hell, 
that they ' fall into the hands of the living God/ Heb. x. 31 God 
lives for ever to see vengeance executed upon his enemies so it is a 
comfort to have an interest in the living God, that can and will keep 
you, and bring you to heaven, where you shall be with him for ever 
more, that will ever live to see his friends rewarded. 

Secondly, It directeth and regulateth our prayers. 

[1.] It directs us to the object of prayer ; to whom should we pray, 
but to him that is absolute and above control ? To God, and God 
alone ; not to angals and saints. To whom should we go in our neces 
sities, but to him that hath dominion over all things, and power to 
dispose of them for his own glory ? Will you think it a boldness to 
go immediately to God? It were so indeed if we had not a Mediator, 
for a fallen creature can never have the impudence ; and wicked men 
that have not got an interest in Christ cannot expect relief from God ; 
but it is no impudence to come with a Mediator: Heb. iv. 16, ' Let 
us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain 
mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.' 

[2.] It directs us how to conceive of God in prayer. Eight thoughts 
of God in prayer are very necessary and very difficult. No one thing 
troubleth the saints so much as this, how to fix their thoughts in the 
apprehensions of God when they pray to him. Now here is a direc 
tion how we should look upon God : look upon him as the eternal 
being, and first cause, to whom belongs kingdom, power, and glory. 
We cannot see God's essence, and therefore we must conceive of him 
according to his praises in the word. Now take but the preface and 
the conclusion, and then you have a full description of God. Look 
upon him as an eternal being, whose is the kingdom, absolute right 
to dispose of all things in the world, backed with all-sufficiency and 
strength. And look upon him as your Father that is in heaven ; for 
Our Father which art in heaven relates to Christ, that is, in the 
heavenly sanctuary, appearing before God for us. This will help you 
in your conceptions of God, that you may not be puzzled nor entangled 
in prayer. 

[3.] It directs us as to the manner of praying : with reverence, with 
self-abhorrencv, and with submission. 


(1.) With reverence, for he is a great, powerful, and glorious king : 
' Thine is the kingdom, power, and glory.' Oh, shall we serve God 
then in a slight and careless fashion ? Mai. i. 8, ' If ye offer the blind, 
the lame, and sick for sacrifice, is it not evil ? Offer it now unto thy 
governor, will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person ? saith 
the Lord of hosts.' Go to an earthly king, would you come to him 
with rude addresses, not thinking what to say, tumbling out words 
without sense and understanding ? And compare this with ver. 14 : 
saith God, when they brought him a sickly offering, ' I am a great 
king,' implying it is a lessening of his majesty. You do as it were 
dethrone God, you put him besides his kingdom, you do not treat him 
as he doth deserve, if you do not come into his presence with a holy 

(2.) With self-abhorrency, and a sense of your own nothingness. 
I observe this, because all the arguments in prayer are not taken from 
us, but from what is in God, from his attributes : ' Thine is the king 
dom, power, and glory.' It is a blessed thing to have God's attributes 
on our side ; to take an argument from God when we can take none 
from ourselves. Christ teacheth us to come with self-denial. The 
two first words, kingdom and power, show that all things come from 
God, as the first cause. And the last word, ' Thine is the glory,' 
shows all must be referred to God, as the last end ; so that self must 
be cast out. So that all the reasons of audience and acceptance are 
without us, not from within us : Dan. ix. 8, 9, ' To us belongeth con 
fusion of face ; to the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses.' 
Therefore thus it directs us to place all our confidence in God's 
fatherly affection, in his power, goodness, and glory, and in his abso 
lute authority ; nothing to move God from ourselves. 

(3.) To come with submission. Thine is the kingdom ; that is, he 
hath an absolute power to dispose of all blessings, therefore it is law 
ful for him to do with his own as he pleaseth. We must come, not 
murmuring or prescribing to God, but expecting the fulfilling of our 
desires, as it shall seem good to the Lord, according to his wisdom and 
power, by which he exercises his kingdom over all things, as may be 
for the glory of his name : Ps. cxv. 1 , ' Not unto us, Lord, not unto 
us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's 
sake/ Not to satisfy our revenge, not to gratify our private interest 
and passions; but, Lord, for tliy name's sake, as may be for manifesting 
thy mercy and truth, so do it : not too passionate for our own ends, 
but confident that God, who hath the kingdom and government of the 
world in his own hands, will administer and carry on all things for his 
own glory. 

[4.] It directs us, again, what are the duties of the persons praying. 

(1.) Freely to resign up ourselves-to God's service. Otherwise we 
mock God, when we acknowledge his dominion over all the world, and 
we ourselves will not be made subject to God. Therefore certainly a 
man that useth this prayer, ' Thine is the kingdom, power, and glory,' 
will also say, 'I am thine, save me,' Ps. cxix. 94. Let us freely 
resign up ourselves for him to reign over us. Can you say, with any 
face, to God, 'Thine is the kingdom,' yet cherish rebellious lusts in 
your own hearts ? It is the most unsuitable thing that can be. 


' Thine is the power : ' He is able to bear you out in his work, however 
the world rage. And therefore we should not think scorn of his ser 
vice, for his is the glory : the service of such a king will put honour 
upon you. 

(2.) Another duty of him that is to pray is to depend upon God's 
all-sufficiency. Shall we speak thus of God, and say, ' Lord, thine is 
the power/ and yet not rely upon him ? He that cannot rely upon 
him for this life and the other, doth but reproach God when he saith, 
' Thine is the power ' thine is the power, yet I will not trust thee, but 
fly to base shifts, as if the creature had power, and man had power as 
if they could better provide for us than God. Therefore we are to live 
upon him, and cast ourselves into the arms of his all-sufficiency. 

(3.) Another duty of them that would pray this prayer is, sincerely 
to aim at and seek the Lord's glory in all things. Why ? For the glory 
is thine. Wilt thou say, ' Thine is the glory/ and yet give and take 
the glory which is due to God to thyself? All is due to him, from 
whom we have received all things. But he that prides himself in 
gifts and graces, cannot be in good earnest. Wilt thou rob God of 
the honour, and wear it thyself ? Did men believe all glory belongs 
to God, they would not take vainglory to themselves. Herod was 
eloquent, and the people cried out, ' The voice of a god, and not of a 
man.' He did but receive this applause, and usurped the glory due to 
God, and God blasted him. Therefore, when we pride ourselves in our 
sufficiencies, and abuse our comforts to our own lusts, we cannot with 
a good conscience say, ' Thine is the glory/ 

For ever. Amen. 

ALL this is sealed up to us in the last word, Amen; which may 
signify, either so be it, so let it be, or so it shall be. 

The word 'A men sometimes is taken nominally: Rev. iii. 14, 'Thus 
saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the 
creation of God.' Sometimes it is taken adverbially, and so it signi- 
fieth verily, and truly ; and so either it may express a great assevera 
tion, or an affectionate desire. Sometimes it expresseth a great and 
vehement asseveration : John vi. 47, ' Amen, amen, verily, verily, I 
say unto you.' In other places it is put for an affectionate desire : 
Jer. xxviii. 6. When the false prophets prophesied peace, and 
Jeremiah pronounced war, ' Amen ! the Lord do so; the Lord perform 
thy words which thou hast prophesied.' Amen, it is not an assevera 
tion, as confirming the truth of their prophecy, but expressing his own 
hearty wish and desire, if God saw it good. 

Two things are required in prayer a fervent desire and faith. A 
fervent desire ; therefore it is said, James v. 16, ' The effectual fervent 
prayer of a righteous man availeth much.' And then faith : James 
i. 6, ' But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.' What is that faith 
required in prayer ? A persuasion that those things we ask regularly 
according to God's will, that God will grant them for Christ's sake. 


Now both these Amen signifies : our hearty desire that it may be so ; 
and our faith, that is, our acquiescency in the mercy and power and 
wisdom of God concerning the event. 

Christ would have us bind up this prayer, and conclude it thus : 
Amen, so let it be, so it shall be. Observe hence, 

That it is good to conclude holy exercises with some vigour and 

Natural motion is swifter in the end and close : so should our 
spiritual affections, as we draw to a conclusion, put forth the efficacy 
of faith and holy desires, and recollect, as it were, all the foregoing 
affections ; that we may go out of the presence of God with a sweet 
savour and relish, and a renewed confidence in his mercy and 

Again, this Amen relateth to all the foregoing petitions, not to one 
only. Many, when they hear, ' Lord, give us this day our daily 
bread,' will say, ' Amen ; ' but when they come to the petition, ' Thy 
will be done on earth, as it is in heaven/ they are cold there, and have 
not hearty desires and earnest affections. Many beg pardon of sin ; 
but to be kept from evil, to bridle and restrain their souls from sin, 
they do not say Amen to that. Many would have defence, mainten 
ance, and victory over their enemies ; but not with respect to God's 
glory. They forget that petition, ' Hallowed be thy name ; ' but this 
should be subordinated to his glory. Nay, we must say Amen to 
all the clauses of this prayer. Many say, ' Lord, forgive us our debts/ 
but do not like that, ' as we forgive our debtors : ' they are loth to for 
give their enemies, but carry a rancorous mind to them which have 
done them wrong. But now we must say Amen to all that is specified 
in this prayer. Then, 

Mark, this Amen it is put in the close of the doxology. Observe 

There must be a hearty Amen to our praises as well as our prayers, 
that we may show zeal for God's glory, as well as affection to our 

Your Allelujahs should sound as loud as your supplications ; and not 
only say Amen when you come with prayers and requests, things you 
stand in need of, but Amen when you are praising of God. 




THE following discourses on those important subjects of the temptation 
and transfiguration of our blessed Saviour, together with the sermons 
on the first chapter of the Epistle to the Colossians, from the fourteenth 
to the twenty-first verse, having been carefully perused, and transcribed 
from the reverend author's own manuscripts, are now, at the earnest 
request of divers persons that were the happy auditors thereof, offered 
to public view. Had the author lived to publish these himself, they 
had come forth into the world more exact ; but yet as they are now 
left, I doubt not but they will be very acceptable to all that have dis 
cerning minds, for the peculiar excellency contained in them. 

Thus much was thought necessary to be said by way of preface, 
the work sufficiently commending itself, especially coming from , such 
an author as Dr Manton. 

VOL. I. 




Then ivas Jesus led up of the Spirit into the ivilderness, to be 
tempted nf the devil. MAT. IV. 1. 

THIS scripture giveth us the history of Christ's temptation, which I 
shall go over by degrees. 
In the words observe : 

1. The parties tempted and tempting. The person tempted was 
the Lord Jesus Christ. The person tempting was the devil. 

2. The occasion inducing this combat, Jesus ivas led up of the 

3. The time, then. 

4. The place, the wilderness, 
From the whole observe : 

Doct. The Lord Jesus Christ was pleased to submit himself to an 
extraordinary combat with the tempter, for our good. 

1. I shall explain the nature and circumstances of this extraordinary 

2. The reasons why Christ submitted to it. 

3. The good of this to us. 

I. The circumstances of this extraordinary combat. And here 

1. The persons combating Jesus and the devil, the seed of the 
woman and the seed of the serpent. It was designed long before : 
Gen. iii. 15, ' I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and 
between thy seed and her seed : it shall bruise thy head, and thou 
shalt bruise his heel;' and now it is accomplished. Here is the Prince 
of Peace against the prince of darkness, Michael and the dragon, the 
Captain of our salvation and our grand enemy. The devil is the great 
architect of wickedness, as Christ is the Prince of life and righteous 
ness. These are the combatants : the one ruined the creation of God, 
and the other restored and repaired it. 

