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







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

Union, Edinburgh. 

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

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

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

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

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


r r / 7 ; - < f 
















SERMON LXIII. " By faith they passed through the Eed Sea as 

by dry land," &c., ver. 29, . . . 3 

LXIV. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down," &c., 

ver. 30, . . . .17 

LXV. " By faith the harlot Kahab perished not with 

them that believed not," &c., ver. 31, . 30 


The Life of Faith in Prayer, . . . > .145 

The Life of Faith in Hearing the Word, . . 154 


The. Epistle Dedicatory, , . . .177 
Book I., 179 


A Fast Sermon on Isa. xliii. 22, .... 297 
A Fast Sermon on Mai. iii. 7, . . . .315 

A Preparative Sermon for Receiving the Sacrament, . 329 
Sermons on the Sacrament 

2 Chron. xxx. 18-20, ..... 342 

Cant. ii. 3, . ' . * 358 

A Sermon on Luke xvii. 32, . . ^ . * . 369 



A Sermon on John iii. 33, 379 

Sermons on Micali vi. 8 

Sermon I, ...... 394 

II., .... .404 

A Sermon Preached before the Parliament, . . . 414 

A Sacrament Sermon, ..... 427 

A Sermon on Micali vii. 18, . . , , . 43S 

A Sermon on John xiii. 8, . . . . 450 

A Sermon Preached before the Sons of the Clergy, . . 463 

A Sacrament Sermon on Luke xxii. 20, . .475 

A Sermon on the Ends of the Sacrament, . . 487 






By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land ; which the 
Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. HEB. xi. 29. 

THIS chapter is a chronicle and history of the mighty acts done by 
faith. The instance which I shall now produce is that of the believ 
ing Israelites, who all together, with Moses, their leader, passed through 
the divided waters of the Eed Sea ; but the Egyptians, pursuing and 
trying to follow them, were overwhelmed and destroyed. 

In the text you have two things the preservation and safety of 
Israel, and the destruction of the Egyptians. The one illustrates the 
other ; the one was the fruit of faith, and the other of presumption 
and unbelief. In the first, take notice of the act. (1.) They passed 
through the Red Sea ; (2.) The success, As by d,ry land. And suit 
ably in the other part there is (1.) The attempt, Which the Egyptians 
assaying to do; and (2.) The issue, They were drowned. 

To understand which passages, we must remember the story recorded 
by Moses, Exod. xiv. The sum is this : When Pharaoh at last had 
consented to let the Israelites go, he soon repented of his grant ; and 
understanding by spies how they were entangled in the jaws and straits 
of Pihahiroth, this occasion invited him to make pursuit after them. 
What should the poor Israelites do ? Fight they durst not, being a 
multitude of undisciplined people of all ages and sexes, and pursued 
by a regular and potent army of enemies. Fly they could not, having 
the sea before them, the Egyptians behind them, the steep and un- 
passable hills on either side of them. This was the case, and in human 
reason nothing but destruction could be expected. But Moses, by 
special order from God, commandeth Israel to march forward, and 
expect the salvation promised. And when Moses gave the signal by 
his rod, the sea miraculously retreated, standing up like heaps of con 
gealed ice on each side while they passed through. This is done, and 
they go on safely ; the sea flanked them on both sides ; the rear was 
secured by the cloudy and fiery pillar interposing between them and 
Pharaoh's army till such time as all were out of danger, and safely 
arrived at the further shore ; and so neither man nor child was hint. 
The Egyptians follow the chase, as malice is perverse and blind, and 


those whom God designeth to destruction take the ready course to 
bring it upon their own heads ; for at the signal again of Moses 
stretching forth his rod, the returning waters swallowed them all up 
in a moment. This was a strange and glorious work of God's almighty 
power and unspeakable mercy, and the fruit of their faith; and it 
teaches us both to believe and how to believe in God to believe, 
since with respect to faith God produceth such wonders ; and how to 
believe with an unlimited confidence in- the greatest straits, for nothing 
is too hard for God to do. 

But you will say the age of such miracles is long since past, and 
these are antiquated dispensations, now no more in use, nor reasonably 
to be looked for ; and, therefore, what is this to us ? 

I answer Their passage through the Ked Sea may be considered 
three ways: 

1. Historically. 

2. Sacramentally. 

3. Applicatively, with respect to the use for which the apostle pro 
duceth this instance. 

First, Historically, as a notable pattern of providence ; and so it re 
presents to us two things 

1. Unspeakable comfort to all believers in the midst of their ex 
tremities. God can disentangle and help them out, for he is with them 
in all their dangers. See how he promises his presence to his people: 
Isa. xliii. 2, ' When thou passest through the waters, I will be with 
thee ; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee ; when thou 
walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt, neither shall the 
flames kindle upon thee/ For the waters, Israel is an instance ; both 
in the Eed Sea and in the river of Jordan, God preserved them : for 
the fire, the three children is an instance; when they were cast into the 
fiery furnace, they walked in it unsinged and untouched, nothing 
burned but their bands, Dan. iii. 27. Where God calls his people to 
be, there he will be with them ; and therefore we must be content to 
follow God through fire and water. Surely he can secure his people 
in the greatest dangers and difficulties, and find a way of deliverance 
for them in the most desperate cases. As David, when Saul was 
eagerly hunting after him, Saul on this side of the mountain and 
David on that, yet God brought him off. There is no danger so great 
but God can deliver out of it ; and many times God's deliverance is 
nearest when our danger is greatest. Only, those that look for such 
deliverances must be upright, for to such the Lord shows himself 
strong : 2 Chron. xvi. 9, ' For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro 
throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of 
them whose heart is perfect before him.' 

2. It speaks terror to the wicked, and such as maliciously pursue the 
people of God, as the Egyptians did here. They were engaged in an 
evil design, they had neither command nor promise from God ; yea, 
they went against God's command, for they acted out o'f malice, pride, 
cruelty, and desire of revenge, and so justly perished. So that here is 
a dreadful glass wherein to see the judgments of God against the 
enemies and pursuers of his people : Prov. xi. 8, ' The righteous is 
delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.' Pharaoh 


would either kill them or drive them into the sea, and there all his 
chariots were overwhelmed. Daniel was cast into the lions' den, but 
the lions did not devour him, but devoured his accusers, Dan. vi. 22- 
24. That which was a preservation to God's people was the destruc 
tion of the Egyptians ; passing through the Red Sea is the means of 
their safety, but of the others' ruin. Which should check the pride 
and daring* attempts of wicked men, who pursue their evil designs to 
their own destruction , being blinded with malice and hatred, they 
neither remember things past, nor consider things present, nor foresee 
things to come, but are led by a fanatical spirit, which is furious and 
driving, till it hurries them to their own destruction. Thus, if we 
consider it historically, it is a notable passage to encourage us to trust 
in the Lord. 

Secondly, Sacramentally. The apostle tells us, 1 Cor. x. 2, ' That 
they were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea , ' that 
is, in the cloud that hid them from the Egyptians, and in their passage 
through the Red Sea. This passage had the same signification that 
baptism hath. How were they baptized in the sea ? 

1. They were baptized unto Moses in the sea; that is, Moses' 
ministry was confirmed by that miracle, and so they were bound to 
take Moses for their leader and lawgiver ; as the miraculous dispen 
sations .by Christ assure us that he was sent by God as our lawgiver, 
whom we should hear and obey. 

2. It is called a baptism, because it signified the difference that God 
puts between his people and their enemies, or the deliverance of his 
people from the common destruction of mankind was sealed to them 
by this passing through the sea, for here God shows that he would put 
a difference between his people and others. For which respect baptism 
is said to be avrlrvn-os, an answerable figure to the ark of Noah ; so 
Peter urgeth it, 1 Peter iii. 20, 21, ' 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.'' They that were in 
the ark were exempted from the deluge. So they that are baptized into 
Christ, that enter into covenant with God by Christ, they are exempted 
from the deluge of wrath which overwhelms the rest of the world. So 
that though we have not extraordinary ways of preservation, as the 
people of God had of old, yet we have special privileges by Christ 
which answer to it, and a deliverance of a far better nature. 

3. They were baptized in the cloud and sea, because by submitting 
to God's command they gave up themselves to God's direction and 
the conduct of his providence by this initiating act, that he should 
lead them through the wilderness unto Canaan, and the land of pro 
mise ; as we pass through the waters of baptism, that we may give up 
ourselves to be led through this world, which answers to the wilderness, 
to heaven, to Canaan, the land of promise, to be commanded and 
governed by him till he brings us to our rest. 

Thirdly, Applicatively, with respect to the use for which the apostle 
brings these instances ; and it is to confirm believers in the faith of 
Christ, though they were sorely pushed at, and endured great sufferings 
for Christ's sake. These examples of faith, which the apostle produces, 
serve for a double use either to show the nature of that faith by 


which the just do live, or else to commend the excellency of that faith, 
that we may get it, and exercise it, and be eminent in it ; and so these 
instances of faith are of use in all ages, when the miraculous dispensa 
tions are ceased. 

But now this instance that we have in hand serves not only^for one 
of these ends, but for both uses to show the true nature of faith, and 
also to commend the excellency of it. Therefore 

1. I shall show what is the nature of faith, which we may learn 
from this instance. 

[1.] Faith inclined them to obey God's command, and upon obedience 
to expect the mercy promised : Go through the Eed Sea and you shall 
be saved. Now this is the common nature of all faith : Ps. cxix. 66, 
' Lord, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments/ 
This is the great business of faith, as the Israelites were to obey God, 
and to wait for his salvation out of this imminent danger. 

[2.] For the command, faith gives courage to obey God in the most 
difficult cases. If we be bidden to go into the Red Sea, we must not 
forbear ; for none of God's commands must be disputed, how contrary 
soever they be to flesh and blood. If God will command Abraham to 
take his only son, and offer him for a burnt-offering, he must not stick 
at it : Gen. xxii. 2, ' Take now thy son, thine only son, Isaac, whom 
thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah, and offer him there 
for a burnt-offering.' If God commands us to sell all, that we may 
have treasure in heaven, we must riot murmur as the young man did : 
Mark x. 22, ' He went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.' 
We must give up our lives and all our comforts into the hands of 
Christ, and nothing must be abated ; whatever God commands we 
must do, though it be never so difficult. 

[3.] For the promise, the Red Sea was as a grave to them in visible 
appearance, and for a considerable time they walked every moment in 
the valley of the shadow of death. But this is the nature of faith, it 
teaches us to depend upon God's promises in the greatest extremities. 
Going down to the Red Sea is as our going down to the grave, yet the 
promise of eternal life is sure to us, and the belief of it is required of 
all Christians : John xi. 26, ' Whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, 
shall never die;' that is, never wholly die; 'believest thou this?' Faith 
can find a way to salvation through the great deep, and a passage to 
life through death and the grave ; it can see a heaven when we are in 
the midst of the Red Sea. This passage through the Red Sea had a 
respect to baptism, and we are said ' to be buried with Christ in bap 
tism,' Col. ii. 12. Now, among other senses implied in the phrase, one 
great sense is our willingness to die, out of a confidence to enjoy life 
in heaven, though they are killed all the day long. 

2. This instance doth very much commend to us the excellency of 
this grace of faith, which was so necessary to believers in that age, 
when they were exposed to such great sufferings. Now, how it is 
manifested from this instance. 

[1.] God's promise produces its miraculous effect through faith, and 
not otherwise. God could do it, whether the Israelites did believe, yea 
or nay; but their faith must concur: 'Through faith they passed 
through the Red Sea.' The apostle doth not mention the mercy, or 


the power of God, but their faith. It is true the supreme original 
cause is the goodness and power of God, but the means is faith. So 
1 Peter i. 5, ' Ye are kept by the power of God through faith unto 
salvation.' When we rest upou his word, who is faithful and able to 
save to the uttermost, then the power of God is exercised for us : 
Mark ix. 23, * If thou canst believe, all tilings are possible to him that 
believeth ; ' that is, then thou art capable of having the glorious power 
of God exercised on thy behalf, beyond the ability of nature. On the 
contrary, nothing but unbelief puts an impediment in God's way: 
Mark vi. 5, 6, ' He could do no mighty works there/ &c., and ' he 
marvelled at their unbelief ; ' there was no occasion or opportunity, 
for where faith is wanting, how can the power of God be owned and 
seen ? Now. since the promise of God produces its glorious effect by 
the means of faith, so that our faith must concur, this doth mightily 
commend faith. 

[2.] Here is another circumstance which commends faith likewise : 
this faith was weak at first, and mingled with unbelief ; for first they 
murmured, as you may see : Exod. xiv. 11, 12, ' And they said to Moses, 
Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die 
in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry 
us forth out of Egypt ? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in 
Egypt, saying, Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians ? For it 
had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die 
in the wilderness ; ' words of impatience and distrust, and very near to 
a plain revolt from God ; and yet at length these t murmurers, through 
faith they passed through the Red Sea, as if it had been firm land. 
There was a great mixture of unbelief, but where faith prevails, it is 
accepted with God. Though first they murmured, yet afterwards they 
believed. Now, when after such great faults God takes it so kindly, 
we will believe the promise, we should address ourselves to believe in 

[3.] There is yet another circumstance in this instance ; all of them 
were not true believers, but the faith of some made others partakers 
of the benefits. The ungodly receive many temporal benefits by the 
faith of others : Acts xxvii. 24, ' God hath given thee all them that 
sail with thee ; ' while yet many of them were infidels. The faith of 
some may save a community ; ' through faith/ that is, the faith of 
' Moses, and some of the eminent godly Israelites. We must not think 
all this multitude had faith ; but it was so pleasing to God, that for 

their sakes the community passed safe, and did arrive at the opposite 
shore. Now this showeth how much God esteemeth the faith of his 

[4.] It is commended to us again by the distinction God makes be 
tween believers and unbelievers ; the one pass through the sea as on 
dry land, and the other sink as lead, and are drowned. We see our 
privileges in their destruction. Salvation is not a common favour: 
John iii. 36, ' He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life ; and 
he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God 
abideth on him.' There is salvation for believers, and nothing but 
destruction for unbelievers. Presumption ruins, as faith saves. Oh ! 
who would not then be of the number of those that believe in Christ 


to salvation, since God makes such a distinction between them and 
others ? 

Having laid this foundation, the doctrine is this 

Doct. That they who, upon the belief of God's promises, do resolve 
to run all hazards with Christ in the performance of their duty to him, 
are only capable of salvation by him. 

This is the end why the apostle produces this instance, to encourage 
the New Testament believers to constancy in the many sufferings they 
were exposed to for owning Christ ; and to continue faithful to Christ, 
and depend upon the promises still, though they were butchered and 
slaughtered everyday. To evidence this, take these five considerations 

First, That true faith receives the promise of God, with the terms 
and conditions which it requireth. This proposition, I suppose, will 
not be questioned. If the Israelites in the text hoped to see the salva 
tion of God, they must do what God directed them to do. And of all 
others the like is required ; if they will believe, and expect any benefit 
from God, certainly they must do what God hath required in order 
to that benefit. All that can reasonably be supposed to invalidate the 
truth of this proposition is this : either that the gospel is no benefit, 
but a due debt from God, which we may expect from his natural good 
ness, and so that God hath not power to give it upon condition ; or 
that he will give it without condition. One of these must be supposed. 
Now, if all these be false, then the proposition stands firmly. 

1. The first supposition, that the gospel is no benefit, but a due 
debt from God, which we may expect from his natural goodness, do 
we whatever we will to the contrary, is an absurd conceit ; for the 
privileges of the gospel are always represented as a benefit. 1 Tim. 
vi. 2, the apostle shows that Christian masters should not be despised 
by their Christian servants, ' but rather do them service, because they 
are faithful and beloved partakers of the benefit ; ' that is, of the pri 
vileges of the gospel : it is always represented as a benefit. And it is 
such a benefit as is called grace, and this oppositely to debt : Kom. iv. 
4, ' Now to him which worketh is the reward reckoned, not of grace, 
but of debt ; ' for God is not bound by any merit to give this grace to 
any. .Well, then, if it be God's free gift, then he hath a power to 
impose conditions ; it is at the liberty of the donor to give it upon 
what terms he pleases, for who but the Almighty can prescribe con 
ditions and laws of commerce betwixt him and his creatures ? It 
belongs to every donor and free benefactor to make his own terms, 
and to dispose of his own gifts and donations according to his will. 
If it be a right which belongs to every ordinary person who is an 
owner to do with his own as pleaseth him, Mat. xx. 15, much more 
the great God may determine of his own gifts, and how a right to 
them may be conveyed to us. Well, then, thus far we go on clearly 
that the privileges of the gospel are a grace, and a grace to be disposed 
of by him according to the pleasure of his own will. But then 

2. I add further ; either God will give them without any conditions, 
or he will give those benefits upon certain terms and conditions which 
he liketh to impose upon the creature. Now, to grant as much as may 
be granted, there are certain benefits indeed which God gives without 
asking our consent, or imposing any condition upon us on our part ; 


as the giving of a redeemer to take our nature and fulfil the law, and 
satisfy his provoked justice on our behalf, and to merit grace sufficient 
for our deliverance from sin, and death, and hell, and the devil ; this 
he did without our knowledge and consent, for he considered us as 
creatures in misery, and in more inextricable straits than the Israelites 
were when they were shut up between mountains and entangled in 
the land, as Pharaoh saith. But having laid this foundation, God 
having given a redeemer, then he doth enact and propound a cove 
nant, without asking our consent, or treating with us in the making 
of it, that we may bring it down, and model it according to our 
humour. No ; the matter is not left free for us to debate ; the covenant 
is formed to our hands, and we are thankfully to accept of it, and 
submit to it, not to mould it to our turn ; for we must take it as we 
find it ; and so the saints are described, Isa. Ivi. 4, ' Those that choose 
the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant/ The ques 
tion now is, Whether there be any terms or no terms in this covenant? 
Surely there are ; for these blessings are not given to all, as experience 
manifests, -for some die in their sins. How shall poor creatures make 
out their interest, unless God hath declared upon what conditions we 
shall be possessed of these privileges ? Well, now, if God hath once 
declared the conditions, if we would have the benefit, we must consent 
to them ; as the Israelites, if they would be safe, they must take God's 
direction, and pass through the Red Sea, though it seem to threaten 
apparent death. If we would have justification and adoption into 
God's family, we must believe in Christ : John i. 12, ' For to as many 
as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, 
even to them which believe on his name.' If we would look for ever 
lasting life, ' we must by a patient continuing in well-doing seek for 
honour, and glory, and immortality,' Rom. ii. 7. To expect a benefit 
without terms is to lay the foundation of a great building upon a 
shadow, and to deceive ourselves with a covenant of our own making, 
or to presume of that which was never given to us by God. Indeed, 
whence we have the grace to perform the condition, whether from 
God or ourselves, that is another question ; but a condition there is ; 
we are only proving the way and order of being instated into the 
benefits promised, and the necessity that true faith should submit to 
it. It is true we have the first grace from God ; the conversion of the 
heart is from God as a free lord ; it is his resolved gift to the elect. 
But we are speaking now, not of what God does as a free lord, but of 
a condition stated by our proper and rightful sovereign the giving 
of the grace whereby we fulfil the condition that belongs wholly to his 
free dominion ; but appointing the condition, that belongs not wholly 
to his free dominion, but his being the supreme ruler and governor of 
the world. Now we must take the promise with the terms and con 
ditions annexed. 

Secondly, That the conditions which God requireth are, partly a 
belief of the promise, and partly obedience to the command annexed ; 
as the Israelites were to believe that God would carry them safe and 
sound to the next shore through the Red Sea as upon firm land ; and 
therefore, believing this, they were, upon the authority of God's word, 
to resolve to go down into the great deep, and try what God would do 


for them. Their faith was seen in trusting him with the event, with 
out any anxiety and trouble of mind ; and their obedience was seen in 
taking the course and way they were prescribed by God, even through 
the deep water ; though it was so unlikely a way for their preservation, 
yet they ventured themselves. So we, that believe in Christ for eternal 
life, must first believe God's promise, that he will bring us to that 
blissful estate through the way appointed ; and so we must resolve to 
take this way, and follow God whithersoever he leads us by his word 
and Spirit, that we may obtain this happiness. It is a great point, 
and a part of faith, to believe the promise ; there is very much in that; 
for though we all desire to be happy, yet this happiness being promised 
by an invisible God, and lying in an invisible world, it is not easily 
assented unto ; it is not received with that trust and strength of faith 
by us while we dwell in flesh, and have a corrupt nature within us, 
which is importunate to be pleased with present things or carnal 
vanities, which are nigh at hand, and therefore ready to be enjoyed. 
Therefore it is a great work of the Lord's grace ' to open our eyes, 
that we may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches 
of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,' Eph. i. 18 ; to look to 
tilings unseen, which are eternal, and to overlook those that are seen, 
that are temporal : 2 Cor. iv. 18, ' While we look not at the things 
which are seen, which are but temporal, but at the things which are 
not seen, which are eternal/ This is a mighty act of faith. Most 
men mind earthly things, cannot take heaven for their whole happiness, 
or the word of God for their great security, for that is only done by a 
soul that sincerely believes : Ps. cxix. Ill, ' Thy testimonies I have 
taken as an heritage forever, they are the rejoicing of my soul.' The 
next part is to resolve to seek this happiness in God's way, to follow 
it close whatever it cost us, to hold on in our journey, be our way safe 
or dangerous, rough or pleasant: Phil. iii. 11, ' If by any means I 
might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.' A Christian must 
come to this ; whatever way it is that God leads me into by his word 
and Spirit, so I may attain happiness at last, I will hold on my course. 
And so it may fall out that we must ' hate our own lives, and forsake 
all we have,' Luke xiv. 26, 33 ; not as casting it away needlessly and 
unprofitably, but venturing it for God's sake, running the hazard of 
life, and leaving all we have, rather than miss of eternal life, and being 
unfaithful to Christ. 

Thirdly, These being the conditions, the belief of the promise, 
and thorough obedience to submit to the appointed way; lest we 
deceive ourselves with a notion, God loves to try us, to see if we have 
received the promise sincerely, whether we thoroughly believe his 
word, and are fully obedient to his commands : James i. 12, ' Blessed 
is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried he shall re 
ceive the^crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that 
love him/ The Lord loves a tried obedience, because it is most for 
his honour when his people are tried, and they are faithful to him ; 
and it is most for our comfort to make our sincerity evident to us. 
Sometimes the difficulties lie against our assent to the truth of the 
promise ; at other times, against our resolution to follow God's way, 
cleaving to him and Christ, and not looking back. 


1. Against the strength of our assent, whether we can believe such 
unlikely things as God hath promised (for so it seems to carnal reason), 
as that he can carry his people through the deep waters, and they shall 
not overflow them. Certainly many doubts arise in our minds concern 
ing unseen things, which we cannot enjoy till we shoot the gulf of 
death. Now Abraham, the father of the faithful, was so called because 
he could assent so strongly to the promises, and give glory to God ' by 
believing in hope against hope : ' Kom. iv. 18-20, ' And being not weak 
in faith, he considered not his own body, now dead, when he was about 
an hundred years old, neither yet 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/ Faith can expect a deliverance when 
it seems impossible to reason. When Abraham was childless, and had 
been so for many years, yet he expects an issue that for number shall be 
as the sand upon the sea-shore. If there be not some difficulty in the thing 
to be believed, it is not an object of faith ; for things present within the 
view of sense, and things easy and next at hand, are, as it were, already 
enjoyed. It is no trial of your faith to look for probable things ; but if 
you can believe when the case is never so difficult, if you can depend 
and rest yourselves upon the word of God, that you shall be carried 
through the sea and not be drowned, because you have God's word for 
it, this is faith. Many difficulties may be objected against such things 
as God hath revealed in his word ; yet it is enough to a believer that 
God hath revealed them. Our inquiry, when we come to look into the 
things we are to believe, should not be, How can these things be ? No ; 
but, Are these things revealed by God, yea or nay ? How can these 
things be ? is the voice of unbelief, at the least, of a weak and stagger 
ing faith. Nicodemus said, ' How can these things be ? ' John iii. 9. 
We are to receive .supernatural truths as men take pills, not chew, but 
swallow them, take them upon the credit of the revealer ; if the testi- 
fier be God himself, his word should be more to us than the greatest 
evidence in the world. 

2. Sometimes the difficulties lie against our resolution to take God's 
way. A total resignation of ourselves to the will of God is required of 
all that will be saved. Now by dangers we are tried whether we will 
keep this resolution. Strength of assent excludes speculative doubts 
and errors ; strength of resolution fortifies us against worldly tempta 
tions, both on the right hand and on the left. On the right hand 
temptations do arise from worldly profit, pleasure, and glory ; on the 
left hand temptations do arise from fears of danger and terrors of 
sense. Now, when these come with full power upon the soul, they are 
ready to shake the most confirmed resolution ; but a Christian is to 
maintain the vigor of his faith, and cherish such a confidence in God's 
promises as may check all fear, and cause him, when God calls him 
thereunto, to venture on the greatest dangers rather than quit his duty: 
Ps. xxiii. 4, ' Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of 
death, I will fear no evil.' It was a comfortless journey in the midst 
of waves for so many men, women, and children to hold it ; yet a be 
liever that ventures upon God's command fears nothing : Dan. iii. 17, 
18, 'If it be so, our God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us from the 
burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, king ! 


But if not, be it known unto thee, king, that we will not serve thy 
gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.' Thus are we 
to show our undaunted confidence of God's protection and deliverance. 

Fourthly, Because we are fickle creatures, God will have us, by the 
solemn profession of such a faith, visibly to enter into his covenant. 
As God meant to season Israel for after trials, therefore they were 
baptized in the cloud and in the sea, as was said before, that they 
might the better submit to his conduct throughout the wilderness, be 
fore he brought them into the land of promise ; so all those that are 
willing to take Christ and his cross, Christ and his yoke, the Lord will 
not leave them under the tie of a bare purpose and resolution, but will 
have it solemnised in the baptismal covenant, wherein we profess _ a 
belief of God's promises, and vow to run all hazards with Christ in 
our warfare against the devil, the world, and the flesh. We cannot 
forsake the devil, but he will make as hard pursuit after us as Pharaoh 
did after Israel, to bring us back again into bondage ; he doth violently 
assault new converts. We cannot renounce the world, and the vain 
courses thereof, but it will hate us, and be exasperated against us. 
The world only loveth its own, and those that are of a worldly strain, 
and will not part company with them ; they hate others, speak evil of 
them, and do evil to them. The flesh will entice us to some unfaith 
fulness to Christ, and compliance with the world, and disobedience to 
God, and it will be troublesome to resist its motion's. Therefore God 
will have us solemnly roll ourselves in this calendar, and as soon as 
we are baptized we put on our armour : Kom. vi. 13, 'Wherefore yield 
ye your members instruments, 6V\a, weapons of righteousness ; ' and 
Rom. xiii. 12, ' Let us cast off the works of darkness, and put on the 
armour of light.' Then we are solemnly listed in Christ's service. He 
was baptized as the captain of our salvation, and we as his soldiers : 
and when we are baptized soldiers we are to arm ourselves with this 
resolution, through many tribulations to enter into the kingdom of 
God. Christ's first work is to lead us into the waters, that we may 
be seasoned for other encounters, or that fight of afflictions and troubles 
we are likely to meet withal before we get to heaven : Heb. x. 32, 
'After ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of affliction/ 
Baptism was heretofore called an enlightening, because there was 
wonderful grace given in the use of that ordinance in the primitive 
times. Now, when we are enlightened, we presently enter upon our 
warfare, and we must look for a fight. 

Fifthly, Having thus solemnly entered into covenant with God, 
certainly we are bound to make it good, if we would have benefit by it. 
For it is not enough to make covenant, but all the promises run to 
him that keepeth covenant. Salvation is promised not to the under 
taker, but the conqueror : Kev. ii. 7, ' To him that overcometh will I 
give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of 
God;' and ver. 11, 'He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the 
second death ; ' and ver. 17, ' To him that overcometh will I give to 
eat of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and irj^ the 
stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he that re- 
ceiveth it;' and ver. 26, 'He that overcometh, and keepeth my works 
unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations ; ' and chap. 


iii. 5, c He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, 
and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will con 
fess his name before my father and before his angels.' Therefore it is 
not enough to undertake, but we must perform ; it is not enough to 
renounce, but we must overcome, not only forsake the devil, but resist 
him : James iv. 7, ' Eesist the devil, and he will flee from you ; ' Peter 
v. 9, 'Whom resist, steadfast in the faith.' We must not only renounce 
the flesh, but we must mortify and subdue it by the Spirit : Gal. v. 
24, ' They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections 
and lusts thereof;' Horn. viii. 13, 'If ye, through the Spirit, mortify 
the deeds of the body, ye shall live.' We must not only renounce the 
world, but overcome it : 1 John v. 4, ' Whosoever is born of God over 
cometh the world, and this is the victory whereby we overcome the 
world, even our faith ; ' and we must be crucified to it : Gal. vi. 14, 
' The world is crucified to me, and I unto the world/ and so persevere 
in our duty to God. 

Use 1. To inform us of the nature of true faith, so to believe the pro 
mises as to be ready to do what God commandeth, to obtain the benefit of 
them. It concerneth us very much to understand the nature of faith, for 
we live by it : Gal. ii. 20, ' I live by the faith of the Son of God ; ' and 
can we live by it and not know what it is ? What is it then ? It is such 
a trusting ourselves in the hands of Christ, upon a confidence of his pro 
mises, that we are willing to do anything and suffer anything rather 
than commit the least sin, and be unfaithful to him. Or a resolution 
to go on with our duty, trusting ourselves entirely in his hands, what 
ever dangers befall us. This is called a committing of our souls to him. 
in well-doing : 1 Peter iv, 19, ' Wherefore let them {hat suffer accord 
ing to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well 
doing, as unto a faithful creator.' And the apostle saith, 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/ The 
Israelites, when they went into the Ked Sea, did entirely commit and 
put themselves into God's hands. It is a notable faith when we can 
so readily believe God, and hold on our duty with quietness, whatever 
evils do befall us, or whatever dangers threaten us : Ps. xxxvii. 34, 
' Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall cause thee to in 
herit the land/ Obey God's directions, and see how God will make 
good his word. 

Use 2. Reproof. It condemneth several sorts of persons 
1. Those that are always urging difficulties against their duty, and 
pretend danger when there is no cause : Prov. xxii. 13, ' The slothful 
man saith, There is a lion without ; I shall be slain in the streets/ 
And again, Prov. xxvi. 13, ' The slothful man saith, There is a lion 
in the way, a lion is in the streets.' In those countries lions were 
frequent, and their range was in the night, when they went forth to 
seek for their prey : Ps. civ. 20, 21, ' Thou makest darkness, and it 
is night, wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth. The 
young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God/ 
Now the slothful man's pretence was, that if he should go forth too 
early to his labour, he should meet a lion in the very streets. Now it is 
used proverbially of those that urge any slight danger against their 


duty ; because sometimes the lions came into the cities and inhabited 
places, therefore he durst not go out of his house. There are 
some that will not venture a frown or a scorn for Christ, and dare 
not own religion, when there is no probable cause for fear ; and so 
are frighted out of their necessary duty, not only by real dangers, but 
by imaginary fears : the shadow of any trouble quite discourageth 

2. Those that attempt anything without a lawful call. The 
Israelites had a good call ; they had a command from God^ to enter 
into the Ked Sea, and they had a promise of God's protection. He 
that will undergo dangers, let him see how his matters stand with 
God, and what ground he hath both for his undertaking and for his 
confidence and courage. 

[1.] For his undertaking. For these Israelites, who at God's bid 
ding could enter the Red Sea, yet presuming against God's warrant 
to go up against the Canaanites, were beaten : Num. xiv. 44, 45, * But 
they presumed to go up unto the hill top : nevertheless the ark of 
the covenant of the Lord and Moses departed not out of the camp. 
Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in 
that hill, and smote them, a-nd discomfited them, even unto Hormah.' 
The case was this, they had murmured at the report of the spies, and 
when they had smarted for that by a sore plague, they would all of a 
sudden go up and fight the Canaanites to expiate the suspicion of 
their cowardice. The ark removed not, but at the removal of the 
cloud, Num. v. 17, 21 ; and Moses would abide by the ark. But 
God showed his dislike of the action, because they went without the 
Lord, and the signs of his grace. 

[2.] What ground there is for their courage and confidence ; for 
in particular events we have no assurance but from God's especial 
promise. Indeed, in all lawful undertakings we have the promise of 
God concerning eternal life to bear us up, and we may be confident 
of this : Luke xii. 32, ' Fear not, little flock ; for it is your father's 
good pleasure to give you the kingdom.' But for other things we 
must refer them to God. For eternal salvation we may be sure, but 
for other things nothing but a particular promise can be the strong 
pillar of our confidence. 

Quest. But if we have no express promise, may we not bear up 
ourselves against difficulties and improbabilities by believing in God? 

Ans. If believing be meant only of a confidence in God's power, 
not determining the certainty of the event, we may. Many times we 
are cast upon God's providence ; all human refuge and helps fail, 
there is_ no possibility of escape ; but then God forbiddeth despair : 
2 Cor. i. 9, 10, * But we had received the sentence of death in our 
selves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God, which raiseth 
the dead. Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver, 
in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us.' It was when the furious 
multitude at Ephesus was let loose upon him. But the truer trust is 
showed in a ready adherence to his call and to our duty : Ps. xliv. 
18, 19, 'Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined 
from thy way, though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, 
and covered us with the shadow of death.' 


3. It condemneth them who pretend to faith, and yet do not make 
a total resignation of themselves to God. 

[1.] Some reserve their interests. Now you have not saving faith 
till you can sell all for the pearl of price : Mat. xiii. 45, 46, ' The 
kingdom of heaven is like to a merchantman seeking goodly pearls ; 
who, when he had found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all 
that he had, and bought it.' One cometh boldly to Christ : Mat. viii. 
19, ' Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest ; ' but when 
he heard, ver. 20, ' The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air 
have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head/ we 
hear no more of him. The young man came to Christ to know ' what 
good thing he should do to have eternal life,' Mat. xix. 16 ; but when 
Christ said to him, ' Sell all thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou 
shalt have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me,' ver. 21 ; 
when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for 
he had great possessions, ver. 22. Therefore faith being so necessary 
to salvation, cheat not yourselves with the image of it. 

[2.] Some reserve their lusts; but true faith is inconsistent with 
the predominancy of any lust or sin ; for a Christian wholly giveth up 
himself to the will of God. Therefore he that continueth in his sins, not 
resolving in his heart to forsake them and to renounce all righteous 
ness in himself, and wholly and solely to rely upon the mercy of God 
and merit of Christ, betaking himself to a new course of life, mistakes 
God's promise, and his faith will end in shame and confusion : Isa. 
Iv. 7, ' Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his 
thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy 
on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.' 

Use 3. Of exhortation. To exhort you to such an entire resignation 
of yourselves to the will of God, and dependence upon his promises, 
that you may be prepared to go on with your duty, whatever hazards 
you incur by it. 

To press you to this, consider how obedience and dependence do 
mutually befriend each other. It may be made good by these two 
considerations (1.) None can hope for salvation but he that keeps 
God's way; (2.) None can keep God's way but he that hopes 
for salvation. They each depend upon one another. 

1. None can hope for salvation but he that would keep God's way, 
because God hath by a wise ordination conjoined ends and means. 
He hath not simply promised blessedness, but requires a qualification 
and a performance of duty in the persons to whom the promise is 
made : Ps. i. 1 , 2, ' Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel 
of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the 
seat of the scornful : but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and 
in his law doth he meditate day and night.' And Ps. cxix. 1, 2, 
' Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the 
Lord : blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him 
with the whole heart.' There is blessedness ; ay, but we must keep 
the way of the Lord, and that punctually, and be undefiled in that 
way. To look upon one side of the covenant, as upon the promises 
only, is a groundless presumption ; so that whosoever live in any sin 
against conscience, they may take notice how fearful their estate is 


for the present, how needful ft is to begin a good course before they 
can have any good hope towards God. 

Besides, there is no such course to damp our hope and weaken our 
confidence as sin. Surely we cannot trust him whom we offend freely 
and without restraint. Sin will breed shame and fear, as pain will 
follow upon the prick of a needle ; and where it is allowed, you will 
soon find the effects of it. On the contrary, faith and love go to 
gether ; faith that hopes in his promises, and love that seeketh to 
please God. Sin, that now weakens the faith we have in the command 
ment, will in time weaken the faith we have in the promises. It may 
be for the present our confidence in God's mercy and promises is not 
directly assaulted ; we bear on with a little slight hope till the hour of 
death, or the time of some extraordinary trial ; but when the evil day 
comes, the consciousness of any one sin which we have indulged, 
allowed, and lived in, will be of like force to withdraw our assent from 
God's mercies, as the delight and pleasure of sin is now to tempt us to 
transgress his commandments ; ' For the sting of death is sin, and the 
strength of sin is the law/ 1 Cor. xv. 56. When we feel the stings of 
sin, then we shall doubt of the mercies of God. And that is the reason 
why dying persons, when they are serious, have so many troubled 
thoughts within them. And take the experience of the godly, they 
find this still ; when they have been acquainted with a spiritual life, 
their hope increases by their diligence in a holy life. And the scripture 
tells us so : Heb. vi. 11, ' And we desire that every one of you do show 
the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end.' The 
more diligent we are in a holy life, the more hope and the more con 
fidence we shall have in God's mercy and in the merits of Christ ; for 
then our qualification is more clear. So far as a man neglects his 
duty and abates in his qualification, so far does his assurance abate ; 
it must needs be so. Therefore, mark, none can hope for salvation but 
he that will keep God's way, and that is resolved to be at God's direction. 

2. None can keep God's way but those that hope for his salvation ; 
for without this we can never have a heart or head to do anything for 
God. It is a notable passage of Bernard, Peccator nihil expectat, in- 
deque peccator est, quod bonis prcesentibus non solum detentus, sed 
etiam contentus A sinner hopes for nothing, and therefore he is a 
sinner, because he is not only withheld by present things, but satisfied 
with them. They that look for no great matters from God in another 
world, no wonder they are so negligent and careless of their duty ; they 
can never be diligent in his service, or faithful and true to him. Besides, 
the difficulties and dangers which attend us, if we will be sincerely 
obedient, are so many and great, that if we begin with God, we shall 
not go on with him unless we surely depend on the blessedness he 
offereth to us : Heb. x. 39, ' We are not of them that draw back to 
perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul ; 5 that is, 
who purchase the salvation of the soul with the loss of other things, as 
the word signifies. Well, then, let these always be coupled : if 
we would keep the commandments of God, we must hope for the 
salvation of God ; and if we would hope for the salvation of God, we 
must keep the commandments of God, This is most acceptable to 
God, most comfortable to you, and most honourable to religion. It is 


most acceptable to God: Ps. cxlvii. 11, ' The Lord taketh pleasure in 
them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.' Oh ! when these 
two are coupled, the fear to offend him and dependence upon his grace 
in Christ, the Lord takes pleasure in them. And it will be most com 
fortable to you: Acts ix. 31, 'They walked in the fear of the Lord, 
and in the comforts of the Holy Ghost.' And it is most honourable 
to religion, for this is the religion of Christ's making ; religion is then 
in its true constitution and frame : Mat. xi. 29, ' Take my yoke upon 
you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall 
find rest for your souls/ When we reflect upon the proper ground of 
comfort, the mercy of God, the covenant of grace, and the merits of the 
Redeemer, and keep up a due care of obedience, this is Christian re 
ligion. And it is an honourable thing in the world ; and this will 
show that you are sincere and upright ; and that after a while that you 
have gone on walking in his fear, and in the comforts of the Holy 
Ghost, you shall enjoy his blessed presence in heaven. 


By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed 
about seven days. HEB. xi. 30. 

IN the last verse we have represented the faith of Israel under the con 
duct of Moses, now we shall represent their faith under the conduct 
of Joshua. There we saw what was done in their passage out of 
Egypt, here we shall see what is done in their entrance into Canaan. 
' By faith the walls of Jericho fell down/ &c. Here is 

1. The grace exercised Faith. 

2. The event that followed The walls of Jericho fell down. 

3. The manner how it was accomplished After they were com 
passed about seven days. Where (1.) The means, ' They were com 
passed about ; ' (2.) The time, ' Seven days.' 

1. The grace exercised Faith. The great skill of Christians is to 
find out the new testament pre-signified in the old, and the old testa 
ment fulfilled in the new ; both agree to tell us the way of living by 
faith in Christ. Joshua was a type of Christ, as his name shows, 
which in the new testament is always written Jesus : as Acts vii. 45, 
' They were brought in with Jesus into the possession of the gentiles,' 
and Heb. iv. 8, ' If Jesus had given them rest ;' that is, Joshua. Now 
this also was the name of our Lord : Mat. i. 21, ' Thou shalt call his 
name Jesus (which signifies a saviour), for he shall save his people 
from their sins.' Joshua was a great captain ; and Christ is the 'cap 
tain of our salvation,' Heb. ii. 10. Joshua was to overcome strong 
holds, and whatever let the people's possessing the land of promise ; 
so doth Christ demolish all strongholds, the devil and the grave, death 
and hell, that he may introduce us into the heavenly Canaan, the land 
of our eternal rest. Joshua overcame by God's appointed means, by 

VOL. xv. B 


the priests marching before, and the ark of the covenant following, and 
then the people : Joshua vi. 8, ' And it came to pass when Joshua had 
spoken unto the people, that the seven priests, bearing the^ seven 
trumpets of ranis' horns, passed on before the Lord, and blew with the 
trumpets, and the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them,' &c. 
So doth Christ overcome by the gospel ; the ark of the covenant is our 
strength : Ps. cv. 4, ' Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face 
evermore.' The priests blowing with trumpets of rams' horns is a 
figure of the power of the ministry ; for so the apostle explains this: 2 
Cor x. 4, 5, ' For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty 
through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imagi 
nations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge 
of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of 
Christ/ As they by the blast of their trumpets were to throw down 
this strong city, the way to be partakers of this benefit is faith ; they 
walked about with the ark of the covenant, and the priests blowing 
their trumpets, submitting to God's direction ; they expected the event; 
and so the prayer of faith will do very much to the demolishing of the 
strongholds of Satan as we go to the promised land. 

2. The event that followed the walls of Jericho falling down ; their 
hope was not frustrated. If we will believe God's promises, and exe 
cute his commands, we need no shifts, or artifices, or secular policy, 
or means of our own, to work deliverance for us. To evidence the 
greatness of the success, we must know 

[1.] That Jericho was a strong and well-fenced city, one of those 
which frighted the spies who were sent to view the land : Num. xiii. 
20, ' The cities are walled, and very great/ And see how the people 
aggravate the report of the spies ; Deut. i. 28, ' The cities are great, 
and walled up to heaven ; and, moreover, we have seen the sons of the 
Anakim there.' Every rumour increases in the spreading. This 
city, amongst others, to men's eyes seemed impregnable, so much we 
gather from Joshua, chap vi. 1, 'Now Jericho was straitly shut up, 
because of the children of Israel ; none went out, and none came in/ 
In the Hebrew (and so it is noted in the margin), the city ' did shut 
up itself ; ' that is, it was strongly fortified in itself, both by its situa 
tion and by art, and was shut up by the obstinacy of the inhabi 

[2.] It was a frontier town, the first that kept them from entering far 
into Canaan, being the first city of Canaan on the west side of Jordan, by 
which the people entered into the land ; and until this rub and impedi 
ment was taken out of the way, they could not safely make any further 
passage. Now, if they should miscarry in their first attempt, it would, in 
the eyes of the Canaanites, bring a disreputation upon their arms and 
contradict the report of the mighty wonders that were wrought for them ; 
and in the eyes of the Israelites it would be a great discouragement to 
their faith. Therefore, in this first attempt, God would open a safe and 
ready way and passage to his people,and by this victory give them a pledge 
of further mercy. And therefore, upon their faith and obedience to God, 
the walls fell flat to the ground, Joshua vi. 20, for nothing can stand 
betore the power of God and the faith of his people. Now this gave 
great courage to Israel to see that God owned them in it ; but it was a 


great terror to the Canaanites ; for in fighting against his people, they 
were to fight with God. 

3. The manner, how it was accomplished ' After it was compassed 
about seven days : ' where -take notice of the means and time. 

[1.] The means is intimated in the word, ' They were compassed 
about/ To understand which, we must have recourse to the stoiy. 
They had a special command from God to walk about Jericho, and 
had a promise that it should fall down flat, Joshua vi. 4, 5. Now their 
faith was manifested by obedience to his command and dependence 
upon his promise. The means may be considered negatively or posi 
tively ; what they did not. and what they did. 

(1.) Negatively, what they did not. (1.) They make no trenches to 
keep themselves safe. (2.) They stand not in battle array to repel the 
excursions of their enemies, but march on one after another in the order 
prescribed : Josfiua vi. 9, ' The armed men went before the priests that 
blew the trumpets ; and the rear-ward came after the ark, the priests 
going on and blowing with the trumpets/ (3.) They lay no formal 
siege to assault the city ; set no engines of battery against the walls. 
(4.) The people raised no cry to create terror : Joshua vi. 10, ' And 
Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor 
make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word come out of 
your mouth, until the day I bid you shout, then shall ye shout/ It 
was meet that no noise should be heard, but that God's voice should 
be attended upon with silence and quietness on the people's part, that 
it might visibly appear their enemies were not overcome by the power 
of men, but of God. So that, by this negative view, we see the victory 
was not to be accomplished by force of arms, effusion of blood, or any 
other means which carnal reason or common sense would suggest ; for 
God, without blow or bloodshed, can bring mighty things to pass. 

(2.) Positively, what means they used : nothing but a procession of 
the ark, and armed men, and seven priests with seven trumpets of rams' 
horns sounding to them. Silver trumpets were not used, though in a 
general case they were prescribed : Num. x. 9, ' And if you go to war 
in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow 
an alarm with the trumpets, and ye shall be remembered before the 
Lord your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies/ And an 
instance of the success of it we have in the Jews' war against apostate 
Israel, when they say, 2 Chron. xiii. 12, ' And, behold, God himself is 
with us for our captain, and his priests with sounding trumpets to cry 
alarm against you : children of Israel, fight ye not against the Lord 
God of your fathers, for you shall not prosper/ This promise annexed 
to the signs was fulfilled, and was a type and pledge of God's blessing 
when his ministers stir up his people against Satan, sin, and antichrist, 
wherein the Lord will be with them and bless their labours. This 
was to be ordinarily done by silver trumpets, but in this case God 
would try them by more despicable means, by trumpets made with 
rams' horns. And then the ark followed the priests, which was a special 
evidence of God's presence among them ; for when the ark was lifted 
up, the priests were to cry, ' Eise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be 
scattered, and let them that hate thee flee before thee,' Num. x. 35. A 
type of Christ's ascension and conquering the enemies of our salvation ; 


as ye shall see the same words are used, Ps. Ixviii. 1, c Let God arise, 
and let his enemies be scattered ; let them also that hate him flee be 
fore him ' And that psalm is a prophecy of Christ's ascension, as 
appears by the 18th and 19th verses, compared with Eph. iv. 8-10. 
As the ark was among the Israelites, so is Christ among his people ; 
and what ground the church had because of that pledge of God's pre 
sence to expect deliverance, we have the same ground, yea, a more sure 
ground of confidence in Christ. Whenever he begins to stir and show 
himself, woe be to those that oppose his kingdom and interest m the 
world ; 'he hath the same care, power, and faithfulness towards his 
people' that ever he had at first. When he ascended up to heaven, he 
went thither conquering and triumphing, and still can subdue and 
conquer a rebellious world to himself. Well, in this order they 
went round about the city for six days together ; and the event suc 
ceeded : this was to prove their faith the more, and to try their obedi 
ence and patience. 

[2.] We come to the time' After they had compassed about the 
city seven days.' They were every day to make this procession once ; 
and the event appeared not till the last and seventh day. No reason 
can be given why it must be the seventh day but God's will ; only a 
septenary is a sacred number. On the seventh day, when the signal 
fore-appointed was given, the people gave a shout, and the event suc 
ceeded ; the walls fell down. 

Now, from the means thus positively considered, I might observe two 

(1.) That the means seemed ridiculous in the eye of reason; for 
what could seven priests blowing of seven rams' horns be to overturn 
such great and strong walls ? But God's command and promise will 
do great matters, for he can bring his ends to pass by means that have 
not any natural aptitude and fitness thereunto. And the apostle saith, 
2 Cor. x. 4, ' The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty 
through God to the pulling down of strongholds.' And faith must 
use such means as God hath appointed, though they seem weak. 

(2.) Though these means seem ineffectual at first, yet we must tarry 
God's leisure ; they will succeed in time, and they shall do what God 
intendeth to do by them. The walls of Jericho shall not fall down 
till the seventh day God hath his set time to bring his people out of 
Egyptian bondage, and he kept touch to a day, though he seemed 
almost to break his word, for it was night before they went forth : 
Exod. xii. 41, ' And it came to pass, at the end of the four hundred 
and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the 
hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.' And so in many 
other cases. Our times are always present with us out of impatiency 
of the flesh, when it may be God's time is not yet come. But they 
that would faithfully promote the interests of Christ's kingdom must 
tarry God's leisure. 

Doct, That it is the property of faith to adhere faithfully to the in 
terest of Christ's kingdom, quietly waiting for his salvation. 

The business of the apostle in this chapter is to confirm the minds 
of the believers in adhering to Christianity against the temptations of 
that age, which were of two sorts (1.) The slender appearance of the 


growth and progress of that religion ; the church of God being but as 
a grain of mustard-seed cast into the ground, and coming up at first 
but with a few slender stalks and branches, which promised no great 
increase. (2.) The other temptation was the manifold oppositions 
they met with; their profession exposing them to great troubles, 
therefore they were quite discouraged, some began to forsake the 
assemblies of the faithful, and to be weary of persecuted Christianity. 
Now, to cure them of this disease, he shows them what faith hath done 
in all ages, and what great things have been accomplished by weak 
means, whilst God's people had a heart to depend upon him ; and 
among the rest, he produces this instance of the taking and demolishing 
of Jericho by the blowing of rams' horns. If this instance were useful 
for them, it is so for us ; for all ages have their discouragements, and 
feeble minds soon faint and give out upon the least opposition. There 
fore let us see what we shall learn from thence. I shall lay down 
seven propositions 

First, That Christ's purpose after his ascension was to destroy the 
kingdom of darkness. This is evident : Ps. ex. 1, ' The Lord said unto 
my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy 
footstool' Christ upon the throne hath enemies here in the world, 
but in due time they shall be his footstool. He shall gain upon op 
position, and against opposition, and by opposition ; and they shall be 
so far from overturning his throne, that his enemies shall be a step or 
footstool to get into it. The same is emblematically set forth, Rev. 
vi. 2, * And I saw, and behold a white horse : and he that sat on him 
had a bow ; and a crown was given unto him : and he went forth con 
quering, and to conquer.' This is a notable representation of the rise 
and progress of Christ's kingdom ; he comes forth upon a white horse, 
and his furniture is a crown and a bow. His crown notes his dignity, and 
his bow the armour and weapons whereby he promotes his authority : 
Ps. xlv. 3, 4, ' Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, most Mighty, with 
thy glory and thy majesty. And in thy majesty ride prosperously, 
because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness; and thy right 
hand shall teach thee terrible things.' Christ is furnished to subdue 
and conquer, and bring as many as he pleases into a subjection to his 
kingdom ; for it is added, ver. 5, * Thine arrows are sharp in the heart 
of the king's enemies ; whereby the people fall under thee/ He hath 
weapons to wound the consciences of sinners, and pierce deep into their 
hearts. Having a grant of a kingdom over the nations, his design is 
to conquer and carry all before him, and he will do it. 

Secondly, This kingdom of darkness is the state which is opposite to 
Christ's kingdom as mediator. The devils are said to be ' rulers of 
the darkness of this world,' Eph. vi. 12; and their power is called the 
power of darkness, as opposite to the kingdom of Christ, ' Who hath 
delivered us from the power of darkness,' Col. i. 13. The gospel. king 
dom is a kingdom of light, life, and love, where we have the clearest 
knowledge of God that begets life in us, and love to God and his 
people. Now opposite to light is ignorance and error ; opposite to life 
is a religion that consists of shows and dead ceremonies ; and opposite 
to love is uncharitableness, malice, hatred, especially of the power of 
godliness. Now, where these eminently prevail, there is an opposite 


kingdom set up against the kingdom of Christ, and this is done by two 
sorts of people (1.) By all those that continue in the old apostasy 
and defection of mankind from God ; as all men in their natural state, 
and eminently by the gentiles and idolatrous heathen world, who live 
in ignorance of the true God, and are dead in trespasses and sins, and 
where envy, pride, malice, and ambition reign, instead of the spirit of 
o-oodness and love which the gospel would produce. Now these men 
oppose the light that shines to them : John iii. 19, ' This is the con 
demnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness 
rather than light, because their deeds were evil.' (2.) It may be and 
is done by a second foiling away from Christ, which is foretold : 2 Thes. 
ii. 3, ' That day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, 
and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition ; ' that is, the day 
of judgment will not come till there be a falling away first. Now^this 
falling off from Christ's kingdom is there where, in opposition to light, 
error is taught and ignorance is counted the mother of devotion, and 
people are restrained from the means of knowledge, as if the height of 
Christian faith and obedience did consist in believing what men would 
impose upon them by their bare authority. And where, instead of 
life, men place their whole religion in some superficial rites and cere 
monies, and some trifling acts of seeming devotion and exterior morti 
fication ; this is a kingdom opposite to that lively religion which Christ 
hath established. And instead of love to God and souls, all things are 
sacrificed to men's private ambition ; and conscience is forced by the 
highest penalties and persecutions to submit to the corruptions of the 
Christian faith and worship. And wherever this prevails, there is a 
manifest perversion of the interest of Christ's kingdom. Now this is 
the Jericho, the block in the way of God's people in their passage to 
the heavenly rest. Now both these apostasies, the general apostasy 
from God, and the special apostasy from Christ, are defended by the 
authority and power of the world, and upheld by the interests of several 
nations which own and practise these things; and God's people, in 
opposing them, are put to great difficulties. Therefore we are told 
that God's witnesses are slain in the city : ' And their dead bodies shall 
lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and 
Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified,' Rev. xi. 8 ; that is, the city 
which answers to Sodom for impurity, to Egypt for idolatry, and to 
Jerusalem for persecution of the saints ; for that is the city wherein 
our Lord was crucified ; he would not say Zion, because that is the 
name of the church. And till the wall of the city fall down (as it is 
prophesied there the tenth part of the wall shall fall down), there is 
an impediment and block in the way of Christianity. 

Thirdly, To demolish this corrupt estate we are all to be active in 
our several places ; for we are employed as soldiers under the captain 
of our salvation. Our great business in the world is to promote the 
kingdom of light, life, and love ; to be sure we enter into it ourselves, 
and to bring as many as we can along with us. (1.) That we enter 
into it ourselves, for much of the kingdom of God is within us : Luke 
xvii. 21, 'For behold the kingdom of God is within you.' And we 
must all become light in the Lord : Eph. v. 8, ' Ye were sometimes 
darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord.' And we that were dead 


in trespasses and sins must be quickened in Christ: Eph. ii. 1, 'You 
hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.' And then 
the love of God must bear rule in our hearts, and fill us with all meek 
ness, purity, charity, goodness, holiness, and heavenly-mindedness ; we 
must see we be not of the opposite party of Christ. Now Christ hath 
much to do with every individual person before he can settle his king 
dom in their hearts. There is a mighty combat between Christ and 
Satan for the rescue of every sinner that is recovered to God. The 
strong man seeks to keep his castle till a stronger than he comes to 
dispossess him : Luke xi. 21, * When the strong man armed keeps the 
house, his goods are in peace.' Satan is the strong man armed, and 
the heart of every unconverted sinner is his garrison, which he keeps 
shut up against Christ by prejudices, carnal interests, worldly inclina 
tions, and sensual allurements ; and this strong man must be cast out, 
and his fort stormed and demolished, before a sinner can be gained, 
and brought to change masters, and leave his obstinate impenitency. 
Christ draws one way, the sinner another ; for many times we seem 
ready to repent, but then we are drawn off again, loath to quit our 
carnal pleasures and company, and we would sit down and be quiet in 
our sins, but Christ will not let us alone, till at last we leave the fort 
to him. (2.) When Christ's government is set up in the heart, where 
Satan reigned before, then we must most earnestly seek to promote his 
interest in the world, and that others be fellows with us in the same 
grace. Naturally ' all seek their own things, and not the things of 
Jesus Christ,' Phil. ii. 21. But when we are the Lord's, and really 
made partakers of his grace, every one in his place must be a priest to 
God, we must blow the trumpet ; by our desires, prayers, endeavours, 
and holy example, we must seek to promote Christ's kingdom, and 
draw others into the divine life. For this is one great effect of the 
love of God planted in our hearts, to convert others when we are con 7 
verted ourselves : Lukexxii. 32, ' When thou art converted, strengthen 
thy brethren.' We are to invite them to have communion with us, as 
we have with the Father and the Son : 1 John i. 3, ' That which we 
have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fel 
lowship with us ; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with 
his Son Jesus Christ/ Grace is and will be diffusive of itself ; as fire 
turns all near it into fire, so every one in his capacity will endeavour 
to bring home others to God. 

Fourthly, To do this we have means in the eye of sense very weak, 
whatever they are in the eye of. faith. Our means are to appearance 
weak ; like those in the text, they carried about the ark of the cove 
nant, and made a blast with rams' horns. The preaching of the gospel, 
the prayers of the church, the faith and holy conversation of believers, 
and the patience of the saints, these are the means by these and such 
like is the kingdom of sin, Satan, and antichrist demolished, and 
Christ's kingdom is set up in the world. These means are proper to 
the Mediator's dispensation, whose kingdom ' comes not with observa 
tion,' Luke xvii. 10. But his kingdom is not carried on in a way of 
external pomp, but by internal power and virtue. The word preached 
is one means, as the apostle tells us that by the preaching of the cross 
he was the great solicitor to proselyte, gain, and recover the world : 


1 Cor. i. 18, ' The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolish 
ness, but unto us wriich are saved it is the power of God.' Use this 
means, and see what it will do. So the prayers of the church ; for 
Christ taught us to pray, ' Thy kingdom come.' Acts iv. 24, ' And 
when they heard that, they lift up their voice with one accord ; ' ver. 31, 
' And when they had prayed, the place was shaken, where they were 
assembled together, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and 
they spake the word of God with boldness.' So also the holy conversation 
of believers : Mat. v. 16, ' Let your light so shine before men, that they 
may see your good works, and glorify your Father that is in heaven ; ' 
1 Peter ii. 12, ' Having your conversation honest among the gentiles ; 
that whereas they spake against you as evil-doers, they may, by your 
good works which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visita 
tion ;' 1 Peter iii. 1, ' If any obey not the word, they may without the 
word be won by the conversation of their wives.' This overcomes 
prejudice, and endeareth and reconciles religion, and represents the 
goodness of it to the consciences of men. Another means is by meek 
and humble sufferings: Eev. xii. 11, ' And they overcame him by the 
blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony : and they 
loved not their lives unto the death.' These were the means by which 
they got the victory over the pagan world. Thus is the opposition 
made by the kingdom of darkness against the kingdom of Christ borne 
down and demolished, and these strongholds brought to nought. 

Fifthly, Though the means be weak, yet our faith must be strong ; 
for there are mighty props to bear us up, viz., the decree and de 
signation of God, seconded with his mighty power, the death and 
resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and the promise and power of the Holy 

1. The decree and designation of God, seconded with his mighty 
power. The decree of God : Ps. ii. 6, ' Yet have I set my king upon 
my holy hill of Sion ; ' that is, appointed Christ to rule over the nations ; 
and they that set themselves against God's decree, they do but imagine 
a vain thing, ver. 1. Now this is a mighty encouragement to all those 
that seek in their place to remove the corruptions whereby Christ's 
interest is obstructed and interrupted in the world, that they act with 
God, and seek to advance that which his decree hath established and 
his heart is set upon. The other branch is, that this purpose of God 
is backed with his almighty power, which can easily remove all im 
pediments ; and when he will take to himself and put forth his great 
power, opposition gives way of itself. So the scripture speaks : Ps. 
cxiv. 3, * The sea saw it, and fled ; Jordan was driven back/ He 
alludes to the drying up of the sea and the water of Jordan to give 
his people passage ; and when God puts forth his power, no opposition 
can hinder nor impediment stand in the way. Acts xii. 7, Peter's 
chains fell off from his hands when the angel bid him arise, and the 
iron gate opened on its own accord ; so here the walls of Jericho fell 
down. We expect not miracles, yet still there are acts of wonderful 
power for the preserving and advancing of Christ's interest in the 
world, and when the season is come, opposition shall give way of itself. 

2. You have the merit and intercession of Christ, the merit of his 
humiliation here upon earth, and the power of his intercession in 


heaven. His merit on earth, for one end for which the blood of Christ 
was shed was to promote the interest of his kingdom, and to fetch men 
off from their inveterate prejudices and superstitions ; and therefore 
the apostle saith, 1 Peter i. 18, 19, ' You are redeemed not with cor 
ruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received 
by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of the Son 
of God/ &c. How shall we bring men off from their opposition which 
is confirmed in them, and hath been the religion of their fathers and 
grandfathers for many generations ? Oh ! see what the blood of Christ 
can do ; it hath a mighty virtue in it to take off this opposition. And 
so his intercession in heaven : Ps. ex. 1, ' The Lord said, unto my 
Lortf, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy 
footstool.' Christ is at the right hand of God, and there he is to sit 
till all opposition be destroyed, which is a mighty encouragement to all 
that are factors and agents for his kingdom here below. He is at God's 
right hand, pleading for them before God the Father : John xvii. 10, 
' All mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them.' 
They are those that take his part in the world ; and he is their advocate 
and intercessor at God's right hand, to prosper their endeavours, to 
pardon their failings, to remove impediments that lie in their way, 
there he is pleading with God. 

