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



EASTER, 1906 

Shelf No. 







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

JAMES BEGQ, 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. / 














SERMON XVIII. "By faith Abel offered unto God a more 

excellent sacrifice than Cain," c., ver. 4, . 3 

XIX. " By which he obtained witness that he was 

righteous, God testifying of his gifts," ver. 4, 12 

XX. " By which he obtained witness that he was 

righteous, God testifying of his gifts," ver. 4, 22 

XXI. " By faith Enoch was translated that lie should 

not see death," &c., ver. 5, . . . 33 

XXII. " By faith Enoch was translated that he should 

not see death," &c., ver. 5, . . . 48 

XXIII. " For before his translation he had this testi 
mony, that he pleased God," ver. 5, . 62 

XXIV. " But without faith it is impossible to please 

him," &c., ver. 6, . . . .72 

XXV. " But without faith it is impossible to please 

him," &c., ver. 6, . . . .81 

XXVI. "But without faith it is impossible to please 

God," ver. 6, . . . . 90 

XXVII. " But without faith it is impossible to please 

him," ver. 6, .... 97 

XXVIII. " But without faith it is impossible to please 

him," ver. 6, .... 106 

., XXIX. "For he that cometh to God must believe 

that he is," &c., ver. 6, . .114 

VOL. xiv. 6 



SERMON XXX. " For he that cometh to God must ibelieve 

that he is," &c., ver. 6, . 128 

w XXXI. "For he that cometh to God must believe 

that he is," &c., ver. 6, , - . . 133 

XXXII. "For he that cometh to God must believe 

that he is," &c., ver. 6, ... 142 

XXXIII. "And that he is a rewarder of them that 

diligently seek him," ver. 6, . .153 

7 , XXXIV. "And that he is a rewarder of them that 

diligently seek him," ver. 6, . 162 

XXXV. "By faith Noah, being warned of God of 

things not seen as yet," &c., ver. 7, . 173 

XXXVI. " By faith Noah, being warned of God of 

things not seen as yet," ver. 7, . . 183 

XXXVII. " By faith Noah, being warned of God of 

things not seen as yet," ver. 7, . . 191 

XXXVIII. Prepared an ark," ver. 7, . . . 201 

XXXIX. "By the which he condemned the world, 

and became heir," &c., ver. 7, . . 213 

XL. " By faith Abraham, when he was called to go 

out into a place," &c., ver. 8, . . 224 

XLI. " By faith Abraham, when he was called to 

go out into a place," &c., ver. 8, . . 237 

XLII. " By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, 

as in a strange country," &c., vers. 9, 10, . 248 

XLIII. " By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, 

as in a strange country," &c., vers.<9, 10, . 260 

XLIV. "Through faith also Sara herself received 

strength to conceive seed," &c., ver. 11, . 272 

n XLV. " These all died in faith, not having received 

the promises," &c., ver. 13, . . . 280 

* XL VI. " These all died in faith, not having received 

the promises," &c., ver. 13, . . . 293 

XLVn. These all died in faith, not having received 

the promises," &c., ver. 13, . 305 



SERMON XL VIII. " These all died in faith, not having received 

the promises," &c., ver. 13, . . . 315 

XLIX. " For they that say such things declare plainly 

that they seek a country," &c., vers. 14-16, 328 

L. " Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called 

their God," &c., ver. 16, . .338 

LI. "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, 

offered up Isaac," &c., vers. 17-19, . . 352 

LIT. "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, 

offered up Isaac," &c., vers. 17-19, . . 360 

LIII. " Accounting that God was able to raise him 

up, even from the dead," &c., ver. 19, . 369 

LIV. " By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau con 

cerning things to come," ver. 20, . . 380 

LV. " By faith Jacob, when he was a-dying, blessed 

both the sons of Joseph," &c., ver. 21, . 395 

LVI. " By faith Joseph, when he died, made men 

tion of the departing," &c., ver. 22, . 406 

LVII. " By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid 

three months of his parents," ver. 23, . 419 

LVIII. " By faith Moses, when he was come to years," 

&c., ver. 24, .... 427 

LIX. " By faith Moses, when he was come to years," 

&c., ver. 24, .... 437 

LX. " Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the 

people of God," &c., ver. 25, , . 449 

LXI. "Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater 

riches than the treasures of Egypt," ver. 26, 459 

LXII. " Through faith he kept the passover and the 

sprinkling of blood," &c., ver. 28, t . 473 







By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, 
by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying 
of his gifts: and by it he, being dead, yet speaketh. HEB. xi. 4. 

Secondly, The second general means is to apply yourselves to the 
righteousness of Christ. There are many steps and progresses of the 
soul in this work desire it, seek it, wait for it, take Christ upon any 
special offer, then upon the act of faith consider your privileges and 
make your claim ; and that your claim may he warranted, there must 
be a care of holiness. 

1. Desire it earnestly. Grace is wrought by knowledge, but it is 
first known by desire and spiritual esteem. Appetite follows life ; so 
when God begins to infuse life in the soul, it is first discerned by 
desire : Mat. v. 5, ' Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after 
righteousness.' How passionately doth Paul speak, Phil. iii. 9, ' That 
I might be found in him, not having mine own righteousness.' All 
things else he accounted dung, dog's-meat, loss rather than gain. 

2. You must seek it. Lazy wishes are only the fruits of conviction. 
Men could wish they were interested in so great comfort. But now 
serious desires will put you upon endeavours : Mat. vi. 33, ' Seek ye 
first the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof.' The great 
design and work of Christians should be to get a part in Christ, in God's 
kingdom, and God's righteousness, as the way to it ; seek it first, above 
all things, and above all pursuits. Men make it not their work, but 
their by-work, and regard it now and then in some pang of conscience. 
Oh, then for a garment to cover them, then for a righteousness to shelter 
them from wrath ! but this should be the first thing ; it is a worthy 
pursuit, and it will make amends for all the pains you are at in seeking 

3. Wait for it. Grace is not at the creature's beck. Before ever 
God will show mercy, he will first declare his sovereignty : Isa t xxvi. 
8, ' In the way of thy judgments have we waited for thee/ Though 
they meet with nothing but rough answers though God seems to hide 
himself, yet in the midst of his judicial dispensations you should con 
tinue waiting. Nothing declares the creature's subjection to Gotl so 
much as tarrying of his leisure ; alas ! otherwise it is a sign we ascribe 


to ourselves, when we prescribe to God, when we would have him come 
in at our time and pleasure. Eemember the righteousness of Christ is a 
great blessing, and God doth not owe it you ; God may give it to whom 
he will, and when lie will. Impatience always shows there is some confi 
dence in your own righteousness. You should say as the church doth : 
Lam. i. 16, ' My comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me ; ' 
'but I have rebelled against him,' ver. 18. God suspends comfort, but it is 
not my due ; but I have rather merited the contrary. Thoughts of merit 
beget murmuring. When the soul is possessed of its own guilt, it 
will tarry the Lord's leisure. Consider, God hath waited long ere you. 
came to this, to look up to him for the righteousness of Christ ; there 
fore you have good cause to wait upon him for his good pleasure. 

4. When there is any special offer in the word, do not delay, but take 
Christ ; do not draw back the hand of faith. I know a guilty creature 
will be full of suspicions; and the truth is, the grace of the gospel is 
so rich that we know not how to credit it. But when there is a fail- 
offer, do not let suspicion take in the hand of faith, but receive Christ 
when he is tendered in the promises of the word. Sometimes God doth, 
as it were, call you by name : John x. 3, ' He calleth his own sheep by 
name ;' he doth, as it were, point to you when he speaks to men in 
your case and condition. Oh ! consider, these are fair seasons of grace, 
and you must not let them slip : 2 Cor. vi. 1, 2, ' We beseech you 
that you receive not the grace of God in vain ;" for I have heard thee 
in an acceptable time. Now is the accepted time, now is the day of 
salvation/ There are certain beautiful seasons wherein God will befound, 
when you see yourselves to be as it were pointed at. Look, as wicked 
men neglect seasons of conviction, so do believers many times dispute 
away seasons of grace, those that are in the way of faith. Poor lost 
creatures are apt to be suspicious ; but when the offer of grace is full 
and express to your case, do not neglect it ; as Benhadad's servants 
watched for the word 'brother,' so should you be asking for these gospel 
seasons. Jesus Christ will sometimes give a glimpse of his counten 
ance, and look through the lattice. 

5. Upon the act of faith consider your privileges, and humbly make 
your claim. Whenever you have taken Christ upon those seasonable 
offers, consider what a great privilege you enjoy : John v. 24, ' He that 
believeth in me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condem 
nation, but is passed from death to life.' Christians are wanting in 
their improving their spiritual interest ; they are willing to prize Christ, 
but do not consider what they have in him. If you cannot feel sen 
sible consolation, yet act spiritual reason and discourse. Consider, such 
an act gives interest in Christ ; why then should I not have Christ, 
and in Christ righteousness? Isa. xlv. 24: The church is brought in, 
speaking, Surely shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and 
strength, even to him shall men come/ This is glorying, or rejoicing 
in hope, Heb. iii. 6 ; that is, a reckoning upon our pVivilege, what we 
shall have and enjoy in Christ. Whosoever takes Christ, he puts him 
on ; then he is interested and invested with all tluit is Christ's : Gal. 
iii. 27, ^ As many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on 
Christ/ By the internal baptism we have an interest not only in his 
person, but in his righteousness, life, spirit, dignities, and merits ; 


it is good to ampliate our thoughts according to the extent of our 

6. That your claim may be warranted the more, there must be a 
care of holiness. Works are not the condition of justification, yet they 
are the evidence of it. Faith justifies, and works justify : James ii. 24, 
' Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith 
only.' By the righteousness of faith we are acquitted from sin, and by 
the righteousness of works we are acquitted from guile and hypocrisy ; 
therefore this is the evidence that will make all sure: 1 John iii. 21, 
22, ' If our hearts condemn us not, then we have confidence towards 
God. And whatsoever we ask we receive of him, because we keep his 
commandments/ &c. This will increase the confidence of faith, when 
there is a train of graces. Though works have nothing to do in the 
court of heaven in matter of justification, yet they have a voice and 
testimony in the court of conscience. Seldom do we receive any solemn 
assurance but upon the evidence of sanctification. Faith gives us a 
title to Christ's righteousness, but works give an evidence of it. Our 
comfort indeed is founded upon Christ's righteousness and his satisfac 
tion, but it is found in Christ's way ; therefore consider how the 
promises are diversified : Mat. xi. 28, ' Come unto me,' saith Christ, 
'all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest' ; but 
then, ver. 29, ' Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me ; for I am 
meek and lowly in heart : arid you shall find rest for your souls.' The 
act of faith gives us an interest ; but that we may have the comfort of 
it, we must abide under his discipline. This is God's course ; first he 
pours in the oil of grace, then the oil of gladness, when our sanctifica 
tion is evidenced unto us. The apostle gathereth it out of the type of 
Melchisedec: Heb. vii. 2, 'First being, by interpretation, king of 
righteousness, and after that also king of Salem ; that is, king of 
peace/ First he sanctifieth and disposeth the heart to righteousness, 
then gives peace of conscience and comfort ; that is the order, he recon- 
cileth us to God by his own righteousness, and then gives peace in our 
souls by woiking our hearts to a holy disposition. 

Use 2. To condemn them that seek righteousness in themselves. 
Nature is prone to this, and none more apt than those that have least 
reason. Former duties do not discover weakness, and so are more apt 
to puff up. Give me leave a little to speak of this ; partly because it 
is so natural to us, and partly because many decry resting in duties 
so far, that they decry the very performance of them, and instead of 
Papists turn Familists. This resting in our own righteousness is 
sometimes more gross and open, when men makeit their plea; sometimes 
more secret and imperceptible ; we may discover it by observing the 
disposition of the soul with reference to sins, mercies, duties, and comforts. 

1. By observing the frame of the heart with reference to sin. Usually 
when men rest in duties, they make the performance of them to be the 
ground of an indulgence to sin, and take the more liberty to sin, out of 
a hope to make amends by their duties. 

[1.] This indulgence is sometimes antedated before the performance, 
as when men allow themselves in present carnal practices by the pur 
pose of an after-repentance. It is as if men should distemper the body 
by excess, and then think to mend all by giving themselves a vomit ; or 
contract a sickness by drunkenness, hoping to cure all by physic. 


Tune demum a peccatis desistam, cum baptizatus ero. Conviction 
would not let men sin so freely if they did not make fair promises of 
reformation : this is making a Christ of your repentance and prayers. 
So some men moil in the world, and dream of a devout retirement 
hereafter ; thus rich they will be, and then they will live privately, 
and mind religion. 

[2.] Sometimes the indulgence is post-dated, which is most grossly 
done hy them that perform duties with an aim either to excuse or to 
promote sin : Prov. xxi. 27, ' The sacrifice of the wicked is abomina 
tion : how much more when he bringeth it with a wicked mind ? ' as 
Balaam's altars were built, and sacrifices made with this intent, that 
he might curse Israel, Num. xxiii. ; or more closely, by others who 
would redeem their negligence in one duty by the frequent perform 
ance of another, and please God by what doth not displease themselves ; 
as the Jews hoped to repair their want of mercy by the multitude of 
their sacrifices. The Pharisees tithed mint and cummin to excuse 
themselves from the weighty things of the law, Mat. xxiii. 23. Con 
science, like the stomach, will be craving ; and a man must do something 
to keep it quiet, as by a moral course, or some formal acts of piety. 
By others it is done yet more closely, that grow vain and wanton after 
some solemn duty: JBzek. xxxiii. 13, ' If he trust to his own righteous 
ness, and commit iniquity,' &c. Many times we find that the heart 
groweth loose, licentious, vain, wanton, and proud after solemn duties, 
which argueth a secret confidence in what we have done ; thus Josiah's 
breach with God was ' after his preparing the temple,' 2 Chron. xxxv. 20. 

2. With respect to mercies ; and so observe the frame of your hearts 
in the want of mercies, or in the enjoyment of them. 

[1.] In the want of mercies. Men expect blessings out of a conceit 
of some worth that is in themselves, and ascribe too much to their own 
duties. We all disclaim it ; but it may be known by this, if we 
murmur when God doth not come in at our times and seasons. Those 
that prescribe to God do ascribe to themselves : Isa. Iviii. 3, ' Where 
fore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not ? wherefore have 
we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge ? ' Luke 
xviii. 11, 12, ' I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, 
or even as this publican : I fast twice in a week, I give tithes of all 
that I possess.' Because we do not break out into such bold challenges, 
we think ourselves innocent ; but murmuring argueth some thought of 
desert. Where nothing is due, we cannot complain if nothing be given. 
The plea of works may be plainly read in our discontents ; if God be 
not a debtor, why do we then complain ? 

[2.] In the enjoyment of mercies, men secretly ascribe to themselves, 
as if God did see more in them than others : Deut. ix. 4, ' Speak not 
in thy heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out from 
before thee, saying, For my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in 
to possess this land.' It rather manifests itself in thoughts than words. 
Now because these thoughts are not always impressed on conscience, 
men evade it; but here you will discern it again by some disdain at 
providence. Spiritual pride, or conceit of our own worth, entertaineth 
crosses with anger, and blessings with disdain ; discontent or disdain 
will discover it to you : Mai. i. 2, ' I have loved you, saith the Lord : 
yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us ? ' By a gracious, humble 


heart all mercies are received with admiration. Where sin is great 
nothing can be little, nothing is theirs but sin; therefore they wonder 
that anything should be theirs but punishment: Luke. i. 43, ' And 
whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me ? ' 
so 2 Sam. vii. 18, ' Who am I, Lord God ? and what is my house, 
that thou hast brought me hitherto ? ' Not, Wherefore have we fasted ? 
but whence is it ? and what am I that God should do thus and thus 
for me ? Do but compare Mat. vii. 22, ' Many will say to me in that 
day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name ? and in thy 
name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful 
works?' they plead their gifts and employments in the church with 
Mat. xxv. 38, 39, 'Lord, when sawwethee an hungered, and fedthee? 
or thirsty, and gave thee drink ? when saw we thee a stranger, and took 
thee in ? or naked, and clothed thee ? or when saw we thee sick, or in 
prison, and came unto thee ? ' The one wonder God should reject them, 
who had done him so much service ; the other wonder Christ should 
take notice of such worthless services, though none perform duties with 
more care, none overlook them with more self-denial. 

3. With respect to duties. Here also are two notes. 

[1.] When men are not actually sensible of their own weakness, 
unprofitableness, and defects in duties. Men set a high value on their 
actions, and therefore reckon of the merit of. them. The elder brother 
pleaded : Luke xv. 29, 'Lo. these many years do I serve thee; neither 
at any time transgressed I thy commandment.' We rest upon that of 
which we are conceited. Formal men have least cause, and yet are 
most apt, to rest in duties, because they go on in a dead course, with 
out feeling their defects, or being sensible of their needing the supplies 
of the Spirit; as painted fire needeth no fuel. But the children of God 
perform them with more feeling of their own weakness and wretched 
ness ; and so their hearts are kept humble and thankful, both which 
check merit. Thankful : 1 Chron. xxix. 14, ' Of thine own have we given 
thee.' Humble, for there may be a show of thankfulness, and yet the 
heart may be conceited : Luke xviii. 11, ' God, I thank thee I am not 
as other men are ; ' but ' all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags,' Isa. 
Ixiv. 6. Now we must have actual distinct thoughts of this, or else it 
is impossible that such a proud creature as man should go out of him 
self. Christ requireth it in every duty : Luke xvii. 10, ' When ye 
shall have done all those things that are commanded you, say, We are 
unprofitable servants ;' therefore you do not discern this secret vein of 
guilt by gross thoughts of merit, but by high thoughts of duty. When 
a man is not always sensible of the imperfections of his services, he is 
apt to build upon them. How do you come off from duty ? You 
have more cause to be humble than to be lifted up ; for what is God's 
be thankful, for what is your own be humbled, arid pray, God be 
merciful to me! 

[2.] When men are more careful of the work wrought than of the 
interest of the person ; when we would have the person accepted tor 
the work's sake rather than for Christ's sake, they lay the foundation 
of their comfort within themselves. Now this is not only by common 
people, who hope to be accepted for their prayers and their good mean 
ings, but in those that are careless to get an interest in Christ : James 


v. 16, ' The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 
Most'men look to the qualification of the duty, not of the person ; but 
the person must be righteous, as well as the prayer fervent. It is not 
duty that worketh out your atonement with God ; our acceptation with 
God doth not depend upon the worth and merit of works. Do not 
think duties will serve the turn: 2 Cor xiii. 5, 'Know ye not your 
own selves, how that Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? ' The 
word a&oKi/jioi, reprobate, is there taken in a mollified sense for those 
that are not in Christ ; and therefore, before duties, your great care 
should be not only to raise the heart, but to examine the state. 

4. With respect to peace and comfort, take these notes. 

[1.] If you were never driven to change your copy and tenure. Alt 
Adam's posterity is under a covenant of works, and seek to bd saved 
by doing. Those that never saw they rested in works, and were never 
driven to settle their comfort upon gospel terms, are in a dangeious case. 
The voice of nature is, What shall we do? and till we are frighted out 
of ourselves we never look farther. When the Israelites heard the 
thunderings, they were affrighted. Nature is put to flight: Heb. v>. 
18, 'Who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us;' 
Phil. iii. 9, 'And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, 
which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the 
righteousness which is of God by faith ;' Gal. ii. 19, 'For I through 
the law am dead to the law, that I might live to God.' A man goes 
not 10 chancery till he is cast at common law. 

[2.] When conscience is awakened, if men fetch their comfort from 
their duties. The law leaveth men wounded and raw, and they lick them 
selves whole again by some offers of obedience. Carnal men are careful 
of worship only upon some gripes ; they use their duties as men do 
strong waters in a pang; duties should be a thank-offering, and they 
make them a sin-offering a sleeping sop to allay conscience. As when 
men have offended their superiors for a while they become more pliant 
and obsequious. It is good in gripes of conscience to observe whence 
you fetch your comfort, and how it groweth upon you ; the trial is most 
sensible: Ps. xciv. 19, 'In the multitude of my thoughts within me 
thy comforts delight my soul.' Though every child of God hath not 
peace of conscience, yet it would much undeceive our hearts if we did 
observe how we come to be satisfied with our estate, and from whence 
that peace which we have doth arise. 

[3.J Upon what terms do you constantly maintain your life and peace 
with God ; upon the foundation of works, or through the merits of 
Christ ? I confess works are a good encouragement, by way of evidence 
and assurance; but still the foundation must be Christ: 1 Cor. iii. 
11, ' For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which 
is Jesus Christ.' The believing soul will never be diverted and taken 
off from Christ, but will still cry, What would become of me were it not 
for free grace ? Neh. ix. 31, ' Nevertheless, for thy great mercies' sake 
thou didst not utterly consume them and forsake them, for thou art a 
gracious and merciful Cod;' 1 Cr. iv. 4, ' For I know nothing by 
myself, yet am I not thereby justified ; but he that judgeth me is the 
Lord.' Christ must still lie as a bundle of myrrh with us : Cant. L 


13, ' A bundle cf myrrh is my well-beloved unto me ; he'shall lie all 
night betwixt my breasts.' 

Use 3. Information ; to direct us how to understand this great truth. 
For your better information, and because I will not perplex these 
discourses with disputes, I shall lay down several propositions ; take 
them all together 

1. That to justify is to account or accept as righteous. 

2. None are accounted or accepted as righteous but those that indeed 
are so. 

3. Every righteousness will not serve the turn, but such as will 
satisfy God's justice. 

4. God's justice will never be satisfied till the law be satisfied. 

5. The law will never be satisfied but by active and passive obedience. 

6. This satisfaction is only to be had in Christ. 

7. There is no having this righteousness in Christ but by imputation. 

8. There is no imputation but by union. 

9. There is no union but by faith. 

[1.] To justify is not to make righteous, but to account or accept as 
righteous. This is the use and force of the word in scripture : Rom. 
ii. 13, ' Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of 
the law shall be justified.' It cannot be taken for the infusion of 
righteousness, because the doers of the law are therefore righteous in 
themselves because they do the law ; but the meaning is, are accounted 
just. It is opposed to condemnation and accusation, therefore it must 
be taken for accounting righteous ; as Rom. viii. 33, ' Who shall lay 
anything to the charge of God's elect ? It is God that justifieth, who 
is he that condemneth?' That which is opposed to accusation is 
justification ; and that it is meant of an accepting in court is clear by 
Ps. cxliii. 2, 'Enter not into judgment with thy servant, Lord, for 
in thy sight no man living shall be justified ; ' that is, in thy righteous 
and strict judgment none can be accepted as righteous. 

[2.] None is accounted righteous before God but he that indeed is 
so ; for otherwise the rule standeth good : Exodus xxxiv. 7, ' He will 
by no means clear the guilty.' It is part of God's name that he pro 
claimed before Moses : it must be such a righteousness as will endure 
God's sight ; so that when God casts his eye upon it, he cannot choose 
but account you righteous, which cannot be by a fiction or an imaginary 
righteousness ' For the judgment of God is according to truth,' Rom. 
ii. 2, be it in mercy or in judgment. And it is a thing God hates in 
Aian: Prov. xvii. 15, 'To condemn the just, and justify the wicked, 
are both an abomination to the Lord.' Therefore there must be such 
a righteousness as, God looking upon it, he must needs account you 

[3.] Every righteousness will not serve the turn, but such only as 
will satisfy God's justice, because by the work of redemption the Lord 
is to suffer no loss; the repute of his justice is still to be kept up-, 
otherwise the notions of the deity would be violated. In the work of 
redemption he is not unrighteous ; therefore the apostle is very zealous : 
Rom. iii. 4, ' Yea, let God be true, and every man a liar ; as it is 
written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings and mightest 
overcome when thou art judged/ &c ; God is necessarily just as well 


as necessarily merciful. Now both attributes must shine with equal 
glory. If he did altogether spare, where were his justice ? and it he 
did accept men upon ordinary terms, and did altogether save, where 
were his mercy? God's infinite wisdom hath determined the con 
troversy, and the apostle gives us an account of it : Horn. iii. 24, 
25, ' Him hath God set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his 
blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins;' and it is 
again repeated 'To declare, I say, at this time, his righteousness, that 
he may be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.' God 
would not only glorify grace, but he would be just in justification; 
therefore, 1 John i. 9, ' If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to 
forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness ; ' and 
again, chap. ii. 1, ' We have an advocate with the Father, even Jes-us 
Christ the righteous.' God would not forgive sins, but so as that it- 
might stand with his justice, for mercy and justice are to shine with 
an equal glory. 

[4.] God's justice can never be satisfied till the law be satisfied. 
Why ? because it is the outward rule of his justice, and the visible 
measure of his dealing with man ; and therefore the satisfaction of his 
justice must be carried on according to the tenor and terms of the law ; 
therefore was Christ made under the law. Now this was the great 
controversy how to salve the authority, power, and worth of the law. 
Christ professeth he came to fulfil it: Mat. v. 17, 18, ' Think not that 
I am come to destroy the law or the prophets : I am not come to 
destroy, but to fulfil,' &c. And the apostle shows plainly the doctrine 
of justification doth not make void the law : Rom. iii. 3J , ' Do we then 
make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish 
the law ; ' therefore legal and gospel righteousness differ, because 
the one is not inherent in us, the other is ; and in the manner of 
receiving it. 

[5.] The law can never be satisfied, as for fallen man, but by an 
active and passive obedience that is, by suffering what is imposed, or 
by doing what is commanded by the law ; for in the law there were two 
things, the precept and the sanction, the duty and the penalty. The 
law doth not only say, Do, and live ; but, Sin, and die. To Adam it 
was proposed in the primitive form, Gen. ii. 17. Now the law must be 
fulfilled in the threatening and precept, that there may be a freedom 
from the curse, and a right to eternal life. And indeed Jesus Christ, 
by being made under the law, by sustaining the penalty and perform 
ing the obedience of it, hath done both : 1 Thes. i. 10, there is one 
part 'Even Jesus, who delivered us from the wrath to come;' and 
Ephes. i. 6, there is the other part ' We are accepted in the beloved.' 
God freeth none from hell but those Christ suffered for ; and accepts 
none to life but those Christ hath performed obedience for. 

[6.] This satisfaction can be performed by none but Jesus Christ; 
for, ala,s ! we could neither bear the penalty nor discharge the duty ; 
not bear the penalty, for we should have always been satisfying, 
always paying, but never could be said to have satisfied ; and we could 
never discharge the duty of it, for the law is ' become weak through the 
flesh,' Rom.viii 3; that is, as the case stands now with man fallen. 'Those 
works that need pardon themselves can never satisfy : Acts iv. 12, 


* Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name 
under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.' 

[7.] There is no having of this righteousness from Christ but by 
imputation. I know here some boggle and say, Imputation is nowhere 
found in scripture. I answer, We do not stand upon words and 
syllables ; but this is most proper, and it may be well gathered, for 
Christ is said ' to be made righteousness/ 1 Cor. i. 30 ; righteousness 
is said ' to be imputed without works/ Rom. iv. 6 ; and ' faith is im 
puted for righteousness/ Rom. iv. 22. To clear the proposition, it 
must needs be by imputation (1.) Because this righteousness must be 
in justificato, in the justified person. This righteousness, one way or 
other, must belong to the person justified, otherwise the Lord cannot 
look upon us as righteous. The man was cast out ' that had not on 
him the wedding garment/ Mat. xxii. 11-13. Now by infusion it can 
not be, all inherent righteousness being imperfect ; therefore it must 
be by imputation. (2.) Consider what imputation is. To impute is 
to reckon a thing to our score and account; and those things are said 
to be imputed to us which are accounted ours to all intents and pur 
poses, as if they were our own. Now in this sense our sins were 
imputed to Christ, and Christ's righteousness is imputed to us. The 
apostle makes the parallel : 2 Cor. v. 21, ' For he hath made him to 
be sin for us, who knew no sin ; that we might be made the righteous 
ness of God in him/ Look, as Christ was so dealt with as if he had 
been a sinner, so we are as if we were righteous. Our iniquities were 
not infused into Christ, but imputed and laid upon him : Isa. liii. 6, 
' The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all ; ' so is h ; s righteous 
ness upon all them that believe. And the apostle useth another com 
parison ; as Adam's guilt is laid upon us, so is Christ's righteousness ; 
'As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners; so by the 
obedience of one shall many be made righteous/ Rom. v. 19. In short, 
the apostle saith, 1 Cor. i. 30, that Christ is 'made unto us of God 
righteousness ; ' and the whole righteousness is imputed to satisfy the 
obligation of the law, and to repair Adam's loss ; for we were guilty of 
death, and we came short of glory : Gal. iv. 4-6. ' When the fulness 
of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made 
under the law/ &c. 

[8.] There is no imputation but by union. All interest is founded 
in union : Gal. iii. 27, ' As many of you as have been baptized into 
Christ have put on Christ;' all his merits and satisfaction are theirs, 
as if performed in their own persons : 1 Cor. i. 30, ' Of him are ye in 
Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, 
a.nd sa notification, and redemption/' We are interested in all, as we 
are in him ; by being one with Christ we put him on. 

[9.] There is no union but by faith ; then God receives us into grace : 
Rom. x. 10, ' With the heart man believeth unto righteousness.' It is 
the ordination of God that this grace should unite us to Christ, and 
so give us a right to all that is in Christ ; indeed it is the fittest grace 
to receive the fruits of union. I confess there is a moral union by 
love that gives comfort ; but faith begins the mystical union, and so 
gives safety. 



By tvhich he obtained witness that he ivas righteous, God testifying of 
his gifts HEB. xi. 4. 

Now I come to the second doctrine. AC 979, 'by which' may be referred 
to 8v<ria or irlffTt^ ; and I referred the righteousness to faith, and the 
testimony to the sacrifice. For the clearing of which you may remem 
ber, I observed that in this duty of sacrifice the two brethren did appeal 
to God, and put it to trial, whom the Lord would choose and design 
to be head of the blessed seed and race ; and the Lord by fire from 
heaven, which was the then visible teslimony of acceptance, determined 
the matter on Abel's side ; besides, the apostle proveth that the solemn 
testimony of his righteousness was first given to him by God's witness 
ing of his girts. Whence I observe 

Doct. 2. That upon the raised operations of faith with other graces 
in solemn duties, we usually receive the testimony of righteousness in 
Christ, or acceptance with God. 

Abel's testimony was extraordinary, by fire from heaven ; but still 
God is not wanting to witness concerning the services of his people: 
all is not left in the dark, and to the decision and revelation of the last 
day. Instead of those outward dispensations, we now receive an inward 
testimony of the Spirit, and upon the exercise of grace God giveth us 
this testimony. Now there are two special seasons of the exercise of 
grace on our part, and so of the manifestations of comfort on God's 
part ; there is the season of afflictions and the season of duties ; and in 
both God's people receive from him the solemn witness and seal of the 
Holy Ghost. In afflictions when we need comfort, and in duties when 
we seek comfort, we have the sweetest experiences of the testimony of 
the Spirit. Upon afflictions, you have it set down : Heb. xii. 11, ' After 
ward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them that 
are exercised thereby/ The sweet and last fruit and issue of it is 
peace of conscience ; so Rom. v. 3-5, ' Tribulation worketh patience, 
and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope maketh not 
ashamed;' upon what ground? 'Because the love of God is shed 
abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.' Affliction puts us upon the 
exercise of grace, and the exercise of grace occasioneth sweet experiences 
of God in our souls, by which hope is more and more kindled ; and this 
is ratified by the confirmation of the Spirit. 

But we are to speak of experiences in solemn duties, wherein God 
is wont to open himself to his people, and all jealousies and misunder 
standings between him and his servants are cleared up ; and there he 
breaks in upon them sensibly for the furtherance of their joy. 

I shall prove this is God's wonted course (1.) By the experiences 
of the saints ; (2 ) By the promises of God ; (3.) By several arguments 
and reasons. 

1. By the experiences of the saints. When the scriptures were 
written, God's ways were extraordinary, and therefore most of the 
instances are extraordinary ; but however, we do not urge the manner, 
bat the thing itself. The leading instance shall be that of Joshua the 


high priest. When he was ministering before the Lord, it is said. Zech. 
iii. 3, 4, ' Joshua was clothed witli filthy garments, and stood before the 
angel ; and he answered, and spake unto those that stood before him, 
saying, Take away the filthy garments from him ;' and God gave this 
testimony to him, ' I have caused thine iniquity to pass from tliee, and 
I will clothe thee with change of raiment.' I know that visional type 
doth mainly respect the restoration of the church of the Jews, the 
church of the Jews being represented in Joshua, who was the 
chief-officer of the church ; however, there is something moral 
in it. In the time of his ministration his filthy garments were 
taken away, which is the usual emblem of sin in scripture, and 
change of raiment is put on him, which is an emblem of the 
righteousness of Christ applied and put on by faith, as it is ex 
plained by the Spirit of God himself. So Cornelius, Acts x. 3, it 
is said an angel came about the ninth hour to assure him God had 
taken notice of his graces and duties : ver. 4, ' Thy prayers and thine 
alms are come up for a memorial before God." Note the circumstance 
of 'the ninth hour/ which was one of the hours of prayer : Acts iii. 1, 
'Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of 
prayer, being the ninth hour,' which this proselyte observes ; and 
therefore about the ninth hour, in the middle of his prayers and devo 
tions, an angel comes to him and assures him what acceptance he had 
found. So the prophet Daniel : chap. ix. 20, 21, 'And while I was 
speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin,' &c.; 'yea, whilst I was 
speaking in prayer, the angel Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision 
at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the 
time of the evening-oblation.' The Spirit of God placeth a great deal 
of emphasis upon this circumstance. At the very instant of prayer, 
when he was earnestly pleading with God, God answers his request, 
and an angel is despatched to come and certify to him his acceptance ; 
God overtakes his duty by a speedy return of mercy. That way of 
assurance is extraordinary ; but God's wonted course is many times to 
give in a solemn assurance of his favour in the very time of our prayers; 
so Acts iv. 31, ' When they had prayed, the place was shaken where 
they were assembled together, and they were all filled with the Holy 
Ghost.' Mark, in the very rime and act of their prayer there is a mira 
culous descent of the Holy Ghost upon them ; the instances are 
singular and extraordinary, yet there is some analogy and proportion 
between them and ordinary cases. Though God's dispensations be 
now more spiritual, yet they are very sensible still ; though we cannot 
expect voices, raptures, shakings, oracles, and angels, yet we may expect 
to hear the trumpet of the assemblies, which the psalmist expressesby the 
* joyful sound,' Ps. Ixxxix. 15 : that is, the testimony of the Holy Ghost 
and spiritual experiences, as will appear more fully by the next head. 

2. By the promises of God. God hath promised to meet his people 
with sensible comforts, to talk and confer with them in their duties ; 
the very aim of all duties is more immediate communion with God. 
See God's promises to his old church, while grace was more sparingly 
dispensed : Exod. xxix. 42, ' At the door of the tabernacle of the con 
gregation, there will 1 meet with you, and speak there unto you.' It 
is meant of God's gracious and social presence with his people in duties 


of worship ; there he will meet, and speak, and confer with them for 
their comfort and satisfaction : Isa. Iviii. 9, ' Thou slialt call, and the 
Lord shall answer ; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here am I.' Mark, 
when complaints are heightened into cries, then God's answer will be 
more sensible ; when we come in an affectionate manner, not only call, 
but cry. Sometimes God plainly discovereth himself in the very time 
of the duty ; he meets with them in such and such ordinances, as if he 
should say, Poor soul, what would you have ? here am I to satisfy thee. 
He communeth, talketh with them, and tells them their sins are par 
doned, and they are accepted in Christ : Ps. xxxvi. 7-9, 'Thou shalt 
abundantly satisfy them with the fatness of thine house, and make 
them to drink of the rivers of thy pleasures ; ' there comforts are dis 
pensed, there flow the rivers of spiritual pleasure and chaste delights 
of the gospel. 

Obj. But you will say, This is not always so ; there are many wait 
upon God long, and feel no comfort. I answer, It is true. Such dis 
pensations are free, they are not at the creature's beck : God will be 
master of his own mercies ; we have deserved nothing, and we cannot 
murmur if we receive nothing ; yet if ever they find spiritual consola 
tion, it will be in God's house. This is the established means ; if ever 
you taste the fatness and sweetness of grace, it will be by waiting upon 
him there. Earnest and affectionate duties are seldom without comfort 
and profit. And again I answer, that delight, which is a duty, makes 
way for delight which is a dispensation : Cant. ii. 3, ' I sat down under 
his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.' 
When you delight in God, then the Lord will give in sensible consola 
tion. Delights are mutual and sensible ; God delights in us, and we 
in God. When we delight in him, in the word, in prayer, or in the 
supper, by way of return God sends us secret consolation : Isa. Ixiv. 5, 
' Thou meetest him that rejoiceth, and worketh righteousness, those that 
remember thee in thy ways.' Those that delight in God's company, that 
do good with a willing heart, are bountifully entertained, sweetly 
refreshed, and sent away with a feast of loves. In our affectionate and 
spiritual duties, Christ will come and say, ' Well done, good and faithful 
servant, enter into thy master's joy ! ' The present returns and recom 
penses, when we come before the throne of grace, carry some proportion 
with the entertainment we shall find with God hereafter when we come 
to be seated upon the throne of glory. I say, in earnest prayer, though 
we can prescribe nothing, but this is his wonted course, his answer is 
sensible in his ordinances. Saith Luther, Utinam eodem ardore, &c. 
Would to God that I could always pray with the like fervency and 
earnestness ! Why ? for I sensibly receive this answer, Thy desires are 
granted, Fiat quod velisBe it unto thee as thou wilt. When we rejoice 
to converse with God in the ways of righteousness, then his dispensa 
tions of grace are full of sweetness. 

3. The reasons why God observeth this course ; to exhibit and give 
out more sensible manifestations of his grace in the time of ordinances, 
when our graces are raised and drawn out to the height. The question 
consisteth of two parts. 

[1.] Why grace or sanctification is necessary to the receiving of the 
testimony of the Spirit ? 


[2.] Why upon the raised operations of grace God is wont to give 
it into his people? 

First, Why grace is necessary by way of evidence, though not by 
way of merit and cause ? 

Ans. 1. Because this is the most sensible effect of God's spiritual 
bounty, for it is a work of God within us, and so more apt to give us 
an evidence. Election, that is in heaven, a secret which lies hid in the 
bosom of the Father ; redemption, that is without us, upon the cross ; 
justification is God's judiciary act, a sentence of the judge without 
us ; but sanctification is a work upon our heart, therefore it is called 
the ' earnest of the Spirit,' 2 Cor. i. 22, and ' the first-fruits of the 
Spirit,' Rom. viii. 23. Grace is an earnest to show how sure, and the 
first-fruits to show how good heaven is ; by grace God gives us a taste 
to show how sweet, and a pledge to show how sure all the privileges 
of Christianity are made over to our souls. 

2. Because it is the best way to prevent delusion ; immediate revela 
tion would be more uncertain and liable to suspicion, and we may lie 
down in sorrow, notwithstanding flashes of comfort. There is no way to 
discern the operation of the Spirit from counterfeit ravishments, but by 
sanctification and grace. There is a great deal of deceit in flash y joys, 
but this is a solid witness and evidence : 1 John iii. 19, 'Hereby we know 
that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him; ' that is, 
without fear of presumption and hypocrisy, we may come and plead our 
interest before God. Acts of comfort are sweet and delightful when 
felt, but yet are but transient acts ; they soon pass away, they come 
and go, they are acts of God's royalty and magnificence, and you know 
every day is not a feast-day, God doth not always feast us with sensible 
consolation ; but grace is a solid and abiding evidence : 1 John ii. 27, 
' The anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you ; ' and 1 
John iii. 8, ' His seed remaineth in him.' Lively acts of joy and comfort 
are but like those motions of the Spirit upon Samson ; it is said the 
Spirit came upon him ' at times,' Judges xiii. 25, heightening of his- 
strength and courage ; so these come upon us but at times. Therefore 
standing evidences which are drawn from grace are far more certain 
than sensible consolation. 

3. Because the Spirit s witness is seldom single, but given in con 
junction with water and blood : 1 John v. 8, ' There are three that 
bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood;' not 
only the blood of Christ, which witnesseth their redemption, but the 
water of sanctification, which witnesseth their interest in that redemp 
tion ; and then the Spirit comes and seals it in the heart of a believer. 
The Spirit's testimony is made to be subsequent, and follows the testi 
mony of our renewed conscience, Rom. viii. 16 ; for the Spirit's witness 
is nothing but his owning of grace in the heart, which is his own 
impress and seal, and assuring the soul. This is a stamp and fruit of 
mine ; it is the ratifying of his own work to believers. 

4. Because grace giveth most clearness, calmness, and serenity of 
mind, so that we are most able to judge of those experiences. Where- 
ever there is purity, there is a witness, for it brings in light and comfort 
into the soul. Lusts are the clouds of the mind, which darken the 
judgment and distress the conscience ; and therefore the apostle saith, 


2 Peter i. 9, that when men neglect to grow in grace, 'they are blind, and 
cannot see afar off ;' they have no spiritual discerning, and are not 
ahle to judge of spiritual" matters. An impure soul is always in the 
dark, full of doubts and fears ; certainly the more grace, the more con 
fidence, for there is more clearness of discerning. Guilt begets a servile 
fear and awe. Shame and fear entered into the world with sin ; it 
weakens confidence. Compare Gen. ii. 25, with Gen. iii. 10 ; in the 
former place it is said, ' The man and the woman were both naked, 
and were not ashamed ; ' why ? because they were in a state of inno- 
cency ; but in the other place, ' I was afraid, because I was naked.' 
As soon as sin came into the world there was fear upon the conscience 
of the guilty creature. 

5. Because of the inseparable connection, that is, by the ordination 
and appointment of God, between grace and comfort: Eph. i 13, ' In 
whom, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of 
promise/ In the original it is, TOJ Trvev/juari TT)S e7rayye\.tas rw dyta) 
Ye were sealed by the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of promise. 
There are three articles ; he seals as the Spirit of God, and as the Holy 
Spirit ; he will not seal to a blank, but where there is holiness and 
grace wrought in the heart. The apostle proves this is the method of 
God out of the names of Melchisedec : Heb. vii. 2, ' First being by 
interpretation king of righteousness, and after that also king of Salem ; 
that is, king of peace.' First he bestows grace, and then gladness ; 
first he disposeth the heart to righteousness, then works peace in the 
eoul : Ps. cxix. 165, ' Great peace have they that love thy law ; ' they 
maintain and keep their comfort without interruption. Acts ix. 31, 
there is such another connection ' The churches walked in the fear of 
the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost: ' the more grace, 
the greater comfort and satisfaction. This is the way which God hath 

Secondly, Why these graces must be exercised in holy duties. 

1. Because thereby God would endear duty to the creature, by mak 
ing it the means of comfort. This is the best course to maintain the 
traffic and commerce that is between God and the creature. Look, as 
there is commerce between two distant places by trading, so between 
us and heaven, by exchange of duties and comforts ; our prayers come up 
before him, God's blessings come down to us. Who can expect gold 
from the Indies, but those that trade there in ships ? Who can expect 
these rich dispensations of God, but those that trade with him in holy 
service ? It is true, every time we bring our wares to God we do not 
make such a good market, because God rather gives than sells, and he 
gives at pleasure, though usually there is some defect in us, but this is 
God's established course. Or look, as the earth and the air maintain a 
commerce one with another : the sea and land send up vapours and 
exhalations into the air, and the air sends down sweet showers and sweet 
dews for the refreshing of the earth ; unless the earth sendeth up vapours, 
the air sendeth down nothing ; and so, unless we come and converse 
with God in holy duties, there are no dews and refreshments that come 
down from above for the watering of a parched heart ; and without the 
religious ascent of prayers and graces we have no influences from heaven. 
This is God's established order. 


2. Because when our graces are exercised, then there is most rational 
likelihood that we shall receive this testimony from God. Consider it 
with respect to either witness that must concur to the settling your peace : 
for look, as under the law everything was to be established in the mouth 
of two or three witnesses, so it is in the great matters of our peace like 
wise. There is the Spirit and the renewed conscience, by which our 
peace is established ; and if we consider either, we shall find we are 
most likely to receive this testimony when grace is exercised. Look 
upon it 

[1.] On the Spirit's part. Those raised operations of grace are the 
special fruits of the Holy Ghost ; he not only works grace at first, but 
he gives actual help for the exercising of it ; and therefore when he 
hath moved and stirred us most, he is most like to seal. It is the con 
stant method of the Spirit first to work grace, and then to seal it ; the 
more conspicuous the work, the more of 'this sealing may we 

[2.] It is more rational upon our part ; for the more our graces are 
exercised, the more they are in view of conscience. Grace exercised 
and drawn out into action is more apparent and sensible to the soul ; 
acts are more liable to feeling than habits. Fire in a flint is neither seen 
nor felt, but when knocked against a steel, then you may discern it ; 
so when we draw out that which lies hid in the soul, then conscience 
can take the more notice of it. Hoots under ground in winter are not 
observed till they shoot forth in the spring ; the stream is seen when 
the fountain is hid ; the apples, leaves, blossoms, and buds are visible 
when the life and the sap is not seen ; EO acts are taken notice of by 
conscience when useless habits lie out of sight ; or if they be drawn 
out by imperfect operations, when our motions are faint and weak, they 
are like the waters of Siloah that run slowly a man can hardly discern 
whether it be living water or a standing pool. No wonder our comfort 
is so weak, when sanctification runs so slow, and is scarce to be dis 
cerned. By experience we find that raised operations bring comfort 
and peace with them ; we feel a great calmness and serenity in our 
consciences after some solemn duty, because conscience can sweetly 
reflect upon the exercises of grace, and quiet itself with the discharge 
of its own duty ; then there is a peace and contentment within the 

3. I prove it by the rule of proportion. Look, as great sins destroy 
our comfort, so also the raised exercise of graces in duty increase our 
comfort. Scandalous sins, like a blot upon our evidences, do obscure 
them, waste conscience, and eclipse our comfort ; and when we return to 
folly, we smart for it : Ps. Ixxxv. 8, ' The Lord will speak peace to his 
people ; but let them not return to folly,' implying they hazard all their 
comfort when they give way to great corruptions : so on the contrary 
side, when we exercise our graces, they administer comfort. All that 
can be objected against this is, that there is no merit in duties as there 
is in sins ; but though duty do not merit comfort, yet it is the measure 
of it, for hereby the heart is prepared for peace, and usually according 
to the preparation of the heart ; so God comes in with the supplies of 
comfort : Ps. x. 17, ' Thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine 
ear to hear.' When the heart is mightily drawn out in duty, answerable 



are the returns of God's grace. Vessels thus prepared are of a larger 
size, and can receive more of the bounty of God: Jer. xxix. 13, 'Ye 
shall seek roe and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your 
heart.' God's answers of grace are according to the excitations of grace. 

4. Because it is the best way to bring us to improve comfort. That 
which cometh from God and in God's way leadeth us again to God. 
There is nothing which raiseth the soul to such a degree of reverence 
and to such a wonder of grace as the experiences of duty do ; then the 
heart is full of joy and the mouth full of praise, and God hath all the 
honour : these are the lasting experiences that both endear God and 
endear the ways of God to us. (1.) They endear God : Ps. cxvi. 1, 2, 
' I will love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my suppli 
cation ; because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call 
upon him as long as I live.' (2.) They endear the ways of God to us. 
Comforts received in the way of duty come double to us : Ps. cxix. 93, 
' I will never forget thy precepts, for by them thou hast quickened me ; ' 
I will never forget such a sermon and such an ordinance wherein I 
have received such quipkenings and such sweet enlargements from the 
Lord. The myrrh which Christ had left upon the handle of the lock 
made the spouse more earnest after Christ. What made David pant 
after God ? the sweet experiences of duty : Ps. Ixiii. 2, ' To see thy 
power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary/ Look, 
as when the springs are low, a little water cast into a pump brings up 
a great deal more ; so when God hath cast a few experiences into the 
soul, it breeds more affection, more love, and more joy. Now it is no 
wonder vain spirits question duties when God never ministered comfort 
to them that way ; they are full of satanical illusions and fanatic joys 
and conceits of comfort in the neglect of ordinances, but they never 
received the solid comfort of ordinances. 

Use 1. It serves to inform us what little reason they have to complain 
of the want of comfort that are not diligent in the exercise of grace. 
Usually we lie upon the bed of ease, and expect God should drop 
comfort into us out of the clouds : 2 Peter i. 5, compared with ver. 10 ; 
' Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue,' &c ; then ver. 10, 
' Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure.' We must 
be much in the exercise of grace before ever the Lord gives us comfort. 
Whatever he may do for some out of the prerogative of free grace we 
cannot tell ; yet usually after much waiting and diligence, we receive 
this testimony from God. We find the Israelites in the wilderness 
were fed with manna from heaven, but the standing rule is 'In the 
sweat of thy brow thou shalt eat thy bread/ Gen. iii. 19 ; ' And he 
that will not work, let him not eat,' 2 Thes. iii. 10. Comfort is the 
recompense of industry and the encouragement of faith and obedience. 
If we should gain assurance by neglecting the means, we should soon 
lose it again ; the Spirit would not speak so clearly as before. Comfort 
is a free dispensation, but always given in the use of means. The clock 
runs upon its own wheels; however, there must be weights hung- on, 
and we must draw them up at the appointed times. So God's dispensa 
tions run upon their own wheels ; they are free, but they have their 
proper weights ; and unless we pull up the weights by faith and prayer, 
the clock of mercy will stand still ; certainly it will speak no comfort 


nor sound peace to our souls. A fond expectation it is to look for 
comfort, and yet to live in sin, or else content ourselves with the low 
and faint operations of grace. Alas ! they that look for a full joy and 
yet walk in darkness, John will tell them plainly they lie, 1 John i. 6 ; 
and so men, distracted with the din and hurry of worldly cares and 
businesses, choke conscience, and so can never hear the voice of the 
Spirit. The children of God are to blame also ; their sane tin" cation is 
low ; and scarce to be discerned, therefore no wonder their comfort is but 
low. Grace, if any way exercised, is seldom without a witness. Never 
expect comfort either in the neglect or decay of holiness ; there will 
always be a doubting of the truth and a jarring between your 
consciences and desires. 

Use 2. To press you to three things to be much in duties, to draw 
out your graces to a high degree, and to observe your experiences. 

1. To be much in duty. There are sweet comforts to be dispensed, 
there is marrow and fatness, and all you can desire ; comforts that differ 
only from the joys of heaven in the degree and in the manner of fruition ; 
rivers of pleasure that flow from God's house ; therefore be frequent 
in holy duties. Solomon saith, Prov. xxvii. 18, ' He that keeps the 
fig-tree 'shall eat the fruit thereof/ Certainly God is not a hard 
master ; if you keep close to Christ in duty, you shall taste of the fruit 
thereof ; but alas ! otherwise, if you neglect duties of religion, where 
will you have comfort ? He that is a stranger to God is and must 
necessarily be a stranger to the joys of the Spirit: Job xxii. 21, 
' Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace.' Usually we have 
peace and satisfaction after long acquaintance and familiarity with God, 
but those that are seldom or cold and customary in duties can never 
expect any solid joy. 

2. To draw out your graces to some raised and high degree ' Then 
thou shalt call, and the Lord shall answer ; thou shalt cry, and he shall 
say, Here am I,' Isa Iviii. 9. It will be sweet to hear Christ say, 
' Well done, good and faithful servant.' Look into the sphere of nature 
or sphere of grace, all excellent things are obtained with difficulty, 
and they will cost us much labour and sweat ; so will all ravishing 
sweet comforts cost us much pains in the duties of religion : Acts xxvi. 
7, it is said, ' The twelve tribes served God instantly day and night.' In 
the original it is / eVrez/ei'a, with the utmost of their strength, with 
their extended abilities. You should seek God. and raise your graces 
to a vigorous degree and height ; then the Lord will come in : Jer. 
xxix. 13, 'You shall seek me and find me, when you shall search for 
me with all your hearts.' Alas ! many vainly accuse mercy when 
they themselves are idle, and do not seek God with all their hearts. 

3. To observe experiences. It is good to listen to the softer whispers 
and suggestions of the Holy Ghost. Still be looking for God's answer 
and God's return ; as the psalmist saith, Ps. Ixxxv. 8, ' I will hear 
what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people.' 
Ah ! hearken and wait still, when God will drop out a word of peace 
and comfort, that you may be able to know the purposes of his grace. 
If the oracle be silent, beg the more: Ps. Ixxxvi. 17, 'Show me a 
token for good.' So go to God for some comfortable experiences of 
his grace, especially after great sins, deep distress, and strong desire : 


Ps li 8 ' Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones that thou 
liast broken may rejoice ; ' his conscience was troubled, and he begs 
peace in his conscience. 

Use 3 To put us on the trial, how shall we discern the testimony 
God giveth us in duties? I answer, Two ways: by impressions and 
by expressions, for God writeth and speaketh. 

1. By impressions, which are left to be managed by our reason and 
discourse. By impressions I mean two things ^ 

[I.] Those gracious experiences we have of quickening enlargement 
and actual excitation in the duty ; these are tokens for good : Ps. x. 
17. ' Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble, thou wilt prepare 
their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear.' Fire from heaven was 
the visible testimony of old ; that which answers it now is fire in the 
affections ; there is a communion with God in grace, though not in 
comfort; the motions of your hearts towards God 'are discovered by 
the enlargement of your desires ; unutterable groans are a fruit of the 
Spirit's presence as well as unutterable joys ; he is not only called 'the 
Comforter/ John xiv. 26, but ' the spirit of grace and supplication,' 
Zech. xii. 10. 

[2.] The frame of the spirit after duty. Peace, as well as joy, is a 
fruit of the Holy Ghost : Eom. xiv. 17, ' The kingdom of God is not 
meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy 
Ghost.' God giveth you a rest from the accusations from conscience, 
though not sensible consolations ; as when a man cometh from a prince 
cheerful because of his hopes, though he hath not received an actual 
answer to his request. Suavities and joys are mere dispensations : 2 
Cor. iii. 17, < Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.' Many 
of his children God keepeth in the lower way, and usually, though they 
have less of comfort, they have more of grace ; there is an impression 
of confidence and support is given, though not ravishment. By con 
versing with God Christians learn to rejoice in their hopes, though 
they have not enjoyment: Heb. iii. 6, 'Whose house are we if we 
hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the 
end.' It is a great matter to have impressions of confidence and 
encouragement in waiting. 

2. By expressions ; when God doth, as it were, speak to us, and we 
are comfortably persuaded by the Spirit of God that we are accepted 
with him. Heretofore God spake to the ear audibly and by oracle : 
Gen. xv. 1, ' The word of the Lord came unto Abrarn in a vision, say 
ing, Fear not, Abram,' &c ; but now he speaks by his Spirit, not by 
voices and oracles ; such things are the dotages of distempered persons. 
A voice there is : Psa. li. 8, ' Make me to hear joy and gladness,' &c. ; 
David prayeth for it : Ps. xxxv. 3, ' Say unto my soul, I am thy salva 
tion ; ' but this voice is inward and secret, not to our ears, but to our 
hearts : 1 John v. 10, ' He that believeth in the Son of God hath the 
witness in himself ; ' Eom. v. 5, ' The love of God is shed abroad in 
our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us.' God speaks 
to us by our own thoughts, which may be discerned to be the voice of the 
Spirit by the certainty and sweetness of it. The Spirit's voice can hardly 
be discerned from the voice of renewed conscience, because it insinu- 
ateth itself with our discourse and reason: Kom. ix. 1, 'I speak the truth 


in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy 
Ghost.' It can only be distinguished by its certainty and overpower 
ing light : Lam. iii. 24, ' The Lord is my portion, saith my soul ; ' and 
the Spirit assureth us it is true. Now the Spirit's witness is sometimes 
more sensible, and accompanied with sweetness ; but at all times certain, 
and accompanied with peace. The Spirit's witness concerning us must 
be understood with analogy to his witness concerning the word ; some 
times it is more high and sensible ; we cry, as the centurion, Mat. xxvii. 
54, ' Truly this was the Son of God ; ' it is he, and it can be no other. 
At other times there is a more temperate confidence ; so here con 
science witnesseth we can be no other but the sons of God, and then it 
leaveth a marvellous sweetness upon the soul, and a reverence of grace. 
At other times confidence is more deliberate and temperate , and though 
there be not such a lively sweetness and strong consolation, that is, the 
effect of solemn duties, raised meditation, fervent prayer, and the like, 
yet there is serenity and calmness of mind, which is the same which I 
called peace of conscience before, but only that it is not built upon 
future hopes, but a present interest. 

Use 4. To direct us how we should behave ourselves with reference 
to this matter. 

1. If God giveth snstentation and support, we must be contented, 
though we feel no sweetness and sensible consolation. For 

[1.] God is not a debtor, and may do with his own what he pleaseth 
in dispensations of comfort, as well as dispensations of grace : Phil. ii. 
13, ' For it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his 
good pleasure.' And 

[2.] We may want it without sin ; it is a preferment, and we must 
tarry till the master of the feast do bid us sit higher. We sin if they 
be despised : Job xv. 11, ' Are the consolations of God small with 
thee ? ' not if they be enjoyed ; it is not the want of comfort, but the 
contempt of it that is culpable. Such things as are mere dispensations 
and proposed as rewards are different from duties. To want grace, 
though it be God's gift, is a sin, because the creature is under an obli 
gation ; but not to want comfort, because that is merely given, not 

2. When God speaketh comfort, you must hear ; you grieve the Spirit 
by resisting his witness, as well as his work. It is the duty of the crea 
ture to listen : Ps. Ixxxv. 8, 'I will hear what God the Lord will speak; 
for he will speak peace unto his people and to his saints ; ' it is irreve 
rence and contempt when God speaketh, and we will not hear. A friend 
would take himself to be affronted at such a carriage ; if we are to wait, 
certainly we are to hearken. Now because persons of much fancy and 
great affection are wont to be full of scruples, and to underrate their 
own spiritual estate, and to suspect all that maketh for their comfort, 
let me tell you when comfort ought not to be suspected. 

[1.] If it come in God's way, in duty, and upon the raised operations 
of grace, which note will distinguish it from delusions. Comforts 
and ravishments in the neglect of ordinances, as in fanatical persons, are 
always deceitful. God hath promised to talk with his people at the sanctu 
ary door, and to meet them that remember him in his ways : Isa. Ixiv. 5, 
' Thou meetest him that rejoiceth, and. worketh righteousness, those 


that remember thee in thy ways. And so it is also distinguished from 
that confidence that Is in ignorant persons, which is nothing but a blind 
presumption, which would vanish if it did come to the light : John iii. 
20, ' For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither coineth he 
to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.' If in prayer or deep 
meditation God giveth in strong consolation, never suspect it. 

[2.] If it lead us to God. Carnal security and presumption never 
urgeth to thankfulness, nor to a rejoicing in God ; they do not taste the 
sweetness of grace, and therefore have no reverence, no wonder at it : 
1 Peter ii. 9, 'But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy 
nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of him 
who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.' Fana 
tical joys put men upon pride, and a contempt of ordinances ; but in 
solid joys the soul is filled with reverence as well as sweetness : Ps. 
cxvi. 12, ' What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards 


By which lie obtained ivitness that lie ivas righteous, God testifying of 
his gifts. HEB. xi. 4. 

Doct. 3. That only the works of persons who are righteous are accepted 
with God. 

It is clear from the apostle's argument He obtained witness that lie 
was righteous. Why? God testified of his gifts. If God accept of his 
gift, he was a righteous person ; for God accepts the services of none 
but those that are righteous. First God accepts the person, and then 
the performance ; so Gen. iv. 4, ' God had 'respect to Abel, and to his 
offering ; ' first to Abel, and then to his offering. The person pleased 
him in Christ, and then his sacrifice. It is said, Judges xiii. 23, by 
Manoah's wife to him, ' If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would 
not have received a burnt-offering, nor a meat-offering at our hands.' 
She builds the acceptance of the person upon the acceptance of the 
service ; for God accepts the gifts arid offerings of none but those whose 
persons please him in Christ. So the Lord himself says, Mai. i. 10, ' I 
have no pleasure in you/ no delight in their persons ; then it follows 
presently, ' I will not accept of an offering at your hand.' Before the 
person pleaseth God, the work cannot, for these reasons 

1. Because this is the method of the covenant of grace, not to accept 
the person for the work's sake, but to accept of the work for the person's 
sake. God doth not accept us for our prayers and good duties ; that 
was the tenor of the first covenant, whereby our justification depended 
upon the worth and value of our works. It is not now, Do and live, 
but, Believe and live ; it is not according to the work that we are accepted, 
but according to our interest in Christ, Eph. i. G, ' He hath made us 
accepted in the beloved.' Ala.s ! when a man is out of Christ, it is not 


enough for him to do his best ; the law is not relaxed ; it requires 
duty without abatement, or else it enforceth punishment without any 
mitigation. Do and live, sin and die. It doth not accept of our prayers, 
our tears, and our best, for the least failing renders us guilty of trans 
gressing the whole law ; so that, upon that supposition, ' if it were 
possible to keep the whole law, and offend in one point, he is guilty of 
all,' James ii. 10. That rule brooks no exception, until we change 
our copy ; till we be in Christ, one failing is enough to provoke God's 
disi >leusure. If a natural man could be supposed to keep the whole law 
and break but in one point, he is undone. 

2. Because otherwise our duties receive defilement from our persons ; 
like precious liquor in a tainted and unsavoury vessel, or like that 
jewel put into a dead man's mouth, that loseth all its virtue : Prov. xxi. 
27, ' The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord ; ' mark, 
' how much more when he bringeth it with a wicked mind ? ' When it 
is represented to God with all the advantages imaginable, yet it is 
abominable because it is a wicked man's prayer ; but usually there is 
some foul defect, that their very persons taint tbeir services. 

Obj. 1. Is not God then a respecter of persons? will not this infringe 
the justice of God ? I might answer thus If he should, he is under no 
rule ; the moral law is a rule to us, but not to God ; and he may do 
with his own creature as pleaseth him, and with his own grace as 
pleaseth him ; Mat. xx. 15, ' Is it not lawful for me to do what I will 
with my own ? ' 

But I answer rather, Respecting of persons, when it is sinful, is this, 
when in any cause we give more or less than is meet to any other 
person, because of something that hath no relation to the cause, as in 
judgment. When we wink at moral excesses, and acquit a man from 
the sentence of the law for his greatness, or when we deny right to a 
poor man because of his poverty. Now such a respect of persons can 
not be imagined in God ; for 

[1.] There is a cause why God should accept the services of justified 
persons, because he hath received a satisfaction in Jesus Christ. We 
are made comely in his comeliness ; Christ hath paid down a valuable 
consideration why all your persons and services should be accepted, 
though accompanied with weakness : Heb. x. 19, ' Having therefore 
boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus ; ' this accept 
ance is purchased for us by the blood of Jesus. It was God's bargain 
with Christ, that he would love, bless, and justify all his seed, if he 
would lay down his soul as an offering for sin, Isa. liii. 10. There is 
the solemn bargain, ' When thou shalt make his soul an offering for 
sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of 
the Lord shall prosper in his hand.' 

[2.] There is great reason why God should refuse the services of 
wicked men, because besides the state of their persons, there are gross 
defects in their services ; if he sacrifice, it is ' with an evil mind/ Frov. 
xxi. 27. For the principle, it is not out of obedience but custom ; for 
the manner, it is not with the affection of a child but with bondage ; 
for the end, it is not for God's glory but to promote secular interest. 
So that, a posteriori, these circumstances clear the justice of God; their 
most devotional aim is to please God, that they may the better quiet 


themselves in their vanity and excess ; but the reason why they are 
not accepted is because they have no interest in Christ. 

Obj. 2. Will it not open a gap to looseness ? If wicked men be not 
accepted, why do they pray and hear ? had they not as good do nothing ? 
I answer, No. 

[1.] Because this would be a way to increase their sin, wholly to 
neglect them. There is no reason why God should lose his right be 
cause we have lost our power. Inky water will never wash the hands 
clean, and our sinftilness doth not take off our obligation ; God hath 
required it, and a wicked man is still under an obligation ; a drunken 
servant is not exempted from obedience though he be disabled for work. 
The command of God is absolute and peremptory, that all the sons of 
men should worship and fear him ; therefore to leave off duty would 
make the state more sinful. One sin cannot cuce another ; there is 
more sin in the total defect than in the bare performance of duty. 

[2.] Because duties are the means God hath appointed to break off 
their sin, and come out of this miserable condition. If none of their 
works can please God, yet it is good to stand in the road of mercy, and 
to lie at the pool, John v. 7 ; though God doth not accept us for these 
things, yet these are the means God hath appointed for us to use. 
Simon Magus was bid ' to pray, if perhaps the thoughts of his heart 
might be forgiven him,' Acts viii. 22 ; but the man that neglects the 
means cuts off himself from all hope, he reprobates himself and becomes 
his own judge ; he doth as it were say, I will never be saved. When 
men give over praying, and hearing, and reading, as the apostle saith, 
' you judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life,' Acts xiii. 46. 

Obj. 3. From experience God doth reward many wicked men, there 
fore how can it be said their duties are not accepted ? 1 Kings xxi. 29, 
Aliab's humiliation kept off the judgment, and Nebuchadnezzar had 
the land of Egypt for his service against Tyre, Ezek. xxix. 18-20 ; 
that is nothing but a prophetical prediction. He did not think of 
accomplishing God's decrees, and the expression ' of giving him the 
land of Egypt for his labour' is taken from the manner of men ; when 
a servant doth his work, he hath his reward. But for God's rewarding 
of wicked men, I answer 

[1.] This is ex largitate donantis, out of the overflow of his own love 
and mercy ; they can claim and look for nothing : James i. 7, ' Let not 
that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.' Though 
something may be given him, yet there is nothing theirs by way of 
promise ; all the promises being made and made good in Christ ; that 
is to them that have an interest in him : 2 Cor. i. 20, ' For all the pro 
mises of God in him are yea, and in him, amen.' 

[2.] These mercies are not given for their sakes, but to give the 
world a document of God's bounty. Saith Calvin, Deus scepe rependit 
mercedem umbris virtutum, ut ostendat sibi placer e virtutes ipsos God 
doth often reward the shadow of virtue that he might show that 
grace itself is very pleasing arid acceptable to him ; when Ahab doth 
but counterfeitly humble himself, God will suspend the judgment to 
show how he prizeth true repentance. 

[3.] All the blessings that wicked men have are but temporal, and 
salted with a curse ; there is nothing of acceptance to life! Abab's 


humiliation gained but a delay of wrath, and that increased his sin. 
Children have the bread of life, dogs have but the crumbs and offals of 
providence. Wicked men do not serve God with all their heart, there 
fore their mercies are defective as well as their duties. 

Use 1. It serves for terror to wicked men. A natural man is in 
a wretched estate ; his most glorious acts, his very prayers, that are 
dressed up with a fair pretence of devotion, are abominable before God: 
Prov. xv. 8, ' The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord ' 
not only his sins, but his duties. It is the greatest despite that can 
be done to a man, that when he hath set himself to please, yet he is still 
hated. So it is with wicked men ; though they may preach, pray, and 
prophesy in Christ's name, yet nothing is well taken from them. Cain 
was punished for his murder, but was not accepted for his sacrifice. 
'E-)(dp>v Soapa a8(apa the gifts of enemies are giftless gifts ; wicked 
men are God's enemies, and so nothing is pleasing that comes from them. 
It is true, Jesus Christ saith, Isa. xlix. 4, ' I have laboured in vain, I 
have spent my strength for nought and in vain ; ' but this was his com 
fort, 'his judgment was with the Lord, and his work with his God.' 
But with wicked men it is otherwise ; they labour and toil, but all in 
vain. It may be they may have their penny of profit in the world, and 
that their gifts may be useful in the church, and they may have 
temporal reward, but it is salted with a curse ; their sacrifice is but 
carrion, their prayer but babbling, and their table of the Lord is but 
the table of devils : Titus i. 15, ' To the pure all things are pure ; but 
unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure ; but even 
their mind and conscience is defiled.' 

Use 2. To represent the privilege of persons justified: their persons 
please God, and so do all their works. You may improve it for comfort 
and thankfulness. 

1. For comfort. When you are discouraged with your infirmities, 
your many failings in every duty, Christ will accept you : Ps. xxxiv. 
15, ' The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open 
to their cry.' Consider, thou art troubled about the imperfection of 
thy works ; they cannot be worse than thy person when God took thee into 
grace. God that pitied thee when thou wert in thy blood and perfectly 
evil, he will accept and love thee when thou art in thy person sanctified ; 
though there be abundance of dross, he can see there is some gold ; 
though abundance of wax, yet there is some honey : Cant. v. 1, ' I have 
eaten my honeycomb with my honey.' 

2. For thankfulness. Oh ! what a mercy is this, that God should 
testify concerning our gifts, such worthless duties so tainted and defiled 
by the adherency of corruption ! There are many considerations to stir 
up our thankfulness. 

[1.] That which is good is rather his own than ours, yet God will put 
it upon our account : 1 Chron. xxix. 14, ' 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.' When 
you come to God with the best enlargement and quickness of affection, 
it is the Lord that made us thus willing ; yet God counts them as our 
duties, though they may be fruits of his own Spirit. Then 

[2.] They are mingled with a great deal of weakness and defilement 


Partus sequitur ventrem ; our duties have more of us than of the 
Spirit, therefore they are filthy and defiled. Observe the practice of 
the saints, their remarkable blemishes : Jacob seeks the blessing with a 
lie ; Eahab entertains the spies, but makes a lie about dismissing them ; 
Sarah calls her husband ' lord/ but her words are full of discontent and 
murmuring and distrust of God's promise. Moses smote the rock twice ; 
once in obedience and once in indignation. Who would think of such 
weak services, that God should accept of them ? nay, not only accept of 
them, but delight in them : Prov. xv. 8, ' The prayer of the upright is 
his delight ; ' that the holy God should delight in such creatures as we 
are ! We have imperfect conceits of God's holiness, otherwise we would 
wonder that he should accept of our faulty performances ; that the 
holy and pure God should not only accept, but delight in the prayer of 
a worthless creature. Then 

[3.] There is no profit redounds to God for all this, the advantage 
is ours : Prov. ix. 12, ' If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself ; ' 
1's. xvi. 2, ' My goodness extendeth not to thee/ God is blessed for 
ever, sufficiently happy without the service of the creature. Job xxii. 
2, there is a question propounded, 'Can a man be profitable to God, 
as he that is wise may be profitable to himself? ' God is eternally and 
everlastingly happy ; he is incapable of improvement ; all the comfort 
and profit is ours, yet that he should delight in them ! 

Use 3. Direction to teach us what to do in our preparation to duties 
and holy exercises. If God accept the person and then the performance, 
look to your state, as well as to the frame of your hearts. Many men 
heap up duties upon duties, go round in a circle of religious exercises, 
as if they would work out their salvation that way, but do not regard 
the interest of their persons. Consider, examination is one of the 
preparative duties, as well as purgation of sin and excitation of the 
affections : 2 Cor. xiii. 5, ' Examine yourselves whether you be in the 
faith.' We must prove our state still, otherwise we shall be disallowed. 
It is not necessary only to examine ourselves before the Lord's supper, 
but before other solemn ordinances. God would fain draw the creatures 
to a certainty, therefore he hath required often trial to look into their 
state. This is the method of God's acceptance ; first the Lord cleanseth, 
fits, and consecrates the person to be a spiritual priest, and then he is 
to offer: Mai. iii. 3, 4, '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.' Where God speaks of worship in the times of the 
gospel, first we must be purified and set apart for the priesthood, 
then offer up our gift; first there is a ' purging of the conscience from 
dead works,' then we are meet ' to serve the living God/ Heb. ix. 14 ; 
first we are ' washed from our sins in his blood ; ' and then ' made kings 
and priests to God/ Kev. i. 5, 6. There must be an interest founded, 
and a ground of acceptance for our persons. God will accept nothing 
at the hands of an enemy ; duties are but varnished sins. This should 
stir you up to the trial of yourselves, whether you are justified and 
reconciled to God. 

But you will say, What shall men do that have no assurance, that 
cannot discern the interest of their persons in Christ ? 


I answer, by distinguishing The case concerneth either persons 
that have lost assurance, or those that have never gained it. 

1. To those that have lost assurance by turning to folly, or tasting 
of the forbidden fruit of sin. By scandalous falls conscience is 
weakened, and prayer is interrupted ; as the apostle speaketh of 
family jars : 1 Peter iii. 7, ' Likewise ye husbands, dwell with them 
according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife as unto the 
weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that 
your prayers be not hindered/ By allowance of passion, and wrath, 
and domestical disorder, the heart is .discomposed, and we cannot with 
such a holy boldness and confidence call God father. The like may bo 
said of many foul falls, by which conscience is wounded, and men have 
lost the peace and calmness of their spirits. Now, in such a case, men 
are not to come reeking from their sins and rush upon duty ; that 
would argue little reverence of God, and will find little acceptance 
with him,: Isa. i. 15, 16, 'When ye spread forth your hands, I will 
hide mine eyes from you : yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not 
hear : your hands are full of blood. Wash ye, make you clean, put 
;i w;iy the evil of your doings from before mine eyes,' &c. Neither are they 
wholly to decline worship and restrain prayer ; that would increase 
the distemper, and add sin to sin. David got nothing by his silence: 
Ps. xxxii. 3, ' When I kept silence, my bones waxed old, through my 
roaring all the day long ; ' Ps. li. 3, ' I acknowledge my transgression, 
and my sin is ever before me.' However, the main care of the next duty 
must be to get the person reconciled by these solemn acts. 

[1.] There must be serious acknowledgment of sin with shame and 
sorrow. This is God's. established way for fallen saints : 1 John i. 9, 
' If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, 
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.' This is the saint's prac 
tice : Ps. li. 3, ' I acknowledge my transgression, and my sin is ever 
before me ; ' and this is the most rational course. It is impossible it 
should be otherwise, either on God's part or ours. We are under a 
sequestration till we make suit to God : Num. xii. 14, ' If her father 
had spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days?' Tender 
hearts will melt and mourn. 

[2.] They must run to the old fountain opened for their uncleanness. 
There is no reconciling ourselves to God, but by Christ : Mat. iii. 17, 
' This is my beloved Son. in whom I am well pleased.' We must 
come with Christ in our arms : 1 John ii. 1, ' If any man sin, we have 
an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous.' Duties are 
not our atonement, but Christ's intercession, which is the renewed 
application of his merit. 

[3.] They must earnestly sue out their former estate, and the wonted 
effects of his favour: Ps. xxv. 6, 'Kemember, Lord, thy tender 
mercies, and thy loving-kindnesses, for they have been ever of old;' 
Ps. li. 12, ' Ptestore unto me the joy of thy salvation.' Christ doth not 
only intercede, but the believer must also, the earnest motions of the 
Spirit being the copy of his intercession. 

2. It concerneth those that never got assurance. To those, I answer 
in several propositions : 

[1.] Assurance is very necessary and comfortable in our approaches 


to God ; such addresses do most become his grace. Christ hath taught 
us to begin our prayers with ' Our Father ; ' Heb. x. 21, 22, ' Having 
an high priest over the house of God ; let us draw near with a true 
heart, in full assurance of faith, having our heart sprinkled from an 
evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water/ Having such 
free offers, such an abundant merit, such sweet experiences, God 
looketh that we should draw nigh in the assurance of faith : 1 Tim. ii. 

8, ' I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands 
without wrath and doubting/ 

[2.] Every suppliant cannot sail with such full sails into the haven 
of grace, nor all persons at all times ; there is a weak faith as well as 
the faith of Abraham, and yet a weak faith is faith. David and 
Heman, two choice spirits, sometimes wanted comforts, and it is God's 
usual course still with many of his dear children ;, they have less peace, 
that they may have more grace ; and God withholdeth comfort out of 
wise dispensation to engage them in the more duty : every one hath 
not an abundant entrance into heaven, 2 Peter i. 11. 

[3.] When we cannot reflect upon our actual interest, the direct 
and dutiful acts of faith must be more solemnly exerted and put 

(1.) You must disclaim earnestly your own personal righteousness. 
This complieth with God's end ; for therefore do his respects begin 
with the person, that the work may not be the ground of acceptance : 
Dan. ix. 18, ' We do not present our supplications before thee for our 
righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies/ Every one cannot go to 
the highway of comfort; there is safety in going the low way of 
humiliation, and in the sense of your own unworthiness for all 
acceptance with God in Christ. 

(2.) You must adhere to God in Christ the more closely; faith 
giveth safety, though assurance giveth comfort. There may be a 
dependence and renewing of confidence, and a waiting with hope, in 
every duty ; and a Christian, though he be without comfort, yet he is 
not without encouragement ; there are invitations to wait upon God, 
and they cast themselves upon God in this hope : Ps. xxii. 8, ' He 
trusted on the Lord, that he would deliver him/ It is good when 
you can refer yourselves to God's acceptance upon the hopes of the 

(3.) There must be consecration when you cannot make application. 
It is sweet when we can say, mutually ' I am my beloved's, and my 
beloved^is mine,' Cant. ii. 16 ; but it is safe to say, 'I am my beloved's/ 
and he is mine by choice, though I cannot say he is mine by gift. A 
Christian resigneth up himself to God : Ps. cxix. 94, ' I am thine, save 
me/ David pleadeth his choice ; he taketh Christ as a Lord, though 
he cannot apply him as a saviour. 

(4.) These direct acts may be pleaded to God in prayer: Phil. iii. 

9, 'And be found in him, not having my own righteousness/ &c., 
and so casting ourselves upon God: Ps. cxix. 49, ' Kemember 
thy word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to 

Secondly, ' By it he, being dead, yet speaketh/ 

The words are enigmatical, a holy riddle ; and they include a 


seeming contradiction, that a man should speak, and yet dead ; there 
fore the words, as all dark places, are liable to several construc 

In the general, we are certain it must be some privilege and con 
sequent of his faith ; for the apostle saith, ' By it.' Some take the 
word's speaking, o-fi/e/co^<w?, for living, as if it intimated the resur 
rection ; though slain by Cain, he yet speaketh, converseth with the 
glorious saints above, to the praise and glory of the Lamb for evermore, 
upon whom he had pitched his faith. Certain it is that the Jewish 
doctors make it to be one of the great arguments of life after death, 
the crying of Abel's blood. Again, some translate AaXemu, passively ; 
he is yet spoken of, as if it implied nothing but his name living ; yet 
in the church that is the usual recompense of faith. God perpetuates 
the names of the godly when the names of the wicked shall rot ; but 
this the apostle had spoken of already, ' By which he obtained witness 
that he was righteous ; ' he is famous for his righteousness through 
all ages. Again, others take it as a metaphor, ' speaks ; ' that is, 
doth as it were speak, and it may be by way of exhortation or clamour. 

1. By way of exhortation: though he be dead, yet still by his 
example, he preacheth to the church. Thus dead persons may be said 
to speak by their example ; and voice is often in scripture given to 
inanimate things ; the creature is said ' to groan/ Bom. viii. 22, and the 
heavens 'to declare the glory of God,' Ps. xix. 1, 2. Abel, the first 
martyr that died for the service of God, is a speaking instance and 
example for all ages. He speaks several lessons (1.) That duty is 
not to be declined though we get hatred by it. (2.) That we must be 
obedient even to the death ; and when we are called to it, we must seal 
our faith and profession with our blood. (3.) That the rage of the 
wicked against the righteous is very great. (4.) That God will call 
wicked men to an account for our blood, as he did Cain for Abel's blood. 
But this cannot be the meaning, because this is no peculiar privilege of 
faith. All examples have a voice, the creation hath a voice ; 

2. I suppose another speaking is intended ; the crying of his blood, 
a clamorous speaking for vengeance upon Cain. Two reasons for 

[1.] Because it suits best with the expression of Moses : Gen. iv. 10, 
'The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.' 
Now the apostle's design is to abridge the history in Genesis. 

[2.] Because it suits with the other expression of the apostle. Abel's 
speaking is mentioned : Heb. xii. 24, ' The blood of sprinkling speak 
eth better things than the blood of Abel ; ' the blood of Abel speaketh 
after he was dead punishment, but the blood of Christ speaketh 

Obj. An objection may be framed against this in the text ' He being 
dead, yet speaketh ; ' ert, yet, or to this day. 

I may answer, The present tense is put for the preterperfect 
tense change of tenses is usual in scripture ; or ' yet,' that is, after 
his death, though not till the apostle's days. But I rather pitch upon 
another answer, because there is a special emphasis in the expression, 
Abel's blood is still crying. There are Cains alive to this day: some 


that walk in the way of Cain, as Jude speaks, ver. 11 ; he was the 
patriarch of persecutors, therefore Abel's blood is not fully revenged to 
this day, but cries for vengeance still. Those that inherit the rage of 
former persecutors do always inherit their guilt ; for imitation is a kind 
of consent, as if we had been by and consented to the fact : Mat. xxiii. 
35, ' That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the 
earth, from, the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zecharias, the 
son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.' 
The blood of Abel was revenged upon the Jews that killed Christ. 
These two are mentioned because of two remarkable circumstances at 
their death. Of Abel it is said, Gen. iv. 10, ' His blood cried from 
the ground.' Zecharias, when he died, said, 2 Chron. xxiv. 22, ' The 
Lord look upon it, and require it.' All the martyrs join in one common 
cry against the persecutors of all ages : Kev. vi. 9, 10, ' I saw under the 
altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the 
testimony that they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, 
How long, Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our 
blood on them that dwell on the earth ? ' That is to be understood 
metaphorically. Passions of revenge being not proper to the glorified 
saints, the meaning is, their blood is as it were newly shed, and cries 
to God afresh, requiring vengeance ; so that Abel and all the saints still 
cry, though some succession of ages are passed since their blood was 
shed. Many things notable are implied in this clause. I shall despatch 
all in some brief hints. 

First, Let us take notice of his dying ' He being dead.' The 
history is in Genesis. There were probably two causes of the 
murder; one plainly expressed in scripture, the envy of Cain; 
the other implied that is, indignation against the reproof of 

First, One cause is plainly expressed. God accepted Abel ; he had 
a better offering, and therefore Cain slew him : 1 John iii. 12, ' Not as 
Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother ; and where 
fore slew he him ? because his own works were evil, a-nd his brother's 
righteous/ The note is this 

Doct. 1. Persecution usually ariseth from envy. 

Men malign what they will not imitate ; when others are holier than 
their interest and vile affections will give them leave, therefore they 
hate them. Our Lord himself was delivered for envy : Mat. xxvii. 18, 
' Pilate knew that for envy they had delivered him ; ' his disciples sold 
him out of covetousness, and his enemies persecuted him out of 

To apply this let us hate this sin with the more indignation. Alas ! 
we are apt to envy each other's gifts, esteem sancity, and grace ; from 
thence arise contentions and quarrels, and they end in blood. The first 
man that ever died in the world was slain and murdered by envy. 
Pride gave us the first merit of death, and envy the first instance of it : 
Gen. xxxvii. 11, 'His brethren envied him ;' they envied Joseph, and 
then conspired his death. Envy may be impeached as the cause of 
most of the blood that hath been spilt in the world; that is the 
reason why envying and murder are so often joined together, Gal. iv. 21 . 

Secondly, The second cause is implied viz., indignation at reproof : 


Gen. iv. 8, * And Cain talked with Abel his brother ;' what their talk 
was we find not. The hint is 

Doct. 2. Another cause of persecution is indignation at reproofs. 

The world would lain sleep quietly in sin, and complain that these 
bawling preachers trouble their sinful rest. When a man holds out 
the testimony of Jesus, he torments and troubles them : Rev. xi. 10, 
' The witnesses tormented the dwellers upon earth ; ' their testimony 
was the world's torment. 

Use 1. It teacheth us to bear it the more patiently: James v. 10, 
' Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the 
Lord, for an example of suffering affliction and of patience.' Did you 
ever hear of any that spake in the name of the Lord, and the 
world not hate them ? The cross is very kindly to our rank and order ; 
Abel, that is but now a priest, presently is made a martyr. 

Use 2. Bear reproof patiently. Storming at reproof is the cause 
of that hatred that is against the ministry: Jer. vi. 10, ' The word of 
the Lord is unto them a reproach; when he came to reprove, they 
thought he had railed.' 

From the murder itself ' He slew his brother.' 

Doct. 1. Hatred of the power of godliness began betimes. 

There is an old prediction : Gen. iii. 15, ' I will put enmity between 
thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed.' There are 
two parties that will never be reconciled. And here are two brothers, one 
of them the seed of the woman, and the other the seed of the serpent ; 
though they were brothers, came of the same womb, and brothers of 
the same birth as is conceived. The apostle speaks of two other brothers 
of the same father, one persecuted the other : Gal. iv. 29, ' As then, he 
that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the 
spirit, so it is now.' And in all ages of the world we may say, ' So it 
is now ; ' and so it will be for ever : this is the old hatred. 

Then consider Abel's death, not only as the death of a saint, but as 
the death of a brother. The note will be 

Doct. 2. The strife of brethren usually ends in blood, or in sad and 
dreadful accidents. 

Solomon saith, Prov. xviii. 19, 'A brother offended is harder to be 
won than a strong city ; and their contentions are like the bars of a 
castle.' You may as soon surprise a strong city barred, as gain an 
offended brother. It is a hint useful to those families where discord 
ariseth by reason of difference in religion. Difference in brothers is 
like a rent made in the whole cloth ; a seam may easily be sewn, but 
a rent in the whole cloth cannot ; the nearer the union, usually the 
greater rent. A Spanish preacher that embraced the .Reformation was 
slain by his own brother. Some may be restrained by the severity of 
laws ; but in times of public tumult there have been many such sad 
instances among nearest relations. 

It followeth, ' yet speaketh.' Consider it under a twofold regard, as 
the common murder of a man, or as the murder of a saint. 

First, As the murder of a man ; this was a murder done in secret, 
yet Abel's blood speaks to God, that is, God took notice of the fact 
though past human cognisance. The note is 

Doct. 3. That murder is a crying sin. 


It will out one way or other, God cannot want witnesses. We have 
seen in providence strange ways for the discovering of murder. Ke- 
rnember that is God's office, to be inquisitive for blood : Ps. ix. 12, 
' When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them.' 

Use 1. It is terror to them that are secretly guilty of murder. 
Many times wicked men act at a distance, nobody can tell who hath 
done the harm, yet God will find them out. Or if men should occasion 
public changes or confusions merely to promote their private interest, 
to build up a name to themselves, ' the stone out of the wall shall cry, 
and the beam out of the timber shall answer it/ Hab. ii. 11. Or if a 
man hath plotted the death of any merely to enrich himself, the Lord 
takes notice of it. 

Secondly, Or look upon it as holy blood that was shed, as the blood 
of a martyr. The note is 

Doct. 4. The blood of a martyr hath a loud voice in the ears of God. 

It implies two things God's love to his oppressed children, and a 
certainty of vengeance to the oppressors. 

1. God's love to his oppressed children. Vengeance is quick-sighted 
on their behalf. Though the children of God are dumb, like sheep 
before their shearers, yet their blood cries. Christ spake no words of 
revenge, but rather prayed for his enemies; yet for shedding his blood, 
'Wrath came to the uttermost upon the Jews,' 1 Thes. ii. 16 ; Gen. iv. 
10, it is, 'The voice of thy brother's blood cries unto me.' Every drop 
was precious, and every wound hath a mouth open to God : Ps. cxvi. 15, 
' Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.' God hath 
a precious account of them after death. God's love lasteth after death. 
He is in covenant with their blood and with their dust when it is in 
their grave, therefore he will know what is become of them. Nay, he 
doth not only take notice of their blood but of their tears : Ps. Ivi. 8, 
' Thou tellest my wanderings ; put thou my tears into thy bottle : are 
they not in thy book ? ' Men may burn their bodies, but they cannot blot 
their blood and tears out of God's register. 

Use, This is comfort to the children of God. He doth not only take 
notice after their death of the cry of their blood, to avenge it on 
their enemies, but to recompense the innocent, to reward them ; for that 
is one effect of its crying. God doth not only take notice of Cain, but 
vindicates innocent Abel ; therefore is he slain, that he may live for ever ; 
slain, that God may bestow upon him a happy life. When your blood 
is shed for the testimony of God, treasure up this comfort ; God will not 
be wanting to reward it. The two first martyrs in the old testament and 
the new were Abel and Stephen. What doth Abel signify, but vanity 
and mourning ? and Stephen signifies a crown. Your mourning in the 
world doth but make way for a crown of glory : James i. 12 ; ' Blessed 
is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried, he shall 
receive the crown of life.' 

2. It implies certainty of vengeance to the oppressors; when the 
parents did not accuse, yet the blood cried. The children of God may 
not know who harms them, yet their wrongs cry loud in the ears of God. 
Abel's blood did not only cry in God's ears, Gen. iv. 10, but cried in 
Cain's conscience, ver. 13. How many cries are there ? The affliction 
itself that cries ; God hath an ear for affliction. He heard the affliction 


of Hagar, Gen. xvi. 11. Then your tears have a voice: Lam. ii. 18, 
' Their heart cried unto the Lord, Let tears run down like a river day 
and night : give thyself no rest ; let not the apple of thine eye cease.' 
Then the prayers of saints have a voice : Luke xviii. 7, ' Shall not God 
avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him ? ' The 
martyrs under the altar cry : Rev. vi. 9, ' The souls under the altar 
cried with a loud voice, How long, Lord, holy and true, dost thou not 
judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth ? ' Per 
secutors' consciences, they cry, thou bloody Julian ! thou hast mur 
dered the children of God, and hast been guilty of oppression ! As is 
storied of the king of France, that was author of that bloody massacre, 
he could never sleep afterward, but was haunted with terrors in his 
conscience, and at his death blood issued out at all the pores of his 

Use. What terror and astonishment should this be to the enemies 
of the church, be they secret or open ! Oppressed innocency will cry 
aloud ; they may forgive, but the Lord forgets not. The Lord will not 
only take notice of their blood, but bottle their tears : Ps. Ivi. 8, ' Thou 
tellest my wanderings ; put thou my tears into thy bottle : are they not 
in thy book ? ' God kept a register of David's sufferings ; every weary 
step was recorded in God's book ; it is but folly and madness to think 
to hide your practices, or to escape punishment. 


By faith Enoch ivas translated that he should not see death ; and iuas 
not found, because God had translated him : for 'before his trans 
lation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. HEB. xi. 5. 

THE apostle makes it his chief scope in this chapter to convince the 
Hebrews of the nature, and worth, and efficacy of saving faith. To that 
purpose he layeth down the acts of sanctifying faith, ver. 1, and through 
out the chapter he treats of the effects, fruits, and consequences of faith. 
Here we meet with a consequent or fruit of faith in the instance and 
example of Enoch, who, among the rest of -those glorious lights where 
with this chapter is adorned, shineth forth like a star of the first 
magnitude. Let me inquire why the apostle mentioned Enoch next 
to Abel, Seth and other holy patriarchs of the blessed line and race 
being passed by ? I answer, Though the Spirit of God is not bound to 
give an account of his method, and therefore is not to be vexed with 
the bold and daring inquiries of human reason, yet because all things 
in the scripture are ordered with good advice, a few humble inquiries 
are lawful and profitable. 

1. Enoch was the next solemn type of Christ ; Abel was a type of 
Christ's death, and Enoch next proposed as a type of his ascension. 
Ton from un dedtcavit, the dedicated, or the dedicator, (Christ), ' hath 
consecrated for us a new and living way through the veil, that is to say, 

VOL. xiv. c 


his flesh,' Heb. x. 20; therefore he is called p%^705 <sn;?, ' the prince 
of life,' Acts iii. 15, and he said, John xiv. 3, ' I go to prepare a place 
for you.' Tertullian calleth Enoch, Candidatum ceternitatis ; and 
others have called him Obsidem et testem vitce ceternce, the pledge and 
witness of eternal life ; so was Christ dedicated to this purpose, that he 
might be the captain of life and salvation to the church, and he is gone 
to heaven as a pledge of our eternal glory. 

2. Because between these two instances there is a fit proportion : 
Abel was an instance of the efficacy of faith, and Enoch of the conse 
quent and reward of faith ; Abel, he suffered for righteousness, and the 
instance of Enoch shows what is the fruits of suffering faith that faith 
which doth engage us in suffering doth interest us in the reward. 
In Abel's death the holy patriarchs saw what they might expect in the 
world; and in Enoch's translation they saw what they should receive 
from God. The Lord would give them this perfect document both of 
the present operation of faith and the future reward of faith. 

3. Because he was an eminent saint, the next that is taken notice of 
in the history of Moses. The apostle mentions not all the saints in 
the blessed line, but only the choicest. Now Enoch is many ways 
eminent and notable ; for his birth we find, Jude 14, ' He was the 
seventh from Adam ; ' usually that is the number of perfection. Some 
that would turn all things into an allegory descant thus : That as there 
were six from the creation that died, and the seventh was translated 
alive from earth into heaven ; so for six thousand years death shall 
reign, but in the seventh millenary it shall cease, and eternal life shall 
succeed. But this is but a fond conjecture ; they are more pious that 
observe that the seventh man was dedicated to God, and God takes 
him for his special servant, as he takes the seventh day for his special 
day ; but, chiefly, he is notable for his life and conversation : Gen. v. 
24, ' Enoch walked with God ; ' that is, wholly dedicated himself to the 
service of the Lord a phrase given to those that by express profession 
were set apart for the Lord, either as prophets, priests, or kings, for 
special service by office and ministration. But usually it is applied to 
persons employed in the exercises of piety and holiness : walking with 
God in the old testament, and well pleasing to God in the new, are 
synonymous terms. Another thing is notable in his life, that he lived 
as many years just as there are days in the year three hundred and 
sixty-five years, Gen. v. 21, 22. Enoch was translated next after Adam's 
death, as will easily appear by chronology ; as soon as Adam died 
Enoch was translated. God in Adam would give the world a pledge 
of the fruit of sin, which was death ; in Enoch, a pledge of the fruit 
of holiness, which is immortality and eternal life. 

In the words there is a proposition, and the confirmation of it. 

1. The proposition or assertion of the apostle is, that b?j faith Enoch 
was translated that he should not see death. The proposition implies 
two things the blessing, and the means of obtaining it : the blessing 
' He was translated ; ' the means ' By faith.' 

2. The confirmation, which respecteth both the blessing and the 
means. He proves that Enoch was translated, out of that phrase of 
Moses ; for saith he, He was not found, because God had translated him. 
And then he proves that it was by faith in the latter part of the text 


For before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 
In which reasoning there is a perfect syllogism : whosoever is translated 
on or after his pleasing God is translated by faith. Enoch was trans 
lated on or after his pleasing God, therefore he was translated by faith. 
The major is proved by the sixth verse ' Without faith it is impos 
sible to please God ; ' the minor by the history of Moses ' For before 
his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.' 

Let me illustrate the words. 

' By faith ; ' that is, by faith in the being of God, and in the promise 
of the Messiah and of the world to come. Now the reason why his 
translation is attributed to faith is given by the apostle ' For before 
his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.' His faith 
was the fountain of his godliness, and his godliness was the pledge of 
glory ; his faith respected his pleasing God, and his pleasing God was 
an evidence of his interest in eternal life. 

' Enoch.' We read of two Enochs one of the race of Cain, 
another of the line of Seth ; the hypocritical church imitating the true 
church, as in outward rites, so in having the same names : the Enoch 
here meant was of the family of Seth. 

' Was translated,' transplanted /jiereredr) : the apostle useth this 
word to note his transportation to heaven. 

There are many questions for the opening of this translation ; as 
(1.) Whether he were translated in soul and body ? (2.) Whether he 
died in the translation ? (3.) To what place he was translated, whether 
to heaven or some earthly paradise ? 

1. Whether he were translated in soul and body ? Some think he 
was translated in soul only, and not in body, as if there were nothing 
extraordinary in the history of Enoch, and his body was left on the 
earth. This is altogether improbable. The phrases imply something 
more than ordinary : Gen. v. 24, ' And Enoch walked with God, and 
was not ; for God took him.' Why should there be such special 
phrases, ' he was not,' and ' God took him/ if an ordinary thing were 
intended ? So the apostle here ' That he should not see death.' It 
might have been enough to have said he died, as of all the rest ; 
therefore there was somewhat of miracle in it. for he was gathered by 
God into glory, both in soul and body. 

2. Whether he died in the translation or no ? I answer, No, but 
was only changed ; for the apostle saith ' that he should not see death.' 
The Chaldee paraphrase renders it, and ' he was not,' Quid non mori 
eum fecit Deus Onkelos, Non occidit eum Deus. Probably, as those 
that live at the last day, the apostle saith, ' We shall not all die, but 
we shall all be changed/ 1 Cor. xv. 51. He was transported to heaven 
in a moment, without the pains and horrors of a natural death ; and 
being purified in soul, and purged from corruption in his body, was 
presently clothed with a glorified body. As Elijah was carried alive 
soul and body into heaven, 2 Kings ii. 11 ; so those that live at the 
Lord's coming ' shall be caught up alive into the clouds, to meet the 
Lord in the air/ 1 Thes. iv. 7. And when the apostle himself would 
express his own desires, that he might go to heaven in this manner (for 
"le first believers thought the day of judgment was at hand), he saith, 

Cor. v. 2, ' In this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon 


with our house which is from heaven ; ' and ver. 4, ' Not that we 
would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed 
up of life ; ' that is,. he desired that glory might come on him without 
dissolution, without the trouble and pain of sickness and diseases ' Not 
that I might be unclothed/ and put off the body, but ' clothed upon/ 
invested with the qualities of a glorified body. 

3. Whither he was translated, to what place ? Some say to the 
earthly paradise, others to the heavenly paradise. 

[1.] Some say to the earthly paradise ; so Haimo and others, there to 
stand in a happy condition until the last act of the world shall be brought 
on the stage, and then to fight with their imaginary antichrist. But 
that was defaced by the universal deluge and flood in Noah's time 
'The highest hills that were under the whole heaven were covered/ Gen. 
vii. 19, and the custody of the seraphims and flaming- sword was 
removed when the beauty and pleasure of it was gone ; and the most 
probable opinion is, that paradise was in Armenia. Now Armenia was 
covered, and Noah's ark rested on the mountains of Ararat, or Armenia, 
Gen. viii. 4. 

[2.] Some say to a heavenly paradise, by which they understand 
not the heaven of heavens, but some third place, which is called in 
scripture paradise, and Abraham's bosom, in which the souls of some 
rest until the last day, not fully perfected and blessed. Tertullian, 
Austin, and many of the fathers, were of opinion that the souls of 
martyrs did straightways flit hence into the presence of God, but the 
souls of common Christians went to paradise, by which they understood 
secreta animarum receptacula, sedesque in quibus requiescunt some 
unknown place, where they did enjoy happiness, congruous and con 
venient to their condition : and in such a place they would place Enoch. 
But all these things being devised without warrant and leave from the 
scriptures, little heed is to be given to them. Briefly, an earthly para 
dise it cannot be, that is defaced ; a third place it cannot be, that being 
devised without warrant from the scriptures. Heaven only remaineth, 
whither God translated him both in body and soul, there to enjoy the 
comforts of his presence ; it would have been an infringement of his 
happiness to separate him from his God, with whom he had walked 
here in spiritual communion. So the Targums, or expositions of the 
Jews, Jonathan, Translatus fuit, et ascendit in ccchim, &c ; Josephus 
calls it ava^coprjcri^ Trpos rov Oeov ; the Arabic version, Translatus est 
in paradisum. 

That ' he should not see death ; ' that is, that he might not die a 
natural death by a dissolution of the body, but undergo a sudden 
change of qualities. 

But you will say, How can this stand with the general curse of God 
pronounced upon all mankind in Gen. ii. 17, ' In the day thou eatest 
thereof, thou shalt surely die/ thou and all thine ? and Gen. iii. 19, 
' Dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return ; ' or that eternal decree, 
Heb. ix. 27, ' It is appointed for all men once to die.' 

I answer, This was an extraordinary instance, that doth not cross 
the rule ; it was a special dispensation that the Lord might give the 
patriarchs a document and instance of eternal life, and the sudden 
change of qualities was something analogical to death ; and were it 


not for this special dispensation of God, he was under that obligation, 
but the Lord was pleased to privilege him for the great purposes of his 

'And he was not found.' The words relate to what is said, Gen. v. 
24, ' And he was not,' The phrase is used, Jer. xxxi. 15, ' Rachel weep 
ing for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they 
were not.' This phrase is often put for those that are dead : Gen. xlii. 
36,' Joseph is not, and Simeon is not ; ' he supposed them dead, or knew 
not what was become of them, but it is taken for any disappearance. 

' For before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased 
God.' Some make it to be an inward testimony in his conscience ; 
others, some visible and public honour that was done to him before 
the world, the story of which is not now extant. Most probable, it is 
the testimony that is given him in scripture : Gen. v. 24, ' And Enoch 
walked with God,' which the Septuagint renders evrjpeo-rrja-e rw 0ea>, in 
that and other places, which we shall hereafter explain. 

But you will say, How can this be said to be before his translation, 
for the testimony of Moses was long after the translation of Enoch ? 

I answer, The apostle is to be understood thus: Enoch had this 
testimony in scripture, so that before his translation the scripture 
witnessed he pleased God ; not before his translation he received this 
testimony ; and that is the order of Moses : GCD. v. 24, ' Enoch walked 
with God, and he was not, for God took him.' 

A few hints from what hath been spoken before I begin the two 
main and principal points. 

Obs. 1. There is a life everlasting prepared for God's children. The 
instance God would give the fathers was in the translation of Enoch ; 
the instance God would give believers in the times of the gospel was 
in the ascension of Christ. As soon as Adam died Enoch was trans 
lated. In Adam God would give the world a pledge of the fruit of 
sin, which is death ; and in Enoch God would give a pledge of the 
fruit of holiness ; and that is immortality and eternal life. Enoch 
was not merely translated for his own benefit and comfort, but for the 
comfort of other patriarchs against the fear of daily crosses in this life, 
and against the terrors of death ; they saw there was now like to be 
violence in the world. There was one martyr Abel was slain. Now 
that they might have, comfort against this, God translated Enoch. 
The great instance God gives in the times of the gospel was the ascension 
of Jesus Christ ; when the human nature was carried into heaven, 
that was a pledge of our glorification. He carried our flesh into heaven, 
and he left his Spirit with us; he took our flesh into heaven that 
he might prepare a place for us, to receive heaven in our right, 
and he left his Spirit with us, that we might be prepared for heaven. 
Heaven is not only prepared for believers by Christ's ascension ' I go 
to prepare a place for you,' John xiv. 2, but believers are prepared for 
heaven ' vessels of mercy prepared unto glory,' Eom. ix. 23. Look, 
as in all contracts pledges are mutually taken and given, so Christ 
would take a pledge from us. even our nature, and give a pledge to us 
his Spirit ; therefore we are as sure as ever Enoch was to be trans 
lated to bliss if we have an interest in Christ: John viii. 51, 'Verily, 
verily I say unto you, If any man keep my saying, he shall not see 


death.' Enoch was translated that he should not see death ; and 
Christ, under a deep asseveration, makes the same privilege to every 
believer. Death, since the death of Christ, will not be deadly to them ; 
in death itself they see life. It is true, Enoch was translated in body and 
soul ; yet, however, we are presently with the Lord in soul as soon as 
we are dissolved. 

Use 1. Is to reprove believers for minding the present life as much 
as they do. We busy ourselves too much in the world, and toil in 
gathering sticks to our nests, when to-morrow we must be gone and flit 
away. Here we ' dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the 
dust, which are crushed before the moth,' Job iv. 19, and we are con 
sumed by the blast of his nostrils. Man is but a little enlivened dust, 
and we are, like potsherds, soon broken. Hereafter we live, now we 
are dying every day, saith Austin, Nescio an vita mortalis, an vitalis 
mors nominanda est ; I do not know whether I should call this life a 
living death or a dying life. 

Use 2. Is comfort to believers in the hour of death : John xi. 25, 
' He that belie veth in me, though he were dead, yet he shall live/ 
When you go down to the grave, you may go down with this assur 
ance, that you shall live ; though you look upon your flesh as morsels 
for the worms, yet you may look upon it also as parcels of the resur 
rection. God is in covenant with a believer's dust ; the body, thai 
seems most to suffer, shall be raised up again. 

Obs. 2. That life everlasting cannot be obtained but by some change, 
by flitting and removing out of this present life. Enoch died not, yet, 
however, he was changed ; God took him : \ Cor. xv. 50, 51, ' We shall 
not all die, but we shall all be changed. Flesh and blood cannot 
inherit the kingdom of God ; ' that is, as now invested with these 

Use. This may comfort believers against the terrors of death. The 
only use of death is to put off the old earthly qualities, that we may 
put on the new and heavenly ; death doth only pluck off the rotten 
garment. Christ will call the grave to an account : Kev. xx. 13, ' The 
grave gave up her dead ; ' as Joseph left his coat in his mistress's hand 
and fled away, so we leave the upper garment of the flesh in death's 
hands, but we fly away ; and Christ, at last, will say, Grave ! where 'is 
my Abraham, my Isaac, and my Jacob's dust ? 

Obs. 3. That the body is a partaker with the soul in life eternal ; 
Enoch was translated both body and soul. It is a comfort we can say 
with Job, ' With these eyes we shall see God,' Job xix. 26, though our 
body be eaten up with worms. This body, as if he did knock upon his 
breast, ; This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal 
must put on immortality,' 1 Cor. xv. 53 ; so Phil. iii. 21, ' Who shall 
change our vile body,' &c. Look, as the world, when consumed with 
fire, it is the same world for substance, it shall be only a purging fire ; 
so this corruptible body is the same body for substance, though God 
doth away the corruptible properties of it. 