2. The manner of the combat. It was not merely a phantasm, that 
Christ was thus assaulted and used: no, he was tempted in reality, not 
in conceit and imagination only. It seemeth to be in the spirit, 


though it was real ; as Paul was taken up into the third heaven, 
whether in the body or out of the body we cannot easily judge, but 
real it was. I shall more accurately discuss this question afterwards 
in its more proper place. 

3. What moved him, or how was he brought to enter into the lists 
with Satan ? He was ' led by the Spirit,' meaning thereby the impul 
sion and excitation of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of G-od. For it is 
said, Luke iv. 1, ' Jesus, being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from 
Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.' He did not 
voluntarily put himself upon temptation, but, by God's appointment, 
went up from Jordan farther into the desert. 

We learn hence : 

[1.] That temptations come not by chance, not out of the earth, nor 
merely from the devil ; but God ordereth them for his own glory and 
our good. Satan was fain to beg leave to tempt Job : Job i. 12, 
' And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy 
power, only upon himself put not forth thine hand ; ' there is a conces 
sion with a limitation. Till God exposeth us to trials, the devil can 
not trouble us, nor touch us. So Luke xxii. 31, 'Simon, Simon, 
Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.' Nay, 
he could not enter into the herd of swine without a patent and new 
pass from Christ : Mat. viii. 31, 'So the devils besought him, saying, 
If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine/ This 
cruel spirit is held in the chains of an irresistible providence, that he 
cannot molest any creature of God without his permission ; which is 
a great satisfaction to the faithful : all things which concern our trial 
are determined and ordered by God. If we be free, let us bless God 
for it, and pray that he would not ' lead us into temptation : ' if 
tempted, when we are in Satan's hands, remember Satan is in God's 

[2.] Having given up ourselves to God, we are no longer to be at 
our own dispose and direction, but must submit ourselves to be led, 
guided, and ordered by God in all things. So it was with Christ, he 
was led by the Spirit continually : if he retire into the desert, he is 
' led by the Spirit/ Luke iv. 1 ; if he come back again into Galilee, 
ver. 4, ' Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee.' The 
Holy Ghost leadeth him into the conflict, and when it was ended 
leadeth him back again. Now there is a perfect likeness between a 
Christian and Christ : he is led by the Spirit off and on, so we must 
be guided by the same Spirit in all our actions : Bom. viii. 14, ' For 
as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of 

[3.] That we must observe our warrant and calling in all we resolve 
upon. To put ourselves upon hazards we are not called unto, is to go 
out of our bounds to meet a temptation, or to ride into the devil's 
quarters. Christ did not go of his own accord into the desert, but by 
divine impulsion, and so he came from thence. We may, in our place 
and calling, venture ourselves, on the protection of God's providence, 
upon obvious temptations; God will maintain and support us in them; 
that is to trust God ; but to go out of our calling is to tempt God. 

[4.] Compare the words used in Matthew and Mark, chap. i. 12, 


c And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.' That 
shows that it was a forcible motion, or a strong impulse, such as he 
could not easily resist or refuse, so here is freedom he was led ; there 
is force and efficacious impression he was driven, with a voluntary 
condescension thereunto. There may be liberty of man's will, yet the 
victorious efficacy of grace united together : a man may be taught and 
drawn, as Christ here was led, and driven by the Spirit into the wilder 

3. The time. 

[1.] Presently after his baptism. Now the baptism ^ of Christ 
agreeth with ours as to the general nature of it. Baptism is our 
initiation into the service of God, or our solemn consecration of our 
selves to him; and it doth not only imply work, but fight: Kom. 
vi. 13, ' Neither yield ye your members as instruments, O7r\a, of un 
righteousness unto sin : but yield yourselves unto God, as those that 
are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of 
righteousness unto God ; ' and, Kom. xiii. 12, ' Let us cast off ^the 
works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.' Christ's 
baptism had the same general nature with ours, not the same special 
nature : the general nature is an engagement to God, the special use 
of baptism is to be a seal of the new covenant, or to be to us ' the 
baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.' Now this Christ was 
not capable of, he had no sin to be repented of or remitted ; but his 
baptism was an engagement to the same military work to which we 
are engaged. He came into the world for that end and purpose, to 
war against sin and Satan; he engageth as the general, we as the 
common soldiers. He as the general : 1 John iii. 8, ' For this purpose 
the Son of God was manifested, iva \vcrrj, that he might destroy the 
works of the devil.' His baptism was the taking of the field as 
general ; we undertake to fight under him in our rank and place. 

[2.] At this baptismal engagement the Father had given him a testi 
mony by a voice from heaven : ' This is my beloved Son, in whom I am 
well pleased;' and the Holy Ghost had descended upon him in the form 
of a dove, Mark iii. 16, 17. Now presently after this he is set upon 
by the tempter. Thus many times the children of God, after solemn 
assurances of his love, are exposed to great temptations. Of this you 
may see an instance in Abraham : Gen. xxii. 1, ' And it came to pass 
after these things, that God did tempt Abraham;' that is, after he had 
assured Abraham that he was ' his shield, and his exceeding great 
reward,' and given him so many renewed testimonies of his favour. 
So Paul, after his rapture, ' lest he should be exalted above measure 
through the abundance of revelations, there was given to him a thorn 
in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him,' 2 Cor. xii. 7. So 
Heb. x. 32, ' But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after 
ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions ;' i.e., after 
ye were fully convinced of the Christian faith, and furnished with 
those virtues and graces that belong to it. God's conduct is gentle, 
and proportioned to our strength, as Jacob drove as the little ones 
were able to bear it. He never suffers his castles to be besieged till 
they are victualled. 

[3.] Immediately before he entered upon his prophetical office. 


Experience of temptations fits for the ministry, as Christ's temptations 
prepared him to set a-foot the kingdom of God, for the recovery of 
poor souls out of their bondage into the liberty of the children of 
God: ver. 17, 'From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, 
Eepent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Our state of inno- 
cency was pur health, the grace of the Redeemer our medicine, Christ 
our physician ; for the devil had poisoned our human nature. There 
fore, when he sets a-foot his healing cure, it was fit and congruous 
that he should experimentally feel the power of the tempter, and in 
what manner he^doth assault and endanger souls: Christ also would 
show us that ministers should not only be men of science, but of 

[4.] The place or field where this combat was fought, the wilderness, 
where were none but wild beasts: Mark i. 13, ' And he was there in 
the wilderness forty days tempted of Satan, and was with the wild 
beasts ; and the angels ministered unto him.' Great question there is 
in what wilderness Christ was ; their opinion is most probable who 
think it was the great wilderness, called the desert of Arabia, in which 
the Israelites wandered forty years, and in which Elijah fasted forty 
days and forty nights. In this solitary place Satan tried his utmost 
power against our Saviour. 
This teacheth us : 

(1.) That Christ alone grappled with Satan, having no fellow- worker 
with him, that we may know the strength of our Redeemer, who is 
able himself to overcome the tempter without any assistance' and to 
1 save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him,' Heb. vii. 25. 

(2.) That the devil often abuseth our solitude. It is good sometimes 
to be alone ; but then we need to be stocked with holy thoughts or 
employed in holy exercises, that we may be able to say, as Christ, 
John xvi. 32, ' I am not alone, because the Father is with me.' 
Howsoever a state of retirement from human converse, if it be not 
necessary, exposeth us to temptations ; but if we are cast upon it, we 
must expect God's presence and help. 

(3.) That no place is privileged from temptations, unless we leave our 
hearts behind us. David, walking on the terrace or house-top, was 
ensnared by Bathsheba's beauty: 2 Sam. xi. 2-4. Lot, that was chaste 
in Sodom, yet committed incest in the mountain, where there were 
none but his own family : Gen. xix. 30, 31, &c. When we are locked 
in our closets, we cannot shut out Satan. 
II. The reasons why Christ submitted to it. 

1. With respect to Adam, that the parallel between the first and 
second Adam might be more, exact. They are often compared in 
scripture, as Rom. v., latter end, and 1 Cor. xv. ; and we read, Rom. 
v. 14, that the first Adam was TUTTO? rov /AeA,Xoim>9, ' the figure of him 
that was to come.' And as in other respects, so in this ; in the same 
way we were destroyed by the first Adam, in the same way we were 
restored by the second. Christ recovereth and winneth that which 
Adam lost. Our happiness was lost by the first Adam being over 
come by the tempter ; so it must be recovered by the second Adam, 
the tempter being overcome by him. He that did conquer must first 
be conquered, that sinners might be rescued from the captivity wherein 



he held them captive. The first Adam, being- assaulted quickly after 
his entrance into paradise, was overcome ; and therefore must the 
second Adam overcome him as soon as he entered upon his^omce, and 
that in a conflict hand-to-hand, in that nature that was foiled. The 
devil must lose his prisoners in the same way that he caught them. 
Christ must do what Adam could not do. The victory is gotten by a 
public person in our nature, before it can be gotten by each individual 
in his own person, for so it was lost. Adam lost the day before he had 
. any offspring, so Christ winneth it in his own person before he doth 
solemnly begin to preach the gospel and call disciples ; and therefore 
here was the great overthrow of the adversary. 

2. In regard of Satan, who by his conquest got a twofold power 
over man by tempting, he got an interest in his heart to lead him 
' captive at his will' and pleasure, 2 Tim. ii. 26 ; and he was made 
God's executioner, he got a power to punish him : Heb. 11. 14, 'That 
through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, 
that is, the devil.' Therefore the Son of God, who interposed on our - 
behalf,' and undertook the rescue of sinners, did assume the nature of 
man that he might conquer Satan in the nature that was conquered, 
and also offer himself as a sacrifice in the same nature for the 
demonstration of the justice of God. First, Christ must overcome by 
obedience, tried to the uttermost by temptations ; and then he must 
also overcome by suffering. By overcoming temptations, he doth 
overcome Satan as a tempter ; and by death he overcame him as a 
tormentor, or as the prince of death, who had the power of executing 
God's sentence. So that you see before he overcame him by merit, 
he overcame him by example, and was an instance of a tempted man 
before he was an instance of a persecuted man, or one that came to 
make satisfaction to God's justice. ' 

3. With respect to the saints, who are in their passage to heaven 
to be exposed to great difficulties and trials. Now that they might 
have comfort and hope in their Eedeemer, and come to him boldly as 
one touched with a feeling of their infirmities, he himself submitted 
to be tempted. This reason is recorded by the apostle in two places : 
Heb. ii. 18, ' For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he 
is able to succour them that are tempted.' Able to succour ; that is, 
fit, powerful, inclined, effectually moved to succour them. None so 
merciful as those who have been once miserable ; and they who have 
not only known misery, but felt it, do more readily relieve and succour 
others. God biddeth Israel to pity strangers : Exod. xxii. 21, ' Thou 
shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him ; for ye were strangers m 
the land of Egypt.' They knew what it was to be exposed to the 
envy and hatred of the neighbours in the land where they sojourned : 
Exod xxiii. 9, ' For ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were 
strangers in the land of Egypt.' We read that when King Richard 
the First had been, on the sea near Sicily, like to be drowned, he 
recalled that ancient and barbarous custom, whereby the goods of 
shipwrecked men were escheated to the crown, making provision that 
those goods should be preserved for the right owners. Christ being 
tossed in the tempest of temptations, knows what belongs to the 
trouble thereof. The other place is, Heb. iv. 15, ' We have not an 


high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmi 
ties^ but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin' 
Christ hath experienced how strong the assailant is, how feeble our 
nature is, how hard a matter it is to withstand when we are so sorely 
assaulted. His own experience of sufferings and temptations in him 
self doth entender his heart, and make him fit for sympathy with us 
and begets a tender compassion towards the miseries and frailties of 
his members. 