3. The mighty and all-conquering spirit that proceedeth both from 
the Father and the Son. Of this Spirit of God I shall say two things 
(1.) That he is invincible and almighty, and therefore his operations 
are suitable to the agent. Oh I what mighty things hath this Spirit 
done as to the demolishing strongholds ! Heretofore by this Spirit the 
apostles and messengers of Christ wrought miracles, cured diseases, cast 
out devils, conveyed gifts by laying on of hands, silenced oracles, and 
so everywhere destroyed the kingdom and power of Satan, and con 
vinced the world of the truth of this despised religion. And still his 
mighty force is seen in enlightening and convincing men's minds of the 
truth of the Christian religion, and furnishing his people with gifts, and 
converting others, and changing them from sinners to saints : 1 Cor. 
vi. 11, ' Such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sancti 
fied, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the 
Spirit of our God.' (2.) This Spirit is promised to be with us in the 
faithful dispensing of Christ's ordinances : Mat. xxviii. 20, ' Lo, I will 
be with you always to the end of the world/ In the whole flux and 
course of the gospel kingdom he is with us. Now Christ is with us by 
his Spirit ; for when he departed, the Comforter came to supply his 
absence : therefore, if he be with us, it is by his Spirit. Therefore, 
upon all these grounds, how mean and despicable soever the means 
appear, let us believe the Lord our God, who hath set his King on his 
holy hill, established him by his decree, which is backed by a mighty 
power, and the Lord Jesus represents his merit, and we have the pre 
sence and promise of a mighty conquering Spirit : 2 Chron. xx. 20, 
' Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established ; believe his 
prophets, so shall ye prosper/ 

Sixthly, If our whole dependence be upon God, we must be sure to 
keep God's direction, and use only regular and holy means, such as he 
hath prescribed as our duty to observe, Here the Israelites every day 


were to make the procession about the city, ^and the seventh day 
seven times, and all in silence ; unless it were with blowing the rams' 
horns, they were not to raise a shout till the signal was given. We 
cannot expect success in what is not of faith. By carnal and unlawful 
means we forfeit God's protection, and lose his blessing, for he is not 
bound to maintain us in our sin. Our dependence supposes obedience ; 
if we trust in God we must be true to him : Ps. xxxvii. 34, ' Wait on 
the Lord, and keep his way ;' 1 Peter iv. 19, ' Commit the keeping of 
your souls to him in well-doing.' 

Seventhly, Keeping to God's direction, you must wait his leisure, 
or tarry for the time and season which God hath appointed. Six days 
the wall stands fast, not a stone stirred, and for a good part oft the 
seventh, but upon the evening of the seventh day all comes tumbling 
down : Hab. ii. 3, ' The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the 
end it shall speak, and not lie ; though it tarry, wait for it ; because it 
will surely come, it will not tarry.' Every dispensation of God hath 
its prefixed period ; as the mercy, so the timing of the mercy is merely 
in God's hand. It is not always ready at our beck and call, but we 
must wait God's time, who hath his seasons of afflicting and trial as 
well as of delivering. We must not miscarry through weakness or 
haste, either give over as discouraged, or break out into any unlawful 
action to help ourselves : Isa. xxviii. 16, ' He that believeth will not 
make haste.' It is in vain to hope, but while we are waiting and 
acting in our place and calling. For the promoting of God's kingdom 
in the world we must tarry God's leisure. We can neither prevent 
nor put off God's time. 

Use 1. The use is to encourage all those who wish well to the pro 
pagation of Christ's kingdom, and are troubled at the stumbling-blocks 
that are in the way. Consider what may be done, and what hath been 
done, and both will encourage you to wait upon God. 

1. Consider what may be done. 

[1.] Christ is the governor of the world ; all power is put into his 
hands, to be employed for the good of his people : John v. 22, ' The 
Father hath committed all judgment to the Son.' He hath the govern 
ment of angels, devils, men, and of all events in the world. Things 
are not left to their own arbitrament and uncertain contingency, but 
they are administered by our wise and powerful Eedeemer. It is not 
Satan which governs the world, but Christ ; therefore all that are of 
Christ's confederacy are of the surer side, for they are with the gover 
nor of the world, and then what may not be done ? 

[2.] He is the head of the church as well as governor of the world : 
Eph. v. 22, ' And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to 
be head over all things to the church.' He is more concerned than 
we can be. The church is not ours, but his ; and he is fitter to be 
trusted with the concernments of it than we, and more tender of its 
welfare than we are or can be ; therefore by the prayer of faith let us 
recommend his own affairs to him. 

[3.] Christ's manner of governing should not be disliked by those 
that have faith, though sense despise it. His manner is not to subdue 
the world by the visible force of a strong hand, as an earthly con 
queror, but by his word and Spirit, and the secret conduct of his pro- 


vidence : Zech. Iv. 6, ' ISTot by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, 
saith the Lord of hosts.' The world dotes upon might and power, 
because that is the next visible means ; but God will do his business 
another way. A little key will open a door sooner than an iron bar. 
His holy and invisible means will do it better than all those ways 
which carnal wisdom suggests. 

[4.] Considering the groundwork laid in his death and intercession, 
surely these means should not be contemptible. (1.) His word is a 
powerful instrument : Ps. ex. 3, ' The Lord shall send the rod of thy 
strength out of Zion ; rule them in the midst of thy enemies/ The 
word of the Lord is the rod of his strength ; and it is called the ' arm 
of the Lord/ Isa. liii, 1, and ' the power of God unto salvation,' Rom. 
i. 16*. A mighty word it is, and doth mighty things in the hearts of 
God's people and in the world. Satan's kingdom is demolished, and 
so is antichrist destroyed by his word : 2 T,hes. ii. 8, ' Then shall the 
widked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of 
his mouth.' (2.) Then for the other branch, what can stand before 
the all-conquering Spirit of Christ ? You see it in that servant of 
God, Stephen: Acts vi. 10, ' They* could not resist the wisdom and 
spirit by which he spake.' There is a spirit dispensed by the gospel 
that can turn a lion into a lamb : Isa, xi. 6, ' The wolf shall dwell 
with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid ; ' bring 
us to love what we hale ; ' to delight in the law of God/ Eom. vii. 22. 
Whereas before, our carnal mind was ' enmity against God/ Rom. viii. 
7, that can change us, that bore the image of Satan and the earthly 
one, into the image and likeness of God : 2 Cor. iii. 18, ' We all with 
open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed 
into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the 
Lord/ He can turn a ' thorn into a fir-tree, and the briar into a 
myrtle-tree/ Isa. Iv. 13. All these expressions the scripture useth to 
set forth the mighty things and changes which the Spirit of God can 
make. Thus consider what may be done. 

2. Let us consider what is past, and how the gospel was planted at 
first. When the Lord Jesus first came to set up the kingdom of light, 
life, and love, what did he do? The gospel was planted at first not 
by force or human power, but only by the heavenly divine power of 
the Lord's grace. It was not the power of the long sword, but the 
demonstration of the Spirit, which converted the world. The apostles, 
when they were sent abroad, had no temporal interests to lean to, no 
worldly powers that were friendly to back them ; yet the gospel pre 
vailed and got up in the world. These things were remarkable in 
the first spreading of the gospel 

[1.] The doctrine itself is contrary to corrupt nature ; it doth not 
court the senses nor woo the flesh by the offers of pleasure, or profit, 
or splendour of life ; but teaches us to deny all these things, and to 
expect persecutions, and to be contented with spiritual comforts, and 
the recompenses of the other world: Mat. xvi. 24, 'If any man will 
come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow 
me/ Christ did not allure his followers, as Mahomet, with fair pro 
mises of security and carnal pleasure, but tells us of mortification and 
the cross. It teaches us to row against the stream of flesh and blood 


and to bear out sail against all the blasts and furious winds of oppo 
sition. The stream runs smoothly when wind and tide go^ together, 
where a carnal doctrine is set afoot among carnal men. But in Christ s 
doctrine there is nothing lovely to move a carnal eye ; this doctrine 
taught the proud world humility ; the uncharitable world, love to all 
men, even to their enemies ; the unchaste world, that a lustful glance 
is adultery; the revengeful world, to turn the other cheek to the 
smiter ; the covetous world, to be liberal, not to cark and take thought 
for worldly things, but to lay up our treasure in heaven ; the dissolute 
world, to walk circumspectly in all godliness and honesty. This was 
the doctrine that prevailed. 

[2.] Who were the persons and instruments that were made use of 
to promote this doctrine ? They were contemptible persons, a few 
fishermen, destitute of all worldly props and aids, of no power, and 
wealth, and authority, and other such advantages as are apt to beget 
a repute in the world ; yet they preached, and converted many nations, 
though they had no public interest to countenance them, though they 
were not backed with the power of princes or the countenance of 
worldly potentates. We are told, "Frov. xxix, 26, 'Many seek the 
ruler's favour.' But the gospel had a firm footing in the world long 
ere there was a prince to countenance it, and many to persecute it. 
And as the instruments were poor, so the first professors of the Chris 
tian religion were generally poor also : James ii. 5, ' God hath chosen 
the poor of this world, rich in faith ; ; and 1 Cor. i. 26, ' Not many wise 
men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called/' 
And therefore it is much, being so destitute of worldly succour and 
support, that the gospel should be able to hold up its head in the 
world ; but it did. 

[3.] The powers of the world, as they were not friendly to it, so 
they were set against it. Bonds, sufferings, and afflictions did abide 
for them everywhere that professed this way ; yea, fires were kindled, 
horrible tortures invented ; but no fire was hot enough to consume the 
gospel. When Satan made his hottest onset against it by his bands 
of persecutors, even in the midst of persecution did the church increase 
her strength and glory ; and the martyrs' blood was the church's seed. 
No rage of man was strong enough to bear down Christ, no sword sharp 
enough to wound his truth to the death ; never did war, pestilence, or 
famine sweep away so many as the first persecutions did ; the poor 
Christians were murdered, slaughtered, butchered everywhere, yet still 
they multiplied and increased, as the Israelites did in Egypt under 
their cruel bondage, or as a tree lopped sends forth more sprouts. 

[4.] Not only the powers of the world were irritated by Satan, but 
he raised up the most learned philosophers to dispute against the 
gospel, and bend the force of their learning against it ; yet it prevailed 
above all the power of their carnal wit. It was the purpose and 
design of God that the gospel should be sent forth, and set up in such 
a place and age, where and when there were the most learned enemies 
in all the world, that so all their learning might be nonplussed, and 
the gospel triumph over it. Never were there so many learned men 
as about the time of Christ and his apostles ; and if ever reason and 
learning could have disgraced truth, it would have been then. They 


pleaded with words, but Christ with mighty works ; they used so 
phisms and lies to get into men's souls, and he shined into men's souls 
with an insuperable light ; their weapons were weak and carnal, but 
his strong and spiritual ; all was carried on in a plain way, without the 
pomp of words and secular arts, lest the cross of Christ should be of 
non-effect, and that the faith of the world might not stand in high- 
flown notions or the wisdom of men, but in the power of God, 1 Cor. 
ii. 4, 5. Those simple plain men were to deal with men of excellent 
parts and learning, some of which received the gospel, and suffered 
for it. Thus, as Aaron's rod devoured the magicians' serpents, so the 
gospel was too hard for the wisdom of the world, and in the mouths 
of babes did Christ show forth his praise, Ps. viii. 2. 

[5.] Do but consider the wonderful success of the gospel ; it did 
diffuse and spread itself like leaven in the mass and lump through 
out all the parts of the known world, and that within the space of 
thirty or forty years, or thereabout. Saith Tertullian, Hesterni sumus, 
&c. We are but of yesterday, and yet how are we increased ! Look 
upon Christians, and you shall find them in all places, in cities, 
villages, isles, castles, free towns, councils, armies, senates, markets ; 
everywhere but where their religion forbids them to be, in the idols' 
temples. Such a wonderful increase and success the gospel had in 
such a short time, as the apostle tells the Colossians, chap. i. 6, ' The 
gospel is come unto you, as it is in all the world, and bringeth forth 
fruit, as it doth also in you.' 

[6.] There is this circumstance notable in it too ; there were 
Jerichos to be demolished, the world was leavened with prejudices, 
and possessed with many false religions, wherein they and their 
fathers had been bred up and lived a long time. Christ did not 
seize upon the world, as a waste is seized upon by the next comer. 
No ; the ark of God was to be set up in the temple that was already 
occupied and possessed by Dagon. Before Christ could be seated in 
the government of the nations, and settle his law, first Satan was to 
be dispossessed ; the wolf was to be hunted out, that the flock might 
remain in peace. Superstitions received by a long tradition and 
prescription of time were to be removed. Men keep to the religion 
of their ancestors with much reverence and respect. People are loath 
to change their gods, though their worship be never so vain and foolish, 
the gods to whom they have prayed in their adversities, and whom 
they have blessed in their prosperities ; to break their images that 
they have worshipped, and to destroy their temples and altars for 
which they had such veneration and reverence, this seemeth hard and 
severe. How dear idols are to their worshippers, and how people 
are habituated to those superstitions, appears by Kachel's stealing 
away her father's idols, Gen. xxxi. 34. Though she was one of them 
which built God's Israel, yet she had a hankering mind after her 
father's idols. Therefore these things stick by us, and no humours 
are so obstinately stiff as those which are found in religious custom. 
The Jews accused Stephen of saying, Acts vi. 14, * That this Jesus 
of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs 
which Moses delivered us;' and Paul, Acts xvi. 31, 'That he did 
teach customs which are not lawful for us to receive, nor to observe, 


being Bomans.' Certainly it is a very hard thing to bring men out 
of an old religion to a new one ; yet, when the trumpet of the gospel 
sounded, down went all the altars, images, and superstitions of the 
gentiles, and the religion of Jesus took place. 

[7.] I have but one consideration more, and that is, when Satan 
had raised up heretics in the church, to rend the body and divide 
it, as worms that breed in the body and devour it, that so by the 
church he might destroy the church, yet Christ confounded them, 
and a little time did break each sect in pieces, so that those which 
were the great scourge and vexation of one age were scarce known 
to the next but by their names and some obscure report. The 
church of Ephesus had Nicolaitans among them; but they hated 
their doctrine, and within a little while it came to nothing: Kev. ii. 
6, ' But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, 
which I also hate.' And the church of Pergamus had those which 
held the doctrine of Balaam, yet there were ' those that held fast 
Christ's name, and did not deny the faith/ ver. 1 ; and so this 
heresy vanished and departed. So for others, where the light of the 
gospel did quickly disperse those fogs as soon as they arose. When 
any mists arose which did darken the kingdom of light, they were 
presently scattered and confounded. Well, then, here is encourage 
ment for our zeal and fidelity to Christ, to support us in difficult 
cases whatever obstructions are made. Let us trust Christ's means, 
wait upon him with faith and patience, and in due time he will do 
his work. 

Use 2. Let none of us build Jericho again. Joshua imposed a solemn 
curse on those that built the wall of Jericho, because thereby they 
would obliterate the memory of divine power and justice : Joshua vi. 
26, l And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the 
man before the Lord that raiseth up and buildeth this city Jericho ; 
he shall lay the foundation thereof in his first-born, and in his youngest 
son shall he set up the gates thereof.' Which curse we find fulfilled : 
1 Kings xvi. 34, ' In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho ; 
he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his first-born, and set up 
the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of 
the Lord, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun.' Cursed are 
they that revive old superstitions. 


By faith the harlot Eaha~b perished not with them that believed not, 
when she had received the spies with peace. HEB. xi. 31. 

IN this verse observe 

1. The person spoken of Eahab, an harlot and a stranger, bred 
up among idolaters. 

2. The effect of her faith She received the spies ivith peace. 


3. The benefit She perished not ivith them that believed not. Let 
us open these things. 

1. The quality of the person, Bahab the harlot ; she was a gentile 
before, and in that gentile estate an hostess (for the word signifies 
both an harlot and an hostess), and most probably an harlot, for so 
she is spoken of in scripture, and so defiled both in body and mind 
with idolatry and adultery. 

2. Here is the effect of her faith ' She received the spies with 
peace;' that is, with good- will, and entertained them safely. Harbouring 
God's persecuted servants is reckoned an effect of faith in scripture. 
The story is in the 2d chapter of Joshua, where take notice 

[1.] Of the coming of the spies to her house, which might be done 
on their part ignorantly, not knowing it to be a brothel-house ; or 
by divine providence guiding them thither where he had a soul to 
convert ; or they might choose it to avoid suspicion, and that they 
might have the greater liberty to espy all things, she living near the 
walls ; but God makes use of it to another purpose, to be an occasion 
of saving her and her family. 

[2.] The discovery of the spies by that watchful and jealous people ; 
for it was told the king of Jericho that some of the children of Israel 
were come to spy out the land, chap. ii. 2, and he sends to her to bring 
them forth, so that she not only entertains them kindly, but conceals 
them, hazarding her life for their safety ; as we are also ' to lay down 
our lives for the brethren,' 1 John iii. 16 U She was willing to expose 
her life to danger to save her guests, rather than gain the favour of 
the king of the country by betraying them. Here we learn that the 
weakest faith is tried, and does expose us to some self-denial. For 
this young and raw convert is put upon this: the spies came to 
her house, and she in good-will conceals them, when the king sends 
to know what was become of them. 

[3.] The course she took to hide them ; partly by an honest means, 
covering them with stalks of flax in the upper part of the house ; 
and partly by an officious lie, as if they were gone in the dark before 
the shutting in of the gate. Her lie was an infirmity, pardoned by 
God, and not to be exaggerated by men ; as here the apostle mentions 
her faith, but not a word of her lie. There was some weakness in 
the action, but for the main of it, it was a duty expressing great 
confidence in God; and the Holy Ghost puts the finger upon the 
star, and, contrary to the guise of the malignant world, who overlook 
the good and reflect only upon the evil of an action, he takes notice 
of the good, but passeth by the evil. 

[4.] Before the spies were gone from her, she makes a confession 
of her faith to them : Joshua ii. 9-11, ' I know that the Lord hath 
given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that 
all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you : for we have 
heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you, when 
you came out of Egypt ; and what you did unto the two kings of the 
Amorites that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom 
ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our 
hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, 
because of you ; for the Lord your God he is God in heaven above, 


and in earth beneath.' Here is her profession of faith, which is very 
notable in this new convert. In it observe 

(1.) The ground of it, the rumours of the great things which God 
had done for his people. It is said, Koiu. x. 14, ' How shall they 
believe in him of whom they have not heard ? ' This woman had 
heard of God, and the mighty wonders he had done for Israel, and 
this was the ground of her faith. 

(2.) The efficient cause. God thereby touched her heart, and 
gave her some saving knowledge of himself. The Canaanites 
had heard, as well as she, of those mighty works of God, yet they 
believed not, but grew obstinate, and perished in their resolution to 
resist the Israelites, and therefore were exterminated. They heard 
to some degree of fear, 'for their hearts melted within them;' but 
they heard not to any degree of faith, for they submitted not, but pre 
pared to resist the purpose of God, and his design of giving his people 
the land. Thus it was by the secret power of God's Spirit. 

(3.) The fulness of her profession. It is well observed by Origen, 
Ilia, quce aliquando erat meretrix, cum Spiritu Sancto repleta est, et 
de prceteritis confiletur, de prcesentibus vero credit, prophetat et prce- 
nuntiat defuturis The woman that was sometimes an harlot, when 
she was wrought upon by the Holy Ghost, she believeth what is past, 
she acknowledged what is present, she foretelleth what is to come. 
So that here is a full confession. For what is past, she acknowledged 
the truth of the miracles which God had wrought, to show his love 
and care over his people. For what is present, she believes God to 
be the true God. For what is to come, she believes confidently that 
God would give the land into their hand ; though the people of 
the city think themselves safe within their city and walls, and think 
to carry it by mere strength, and fear not, and are not sensible either 
of their sins or dangers, yet she was confident of the future success 
of God's people, and destruction of her country, The consideration 
of God's mighty wonders, blessed by the Spirit of God, bringing such 
a confession from her. 

(4.) She is careful to save the house she came of, and therefore 
takes an oath of the spies to save her and her father's house : Joshua 
ii. 12, ' Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord, since 
I have showed you kindness, that ye will also show kindness unto my 
father's house, and give me a true token.' And accordingly the 
bargain is made, if she did not betray them, that she was to hand out 
the line by which they were let down upon the wall. This shows 
that all believers have their assurance from a covenant, and that this 
covenant is confirmed by certain signs, which faith makes use of as 
the means of preservation. For she was to hang out the scarlet line 
by which she and all her house might be kept in safety. So much for 
the effect of her faith ; she received the spies with peace. 

3. Let us come to the benefit ' She perished not with them that 
believed not ; ' that is, when the incredulous and idolatrous people were 
destroyed, she and all her family were preserved ; as God can, and 
often doth, save his people in the midst 'of general calamities. You 
shall see, when the city was taken, Joshua keeps faith with her : 
Joshua vi. 22, 23, ' Joshua said unto the two men that had spied out 


the country, Go into the harlot's house, and bring out thence the 
woman, and all that she hath, as you sware unto her. And the young 
men that were spies went in, and brought out Kahab, and her father 
and mother, and her brethren, and all that she had ; and they brought 
out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel ; ' and 
when they had fired the city, ver. 25, ' Joshua saved Rahab the harlot 
alive, and her father's household, and all that she had ; and she 
dwelleth in Israel even unto this day ; because she hid the messengers 
which Joshua had sent to spy out Jericho/ Thus I have opened the 
words. The notes from this instance the apostle gives are three 

[1.] From the quality of the person, observe that God shows 
wonderful mercy to penitent sinners, if they return to him, and believe 
in him. 

[2.] From her faith, observe that true faith, wherever it is, will 
show itself by some eminent and notable effects. 

[3.] From the benefit, observe that the rewards of true faith are 
excellent and glorious. 

Doct. 1. That God is ready to show wonderful mercy to penitent 
sinners, if they return to him, and believe in him, how great soever 
their sins have been before. Rahab the harlot is an instance. She 
had been a gentile, and lived an unclean life, yet when she owned the 
true God she is pardoned, and placed in the catalogue of God's 
worthies who are eminent for faith. There are many such instances 
given us in scripture; not to lessen the nature of their sins, but to 
amplify God's grace. In John iv. we have an instance of the woman 
of Samaria ; she was a vile woman ; for (ver. 18) Christ tells her, ' Thou 
hast had five husbands, and he whom thou now hast is not thy 
husband;' yet afterwards she was a notable means of promoting the 
faith of Christ. Former sins will not hinder their acceptance with 
God who seriously come to seek grace. The same also may be 
observed in another woman ' which washed Christ's feet with tears, 
and wiped them with the hairs of her head/ Luke vii. 38. The woman 
was a heathen, and one that had lived in a sinful course, but she then 
relented, and lets fall drops of tears plentifully upon Christ's feet, 
which tears were the effects of sorrow and love ; and because she wept 
much and loved much, it argued a great expression of gratitude from 
her, because of the great mercy showed to her in the pardon of her 
sins : ver. 47, ' Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved 
much.' The throne of grace is open for all sinners ; it admits of no 
exception of persons. ' Turn and live,' is the great tenor of the 
gospel : Ezek. xviii. 33, ' I have no pleasure in the death of him that 
dieth, saith the Lord God; wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye;' 
Ezek. xxxiii. 11, 'As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in 
the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way 
and live : turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways ; for why will ye die, 
house of Israel ? ' And publicans and harlots, though infamous 
amongst men, yet they are not excluded, but accepted with God if 
they turn from their evil course. Nay, many times they enter into 
the kingdom of God before self-justiciaries: Mat. xxi. 31, 'The 
publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you/ 
For there is nothing that lies so cross to the spirit of the gospel as 
VOL. xv. c 


self-righteousness. Now, when people pride and please themselves in 
an external righteousness, there is more hope of a publican than of 
them. Christ invites and calls such, and we must not keep them off: 
Mat. ix. 13, ' I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repent 
ance.' But we must remember two cautions 

1. That they must break off the course of their sins. For our 
commission is this (and we cannot speak comfortably to you upon any 
other terms), ' Turn and live.' We call them not to confidence while 
they live in their sins, but to repentance, that they may break off the 
course of their sins. To tell them of trusting in God's mercy while 
they remain in their wickedness is a vile flattery, and the worst sort 
of flattery ; but to invite them to repentance is charity. See Isa. Iv. 
7, ' Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his 
thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy 
upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon ;' and Dan. 
iv. 27, ' Break off thy sins by righteousness, and thy iniquities by 
showing mercy to the poor.' He speaks this to a cruel oppressing 
king, Nebuchadnezzar, who had troubled all the world by his ambi 
tion, that he would let go his captives, and behave himself more 
righteously, restore the prey unjustly taken for the enlarging his 
empire and territory. And so I may say to all sinners ; if their faith 
be unfeigned, if their repentence be serious and sincere, there are 
hopes of mercy for them, not otherwise. 

2. There is another caution, and that is, to be as eminent in their 
repentance as they have been in their sins ; so was Eahab, so was 
that gentile woman that came to wash Christ's feet, so was the woman 
of Samaria. The apostle requires it as an equitable proposal to all 
converts : Kom. vi. 19, 'I speak after the manner of men, because of 
the infirmity of your flesh ;' that is, which men will judge to be equal ; 
that which, if you have but reason and conscience within you, you 
cannot but judge reasonable. I know how bad you are, and you cannot 
yield God such entire obedience as he doth require and as he doth 
deserve, and I have regard to the infirmity of your flesh ; but 'as ye have 
yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity ; even 
so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness ; ' 
be as eminent in your sanctification as formerly you have been in 
serving your base lusts and vile affections ; serve God as well as you 
have served the devil ; and as you have been guilty of such foul sins 
as render you infamous among men, so serve God now exemplarily. It 
is equitable you should be as eminent in holiness as you have been 
in sins and wickedness. 

The grounds of this, why the Lord shows wonderful mercy to 
penitent sinners, whatever their sins have been before, are 

[1.] The infiniteness of God's mercy, that can pardon all, even our 
greatest sins. We sin as men, but he pardons as a God : Hosea xi. 9, 
' I am God, and not man ; therefore Ephraim is not destroyed/ It was 
well Ephraim had to do not with revengeful men, but with a pardoning 
God. God acts like himself in the exercise of his mercy. Sure an 
emperor's revenue can pay a beggar's debt. Surely so great and 
infinite mercy can pardon and absolve our obligation to punishment. 
Alas for us men ! it is tedious to think of forgiving seven times a day, 


to forgive when still a man is perverse and multiplying his offences ; 
but to forgive seventy times seven, it breaks the back of all our 
patience ; but God will pardon like himself, after many and many 

J2.] The infiniteness of Christ's merit. Surely his blood can wash 
cleanse out all these stains. An ocean can cleanse one nasty sink, 
be it ever so foul. ' The blood of Christ his Son cleanseth us from 
all sin/ 1 John i. 7. 

[3.] The covenant of grace exempts no sin but the sin against the 
Holy Ghost : Mat. xii. 31, ' All manner of sin and blasphemy shall 
be forgiven unto men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost 
shall not be forgiven unto men.' There is no sin but this one which 
hath not been forgiven, or may not be forgiven, in one person or 
another ; therefore, though they have fallen very foully, yet we should 
not despair of them. 

[4.] The power of the Holy Ghost can change and sanctify the vilest 
heart, and can turn a dunghill into a bed of spices ; for nothing is 
too hard for the hand and power of God. He that made all things 
out of nothing, he can make a graceless heart to become gracious ; for 
what is too hard for the Almighty? When the Lord speaks, all things 
are possible to God. He can make sometimes < the last to be first,' 
Mat. xix. 39. He can make those that set out last for heaven to do 
more than an early professor ; indeed, they must be more earnestly 
diligent. When Celsus objected against Origen that Christianity 
was a sanctuary for flagitious persons, because of the large terms of 
the gospel, he made this answer 'The gospel,' saith he, 'is not merely 
a sanctuary to receive them, but it is an hospital to cure them.' There 
is a mighty Spirit that can turn them from those sins, and change 
their hearts ; they come to it as to an hospital to cure them of their 
foul diseases, which no other physician can do but Christ. 

Use. To check despair for ourselves or others. 

First, For ourselves. There is a twofold despair a raging and a 
sottish despair. Raging despair is when we are rilled with terror, and 
are afraid of the wrath of God, that we think we shall never be for 
given, having daily offended him. Sottish despair is when we think 
of sin, and go on to please our lusts. 

1. This point serves to cure the raging despair. This is spoken of 
in Cain: Gen. iv. 13, 'My punishment is greater than I can bear;' 
and Judas, who said, Mat. xxvii. 4, 5, ' I have sinned in that I have 
betrayed innocent blood ; and he cast down the thirty pieces in the 
temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.' To cure this 
raging despair, consider, if you have but a mind to return from your 
great and infamous sins, the Lord is more ready to receive and pardon 
you than you can be to return. While the prodigal was yet a great 
way off, ' the father ran to meet him,' Luke xv. 20. And when David 
had fallen foully, and his conscience was full of trouble, Ps. xxxii. 5, 
1 1 said I will confess mine iniquities unto the Lord, and thou for- 
gavest the iniquity of my sin j When he did but conceive the purpose, 
the Lord renewed the pardon. Oh! do not stand aloof from a pardoning 
God; you have a sure and sufficient remedy before you in Christ Jesus, 
and in the covenant of grace. The Lord saves none as innocent, but 


he excepts none as penitent : Therefore to say, My sin is greater than 
can be forgiven, is to please the devil and cross God's design in the 
work of redemption. Is your disease so great that the physician of 
souls cannot cure it ? 

2. There is a sottish despair, when men are not much troubled for 
their sins, but think they shall never be converted, and be brought to 
love this strict, holy, and heavenly life, and so resolve to go on and 
make the best they can of a carnal course, and drive off all remorse of 
conscience. This is spoken of, 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/ and Jer. ii. 25, 'Thou 
sayest, There is no hope : No, for I have loved strangers, and after 
them will I go.' They think there is no possibility of their ever being 
reduced or reclaimed to a holy and heavenly life, and so past cure, 
past care ; and are resolved to live as they list : The case is desperate, 
say they, and I am at a point ; and thus they are resolved to continue, 
and go on in their evil course. These are obstinate in their infidelity 
and impenitency, and therefore they are worse than the former. 
Despairing fears are not so bad as these desperate resolutions, because 
they do not only doubt of God's mercy, but question his sovereignty, 
and refuse subjection to him, and despair of sanctification rather than 
pardon, and draw wilful rebellious conclusions from it. Oh ! do not 
cherish such a thought, nor yield to such despondency. God can 
turn and pardon you ; and though with men it is impossible, yet not 
with God. 

Secondly, This is of use to check our despair for others ; for when 
you find some of your relations, after many warnings, to relapse into 
gross sins, certainly we are bound to do all we can to reclaim them from 
them. Give not over praying and warning ; you ought still to represent 
to them the danger of such courses, but cut them not off from all hopes, 
for God can reclaim the most odious sinners ; and show them that there 
may yet be hope of mercy for them, and that no past sins can hinder 
our conversion to God if the Lord pleases ; and that they ought to put 
themselves into a posture to seekjiis grace ; though still you are always 
to represent the danger of those desperate courses wherein they are 

Doct 2. From her act ' By faith the harlot Kahab perished not/ 
&c. Observe, that true faith, where it is weakest, will show itself by 
some eminent and notable effect. We, in the latter age, to excuse our 
selves from duty, have involved all things into controversy ; therefore 
it is good to look to the ancient faith. How did the holy ones of God 
live heretofore ? Here is an instance of an ancient faith, and the low 
est of the kind ; it is a firm belief of such things as God hath revealed 
to us, so as to make us fruitful and faithful in obedience to him. And 
I would have you observe, that in all this catalogue and chronicle of 
the faithful and eminent believers, no instance is propounded to us of 
an idle and barren faith, and always the apostle shows what was done 
by faith ; for surely the working faith is tmly the true faith : Gal. v. 6, 
' Faith which worketh by love.' Kahab's faith was no dead faith, but 
manifested by works ; therefore the apostle James saith, chap. ii. 21, 
' Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered 


Isaac his son upon the altar ? ' and ver. 25. ' Likewise also was not 
Kahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the mes 
sengers, and had sent them out another way?' In this raw and 
young convert faith was not without its effect. 

To make this more evident, let us consider the temper of her faith, 
since it is so good to live by the ancient faith. 

1. The ground of her faith was the fame and the report of God's 
wondrous works which he had done for his people. She had heard of 
the true God, as much as was necessary to acknowledge his power 
against his enemies and his grace towards his people, and this was 
sufficient as a means to beget saving faith in her soul. And if so, then 
we have greater grounds of faith than she had ; for we have heard of 
the stupendous wonders of our redemption by Christ. Now, where 
more is given, the more we must account for : Luke xii. 48, * For unto 
whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required ; and to 
whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.' The 
more light God bestows, the greater improvement he expects. We 
have not only general rumours to build upon, as she had, but the sure 
word, where these things are more certainly and clearly discovered to 
us ; and therefore God expects a better tempered faith from us. 

2. She makes a confession of that faith which was wrought in her 
heart ; for to the spies she acknowledges God to be the only true God, 
both in heaven above and the earth beneath ; and she acknowledges 
the Israelites to be his peculiar people, whom he had owned and loved, 
and that she could not be saved but as gathered to that people under 
the head, Messiah ; and in heart and affection she was already become 
one of God's servants, and this she professed to the spies. And the 
same is required of us : Kom. ix. 10, ' If thou confess with thy mouth 
the Lord Jesus Christ, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath 
raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved ; for with the heart man 
believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made 
unto salvation.' Let us own the true God in Jesus Christ, and love 
him, and own and love his people. When once we are brought to this, 
to run hazard and take our lot with them, then we are in the right 

3. This faith and confession was evinced by some effect ; for she enter 
tained the spies, which was all she was capable of doing at present, and 
she^entertains them as some of the people of God, as members of the true 
church, or as of the number of them who worshipped that God whom 
she believed to be the true God. And truly much faith is shown in 
harbouring the saints and being kind to God's people. Many shall be 
tried at the last day by this : Mat. xxv. 35, ' I was an hungered, and 
ye gave me meat ; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink ; I was a 
stranger, and ye took me in,' &c. Everything is accepted with God 
according to the principle from whence it flows. Now, what might it 
have been, for anything in the nature of the act, but her trade, an 
entertaining and being kind to her guest, for she kept a house of public 
entertainment ? or what might it have been but a bare act of civility ? 
Yet, because of her faith in God, and love to his people, it is counted 
an act of love and obedience, not civility, but religion. So our Lord 
hath told us, Mat. x. 41, ' He that receiveth a prophet in the name of 


a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward ; and he that receiveth a 
righteous man in the name of a righteous man^shall receive a righteous 
man's reward : and whosoever shall give to drink to one of these little 
ones a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto 
you, he shall in no wise lose his reward/ It is accepted of God if it be 
in Christ's name ; and if we give because we believe they are Christ's 
disciples, who is our Lord and Saviour, it is respected as done to him 
self, and shall be accounted as a fruit of faith. But now those that love 
a gospel without charges, and whose faith shows itself by talk and 
high-flown and curious notions of religion, rather than by any solid 
fruit, their faith is but an imaginary delusion, a shadow of faith, not 
any true grace. Faith that is true is a plain thing to believe in one 
God, and that this God hath a people with whom I must travel to 
heaven ; they are to be my everlasting companions. If I am true to 
this God, and kind to his people, the thing is put to a plain issue. 

4. This effect was accompanied with much self-denial, which was 
seen in two things (1.) In preferring the will of God before the safety 
of her country, and cherishing those guests who were strangers before 
the gratifying and pleasing her own citizens. We are bound to love, 
and we are bound also to seek the welfare of our country ; but we are 
bound to love God more than our country. Therefore we owe fidelity 
to him first, and then to the place we live in, and we are to promote 
their welfare so far as is consistent with our fidelity to our supreme 
Lord. (2.) The other instance of her self-denial was her venturing her 
life rather than betraying those messengers of Joshua, that were the 
worshippers of the true God. It was an action that might have been 
of dangerous consequence to her ; but, to manifest her fidelity to God, 
she overlooks the threatenings and cruelty of her citizens, the promis 
cuous events of war, and the burning of the city in which she and her 
parents lived ; and so in the effect, by her faith, she renounced all to 
serve the true God. It is not every act will manifest true faith, but 
acts of self-denying obedience, in which we do deny ourselves for God, 
check our natural love, and thwart our lusts and hazard any interests. 
When God calls us to it, can we part with our conveniences of life, all 
that is near and dear to us in the world, upon the proper and sole 
encouragement of faith ? This is a mighty evidence of faith. 

5. I observe there was a mixture of infirmity in this act, an officious 
lie, which cannot be excused, though God in mercy pardoned it. This 
is not for our imitation, yet it is for our instruction ; and it shows us 
this, that faith in the beginning hath many weaknesses. Those that 
have faith do not altogether act out of faith, but there is somewhat of 
the flesh mingled with that of the spirit. But this is passed by out of 
God's indulgence ; he accepteth us notwithstanding our sins before 
faith, and notwithstanding our weaknesses in believing. Before faith 
she was a harlot ; in believing she makes a lie. God doth reward the 
good of our actions and pardon the evil of them, not to encourage 
us in sinning, but to raise our love to him who forgives us so great a 
debt, and receives us graciously, and pardons our manifold weaknesses. 

But why is this the true believing ? The reasons are 

[l.J From the nature of faith, which is such an apprehension of the 
love of God, and of the blessedness that he offers to us, as makes us 


willing to do whatever we can for him, and that in some eminent way 
of self-denial. Faith works both by love and hope, as it looks back 
ward and forward. As it looks backward, the love of Christ is so 
great and condescending that it moves us to gratitude ; as it looks for 
ward, the blessedness hoped for is so glorious that it draws off our 
hearts from all other things, and lessens our esteem of them, that this 
gratitude may more self-denyingly be expressed by parting with them, 
yea, by the loss of all that is near and dear to us, to show our fidelity 
to Christ. They are nothing in comparison of our love to Christ : 
Phil. iii. 8, / 1 count all things but loss for the excellency of the know 
ledge 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/ Here 
are the two considerations which faith works upon what Christ hath 
done for us, and what he will yet do for us. And if we consider these 
two things, faith may well afford self-denying obedience, and forsake 
all easily for Christ's sake. This great love of Christ overcomes all our 
natural self-love to our interest and worldly comforts, that we may own 
Christ, and be faithful to him. 

[2.] The gospel requires such a kind of faith, and therefore we must 
exercise it. All that will enter into life should hate father and mother, 
&c., so far as they may stand in competition with Christ : Luke xiv. 25, 
' If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother, and wife 
and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he 
cannot be my disciple ; ' and ver. 33, ' Whosoever he be of you that 
forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.' He that had 
found the pearl of great price sold all to buy it, Mat. xiii. 45, 46. He 
did not only cheapen it, but he did go through with the bargain. Let 
all go that is inconsistent with your trust and love. 

[3.] This is that faith which honours God and Christ in the world, 
and assures us of salvation : 2 Thes. i. 11, 12, ' We pray that God 
would fulfil the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord 
Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him.' Would you 
honour Christ, and have Christ glorified in you, then you must mind 
the work of faith. He speaks not of the illicit, but imperative acts of 
faith. Self-denying obedience is the imperative act of faith : then the 
name of the Lord Jesus Christ is glorified in you, then you are glorified 
in him, and then you have the assurance of salvation. A faith that rests 
in the heart only, and is discovered by no self-denying act, brings 
Christ no glory in the world, and will bring us little comfort and peace ; 
but faith which shows itself in acts of love to God and his people, and 
that with self-denial, is more evident, and doth much honour God in 
the eyes of the world. When we are willing to do and suffer so much 
for him, this brings us comfort, and doth show this faith is real, that 
we are true to God, whom we own and acknowledge. 

Use. The use is to press you to see whether you live by this ancient 

1. It is not a bare assent to the report of God's love in Christ. Many 
may think it true that Christ died and rose again, that yet feel no force 
of it upon their souls. Surely a dead opinion is not that lively faith 
that enableth the people of God to do such great things for him. Th 
devil knows there is a God and Christ, will you put your salvation 


upon this ? No ; ' Faith without works is dead/ James ii. 20. If you 
do not feel the force of it upon your hearts, to make you deny your 
selves, and give up all your interest for God, and run all hazards for 
him and his people, you do not truly believe. 

2. It is not a bare confession, nor a loose owning the name of 
Christ. Eahab made a confession, but rests not there. So, many 
own him as the God of the country, and cry up his name, but neglect 
his office ; as the Jews made much ado with the names of Abraham 
and Moses, but they were of a quite different spirit ; they did neither 
do the works of Abraham: John viii. 39, * If ye were Abraham's 
children, ye would do the works of Abraham ; ' nor hearken to the 
words of Moses : John v. 46, ' Had ye believed Moses, ye would have 
believed me.' So you believe there is a Christ, and own him; but if 
you be Christians, you would do works becoming Christians. 

3. It is not a confidence in God's mercy ; that is not enough, if we 
will do nothing for him. For faith is such a trusting in God, through 
Christ, for eternal life, that we are willing to forsake all rather than 
be unfaithful to him ; and we care not what we lose, and what hazard 
we run, so that we may have a portion among God's people, and ob 
tain the heavenly inheritance. When the apostle distinguisheth the 
true believers from the false, what saith he ? Heb. x. 39, 'We are not 
of them that draw back to perdition, but of them that believe to the 
saving of the soul/ There are some that believe, yet will save the 
flesh ; but others that will save the soul, though their interests in the 
flesh be hazarded. Now, the apostle shows there that there are some 
will purchase the saving of their soul with the loss of other things. 
God tries us in some necessary part of confession, which may expose 
us to loss, shame, and hazard in the world ; now, if we will not spare 
the flesh, but save the soul, this is to cleave to him. 

4. Nothing then remains to justify our faith but such an acknow 
ledging of the true God as causes us to confess his name and to pre 
fer his interest before our own, and so to be willing to endure anything 
for his sake, and be ready upon this faith to show all self-denying acts 
of obedience ; to part with what we have for the relief of others and 
the advancement of religion, when we cannot keep it without betray 
ing religion. Alas! that religion which costs nothing is worth no 
thing ; it is idle, empty, and foolish ; that, when you come to die, will 
bring terror, and never yield solid peace. 

Doct 3. There is one thing more in the text, and that is the bene 
fit which affords us this point, that the rewards of faith are excellent 
and glorious. Kahab is an instance of this also, for when she by faith 
entertainecHhe spies in peace, ' she perished not with them that be 
lieved not ; ' that is, she was not destroyed with the Canaanites. Let 
us a little see her privileges. 

1. From a child of the devil, she is made a daughter of God, and 
adopted into God's family. And so, if you be sincere in the faith of 
the gospel, you shall be also ; the Lord will take you for his children, 
that weis the children of wrath before: John i. 12, 'To as many as 
received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even 
to them that believe on his name.' 

2. From a citizen of Jericho she is reckoned among the people of 


Israel, and incorporated into the body of God's church : Joshua vi.25, 
* She dwelleth in Israel even unto this day.' So, if we have the sincere 
faith, we are not only of the visible church of professing Christians, 
but are reckoned among the elect, and have our names written in 
heaven ; that is a matter of great joy : Luke x. 20, ' Kejoice in that 
your names are written in heaven ; ' for this is a * better name than 
of sons and daughters/ Isa. Ivi. 5, a name that shall continue to all 

3. We find, when there was a destruction of all the rest, she was 
not destroyed with the Canaanites, but God by his servant Joshua 
took great care for her preservation. So believers are saved from 
everlasting destruction : John iii. 16, ' Whosoever believe th in him 
shall not perish, but have everlasting life.' They are not involved in 
the wrath and destruction which shall light upon the unbelieving and 
impenitent world. This is the portion of all those that fly to the true 
God, and to the communion of 'the true church. If it be sure that 
the unbelieving world shall perish (as sure it is, as sure as God is 
true), then it is a great mercy we shall not perish with them. Certain 
it is that all that come not out of the apostasy shall perish forever. 
But we that are willing to return to our duty to God, to trust God, 
and trust his promises, and take his way, blessedness will be our 

4. Another privilege which Rahab had was, that she was honour 
ably married to a prince in Israel, and one of the ancestors of Christ, 
namely, to Salmon, father of Boaz : Mat. i. 5, ' And Salmon begat 
Boaz of Rachab/ Laying all ends together, we certainly find it is 
the same Rahab, that Salmon married her, who was one of the spies, 
a head and prince of Israel. Thus God can heap honour upon those 
that trust in him : her name is mentioned in the genealogy of our Lord 
and Saviour Jesus Christ. Now they that sincerely believe have a 
better marriage, they are married to Christ himself : Rom. vii. 4, 
* Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law, by the 
body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to him who 
is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God/ 
They are taken into a nearer relation to him, our covenanting with 
him being a kind of marriage. If we believe as Rahab did, we shall 
have the reward Rahab had. But how can we reconcile the two 
apostles ? Paul ascribes it here to her faith, but James to her works : 
James ii. 25, ' Was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she 
had received the messengers, and sent them out another way ? ' Here 
is no contradiction ; the apostles fairly agree together, for they speak 
not of the same faith. Paul speaks of the lively, James of the dead 
faith ; Paul speaks of the faith working by love, and so she was justi 
fied by faith, but James speaks of an empty naked profession of faith 
without works ; so that a man is not justified by an empty faith with 
out works. A dead faith little profits us, but a living faith makes us 
obedient to God, and ready to every good work ; that justifies us, and 
qualifies us for this blessed and glorious reward. 

But let us see the general case. What are the privileges and the 
rewards of faith ? (for hitherto we have only considered them with 
respect to Rahab). It justifies, sanctifies, glorifies. 


[1.] It justifies : Rom. v. 1, 'Being justified by faith, we have peace 
with God.' sinners ! do you know what it is to be condemned by 
the law of God? for sinners impleaded, and that justly, in the court 
of God's justice, and to be condemned to everlasting wrath ? If you 
did, then you would see that it is a mighty privilege to be justified, to 
be accepted with God, and freed from the deserved condemnation, or 
that dreadful punishment which sin hath made our due. Now, this 
generally in scripture is ascribed to faith. 

[2.] It sanctifies, or is the Spirit's great instrument in sanctification. 
For, Acts xv. 9, it is said, ' Purifying their hearts by faith/ It is faith 
that promotes purity and sanctity. It is the first stone in the spirit 
ual building : 2 Peter i. 5, ' Add to your faith virtue/ &c. Faith is 
made the bottom of all, as that which gives life and strength to all the 
rest ; without which virtue would be nothing but a little dead and cold 
morality, however it is cried up in our age, if not enlivened by the 
love of God in Christ, and hopes of eternal glory, as it is when it pro 
ceeds from faith. Christ prays, John xvii. 17, ' Sanctify them through 
thy truth/ We are sanctified by the truth of the gospel. But now 
what makes the gospel operative but faith ? 1 Thes. ii. 13, ' Ye re 
ceived it, not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of 
God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe/ 

[3.] It glorifies ; because they that believe eternal life so as to seek 
after it, and that whatever it cost them, they shall have it. You may 
always observe, in all God's dispensations of grace and favour, he 
would do nothing for men till they believe ; he could not, or rather 
would not, do it for them. We find it true of God's dispensation to 
the old church, and in the life of Christ upon earth Can you believe ? 
Mark ix. 23, ' If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that 
believeth/ So it is true of eternal life. But then this belief is sup 
posed to be operative, and that we are resolved to take the way God 
hath appointed. As soon as we believe, we have a right and title : 
John v. 24, ' He that heareth my words, and believeth on him that 
sentjme, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, 
but is passed from death to life/ And when we verify our faith by 
taking God's way, though others neglect it, then our right is con 
firmed : Mat. xix. 28, ' Ye that have followed me in the regeneration, 
when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall 
sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel/ Take 
regeneration^ either for a new state of the church (as some few do), 
when all things are new in the church, and old things are passed 
away, you shall be elders in the church (so some expound it) ; but I 
think properly and principally it is taken for the regeneration at the 
last day, when we shall have new bodies and new souls ; then we shall 
have all that our hearts can wish. When our service is over, we shall 
receive the end of our faith : 1 Peter i. 9, ' Receiving the end of our 
faith, the salvation of our souls/ 

Use. Let this commend faith to us, which is the great grace ; we 
must still exercise it in this world. Where we know God by hearing, 
faith is of use to us ; when we know him by vision and sight, the use 
of it ceases, but the fruit remaineth, for sight is the fruit of faith : 
John xx. 31, These things are written, that ye might believe that 


Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that believing ye might have 
life through his name/ You shall have life in his name if you will 
believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. All that I shall press you to is a 
faith like Kahab's. Rahab heard the rumours of God's gracious works 
for Israel, and of his judgments upon their enemies, and upon this 
she owns the true God, and runs hazards for his people. 

1. You have heard that God hath sent his Son into the world to 
save sinners ; believe it, and believe it strongly ; here is the grand truth 
you must live by. 

2. This God hath given a law of grace, that we may be partakers 
of these benefits. Possibly the spies might inform Rahab of God's 
giving a law upon Mount Sinai ; for it is not likely she would join 
herself so suddenly to Israel, if she knew not what laws they should 
live by. If that be uncertain, we are sure the Lord hath given a law 
of grace from Mount Zion, or the new covenant, wherein God hath 
showed us how we shall attain eternal life. Now heartily consent to 
stand to this covenant. 

3. Upon this faith be sure to demonstrate by some real effects that 
it hath prevailed in your heart. For if you believe God's great pro 
mises, what do you venture upon them ? Surely we do not believe 
great things if we do nothing to obtain them. I ever look upon this 
as a truth, that there is much more of unbelief in neglect than there 
is in humbling trouble or despairing fears. For the troubled person 
believes indeed the covenant of God, but he cannot make out his title, 
therefore he lies under despairing fears. The neglecter showeth that 
he accounts these things a fable, else he would more look after them, 
and exercise himself self-denyingly in godliness : 2 Peter i. 5, 10, 16, 
compared together ; ver. 5, ' Giving all diligence, add to your faith 
virtue,' &c. ; ver. 10, ' Give diligence to make your calling and election 
sure;' ver. 16, ' For we have not followed cunningly-devised fables, 
&c. They that do not give diligence to grow in grace, they that do 
not give diligence by all self-denying acts to make their calling and 
election sure, they count the gospel a fable, and neglecting their duty, 
they show themselves to be unbelievers. 

4. That which you do, let it be some self-denying act for God and 
his people. I join both together, because if a man love the one he 
will love the other, and the Lord's interest is only upheld by his people 
here in the world ; his interest liveth and dieth with his people. And 
therefore, when we are willing to deny ourselves that we may own 
God's people, and join with them in all their sincere endeavours to 
advance the kingdom of Christ, then we shall know we believe in God, 
and that we have this true faith God requireth of us. 





And the life ivhich I now live in the flesh, I live ly the faith of the 

THERE are two parts of a Christian's duty dying to sin and living to 
God. They are both in the text ; the first part, dying to sin, in that 
mysterious expression, ' I am crucified with Christ ; ' the second branch, 
living to God, in the following clauses, in which a spiritual and holy 
riddle is propounded, and then solved and opened : ' I am crucified, 
yet I live/ and though I live, yet I live not, ' for Christ liveth in me ; ' 
and then he openeth the whole riddle and mystery in the latter part 
And the life ivhich I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of 

Many things might be observed 

1. They that are crucified with Christ nevertheless live. They 
that partake with Christ in one act partake with him in all ; if they 
are mortified with Christ, they are also quickened by him. 

2. In the spiritual life of a Christian, Christ hath the greatest hand 
and stroke ' Not I, but Christ liveth in me/ 

3. Believers live in the flesh after they are called to grace, but they 
do not live after the flesh. 

4. That besides the animal life, there is a spiritual life, and these 
two are distinct. The animal life is the life of the rational soul void 
of grace, accommodating itself to the interests of the body : Jude 19, 
' Sensual, having not the spirit ; ' and to the power and pomp of the 
world, highness of rank and place, riches, pleasures, honours ; it con 
sists in the exercise of the senses. The spiritual life is a principle that 
enableth us to live unto God, to act and move towards God as our last 
and utmost end, to serve his glory as our great scope, and enjoy his 
favour as our chief good. Both these two lives are governed by a 
distinct guide and ruler the animal life by sense, the spiritual life by 
faith ; so that man's reason is either brutified and debased by sense, 
or refined, sublimated, and raised by faith. If a man be debased by 
sense, he walloweth in all manner of brutish sensuality, he liveth in 
pleasure, and maketh the profits and pleasures of the world his only 
scope and aim ; if refined and elevated by faith, his soul worketh after 
God, and is carried out to the concernments of the world to come. 


But quitting all these, here is a life within a life, and a life overruled 
by a life, and that overruling life is called the life of faith. 

Doct. Those only live spiritually that live by faith; or, the ^ great 
means on our part whereby we receive the influences of the spiritual 
life is faith in Christ. 

Living by faith is a point of large and universal concernment, 
therefore I shall in a few discourses insist upon it. And I shall treat 
of it 

1. In the general. 

2. In particular, in all duties, acts and conditions of this life. 
I. In the general. Here I shall inquire 

1. What faith is. 

2. Why and how we are said to receive life from it. 

3. Give you some observations concerning this life. 

First, What is this faith by which the just shall live ? Faith is a 
grace by which we believe God's word in the general, and in a special 
manner do receive Christ, and rest upon him for grace here and glory 
hereafter. This may serve for a short definition or description of faith. 
Here is assent, consent, and affiance. 

1. There is assent, by which we believe God's word in the general : 
Acts xxiv. 14, ' Believing all things which are written in the law and 
the prophets/ There is the first work of faith, which is to assent to 
the scriptures and all things contained therein. The general faith 
goeth before the particular ; there is no building without a foundation. 

2. There is consent. Faith doth in a special manner receive Christ ; 
that is, the faith that saveth : 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/ When I take him as God offereth him, and 
to the ends for which he offereth him, that he may do that for me, 
and be that to me, that God hath appointed him to do and be in the 

3. There is affiance. Faith doth rest upon him ; besides choice, 
there must be a recumbency : Isa. xxvi. 3, ' Thou wilt keep him in per 
fect peace whose mind is stayed on thee ; because he trusteth in thee/ 
That is a special work of faith. Now, what do we rest upon him for ? 
For grace here all kinds of grace, justification, sanctification : Acts v. 
31, ' Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a prince and a 
saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins.' For 
privileges, qualifications, duties, Christ is all to us. And then for 
glory hereafter: 1 Tim. i. 16, we are said to 'believe on him to life 
everlasting/ There is the end which faith aimeth at, or the main 
blessing which it seeketh, and upon the hopes of which the life which 
it begetteth is carried on : 1 Peter i. 9, ' Keceiving the end of your faith, 
the salvation of your souls/ Those that fly to Christ by faith do eye 
this as the prime benefit to be had by him, by which temptations of 
sense are defeated. 

Secondly, How and why we are said to live by it. Distinct graces 
have their distinct offices ; in scripture speech we are said to live by 
faith, but to work by love ; there must be life before operation. Now 
we are said to live by faith 

1. Because it is the grace that doth unite us to Christ. Other 


graces make us like Christ, but this maketh us one with Christ prin 
cipally and primarily. For the understanding of this reason, you 
must know that the author and fountain of the spiritual life is Christ. 
He is called ' the Prince of life/ Acts iii. 15. Christ liveth in a be 
liever, and a believer liveth in Christ ; he is in us by his Spirit. Before 
we can have anything from Christ, we must first have Christ himself : 
1 John v. 12, ' He that hath the Son hath life.' Now we have Christ 
when we are strictly united to him, as members to the head, from 
whence they receive sense and motion : Col. ii. 19, ' And not holding 
the head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourish 
ment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of 
Cod ;' as the root to the branches from whence they receive sap and 
influence : John xv. 5, * I am the vine, ye are the branches : he that 
abideth in me, and 1 in him, -the same bringeth forth much fruit; for 
without me ye can do nothing.' Christ is the principle of life and 
motion, as united to us by the Spirit on his part. But what is the bond 
on our parts but faith ? Eph. iii. 17, ' That Christ may dwell in our 
hearts by faith.' Jesus Christ doth make his first entry into, and 
dwelleth in believers by his Spirit: 1 John iv. 13, ' Hereby we know 
that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his 
Spirit.' Whereby he uniteth them to himself, and quickeneth them, 
and worketh the grace of faith in them ; as bees first make their cells, 
and then dwell in them ; and when faith is so wrought, we do thereby 
lay hold upon Christ, and receive daily supplies from him, and make 
use of him as a fountain of life and grace upon all occasions. This 
uniteth us to him, and keepeth him with us, and us with him, so that he 
never withdraweth that influence which is necessary to the being and 
life of grace. The habit of faith in our heart is the pledge of his pre 
sence, and as it is exercised daily, it draweth from him strength and 
comfort, to support us in all conditions, and to excite and enable us in 
every duty. 

2. Because all other graces are marshalled and ranked under the 
conduct of faith. As the stars in their order fought against Sisera, so 
all graces are brought up in their order and season. There are several 
divine qualities that have their office and use in the spiritual life ; but 
all are regulated and quickened by faith ; and therefore the whole 
honour is devolved upon this grace: 2 Peter i. 5-7, 'Add to faith, 
virtue ; to virtue, knowledge ; and to knowledge, temperance ; and to 
temperance, patience ; and to patience, godliness ; and to godliness, 
brotherly-kindness ; and to brotherly-kindness, charity.' Saving faith, 
which taketh hold of Christ for pardon and strength, and daily flieth 
to him for both, that is the root which must be cherished, increased, 
and kept in exercise by all that would thrive in any other grace, and 
be fit for any duty. That is the first stone in the spiritual building, 
to which all the rest are added. Without faith virtue would languish, 
our command over our passions be weak, and the back of patience 
quite broken, and our care of the knowledge of divine things very 
small. It is faith acting upon Christ and heaven, and the hopes of a 
better life, that sets all the wheels at work in the sonl ; temperance, 
in moderating sensual delights ; patience, in bearing the miseries of 
the present life : Heb. xi. 2, * By faith the elders obtained a good re- 
VOL. xv. D 


port.' In every verse it is said, By faith, by faith. Some of the effects 
there spoken of do directly and more formally belong to other graces ; 
but though the private soldiers do worthily in the high places of the 
field, yet^we say the general won the day ; the honour of the victory is 
put upon him, because it was achieved under his conduct. So it is 
here ; all graces have their use in the holy life. Love worketh, hope 
waiteth, patience endureth, zeal quickeneth to own God's truth and 
cause, obedience urgeth to duty; but faith, remembering us of our 
obligations to Christ, and presenting the hopes of a better life, hath the 
greatest stroke in all these things. 'Faith worketh by love,' Gal. 
v. 6 ; ' faith feedeth hope/ Heb. xi. 1 ; ' faith is viroGrracr^ rcov 
ekTrigopevav, the substance of things hoped for;' faith teacheth 
patience to wait and submit to God's will for the present ; it is but a 
little time : Heb. x. 38, 'Now the just shall live by faith; but if any 
man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him,' So that faith 
is like a silken string that runs through a chain of pearl ; or rather, 
like the spirits that run with the blood through all the veins. If love 
constraineth, it is faith working by love; if hope be exercised, it is 
faith that showeth it the riches of the glory of the world to come ; if 
patience be contented to tarry God's leisure, it is because faith assureth 
us of the blessing to come. 

3. Because whatever is ascribed to faith redoundeth to the honour 
of Christ. The worth lieth in the object, as the ivy receiveth strength 
from the oak about which it windeth. Faith doth all, not from any 
intrinsic worth and force in itself; but all its power is in dependence upon 
Christ Fidei mendica manus. We are said to live by faith, as we 

,are said to be fed by the hand ; it is the instrument. It is very not 
able what the apostle saith of the miraculous work of faith : James v. 
15, ' And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall 
raise him up.' Faith is said to do it, because the Lord doeth it ; and 
faith setteth his power a-work. The like concurrence and use of faith 
there is in other gracious works : 1 John v. 4, 5, ' This is the victory 
that overcometh the world, even our faith ; and who is he that over- 
cometh the world, but he that belie veth that Jesus is the Son of God ? '> 
Christ hath and will overcome the world ; therefore faith, that appre- 
hendeth this, and encourageth us by it, is said to do it. Christ is the 
fountain, and faith the pipe and conveyance ; it is the grace that 
bringeth most honour to him. 

4. Because faith removeth obstructions, and openeth the passages* 
of grace, that it may run more freely. Expectation is the opening of 
the soul : Ps. Ixxxi. 10, ' Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.' He 
hath power and readiness to give us abundance of all things, if we could 
come and depend upon him for it. It is the narrowness of our faith 
which hindereth our felicity ; we are not straitened in God, but in 
ourselves ; we will not enlarge our expectations to take in and seek as 
much as God offereth. Unbelief ponit obicem, puts a bar in the way : 
Mark vi. 5, ' And he could do no mighty work there/ It is like a dam 
to a river, it hindereth the passage of grace. God's grace is given out 
to the creature according to its expectation. Unbelief is a kind of re 
straint to almightiness ; he could not because he would not ; for so it 
is, Mark xiii. 58, ' And he did not many mighty works there, because 


of their unbelief.' That power which we distrust is justly hidden from 
us ; but confidence opens a free passage for grace into our souls. 

Thirdly, The observations concerning this life. 

Obs. 1. This life must be extended, not only to spiritual duties, and 
acts of immediate worship, but to all the actions of our natural and 
temporal life ; "O Be vvv eV aapfd. That natural life which we live, 
and those things which concern that life, they are ordered by a virtue 
drawn from Christ by faith in him. A true believer sleepeth, and 
eateth and drinketh in faith ; and in the lawful occasions of his call 
ing, as well as religion, faith hath an influence to order them to God's 
glory, and with respect to eternal happiness : 1 Cor. x. 31, ' Whether 
ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God ;' and, 
Heb. xi. 33, ' Who through faith subdued kingdoms, fought battles.' 
Take God's directions, and order all things to his glory: Col. iii. 17, 
' Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord 
Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him/ Every 
action must be influenced by religion, looking to the promises : Heb. 
xi. 13, 'By faith Sarah received strength to conceive seed ; ' by her faith 
in the promise. Christians are not left to their own nature, neither in 
things necessary nor in things indifferent in their own nature, neither 
in words nor deeds ; they are to look to Christ's command, and to be 
looking for his help, and aiming at his glory, still consulting with God, 
and seeing God in every little work of his. There is not a gnat, nor 
pile of grass, but discovers its author. And as there is a providential 
influence, so a gracious influence ; as when we use such holy fear and 
heavenly-mindedness that every one may see heavenly-minded ness in 
all our actions, and so the poorest servant, being under this divine in 
fluence, liveth by faith as well as the greatest monarch. 

2. We never act nobly in anything till we live the life of faith. There 
is a twofold life the animal life, and the spiritual and divine life : 1 
Cor. ii. 14,. 'The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of 
God.' The human soul accommodateth itself to the interests and con 
cernments of the body ; but the divine life is animated by heavenly 
things, and is carried out to look after more noble things than back 
and belly concernments. 