Use. This is a great comfort against the difficulties and inconveni 
ences of the holy life. The same eyes that have been lifted up to God 
in prayer, those eyes shall see Christ upon his white throne, and those 
spirits that are now spent and wasted in holy exercises shall be 


recruited. A body wasted in sin is a sad prognostic of the devouring 
burning, but a body wasted in duty shall be restored and repaired 
again ; so it is comfort against the inconveniences of the common life. 
Many indeed have a vile body, because subject to diseases, humbled 
with pains and aches, racked with the stone and the gout ; this vile 
diseased body shall be a glorious body. Christ's body was first vile, 
then glorious ; first scourged, mangled with whips, then crowned with 
honour and glory ; and he sat down with God. Oh ! let us bear all 
these ; they will be full of nimbleness, vigour, beauty, and glory, like 
Christ's glorious body. 

Obs. 4. Heaven is but a translation to a better place. When you 
die, you are but translated. Enoch walked with God here ; but when 
he was translated, he lived with God in an uninterrupted glory. Many 
times Christ comes into his garden to gather lilies ; and they are cropped 
here, that they may be transplanted from the winter to the summer 
gardens, from the church and lower dispensation of the ordinances to 
paradise, that we may read divinity in the face of the Lamb for ever 
more, as scholars that are sent from the grammar-school to the uni 

Use. Let it not be irksome to us to be loosed from the body that 
we may be present with the Lord and joined to Jesus Christ ; it is 
but a removal and preferment, therefore it teacheth Christians to grow 
weary of the world. The world is the place of your pilgrimage, the 
place of sorrow and sin : certainly we have little reason to love the- 
world. (1.) It is Satan's circuit; when God calls Satan to an account, 
Job i. 7, ' Whence comest thou ? ' Satan answered, ' From walking to 
and fro in the earth.' (2.) It is sin's house of office, a place of defile 
ment : Isa. xxiv. 5, ' The earth is defiled under the inhabitants there 
of/ (3.) It is a common inn for all sorts of men, for bastards as well 
as sons: Ps. cxv. 16, ' The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's: 
but the earth hath he given to the children of men/ Wicked men 
have a creature-right, it is given to them, they have a right by provi 
dence ; nay, here we are not only fellow-commoners with wicked men, 
but fellow-commoners with beasts ; they have a creature-right too, as 
well as we. (4.) It is the shambles of the saints : Kev. xviii. 24, ' In 
her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all that were 
slain upon earth ; ' there they are grieved, vexed, and slain. Now, who 
would grieve to be transplanted to a higher and happier region, where 
nothing that defiles grows, nothing troubleth in those holy, blessed, 
and quiet mansions ? Death is a preferment. 

Obs. 5. That some are carried to heaven by a special and privileged 
dispensation. The entrance into glory is very different. God is not 
bound to the ordinary course of nature. Enoch and Elijah were both 
transported in soul and body ; Elijah was sent to heaven in a fiery 
chariot. And so shall those that live at the last day ' be caught up in 
the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air/ 1 Thes. iv. 17. Look, as 
God took away Enoch without the pain of sickness and trouble, so he 
carries many more joyful and singing to heaven. And therefore, in 
giving grace and glory, God will use a liberty and the prerogative of 
free grace. Some seem to be rapt up into heaven by a fiery chariot, 
by strong elevation of comfort and joy in the Holy Ghost, but others are 


carried in the lower and darker way of sorrow, trouble, and soul-sick 

Use. It is the duty of believers to be doing what is required, and to 
refer mere dispensations to God's good pleasure. Free grace is dis 
pensed in a different way. 

Obs. 6. That the persons which are honoured in this extraordinary 
way were Enoch and Elijah ; and what were they ? They were two 
that shined like stars in a corrupt age, those that contested with the 
corruptions of their own times. The note is this viz., God's heart is 
especially set to honour them that are zealous for his glory in corrupt 
times. In the days of Enoch men were very corrupt, therefore the 
flood was threatened. Now Enoch kept a constant counter-motion to 
the times ; he did not only walk with God, but reproved the vices of 
others : Gen. v. 24, ' He walked with God/ an$ he reproved the 
ungodly men of his age, Jude 14, 15. It is a standing rule, God will 
honour those that honour him. Public and zealous instruments are 
carried on by a mighty hand of providence, and sent to heaven in a 
glorious way. 

Use. Oh then, learn first ' to have no fellowship with the unfruitful 
works of darkness,' and then ' to reprove them,' Eph. v. 11 ; contest 
zealously for God. God will put honour upon them in the eyes of the 
world ; not only give them glory in heaven, but public and visible 
honour here, that all might take notice of them. 

I come to the points, which are two 

1. The right and interest of believers in the happiness of the eternal 

2. The necessity of pleasing God, or walking with God, before we 
coine to the full enjoyment of him. Which two points afford two doc 

Dcct. 1. That the end and the great privilege of faith is to be trans 
lated out of the world into the happiness of the eternal state. 

1. I shall prove the point by scripture : 1 Peter i. 9, ' Receiving 
the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls.' Heaven is there 
proposed as the chief end and reward of faith ; all that we do, all that 
we suffer, all that we believe, it is with an aim at the hope of the sal 
vation of our souls. The last article of our creed is everlasting life. 
We begin with belief in God, and we end with life everlasting ; there 
is the sum and result of faith, eternal life and glory: John xx. 31, 
' These things are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the 
Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you might have life through 
his name.' The end of the word is faith, and the end of faith is eternal 
life ; all the duty part of the word may be reduced to faith, and all 
the promissory part to life. It is also the great privilege of faith : Eph. 
ii. 8, ' By grace ye are saved, through faith.' The foundation of glory 
is laid in mercy on God's part, and it is received by faith on our part : 
it is given of grace, not sold for works ; and received by faith, not 
purchased by desert. 

2. I shall by a few reasons prove the interest of believers in eternal 
life, and why faith gives a title to glory. 

[1.] Because by faith we are made sons ; all our right and title is 
by adoption. Children may expect a child's portion, as in natural 


things : the title follows the birth, natural or legal. We hold heaven 
as co-heirs with Christ: 1 John iii. 2, ' Now we are the sons of God, 
and it doth not yet appear what we shall be ; ' that gives us a right. 
Now faith in a juridical sense makes us sons : John i. 12, ' To as many 
as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God ; ' 
he gave them fgovo-iav, as a right to the inheritance and sonship. So 
also in a real, though spiritual sense : 1 Peter i. 3, ' He hath begotten 
us again unto a lively hope, to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled/ 
&c. The new birth is by the infusion of faith ; all relations to God 
are built on that change : our hope depends upon our new birth. 

[2.] These are the terms of the eternal covenant between God and 
Christ, that believers should have a right to heaven by Christ's death ; 
therefore, whenever the Father's love, and Christ's purchase are men 
tioned, faith is the solemn condition. The Father hath meant to 
dispose of heaven to a sort of men, but upon what condition : John iii. 
16, 'God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten son,' 
what to do ? and upon what terms ? ' that whosoever believeth in him 
should not perish, but have everlasting life;' so again, John vi. 40, ' This 
is the will of my Father that sent me, that every one which seeth the 
Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life ; and I will raise 
him up at the last day ; ' upon that condition Christ bargained with 
God, and God with Christ. So for the purchase of Christ : Heb. ix. 
15, ' He is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, 
for the redemption of transgressions that were under the first testament, 
they which are called might receive the promise of the eternal inheri 
tance/ When Christ died, as the mediator and testator, he made 
believers his heirs. There is no other name expressed in his will and 
testament, but they that believe, and they that are called, which are 
all one ; therefore they are called, Heb. vi. 17, ' heirs of promise.' Our 
inheritance was dearly purchased, Christ was to be a mediator by 
means of death, but it is made over to believers by will and testament. 

[3.] Because faith is the mother of obedience, which is the way to 
eternal life ; faith gives a title, and works give an evidence. This is 
the drift of the apostle here Enoch pleased God before he was tran 
slated, therefore by faith he was translated; for 'without faith it is 
impossible to please God.' God hath no respect to works without 
faith ; the way to be made happy is first to be made holy, and all the 
influences of grace are received and improved by faith. Faith is the 
mother of grace, and grace the pledge of glory. All your works are 
not evidences of eternal life, but as they come from faith. It is faith 
that kindles love and inflames zeal, and quickens obedience. 

[4.] By faith that life is begun which shall only be consummated 
and perfected in glory. The life of glory and the life of grace are the 
same in substance, but not in degree. Here faith takes Christ, and 
then life is begun, though in glory it is perfected : 1 John v. 12, ' He 
that hath the Son, hath life ; ' it is begun in him already. When the 
soul is changed by grace, there is a foundation laid for the changing 
of body and soul by glory: the Spirit will not leave his mansion and 
dwelling-place. When Christ hath once taken up his residence in 
the heart, and begun life there, he will not depart. Believers are said 
to be raised up at the last day by the spirit of holiness dwelling in 


them, Horn. viii. 11 ; and Eom. v. 2, ' By whom also we have access 
by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the 
glory of God.' Faith anticipates heaven, and begins the life of glory 
by hope and the joys of the Holy Ghost. 

Use 1. To press you to get faith upon this ground and motive, it 
will give you an interest in heaven. Heaven is the portion of believers. 
Dogs, and they that are without, cannot have the children's portion. 
Unbelievers are strangers to the comforts of religion for the present, 
therefore much more hereafter, when the definitive sentence is passed 
upon them. Oh, who would not labour for faith upon this ground ? 
Faith must needs be an excellent grace, that bringeth such a salvation-, 
it giveth you an interest in Christ and heaven. Faith ennobles the 
blood ; no birth like it ; it entitles us to the highest inheritance that 
is in the world. No dignity like that to be a son of the king of heaven, 
to be of kindred with all the saints, to be of the royal and noble blood. 
See how the apostle compares one birth with another : John i. ] 2, 13, 
' Who are born, not of flesh, nor of blood, nor of the will of man, but 
of God ; ' that is, not in that unclean lustful way that the children of 
the highest nobles and potentates of the earth are begotten. Faith 
can make the poorest beggar to be richer than the greatest monarch : 
James ii. 5, ' Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, 
and heirs of the kingdom ? ' the sons of the potentates of the world 
cannot show the like ; to be an heir-apparent of heaven is better than 
to be possessor of the whole world. Oh, do but consider the inheritance ! 
the birth is noble, but the estate exceeding large. If you would have 
me express it to you, I must tell you the best commendation of heaven 
is silence, when the great voice saith, Come up and see, then we shall 
know what heaven is ; but now our ear hath received a little thereof in 
the promises ; therefore I shall speak something of it. 

[1.] Consider the evil we are delivered from. We are freed from 
hell ' They shall not perish,' John iii. 16, and ' shall not come into 
condemnation,' John v. 24. Consider wicked men, their change is 
terrible. Wicked men grow upon the bank of hell, and when they are 
cut down they slip in, and there is their portion. When the inhabi 
tants of hell are described, those that hold hell by tenure, Eev. xxi. 8, 
' The fearful and unbelievers/ are in the front. Hell is the portion of 
unbelievers that never would own the faith, and the portion of apos 
tates that have renounced the faith, and the portion of hypocrites that 
do but counterfeit faith. 

[2.] Consider the good that is prepared for us, the excellency of the 
reward that God hath prepared for believers ; it is life, and a crown of 
life ; there is more in the accomplishment than in the promise. The 
word doth but speak of it in part, prophecy is but in part; the word is 
suited to our present estate ; we have not affections and apprehensions 
large enough for such an excellent glory ; God is ever better to his 
people than his word. The incomparable privileges a believer hath in 
this life, those pledges and first-fruits they here enjoy, do show the 
heavenly life must needs be glorious and excellent. The joy of the 
Holy Ghost is ' unspeakable and glorious,' 2 Peter i. 8 ; heaven there 
fore must needs be more excellent and glorious. Let me instance in 
two things. (1.) The perfection of your nature. In heaven there is 


no want and no weakness ; the body remains in an eternal spring of 
youth, the blossoms of paradise are always green and the soul is rilled 
up with God ; every faculty finds a satisfaction. We see what we now 
believe, and possess what we now love. Alas ! here, though we know 
indeed that God is, yet we do not know what he is completely. The 
knowledge of God and the love of God shall be our sole employment, 
and we shall have constant communion with God, without weakness, 
weariness, and diversion, and God will be always fresh to us ; as the 
angels that have beheld his face for these thousand years, yet still delight 
in God ; we shall never be cloyed, because satisfied. And the perfection 
of heaven shall be so great, that, besides the personal glory of Christ 
there shall be a great deal of happiness redound by the glory of his 
saints ; Christ will so set forth the riches of his goodness that he will 
be ' admired in all them that believe,' 2 Thes. i. 10 ; that is, in the 
glory that he puts upon the saints. (2.) The communion and company 
you shall there have. As soon as the soul departs out of the body yon 
shall be carried by angels in triumph to Christ. Believers have the 
same entertainment which Christ had. Christ was welcomed to heaven 
with acclamations : Dan. vii. 13, it is said, ' One like the Son of man 
came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the ancient of days, and 
they brought him near before him.' He was ' brought,' that is, by a 
train of angels, and there conducted and welcomed to heaven with a 
Well done, and well suffered for the souls of men ! So shall your 
souls be carried by angels into Abraham's bosom, Luke xvi. 22. Why 
into Abraham's bosom ? Christ himself was not ascended, therefore 
it is said into Abraham's bosom ; but you shall be carried into Christ's 
bosom. Look, as God did as it were take Christ by the hand when he 
ascended, therefore it is said, Acts ii. 33, ' Being by the right hand of 
God exalted.' It principally notes the power of the divine majesty ; 
but it is an allusion to the entertainment we give to a friend or guest 
we would welcome, we take them by the hand ; so will Christ entertain 
you. How sweet will it be when Christ shall give us the right hand 
of fellowship ? The eye that cannot now endure to look upon the sun 
.shall see the clarity and brightness of the divine essence beaming forth 
in Christ ; we shall see Christ himself upon his white throne, and see all 
the holy ones of God : Mat. viii. 11, ' We shall sit down with Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven,' and remain ever in his 
presence. It is sweet now to meet with the servants of God in an 
ordinance to praise God ; what will it then be when we shall praise 
God for ever in the great assemblies of the spirits of just men made 
perfect ? Consider, all this is made over by faith ; we have the right 
and title in this world, but the inheritance is in our Father's keeping, 
it is reserved in the heavens, therefore get and keep faith. 

Use 2. It serves to direct you how to exercise and act faith in order 
to the everlasting state. Five duties believers must perform. 

[1.] The first work and foundation of all is to accept of Christ in 
the offers of the gospel ; there is the foundation of a glorious estate. 
God excludes none from heaven that receive Christ into their heart. 
The first gospel commission that Christ signed and sent into the world 
contained this article ' He that believeth shall be saved,' Mark xvi. 
16. And when the jailer said in his trouble, ' What shall I do to be 


saved ? ' it is answered, ' Believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be 
saved,' Acts xvi. 31 ; receive Christ into your heart, and he will receive 
you into heaven. Let us bring our beloved into our beloved's house, 
into our hearts, and he will then bring you into those mansions that 
are in his father's house. The primary office of faith is to close with 
Christ. There the foundation is laid rightly to receive Christ ; and 
when the union is begun there is a pledge of glory : Col. i. 21, ' Christ 
in you the hope of glory.' The great work of a Christian should be to 
get Christ in him ; there is the beginning of heaven. 

[2.] It directs you to exercise your faith, to believe the promise of 
heaven which God hath made. Certainly faith is very weak in this 
particular, else we should have more ravishment and enlargement of affec 
tion. And the reason of this weakness of faith is, partly because it is 
wholly future, and the promise seems to be checked and defeated by 
death, and partly, because of our great tmworthiness compared with the 
largeness of the recompense. Guilty sinners have low thoughts of the 
grace of God ; therefore it is a mistake of Christians to think they 
only doubt of their own interest, they doubt of the main promise : Heb. 
xi. 6, ' He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is 
a rewarder/ &c ; it is one of the fundamental truths never closely and 
surely enough laid up in your souls. A guilty creature is apt to 
straiten the divine mercy ; and we cannot believe God will do all this. 
Consider the riches of God's mercy, and the sufficiency of Christ's 
merit, God's mercy is one relief ; it is rich enough and full enough 
to give us heaven and glory. When God gives, he will give 
like himself. The two great perfections of the godhead are im 
mensity and eternity ; he will give, with reference to his immensity, 
' an exceeding weight of glory ; ' and, with reference to his eternity, 
' an eternal weight of glory ; ' the apostle mentions both in 2 Cor. iv. 
17, &c. This is a benefit fit for God to give. Then ruminate in your 
thoughts upon the abundant merit of Christ Jesus ; it is a high dignity, 
but remember it is purchased with a great price. Consider the 
humiliation of Jesus Christ, that you may believe your own exaltation. 
Certainly if God can abase himself, we may expect that the creature 
may be advanced and glorified ; and if Christ is clothed with our flesh, 
we may the better wait to be appareled with his glory. Consider, if 
Christ's glory could not hinder him from dying for us, certainly our 
misery cannot hinder us from reigning with Christ ; the giving of 
Christ makes all more credible : 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 ? ' These things will facilitate the 
belief of heaven. 

[3.] Get your own title confirmed ; lay claim to your inheritance ; 
seize upon heaven as your right and your portion, so as not only to 
believe heaven is possible and credible, but that it is your right, and 
made over to you in the testament of Jesus Christ : 1 Tim. vi. 19, 
' That you may lay hold of eternal life.' A Christian should possess 
and enter upon it as his own inheritance This is mine. It was sweet 
when God said to Abraham, Gen. xv. 1, ' I am thy shield, and thy 
exceeding great reward.' Consider the grace that is wrought in you ; 
it is the earnest and the pledge of glory, it is the bud of glory ; there- 


fore let us ' rejoice in hope of the glory of God/ when we have ' access 
to his grace by faith/ Rom. v. 2. A Christian should look upon his 
present standing as a pledge of glory. Heaven, the apostle calls it ' the 
prize of our high calling/ Phil. iii. 14 ; he that hath given me Christ, 
and called me, can glorify me. God hath called me to grace that I may 
wait upon him for glory ; therefore rest upon the promise till you come 
to enjoy it, and until God measures the performance into your bosoms. 

[4.] Let us often renew our hopes by serious and distinct thoughts. 
This is the way to anticipate heaven, by musing upon it : Heb. xi. 1, 
' Faith is the substance of things hoped for/ &c. Wherever there is 
faith it will send out some spies to look within the veil, and see the 
glory that is there. We should always be thinking and ruminating 
upon it. If a man were adopted to the succession of a crown, he would 
always be pleasing himself with the supposition of the glory ; so when 
poor creatures are called to such hopes, they should be creating sup 
positions and images. Worldly men feast their spirits with worldly 
hopes ; they are thinking of the increase of their trade and promoting 
their gain: James iv. 13, ' To-day or to-morrow we will go into such a 
city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain ; ' so a 
believer will be sending out spies, and feasting himself with his glorious 
hopes. A child of God doth translate himself by degrees, and weans 
himself from the world more and more, and is putting his heart into 
heaven before his person is there ; he is ' seeking things that are above/ 
Col. iii. 1, and seriously musing upon them ; his heart is in heaven 
before his body ' Our conversation is in heaven/ saith the apostle, 
Phil. iii. 2Q : all the business of their lives is laid so that they may 
look heavenward. As a man beyond the seas, when he hath gotten 
an estate there, will be forming his business so that he may draw it 
home ; so a Christian is compassing this in the whole course of his life, 
that he may get home, and return to his country. It is a hard matter 
to get the heart to the study of heavenly things ; the children of God 
should do so. The sabbath-day is the image of heaven, and the com 
munion we have with God in the ordinances is the pledge of that 
communion we shall have with God in heaven : God hath appointed 
that day on purpose for our help. 

[5.] Another work of faith is earnestly to desire and long after the 
full accomplishment of glory. Faith bewrayeth itself by desires, as 
well as thoughts. All things hasten to their centre. Heaven is our 
home, and we should be hastening thither, not only in thoughts but 
desires. The world to a Christian is but libera custodia, a larger prison, 
where his soul is kept under a restraint, and from the full enjoyment 
of Christ ; therefore a Christian's life is spent in desires and groans : 
Bom. viii. 23, ' We that have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we 
ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the 
redemption of our body.' Mark, ' we that have.' A man that once 
hath tasted of the clusters of Canaan, he is weary of the wilderness ; 
so a Christian is groaning for home, and for heaven, and for the full 
enjoyment of Christ, as the apostle saith, 2 Tim. iv. 8, ' They love his 
appearing.' Their hearts are always drawing towards Christ ; if Christ 
doth but say, I come, he echoes again, ' Come, Lord Jesus Christ, 
come quickly/ Rev. xxii. 20. 


Use 3. To exalt the mercy of God to believers ; once sinners, and 
by grace made believers. Observe tlie wonderful love and grace of God 
in three steps 

[1.] That he hath provided such an estate for believers. What a miracle 
of mercy is this that God should think of taking poor despicable dust and 
jishes, and planting them in the upper paradise, that they should be 
carried into heaven and made companions of the angels. How would 
we wonder if God should take a clod of earth and place it among the 
stars, that it may shine there ! And how much more may we wonder 
when the Lord is pleased to take us out of the grave, and out of the 
earth, and lift us up above all heavens ! when a man that is made of 
the dust of the earth is i:rdyye~\,os, equal to the angels. 

[2.] That this state is provided freely, and upon such gracious terms. 
The terms are faith, and not merit ; that is the tenor of the new cove 
nant. Believe and live, not do and live ; but work's serve to evidence 
that interest. The Lord hath said, John in. 36, ' He that believes in 
the Son of God hath everlasting life ; ' he hath it, as sure as if he were 
possessed of it. God will exclude none that will but accept of the offer ; 
therefore if thou dost but rely upon Christ by a true and proper faith, 
thou art in a safe condition : John v. 24, ' Verily, verily, I say unto you, 
he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath ever 
lasting life/ Amen, amen. Will you believe Christ upon a double 
oath, when he plighteth his truth ? Let us not straiten the promises ; 
all that believe shall partake of that marvellous glory all the difficult 
work was done by Christ ' He was taken from prison and judgment/ 
Isa. liii. 10, that we might not come into condemnation. 

[3.] That God should send up and down the world to offer this sal 
vation to men. The prophet saith, ' The salvation of the Lord is gone 
forth,' Isa. li. 5 ; and ' Wisdom hath sent forth her maidens,' Prov. ix. 
3. And God hath sent forth his ministers, given us commission to open 
the grace of the gospel ; and yet how is it scorned by men as if heaven 
were not worth the taking. If we did believe that there were such a 
glory, and that our eyes should behold it, how would it raise our hearts 
in thankfulness to God. 

Use 4. Comfort to God's children against wants, and against troubles 
and persecutions, and against death itself, 

[1.] Against wants. Let us be content with any condition in the 
world, since we are so well provided for in a better. Alas ! after a short 
time we shall have no need of these things : Luke xii. 32, ' Fear not, 
little flock, it is your father's good pleasure to give you a kingdom.' 
Oh, you need not distract yourselves with worldly cares, there is a king 
dom provided ! It is grievous, I confess, to see wicked men abound 
with ease and plenty, and the children of God humbled with wants ; 
but consider, if you have not so much money and means as others have, 
yet you have a better portion in Christ. God hath given you faith, 
and you are rich enough in Christ : James ii. 5, ' Hearken, my beloved 
brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and 
heirs of the kingdom, which he hath promised to them that love him ?' 
Alas ! wicked men that have large possessions, yet they may perish, 
notwithstanding their outward enjoyments. 

[2.] It is great comfort against troubles and persecutions. Let us 


continue in the faith. There is comfort enough provided for us in the 
reward of faith : 1 Thes. iv. 18, ' Comfort one another with these words.' 
What words ? why, that Jesus Christ will come in the clouds and meet 
believers, and they shall be for ever with the Lord. We pitch too 
much upon a carnal hope, and we think that this way and that way 
deliverance will come from something we fancy in the world, but we do 
not look after the glory of the everlasting state. There is an eye of 
flesh, when there is no arm of flesh suppositions of worldly help. God 
will whip us for this vain confidence. We should comfort ourselves 
that there is an everlasting portion. When the Lord would comfort 
the patriarchs concerning the murder of Abel, there was the translation 
of Enoch ; so when the apostle St Peter writes to the distressed 
Hebrews (he had much ado to wean those godly Hebrews from carnal 
thoughts of a temporal salvation and a temporal Messiah, from the 
pomp and splendour of an outward deliverer), he proposes this to keep 
up their joy : 1 Peter i. 9, ' Receiving the end of your faith, the salva 
tion of your souls.' The encouragements of the world run in another 
strain, looking for supplies in this and that corner of the world. 
St. Paul continued in steadfastness, not only under the difficulties but 
dangers of Christianity : 2 Tim. iv. 8, ' I have fought a good fight, I 
have finished my course, I have kept the faith.' Why ? ' For hence 
forth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness/ &c ; that is, 
that he was thinking of what comfort it would be when he should sit 
in heaven among the glorified saints with his crown of righteousness 
upon his head. The Christian's life is not only a race but a warfare. 
We must not only run, but fight; therefore the apostle saith, Heb. xii. 
1, ' Eun with patience the race that is set before you.' Now that which 
should keep us up is a garland of immortality and glory which Christ 
hath wreathed for us. The primitive Christians, when they were under 
deep and dreadful persecutions, how did they comfort themselves with 
the kingdom that is above ? The heathens suspected them as if they 
intended to change the government. When you hear us talking of a 
kingdom, you vainly and without reason suppose it is a human and 
earthly kingdom ; no, we profess to hope not for an earthly but heavenly 

[3.] It is a comfort against death itself. There is a glorious state 
provided for believers. It is the end and privilege of faith to be tran 
slated out of the animal and corruptible life into that which is heavenly 
and immortal. Death to the godly is but a sleep, and the grave but 
a chamber of rest. Indeed the grave to wicked men is a prison, where 
their bodies are kept, that they may not infect and corrupt the church ; 
but to the godly their life is not extinguished, but hidden, Col. iii. 3 ; 
and when Christ, who is their life, appears, then the veil is taken off, 
and they shall appear with him in glory. Death to them is a transla 
tion ; life is not taken away, but changed changed from a miserable 
and corruptible life to that which is blessed and eternal. It is true, 
death takes away the life of the body, which consists in the union of the 
body and the soul, and this it doth but for a while ; but it doth not 
take away the life of the soul, for that is immortal : it feedeth on your 
dust, but the soul is in paradise in Abraham's bosom, and it hath 
nothing to do with the spiritual life ; still it is united to Christ. Look, 


as when Jesus Christ died (and Christ and a believer run parallel), the 
personal union did not cease ; so when we die, the union with Christ 
doth not cease ; we die as creatures, as members of the first Adam, but 
we are sure to live as members of Christ; Jesus Christ is our head in 
the grave. The death of the wicked is an execution ; it is indeed an act 
of vengeance. God orders death to be a trap-door to let them into hell ; 
but death to a godly man is an act of your Kedeemer to translate you, 
and bestow upon you the happiness of eternal glory. 


By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death ; and ivas 
not found, because God had translated him : for before his transla 
tion he had this testimony, that he pleased God. HEB. xi. 5. 

THE second general point is the necessity of the holy life. 

Doct. 2. Those that would live with God hereafter must learn to 
please God ere they depart hence. 

In the prsuance of this point I shall examine 

1. What it is to please God. 

2. The necessity of pleasing God ere we depart hence. Where (1.) 
The necessity of the thing itself ; and there I shall show what respect 
and ordination the holy life hath to eternal glory. (2.) The necessity 
of the time, or the necessity of pleasing God, ere we flit out of the pre 
sent life. 

First, What it is to please God ' He had this testimony, that he 
pleased God.' It is a phrase by which the apostle interprets that place 
in Genesis, chap. v. 24, ' And Enoch walked with God.' In the Sep- 
tuagint it is evrjpea-Tija-e ra> #eo>, Enoch ' well pleased God;' so that to 
please God is to walk with God. The only difference between them is 
that the one relates to God, the other to ourselves. Pleasing of God 
implies his gracious acceptation, and walking with God implies our 
duty. Elsewhere the phrases of pleasing God and walking with God 
are joined in scripture ; as Col. i. 10, ' That you may walk worthy of 
the Lord unto all well-pleasing.' Walking notes the fixing and the 
holding of a settled course in our lives, that our intention and main 
scope must be to please God ; so 1 Thes. iv. 1, ' We beseech you,' saith 
the apostle, ' as ye have received of us how you ought to walk, and to 
please God, so you would abound more and more.' Walking notes the 
course of life, and pleasing on our part notes the aim of the believer ; 
all his care is to approve himself to God. On our part, it notes our 
endeavours ; on God's part, the success of our endeavours, his gracious 
acceptation. By this collation of places, we find that pleasing of God is 
all one with walking with God ; but because I intend to handle the 
phrase in the full latitude of it, I must make it yet more comprehensive ; 
for by the context you will find that it not only implies ' walking with 
God,' but, which is another distinct phrase of scripture, ' coming to God,' 



as you may see ver. 6 for after he had said, ' Enoch had this testimony 
that he pleased God, he adds, 'For he that cometh to God ' &c as if 
pleasing- God and coming to God were all one. So that the whole duty 
ot man m the present life is comprised in this phrase of ' pleasino- God 
and it is explained by these two parts by ' corning to God ' and when 
we are come, ' to walk with God.' I shall inquire 

1. What it is to ' come to God ? ' 

2. What it is to ' walk with God ? ' 

First, What it is to ' come to God ? ' It is a usual phrase by which 
faith is set out m scripture. Coming and believing are all one : John 
yi. 65, He that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth 
m me shall never thirst,' where coming and believing are put as terms 
of the same import and signification. Now this coming to God implies 
several acts of the soul, which must be explained with analogy and 
respect to outward motion. In every motion there are two bounds 
stages from which we come, and to which Terminus a quo, et ad 

1. That which we come from is the curse and misery of our natural 
condition, or else w-e can never please God; as the apostle proveth, 
Bom viii. 8, They that are m the flesh cannot please God/ Mark 
the distinctness of the phrase/ eV <rap K l 6We 9 , they that 'are in the 

n ; they that grow upon the old root, and are in their unregenerate 
state and condition. There is a great deal of difference between bein- 
in the flesh, and having the flesh in us. The children of God, as Ion- 
as they live in the world, have a mixed principle, they have flesh i 
them ; but they are not so properly said to be in the flesh, for that 
s an absolute immersion in the carnal state, as being in the faith 
notes a state of believing: 2 Cor. xiii. 5, 'Examine yourselves whether 
you be in the faith ; so being in the flesh notes a corrupt and carnal 
state. JNow they that are thus in the flesh can never please God that 
is, can never be accepted with him ; so that out of this state we must 

3me if we would perform this great duty. Now this coming out of 
the flesh is done by several acts, several progresses and tendencies, 
by which the soul comes from the curse and misery of the carnal 

[1.] By a sensibleness of our distance from God in such a condition 
inere is no coming but presupposeth a sense of absence. Guilty 
creatures are at a vast distance from God. There is a great ralch 
between us and heaven, an impassable gulph; therefore the natural 
state is expressed by the prodigal's ' going into a far country,' Luke xv. 
13. There is a distance and departure from God ; therefore it is said, 
%? M T'r U - we , re sometimes afar off, but now are made nigh by 
the blood of Christ ; afar off, not only out of the church, but Sit of 
the state of grace. Naturally we are all at a great distance in our 
minds and affections from God, and God is at a great distance from 
is; heaven is closed up against the access of a guilty creature. Arnono- 
other things this is one of the fruits of Adam's fall and disobedience" 
Adam did not only lose the image of God, but the fellowship of God ' 
therefore ever since, the soul and God are at great distance and 
elongation. So the psalmist expresseth it : Ps. Iviii. 3 ' The wicked 
are estranged from the womb, they go astray as soon as they be born 




speakino- lies.' There is a strangeness between us and God, and we 
cannot come mutually to converse together. Now actual sins make 
the breach wider and greater: Isa. lix. 2, 'Your iniquities have 
separated between you and your God;' they make us careless of 
communion with God, and they make God resolved against any 
fellowship, or having any communion with us Fallen man at length, 
is not only come to be like the beasts, but like the devils ; he puts on 
not only the brutish disposition of the irrational creatures but 
disposition of Satan himself ; for the devils cannot endure the thoughts 
O f G d 'The devils believe and tremble,' James n. 19. Ihey hate 
their own thoughts of God ; therefore they cannot endure the pr< 
of Christ, but c"y out, Mat. viii. 29, ' Jesus, thou Son of God, art thou 
come to torment us before the time ?' This was the language of 
devils- the presence of God was a bondage and a torment to them. 
So it is with guilty sinners ; they cannot endure' the presence of bod, 
they speak just like the devil, Job xxi. 14, 'Depart from us ^for we 
desire not the knowledge of thy ways.' Carnal men hate the thoughts 
of God. Now the first work of the Holy Ghost is to make the soul to 
be sensible of this distance and alienation from God. 

[21 There must be also a sense of the misery of such a condition. 
Men care not for God till they are sore pinched and urged with their 
own wants. When the prodigal was in a far country (by which tl 
state of nature is represented), there with riot he spent his substance; 
but 'when he began to be in want,' then he thinks of returning to his 
father Luke xv. 14. Men do not desire to recover their commiimo: 
with God till they are thoroughly bitten with a serious remorse ; God 
sends his hornet and stings their consciences, then they think 
runnin- to God. All the addresses to Christ m the days of his flesh 
beo-an Fn the want of the creatures ; the blind and lame and deaf, some 
possessed with devils, their maladies and miseries brought them to 
Christ else there would not have been so great resort to him. b 
here ; men never come to Christ till they are displeased with their 
natural state. Look, as Joab neglected to give Absalom a visit till he 
burned his cornfield, 2 Sam. xiv. 30, 31. Joab had never come if he 
had not set his barleyfield on fire ; so the Lord lets m some sensible 
displeasure into the soul, and they begin to see the misery of a state 
of distance and alienation from God ; and then they think of returning 
to God, and cry out, Oh, that they might be united to God! 
as it is with believers in point of heaven, where there is the nearest 
communion with God ; we are apt to neglect breathing and panting 
after heaven when it is well with us in the world ; but when the world 
is crucified to us, a dead and useless thing, oh, then, woe is me that my 
pilo-rimage is prolonged! as David, when he was driven from his own 
palace, and was forced to wander up and down, then he says Woe is 
me that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar ! ft 
cxx 5 ._ so also it is with sinners in point of communion with God 
grace; 'they do not think of returning to God and making up the 
breaches and removing the distance between God and them, till 
hath made them weary of their carnal state, by letting some sense ot 
his displeasure light upon their consciences. 

[3.] There must be a sense of our inability to return and come i 


him. Man is a proud creature, and loth to be beholden ; he would be 
happy and sufficient to himself; we would eat our own bread, and 
wear our own apparel ; and if we could heal our own wounds we 
would never return to God. Conviction usually endeth in hypocrisy, 
when the soul is not wrought off from its own strength. If men can 
heal conscience, and dress up a form of religion, there they rest ; men 
stay in themselves till this be done. We are all by nature absent from 
God, and the scripture showeth us our inability to return. The state 
of fallen man is resembled by the wandering of sheep : Isa. liii. 6, ' All 
we like sheep have gone astray/ Of all creatures, sheep are most apt 
to stray, and most unable to return. Swine and dogs know the way 
home again, but sheep do not : so it is with the soul. Saith Austin, 
Domine, errareper me potui, redire non potui Lord, I could go astray, 
and wander by myself, but I knew not how to return. It is Christ's 
office to bring us to God ; God hath set up a mediator to make up 
our distance from God. It is Jesus Christ alone that must carry the 
strayed lamb home upon his own shoulder, as the Holy Ghost alludes 
to that similitude, Luke xv. 5. We can never go to God upon our 
own feet, but we must be carried home upon the shoulders of Christ ; 
therefore conviction will never be successful till it brings the creature 
to come and lie down at God's feet as utterly undone, and to say, Jer. 
xxxi. 18, ' Turn us, Lord, and then we shall be turned.' 

2. The next bound and stage in this motion is, to whom we do 
return, and that is to God ; to God, through Jesus Christ, for other 
wise he can never be well pleased with us. He hath proclaimed from 
heaven he will never be pleased with his creatures till they become one 
with Christ : Mat. iii. 17, ' This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well 
pleased/ And Christ himself, when he professeth the quality of his 
offices, saith, John xiv. 6, ' I am the way, the truth, and the life/ 
Now the several tendencies of the soul towards God are a serious 
purpose to come to God, an earnest desire, and a constant waiting. 

[1.] A serious purpose and practical decree issued forth in the soul. 
As the prodigal, when he was humbled with want, resolves, Luke xv. 
18, ' I will arise, and go to my father ; ' so there is a resolution, I will 
arise, and go to God. All grace is founded in this practical decree. 
So David professeth his own shyness, that for a long time he kept off 
from God, and there was a distance between him and God ; but at 
length he took up a serious purpose and determination that he would 
go and humble himself to God : Ps. xxxii. 5, ' I said, I will confess 
my transgressions unto the Lord/ &c. The soul, being inclined by 
grace, resolves to come to God through Christ. The scripture ascribeth 
much to this Trpodeats, and settled resolution, that ' with full purpose 
of heart they would cleave unto the Lord/ Acts xi. 23. Our own 
wants and needs will make us full of anxious traverses, but the 
resolution and decree of the soul comes from grace ; for herein lies the 
formal essence of faith, a resolved casting of the soul upon Christ, 
which is the issue and result of all those anxious and serious debates 
that were wont to be in the soul, by which, in the prophet's language, 
Jer. xxx. 21, ' The heart is engaged to approach to God ; ' when there 
is a charge laid upon the soul, by which the soul is engaged to come 
into his presence. 


[2.] There is an earnest desire of enjoying communion with God in 
Christ: Ps. Ixiii. 8, 'My soul followeth hard' or maketh hard 
pursuit ' after God;' and the pursuance of the soul is by desires ; 
they are evidenced to be gracious, because they are not only after ease and 
comfort. Such desires may arise from self-love, but after a constant 
communion with God : Ps. xlii. 1, ' As the hart panteth after the 
water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, God ; ' not only after 
the sweetness and refreshment of grace, but after intimate converse 
with God: Ps. xxvii. 4, ' One thing have I desired of the^Lord, that 
will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord,' <fcc. And 
they are after grace as well as after comfort : Ps. cxix. 5, ' Oh that my 
ways were directed to keep thy statutes ! ' All the endeavours of a 
natural man are to go away from God ; but when a soul is touched 
with grace, it can never have enough holiness, and enough grace, and 
enough communion with God. 

[3.] Constant and industrious waiting. Many times God makes the 
soul wait long ; he hath waited long upon us, and therefore he makes 
us to wait long ere we receive the sensible effects of grace. Therefore 
this coming to God is described by an industrious and constant waiting ; 
as Benhadad's servants watched the king of Israel for the word ' brother, 
1 Kings xx. 33, so the soul waits upon God for one glimpse of his love.' 
David expresseth this earnest waiting by the waiting of a sentinel or 
watchman for the dawning of the day : Ps. cxxx. 6, ' My soul waiteth 
for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning ; I say, more 
than they that watch for the morning.' Look, as the weary sentinel 
that is stiff and wet with the dews of the night waits for the dawning 
of the morning, when he may be taken off from his charge and duty ; 
so doth the poor soul wait for the first dawning and breaking out of 
the rays of grace upon the soul. Now this is not only done by a Chris 
tian at his first conversion, but after coming and renewing his accesses 
to God by Christ. 

Secondly, What it is to ' walk with God ? ' That is the original 
expression, from whence this of pleasing God is taken, Gen. v. 22. Now, 
what is the meaning of that ? Some read it, Vacavit Deo he seques 
tered himself, to converse with God from the distraction of worldly 
affairs ; others render it, A inbulavit in timore Dei, he walked in the 
fear of God ; the Targum of Jerusalem, He served, or laboured in the 
truth before the Lord. Others apply it to public office and service in 
the church, as if it were proper to those that were employed in the 
function of the priesthood : certainly in such a restrained sense it is 
taken, 2 Sam. xxx. 35. But this would be a sense too restrained, 
especially since it is here explained by the apostle by pleasing God. 
Therefore it notes any solemn profession of religion, or consecration and 
dedication to God's service ; for I find this phrase applied to persons 
that were of eminent and great holiness, especially in an evil and cor 
rupt age, as here to Enoch, when men degenerated, and a flood was 
threatened. So it is applied to Noah ' Noah was a just man, and per 
fect in his generation ; and Noah walked with God,' Gen. vi. 9, con 
trary to the corruptions and manners of his age. So it is applied to 
Levi ; when the Lord speaks of the privileges of the house of Levi, 
he saith, Mai. ii. 6, ' He walked with me in peace and equity, and did 


turn many from iniquity ; ' that is, he held on God's side against the re 
volt and rebellion of the other tribes that had gone away after the calves 
in Dan and Bethel. It noteth a consecration of our lives to God's 
service, and special communion with him. The metaphor seems to be 
taken from two friends that agree and resolve to go a long journey, 
that they will keep the same way and course, as the Lord himself 
explains his similitude, Amos iii. 3, ' Can two walk together except 
they be agreed?' In the context God threatens the alienation and 
estrangement of his presence from them ; for, saith God, You and I 
have gone hand in hand together ; but now, if you take different courses, 
we must needs part : as two travellers, whose journey is not the same, 
cannot long travel together ; so saith God, If you will take that path, 
I must break off communion with you, and withdraw my presence. 
Thus you find that he that by solemn vow and agreement with God 
hath set up his resolution to sequester and consecrate himself to the 
service of the Lord, is said to walk with God. 

Now there are many parallel expressions, that differ only in sound ; 
as, walking before God ; so saith God to Abraham, Gen. xvii. I/ Walk 
before rne, and be thou perfect.' It notes the very same thing. Thus 
Hezekiah, Isa. xxxviii. 3, ' I have walked before thee with a perfect 
heart.' The parallel phrases in the new testament are ' walking 
in Christ,' Col. ii. 6 ; and ' walking in the truth,' 2 John 4. In 
the general it notes special strictness and communion with God in the 
course of our lives ; more particularly, I shall show you negatively what 
it doth not imply ; then positively, what it doth imply. 

1. Negatively, what it doth not imply. 

[1.] Not such a strictness as to abridge ourselves of the holy use of 
the necessary comforts of this life. I ground this upon that place, 
Gen. v. 22, ' Enoch walked with God, and begat sous and daughters/ 
The holy and pure use of the creatures may stand with the strictest 
rules of profession. There may be a walking with God without monkery, 
and a sequestration of ourselves from worldly affairs. Enoch had a 
body as others had, and he needed the refreshment and support of 
meat, drink, and sleep, and the modest use of conjugal society, and yet 
walked with God ; that is, in all these comforts he enjoyed God. 

[2.] It doth not imply such a strictness and exactness as is wholly 
exempt from infirmities ; for we read in scripture that Noah was one 
that walked with God, yet Noah was overcome with drink, Gen. ix. 21. 
Alas ! in our journey many times carnal affections creep upon us, and 
bewray themselves by some indecent and impure actions, yet the Lord 
pardons them out of grace ; though he be displeased with our sins, yet 
he accepts of our company still, accepts of our persons with % Christ. On 
God's part the society and fellowship is not broken off, because they 
are interested in Christ ; and on the believer's part the godly do not 
break off communion with God, because they recover themselves by 
repentance ; there is a vigilant custody over their ways, but treacherous 
nature will be tripping now and then, and draw us to inconveniences. 
Alas ! what then ? The people of God are restless till they rise again, 
and recover the sense of God's favour ; and when they stumble, they do 
not lie in the mire of sin, but endeavour to rise and keep on their journey ; 
their constant purpose is to walk in a constant communion with 


2. Positively, what is walking with God? There are two terms 
in the scripture ; there is ' walking ; ' and then walking ' with God.' 

[1.] Walking, that doth imply a way, and some motion in that way. 

(1.) There must be a way. If we walk with God, it must be in his 
own ways. Now there are several ways of God ; there are ways in which 
God walks to us, as Ps. xxv. 10, ' All the ways of the Lord are mercy 
and truth.' It is meant of the ways of his providence and dispensations 
to us ; they are all stamped with the character of mercy and truth. 
And then there are ways in which we walk to God, and with God, and 
those are spoken of: Isa. ii. 3, ' He will teach us his ways.' And what 
is that way ? that is his revealed will in the word. All our steps are 
but acts of obedience, conformed to the will of God ; our whole course is 
a declining of evil and doing of good. We walk alone when we go 
out of the broad path and road of duty : Ps. cxxv. 5, ' They that turn 
aside to crooked ways shall be led forth with the workers of iniquity/ 
When they are in any crooked deviations of spirit, which are constant 
and allowed, they are none of those that God will keep company with. 
God holds communion with us in all his ways. It is a mistake to think 
our communion with God is only when we are practising duties of the first 
table, in the exercises of religion; then we do more intimately converse 
with him in meditation, prayer, and hearing. This is indeed the heaven 
of a Christian ; but God holds communion with us also in the necessary 
duties of our calling in the shop, as well as in the closet. A man walks 
with God, it is true, as travellers sometimes may sit down and refresh 
themselves, but all the day they keep company. That is somewhat like 
communion with God in ordinances ; but all the day we should keep 
God company. It is the dotage of foolish men to think all the world 
must be turned into a cloister, or we can have no company with God. 
We are indeed to sequester ourselves from the distractions of the world, 
but not from the employment of the world. There must be an even 
hand, that we may converse with God in worship, and in the duties of our 
calling : piety must not make us lazy, nor yet frugal diligence profane. 

(2.) Walking doth not only imply choice of a way, but motion. In 
this motion there are two things diligence and progress. (1.) An 
active diligence. Speculation doth not make us Christians ; no, nor a 
naked profession. We have a race to run ; God cannot endure idlers, and 
those that merely dress up a profession. Deeds speak louder than words 
in God's ear ; therefore there must be much spiritual diligence to pre 
vent what is displeasing to God, and to practise what is acceptable. 
Treacherous nature is always apt to draw back and fly out, therefore 
we had need make a solemn covenant with our mind, will, and senses ; 
with our mind, that we may not think evil, and provoke God with our 
thoughts ; and with our wills, that we do not consent to evil ; with our 
senses, that they may not be inlets to a temptation all must be under 
the coercion of a severe discipline: Prov. iv. 23, 'Keep thy heart with all 
diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.' Christianity was never 
made for idle ones and lazy persons ; as a bird in the air must always be 
moving on the wing, so we must be always in our flight and motion. 
There must be a constant diligence to guard the heart, to bring it to 
a serious performance of the duties of religion, and to keep it upright in. 
duty. (2.) A progress. .He that walks makes more steps than one ; so 
a Christian is in a continual journey, and God is in his company. Now 


we must make a continual progress. It is said, Ps. Ixxxiv. 7, ' They 
shall go from strength to strength, till they appear before God in Zion.' 
The original word is, they shall go on from troop to troop ; for it is an 
allusion to the solemn journey to the temple thrice a year. This was 
their ambition, who should outreach one another. When they had 
overtaken one troop, they strove to overtake the other troop ; so in 
their solemn journey to heaven they shall gather new strength and 
courage, till they come to the triumphant church, and appear before 
God in Zion. A Christian in his journey is like a man going up a sandy 
hill, if he doth not go forward, he goes backward ; so we go backward 
when we do not make effectual progress ; or like a man rowing against 
the tide, if he do not ply the oar, he goes backward if there be not an 
effectual progress, there will be a sensible decay. 

[2.] I come to show what this term ' with God ' implies. 

(1.) The company and presence of God. He must needs be present 
with us that walks with us. How can God be absent from any ? The 
apostle saith, Acts xvii. 27, ' He is not far from every one of us.' We 
are not so near to ourselves as God is to us. Who can keep his breath 
in his body for a moment if God were not there ? God is present with 
us ; but the meaning is this, that we must be present with God. 
Usually, we are at too great a distance in our minds and affections ; 
therefore walking with God implies actual thoughts of his presence ; 
he must be represented as the beholder of all our thoughts, words, and 
actions. The world is a great theatre, and the spectators are God and 
angels. I confess we little think of it ; there is a fond levity in our minds. 
As to us, the world is like a hill of ants ; you stand by, and they run 
up and down, and do not think of your presence and being there ; so 
the Lord stands by and observes all our motions, and we run up and 
down like busy ants, and do not think of God's presence ; there is a 
great hurry and clutter of business, and few thoughts of God. It is a 
description of carnal men : Ps. Ixxxvi. 14, ' They have not set thee 
before them.' There are some have never any thoughts of God ; they 
have nothing before their eyes but the world and worldly business. As 
it is storied of the panther, when she is hunted she hides her head, 
and when she doth not see the hunters, she thinks she is not seen by 
them ; so we do not think of God, and therefore vainly imagine that 
he doth not think of us. In heaven, indeed a man doth nothing else 
but think of God ; the divine essence is impressed there upon our minds, 
it is a part of our glory : Ps. xvii. 15, ' When I awake, I shall be satis 
fied with thy likeness ; ' we shall endlessly lose ourselves in the con 
templation of the divine perfections. Now for the present faith serves 
instead of vision. God must be acknowledged as present with us, as 
certainly present as those outward objects with which we do converse, 
or as a man is whom we see with our bodily eyes. The soul hath its 
object and its senses as well as the body. There is a commerce 
between spirits ; they see and hear, and converse with one another ; 
so must our souls with God and holy angels. A Christian can never 
be alone; by thoughts his soul converseth with God; they see him 
whom the world cannot see. We see that according to the different 
ranks of beings they have different objects : the beasts have eyes and 
senses to see external objects, and they judge by sight according to the 
form and outward appearance of things. Men have reason ; that is 


higher than sight. Keason corrects sense in many things ; as a star 
to^sense seems but like a spark or spangle, reason can judge it to be 
greater as big as the world. Christians have a higher light ; they 
have faith to see him that is altogether invisible. Now this is the great 
advantage of religion ; to see God by us, with us, and in us ; nothing 
makes a man more holy than this. It is said, 3 John 11, 'He that doth 
evil hath not seen God ; ' that is, he doth not think of God's presence ; he 
is as if he had no God to see him. Now, because it is impossible in the 
present life to have perpetual actual thoughts and considerations of God's 
majesty and goodness, there must be set times to represent the truth 
and glory of his being to the soul, till at length it be habituated to us ; 
and when it is habituated upon every temptation, there will be actual 
discourses about his presence, especially when you are tempted to secret 
sins ; as Job speaks of his unclean glances, chap. xxxi. 4, ' Doth he not 
see my ways, and count all my steps ? ' When 1 there is an inward 
impure thought arising in the heart, it will be checked by this, Is not 
this liable to God's eye ? as Joseph, when he was tempted to sin 
by the advantage of privacy, Gen. xxxix. 9, ' How can I do this 
wickedness, and sin against God ? ' Is any place private to God ? The 
majesty of God will always run upon the thoughts, upon every temptation. 
(2.) Familiarity. A beggar may be in the presence of a prince, but 
cannot be said to walk with him, for that noteth a social communion ; 
a servant may be in company with his master, but he waits upon him, 
doth not walk with him. But now God hath taken all his saints into 
the honour of his friends ; he is ours in covenant ', we do not walk with 
him as with a stranger, at a distance, and with wary reservation, as with 
another man's God, but with our friend with our God, with our con 
federate in Christ, one that is in covenant with us. There is abundance 
of intimate converse and familiarity between God and believers : 1 John 
i. 3, ' Truly,' saith the apostle, ' our fellowship is with the Father, and 
with his Son Jesus Christ.' How ? by walking in the light : ver. 7, 
' If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, then have we fellowship 
one with another ; ' that is, we with God, and God with us, as two 
friends and companions would walk together. There is the familiarity 
of discourse. It is not a mute, silent walk, but such as is full of sweet 
and interchangeable discourses, many sweet dialogues between God and 
us. Sometimes God, and sometimes we begin the conference ; some 
times God speaks to the soul, and the heart answers God. God speaks 
to us by the injection of holy thoughts, by the motions and actual 
excitations of his grace ; and the soul again speaks to God by prayer, 
meditation, and pious addresses: Ps. xxvii. 8, 'When thou saidest, Seek 
ye my face ;^ my heart said, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.' The heart, 
.-noyed and inspired by the spirit, gives God an answer. Sometimes, 
again, we begin the conference ; we ask counsel of God in doubtful 
matters, when the soul is engaged with many anxious traverses, and 
knows not what to do. Now God answers us by the whispers of his 
Spirit ; as the Israelites, Judges i. 1, ' Who shall go up for us against 
the^Canaanites? ' In all difficult and uncertain matters they make God 
their counsellor ; and then the Lord leads them by his Spirit, and gives 
them an answer by casting powerful and overswaying considerations 
into their minds ; as David saith, Ps. xvi. 7, ' My reins instruct me in 
the night-season.' In the silence of the night, when we are free from 


the hurry of distractions, then God inwardly speaks to us by our own 
hearts and by our own consciences, and sometimes we crave his help as 
well as his counsel. There is not a day passeth but there is some 
occasion offered to confer with God for Christians that mind their work 
and their souls. Carnal men feel no impulses to prayer ; they are not 
only strangers to God, but to their own souls. God and they are un 
acquainted, and they and themselves are unacquainted; for if men 
did not converse 1 with themselves, and mind the state of their souls, 
they would find there are many doubts need to be assailed, many 
wants to be supplied, many corruptions to be weakened and morti 
fied. But when they leave off conference with themselves, no won 
der they are so careless of holding conference and communion 
with God; when they and themselves are brought together, they 
will not be quiet till they and God are brought together. David 
speaks of sevenfold addresses in one day : Ps. cxix. 164, ' Seven 
times a day do I praise thee.' Oh, what a spirit are they of that 
can pass whole days and whole weeks and never speak a word to 
God, never give God a visit ! Can these be said to walk with him ? 
Now all our communion and speaking with God does not lie in prayer 
only ; for look, as wants put us upon prayer, so blessings upon praises. 
The vapours and showers do maintain a mutual commerce between 
the earth and the air ; the earth sends up vapours, and the air sends 
down showers ; so it is here blessings and praises maintain a mutual 
communion between God and us ; God sends down the shower of 
blessing, and then we send up the vapour of praise, so that the soul 
lives in a holy sweet way of communion with him. 

(3.) The fear of God. There must be a humble reverence if we 
keep God company. We are in the presence of the ' great king/ 
as the prophet calls him, Mai. i. 14 ; it is his pleasure to hold famili 
arity with us, but we must never forget our distance ; there must be a 
constant fear and a reverend respect to God. It is a profanation to 
think of him without reverence, as well as to speak of him without 
reverence. Our familiarity with God must not be rude and careless, 
but such as becomes the distance that is between God and us : Micah 
vi. 8, ' What doth the Lord require of thee, but to walk humbly with 
thy God?' When we converse with God, we must not forget ourselves ; 
we must remember the distance between infinite purity and a poor 
spotted creature. The angels and blessed spirits that enjoy the highest 
way of communion with God, they stand in dread of his presence. 
Fear is a grace in heaven as well as love ; the angels clap their wings 
and cover their faces, and cry, ' Holy, holy, holy,' &c., Isa. vi. 2, 3. 
Those immaculate spirits are abashed at the glory of his holiness, and 
do not only praise, but fear him ; for fear is an essential respect that is 
due from the creature to the godhead. It is true, faith is a grace 
which suits with our present estate, therefore it vanisheth in heaven, 
where we have full enjoyment ; but fear is a necessary respect of the 
creature to the supreme majesty ; there is a reverent and aweful, but a 
delightful dread in the angels ; they have higher apprehensions of his 
holiness than we have, therefore reverence him the more. We have 
but low thoughts of that which is his chiefest glory, his holiness, there 
fore we do not reverence him as the angels do. Now if the angels are 

1 Qu. ' Did converse ? ' ED. 


abashed at his presence, despicable dust and ashes have more cause to 
fear. Why ? because we have sin in us, and are not out of danger of 
punishment. But angels are out of danger of punishments ; they do 
not fear God for his commutative justice, but only reverence him for 
his holiness; but here we have sin in us, and can never have an 
absolute assurance of God's favour, therefore we have more cause to 
stand in dread. We may sadly reflect upon this, because we are 
guilty of such a negligent security, and we converse with God rather 
as an idol of our own fancy than a king of glory ; there is not a reve 
rent respect upon the soul. Oh, consider, there is practical atheism 
in irreverence ! It is hard to say which is worse, to deny God, or not 
to fear him; an atheist makes him nothing, and a careless person 
makes him an idol Malo de me did nullum esse Plutarclmm, quam 
malum esse Pluiarclium ; and in the issue it is all one to deny his being 
and not to acknowledge his perfection, and to behave ourselves suitably. 
It is worse to behave ourselves to God as if he were a weak God, than 
absolutely to deny his being; but, alas ! we never tremble but when he 
thunders, and when God shows himself terrible in some instance of 
judgment and vengeance. Alas ! it is much for us, in our prayers and 
supplications, to be aweful in our special addresses to God, and yet fear 
is a grace that is never out of season and exercise : Prov. xxviii. 14, 
' Happy is the man that feareth always ;' not that perplexeth himself 
with scruples and terrors that is a torment, not a blessedness but 
that bears a constant reverent respect to God's presence. So again, 
Prov. xxiii. 17, ' Be thou in the fear of God all the day long.' In 
secret and in company, in the shop and in the closet thou art still in 
God's company, and still God is to be feared. But you will say, This 
is very hard, to keep the soul under an actual awe and trembling, and 
in the fear of God ; therefore there must at least be a habitual awe ; 
that is, a reverent and serious constitution of spirit, so that a man 
would not do anything that is unseemly in God's sight. 

(4.) A care of obedience, or a holy ambition to please God and 
approve ourselves to him. Now in this pleasing of God there must be 

1st. An avoiding of whatever is grievous and displeasing to him. 
He that seeth God to be always present certainly he will be afraid to 
displease him ; he will be always reasoning and discoursing thus in his 
soul, How will God like this with whom I am present, and before 
whom I am ? You know the question of Ahasuerus concerning Haman, 
when he threw himself upon the queen's bed, Esther vii. 8, * Will he 
force the queen before my face ? ' so, should I go about to grieve God 
before his face? to betray his cause, and comply with his enemies 
when he looks on ? It is impudence to sin before any looker-on, 
before a man, or before a child ; but this in the presence of the just, 
powerful, and avenging God. Would a man ease himself, or void 
his excrements, before a prince ? The comparison is not too homely, 
for this is the type which God gave his ancient church. There was a 
law, that if they went aside to ease themselves, they should cover 
their filth with a paddle, ' for the Lord walketh in the midst of the 
camp,' Deut. xxiii. 12-14. God would teach them by this similitude 
to avoid whatever is unseemly in his presence. There must be con 
stantly manifested a respect to his presence ; so Joseph : Gen. xxxix. 


9, ' How shall I do this wickedness, and sin against God ? ' Sin is. on 
our part, a departure and a going out of God's presence ; and as to 
God, it makes him to break off the journey ' Can two walk together 
except they be agreed ? ' Amos iii. 3. He cannot walk with us, and 
draw nigh to us, if we turn aside to those crooked paths. 

2c%. There must be a constant care of those things God likes of, 
not only a declining of evil, but a doing of good. Take one disposi 
tion that is very pleasing to God. When your hearts are carried out 
wholly to spiritual things, then God delights to hold company and 
communion with such. When Solomon desired wisdom, and passed 
by riches and honour, it is said, ' The thing exceedingly pleased God/ 
1 Kings iii. 10 ; so when the bent and strength of your desires are 
carried after spiritual blessings, that you may be wise to salvation, the 
thing is very pleasing to God. 

3dly. This pleasing of God implies the uprightness of our aim, that 
the man is as good as the action. The main intent of the soul must 
be to please God, as his will must be the rule of your life ; so his glory 
must be the end of your lives : Gen. xvii. 1, ' Walk before me, and be 
thou perfect.' God can look into the bottom of the heart ; he weighs 
the spirits, and knows what are the inward propensions, the inward 
inclinations, the proposal we make to ourselves ; so Hezekiah : Isa. 
xxxviii. 3, 'I have walked before thee with a perfect heart.' The 
heart must be sincere and rightly set, the aim must be to please God ; 
negatively, it must not be to please ourselves, or to gratify the flesh in 
the conveniences of the present life, in outward profits and delights : 
Rom. viii. 12, ' We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.' 
A man that walks with God must dissolve the natural contract and 
agreement that is between him and the flesh ; we are come under the 
bond of the new contract to please God. Look, as Jesus Christ, when 
he came to purchase this communion and this society with God, it is 
said, Rom. xv. 3, ' He pleased not himself ; ' so when we come to enjoy 
this communion, we are not to please ourselves, and so also our aims 
must not be to please men. He is nothing in Christianity that doth not 
count the judgment of man a small thing, 1 Cor. iv. 3. When we 
give up ourselves to walk with God, we must remember we are not to 
seek for the humour of men : 1 Peter iv. 3, ' That he no longer should 
live the rest of his time in the flesh, to the lusts of men, but to the 
will of God/ Men of sociable, sweet dispositions are loth to displease 
those with whom they do converse ; and so they are mightily prone to 
carnal compliance. The apostle disclaims this, Gal. i. 10, ' If I yet 
pleased men, I should not be the servant of Jesus Christ.' The 
Pharisees were angry when Paul revolted from their confederacy, when 
he that was their prime instrument turned preacher of the gospel. 
Company and humouring of men many times is a mighty snare to 
sordid spirits, but if it be done out of worldliness, it is worse ; many 
men would please God so as they may not infringe their secular in 
terest. Oh, consider, God will never walk with us as long as mammon 
is in company, when the bent of the heart is set that way : the world 
is to be our servant, not our fellow. When we walk with God we 
must have no other companion but God alone. Walking with God is 
usually a counter-motion to the times. Enoch, and Noah, and Levi, 


walked contrary to the times ; it is an owning of God when others 
forsake him. But then, affirmatively, the great aim must he pleasing 
God alone ; he is our companion. This must be the aim and scope^of 
our lives, to please God; we must study to please him, and give him 
content in all things. 

Quest. But if you will ask, Whether an actual intention of pleasing 
God in every good action be always necessary ? 

Ans. It is very convenient, but not absolutely necessary. A son is 
careful to please his father, though he doth not always actually think 
of it ; there is a general and habitual intention, though in every act 
of duty the thought be not continued. Many good actions may pro 
ceed from the force of the habitual intention, when the actual inten 
tion or thought ceaseth ; as an arrow from the aim of the archer, when 
his eye is taken off from the mark ; or rather, a man that journeys to 
such a place doth not always think of his journey's end ; but we 
should retain it in our thoughts as much as we can, that the heart 
may be more upright, and for the prevention of evil and carnal reflec 
tions : Rom. vii. 21, ' When I would do good, evil is present with me.' 
In short, a purpose of humouring the world or displeasing God cannot 
stand with grace. 

(5.) A continual dependence upon God and a confidence of his 
assistance : Gen. xvii. 1, ' Walk before me ; ' it is different from the 
phrase of Enoch walking with God ; that is, maintain a courage and 
confidence becoming my presence. A man may trust himself in God's 
company and defence. They that are always in the king's presence 
are sure of his favour and defence if they be in distress ; God is at hand, 
and they may cast themselves into the bosom of providence in all 
dangers and troubles, and wait for the divine help. Usually we tor 
ment ourselves with unnecessary cares and fears about the event and 
success of things : a man that is in God's presence may refer himself 
to his care and protection. That this is plainly intended in this exposi 
tion, is clear by what is said in Acts ii. 25, ' I foresaw the Lord always 
before my face, for here he is at my right hand, that I should not be 
moved.' When a man walks with God, whenever he enters into the 
combat and list, God will be his second, ready to fight for us, in us, 
and by us. To open that expression, ' He is at my right hand.' When 
a man is at the right hand of God, that notes honour and glory put 
upon the creature ; but when God is at the right hand of man, that 
notes help and aid. If the world offers foul play in our Christian 
course, it is in God's presence ; our second will come to our rescue. 
He that walks with God walks safely ; when the devil is at our right 
hand, God is there to check the devil. The way to heaven is a danger 
ous journey, it lies through a howling wilderness ; we shall meet with 
wolves and bears in the shape of men, and therefore woe be to him 
that is alone ; but now when we have such good company, we may 
adventure freely, when God himself is our guide and leader. 

(6.) Contentation. You must give up yourselves to God's disposal 
to shorten or lengthen out the journey as he shall see cause ; for you 
walk with God, and follow the Lamb wheresoever he goes ; so as, 
wherever God leads you, you must follow. Heaven is the place of 
rest, but for the time of our translation we must not be our own carvers. 


It is good to groan and long for home, but still we must wait God's 
leisure ; it is he that appoints the way and the stages of the journey. 
It is said of David, Acts xiii. 36, ' After he had served his own gene 
ration by the will of God, he fell asleep.' The will of God doth 
determine how long David was to serve him. We have a wise com 
panion, and he knows the way to glory better than we, and he knows 
by what methods to bring us to glory. When God hath no further 
work to do by us, then he will give us our wages : Job xiv. 14, ' All 
the days of my appointed time will I wait till my change come ; ' our 
time is appointed, therefore we must wait. The walk in paradise is 
more pleasant than in the garden of the church ; but the time of change 
is appointed ; if it comes sooner than we expect, it is no loss ; if it 
comes later, we must be contented. They that walk with God in earth 
cannot be separated from him in heaven, therefore it is no loss ; for 
if you change place, you shall not change your company ; you shall be 
nearer to him, and have sweeter communion with him, and you shall 
walk with him in a more glorious way. The heavenly state is de 
scribed thus, Rev. iii. 4, ' They shall walk \vith me in white ; ' that is, 
in perfect joy and innocency, without sin and without temptation. Our 
garments here are often defiled, black, and spotted ; but there ' they shall 
walk with me in white.' When we walk with God in the upper garden 
of paradise, there we shall have the same company in a better way ; 
or, suppose the Lord should leave you to be harassed and worn out 
with the troubles of the world, if it come later, yet we must wait. The 
wise God knows when we are fittest for glory, and when glory is fittest 
for us : Job xiv. 5, ' His days are determined, and the number of his 
months are with thee ; thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot 
pass ; ' days and months to a precise time, all are defined by God. We 
live not at our own pleasure, nor at the pleasure of any creature ; 
therefore though your pilgrimage be prolonged, you must be contented. 
Consider the precedent, Gen. v. 22, ' Enoch walked with God three 
hundred years : ' he spent three hundred years in communing with 
God a long age, and, as matters then went, very degenerate. But 
consider, the way should not be very tedious when we are in God's 
company ; therefore when in trouble, we must refer ourselves to our 
guide, and with meekness, quietness, and contentation, we must follow 

Use, Let me exhort you to come to God, and to walk with him ; 
you have all the encouragement in the world to do both. 

1. Come to God. You may come, and you must come ; you may 
come, you are invited ' Come to me/ saith Christ, Mat. xi. 28. Though 
you are poor, guilty sinners, harassed and worn-out with your own fears 
and dissatisfactions, you may come, and you must come ; either you 
must come to Christ, or lose eternal life : and it is very sweet to come 
to Christ. All good is in the chiefest good ; the nearer we are to 
God, the nearer to the centre of rest and happiness ; therefore every 
day and in every duty make nearer accesses and approaches to God 
by Christ. 

2. When you are come to God, walk with him. Consider what 
encouragement you have : God is our companion, the Son is our 
saviour, and heaven is our patrimony ; the way is safe, and the end 


is glorious. It is a great honour when a great man will take you 
into his company and walk with you. The Lord hath put this 
honour upon all his saints, that they shall walk with him in a way 
of federal communion. 


For before his translation he had this testimony, that lieyleased God. 

HEB. xi. 5. 

Secondly, Now I come to the other branch, to confirm the point "by 
showing (1.) The necessity of pleasing God; (2.) The necessity of 
pleasing God in the present life. 

First, The necessity of pleasing God ; for whosoever will live happily 
with the Lord in glory must have a care to please him in the present life. 

1. Because this is the means and condition without which we shall 
never come to enjoy God ; it is the way to fit the sons of God for glory, 
though not the cause of glory : Heb. xii. 14, ' Follow peace with all 
men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.' The 
apostle presseth there peace and holiness ; but mark what he saith 
of holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. He 
presseth them to follow both ; but observe the difference : we must 
follow peace, that we may walk with men ; and holiness, that we may 
walk with God. They that prefer peace before holiness may gain favour 
with men, but they lose fellowship and communion with God. God's 
stipulation with mankind is not made up together of promises ; he 
promiseth much, but he requireth. something ; as he giveth many bless 
ings, so he requireth many duties ; not for which, but without which 
we shall never be blessed ; it implies not a condignity of merit, but an 
ordinability to the reward. It is required of all those that will be 
saved : holiness is appointed by God as the way, heaven as the end of 
the journey. Wherever the scripture speaks either of the decrees of 
God, or those ordinances of judgment and justice by which he will 
govern the world, or the covenant of God, there is a duty left upon 
man. Thus the apostle, Eph. ii. 10, ' We are created in Christ Jesus 
to good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk 
therein.' They are not the cause of our salvation, or the merit by 
which we acquire a right, but they are the way and path by which we 
get to it. There is a great deal of dispute about the necessity of 
walks ; x there is necessitas prcesentice though not efficiencies. Observe 
the constitutions of heaven, this is the order : he will appoint first 
holiness, then happiness ; there is no causality, but order. God's decrees 
have put salvation into this way and course first faith, then works, 
then glory : Eph. i. 4, ' He hath chosen us, that we should be holy.' 
The eternal counsel of God respecteth both the end and the means. 
Holiness is a necessary effect of election, and it must have a room ; it 
is necessary, not as a cause, but as a condition. We are not chosen 
because we were holy, but that we might be holy : Rom. viii. 29, 

1 Qu. Works ? 'Eo. 


' Whom he did foreknow he did also predestinate, to be conformed to 
the image of his Son.' This was the solemn appointment of God, that 
those whom he had marked out hy his own choice and eternal counsel 
to be heirs of the grace of life should be conformed to his Son, first in 
holiness, then in glory. God hath bound himself by promise to deal 
this way with the creatures, that whosoever shall embrace the agree 
ment of the new covenant shall be saved. 

2. There is a necessity of it by way of sign, and as a pledge of out 
living with God hereafter ' Before his translation he had this testi 
mony, that he pleased God.' This is that testimony which witnesseth 
to us our interest in the everlasting state. When holiness is our care, 
it is a token that heaven is our portion ; God will not own us for his 
own, neither can we take this honour upon ourselves unless we have 
this mark. The merit of Christ, apprehended by faith, gives us our 
right and title ; but holiness doth evidence and confirm our right and 
title ; we can have no assurance till then. Good works are eternce 
felicitatis prcesagia, the necessary forerunners and presages of eternal 
happiness. Never can there be a sound hope towards God where there 
is not a religious and conscionable desire of walking before God in all 
well-pleasing ; otherwise men do but confute their hopes, and live down 
their own expectations. In establishing assurance there is a double 
witness the spirit and conscience : both have a voice ; the Spirit hath 
a voice, but none can hear it but holy persons. The person must be 
qualified first to receive the testimony of the Spirit ; for the Spirit when 
he comes to witness to us, doth not reveal to us so much the purposes 
of God as the gifts of God : 1 Cor. ii. 11, ' For what man knoweth 
the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him ? ' The 
Spirit's testimony is always subsequent to that of the renewed con 
science ; for the Spirit's testimony is nothing but the evidencing and 
owning of its own work ; and the testimony that we have from the Holy 
Ghost is not intuitive, but discoursive ; the Spirit doth not comport 
at first with such a report as this is, that mercy is prepared for thee 
from all eternity ; but thou art holy, and therefore thou art in a state 
of grace and favour. Then conscience hath a voice. Now the testi 
mony of conscience ariseth from comparing our actions with the rule, 
the conversation of men with the stipulation of God. By a single 
apprehension it looks up to what God requires, then by reflection how 
we answer it ; and so gives sentence : Heb. xiii. 18, ' We trust we have 
a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly ; ' 1 John ii. 3, 
' Hereby we know that we know him, because we keep his command 
ments.' The soul is persuaded that it hath an interest in God because 
it keeps his commandments ; there is some ground and warrant for 
the report of conscience. General hopes are but a deceit, and fond 
credulity without ground.' 

3. It is necessary by way of preparation. Those that walk with God 
are meet to live with God ; they change their place, but not their com 
pany ; here they walk with God, and there they live with him for ever. 
The vessels of glory are first seasoned and prepared with grace ; God's 
qualifying grace makes way for his rewarding grace : Col. i. 12, ' Who 
hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in 
light.' Alas ! what should carnal and sensual persons do in heaven ? 


those blessed mansions that are above would be to them as melancholy 
and obscure shades. How can they endure the perpetual presence of 
God, that now cannot endure the thoughts of God ? or IIOAV can they 
delight in the communion of saints to whom now good company and 
holy conference is as a prison ? how can men leap from the lap of 
delight into the bosom of Abraham so suddenly ? what should swine 
anddogs do with such a holy place in the upper paradise ? Heaven 
is an intimate familiarity with God, and therefore it as not for mere 
strangers ; heaven is said to be prepared for us, and we are said to be 
prepared for heaven. Christ is gone in person to heaven to prepare a 
place for us, and hath left his Spirit upon earth to prepare us for 
heaven ; and this is the reason of those expressions so often used in 
scripture, of being ' worthy of eternal life,' and walking ' worthy of 
the high prize of our calling,' and ' worthy of God : ' the meaning is, 
beseeming and becoming. We are put into a holy rneetness and fitness 
for such holy rewards : Kev. iii. 4, ' They shall walk with me in white, 
for they are worthy ; ' that is, fittingly disposed and prepared ; as in 
another case, Mat. x. 11, ' Into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, 
inquire who in it is worthy ; ' that is, prepared by the Holy Ghost to re 
ceive the doctrine of life, and to entertain God's messengers ; inquire 
who hath a good report and are lovers of religion, ready to entertain the 
word and the messengers of the word. So here they are ' worthy ; ' that 
is, fittingly disposed, meet to receive such a portion in glory. It is not 
any equality of worth that is implied there ; but that which is meet, 
convenient, and becoming. God works in the hearts of believers an 
aptitude for blessing, then he bestows them upon them ; first, he gives 
the heavenly mind, then the heavenly state ; the new creature for the 
new heavens and the new earth. Wicked men have a portion suiting to 
them, and becoming their affections ; sensual pleasures for a sensual 
heart ; so God's children, before they have their portion, they are suited 
to it, that they may have a portion suited to their heart. This is the 
great mercy of God, that he will never advance our condition till he 
hath changed our hearts. A king may advance a slave to a high place 
of trust, but he cannot give him gifts and fitness ; he may change his 
state, but he cannot change his nature; but God, before he gives 
heaven, he gives a heavenly inclination; and before he gives com 
munion with himself in glory, there is communion with himself in grace. 

Secondly, The necessity of pleasing God in the present life ' For 
before his translation,' it is said, ' he had this testimony, that he pleased 
God.' There is a time for all things, and the time of pleasing God is 
in the present life. 

1. Because this is the time of grace. Here we are invited to walk 
with God : now we have the means, then we have the recompenses ; 
here Christ saith, Mat. xi. 28, ' Come to me,' in a way of choice com 
munion ; then, Mat. xxv. 34, ' Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit 
the kingdom.' Now we come to receive grace, then we come to him to 
receive glory ; here God makes an offer, and there he makes it good. 
Upon gospel terms he holds out the golden sceptre, therefore here is 
the time to please God. When the angels came with a song to publish 
the tidings of salvation, mark the burden of their song : Luke ii. 14, 
' Peace upon earth, and good-will towards men.' Now the Lord offers 


to bo reconciled : the church is the seminary of heaven, and here we 
are trained up for glory. We shall never have such golden seasons 
again ; you shall hear of no gospel afterward ; there shall be no more 
tenders and offers of grace. Zanchy speaketh of some that had a fancy 
that the gospel should be preached in the other world to those that 
never heard of Christ in this world to children, Turks and pagans, 
alleging that place, 1 Peter iii. 19, ' By which he went and preached 
to the spirits in prison ; ' but this is as a fancy and nothing to thy 
case. Now only doth Christ say, ' Come ! ' If you refuse him now, he 
will hereafter say, 'Depart ! ' This is the season of grace. 

2. This is the time of our exercise and trial. As death leaves us, so 
j udgment finds us ; our everlasting woe or weal hangs upon the present 
moment. Hereafter is not the time of labour, but of rewards and 
punishment. Then there will be no more room for repentance, though 
we should seek the blessing with tears, Heb. xii. 17 ; therefore here is, 
the time of our exercise and of our work ; we are now put to our 
choice. There is no triumph without warfare ' They are not crowned 
except they strive lawfully,' saith the apostle ; that is, according to the 
laws of the race, 2 Tim. ii. 5 ; so we cannot expect our crown till we 
have been exercised in the duties of holiness. They that live in the 
Lord die in the Lord, and they shall hereafter reign with the Lord. 
It is said of ungodly men, ' their iniquities shall find them out/ Num. 
xxxii. 23 ; and of the godly ' their works follow them,' Kev. xiv. 13 : 
they reap the fruit of their works in the other world. We may 
observe, many live as if they never thought to die ; therefore when 
they come to die they die as if they never thought to live. Oh consider, 
your works do not die when you die ; they are kept in a safe register, 
and they will find you out : Eccles. xi. 3, ' If the tree fall toward 
the south or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth there 
it shall lie.' As we live, so we die, and so we shall arise and come to 
judgment. Here is the time of our trial and exercise. Look, as the 
Jews upon the sixth day were to provide for the sabbath, and there 
fore they were to gather two omers of manna then ; the present life 
is our sixth day, here we are to make provision ; they that did not pro 
vide on the sixth day had nothing on the sabbath ; so we shall have 
nothing to do with the everlasting sabbath unless we make provision 
in the present life. Here we are in via, then in termino. Death will 
at length cut us down and deprive us of further opportunity : Eccles. 
ix. 10, ' Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might ; for 
there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave 
whither thou goest.' When this life is ended, all opportunity of doing 
good ends with it. The next life is not sceculum operis, but mercedis. 
Therefore now we must be making out our qualification : Gal. vi. 10, 
' As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men.' 
Opportunities are passing, and being passed will not return ; they are 
confined within the narrow precincts of the present life. Afterwards, 
the time of our trial and exercise is past : John ix. 4, ' I must work 
the works of him that sent me while it is day : the night conieth, when 
no man can work.' 

3. The sooner we begin the better. 

[1.] Because you make a necessary work sure, and put it out of 



doubt and hazard. The time of this life is uncertain : James iv. 14, 
' Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow ; for what is your 
life ? it is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then 
vanisheth away.' And a work of necessity should not be left on per- 
adventures; therefore we must bestir ourselves without delay. We 
know not how soon opportunity will be over ; it cannot be done too 
soon, it may be too late, and therefore it is good to be of the surer side. 
Ludovicus Capellus telleth us, out of Rabbi Jonah's book of the 
mystery of repentance, that when a disciple came to his teacher to know 
what was the fittest time to repent in, he answered, ' One day before 
death/ meaning presently ; for we have not assurance of another day : 
Prov.'xxvii. 1, ' Thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.' Our 
greatest works, and of most absolute necessity should be done first, and 
have the quickest despatch, lest it be too late before we go about them. 
Oh, woe to us, if God should call us off before we fcave minded coming 
to him, and walking with him ! 

[2.] In point of obedience, God presseth to ' now.' God doth not 
only command us to please him, but to do it presently : Heb. iii. 7, 8, 
' To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.' God standeth 
on his authority, and will have a present answer. If he say, ' To-day,' 
it is flat disobedience for you to say, ' To-morrow : ' 2 Cor. vi. 2, ' Now 
is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.' At this instant you 
are charged in his name, as you will answer the contrary, You say, 
no ; I will please the flesh a little longer. It were just with God, if 
you refuse him, never to call you more. 

[3.] In point of ingenuity. We receive a plenteous recompense for 
a small service. When a man thinketh what God hath provided for 
them that love him and serve him, he should be ashamed that he should 
receive so much and do so little ; and therefore he should redeem all 
the time that he can, that he may answer his expectations from God. 
Shall we adjourn and put off God to our decrepit time, when he hath 
provided for us eternal happiness ? Can a man, which hath any 
ingenuity in his breast, be content to dishonour God longer, and grieve 
his Spirit longer, provided that at length he may be saved ? Those 
that have any due sense of God's kindness, or their own duty, will think 
God hath been too long kept out of his right, and that all the time that 
remaineth is too little to express our love and thankfulness to him : 1 
Peter iv. 3, ' For the time past of our life may suffice us to have 
wrought the will of the gentiles.' Men that delay, do in effect say, 
Let me despise thy commands and abuse thy mercies a little longer ; 
but then, when my lusts are satisfied and youthful heats are spent, I 
will see what I can do to be saved. What baseness of spirit is this ! 

[4.] It is our advantage to begin betimes, both here and hereafter. 

(1.) Here. The sooner you begin to please God, the sooner you have 
an evidence of your interest in his favour, more experience of his love, 
more hopes of being with him in heaven ; and these are not slight things. 
When once you taste the comfort of them, you will be sorry that you 
had begun no sooner ; as Paul complaineth, ' that he was born out of 
due time,' 1 Cor. xv. 8. He lost the advantage of seeing Christ in the 
flesh, and personal conference with him, and so you will lose many sweet 
visits of love arid experiences of grace that otherwise might fall to your 


share : Horn. xvi. 7, ' Who were in Christ before me. } An early 
acquaintance with Christ bringeth many benefits with it of peace, and 
comfort, and joy, and hope, which others that set forth later want. 
The consolations of God should not be vile and cheap with us ; if you 
were acquainted with them, you would leave your husks for bread in 
your Father's house. 

(2.) The sooner you begin with God, the greater will your glory be 
hereafter ; for the more we improve our talents here, the greater will 
be our reward in heaven : Luke xix. 16-19, ' Then came the first, say 
ing, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds ; and he said, Well, thou 
good servant ; because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have 
thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, 
thy pound hath gained five pounds ; and he said likewise to him, Be 
thou over five cities.' See Christ's answer, Mat. xx. 23, ' To sit on my 
right hand and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to 
them for whom it is prepared of my Father.' There are degrees of 
glory set forth, by sitting on the right hand to some, and left hand to 
others ; as in hell, there is a hotter and cooler judgment : certainly, 
they that have long pleased God and made it the whole business of 
their lives shall have larger measures of happiness. 

Use 1. If there be such a necessity of pleasing God, and giving up 
ourselves to the severities of religion, then it serves for reproof of divers 
sorts of persons ; as 

1. Those that, though they live as they list ; as if they were sent 
into the world for no other purpose but to gratify their carnal desires, 
yet lay as bold a claim and title to heaven as the best ; they doubt not 
but glory belongs to them, though they cannot make good their title. 
It is true, here in this world is the time of God's patience, and God 
keeps on open house ; here the wicked, as well as the godly, have some 
taste and some experience of God's bounty. The world is a common 
inn for sons and bastards, but heaven is a pure place ; no unclean thing 
enters there. There are no swine in the upper paradise. At the great 
assembly and congregation, God will make a separation : Ps. i. 5, ' The 
ungodly shall not stand in the judgment ; nor sinners in the congrega 
tion of the righteous.' Wicked men shall not be able to look Christ 
in the face, they shall not mingle themselves with that glorious assembly 
of saints ' The place of dogs is without,' Eev. xx. 15. There is no 
point more pressed in religion than the separation God will then make, 
and no point less granted ; for we all flatter ourselves with general 
and deceitful hopes of mercy : ' Know ye not/ says the apostle, 1 Cor. 
6, 10, ' that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven ? 
Be not deceived/ &c. We are all apt to deceive ourselves with a gen 
eral loose hope. Universal salvation is written in the heart by nature ; 
that is the reason why we are so prone to hearken to the doctrine of 
universal grace. Men are apt to deceive themselves with such a lying 
hope. Our desires do by degrees settle into opinions. Careless people 
would fain have it so ; they would have God guide and govern the 
world after another manner ; they would have heaven, and they would 
not be at the pains of strictness to conquer lusts and subdue unruly 
affections ; they would not be at the trouble to dedicate and give up 
themselves to the will of God ; and by little and little their desires 


grow into hopes. Men will never be persuaded that God will ever damn 
his own creature; therefore, as ignorant people, they say, He that made 
me will save me, though there be express words to the contrary, Isa. 
xxvii. 11 ; and therefore they please themselves with a naked hope of 
mercy, without making good their own interest. Consider, you have 
no liberty to sin by Christ's death. Christ died to gain you to please 
the Lord, and walk before him in all holiness : 1 Peter i. 18, 'Foras 
much as you were redeemed not with corruptible things, from your 
vain conversation,' &c. 

2. It reproves them that think that every slight profession of the 
name of God will serve the turn ; no, you must walk with God and 
please God. We are mistaken in the business of pleasing God ; it 
leaves a great burden of duty upon the creature ; it notes a universal 
constant care to please God at all times and in all things ; it is resig 
nation and giving up yourselves to the will of God: Eom. xii. 1, ' I 
beseech you, brethren, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, 
holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service/ Now 
wordly men that have not God in all their thoughts, or else wholly 
devote themselves to humour their own lusts, to please themselves and 
to please the flesh, not to please the Lord, yet, because of some slight 
acts of duty, they will foster and cherish great hopes in their bosoms. 
Oh, consider, you that please the flesh and deny yourselves in no car 
nal delight, you must look for your reward from the flesh. If you 
have lived as those that would gratify yourselves in all your carnal 
desires, you are not meet for heaven. Or else men will rest in this ; 
they will please God where they do not displease themselves, or wrong 
or endanger their own interest. Alas ! this is man-pleasing and walk 
ing with mammon, not with God ; they mind duty only, as it lies in 
mammon's road. Consider, walking with God is not a step or two 
practising duty now and then ; but a ' walking worthy of the Lord,' 
as the apostle saith, ' unto all well-pleasing,' Col. i. 10. It requires 
much severity of life and solemn sequestration from the distractions 
and pleasures of the world, a great deal of self-denial, and still wait 
ing upon God in holy services. Now, men that are only varnished 
over with the general name of Christians are far from this. Oh, consider, 
what God is, and what you expect from him, and what in reason is 
suitable hereunto ! God will not be put off with anything ; you are 
'to walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and 
glory,' 1 Thes. ii. 12. Oh, but we cannot endure to hear of such strict 
ness, and think it is rank puritanism. But do you know that God is 
a great king, and will not be served with what costs you nought, 
you that wipe your mouths, and think sins are but petty slips and 
small escapes ; that God's patience will suffer all and his grace pardon 
all ; that no man can be perfect ; that the purest saints have fallen into 
as great faults ; and that you shall do well enough, though you be not 
so strict and so nice ? Oh no, it cannot be ; these are vain thoughts 
spider's webs, sorry fig-leaves, sandy foundations ; all these notions 
the scripture useth in this case. Our presumption of the end is upheld 
by our presumption of the means ; it is not presumption simply to 
think you shall be saved, but to make every slight act a ground of hope, 
have no solid grounds of assurance, but usually make up in the 


strength of persuasion what is wanting in the grounds and warrant of 
it, as if bold-faced confidence would serve instead of duty. 

3. It reproves those that would please God, but with a limitation 
and reservation so far as they may not displease men, or displease the 
flesh. Oh, if you please God, it requireth a solemn sequestration for 
his use, much self-denial. ' to be followers of them, who through faith 
and patience inherit the promises,' Heb. vi. 12. There is none went 
to heaven but one time or another they were sorely put to it ; and God 
will try whose interest is greater in us ; the fleshly interest or his 
interest, whether sensible things have a greater hand and power over 
us, or his promises : the best have need to look how they acquit them 
selves upon trial. 

4. It reproves those that adjourn and put off' the work of religion 
from time to time, till they have lost all time ; that use to put off God 
to the troubles of sickness or the aches of old age. It is Satan's great 
artifice to cheat men of the present season by future promises. Oh, 
consider, the work is great, and life is short ! If we did live as many 
years as days, or as many years as there be days in the year, as Enoch 
did, yet there would be enough to take up our time. The journey to 
heaven is long, and we have but little time ; we can never outgrow our 
duty ; still there would be room for abounding in the work of the Lord. 
Consider again, no season can be fitter than the present time. But 
still we want something ; in youth we want wisdom ; and in age we 
want vigour and strength ; and, besides, it is very uncertain whether 
God will give us another opportunity. We have not a lease of to 
morrow ; if we had, it is doubtful whether ever we shall have a heart 
to make use of it. We cannot presume of our own hearts, because 
grace is not in our own power ; we cannot presume on God's mercy, 
for he hath made no absolute promise ; we cannot presume of any 
singular efficacy that will be in old age or in death, because moral 
means do not work without special grace. Although we see we are 
declining every day, yet we are as the bad thief who had one foot in 
hell ; yet he mocks and scoffs at Jesus Christ, and dies blaspheming; 
nay, we have shrewd presumptions of the contrary, because there will 
be a greater disability either in respect of ourselves or grace and use 
makes our hearts readier to sin ; and by long continuance the habit of dis 
pleasing God will be strengthened. Satan is never more busy than when 
life draweth to an end, and thou hast never less strength to resist him. 
Long use makes your hearts obdurate, and long resistance will grieve 
the Spirit of God, and sins of an unregenerate life will make death 
more terrible : and therefore do not adjourn and put off God. Certainly 
when a man is unfit for every common secular employment, he is much 
more for spiritual ; the trouble of pains and aches, and decay of spirit, 
and the diversion of business, and the importunity of Satan's tempta 
tions, these things should put us upon taking hold of the present 
season. It is to be suspected, when we will not leave our sins till we 
leave our lives, how shall we then distinguish nature from grace ? or 
that it is more than natural affrightment, arising from the sense of 
disease and pain, or natural desires of happiness ? And besides, the 
invitations of scripture call for a present obedience, a yielding up 
ourselves, not upon force, as when we come to die ; but they call for 


willing and ready obedience : Heb. iii. 13, 'While it is called to-day;' 
and Eccles. xii. 1, ' Kemember thy Creator in the days of thy youth : ' 
in thy young and flowery age, when thou mayest more glorify G-od. 
And then we do not know how long the day of grace will continue ; 
the day of grace is not always as long as a man's life: the Lord 
may pass the sentence of obduration and final hardness upon us. 
Alas ! corruptions will grow upon us, and carnal desires grow up 
with us, and our affections grow more stiff and hardened every 
day, as letters in. the bark of a tree. Consider, a man cannot 
come soon enough into the arms of mercy, nor soon enough out 
of Satan's power ; a man can never too soon begin his journey 
towards heaven. If you did but mind your salvation in earnest, you 
would be more in haste. The heirs of promise are described to be 
' those that fly for refuge, to lay hold upon the hope set before them,' 
Heb. vi. 18 ; there is an avenger of blood at their heels, they see wrath 
pursues after them ; therefore they fly for refuge. And consider again, 
there is little love of God showed in this, that you repent only when 
you can sin no longer; when you can be content God should be dis 
honoured for a long time, provided that at length you should be saved. 
Oh, do but consider what an ill requital you make to the Lord for his 
purposes of grace towards you ! he thought of us before there was 
hill or mountain. As long as God is God, he is the God of the elect: 
Ps. ciii. 17, ' From everlasting to everlasting thy loving-kindness is to 
them that fear thee.' If God hath loved us from one eternity to another, 
what ingratitude is this to confine him to the odd corner of our lives, 
to the aches and phlegm of old age ! Again, it is a great honour to seek 
the Lord betimes. Mnasori is famous for this in scripture, because he was 
' an old disciple : ' and the apostle speaks of Andronicus and Junia, 
* who were in Christ before me,' Eom. xvi. 7 sooner than me in grace. 
It is a mighty privilege to be in Christ before others. 

Use 2. If there be no hope of living with God without pleasing 
God, oh, then make it the aim and scope of your lives to please the 
Lord I You that have already given up yourselves to the will of God 
had need to be quickened again and again to make good your resolu 
tion. See how earnestly the apostle speaks : 1 Thes. iv. 1, 'We beseech 
and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us, how 
you ought to walk, and to please God, so ye would abound more and 
more.' This is the work and business of your lives, to keep company 
with God, to enjoy him in a gracious communion. Take a direction 
or two what you shall do ; take the commandment for your rule ; take 
the promises for your encouragement ; and make the glory of God your 
great aim. Look to the commands that you do not err ; look to the 
promises that you may not be disconsolate ; look to the glory of God 
that you may be sincere, and keep on in an even course of holiness. 

1. Look to the commandments as your rule : Micah vi. 8, ' He 
hath showed thee, man, what is good ; and what doth the Lord 
require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly 
with thy God?' God hath told you what will please him. Because 
the characters that are engraven upon your hearts are blurred, and a 
man can hardly read them ; therefore God hath given us his word, and 
there are his decrees and ordinances of judgment and justice recorded 


how lie governs the world. A man is pleased when we do his will ; 
God's will is in his word. God will accept of nothing but what he hath 
required, otherwise we walk at random. I shall not unravel the 
decalogue ; a short summary is useful to us. It is good to have all 
Christian obedience summed up into brief heads. Sometimes the will 
of God is summed up in one word, sometimes in two, sometimes in 
three ; the apostle sums it up in one word :. 1 Thes. iv. 3, ' This is the 
will of God, even your sanctification,' that you should grow more holy 
and holy every day ; so Gal. v. 14, ' The law is fulfilled in one word, 
even in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.' Sometimes the 
scripture doth sum up all Christian obedience into two heads, as all sins 
by the apostle are referred unto two heads : Rom. i. 18, there are the 
breaches of God's will, ' unrighteousness and ungodliness;' so the great 
things required are holiness, or godliness and righteousness, the exercise 
of religion, and a civil honest conversation : Luke i. 74, 75, ' That we 
should serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before 
him, all the days of our life.' Sometimes the Spirit of God abridgeth 
all duty into three heads. Titus ii. 12, would you please God and 
walk with God ; there is the sum of all ; to live ' soberly ' with respect 
to ourselves, ' righteously ' in respect of others, and ' godly ' with 
respect to the Lord himself: 'soberly 'in opposition to the lusts of 
the flesh. You should make straight steps to your feet ; there is need 
of a great deal of severity ; all your affections should be under a 
prudent coercion and restraint. There is too great a wantonness in 
professors. Men justify sensuality, and call it living to the height of 
the creature ; the apostle taxeth such, Jude 19, ' Sensual, having not 
the Spirit.' They pretend to a special singularity of having the Spirit, 
yet walk to the utmost of Christian liberty, yea, and many times exceed 
their bounds, burden their souls with excesses ; therefore you should 
walk soberly, take all the creatures with thanksgiving, and use them 
as medicines to repair nature when it is tired with services, not as fuel 
to brutish lusts. Then the will of God is, that you should walk 
* righteously.' Oh, the sadness of the fraud, oppression, and seeking to 
aspire and domineer by faction that is among professors ! Now you 
are to walk righteously ; that is, not only not to snatch from others, but 
to give of your own, to give and forgive. As you are not to take from 
others by hooking-in their estates by violent oppressions, so you should 
also lay out yourselves and part with your worldly comforts for the 
glory of God and necessities of the saints ; you should walk with holy 
meekness and patience, not returning injury for injury. The next is 
'godliness; ' you should give God his portion, and bewail it that you 
have so often denied it him. If our bodies be but defrauded of a 
night's sleep, we are troubled and complain ; if we feel the pain of 
hunger, we complain. Oh, do not neglect God and your precious souls 1 
I remember St Bernard hath a pretty note of Martha's complaining 
of Mary, that she sat at Jesus' feet, while herself was employed in all 
the business of the family. Oh, saith St Bernard, ' That is a happy 
family where Martha complains of Mary ! ' Oh, how few families do 
thus complain ! The world eats up our time, our care, and our 
thoughts, and God hath but little share, little worship, and little 


2. Let the promises of God be your encouragement. All the 
sweet thoughts of a Christian arise from the ample and gracious thoughts 
of God, expressed in the promises : Ps. xciv. 19, ' In the multitude of 
my thoughts within me (saith David) thy comforts delight my soul ; ' 
when his thoughts were interwoven and intricated like the boughs of 
a tree. It is good to see that you fetch all your comforts and encour 
agements from God's promises, and not from carnal hopes : 2 Cor. v. 
7, ' We walk by faith, not by sight.' This is to live by faith, to have 
recourse to the promises of a better life, when we have any burden 
upon us. A Christian's comforts all lie within the veil ; they are not 
taken from visible enjoyments or carnal hopes ; the promises of God 
are his enjoyment. 

3. You should make the glory of God your chiefest end, or you 
will be very irregular, and cannot keep pace with God in a constant 
course of duty. Look, as a man that hath a nail In his foot may walk 
in soft ground, but when he comes to hard ground he is soon turned 
out of the way, so when a man hath a perverse aim, he will soon be 
discouraged with the inconveniences that will trouble him in religion. 
The spiritual life is called 'a living to God,' Gal. ii. 19. The end 
must be right, otherwise the conversation will be but a vain pretence, 
that will please men, but not God : Prov. xvi. 2, ' All the ways of a 
man are clean in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits.' The 
chiefest thing God puts into the balance is the temper of the mind, 
the bent of the heart ; what you are moved by, and what sways you. 
Therefore your chiefest care must be to set the heart right in all actions, 
those that are of the most trivial concernment ; in the use of our Chris 
tian liberty, the necessary actions of our life ; in our duties : 1 Cor. x. 
31, ' Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory 
of God.' This must be the bias upon the Christian spirit, that he 
may be led on with a constant respect to the Lord's glory ; as we act 
from him, so we should act for him and more to him a by-end will 
make you eccentrical in your motions. 


But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that cometh 
to God must believe that he is, and that he is a reivarder of them 
that diligently seek him. HEB. xi. 6. 

THE Apostle had spoken of Enoch's translation as a consequent of his 
pleasing God, and upon the supposition of his pleasing God he proves 
his faith. The reason is rendered in this verse, because ' Without faith, 
it is impossible to please God ; for he that cometh to God/ &c. In the 
words there are two general parts 

1. A i proposition Without faith it is impossible to please God. 
e 2. I he reason of it For he that cometh to God must believe that God 
is, and that he is a reiuarder of them that diligently seek him. 


To begin with the proposition ' Without faith it is impossible to 
please God.' which, being a formal doctrine of itself, I shall use this 

1. Explain the words. 

2. Give the necessary inferences and corollaries, both doctrinal and 
practical, that may be gathered hence. 

First, For the explication, ' without faith ; ' that is, without saving 
and justifying faith, without faith in the Messiah. I prove it, because 
that is the faith spoken of in the context ; it is the drift of the apostle 
to prove that the elders, the fathers of the old testament, were saved by 
the same faith that we are. Again, this kind of faith is expressed in 
the following words in ' coming' and ' seeking ; ' he that ' cometh to 
God,' and that diligently ' seeks him/ Again, we cannot conceive God 
to be a rewarder out of Christ : guilty nature presageth nothing but 
evil. The apostle speaks of the gentiles, Rom. i. 32, ' That they know 
the judgment of God, that they that commit such things are worthy of 
death.' You can look for nothing but death by God's justice without 
a Christ and a mediator ; but because this is a weighty matter, and the 
apostle seemeth to make the catechism or summary of necessary points 
very short ; for he mentions only two articles God's being and God's 
bounty his essence and his reward, without any mention of Christ, as 
if this were enough to please God, or enough for acceptance to salva 
tion ; therefore I shall discuss and examine the matter. Many in 
these last times of the gospel are weary of the Christian profession, and 
are ready to revolt into libertinism and atheism, as if nothing was neces 
sary to please God but a general faith in his being ; and therefore I shall 

1. Prove that this general faith is not enough. 

2. Show what is the scope of the apostle, and why he mentions only 
God's being and bounty. 

3. Show how the place is to be explained. 

1. That this general faith is not enough ; for two reasons 
[1.] Partly because more is elsewhere required : John xvii. 3, ' This 
is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom 
thou hast sent.' This and nothing else is eternal life ; that is, the 
means or way to life eternal. 

The knowledge of Christ is every way made as necessary to salvation 
as the knowledge of God, for indeed without Christ we can never come 
to enjoy God. There is a great gulf betwixt him and us ; all gracious 
commerce is broken off between God and the fallen creature, and there 
fore, John xiv. 6, ' No man can come to the Father but by me.' In the 
fallen estate of man there is need of a mediator. Man in. innocency 
might immediately converse with God ; God loved his own image in 
Adam ; and what could a just and holy man fear from a just and holy 
God ? But now of God's creatures we are made his prisoners; we can 
expect nothing from his mercy, because he is just ; and therefore if the 
creature would have comfort, another principle must be taken in ; we 
must not only know God to be the true God, but Jesus Christ whom 
he hath sent. The great inquiry of the whole world is, wherewith shall 
I please God ? Micah vi. 8, ' Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, 
and bow myself before the high God ?' How shall he give his justice 
content and satisfaction ? Solomon saith, that when man had lost his 


innocency, he was full of inventions : Eccl. vii. 29, ' God hath made man 
upright, but they have sought out many inventions.' Man at first had 
wisdom and light enough to guide him to happiness, but ever since we 
have been given to roving and fond counsels, and we seek here and there 
how to return to that happiness we had lost. But among all the inven 
tions of man he never found out a sufficient ransom to expiate sin, to 
reconcile us to God, to sanctify human nature, that we may again hold 
commerce with heaven ; so that there is somewhat more required than 
a sight of a divine essence, and a general belief of his rewards ; even 
the knowledge of Christ, without whom there is no salvation. 

[2.] Partly because many that never pleased God may go so far ; as 
the devils that are condemned to everlasting chains of darkness, and 
the heathens that are altogether ignorant of Christ, and carnal chris- 
tiansthat never felt the saving efficacy of his grace. The devils believe 
God's essence and his everlasting recompenses. His essence : James ii. 
19, ' Thou believest that there is one God, thou doest well ; the devils 
also believe and tremble.' The devils themselves are under the awe and 
dread of this truth. There may be atheists in the world, but there are 
none in hell ; the devils believe there is a God, and they could never 
exempt and free themselves from the horror and thought of it. So 
they believe his recompenses: Mat. viii. 29, 'What have we to do with 
thee, Jesus, thou son of God ? art thou come hither to torment us before 
the time ? ' The devils have some sense of the day of judgment, though 
they cannot hope for any release, and can look for nothing but an increase 
of torment ; yet they know there is a time coming, and they tremble 
for the present at the thought of it. So for heathens ; they believe 
that God is, and that there are some rewards ; though their belief of these 
things be very weak and imperfect, and mingled with falsities and absurd 
conceits of their own, yet they had some knowledge of the reward of 
virtue. Epictetus requireth two things that are necessary to piety 
opdas v7ro\ij^lfL^ irepl Qewv e^eiv, &><? OVTCOV, Kal &IKOVVTWV ra o\a ica- 
Aw? teal SiKato)? That we should conceive of the gods, first as being, then 
as guiding all things with goodness and justice. So Julian saith, That the 
very barbarians did affirm that there was a God, and that he had a care of 
all human affairs, to reward what was good, and to punish what was 
evil. And Seneca Primus est deorum cultus deos credere, deinde 
reddere illis majestatem suam, et reddere bonitatem, sine qua nulla 
majeslas. The first thing that we must do is to believe there are gods, 
then acknowledge their majesty and power, then their goodness, 
without which all religion would perish. And Plutarch ov yap 
addvarov jcal p,aKdpiov povov d\\a KOI 4>iXdvOpo)7rov real ax]>e\ifj,ov 
dvayvaxTKeiv xprj TOV cbv. It is necessary ,if we would begodly, that we 
should not only believe there is a God, immortal and happy, but that he is 
a lover of men, if we exercise ourselves in virtuous things. I might produce 
many instances in this kind ; but I forbear, lest it should seem to savour 
of affectation and blustering in an unknown language. So for carnal 
men, where the sound of the gospel hath come, those that have not 
a dram of grace, they have this general faith, that God is, and that God 
s a rewarder ; therefore this cannot be enough to please God, and to be 
accepted to salvation to have such apprehensions. A man is not saved 
l>y holding a right opinion of God. A man may be a Christian in opinion, 


and a pagan in life and practice ; we must make a particular applica 
tion of those things, that so our own interest may be sure. When a 
man is ready to perish and drown, it is not enough to see land, but he 
must reach to it, and stand upon it, if he would be safe ; so we must 
get an interest in God. The apostle requires 'coming and seeking' in 
this place ; ' coming ' implies desire of communion with him, and ' seek 
ing/ a diligent use of the means that we may enjoy him. There must 
be an application of those things to a practical end, else the general 
notion and opinion will do us no good. 

2. The scope of the apostle is not to set down the whole object of 
faith, but the first foundation namely, what faith is absolutely neces 
sary, and previous either to the seeking of the favour of God or any 
act of obedience ; for unless we do believe that there is a divine power, 
and that there are recompenses appointed to encourage the duty of the 
creature, all religion would be but a dead custom, and would be soon 
abolished. Therefore, I suppose, the apostle, to prove his argument 
with more advantage, proceedeth, ex concessis, from things that common 
reason will grant to be necessary to every good action. He instanceth 
in the principal radical truths, which are the foundation of all religion, 
that there is a God, and that this God will reward all virtue ; there is 
a God all-sufficient, and he will be good to the creature. 

3. These two articles must be enlarged and explained according 
to the analogy of faith and the declaration which God luith made of 
his will in the gospel ; all breviates, wherein religion is reduced to a 
few heads, must still be explained according to the extent of the rule 
of faith. Look, as in the commandments, where all moral duties are 
reduced to ten words; so in the summaries of the gospel, those things 
must be explained by the extent of the rule of faith ; for instance, in 
the first article, ' He that cometh to God must believe that he is; ' that 
is, he is as he hath revealed himself, one in three persons ; for otherwise 
we worship an idol, and not that which is God. We form an idol 
when we think of God out of the trinity ; therefore we must believe 
that he is in that manner as he hath revealed himself in the scripture. 
So for the other article, ' That God is a rewarder ; ' that is in the way 
that God hath revealed himself according to the tenor of the covenant 
of grace ; that he is a rewarder in and through Christ as mediator ; 
that he will give us all the blessings of the covenant, justification and 
remission of sins, as the pawn of glory, and sanctification as the beginning 
of glory ; and then glory itself as the perfection of all ; and all these 
things in and through Christ. It is true, in innocency there were but 
two things to be believed ; that God is, and that God is a rewarder. 
But now, after the fall, both before and after the law, the catechism 
was enlarged, and we have to look not only to our creator, but to our 
saviour, the mediator ; but after Christ's coming the will of God is 
more explained, and our belief is required to be more explicit. 