4. With respect to Christ himself, that he might be an exact pat 
tern of obedience to God. The obedience is litjle worth, which is car 
ried on in an even tenor, when we have no temptation to the contrary 
but is cast off as soon as we are tempted to disobey : James i. 12 
' Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried he 
shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them 
that love him.' And Heb. xi. 17, ' By faith Abraham, when he was 
tried, offered up Isaac : and he that had received the promises offered 
up his only-begotten son.' Now Christ was to be more eminent than all 
the holy ones of God, and therefore, that he might give an evidence of 
his piety, constancy, and trust in God, it was thought fit some trial 
should be made of him, that he might by example teach us what 
reason we have to hold to God against the strongest temptations. 

[II The good of this to us. It teacheth us divers things, four I 
shall instance in. 

1. To show us who is our grand enemy, the devil, who sought the 
misery and destruction of mankind, as Christ did our salvation And 
therefore he is called d e % fyo9, the enemy ; Mat. xiii. 39, ' The enemy 
that sowed them is the devil.' And he is called also 6 woi^po? the 
wicked one, Mat. xiii. 19, as the first and deepest in evil. And' be 
cause this malicious cruel spirit ruined mankind at first, he is called 
'a har and murderer from the beginning/ John viii. 44. A liar 
because of his deceit ; a murderer, to show us what he hath done and 
would do. It was he that set upon Christ, and doth upon us as at 
first to destroy our health, so still to keep us from our medicine and 
recovery out of the lapsed estate by the gospel of Christ. 

2. That all men, none excepted, are subject to temptations. If any 
might plead for exemption, our Lord Jesus, the eternal Son of God 
might ; but he was assaulted and tempted ; and if the devil tempted our 
baviour, he will be much morebold with us. The godly are yet in the 
way not at the end of the journey ; in the field, not with the crown 
on their heads ; and it is God's will that the enemy should have leave 
to assault them. None go to heaven without a trial : ' All these things 
are accomplished in your brethren that are in the flesh/ 1 Pet. v. 9. 
To look for an exempt privilege, or immunity from temptation, is to 
list ourselves as Christ's soldiers, and never expect battle or conflict. 

3. It showeth us the manner of conflict, both of Satan's fight and 
our Saviour's defence. 

[1,] Of Satan's fight. It is some advantage not to be ignorant of his 
enterprises : 2 Cor. ii. 11, ' Lest Satan should get an advantage of us 
lor we are not ignorant of his devices/ Then we may the better stand 
upon our guard. He assaulted Christ by the same kind of tempta 
tions by which usually he assaults us. The kinds of temptations are 


reckoned up : 1 John ii. 16, ' The lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the 
eye, and the pride of life.' And James iii. 15, ' This wisdom descend- 
eth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.' With these 
temptations he assaulted our first parents: Gen. iii. 8, 'When the 
woman saw that the tree was good for fruit, and that it was pleasant 
to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the 
fruit thereof, and did eat/ And with the same temptations he assaulted 
Christ, tempting him to turn stones into bread, to satisfy the longings 
of the flesh ; to fall down and worship him, as to the sight of a 
bewitching object to his eyes ; to fly in the air in pride, and to get 
glory among men. Here are our snares, which we must carefully 

[2.] The manner of Christ's defence, and so it instructeth us how 
to overcome and carry ourselves in temptations. And here are two 
things whereby we evercome : 

(1.) By scripture. The word of God is ' the sword of the Spirit,' 
Eph. vi. 17, and 1 John ii. 14, ' The word of God abideth in you, and 
ye have overcome the wicked one.' It is good to have the word of 
God abide in our memories, but chiefly in our hearts, by a sound belief 
and fervent love to the truth. 

(2.) Partly by resolution : 1 Pet. iv. 1, ' Arm yourselves with the 
same mind,' viz., that was in Christ. When Satan grew bold and 
troublesome, Christ rejects him with indignation. Now the conscience 
of our duty should thus prevail with us to be resolute therein ; the 
double-minded are as it were torn in pieces between God and the 
devil : James i. 8, ' A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.' 
Therefore, being in God's way, we should resolve to be deaf to all 

4. The hopes of success. God would set Christ before us as a pat 
tern of trust and confidence, that when we address ourselves to serve 
God, we might not fear the temptations of Satan. We have an 
example of overcoming the devil in our glorious head and chief. If 
he pleaded, John xvi. 33, ' In the world ye shall have tribulation, but 
be of good cheer, I have overcome the world ; ' the same holdeth good 
here, for the enemies of our salvation are combined. He overcame 
the devil in our natures, that we might not be discouraged : we fight 
against the same adversaries in the same cause, and he will give power 
to us, his weak members, being full of compassion, which certainly is 
a great comfort to us. 

Use. Of instruction to us : 

1. To reckon upon temptations. As soon as we mind our baptismal 
covenant, we must expect that Satan will be our professed foe, seeking 
to terrify or allure us from the banner of our captain, Jesus Christ. 
Many, after baptism, fly to Satan's camp. There are a sort of men in 
the visible church, who, though they do not deny their baptism, as 
those did, 2 Pet. ii. 9, ' Who have forgotten that they were purged 
from their old sins,' yet they carry themselves as if they were in league 
with the devil, the world, and the flesh, rather than with the Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost ; with might and main they oppose Christ's 
kingdom, both abroad and at home, in their own hearts, and are 
wholly governed by worldly things, the lusts of the flesh, and the lusts 


of the eye, and the pride of life. Now these are the devil's agents, 
and the more dangerous because they use Christ's name against his 
offices, and the form of his religion to destroy the power thereof ; as 
the dragon in the Revelation, pushed with the horns of the Lamb. 
Others are not venomously and malignantly set against Christ, and 
his interest in the world, or in their own hearts, but tamely yield 
to the lusts of the flesh, and go ' like an ox to the slaughter, and a 
fool to the correction of the stocks/ Prov. vii. 22. We cannot say 
that Satan's work lieth about these. Satan needeth not besiege the 
soul by temptations ; that is his already by peaceable possession ; 
' when a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace/ 
Luke xi. 21. There is no storm when wind and tide goeth together. 
But then there is a third sort of men, that begin to be serious, and to 
mind their recovery by Christ : they have many good motions and 
convictions of the danger of sin, excellency of Christ, necessity of 
holiness ; they have many purposes to leave sin and enter upon a holy 
course of life, but ' the wicked one cometh, and catcheth away that 
which was sown in his heart/ Mat. xiii. 19. He beginneth betimes 
to oppose the work, before we are confirmed and settled in a course of 
godliness, as he did set upon Christ presently upon his baptism. 
Baptism in us implieth avowed dying unto sin and living unto God ; 
now God permitteth temptation to try our resolution. There is a 
fourth sort, of such as have made some progress in religion, even to 
a degree of erninency : these are not altogether free ; for if the devil 
had confidence to assault the declared Son of God, will he be afraid of 
a mere mortal man ? No ; these he assaulteth many times very sorely : 
pirates venture on the greatest booty. These he seeketh to draw off 
from Christ, as Pharaoh sought to bring back the Israelites after their 
escape ; or to foil them by some scandalous fall, to do religion a 
mischief : 2 Sam. xii. 14, ' By this deed thou hast given great occasion 
to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme ; ' or at least to vex them and 
torment them, to make the service of God tedious and uncomfortable 
to them: Luke xxii. 31, 'Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired 
to have you, that he might sift you as wheat' to toss and vex you, 
as wheat in a sieve. So that no sort of Christians can promise them 
selves exemption ; and God permitteth it, because to whom much is 
given, of them the more is required. 

2. The manner and way of his fight is by the world, per blanda et 
aspera, by the good or evil things of the world. There is ' armour 
of righteousness on the right hand and on the left/ 2 Cor. vi. 7, as 
there are right-hand and left-hand temptations. Both ways he lieth 
in ambush in the creature. Sometimes he tempts us by the good 
things of the world: 1 Chron. xxi. 1, 'And Satan stood up against 
Israel, and provoked David to number Israel/ so glorying in his 
might, and puissance, and victory over neighbour kings. So meaner 
people he tempteth to abuse their wealth to pride and luxury ; there 
fore we are pressed to be sober : 1 Pet. v. 8, ' Be sober, be vigilant ; 
because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, 
seeking whom he may devour.' The devil maketh an advantage of 
our prosperity, to divert us from God and heaven, and to render us 
unapt for the strictness of our holy calling. Sometimes he tempts us 


by the evil things of this world : Job i. 11, ' Put forth thine hand-now, 
and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.' Satan's 
aim in bringing the saints into trouble is to draw them to fretting, 
murmuring, despondency, and distrust of providence, yea, to open de 
fection from God, or blasphemy against him ; and therefore it is said, 
1 Pet. v. 9, ' Knowing that the same afflictions,' &c., because tempta 
tions are conveyed to us by our afflictions or troubles in the flesh. 

3. His end is to dissuade us from good, and persuade us to evil. 
To dissuade us from good by representing the impossibility, trouble, 
and small necessity of it. If men begin to apply themselves to a strict 
course, such as they have sworn to in baptism, either it is so hard as 
not to be borne, as John vi. 60, ' This is a hard saying, who can bear 
it ? ' Whereas, Mat. xix. 29, ' Every one that hath forsaken houses, 
or brethren, &c., for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and 
shall inherit everlasting life/ Or the troubles which accompany a 
strict profession are many. The world will note us: John xii. 42, 
' Nevertheless, among the chief rulers also many believed on him ; but 
because of the Pharisees, they did not confess him, lest they should be 
put out of the synagogue.' Whereas we must not be ashamed of 
Christ : 2 Tim. ii. 12, ' If we suffer, we shall also reign with him ; if 
we deny him, he also will deny us/ Or that we need not be so strict 
and nice, whereas all we can do is little enough : Mark xxv. 9, ' Not 
so, lest there be not enough for us and you/ In general, the greatest 
mischiefs done us by sin are not regarded, but the least inconvenience 
that attendeth our duty is urged and aggravated. He persuadeth us 
to evil by profit, pleasure, necessity ; we cannot live without it in the 
world. He hideth the hook, and showeth the bait only ; he concealeth 
the hell, the horror, the eternal pains that follow sin, and only telleth 
you how beneficial, profitable, and delightful the sin will be to you : 
Prov. ix. 17, 18, ' Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is 
pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead are there, and that her 
guests are in the depths of hell/ 

4. While we are striving against temptations, let us remember our 
general. We do but follow the Captain of our salvation, who hath 
vanquished the enemy, and will give us the victory if we keep striving : 
' The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly,' Eom. 
xvi. 2. Not his feet, but ours : we shall be conquerors. Our enemy is 
vigilant and strong : it is enough for us that our Kedeemer is merciful 
and faithful in succouring the tempted, and able to master the tempter, 
and defeat all his methods. Christ hath conquered him, both as a 
lamb and as a lion : Kev. v. 5, 8. The notion of a lamb intimateth his 
sacrifice, the notion of a lion his victory : in the lamb is merit, in the 
lion strength ; by the one he maketh satisfaction to God, by the other 
he rescueth sinners out of the paw of the roaring lion, and maintaineth 
his interest in their hearts. Therefore let us not be discouraged, but 
closely adhere to him 



And when he had fasted fwrty days and forty nights, he was after 
wards an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, 
If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made 
bread. And he answered and said, It is written, Man liveth not by 
bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of 
God. NAT. IV. 2-4. " 

IN these words there are three branches : 

First, The occasion. 