3. We never live comfortably till we live by faith. While we are 
guided by sense, we are tossed to and fro, according to the variety of 
accidents in the world ; but a believer in the greatest straits doth 
not only make a poor and sorry shift to live, but hath a comfortable 
means of subsistence : Hab. ii. 4, ' The just shall live by his faith.' 
For whilst he dwelleth under the shadow of imputed righteousness, to 
cover all his defects and sins, and to hide him from death and wrath, 
and can draw virtue from Christ to enable him to do every good word and 
work, and hath the power of God to make use of for his inward and 
outward support, and the hopes of glory to comfort him when this life 
is ended, what should hinder his rejoicing even in the hardest dispen 
sations ? He is well at ease that hath wholly given up himself to this 
kind of life : Heb. x. 38, ' Now the just shall live by faith ; ' that is, in 
the hardest trials, when they suffer the spoiling of their goods, and look 
for loss of life every day. By life we are to understand a happy and 
a comfortable life : non est vivere, sed valere vita. We are enabled to 


hold on cheerfully and comfortably in a holy course, notwithstanding 

4. That the life of faith is glory begun. First we live by faith, 
and then by sight, 2 Cor. v. 7. Faith now serveth instead of sight 
and fruition : Heb. xi. 1, ' Faith is the substance of things hoped 
for, and the evidence of things not seen.' Though it doth riot affect 
us to the same degree that the life of glory or the beatifical vision 
will, yet somewhat answerable it doth. The life of glory is inconsistent 
with any misery ; but the life of faith maketh us to rest as quietly 
upon God and his gracious promise as if there were no misery, 
where it hath any efficacy and vigour, so as no allurements or terrors 
can turn us aside, but we follow our Lord in all conditions with 
delight and cheerfulness. The expectation cannot affect us as the 
enjoyment ; but in some measure it doth : Bom. v. 2, 3, ' We rejoice 
in hope of the glory of God ; and not only so, but we glory in tribu 
lation also/ We are contemptible in the world, but we hope for a 
glorious estate, and so can forego those transitory contentments which 
worldlings so much magnify. This quieteth and comforteth God's 
children in the meanest condition. 

The use of this is to persuade you to live this life of faith, if you 
would live indeed, arid live nobly and happily. To this end 

1. Take care that this life be begun in you. 

2. Improve this life to a cheerful walking with God in all conditions. 
For the 

First, If you would have this life begun in you 
' 1. Study the grounds of faith ; for if the foundation be not well 
laid, all the building will be like a bunching wall or a tottering fence. 
Now what are the grounds of faith ? The promises of the gospel. 
Therefore consider seriously what is said in the gospel (1.) To 
whom, and (2.) By whom. 

[1.] What is said in the gospel. The sum of the gospel is abridged 
and contracted to our hands in many places of scripture; these 
especially : 1 Tim. i. 15, ' This is a faithful saying, and worthy of 
all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, 
of whom I am chief.' Is this true indeed, that God hath sent his 
Son to save us from hell, and to pay our debt and procure salvation 
for us ? And why shall I stand out ? The gospel excludeth none, 
why should I exclude myself ? I am sinner enough, shall this dis 
courage me from looking after Christ ? That will be in effect as if 
a beggar should say, I am too poor to receive alms ; or the sick man 
should say, I am too sick to go to the physician ; or as if one should 
say, I am too filthy to be washed, or too cold to go to the fire. 
Your discouragement should be a motive ; I am the chief of sinners, 
and therefore I will put in for a share. God inviteth us, not because 
we are worthy, but that we may be worthy. So Acts x. 43, f To him 
give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever be- 
lieveth in him should receive remission of sins.' What do all the 
prophets and holy men of God give witness to ? That there is such 
a benefit prepared for all that will lay hold of it ; and I profess to 
believe the scriptures, and shall I not put in for a share ? Lord, I 
have sins to be pardoned as well as others, and I believe thou art the 


Son of God, and the Lamb of God that came to take away sin. So 
Heb. v. 9, ' He is become the author of eternal salvation to all that 
obey him/ Will Christ give eternal life to all that obey him ? I have 
too long stood out against thee, Lord. I now lay down the weapons of 
my defiance, and say, Here I am ; what wilt thou have me to do ? 

[2.] To whom God offereth this mercy. To every creature : Mark 
xvi. 15, ' Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every 
creature.' And am not I in the rank of creatures ? But to whom 
especially ? To ' the weary and heavy laden,' Mat. xi. 28. To them 
that are lost : Mat. ix. 13, ' I am not come to call the righteous, but 
sinners to repentance.' To such as have most feeling of their sins. 
I have a burden too heavy for me to bear ; since Christ calleth me, 
I will come to him for ease. 

[3.] Who it is that calleth : Christ, who is able, willing, and 
faithful. Able ; for all authority and power is given to him in heaven 
and earth, Mat. xxviii. 18 ; ' All judgment is given the Son,' John v. 
22. They said to the blind man, Mark x. 49, ' Be of good comfort ; 
arise, he calleth thee ; ' that mighty HE that hath the disposal of 
every man's eternal state. And willing he is : 2 Peter iii. 9, ' Not 
willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance ; ' 
if you will believe him on his call : Ezek. xxxiii. 11, ' I have no 
pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from 
his ways and live.' And you have God's truth for it : Ps. cxxxviii. 2, 
' He hath magnified his word above all his name.' Now take him at 
his word ; nay, we have his oath : Heb. vi. 18, ' That by two immutable 
things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong 
consolation.' His word was enough ; but since he hath added his oath, 
what contumely do you do him to refuse his offers ! 1 John v. 10, 
' He that believeth not God, hath made him a liar.' 

2. Wait for God's power to settle your hearts upon these grounds : 
Faith is his gift, Eph. ii. 8 ; and Phil. i. 29, ' To you it is given on 
the behalf of Christ to believe in him.' And he worketh it : Heb. 
xii. 2, 'Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.' 
Without him it cannot be done : John vi. 44, ' No man can come 
unto me except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him.' And 
this by his almighty power : Eph. i. 19, ' And what is the exceeding 
greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working 
of his mighty power/ 

3. Look not for a transient act ; that his Spirit should work upon 
us as a stranger, but dwell in us as an inhabitant. After believing, 
the Spirit cometh to dwell in us and work in us, as a pledge and 
earnest of eternal life : Eph. i. 13, 14, ' After ye believed, ye were 
sealed with that Holy Sprit of promise, which is the earnest of our 
inheritance/ He remaineth constantly, and flitteth not, but taketh 
up a fixed and immovable habitation, not as a wayfaring man, for a 
night : 1 Cor. vi. 19, ' Know ye not that your body is the temple of 
the Holy Ghost that is in you ? ' He dwelleth there not as an inmate 
or underling, but as lord of the house, and is worshipped and re 
verenced there. This is the great evidence : 1 John iv. 13, ' Hereby 
we know that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given 
us of his Spirit/ Magnificent words ! Who may entitle themselves 


to such a privilege ? They that have the Spirit, not to come upon 
them at times, but to remain there as a principle of life : John iv. 14, 
* Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never 
thirst ; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of 
water springing up into everlasting life.' It shall quench his thirst 
after vanity and earthly delights, and make them tasteless ; they not 
only get a draught, but the Spirit of Christ is as a fountain to make 
this grace enduring in itself and in its effects. It is not a stream or 
a pond, that may be dried up ; but a well, and a springing well, and 
maketh us fruitful in all well-doing ; yea, at length it becomes an 

4. Look for the effects of it. If you have such a life begun in you 
as the life of faith, then you will have 

[I.] Spiritual senses, taste, and feeling : 1 Peter ii. 3, ' If so be ye 
have tasted that the Lord is gracious ; ' and Ps. cxix. 103, ' How 
sweet are thy words unto my taste ! yea, sweeter than honey to my 
mouth ! ' You will relish spiritual things, which to others have no 
savour ; then promises begin to be savoury and to rejoice the heart, 
when others are no more moved with them than with common his 
tories. You will then be sensible of good and evil suitable to that 
life you have ; more sensible of sin than any affliction: Bom. vii. 24, 
' Oh, wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from this body 
of death ? ' more sensible of God's hiding his face. It was as a sword 
in David's bones, Ps. xlii. 10. More sensible of -providence : Jer. v. 
3, ' Thou hast stricken them, but they have not 'grieved.' 

[2.] Spiritual affections, being dead to sin and the world, and 
alive to God : 1 Cor. ii. 12, ' Now we have received, not the spirit 
of this world, but the spirit which is of God, that we might know 
the things which are freely given to us of God ; ' desiring to be with 
Christ, Phil. i. 23; and having an heart set on things above, Col. 
iii. 1. 

[3.] You have spiritual strength : Eph. ii. 10, ' We are his workman 
ship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God hath before 
ordained that we should walk in them ; ' and Phil. iv. 13, ' I can do 
all things through Christ that strengthened me.' 

Secondly, Improve this life to a cheerful walking with God in a 
course of obedience. To this end 

1. Meditate on the promises: 1 Tim. iv. 8, 'Godliness is profitable 
to all things, and hath the promise of this life and that which is to 
come; ' and Ps. Ixxxiv. 11, < He is a sun and a shield; the Lord will 
give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them that 
walk uprightly ; ' and Ps. xxxiv. 9, ' There is no want to them that 
fear him ; ' and Eom. viii. 28, ' All things shall work together for good 
to them that love God.' We shall have whatever is expedient to bring 
us safely to heaven. God hath made promise of more than we could 
ask or think protection from all evil, a comfortable supply of all bless 
ings, temporal, spiritual, and eternal. Consult with these promises: 
Ps. cxix. 24, ' Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors ; - 
Ps. xlviii. 12, 13, ' Walk about Zion, and go round about her ; tell the 
towers thereof ; mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces.' 

3. Sue out your right at the throne of grace ; there the promises are 


put in suit : Heb. iv. 16, ' Let us come with boldness to the throne of 
grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of 
need/ Promises are given us, not only to plead with ourselves, but to 
put them in suit, and plead them with God. 

3. What is wanting in the creature, see it made up in God ; that is 
living by faith : Ps. xci. 1, ' He that dwelleth in the secret place of the 
Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty ; ' 2 Cor, vi. 
10, 'Having nothing, yet possessing all things.' In every strait do 
this make God all in all : Ps. xci. 9, ' Because thou hast made the 
Lord which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation.' This is 
not a senseless stupidity, but a lively exercise of faith. 

4. Counterbalance things as thus, set God against the creature: 
Mat. x. 28, ' Fear not them which kill the body, but are notable to kill 
the soul ; but rather fear him who is able to destroy both body and soul 
in hell.' The covenant against providence : Ps. Ixxiii. 16, 17, 'When 
I thought to know this, it was too painful for me, until I went into the 
sanctuary of God, then understood I their end.' Things eternal against 
things temporal : Rom. viii. 18, ' I reckon that the sufferings of this 
present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall 
be revealed in us.' So 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 which 
are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.' 
The use and profit of afflictions against the present smart of them : 
Heb. xii. 11, Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, 
but grievous, nevertheless afterwards it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of 
righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.' All trouble 
cometh from not right sorting and comparing things ; seeking that on 
earth which is only to be had in heaven, and seeking that in the crea 
ture which is only to be had in God, and looking for that from self 
which is only to be found in Christ, and seeking that in the law which 
is only to be had in the gospel. 

II. Now I come particularly to treat of the life of faith ; let us see 
how this life of faith is exercised and put forth. The life of faith may 
be considered either 

First, With respect to its object, the promises of the new covenant ; 
as our justification, sanctification, the supplies of the present life, or 
everlasting blessedness. 

Secondly, With respect to its trials, or the opposite evils that seem 
to infringe the comfort of these promises; as deep afflictions, great 
temptations from the devil, the world, and the flesh. 

Thirdly, With respect to its effects as holy duties and the exer 
cises of grace ; as with respect to the ordinances by which it is fed and 
increased as the word, prayer, and sacraments; and the duties of 
charity, of public and private relations as to the honouring God in our 
generation or in our callings. 

First, To begin with the life of faith as to justification, or those pro 
mises wherein Jesus Christ and his righteousness is offered to us for 
the pardon of our sins and our acceptance with God. Here I shall do 
three things : 

1. Prove that justification is one main or chief part of the life of 


2. I shall show you how we live by faith, or what is the work of 
faith in order to justification. 

3. What we must do that we may so live. 

]. That this is a main part of the life of faith. 

[1.] It is included in the expression, as it is applied and expounded 
by the apostle. I shall bring two places : Horn. i. 17, ' For therein is 
the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith ; as it is written, 
The just shall live by faith.' He giveth a reason why he was not 
ashamed of the gospel, because of that great blessing revealed in it, 
the righteousness of God ; that righteousness which God imputeth 
without the works of the law, by virtue of which we are accepted with 
God ; and how doth he prove it, that there is such a righteousness of 
God ? He proves it by that saying, ' It is written, The just shall live by 
faith.' The other place is Gal. ni. 11, ' But that no man is justified by 
the law in the sight of God is evident ; for the just shall live by faith.' 
So that we cannot handle living by faith, unless we take in this branch. 

[2.] There are many promises made of this benefit. Now it is faith 
that receives the promises : Jer. xxxi. 34, ' I will forgive their 
iniquities, and will remember their sins no more.' Now, wherever there 
is a promise there must be faith ; for as the law, with its threatenings 
to the fallen creature, is the strength of sin 1 Cor. xv. 56, ' The 
strength of sin is the law,' so the gospel, with its promises, is the 
strength of faith ; and therefore our comfort thence ariseth. If we 
would live and act comfortably on the promises, we must live by 

[3.] Because there is a daily use of faith for the continuance and the 
increase of the sense of this benefit, therefore this is a great part of our 
living by faith. It is said, Kom. i. 17, that 'the righteousness of God 
is revealed from faith to faith ; ; from first to last, from one degree of 
faith to another ; not only the beginning of justification is by faith, 
but the whole progress of it. Many think that this kind of faith on 
Gods free justifying grace in Christ is necessary to give us comfort at 
our first conversion, as if then it had finished all it should or could do ; 
at other times faith is laid aside, unless we fall into some notable decay, 
or may be plunged into some deep doubts, or fall into some great 
offences, or be exercised with some sharp afflictions, when we are forced, 
as it were, to begin all again. Oh, no ! there is a continual use of it ; 
for faith is not only obstetrix, the midwife to the new birth, but nulrix, 
the continual nurse and cherisher of it, and of all the comfort and 
peace that we have thereby ; it is still necessary to our communion 
with God, and continuance and increase of comfort ; for as soon as we 
take off our eye from Christ, the remembrance of former sins will 
trouble and vex the conscience. And therefore we must every day 
humble ourselves for sin, and seek pardon, and cry out with David, Ps. 
cxliii. 2, ' Enter not into judgment with thy servant, Lord, for in thy 
sight no man living shall be justified ;' as not the greatest sinner, so 
not the best saint, neither before regeneration nor after. There is no 
other way of maintaining comfort but by flying to grace, and seeking 
favour and pardon according to the new covenant. Yea, those evils 
mentioned before, as notable decays, great offences, deep doubts, sharp 
afflictions, they are all occasioned by the discontinuance of the exercise 


of faith, and because we do not cherish a warm sense of the love of 
God in pardoning our sins for Christ's sake. The more we keep the 
grounds of comfort in constant view, the more uniform and even we are 
in our course of walking with God ; as fire once kindled is better kept 
burning than when it is often quenched and often kindled again. And 
therefore this should be our daily task, to live by faith with respect to 

[4.] Because this is the ground of all other parts of the life of 
grace, take it. either for the life of sanctification, or our present 
living to God, or take it for the life of glory, or our living with God 

(1.) It is the way to the life of sanctification, or our present living 
to God and converse with him. Take it either for his influences upon 
us, or our duty to him , for Christ lives in us by his Spirit, and we live 
in him by faith, as Christ liveth in us by his Spirit, and we receive 
his influences. The holy God will have no communion with us while 
the guilt of sin standeth in the way : Isa. lix. 2, ' Your iniquities have 
separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face 
from you/ Sin, and nothing but sin, doth raise up a wall of separation 
between us and God ; poverty, sickness, reproaches, these are evils, but 
none of these shall separate us from the love of God in Christ ; but sin 
breedeth a strangeness between us and Go^ ; so that till sin be taken 
away, there can be no communion between God and us, and we are cut 
off from the blessed influences by which the life of grace might be main 
tained; Jer. v. 25, "Your sins have withheld good things from you/ 
Till sin be removed, the cock is, as it were, turned, and the course of 
the blessing stopped. But take it for our acting grace, and living to 
God ; we are careless of our duty unless we be interested in this benefit ; 
the more love we have to God, the more sense we have of his pardon 
ing mercy ' Ps. cxxx. 4, ' There is forgiveness with thee, that thou 
mayest be feared/ We can neither have hand nor heart to serve and 
obey God without this encouragement ; the more we believe him to be 
gracious, the more we fear to offend him ; and by experience none are 
so cautious of sin, as those that seek after daily pardon. Who is more 
careful not to run into new arrearages than he that desireth to have his 
debts paid and cancelled and blotted out ? So they that are solicitous 
to make even reckoning between God and their souls are most cautious 
that they do not interrupt their peace with new sins ; and whilst they 
plead so hard for mercy, they have the greater sense of duty and 
obedience. So that we cannot carry on the life of sanctification without 
looking after the life of justification. 

(2.) For the life of glorification, we are incapable of that, and can 
not hope for it with any comfort till we are pardoned : Eom v. 18, 
' The free gift came upon all to justification of life/ Life follows justi 
fication, as death doth condemnation. All men by nature are dead in 
law, and by justification this sentence is repealed, and men are invested 
with a new right to everlasting life : John v, 24, ' fie that heareth my 
word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and 
shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death to life/ 
They are not only put into a living condition by sanctification, but have a 
sentence of life passed in their favour, for justification is a sentence 


of life ; so that if we would live the life of grace, or hope for ^ the life of 
glory, we must be put into a condition for both by justification. 

2. What doth faith do with respect to this benefit ? 

[1.] It assents to the truth of the gospel offering this benefit to us, 
and causeth the soul to be fully persuaded that God is appeased in 
Christ with all those that cast themselves upon his grace, and seek 
God's favour in and through him. This is the work of faith, to believe 
that it is the good pleasure of God revealed in the gospel to pardon 
and justify all them that do believe in Christ : 1 Tim. i. 15, ^This is 
a faithful'saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came 
into the world to save sinners.' Assent goeth before pursuit ; first we 
must believe that this is a true and faithful saying, before we shall 
look after such a benefit from him. So Heb. xi. 13, ' They saw the 
promises afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them/ 
When a man can be persuaded that it is even so, that God will be 
gracious to them that believe in Christ, then he will hug and embrace 
these precious promises. And Eph. i. 13, 'In whom also ye trusted, 
after ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.' You 
see under what notion they took up the gospel ; first we must be per 
suaded that the gospel is a word of truth, before we stir either hand 
or foot to look after any benefit by it. I do the rather press this, be 
cause the justification of a|sinner is the great secret revealed in the 
gospel, which was hidden from nature till God revealed it. Arid 
therefore doth the apostle so operously prove the truth, of this in the 
three first chapters to the Komans. His argument stands thus that 
all the world being guilty before God, they must either be condemned, 
and that will not consist with the mercy and goodness of God, or there 
must be some way of justifying a sinner ; but his wisdom hath found 
out that way : Rom. iii. 21-23, ' But now the righteousness of God 
without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the 
prophets; even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus 
Christ unto all and upon all that believe ; for there is no difference : 
for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.' All the 
world was at a loss about this, how the sinful creature should get rid 
of the dread of God's justice; for every man that hath a conscience 
knoweth that it implies a law, and a law implies a judgment for the 
breach of the law. Now all the world was afraid of this judgment of 
God ; the apostle proves this both of Jews and gentiles. Now faith 
looks into the gospel, and there finds this secret revealed by the holy 
men of God ; and therefore, whenever the gospel is spoken of, and this 
mystery of justification, you shall find there is some addition or note 
of assurance added, that it is a word of truth, or a faithful saying, 
because the heart of man is apt to doubt of the truth of this glorious 

[2.] Faith exciteth us to put in for this benefit of being justified in 
God's sight. We fell from God by unbelief, and nothing exciteth us 
to seek after God again but faith. Now this faith doth by setting 
before us, on the one side, our own sinful and cursed estate ; and on the 
other side, God's promises of pardon and free justification by Christ. 
In Heb. vi. 18, the heirs of promise are described to be those 'who 
fly for refuge to lay hold upon the hope that is set before them.' 


There is a plain allusion to the avenger of blood and the city of refuge. 
A man that had killed another, if he were taken before he came to the 
city of refuge, he was to be put to death; now such a man, when his 
life was concerned, he would fly to the city of refuge. Such are the 
heirs of promise ; they run to take hold of the hope set before them ; 
the curses of the law drive them, and the promises of the gospel draw 
and allure them ; and we never put in seriously and in good earnest 
for a share in this benefit till faith stirreth up active and lively thoughts 
about these things, and then we never leave till we see ourselves in 
terested therein. 

(1.) Faith worketh in us a serious thoughtfulness about our sinful 
and cursed estate ; that driveth us to Christ, as the other consideration 
draweth us, and sweetly allureth us to close with him. The first con 
sideration of our sinful and cursed estate driveth us out of ourselves, 
when we consider how ' all the world is become guilty before God,' 
Horn. iii. 19 ; and liable to the curse, Gal. iii. 10, ' As many as are of 
the works of the law, are under a curse ; ' that we are ' children of 
wrath/ Eph ii. 3 ; that this curse is no slight one ; that it is an eternal 
separation from God, and being cast out with the devil and his angels 
into everlasting fire. Now, when this is represented by faith, the sin 
ner beginneth to 'fly from the wrath to come/ Mat. iii. 7, which 
otherwise is looked upon but as a fable and vain scarecrow, Sense and 
natural reason cannot judge aright, neither of its own misery, nor of 
the way of recovery from it; but faith, improving the scriptures, shuts 
up the sinner, that he hath no evasion, nor way of escape : Gal iii. 
22, ' The scripture hath concluded all under sin ; ' shut them up as in 
a prison, as the word signifieth. This is the work of faith. Con 
science will tell men of a law, and a law of a judge and a judgment- 
day, and that he doth not stand upon sound terms with this judge, 
that he dareth not seriously to think of death and the world to come, 
without horror and amazement : but faith, working upon scripture, 
doth make him more distinctly to understand it, and to be most sensibly 
affected with it : Jonah iii. 5, ' The people of Nineveh believed God, 
and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them 
to the least of them/ There is a faith required to believe the 
threatenings of the law, as well as the promises of the gospel, to con 
vince men of their cursed estate by natuie, without which it is not 

(2.) It draweth us to close with Christ by the promises of pardon. 
It spreadeth before the soul all the melting offers of the word, and his 
invitations of sinners to return to him ; such as that, Isa. Iv. 7, ' Let 
the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts ; 
and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy on him ; 
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon him/ Arid he prays 
us to be reconciled to him ; 2 Cor. v. 20, ' Now then we are ambas 
sadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us : we pray you 
in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God/ And shall all this be 
spoken in vain ? 2 Cor. vi. 1, ' We beseech you receive not the grace 
of God in vain/ Shall all the sweet offers of grace in the gospel be as 
dry chips or withered flowers to me ? This makes a poor distressed 
creature to stir up himself, to believe if this be certain, that God is not 


willing that any should perish, but rather that they should repent, 
and be converted, and healed. And hath he made such a general 
offer, that I am sure that I am contained under it ? Why shall I hang 
back and not come to him for pardon, and wait for his grace ? I am 
condemned already, and shall I pull upon myself new woes, by despis 
ing God's mercy so freely offered to sinners ? Shall my unbelieving 
heart draw back when God inviteth me to come to him ? What did 
God mean when he said, Acts x. 43, ' To him gave all the prophets 
witness, that through his name whosoever believeth on him should 
receive the remission of sins ' ? Wherefore did Christ send abroad his 
apostles with the glad tidings of salvation in their mouths ? Luke 
xxiv. 47, ' And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached 
in his name among all nations.' Why hath he said, 1 John ii. 1, 2, 
' If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ 
the righteous ; and he is the propitiation for our sins ' ? Surely God 
did not intend to flatter and delude his creature with a vain hope, nor 
to entice and court him into a fool's paradise ; certainly he is in earnest 
in what he saith. I need mercy, and he hath promised to give it ; I 
thirst after it, and he will give it me, for he is faithful ; therefore let 
me see what God will do for my poor soul. 

(3.) It directeth us to use the means which God hath appointed ; 
namely, to humble ourselves before God, and to sue out this blessing : 
Luke xviii. 13, ' Lord, be merciful to me a sinner ; ' and 1 John i. 9, 
' If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.' 
It is a great part of faith to put God's bonds in suit : Jer. iii. 12, 13, 
' I am merciful ; only acknowledge thine iniquity.' This is God's 
prescribed course, and we must use it in faith ; he cannot be offended 
with that which himself commandeth, nor deny what he hath promised. 
Doth not he command thee thus to come into his presence, yea, 
beseech thee ? and why art thou afraid ? Hath he not said, that if 
we cast ourselves at his feet with brokenness of heart, confessing our 
sins, he will forgive them, and cast them into the depths of the sea ? 
Refusal of means argueth despair ; therefore go and plead the promises 
with him, and urge him upon his own word. 

(4.) The work of faith is to make application ; not only to see that 
sin may be pardoned, and how, but that our sins are or shall be 
pardoned for Christ's sake. There are degrees in this application ; 
sometimes God's children apply promises in the humbling way, and 
creep in at the backdoor of a promise : 1 Tim. i 15, ' Christ came 
into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.' There I can put 
in for a share ; I am sure I am sinner enough, if Christ came to save 
sinners. They put their mouths in the dust, yet look up, because 
there is hope. And sometimes they express their confidence for the 
future ; though they are not persuaded of their good estate at present, 
yet they hope they shall at length be pardoned and accepted : Ps. Ixv. 
3, ' As for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.' He can 
and will do it. So Micah vii. 19, ' He will turn again, he will have 
compassion ^ on us, he will subdue our iniquities; thou wilt cast alt 
their sins into the depth of the sea/ At other times they express 
their confidence of pardon as an act past : Ps. xxxii. 5, ' Thou for- 
gavest the iniquity of my transgression ; and Isa. xxxviii. 17, ' Thou 


Last cast all my sins behind thy back/ To say so is an act of experi 
ence of a sinner now justified by faith ; and though every self -con 
demned sinner cannot thus apply his pardon, nor thus lay hold upon 
this benefit, and apply it to himself, yet he should endeavour it. 

(5.) It is a work of faith to wait the Lord's leisure, though comfort 
doth not succeed and flow as soon as we would have it. You must 
not throw up all, as if God were beholden to you, or at your beck and 
command. As soon as you have used the means, you must be satisfied 
and contented with his word till the promise be made good. Many 
give the lie to God when they find not at first what they hope for ; 
but we must be satisfied with God's word till it be made good to us : 
Isa. xx vi. 8, ' In the way of thy judgments we have waited for thee ; 
the desire of our souls is to thy name, and to the remembrance of 
thee/ Whatever desires we have after comfort and the enjoyment of 
this benefit, we must be contented to tarry the Lord's leisure ; though 
we be not answered, his word is sure ; though we do not presently feel 
the comfort and effect of it, his word is gone forth in truth. ' I shall 
yet praise him for the help of his countenance/ Ps. xlii. 5. There 
may be a grant where there is no sense of it. We do not live by sense 
or actual comfort, but by faith. 

3. What must we do that we may so live and set faith a- work ? 
To this end and purpose directions are several, according to the 
different state and posture of the soul. As for instance, if the heart be 
sluggish, and your desires cold and dull towards this benefit, then there 
is one course to be taken ; but if the heart be comfortless and dejected, 
then there is another course to be taken ; and then, if you find your 
hearts too slight in the work of pardon, and you make a small matter 
of it, another course must be taken. 

[1.] If the heart be sluggish, and your desires cold and faint, and 
you cannot be earnest in the pursuit of so considerable a blessing, then 
you must quicken and awaken the heart by considering the danger 
on the one side, and the profit and utility on the other. 

(1.) The danger of security/or not prizing of a pardon,, and of the 
comforts of a justified estate. Let me tell you, it is as ill a sign as 
can be when a man esteemeth not of pardon, or of God as a pardoner ; 
it argues deep carnality and security in those that were never ac 
quainted with God, and a strange witchery and fascination of soul 
that is fallen upon them that are regenerate, and will in time cause 
them to smart for it. 

~Lst. It argues deep carnality and security in those that are strangers 
to God. For this is the first notion' that rendereth God amiable, 
because he is so necessary to our consciences. Guilt and bondage are 
natural to us ; but it is a sign men are hardened in fleshly delights 
when they have lost their actual sense of this, and are past feeling. 
Therefore consider how dangerous their condition is, if God put the 
bond of the old covenant in suit, and require their souls at their hands : 
Luke xii. 20, ' Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee/ 
Oh, miserable they ! when they shall be haled to hell, and the direful 
sentence shall be executed upon them, * Go, ye cursed, into everlasting 
fire/ And consider, there is nothing but the slender thread of a frail 
life between yon and this ; and how soon is that fretted asunder ! 


2d Or if this evil should fall upon God's own children, a man 
that is spiritual, that he be listless and careless about his justification, 
it aro-ueth some sore spiritual disease, and it will cost them much 
bitterness before they get rid of it ; and if the Lord meaneth them 
mercy, they shall again taste the vinegar and gall of the law's curse ; 
and is' it nothing to you to be liable to the wrath of God? 

(2.) To awaken the sluggish heart, consider the utility and profit of it ; 
if once you could clear up your justification, what sweet, happy lives might 
you lead! Ps. xxxii. 1, 2, 'Blessed is the man whose transgression is 
forgiven, whose sin is covered.' In the original it is, Oh ! the blessed 
ness of the man. But the blessedness of such a man is more fully 
set forth by the apostle, Bom. v. 1-5, 'Being justified by faith, we 
have peace with God through Christ.' 

1st. The very first-fruit of it is peace with God. Sin had broken off 
all friendship and amity, and procured enmity between God and the 
creature ; and is it nothing to have God for an enemy, and to be in 
dread of him every day, lest he should bend his bow, and shoot his 
arrows at us? If all the world were at war with you, and God 
were your friend, you were happy men ; but if all the world be at 
peace with you, and God your enemy, you may be soon miserable 
enough ; till you can make a wall between you and heaven, you can 
never be secured. All that is truly good and truly evil dependeth 
upon our peace and war with God. I shall illustrate it by that place, 
Acts xii. 20, ' The men of Tyre and Sidon had offended Herod, but 
they made Blastus their friend, and desired terms of peace, because 
their country was nourished by the king's country/ Tyre was an 
island on the sea,- and could not subsist without supplies from the 
king's country. Certainly we cannot subsist a moment without God, 
and therefore it concerns us to be at peace with him. Till we are 
justified, we are utterly out of God's favour, and liable to his indigna 
tion ; but when we are justified, there is an everlasting peace concluded 
between us and him. 

2d Free and cheerful access to God. So it follows, Bom. v. 2, ' By 
whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand.' 
If you have any dealings with God, and know anything of this kind of 
traffic, you will be glad to hear how you may think of him comfort 
ably, and come to him with assurance of welcome. Wicked men 
cannot endure to think of God ; their thoughts of God are a torment 
to them. But to have a free access to him upon all occasions, and 
cheerfully to lay forth your whole case to him, is not this a blessed privi 
lege ? To be in like favour with God as Joseph was with Pharaoh, to 
ask and have, and be assured of welcome whenever we come to him, 
that, ask what we will, we may be assured it shall be done for us. 

3d. Joy of salvation. So it follows, 'We rejoice in hope of the 
glory of God.' Though our estate be poor and contemptible in the 
world, yet there is glory enough provided for us in heaven ; and seem- 
eth it a light thing to be the King's son-in-law ? to be heirs of God, 
and co-heirs with Christ ? Well may we forego all transitory prefer 
ments, which worldlings so magnify, for these hopes. Well may we 
despise the shame, and endure the cross, if such a glory be set before 
us. To have a glimpse of it here in the world is very comfortable ; 


the very preparatives are sweet. Now this glory is but revealed to us, 
and our hearts have received a little of it; what will it be when 
this glory shall be revealed in us? Rom. viii. 18, ' I reckon that the 
sufferings of this present life are not worthy to be compared with the 
glory that shall be revealed in us,' when we shall have glorious bodies, 
glorious souls, glorious company, glorious sights, glorious exercises. 
Nothing can be desired here to be compared with it. 

4th. Comfort in afflictions : ver. 3, ' We glory in tribulations.' Some 
make it an enlargement of what he had said before : ' We rejoice in 
hope of the glory of God ; ' and tribulation doth not weaken this joy. 
And others interpret it, * We do not only rejoice in the glory of God, 
which is the best part of our estate, but, which is much more admir 
able, we find matter of rejoicing in our afflictions and tribulations, 
which are the worst part of our estate : ' James i. 2, 3, ' My brethren, 
count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations ; knowing this, 
that the trial of your faith worketh patience ; ' and 2 Cor. xii. 10, ' I 
take pleasure in my infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in perse 
cutions, in distresses for Christ's sake : for when I am weak, then I am 
strong/ Those things that are so unwelcome to the natural man, that 
spoil all his rejoicings, they are the matter of a godly man's rejoicing. 
A wicked man will part with God, and Christ, and peace of conscience, 
and the hopes of eternal life, and all to shun the cross ; but such is 
the temper of a godly man, he cleaves closest to God in the worst of 
times, and finds matter of rejoicing in the worst condition. 

5th. And this is backed with a reason, which makes a fifth benefit 
a further increase of patience : ' Tribulation worketh patience.' 
Grace is so welcome that they are willing to exchange outward com 
forts for inward grace. By nature we are like untamed heifers, very 
unruly at first yoking, but after a while we come quietly to bear the 
yoke : James i. 3, ' Knowing this, that the trial of your faith worketh 
patience/ At first a new cart squeaks and creaks, but afterwards goes 
away silently under a heavy load. At first we complain the cross is 
very heavy and burdensome to us, but afterwards we quietly submit to 
the will of God. 

6th. And this bringeth on another benefit, and that is experience: 
ver. 4, * And patience, experience/ We learn many sweet experiences 
of God by afflictions. A man that hath been at sea, and endured 
storms and tempests in foul weather, is not so easily dismayed nor 
afraid of the rolling of every wave and the tossing of the ship as one 
that never hath been at sea. So when we have had experience of God 
and ourselves, and of the course and issues of things, we are not so 
easily discouraged as others are. 

7th. The hopes of everlasting life are increased and strengthened, 
and so we are the better able to bear the inconveniences of the present 
life. If a poor man be robbed of twenty or thirty shillings, no wonder 
if he cry and take on, because he hath no more to help himself with ; 
but now, if a rich man be robbed of such a sum, he is not much 
troubled, because he hath more at home. So a man that is justified 
by faith, and hath assurance of the favour of God, he can comfortably 
bear up against all the troubles and crosses he meets with in his way 
to heaven. 


8th. Sweet tastes of God's fatherly love : ver. 5, ' The love of God 
is shed abroad in their hearts/ God hath his comforts for his afflicted 
ones. His people are never so assured of his love as then, for there is 
love seen in their afflictions. Oh ! it is no mean thing to live by faith. 
Come and see ; will you be a stranger to all this ? 

[2.] If the heart be dejected and comfortless 

(1.) Consider what grounds we have to hope for pardoning mercy from 
the Lord. Partly from the nature of God : Micah vii. 18, ' Who is a 
God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the trans 
gression of the remnant of his heritage ? he retaineth not his anger for 
ever, because he delighteth in mercy.' Never did we take more pleasure 
in the acting and committing of sin, than he in the pardon of it. No 
man is backward to do that he delights in. God's purpose is to make 
liis grace glorious : Eph. i. 6, ' To the praise of the glory of his grace/ 
He everlastingly purposed this within himself, and, as a wise God, 
accordingly hath suited means to that end. His justice cannot com 
plain, having received full satisfaction in Christ, who paid the full 
price: Rom. iii. 24, ' Being justified freely by his grace, through the 
redemption that is in Jesus Christ ; ' Lsa. xxx. 18, ' Therefore will the 
Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you ; arid therefore will he be 
exalted, that he may have mercy upon you : for the Lord is a God of 
judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him/ And partly from 
the name of God : Isa. 1. 10, ' Who is among you that feareth the 
Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, 
and hath no light ? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay 
himself upon his God/ Now the name of God is at large described : 
Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7, ' The Lord, the Lord God, gracious and merciful, 
long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth/ &c. These names 
are given to God that we may take notice of his graciousness, and that 
we might stay our hearts on the name of God. Why doth he invite 
us with such earnestness ? He that waited upon thee when thou 
wentest astray, will he not pardon thee when thou returnest ? 

(2.) To answer all discouragements : What is it that keepeth thee 
off? Thy unworthiness ? that indeed maketh us the fitter objects of 
his grace arid mercy. God giveth this freely without worth ; for grace 
doth all things gratis, without any worth in us. If we were riot un 
worthy, how should God show forth the riches of his grace ? And 
when we have a sense for it, and a heart broken for it, it is a good 
preparation to the work. If any man were bitten with the fiery ser 
pent, he might look up to the brazen serpent and be healed. It mat 
ters not what the disease be, so Christ be the physician. If any feel 
sin a burden, and do truly and earnestly desire to'be eased of it, he is 
invited to ask, that by asking he may receive : Mat. xi. 28, ' Come 
unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you 
rest/ Oh ! but, saith the poor troubled, humbled soul, I am not hum 
bled enough. Remember, it is not the deepness of the wound, but the 
soundness of the cure that we should look after. If you are weary of 
sin, and unfeignedly willing to part with it, and everything that would 
separate between you and Christ ; if Christ be precious to you, and you 
are willing to give up yourselves to the Lord's use, the end is wrought. 
Humiliation is not required for itself, but for these ends. 


[3.] If yon have cause to suspect that your hearts are too slight in 
the estimation of pardon, and that you make too easy a work of it, and 
pass it over too lightly, then consider 

(1.) What it cost the Lord Jesus Christ to bring it about. It cost 
the precious blood of the Son of God : Rom. v. 9, ' Being justified by his 
blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.' Did it cost the 
blood of Christ to procure it, and shall I have slight and mean thoughts 
of it? The apostle did urge this as an argument to press ministers 
to have a care of the flock, because ' they were purchased by the 
blood of God/ Acts xx. 28. It was not an impostor that died at 
Jerusalem, but the very Son of God. By the same argument we may 
press men to look after justification by faith in Christ, because Christ 
hath purchased it with his precious blood. 

(2.) It is a work wherein eternity is concerned ; justification is but 
that act done privately which you expect God will do publicly at the 
last day: Acts iii. 19, 'Repent, that your sins maybe blotted out, 
when the times of refreshment shall come from the presence of the 
Lord.' Your act is nothing, unless it be ratified by Christ at that 
day. Everywhere the scripture puts us upon this task. Boldness at 
lus coming is made the test of the strength of our faith : 1 John ii. 
18, * And now, little children, abide in him, that when he shall appear, 
we may have confidence, and may not be ashamed before him at his 

(3.) If you go about this work with brokenness of heart, you cannot 
be slightly in it, if indeed the heart be wounded for sin ; there is no 
dallying with broken bones ; surely such will mind a cure. 

(4.) Take heed of an heart purposing to continue in sin : Heb. x. 
22, ' Let us draw near 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 you have fallen into sin, you must humble 
your souls deeply before the Lord: Hosea xiv. 2, 3, 'Take away all 
iniquity, and receive us graciously/ You will not beg that God would 
take away this plague, but take away this sin, that you may not sin 
again, but that you may be more serious than ever you have been, that 
you may have a new heart, and sin may never live in you more. 

Secondly, I shall speak of the life of faith as it respects sanctifica- 
iion. This also must be regarded. 

1. These two must not be severed ; justification and sanctification 
must carefully be distinguished, but not separated: 1 Cor. vi. 11, 
' Such were some of you, but you are washed, but you are justified, 
but you are sanctified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the 
Spirit of our God : 1 Cor. i. 30, ' Who of God is made unto us wisdom, 
and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption/ They always 
go together in God's dispensations : 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/ Sin is considerable in the guilt and filth of it, 
as it renders us obnoxious to God's justice, or as it tainteth our facul 
ties and actions, and indisposeth us for his service; and both must be 
done away. Christ came to do both ; he was sent into the world to 
restore God's image in us ; but the image of God consisteth in the 
participation of holiness, as well as the participation of blessedness. 

VOL. xv. E 


For God, that is happy and blessed, is also holy and good ; the filth of 
sin is opposite to holiness, and the guilt of it to blessedness. So that 
Christ must restore but half the image of God, or he must give us 
this double benefit; if he should give us the one without the other, 
many inconveniences would follow. If he should free us from the 
guilt of sin, and give us impunity without holiness, then bonum phy- 
Isicum, a natural good, would be consistent with malum morale, a moral 
evil ; and if he should give us sanctification, and deny impunity, the 
highest natural evil would be consistent with a moral good. And 
therefore he giveth us both ; he justifies that he may sanctify, and he 
sanctities that he may glorify. It is not consistent with God's wisdom 
and justice to give us pardon and let us alone in our sins, nor with 
his wisdom and mercy to give us holiness without pardon. Yea, jus 
tification (if it could be said to be alone) would only give us freedom 
from hell ; but without sanctification we should remain unqualified for 
heaven or the life of glory. It is true, such an one would be ex 
empted from pcena sensus, the punishment of sense, but not from 
pcena damni, the punishment of loss. We cannot enjoy heaven, nor see 
the face of God till we are sanctified : ' For without holiness no man 
shall see the Lord,' Heb. xii. 14. And therefore both must go to 
gether; and wounded souls, those that are affected with their condition, 
look for both ; as he that hath his leg broken desireth not only to be 
eased of the present pain, but to have it set right again. Those that 
are sensible of their condition before God would not only have their 
sins pardoned, but would have their hearts enlarged to serve God 
with more cheerfulness and freedom. Well, then, both is desired by 
a broken heart, and Christ is made both to us : 1 Cor. i. 30, ' He is 
made of God unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and 
redemption.' And it is his work not only to turn away God's wrath, 
but to turn us from our sins : Acts iii. 26, ' Unto you first, God having 
raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every 
one of you from his iniquities ; ' and Acts v. 31, ' Him hath God ex 
alted with his right hand, to be a prince and a saviour, to give re 
pentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.' Now, what Christ giveth, 
faith receiveth ; and therefore if we would live by faith, faith must be 
exercised in this great blessing of sanctitication. 

2. Sanctification is the greatest benefit of the two, if you compare 
them together. Many will cry up justification, but neglect sanctifica 
tion, but preposterously ; for, of the two, sanctification is the greater pri 
vilege. 1 prove it thus 

[1J Justification freeth us a malo naturali, from pain and suffer 
ing ; but sanctitication a malo morali, from sin and pollution ; for sin 
is worse than misery, and holiness is to be preferred before impunity; 
and therefore justification, which frees us from misery, is not so great 
a privilege as sanctification, which frees us from sin. And the saints 
here have chosen the greatest sufferings rather than the least sins ; 
as Moses * chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, 
than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season,' Heb. xi. 25. And 
God hateth sin, as being against his very nature. God may inflict 
punishment, but he cannot infuse sin. Now, as misery and punish 
ment is less than sin, so justification, which frees us from misery and 


punishment, is not so great a blessing as sanctification, which frees us 
from sin. 

[2.] The end must needs be more noble than the means. Now, 
sanctification is the end of justification, as glorification is the end of 
sanctification. God's end in justifying is to sanctify, or to promote 
holiness ; and therefore, Heb. ix. 14, Christ is said to ' purge our 
conscience from dead works, that we may serve the living God ;' and 
Luke i. 74, 75, ' He hath delivered us out of the hands of our enemies, 
that we might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness 
before him all the days of our lives.' Therefore we are purged from 
the sentence of death, therefore we are delivered from the curse of 
the law, and from hell. Certainly the end must needs be more noble 
than the means : now the wisdom of God hath appointed justification 
to promote sanctification. 

[3.] This is that which is nearest to the life of glory. Ends are 
more noble, as they are nearest the last end. Justification is the 
pledge of the life of glory ; but sanctification is not only a pledge, but 
a beginning. Indeed justification is causa removens prohibens ; it 
takes away that which hinders, namely, guilt, or the sentence of con 
demnation, which is that which hinders our entering into glory ; but 
sanctification beginneth that life which is perfected in glory, and dif- 
fereth from it as an infant from a man. When we know God per 
fectly, and love God perfectly, then our happiness is completed, and 
not till then. Complete holiness and conformity to God is the great 
thing that God designeth ; and therefore, the more of that the more 
are we advanced towards eternal happiness : Eph. v. 25-27, ' Christ 
loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and 
cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might pre 
sent it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or 
any such thing ; but that it should be holy and without blemish/ 
First he doth cleanse and sanctify, and then he doth perfect all in 
glory ; when they are fully freed from all sin, then they are fully freed 
from all misery. 

[4.] Real perfections are above relative. Sanctification is a real 
moral perfection, but justification is but a relative one ; our state is 
changed by it, but not our hearts ; that is done by this other privilege 
of sanctification. Real moral perfections make us like God : Exod. 
xv. 11, ' God is glorious in holiness ' he counts that his highest and 
chief est glory. Moral perfections exceed natural ; and of all moral 
perfections, holiness is the greatest. It is better to be wise than to 
be strong, and to be holy than to be wise. Beasts have strength, and 
man hath reason, and the devils have cunning and knowledge ; but 
angels are holy, and God is glorious in holiness ; that is their perfec 
tion, and herein we most resemble God, in that which is his chiefest 

J5.] This is that which renders us most amiable in the eyes of God, 
therefore it is the greatest privilege. Now God loveth us for holi 
ness ; he delighteth in it, as the reflex of his own image upon us ; he 
doth not love us as pardoned, but as holy. We love him indeed for 
pardoning : Luke vii. 47, ' She loved much, because much was forgiven 
her;' but God delights in the pure and upright. God is the first 


object of his own love ; and next, ' the saints and excellent ones upon 
earth, in whom is his delight,' Ps. xvi. 3. So that though we love him 
for pardoning, yet he loveth us for holiness. There is amor compla- 
centicc, as the scripture witnesseth, Prov. xi. 20, ' Such as are upright 
in their way are his delight.' 

[6.] God's interest and honour is to be preferred before our comfort 
and personal benefit. Justification, though it sets forth the glory of 
God's grace, yet it doth more immediately concern our comfort. In 
sanctification, besides our personal benefit, which is the perfection of 
our nature, God's honour and interest is concerned in our subjection to 
him; and this, besides the honour of his grace for our ^notification, 
springs only from grace, as our justification doth, and is the fruit of 
Christ's merits. Well, then, we'need to look after this benefit, as well 
as justification, which is of such use and service to us, lest the main 
disease be left uncured. 

3. It is a great part of the glory which God expecteth from us, to 
believe in him as the only Holy One of Israel, and the sanctifier of his 
people, viz., that he will sanctify our natures, and enable us to the 
practice of that holiness which he requireth of us : Lev. xx. 8, ' I am 
the God that sanctifieth you;' and Isa. xliii. 15, 'I am the ^Lord, 
your holy one ; ' and Hab. i. 12, ' Art not thou from everlasting, 
Lord, my God, my holy one ? ' He is not only our merciful _one, 
to pardon us ; but our holy one, to sanctify us ; and he taketh it to 
be a principal part of his honour and glory to be so. 

4. It is needful to exercise faith upon this privilege of sanctification, 
that we may not be discouraged, and grow cold and negligent, when we 
find the difficulties of obedience. There is none that hath had to do with 
God and his own heart, but he finds strong oppositions, little prevailing 
against his lusts, and the work of God is often interrupted. Now if 
there were not promises to bear him up, he would throw off all as 
impossible, and be discouraged, that he should never bring his heart 
to any good purpose in the things of God. And therefore God hath 
undertaken in his promises, as sin is filthy, to cleanse and purge it out : 
Ezek. xxxvi. 25-28, ' Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and 
ye shall be clean ; from all your filthiness and from all your idols will 
I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give yon, and a new spirit will I 
put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, 
and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within 
you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judg 
ments and do them.' And as there is strength in it, so he hath pro 
mised, Micah vii. 19, ' He will turn again, he will have compassion 
upon us, he will subdue our iniquities.' A Christian may encourage 
himself in his God ; he will help him. Our own strength is too weak to 
govern our hearts, to conquer our lusts, to defeat temptations ; but God 
will do it for us : and therefore we should not give over all as a de 
sperate case, but cheer up our hearts in the sense of God's love and help ; 
though we can never hope to overcome sin in our own strength, yet 
God will do it for us. 

My next business is to show how faith doth concur, or what influ 
ence it hath upon sanctification. I shall first speak of sanctification in 
the general, and then of the parts of it mortification and vivification. 


1. What influence it hath upon sanctifi cation in the general. .1 
shall show you that in two distinctions. Sanctifi cation may be con 
sidered as to its beginning, or as to its increase and progress. 

[1.] As to the beginning of sanctification, what influence hath faitli 
upon the first work ? Certainly there is need of faith ; for the first work 
falls under a promise : Heb. viii. 10, ' This is the covenant that I will 
make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord ; I will 
put my laws into their minds, and write them in their hearts/ There 
are promises of grace, and promises to grace, that where he hath given 
grace he will give more absolute and conditional promises. Now 
faith and the promises are correlatives. Now all the business is to 
know what use we can make of these absolute promises of grace : the 
conditional promises they point out what we must do ; but as to the 
absolute promises what shall we do there ? 

(1.) These absolute promises show the power of God to all those 
that take hold of his covenant, and his willingness to make use of his 
power for their good ; for God will use his power this way, so that we 
may come to him, and plead as the leper did, ' Lord, if thou wilt, thou 
canst make me clean/ Mat. viii. 2. God can do it, and therefore there 
is some comfort ; and we have no reason to despair, as if the work were 
impossible. So that what difficulties do arise, they should drive us to 
God to put these promises in suit. Though we do not know how it will 
succeed with us ; though we have such sinful hearts, that we do not 
know which way they should be subdued, and our headstrong corrup 
tions mortified ; yet the Almighty, who hath promised it> is able to do 
it for us, as that place showeth, Mark x. 27, 'With God all things 
are possible/ God can change our crooked perverse hearts, and make 
them willing in the day of his power, Ps. ex. 3. 

(2.) These absolute promises encourage us to come to God, and set 
his power a-work by prayer ; as Ephraim, Jer. xxxi. 18, ' Turn thou 
me, and I shall be turned ; for thou art the Lord my God/ Though 
Ephraim had a stubborn and rebellious heart, like a bullock unaccus 
tomed to the yoke, yet he was encouraged to go to God because he 
was the Lord his God. These absolute promises may be pleaded in 

(3.) These absolute promises engage us to wait upon God till they 
be accomplished. God hath undertaken to take away the old heart ; 
so that we may say, as in Ps. cxxiii. 2, ' Behold, as the eyes of servants 
look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden are 
unto the hand of her mistress, so our eyes wait upon the Lord our 
God, until that he have mercy upon us/ They engage us to persevere 
with diligence in the use of means, though we do not know what will 
come of it. So Prov. viii. 34, ' Blessed is the man that heareth me, 
watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors/ Though 
it be long ere God look upon us, long before we find any preparation 
towards this work, yet this engageth us to lie at the pool. 

(4.) These absolute promises engage us to wait with hope, looking 
up still with confidence that he wilt accomplish the things promised. 
But you will say, What hope can a man have of the absolute promises ? 
There is this hope, that I am not excluded, that I, as well as others, 
am invited to take hold of God's covenant; and there is the same 


favour shown to me that there is to all ; and it is some hopeful presage, 
that God hath inclined my heart to look after it ; that I am weary of 
my sins, that I am troubled with my lusts, though it be but a natural 
weariness, because of the inconveniency of them ; that I desire grace, 
though it be but a natural desire of ease and happiness ; that I pray, 
though it be but literally, and not spiritually : ' Take with you words, 
and turn unto the Lord, and say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and 
receive us graciously,' Hosea xiv. 2. It is well that there is some affec 
tion and natural fervency ; we are in grace's way, and lie more obvious 
to the Lord's grace. But, most of all, there is this hope, that we have 
a general confidence of God's all-sufficiency ; as the woman that had 
an issue of blood twelve years, Mat. ix. 21 ,' And came behind Christ, 
and touched the hem of his garment ; for she said within herself, If 1 
may but touch the hern of his garment, I shall be made whole.' When 
all remedies fail, and we are still troubled and burdened with our lusts, 
yet we have this general prepositional persuasion, that if we come to 
Christ, and get into him, we shall be the better for him ; though we 
have tried many means, and have been nothing the better, but rather 
rhe worse, yet when we thus do, there is some hope. Thus these 
promises have their use ; for God doth not only propound them to faith, 
but by them worketh faith : 2 Peter i. 4, ' Whereby 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 ; ' enabling a graceless sinner to believe and 
apply the pardon, grace, and blessedness offered in them. So soon as a 
sinner gets grace to believe and apply them, the Lord worketh in the 
heart the things promised, andinfuseth those divine qualities in which 
the life of grace consisteth. 

(5.) There are many considerations as means which may uphold 
and encourage our hearts in waiting for this work of grace to be begun 
in us, and faith makes use of them. As 

~Lst. That many that have been as vile and obstinate against God, 
and as much hardened in a way of sin as we are, yet the promise hath 
taken hold of them. Men that have been bond-slaves to the devil and 
their own lusts, yet they have been caught in their month, arid the 
Lord hath wrought upon them ; as Zaccheus, who had formerly lived 
in a course of oppression, Luke xix. 8, 9 ; Mary Magdalen, who had lived 
in whoredom, Luke vii. 37; and Saul, a persecutor and blasphemer, 
and an injurious person, 1 Tim. i. 13. Instances and examples encour 
age faith as ^weli as promises, for they are patterns of what God will 
do : 1 Tim. i. 16, ' For this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first 
Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them 
that should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.' These instances 
are as masterpieces of grace. As artists hang up their masterpieces 
in their shops to draw customers, so God sets forth these instances to 
show what he will do for poor returning sinners. 

2d There is an encouragement that Christ hath purchased the spirit 
of grace for us, to promote this work in our hearts : John xvii. 19, ' For 
their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified by the 
truth.' He hath set apart himself as a sin-offering, that we might be 
sanctified ; all the means of grace are sprinkled with the blood of Christ 


that promote and help on the work of grace in our hearts : Eph. v. 26, 
' He gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify and cleanse it 
with the washing of water by the word.' Christ hath given himself 
as a sacrifice and offering to God, that we might come to duty not only 
in obedience, but in faith, and that we may with the more comfort 
depend upon him in the use of the means of grace that he hath 

3d He hath filled himself with all grace for the same end, that we 
might be filled with the abundance of that grace which is in him : Ps 
Ixviii. 18, ' He hath received gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also, 
that the Lord God might dwell among them ; ' not to keep them to 
himself alone, but to communicate them to us. So it is said, John i, 
16, ' Of his fulness have we all received grace for grace.' There is a 
fountain of grace set up in our nature, that we might repair to him. 
He is God that freely giveth life to all things, and he is God in our 
nature, that we might not think him strange to us. 

[2,] Let us consider sanctification in its progress and increase ; and 
there let us see what promises are made to faith, and what faith must 
do with these promises. 

(1.) Let us see what promises are made to faith. And so it is a 
great relief and encouragement to poor creatures, that are troubled with 
the relics of sin, and the remainders of corruption, to consider what is 
propounded to faith. Christ hath undertaken to subdue sin wholly, 
and to sanctify us throughout : 1 Thes. v. 23, 24, ' And the very God 
of peace sanctify yon wholly ; and I pray God your whole spirit and 
soul and body may be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord 
Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.' The 
work is but begun, but God will carry it on to perfection : Phil. i. 6, 
' Being confident of this very thing, that he that hath begun a good 
work in you, will perfect it unto the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.' 
The same power that begun will finish it. It was said of the foolish 
builder, that he began and could not make an end ; but the work of 
grace hath its beginning, progress, and final consummation and accom 
plishment from God. And where God hath begun his work in any 
heart, it is a pledge that he will do more. And so, Rom. vi. 12, the 
apostle propounds it as a precept, ' Let not sin reign in your mortal 
body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof ;' and after it is pro 
pounded as a promise, ver. 14, ' Sin shall not have dominion over you ; 
for you are not under the law, but under grace ' Well, then, these are 
the promises, so that if we would increase and grow up in this holiness 
intimated in the promises, we must increase in faith, a-nd believe that 
Christ will be as good as his word. 

(2.) Let us see what faith must do as to these promises. 

i.st. The work of faith is to encourage us in our conflicts. We are 
many times wrestling with sin, and find it too hard for us ; but then 
the believer should look up to the power of God engaged and assisting 
in this work, and so can triumph in victory before the battle. In out 
ward cases the chance of war is uncertain, and that is a good caution, 
4 Let not him that puts on his harness boast as he that puts it off; ' 
but it is not so in the spiritual warfare. Paul mingleth thanksgivings 
with his very groans, Rom vii. 24, 25. He complains and gro.nns 


' Oh wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from this hody of 
death ? ' But he comfortably cheers up his Tiearfc in the next verse, ' I 
thank God through Jesus Christ our lord ; ' that through the power 
of the Spirit of Christ he should be able to subdue the body of sin, 
which otherwise would carry him headlong to death and destruction. 
And the same Paul, when buffeted with a messenger of Satan, he prayed 
three times ; he would fain have been rid of the temptation, 2 Cor. xii. 

9. He knocked once, and again, and a third time, as Christ prayed 
thrice; but all the answer he could get was, 'My grace ^ is sufficient 
for thee.' When this is our case, that we are discouraged in our resist 
ance of sin, because our endeavours at first succeed not, the promise 
should bear up our hearts. 

2d. The work of faith is to encourage us to wait in the use of means 
for our growth and improvement; for God, that fulfilleth promises, 
fulfils them in his own way. Faith is not a devout sloth and idle 
expectation ; we must up and be doing, praying, hearing, meditating, 
debating these promises with ourselves, that this work may go on and 
prosper, until we come to the full of our hopes. God hath greater 
things to do for us and by us. All increase is by God's blessing upon 
our labour and diligence, and so is the increase of grace too : Luke 
xix. 26, ' For to every one that hath shall be given ; ' that is, he that 
tradeth, and improveth his talent well, shall have more ; that which 
God hath given him, he shall find a great increase of it, if he use well 
what he hath received. And therefore Christians, that have these pro 
mises, are to labour after a great increase of grace, and to improve 
Christ to a further use, John x. 10, ' I am come that they might have 
life, and that they might have it more abundantly.' We should not only 
be living, but lively Christians ; not only make a hard shift to get to 
heaven, but labour that grace may abound yet more and more, that 
an abundant entrance may be given to them into Christ's kingdom : 
1 Thes. iv. 1, ' Furthermore, we beseech you, brethren, that as ye have 
received of us how ye ought to walk, and to please God, so ye would 
abound more and more.' 

3c?. The office of faith is to increase our confidence and enlarge 
our expectations, according to the extent of the promises ; for the 
more we expect from Christ, the more we receive from him : Ps. Ixxxi. 

10, ' Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it/ The larger thoughts we 
have of Christ's fulness and excellency, the more do we experience it 
in ourselves; if we would increase in love, and zeal, and patience, we 
must increase in faith. It is a preposterous care in many to seek the 
growth of other graces when they do not seek the growth of faith ; 
this is as if we did water the branches of the tree, and not the root. 

2. I come now to speak of sanctification more particularly ; namely, 
the two parts of it mortification and vivification. Faith hath a 
notable influence upon both these. 

[1.] As to mortification the mortifying of fleshly lusts. The flesh 
is our great enemy ; so the apostle telleth us, 1 Peter ii. 11, 'Abstain 
from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.' And therefore, unless, 
we mean to run the hazard of the loss of our souls, the flesh must be 
subdued, which is our great clog and hindrance in our way to heaven. 
But how doth the flesh prevail against us ? Ans. The flesh prevaileth 


two ways ; both are specified, James i. 14, ' Every man is tempted, when 
he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.' There are two words, 
efeXvcoyuez/o? KOI SeXeao//,ei>o?, sometimes we are drawn away by our 
own lusts : at other times we are enticed. 

(1.) Sometimes we are drawn away by the flesh ; it hurries men inta 
sin by its violent motions : Jer. viii. 6, ' Every one turned to his course 
as the horse rusheth into the battle : ' like a headstrong horse, hearing 
the noise of the trumpet, his rider hath no command of him ; so fleshly 
lusts put reason out of the throne, that his affections cannot be 
governed ; checks of conscience, restraints of the word, profession, 
resolutions, all bond,s and cords are too weak to hold us to our duty; 
the flesh moves, and then we are carried away to fulfil the lust thereof 

(2.) It enticeth us by the pleasure and satisfaction that we expect 
in gratif} ing carnal nature, or by hope of mercy and repentance after 
it is committed ; or by some other means it deceiveth the sinner into 
rebellion against God. Now faith is of great use to purge vis from, 
these lusts; for it is said, Acts xv. 9, 'Purifying their hearts by faith.' 
What doth faith do to purify our hearts and weaken our fleshly lusts ? 

1st. It applieth the blood of Christ: 1 John i. 7, ' The blood of Jesus- 
Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.' Christ's blood cleanseth us, 
but so as faith applieth it to us. Look, as water cleanseth and soap 
cleanseth, but both are applied by the hand of the laundress that 
washeth, so the blood of Christ cleanseth as it is applied by faith. 
We may look upon the blood of Christ as the price by which the Spirit 
was purchased to cleanse us from sin : 1 Peter i. 2, ' Through sancti- 
ficalion of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of 
Jesus Christ.' The blood of Christ is applied and received by faith,. 
and so the heart is cleansed. 

2d Faith purifies the heart, as it excites the new nature to break 
the force of fleshly lusts, and puts a rub in our way : * The spirit 
lusteth against the flesh,' Gal. v. 17. It stirs up the new nature to- 
draw the mind another way : 1 John iii. 9, ' Whosoever is born of God 
doth not commit sin ; for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin,. 
because he is born of God.' There are dislikes and counter-buffs aris 
ing from the new nature, that sin shall not carry it so freely. But how 
doth faith excite the new nature ? Partly as it presents the thrt-aten- 
ings of the word, when lusts are sturdy and will not be broken : Rom. 
viii. 13, * If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die ; ' and Gal. vi. 8, ' He- 
that sows to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption.' Now these 
things being represented and realised by faith, it stops the career of sin. 
And partly by representing the promises : 1 Peter ii. 1, ' I beseech you 
as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts/ We are foir 
another country, and shall we trouble and pester ourselves with any 
thing that should hinder us in our journey heavenward ? We expect 
a room among the angels, and shall we live as slaves in the world ? 
Thou art in the way to Canaan, and why art thou in love with the 
flesh-pots of Egypt ? 2 Cor. vii. 1, * Having these promises, let us- 
cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit^ perfecting holi 
ness in the fear of God ;' and 1 John iii. 3, 'He that hath this hope 
in him, purifieth himself as God is pure/ Faith excites the new 
nature by fear and hope, by terrors and promises. And then partly as it 
sets love a- work : Gal. v. 6, ' Faith worketh by love,' and so begets an 


hatred of sin : Ps. xcvii. 10, < Ye that love the Lord, hate evil ' > Partly 
<is it represents the great things Christ hath done for us: Christ hath 
loved me and we himself forme/ Now, shall I sin against this (rod 
that sent'his sSn to die for me? All this is to prevent the act, and 
break the force of sin. 