' It is impossible ; ' not in regard of the absolute dominion and sove 
reignty of God he might have taken another course of salvation but 
in regard to his will, and the course into which our salvation is stated 
and disposed. God can save a man without faith, as, saith Mr Perkins, 
he can enlighten the world without the sun ; but this is the way which, 
in wisdom and justice, he hath found out. God's will is the supreme 


rule ; and as God hath ordered the way by which he will bring creatures 
to happiness, so ex hypothesi, it is impossible ever to be accepted of 
God without Christ. 

' To please God ; ' what is that ? In the former verse I told yon 
what is in Gen. v. 24, ' Enoch walked with God ; ' it is in the Septuagint, 
Enoch pleased God. Walking with God notes obedience, and pleasing 
of God the success of obedience. To please God here is to be accepted 
in any act of duty and obedience ; to be accepted to life as conformable 
to God's will. Now it is impossible we should be thus accepted with 
out faith in Jesus Christ. Thus I have opened the propositions. 

Secondly, I come to the inferences that may be drawn from hence ; 
some are doctrinal, some of practical consideration. 

First, It is impossible to be saved without true faith in Jesus Christ ; 
or, that there is no religion but that which teacheth rightly to believe 
in Christ, that can be looked upon as a way of salvation. Jews and 
Turks and infidels can never please God, nor be accepted to life, 
because they have no faith. There are many that say that every.man shall 
be saved in his own religion Turks, Jews, heathens if they be true 
to their principles and devout in their own religion. Syinmachus, a 
wicked heathen pleading for paganism against the Christians, and for 
the ancient worship of the gods, saith thus, ^Equum est quicquid omnes 
colunt, unwnpatetur, eadem spectamus astra, commune ccelum est, idem 
nos mundus involvat; quid interest quod quisque sua prudentia verum 
inquirat ? Uno itinere non potest perveniri ad tarn grande secretum. 
It is but equal, that though we take several ways, yet we should live 
together, as those that agree in the same worship. We behold the 
same stars, and we hope for the same heaven, and we live upon the 
same earth, what matter in what kind of way we seek out the truth. 
This opinion layeth a foundation for atheism and libertinism, and doth 
much take off from our thankfulness that we owe to God for that 
excellent treasure which he hath opened to the church in the scriptures ; 
so that they which plead for the heathens had need look to themselves, 
lest they themselves are not found Christians. Clear it is, if we will 
hearken to what is revealed, that there is no salvation in any other but 
in Christ, Acts iv. 12. God hath acquainted the creature with no 
other way how we may come to life. Now, the heathens had no know 
ledge of Christ ; they had only some general knowledge of a divine 
power, they had TO ^vwcrrov 0eou 'That which may be known of God/ 

Rom. i. 19 : some general notice of a divine being, which served to 
leave them without excuse, but not to save them. It is true, they 
might by the creation understand God's eternity and power attributes 
that are obvious, but more terrible than comfortable to sinners but 
for any knowledge of Christ, they could have none. Sun and moon 
could not preach Christ, though they might preach a God ; but the 
way of salvation by Christ, the very angels come to know by the church : 
Eph. iii. 10, ' To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers 
in heavenly places, might be known by the church, the manifold 
wisdom of God.' Christ, then, they knew not ; and without Christ 
there is no salvation. 

Many objections are against this 

Obj. 1. Say they, it is true ; they cannot be saved without Christ ; 


but they are saved by Christ, though they have no knowledge of him ; 
as Peter was delivered by the angel out of prison before he wist who 
it was, Acts xii. 9. 10 ; so they feel themselves to be saved before they 
know their saviour. 

Ans. The apostle saith, ' Without faith it is impossible to please 
God.' He doth not only say without Christ, but without faith ; so 
that not only the benefit of Christ is established in this doctrine, but 
the necessity of faith : so John xvii. 3, ' This is life eternal to know 
thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 
As none can be saved without Christ, so none can have benefit by 
Christ, but those that know him, and that believe in him. 

Obj. 2. But say they, by some extraordinary ways God might reveal 
himself and discover Jesus Christ to them. 

Ans. This we cannot judge ; we are to keep to the rule. Only let 
me hint that the ground of this conceit is naught ; that because the 
heathens had many moral virtues, therefore they think God was bound 
to reveal Christ to them, they having so far improved nature. This is 
again a falsehood, because those things which do not come from faith, 
and were not done for the glory of God, were not accepted with God ; 
they were but sins set off with the fairer lustre and varnish ; and the 
only privilege they could have by that was ut mitius ardeant, that 
they may have a cooler hell. 

Obj. 3. It is said of divers, they were persons devout and feared God 
before ever they had any knowledge of Christ ; as Acts xvi. 14, ' A 
certain woman which worshipped God, heard us ; ' so it is said, Acts 
ii. 5, ' There were dwelling at Jerusalem devout men, out of every 
nation under heaven,' that were not as yet Christians ; but they repented, 
and were converted by the sermon of Peter. So Acts x. 2, ' Cornelius 
was a devout man that feared God with all his house ; and ver. 34, 
35, it is said, ' God is not a respecter of persons, but in every nation 
he that feareth God, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with 

Ans. These places do either speak of a natural devotion, which may 
arise merely from the instinct of conscience, therefore our translation 
useth the expression ' devout,' not ' religious ; ' or, they speak of prose 
lytes that did actually profess the Jewish worship, or were acquainted 
with it, though they did not join with them, as many of the Romans 
did, though they were not actually circumcised. In Acts, chap, xvi., 
where Lydia is said ' to worship God/ it is meant only out of blind 
instinct of conscience ; in the second of the Acts, it is spoken there of 
Jewish proselytes that came up to Jerusalem to worship at the feast. 
Concerning Cornelius, though he were not a professed proselyte, yet 
he was acquainted with the doctrine of the Jews, and had some know 
ledge of God. Such an one was the eunuch, Acts viii. They knew and 
feared the true and living God, and had faith in the Messiah to come, 
though they had not faith concerning the person of Christ ; they 
expected the redemption of Israel, upon which faith, being drawn out 
into acts of obedience, they were accepted of God, as the patriarchs 
were that did believe in the Messiah to come. As to Cornelius, it is 
clear he was exactly religious ; he was already converted by being 
acquainted with the Jewish doctrine concerning God and the Messiah ; 
his prayers and alms came up before God. Now God heareth not sin- 


ners ; and for that general conclusion in Acts x. 34, ' Whosoever fear- 
eth God, and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him.' I answer, 
righteousness is there taken for any conformity to the will of God, 
revealed either in the law or gospel. He that renounceth his own 
righteousness, and casteth himself upon the merits of Christ in the 
sense of the gospel, is a worker of righteousness, a.nd God will accept 
of him of whatever nation he be. The expression showeth that all 
distinctions are taken away, and the pale of grace is enlarged. 

Obj. 4. If God will not accept the gentiles without faith in Christ, 
then he requires that which is impossible ; there being no revelation 
of Christ made to them, and they having in Adam not so much as a 
power to believe in Christ ; for if he had not sinned he had no need of 
a mediator ; and, therefore, how can the Lord require faith of them 
for their acceptation to life ? 

Ans. 1. At the last day the gentiles shall not be responsible for 
want of faith in Christ, but for not keeping the moral law which was 
written upon their hearts, and for not obeying the dictates of their own 
consciences, as the apostle proves at large : Rom. ii. 12.-14, ' As many 
as have sinned without law. shall also perish without law,' &c ; for 
God deals with men according to the measure of their light, and in 
the process of the last day he will call the heathens to an account for 
not living according to the dictates of reason and conscience : God 
will exact no more than he gives. It is true, he doth not give them 
further means ; but that is not their sin, but their infelicity and punish 
ment for their sin, though they can never be accepted without Christ. 

2. For what we received in Adam, I answer, Though Adam was not 
bound to believe in Christ, yet he had a power of believing all that 
was revealed of God, as he that is fallen blind had a power of seeing 
the house afterward built. 

Use. To apply this first inference. If there be no way of life, no 
doctrine of salvation but only the Christian religion, that which holds 
forth God in Christ, then 

1. It presseth us to bless God for the knowledge of the gospel. 
Oh, how many thousands in the world are there that are as sheep, 
whom no man taketh up, but are spilt upon the great common of the 
world, and left to the process of divine justice. Let us bless God for 
our privileges, that we have such fair advantages ; certainly if we look 
to the hole of the pit out of which we were digged, we were as bad as 
others. The old Britons worshipped the most monstrous and mis 
shapen idols ; this was our original in the day that God looked upon 
us. If we abuse our privileges, and be unthankful for the light of the 
gospel, he may return us again to our old barbarism. The Lord 
threatened Israel : Hosea ii. 3, ' I will strip her naked, and set her as 
in the day that she was born.' The Lord may strip us naked, and 
take away all our spiritual favours ; and while we run after new lights, 
the Lord may remove the old light from us. We are afraid of popery ; 
this is not altogether so bad as atheism ; therefore let us be thankful 
and careful to improve those advantages God hath put into our hands. 
We cannot be thankful enough for the knowledge of God in Jesus 
Christ, it is a great mystery, not only pleasing to the thoughts, but 
healing to the soul. The Lord is angry with the gentiles, and hath 
brought many judgments on them for putting the finger in nature's 


eye. Oh, what will be our misery for quenching or slighting the light 
of the gospel, and the excellent revelation God hath made to us of 
Christ. The heathens had some obscure knowledge of God, but we 
have the revelation of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 
By their own consciences they knew the moral law ; God offered terms 
of duty to them, but he offers terms of salvation and grace to us. 

2. It presseth us to prize orthodoxism, and, above all things, look 
to this, to be right in point of belief. Every man shall not be saved 
in every persuasion, nay, though they do in general acknowledge 
Christ. There are a sort of libertines risen up, that think the differ 
ences and controversies in Christendom with Socinians and Arminians 
are but vain and frivolous, and that a loose belief of God and Christ is 
enough. If this general faith be enough, then why hath God revealed 
so many things to us, and given us a more ample rule, if with safety 
to salvation we may be ignorant of them ? Why hath he appointed 
us to contend for the faith of the saints, and for the truth that is 
revealed in the scripture ? as whether you are redeemed with a satis 
faction, or whether you are justified by his righteousness or works ? It 
is no matter, say they, for these lesser explications. Such men seem to 
tax the scriptures, that they have redundancies and superfluous doc 
trines, and they seem to tax the holy apostles of rash zeal, when they 
disputed so earnestly for the faith of the saints ; as Paul against jus 
ticiaries for the righteousness of faith, and James against antinomians 
and libertines for care of good works. And they tax the holy mar 
tyrs of folly, that they would shed their blood for less concerning articles ; 
so all be resolved into Christ. Men think this is enough. Men need 
not inquire into the manner of the application of his righteousness, the 
efficacy of his price, the merit of his passion, as if it were enough to 
hold a few generals, and the more implicit our faith is the better ; 
whereas, the Lord would have us to abound in knowledge, and to have 
the word dwell in us richly. 

What articles are absolutely necessary to salvation will be hard to 
define and determine, and what that measure of faith is without which 
we cannot please God. And I know not by what rule to proceed ; if 
we should make it too large, it would be a ground of ignorance and 
laziness ; if we make it too strict, it would be aground of uncharitable- 
ness to them that labour under invincible prejudices. Only that you. 
may not be loose in this matter, take a few rules. 

[1.] The foundations of religion are God and Christ, and they must 
be held with great certainty : John xvii. 3, ' This is life eternal to know 
thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.' We 
cannot be saved unless we hold one God in three persons, and Jesus 
Christ as mediator. These are the supreme truths that are clearly 
revealed and propounded to our faith. But now for practical truths ; 
for the way of enjoying God and Christ, they are revealed in other 
texts : John xvi. 8, ' When the comforter shall come, he shall convince 
the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.' This is the doc 
trine the Spirit teacheth in the church, to convince of sin, and the 
curse that remains upon man while he is under the power of nature ; 
of ' righteousness/ of the sufficient satisfaction of the Lord Jesus 
Christ, of judgment and holiness. It is very dangerous to hearken to 


those that lessen the misery of nature, or the merit and satisfaction of 
Christ, or the care of good works ; all such opinions are irreconcileable 
to the covenant of grace, and overturn the main pillars upon which 
salvation stands. When men advance nature or depress Christ, or 
decry good works, as long as they live according to their principles, 
they can never be saved. 

[2.] We must be earnest concerning the particular explication 
of those truths, as they are delivered in scripture. Every piece 
and parcel of truth is precious, and a little leaven of error is danger 
ous. The apostle, speaking of error, saith, Gal. v. 9, 'A little leaven 
leaveneth the whole lump.' He speaks there of errors in matters 
of justification, which of all matters of religion is most nice and 
delicate; error fretteth like a gangrene, till it eateth out the heart 
of religion. Men think it is enough to be careful of fundamentals 
and that all other knowledge is scientia oblectans ; only a know 
ledge for delight, and not safety. Oh ! consider it is very dangerous 
to err in the particular explication of those doctrines ; to stain 
the understanding, though we do not wound it. I confess there 
are some truths of lesser importance ; there are maculce et vulnera 
intellectus the spots of the understanding as well as the wounds of it. 
Now it is dangerous to be wanton in opinions that seem to be of a 
smaller concernment. Men that play with truth, they run themselves 
into a snare ; and though they err but in a small matter, yet they are 
liable to more insinuations. Some say fundamentals are few ; believe 
them and live well, and then you shall be saved. This is as if a man 
in a building should be only careful to lay a good foundation, no mat 
ter for the roof, windows, or walls. If a man should come and untile 
your house, and tell you Friend, I have left the foundation standing, 
the main buttresses are safe ; you would not take it well. Why should 
we be more careless in spiritual things ? 

[3.] No lesser error, be it never so small, is to be held and kept up 
out of interest, and against the conviction of conscience, because we 
can plead there is salvation in that way. This is some men's first 
inquiry, Is there salvation in such a way ? therefore let us not stay in 
lesser errors. If they are held up against conscience, they are dam 
nable ; for then they come under the notion of allowed known sins. To 
hold up any lesser way merely out of interest, and not out of conscience, 
it is very dangerous ; and it is an argument of an unsubdued will, or 
that the heart is wedded to secular interest ; and it is a preferring the 
favour of men before the favour of God, as our Lord saith, John xii. 
43, ' They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God ; ' for 
though there may be salvation in both those ways, yet you are to own 
God in all his truths. Phil. iii. 15, the apostle speaks in the case of 
circumcision and uncircumcision -' Let us therefore, as many as be 
perfect, be thus minded ; and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, 
God shall reveal even this unto you.' Circumcision and uncircum 
cision are nothing in themselves, but much if they are held up for the 
preservation of our interest, and merely that we may cleave to such a 
party. And mark, it is all one whether there be a plenary conviction or 
a secret fear or suspicion ; and we do not search, as many men are 
afraid to search, lest truth should make against their interest. These 


are those that Christ describes : John iii. 20. ' They will not come to 
the light, lest their deeds should be reproved ; ' and ' they are willingly 
ignorant,' 2 Peter iii. 5 ; when men labour for distinctions to daub over 
the matter, and to hide the truth from conscience ; or when they are 
unwilling to search, being afraid lest they should find it too soon. As 
in practicals, a man is not willing to be informed what he should do 
for good uses, and how strict he should be in his conversation, that he 
may please himself in his carelessness ; this is a sign of an unsubdued 
heart ; so in these cases, a man is willing to be ignorant ; they are 
loath to be informed, and will not sift truth to the bottom, lest it may 
intrench on his worldly conveniences ; usually in truths of the present 
age, interests make the heart thus doubtful and suspensive. This is 
the first instance which concerned heathens and aliens from the com 
monwealth of Israel. You have seen there is no salvation in any way, 
but only in that way which holds forth faith in Jesus Christ. 


But without faith, it is impossible to please him ; for he that cometfi 
to God must believe that he is. and that he is a reiuarder of them 
that diligently seek him. HEB. xi. 6. 

SECONDLY. The second inference concerneth the children of believing 
parents. If without faith it be impossible to please God, then children 
must have some kind of faith, else they can never be accepted to life. 

1 know that the apostle doth principally speak of adult or grown per 
sons, men of age, such as come to God, and seek him: but though, 
however, the rule is general, there is no salvation but by Christ, and 
there is no way of salvation by Christ but by faith ; and by the analogy 
of faith it concerns all that are accepted to salvation ; so that infants 
come under the rule, therefore some kind of faith they must have. It 
were uncharitable and contrary to the rich grace of the covenant to 
deny salvation and eternal glory to infants. The scripture showeth, 
that ' they are holy/ and dedicated to God, 1 Cor. vii. 14 ; and Christ 
says, ' of such is the kingdom of God,' Mat. xix. 14. Now this faith of 
infants is a matter very intricate and difficult. Several opinions there 
have been about it. Origen held that infants were saved by virtue of 
those good works, the faith and obedience which they yielded to God 
in the bodies of other men before they were born, when their souls ani 
mated other bodies. The Pelagians, against whom Austin disputes 
hard, that infants were saved out of the foresight of those good works 
which they would have performed, if God had suffered them to continue 
in the world. Against this Austin disputes, proving every man is to be 
judged, not according to what he would do, or might have done, but 
' According to what he hath done in the body, whether good or bad/ 

2 Cor. v. 10. And if this pretence were allowable, and a ground of 
salvation, then the men of Tyre and Sidon would be in a capacity of 



life -without repentance ; for if they had had the means, saith Christ, 
' They would have repented long since,' Mat. xi. 21. Ambrose saith, 
They" are saved by the faith of the church : Mark ii. 5, when Jesus saw 
' their faith,' that is, the faith of the sick man that was healed of the 
palsy, and of those that brought him. But that seemeth improper by 
their being in the church ; they have a right to visible ordinances ; but 
grace is God's gift, and must be dispensed in his way. Beza saith, They 
are saved by the faith of their parents imputed to them. As they were 
infected by the sin of Adam by natural generation ; so by virtue qf the 
covenant of grace they are saved by the faith of their parents, but the 
child is not concerned in the acts of the father. 

It is true, the faith of the parents makes way for the interest of the 
children in the covenant ; but every one is saved by his own faith 
' The just shall live by his own faith,' Eom. i. 17- It is not in the power 
of another to damn or save me; for the immediate parents are not 
representatives and common persons, as Adam was. Though Adam 
be a means to transfuse and bring sin, yet the faith of the parents could 
not involve and put into a state of salvation and acceptance with God. 
The Lutherans, they say, that children have an actual faith, though, say 
they, the act be to us unconceivable. But this were to offer violence 
not only to our reason, but our very senses. Children are everywhere 
described to be those in scripture that ' Know not their right hand from 
their left,' Jonah iv. ult. We see they have not the use of reason, there 
fore they have no knowledge of Christ and the mysteries of religion, and 
cannot have such an actual faith. 

What faith, then, is left for infants, by virtue of which we may 
establish their acceptation with God ? Some think that this question 
is altogether unnecessary, and say, that the scriptures are so sparing 
in this matter, that grown persons may be more careful of their own 
faith rather than of the faith of infants, who must be left, say they, to 
the free grace and pleasure of God. For my part I should think so 
too, and should not start this controversy were it not already agitated ; 
and were not the comfort of parents very much concerned in it, I 
should leave them to the grace of God. But upon those reasons, I 
think it necessary to be determined ; and I doubt not but it will make 
much for the glory of God and your own consolation. What is then 
to be said in this matter ? 

1. Let it be premised, that the question is concerning the infants of 
believing parents; as for others, we leave them to the judgment of 
God. Some indeed think that all infants, as they perished in Adam, 
without knowledge of him, so they are redeemed by Christ without 
knowledge of Christ. As the Arminians say, that of infants there is 
neither election nor reprobation, and that no infant can be condemned 
for original_ sin ; both which assertions are false. For we find that the 
predestination of God hath plainly made a difference between infant 
and infant: Eom. ix. 11-13, 'The children being not yet born, and 
having done neither good nor evil, that the purpose of God according 
to election might stand, it was said, the elder shall serve the younger, 
as it is said, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated.' Jacob in 
his mother's womb was in a state of election ; and it is notable, that 
in many other places the scripture speaks as if God's decrees were 


dated from the womb and from the conception ; as Jer. i. 5, ' Before I 
formed thee in the belly I knew thee, and before thou earnest forth 
out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and ordained thee a prophet to the 
nations ; ' partly, because to sense that was the first time of our exist 
ence ; and partly, because God's decrees do then begin to operate and 
to bring forth. God doth, as it were, then say, This is a birth I must 
look after ; this is an instrument whom I have pre-ordained to make 
use of for special purpose. Man's ordination is at grown years, but 
God's from all eternity. And because of the special care of providence, 
it is said to begin then when the child is in the womb, Gal. i. 15, 16, 
' When it pleased God who separated me from my mother's womb, and 
called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach 
him among the heathen ; immediately I conferred not with flesh and 
blood.' The apostle mentions three things as the ground of his min 
istry: God's pleasure, or everlasting counsel, his separation from his 
mother's womb and actual calling. First. God determines from ever 
lasting, and then the decree begins to break forth ; and there is a 
special care of God about the birth, and afterward there is actual 
calling. All this is brought to prove that even children before they 
are born do not only fall under the care of providence, but under the 
special notice of God's decrees ; and that other opinion, that none is 
condemned for original sin, is also groundless and contrary to the 
scripture ; for we read, Bph. ii. 3, ' That we were by nature the children 
of wrath, even as others.' It is mercy, that God will say to any that 
are in their blood and filthiness, Live. Who can quarrel with his 
justice that he should damn any, though he see nothing but original 
pollution in them ? Among men we crush the serpent's eggs before 
the serpents be grown ; and might not God destroy us for our birth- 
sin ? I confess some among the orthodox think, that all infants that 
die in infancy belong to God's election ; so Junius, and so Mr Fox, 
upon Eev. vii. 9, where there is a distinction between the sealed and 
unsealed, which he applies to unbaptized infants both in or out of the 
church. But I answer, as for those that are born out of the church, 
we have no warrant to judge them, as the apostle saith, in somewhat a 
like case, 1 Cor. v. 12, 'AVhat have I to do to judge them that are 
without ? ' So what have we to do with them that are without ? God's 
judgments are to be adored rather than curiously searched into ; yet 
this is manifest by the whole current and drift of scripture, that there 
is a great deal of difference between those that are born in and those 
that are born out of the covenant. It is said to believing parents, 
'The promise is unto you, and unto your children,' Acts ii. 39. I 
cannot apply that comfort to infidels. And those that are born within 
the pale are called ' children of the covenant,' Acts iii. 25. Those that 
are born without the pale of grace, are counted unclean ; but others, 
holy, dedicated to God : 1 Cor. vii. 14, ' Else were your children unclean, 
but now are they holy ; ' so that there is a difference between infant 
and infant, The children of unbelieving parents are plainly asserted 
by the apostle to be unclean ; we cannot have such comfortable hopes of 
them, and cannot say they are saved ; therefore we must leave them to 
God's judgment. The question at present is of the children of the cove 
nant, and those that are born within the pale of grace. And therefore 



2 Of those children dying in infancy, I assert, that they have faith 
not actual faith, but the 'seed of faith, by virtue of Gods election and 
his grace issuing out to them through Christ in the covenant which I 
shaff confirm by showing-(L) That it may be so ; (2.) 1 ha tit m ust 
be so- (3) That it is even so ; (4.) How it is so, or what kind ot iaitn 
they have : which things being cleared, the way to application will be 

/}O QV" 

fl 1 That it may be so, because the only prejudice against this 
opinion seemeth to arise from the impossibility of the thing ; and the 
Socinians that bring down all things to the line and rule of corrupt 
reason, count the faith of infants a thing so impossible, that they say it 
is a greater dotage than the dream of a man in a fever ; therefore my 
first work is to prove that they are capable of faith. Certainly, totally 
incapable they are not, like stocks and stones, and things without life; 
and yet out of these God can raise up children to Abraham. Nor 
altogether as incapable as the younglings of beasts, because the per 
fection of their life is only sense and natural instinct, whereas children 
have reason. Now reason is in a nearer propinquity to grace than 
sense, therefore utterly incapable they are not, as stones, or as brute 
creatures are. 

But to come more closely. The only reason why they are said to be 
incapable of faith is, because they cannot exercise it. Now, that they 
nre not incapable of faith, though they cannot exercise _ it, I shall 
prove by several instances. This supposition will seem to infer that it 
may be so. If infants had been born of Adam in innocency, they had 
been capable of original purity and of the principle and root of all 
faith, and assent to the word of God would, naturally have been in 
them, which in time, and according to the degrees of age, would have 
put forth itself. Infants in their measure should have been as Christ 
was. As soon as he was born, he was rilled with the Holy Ghost, yet 
he grew in wisdom and knowledge, Luke ii. 40-52, The graces of 
the Holy Ghost did exert and put forth them selves in Christ by degrees. 
Now this, according to their measure, would have been the condition 
of infants born of Adam, if he had stood in innocency ; therefore there 
is no repugnancy, but that by a supernatural work the seed and root of 
grace may be in them. I say, it is no more inconceivable than the 
original purity of infants, if they had stood in Adam. And I shall 
show you by another instance. Take nature as it is now corrupted ; if 
they are capable of sin by nature, why not of grace, by a work of the 
Spirit of God above nature ? Now we see that they are capable of the 
root of sin, which lies hid in infants, and bewrayeth itself in time ; and 
if they are capable of sin, which is one habit, why are they not capable 
of grace, if the Spirit of God will work it, which is another habit ? 
They are sinners not by any act of their own, but by an hereditary 
habit, or vicious nature received from Adam, though not exerting and 
putting forth itself by any act. So they may have grace, though not 
exerting and discovering itself by any acts yet lying hid and shut up 
in the habitual principle of grace. As they are defiled by the sin of 
Adam, though they be not capable to understand it, so they may be 
sanctified by the Spirit of Christ, though they be not sensible of the 
merit of Christ, nor capable of understanding the way and the work 


of redemption. To take off the prejudice of incapacity, take some 
resemblances of it in common things. We see that infants are capable 
of reason, though not of discourse; they are rational creatures. In 
fants have reason and understanding, though it lie hid for a while. 
The whelp of the wolf has a principle of rapacity, which discovers it 
self afterward. The vital and vegetative force in any plant lies hid in 
the seed and root, which to appearance is dead and dry, and afterwards 
plainly discovers and puts it forth ; so infants, though they have no 
actual sense and knowledge of the redemption of Christ, yet they may 
have some impressions of the divine image upon their souls, which in 
time shows itself by light in the understanding, by purity in the heart, 
and by conformity in the life to the law of God. Again, that it is not 
impossible appears by those expressions in scripture, where some are 
said to be sanctified from the womb ; as of John Baptist, it is said, 
' He shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb/ 
Luke i. 15. Grant it to be a peculiar privilege of John, but it is not 
so in all elect infants; yet it may be so. So those expressions of 
trusting God from the mother's womb, David speaks it of his own 
person, as a type of Christ : Ps. xxii. 9, ' Thou didst make me hope 
when I was upon my mother's breasts ; ' and Job saith, chap. xxxi. 18, 
'From my youth he was brought up with me as with a father, and I 
have guided her from my mother's womb ; ' meaning, he had an 
indoles, or disposition of pity, put into him at his nativity. So also, 
why may not a principle of faith be put into us in the womb, if God 
will work it ? 

2. I shall prove that it must be so ; how else should infants be 
saved ? There is no salvation without the. covenant, and in the cov 
enant there is no salvation but by faith in Christ. By their natural 
birth, all children are children of wrath, enemies to God, guilty before 
God. As we read it, the word is uTroSt/co?, liable to the process of 
divine justice : Rom. iii. 19, ' All the world is become guilty before 
God/ and so are infants ; there is no reason to exempt them. They 
are all dead in sin ; and the scripture saith expressly, ' He that belie veth 
not, is condemned already/ John iii. 18 ; that is, liable to the sentence 
of condemnation ; so that believers they must be, or else they must be 
damned ; and regenerate they must be, or else we know there is no 
way of entering into the kingdom of God. Let any one show us any 
way or pleasing God without faith, or of entering into heaven without 
regeneration. John iii. 3, Christ hath expressly said, ' Except a man 
be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' In the first com 
mission of the apostles, when they went forth to preach the word 
of life, this was the tenor of the gospel : Mark xvi. 16, ' He that believ- 
cth shall be saved ; and he that believeth not shall be damned/ Let 
men show any ground in scripture of a middle sort of men, between 
believers and unbelievers, or any other way of salvation but by Christ ; 
and in Christ, but by faith in Christ. If men say, All those places 
belong to grown persons, or those that are of age ; by this shift you 
may elude any scripture ; and where then shall we have a rule whereby 
to judge of infants ? which, how comfortless it will be to parents, and 
how derogatory to the grace of the covenant, anyone cannot choose 
but see. 


[3.] That it is so I shall prove from the promise of God ; for God 
being faithful and true, his promise is as good as a positive assertion : 
God promiseth grace and glory to infants. Grace, Isa. xliv. 3, ' I will 
pour out my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thy offspring.' 
In the original, upon thy ' buds;' where the Spirit is promised to be 
poured out upon infants, not only on their seed in general, as implying 
persons of age, but on their ' buds,' ere they come to grow up to stalk 
and flower. Then for glory, Christ saith, Mat. xix 14, ' Suffer little 
children to come to me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom 
of heaven ; ' heaven is theirs by grant and promise. Elect infants in 
general have^ws ad rein, a right to heaven ; but there is no jus in re, 
no actual right or interest, but by faith. But what need we argue, 
when we have a plain assertion ? Luke xviii. 17, ' Whosoever shall not 
receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter 
therein ; ' they have not only a right to the kingdom of God, but they 
receive the kingdom of God 'as a little child receiveth it.' The sense 
carrieth it so ; that is, receiveth it by faith, accompanied with humility. 
But more plainly yet : Mat. xviii. 6, ' Whosoever shall offend one of 
these little ones which believe in me,' &c ; there is the very word 
' which believe in me ; these little ones/ Christ speaks not meta 
phorically, but literally ; ' these/ such as were then before him, and 
of them he saith, ' which believe in me/ Some make exception 
against this, and say, The child to which Christ alluded was then 
grown. I answer, that cannot be : for in Luke it is called ySpe'^o?, an 
' infant,' Luke xviii. 15 ; in Matthew irailiov, a ' little child ; ' and Mark 
ix. 36, it is said, 'Christ took him in his arms/ And besides, in chil 
dren that are more grown, pride, fierceness, and other ill qualities are 
bewrayed ; therefore such an one would not have been so fit for Christ's 
purpose to be propounded to the apostles for a pattern of meekness 
and humility. As they are called rational before they had the use of 
reason, so we have found that infants may, must, and have a principle 
of faith, from whence they may be said to be believers. 

[4.] How is it so. What is the faith which children have ? I proved 
before that actual faith they have not, which begins in knowledge and 
ends in affiance. It remains therefore that they have the seed of faith, 
or some principle of grace conveyed into their souls by the hidden 
operation of the Spirit of God, which gives them an interest in Christ, 
and so a right to his merit for their salvation. I confess among the 
orthodox there are different expressions about this matter, but they all 
agree in the thing. Some call it a habit of faith, some a prin 
ciple, some an inclination, some the first-fruits of the Spirit, others the 
gift of the Spirit, which answers to actual faith. All agree in this, 
that it is some work of the Holy Ghost, which gives them a relation to 
Christ, and by virtue of this relation, they have an interest in his merit 
for the remission of sins and acceptance with God. The more usual 
terms are principle and habit. Some dislike the word habit, because 
the word is not scriptural, and because it seems more proper to faith 
that is grown and actually exercised, and because the habit of grace is 
not the condition of the covenant. More properly, it may be called 
the principle, or the seed of faith ; for so the work of the Holy Ghost 
is expressed, 1 John iii. 9, ' Whosoever is born of God doth riot commit 


sin ; for his seed remaineth in him : and he cannot sin, because he is 
born of God ; ' where the grace of regeneration is called the seed of 
God, which is cast into their hearts by the Spirit of God in a way 
unknown to us. In short, it is the work of grace, whereby the heart 
is quickened with spiritual life, and made a sanctified vessel to receive 
Christ. By the sanctifying Spirit all outward means are supplied, and 
infants are enabled unto that, which Dr Ames calls 'a passive reception/ 
by which they are in Christ, and united to him. It is not altogether 
without act, though it be such an act as is proper to their age. 

Obj. But you will say, Do all elect infants receive this sancti 
fying work of the Holy Ghost, or seed of faith ? We see many 
infants of believers, whom in charity we judge to be elect, because 
the promise is made to them and their seed ; yet, when they are 
grown up we see they show themselves to be never regenerated in their 

I answer, in this case we do not speak universally, but indefinitely ; 
we do not say that all infants do believe in Christ, but infants and 
in the judgment of charity we presume it of all infants, that die in 
their infancy. We must leave God to the liberty of his counsels, lest 
the freedom of grace should seem to be prejudiced by the merit of any 
family. God will take one and leave another, take Jacob and leave 
Esau ; only we say this in the general, that we have more cause to 
hope well of all the children, of believing parents. Why ? because the 
grace of election runs and flows most kindly in the channel of the cov 
enant, and therefore there is greater hope of such. Rom. xi. 24, the 
apostle calls them, ' The natural branches,' so as that they were more 
easily grafted in. The apostle puts a ' how much more,' upon them ; 
' How much more shall the natural branches be grafted into their own 
olive tree ? ' God may suffer the branches of the covenant to grow 
wild, and may graft in a strange slip, but it is most kindly to the nat 
ural branches ; they have a greater sufficiency of means, an external 
right, as soon as born. Certainly it is a great advantage to be born 
of parents within the covenant ; they have an excellent inheritance, till 
they disinherit themselves by their own unthankfulness and rebellion. 
Look, as we judge of the graft by the stock from whence it is taken, 
until it bring fortli other fruit, by which it may be discerned ; so for 
children, we judge of them by their parents until they come to years 
of discretion and choose their own way, and so do actually choose or 
refuse the grace of God. 

Use. 1. To press parents to bless God for the rich grace of the cov 
enant. Ah, consider not only your persons are accepted with God, 
but also your seed, by virtue of which the merit of Christ is applied, 
and the Spirit of Christ infused into them, leaving God to the liberty 
of his counsel. Oh, how greatly doth the Lord love those that fear him ! 
He cannot satisfy himself in doing good, only to other persons, but will 
do good to their children and posterity for their sakes. So that though 
they are broken off by their positive unbelief and apostasy, yet as the 
Jews were hated for their own sake, yet they are beloved for their 
fathers' sake, and therefore they shall be again grafted into the stock ; 
so they are under the care of providence until they are converted. Oh, 
how should we entertain the grace of the covenant with humility and 
reverence, and stand and wonder that God should not only accept our 


worthless persons, but also graft our seed into the stock of grace. When 
God came to tender the covenant to Abraham, Gen. xvii. 3, it is said, 
' Abraham fell upon his face,' a posture of humble reverence, as won 
dering at the large and diffusive mercy of God ; and David, 2 Sam. vii. 
18, 19, when God had taken him into covenant and his children, 'O 
Lord God, what am I ? and what is my father's house, that thou hast 
brought me hitherto ? ' that thou hast heaped so many privileges 
upon me. ' And yet this was a small matter in thy sight, Lord God ; 
for thou hast spoken also of thy servant's house for a great while to 
come, and is this the manner of man ? ' He stands wondering at 
grace. Natural love like a river is descending : it runs downward. 
All our care next to our souls is for our children ; for in them our life 
is multiplied and continued in the world. Children are the parent mul 
tiplied; therefore one saith of children, They are 'a knotty eternity ;' 
when the thread of life is run out, there is a knot 'knit, and it is con 
tinued in the child. Therefore what a mercy is it that God hath not 
only provided from eternity for our souls, but hath spoken a good 
word concerning our house for a great while yet to come, that he will 
continue his grace in our line. 

Use 2. It should encourage parents to found a covenant interest in 
their own persons. Oh, lay the foundation of it in yourselves ! Ps. ciii. 
17, ' The mercy of God is from everlasting to everlasting upon them 
that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children.' Oh, it 
is much that it is from everlasting to everlasting ; that we may go 
from one eternity to another ; that we may look backward and see 
purposes of eternal grace, and look forwards to see possessions of eternal 
glory. But this is not all his righteousness unto children's children ! 
Learn to fear God ; that is the best way of providing for your children. 
We all seek the welfare of our children. You may heap up riches and 
honour upon them, and leave a curse with it ; you may entail them an 
estate, and wrath with it ; but leave them a covenant interest, that is an 
excellent inheritance. Wicked parents do as it were stop the way of 
God's mercy from descending upon their posterity ; at least, they do 
not open a passage and channel, that grace may run down freely and 
with an uninterrupted course. God often threatens, that ' The posterity 
of the wicked shall be cut off,' Ps. cix. 13. You may not only injure 
your own souls, but your posterity. Oh, for your poor babes' sake, learn 
to fear God, that you may not leave them to the wrath and displeasure 
of God! It is said to Cain, Gen. iv. 10, 'Thy brother's blood crieth 
to me from the ground.' Some commentators infer that Cain was 
accountable not only for the murder of Abel himself, but for the 
murder of all the holy seed that should come of his loins. God will 
require not only the neglect of your own souls at your hands, but visit 
you for neglecting your children ; that you have not taken a course to 
open a passage, that grace may descend to them. 

Use 3. Here is comfort to believing parents concerning their children 
dying in infancy. We should not doubt of their salvation, unless we 
should wrong the covenant of grace. To what end doth God say, I 
am your God, and the God of your seed ? Consider, Jesus Christ 
himself \yas the advocate of children, and would plead their right 
against his own apostles, when they thought Christ would have nothing 
to do with children : Mat. xix. 14, ' Suffer little children to come unto 


me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven' suffer 
them to come ; I have provided heaven for them, as well as for others. 
And Christ that hath said, ' Of such is the kingdom of heaven,' certainly 
will find out a way how to settle the title upon them, and to enstate 
them into the kingdom, of heaven. David, when his child died, 
comforted himself in this : 2 Sam. xii. 23, ' But now he is dead, where 
fore should I fast ? Can I bring him back again ? I shall go to him, 
but he shall not return to me.' It is not only meant of the state of 
the dead, that were a brutish argument, but ' I shall go to him ; ' the 
meaning is, to the glory of the everlasting state ; nay, though they die 
without the seal of the covenant. The Hebrew children were murdered 
as soon as born, Exod. i. 22; and Mat. ii. 16. The children of Beth 
lehem shed their blood by martyrdom, before they shed their blood 
by circumcision, and therefore leave them in Christ's arms. 

Use 4. To teach us confidence in the power of divine grace. God 
can shine into the dark hearts of children, therefore certainly there is 
no heart so dark but God can enlighten it. Our trouble at our first 
conversion doth not arise out of the doubting of God's love, so much 
as of his power. This hard heart will never be softened ; these rebellious 
affections will never be subdued to the discipline of the Spirit ; this 
blind mind will never be enlightened. If once they could glorify the 
power of his converting grace, comfort would sooner be settled in 
their heart. Aye, but the Lord can shine into the hearts of infants, 
therefore do not doubt of it. You see what he can do in those that 
have not the use of reason. God can give the principle of grace : Isa. 
Ixv. 20, ' The child shall die an hundred years old, but a sinner, being 
an hundred years old, shall be accursed ;' speaking of the grace of the 
gospel. There are many expositions of that place. Some carry it this 
way, that a child in the Christian state shall be as perfect and as ripe 
for heaven as if he were a hundred years old. This is the power of 
divine grace, therefore wait upon God. 

Use 5. Here is encouragement to the neglected duty of education. 
Many times we neglect our little children, think we can do no good 
upon them. Oh, water the seed of grace, for aught you know they 
may be sanctified from the womb. It is said of John the Baptist, 
Luke i. 15, ' He shall be filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's 
womb.' Oh, this will make them exert and put forth those hidden 
operations of grace which God worketh upon their souls ; therefore 
water the seed of grace with the dew of education. God will call you 
to account for the education of your children : Ezek. xvi. 20, ' More 
over, thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast 
born unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured : 
is this of thy whoredoms a small matter, that thou hast slain my 
children ? ' that is, dedicated to me by circumcision. Consider, they 
are God's children, and you are only entrusted with them that you 
may bring them up. Let us, that have been instruments to convey 
an evil nature to them, assist them in the work of grace. Many have 
been converted by private education before they have been called by the 
ministry of the gospel. You cannot do your children worse hurt than 
to let them run wild. Consider they are the natural branches of the 
covenant, and you should bestow culture upon them. Dionysius, the 


tyrant, to be revenged of his adversary, brought up his child to riot 
and wantonness. You cannot do yourselves a worse injury, nor your 
selves a greater revenge, than to let your children run wild. 


.But without faith it is impossible to please God. HEB. xi. 6. 

THIRDLY. The third inference is concerning carnal and unregenerate 
men. 'Without faith,' the apostle saith, ' it is impossible to please 
God ; ' therefore, certainly a man in his natural condition can do 
nothing that may be accepted with God. I shall confirm this with other 
places of scripture : Horn. viii. 8, ' They that are in the flesh cannot 
please God ; ' 'in the flesh,' that is, in a carnal state ; it is opposed to 
' them that are in Christ,' ver. 1. There is an utter impossibility that 
anything of theirs should be accepted with the Lord ; which ariseth 
partly from the state of the person, and partly from the quality of the 
service which natural men perform. 

1. From the state of the person. Unregenerate men are enemies to 
God, and therefore he will not accept of a gift at their hands. There 
is no reconciliation till an interest in Christ ; for God will not be 
appeased with duties; the honour of appeasing and satisfying his 
justice is left alone for Jesus Christ. So it is proclaimed from heaven, 
Mat. iii. 17, ' This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased ; ' so 
Eph. i. 6, ' He hath made us accepted in the beloved/ Jesus Christ 
is the favourite of heaven ; he must mediate for us. As, when ' Herod 
was displeased with the men of Tyre and Sidon, they made Blastus 
the king's chamberlain their friend, and desired peace/ Acts xii. 20 ; 
so if ever we would find acceptance with God, we must have a friend 
and favourite in heaven that must plead our cause. Now, till you have 
an interest in his merit and intercession, God will not accept an offer 
ing at your hands ; and therefore you shall find it is God's method in 
the covenant of grace, to begin first with the interest of the person, 
and then to accept of the work. See with what scorn God rejects the 
offering and the best services of wicked men, however accommodated : 
Frov. xv. 8, 9, ' The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the 
Lord, but the prayer of the upright is his delight. The way of the 
wicked is an abomination unto the Lord, but he loveth him that fol- 
loweth after righteousness/ Many things are notable in these two 
verses. First, he saith, The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination ; 
God is so far from accepting their choicest duties that he hates them. 
It is grievous that God should not accept : ay, but he doth abominate 
them. And mark the antithesis ' The sacrifice of the wicked/ and the 
' prayer of the upright/ Sacrifice was the more outward and costly part 
of worship. Wicked men may do more in the outward rite than the 
godly themselves, to recompense the defects of inward piety; but 
though they come with sacrifices, yet the single prayer of the upright 


is more accepted with the Lord. And mark, he saith, ver. 6, ' The 
way of the wicked is an abomination/ not only their sacrifice or their 
exercises f religion, which may be counterfeited, but their way, their 
second-table duties, which, because of the benefit that men receive by 
them, are more pleasing and plausible ; yet their way, that is an 
abomination. They may do much , they may build colleges, promote 
learning, relieve the poor ; yet all is an abomination, because the person 
is wicked. Solomon doth not say their adultery is an abomination, but 
their charity, their civility. But saith he, ' They that follow after right 
eousness,' that is, that make it their sincere aim, though they cannot 
always be masters of their own desires and perform their intentions, 
yet God loves them that follow after righteousness, their hearts are set 
right. But the wicked, those that are in an unjustified estate, do what 
ever they will, they are an abomination to the Lord; they are 
punished for their sins, and are not accepted for their duties. Now, lest 
you should think that all this doth arise from some gross defect that is 
in the service itself, you shall see that it is from the hatred God bears 
to their persons, until they be reconciled to him in Christ. I shall 
prove that out of Prov. xxi. 27, ' The sacrifice of the wicked is an 
abomination ; how much more when he bringeth itwith a wicked mind ? ' 
Suppose a wicked man should do his best, yet the person is not recon 
ciled to God ; and so at best it is but a wicked man's offering ; 
therefore till we change our copy this will be our case ; it will be an 
abomination to the Lord. Thus you see, from the interest and quality 
f the person, they are in an unjustified and unreconciled estate, there 
fore nothing of theirs can please God. 

2. Consider the defect of the service. A natural man can never do 
or perform an act of pure obedience. It is true, his works are materially 
good : but it is not the matter which makes a work good. Velvet is 
good matter to make a garment of, yet it may be marred in the cutting : 
pieces of timber are good matter for a house, but it must be judici 
ously framed ; so these actions are for the matter good in themselves, 
yet they are not pleasing to God, because they are faulty in the most 
necessary circumstances. Whatsoever is well done must come from a 
principle of faith and love ; and it must be done to God's glory, other 
wise it is not reckoned among duties, but sins. Now here a wicked 
man is always culpable ; he can neither act out of faith, which he hath 
not ; rior to God's glory, he cannot make that his aim, therefore still 
he sins. It is true, he sins more in things that are evil in themselves ; 
as in theft and in lying, than in sacrifice ; in adultery than in prayer, 
because the act itself is sinful ; but in those duties that he doth per 
form, the matter of them is conducible to the good of human society. 
But it is all one as to their acceptance with God ; for it is not enough 
that a thing be good in itself, but it must be done to a good end ; that 
is a necessary circumstance, in which a wicked man is defective. Prov. 
xxi. 27, ' The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination : how much 
more (saith the Spirit of God) when he bringeth it with an evil mind ? ' 
Usually wicked men have an evil mind in all that they do ; they have 
a carnal, or a natural, or, at best but a legal end. 

[1.] A carnal end. Usually they make a market of religion, and 
their righteousness is set to sale. Whatever they do, they do it to please 
men rather than God ; and how can they expect their reward of God ? 


So our Saviour, when he speaks of the hypocrisy of those that pray, 
fast, and give alms, he saith, Mat. vi. 2 -16, ' They have their reward ; ' 
they give God an acquittance and a discharge, for all that they do is to 
please men and not to please God ; therefore they have their reward, 
that is, that they look after. By a vile submission, they ^ make the 
service of God to stoop to their secular interests. Mat. xxiii. 14, the 
Pharisees ' made long prayers to devour widows' houses ; ' that is, to 
get a fame and a repute to themselves, that they might be entrusted 
with widow's estates. Thus the apostle speaks of some, Phil. i. 15, 
' That preached Christ out of envy and strife, not of good will.' They 
may preach and pray to show their gifts ; and the end is carnal, to pro 
vide for their secular interest. Now this is a vile scorn put upon God, 
when religion is made a cover for an unclean intent ; it is as if you 
should take a cup of gold, made for the king to drink in, and make it 
a vessel to hold dung and excrements. Or else 1 

[2.] Their end in all they do is natural. It is grace that sublimates 
the intentions of the creature. A carnal man can go no higher than 
self, as water cannot ascend beyond its fountain. All that a carnal man 
do this for self-interest. If they eat and drink it is for self, to gratify 
appetite, not that they might be more cheerful in the service of God. 
If they pray, it is for self : Hosea vii. 14, ' They have not cried unto 
me with their heart (saith the Lord) when they howled upon their beds ; 
they assemble themselves for corn and wine.' All their prayers do arise 
from a brutish instinct after their own ease and welfare ; ' Not unto 
me,' saith the Lord ; God is neither at the beginning nor at the end of 
the action. If they spend their strength in holy services, as a wicked 
man may do, it is but to feed their own bellies ; it is still to make a 
god of themselves, and they lay aside the Lord, Phil. iii. 19. The 
apostle speaks there of false teachers, who spent their strength in the 
work of the gospel, out of a selfish principle, to flow in an abundance 
of wealth and worldly pleasures ; therefore he saith, ' Their god is 
their belly.' Always observe, a man makes a god of that which he 
makes his utmost end, and accounts to be his chiefest good. Thus do 
all natural men set up self instead of God. Now, how can God accept 
an action, when his majesty is laid aside and self is set up in his 
stead ? , 

[3.] Take wicked men at the best, it is but a legal end. When 
wicked men are most devout, it is but to quiet conscience and to satisfy 
God for their sins by their duties. They would fain buy out their peace 
with heaven at any rate ; as appears by the inquiry mentioned by the 
prophet : Micah vi. 6-8, ' Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, 
and bow myself before the high God ? Shall I come before him with 
burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old ; will the Lord be pleased with 
thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil ? Shall I give 
my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of 
my soul ? ' What shall I give for the sin of my soul ? and wherewith 
will God be appeased ? If peace of conscience were to be purchased 
with money, men would part with anything rather than their sins, for 
nothing is dearer to men than their sins ; not their children, not their 
estate, not their first-born. Thus carnal men, by an excess of charity, 
seek to expiate the offences of a carnal life, and would be liberal, so 
they may be sinful. Now this is that which makes men hated and 


more abominable to God ; while they think to purchase their own par 
don, and hire God to be gracious ; when they do things that carry a 
fair show in the world, they think God is bound to forgive them their 
sins ; and so they cause the Lord to hate them so much the more, 
since they neglect Christ, ' In whom alone he is well pleased.' 

Use 1. This serves to represent to us the misery of natural men. 
This should amaze them to think that all they do is abominable in 
God's sight. They are debtors to the whole law, and yet they can do 
nothing that can be pleasing to God. Their duties cannot quit old 
scores, if they perform them never so exactly ; they can never come up 
to such a pitch of duty and such a pure act of obedience as God requires ; 
there is a vast debt upon them, and they are not able to pay one farthing. 
To enforce the consideration, reflect upon your own misery and the 
opposite happiness of the children of God. 

1. Your own misery. Of all men, you are in a miserable condition, 
and God will take nothing in good part from you. How will you do to 
please him ? No condition, no duty of yours, no enjoyment of yours, 
can render you acceptable to God ; no outward condition can endear 
you to God. Wealth and authority in the world will nothing avail you 
against the process of divine justice. Men are taken with pomp and 
high places. We are apt to favour the rich in their cause, but divine 
justice will not be bribed ; all those things are but fuel to kindle the 
fire of hell. As a stone that falls from a high place is the more bruised 
and broken, so the greater your advantages are in the world of authority 
and place, the greater the judgment ; the mighty shall be mightily tor 
mented ; no excellency of gifts, learning, wit, and such like things. 
God is not taken with parts ; all those qualities and endowments are 
but like a jewel in a toad's head the person is displeasing to God. 
What pity is it to see that old complaint verified Surgunt indocti et 
rapiunt ccelum, dum nos cum doctrind detrudimur in Gehennam : the 
unlearned may arise and take heaven by violence, when you with all 
your learning are thrust down to hell. So for moral honesty ; it is but 
sin dressed up more handsomely, and set off with a fairer varnish. 
Whatever doth not come from a pure fountain of faith and obedience, 
and is not done to God's glory, it is but like a spiced carcase it is but 
sin and nature perfumed. To instance in things that are more com 
mendable liberality to learning, giving of alms, building of churches, 
civility of life ; these are good in themselves, and glorious in men's 
eyes, but they are abomination before God. Mark the emphasis of our 
Saviour's words : Luke xvi. 15, ' That which is highly esteemed among 
men is an abomination in the sight of God ; ' not only that which 
' pleaseth' men, but is ' highly esteemed ; ' and he saith it is not only 
' not accepted/ but it is /3Se\vy/j,a an ' abomination to God ; ' that 
which is a rose to us, is a nettle to him. Carnal ends are as odious to 
God as gross sins are to men. Nay, go to religious duties ; a wicked 
carnal man may pray, but his prayer is turned into sin, as a jewel in 
a dead man's mouth. Your prayers, because they come from dead 
men, ' men dead in trespasses and sins,' lose all their worth and efficacy, 
how good soever the action be in itself ; so that when a man comes to 
please God, he grieveth him more. A carnal man may be employed in 
the offices of the church : Mat. vii. 22, ' We have prophesied in thy 
name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many 


wonderful works;' and yet Christ saith, 'I know you not; depart from 
me, ye that work iniquity/ ver. 23. A man may spend his strength 
and his spirits in the ministry ; yet after all this may be a castaway. 
Christ will not take acquaintance with them that are in such a near 
ness of office and ministration ' I know you not.' It is strange that 
Christ should not know them, when they can challenge acquaintance 
with him by such a good token ; We had such gifts and such offices. 
Sorue men have only gif Is for others ; and after they have wasted them 
selves and swaled away like a candle in the work of the ministry, they 
may go out in a snuff. Gifts and employments are for the body. No 
doubt, in Noah's time, some that built an ark for others perished in 
the waters , so after we have built an ark for others, and represented 
Christ to them, if we do not get an interest in him ourselves, we are 
cast away ; or like the clouds that moisten the earth, but are themselves 
scattered by the winds, we may moisten and conVey the influences of 
heaven to others, but are scattered, as those that Christ refuseth, by the 
breath and fury of the Lord ; or like the water of purification, under 
the law, that cleansed the leper, but was itself unclean, so men that are 
employed as instruments in the cleansing of others, may themselves be 
unclean and disallowed by God. They may deserve well of the church, 
and yet be unthankful to God and unfaithful to their own souls ; nay, 
you may be orthodox, and side with the better part, and yet all this 
will not render you acceptable to God : Gal. v. 6, ' In Christ Jesus 
neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith 
that works by love.' That was the controversy among the believers 
of that time, whether circumcision were to be kept up. Christ doth 
not love men for their opinion, but for their obedience. Some that are 
orthodox may go down to hell. The devils themselves have great skill 
in many points of faith ; nay, which is more, men may suffer for religion 
for that which they call their conscience, yet all this in vain : 1 Cor, 
xiii. 2, 'If I give my body to be burnt, and have not charity, it profiteth 
me nothing ; ' without faith all this is nothing. The suffering of a 
wicked man, it is but like the cutting off a swine's head, or offering of 
a dog in sacrifice : as, under the law, the priest was to make inquiry 
if the sacrifice were sound, if it were not scabby or lame. God doth not 
love a scabby sacrifice ; and when men are tainted with enormous lives 
and conversations, their sufferings will not endear them to God ; nay, 
whatever you do in your lawful employment, in your calling, it is all 
sin. The whole trade and course of a wicked man's life is nothing but 
sin, because all those actions are not elevated by grace to a supernatural 
intention : Prov. xxi. 4, ' The ploughing of the wicked is sin ; ' what 
ever they do their speaking, eating, drinking, trading all is sin, 
because there is no grace. How should this take us off from our vain 
confidences ! I have nothing but sin, I can do nothing but sin ; and 
how should this bring the soul to lie at God's foot for mercy ! 

2. Consider the opposite happiness of the children of God, this will 
aggravate your misery. The smallest works of a man that is recon 
ciled to God in Christ are rewarded. A cup of cold water shall not 
want its reward, Mat. x. 42. If a carnal man offers rivers of oil, ten 
thousands of sacrifices, yet they are nothing ; whereas the weakest and 
poorest services on the other side are accepted. They that are in a 
state of grace have liberty of constant access to God, and God hath 


promised to take notice of their persons and prayers : Ps. xxxiv. 15, 
' The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to 
their cry ; ' God is ready to receive and entertain them whenever they 
come to the throne of grace, but, as it follows in the next verse, ' The 
face of the Lord is against them that do evil ; ' as by a frown we dis 
courage a supplicant. Certainly, it is a great mercy that we have an 
access to God, and the liberty to stand before him daily ; nay, the weak 
ness of their duties shall be dispensed withal. A child of God is guilty 
of many failings, Partus sequitur ventrem, the birth hath more of the 
mother in it than of the father ; so, though the Spirit of God help them 
in their services, yet there is much of their own weaknesses mixed with 
it ; yet God will accept it : Cant. v. 1, ' I have eaten my honey-comb 
with my honey ; ' the honeycomb is bitter, but Christ will eat it for the 
honey's sake. We serve Christ in our duties as he was served on the 
cross, we offer him wine mingled with myrrh, but he will dispense witli 
imperfections ; then their sins of life shall be pardoned. It is true, the 
children of God have not a dispensation to sin ; yet God will handle 
them with much indulgence when they are through the prevalency of 
corruption and infirmity drawn to sin. A hireling is soon dismissed when 
he doth not give content ; but a child is not cast out of doors for every 
offence : saith God, ' I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son 
that serveth him,' Mai. iii. 17. 

Use 2. To represent to us the necessity of being in a state of faith, 
or else neither person nor work can please God ; there must be a change 
of our state, as well as doing our duties. It is in vain to persuade 
people to change their actions, while their state is unchanged. If the 
person be not in favour, the works are hated ; duties may further our 
delusion, but cannot further our happiness. Many heap up duty upon 
duty, as if they thought to please God that way. I do not blame men 
for using means, but for neglecting an interest in Christ. Who will 
look for grapes upon thorns ? No man can offer a sacrifice to God till 
he be first made a priest ; first, there must be a consecration of their 
persons : Mai. iii. 3, ' He shall purify the sons of Levi, then they shall 
offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness ; ' Heb. ix. 14, ' How 
much more shall the blood of Christ purge your consciences from dead 
works, to serve the living God.' First, the Christian must be con 
secrated before he can minister before the Lord in holy things : 1 
Peter i. 2-5, ' Ye are a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, 
acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.' Men must be kings and priests 
to God before they offer sacrifice to God. A natural man is a bad 
priest, and his own evil heart is an ill altar. Our persons must be 
reconciled to God, and under grace by Christ, and received into the 
number of those God approves, and whom he delights to be worshipped 
by. Under the law, the priests, when they went to sacrifice, were 
washed in the great laver of water, Exod. xxix. 4 ; so must a Christian 
in the laver of regeneration, Tit. iii. 5, and then come and worship ; 
they must change their state, then the Lord will accept of their offer 
ing in Christ. 

Use 3. We learn hence, that the opinion which makes God to bestow 
grace upon the preceding works and merit of man is false. We have 
not only to do with the Papists here, but Arminians, who establish an 


infallible attendance of grace on natural endeavours. They say, if a 
man do use well his natural strength and abilities; if he do as much 
as he can, God will certainly help him to supernatural grace. ^ If they 
stir themselves in good earnest to seek the grace of conversion, they 
shall infallibly and without miscarrying find it made good to them ; so 
Arminius, Faciunt quod in se est, dantnr a deo infallibiliter, et ex certd 
lege auxilia prcevenientis graticc. It is true, we hold that it is the 
ordinary practice of free grace. God is seldom wanting to them that 
are not wanting to themselves ; but to hold such an infallibility, and 
to lay an obligation upon God, this is a falsehood, contrary to the 
canon of the apostle ' Without faith it is impossible to please God ; ' 
without faith all our actions are sins, therefore they cannot oblige God 
to give more grace. But say they, Without faith it is impossible to 
please him, so as their persons should be accepted to life and salvation ; 
but it is not impossible to please him, and so to be accepted as to receive 
more grace. But I answer, that the text excludes both ; it is impos 
sible to please God in any sense. Besides, pleasing God is all one with 
walking with God ; for what is in the original ? ' Enoch walked with 
God '- -is in the Septuagint, ' Enoch pleased God ; ' and it signifies an 
established communion of comfort and grace between God and the 
creature ; it is meant of acceptation to grace as well as glory. But to 
handle the argument more fully, I shall show 

1. The inconveniency and falsehood of this doctrine. 

2. Handle some objections. 

First, The inconvenience of this doctrine, that if men would do their 
utmost, God will necessarily come in with grace. 

1. That never a natural man did his utmost. 

2. If they did so, God is not obliged to come in infallibly with supplies 
of grace. 

[1.] Never a natural man did his utmost. See the character of such 
kind of men, that they do not act their abilities ' But what they know 
naturally, in those things they corrupt themselves/ Jude ver. 10. It 
is but a fancy to suppose that any do improve nature to the uttermost. 
The scripture generally sets out natural men as unfaithful. He that 
had but one talent hid it in the earth, Mat. xxv. 18 ; and God seems 
to plead against them upon this issue, that they are unfaithful in com 
mon gifts: Luke xvi. 11, ' If therefore ye have not been faithful in the 
unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches ? ' 
Earnestness in the use of means is the first impression of the efficacy 
of the Holy Ghost, and proceeds from the seed of grace, which God 
hath cast into the heart. 

[2.] If he did do his utmost, yet God is not bound ; for if God be 
obliged and bound, it must either be by the merit of the creature, or 
by some promise he hath made ; there is no other obligation upon God. 
Now, no man can engage the grace of Christ, and there is no promise 
on God's part. 

(1.) No man can engage God to give him converting grace ; this 
would tie grace to works, and then man would make himself to differ ; 
and our debt to grace would be taken off, and the difference that is 
between us and others did arise from ourselves : this would make men 
sacrifice to their own net. Now this is contrary to scripture. No man 


can earn anything of God : Eom. ix. 16, 'It is not of him that willeth, 
nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy ; ' not upon 
the motion of our will, nor by virtue of our endeavours, but God merely 
acts out of the freedom of his own grace ; not by our desires, which is 
implied in ' willing ; ' nor by virtue of our endeavours, which is implied 
in ' running ; ' so 2 Tim. i. 9, ' Who hath saved us, and called us with 
a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own 
purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world 
began.' God's liberty is not abridged by any act of the creature, 
neither is he necessitated to have mercy upon us rather than upon 
others. Many inconveniences would follow according to this doctrine ; 
as that the creature must bid and buy and engage Christ before they 
have an interest in Christ. It is against reason : all those foregoing 
endeavours cannot please God, being void of faith and mixed with sins ; 
and that which deserves wrath cannot prepare for grace. It is against 
experience : many shall endeavour, but not obtain, because all works 
that are done in the state of nature cannot make us a whit more accepted 
with God. Therefore God, to show that his grace runs freely, and is 
not drawn out by our endeavours, saith ' Many shall seek to enter in, 
and shall not be able/ Luke xiii. 24. Then again, this would make 
the creature to come and to plead with God ; whereas the Lord will 
have us to lie at the foot of his sovereignty ; the Lord will be the dis 
poser of his own mercy. It crosseth the order of God in the dispensa 
tion of his grace, which is to bring the creature upon his knees, to be 
willing to refer all to his sovereignty ' Lord, thou hast mercy on whom 
thou wilt have mercy, and whom thou wilt thou hardenest.' This 
would cross the work of humiliation, by which the Lord would bring the 
creature to absolute submission to his own sovereignty. When we have 
done all, God is not our debtor ; he oweth us nothing but vengeance. 

(2.) There is no shadow of any engagement, by promise on God's 
part, whereby he should undertake to any of us ; there is no such pro 
mise as this Do this by the strength of nature, and thou shalt have 
supernatural grace, but because they urge many things. 

Secondly, I shall come to some objections. 


But tvithout faitli, it is impossible to please him. HEB. xi. 6. 

Obj. 1. ' For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall 
have abundance ; but from him that hath not, shall be taken away 
even that which he hath/ Mat. xiii. 13, and Mat. xxv. 29. They say, 
God is obliged by promise to him that hath many acts of nature, to 
give acts of grace ; but I answer, that place speaks of those that have 
grace already. It is the reason Christ assigns, why it was given 
to them to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, and the 
reason is taken from the course God keeps in dispensation of his grace ; 
such as have found grace in God's eyes, they have the fountain gift, 



and they shall have others to perfect their salvation. Deus donando 
se facit debitoremGod, by giving them grace already, hath made 
himself a debtor to them for new influences and all outward means, 
whereby they shall increase in grace and strength. In Mark iv. 24, it 
is said, ' Take heed what you hear, for with what measure you mete it 
shall be measured to you again, and unto you that hear shall more be 
given.' I answer, this still implies not a bare use of means while we 
are in a state of nature, but faith in hearing, without which the word 
never profiteth : so Prov. viii. 34, ' Blessed is the man that heareth me, 
watching daily at my gates, waiting at the post of my doors ; ' that is, 
that waits in faith ; those that have grace by waiting upon the means, 
grace in the same kind shall be increased in them. We must not 
invert the method of the covenant. Another place is, Acts x. 34, 35, 
'Of a truth I perceive (saith Peter) that God is no respecter of 
persons; but in every nation he that feareth' God, and worketh 
righteousness, is accepted of him : ' from whence they argue, that if a 
man have a natural reverence of God, and do the works of righteous 
ness, he shall be accepted of God to further grace. 

But I answer, it is clear that the place speaks of God's consequent 
love to the work of his own grace ; for it is impossible that ever a man 
can fear God and work righteousness until he hath some grace wrought 
in him ; those things are not the effect of nature, but of grace. That 
place only shows that Peter was convinced of his error ; he thought 
none could be saved, but either a Jew, or a proselyte one converted to 
the Jewish religion. NGW I see my mistake, that of a truth, wherever 
there is real grace in any, God will accept of him. Take the sentence 
either in a legal or evangelical sense. It' you take it evangelically, the 
sense is whoever worketh righteousness, that obeyeth the gospel, and 
renounceth his own righteousness, and seeks the favour of God in 
Christ, he shall be accepted with God ; or if you take it in a legal 
sense, those things are not the fruits of mere nature, it is to be 
expounded by way of evidence whoever thus worketh righteousness 
it is a sign he is accepted with God ; and he that fears God, it is a 
visible sign and testimony by which the favour of God towards him 
may be cleared up. 

Obj. 2. Again, Christ is said to love the young man that was of a 
civil life : Mark x. 21, ' Jesus, beholding him, loved him.' I answer, 
this was but a human affection, which our Lord manifested in all cases 
out of respect to human society ; ' Christ loved him,' that is, showed 
some outward signs of favour and respect to him ; as we pity a man 
that is in a dangerous course : it is pity such courteous persons should 
go to hell. Our Saviour ' loved him/ certainly he could not approve 
of his hypocrisy, vanity, and self-confidence ; but pitied him as one 
that with so much care kept the law, which others did not, and yet 
deceived himself with a vain opinion of righteousness. Christ, as man, 
was to have all human affections : but as lord and judge of the 
creature, so he hated him, as will be manifested at the last day. 

Again, they say, God rewards wicked men for their natural actions ; 
as Ahab's humiliation was rewarded with a suspension from wrath, 
1 Kings xxi. 29, and Jehu's obedience was rewarded with the reign 
of his posterity to the fourth generation, 2 Kings x. 30. 


I answer, This God may do out of his own bounty. Wicked men can 
look for nothing ; it is his grace to reward wicked men's actions ; and 
he may do it to make them, more culpable, and to encourage the godly, 
as many times a general will reward the valour of an enemy to 
encourage his own soldiers. It is a document of God's bounty to the 
world, to prize true grace the better ; and it is notable, all those bless 
ings were but temporal, and salted with a curse : clogs may have 
temporals, trie offals of providence. 

Obj. 3. Again, what ground have we to persuade men to the use of 
means, if all their endeavours be in vain, and if God will not accept 
them ? I answer 

[1.] We have ground to press them to duty, that wicked men may 
be more sensible of their own weakness. Men think it is easy to 
believe till they put themselves upon the trial, action, and endeavour ; 
as the lameness of the arm is found by exercise. Solomon saith, Prov. 
ii. 2, 3, ' Apply thine heart to understanding;' then saith he, 'If thou 
criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding ;' &c., 
' then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the 
knowledge of God.' Certainly, he that seeks knowledge will be driven 
to cry for it to free grace; and they that attempt the duties and 
exercises of religion, will see the necessity of divine help, and will be 
forced to lie at God's feet. Were there no other end but this, that 
wicked men may be certainly convinced that all their sufficiency is in 
God, to bring them to cry to God, Lord, help me against my unbelief, 
this were enough. When we look to towns in a map, we think the 
way to them easy, as if our foot were as nimble as our thoughts, but 
we are soon discouraged and tired, when we meet with dangerous and 
craggy passages, and come to learn the difference between glancing 
and serious endeavours. So in matters of religion, he that endeavours 
to bring Christ and his soul together, before he hath done, will be forced 
to sit down and cry, Lord, help me ! As in the matters of the world, 
young men have strong hopes, therefore think it is nothing to live in 
the world ; but when they are engaged in the cares of a family, they 
are soon crushed. So in the spiritual life ; nothing doth rebuke sudden 
and easy hopes so much as trial and experience ; then men find their 
hearts are hardly brought to apply themselves to the means whereby 
they may draw nigh to God, and see that no man can come to God 
without an attractive force, and unless the Father draw him. 

[2.] Another reason why we press wicked men to do duty, is that 
they may manifest their obedience to God by meeting him in his own 
way. This is the way of God's working, by antecedaneous acts to fit 
us for grace, therefore the act must be done ; for though we have lost 
our power, God hath not lost his right. It is true, we can never do 
anything with acceptation, yet still we are bound to be doing ; as a 
drunken servant is obliged to do his master's work, though he hath 
disabled himself for it. So our nature had a power, though our persons 
were never invested with it ; our disability will not disoblige us ; so, 
though there be no hope of succeeding, yet we are bound to do. So 
Peter, though there were no fish come to hand, yet howbeit at thy 
command we will cast out the net. Wait at the pool ; impotency can 
be no excuse for neglect. 

['3.J That they may manifest their desires, men say usually they 


have no power when they have no heart. He that hath a mind to the 
pearl of price, he will be doing, though he can do nothing acceptable ; 
his desires being the vigorous bent of the soul will put him upon 
endeavours. It is a usual way to pretend impotency, as a cover of 
laziness ; but now neglect of means shows that the impossibility is 
voluntary ; when we do not what we are able, it is a sign that we love 
our bondage. A carnal man cannot please God ; why ? because he 
minds earthly things ; the heart is carried out that way, and will not 
be subject to God, Eom. viii. 7, 8. Men prefer the world before God, 
and content themselves with some lazy wishes, and then think to cast 
the blame upon God. A wicked man is to be doing to show his desires 
are real : Prov. xxi. 25, ' The desire of the slothful killeth him : for his 
hands refuse to labour ; ' he hath but some sluggish wishes, that serve 
only unprofitably to vex the soul. 

[4.] We put wicked men upon doing, because 'our endeavours are 
the condition sine qua non ; without this the Lord seldom meets with 
the creature : Horn. x. 14, ' How shall they believe in him of whom 
they have not heard ? ' If ever I find Christ, I must find him in this 
way of hearing and praying. Though the means have no effective 
influence, yet without these I cannot come to Christ : Acts xiii. 46, 
' Since ye put away the word from you, and judge ourselves unworthy 
of eternal life ; ' it is meant there of a refusal and neglect of the means ; 
they save God the labour, and pass sentence upon themselves. There 
is no having of children but in a state of marriage. Now men marry, 
though the rational soul be infused by God ; and so there is no having 
of grace but in the use of means, therefore we should use them, though 
still grace be the gift of God. We do not say it is in vain to marry, 
because man cannot beget the soul ; so it is not in vain to hear and pray, 
though these things have no effectual influence : these are the means, 
without which God will not give it. 

[5.] If men do not do something, they will grow worse and worse ; 
standing pools are apt to putrify. Man is of an active nature, never 
at a stay, but either growing better or worse ; and when we do not 
improve nature, we deprave it ' They corrupt themselves in what they 
know,' Jude 10. Voluntary neglects draw on penal hardness ; and so 
our natural disability is increased. Much sin and hardness would be 
prevented by the use of means ' Thou wicked and slothful servant,' 
Mat. xxv. 26. A slothful servant soon becomes an evil servant, and 
barren trees will soon become rotten trees, Jude 12 ; where ordinances 
are neglected, we draw penal hardness upon ourselves. 

[6.] It is good to make trial upon a common hope ; it may be, you 
may meet with God. The apostle puts Simon Magus upon prayer out 
of a bare probability: Acts viii. 22, 'Pray to God, if perhaps the 
thoughts of thy heart may be forgiven thee;' though it be great 
uncertainty, a peradventure, and a thousand to one ; yet pray, it is the 
safest course. As the lepers, 2 Kings vii. 3, 4, ' They said one to 
another, Why sit we here until we die ? If we say, We will enter into 
the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there ; and if 
we sit, still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall to 
the host of the Syrians ; if they save us alive we shall live, and if they 
kill us we shall but die/ Such reasoning there usually is when God 
brings sinners home ; if we do nothing, we are sure to die ; if we pray 


and read and meditate, we can but die ; but there is some common 
hope ; it may be we may live. All God's children are thus brought 
in ; the soul is willing to acts of obedience, though it knows not what 
will come of it ; as Abraham obeyed God, not knowing whither he went. 
I am to do what God commands, let God do what he will ; it may be 
there may be life ; I cannot do worse, I may do better. All saints are at 
first carried on by such a common hope ; the first essay of their faith 
is but dark resolution; but blind peradventure, Who knows what God 
may do ? 

[7.] It is God's usual way to meet those that seek him, and to give 
the Spirit to them that ask him : we do not know what importunity 
will do. This is the usual practice of God's free grace ; sometimes 
he doth, sometimes he doth not ; but it is good to wait at wisdom's 
gate. God is not bound, but it is his ordinary practice. Obey the 
Lord, and sue out the blessings upon common hope ; when there is no 
absolute assurance, those things will prosper. Why should we fall a 
disputing ? we are in great danger, and this is God's usual way. We 
are to do what we can ; God is wont to meet his people in this way. 
Though he hath nowhere said, Do this by the power of nature, and 
thou shalt have grace ; yet it is good to wait upon God, for he usually 
meets with them that seek him in his way, and blesseth them that are 
followers in all Christian endeavours. 

[8.] The neglect of means out of a carnal principle, either out of an 
averseness to grace, or an ill-conceit of God, proves very pernicious. 
Nature is backward and shy, and then we would justify it by wrong 
thoughts and groundless jealousies of God : Mat. xxv. 24, ' I knew that 
thou wert a hard master, and therefore I hid my talent.' We think 
that God hath shut us up under a fatal impossibility, so we pretend we 
can do nothing ; as they that heard Christ say ' No man can come to 
me except the Father which hath sent me draw him,' John vi. 44 
murmured and drew back at that saying ; so we have wrong thoughts 
of God, and are jealous without cause. We are loath to use the means, 
and then blame God for not giving the power. It is a jealous fancy of 
God without warrant ; you are under an obligation, and that must be 

[9.] This is no small encouragement, that Jesus Christ, that hath 
the grant of the elect, is to see the promises to be made good to them. 
The new heart, and the infusion of converting grace is a thing promised 
to natural men that are elect before they are in Christ, and Christ will 
see to the accomplishment. Whatever Christ's intent is towards you, 
certainly his will will be no hindrance to our duty ; therefore upon all 
these grounds we might press men to wait upon God in the use of 
means, that so, if it be his gracious will, they might receive mercy for 
their souls. 

Fourthly, We may infer hence the necessity and excellency of faith. 

1. We may gather from hence the excellency of faith ; he nameth 
no other graces. Whatever glorious virtues are found in God's children, 
none of them can make them acceptable with God but faith ; how ? 
not for any excellency that is in faith itself, because of all graces it hath 
least of worth, but in regard of its object. Though faith in itself be 
a needy grace, yet it hath a worthy object ; it receiveth Christ and all 
the blessings of the covenant. Therefore the apostle calls it ' precious ' 


faith, 2 Peter i. 4, because it is conversant about a precious Christ, 
and precious promises, and precious righteousness. 

Obj. But you will say, Charity or love is elsewhere preferred before 
faith, therefore how can faith be accounted the most excellent grace ? 1 
Cor. xiii. 13, 'Now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three; but 
the greatest of these is charity/ It is true, before he compares gifts 
and graces, but here he compares grace and grace, and he judgeth the 
crown and pre-eminence to charity. When extraordinary gifts cease in 
the church, these shall be perpetually had in esteem ; these three abide, 
and that which is greatest is charity. 

Ans. It is true, in some kind of operations other graces may have 
the pre-eminence, but in the matter of pleasing of God the pre-eminence 
is put upon faith. Love seems to have an advantage of faith in this, 
that we give by love, and we receive by faith ; now, it is more blessed 
to give than to receive. The chiefest answer is, when extraordinary 
gifts cease, these three abide, and the chiefest of these three is charity, 
which is most abiding ; for when faith and hope are turned into frui 
tion, love then abideth, it is the grace of heaven ; but for matter of 
acceptance, it is faith that is the chief grace. 

2. The necessity of faith. There is as much necessity of faith as of 
Christ. What good will a deep well do us without a bucket ? and an 
able saviour, if we have not faith to take hold of him ? Look, as on 
God's part, there is need of the intervention of Christ's merit to satisfy 
justice ; so on man's part, that the sinner may have an actual interest 
herein, there is need of faith : you can neither work without it, nor 
please God without it. 

Not work without it. There is as great a necessity of faith as of 
life' I live by the faith of the Son of God/ Gal. ii. 20. And you 
cannot ' please God ' without it ; for always you shall see all the bless 
ings of the covenant are granted us upon this condition, Rom. x. 9, ' If 
thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in 
thine heart, that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be 
saved ; ' he puts it upon that issue. The gospel is not only a charter of 
grace and precious promises, but it is a law of faith ; that is the condi- 
lion upon which they are dispensed ; so Acts xvi. 31, ' Believe in the 
Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved :' it is the condition of the 
covenant. The Lord neither will nor can save you without faith ; he 
cannot, because he will not, as his pleasure is now stated. God cannot 
lie, he hath stated the course and order of our salvation. Now, unless 
the Lord should reverse the great law and institution of heaven, by 
which he will govern the world, we may say he cannot save without 
faith. So the scripture speaks : Mark vi. 5, ' He could do no mighty 
works there because of their unbelief ; ' he could not, because of God's 
settled course, that he will not dispense blessings without faith. There 
fore it is notable, that it is the great thing we must preach, and the 
great duty you must practise : 1 John iii. 23, ' This is his command 
ment that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ.' 
And when we receive our commission as ministers of the gospel, this 
is the sum of all : ' Mark xvi. 16, ' He that believeth shall be saved, and 
he that believeth not shall be damned/ And this is the great work 
which you must practise : John vi. 28, 29, ' "What shall we do 
that we might work the works of God?' What work shall 


we do ? say they, speaking according to the tenor of the covenant 
of works : saith Christ, ' This is the work of God that you 
should believe on him whom he hath sent : ' all other things are but 
your by-works, but this is your main work, that you bring your hearts 
to close with me. 

Now if you ask me the reasons why God hath put so much honour 
upon this grace, why it is impossible without faith to please him ? 
you may as well ask me, Why God will give light to the world by the 
sun or water by the fountain ? The Lord's own will and designation 
is the supreme reason, both in mature and grace ; but because God is 
a God of judgment, and doth all things with advice and wisdom, because 
there is a sweet conveniency and congruity in all divine appointments, 
therefore I shall give you some reasons why the Lord hath put so much 
honour upon the grace of faith. The great design of God is to humble the 
creature, but exalt Jesus Christ and promote holiness. Now there is 
nothing so serviceable for such uses and purposes as the grace of 

[1.] It is faith that humbles the creature, and sends us out of our 
selves to look for all in Christ ; one of God's designs in the way of 
salvation is to humble the creature. Now of all graces, faith strips a 
man naked of his own worth, and sends him to God's mercy in a medi 
ator, so the apostle argueth : Kom. iv. 16, 'It is of faith, that it might 
be of grace, that the promise might be sure to all the seed ; ' therefore 
God hath stated the way of salvation in the way of faith, that it might 
be of grace. Faith is the only virtue that can stand with the free grace 
of God ; for it doth not work by procuring and meriting, but by 
expecting and receiving what God will bestow upon us ; it brings 
nothing to God of our own, and can offer nothing by way of exchange 
for the mercy we expect. It receiveth a gift, but it bringeth no price ; 
it deals not by way of exchange as with justice, but by way of suppli 
cation and reception as with grace. If we were to deal with justice, 
then certainly the honour of it would be put upon other graces ; as 
love that might give somewhat by way of exchange. All that faith 
doth is to send the creature as needy and destitute to the throne of 
grace : Eph. ii. 8, ' By grace ye are saved through faith ; ' justice gives 
what is due, but mercy gives what is promised ; the original cause is 
grace, the means is faith, and the end is salvation. Faith doth not 
come to God, as claiming acceptance for what we have done, but comes 
with an empty hand to receive what grace and mercy is willing to be 
stow upon us in Christ. 

[2.] God puts this crown of honour upon the head of faith, because 
it unites us to Christ, out of whom there is no pleasing of God. This 
reason stands upon two propositions there is no pleasing God out of 
Christ and no interest in Christ, but by faith. 

(1.) There is no pleasing of God out of Christ. We are all by nature 
children of wrath until we are reconciled to God by his Son. God is a 
holy and a just God, and so he cannot be at peace with sinners; 
as God is a holy God, so he hates us, because of the contrariety 
that is between his nature and ours : as he is a just God, so he is 
obliged to punish us. God in himself is a consuming fire ; he cannot 
endure us, nor we him. God will never gratify the creature, so as to 
violate the notions by which his own essence is represented ; therefore 


naked mercy can do nothing for us till there be satisfaction to justice. 
Holiness awakens justice, and justice awakens wrath, and wrath con 
sumes the creature; and therefore unless there be a screen drawn be 
twixt us and wrath, what shall we do ? Saith the apostle, Eph. i. 6, ' He 

hath made us accepted in the Beloved.' In the original it is e 
_ he hath ingratiated us in Christ. As a favourite in court makes 
terms for the rebel, and endears him to the king, so we are returned by 
grace to Christ. This is that which the Lord hath proclaimed from 
heaven, that all creatures should take notice of it : Mat. iii. 17, ' This 
is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased,' in him, and in no other. 
This voice came from God not only to show his love to Christ but to 
give satisfaction to the world to reveal the pleasure of the Lord to the 
world, how he will be appeased and satisfied towards us. It is notable, 
in the Gospel of Luke, these words are spoken to Christ himself : Luke 
iii. 22, ' Thou art my beloved son, in thee I am well pleased.' But in 
Matthew they are directed to the world In him you shall be accepted. 
God did as it were proclaim to the whole world, if ever you will return 
to grace and favour to me it must be by my Son. When God looks 
upon men as they are in themselves, he seeth nothing but a mere 
abomination : Ps. xiv. 2, 3, ' The Lord looked down from heaven upon 
the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and 
seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy, 
there is none that doeth good, no, not one.' In the original it is, they 
are altogether become stinking : God can see nothing but objects 
that provoke his hatred and aversation. This is the condition of every 
natural man. So the Lord utters that sorrowful speech concerning man, 
Gen. vi. 6, ' It repented the Lord that he had made man, and it grieved 
him at his heart ; ' he cannot look upon man with any pleasure. But 
when he looks upon man in Christ, then he is well pleased ; he doth as 
it were say, World, take notice, in him I will be appeased toward you. 
I have read of an emperor that had a great emerald, in which he 
would view the .bloody fights of the gladiators with pleasure, though 
they were cruel and detestable in themselves ; yet, as they were repre 
sented and reflected upon the emerald, so they yielded pleasure and 
delight. So it is here, God looks upon men in Christ ; though we are 
detestable and abominable objects of his loathing and aversation in our 
selves, yet in him he will accept us and do us good. It is notable, what 
is spoken of Christ, Isa. xlii. 1, ' Behold my servant whom I uphold, 
my elect in whom my soul delighteth,' is spoken of the church ; Isa. 
Ixii. 4, ' Thou sh^lt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah, for the 
Lord delighteth in thee.' God delights in them, because he delights 
in Christ : in and through him he is well pleased with our persons, which 
otherwise are stinking and abominable. 

^(2.) There is no receiving of Christ but by faith, and therefore it is 
said, 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.' 
Faith is expressed by receiving ; it is the hand of the soul by which we 
receive and take home Christ to our own souls : 2 Cor. xiii. 5, ' Examine 
yourselves whether you be in the faith ; prove your ownselves, know ye 
not your ownselves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be repro 
bates ? ' Mark there, 'in the faith, and Christ in us,' are made parallel 
expressions. Our being in the faith is the onlv means of our union 


with Christ, that makes Christ to be in us ; it is the bond that fastens 
the soul and Christ together : Eph. iii. 17, ' That Christ may dwell in 
your hearts by faith ; ' as a workman makes his house, and then dwells 
in it, so by faith the soul is fitted for the reception of Christ. Unbe 
lief rejects Christ, and puts him away ; Christ stands at the door and 
knocks, and men will not open to him ; but faith is an opening to Christ, 
a consent of will to take him for ours. 

[3.] Faith, it is the mother of obedience, therefore there is good 
reason to exalt it. Now holiness is effectually promoted by no grace 
so much as by faith ; partly, because faith receives all supplies from hea 
ven. Faith that receiveth Christ, receiveth all his benefits and graces : 
Gal. iii. 14, ' That the blessing of Abraham might come on the gentiles 
through Jesus Christ : that we might receive the promise of the Spirit 
through faith ; ' that is, the Spirit of God, by whose assistance the holy 
life is managed and carried on : Gal. ii. 20, ' I live by the faith of the 
Son of God.' Faith looks up to Christ as distributing grace ; and so 
the strength and power of the inward man is much increased, and 
a man is enabled for all the offices of holiness. Partly by its own 
effective influence. There are two powerful affections by which the 
spiritual life is acted and improved : they are fear and love. Now 
faith is the mother of both : no faith, no love nor fear. Fear, 
by which we are fenced against the delights of the world ; and 
love, by which we are steeled against the difficulties of the world ; 
for fear puts on the spectacles of faith, and so seeth him that is 
invisible. We fear God because we believe that he is. A carnal man 
looks upon God as an idol and fancy, therefore doth not stand in any 
awe. So love is strengthened by faith. The apostle saith, ' We love 
him because he loved us first/ 1 John iv. 19. Our love to God riseth 
according to the proportion of the assurance we have of God's love to 
us ; then our love is carried out with a greater height and fervour after 
him. Now there is nothing adds such constraint and force to love as 
faith : 2 Cor. v. 14, 15, ' The love of Christ constrains us ; because 
we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead : and that 
he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto 
themselves, but unto him that died for them, and rose again.' When 
we have apprehended the love of God in Christ, and what great things 
God hath done for us, then it puts the soul upon answerable returns. 
The more certainty we have of the love of God, the stronger impulses 
of love shall we feel in our souls to God again. Shall not I love him 
much that hath done so much for me ? that hath forgiven me much ? 
that hath been so gracious to me in Christ, and provided such ample 
recompenses in heaven ? We find it in outward matters : jealousy 
and suspicion is the bane of love. So in divine matters it is true, the 
more we doubt of God's love, the more faint, and cold, and weak will 
our love be to God. There are no such motives and incentives to duty 
as the apprehension of God's love to us in Christ. 


But without faith it is impossible to please him. HEB. xi. 6. 

LET us now inquire what this faith is. There are three acts of it : 
knowledge, assent, and affiance. The two former do respect the word, 
and the last respects Christ offered in the word. The former acts 
respect id quod verum est, that which is true ; the last, id quod ~bonum 
est, that which is good. All are necessary ; there is a receiving of the 
word, and a receiving of Christ in the word. Sometimes we read of 
receiving of the word : Acts ii. 41, ' They received the word gladly ; ' 
that notes only knowledge and assent. But at other times we read of 
receiving of Christ : John i. 12, ' To as many as received him,' the act 
of faith is directed to Christ's person. 

1. There must be knowledge, for this is a necessary part of faith : 
we must see the stay and prop before we rest on it ; there is an 
impression of truth upon the understanding. See the expression of the 
prophet, Isa. liii. 11, 'By his knowledge shall my righteous servant 
justify many.' The first and radical act of faith is there put for the 
essence of it ; now without this we can neither please God nor be satis 
fied in ourselves. We cannot please God : Prov. xix. 2, ' Also that the 
soul be without knowledge, it is not good : ' or, as in the original ' The 
heart without knowledge can never be good.' All that we do in an 
ignorant state is but superstitious formality, not an act of religion. 
Look, as the fruit that hath but little of the sun is never concocted, 
and comes not to full maturity and ripeness ; so those acts that are 
done in a state of ignorance are outward formalities that God will not 
accept. Nor can we be satisfied in ourselves. How shall we be able 
to plead with Satan, and answer the doubts of our own consciences, 
unless we have a distinct knowledge of the mysteries of salvation, and 
of the contrivance of the gospel ? He that is impleaded in a court, 
and doth not know the law, how shall he be able to stand in his own 
defence ? So how shall we be able to answer Satan and our own fears 
without knowledge ? Look, as we fear usually in the dark, so ignorant 
souls are always full of doubts and surmises ; and it is a long time ere 
the Lord comes and settles the conscience. 

Now every kind of knowledge will not serve the turn. There is a 
form of knowledge as well as a form of godliness : Eom. ii. 20, ' Which 
hast the form of knowledge, and of the truth in the law.' The apostle 
means a naked model of truth, to be able to teach others : but they 
want a new light put into their hearts by the Spirit of God. It must 
not only be a formal apprehension, but a serious and considerate know 
ledge. ^ For faith is a spiritual prudence ; it is opposed to folly as well 
as to ignorance : Luke xxiv. 25, ' ye fools, and slow of heart to 
believe all that the prophets have spoken ! ' avorjroi, ye mindless men. 
When men never mind, they do not consider the use and fruit of know 
ledge ; when they do not draw out the principle of knowledge for their 
private advantage, they are fools. Everything in faith draws to prac 
tice ; it is not a speculative knowledge, but a knowledge with consider 
ation, a wise light : Eph. i. 17, he calls it ' A spirit of wisdom and 


revelation in the knowledge of him/ It differs from a traditional and 
disciplinary knowledge, a literal instruction which we convey from one 
to another. By this men may be made knowing, but they are not pru 
dent for the advantage of the spiritual life. 

2. Next to knowledge there must be assent. Believing is somewhat 
more than knowledge ; we may know more than we do believe, and 
therefore there must be an assent to the truth of the word : 1 Thes. i. 
5, ' For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, 
and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance/ There is some assur 
ance that doth not concern the state of a believer but the word of God, 
receiving it above the cavils and contradiction of the privy atheism that 
is in our own mind. Now, concerning this assent, I shall speak to two 
things : it must be to the whole word of God and with the whole heart. 

[1.] It must be to the whole word ; it must be a receiving of the 
word indefinitely, all that God hath revealed. God prescribeth the condi 
tions which he requireth, and offereth promises ; we must consent to the 
whole. In the word of God there are doctrines, promises, threaten ings, 
precepts all these must be entertained by faith before we come to the 
act of affiance. The doctrines of faith concerning God and Christ, the 
union of the two natures, the mystery of redemption, we must receive 
them as 'faithful sayings/ 1 Tim. i. 15. Usually there is some privy 
atheism : we look upon the gospel as a golden dream, and a well-devised 
fable. Saith Luther, ' Carnal men hear these things as if the mystery 
of the gospel were but like a dream or shower of rubies fallen out of 
the clouds ; ' therefore there must be a chief care to settle the heart in 
the belief of these things as faithful and true sayings. Christians would 
not find the work of their particular faith so irksome if they had but 
' the assurance of understanding/ Col. ii. 2 ; if their hearts were rooted 
in the truths of the gospel. Then there are threateuings of the word, to 
show how abominable the creature is to God in a natural condition, 
and to what punishments we are subject and liable. Now these 
must be applied with reverence and fear, that we may be roused out 
of our carnal estate, and chased like the hart to the refreshing streams 
of grace. There must be a firm belief of all the threatenings and curses 
of God. Then the promises of the word, these are principally calculated 
for faith, and these must be applied to the soul : John iii. 33, ' He that 
hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true/ We 
must come and set to our seal, and say, Lord, thou wilt never fail thy 
creatures, if they should venture their souls upon the warrant of such as 
these are. Then there is believing of the commands, not only that they 
come from the Lord, that they are laws established and enacted by the 
supreme ruler of heaven and earth ; but we must believe they are just, 
good, holy and true. So David, Ps. cxix. 66, 'Teach me good judgment 
and knowledge, for I have believed thy commandments/ When we 
believe the commandments are of divine original, and that they are holy, 
and good, and fit to be obeyed, this is that which the apostle calls a ' con 
senting to the law, that it is good,' Kom. vii. 16. Such an assent must 
there be to the whole word. 

[2.] It must be with the whole heart. For this the intellectual assent 
ifl not enough, unless it be accompanied with some motion of the heart ; 
there is somewhat besides understanding, not only knowledge and 


acknowledgment, but there must be consent of the will. We must not 
only reflect upon the things that are propounded as true, but as good 
and worthy of all acceptation : Acts viii. 37, 'If thou believest with all 
thy heart, thou mayest be baptized.' We must assent to the threatenmgs 
of the word with trembling and reverence, to the promises of the word 
with delight and esteem : Acts ii. 41, ' They received the word gladly,' 
to the commandments of the word with some anxious care of strictness 
and obedience, to the doctrines of the word with consideration. 

3. There is affiance, which is an act which doth immediately respect 
the person of Jesus Christ. For we are not saved by giving credence 
to any axiom or maxim of religion, but by casting the soul upon Christ. 
Faith is thus described by resting upon God, 2 Chron. xiv. 11 ; by stay 
ing upon God, Isa, xxvi. 3 ; by trusting in Christ, Mat. xii. 21, Ps. u. 
12. There must be some carrying out of the soul to the person of Chnst 
himself. The devils may have knowledge ' I know thee who thou 
art, the holy one of God,' Luke iv. 34. And the devil may have some 
assent too ; there are no atheists in hell. Nay, they assent with some 
kind of affection' They believe and tremble,' James, ii. 19. Therefore 
there must be an act of faith that carrieth out the soul to Christ him 
self. Believing in Christ noteth a recumbency ' Believe in the Lord 
Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved/ Acts xvi. 31 ; it is Paul's counsel 
to the gaoler. It is an allusion to a man that is ready to fall, that stays 
himself by some prop and support ; so it is staying our souls upon Christ 
when we are ready to sink under the burden of divine displeasure, or 
are overwhelmed with terrors of conscience. Now let us a little consider 
this act in its progress and growth. 

[1.] This act of affiance must arise from a brokenness of spirit. The 
soul must be broken and dejected with a sense of God's wrath, or else 
it can never come and lean upon Christ. It is the work of God to 
comfort those that are cast down. There is no dependence upon God 
for comfort till we are cast down and dejected with the sense of his 
wrath. This casting our souls upon Christ doth suppose a being pos 
sessed with the fear of death ; then we take hold of the horns of the altar 
with Adonijah. Till there be a due sense and conviction of conscience, 
it is not faith, but carnal security. It is a great mistake to think God 
requires faith immediately of any. He requires faith of none immediately 
but those that are broken and contrite, that are dejected with a sense of 
their own wretched condition out of Christ. Therefore when Christ 
invites persons to grace, still he directs his speech to them that are 
thirsty, hungry, weary, because they are in thenext capacity of believing : 
Mat. xi. 28, ' Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, 
and ye shall find rest for your souls.' Those are invited to Christ that 
groan under the heavy load upon their consciences : Isa. Iv. 1, ' Ho, every 
one that thirtieth, come to the waters,' &c. Christ speaks to those 
that are dejected with the sense of their natural condition. It is in vain 
to boast of peace of conscience when we were never troubled. Believing 
is a swimming to the rock. Now he that stands upon the firm land 
cannot swim ; that is not a work for him, but for those that are in the 
midst of the waves, ready to perish in the tempestuous waters. Men of 
an untroubled and unmoved conscience, their next duty is not to believe 
in Christ ; but those that are ready to despair, they are called to swim 


to the rock, and run to Christ, the rock of ages, that they may not be 
swallowed up of divine displeasure. 

[2.] This act is put forth with much difficulty and struggling. It 
is a hard matter to bring Christ and the soul together. There is a 
great deal of struggle ere we can cast our souls upon Christ. We 
must reason with our own fears, plead and dispute with ourselves and 
with God, and cry long and loud many times at the throne of grace. 
As when the prodigal began to be in want, then he deliberates with 
himself In my father's house there is bread enough and to spare. 
The case of a soul in coming to Christ is much like the case of Peter in 
coming to Christ upon the waves : Mat. xiv. 28-30, Peter, when he 
saw Christ, he acknowledged him for his lord and saviour ' Peter said 
unto him. Lord, if it be thou, bid me to come on the water. And he 
.said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he 
walked upon the water to go to Jesus ; but when he saw the wind 
boisterous, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, 
save me.' Peter left his ship, and resolved to venture on Christ's call ; 
but he found difficulty. So it is in our coming to Christ, when by an 
undoubted assent to the truth of the word we are convinced in con 
science that Christ is the alone saviour, that he is a rock for shelter 
in the midst of waves ; by the impulses of grace the soul begins to 
make out to Christ. Christ saith, Come, come, and the soul is even 
overwhelmed with the tempests of wrath and waves of divine dis 
pleasure ; therefore we had need encourage our hearts in God, and cry, 
Lord, arise and save us. After we have left the ship of our carnal 
confidence, after the soul is in its progress to Christ, there is a 
great deal of difficulty to bring God and the soul together. God doth 
not meet every soul as the father of the prodigal, half way ; but there 
is a long suspension of comfort that may cast us upon difficulties, that 
we may struggle with our own unbelieving thoughts. 

[3.] Though there be no certainty, yet there is an obstinate purpose 
to follow after Christ. It is true, the aim and end of all faith is to 
draw the soul to certainty and particular application, to assurance of 
pardon, that we may say, My God and My rock. But though the soul 
meets with many difficulties, yet there is an obstinate purpose ; the 
soul will not let go his hold on Christ. When we can plead with our 
own objections and fears, and say, Lord I will not give over ; and with 
Jacob, ' I will not let thee go till thou bless me,' Gen. xxxii. 26, and 
with Job, ' Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him/ Job xiii. 15. 
Whatever displeasure the Lord seems to manifest against them, yet 
they will follow on in a way of trust : Phil. iii. 12, ' I follow after, if 
that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ 
Jesus,' &c. Christ hath touched my heart, and I cannot be quiet till 
I have got him. This is a right disposition of heart. When Christ 
hath apprehended us, the soul follows on with an obstinate resolution, 
until it can apprehend Christ and take hold of the skirt of his garment. 

Use 1. To put us upon the trial, Have we true faith? there is no 
acceptance with God without it. The great object of trial and search 
is faith : 2 Cor. xiii. 5, ' Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith,' 
or in a believing state. Conviction mainly respects faith : John xvi. 9, 
'He shall convince the world of sin, because they believe not in me/ 


without it, we are liable to the power and curse of the law against sin 
ners. Faith makes the difference among men before God : Gal. v. 6, 
'For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor 
uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love/ When God pro- 
ceedeth to judgment against sinners, he doth not ask, Is he baptized? 
is he civil? but doth he believe? there is the most important question 
in Christianity. 

Now there are different degrees of faith : Mark xvii. 20, ' If ye have 
faith as a grain of mustard seed ; ' Mark viii. 26, ' Why are ye fearful, 

ye of little faith ? ' All the trees of God's garden are not of the 
same growth and stature, there are cedars and shrubs. The least de 
gree of faith is faith, as a drop of dew is water as well as a flood ; and 
the lowest measure and grain of saving faith is grace ; the motion of 
a child newly formed in the belly is an act of life, as well as the 
walking of a man. Some, like John Baptist, can 'only ' spring in the 
womb ; ' they have a seed of grace, though they be not grown up into 
a tree. In Christ's family there are ' little children,' as well as ' fathers,' 

1 John ii. 12-14. Christ himself was once a little stone, though he 
grew a great mountain, that filled the whole earth. All plants in 
Christ's garden are growing when they are young and weak. We 
must not despise the day of small things ; we must look indeed chiefly 
after truth, not growth. It is well if we endure the touchstone, though 
not the balance : 2 Tim. i. 5, ' When I call to remembrance the un 
feigned faith that is in thee ; ' the question will be resolved into that at 
last. There is a counterfeit faith that is not profitable. Simon Magus 
believed, Acts viii. 13 ; and many believed in Christ's name, to whom 
he would not commit himself, John ii. 23. 24. When the devil de 
stroy eth men, he doth not forbid them to believe ; he change th himself 
into an angel of light. Presumption is rather of means than of end ; 
most deceive themselves with a false faith. There is nothing but the 
devil can counterfeit it Felix trembled, Esau wept, Ahab humbled 
himself, Simon Magus believed, Judas repented, Pharaoh prayed, Saul 
confessed, Balaam desired, the Pharisee reformed we had need to 
look to ourselves. But how shall we state the marks by which men 
may come to the knowledge of their state ? especially, how shall we 
discern what is true faith ? In the first times of the gospel the difficulty 
lay without ; the gospel was a novel doctrine, opposed by worldly 
powers ; bleak winds that blow in our backs blew in their faces. The 
gospel, as a novel doctrine, was represented with prejudices, opposed 
with scorn and extremity of violence ; there was more in assent than novv- 
in affiance. Now the gospel by long prescription and the veneration 
of nges hath gotten a just title' to our belief ; there is nothing in a 
literal and uneffectual assent. Every man pretendeth to esteem Christ, 
and acknowledge Christ for saviour of the world ; how shall we dis 
prove them ? The scriptures are rather a treasury of doctrines than a 
register of experiences. But yet we are not wholly left in the dark ; 
by the light of the Spirit the doctrines of the word may be suited to 
all cases. The scripture is not such a dark rule but that it will 
discover the thoughts of the heart ; and what is this faith unfeigned, 
the minimum quod sic, the least degree of faith, without which we are 
not accepted ? 


I might answer generally, that the least degree of true faith begin- 
neth in contrition, and endeth in a care of obedience. But because 
there may be in the wicked some occasional doubtings, such as arise by 
starts out of the trouble of an evil conscience and some smooth mora 
lities, that may look like gospel reformation, we must go more 
particularly to work. I do again return the question, What is the 
lowest degree of true saving faith ? ' By way of answer 

1. I shall show that the question is necessary to be determined, 
partly for the comfort of troubled consciences. God's children are 
many times persuaded they have not faith, when indeed they have. It 
would be a great settlement if we could clear up the work of Christ : 
Mat. xvii. 20, ' If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed,' &c. Though 
you have mountains of guilt, it is a great peevishness not to acknow 
ledge the crumbs ; we think we are dogs, but we have crumbs. To 
deny that you are Christ's is not self-denial, but grace-denial, to belie 
God's bounty: Cant. i. 5, 'I am black, but comely;' and ver. 2, 'I sleep, 
but my heart waketh ; ' Mark ix. 24, ' Lord, I believe, help thou my 
unbelief.' And it is a ground of unthankfulness : Zech. iv. 10, ' Who 
hath despised the day of small things ? ' God will be acknowledged 
in the low beginnings of grace. Partly as it is a ground of hope : Phil, 
i. 6, ' Being confident of this very thing, that he, which hath begun a 
good work in you, will also perform it until the day of Jesus Christ ; ' 
it is the bud of glory, a seed of everlasting life. The Spirit never for- 
saketh us, something is to be done till the day of judgment ; the soul 
is exactly purified at death, and the body will be raised at the great 
day. It is an advantage to be able to urge deliverance from the lion 
and bear ; the great Philistine shall also be overcome, only we must 
not rest in those beginnings. Initial grace is but counterfeit, unless it 
receive growth and access ; things that are nipped in the bud show 
that the plant is not right. 

2. It is possible to find out the least and lowest degree of faith. 
Scriptures show that there is a beginning, upon which we may con 
clude an interest in Christ: Heb. iii. 14, 'For we are made partakers 
of Christ, if we hold rrjv apxnv TT}? u7rocrTao-e&>?, the beginning of our 
confidence, stedfast unto the end/ if we retain the first principles and 
encouragements to believe ; if we can hold it out, we are safe. There 
are some grains and initials of faith ; and the scripture discovereth 
what they are, for it layeth down the essentials of faith, we are not 
left in the dark. 

Having premised these things, let me come now to show what it is, 
because faith is a capacious word, and involveth the whole progress of 
the soul to Christ. It is hard to state this matter in one word, unless 
it were as ambiguous as the question itself ; therefore I shall take 
liberty to dilate and enlarge myself, by showing you what is most 
necessary, and what are the lowest and most infant workings of faith. 

[1.] There must be out of a deep conviction a removing of our own 
righteousness. Affiance beginneth in self-diffidence. Faith implieth 
that we are touched in conscience, and that the heart is elevated above 
self, utterly abhorring our own merits : Ps. cxlvii. 3, ' He healeth the 
broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. Faith is a seed of 
heaven, not found in unploughed or fallow ground a sound conviction 


of self-nothingness, especially if joined with addresses to grace, is a 
good evidence of it. The soul looketh upon all that it hath or can do, 
like a ship without a bottom, to be a hindrance, not a gain ; and un 
less Christ help they are utterly and eternally lost : Phil. iii. 7-9 ; 
' What things were gain to me, those I counted lost for Christ. Yea, 
doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the 
knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss 
of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. 
And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of 
the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteous 
ness which is of God through faith.' The soul in this condition is 
between life and death ; it is a twilight in the soul, neither perfect day 
nor perfect night, like a child in the place of breaking forth of children ; 
if we be not still-born we are in a fair way of faith ; if we run to mercy, 
there is hope. ' The publican, that smote his hand upon his breast, 
saying, God, be merciful to me a sinner, went down to his house justi 
fied rather than the other,'' Luke xviii. 13, 14. The parable is spoken 
against those that trusted in themselves, that they were righteous. 
Discovering of an ill condition may be sometimes in the wicked, but 
the soul is not purged from carnal confidence and set to work upon the 
mere warrant of God's grace. 