Secondly, The temptation itself. 

Thirdly, Christ's answer. 

First, The occasion of the first temptation, in the second verse, 
' When he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterwards 
an hungered.' Where take notice : 
I. Of his fasting. 

II. Of his hunger. 

And something I shall speak of them conjunctly, something dis 
tinctly and apart. 

1. Conjunctly. In every part of our Lord's humiliation, there is an 
emission of some beams of his Godhead, that whenever he is seen to 
be true man, he might be known to be true God also. Is Christ 
hungry ? There was a fast of forty days' continuance preceding, to 
show how, as God, he could sustain his human nature. The verity of 
his human nature is seen, because he submitted to all our sinless in 
firmities. The power of his divine nature was manifested, because it 
enabled him to continue forty days and nights without eating or drink 
ing anything, the utmost that an ordinary man can fast being but 
nine days usually. Thus his divinity and humanity are expressed in 
most or all of his actions : John i. 14, ' The word was made flesh, and 
dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, as the glory of the only-be 
gotten Son of God.' There was a veil of flesh, yet the glory of his 
divine nature was seen, and might be seen, by all that had an eye and 
heart to see it. He lay in the manger at Bethlehem, but a star 
appeared to conduct the wise men to him ; and angels proclaimed his 
birth to the shepherds: Luke ii. 13, 14. He grew up from a child, at 
the ordinary rate of other children ; but when he was but twelve years 
old, he disputed with the doctors : Luke ii. 42. He submitted to 
baptism, but then owned by a voice from heaven to be God's beloved 
Son. He was deceived in the fig-tree when an hungered, which shows 
the infirmity of human ignorance ; but suddenly blasted, this mani 
fested the glory of a divine power : Mat. xxi. 19. Here tempted by 
Satan, but ministered unto and attended upon by a multitude oi 
glorious angels : Mat. iv. 11 ; finally crucified through weakness, but 
living by the power of God : 2 Cor. xiii. 4. He hung dying on the 
cross ; but then the rocks were rent, the graves opened, and the sun 
darkened. All along you may have these intermixtures. He needed 
to humble himself to purchase our mercies ; but withal to give a dis 
covery of a divine glory to assure our faith. Therefore, when there 


were any evidences of human frailty, lest the world should be offended, 
and stumble thereat, he was pleased at the same time to give some 
notable demonstration of the divine power; as, on the other side, when 
holy men are honoured by God, something falleth out to humble 
them : 2 Cor. xii. 7. 

2. Distinctly and apart. Where observe : 

[1.] That he fasted forty days and forty nights ; so did Moses when 
he received the law : Exod. xxxiv. 28 ; and at the restoring of the law 
Elias did the like : 1 Kings xix. 8. Now what these two great pro 
phets had done, Christ, the great prophet and doctor of the Christian 
church, did also. For the number of forty days, curiosity may make 
itself work enough ; but it is dangerous to make conclusions where no 
certainty appeareth. However this is not amiss, that forty days were 
the usual time allotted for repentance : as to the Ninevites, Jonah 
iii. 4 ; so the prophet Ezekiel was to bear the sins of the people for 
forty days ; and the flood \vas forty days in coming on the old world : 
Gen. vii. 17. This was the time given for their repentance, and there 
fore for their humiliation; yet the forty days' fast in Lent is ill-grounded 
on this example, for this fast of Christ cannot be imitated by us, more 
than other his miracles. 

[2.] At the end of the forty days he was an hungered, sorely 
assaulted with faintness and hunger, as any other man at any time is 
for want of meat. God's providence permitted it, that he might be 
more capable of Satan's temptations ; for Satan fits his temptations to 
men's present case and condition. When Christ was hungry, he 
tempteth him to provide bread, in such a way as the tempter doth pre 
scribe. He worketh upon what he findeth : when men are full, he 
tempteth them to be proud, and forget God ; when they are destitute, 
to distrust God : if he sees men covetous, he fits them with a wedge 
of gold, as he did Achan ; if discontented, and plotting the destruction 
of another, he findeth out occasions. When Judas had a mind to sell 
his Master, he presently sendeth him a chapman. Thus he doth work 
upon our dispositions, or our condition ; most upon our dispositions, 
but here only upon Christ's condition. He observeth which way the 
tree leaneth, and then thrusteth it forward. 

Secondly, The temptation itself, verse the third. Where two things 
are observable : 

I. The intimation of his address, ' And when the tempter came to 

II. The proposal of the temptation, ' If thou be the Son of 
God,' &c. 

I. For the address to the temptation, ' And when the tempter came 
to him/ there two things must be explained : 

1. In what manner the tempter came to Christ. 

2. How he is said to come then to him. 

[1.] How he came to him. Whether the temptations of Christ are 
to be understood by way of vision, or historically, as things visibly 
acted and done ? This latter I incline unto ; and I handle here, 
because it is said, 7rpoo-e\.6o)v avrS) 6 Treipd^wv, ' The tempter came 
to him.' This irnporteth some local motion and accession of the 
tempter to Christ, under a visible and external form and shape. As 


afterwards, when the Lord biddeth him be gone, ' then the devil 
leaveth him,' ver. 11 ; a retiring of Satan out of his presence, not 
the ceasing of a vision only. Yea, all along, he ' taketh him,' and 
' sets him on a pinnacle of the temple,' and ' taketh him to an high 
mountain.' All which show some external appearance of Satan, and 
not a word that intimateth a vision. Neither can it be conceived how 
any act of adoration could be demanded by Satan of Christ ' fall 
down and worship me ' unless the object to be worshipped were set 
before him in some visible shape. The coming of the angels to 
Christ when the devil left him, ver. 11, all understand historically, 
and of some external coming. Why is not the coming and going of 
the devil thus to be understood also ? And if all had been done in 
vision, and not by converse, how could Christ be an hungered, or the 
devil take that occasion to tempt him? How could answers and 
replies be tossed to and fro, and scriptures alleged ? So that from 
the whole view of the frame of the text,- here was some external con 
gress between Christ and the devil. If you think it below Christ, 
you forget the wonderful condescension of the Son of God ; it is no 
more unworthy of him than crucifixion, passion, and burial was. It 
is true, in the writing of the prophets, many things historically related 
were only done in vision ; but not in the Gospels, which are an history 
of the life and death of Christ ; where things are plainly set down as 
they were done. To men the grievousness of Christ's temptations 
would be much lessened, if we should think it only a piece of fantasy, 
and imaginary rather than real. And if his temptations be lessened, 
so will his victory, so will our comfort. In short, such as was 
Christ's journey into the wilderness, such was his fast, such his temp 
tation ; all real. For all are delivered to us in the same style and 
thread of discourse. Yea, further, if these things had been only in 
vision and ecstacy, there would have been no danger to Christ in the 
second temptation, when he was tempted to throw himself down from 
the pinnacle of the temple. Surely then he was truly tempted, and not 
in vision only ; yea, it seemeth not so credible and agreeable to the 
dignity and holiness of Christ, that Satan should tempt by internal false 
suggestions, and the immission of species into his fancy or understand 
ing ; that Christ should seem to be here and there, when all the 
while he was in the desert. For either Christ took notice of these 
false images in his fancy, or not. If not, there is no temptation ; if 
so, there will be an error in the mind of Christ, that he should think 
himself to be on the pinnacle of the temple, or top of an high moun 
tain, when he was in the desert. It is hard to think these sugges 
tions could be made without some error or sin ; but an external sug 
gestion maketh the sin to be in the tempter only, not in the person 
tempted. Our first parents lost not their innocency by the external 
suggestion, but internal admission of it, dwelling upon it in their 
minds. To a man void of sin, the tempter hath no way of tempting 
but externally. 

[2.] How is this access to Christ said to be after his fasting, when, 
in Luke iv. 2, it is said, ' Being forty days tempted of the devil, and 
in those days he did eat nothing; and when they were ended, he 
afterward hungered ' ? 


I answer (1.) Some conceive that the devil tempted Christ all the 
forty days, but then he tempted him invisibly, as he doth other men, 
striving to inject sinful suggestions ; but he could find nothing in him 
to work upon : John xiv. 30. But at forty days' end he taketh another 
course, and appeareth visibly in the shape of an angel of light. He 
saith he came to him, most solemnly and industriously to tempt him. 
This opinion is probable. 

(2.) It may be answered, Luke's speech must be understood.: 
' Being forty days in the wilderness, and in those days he did ,eat 
nothing, and was tempted ; ' that is, those days being ended. There 
is, by a prolepsis, some little inversion of the order. But because of 
Mark i. 13, where it is said, ' He was in the wilderness forty days, 
tempted of Satan, and was with the wild beasts/ take the former 

II. The proposal of the temptation, ' If thou be the Son of God, 
command that these stones be made bread.' Certainly every tempta 
tion of the devil tendeth to sin. Now where is the sin of this ? If 
Christ had turned stones into bread, and declared himself by this 
miracle to be the Son of God, there seemeth to be no such evil in 
this. Like miracles he did upon other occasions ; as turning water 
into wine at a marriage feast, multiplying the loaves in the distribu 
tion for feeding the multitude. Here was no curiosity ; the fact 
seemed to be necessary to supply his hunger. Here is no superfluity 
urged into bread, not dainties or occasions of wantonness, but 
bread for his necessary sustenance. I answer, Notwithstanding all 
this fair appearance, yet this first assault which is propounded by 
Satan was very sore and grievous. 

1. Because manifold sins are implied in. it, and there are many 
temptations combined in this one assault. 

[1.] In that Christ, who was led by the Spirit into the wilderness 
to fast, and so to be tempted, must now break his fast and work a 
miracle at Satan's direction. The contest between God and the devil 
is, who shall be sovereign ? therefore it was not meet that Christ 
should follow the devil's advice, and do anything at his command and 

[2.] That Christ should doubt of that voice that he heard from 
heaven at his baptism, ' Thou art my beloved Son ; ' and the devil 
cometh, ' If thou be the Son of God.' That it should anew be put to 
trial by some extraordinary work, whether it were true or no, or he 
should believe it, yea or no. No temptation so sore, no dart so poison- 
able, as that which tendeth to the questioning of the grounds of faith ; 
as this did the love of God, so lately spoken of him. Therefore this 
is one of the sharpest arrows that could come out of Satan's bow. 

[3.] It tendeth to weaken his confidence in the care and love of 
God's fatherly providence : being now afflicted with hunger in a 
desert place, where no supply of food could be had, Satan would draw 
him to suspect and doubt of his Father's providence, as if it were in 
compatible to be the Son of God and to be left destitute of means to 
supply his hunger, and therefore must take some extraordinary course 
of his own to furnish himself. 

[4.] It tended to put him upon an action of vainglory, by working 


a miracle before the devil, to show his power; as all needless actions 
are but a vain ostentation. 