3d It iniproveth all the means instituted by Christ for the weak- 
enino* of sin and the abating the corruption of our natures. It is said, 
Eph v- 26, ' He gave himself, that lie might sanctify us by the wash- 
in^ of water through the word,' Christ did not only die to sanctify 
ust but to sanctify us in such a way that we might receive grace by 
the institutions of the gospel, that the word and sacraments and prayer 
might stir us up to mortify sin. Faith raaketh use of the word : Ps. 
cxix. 9, ' Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his way ? By taking 
heed thereto according to thy word ; ' and ver. 11, ' Thy word have I 
hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.' By the word we 
learn wisdom arid spiritual counsel ; that makes us discern the wiles 
of sin, that we may not be enticed nor enslaved by it: John xv. 3, 
'Now 'ye are clean, through the word which I have spoken unto you.' 
It is the work of the Spirit and faith to apply the efficacy of Christ's 
blood for the cleansing of sinners ; but the word hath its use, as a glass 
to discover sin, and as it quickens us by new arguments to work it 
out, He that daily makes use of the word of God, and doth attend 
with conscience upon the ordinances, he hath some new consideration 
or other suggested to him to work out sin. So for the sacraments. 
For baptism, 'Ye are dead;' therefore 'mortify your members,' Col. 
iii. 2, compared with ver. 5. You that are baptized have engaged 
yourselves to be mortifying sin, and to employ the strength of Christ 
for the subduing of it. So for the Lord's Supper: 1 Cor. v. 7, 8, 
' Purge out therefore the old lea.ven > that ye may be a new lump, as ye 
are unleavened: for even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. 
Therefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, neither with 
the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of 
sincerity and truth.' The remembering and applying Christ's death 
is a means to weaken sin yet more and more. The word and sacra 
ments are the means by which Christ applieth the virtue of his death. 
In the word we have the charter, the promise and grant of Christ and 
all his benefits, from God unto every one that will receive him; but in 
the sacraments there is a seal annexed to this grant, whereby we 
are confirmed in this grant ; and by every new act we oblige our 
selves to mortify sin more and more. And then (lastly) prayer ; 
for faith sets the soul a-praying that God would create in us ' a 
clean heart,' Ps. li. 10, and so makes good his promise of washing 
and cleansing us from all sin. 

[2.] For vivification. By nature we are dead in trespasses and sins : 
Eph. ii. 1, ' You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and 
sins.' Christ came to help us out of -this estate, and purchase grace 
and life for us, and to work it in us: John x. 10, * I am come that 
they might have* life.' And therefore he is called 'the Prince of life/ 
Acts iii. 15, because he is the principal cause of it; and 'a quickening 
spirit,' 1 Cor. xv. 45. A spirit from his better part, his godhead, and 
a quickening or life-making spirit, because of the effects of his power 
on the hearts of believers: for we can never live to God till we are 


quickened by him. And he is said to be our life: Col. iii. 4, ' When 
Christ, who is our life, shall appear/ &c. He is our life, not only 
meritorie, as he hath purchased life for us ; but effective, as he works 
it in us. There is not only an everlasting merit, but a constant influ 
ence, for our life is a fruit of his: John xiv, 19, ' Because I live, ye 
shall live also.' Then we begin to five to God, when by faith we are 
united to Christ : 1 John v. 11, ' God hath given to us eternal life, and 
this life is in his Son.' It is in Christ, and we have it by virtue of our 
union with him. And then faith doth continually derive vital influ 
ences from Christ for the supporting, and maintaining, and strengthen 
ing this spiritual life in us, as the branches have their sap and influence 
conveyed to them from the root : John xv, 5, c He that abideth in me, 
and 1 in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit ; for without me ye 
can do nothing/ And as the members of the body have strength and 
sensation by their union to the head .; Eph. i. 22, 23, 4 He is head over 
all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that 
filleth all in all.' Here then is the use of faith, to look up to Christ, 
and depend upon him for the constant supplies of spiritual strength, 
to enable to the operations of the spiritual life '. Phil. iv. 13, 'I can do 
all things through Christ that strengthened me.' But the influence 
of faith on the particular operations of the spiritual life will be 
handled hereafter. 

Thirdly, The life of faith, as it respects glorification, or the promises 
of eternal life. And here I shall show you 

1. That this is a necessary part of the life of faith. 

2. What are the acts of faith with respect to this life. 

3. How we may bring our hearts so to live. 

1. We cannot exclude this from being a branch of the life of faith ; 
and that for these reasons 

[l.j Because eternal life is one of the principal objects of faith; and 
it is the first motive that invitelh us to hearken after the things of 
God. The apostle telleth us, Heb. xi. 6, 'He that corneth to God 
must believe that God is, and that he is a re warder of them that dili 
gently seek him.' He that would have anything to do with God must 
be persuaded of his being and of his bounty. In the choosing of a 
religion, we look after a right object, whom to worship, and a fit re 
ward ; for that induceth us, and maketh up the match between our 
hearts and that object. Now God, that krioweth the heart of man, and 
what wards will tit the lock, doth accordingly deal with us; as he 
propounds himself as the first cause, and highest being, to be rever 
enced and worshipped by us, so also as the chief est good, to be enjoyed 
by us in an everlasting state of blessedness. All the doctrines of the 
Christian faith tend to establish this hope in us ; and therefore the 
salvation of our souls is called ' the end of our faith,' 1 Peter i. 9. This 
is the main blessing that faith waiteth for , all our believing, waiting, 
working, striving, is to this end ; so John xx. 31> 'These things are 
written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, 
and that believing, ye might have life through his name.' All that 
is written in the gospel is to establish faith in Christ the Messiah, and 
that in order to eternal life. This is the upshot of all, that we might 
have a true and well-grounded hope of eternal life. 


[21 Because this is always matter of faith, never of sense, in this 
world: 2 Cor v. 7, 'For we walk by faith, and not by sight.' Other 
privileges propounded in the promises are sometimes matter of > sense; 
as sanctification and the comforts of this world ; but this life arid 
blessedness which is to come, and is hid with Christ in God, is always 
matter of faith, and never of sense, unless it be of spiritual sense, which 
is nothing but the result of faith, or some foretastes of blessedness to 
come when we are firmly persuaded of the certainty of it. 

[3.1 This is that which indeed puts life and strength into us, and 
that which mainly constitutes the difference between us and others ; 
and therefore, if there be such a thing as life spiritual, as certainly there 
is it is fed and maintained by reflecting upon everlasting happiness, 
and the interests of the world to come : 2 Cor. iv. 16-18, 'For which 
cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward 
man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for 
a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of 
glory. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the 
things which are not seen ; for the things which are seen are temporal, 
but the things which are not seen are eternal' There is an outward 
man and an inward man, or the animal life and the spiritual and 
divine life. The animal life is that which is supported, cherished, and 
maintained by the comforts and delights of the present world ; as 
lands, honours, and pleasures ; and when they are out of sight, they 
are in darkness that have nothing else to live upon, and are at a loss, 
and dead while they seem to live ; but now the spiritual and divine 
life is supported by the comforts and delights of the world to come, 
and they that live by faith, they live in heaven, and have an anchor 
within the vail. And therefore, when we believe this, another spirit 
cometh upon us, and there is such a life and strength 'derived into our 
heart, that we bear up with joy and courage, when the outward and 
animal life is exposed to the greatest difficulties and decays; for we 
are for another world. And therefore we are said to live by faith, be 
cause it apprehends those great and glorious things which are kept for 
us in heaven. Yea, as soon as the spiritual life is begun in us, it pre 
sently worketh this way : 1 Peter i. 3, ' Who hath begotten UH to a 
lively hope.' It is the immediate effect of the new life, which is given 
in regeneration; and by this the heart is kept up, till all that God hath 
promised be brought about. This is the staff and stay of the spirit. 

[4.] We need press this part of living by faith, because, whatever 
men pretend, eternal life is little believed in the world. The most 
part, even of those that live in the common light of Christianity, are 
purblind, and 'cannot see afar off,' 2 Peter i. 9, or look beyond the 
grave. God's own children have many doubtful thoughts, not such a 
clear and firm persuasion of things to come, but that it needeth to be 
increased more and more. The apostle prayeth for the converted 
Ephesians, * That the eyes of their understandings may be enlightened, 
that they may know what is the hope of their calling, and the riches 
of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,' Eph. i. 18 ; that is, that 
they might more clearly see and firmly believe those good things which 
they should enjoy in heaven. Alas ! we are so taken up with trifles 
and childish toys, that our faith is verv weak about those excellent bless- 


ings. But I shall give you some evidences that these great and 
excellent blessings are little believed. 

(1.) Because we are far more swayed with temporal advantages, than 
we are with the promise of eternal blessings. These blessings are more 
excellent and glorious in their nature, more certain in their duration : 
2 Peter i. 4, ' Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious 
promises, that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature.' 
And yet they have less influence upon us than perishing vanities. What 
should be the reason ? Who would prefer a cottage before a palace? 
& lease for a year before an inheritance ? There is no compare be 
tween the things themselves, but we are not equally persuaded of things 
to come, and things in hand, arid of a present enjoyment. As in a 
pair of scales, though the weights be equal, yet, if the balances be not 
equal, a thing of less weight will weigh down a, greater. Cyprian 
bringeth in the devil vaunting against Christ, ' I did not die and shed 
my blood for them ; I had not heaven to bestow upon them, nor eter 
nal happiness to reward them ; I only propounded a carnal satisfaction 
in the pleasures of sin, that are but for a season, which, when they are 
gone, it is as nothing; and yet among all thy pensioners, Christ I 
show me one that is so ready to follow thee as they are to follow me.' 
If we had faith, we would say with Paul, Kom. viii. 18. ' For I 
reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be 
compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us ; ' and as Moses, 
Heb. xi. 26, ' Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the 
treasures of Egypt ; for he had respect to the recompense of reward.' But 
alas ! how many are there that pretend to believe as Christians, and yet 
a little profit or pleasure in the world is enough to sway with them, to 
run the hazard and forfeiture of all their hopes in the world to come. 

(2.) Surely men do not believe heaven, because they are so little 
affected with it. If a beggar were adopted into the succession of a 
crown, he would please himself in thinking of the honour, and hap 
piness, and delights of the royal estate ; or, to put a more likely 
supposition, if any poor man did understand that some great inherit 
ance were bequeathed to him, he would often think of it, rejoice therein, 
long to go and see it, and take possession of it. But there is a promise 
of eternal life left us in the gospel of being heirs with God, and co-heirs 
with Christ ; and who puts in for a share, thinketh of it, rejoiceth in 
the hopes of it, longs for it. taketh hold of this eternal life ? 1 Tim. 
vi. 18. Certainly if we were persuaded of these things, we would embrace 
them : Heb. xi. 13, ' These all died in faith, not having received the 
promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, 
and embraced them/ 

(3.) Because we do so little labour after it. For outward advantage, let 
it be certain or uncertain, men will endure great pains. If the things be 
certain, a man toileth hard all day for a small piece of money, for a 
shilling or two; do we seek heaven with the like earnestness? They 
that do believe will do so : Acts xxvi. 7, ' Unto which promise our 
twelve tribes, instantly serving God night and day, hope to come.' 
Others do not. Or if the thing be uncertain, as with merchants: how 
many hazards do they run ? Impiger extremos currit mercator ad Indos. 
These are not uncertain ; and why do we no more abound in the work 


of the Lord ? I Cor. xv. 58, ' Therefore, my beloved brethren, be 
ye steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, 
forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord/ 

(4) Because we are contented with so slight assurance as to our 
title and interest: 2 Peter i. 10, 'Give all diligence to make your 
callin^ and election sure.' In matters of weight men love great earnest, 
o-reat 'assurance. Do we labour to make all so sure and clear as to 
heavenly things? Heb. iv. 1, 'Let us therefore fear, lest a promise 
bein^- left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come 
short of it.' We should put it out of all question ; as we should not 
come short, so we should not seem to give any appearance of coming 
short. Alas ! any fond presumption or slight hope serveth our turn. 
(5 ) The pretended strength of our faith about future recompenses 
dot.li in some measure show "the weakness of it, and that it is but a 
slight and overly apprehension. Most men will pretend to be able to 
trust God for their heavenly inheritance, and yet cannot trust God for 
their daily maintenance ; they find it difficult to believe in temporals, 
and yet very easy in spirituals or eternals : what should be the reason ? 
Heaven and things to come are greater mercies, and the way of bring 
ing them about more difficult ; and they are not so commonly dispensed 
by* God as temporals are; and there lie more natural prejudices 
against these mercies when men are serious. What ! can you easily 
believe that you shall live, though you die ? John xi. 25 ; that your 
scattered dust shall be re-collected and raised up into a beautiful and 
glorious body ? that a clod of earth shall shine as the stars? What is 
more easily believed than this, that God will give you daily bread ? 
The whole earth is full of his goodness, and God feedeth ail his crea 
tures, not a worm but is sustained by his providence ; but he pardoneth 
but a few, saveth but a few, and blesseth but a few with spiritual 
blessings. But here is the mistake ; bodily wants are more preening, 
and faith is put there to a present exercise. Men are careless of their 
souls, and content themselves with some general desires of ease and 
hopes of eternal welfare ; and therefore it is they say they find no 
difficulty in believing their salvation and eternal life. Eternal life is 
sought in jest, talked of as a plausible fancy ; but worldly things are 
desired in good earnest. 

(6.) Because we will venture so little upon our everlasting hopes. 
Where men have an expectation they will make adventures, for they 
know it will turn to a good account. God hath made many great and 
precious promises ; he hath told us, ' Give alms, and you shall have 
treasure in heaven/ Luke xii. 33. Leave anything for his sake, you 
shall have ' in the world to come eternal life,' Mark x. 30 ; ' Mortify the 
deeds of the body, and you shall live,' Rom. viii. 13. Now, when we 
will not venture anything upon God's bond, it is a sign we do not 
count him a good paymaster, and so make him a liar in all his 

2. What is the work of faith with respect to this life of glory. 
[1.] To assent firmly to the promises, that offer this eternal blessed 
ness, and to convince the soul of the truth of what they offer. Assent 
needs to be strengthned, that we may believe more firmly. Founda 
tion-stones can never be laid with care and exactness enough. Many 


hang between believing and unbelieving, neither assent to the truth of 
the promise, nor directly deny it. Though you do believe, believe it 
again, with more certainty and assurance of understanding. As when 
a picture waxeth old, we refresh the colours ; so work up your hearts 
to a full assurance of the truth and certainty of these things. What 
is the great work of the gospel, but to establish our faith of eternal 
life ? Here it is revealed to us : 2 Tim. i. 10, * And hath brought life 
and immortality to light through the gospel.' Here it is promised to us : 
1 John ii. 25, ' This is the promise that he hath promised us, even 
eternal life.' Why hath God made so many promises? What need 
had he to natter and deceive us, to promise more than he will perform ? 
He can strike us dead if we do not please him, and crush us easier than 
we can crush a moth or a worm. In all other parts of scripture God 
standeth to his promises, even those of a present accomplishment, etin 
ultimo non deficiet ; surely he will not fail you at last, he is so faithful 
and punctual. The same God that gave the commands, which you 
find so powerful on your consciences, this same God gave the pro 
mises. And God is willing to give us a pawn and pledge of these bless 
ings promised in the joys of the Spirit : 2 Cor. i. 22, ' Who hath also 
sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts/ It is not 
donum, a gift, but pignus, a pledge ; and not only pignus, but arrha, 
an earnest: therefore work up faith to this assent. It is a notable 
assent that is described Heb. xi. 1, * Faith is the substance of things 
hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen ; ' it is ' the substance 
of things hoped for.' Faith openeth a light into the other world ; 
it is the perspective of the soul, by which we look within the vail. Faith 
hath an eagle-eye ; it can see things at a distance, and pierce through 
all the mists and fogs that intercept the eyes of others. 'Abraham 
rejoiced to see Christ's day, and he saw it, and was glad/ John viii. 
56. And yet there were many successions of ages between Christ and 
Abraham ; but he saw Christ with the eyes of faith. So the patriarchs 
saw things afar off by faith : Heb. xi. 13, 'These all died in faith, not 
having received the promises, but having seen them afar off/ As the 
devil showed Christ the glory of the present world in a map and repre 
sentation, so doth faith, which is the evidence of things not seen, repre 
sent to the soul the glory of the world to come in a map ; they have a 
Pisgah-sight and view of heaven, so as they apprehend it as a real 
thing. Other men have but a general guess and tradition about heaven, 
a dream of elysian fields, or a surmise of happiness ; but a believer has 
a sight of it by faith. As Stephen's eyes were opened, so are their eyes 
by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. Others have an empty notion ; 
they a real prospect. The other expression is, that ' faith is the evi 
dence of things not seen ; ' that is, it bringeth in the comfort of it to the 
soul. There is an intromission of the object, as well as an extramis- 
sion of thoughts. How is it the substance ? Things absent and to come, 
by the real persuasion and expectation of the believer, are made real 
and present with the soul, as if already enjoyed ; and so faith defeateth 
sense, which prevaileth with us because of present temptations, dangers, 
and delights. Faith is an anticipation of our blessedness, or a pre-occu- 
pation of our everlasting estate ; as the air and winds carry the odours 
and sweet smells of Arabia into the neighbouring provinces, so faith, 


believing the promises causeth us to feel something of heaven in our 
own hearts. It is not a naked sight, but some foretaste and beginning 
of heaven 

[2.] There is need of faith to apply and make out your own interest ; not 
only that there is such an estate, but such an estate reserved for you : 
2 Tim iv. 8, ' Henceforth there is laid upfor me a crown of righteousness; ' 
and '2 Cor. v. 1, ' And we know that if this earthly house of our tabernacle 
were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with 
hands, eternal in the heavens ; ' and 1 Tim. vi. 18, ' That they may lay 
hold of eternal life.' Faith hath an eye to see, and a hand to lay hold 
and claim it as your patrimony. It is comfortable with us when we 
can make out our own title and interest. Many catch at it by a fond 
presumption, but they cannot hold it fast ; it is an hope that will leave 
them ashamed. But upon clear and fair grounds we are enabled to 
apply and take home the promises, as so many conveyances of our 
inheritance. There is a charter written with Christ's blood, sealed 
by the Spirit, and offered to us by God himself. Now have you ever 
dealt with God about it, that you might make out your claim and 
title ? I would not grate upon tender consciences, therefore, if you 
cannot apply it absolutely, because you have not assurance, yet the con 
ditional offer should encourage you to work and wait, and deal with 
God about it : Eom. ii. 7, ' To them which, by patient continuing in 
well-doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immortality, eternal life.' 
He will give it to all, and so to me; do God's work cheerfully, and 
continue with patience ; be the more earnest to be such as may apply 
'this general promise. And to help you to apply conditional promises, 
consider in whose disposal all this glory is, even in the disposal of a 
bounteous God, and a faithful and compassionate Saviour, who is ready 
to do good to thy poor soul : Jude 22, ' Looking for the mercy : of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, to eternal life.' 

[3.] There must be 'earnest expectation,' that is the next work of 
rfaith, looking and longing for this blessed estate. I join both together, 
-because the apostle speaks of the ' earnest expectation of the creature,' 
Kom. viii. 19, aTrofcapaSotcia T% /mVe&>? ; the word signifieth the 
stretching out of the head of the creature, as Sisera's mother and her 
ladies looked through the lattice for the return of her son : Titus ii. 13, 
* Looking for the blessed hope, &c.' Faith, having a promise looks to 
see tiie blessing a-coming in the rnidst of the labours and crosses of this 
world, not mounting up to heaven by fits ; but this is the posture of a 
gracious soul, to dwell upon the thoughts of God and the world to 
come, and to live in the constant expectation of it. The spiritual 
life is abated as this is abated : Rom. viii. 23, ' And not only they, but 
ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we our 
selves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the re 
demption of our bodies ; ' and 2 Cor. v. 3-5, ' If so be that being clothed, 
we shall not be found naked : for we that are in this tabernacle do groan, 
being burdened ; not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, 
that mortality may be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought 
us for this selfsame thing is God, who hath given to us the earnest of 
the Spirit/ Can a man believe blessedness to come, and not long to 
enjoy it ? No ; the mind and heart will be set at work ; a taste will 


make a man long for more. The little seeds in the earth will break 
through the clods to come to stalk and flower. As the clusters of 
Canaan put heart into the Israelites, and made them long to come to 
the possession of that good land ; so the beginnings of the spiritual life 
will set you a-longing and groaning that you may be at home with God. 

JL] There is a waiting and tarrying the Lord's leisure with patience 
perseverance, notwithstanding the distance of our hopes, and the 
difficulties of the present life : Job xiv. 14. ' All the days of my 
appointed time I will wait till my change shall come/ It is but a 
little while and we shall have full possession ; and the reason why we 
have not full possession sooner is, not because heaven is not ready for 
us, but we are not ready for it ; for it was prepared by the decree and 
designation of God before the world was, Mat. xxv. 34 ; it was bought 
and purchased when Christ died, Heb. ix. 15 ; and it is possessed by 
Christ in our name, John xiv. 2. Our nature is already in heaven, 
though not our bodies; we shall riot sleep long in the dust; as soon as 
God's number is full, ' he that shall come, will come.' Therefore tarry 
God's leisure. Omne peccatum impatientioe est ascribendicm, saith 
Tertullian Every sin is to be ascribed to impatience. Men, like the 
prodigal, must have their portion presently : Luke xv. 12, ' Father, give 
me the portion of goods that falleth to me.' They must have their 
good things in this life, Luke xvi. 25 ; they cannot be contented to 
wait for God : Heb. x, 36, ' Ye have need of patience, that after ye have 
done the will of God ye may receive the promise.' There is a time 
when God hath work for us to do in the world, to do and suffer his 
will. Whatever grace we can spare, we cannot spare patience : Luke 
viii. 15, 'The good ground briugeth forth fruit with patience.' It 
endureth the plough, the harrow, the cold, the frost, that in due time 
the seed may spring up and flourish. So we, after a little patience, 
shall be received into an inheritance which our Father hath prepared, 
and Christ hath purchased for us. 

[5.] The work of faith is to ' breed joy ' in the hopes of this blessed 
ness, and those tastes that we have of it. The apostle saith, Heb. iii. 
6, we are Christ's, ' if we hold fast the confidence, and the rejoicing of 
hope firm unto the end/ When we first believe in Christ, we do by 
hope take hold of the promised glory, and find a great deal of comfort 
and sweet encouragement therein. Now as this delight abateth in yon, 
so doth the spiritual life. As in the outward life taste decayeth and is 
lost, so the animal life decays, and languishing and death come on. 
It was a comfortable thing to be working for heaven at first, it should 
be so still ; therefore keep up the rejoicing of your hope. It should 
do our hearts good, and make them leap within us for joy, every time 
we think what God hath provided for us in Christ. If worldly men 
cannot think of a little pelf, or any petty interest in the world withou,fe 
comfort, shall we think of the promises, and not be affected with 
them ? Carnal men indeed, who have no spiritual appetite and savour, 
whose joy is intercepted and prepossessed by the vanities of the world, 
and delights of the flesh, the promises are as dry chips and withered 
flowers to them ; but our hearts should leap for joy, because 'great is 
our reward in heaven,' Luke vi. 23. What ! do we look for such great 
things, and no more rejoice in the Lord ? 

VOL. xv. F 


[6 ] All this that faith doth is to be improved, to encourage us in a 
way of holiness, and to overcome the world. 

(1.) To encourage and quicken us in the way of holiness. Hope 
sets all the wheels a-going: Phil. iii. 14, 'I press towards the mark, 

lor the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ.' We have 
tto reason to begrudge God's service when we consider what wages he 
giveth. Certainly we do but talk of eternal life, we do not believe it, 
if we do no more in order thereunto. What labour and hazards do men 
expose themselves unto to be built one story higher in the world. Now 
rfaith the apostle, 2 Cor.V. 9, 'Wherefore we labour, '&c. <j)i\oTifjiovjjLe0a, 

we have an ambition to, ' that whether present or absent, we may 
be accepted of him.' Surely did we believe things to come, our 
industry, and care, and thoughts, would be laid out more upon them. 
A man that spendeth all his time and care in repairing the house where 
he dvvelleth for the present, but speaketh not of another house, nor 
sendeth any of his furniture thither, will you say such a man hath a 
mind or a thought to remove ? A man that spendeth the strength of 
his cares on worldly things, surely he doth not believe eternity ! We 
work as we believe ; if indeed we are persuaded of such an estate, why 
do we no more prepare for it ? 

(2.) To overcome the world. The world is the great let and hind 
rance to the keeping of the commandments, arid the victory that we 
have over the world is by faith, 1 John v. 4; even that faith which. 
doth counterbalance things temporal with things eternal. 

1. This giveth us victory over the afflictions and troubles that we 
meet with in the world ; these are bitter to sense. Nature and grace 
teach us to have a feeling of our interests, and to be affected with God's 
providence when he maketh a breach upon them. We must neither 
slight the hand of God, nor faint under it: Heb. xii. 5, ' My son, 
despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art 
rebuked of him.' There are extremes on both hands ; when our Father 
is angry, we ought to lay it to heart, and to humble ourselves under 
his mighty hand ; and yet we must not be like men without hope, 
altogether broken with difficulties. Now what keepeth us from faint 
ing, which is the other extreme ? 2 Cor. iv. 18, ' While we look, not 
to the things which 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.' This must bear up our hearts against all sorrows : 
Heb. x. 34, ' Ye took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in 
yourselves that you have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.' 
Our happiness is not gone, and therefore we may bear "it, not only 
patiently, but joyfully against all fears: Luke xii. 32, 'Fear not, little 
flock, for it is your Father's pleasure to give you the kingdom.' We 
must look for hardships here in the world, but all will be made up 
when we get home to God. And therefore bear up with a generous 
confidence ; if God will whip us forward, that we may mend our pace 
to heaven, in the issue we shall have no cause to complain ; if we have 
an anchor that 'entereth into that which is within the veil/ Heb, vi. 
[3, this should keep us from being tossed and shaken, at least from 
owag overwhelmed with the miseries of the present life. Nature will 
work, and have a feeling of these things, but grace must support us. 


The beauty and glory of the life of faith is never seen while all things 
succeed according to our heart's desire ; we do not know whether we 
live upon God or the creature, the encouragements of earth or heaven, 
till we be reduced to some necessities. Paul said, 'None of these 
things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself,' Acts 

XX. "24:. 

2. That we mny despise the pleasures, and profits, and honours 
of the world. Affectation of worldly greatness is the great expression 
of the animal life, but the spiritual life, or the life of faith, inclineth us 
to look after the happiness prepared for us by Christ. The great use 
and end of it, is to keep us from aspiring after, and admiring great 
things here below ; it quencheth the delights of the flesh, and begets a 
holy weanedness in us : Heb. xi. 13 ; ' They confessed themselves 
strangers and pilgrims here upon earth.' To be carnally disposed 
argueth little faith. In a pipe, if there be a leak, the water gusheth 
out, and runneth not forward ; our affections are diverted from things 
above, if they leak out to present comforts. They are the most active 
faculties, they cannot remain idle in the soul ; either they leak out to 
present things, or they run forward to heaven and heavenly things ; 
and if they do so, the esteem of the world is abated. And therefore 
this is the use of faith, to reject those fawning pleasures that would 
beguile us of those pleasures which are at God's right hand for ever 
more, those deceitful and vanishing honours that would bereave us of 
the glory, from whence we shall never be degraded. 

2. How or what shall we do that faith may have its perfect work 
with respect to this lii'e of glory ? 

1. Keep the eye of faith clear. When we are to see things at such 
a distance, and to see them with such affection, we had need of clear 
eyes. It is said, Heb. xi. 13, 'They saw them afar off.' The world is a 
very blinding thing : 2 Cor. iv. 4, ' In whom the God of this world hath 
blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glori 
ous gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine upon them. 
It is as dust cast into the eyes. A man may discourse of heaven, and 
talk at the same rate that other Christians do, but he hath not such a 
lively affective sight of it. If we do not take heed of the suffusions of 
lust and carnal affections, these brutify us insensibly, and make us 
judge of all things according to present interest, and so molehills seem 

[2.J Consider the harmoniousness of all the declarations that God 
hath made concerning eternal life, how they suit with the doctrine of 
God the Father, Son and Spirit. 

(1.) As to God the Father, it suiteth his decrees ; he hath deter 
mined to bestow everlasting happiness on some, to the praise of his 
glorious grace : Kom. viii. 30, ' Moreover whom he did predestinate, 
them he also called ; and whom he called, them he also justified; and 
whom he justified, them he also glorified:' 2 Thes. ii. 13, 'God hath 
from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of 
the Spirit and belief of the truth/ And it suiteth to his covenant : 
God hath not only purposed out of his own love, but is under bonds to 
give us eternal life. A covenant is God's solemn transaction with his 
subjects, and consists of precepts, and laws invested with the sanction 


of promises and threatenings. His commands, all of them, imply such 
an estate, and some express it. All of them imply it ; for they are 
work in order to wages, or a reward to be given, and it is not fit we 
should have our wages till our work be over. And some express it : 
John vi. 27, ' Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that 
meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall 
give unto you ; ' and Mat. vi. 19, 20, ' Lay not up for yourselves trea 
sures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves 
break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, 
where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not 
break through and steal ;' and Luke xiii. 24, ' Strive to enter in at the 
strait gate.' And so for his promises : John vi. 47, ' He that believeth 
on me hath everlasting life.' If there were no such thing, then all 
those commands and promises were given in vain, and would the wise 
and faithful God natter us with lies ? And for his threatenings : Mark 
xvi. 16, 'He that believeth not, shall be damned/ And are all the 
threatnings of God a vain scarecrow ? 

(2.) Look upon the doctrines concerning Christ. Look upon Christ 
in his person, and states of humiliation and exaltation; his coming 
from heaven shows it ; his going there again was to prepare a place 
for us ; his sitting at the right hand of God, is to promote our interest 
in heaven ; his coming to judgment is to take us to himself. Consider 
Christ in his humiliation: why was Christ apparelled with our flesh, 
but that we might be clothed with his glory ? If Christ were in the 
womb, and in the grave, why may not we be in heaven ? It is more 
credible to believe a creature in heaven, than God in the grave. And 
then for his exaltation : when he had purchased a right and title, he 
went to heaven to prosecute and apply it. As the high priest went 
into the holy of holies with the names of the twelve tribes upon his 
breast ; so Jesus Christ is gone into heaven with the names of all the 
saints upon his breast. And then consider his benefits: justification 
is our release from the curse, and sa notification is to fit us for God. 
All ordinances tend to this, to nourish in us hopes of everlasting life. 
The word : Isa, Iv. 3, ' Hear, and your soul shall live.' The Lord's 
supper is food for our souls. 

(3.) And then for the Spirit : his graces are life begun. Faith seeth 
it, love desireth it, hope looks for it : Eom. viii. 23, ' We, who have 
the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves,' &c. The first-fruits 
show a harvest to come. And 2 Cor. i. 22, ' Who hath sealed us, and 
given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.' Would God give us 
earnest, and not make good the whole bargain ? give us a taste to 
mock us, and no more ? Is the whole scripture false, and a very fable ? 
God's covenant a mockery ? Christ's miracles a dream ? and were the 
wisest men in the world fools ? 

[3.] Clear up your interest, otherwise your hope is but a fancy. Themad- 
man at Athens, was he ever the richer for saying all the ships were his 
that came into the harbour ? ' The hope of the hypocrite shall perish/ 
Job xxvii. 8. There must be an acceptance of the general covenant before 
there can be of particular promises. Did you ever choose God for yours, 
and give up yourselves to serve him ? that you might be able to say, 
as David, Ps. cxix. 94, ' I am thine, save me ; ' arid Ps. Ixxxvi. 2, ' Save 


thy servant, that putteth bis trust in tliee.' A covenant supposeth both 
parties engaged ; it dotb not leave one bound and the other at large. 

[4.| Exercise meditation, mind it more seriously, think of it oftener 
* Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,' Mat. vi. 21. 
Thoughts of heaven should be more familiar and sweet to us, and not 
lie by as neglected or forgotten. But alas ! most are of the earth, and 
think of the earth and speak of the earth. Thoughts are the first-born 
of the soul, and if we did observe them, we should soon discover the 
temper of our souls. If they be set upon getting gain, carnal projects 
discover a carnal heart ; as they, James iv. 13, ' 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 gain.' Or the rich fool in the gospel : 
Luke xii. 18, ' This I will do, I will pull down my barns and build 
bigger, and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.' These 
thoughts will engross all our time. But we should do as Abraham 
was bidden, Gen. xiii. 14, lift up our eyes, and take a view of the good 
land aforehand, and solace our souls with the contemplation of it. 

[5.] Improve the Lords supper. When we are assembled there, 
and sit down at bistable, it is a pledge of our ' sitting down with Abra 
ham, Isaac, and Jacob, and drinking of the new wine in our Father's 
kingdom,' Mat. xxvi. 29. When Christ instituted the Lord's supper, 
he discoursed to them of a kingdom : Luke xxii. 30, ' That ye may 
eat and drink at my table in my kingdom/ Here we come to think of 
that kingdom that cannot be moved, the purchase of Christ's blood, 
and to raise our affections to heaven and heavenly things, that we may 
be more confirmed in our hope. Here we come to taste of the cup of 
blessing which Christ hath prepared for us, even his own precious blood. 

Fourthly, I now come to treat of living by faith, as to the promises 
and blessings of the present life. Here I shall, 

1. Show you the necessity of pressing this branch. 

2. Give you some maxims and principles of faith, that have an in 
fluence upon this life. 

3. Show what are the acts of faith, with reference hereunto. 

4. How we shall bring our hearts thus to live. 

1. There is a necessity of pressing this part of the life of faith. 

[1.] Because there are promises of this kind of blessings, as well 
as of eternal blessings : 1 Tim. iv. 8, ' Godliness is profitable to all 
things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to 
come.' It is not only profitable at the end of the journey, but by the way ; 
when we come to die, it will be no grief of heart to us that we have 
been godly ; for when we are about to set sail for eternity, then we 
shall receive the fruit of all our labours. Ay, but now where it seem- 
eth to expose us to so many troubles, now when godliness is upon its 
trial and exercise, it is not left destitute and shiftless, it hath the pro 
mise of the life that now is, that is, of this life and the comforts of it, 
as health, wealth, favour, peace, and safety. Why hath God multiplied 
so many promises of this kind, but that we should trust him with our 
secular as well as our eternal concernments ? Mat. vi. 33, * First seek 
the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof, and all these things 
shall be added to you ; ' that is, given in by way of overplus, cast into 
the bargain. He doth not say, Seek the world as hard as you can, and 


grace and glory shall be added unto you; but, Seek, the kingdom of 
heaven, and then earthly things will not be stood upon, but cast in as 
paper and pack-thread. 

[2.] These are necessary for our maintenance during the time of our 
service : Mat. vi. 32, ' Your heavenly Father knoweth that you have 
need of these things.' We consist of a body as well as a soul, and they 
have both their necessities. Now our heavenly Father knoweth our 
frame and make, and how serviceable these things are in our journey to 
heaven ; will he be so unkind as to deprive us of our necessary supports ? 
Will any man send a message, and cut off the feet of them by whom he 
sendeth ? Will Gbd employ usin this world, and not give us a subsistence ? 
Hezekiah took care that the Levites might have their portion, ' that 
they might be encouraged in the law of the Lord.' 2 Chron. xxxi. 4. 
Would God take care of our souls only, and as to the support of our 
bodies leave us to shift for ourselves? No, God is in covenant with 
the whole believer, his body as well as his soul ; that is one ground and 
reason from which Christ proveth the resurrection of the body, because 
he is the God of Abraham : Mat. xxii. 32, ' I am the God of Abraham, 
and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of 
the dead but of the living.' And if he be Abraham's God, if he will 
be an infinite arid eternal benefactor to Abraham, he must raise 
Abraham's body as well as his soul. And the mark of circumcision 
was in his flesh, as the water of baptism is sprinkled upon our bodies , 
therefore he will take care of the bodies of his saints. And further, 
Christ purchased both body and soul . 1 Cor. vi. 20, * Ye are bought 
with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which 
are God's.' And this is not only an enforcement of our service, but 
doth also infer his care over us ; for Christ will be tender of what he 
hath purchased. He did not only purchase us to service, but to a bless 
ing When God aimed at a new interest in us by redemption, it was 
such an interest as might be comfortable and beneficial to us ; other 
wise he had a full interest in us before, which we could not make void 
by sin ; but it was such an interest as did oblige him to chastise us 
for our sins and rebellions. I speak this to show that Christ's purchase 
doth not only infer our duty to him, but his care of his people. And 
our bodies are united to Christ as well as our souls ; as whole Christ is 
united to us in the mystical union, so whole we are united to Christ, 
bodies as well as souls. The outward man is a part of the mystical 
body as well as the soul, and accordingly the body is seized on by the 
Spirit, and used as his temple : Kom. viii. 11, ' He shall quicken our 
mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in us/ It is true, these 
considerations are most concludant of the glorious estate of the body 
hereafter, but yet they do proportionably evidence God's care of the 
body for the present, as long as he will use us for his glory. 

[3.] Without this part of the life of faith we should be encumbered 
with a world of destructive and distracting cares and troubles, which 
would much infringe the happiness of the spiritual life, and weaken 
the duty of it so that we could not attend the service of God with any 
freedom and cheerfulness. Therefore to ease us of this burden and 
clog, God would have us depend upon his care and all-sufficiency, and 
tjake no thought what we shall eat, and what we shall drink, and 


wherewithal we shall be clothed : Prov. xvi. 3, ' Commit thy works 
unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.' As the spiritual 
life is the most noble kind of life, so it is the most comfortable; for 
God taketh all our cares upon himself, and easeth us of those anxious 
and tormenting thoughts which otherwise would eat out all our comfort 
and vigour : so 1 Peter v, 7, ' Casting all your care upon the Lord, 
who careth for you.' The care of duty, that is ours ; but the care of 
events, that is God's work. Do your work, and as for success, and 
support, and maintenance, commit it to God's faithfulness and all- 
sufh'ciency, and submit it to his sovereign will. God would not have 
us overburdened and discouraged, and therefore he hath undertaken to 
do what is necessary for us. 

[4.] There is a necessity of this part of the life of faith, because we 
are trained up to believe in God for eternal things, by waiting upon him 
for temporal. As we try how to swim in the shallow brooks before 
we venture into the deep waters, so before we trust Christ with our 
eternal estate we must try how we can trust him for temporal mercies, 
Experience confirms us in waiting upon God ; his word is now put to 
a present proof and trial : Ps. xviii. 30, * The word of the Lord is 
tried.' When you put it in suit, you see God standeth to his promises, 
arid certainly he will not fail you in greater things. Faith would be 
but a notion, and we should never know the strength and comfort of it 
till we die, if there were not some present proof as to the intermediate 
promises, before we come to receive our final and consummate happi 
ness. So that if we cleave not to the promises of God concerning 
temporal things, we shall adhere to the promises of eternal life with 
less certainty and assurance. Both promises flow from the same 
fountain of God's everlasting love, and are established in the same 
mediator, and received by the same faith. Yea, the promises of ever 
lasting life are more spiritual, and farthest removed from sense, and 
are more difficult to be believed, and therefore first we must begin 
with easier things. And the Lord, by giving us outward things, would 
nourish our faith in things spiritual and heavenly ; for when we see 
his care over us in these lesser things, we may be sure he will not 
neglect us in things of a greater moment ; they are pledges to the soul 
that if God be so punctual in the lesser things, he will not fail in the 

[5.] This part of the life of faith is necessary, not only for the supplies 
of the outward man, but for the sanctifying of our outward condition, 
that it may not be a snare to us. If we have outward blessings, we 
should see them coming from the covenant ; and so they are sweeter, 
and turn to a better use, when we receive them from the promise by 
faith ; for it is said, 1 Tim. i. 4,5, that ' all the creatures are sanctified 
by the word of God and prayer to them that believe and know the truth.' 
There is but a sour taste in these outward comforts, meat, apparel, 
riches, honour, favour of men ; if they be not received and improved 
by faith, they soon taint and pervert the heart, and withdraw it from 
God and heavenly things. But when we see his love in them, and 
they come from our heavenly Father, they are much sweeter and better. 
To be carved to by a great person is counted as great a favour as 
affording the meal itself. To take these things out of God's hand, to 


see that he remembereth us, and sendeth in our provisions at every 
turn, this endeareth the mercy, and raiseth our thankfulness. So on 
the other hand, if we want these blessings, it keepeth us from a snare 
to find them in the covenant. Distrust in temporal promises hath 
driven the faithful servants of the Lord to many hard and dangerous 
shifts, and hath occasioned their falls more than other things. 
Abraham thought to save his life by a lie, and David by dissembling, 
when he could not trust God. And daily experience shows it, what a 
shrewd temptation this is, even to the godly. 

2. Let me give you some maxims, grounds, and principles of faith, 
which, being well digested, will help us to depend upon God for this 
kind of blessings. 

[1.] That God hath the sole disposing of this life, and the interests 
thereof. It is by his providence that everything is ordered, when, 
where, and how we shall live ' He hath determined aforehand the 
times, and the bounds of our habitation,' Acts xvii. 26. The land of 
Canaan was divided by lot, and the partage thereof was merely by 
God's decision, and his governing the chance of the lot. So it is true of 
all other countries ; a man hath not a foot of land more than God hath 
set out for him by his all-wise providence ; so all the wealth that we 
enjoy: Deut, viii. 18,' Thou sha.lt remember the Lord, who giveth 
thee power to get wealth.' It is Cod appointeth who shall be wise, 
and who shall be rich ; who shall have great gifts of the mind, and 
who shall have great and ample revenues by the year. The world is 
not governed by blind chance, but by his wisdom. However wealth 
cometh to us, it is from God as the first cause, whether it come by dona 
tion, purchase, labour, or inheritance. If it come by gift, the hearts of 
all men are in God's hand ; he that sendeth the present is the giver, 
not the servant that bringeth it to us ; it was God that made them 
able and willing. If it come by inheritance, it is by the providence 
of God that a man is born of rich parents, and not of beggars. He 
hath cast the world into hills and valleys, put some in a high and some 
in a low condition. If by our own labour and purchase, it is God 
gives the ability, the skill to use it, and the success in our callings; 
the faculty, the use, the success, are all from God. He doth riot leave 
second causes to their own work, as an idle spectator, but interposeth 
in all the affairs of the world. So for favour and respect in the eyes 
of enemies, or people averse from us : Prov. xvi. 7, ' When a man's 
ways please the Lord, he maketh his enemies to be at peace with him.' 
There is a great deal of difference between pleasing God and pleasing 
men please men, and yet God may be angry with you, and blast all your 
happiness ; but please the Lord, and that is the way to be at peace 
with men too. So for favour in the eyes of princes : Prov. xxix. 26, 
c Many seek the ruler's favour, but every man's judgment is from the 
Lord/ Among the multitude of suitors and expectants, the event is 
as God casts it, who is the great judge and umpire in human affairs. 
And humble prayer doth more than ambitious affectation. Notwith 
standing all our blowing, the fire will not burn without the Lord. 

[2.] Another principle that hath an influence upon our faith is this, 
that he is ready and willing to distribute and dispense the blessings of 
this life to his people ; for his fatherly providence is ever watching 


over them for good. He is liberal and open-handed to all his creatures, 
but much more to his saints. There is not a poor worm but feeleth 
the benefit of his providence ; all the beasts of the field are provided 
for by him ; he sendeth showers of rain and fruitful seasons, and filleth 
the lap of the earth with blessings, that they may have food ; the fishes 
of the sea, that multiply in such fries and shoals, yet they are fed ; 
the fishes, that are but mute creatures, that cannot so much as make a 
sound, yet have a voice to proclaim a bountiful God: Job xii. 7, ' Ask 
the beasts, and they shall tell thee ; the fowls of the air, and they shall 
teach thee.' God sends us to school to the beasts of the field. Go and 
ask them if God be not liberal and open-handed. StLuke instanceth 
in the ravens : Luke xii. 24, ' Consider the ravens, that they neither 
sow nor reap, that have neither storehouse nor barns ; yet God feedeth 
them. How much better are you than fowls ? ' Shall a kite be more 
dear to him than a child ? But why is the raven mentioned ? Some 
say it is animal cibi rapacissimum, the most ravenous fowl ; yet they 
are supplied. But there seems to be some other reason, for they are 
elsewhere instanced, in Job xxxviii. 41, ' Who provideth for the raven 
his food ? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack 
of meat ; ' so Ps. cxli. 9, ' He giveth to the beast his food, and to the 
young ravens which cry/ Why should the raven be propounded as 
the great instance of providence? The naturalists tell us, rou? veorrovs 
7u/8a\Xet o Kopa%, that the ravens expose their young ones as soon as 
they are hatched, but they are fed either by the dew of heaven, or by 
a worm that breeds in the nest, one way or other they are provided 
for. Surely the Lord of hosts never overstocks his common ; where he 
sends mouths, he will send supplies, but especially to his people: Ps. 
xxxv. 27, * He taketh pleasure in the prosperity of his servants.' The 
Lord delights to see his servants do well in the world ; and it is no 
pleasing spectacle to him to see his people in a suffering, afflicted, 
ruinous condition. Oh then ! why do not we rouse up our faith ? 
If God hath said he takes pleasure in the prosperity of his people, shall 
we not rouse up ourselves, and wait upon him for these outward things ? 
[3.] When God withholdeth any degree or measure of earthly bless 
ings from us, it is for our good : Ps. xxxiv. 9, ' Oh fear the Lord, ye his 
saints, for there is no want to them that fear him ! They that fear the 
Lord shall not want any good thing.' They may lack many things which 
others enjoy, but no good thing ; so Ps. Ixxxiv. 11, ' The Lord will 
be a sun and shield, he will give grace and glory, and no good thing 
will he withhold from them that walk uprightly/ Good is not to be de 
termined by our fancies and distempered appetites, but God's wisdom. 
We say this and that is good for us, as children desire green fruit, but 
our Father saith not so. Every distemper affecteth the diet that feedeth 
it, but we must be contented with God's allowance, who is faithful to 
our souls, and taketh away those comforts that would hurt us, and 
eclipse our graces, and hinder us in serving him in the way he requireth. 
Every man's present portion given him by providence is best ; not what 
we would have, but what God thinks good to give us. That is best 
which is fittest for us, not that which is largest. If you were to choose 
a shoe for your child's foot, you would cot choose the largest, but the 
fittest. A garment too short will not cover our nakedness, and a gar- 


ment too long will soon become a dangling dirty rag. Goliath's armour 
may be too big for little David. 

[4.] The best way to get and keep worldly blessings is to get and 
keep in with God. This is a paradox to the world; a strict, severe 
holding to the truth is the ready way to expose us to dangers, and doth 
often bring great loss and inconveniency upon those that do so; and 
yet it is a truth for all that ; for sin bringeth a curse, and righteousness 
a blessing: Dent. v. 33, ' You shall walk in all the ways which the 
Lord your God has commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may 
be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which 
ye shall possess.' Our reward lieth not in this world, and yet here God 
is not altogether wanting to his people. 

[5.] There are certain qualifications wherein if we do excel we shall 
not want, as to instance in three, justice, mercy, and honouring of 
parents. God, that is the patron of human societies, is so well pleased 
with the respects of inferiors to superiors, and with equity and justice 
between man and man, and relieving the indigent, by which the world 
is kept in order and harmony, that if these things be in you, and abound, 
you shall not want the comforts of this life : Prov. xxi. 21, 'He that 
followeth after righteousness arid mercy findeth life, righteousness, and 
honour ; ' so Ps. xxxiv. 12, 13, ' What man is he that desireth life, and 
loveth many days, that he may see good ? Keep thy tongue from evil, 
and thy lips from speaking guile.' But more particularly, see how 
the Lord doth reward justice: Isa. xxxiii. 15, 16, 'He that walketh 
righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the .gain of 
oppression, and shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth 
his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing of 
evil, he shall dwell on high, his place of defence shall be the munitions 
of rocks , bread shall be given him, his water shall be sure;' and 
Prov x. 6, ' Blessings are upon the head of the just, but violence 
covereth the mouth of the wicked ; ' and Dent. xxv. 15, ' But thou 
shalt have a perfect and just weight ; a perfect and just measure shalt 
thou have, that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the Lord 
thy God giveth thee.' So for mercy : he that watereth shall be watered 
himself: Eccles. xi. 1, ' Cast thy bread upon the waters, and after many 
days thou shalt find it ; ' and Ps. cxii. 3, ' Wealth and riches are in his 
house, and his righteousness endureth for ever.' And this is spoken of 
the merciful man, for so the apostle doth apply it : 2 Cor. ix. 8, 9, 
' And God is able to make all grace abound towards you. that ye, always 
having all-sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.' 
As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad, he has given to the poor ; 
his righteousness remains for ever/ And so for honouring of parents : 
Exod. xx. 12, 'Honour thy father and mother, that thy days may be long 
in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee ' This is the way to 
live well and long in the vorld. God having such a love to human 
society hath made these promises here specified. 

[6.] The more we trust God, and look to him in all things, the 
more we have ; for trust is a very endearing, engaging thing : Ps. xci. 
9, 10, ' Because thou hast made the Lord which is my refuge, ever) the 
Most High thy habitation, there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall 
any pla,gue come nigh thy dwelling.' There shall no evil befall the 


man that always liveth upon God ; so 2 Chron. xx. 20, ' Believe in the 
Lord your God, so shall you be established ; believe his prophets, so 
shall you prosper ; ' and 1 Chron. v. 20, ' They cried unto the Lord in 
the battle, and he was entreated of them, because they put their trust 
in him.' How did they trust ? What ! had they particular confid 
ence in God ? No, they committed the affair to him with submission 
to his will. Or had they a particular revelation ? No, but they sought 
to God. and put the case into his hands. 

[7.] That temporal promises, if they are not made good to our persons, 
are sometimes made good to our posterity. The blessing lieth asleep 
' for a while, and then it riseth up to their seed, in great abundance 
' The just man walketh in his integrity, and his children are blessed, 
after him,' Prov. xx. 7. It may be he is afflicted and greatly 
oppressed in the world, and maketh a hard shift to run through it : 
but then his children are provided for, and have a strange blessing of 
providence accompanying them , so IFR. xliv. 3, 4, ' I will pour water 
upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground , I will pour 
my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thy offspring ; and they 
shall spring up as among the grass, as the willow by the water-courses.' 
David was a great student in providence, and observed God up and 
down in the traverses of his dispensations, and gives this as the result 
of his inquiry and observation, Ps. xxxvii. 25, 26, ' I have been young, 
and now am old, yet I never saw the righteous forsaken, nor his seed 
begging bread. He is ever merciful and lendeth, and his seed is 
blessed.' God hath a blessing for them and theirs, so as to bestow 
necessaries upon them ; and Prov, xiii. 22, ' A good man leaves an 
inheritance to his children's children, and the wealth of the sinner is 
laid up for the just.' They that thrive by the oppression of others, 
and seek to grow great in the world, lay up for the heir of a poor, 
godly man. 

[8.] God will provide many times when we are at an utter loss ; as 
Abraham answered his son Isaac., when he asked his father ' Where is 
the lamb for a burnt-offering ? ' Gen. xxii. 7, * God will provide him 
self a lamb for a burnt-offering,' ver. 8. So we may quiet our hearts 
in God's promises for our supplies. God hath means that come not 
within our ken and perceivance : John vi, 4-6, ' And the passover, a, 
feast of the Jews, was 'nigh at hand. When Jesus lifted up his eyes, and 
saw a great multitude coming unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence 
shall we have bread, that all these may eat ? And this he said to prove 
him, for he himself knew what he would do.' Such straits many times 
befall poor believers. There are many mouths, and little meat ; trad 
ing dead, and means of supplies cut off but this he doth to try us 
what we will do in such a case of straits and great necessities. But 
God will find out means of supplies that we could never think of ; and 
when we have it out of the hands -of God's providence immediately, it 
is the sweeter, and doth more evidence God's love and care of us : 
Zech, viii. 6, ' If it be marvellous in your eyes, should it therefore be 
marvellous in mine eyes ? saith the Lord of hosts.' Ps. Ixxviii. 41, ' Yen 
they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.' 
This was the fault the Israelites were taxed with, they limited the Holy 
One of Israel within the circle of human probabilities. Thus we should 


not be : 2 Peter ii. 9, ' The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly/ 
This should answer all our doubts, oibev o Kvpios ; we know not, nor 
cannot see. When all lawful means have been tried unprosperously, 
then is the time for the Lord to show forth his skill and power. 

[9.1 Our faith must be tried in these things as well as in others. 
Look, as in all other the promises, God tries our faith before he gives 
us tlie blessing. How shall we know that we believe, and depend 
upon God for outward supplies, unless we be reduced to some straits, 
and have but from hand to mouth, and be cut short in our temporal 
conveniences ? There are times of trial in which God will try all his 
children -'The Lord tries the righteous,' Ps. xi. 5. Thus he tried 
them, Heb. xi. 36, 37. God tried them whether they would live by 
faith upon him when they were 'destitute, afflicted, and tormented, 
when they were stoned, and sawn asunder, slain with the sword, and 
wandered about in sheep-skins, and goat-skins.' And thus he tried 
Israel in the wilderness, before he had them into a land flowing with 
milk and honey : Deut. viii. 2, 'And thou shalt remember all the way 
which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, 
to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, 
whether thou wouldst keep his commandments or no/ God will try 
us whether we serve him for love or wages , whether we live merely 
upon the creature or the promises, and can depend upon his all-suffi 

[10.] We cannot be absolutely confident of success as to temporal 
'things ; that is not the faith required of us, for they are not absolutely 
promised ; but with exception of the cross, and as God shall see them 
good for us. God hath reserved a liberty of showing his justice ^in 
punishing a sinning people : Ps. Ixxxix. 32, ' He will visit their iniquity 
with the rod, and their transgression with stripes ' The world shall 
know that he doth not allow sin in his own people and children ; it is 
as odious to God in them as in others, yea more, and therefore they 
feel the smart of it. When we go out of the way in which the bless 
ing falls, it is no marvel it falls beside us. But here is a doubt that 
might be largely discoursed upon, Why then are temporal blessings so 
often expressed in the covenant? 

I answer 

(1.) Partly because it is the ordinary practice of the Lord's free-grace 
to supply his people with things comfortable and necessary ; while he 
hath work for them to do, he will give them protection and mainten 
ance. I observe two different speeches of Paul whilst he was in the 
middle of his work ; he saith, in 2 Cor. i. 10, 'Who has delivered us 
from so great a death, and doth deliver, and in whom 1 trust that he 
will yet deliver ; ' but when his work began to draw to an end, he 
speaketh at another rate : 2 Tim. iv. 6-8, ' For I am now ready to be 
offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a 
good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith ; hence 
forth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness/ God by a secret 
instinct begat a confidence in him. But when he began to call him 
off, and the time of his departure was drawing nigh, he speaks more 
faintly, as one that was sensible that God was calling him off from his 
service in the world. 


(2.) Partly, because these Blessings are adopted into the covenant 
that they may be a ground of prayer and praise. 

1st. It is a ground of prayer. We go the more confidently to God 
when we have a particular promise of the blessing we ask; as Ps. cxix. 
49, ' Kemernber thy word unto thy servant, wherein thou hast caused 
me to hope.' When God hath given out a promise, and enables us to 
apply it, and then to challenge him upon his word, then we are the 
more borne up to prayer. A general intimation is not so clear a ground 
of trust as an express and particular promise. Our necessities lead us 
to the promise, and the promise to God, that we may put his bonds in 
suit. We have somewhat to urge and plead, and have a greater hold 
fast upon God ; it is a sweet argument that increaseth our earnestness 
in prayer. 

2d. It is a ground of praise. It is a greater comfort when we can 
see our mercies coming out of the womb of the covenant. What 
others have by common providence, they have by special mercy ; 
others have by simple donation and indulgence, they have everything 
by promise; others receive from a creator, they from a loving father ; 
though for substance the gift is the same, yet the cause and end differ. 
'God blesseth them out of Zion/ Ps. cxxviii. 5. Mercies wrapt up in 
the bowels of Christ, and dipped in his blood, are a ground of praise 

3d We now come to the third thing, What faith is required ? or 
what are the acts of faith about these promises ? In the general, to 
depend upon God's all-sufficiency, that he is able, and his promises, 
that he is willing to provide for us ; for if God were not willing, 
why hath he multiplied so many promises concerning temporal things ? 
Now this dependence is to be manifested several ways. 

[1.] By recommending our case to God in prayer. We may law 
fully pray for temporal things ; for Christ hath made it one of the 
petitions in his perfect form ; ' Give us this day our daily bread,' next 
to ' Thy will be done/ Such things are to be asked as are necessary 
to the being of the subjects. Prayers to God for spiritual things are 
most acceptable, but these are not despised. A child pleaseth his 
father most when he desireth him to teach him his book rather than 
give him an apple ; yet he is not refused when he desireth food ; both 
requests are allowed, though one be preferred, Well then, pray we 
must, and in prayer we act faith: Ps. Ixii. 8, 'Trust in him at all 
times, ye people ; pour out your hearts before him ; ' and 1 Sam. xxii. 
3, 4, * God is my rock, in whom I trust ; I will call upon the name of 
the Lord, so shall I be saved/ If we trust God, we will be often with 
him at the throne of grace, for there we act our trust, and encourage 
ourselves in our belief of God's hearing. Whenever we feel ourselves 
pinched with any earthly necessity, we run to God, a/nd spread his 
promises before him. This is trust, for it always keepeth up an 
acknowledgment of God as the giver of corn, and wine, and oil, and 
the comforts of this life : Hosea ii. 8, ' She did not know that I gave her 
corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold/ It easeth 
the heart of the burden of distracting cares : Phil. iv. 6, ' Be careful 
for nothing, but in everything let your requests be made known unto 
God/ When the wind is gotten into the bowels and caverns of the 


earth, it shaketh, and heaves, and causeth terrible earthquakes^ till it 
get a vent, then all is quiet ; so we are full of unquiet tossings in our 
minds till we go and pour out our hearts before the Lord. 

[2.] This dependence is manifested by keeping us from the use of 
unlawful means, and base shifts. Faith can rather trust God though 
we have nothing, than step out of the way for a supply : Prov. xvi. 8, 
1 Better is a little with righteousness, than great revenues without 
right/ That proverb expresseth the disposition of a gracious heart: 
though a man might easily help himself out of his straits by bending 
a little to some sinful way, yet he rather waiteth upon God, and looks 
for his blessing in his own way. They that use ill means, and do not 
tarry God's leisure, they live upon the creature, not God. The protec 
tion of the law is only for them that travel in the day, and upon the 
road ; a man never gets anything by going aside out of God's way. 
Therefore faith looketh upon unjust gain as a certain loss, like the flesh 
stolen from the altar with a coal in it, that fireth the bird's nest. 
Besides peace of conscience which we lose, faith seeth a ruin in the 
estate: Prov. xx. 17, ' Bread of deceit is sweet to a man, but after 
wards the mouth is filled with gravel ; ' they think to find a great deal 
of comfort in that bread they have gotten by deceit, but it proveth 
gravel in the belly. To make haste to be rich is to make haste to be 
poor, to bring a curse upon ourselves and families. 

[3.] By doing our duty without distraction, and referring the event, 
issue, and success of every business to the Lord. 

Because this is the sum of the whole duty of trusting upon God for 
temporal things, I shall show you 

(1.) That duty must be done by us without distraction, with quiet 
ness and a contented mind. 

(2.) That events must be left to God. 

\st. Duty must be done. God would not put the trouble of the event 
upon us, but only requireth us to perform the subservient duty : Phil, 
iv. 6, /jujbev fjLepifjLvdre, ' Be careful for nothing ;' and 1 Peter v. 7, 'Cast 
all your care upon the Lord ;' he is willing to take the burden upon 
him, all of it. What! must we leave all things to sixes and sevens, 
and let wife and children shift for themselves ? There is cnrov&j and 
jjueptfiva, anxious solicitude and holy diligence ; as in a pair of com 
passes one foot is fixed in the centre, whilst the other wandereth about 
the circumference. The work of faith is not to abate industry, but to 
fix the heart ; the dependence of faith is not an idle and devout sloth, 
but an industrious waiting. Not to labour is to tempt providence, and 
to cark is to distrust it. Miracles are not to be multiplied 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 your ruin, rather the 
contrary. By a quiet use of means you enter into God's protection ; 
do your duty, and then take no thought what you shall eat, and drink, 
or wherewith you shall be clothed, nor how sustained ; that is to take 
God's work out of his hands. 

2d Events must be left to God. There are two acts of faith, 
committing and submitting all our affairs to God. 

First, Committing all your affairs, persons, and conditions, and all 


events that concern you, to the will, wisdom, power and goodness of 
God. Put them into his hands, and see what he will do for you. We 
are directed to do so in two places, each of which hath a distinct pro 
mise, the one of ease, the other of success. The One is in Prov. xvi. 3, 
'Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be estab 
lished ; ' the other place is, Ps. xxxvii. 5, ' Commit thy way unto the 
Lord, and he shall bring it to pass ; ' this will bring success, or else 
ease us of a great deal of unnecessary trouble. Some do not- under 
stand the weight and burden of their affairs, because they are retch- 
less, and foolish, and have slight spirits ; others that have a sense of 
their business and difficulties, take all the burden upon themselves, 
and so through their own distrust are eaten out with piercing cares. 
But the believer that is sensible of his own weakness, and ackriow- 
ledgeth the wise and faithful conduct of God's providence, after he hath 
done his duty leaveth the event of all things to God. Into how many 
inconveniences, temporal and spiritual, do we plunge ourselves, till we 
do so. Let God alone, for he will guide all to his own glory and our 
comfort, for he is a faithful God. This is the true depending upon his 
providence, when we put all our comforts into his hands. 