[2.] An esteem of Christ. In faith there is not only a conviction of 
the understanding, but some motion of the will ; all motions of the 
will are founded in esteem. This is a low fruit of faith : 1 Peter ii. 7, 
' To them that believe he is precious.' To an hungry conscience Christ 
is more precious than all the world besides ; he seeth the truth and 
preciousness of the rich offers of grace in the Lord Jesus Christ, the 
sweetest happiest tidings that ever sounded in his ears, and entertaineth 
it with the best and dearest welcomes of his heart, it is better than life. 
This is the same with ' tasting the good word of God,' Heb. vi. 5, only 
it is more constant. Carnal men may have a vanishing and fleeting 
glance, but these are serious and spiritual motions and affections of the 
heart towards Christ. Wicked men soon lose their relish and taste, 
like those that cheapen things, and taste them, but do not like the 
price. This maketh us part with all : Mat. xiii. 44, ' The kingdom of 
heaven is like to a treasure hid in a field, the which, when a man hath 
found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goethand selleth all that he hath 
and buyeth that field/ This esteem begetteth self-denial; estate, 
credit, friends, all shall go, so I may enjoy Christ. Wicked men have 
some relish ; they prize Christ in pangs of conscience. All apostasy 
corneth from a low estimation of Christ after a taste ; it is the highest 
profaneness : Heb. xii. 16, ' Profane Esau, for one morsel of meat, sold 
his birthright.' Well then, is Christ precious? Dost thou embrace 
the reconciliation that he hath purchased with all thy heart ? 

There is but one objection against this act and disposition of faith ; 
this prizing of Christ seemeth but a natural act. Esteem is pure when 
it is drawn forth upon religious reasons ; these acts are not gracious, 
because the ground is carnal viz., offers of nature after ease. How 
will you do to comfort a troubled conscience that maketh this reply ? 
It is but a natural motion after ease ; we look on Christ for comfort ? 

I Answer, (1.) By setting before him the indulgence of God. We 


may make use of God's motives ; he suffereth us to begin in the flesh, 
that we may end in the spirit : Mat. xi. 28, ' Come unto me, all ye that 
labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' There is faith 
when we trust Christ upon his own word. If a prince should offer a 
general pardon to rebels, with a promise that he would restore their 
blood, and now they lay down their arms and submit to mercy, it is 
counted an act of obedience. If Christ maketh proclamation, Come, 
and I will ease you, do you think it is a wrong faith to take him at 
his word, aod to love him for his condescension ? 

(2.) To press him to perfect these acts. It is good to be doing 
rather than censuring. Idle complaints do but vex the soul. Those 
rebels that submit to a prince because of his pardon may afterwards 
enter into an entire friendship. Christ is lovely in himself; by ac 
quaintance our affections grow more pure. We first esteem him out 
of hope, and then out of gratitude. Love to his person is the fruit of 
experience. In a treaty of marriage, the first proposals are estate and 
conveniences of life ; conjugal affection groweth by society and com 
merce. It is a good advantage to love Christ upon any terms. 

(3.) By discovering the mistake. There is some spirituality of 
esteem when we can prize a pardon and acceptance with God. Bastard 
motives are fame, and ease, and worldly honour, and the sunshine of 
worldly countenance. Besides, this esteem of Christ ariseth from a 
spiritual reason, because we are unsatisfied in our own righteousness : 
Phil. iii. 7, 8, ' What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for 
Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excel 
lency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have 
suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may 
win Christ.' Because we have a low esteem of ourselves, therefore we 
have a high esteem of Christ. Now it is an effect of grace to prize 
Christ for his righteousness, which is the esteem that groweth out of 
sound conviction. 

[3.] Another act which ariseth out of this is a resolution to cast our 
selves upon Christ ; then faith is budded and formed. Rolling upon 
Christ is the formal, vital act of faith ; and a sound purpose of acknow 
ledging him for a saviour is the lowest degree of that act. And there 
fore if, out of a sight of thy own lost condition and an esteem of Christ, 
thou resolvest to cast thyself upon him, thou dost truly believe. Partly 
because in this resolution there is a compliance with the decrees of 
heaven, of setting up Christ as the alone saviour of the world ; this 
decree is ratified in the court of conscience. There is another decree 
passed and ratified with the consent of my will, that Christ shall be 
my saviour : Ps. Ixxiii. 28, ' It is good for me to draw nigh to God ; 
I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works.' 
There is recumbency or sincere adherence, which is the formal nature 
of faith, expressed by a believing on him. This resolution is always 
accompanied with a great confidence of the ableness of Christ to do us 
good : Mat. ix. 21, ' If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.' 
Paul after experience had no more : 2 Tim. i. 12, ' I am persuaded 
that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against 
that day.' Partly because such an act findeth a sweeter welcome than 
it can expect. David received comfort upon it : Ps. xxxii. 5, ' I said, 



I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and tliou forgavest the 
iniquity of my sin.' ' I will arise and go to my father,' saith the 
prodigal, in Luke xv. 18 ; ' but when he was yet a great way off, his 
father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck 
and kissed him/ ver. 20. Therefore, when a poor soul casts^ himself 
upon Christ with a purpose never to forsake him through God's grace, 
I do not doubt to pronounce him a believer, though there be much 
doubts and uncertainty about the success of such addresses. As a man 
falling into a river, espieth a bough of a tree, and catcheth at it with 
all his might, as soon as he hath fast hold of it, he is safe, though 
troubles and fears do not presently vanish out of his mind ; so the soul, 
espying Christ as the only means to save him, and reaching out the 
hand to him, is safe, though it be not presently quieted and pacified. 
Now this act discovereth itself by three things. 


For he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a 
rewarder of those that diligently seek him. HEB. xi. 6. 

(1.) BY desires, a constant and earnest desire to go to Christ : Mat. 
v. 6, ' Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for 
they shall be filled.' Now no work of nature hath God made a promise 
of grace to. There may be velleities ; Balaam and others had wishes, 
but not real desires. In these constant serious desires the soul cannot 
be quiet without Christ : Ps. xlii. 1, ' As the hart panteth after the 
waterbrooks, so panteth my soul after thee, God.' The soul earnestly 
desires to be a partaker of Christ and his merits. These desires are 
drawn out in prayer. In the want of an expected good we sally out 
after it by passionate desires, earnest sighs and groans. 

(2.) By pursuits. Whosoever is moved to make after Christ as the 
only means of his acceptation with God, truly believeth ; who make 
this their work, John vi. 27, ' Labour not for the meat that perisheth, 
but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son 
of man shall give unto you.' 

(3.) By rejoicing in hope when we have nothing in fruition : Heb. 
iii. 6, ' If we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope 
firm unto the end.' 

To sum up all : the lowest act of faith we have found to be the 
resolution of a humbled sinner to cast himself on Christ. Recumbency 
is the formal vital act of faith, and a purpose of recumbency the lowest 
degree of that act. Well then, if, out of a sight of thy lost condition 
and a high esteem of Christ, thou resolvest to cast thy soul upon him, 
thou dost truly believe. Now this purpose is bewrayed to be serious 
and real by desire, by pursuit, and sometimes as faith receiveth strength 
and growth by rejoicing in our future hopes when we have nothing in 
actual feeling and fruition. 


Though I suppose nothing of moment can be objected against the 
decision of this question, yet because some desire to clear this recum 
bency from that leaning on the Lord which is spoken of, Micah iii. 11, 
' The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for 
hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money ; yet will they lean 
upon the Lord and say, Is not the Lord among us ? none evil can come 
upon us.' Whence they infer there may be a leaning and recumbency 
where there is no grace. 

I answer by a Kard^rja-if. Leaning is put for a vain trust ; the 
prophet speaketh according to their presumption ; they thought it 
leaning or staying on the Lord when it was but a foolish confidence 
built upon an ill ground, the presence of God in the outward ordin 
ances and services of the temple, as if this would secure them against 
all dangers, and God would be for them, though in their persons they 
were never so wicked and unreformed. 

But to clear it more fully : in all recumbency we must not only 
regard the act and the object ; it is not enough that there be confidence 
or strength of resolution, and that this confidence be in pretence placed 
on God and Christ ; as carnal men will say, I pitch all my hopes on 
Christ for salvation. A wicked man may make a bold and daring 
adventure, and lean upon the Lord, though at length the Lord will 
jostle him off. But there are other circumstances which must be con 
sidered, as (1.) The necessary method and order of this recumbence ; 
(2.) The warrant or ground of it; (3.) The fruits and effects of it. 

ist. The method and order of it. It is the resolution of a humbled 
sinner to cast himself upon Christ We still run to Christ out of a 
sense of our own misery. The heart must be touched by the word. 
When conscience is drowsy, it is but a presumptuous act ; and the 
devil, to delude them in an imaginary faith, suffereth them to hold out 
Christ in a naked pretence. The end and use of faith is to lift up that 
which is cast down ; therefore it is sometimes expressed by a catching 
or taking hold of Christ, as those that are ready to perish in the waters 
catch hold of a bough; as Adonijah, when guilty of death, took hold 
of the horns of the altar : Isa. Ivi. 4, ' Thus saith the Lord unto the 
eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, 
and take hold of my covenant.' So the heirs of promise are described 
to be those ' who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set 
before them,' Heb. vi. 18 ; it is an allusion to those that fly from the 
avenger of blood. Wrath maketh pursuit, and the believer runneth 
to the city of refuge. Whosoever sets his face to Christ when chased 
out of himself by his own fears, and tremblingly flieth to undeserved 
grace, whosoever, I say, findeth himself in truth to be thus affected, 
need not doubt of his interest in Christ ; he is driven from sin and 
wrath, and drawn to Christ to seek salvation alone in him. Certainly 
he is an heir of promise, and God hath sworn to him. So in the 
metaphor of leaning on Christ, it supposeth a falling unless Christ did 
bear us up. This is the sure method of grace ; God comforteth those 
that are cast down, Christ hath a napkin for the wet face of sinners. 
This is not only true at first conversion, but every time we renew our 
access to him, it is either out of new troubles, or out of a constant 
tenderness of conscience. Therefore in heaven there is no faith, because 


there is no contrition, but a perfect oblivion of misery; the soul being 
full of joy, faith hath no place and use. Therefore it is in vain to 
boast of quiet of conscience and leaning on the Lord, as wicked men 
do, when the soul was never troubled. We must consider the method 
and order of grace. A wicked man is never reconciled to God, because 
he never saw there was need to seek reconciliation, his conscience is 
sleepy and drowsy. Here is the constant trial then ; all acts of faith 
at first conversion and afterwards begin at conviction, and a sense of 
our vileness and nothingness. But you will say, Then a believer's life 
must be a bondage ; are we always to put ourselves into scruples and 
fears ? And if the terrors of the Lord do still chase us to Christ, this 
would prejudice the comfort and assurance of grace. I answer, There 
is a great deal of difference between a troubled stormy conscience and 
a tender awakened conscience ; the one is a dispensation, the other a 
duty. Though there be not a fear that is contrary to faith, a legal 
dejection ; yet there is a constant conviction and deep sense of our own 
vileness and nothingness. We have all cause to be continually humble 
and nothing in our own eyes, as Paul groaned sorely when yet he 
blesseth God for Christ : Horn. vii. 24, 25, ' wretched man that I am ! 
who shall deliver me from the body of this death ? I thank God through 
Jesus Christ our Lord.' He had such a real confidence as produced 
thanksgiving. So that this is the necessary order of grace, without 
which we shall not prize Christ. This is wanting in carnal men ; a 
bare supposition would destroy their peace. 

2dly. The warrant or ground of it. He casteth himself upon Christ 
that goeth to work considerately, and understanding what he doth ; as 
Paul saith, 2 Tim. i. 12, ' I know whom I have believed.' True confi 
dence is an advised act, it is built on the offer of God and the ability 
of Christ. They go and show God his own handwriting, and modestly 
challenge him on his promise: Ps. cxix. 49, 'Kemember thy word 
unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.' They 
know Christ is so able they may trust in him. 'Now this resolution in 
wicked men is but a blind adventure, like a leap in the dark, they do 
riot weigh the danger. Look to the ground of your trust. The two 
builders, Mat. vii. the wise and the foolish builder, are not commended 
or discommended for the structure, but for the foundation the one 
built on the rock, the other on the sand. Natural conscience is crafty, 
and pretendeth fair ; they say they trust in Christ, as those that leaned 
on the Lord but upon an ill warrant, external privileges ; they rest not 
on God, but on the temple. Therefore they are said to trust in lying 
words : Jer. vii. 4, ' Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple 
of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, are these I ' 
So carnal men have a few ignorant hopes, and trust in their baptism 
and good meanings, and Christ beareth the name ; they are borne up 
with the bladders of their own confidence, a few windy, empty hopes. 

3e%. The effects and fruits of it. Affiance cannot consist with a 
purpose of sinning, with the purpose of casting ourselves on Christ. 
There is an unfeigned purpose of obedience ; he that trusteth in the 
Lord hateth sin. Can a man be an enemy to him that saveth him ? 
.Now, wicked men cast away their souls, and then trust Christ shall 
save them ; it is, as if a man should plunge himself in the deep, upon 


presumption that he shall find a bough to take hold of. God in mercy 
hath provided faith for the fallen creature as a remedy ; it is an abuse 
of it to plunge ourselves again into sin. Look, as it is a vanity to cast 
ourselves into straits, and then to see how God will help us ; so here, 
we tempt free grace to our loss. Wicked men embrace Christ with 
treacherous embraces, like Judas' kiss to betray him ; as Joab took 
Abner aside to smite him under the fifth rib : Heb. x. 22, ' Let us draw 
nigh (fieTa a\T]dt,vf)^ /capS/a?) with a true heart,in full assurance of faith, 
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies 
washed with pure water ; ' if not without sin, yet without guile ; there 
must be an upright and unfeigned purpose to walk in new obedience. 
There is a notable place : Jer. vii. 9, 10, ' Will ye steal, murder, and 
commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and 
walk after other gods whom ye know not ; and come and stand before 
me in the house, which is called by my name, and say, We are 
delivered to do all these abominations ? ' we are delivered, all these 
are expiated by sacrifice ; Christ died for me as well as you, we shall 
do well enough. What ! will ye be worldly, sensual, neglect duty, be 
drunk, be careless in the course of your conversations, and say, We 
are delivered, Christ died for us ? And will he discharge you from the 
guilt of these sins when you turn again to the practice of them ? It 
is true, there is a bath for uncleanness, and there will be continual 
failings, but certainly they that continue in the constant practice of 
iniquity have no comfort and benefit by it : John xiii. 10, ' He that is 
washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.' 
There will be some fleshly adherences and failings after we are washed 
in the laver of Christ's blood, as a man that goeth from the bath, when 
he hath washed his body, may defile his feet ; but when you make it 
your constant practice to commit iniquity, it is in vain to pretend to 
rest on Christ. 

Use 2. Exhortation to press us to faith. It is the commandment 
which we must teach : 1 John iii. 23, ' This is his commandment, that 
we should believe on the name of his son Jesus Christ ; ' and it is the 
work which you must practise : John vi. 29, ' This is the work of God. 
that ye believe on him whom he hath sent ; ' this is your epjov ; it is 
but waste time that you spend on pleasures and worldly businesses. 
Men think they are only to follow their callings, they make their tem 
poral and worldly business their work, and so do not apply their minds 
to believe in Christ. Oh, consider, when there was an invitation, business 
would not suffer them to regard it ! Mat. xxii. 5, ' They made light of 
it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise.' 
It is not whoredom, drunkenness, and extortion, but an immoderate 
following of their lawful profits and pleasures a farm, a marriage, a 
yoke of oxen things plausible in their kind, and one would think 
necessary : Luke x. 42, ' Mary hath chosen the better part, which shall 
not be taken away from her : ' these things ought not to be undone. 
How can men sleep or work till they have cleared up their interest in 
Christ ? nay, in spiritual employments, closing with Christ ; the pre 
eminent duty is not your work so much as your faith. The disciples 
in their converse with Christ bewrayed many weaknesses, but Christ 
was never angry with them so much as he was for their want of faith : 


Luke xxiv. 25, ' fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets 
have spoken ! ' and Mat. viii. 26, ' Why are ye so fearful, ye of little 
faith? ' Oh, consider. to quicken you, it is the grace that bringethGod most 
glory, and doth you most good. Some cry up charity, because they 
mistake the nature of faith they depress it, they omit what is chief est 
in faith, and they speak of it as if it were nothing worth. And so 
others make faith a pendulous hope, and therefore cry up obedience 
and love. 

1. It bringeth God most glory. It is notable that faith doth that 
to God in a way of duty, which God doth to the creature in a way of 
grace it justifieth, sanctifieth, glorifieth. It justifieth, and that is a 
relative word, against the slanders and contempts of the world. So it 
is said, Luke vii. 29, ' And all the people heard him, and the publicans 
justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John;' it defendeth 
his honour and the truth of his grace. The pharisees said, It was a 
foolish doctrine. How a believer justifieth God against the contempt 
of the world and the suspicions of his own heart ! Whatever conscience 
saith to the contrary, the Lord is just, gracious, merciful. Unbelief 
slighteth God and Christ, as if he were not worth the taking; the 
truth of the gospel, as if it were not worth credit ; his worth, as if he 
did not deserve respect ; his power, as if he were not able to save a 
sinking soul ; it putteth a lie upon the whole contrivance of grace. 
Oh, how sweet were it if we could justify God against the prejudices 
of our own hearts ! they make the blood of Christ a base thing, the 
Spirit of Christ a weak instrument. So it sanctifieth God : Num. xr. 
12, 'Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the 
children of Israel/ To sanctify, is to set apart for special uses and pur 
poses ; so we are said to sanctify God when we give him a separate and 
distinct excellency from all the powers in the world. He is not a 
common help and saviour, none so holy and gracious ; it setteth the 
Lord with admiration above all created powers, for trust, fear, and 
dependence : Isa. viii. 13, ' Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and let 
him be your fear, and let him be your dread.' When we see man is 
not to be trusted nor feared, but God, we set him on the highest point 
of eminency, aloof from the creatures. Is there any like him for pardon, 
for power, for holiness ? So it glorifieth God : Kom. iv. 20, ' He was 
strong in faith, giving glory to God/ God doth as it were receive a 
new being from faith ; though he be infinitely glorious in himself, yet 
he counteth himself glorified by the faith of the creature ; he hath a 
second heaven in the heart of a believer, there he dwelleth by faith, 
and displayeth the pomp of all his excellences. Now unbelief dethroneth 
God, it will not let him set up a new heaven or place of residence in 
the conscience. 

2. It doth you most good ; your life, your peace, your glory, all 
hangeth upon it. Your life : Gal. ii. 20, ' I live by the faith of the 
Son of God ; ' you may be as well without life as without faith. So 
for peace, would not a man be friends with God, and live at amity 
with heaven ? Bom. v. 1, ' Being justified by faith we have peace with 
God through our Lord Jesus Christ ; ' and for glory, 1 Peter i. 9, 
' Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your soul/ 
Faith beginneth salvation, and heaven is but faith perfect and believing 


turned into fruition. You are in the suburbs of heaven as soon as you 
close with Christ ; it putteth you above the clouds, and in the midst 
of glory to come. All the blessings of the covenant are made over to 
faith. It is God's acquittance which he showeth to Christ ; as when 
men are obliged to pay great sums of money, they receive an acquit 
tance, as an acknowledgment that the money is received : John iii. 33, 
' He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal, that God is 
true.' We give it under our hand and seal, that God is as good as 
his word. 

But how shall we do to get faith ? I answer 

[1.] The habit of faith is freely given and wrought by God himself : 
Phil. i. 29, ' To you it is given on the behalf of Christ to believe on 
him ; ' Eph. ii. 8. ' By grace ye are saved through faith, and that not 
of yourselves, it is the gift of God ; ' Heb. xii. 2, ' Looking to Jesus 
the author and finisher of our faith.' And therefore the general means 
are waiting upon the word and prayer ; commend thy case to God by 
prayer, and wait for an answer in the word. Hearing there must be : 
Rom. x. 14, ' How shall they believe in him, of whom they have not 
heard ? ' God will not infuse faith when asleep ; you must lie under 
the authority of the word. God's seasons are not at our beck ; if the 
first stroke of the flint doth not bring forth the fire, you must strike 
again; it is good to be constant. And then if God suspend the 
influences of his grace, pray remember the promise of giving the Holy 
Spirit: Luke xi. 13, ' If ye then, being evil, know how to give good 
gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father 
give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him ? ' Knock once more ; a 
holy importunity argueth some presence of the Spirit, though we are 
not sensible of it ; it is good to be earnest, and to follow God with 
renewed requests and expectations. 

[2.] I answer, Because we are required to believe ; though it be his 
gift, God requireth it of the creature. It is good to be doing ; let us use 
the means, and leave the blessing to God ; he may come ere we are 
aware, and though we can do nothing spiritually, yet it is good to be 
doing rationally. It is true, faith is not a work of nature, but this is 
the way of God's working. There are secret elapses of the Spirit of 
God, as Samuel thought Eli called, when it was the Lord ; there may 
be a spiritual work where we think it merely rational : besides, we 
are under a law ; God respecteth not what we can do, but what we 
ought to do. Three things are to be done (1.) Something to humble 
the soul and fit it for faith ; (2.) Something to further the immediate 
working and actings of faith towards Christ ; (3.) Something for the 
regulating of these actings. 

First, To fit the soul for faith, it is good to offer humbling matter. 
God was angry with Pharaoh : Exod. x. 3, ' How long wilt thou 
refuse to humble thyself before me ? ' Certainly we might do some 

(1.) Reflect on your present condition, and think of changes. It 
will not be ever with thee as it is now. I must die, and must come to 
judgment. Draw it to a short issue : Markxvi. 16, ' He that believeth 
and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be 
damned.' Do I believe ? upon what terms do I stand with God ? what 


assurance have I of his love ? Especially do it, when God giveth thee 
a hint in his providence : 1 Kings viii. 47, ' If they shall bethink them 
selves in the land, whither they were carried captives, and repent and 
make supplication unto thee in the land, of them that carried them 
captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have 
committed wickedness,' &c. Eetirement gave them an opportunity to 
converse with themselves. It is good for us and our consciences to be 
together sometimes and enter parley, What am I? how do matters 
stand between God and me ? Man has a conscience a power to talk 
with himself : Ps. iv. 4, ' Commune with your own heart on your bed, 
and be still ; ' he can look inwardly to ask himself what he hath done : 
Prov. xx. 27, ' The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching 
all the inward parts of the belly:' it is God's deputy, it sets up a 
tribunal within a man's self. 

(2.) Examine yourselves by the law of God. A daily view of sins 
doth much conduce to humbling. Conscience is blind in many cases, 
therefore take the law along with you, and look into the purity of it : 
Korn. iii. 20, ' By the law is the knowledge of sin ; ' not only quoad 
naturam peccati, but quoad inhcerentiam in subjecto. To man fallen, 
that is the nature and office of it : Rom. vii. 9, ' For I was alive with 
out the law once ; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and 
I died.' Paul was never troubled till the law was brought home to his 

(3.) Aggravate thy sins from the consideration of God's love. Two 
things very much humble the soul, light and love. So it was in Saul's 
case : 1 Sam. xxiv. 16, 17, ' And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. 
And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I ; for thou hast 
rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil.' There is a 
natural ingenuity in the sourest nature to make us relent, when we 
have done wrong to a kind person. Take the same course with your 
souls ; all this is done against a merciful God, and against special offers 
of love. Surely you have very hard hearts, if they will not be melted 
with offers of grace. 

(4.) Do not skin over the wounds of conscience : Jer. vi. 14, ' They 
have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, say 
ing, Peace, peace, when there is no peace ; ' they put it off, rather 
than put it away ; stop the flux of humours, rather than cure the 
distemper. Better keep conscience raw than let it fester into an 
ulcerate sore : Ps. li. 3, ' I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin 
is ever before me.' This must be the disposition of your hearts, 
otherwise, your iniquities will find you out ; we must have a care 
of quenching the Spirit, when a ray of conviction is darted into our 

(5.) Propound the encouragements of a common faith. Observe 
that mercy is made an argument to draw men to the highest pungent 
afflictive sorrow : Joel ii. 13, 'Bend your hearts, and not your garments, 
and turn unto the Lord your God : for he is gracious and mereiful ; ' it 
noteth a deep and heightened sorrow upon the motive of God's good 
ness. The apostle tells them of a promise, Acts ii. 39 ; after they 
were pricked in hearts, ver. 37 ; Mat. iii. 2, ' Repent ye : for the king 
dom of heaven is at hand ; ' that is, the whole gracious administration 


of Christ. Partly because else there would be a despondency and 
despair, it is a dangerous temptation to say there is no hope . Jer. 
xviii. 12, ' And they said, There is no hope ; but we will walk after our 
own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil 
heart : ' it is the nature of man to be led by hope, much more in a 
duty so distasteful to flesh and blood as humiliation is. Partly because 
greatness of sins should increase our repentance, but not diminish our 
faith. Bend your hearts, be deeply humble, but still remember God is 

(6.) Compare thy own want with the blessed condition of those that 
enjoy grace. As the prodigal : Luke xv. 17, ' How many hired 
servants of my father's have bread enough, and to spare, and I perish 
with hunger ! ' Christ cannot want a people, but I may want a 
saviour : blessed are they that are at peace with God through Christ, 
but I am an alien and stranger to those joys. Emulation is a means 
to humble us; the meanest of God's family abound in spiritual 

Secondly, Do something to further the immediate workings and 
actings of faith ; that is your work when the heart is humble and 

1. Consider God's gracious invitation. God hath fully opened his 
mind concerning the receiving of sinners that come to Christ. He 
prays us to come, makes public proclamation : Isa. Iv. 1, ' Ho, every 
one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money : 
come ye, buy and eat ; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, 
and without price.' God by his ministers goes a begging to poor 
creatures : 2 Cor. v. 20, ' Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as 
though God did beseech you by us ; we pray you in Christ's stead, be 
ye reconciled to God.' He pitieth those that do not come to him, Ps. 
Ixxxi. 13, 'Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had 
walked in my ways ! ' so Luke xix. 41, 42, ' When he was come near 
he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even 
thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace ! ' 
He professeth his loathness that any should perish : Ezek. xxxiii. 11, 
' 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 you die, house of Israel ? ' 
he reasoneth with them ' Why will you die ? ' So Ezek. xviii. 31. He 
chideth them for not coming, John v. 40, ' Y will not come to me, 
that ye might have life.' He proraiseth and offereth to them all the 
favour . that may be : John vi. 27, ' Labour not for the meat that 
perisheth, but for that which endureth unto everlasting life, which the 
Son of man shall give unto you ; ' Mat. xi. 28, ' Come uno me, all ye 
that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' Ye need 
not fear an entertainment. Now it is a great advantage to faith to 
consider these passionate forms. Show yourselves men by a literal 
revolution of the promises ; though it be but an act of understanding 
and memory, yet God may bless it. Constant thoughts have a natural 
efficacy; when God is in them, and giveth his blessing, they work much. 

2. Season the heart with gracious maxims and discourses, such as 
these. The more angry you conceive God to be, the more need you 


have to fly to his mercy. Use a point of gospel logic, and make advan 
tage of the temptation. Satan saith, Thou art a grievous sinner, and 
conscience can witness the accusation ; though you take the principle, 
yet beware of the devil's inferences ; the principle may be true, yet the 
inference a lie. I am a dog, yet there are crumbs for dogs : Mat. xv. 
27, ' Truth, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs, which fall from their 
master's table.' It is an excellent wisdom to turn discouragements 
into motives of believing; to make that an argument to draw us to Christ 
which would seem to drive us from him. Therefore I ought to come 
to Christ. Again, God's mercy is as infinite as his wrath ; I fear his 
wrath, why should I not hope in his mercy? Believing is a command 
as well as a privilege ; God is worthy to be obeyed, though I be not 
worthy to be received to mercy. Sins should not hinder a man from 
duty, nor sickness from the remedy : look upon thyself as under an 
obligation. Again, presumers are seldom troubled about their estate ; 
their peace is broken when it is but suspected ; there is no fear of pre 
sumption when the heart is touched : Ps. Ivi. 3, ' What time I am 
afraid I will trust in thee : ' it is good to give duties their due time 
and season. Again, in this work Christ will help me ; if there be any 
thing of faith he will cherish it: Mat. xii. 20, ' A bruised reed shall he 
not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench/ He cherisheth not 
only the bright torches, but the smoking wick ; he hates unbelief as 
much as you do, and will strengthen you against it, for it is the 
greatest enemy of his kingdom. God usually appeareth in the creature's 
humiliation : Ps. li. 17, ' The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a 
broken and a contrite heart, God, thou wilt not despise ; ' if thou 
canst say he will not accept thee, he will not despise thee. Humiliation 
is a good beginning, a fruit of Christ's purchase ; and Christ did not 
only purchase the beginnings of grace, but the perfection and increase : 
you have your souls at a good advantage. When Paul was fasting, 
God sendeth Ananias, Acts ix. 10 ; and when Cornelius was fasting, 
he sendeth him an angel, Acts x. 30, 31, Christ's wounds are like 
those of a surgeon, not of an executioner ; when he wounds and 
opens the vein, he thinks of binding it up again. Many such reason 
ings and discourses may we have within ourselves. 

3. Make adventures. Faith at first goeth after Christ with a weak 
and trembling foot, it is a mere trial and essay : Joel ii. 14, ' Who 
knoweth if he will return, and repent, and leave a blessing behind 
him ?' It is a thousand to one but he doth : Amos v. 15, 'It may be 
that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of 
Joseph ; ' Jonah iii. 9, ' Who can tell if God will turn ; and repent, 
and turn away from the fierceness of his anger that we perish not ? ' 
It is pride and curiosity to pry into God's purposes ; what have you to 
do with God's counsels ? But you have a fair offer. Why should I 
ascend unto heaven ? the word is near me : Kom. x. 6-8, ' Say not, 
Who shall ascend into heaven to know the mind of God ? ' he hath 
declared his will in his offer, why should I dispute it? When 
Ebedmelech cast a cord to Jeremiah in the dungeon, shall he fall 
disputing ; It may be thou dost not intend to pull me up ? It is a 
vanity to^ wrong ourselves by affected scruples ; there is pride and 
curiosity in the jealousy, but obedience in the adventure. 


4. If, after all, this brings no comfort, run to him, and acknowledge 
your misery and impotency. Agnosco debitum, confiteor impotentiam. 
' Turn me, Lord, and I shall be turned/ Jer, xxxi. 18. Da quod 
jubes, et ju~be quod vis. Lord, thou hast forbidden despair, and com 
manded calling for mercy ; I cast myself at thy feet, give me grace. 
Our trials are but to show us our weakness, that we may fall down, and 
take all at the hands of mercy. If we be not thus affected, we have 
no cause to complain of God's rigour, but our own penury and sin : 
Kom. xi. 32, ' God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might 
have mercy upon all.' 

5. Observe the seasons of God's gracious approaches : Ezek. xvi. 8, 
1 Thy time was a time of love.' Grace hath its seasons : Isa. Iv. 6, 
' Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found ; call ye upon him, while he 
is near.' There are seasons of sweet and spiritual refreshings ; as 
Benhadad's servant watched for the word, ' brother/ God will be 
observed ; it is Satan's sport to see us slip our seasons. Observe the 
sweet motions in the heart when the Father draws you. 

Thirdly, To regulate faith, that you may not deceive yourselves with 
a vain confidence. It is needful to deny ourselves, our interests, or our 
lusts. Something is to be forsaken. Put cases Are you come up to 
God's terms? What lusts or interests do you stick at? as Christ trieth 
the young man, Mat. xix. 20, ' If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that 
thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, 
and come and follow me/ 


For he that comeih to God must believe that Tie is, and that he is 
a rewarder of those that diligently seek him. HEB. xi. 6. 

for he that cometh to God I opened this in the former verse. Coming 
to God principally noteth an aim at communion and fellowship with 
him. It is the same with faith : John vi. 35, ' He that cometh to me 
shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst ; ' 
where coming and believing are all one ; it is the lowest degree of 
faith ; the next degree is seeking diligently it is walking with God 
here, and living with him for ever. The note is this 

Doct. That it is the nature of faith to make a man come towards 
God, and to get communion with him through Christ. 

I shall show 

(1.) What it is to come to God ; (2.) That there is no coming to 
God but by Christ. 

1. What it is to come to God. Coming to God notes three things, 
for it is a duty always in progress. 

[1.] The first address of faith. To come to God is to desire to be 
in his favour and covenant to be partakers of his blessings in this life 
and of salvation in the life to come -. Heb. vii. 25, ' He is able to save 
them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him/ that is, those that 


in and through him desire to enjoy friendship and communion with 

[2.] Our constant communion with him in holy duties coming to 
him ' as to a living stone,' 1 Peter ii. 4. In all exercises of religion we 
renew our access to Christ, and by Christ to God ; in hearing, as a 
teacher ; in prayer, as an advocate for necessary help and supply ; in 
the Lord's supper, as the master of the feast : Prov. ix. 2, ' Wisdom 
hath killed her beasts, she hath mingled her wine, she hath also 
furnished her table ; ' if at. xxii. 4, ' I have prepared my dinner, my 
oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready.' 

[3.] Our entrance into glory : Mat. xxv. 34, ' Come, ye blessed of my 
Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of 
the world.' We have not complete communion with Christ till we are 
raised from the dead, a-nd by him presented to the Father , then do we 
indeed come to God by him. 

2. There is no coming to God but by Christ: John x. 9, ' I am the 
door ; ' there is no entrance but through him : John xiv. 6, ' I am the 
way, the truth, and the life ; no man cometh unto the Father but by 
me/ Now we are said to come to God by Christ in a twofold respect, 
(1.) By his merit; (2.) By his grace. 

[1.] By his merit. As paradise was kept by a flaming sword, so all 
access to God is fenced and closed up by his justice and wrath ; there 
was no pressing in till Christ opened the way, God became man, 
drawing near to us by the veil of his flesh : Heb. x. 19, 20, ' Having 
boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. By a new and 
living way, which he hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is 
to say, his flesh ; ' so by his sufferings : 1 Peter iii. 18, 'For Christ also 
hath once suffered for sin, the just for the unjust, that he might bring 
us to God.' Now, as in all acts of religion we are coming to God, so 
we must still hold on by Christ till we come to our journey's end, and 
use him as our continual mediator and advocate, carry our petitions in 
all our addresses, and make our moan to him. 

[2.] By his grace. Christ carries us home on his shoulders rejoicing ; 
as a man when he had found his lost sheep, Luke xv. 5. None can 
come to the Father but by him : John vi. 44, ' No man can come to me 
except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him ' none can come 
without a divine power. 

Use. Admire the privilege, that we may come to God. We of our 
selves are inclined to stand off. Peter speaketh what is the disposition 
of all sinners ' Depart from me ; ' we cannot endure God's company ; 
we lost his image and fellowship with him. If we worship, we would 
be like the Israelites, every man in his tent-door. But now we have 
free leave to come to the throne of grace : Heb. x. 19, ' Having bold 
ness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.' Whilst on earth 
we have free trade unto heaven ; we need not change place, but affec 
tions. When thou art dealing with God in prayer, this liberty was 
purchased for thee by the blood of Jesus. None but the high priest 
might enter into the sanctum sanctorum ; but this privilege we have, 
and it will stand, for it was dearly bought: 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.' God hath now laid aside the 


terror and rigour of his justice, that we may open our case to God ; oh, 
let us make use of our liberty ! 

Must believe that lie is, &c. As if the apostle had said, At least, there 
must be this faith ; he must be persuaded first of the truth of God's 
being ; secondly, of the certainty of his bounty, and doing good unto 
those that come to him. Here are two articles mentioned God's 
being, and God's bounty ; ' He is,' and ' He is a rewarder,' &c. The 
apostle saith that this must be believed if we would please God ; he 
doth not say, This is all that must be believed ; but this certainly must 
be believed. For these are the general truths which are the foundation 
of all that which is called religion in the world that there is a God, 
and that he takes notice of human affairs. None would seek the favour 
of God unless he did believe his being and bounty ; and no man will 
be touched with any care of religion unless he doth assent to these 
supreme truths ; yet there is a God, and that he hath such respect to 
human affairs, as that he will reward the obedient and revenge the 
disobedient. These are principles that are evident by the light of 
nature ; and they are mentioned, because therein the faith of the 
patriarchs was most exercised, and because these are the foundations 
of all religion. The main work of religion is to bring our souls to 
God, and the main ground and reason is the truth of his being and 
recompenses. If there is a God, there are everlasting recompenses 
rewards for the good, punishments for the wicked. Rewards are only 
mentioned as suiting more with God's goodness, and as being more 
proper objects for faith ; the other, for fear. And therefore he 
that would come to God ; that is, he that would maintain friendship 
and communion with him, and seek his favour (for he speaks of Enoch's 
pleasing God), must firmly believe these things ; or, if you take coming 
to God for our address and approaches to God in holy duties, still these 
two principles are of use to us. Every time we come to God we must 
revive this thought upon our hearts, Surely there is a God, and it 
will not be in vain to inquire after him ; for this puts life and strength 
and quickening into our duties, 

The point I shall now discuss is this 

Doct. That the first point of faith, if we would have anything to do 
with God, is to believe that there is a God. 

This is the primitive and supreme truth, therefore let me discuss it 
a little ; the argument is not needless. 

1. Partly because the most universal and incurable disease of the 
world is atheism ; it is disguised under several shapes, but atheism it 
is that lies at the root, and blasts and destroys all practice and good 
conscience ; and therefore it is good to deal upon this argument, and to 
reflect the light of this truth upon our conscience, and to take all 
occasions to batter down that atheism that is in our hearts. I know 
to chop logic with a sturdy settled atheist will be to little purpose. 
General maxims can hardl} r be proved by truths more clear and evident 
than themselves, and it is not good to loosen foundation stones. We 
cannot guard them so much by argument, as they are guarded by their 
own light and the sense which nature hath of them; and therefore 
Aristotle said, That they are rather to be confuted with blows than 
arguments that will deny there is a God ; as Gideon taught the men 


of Succoth with briars and thorns. Protagoras was banished by the 
Athenians for denying this truth. But it is not for their sakes. but 
because such kind of surmises are wont to arise in the hearts of men, 
where they do not grow into settled atheism, even in the hearts of all 
unrenewed men, that there is no God ; therefore it is good to speak to 
this argument : Ps. xiv. 1, ' The fool hath said in his heart, There is no 
God,' &c ; and it is quoted by Paul, Horn. iii. 10, to prove the degenera 
tion of all men. Every natural unrenewed man is a kind of atheist ; 
though he dare not lisp out such conceptions, yet he hath it in his 
heart ; there is something there that is ever rising up against the being 
of God ; nay, such a thought may come by fits and glances into the 
hearts of good men. Privy atheism is in the hearts of all men, and 
therefore it is good sometimes to settle the belief of this supreme truth, 
to stand upon our guard, and in defiance of such thoughts, that the 
heart will ever and anon be casting up, to call to the help of reason. 

2. Because supreme truths should be laid up with the greatest cer 
tainty and assurance. Christians are mistaken very much, if they think 
all the difficulty of religion lies in affiance, and taking out their own 
comfort, and in clearing up their own particular interest. Oh, no ; a 
great deal of it lies in assent ; there is privy atheism at the root, and 
therefore doth the work of God go on so untowardly with us therefore 
have we such doubtings and so many deformities of life and conversa 
tion. If the fire were once well kindled, it would of its own accord 
burst out into a flame, and burn clear ; so if assent were firmly rooted, 
if we were once settled under the power and dominion of this truth, 
confidence would follow of its own accord, and the whole business of 
religion, both as to comfort and practice, would be far more easy to us. 
All our doubts come from want of a firm assent to the being of God, 
and to the word of God. Indeed, at first, while we are learners of re 
ligion, it becomes us to drink in these principles and maxims of religion 
without discussion ; we take them in as men do pills ; we do not chew 
them, but swallow them ; and it is fit it should be so. Oportet discen- 
tem credere, a learner must believe, but afterward we must inquire into 
the reason of these things ; nay, when a man is first converted, and 
begins to be serious in religion, when a man is touched in conscience, 
his will is more exercised than his understanding ; he needs Christ, 
and all the endeavours and resolutions of the soul are to get an interest 
in him. And he doth not so much debate the mystery of religion as 
his own particular case ; his heart is carried out after comfort, and he 
seems mainly to desire some satisfaction ; but he doth not look into the 
grounds from whence this doth arise. As men in a deep thirst swallow 
their drink before they know the nature of it, or discern the taste of it ; 
so when we are under a great thirst, or under great famishment as to 
spiritual comfort, and have great troubles upon us, we take up with the 
comfortable notions of Christ and salvation by him, and easily drink 
in these and other truths ; we catch at them without looking into the 
grounds or reasons of them, but afterwards we see this needs to be the 
care and labour of the soul, to strengthen our assent and fortify our 
selves against those doubts of mind which shake us, and to settle the 
heart in those supreme truths which in our necessity we took in with 
out discussion. 


3. I would handle this argument That there is a God, because it is 
good to detain the heart a little in the view of this truth, and to revive it 
in our souls. There is a double reading of that place : Ps. x. 4, ' God 
is not in all his thoughts ; ' or else, all his thoughts are that there is no 
God ; the one makes way for the other. It is a great evil, when we 
cannot endure to think of God, and to fasten our meditations upon his 
being and the perfections of his nature, for by degrees his memory is 
defaced and blotted out of our minds ; therefore a forgetf ulness of God 
is a kind of denial of him : Ps. ix. 17, ' The wicked shall be turned into 
hell, and all the nations that forget God.' Mark, not only they that 
deny God, but forget God ; that is the portion of them that do not 
mind nor regard him and his judgments; and therefore we should 
often meditate of God, and think of him, not by starts and sudden 
glances, but have deliberate thoughts of him. And therefore, that you 
may have some hints of meditation whereby to enlarge yourselves in 
the thoughts of God, and to give us some help to hold our minds in 
the view of it, it is of great use in the spiritual life to prosecute this 

Having premised these things concerning the usefulness of such a 
discourse, I shall speak to this point, to prove that there is a God. 

Here we may appeal not only to scripture, but to nature. We say 
that principles can only be demonstrated testimoniis, effectis et absur- 
dis : principles, when we would come to demonstrate them, must be 
proved by testimonies, by effects, and by showing the absurdities of the 
contrary ; and such kind of arguments I shall produce. 

[1.] That there is a God may be proved by conscience, which is as 
a thousand witnesses. The heathens, which never heard of scripture, 
yet had a conscience that did accuse and excuse /jiera^v a\\rj\ja)v by 
turns, Born. ii. 15. There is something within men that will chide 
them for sin ; yea, for secret sins, to which none are privy but them 
selves. Wicked men seek to blot out these feelings of conscience, but 
can never wholly extinguish them ' The sinners in Sion are afraid/ 
Isa. xxxiii. 14. Wicked men are without faith, yet they are never 
without fear. There is a conscience in men that appals the stoutest 
sinner, after the commitment of any gross evil ; though it be secret 
and beyond the cognisance and vengeance of man, yet conscience will 
be smiting him, his heart will reproach him for it, therefore surely 
there is a God. You shall see the Holy Ghost, when he lays down 
the atheism of men, yet he observes this order, Ps. liii. 1, ' The fool 
hath said in his heart, There is no God.' Now, how doth he prove, 
there is a God ? It follows, ver. 5, ' There were they in great fear 
where no fear was ; ' that is, where there was no outward cause of fear, 
where none sought to hurt them, yet were they under a fear ; he 
speaks of those that live most atheistically. This appears by the in 
stance of Joseph's brethren, accusing themselves when none else could 
accuse them : Gen. xlii. 21, ' We are verily guilty concerning our 
brother's blood ; ' conscience began to accuse them. Though a man 
should hide himself from all tho world, he cannot hide himself from 
himself; his heart will pursue him, and represent his guilt. Now that 
there is such a hidden fear in men's hearts after sinning, that the heart 
will smite us for evil when the crime is secret, this argues there is a 


God ; yea, there is a fear to be found in the most obstinate sinners, and 
those that are of greatest power and place in the world, that can cany 
on their wickedness without control, as the most powerful princes. 
Caligula, it is noted of him that he would sometimes counterfeit the 
thunder, yet when it thundered indeed, how was he terrified and afraid ! 
Those that would study to cast away all conceit of God, yet they have 
this fear upon them. And it is not a fear that they may be found out 
by man, and punished by man ; for sometimes this fear prevails so far, 
as they would have counted man's punishment a favour, and therefore 
have sought it, or else have laid violent hands upon themselves. What 
should be the reason of all this, but that they have a fear of an avenger 
and judge that will call them to an account; and therefore they can 
not prevent or dissemble their gripes, so greatly have these fears of 
conscience been increased upon them ' They know the judgment of 
God,' as the apostle speaks of the heathens, Ronu i. 28 ; that is, they 
have a sense that there is a just avenger of sin, and that therefore they 
are liable to judgment ; yea, those that have been professed atheists, 
yet have been smitten with these horrors of conscience. Ajjirmant 
interdiu, noctu tamen dubitant, saith Seneca Though they will speak 
with confidence against God in the day, yet in the darkness of the 
night they are in doubt. Especially, in distress and trouble, then are 
these notions revived. As another heathen observes, When it thunders, 
then they wax pale and are affrighted. Diagoras, an atheist among 
the heathens, denied there was a God ; yet when he was troubled with 
a strangury, he acknowledged a deity, Calvin, in his comment upon 
the 115th Psalm, gives us a story of a scoffing atheist, a merry fellow, 
whom he met with in an inn, that would talk very slightly and con 
temptuously of God and of religion, and dropping out his atheism upon 
all occasions, and jeering. When Calvin reproved him for it, he 
would put him off with this, Ccelum ccdi Domino ' The heavens of 
heavens was the Lord's ; ' God must content himself with heaven, ' but 
he hath given the earth to the children of men : ' here we may do what 
we please ; God was shut up in the heavens, and he had no care nor 
sense of things below. But before they parted, this man was exceed 
ingly gripped with the colic, and twinged with his pain ; then he 
would be crying out Deus, Deus God, God ! Now, saith 
Calvin, the heaven of heavens is the Lord's, and the earth belongeth to 
the children of men. When God doth awaken conscience by any 
sickness or trouble, they are arrested by conscience in the name of the 
great God whom they deny. Belshazzar seemed a jovial fellow, and a 
man of great confidence and bravery, but when he was besieged by a 
great army of Persians, and danger was at his doors, he falls a quaffing 
and carousing, as if he would out-laugh his danger ; and not only so, 
but bids a defiance to the God of heaven, and he doth it in the vessels 
of the temple. But see how soon God takes off the edge of his spirit ! 
Dan. v. ; a trembling doth seize upon him, and a few letters upon the 
wall make his knees smite one against the other for fear. So how 
merrily soever these men do carry it for a while, and how much they 
may seem to smother their fears while they wallow in their sins ; yet 
when the Lord stings them with his hornet, and puts them to pain ; 
when he casts them into sickness, or when they are solitary, then there 


is a hidden fear in their heart, and they are haunted with these pangs 
of conscience, and are sensible of an avenger and a judge. And this 
proves plainly that there is a God; as they say things written \viththe 
juice of a lemon appear not till the paper be brought to the fire, then 
all is legible ; so such characters of a God are there engraven upon the 
hearts of men, that when they are sick and ready to die, when they are 
upon the confines of eternity, as they begin to have a sense of the tor 
ments of hell for sin, their notions of a God revive, and fear seizeth upon 
them, and the most sturdy atheists then have been forced to acknowledge 
a God. Thus you have the testimony of conscience to prove it. 

[2.] As conscience shows it, so the consent of all nations. There 
are none so barbarous, but they worship some God. Aristotle saith, 
in his book de Ccelo, ' That all men, how brutish soever they were, 
yet have a notion of a deity impressed upon them, which they cannot 
wear out.' All nations rather than they would have no God, will have 
a false god : some worship the stars, some the stones, some the beasts, 
or a piece of wood, anything they met first in the morning. Though 
they differed concerning the number and nature of their gods, and the 
manner and rites of worship, yet they all agreed in this, that there was 
a God, who ought to be worshipped and respected by men. Certainly 
there is somewhat in this ; for either this must come from some in 
stinct of nature, or from tradition ; both prove the truth we have in 
hand. If you refer it to the instinct of nature, that doth not carry us 
to falsehood, but truth ; if to tradition, it must have a beginning, and 
therefore the very idolatry of the heathens is, saith Calvin, ' A pregnant 
instance and apparent evidence of this natural truth, that there is a 
God.' There were none so barbarous but they worshipped some god, 
as the pagan mariners : Jonah i. 5, 'They cried every one to his god ; ' 
yea, those that are most estranged from human society, that have lived 
in deserts without law or government, yet have been touched with the 
sense of a deity, which must needs arise from a natural instinct ; they 
would rather worship anything, yea, the very devil, than have no 
god, a piece of wood or stone ; as the prophet takes notice of such 
brutishness in those that would burn one piece, and make an idol of 
the other, and worship it, I*a. xliv. 15-17. Now this general consent 
of nations cannot be any deceit or imposition of fancy, by virtue of long 
custom or tradition, because it is found in people most barbarous and 
free from all traffic and commerce, and because falsehood cannot be so 
universal and so long-lived as the conceit of a deity. Besides, though 
they do what they can to blot out these notions and instincts of con 
science, yet still they remain with them ; an invention so contrary to 
nature would long ere this have been worn out of the minds of men, 
therefore this general consent of nations proves that ' there is a God.' 

[3.] It may be evident also by the book of the creatures. Surely 
there is a God, because these things are made in such exactness and 
order. There is a description of God, Zech. xii. 1, ' Thus saith the 
Lord, that stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundations of 
the earth, and formeth the spirit of a man within him.' Should we 
take this method, the heavens, the earth, the souls of men, which are 
the work of God, they all proclaim that there is a God ! Man could 
never raise such a roof as heaven, nor lay such a floor as earth, nor 



form himself. The world and all those things that are made, must be 
from some cause; for nothing could make itself, nor can be its own 
cause ; and these things, they could not come together by chance, 
because of the perfection that is in all things in themselves, and their 
mutual subserviency and relation to one another, and their inclination 
to certain ends. There is an order in everything for the beauty and 
conservation of the whole ; all things are under a law and course ' He 
appointeth the moon for seasons, the sun knows his going down/ Ps. 
civ. 19. The sun and moon keep at a due distance for the use of the 
world, and still observe the just points of the compass, and set and rise 
at such an hour ; therefore certainly this was not done by chance, and 
it could not be made by man. He could not make great things, for he 
cannot make the least ; he cannot make a lily, or a pile of grass, and 
therefore certainly he cannot produce such a beautiful fabric as this is. 
And, as Tully makes the comparison, a man coming into a house where 
there are no living creatures but weasels, rats and mice, and seeth a fair 
structure, he could not conceive the house could make itself, or had no 
other maker but the creatures he finds there ' Every house is builded 
by some man,' as the apostle reasons, Heb. iii. 4 ; ' but he that built 
all things is God.' Now when a man considers all things are 
managed with wisdom, he must needs conclude there must be 
some cause of all these things some wise creator of them. Man 
could not make the world ; man cannot form himself ; he doth 
not know the number of his muscles and bones ; he cannot restore any 
one of his joints which are lost ; and therefore it must be made by God. 

This was that which puzzled the heathens to find out Trpwrov ainov 
the first cause of the world, and all the order that is therein. 
Plutarch disputes it, which could be first, the egg before the hen, or the 
hen before the egg ; the acorn before the oak, or the oak before the 
acorn. Such an uncertainty will there be in an all debates till we come 
to this supreme truth, and to determine upon a first cause, which 
Anaxagoras and others were necessitated and driven to acknowledge 
at last ; and therefore surely he that looks upon the world, and upon 
all the order therein, he will see that ' there is a God.' 

The world is sometimes compared to a book, sometimes to a preacher. 
To a book ; the book of the creature is a large volume wherein God 
would set forth himself ; the diversity of creatures are as so many letters 
out of which we may spell his name ; the most excellent creatures are 
capital letters, and the lower creatures lesser letters ; so that a man may 
plainly see God in all those things that are before his eyes. If you cannot 
read yourselves, the very beasts will teach you ; nay, go to the mute fishes, 
that can hardly make any sound, yet they have voice enough to pro 
claim their creator: Job. xii. 7-9, 'Ask of them and they will tell 
thee ; ' that is, go, look upon them ; consider them in their number 
and in their variety and different kinds ; their frame and make, and 
how they are wonderfully preserved; they all proclaim some wise 
creator which made them. 

Look upon the glorious bodies that are above, the constancy of their 
motion, their admirable beauty, their variety, their regularity ; as to 
the general ends of their creation, this cannot be from itself, but there 
must be some supreme and infinite cause. Look upon the sun, that 


representative of a God, the brightness of whose beams will speak out 
an infinite majesty that made it, and the extent of his influence 
' Nothing is hid from the heat thereof,' Ps. xix. 6. That will speak him 
omnipresent God, and the indefatigableness of his motion, an infinite 
God. The sun, moon, and stars in the heavens, they go abroad into all 
lands, and speak to every people in their own tongue English to the 
English ; to other nations, in their own tongue that there is one infi 
nite, eternal power, which made me and all things else. Nay, let man 
but look upon himself; let him but consider the flights and traverses 
of reason, the wonderful workings of his own soul, the admirable 
structure of his body, the symmetry of all the parts, the different faces 
that are in several sorts of men, though there be so many millions in 
the world, yet not one like another in the compass of the face all 
which proclaims a wise creator, who made all things. 

And again, look upon nature, and you will find an order, an ascending 
proportion still lilting you up to something that is more excellent ; for 
there is always a gradation in the creatures. 

In the general, there are elements, metals, plants, living creatures, 
and then living creatures of a higher and lower rank, still leading to 
something that is more perfect. 

In metals, there are some more base, and others more noble, to lead 
you higher and higher ; there is iron, lead, tin, brass, silver, gold. 

In plants, some bear leaves, others flowers, others fruits, others 
aromatical gums and spices. 

There is a progress in nature in all kinds of creatures, to lead up man 
still to something more excellent ; especially in living creatures, there 
is an ascending proportion which leads them up to God, and more 
especially in man. 

Some creatures have only being ; others besides being, have life ; 
others, besides life, have sense ; others, besides sense, have reason and 
understanding ; and man is in a lower sphere of understanding than 
the angels, and the angels than God. And so we may come up to the 
most perfect and the highest of all beings ; for instance, a stone hath 
not life, that grows not as a plant ; a plant hath life, but feels not as a 
beast who hath sense ; a beast who hath sense, discourseth not as a man 
who hath reason ; and man's reason is lower than that of the angels, 
because it needs the ministry of fancy and imagination ; fancy needs 
outward sense, which an angel needeth not ; and an angel he is lower 
than God, because angels, that they may know anything, need either the 
presence of the object, or some revelation (if it be to come) concerning 
it. Therefore they are said to know the wisdom of God by what he hath 
revealed to the church : Eph. iii. 10, 'To the intent that now, unto the 
principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the 
church the manifold wisdom of God/ But now, God's understanding 
is a pure act, who knoweth all things past, present, and to come ; who 
needs nothing without himself ; neither organ, imagination, nor presence 
of the object ; he knows all things that may be, or can be, by his own 
all-sufficiency, and all things that shall be by his wise purpose and 
decree. Thus the creatures discover a God. 1 

[4.] As creation, so also providence discovers a God. All natural 

1 See this head of the Creation more fully handled in the third verse. 


things work for an end, and therefore they are governed by the counsel 
of some wise ruler ; for all things that work for an end, it must either 
be by their own choice or by the government of another. Many things 
cannot do so by their own choice, because they have no knowledge, yet 
they have a clear and certain inclination to some end ; therefore this 
bespeaks the wise governor of the world, that sways all things. The 
parts of the world being disposed into such an order, and the sweet 
harmony and agreement of things, which are of such different and 
destructive natures, show there is a wise God that guideth all things 
to a certain end ; all would run into disorder and confusion, if it were 
not poised with the art and care of providence. Many times, when we 
are stupid, and do not mind these things, then God discovers the sway 
of his providence more sensibly. God will awaken us by more notable 
effects : sometimes by miracles, exceeding the force of all natural 
causes ; sometimes by sudden and unexpected strokes in the rescue of 
the good and destruction of the wicked, especially of the atheists, few or 
none of which have escaped without some remarkable token of divine 
vengeance: Ps. ix. 16, 'The Lord is known by the judgment which 
he executeth ; the wicked is snared in the works of his own hands ; ' 
and Ps. Iviii. 10, 11, ' The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the 
vengeance ; he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. So that 
a man shall say, Verily, there is a reward for the righteous ; verily, 
he is a God that judgeth in the earth.' God doth so sensibly interpose 
in the eyes of men to those that discern his dealings, that they are even 
forced to say, ' Verily, there is a reward for the righteous,' &c. 

[5.] That there is a God, appeareth by several experiences. By 
the power of his word breaking in upon the consciences of men : 1 Cor. 
xiv. 25, 'And thus are the secrets' of his heart made manifest ; and so, 
falling down on his face, he will worship God, and report that God is 
in you of a truth.' Surely there is some God guides these men. I 
might instance, in the prediction of things to come, which could never 
be foreseen by any created mind hundreds of years before they came 
to pass. Cyrus was named a hundred years before he was born, Isa. 
xlv. 1 ; and hundreds of years before Josiah was born, it was prophesied 
of him, 1 Kings xiii. 2, ' Behold a child shall be born unto the house 
of David, Josiah by name, and upon thee shall he offer the priests of 
the high places/ &c. And the building of Jericho was foretold five 
hundred years before it was re-edified, Joshua vi. 26, compared with 1 
Kings xvi. 34. There were many prophecies of things long before ever 
they came to pass, and they had their certain and effectual accomplish 
ment. To instance, in those general prophecies of the rejection and 
casting off of the Jews and the calling of the gentiles, which were 
prophesied of long before they were brought about ; but all that was 
foretold was accomplished. The devils may guess at things, but they 
cannot certainly and infallibly know them ; God avoucheth it as his 
own prerogative, and he puts his godhead upon the trial: Isa, xli. 
21-23, ' Produce your cause, saith the Lord ; bring forth your strong 
reasons, saith the king of Jacob. Let them bring them forth, and 
shew us what shall happen : let them show the former things, what 
they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them ; 
or declare us things for to come. Show the things that are to come 


hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods.' God puts it to the 
decision and trial. These predictions certainly were, and, as certainly, 
were accomplished, which shows there is a God. There are devils, 
and they would undo all things, were they not bound up by the chains 
of an irresistble providence. God suffers them now and then to dis- 
cvoer their malice, that we may know by whose goodness we subsist. 
Plutarch speaketh of some that by seeing of ghosts believed there 
was a God. There are virtues and vices, therefore there is a God ; there 
is a distinction between good and evil, therefore there is a God. For 
good is not by the appointment of man's will, for then every thing 
that man wills would be good ; it cannot be out of any eternal reason 
which is in the things themselves. What should differ the conjugal 
act from adultery, or the process of a magistrate from that of an 
assassinate ? No, it is from a proportion and conformity to some 
supreme being, that doth interpose by a law that makes those things 
good, and these evil. Thus you have the arguments to refresh your 
souls, with the reviving of the sense of his being upon your hearts. 


For he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a 
reivarder of those that diligently seek him. HEB. xi. 6. 

I NOW come to the improvement of this great truth. 

Use 1 . If there be a God, let us charge this truth then upon our 
hearts, that we may check those private whispers and suspicions that 
do arise too often, the Lord knows against the being and glory of 
God. Many times we are apt to think that God is but a fancy, that 
religion is but a state-curb, and the gospel a cunningly devised fable 
a quaint device to please fond and foolish men ; and all is but invented 
to hold men in awe. Oh, but to check these whispers of vanity, con 
sider, in such truths as these, we may appeal not only to scripture, but 
to nature. You will never be able to recover your consciences out of 
this dread of the Lord's being. The devils are under the fear of a 
deity ; they believe there is a God, and they tremble at the thought of 
it ' Thou believest that there is one God, thou dost well ; the devils 
also believe and tremble,' James ii. 19. The devil can never be a flat 
atheist in judgment; that will not stand with the state of a damned 
angel, because he hath a sense of the wrath of God tormenting him ; 
he feels that there is a God, and believes there is a God : there may be 
atheists in the church, but there are none in hell. And therefore 
charge this truth upon your hearts, that you may more check and 
humble yourselves for such atheistical thoughts and suggestions as 
these are, for they should not be passed over without humiliation, they 
are of so foul a nature. It is irrational to think that there is no God, 
the creatures confute us. We cannot look abroad but something offers 
itself to our eye to mind us : surely there is an infinite and eternal 


power. Oh, when thoughts rush into your minds, that have a tendency 
towards atheism, as denying of providence, let them be abhorred and 
rejected. See how David takes up his heart when his thoughts arose, 
not against the being of God, but against his providence : Ps. Ixxiii. 
22, ' So foolish was I and ignorant ; I was as a beast before thee ; ' 
when he had ill and unworthy thoughts of the providence of God. So 
take up your hearts Oh, how brutish and beastly is this ! When you 
go about to ungod God, and put him out of the throne, you do unman 
yourselves, you are as beasts ; common sense and reason will teach you 
otherwise. Thoughts which strike at the being of God are thoughts 
of a dangerous importance ; therefore you should not smother them, or 
lightly digest them. 

A little to aggravate the sin. Wrath came upon the Jews to the 
uttermost for killing Christ in his human nature, but these atheistical 
thoughts strike' at God and Christ, and all together. And therefore 
look upon these suggestions, when they rush in upon your minds, as 
dangerous ; and cry out, what a foul hearb have I, that will cast 
forth such mire and dirt 1 Aggravate this sin, and make it odious to 
the soul, that we should think of him as nothing, who is so glorious in 
in himself, and so gracious to them that know him. Other errors 
may in part darken the understanding of man, but this, if given way 
to, will prove a total eclipse of all spiritual light ; others may trample 
on a precept, but this is to strike at God's very essence and being. 
Consider, too, that thoughts are liable to God's judgment; God hath 
provided for the safety and majesty of princes : Eccles. x. 20, ' Curse 
not the king, no, not in thy thought ; and curse not the rich in thy 
bed-chamber ; for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which 
hath wings shall tell the matter.' Not only seditious and rebellious 
practices, but disloyal thoughts against magistrates, are liable to judg 
ment ; how much more, then, are atheistical thoughts, which strike at 
the being of God ? There is a language in thoughts, and they are 
heard in heaven ; and therefore whenever such thoughts arise in your 
minds, make them odious, seriously humble yourselves that your hearts 
should cast up dishonourable thoughts of God. 

Use 2. It reproves those that either wish down, or live down, this 
supreme principle. 

1. Some wish it down: Ps. xiv. 1, ' The fool hath said in his heart, 
There is no God : ' the heart is the seat of desires ; they are the fool's 
wishes and desires, rather than his formal and explicit thoughts. ' The 
fool ' that is the unrenewed man, so the apostle explains it ' hath 
said in his heart ; ' that is, it is a pleasing thing for him to imagine 
and suppose it ; so that they are pleased with the supposition, if there 
were no God, none to call them to an account for their sins ; what kind 
of lives would they live ? then they might let loose the reins, and be 
freed from all those fetters and restraints, and those melancholy and 
sad thoughts which religion imposeth upon them. Naturally desires 
and thoughts run that way. This argueth enmity and hatred to God, 
when we wish that he were not. Look, as it is with a malefactor that 
is guilty of treason, it would be pleasing to him to think the court 
rolls should be burnt where his crimes are recorded, and the judge 
destroyed ; so it would be pleasing to carnal men, who are all become 


guilty before the great God, that all the memorials of God should be 

2. Some live it down. It is possible there may be some atheists for 
a while in opinion ; but they are but few, if any that are directly and 
purely so ; but there are more in affection, and most in conversation : 
Titus i. 16, ' They profess that they know God, but in works they deny 
him.' Your assent to this supreme principle will be judged of by your 
lives. There is a real language in your conversation ; that is the best 
image and the best copy of your thoughts. Works discover what is in 
the heart, what secret principles lurk there, though they be not expli 
citly owned. Well then, when a man doth that which manifestly 
infers this conclusion, there is no God, then he lives down this 
principle ; when he cares not to seek peace with God, to humble him 
self by repentance, to sue out for grace by Christ, then he is a practical 
atheist : you that should bring God into respect with others, make 
others suspect whether there be a God or no. There is not a greater 
temptation to atheism than the lives of scandalous professors, those that 
talk much of religion, and do not live up to the power of it. When a 
heathen had surprised a Christian in an act of filthiness, he came to 
him witli this smart question Christiane, cliristiane ! ubi Dens 
luus? Christian, Christian! where is thy God? thy God that seeth 
all things ? When you profess to believe an omniscient God, and yet 
live in filthiness, and allow yourselves in cozenage, oppression, deceit, 
fraud, and privy sins, and give up yourselves to a course of sin and 
filthy excess ; when you are not ashamed to do that before God which 
you would blush to do before men, then you live down this principle. 
' The thief is ashamed when he is found/ saith the prophet, Jer. ii. 26. 
Why ? we are always found of God ; God's eye is upon us. Now, when 
you have no sense of this, and make no reckoning of his eye and pre 
sence, so far you live down this truth. The apostle saith in 3 John, 
ver. 11, ' He that doth evil hath not seen God/ He that goes on in a 
course of sin, certainly his heart was never touched with a true sight 
of God ; for if a man thought there were a God to call him to an account 
and punish him, how could he thus freely give up himself to what is 
contrary to the will of God ? 

Use 3. If there be a God, then beware of such opinions and practices 
as strike at the being of God. 

First, Opinions. The devil is crafty, he assaults us by degrees, he 
takes his aim at a distance, he does not directly strike at this, that there 
is no God ; he dares not rise up against this truth, which is written 
upon the face of all things and upon the heart of man ; but he 
approacheth nearer and nearer towards it, and he seeks by degrees to 
undermine our assent thereunto. There are many opinions which do 
conduce towards atheism, and aim at the undermining this supreme 
truth in our hearts. As 

1. Libertinism that men of all religions shall be saved. Keligion is 
the actual acknowledgment of God, that which preserves and keeps up 
his respect in the world ; and therefore to make many doors to heaven, 
is to widen the gates of hell ; it is but a pretence to out-face conscience, 
when it presseth us to the choice and love of truth. They think if men 
can smooth their carriage a little, and live a good life heathens, Turks, 


and men of all religions may be saved. No ; deceive not yourselves ; 
there is but ' one faith,' but ' one Lord,' Eph. iv. 5. If you do not 
establish one faith, you will soon deny one Lord ; for one doth preserve 
and establish the other : Micah iv. 5, ' For all people will walk, every 
one in the name of his god ; and we will walk in the name of the 
Lord our God for ever and ever.' In these latter times of the gospel, 
some grow weary of the Christian religion, and by an excess of charity 
would betray their faith, and write and plead for the salvation of 
heathens, Turks, infidels, that, provided they go not against their 
consciences, they may be saved. The good-fellow gods of the heathens 
could brook company and partnership, but the true God will be 
acknowledged and owned alone, or else you can have no true happi 
ness : Mat. iv. 10, ' Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him 
only shalt thou serve.' As the sun drowneth the. light of the lesser 
stars, and as there is but one God, so there is but one way to God. 
Then there are a sort of libertines that prevail among us, that say, It 
is true, there is some danger if a man be a Turk or an infidel ; but 
among Christians, it is no great matter whether a man be a papist or a 
protestant, of this or that profession, provided he doth act as his country 
doth. This is to strike at the being of God. It is no small matter of 
what party you cleave to in religion : Eev. xiv. 13, ' Blessed are the 
dead that die in the Lord, from henceforth.' The meaning is this, those 
that fell under pagan superstition, they all cried up them as happy ; 
they were looked upon as saints and martyrs that died by that perse 
cution ay, but saith the Spirit ' From henceforth write it ; ' that is, 
those Christians which stood up for the honour of God against anti- 
christian persecutions they are also happy. Such an indifferency in 
religion is not to be allowed. 

2. The denying of particular providence, and exempting of human 
actions from God's predetermination and dominion. Many think that 
the world is but as a great clock, which is set right at first by God, 
afterwards it is left to its own motion. The heathens had such a sense 
of God that they counted them atheists that denied providence ; and 
to deny providence is to exempt the creature from subjection and 
dependence upon God. Therefore take heed of those doctrines that 
would make God an idle spectator of the world, as if he were shut up 
within the heavens, and had nothing to do with the affairs of the world. 
But they fall out, as men will. The scriptures tell you there is not a 
sparrow that can fall to the ground without your heavenly Father, and 
that he looks after the young ravens, and feeds them. It was the 
wicked blasphemy of Vorstius to say, God was not at leisure to tell 
the gnats, and count the number of your hairs ; to feed the ravens, 
and look after every creature, and so would exempt many things from 
God's providence ; but exempt anything from providence, and you will 
soon run into all manner of libertinism. If Satan and wicked men 
may do what they will, and God be only a looker-on, then we may 
worship the devil lest he hurt us ; and fear men, though God be 
propitious to us. Heathens, though they acknowledged a God, yet, 
because they exempted evil actions from the dominion of providence, 
they fell into many mistakes in worship this was one. The heathens 
had a conceit there were evil powers, which were first to be pacified ; 


then good powers, that were afterwards to be invoked first, they 
would appease evil powers, sacrifice to evil gods, and then invoke the 
good ; therefore it is dangerous to exempt anything from God's provi 
dence, for it is God that orders all the evil that falls out in the 

3. Denying the immortality of the soul. Besides that, it cuts off the 
hopes of the everlasting recompenses, and so destroys the chiefest part 
of God's providence, it is a stroke at God's being, who is the supreme 
of spirits. There is an order among spirits ; first, the souls of men, 
then angels, then God. And look, as God under the law forbade 
cruelty to the beasts ; as in that law, that birds were not to be killed 
in breeding time ; that they should not seethe a kid in the mother's 
milk ; that a good man should be merciful to his beast ; now these laws, 
as divines well observe, are a rail and fence about the life of man. 
God would have us at such a distance from cruelty, that he would not 
have us cruel to our beasts. So say I ; there are orders and degrees 
of spirits, which are as it were a fence about the sense we have of the 
being and majesty of God ; so that to deny the immortality of the soul 
is a stroke at a distance at the eternity and being of God. For one 
great argument, to prove the being of God is the immortality of the 
soul. If the soul be not extinguished with the body, there must be 
some supreme infinite spirit to which it is gathered; and indeed the 
sleep of the soul is a step to this opinion. Hearken not to those opin 
ions ; it is good to take the little foxes : Cant. ii. 15, ' Take us the 
foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines.' It is good to resist errors 
when they come with the most modest appearance. 

4. Another thing that tends extremely to atheism, is popery ; for 
though they have the principles of Christian religion among them, yet 
there are so many superadditions, that it is a dangerous inducement 
to atheism ; and for matter of experience, this is clear, that where 
popery has the most absolute command, there atheism most abounds. 
Now how doth popery tend to atheism ? Upon several accounts ; partly, 
because it is a pompous formal religion, consisting of many idle and 
ridiculous ceremonies, which cannot but beget a secret contempt and 
scorn of religion, in the eyes of wise and considering men ; and partly, 
because though they have the fundamentals of Christianity amongst 
them, yet take the superstructures of popery, and it is a doctrine cal 
culated for the present world, and fitted for human policy and for 
temporal ends ; and partly, as it is supported by forged miracles, and 
lying legends all which are very apt to beget suspicions in the hearts 
of men, and make them to question all, when they see religion sup 
ported with so many lies and forgeries ; and partly, because these 
opinions are so monstrous, as that of transubstantiatiori and others, 
which are contrary to the nature and being of God ; and from thence 
have a mighty tendency to breed atheism in the hearts of men. 

5. The expectation of new light beyond the scripture a conceit 
that possesseth the hearts of many now-a-days. I do not speak of de 
grees of knowledge for so certainly we are to expect new light every 
day ; as long as we are in the world, we grow in knowledge but I 
speak of a new revelation. It is possible that future light may disprove 
many of our present practices ; but when we expect new revelations 


beyond the word, it leads to atheism. Fundamental truths should be 
sure: Deut. xii. 30, 'We should not enquire after their gods.' The 
Wigelians, who are the same with our familists, expect seculum 
Spiritus sanctithe age of the Holy Ghost ; for they imagine God 
the Father had his time, that was the law; God the Son had his time, 
that was the gospel ; and the Holy Ghost shall have his time, when 
there shall be new revelations given to the world, and we shall be 
wiser than the apostles, and have a clearer light. Some expect a time 
before the resurrection, when we shall live here in the world without 
ordinances. Ay ; but c This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached 
in all the world, for a witness unto all nations ; and then shall the end 
come,' Mat, xxiv. 14 ; ' And I am with you alway, even to the end of 
the world/ Mat. xxviii. 20. No other revelation is to be expected till 
the Lord come. These are but vain devices to, cheat you of your 
religion, and to keep the soul from a settlement in the present truth, 
and that way of religion that God hath appointed and set up, to keep 
up his respects in the world. Thus you need to be skilled in the subtle 
enterprises of Satan, that lies in wait to deceive. 

Secondly, There are practices, which are most contrary to the essence 
and glory of God ; as 

1. Hypocrisy, which is an implicit blasphemy : Kev. ii. 9, 'I know 
the blasphemy of them that say they are Jews, and are not ; ' when a 
man makes it all his business to hold up a fair pretence in the -world, 
and makes a fair show in the flesh ; but he careth not how he be before 
God, and cherishes noisome lusts in his heart. Do they walk answer- 
ably to the belief of a God that have no regard to the eye of God ? 
No, they disbelieve this truth, and it is hereby weakened more and more 
in their hearts. Hypocrites are the greatest practical atheists in the 
world ; they do in effect say, So we can carry it plausibly and hand 
somely before men for worldly ends, we need not stand for the eye of 

2. Epicurism and carnal living, whereby men contemn God. When 
men are full, and enjoy a great deal of plenty, they spend all their 
time in eating, drinking, hunting, hawking, sporting, carding, dicing, 
and wholly give up themselves to carnal pleasures and vain delights ; 
they do not seek after God : Ps. xiv. 1, ' The fool hath said in his heart, 
There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works ; ' 
and ver. 2, ' The Lord looked down from heaven to see if there were 
any that did understand, and seek God.' A dissolute luxury rooted by 
custom will soon deface the impression and memory of a God. Who 
would sin if they thought there was a God who knew all, and would 
punish the sinner ? 3 John 11, 'He that doth evil hath not seen God.' 
When men wallow in all manner of sensual delights and filthiness, this 
raiseth steams and vapours in the soul. The smoking of fleshly lusts 
mightily clouds the mind, so that the awe and feelings of conscience 
are by degrees worn out : Prov. xxx. 9, ' Lest I be full, and deny thee, 
and say, Who is the Lord ? ' When men live at ease, and have wholly 
given up themselves to vain pleasures, and are inordinately set upon 
liberty, they grow impatient of restraint and strong desires, as men in 
high places are impatient of contradiction ; and because conscience is 
clamouring, and religion will be interposing and awakening their hearts, 


therefore they question the truth and being of God, else they cannot 
keep all quiet in their souls. Men believe what they desire ; none so 
apt to deny God as those that would be glad if there were no God. 
When men are willing to sin, and loath to seek quiet in repentance, 
they seek it in atheism and unbelief first, they wish there could be 
no religion : and by little and little they wear out the feelings of it, 
and silence all the checks they have in their consciences. 

3. Scoffers. Scoffing at matters of religion is both an effect and 
cause of atheism. Apostates are always great scoffers, because they 
seek to deface and blot out the reverence of those truths and that 
religion they have forsaken, which otherwise would put them to trouble 
and horror. Thus Julian the apostate, when he revolted from the 
Christian faith, was a mighty scoffer. Men of a vicious life and frothy 
wit are of a fit temper for the devil to make atheists of. Every man 
is under the awe of some religion more or less ; they have too much 
knowledge to be idolaters, and too little grace to be religious ; therefore 
they fall a mocking and scoffing at all things that are sacred ; and so 
they deface the knowledge of God in their souls : 2 Peter iii. 3, ' There 
shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts.' And 
Calvin, in his comment, takes notice of such ; that there are certain 
men of Lucian's spirit, under colour of declaiming against superstition 
and the fond conceits of popery ; they abhor all religion, and cry down 
all that is holy and sacred. The rabbis have a conceit upon those 
words Diis non maledices, ' Thou shalt not speak evil of the gods.' 
Though they are out in the exposition for it is meant of magistrates 
yet they expound it, they should not scoff at the gods of the gentiles, 
lest, say they, we provoke them to scoff at the true God, and so our 
reverence and respect to religion be weakened. Many men get a vein 
at jesting at sermons, and applying scripture to every profane and 
common matter ; they make it as sauce to their meals, and make the 
word of God and holy things to lackey to their sports and profane mirth; 
so that by a custom of scoffing at holy matters, and by venting the 
superfluities of their frothy wit, they blot out a reverence of God, and 
exceedingly weaken the awe of religion ; and this conduceth to eclipse 
the light that is in our minds concerning this supreme truth that 
there is a God. 

Use 4. If he that cometh to God must believe that God is. It directs 
us what to do in fierce and boisterous temptations. It is not good to 
leave the dispute then, in a time of temptation, to the uncertain tra 
verses and debates of reason : foundation-stones must not be loosened. 
When our hearts are under the cloud of a temptation, the devil will 
be too hard for us in matter of argument ; we must believe that God 
is. It is a matter not only of science, but of faith ; it is revealed in 
scripture, and therefore say, Though I could not make it good against 
all those fiery darts the devil casts into my soul, yet I will believe it. 
Though it be good to see upon what firm footing we stand at other 
times, yet in a time of temptation it is confutation enough to say to 
Satan, Thou liest ; and hold fast that principle he would wrest from us. 
In principles, sometimes we must answer Satan with resolution ; the 
world shows, and the creature shows, there is a God ; but if the world 
did not, it is enough that the word of God saith it. And therefore, 


though the devil should puzzle reason and put the thoughts to a non- 
phisyet whatever he should allege to the contrary, say, This is a 
maxim of God's word, and I will, and do, and must believe it. Doubts, 
which strike at first principles, are not to be scanned and examined ; 
for when you think to conquer atheism by your own wit and reasoning, 
the devil will be too subtle for you. Satan is a better disputant than 
many a poor Christian ; therefore believe it, though you cannot dispute 
it out. I commend this, because it hath always been the practice of 
the saints, that when they have been sorely shaken and assaulted, yet 
they were resolved to stick to principles, and in the hour of temptation 
they fixed their resolutions and would not be removed from them. As 
David, Ps. Ixxiii. 1, he was under an atheistical temptation, and had 
brutish thoughts that there was no providence, because the wicked 
were exalted, and it went ill with the righteous ; yet he holds fast this 
principle ' Truly God is good to Israel ; ' I will never be brought off 
from this. So Jer. xii. 1 , ' Kighteous art thou, Lord, when I plead 
with thee;' he would lay up this principle, this truth, with great 
assurance at that time, I take this for a principle that God is righteous, 
though I cannot answer all my thoughts about his administrations in 
the world. 

Use 5. If this be the first point of faith, to believe that there is a 
God, then it shows with what care we should maintain this principle. 
There are certain seasons when it is most assaulted. 

1. There is a general season, and that is in the latter times. Atheism 
will then more abound, though it be more disguised. Mundus senescens 
patitur pliantasias the world, when it grows old, begins to dote, as 
old men come to dotage. There are many dreams and delusions the 
old world is subject to ; many errors then are set a-foot. Well then, there 
being a secret cognation and link between truth and truth, therefore all 
errors do more or less shake the primitive and supreme truth ; and 
also, we had need to fortify ourselves because of the many divisions 
which are in the church. Divisions in the church breed atheism in the 
world, therefore Christ prays, John xvii. 21, ' That they all may be 
one in us : that the world may believe that thou hast sent me;' that is, 
that the carnal world may know that I am no impostor. When there 
are divisions in religion it makes men suspect all, and then they will 
not believe Christ is the true Messiah. I remember, one observes, that 
when there is but one main division, that adds zeal of both sides ; but 
when we are crumbled into many divisions and fractions, then religion 
is exceedingly weakened; and men grow cold and indifferent, and 
begin to lose all awe of religion and all sense of God ; therefore you 
had need to stand your ground, and be fortified against atheistical 
thoughts because of the scandals of religion. We are told, 2 Tim. iii. 
1, 2, 'In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be 
lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters,' &c. ' Having a form of 
godliness, but denying the power thereof,' ver. 5. Now when they see 
the professors of religion so scandalous, unrighteous, turbulent, and 
self-seeking, and wallowing in filthy delights, and yet pretend to strict 
ness in religion, and all this is carried on under a form of godliness, 
men will think that religion itself is nothing else but an empty pretence, 
or a cover for unclean intents and evil practices, and so cast off all. 


And they will be strengthened herein by the world's continuance ; so 
the apostle Peter : 2 Peter iii. 4, ' All things continue as they were 
from the beginning of the creation.' There are no preparations 
towards the accomplishment of the Christian's great hopes and Christ's 
coming to judgment ; therefore it is the most needful point that can 
be pressed to fortify your hearts against atheism. These are the 
general, seasons. 

2. There are certain particular seasons when we are most in danger 
of atheism ; usually when the soul is under a passion and pet 
against providence, and we cavil at God and repine at his dispen 
sations ; for all grievances breed passions, and passions exceedingly 
cloud the soul, and then we are in danger. There are several seasons 
when this is like to befall us. 

[1.] When we see the holy and pure worshippers of God to be in 
the worst case, then we fall into a distrust of all religion ; and if there 
be a God, that he doth neglect his duty to the world. When mischief 
falls upon the good, it is a shrewd temptation to atheism; indeed 
nothing should be out of order to faith, and providence should not 
work thus on us, but thus it doth. This hath been a wind that hath 
shaken not only shrubs and reeds, but the tallest cedars in Lebanon ; 
as David, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, and the holy men of God, they have 
been questioning, Why doth the way of the wicked prosper ? This 
hath been their great temptation. God's children must be put to sore 
trials that their graces may appear ; they will not understand that this 
is the place of exercise, nor of recompenses, and therefore they take 
offence against God. 

[2.] When our own prayers are not heard, when we have been 
solicitous at the throne of grace with much earnestness and impor 
tunity, and yet speed not, we are apt to be so partial to our own desires, 
that we fall a questioning the being of God himself, as if we would take 
a kind of revenge upon him, because he hath not heard our prayers. 
Fond creatures would have grace at their own beck and command, 
and if we be disappointed, and God do not come in when we will, then 
we storm. And thus the devil hath a great advantage against many 
poor trembling souls that have lain under the terrors of the Lord ; 
they have been calling for mercy and quietness of conscience, and yet 
their fears increase. Now the devil abuseth their discontent, and seeks 
to draw them to atheism. Exod. xvii. 7, when Israel wanted water, 
then they said ' Is the Lord among us or not ? ' and the prophet, 
Hab. i. 2, ' Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear ! 
even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save ! ' He had 
been calling upon God, and the Lord seemed not to answer. How did 
this work ? it brought him to this temptation, to question the being 
of God ; but see how he corrects himself : ver. 12, ' Art not thou from 
everlasting, Lord my God, mine holy one? Lord, thou hast 
ordained them for judgment.' Thus he doth expostulate with himself, 
Why should I have these dreadful thoughts ? God is God still ; and 
then he begins to recover out of the temptation. Pettish desires, that 
are earnest and solicitious, and finally crossed, do always put us upon mur 
muring, and murmuring upon doubts and discontent; and then the 
devil hath a great advantage, for he works exceedingly .upon spleen 


and stomach. Therefore when men are in a pet, angry with God, 
and have not their heart's desire, they are liable to this sin. 

[3.] When oppression goes unrevenged, men pervert judgment, and 
others forswear themselves ; and our innocence doth not prevail, but 
we perish in it ; the devil works upon this, and takes advantage of our 
discontent. Diagoras, a notable atheist among the heathens, became 
so upon this occasion ; he saw a man deeply forswearing himself, and 
because he was not smitten suddenly with a thunderbolt, he turned 
atheist, and falls a questioning whether there was a God or no. When 
we see such oppression, it is a sore temptation, and we cry out, Is there 
a God ? See how the Holy Ghost prevents such kind of thoughts as 
these are : Eccles. iii. 16, 17, ' I saw under the sun the place of judg 
ment, that wickedness was there ; and the place of righteousness, that 
iniquity was there.' What then ? He interposeth timely, for fear lest 
a temptation should prevent him 'I said in my heart, God shall 
judge the righteous and the wicked : for there is a time there for every 
purpose, and for every work ; ' ver. 18, ' I said in my heart concerning 
the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that 
they might see that they themselves are beasts.' God will have a 
time to judge this matter ; he doth recover this great principle out of 
the hands of the temptation. So Eccles. v. 8, ' If thou seest the oppres 
sion of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a 
province, marvel not at the matter.' A man's heart is apt to rise upon 
such an occasion ; he stands trembling What ! is there any divine 
power, any God that takes notice of human affairs ? The Holy Ghost 
interposeth seasonably ' For he that is higher than the highest 
regardeth, and there be higher than they.' There is a God. A man 
is apt to unravel all religion in his thoughts, and to think that there 
is none to take cognisance of the matter ; therefore when it goes ill 
with the best, when your prayers are not answered, when oppression 
goes unrevenged, you should guard your heart with this consideration, 
There is a higher than the highest. 


For he that cometh to God, must believe that lie is, and that he is 
a reivarder of those that diligently seek him. HEB. xi. 6. 

Use 6. Here is a direction to us in our addresses to God. Fix our 
thoughts on the consideration of his being ' He that cometh to God, 
must believe that God is ' say, I do not go now to speak to an idol, 
but to the living God. Every one that comes to God should by actual 
thoughts revive this principle upon his memory and affections, for this 
will be of great advantage to him Why ? 

1. To avoid customariness ; for otherwise we shall be perfunctory 
and customary. It was the saying of a wretch, speaking of public 
worship Eamus ad communem errorem Let us go to the common 
error. If men do not say so, or think so in opinion, yet this is the 


language of their practice ; they do not act as unto a God. The God 
of a carnal customary worshipper is but an idol. In the duty of prayer, 
many a man comes and makes a large confession to God, but feels no 
grief and shame. Let him but speak half so much against himself to 
his guilty fellow-creature, one that is but despicable dust and ashes, 
the man \vould blush and be ashamed ; yet he can speak it to God, 
and have no remorse. If they are put upon examination before a 
magistrate, and make such a confession, how would they tremble ! yet 
they are not humbled at the remembrance of God. Alas ! man hath 
but a drop of indignation against sin ; the best are made up of mixed 
principles ; man cannot be so severe as the holy God. Man hates evil, 
because it is against his interest ; but God hates evil, because it is 
against his nature. And therefore what is the reason we have not this 
remorse, shame, and lively sorrow, when we are repeating the sad story 
of our lives to God ? It cannot be from confidence of God's mercy ; 
for when conscience is awakened and scourged for those sins, it is the 
most difficult thing in the world then to get comfort ; but we are cus 
tomary and careless, and do not weigh the matter ; so for supplication, 
we do but tell a fair tale, and make it but a matter of talk, and do but 
fill up a little time with words, and consider not that we are speaking 
to the living God ; if we did, we would be more reverent and serious 
when we make mention of him. Put it in a temporal case : Mai. i. 8, 
' If ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil ? and if ye offer the 
lame and sick, is it not evil ? offer it now unto thy governor ; will he 
be pleased with thee, or accept thy person ? ' . If I were admitted into 
the presence of a great king, and were to make my requests in a matter 
of great concernment, would I not look after them, and observe how 
my requests are granted ? But, alas ! we throw away our prayers, as 
children shoot away their arrows, and never look after them. So for 
thanksgiving, we would have a more warm sense of the courtesies of 
men, if a man had but done half so much for us ; but we give the Lord 
but cold and drowsy thanks. 

2. To avoid irreverence. The angels are said to have six wings ' And 
with twain they covered their faces, and with twain they covered 
their feet/ &c. Isa. vi. 3. They fear not commutative justice, 
and are assured of the favour of God ; yet they clap their wings, 
and cover their faces. Fear is a duty compatible with the blessed 
estate; we have more cause, but they have more grace; we do 
not see him that is invisible, and visible objects only work upon us. 

3. To avoid deadness. I am speaking to the living God, Heb. ix. 14, 
' To serve the living God.' Worship must be proportionable to the 
object of worship. The heathens offered a flying horse to the sun as 
most suitable, because of the swiftness of his motion. Dead service 
may become a dead idol, but not a living God. I should raise up my 
self and deal in good earnest with him. 

4. To beget a confidence. God is not a vain help that cannot save 
us, ' We trust in the living God/ 1 Tim. vi. 18. Baal's priests may 
draw blood from themselves, but could not get a word of answer from 
their idol : but we speak to a God that is at the other end of causes, 
that hath influence upon all things, one that needs but speak the word, 
and we shall be whole. 


But what thoughts are fittest to fix our hearts on the being of God 
when we are in prayer ? or so to keep our hearts under a sense of God's 
being in that duty, as that we may conceive of him aright ? I shall 
handle this case 

[1.] For the necessity of it ; it is not a curious business, as those 
requests, Exod. xxxiii. 18, ' Lord, show me thy glory ;' and John xiv. 8, 
' Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us ; ' but it is necessary, for with 
out it our services are profane, customary, irreligious. John iv. 22, 
' Ye worship ye know not what ; we know what we worship.' Our 
cogitations do fleet and vanish without some determinate and com 
prehensible object, whereon to fix and fasten them. As a ball struck 
in the open air never comes to hand again, so are our thoughts lost and 
scattered, except we determine and settle them on some notions of God 
that may be expressive of his being. 

[2.] Because it is difficult to determine it for two reasons: 

(1.) Because of the infiniteness and mcomprehensibleness of God's 
essence. God is said sometimes to dwell in light, and sometimes to 
dwell in darkness. He is said to dwell in light, to show the greatness of 
his majesty: 1 Tim. vi. 16, ' Who only hath immortality, dwelling in 
the light, which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen, 
nor can see.' And he is said to dwell in darkness, to show our weakness 
and incapacity to apprehend him : Ps. xviii. 11, ' He made darkness 
his secret place, his pavilion round about him were dark waters, and 
thick clouds of the sky.' When we come to discourse of God, we are as 
a man that is born blind, who knows there is light in the world, though 
he cannot conceive what a kind of thing it is. So reason and conscience 
will tell us that there is a God ; but what God is, and how to form proper 
thonghts of him, that we cannot tell. 

(2.) Because of the danger of erring, lest while we go about to esta 
blish a right notion of God, we make way for atheism. Prying too far 
into his majesty may prove a temptation. We cannot search out the 
Almighty to perfection : Judges xiii. 18, ' Why askest thou thus after 
my name, seeing it is secret ? ' It is impossible for man to comprehend 

Now I shall answer the case in some propositions : 

First, That you may conceive aright of the nature of God, above 
all things, you must renew and revive the act of your faith in God's 
essence and presence ; that he is, and that he is present with us, when 
we pray to him. 

1. That he is. So it is in the text ' He that cometh to God must 
believe that he is.' Though we cannot conceive what he is, yet we 
must be sure to fix our hearts in this, that he is. This is the great 
principle and ground-work of all, and it must be laid as a foundation 
of our worship and approaches to God. The work of faith is to give 
us a sight of him that is invisible. When Moses asked God's name. 
God answereth him' I am,' Exod. iii. 14, ' I am hath sent me unto you.' 
God would give him no other name than this ' I am,' which deciphereth 
his essence. Certainly acts of worship would be managed with more 
awe and reverence, if this principle were firmly laid up in the heart, 
that God is. Reason shows that he is, though we know not what 
he is ; faith can only show what he is to us. Vision will show us what 


he is in himself ; that is, our happiness and glory in heaven : 1 John 
iii. 2, ' When he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see 
him as he is/ Now we must actually revive this faith, that God is ; 
we must see him that is invisible : Heb. xi. 27, ' By faith Moses for 
sook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king ; for he endured, as seeing 
him that is invisible.' It is a great work of faith to believe that God 
is that there is an invisible God, that so you may adore a spiritual 
majesty, which you know to be, though you cannot comprehend him, 
how he is, and what he is, nor search out the almighty to perfection. 

2. That God is present with you in the worship that you are about 
to perform, that he is an all-seeing Spirit, and that he is intimately 
acquainted with all the workings of your hearts : John iv. 24, ' God is 
a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in 
truth.' He sees how your spirits and hearts work in all your approaches 
to his majesty, and you should so regard him as if you did see him with 
your bodily eyes. All duties are expressed in scripture by drawing 
nigh to God, for they bring the soul into God's presence. Prayer is 
but our conference with God : Gen. xviii. 27, ' I have taken upon me 
to speak unto the Lord, who am but dust and ashes.' Now all speech 
is to them that are present, and hearken to us : if we speak to God, 
we must conceive him to be really present, hearkening to us. And 
hearing is God's conference with us : Acts x. 33, ' We are all here pre 
sent before the Lord to hear all things that are commanded thee of 
God ; ' and therefore when you come to pray, say, I have not to do with 
men, but with God ; when you come to hear, say, I have not to do with 
the preacher only, but with God : Heb. iv. 12, ' All things are naked 
and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to deal.' Certainly, 
God is, whom I worship this day. I am going to confer with the true 
God, and to hear him speaking to me ; he is present with me, and there 
fore to be thought of, as if I could see him with my bodily eyes : Acts 
xvii. 27, ' God is not far from every one of us/ When we come to 
worship God, he is not only near us, but within us, more intimately 
present with us >than we are with ourselves. You could not keep your 
breath in your bodies, nor speak a word, if he were not there ; as, if the 
sun should withdraw his light, all would be darkness. This is the 
first thing, if you would rightly conceive of God ; when you come to him 
you must fix your heart in the apprehension of his essence and presence. 

Secondly, You must conceive of him aright, and according as he 
hath revealed himself ; lest in worshipping God you worship an idol. It 
is a high contempt of his majesty if we do not conceive of him accor 
ding to his excellent glory. Now for the conceiving of him aright,, 
which was the difficulty propounded, take these two rules 

1. There must be no carnal conceit and representation in your minds. 
Though we cannot conceive of him as he is, yet Ave must take heed that 
we do not conceive of him as he is not. We are all born idolators, and 
are naturally prone to fashion God according to some form of our own 
to turn the glory of God into the fashion of a corruptible thing. 
Look, as some have an external idol, so we have a mental idol, when 
we are transforming the essence of God into fleshly conceits of our own. 
We must conceive of God, purely, simply, spiritually, as of a spiritual 
being, without form and without matter ; and as of an infinite being, 



without all limits and bounds. It was the saying of a heathen, Those 
that made images and pictures of God, took away fear and established 
error. Pictures to represent God do debase the nature of God, and 
make him contemptible ; and images of God are so natural to us, that 
we can hardly dispossess our minds of them. Imaginations are as bad 
as images ; he that forbiddeth images in the church, doth also forbid 
them in our mind. A picture or corporeal resemblance of the divine 
essence is worse in the mind than in the glass windows. By pictures 
and resemblances of the divine essence, heathen idolatry began : Kom. 
i. 21, ' They were vain in their imaginations; ' and then it follows, ver. 
23, ' They changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image 
made like to corruptible man, and to birds and fburfooted beasts, and 
creeping things ; ' and ver. 25, ' Who changed the glory of God into a 
lie, and worshipped the creature more than the creator, who is blessed 
forever.' We that converse altogether with material and sensible beings, 
are very prone to conceive of God according to those things about which 
we are conversant. And that is the reason why there are so many 
cautions in the word everywhere against it : Deut. iv. 15, 16, ' Take 
good heed unto yourselves ; for ye saw no manner of similitude in the 
day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire ; 
lest you corrupt yourselves and make you a graven image, the similitude 
of any figure, the likeness of male or female.' When God discovered 
himself to his people, there was no image, no outward figure ; there was 
only a voice. Though common awe may restrain us from making an 
outward image, yet we are very prone to frame inward images, and 
draw representations of God in our minds. There are secret atheistical 
thoughts within us, by which we are apt to debase the nature of God 
to the common likeness, and fancy him according to the shape and fashion 
of visible substances. Therefore the Lord saith, Isa. xl. 18, ' To whom 
will you liken God ? or what likeness will you compare unto him ? ' 
We are apt to liken God to some outward and visible being ; but in all 
your addresses to God, you must conceive of him as a Spirit, without 
figure and shape. It is true, the scripture doth often use words that 
are of a corporeal sense and signification concerning God, but that is 
for the infirmity and weakness of our apprehensions. God lispeth to 
us in our own dialect ; but whatsoever is spoken to us after the manner 
of men must be understood after the manner of God. Serapion, dwel 
ling too much on these carnal expressions, fell into the error of the 
Anthropomorphites, who believed God to have a human shape. Sen 
sible things indeed are of use to us in prayer, but then they should be 
used by way of argument rather than representation. When we argue 
a minori ad majus, from the lesser to the greater, it is good. As when 
we would advance God, and exalt his love and care in our thoughts, 
we may argue from sensible things, and reason from the wisdom of a 
father, or from the bowels of a mother : 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 not I forget thee ; ' and Mat. 
vii. 11, ' If ye then being evil know how to give good gifts unto your 
children, how much more will your father which is in heaven give good 
things to them that ask him ? ' There is no father or mother like God ; 
no father so wise, no mother so tender as God is. Again, when we would 


shame ourselves when we are but coldly affected with our approaches 
to God, we may reason If I were to accuse myself as thus guilty 
before a common judge, would I not tremble ? If I should come in 
such a cold manner to man, would he regard me ? Mai. i. 8, ' Offer it 
to thy governor ; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person ? ' 
You must take heed that you conceive of God purely, simply, spiritually. 

2. We must conceive of God according to his praises in the word. 
Hereafter we shall see him as he is, which is our happiness in heaven ; 
now we can only see him as he is pleased to reveal himself to us. This 
way is most easy and of greatest profit and safety ; for though these 
representations are imperfect notions and conceptions, that are not every 
way proportionable to the nature and infiniteness of God, yet they are 
enough to beget reverence. Therefore it is observable, when Moses 
desired to see God's glory, the Lord pardoned what was of curiosity in 
the request, and answered him in what was necessary ; and what doth 
God do ? He only proclaims his name : Exod. xxxiv. 6, ' The Lord, 
the Lord God, merciful and gracious,' &c. These are the conceptions 
we must have of God. And so, when we would form a proper notion 
of God in our addresses to him: 1 Tim. i. 17, 'Now unto the king 
eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory 
forever and ever. Amen.' Thus must we conceive of God as a spirit 
ual essence, as the great governor of the world most wise, most holy, 
infinitely and eternally good ; I might heap up for this many places of 
scripture. These are names which are given to those things, which we 
would most magnify and commend ; and so, when they are conceived 
in a spiritual mind, they are most fit to stir up worship and religious 
affection to God ; whereas we draw a snare upon ourselves when we 
would go higher and see his essence. Face to face is the dispensation 
of another world, when we shall have other eyes and other hearts ; now 
all we can do, and as much as we can aspire to, is to look upon his back 
parts, and to consider those praises which the scripture puts upon him. 
(Ecolampadius, when he was preaching a sermon to young men, said, 
If you would know what God is, you must first know what goodness is, 
what justice, mercy, bounty, loving-kindness, and truth is; then you 
shall know God, for God is mercy, goodness, loving-kindness, and truth 
itself. And you must know that these attributes are in God in an 
infinite manner, of which finite creatures are no competent judges; 
and then look upon all these perfections as shining forth, and discov 
ering themselves in the human nature of Christ. He that cannot look 
upon the sunbeams in its strength at noon-day, may take view of it in 
the water, or when the moon is at full ; so we that cannot behold the 
glory of the divine majesty as he is in himself, may safely behold his 
perfections as they shone forth in the man Christ Jesus. This is the 
way of knowing God, by fixing our minds upon him as the first cause, 
the creator and governor of all things. 

Thirdly, There must be such a representation of God as may make 
the spirit aweful, but not servile ; we must have such thoughts of God 
as may increase our reverence, not weaken our delight ; the spirit begets 
aweful, but yet ingenuous thoughts of God. This is a rule, that our 
affections in our services must be suited to the nature of God. Now, 
in all the scriptual descriptions of God, there is a mixture and corn- 


position of God's attributes, to show that there should be a like mixture 
in our affections. As in God, there is a mixture of justice and mercy, 
and of power and love ; so in us, there should be a mixture of hope and 
fear, of joy, delight, and reverence, that the excesses of one affection 
may be corrected by the mixture and exercise of another. That there 
is such a mixture in God's attributes is clear : Deut. vii. 7-10, ' The 
Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, keeping covenant and mercy 
to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments, and 
repay eth them that hate him.' So Exod. xxxiv. 6, ' The Lord, the Lord 
God, merciful and gracious/ &c. ; but then it is added, ver. 7, ' He will 
by no means clear the guilty.' So Jer. ix. 24, ' I am the Lord, which 
exercise loving-kindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth;' 
and Daniel ix. 4, ' Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping covenant 
and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his command 
ments ' a dreadful God, and yet full of mercy and sweetness. The 
like mixture should there be in our affections, when we come to address 
ourselves to God : Ps. ii. 11, ' Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with 
trembling.' There must be joy, but mixed with a holy trembling : so 
1 Peter i. 17, ' 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.' There is a mixture in God's appellations and our affec 
tions. In God's appellations he is a father and yet a judge ; and there 
must be the like mixture in our affections, and in the temper and 
disposition of our spirits, ' to call him father,' and yet ' serve him 
with fear ; ' there must be a child-like reverence and a child-like 
confidence. Now, because this is the exact temper of spirit that is fit 
for duty, I shall a little examine what considerations are most proper 
and likely to keep the spirit aweful, and what considerations are most 
likely to keep the spirit cheerful in a way of hope and filial confidence. 

1. The considerations that are like to keep the spirit aweful. 

[1.] Consider his wonderful purity and holiness. There is no 
attribute that drives a,, creature to astonishment and self-abhorrency 
so much as God's holiness. We dread him for his wrath, power, and 
justice ; but all these are rooted in his holiness : 1 Sam. vi. 20, ' Who 
is able to stand before this holy Lord God ? ' This is that which makes 
the guilty tremble, and the purest creatures are abashed at the presence 
of God. It is said of the cherubim : Isa. vi. 2, 3, ' they covered their 
faces, and ' Cried one to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord 
of hosts.' This awed the angels God's holiness, his immaculate and 
unspotted glory, and they covered their faces as if they were ashamed of 
those seeds of folly that are in the angelical nature, the changeableness 
of their nature. Though the angels do not fear the strokes of God's 
j ustice, yet they tremble at the purity of his presence. And the children 
of God dread him for his holiness ; 'so the prophet cries out : Isa. vi. 5, 
' Wo is me ! for I am undone ; because I am a man of polluted lips, 
and mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.' This is that 
attribute in which the creatures are most defective, and in which God 
doth most excel ; and therefore it renders God most awful, and affects 
the creature with shame. Joshua xxiv. 19, ' You cannot serve the 
Lord, for he is an holy God.' It is his holiness awakens his justice, 
which makes him take notice of our failings. 


[2.] Eeflect upon the majesty of God and the glory of his attendants. 
Whenever we come to worship him, we worship him in the presence of 
angels and archangels. The children of God find by experience that not 
only the presence of God, but the presence of angels is a very moving con 
sideration. We are more apt to conceive of finite essences than of that 
which is infinite, as coming nearest and bordering more upon our own 
manner of being, and because we can more securely and without danger 
form a representation of them. Therefore consider you are standing be 
fore God and all his holy angels : Ps. cxxxviii. 1, ' Before the gods will I 
sing praise unto thee.' The Septuagint reads it 'Before the angels.' 
The angels are present in the assemblies of the saints, which was deci 
phered by the pictures of the cherubim which were in the temple ; and 
upon this account, the apostle urgeth reverence in the worship of God, 
that the women should cover their heads, ' because of the angels,' 1 
Cor. xi. 10. They are conscious to all those impurities and indecencies 
in worship that we are guilty of ; and therefore to greaten our reverence 
of God, it is good to consider that we worship him in the presence of 
his holy angels. The saints in the old testament trembled at the 
appearance of an angel. If we should come before an earthly prince 
sitting on his throne, environed with his nobles, how should we be afraid ! 
Consider, thou standest before God, who is encompassed with cheru 
bim, seraphim, thrones, dominions, angels, archangels : Dan. vii. 10, 
' Thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten 
thousand stood before him.' 

[3.] Compare the divine glory and our own vileness : Gen. xviii. 27, 
' I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, who am but dust and 
ashes.' We should think of the frailty of our constitution, and the 
impurity of our hearts : 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/ There is not so great a distance 
between heaven and earth as beween God and you. The prophet useth 
an expression, Isa. xl. 15, ' All nations before thee are but as a drop 
of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance.' If you 
should put a great weight in one scale, arid nothing but dust in the other, 
this is a small resemblance of the disproportion between God and us. 
I confess our expressions are many times humble, but the tongue 
prescribes to the heart, rather than the heart to the tongue ; and so they 
are but a vanity of speech, which the Lord abhors, vain compliments, 
that do not arise from a deep and inward sense of God's excellences. 