2. Because it was in itself a puzzling and perplexing proposal, not 
without inconveniences on both sides, whichsoever of the extremes 
our Lord should choose ; whether he did, or did not, what the tempter 
suggested. If he did, he might seem to doubt of the truth of the 
oracle, by which he was declared to be the Son of God, or to distrust 
God's providence, or to give way to a vain ostentation of his own 
power. If he did not, he seemed to be wanting, in not providing 
necessary food for his sustentation when it was in his power to do so ; 
and it seemed to be unreasonable to hide that which it concerned all 
to know, to wit, that he was the Son of God. And it seemeth 
grievous to hear others suspicious concerning ourselves, when it is in 
our power easily to refute them; such provocations can hardly be 
borne by the most modest spirits. This temptation was again put 
upon Christ on the cross : Mat. xxvii. 40, ' If thou be the Son of God, 
come down from the cross.' But all is to be done at God's direction, 
and as it becometh our obedience to him, and respect to his glory. 
Satan and his instruments will be satisfied with no proofs of principles 
of faith, but such as he and they will prescribe, and which cannot be 
given without entrenching upon our obedience to God, and those 
counsels which he hath wisely laid for his own glory. And if God's 
children be surprised with such a disposition, it argueth so far the influ 
ence of Satan upon them, namely, when they will not believe but upon 
their own terms : as Thomas, John xx. 25, ' Except I see in his hands 
the print of the nails, and put my ringer into the print of the nails, and 
thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.' If we will not accept 
of the graces of faith as offered by God, but will interpose conditions 
of our own prescribing, we make a snare to ourselves. God may in 
condescension to a weak believer grant what was his fault to seek, as 
he doth afterwards to Thomas, ver. 27 ; but there is no reason he 
should grant it to the devil, he being a malicious and incorrigible 
spirit, coming temptingly to ask it. 

3. This temptation was cunning and plausible ; it seemed only to 
tend to Christ's good, his refection when hungry, and his honour and 
glory, that this might be a full demonstration of his being the Son of 
God. There is an open solicitation to evil, and a covert ; explicit and 
implicit ; direct and indirect. This last here. It was not an open, 
direct, explicit solicitation to sin, but covert, implicit, and indirect, 
which sort of temptations are more dangerous. There was no need of 
declaring Christ's power by turning stones into bread before the devil, 
and at his instance and suit. It was neither necessary nor profitable. 
Not necessary for Christ's honour and glory, it being sufficiently 
evidenced before by that voice from heaven, or might be evident to 
him without new proof. Nor was it necessary for Christ's refection, 
because he might be sustained by the same divine power by which 
hitherto he had been supported for forty days. Nor was it profitable, 
none being present but the devil, who asked not this proof for satis 
faction, but cavil; and that he might boast and gain advantage, 
if Christ had done anything at his instance and direction. And 
in this peculiar dispensation all was to be done by the direction 


of the Holy, and not the impure spirit. I come now to the third 

Thirdly, Christ's answer, ver. 4, ' And he answered and said, It is 
written, Man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word that pro- 
ceedeth out of the mouth of God.' Christ's answer is not made to 
that part of the proposal, ' If thou be the Son of God/ but to the 
urgent necessity of his refection. The former was clear and evident, 
the force of the temptation lay not there; but the latter, which 
Satan sought to make most advantage of, is clearly refuted. Christ's 
answer is taken out of Deut. viii. 3 ; and this answer is not given for the 
tempter's sake, but ours, that we may know how to answer in like cases, 
and repel such kind of temptations. In the place quoted, Moses 
speaketh of manna, and showeth how God gave his people manna 
from heaven, to teach them that though bread be the ordinary means 
of sustaining man, yet God can feed him by other means, which he is 
pleased to make use of for that purpose. His bare word, or nothing ; 
all cometh from his divine power and virtue, whatever he is pleased 
to give for the.sustentation of man, ordinary or extraordinary. The 
tempter had said that either he must die for hunger, or turn stones 
into bread. Christ showeth that there is a middle between both these 
extremes. There are other ways which the wisdom of God hath 
found out, or hath appointed by his word, or decreed to such an end, 
and maketh use of in the course of his providence. And the instance 
is fitly chosen ; for he that provided forty years for a huge multitude 
in the desert, he will not be wanting to his own Son, who had now 
fasted but forty days. In the words there is : 

I. A concession or grant, that ordinarily man liveth by bread ; and 
therefore must labour for it, and use it when it may be had. 

II. There is a restriction of the grant, that it is not by bread only : 
' But by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.' The 
business is to explain how a man can live by the word of God, or what 
is meant by it. 

1. Some take word for the word of precept, and expound it thus : if 
you be faithful to your duty, God will provide for you. For in every 
command of God, general or particular, there is a promise expressed or 
implied of all things necessary : Deut. xxviii. 5, ' Blessed shall be thy 
basket and thy store ;' and Mat. vi. 33, ' Seek ye first the kingdom of 
God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto 
you.' Now we may lean upon this word of God, keep ourselves from 
indirect means, and in a fair way of providence refer the issue to God. 

2. Some take the word for the word of promise, which indeed is 
the livelihood of the saints: Ps. cxix. Ill, ' Thy testimonies have I 
taken as an heritage for ever ; they are the rejoicing of my heart.' 
God's people in a time of want can make a feast to themselves out of 
the promises ; and when seemingly starved in the creature, fetch not 
only peace and grace and righteousness, but food and raiment out of 
the covenant. 

3. Kather, I think, it is taken for his providential word or com 
manded blessing ; for as God made all things by his word, so ' he up- 
lioldeth all things by the word of his power ' : Heb. i. 3. His powerful 
word doth all in the world : Ps. cxlvii. 15, ' He sendeth forth his com- 


manclrnent on the earth ; his word runneth very swiftly ; he giveth 
snow like wool.' And then, in the 18th verse, ' He sendeth out his 
word, and melteth them.' As the word of creation made all things, 
so the word of providence sustaineth all things. This word is spoken 
of Ps. cvii. 20, ' He sent his word, and his word healed them ; and 
delivered them from all their destructions.' It is dictum factum with 
God ; if he speak but the word, it is all done : Mat. viii. 8, ' Speak 
but the word, and thy servant shall be whole/ So Luke iv. 36, 
' What a word is this 1 for with authority and power he commandeth 
the unclean spirits, and they come out.' So of Joseph it is said, Ps. 
cv. 19, ' Until the time that his word came; the word of the Lord 
tried him ;' that is, his power and influence on the hearts of the 
parties concerned for his deliverance. Well, then, the power of sus 
taining life is not in bread, but in the word of God ; not in the 
means, but in God's commanded blessing, which may be conveyed to 
us by means, or without means, as God pleaseth. There is a powerful 
commanding word which God useth far health, strength, sustentation, 
or any effect wherein the good of his people is concerned. He is the 
great commander of the world. If he say to anything Go, and it 
goeth ; Come, and it cometh. 

Thus you have the history of the first temptation. Now for the 

Observe, first, That God may leave his children and servants to great 
straits ; for Christ himself was sorely an hungered : so God suffereth 
his people to hunger in the wilderness before he gave them manna, 
Therefore it is said, Ps. cii. 23, ' He weakeneth the strength of the 
people in the way.' He hath sundry trials wherewith to exercise our 
faith, and sometimes by sharp necessities. Paul and his companions had 
continued fourteen days, and had taken nothing : Acts xxvii. 33. Many 
times God's children are thus tried : trading is dead, and there are many 
mouths to be fed, and little supply cometh in ; yet this is to be borne : 
none of us more poor than Christ, or more destitute than was Christ. 

Secondly, That the devil maketh an advantage of our necessities. 
When Christ was an hungered, then the tempter came to him; so unto 
us. Three sorts of temptations he then useth to us, the same he did 
to Christ : 

[1.] Either he tempteth us to unlawful means to satisfy our 
hunger ; so he did to Christ, who was to be governed by the Spirit, to 
work a miracle to provide for his bodily wants at Satan's direction ; so 
us. Poverty hath a train of sinful temptations : Prov. xxx. 9, ' Lest I 
be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.' Necessities 
are urging, but we must not go to the devil for a direction how to 
supply ourselves, lest he draw us to put our hand to our neighbour's 
goods, or to defraud our brother, or betray the peace of our conscience, 
or to do some unworthy thing, that we may live the more comfortably. 
You cannot plead necessity ; it is to relieve your charge, to maintain 
life ; God is able to maintain it in his own way. No necessity can 
make any sin warrantable. It is necessary thou shouldst not sin ; it 
is not necessary thou shouldst borrow more than thou canst pay. or 
use any fraudulent means to get thy sustenance. If others be un 
merciful, thou must not be unrighteous. 

VOL. i. 8 


[2.] To question our adoption, as he did the filiation of Christ : ' If 
thou be the Son of God.' It is no wonder to find Satan calling in 
question the adoption and regeneration of God's children, for he calleth 
in question the filiation and sonship of the Son of God, though so 
plainly attested but a little before : Heb. xii. 5, ' Ye have forgotten the 
exhortation which speaketh unto you as children, My son,' &c. Cer 
tainly whatever moveth us to question our interest in God's fatherly 
love, bare afflictions should not ; for to be without afflictions is a sign 
of bastards. God hath no illegitimate children, but God hath de 
generate children, who are left to a larger discipline. 

[3.] To draw us to a diffidence and distrust of God's providence : this 
he sought to breed in Christ, or at least to do something that might 
seem to countenance it, if he should upon his motion work a miracle. 
Certainly it is Satan's usual temptation to work in us a disesteem of 
God's goodness and care, and to make us pore altogether upon our 
wants. A sense of our wants may be a means to humble us, to quicken 
us to prayer ; but it should not be a temptation to beget in us un- 
thankf'ulness, or murmuring against God's providence, or any dis- 
quietness or unsettledness in our minds. And though they may be 
very pinching, yet we should still remember that God is good to them 
that are of a clean heart : Ps. Ixxiii. 1. God hath in himself all- 
sufficiency, who knoweth both what we want, and what is fittest for 
us, and is engaged by his general providence as a faithful Creator : 
1 Pet. iv. 19, ' Let them that surfer according to the will of God, 
commit the keeping of their souls to him in well-doing, as unto a 
faithful Creator ; ' but more especially as related to us as a Father : 
Mat. vi. 32, ' Your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of 
all these things.' And by his faithful promise, Heb. xiii. 5, ' He hath 
said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.' And he will give us 
every good thing while we fear him : Ps. xxxiv. 9, 10, ' fear the 
Lord, ye his saints : Jor there is no want to them that fear him. The 
young lions do lack and suffer hunger : but they that seek the Lord 
shall not want any good thing.' And walk uprightly : Ps. Ixxxiv. 11, 
' For the Lord God is a sun and a shield : the Lord will give grace 
and glory : no good thing will he withhold from them that walk up 
rightly.' And seek it of him by prayer : Mat. vii. 11, ' Ask, and it 
shall be given you ; seek, and ye shall find ; knock, and it shall be 
opened unto you.' 

But you will say, You preach only to the poor and destitute. I 
answer, I speak as my subject leadeth me : it will put the point 
generally ; Satan maketh an advantage of our condition. Christ had 
power to do what was suggested ; every condition hath its snares, a 
full condition most of all: Ps. Ixix. 22, 'Let their table be a snare, 
their welfare for a trap.' He hideth his snares and gins to catch our 
souls. In all the comforts men enjoy they are apt to grow proud, to 
forget God, to become merciless to others who want what they enjoy; 
to live in vain pleasures, and to forget eternity ; to live in sinful 
security, in the neglect of Christian duties ; to be enslaved to sensual 
satisfactions, to be flat and cold in prayer. This glut and fulness of 
worldly comforts is much more dangerous than our hunger. 