Secondly. Submit your thoughts and affections to God in the dis 
posal of your condition. As Jesus Christ our Lord ' Not my will be 
done, but thine/ Luke xxii. 42. Lord, if thou wilt bring about this 
comfort, I will bless thee; if not, here I am, let the Lord do to me as 
he will : 2 Sam. xv. 25, 26, ' If I find favour in the eyes of the Lord, 
he will bring me again, and show me both it and his habitation : but 
if he say thus, I have no delight in thee, behold here am I, let him do 
as seerneth good unto him/ When a man puts himself and all his 
interests as a die into the hands of God's providence, to be cast high or 
low, as he pleaseth; as those in Acts xxi. 14, ' When they saw he 
would not be persuaded, they ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be 
done.' When we cannot by lawful means avert evil, let us acquiesce 
in his providence; he knows what way is best to bring us to heaven. 
Whether is it most equal for us to desire that the will of God should 
be subject to our affections, or our wills and affections subject to God's 
providence ? If things fall out contrary to our inclinations, they are 
agreeable to his wisdom : and though they are against our wills, yet 
not against our salvation ; for God in all the ways of his providence 
aimeth at his own glory and the salvation of his people. Therefore 
what is against our will, is not against our profit, and it is not fit the 
wheels of providence should move according to our fancies, as if we 
could guide things better than God, We ascribe too much to our 
selves when we would prescribe to God. It is man's duty to submit, 
admire, not quarrel at providence ; if things are not as we would have 
them, they are as God would have them. We all condemn the blas 
phemy of Alphonsus, who said, Si Deo a consiliis adfuisset in crea- 
iione mundi, se consultius multa ordinaturam If he had been by when 
God made the world, he would have ordered things a great deal better 
than now they are. Yet we are guilty of the same blasphemy in our 
murmurings ; we think if we had the reins of government in our own 
hands, we would order the affairs of the world in a better way. Foolish 
creatures ! thus are we offended, because we know not God, and do 
not consider the end and meaning of his dispensations. 


But you will say, There may be obedience in this submission, but how 
is it an act of dependence ? 

I answer, thus: when we believe that God is so good and faithful 
that he will do what is best, though we see not how. Certainly mur 
muring is the effect of unbelief: Ps. cvi. 24, 25, 'They believed not, 
but murmured in their tents/ So submission is an act of faith. 
Could we believe that the wise and faithful God is carrying on all 
things for our good, that would make us in quietness and silence to 
possess our souls, till we see the end of the Lord, and what he pur- 
poseth by all the straits he reduceth us unto. 

[1.] This dependence is manifested by using all comforts vouchsafed 
with reverence and thankfulness. There is a living by faith in pro 
sperity as well as adversity ; and it is a part of the divine and spiritual 
life ' to learn how to abound' as well as ' how to be abased,' Phil. iv. 12. 
Fiiith must be exercised when we have comforts as well as when we 
want them. 1 Tim. iv. 3, it is said, 'the creature is to be received 
with thanksgiving of them that believe ; ' and ver. 5, ' Every creature is 
sanctified by the word and prayer.' We are to take all our comforts 
out of the promise, and to seek God's blessing upon them, giving 
thanks for the use. Alas ! otherwise when we have earthly things, we 
have them not with God's blessing ; and then the creatures will be like 
a deaf nut, when we come to crack it there is no kernel in it. Com 
pare Prov. x. 4, with Prov. x. 22 ; in one place it is said, ' The diligent 
hand maketh rich ; ' and in the other place it is said, ' The blessing of 
the Lord maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it,' 

Well then, it will not be amiss to treat of living by faith when 
we have these outward supplies, and the comforts of this life. Now 
the acts of faith when we have these blessings, are these 

(1 .) To look up and acknowledge God, the donor of all that we have : 
1 Tim. vi. 17, ' Charge them that are rich in this world thatthey be not 
high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who 
giveth us richly all things to enjoy.' These blessings do not come by 
chance, but from the God of heaven. You shall find your betters 
made conscience of this duty : Jesus Christ ever gave thanks, when he 
made use of the creatures, John vi. 11; though he were heir and lord 
of all things, and thought it no robbery to be equal with God, he gave 
thanks to God ; and that not for the choicest dainties which we enjoy, 
but for sober and coarse fare, five barley loaves, and two small fishes, 
ver. 9. And it seerneth Christ had expressed himself very affection 
ately, for mark, it is said, ver. 23, ' When they came nigh unto the 
place where they had eaten bread, after the Lord had given thanks.' 
He cloth not say, where the Lord wrought the miracle, but where the 
Lord had given thanks ; he characterise^! the place, not by the miracle, 
but the thanksgiving. Christ's way of expressing himself made some 
deep impression upon them, therefore it is repeated. Well then, so 
much faith we should express, as to acknowledge the donor of all our 
comforts, and have our minds raised thereby ; and therefore the 
spouse's eyes are compared to ' dove's eyes,' Cant. v. 12. Doves sip 
and look upward, so should we ; not like swine that raven upon the 
acorns, and never look up to the oak from whence they drop ; 
especially at your full and well-furnished tables, where such clusters of 


mercies crowd in before your eyes and observations : Dent. viii. 10, 
4 When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord.' 
They are great mercies, and sweetened and sanctified to you when you 
acknowledge them to come down from heaven ; though the matter of 
the provision be fetched from the field or the sea, yet it comes from 
God as the first cause. 

(2.) This piece of living by faith is necessary too, not only to take 
them out of the hands of God as a creator, but to take them out of the 
promise. It is said they are ' to be received with thanksgiving of them 
that believe and know the truth/ 1 Tim. iv. 3. It is good to see by 
what right and title you have your mercies, comforts, and supplies. 
There is a two-fold right, a providential right, and a covenant right 
Dominium politicumfundatiir inprovidentid.et domiuiumevangelicum 
fundatur in gratia ; by a providential right, wicked men as well as 
the godly possess outward things as the fruits and gifts of God's com 
mon bounty; it is their portion, Ps. xvii. 14. They are not usurpers 
of what falleth to their share in the course of God's providence, and 
are not responsible merely for possessing what they have, but abusing 
what they have. They have not only a civil right by the laws of men 
to prevent the encroachment of others, but a providential right before 
God, and must give an account to him for the use of them. But then 
there is a covenant-right from God's special love; so believers have a 
right to their creature-comforts ; and that little which the righteous 
have is better than the treasures of many wicked : as the mean fare of 
a poor subject is better than the large allowance of a condemned traitor. 
This we have by Christ who is the heir of all things, and we by him, 
in his claim ' All are yours, for you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.' 
1 Cor. iii. 23. This covenant-right then is that we should look after, 
that we may enjoy all things as the gifts of God's fatherly love and 
compassion to us, and take all out of the promise, as a part of our por 
tion in Christ, which doth very much better the relish of our com 

(3.) That we may have the comfortable use of them, with God's 
leave and blessing. The natural, comfortable use is the fruit of faith ; 
for ' Man liveth not by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth 
out of the mouth of God/ Mat. iv. 4. The power of sustaining life is 
not in the means, but in God's word of blessing. As God hath a creat 
ing word, by which he made all things, so a providential word, by which 
he preserveth and upholdeth them from falling into nothing. lie may 
give the means, when he doth withdraw the blessing ; when they do 
not prosper to continue us in health, and strength, and vigour, and 
blessing, and fitting us for the service of God : Ps. cvi. 15, ' He gave 
them their requests, but sent leanness into their souls ; ' that is, no 
comfort in that which they obtained ; and therefore the apostle maketh 
it an argument of God's bounty to the heathens that he gave them not 
only food, but ' gladness of heart/ Acts xiv.17, and cheerfulness. And 
in scripture there is a distinction between bread, and ' the staff of bread/ 
Lev. xxvi. We may have bread, and yet not ' the staff of bread : ' wo 
may have worldly comforts, but not with a blessing. 

(4.) We must act faith in the promises, that we may have a sancti 
fied use of them, that our hearts may be raised the more to love God 

VOL. xv. G 


for every taste of mercy : Hosea ii. 8, ' They did not know that I gave 
them corn, and wine, and oil.' The creatures live upon God, but they 
are not capable of knowing the first cause ; man only is capable, and 
God giveth him an heart to love him as the strength of our lives and 
' the length of our days,' Deut. xxx. 20 ; and to serve him cheerfully 
and ' with gladness of heart for the abundance of all things/ Deut. 
xlviii. 47. Alas ! they that live by sense, all their meals are but a 
sacrifice, a meat or a drink-offering, to their own lusts ; but when we 
live by faith, we use all these comforts for God. ' Holiness to the 
Lord ' was written in all the pots in Jerusalem, Zech. xiv. 20 ; not 
only upon the vessels and utensils of the temple, but upon the very pots 
and horse-bells. All blessings that come from God must return to 
God again ; as all rivers come from the sea, and in all countries, dis 
charge themselves into the sea again. The most part of the world 
abuse these gifts of God, as occasions of sinning against the giver, and 
so we fight against him with his own weapons ' Their table is their 
snare/ Ps. Ixix. 22, and that is a heavy judgment. We think the want 
of worldly comforts is a great judgment, but the abuse of worldly com 
forts is a greater, for that is a spiritual judgment; and this not only 
when they are grossly abused to surfeiting and drunkenness, and open 
contempt of God, but when they are abused to security, hardness of 
heart, forgetfulness and neglect of God, which is the more secret and 
common evil. Christ giveth a caution to his own disciples : Luke xxi. 
34, ' Take heed, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with sur 
feiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life.' Take these words 
in the vulgar and gross notion of them, they are not unseasonable. 
We had two common parents, Adam, the father of all mankind, and 
Noah, the preserver of all mankind, and both miscarried by appetite, 
the one by eating, the other by drinking. The throat is a slippery 
place, and had need be well guarded. But I suppose the words are to 
be taken in a more spiritual notion ; the heart may be overcharged, 
when the stomach is not, when we are less apt to praise God, or when 
we settle into a worldly, sensual, careless frame of spirit, and from an 
inordinate delight in our present portion are taken off from minding 
better things, and are fully satisfied with these things. 
4. How shall we bring our hearts thus to live by faith ? 

[1.] We must empty our hearts of covetous desires : Heb. xiii. 5, 
' Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be contented with 
such things as ye have ; for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor 
forsake thee' implying, that he that will depend upon God, and 
receive the comfort of the promise, that God will not leave him nor for 
sake him, must so do. He that would cast himself upon God's provi 
dence, he must be -content with God's allowance. We do but ensnare 
and perplex our thoughts while we would go about to reconcile the 
promises with our lusts, and crave more than God ever meaneth to 
bestow. Many men set God a task, to provide meat for their lusts : 
Ps. Ixxviii. 18, 19, 'They tempted God in their hearts by asking meat 
for their lusts : yea, they spake against God, they said, Can God furnish 
a table in the wilderness ?' And what was the issue? their carnal 
affections and hopes did but make trouble to themselves. Though it 
be the ordinary practice of God's free-grace and fatherly care to provide 


things comfortable and necessary for his children, whilst he hath work 
for them to do, yet he never undertook to maintain us at such a rate, 
to give us so much by the year, such portions for our children, and sup 
plies for our families. We must leave it to the great shepherd of the 
sheep to choose our pastures, bare or large. This is the way to breed 
faith : Luke xii. 15, ' Take heed, and beware of covetousness ; for man's 
life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth/ 
That is faith's principle : I shall never be the more safe and happier, 
nor the better provided for, in a spiritual sense, nor the more comfort 
able, because I have abundance. Faith looketh to heaven, and a little 
serveth turn to keep us by the way. He is not poor that hath little, 
but he that desireth more. Enlarged affections make want. 

[2.] Secure your great interest, and then it will be easy to wait upon 
God for temporal supplies : Mat. vi. 33, ' First seek the kingdom of 
God and his righteousness, and these things shall be added.' That 
once sought after, and well secured, draweth other things along with 
it ; and then you need not be anxious about food, and raiment, and 
protection, and maintenance, and such like things. When this is our 
care, to live eternally, our desires of other things are abated, and so 
are our fears about them. Yea, this will assure us that in some measure 
we shall have them. Provide for the soul, and the body shall not want its 
allowance ; provide for the body, and we cannot have assurance for our 
souls. Men carry it so, as if it were their work to provide for their 
bodies, and leave their soul at all adventures. If God take care for it, 
well ; if not, they are not troubled. Indeed it is quite contrary. It is 
true, we are to serve God's providence for both, but first for our souls. 
A man may have a little provision in the world without so much ado ; 
these things are cast into the bargain, and by way of overplus. He 
that giveth a jewel will not stand upon a trifle ; God that blessed the 
house of Obed-edom for the ark's sake, 2 Sam. vi. 11, 12, will bless 
you, and keep you, because Christ is received into your hearts : 1 Kings 
iii. 11-13, ' Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for 
thyself long life, . . . ; lo, I have done according to thy words, . . . And 
also I have given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches and 
honour,' &c. 

[3.] Be persuaded of the particularity of God's providence ; that he 
doth not only mind the greater affairs of the world, but is conscious to 
everything and every person that liveth here. Christ knew when virtue 
passed out from him in a throng : Luke viii. 45, ' Somebody hath touched 
ine,' saith he. It is a notable passage which we have in Acts ix. 11, 
' Arise, go into the street, which is called Straight, and inquire in the 
house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus ; for behold he prayeth.' 
God knoweth where we are, what we do, what we think, and what we 
speak ; as where Saul was, in what street, in what house, and what 
he was doing. God seeth all in what posture we are, whether we fear or 
rejoice, whether we are sad or merry, whether angry or pleased, whether 
we are toying or praying. God doth not only look after the preserva 
tion of the species, or kinds of things, but after every individual, and 
careth for them, as if he had none to care for besides them. Every 
child that is born into the world, God taketh notice of it ; and there 
fore Paul is said to be ' separated from his mother's womb,' Gal. i. 15. 


As soon as a child is born, God is making way by particular acts of 
providence, for some hidden purpose and design of his about that child, 
fitting the temper, &c. But you will say, Paul was a notable instru 
ment*^ God's glory ; but he takes care, not only for great and notable 
instruments of his glory, but poor and despicable persons : Ps. xxxiv. 6, 
1 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him ; ' one of no account 
and reckoning in the world, such a one as was forgotten, or never 
thought of in his neighbourhood. Yea, the beasts and fowls are known 
of God : Ps. I 11, ' I know all the fowls of the air, and the wild beasts 
in the field are mine.' Though there be such innumerable flocks, yet 
God knoweth them particularly, yea, all their motions : Mat x. 29, 
' Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing ? and one of them shall not 
fall to the ground without your Father.' And if God be at leisure to 
look after all the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and the 
fishes of the sea, will he not look after his saints and servants ? Yes, 
they and every thing about them is cared for : Mat. x. 30, ' The hairs 
of your head are numbered ; ' not only the head itself, or hands and 
feet, which are paries integrantes, but the hairs of your head : excre 
ment itious parts, rather for conveniency and ornament, than necessity. 
Well then, be settled in the belief of this truth of God's particular pro 
vidence. There is riot only a common providence to be ascribed to 
God, that he doth in the general furnish the world, and store it with 
sufficiency, and so leaving us to our own industry, catch that catch can, 
and so make it our own ; no, but he hath a personal eye upon every one 
of us. He doth not leave us scattered upon the face of the earth to forage 
for ourselves, but we all live upon his finding, and he appoints to every 
one their lot and portion. In common plenty he can punish with per 
sonal scarcity, as he did the prince of Samaria ; and in general scarcity 
he can furnish with personal plenty, as Elijah did the Sareptan widow. 
Many will allow God a general inspection, that he upholdeth the pillars 
of the earth, but believe not that he taketh care of particulars, and so 
resolve to shift for themselves ; but be once persuaded of his particular 
notice and care, and that will help you to live by faith. 

[4.] Feed trust with arguments, and reason sometimes from the 
greater to the less. He hath given us his Christ and his Spirit : Kom. 
viii. 32, ' How shall he not with him give us all things else ? ' Some 
times from the less to the greater ' If he clothe the lilies and feed the 
ravens, how much more will he provide for you, ye of little faith,' 
Mat. vi. 26, 30. Keason from things past to things present : as David : 
1 Sam. xvii. 37, * The Lord hath delivered me from the paw of the 
lion and the mouth of the bear, and he will deliver me out of the hands 
of this uncircumcised Philistine/ And then reason from things past 
and present to things future : 2 Cor. i. 10, ' Who hath delivered us 
from so great a death, and doth deliver ; in whom we trust that he 
will yet deliver us.' God hath provided for me hitherto, even when I 
lay in my mother's womb ; it was he prepared thy swaddling-clothes 
when thou wast not able to shift for thyself. He provided two bottles 
of milk for thee before thou wast born ; and he provided for thee when 
thou hadst no reason, no grace, no interest in him ; certainly he will 
provide for thee now. And on the other side, reason from things to 
come to things present : Luke xii. 32, ' Fear not, little flock, it is your 


Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.' If he will give 
heaven, why not daily bread ? Thus may we help faith by reasoning. 
Christ hath taught us this skill. 

[5.] Consider your relations to God, and improve them to increase 
your confidence. The apostle saith, 1 Tim. v. 8, ' He that provideth not 
for his own is worse than an infidel.' God is your creator, and you are 
his creatures ; and God is bountiful to everything that he hath made : 
Ps. cxlv. 15, 16, 'The eyes of all things wait upon thee, and thon 
givest them their meat in due season ; thou openest thine hand, and 
satisfiest the desire of every living creature.' He that is so tender of 
all his works, will he forget you and forsake you? The apostle saith, 
1 Peter iv. 19, ' Commit your souls unto him, as unto a faithful creator.' 
They were in a great deal of danger, they carried their lives in their 
hands from day to day, and therefore the apostle gives them this advice. 
And then he is a shepherd, that is his relation to the visible church, 
and you may draw conclusions from it : Ps. xxiii. 1, ' The Lord is my 
shepherd, I shall want no good thing.' And then he is your father : 
Mat. vi. 32, ' Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these 
things.' And will a father be unmindful of his children ? Yea, he 
is your God, in covenant with you : Ps. xxxi. 14, ' I trusted in thee, 
God ; I said, Thou art my God.' A man must make sure his per 
sonal interest, and then it will be more easy to live by faith, and draw 
comfortable conclusions from thence. 

[6.] Consider the vanity of carking : Mat. vi. 27, ' Which of you by 
taking thought can add one cubit to his stature ? ' We cannot change 
the colour of a hair, nor make ourselves a jot taller or stronger. A 
man is pierced through with worldly cares, and yet the world frowneth 
upon him: Ps. cxxvii. 1, 2, 'Except the Lord build the house, they 
labour in vain that build it. It is in vain to rise early, and go to bed 
late, to eat the bread of sorrows ; for so he giveth his beloved sleep/ 
There is a general and a particular meaning in this psalm. The general 
sense is this : there are many that follow their business close, with great 
wisdom and dexterity ; they labour and toil, live sparingly, do this and 
that, and yet are destitute of these outward things ; it is the Lord must 
give the blessing. But then there is a more particular meaning in this 
psalm, concerning Solomon, who was called Jedidiah, the beloved of 
the Lord, 2 Sam. xii. 25, who was a builder ; 1 Chron. xxii. 9, Adonijah 
and Absalom thought to have stept into the throne, but it is in vain. 
The Lord giveth his beloved rest. The kingdom is for Solomon, do 
what you can , so it is in vain for us to cark, and care, and trouble our 
selves. The Lord giveth these things to whom he please th ; Luke. v. 
5, our Saviour Christ bids his disciples ' cast out the net.' They had 
toiled all night and wearied themselves, and caught nothing ; but at 
his command they cast out the net, and enclose^ a ^mlultitude of fishes. 
Our diligence and toiling cometh to nothing without God's blessing. 
Thus do, and usually God prevents us with the blessings of his goodness ; 
or if we be pinched, and feel want, it is to make our supplies t^e more 
glorious. ' How many loaves have ye ? and they said, Seven, and a few 
little fishes,' Mat. xv. 34, 35. Here Christ, to supply the wants of the 
multitude, wrought a miracle ; he will have it seen what he will do, 
though he hath never so little to work upon. 

Secondly, I come now to the second thing propounded the opposites 


of this life ; or those things which would seem to infringe the comforts 
of the spiritual life, temptations from the devil and the world, and sharp 

First, I begin with the life of faith with respect to the temptations 
of Satan. And here I shall (1.) Prove that this is a considerable part 
of the life of faith ; (2.) I shall show you what props and supports faith 
hath, that we may overcome the temptations of the devil. (3.) What 
are the acts of faith, with respect to these temptations. ^ 

I. That this is a considerable branch of the life of faith. Two con 
siderations will evidence that (1.) The necessity of temptations ; (2.) 
The necessity of faith to grapple with those temptations. 

[l.J This must be considered in the life of faith, because of the neces 
sity of temptations. And without this part of the life of faith, the 
spiritual life would not be guarded against all inconveniences, and the 
molestations of it; for whosoever doth unfeignedly dedicate himself to 
the service of God must expect to be assaulted by Satan. We took an 
oath in our infancy to fight under Christ's banner. Baptism is sacra- 
mentum militare, an engagement to the spiritual warfare ; and the grace 
that is infused into us is not only called clothing, but ' armour of 
light/ Kom. xiii. 12, and ' armour of righteousness,' 2 Cor. vi. 7, be 
cause Christ arrayeth us non 'ad pompom, sed ad pugnam ; not to set 
us out in a vain show, but to furnish us and secure us for the spiritual 
combat. A Christian's life is a warfare, and we cannot discharge the 
duties of it without a battle or conflict. We do evil easily, but we 
must fight for the good that we do ; they that think this unnecessary, 
scarce know what Christianity meaneth. Many are never acquainted 
with any such thing as temptations, because they know not what Chris 
tianity meaneth. When wind and tide go together, the sea must needs 
be smooth and calm. * The strong man keepeth the house, and all the 
goods are in peace,' Luke xi. 21. Satan and they are agreed. They 
that are least troubled may be most hurt ; they are quiet and secure, 
because Satan hath gotten them into the snare, and hath a quiet dom 
inion in their souls. Many there are that are contented to bear his 
image, being conformed to him in infidelity and love of temporal good, 
in pride and malice, and the like ; they embrace his principles, are 
guided by his counsels, do his will and works ; they strive for the 
establishing of his kingdom, hating those that oppose it. It is in vain 
to comfort those against temptations. But whosoever doth seriously 
purpose to live to God will be molested with the devil ; and they can 
not serve God cheerfully, unless there be provision made against it, 
which Christ hath abundantly done : Luke i. 74, 75, ' That being de 
livered out of the hands of our enemies, we might serve him without 
fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days/ Such en 
counters are to be expected. Certainly there must be temptations ; 
for God in wisdom permits it, and Satan in malice and policy 
effects it. 

[2.1 God seeth it fit that we should be tempted. 
(1.) - - 

Partly, that we may be the oftener with him. We keep off 
from the throne of grace, till temptations drive us thither. When the 
sheep are apt to wander from the fold, the shepherd lets loose the dog 
upon them ; so doth God let loose Satan to drive us to himself for 
mercy and grace to help. 


(2.) And partly, because such a dispensation is necessary, to prove 
and humble us, that we may not be proud of what we have, or con 
ceited of more than we have. Paul was buffeted with a messenger of 
Satan, ' lest he should be exalted above measure,' 2 Cor. xii. 7. A ship 
laden with precious wares needs to be balanced with wood or stones ; 
spiritual evils need a spiritual cure; outward afflictions are not 
so conducible to humble a gracious heart as temptations to sin. 

(3.) Partly to conform us to Christ, that we may pledge him in his 
own cup. For he himself was tempted : Mat. iv. 1, ' Then was Jesus 
led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil/ 
Now the disciple is not above his Lord. The devil that did once set 
upon Christ will not be afraid of us. 

(4.) And partly, that we may be pitiful to others : Gal. vi. 1, 'Con 
sidering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.' We are fierce and severe 
upon the failings of others ; now when we are tempted ourselves, we 
learn more pity and compassion. When we know the heart of a 
tempted man, we are more compassionate to others. 

[3.] Satan in malice effects it, out of envy to mankind who enjoy 
the happiness which he hath lost ; and out of hatred to God, the devil 
is always vexing the saints, and sending abroad the sparks of tempta 
tions, either with hopes to recover the prey taken out of his hands 
as Pharaoh made pursuit after the Israelites, thinking to have brought 
them back again, or else to discourage and weary and vex the children 
of God, and make their lives uncomfortable. The enemy will be 
tempting, either to draw us to sin or to trouble. Now two ways doth 
Satan assault us either by his wiles: Eph. vi. 11, 'Put on the whole 
armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the 
devil;' or by his fiery darts; ver. 16, 'Take the shield of faith, that 
you may be able to quench the fiery darts of Satan ;' those poisoned 
and envenomed arrows their lusts and their consciences are sometimes 
set a-raging ; he seeketh to stir up despairing fears ; or he inflames 
their lusts and corruptions, that he may draw them to dishonour God, 
or lose their own peace. 

(1.) He hath wiles ; and if we descry them not, we are soon surprised 
and taken. The immoderate use of carnal pleasures is accounted 
Christian cheerfulness. The apostle tells us that ' he turneth himself 
into an angel of light/ 2 Cor. xi. 10. Would Peter ever have made a 
motion for Satan to our Saviour, if he had seen his hand in it ? Mat. 
xvi. 22. He covereth his foul designs with plausible pretences : carnal 
counsel shall be pity and natural affection ; revenge shall be zeal : Luke 
ix. 53, 54, * Wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven 
and consume them, as Elias did?' Immoderate use of pleasure shall 
go for cheerfulness, and covetousness for frugality, and licentiousness 
for Christian liberty. The devil observeth our humours and inclina 
tions, and suits his baits accordingly. He can preach up the gospel 
to beat down the price of it ; as he came crying after Christ : Mark i. 
24, ' I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God ; ' to render the 
person of Christ odious, and his doctrine suspected. He urgeth the 
comforts of Christianity, to exclude the duties thereof, and to rock us 
asleep in ease, and carnal pleasure, till conscience be benumbed. At 
other times he urgeth duties to exclude comforts, and so to keep us in 


a dejected frame, and under bondage and fear : 2 Cor. ii. 11, ' Lest Satan 
should get an advantage of us, for we are not ignorant of his devices.' 
He doth not only abuse the inclinations of our concupiscible faculty, 
but the inclinations of our irascible faculty : Gal. v. 24, ' They that 
are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts 
thereof/ By lusts he meaneth vexing, troublesome passions ; and by 
affections, sorrow, grief, fear He observeth us in our duties, and 
'catcheth the word out of our hearts,' Luke viii. 12. As soon as 
we begin to be serious, and to have any good motions within us, he 
diverts us by one business or delight or other. 

(2). He hath 'fiery darts,' either setting a- work in us despairing 
fears, as he did in Cain : Gen, iv. 13, * My sin is greater than I can 
bear ; ' and Judas : Mat. xxvii. 4, 5, ' I have sinned in that I have be 
trayed innocent blood. And he departed and hanged himself , ' or 
casting in blasphemous thoughts against God and Christ, and the 
truths of the gospel and world to come. David was sorely shaken ' Ps. 
Ixxiii. 13, 14, * Verily, I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed 
my hands in innocency, for ail the day long have I been plagued, and 
chastened every morning,' Even good David thought that all religion 
was in vain. The envious one will be flinging his darts into our souls, 
and casting over the seeds of many noisome plants into the heart, that 
is new ploughed up and broken,, or inflaming our lusts and corruptions ; 
he sees our looks, affections, speeches, gestures, and behaviours , 
observes our humours, when we are inclined to wrath, or lust, or any 
other transport of soul ; he knoweth what use to make of a frown, or 
an angry look, or a wanton glance : 1 Cor, vii. 5, ' That Satan tempt 
you. not for your incontinency/ ' Give not place to the devil,' Eph. iv. 
27. He sets some lust or other a-boiling. Or to draw us to some gross 
sin, thereby to dishonour God : 2 Sam. xii. 14, ' Because by this deed 
thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme.' 
Or to disturb their peace : Ps. xxxii. 3 ; 4 ' When I kept silence, my 
bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long ; for day and 
night thy hand was heavy upon me, my moisture is turned into the 
drought of summer/ Or by some extreme grief, to stir up murmurings, 
repinings, and distrust of God. Well then, you see a necessity of some 
remedy for this great annoyance of the spiritual life. 

2. Now the great remedy is faith, without which we are at an utter 
loss ; yea, a great part of the work and life of faith is to resist Satan : 1 
Peter v, 9, * Whom resist, steadfast in the faith.' That is the way of 
resisting Satan, to keep up our courage against him. Bernard hath a 
saying, Increduli tiw.ent diabolum quasi leonem, qui fide fortes despi- 
ciunt quasi vermiculum , that unbelief feareth Satan as a lion, but 
faith treadeth on him as a worm. And that is a good step to victory 
when we have courage to stand to it. Stand your ground, and Satan 
falleth. In assaulting us he hath only weapons offensive, he hath none 
defensive ; but a Christian hath defensive and offensive weapons, a 
sword and a shield ; therefore our security lieth in resisting with 
assurance of help and victory. In the next place observe that of the 
apostle Paul : Eph. vi. 16, ' Above all, take the shield of faith, where 
with ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of Satan/ We are 
bidden to ' put on the whole armour of God,' ver. 11, No faculty of the 
soul or sense of the body must be left naked and without a guard ; 


there must be not one saving grace wanting. The spiritual soldier is 
armed cap-a-pie. The poets feign of their Achilles that he was vul 
nerable only in his heel, and there he got his death's- wound. A Chris 
tian, though never so well furnished in other parts, yet if any part be 
left naked, he is in danger. Our first parents, and Solomon, who had 
the upper part of the soul so well guarded, were wounded in the heel, 
miscarried by sensual appetite. Many have #reat sufficiencies of know 
ledge, yet are intemperate and unmortified. Well then, a Christian must 
be completely armed. The apostle there reckoneth up, ' the helmet of 
salvation/ which is hope ; ' the breast-plate of righteousness, the girdle 
of truth, the feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, the 
sword of the Spirit,' and lastly, ' the shield of faith/ There is no piece 
of armour for the back-parts, because there is no flight in this spiritual 
warfare. We must stand to it * Kesist the devil and he will flee from 
you/ James iv. 7. Now which is the choicest piece of this armour ? 
' Above all, eVl iraaiv, take the shield of faith.' Why ? Because it 
giveth life, and being, and vigour to other graces ; it preserveth all the 
rest, and therefore is fitly compared to a shield which covereth the 
whole body. The apostle begiuneth with ' the girdle of truth/ or sin 
cerity ; or an honest intention to live according to the will of God : 
when a man endeavoureth to be, both to God and man, what he seemeth 
to be. Satan useth wiles, but we must be sincere. It is dangerous to 
fight against him with his own weapons ; we cannot match our adver 
sary for craft and policy ; our strength lieth in truth and plain-dealing. 
A girdle strengtheneth the loins, so this giveth courage and boldness. 
Then there is 'the breast-plate of righteousness/ or that grace that 
puts us upon a holy conversation suitable to God's will revealed in the 
word, whereby we endeavour to give God and man their due. This 
secureth the breast, or the vital parts ; that seed of inherent grace, or 
an honest, fixed purpose to obey God in all things. And then ' the 
feet must be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace/ We 
shall meet with rough ways as we are advancing towards heaven, And 
what is the ' preparation of the gospel of peace ? ' A sense of the 
peace and friendship made up between God and us by Christ ; without 
this we shall never follow God in ways of duty, when we meet with 
difficulties and hardships. Then 'the helmet of salvation/ which is 
the hope of eternal life: 1 Thes. v. 8, 'And for a helmet the hope of 
salvation/ which maketh us hold up our heads in the midst of all 
blows and sore assaults, and is our great motive and encouragement in 
the Christian course. Then ' the sword of the Spirit, which is the word 
of God /dwelling in us richly, furnishing us with arguments against every 
particular temptation. These do all worthily. But ' above all, take 
the shield of faith/ which covereth all the other armour. Who would 
care for the girdle of truth, if he did not believe there was a God to see 
and reward all that he doth. The breast-plate of righteousness would 
lie by neglected if faith did not persuade us this is the way to please 
God, and attain our own happiness. We should never learn to put on 
the shoes of the gospel of peace if we were not justified by faith in 
Christ's death ; for so we come to have peace with God : Rom. v, 1, 
'Being justified by faith, we have peace with God/ Hope would 
languish did not faith give us a real and an effective sight of the world 


to come. And 'the sword of the Spirit/ or word of God, is only 
managed by faith persuading us of the truth of the threatenings, and 
promises, and precepts, that these are of God. So that it is faith, or a 
constant adhering to the truth of the gospel, that quickeneth, and 
covereth, and enableth us to make use of all the other parts of the spi 
ritual armour. And therefore in another place it is said, ' Fight the good 
fight of faith, lay hold of eternal life/ 1 Tim. vi. 12. The whole 
spiritual combat is a fight between faith and sense, faith and Satan. 
The great thing for which we fight is faith : 2 Tim. iv, 7, ' I have 
fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.' 
And the great thing by which we fight is faith ; this is evident in those 
words of Christ to Peter : Luke xxii. 31, 32, ' Satan hath desired to 
winnow you as wheat, but I have prayed that thy faith fail not ; ' 
implying that we shall be able to abide the encounter while faith 
holdeth out. Why ? 

[1.] Because by faith we set God before us as the spectator and 
helper in the conflict : Heb. xi. 27, ' He endured, as seeing him that 
is invisible.' And so we see more for us than against us: 2 Kings vi. 
16, ' Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with 

[2.] By faith we believe that God is true in all the promises of the 
gospel ; and so temptations are defeated, whether they tend to atheism, 
blasphemy, unbelief, despair, or any sensual practice. Man fell at first 
by believing the devil rather than God, Gen. iii. 3 ; and we stand now 
by believing God rather than the devil. When we are tempted to any 
unworthy thoughts of God, or unseemly practices against him, while we 
keep close to his word, because God cannot lie, this giveth us victory. 

[3.] And by faith we set the merit and power of Christ a-work 
for us, and so are encouraged to make resistance. Satan is not only 
called 6 e'^$po?, the enemy, that assaults by strength and force, 
but o avT&iKos, our adversary, 1 Peter ver. 8, in point of law and 
right, he is both a tempter and an accuser. Now in point of law- 
Satan would carry it against all that come of Adam, were it not that 
Christ hath freed us from the curse of the law. Now without faith we 
are destitute of Christ's imputed righteousness ; for that is ' unto all, 
and upon all them that believe/ Kom. iii. 22. And only received by 
faith : Phil. iii. 9, 'And be found in him, not having our own righteous 
ness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, 
the righteousness which is of God by faith.' And so we are not only 
exposed to the dint of sin-pursuing justice, or the wrath of God : John 
iii. 36, ' He that believeth not the Son, hath not life, but the wrath of 
God abideth on him ; ' but to all the bitter accusations and challenges 
of the devil our adversary. But when we are possessed of it by faith, 
then, ' Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect ? it is 
Christ that justifieth,' Kom. viii. 33. We may silence Satan by the 
righteousness of Christ. Again, as he opposeth by strength and power, 
faith engageth the power of God on our behalf : Eph. vi. 10, * Be strong 
in the Lord, and in the power of his might.' Without this, if we stand 
by our single strength, we are exposed as a prey to every temptation ; 
but when we set Christ against the tempter, we are not so weak in the 
hands of Satan as Satan is in the hands of Christ. He that sideth 


with us against Satan hath an absolute command over him. If he will 
be our second, why should we fear ? Satan hath no more power in him 
than any other creature, which may be taken away at God's pleasure, 
and is in the meantime limited by him. The unclean spirits obeyed 
Christ in his lifetime upon earth, Mark i. 27 ; if Christ do but say the 
word, at his rebuke they vanish. 

Well then, yon see temptations from Satan must be, will be ; and 
the means to resist him is not by spells, but by faith, or confidence in 
the death, intercession, and power of Christ. This evil spirit is not 
driven away with crosses, and holy water, and charms, and relics, but 
by a steadfast faith in Christ, according to the promises of the gospel : 

II. Having showed the necessity of living by faith in an hour of 
temptation, I now come to show what are the grounds, props, and 
supports of faith against Satan's temptations. 

1. Christ's victory over Satan. Christ hath obtained a fourfold vic 
tory over Satan, all which doth encourage our faith. 

[1.] By his personal conflict with him in his own temptations. 
Jesus Christ himself was tempted, Mat. iv. and therefore we should 
not be dismayed when we are tempted. It becomes good soldiers to 
follow the captain of their salvation ; he is the more likely to pity and 
succour us : Heb. ii. 18, * For that himself hath suffered, being tempted, 
he is able to succour them that are tempted ; ' as a man troubled with 
the stone, or gout, his heart is entendered to pity others labouring 
under the same exquisite and racking pains; as Israel was to pity 
strangers, because they themselves were once in the ' same condition. 
Non ignant malt, miseris succurrere disco. He hath pulled out the 
sting of temptations by submitting to be tempted in his own person. 
He sanctified every condition that he passed through : his dying hath 
pulled out the sting of death , so his being tempted hath made that 
condition the more comportable. He hath directed us how to stand 
out, and by what kind of weapons we are to foil Satan. He that is a 
pattern in doing and suffering is also a pattern in resisting ; and not 
only so, but he hath overcome Satan. Our general in whose quarrel 
we are engaged, hath already vanquished Satan ; he got his victory 
over Satan for us. Christus diabolum vicit, saith Austin, et pro te 
vicit, et tibi vicit, et in te vicit. Christ hath beaten Satan to our hands. 
Christ's victory over Satan, though it be by himself, yet it is not for 
himself, but for his members, that we may have the victory over him, 
and comfort in all our temptations ; as he hath shown us the way to 
fight, so he hath assured us of the victory, that we shall overcome. 

[2.] Another victory he obtained over him was by his death : Heb. ii. 
14, * Through death he destroyed him that had the power of death, 
that is the devil.' Never was such a blow given to the kingdom of 
darkness as then ; not to take away his immortal life and being, but 
his power and strength to hurt. Then was Satan disarmed , and after 
wards by his Spirit Christ cometh and dispossesseth him ; so Col. ii. 15, 
' And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them 
openly, triumphing over them in it ; ' and Eph. iv. 8, ' He hath led 
captivity captive.' Upon the cross he overcame his and our enemies, 
and triumphed over them ; satisfying his Father's justice, he spoiled 
the devil of that power which he once had over the souls of men through 


the law's curse ; so that though the devil doth tempt believers, yet he 
cannot overcome them Non pugnd sublatd sed victoria. The devil 
may molest us, not totally vanquish us ; Christ will not exempt us 
from a battle, yet it is a spoiled adversary we fight with, he hath secured 
us the victory ; he may hold us in exercise, but he cannot hinder our 
salvation ; he may bruise our heel, but he cannot break our head. 
The wounds we receive from Satan may be painful, but not mortal so 
as to quench the life of grace ; though he foil us sometimes, yet we are 
kept by the power of God to salvation. A man may be bruised in the 
heel by divers temptations, and slip into sins thereby ; but it is but in 
the heel, far enough from any vital part. 

[3.] He prevailed over the devil by his gospel, when he first sent 
abroad his disciples to the lost sheep of Israel : Luke x. 18, ' And he 
said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven;' but 
especially after his ascension, and the pouring out of the Spirit, when 
he sent abroad his disciples into the world, casting down the idols of 
the gentiles, under which the devil was adored : 1 Cor. x. 19, 20, 
' What say I then ? that the idol is anything ? or that which is offered 
in sacrifice to idols is anything ? but I say, The things which the 
gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God.' And he 
still goeth on conquering and prevailing, putting Satan out of posses 
sion : Luke xi. 21, 22, ' When a strong man armed keepeth the house, 
his goods are in peace ; but when a stronger than he shall come upon 
him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein 
he trusted, and divideth his spoils ; ' as he doth enlighten, reclaim, and 
sanctify all the elect, and subdue those lusts by which Satan ruleth in 
the hearts of men. If Christ conquereth Satan by his word, and by the 
preaching of the gospel establishing his kingdom, his word should dwell 
richly and abundantly in our hearts, that we may oppose the command 
ments of God and his counsels to the counsels and solicitations of the 
devil, and look that this word that prevaileth over all the world should 
prevail with us also : Col. i. 6, * This word is come into all the world, 
and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you/ 

[4.] The last victory that Christ shall have is at the day of judg 
ment : Phil. ii. 10, * That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, 
of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth,' 
compared with Kom. xiv. 10, 11, ' We must all stand before the judg 
ment-seat of Christ; for it is written, as I live, saith the Lord, every 
knee shall bow to me/ Then ( the devil shall be cast into the lake of 
fire and brimstone,' Kev. xx. 10, and all the saints, together with 
Christ, shall triumph over him : Kom. xvi. 20, * The God of peace 
shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly ; ' as Joshua and his followers 
set their feet on the necks of the Canaanitish kings in the cave. So 
that our absolute and final victory is near and sure ; God will do it, 
and shortly. Then we shall never be troubled more with a busy devil, 
all his power shall be broken in pieces. This will be a glorious con 
quest indeed, and a mighty comfort and relief to us in the sharp con 
flicts we now have. 

2. There are many promises that concern this warfare : promises of 
strength, of victory, and of the reward of victory. 

[1.] Of strength, or such supplies of grace as we may be enabled to 


stand out against the powers of darkness. Paul was buffeted with a 
messenger of Satan, and he knocked at the door of grace thrice, 2 
Cor. xii. 7, all the answer he could get was, ' My grace is sufficient for 
thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness/ This promise was 
particularly made to Paul, but the reason is general ; God's power is 
perfected, that is, manifested to be perfect, in the weakness of the 
creature. It is his glory to give ' power to the faint ; and to them that 
have no might he giveth strength/ Isa. xl. 29, that they may rejoice in 
the Lord their strength. Jesus Christ, who is the head of the church, 
will also be the saviour of the body, that the glory may redound to 
him alone. He hath a tender sense of our danger, and is never more 
at work for his people than when they are most assaulted by Satan. 
He doth in effect say, They are undone if I help them not: Zech. iii. 
1, 2, 'And he showed me Joshua the high-priest, standing before the 
angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. 
And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, Satan, even the 
God that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee. Is not this a brand 
plucked out of the fire ? ' And thereupon he puts forth the strength 
and efficacy of his mediation. Our friend in heaven, and advocate, is 
pleading for new grace for us. When a town is besieged, they are not 
left to their standing provisions, but relief is sent to them. Christ will 
engage and fight for us. 

[2.] Promises of victory ; there are many in scripture : Gen. iii. 15, 
' The seed of the woman shall break the serpent's head/ It is not 
only true of Christ, but of his seed ; they shall prevail at length and 
conquer, together with Christ : so Mat. xvi. 18, ' Upon this rock I will 
build my church, arid the gates of hell shall not prevail against it/ 
In the gates was their munition and defence, and there they sat in 
council and judicature ; so that the expression intirnateth that all the 
power and policy of hell shall not prevail against the church of God, 
nor any member thereof, to destroy utterly the work of God's grace in 
their hearts ; so 1 John v. 18, ' He that is begotten of God keepeth 
himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not ; ' that is, tactu quali 
tative, as Cajetan speaks, with a deadly, mortal touch ; and James iv. 
7, ' Resist the devil, and he will flee from you/ Though he cometh 
ramping and roaring, and seeking to devour us, yet if we seriously 
resist, Satan will depart ; whereas, the more we yield, he tyranniseth 
the more, Mat. xii. 44. These and many other promises there are 
made, to assure us that if we will but stand to it, Satan shall not 

[3.] Of reward upon victory : Rev. ii. 10, ' Be faithful unto death, 
and I will give thee a crown of life , ' that is, a garland of immortality, 
if we will be faithful, seriously own God's cause, and make a stout and 
peremptory resistance, without thinking of flying from him, or yielding 
to him in the least. So in many other places ' He that overcometh, 
shall not be hurt of the second death/ Rev, ii. 11 ; and Rev. iii. 21, 
' To him that overcometh I will grant to sit with me upon my throne, 
as I also overcame, and am sat down with my Father upon his throne/ 
Stay but a while, and there will a time of triumph come, and you 
shall be able to say, 2 Tim. iv. 8, ' Henceforth there is laid up for me 
a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge shall 


give me at that day.' He that is now a soldier, shall then be a con 
queror, and the danger of the battle will increase the joy of victory. 
Travellers, when they come into their inn, can sweetly remember the 
troubles and dangers of the road. 

III. What are the acts of faith about these temptations ? 

1. To cause us to renounce our own strength, and to look up to the 
Lord for help : 2 Chron. xx. 12, ' We have no might against this great 
company that cometh against us, neither know we what to do, but our 
eyes are unto thee ; ' it is a good address in spiritual cases as well as 
temporal. There must be a renouncing of our own strength before we 
can expect help from the Lord ; for ' God giveth grace to the humble/ 
James iv. 6. And you shall see in the next verse, it is that whereby 
we resist, not only natural corruption, but the devil's temptations : ver. 
7, ' Submit yourselves therefore unto God, resist the devil, and he will 
flee from you..' Here he explains who are the humble, they ' that sub 
mit themselves to God.' It is not to be understood morally of those 
that are of a lowly carriage towards men, but spiritually of those that 
in the brokenness of their hearts do acknowledge their own nothing 
ness and weakness. God withholdeth and withdraweth his influences 
when we do not acknowledge the daily and hourly necessity of grace, 
when we do not desire it with such earnestness, nor receive it with such 
joyfulness as we were wont. In the Lord's prayer, the word ar)fjbepov, 
daily, though it be only mentioned in the fourth petition, yet it con- 
cerneth alfthe rest, especially the two following petitions, ' daily bread,' 
and * daily pardon,' and ' daily strength' against temptations, they are 
all alike necessary : Ps. xvi. 8, ' I have set the Lord always before me, 
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved ; ' we must set 
God before us in point of reverence, and in point of dependence. As 
a glass without a bottom falleth to the ground, and is broken as soon 
as it is set out of hand ; so doth a sensible Christian apprehend himself 
to be in such a condition out of God's hand that he falleth, and is 
broken to pieces. If the new creature could live of itself, God would 
seldom hear from us ; therefore every day we must come for new sup 

2. To keep us from discouragement and fainting under temptations. 
Wherefore have we armour, but to use it when we are called to fight ? 
For what use serveth Jesus Christ, but ' to destroy the works of the 
devil ' ? 1 John iii. 8. He came into the world to grapple with our 
enemy, that by the fall had gotten an hand and power over us. If he 
hath conquered the devil, and that for our sakes, why should we be 
afraid ? Satan cannot tempt us one jot further than the Lord will per 
mit him ; his malice is limited and restrained. If you be in Satan's 
hands, Satan is in God's hands ; he could not enter into the herd of 
swine without leave, Mark v, 12 ; and will God suffer him to worry 
and destroy the sheep of his flock without any regard or pity ? God 
gave him a commission to afflict Job, chaps, i. and ii. Hath he not 
engaged his faithfulness, that we shall not be tempted more than we 
are able to bear? 2 Cor. x. 13 , he will give strength. If he let him 
loose upon you, look upon Jesus Christ, with all his merits, value, 
virtue, and power. Is he not able to defend thee ? It is true in gen 
eral, Christ as mediator hath done nothing apart, wherein all his mem- 


bers have not an interest with him. Did he overcome Satan for himself ? 
No, he hath overcome, and his people overcome with him : 1 John iii. 
13, * I write to you, young ones, because ye have overcome the wicked 
one.' Christ needed no such combat with Satan, nor victory over him, 
for anything that concerned himself, seeing he had in the beginning 
cast him down to hell, where he holdeth him still in chains of darkness. 

3. But this is not all the work of faith, to keep us from fainting ; it 
should also fill us with courage, and assurance of victory : Kom. viii. 
37-39, ' Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through 
him that loved us. For 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 creature, shall be able to 
separate us from the love of God which is in Jesus Christ our Lord/ 
Before the battle a believer is sure of victory. In other fights the 
event is uncertain ; Non ceque glorietur accinctus, ac discinctus ; but 
a believer when he goeth to fight, he is sure to have the best of the 
war, because the Father and Christ are stronger than all their enemies, 
and they cannot pluck him out of their hands : John x. 28, 29, ' And 
I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall 
any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them 
me is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my 
Father's hand.' They may have many shakings and tossings in their 
condition, yet their final perseverance is certain. Christ is so unchange 
able in his purpose, so invincible in his power, that when once hetaketh 
a man into his custody and charge, who can destroy him ? ' TTrepviKM^v 
we do overcome, are sure of victory before we fight. Believe and 
prosper : 2 Chron. xx. 20, ' Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye 
be established ; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.' In temporal 
cases a man doth not presently conquer those he shall fight with; 
though he doth believe he shall conquer them, yet a particular impres 
sion doth much. But here is a promise made by God ; there is a 
covenant passed between us and him ; to what end ? We have his 
bond for it, that if we fight against Satan, we shall overcome ; resist 
and he will fly. You will say, Is it no more but believe the promise, 
and Satan is gone ? / 

Ans. Yes ; if it be with a right faith, such as quickeneth us to a 
serious and thorough resistance, then thou hast nothing to do but to 
remember that thou fightest God's battle, in God's sight, and he will 
crown thee. 

4. To engage us to use all the means God hath appointed for the 
vanquishing temptations, namely, watching, and striving. 

[1.] Watching : 1 Peter v. 7, ' Be sober and watchful ; for your 
adversary the devil goeth about seeking whom he may devour.' Watch, 
that you may not give Satan an advantage, 2 Cor. ii. 11, or an occa 
sion, 1 Cor. vii. 5 ; and Gal. v. 13, ' Use not your liberty as an occasion 
to the flesh.' They cannot stand long that lay themselves open to 
Satan's snares, and ride into the devil's quarters. Therefore we must 
guard the senses, take off occasions leading to sin. 

[2.] Striving, and resistance : 1 Peter v. 9, * Whom resist, steadfast 
in the faith ; ' James iv. 7, * Resist the devil, and he will fly from you/ 
We make but a faint and cold resistance. Some kind of res stance 


may be made by common grace ; but it must be earnest and vehement, 
as against the enemy of our souls ' Get thee behind me, Satan/ Mat. 
iv. 10. A merchant that hath a precious commodity, and one biddeth 
a base price, he foldeth up his wares with indignation. As the olive- 
tree said in Jotham's parable, ' Shall I leave my fatness to rule over 
the trees ? ' so say, Shall I leave my soul open, without a guard, for 
every temptation to make a prey of me ? A thorough resistance there 
must be ; yielding a little bringeth on more mischief. 

Secondly., The life of faith discovers itself with respect to temptations 
from the world. That faith hath a great use and influence upon our 
victory over this kind of temptations appeareth by that scripture 
which we have in 1 John v. 4, ' Whosoever is born of God overcorneth 
the world ; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our 

1. I shall explain this maxim. 

2. Show the necessity of this part of the life of faith 

3. Show what are the acts of faith. 

4. How we may bring our hearts to such a frame. 
I. To explain this maxim. 

1. What is meant by ' the world ? ' All worldly things whatsoever, 
so far as they lessen our esteem of Christ and heavenly things, or hin 
der the cheerful performance of our duty to God, namely, honour, 
riches, pomp, pleasure, the favour or fear of men, their wrath, praise, 
or dispraise ; as these prevail and find entertainment in our hearts, so 
far they hinder the life of faith : John v. 44, ' How can ye believe which 
receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh 
from God only?' and John xii. 42, 'Nevertheless, among the chief 
rulers also many believed on him; but because of the pharisees they 
did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue, for 
they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God / 1 John ii. 
15, ' Love not the world, nor the things that are in the world. If any 
man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him ; ; 2 Tim. iv. 
10, ' For Demas hath forsaken me, having embraced the present world ;' 
and so far as faith prevaileth, the heart groweth dead to these things ; 
in short, to the delights and terrors of the world, the fears and snares 
of it. 2 Cor. vi. 7. A Christian should have on the ' armour of right 
eousness, on the right hand and on the left.' Man is apt to be wrought 
upon both ways, by the fears of evil, and hopes of good. Accordingly, 
in the world to come, where lie the great objects propounded to faith, 
there is something to outweigh the fears of this life, Mark x. 28-30 ; 
something to outweigh the pleasures of this world ; set the recompense 
of reward against the pleasures of sin. Coniemptus a me est Romanus, 
et favor et furor, said Luther, I despise both the pope's favour and 
fury. But chiefly that scriptural instance of Moses is remarkable : 
Moses had temptations of all kinds, Heb. xi. 24-27. There were 
temptations on the right hand and on the left ; if honour would have 
tempted him, he might have had it ; but ' by faith he refused to be 
called the son of Pharaoh's daughter/ ver. 24. If pleasures would 
have tempted him, he might have enjoyed them ; but ' he chose rather 
to suffer afflictions with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures 
of sin for a season/ ver. 25. If the riches and treasures of this world 


would have enticed him, he might have flowed in them ; but ' he es 
teemed the reproaches of Christ greater riches than the treasures of 
Egypt, Ver. 26, than left-hand temptations, or the terrors of the world 
' By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king ; for he 
endured, as seeing him who is invisible,' Thus we must stand out 
against all temptations : 2 Peter i, 6, ' Add to temperance, patience.' 
A Christian that would hold out with God must have a command over 
all his passions, of anger, fear, and grief, and over his affections of love 
and delight, that he may not be corrupted with sensual delights, nor 
discouraged with the crosses and trials that he meeteth with in the 
world. We must observe both, lest we be, like Ephraim, a 'cake not 
turned/ that we do not forfeit our integrity, as Joab did, who turned 
not after Absalom, but turned after Adonijah, i Kings i. 19. On the 
other side, some may bear up against boisterous temptations out of 
stubbornness, humour, and interest, and the pre-engagenient of credit, 
the expectation of applause, or to carry a name, yet are lost in the lusts 
of the flesh, and vanities of the world. Again ; all are not called to the 
afflictions, of the gospel, and so are not tempted to apostasy. In the 
parable of the sower there is the stony ground that withered in perse 
cution, Luke viii. 13, and the thorny ground that brought forth no 
fruit to perfection, being choked with the cares, riches and pleasures 
of the world, Luke viii. 14. Here is our daily conflict ; the holding 
on of profession is an external thing, the victory is less over outward 
inconveniences than inward lusts. It is the sharpest martyrdom for a 
man to tear his own flesh, more than to give his body to be burned, 1 
(Jor. xiii. 3. The secret and sly victory of the world is over our will 
and affections, and if we do not prevent this, our profession is as good 
as nothing ; though we should keep on a profession, whilst we secretly 
gratify our lusts, all our sufferings are but like swine's blood offered in 
sacrifice, which was an abomination to the Lord. 

2. In what sense we are said to have victory over the world. Faith 
is said to be the victory over these things by a metonomy of the effect 
for the instrumental cause ; it is the means whereby we overcome. 
However the force of the expression is to be noted : faith is not only 
said to be the means of overcoming, but the victory itself. But when 
may it be called a victory ? 

[1.] We are said to overcome the world when we stand our ground, 
and are not overcome by it ; it lieth not in being free from troubles and 
temptations, but in a courageous and resolute resistance. Though the 
temptation cease not, yet if we keep what we fight for, 2 Tim. iv. 8, ' I 
have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith,' Bom. viii. 37, 
virepviKw/jLev, ' We are more than conquerors; ' and Rev. xii. 11, ' They 
overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their 
testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death ; ' when a 
man abideth constant with God, notwithstanding the flatteries or 
threatenings of the world, and is not drawn to apostasy, as the Levites 
left their possessions for the sake of God's pure worship, 2 Chron. 
xi. 14. 

[2.] When we get ground by the temptation, and this either exter 
nally or internally. 

(1.) Externally, when our profession is glorified and commended to 

VOL. xv. H 


the consciences of men by our resolved defence and avowing of it : Rev, 
xii. 11, ' They overcame by the word of their testimony, not loving 
their lives to the death.' Sanguis martyrum semen ecclesice The 
blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church ; by their steadfast pro 
fession and adhering to the truth they defeated the devil and propagated 
the gospel. So Paul : Phil. i. 12, ' The things that have happened 
unto me have fallen out rather for the furtherance of the gospel ; ' his 
suffering for the truth conduced as much to the propagation of it as 
his preaching. 

(2.) Internally, when we are more confirmed in the truth of the 
gospel and the pursuit of heavenly things, and gain strength by every 
conflict ; as the apostle telleth us, Rom. v. 3-5, that ' tribulation work- 
eth patience ; and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope 
maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our 
hearts.' The more we are assaulted, the more the habit of grace is 
perfected ; as David when scoffed at by Michal : 2 Sam. vi. 22, ' I will 
yet be more vile.' It often falleth out that our courage groweth by 
sufferings, and those that were ready to faint are at least more rooted 
by being shaken ; and so Christians are ' more than conquerors/ Rom. 
viii. 37, as they thrive by opposition. A staff is held the faster by 
how much it is sought the more to be wrested out of our hands. 

3. What faith is this that overcometh the world ? 

Ans. It is not a naked assent, or a cold opinion, or that which the 
scripture calleth a l dead faith/ James ii. 17, but such as is lively and 
operative. It is described, 1 John v. 5, ' And who is he that over 
cometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God ? ' 
That is the great vital or enlivening truth, that Christ is God ; there 
fore when Peter made his confession : Mat. xvi. 16-18, ' Thou art 
Christ, the Son of the living God/ Christ telleth him that ' flesh and 
blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 
And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock will 
I build my church/ This truth, that Jesus is the promised Messiah, 
very God and man in one person, and the anointed Saviour of the 
world, is a truth that cannot be attained by any human means, and is 
the corner-stone upon which the faith of all believers is founded ; and 
whosoever^ doth indeed build his hope upon it, the gates of hell shall 
not prevail against him. Many take up this opinion upon human 
credulity, or as the current and avowed truth of the age and country 
in which they live ; the universal consent of the Christian world hath 
taken up such a principle. But those that do indeed receive it, and 
put all their hopes of salvation upon it, these overcome the world. 
More particularly 

[1.] It is such a faith as receiveth whole Christ, as king, priest, and 
prophet: John i. 12, 'To as many as received him;' that doth so 
believe Jesus to be the Messiah and Saviour of the world, as to 
believe his promises, and fear his threats, and obey his precepts ; for 
such a one hath far stronger allectives and encouragements to piety 
than the world can afford to the contrary. Christ hath promises of life 
and immortality with which this world with all its emoluments is not 
to be compared, or brought into reckoning the same day, Rom. viii. 18. 
Christ hath threatenings, Mark ix. 44, in comparison of which all the 


punishments and tortures in the world are but a flea-biting, or a thing 
not to be mentioned. His commands of bearing the cross and denying 
ourselves may be well digested, and will outweigh all the allurements 
and terrors of the world, if we indeed cordially believe them ; but 
when men stick at these poor inconsiderable vanities, surely they do 
not take Christ to be the Messiah, or Son of God. No comforts, no 
terrors like his ; no commands like his, because they are his commands : 
Ps. cxix. 48, ' My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, 
which I have loved, and I will meditate in thy statutes.' 

[2.] It is such a faith as receiveth Christ with the whole heart, a 
cordial assent : Acts viii. 37. ' If thou believest with all thy heart.' A 
naked opinion is easily begotten in us ; but we must so believe Chrijst 
as to profess his name, to hope for the things promised by him, and 
under that hope to follow his precepts and directions ; such an effectual 
faith overcometh the world. 

[3.] Such a faith as 'worketh by love/ Gal. v. 6; as draweth us to 
love God above all, and to make the enjoyment of him our chief scope 
and happiness. This will excite us to observe what conduceth to this 
enjoyment of God, and eschew the contrary. Our first sin was a turn 
ing from God to the creature, and our conversion is a turning from the 
creature to God, to love him above all, as our reconciled God and 
Father in Christ. He that hath such a faith may with ease overcome 
the world, and the terrors and temptations thereof; and he that is 
carried captive to the world hath not such a faith, is not a cordial be 

II. The necessity and profit of this part of the life of faith. 

1. It is by the world that our spiritual enemies have advantage 
against us. Satan lieth in ambush in the creature, and seeketh to work 
us off from God by the terrors and allurements of the world ; therefore 
it is said, 1 John iv. 4, ' Ye are of God, and have overcome him, 
because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.' 
Conquer the world, and the tempter is disarmed, and disabled from 
doing that hurt to you which otherwise he would. He blindeth as ' the 
god of this world,' 2 Cor. iv. 4 ; he troubleth as 'the prince of this 
world/ John xiv. 30, ' The prince of this world cometh, and hath noth 
ing in me.' He findeth it no hard matter to entice a sensual worldly 
mind to almost anything that is evil. He may do what he lists with 
them ; but when once these inclinations are mortified and broken the 
cord is broken by which he was wont to bind and lead you. The 
strength of temptations lieth in the bent of our affections. Let a man 
be in love with wealth, or honours and pleasures, and how soon will 
the devil draw him to betray, and cast away his soul for any of these 
things ! The world is the bait and provision for the flesh : 1 John ii. 
16, ' Whatever is in the world ' is in ' the lust of the flesh, the lust of 
the eyes, and pride of life.' The lust is put for the object, either riches, 
pleasures, or honours. It is the world that fits us with a diet for 
every distemper, and a bait agreeable to every appetite. A proud cor 
rupted mind must have honour and high place, and be supplied with 
pomp of living ; an inordinate, sensual appetite must have pleasures 
and meats and drinks ; so the covetous must have wealth and bags of 
gold. So that conquer but the world, and you may pluck up temp- 


tations by the root ; lusts will wither and come to nothing. The flesh 
is furnished with its prey from hence. 

2. It is the great let and hindrance from keeping the command 
ments, and keeping them cheerfully. Worldly lusts and allurements 
soon tempt us to transgress, till faith gets the upper hand : Tit. ii. 12, 
'That, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live righteously, 
soberly, and godly in this present world.' The world soon raaketh a 
breach upon sobriety, or justice or godliness. Denying worldly lusts 
must first be done, and as a means to the other, or else your hearts will 
never be free for God and his service. It is the world that hindereth you 
from duty, and hindereth you in duty, and from walking sweetly and 
comfortably with God in your whole course. While these fetters and 
clogs are upon you, you cannot run the race that is set before you : Heb. 
xiL 1, c Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a 
cloud of witnesses, 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.' You have no heart, no life for holy things, because your affections 
are diverted : Ps. cxix. 36, ' Turn away mine eyes from beholding 
vanity.' Inordinate desire of, and delight in worldly things, divert our 
minds from the pursuit of heavenly things. 

3. This eonstituteth the great difference between the animal and the 
spiritual life ; the rational soul, being void of grace, accommodateth 
itself to the interests of the body, and the difference lieth in being 
addicted to the world or vanquishing the world. A mere animal man 
is one that merely looketh after the concernments of this life, and is 
swayed by the interests of this life, as power and pomp, and greatness 
of rank and place in the world , but a spiritual man is one that looketh 
after the world to come : 1 Cor. ii. 12, ' .For we have not received the 
spirit of this world.' And these two lives are distinguished again : 
Rom. viii. 5-7, ' For they that are after the flesh do mind the tilings 
of the flesh ; but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 
For to be carnally-minded is death ; but to be spiritually-minded is life 
and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is 
not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.' A mere animal 
life is the same with the carnal life ; for those that do not live the life 
of grace are sometimes described by their worser, and sometimes their 
better part ; they are called -^TV^LKOS and aapKiKos. So John iii. 6, ' That 
which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is 
spirit.' Christ showeth the necessity of being born again before a man 
can enter into the kingdom of God ; they can never else be spiritual in 
their dispositions, motions, and inclinations. The mere animal life is 
wholly bent to please the flesh, and to seek the interests and concern 
ments thereof, as riches, honours and pleasures ; for reason is either 
brutified and debased by sense, or elevated and refined by faith. 