2. The considerations that are likely to keep the heart cheerful. There 
is not only fear required, but such a fear as is consistent with a holy 
ingenuity and confidence, that is becoming the sweetness of religion. 
Worship is not the task of slaves, but the duty of children ; and God 
would have you come with an ingenuous liberty and freedom into his 
presence. To this end 

[1.] Consider the sweet representations that are made of God's mercy 
in scripture. Luther said, It is the intent of the whole scripture to 
represent God to be merciful to sinners. This is the attribute he most 
delights in. See how God proclaimed his name, Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7, 
' The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and 
abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiv- 


ing iniquity, and transgression and sin, and that will by no means 
clear the guilty ; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, 
and the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generations.' 
There is more of mercy ; and God begins with mercy, because it is his 
chiefest attribute ; so Micah vii. 18, ' Mercy pleaseth him.' It is the 
delightful act of God to exercise mercy ; the expectation of it is not 
more pleasing to you than the exercise of it is to God ; it is like live 
honey, that drops of its own accord. Justice and all punitive acts are 
said to be extorted from him. Though God is necessarily just, as well 
as necessarily merciful, and vindictive justice be part of his essence, 
yet that which God delighteth in is mercy, James ii. 13, ' Mercy re- 
joiceth against judgment.' When in the conflict of the attributes, 
mercy can be exercised and gets the upper hand, there is a triumph 
and rejoicing in heaven. Gracious dispensations come freely, but judicial 
and penal acts are expressed in scripture as if they were forced and 
drawn from God : Isa. xxviii. 21, ' That he may do his work, his strange 
work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act/ and Lam. iii. 33, 
' He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.' When 
there is a rod in his hand, there are tears in his eyes. This is the 
whole design of the scriptures to represent God so, as that we may 
pitch upon God as merciful, gracious, and willing to do good to the 

[2.] Look upon God as he hath revealed himself in Jesus Christ. 
The gospel is the image of Christ, and Christ is the image of God. 
There is the likeness and picture of Christ in the gospel, but Jesus 
Christ is the lively image : 2 Cor. iv. 4, ' Lest the light of the glorious 
gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them ; ' 
that is, lest they know the mercifulness of God's heart in Jesus Christ : 
the gospel shows how full of mercy Christ is, and Christ shows how 
full of mercy God is ; and ver. 6, 'To give the light of the knowledge 
of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.' God hath stamped 
his image on the gospel, as Caesar's image is on the coin ; but Christ is 
the image of God, as Csesar's image is on his son: Col. i. 15, 'Who is 
the image of the invisible God.' Look into the gospel, and there you 
read of the condescension of Christ, how he went about doing good, 

image and picture ; he shows what God is : John i. 14, ' The word was 
made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as 
of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.' There 
were many emissions and beamings forth of the divine glory in the life 
of Christ, but that which chiefly shone out was the divine mercy: 
Acts x. 38, 'He went about doing good, and healing all that were 
oppressed of the devil.' You should study God in Christ. When 
Philip said to Christ' Show us the Father, and it sufnceth us,' Christ 
chides him upon this account ' Have I been so long with thee, and 
hast thou not known me ? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father,' 
John xiv. 7-9 ; you need no other discovery than my person. God is 
best known in Christ, wherein, as in a glass, we may find his wisdom, 
power, goodness, and mercy ; wherein God displays his glory, without 


overwhelming the creature. In Christ's transfiguration, the disciples 
fell down like dead men, Mat. xvii. ; they could not contain themselves. 
But they that cannot look upon the sun may look upon his image in 
the water ; so they that cannot look upon God in himself, may look 
upon God in Christ : the divine perfections working through the 
human nature of Christ are more intelligible. 

Fourthly, We must in prayer form proper thoughts of God, accord 
ing to those requests that we put up to him. We cannot without 
great distraction run through all the divine attributes at once ; it is 
impossible your thoughts can be fixed on so many subjects, and there 
fore you should single out such thoughts and considerations as will 
suit with your particular requests to God. Holy men of God every 
where do this ; as the apostle Paul, when he prays for peace, gives 
God a suitable appellation : 2 Thes. iii. 16, ' The Lord of peace himself 
give you peace always by all means.' So when he prays for patience 
to bear with the infirmities and differences of others, he gives God a 
suitable appellation : Rom. xv. 5, ' The God of patience and consolation 
grant you to be like-minded one toward another ; ' God, that hath 
abundance of patience, bestows it on you, that you may carry it thus. 
So when he speaks of the comfort that he received in his affliction, he 
styles God, 2 Cor. vii. 6, 'God that comforteth those that are cast 
down/ It is a commendable policy, and a great help to our thoughts 
in prayer, when we pitch upon an attribute that suiteth with our present 
wants, or doth imply an ability and disposition in God to do us good. 
When you come to be humbled in the presence of God, you must look 
upon Christ as a judge; when you come to have your sins mortified, 
you must look upon Christ as a physician. In your closet-addresses 
to God, suit the descriptions of God according to your exigencies and 
wants. When David begs defence, then God is his 'fortress' and 
munition of rocks ;' when he begs success against enemies, then God is 
the ' horn of his salvation ; ' in a time of peace, God is his ' habitation ; ' 
in a time of war, he is his ' refuge : ' Ps. xci. 9, ' Because thou hast 
made the Lord, which is thy refuge, even the most high thy habitation.' 
alluding to the time of peace and the time of trouble. 

Fifthly, Frame fit notions concerning the trinity, that there are three 
persons in one godhead. Now to direct you, herein take these rules 

1. This mystery is to be believed, not disputed, and committed to 
the anxious traverses of our own reason. Silence reason, by what is 
revealed ; anxious inquiries do but distract the mind. We shall never 
know the full of this mystery till we come to heaven : John xiv. 20, 
' At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, 
and I in you.' But though we know not how it is, it is enough for us 
to know that it is so. 

2. The real and practical honour of the trinity is best. Then do 
we honour the trinity in unity, not when we conceive of the mystery, 
but when we make a religious use of this high advantage to come to 
God, in the name of Christ, by the Spirit, and look for all from God 
in Christ through the Holy Ghost. Direct your prayers to God the 
Father ; Christ prayed to the Father, Mat. xi. 25, ' I thank thee, 
Father, Lord of heaven and earth,' &c. So the saints in their ad 
dresses : Eph. iii. 14, ' For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father 


of our Lord Jesus Christ.' In the name of Christ, John xiv. 13, 
'Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do.' By the Spirit, 
Jude 20, 'Praying in the Holy Ghost;' Horn. viii. 26, 27, 'Likewise 
the Spirit itself also helpeth our infirmities/ &c., 'because he maketh 
intercession for the saints according to the will of God.' Christians 
need not puzzle themselves about conceiving of three in one, and one 
in three ; let them in this manner come to God, and it sufficeth ; 
make God the object, and Christ the means of access, and look for help 
from the Spirit. 

3. If the thoughts be coldly and frigidly affected to any of the 
persons, you must use a cure. Many times there are many secret 
thoughts of atheism, which arise in us about the divine essence and 
subsistences ; and you must seek help against them, for when they are 
smothered they beget a rooted hypocrisy. Thus ignorant persons 
think altogether of God the Father ; they worship God Almighty with 
out distinct reflections on the personal operations of Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost, or the contrivance of salvation. Fond persons honour 
the Son, but neglect the Father ; they carry all their respects to the 
person of Jesus Christ. Most neglect to glorify the Spirit. In times 
of knowledge, God would have our thoughts more distinct and explicit. 
All persons are interested in the work of grace ; the love of the Father 
maketh way for the glory of the Son, and the glory of the Son for the 
power of the Spirit. No man cometh to the Son but by the Father : 
John vi. 44, ' No man can come to me, except the Father which hath 
sent me draw him/ No man can come to the Father but by the Son : 
John xiv, 6, ' I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh 
to the Father but by me/ And no man is united to the Son, but by 
the Holy Ghost: 2 Thes. ii. 13, ' God hath from the beginning chosen 
you to salvation, through the sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of 
the truth/ The inchoation is by the Father, the dispensation by the 
Sou, and the consummation by the Holy Ghost ; it is God's choice, 
Christ's purchase, and the Spirit's application. More particularly, it' 
you are coldly affected towards God the Father, consider he spared 
not his own Son : John iii. 16, 'For God so loved the world, that h 
gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should 
not perish, but have everlasting life/ His love brought Christ to you, 
and you to Christ, the Father's pure elective love : John xvii. 6, 
' Thine they were, and thou gavest them me, and they have kept thy 
word/ His love keepeth you in Christ: John xvi. 27, 'For the 
Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have be 
lieved that I came out from God/ If you are coldly affected towards 
Christ, think that ' he loved you, and gave himself for you/ Gal. ii. 20 ; 
if towards the Spirit, consider that it is God the Spirit that exhibits, 
applies, and seals all to us : Eph. iv. 30, ' Grieve not the Holy Spirit 
of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption/ The 
persons in the trinity glorify one another : John xvi. 14, ' He shall 
glorify me ; for he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you ; ' 
there is the Spirit's glorifying Christ. John xiv. 13, ' Whatsoever ye 
shall ask in my name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified 
in the Son ; there is Christ's glorifying the Father. Phil. ii. 9, 10, 
' God hath exalted him, and given him a name above every name : that 


at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and 
things in earth, and things under the earth ; and that every tongue 
should confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord, to the glory of God the 
Father ; ' there is the Father's glorifying Christ and an honour and 
and glory thence redounding to the Father. 


And that Tie is a rewarder of them that diligently seel: him. 

HEB. xi. 6. 

Two principles are necessary to be firmly believed of all that would 
entertain communion with God God's being, and God's bounty ; God's 
being ' That he is,' and God's bounty ' That he is a rewarder of them 
that diligently seek him.' Both these principles give life to all our 
duties and services ; and therefore a man that would please God, and 
live in his favour and friendship, or that would come to God, that 
would have anything to do with him in prayer, praise, or any other 
service, he must be firmly persuaded of these two things. 

1. Of the being of God that God is; otherwise why should we be 
touched with any sense and care of religion, unless we believe that 
there were a God to whom this religion is tendered ; that God is not 
a fancy, a nothing, but a true and real being, and that the God whom 
we serve is he. Without this all worship would be but a foolish custom 
and empty formality, and a compliance with a common error, for why 
should we go to him whom we conceive not to be ? And therefore he 
that would have anything to do with God must fix his heart in a 
belief of this principle, that God whom I now serve is that infinite, that 
eternal power that made me and all things. 

2. The bounty of God ' He is a rewarder of them that diligently 
seek him,' where observe (1.) The notion by which his bounty is 
expressed 'He is a rewarder,' or a giver of rewards, f^iadaTroSoTij^. (2.) 
The objects or persons to whom ' Of those that diligently seek him.' 
Where again we may take notice of the act, 'they seek him/ and the 
manner ' diligently.' Both are folded up in one word in the original, 
Tot9 eK&Tovcriv ; the word tflrdv signifies to seek, and the compound 
eK&reLv, to seek out till one find. Now God must be sought out ; we 
must do our uttermost to seek him till we find him ; therefore our 
translators fitly render the word by two, 'that diligently seek him.' 
Now this qualification is to be understood both inclusively and 
exclusively. [1.] Inclusively : to involve all that would give up 
themselves in his holy word to inquire after God. The Lord takes a 
charge upon himself impartially to reward all that seek him : whether 
rich or poor, bond or free, he is a rewarder to them ; indefinitely to all 
them that seek him. [2.] Exclusively : he rewardeth none but those ; 
they and they only do find and enjoy him. The point of doctrine will 
be this 


Doct. That the fountain of all obedience, gratitude, and service to 
God is a firm belief of his being a rewarder of all them that diligently 
seek him. 

I shall (1.) Explain the proposition that is to be believed, and give 
the sense of it that God is a rewarder of such ; (2.) Inquire into the 
nature of this faith, and show how this is to be believed ; (3.) Tell you 
what influence it has upon our obedience and service to God. 

First, Here is the proposition that is to be believed ' God is a 
rewarder of them that diligently seek him/ The proposition intimateth 
somewhat to be expected on God's part, and something to be done on 
our part. 

First, on God's part. He is ^ladaTToSor^, a re ward-giver, which implies 
these four propositions (1.) That not only his essence, but his provi 
dence is to be believed by us. (2.) In his providence the gracious 
recompense is only mentioned ; it is not said he ig a revenger, which 
is a notable part of his providence, but he is a rewarder. (3.) To show 
how fitly this grace is expressed by the term 'reward.' (4.) This 
reward is principally in the next life. 

1. We are bound to believe not only his essence, but his providence. 
For here are two principles that God is, and that he is a rewarder ; by 
which last his providence is intimated, namely, that he regardeth human 
affairs, and will judge accordingly, blessing the good and punishing 
the evil. It was the conceit of Epicurus and his followers that it 
wonld not stand with the happiness of God to trouble himself with the 
affairs of the world ; and practical atheists, and sinful, secure persons 
are of his mind ; they think that the heavens are drawn as a curtain 
between us and God, and that he is not at leisure to mind the affairs 
of this lower world ; so they are brought in speaking, Job xxii. 12-14, 
' Is not God in the height of heaven ? and behold the height of the 
stars, how high are they ? And thou sayest, How can God know ? can 
he judge through the dark clouds ? Thick clouds are a covering to 
him, that he seeth not, and he walketh in the circuit of heaven.' Our 
eyes and perspectives are too short for us to look above the clouds and 
mists of this lower world, and to understand the affairs of the world 
above us ; and therefore we muse of God according to the manner of 
us finite creatures, as if God could not see us, and judge of the state of 
things here below, because of the great distance between him and us ; 
or at least that he hath other things to do than to mind the affairs of 
mankind, or to trouble himself with our actions. Thus vainly do we 
deceive ourselves, like that foolish creature, the panther ; when it is 
hunted, it hides its head, and then thinks itself safe, not seen, because it 
sees not. The clouds and darkness that are about God may hinder 
our sight of him, but they do not hinder his sight of us. Oh no ; Prov. 
xv. 3, 'The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the good and 
the evil.' Nothing can be done without his providential assistance, and 
therefore nothing can be done without his privity and knowledge. He 
is nearer to us than we are to ourselves, and knows our very thoughts, 
not only our meaning before we speak, but our thoughts before they 
are conceived : Ps. cxxxix. 2, ' Thou understandest my thoughts afar 
off.' The mischief is, we do that which we would not have to be seen, 
and then would fain believe that God doth not see us. This conceit, 


that God doth not mind the affairs of the world, will destroy all worship 
of God and respect to him. If there be no providence, then no worship, 
no prayer, no praise. The two first motives that ordinarily induce 
men to worship are fear and hope ; fear that God will avenge their 
misdeeds, and hope of relief when they lie under straits and necessities. 
But now if God were mindless of the affairs of this lower world, and 
had left all things to their own way, we should have nothing to fear 
and nothing to hope for from his providence, and so God would not be 
regarded by us. The Epicureans indeed say that God is to be 
worshipped for the eminency of his dignity, and the excellency and 
greatness of his nature ; but alas! that would breed a faint respect, for 
who regards those in whom they are not concerned? Here in the 
world we hear of mighty kings and potentates, but we regard them not 
unless they govern and protect us ; then our peace and safety depends 
upon them. I say we hear of great emperors and kings abroad in India 
and China ; what doth the interest of their courts, or the vastness of 
their armies move us ? Every mean gentleman that is able to do us 
either a good or bad turn is more respected than those mighty 
monarchs. And so God would not be respected if he should only shut 
up himself within the heavens, and not regard the affairs here below. 
Well then, God sees. The accurateness of his providence, of his seeing 
all things, is described to us by many metaphors in scripture. The 
most solemn and notable is that of a record. He so sees and regards 
all things as to write them in books to keep them upon record : Mai. 
iii. 16, ' The Lord hearkened and heard, and a book of remembrance 
was written before him.' God hath his registers and books of record, 
the counterpart of which is our conscience, where all things are written 
that we do think and say ; but this book is in our keeping, and there 
fore it is often blurred and defaced ; but all is clear and legible in the 
book of God's remembrance. Certainly we would be more advised in 
our speeches and actions if we knew that there was a secret spy about 
us to write down all that we do : so Ps. Ivi. 8, ' Thou tellest my 
wanderings: put thou my tears in thy bottle: are they not in thy 
book ? ' God hath a bottle for all the tears of his people, they are not 
as water spilt upon the ground, and he has a book wherein he records 
all their sorrows. Many times books are written in their defence, and 
the memorials of their innocency here in the world are destroyed ; but 
all is entered in the records and rolls of heaven. Thus does God take 
notice of all the actions and affairs of the world. You must not think 
of him as of the Persian monarch living in ease and pleasure, and 
leaving the care of provinces to his satrapce, his deputies and 
vicegerents. No, his eyes run to and fro through the whole earth ; 
he observeth all, noteth all that is done here in the world. And 
which is the other part of his providence- he judgeth accordingly. He 
is called : Jer. li. 56, ' The Lord God of recompenses/ because he does 
reward his friends, and punish his enemies. I say, God is not an idle 
spectator. Providence doth many times interpose notably now. We 
find sometimes obedience laden with blessings; and vengeance treadeth 
upon the heels of sin, especially for some notable excess and disorder : 
Ps. Iviii, 11, ' So that a man may say, Verily there is a reward for the 
righteous ; verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.' Many that 


knew not what to think of God's providence before, that were at a loss, 
yet when it is all brought about, they may see there is a reward for 
the righteous. We often, like ignorant and impatient spectators, will 
not tarry till the last act of the tragedy, till the way of God hath its 
course ; for if we did, we should soon find that all things are in the 
hands of a righteous judge. Now and then God will give the world a 
taste of his recompenses, as he did in the prosperity of Abraham and 
punishment of Cain, to show there is a providence. But at other times 
the wicked are prosperous, the godly are afflicted, to show that the last 
act of providence is yet behind, and that there is a judgment to come. 
As in the parable of Dives, he was happy till his death, and lived in 
luxury and, pleasure, whilst Lazarus was humbled with poverty, and 
rough-cast with sores. But the great and solemn day is to come when 
God will call all the world to an account and general audit, and justice 
and mercy shall both have their solemn triumph ; and as our work hath 
been, so shall our wages be ; that which is good shall be found to 
praise and honour, and that which is evil lie under its own shame. 
Well then, he that cometh to God must believe that God is a rewarder, 
it implies his providence ; the Lord takes notice of human actions, and 
that he will judge accordingly. 

2. Among the recompenses of God, that which comes from grace is 
only mentioned. The great God in recompenses is not only a rewarder 
of them that seek him, but a revenger of them that hate him ; but his 
vengeance and punishment is not propounded as so necessary to our 
first faith, to him that comes to God so much as his reward. Why 
does he instance in this part of providence? Partly, because God 
delights to manifest himself to the world in acts of grace rather than 
in acts of judgment ' Mercy pleaseth him/ Micah. vii. 18. Goodness 
and grace are natural to God. Anger, and wrath, and vindictive justice 
suppose our sin-; they are extorted from him. And therefore if we 
would have a right notion of God, next to the being of God we must 
believe his goodness. From the beginning of time until now the usual 
acts of God's providence are the effluxes and emanations of his good 
ness. What hath the world been but a great theatre, upon which 
mercy hath been acting a part almost these six thousand years ? His 
mercy is over all his works, and therefore God is called the ' Father of 
mercies,' 2 Cor. i. 3, not the Father of justice. When he proclaimeth 
his name, we hear first of his mercy, and still more of his mercy : Exod. 
xxxiv. 6, 7, ' The Lord, the Lord God, gracious and merciful, long- 
suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,' and justice is brought 
in to prevent the abuse of mercy, and to invite men to take hold of it. 
And then, partly, because this is an encouragement to bring in them to 
God who else would run away from him because of his terrors and his 
own natural bondage, as Adam ran into the bushes. Though there be 
amiable excellences in the nature of God, yet the naked contemplation 
of these cannot allay our natural fears, nor quench our natural enmity 
against God, but rather increase them. As good qualities in a judge 
will never draw the prisoner's heart to affect him ; to tell the prisoner 
that his judge is a grave, comely person, of profound knowledge, of 
excellent speech, a strict observer of the law ; but he is a judge, and 
so his heart stands off from him. And so it is between us and God : 


though we should tell men of the perfections of God's nature, yet as long 
as the guilty sinner reflects upon him as his judge, he stands aloof from 
God. The wrath of God is like a flaming sword ready drawn and bran 
dished to keep us from him ; his justice makes us stand at a distance : 
Kom. i. 32, ' Knowing the judgment of God, that they that do such 
things are worthy of death ;' but his goodness, and readiness to reward, 
that is the motive to draw in our hearts to him. Christians, all this 
is spoken that we might have a right notion of God in himself. GEcolam- 
padius, when he was preaching to children, first he tells them, There is 
a God, and then saith he, If you, would know what God is, you must not 
conceive of him by pictures that you have seen. Do you know what 
mercy, lenity, patience, bountifulness, goodness is ? that is God. You 
must believe there is a God, and then you must see what he is ; he is 
a God merciful, gracious, ready to reward and do good. This doth 
draw in the heart of a creature to him. As Luther saith, this is the 
whole design of the scripture, to represent God in such a manner, as 
bountiful and ready to do good to his creatures that come to him. 

3. This grace is expressed by the word ' reward.' It is a metaphor 
taken from hired servants : Mat. xx. 8, ' Call the labourers, and give 
them fuadbv their hire.' Now some go upon this word as if here they 
had a clear foundation for the merit of the creature from the two 
words /uo-#o<?and aTroSocri?, of which the word in the text is compounded, 
but vainly ; for work and reward are relatives indeed, but not merit 
and reward. God is a rewarder, but how ? out of his own bounty, and 
the liberality of his grace, not out of our merit and desert. You shall 
see the word is taken in scripture sometimes for any fruit and issue of 
our pains, so it be grateful to us, though no way deserved by us, as 
that vainglory men seek for in the world : Mat. vi. 2, it is said, ' They 
have their reward/ No man can say they deserve it, but it was the 
reward aimed at and chosen by them. Anything we look at as the 
fruit of our pains is called the reward. And sometimes any fruit of 
the divine grace : as Ps. cxxvii. 3, ' Lo, children are an heritage from 
the Lord ; and the fruit of the womb is his reward/ that is, his gracious 
gift ; and so /uo-0o? and ^dpis, reward and grace, are all one, and pro 
miscuously used ; as Mat. v. 46, what is there, ' What reward have 
you ? ' in Luke vi. 32, it is %apt9, ' What grace, or what thank have 
you ? ' So God is said to reward those whom he remembers out of 
mere mercy and bounty ; his reward is worth the seeking after ; not that 
our work is meritorious and worthy of that reward. Well then, the re 
ward of grace is understood ; fjuaOos hath more relation to God's promise 
than the work. Indeed it stands upon two feet, upon God's promise 
and upon Christ's merit. We have a reward, which by virtue of 
Christ's merit, and God's promise we may expect ; but as to us, it is 
freely bestowed upon us. The apostle plainly shows this distinction 
of a reward of debt and a reward of grace : Rom. iv. 4, ' To him that 
worketh,' that is, he that will establish his own righteousness or works 
for justification to him ' is the reward reckoned, not of grace, but of 
debt/ He intimates plainly there is a reward Kara %dpiv, according 
to grace. Once more it is called, Col. iii. 24, ' The reward of the 
inheritance ; such as proceedeth not from the worth of the work, but 
from God's free grace. If the reward be a servile work, the inheritance 


is for children. But briefly : the recompenses of God's justice and 
mercy are called rewards, partly to note the persons to whom it is 
given ; a reward is not given but to those that labour. Heaven is not 
for idlers and loiterers ; it is a reward, it is given after labour ; not as 
if any did deserve it by their work, as a labourer is worthy of his hire. 
Among men, he that hires has benefit by the labour of him that is 
hired ; but ' we are unprofitable servants,' Luke xvii. 10 ; and ordinarily 
there is a due proportion between the work and the wages ; but here 
there can be none at all, for eternal life, which is that reward, consists 
in the vision and fruition of God himself ; yea, it is God himself, 
united and conjoined to us by this vision and fruition : Gen. xv. 1, ' I 
am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.' Now no works of 
men can bear a proportion to such a reward. This argument seems of 
such weight that Vasquez denies this uncreated reward to fall sub 
condignis meritis Christi, to be deserved even by 'Christ's obedience. 
But that is false, for the obedience of Christ is of infinite value. Well 
then, a reward it is, because it is a consequent of labour Posito opere 
recte colligimus certitudinem secuturce mercedis ; by the gracious con 
stitution and ordination of God, who hath appointed that our good 
works should have such an issue and event. Again, a reward it is 
called, because it is not given till our work be ended : 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8, 
' I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept 
the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, 
which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day.' When 
we have done our work, then we shall receive our wages. Again, 
reward it is called to note the sureness of it. God in condescension 
calleth it a reward. We may expect it as a labourer doth his hire at 
night, for the Lord hath made himself a debtor by his own promise : 
James i. 12, ' He shall receive the crown of life which the Lord hath 
promised to them that love him.' 

4. This reward is principally in the next life. That suits with 
Enoch's instance, his translation to heaven, to a place of blessedness ; 
and that is called tear e%ox>iv, the reward in scripture : 1 Cor. iii. 14, 
'If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall 
receive a reward ; ' Kev. xi. 18, ' The time is come that thou shouidst 
give reward unto thy servants the prophets.' Now is the time of God's 
patience, and hereafter of his recompenses. Now is the time of our 
exercise and service, hereafter of our enjoyment. Alas ! all that we 
have here, it is not our wages, it is but our vales, the overplus and 
additional supply that God gives in upon the better portion that we 
expect from him : as Mat. vi. 33, ' All other things shall be added 
unto you.' Other things are cast in over and above the bargain. A 
Christian does not count this his reward ; he does not give God a dis 
charge, though God should bless him with comfort and with increase in 
this life, that is the spirit of an hypocrite to give God his acquittance 
for other things. So it is said of the hypocrites,a7re^of ai /j,icr6bv ' They 
have their reward,' Mat. vi. 2. The word signifies they give God their 
discharge. A man loseth nothing by God in the world ; God may 
cast in outward things to commend our portion, and to make it more 
amiable to us, because we consist of body as well as soul, and have the 
interest of both to mind ; he may add these ciphers to the figure, give 


in those things as appurtenances to heaven, but it is heaven they take 
for their portion. He may increase worldly things upon them as he 
thinks fit, but they that take up. with this as their portion and reward, 
the honours, pleasures, and treasures of this life, are bastards, not sons ; 
as bastards have means to live upon, though they do not inherit. The 
scripture everywhere condemns us for fastening upon the world as our 
portion : Ps. xvii. 14, ' Which have their portion in this life ; ' and 
Luke xvi. 25, ' Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy 
good things ;' and Jer. xvii. 13, ' They that depart from me shall be 
written in the earth.' Oh, to be condemned to this happiness is the 
greatest misery, to expect nothing else but this ; therefore we must 
protest against this kind of reward ; as Luther tells us, Valde protes- 
tatus sum, me nolle sic a Deo satiari, I earnestly protested to God 
that he should not put me off with gold, riches, and the transitory things 
of the present life We that are heirs according to the hope of eternal 
life expect better things in a better state, or else God would not answer 
the magnificent expressions wherein he hath spoken to us in his cove 
nant. He hath told us, I will be your God, and that he himself, and 
all that is his, shall be ours. Certainly the magnificence of this ex 
pression is not verified and made good unless he hath better things to 
bestow upon us than what this world yields. Therefore the apostle 
tells us : Heb. xi. 16, ' He is not ashamed to be called our God, because 
he hath provided for us a city.' Now that God hath a city and a 
heavenly inheritance to bestow upon us, he may with honour take that 
title upon himself to be the God of his people. Neither would it answer 
the desires of his people, who look after a more perfect enjoyment of 
God than this life will permit. Therefore whatever here we have in 
temporal things, and what we have in spiritual tilings, it is not our 
reward. These are magnificent, as remission of sins, adoption, right 
eousness, grace, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost ; these are 
but the beginnings and presignifications of a more blessed estate, these 
are but the suburbs of heaven ; our advance-money before our pay comes ; 
but our great reward is hereafter. Certainly it cannot be otherwise if 
you consider the being of God as infinite and eternal ; God will give 
like himself. As it was said of Araunah, 2 Sam. xxiii. 24, ' All these 
things did Araunah as a king give to the king ' he was of the blood- 
royal of the Jebusites, and he carried it becoming his extraction ; so 
there will be a time when God will give like himself. It does not 
become a mighty emperor to give pence and shillings, or brass farthings, 
it is below his greatness ; so there will come a time when the Lord, as 
he is an infinite and eternal being, will give us ' a. far more exceeding 
and eternal weight of glory,' 2 Cor. iv 17. Now it is very little God 
discovereth. God doth communicate and discover himself to the 
rational creature as he is able to bear ; Job xxvi. 14, ' Lo, these are 
part of his ways ; but how little a portion is heard of him ! ' There 
is a time coming when the Lord will communicate himself to reason 
able creatures in a fuller latitude than now he doth ; therefore there 
is a more exceeding weight of glory we expect from him. Again, if 
you consider the largeness of Christ's merit and condescension. No 
wise man will lay a broad foundation unless he means to build an 
answerable structure thereupon. Well then, when God hath laid such 
a notable foundation as the blood of Christ, the death of the Son of 


God, I say, certainly he hath some notable worthy blessing to bestow 
upon us. There was price enough laid down, the blood of God ; God 
would not be at such expense for nothing. What will not that pur 
chase for us ? In short, godliness must have a better recompense than 
is to be had here in the world. Take away rewards and take away 
religion, these things we enjoy here are but the offals of providence, 
enjoyed by God's enemies ; they have the greatest share of worldly 
things : Ps. xvii. 14, ' Whose belly thou fillest with thy good treasures.' 
The more wise any are, the more they contemn these things. And 
would God put a spirit into a man to contemn his rewards ? Would 
he give us wisdom and grace that we might slight that which he hath 
appointed for our reward ? Therefore certainly this is not the reward. 

The afflictions of men good and upright show that ' if we had our 
hopes only in this life, we were of all men most miserable/ 1 Cor. xv. 19 ; 
for here many times the best go to the wall. And therefore out of 
all we may conclude that there is a reward for the children of God 
hereafter. Thus I have gone through the first thing that is implied in 
this proposition, that that is to be believed and embraced by us. If 
we would have life put into our services if we would have zeal for 
God, and delight in communion with him, look upon God as one that 
takes notice of human affairs, that delights in acts of mercy, that hath 
by his promise established a sure course of recompenses, and that the 
full of what is provided for us is in the world to come. 

Secondly, There is something to be done on our part. God is a 
rewarder, but to whom ? ' To them that diligently seek him/ and to 
none but them. Here (1.) What it is diligently to seek God ? (2.) 
Why is this clause put here, that he is a rewarder of such ? 

1. What it is to seek God ? Sometimes it is taken in a more par 
ticular and limited sense for prayer and invocation, for seeking his 
counsel, help, and blessing ; as in Isa. Iv. 6, ' Seek ye the Lord while 
he may be found ; call ye upon him while he is near/ Seeking the 
Lord and calling upon him are made parallel expressions. So Exod. 
xxxiii. 7, ' Every one that sought the Lord/ that is, that went to ask 
his counsel, ' went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation.' ' More 
largely, it is taken for the whole worship of God, and that duty and 
obedience we owe to him ; as 2 Chron. xiv. 4, ' Asa commanded 
Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to do the law and 
the commandment ; ' that is, to worship and obey him ; so in 2 Chron. 
xxxiv. 3, it is said of Josiah. when yet young, that ' he began to seek 
after the Lord God of his father David/ Obedience is called a seek 
ing of God, because it is a means to further our communion with him. 
But a little to open the formality of the expression. 

[1.] Seeking implies some loss or some want, for that which we have 
we seek not for. Now God may be considered either as to his essence 
and omnipresence, or as to his favour. As to his essence, so God can 
never be lost nor found, for he is everywhere present, in heaven, in earth, 
in hell: Acts xvii. 27, 'He is not far from every one of us;' he 
is within us, without us, round about us, in the effects of his power 
and goodness. But with respect to his favour and grace, so we are 
said to seek after God : Ps. cv. 4, ' Seek the Lord and his strength, 
seek his face evermore ; ' that is, his powerful and favourable presence, 


comforting, quickening, and strengthening our hearts. This is that 
we want, and this is that we seek after. 

[2.] Seeking implies that this must be our aim and scope, and the 
business of our lives and actions, to enjoy more of God till we come 
fully to enjoy him in heaven. The whole course of a 'Christian must 
be a seeking after God, a getting more of God into his heart : Ps. Ixiii. 
8, ' My soul follows hard after thee.' It is not a slight motion or a 
cold wish, such as will easily be put off or blunted with discouragement, 
or satisfied with other things ; but such as engages us to an earnest 
pursuit of him till we find him, and till we enjoy him in the complet- 
est way of fruition. Wicked men in a pang would have the favour of 
God, but they are soon put out of the humour, and take up with other 
things. Therefore this must be the scope of our whole lives, especially 
in the nobler actions of our lives. The noblest actions of our lives are 
our engaging in duties of worship in the ordinances of God ; now there 
we must not only serve God but seek him. What is it to seek God 
in ordinances ? In a word, it is this to make God net only the object, 
but the end of the worship ; not only to come to God, but to come to 
God for God, so as to resolve that we will not go from him without 
him, abs te absque te non recedam. As Jacob said : Gen. xxxii. 26, 
' I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.' And therefore seeking 
God notes our scope ; when we make this the great aim of our lives, 
especially in the duties of religion, in acts of worship, we desire to 
meet with him. 

[3.] It implies a seeking of him in Christ. For without a mediator 
guilty creatures cannot enjoy God. We cannot immediately converse 
with God, there must be a mediator between God arid us : John xiv. 
6, ' I am the way, the truth, and the life ; no man cometh to the 
Father but by me.' There is no getting to God but by Christ. God 
in our nature is more familiar with us, and more especially found of 
us : Hos. iii. 5, ' They shall seek the Lord their God and David their 
king,' that is, Christ. There is no seeking or finding of God- but in 
and by Christ. Saith Luther, Horribile est de Deo extra Christum 
cogitare It is a terrible thing to think of God out of Christ. As 
Themistocles, when he sought the favour of Admetus, which had been 
formerly his enemy, the historian tells us he snatched up his child, and 
so begged entertainment of him. We are enemies to God ; if we go to 
him we must carry Christ with us. It is Christ's great work to bring 
us to God. He died for ' that end, that he might bring us to God/ 1 
Peter iii. 18 ; and it is the great duty of a Christian ; he ought to come 
to God by him ' He is able to save them to the uttermost that come 
unto God by him.' Heb. vii. 25. And therefore since we have lost the 
favour of God, we shall never find him but in Christ. 

[4.] This seeking is stirred up in us by the secret impressions of 
God's grace, and the help of his Spirit. All the persons are concerned 
in it, ' For through him we have an access to the Father by one Spirit,' 
Eph. ii. 18. Natural men are well enough pleased without God or 
they have but faint desires after him. Take men as they are in them 
selves, and the psalmist tells us, Ps. xiv. 2, ' No man understandeth 
and seeketh after God ; ' they have no affection, no desire of communion 
with him. So Ps. x. 4, ' The wicked, through the pride of his counte- 

VOL. xiv. L 


nance, will not seek after God ; God is not in all their thoughts/ 
Wicked men cast God out of their minds, never care whether he be 
pleased or displeased, whether he be enjoyed or hide himself from us. 
Ay, but the Spirit of God works this work in us. How so ? The 
spirit of bondage brings us to God as a judge ; God as a judge sends 
us to Christ as mediator ; and Christ as mediator, by the spirit of 
adoption, brings us back to God again as a father ; and so we come to 
enjoy God. The divine persons make way for the operations of one an 
other. Saith Bernard, Nemo te qucererepotest, nisi qui prius invenerit; 
tu igitur invenire ut quceraris, quaere ut inveniaris, potest quidem in- 
veniri, non tamen prceveniri None can be beforehand with God ; we 
cannot seek him till we find him ; he will be found that he may be 
sought, and he will be sought that he may be found ; his preventing 
grace makes us restless in the means, and puts, us upon those first 
motions and earnest addresses towards God. 


And that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 

HEB. xi. 6. 

[5.] THIS seeking must be our e/ryo-y, our business, as well as our scope ; a 
thing that we would not mind by the by, but as the great work we are 
to do in our lives here in the world : Dent. iv. 29, ' Thou shalt find 
him if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul ; ' and 
Jer. xxix. 13, 'Ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for 
me with all your heart ; ' and 2 Chron. xv. 15, ' They sought him with 
all their hearts, and their whole desire, and he was found of them. 
Many are convinced that they cannot be happy without the favour of 
God ; their consciences tell them they must seek after God, but their 
affections carry them to the world. Oh, but when your whole hearts 
are in this, when you make it your great business, then shall you find 
him. If you content yourselves to look after God by the by only, and 
as a recreation, and with a few slight endeavours, and do not make 
this the great employment of your lives, you will never find him. 
Certainly we were made for God, it was the end of our creation ; there 
fore this must be the business of your lives. God made us for himself, 
and we can never be happy without himself. And as it was the end 
of our creation, so it is the end of his gracious forbearance and indul 
gence in the course of his providence. Wherefore doth God forbear with 
sinning man, when he punished the apostate angels presently ? ' That 
they might seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him and 
find him,' Acts xvii. 27. We do not live to live, but we live to seek 
God. When we had lost God by Adam's apostasy, God might have 
cut off all hope that ever we should find him again ; as the angels, 
when they lost their chief est good, could never recover their first estate. 
But it is God's indulgence to deal with us upon more gracious terms, 


that we might seek after him. God needed not seek the creatures, he 
had happiness enough in himself ; but we needed such a creator. He 
that hides himself from the sun impairs not the light thereof. We 
derogate nothing from God, but it is a loss of benefit to us that we seek 
him not, for the present and for the future. If you seek him, you shall 
be "happy for the present ; for the God of Jacob hath pawned his word 
to you that none shall seek him.in vain : ' Isa. xlv. 19, ' I said not to the 
seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain ; and Ps. xxii. 26, ' They shall praise 
the Lord that seek him.' You will have cause to bless God ere the 
search be over. And for the future : Amos v. 6, ' Seek the Lord, and 
ye shall live well then/ Here is the great work and business of your 
lives, diligently to seek after God. Though it may be at first you do 
not find him, yet comfort thyself that thou art in the seeking way, still 
in pursuit of him. Better be a seeker than a wanderer : Ps. xxiv. 6, 
' This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, 
Jacob.' Though thou dost not presently feel the love of God, and hast 
no assurance of thy pardon, nor sensible comfort from his Spirit, yet 
continue seeking ; here is your business, here is your work. 

2. Why is this put here, ' He that cometh to God must believe that 
he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him'? (1.) It is put 
exclusively. Privileges in scripture are propounded with their neces 
sary limitation ; we disjoint the frame of religion, if we would sever 
the reward from the duty. God is a rewarder, but to whom ? To 
the careless, to the negligent ? Oh, no ! he will be an avenger to them : 
Ps. ix. 17, ' The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations 
that forget God ; ' not only they that deny God, but they that forget God, 
that do not seek after him. As they cast God out of their mind and 
affections, so God will cast them out of his presence. (2.) It is put 
inclusively : God will impartially reward every one that seeks him, 
without any distinction. The door of grace stands open for all comers. 
Every one that seeketh God finds entertainment, not only in regard of 
the answers of grace for the present, but as to eternal recompenses 

[1.] For the present. Oh, do not conceive of God after a carnal 
manner! It was the corrupt theology of the gentiles, Dii magna 
curant, parva negligunt, that the gods did look after great things, but 
small and petty things they left to others, as if the great God did act 
according to the advice of Jethro to Moses: Exod. xviii. 21, 22, ' Thou 
shalt appoint rulers of thousands, hundreds, and fifties, and tens, and 
let them judge the people at all seasons : and it shall be, that every 
great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they 
shall judge/ But the Lord's providence here in the world extends to 
every one that seeketh him, and he hearkens to the prayers of the 
poorest beggar as well as the greatest monarch ; persons despicable in 
the world may find audience and acceptance with God : Ps. xxxiv. 6, 
' This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him ; ' David speaks it of 
himself, when he was a ruddy youth following the ewes great with 
young. There is none among the sons of men that hath cause to say as 
Isa. xl. 27, ' My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed 
over from my God ;' that is, God hath so much to do in the world that he 
forgets me, he doth not mind my case ; for the Lord hath a providence. 


[2.] Hereafter they will find in him a re warder. There is none so 
poor but he will find God makes good his promise. There is a notable 
expression, Eph. vi. 8, ' Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man 
doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.' 
He speaks to encourage servants (who at that time were slaves) in 
singleness of heart to go about their duty. Even the basest drudgery 
of servants is a doing good, and comes within the compass of those 
good works which God will take notice of. God does not look to the 
external splendour of the work but to the honesty and sincerity of it, 
though it be of a poor drudge and slave that is faithful in his calling. 
Nay, God will rather forget princes, lords, and mighty men of the 
earth, vain and sinful potentates, than pass by a poor servant that fears 
him. You find that God gave the angels charge over Lazarus' soul, 
Luke xvi. 22, ' The beggar died, and was carried by the angels into 
Abraham's bosom.' The beggar's soul is thus conducted in state to 
heaven. Whoever seeks him will be sure to find him a rewarder. 

Secondly, I come to the nature of this faith. You have seen the 
thing that is to be believed ; but how is it to be believed ? 

1. It must be a firm and certain persuasion. The reward is sure 
on God's part. Men may be ignorant, forgetful, unthankful, as 
Pharaoh's butler forgat Joseph, Gen. xl. 23; but the Lord is righteous, 
and will not forget your labour of love : Prov. xi. 18, ' To him that 
soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.' It may be the work you 
do for God is like ploughing or sowing, difficult and hard work, but 
we are sure of an excellent crop. When we feel nothing but trouble 
and inconvenience, sense will make lies of God, and we are apt to say, 
'I have cleansed my heart in vain/ Ps. Ixxiii. 13. But the Lord will 
not forget this service you do for him. Under the law God would 
not have the hireling defrauded of his wages because he hath lifted up 
his soul to it. The man comforted himself with this thought: he 
should have his recompense at night. So when thou hast lifted up thy 
soul to look for those great things promised, God looks upon himself 
as bound ; therefore this must be entertained with a strong faith, and 
without doubting. We read in scripture of a threefold assurance ; an 
' assurance of understanding,' Col. ii. 2 ; an ' assurance of faith,' Heb. 
x. 22; and an 'assurance of hope,' Heb. vi. 11. All this represents 
the firmness of that assent by which we should receive the promises. 

2. It must not be a naked assent, but a lively and operative faith, 
urging and encouraging us to seek after God upon those hopes. There 
are many that are able to dispute for the truth of the rewards of 
religion, but yet do not feel the virtue of them. This is not enough, to 
have notions and opinions that God is a rewarder, but we must have a 
lively operative faith : Phil. iii. 14, ' I press toward the mark for the 
prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ.' That is a due appre 
hension of the reward, when we are engaged thereby to the duties 
which the reward calls for : Heb. xi. 13, ' They were persuaded of 
them, and embraced them ; ' when it ravishes the affections and en- 
gageth the heart; when it keeps us from fainting under the cross, 
2 Cor. iv. 16 ; when it abates the eagerness of our pursuit after worldly 
things ; when we are more contented with a little here, because we 
are persuaded we shall have enough with God. A rich man that 


hath a vast inheritance of his own, to see him among the poor that 
glean up the ears of corn that were scattered, this were an uncomely 
thing. Oh ! do we look for so great blessedness, and are we scraping 
so much in the world, ' We that are begotten to a lively hope ' ? 1 
Peter i. 3. Such a faith produceth sobriety and moderation to worldly 
things ; 1 Peter i. 13, 'Be sober, and hope to the end for the grace 
that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.' In 
short, we that look for such things should give diligence to be found 
of him; and what manner of persons ought we to be ?' 2 Peter iii. 11. 
If it be not a dead and a naked opinion only, to dispute about the 
rewards of religion, but a well-grounded confidence, it will quicken 
our endeavours, moderate our desires, allay the bitterness of the cross r 
and help us on in the way to heaven. 

3. It is an applicative faith. We must believe God is not only a> 
rewarder, but say with Paul, This he will be to me ; for so we have the 
expression, 2 Tim. iv. 8, ' Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown 
of righteousness,' &c. ; this is proposed and made over to me for my 
comfort and my quickening. Salvation in general hath no such an 
efficacy : 1 Cor. ix. 26, ' I run, not as uncertain/ In the Isthmic 
games, to which the apostle alludes, held near Corinth, a man might 
run, but he was not certain whether he should have the goal or no ; 
but I run not as uncertain, as one that hath the prize in view, and am 
comfortably assured I shall obtain it. This quickeneth us to a com 
fortable, willing industry. 

Tliirdly, The influence that it hath upon our obedience and service 
to God. 

1. To keep the heart free and ingenuous. We are apt to look upon 
God as a Pharaoh, harsh and austere, as if he had required work where 
he will not give wages. But think of his mercy and kindness, and 
readiness to reward the services of his people, that you may come to 
him with an ingenuous confidence. Our obligations to God are 
absolute ; we are bound to serve him, though nothing should come of 
it. Ay, but he is pleased to move us by rewards, ' to draw us with 
the cords of a man, and with the bands of love,' Hos. xi. 4. When be 
might rule us with a rod of iron, and require duty out of mere power 
and sovereignty, he will govern us rationally, by precepts and rewards. 
Men do not use to enter into covenant with a slave, yet God is pleased 
to indent with us ; he would have us to look upon him as a rewarder. 
In all our services we are to remember that God is, that we may be 
aweful ; and ' he is a rewarder,' that we may be ingenuous. 

2. To keep the heart sincere and upright. Oh, there is nothing 
makes the heart so sincere as to make God our paymaster, and to look 
for our reward from him only. Carnal affections will draw us to seek 
praise and honour of men, some present profit, some reward here : Mat. 
vi. 2, ' They have their reward,' and give God a discharge ; but a man's 
sincerity is to look for all his reward from God : Col. iii. 23, ' Knowing 
that of the Lord yc shall receive the reward of the inheritance.' You 
have a master good enough, and need not look for your pay elsewhere. 

3. To quicken us in our duty, and make us vigorous and cheerful 
and diligent in our service : 1 Cor xv. 58, ' Therefore, my beloved 
brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of 


the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labour shall not be in vain 
in the Lord.' Idols can do nothing for their worshippers ; these will 
deceive you, but God will not be served for nought ; your duty that 
you do to him will return into your bosoms, and will bring a blessing ; 
not like a ball struck into the air, that returns not again to you, but 
like a ball struck against a wall, that returns to your hand again. Let 
us who are bred up in the belief of this principle, bless God 

[1.] That there is a reward. He might have cut off all hopes and 
left us under the despair of the first covenant, and then our guilty fears 
would represent God under no other notion but that of an avenger ; and 
our punishment might have begun with our sin, as the fallen angels were 
held in chains of darkness, under an everlasting horrible despair of 
mending their condition. When once we had lost God, we might 
never have found him more ; his language to the fallen creature 
might have been only thunder and wrath. Or if he would quit us 
from what is past, and release our punishment for the future, he might 
only have ruled us with a rod of iron, and imposed laws upon us out of 
mere sovereignly, and say, Thus and thus shall ye do, 'I am the 
Lord ; ' or, at least, have held us in bondage, and suspended the pub 
lication of a new and better covenant, and kept it in his own breast, 
that we might wholly stand to his arbitrary will, whether he would 
reward yea, or no. Thus the Lord might have done with us ; but he 
will rather draw us by the cords of a man, hold us to our duty by the 
sense of our own interest, and give us leave to encourage ourselves with 
the thoughts of his bounty. There are many in the world that think 
it unsafe to use God's motives, and destroy his grace, for which we 
have cause to bless God. They say, God is to be worshipped, though 
we had no benefit by him, merely for the excellency of his being ; but 
this is but a fancy and an airy religion ; to abstract religion from re 
wards is to frame a religion in conceit. The two first notions of God 
are his being and his bounty, and we must reflect upon both. It is a 
description of the people of God, Horn. ii. 7, ' That by patient con 
tinuance in well doing, they seek for honour, and glory, and immor 
tality.' We may seek honour from God ; and a great part of our sin 
cerity lies in this, to make God our paymaster ; and therefore let us 
bless God that there is a reward. 

[2.] That there is so great a reward : Mat. v. 12, ' Kejoice and be 
exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven ; such as we may 
admire rather than conceive ; and 2 Cor. iv. 17, ' Our light affliction, 
that is but for a moment, worketh for us Ka6 > vTreppo\r)v ek vTrepjBoXrjv, 
a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory/ Heaven 
will not admit of a hyperbole. In other things, fancy may easily 
overreach, the garment may be too big for the body ; but all our 
thoughts come short of heaven. God himself will be our reward : Gen. 
xv. 1, ' Fear not, Abraham ; I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great 
reward.' When he would encourage us to well-doing, he goes to the 
utmost ; he hath no greater encouragement to propound to us. As the 
apostle said, Heb. vi. 13, ' When God made promise to Abraham, be 
cause he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself.' God hath 
no greater thing to give us, and therefore saith, ' I will be your reward ;' 
though he does not for the present make out himself in 'that latitude 


to us, that he will hereafter when God is all in all. There is enough 
to counterbalance all the inconveniences of religion ; when you sit 
down and count the charges, you will be no losers. The difficulties 
of obedience, the sorrows of the cross, shall all be made up to you in 
this reward ; and therefore let not your hearts be faint, nor your hands 
shake, but ' Press on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling 
of God in Christ Jesus/ Phil. iii. 14. If it be a painful race, remem 
ber what is the crown; we run for the everlasting enjoyment 
of the blessed God. As we Christians have the noblest work, 
so we have the highest motives ; there is a reward, and a great 

[3.] That this reward is so freely dispensed, and upon terms of 
grace ^dpLa-^a ' The grace of God is eternal life/ Horn. vi. 23. 
Such are the riches of his grace to lost sinners, that we can hardly 
believe, especially with application, what is told us of this readiness of 
God to do good to the creature, and to reward our slender services. 
But then how should this encourage us to draw nigh to the fountain 
of rich grace, for pardon, life, and glory, when so much is so freely pre 
pared for such unworthy ones : Ps. xxxvi. 7, ' How excellent is thy 
loving-kindness, God ! therefore the children of men put their trust 
under the shadow of thy wings/ 

[4.] That all this is made known to us, and that we are not left to 
uncertain guesses and conjectures. The heathens were sensible of the 
recompenses of another world ; they had some dreams of elyeian fields, 
and fancies about noisome rivers, and obscure grottoes, and dismal 
caverns in the earth, as places of punishment ; but they knew not 
whether this were a fable or a certain truth. As men that see a spire 
at a distance in travelling ; sometimes they have a sight of it, and 
sometimes they have lost it, and cannot tell whether they saw it or no. 
Thus it was with the heathens : saith Lactantius Virtutis vim non 
sentiunt, cujus prcemium ignorant they were ignorant of the power of 
godliness, because they knew not the rewards of godliness. But all is 
clear and open to us, and established upon certain terms : 2 Tim. i. 
10, ' Jesus Christ hath brought life and immortality to light by the 
gospel/ Well then, if these be the thoughts that enliven all our 
duties, how clearly may we take God under these notions ' That God 
is, and that he is a re warder.' 

[5.] That it is so surely made known unto us. God foresaw that in 
this lower world, where God is unseen, where our trials are so great, 
where our hopes are to come, where the flesh is so importunate to be 
pleased and gratified with present satisfactions, God foresaw, I say, 
that we would be liable to much doubting and unbelief ; and therefore 
he hath not only passed his word that there shall be a reward, but 
hath given us a pawn and earnest of it in our heart, to assure us of it : 
2 Cor. i. 22, ' Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the 
Spirit in our hearts.' The comforts that we have in well-doing in this 
world are not only dona, gifts of God, but arrha, an assurance that 
God will give us more ; they are a taste how good, and a pledge how 
sure our reward shall be. 

[6.] That we have hopes and encouragements to put in for a share, 
and come and take hold of eternal life upon these terms ; that we can- 


not only say in general, ' God is a re warder/ but he will be so ' to me,' 
2 Tim. iv. 8, ' Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of glory.' This 
was not peculiar to Paul only, for he saith ' And not only for me, but 
for all that love his appearing.' All those that do believe the rewards 
of the Christian religion, and act upon this encouragement, and serve 
God faithfully, all that prepare for it, may say, ' For me,' there is a 
crown of life ; this I expect from God's hand. Oh, then blessed be his 
name that hath given us ' so good hope through grace,' 2 Thes. ii. 16. 
That is cause of rejoicing and thanksgiving indeed : Luke x. 20, 
' Kejoice that your names are written in heaven.' When we can see our 
names in Christ's testament, look upon ourselves as concerned in this 
reward, that we have a title to it ; or if we have not a title, the door 
is open, the promise is sure, the way is plain, the helps are many, and 
we may have a title if we will. And therefore let us bless God that 
there is a reward, a great reward, a reward so freely dispensed, and 
this made known and assured to us by the joys of the Spirit, and that 
we have hopes and encouragement to go on in well-doing upon this 

Use 2. If God be a rewarder of them that diligently seek him, 
then here is a reproof, because so few seek after God. Paul charges it 
upon all natural men : Rom. iii. 11, ' There is none that seeketh after 
the Lord ; ' we all at first go wandering after our own fancies, and 
never think of returning to God, as our chief good, till we have tried 
ourselves with a thousand disappointments, and are scourged home to 
him ; yea, it were well if we would seek him at the last or were 
brought to God upon any terms. But, alas ! some seek him not at 
all; others do not seek him diligently, but in a slight and overly 

1. Some do not seek him at all. Alas! there are many that run 
away from God, and are never better than when they can get out of 
his eye and presence ' God is not in all their thoughts,' Ps. x. 4. As 
the prodigal went from his father into a far country, so a carnal man 
is ever running from God. He runs from his own conscience, and can 
not endure to commune and hold a little parley with his own heart, 
because he finds God there. He shuns the presence of holy men, 
because they have God's image they put him in mind of God ; slights 
the ordinances of worship, lest they revive a sense of God in his heart, 
and he meet with God in them. The word brings God too near him, 
and awakens his fears. Prayer he slights, because it engageth him to 
speak to God. He shuns the thoughts of death, because then the spirit 
must return to God that gave it. If the Holy Ghost stirs up any 
thoughts of God in his heart, he will not cherish them ; he abhors his 
own thoughts of God, and is ready to say as Satan, Mat. viii. 29, 
' What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God ? Art thou 
come hither to torment us before the time ? ' Thoughts of God and 
Christ and heavenly things are a torment to him. 

2. There are others that do not seek him diligently, and with their 
whole hearts. Oh, to what a sorry use do the most of us put our lives ! 
We are hunting after the profits of the world and the pleasures of our 
senses, but we do not inquire after God. Most of us have cause to 
blush and to be ashamed, How little is our delight in God ? how 


seldom do we think or speak of him ? how cold is our affections to 
him ? how dead and careless are our prayers that we make ? our 
thoughts are taken up with trifles, and God finds no room there. If 
any speak of God in our company, or mention his great love to sinners, 
we frown upon the motion, and think it unseasonable for those meet 
ings and hours that we have consecrated to mirth and carnal sports, as 
if our thoughts of God were like gall and wormwood to embitter the 
pleasure we affect. We had rather have anything than God, his gifts 
than himself, yea, the worser sort of them, than his favour and grace ; 
and then we offend him, we do not take such care to please him, and 
reconcile ourselves to him by the means he hath appointed. They that 
do indeed love God, and seek after God, they are with him morning, 
noon, and night ; nay, they do carry God along with them in all their 
businesses and occasions : Ps. xvi. 8, ' I have set the Lord always before 
me ; ' and Ps. cxxxix. 18, ' When I awake, I am still with thee.' We 
that seldom think or speak of God, do we seek after God ? surely no. 

Use 3. To exhort us to seek God, and to seek him out till we find 

1. To seek God. Motives 

[1.] To enjoy God, who is the centre of our rest, and the fountain 
of our blessedness, is the chief end for which we were made. Man was 
made to use the creatures, and to enjoy God. All things were made 
to glorify God, but some creatures to enjoy him, as men and angels. 
We sin against the law of our creation, and swerve from the great end 
of our lives and actions, if this be not all our hope and all our desire : 
Ps. Ixxiii. 25, ' Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there is none 
on earth that I desire besides thee.' Nothing but God can make us 

[2.] It is our business to seek him, as well as our happiness to enjoy 
him- Since the fall, God is lost, and out of the indulgence of his grace 
offereth himself to be found again, and inviteth us to communion with 
himself, that we may have everlasting blessedness : Amos v. 5, ' Seek 
ye the Lord, and ye shall live.' Now, for us to despise this grace and 
turn our backs upon this offer, not to regard it in our thoughts, 
not to pursue it with earnest endeavours, it is a slighting of God's 
mercy : Ps. Ixxxi, 11, ' But my people would not hearken to my voice ; 
and Israel would none of me.' He offereth himself, and we make little 
reckoning of it. 

[3.J Because we are sluggish and backward, all external providences 
tend to quicken us to this duty. Mercies : Acts xvii. 27, ' That they 
should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him.' 
God refresh eth our sense and taste with his goodness with new experi 
ences every day, that set us a-work anew in seeking after him. 
Afflictions : Hos. v. 15, ' I will go, and return to my place, till they 
acknowledge their offence, and seek my face : in their affliction they 
will seek me early.' This is the right use of all our troubles to drive 
us home to God, to quicken us to look after communion with him, 
and to make up our former negligence with double diligence herein, 
to set an edge upon our affections. God knows want is a spur to a 
lazy soul. 

[4.] All ordinances are appointed for this end and purpose, that we 


might seek after God and find him : Exod. xx. 24, ' In all places where 
I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee ; ' Mat. 
xviii. 20, ' Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there 
am I in the midst of them ; ' there he cometh most sensibly to mani 
fest himself to us ; Eev. ii. 1, ' These things saith he that holdeth the 
seven stars in his right hand, that walketh in the midst of the seven 
golden candlesticks.' His special presence is in his church. If we 
find him not in the time we seek him, we shall soon after : 2 Sam. vii. 
4, ' And it came to pass that night, that the word of the Lord came 
unto Nathan ; ' Cant. v. 5, 'I rose up to open to my beloved, and 
my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet-smelling 
myrrh upon the handles of the lock ; ' some impression was left that 
worketh afterward. 

[5.] It is the end of the Spirit's motion : Ps. xxvii. 8, ' When 
thou saidst, Seek ye my face ; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, 
will I seek.' God speaks to us by the injection of holy thoughts and 
the inspiration of his grace, and we should, like a quick echo, take hold 
of this. 

[6.] Let me press you, because all the pretences that keep you from 
seeking God are in vain ; as (1.) That there is no need of seeking 
God ; or (2.) That it is in vain to seek God. 

(1.) That there is no need of seeking God. We should always be 
seeking of God, till our loss by the fall be fully made up in heaven ; 
we should still seek God, till we enjoy him among his holy ones. We 
seek God on earth, but we find him in heaven : Ps. cv. 4, ' Seek the 
Lord, and his strength, seek his face evermore.' We need him every 
hour for direction, protection, strength, and comfort ; we are in danger 
to lose him, if we do not continue the search : all the while we are in 
the world this work must be plied close. 

(2.) As the devil saith to the secure, There is no need ; so to the fear 
ful and troubled sinner, that it is in vain to seek God, especially when 
former endeavours sucoeed not there is no hope for him. Oh, but seek 
him ! the God of Jacob hath not said, ' Seek ye me in vain,' Isa. xlv. 
19. He hath engaged himself plainly, openly, and perspicuously, not 
in obscure and ambiguous terms, such as may bear contrary senses, 
that their fraud and ignorance may not be discerned ; and he perform- 
eth what he promised : Ps. xxii. 26, ' They shall praise the Lord that 
seek him : your heart shall live for ever.' Neminem tristtm dimisit, 
He never sent any away sad, but will comfort them. Wisdom is light 
and knowledge to the soul : Prov. xxviii. 5, ' They that seek the Lord 
understand all things' the meaning of all his providences. And it is 
comfort to the soul ; Ps. Ixix. 32, ' Your heart shall live that seek God ;' 
and protection, Ezra viii. 22, ' The hand of our God is upon all them 
for good that seek him, but his power and his wrath is against all them 
that forsake him.' So that we shall have cause to praise God before the 
search be over : Mat. vi. 33, ' Seek ye first the kingdom of God and the 
righteousness thereof, and all these things shall be added to you.' But 
besides this, if there were nothing in hand, there is much in hope ; it 
bringeth an everlasting reward : Amos v. 6, ' Seek ye the Lord and ye 
shall live ; ' and in the text, ' He is a rewarder of them that diligently 
seek him.' They that do not seek his face shall never see his face ; 


however, if we do not sensibly find him, yet we may comfort ourselves, 
that we are in a seeking way, and still in the pursuit : Ps. xxiv. 6, 
' This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, 
Jacob. Selah.' This is the mark of God's chosen people, and we 
should be still wrestling through disappointments. Better be a seeker 
than a wanderer. But the wicked are described by this that ' They 
are all gone out of the way,' Ps. xiv. 3. 

2. For the manner seek him out. 

[1.] Seek him early, whilst you have strength to serve him, and 
whilst you have means to find him. This is a work that must not be put 
off: Isa. Iv. 6, ' Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found, call ye upon 
him while he is near.' God will not always put up with your frequent 
denials. There is a time when God will be gone, and seeking will be to 
no purpose : compare Prov. i. 28, ' Then shall they call upon me, but 
I will not answer ; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find 
me ; ' with chap. viii. 17, ' I love them that love me ; and they that seek 
me early shall find me.' There is a seeking out of self-love, and a seeking 
out of love to God. When death cometh and their day is past, many 
at last may seek God ; and their straits may drive them to him, who 
were never put to it by any sense of sin. While hot and eager in sin 
ning, they are not sensible of it ; as Samson knew not that God was 
withdrawn while he slept in Delilah's bosom, till he knew the Philistines 
were upon him ; a-nd then it was too late. The greatest contemners 
and despisers of God do at last see that there is no happiness but in 
God ; but then miss the blessing, as Esau did, though he sought it with 
tears. Therefore will you despise grace to the uttermost, and weary it 
out to the last gasp ? It may be by thy lamentations on thy death-bed, 
God will learn others to take heed of trifling with him. Oh then, if they 
could but call time back again ! What, Lord ! not give me one hour, or 
one day more ? There is no place without examples of this kind, of those 
that lament their time is out and opportunities lost, when God hath 
offered grace to them. Some instances there are, whom God sets forth 
to be terrors to the secure world, who are as good as men risen from 
the dead, to tell others of the vanity of their sinful courses ; who, look 
ing upon time past, see it is irrecoverably lost, and gone away as a 
dream and a shadow. Upon time present they feel their souls naked, 
their accounts not made up, an end come to all their hopes and comforts 
here ; body sick, conscience trembling, heart hard, God departed, and 
the grave opened for their filthy carcases, and devils waiting for their 
secure souls, and for time to come think of nothing but hell and horror 
and judgment to come ; and so they lie complaining, that they had 
not improved their time. But much time is lost, wishing others to 
take warning by them, and saying to them, Oh, do not cast away mercy, 
nor let the precious blood of Christ, which is worthy to be gathered up by 
angels, run a wasting ; now I see the end of my joys, and the beginning of 
my torments ! Oh, then, seek God out of love to God : 1 Peter iv. 3, 
' For the time past of our lives may suffice us, to have wrought the will of 
the gentiles ; ' Hos. x. 12, ' For it is time to seek the Lord/ Misspent 
time in neglecting or refusing to seek the Lord ought to be redeemed, 
and will be so in all that are sensible of their own case. When God 
maketh an offer, we should be so far from delaying or putting off our 


seeking after him, that we should look back upon the time already 
spent out of communion with God as very long, too long for the good 
of our souls. It should be a grief of heart to us to think of pleasing 
the flesh, or living in a state of estrangement any longer. Otherwise, 
we do in effect say, We have not taken time enough to dishonour God 
and destroy our own souls : Luke xiii. 25, ' When once the master of 
the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door and ye begin to stand 
without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us ; 
he shall answer and say unto you, I know ye not, whence ye are ; ' 
John vii. 34, ' Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me/ Most men 
think Christ a thorn in their side, and that it will never be well till he 
be gone ; but then they shall seek him, and shall not find him, though 
they would have him. Though they put away Christ and his truth, 
yet in ensuing calamities they as earnestly beg for their Messias. So 
Hos. v. 6, ' They shall go with their flocks and with 'their herds to seek 
the Lord ; but they shall not find him ; he hath withdrawn himself 
from them/ Men contemn the offered grace. The foolish virgins 
sought when it was too late : Mat. xxv. 11, ' Lord, Lord, open to us.' 
Therefore early, while God stretcheth out his arms, let us not receive 
his grace in vain. 

[2.] Seek him with all the heart, not with a double heart, or a 
divided heart : James i. 8, ' A double-minded man is unstable in all 
his ways ; ' their hearts hang between two objects God and the world ; 
the conscience is for God, and the heart for the world : Ps. cxix 10, 
' With my whole heart have I sought thee : ' when the pre valency 
of our affections carrieth us to God, and we seek him for him 

[3.] Seek him earnestly. Carnal men will now and then throw away 
a prayer. Our affections are strong for earthly things, why not for 
God ? Ps. xxvii. 4, ' One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will 
I seek after ; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days 
of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his tem 
ple : ' this is our great business. 

[4.] Seek him constantly and imweariedly ; do not give over till you 
enjoy God. You must not be discouraged with every disappointment. 
When God seemeth to put us off : Luke xi. ' Because of his impor 
tunity, 8, 8ia rrjv curaiSetav, he will rise and give him as many as he 
needeth.' God hideth himself many times, that we may the more 
earnestly seek after him ; as Cant. iii. 1, 3, ' By night on my bed I 
sought him whom my soul loveth ; I sought him but I found him not. 
I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad 
ways, I will seek him whom my soul loveth ; I sought him, but I found 
him not/ &c. The woman of Canaan that came to Christ would not be 
put off ; the lord may be hidden to influence our desires ; the children 
of God are never satisfied while they are in the world : 2 Cor. v. 6, 
' Whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord : ' 
we cannot have complete fruition till we be where God is. 



By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved 
with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house ; by the 
which he condemned the ivorld, and became heir of the righteous 
ness which is by faith. HEB. xi. 7. 

IN the history of faith the apostle passeth from Enoch to Noah. He 
is fitly subjoined as being the next person of eminency in the line of 
the church. Enoch was famous for walking with (rod, and so was 
Noah : Gen. vi. 9, ' Noah was a just man, and perfect in his 'generation ; 
and Noah walked with God.' Enoch received a testimony that he 
pleased God, and so did Noah ; he is said, ' to find grace in the eyes of 
the Lord/ Gen. vi. 8. And therefore Noah is the fittest instance 
that could be mentioned, next to Enoch, as being the inheritor and 
successor of his graces and privileges Besides, the former verse spoke 
of the respects of faith to the rewards of religion, ver. 6, ' He is a 
rewarder of them that diligently seek him.' Therefore now the apostle 
would bring an instance of the respects of faith to the threatening and 
commination of the word ' By faith Noah/ &c. The person then 
whose faith we are now to consider is Noah, the true Janus, with a 
double face, looking forward and backward ; the last of the patriarchs 
of the old world, and the first of the new. In the commendation of 
his faith we may take notice of many circumstances 

1. The ground of his faith Noah being warned of God. 

2. The strength of it, intimated in the object of things not seen as 
yet, or of things that by no means could be seen. 

3. The consequents and the fruits of his faith, and they are four 
(1.) He was moved ivithfear, or out of a religious respect to God (so 

the word signifies) ; (2.) He prepared an ark ; (3.) He condemned the 
world ; (4.) He became an heir of the righteousness which is by faith. 
I shall open each part in this order and method proposed. 

But before I discuss the parts, let me premise somewhat. That 
we have not only to do with a private instance and example of faith, 
but such as is of public use and accommodation. God's dealing with 
Noah, and the world in his time, was a pledge and a type of his dealing 
with the world in all after ages. To amplify this 

[1.] It was a pledge, or a public evident testimony of future dispensa 
tions ; this was a document God would give to the world. In the 
destruction of the old world he would show his displeasure against sin, 
and in the preservation of Noah the privileges of the godly. 

(1.) The destruction of the old world was a pledge of his vengeance 
and recompense upon sinners in all ages. It is notable that in the book 
of Job, those that denied providence, that God took notice of human 
affairs, they are called to look upon this instance, the example of the 
old world : Job xxii. 15, 16, ' Hast thou marked the old way which 
wicked men have trodden ? which were cut down out of time, whose 
foundation was overthrown with a flood.' God's first dispensations 
were visible pledges and testimonies : his dispensation to Sodom was 


a pledge of hell-fire ; and his drowning of the world, it being a more 
universal instance of his displeasure, was a pledge of the general judg 
ment. Here we may read several things : the severity of his justice, 
the verity of his threatenings, and the greatness of his power and majesty. 
The severity of his justice : oh, what a dreadful instance was this of 
God's displeasure against sin and sinners ! Luther saith, Moses vix sine 
lachrymis scripsit, et nos esse saxeos, si siccis oculis ista legere possmnus 
Moses could not write it without tears, and we have stony hearts if 
we can read it with dry eyes. The whole world perished in the deluge 
of water which sin vomited out ; men, women, infants, beasts, and all 
things in the world perished. For forty days together nothing but 
rain, rain, rain ; and the great deep opened its mouth, and sent forth 
floods. It would have melted a heart of stone to hear the cries and 
shrieks of parents, women, and children. God now had rained 'a 
horrible tempest' upon sinners, Ps. xi. 6 ; the whole world was become 
now as one .great river, and all things in the world were now afloat. 
Again, we have a pledge of the verity of the threatenings, what would 
come of their carnal course. The foolish world thought this was but 
a dream of the good old man, but see how the Lord made good Noah's 
word. It is said, Hos. vii. 12, ' I will chastise them as their congrega 
tion hath heard.' God would have us mark not only his justice, but 
his truth in all his dispensations ; he will not only chastise them as 
they had deserved, but as their congregation had heard. There is a 
double conviction, and such as may keep the soul in more awe and 
obedience. And then it is an evidence of the power and majesty of 
God, that he cannot want instruments of vengeance ; fire and water 
are at his beck and command. He that punished the old world with 
water to quench their heat of lusts, can punish the new world with fire 
because of the coldness of love that shall be in the latter days. 
Whenever the Lord Avill dissolve the confederacies of nature, what can 
poor creatures do? Oh, let us regard the power and majesty of God, 
and the rather because we are kept by a continual miracle : the water 
is above the earth, as may be proved by undoubted arguments, and the 
whole world would become but as one great pool were it not for the 
restraint of providence. 

(2.) The preservation of Noah was a pledge of God's mercy in the 
preservation of his people. In general and common judgments God 
can make a distinction. In the primitive times the Christians were 
troubled how God should punish those seducers by whom religion was 
scandalised and yet save the godly ; and what doth the apostle say to 
this ? 2 Peter ii. 9, ' The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out 
of temptation, and reserve the unjust to the day of judgment to be 
punished.' The Lord knows he is versed in the art, it hath been his prac 
tice for many thousands of years ; and there he brings the instance of Lot, 
how he was delivered out of Sodom, ver. 7 ; howthe good angels were pre 
served when the bad were tumbled down into the place of darkness, ver. 
4 ; and he brings the instance of the old world, how God could rescue 
Noah, and avenge the disobedience of the old world, ver. 5. Especially 
this is a pledge of the different recompenses that shall be made at the 
last day, when all the ungodly world shall perish, but the elect shall 
be taken into glory. You shall see vengeance executed upon the ungodly. 
Christ will have it done not only in his own sight : Luke xix. 27, ' Those 


mine enemies that would not that I should reign over them, bring- hither 
and slay them before me/ Christ will see execution done himself in his 
own person ; but it shall be done in the sight of the godly. The wicked 
are first punished in the sight of the godly, before the godly are taken 
into glory : Mat. xxv. 46, ' These shall go away into everlasting punish 
ment,' and then 'the righteous into life eternal.' You shall first see the 
wicked have their doom, then you shall receive your privilege. Thus 
you see it was a pledge of God's general dispensations both to the godly 
and the wicked. 

[2.] It was a type, too ; for all things happened to the fathers by 
way of type and symbol, and so did this. 

(1.) There is a great similitude between the day of judgment and 
the drowning of the world in several cases. It is good, I know, to be 
wary in allegories, yet we find in scripture the flood is mystically 
applied. There is a resemblance between the destruction of the old 
world , and the day of judgment when Christ shall come in glory. 
And that is the reason why the days of Noah and the day of the 
general judgment are often compared together ; the flood was to them 
as the general judgment is to us : 2 Peter iii. 6, ' Whereby the world 
that then was, being overflowed with water, perished ; ' so Mat. xxiv. 
37-39, ' As in the days of Noah they were eating and drinking, 
marrying and giving in marriage, and knew not until the flood came, 
and took them all away. So shall also the coming of the Son of man 
be; ' and in Luke xvii. 26, 27, the like comparison is made. The 
comparison holds true in several cases. Those that lived in Noah's 
time a little before the flood, were extremely secure ; their ears were 
sealed up with their bellies, they nourished their heart with pleasure ; 
they ate and they drank, they married, they gave in marriage ; as if 
they had said, Come let us eat, $rink, and enjoy the pleasures of the 
flesh while we may ; if this scrupulous fellow's words be true, we shall 
surely die; they looked upon him as an old doting man that dreamed 
of destruction. Just such kind of men shall there be at the last 
day, men of a secure luxury, that shall scoff at the ministers of the 
gospel when they press strictness and holiness, and propound the 
threatenings of God. It is said of the men in Noah's time: Mat. xxiv. 
39, 'They knew not till the flood came, and took them all away.' 
They knew it well enough ; Noah gave them warning ; but they took 
no notice of any such threatenings ; they behaved themselves as if they 
had known no such matter, though they knew there was such a thing 
threatened. The scripture measures our thoughts by our practice. 
So carnal men, the day of the Lord comes upon them, and they know 
not till the judgment takes them away ; they do not believe in the great 
day of accounts, for they live as if there were no such day when they 
securely give themselves up to secular business, and neglect their poor 
souls. And look, as it was with sinners at the coming of the flood, so 
will it be with those carnal wretches at the judgment day ; when the 
great deep had opened its mouth, and all the world was like a deep 
river swiftly flowing, the waters prevailed and increased greatly. 
They that did not fear before, how did they run to and fro from the 
lower rooms to the higher, from the floors to the tops of the houses, 
from the houses to the trees, from the valleys to the hills, and yet still 
the waters increased upon them. Some possibly might swim towards 


the ark, and desire that refuge which before they despised ; but still 
the waters prevailed over them, and so they were drowned. Such 
will be the consternation of the wicked in the great day. The hypo 
crites in Zion shall be afraid, and they shall cry, Who shall hide us ? 
and, Where shall we go from the wrath of the Lamb : Kev. vi. 15-17, 
'And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and 
the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and 
every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the 
mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide 
us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath 
of the Lamb ; for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be 
able to stand ? ' Then they shall cry out, Oh, that I had accepted 
Christ, and that I had gotten into the ark! All the wolves shall 
tremble then at the presence of the glorious Lamb, when he shall come 
in majesty and power. 

(2.) In the preservation of Noah and his family there was a type. 
Noah and those that >rere of his household were under the oath and 
covenant that they should be safe: Gen. vi. 18, 'With thee will I 
establish my covenant ; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou and 
thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee.' God had passed 
his word. God made two covenants with Noah ; one when he went 
into the ark, that he should be safe ; and another, when he came out of 
the ark, that the waters should no more return : Gen. viii. 21, ' I will 
not again curse the ground any more for man's sake,' &c. This may 
be spiritually applied of God's oath to believers as soon as they close 
with Christ. See how the Spirit of the Lord applies it : Isa. liv. 9, 
' As I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the 
earth ; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor 
rebuke thee ; ' it is an allusion to the later covenant. God invites us 
by his promise and covenant to come to Christ, and we shall have 
security there ; then he plighteth his oath that a deluge of wrath shall 
never return more ; they shall be safe for the present, and happy here 
after. Again, as there was no safety but in the ark, the only means 
of salvation was the ark, and then the ark must not only be looked 
upon, but entered into ; so there is no safety but in Jesus Christ ; and 
it is not enough to know Christ, and to have a naked contemplation of 
his sufficiency to save sinners, but our safety by Christ is by virtue of 
our union with him : Rom. viii. 1 , ' There is no condemnation to them 
that are in Christ Jesus.' As they that were in the ark were safe, so 
those that are in Christ, united to him, are secured. Again, look 
upon the ark as an instituted means, which preserved them in the midst 
of the deluge. God, by his absolute power, could have preserved Noah 
upon the waters or in the waters as well as in the ark, as he saved the 
fishes in the water ; yet he is pleased to prescribe some probable and 
likely means of safety, and the means prescribed must be used. So if we 
would be saved, we must use the means of salvation, however derided, 
as baptism and the word. For the word : 1 Cor. i. 21, ' It pleased 
God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.' Though 
the world opposeth and despiseth it, yet this is the way and means. 
So also for baptism, for so the apostle applies it, 1 Peter iii. 20, 21, 
' Which sometimes were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of 
God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a-preparing. 


wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water. The like figure 
whereunto even baptism doth also now save us.' Look, as those eight 
souls that were in the ark were saved, the ark being borne up by the 
water ; so God hath appointed the water of baptism, and other means, 
to be the means of our salvation. Again, the carpenters that made 
the ark had no entertainment in the ark ; for they wrought as Noah's 
workmen for their hire, not as the servants of providence for the ends 
of God. And so there may be some men that are employed and 
minister in holy things, that may build up an ark wherein others 
may enter and be safe, but after preaching to others themselves may 
be cast away, as the apostle seems to imply, 1 Cor. ix. 2^ ' Lest that 
by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a 

Now I come to the words themselves { By faith Noah, being 
warned of God of things not yet seen, moved with fear, prepared an 
ark,' &c. 

First, I shall take notice of the ground of his faith ' He was warned 
of God.' In the original it is x/^/iartcrtfei?, warned by an oracle ; the 
word is proper to those dispensations which God used in the primitive 
times in the planting of the church. It is said of the wise men 
Xp7)fj,aTia-6evTe<; /caT'6Vap,Mat. ii. 12,' Being warned of God in a dream;' 
so of St Paul, Acts x. 22, %pr}/j,aTia-6r] VTT ayye\ov aylov, ' Being warned 
from God by a holy angel.' Now in this warning of God I shall 
observe several things. 

First, I observe God's condescension, in that he would be pleased to 
give warning. He acquainted Noah with his purpose that he might 
acquaint the world. Oh, what a slow progress doth God make in his 
judgments ! Though the pace of mercy be swift and earnest, yet judg 
ment walketh with leaden feet. When God comes to refresh a sinner, 
he comes ' skipping over the mountains,' Cant. ii. 8, as if he never could 
be soon enough. And the father ' ran to meet his son,' Luke xv. 20. 
But yet now in the progress of his judgments God's motion is slow, 
and he comes on by degrees. The apostle takes notice of this, 2 Peter 
iii. 20, ' The long-suffering of God waited as in the days of Noah, 
while the ark was preparing/ God waited long, and Noah gives warn 
ing ; there were one hundred and twenty years respite for repentance, 
and all the while Noah is building the ark, and he is preaching of 
righteousness to the ungodly, to see if he could move them to repentance. 
Nay, when the time was expired, God allows seven days more, Gen. 
vii. 4 ; and when those seven days were expired, the heavens did not 
pour out of a sudden, but the rain was increasing till it came to the 
height forty days and forty nights. When God would discover his 
goodness and power, he did it in a small time ; he perfectly made the 
world in six days : but now, to show his pity a-nd patience when he 
^ ould destroy the world, he allows forty days, to see if any of them 
would then repent ; though they were drowned, yet they might be 
saved eternally hereafter. Thus still is God wont to give his people 
warning of their approaching dangers. Judgment seldom takes the 
world by surprise ; but first there is notice given. It was the law of 
arms which God established among the Israelites ; when they came 
before any city to assault it, they were first to offer terms of peace : 



Deut. xx. 10, ' When thou comest nigh unto any city to fight against 
it, then proclaim peace unto it ; ' so still the Lord observes the same 
course. God first summons a parley, and would fain capitulate with 
sinners ; gives warning of his purpose, that they might prevent their 
ruin by repentance: Jer. xviii. 11, ' Behold I frame evil against you, 
and devise a device against you ; return ye now every one from his 
evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.' God would fain 
be prevented, Behold, I tell you what I am doing ; if you be wise, 
repent. If God threatens, it is that he may not punish ; and when he 
punisheth, it is that he may not punish for ever. God is still giving 
warning. But you will say, How doth he give warning now oracles 
are ceased ? Why, by the threatenings of the word ; and this should 
be as forcible a warning as if the Lord had given you a solemn pre 
diction. Certainly, there is a great deal of keenness in Elisha's sword : 
1 Kings xix. 17, ' Those that escape from the sword of Jehu shall 
Elisha slay.' The prophets, they have a sword : Hos vi. 5, ' I have 
hewed them by the prophets : I have slain them by the words of my 
mouth.' It is true, we do not speak by oracle, and so sensible an in 
spiration as the old prophets did ; but when the practice is threatened 
in scripture, and condemned by the word, it is as much as if we had a 
particular oracle : the constitutions of heaven will not be violated. 

To apply this hint. 

Use 1. Take notice of the rich mercy and patience of God, and 
aggravate it by his great hatred of sin. Though God hates sin exceed 
ingly, yet how long doth he bear with sinners ? how long doth he 
protract his wrath ? and how many courses doth he take to reclaim you 
from the evil of your ways ? You may sooner reconcile fire and water 
than God and sin : Ps. 1. 21, ' These things hast thou done, and I kept 
silence ; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself : 
but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes/ He 
is no favourer of your sins, but only gracious. Under the law, the 
mercy-seat was the cover of the ark ; and there was the book of the 
law, where all God's curses were kept, that was put into the ark : 
Exod. xxv. 21 , ' And thou shalt put the mercy-seat above upon the 
ark, and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee 
to show that mercy hath the moderation of all threatenings ; and 
therefore is it that we are not consumed. Mercy suspends the execu 
tion of his just revenge : we wrest destruction out of God's hand?, 
judgment is called his strange work. 

Use 2. Again, whenever you are warned of the evil of your ways, 
lay it to heart. We cannot determine the actual events ; God hath 
put times and seasons in his own hands. We may show you the merits 
of the fact, a storm in the black cloud, and then you should tremble ; 
and therefore do not think slightly of reproof and threatening. When 
Lot told them of the wrath of God against Sodom, ' He seemed to his 
sons-in-law as one that mocked,' Gen. xix. 14 ; so men think we work 
ourselves into a passion and rage. But when warning is neglected, 
wrath is exasperated. This will be your great torment in hell, to think 
you were warned of the evil of your courses, and you would not regard 
it. Look, as Reuben said to his brethren, Gen. xlii. 22, ' Did not I 
warn you to do nothing against the child ? ' So will the Lord say 


when you are under torment, Did not I warn you ? Your own heart 
will return upon you, as the heart of him that dreamt he was boiling 
in a kettle of scalding lead, and his heart cried to him, It is I that 
have been the cause of all this ; so your hearts, when in torment, will 
upbraid you with the frequent warnings you have had. 

Secondly, I observe again, that this warning was immediately made 
to Noah, who was a prophet and a righteous man, and by him it was 
delivered to the world at second-hand. God usually revealed himself 
to holy and righteous persons ; they are his familiars, and you know it 
is a part of friendship to communicate secrets ; and therefore the Lord 
will communicate his secret to them that fear him : Ps. xxv. 14, ' The 
secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will show them 
his covenant ; ' Gen. xviii. 17, ' Shall I hide from Abraham the thing 
which I do ? ' God looks upon it as a violation of friendship to Abraham 
to conceal this matter from him ; and so to his prophets, as it is 
expressly said : Amos iii. 7, ' Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but 
he revealeth his secret to his servants the prophets,' God's messengers 
are as his heralds, to offer terms of peace, and to proclaim war to the 
world ; and he gives them commission to go of his errand. It is true 
there is no necessity laid upon God that he should do it always ; but 
this is the course which he usually takes, and this was the way he often 
used in the old testament, oftener than in the new. What should be the 
reason of this ? not because his grace is straitened : it is more enlarged 
in the gospel, for the defect of prophecy is recompensed by the clear 
ness of saving truths. God opened his mind to them about particular 
events and successes, because evangelical truths were not so open and 
clear as they now are, and the eternal recompenses were more darkly 
delivered to the patriarchs. But now, God having opened his good 
treasure to us, we have higher arguments of piety, a larger measure of 
gifts, clearer discerning and understanding of the truths of the word, 
therefore prophecy ceaseth. Yet now, in the times of the gospel, he 
doth not altogether fail his people ; for though they can have no certain 
knowledge of future contingencies, yet he begets some strong instinct 
in the mind of his children, puts it into their hearts to avoid this and 
avoid that : we have no infallibility of the event, yet we may discern 
much of the providence of God. 

To apply this hint. 

Use 1. When the generality of holy men are apprehensive of judg 
ments, it is a sad omen ; when they have ill thoughts of the times, it 
is a sad presage. When the prophet was making up his stuff, it 
was a prognostic of ruin to Jerusalem, Ezek. xii. 3-7. When you 
see them ready to depart, it is a sad thing, for God ie wont to com 
municate his secret to them that fear him. Then again 

Use 2. It presseth us, if we would know the secret of the Lord, 
be holy. Grace opens the eyes, and a man discerns things more clearly. 
A holy man hath a greater insight into truth than a carnal man, for 
lusts are the clouds of the mind. He that is encumbered with lusts 
is blind : 2 Peter i. 9, 'He that lacketh these things is blind, and 
cannot see afar off.' Grace will be an advantage to you in point of 

Thirdly, I observe, in Noah being warned by God that this warning 


was by oracle and special revelation ; from whence I note that revela 
tion is the ground of faith ; for faith relates to some divine testimony. 
What we know by reason is knowledge or opinion, but not faith, which 
supposes a revelation and a testimony. Now divine revelations can 
only be the object of faith, because they are certain infallible truths, 
and cannot deceive us, and such whereunto men absolutely give credit. 
But you will say What revelations have we now oracles are ceased ? I 
answer, It is true, these are God's ancient ways. Of old time, God 
spake 7roX,v/Ltepw9 KOI TroXfTpoTrw? ' at sundry times and in divers 
manners ' to his people, Heb. i. 1. Sometimes he spake to them by 
voice, sometimes by vision, sometimes by dream, sometimes by mira 
culous inspiration, or by urim and thummim, or by a sign from heaven, 
or by an angel ; now God speaks to us by his Son. God's mind is fully 
revealed and disposed into a settled course. Enthusiasts may delude 
themselves with their own imaginations. Christians how have but two 
revelations ; the one is ancient, and the other is new, and happens 
every day : there is the light of the word and the light of the Spirit. 

1. The light of the word ; this is our oracle, and therefore it is 
called, ' The oracles of God,' Kom. iii. 2. This is our urim and thum 
mim, God tries us by that ; the standing rule of justice is settled in 
the word, and this is more sure and less liable to deceit than an oracle, 
voice, or angel ; for the devil may transform himself into an angel of 
light. Saith the apostle : 2 Peter i. 19, ' We have a more sure word 
of prophecy ; whereunto ye do well to take heed, as unto a light shin 
ing in a dark place ' more sure than what ? He speaks of the voice 
upon the holy mount, the voice that came from the excellent glory, 
that said, ' This is my well-beloved Son,' Mat. xvii. 5. Oracles and 
voices as to us are more liable to deceit. The apostle doth not say, 
We have a more true word, but a more sure word. The oracle was 
true, because it came from God ; but a standing rule is not so liable 
to deceit and mistake as a transient voice. 

2. We have the light of the Spirit in our hearts, by which our 
understandings are opened ; we cannot be able to understand the word 
without this inward revelation of the Spirit. When we are reading 
and hearing the word, we cannot discern it with any favour, till the 
Spirit opens our eyes. As Christ, when he came to his disciples 
first he opened the scripture, then he opened their understandings, 
Luke xxiv. 44, 45. And it is the Spirit that gives us a constant 
revelation, that reveals the secrets of God to us all his purposes of 
grace concerning our souls : Eom. viii. 15, ' Ye have not received the 
spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.' The Spirit of God, 
by inward suggestions, tells us God is our Father. By this voice God 
saith,! am thy salvation, as David prays, Ps. xxxv. 3, ' Say unto my soul, 
I am thy salvation.' It is the Spirit that comes and reveals to us when 
it is a fit season to come and call upon God ; and when the arms of 
mercy are ready and open to receive us ; and what are the answers of 
our prayers ? 1 John v. 6, ' It is the Spirit that beareth witness, 
because the Spirit is truth.' 

Use, Learn hence whereon to bottom faith upon the word of God. 
Let us be contented with this dispensation. Foolish creatures would 
give laws to heaven, and we would indent with God upon our own 


terras and conditions. Look, as the devil comes and indents with Christ : 
Mat. iv. 3, ' If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be 
made bread ; ' he would have him do a miracle, else he would not 
believe him. And the Jews would indent with Christ : Mat. xxvii. 
40, ' If thou be Christ, come down from the cross and we will believe.' 
So carnal men indent with God. We think if God did speak by 
miraculous inspiration, then things would not be so doubtful. Oh, let- 
us be contented with our light ! the Lord hath stated our salvation in>. 
an excellent way. Chrysostom saith, The saints do never complain- 
of the darkness of the word, but of the darkness of their own heart : 
Ps. cxix. 18, ' Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things^ 
out of thy law : ' David doth not say, Lord make a plainer law ; but, 
Lord, open mine eyes. If things be dark to you, do not accuse the- 
scriptures, as if they were an uncertain rule, but desire the Lord to* 
open your eyes that you may look into them. We would have Christ 
speak to us from heaven, as he did to Paul. Men that neglect ordi 
nances require miracles ; they would have all things decided by voice, 
oracles, and miracles, because they would save the pains of study, prayer, 
and discourse. If men were not drowned in lusts and pleasures, all 
would be clear. When the church was destitute of outward helps, God 
used the way of miracles and oracles; but that dispensation is not 
continued, because we have a better way : providence, the Spirit, and 
the word, take them all together, do exceedingly open the mind of God 
to us. We have the advantage of the revelations and miracles of 
former ages, and we have a supply by ordinary and standing means. 
Instead of new miracles, we have the testimony of the church, who hath 
had experience of the power and force of the word for many ages, and 
invites us to believe. Observe, every age of the church hath sufficient 
means so proportioned to the diversity of times that no age could have 
better than the present; but we affect the extraordinary signs and 
revelations of former generations. In this case, it is all as God will ; 
and God's wisdom knows what is best for us. When miracles were 
most rife, they were not exercised at the will of man. The apostle 
saith : Heb. ii. 4, ' God bearing them witness with signs and wonders, 
and diverse miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own 
will ; ' it was not as the apostles would. The Lord is a wise God, 
and he knows what dispensation is fit for every age. There are a great 
many reasons why God should use the way of miracle and oracle then ; 
as that there might be some external motive to draw the world to 
hearken to the doctrine of the gospel. The apostles' work was to lay 
the canon and foundation, but we do but explain it. Saith St Paul, 
1 Cor. iii. 10, ' As a wise master-builder, I have laid the foundation, and 
another buildeth thereupon/ We only explain what the apostles had 
laid down ; our duty is only to build upon the apostles' foundation. 
Now we know explication and inference need the confirmation of 
reason and discourse rather than of miracle. It is true, for the apostles ' 
part of their work was to explain the old testament ; but that was 
somewhat obscure, and that was not acknowledged of all nations, only 
received among the Jews ; therefore there was need of miracle to make 
their interpretation authentic, and that they might lay a clear founda 
tion of faith for all nations ; and besides, the church then was not armed 


with magistracy, and therefore much of the coercive discipline which 
God then used was by miracle. Ananias was struck dead with a miracle : 
Acts v. 5, ' And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up 
the ghost.' But now, when magistrates should be nursing-fathers, the 
dispensation ceaseth. Besides, this should be a consideration to content 
us. Those that had miracles were not merely converted. by the miracle, 
but by the hearing of the word ; the miracle was only the occasion, 
not the cause of conversion. The bells may call the people together 
to hear the word, but the word converts. Miracles were as bells to 
draw the heart to hearken to the doctrine of Christ. The fowler's pipe 
may allure the birds, but they are caught by the net. Let it suffice, 
then, that you have the word of God confirmed by miracle, sealed by 
the blood of so many martyrs, manifested to your consciences by such 
divine force. All the miracles we have now are either inward and 
spiritual; they are miracles of grace in changing 'the heart. The 
children of God have testimony enough within themselves ; they feel 
the force and power of the word upon their consciences : John viii. 
32, ' You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.' 
When the word doth help to disentangle us from lust, we cannot have 
a more clear revelation and warrant from God concerning the truth 
of it : John xvii. 17, ' Sanctify them by thy truth, thy word is truth.' 
When God sanctifies the heart by the word, then we know it is truth, 
or else outward miracles ; God's wonderful providence in maintaining 
the church by suffering and martyrdom, not by the power of an out 
ward sword. This is the finger of God : Neh. vi. 16, ' It came to 
pass, when all our enemies heard thereof , they were much cast down in 
their own eyes ; for they perceived that the work was wrought by our 
God/ These are the miracles and oracles we are to expect. 

Here is an objection. It is said : Acts ii. 17, ' It shall come to pass, 
that in the last days I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh : and 
your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall 
see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams,' &c ; so that it 
seems God would still continue the dispensation in the last days, that 
he will give us visions, dreams, and oracles again. 

I answer, These are but figurative expressions, to signify the gifts 
of the Holy Ghost, which we receive by virtue of Christ's ascension, 
abundance of knowledge, faith, and holiness , for mark, the words are 
quoted out of a prophet. Now the prophet speaks according to the 
dispensation of his own age, or else how should he be understood by 
the men of his time. Dreams and visions were the ordinary means 
whereby God then revealed himself to his prophets, and therefore the 
prophet useth words calculated to the Jewish dispensation. In the 
prophetical writings, whenever they spake of the worship in the new 
testament, they used words suited to the then present worship ; as 
altars, sacrifices, incense, and the like, which are words proper to the 
legal rites; so when they speak of the gifts of the new testament, 
then they use the words prophecy, vision, and dreams. All the 
meaning is, God in the latter days would give them abundance of light 
and knowledge, for, take the words literally, they were not made good 
in the case to which he applyeth the prophecy. The apostle applies 
it to take oil the reproach of the people that said they were filled with 


new wine. Now they could not be said then to see visions and dream 
dreams ; but the words set out the excellent gifts of the Spirit in the 
new testament. But if you would more particularly know why the 
Spirit of God should use these words of prophecy, visions, and dreams ; 
that sons and daughters should prophesy, &c., I answer then, By pro 
phecy you may understand the gifts of illumination ; by vision, gifts 
of consolation ; and by dreams, the gifts of sanctification. 

1. By prophecy, the gifts of illumination, or a clear understanding 
of God's will in Christ, which should be in the new testament above 
the old testament ' Your sons and daughters shall prophesy ; ' that is, 
the little boy and girl shall be able to understand the mysteries of 
salvation in scripture ; they need not run to the prophet for the mean 
ing of such a ceremony and rite. 

2. Then by vision understand a more intimate apprehension of 
the truth, or a manifestation of things to the conscience, gifts of 
consolation. We have a kind of vision here, when we have a lively 
sense of divine grace : here we see as in a glass ; hereafter we shall 
see face to face. 

3. Then by dreams you. may understand the more inward instincts 
and motions of the Holy Ghost, by which the soul, being severed from 
worldly desires and objects, is raised to the contemplation of heaven 
and spiritual things ; as dreams are the thoughts and commotions of 
the soul, which are framed when the outward senses are shut up. 
When a man neither seeth, heareth, smelleth, toucheth, nor tasteth, 

then the soul worketh on things at the greatest distance ; so, possibly, 
it signifies those spiritual instincts, those sanctifying motions, by which 
the soul is raised up to the contemplation of heavenly mysteries : then 
there is such a distribution of the persons to amplify the clause that 
went before 'I will pour my Spirit upon all flesh.' 'Old men,' to 
show that no condition is excluded from the communion of the Spirit, 
your ' sons and daughters,' that is, your children, they shall have their 
memory sanctified to retain prophecy ; your ' young men ' shall have 
visions, their consciences sanctified, to feel the force of what is in their 
heads ; and your ' old men' shall dream dreams ; they who are deadened 
to the world shall have their affections raised to heaven, and God will 
clearly manifest himself to them. 

By faith Noah, being ivarned of God of things not seen as yet. 

HEB. xi. 7. 

FOURTHLY, I observe that this warning was of a judgment to come 
' Being warned of things not seen as yet ; ' that is, of the horror of the 
flood. From whence I note that the threatening as well as the 
promise is the object of faith ; not only the mercy of God in the 
promise, but the judgment of God in the threatening, is to be applied 
bv ftiith. I shall confirm the doctrine in hand with some reasons. 


1. Because every part of divine truth is worthy of belief and 
reverence, because it is the word of the same God ; and that is the 
reason why we read of faith in the promises, faith in the command, 
faith in the threatening. There is faith in the promises: Ps. cxix. 
49, ' Kemember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast 
caused me to hope ; ' there is faith in the commandment : Ps. cxix. 6<6, 
'Teach me good judgment and knowledge; for I have believed thy 
commandments ; ' that is, I have believed them to be of divine 
authority, and to be just, equal, and good; and there is faith in the 
threatening, ' By faith Noah, being warned of God,' &&. It is true, 
belief in the threatening is not so much pressed in scripture, because 
guilty nature of itself is presagious of evil : Bom. i. 31, ' Knowing the 
judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of 

2. Because faith is but a loose presumption, if it be not carried out 
to the threatenings as well as the promises. In all right belief there is 
mixture. Men that look altogether to be honeyed and oiled with grace, 
to be fed with the promises and feasted with love, they mistake the 
nature of God and the state of his economy, and the manner of his 
dealing with the world ; they mistake the nature of God, for God is 
just as well as merciful. And in such a mixed dispensation hath he 
revealed himself to the creature : Ps. cxvi. 5, ' Gracious is the Lord, 
and righteous ; yea, our God is merciful ; ' gracious, and yet righteous. 
And they mistake the ordinances of God and the state of his dispensa 
tions ; for he will be known in his judgments, as well as in his mercies. 
God hath always delighted to deal with men in the way of a covenant. 
Now the right covenant form is a precept invested with a promise and 
a threatening ; therefore we are bound to believe that God will condemn 
the obstinate as well as save the penitent. In the covenant which God 
made with man in innocency, it is notable the only memorial we have 
is of the curse ; nothing but that is mentioned : Gen. ii. 17, ' In the day 
thou eatest thereof thou shalt die the death/ The promise is but 
implied ; if thou forbearest eating, thou shalt live ; but the threatening 
is expressed, What was the reason ? Partly because the effect of that 
covenant was only to oblige the guilty creature to death ; and partly 
because God would show us that man's nature doth always need a 
bridle. In the state of innocency, when we were most holy, as there 
was use of a law for the exercise of obedience, so there was use of a 
threatening to keep him from sin, because of the changeableness of his 
nature ; therefore it is much more needful now in our degenerate 
estate. Though the new nature needs no other argument but love and 
sweetness, yet the old nature needs a curb and restraint. Therefore 
men that would only hear of promises and arguments of grace, sin 
against God's ordination and the wisdom by which he will govern the 
world ; they would have God yield to them and speak them fair, else 
they will be none of his ; so that the faith they cry up is rather a fond 
delicacy, or carnal presumption, than a serious respect to God. 

3. Because it is necessary and profitable. There is no part of 
scripture without use and profit. Man may write a book, but there 
may be a great deal of waste in it ; but when God hath written a 
volume or book, there is nothing in it but what is of profit: Kom. xv. 


4, ' Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our 
learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might 
have hope.' It is true, it is the aim of the whole scripture to beget 
hope ; ay, but there are some things, in order to hope, that are first to 
work upon fear ; something to bridle the flesh as well as to comfort the 
spirit, though all endeth in hope. There is nothing in the word of 
God superfluous, and the threatenings are a considerable part of the 

But more particularly I shall show you how the threatenings are 

[1.] To beget humiliation for sins past. In the threatenings we see 
the desert of sin, therefore after grievous offences it is good to wound 
the heart this way with the more remorse. Josiah's heart was tender 
and made soft by what ? by the threatening : 2 Kings xxii. 19, 
' Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before 
the Lord, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and 
against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation 
and a curse/ &c. Certainly there is great advantage by the com- 
mination. You will never understand how displeasing things are to 
God till you look upon the flying roll, and read the curses ; then the 
soul will say, Oh, what have I done ? I have done that which makes 
me guilty of all the curses of the law ; and this will make you earnest 
after pardon, nay, it will make the pardon more welcome when it comes ; 
We have deserved to be cast into hell, but grace hath saved us. Then 
will your hearts be enlarged in praises and thanksgivings to God, and 
you will exalt him to the highest heaven who hath delivered you from 
the lowest hell. Daniel, when he was in the den, had more cause to 
bless God than if he had been kept out of the den ; to be in the midst 
of lions, and to see their mouths muzzled. So when we think of the 
evil of sin, and the terrible consequents of sin, and all this taken away 
by Christ, how will this commend our portion ? how will we bless God 
for Jesus Christ ? This is the fruit of sin, but ' there is no condemnation 
to them that are in Christ,' Kom. viii. 1. 

[2.] The consideration of the threatening will be an advantage to us 
to make us vigilant and watchful ; when we see the danger we shall 
not be so secure. This is the argument by which Christ himself would 
convert Paul : Acts ix. 5, ' It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.' 
It is a metaphor taken from a husbandman's goad or prick ; wanton 
oxen, when they run against the goad, they do not hurt the goad, but 
themselves. So it will be dangerous for you, God's wrath will gore the 
soul. We should have this goad and prick before our eyes; and this 
will make us watchful. Solomon saith, Prov. i. 17, ' Surely in vain the 
net is spread in the sight of any bird.' Birds, when they see the snare, 
will not venture upon the bait ; and so, when we see the danger and 
consider the sad consequences of sin, it will make the soul to be the 
more careful ; we will not dally with sin, and grow so bold with God 
and his cause. 

[3.] It is an excellent means to strengthen us against carnal fear. 
The fear of man is apt to prove a snare, Prov. xxv. 24. Solomon 
spake it, and many of the servants of God have found it so. It was 
fear that made Abraham deny his wife, and it was fear that made 


Peter deny his master. Now there is no way to cure the fear of man 
but by presenting the fear of God. Look, as Aaron's rod devoured 
the rods of the magicians, and as the stronger nail drives out the weaker, 
so doth the fear of God drive out the fear of man. What is the ground 
of all carnal compliance? We fear man's power, and presume of God's 
mercy ; a slight belief is given to the threatenings of God, and we think 
the wrath of man is more to be feared than the wrath of God. The 
only cure will be to consider that there are no terrors to those which 
faith represents ; therefore holy persons always used this remedy to 
drive out the fear of man by the fear of God. It is said ' The mid- 
wives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them/ 
Exod. i. 17 ; and the Holy Ghost prescribeth this remedy, Isa. viii. 
12. 13, ' Fear not their fear, nor be afraid, but sanctify the Lord God of 
hosts in your hearts, and make him your fear and .your dread.' The 
prophet speaks against those that would cry up a confederacy with 
them that cry up a confederacy; that would yoke themselves in com 
bination with the public enemies of God. Oh, think of the terrors of 
the Lord, and that will quell and allay all the terrors of men. So our 
Saviour : Luke xii. 4, ' Be not afraid of them that can but kill the body. 
But I will warn you whom you should fear: Fear him, which after ho 
hath killed hath power t6 cast into hell.' The terrors of the Lord, and 
the threatenings of the Lord, they are the cure against the terrors ot 
men. Better all the world your enemy than God. We live longer 
with God than we do with men ; he can kill body and soul. 

[4.] The threatenings of the word are necessary to be propounded to 
our faith, to check indulgence to carnal pleasure. Pleasure and delight 
are dear bought if they cannot be compassed but with the danger of 
our souls ; and therefore there is no way to counterbalance delight but 
by fear, to consider the wrath of God that shall come upon every 
sinner : 2 Peter ii. 10, ' But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in 
the lust of uncleanness.' Whoever escape they are sure to be punished ; 
there is bitter judgment for these sweet pleasures. 

Use 1. Here is counsel to the children of God, not only to take a 
view of the land of promise, but it is good sometimes to take a view 
of the land of darkness ; they should not only reflect upon the promises, 
but the threatening ; it is profitable, though less pleasing. 

Quest. Here ariseth a case, Whether or no the children of God, those 
especially that have received the first-fruits of the Spirit, and have a 
sense of the favour of God, whether they may make use of the threat 
ening and terrors of the Lord or no ? I answer to this affirmatively ; 
they may, and they must, and shall prove it by several reasons. 

1. It is a part of the Spirit's discipline, necessary because of the 
remainders of corruption, and the Holy Ghost makes use of every 
advantage. There are some corruptions that will bear down all milder 
arguments, that will not be restrained by any calm motives. You had 
as good discourse with the rough wind as hope to charm the rage of 
lusts with the soft and comfortable words of the grace, mercy, and 
kindness of God ; therefore it is good to propound terrors. The apostle 
Paul, though he were a sanctified and chosen vessel, yet he saw a need 
of making use of the terrors of the Lord. It is true, he saith, 2 Cor. 
v. 14, the love of Christ constrained him. The great motive of 


obedience was the love of God. But he makes use of the other argu 
ment : ver. 10, ' Knowing the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men.' It 
was the terror of the Lord which made him so faithful in his work 
against all the disadvantages he met withal in the world. Sometimes 
it is necessary we should stand in the way of a furious lust with a 
flaming sword. The children of God find all methods little enough 
to break the force of a boisterous inclination. 

2. Because the wrath of God is the proper object of fear, yea, the 
highest object. The wrath of man is the object of fear ; therefore 
much more the wrath of God. The apostle saith, Rom. xiii, 3, ' That 
rulers are a terror to evil-doers ; ' much more should the wrath of God 
and destruction from the Almighty be a terror to them ; Ps. xc. 11, 
* Who knows the power of thine anger ? according to thy fear, so is 
thy wrath.' Affections may lawfully be exercised about their proper 
objects without sin. Fear was planted in us for this very purpose ; 
and grace doth not abolish nature, but regulate it ; as Joshua made the 
Gibeonites to be hewers of wood and drawers of water, so grace serves 
our natural affections. Indignation and fear are good for the uses of 
the sanctuary, for the expulsion and extermination of sin ; indignation 
against ourselves for sins committed, and fear for the prevention of sin. 