Thirdly, observe, In tempting, Satan pretendeth to help the tempted 


party to a better condition ; as here he seemeth careful to have bread 
provided for Christ at his need, yea, pretendeth respect to his glory, 
and to have him manifest himself to be the Son of God, by such a 
miracle as he prescribeth. This seeming tenderness, counselling 
Christ to support his life and health, was the snare laid for him. 
Thus he dealt with our first parents : he seeketh to weaken the repu 
tation of God's love and kindness to man, and to breed in the woman's 
mind a good opinion of himself. That his suggestions might make 
the greater impression upon her, he manageth all his discourse with 
her, that all the advice which he seemeth to give her proceeded of his 
love and good affection towards her and her husband, pretending a 
more than ordinary desire and care of man's good, Gen. iii. 5, as if he 
could direct him how to become a match for God himself. So still he 
dealeth with us ; for alas ! otherwise ' in vain is the snare laid in the 
sight of any bird,' Prov. i. 17. He covereth the snare laid for man's 
destruction with a fair pretence of love to advance man to a greater 
happiness, and so pretendeth the good of those whom he meaneth 
wholly to destroy. He enticeth the covetous with dishonest gain, 
which at length proveth a real loss : the sensual with vain pleasures, 
which at length prove the greatest pain to body and soul : the am 
bitious with honours, which really tend to their disgrace. Always 
trust God, but disbelieve the devil, who promoteth man's destruction 
under a pretence of his good and happiness. How can Satan and his 
instruments put us upon anything that is really good for us ? 

Fourthly, That Satan's first temptations are more plausible. He doth 
not at first dash come with ' fall down and worship me ; ' but only 
pretendeth a respect to Christ's refection, and a demonstration of his 
sonship. Few or none are so desperate at first as to leap into hell at 
the first dash, therefore the devil beginneth with the least temptations. 
First men begin with less evils, play about the brink of hell : a man 
at first taketh a liking to company, afterwards he doth a little enlarge 
himself into some haunts and merry meetings with his companions, 
then entereth into a confederacy in evil, till he hath brought utter 
ruin upon himself, and what was honest friendship at first proveth 
wicked company and sure destruction at last. At first a man playeth 
for recreation, then ventureth a shilling or two, afterwards, by the 
witchery of gaming, off goeth all sense of thrift, honesty, and credit. 
At first a man dispenseth with himself in some duty, then his dispen 
sation groweth into a settled toleration, and God is cast out of his 
closet, and his heart groweth dead, dry, and sapless. There is no stop 
in sin, it is of a multiplying nature, and we go on from one degree to 
another ; and a little lust sets open the door for a greater, as the lesser 
sticks set the greater on fire. 

Fifthly, There is no way to defeat Satan's temptations but by a 
sound belief of God's all-sufficiency, and the nothingness of the 

[1.] A sound belief of, and a dependence on, God's all-sufficiency: 
Gen. xvii. 1, ' I am the Almighty God ; walk before me, and be thou 
perfect.' We need not warp, nor run to our shifts, he is enough to 
help to defend or reward us ; he can help us without means, though 
there be no supply in the view of sense, or full heaps in our own 


keeping. God knoweth when we know not: 2 Pet. ii. 9, ' The Lord 
knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations,' &c., or by con 
trary means, curing the eyes with spittle and clay. He can make 
a little means go far. As he blessed the pulse to the captive children, 
Dan. i. 15, and made the widow's barrel of meal and cruse of oil to 
hold out, 1 Kings xvii. 14, and Ms filling and feeding five thousand 
with a few barley loaves and a few fishes, Mat. xiv. 21 ; on the other 
side he can make abundance unprofitable : Luke xii. 15, ' A man's 
life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.' 
No means can avail unless God giveth his blessing; therefore we 
should not- distrust his providence, nor attempt anything without 
God's warrant, lest we offend him, and provoke him to withdraw his 

[2.] The nothingness of the creature : ' Not by bread alone.' It is 
nothing by way of comparison with God, nothing by way of exclusion 
of God, nothing in opposition to God. It should be nothing in our 
esteem, so far as it would be something separate from God, or in co 
ordination with God : Isa. xl. 17, ' All nations before him are as 
nothing, less than nothing and vanity;' Job vi. 21, 'Now ye are 
nothing/ All friends cannot help, our foes cannot hurt us, not the 
greatest of either kind : Isa. xxxiv. 12, ' All her princes shall be 
nothing.' In regard of the effects which the world promiseth to its 
deluded lovers, all is as nothing ; not only that it can do nothing to 
our needy souls to relieve us from the burden of sin, nothing towards 
the quiet and true peace of our wounded consciences, nothing to our 
acceptance with God, nothing for strength against corruptions and 
temptations, nothing at the hour of death ; but it can do nothing for 
us during life, nothing to relieve and satisfy us in the world without 
God. Therefore God is still to be owned and trusted 


Then the devil tdketli him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a 
pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of 
God, cast thyself down : for it is written, He shall give his angels 
charge concerning thee ; and in their hands they shall bear thee up, 
lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. MAT. IV. 5, 6. 

IN this second temptation I shall give you (1.) The history of it ; 
(2.) Observations upon it. 
I. The history of it. There, 

1. What Satan did. 

2. What he said. 

3. The soreness of the temptation. 

1. What he did : ' Then the devil taketh him up into the holy 
city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple.' There (1.) Take 
notice of the ground which the devil chose for the conflict : ' He tak 
eth him up into the holy city, and setteth him on the pinnacle of the 


temple.' By the holy city is meant Jerusalem, for this name is given 
to it in other scriptures : Isa. Iviii. 2, ' They call themselves of the 
holy city/ And Isa. lii. 1, '0 Jerusalem, the holy city ; ' and in 
many other places. It was so called, because it was the seat of God's 
worship, and the place where God manifested his gracious presence 
with his people. If you ask why now it was called the holy city, since 
it was a city of blood, the seat of all wickedness, in which the law of 
God was depraved, their religion corrupted, their religion polluted ? 
I answer, Yet there was the temple of the Lord. Some relics of good 
and holy men, some grace yet continued, and the only place that 
owned the true God, though with much corruption. The more espe 
cial place which the devil chose for the conflict was irrepvyiov rov 
iepov, ' the pinnacle of the temple,' or ' the wing of the temple ; ' 
meaning the border round about the flat covering of the temple to 
hinder any one from falling off easily, which might be adorned with 
pinnacles and spires, from whence one might easily fall. (2.) How the 
devil got him there ? Whether Christ was carried through the air, 
or went on his feet, following him of his own accord ? The last seem- 
eth to be countenanced by Luke ; that he led him to the pinnacle of 
the temple, Luke iv. 9, ijyayev avrov ; yet the former is preferred by 
most ancient and modern interpreters, and not without reason. For 
Christ voluntarily to follow the devil, and to go up to the top of the 
temple, and stand on one of the pinnacles thereof, it seemeth impro 
bable, and would take up more time than could be spent on this 
temptation. He that would not obey the devil persuading him to 
cast himself down, that he might not tempt God, would not volun 
tarily have gone up with him, for that would have been the beginning 
of a temptation, to yield so far. Most probably, then, Satan was per 
mitted to carry him in the air, without doing him any hurt, to Jeru 
salem, and one of the pinnacles of the temple and battlements thereof. 
But how Christ was carried in the air, visibly or invisibly, the scrip 
ture showeth not: it affirmeth the thing, but sets not down the 
manner. We must believe what it asserteth, reverence what it con- 
cealeth. Here was a real translation, a transportation from place to 
place, not imaginary, for then Christ had been in no danger. And 
again, not violent, but voluntary a carrying, not a haling a leading, 
not a forcing, as the wrestler is drawn on to the combat. As he suf 
fered himself to be drawn to death by Satan's instruments, so by the 
devil to be translated from place to place. The officers of the high 
priest had power to carry him from the garden to Annas, from Annas 
to Caiaphas, from Caiaphas to Pilate, from Pilate to Herod, from 
Herod to Pilate again, and then from Gabbatha to Golgotha, which 
could not have been unless this power had been given them from above, 
as Christ himself telleth Pilate, John xix. 11. So God, for his greater 
glory and our instruction, permitted this transportation ; therefore 
this translation is not to be imputed to the weakness of Christ, but 
his patience, submitting thus far that he might experience all the 
machinations of Satan ; and the transporting is not to be ascribed to 
the tempter's strength, but his boldness. Christ did not obey him, 
but submitted to the divine dispensation, and would fight with him 
not only in the desert, but in the holy city : and no wonder if Christ 


suffered Satan to carry him, who suffered his instruments to crucify 

2. What he said to him, ver. 6, where take notice (1.) Of the 
temptation itself, ' If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down.' 
(2.) The reason alleged to back it, ' For it is written, He shall give 
his angels charge concerning thee,' &c. 

[1.] The temptation itself: ' If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself 
down.' Mark what was the mote in the devil's eye, that Christ was 
declared to be the Son of God, the Messiah and Saviour of the world. 
He would have him to put it to this proof in the sight of all Jerusalem, 
wherein, if he failed, and had died of the fall, the Jews would think 
him an impostor ; if he had escaped, he had submitted to the devil's 
methods, and so had run into the former sins mentioned before in the 
first temptation, his doing something at the devil's direction ; his dis 
belief of the divine oracle, unless manifested by such proof as Satan 
required ; and besides a tempting of divine providence the ordinary 
way was down stairs. He would have him leap, and throw himself 
over the battlements. It would be too long to go down stairs ; he will 
teach him a nearer way : to cast himself down and fear no hurt, for if 
he were the Son of God he might securely do so. But chiefly Christ 
was not to begin his ministry by miracles, but doctrine not from a 
demonstration of his power, but wisdom. The gospel was to be first 
preached, then sealed and confirmed by miracles ; and Christ's miracles 
were not to be ludicrous, but profitable not fitted for pomp, but use 
to instruct and help men, rather than strike them with wonder. Now 
this would discredit the gospel, if Christ should fly in the air ; besides, 
we must not fly to extraordinary means, where ordinary are present. 

Only, before I go off, observe that Satan did not offer to cast him 
down ; that God did not suffer him to do, because he sought to bring 
Christ to sin. If Satan had cast him down, Christ had not sinned. 

[2.J The reason by which he backeth the temptation. It is taken 
from scripture : ' For it is written, He shall give his angels charge 
concerning thee.' The scripture is in Ps. xci. 11, 12, where the 
words run thus : ' He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep 
thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou 
dash thy foot against a stone.' Where, 

First, Observe the devil's cunning in citing scripture. The apostle 
telleth us that Satan is sometimes transformed into an angel of light, 
2 Cor. xi. 14. Arid we read that once he took the habit and guise of 
a prophet, 1 Sam. xxviii. 18 ; and indeed he deceiveth more by the 
voice of Samuel than by the voice of the dragon. We read of ra 
ftddr) TOV Zarava, ' The depths of Satan,' Rev. ii. 24. Here he cometh 
like a divine, with a Bible in \ his hand, and turneth to the place; 
here the enemy of God cometh with the word of God, and disguiseth 
the worst of actions with the best of words, opposeth God to God, and 
turneth his truth to countenance a lie. Being refuted by scripture, 
he will bring scripture too, and pretendeth to reverence that which he 
chiefly hateth. Christians, you have not to do with, a foolish devil, 
who will appear in his own colours and ugly shape, but with a devout 
devil, who, for his own turn, can pretend to be godly. 

Secondly, That he citeth such a scripture, which exceedingly con- 


duceth to commend the happiness of the godly ; for God will not only 
be the keeper and guardian of them that fear him, but hath also 
appointed the ministry of angels ; and the argument of the tempter 
seemeth to be taken from the less to the greater ; for if it be true of 
every one that trusts in God, and dwelleth in the shadow of the 
Almighty, that God will have such a care of him, much more will he 
have a care of his beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased. There 
fore, you that are declared to be so from heaven, and having such an 
occasion to show yourself to be the Son of God with so much honour 
and profit, why should you scruple to cast yourself down ? 