4. We have a daily conflict with the world. If we are not daily put 
upon dangers and difficulties, in which respect the apostle saith, ' I die 
daily/ 1 Cor. xv. 31, yet we are daily put upon snares and temptations, 
and the pleasant baits of the flesh. These things are suitable to our 
natures, and comfortable to our senses, and necessary to our uses. We 
have a fleshly part as well as a spiritual ; so that if we do not continu 
ally watch and guard our hearts, we are overcome, and that to our 


utter ruin. It is the case of many men ; the good word is choked in 
them by the pleasures and cares of the world, Mat. xiii. 22, 23, and 
Luke viii. 14, so that they are never thorough Christians, whatever 
proficiency they have attained unto, or whatever profession they make 
of the name of Christ. Multitudes are thus deceived that make a pro 
fession of religion, whilst their worldly lusts remain in full strength ; 
as thorns draw away the strength of the earth from good seed, and 
overtop it, and keep it down. Many have a form of godliness, but are 
lovers of pleasures, lovers of riches and honours, more than God. God 
hath but the flesh's leavings. 

III. The acts of faith in this victory over the world. 

1. It overcometh the world, as it digesteth and applieth the word of 
God. The word of God is the sword of the Spirit, the great weapon 
against the world, the devil and the flesh; and the more richly we are 
furnished with the knowledge of it, the more we are prepared for a 
victory over Satan and the world : 1 John ii. 14, ' I have written unto 
you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth 
in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.' There are notable 
counsels, pure precepts, rich promises, powerful directions, and sundry 
considerations to draw us oft' from the world, tnat we may look after 
the world to come ; that is the drift of the whole scripture. Now all 
must be digested and applied by faith, or it worketh not : Heb. iv. 1, 
2, ' Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into 
his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was 
the gospel preached, as well as unto them ; but the word preached did 
not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.' In 
the word of God there are ' precious promises, that we may escape the 
corruption that is in the world through lust/ 2 Peter i. 4 ; promises 
that contain spiritual and eternal riches. If we can believe the pardon, 
grace, and blessedness that are offered in them, then these things will 
keep us from being ensnared by the world. Among all these promises, 
the chiefest is the promise of entering into his rest. Meat will nourish 
us if it be eaten, and water will quench thirst if we drink it, and re 
ceive it into our bodies : so will these promises where they are applied. 

2. As it receiveth the Spirit, or strength from Christ, whereby to 
overcome the world. He died to purchase this grace for us : Gal. i. 4, 
'He gave himself for us, to deliver us from the present evil world;' 
that is, to purchase the Spirit to dwell in our hearts for this end and 
purpose : 1 John iv. 4, ' Greater is he that is in you than he that 
is in the world.' We must not rest upon our own strength in our war 
against the world, but by faith lean upon Christ, who worketh in us 
by his Spirit, and beateth down Satan under our feet. 

3. It prepossesseth the mind with the glory of the world to come 
Moses had an eye to ' the recompense of reward/ Heb. xi. 26 ; and 2 
Cor. iv. 18, ' While we look not to the things which are seen, but to 
the things which are not seen ; for the things which are seen are tem 
poral, but the things which are not seen are eternal/ The more sight 

. we have of the worth and excellency of spiritual things, the more is 
our esteem of the world abated, and consequently the force of the 
temptation. Diversion is the cure of the soul ; while the mind is kept 
intent upon the greater matters of everlasting life, the heart and affec- 


tions are drawn off from present things. The world will not be cast out 
of our affections but by the real sight of something better than itself. 
Till faith hath opened heaven to you, and evidenced things invisible, 
and showed you that they are not shadows but substances, which the 
promise revealeth and believers expect, you will still be catching at 
present things as your portion. No eye can pierce so far as heaven, 
but faith : Heb. xi. 1, 'Faith is the evidence of things not seen.' 

4. It improveth Christ's victory over the world, and applieth it for 
our comfort and encouragement: John xvi. 33, ' In the world ye shall 
have tribulation : but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.' 
He overcame the world in his personal conflict, and by his death. 
Now the victory of Christ our head concerneth his members ; for he 
did not overcome the world for himself, but for us : 1 Cor. xv. 57, 
' But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord 
Jesus Christ/ He overcame the world in our name, and when we are 
interested in him, he maketh us conquerors together with himself, and 
in all our conflicts and sufferings assureth us of a certain victory. So 
that his suffering people need not be dismayed with the power and 
policy, the threats and terrors of the world, for though Christ will not 
exempt them from a 'battle and exercise, yet they are partakers of his 
victory by faith, and shall, abiding in him, find they have to do with 
enemies already vanquished. He would have us so certain, that yet 
we should not be secure ; and doth so exhort us to fight, that first 
he promiseth the victory before we go to the battle. Non ceque glori- 
etur accinctus, ac disdnctus. 

5. Faith enlighterieth the mind to see things in another manner than 
the world seeth them, and maketh that evident to a Christian which 
the world seeth not ; not only things to come, or the riches of the glory 
of the inheritance of the saints, but things present the vanity of 
earthly things, that ' man in his best estate is altogether vanity,' Ps. 
xxxix. 5. To see it so as it begets a weanedness from the world, and 
maketh us ' use the world as if we used it not,' 1 Cor. vii. 29, 30. 
Others have empty notions, so as to be able to discourse of the vanity 
of the creature, but not an affective sight ; eyes to see, but not a heart 
to see. But in faith there is not only notional apprehension, but 
spiritual wisdom and prudence, Eph. i. 17. It is opposed not only to 
ignorance, but folly' fools, and slow of heart to believe ! ' Luke 
xxiv. 25. It affects us suitably to the things we know. Carnal men 
know all things after the flesh, and are affected with them according 
to their present interest. They have false practical conceits of the 
world, and so are enamoured upon a dream ; they do not consider, and 
therefore admire flesh-pleasing vanities ; they do not weigh things in 
the balance of reason, nor improve those general notions that they have. 
The sight that faith hath of the world is as the apprehensions of a 
dying man, serious and piercing; those that worldly men have are like 
the notions of a disputant. 

6. It enableth us with patience to wait upon God for his salvation : 
Lam. iii. 26, 'It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait 
for the salvation of the Lord.' Sense is all for present satisfaction, 
and so it undoeth the soul; but faith can tarry God's leisure Gill those 
better things which we do expect do come in hand ; and though they 


are oppressed with afflictions for a while, yet it is but a little while, 
and all shall be made up to our full content : Isa. xxviii. 16, 'He that 
believeth shall not make haste/ Where there is a certain expectation, 
we can bear a little inconveniency for the present. We are but tarry 
ing in the place where God hath set us for the present, till he bring us 
into his kingdom : Kom. viii. 25, ' That which we hope for, we do with 
patience wait for/ Impatience and precipitation is the cause of all 
mischief. What moved the Israelites to make the golden calf, but 
impatience in not waiting for Moses, who remained too long, according 
to their fancy and mind, in the mount with God ? What made the 
bad servant, Mat. xxiv. 48, to ' smite his fellow-servants, and to eat 
and drink with the drunken/ but this, ' My lord delayeth his coming ' ? 
Hasty men are loath to be kept in doubtful suspense. David said in 
his haste, ' I am cut off/ Ps. xxxi. 2 ; and Ps. cxvi. 11, * I said in my 
haste, All men are liars ;' Samuel, and all the prophets that had told 
him he should enjoy the kingdom. All carnal men cannot wait for 
the time when they shall have pleasures at God's right hand for ever 
more, and therefore take up with present delights ; like those that can 
not tarry till the grapes be ripe, but eat them sour and green. Solid and 
everlasting pleasures they cannot wait for, therefore choose the pleasures 
of sin, that are but for a season. A covetous man would wax rich in a 
day, and cannot tarry the leisure of God's providence: Prov. xx. 21, 
' An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning, but the end 
thereof shall not be blessed/ The covetous man will not stay till God 
doth give crowns, and honours, and glory in his kingdom. Revolts 
and apostasies from God proceed hence ; they cannot wait for God's 
time, and tarry for the fulfilling the promises ; finding themselves 
pressed and destitute, the flesh, which is tender and delicate, groweth 
impatient. It is tedious to suffer for a while ; but they do not consider 
that it is more tedious to suffer for evermore ; thence come murmur- 
ings, and unlawful attempts, stepping out of God's way, as if troublous 
waters would only heal them. As an impetuous river is always 
troubled and thick, so is a precipitate, impatient spirit always out of 
order, and ready for a snare. 

IV. How shall we bring our hearts into such a frame? 

1. Engage in no business but what you have Christ's warrant for, 
for truth and duty to him : Heb. xii. 4, ' Ye have not yet resisted unto 
blood, striving against sin/ We must be sure it is sin we strive 
against, for we cannot expect God's blessing upon our private quarrels, 
or that he should be the natron of our faction, and lacquey upon our 
humours. When conscience is clear, we may comfort ourselves in all 
the opposition we meet with. When there is no medium between sin 
and suffering, then we ought to bear up with courage and cheerfulness, 
as the only and best course for us, and that which God calleth us to : 
1 Peter iii. 17, 'For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye 
suffer for well-doing, than for ill- doing ; ' again, 1 Peter iv. 15, ' Let 
none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evil-doer, or as 
a busybody in other men's matters/ Conflicts with the world, and suf 
ferings, are not to be taken up lightly or rashly. We are accountable 
to God for our temporal interests and opportunities of service ; but 
when the cause is clear, then cheerfully lay down all at Christ's feet; 


not upon other men's humours and fancies, nor pre-engagements of our 
own : 1 Peter ii. 19, 20, ' For this is thank- worthy, if a man for con 
science towards God, endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what 
glory is it, if, when ye are buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it 
patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it 
patiently, this is acceptable with God.' 

2. Consider, he is able to bear you out, and will do so, whilst he 
hath a mind to use you for his glory. For what cannot the Son of 
God do? Fears in Christ's company argue little faith. When they 
embarked with him in the same vessel : Mat. viii. 23, 26, ' Why are 
ye so fearful, ye of little faith ? ' So when engaged with Christ 
in the same cause, why should we perplex ourselves with vain fears ? 
It is said, Heb. xi. 27, ' By faith Moses forsook Egypt, not fearing the 
wrath of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible/ 
Pharaoh was incensed against him, a potentate of mighty power, yet 
Moses had his call, his supplies and helps, though invisible to others. 
All the power in the world is nothing to this, and it was by faith, and 
you see there how his faith wrought. Therefore we should fortify our 
selves against the greatest and most enraged adversaries. 

3. You can suffer no loss by Christ. Why hath he made such 
great promises to you ? We think much of our petty interests : Mat. 
xix. 27, ' Behold we have forsaken all, and followed thee ; what shall 
we have therefore ? ' A great all : what had Peter to forsake ? a 
small cottage, a net, a fishing boat ; and yet, ' What shall we have ? ' 
You need not seek another pavmaster ev irakivjevecriq, in the 
great regeneration, you shall receive an hundred-fold, Mark x. 29, 30. 
You shall be recompensed abundantly in kind or in value. 

4. Temptations from the world should the less prevail with us, 
because it is the whole drift of religion to call us off from the world ; 
so that if we be baptized into the spirit of our religion, we should be 
quite of another temper, not apt to be wrought upon by temptations of 
this kind. Do we profess to believe in our crucified Lord ? and what 
is the great effect his death hath upon us ? Gal i. 4, * He gave himself, 
that he might deliver us from the present evil world.' Who have 
interest in him ? ' They that are Christ's, have crucified the flesh 
with the affections and lusts thereof/ Gal. v. 24. He doth not say 
they are Christ's that believe he was crucified, or that he died for 
sinners, but they that feel the power and efficacy of his death in 
mortifying their sins. What ! a Christian, and so worldly ? a Christian, 
and so vain and frothy ? It is a contradiction. You that are carried 
out after the pomp and vanities of the world, do you believe in Christ,, 
whose kingdom is not of this world ? False Christians are branded : 
1 John iv. 5, ' They are of the world, and speak of the world, and the 
world heareth them ; ' they are engulfed in the world, and they would 
fain draw others to be as bad as themselves. 

5. Consider Christ's example : Heb. xii. 3, ' Consider him that 
endured such contradictions of sinners against himself, lest ye be 
wearied, and faint in your minds.' Christ himself was exercised, his 
religion was counted an imposture, his doctrine blasphemy, his miracles 
questioned as a cheat, and yet he endured this without fainting ; so 
should we. Weariness is a less, and fainting an higher degree of defi- 


ciency. The devil's design is to weary and tire us out in God's service ; 
but let me persuade you to be dead to the world and the delights of 
the world. To the world ; have you lost your credit for Christ in the 
world ? remember that Christ made himself of no reputation. Are 
you driven from your habitations ? Christ had not a place where to 
lay his head. Are you reduced to great straits in the world ? Christ 
was hungry and thirsty. Are you forced to live upon ordinary fare ? 
Christ was contented, and blessed God for a few barley loaves, and 
two fishes. And then, to the delights of the world : whatsoever this 
world affordeth, must be left on this side the grave ; pomp, honour, 
pleasure, estates, must be left behind us : Job i, 22, ' Naked came I 
out of my mother's womb, and naked must I return again.' Here we 
bustle for rank and greatness, and death endeth the quarrel. Open 
the grave, and thou canst not discern between the rich and the poor, 
the king and the peasant. Skulls wear no wreaths and marks of 
honour in the grave ; all are alike obnoxious to stench and rottenness. 

Thirdly. I am treating of the life of faith with respect to the op- 
posites of it, and have handled it with relation to temptations from 
the devil, and from the world, and now I come to speak of the life of 
faith as to afflictions. And here I shall show you, (1.) That there 
is need of faith ; (2.) The grounds, or principles of faith ; (3.) What 
are the acts of faith as to this branch. 

1. The need of faith will be seen if we consider 

[1.] The troubles and afflictions of the people of God c Man is born 
to trouble, as the sparks fly upward.' All have their crosses and 
sorrows, much more God's own people : Ps. xxxiv. 19, 'Many are the 
afflictions of the righteous ; ' though it be those whom God dearly 
loveth, their afflictions may be many, great, and long. This is often 
the lot of God's children, and heavy to be borne : Job vii. 20, ' Thou 
settest me up as a mark, so that I am a burden to myself ; ' and Job 
xvi. 14, 'He breaketn me with breach upon breach.' That expression 
(chap. vii. 20), as it implieth some comfort, that affliction doth not 
hit the saints by chance, but by aim and direction we are ' appointed 
thereunto,' 1 Thes. iii, 3 ; so it expresseth much terror. A mark is 
set up on purpose to receive the darts, arrows, and bullets that are 
shot at it. Now what shall relieve us in such a case but faith ? 
Sense seeth no good in all this, because it judgeth by the outside and 
present feeling: Heb. xii. 11, 'Now no chastening for the present 
seemeth joyous but grievous.' When we feel nothing but pain, and 
smart, and blows, how can God love us ? Sense telleth us of nothing 
but wrath and anger, and is not able to unfold the riddles of provi 
dence. Will natural courage bear us out ? ' The spirit of a man 
will bear his infirmity,' Piw. xviii. 14. For a while this will hold 
out ; but when God redoubleth his blows, many and great troubles 
will quite break it. The stoutness of the creature is soon borne down 
by a few trembling thoughts, or a spark of God's wrath falling upon 
the conscience ; therefore faith will only help us to bear crosses in the 
right manner : Ps. xxvii 13, ' I had fainted, unless I had believed to 
see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.' It is believing 
keepeth us from being overcome by our troubles, whilst it helpeth us to 
wait for gracious experiences in them, or a comfortable issue out of them 


2. The many sins that are incident to this condition show the need 
of faith ; as 

[1.] Impatiency when our will is crossed : Gen. xxx. 1, ' Give me 
children, or I die.' To be sick of the fret is a disease incident to us : 
Ps. xxxvii. 1, ' Fret not/ We murmur and repine against God, and 
that even for small matters ; as Jonah for a gourd : ' I do well to be 
angry/ Jonah iv. 9, so strangely are we transported. 

[2.] A spirit of revenge against instruments. Christianity estab- 
lisheth a universal and diffusive charity, even to enemies ; to pray 
for them, and peek their good. Now we are vindictive and transported 
into uncomely passions when wronged by men : 2 Sam. xvi. 9, * Why 
should this dead dog curse my lord the king ? let me go and cut off 
his head/ No, saith David, ' let him alone, God hath bid him curse/ 
No man is troubled at a shower of rain that falleth ; but if any cast 
a bucket, or a bason of water upon us, we are presently all in a rage 
against them. 

[3.] Waxing weary of our duty, and being quite tired and dis 
couraged in our service : Heb. xii. 3, ' For consider him that endured 
such contradictions of sinners, lest you be weary, and faint in your 
minds/ Weariness and fainting belong to the body properly, and they 
differ gradually ; weariness is a lesser, and fainting a higher degree 
of deficiency ; as when labour, or hunger, or travail abateth the strength, 
weakens the active power, or dulleth the spirits and principles of motion ; 
and from the body, it is translated to the rnind. When troubles are 
many and long-continued, then we faint, and begin to be weary of the 
faith and service of Christ, and sink under the burden. It is the 
devil's design to tire and weary us out. 

[4.] Closing with sinful means for an escape : 1 Sam. xxviii. 7, ' Look 
me out a woman that hath a familiar spirit/ Carnal shifts are very 
natural to us, and if we cannot trust God, and wait upon him, we are 
apt to take indirect courses. Afflictions are often compared to a prison, 
and the sorrows that accompany it to fetters and chains. Now God 
that puts us in can only help us out, for he is the judge and governor 
of the world ; but now we attempt to break prison ; we are not able to 
hold out till God send an happy issue, but take some carnal course of 
our own. The devil will make an advantage of our afflictions ; he 
tempted Christ when he was an hungry : Mat. iv. 3, ' When he had 
fasted forty days, he was an hungry ; then came the tempter to him/ 

^ [5.] Despairing and distrustful thoughts of God. David, after all 
his experiences, said, 1 Sam. xxvii. 1, ' I shall one day perish by the 
hand of Saul.' He had a particular promise and assurance of a kingdom, 
and hfid seen much of GodV care over him ; yet after- all this, David 
doubteth of the word of God , so Ps. xxxi. 22, ' For I said in my haste, 
I am cut off from before thii:e eyes ; ' God hath no more care and 
thought of me ; and this at that very time when deliverance was com 
ing ' Nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when 
I cried unto thee ; ' so Ps. Ixxvii. 7, ' Will the Lord cast off for ever ? 
and will he be favourable no more ? Is his mercy clean gone for ever ? 
doth his promise fail for evermore ? ' Questions, to their appearance, 
full of despair ; yet there is some faith couched under them. Will the 
Lord cast off ? it implieth the soul cannot endure to be thrust from 


him. Will God be favourable no more ? it implieth some former 
experience, and desire of new proof. ' Is his mercy clean gone for 
ever ? doth his promise fail for evermore ? ' Faith maketh some 
defence, he hath a conscience of sin ; I have deserved all this, but God 
is merciful ; will not mercy help ? But to appearance despair carries 
it from faith. 

[6.] Not only despairing thoughts do arise, but atheistical thoughts, 
as if there were no God, no providence, no distinction between good 
and evil : Ps. Ixxiii. 13, ' Verily, I have cleansed my heart in vain, and 
washed my hands in innocency/ When there is so little enjoyed, and 
the flesh is so importunate to be pleased, we question all. 

[7.] Questioning our interest in God by reason of the cross. Our 
Lord hath taught us to say, ' My God/ in the bitterest agonies ; but 
few learn this lesson: Judges vi. 13, 'If God be with us, why is all 
this befallen us ? ' Sometimes we question the love of God because we 
have no afflictions, and anon, because we have nothing but afflictions, 
as if God were not the God of the valleys, as well as of the mountains. 
Well then, if all these distempers be incident to the afflicted, there is 
great need of faith, which is the proper cure and remedy for them. If 
we had faith, we would be more submissive to God and meek to men, 
constant in waiting without using ill means, or yielding to distrustful, 
despairing thoughts and atheistical debates. 

3. There is need of faith because of our duty under troubles, and 
that equal temper of heart that is necessary for the right bearing of 
them. There are two extremes, slighting, and fainting, and they are 
both prevented by that exhortation : Heb. xii. 5, ' My son, despise not 
thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of 
him.' To despise them is to think them fortuitous, and to bear them 
with a stupid and a senseless mind, not considering and understanding 
that they come from God, that their end is repentance, and their cause 
is sin ; or if we understand these things, we do not lay them to heart, 
or regard God's chastising hand, so as to make a right use of our suffer 
ings. A sense we must have of our Father's displeasure. We owe 
that reverence to his anger as that we should humble ourselves ; as 
Miriam : Numb. xii. 14, ' If her father had spit in her face, should not 
she be ashamed seven days ? ' Men cannot endure to have two things 
despised, their love and their anger. Their love : when David thought 
his kindness despised by Nabal, he in his fury resolved to cut off all 
those that pissed against the wall, 1 Sam. xxv. 36 ; and Nebuchadnezzar, 
when his anger was despised, he was in a rage and said, ' Heat the furnace 
seven times hotter.' Now faith keepeth us from slighting the hand 
of God ; it seeth the hand of God in the affliction. The world ascribeth 
things to blind chance, but faith seeth God in it ; for an invisible hand 
can only be seen by faith : Job v. 6. ' Affliction doth not come out of 
the dust, nor trouble spring out of the ground/ It doth not come by 
chance, nor by the stated course of nature, as all things grow in their 
season, but it hath a cause from above ; a wise God hath the ordering 
of it. The other extreme is that of fainting. To faint under these 
is to be weary of our profession, and to incline to apostasy, because our 
sufferings are numerous, and of long continuance. Therefore faith and 
patience are necessary for us, Heb. vi. 12, that we may hold out with 


God, and keep up a holy confidence. The former principle is of use 
here too ; God hath the whole guiding and ordering of the affliction, 
and while the rod is in his hands, there is no anger in his heart ; he is 
a wise God, and cannot be overseen ; he afflicteth no more than is 
needful : 1 Sam. ii. 3, ' For the Lord is a God of knowledge ; by him 
actions are weighed;' he weighs every drachm and scruple of the 
cross. And he is a just God, and afflicteth us no more than is 
deserved : Job xxxiv. 23, ' He will not lay upon man more than is 
right, that he should enter into judgment with God/ Man can never 
commence a suit or have a just pretension to except against his pro 
vidence. He is a good God ' He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve 
the children of men/ Lam. iii. 33, but as a tender father, hath tears in 
his eyes when the rod is in his hand. It is only what our need and 
profit requireth ; therefore faint not. Well then, there is need of 

II. I shall show you what are the grounds and principles for faith, 
that will bear it up under afflictions. 

1. That God hath a hand in all the afflictions that do befall us : 
Amos iii. 8, ' Is there evil in the city, and I have not done it ? ' God 
is not the author of the evil of sin, but there is no evil of punishment 
but he hath a hand in it : Job i. 23, 'The Lord hath given, and the 
Lord hath taken/ It is Chrysostom's gloss upon the place : he doth 
not say the Chaldean hath taken, the Sabeari hath taken, but the 
Lord hath taken. Job doth not look to the instruments, but to God. 

2. That he chasteneth us but as our need and profit requireth. 
There is a vain conceit that possesseth the minds of men, as if the 
godhead were envious, and had no pleasure in the happiness of men, 
and therefore did delight to cross and thwart them. To Oelov fydovepov, 
was a principle among the heathens. Job alludeth to this conceit 
when he saith, Job x. 3, ' Is it good unto thee that thou shouldst oppress 
and despise the work of thine hands, arid shine upon the counsels of 
the wicked ? ' Doth God take delight to torment his creature ? or 
doth it do him good to grieve and afflict his own children ? We have 
hard thoughts of God. The devil seeketh much to weaken the opinion 
of God's goodness in our hearts ; for if God be not good, he is no longer 
to be regarded and trusted ; he seeketh to insinuate into our first 
parents a distaste of God, and so still he doth in us. Therefore it 
concerneth us to cherish good thoughts of God ; that when he cor- 
recteth ; it is but as our need and profit requireth. Our need : 1 Peter 
i. 6, ' Ye are for a season, if need be, in heaviness/ All the afflictions 
that come upon us are needful for us, to reclaim us from our wanderings, 
and to cut off the provisions of our lusts, and restrain us from doing 
evil or growing evil. It is a sad and woful thing for a child to be left 
to himself, arid to give him the reins upon his own neck ; but more sad 
for a man to be suffered to go on in sin without any chastisement or cor 
rection. Those whom God corrects not he seemeth to cast them off, and 
deliver them to their own lusts; and then they must needs perish. And then 
he correcteth us as our profit requireth: Heb. xii. 10, ' They verily for a 
few days chastened us after their own pleasure, but he for our profit, 
that we may be partakers of his holiness/ Our earthly parents "many 
times act out of passion, rashly, not considering what is meet for their 


children ; their chastenings may be arbitrary and irregular : they for a 
few days chastened us, or for fancy ; God for the whole term of life, 
till he hath made us perfect, and done his whole work upon us. His 
corrections are regulated by his perfect wisdom, issue from the purest 
love, tend to and end in our highest happiness ; it is no ways arbitrary, 
for he never chasteneth us but when he seeth cause, and knoweth 
certainly that it will be good for us ' He for our profit ; ' not that we 
may increase in the world ; no, no, but in some better thing, some 
spiritual and divine benefit. That we may be more like God, capable of 
communion with him, that is true profit. 

3. That the afflictions he bringeth on his people come from love : 
Heb. xii. 6, ' For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth 
every son whom he receiveth ; ' and Eev. iii. 19, 'As many as I love I 
rebuke and chasten : ' it is good to see whence our evil cometh. Afflic 
tions upon God's own children mostly come from God's paternal love, 
for mere love, for the increase and trial of grace. God may punish 
others, but he chasteneth none but sons ; that is an effect of his fatherly 
love, or else from mere anger ' an evil, an only evil,' Ezek. vii. 5. In 
a design of vengeance ; not to fan or purge, but to destroy. So upon the 
reprobate, all their troubles are the beginnings of sorrow, the suburbs 
of hell. Or else from anger mixed with love, or fatherly displeasure : 
as the corrections that follow sin. David's child was taken away, 
2 Sam. xii. 10-12. Anger beginneth, but love tempereth the dispensa 
tion. Or else from love mixed with anger ; as Job out of love was 
put upon trial, that his patience and faith might be manifested; but 
he mingleth corruption, some murrnurings, and then God puts in a 
drachm of anger, and speaketh to him out of the whirlwind. 

4. That he corrects in much measure. His love sets him a-work, 
and then his wisdom directeth and tempereth all the circumstances of 
the cross, that they may suit the effect which God aimeth at : Isa, xxvii. 
8, ' In measure when it shooteth forth thou wilt debate with it. He 
stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind.' God meteth out 
their sufferings in due proportion, in weight and measure ; as physicians 
in prescribing pills and potions to their patients have a respect to the 
ability of the patient, as well as the nature and quality of the disease : 
Jer. xxx. 11, ' I will correct thee in measure/ This moderation and 
mitigation of evils is seen, either in proportioning the burden according 
to our strength, or in proportioning the strength according to the bur 
den ; sometimes the one and sometimes the other. By mitigating the 
temptation according to our strength: 1 Cor. x. 13, 'But God is 
faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are 
able.' A merciful man will not overburden his beast ; so God will 
not lay a man's burden upon a child's back. Sometimes in proportion 
ing the strength to the temptation ; if he layeth on a heavy burden, he 
will give strength to bear it. He is ready to help us and support us : 
Horn. viii. 26, ' The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities.' When we 
begin to sink, the Spirit beareth a part of the burden with us : Ps. 
xxxvii. 24, ' Though he fall he shall not utterly be cast down ; for the 
Lord upholdeth him with his hand/ He may seem to be pressed down, 
but not quite lost : Phil. iv. 13, ' I can do all things through Christ 
that strengthened me ; ' bearing strength is there spoken of. So Col. 


i. 11, ' Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, 
unto all patience, with long-suffering and joy i'ul ness/ There is a gra 
dation : the power of God doth not only strengthen us to patience, but 
to all patience. We may have patience in some afflictions, and not in 
others. Those may bear loss, perhaps, that cannot bear affronts or dis 
graces. Long-suffering is patience extended. Not only the weight of 
afflictions is considerable, but length ; we may tire under a long afflic 
tion. He goeth on to joyfulness. We may endure a heavy affliction, 
and endure it long, but yet go drooping and heavily under it ; but God 
will give strength to bear it cheerfully, 

5. The affliction shall not always last ; yea, it shall be very short. 
His wrath on the church abideth but for a little moment - Isa. xxvi. 
20, { Come, my people, enter into thy chambers, and shut thy doors 
about thee ; hide thyself, as it were, for a little moment, until the in 
dignation be overpast.' A moment is the smallest part of time ; that 
point of time that is but indivisible, we call a moment. Now the time 
by which misery is set forth is called a moment, yea, a small moment, 
which is a great comfort to us. Our afflictions are bitter but short. 
If it be distress of conscience ; God ' will not always chide : ' Ps. ciii. 
8, 9, ' The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous 
in mercy ; he will not always chide, neither will he keep his anger 
for ever/ He will not pursue the dry stubble. If it be Satan's rage, 
* he hath great wrath, because he knoweth he hath but a short time/ 
Kev. xii. 12 ; dying beasts bite shrewdly, Pains of body cannot last 
long ; Phil. iii. 21, ' Who shall change our vile body, that it may be 
fashioned like unto his glorious body.' Church distresses will at length 
be over, All our toil and labour, it is but till dust return to the dust, 
during the pre-eminence of enemies, or when rulers are unfriendly : 
Ps. cxxv. 3, ' For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of 
the righteous, lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity/ 
The rod is the ensign of power. Do riot murmuringly cry. How long ? 
within a little while we shall be as well as heart can wish. Let us 
therefore humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God : Hosea vi. 
1,2, c Come and let us return unto the Lord , for he hath torn and he 
will heal us ; he hath smitten and he will bind us up.' The afflictions 
of the church are from God, and his hand ; and so the healing must 
come alone from him. But when ? ' After two clays he will revive 
us ; in the third day he will raise us up/ It may seem long to sense, 
but it is short to faith. As Christ's death lasted but for a while ; 
the church hath her resurrection as well as Christ. Nay, but one day ; 
Ps. xxx. 5, ' Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the 
morning/ If we make a right reckoning, our sufferings are very short ; 
so Isa. xvii. 14, 'And behold at evening-tide trouble, and before the 
morning he is not ; this is the portion of them that spoil us, and the 
lot of them that rob us.' A tempest whirleth and roareth in the night ; 
but when the sun ariseth in its strength, it is gone. 

Obj. But common sense and experience is against this. 

Ans. So it contradicts all matters of faith. But to clear it, how it 
is long and how it is short. 

1. How it is long. 

[1.] It is long because of present smart ; it is irksome to sense. 


Men in a fever reckon hours, and quarters, and minutes. Winter 
nights, to one that sleepeth not, seem tedious in the passing ; though 
when they are past, they are as a thing of nothing : Ps. xc. 4, ' A 
thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and 
as a watch in the night.' A child would fain pass over his hard 

[2.] It is long, because of our earnest desire of the blessings hoped 
for. To an hungry stomach the meat seemeth long a-dressing: Prov., 
x. 26, ' As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the slug 
gard to them that send him/ The least delay to earnest expectation 
is tedious ' Hope deferred rnaketh the heart sick,' Prov. xiii. 12. 

[3.] We measure things by a wrong rule, not by the standard of 
scripture computation. The longest time to eternity is nothing : Ps. 
xc. 4, ' A thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday.' What 
the point or prick in the centre is to the circumference, that is time to 
eternity. Sapienti niliil magnum est, cui nota est ceternitatis mag- 
nitudo He that is acquainted with the vastness of eternity accounts 
nothing great. 

2. How it is short. 

[1.] It is not so long as it might be in regard of the enemy's rage : 
Zech. i. 15, ' And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are 
at ease ; for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the 
affliction.' Satan and wicked men know no bounds when God sets 
them a-work to correct his people ; they go about it with cruel minds, 
and destructive intentions. God intended to correct and purge them ; 
they intend to root out and destroy them. 

[2] Not so long as it may seem to be in the course of second causes. 
In a natural way no end can be seen, when those that hate them seem to 
be fortified with a strong back of secular interests, and stand upon an 
immutable foundation : Mat. xxiv. 22, ' And except those days shall 
be shortened, there shall no flesh be saved ; but for the elect's sake 
those days shall be shortened/ Though they shall run out to the full 
length of the prophecies, yet as to the course of second causes they are 
nothing so long as they appear. 

[3.] Not so long as the merits of our sins would seem to call for : 
Ezra ix. 13, 'And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, 
and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us 
less than our iniquities deserve/ Injustice it might be forever; as 
the punishments of the wicked in hell, these flames might never be 
quenched, The evil of one sin cannot be expiated in thousands of 
years ; but yet though our suffering be sharp and bitter, yet it is but 
short, not so long as sin would make it. God relents presently : Isa. 
xl. 1, 2, ' Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak 
ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is 
accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned ; for she hath received of 
the Lord's hand double for all her sins ; ' not as if they had suffered 
more at God's hand than they have deserved, but they had endured so 
much as God deemed fit to be inflicted. 

[4.] Love to God doth not count them long : Gen. xxix. 20, ' Jacob 
served seven years for Eachel, and they seemed to him but a few days, 
for the love he had to her/ All our afflictions and troubles are nothing 


to love. Shall not we endure a few years affliction for our Christ, who 
lived a life of sorrows, and died a cursed death for our sakes ? Surely 
if we had any love to him, it would not be so tedious. 

[5.] Not long with respect to our reward in heaven : Eom. viii. 18, 
' For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to 
be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us ; ' no more than 
-a feather to a talent ; and*2 Cor. iv. 17, ' For our light affliction, which 
is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal 
weight of glory ; ' it is but as drop of vinegar to an ocean of sweetness, 
a rainy day to an everlasting sun-shine. As the forty martyrs in Basil, 
that were put out naked in a cold winter's night, and to be burned the 
next day, comforted themselves thus, saying, Apifjivs 6 x^ei/Awv , K. r. \. 
Sharp is the cold, but sweet is paradise ; it is but a night's enduring, 
and to-morrow we shall be in the bosom of God. 

[6.] It shall turn to good. This is the comfort of the people of God, 
that all that befalleth them is either good or shall turn to good : Bom. 
viii. 28. ' All things shall work together for good to them that love 
God.' If we have but a little faith, we may know it for the present, 
and be assured of it before we see it ; and if we have but a little 
patience, we shall know it and find it by experience. All things work 
together for good ; singly and apart they may be against us, but omnia 
simul adjumento sunt. Poisonous ingredients in a medicine, take 
them singly, and they are destructive ; but as they are tempered with 
other things by the hands of a skilful physician, they prove wholesome 
and useful. So all things that befall us, are tempered and ordered by 
God for good. There is no beauty in a building till all the pieces be 
set together. We view God's work by halves, and then his providence 
seemeth to be against us ; but all together it worketh for our good. 
How for our good ? Sometimes for good temporal, usually for good 
spiritual, but certainly for good eternal. 

(1.) Sometimes for our good temporal, or for our greater preserva 
tion : Gen. 1. 20, ' Ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto 
good, to bring it to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.' 
The Egyptians and Israel had wanted a preserver if Joseph had not 
been sold and sent into Egypt. If a man were to go to sea. in a voyage 
upon which his heart is much set, but the ship is gone before he cometh ; 
but afterwards he heareth that all that were in the ship were drowned; 
this disappointment is for good. Crassus's rival in the Parthian war, 
when he heard how that army was intercepted and cut off by the craft 
of the barbarians, had no reason to stomach his being refused. Many 
of us have cause to say Periissem, nisi periissem We had suffered 
more if we had suffered less. In the story of Joseph there is a notable 
scheme and draught of providence. He is cast into a pit ; thence drawn 
forth, and sold to the Ishmaelites ; by them brought into Egypt, and 
sold again. What doth God mean to do with poor Joseph ? He is 
tempted to adultery by his mistress; refusing the temptation he is 
i'alsely accused, sent to prison, kept for a long time in ward and duress ; 
all this is against him. Who would have thought that in the issue all 
this should have turned for his good ? that the prison had been the 
way to preferment ? that by the pit he should come to the palace of 
the king of Egypt, and exchange his party-coloured coat for a royal 


robe ? Thus in temporal things we gain by our losses, and God 
chooseth better for us than we could have chosen for ourselves. 

(2.) For our spiritual good. All affliction is made up and recom 
pensed to the soul ; it afflicts the body, but bettereth the heart : Ps. 
cxix. 71, ' It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might 
learn thy statutes.' There is more to be learned in the school of afflic 
tion than in the vastest libraries ; Bodley and the Vatican cannot 
furnish us with a book that will teach us as much as a little experience 
under God's discipline. Madmen are cast into prison, kept in the 
dark, and under all hardships, to bring them to their mind again ; so 
to cure us of our spiritual frenzy, and dementation in a course of sin 
ning, God is forced to use us a little hardly. Thou darest not pray, 
Lord, let me have worldly comforts, though they damn me ; let me not 
be afflicted, though it do me good. And if thou darest not pray so, 
wilt thou murmur when it falleth out to be so ? If a man break an 
arm or a leg in pulling us out of the water wherein we shall certainly 
be drowned, would we be angry with him ? and shall we fret against 
the Lord when he taketh away the fuel of our lusts ? Is it not a good 
exchange, to part with outward comforts for inward holiness ? certainly 
that will be of more gain to us than all the affliction, pain, and loss 
which we suffer will do us hurt. Learning God's statutes by heart is 
a good lesson, though it cost us trouble in learning. We lose nothing 
but our rust by scouring. If God will take away our outward peace, 
and give us peace of conscience ; our worldly goods, and give us true 
riches, have we any cause to complain if our outward wants be recom 
pensed by an abundance of inward grace ? 2 Cor. iv. 16, ' But though 
our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day : ' 
and we have the less of the world that we may have more of God, and 
are kept poor that we may be * rich in faith,' James ii.. 5- Who is the 
loser, if we have a healthy soul in a sickly body, as Gains had ? 3 
John 2. And an aching head maketh way for a better heart ; doth 
not God deal graciously and lovingly with us ? Afflictions are com 
pared to fire that purgeth away the dross, 1 Peter, i. 7 ; to the fan 
that driveth away the chaff, Mat. iii. 12 : to a priming-hook that cuts 
off the luxuriant branches, and maketh the' others that remain more 
fruitful, John xv. 2 ; to physic, that purgeth away the sick matter, Isa. 
xxvii. 95 ; to ploughing and harrowing the ground, that fitteth it to 
receive the good seed ? Jer. iv. 3. Wilt thou be troubled when God 
cometh to make use of this fire to purge out thy dross, this fan to 
winnow away thy chaff, this pruning-hook to lop off the luxuriancies 
of thy soul, this physic to purge out thy corruption and filth, this 
plough to break up thy fallow ground, and destroy the weeds that 
grow in thy heart ? Should we not rather rejoice that he will not let 
us alone in our corruptions, but refine us as metal is by the fire ; and 
fan and winnow us, that we may be pure grain ; and prune us, that we 
may be fruitful in holiness ; and use a medicine to cure those distempers, 
which otherwise would destroy us ; and suffer the ploughers to make 
long furrows upon our backs, that we may enjoy the richer crop ? thus 
it is for spiritual good. 

(3.) For our eternal good. Heaven will make a complete amends : 
2 Cor. iv. 17, ( For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, 

VOL. xv. i 


worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.' The 
affliction worketh it as a means which God useth, it shall either hasten 
or secure our glorious estate ; this mainly is intended in Kom. viii. 
28-30, ' For we know that all things shall work together for good to them 
that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed 
to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many 
brethren, Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called ; 
and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, 
them he also glorified/ Well then, as a bee sucketh honey from a 
bitter herb, so there is a great deal of good which faith can extract out 
of afflictions ; no water, but it can turn into wine ; no stones out of 
which faith cannot make bread. 

[7.] That we shall have comfort, and support and direction, and 
many intervening blessings, before the deliverance cometh. 

(1.) Comfort ; we shall have it : 2 Cor. i. 5, ' For as the sufferings 
of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.' 
God will refresh and relieve our troubles with many comfortable ex 
periences of his grace; comforts proportionable to our afflictions. 
Should we have great sufferings and small comforts, we should not be 
well enough provided for ; such a degree of heat will not warm cold 
water unless it be made more intense ; a little boat that would serve 
well enough in fresh water, will not serve at sea, where we are to con 
flict with boisterous waves and mighty billows; therefore as our 
sufferings abound, so our consolations by Christ abound also. God 
suits his dispensations to the need and want of the creature. The 
disciples, when they had lost the bodily presence of Christ, they re 
ceived the Spirit. God will not give comforts upon conflicts till the 
affections be purged from the dross and feculency of outward delights ; 
till then we cannot relish spiritual delights. Troubles usually enlarge 
the capacity of the soul, for they humble us, -and an humble soul is a 
vessel fit to receive grace. They put us upon the exercise of grace ; 
then men pray most, and have most communion with God ; and the 
more grace is exercised, the more comfort is increased ; for the comforts 
of the Spirit follow the graces of the Spirit, as heat doth the fire. 
After the sharpest winter there is the sweetest spring, and tlie more 
fruitful summer and autumn. 

(2.) For support. If deliverance cometh not yet, if God giveth sup 
port, we have no reason to complain ; as he that is well clad is not much 
' annoyed with the cold. David prayed, and counted support an answer : 
Ps. cxxxviii. 3, ' In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and 
strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.' It is a real answer to 
have strength to bear out in our troubles, though deliverance be not 
yet come. Sustentation is a degree and beginning of deliverance, 
though God doth not remove the trouble : Isa. xl. 31, ' But they that 
wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength ; they shall mount up 
with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk 
and not faint.' God enables them to bear up and hold out when they 
seem to be quite spent. 

(3.) So for direction. This is another of those intervening mercies, 
Ps. cxliii. 10. David was in great danger, and beggeth for deliverance ; 


or if not that, yet for instruction ' Teach me to do thy will, for thou 
art my God.' The danger of sin is a greater inconvenience than the 
danger of troubles. Now he beggeth wisdom of God to carry it well 
under his trouble ; for in our troubles we are very apt to miscarry, un 
less God guide us continually. Necessity is an ill counsellor, and will 
soon tempt us to some indirect course ; and therefore it is a great 
mercy to have our guide : Isa. Iviii. 11, c And the Lord shall guide thee 
continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought.' In our gloomy and dark 
condition God will lead us by the hand and help us over our stum 

III. What is the work of faith under afflictions ? 

1. To enlighten the mind, that we may judge aright of afflictions. 
Sense maketh lies of God, and causeth us to judge amiss of his dispen 
sations. Why ? because it judgeth of them by the outside and present 
feeling : Heb xii. 11, ' No affliction for the present seemeth to be 
joyous, but grievous.' Alas ! if we should judge of all God's care and 
love by our sense of his present dealing, we shall conclude that he hath 
no respect to his people. Therefore faith, that is the evidence of things 
not seen, is needful, that we may interpret God's providence, and rightly 
understand his dealing with us. Faith remedieth this double evil of 
sense, because it interpreteth things not according to their outside and 
visible appearance, but according to the promise. Again, it looketh 
not upon providence by pieces, but in their whole draught, to the end 
of things. 

[1.] Faith is necessary, that we may not dwell in the bark and out 
side of God's dispensations. Sense judgeth /car oi|w,by outward appear 
ances, and so informs you of nothing but expressions of God's anger ; 
but faith can see love in his anger, and unfold the riddles and mysteries 
of providence, and showeth you how God can extract honey and sweet 
ness out of gall and wormwood, and that his heart is full of love when 
his hands are smart and heavy upon us ; as when he had a mind to 
bless Jacob he breaketh his thigh, and maketh him halt and go lame ; 
and the bucket goeth down into the well the deeper, that it may come 
up the fuller. So that whatsoever appeareth, faith concludeth that God 
is a good God. Faith, ploughing with God's heifer, cometh to know 
his design : Job xi. 6, ' And that he would show thee the secrets of 
wisdom, that they are double to that which is/ By the secrets of 
wisdom is meant the hidden ways of his providence. Divine providence 
hath two faces, the one of rigour, the other of clemency sweetly 
tempered therewith ; like a plaited picture, that one way representeth 
the face of a virgin, another way the face of a serpent. We look 
upon it but of one side, and think that he dealeth harshly with us, and 
that all is wrath and severity ; his love is hidden from us when we 
we feel nothing but pain, and smart, a-nd blows, but faith showeth 
it to us. 

[2.] Faith is necessary, that we may not judge by the present, not 
looking to what is to come. He that looketh upon the first rude draught 
of any notable work seeth no beauty in it : Ps. xxxi. 22, ' For I said 
in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes ; ' and Ps. cxvi. 11, 
' I said in my haste, All men are liars/ David was fain to eat his 
words spoken in haste. The fumes of passion and carnal affection 


blind the mind, that we look only to what is present. David was 
quieted when he saw their end, Ps. Ixxiii. 17. This settled him a-nd 
satisfied him, to consider what this will be in the issue. The end puts 
the difference. 

2, To teach us to carry ourselves heroically, above our present con 
dition, not as overcome and dejected by it unto an uncomely sorrow : 
2 Cor. iv, 16, ' For this cause we faint not ; for though our outward 
man perish, our inward man is renewed day by day.' He was happy 
in the increase of comfort and grace by the decrease of worldly felicity, 
by his outward pressures being the more incited, and made the more 
towardly to the performance of his duty : 2 Cor. vi. 8-10, ' By honour 
and dishonour, by evil report and good report, as deceivers, and yet 
true ; as unknown, and yet well known ; as dying, and behold we live ; 
as chastened, and not killed ; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing ; as poor, 
yet making many rich ; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.' 
Thus doth a Christian live above his outward estate by faith ; if con- 
tumeliously used by some, yet reverently respected by others ; though 
vilified by some, yet commended by others ; ' deceivers, yet true/ that 
is, though he was represented as an impostor, yet those that had eyes 
to see might easily see and find him to be a faithful dispenser of the 
truths of God. Good Christians are persuaded of it, and the wicked 
are convinced of it, however they seem to dissemble it ; we are looked 
upon by some as if they knew us not, yet by others we are owned and 
valued ; in danger, but yet sustained ; exercised with a little affliction, 
yet we have a being and an opportunity of service ; looked upon as 
miserable, and in a sinking condition, yet always cheerful, rejoicing in 
the testimony of a good conscience ; as poor, and having little of 
worldly substance, yet enriching others with grace and the gifts of the 
Spirit ; as having nothing, yet we are so provided for by God's pro 
vidence as to want nothing that is necessary and useful for us ; not 
having the wealth of the world in our hands, yet having enough for 
necessary use with contentment. Thus should a Christian live above, 
yea, contrary to his worldly condition. Once more, hear Paul again 
expressing his condition : 2 Cor. iv. 8, 9, ' We are troubled on every 
side, but not distressed ; we are perplexed, but not in despair ; perse 
cuted, but not forsaken ; cast down, but not destroyed ; ' wrestling with 
all difficulties, yet sustained by an invisible assistance ; brought to ex 
tremity as to any secular and human means, yet carried through. 
This should be the temper of a gracious heart, never more exalted 
than in his low degree, never more humble than when most exalted ; 
still there is work for faith, but no ground for discouragement. 

3. To see it made up in God what is wanting in the creature. A 
Christian's life is made up of riddles and mysteries ; he wanteth all 
things, and yet he hath all things, and can see fulness of supplies in 
the midst of want, and an all-sufficiency in God, when there is no means 
of outward help. As a wicked man in the midst of his sufficiency is in 
straits : Job xx. 22, ' In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall be in 
straits ; ' so a godly man in the midst of his wants can satisfy himself 
in God. It is the happiness of heaven to have all things in God, with 
out the intervention of means, for there ' God is all in all/ 1 Cor. xv 
28. The life of faith is but heaven anticipated and begun : Hab. iii 


18, ' Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my 
salvation.' Yet, that is, * though the fig-tree do not blossom, and the 
labour of the olive fail, and the fields shall yield no meat, the flock shall 
be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herds in the stall,' ver. 
17. When all outward supplies are cut off, to rejoice in such a low 
condition, that is faith indeed. As David, when all was lost at Ziklag : 
1 Sam. xxx. 6, ' David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.' That 
is living by faith indeed, when God's all-sufficiency is enough to us. 

4. To wait on the Lord for a final and sanctified issue out of all our 
afflictions : Ps. xxxvii. 7, ' Best in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.' 
This waiting is an act of dependence on God as the fountain of our life 
and happiness, though he seem to turn away from us : Micah vii. 7, ' I 
will look unto the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation/ And 
an act of patience, or tarrying the Lord's leisure : he that waiteth, 
must be content to stay: Isa. xxviii. 16, 'He that believeth shall not 
make haste/ Faith doth patiently attend upon God: Ps. xl. 1, 'I 
waited patiently for the Lord, and he inclined his ear unto me, and 
heard my cry/ It is not enough to wait for a while, but to wait till 
the blessing cometh. And it is an act of hope, or an expectation of a 
comfortable issue : Isa. viii. 17, * I will wait upon the Lord that hideth 
his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him ; ' notwith 
standing the present tokens of his wrath and displeasure. He that 
waiteth is in expectation to receive. Now if we could bring our hearts 
thus to wait upon God patiently, a blessed end would surely follow ; 
for none ever waited but they found the deliverance come in due time : 
Isa. xxv. 9, ' Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him, and he will 
save us ; this is the Lord, we have waited for him, we will be glad and 
rejoice in his salvation/ But we are hasty and precipitant, and must 
have present satisfaction, or else the promises are not for our turn ; our 
dependence is loose, our patience is quickly tired, and our hope soon 
lost. When the people saw that Moses stayed too long in the mount^ 
then presently they must have an idol. Samuel directed Saul to go to 
Gilgal, and there to tarry for him seven days, 1 Sam. x. 8. Saul 
tarried till the seventh day was come, but could not tarry till the 
seventh day was over and past, therefore he himself offered sacrifice, 
1 Sam. xiii. 12, which cost him the loss of his kingdom. So many bear 
out a while, but cannot tarry till our Lord cometh to take his work into 
his own hands, and so miscarry in the very haven, just when God is 
about to right the wrongs done to his people. 

5. Obstinately to cleave to God when he seemeth to thrust us from 
him by many disappointments : Job xiii. 15, ' Though he slay me, yet 
I will trust in him/ This is a holy obstinacy that is very acceptable to 
God : such as blind Bartimeus showed : Mark x. 48, ' Many charged 
him that he should hold his peace, but he cried the more, Thou son of 
David, have mercy on me ! ' or as the woman of Canaan, that standeth 
fending and proving with Christ till he giveth her satisfaction, and telleth 
her, c woman ! great is thy faith ; be it unto thee, as thou wilt,' Mat. 
xv. 28. When we turn discouragements into motives of believing, and 
draw so much the nearer to Christ as he seemeth to drive us away from 
him, it will be well with such in the issue. For however God seemeth 
to wrestle with such for a while, yet it is with a purpose to give faith 


the victory, and to yield up himself to do for us what our souls desire 
of him. This holy obstinacy of faith we should get. Lukewarm deal 
ing, however it may please us in a calm day, yet when we are to conflict 
with great difficulties, and delays of deliverance, nothing but such a 
kind of faith will make us hold out. You pray, and God keepeth 
silence, and will not seem to take notice for a time ; as the woman of 
Canaan called to Christ, and he ' answered her not a word,' Mat. xv. 
23. It is not said he heard her not a word, but he answered her not a 
word : these two differ, Christ often heareth when he doth not answer ; 
his not answering is indeed an answer, and speaketh this, Pray on, 
continue your crying still, the door is kept bolted that you may knock 
again. Afterwards he gives her a rebuke ver, 26, ' It is not meet to 
take the children's bread, and cast it to the dogs: Observe, first ' he 
answers her not a word : ? and then he gave an answer to the disciples, 
not to the woman, and the answer is sad, She is not within my com 
mission ' I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel ,' 
ver. 24. Yet she came and saith, ' Lord, help me.' ver. 25. Then he 
saith, ' It is not meet to take the children's bread, and give it to the 
dogs:' But she fastens upon him, and turns discouragements into 
arguments ( Truth. Lord, but the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall 
from their master's table: ver, 27. Then Christ saith unto her, ' 0, 
woman ! great is thy faith,' ver. 28. Thus when Christ seemciii to look 
away from you, and to rebuke you, you should cleave to him the more 
by a holy obstinacy of faith. 

6. To look for the recompense of reward ; 2 Cor. iv, 18, ' "While we 
look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not 
seen ; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which 
are not seen are eternal.' Faith sees the eternal glorious things that 
are to be enjoyed after this life. Certainly an object, though never so 
glorious, cannot be seen without eyes ; if there be looking, there must 
be an eye wherewith to look and see. Faith is the eye of the soul, 
without which there can be no prospect of the other world. Therefore 
faith is said to be * the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence 
of things not seen/ Heb. xi. 1. If you would look at things invisible 
by reason of their nature, as God, or by reason of their distance, as the 
blessedness of the world to come, you must get faith, Nature is short 
sighted. In things near at hand, reason is acute enough ; in things 
that are afar off, we are stark blind ; we see little of anything beyond 
this world to quicken us, to make that preparation that such eternal 
things deserve. Therefore the wisest part of this world is taken up 
with toys and trifles ; the sweetness of honours, and wealth, and pleasure 
is easily known. Few can see the worth of these unseen things, only 
those who can pierce above the clouds of this lower world, to the seat 
of the blessed. The light of faith will make you see heaven, and 
glory, and happiness, in the midst of deep pressures and afflictions, 

7, To make us humble ourselves under God's mighty hand, owning 
sin as the cause of all our miseries. Two things compose the heart to 
quietness and submission to the will of God, to see the cause of afflic 
tions, and the end of afflictions. The cause of afflictions is sin : Micah 
vii. 9, ' I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned 
against him;' Lev. xxvi. 41, 'If then their uncircumcised hearts be 


humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity.' 
When God is angry, it is our duty to stoop humbly under his afflicting 
hand. The end of afflictions is for our good : Heb. xii. 9, 10, ' We have 
had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence ; 
shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live ? 
For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure, but 
he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.' We must 
be contented with God's methods, and submit to his discipline, let him 
take what way and course he pleaseth to do us good. 

Thirdly, I now come to the third rank, the effects of faith, and there 
to speak of the influence of faith upon obedience, and the duties of 
holiness. Distinct beings have a distinct principle, by which their life 
is conducted and ordered ; a beast liveth by sense, a man by reason, and 
a Christian by faith. By sense the beasts discern what is hurtful or 
useful, agreeing or disagreeing with their natures ; mere human affairs 
are guided by reason ; but all matters of Christianity, and of a spiritual 
nature, are directed and improved by faith. Therefore, as we have 
spoken hitherto of the influence of faith with respect to its objects, and 
opposites ; now of its effects, because the whole business of Christianity 
is conducted and quickened by it. Therefore I shall now treat of the 
influence of faith upon obedience, and show you (1.) What obedience 
is required of a Christian ; (2.) The necessity of faith as to this obed 
ience ; (3.) What is the work of faith in order hereunto ; (4.) How we 
shall bring our hearts thus to live in yielding obedience to God. 

I. What obedience is required of us ; it is needful to state that, that 
we may see it is no easy thing to walk with God. I think I need not go 
one step further back to prove that obedience is necessary, notwith 
standing the grace of the gospel. In the kingdom of grace we are not 
our own masters, or at liberty to do what we will. Christ came, not 
only as a saviour, but as a lawgiver, and accordingly hath given us laws 
to try our obedience : Heb. v. 9, the apostle telleth us, ' He is become 
the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him.' Christ 
came not into the world to lessen God's sovereignty or man's duty, 
but to put us into a greater capacity to serve God ; and though love be 
the great gospel duty, Bom. xiii. 10, yet by love is not meant a fellow- 
like familiarity, but a cheerful subjection to the will of God : 1 John 
v. 3, ' This is love, that we keep his commandments, and his command 
ments are not grievous.' Therefore I think I need not go so far back, 
but shall take the rise of my discourse from the next step. And sup 
posing that obedience is required, I shall show you what obedience is 
required and expected from us ; and that I shall do by a short view of 
some few places of scripture. The first place I shall mention is, 
1 Peter i. 15, ' But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy 
in all manner of conversation/ No small thing is required of Christians, 
but a conformity in some measure to the God whom they worship ; 
the impression or stamp must be according to the engraving of the seal. 
If we own God as the supreme being, worthy of all that respect and 
worship that we give him, we must study to be like him ; no other 
pattern is set before the eyes of the children of the Lord ; the holiest 
upon earth is not a sufficient copy for us to imitate. Now as God is 
holy, not only in regard of the purity of his essence, but also in regard 


of the rectitude of his administrations : Ps. cxlv. 15 , ' The Lord is 
righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works ; ' so a Christian 
must not satisfy himself with an imaginary holiness within, but must 
really manifest the frame of his heart in his conversation and visible 
actings, that he may express God to the life, and be a perfect resem 
blance of his purity to all that see him, and are conscious to his walking. 
Yea, they must be holy ev Trday avaarpo^fj, ' in all manner of conversa- 
that is, in every creek and turning of his life ; there is no part of his 
conversation which ought not to savour of holiness ; not only his religious 
but even his common and civil actions ought to be done in the Lord, 
and for his glory. And in all conditions he ought to prove himself a 
hater of what God hateth, and a lover of what God loveth. This is 
one place that expresses a Christian's duty, and the Lord help us to 
fulfil it. And as here our duty is expressed by holiness, and all manner 
of holiness, so the next place will acquaint us with the branches of it. 
And that is in Luke i. 74, 75, ' That being delivered out of the hands 
of our enemies, we might serve him without fear, in holiness and 
righteousness before him all the days of our lives.' Our duty there is 
made the end of our deliverance ; Christ came to deliver us from the 
curse of the law, but not from the duty of the law ; not that we might 
not serve God, but that we might serve him the more cheerfully, with 
out fear, with peace of conscience, and joy of heart. But how will God 
be served ? and wherein must we express our duty to him ? There are 
two words- ' In holiness and righteousness/ Holiness noteth our 
consecrated estate, and expresseth the duties of the first table ; and 
righteousness the duties of the second table; and both together, universal 
obedience prescribed in both the tables of the moral law. Mark it, our duty 
liethnotin external shows, but in inward and substantial graces, expressed 
in a full conformity to the will of God. And this ' before him,' that is, 
before the all-seeing God, to whom no hypocrite can be acceptable. 
And ' all the days of our lives ; ' not for a fit or start, we must be con 
stant all our life ; it is not enough to begin well, but we must hold out 
in such a course. Take another place : Col. i. 10, ' That ye might 
walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good 
work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.' Still the work of a 
Christian groweth upon our hands ; we are not only to be subject to 
God, but with such a subjection as will become such a Lord to exactor 
receive. And what is there not due to him ? ' Worthy of the Lord/ 
so as the world may see there is no terror comparable to his frowns, no 
comfort comparable to his smiles, or the sense of his favour. There is 
a repugnancy and unbeseemingness in a slight careless conversation 
to so great a Lord as we profess to serve and obey. And this ' unto all 
pleasing ; ' it is not enough to regard the matter of our actions, but 
also the scope and end of them. A thing done may be good for the 
matter, yet the end may be faulty ; as a piece of money may be good 
metal, yet if it have not the king's stamp, it is not current ; there must 
be in every action at least an habitual, and in actions more solemn and 
weighty an actual purpose to please God by our obedient walking. 
' Walk worthy of the Lord in all pleasing,' and that too with fruitful- 
ness, that ye grow better every day, ' being fruitful in every good work.; ' 
praying better, hearing better, loving God more, and abounding in his 


work ; and this not only in practising what we know, but searching 
that we may know more of his will concerning us ' Increasing in the 
knowledge of God.' If all this beget not in you a sufficient sense of 
the duty that belongeth to a Christian, take one place more : Heb. xii. 
28, ' Wherefore, we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let 
us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence 
and godly fear.' All the privileges of the gospel kingdom are given to 
us to oblige us ' to serve God ; ' and if we would serve God, we must 

* have grace,' that is, we must take fast hold of grace, otherwise we 
have neither heart, nor hand to serve him. But how will God be served ? 

* Acceptably,' in a cheerful manner, as being persuaded of his accept 
ance and good- will to us in Christ. And then in the other part of this 
scripture our duty is expressed by two words ' Reverence and godly 
fear.' 'Reverence/ in God's service, looketh at his excellency and 
glorious majesty, that there may be a due respect shown to him, 
and at our unworthiness, and the infinite distance between him and 
us a sense of our vileness to come near him, and to be concerned in 
anything that concerneth his glory, who is so great a God. And then 
with ' godly fear/ that we may circumspectly handle and meddle with 
his service, with a care riot to offend, but please him in all things ; as 
with the greatest humility, so with the greatest caution. By this time 
I suppose you see what it is to serve God, and what obedience is 
required of us ; that he will not be put off with everything. No, he 
requireth that men should be like him, walk worthy of him, in holiness 
and righteousness all their days, and that with reverence and godly 

II. I shall show the necessity of faith as to this obedience. Faith 
is necessary (1.) As to God's acceptance ; (2.) And our encourage 
ment ; (3.) From the nature of the thing itself. 

1. It is necessary as to God's acceptance ; for nothing can please God 
that is not done in faith : Heb. xi. 6, ' Without faith it is impossible 
to please God/ It is so with respect to the person working, and it is 
so with respect to the work itself. 

[1.] With respect to the person working, because he is not within 
the covenant of grace till he belie veth, ' but the wrath of God abideth 
on him/ John iii. 36, e%0pa)v Swpa aSwpa. Enemies' gifts are giftless ; 
the services of wicked men are but glittering sins. In the covenant of 
grace God doth not accept of the person for the work's sake, but of the 
work for the person's sake ; that is, because of his interest in Christ, 
in whom alone he is well pleased. And therefore whatever we do must 
be done in a believing state ; for our obedience is not acceptable in 
itself, because of much defect and imperfection in it, but in and through 
Jesus Christ. 