3. We may make use of the Spirit's argument without sin. 
Usually men, instead of being over-spiritual, grow over-carnal. Terrors 
and threatenings are propounded to us to drive us from sin, even to 
men that are assured of God's love. Though we have an indefeasible 
right in the great inheritance, yet we must look upon the Lord ' as a 
consuming fire,' Heb. xii. 29. The Lord would help our infirmity 
this way. This argument is of most force, because the Spirit of God 
argues and discourseth in the heart of believers just as he argues in 
the scripture ; now, thus the Spirit argues in the scripture, and there 
fore the word of God is called ' The sword of the Spirit,' Eph. vi. 17. 
In all your inward combats, or the civil wars of the soul, the renewed 
heart makes use of scripture arguments ; and in scripture, as God 
encourageth with love, so he aweth with threatening. 

4. The threatenings are a part of the object of faith, and therefore 
they may be used. They are propounded to be believed as well as 
the promises ; and you should as surely consider God will condemn 
the wicked and impenitent as save them that believe and repent ; and 
as there should be a closing with and loving the promise, so a trem 
bling at the threatening ; it is a note of God's children, Isa. Ixvi. 2, 
' They tremble at his word.' 

5. I prove it from the example of the saints ; and surely they were 
not under a lower dispensation than we are. Job bridled and curbed 
the excesses of his power and greatness hereby, for saith he, Job xxxi. 
23, ' Destruction from God was a terror to me/ Men in great places 
have shrewd temptations to oppress : Oh, but, saith he, I dare not, 
because of God's terrors. So Noah was warned by God, and out of 
fear of the threatening prepared the ark. So Paul, he mortified and 
kept down his body, ' Lest/ saith he, ' I should be a cast-away/ 1 Cor. 
ix. 27. We cannot pretend to a higher dispensation than Job, Paul, 
and other holy persons, as if they were but novices in the school of 
Christ. Your undaunted courage is to be suspected. Sin is not less 


rooted in us t&an it was in Paul, or less dangerous to us ; neither are 
we more skilful than holy Paul : the devil is as subtle and our corrup 
tions are as strong as ever. 

6. The promises will be the better relished when we reflect upon 
the threatening ; the bitterness of the threatening makes us to relish 
the sweetness of the promise. God is therefore the most desirable 
friend, because he is the most dreadful adversary. Look, as the sight 
of the Ked Sea and the floating Egyptians, when they were drowned 
there, moved the Israelites to praise God ; so when we consider the 
curse wherewith wicked men are overwhelmed, it is a great argument 
to quicken and stir us up to praise. Solomon would have us view the 
field of the sluggard. The brambles and briers that grow in the 
sluggard's field commend diligence ; and so look upon the portion of 
wicked men the snares, and brimstone, and horrible tempest, which 
is the portion of their cup : this commends our portion in Christ, and 
makes the promises more sweet. 

Use 2. Direction how we are to use the threatening. 

1. When you consider the threatening, let the punishment of loss 
be more terrible to you than the pain ; I mean, let separation from 
God work more upon you, than your own misery and distress : ' Depart 
from me ' is worse than ' eternal fire.' It is the greatest evil that can 
fall upon creatures to be separated for ever from the chief est good. I 
press this, partly because nature will reflect upon its own pain, but 
grace counts the loss of God the chiefest misery. The wicked will 
think this no punishment to depart from God ; they excommunicate, 
and cast God out of their company now 'Depart from us, for we 
desire not the knowledge of thy ways/ Job xxi. 14. And partly, be 
cause such considerations will be of great use ; they that prize communion 
with God will be afraid to lose him by their sins ; for they thus argue, 
this will work a divorce between me and my God. Look upon the 
privative part of the threatening rather than the positive part of it ; 1 
Cor. ix. 27, ' I keep under my body,' saith the apostle ' lest I be a cast 
away/ The main thing he feared was to be cast out of the favour 
of God, and lose the fellowship of God. 

2. Consider the threatening, so as to weaken security, not to weaken 
faith. There is a great deal of difference between these two ; we are 
not to weaken the certainty of faith, but the security of the flesh. It 
is good for Christians to observe what is the issue and result of their 
fear, and of their reflections upon the threatenings, torment, or caution : 
1 John iv. 18, ' Fear hath torment in it ; ' that is, slavish fear ; but 
godly fear makes us more wary in our walking with God ; it makes 
us more circumspect, but not less comfortable. Though there may be 
assurance to escape damnation, yet still there is care to avoid sin : this 
is the godly fear. Now to do that, you must consider God's ordination 
of punishment is with a supposition ; that is, if I go on in a carnal 
course, then my end will be death, and I shall be undone for ever. It 
is with an ' if/ propounded to the children of God : Eom. viii. 13, 'If 
ye live after the flesh, ye shall die/ If it be possible that a man in 
Christ could live after the flesh, it is as possible and safe to conclude 
he should die for ever. So the apostle, Gal. vi. 8, ' If ye sow to the 
flesh, ye shall of the flesh reap corruption.' Where there is sin in the 


seed, there will be a curse in the crop ; not as if the children of God 
were actually to expect eternal death, but to look upon it as the proper 
demerit of sin, and so to depart from it. 

3. The children of God should reflect upon the sad consequences of 
sin in the present life: 1 Cor. xi. 32, 'When we are judged, we are 
chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the 
world.' God hath still a bridle upon them. Though you are exempted 
from eternal death, yet your pilgrimage may be made very uncomfort 
able ; you may feel the anguish of conscience, and be humbled by 
spiritual desertion, and lose and forfeit the sense of your joys and 
spiritual consolation ; you may stand under a spiritual excommuni 
cation ; that is, by being separated from the comfort of the covenant, 
and cast out of the actual fruition of God's favour, and be under much 
anguish of conscience, which is a spiritual part of discipline. A 
disobedient child may be whipped, though he be sure not to be disin 
herited ; so God hath sore and bitter afflictions to lay upon you ; he 
hath other evils besides damnation to bring on you. 

4. The times when you should use this argument are these. When 
lusts are boisterous, it is good to oppose these stronger and more terrible 
motives of the terrors of the Lord ; and when you are slack and 
remiss in the work of the Lord. When oxen do not labour, the 
husbandman useth the goad ; when you begin to wax wanton and 
careless, it is good to use this spur when we begin to grow deaf, slack, 
and cold in the work of God. So in the time of special temptation, 
when the fear of man is like to prove a snare, as Solomon saith, Prov. 
xxix. 25, say, I know the terrors of the Lord, and what a dangerous 
thing it is to please men, and to engage omnipotency against me. So 
after grievous offences, the children of God, when they foully sin, do 
not only lose their peace but their tenderness ; therefore this will 
enforce them to run for their pardon. 

Secondly, I come to the strength and force of Noah's faith, inti 
mated in these words ' Of things not seen as yet ireplrwv pybeTra) {3\e- 
Tro^evcov of things that by no means could be seen ; not any way liable 
to the judgment of sense ; by which the apostle means the tidings of 
the deluge and the manner of his own preservation in the ark, which 
were things strange, full of difficulty to be done, and likely to be 
entertained with the scoff and opposition of the world ; yet he prepared 
an ark. To instance, either in the flood or ark. For the flood : never 
such a thing had been before, therefore it was more difficult to be 
believed, there being no precedent ; for the world was but newly created, 
and it seemed unlikely to the men of that age that God would destroy 
it presently ; besides, this judgment was to come after many years. 
By the grant of God himself they had the respite of a hundred and 
twenty years, and all others besides Noah were utterly secure ; yet, 
though he had but the naked word of God, he believed. Then for his own 
gracious preservation, the means was by an ark, which was an impro 
bable and incredible way of safety, as the flood was of the world's ruin ; 
for the ark was made like a grave, or coffin, or sepulchre, wherein 
Noah for some months was to be buried, rather than preserved, with 
out the comfort of light or fresh air ; there was he with the cattle and 
all kinds of living creatures for many days. And besides, it was of 


that vast frame, that it was one hundred and twenty years a preparing, 
as appears by that of the apostle, 1 Peter iii. 20, ' The long-suffering 
of God waited all the while that the ark was a preparing.' Certainly 
a work of so great receipt must needs be of vast expense and charge, 
and take up a great deal of time to fit the matter, and to gather to 
gether all the species and kinds of living creatures. And it was a 
work that was like to meet with many mocks and scoffs in the world. 
Noah seemed to them, as one of our chronicles tells us, of one that out 
of a dread of a great flood built a house upon a high hill ; so the wicked 
of that age, they looked upon Noah as a vain person, mocked and 
laughed at the design every day ; he had a thousand discouragements, 
yet, being moved with fear, he prepared an ark. Now these things 
being so remote from sense, and only certain in God's word, it shows 
the great force and virtue of his faith, to be persuaded of the world's 
ruin, and his own preservation. 

Doct. That it is the property of faith to be moved by such things as 
are not liable to sense. 

The reasons are these 

1. Because when things are seen and known, there is no room for 
faith : Kom. viii. 24, ' Hope that is seen is not hope/ Hope there is 
put for the object things hoped for ; they are no more objects of hope 
when seen. Faith giveth over its work when we once come to fruition 
and view. When the sun is up, we feel the warm influences of it ; we 
cannot be said so properly to believe it, as to feel it and know it. If 
we were in a dungeon we might believe one that tells us the sun shines, 
but when we see the glittering light it is otherwise. The elect, after 
the resurrection, cannot properly be said to believe the articles of faith, 
because faith and hope then ceaseth, and love only remains. Faith 
and sense are opposed, 2 Cor. v. 7, ' We walk by faith, not by sight.' 
Here things that are propounded to us, the glory of God in heaven 
and the reigning of the saints, they are not matters of sight and pre 
sent sense and apprehension. In heaven it is quite contrary ; there we 
have sight, but no faith ; but here we walk by faith, and not by sight. 
2. There is no trial in things that are seen, for all objects of sense 
force an impression upon us ; we cannot choose but fear ; when sense 
feels wrath, it is a judicial impression. There is none fears more than 
wicked men when wrath comes ; they fear not wrath in the word, and 
wrath in the threatening, but wrath in the providence makes them to 
tremble : Isa. xxxiii. 14, ' The sinners in Sion are afraid ; fearfulness 
surpriseth the hypocrite.' It is no exercise of faith, but a judicial im 
pression. So the apostle saith ' The devils believe and tremble,' 
James ii. 19 ; because they are under their actual punishment, they 
cannot do otherwise. This is the difference between the godly and the 
wicked ; the one trembles at the- judgment, the other trembles at the 
threatenings ' He trembles at the word/ Isa, Ixvi. 2. Wicked men 
do not consider the threatening, till, by all circumstances of providence, 
it is ready to be accomplished. The wicked tremble in hell, or at the 
hour of death ; but the godly tremble in the church at the word of 
God. So did those in Noah's time, when they ran from the bottom of 
houses to the top, from thence to trees, from trees to mountains, but 
Noah trembled when God did but speak of these things. Feeling is 
left for the next life. 



By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet. 

HEB. xi. 7. 

THE use of the foregoing doctrine is to check the security of the 
world, both in respect of particular and general judgments. 

First, In particular judgments, the prophet saith, Hosea vii. 9, ' Eph- 
raim hath gray hairs here and there upon him, and he knows it not.' 
Many times a nation is full of gray hairs. As gray hairs are the fore 
runners of death and the decay of nature, so many nations have gray 
hairs sad intimations of ruin and destruction ; and they do not 
tremble at it, especially if it be afar off, and if there be no visible pre 
paration : if God be not upon his march, they do not tremble. When 
the world was given up to pleasure, when they were marrying and 
giving in marriage, who would believe that within a few years the rain 
and waters should cover the whole earth ? Many would be ready to 
say, as that nobleman, 2 Kings vii. 2, ' If the Lord should make win 
dows in heaven, could this be ? ' Oh, consider all things are liable 
to change ; and when your mountain seems to stand strong, yet if 
there be such sins as are certain prognostics of ruin, there may be a 
change, notwithstanding the greatest flourish of outward prosperity ; for 
the gray hairs of a nation are not only the beginnings of misery and 
declensions of their glory, but their guilt, these are the saddest gray 
hairs : then you are liable to great ruin. See what the apostle speaks 
to the despisers of the gospel : Acts xiii. 41, ' Behold, ye despisers, and 
wonder, and perish : for I work a work in your days, a work which 
you shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.' The 
horrible devastation of Judea by the Chaldeans, who would believe it, 
that the city and temple should be so destroyed ? and yet it came to 
pass. If a man should but tell you what God is about to do, you 
would think he were mad to mention such things, 

Quest. You will say, you press us to believe, and all that you can do 
is but to bring conjectures ; you cannot give such infallible warning as 
Noah did. 

I shall answer to this 

1. We may speak to you as the apostle did in Acts xiii, 40, ' Beware 
therefore, lest that come upon you which is spoken in the prophets.' 
Let me tell you, it is a ruled case the despisers of the gospel shall 
surely meet with an unexpected judgment. The credit of every threat 
ening stands upon two feet the irresistibleness of God's power, and 
the immutableness of his counsel. Now we cannot say God will change 
his counsel, though he may his sentence; yet we may say, Take heed 
lest this be brought upon you : we know not future contingencies. 
God hath taken away that from a gospel ministry, because he hath 
given them a more excellent dispensation. 

2. It is security and carnal confidence. If you neglect reformation, 
and depend merely upon present likelihoods, and say, It is impossible 
these things should be : Jer. iv. 14, ' Jerusalem, wash thy heart from 
wickedness. How long shall vain thoughts lodge within thee ? ' vain 


thoughts, that is, reflections upon their present prosperity and great 
ness. You know there is much spoken of depending upon an arm of 
flesh and creature confidence. Now when men neglect God's means, 
and trust to their own, this is a sure note of creature confidence in 
their present welfare and prosperity. When we have no other shelter 
against judgments but prosperous armies, numerous ships and fortifica 
tions, how soon may God blow upon these things ? Who would believe 
that which God did twice to the state of the Jews, both by the 
Chaldeans and Romans ? who would have believed thirty years ago 
what hath happened in Germany ? who would believe what befell the 
churches of Asia and Greece, that they should be overrun so ? If we 
should speak to you of England being unchurched, a man would think 
this were an idle dream that ever Christianity should be banished from 
this island, that we should lose our church and our glory ; and if yet 
we should look to the spiritual causes of such a judgment, there is 
nothing so probable as this. God may in justice remove the old light, 
because we have set up so many new ones ; and take away the candle 
stick from us, because we are despisers of the gospel. 

3. When prophets threaten, it is very likely it will come to pass, 
though we cannot absolutely determine future contingencies. Certainly 
if a sparrow lights not to the ground without God, the messages of his 
servants, and the words that are uttered by them with reverence and 
fear, you cannot but acknowledge God in it : Hosea vi. 5, ' I have 
hewn them by my prophets, and I have slain them by the words of 
my mouth.' Israel was a knotty piece of timber, and therefore God 
pursues them with blow after blow. When a prophet falls a-hewing 
with blow after blow it is a sad intimation. I do not justify every idle 
dictate arid fond suggestion spoken out of passion and discontent ; but 
when we make collection upon collection, when we show you the sin 
and the judgment out of scripture, it should not seem to you as an idle 
tale ; and when we speak to you, we should not seem as Lot to his 
sons-in-law, ' as if he had mocked,' Gen. xix.' 14. All that you can 
pretend for your safety and security in such a case as this, is either 
your present strength or the mercy and free grace of God ; but to 
pretend grace and mercy and neglect duty, is but to choke conscience. 
Mercy will never be .exercised to the prejudice of God's truth and 

4. This is certain, it is better to believe the threatening than to feel 
the stripes and blows. There can be no harm if we should take this 
occasion to humble ourselves before God. It is true, in uncertain cases 
this is a good rule hope the best ; but yet it is good to prepare for 
the worst. Carnal hope such as is lifted up against the threatening in 
the word is but a bad nurse to piety. They that do not tremble at the 
word, but are left to be taught by sense, are taught in a sharp school 
of discipline ; they are taught by briers and thorns. It is better to 
learn by the word than by feeling blows and stripes : Prov. xiv. 16, ' A 
wise man feareth, and departeth from evil ; but a fool rageth and is 
confident.' Usually, when we speak of the evil of the times, men go 
away ; and they fret and foam, and think we rail, and the word of 
God is to them but as a reproach ; God leaves them to be taught by 
briers and thorns, by their own sorrow and fears. So Prov. xxii. 3, 


'A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself here is the 
very description of Noah ' but the simple pass on, and are punished :' 
carnal men run desperately upon danger, and against warning. 

Secondly, With respect to the general judgment, it reproves the 
security of the world. We are apt to think it is but a well-devised 
fable to keep the world in awe. Oh, consider, if Noah could believe the 
flood, we are much more bound to believe the general judgment why ? 
Because we have the word of God for it, which is of more force than 
an oracle, and we have a pledge already ; and therefore the future 
destruction of the world by fire being more credible to us, God looks 
for a more active faith from us. 

Quest. But you will say, Who doth not believe the day of judg 
ment ? 

I answer, Flatter not yourselves, for in the latter times men will be 
just as they were in the days of Noah ; there will be scoffers at the 
day of judgment ; and usually the best of us content ourselves with a 
loose and naked belief of things to come ; and therefore, that you may 
drive the privy atheism out of the heart, let me propound but two 
questions. (1.) Are you affected with these things, as if you saw 
them ? (2.) Do you make a careful provision and preparation, as if 
this were a matter that you did believe, ' As Noah was moved with 
fear, and prepared an ark ? ' 

1. Are you affected with these things as if they were present ? So 
it should be ; for faith is the evidence of things not seen ; it substan 
tiates our hopes, and makes them real to our souls ; therefore we should 
live as if we did see Christ coming in the clouds with power and great 
glory ; as if we heard the blast of the great trump, and the voice of 
the archangel, saying, Arise, arid come to judgment. God hath made 
a promise, 1 Cor. xi. 31, ' That if we judge ourselves, we shall not be 
judged of the Lord.' Now, art thou affected with this promise, as if 
the judgment were set, and as if the books were opened ? Consider, in 
the process of the great day, when all sinners stand trembling at the 
bar, and their faces gather blackness and paleness, if Christ should 
single thee out by name, and say to you, If thou judge thyself, thou 
shalt not be put to this severe trial ; with what thankfulness would we 
receive this offer ? Now, an active faith should make this supposition. 
So again Christ saith, Luke xii. 8, 9, ' Whosoever shall confess me 
before men, I will confess him before the angels of God ; but he that 
denieth me before men, shall be denied before the angels of God.' 
When thy heart is tempted to carnal compliance, canst thou represent 
by a lively faith the day of judgment ? and say, Would I deny Christ 
before his face ? or by compliance betray the truth ? Would I do 
this act if I heard Christ say, Father, these are mine, and these are 
not mine, when Christ is making a distinction between sheep and goats, 
and the two herds were standing before mine eyes ? It is good to make 
suppositions and put cases concerning that great day. 

Do you do as Noah did ? make serious preparation for things to 
come and yet unseen. God doth not look to opinions, but to the dis 
position of your heart. Actions have a voice before God. We content 
ourselves with a naked and inactive belief, which, if it be searched to 
the bottom, will be found to be nothing but uncertain guess and con- 

VOL. xiv. N 


jecture. Do we do as Noah did, venture upon a work of such charge 
and such difficulty ? Though the flood was yet a great while to come, 
he presently falls about it. 

[1.] It was a work of great labour and trouble ; and so is the work 
of mortification, strictness, and the spiritual life ; it is a work of labour 
and trouble to weaken carnal desires, to subdue your affections to the 
just temper of religion ; yet, though it be harsh to nature, can you say, 
Heaven will make amends for all ? can you say, It is better to take 
pains than suffer pains ? can you say, If I digest the severities of reli 
gion, ' if I mortify the deeds of the flesh, I shall live ? ' Kom. viii. 13. 
Can you reason as Noah did ? 

[2.] It was a work which he should have no use of a long time ; so 
can you tarry God's leisure and wait for the season of the promises, 
and for the time of accomplishment ? Always between the making of 
the promise and the making good of the promise, there is a great deal 
of time. The Israelites were long in the wilderness ere they came to 
Canaan, and endured a tedious march ; they might have gone over in 
forty days, but God kept them in it forty years to exercise them. So 
David was anointed king a long time before he reigned, 1 Sam. xvi. 13, 
so long, that in the end he despaired of the kingdom ; and therefore he 
saith, ' I said in my haste, All men are liars,' Ps. cxvi. 11. So, can 
you tarry God's leisure for the accomplishment of his promise, and 
during the time of your pilgrimage wait, ' And be followers of them 
who through faith and patience inherit the promise ' ? Heb. vi. 12. Sel 
dom any go to heaven, but they have a long time to exercise their faith 
and patience. Can you be content in your journey to Canaan to tarry 
God's leisure, and wait for your deliverance ? 

[3.] It was a work that met with many scoffs in the world ; they 
looked upon Noah as an old doting man that envied their jollities and 
pleasures. And truly, when you fear God and walk strictly, the world 
will speak of you with great contempt you will be set up to be as a 
sign to be spoken against. You must expect this as your portion : 
Gal. iv. 29, ' As then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him 
that was born after the Spirit, so it is now.' So it was in the apostle's 
time, and so it will be to the end of the world. There will be tongue 
persecution at least ; you must endure mocks for a good conscience, to 
be counted hypocrites and foolish, and men that are prodigal of their 
interests, and humorists and the like. I know not what secure pre 
sumptuous men may foster in themselves, and conceive the children of 
God should have a dispensation. The carnal seed will always be 
mocking. Now, can you endure all this and go on with your work of 
strictness, and preciseness, and patience ? They will howl for their 
mocking when you shall be safe. 

[4.] It was a work which put him upon great charges, to provide* 
the kinds of all living creatures, and to build an ark that might be of 
so great receipt, to take in the beasts, and fodder for the beasts and 
fowls of the air ; so you should consider, At what expense have I been 
for Christ ? If I believe eternity and the everlasting recompenses, 
what have I done for Christ ? That which you lay out upon the flesh 
and outward conveniences is mere prodigality ; for you owe the flesh 
nothing ' We are not debtors to the flesh,' but all that you have you 


owe to Christ ; and what have you done for "him ? God hath given yon 
a promise, as a bill of exchange ; now he takes it ill if you should pro 
test against it. Jesus Christ will not own you at the last day : Luke 
xii. 33, ' Sell that you have (saith Christ) and give alms, and you shall 
have treasure in heaven.' This is Christ's bargain whatever you lay 
out on earth, he will pay it in another country. Now, what have I 
ventured upon this promise ? Christ saith, ' Sell that you have,' not to 
deny propriety of goods ; but certainly it shows that rather than we 
should reserve our estate to purchase lands, and grow great in our 
families, we should rather lay them out to purchase an estate in heaven. 
Men are all for buying more rather than for selling that which they 
have ; therefore Jesus Christ would bend the stick the other way ; as 
he saith, John vi. 27, ' Labour not for the meat that perisheth ; ' not 
to deny honest labour, but to blunt the edge of our spirits, that we 
may labour more for better things. So, ' Sell that you have, and give 
alms ; ' rather than by hooking in an estate, you should be laying it 
out ; you should look upon your estate as most safe in God's hands. 
Noah was at great charge and expense ; no doubt wasted himself and 
his all ; but what lost he by it ? Noah and his sons had the possession 
of all the world when he came out of the ark. It is the best bargain 
that ever we made, when we lay out our estate upon religious uses. 
Thus may you try yourselves. It is the most foolish thing in the 
world altogether to look to the present. We that are not affected with 
things that are not seen, may learn of the creature. Solomon bids us 
go learn of the ant, Prov. vi. 6-8 ; so certainly if we did believe there 
was an after-reckoning, and that one day we must give an account, we 
would make more provision for our souls. 

Thirdly, I go on to the fruits and consequences of Noah's faith 
' He was moved with fear ' ev\af3r)6els being wary, or piously fear 
ing. The same word is used of Jesus Christ, Heb. v. 7. His holy 
and innocent fears are expressed by the same word ' He was heard in 
that he feared ; ' indeed, it is .always used in a good sense in scripture. 
The word is sometimes used for caution and wariness, sometimes for 
reverence ; in the latter sense often in scripture : as Acts ii. 5, ' Devout 
men in every nation.' In the original it is eu\a/3et?, reverend men ; so 
Actsviii. 2, 'Devout men carried Stephen to his burial' eu\a/3a9, 
men touched with a reverence of God, and with a sense of religion ; so 
was Noah moved with a godly reverence and godly caution. The note 
is this 

Doct. That godly fear is a fruit and effect of faith. 

Faith, as it works upon the promises, begets love and hope ; but as 
it works upon the threatening, so it begets fear. Love, fear, and hope, 
are not contrary, though they be different ; they may stand together, 
and they all proceed from faith. 

1. All graces are conjoined, though they seem contrary. See how 
they are conjoined in scripture. Ps. cxix. 119, 120, there is fear 
and love ' I love thy testimonies ; ' and then presently, ' My flesh 
trembleth because of thy judgments ; ' so Ps. cxii. 1, ' Blessed is the man 
that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.' 
Fear and delight are joined together: so Acts ix. 31, 'They walked 
in the fear of the Lord, and in the comforts of the Holy Ghost.' There 


was something likely to entice them into a snare, and something likely 
to oppress them. That which was likely to draw and entice them out 
of the way was the relics of sin, the baits of the world, and the sugges 
tions of Satan ; therefore they walked ' in the fear of the Lord.' That 
which was likely to oppress them was the burden of their own con 
science, and outward crosses ready to overwhelm them ; therefore it is 
said, they walked in the ' comforts of the Holy Ghost.' There is need 
of a double remedy. They walked with ' fear' to keep them from sin ; 
and they walked in the ' comforts of the Holy Ghost' to keep them from 
sinking under affliction. On earth we still need this mixture ; in 
heaven there is all joy, no fear of punishment. But on earth there is 
a mixture of flesh and spirit, something to comfort us, and something 
to humble us ; there is no true piety without either. The object of 
these affections is often changed. The children of, God can fear him 
for his goodness, and love him for his judgments : Hosea iii. 4, ' They 
shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days ;' Ps. cxix. 62, 
' At midnight I will arise to give thanks unto thee, because of thy 
righteous judgments.' Love would grow secure without fear, and fear 
would grow slavish without love ; therefore these graces are conjoined, 
that there may be a fit temper both of reverence and sweetness. 

2. All these graces flow from faith ; for all affection is grounded 
upon persuasion. Who would fear the threatening that doth not 
believe it ? or fear to offend God that doth not love him, and that doth 
not acknowledge there is a God ? The fear of the people of Nineveh 
is excited by their faith : Jonah iii. 5, ' The people of Nineveh believed 
God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth ;' and the word, which 
is the object of faith, is the object of fear. They that feared the word 
of the Lord housed their cattle, Exod. ix. 20 ; that is, they that believed 
the word. 

But now the great question is, what is this godly fear ? There are 
three effects by which it ma,y be discerned caution, diligence, and 
reverence ; caution respects sin, diligence respects duty, dread and 
reverence respects God himself. 

[1.] There is caution, or a cautelous prudence a fear lest we should 
dash the foot of our faith against the several stumbling blocks that are 
in the world. Look, as those that carry precious liquor in a brittle 
vessel, are very cautelous ; especially if they walk in the dark or rough 
ways, they walk with care lest the vessel be broken and the liquor 
spilt. The children of God know what a precious treasure they have 
about them, that they have a soul that cannot be valued ; and they 
know that the world is a rough passage, and here many stones of 
stumbling ; therefore they ' Work out their salvation with fear and 
trembling, ' Phil. ii. 12. The main grace that keeps in and maintains 
the fire of religion in the soul is a cautelous fear ; they consider their 
own hearts, look for direction from the word, and call in the help of 
the Spirit : Heb. iv. 1, ' Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left 
unto us of entering into his rest, any of us should seem to come short 
of it. ' This doth not hinder the assurance of faith, but guard it. 

[2.] There is diligence in fear, and that respecteth duty. Every good 
fear endeth in duty ; it ariseth from faith, and ends in duty ; it stirs up 
the soul to use all the means to prevent the danger. If Noah had not 


believed, he had never feared ; if he had not feared, he had never pre 
pared an ark. The fear of the wicked ends in irresolution, perplexity, 
and despair ; their terrors differ only in degree and duration from the 
pains of hell mere involuntary impressions, whose end is not duty, but 
despair and torment ; but the fear of the godly sets them a-work. 
Noah, being moved with fear, sets to building the ark. It is said of 
Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. xx. 3, ' He feared, and set himself to seek the 
Lord ; ' so Paul, Acts ix. 6, ' He trembling and astonished said, Lord, 
what wilt thou have me to do ? ' As if he had said, Lord, I see my 
danger, what is my work ? 

[3.] There is in fear a reverence and a dread of God his holiness, 
his majesty, his power, his justice, and the like. Now we may dread 
God either as creatures or as sinners ; either as our maker, or as our 
judge, or as both ; as our maker, so we dread God for himself; as our 
judge, so we dread him for our own sakes, because of sin. These two 
are distinct ; the one may be where the other is not. As in heaven, 
the saints and glorious angels fear God fear being an essential respect 
of the creature to God ; in heaven, it is a grace that never cease th. 
Now they dread God as full of majesty and goodness, and as the great 
creator of the world ; and in paradise there was this fear of reverence. 
Adam did not fear God as a judge till he had sinned : Gen. iii. 10, 
' I was afraid, therefore 1 hid myself : ' this fear entered into the world 
with sin. Adam in innocency only reverenced him for his majesty, 
goodness, and holiness, as the saints and angels do in heaven ; and 
there may be fear where only God is feared as a judge. The wicked 
stand in fear of nothing but hell and wrath ; they fear not God for God, 
but for themselves ; not because of the dignity of his majesty, but 
because of their own danger. 

Quest. If you ask me, then, what fear is lawful ? 

I answer, It must be a mixed fear, partly because of his majesty and 
holiness ; and partly, because of his justice while we are in the present 
state, not wholly exempt from the strokes of God's justice ; and this 
is the fear that is in the children of God, and is usually called by the 
name of filial fear ; whereas the other in wicked men is called by the 
name of servile and slavish fear. The distinction is grounded on 
scripture, and so called with allusion to the fear of.'children and servants ; 
children fear their loving parents, and servants fear their hard and 
cruel masters. The grounds of this distinction are famously known 
the spirit of bondage and the spirit of adoption : Eom. viii. 15, ' Ye 
have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have 
received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father : ' the 
spirit of bondage is the root and ground of servile fear, and the spirit 
of adoption is the ground of filial fear. Now, though there may be 
some servile fear in the children of God, yet it is more and more wrought 
out the more we increase in the apprehension of God's love : 1 John 
iv. 18, ' Perfect love casteth out fear.' I take it there for the appre 
hension of God's love, not for our love to God. 

Now I shall state the differences between these two kinds of fears, 
servile and filial. 

(1.) Filial fear is always coupled with, love for there is a harmony 
between the graces but servile fear with hatred. Filial fear ariseth 
from a humble sense of God's goodness, and thereby God is made 


more amiable and lovely to the soul : Ps. cxxx. 4, ' There is forgiveness 
with thee that thou mayest be feared ; ' they are afraid to displease so 
good a God as they have found him to be in Christ : Hosea iii. 5, 
'And they shall fear the Lord and his goodness.' Mark, it is not the 
Lord, and his wrath and -his justice, but his goodness. Filial fear is 
rather because of his benefits past, than of his judgments to come; 
but now servile fear ariseth merely from a sense of this wrath, and so 
causeth hatred of God. Odei*unt dum metuunt, they hate God while 
they fear him. Wicked men, it is true, stand in dread of God ; but 
they have hard thoughts of God, and they could wish there was no God, 
or that he were not such a God ; aut Deum extinctum cupiunt aut 
exarmatum either they wish the destruction of his being or of his 
glory ; either that there were no God, or that he were a weak or powerless 
God ; not such a God, not so holy, just, and powerful. It is a pleasing 
thought to a carnal heart if there were no God to punish him. Such 
fear there is in the devils themselves : James ii. 19, ' They believe and 
tremble ; ' they abhor their own thoughts of God, and their bondage is 
increased with their knowledge. So do wicked men hate those characters 
of God engraven upon their consciences, they stand in dread of God, 
but it is a fear that is accompanied with hatred rather than love. 

(2.) Filial fear is accompanied with a shyness of sin, but not with a 
shyness of God's presence. Adam, as soon as he had sinned, he bewrayed 
this slavish fear ; the more he feared, the more he ran away from God : 
Gen. iii. 10, ' I was afraid, because I was naked, and hid myself.' His 
guilt makes him run into the bushes. When men feel God's wrath 
they cannot endure the presence of his glory. Before man fell, there 
was nothing sweeter to him than familiarity with God ; but as soon as 
he sinned, ' I was afraid, and hid myself.' Now when fear makes us 
to fly from God, it must needs be culpable ; for the aim of all graces is 
to preserve a communion and a respect between God and the soul ; and 
therefore the proper use of fear is rather to fly from sin than to fly from 
God. In short, there is a fear that keepeth us from coming to God, 
and that is carnal ; and there is a fear that keepeth us from going 
away from God, which preserves the soul in a way of holy acquaint 
ance and communion with God, and that is a holy fear : Jer. xxxii. 
40, ' I will put my fear into their hearts, that they shall not depart 
from me.' Fear is the preserving grace, therefore it is mere bond 
age and horror that sets the soul at a distance from God ; yet this 
is in all wicked men ; they think they can never banish God far 
enough out of their thoughts ; they would, if they could, withdraw 
themselves from his government and get out of his sight ; they would 
fain run away from God ; they hate his presence in their consciences, 
because they carry their hell and their accuser always about them ; 
and it were happy for them they think if they should never more see 
God. But now a gracious fear makes the heart to cleave the closer 
to God. A child of God is troubled, because sin is apt to breed a 
strangeness ; and because they cannot more delight in his company, 
they are never near enough to God. A godly man is afraid of losing 
God, and a carnal man is afraid of finding him. The voice of 
slavish fear is ' Hide us from the face of him that sits upon the 
throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb,' Eev. vi. 16 ; but true fear 
is afraid lest God should hide himself afraid lest God should 


shut up himself in a veil of displeasure. Observe that place : Hosea iii. 
5, ' They shall seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and 
they shall fear the Lord and his goodness/ That filial fear which 
uriseth from the the goodness of God makes us to seek God and run 
after him. It is a blessed fear that drives us to seek the face of God, 
and bring us into his presence. 

(3.) Servile fear only respecteth the loss and punishment, but true 
fear is mixed : it respecteth the punishment, but not only ; it respecteth 
both offence and punishment ; only with this difference, they do not 
fear judgment so much as sin ; and in the punishment and judgment 
itself, to a gracious heart the loss is more horrible than the pain ; they 
are afraid lest there should be a divorce between them and God, lest 
they should grieve their good God, and cause him to depart from them. 
But now wicked men non peccare metuunt sed ardere they are afraid 
to burn, but not afraid to sin. When it is merely for the punishment, 
then it is slavish fear. See how the apostle speaks of the habitual 
bondage that is in the heart of every wicked man : Heb. ii. 15, 
' Through fear of death they are all their lifetime subject to bondage.' 
Now this kind of fear can never be gracious, partly because there is 
more of torment in it than there is of reverence ; and so it wants the 
chief and formal reason of fear, which is not the creature's danger, but 
God's excellency ; a carnal man fears hell more than God, which is an 
act of guilty and corrupt nature, not of religion. And partly, because 
it can never produce any genuine piety ; for if a wicked man should 
leave off sin out of this fear, it is not out of hatred to sin, but out of 
the fear of the punishment, as the bird is kept from the bait by the 
scarecrow. And so the sin is not hated, but forborne ; they love the 
sin and fear hell ; there is nothing restrained but the act ; servile fear 
restraineth the action, but the other mortifieth the affection. Godly 
men do not only forbear sin, but abhor sin, and hate it. A wicked 
man dares not sin, and a good man would riot sin. Or suppose that 
out of this fear he should practise some duties (as a wicked man may 
out of the compunction of slavish fear), yet this is but forced from him ; 
and forced fruit is never so kindly as that which is naturally ripened. 
All the duties of a wicked man are rather a sin-offering, than a thank- 
offering ; not done out of any respect to God, or from reasons of religion, 
but to appease conscience. And therefore, upon the whole matter, we 
see that gracious fear must have another object besides the punishment; 
we may fear the punishment, but not only. A godly man doth not 
only fear hell, 'but fears an oath,' Eccles. ix. 2 ; that is, to be false to 
an oath. ' He fears the commandment,' Prov. xiii. 13. His greatest 
fear is lest he should cast off duty, and commit known sins. 

(4.) Servile fear is involuntary. The wicked do not fear out of a 
voluntary act and exercise of faith, but a judicial impression. The 
fear that is in the godly ariseth naturally out of faith and tenderness 
of spirit ; but in a wicked man, it is out of guilt of conscience ; there 
is bondage impressed and forced upon his heart, which, though it be 
not always felt, yet it is soon awakened ' All their lifetime they are 
subject to bondage,' Heb. ii. 15 ; and if God do but touch the conscience, 
then they are troubled. Belteshazzar seemed to have a brave spirit, 
and not to be daunted with the forces with which he was besieged ; 


but God takes off the edge of his bravery with a few letters upon the 
wall ' Then his countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled 
him ; so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote 
one against another,' Dan. v. 6. God arms- wicked men's thoughts 
against them, and it is more than if he should bring the greatest terrors 
from without. At that time he was besieged with the Persian forces ; 
but that one hand upon the wall works upon him more than all the 
forces with which he was beleaguered. So Felix of a sudden trembled, 
Acts xxiv. 25. A man would have thought the story should rather 
have said that Paul trembled ; but mark, the prisoner makes the judge 
to tremble, but sore against his will, because he had the advantage of 
his conscience. Paul was discoursing there of temperance, righteous 
ness, and judgment to come ; now Felix was notoriously guilty of 
bribery and incontinency ; Drusilla, though she was used as his wife, 
was but his minion ; he took her from Azizus, king of the Emisenians ; 
and when Paul rubs him up with judgment to come, trembling comes 
upon him, and he could not withstand it. And such trembling there 
is in wicked men in the midst of their revelling and bravery ; guilty 
conscience recoils and boggles, and then they are afraid. This fear 
is involuntary, as will appear, partly because it is not constant, and 
comes but by fits and starts, and is a trouble to them : Prov. xxviii. 
14, ' Happy is he that feareth always/ A child of God is under fear, 
not by fits and pauses, but he bears a constant respect to God, and 
seeth him that is invisible. A godly man looks upon it as a great 
blessing when he can work up his thoughts to a sight of God, that he 
may not sin in his presence. But now in wicked men it is not a fear 
begotten by the exercise of faith ; but now and then enforced upon the 
soul by the evidence of a guilty conscience when it is awakened a 
mere effect of the spirit of bondage. And it is plain this is involuntary, 
partly because wicked men are apt to take all advantages to enlarge 
themselves. Their desire is not to please God, but to dissolve the 
bonds of conscience, and to allay their fear ; therefore they fly to the 
next carnal course. How often may we find that the Spirit is quenched, 
without a metaphor, by the excess of wine and the rays of conviction, 
when God darts them into the bosom, extinguished by mirth a-nd com 
pany. As in Belteshazzar, there was a fit came upon him which sets 
him a-trembling, what doth he do ? he sends to the star-gazers and 
astrologers, Dan. v. 7. Daniel was famous in the kingdom, and his 
skill well known in such cases ; but anything serves, so we may come 
out of the stocks of conscience. Felix, when his conscience boggles, 
seeks to put it off when he cannot put it away, and foolishly dreams 
of a more convenient time. 

(5.) Servile fear is a fear without any temperament of hope and 
comfort, and so it weakens the certainty of faith, rather than the 
security of the flesh. But now the gospel-fear is mixed with hope and 
joy : Ps. ii. 10, ' Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.' 
Because our affections are apt to degenerate, therefore God wouid have 
this mixture. Hope is apt to degenerate to presumptuous boldness, 
and joy to grow into a fond boasting ; and therefore God hath required 
that we should allay the excess of one affection by the mixture of an 
other, that so the spirit may be kept aweful, but not servile ; and there- 


fore in the children of God there is always such a mixture ; their fear 
it ends in reverence and caution, but not in torment ; for it is over 
mastered by the apprehensions of God's love : 1 John iv. 18, ' There 
is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath 
torment ; he that feareth is not made perfect in love.' The fear of the 
godly makes them more circumspect, but not a jot less comfortable ; 
the more they fear, the more blessed, the more comfortable ' Blessed 
is he that feareth always.' They are more wary and cautious in their 
walking with God, more serious in their special converses and confer 
ences with God. But now the issue of slavish fear is not love but tor 
ment ; it is full of discomfort and dejection, and makes us anxious 
rather than cautious ; and therefore it is good to temperate your fear, 
that you may be comfortable in the use of holy duties, and your walk 
ing with God. 

Out of all you see that there is a godly fear, which is the fruit of 
faith. There is a fear of reverence, proper to heaven ; a fear in the 
church, that is a fear of caution ; and a fear in hell, and that is despair, 
or a fearful looking for of the fiery indignation of the Lord. 

Prepared an ark. HEB. xi. 7. 

IT follows in the text, ' Prepared an ark.' As his fear was the fruit of 
his faith, so this was a fruit of his fear. Faith by the affections hath 
an influence upon the practice and conversation. I look upon this act 
of Noah in several regards. 

1. As an act of great obedience. Though it were a matter of high 
difficulty and charge, and likely to be entertained with scoffs in the 
world, yet Noah prepared an ark. Observe that God must be obeyed, 
whatever it cost us. Though duties cross interest and affections, and 
blast our repute in the world, yet God must be obeyed. Noah was now 
put to trial, and so in all difficult cases we are put to trial. Now, that 
we may not deny and retract our obedience, I shall show you upon 
what grounds we are to obey in difficult cases. Partly, because we have 
entirely given up ourselves, and all that is ours, to God ; and when we 
have given a thing to another, he may do with it what he pleaseth. 
When thou art given up to God, thou art the Lord's, Eom. xiv. 7, 8. 
At first conversion there was a perfect resignation. God had right in 
thee before, but thou then gavest up thyself by the consent of thine 
own will. We did not then indent with God to say, Thus far I will 
obey, and no farther ; we reserved no part of our will, no interest, and 
no concernment of ours. Now unless we will retract our own solemn 
vows, and our spiritual resignation, God must be obeyed. Christ bids 
us at first to sit down and count the charges ; can you part with all 
for him ? And partly, because we have no cause to repent of out 
bargain, whether we consult with our experiences or our obligations to 


God. With our experiences, God is not a hard master ; we never lost 
anything by God ; we were gainers when we were the greatest losers. 
God puts his people to the question : Jer. ii. 5, ' What iniquity have 
your fathers found in rne, that they are gone far from me ? ' Have I 
broken contract ? Have I been worse than your expectation? So again : 
Micah vi. 3, ' my people! what have I done unto you, and wherein 
have I wearied you? testify against me.' When Israel was grown 
weary of God, and began to stray and go off from God, saith God, 
What cause have I given you? Ignatius was an old and ancient 
servant of God, and saith he, These eighty-six years have I served God, 
and he never did me any harm. Certainly in those persecuting times 
that gracious soul met with a great deal of injury in the world, yet 
saith he, God never did me harm ; he made it up again with consola 
tion. And much more if we consult with our obligations to God. 
God doth not repent of the bargain made with Christ, and Christ doth 
not repent of the bargain made with God the Father ; and why should 
we repent of our part of the covenant ? God doth not repent of the 
bargain made with Christ : Ps. ex. 4, ' The Lord hath sworn, and will 
not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.' 
Though the world abuseth mercy, and puts many affronts upon grace, 
and abuseth the doctrine of the gospel, yet saith God, I have sworn, 
my word is past, Christ shall yet be a mediator. So Jesus Christ 
repented not ; he did not only freely offer himself when the matter was 
propounded and broken to him at the first in the eternal treaty between 
God and him : Ps. xl. 7, 8, ' Lo, I come ; I delight to do thy will, 
my God,' but when he was about to engage in suffering, his love 
was hottest : John xiii. 1, ' Jesus therefore having loved his own, he 
loved them to the end.' The meaning is to the end of his own 
life, though it was exceeding difficult, for then came his tor 
ment and agonies for sinners. It is true indeed he said, 'Let this 
cup pass,' to show his natural abhorrency ; yet he said, 'Not my will, 
but thy will be done/ to show his voluntary submission : Luke xxiv. 
42, ' The cup which my Father gave me shall I not drink it,' John 
xviii. 11. When he was despitefully used by men, he did not repent 
of the bargain ; so we should never repent of our solemn contract made 
with God. 

2. I look upon this again as an act of obedience, as a means in order 
to his own safety; and then the note will be Though a man be 
certain of safety, yet he must use the means. God had promised to 
save Noah and his household, he had made a covenant with him, Gen. 
vi. 18 ; but still Noah was to provide an ark ; the covenant was upon 
this condition, that he should use those means. If Noah had made no 
ark, he must have taken his lot and share with the ungodly world. 
And as Noah had a promise of his own life and the life of his house 
hold, so Paul had a promise of the lives of all the men in the ship ; 
yet, Acts xxvii. 31, ' Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved ; ' 
he had told them before, ver. 22, ' Be of good cheer, there shall be no 
loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship/ yet ' except these 
abide,' &c. not as if the accomplishment of the promise did depend 
upon second causes, and hang upon the endeavours of men, but only 
thus, he that hath appointed the end hath appointed the means, and 
we tempt God by putting that asunder which he hath joined together. 


This being observed, it will be a check to libertinism ; we cannot be 
saved if we live as we list. And assurance is no idle doctrine , though 
we be under a sure covenant with God, yet we are to mind our duty. 
Elijah, that had foretold rain, yet prays for it as earnestly as if the 
thing had been utterly uncertain and unlikely. 

3. I observe again, that this means was instituted and appointed by 
God, not devised and invented by Noah. He might have been saved 
some other way ; but he received a commandment concerning the 
matter, the proportion, the measure, and the fashion of the ark. And 
it is said, Gen. vi. 22, ' Thus did Noah ; according to all that God 
commanded him, so did he.' The ark seemed an unlikely way to 
preserve him, being a dark receptacle, likely to be dashed in pieces 
against rocks ; yet so did he as God commanded. The note is we 
must use the means which God hath instituted in order to salvation, 
and that both with faith and obedience. 

[1.] Use them in obedience. It is enough that God hath com 
manded them. All ordinances are simple in appearance, therefore the 
creature is apt to carp at them. In baptism there is but a little 
common water ; yet baptism saves. As in the ark eight souls saved by 
water ' The like figure whereunto baptism saves/ &c., 1 Peter iii. 20, 
21. So in the Lord's supper there is a little morsel of bread and a 
small draught of wine, yet they are high and mysterious instruments of 
our comfort and peace and grace. And so in the means that seem to 
be more rational, and to have some ministerial efficacy, as in the 
ordinance of the word : 1 Cor. i. 21, ' It pleased God by the foolishness 
of preaching to save them that believe.' The world thinks it a foolish 
way. Men will say, for substance, We know as much as they can 
teach us, and we can bring nothing sublime and new ; and yet this 
way the Lord is pleased to work. Though there be no carnal 
allurements, yet mere obedience must keep up our respect to the 
institutions and ordinances of Jesus Christ. 

[2.] We must use them in faith. It is a great part of the life of 
faith to live by faith in the use of ordinances ; when we come 
to use them, and can refer ourselves to the mercy of God for a blessing, 
for edification, and strengthening in comfort and grace ; nay though 
we want comfort a great while, yet when we will try again, because it 
is an ordinance that God hath appointed. There is more grace in wait 
ing upon God, though there be more comfort in receiving. There is a 
command to keep up endeavours, and a promise to encourage expec 
tation ; and upon the bare command of God we must keep up our 
endeavours, though we have been discouraged by former experiences ; 
as Peter : Luke v. 5, ' We have toiled all night, and caught nothing ; 
yet at thy command we will let down the net ; ' Lord I have come 
again and again, and found no profit ; yet I will come once more. 
Noah knew this was the instituted means, that he and his should be 
saved in the ark ; and therefore he waited in the ark many months, 
ere the rain ceased and the flood was dried up. 

4. I observe again that the only instituted means was the ark, which 
was a type of Christ, by whose resurrection, saith the apostle, we are 
saved: 1 Peter iii. 21, ' The like figure whereunto even baptism doth 
now save us, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.' All God's dispensa- 


tions to the fathers happened by way of type : 1 Cor. x. 11, 'All these 
things happened unto them rinrot, as ensamples.' Observe, the 
i'aith of the fathers and the obedience of the fathers was conversant 
about a double object : spiritual good things promised to them, and. in 
common to all believers and then particular blessings which were 
proper to themselves, and were types of good things yet to come. So 
here was a temporal salvation in an ark, which was a figure of our 
spiritual deliverance by Christ. There is a great deal of similitude 
between Christ and the ark. The ark was the only means of salva 
tion, and so is Jesus Christ : Acts iv. 12, ' Neither is there salvation 
in any other : for there is no other name under heaven given among 
men whereby we must be saved/ If they had builded towers, and 
gone up to the tops of mountains, though they were of a giant-like 
stature, they could not escape the flood that overwhelmed them. So all 
other things are but vain confidences ; though you. are strict and severe 
in life, and practise many duties, yet out of Christ they signify nothing. 
So again, all without the ark perished in the waters. Many saw the 
ark ; but unless they entered into it, they were not safe. So, though 
you hear of Christ, and are of this opinion that there is a Christ, yet 
unless you be in Christ it will not avail you anything ; there is salva 
tion in no other, and you must be in him before you can have any 
benefit by him. Therefore say as the apostle, ' Oh that I might be 
found in him/ Phil. iii. 9 ; that I may not only know Christ outwardly, 
but that there might be a real union between him and me. And look, 
as all that were gathered into the ark, so all that shall be saved shall be 
added and gathered to the church : Acts ii. 47, ' The Lord added to 
the church daily such as should be saved/ Those that were out of 
the ark, though many of them had large possessions and a great deal 
of money, yet that would not avail them. So ' riches profit not in the 
day of wrath,' Prov. xi. 4. When God comes to take us away in judg 
ment, our estates which we idolise will be our greatest burden, and sit 
heavy upon our consciences ; they will be a trouble and no profit to us. 
Again, those that were once in the ark were sure and safe, and could 
not miscarry. So. there is a sure salvation in Christ ; once in Christ, 
and salvation for ever ; all the floods of calamity can never overwhelm 
them, they will be your safety, and not your ruin. The flood mounted 
the ark higher, and made it safe from rocks. There is a notable 
expression of the apostle, 1 Peter iii. 20, ' They were saved by water/ 
the water that drowned others saved them, by hoisting up of the ark 
from the hills and mountains ; so all those conditions of life which to 
the wicked are a snare, shall be to you a blessing. When floods arise, 
this will be a great advantage ; afflictions and outward blessings are all 
faithful administrations. 

Again, as Noah was buried alive in the ark for a good while, then 
had a joyful deliverance ; so we are ' buried with Christ in baptism/ 
Rom. vi. 4, mortified with affliction ; and we should live as if we were 
dead to the pomps of the world, and then the end will be glorious as it 
was to Noah. He came out and enjoyed the whole world ; so shall 
we when we are delivered from the prison of the body ; when our souls 
go forth as Noah out of the ark, we shall reign and triumph with 
Christ for evermore. Oh then, get into the ark, get an interest in 


Christ. Noah prepared the ark himself; but the Lord hath prepared 
an ark for us ; all things are ready, there wants nothing but our faith. 
The ark is built to our hands, and Christ is a complete saviour, fit to 
shelter us and save us. Oh, let us enter into this ark ! 

To go on ' To the saving of his household.' It is meant of a 
temporal salvation, though thereby the spiritual salvation was typified 
and figured ; for indeed some of Noah's house that were saved in the 
;:rk, are represented in the scripture ' as accursed from the Lord : ' 
Gen. vi. 16, and vii. 1, 'Come thou and all thy house into the ark.' 
There was Ham in the ark, as well as Shem and Japhet ; wretched 
Ham, in whose line the cursed offspring or malignant race was con 
tinued. Hence note 

Doct. Bad children of good parents are partakers of some temporal 
blessings for their father's sake. Saving grace doth not descend from 
parents to their children, yet many temporal blessings may for their 
parents' sake. We read that Ishmael was blessed for Abraham's sake : 
Gen. xvii. 20, ' I have heard thee for Ishmael ; and behold I have 
blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and multiply him exceedingly ; 
twelve princes he shall beget, and I will make him a great nation.' 
Though he did not continue the blessed line, yet he had much of the 
outward part of the covenant ; he lived and had some common 
privileges, the principal blessing was settled on Isaac. So when 
Solomon had warped and turned aside from God, the Lord tells him, 
1 Kings xi. 11, 12, ' I will rend the kingdom from thee, and will give 
it to thy servant, nevertheless, in thy days I will not do it for David thy 
lather's sake, but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.' There is 
mercy to one child for his father's sake, and there is judgment to the 
next child for his immediate parent's sake. See how various the dis 
pensations of God are to children by reason of their parents ; for that 
is the reason given, because of his promise made to David not for 
Solomon's merit. The Lord doth not speak of Solomon's building the 
temple, and those costly sacrifices that he offered ; no, but for David's 
sake. To instance in such a blessing as is parallel to the text of tem 
poral deliverance, preservation, and safety : Gen. xix. 12, ' And the 
men said unto Lot ' that is, the angels in men's appearance, ' Hast 
thou here any besides ? sons-in-law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, 
bring them out of this place.' God would extend mercy for Lot's sake 
to all his relations ; not only to his sons and natural children, but to 
his sons-in-law ; nay, their relation at that time was exceeding loose, 
for Lot's daughters were but espoused, for they are called virgins else 
where. Yea, to express the largeness of his grace, God hath saved a 
whole nation for their sakes, and therefore they are called ' the chariots 
and horsemen of Israel,' 2 Kings ii. 12. And if ten righteous persons 
had been found in Sodom, God would have spared all Sodom, Gen. xviii. 
32, much more their kindred and their near relations. 

To apply this 

Use 1. For encouragement to godly parents concerning their 

1. Consider the mercy of the covenant, how it overflows ; it is not only 
stinted to their persons, but runs over to their children ; they are 
beloved for our sake. Oh, fear the Lord not only for your own sakes, 


but for your children's sake ! this will be the best way to provide for 
your children ; not to heap up wealth and honour for them, but to 
leave them the honour and wealth and privileges of the covenant. 
It is true, the election shall obtain ; sanctification and regeneration 
doth not descend from the parents to their children ; yet in outward 
mercies they have their share, if they have nothing else. Though you 
have nothing to leave them, yet leave them God's love, and that will 
be enough. It is a usual observation, many parents go to hell in 
getting an estate for them, and their children go to hell afterward in 
spending that estate. In Exod. xx. 5, 6, the commandment which 
forbids idolatry and compliance with outward false worship, hath a 
promise annexed concerning children. What should be the reason of 
this ? Because parents are drawn to comply witli things against their 
conscience out of an aim to maintain their children and preserve the 
interest of their families; therefore God hath ma'de a special pro 
vidence ; walk in the fear of the Lord, and the Lord will provide 
for them; keep in God's ways and then you will leave them to 
his blessings. 

2. Instruct your children ; you. have more encouragement to do so 
than others, because they are born within the covenant, and by this 
means you make way for the blessing : Gen. xviii. 19, ' I know 
Abraham, that he will command his children and his household after 
him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord.' Instruction makes 
way for a blessing ; and so saith David to Solomon, 1 Kings ii. 3. 4, 
' Keep the charge of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways, . . . 
that the Lord may continue his good word which he hath spoken con 
cerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way to walk 
before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there 
shall not fail thee a man on the throne of Israel.' Hereby you open 
the dams and obstructions, that grace may have its free passage. 

Use 2. If children are beloved for their parents' sake, then it serves 
to shame and terrify them that are born of godly parents, yet are 
not godly, but by their luxury and riot have forfeited all their bles 
sings, their spiritual privileges in the covenant, and many times the 
outward blessing too. Or if you have temporal blessings, they do but 
harden you to greater torment, especially when you are so wicked to 
mock and reproach yonr parents because of their strictness and holy 
life. God looks for more from, you than from others ; the natural 
branches are more easily grafted into the good olive-tree. You are 
natural branches of the covenant, and you might plead the promises 
made to your parents with God ; you have had a greater sufficiency of 
outward means ; the example of your parents, frequent instruction, 
and many prayers have been laid out for you, and you have been more 
acquainted with the ways of religion. 

Use 3. It may press us to admire the grace of God to his children. 
He cannot satisfy himself in doing good to you, but he must do good to 
your children too. How should we entertain this with reverence ! 
When God told Abraham. I am thy God, and the God of thy seed, 
'Abraham fell upon his face,' as humbly adoring the goodness of God, 
Gen. xvii. 3 ; so David, when God spake concerning his house and his 
children : 2 Sam. vii. 18, 19, ' What am I, Lord, and what is my 


house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?' And this was yet a 
small thing in thy sight, Lord God ; for thou hast spoken also of 
thy servant's house for a great while to come ;' he stands wondering 
at this mercy of God. 

Use 4. We learn hence that we are to save ourselves, and others 
committed to us. Noah prepared an ark ' for the saving of his house 
hold-/ 2 Tim. iv. 16, 'In so doing, thou shalt save both thyself and 
them that bear thee.' It is good to instruct and teach our families : 
Gen xviii. 18, ' I know Abraham, that he will command his children 
and his household after him, that they shall keep the way of the Lord.' 
And this is to be done morning and evening : Dent. vi. 6, 7, ' And 
these words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart : 
and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk 
of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by 
the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.' All 
religion at first was in families, and to this we are bound by all the 
bonds of nature and religion. 

I go on to another fruit and consequent of Noah's faith ' By which 
he condemned the world.' By the world is meant all mankind, except 
the family of Noah, But how did Noah condemn the world ? It 
may be conceived in two ways : by his preaching, by his obedience. 
Let us see which will most suit this place. 

1. By his preaching. That Noah was a preacher, it is clear from 2 
Peter ii. 5, where he is called 'a preacher of righteousness.' All the 
while the ark was preparing he warned the wicked of their approaching 
danger, and admonished them to repent in time and turn to God, 
seeking the forgiveness of their sins through faith in the promised 
Messiah, or else they should perish : which is there meant by ' a 
preacher of righteousness.' Thus he might be said to condemn the 
world that admonisheth them by pronouncing the sentence of God 
upon the wicked world in case they did not repent. From hence I 
might observe 

Doct. That men receive their first sentence in the ministry of the 
word. There they are condemned first : John iii. 18, ' He that be- 
lieveth not is condemned already ;' that is. he that after warning and 
sufficient light stands out against the gospel, he can expect no other 
sentence from God. So John xx. 23, ' Whose soever sins ye remit, they 
are remitted : and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.' The 
sentence is first pronounced on earth, and then ratified in heaven. 
When we go to work according to the doctrine of faith and repent 
ance, clave non errante, God will verify and make good that sentence. 
So Rom. ii. 16, ' In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men 
by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel ;' according as it is declared 
in the gospel, so will the process of that day be. Mat. xii. 32, it is 
there said concerning the sin against the Holy Ghost, ' It shall never 
be forgiven in this world' by the ministry of the word 'nor in the 
world to come' by Christ at the last day, when the pardon of the 
elect shall be pronounced and ratified before all the world out of Christ's 
own mouth ; therefore we have need to regard the present voice of the 
gospel. The church is the seminary of heaven. In the angel's song 
the word was, ' Peace upon earth,' Luke ii. 14. According as you 


make your peace with God upon earth, so it will be with you for ever. 
Those that obstinately stand out against the word, and put it away 
from them, they condemn themselves by their own fact ; they pass a 
sentence upon their own souls, 'and judge themselves unworthy of 
everlasting life,' Acts xiii. 46. It is not we that condemn you, but 
you yourselves ; you condemn yourselves interpretatively when you do 
such actions as will end in certain ruin ; and the ministers of God 
condemn declaratively when they declare the mind of Christ ; and 
Christ will do it authoritatively in the great and terrible day. 

2. He condemned the world by his obedience. This sense is most 
proper : the words ' by which ' are to be referred to his preparing the ark, 
not to his faith, which is a more remote antecedent. A man is said to 
condemn another when he doth by his own actions and obedience declare 
what they should do, which they not doing are left inexcusable, and 
liable to the greater blame. So it is said. Mat xii.'41, 42, ' The men of 
Nineveh shall rise in judgment against this generation, and condemn it : 
because they repented at the preaching of Jonas ; and behold a greater 
than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in judgment 
with this generation, and shall condemn it ; for she came from the 
uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold 
a greater than Solomon is here/ The pains and diligence of others in 
a good course, unless it be imitated, serves but to aggravate men's sins 
to a greater judgment ; and therefore it is said, the men of Nineveh 
and the queen of the south shall condemn that generation. So Noah 
condemned the world ; that is, by his care, and pains, and cost, in pre 
paring the ark ; it was a means to aggravate their carelessness and 
security, and to leave them liable unto a greater judgment. Noah was 
a preacher of righteousness ; but if he had spoken nothing, there had 
been sermon enough in his very building the ark to convince, condemn, 
and leave them without excuse. I shall prosecute this sense : the point 
is this 

Doct. Thatthe carelessness and the security of the wicked is aggravated 
and condemned by the faith and obedience of God's servants. The pains 
which they take in their lives to escape wrath will be an argument by 
which your carelessness will be upbraided in the day of judgment. 
Indeed God condemned the world ; but divine justice taketh notice of 
this argument whereby to make the process against sinners the more 
righteous, and by consequence the more dreadful. 

To prove this point, the main reason is because we are responsible 
for every talent. Now the example of the godly is one of the talents. 
They that live among humble and mortified Christians have more 
advantage than others have ; they are entrusted with another talent 
for which they are to be responsible to God. That you may be sensi 
ble of it, I shall show how many advantages you have by the examples 
of the godly. 

1. It is a means of grace appointed by God, and as all other means, 
it hath a ministerial, natural efficacy. The word is a means, and the 
word hath a ministerial efficacy. It is a rational way to deal by coun 
sel, and the voice hath a natural force to work on the affections. So 
the conversation and example of the godly is a means God hath 
appointed, and it doth naturally provoke and draw us forth to imitation. 


Saith the apostle, 1 Peter ii. 12, ' Having your conversation honest 
among the gentiles, that whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, 
they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in 
the day of visitation.' The first visit that God giveth the soul may be 
by their example. It is an ordinance of God that a man should seek 
to work upon his neighbours, by an innocent and comely carriage to 
draw them to God and religion. There is ajadrj epis, an innocent 
emulation planted in our nature, by which we are moved, not only to 
imitate others, but to excel them ; therefore God would have us display 
the lustre of a godly conversation. So it is an ordinance of God that 
a woman should seek to gain an unbelieving husband : 1 Peter iii. 10, 
' That if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be 
won by the conversation of the wives.' The wife, by lying in the bosom, 
and by the intimacy of converse, and as being void of suspicion of par 
tiality, hath an excellent advantage to instil the knowledge of God and 
a care of religion, or at least to take off his prejudices by her holy con 
versation. For the apostle means there by ' winning,' not a formal 
conversion, but to gain them to a good liking and better opinion of the 
ways to God, that so they may wait upon the word, by way of prepar 
ation to receive further manifestations and discoveries of God. We 
are provoked by their endeavours ; example hath a natural force 
this way ; we love to do as others do, and to follow the track. 

2. It confuteth atheism, and those prejudicate and hard thoughts 
which men have against religion. Godly men are God's witnesses to 
the world that there is a reality in religion ; they give a testimony 
to it by the strictness and mortifiedness of their lives. Certainly when 
men can abjure and renounce all the pleasantness of their lives, and all 
their dear contentments for the interest of religion, there is somewhat 
more in it than a mere notion and imagination, or a mere naked pre 
tence. As the primitive Christians, when they were so just, temperate, 
willing to suffer for the cause of God, the heathens cried out, It is 
impossible but that these men must be moved by some reasonable 
principle. Isa. xliii. 12, ' Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I 
am God.' Now miracles are ceased, God will leave the world no other 
confirmation of the truth of religion, but the efficacy of the word upon 
the conscience and the conversation of believers : John xvii. 10, ' I am 
glorified in them,' and ver. 17, ' Sanctify them by thy truth ; thy word 
is truth.' By their innocency, strictness, and sanctification, they dis 
cover the truth of the word unto the world ; which certainly should 
make Christians very strict in their lives, for the honour and glory of 
the Lord Christ lies at stake. There is no such dangerous temptation 
to atheism as the scandalous lives of professors. They that pretend to 
special nearness to God, when they fall, it makes the world believe that 
Christianity was a fancy ; as when one surprised a Christian in a filthy 
act, he cried out, Christiane ! ubi Deus tuus ? Christian, Christian ! 
where is thy God ? And as it confutes the privy atheism of the heart, 
so it confutes those devised scandals by which they would blot and 
stain the glory of religion. Worldly men cannot endure to be out 
shone ; and because they have no mind to be as good as others, they 
would fain make others to be as bad and as vile as themselves ; there 
fore they are full of hard thoughts and hard speeches against good men. 
VOL. xiv. o 


Now nothing convinceth the world so much as the godly life of profes 
sors. As the apostle speaks of the gravity of church-meetings : 1 Cor. 
xiv. 25, ' Falling down on his face, he will worship God, and report 
that God is in you of a truth.' When he shall see the Christian 
assemblies managed with such awe and reverence, and all things dis 
posed in a comely manner, it would be a means of conviction, and bring 
him to fall down on his face, and say, Surely God is here. So, if 
Christians did not let fall the majesty of their conversation, the pre 
judices of the world would soon vanish, and those that live about you 
would be forced to say, Certainly God is with these men. Of all 
apologies, the real apology is the best : 1 Peter ii. 15, ' That with well 
doing you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men ; ' what we 
translate ' put to silence/ in the original, is fa/Aovv, that you may 
muzzle or bind up the mouth of a wicked man, ;that he cannot bark 
against religion. I like apologies well that are made to take off the 
prejudices of the world ; as those of Tertullian and Justin Martyr 
for Christians, and others for reformed churches. But there is no 
apology like your own lives to put an end to all the reproaches of 
the world, for works are a visible evidence of our sincerity ; and so 
far the world seeth that the ways of God are to be approved and 

3. The examples of God's children are but the word exemplified, the 
rule drawn out into practice. The word is the means of conversion, 
wherever it is written, preached, or lived, and every Christian is as it 
were a walking bible. As it was said of a learned man that he was 
[jiovselov TrepiaTTTovv, a walking library ; so a child of God that walks in 
innocency and strictness of life is a walking and a living reproof ; there 
fore his life must needs convince and condemn the world. There are 
some whose special office it is to preach ; but every Christian may live 
a sermon. You may be all preachers in this kind : 2 Cor. iii. 3, ' For 
asmuch as you are declared to be the epistle of Jesus Christ.' Mark, 
Christ doth by his servants, as it were, declare and write his mind to 
the world ; they are a living rule. You that are believers are to make 
out the glory of Christ, the efficacy of his Spirit, and the strictness of 
his doctrine to the world ; you are to show forth ra? aperas ' the 
virtues of him that hath called you,' 1 Peter ii. 9, to declare what 
manner of person Christ is, and what is his glory ; he sends you out 
as so many lively copies and stamps of his image. The gospel is called 
the image of God, and a Christian is the image of God too. The gospel 
is the glass wherein we behold his glory : 2 Cor. iii. 18, ' We all as in 
a glass beholding the glory of the Lord/ &c ; it is the picture which 
Jesus Christ hath sent to his bride. As you know there is Caesar's 
image upon his coin, and Cesar's image upon his son, he is his living 
image ; so the scriptures are the image of God, where he hath displayed 
the excellency and perfection of his nature as we are capable to under 
stand it ; but Christians who are his sons and children are his living 
image that must discover his glory. 

4. The example of the godly shows the strictness and severity of 
religion is possible ; so that by that means it condemns the world of 
their negligence. Men think the rules of the gospel, because they 
exceed the power and force of nature, are only calculated for angels. 


But now when men that live in the flesh, that live such a kind of life 
as we do, yet live above the flesh, the world is left without excuse, 
and their negligence and carelessness is hereby condemned. 1 Peter 
iv. 4, ' They think it strange,' saith the apostle, ' that you run not 
with them to the same excess of riot.' Carnal men think that there 
is such a felicity in their kind of lives that they wonder others are not 
as greedy of it as they ; but now they are condemned in their thoughts 
when they behold the strictness, the mortification, the self-denial that 
is in the lives of Christians. You may do it, it is possible ; for there 
are many about you that have done it ; and if you do not, you are left 
without excuse : Heb. vi. 12, ' Be not slothful, but followers of them 
who through faith and patience inherit the promises.' When the 
apostle speaks of resisting of Satan, and maintaining the spiritual life 
against the assaults of the powers of darkness, he gives this as one 
reason : 1 Peter v. 9, ' Knowing that the same afflictions are accom 
plished in your brethren that are in the world.' Your brethren in the 
flesh that have bodies as you have, that need the common supports 
of life as you do, that have not divested themselves of the interests and 
concernments of flesh and blood they can resist a busy devil and a 
naughty world, and can wrestle with the corruptions of their own 
hearts : they that are of the same lump and nature that you are, they 
can do these things. 

5. Because the examples of others make conscience work whenever 
you see it. Natural conscience doth homage to the image of God 
which is stamped upon his children. When they see their works and 
their strictness raised to such a height and proportion as nature cannot 
reach it, then they tremble ; it makes their conscience to work : 1 
Peter iii. 1,2.' They that obey not the word may without the word be 
won by the conversation of the wives, while they behold your chaste 
conversation, coupled with fear.' The word ' coupled' is not in the 
original, and the sense is perfect without it; it may be read thus, 
'When they behold your chaste conversation with fear/ A wicked 
man cannot look upon a strict Christian without trembling ; when they 
behold the strictness and severity of their lives, it makes them to quake. 
It is said of Herod, Mark vi. 10, that ' he feared John ; ' not so much 
because he was a severe preacher, one that would rub truth upon his 
conscience ; he did not only fear him as a prophet, but as a 'just man.' 
Innocency and strictness beget fear ; they are objects reviving guilt, 
and make conscience return upon itself ; when they see their holy and 
godly conversation, it makes them to think of their own carelessness 
and sin ; it is like a blow upon a sore, which makes the heart ache. 
The presence of God is dreadful to sinners anywhere, be it in eminent 
providences or in ordinances ; but in the lives of his children it begets 
secret fear and some nips of conscience : Deut. xxviii. 10, ' All the people 
of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord, and 
they shall be afraid of thee ; ' when they behold the graciousness of 
conversation which the godly hold forth. That is the reason why 
wicked men are in prison when they are in good company ; they are 
taken with a fit of trembling. How despicable soever the godly are in 
their eyes, yet there is one of their judges present that condemns them 
for the present, and will pass judgment upon them hereafter. Ignatius. 


speaking of the bishop of the Trallians, saith, that he was of such 
severity of life, that I think the greatest atheist that is would even be 
afraid to look upon him. Mortification shines effectually into the con 
science of a wicked man. The strictness of God's children darts itself 
into their breasts, and begets a veneration and reverence. 

Use 1. To press Christians to walk so that they may even preach in 
their conversations, that you may condemn the world, not by your 
censures, that is not the Christian way, it is forbidden in the gospel 
but by your lives, especially ministers to second their doctrine with 
practice. It concerns all Christians, especially when we have to do with 
them that are without. ' Walk wisely' saith the apostle ' toward them 
that are without,' Col. iv. 5. There needs a great deal of wisdom and 
care, whenever we are cast upon the company of wicked and carnal 
men. Of all things, be careful of your conversations before wicked 
men ; you are one of God's witnesses that must reprove and condemn 
them ; therefore be careful that thou dost not disparage thy testimony. 
That you may do so, take these directions and motives. 

First, For the directions. 

1. Be sure to show forth those graces which they approve in their 
consciences, though they are loth to practise them ; as strictness of life, 
which naturally strikes a veneration into the heart of a sinner : Mark 
vi. 20, ' Herod feared John, because he was_.a just man, and holy.' A 
loose Christian that walks like the men of the multitude is a disgrace 
to his profession, and hardens carnal men in their wicked ways. Then 
diligence in the means of salvation. Certainly the world will see that 
there is somewhat in it when men are so busy and in earnest ; when 
they see the children of God, that are wise and discreet, so diligent in 
the means of godliness. It is somewhat answerable to that which is 
spoken of in the text : Noah's preparing an ark, and providing beasts 
to enter therein. So when you work out your salvation with fear and 
trembling, the world will think there is somewhat in it, or else you 
would not be so busy and careful. So for charity : James i. 27, ' Pure 
religion, and undefined before God and the Father, is this, to visit the 
fatherless and the widow.' The world is mightily taken with these 
things : so that, Horn. v. 7, ' For a good man one would even dare to 
die.' A man that is only of a rigid and severe innocency, a sour man, 
it may be he may have little love in the world ; but he that is good 
and charitable, the world esteems him exceedingly. So also for suffer 
ing and constancy in the matters of religion. Venture somewhat upon 
your hopes, that the world may know they are worthy hopes. So for 
a contempt of the world ; it doth mightily affect a natural conscience, 
for they are transported with a greedy desire of earthly things ; there 
fore they wonder when they see Christians deny their interests and 
overlook their concernments upon just and convenient reasons ; this 
hath a marvellous influence upon a natural conscience. I do the rather 
instance in this, because worldliness is a corruption that is incident to 
men that are serious, and of that kind of temper which is fit for religion. 
When you are full of cares, and covetous as the men of the world, you 
do exceedingly disparage and stain your profession, and you do not con 
demn the world. 

2. What you do, do it in such a way as morality cannot reach it. 


There are many corruptions which nature discovers, and we may avoid 
them upon such arguments as nature suggests. Now you are ' to show 
forth the virtues of Christ/ 1 Peter ii. 9, and the influences of the 
Spirit of Christ, and not ' walk only as men/ 1 Cor. iii. 3. When, 
men only content themselves with the civil and orderly use of reason r 
they may be just and temperate ; this is but to act as men. Your 
way should be above the rate of the world ; you should be holy, and 
maintain an aweful reverent fear of God ; this is such a way as the- 
world cannot reach : Mat. vi. 46, ' If you love them that love you, what 
reward have ye ? I)o not even the publicans the same ? ' You should 
do somewhat above that which is enforced by the light of nature ; as 
in giving, forgiving, and righteous dealing, a Christian should be a 
point above others ; so in loving enemies, in providing for the glory of 
God, and laying out himself for good uses. A Christian should not be 
contented with the proportions of nature, but do somewhat to answer 
the self-denial of Christ, who when he was rich in the glory of the 
godhead, became poor for our sakes. There is a height becoming 
religion, above the size and pitch of morality ; and this you should 
aim at. 

3. Let all things come from the force of religion, and not from by- 
ends. There is nothing amiable but what is genuine and native. 
Forced actions lose their lustre and grace, and do not prevail with the 
world. It is said of the children of God, that they were altogether 
bent for the heavenly recompenses : Heb. xi. 16, ' They declared plainly 
that they sought a country.' You should declare plainly you have no 
designs but for heaven. Do all things for the love and fear of God ; 
by-ends will never hold out. It is said of the hypocrite, Prov. xxv., 
26, ' His wickedness shall be showed before the whole congregation.' 
Varnish will off; and whenever it happens, it will be much to the 
prejudice and disgrace of religion. 


By the ivhich he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteous 
ness ivliicli is by faith. HEB. xi. 7. 

Secondly, FOR the motives to press you to this : to live, so that you 
may condemn the world, that you may make them own their guilt 
and shame. 

1. You may be a means to convert them. All are bound as much 
as they can to co-operate to the conversion of men. It is a debt of 
charity that we owe to the world, especially if we consider the relation 
we sustain as God's witnesses, as Christ's epistles. Now what an honour 
would this be to further the good of souls ! What glory would it be 
to God, and honour to yourselves : 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/ Oh, how sweet will this be when 
men shall come and bless God that ever they were acquainted with 
you, when they shall bless God for the lustre of your conversation, 
and for the light of holiness that shines forth in your lives 1 Ministers 
have a great deal of honour in that they are employed in the conversion 
of souls, when they are successful in the work ; they will all have their 
crown and rejoicing in the day of Christ. Now God invites you that 
are private Christians to the conversion of souls. It may be you for 
merly have done hurt by the carelessness of your lives. Nature is 
very susceptible of evil ; we easily tal:3 sickness one from another, but 
not health ; and therefore you should be the more earnest to lay the 
pious holy snares of a godly conversation, that you may be a means to 
win them to God. 

2. If you do not convert them, you will leave them without excuse ; 
you will have further cause to applaud the righteous counsels of God in 
the great day, when you shall sit with Christ upon the bench. The 
apostle saith, 1 Cor. vi. 2, that ' The saints shall judge the world ;' 
then by sentence, now by conversation; then by applauding of the 
righteousness of God in their just execution. Now if you look to 
judge the world with Christ, begin it for the present, condemn the 
world in your conversation. 

3. If you do not condemn them, you will justify them. A carnal 
profession justifies the world, and a godly Christian condemns the 
world. Judah justified Sodom and Samaria: Ezek. xvi. 52, 'Be con 
founded, and bear thy shame, in that thou hast justified thy sisters.' 
You do justify their prejudices; you put an excuse into their 
moulhs, as if religion were as bad as they make it. It will be sad for 
the account of hypocrites in the last day, when wicked men shall 
come forth as witnesses, and plead, Lord, we never thought these had 
been thy servants, because they were so proud, so self-seeking, so full 
of aspiring projects, so factious and turbulent. When wicked men 
are hardened by carnal professors, at the last day this will impress a 
shame upon them. A professor overtaken with sin may do more hurt 
than a thousand others ; the Hams of the world will laugh to see a 
Noah drunk. The wickedness of some hypocrites crept in among the 
church hath always been a great means of hardening the world, and 
been a stone of stumbling to them ; and by ' such the way of truth is 
evil spoken of,' 2 Peter ii. 2. 

4. By condemning the world you will justify the ways of God ; 
you will force wicked men whether they will or no, to say that the 
ways of God are holy and true, and to say these men are honest, and 
that which they profess is religion. It is the duty of every servant of 
God to justify his profession from the reproach and scandal of the 
world: Mat. xi. 19, 'Wisdom is justified of her children.' Justifica 
tion implies condemnation and reproach. So Titus ii. 10, ' That you 
may adorn the doctrine of God your saviour/ Look, as men of great 
parts, and are carnal, when they take the wrong way, they put a 
varnish and ornament upon the devil's cause; so godly and strict 
Christians, when they keep up the majesty of their conversation, they 
adorn their profession, and are an ornament and credit to Jesus 


5. You will lose nothing by it ; then God will not be ashamed of 
you as those, whose design was for heaven : Heb. xi. 16, 'God is not 
ashamed to be called their God/ God will think it to be no dishonour 
to himself that he hath such kind of servants ; he will not be ashamed 
to be called your God, and Christ your Christ. But usually it may 
be said of most of us, Dicimur christiani in opprobrium Christi ; we 
are called Christians to the very disgrace of Jesus Christ, because of 
the folly and sinfulness of our lives. 

Use 2. To wicked men, to press them to observe and improve the 
conversation of those godly and mortified Christians with whom they 
do converse. Look to the frame of your hearts whenever you are cast 
into their company. How often hath thy heart smote thee when thou 
hast heard their gracious discourse, and seen their holy conversation ? 
Observe, what hast thou done upon such occasions? Some wicked 
men, more touched with a sense of religion, when their consciences 
work, when they see the beauty and heavenliness of their lives, they 
seek to drive them out, and forget these things. Ah ! consider, this 
will be a means not only to harden thee for the present, but to con 
demn thee ; when men have had much remorse and smiting of con 
science, if they do not observe it, they grow the more obdurate and 
hardened in sin, which will be a means of thy utter ruin. God hath a 
book of remembrance, and how many witnesses will there be brought 
against thee at that day ? Not only ministers that have shaken off 
the dust of their feet against thee, but godly men who condemn thee by 
their lives. God will remember thee ; those agonies and secret nips of 
conscience shall rise up in judgment against thee, .to the confusion of 
thy face ; thy rebellion is mightily aggravated and sealed up by it to de 
struction, when thou art condemned by the innocency of their lives. But 
now others, when they are smitten in conscience by observing the strict 
ness and graciousness of God's children, they rage and rail, imagine 
scandalous thoughts against them ; or else they hate and persecute 
them, as it is the old trick of the world to malign what they have no 
mind to imitate, as ' Cain slew his brother because his works were 
righteous/ 1 John iii. 10. Few there are that confess the wickedness 
of their estate, that give glory to God when they are convinced. If 
thou canst not endure the lustre of godliness in a saint, how wilt thou 
endure the presence of Jesus Christ in that day ? Noah condemned 
the world, and did not a judgment follow ? When you are reproached 
in your conscience by the sight of their conversation, take notice of it 
that it may be a day of visitation to thy soul. 

Use 3. For comfort against the reproaches of the world. They may 
condemn you in word, but you condemn them in life. When a man 
is running a race, no matter for the judgment of standers-by, or those 
that contend with us, all depends upon the master of the sports and 
the umpire of the race. So wicked men may scoff at you, standers-by 
may mock and slander your godly conversation ; it is no matter, if 
God acquit you, and if you have praise with him. As a man that 
outruns another is said to cast his adversary ; so you that outrun the 
wicked, and outshine them in godliness, you condemn them really, and 
the judge of the race will determine of your side. And therefore if the 
world reproach you, this is the revenge you should take upon them, to 


be the more strict, to give out the greater lustre of holiness, so you 
will be revenged upon wicked men in an innocent way ; if you be more 
strict, this will stop their mouths. 

Some things might be observed from that expression, 'the world/ 

1. Observe, that we must obey God, and walk in innocency and 
strictness, though we be alone. As here most of the world were 
naught ; there were but a few good, but eight persons, saved in the 
ark, and among them a Ham. Sometimes it is safer to go against the 
stream than with it. 

2. Observe also, that multitudes cannot keep off the strokes of God's 
vengeance. God can dissolve all confederacies and combinations against 
himself: Prov. xi. 21, 'Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall 
not go unpunished.' 

3. Observe also, compliance with the multitude doth not lessen the 
sin, but rather increase it. When we see men fall into the gulf, it is 
more foolish if we will follow after them. 

I might clear a doubt which some move, whether all the world that 
were drowned in the flood were eternally lost ? Certain we are the 
scripture rather doth carry it that they were all eternally lost, for they 
are called ' the world of the ungodly/ 2 Peter ii. 5, and the ' spirits 
that are now in prison, who sometimes were disobedient/ 1 Peter iii. 
19, 20 ; and yet by probable conjectures some exception may be made, 
for it is probable that some might have time to call upon God for 
mercy, and some of them that perished came of the holy race, 
and possibly some might be moved with the approach of the judg 

I come to the last words ' And became/ &c. To make way for the 
points, I shall first open the words 

' He became ; ' that is, he was then discovered to be so. Noah was 
righteous before, and had ' found grace in the eyes of God/ Gen. vi. 
8 ; and verse 9, ' Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generation ; 
and Noah walked with God.' Yet it is said after he built the ark, then 
' he became ; ' that is, then he was discovered to be what he was. It 
is the fashion of scripture to say that things are done when they 
are clearly manifested and discovered. There is a parallel instance : 
James ii. 23, ' And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham 
believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness ; ' then 
it was fulfilled when he offered up Isaac, yet the saying was used of 
Abraham long before he offered up his son: Gen. xv. 6, 'And he 
believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for righteousness ; ' but 
the meaning is, then it appeared how truly it was said of him. God 
giving him again a solemn testimony : Gen. xxii. 12, ' Now I know 
that thou fearest God, seeing then thou hast not withheld thy son, thy 
only son, from me.' So it is here ; Noah, after he had prepared an 
ark, ' became/ that is, then he was visibly declared to be, an heir of 
the covenant of grace ; God dealing with Noah just as he dealt with 
Abraham, confirming his faith by a solemn testimony: Gen. vii. 1, 
' God said to Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark ; for 
thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation ; ' now I have 
found thou art righteous before me, that is, by a righteousness of faith ; 


for by the works of the law none can be righteous in his sight : Bom. 
iii. 20, ' By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his 
sight.' And to that testimony the apostle alludeth here. 

'An heir.' The word 'heir' is sometimes put for 'possessor,' 
especially if we have a firm right, and if it be such a possession upon 
which there depends a further heritage. So Jesus Christ, who is lord 
and possessor of all things, is said to be ' the heir of all things,' Heb. 
i. 2. All firm and perpetual possession among the Hebrews is expressed 
by the term ' heritage ; ' so that to be an heir is nothing else but to 
obtain, to be a possessor, to be interested in this righteousness of faith. 
Though possibly the apostle might intend that he succeeded as imme 
diate heir in the line of the church, or head of that race among whom 
the righteousness of faith is professed. 

' Of the righteousness which is by faith/ By faith is meant faith in the 
Messiah ; and righteousness is here put for the righteousness of justifica 
tion, or rather I conceive for the reward of righteousness acceptance 
with God, possession of the whole world, and the enjoyment of the 
everlasting recompenses, all which are here called righteousness, because 
all these things are built and founded upon the righteousness of Christ 
which is possessed by faith ; of which righteousness Noah professed 
himself an heir. And this is that righteousness he did press upon men 
in his age, inculcating and commending the same hopes to others. 
Therefore he is said to be ' a preacher of righteousness,' 2 Peter ii. 5, 
because he pressed them to return to God, and seek the forgiveness of 
their sins by faith in the Messiah. 

The points are three (I.) That there is a righteousness by faith; 
(2.) This righteousness is an heritage ; (3.) That our title to this 
heritage is evidenced to be right and good by the special operations 
of faith. 

Doct. 1. That there is a righteousness by faith. This I have largely 
spoken of in ver. 4. I shall only now observe two things 

1. That this righteousness is a righteousness opposed to the right 
eousness of the law, or exact obedience as fulfilled in our own persons. 
A clear place for that is Eom. iv. 13, where it is said of Abraham that 
' the promise that he should be heir of the world was not to Abraham 
or to his seed through the law/ mark the opposition, ' but through 
the righteousness of faith ; ' where there is a plain distinction and 
opposition of the law to the righteousness of faith. The best of God's 
children are accepted out of grace, and justified by faith, not works. 
Noah was a just and perfect man in his generation ; he was the best 
alive in his time, and yet his claim was not of right but of grace ; ' he 
found grace ' though he were ' a just man,' Gen. vi. 8, 9. In the children 
of God there is a care of holiness and obedience ; but their reception 
into God's favour is not built upon their obedience, because that is 
imperfect and mixed with sin ; but upon the righteousness which is by 

2. It is a righteousness that is opposed to any act, virtue, and grace 
of our own. When the apostle had spoken of his own personal excel 
lences, he concludes all thus, Phil. iii. 9, 'That I may be found in 
him, not having mine own righteousness ; ' where Paul clearly shows 
that it is such a righteousness as we have by being found in Christ ; 


such as doth not arise from any act of ours, but by virtue of our union 
with him. Our guilt is so great that when wrath makes inquisition 
for sinner*, nothing will cover it but the righteousness of the Son of 
God : Rom. iii. 22, ' Even the righteousness of God, which is by faith 
of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe ; so that there 
is no difference.' He saith it is the righteousness of God, either such 
as God hath appointed, or such as is merited by a person that is God ; 
for indeed there is a righteousness of God, that essential righteousness 
which Christ hath with the Father, which is incommunicable either 
to man or angel, no more than God can communicate to the creature 
any other of his essential attributes, as omnipotency, eternity, &c ; but it 
is the righteousness of Christ who is God-man, his cautionary or surety ; 
righteousness, which he performed in our stead, which by virtue of our 
union to him is made ours ; and the instrument on, our part to receive 
it is faith, and therefore by consequence the objects of it are all 
believers without difference. 

Doct. 2. That this righteousness is a heritage. So the apostle 
intimates when he saith he ' became an heir.' Now it is a heritage in 
several respects. 

1. Because of the dignity and excellency of the blessing itself, with 
all the consequences of it. The blessing itself is a fair portion ; it is 
a legacy left us by Jesus Christ. Look, as when Elijah went to heaven 
he left Elisha his cloak ; so when Jesus Christ went to heaven he left 
us his garment, his own righteousness as a legacy to us, which is a 
covering that is not too short to make us accepted with God. The 
gospel is called the new testament ; it is the will of Christ, and among 
other legacies he hath left us his righteousness. Look, as a father 
entails his land upon his children, so Jesus Christ hath left us what 
he had. As to the outward state, Christ had nothing to leave us, he 
was poor and despicable ; but that which was eminent in Christ was 
his righteousness and obedience, and this he hath left to us as the 
pledge of his love. Christ's righteousness is an excellent privilege 
and heritage, a better heritage than all the world ; he is a rich man 
indeed that hath it. All other things are but an additional supply, 
that is the main blessing : Mat. vi. 33, ' Seek first the kingdom of God, 
and the righteousness thereof, and all other things shall be added to 
you.' The great and main blessing that we should seek and look after 
in the world is an interest in the righteousness of Christ ; other things 
are cast in as paper and packthread into the bargain. This is a jewel 
which cost Christ very dear to purchase it for us, and he is a rich man 
indeed that hath it. Look, as the wise merchant sold all to purchase 
the pearl of great price, Mat. xiii. 46 ; so if we suffer the loss of all, it 
will make us amends if we have this pearl of great price ; all else is but 
dung and dross. Those in the world that have large revenues, that 
join house to house, and field to field, alas ! they have but a spot of 
earth, in the map it is nothing ; but he that hath Christ and his 
righteousness, he is the rich and great man, greater than the greatest 
monarch upon earth if he be carnal ; and he may say with David, Ps. 
xvi. 6, ' I have a goodly heritage,' when he had made God his portion, 
and hath an interest in the righteousness of Christ. 

2. It is called a heritage to note the largeness of our portion and 


spiritual estate. Let us consider the consequences of this righteous 
ness ; it is our title and claim to all other blessings that can be had. 
The children of God have the largest patrimony that ever was ' All 
things are yours,' saith the apostle, 1 Cor. iii. 21. Though God do 
not give us the actual possession, yet we have a general right. And 
all things are theirs by way of reduction in the final issue and event ; 
all for the good of the heirs of promise, though all be not yours in the 
way of actual possession and enjoyment ; that may be hurtful to us. But 
to come to particulars, there cannot be two more magnificent words 
spoken in the whole creation than heaven and earth, yet they are both 
yours by virtue of this righteousness. 

[1.] For the earth ; for most difficulty seems to be there. Many a 
Christian hath not a foot of land, yet it is true all things are his. It is 
said of Abraham, Bom. iv. 13, ' For the promise that he should be the 
heir of the world/ &c. And we have the blessing of Abraham, who 
through the righteousness of faith was re-established in the right which 
Adam had before the fall. Wherever God should cast his portion, he 
might look upon it as his, as made over to him in Christ. Both the 
comfortable and the sanctified enjoyment of the creature is a part of 
our portion, we have it by virtue of this righteousness ; God hath 
created all refreshments for believers that they might receive them 
with thanksgiving: 1 Tim iv. 3, ' Commanding to abstain from meats, 
which God had created to be received with thanksgiving of them which 
believe and know the truth.' Believers only have a covenant right to 
make use of the good creatures and outward supports and refreshments 
of life. I cannot say that wicked men are usurpers of what they 
possess, it is their portion : Ps. xvii. 14, ' The men of the world, which 
have their portion in this life ; ' yet they have not a covenant- title as 
believers have ; they have not these things from a loving father, from 
a God in covenant with them ; they do not work for good to their 
souls. I say they are not usurpers before God ; they have a general 
title and a creature right, but not a covenant right, till interested in 
Christ ; this they lost in Adam. The devils themselves have their 
being by a creature right, so the young ravens have their food, so 
wicked men have a creature right ; but all this is salted with a curse, 
and proves a snare to them. But now, whatever a Christian hath, he 
hath it from his father from mercy, from a God in covenant with him, 
so he is an heir of the world ; whatever of the world falls to his share, 
he may look upon it as a blessing of the covenant, as that which will 
not hinder but further his salvation. In Christ we have a new right 
to the creature, and we have a sanctified use of it, Heb. i. 2. It is 
said of Christ, that ' he is heir of all things ; ' we can have no part of 
the inheritance but by and through him, for Adam was disinherited, 
and he lost his covenant right over the creature by his fall; but in 
Christ the title is renewed. If all the world were yours, it would be 
no blessing to you if you. could not look upon it as a legacy from Christ, 
as a thing that you hold by a covenant right, as that wherein you are 
interested by the righteousness of faith. 

[2.] As the world is theirs, so heaven is theirs too. You are an 
heir-apparent to the kingdom of heaven : James ii. 5, ' Hearken, my 
beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in 


faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that 
love him ? ' He is an heir to a crown, and the fairest crown that ever 
was. A poor believer walks up and down in the world in a despicable 
appearance, like princes in disguise in a foreign country and strange 
land ; they have a royal patrimony and a large estate, though their 
appearance be despicable ; the world that looks upon them thinks them 
miserable, that all their hopes lie ' in terra incognita,' in an invisible 
land, that shall never be found out. But it is not so far but the 
children of God may see it through the prospective of faith, which is 
the evidence of things not seen. Indeed the children of God are wont 
to do so, they go up often to the top of Pisgah, and view the promised 
land and with Abraham they walk through it, and do, as it were, hear 
God say, All this is made over to thee in Christ ; and they live upon 
this reversion. The Lord would not weary us with expectation too 
much ; therefore we have somewhat in hand, but the best of our 
portion is to come. We are all God's children, ' heirs and co-heirs 
with Christ/ Horn. viii. 17. Christ and we do, as it were, divide heaven 
betwixt us. We have a share in all his father's goods ; we have one 
father, therefore hereafter we shall dwell in one house, and enjoy the 
same estate ' I go to prepare a place for you,' John xiv. 3 ; ' I will 
that they also may behold my glory,' John xvii. 24. Christ speaks as 
if he were not contented with his own heaven without our company. 

3. It is called a heritage to show the nature of our tenure. You 
know of all tenures, inheritance is the most free, most sure, and the 
most honourable ; and indeed in this way do we hold all the blessings 
of the covenant. 

[1.] It is a free tenure. All that God seeks to magnify in the 
covenant is his glorious grace from first to last. In heaven we shall 
admire free grace : 2 Thes. i. 10, ' He shall come to be glorified in his 
saints, and admired in all them that believe.' Reward and wages are 
more servile terms, suited to a covenant made with servants ; but 
heritage is for children. Therefore the apostle, speaking to godly 
servants, saith, Col. ii. 23-25, 'Servants, obey in all things your masters, 
according to the flesh; not with eye-service as men-pleasers, but in 
singleness of heart, fearing God . . . knowing that of the Lord ye shall 
receive the reward of the inheritance.' Mark how these are coupled : 
reward is suited to their outward relation, you will have wages ; but 
then 'reward of inheritance,' that is suited to their inward and spiritual 
condition ; as they are freemen and children of God, so they have an 
inheritance ; and as servants they shall have a reward. When we 
come to heaven, it is a question which we shall admire most, grace or 
glory. It is a free manner of tenure, that so grace may be exalted. The 
heritage is bought before the heir be born many times. So this heritage 
was purchased before the children had done either good or evil. There 
was a covenant passed betwixt God and Christ, and that was a covenant 
of work and wages ; Christ was to be a servant that we might be 

[2.] It is honourable. Of all tenures, that of inheritance is best, 
better than holding of land by service. Now God hath put this honour 
upon us to make us co-heirs with his own Son : Rom. viii. 17, ' Heirs 
of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.' We do not hold as hired servants, 


but fis children. Christ alone is the natural son ; and we shall have 
Christ's own title, and are co-heirs by adoption: John i. 12, 'To as 
many as received him, to them gave he, e^ova-iav, power to be called 
the sons of God.' God needed us not ; he had a son of his own that 
he delighted in before ever there was hill or mountain : Prov. viii. 30, 
' Then was I with him as one brought up with him, and I was daily 
his delight.' It is the more to be admired by us because we were 
strangers and rebels, and could aspire to no other title than that 
' Make me as one of thy hired servants,' Luke xv. 19. Though we are 
very ambitious, yet conscience is so possessed with the sense of guilt 
that we can look for no more. But now he hath put this honour 
upon us that we shall have the title of children and hold by an 

[3.] It is a sure title, because it is built upon nature. A father may 
frown upon his son for his fault, but doth not easily disinherit him ; but 
a servant, on his offence, is turned out-of-doors. When Adam held by 
the first covenant, he was but an honourable servant ; therefore when 
he offended his master, he was turned out-of-doors. But now we have 
the title of children by Christ. Though God may chastise us, yet he 
will not disinherit us : Ps. Ixxxix. 33, 34, ' My lovingldndness will I 
not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail ; ttiy 
covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my 
lips.' He hath reserved a liberty in the covenant, that he will chastise 
us : ver. 32, ' I will visit their transgressions with the rod,' &c., but he 
will never alter the purposes of his love and his counsel towards us. A 
child may be whipped, but not disinherited. God hath not only pawned 
his word to us, but given us earnest that he will not change his purpose ; 
the inheritance is past over in court : 2 Cor. i. 22, Who hath sealed us, 
and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.' Those that make 
the purposes of God to be changeable, they cut the sinews of Christian 
comfort ; they make us to walk with God like dancers upon a rope, as 
if we were always ready to fall ; but God hath given us earnest that he 
will never reverse the purposes of his grace. When we have once an 
interest in it, our right is indefeasible, and we cannot lose it. And 
mark, it is not only a sure title in regard of God, but also in regard of 
men ; for as God will not take our heritage from us, so men cannot. 
We may lose goods, livings, lives, but we can never lose our heritage ; 
this is sure in Christ, they cannot take away our better portion ' All 
things are yours/ even death among the rest, 1 Cor. iii. 22 ; that is a 
part of our heritage. 

4. To show the condition of our present state, therefore it is called 
an heritage. Here we have little in hand like an heir that doth live in 
hope ; so it is said : Titus iii. 7, ' That being justified by his grace, we 
should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.' We live 
altogether upon hope. Servants and mercenaries must have pay in 
hand, they covenant from quarter to quarter ; so carnal men that are 
hired servants, they must have their reward, secular conveniences : Mat. 
vi. 2, '^Tre^ouo-t rbv /juadov avrwv, ' They have their reward/ they give 
God a discharge. If he will give them honour, wealth, and riches in 
the world, they look for no more. They do not look after heaven ; as 
a servant in the family doth not regard the heritage ; he knows the master 


reserves that for his son, but be must have his present wages. But we 
live in hope God will make amends for everything ; not a frown or ill 
look of the world, but God will recompense it ; as children are content 
with their present maintenance and education, they know when the 
heritage falls they shall have enough. Only there is this difference 
between the earthly and the heavenly heritage ; in. the spiritual heri 
tage we possess in our father's lifetime. Men give their estates when 
they can possess them no longer ; but Christ and we possess it together, 
we are glorified with him. In the outward heritage the father dies to 
give place to the son ; but here the son must die that they may covenant 
with the father. 

Doct. 3. That our title to this heritage is evidenced to be right and 
good by the operations of faith. Then ' he became heir of the right 
eousness which is by faith ; ' that is, in his own sense and feeling. God 
speaks to us by the Spirit, which witnesseth to us that we are heirs and 
children. Now this never will be till faith hath produced some good 
fruits ; for without this conscience cannot witness, and the Spirit will not. 

1. Conscience cannot witness. Habits lie out of sight till they are 
drawn out into action, then they come under the view of conscience. 
The seed lies hidden in the ground till it spring up into a stalk ; the 
sap is an inward thing which you cannot see, it is only discovered by 
the blossom and fruit : so the inward habit of grace doth lie out of sight ; 
it is discovered to the notice and view of conscience by the operations 
of it : 1 John iii. 19, ' Hereby we know that we are of the truth, and 
shall assure our hearts before him.' We may come and make good our 
claim when once faith appears in the fruits of holiness : 1 John ii. 3, 
' Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.' 

2. The Spirit will not witness without this. This is God's method. 
The testimony of the Spirit is always subsequent to the testimony of a 
renewed conscience : Kom. viii. 16, ' The Spirit itself beareth witness 
with our spirit, that we are the children of God.' It is God's method, 
first to pour in the oil of grace, then the oil of gladness ; first to make 
Christ ' a king of righteousness,' and then ' king of peace,' Heb. vii. 2. 
And ' after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of 
promise,' Eph. i. 13. In the original there are three articles ; ye are 
sealed ' by the Spirit,' ' by the Holy Spirit/ and ' by the Spirit of 
promise/ The apostle shows how the Spirit comes and seals up grace 
to the soul ; as the ' Spirit of promise' upon gospel terms, ' after that ye 
believed ; ' and ' as the Holy Spirit/ having wrought holiness in the 
heart. We have a title as soon as we believe, but this title is not evid 
enced to us till faith be discovered to us in the fruits of holiness. 

Use. To press you to examine yourselves. Are you, as Noah was, heir 
of the righteousness of faith ? is this your condition ? All depends 
upon that, and therefore I will propound two questions : Have you 
the title of an heir ? Have you the spirit of an heir. 

1. Have you the title of an heir ? Once clear up that, be a child, and 
thou shalt be sure of a child's part and portion. Now what can you say 
to this ? Have you received the spirit of adoption ? Faith is your title ; 
and that faith must be evidenced by holiness. We are apt to mistake 
the work of faith, and cry up presumption for faith. Conscience will 
still be entering process against us, and citing us before the tribunal of 
God, if you cannot produce the fruits of holiness. How will you evidence 


your faith ? St Paul saitb, ' We are justified by faith/ Horn. iii. 28 ; 
St James, that ' we are justified by works, and not by faith only/ James 
ii. 24. By faith we are justified from sin before God, and so we have 
peace with God ; and by works we are justified from hypocrisy in the 
court of conscience, so we have peace with ourselves. This way must 
your title be made out to you. Is there a care of duty and a diligent 
resistance of sin ? 

2. Hast thou the spirit of an heir ? What is the spirit of an heir ? 

[1.] Thy main care will be carried out to make the birthright sure. 
This will be the first and early design of the soul : Mat. vi. 33, ' Seek 
ye first the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof ; ' this is the 
great work you drive on in the world. All the children of God cannot 
come to assurance, but they all labour after it ; and they make it their 
care to seek the kingdom of God, and make out their interest in him. 
A carnal man, if he can thrive and prosper in the way of his trade, he 
looks for no more, he gives God a discharge. But now an heir cannot 
be content till his title to the heritage be sure. Now can you live upon 
your reversion ; wait in hope, and be godly without secular encourage 
ment ? Servants must have wages, but an heir can live upon the 

[2.] An heir will not easily part with his inheritance ; and therefore, 
have you honourable thoughts of your portion in Christ, and of the con 
solation of the Spirit. It is said of Esau, Heb. xii. 16, he was 'a pro 
fane person, and for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.' It is the 
highest profaneness in the world to have cheap thoughts of the consola 
tions of the Holy Ghost : Job xv. 9, ' Are the consolations of God small 
with thee ? ' It is not profaneness only to be drunk, whore, and commit 
adultery ; but the greatest profaneness is to have cheap thoughts of 
spiritual privileges. An heir values his birthright ; he is loath to sell 
the joy and comfort of his soul for carnal satisfactions and gratifications 
of the flesh. Naboth would not part with his inheritance when the 
king comes to bargain with him : 1 Kings xxi. 3, ' The Lord forbid it 
me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee/ So if 
thou art an heir, thou wilt not part with thy portion in Christ for so 
vile a matter as thriving in the world. Never part with the consolations 
of God for worldly pleasure. 

[3.] An heir is much taken with his heritage, always looking for it 
when it will fall into his hands. Therefore men that build their nests 
in the world as if they never looked for a better portion, which lavish 
out their strength upon the world, and never send any messengers, any 
spies into the land of promise, never send a believing thought into 
heaven, they have not the spirit of an heir : Horn. viii. 23, ' We ourselves, 
who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves, waiting 
for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our bodies.' He that is a 
spiritual heir is always groaning, When shall I be with God and Christ, 
and he is feasting and entertaining his thoughts with suppositions of 
his future glory, and of the goodly heritage and portion that is made over 
to him in Christ ; he is waiting, groaning, and looking for it. If thy 
heart be not taken up herewith, so as to favour things above, it is a sign 
thou hast not the spirit of an heir. 



By faith Abraham, when lie was called to go out into a place which he 
should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed ; and he went out. 
not knowing whither he went. HEB. xi. 8. 

THE scope of the apostle in this chapter is to prove that the doctrine 
of faith is an ancient doctrine and that faith hath been always exercised 
about things not seen, not liable to the judgment of sense and reason. 
He had proved both points by instances of the fathers before the flood, 
and now he comes to prove them by the examples of those that were 
eminent for faith after the flood. And in the first place he pitcheth 
upon Abraham a fit instance ; he was the father of the faithful, and 
a person of whom the Hebrews boasted ; his life w l as nothing else but 
a continual practice of faith, and therefore he insisteth upon Abraham 
longer than upon any other of the patriarchs. The first thing for which 
Abraham is commended in scripture is his obedience to God, when he 
called him out of his country ; now the apostle shows this was an effect 
of faith. 

In the words there are these circumstances 

1. The ground of Abraham's faith When he was called, 

2. The nature of that call To go out into a place which he should 
after receive for an inheritance. Wherein there is intimated a command 
and a promise : a command to go out of his country into a certain place ; 
then a promise that he should afterward receive it for an inheritance. 

3. The effect and influence of his faith upon that call He obeyed, 
and went out. 

4. The excellency and amplification of that obedience Not knowing 
whither he went. 

[1.] For the ground of his faith 'Abraham, when he was called/ 
Some read it Trio-ret 6 /caXou/xeyo? ^Aftpaap,, by faith he that was called 
Abraham obeyed. Abram's name was changed by special occasion. 
Now some of the fathers would make the apostle in this place to 
ascribe it to his faith. But this exposition would offer manifest 
violence to the words and scope of the apostle, we translate it better 
' By faith Abraham, when he was called,' for the apostle alludes to the 
call of God, which is set down in the book of Genesis, chap. xii. 1, 
' Now the Lord said to Abraham, Get thee out of thy country, and from 
thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land which I shall 
show you.' This was God's first call to Abraham, wherein he would 
exercise and try his faith. And this calling was not as the ordinary 
way of calling is now, by the ministry of man, but by some extra 
ordinary vision and oracle, which was God's ancient way ; and there 
fore it is said, Acts vii. 2, ' The God of glory appeared to our father 
Abraham,' viz., in vision, and then gave him his call. 