But wherein was the devil faulty in citing the scripture ? Some 
say in leaving out those words, in all thy ivays. This was Bernard's 
gloss in viis, non in prcecipitiis : will keep you in your ways or 
duties, not in your headlong actions ; these were none of his ways, to 
throw himself down from the battlements of the temple. This is not 
to be altogether rejected, because it reaches the sense ; yet this omission 
was not the devil's fault in citing this scripture ; for, all tliy ivays 
signifieth no more but in all thy actions and businesses, and that is 
sufficiently implied in the words cited by Satan. But the devil's 
error was in application. He applieth the word of God, not to in 
struct, but deceive ; rather to breed a contempt, disdain, and hatred 
of scriptures, than a reverent esteem of them ; to make the word of 
God seem uncertain ; or if a reverence of them, to turn this reverence 
into an occasion of deceit ; more particularly to tempt God to a need 
less proof of his power. We are not to cast ourselves into danger, 
that providence may fetch us off. God will protect us in the evils we 
suffer, not in the evils we commit not in dangers we seek, but such 
as befall us besides our intention. 

3. The soreness of this temptation, which appeareth in several 

[1.] The change of place. For a new temptation, he maketh choice 
of a new place ; he could do no good on him in the wilderness, there 
fore he taketh him and carrieth him into the holy city. Here was a 
public place where Christ might discover himself with profit, and tha 
edification of many, if he would but submit to the devil's methods. In 
the temple the Messiah was as in his own house, where it was fit the 
Messiah should exhibit himself to his people. There was an old pro 
phecy, Mai. iii. 1, ' The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come into 
his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in.' 
And he was to send forth his rod out of Zion, even the law of his 
kingdom : Ps. ex. 2. If he would yield to this advice and vain 
glorious ostentation of his power before that numerous multitude 
which continually resorted to the holy things performed in the temple, 
how soon should he be manifested to be the Son of God, or the power 
of the great God. The devil doth not persuade him to cast himself 
from a rock or top of a tree in the desert that had been temerity and 
rashness but from a pinnacle of the temple, an holy place, and a 
place of much resort. But the Son of God was not to be discovered 
to the world by the devil's methods. That had been such a piece of 
ostentation and vainglory as did not become the Son of God, who came 
to teach the world humility. But, however, the temptation is grievous : 


in so good a design, in such an holy place, there could no ill happen 
to the Son of God, nor a better occasion be offered of showing himself 
to many, so to confirm the Jews in the truth of the oracle they had of 
late heard from heaven. 

[2.] The change of temptations. Since he will trust, the devil will 
put him upon trusting ; he shall trust as much as he will. There he 
tempted him to the use of unlawful means to preserve his life, here to 
the neglect of things lawful. There, that God would fail him if he 
were still obedient to the Spirit, and did not take another course than 
divine providence had as yet offered to him ; here, that God would not 
forsake him, though he threw himself into danger. There, that he 
would fail though he had promised ; here, that he would help though 
he had not promised. That faith which sustained him in his hunger 
would preserve him in this precipice ; if he expected his preservation 
from God, why not now ? He had hitherto tempted him to diffidence, 
now to prefidence, or an over-confident presumption that God would 
needlessly show his power. It is usual with the tempter to tempt man 
on both sides ; sometimes to weaken his faith, at other times to neglect 
his duty. He was east out of heaven himself, and he is all for casting 

[3.] The temptation was the more strong, being veiled under a pre 
tence of scripture, and so Christ's weapons seem to be beaten back 
upon himself. The devil tempted him to nothing but what he might 
be confident to do npon the promise of God. Now it is grievous to 
God's children, when the rule of their lives and the charter of their 
hopes is abused to countenance a temptation. 

II. The observations. 

1. Observe, that the first temptation being rejected by Christ, Satan 
maketh a new assault. Though he get the foil, he will set on us again ; 
like a troublesome fly that is often beaten off, yet will return to the 
same place. Thus the devil, when he could do no good upon his first 
patent against Job's goods and children, cometh and sueth for a new 
commission, that he might touch his flesh and bones : Job ii. 4, 5, 
' Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But 
put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he 
will curse thee to thy face.' Satan is incessant in his attempts against 
the saints, and is ready to assault afresh upon every occasion. Now 
this cometh to pass by Satan's unwearied malice, who is a sworn 
enemy to our peace and welfare he still 'seeketh to devour' us, 
1 Peter v. 8 ; also from God's providence, who permitteth this that we 
may not be careless and secure after temptation, though we have gotten 
the victory ; for our life is a continual warfare : Job vii. 1, ' Is there 
not an appointed time for man upon earth ? ' The same word signi- 
fieth also a warfare. Man's life is a perpetual toil, and a condition of 
manifold temptations and hazards, such as a soldier is exposed to ; 
therefore we must perpetually watch. We get not an absolute victory 
till death. Now this should the more prevail with us, because many 
of God's people have failed after some eminent service performed for 
God. Josiah, after he had prepared the temple, fell into that rash 
attempt against Pharaoh Necho which cost him his life : 2 Chron. xxxv. 
20, ' After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho, king 


of Egypt, came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates ; and 
Josiah went out against him.' And Peter, after he had made a 
glorious confession, giveth his Master carnal counsel : Mat. xvi. 18, 
' Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my church/ &c. ; and 
yet, ver. 23, ' Get thee behind me, Satan.' Many, after they have 
been much lifted up in consolation, do readily miscarry. First, he 
made a glorious confession, a sign of great faith ; then carnal wisdom 
vents itself in some counsel concerning the ease of the flesh. Oh, what 
need have we to stand upon our guard, till God tread Satan under our 
feet! As one of the Roman generals, whether conquering or con 
quered, semper instaurat pugnam, so doth Satan. 

2. Observe, God may give Satan some power over the body of one 
whom he loveth dearly. For Satan is permitted to transport Christ's 
body from the wilderness to the holy city, and to set it on a pinnacle 
of the temple. As it is very consistent with God's love to his people 
to suffer them to be tempted in their souls by the fiery darts of Satan, 
so he may permit Satan to afflict their bodies, either by himself, or by 
witches, who are his instruments. Thus he permitted Satan to afflict 
Job, chap. ii. 6, 7, ' And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in 
thy hand, but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of 
the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils, from the sole of his foot 
unto his crown.' The devil may have a threefold power over the 
bodies of men : 

[1.] By transportations, or carrying them from one place to another, 
which usually is not found but in those that give up themselves to 
his diabolical enchantments. Or, 

[2.] In possessions, which were frequent and rife in Christ's time : 
' My daughter is sorely vexed with a devil/ Mat. xv. 22. Or, 

[3.] In diseases, which is more common. Thus he afflicted Job's 
body with ulcers ; and what we read, Ps. xli. 8, * An evil disease 

cleaveth fast unto him.' It is !<2^3-">3"l ' a thing of Belial/ as if it 

were a pestilential disease from the devil. So some understand that, 
Ps. xci. 3, ' Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, 
and from the noisome pestilence/ As if those sudden darts of venom 
by which we are stricken in the plague came from Satan. Cer 
tainly evil angels may have a great hand in our diseases : Ps. Ixxviii. 
49, ' He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indig 
nation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.' But I press 
it not much. Only, 

(1.) A word of patience, that we would submit to God, though our 
trials be never so sharp. We must yield to that measure of humilia 
tion which it shall please God to prescribe. If he should give leave 
to Satan to inflame our blood and trouble the humours of our body, 
we must not repine ; the Son of God permitted his sacred body to be 
transported by the devil in the air. 

(2.) A word of comfort. Whatever power God permitteth Satan 
to have over our bodies, or bodily interests, yet it is limited ; he cannot 
hurt or molest any further than God pleaseth. He had power to set 
Christ on a pinnacle of the temple, but not to cast him down. He 
had a power to touch Job's skin, but a charge not to endanger his 


life : Job ii. 6, ' Behold, he is ia thine hand, but save his life.' God 
sets bounds and limits to the malice of Satan, that he is not able to 
compass all his designs. Job was to be exercised, but God would not 
have him die in a cloud, his life was to be secured till better times. 

(3.) A word of caution. Let not the devil make an advantage of 
those troubles which he bringeth upon our bodies, or the interests of 
the bodily life, yet let him not thereby draw you to sin. Here the 
devil may set Christ upon a precipice, but he can do him no further 
hurt ; he may persuade us to cast down ourselves, but he cannot cast 
us down unless we cast down ourselves, Nemo Iteditur nisi a seipso. 
His main spite is at your souls, to involve you in sin. God may give 
him and his instruments a power over your bodily lives, but he doth 
not give him a power over the graces of the saints. The devil aimeth 
at the destruction of souls ; he can let men enjoy the pleasures of sin 
for a season, that he may deprive you of delight in God and celestial 
pleasures ; he can be content that you shall have dignities and 
honours if they prove a snare to you. If the devil seek to bring you 
to poverty, trouble, and nakedness, it is to draw you from God. He 
careth not for the body but as it may be an occasion to ruin the soul. 

3. Observe, If Satan lead us up, it is to throw us down. He 
taketh up Christ to the pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, 
' Cast thyself down/ He bringeth up many by little and little to 
some high place, that by their aspiring they may at length break 
their necks. Thus he did Haman, and so he doth many others, whose 
climbing maketh way for their greater fall. The devil himself was 
an aspirer, and fell from heaven like lightning : Luke x. 18, ' I 
beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven/ And though in show he 
may seem to befriend many that hearken to his temptations, yet in 
the end he crieth, ' Down with them, down with them, even to the 
ground/ God's manner is quite contrary ; when he meaneth to exalt 
a man, he will first humble him, and make him low : Mat. xxiii. 12, 
' Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased ; and he that shall 
humble himself shall be exalted/ But the devil's way is to lift them 
up to the clouds, that he may bring them down to the lowest pit of 
destruction. Adam, in conceit, must be like God, that indeed he may 
be like the beasts that perish : Ps. xlix. 20, ' Man that is in honour, 
and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish/ 

4. Observe, ' If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down/ The 
temptation is quite contrary to what it was before. Then it was to 
preserve life by unlawful means, now to endanger life by the neglect 
of means lawful ; there to distrust God's care of our preservation 
when he hath set us about any task or work, here to presume on his 
care without warrant. The devil tempts us sometimes to pamper 
the flesh, sometimes to neglect it in such a way as is destructive to 
our service. Thus the devil hurrieth us from one extreme to another, as 
the possessed man ' fell oft-times into the fire, and oft into the water/ 
Mat. xvii. 15. Those that are guided by Satan reel from one ex 
tremity to another ; either men slight sin and make light of it, or 
sinners are apt to sorrow above measure, as the incestuous Corinthian : 
2 Cor. ii. 17, ' Lest perhaps such an one should be swallowed up with 
overmuch sorrow/ And the apostle showeth there that these were the 


enterprises of Satan. Some men are careless of God's interest in the 
world, or else heated into the activity of a bitter zeal. Some are of a 
scrupulous spirit, that they may make conscience of all things ; and 
the devil hurrieth them into a large atheistical spirit, that they 
make conscience of nothing. How often have we known a fond 
scrupulosity to end in a profane licentiousness, when they have been 
wearied out of that kind of frame of spirit ! Some are dead and 
heartless, like Gallio, ' care for none of these things ;' fight Christ, 
fight Antichrist, it is all one to them ; and usually they are such as 
formerly have been heated with a blind and bold madness : as Peter 
at first refused to have his feet washed by Christ, and then would 
have head, hands, feet and all washed, John xiii. 8, 9, being out in 
both. What sad work is there made in the church of God by Soli- 
fidians and Nullifidians : heretofore it was all faith and free grace 
misapplied and misunderstood ; and now it' is all morality and virtue, 
while Christ is neglected, and the mystery of the gospel little set by 
or valued. It is ever the devil's policy to work upon the humour of 
people. If they will reform the church, it shall be to a degree of 
separation, and condemning all churches and Christians that are not 
of their mode ; if they be for uniting, Christ's unquestionable interests 
must be trodden underfoot, and all care of truth and reformation 
must be laid aside. If he can destroy religion and godliness no other 
way, he will be religious and godly himself ; but it is either, as to 
private Christians, to set them upon overdoing, that he may make 
them weary of the service of Christ ; or, as to the public, by crying 
up some unnecessary things, which Christ never commanded. If men 
be troubled with sin, and see a necessity of the gospel, and prize the 
comforts of it, the gospel must be over-gospelled, OP else it will not 
serve their turns ; and that over-gospel must be carried to such a 
length as to destroy the very gospel, and free grace itself. The devil 
first tempted the world to despise the poor fishermen that preached 
the gospel ; but the world, being convinced by the power of the Holy 
Ghost, and gained to the faith, then he fought by riches and grandeur 
to debase the gospel ; so that he hath got as much or more by the 
worldly glory he puts upon Christ's messengers as by persecution. 
Then, when that is discovered, the devil will turn reformer ; and 
what reformation is that ? the very necessary support and main 
tenance of ministers must be taken away. All overdoing in God's 
work is undoing. If Christ will trust, the devil will persuade him to 
trust, even to the degree of tempting God. 