[2.] With respect to the work itself. For unless it be quickened 
by a true and lively faith, it is not acceptable to God ; for it is but the 
carcass of a good work, without the life and soul of it. Superficially 
the selfsame things may be done by a believer and a carnal man ; but 
that is but the body of a duty, that which should animate it is an 
obediential confidence, for all the motions, affections, and inclinations 
of the soul, are swayed and inclined by faith ; 'as all motion is inspired 
from the head, albeit we go upon our feet, and move with our hands. 


So a firm assent to God's good-will and pleasure revealed to us hath a 
sovereign command on every grace, to cause it to put forth an operation 
proper lo it. All good acts regularly performed issue from faith, and 
therefore they are called ' the work of faith/ 2 Thes. ii. 11. Well 
then, to our acceptance, the person must be accepted, before the work 
can please God ; and that service is rightly qualified which proceedeth 
from faith in Christ, is conformable to the word, and tendeth to God's 

2. As to our encouragement, that we may serve the Lord readily and 
cheerfully, when we hear of so much duty, as was intimated before. 
Alas ! what shall we do that are ' beset with sin ? ' ^Heb. xii. 1. What 
shall we do that find sin always * present with us ? * as Paul groaningly 
complains of it : Kom. vii. 21. ' I find then a law, that when I would 
do good, evil is present with me.' Christians are often discouraged 
with the thoughts of their own weakness and vileness, and the impor 
tunate returns of their lusts, and are ready to say, we shall never do 
anything, or to any good purpose. Therefore, till they be persuaded 
of God's help and grace, they do but coldly set upon the practice of holy 
duties, stagger much, and are off and on, often fainting at the difficulty 
of the work, dismayed at their manifold slips, their service groweth 
tedious and troublesome, and their want of faith occasioneth doubts 
and fears, and deadness and uncheerfulness. so that they drive on 
heavily in the Lord's work. But now faith, on the other side, keepeth 
us close to the commandment, and causeth us to rest upon the Lord 
for ability to do what he requireth, and comforts us with the acceptance 
of our sincere and unfeigned services, though weak and imperfect, and 
so causeth us to go about it with cheerfulness, life, and vigour. Was 
it not an encouragement to Moses when God said unto him, Exod. iv. 
12, ' Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee 
what thou shalt say : ? And was it not enough to encourage the 
disciples when Christ said, ' I will be with you always, to the end of 
the world ' ? Mat. xxviii. 20. And doth it not exceedingly quicken us 
to remember that God will help our infirmities, and accept of our 
sincere endeavours, and reward our sorry services with eternal life ? 
What will put life and heart into us, except these promises do ? 

3. Faith is necessary from the nature of the thing itself, because of 
the inseparable connection between faith and obedience, as between 
the cause and the effect. Take faith either for assent, or for dependence, 
or a confident relying upon God's mercy in Christ, still there is this 
connection between faith and obedience. 

[1.] Take faith for an assent. Faith produceth it where it is in any 
life and vigour ; therefore it is called ' the obedience of faith,' Kom. i. 
5, and Eom. xvi. 26, as being begotten by it. Faith is not without 
obedience ; there will be a reverent subjection to God if we believe he 
is, and doth govern the world. Nay, there is not only such a connection 
between faith and obedience as there is between the cause and effect, 
but in some respect such a connection as between branches growing out 
of the same root, or acts of the same grace. The same grace that pro 
duceth assent produceth^ obedience ; by faith we assent to every part of 
God's known will as good and fit to be observed by us. Now if this 
assent be real, you will assent to his commands as well as to his 


promises, and see a necessity of obeying the one as well as resting 
upon the other : Ps. cxix. 66, ' Teach me good judgment and knowledge, 
for I have believed thy commandments/ There is a faith that is con 
versant about the commands as well as the promises ; these are part 
of his word, and therefore must be believed. Faith is an assent to the 
whole doctrine of God, not only that part which concerneth our privi 
leges, but that other part which concerneth our duty ; the one part is 
as true as the other, and if we assent to it heartily, or ' receive the 
word gladly/' Acts ii. 41, we are bound to acknowledge the precepts as 
well as to expect the graces and benefits of the new covenant. 

[2.] Take faith for dependence, or a confident relying upon God's 
mercy in Christ, and still faith and holiness are near akin, and do one 
imply the other. Partly, because when we choose and accept of Christ, 
we choose and accept of him as a lord and king, as well as a saviour : 
Acts v. 31, ' Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a prince 
and a saviour,' for Christ is the perfect antitype to Melchisedec king 
of Salem, which is by interpretation, ' king of righteousness, and after 
that, king of peace.' As a saviour to beget peace, so a king to command 
the heart ; so that if we take Christ with all his titles, we must necessarily 
mingle resolutions of duty with expectations of mercy ; and as we thrive 
in the one, we grow in the other. Our confidence in God's mercy can 
be no greater than our fidelity to God's commands. When love to the 
world or the flesh tempts us to omit any part of our duty, or work any 
disorder in our souls, Satan will easily weaken our confidence thereby, 
and sin will breed distrust, when the soul is serious. Confidence and 
comfort follow grace, as heat doth fire ; and fears and doubts follow 
sin, as pain doth the pricking of a needle, or some sharp thing where 
with a man goreth himself. And partly, because faith in this sense is an 
act of obedience to God's will, and therefore draweth all other parts of 
obedience along with it ; for we believe in Christ, because God hath 
commanded it : 1 John iii. 23, ' And this is his commandment, that we 
should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ ; ' and John vi. 29, 
' This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.' 
Many times a poor soul hath no other motive and encouragement, but 
ventureth in the face of difficulties on the encouragement of a com 
mand; as Peter: Luke v. 5, 'We have toiled all night, and taken 
nothing ; nevertheless, at thy command, I will let down the net.' So 
say. Lord 1 I am an unworthy, poor, frail creature ; yet at thy command 
I will believe. Well then, I reason thus, that which is itself the 
obedience of a command cannot be the cause of disobedience. We must 
not pick and choose ; the main work doth not exclude the rest, but 
enforce it. Certainly if we believe on God's command, we will make 
conscience of other things that are commanded, as well as faith ; for 
he is truly obedient to no precept that doth not obey all : James ii. 10, 
' Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he 
is guilty of all.' The same reason that maketh us believe, upon 
believing will make us obey God in other things, for all are enforced 
by the same authority. And partly, because this dependence of faith is 
the endeavour of a contrite or broken heart to come out of his misery, 
and to seek happiness of God by Christ. Now a broken heart cannot 
wax wanton against God ; if we seek our relief by Christ, we cannot 


allow ourselves in rebellion against Christ : there is a contradiction in 
the thing ; he cannot be an enemy to Christ, and hate him in whom 
he would trust. Among men dependence begets observance : Ps. cxxiii. 
2, ' Behold, as the eyes of servants look upon the hand of their masters, 
and as the eyes of a maiden on the hand of her mistress ; so our eyes 
wait upon the Lord our God until that he hath mercy upon us ; ' or 
rather: Phil. ii. 12, 13, ' Work out your salvation with fear and trem 
bling, for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do/ Men 
will not offend him from whom they look for their all. So that 
dependence and obedience mutually infer one another. 

III. I come to the third thing, to show what faith doth in order to 

1. It urgeth the soul with God's authority, and chargeth the heart, 
as it will answer it to him another day, not to neglect or despise the 
duty we owe to him. It is faith alone that doth acknowledge and im 
prove God's sovereignty, and worketh the sense of it into the heart to 
any purpose. And that for these reasons 

[1.] Because the governor is invisible, and we do not see him that 
is invisible but by faith : Heb. xi. 27, ' For he endured, as seeing him 
who is invisible.' Temporal potentates are before our eyes, their ter 
rors and rewards are matter of sense. That there is an infinite, and 
eternal, and all-wise Spirit, who made all things, and therefore hath a 
right to command and give laws to all things, reason will in part tell 
us. But faith doth much more assure the soul of it, and impresseth 
the dread and awe of Gocl as if it did see him with bodily eyes. 

[2.] Because it must appear that this is the will of this supreme 
being. As the ruler is invisible, so none without faith can believe that 
those commands are God's commands, holy, just, and good, without 
which persuasion there can be no obedience : 1 Thes. ii. 13, ' When ye 
received the word of God, which ye heard of us, ye received it, not as 
the word of man, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which worketh 
effectually also in you that believe/ There is need of faith to see that 
they be God's laws ; for it is not matter of sense, that the scripture is 
the expression of his commanding and legislative will, whereby he 
showeth to man what is holy, just, and good, andbindingly determineth 
his duty : Micah vi. 8, ( He hath showed thee, man, what is good ; 
and what cloth the Lord require of thee, but to do justice, and to love 
mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God ? ' 

[3.] And partly, because many of these commands are contrary to 
natural reason, and are not so evident by those common rules by which 
we judge of things. Contrary to natural reason : Heb. xi. 17, ' And he 
that had received the promises offered up his only-begotten son ; ' and 
ver. 30, the compassing Jericho seven days, to natural reason, was a 
very unlikely means to make the walls fall down. So Abraham, con 
trary to natural affection, offered his son ; and ' when he was called to 
go into a place, which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed ; 
and he went forth, not knowing whither he went,' Heb. xi. 8. There 
is cultus naturalis and cultus institutus natural worship and in 
stituted worship ; as Naaman's washing seven times in Jordan, 2 
Kings v. 10. Some commands of God carry their own reason and 
evidence with them, others stand only upon the authority of his in- 


stitution, which no natural light could ever reveal to us, but only faith, 
giving credit to the word of God. 

[4.] And partly, because we are not only to see God in the command 
and see it urged bindingly, but to receive it with that reverence that 
becometh so great a Lord. It is his command who ' is able to save and 
to destroy/ James iv. 12. He hath potestatem vitcc et necis do or die ; 
so that intuitus voluntatis, 1 Thes. iv. 3 ; and v. 18 ; 1 Peter ii. 15. 
The sight of God's will is reason enough, and instead of all reasons to 
a believer. Thus to charge the heart, that we may not shift and dis 
tinguish ourselves out of our duty, there is need of faith, that we may 
shake off sloth and negligence, much more all deceit and fraudulency ; 
a general dogmatical faith will not serve the turn. 

2. It uniteth us to Christ as a fountain of grace, without whom we 
can do nothing : John xv. 5, ' Without me ye can do nothing.' We can 
do nothing without Christ, nothing apart from Christ : 2 Cor. iii. 5, 
' Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of our 
selves but our sufficiency is of God.' Christ is the fountain from 
whence all our supplies come : John i. 16, ' And of his fulness have we 
all received, and grace for grace/ and all by virtue of our union with 
him : 1 Cor. i. 30, ' Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made 
unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption ; ' 
and the band of this union is faith : Eph. iii. 17, ' That Christ may 
dwell in your hearts by faith/ As the Spirit on Christ's part, so faith 
on ours ; and the more we act faith, the more clear and sensible it is : 
John vi. 56, 57, ' He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood 
dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and 
I live by the Father : so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me ; ' 
as meat chewed and digested begets spirit and life, and is turned into 
the eater's substance. Some do but taste Christ a little, and spit him. 
out again ; but those that concoct and digest him, that embrace Christ, 
and apply him by faith, and by a constant dependence, Christ doth 
abide in them by his constant influence and quickening virtue. By 
this spiritual union and mutual indwelling we are made partakers, not 
only of his righteousness and merits, in order to our justification, but 
also of his Spirit, in order to our sanctification. As the branches par 
take of the sap of the root, and as members of the body are partakers 
of the life of the soul by which the body is quickened ; so whosoever 
is united to Christ, the Spirit of Christ dwelleth in him : Kom. viii. 9, 
* Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of 
God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he 
is none of his ; ' and if the Spirit of God dwell in us, he will not suffer 
us to be unholy and unfruitful, 

3. Faith comforts and encourageth us by the promises of assistance, 
acceptance, and reward. 

[1.] By the promises of assistance. Alas ! in ourselves we are weak 
and of no strength, and so our hearts are faint, and our hands feeble. 
Duty can never be done without God's sanctifying grace ' Let us have 
grace whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly 
fear/ Heb. xii. 28. It must be so, or we are quite discouraged. There 
must be both habitual grace, which giveth a general readiness and 
preparation of heart for the actions of the new life : Eph. ii. 10, ' We 


are his workmanship, created in Jesus Christ unto good works ; * a 
bowl is first made round before it can run round ; we cannot act with 
out a principle, without divine qualities infused ; and also actual 
grace, by which God doth excite that grace which is infused into us : 
Heb. xiii. 21, ' The Lord make yon perfect in every good work, to do 
his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight.' God 
doth continually co-operate and work in us and with us. As providence 
is a continual creation, so is assisting grace a continuation of God's re 
newing work ; he is at the beginning, middle, and end of every good 
action : Phil. ii. 13, ' He worketh in us both to will and to do.' Now 
this is a great encouragement to ply the oar, when we have wind and 
tide with us ; the soul groweth into a confidence, and is much encour 
aged to lift up the feeble hands and strengthen the weak knees : Isa. 
xlv. 24, ' Surely shall one say, In the Lord I have righteousness and 
strength.' Comfort and spiritual ability increase as God strengthens 
us in the promise : Phil. iv. 13, 'I can do all things through Christ 
that strengthens me.' Assurance of help encourageth us to work. 

[2.] By promises of acceptance. We drive on heavily when we 
know not whether God will accept of our work, yea or no ; as he that 
serveth a hard master that is always finding fault, hath no mind to 
his work. To take off this discouragement, God doth often promise to 
accept of what we do through the assistance of his Spirit : Kom. xii. 
1, 'Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God;' 
1 Peter ii. 5, ' Ye are an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices 
acceptable unto God by Jesus Christ/ Our sacrifices are not sin- 
offerings, but thank-offerings ; as the dedication of ourselves to God's 
service : Kom. xii. 1, ' Present your bodies a living sacrifice ; ' i.e., peni 
tent and humble supplications : Ps. Ii. 17, c The sacrifices of God are 
a broken spirit,' and offering praise to God : Heb. xiii. 15, ' By him 
therefore let us offer unto God the sacrifice of praise continually, that 
is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name ; ' so charity to the 
saints : Phil. iv. 18, ' I have received the things which were sent from 
you, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God ; ' and all these in 
testimony of our thankfulness to Christ in offering up himself as a 
sin-offering. All spiritual sacrifices must be done in a spiritual man 
ner ; these are acceptable to the Lord, not for any worth that is in 
them or advantage that can be in them, but because they are presented 
to God by Jesus Christ, who taketh away the iniquity of our holy things: 
Exod. xxviii. 38, ' And he shall bear the iniquities of the holy things, 
which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts, that 
they maybe accepted before the Lord ;' and he perfumeth our services 
with the incense of his merits : Kev. viii. 3, ' There was given unto him 
much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints/ 
Our iniquities are many, yet God's mercy is great, who will accept us 
and our services that are unfeignedly performed to his glory. He 
owneth his gracious work in us when what we do is good, and done by 
a man in Christ, by strength drawn from Christ, and for God's glory, 
though in itself it be weak : Mai. iii. 4, ' Then shall the offerings of 
Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, 
and as in former years/ viz., when they are purified to be an holy 
priesthood unto God ; so Isa. Ix. 7, < They shall come up with accept- 


ance upon mine altar.' Many such promises as these there are in the 
word of God everywhere, which is a great encouragement to poor souls 
to do their utmost. 

[3.] By promises of reward. Hope doth excite and whet endeavours. 
We have no reason to be sluggish in God's service, for in the end it 
will turn to a good account : 1 Cor. xv. 58, ' Be ye steadfast and un- 
movable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye 
know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.' He hath interposed 
his faithfulness, and laid his justice at pawn with us ; Heb. vi. 10, 
' God is not unrighteous, to forget your work and labour of love.' If 
God be a just God, we need not doubt; the rewards of religion are to 
come, but where they are apprehended as certain and evident, they do 
exceedingly encourage and strengthen the heart. It should be a shame 
to us that when we have such wages we are no more hard at work. 
When it is for the everlasting enjoyment of the ever-blessed God, shall 
we tire and wax faint ? 

4. Faith reasoneth and argueth in a most powerful and prevailing 
way, with such arguments that a believer cannot say nay to them. It 
reasoneth partly from what is past, and so all its arguments are dipped 
in love, or a sense of God's kindness to us in Christ, and then they 
must needs be forcible : Titus ii, 11, 12, ' For the grace of God that 
bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, teaching us, that deny 
ing ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, 
and godly in this present world ; ' and Gal. v, 6, ' Faith worketh by 
love ;' and Rom. xii. 1, ' I beseech you, by the mercies of God/ &c. 
Faith sets love to plead for God, and love beareth all before it : 2 Cor. 
v. 14, ' The love of Christ constraineth us ; ' so in the text, ' Who loved 
me, and gave himself for me.' There is nothing like the pleadings of 
faith ; he left heaven for our sakes, and took a body, and endured a 
cursed death, and is gone to heaven to plead our cause with God ; he 
hath pardoned so many sins, and what wilt thou then not do for him ? 
Faith will take no repulse. And then faith reasoneth forward, partly 
from hope, and partly from fear. From the eternal recompenses ; no 
hopes equal to the rewards it proposeth, no fears comparable to the 
terrors it representeth ; no pleasure like the joys of heaven, no terrors 
like the torments of hell ; and so looking into the world to come, it 
breaketh the violence of every contrary inclination : 2 Cor. iv. 17, 
1 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a 
far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,' and so quickens the 
soul to follow hard after God, and overcometh the world, the great 
hindrance of keeping the commandments : 1 John v. 4, ' This is the 
victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.' 

IV. What shall we do, that faith may have such an influence upon 

1. Consider how just it is for God to command, and how reasonable 
it is we should obey the supreme being ; his will is the reason of all 
things, and who should give laws to the world but the universal 
sovereign, who made all things out of nothing ? Whatsoever you are, 
or have, you received it from the Lord ; and therefore whatever a 
reasonable creature can do, you owe it to him. You are in continual 
dependence upon him, ' for in him you live and move, and have your 


ino-,' Acts xvii. 28 ; and he hath bought you and redeemed you, and 
called you to life by Christ, 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20, ' You are not your 
own, for ye are bought with a price ; therefore glorify God in your 
body and* in your spirit, which are God's/ You owe your time and 
strength, your life and love, all that you are and can do, you owe it all 
to God. 

2. He enjoineth nothing but what is good for us: Deut. vi. 24. 
'And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the 
Lord our God for our good ; ' and Deut. v. 29, '0 that there were such 
an heart in them that they would fear me, and keep my command 
ments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children 
for ever/ God hath tempered his sovereignly to the reasonable crea 
ture, and doth not rule us with a rod of iron, but with a sceptre of love. 

3. That God loveth all that are good, and hateth all that are evil, 
without any respect of persons : Acts x. 35, ' But in every nation, he 
that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted of him ; ' and 
Ps. v. 5, ' Thou hatest all the workers of iniquity ; ' the greater of 
either kind the more, the lesser the less. 

4. This must be laid up in the heart with a lively faith, and this 
belief must prevail with us so far as to submit ourselves to God's will, 
to like what he liketh and to hate what he hateth ; to love that best 
which his word telleth us he loveth best, to hate that most which his 
word telleth us he hateth most, though otherwise pleasant to our nat 
ural inclination. But alas ! we mistake opinion for faith, or a cold 
and dead assent for true believing. A hypocrite is not transformed by 
his faith ; he talketh much of it, but he showeth little of the spirit of 
it ; especially the fruit of obedience, which is most natural and proper 
to it, and without which all other pretences are to little purpose ; as 
the three children in the furnace, the fire had no power over them, nor 
was one hair of their head singed, nor their coats changed ; no more 
power hath the word upon their hearts. A true believer is changed 
thereby : 2 Cor. iii. 18, ' But we all, with open face beholding as in a 
glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from 
glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord ; ' Phil. iii. 10, ' That I 
may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship 
of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death/ 

5. That it is much better to obey the law of God than our own 
affections, the lusts of the flesh, or the law of sin 'Not my will, but 
thine be done,' so our Lord said, Luke xxii. 42. By retaining any 
branch of our own wills unrenounced, or not resigned up into God's 
hands, we give Satan a hold of us, and he will never let go the hold 
till we cut off the member that offendeth ; it is as an halter about an 
horse's neck, and we are as a bird that is caught by one claw, and as 
an ambassador pursuing but part of his instructions. Indispositions 
are so far from excusing, that they call for the more duty ; though we 
cannot command the wind, yet we are to fit the sails. 



But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering ; for he that waveretli is 
like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. 
JAS. i. 6. 

I SHALL from this text further treat of the life of faith. Having spoken 
of the influence and use of faith upon obedience, or the duties of holi 
ness in general, I shall now speak of the use of faith in prayer. 

In the context there is an exhortation to prayer, and in the text an 
instruction how we should pray. 

1. There is an exhortation to prayer in the fifth verse ' If any 
man lack wisdom, let him ask it of God.' He presseth us to make an 
advantage of our wants, and to look upon them as so many occasions 
of recourse to God at the throne of grace ; and he encourageth them, 
partly by the consideration of God's nature ' Who giveth to all men 
liberally, and upbraideth not/ We need not make scruples of con 
sulting with God upon every occasion ; he is not backward to bestow 
grace, nor is he wont to reproach those to whom he giveth anything ; 
though prayer putteth God to it never so often and never so much, yet 
he upbraideth none. And then he encourageth them partly by a pro 
mise ' Let him ask, and it shall be given him/ It is said of Augustus 
that he never sent away any from him sad ; it is true of the Lord, he 
doth not send away his worshippers sad ' Ask, and it shall be given 
you ; ' prayer will not be a fruitless labour. 

2. In the text there is an instruction how we should pray, which is 
laid down and enforced. 

[1.] It is laid down to prevent mistakes ' Let him ask in faith/ 

[2] It is enforced by a reason ab mcommodo, from the inconveniency 
of not asking in faith ' For he that wavereth is like a wave of the 
sea, driven with the wind and tossed/ Wavering and doubting keep 
men in a perpetual tempest and agitation of mind, roving to and fro 
from one dependence to another, as the waves of the sea are carried 
hither and thither. 

Doct. That none pray aright, but those that pray in faith. 

Faith is all in all in prayer ' The prayer of faith shall save the 
sick,' James v. 15. It is not prayer simply, but the faith in prayer 
that prevaileth with God for a gracious answer ; so Mat. xxi. 21, 22, 
' If ye have faith, and doubt not, ... all things whatsoever ye shall 
ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive/ The grant and answer is 
suspended upon that condition, for God will not exercise his power till 
we rest upon it. In short, faith and prayer are inseparable companions, 
like Hippocrates' twins, they live and die together ; they are begotten 
together, and grow up together, and die together. 

1. They are begotten together, for faith beginneth its life in crying 
unto God. The first grace that is acted is faith, and the first duty 
when grace is infused is prayer : Zech. xii. 10, ' I will pour upon them 
the spirit of grace and supplication ; and Paul after his conversion, the 
first news we hear of him is, ' Behold, he prayeth,' Acts ix. 11. As 

VOL. xv. K 


the new-born babe falls a-crying ; so, as soon as we are born again, the 
first work that is set upon is prayer. 

2. They grow up together, mutually strengthening and increasing, 
and setting one another a- work ; Ps. Ixii. 8, ' Trust in the Lord at all 
times, pour out your hearts before him.' Trust vents itself in prayer, 
and prayer increaseth trust, for in prayer the principles of confidence 
are solemnly drawn into the view of conscience.. 

3. Because they end together. When we come to die, faith is 
resolved into sight, and prayer into an uninterrupted praise. 

Now for the clearing of this point 

First, I shall show you what is that faith that is requisite in prayer. 
Divers thoughts and opinions there are about it : I will not perplex 
you with them, but conceive it thus : it is a confidence that our prayers 
shall be heard ; that is the faith that is required in prayer : 1 John 
v. 14, ( And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we 
ask anything according to his will, he heareth us." 

This confidence that we shall be heard containeth many things in it. 

1. A believing that there is a God, or else why should we pray unto 
him ? Heb. xi. 6, ' He that cometh to God must believe that God is, 
and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him ; ' other 
wise all our devotion will be but customary and for fashion's sake, or a 
compliance with the vulgar error ; as one called it, eamus ad communem 
errorem, when he spake of the worship of God. Unless we have this 
persuasion that God is, all is nothing. 

2. That he is such an infinite being that he can supply all the 
wants of the creatures, and accomplish all their desires : Eph. iii. 20, 
* Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all 
that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us/ 
This is a main prop of confidence in prayer, that God is able not only 
' to exceed our prayers, but our conceptions and hopes : so 2 Chron, xx. 6, 
And he said, Lord God of our fathers ! art not thou God in 
heaven ? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen ? 
and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able 
to withstand thee ? ' Faith sets prayer a-work, and prayer sets the 
almighty power of that God a-work, and hath a universal empire and do 
minion over all the world, and all the events and affairs of the world ; 
and therefore our Lord Jesus Christ layeth down this as a ground for 
prayer' Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory ; ' he can set 
all things a-work for the glory of his name, and for the good of his 

3. That he is omniscient as well as omnipotent, he knoweth what 
we do and speak, when and where any poor creature is praying to him : 
Acts ix. 11, < Arise, and go into the street that is called Straight, and 
inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold 
he prayeth/ God observeth you in your most private and secret re 
tirements; in what corner of the house soever we are, he knoweth 
what we are a-doing, whether we are toying or praying, for it is said 
in what street Saul was, and in what house, and what he was doing : 
so Mai. iii. 16, ' Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to the 
other, and the Lord hearkened and heard, and a book of remembrance 
was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought 


upon his name.' God taketh notice of every word we speak to him, or 
of him, or for him. We cannot hear many speaking at once, because 
we are finite creatures, but God heareth all the world over, and know- 
eth how to interpret the secret groans and motions of the heart : Rom. 
viii. 27, ' He that searcheth the heart knoweth the mind of the Spirit.' 
We do not speak to an absent God, but to one that looks into the 
secret corners of our heart, to one that is always present and near at hand. 

4. That God is ready to hear and answer our prayers : Ps. Ixv. 2, 
'0 thou that nearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.' He hath 
taken the name upon him of a God hearing prayer ; it is his nature 
and property, it is his work and constant practice ; what hath God 
been doing for thousands of years, but receiving the addresses of his 
people ? yea, it is his delight and glory, he will be known by it ; there 
fore he is called the ' Father of mercies/ 2 Cor. i. 3, as being the 
fountain of all grace, and ' rich in mercy to all that call upon him,' 
Rom. x. 12. He is more ready to give than we are to ask ; yea, he 
giveth unasked, and more than we ask ; and his quarrel with us is, 
because we do not ask enough. 

5. That God will stand to his word, which is the rule of commerce 
between him and his creatures. This assurance he hath given to the 
church : Ps. cxxxviii. 2, ' Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy 
name/ that is, above all that is famed and spoken of God ; you have 
him puncl nal in making good his promises. The heathens had two 
notions of their gods, that they always kept touch with their worship 
pers, and were ready to do them good. They are both true of the 
great and living God whom we serve in the spirit ; we may put the 
humble challenge upon him, and mind him of his word : Ps. cxix. 49, 
* Remember thy word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused 
me to hope ; ' and by this we exceedingly encourage ourselves to deal 
with him, when we have his promise to show for it ; 2 Sam. vii. 27, 
'For thou, Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed unto thy 
servant, saying, I will build thee an house, therefore hath thy servant 
found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.' The attributes of 
God apprehended at large have not such a force upon the soul as when 
he is obliged and bound by his promise, and therefore this is a great 
holdfast upon God. 

6. That God will both accept of our persons and prayers in Christ, 
the son of his love, in whom he is well pleased : Eph. i. 6, 'Who hath 
accepted us in the Beloved, to the praise of his glorious grace ; ' this is 
the proper ground of prayer. Christ was sparingly revealed in the old 
testament, yet when they prayed, they looked towards the temple, where 
were the figures, and symbolical representations of Christ; yea, some 
of them spake out : Dan. ix. 17, ' Now therefore, our God, hear the 
prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine 
upon thy sanctuary, that is desolate, for the Lord's sake/ Jesus Christ 
was a mediator to the church in the old testament, but sparingly known ; 
but now to us he is plentifully made known: Eph. iii. 12, 'In whom 
we have boldness, and access with confidence, by the faith of him/ 
Our encouragement of pleading, and our hopes of acceptance, must be 
grounded upon his merit and intercession, and the Father's love to 
him, and to poor sinners in and through him. 


7. Out of all this there resulteth an actual reliance upon God, 
according to these terms, for the acceptance of our persons, and the 
answer of all our requests and supplications : 1 John v. 15, 'And if 
we know that he hear us, whatever we ask, we know that we have 
the petitions that we desired of him.' Keep to the rule of prayer, ask 
the things that are agreeable to God's will and conducible to his glory, 
and fit for us to receive in our station, and then though they be ever 
so difficult, ever so many in number, ever so presently needed, we are 
confident we shall have the petitions we ask. Indeed it doth not open 
a door for us to expect the fulfilling of all our desires, and promises of 
our own making ; if we interpret it so, it is horrible presumption, as 
you know it is to forge a bond ; this maketh for God's dishonour, and 
is an ungrounded confidence ; but ask regularly, according to God's 
will, you may be sure God will grant what you ask. 

But how can we thus rely upon God, and have confidence that we 
shall be answered in all our particular requests, since mercies asked 
are so various, some absolutely promised, and some only conditionally, 
and temporal things are not always granted in kind. 

Ans. 1. Prayer may be heard when it is not answered with success ; 
Daniel was heard as soon as he prayed : Dan. ix. 23, ' At the beginning 
of thy supplications the commandment came forth ; ' but yet, Dan. x. 
12, 13, there was some stop, and some time before it could be brought 
about. The Lord heareth presently, but giveth in comfort afterwards ; 
prayer put up in Christ's name gets a hearing presently, and in time 
gets an answer. God will exercise our faith for a while, to believe 
this, though we see it not ; and he will exercise our patience for a 
while, to wait for his leisure, and in the meantime encourageth us to 
believe that prayer is heard, when it is not answered at all in kind. 
Therefore we must distinguish between God's hearing and answering 
the prayers of his saints ; God will take his own way and time for 
giving in answers of prayer to his people. Mordecai's name stood in 
Ahasuerus's books some time before his honour was conferred upon 
him. You may not hear of God for a good while, but you shall hear 
of him at length. Abraham prayed for a child, but many years inter 
vened before he had him in his arms. Our Lord Jesus Christ was 
heard as to the success of his death, in the victory over his enemies, 
but not as to the taking away of the cup: Heb. v. 7, 'Who in the 
days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications 
with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from 
death, and was heard in that he feared.' 

2. We may be sure that prayers are granted, so far as they are 
asked regularly : 1 John v. 14, ' And this is the confidence that we 
have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth 
us.' What is it to ask according to his will ? It concerns the person,. 
the matter, the manner, and the end of prayer ; si boni petant bona r 
bene, ad bonum. 

[1.] The person or the petitioner, he must be one that serveth God : 
1 John iii. 22, ' And whatsoever we ask we receive of him, because we 
keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his 
sight/ He that serveth God and pleaseth God is sure to be accepted ; 
so James v. 16, 'The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man 


availeth much.' What have others to do to come in Christ's name ? 
Naturalists speak of a jewel of great virtue, which, being put into a 
dead man's mouth, loseth all its virtue so prayer, though it be of 
wonderful use and virtue, yet put into the mouth of a dead man, one 
that is dead in trespasses and sins, and is not made alive by Christ, it 
is of no virtue and efficacy with God. 

[2.] For the matter, it must be according to the will of God ; it 
must be good and lawful, such things as God seeth fit for us ; it must 
be conformable to his revealed will, and with submission to his secret 
will ; not contrary to his word, nor against his decrees. 

(1.) It must be according to his revealed will. The throne of grace 
is not set up that we may come and vent our sudden distempered pas 
sions before the Lord, or to set God a task to provide meat for our 
lusts. When the disciples would have called for fire from heaven, 
Luke ix. 54, 55, Christ saith unto them, ' Ye know not what manner 
of spirit ye are of.' We are soon transported into uncomely passion, 
and we would have enemies confounded. Many times a child of God 
goes on the devil's errand ; we are his messengers when revenge sets 
us a-work. 

(2.) With submission to his secret will ; Mat. xxvi. 39, ' Father, if 
it be possible, let this cup pass from me ; nevertheless, not as I will, 
but as thou wilt.' Christ, as mediator, was subject to his Father's will. 
So we pray aright when we pray that if God see it good for us, to give 
the thing we desire ; if it be hurtful to us, God will not hear ; in that 
case denying is a greater mercy than granting. As the heathens 
observed it too great a facility in their gods to grant men their wishes 
to their ruin. Herod was too lavish when he gave his minion leave to 
ask what she would to the half of the kingdom. 

[3.] The will of God falleth upon the manner too ; it must be with 
fervency, that our hearts may be upon the work : Mat. vii. 7", ' Ask, 
and ye shall have ; seek, and ye shall find ; knock, and it shall be opened 
unto you.' We must return upon God with renewed importunity 

[4.] The will of God falleth upon the end too : James iv, 3, ' Ye 
ask, and receive not ; because you ask amiss, to consume it upon your 
lusts.' God will not provide meat for our lusts ; this were to debauch 
the throne of grace. 

3. I answer, that faith is to be acted in prayer for temporal mercies ; 
for both spiritual and temporal mercies and blessings are promised, 
and whatever is the matter of a promise is the object of faith. God 
will be as punctual in the lesser matters which concern the present life, 
as in the weightier matters that concern thy eternal happiness ; so that 
lie will either give them in specie, in kind, or in value. It is fit that 
God should judge of it, whether a temporal enjoyment will be good for 
us, or when he will give something in lieu of it ; we are to acquiesce in 
his good providence for our provision here, as well as our salvation 
hereafter, He is willing to take our care from us, Phil. iv. 6, 7 ; he in 
tends not our loss, but our ease ; he will provide for us, and in the 
issue will give us a full account of his love and faithfulness. 

4. To act faith in prayer for temporal mercies is not to believe that 
we shall have them in specie, in kind, but faith is to rely upon God's 
power, submitting to his will : Mat. viii. 2, ' If thou wilt, thou canst 


make me clean/ Unbelief thinks little of an invisible hand, and saith, 
'Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?' Doubting of God's 
power is the great thing that unbelief stumbleth at ; we must not con 
clude against his will, but refer all things to his will, well knowing 
that he is a good God, and a wise God, not troubling ourselves about 
events, but determining that he will cast all things for the best. This 
is the faith that we are to have in conditional promises. 

Secondly, Let me show you the necessity of praying in faith. 

1. Without faith prayer is not acceptable to God : Heb. xi. 6, ' With 
out faith it is impossible to please God.' God doth not look to the 
eloquence of a prayer ; carnal men, that have no grace, may have great 
gifts of speech and flowing of language ; nor doth God look merely to 
the ardour of affection, for lust may make men earnest, and beget in us 
rapid motions ; but he looks to the prayer of faith. 

2. No prayer hath life in it but what is made in faith : Rom. x. 14, 
' How shall they call on him, in whom they have not believed ? ' It is 
but a mocking of God, to pray to him, unless we expect good of it ; we 
do but come and repeat words for fashion's sake if we do not pray in 
faith. Why should we address ourselves to him, if we make a question 
of his power and good- will to help us ? 

3. Faith is necessary, that we may not be dismayed with the diffi 
culties and seeming impossibilities of obtaining what we need and ask 
according to God's will. Many times mountains must be removed: 
Mat. xxi. 21, ! If ye have faith, and doubt not ; . . . If ye say unto 
this mountain, Be thou removed, and cast into the sea, it shall be 
done.' It is true, not only in the age of miracles, but in all ages, here 
are still mountains of oppositions, difficulties which seem as impossible 
to remove as a mountain. Now this would shut up our mouths, and 
make us languish in despair, if there were not faith to remove these 
mountains i Zech. iv. 7. 'Who art thou, great mountain? before 
Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain.' Faith apprehends nothing too 
hard for God. How contemptible are those difficulties to a lively 
active faith ? Who art thou, mountain ? 

4. Faith is necessary, that we may resolve to stick fast to God, with 
out carnal shifts, whatever cometh of it, and not to use any means of 
deliverance, but what are every way consistent with our duty to God. 
I take this to be the case of the text ; he speaks this when Christians 
had divers cases to be resolved, saith he, ' Let us pray in faith, nothing 
wavering ; ' and in ver. 8, ' A double-minded man is unstable in all 
his ways : ' he is divided between God and the world, and in doubt 
whether the ways of God be still to be adhered to and owned, and 
whether we should continue waiting upon God quietly, however things 
succeed with us, or else shift for ourselves. This man is in a waver 
ing condition ; and therefore to keep us in a close adherency to God, 
and in a quiet dependence upon him for the issue of all our troubles, 
there is need of faith ; for he that cannot trust God cannot long to be 
true to him. Therefore ' let him ask in faith,' that is, adhering to God's 
all-sufficiency ; he that is persuaded of God's power and good- will, and 
doth refer himself to him, to bear him out in his duty, 'this man will 
be faithful to God. 

5. Faith is necessary, that we may wait God's leisure : Hab. ii. 3, 


' The vision is for an appointed time ; ' we must not be too hasty : Isa. 
xxviii. 16, 'He that belie veth will not make haste.' Precipitancy is the 
cause of much evil ; Saul could not tarry till Samuel came, but would 
go and offer sacrifice himself, and that lost him his kingdom. So 
when we are hasty, and cannot tarry the Lord's coming, we miscarry. 
Use 1. Here is reproof 

1. To them that will not pray, when God alloweth us, yea, commands 
us, to pray in faith, and with a confidence that we shall speed the better. 
If there were but a loose possibility, we should pray : Acts viii. 22, 
' Eepent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the 
thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee ; ' it is a very great diffi 
culty, yet pray ; so Exod. xxxii. 30, ' And it came to pass on the 
morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin, 
and now I will go up unto the Lord, peradventure I shall make an 
atonement for your sin ; ' so 2 Kings xix. 4, ' It may be the Lord thy 
God will hear all the words of Babshakeh ; ' so Joel ii. 14, ' Who 
knoweth, but the Lord will return, and repent, and leave a blessing 
behind him ? ' Faith can stand upon one weak leg ; if there be but 
a ' may be,' we should go to the throne of grace. 

2. It reproveth those that do not look for any success in prayer, that 
pray only out of course, and throw away their prayers ; as children 
shoot away their arrows, and never look after them any more ; that do 
not gather up the fruit of their prayers : Ps. v. 3, ' In the morning will 
I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up ; ' a-nd Hab. ii. 1, ' I 
will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower and will watch 
to see what he will say unto me.' He was spying and observing what 
came in by his dealing with God in prayer ; he was looking to see the 
blessing coming. Besides, when we do not look after the success of 
our prayers, we lose many gracious experiences that would confirm 
our faith : Ps. xviii. 30, ' The word of the Lord is a tried word.' I 
have found that it is not time lost to go and plead the promises with 
God. And it will awaken our love : Ps. cxvi. 1, ' I will love the Lord, 
because he hath heard the voice of my supplication ; ' and it will quicken 
us to holy living, and a life of praise. 

3. It reproveth those that have many doubtings and dark thoughts 
about what they pray for, about the mercy and power of God ; this is 
an evil incident to God's own children. There is a twofold unbelief, a 
reigning unbelief, and a doubting unbelief. The reigning unbelief is 
in those that were never acquainted with God : Mai. iii. 14, ' Ye have 
said, It is in vain to serve God, and what profit is it that we have kept 
his ordinances ? ' But then there is a doubting unbelief, which is a 
weakness left upon the saints, which though it make their prayers very 
uncomfortable, yet it doth not make void their prayers ' O thou of 
little faith! wherefore didst thou doubt?' Mat. xiv. 81. Peter ven 
tured out of the ship, at Christ's call, but his feet were ready to sink 
ever and anon. David was surprised with this unbelief, but the Lord 
heard him : Ps. xxxi. 22, ' I said in my haste, I am cut off from before 
thine eyes : nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplication 
when I cried unto thee.' If faith, be weak, we must not cease to pray, 
but pray the more, that faith may be confirmed, and that we may be 
assured of God's favour, and may grow up into a confidence in this duty. 


Use 2. Of exhortation, to persuade us to pray in faith. Now to this 
end, consider what encouragements there are. 

1. Consider what assurance Jesus Christ hath given us : John xvi. 
23, ' Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father 
in rny name, he will give it you.' There is a note of asseveration, 
' Verily, verily.' Whatever our doubts and temptations he about it, the 
word of God is to be tried ; do you think that Christ spake truth when 
he said, ' Verily, verily.' So John xv. 7, ' If ye abide in me, and my words 
abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto 
you/ If Christ hath subdued your desires to a submission to God's 
providence, and to the government of his laws, ask what you will, and 
it shall be given you ; so John xiv. 13, 14, ' Whatsoever ye -shall ask in 
my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 
If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.' Christ delighteth 
in despatching the affairs of his people. As the vision was double, and 
Pharaoh's dream was doubled for the greater assurance and certainty ; 
so here Christ inculcateth his speech for the greater confirmation of it, 
that we may be confident he meant as he spake. 

2. In all your prayers to God consider how significant the name of 
Christ is in heaven. If you come in the sense of your own unworthi- 
ness, and desire alone to be accepted in him, you shall not be slighted 
or neglected. If you send a child or a servant to a friend for a thing 
in your name, the request is yours ; and he that denyeth a child or a 
servant, denyeth you. Jesus Christ hath sent you in his name, Go ask 
in my name ; so that in effect the request becomes Christ's request. God 
can no more deny your request in Christ's name than he can deny Christ 

3. Consider, how much God loveth you : John xvi. 27, ' For the 
Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me ; ' his heart is 
upon the things you ask for his glory. Now this is a mighty encour 
agement ; as when Joab perceived the king's heart was towards 
Absalom, 2 Sam. xiv. 1, compared with the following verses, he made 
intercession by the woman of Tekoa. So when your desires are 
regulated according to his will, and subordinated to his glory, his heart 
is upon these requests. 

4. Consider, the moans of the beasts and other dumb creatures are 
regarded by him, and will not the Lord hear the prayers and supplica 
tions of his people ? Ps. cxlv. 15, 16, ' The eyes of all things wait upon 
thee, and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest 
thy hand and satisfiest the desires of every living thing/ When the 
creatures gape for their refreshment, God satisfieth them. Now if the 
Lord hath respect to them, will he not hear his own children ? Luke 
xii. 24, * Consider the ravens : for they neither sow nor reap ; which 
neither have store-house nor barn ; and God feedeth them : how much 
more are you better than the fowls ? ' Such is. the Lord's overflow 
ing love, that all the creatures have their wants supplied by his bounty. 

5. Consider what kind of prayers have found acceptance with God. 
Solomon's dream was pleasing to the Lord, 1 Kings iii. 5, compared 
with vers. 9-13 ; the workings of his heart in his sleep were pleasing 
to God. Many times through grief, and the prevalency of our dis 
tempers, we are hardly able to put prayer into language ; but then 


faith can send sighs to heaven. Words are but the outside of prayer ; it 
is the actings of grace that lieth nearer the heart that is the prayer. 
A dumb beggar can get an alms at Christ's gate by making signs. If 
we be not tongue-tied with sin, and carnal liberty hath not brought an 
indisposition upon us ; nay, a look finds acceptance with God : Ps. v. 
3, ' My voice shalt thou hear in the morning ; in the morning will I 
direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up? And the breathing out 
our souls to God : Lam. iii. 5, 6, ' Thou hast heard my voice ; hide not 
thine ear from my breathing.' Yea, broken words with spiritual affec 
tions will be accepted with God ; nay, chattering, as Hezekiah chat 
tered like a crane, Isa. xxxviii. 14. Our desires have a loud sound in 
God's ears : Ps. x. 17, ' Lord, thou hast heard the desires of the 
humble/ Desires make no sound with men, but with God they have 
an audible voice. All this being put together, is a great comfort to 
the soul that God will accept of a sigh, a groan, a look, a desire, a 
dream ; these are more acceptable to him than the pen of a ready writer, 
more than when we flow in words without spirit, life, and affection. 

6. Consider the condescension of God, in parables relating to this 
matter, Luke xi. 8 ; he speaketh there of a man that would not rise 
to give loaves to another because he was his friend ; yet because of his 
importunity, he would not be gone else, he arose and gave him. So 
Luke xviii. 3-5, there was a clamorous widow and an unjust judge ; he 
would not avenge her of her adversary for her sake, yet he did it, for 
his own sake, and for his own quiet, ' lest by her continual coming she 
weary me/ In these parables there is a condescension to our suspicious 
thoughts, as if God had said, I know you think me tenacious and hard 
hearted, that I am not willing to give grace ; I know these are your 
secret thoughts, yet if I were so, see what importunity will do. Grant 
it that your supposition were true, yet it becometh you to pray, and to 
be earnest and instant, and see what I will do for you. 

Use 3. If none pray aright but those that pray in faith, then let us 
examine ourselves Do we pray in faith ? How shall we know that ? 
Ans. By three things. 

1. By the serenity and composure of your spirits in prayer. Hannah, 
when she had poured out her heart before the Lord, 1 Sam. i. 18, it is 
said, ' she went away, and her countenance was no more sad ; ' so when 
thou hast made thy moan to God, thou findest a great deal of ease and 
comfort come of it. As when the wind is shut up in the bowels of the 
earth it causeth terrible convulsions and earthquakes till it get a vent ; 
so there are many tempestuous agitations and workings of heart in us ; 
but then a believer can go to God, and there ease his heart by pleading 
his case before the Lord. 

2. When thou continuest praying, though God seemeth to deny 
thee ; when upon a denial thou dost return and fasten the more upon 
him ; as the woman of Canaan cleaves the closer to Christ the more 
he seemed to thrust her from him. Christ says to her Mat. xv. 26, 
' It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs ; ' 
but she answers, ver. 27, ' Truth, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs 
that fall from their master's table/ It is a sign you expect something 
from God when you will not be put off without it. 

3. When you are satisfied with the promise before you enjoy the 


thing promised : Ps. Ivi. 4, ' In God I will praise his word.' When 
you can praise God for his word, though as yet you have not the per 
formance ; you see the blessing in the root, and this bears up your 


But the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith 
in them that heard it. HEB. iv. 2. 

I AM now to show you the use of faith in hearing of the word. 

It hath been sometimes said that there are many good laws, but 
there wanteth one good law to put them all in execution ; so it may be 
said you often hear good sermons, but there wanteth one good sermon 
to persuade you to put the rest in practice. This is the design of this 

The apostle is proving in the context that it concerneth us to take 
heed, by the example of the Israelites, that we do not miscarry through 
unbelief. The ground of the argument is, that we have an offer of 
rest as well as they, a merciful tender of eternal life, which he calleth 
' a promise of entering into God's rest/ ver. 1. Though many occasions 
of getting and doing be spent and gone, yet whilst it is to-day this offer 
is continued to us ; and therefore we should stir up ourselves to lay hold 
of it in time. For we are in danger as well as the Israelites. Those 
that have like privileges may expect like judgments if they presume 
upon them or do not improve them. Yea, we are rather more in 
danger ; the gospel was preached to them but darkly and implicitly, to 
us more clearly and fully. Canaan was but a type and figure of the 
heavenly inheritance or eternal rest to be obtained by Jesus Christ ; yet 
their unbelief was heinous, and cost them dear. The sum of the 
apostle's reasoning is, they had gospel as well as we, and we shall have 
judgments as well as they; he giveth a reason of their judgment for 
our warning, though they had gospel in the wilderness, ' yefc the word 
preached did not profit them,' &c. 

In the words take notice (1.) Of an event ; (2.) The reason of it. 

1. The event,- The word preached did not profit them ; in which, 
assertion we have 

[1.] The subject, The word preached, \6yo$ a/cofy, the word of 
hearing, they did, or might hear it, 

[2.] The predicate, Did not profit them ; that is, they got neither 
title to nor possession of eternal rest by it. That deserveth the name 
of profit, because it is the greatest good that God did ever give or man 
is capable of ; and all is nothing without this, loss rather than profit 
to the soul, whatever we get by it. If a man get knowledge by the 
word, or honour and credit by the word, by professing or preaching it, 
yet if he doth not get a title to heaven, or a right to enter into God's 
rest, he doth not profit by it ' The word did not profit them/ 


2. The reason of the event. Some read the text, * Because they 
were not united by faith to it ; ' so is the marginal note, and Chryso- 
stom and many others go that way, and they explain it thus : the 
greatest part of Israel were not of the mind whereof Caleb, and Joshua, 
and others were, who believed God's promise of bringing them into 
Canaan, and thereupon received no benefit by the promise. But I 
rather choose the text-reading, Not being mingled with faith, //,?) 
o-vy/cetcpa/jievos, the word is taken from a potion, which, according to the 
ingredients put into it, is medicinal or mortal. The word is the potion ; 
if it hath all its ingredients, if mixed with faith, it produceth its effect, 
and becometh the power of God to salvation ; if not, it doth us no good, 
but hurt rather ; or as any liquor mingleth with the thing on which it 
is poured ; or, as to make the seed fruitful it must be incorporated with 
the earth, and receive of the virtue and fatness of it ; so the word must 
not only be heard, but digested by faith, or it will not be profitable, or 
stand them in any stead that hear it. 

Doct. That though the word of God be so great a blessing, and so 
excellent a means of salvation, yet it doth no good, where it is not 
mixed with faith in the hearing : Kom. i. 16, ' I am not ashamed of the 
gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation to every one 
that believeth.' 

- Consider here (1.) The things mixed; (2.) The necessity of this 
mixture in order to profit. 

First, The things mixed ; they are the word of God, and faith. 

1. The word of God. A divine revelation is the proper object of 
faith ; there is a human credulity when we believe anything spoken by 
man for the authority of the speaker ; but no authority of man can be 
such a firm and sure ground of faith as the testimony of God, who 
neither can deceive nor be deceived. Therefore, ' if we receive the 
testimony of man, the testimony of God is greater,' 1 John v. 9. Now 
the whole word is to be received and apprehended by faith ; but chiefly 
the doctrine of the gospel, which containeth the offer of Christ and all 
his benefits. The whole word is to be received, for faith hath a respect 
to all truths ; there is the same reason for one as for all, because they 
are all revealed by God : Ps. cxix. 160, ' Thy word is true from the 
beginning, and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for 
ever/ From beginning to ending there is nothing but truth ; whatever 
is contained in the word is either history or doctrine, or precepts, or 
promises, or threatenings ; faith mingleth with all these. 

[1.] The historical part of the word. These must be believed, 
because the doctrinal part dependeth thereupon ; as the creation of the 
world, the fall of man, the promise of the Messiah to Adam, the cov 
enant made with Abraham. There is a harmony in the scripture, as 
in a concert all the notes agree, and suit one with another. The whole 
scripture suiteth with these historical passages, because they conduce much 
to our profit ; for they are pawns and evidences of the possibility, yea, 
certainty of other things that are to come : Ps. cxxi. 2, ' My help cometh 
from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.' The scripture is not 
only a register of what is past, but a prognostication of what is to come. 
Yea, it serves for our caution 'Now all these things happened unto them 
for ensamples, and they are written for our admonition,' 1 Cor. x. 11. 


Now faith looketh upon these things in the word as if a-doing before 

our eyes. 

[2.] Doctrines ; as the mystery of the trinity, the union of the two 
natures in the person of Christ, the benefit of imputed righteousness, 
that we are healed by another's stripes, the doctrine of the resurrection, 
&c. All these mystical verities we receive them upon God's revelation. 
They are properly the objects of faith, because without God's revealing 
them they cannot be understood and found out by the light of natural 
reason , and in these things, though we cannot so presently and fully 
see the reason of what we believe, yet we see reason enough why we should 
believe them, because they are revealed in the word of God, which no 
otherwise appeareth to us to be his word. In these things reason must 
not be heard against scripture, or be set up as the highest judge in 
matters of religion. As reason corrects sense, so faith reason. To 
appearance a star is but a little spark or spangle ; but reason will tell 
us "it is much bigger, because of its distance from us. The work of 

fe race is to captivate the pride of our thoughts and prejudices against 
God's revelation : 2 Cor. x. 5, ' Casting down imaginations, and every 
high thing that exaiteth itself against the knowledge of God, and 
bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ/ 
Eeason must be captivated to faith, though not to fancy. If it be 
revealed it must be believed, how absurd and unlikely soever it seem 
to us ; this is ' receiving the kingdom of God as a little child,' Mat. 
xviii. 3. A child believeth as he is taught ; I mean by God, not men. 
Thou art neither fit for heaven, nor the understanding of heavenly 
things, till thou hast denied thine own wisdom. That which is above 
reason cannot be comprehended by reason ; all lights must keep their 
place, sense is the light of beasts, reason of men, and faith of the church ; 
to consult with nature in supernatural things, it is all one as if you did 
seek the judgment of reason among the beasts, and determine of human 
affairs by brutish instinct. There are many things necessary to 
religion which the angels themselves could not know if they had not 
been revealed : Eph. iii. 10, ' That unto the principalities and powers 
in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom 
of God.' The way of salvation by Christ is such a mystery as could 
not have entered into the heart of any creature, no, not an angel. In 
these things, believe God upon his word ; pills are to be swallowed, not 
chewed ; if the sick man cheweth them, he spits them up when he 
tasteth the bitterness of them, and so loseth a wholesome remedy. Or 
to use Chrysostom's comparison ' A smith that taketh up his red-hot 
iron with his hands, and not with his tongs, what can he expect but to 
bum his fingers ? ' So we destroy our souls when we judge of mysteries 
of faith by the laws of common reason. 

[3.] Precepts. That is another part of the word to be propounded 
not only to our obedience, but to our faith ; and first to our faith, 
and then to our obedience : Ps. cxix. 66, ' Teach me good judg 
ment and knowledge, for I have believed thy commandments.' 
It is not enough to grant them rational or wise directions, or 
good rules for the regulating of human nature, but we must see 
them as God's laws, as injunctions from the glorious and power 
ful sovereign of the world, which we cannot neglect with- 


out the greatest hazard; that is to believe the commandments. 
Many will catch at promises, but do not regard precepts ; they smile 
upon the promise, but frown when the command puts them in mind of 
their duty. Faith owneth our obligation to God, and maketh us see 
the necessity of obedience, as well as it representeth the comfort of the 
promises, and to perform our duty, how contrary soever it be to our 
interest and carnal affections. But otherwise, without faith, when the 
commandments are crossing to our corrupt humours, they are ques 
tioned, slighted, and shifts studied by defiled consciences to divert the 
thoughts of duty. Therefore we need expressly to see that this is the 
will of God. 

[4.] Promises ; these are only received by faith ; Heb. xi. 1, ' Faith 
is the substance of things hoped for ; ' so the promissory part of the 
word is there in brief described These are a principal object of faith : 
2 Peter i. 4, ' To us are given exceeding great and precious promises, 
that by these you might be made partakers of the divine nature.' The 
Lord worketh saving grace tit first by these promises, enabling the 
guilty, graceless, and cursed sinner to believe, and apply the pardon, 
grace, and blessedness freely offered in them ; and as soon as he gets grace 
to believe and apply these promises, God beginneth to apply and make 
out upon his heart the things promised, stamping his own image upon 
him, that the sinner beginneth to look like God his Father for holiness, 
wisdom, and purity. These promises have a fitness to purify the heart 
as well as pacify the conscience, and must be used to both ends. If 
we respect promises, we must respect all promises ; the honour of God 
is as deeply engaged to perform one promise as another. God's failing 
in any one promise would be the breaking of the whole covenant ; as on 
our part the breach of one point maketh us guilty of the breach of the 
whole law -. James ii. 10, ' Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet 
offend in one point, he is guilty of all.' Promises for pardon, and 
promises for sanctification, you must regard both, and put both in suit ; 
promises for this life, and of a better. Many live by their wits in the 
world, and yet pretend to live by faith for heaven. You must trust God 
for all things, your names and estates as well as for your souls ; only you. 
must not be a stranger to the main promises, for herein lieth the life 
and heart of religion. 

[5.] There are threatenings in the word of God, and these are part 
of the object of faith ; for God is faithful and true in his threats as- 
well as his promises, and therefore equally to be believed in both. The 
threatenings should work with us as if already accomplished. Josiah 
rent his clothes when he heard the words of the law : 2 Chron. xxxiv. 19, 
' And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the law, 
that he rent his clothes.' We are not like affected when the judgment 
is threatened, as when it is come upon us ' But to this man 
will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and 
trembleth at my word,' Isa. Ixvi. 2. So Noah prepared for a flood 
many years before it came : Heb. xi. 7, ' By faith Noah, moved with 
fear, prepared an ark, to the saving of his house.' Tell many of the 
wrath of God, and they look upon it as a vain scarecrow ; tell them 
of judgment to come, which is enough to make a heathen tremble, Acts 
xxiv. 25, but they are no more moved at it than with a dream or a vain 
fable. All is for want of faith ; but they that will not believe, shall feel. 


Thus you see the whole word is the object of faith : faith in the 
histories, for our warning and caution; faith in the doctrines, to 
increase our reverence and admiration ; faith in the threatenings, for 
our humiliation ; faith in the precepts, for our subjection ; and faith 
in the promises, for our consolation. They all have their use : the 
histories to make us wary and cautious ; the doctrines to enlighten us 
with a true sense of God's nature and will ; the precepts to direct us, 
and to try and regulate our obedience ; the promises to cheer and 
comfort us ; the threatenings to terrify us, to run anew to Christ, to 
bless God for our escape, and to add spurs to our duty. Thus faith 
maketh use of the word of God, and all things contained therein. 

But especially the truths of the gospel, and that good thing which 
is offered in those truths is that mainly which saving faith doth close 
with and rely upon, and is fully satisfied withal. This is that which 
is most mysterious in itself, and remote from vulgar knowledge : 
Mat. xvi. 17, 'Flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee,but my Father 
which is in heaven ; ' most profitable to lost sinners : Tit. ii. 14, ' Who 
gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity,' &c. ; 
doth most set forth the praise of God : 2 Cor. i. 20, ' All the promises 
of God in him are Yea, and in him Amen , unto the glory of God by 
us ; ' that to which all the rest tendeth : Eev xix. 10, ' The testimony 
of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy,' the life and heart of religion, the 
most blessed news that could come from heaven. Faith findeth death 
in the threatenings, a burden of work in the precepts ; but in Christ 
and the gospel it findeth the way to heaven laid open, a way how a 
sinner may be saved and divine j ustice not wronged. This is that which 
' the angels desire to look into,' 1 Peter i. 12. So excellent and ravish 
ing is the saving of lost sinners by Christ incarnate, they study it and 
pry into it. 

Once more, the word is considered as dispensed in the ordinance of 
teaching and hearing ' The word preached did not profit them! God 
doth not only work by the word, but by the word preached : 1 Cor. i. 21, 
' It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that 
believe.' To hope to gain the world by the preaching of a few con 
temptible persons was looked upon as a ridiculous confidence ; but it 
pleased God to make use of that way, which pierced farther and 
conquered more than the Koman armies ever could. Britannorwn in- 
accessa Romania loca, Christo tamen patuere. Eph. i. 13, 'In whom 
ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your 
salvation.' The hearing of the word is the ordinary means whereby 
faith is wrought and exercised ; so 1 Peter i. 25, ' The word of the 
Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word, which by the gospel is 
preached unto you/ That word is the seed of the spiritual life, that 
word endureth for ever in the effects of it, that word must be mingled 
with faith in the hearing ; not only the scripture in the general, but 
the particular messages that are brought to you, and delivered from 
and according to that word by the Lord's servants, whom he hath sent. 
Many men will not declaim against the written word, but they have a 
slender esteem of those portions of truth which God carveth out to 
them by the messengers whom he sendeth to them. God, that insti 
tuted prophets and apostles to write scripture, did also institute pastors 
and teachers to explain and apply scripture: Eph. iv. 11, 'He gave 


some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some 
pastors and teachers.' And when they go to work, clave non errante, 
their messages are the word of God. 

But you will say, Must we believe all the dictates of fallible men ? 

Ans. Yes, in what accordeth with scripture, and is rightly deduced 
and inferred thence. Consequences are the word of God, and bind as 
well as the express scripture, Mat. xxii. 32. Jesus Christ proves the 
resurrection by this consequence, that ' God was the God of Abraham, 
and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob ; ' only we are to search : 
Acts xvii. 11, 12, ' They received the word with all readiness of mind, 
and searched the scripture daily whether those things were so ; ' there 
fore many of them believed. The scriptures we receive upon their 
divine evidence, and other doctrines upon their consonancy to the 
scripture : Isa. viii. 20, ' To the law and to the testimony, if they speak 
not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.' 
We must not be light of belief, but weigh things in the balance of the 
sanctuary ; nor yet obstinate and contemptuous of what is delivered in 
the way of an ordinance. 

2. Faith. Nothing less will serve the turn. That whereby the soul 
receiveth the word is faith ; that whereby it receiveth it effectually is 
sincere faith. There ever have been and still are three sorts of men 
in the world. 

[1.] Some that break out into open opposition of the gospel ; that 
are so far from being Christians, that they are scarce men : 2 Thes. iii. 
2, ' That we may be delivered from unreasonable, and wicked men, for 
all men have not faith.' Infidels are unreasonable and absurd, and 
never oppose the laws of Christ but they also violate the principles of 

[2.] There are some that are neither hot nor cold, that do not oppose 
the gospel nor yet accept it ; that assent which they seem to have, is 
not so much an actual assent as a non-refusal, or non-opposition, or 
rejection of the counsel of the word. Some indeed stand in full con 
tradiction, and actually reject the counsels of God: Luke vii. 30, ' But 
the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against them 
selves ; ' and Ps. ii. 3, ' Let us break their bands asunder, and cast 
away their cords from us.' But these though they make some profes 
sion of the gospel, yet they are careless, idle, and secure. These the 
apostle speaketh of, Heb. ii. 3, ' How shall we escape if we neglect so 
great salvation,' compared with Mat. xxii. 5, ' And they made light of 
it.' They do not deny, but excuse themselves. Non vacat is the sin 
ner's plea ; but non placet is the real disposition of his heart. 