[2.] The second circumstance in the text is the nature of the call, 
where there is a command to go out of his country, and a promise to 
come into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance. 

(1 .) For the command ' To go out.' In Genesis the words are 
more emphatical ' Get thee out of thy country, from thy kindred. 


and from thy father's house.' All which are cutting and killing words 
to flesh and blood ; to leave our dearest comforts, our nearest relations, 
or native soil. . Go from thy country, saith God to him, a hard saying 
to flesh and blood. The soil in which we first drew breath seems to 
lay claim to a man's affections ; certainly by long custom it enchants 
us into a secret love, so that a homely cottage in our country seems 
sweeter than a palace in a strange land. It is very hard to part with 
things and places to which we are accustomed. What saith Austin, 
Dulcia limina, atque amabilem larem, quern et parentum memoria, 
atque ipsius infantice rudimenta conformant ? The sweet air where he 
was wont to converse with his father, friends, kinsfolk, must all these 
be left ? The smoke of our country seems more bright and comfortable 
than fire in a strange place ; yet God saith to Abraham, Go out of thy 
country. It is harder to Abraham than to another because of his blood 
and birth, and because he had great possessions there. Many may leave 
their country out of necessity and inconvenience when it is not well 
with them, or so well as they could wish at home ; but to rich Abraham 
it is said, Go out of thy country. And it followeth, ' From thy kin 
dred, and from thy father's house.' Go thou, or go thyself. Though 
he should have no company with him, yet he was to go out of that 
idolatrous place. If we must needs leave our native soil, yet it were 
some comfort to have some of our friends and companions with us to 
solace our exile and erect a new home and country ; but Abraham was 
to forsake all his kindred. He did indeed labour all that he could with 
his kindred to make them sensible of the oracle and command of God, 
but he could not prevail. Some of them he got as far as Charran the 
borders of Canaan. For God's command did not exclude them in case 
they would follow him, but in case they refused ; then Abraham was 
.to go alone. Lot went with him throughout, and Terah his father as 
far as Charran, and there died : Gen. xi, 31, ' And Terah took Abrarn 
his son, and Lot, the son of Haran, his son's son, and Sarah, his 
daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife ; and they went forth with them 
from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan ; and they 
came unto Haran, and dw.elt there.' And though there be no mention 
of Abraham's brother, yet certainly he went as far as Charran too, as 
may be collected from other places of scripture. But this is not all, it 
follows, ' Unto a land which I shall show th.ee/ Abraham was not 
acquainted with the fixed place of his abode, he had no visible, certain 
hopes upon his removal. It is irksome to leave our country and father's 
house ; but if it were for better conveniences, it might be digested ; 
but who would change a certainty for an uncertainty, and leave that 
which was in hand for wide and unknown hopes ? But thus it must 
be ; we must obey God, and not regard what flesh and blood can say 
to the contrary 

[2.] For the promise ' Unto a land which he should afterward 

receive for an inheritance/ Abraham did not follow God for: nought, 

\he was no loser by God, there was an inheritance ; but however, faith 

for a great while was to conflict with much difficulty, bef ore : he. should 

receive the inheritance. Consider. how, God tried Abraham's faith in 

his promise. It was long ere the place of his "inheritance was fixed, 

ere God told him Canaan should be the land. The command and the 

promise were first made to him in Ur of the Chaldees in Mesopotamia, 

VOL. xiv. p 


before he dwelt in Charran, Acts vii. 2. Well Abraham depends upon 
this promise, goes towards Canaan from Charran. And when he comes 
into Canaan, he had not a foot of land : Acts vii. 5, ' He gave him no 
inheritance, no, not so much as to set his foot on : yet he promised that 
he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, 
when as yet he had no child.' The promise was to. his posterity ; he 
had not one foot himself till he purchased the cave of Machpelah to 
bury his dead wife in. Well, if his posterity might enjoy it, this was 
a comfort ; but yet, for a great while he had no seed. And when he 
had seed, God told him his seed was to be four hundred years in Egypt 
under miserable servitude and bondage, and then they should come 
and inherit the land, Acts vii. 6. And in the meantime the land was 
possessed with mighty kings, giants, men of renown and honour, but 
Abraham was a stranger there. All this is said to show that faith is 
contented with God's word ; it leaves God to the accomplishment of 
the promise, and minds present obedience. He went out, and that 
was a great trial ; and what was his encouragement ? the promise that 
he should receive it for an inheritance. 

[3.] The third circumstance in the text, the effect and influence of 
faith upon the call ' He obeyed, and went out ; ' iJKova-rjv teal ej;rj\.6e, he 
' obeyed,' that signifies the consent of the mind ; and ' went out/ that 
notes his practice and actual obedience ; he obeyed not only in word 
but in deed ; there was a promise of obedience with actual performance. 
It is easy to speak of these things, as the rebellious son said, Mat. xxi. 
30, ' I go, sir, and went not. 7 

[4.] The fourth circumstance, the commendation of his obedience 
* Not knowing whither he went/ God did not at first tell him of the 
place, for the greater trial of his iaith. It is true, God had showed 
him in the general how he should take his course and journey ; you 
canst not think he was ignorant whether he should go west or east, 
towards Canaan or from it, but he did not know whether he went 
towards the particular place where this inheritance lay, Gen. xi. 31. 
As soon as Abraham received the call, he went towards Canaan. He 
"knew not what kind of land the land of promise was, nor when it was 
fixed ' The land that I shall show thee ; ' but when he was in Canaan, 
then God told him, This is the land I will give to thee ; so Gen. xii. 
7, ' Unto thy seed will I give this land/ 

I shall draw the words thus explained to some doctrinal issue and 
conclusion. The main point is faith's ready obedience to the call of 
God. Now there is a threefold call, and the text may be applied to 
either of them. There is a general call to the obedience of the gospel, 
a particular call to some office and course of life wherein we may 
glorify God, and a personal call to the exercise of that office. 

1. There is vocatio adfw.dus, a general call to the covenant of grace, 
by which they are called by the ministry of the word, and the efficacy 
of the Spirit, to the faith and obedience of the gospel. It is called 
general because it concerns all Christians. 

2. There is vocatio ad munus, a calling us to some office and course 
of life wherein we may glorify God by exercising the gifts he hath 
bestowed upon us, which is called a particular calling because it is not 
common to all Christians. 

3. There is vocatio ad exercitium muneris, a personal call, by which 


the particular circumstances are determined, and we are directed to the 
choice of the place and the people among whom we are to exercise 
this office and function to the glory of God. Of all these I shall treat 
in order, for to all these the circumstances of the text may be accom 
modated. Here was vocatio adfcedus ; when God appeared to Abraham 
it was not merely in a prophetical manner, and for some special intent ; 
but to call him to grace, for he was an idolater then, and that he 
might serve him by the obedience of faith. It is true, the reason was 
extraordinary, as all dispensations then were ; but this call was the 
means of his conversion, for by this means he was taken out from the 
idolatry and other corruptions of life, to which Chaldea was extremely 
given, and Abraham among the rest, so that he could not remain there 
without great danger. Then there was vocatio ad munus, to an office ; 
Abraham was called to a strange country, that God's blessing might 
appear in multiplying his seed, and he might be a means to glorify 
God in the sight of the Canaanites. Then there was vocatio ad 
exercitium muneris, a personal call to Canaan, the fixed place, that 
he might take possession of that country by faith and hope, and in 
that country typically of heaven, as in the next verse. 

First, I shall apply the verse to the general call, and so many 
points are notable 

1. Observe, that faith, wherever it is, it bringeth forth true obedi- 
ience by faith Abraham, being called, obeyed God. Faith and 
obedience can never be severed ; as the sun and the light, fire and 
heat. Therefore we read of the ' obedience of faith,' Horn. i. 5. Obed 
ience is faith's daughter. Faith hath not only to do with the grace of 
God, but with the duty of the creature. By apprehending grace, it 
works upon duty : Gal. v. 6, ' Faith works by love ; ' it fills the soul 
with the apprehensions of God's love, and then makes use of the sweet 
ness of love to urge us to more work or obedience. All our obedience 
to God comes from love to God, and our love comes from the persuasion 
of God's love to us. The argument and discourse that is in a sancti 
fied soul is set down, Gal. ii. 20, ' I live by the faith of the Son of God, 
who loved me and gave himself for me.' Wilt not thou do this for 
God, that loved thee ? for Jesus Christ, that gave himself for thee ? 
Faith, it works towards obedience by commanding the affections of 
love, of hope, of fear ; it makes use of love ' Faith works by love,' 
fills the soul with apprehensions of God's love ; then what wilt thou 
not do for him ? Then it makes use of fear ' Noah, moved with fear, 
prepared an ark, for the saving of his household/ Heb. xi. 7. Some 
times it makes use of hope, as here, when Abraham hoped and expected 
these things of God, then ' he obeyed him, and went forth, not know 
ing whither he went.' There are no hopes equal to the reward it 
proposeth, no fears comparable to the terror it representeth, no motives 
so strong as it urgeth. 

2. Observe, the ground of this obedience is God's call. Here are 
two instances together : Noah's faith wrought by fear, the ground of 
that was oracle ' Being warned of God ; ' and Abraham's faith 
wrought by hope, the ground of it was God's call, 'By faith- 
Abraham, being called of God ; ' he had the express command and 
promise of God. Hence observe, till we have a call we cannot take 


the honour of laying claim to the promises ; for no man takes tin's 
honour but he that is called of God, and we shall have no warrant for 
obedience without a call. It is but will-worship without a call, and 
hope would be but a mere fancy. As those which stood idle in the 
market-place, when they were asked, Why do not you labour ? they 
answered, None hath hired us : we were not called to work. Without 
a call the world. would be but a general cell of monks, that leave 
kindred and father's house without any warrant. 

3. Observe, this call consisteth of a command and a promise : ' Go 
thou,' there is the command ' and thou shalt receive the land for thy 
inheritance,' there is the promise. The command is the ground of 
duty, and the promise is the ground of hope and expectation. And 
still God dealeth with us in the same manner 'Believe, and thou 
shalt be saved ; ' with all the commands of God there is a promise 
annexed. Hence observe, it is God's mercy to propound encourage 
ments when he might enforce. God will draw us with the cords of a 
man, and allure us into obedience by commands and promises. The 
brute-creatures are ruled by mere sovereignty, but God deals with men 
as men. We have election and choice ; and therefore there is not only 
duty laid before us, but death and life. God said to Abraham, Go ; 
it is a hard duty, but thou shalt not lose by it, for thou shalt have the 
land of Canaan for thy inheritance. 

4. I observe again, this call is brought to men when they are in 
their worst estate ; for mark, the call was made to Abraham when he 
was at Mesopotamia, Acts vii. 2, in Ur of the Chaldees ; then God 
said to him, ' Leave thy country and thy father's house.' Therefore, 
when this call is mentioned, Gen. xii. 1, the phrase there is ' the Lord 
had said to Abraham ; ' God had spoken to him before he came from 
Charran. Now in Ur of the Chaldees they were idolaters : Josh. xxiv. 
2, 3, 'Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, 
even Terah the father of Abraham, and the father of Nahor, and 
they served other gods. And I took your father Abraham from the 
other side of the flood,' &c. Then when he was serving idols, he and 
all his kindred, then God comes and enters into a treaty of grace with 
him. That is the reason the apostle makes Abraham to believe in 
God as 'justifying the ungodly.' Kom. iv. 5. Abraham before grace 
was, as we all are, ungodly, a worshipper of idols. Hence observe, 
when God comes to call us, he calls us out of mere grace. Consider 
this, that you may neither despair of mercy, nor yet ascribe grace to 
any merit or good dispositions of your own. Abraham, that was the 
father of the faithful, the chiefest of believers, when God came to take 
him to grace, he was as vile a sinner as any. The whole land was 
open to God, but God took Abraham your father. Was he better 
than others ? No ; he and his father served idols, the son could not 
be better than the father by whom he was educated ; but God of his 
mercy singled him out from the rest. Paul, a persecutor, Abraham, an 
idolater, obtained mercy of God : 1 Tim. i. 13, ! Who was before a 
blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious, but I obtained mercy.' 

5. I observe again, that free grace makes a distinction between them 
of .the same line and kindred ; God called him alone, and blessed 
him 'Forsake thy country and thy father's house.' None of 


Abraham's kindred, but only Lot were called ; the rest were turned 
out : Isa. li. 2, 'L0ok unto Abraham your, father, and unto Sarah that 
bare you ; for I called him alone, and blessed'him and increased him ; ' 
that is, though there were more besides him of his race and family. 
Thus God can make a difference between brother and brother, and 
between brother and sister ; Jacob was loved, and not Esau ; Abel 
was accepted, and not Cain. God can come into a town, and pick out 
two or three berries on the top of the uppermost branches ' One of a 
city, and two of a tribe,' Jer. iii. 14. God may leave the ninety-nine 
in the wilderness of the world to seek one sheep. Those that are in 
the same bed, in the same employment, feeding at the same meal, one 
shall be taken to grace, and the other shall be left to misery and judg 
ment. He can put a distinction between husband and wife ; free grace 
picks and chooses according to its own pleasure. Remember this, that 
thou mayest know who it was that made thee to differ, and admire not 
only the kindness, but the freedom of his grace : Rom. ix. 18, ' There 
fore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy/ 

6. In this call I observe that God bids him to leave his country and 
his father's house ; hence note 

Doct. When God calls us to grace, we are not only to leave sin, but 
to leave the world, and all things that are dear to us in the world. ,' . 

As soon as God appeared to Abraham, he was to leave Chaldea, 
Charran, and all, for Canaan. Faith, where it is rightly planted, turns 
the heart not only from sin to God, but from the world to God, from 
the creature to the creator, from carnal things to those that are more 
excellent and heavenly. Not that we must leave our possessions and 
renounce our estates as soon as God calls to grace, without a special 
call, as that trial was : Mat. xix. 21, ' If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell 
that thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in 
heaven, and come and follow me.' That was a special trial ; but we 
must come out from the world in heart and affection : Ps. xlv. 10, 
' Forget thy own people, and thy father's house.' We must not be 
wedded in our affection to the world, but contracted and wedded to 
Christ. Many, if they leave gross sins, they think they are safe; but 
in conversion there is a turning from the creature to God, as well as 
from sin to God : Mat. xix. 27, ' We have forsaken all and followed 
thee.' In vow and affection you must renounce the world, that you 
may keep your hearts loyal and chaste to Jesus Christ. You must 
sell all for the pearl of great price. And then take heed after conver 
sion that you do not retract your vow, for your estate is no longer yours, 
but God's ; you must part with your estate upon just and convenient 
reasons of religion; when it is not consistent with the conscience of, 
our duty to God. Nabal was but a fool to say, ' Shall I take my bread 
and my wine,' &c. 1 Sam. xxv. 11, and the prodigal to say, I spend but 
my own. When thou art converted, it is not thine, but all is left and 
given to God, to be disposed of according to his will and pleasure ; and 
when the keeping of an estate is not consistent with our duty to God, 
we must part with it. Sometimes Christ and the world will be to 
gether ; but when they part, we must not forsake Christ to keep mam 
mon company. When we cannot get an estate but we must quit our 
conscience, or keep an estate and a good conscience together ; or when 


violence or death divorceth us from our comforts, our heart must not 
be overwhelmed with grief or trouble ; let us remember by believing 
we forsook the world, and promised to cleave to God. 

7. I observe again, that God shows him the worst even at his first 
calling. God might have given the call in one word, but it is ampli 
fied, Gen. xii. 1. Observe 

Doct. When we give up our names to Christ, the Lord would have 
us sit down and count the charges, that so we may meet trouble with 
the more resolution. 

When a virgin was enamoured with that sour philosopher, he showed 
her his crooked back ; thus Christ tells us the worst at first, what we 
must look for trouble, hazard, inconveniences of the world. Can you 
deny yourselves in all this ? Luke xiv 26, ' If any man come to me, and 
hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, 
and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.' It is 
a general case ; and then he useth the similitude of building, that he 
must sit clown and count the charges. When a man hath allotted so 
much for building, so long as he keeps within the bounds of his allot 
ment he parteth with it freely ; but when that is gone he parts with 
every penny after with grudging. It is good to make Christ large 
allowance at the first, that we may not grudge our bargain and con 

8. It is said of Abraham, he obeyed and went out ; he obeyed, that 
signifies the consent of his mind ; and he went forth, that notes his 
actual obedience to that word : he not only promised, but performed. 


Doct. It is the property of faith to subject all our wills and all our 
interests to God's pleasure. 

Faith, when it takes, it gives ; with one hand it takes Christ ; with 
the other hand it resigns and gives up ourselves, our relations, and all 
our comforts to the will of Christ. There is a notable expression, and 
some understand it of Abraham's obedience, Isa. xli. 2, ' He called the 
righteous man from the east, called him to his foot/ When God called 
Abraham, he called him to his foot ; and there Abraham would follow 
after God according to the pleasure of God. And so it is the property 
of faith to make us set foot by foot with God, to go after him where 
soever he goes. God's call must be readily executed, whatever comes 
on it. 

9. He obeyed, and went forth; there was not only a consent of 
heart, but he readily performed. Observe 

Doct. We must not only give God good words, and make vows at 
onr effectual calling, but we must be sensible of the vows of God. 

Many are apt to speak good words, as Christ hath a parable of the 
formal professor : Mat. xxi. 28-30, ' A certain man had two sons, and 
he came to the first, and said, Son, go into the vineyard and work. And 
he saith, I will, and did not. And he came to the other, and he said, 
I will not; and after he repented, and went ; ' which is the better son ? 
It is easier to talk of leaving friends, lands, and our father's house, and 
take upon ourselves a voluntary exile for a good conscience, than to do 
it. It is easy to talk of these things in the serene times of the gospel, 
but this is like him in the parable, ' I go, sir, and went not.' It is said 


of the children of God, Eev. xii. 11, that ' they loved not their lives to 
death ; ' that is, they did not only in prodigality and presumption give 
up their lives to God, but when it came to performance, when death 
was at hand, either they must die or renounce Christ, then they loved 
not their lives. So when God puts us to deny every near comfort, to 
quit country, parents, every dearest thing when we cannot keep these 
things with a good conscience, then faith submits to it. 

10. Consider, in the history there was some kind of halting, though 
it be said in the general that he obeyed, for he stayed at Charran about 
five years. When Terah went out of Ur, he was two hundred years 
old ; when he died in Charran, he was two hundred and five years old. 
He stays there when he should have gone into Canaan, as may be 
gathered out of Gen. xi. 25, but there he stays till he had buried his 
father ; and truly I do believe that then he was revived by some new 
call, andagain admonished, when he was somewhat slack and negli 
gent. Some deny a second call, but it is clear to me by what is said r 
Acts vii. 4, ' Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans, and dwelt 
in Charran ; and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed 
him into this land, wherein ye now dwell ; ' that is, by a new persua 
sion and excitation God awakened him again, and bid him to go into 
Canaan. And' so, Gen. xii. 4, it is said that ' Abraham departed as the 
Lord had spoken to him.' Hence observe 

Doct. Faith may sometimes make a halt, and grow weary, but it 
rouseth itself up again. 

So it is with us in our spiritual course ; when we begin to look after 
God, we are apt to halt and linger, therefore we had need be roused 
again. A ship that is bound for such a harbour, yet by the violence 
of the storm may be driven back, but it makes way towards its port 
again ; so by temptation we may be driven back for a time, but we 
must make way to our port and haven again. Oh, it is well if we can 
but make advantage of our falls, as a ball beaten down to the ground 
rebounds the higher. 

11. I observe again, ' He obeyed/ That hath respect to the encourage 
ment the promise gave, and yet how long was it ere the promise was 
accomplished. Hence observe 

Doct. True faith doth constantly adhere to God, though it presently 
finds not what it believes and expects from God. 

Abraham left Ur, then Charran, and though he had not a foot in the 
land of Canaan, yet still he waits upon God. The famine drove him 
out of Canaan into Egypt, Gen. xii. 10 ; afterwards he had wars and con 
flicts with the kings of Canaan, they would not allow him a safe abode ; 
he was burdened with envy, without children, yet still he waits for the 
accomplishment of the promise, and believes in hope against hope. 
Well then, we must trust God, though we have nothing of present 
feeling. Oh, it is an excellent thing when we can say as the people of 
God, Isa. xlv. 24, ' In the Lord my God I shall have righteousness and 
strength/ Well, I will wait upon God, though nothing conies to 
hand ; though there be nothing in feeling, yet we must wait upon God. 
We read, Heb. iii. 6, of Kav^pa r^ eXvrt'So?, ' The rejoicing, or glory 
ing of hope/ It is excellent when we can glory in our hopes, and in 
what we do expect. There is more of duty in waiting, though there 


is less of comfort ; and when we have nothing in feeling and fruition, 
yet then to depend upon God ; this is like an Abraham that built an 
altar, and offered a sacrifice of thanksgiving, Gen. xii. 8. Oh, that we 
could give thanks, and bless God for our hopes ; and in the midst of 
difficulties, yet wait upon God for what we shall have. . 

12. I observe, ' He obeyed, not knowing whither he went.' 

Doct. Upon a divine call we must obey, though we do not know 
what will come of it. 

This is of excellent use to Christians that are yet in the twilight of 
^race, between grace and nature ; they do not know what will come of 
it, yet they venture upon Christ. The master calls ; you are invited 
to grace, and you should make an essay. We owe God blind obedience. 
Blind men will follow their guides over hills and through dales fearing 
nothing ; so should we follow God. Carnal reason will be full of 
objections, but in such cases we should not dispute but resolve ; and 
let us cleave to Christ, and hang upon Christ, though we do not know 
what will come of it ; as the lepers : 2 Kings vii. 4, ' If we say, We will 
enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die 
there ; and if we sit still here we die also. Now therefore come, and let 
us fall into the host of the Syrians ; if they save us alive, we shall live ; 
and if they kill us, we shall but die.' So also in discharging our duty ; 
when we know not what success we shall have, still we must perform 
it ; as the prophet in his public contests with an obstinate people gains 
acceptance with God, though not success with men: Isa. xlix. 4, 'I 
liave laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in 
vain; yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with 
my God.' 

Secondly, I come now to apply the text to a particular calling, to 
some office, employment, and course of life wherein to glorify God. And 
here I shall inquire 

(1.) How we shall know that we are called to such an employment, 
now oracles are ceased, and God doth not so immediately speak to us 
as he did to Abraham. (2.) How must we behave ourselves in that 
calling ; what is the obedience of faith. (3.) I shall handle some 
cases incident to this matter. 

1. How we shall know that we are called of God. It is a matter 
necessary to be known, that we act in faith and obedience. A man 
cannot expect God's blessing but in God's way. And the general rule 
is, 67TOU 6e, follow God. Now how shall we do to see God in our call 
ing, that we may walk with him foot by foot ? It is said, Isa. xli. 2, 
' Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his 
foot.' By way of answer to this necessary question, I shall lay down 
several propositions. 

[1.] That every man must have a particular calling. Life was given 
us for somewhat ; not merely to fill up the number of the world, or to 
grow in stature so life was given to the plants, that they may grow 
bulky, and increase in stature ; not merely to taste pleasures, that is 
the happiness of beasts, to enjoy pleasures without remorse. God gave 
men higher faculties of reason and conscience ; reason to manage some 
work and business for the glory of God ; and conscience, that he might 
review his work, and mind his soul. The rule is general, that all 


Adam's sons are to eat their bread in the sweat of their brows : Gen. 
iii. 19, ' In the sweat of thy face shalt thoueat bread/ I know it doth 
not bind in the rigour of the letter ; the priests were not to sweat : Ezek. 
xliv. 18, ' They shall not gird themselves with anything that causeth 
sweat ; ' yet in the intent it binds to some honest labou-r, the sweat of 
the body or of the brain. Adam's two sons were heirs-apparent of the 
world, and the one was employed in tillage and the other in pasturage. 
The world was never made for a hive for drones, and the word giveth 
no privilege to any to be idle. It is true, there is a difference between 
employments ; some live more by manual labours, others in more 
genteel employments, as the magistrate, the minister, and those that 
study for public good. Manual labour is not required of all, because 
it is not a thing that is required propter se, as simply good and neces 
sary, but propter aliud, as for maintenance and support of life, to ease 
the church, to supply the uses of charity. When the ends of labour 
cannot otherwise be obtained, then handy labour is required. A 
minister is forbidden travail and labour, it being a means of distrac 
tion ; but he is to be laborious and diligent in his calling. A gentle 
man is to fit himself to do his country service, either in magistracy or 
ministry ; if need be in the ministry, it is not beneath them. The 
first-born were the priests, that is, the most noble, the most .worthy, 
the most potent, ere God settled it in the tribe of Levi. Diligent 
they are to be in doing their country good one way or other, and to 
spend the more time in spiritual exercises, the less they need handy 
labour ; but when their whole life is spent in eating, drinking, sporting, 
sleeping, it is bestial. Idleness was one of Sodom's sins : Ezek. xvi. 
49, ' Behold this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom ; pride, fulness 
of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters.' 
It makes you lose your right to the creatures ' If any would not work, 
neither let him eat,' 2 Thes. iii. 10. Gentlemen are but robbers that 
live idly and without a calling; though they are freed from servile and 
handy labour, yet they are not freed from work and business. If 
any man. might be allowed to be idle, then one member would be lost 
in the body politic. Man is born a member of some society, family, 
city, world, and is to seek the good of it ; he is tfiov 7roXm/coi>. We see 
in the body natural there is no member, but it hath its function and 
use, whereby it becometh serviceable to the whole. All have not the 
same office, that would make a confusion ; but all have their use, either 
as an eye, or as a hand, or as a leg, and it must be employed. So in 
the politic body no member must be useless, they must have one func 
tion or another wherein to employ themselves, otherwise they are 
but unprofitable burdens of the earth. Again, every man is more or 
less intrusted with a gift, which he is to exercise a,nd improve for the 
common good, and at the day of judgment he is to give up his accounts ; 
Mat. xxv. 19, 'After a long time the Lord of those servants cometh 
and reckoneth with them.' If he hath but one talent, it must not be 
hidden in a napkin. Well then, if every man hath a gift for which 
he is accountable to God. he must have a calling : 1 Cor. vii. 17, ' As 
God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, 
so let him walk/ and choose his state of life. Besides, a calling is 
necessary to prevent the mischiefs of idleness, and those inconveniences 


that follow men not employed ; standing pools are apt to putrify, but 
running waters are sweetest. An idle man is a burden to himself, a 
prey to Satan, a grief to the Spirit of God, and a mischief to others. 
He is a burden to himself, for he knoweth not what to do with his 
time. In the morning he cries, Would to God it were evening, and in 
the evening, Would to God it were morning the rnind like a mill, when 
it wanteth work, falleth upon itself. He is a prey to Satan ; the devil 
findeth the house ' empty, swept, and garnished,' Mat. xii. 44 ; the 
devil findeth them at leisure, and then sets them a-work. When David 
was idle on the terrace, he fell into a snare. Birds are not taken in 
their flight, but when they pitch and rest. He is a grief to God's 
Spirit : Eph. iv. 28, ' Let him that stole, steal no more ; but rather let 
him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good/ compared 
with ver. 30, ' And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.' Idle men 
quench the vigour of natural gifts, and lose the ability of nature. He 
is a mischief to others, 2 Thes. iii. 11 Mrj&ev pya%o/j,evov<;, a\\a 
7repiepyao/j.evovs ' Working not at all, but are busybodies.' They that 
nothing will do too much ; no work makes way for ill work. Censure do 
and busy inquisition into other men's actions is the native fruit of idle 
ness ; and so they prove the fire-brands of contention and unneighbourly 
quarrels. There must be a calling then to prevent these mischiefs. 

[2.] That this calling must be good and agreeable to the word of 
God, which is 'A lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path,' Ps. 
cxix. 105. It were not a perfect rule, if it did not direct us in all cases ; 
therefore in the choice of our course of life, we must consult with the 
word, that we may not settle in a course of sin. Men may tolerate evil 
callings, but God never appointed them, and therefore here we are not 
called to them , but called off from them. Now if any calling be against 
piety, temperance or justice, it is against the word, for the word 
' teacheth us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, 
righteously and godly in this present world/ Titus iii. 12. Against 
piety, as to be an idolatrous priest, or to make shrines for idols, which 
was Demetrius' s calling in Ephesus ; and Tertullian, in his book ' De 
Idololatria ' showeth that this was the practice of many Christians to 
get their livings by making statues and images and other ornaments, 
to sell to heathen idolaters. Against justice, as piracy, brokage, and 
other oppressive courses. Against sobriety, as such callings as merely 
tend to feed the luxury, pride, and vanity of men, as stage-plays and 
the like, it were endless to instance in all. In the general, the calling 
must be good and lawful, if we would see God in it. 

[3.] This calling must not only be good, but we must see God in it. 
Providence ruleth in everything that falleth out, even in the least 
matters ; especially hath the Lord a great hand in callings, and in 
appointing to everyone his state and condition of life. In paradise, 
God set Adam his work as a gardener to dress and prune the trees : 
Gen. ii. 15, ' And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the 
garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it ; ' and still he doth not only 
give the ability and special inclination, but also disposeth of the 
education of the parent, and passages of men's lives to bring them to 
such a calling; Isa. liv. 16, 'Behold I have created the smith, that 
bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for 


his work.' Common trades and crafts are from the Lord. The heathens 
had a several god for every several trade, as the papists now have a 
tutelar saint ; but they rob God of his honour, he giveth the faculty and 
the blessings ; so it is said, Isa. xxviii. 24-29 ad finem, ' Doth the 
husbandman plough all day to sow ? doth he open and break the clods 
of the ground ?' &c. ' His God doth instruct him to discretion and 
doth teach him. For the fitches are not thrashed with a thrashing- 
instrument, neither is a cart-wheel turned about upon the cummin, 
&c. This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, who is wonderful 
in counsel and excellent in working.' God giveth the skill and 
appointeth the work. Your particular estate and condition of life doth 
not come by chance, or by the bare will and pleasure of man ; but the 
ordination of God, without which a sparrow cannot fall to the ground : 
Prov. xx. 24, ' Man's goings are of the Lord ; how can a man then 
understand his own way ? ' 

[4.] In the higher callings of ministry and magistracy, our call from 
God must be more solemn, because in these callings God's glory and 
the good of human society are more concerned ; and therefore such have 
need of a clear call that manage them. In ordinary callings there is 
required both fitness and inclination, or a fitness of gifts and inclination, 
which are the fruits of God's general providence. Fitness in every 
calling is a common gift of the Spirit ; so it is said of Bezaleel, Exod. 
xxxi. 3, ' I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, and in 
understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.' 
An inclination to such a calling is from God's general providence, 
depriving them of higher opportunities of advancement, and over 
coming their hearts to make choice of such a work. Now the more 
weighty the business and affair of life is, the more is providence 
concerned in it : and therefore for magistracy and ministry much more 
doth God make them fit and willing. Fit : 2 Cor. iii. 6, 'Who hath 
made us able ministers of the. new testament ; ' and willing : Mat. ix. 
88, ' Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send 
forth labourers into the harvest ; ' he thrusteth out labourers into the 
harvest. They are God's special gift, sought of God in prayer, and he 
giveth them commission. Again, there is an outward rail set about 
these callings, that men may enter in by the door, in an external lawful 
way, which is not so much required in other callings. Private callings 
are at the appointment of parents ; public must be left to a solemn 
external call, lest all order be broken both in church and common 
wealth ; others serve only for the accommodation, but these are for the 
essence and foundation of human society. 

[5.] The calling of magistrates must not be undertaken, whatever 
abilities and inclinations men have, till they have a fair invitation 
from those that have power to call them ; and then it must not be 
refused. Men are God's instruments in this kind, and therefore we 
must not only have gifts from God but allowance from men ; and 
therefore they sin that enter upon the magistrate's office by violence, 
or by money and bribery, and do not expect a call and the fair invita 
tion of providence ; as Absalom had an itch to be a judge and a ruler, 
but he got the office by rebellion. And again they sin, that when they 
have a fair call from God and men from God by gifts, and from 


men by choice and allowance refuse, out of a desire of ease and 
privacy, or for want of courage. But I will not meddle with this more 

Ministers must expect both an internal and an external call a call 
they must have, that they may not run till they are sent. Jesus Christ 
took not this honour upon him, till he was called by God. There is much 
of God to be observed in this calling, that we may expect a blessing, 
and digest the difficulties and inconveniences of it with patience : Acts 
xv. 7, ' God made choice among us, that the gentiles by my mouth 
should hear the word of the gospel and believe ; ' there was a choice 
of Peter among the rest of the apostles ; so Acts. x. 41, 42, 'Not to all 
the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us who did 
eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he com 
manded us to preach unto the people,' &c. Well then, but when are 
we chosen ? Inhere is an internal call from God, and an external call, 
from the church. The internal call from God, that is it chiefly which 
I am to speak of, though I shall touch on the other also. This is when 
a man is made fit and willing. Fit he must be ; if the Spirit of God 
fitted Aholiab and Bezaleel for the material work of the temple, then 
much more is there a fitness required in the ministers of the gospel : 
1 Tim. i. 12, ' I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, 
for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.' There 
must be some competent ability. If God ever puts us into the ministry, 
he first enableth us ; and that is not all he must be willing : 1 Tim. 
iii. 1, 'If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.' 
There must be a strong inclination, that if God give a call, we will take 
up such a course of life. Well then, he hath not this inward call that 
is willing, but not fit, or fit, but not willing, much more he that is 
neither fit nor willing, but only is thrust upon such an office by the 
carnal importunities of friends ; and he that hath both, hath the call 
of the Spirit. But now an internal call is not enough ; there must be 
that which is external, as Peter was sent by an angel to Cornelius, and 
had an external call from Cornelius too, Acts x. So must we, having 
an inward call, wait for the outward call of the church, otherwise we 
cannot lawfully be admitted to the exercise of the calling. As in the 
old testament, the tribe of Levi was by God appointed to the service of 
the altar, yet none could exercise the ministry and calling of a Levite, 
till he was anointed and purified by the church : Exod. xxviii. 3, ' And 
thou shalt speak unto all that are wise-hearted, whom I have filled 
with the Spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to con 
secrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office ; so Num. 
iii. 3, ' These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the priests which 
were anointed, whom he consecrated to minister in the priest's office.' 
Thus the ministers of the gospel, though called by God, must have their 
external separation, and setting apart to that work by the church. 
The outward call belongs to the church, but it is to be done in order 
election by the people, examination of life and doctrine with author 
itative mission by the presbytery, confirmation by the magistrate : Acts 
vi. 3, ' Wherefore brethren look ye out among ye seven men, of honest 
report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over 
this business ; ' where election is referred to the body of the church and 


ordination to the elders : Acts xiv. 23, ' And when they had ordained 
them elders in every church, arid had prayed with fasting, they 
commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed ; ' Acts xiii. 2, 3, 
' The Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work 
whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, 
and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.' And the Christian 
magistrate hath his share, to see that all things are done orderly ; and 
then they are to have his confirmation. 1 

[7.] For ordinary callings then we are called by God ; when God 
giveth ability and inclination, and openeth a fair passage in his pro 
vidence, that is to be looked upon as a call. Inclination there must be, 
that we may be fit for our calling, and our calling fit for us ; otherwise 
we are like a member out of joint, out of our place and way. If we be 
at our own disposal this must be observed ; if not, parents and those 
that have the disposal of us, must observe it ; they must consider the 
child's inclination, using prayer, calling in the advice of others. It is 
the weightiest affair of life ; much is to be known by children's inclin 
ations. The Athenians would set before their children, the trowel, the 
shovel, a sword, and a book, that they might choose their calling. As 
Nazianzen tells us, Athanasius acted the part of a bishop when a boy, 
which being observed by Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, he brought 
him up for the ministry. And Origen would be often asking his father, 
Leonides, concerning such and such places of scripture. Much of God's 
pleasure is seen in their inclinations, which if parents observe not, 
mischief follows sometimes to the church, sometimes to the children 
themselves. And abilities and gifts must be observed both by the 
parent and by themselves when we come to maturity, and to choose 
our own way : Prov. xvi. 20, ' He that handleth a matter wisely shall 
find good.' And then providence is to be observed in the designment 
of education, and the advantages which God offereth for the choice of 
our course of life. Take all together, and it maketh a call for ordinary 
offices of life ; otherwise, as great mischiefs arise, as if a man should 
walk with his hands and work with his feet. 


By faith Abraham, ivhen lie ivas called to go out into a place which he 
should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed and he went out, 
not knowing whither he went. HEB. xi. 8. 

2. How to behave ourselves in this calling, that we may, as Abraham 
did, manifest the obedience of faith. 

[1.] Where you see God before you, you must cheerfully follow after. 
If you see God calling you to the ministry, magistracy, or any inferior 
course of life, therein doth he expect glory from you ; and for that end 
did he give you gifts, an account of which you must render at the last 

1 See this more fully handled in the sermons on John xvii. IS. 


day. We are apt to dispute with God, and to consult with our natural 
affections : Exod, iv. 13, ' Send I pray thee, by the hand of him, whom 
thou wilt send.' By gifts, by special instinct, by, the invitation of pro 
vidence, by the call of the church and state, God hath declared his 
pleasure ; and then sit down, count the charges, and put thy hand to 
the plough. Though it may be otherwise you might have a more 
quiet and a more splendid and plentiful course of life ; yet this is the 
way God calleth you to ; as here Abraham obeyed, and went forth. 

[2.] Confine your endeavours within this calling, and keep within 
the bounds of it. If you do anything that is not within the compass 
of your calling, you can have no warrant that it pleaseth God. Christ 
would not intermeddle out of his calling : Luke xii. 14, ' Man, who 
made me a judge, or a divider over you ? ' Uzziah's putting his hand 
to the ark cost him dear. If troubles arise, we cannot suffer them com 
fortably ; we are out of God's way. Mischiefs abroad come from 
invading callings, as tumults and confusions in nature, when elements 
are out of their places. Never do I look for peace and establishment 
till all things run in their own proper channels. Pax est tranquillitas 
ordinis, is a true description of external peace. Callings are not to be 
invaded by the magistrate, or the people. So Acts x, the angel 
appeareth to Cornelius ; but he bids him send to Peter, to preach to 
him, and settle him in the faith. Why doth he not teach him him 
self ? No ; his commission was only to bring a message from God, not 
to preach the gospel. The magistrates that are as angels of God 
should not usurp spiritual administrations, but leave them to those 
that are called of God. When Saul would be doing the priest's office, 
God was angry with him, 1 Sam. xiii. 13, 14 ; Uzziah was smitten with 
leprosy for taking a censer to burn incense upon the altar of incense. 
2 Chron. xvi. 18. The magistrates have enough to do about religion. 
Christ hath recommended his spouse to them, that they may give her 
house and harbour, and maintain and defend her. Let them do that ; 
but it is a sacrilege and usurpation when they intermeddle in the 
minister's calling. Nor must it be usurped by the people. God hath 
chosen witnesses : Acts x. 40, 41, ' Him God raised up the third day, 
and showed him openly ; not to all the people, but unto witnesses 
chosen before of God, even to us,' &c. Christ would not appear to the 
multitude. It is not everyone's work to preach, but of those that are 
chosen by God ; for it is not a work of charity but a duty belonging 
to a particular calling. He that cannot say he is a chosen witness, 
why should he intermeddle ? Let them increase their knowledge and 
instruct their families, taking all occasion of gaining neighbours ; 
let them be much in examining their hearts and private meditations ; 
they will have far more comfort, and show less of pride and usurpation. 

[3.] Humbly wait upon God for his blessing in the use of means. 
Men must work, but cast their care upon God : Mat, vi. 31, ' Take no 
thought, saying, What shall we eat ? or, What shall we drink ? or. 
Wherewithal shall we be clothed ? ' God will not put the trouble of 
the event upon us ' Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need 
of these things,' ver. 32 ; ' Abraham obeyed, not knowing whither he 
went/ As in a pair of compasses, one foot is fixed in the centre, while 
another wandereth about in the circumference ; so the work of faith 


is not to abate industry, but to fix the heart. Faith is not idle, but 
waiteth ; this is the proper temper of a Christian. Let us do our duty, 
and leave our care upon God. Anxiousness about the success and 
event is a sin, because then we take God's work out of his hands. 
Success is God's work, labour is ours. This life is called, ' The life of 
our hands;' God rnaintaineth it. but by our hands. Not to labour is 
to tempt providence ; to cark is to distrust it. Miracles are not multi 
plied without necessity. When we neglect means, we discharge God 
of the obligation of his promise. If you starve for want of industry, 
you can blame none. God hath not undertaken that sin shall not be 
our ruin, but rather the contrary. But now by a quiet use of means 
you enter into God's protection, as the protection of the law is only for 
them that travel on the road : Ps. Iv. 22, ' Cast thy burden upon the 
Lord, and he shall sustain thee : he shall never suffer the righteous to 
be moved.' Business is our work, but care is our burden, that must 
we cast on God. It is no more dishonour for God to bear our burden, 
than for Christ to bear our sins. 

[4.] With patience digest the inconveniences of your calling. Afflic 
tion attendeth every state and condition of life ; but we may go through 
them cheerfully we are in our way, and in our place. You may 
meet with discouragements as a minister, or as a magistrate ; yet go 
on whatever men do, God is a good pay-master, and your work is with 
the Lord. You may meet with discouragements as a servant, but it is 
thy calling, and therein God will be glorified. When troubles over 
take us in our calling, we do not rush into them, but fall into them : 
James i. 2, ' My brethren, count it all joy, when ye fall into divers 
temptations. ' It is matter of rejoicing when ye fall into divers trials, 
not when ye draw them upon yourselves, or thrust yourselves into them ; 
some run into afflictions, and seek the cross, do not take it up when 
it stands in their way. 

[5.] Bear up against opposition and difficulty with courage and 
boldness. Jonah smarted for declining the duty of his calling, because 
of danger. When you meet with unreasonable men ' The Lord is 
faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil, ' 2 Thes. iii. 3. 
It is good to follow God wherever he leadeth. If to do any work, to 
undergo any danger, remember he is faithful ; he is not wont to put an 
heavy burden upon weak shoulders : 1 Cor. x. 13, ' There hath no 
temptation taken you, but such as is common to man ; but God is faith 
ful, 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. ' 

3. There are some cases ; as 

[1.] Suppose a man hath entered upon a calling, especially a higher 
calling upon carnal grounds, as profit and preferment ; or by carnal 
means, as many enter into the ministry ; and being taught better things, 
should they leave their office and employment ? 

Ans. If he tindeth himself unfit for that calling into which he hath 
thrust himself out of an evil aim, or that he wants gifts for the exercise 
of it, he must, lay it aside ; for he cannot do faithful service to God in 
that calling, and he cumbereth the ground and occupieth the room of 
another ; like that barren fig-tree, on which that sentence was passed : 


Luke xiii. 7, ' Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground ? ' But if there 
be hope, that he is able to discharge his duty in some measure, he 
must not desert his station ; he may afterwards by his repentance and 
faithfulness approve himself to God and the church ; at first, he wanted 
not gifts, but uprightness. 

[2.] Whether a man may not change his calling ?~ 

Ans (1.) Negatively. Not out of pride and disdain at the meanness 
of it. It is credit enough to do God's work ; if it be a servile calling 
to church or commonwealth, you do him service. There is no calling 
so mean but a humble heart may do God service in it; you may 
adorn the gospel as long as you walk honestly. The apostle exhorts 
servants, Tit. ii. 10, ' Not purloining, but showing all good fidelity ; 
that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things/ 
Not out of covetousness ; Heb. xiii. 5, ' Let your conversation be without 
covetousness, and be content with such things as you have. ' God will 
be sure to cross carnal desires. Not out of envy and ambition, because 
others have a better calling than we ; this breedeth mischief arid con 
fusion : 2 Sam. xv. 4, ' Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made 
judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might 
come unto me, and I would do him justice ! ' Not out of distrust 
and impatience ; you will meet with like trials in every condition of 
life. He that cannot trust God in one calling, doth but trust himself 
in another. Not out of fond curiosity and levity of mind, out of incon 
stancy and itch of novelty ; they love to make experiments, though to 
their own loss and the public disturbance many times. It must not 
be done lightly and rashly, but upon weighty causes : 1 Cor. vii. 20, 
' Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. ' 
Every one should be contented with his own place and station, 
Though the calling in itself be low, yet to him it is best, and most 
expedient for him ; otherwise you tax God's providence, who called 
you to such a function. 

(2.) Positively. I confess it may be done ; for that place, 1 Cor. 
vii. 20, ' Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he is called ; ' 
the meaning is, the place wherein religion finds us is not to be changed 
merely upon receiving religion. It is true, a servant may become free ; 
Amos was an herdsman, yet was made a prophet; Christ's disciples 
were fishermen. There are cases which may clear up the will of God 
to a man's conscience. Private necessity and public good may make a 
man change his calling. Private necessity, as when the former calling 
ceaseth to be useful, and to minister supply to us, as framing instru 
ments of war in a time of peace, or when the course of trading is altered. 
Public good, as when a man may be more useful, if by mistake or the 
carnal affection of parents he have been diverted to another course of 

[3.] Whether a man may offer himself to a calling, being sensible of 
his inward call, and after trial of strength of gifts, or should expect 
till he be invited by others ? 

Ans. He may desire it ; therefore in a modest manner he may 
manifest his desire to whom it concerneth: 1 Tim. iii.-l, 'If a man 
desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work ; ' if a man be 
entrusted with fitting gifts, and set apart by God, he may offer himself 


to a lawful trial, without a presumption of his strength or a haughty 
ambition, but out of the conscience of an inward call, to employ his 
talent in the service of the Lord. Moses' tergiversation had like to cost 
him dear : Exod. iv. 14, ' And the anger of the Lord was kindled 
against Moses/ 

Thirdly, I shall now apply the text to a personal calling, or a call 
to such a place, where we may exercise our talents and abilities for 
the glory of God, and the good of others. 

This case is weighty, and necessary to be resolved 

1. Because the place falleth under a call, as well as the office itself. 
The apostles had not only a commission, but a passport ; upon every 
removal or resting they ever depend on the call of God. Paul was 
warned by oracle to tarry in Corinth : Acts xviii. 10, ' I have much 
people in this city ; ' and by vision he was called into Macedonia : Acts 
xvi. 9, ' And a vision appeared to Paul in the night : there stood a 
man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, 
and help us.' Nay, when they purposed to go to one place, out of the 
judgment of reason, they were diverted to another by revelation : Acts 
xvi. 7, ' After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithyma, 
but the Spirit suffered them not.' It is true, we cannot expect oracles, 
nor must we expect extraordinary dreams, our removes are not of 
such consequence, and these are God's ancient ways ; yet our goings 
fall under a providence : Ps. xxxvii. 23, ' The steps of a good man are 
ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way.' And it is not 
comfortable and safe to shift from place to place till we see God before 
us ; as the Israelites moved by the motion of the pillar of cloud by day 
and pillar of fire by night. And it is said, Acts xvii. 26, '" He hath 
determined the times beforehand, and the bounds of their habitation.' 
As their course of life, so also their place and dwelling are ordered by 

2. We cannot else expect a blessing. There where God hath set us, 
there will he be with us, and bless us. This keepeth up our dependence 
upon him : Ezra viii. 21, ' Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river 
Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a 
right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance ; ' 
and ver. 31, ' Then we departed from the river Ahava, on the twelfth 
day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem ; and the hand of our God 
was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of 
such as lay in wait by the way.' They went on cheerfully, and found 
God in the journey. Here he hath fixed me, and here will I expect 
his blessing. 

3. It is necessary to still murmurings when we are reduced to straits. 
God trieth his people with difficulties and inconveniences ; though we 
have God's warrant for our way, we cannot expect an absolute freedom 
from them. Now if they light upon us in God's way, and the place 
where he hath called us, we may bear them with the more patience. 
As suppose poverty, troubles from ill neighbours, or sickness, if we have 
not asked God's leave and blessing, conscience will turn upon us, and 
sting us with remorse. But when we are persuaded that God hath 
called us, faith quiets the heart, and worketh a humble submission. 
The disciples were all sent to sea by Christ: Mat. xiv. 21, 'Jesus con- 

VOL. xiv. Q 


strained his disciples to get into a ship ; ' there was a call, yet they 
were tossed with waves. Christ's warrant for the voyage did not 
exempt them from trouble and danger ; yet we read of no fear till 
Christ appeared on the waves, then ' they thought him a spirit, and 
were sore afraid,' ver. 26. But Christ comforts them, and revealeth 
himself to them ' Be not afraid, it is I,' ver. 27. So usually it falleth 
out, this is a pattern of providence ; there will.be troubles, but in God's 
way we need fear no danger. 

4. Because it is a piece of atheism not to acknowledge God in every 
accident and affair of life. God will have the dominion of his provi 
dence acknowledged : James iv. 13-15, ' Go to now, ye that say, To-day 
or to-morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, 
and buy and sell, and get a gain, . . . for that ye ought to say, If the 
Lord will we shall live, and do this or that/ Such .resolutions shut out 
God when conceived without prayer and inquiry of God. Do not first 
say, We will go to such a place, but, Lord, shall I ? We are neither 
lords of lives nor of actions ; it is a piece of religious manners to ask 
God's leave, and wait for his answer, if we expect his blessing : Judges 
i. 1, 'The children of Israel asked the Lord, saying, Who shall go up 
for us against the Canaanites first to fight against them.' Yea, profane 
Ahab : 1 Kings xxii. 6, ' Shall I go against Kamoth-gilead to battle, or 
shall I forbear ? ' 

5. Because many cases are exceeding difficult, as when God calls us 
from a place of ease and safety to a place of hazard and danger ; as 
when Christ called Peter to leave the ship, and come to him upon the 
waters, Mat. xiv. 29 ; so when God calls to forsake our dearest interests 
and relations. Now in such cases our call should be cleared up to us, 
lest we decline the duty of our calling, as Jonah did ; God called him 
to go to Nineveh, and because it was a work of much danger and 
difficulty, he fleeth to Tarshish, to his great loss and hazard, for he was, 
forced to take up his lodging for a while in the whale's belly. Or 
sometimes there is a more urgent call ; God calleth one way, and our 
inclinations draw us another, and the question lieth between duty and 
interests, and yet interests want not excuses. 

Well then, how shall we know the place when God hath called us to 
fix the place of our abode ? The question coneerneth either Christians 
in general, or else more particularly ministers, whose service is more 
weighty, for in ordinary removes there is a greater latitude, or else 
gentlemen who travel to get knowledge and experience, or else merchants 
for traffic, whose affairs do often call them from country to country. 
Now something is to be spoken for their satisfaction, that they may 
see God therein. 

First, For Christians in general, and so there are two cases 
(1.) Concerning the fixing of their abode ; (2.) Concerning flying in 
times of persecution. 

1. Concerning the fixing of their abode. What rules shall they 
observe to guide them in this weighty affair of life ? Particulars are 
infinite, the general rules are these 

[1.] There is much in the designation of providence, there where 
God hath fixed our interests, birth, education, &c. : Acts xvii. 26, ' And 
hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face 


of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the 
bounds of their habitation.' There providence left us, and there 
without scruple we may expect to find God. I am sure there we have 
most opportunities to serve him, because of the privileges of our birth 
and interests ; every man hath a right to the privileges of his native 

[2.] But we are not absolutely confined there, but that upon 
convenient reasons we may remove. ' The earth is the Lord's, and the 
fulness thereof.' God is not tied to places, nor we. As they laughed 
at his folly in Plutarch that said there was a better moon at Athens 
than there was at Corinth ; certainly there is not a better God in one 
place than in another. God is the same in England, in France, in the 
Indies. And as God is not tied, so we are not tied : Ps. cxv. 16, ' The 
heaven, even the heavens are the Lord's ; but the earth hath he given 
to the children of men/ The earth lieth freely open to all passengers. 
What partitions and restraints shall we fix but those that God hath 
fixed by providence and property ? As long as we acknowledge 
providence in asking his leave, seeking his blessing, observing the way 
that he openeth to us, and as long as we do not invade property, and 
disturb the first occupants, we may remove. 

[3.] This removal must not be out of levity and wantonness, but 
upon weighty cause. Some men are never fixed, but flit hither and 
thither, though still to their loss and inconvenience. A rolling stone 
never gathereth moss. This is to tempt God, as if his providence 
should be at our beck. It was the advice of a heathen, Where thou 
art well, keep thyself well, lest thinking to meet with better thou findest 
worse. Usually these rolling stones carry their curse with them, and 
when men will be trying conclusions ; the last conclusion of all is want 
and inconvenience. 

[4.] The weighty causes upon which we may remove are want of 
health, if the places we live in prove hard and barren, and we know 
not how to subsist, or want of ordinances, or a lawful calling from state 
and church, whereof we are members, as to be ambassadors, or messengers 
of the churches, or such like cases determinable by Christian prudence. 
And so in conjugal relations : Ps. xlv. 10, ' Forsake thine own people, 
and thy father's house.' Only, where the remove is of greater hazard, 
the call must be more urgent : Mat. xiv. 22, ' And straightway Jesus ' 
-rtvayicaa-ev ' constrained his disciples to get into a ship/ 

[5.] Upon what cause soever we remove, we must consult with God 
for his leave : James iv. 1. 5, ' If the Lord will, we shall live, and do 
this or that ; ' for his blessing : Gen. xxiv. 12, ' Lord God of my 
master Abraham, I pray thee send me good speed this day,' still consult 
with the oracle. It was the theology of the gentiles, Dii magna cur- 
ant, parva negligunt The gods regard great things, but neglect small 
things. This thought is in the heart of many Christians, as if God did 
only care for the greater matters. The blind world sets up an idol 
called chance or fortune, and lives at perad venture : Prov. iii. 6, ' In all 
thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.' The 
children of God dare not resolve upon any course till they have asked 
counsel of God ; they run to the oracle or ephod. Jacob in his journey 
would not go to Laban, nor come from him without a warrant. 


Jehoshaphat doth not send for the captains of the army, but the pro 
phets of the Lord : 1 Kings xxii. 7, ' Is there not here a prophet of the 
Lord, that we may inquire of him ? ' This is a great argument of the 
fear of God. The heathens had their sybils, and oracles of Delphi 
and Jupiter Ammon. 

[6.] God's answer after prayer must be observed, otherwise we do but 
mock God, and use it as a ceremony. Many ask God with an idol in 
their hearts : Ezek. xiv. 3, ' Every man of the house of Israel that set- 
teth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling-block of his 
iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet ; I the Lord will 
answer him that cometh, according to the multitude of his idols.' Men 
are resolved, and then pretend to consult God, as Jeremiah said to 
Johanan and his company, Jer. xlii. 20, ' Ye dissembled in your hearts 
when you sent me unto the Lord your God, saying, Pray for us unto 
the Lord our God, and according unto all that the Lord our God shall 
say, so declare unto us, and we will do it.' Observe then God's answer, 
your comfort and happiness dependeth on it ; as when God in the 
course of his providence openeth a way, or by inward instinct directeth 
us to such a course, or by powerful and persuading reasons poiseth the 
judgment, usually by counsel in the heart : Ps. xvi. 7, ' My reins in 
struct me in the night season ; ' or such a fit accommodation of the cir 
cumstances and passages of providence, God inviteth and calleth forth 
his people to follow him. 

[7.] In doubtful cases we must not be swayed with interest but 
conscience. All scruples must be determined by principles and reasons 
of religion. It is carnal to measure all things by ease, peace, and 
temporal welfare ; we must consider where we can have the greatest 
capacity of glorfying God ; that is the general rule, even in civil affairs: 
1 Cor. x. 31, ' Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, 
do all to the glory of God.' This is the great end of our lives. A 
Christian doth not altogether look how he may more gratify his own 
concernments, but how he maybe more useful, and serve the great end 
for which he was sent into the world ; as a traveller, when he cometh 
to two ways, and knoweth not which to take, he doth not look which is 
fairest or foulest, most smooth or plain, but which is most likely to suit 
with the purpose of his journey. The plains of pleasure and profit 
may be more grateful to the flesh, but they lie out of our road to heaven. 
Means must be chosen with respect to the end ; in all deliberate counsels 
reasons of religion must bear sway. Usually we consult with flesh 
and blood, and then the conflicts of lusts and knowledge breed scruples 
and irresolutions ; conscience saith one thing, and lust and interests 
another, and so men are uncertain. 

[8.] Whatever we do, we must go there where we have the ordinances, 
and enjoy the communion of saints, otherwise we turn our backs upon 
God, and that will not be our comfort : 1 Peter ii. 2, ' As newborn 
babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.' 
True saints cannot be without ordinances. It was Lot's sin to choose 
Sodom for the pleasantness of the situation : Ps. Ixxxiv. 10, ' For a day 
in thy courts is better than a thousand ; I had rather be a door 
keeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness/ 
It is observed of Cain, Gen. iv. 16, ' And Cain went out from the pre- 


sence, of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, in the east of Eden.' 
How did he go from the presence of the Lord, seeing God is everywhere ? 
The meaning is, he went from that part and quarter of the world where 
God had his church, the place of his special presence. God's children 
have left many conveniences to enjoy ordinances, as Moses left the 
honours of Egypt for the company of the people of God. It is a fault 
in Christians to turn their hacks upon the church and go to a Sodom,, 
where they will be grieved to see and hear God dishonoured. 

2. About flying in times of persecution. 

[1.] In general, it is lawful in some cases. We have a precept, at 
least an allowance for it : Mat. x. 23, ' When they persecute you in this; 
city, flee ye to another ' viz., when our life shall serve more for God's 
glory and the church's good, than our death can. If God driveth us 
out of our place, and provideth another, accept it with thankfulness. I 
prove this by example and reason. By example Christ fled into Egypt 
when Herod sought his life : Mat. ii. 13, 'And when they were de 
parted, behold the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream 
saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into 
Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word : for Herod will seek 
the young child to destroy him.' And Christ hid himself, and went 
out of the temple, when the Jews threatened to stone him : John viii. 
59, ' Then took they up stones to cast at him ; but Jesus hid himself, 
and went out of the temple.' So the prophets and holy men in scripture 
Elijah fled to Beersheba when Jezabel sought his life : 1 Kings xix. 
3, ' And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to 
Beersheba.' Paul was let down by the wall in a basket to escape the 
Jews : Acts ix. 25, ' Then the disciples took him by night and let 
him down by a wall in a basket.' We are bound to keep our lives 
till God requireth them. Life is a treasure he hath lent us, and we 
must keep it till the owner demandeth it of us, and to lay it out for 
his use ; as when a man delivereth money to you, you must answer for 
it to him. To draw danger on ourselves is to tempt God ; when means 
of escape are offered, we must use them with thankfulness, and when 
God in his providence openeth a fair door. All this showeth that it is 
not unlawful in itself. 

[2.] Though it be lawful to fly in persecution, yet it is not lawful for 
all. Austin saith, In graviori persecutione nee omnes fugere, neque 
omnes manure debent ; all should not stay, nor should all Ay, as not 
those that are useful to the church . John x. 12, ' He that is an hire 
ling and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf 
coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth ; and the wolf catcheth them, 
and scattereth the sheep.' This is not to avoid persecution, but to 
run away from our duty. He that should be an example of fortitude 
and constancy should not first manifest fear. Though in a personal 
persecution, when pastors are most aimed at, they may fly, as in the 
before-mentioned examples of Christ, Elijah and Paul, and the prophets 
that were hid by Obadiah by fifty and fifty in a cave, 1 Kings xviii. 13. 
Those that by a special instinct of the Spirit of God are called to suffer 
and confront the adversaries of the truth must not decline it, ' Paul 
went bound in spirit to Jerusalem,' Acts xx. 22 ; and when his suffer 
ings were foretold, and the disciples besought him not to go to Jerusalem, 


he answered : Acts xxi. 13, ' What mean you to weep, and to break my 
heart ? I am ready, not to be bound only, but to die at Jerusalem, 
for the name of the Lord Jesus.' God had picked him out for a 
champion, and he would not draw back. Or when all lawful means 
of escape are taken away from us, so that we cannot fly without dis 
honesty and disobedience, and scandal, we must go through it. God, 
that is Lord of thy life, requireth it of thee : Horn. xiv. 7-9, ' For no 
man liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself ; for whether we 
live, we live unto the Lord, and whether we die, we die unto the Lord ; 
whether we live therefore or die, we are the Lord's.' For to this end 
Christ both died and rose and revived, that he might be lord both of 
dead and living.' By a base flying from suffering you retract your vows 
when God challengeth you upon them. 

[3.] For a more particular determination general rules cannot be 
given, but it is left to every one's particular prudence and faithfulness, 
that we act so that we neither wound conscience nor dishonour God ; 
and we are not faithful unless we seek wisdom of God, what to do in 
this particular. It is most natural to us to fly, and think of starting 
holes ; but the best way is to fly to Christ, and make his name our 
strong tower. Otherwise we cannot fly from God ; the Jews brought a 
tempest with them whithersoever they went. 

Secondly, More particularly concerning ministers, whose office is of 
public use and influence, what is to be observed in fixing their station 
and place of service ? Ministers are to be considered either as altogether 
free, or else as already related to some congregation and particular place. 

1. If free already, the case is the more easy, these things make a call. 

{!.] A fair invitation from those that have power to call ; providence 
is to be observed in stirring up the hearts of men. Besides authori 
tative mission, there is an election or call from the people, as Christ 
had his ordination from God and election from the church ; as Hosea i. 
11, ' Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be 
gathered together, and appoint themselves one head,' compared with 
Eph. i. 22, ' And give him to be the head over all things to the church.' 
It is notable that in Paul's vision the call is not managed by God, but 
by a man of Macedonia : Acts xvi. 9, ' And a vision appeared to Paul 
in the night : there stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, 
Come over into Macedonia and help us.' Only if a people be not in a 
capacity to choose, then an authoritative mission is enough, and we 
must preach whether they will hear or whether they will forbear ; as 
Paul and Barnabas were sent from the elders of Antioch to go to the 
gentiles, Acts xiii. 

[2.] When there is a universal concurrence of sweet providences 
removing all rubs and difficulties, there is a clear call of providence. 
Sometimes there is a call from a people, which a man cannot close with 
unless he should break through the hedge, and then a serpent will bite 
him. Sometimes there may be an inclination, and providence may 
hinder : Acts xvi 7, ' They assayed to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit 
suffered them not.' God himself may cast some bar in his providence 
in our way. Or Satan may hinder : 1 Thes. ii. 18, ' Wherefore we 
would have come unto you (even I Paul) once and again, but 
Satan hindered us.' Satan hinders by stirring up opposition against 


the ministers of the gospel. Or the greater necessities of other people 
may hinder us : Born. xv. 22, ' For which cause ' (speaking of his 
preaching the gospel where it had not been preached) ' I have been 
much hindered from coming to you.' But then it is not every 
inclination of our own hearts which is sufficient, but an inclination 
spiritually raised by the instinct of the Holy Ghost, after prayer; 
not upon secular encouragements of plentiful revenues, or a fatter 
portion in the world. It is upon my heart to live and die with you. 

2. About removes from one place to another, take these rules. 

[1.] It is not simply unlawful. Ministers are not so fixed, as that 
they cannot remove upon no accounts ; if so, raw and inexperienced 
persons might happen to supply the greatest places. Churches are 
bound to spare to others out of their plenty ; as the elders at Antioch 
sent some of their company to preach to the gentiles, Acts xiii. We 
are ministers of the catholic church rather than of any great con 
gregation ; and where there is greatest necessity, or greatest aptness 
and proportion of gifts, there are our pains to be bestowed. Greatest 
necessity and opportunity : the good shepherd runneth after the lost 
sheep, and leaveth the rest in the fold ; and where greatest measure of 
gifts. God fitteth every light to every socket. 

[2.] Whenever it is done, it must be with great advice and caution, 
and upon an urgent call, by which you may clearly gather that God 
hath called you to preach the gospel to them. The call had need be 
urgent : whatever concurreth to an ordinary call must be double. 
It must be upon much seeking of God, clear evidence, consent of 
others, a spirit purged from secular interest, the consent of the church 
you leave gained, as much as may be, that they may deny themselves. 

[3.] It is most comfortable when driven away by providence rather 
than our own choice, as by defect of maintenance that is a negative 
or privative persecution, in which case we may fly to a another city ; 
or by violence of unreasonable men, that have not faith ; or upon con 
tempt : Acts xix. 9, ' When divers were hardened and believed not, 
but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from 
them ; ' so Mat. xiv. 15, ' This is a desert place, and the time is now 
past ; send the multitude away/ You are free of their blood if they will 
not hear. Your rule is, Mat. x. 14, ' Whosoever shall not receive you 
nor hear your words, when you depart out of that house or city, shake 
off the dust of your feet.' 

Thirdly, For gentlemen who travel to get knowledge and experience. 

1. It must not be undertaken upon light grounds. It is a great 
adventure, and it is a sin to tempt God to protect us by casting our 
selves upon great hazards for so small a reason as for mere pleasure and 
curiosity, or pride and vain glory, to learn exotic fashions or the like. 

2. It must not be to places idolatrous, and where true religion is 
under a restraint; you usually then put yourselves upon a snare. 
Abraham could not remain in Chaldea because of abominable idolatry 
and corruption, and you go into them voluntarily to learn of their ways. 

3. If it be in places free from infection, where you may live with 
safety and a good conscience, to get more knowledge and experience, 
it is commendable ; as the Queen of Sheba came from far to hear the 
wisdom of Solomon, 1 Kings x. 1, for which she is commended by 
Christ, Mat. xii. 42. 


Fourthly, For merchants, who remove for traffic, especially into 
places where the true religion is not professed, it may be suppressed 
with extremity of rigour. 

1. It is lawful certainly to pass from country to country for traffic's 
sake and to maintain commerce, for there are divers commodities in 
divers places. 

2. Conversation with heretics and infidels may be allowed, else we 
must go out of the world : 1 Cor. v. 9, 10, ' I wrote unto you in an 
epistle, not to company with fornicators, yet not altogether with the 
fornicators of the world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with 
idolaters, for then must ye needs go out of the world.' I speak of a 
civil commerce, which may be maintained with these cautions. 

[1.] With all our traffic we must take all occasions to propagate re 
ligion in the truth and power of it especially when stirred up by impulse 
of spirit; Deut. xxxiii. 18, 19, 'And of Zebulun he said, Eejoice, 
Zebulun, in thy going out ; and, Issachar, in thy tents. They shall 
call the people unto the mountain ; there they shall offer sacrifices of 
righteousness, for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas and of 
treasures hid in the sand.' 

[2.] Traffic must be managed by fit persons, not novices, and persons 
ungrounded in religion ; it is very dangerous for such. This is as if 
you should turn a child loose among a company of poisons ; an empty 
pitcher soon cracks by the fire. 

[3.] There must be no fixed habitation ; if you thus leave the 
ordinances and societies of saints for trade, religion is made to stoop to 


By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, 
dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him 
of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath founda 
tions, whose builder and maker is God. HEB. xi. 9, 10. 

THE apostle is commending faith from the examples of the patri 
archs; after the flood he beginneth with Abraham,. the father of the 
faithful. In the former verse he speaks of the place whence he was 
called, in this of the place to which he was called ; there he had com 
mended him for his self-denial in obeying God's call, and here for his 
patience and constancy in waiting for the promise. From God's 
training up Abraham in a course of difficulties, we see it is no easy 
matter to go to heaven ; there is a great deal of ado to unsettle a 
believer from the world, and there is a great deal of ado to fix the 
heart in the expectation of heaven. First there must be self-denial in 
coming out of the world, and divorcing ourselves from our bosom sins 
and dearest interests; and then there must be patience shown in 
waiting for God's mercy to eternal life, waiting his leisure as well as 
performing his will. Here is the time of our exercise, and we must 


expect it, since the father of the faithful was thus trained up ere he 
could inherit the promises. 

In these two verses we have a second effect of Abraham's faith and 
the reason of it. 

In the ninth verse we have the second effect of Abraham's faith 
' By faith he sojourned in the land of promise,' &c. There you may 
take notice of. 

1. The act of obedience By faith he sojourned in the land of 
promise, as in a strange country. 

2. The symbol and rite by which this obedience was signified and 
expressed Dwelling in tabernacles. 

3. His fellows and followers in the same obedience With Isaac 
and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. Of these in their 

First, I begin with the act of obedience ' By faith he sojourned 
in the land of promise, as in a strange country.' The words may be 
taken in a double sense, as they imply his condition of life and his 
disposition of heart. Abraham was both a literal and a spiritual 
stranger in the land of promise. 

] . Let us look upon the expression as implying his condition of life. 
Abraham was not in the condition of an inheritor, but of a sojourner 
in the land of Canaan ; therefore it is called the land of his sojournings, 
or in which he was a stranger : Gen. xvii. 8, ' I will give unto thee, 
and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger;' 
and so he confesseth to the children of Heth, Gen. xxiii. 4, ' I am a 
stranger and a sojourner with you.' This sojourning was an act of 
faith, because he was borne up by faith in the promise against all the 
troubles which he suffered. He had large lands and possessions in 
Ur of the Chaldees ; but these he left, and when he came to Canaan, 
the land of promise, he might expect the fruit of his faith and labours ; 
or else, having seen the land, to return with God's leave to the place 
from whence he came. But God had not yet done with the trial of 
his faith ; from his father's house he was a voluntary and obedient 
exile ; and in Canaan, where God brought him, he is still in the con 
dition of a sojourner ; the same faith that moved him to go he knew 
not whither, bindeth him there to wait God's leisure till he should enjoy 
the benefit of the promise, being contented in the meanwhile with 
what estate divine providence should allot. 

I shall discuss but one question, and then come to the observa 

Quest. Why God would have AbraJiam tarry in Canaan? He 
might have shown him in the land, and then returned him to Ur of 
the Chaldees among his friends again. What are the reasons ? 

Ans. God's will is reason enough ; but yet it seemed to be for these 
causes : 

1. Partly to avoid idolatry: Joshua xxiv. 2, 3, 'Your fathers dwelt 
on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah the father of 
Abraham, and the father of Nahor: and they worshipped other gods. 
And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and 
led him throughout all the land of Canaan.' This was more dangerous 
among them of his own kindred, than among the Canaanites, and 


more plausible, there being a greater acknowledgment of the true God, 
and so aptest to take. 

2. For his trial and exercise, the father of the faithful was to be an 
example of self-denial, faith and patience. 

3. To take livery and seizin of the land in behalf of his posterity, 
his faith was more stirred up by seeing it, and being constantly in it ; 
by faith he could say, This is mine. 

4. That he might be a means to bear forth the name of God among 
that people. The sins of the Amorites were not yet full. God sent 
them Abraham, as he sent Lot to Sodom. 

5. To be a pattern of divine blessing and providence ; for there he 
increased in riches wonderfully : Gen. xiii. 2, ' And Abraham was very 
rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold ; ' and so was an instance of the 
reward of obedience to the people of that land. He had not all in hope, 
but something in hand. 

I come now to the notes ; they may be taken from his condition, and 
from his submitting to that condition ; for it was an act of his faith to 
sojourn in the land of promise, as in a strange land. 

[1.] From his condition appointed by God upon special reasons. 

(1.) Observe From what inconsiderable beginnings the promise of 
God taketh place. Abraham cometh into Canaan as a poor sojourner ; 
but yet to take seizin of the land, and there he is forced to borrow an 
habitation, and buyaburying-plaee. Heborroweth an habitation, or place 
wherein to set his tent : Gen. xiv. 13, ' He dwelt in the plain of Mam re 
the Amorite.' He was as it were tenant and farmer to Mamre ; the 
whole laud was his by right and by the grant of God, but others had 
the possession. And he buyeth a place of burial : Gen. xxiii. 8, 9, 
' Entreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, that he may give me the 
cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field : 
for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me, for a possession 
of a burying-place among you.' Otherwise he had not land enough 
whereon to set his foot : Acts vii. 5, ' And he gave him none inheritance 
in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on/ A strange beginning for 
so great promises ! The first thing he takes possession of was a place 
of burial for the dead ; that was all the purchase he made ; so that 
his infeoffment and entrance was rather a resignation and farewell, and 
he seemed to provide more for a departure than an abode. Thus won 
derfully is God wont to work, and by unlikely means to bring about the 
greatest effects : dead bones keep possession for four hundred yearis. 
Hereby his power is known : Ps. cv. 11-13, ' Unto thee will I give the 
land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance ; when they were but a few 
men in number ; yea, very few, and strangers in it. When they went 
from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people.' 

(2.) Observe, that God's promise is not always made good in kind. 
Abraham is called to a land which he should after receive for an inher- 
tance ; and instead of Canaan he hath heaven a city founded not by 
the Amorites, but God. In performing temporal promises, God doth 
not always observe the letter, and give the particular blessing; but he 
giveth what is equivalent, or that which is better. This is the land 
that I will give thee ; but yet ' he looked for a city that had foundations, 
whose builder and maker is God.' God's people have never cause to 


complain of his breach, of promise ; if he change their wages it is for 
the better ; a secret sense of his favour and possession of heaven is 
much better than to be king of all the world. Jacob complains of 
Laban, Gen. xxxi 7, ' Your father hath deceived me, and changed my 
wages ten times,' but none have cause to complain so of God. Temporal 
promises are not always fulfilled in the letter, because God is not 
absolutely bound; but usually they have that which far exceedeth. 
If a man should promise another two hundred pounds, and give him 
an inheritance of so many hundreds or thousands by the year, here 
is no deceit. God is often better than his word ; but never cometh 

(3.) Observe, that temporal blessings are usually made good to the 
posterity of the faithful. Abraham was a stranger in the- land of pro 
mise, and had not a foot of land there ; but his posterity possessed it, 
and drove out the Oanaanites. Believers have enough in God ; and 
however he dealeth with them, they can wait upon him ; but usually 
their posterity, if they have nothing else, enjoy many temporal blessings 
with respect to their father's faith. A land of promise contents 
Abraham ; he leaveth the possession to his posterity. Thus it often 
falleth out the father is rich in faith, and the children, though carnal, 
are rich in this world ; they have the blessing of Ishmael, if not the 
blessing of Isaac. 

(4.) Observe, that though God giveth a title, yet we must wait till 
providence giveth us fair possession. Abraham had a title given him 
by God, but the Amorites had the possession, therefore ' he sojourned 
in the land of promise as in a strange land/ Whatever our hopes are, 
faith maketh not haste. If we may have right as an heir to his land, 
or a lord to an estate that is leased out, or an unjustly exiled man to 
his possessions, yet we must use no irregular means, not secretly with 
the death of those that enjoy it that is murder, but we must be con 
tented for awhile to be as mere strangers, as Abraham was in the laud 
of promise. 

(5.) Observe, that God doth not cast a people out of their posses 
sions till their iniquities be full. He had given the land of Canaan to 
Abraham, but he giveth him not the possession ; and the reason is 
rendered, Gen. xv. 16, ' For the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.' 
His posterity was not to possess it till four hundred years after the first 
grant. Thus God gave the kingdom to David, but Saul possessed it a 
good while afterwards. Great is the patience of God to sinners, and 
the sentence is not executed as soon as past. 

(6.) Observe, that the accomplishment of promises is delayed till a 
fit time. It was a land under promise ; but yet to Abraham and his 
seed for awhile it was as a strange land. When Abraham wandered 
up and down like a stranger, where was the heritage that was promised 
to him ? He might say, Is this my land which others possess ? but 
he lets God alone with his promise. God is not slack, but we are hasty : 
Gal. iv. 4, ' When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, 
made of a woman, made under the law.' Our times are always present, 
but God's time is not come. The Lord tarried so long, till it was high 
time to take vengeance of the Amorites for their sins ; and till it was 
high time for the Israelites to shift dwellings, and the people were 


grown to such a number, that they might not come by way of miracle 
to take possession, but by conquest. When the oven is hot, then is 
the loaf set in ; so when all circumstances concur, then shall the pro 
mise be accomplished. 

(7.) Observe, a man that is called to converse with idolaters must 
converse with them as sparingly as may be. While. Canaan Avas'full 
of idolaters, Abraham must be but a sojourner, and must dwell in tents 
to profess his religion. Thus we have considered Abraham's sojourn 
ing as appointed by God. 

[2.] Let us consider it as an act of faith and obedience. c By faith 
Abraham sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange country/ 
In his faith there are three things notable his patience, his contenta- 
tion, and his constancy. 

(1.) His patience, not only in digesting the troubles of his present 
estate, but in waiting God's leisure. Observe, we must not be offended 
with delay, but must patiently wait for the accomplishment of God's 
promises. Abraham borrowed a place wherein to fix his tent ; Isaac 
is fain to struggle for a well ; and Jacob lived in a wandering and 
movable condition ; and yet they waited till God should make way 
for the possession of Canaan. What can we do in such a case ? can 
we live upon the reversion of a promise, especially of promises that are 
to be made good to posterity ? God is much glorified in our patient 
expectation, when we can think ourselves as well for that which shall 
come as if we were in actual and present possession. This is the pro 
perty of faith : Heb. xi. 1, ' Faith is the substance of things hoped for, 
and the evidence of things not seen/ The word of God is enough to 
a believer, but carnal men are all for present possession ; they will trust 
God no further than they can see him. 

(2.) His contentation. Observe, contentment with a small portion 
of earthly things is a great fruit of faith. By faith Abraham sojourned, 
though he had neither house nor home in the land of promise, but only 
a sepulchre ; this was enough. Faith doth not only beget a confidence, 
but also a composure of spirit, and submission to the Lord's will. A 
little thing will serve on earth, because we expect so much in heaven. 
Well then, do not always look to confidence, but to this contentation. 
Are carnal affections mortified ? can you submit to hardships ? Though 
in regard of temporals you find loss by trusting in God, yet is it 
enough that you have a promise of better things ? Then do you believe. 
Abraham was not covetous ; he looketh upon the spiritual rather than 
the earthly part of the promise ; he was not for fields and lands ; he 
saw that his Canaan must be heaven, and was content. 

[3.] His constancy. You may observe in Abraham an unwearied con 
stancy in obeying God and believing his promises, though all things 
seemed contrary. He sojourned where God would have him, and waited 
for what God would give him. Observe, that true faith adhereth to God, 
though it find not what it believeth, but is often disappointed, and seeth 
no probability of the thing promised. Abraham leaveth Ur of the 
Chaldees ; had not a foot of land in Canaan ; sojourneth among the 
Canaanites ; thence by a famine is driven into Egypt ; is often burdened 
with envy ; at length is told that the land bolongeth to his seed ; yet he 
remaineth without issue for a long time, till he was a hundred years old ; 


his seed threatened to suffer a long captivity, yet he hopeth against hope. 
Faith doth not look on the things promised, but on God ; if it alto 
gether looked on the things promised, it would soon fail and wax 
faint. Abraham's case was j ust like David's ; the Canaanites were strong 
and mighty, and dwelt in cities, as wicked men, in David's time, when 
he was afflicted, : prosper in the world, and increase in riches/ Ps. 
Ixxiii. 12 ; but yet read verses 23-26, ' Nevertheless I am continually 
with thee ; thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide 
me by thy counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory. Whom have 
I in heaven but thee ? and there is none upon earth that I desire 
besides thee. My flesh and my heart faileth : but God is the strength 
my heart and my portion for ever.' They have God, and they have 
heaven, and thence ariseth this constancy of faith. Thus through all 
temptations must we be constant to the end. When difficulties arise, 
we think of returning into Egypt, still bear up. 

Obj. But this is the property of strong faith. 

Ans. No, but of all faith ; strong faith overcometh temptations with 
less difficulty ; but yet weak faith, if true, persevereth to the end through 
a thousand temptations. The disciples were oXiyoTrtaroi, of little faith ; 
yet saith Christ to them, Luke xxii. 28, 29, ' Ye are they which have 
continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a 
kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me/ Now though we 
have not such clear grounds to hope as Abraham, yet we have God's 
promises, and his word is as sure as an oracle. We trust in the same 
God, and look for the same heaven ; therefore do not draw back, but 
continue with God, and own his cause in all trials. 

Secondly, Let us look upon this expression of Abraham's sojourning 
in the land of promise as in a strange land ; as it implieth the disposi 
tion of Abraham's heart, and not only the condition of his life. Canaan 
was assigned to Abraham, not only as a place of trial, but as a figure 
and pledge of heaven ; therefore, because he expected a better country, 
and cities not built by the Amorites, but a city that hath foundations, 
built by God himself, therefore he is said to dwell there as in a strange 
country ; he looked for another home, and therefore in Canaan he 
lived as a stranger. Thus the expression is taken elsewhere. When 
Abraham's seed was in a settled condition, and had taken possession of 
that land of which Abraham had only the promise, God tells them they 
were but strangers and sojourners : Lev. xxv. 23, ' The land shall not 
be sold for ever : for the land is mine ; for ye are strangers and sojourners 
with me ; ' not only the wandering patriarchs, who flitted from place to 
place, but their posterity, even in the time of their greatest happiness 
and settled abode. David was a king ; yet he saith, Ps. xxxix. 12, ' I 
am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner as all my fathers were.' Now, 
lest this should seem an expression suited to David's case, when he was 
chased like a flea, or hunted like a partridge upon the mountains, you 
shall see ; when he was settled in his kingdom towards the end and 
close of his life ; when he had gotten so many victories, and his people 
lived quietly in their own possessions ; and they offered so many cart 
loads of gold and silver, yet then he confesseth, 1 Chron. xxix. 15, ' We 
are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers : our 
days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.' The 
land never enjoyed greater peace, never flowed in greater wealth ; the 


people never seemed to be more at home, everyone sitting and singing 
under his own vine and fig-tree, yet saith he, ' We are strangers before 
thee, and sojourners, as all our fathers were.' So we are taught in the 
gospel, 1 Peter, ii. 11, ' Dearly beloved, I beseech you, as strangers and 
pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.' They 
to whom Peter wrote were strangers in a literal sense : 1 Peter, i. ] , 
' To the strangers scattered thoughout Pontus,' &c. But it is there 
taken in a spiritual sense, as appears by the exhortation. Out of all 

Observe, that the children of God there, where they have best right 
and most possessions, are but strangers and pilgrims. How settled 
soever their condition be, yet this is the temper of the saints upon 
earth, to count themselves but strangers. All men indeed are strangers 
and sojourners; but the saints do best discern it, and most freely 
acknowledge it. Wicked men have no firm dwelling upon earth, but 
that is against their intention ; their inward thoughts and desire is, 
that they may abide for ever ; they are strangers against their wills, 
their abode is uncertain in the world, and they cannot help it. And 
pray mark, there are two distinct words used in this case in Peter, 
' as strangers and pilgrims ' co? Trapoi/cou? /cat irapeir iS^/iov? ; and in 
the old testament ' strangers and sojourners/ A stranger is one that 
hath his abode in a foreign country ; that is not a native and denizen 
of the place, though he liveth there ; and in opposition to the natives 
he is called a stranger ; as if a Frenchman should live in England, he 
is a stranger. But a pilgrim and a sojourner is one that intendeth not 
to settle, but only passeth through a place, and is in motion travelling 
homeward. So the children of God, in relation to a country of their 
own in another place namely, heaven, they are denizens there, but 
strangers in the world ; and they are sojourners and pilgrims in regard 
of their motion and journey towards their own country. Now, wicked 
men are only strangers in regard of their unsettled abode in the world 
but they are not pilgrims ; they have no inheritance to expect in 
heaven ; here is the place where they would abide for ever. Let God 
keep heaven to himself, so they might have the world ; they are sure 
to go out of the world, but they are not sure to go to heaven ; and so 
they are strangers, but not pilgrims. But briefly I shall show you 
(1.) How Christians are strangers and pilgrims ; (2.) The inferences of 
duty from hence ; (3.) How we may get our hearts into such a frame ; 

1. The resemblance between the temper of the saints and the con 
dition of a stranger and pilgrim. The allusion may be taken from an 
ordinary strangership and pilgrimage, or from the pilgrimage of Israel 
through the desert into Canaan. 

[1.] From an ordinary pilgrimage. 

(1.) A stranger is one that is absent from his country, and from 
his father's house. So are we ; heaven is our country ; God is there, and 
Christ is there. The apostle saith, 2 Cor. v. 6, ' Whilst we are at home 
in the body, we are absent from the Lord.' We are strangers there, 
where we are absent from God and Christ Ubi pater, ibi pairia ; 
our birth is from heaven, and thither we tend. Rivers run away from 
their springs, and never return more ; but it is not so with us ; our 
springs are in Christ, and our streams are to him ; the tendency is 
according to the principle. Our birth is from heaven^ and thither are 


the motions and tendencies of renewed souls ; thence they came, and 
thither they tend. 

(2.) A stranger in a foreign country is not known, nor valued accord 
ing to his birth and breeding ; so the saints walk up and down in the 
world like princes in disguise ' The king's daughter is all glorious 
within,' Ps. xlv. 13. The world knoweth not our birth, nor our breed 
ing, nor our hopes, nor our expectations. ' Our life is hid with Christ 
in God,' Col. iii, 3 ; and therefore we are often judged according 
to the flesh and outward appearance, but live unto God in the 

(3.) Strangers are liable to inconveniences ; so are godly men in 
the world Religio scit se peregrinam esse in terris, saith Tertullian, 
it is like a strange plant brought from a foreign country, and doth not 
agree with the nature of the soil, it thriveth not in the world. Wicked 
men prosper here ; they are like thistles and nettles, that grow of their 
own accord ; the world is their native soil. 

(4.) A stranger is patient, standeth not for ill-usage, and is con 
tented with pilgrim's fare and lodging. We are now abroad, and must 
expect hardship ' In the world you shall have tribulation/ John xvi. 
33. God permitteth inconveniences to arise to wean us from the 
world, and make us long for home. 

(5.) A stranger is wary that he may not give offence and incur the 
hatred and displeasure of the natives. We had need to ' walk wisely 
towards them that are without,' Col. iv 5 ; we are in the land of our 

(6.) A stranger is thankful for the least favour ; so must we be 
thankfully contented with the things God hath bestowed on us. Any 
thing in a strange country is much : 1 Chron. xxix. 13-15, ' We thank 
thee, and praise thy glorious name. 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. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners as were all our 

(7.) A stranger that hath a journey to go would pass over it as soon 
as he can ; and so we, who have a journey to heaven desire to be dis 
solved : Phil. i. 23, ' Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, 
which is far better.' It is the joy of their souls to think to be at home 
with Christ. 

(8.) A stranger buyeth not such things as he cannot carry with him ; 
he doth not buy trees, house, household stuff, but jewels and pearls, 
and such things as are portable. So such things as we can 
carry with us to heaven should take up our time and care. Piety and 
godliness outlives the grave ; our wealth doth not follow us but our 
works follow us ; and therefore our great care should be to get the 
jewels of the covenant, the graces of God's Spirit, those things that 
will abide with us. 

(9.) A stranger's heart is in his country ; so is a saint's : Phil. iii. 
20, TO irokirevfj.arjp.wv 'Our conversation is in heaven;' these are his 
thoughts, thither he is drawing home his trade; so is a Christian 
drawing his heart heavenward : heaven is his home, this life is but the 
way. But now when, men lavish out their respects by wholesale upon 


the world, and can scarce retail a thought on heaven, they are not 
passengers but inhabitants ; here they are at home. 

(10.) A stranger is inquisitive after the way, fearing lest he should 
go amiss ; so is a Christian : Ps. cxix. 19, ' I am a stranger in the earth, 
hide not thy commandments from me.' We need direction in a strange 
place ; there are so many byways in the world that we may soon mis 
carry, and be led by our own lusts, or the suggestions of others, into 
such ways and practices as God doth not allow. 

(11.) A stranger provides for his return, as a merchant that he may 
return richly laden. When you send a child for breeding beyond the 
seas, he taketh care that when he returns he may return as a man 
accomplished, so as to please his father. So we must appear before 
God in Sion ; what manner of persons ought we to be ? Let us return 
from our travel well provided. 

[2.] It carryeth some resemblance with Israel's travelling in the 
wilderness, when they came out of Egypt to go into the land of Canaan. 
They were brought out of Egypt, and we are taken out of the power of 
darkness : Col. i. 13, ' Who hath delivered us from the power of dark 
ness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.' They 
had the law given them in the wilderness, and God's word is our light 
during our pilgrimage : Ps. cxix. 105, ' Thy word is a lamp unto my 
feet and a light unto my path.' They were fed with manna from 
heaven, and we have Christ, who is hidden manna, the bread that came 
down from heaven : John vi. 31, 32, 'Our fathers did eat manna, in 
the wilderness, as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to 
eat. Moses gave you not that bread from heaven, but my Father 
giveth you the true bread from heaven.' They were guided by the 
pillar of cloud and pillar of fire, which never forsook them till they 
came to Canaan, and we are under God's providence and fatherly care : 
Ps. Ixxiii. 24, ' Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterwards 
receive me to glory.' In the wilderness they were troubled with fiery 
serpents as we are with fleshly lusts : 1 Peter ii. 11, ' Dearly beloved, 
I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, that 
war against your souls/ Then Amalek rose up against them, and 
smote their rear, and we have our persecutors and oppressors in the 
world : 2 Tim. iii. 12, ' Yea and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus 
shall suffer persecution.' The clusters of grapes and excellent fruits 
of Canaan were brought to them in the wilderness, and we have the 
first-fruits of the Spirit : Kom. viii. 23, ' And not only they, but our 
selves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves 
groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption 
of our body.' We have the beginnings of heaven during our pilgrim 
age, grace, peace of conscience, and joy in the Holy Ghost ; these fruits 
are brought as a taste of the goodness of the land, and as a pledge of 
their interest in it. By the cluster of grapes God gave them livery 
and seizin of Canaan ; so by the first-fruits of the Spirit we have a 
taste and earnest of the heavenly state. Moses brought them to the 
borders of Canaan, but Joshua led them into the land, as Jesus leadeth 
us into heaven. Good works are the way, but not the cause of 

2. What are the inferences of duty that may be drawn hence. 


[1.] We learn to mortify fleshly lusts, because these weaken our 
desires of heaven, and hinder us in our journey. This is the apostle's 
inference : 1 Peter ii. 11, ' Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers 
and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.' 
If we were not pilgrims bound for another world, it were more tolerable 
to gratify the senses, and to give contentment to every carnal desire ; 
but we are in a journey, and therefore should mortify fleshly lusts. 
Brutish affections are all for the present, and weaken our desires of 
things to come ; like the flesh-pots of Egypt, they make us forget 
heaven, and forget home. They distract the mind, and draw it another 
way, that it is cumbered with much serving ; as it was said of Martha, 
Luke x. 40, ' Martha was cumbered about much serving/ The soul 
must have some oblectation and delight ; love cannot remain idle. 
When the pipes leak, the course of the stream is diverted. And as 
they distract, so they load and clog the soul ; we feel no more weight 
than a bird under her feathers, but indeed they are the soul's load : 
Heb. xii. 1, ' Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so 
easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before 
us.' Immoderate and carnal affections, like a weight, press the soul 
downward : 2 Tim. iii. 6, ' They lead captive silly women laden with 
sins, led away with divers lusts/ Fishes feel no weight, though they 
swim ever so low in the waters ; heavy bodies are never heavy in their 
proper places. A man that hath set up his rest here doth not feel lust 
to be a weight and load to him ; but to one that looketh towards 
heaven they are burdensome, as a clog to his soul, that depresseth him 
in all his heavenly flights and motions. And they do not only distract 
and clog, but they distemper the soul. The racers were dieted for the 
Isthmic games : 1 Cor. ix. 25, ' Every man that striveth for the 
mastery is temperate in all things/ So saith the apostle, ' I keep 
under my body, and bring it into subjection/ ver. 27. Lusts put us 
quite out of temper for a heavenly journey. Therefore as strangers 
and pilgrims you must mortify fleshly lusts by prayer, watchfulness, 
beating down the body, cutting off the provisions of the flesh, and the 
like means. 

[2.] Do not embroil yourselves in the cares of this world. God is called 
a stranger and a wayfaring man when he seems not to administer to 
the wants and necessities of his people : Jer. xiv. 8, ' Why shouldst 
thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man that turneth 
aside to tarry for a night ? ' Do not entangle yourselves in worldly pur 
suits and practices ; your abode is here but for a time, and you know 
not how soon you may be called hence : 1 Cor. vii. 29-31, ' The time 
is short : it remaineth that both they that have wives be as though 
they had none, and they that weep as though they wept not, and they 
that rejoice as though they rejoiced not, and they that buy as though 
they possessed not, and they that use this world as not abusing it ; for 
the fashion of this world passeth away.' Use the world as if you used 
it not. You do not stay but lodge here, therefore use the things of 
the world as passengers do things in an inn ; they use them as being 
willing and ready to leave them the next morning. Who would 
trouble himself to hang his room in an inn for a night ? We are 
strangers, and our days are but as a shadow, and to-morrow we must 
VOL. xiv. R 


be gone ; and therefore, though we may follow our callings with cheer 
fulness and diligence, yet we should not make worldly gain our business. 
You make the world your home when the heart is filled with sins and 
the head with cares, and all to grow great, and shine in pomp and 
pleasure. A pilgrim doth not make purchases in a foreign country, 
but he is contented with a viaticum, so much as will serve him in his 
journey ; but when men join field to field as if they would shine alone, 
it is a sign they make this their home. Follow your callings, and be 
content with God's allowance, it is enough to make your journey 
comfortable, and let not these things take up your heart as if here 
were your rest ; use them as an instrument of piety and charity, as a 
help to a better life ; delight in them only as a help to the journey, 
then they will not prove a hindrance. We cannot get out of the world 
when we please, we are tenants at will to God, bu;b let us get the world 
out of us ; and so shall we do if we use it as if we used it not, when 
we do not make the world our end, our rest, our main work, but only 
mind it in a subordination to a better life. When we make it our end 
by an irregular aim, our work by an intemperate use, our rest by an 
immoderate delight, we are at home ; God may keep heaven to himself 
for us. God in mercy appoints us callings to busy our minds as a fit 
diversion after worship ; sins settle in us by idleness, as wheat grows 
musty in the garner if it be riot turned and stirred ; and as a means 
of our support and usefulness : Eph. iv. 28, ' Let him that stole steal 
no more, but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing 
which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.' But if 
Ave labour in them with other ends, we seek not another country, even 
heaven, and are contented with our pilgrimage. 

[3.] Mind home more. We should always be winding up our 
affections, as those that keep clocks ; the weights run down of their 
own accord, but we wind them up morning and evening : Ps. xxv. 1, 
' Unto thee, Lord, do I lift up my soul.' Some there are who may 
despise the profits of this world, but they are not heavenly ; they lose 
something, but they find nothing in the room of it. If we are pilgrims, 
we should seek a city that is to come : Heb. xiii. 14, ' For here have 
we no continuing city, but we seek one to come ; ' that is, in our 'desires, 
thoughts, endeavours, and groans after it : Ps. cxx. 5, ' Wo is me that 
I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar.' Daily desires 
and groans are the saint's harbingers, which are sent into heaven before 
us ; and by this means we tell God that we would be at home. 
Therefore you should be ever setting of your minds this way ; some 
time should be redeemed for this purpose every day, that we may stir 
up our affections and serious thoughts to converse with God. We 
have no help else against the snares of the world ; it is an infectious 
air, and we had need take cordials and antidotes : 2 Peter i. 4, ' Where 
by are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by 
these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the 
corruption that is in the world through lust/ This refresheth the 
divine nature in us, and keepeth our hopes alive. There are a great 
many temptations in the world through lust, and it is needful, as well 
as sweet and pleasant, to have our thoughts upon heaven. 

[4.J Do not conform yourselves according to the fashions of the 


world : Kom. xii. 2, ' And be not conformed to this world, but be ye 
transformed by the renewing of your mind.' You are strangers here ; 
live not according to the customs and fashions of the world. If an 
Englishman were in America, where he saw none but rude savages 
that had not shame enough to cover their nakedness, would he conform 
himself to their fashions and guises ? We are in danger to miscarry 
by example, as well as by lust. It is the fashion of the world to be 
profane and unmortified, to be careless of God and heavenly things, to 
break the sabbath, to neglect private duties, and the exercise of religion 
in their families, to spend their whole time in eating and drinking, 
buying, selling, trading. You are of another country, Jerusalem that 
is above is the mother of us all ; therefore you are to live by other 
laws, and in another fashion. Besides, in every age there is some 
wicked custom afoot, which, by being common, becomes less odious, and 
your course must be contrary to it. Dead fishes swim with the stream, 
and wicked men walk /car alwva, ' according to the course of this 
world,' Eph. ii. 2. Sin, when common, is less odious. But a stranger 
should by his habit and appearance declare his country, and that he is 
not ashamed to own it ; so do you declare that you are acted by higher 
principles and more glorious hopes than the men of the world are 
acted by. God hath chosen us out of the world, and we should dis 
cover the excellency of our principles and hopes by not conforming 
ourselves to the present world. 

[5.] It teacheth us patience, to endure the inconveniences of this life 
without murmuring. Many that travel abroad are ill entreated, not 
respected according to their birth. But consider, we have but a little 
while to stay, and in the midst of all troubles remember home : Ps. 
xxvii. 13, 'I'had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of 
the Lord in the land of the living.' Heaven is the true land of the 
living. There are commotions in the world, but heaven is a quiet 
place. If we are assaulted with troubles, it is to make us long for 
home, to better our hearts or hasten our glory. If the world did not 
vex the godly, it might possibly ensnare them, and entice their affec 
tions to love it and desire to abide in it. The world's hostility is the 
security of the saints : Gal. vi. 14, ' God forbid that I should glory, 
save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is 
crucified unto me, and I unto the world.' The world never cared 
much for me, nor I much for the world. Their injuries turn to our 
gain, and mortification to make us look homeward. 

[6.] It teacheth us submission to the hand of God for our godly 
departed friends. Let us not grieve for the departed in the Lord, they 
are but gone home. The apostle speaketh of some ' that were in Christ 
before him,' Kom. xvi. 7. They are jin heaven before us, and we must 
wait our time ; after a wearisome journey they rest from their labours, 
and solace themselves in the bosom of Jesus Christ 



By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, 
dwelling in tabernacles ivith Isaac and Jacob, the heirs ivith him 
of the same promise ; for lie looked for a city which hath founda 
tions, whose builder and maker is God. HEB. xi. 9, 10. 

3. I NOW come to the means how to get our hearts into such a frame 
as I have before discoursed on. 

[1.] Let us enjoy as much of heaven as we can in our pilgrimage, 
in the beginnings of grace, the first-fruits of the Spirit, and in the 

(1.) In the first-fruits of the Spirit: grace is young glory, and joy 
in the Holy Ghost is the suburbs of heaven. You enter upon your 
country and inheritance by degrees ; fulness of joy is for the life to 
come, and joy in the Holy Ghost is the beginning of it. As the winds 
carry the odours and sweet smells of Arabia into the neighbouring 
provinces ; so the joys of heaven, those sweet smells and odours of the 
upper paradise, are by the breathings and gales of the Spirit conveyed 
into the hearts of believers. This is our advance-money, our taste in 
the wilderness, our morning-glances of the daylight of glory. Union 
with Christ is the beginning of heaven, it is heaven in the moulding 
and framing. 

(2.) In the ordinances. The time of our pilgrimage is a sad time. 
How should we solace ourselves ? Ps. cxix. 54, ' Thy statutes have 
been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage/ our cordials to cheer 
and strengthen us. The ordinances are types of heaven. Prayer 
bringeth us to the throne of grace, and giveth us an entrance into God's 
presence. In the word ' preached ' is the presence of the blessed Trinity, 
bringing down heaven itself to us, and the angels are attending on our 
congregations : 1 Cor. xi. 10, ' For this cause ought the woman to have 
power on her head, because of the angels.' The Lord's supper is a 
pledge of that new wine we shall drink in our Father's kingdom. By 
reading we talk with the saints departed, prophets and apostles, that 
wrote what we read. Meditation bringeth us into the company of God, 
and where we walk God walketh with us, and at home or abroad we 
are still with God. The sabbath is a type of heaven: Heb. iv. 9, 
' There remaineth therefore a rest for the people of God.' Here is a 
ceasing from work, and there is a ceasing from sin and misery, and an 
eternal rest and repose in the bosom of Christ. Psalms do fitly re 
semble hallelujahs, the word lectures of praise that shall be read over 
the free grace of God and redemption by Christ to all eternity. The 
congregation signifies the general assembly and congregation of saints 
and angels above, Heb. xii. 23. So that a Christian is even seated .in 
heaven when in and about the ordinances. 

[2.] The enjoyment of any temporal blessing should stir us up to 
the more serious consideration of heavenly blessings ; there are better 
things laid up in heaven. As the prodigal's husks put him in mind of 
the bread that was in his father's house, and the cities of the Amorites 
put Abraham in mind of the city that had foundations, whose builder 


and maker is God ; so should we be put in mind of heaven by those 
things we enjoy here. If a strange place affords us content and re 
freshment, will not our country much more ? If the creature be sweet, 
heaven is better. Look through the glass to the sun, it is our medium, 
not our object. A spiritual use of the creature doth much raise our 
hearts. We help our souls by our bodies, and make the senses which 
were wont to be the inlets of sin to be instruments of heavenly- 
mindedness. Grace can work matter out of anything it seeth ; a good 
man can distil precious liquor out of common matters; he can see 
another world in this world, and doth not only make a temporal use of 
the creatures, but a spiritual. 

[3.] Go to God to circumcise the foreskin of the heart. There is a 
fleshliness that cleaves to us which maketh us altogether for a present 
good, the world is at hand. God can only cure this by infusing a 
divine nature : 2 Peter i. 4, ' That by these ye may be made partakers 
of a divine nature, having escaped the corruptions that are in the world 
through lust.' There must be a heavenly birth, or else a man taketh 
himself for this world's child, and will go- no further. 

[4.] Get a clearer and more sensible interest in Christ. He that is 
in Christ is in heaven already : Eph. ii. 6, ' And hath raised us up to 
gether, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.' 
He is there in his head ; a Christian holdeth all in capite. When 
Christ was glorified, he seized on heaven in our right. We use to say 
of an old man, He hath one foot in the grave ; so a believer that is in 
Christ hath more than a foot in heaven, his head is there, he is ascended 
with Christ. Nothing but faith can unriddle this mystery, how a be 
liever should be on earth and yet in heaven ; his head is there, and 
this draweth the heart after it ; head and heart must be together. And 
therefore acquaint yourselves with Christ, clear up your interest in him, 
this will wean you from the world. The woman left her pitcher when 
she knew Christ, John iv. 28. There is your treasure, and your affec 
tions will carry you where Christ is : Col. iii. 1, ' If ye then be risen 
with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at 
the right hand of God ; ' Phil. iii. 20, ' For our conversation is in 
heaven, whence we look for a saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.' 

[5.] Meditation is of great use ; it bringeth a believer into the com 
pany of the blessed, and puts his head above the clouds, in the midst 
of the glory of the world to come. Meditation is but a more tempe 
rate ecstasy. As Paul by his rapture was in the third heavens, so are we by 
our thoughts ; we get upon the top of Nebo or Pisgah, and take a view 
of the promised land. Great hopes are known by thoughts ; thoughts 
are the spies of the soul. Where a thing is strongly expected, the 
thoughts are wont to spend themselves in creating images and suppo 
sitions of contentment we shall receive when we enjoy this thing. If 
a poor man be adopted into the succession of a crown, he would be 
feasting and entertaining himself with the happiness and pleasure of 
that estate. When a man minds only earthly things, earthly thoughts 
salute him first in the morning, busy him all day, lay him clown in his 
bed, play in his fancy all night ; the thoughts of God and his kingdom 
find no access. Glances only on heaven are an evidence of a carnal 
heart that is at home. The more heavenly a Christian is, the more he 


is himself ; as the more rational and considerate a man is, the more he 
is a man. 

[6.] Prize the communion of saints, this is heaven begun. A godly 
man, when he was to die, said, I shall change my place, but not my 
company. They that expect to be there where God, and Christ, and 
the saints are, should delight more in converse with them here. In a 
foreign land a man is glad to meet with his own countrymen ; we should 
be glad to meet with those that go with us to heaven. A ehristian 
will converse with such as he shall be with hereafter ; it is of great 
use and quickening to him. Good discourse conveyeth warmth : Luke 
xxiv. 32, ' Did not our heart burn within us while he talked with us 
by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures ? ' Saul in the 
company of the prophets became a prophet. Earthly men will gain 
benefit hereby ; as a dead man will have some heat, being plied with 
warm clothes. 

Use 1. Put in your name among them that profess themselves to be 
strangers and pilgrims : Heb. xi. 13, ' They confessed that they were 
strangers and pilgrims on the earth ; ' and that in your best estate, if it 
be in the land of promise, where you have most right, in the midst of 
peace, tranquillity, and worldly enjoyments, where you have most pos 
sessions. Consider what reason you have to count yourselves strangers 
and pilgrims, and what profit you will have by it. 

1. What reason you have so to count yourselves. Consider how 
frail we are, how uncertain our comforts ; how frail we are, this is not 
our rest. In our best estate we are but frail : Ps. xxxix. 5, ' Verily 
every man at his best estate is altogether vanity.' Every word is em- 
phatical ; there is an asseveration, ' verily ; ' a universal particle, ' every 
man,' and that ' at his best estate.' The sun in the zenith beginneth 
to decline. Paul's rapture was seconded with a messenger of Satan ; 
after a sight of heaven he had a taste of hell. When worldly happi 
ness is at the full, it beginneth to decline. And he is not only vain 
and weak, but vanity itself, and altogether vanity. 'No man hath a 
constant fixed abode in the world. And then the uncertainty of 
worldly things ; we are mortal, and all our enjoyments have their 
mortality. The world is full of changes. Who would build a house 
where there were continual earthquakes ? or set up his abode and 
dwelling-place upon the sea ? or lay a foundation upon the ice, that is 
gone with the next heat and warmth ? Especially God's children, who 
have least of the world. And then it is not our rest ; if you had the 
world at will, you have higher things to look after ; this is not your 
happiness. As that pilgrim said that was travelling to Jerusalem, But 
this is not the holy city : Micah ii. 10, ' Arise you, and depart, for this 
is not your rest.' It is the greatest judgment God can inflict upon thee, 
for thee to take up thy rest here, to be condemned to successes and 
worldly felicity ; better never have a day of rest and ease in the world : 
Luke xvi. 25, ' Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy 
good things ; ' Ps. xvii. 14, ' From men of the world, which have their 
portion in this life ;' Jer. xvii. 13, ' They that depart from me shall be 
written in the earth/ it is a punishment laid on them that depart 
from God. 