5. Observe, That the devil himself may pretend scripture to put 
a varnish upon his evil designs; for here he seeketh to foil Christ 
with his own weapons : which serveth to prevent a double ex 

[1.] One is, not to be frighted with the mere noise and sound of 
scriptures, which men bring to countenance their errors. See whether 
they be not wrested and misapplied ; for the devil may quote scripture, 
but he perverts the meaning of it. And usually it is so by his instru 
ments ; as that pope, who would prove a double power to be in him 
self, temporal and spiritual, by that scripture, Ecce duo gladii ! 
' Behold, here are two swords ! ' Luke xxii. 38. It is easy to rehearse 


the words of scripture, and therefore not the bare words, but the 
meaning must be regarded. 

[2.] The other extreme is this: Let none vilify the scriptures, because 
pleaded by Satan ; for so he might as well vilify human reason, which 
is pleaded for all the errors in the world ; or law, because it is urged 
sometimes to justify a bad cause. For it is not scripture, that is not 
a nose of wax, as Papists say. It is a great proof of the authority 
and honour of scriptures, that Satan and his greatest instruments do 
place their greatest hopes of prevailing by perverting and misapplying 
of it. 

6. Observe, That God hath given his angels a special charge about 
his people, to keep them, from harm. Here I shall show : 

[1.] That it is so. 

[2.] Why it is so. 

First, That it is so is evident by the scripture, which everywhere 
shows us that angels are the first instruments of his providence, which 
he maketh use of in guarding his faithful servants : Heb. i. 14. The 
apostle saith, ' Are they not all, \etTovpyiKa Trvevfjuara, ministering 
spirits, sent forth to minister to them that shall be the heirs of salva 
tion ? ' Their work and employment is to attend us at God's direc 
tion, not to be worshipped and served by us by any devotion. They 
are ' ministering spirits/ not ours, but Christ's ; he that serveth hath a 
master whom he serveth, and by whom he is sent forth : their work 
and employment is to attend us indeed, but at the command and 
direction of their own Master. They are not at our beck to go and 
come at our pleasure, neither do they go and come at their inclination, 
but at the commission of God : their work is appointed by him, they 
serve us as their Master's children, at his command and will ; and 
whom do they serve ? ' The heirs of salvation.' They are described, 
Titus iii. 7, 'That being justified by grace, we should be made heirs 
according to the hope of eternal life.' They are not ministers of con 
version and sanctification : to this ministry Christ hath called men, 
not angels ; but in preserving the converted the angels have a hand. 
Therefore it is notable they are sometimes called God's angels : Ps. 
ciii. 21, ' Bless the Lord, all ye his hosts, ye ministers of his that do 
his pleasure ; ' sometimes their angels : Mat. xviii. 10, ' Take heed that 
ye despise not one of these little ones, for I say unto you, that in 
heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is 
in heaven/ 

But whether every one hath an angel-guardian is a curious question. 
Sometimes one angel serveth many persons : Ps. xxxiv. 7, ' The angel 
of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivered) 
them ; ' and sometimes many angels are about one person : 2 King? 
vi. 17, ' And, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots 
round about Elisha.' And here in the text quoted by Satan, ' He 
shall give his angels charge concerning thee.' There is not mention 
made of one, but many angels, and the angels in general are said to be 
ministering spirits. When soldiers are said to watch for a city, it is 
not meant that every citizen hath a soldier to watch for him. 

The only place which seemeth to countenance that opinion is Acts 
xii. 15, ' Then said they, It is his angel.' But if Peter had a peculiar 


angel to guard him, and look after him then, when he was in great 
trouble, and detained in prison, it doth not follow that every person 
and everywhere should have an angel-guardian. Besides, an assertion 
in scripture must be distinguished from men introduced speaking in 
scripture. It_showeth, indeed, that it was the opinion of the Jews at 
that time, which these holy men had imbibed and drunk in. Or it 
may be the word angel is only taken for a messenger sent from Peter. 
Why should an angel stand knocking at the door, who could easily 
make his entrance ? And is it credible that the guardian angels do 
take their shape and habit whose angels they are ? It is enough for 
us to believe that all the angels are our guardians, who are sent to 
keep us and preserve us, as it pleaseth God. 

But what is their ministry and custody ? It is not aura animarum, 
care and charge of souls ; that Christ taketh upon himself, and per- 
formeth it by his Spirit ; but ministerium externi auxilii, to afford us 
outward help and relief : it is custodia corporis, they guard the bodily 
life_ chiefly. Thus we find them often employed. An angel brought 
Elijah his food under the juniper-tree : 1 Kings xix. 5. An angel 
stirred the waters at the Pool of Siloam : John v. 4. An angel was 
the guide of the way to Abraham's servant : Gen. xxiv. 7, ' He will 
send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son 
from thence.' Angels defend us against enemies : Ps. xxxiv. 7, ' The 
angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him and 
dehvereth them ; ' 2 Kings xix. 35, ' The angel of the Lord went out 
and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five 
thousand/ An angel opened the prison doors to the apostles : Acts 
v. 19, and xii. 7. 

But were not all these services extraordinary and miraculous which 
we may not now expect ? 

Ans. The visible ministry was extraordinary, proper to those times 
but the invisible is perpetual and ordinary, as Abraham's servant did 
not see the angel in the journey. The devil worketh in and about 
wicked men invisibly, so do the good angels. 

Secondly, Reasons why it is so. 

(1.) To manifest the great love and care which God hath over his 
people ; therefore he giveth those blessed spirits, which behold his 
lace, charge concerning his people on earth ; as if a nobleman were 
charged to look to a beggar by the prince of both. 

(2.) We understand the operationof finite agents better than infinite 

4. j 18 J Ut f the reach of our comm erce, that we cannot under 
stand the particularity of his providence. 

(3 ) To counterwork the devil : evil angels are'ready to hurt us, and 

therefore good angels are ready to preserve us. Well might the devil 

) so well versed in this place ; he hath often felt the effects of it ; he 

knew it by experience, being so often encountered by the good ano-els 

in his endeavours against the people of God. 

IT ^ .? o egi ?r OUr ac( l uaintan ce, which in heaven shall be perfected : 
-tieb. xii. 22, ' Ye are come to an innumerable company of angels ' 

Use I. To show the happy state of God's people. No heirs of a 
crown have such guards as they have. Christ dwelleth in their hearts 
as in a throne: Eph. iii. 17, ' That Christ mav dwell in your hearts 


by faith.' The Holy Spirit guardeth them against all cares and fears : 
Phil. iv. 7, ' And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, 
shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.' And the 
good angels are as a wall and camp about them : Ps. xxxiv. 7, ' The 
angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and 
delivereth them ; ' Mat. xviii. 10, ' Despise not one of these little ones, 
for verily I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold 
the face of my Father which is in heaven.' If the angels make an 
account of them, surely men should not despise them ; yea, rather, 
God esteemeth so much of the meanest of these little ones, that the 
good angels, who daily enjoy God's glorious presence, are ministering 
spirits appointed to attend them. If the Lord and his holy angels set 
such a price on the meanest Christians, we should be loth to despise 
and offend them. 

2. It should breed some confidence and comfort in Christians in 
their sore straits and difficulties, when all visible help seemeth to be 
cut off. This invisible ministry of the angels is matter of faith : 2 
Kings vi. 16, 17, ' And he answered, Fear not : for they that be with 
us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and 
said, Lord, I pray thee, open the young man's eyes, that he may see. 
And the Lord opened the young man's eyes, 'and he saw : and, behold, 
the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about 
Elisha.' These were no other but the angels of God, which were as an 
host to defend them. Open the eye of faith, you may see God, and 
his holy angels to secure you. 

3. Take we heed how we carry ourselves, because of this honourable 
presence. In congregations there should be no indecency, ' because of 
the angels/ 1 Cor. xi. 10. In all our ways let us take heed that we 
do not step out of God's way. Do nothing that is unseemly and dis 
honest ; they are spies upon us. And it is profitable for us, that they 
may give an account of us to God with joy, and not with grief. 


Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou slialt not tempt the 
Lord thy God. MAT. IV. 7. 

HERE is Christ's answer to the second temptation, where two things 
are observable : 

First, That Christ answered. 

Secondly, What he answered. 

First, That Christ answered. Christ answered, the more to con 
vince and confound this old deceiver, that he might not think that he 
was ignorant of his sleights, or that he fainted in the conflict ; as also 
to instruct us what to do in the renewed assaults of the devil, to keep 
up our resistance still, not letting go our sure hold, which are the 


Secondly, What he answered, ' It is written,' &c. But would it not 
have been more satisfactory to have said, It is sufficiently manifest to 
me that I am the Son of God, and cared for by him, and that it is not 
for the children of God to run upon precipices ? 

I answer : It is not for human wisdom to interpose and prescribe 
to Christ, who was the wisdom and power of God. His answer is 
most satisfactory, for two reasons : 

1. It striketh at the throat of the cause. 

2. It doth with advantage give us other instructions. 

1. Christ cutteth the throat of the temptation by quoting a passage 
of scripture, out of Deut. vi. 16, 'Ye shall not tempt the Lord your 
God, as ye tempted him in Massah.' If we must not tempt God, then 
it doth not become Christ to tempt his Father's providence for a new 
proof of his filiation and care over him. Therefore the devil's temp 
tation was neither good nor profitable, to put either his sonship or the 
care of God's providence to this trial ; as if he had said, I shall not 
require any more signs to prove my filiation, nor express any doubt of 
his power and goodness towards me, as the Israelites did : Exod. xvii. 
7, 'And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because 
of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the 
Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not?' To which story this 
prohibition of tempting God alludeth. 

2. He doth with advantage give us other instructions ; as, 

[1.] That we must not esteem the less of scripture, though Satan 
and his instruments abuse it ; and that nothing is more profitable to 
dissolve doubts and objections raised from scripture, than to compare 
one scripture with another. For scripture is not opposite to scripture ; 
there is a fair agreement and harmony between the truths t