2. What profit you will have by it ; it will keep you from lusts and 


snares. Birds when they soar aloft, need fear no snares ; he that 
counts heaven his home, and the world a strange country, hath a great 
advantage of others, for he is delivered from the snares of the world. 
This disposition doth hurt to nothing but to carnal mirth ; but it 
makes way for heavenly refreshings and sweet comforts. Nay it is the 
best piece of good husbandry, for it is the best way to provide for 
the world: Mat. vi. 33, 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his 
righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you ; ' you drive 
on two cares at once. None hold the world by a better tenure than 
those that are strangers. Abraham dwelt in tents, and Lot dwelt in a 
city ; and Lot in the pleasant valley found less rest than Abraham 
in his tent: his lingering in Sodom had cost him dear if God had not 
pulled him out. It will make us end our days with comfort. Death is 
an advantage to a spiritual stranger and pilgrim here ; it is a going 
home after a tedious journey. A man readily leaveth the place he 
abhorreth, and goeth to the place he loveth ; so if once we could get 
our affections from the world, death would not be so dreadful. Carnal 
affections make us unwilling to die ; we are wedded to present things 
and that makes us loth to depart hence. 

Use 2. Reproof to those that fix their rest here. ' It is good to 
be here,' saith Peter, but as applied to the world is a brutish speech ; 
it is contrary to sense, experience, and reason. 

1. Contrary to sense. Let me confute you by your eyes. Look to 
the frame of man's body, not only the constitution of his soul, but the 
frame of his body ; we do not go grovelling on the earth as beasts, nor 
are we stuck into the ground as trees ; man is of an upright stature, his 
head is to heaven and his feet to the earth, the seat of the .senses is 
nearest heaven : Ps. viii. 6, ' Thou hast put all things under his feet.' 
But now when men spurn at heaven, when their heads and hearts are 
fixed on the earth, this is like a man standing upon his head. Worldly 
men are like worms that come out of the earth, live on it, creep on it, 
and at length creep into it, and that is all. Let me again confute thee 
by thine eyes. Consider the frame of heaven ; those aspectable heavens 
are the most glorious part of the creation, far more glorious than the 
lower world, and yet it is but the under part of the pavement of 
heaven. What then is the heaven of heavens, if the lowest part 
of heaven be so beautiful. 

2. Contrary to our experience, as men or as Christians. 

[1.] To our experience as men. Why do you fix here ? The world 
thrusteth us from itself by miseries, and at last by death ; then there 
is a violent ejection, here it entertaineth us as a stepmother ; but we 
linger in it as Lot lingered, he was loth to go out of pleasant Sodorn 
till the angels pulled him out : Gen. sax. 16, 'And while he lingered, 
the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and 
upon the hand of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful unto him, 
and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.' We are 
often frustrated by a just and merciful providence, and we should make 
use of our disappointments. Providence doth often buffet us when it 
finds us busy where we should not ; where we are more strangers, there 
we are most employed. When we stick to the earth. God cometh to 
pull us off. 


[2.] To our experience as Christians. Afflictions serve to make a 
divorce between us and the world, but much more sins. Crosses are 
grievous to all, but sins to the godly ; sin hindereth us of the 
free enjoyment of heaven, as crosses do of the comforts of the 
world. Sin is evil in itself, though we feel it not. Affliction is 
only evil to our feeling because it smarts ; affliction is as wormwood, 
bitter ; but sin is as poison, deadly ; it separates us from God, which 
affliction does not. Sin is contrary to the new man, eclipseth the light 
of God's countenance, hindereth the enjoyment of God in Christ, which 
is a heaven upon earth, as desertion is the soul's hell. Many com 
plain of crosses that complain not of sins ; they look upon heaven as a 
reserve and place of retreat when beaten out of the world, which is 
neither a mark nor a work of grace. A beast will leave a place where 
it findeth neither meat nor rest. But this makes the children of God 
weary. Here is a condition of sinning and offending God which is 
most grievous to the godly. Paul groans on this account : Rom. vii. 
24, ' wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body 
of this death ? ' If any had cause to complain of misery Paul had, 
being in perils and sufferings often ; but that which he complains of is 
sin. What a grief is it to a Christian to meet with a temptation at 
every turn, to find every sense a snare and every creature a bait ; we 
can scarce open our eyes but we are in danger. 

3. It is contrary to reason. We were not made for the world but 
the world for us. Whenever we enjoy the world, we see the error of 
our esteem ; it cannot satisfy our desires, nor recompense our pains. 
Those that enjoy it least are safest ; the world cannot make us better, 
it may make us worse ; all the riches and honours of the world cannot 
endue thy person with any true good. That is good that makes us 
good, reason will judge so ; now the whole world cannot make us 
better, but grace will. Beware then of fixing your rest here below, 
which is bewrayed by the complacency of your souls in worldly things, 
by your lothness to die, by seldom thoughts of heaven. Oh, this 
wretched disposition is contrary to sense, experience, and reason ! 

Secondly, We are now come to the ceremony and rite by which 
this obedience of Abraham was signified and expressed ' Dwelling in 
tents.' A tent is opposed to a house, or settled dwelling : 1 Chron. 
xvii. 5, ' For I have not dwelt in an house since the day that I brought 
up Israel unto this day, but have gone from tent to tent, and from one 
tabernacle to another.' The tabernacle was a figure of the church, 
and the temple of heaven. Houses were then in fashion ; Lot .had his 
house in Sodom, Gen. xix. 2-4, and Abraham was rich and able to 
build ; it was not out of necessity but choice that he dwelt in tents. 
You may look upon it, partly, as an act of policy ; partly, as an act of 

1. As an act of policy, that they might live in a strange country 
peaceably, free from the envy and grudge of the natives, who are not 
wont to brook the increase and greatness of strangers, but thencefor 
ward seek to root them out. Thus the Rechabites, who were strangers 
in Israel, dwelt in tents : Jer. xxxv. 7, ' Neither shall ye build houses, 
nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any ; but all your days ye 
shall dwell in tents, that ye may live many days in the land where ye 


be strangers ; ' it was the advice of Jonadab their father to them. 
Such a thing befell Isaac, the grudge of the natives at the prosperity 
of his flocks : Gen. xxvi. 1214, ' Then Isaac sowed in that land, arid 
received in the same year an hundred-fold, and the Lord blessed him. 
And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he 
became very great. For he had possession of flocks and possession of 
herds, and great store of servants. And the Philistines envied him.' 

2. As an act of religion, to express their heavenly hopes, or to 
acknowledge the hopes and desires of a world to come in the midst of 
a profane age. Here they had no settled abode, as the tent was an 
ambulatory kind of dwelling, removed.from place to place. As after 
wards at the feast of tabernacles, for seven days the people remained in 
booths to put them in mind of heaven and their forefathers dwelling 
in tents : Lev. xxiii. 42, 43, ' Ye shall dwell in booths seven days ; all 
that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths, that your generations 
may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths when 
I brought them out of the land of Egypt.' Now what shall we learn 
out of this ? I answer, Several lessons. 

[1.] It teacheth us patience and contentation, if we have but a mean 
house and dwelling, or if we are forced to wander, or if we are bur 
dened with the envy of a strange country. 

(1.) If we have a mean house and dwelling. Abraham had none at 
all, but only a tent; yet there God appeared to him, and there he 
entertained angels, Gen. xviii. 1, 2. No place can be so mean as to 
exclude God ; you may have as much communion with him in a 
thatched cottage as in a lofty palace, yea, many times more. The sun 
shineth as merrily on a hovel as on a magnificent structure ; so doth 
God visit the poor, and shine upon them in Christ as well as the great 
and rich. Some of them, ' of whom the world was not worthy, wan 
dered in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth,' 
Heb. xi. 38, places of mean retirement. John had his revelation in 
Patmos in an obscure cave ; he had more visions of God in a cave 
than others could have in a palace. 

(2.) If you are driven up and down, and have no certain dwelling- 
place, remember the patriarchs lived in tents, movable habitations, that 
were often shifted and changed. David had sweet experiences of God 
in the wilderness, when he was hunted up and down like a flea : Ps. 
Ixiii. 3, ' Thy loving-kindness is better than life.' There, where others 
did converse with beasts, there did David converse with God ; he was 
banished from his friends, from the temple, but still he had fellowship 
with God. So Ps. xc. 1, 'Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in 
all generations;' compare it with the title, and you shall see that 
psalm was penned by Moses when they were wandering in the wilder 
ness. God's people, though they have no certain residence, yet they 
want not a dwelling-place ; they find rest, and food, and protection, and 
room enough in God's own heart. A Christian is everywhere at home 
but there where he is a stranger to God. 

(3.) In case we are burdened with the envy of a strange country ; 
so was Abraham, and so was Isaac. The patriarchs lived a wandering 
life, but still God was with them ; and though they did what they 
could to avoid envy, yet still they met with it. This may be the case 


of persons exiled for religion and a good conscience ; they may be 
driven abroad, and thrive abroad, and there meet with envy and 
opposition ; as the Albigenses, wherever they had land they made it 
fruitful, which drew troubles upon them, and enforced their frequent 
removes. In such a case remember, if we have God's favour, no matter 
for man's envy. 

[2.] It is caution to you that have stately houses, you have need 
look to yourselves that you do not forget heaven. God would have the 
patriarchs dwell in tents, ' that they might look for a city which hath 
foundations.' Let not your hearts be taken with earthly things. You 
have city houses and country, houses, houses of profit, pomp, and 
pleasure ; when you walk up and down in them, remember God, to do 
something for him that hath given you these comforts. And remember 
those that want such dwellings; Christ himself had not where to lay 
his head ; many of his members, of whom the world is not worthy, have 
not any settled habitation, and make a hard shift for a short abode, 
they have no house but the wide world, no bed but the hard ground, 
and no other canopy than the heavens. And remember heaven ' We 
look for a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens/ 2 Cor. v. 
1 ; not of masons' and carvers' work, but of God's own handiwork. 
There are field meditations and house meditations. When you walk 
up and down in your stately houses, you should have these thoughts : 
Here I am for a while ; I know not how soon God may destroy this 
cedar work by fire, by rough winds, or by the fury of men : Zeph. ii. 
14, ' He shall uncover the cedar work.' 

[3.] Here is instruction to us not to make a vain ostentation of riches 
and greatness, that draweth envy. This was one reason why God 
would have the patriarchs dwell in tents. When men hang out the 
ensigns of pride and vanity to public view in their costly apparel, 
pompous buildings, they do but court the envy arid robbery of others. 
God will send the emptiers to empty them, Amos vi. 7. This note 
principally concerneth strangers that thrive in a , foreign land ; pomp 
and ostentation of riches have been fatal to them. I might bring 
several stories in England and France. The natives think the sap proper 
to them ; when a foreign plant spreadeth in branches, it draweth envy 
and rage : Gen. xix. 9, ' This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will 
needs be a judge/ And it concerneth persons of a mean original, 
advanced to offices, and places of trust and power. And it concerneth 
ministers, whose maintenance is dependant ; they had need be sober 
in apparel, in household stuff, &c. People are apt to begrudge their 
portion, and therefore they should less put forth in the eye of the world 
than others ; their thriving has always been an eyesore. 

[4.] It exhorteth us to a profession of our hopes and expectations of 
another world, as the patriarchs did in the midst of the Canaan ites ; by 
dwelling in tents ' they declared plainly that they sought a country/ 
Heb. xi. 14. The rite bindeth not, but we should have a tent-disposi 
tion, and set the face of our conversations heavenward, renounce worldly 
conveniences, live as those that are not ashamed of their country, that 
we may draw others to be fellow-citizens with us : Phil. ii. 15, 16, 'That 
ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke in 
the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as 


lights in the world, holding forth the word of life.' A man should 
discover his hopes in his language, let it be the language of Canaan ; 
in a mortified course of life, that all the world may see you are of 
another country. The world is in the dark ; as the stars are the shining 
part of heaven, so the saints, if they live answerably to their condition, 
they are as stars, the glory of the world ; as the stars guided the wise 
men to Christ, so that is their office to guide to Christ by their conver 
sations. There are greater lights and lesser lights : ministers are as 
the greater lights to hold forth the word of God in doctrine, Christians 
as the lesser lights to hold forth the word of life in practice. It is a 
prodigy to see the lights of heaven eclipsed ; so to see blackness, 
darkness, and worldliness in your conversations would be as a prodigy. 
When your cares, griefs, desires, endeavours are carnal, you suffer an 
eclipse ; you do not shine so brightly to the world, and make such an 
open profession as those should do that do spiritually live in tents. 

[5.] The next duty we learn is moderation in houses and furniture. 
Abraham and the patriarchs dwelt in tents ; we cannot be contented 
unless we have so many walks, galleries, turrets, pyramids ; such setting 
up and pulling down, transposing and transplacing to make gay houses, 
and so much yearly spent in costly furniture, that we are much departed 
from the primitive simplicity. I know God hath given us a liberal 
allowance to make our pilgrimage comfortable, and that this allowance 
is straitened and enlarged according to our quality and degree in the 
world, and that in strength of buildings the safety and glory of a 
nation is much concerned, and that as nations are civilised, so their 
buildings are more fair and commodious ; but yet there must be a 
restraint in pomp and excess. The scriptures often take notice of the 
vanity of sumptuous buildings and household stuff: Amos iii. 15, ' I 
will smite the winter house and summer house ; the houses of ivory 
shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end.' It is made one 
of the causes of Israel's judgments : so Amos vi. 8, ' I abhor the 
excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces,' and in many other places. 
Now the limits are, when they exceed our estate, and if not our estate, 
yet our degree and rank ; when they divert our charity ; house-builders 
are not house-keepers ; the walls are double clothed when the poor go 
naked, and that is spent upon polishing of stones which is due to the 
members of Christ ; and when men feed their luxury with oppression : 
Hab. ii. 11, 12, ' For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam 
out of the timber shall answer it. Wo to him that buildeth a town 
with blood, and stablisheth a city by iniquity ! ' The stone shall cry, 
Lord, avenge us against the builder, we were laid in blood ; and the 
beam shall answer, And we were purchased with rapine and public 

[6.] The next thing we learn is self-denial, and enduring hardness 
for God's sake. Abraham dwelt in tents when God called him there 
unto. God hath work for the patriarchs to do up and down the world, 
and therefore would not have their dwellings settled. So should we 
learn upon a call to give up all conveniences to God, and to be content 
with a mean condition ; as for instance, when we can no longer keep 
them with a good conscience, when by particular impulse we are urged 
to such works as will forfeit our worldly conveniences, and the like. 


[7.] It is a check to covetousness, when men seek to root here, and 
' to join house to house, and field to field, till there be no place they 
may be placed alone in the midst of the earth,' Isa. v. 8. This is quite 
contrary to Abraham, who left all and dwelt in tents ; they are still 
purchasing, till they have engrossed all to themselves, and there be no 
room for any to dwell by them. 

Thirdly, The next circumstance is his fellows and followers in this 
practice and profession, with Isaac and Jacob, ' the heirs with him of 
the same promise.' The words will undergo a double sense, they imply 
imitation or cohabitation. 

1. Imitation: they dwelt with them ; it implieth likeness of practice; 
they did it after Abraham's death. 

2. Cohabitation : for Abraham was a hundred years old when Isaac 
was born, and Isaac at sixty years old begat Jacob, and Esau ; so that 
Abraham lived with Isaac seventy-five years, and with Jacob fifteen 
years. Compare Gen. xxi. 5, and xxv. 8, 26. But Abraham and Isaac 
lived in distinct families when Jacob was born, therefore it is to be 
understood successively that Isaac dwelt in tents as well as Abraham : 
Gen. xxvi. 17; 'Isaac pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar ;' Gen. xxiv. 
67, ' Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent.' And of Jacob 
it is said: Gen. xxv. 27, ' He was a plain man, dwelling in tents,' in 
opposition to Esau, who built cities. Therefore Jacob's tents are used 
proverbially in scripture ; see Num. xxiv. 5, Jer. xxx. 18. 

[1.] Observe, that saints are of the same spiritual dispositions. 

(1.) Because acted by the same spirit : Acts iv. 32, ' And the multi 
tude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.' If it 
were possible that two bodies were acted by the same soul, they would 
weep together and rejoice together, and have the same gestures and 
motions. These old believers were not only united to the same head, 
but acted by the same spirit ; Christ is the head of the church, and the 
Spirit is as it were the soul of the church. 

(2.) They are governed by the same laws: Jer. xxxii. 39, 'I will 
give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever.' 
There are many ways to hell, and but one way to heaven. They are all 
alike in regard of newness of heart, and there is but one rule of life 
and worship. Men that will find out new- ways to heaven put them 
selves into the highway to hell ; all the saints have trodden this path : 
Heb. vi. 12, ' Be followers of them who through faith and patience 
inherit the promises.' They that seek to make the way to heaven 
more easy will find themselves at last mistaken. 

(3.) They have all but one scope, to please God, and to glorify him 
upon earth. Wicked men differ in their particular scope, though they 
agree in their hatred of the power of godliness ; like Samson's foxes 
that were tied by their tails, though their heads looked several ways ; 
it is but a faction and conspiracy. But all the saints make this their 
scope. Many times they differ in judgment, but agree in scope ; as two 
physicians that consult for the cure of a man that is dangerously sick 
may propose different courses, but both design the recovery of the sick 

(4.) They are called to the same privileges, they are heirs of the 
same promise : 2 Peter i. 1, ' To them that have obtained like precious 


faith with us ; ' as a jewel held by a child and by a man is of the same 
worth . Jude 3, ' Beloved, when I gave diligence to write unto you of 
the common salvation.' 

Use 1. It informeth us of the reason of differences in the children 
of God, partly, because they do not regard the spirit of communion, or 
mingle with those that have no share in it ; partly, because of some 
partial error about the law and way they ought to walk in ; partly, be 
cause through corruption they seek their own things, and forget they 
are called to the same privileges. In practicals, and in the power of 
godliness, they all agree, and in things necessary to salvation. 

Use 2. It presseth us to search whether or no we have the same 
spirit by which all God's saints are acted, the same spirit of faith and 
of holiness, and of self-denial, and of heavenly-mindedness. Do we 
behave ourselves as heirs of the same promises ? Ps. xxxix. 12, ' I am 
a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.' 

[2.] Observe the fruit of godly education. Abraham dwelt in tents, 
and trained up Isaac in the same profession, and Isaac trained up 
Jacob. This is the way to continue religion in families, to bring up 
children 'in the nurture and admonition of the Lord/ Eph. vi. 4. 
God reckoneth upon it from those that are faithful ; as he saith con 
cerning Abraham, Gen. xviii. 19, 'For I know him, that he will com 
mand his children and his household after him, and they shall keep 
the way of the Lord.' Alas ! many parents are negligent in this kind, 
whom in charity we may judge godly. We are careful to leave our 
children great estates, that they may be rich ; but who is careful to 
leave them thus mortified, to train them up in the contempt of the 
world ; nay, we rather strive to make them worldly. We do not teach 
them to dwell in tents ; all that we care for is that they may not be 
given to prodigality and excess, that they may not waste what we have 
scraped up for them ; but let them be as worldly as they will, we like 
that. Plutarch, taxing the abuse of parents that strive to leave their 
children rich and not virtuous, he saith, They do like those that are 
solicitous about the shoe, but care not for the foot. Oh, begin with 
them betimes ! Jerome compareth youth to water spilt upon the table ; 
it runneth after you. that way which you draw your finger. Train 
them up to self-denial before their affections are stiffened by long use 
in the world. The best riches you can leave them is to teach them 
the art to despise riches, saith Chrysostom in one of his homilies on 

[3.] Observe the force of example, especially of parents. Abraham 
lived in tents, and so did Isaac and Jacob. You must not only educate 
your children, but give them an example ; this works more than pre 
cepts. Nature is very catching at ill examples, therefore beware of 

Ver. 10, For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose 
builder and maker is God. 

Here is the reason rendered of this effect of his faith, his thoughts 
did not run upon Canaan so much as heaven. 

1. Observe, that serious thoughts and hopes of heaven make us to 
carry ourselves with a loose heart towards worldly comforts. This was 
the reason why Abraham was contented to be a stranger in Canaan. 


1. I shall show you what is this looking. 

2. The influence of it on our Christian practice. 

1. What is this looking for heaven. It is not a blind hope, such as 
is not advised, and is found in men that are ignorant and presumptu 
ous, that regard not what they do; the presumption of ignorant 
persons is a child of darkness. Not some glances upon heaven, such 
as are found in worldly and sensual persons ; such are not operative, 
they come but now and then, and leave no warmth upon the soul ; as 
fruit is not ripened that hath but a glance of the sun. But it is a 
serious hope, well built, such as ariseth from grace longing after its 
own perfection ; therefore we are said, ' to be begotten again to a lively 
hope/ 1 Peter i. 3. Seed desireth growth, everything aimeth at per 
fection ; as soon as grace is infused, there is a motion this way. And 
it is an earnest hope, such as is accompanied with longings and fre 
quent thoughts : Rom. viii. 23, ' We ourselves groan within ourselves 
waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.' It is a 
lively hope, such as stirreth up rejoicing, as if the thing hoped for were 
already enjoyed : Kom. v. 2, ' We rejoice in hope of the glory of God;' 
as 'Abraham rejoiced to see Christ's day, and he saw it, and was glad,' 
John viii. 56. And yet it is a patient, contented hope : Rom. viii. 25, 
' If we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.' 

2. The influence of it- It maketh us strangers in the world ; partly, 
by purging the heart from vile and worldly affections : 1 John iii. 3, 
' He that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as he is pure ; ' 
partly, by carrying us within the veil, by which the glory of the world 
is obscured : 2 Cor. iv. 18, ' We look not to the things that are seen, 
but to the things which are not seen ; for the things which are seen are 
temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal ; ' partly, by 
counterbalancing our afflictions with the future glory ; it sets the joy 
before us in our sufferings, Heb. xii. 2, and so works a sweet and com 
fortable carriage in all states and conditions. 

Use 1. It showeth us that they do not truly despise the world who 
despise it merely out of a slightness of disposition, and not out of the 
sense of glorious hopes ; they do not despise the whole world ; they are 
taken not with worldly pleasures, but they mind worldly profits ; their 
corruptions run out another way : this is not to leave the world, but to 
make choice of it. 

Use 2. It inform eth us of the reason why the world hath such a power 
upon us ; we do not awaken our hopes, and look for the city to come. 
We have a blind hope, that is ill built ; we have a loose slight hope, 
that doth not stir up serious thoughts, earnest sighs, hearty groans, and 
lively tastes - of heaven. 

2. Observe, heaven is a city. It is so called in opposition to those 
solitary tents which Abraham and his family pitched in Canaan, and 
in allusion to those cities which the Canaanites then lived in. There 
are diverse resemblances betwixt heaven and a city. A city is a civil 
society that is under government ; so is heaven a society of saints, there 
all believers meet : Heb. xii. 22, 23, ' Ye are come unto Mount Sion, 
and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an 
innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church 
of the first-born which are written in heaven.' Sometimes it is com- 


pared to a house where there are many mansions : John xiv. 2, 'In my 
Father's house are many mansions ; ' but lest that comparison should 
straiten our thoughts, it is compared to a city where there is a great 
deal of company, and Christ is the governor. In cities they live in 
concord and amity ; there is a sweet communion of saints in heaven, 
other manner of saints than we have here, without weakness and imper 
fection. A city is a storehouse of good things, as of food and treasure ; 
there is enough in heaven for our complete comfort. A city hath 
liberties; there we are freed from Satan's tyranny, from the law's 
curse and condemning power, from all weakness, from all ill company, 
nothing that defiles shall enter there, from all temptations to sin 
' Glorious things are spoken of thee, city of God,' Ps. Ixxxvii. 3. 
All that are there speak one language, praising and glorifying God, 
though in the church here our language is divided. The church is 
the suburbs of heaven, and we must first live in the suburbs before 
we come to live in the city : Eph. ii. 19, ' Now therefore ye are no more 
strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of 
the household of God.' The church is the seminary of heaven, where 
we first live and trade into heaven. you that are citizens! labour 
to be citizens of heaven : Heb. xiii. 14, ' For we have here no continu 
ing city, but we seek one to come.' And you that are countrymen ! 
seek to get a right to the freedoms 'of this city ; there is an excellent 
governor, Jesus Christ ; excellent company, all the saints that" ever have 
been from the beginning of the world to the end ; there is a constant 
communion with God : Ps. xxvii. 4, ' One thing have I desired of the 
Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord,' 
&c. This is the chiefest thing that above all other things we are to 
cave for. 

3. Observe, heaven is a city that hath foundations. Tents are 
moving and ambulatory dwellings, they had no foundations ; but this 
hath foundations, that is, it is a fixed and certain habitation, therefore 
called ' an abiding city,' Heb. xiii. 14. We cannot have an abiding 
city in a perishing world. Man must be suited to his happiness, and 
have a fit place wherein to enjoy it. 

1. We are not suited and fitted to happiness while we are here ; old 
bottles will not hold the new wine of glory. Here we are not capable 
of the glorious presence of God ; a mortal creature cannot endure the 
splendour of it. We would have it here as Peter : Mat. xvii. 4, ' Lord, 
it is good for us to be here.' 

2. The place wherein we live is not a fit place to enjoy it. The 
world is not a fit place, because it is full of changes, night and day, 
calm and tempest, summer and winter. The earth is cursed for our 
sakes ; we cannot have our blessings here ; it is a fit place for our pun 
ishment and exercise, to be as a stage on which we act a part, or a 
scaffold on which we are executed, but it is not our city. There is no 
country of so gentle a temperature as to preserve the inhabitants from 
all misery, sin, grief, sickness, and death. Heaven then is the only 
place, it hath foundations, it is the fixed place of our rest and eternal 
abode. There is hope of quiet, it is a sure blessed place of rest. Here 
all things are fading ' Time and chance happeneth to all/ Eccles. ix. 
11 ; but the safe commodious dwelling-place is there where we shall 


be never molested more. The whole employment of our lives is to seek 
how to get thither ; get a right and interest, and you are sure to enter 
at death. Christ hath purchased it by his merit, and hath taken pos 
session of it for us. 

4. Observe, God is the builder and maker of heaven. It is put in 
opposition to cities built by men. God made the. earth as well as 
heaven , but the making of heaven is peculiarly ascribed to him be 
cause it is a rare piece of work. God hath spent most of his art on it ; 
there he hath fixed his throne : Ps. ciii. 19, ' The Lord hath prepared 
his throne in the heavens/ There is most of his majesty seen, there he 
is fully enjoyed, and there is an everlasting manifestation of his glory. 
And he that is the maker of it is the disposer of it, please God, and 
he will give it thee. 

5. Observe, that the fathers looked for an entry into this eternal rest 
after the ending of their pilgrimage. Here is a clear proof of it ' He 
looked for a city which had foundations, whose builder and maker is 


Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and 
ivas delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged 
him faithful who had promised. HEB. xi. 11. 

THE apostle had spoken of the faith of Abraham, and thereupon taketh 
occasion to mention Sarah's faith. Therefore he saith, KOI UVTIJ Sdppa, 
' Through faith also Sara herself,' &c. 

Observe, what a blessing it is when a husband and wife are both 
partners of faith, when both in the same yoke draw one way. Abraham 
is the father of the faithful, and Sara is recommended among believers 
as having a fellowship in the same promises, and in the same troubles 
and trials. So it is said of Zachary and Elizabeth : Luke i. 4, ' And 
they were both righteous before God, walking in all the command 
ments and ordinances of the Lord blameless/ It is a mighty encourage 
ment when the constant companion of our lives is also a fellow in the 
same faith. The hint directeth us in matter of choice, she cannot be 
a meet help that goeth a contrary way in religion ; when the sons of 
God went in to the daughters of men because they were fair, it brought 
a flood, Gen. vi. 2, 3. Such mixtures get a mongrel race. Eeligion 
decayeth in families by nothing so much as by want of care in matches. 

But to come to the words, here is (1.) The person believing ; (2.) 
The commendation of her faith ; (3.) The ground of it. 

First, The person believing teal avrrj Sdppa. Yea also Sarah her 
self, a woman, and as to the point wherein her faith was exercised, a 
woman barren and stricken in age, she through faith received strength 
to conceive seed. 

Obs. A woman weak in sex may be strong in faith. This is a praise 


common both to men and women, they are 1 heirs together of the same 
grace of life,' 1 Peter iii. 7. This should excite women to excel in 
grace and piety. Sarah hath her praise in the word as well as 
Abraham. The life of women is for the most part carried on in 
silence and privacy, yet there is an eminency proper to them. In 
public services men are most employed, yet women may glorify God in 
their hearts by faith ; there are duties and promises that belong to 
their private station. As men can speak of Abraham, so women of 
Sarah. There is a stain upon their sex, that by them sin came first 
into the world , but then there is this honour put upon them, that by 
one woman's child salvation was brought into the world. Therefore 
let women strive, not to continue the stain, but the glory of their sex ; 
not to be first in transgression, the most forward in a family to sin, but 
to get an interest in him who was made of a woman, and to approve 
themselves, not only to their husbands, but God ; not merely to strive 
to get a jointure upon earth, but to be heirs with men of the same 
grace of life, to have an inheritance in heaven, especially if they have 
religious husbands. 

But doth not the apostle contradict scripture in ascribing faith to 
Sarah ? You shall see. In the original story, to which this place 
alludeth, Sarah is taxed for laughing, and when she was charged with 
it, denied it, Gen. xviii. 12-15. That laughing certainly was a sign of 
unbelief. It is true, Abraham laughed : Gen. xvii. 17, 18, ' Then 
Abraham fell upon his face and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall 
n child be born unto him that is a hundred years old ? and shall Sarah 
that is ninety years old bear ? And Abraham said unto God, that 
Ishrnael might live before thee ! ' Yet there was a difference between 
Abraham's laughing and Sarah's. Abraham laughed out of faith and 
holy joy, probably respecting the Messiah that should in process of time 
come out of his loins: John viii. 56, ' Your father Abraham rejoiced to 
see my day and he saw it, and was glad.' Yet there is a suspicion upon 
Abraham's laughter because of his reply ' Shall a child be born unto 
him that is a hundred years old ? and shall Sarah that is ninety years 
old bear ? ' and because of his prayer for Ishmael, ' that Ishmael 
might live before thee ! ' But the apostle acquits him : Eom, iv. 19, 
20, ' Being, not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead 
when he was about an hundred years old, neither the deadness of Sarah's 
womb. He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but 
was strong in faith, giving glory to God.' Abraham admireth, but 
staggereth not, and out of a natural affection he prayeth for Ishmael ; 
God reproveth him not as he did Sarah. But now Sarah laughed out 
of unbelief, anddenieth it when charged, because it is said, she laughed 
within herself, not openly and outwardly. Both laughed to justify the 
name of Isaac, but Sarah laughs out of distrust, out of the impossibility 
of the thing ; this weakness is manifested to show the honour is not put 
upon her by her merits. But after the Lord had chidden her, and 
she began to see the promise came from God, she believed ; and because 
the laughing came from mere weakness, not from scorn, God layeth no 
judgment on her, as he struck Zacharias dumb for his unbelief in the 
like case, Luke i. 20, and still an honourable mention is made of 
Sarah's carriage in this business, not only here, but also 1 Peter iii. 9, 
' Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.' Observe hence 



1. Many times the word doth not work presently : Sarah laugheth at 
first, but afterwards believeth. Some that belong to the purposes of 
grace may stand out for a while against the ways of God till they are 
fully convinced ; as Sarah laughed till she knew it to be a word not 
spoken in jest, but a promise made in earnest. Little did Paul think 
that those whom he persecuted were so dear to Christ that he counted 
them himself ' Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ? ' Acts ix. 4. 
Therefore he says, 1 Tim. i. 13, ' I was before a blasphemer, a per 
secutor, and injurious ; but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignoraritly, 
in unbelief.' Many serious men, that walk according to the present 
light of conscience, may slight those ways which afterwards they find 
to be of God; and therefore we should be gentle to one another and 
wait till God reveal the same thing. 

2. Usually before the settling of faith there is a conflict 'Shall I 
have a child who am old : my lord being old also'.' Keason oppose th 
against the promise. So it is usual, when we come to settle the heart 
in the belief of any promise. Look, as when the fire beginneth to be 
kindled we see smoke first before flame, so it is here before our 
comforts be established, we are full of doubts ; so that doublings are 
an hopeful prognostic, it is a sign men mind their condition. 

3. With great indulgence God hideth the defects of his children and 
taketh notice of their graces. There is nothing spoken of Rahab's lie, 
ver. 31, of Job's impatience, James v. 11, and here Sarah's laughing is 
not remembered. Weak faith is accepted ; a spark shall not be lost, 
but blown up into a flame and greater increase. We give a beggar an 
alms though he receive it with a trembling palsy-hand ; and if he lets 
it fall, we let him stoop for it. Man overlooketh the good of others, 
and taketh notice of their ill, as flies pitch upon the sore place ; but 
God pardoneth the evil and remembereth the good. We upbraid men 
with the sins of childhood and of youth, committed before conversion ; 
as the papists did Beza with his lascivious poems that he wrote ere he 
had a taste of grace ; therefore he saith, Hi homines invident mihi 
gratiam divinam ; these men envy me the grace of God. The elder 
brother upbraided the younger brother with riotous living, when his 
father had received him to mercy : Luke xv. 30. ' As soon as this thy 
son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast 
killed for him the fatted calf.' Buthow contrary is this to God ! If faith 
breaketh out at length, he accepteth it, and commendeth it in his word. 
Who would not serve such a gracious master, that winketh at our fail 
ings and taketh in good part our weak services and our weak graces ? 
This for the person believing. 

Secondly, The next circumstance in the text is the commendation 
of her faith from the matter, which was difficult She received strength 
to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child, when she was past age ; 
where you may take notice of the fruit of her faith, and the 
amplification of it The fruit of her fafth where we have the in 
fluence of it, ' She received strength to conceive seed ; ' and the effect 
of it, ' and was delivered of a child ; ' The amplification of her faith, 
4 when she was past age.' I shall not stand opening the letter ; see 
what Beza, Gomarus, and Grotius say concerning the opening of that 
jihrase, et? Kara^o\ijv a-jre pharos. Let us observe somewhat 


1. From the influence of her faith ' She received strength to con 
ceive seed.' Learn hence 

[1.] That thougli bringing forth of children be according to the- 
course of nature, yet God hath a great hand in it. They that have- 
children acknowledge them to be God's blessing, and that they are his 
gift : Ps. cxxvii. 3,' Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord, and the 
fruit of the womb is his reward/ He can make the barren to bear : 
Ps. cxiii. 9, ' He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a 
joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.' It is notable that by 
God's special dispensation many precious women were a long time 
barren, as Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth, the mother of Samson. 
Partly to show that nature can do nothing without his power and bless 
ing. Partly by these instances to facilitate the belief of the incarnation, 
as the lesser miracle maketh way for the belief of the greater ; certainly 
that was the intent of Elizabeth bearing John just before Christ was 
born. If a dead womb can be fruitful, why may not a virgin conceive ? 
It was not fit that another virgin should have this honour, therefore 
this was the nearest miracle in the same kind. Partly to exercise their 
faith and patience, and to make way for the greater increase of holi 
ness. Partly that the birth might be more eminent, as Isaac, Samuel, 
Samson, John, &c. Well then, let them that go barren wait upon God 
by faith, and prayer, and patience ; either God will give children, or 
one way or another this comfort will be made up to you. It is not 
always a punishment of sin ; many times it is, as God punished 
Abimelech, till he rendered Sarah, by this, that every womb should be 
shut up : Gen. xx. 18, ' For the Lord had fast closed up all the wombs- 
of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah, Abraham's wife.' Michal's 
scoffing at David was punished with barrenness : 2 Sam. vi. 23 r 
' Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child until the day of 
her death.' In Israel it was a great judgment: Hosea ix. 14, ' Give 
them, Lord, what wilt thou give ? give them a miscarrying womb, 
and dry breasts.' Little of eternity was known, therefore they strove 
to continue their memory on earth ; that is the reason why men love 
their youngest children, and their grandchildren because they longest 
preserve their memory in the world. It was a blessing of the law- 
dispensation ; it was a means to continue their faith ; every one hoped 
to be the mother of the Messiah. Well, but now eternity is mani 
fested, be contented, be fruitful in holiness, and your memory shall be 
provided for. 

[2.] Let us improve it spiritually, God can make the church fruit 
ful after a long barrenness : Isa. liv. 1, ' Sing, barren, thou that didst 
not bear : break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not 
travail with child, for more are the children of the desolate, than the 
children of the married wife, saith the Lord.' And Sarah is a type of the 
church. Let us be fruitful in our old age, let us receive strength to 
conceive that immortal seed which will bring forth a better issue, whose 
fruit is joy, peace, and everlasting life. 

[3.] Faith hath a great stroke in making way for blessings ' By 
faith she received strength to conceive seed.' Means can do nothing 
' without God, and God will do nothing without faith : Mat. xiii. 58, 
He did not many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.' It 
holdeth in all cases. The word of all instruments is most powerful, 


and yet is said, Heb. iv. 2, ' The word preached did not profit them, 
not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.' As a medicinal 
drink must have all the ingredients mixed with it, or else it worketh 
not, so if the word be not received in faith, a main ingredient is want 
ing , this giveth strength to the means to work. By closing with the 
promise she received strength. 

2. From the effect of this influence ' And was delivered of a child.' 
I observe hence 

[1.] Every promise received by faith will surely be seconded with 
performance. God's power is exercised when it is glorified, and they 
ar sure to find him faithful that count him faithful : Luke i. 45, And 
blessed is she that believed, for there /shall be a performance of those 
things which were told her from the Lord.' Therefore wait ; they that 
conceive by the promise at the appointed time shall see the birth, and 
it is a good forerunner of deliverance when we strongly exercise faith 
upon the promise that revealeth it. 

[2.] Faith is the best midwife. By faith Sarah was delivered of a 
child. Women great with child are very solicitous about getting a 
good midwife; the apostle commendeth one in this place, one that 
never miscarried in her work, and yet the saints have employed her for 
thousands of years. She expecteth not wages nor gifts ; faith doth 
most for them that are poor in spirit, and have nothing to give, that 
know not what to do without her. Other midwives come not willingly, 
but where there is some likelihood that they may go through with 
their business ; but faith doth best at a dead lift. 

But to leave the metaphor, and to speak something by way of direc 
tion in this case, which certainly is of weighty concernment. The 
apostle saith, Gal. ii. 20, ' The life which I now live in the flesh I live 
by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for 
me/ Faith is to be exercised, not only in acts of worship, but in acts 
of your callings, and the ordinary offices of life. We are to trade in 
faith, to eat in faith, to drink in faith, to sleep in faith, to study in 
faith, to preach in faith. Now usually in all other cases men are taught 
how to live by faith, but seldom is anything spoken in this weighty 
case. How to be delivered of a child by faith, as Sarah was, certainly 
the danger is great, and if in any extremity there is need of faith, much 
more where the life of the creature is so much concerned. Let me 
speak a few words to this matter. 

(1.) We must be sensible what need we have to exercise faith in 
this case, that we may not run upon danger blindfold ; and if we escape 
then to think our deliverance a mere chance. Rachel died in this 
case, so did Phineas's wife, 1 Sam. iv. 19, 20, and it is a great hazard 
that you run ; therefore you must be sensible of it. God may take 
this advantage against you to cut you off ; you are in the very valley 
of the shadow of death ; deliverance, but that it is so ordinary, would 
be accounted miraculous. When you look upon it as a matter of 
course (and you need not trouble yourself about it but only to get the 
accustomed means), there is no room for faith to work ; when difficulty 
and danger is apprehended in the case, then faith comevs: 2 Chron. xx. 
12, ' our God, wilt thou not judge them ? for we have no might 
against this great company that cometh against us, neither know we 
to do, but our eyes are unto thee ; ' 2 Cor. i. 9, ' We had the sen- 


tence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but 
in God which raiseth the dead/ 

(2.) Because the sorrows of travail are a monument of God's dis 
pleasure against sin, therefore this must put you the more earnestly to 
seek an interest in Christ, that you may have remedy against sin : Gen. 
iii. 16, ' Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow 
and thy conception ; in sorrow, thou shalt bring forth children.' Wo 
men's pains are more grievous than the females of any kind ; sin is 
the reason of it. Death waylays the child as soon as it is born ; the 
sentence is in force, and there is no remedy but in Jesus Christ the 
redeemer. Who durst venture upon the pains of travail without a 
sealed pardon ? The sweetness of the second Adam will be your com 
fort when you feel the bitterness of the first. 

(3.) Muse upon God's promise ; 1 Tim. ii. 15, ' Notwithstanding, 
she shall be saved in child-bearing if she continue in faith, and charity, 
and holiness, with sobriety.' The apostle speaketh there of the woman's 
being first in the transgression. There is the promise, and the evi 
dences of interest in the promise : ' She shall be saved in child-bearing ' 
that is the promise, which is made good temporally or eternally, as God 
seeth cause. Some render Bta T?}<? TeKvoyovia?, by child-bearing, as if this 
was a way by which women go to heaven. But take it as we render 
it, ' in child-bearing,' it is a promise that serveth to awaken faith, that 
you may not be amazed with the danger, and if deliverance be obtained, 
you may look upon it as a blessing of the promise ; but generally it is 
to be understood as all temporal promises, with the exception of God's- 
good pleasure. 

(4) The faith you exercise must be glorifying his power, and casting 
yourselves upon his will. That expresseth that kind of faith which is 
proper to all temporal mercies, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst save me ; 
which indeed is enough to ease the heart of a great deal of trouble and 
perplexing fear. 

1st. To glorify his power. Consider to this end the experiences of the 
saints : Ps. Ixxvii. 10, ' I said, This is my infirmity ; but I will remem 
ber the years of the right hand of the Most High ; ' 2 Cor. i. 10, ' Who- 
delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver ; in whom we trust 
that he will yet deliver us.' For all that danger can do, he is able to- 
deliver us. If you have not your own experiences, yet reflect upon the 
experiences of others ; how God hath assisted them in such-like cases. 
In every age there are monuments to which we may have recourse, as 
they said, Ps, Ixxviii. 3, ' Which we have heard and known, and our 
fathers have told us.' So say, Lord, others have told us what thou hast 
done for them in such cases, supporting weak vessels in great dangers 
and extremities, why cannot God do the like ? yea, Lord, thou canst. 
Say it still ; do not consider your own frailty and fears, but God's 
power. In innocency there would be no pain at all, though it be caused 
by natural causes, yet God could have slacked it ; and now certainly 
after the fall, he can mitigate the sentence, especially to those that have 
an interest in Christ. 

2c%. That you may cast yourselves without trouble and disquiet upon 
his love. Consider his providence extendeth to the beasts : Ps. xxix. 
9, ' The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to calve.' Doth God take 


care for oxen, for hinds, for beasts, and will he not for the members 
of Christ ? Kemember how soon the extremities of his people do 
awaken him ; he is a very present help in a time of trouble, he hath 
put pity in a man towards a beast, and hath not the Lord bowels ? If 
a beast hath hard travail, how do we pity it ! And will not God ? 
The work you are about is replenishing the world, multiplying the 
church, things in which God delighteth; and therefore why should 
you doubt of his assistance ? 

(5.) Urge all things with God in prayer ; it is the work of faith to 
plead, not only with ourselves, but with God. By this means we do 
not work upon God, but draw forth principles of trust in the view of 
conscience ; we awaken ourselves ; God need not to be informed, but 
we need it. Therefore say, Lord, thou canst help me ; Lord, thou art 
gracious to the beasts, and thou hast made a promise to me. Especially 
if you feel hope growing, urge it to God. 

3. From the application of her faith ' When she was past age.' 
There were two difficulties : she was naturally barren, Gen. xi. 30, and 
she was now ninety years of age, and it ceased to be with her ' after the 
manner of woman ; ' and therefore here lay the excellency of her 
faith, that she could believe that she should be the mother of a mighty 
nation. Barren I say she was by natural constitution, and now no bet 
ter than dead, having so long outlived the natural time of bearing 
children. Learn hence 

Obs. That no difficulty or hindrance should cause a disbelief of the 
promise. The reasons are two : partly from God, that maketh the 
promise ; partly from faith, that receiveth the promise. 

[1.] From God's nature. God is not tied to the order of second 
causes, much less to the road of common probabilities ; he will turn 
nature upside down rather than not be as good as his word. He standeth 
not upon his works so much as he doth upon his word, his word is over 
all his works ; therefore if God hath said it, it shall come to pass, though 
heaven and earth be blended together in confusion. If God's hands 
were tied, we might startle at a difficulty ; but because nothing is hard 
to providence, nothing is out of order to faith, therefore no difficulty 
can stand in the way of faith and providence. We judge by our senses, 
and that is the cause of the weakness of our faith : Zech. viii. 6, ' If it 
be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, 
should it also be marvellous in mine eyes, saith the Lord of hosts ? ' 

[2.] From the nature of faith, which is to guide the soul when reason 
and sense faileth. Here in the world we are guided by three lights 
sense, reason, and faith, and all must keep their place : reason corrects 
sense, and faith reason. A star to sense seems no bigger than a spangle, 
yet reason telleth me that because it is seen at so vast a distance it must 
needs be very big. So faith must believe against carnal reason and 
present feeling ; as Abraham : Eom. iv. 18, ' Who against hope believed 
in hope ; ' that is contrary to all likelihood and probability. 

Use. To press us to wait upon God in the greatest difficulties and 
extremities. When faith hath a promise, impediments of accomplish 
ment should increase it. Periculum par animo Alexandri. Here is 
a fit occasion for my faith. What cannot God do ? A woman past 
age conceiveth ! a thing quite contrary to natural course ; so often God's 


promises seem absurd and ridiculous to human reason. Therefore wait 
arid hope in the most desperate cases. 

But men plead when urged to faith, We have not such a clear promise 
and oracle as Sarah had, when urged to self-denial, We have not such 
a clear precept as Abraham had. I answer 

1. General precepts and general promises are enough to try us. God 
doth not say, Get thee out of thy country ; yet he says, Remove thy 
lusts, and there we stick. God doth not say, You shall have a numer 
ous issue, or such a land for your inheritance ; yet he hath promised 
heaven, and that the gates of hell shall not prevail against his church. 
Let us try our faith in these promises in a time of difficulty. 

2. In all promises, though we have not and cannot have absolute 
confidence of success, yet difficulty and danger should be no cause of 
despair. You have still cause to bear up your spirits upon the power 
and care of God. There may be other means to weaken our depend 
ence, but the greatness of the danger and the unlikelihood of the bless 
ing should never weaken it. This is no matter of discouragement, for 
we see that God can act contrary to the course of nature. Now danger 
of miscarrying and unlikelihood of success is the sole cause of distrust. 
Men never fear but in case of danger : when things go happily on, they 
are secure. The questions of unbelief still run upon this, Can such or 
such a thing be ? Ps. Ixxviii. 19, 20, 'Can the Lord prepare a table in 
the wilderness ? Behold he smote the rock that the waters gushed out, 
and the streams overflowed. Can he give bread also ? Can he provide 
flesh for his people ? ' 

3. There is a particular promise that answereth to the dead womb. 
We are tried in that promise : John xi. 25, 26, ' I am the resurrection 
and the life ; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he 
live And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Be- 
lievest thou this ? ' Sarah's dead womb was revived as soon as she be 
lieved ; so sure shall we revive again ; he that judgeth Christ faithful shall 
see life spring from death. But you will say, We know all this, and 
believe this well enough, as she, John xi. 24, ' I know that he shall rise 
again in the resurrection at the last day/ But yet that is little pro 
bable, because present difficulties do so easily amaze us. But to try you 
a little in your faith and dependence upon this promise, if you hope 
against hope, and can believe a resurrection out of the grave, this faith 
will bewray itself in life and death. That hope is worth nothing that 
is good for nothing. 

[1.] lu life : we please ourselves in thinking that we believe the 
resurrection of the dead, when there is no such matter. He that 
judgeth Christ faithful in the promise of eternal life, notwithstanding 
death, esteemeth the faithful execution of his will dearer to him than 
all the pleasures of this life. Our thoughts are discovered in our actions, 
and our hopes in the course of our lives : 2 Peter iii. 11, c Seeing then 
that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought 
ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness ? ' Implying that they 
that are not such manner of persons do not look for such things. A 
man that prostituteth his body to the service of lust, how can it be said 
that he looketh for a glorious resurrection to eternal life. 

[2.] In death : can we desire death, and check the terrors of it with 


the promise of eternal life ? Death is your last enemy : can yon 
triumph upon your sick-beds in these hopes, that these your enemies 
you shall see them no more for ever ? 

Thirdly, The next circumstance in the text is the ground of her 
faith Because she judged him faithful that had promised. Hence 
observe : 

1. Wherever we put forth faith we must have a promise, otherwise 
it is but fancy, not faith. It is not a ground of expectation barely 
what God is able to do, but what God will do. As the two pillars of 
Solomon's house were called Jachin and Boaz, 1 Kings vii. 21 , the 
one signifies ' Strength/ and the other, ' He will establish it.' 

2. In closing with the promise, we should chiefly give God the hon 
our of his faithfulness. 

1. Because God valueth this most, he standeth much of his truth 
4 Heaven and earth shall pass away before one jot or tittle of his word 
shall pass,' Mat. v. 18. The monuments of his power shall be defaced 
to make good his truth: Ps. cxxxviii. 2, 'Thou hast magnified thy 
word above all thy name.' All other attributes give way to this. 

2. Because this giveth support and relief to the soul in waiting : 
Heb. x. 23, ' Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without 
wavering, for he is faithful that promised.' God hath promised no 
more than he is able to perform ; his word never exceeded his power. 

Use. Well then, meditate of this ; silence discouragements when 
you have a clear promise. The course of nature saith, It cannot be ; 
her own age saith, It cannot be ; but still faith replies, God is faithful. 
In all your debates let this be the judgment and casting voice. 


These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having' 
seen them afar off, and ivere persuaded of them, and embraced 
them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the 
earth. HEB. xi. 13. 

HAVING laid down the particular instances of the patriarchs, he 
speaketh of what they had in common, they went to the grave in hope, 
albeit the promises were not performed in their time. 

Here you have the trial of their faith and the victory of their faith, 

1. The trial of their faith They died, not having received the 
promises ; that is, they went to the grave ere the blessings God had 
promised were accomplished. 

2 The victory of their faith, which is set forth 

[1.] By the several acts of the soul in and upon the promises, both 
elicite and imperate. There is an act of apprehension They saiv them 
afar off ; an act of judgment or firm assent And were persuaded of 
them ; an act of affection da-7ra<rdfj,evoi, And embraced them they 
hugged the promise ; this will yield a Messiah, 


[2.] By the effect and fruit of it in their lives and conversations 
And confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims in the earth. 

Who are here spoken of ? Some refer it to the numerous posterity 
of Abraham mentioned in the former verse, who did not till the time- 
of Joshua enjoy the promised land of Canaan. But that cannot be,, 
because many of these were buried in the wilderness, and died mur 
muring, and in the displeasure of God. Therefore it is meant chiefly 
of the patriarchs last recited Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Sarah ; 
and you may take in the faithful that came of their race Joseph, and 
others that lived till the time of their going out of Egypt. 

By promises are meant things promised. They must receive the- 
promise, or else there were no room for faith. Some take tTrayyeXia? 
for the spiritual promises ; these they saw but in figure, or afar off. 
Temporal promises they had of a numerous posterity, the calling of 
the gentiles ; an heir, Christ ; an inheritance, Canaan ; but this would 
cross the apostle's scope. Understand it therefore of things promised. 
But what were the things promised which they received not? Ans~ 
The possession of the land of Canaan, a kingdom, a city, a temple,, 
which was made good to their posterity, the coming of the Messias out, 
of their loins ; these ' they saw afar off,' that is, by the eye of faith ; 
and were certainly ' persuaded ' of the accomplishment of them, though 
not in their time, and therefore ' embraced them/ shouted for joy, as 
mariners when they see land at a distance. Italiam Iceto socii clamore 
salutant ; ' professed themselves strangers and pilgrims,' fVt TT}? 777? 
' in the earth/ sojourners in the land, as expecting a greater happiness 
by the Messiah than they did yet enjoy. Yea, ' they died in faith' 
/faraiTLcrTiv 'according to faith/for evTriarei', as Rom. v\'}\.,KaTaadptca 
for ei> a-apKt,. All these died by or according to faith. The meaning is, 
they remained stable and firm to the end of their lives in this assurance, 
notwithstanding the variety of conditions which they passed through. 

From the first words, ' These all died in faith/ the points are two 

(1.) It is not enough that we must live by faith, but we must also 
die by faith. (2.) They that would die in faith must live in faith. 

Doct. It is not enough that we must live by faith, but we must also 
die by faith. So it is said of these patriarchs, ' All these died in faith.' 
Faith is always of use on this side the grave ; at death it doth us the 
last office. In the other world there is no need o it ; when we come 
to enjoyment faith ceaseth. 

The reasons of the doctrine are these 

1. Because faith is not sound unless we persevere therein to the end. 
The patriarchs had many afflictions, they were tossed up and down,, 
yet they died in faith; that was their commendation: so unless we 
hold out to the end, all is lost. The Nazarite under the law, if he did 
defile himself before the days of his purification were accomplished,, 
was to begin all anew again : Num. vi. 12, ' The days which were 
before shall be lost, because his separation was defiled/ So we lose 
what we have wrought, if we do not remain stable till we come to 
' receive the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls/ 1 Peter i. 9 ;.. 
Ezek. xviii. 24, ' When the righteous turneth away from his righteous 
ness and committeth iniquity, and doth according to all the abomina 
tions that the wicked man doth, shall he live ? All his righteousness- 


that he hath done shall not be remembered.' All that is past is 
nothing unless we persevere to the end. Faith is not for a fit, we must 
hold on in it : Heb. iii. 6, 'Whose house are we, if we hold fast the 
confidence, and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end ; ' so ver. 
14. ' We are made partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our 
confidence stedfast unto the end.' This was the commendation of 
the.se holy men, still their hearts were kept close to God, they died in 
faith : Prov. xvi. 31, ' The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be 
found in the way of righteousness.' A Mnason, an old disciple, is a 
great honour. As Jacob wrestled with the angel till daylight : Gen. 
xxxii. 26, ' And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh ; ' so we 
must constantly keep up the exercise of faith till the day break, and 
the shadows flee away. Elisha would not leave his master till he was 
taken from him into heaven ; so faith will not leave ,us till we are taken 
to heaven. To be constant to the last is the crown and glory of faith ; 
let the world know you have no cause to leave Christ. We read. Mat. 
xx., some were called into the vineyard sooner, some later; some were 
called early in the morning, some at the third, some at the sixth, some 
at the ninth, and some at the eleventh hour ; but all tarried to the end 
of the day. So must we carry faith and religion with us to the grave ; 
patient abiding is a sign of true faith. Many have outlived their 
religion and former profession. 

2. Because the hour of death is a special season wherein faith 
cometh to be exercised, and the strength of it is tried. There is no 
notion doth so much express the nature of faith as this, the committing 
of the soul to God's keeping: 2 Tim. i. 12, 'I know whom I h;ive 
believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have 
committed unto him against that day ; ' and 1 Peter iv. 18, 'Commit 
the keeping of your souls to him in well-doing, as unto a faithful 
creator.' The great work of faith is to put the soul into safe hands : 
it is our jewel, and it should be in safe hands ; it is sensible of danger, 
and it is never safe till it is put into the hands of God through Christ, 
and therefore we must commit it to him. Now this never conies so 
much to the trial as at the hour of death; then to trust God with 
our souls, upon a confidence that he will keep them for us, that we may 
enjoy them in another world, this is a sensible discovery of faith, as 
appears by Christ's surrender when he was to die : Luke xxiii. 46, 
' Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit ;' and Stephen : Acts vii. 
59, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' While we live we must put the 
soul into God's care ; it is fit our jewel, our darling, should be in safe 
hands. But can you trust God with your souls when you are ready to 
die ? And then is the time to put the promises in suit, and to express 
our confidence in them : Ps. xvi. 9, ' Therefore my heart is <rlad, and 
my glory rejoiceth; my flesh also shall rest in hope,' &c. The heart 
is filled with joy, and the tongue runneth over, when we can send our 
souls to God and our bodies to the grave in hope of a blessed resur 
rection. During life faith is most exercised in waiting for present 
supplies, but in death it is put to trial about future recompenses. 
While we have health and strength we do not mind the danger and 
hazard of the everlasting state; and that is the reason why we find it 
harder to trust God for present mercies, temporal supplies, strength 


for duties and afflictions ; but we are careless of things to come. But 
when we come to die faith is exercised about things to come ; then it 
is put to the push to meet and grapple with the great and last enemy, 
death. Then we come to receive the great promise of our filial estate ; 
therefore to dismiss the body to the grave in hope, and recommend 
the soul to God, is a great trial of our faith. 

3. There are great promises to be performed after our decease, and 
it is a great honour to God when we are ready to die, to go to the grave 
with assurance, and profess our confidence that God will make them 
good. There are two parts of this reason. 

[1.] There are many promises to be accomplished when we are dead 
and gone, and they are either public or private. 

(1.) Concerning the church there are many promises which we see. 
not performed in our lifetime. This was the case of these patriarchs, 
they had a promise of Canaan that was now possessed by giants, of a 
numerous offspring, of a city, of a temple wherein God would be 
present, all unaccomplished. In every age of the church there is some 
thing to be waited for; and there are many public promises not 
accomplished in our days, as the prosperity of the church, the calling 
of the Jews, the second coming of Christ, the confusion of antickrist. 
Though we go to the grave, and see not these things, yet we should 
not doubt of them, for God hath been faithful hitherto : Rev. xiv. 8, 
'Babylon is fallen, is fallen.' We should count it as done already, 
though we see it not performed in our days. God counts our purposes 
obedience ; Abraham is said to offer Isaac because it was his vow and 
purpose to do it ; and therefore we should count God's promises to be 
as good as performances. Go to the grave with this hope, we leave a 
God behind us. who is able to perform his promises whether we be or 
no. We hereby teach others to believe. 

(2 ) Concerning our families and relations that survive us, there are 
private promises. God cannot content himself with doing good to 
the person of a believer, but he hath promised also to do good to his 
posterity : 2 Sam. vii. 19, ' And this was yet a small matter in thy 
sight, Lord God, for thou hast spoken also of thy servant's house for a 
great while to come/ God will act according to the highest laws of 
friendship ; as David : 2 Sam. ix. 1, 'Is there any that is left of the 
house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake.' 
God hath not only spoken comfortably for our persons, but for our house, 
our families, our relations for a great while to come. Now when we 
can provide for them no longer, pray for them no longer, this is the 
last act that we can do, believe for them, go to the grave with confi 
dence that God will be as good as his word, who hath promised to be 
a father to the fatherless and a husband to the widow. When you can 
leave them no inheritance, leave them a God in covenant, that is a 
good portion. God hath taken you off from being instrumental for 
their good, you can do no more for them ; now believe that God will 
take the care upon himself : Gen. xvii. 7, ' I will establish my covenant 
between me and thee, and thy seed after thee in their generations, for 
an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after 
thee.' Our trust is not so pure in life, whilst we have opportunity to 
act for them, as in death, when we can leave them in the hands of 


God ; and leave them the promises for their portion, though you can 
leave them nothing else. 

[2.] This is an honour to God, to profess our confidence in him 
when we are going to the grave. All faith bringeth glory to God : 
John iii. 33, ' He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal 
that God is true ;' but especially dying faith, because then we can do 
no more, and we leave all to the Lord, and because the speeches of 
dying men are wont to be observed as they are entering upon the con 
fines of eternity, they are wiser and more serious than at other times, 
it is no time to dally or dissemble now, at the last gasp. Now speeches 
of living men are suspected of partiality to present interests, or are 
neglected as not having much weight in them : Gen. 1. 16, ' Thy father 
did command before he died, saying, Tlius shall you say unto Joseph,' 
&c. ; Josh, xxiii. 14, ' Behold this day I am going, the way of all the 
earth.' When men return, as one expresseth it, 7rl TO jrpo'ywvov Oelov 
to the divine original, they seem to be more possessed with the 
divine spirit than at other times ; when they are dying, their speeches 
are more serious, grave, weighty, entertained with more consideration 
and readiness ; therefore when we die, to profess our confidence in the 
faithfulness and truth of God, and go to the grave with this acknow 
ledgment, this is a mighty honour to God. 

4. There are most conflicts at death ; sin is revived, and fears are- 
revived. A man is never so serious as then ; now we come to feel 
what we never felt before. Christ bids us come to him, as he did 
Peter on the waters, then if ever we have need of faith. And Satan is 
most busy now, as dying beasts bite shrewdly ; Satan hath great wrath 
when he hath but a short time. This is the last enemy, and within a 
little time those Egyptians which ye shall now see, ye shall see them 
no more ; therefore now is a time to exercise faith. Besides, all carnal 
pleasures are then at an end, and have spent their force. Whilst we 
have plentiful accommodations wherewith to entertain the flesh, a little 
faith serveth the turn ; but death plucketh us from all these, and then 
we must bid good night to them, and unless we have other supports we 
are wholly shiftless and comfortless. Satan, that formerly tempted us, 
now troubleth us ; and then we must immediately appear before God. 
Things near at hand do more affect us when we are entering upon the 
confines of eternity, and are to grapple with our last enemy. What 
shall we do ? Now faith is of use. Graces that are not of use in another 
world discover their highest and most consummate act in this world. 

Use 1. Let us provide for this hour, that we may die in faith. We 
know not how near we may be unto death, or whose turn may be next ; 
there is a providence goeth along with sermons, it may be some of us 
have more need of this discourse than we are aware ; however, it is 
good to hear for the time to come. You come to sermons not only ix> 
learn to live, but to learn to die. You are often taught how to live 
in faith ; let me instruct you, and show you what it is to die in faith. 

1. Profess your hearty and cheerful assent to the general articles of 
the Christian faith, those articles which concern the end and the means. 
Those that concern the end, as the doctrines of the world to come, the 
immortality of the soul, and resurrection of the body, and life eternal. 
And those that concern the means, of making the promise sure on 


God's part or our application. The means that concern the impetra- 
tion, as the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. Christ's death 
is the ground of our triumph and victory: Heb. ii. 14, 'Forasmuch 
then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself 
likewise took part of the same, that through death he might destroy 
him that had the power of death, that is the devil.' His resurrection 
is an act of conquest, he conquered death in its own territories. His 
ascension, he is gone to heaven to seize upon it in our name, from 
whence he sends his Spirit to fit us for it : Rom. v. 10, ' If when we 
were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much 
more being reconciled shall we be saved by his life.' The means that 
concern application are his justifying, sanctifying, assisting us in all 
conditions, especially in sickness : Ps. xli. 3, ' Thou wilt strengthen 
him upon the bed of languishing, thou wilt make all his bed in his 
sickness.' You must assent to this, these are ev Trpcorois, the first 
truths of Christianity, and the foundation of our comfort and hope. 
The general belief of these things giveth life to the applicative acts of 
faith. Christ trieth our assent: John xi. 26, 'Whosoever liveth, and 
believeth in me shall never die; believest thou this?' 1 Tim. i. 15, 
' This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ 
Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief/ 

2. Reduce these to practice. 

[1.] Make application of reconciliation with God, and pardon of sins 
by Christ. Christ's blood shed made the atonement, and by his blood 
sprinkled we receive the atonement : Rom. v. 11, ' And not only so, 
but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we 
have now received the atonement.' This is fit for a dying man : 1 
Cor. xv. 5557, ' death ! where is thy sting ? grave ! where is 
thy victory ? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the 
law ; but thanks be to God, who giveth ns the victory through our 
Lord Jesus Christ ; ' so the psalmist, Ps. xxxi. 5, ' Into thy hand I 
commit my spirit; thou hast redeemed me, Lord God of truth.' 
Every one cannot thrust his soul upon Christ, but only those who are 
redeemed and reconciled by his blood. Redemption applied frees us 
i'rom the power of the devil, and the tyranny of sin. 

[2.] Resign up the soul to God with comfort ; he calls for it, there 
fore resign it to him. The death of the godly is not a mere passion, 
but a lively and vehement action, by which they deliver up their souls 
to God ; so Christ, Luke xxiii. 46, ' Father, into thy hands I commend 
my spirit ; ' so Stephen, Acts vii. 59, ' Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' 
It is not lawful for us to procure our own death, or out of an impati- 
ency of pain to hasten our end, nor cry out with Elijah in a pet : 1 
Kings xix. 4, ' It is enough now, Lord ; take away my life, for I am 
not better than my fathers.' Yet on the other side we must not be 
merely passive, or die by force. Beasts when they die, are merely 
passive, and properly do suffer death. Wicked men struggle, and are- 
loath to depart ; their soul is not given up by them, but taken away 
from them : their death, though it be never so natural, yet it is a 
violent death; their souls are as it were snatched and torn away from 
them : Job xxvii. 9, ' What is the hope of the hypocrite, though he 
hath gained, when God taketh away his soul ? ' Luke xii. 20, ' Thou 


fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee ! ' They do not com 
mend their souls into the hands of God, but God requireth it of them. 
A wicked roan would fain hold out a little longer, but God will not 
suffer him ; the Lord puts his bond in suit, he requireth their souls of 
them. The godly, though they cannot wholly lay aside their aversa- 
tion from death, which is natural to every living thi.ng, yet when they 
see the will of God, they hold out no longer, but overcome themselves 
and yield. Death is a sweet dismission of their soul, and a resigna 
tion of it into the hands of God. Besign up then the soul unto God 
upon these terms, you are going to a farther, you are sent for home, 
death is not penal, as it is to the wicked ; to them it is the wages of 
sin, they are hailed before the judge, the body sent to the grave, and 
the soul to hell. There is a great deal of difference between death and 
death. Death hath many considerations ; as Christ endured it, so it 
was a ransom; as wicked men suffer it, so it is wages; as godly 
men suffer it, so it is the gate of life, the messenger to bring 
them home to God, the Lord will be no longer without your 
company, and therefore he sends for you. In what soft terms 
doth the scripture express the death of the saints; it is a dis 
solution, not a violent rending and tearing to pieces: -Phil. i. 23, 
'Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; ' it is a departure, 
a setting sail for another world ; it is a sleep, the grave is a chamber 
and bed of rest : Isa. Ivii. 2, ' He shall enter into peace, they shall rest 
in their beds ; ' it is a hastening to the great assembly that is above. 
Such soft terms the scripture useth concerning the death of the saints ; 
for death, though it is an enemy to nature, yet it is a friend to grace. 
And consider, you do not only give up your souls to God that gave 
them, but to Christ that redeemed them: Ps. xxxi. 5, 'Into thine 
hand I commit my spirit ; thou hast redeemed me, Lord God of 
truth ; ' and you may be confident Christ will receive the soul which 
he hath purchased with his blood. Christ comes in a nearer way of 
enjoyment, that thou mayest receive the fruits of his own purchase. 
If thou belongest to God, thy heart was there long since, thou hast 
sent spies, thoughts, and affections to take a view of that land, to see 
what it is, and they have brought a report of the goodness of the 
country in the promises, and now thou art going thither in person ; 
therefore resign up thy soul to God, and say, I am going the way of 
all flesh, to yield up my soul to God, and death is ready to close mine 
eyes, Lord, I commit my soul to thee, I commend my spirit to thee : 
I have trusted in thee and I do trust in thee ; thou hast made it, 
Christ redeemed it, and I hope the mark of thy Spirit will be found 
upon it. I do resign up my soul to thee. 

[3.] Dismiss the body to the grave in hope of a joyful resurrection, 
sow it as good seed, that will spring up again. Say then, Go, flesh, 
rest in hope, take the covenant along with you to the grave: Ps. xvi. 
9, 10, ' My flesh also shall rest in hope, for thou wilt not leave my soul 
in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption.' Job 
could see life in death : Job xix. 25, 26, ' I know that my Redeemer 
liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day on the earth. And 
though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh I shall 
see God.' This body must be turned into dust, but this dust shall be 


gathered together again ; this body must be eaten by worms, but the 
morsels of worms shall be parcels of the resurrection. Death is con 
quered by Christ ; it may kill, but it cannot hurt ; but the body shall 
be raised a glorious structure, conformed to Christ's glorious body. 
You are going to make experiment of that promise : John xi. 25, 26, 
' He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and 
whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.' Overlook all 
things that are between you and glory. It is a sweet close when the 
body and soul do part from one another in this manner ; when you can 
commend your spirits to God, and send the body to the grave to rest 
in hope ; when the body and sou) are parting, that God and the soul 
may meet ; when conscience is a compurgator, and can say, I bear them 
witness that body and soul have spent their time together in the world 
well, in loving thee, and obeying thee. When body and soul thus take 
their leave one of another, it is a blessed parting ; as on the contrary 
it is a very sad parting, when conscience falleth a-ravirig, and the 
body and soul curse each other ; when the body complains of the soul 
us an ill guide, and the soul of the body as an unready instrument, and 
you curse the day of their first union. Oh, that I had been stifled in 
the womb, and never seen the light ! 

[4.] Meditate on the happiness into which you are entering. Stephen's 
eyes were opened ' And he looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw 
the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God/ Acts 
vii. 55. Whether in vision, or by ecstasy and the elevation of faith, I 
dispute not ; I only urge it for this, it is a good meditation, when at 
the point of death to think of God, and of the glory of his presence, 
and of Jesus Christ in heaven at his right hand ready to receive you. 
Your thoughts should be now taken up about the glorious things of 
another world ; think no more of heaven as at a distance, but as one 
going to take possession of it ; the angels are ready to conduct you to 
Christ, and Christ to present you to God, as a proof of the virtue of 
his death : Jude 24, ' Now unto him that is able to keep you from 
falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory 
with exceeding great joy.' Death is ready to untie the soul from its 
chains, and to let it forth into liberty and glory ; look upon yourselves 
as ready to pass into the throng of spirits, to see Christ and all his 
blessed angels, and your everlasting companions. You are going to 
better company, to better employment, to a better place, where is your 
God, your head, the Lord Christ ready to receive you when you come 
thither. This is the time we longed for, looked for, prayed for ; now 
we are going to our preferment, and enter upon those glorious things 
that are represented to us in the gospel ; these things should take up 
your thoughts. It is not so with the wicked ; how horrid are the 
thoughts of death to him : he is going to suffer and feel that which he 
would never believe before ; death cometh to him as God's executioner, 
to rend the unwilling soul from the embraces of the body ; he sees an 
handwriting against him, great bills of uncancelled sins awakening 
and amazing the conscience, and breaking all his hope in pieces. How 
is the man perplexed ; what between the memory of past sins and the 
fear of future pains, the sense of an angry God and the presence of 
devils ready to carry him to accursed and damned spirits, and he has 
no comforter, no advocate to plead for him. 


[5.] Commend your faith to others, this is to die in faith. This is 
the last time that you can do anything for God in the world, and 
therefore this you should do, commend the faithfulness and goodness 
of God, what a good master you have found him to be : John iii. 33, 
' He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.' 
Swans, some say, sing before their death ; so have God's servants com 
mended their experiences of God's faithfulness to others ; as Moses : 
Dent, xxxii. 4, ' He is a rock, his work is perfect ; for all his ways are 
judgment : a God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is he ; ' 
so Joshua, chap, xxiii. 14, ' Behold this day I am going the way of all 
the earth ; and ye know in all your hearts, and in all your souls, that 
not one thing hath failed of all the good things, which the Lord your 
<jod spake concerning you ; all are come to pass unto you, and not 
one thing hath failed thereof.' He repeats it twice. The words of 
dying men are of most efficacy and authority, as being spoken out of 
all their former experience, and with most simplicity, and without 
self-seeking and sinister ends. Therefore speak a good word of God,, 
let the world know what you have found God to be, I know him for a 
true God, he is not behind-hand in one word. So Jacob : Gen. xlviii. 
15, 16, ' God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, 
the God which fed me all my life-long unto this day, the angel which 
redeemed me from all evil.' Carnal men do not honour their principles; 
they cannot speak of the worth of the world, and of the things they 
have trusted to ; they fail them when they stand in most need of them, 
and therefore they fall a-complaining of the world, how it hath abused 
and deceived them. But godly men can speak honourably of the God 
they have trusted. Stephen told them of his vision, though it increased 
their rage against him : Acts vii. 56, ' He said, Behold I see the heavens 
opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God/ He 
would honour God that owned him, though it made them fall upon him 
like madmen. Thus you see what the duty of Christians is when they 
come to die, to die in faith and obedience, resigning their souls to God, 
dismissing their bodies to the grave in hope, meditating on the great 
things of eternity, honouring their principles, and speaking for God to 

Use 2. Can you thus die in faith ? It is another thing to do it in 
i deed than what it is to do it in conceit. They that stand on the shore 
Tnay easily speak to men in a storm, Sail thus and thus ; but when the 
waves beat high, directions are not easily followed. Can you then die 
in faith ? There is the great trial of faith. A Christian doth not only 
make it his care to live in Christ, but to die in Christ : Kev. xiv. 13, 
* Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.' It is a blessed thing 
' to sleep in Jesus/ 1 Thes. iv. 14. How is it with you ? are you pro 
vided for such an hour ? There are two expressions I shall take notice 
of on this occasion ; one is, 2 Cor. v. 3, ' If so be that being clothed, 
we shall not be found naked ; ' another is, 2 Peter iii. 14, ' Give diligence, 
that you may be found of him in peace.' Christians ! it is a sad 
thing to be found naked ; you can never die with comfort, and appear 
before God with confidence, if you are not clothed with Christ's right 
eousness. A wicked man hath no garment to cover him ; but for the 
righteous God puts one grace upon another, upon the righteousness of 
Christ God puts on the sa notification of the Spirit, and upon the sancti- 


fication of the Spirit he puts on the robes of glory. And it is a sad 
thing to die and not to be at peace with God, when death surpriseth 119 
with our weapons of defiance in our hands. When a town is taken by 
storm, if there be pity shown to children and aged persons, yet they 
die without mercy that are taken with weapons in their hands ; so 
when death comes and surprises us in our rebellion and war against 
him, the end will be full of horror. The scripture speaks of the wicked 
man, Jer. xvii. 11, 'At his end he shall be a fool.' A wicked man 
was ever a fool, because he neglects the best things for vile and con 
temptible pleasures ; but at his latter end he shall be a fool ; viz., in 
the conviction of his own conscience. A wicked man never comes to 
himself till he comes to die, and then his own heart will call him fool. 
fool that thou wast, to neglect thy salvation, and run after trifles of- 
no use and profit. 

Obj. 1. But you will say many carnal men die quietly. 

Ans. So much the worse, some die of a lethargy, as well as of a 
burning fever ; as they live in carnal confidence, so they may die in 
carnal confidence, and this is a sad judgment ; when their hearts like 
Nabal's are like a stone, it is an argument of the greater hardness and 
sottishness, they hare not that calm and quiet that ariseth from a 
interest in Christ. 

Obj. 2. Many good men may die with great conflicts, and to be 
holders have little expression of comfort and feeling of God's love . 

Ans. God's children may have their conflicts, they may fear death, 
they are not as stones, their strength is not as brass, nor their sinews 
iron. Grace itself as well as nature requireth that we should be 
sensible of God's hand. Nature recoileth at what is destructive. 
Adam in innocency would have been affected if his body had been 
wronged ; nay, and bodies of the best temper and complexion are most 
sensible, because they enjoy life at a higher and more valuable rate 
than others do. This is better than to die stupid ; Christ himself had 
his agonies. Nay, many times corruption may interpose, and the best 
men, because of the remainders of sin in them, may have their agonies. 
God will show himself a free Spirit, not to come in at our hours ; God 
will crown some in the very field and middle of the combat. But 
there is a great deal of difference between these conflicts that are in 
the godly and the horrors of the wicked : there is a mixture of faith 
pleading and disputing for God, and these conflicts arise, not out of a 
legal fear only, but from the height of hatred and displeasure against 
sin. Faith is usually discovered in the most glorious way at the last , 
if it be not glorified in triumphing, it is glorified in dependence, and 
casting ourselves upon the grace and mercy of God in Christ, notwith 
standing all arguments to the contrary. Therefore how do matters 
stand between God and you ? Are you thus fit to die in faith, to resign. 
up your souls to God, and to glorify him in believing ? 

Use 3. To press you to get and keep faith to the end. 

1. Get faith, it is an excellent grace, that standeth by us when all 
things else leave us. At death all comfouta vanish ; your wealth that 
you have gained will stand you in no stead : Job xxvii. 8, ' What is 
the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh 
away his soul ? ' When you look on your bodies, all is wasting : Ps. 

VOL. xiv. T 


Ixxiii. 26, ' My heart and my flesh faileth ;' this face, these arms, as 
Oblevian said, must now be meat for worms ; when you look on your 
houses and habitations, these dwellings will know me no more ; when 
you look on your children and friends mourning by you, you shall see 
them no more ; but then faith will stand us in stead, it makes us to live 
with comfort, and to die with comfort. Faith is an excellent grace, 
that excelleth reason as much as reason excels sense ; and what a dif 
ference is there between a toad and a man ! 

2. Keep faith to the end: Heb. iv. 1, 'Let us fear lest a promise 
being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come 
short of it.' We have more cause to persevere than they, we have 
clearer promises, a clearer sight of heaven, a clearer knowledge of 
Christ, greater advantages of grace than ever they had ; and if they 
died in faith, and held out to the end, what a shame is it if we should 
give over ! 

Doct. 2. They that would die in faith must live in faith ; as Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob, and such as confessed themselves strangers and 
pilgrims on the earth. Men would die well, however they live. Balaam 
wished, Num. xxiii. 10, ' Let me die the death of the righteous, and 
let my last end be like his.' There is a natural desire of happiness ; 
men would die the death of the righteous though they are loth to live 
the life of the righteous. The snake, that was full of windings and 
circlings while it lived, yet when struck with a dagger it stretched it 
self out right. At oportet sic vixisse. It is not enough when you come 
to die to say, Oh that I were in such a man's case ! We must live in 
faith if we would die in faith. 


1. We had need make trial of that faith we must die by. In bello 
non licet bis peccare. Have you tried your faith ? A man had need 
have experiences of the strength of his faith, and of the truth of God's 
word, that the word of the Lord is a tried word. Hath it been thy 
practice to make trial of promises all the days of thy life, that you may 
be able to say, I have had experience of God, and he hath never failed 
me ? We try how to swim in shallow brooks before we venture to 
swim in the deep waters ; so before we trust Christ with our eternal 
state we must try how we can trust him with temporals. There are 
daily cases wherein we make proof and trial of God : Ps. xxxvii. 5, 
' Commit thy way unto the Lord ; trust also in him, and he shall bring 
it to pass.' See how it succeedeth with you in present things, what 
establishment of heart you find by trusting in God during life : Prov. 
xvi. 3, ' Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be* 
established.' We seek worldly things in good earnest, therefore we arc 
troubled about them, and find it a great difficulty to rest on God for 
present supplies. There is some general inclination after ha-ppiness, 
but that is soon satisfied. How can you trust him with your souls, 
and with your everlasting concernments, if 3 7 ou cannot trust him for 
daily bread, and in present dangers? 1 Peter iv. 19, 'Commit the 
keeping of your souls to him in well-doing, as unto a faithful creator.' 
It^will be hard work when you are put to it unless you are acquainted 
with God beforehand. 

2. Then is a time to use faith, not to get it. It is no time to buy 
weapons when the battle is begun. The foolish virgins had their oil 


to buy when the bridegroom was come, Mat. xxv. 10. We must lay 
up comforts against the hour of death ; that is the great day of expense, 
wherein a man is to throw his last for everlasting life. Therefore did 
God give us so long a life to prepare for this hour, Now we are to 
make use of the articles of faith ; not to learn to believe them, but to 
turn all into practice. 

3. We need the strongest faith to grapple with our greatest and 
last enemy. Now faith is a grace that is wrought by degrees to strength 
and perfection : 1 Thes. iii. 10, ' That I may perfect that which is 
lacking in your faith ; ' Luke xvii. 5. ' Lord, increase our faith.' Now 
it is hard to encounter with the worst and last enemy at first. We had 
need to get promises ready, evidences ready, and experiences ready. 
Promises ready, upon which we dare venture our souls. Evidences 
ready : 2 Cor. i. 12, ' Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our con 
science, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, 
but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world ; ' 
2 Tim. iv. 7, 8, ' I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, 
I have kept the faith ; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of 
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at 
that day ; and not to me only, but also unto all them that love his 
appearing ;' Isa. xxxviii. 3, ' Eemember now, Lord, I beseech thee, 
how I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and 
have done that which is good in thy sight. 1 Experience is ready, that all 
along you. have found him a good God : Ps. xviii. 30, ' As for God, his 
way is perfect : the word of the Lord is tried : he is a buckler to all 
those that trust in him/ You have found him good to you in pardon 
ing your sins on a penitent confession : 1 John i. 9, ' If we confess our 
sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us 
from all unrighteousness.' In enabling you to duties of holiness : 1 
Thes. v. 23, 24, ' And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly : and 
I pray God, your whole spirit, and soul, and body be preserved blame 
less unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that 
calleth you. who also will do it.' In bearing you through all your 
sufferings: 2 Thes. iii. 3, ; And the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish 
you, and keep you from evil.' You have found him a good God in all 
your cares, troubles, and sorrows ; and will he fail you at last ? There 
is nothing more easy than a slight inconsiderate trust ; but you must 
make a business of believing ; it is not a slight ' God have mercy upon 
us ; that will serve the turn. Do you think to please the flesh, and 
hunt after the world as long as you can, and that Christ will take 
care of your souls ? Do you think it is sufficient to say over a few 
devout words at last, as if you could do the work of an age in a 
breath ? 

Use 1. Keproof. 

1. It reproves those that live as if they should never die, and then 
they die as if they should never live ; they fill up the measure of their 
sins, and so do but provide matter for despair, and horror, and agonies 
on their deathbeds ; for at their latter end they shall taste the fruit of 
their own doings. There is not such a quick passage as the world 
imagines a cceno ad ccelum, from Delilah's lap to Abraham's bosom ; 
there must be a sitting and preparing time to get up the heart to 


2. It reproves such as please themselves with the hopes of a death 
bed repentance. It is very hazardous whether we shall then have grace 
to repent ; for it is just with God ut qui vivens oblitus est Dei, mor- 
iens obliviscatur, he that hath forgotten God all his life, that he should 
not be remembered by God when he conies to die. It is very unseason 
able, for then we need cordials, not work. Is it a time to have our oil 
to buy when we should use it ? And it is suspicious. The scripture 
containeth an history of near about four thousand years, and there is 
but one instance of it viz., of the good thief upon the cross , and there 
are special reasons for that. It was the first-fruits of Christ's merits, 
when the great oblation was actually made ; the taste and handsel of 
his drawing power. John xii. 22 , as princes will do extraordinary acts 
of grace on the day of their coronation. Never was such a season ; 
Christ was now actually redeeming the world by his death, and he 
owneth Christ in the day of his highest abasement, when all others 
scorned him. 

Use 2. Exhortation ; it presseth us to live by faith. If you would 
have faith ready to die by, you must have faith ready to live by ; 
otherwise, you will be either as a stone, or under horror, or at least 
in the dark doubtful and anxious, and will not know what will 
become of you. 

1. Disarm death beforehand by plucking out its sting, seeking 
reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ. The great business 
you have to do upon earth is to make and keep peace with God. 
Seek reconciliation with God through the merits of Jesus Christ, and 
keep up your friendship with him by following the guidance of the 
Spirit, and then you will pluck out the sting of death ; otherwise sin 
will stare you in the face, and then death will be 'terrible. 

2. Get your title to eternal life evidenced by holiness. Your right 
and title to eternal life is founded on the merits of Christ, who paid a 
price, and therefore heaven is called ' the purchased possession,' Eph. i. 
14 ; but your evidence that you have to show for your interest in it is 
holiness that is the first-fruits ; and when we come to die, we come to- 
have our fill. God qualifies all those whom he appoints to happiness, 
and prepares them for it ; no unclean thing shall enter into heaven ; 
swine, that wallow in the puddle and mire of the world, who would 
have profit and pleasure rather than grace, are not fit for this happi 
ness. Your end should be to be safe in another world, to enjoy ever 
lasting communion with God ; and therefore the evidence of this is the 
weaning of your heart from the world, and getting it up to heaven, and; 
making holiness the great business of your lives. This is your evidence,, 
though the title comes by Christ. 



These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having 
seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced 
them and confessed that they ivere strangers, and pilgrims on the 
earth. HEB. xi. 13. 

THE next thing I shall observe in the text is the nature of faith, how 
it works in and upon the promises. Here are several properties of it : 
it eyes blessings promised, is firmly persuaded of them, and embraceth 
and huggeth them ; and all this was observable in these patriarchs, 
though they went to the grave without any experience of the fulfilling 
of them. Here I shall observe something from the general view of the 
text, and then from the several actings of faith. 

First, From the whole, observe this doctrine 

DocL Faith is contented with the promise, though it cannot have 
actual possession. It is enough to faith to see things at a distance, as 
these patriarchs did : it constantly adhereth to God, though it findeth 
not what it believeth ; yea, though it see no probability and reason for 
it. For this also was the case of these partriarchs. Canaan was pro 
mised to them, which was now possessed by the Canaanites ; and God 
hath told them of the calamity that should befal their posterity in Egypt, 
and yet that they should be a glorious nation, and have a temple and 
a city. These were very unlikely things, yet they went to the grave, 
and saw these blessings afar off, and embraced them. Usually God 
exerciseth his people in this kind ; so it was in the first believer the 
Lord had made a promise of a blessed seed to Adam. Now for a great 
while there was no likelihood of the accomplishment of it Abel was 
slain, Cain was a wicked man, and Adam was an hundred and thirty 
years old before Seth was born, Gen. v. 3, who was appointed instead 
of Abel, in whom God would continue the blessed line and race. And 
so it has been all along, there has been a time between the promise 
and the accomplishment ; therefore the apostle saith, Heb. vi. 12, 
' Be ye followers of them, who though faith and patience inherit the 
promises.' Never any came to possess the things promised, but there 
was something to exercise their faith and patience ; there was some 
distance of time for the exercise of their faith, and the inconveniences 
of the present life to exercise their patience. But yet faith constantly 
adheres to God, notwithstanding all this. Now faith worketh thus 
partly because of the advantages it hath in the promises, and partly 
because of the work it putteth forth upon the heart of a believer. 

1 Because of the advantage it hath in the promises ; for consider what 
the promises are in three things. 

[1.] They are the eruption and overflowings of God's love. God's 
heart is so big with love to his people, that it cannot stay till the 
accomplishment of things ; but his love breaks out and overflows in the 
promise before the mercy be brought about : Isa. xlii. 9, 'Behold, the 
former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare ; before 
they spring forth I tell you of them.' God's purposes are a sealed foun 
tain ; his promises are a fountain broken open. As when a river swells 


so high that the channel will not contain it, it breaks out and overflows ; 
so the love of God is so great that the purposes of God, and the foun 
tain of eternal grace towards a believer, swell and break out into actual 
promises, that we may know what he hath provided for us before they 
be accomplished. God might have done us good, and given us no pro 
mise of it ; but love concealed would not be so much for our comfort. 
Now faith that hath such a testimony of God's love counts itself bound 
to be contented ; for as God counts our purposes to be obedience, so 
should we count God's promises to be performance. When there is a 
purpose in the heart to do anything for God, God counts it as actually 
done. Abraham purposed to sacrifice his son, and it is said, Abraham 
offered Isaac, Heb. xi. 17. And God takes notice of David's purpose : 
1 Kings viii. 18,' ' And the Lord said unto David my father, Whereas 
it was in thine heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well 
that it was in thine heart.' Now as our purposes are the first issues 
of our love to God, so God's promises are the first issues of his love to us. 

[2.] They are the rule and warrant of faith. The promises show 
how far God is to be trusted, because they show how far he is engaged. 
So far as the Lord hath promised, so far he hath made himself a 
debtor, and so hath given the creature a holdfast upon him, something 
for faith to lay hold upon. God's purposes are unchangeable, there 
fore the apostle speaks of the ' immutability of his counsel,' Heb. vi. 
17 : and his promises are his purposes declared, therefore here faith 
hath something to work upon, it can boldly challenge God upon his 
word. The word that is gone out of his mouth he will make good, as 
he hath said : Ps. Ixxxix. 34, ' My covenant will I not break, nor alter 
the thing that is gone out of my lips.' The promises are a means 
whereby God tries our faith. God will try of what credit he is with 
men, whether we will depend upon his word or no, and besides they 
are a security put into our hands. We have now something to urge to 
God, and may challenge him by his promise : Ps. cxix. 49, ' Kemember 
thy word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.' 
They are as so many bonds wherein God is bound to us, and God loves 
to have his bonds put in suit. A usurer thinks himself rich, though 
it may be he hath little money in the house, because he hath bonds 
and good security ; he that hath a thousand pounds in bonds and 
good security is in better case than he that hath only a hundred pounds 
in ready money. A Christian though he hath little in his purse, yet 
he hath much in bonds ; he is rich in promises, by which he hath a 
holdfast upon God, and therefore he is contented to wait. 

[3.] They are a pawn of the thing promised, and must be held till 
performance come. God's truth and holiness lie at stake, and the Lord 
will set them free and recover his pawn again. God, when he leaves 
his promise in his people's hands, he leaves his glory, his truth, his 
holiness, and his justice there, and they are to remain as pledges with 
the creature till God sets them free again by performing his promise. 
This is the meaning of that solemn expression so often used ' As I 
live, saith the Lord/ He plights his essence ; count me not a living God 
if I do not fulfil my word. So the saints plead with God. that he would 
free his attributes left in pawn by fulfilling his promises : Ps. cxv. 1. 
4 Not unto us, Lord., not unto us, but unto thy name give glory. 


for thy mercy and for thy truth's sake.' As if they should say, Lord, 
we do not plead for ourselves, for our own profit, but for thy attributes ; 
for thy mercy and truth. When mercies come according to the promise, 
God doth not only deliver us, but he delivereth his mercy and truth 
from calumny and reproach. Now upon all these advantages faith is 
as good as fruition ; it is the ' substance of things hoped for, and the 
evidence of things not seen/ Heb. xi. 1 ; it maketh absent things pre 
sent ; it sets up a stage in the heart, and sees God acting over his 
counsels, and looks upon things to come as already accomplished or 
now a-doing. It doth not require the existence and presence of the 
thing we believe, but only the promise of it. Thus the patriarchs had 
Christ, and saw Christ, and embraced Christ viz., in the figure and 
in the promise ; therefore it is said, Heb. xiii. 8, ' Jesus Christ, the 
same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.' As our faith looketh backward, 
so did their faith look forward ; and they are said to eat arid to drink 
Christ: 1 Cor, x. 3, 4, 'And they did all eat the same spiritual meat: 
and did all drink the same spiritual drink ; for they drank of that 
spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ/ They 
had the promise, and so a believer hath heaven in the promise -. John 
viii. 36, 'He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life ; ' Titus 
iii. 5, ' According to his mercy, he saved us by the washing of regen 
eration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.' As soon as we are regenerated 
we are saved. They have the love of God in the promise, they have 
an holdfast upon God by his promise, and they have the promise as a 
pawn till the performance, and they keep it by them ; and this is as- 
good as fruition to a believing soul. 

2. Because of the work of faith upon the heart of a believer. There 
is not only a work of faith upon the promise, but a work of faith upon 
the heart of a believer. 

[l.j It calms the affections and deadeneth the heart to present 
enjoyments. Carnal affections must have things present and pleasing 
to sense ' Demas hath forsaken us, having loved the present world/ 
2 Tim. iv. 10 ; but faith causeth the soul to look within the veil, and 
acquaints us with better things than are to be seen in the world ; and 
so the affections are altered : 2 Cor. iv. 18, ' While we look not to the 
things that are seen but to the things that are not seen ; for the things 
that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal.' 
Faith carries the soul into heaven, above the clouds and mists that are 
here below, and causeth it to see the glory of the world to come ; and 
when it looks to things not seen, things that lie within the veil and 
curtain of heaven, the soul is weaned from such things as are pleasing 
to sense. As a man that hath been looking on the sun, his eyes are so 
dazzled with the lustre of it, that he cannot for a while see anything 
else. Faith is ever accompanied with weanedness from the world, 
or else it could never do its office ; it gets the heart up to heaven, and 
then all things are easy. Worldly cares and worldly fears arise from 
the affection of carnal sense, that is all for the present ; but faith looketh 
to things that are to come, and so purifieth the heart from worldly 
affections ; it acquainteth us with better things in Christ, and so spoileth 
the taste of other things. 

[2.] It worketh patience and waiting the Lord's leisure. That IF 


another effect upon the heart of a believer. Faith and patience are 
inseparable, and therefore they are often coupled together : Hek vi. 12, 
* Be followers of them, who through faith and patience inherit the 
promises ; ' so Heb. x. 35, 36, ' Cast not away therefore your confidence, 
which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, 
that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.' 
Faith always worketh waiting, and quiet submission, balancing our 
sufferings with our hopes. It tarrieth the Lord's leisure , the promise 
is sure, therefore faith is satisfied with the promise, and quietly hopeth 
for the performance of it ; and the promise is good, and will make 
amends for all ; and therefore faith is contented to wait, notwithstand 
ing present inconveniences. There is longing and looking, yet tarrying 
and waiting ; the mercy is in sure hands, and when it comes it will 
make amends for all your waiting ; and if the blessing be deferred, 
there will be more glory to God and comfort to us when it cometh. 
It is but fit we should tarry the Lord's leisure. They are wicked heirs 
that desire the inheritance before it falleth, and wish the death of their 
parents ; and so they are carnal, that must have all things for the 
present and cannot wait, that would have blessings before they are ready 
for them. God is not slack, but we are hasty, and therefore the work 
of faith is to calm the affections and to subdue us to a quiet waiting 
upon the Lord, till he accomplish all his pleasure. As Naomi said to 
Ruth: Ruth iii. 18, ' Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the 
matter will fall ; for the man will not be at rest until he have finished 
the thing this day.' So faith says to a believing soul, Be still ; he 
that hath begun will not rest till he hath brought this matter to pass. 

Use 1. It presseth us to such a faith as will be contented, though it 
do not come to enjoyment such a faith as can see that made up in 
the promise that is wanting in sense and actual feeling. In outward 
wants get such a faith ; it was the apostle's riddle : 2 Cor. vi. 10, ' As 
having nothing, and yet possessing all things ; * all things are in the 
promise, though nothing in actual possession, Now can you live upon 
a promise, and fetch life and encouragement and protection and main 
tenance from thence ? Ps. xc. I, ' Lord, thou hast been our dwelling- 
place in all generations.' When was this said ? When they were 
wandering in the wilderness without house or home ; for it was a 
prayer of Moses, the man of God : they found a habitation in God, 
when they had none in the wilderness. If we want house, food, raiment, 
faith can see all this in the promise. The life of faith cometh nearest 
to the life of heaven. In heaven, God is all in all without the inter 
vention of means ; when we can see all in the promise, it is some kind 
of anticipation of the life of heaven, because the promise shows us 
what we shall find in God. Can you fetch thence house, food, raiment, 
life, deliverance, a legacy and blessing for your children, when you die, 
and are in deep poverty ? 

Again, in spiritual distresses, though you feel no comfort aud quick 
ening, yet you have his word. Men cast anchor in the dark, and a 
child takes his father by the hand in the dark , can you stick to God 
in the dark ? Though you see nothing, yet can you cleave close to 
him, and wait and stay upon his name ? In the absence of the blessing 
there is room for faith ; can you take your father by the hand when 


you cannot see him ? And when there is nothing appears to sense, 
can you stay upon the name of God ? Christ may be out of sight, 
and yet you may not be out of mind. Sense makes lies of God : Ps. 
xxxi. 22, ' I said in my heart I am, cut off from before thine eyes ; 
nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplication when I cried 
unto thee/ When to sense and feeling all is gone, God may be very 
nigh, if we had but an eye of faith to see him. In the midst of the 
miseries of the present world canst thou comfort thyself with thy right 
in the promises of the world to come ? Though thou hast not posses 
sion, thou hast the grant, and the deed is sealed ; a man may buy lands 
that he never saw, if he be well informed about them. Thus heaven 
and earth differ ; heaven is all performance, and here is very little per 
formance ; here we have the first-fruits and the earnest, enough to bind 
the bargain ; thou hast the conveyances to show, and it is not nudum 
pactum, a naked bargain, there is earnest given in lieu of a greater 
sum ; now can you wait ? 

Use 2 It informs us how much the happiness of a believer excels 
that of a worldling. A worldling hath much in hand, but he hath 
nothing in hope ; he hath fair revenues and ample possessions, but he 
hath no promises ; here they have their portion : Ps. xvii. 14, ' From 
men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly 
ihou fillest with thy hid treasure ; they are full of children, and leave 
the rest of their substance to their babes ; ' and when they come to die, 
there is an end of all ; Luke xvi. 25, ' Son, remember, that thou in thy 
lifetime receivedst thy good things.' But now look upon a believer: 
Ps. cxix. Ill, ' Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever.' 
His portion lies in God's promises, and God's promises concern the 
present life, as well as that which is to come : 1 Tim. iv. 8, ' Godliness 
is profitable for all things, having the promise of the life that now is, 
and of that which is to come/ For the present life all that he has 
comes with a blessing out of the womb of the promise, and as a fruit 
of the covenant ; and a share he shall have as long as the Lord will 
use them and employ them ; he will give them maintenance and pro 
tection as long as he expects service from them : and in the life to 
come he enters upon his heritage. Oh, it is a sad thing to have our 
portion here, and to look for no more ; to have all in hand and nothing 
in hope. A Christian is not to be valued by his enjoyments, but by 
his hopes. Do not look upon the children of God as miserable, because 
they do not shine in outward pomp and splendour, for they have meat 
and drink which the world knows not of estate, lands and honours 
which lie in another world. It is better to be trained up in a way of 
faith, than to have our whole portion here. A worldly man hath his 
present payment, that is all he cares for ; but a Christian hath an 
ample portion all the testimonies of God, and all his promises con 
cerning this life and a better. And therefore he is a rich man, though 
stripped of all ; his estate lieth in a country where there is no plunder 
ing, no sequestration, no alienation of inheritances. So that if he be 
stripped of all that the world can take hold of, he is a happier man 
than the greatest monarch of the world, that hath nothing but present 
things ; because he is rich in bills and bonds, such as lie out of the reach 
of the world. Turn him where you will, yet still he is happy ; turn. 


him into prison, the promises bear him company, and revive and cheer 
him there ; turn him into the grave, still God goes along with him, and 
will revive and raise him up again ; his riches stand him in stead at 
death ; then is the time to put his bonds in suit. When God comes 
to demand his soul, he gives it up cheerfully ; for then hc^ comes to 
enjoyment, and to possess that which he expected ; the best is behind. 
So much for the general view of the text. 

Secondly, More particularly, I shall speak to the several acts of 
faith, and they are three 

1. Apprehension They saw them afar off. 

2. Firm assent They were persuaded of them. 

3. Affection They embraced them. 

First, The first act of faith is apprehension of the blessings ' They 
saw them afar off.' Hence I observe 

Doct. It is the property of faith to eye the blessings promised at a 

So Abraham : John viii. 56, ' Your father Abraham rejoiced to see 
my day, and he saw it, and was glad.' Faith hath an eagle eye ; it is 
the perspective of the soul by which it can see things at a distance. 
There were many ages between Abraham and Christ, and yet he saw 
Christ's day. So Moses, Heb. xi. 26. ' He had respect/ eV//3Xe7re 
he had an eye to the recompense of the reward/ As the devil showed 
Christ the glory of the present world in a map or representation ; so 
doth faith, which is the evidence of things not seen, represent to the 
soul the glory of the world to come ; there is a view of heaven and 
happiness. Let me show you what there is in this view of faith. 

1. It apprehends the blessing as a real thing, which without faith 
we can never do. The promises are but as a golden dream to a carnal 
man ; they hear of these things as if they were in a dream, and do not 
look upon them as real objects : 2 Peter i. 9, ' He that lacketh these 
things is blind, and cannot see afar off' TU<XO<? teal fjLvwirdtpv, the 
word signifies short-sighted. Fancy and reason cannot out-look time, 
and see beyond death ; men have a guess and general traditional know 
ledge ; but there is no serious apprehension of the reality of these great 
blessings ; heaven doth not come in view to them, as it doth to a 
believer. Carnal men may have a dream of such things as Elysian 
fields, and happy mansions in another world, but they have not an eye 
open to see God and Christ at his right hand ; as Stephen's eyes 
were opened : Acts rii. 55. ' He being full of the Holy Ghost, looked 
up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus stand 
ing at the right hand of God.' There might be something of special 
dispensation there, but it is temperately done by faith. The sight of 
faith difiereth from that of fancy and reason, as the sight of the eye 
doth from report. A man that hath seen a foreign country is more 
affected at the mention of it than he that knows it only by a map, or 
by the report of others. Carnal men's hearts are only possessed with 
an empty notion of heaven ; but they do not see it as a real thing, 
worthy of their choice and pursuit. 

2. It pondereth the worth of the blessings. Faith is a considerate 
act, it takes a view of heaven ; as Abraham was to travel through the 
land of promise, and take a view of it, and Moses from Mount Pisgah 


was to take a view of the land of Canaan. As the prophets of old not 
only believed that Christ was to come in the flesh, but they diligently 
inquired into the salvation that was to come : 1 Peter i. 11, ' Of which 
salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who 
prophesied of the grace that should come unto you ; ' so doth faith em 
ploy the thoughts, and sends them out as spies into the other world to 
bring tidings of the state of the other country. Faith languisheth for 
want of meditation ; for the promises are the food of faith, and medita 
tion is, as it were, the chewing and the digesting of our food. View 
them then often, let us be creating images and suppositions of our 
future happiness. If a poor man were adopted into the succession of 
a crown, he would be pleasing himself with the thoughts of it ; so 
should we mind and ponder on the things that are above, thinking be 
forehand what a welcome there will be between us and Christ, when 
the angels shall bring us to Christ ; and in what a manner we shall 
be brought by Christ, and presented to the Father, as the fruits of 
his purchase ; what a pleasure it will be to see their fellow-saints 
with crowns of righteousness upon their heads. Faith is a steady 

3. There is actual expectation. Faith, having a promise, looketh 
out after the blessing. This the scripture expresseth by airoKapa^oKia, 
a lifting up the head ; as a man looks after the messenger he hath 
sent about some business, to see if he be coming back again : Eom. 
viii. 19, 'ATTOKapa^offia -7-779 ATTtVetw?, &c., ; The earnest expectation 
of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.' 
So David, Ps v. 3, ' In the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee 
and will look up,' that is, to see if I can spy the blessing coming. Faith 
not only looks up in prayer, but it looks out to see if anything be coming 
from God in a way of answer ; as Elijah when he had prayed earnestly 
for rain, sent his servant to look towards the sea, whether the rain was 
a.-coming ; Hab. ii. 1, 'I will stand upon my watch, and set me on the 
tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me.' He was 
resolved to wait for an answer of grace, withdrawing the mind from 
things visible, and elevating it to God, and looking above the rnists 
and darkness of inferior accidents. So faith, as from a watch-tower, 
looks and sees if it can spy the mercy afar off : 2 Peter iii. 12, ' Looking 
for and hastening to the coming of the day of God ' Faith., or medita 
tion on the certainty of the promise (for that is faith), doth thus erect 
the soul, and sets it in a posture of expectation, to behold if there be 
any tokens of God's coming, if they can hear the soundings of his feet, 
any approach of the mercy they look for. As a man that hath bills or 
bonds due at such a day, waits for the time when they will come 
due ; so is faith watching when the time will expire, that he may come 
to the fruition of that lie looks for. So much for the first act of faith, 

Secondly. The second act of faith in and upon the promises in firm 
assent, Treia-devres, They were persuaded of them.' From hence I 

Doct. Faith is persuaded of the certainty of the blessings which it 
beholdeth in the promises. 

That there is a firmness of assent and persuasion in faith, these 


scriptures evidence : Phil. i. 6, ' Being confident/ or firmly per 
suaded, ' of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in 
you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ;' so Kom. viii. 38, 
TreVetcr/iat, ' I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, 
nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come ; 
nor height, nor depth, nor any other creatures, shall be able to separate 
us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord ; ' 2 Tim. 
i. 12, ' I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is 
able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day.' 
Faith is not a moral conjecture, but a certain persuasion : and yet 
there may be many doubtings: Mat xiv. 31, ' thou of little faith, 
wherefore didst thou doubt ? ' which is an argument of the weakness, 
not of the nullity, of faith ; but, however, doubts do not get the victory ; 
but of this hereafter. 

Now this persuasion of the certainty of the blessing promised stands 
upon two feet, God's truth in keeping promises, and his power to bring 
them to pass. 

1. On God's truth. God is very tender of the honour of his truth : 
Ps. cxxxviii. 2, ' Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.' 
When we have the word of a man of credit we rest satisfied. Now we 
have not only God's word, but his bond. The great work of faith is 
to rest upon the promise. God would cease to be God if he were not 
a true God, and the chiefest honour that we can give him is to rest 
upon his faith : Heb. xi. 11, ' She judged him faithful who had 
promised/ Faith is a sealing to God's truth : John iii. 33, { He that 
believeth his testimony, hath set to his seal that God is true ; ' whereas 
unbelief giveth God the lie, which is the worst reproach among men ; 
1 John v, 10, ' He that believeth not God hath made him a liar, 
because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.' Now 
God's truth should be the