[3.] There is a third sort, that do not only make profession of the 
name of Christ, but receive the truth in the love of it and in the power 
of it, and transfer it into practice : 2 Thes. ii. 10, ' They received not 
the love of the truth, that they might be saved.' There is a receiving 
truth in the light of it by conviction, but there follows no conversion. 
And then they receive the truth not only in love, but in power. The 
gospel is the ministration of the Spirit and power : 1 Thes. i. 5, ' Our 
gospel came not to you in word only, but also in power, and in the 
Holy Ghost, and in much assurance ; ' 1 Cor. ii. 4, ' My speech and 
my preaching was not with the enticing words of man's wisdom, but in 


demonstration of the Spirit, and of power.' And they transfer it into 
practice: John viii. 31, 'If ye continue in my word, then are ye my 
disciples indeed ;' and Mat. vii. 21, ' Not every one that saith unto me, 
Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doth 
the will of my Father which is in heaven/ Christ's real worshippers 
are known, not by compliments and external respects, but the inward 
constitution of their hearts, and the course and uniformity of their 
practice and conversations ; they are those that do so carefully and con 
stantly attend unto God's word that they lay it up in their hearts : Ps. 
cxix. "ll, ' Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin 
against thee ; ' and make it the rule of their whole lives : Gal. vi. 16, 
' As many as walk according to this rule ; ' so as to obey his commands : 
Kom. vi. 17, ' Ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine that 
was delivered you ; ' rely upon his promises : Ps. cxix. 49, ' Kemember 
thy word unto thy servant, on which thou hast caused me to hope ; ' 
fear his threats :' Isa, Ixvi. 2, ' To this man will I look, even to him 
that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.' A 
carnal man doth not tremble under his strokes, but they tremble under 
his word, and engage themselves to continue with God in well-doing, 
and in the pursuit of everlasting happiness : Rom. ii. 7, ' To them who, 
by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, honour and immor 
tality, eternal life.' 

To make this evident unto you, 1 shall show you 

(1.) How many things come short of faith, or that true and unfeigned 
assent that must be mingled with the word, to make it a sovereign 
remedy for our souls. 

(2.) What is that true faith that doth so. 

1st. Many things come short of faith, or that true and unfeigned 
assent which maketh the word effectual. There are several degrees of 

[1st,] There is conjecture, or a lighter inclination and propension 
of the mind to the gospel or word of God, as possibly or probably 
true ; a suspicious knowledge or guess at things, when we go no higher 
than an ' it may be so.' The generality of careless professors go no 
further. It may be true, for aught they know, that there is a rest 
remaining for the children of God : and these do walk according to the 
trade of Israel, and conform to the current opinions and practices that 
are a-foot. 

[2d] There is beyond this opinion, when the mind is strongly 
inclined to think it true, but not without fear of the contrary ; they 
are so rationally convinced of the truth of the gospel that they are 
not able rationally to contradict it ; yea, they can dispute for it, but it 
is but opinion ; they can plead for it, and defend it, as a dead, rotten post 
may support a living tree : yet it doth not sink so deep unto them as 
to enter into the heart : Prov. ii. 10, ' When wisdom entereth into thine 
heart, and knowledge is pleasant to thy soul.' They live in suspense and 
uncertainty in matters of religion, and do not know aX??0&>?, * Surely, 
that Christ came out from God : ' John xvii. 8, and acr^aXw?, Acts ii. 36, 
' Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that 
same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ/ 

[3d] There is a higher degree, and that is dogmatical faith or a 


naked assent unto, or a persuasion of the truth of God's word ; but it 
is such an enlightening as is without taste and without power ; it 
worketh no thorough change in the heart or practice : as many men 
that make no doubt of the truth of the gospel, yet do not feel the power 
of it. This is spoken of, James ii. 19, 20, ' Thou believest that there 
is one God, thou dost well ; the devils also believe and tremble. But 
wilt thou know, vain man, that faith without works is dead ' ? They 
have so much light as may disturb their peace, but not so much as 
doth comfort the conscience and overpower their carnal affections. 
Well then, this is not it that must be mingled with the word ; not the 
word and conjecture ; not the word and opinion ; not the word and 
dogmatical faith that rests in a dead naked assent, but it must be a 
believing with all the heart, a cordial assent : Acts viii. 37, ' If thou 
believest with all thy heart, thou mayest be baptized.' 

[4th.] There is presumption, or a snatching at the promises, without 
considering the terms. There is no man that hath a conscience, and 
some loose persuasion of the truths of the gospel, but he apprehends 
it to be a good word, suitable to the necessities and desires of a 
guilty and indigent creature ; but it hath no prevailing efficacy to purge 
the heart and subdue him to God : Micah iii. 11, ' Yet they will lean 
upon the Lord and say, Is not the Lord among us ? none evil shall come 
upon us.' The leaning of a carnal presumer, and the leaning of a 
broken heart, differ, as the leaning of a drunkard that is not able to go 
alone, and the leaning of a wounded man that is ready to faint. Now 
a man that in compassion would lend his arm to one wounded, and whose 
life is dropping out by degrees, would not lend his arm to a reeling 
drunkard that is defiled with his own vomit ; so the claims of mercy 
that a bold sinner maketh to the grace of God in Christ are rejected, 
when the dependence of a broken-hearted creature is justified. We 
have a comfortable promise : Ps. 1. 15, ' Call upon me in the day of 
trouble, and I will deliver thee ; ' but a guard is set about it, that no 
disobedient wretch should gather its sweet fruit : vers. 16,17,' But unto 
the wicked, God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or 
that thou shouldest take my covenant into thy mouth, seeing thou hatest 
instruction, and castest my words behind thee ? ' The like you have in 
Ps. Ixviii. 19, 20, Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with 
his benefits, even the God of our salvation, Selah. He that is our 
God is the God of salvation, and unto God the Lord belong the 
issues from death.' We can never speak enough of the mercy of God 
to poor broken-hearted sinners ; it is here twice repeated ; but bold 
and daring sinners, that continue in their rebellion and enmity against 
God, have no share in it, nor can they lay claim to it ; ver. 21, ' But 
God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such 
a one as goeth on still in his trespasses.' Christians that live loosely, 
as pagans, they shall not find grace to be a sanctuary to them. It was 
Origen's answer to Celsus, who said that Christianity was a sanctuary 
for wicked profligate persons, No ! saith he, it is not a sanctuary 
for them, but an hospital to cure them. 

2d What is the true faith that must be mingled with the word ? 

[1st.] It is a lively faith, or assent to the doctrine of God. The 
scripture speaketh of a dead faith ; James ii. 20 ; and a lively faith, 

VOL. xv. L 


and of a lively hope : 1 Peter i. 3, ' Who hath begotten us again unto 
a lively hope "; ' such as quickens them to the use of all due means to 
attain what they believe and hope for: Acts xxiv. 14-16, 'But 
this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, 
so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which 
are written in the law and the prophets: and have hope towards 
God, which they themselves also allow ; that there shall be a resur 
rection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. And herein do I 
exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward 
God and toward men.' A drowsy inattentive assent prevaileth noth 
ing, but such as hath life and affection in it. To many faith is no 
more than non-denial, or a negative assent ; they do not contradict 
the truth, but it doth not affect the heart, and excite them to pur 
sue and look after the things represented to them. Faith is acted 
and exercised about what we hear, as about matters wherein we 
are deeply concerned. It is not enough to have faith, but it must 
be exercised and put forth such a faith as engrafteth the word into 
us : James i. 21, * Eeceive with meekness the engrafted word, which is 
able to save your souls.' It is not only pleased with the notions as 
matter of opinion, but receiveth and layeth up the word as the seed of 
life , yea, changeth the disposition of the soul into the nature of the 
word : Horn. vi. 17, ' But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of 
sin ; but ye have obeyed from the heart the form of doctrine which was 
delivered to you,' eZ? ov Trape^od^re TVTTOV StSa^}?, into which form of 
doctrine ye were delivered ; its lively character is enstamped upon us : 
2 Peter i. 4, ' Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious 
promises, that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature/ 
What effect hath the word upon the soul, to transform us into the 
image of God ? 

[2d] It is an applicative faith. We do not only believe God's word 
and all things contained therein, to be a truth, but we believe it as a 
truth that concerneth us in particular, and thereupon apply it to our 
selves. Meat will feed, if it be eaten ; water will quench thirst, if we 
drink it, and receive it into our bodies ; yet if we neither eat the one, 
nor drink the other, we may perish for hunger and thirst. So the 
applying and urging the heart with the word preached doth profit us : 
Job v. 27, ' Hear it, and know thou it for thy good ; ' and Kom. viii. 
31, ' What shall we then say to these things? ' and Heb. ii. 3, ' How 
shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation ? ' 

[3d] It is an obediential confidence, such as doth not take one part 
of the word and set it against the other; the precept against the pro 
mise, or the promise against the precept, that hope to take liberty now 
and then, to break a commandment without forfeiting a claim to the 
promises ; or, like mountebanks, that drink poison in confidence of an 
antidote : Kom. vi. 1, 2, ' What shall we say then ? shall we continue 
in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid ! how shall we that are 
dead to sin live any longer therein ? ' They are not encouraged to 
duty, but to sin by hopes of grace : Jude 4, Turning the grace of God 
into lasciviousness ; ' these debauch the principles of the gospel. It 
teacheth other things, where it is rightly apprehended: Titus ii. 11, 
12, 4 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation, hath appeared unto 
all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts we 


should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world ; ' others 
.are not sensible of the necessity of yielding obedience to God. 

Secondly, The necessity of this mixture in order to profit. This I 
shall make good, for otherwise the ends of the gospel cannot be obtain 
ed. I prove it thus 

1. It is agreeable to the wisdom of God, that as there should be a 
means to offer, so there should be a means to receive his grace. The 
word doth only offer grace, but it is faith doth receive it ; therefore, as 
without the word there can be no faith, so without faith the word can 
have no power. To a good crop, or a fruitful harvest, there is required, 
not only good seed, but subactum solum, a prepared soil and ground, 
Mat. xiii. The seed was the same, but the ground was different : some 
fell on the highway, some on the stony ground, some on the thorny 
ground, some on the good ground, which only thrived and prospered : 
ver. 23, ' He that receiveth the seed into the good ground, is he that 
heareth the word, and understandeth it, which also beareth fruit, and 
bringeth forth, some an hundred, some sixty, some thirty-fold.' Well 
then, there must be receiving as well as offering, and a kindly receiv 
ing. A plaster doth not heal at a distance till it be applied to the sore. 
It is our souls were wounded, and our souls must have the cure ; the 
light that illuminateth must shine into the place that is enlightened ; 
the life that quickeneth must be in the substance which is quickened 
by it. If the bare discovery and offer of grace, without the applying 
of grace, or receiving of grace, were enough, the gospel would save all 
alike, the despisers of it as well as those that submit to it. Therefore 
there must be receiving ; Christ must not only be offered, but received : 
John i. 12, 'To as many as received him, to them gave he power to 
become the sons of God.' And the covenant is not only tendered to 
us, but accepted by us : Acts ii. 41, * Then they that gladly received 
his word were baptized/ Blood shed will not avail us, unless it be 
blood sprinkled : Heb. xii. 24, ' And to the blood of sprinkling, that 
speaketh better things than the blood of Abel/ Christ's making the 
atonement is not effectual to salvation, unless it be received, owned, 
and applied : Kom. v. 11, ' We joy in God through our Lord Jesus 
Christ, by whom we have received the atonement/ General grace 
must some way be made particular, or else it cannot profit us. Christ 
doth not save us at a distance, but as received into our hearts, or else 
why are not all justified, all adopted, all saved ? There is the same 
merciful God, the same sufficient Saviour, the same gracious covenant : 
the reason is, some apply this grace, others do not : Eph. i. 13, ' After 
ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation/ It is not 
enough to know the gospel to be a doctrine of salvation in the general, 
but we must look to this, that it be a doctrine of salvation to ourselves 
in particular.* What doth it profit us, if it be a doctrine of salvation 
to others, and not to ourselves ? therefore we must receive and apply 
the promises to our own souls, that they may stir up joy, and thank 
fulness, and praise, and may quicken and enliven our obedience, and 
in time our interest in them may be determined to our joy and comfort. 

2. That the proper grace to receive is faith. Here I shall show 

El.] The necessity of it. 
2.] The efficacy of it, that without it the ends of the gospel cannot 


be obtained ; that by it they are powerfully and effectually obtained. 

First, The necessity of it, because without it the ends of the gos 
pel cannot be obtained ; and this with respect to God, Christ, the gos 
pel, or Christian religion, and the believer himself. 

1. With respect to God. Holiness and love to God is required sub 
ratione finis, and faith sub ratione medii, as a means to make us holy 
and to love God. That this is the great end of the gospel institution 
is plain from scripture : 1 Tim. i. 5, ' Now the end of the command 
ment is charity, out of a pure heart and a good conscience, and faith 
unfeigned.' The end and scope of the gospel is love to God, and faith 
in Christ our Redeemer is the great means which conduceth to it. So 
Christ giveth us an account of the words which he heard from his Father ; 
and the sum of it is, that our great duty is that we love God, and our 
great happiness to be beloved by him, John xiv. 21-23. The gospel 
revelation was set up for this end and purpose, to represent to us the 
goodness and amiableness of God, that he might be more lovely to us 
and be loved by us. The great design of reconciling and saving lost 
man by Christ, and his wonderful condescension in his incarnation, life, 
sufferings, and death, is all to reveal this love of God in Christ, and to 
work up our hearts to love God again. To this end also tend his mer 
ciful covenant and promises, all the benefits given to his church, and 
the privileges of the saints, the Spirit, pardon, peace, glory ; all these 
tend to warm our hearts with love to God ; and faith is appointed to 
look upon all these, to consider them, and improve them : Gal. v. 6, 
' Faith worketh by love.' The principal use of faith is to kindle the 
love of God in our souls, that knowing and believing the love which God 
hath to us in Christ, we may love him again, and thankfully obey him. 
Now if this be not enough to you, take an argument or two, thus 

If the great end of Christ's coming is to bring us to God : 1 Peter 
iii. 18, ' For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the 
unjust, that he might bring us to God;' John xiv. 6,' Jesus saith 
unto him, I am the way, and the truth and the life ; no man cometh 
to the Father but by me ;' and Heb. vii. 25, ' Wherefore he is able to 
save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him/ I say, if 
this be the end of Christ's coming, to bring us to God that is, to turn 
us in heart and life to him from whom we had fallen, surely love to 
God is the great end of the Christian religion ; and therefore faith, 
which is to receive and improve it, is the means to this end. 

Again, if heaven and eternal blessedness be but perfect love, then 
the end of the gospel is love; for the gospel is appointed to make us 
everlastingly happy. Therefore was it written, therefore did the Son 
of God come to bring us to this perfect estate. But now heaven is 
but the love of God, and perfection in holiness; and to be blessed in 
heaven is to be happy in the perfect love of God, to see' him as he is, 
and to be like him. A perfect love to God is maintained by perfect 
vision, and on our part a perfect receiving his love to us. Then surely 
that is the end,, and faith is the means, to take notice of, and be per 
suaded of the love of God that shineth to us so gloriously in Christ. 

Well now, how can the end of the gospel be obtained, which is to 
love God, and be beloved of him, if either we have no faith, and do not 
believe this wonderful demonstration of God's love in Christ ; or but 
a dead faith, and do but slightly reflect upon it, with cold and narrow 


thoughts ? surely, though the gospel be such a notable institution to 
teach us the art of loving God, and so sovereign a remedy against our 
corrupt self-love, yet it will not profit unless it be mixed with faith in 
the hearing 

2. With respect to Christ, who in the gospel is represented as 
clothed with the office of a mediator between God and us, which he 
executeth in that three-fold function of a prophet, priest, and king. Now 
the great duty of the gospel is to own him in all these, and to submit 
to him, that they may have their perfect effect upon us. To hear him 
as a prophet: Mat. xvii, 5, ' This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well 
pleased ; hear ye him.' To receive him as lord and king: Col. ii. 6, 
' As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him/ 
Consider him as a priest: Heb. iii. 1, ' Consider the apostle and high- 
priest of our profession, Jesus Christ/ Now, how can any of this be 
done without faith, or a sound belief that he is the Son of God, that 
cometh in all these qualities to us ? Can we learn of him whom we 
take to be a deceiver ? or obey him whom we believe not to be our true 
and rightful Lord ? and if we believe not his merits and sacrifice as a 
priest, can we be comforted with his glorious promises and covenant, 
and come to God with the more boldness and hope of mercy upon that 
account, especially in a dying hour ? Surely Christ must lie by, and 
the fruits of his offices be neglected, unless we believe that he is 
authorised and fitted for all these things ; that he is the teacher sent 
from God to show us the way of life ; that his sacrifice offered through 
the eternal Spirit is of full merit and value to expiate our sins ; and 
that he is lord of life and glory, and able to protect us till he hath 
brought us to heaven : 2 Tim. i. 12, ' I know whom 1 have believed, and 
1 am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed 
unto him against that day.' We must be persuaded of his authority, 
sufficiency, readiness, willingness to do us good, before we can trust 
ourselves and our eternal interests in his hands. Who will take physic 
of a physician that he trusteth not ? or go to sea with a pilot whose 
skill he questioneth ? Surely before we can heartily consent, or re 
solvedly put ourselves into his hands, to be reconciled to God, and 
saved from sin and punishment, and finally brought to perfect happiness 
and glory, we must be persuaded what he is, and that he is able to do 
all this for us : Mat. ix. 28, * Believe ye then that I am able to do 
this ? ' Christ puts the question to the blind men ; they answer, ' Yea, 
Lord/ So when you consider of Christ's glorious offices, and the 
blessed effects of them, think you that he is able to do these things. 
Pose your hearts, will he indeed show me the way to heaven ? hath 
he paid such a ransom for my captive soul ? will he protect me so 
powerfully in the way of salvation ? let faith work such a thorough 
persuasion of his ability and fidelity, as may extort a full resignation 
from you of yourselves into his hands, that by his own methods he 
may lead you to everlasting glory. 

3. With respect to the word itself, or those sacred oracles wherein 
the gospel or the Christian religion is contained, you will see the truths 
there recorded cannot well be apprehended and digested without faith, 
because there are things written which do concern matters past, present 
and to come ; and all these have difficulties which can be only removed 
by faith. 


[1.] Matters past; as the creation of the world; the providence of 
God towards his church and people throughout all successions of fore 
going ages, till the scriptures were written and completed ; the keeping 
of the promise of the Messiah still a-foot till his coming in the flesh ; 
the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These were 
things of necessity to be confined to some determinate time and place , 
it was not necessary that Christ should be always dying and always 
rising, in every age and place, and in the view of every man. These 
things can therefore only be apprehended by faith, for we saw them 
riot ; they are believed upon some competent and sufficient testimony. 

[2.] Things present are those which concern our present duty ; sup 
pose accepting of Christ and self-denying obedience, both require faith, 
vea, a strong faith. 

(I.) The accepting of Christ for our Lord and Saviour. Now this 
is hard, yea, impossible to be done, without a sound persuasion of the 
truth of that doctrine which concerneth our redemption by Christ; 
for this is a rare and wonderful mystery ; 1 Tim. iii. 16, ' Great is the 
mystery of godliness.' Those natural apostles, which are gone forth 
into all lands to preach up an infinite and eternal power, I mean the 
sun, moon, and stars, these natural preachers are dumb and silent, say 
not a word concerning Christ, or God manifested in the flesh. Angels 
could not find out this mystery by all their excellency of wisdom and 
knowledge ; but they admire it, as they study it, and see it in God's dis 
pensations 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 ; ' and 1 Peter i. 12, ' Which 
things the angels desire to look into.' Yea > the blessed virgin, when 
a messenger was sent from heaven to tell her of this mystery, though 
an extraordinary messenger, and she so nearly concerned, said t Luke i. 
34, ' How shall this be ? ' The conception of a virgin, the death of 
the Son of God, who was life itself, are not matters so easily apprehended 
and improved, unless the Lord give us faith. How can we build upon 
this foundation with any confidence ? 

(2.) Self-denying obedience. Men are addicted to their own wills 
and lusts, and will not easily suffer themselves to be persuaded to 
change heart and life, especially when this change is like to cost them 
dear in the world, and they must forfeit those things which they see 
and love for a God and glory which they never saw. Naturally the 
spirits of men are yokelessand libertine : Ps. ii. 3, ' Let us break their 
bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.' And when 
temptations come, we consult with the flesh, and so will not easily be 
lieve the necessity of this self-denying obedience, but cavil and wriggle, 
and distinguish ourselves out of our duty. Unless a firm assent lay a 
strong obligation upon us, we shall cast off yoke after yoke, till we leave 
Christ but an empty name. 

[3.] Things future in the unseen world. We have to do with an 
invisible God, who hath propounded hopes in an invisible world. Now 
what shall we do without faith, which is 'the evidence of things not 
seen/ Heb. xi. 1. We are apt to take up with things present, and are 
little affected with things unseen, and above our senses. Nothing but 
a strong faith will engage us to look after these things, and to venture 
all depending upon these things. 


4. With respect to the party who is to receive these truths, faith is 
necessary ; who may be considered as to his mind, heart, and life, all 
which are to be bettered and profited by the word. 

[l.J As to his mind, which must be enlightened and awakened. 
Corrupt and carnal reason is such a stranger to God and heavenly things 
that unless the Lord give us a new light, which may direct and quicken 
us, we shall not much mind either God or heaven. Therefore for our 
cure the understanding must be enlightened and awakened, and it is 
both by faith. 

(1.) Enlightened rightly to the discerning of these things: 1 Cor. ii. 
14, ' The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for 
they are foolishness unto him ; neither can he know them, because they 
are spiritually discerned.' Supernatural matters must be discerned by 
a supernatural light, spiritual matters by a spiritual light ; other things 
are determined by sense and reason, but our light in these things is by 
faith, by which we see those excellent and high things which are above 
the reach of the natural man. It serveth for the government of the 
soul, as the eye for the body ; by it we see God : Heb. xi. 27, ' By faith 
he saw him that is invisible.' Hereby we see Christ : John, vi. 40, 
' That every one that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have 
everlasting life ; ' and we see heaven : 1 Cor. iv. 18, ' While we look 
not to the things which 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.' Till God openeth the eye of our minds, we neither 
see God : Heb. xi. 6, ' Without faith it is impossible to please God ; 
for he that cometh to God must believe that he is ; ' nor do we see Christ : 
1 Peter ii. 7, * Unto you therefore which believe he is precious ; ' nor 
do we see heaven : 2 Peter i. 9, ' Receiving the end of your faith, the 
salvation of your souls.' Therefore must we mind this, to get a spiri 
tual sight ; seriously deal with God about it : Eph. i. 18, * The eyes of 
your understandings being enlightened, that you may know what is the 
hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance 
in the saints.' 

(2.) The understanding or mind must be excited and awakened to 
regard and consider these things which we see and are convinced of. 
For otherwise, in seeing we see not, and in hearing we hear not. As 
when you tell a man of a business whose mind is taken up about other 
things, he mindeth it not, regardeth it not, or carrieth himself as if he 
minded it not. They do not think of God, and Christ, and heavenly 
things ; they mourn for sin as if they mourned not, rejoice in God as 
if they rejoiced not, seek after heaven as if they sought not after 
it. Now to cure this inadvertency, or to bring us to a more attentive 
consideration of these things, requireth a lively faith. The same light 
and Spirit that doth open the eyes of the mind to discern heavenly things 
doth also awaken us to the minding of them : Acts xvi. 14, ' Whose 
heart the Lord opened, that she attended to the things that were spoken 
of Paul.' Many precious truths lie by, and are lost for want of con 
sideration. Non-attendency is the bane of the professing world : Mat. 
xxii. 5, ' They made light of it ; ' when men will not suffer their minds 
to dwell upon these things, that they may consider what is true misery, 
and what is true happiness. 


[2.] That which is next to be considered in the entertainment of 
truth, or of the gospel is the heart, which is to be subdued to God: 
Horn, vi. 17, ' But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin ; 
but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was 
delivered to yon.' Now how shall this be done without faith ? to gain 
the heart to a holy and heavenly life, which is naturally so averse from 
it. The credulity and belief required of Christians is as the matters 
which are presented to our belief. Christianity, which is mostly con 
versant about things practical, must be received not only with the mind, 
but the heart : Kom. x. 9, 10, ' If thou shalt confess with thy mouth 
the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart, that God raised him 
from the dead, thou shalt be saved ; for with the heart man belie veth 
unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto sal 
vation ; ' so Acts viii. 37, ' If thou believest with all thy heart thou 
niayest be baptized.' You must receive the truth in the love of it : 
2 Thes. ii. 10, ' They received not the love of the truth, that they might 
be saved.' That which was made for the heart must be admitted into 
the heart ; till it is there it is not in its proper place, it is rejected 
where it seemeth to be received. For if you be convinced of the truths 
of the gospel, and do not admit them to come into your hearts, you 
are false to them and yourselves, and cannot expect they should 
profit you. This is the difference between the unsanctified and the 
regenerate : the one receiveth the truth in the light of it, by a mere 
speculation, but shuts up his heart against it ; the other receiveth it 
in the love of it, openeth his heart to it, and admitteth it to its proper 
place and work ; the one imprisoneth it in unrighteousness, the other 
entertaineth it with love and regard. Now this is the true receiving, 
and that which is proper to faith, to receive all holy truths with a 
practical intent, to work them upon your hearts according to their 
nature, weight, and use. Now if it be so, we may see how little we 
profit by the gospel till we mingle it with faith in the hearing; ithat 
is, so apprehend and believe the truth as to get the heart affected with it. 

[3.] The life is bettered and overruled by the word received. For a 
believer is to be considered as to his head, heart, and life. When the 
mind is enlightened and the heart sanctified, the truth is to break out 
into the conversation ; the life must be holy and obedient : 1 Peter i. 
14, 15, 'As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to 
the former lusts in your ignorance. But as he which hath called you 
is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.' Now how shall 
this be done without faith ? By a lively faith it may be done. How 
dare you neglect Christ if you believe that he is the Son of God, who 
must be your judge? or indulge the flesh, be mindless of heavenly 
things, if you believe the necessity of self-denial, and the reality of the 
world to come ? There is a great deal of difference between the name, 
title, and profession of a believer, and the real efficacy of true faith. 
A true believer is to get the truth of the gospel into his mind, heart, 
and life ; that truth which enlighteneth his mind, doth also purify his 
heart : Acts xv, 9, ' Purifying their hearts by faith : ' so that by it not 
only mistakes are discovered, but lusts subdued. And it doth not only 
purify the heart, but overcome the world ; 1 John v. 4, ' This is the 
victory whereby we overcome the world, even our faith.' And it pro- 


duceth a good conversation, not discouraged with tribulations, nor 
diverted from the pursuit of eternal happiness by the baits and allure 
ments of the flesh. Yea, it putteth us upon a bold and an open pro 
fession of the name of Christ, and respect to his ways, however dis 
countenanced in the world: 2 Cor. iv. 13, * We having the same spirit 
of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I 
spoken ; we also believe, and therefore speak/ Now this being the 
case of the person who is to receive and entertain the gospel, to receive 
it into his mind, and heart, and life, certainly there is a necessity of 
faith, for it is the office of faith to do all these things. 

Secondly, The efficacy of faith. To this end I shall show 

1. That all efficacy is ascribed to faith. 

2. Whence it hath its power and force. 

[1.] That all efficacy is ascribed to faith ; for till the gospel be 
owned as a divine and infallible truth, it hath no effect upon us : 
1 Thes. ii. 13, ' Ye received the word of God, which ye heard of us, 
not as the word of men, but (as it is in truth) the word of God, which 
effectually worketh also in you that believe/ The truths of the gospel 
concerning God, Christ, sin, grace, hell, and heaven, are of such weight 
and moment as that they might move a rock ; yet they shake not, they 
stir not the heart of a carnal professor, because they receive the word 
in word only ; but where it is received in faith, it is not received in 
word only, but in power. And there it worketh effectually : 1 Thes. 
i. 5, ' Our gospel came not to you in word only, but also in power, and 
in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance/ To believe the truth of 
God's word is the ready way to make it effectual ; it is slighted, because 
it is not credited. A man may give high and cogent reasons against 
his lusts, and yet follow them, if the truth be not rooted in his heart. 
All graces are set a-work by faith, as reverence to the word ; some 
* tremble at the word' when it convinceth of sin, Isa. Ixvi. 2, because 
they know it is the word by which they shall be judged at the last day : 
so for repentance ; some humble themselves at God's warnings and 
threatenings, it is the fruit of their faith ; Jonah iii. 5, ' The people of 
Nineveh believed God and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth/ 
Some prize Christ as he is offered in the new covenant, but this is 
from faith : 1 Peter ii. 7, ' To you that believe he is precious/ When 
faith representeth him in all his loveliness, then the soul prizeth him. 
Some are ready to the duties enjoined : Ps, cxix. 66, ' I have believed 
thy commandments/ Faith doth all, and enliveneth all truths, and 
rnaketh them operative. 

[2.] Whence hath faith this power ? 

(1.) Because it qualifieth us for the gift of the Holy Spirit : Gal, iii. 
14, ' That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith ; ' 
and John vii. 39, ' This he spake of the Spirit, which they that believe 
in him should receive/ The Spirit begets faith and actuateth faith, 
and then faith doth enliven all truths. 

(2.) From the matter propounded to faith and apprehended by it, 
which is God's word, and hath a stamp of his wisdom, goodness, and 
power. left upon it. There we see his divine authority, charging and 
commanding us under pain of his displeasure to mind and regard such 
things. It is the Lord hath spoken it: 1 Thes. ii. 13, ' Ye received 


it not as the word of men, but (as it is in truth) the word of God, 
which effectually worketh also in them that believe/ And it is en 
forced upon us in the most strong and potent way of argumentation, 
as from the equity and excellency of what he hath commanded : Hosea 
viii. 12, ' I have written to them the great things of my law, but they 
were counted as a strange thing , ' from his great love in Christ : 2 Cor. 
v. 14, 'The love of Christ constraineth us;' from the strict day of 
accounts, as we will answer it to him another day : Rom. ii. 16, ' In 
the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, ac 
cording to my gospel ; ' from the importance and unspeakable concern 
ment of those things to us, our salvation or damnation depending 
thereupon : Mark xvi. 16, 'He that belie veth and is baptized shall be 
saved ; but lie that believeth not shall be damned.' The danger of 
refusing him is no less than everlasting death, and the happiness of 
complying with his motions no less than everlasting life and complete 
blessedness. Now everlasting life and death being in the case, we had 
need be serious. 

(3.) The way of faith's working about these things. The apprehen 
sion is clear, the consideration serious, the assent strong, the application 
close, so that men are pierced to the quick where this faith prevaileth, 
and are deeply affected with what they hear.. The apprehension is clear : 
Heb. xi. 1, ' Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence 
of things not seen.' The consideration serious ; they attend, they search : 
Acts xvii. 11, ' They searched the scriptures daily.' The assent strong : 
Acts ii. 36, * Let the house of Israel know assuredly ; ' and John xvii. 8, 
' They have known surely.' And the application close: Rom. viii. 31, 
' What shall we say to these things ' ? 

Obj. How can faith be necessary to make the word effectual, since 
itself cometh by hearing, and is ordinarily wrought by the word : 
Rom. x. 17, ' So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word 
of God'? 

Ans At first God by his preventing grace taketh hold of the heart, 
and maketh it to believe ; as at the first creation light was made before 
the sun ; and the first man was made out of the dust of the ground, 
afterwards he propagateth and bringeth forth after his kind ; so that 
the first work might be exempted from the common rule, yet not the 
subsequent works. 

2. Even then there is a faith wrought in and by the hearing, as the 
gospel doth propound and make known to the understanding the object 
of saving faith ; the Lord doth at the same time work the grace of 
faith in the hearts of the elect : Acts xvi. 14, * And a certain woman 
named Lydia. a seller of purple, which worshipped God, heard us, whose 
heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things spoken by 
Paul.' Without this the word would not profit. 

3. One faith maketh way for another, the dogmatical faith for the 
saving faith, and common and general grace for a particular and saving 
work of God's Spirit ; as the priming of the post maketh it receptive 
of other colours. 

Use 1. Is information, to show the reason why there is so little 
profiting under so much means ; thereis no faith, the cause is from 
ourselves or in ourselves. Alas! we may complain: Isa. liii. 1, 'Who 


liath believed our report?' Most men Lave not that general 
faith so as to incline their hearts anct ears to take notice of what God 

Use 2. Is reproof of divers sorts. 

1. Some do not hear ; they neglect the seasons of grace, and refuse 
to come there where the sound of the gospel may be heard ; whereas 
we are commanded ' to be swift to hear/ James i. 19. Others sleep 
while the word is preaching ; as Eutychus fell asleep ' While Paul 
was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the 
third story, and was taken up dead/ Acts xx. 9. It was a sin, and 
God punished him, though he was a youth, and the sermon was after 
supper, and of great length, even till midnight; it was an infirmity, 
but infirmities are punished by God. Others talk, or suffer their minds 
to be diverted by every trifle: Ezek. xxxiii. 31, ' And they come unto 
thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and 
they hear thy words, but they will not do them ; for with their mouth 
they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness ; ' 
as a child's eye is off his book if a butterfly do but come by. The 
devil findeth them other work ; how often do we mingle sulphur witli 
our incense ! Those that hear in jest will find hell hot in good earnest. 
Well then, Rev. ii. 7, 'He that hath an ear, let him hear what the 
Spirit saith to the churches/ 

2. Some do not understand what is outwardly heard by the ears of 
the body : Mat. xiii. 19, 'When anyone heareth the word of the king 
dom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and 
catcheth away that which was sown in his heart;' and Jer. v. 21, 
' Hear now this, foolish people, and without understanding ! which 
have eyes and see not, which have ears and hear not.' 

3. Some do not believe what they understand ; that is the great 
requisite, Acts. xv. 7, ' That the gentiles by my mouth should hear the 
word of the gospel and believe/ 

4. Some do not obey what they seem to believe : Rom. x. 16, ' But 
they have not all obeyed the gospel ; for Esaias saith, Lord, who hath 
believed our report ? ' and Mat. vii. 26, 27, ' And every one that heareth 
these sayings of mine, and doth them not, shall be likened unto 'a 
foolish man that built his house upon the sand ; and the rain descended, 
and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, 
and it fell, and great was the fall of it/ 

5. Some do not persevere in what they undertake to obey : Deut. v. 
27-29, 'Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say, 
and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto 
thee, and we will hear it, and do it. And the Lord heard the voice of 
your words, when ye spake unto me; and the Lord said unto me, I 
have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have 
spoken unto thee ; they have well said all that they have spoken. Oh 
that there were such an heart in them that they would fear me, and 
keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them 
and with their children for ever/ 

Use 3. Is to press and excite you 

First, In the general, to entertain the gospel with a sound and 
lively faith. 


1. Without it there is no sin to be conquered. The first sin was 
unbelief: Gen. iii. 1, 'Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every 
tree of the garden ? ' and still unbelief is the cause of transgressing, 
for the flesh is importunate to be pleased, and the temptations of the 
world will hurry us to evil : Heb. iii. 12, ' Take heed, brethren, lest 
there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the 
living God.' The flesh is fed with the baits of sense, but the spirit is 
encouraged and strengthened by the supports of faith. 

2. Without it no grace can be thoroughly exercised : Heb. xi. 6, 
' Without faith it is impossible to please God.' All graces are set a- 
work by faith ; repentance : Jonah iii. 5, ' The people of Nineveh be 
lieved God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth.' To believe 
the truth of God's word when it is spoken is the ready way to make it 
effectual. Their repentance was no more than legal, but it was as 
good as their faith was. All is quiet in the soul, no news of repentance, 
nor noise of any complaining against sin, till faith sets the conscience 
a-work ; so there is no prizing of Christ without faith. He and all his 
graces lie by as a neglected thing till we believe : 1 Peter ii. 7, ' To 
them that believe he is precious.' When faith represents him in his 
loveliness to the soul, then the affections are stirred. 

3. No worship can be seriously performed without it. For prayer : 
Ps. Ixv. 2, ' thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come/ 
When we believe him to be a God hearing prayer, then we come cheer 
fully into his presence. ISo for hearing the word, it is this bindeth the 
ear to hear: Acts x. 33, ' We are all here present before God, to hear 
all things that are commanded thee of God ; ' and it bindeth the heart 
to reverence : Isa. Ixvi. 2, ' To him will I look, who is of a humble 
and contrite heart, and trembleth at my word.' 

4. Without it no acts of justice and mercy can be well done: Acts 
xxiv. 14-16, ' But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which 
they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all 
things which are written in the law and the prophets ; and have hope 
towards God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a 
resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust. And here 
in do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence to 
ward God and toward men.' 

But how shall we do to get this faith ? 

[1.] Beg it of God, it is his gift : Eph. ii. 8, ' By grace ye are saved, 
through faith ; and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God.' He 
must open the eyes of our minds: Eph. i. 17, 18, "That the God of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the 
spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him ; the eyes of 
your understandings being enlightened, that ye may know what is the 
hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance 
in the saints.' 

[2.] Study the grounds of faith. Many truths revealed in scripture 
are agreeable to the light of nature, and known by it ; as that there is 
one God, the first cause of all things, of infinite' power, wisdom, and 
goodness ; that it is reasonable that he should be worshipped and 
served, and that according to his will ; that we have faulted with him, 
and have rebelled against his will declared in his law, and so are ob- ' 


noxious to his wrath and displeasure ; that reasonable creatures have 
immortal souls, and die riot as the brute beasts ; that true happiness 
is not found in those things wherein men ordinarily seek it, namely, in 
things grateful to the animal life; all these things, and such like, 
nature teacheth. The business of the Christian religion must needs lie 
in three things. 

(1.) In declaring to us more fully the nature, will, and worship of 

(2.) In rinding out a remedy for the fall, or expiating the faults 
and sins of men, which is done by the incarnation, death, and resur 
rection of Christ. 

(3.) In propounding a fit happiness for an immortal soul. Now 
think with yourselves with what congruity and evidence these things 
are done in the gospel ; here are prophecies to usher in this doctrine, 
miracles to confirm it, valuable testimony to recommend it to us ; and 
how agreeable all these are to the nature of God and our necessities. 

[3.] Attend upon the means whereby faith is wrought, as the min 
istry of the word : 1 Cor. iii. 5, ' Who is Paul, and who is Apollos, but 
ministers by whom ye believed ? ' There is some consideration or other 
given out to beget or strengthen our faith, for God is not wanting to 
his ordinances, and we go on by degrees in believing, the sincere soul 
still finding more evidence in the word continually, and more experi 
ence in his own heart : John v. 10, ' He that believeth on the Son of 
God hath the witness in himself.' 

[4.] Get a prepared heart. To this end 

(1.) See that there be no carnal bias : John v. 44, ' How can ye be 
lieve that seek honour one of another, and seek not the honour that 
cometh from God only ? ' Indulgence to any sensual affection, to the 
honours, riches, and pleasures of the world, maketh men unfit either to 
believe or consider the truths of the gospel. 

(2.) Let there be no wilful, heinous sin : 1 Tim. iii. 9, ' Holding the 
mystery of faith in a pure conscience.' Men are loth to believe to their 
torment, as malefactors cannot endure to think of the assizes. An 
honest and good heart doth best receive the good seed. Sin doth 
weaken our faith, and wilful sins breed horror in our minds, and make 
us wish the gospel were not true, that there were no God, no day of 
judgment, no hell for the wicked and ungodly , if so ; then it is your 
interest to be an unbeliever. 

[5.] Are you willing or unwilling to believe ? If willing, wait upon 
God, he will not fail the waiting soul : John i. 17, ' Grace and truth 
came by Jesus Christ;' if unwilling, Christ will not give his grace to 
them that despise it, or make folks believe whether they will or no, or 
when they had rather not believe ; or if God out of his secret grace 
will surprise you, you cannot expect it. 

Secondly, In every particular message that is brought to you in the 
way of an ordinance, regard God's providence in it, Christ hath a 
greater share in it than the teacher. Kemember now that in every 
important truth your faith is tried : John xi. 26, ' Believest thou this?' 
and ia every duty pressed your obedience is tried. Now let faith be 
lively and applicative, and the closer the application the better. The 
promise of pardon and life is universal, and includeth you as well as 


others, if you will believe in Christ, for all true believers shall be saved ; 
but this is to excite your faith and obedience, not to assure your in 
terest, which dependeth upon your sincerity in faith, love and obedience. 
There is the application of faith and the application of assurance. 
The application of faith is a particular application of Christ and the 
promise to ourselves, so as to excite us to look after the benefits and 
ends for which Christ is appointed : Acts xiii. 26, ' To you is the word 
of this salvation sent.' It is our duty to make general grace partic 
ular. The application of assurance is, when I actually determine that 
my own sins are pardoned, that I am adopted into God's family, and 
appointed to eternal life, which cannot be without some sense of my 
sincerity, because the promises of God require a qualification and per 
formance of duty in the party to whom the promise is made : 1 John 
iii. 14, ' We know that we have passed from death unto life, because 
we love the brethren.' And as you are to stir up your faith, so you 
are to set about the duties which the word calleth for. On the first 
opportunity fall a-practising, for this is a message sent from God to 
try your obedience ; by doing this continually you will insensibly 
habituate yourselves to the practice of godliness, and so grow up into 
comfort and peace. 

See the Use of Faith in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, handled in the Sermon 
on Heb. xi. 28. 




ON TilE 





MADAM, The known esteem your ladyship had for the reverend 
author, and the kind respects you still bear to his surviving relations, 
gives your lady ship a claim to any of his works. But besides that, the 
right 3 r ou have to a part of this volume makes this public offer of it to 
your ladyship justly necessary, the ' Treatise of Self-denial ' being many 
years since, in the time of your ladyship's widowhood, designed and 
prepared by the author for the press, he intending the dedication of it 
to yourself, which he therefore often called ' My Lady Wharton's book.' 
That copy being lost, the ensuing treatise has been collected from his 
own notes, and therefore is truly his own, though it wants much of that 
exactness it would have had had it been polished by his last hand, and 
so would have been more worthy your ladyship's acceptance. 

What was then so suitable to the circumstances of your ladyship's 
case, the providence of God hath made as seasonable now it is pub 
lished, God having of late called you in a more eminent manner to 
the exercise of this great duty of self-denial by the sad breach he hath 
made in your noble family. Seldom do God's eminent servants pass 
off the stage of this world without some remarkable trials, in which he 
will prove the truth and strength of all their graces, and so not only 
magnify the power of his own grace, in carrying them through such 
temptations, but also evidence the strength of their graces in bearing 
them, for a pattern to those that should hereafter believe in him. 

One branch of self-denial here treated of is the denial of our own 
wills, not only in a subjection to God's laws, but in a submission to his 
providences ; and how congruous and fit a thing is it that the author 
of our beings should govern us and dispose of us according to his own 
pleasure ! Men do what they will with their own ; and God's right to 
them, and to everything that they have, is far more absolute than their 
right can possibly be over themselves, or anything that is theirs ; 
especially when his right to them is what they have owned arid consented 
to when they entered into his covenant, and chose him for their God, 
and gave up themselves and all they had to him to be at his disposal. 
Can it be thought that God deals hardly with any when he takes from 
them, not only what he has given to them, but what they themselves 
have given back to him again in their covenant-engagement ? He is 
a, God, and therefore can do no wrong to his creature ; and he is their 
God, and therefore will do them no harm. As he is a God, he is under 

VOL. xv. M 


no law, but his own nature and will ; and as he is their God, he is 
engaged by covenant to make all occurrences work for their good in 
the issue. And what if God withdraw the endeared objects of their 
affections, that the beams of their love, being contracted, may more 
strongly centre upon his most amiable and blessed self; that the world 
being embittered to them, they may more earnestly long for their 
heavenly country; and that finding the sweetest flowers here to be 
fading and withering, they may loosen their hold of all things here be 
low, and take the faster hold upon God and eternal life. Sure such 
providences ought to be entertained not only with submission, but 

The great and powerful instrument by which God works these blessed 
effects in the hearts of his people is faith, which is a grace of his own 
operation ; that faith which unites the soul to Christ and fetches in 
those supplies from the covenant of grace which are for their support 
arid comfort in all their afflictions : that faith which realiseth the un 
seen glory, presentiateth our future hopes, looketh beyond time to 
eternity, and so deadeneth the heart to all the delights and smooth 
pleasures of sense, and reconcileth it to all the rougher paths of God's 
providences. How excellent, useful, and pleasant a life is this life of 
faith, which the author handles in the other treatise! 

Your ladyship being so well instructed in the school of Christ, hav 
ing for so many years sat under the ministry of the worthy author of 
these following treatises and sermons, I doubt not but your serious 
thoughts have often suggested these and many other such-like consid 
erations for your encouragement and support under God's afflicting 
hand ; and may you every day find more and more relief from them! 
Yet I hope your ladyship will pardon the liberty I have taken of being 
your remembrancer herein, the place in which I have the honour to 
serve your ladyship in your family for so many years obliges me thereto; 
and I am the more encouraged to hope for your favourable acceptance 
hereof, having been a witness of so many instances of your ladyship's 
condescending goodness. 

May the great God of heaven and earth enrich with the choicest 
blessings my noble lord and your ladyship, that you may be examples 
of a holy, self-denying obedience and active faith ; and so by how much 
the more conspicuous you are in that eminent station God hath set 
your honours in, by so much the more useful and exemplary you may 
be to all that are about you. That God would lengthen out both your 
years to further usefulness, and after a long and fruitful life here on 
earth, and a large experience of the goodness of God to yourselves, and 
those that have descended from each of you, you may be gathered into 
God's garner as a full-ripe shock of corn coming in its season. So 
prays, as in duty bound, right honourable your ladyship's most obedient 
servant and chaplain, 




If any man will come after me, let him deny himself. MAT. xvi. 24. 

THE occasion of these words standeth thus : Christ had foretold his 
passion, and Peter taketh offence. The cross though it be the badge 
of Christianity, is always displeasing to flesh and blood, and we dislike 
heaven, not for itself, but for the way we travel to the land of promise, 
through a howling wilderness. Carnal fancy imagineth a path strewed I 
with lilies and roses : we are too tender-footed to think of briers and 
thorns. Peter giveth vent to his distaste by carnal counsel ' Master, 
favour thyself.' Peter's speech to his master is much like the voice of the 
flesh or Satan in our own hearts ; when duty cannot be done without 
difficulty and disadvantages, our carnal hearts say, Favour thyself, let 
this be far from thee. Christ rebuked Peter, or rather the devil in 
Peter * Get thee behind me, Satan.' God's own children may often 
play Satan's game. Peter speaketh out of an innocent affection and 
respect to his Master, and the devil hath a hand in it. And therefore 
it is a high point of spiritual wisdom to be skilled in his enterprises 
' We are not ignorant of his devices,' saith the apostle, 2 Cor. ii. 11. 
The devil turns and winds on every hand ; the same Satan that stirred 
up the high-priests to crucify Christ, sets his own disciple upon him, to 
dissuade him from being crucified. He was afraid of the work of 
redemption, and therefore seeketh either to hinder the sufferings of 
Christ, or to make them so ignominious that the scandal might take 
off from the efficacy. When Christ was upon the cross he playeth the 
same game, but by other instruments : Mat. xxvii. 40, ' If thou be the 
Son of God, come down from the cross/ Though he had our Saviour 
at that pass, yet he was afraid what the work would come to. It is 
very notable that when Christ rebuketh Peter, he doth with the same 
severity check the devil, tempting him to idolatry, and Peter dissuad 
ing him from sufferings ; it is spoken to both, ' Get thee behind me, 
Satan,' compare Mat iv. 10, with ver. 23 of this chapter. So strong 
an inclination had our Lord to die for us, that he looked upon carnal 
pity to his person with the same indignation and scorn which he doth 
upon a temptation to idolatry. However, the condescension and tender 
ness of Christ to his erring disciple is to be observed : he doth not only 
rebuke him, but instruct him, and the rest of his disciples. Thus can 
Christ make an advantage of our failings ; Peter's carnal counsel was 


the occasion of this excellent lesson, which Christ by this means hath for 
ever consigned to the use and profit of the church ' If any man will 
come afterme, let him deny himself.' I shall a little open the words. 
Christ saith, ' If any man/ to show that the (Juty is of an unlimited 
concernment ; it involveth all, whosoever will enter themselves in Christ's 
school, or list themselves in his flock or company ; it doth not only 
concern a few which are called out to be champions for his cause, and to 
expose their bodies to the cruel flames, but ' if any will come after me.' 

(Will, 6e\ei ; the word is emphatical, it noteth the full purpose and 
consent of the will. Whosoever is firmly resolved. ' Come after me ; ' 
as a scholar after his teacher, as a sheep after his shepherd, as a soldier 
after his centurion. Coming after, it is a phrase proper to scholars. 
The phrase showeth the necessity of the duty, unless you will be dis 
claimed as none of my followers. Here Christ would give us the main 

(character of his own disciples. Christianity is a school and sect of 

I men that deny themselves and their own conveniences for Christ's 


'Let him deny himself; ' these are the words which I shall insist 
upon. And in them there are two things to be observed : the act 
* Let him deny ; ' the object * Himself/ 

t 1. For the act, airapvycrdaBa) ; the word being a compound is the 
more emphatical ; it signifieth prorsus negare Let him utterly deny 

! himself. Denial properly belongeth to speeches, but by a metaphor 
it may be also applied to things. To speeches it is proper, as to pro 
positions or requests. In propositions we are said to deny when we 
contradict that which is affirmed ; in requests we deny when we refuse 
to grant what is desired of us. Now by an easy traduction it may 
also be applied to things, which we are said to deny when we neglect, 
slight, or oppose them ; as denying the power of godliness, neglecting 
or opposing it ; though with propriety enough the word may retain its 
original sense, because all things are managed in the heart of man by 
rational debates, counsels, and suggestions, and we are said to deny 
when we refuse to give assent to fleshly dictates and counsels. The 
flesh, or corrupt self, hath its propositions, its motions in the soul ; it 
speaks to us by our own thoughts, and puts us upon this or that work. 
Envy, lust, and corrupt motion have a voice, and an imperious voice, 
too, that grace is much put to it to give a strong negative. Envy bids 
Cain, Go kill thy brother ; ambition bids Absalom rebel against his 
father; covetousness bids Judas betray his Lord and Master; so 

I worldly affection bids us pursue present things with all our might. 
Now because we are wedded to our opinions, and these are the sugges 
tions of our own hearts, therefore they are called self ; and we are said 
to deny when we enter our dissent, and deny the motion. Flesh, what 
have I to do with thee ? I am not ' a debtor to the flesh,' Kom. viii. 12. 
I will hazard all for Christ, and make it my work to get into covenant 
with God. This for the act ' Let him deny.' 

2. The object is the next word to be opened eavrbv, ' Himself/ a 
capacious word, that doth not only involve our persons, but whatever is 
ours, so far as it standeth in opposition to God, or cometh in competi 
tion with him. A man and all his lusts, a man and all his relations ; 
a man and all his interests ; life, and all the appendages of life, is one 


aggregate thing which in scripture is called self. In short, whatsoever 
is of himself, in himself, belonging to himself, as a corrupt or carnal 
man, all that is to be denied. And indeed, every man hath many a 
self within himself ; his lusts are himself ; his life is himself ; his name 
is himself; his wealth, liberty, ease, favour, lands, father, mother, and 
all relations, they are comprised within the term of self. As when our 
Lord explaineth it, Luke xiv. 26, ' If any man will come after me, and 
hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren, 
and - sisters, nay, and his own life, he cannot be my disciple;' pureiv is 
the same with dTrapveio-Oai, hating, it is the same with denying or 
neglecting his duty to them for God's sake, when a higher duty is to 
take place. I confess, among the things which are called self there is 
a difference. 

[1.] Some are absolutely evil, and must be denied without limitation ; j 
as lusts and carnal affections, Tit, ii. 12, which are very properly called ' 
self, because we are as tender of them as of our own souls ; and there 
fore they are expressed by the terms of the ' right hand,' and the ' right 
eye/ Mat. v. 29, 30. A sinner will as soon part with his eyes as with 
his lusts, or the pleasure of his senses. And so they are called 
' members : ' Col. iii. 5, ' Mortify your members, which are on the 
earth.' Sin is riveted in the soul, and it is as irksome to a natural 
heart, to part with any lust, as with a member or joint of the body ; we 
are willing to hold them by as fast and close a tenure as we hold our 
selves ; we startle at a reproof, as if a joint were pricked or touched. 

[2.] Other things are only evil respectively as they prove idols or) 
snares to us ; and so life, and all the ornaments, comforts, and con-i 
veniences of life ; as liberty, honours, wealth, friends, health, they are 
all called self. The reason is, because by love, which is the affection 
of union, they are incorporated with us, and become parts of us : Hosea 
iv. 18, 'Ephraim is joined to idols;' they are cemented with them. 
Now that which is to be denied in these things is not so much the I 
thing itself, but our corruption that mingleth with them, and causethf 
them to become a snare to the soul. 

The point that I shall insist on out of the whole is 

Doct. That it is the duty of all that would be Christ's disciples to 
deny themselves. 

I shall handle the doctrine of self-denial 

1. In general. 

2. In its several kinds and subjective parts. 

First, In general. In managing this argument, I shall use this 
method, viz. 

1. Give the extent of self-denial. 

2. The reasons of this duty, with the most effectual motives and 
arguments of persuasion. 

3. The signs by which we may know whether we omit or practise it. 

4. The helps which the scripture prescribes for our furtherance in 
so great a work. 

First, And as a foundation for all the rest, I shall consider the ex 
tent of this duty, both in regard of the object, or the things which are 
to be denied, and in regard of the subject, or the persons who are to 
practise it. 


1. For the object A man's own self, it is a bundle of idols. Since 
God was laid aside, self succeeded in the crown ; we set up everything 
that we call our own. Everything before which we may put that pos 
sessive ' ours' may be abused and set up as a snare, all the excellences 
and comforts of human life, both inward and outward. 

For the understanding of this, and that you may know how far self 
is to be denied, I must premise some general considerations, and then 
instance in some particulars ; for it seemeth harsh and contrary to 
reason that a man should deny himself, since nature teacheth a man 
to love himself and cherish himself: Eph. v. 29, ' No man ever hated 
his own flesh ; ' and grace doth not disallow it. Therefore 

[1.] In general, you must know when respects to self are culpable. 
There is a lawful self-love ' Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,' 
James ii. 8 ; in which there is, not only a direction to love our neigh 
bour, but a concession and allowance implied to love ourselves ; and in 
so doing, we do well. By an innocent and natural respect nature for 
tifies itself, and seeks its own preservation. A man may respect him 
self in a regular way. That self which we must hate or deny is that 
self which stands in opposition to God or competition with him, and 
so jostleth with him for the throne ; lay aside God, and self steppeth 
in as the next heir ; it is the great idol of the world, ever since the fall, 
when men took the boldness to depose and lay aside God, as it were, 
self succeeded in the throne. Fallen man, like Keuben, went up to his 
father's bed. Self intercepted all those respects and embraces which 
were due to God himself, 'and so man became both his own idol and 
idolater. It is with God and self as it was with Dagon and the ark ; 
they can never stand together in competition ; set up the ark, and 
Dagon must fall upon his face ; set up Dagon, and the ark is deposed 
and put down. Well then, if we would know when self is sinfully re 
spected, we must consider what are the rights and the undoubted 
flowers of the crown of heaven ; I mean, what are those special privi 
leges and respects that are so appropriated to the godhead, as that 
they cannot without treason to the King of all the earth, be alienated 
from him or communicated to any creature. Now these are 
four : 

(1.) To be the first cause, upon whom all things depend in their 
being and operation. 

(2.) To be the chiefest good, and therefore to be valued above all 
beings, interests, and concernments in the world. 

(3.) To be the highest lord and most absolute sovereign, who 
swayeth all things by his laws and providence. 

(4.) To be the last end, in which all things do at length terminate 
and centre. 

1st As God is the first cause, so he would keep up the respects of 
the world to his majesty by dependence and trust. Now it is the 
ambition of man to affect an independency, to be a god to himself, 
sufficient for his own happiness. Our first parents greedily catched at 
that bait : ' Ye shall be as gods/ Gen. iii. 5. The devil meant it not 
in a blessed conformity, but a cursed self-sufficiency ; and we are all 
apt to be taken in the same snare, which certainly is a very grievous 
sin. Nothing can be more hateful to God. This therefore is a great 


part of self-denial, to work us off from other dependences, and to trust 
in God alone. 

2d. As God is the cKiefest good, so he must have the highest esteem. 
Valuing other things above God is the ground of all miscarriage in the 
business of religion. When anything is honoured above God, or made 
equal with God, or indulged against the will of God, Dagon is set up, 
and the ark is made to fall. 

3d. As God is the highest lord and most absolute sovereign, it is 
his peculiar prerogative to give laws to the creature ; therefore self is 
not to interpose and give laws to us, but only God ; his will must 
stand. The great contest indeed between God and the creature is, 
whose will shall stand, God's will or ours ; who shall prescribe to us, 
self or God. Fleshly nature sets up laws against laws, and our fleshly 
wills set up providence against providence. Self-will is bewrayed by 
murmuring against God's providence, by rebellion against his laws, and 
when we are obstinate in our homage and obedience to self : Jer. xviii. 
12, we will walk in the way of our own heart ; and Jer. xliv. 17, what 
soever cometh out of our mouths, that we will do. So James i. 14, 
the apostle makes it to be the root of all sin when a man is drawn away 
by his own lusts and his own will, that is set up against the laws of 
God. So in providence, a stubborn creature will not submit when 
God's will is declared. It was a great submission, and an act of self- 
denial in Christ ' Not as I will, but as thou wilt ; ' but self saith, Not 
as thou wilt, but as I will ; for we by murmuring set up an anti-pro 
vidence against God. 

4th. As God is the last end of our beings and actions, the supreme 
cause is to be the utmost end : Prov. xvi. 4, ' God made all things for 
himself.' But now, in all that we do we look to ourselves ; vain man 
sets up self at the end of every action, and jostles out God. In all the 
actions of life they are but a kind of homage to the idol of self. If they 
eat and drink, it is to nourish self, a meat-offering and drink-offering 
to appetite. If they pray or praise, it is but to worship self, to advance 
the repute of self ; the crown is taken off from God's head, he is not 
made the utmost end. If they give alms, they are a sacrifice offered 
to the idol of self-estimation ; ' They give alms to be seen of men,' saith 
Christ, and in this self is set up, and God is deposed and laid aside. 

[2.] Let me give you some particular instances. To instance in ex 
cellences, moral or natural, or in civil interest. In moral excellences : 
v righteousness, that is apt to be a snare in point of self-dependence. 
Paul found it to be ^q^iavy a loss, Phil. iii. 7, a hindrance from 
casting ourselves entirely upon grace. It is the highest point of self-f 
denial for a man to deny his own righteousness, to see the dung and ?1 
dross that is in himself and all his moral excellences. So also, con-* 
cerning our own wisdom, that is a self that comes to be denied. It is 
said to Babylon : Isa. xlvii., * Thy understanding hath undone thee.' 
So of all men, when we presume upon our own sense and apprehension, 
we soon go wrong. This is the main thing to be considered here ; for 
Peter, out of carnal wisdom, dissuades Christ, and then Christ saith, 
* Whoever will come after me, let him deny himself,' deny the dic 
tates of his own reason and will. He that makes his own bosom his 
oracle, asketh counsel of a fool ; we shall be cavilling and disputing till 


we have disputed ourselves out of all religion : Job, vi. 24, ' Cause me 
to understand wherein I have erred/ Till we come to see by divine 
light, carnal wisdom is always making lies and ill reports of religion ; 
\ve think it folly and preciseness to be strict, and that zeal is fury, and 
it is cowardice and disgrace to put up wrong. We shall still be call 
ing good evil, and evil good, because we are wise in our own eyes ; 
there is a woe pronounced upon such ' Isa. v. 21, 22, * Woe unto them 
that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight ! ' &c. 

!It is an excellent point of self-denial to * become a fool, that we may 
be wise/ 1 Cor. iii. 18. As when we look in a perspective-glass we 
wink with one eye, that we may see the more clearly with the other ; 
so here we must put out the eye of carnal wisdom, and become fools, 
that we may be wise for Christ, So for all civil interests ; life, that is 
the most precious possession of the creature, and yet not too good to 
be denied : ver. 25, Christ instariceth ' Whosoever shall lose his life for 
my sake shall find it/ That is the gospel way of thriving, to lose all 
for God, Now this is to be denied, not only in purpose and vow, but 
when it comes to trial; as it is said of the saints; Rev xii. 11, 'They 
loved not their lives to the death/ When it comes to a point, either 
they must leave their God or lose their lives on the account of re 
ligion. The loving-kindness of God is better than life. So for estate : 
Mat. xix. 27, ' We have left all and followed thee/ say the disciples ; 
we must leave our coat, as Joseph did, that we may keep our conscience 
whole. The best usury in the world ; ten in the hundred would in the 
world be counted an oppression ; but now here is a hundred for one, 
| Mark x. 32. So also for fame and esteem in the world ; though to an 
ingenious spirit this is exceeding precious, yet John the Baptist, speak 
ing of Christ, saith, ' He must increase, but I must decrease/ We 
| must be content to be ciphers, that Christ may rise up into the greater 
' sum ; as one in a crowd that holds another upon his shoulders, he is 
lost in the throng, but the other is exposed to the view of all. So for 
our friends : Luke xiv. 26, c Whosoever hates not his father, and his 
mother/ &c. There are many cases wherein we are to deny our 
friends ; as suppose, when we shall incur their displeasure, out of 
faithfulness to Christ. Carnal parents will frown upon us, and, it may 
be, withdraw maintenance, and other conveniences of life; but it is 
better an earthly father should frown than that God should frown, it 
will be made up in spiritual relations, So in case of doing justice and 
right we must not own father, mother, brothers, or sisters, for this is 
but more handsome and natural bribery, Levi was commended for 
this by the Lord : Deut. xxxiii. 9, ' He saith to his father and mother, 
I have not seen him, neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor 
knew his own children, but observed my word, saith the Lord/ It is 
good to be blind and deaf to all relations in this case. Asa spared not 
his own mother, but deposed her, being idolatrous. See Deut. xiii. 6-9, 
' If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, 
or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thy own soul, en 
tice thee secretly, saying, Let us go serve other gods, which thou hast 
not known, thou, nor thy fathers, . , thou shalt not consent unto him, 
nor hearken unto him ; neither shall thy eye pity him ; neither shalt 
thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him ; but thou shalt surely kill 


him ; thy hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and after 
ward the hand of all the people,' &c. We are apt to look upon these 
rules as calculated for Utopia, and have but a grammatical knowledge 
of them. So also for carnal things : if it be a right hand or a 
right eye, it must be plucked out and cut off, Mat. v. If it be as gainful 
and as profitable a sin as the right hand is profitable to us, yet it must 
not be spared. ' We must deny all ungodliness,' Titus ii. 12, though ever 
so pleasing. Thus for the object, it extendeth to all things. 

2. For the subject : see the extent of it, it reacheth all sorts of men ; 
Christ saith, ' If any will come after me, he must deny himself.' It is 
notable, that circumstance in Mark, when Christ gives the lesson of 
self-denial : Mark viii. 34, ' When he had called the people unto him, 
with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after 
me, let him deny himself/ There is no calling, no sex, no age, no 
duty, no condition of life that is excluded, but one way or other, they 
are put upon self-denial. No calling: magistrates, and those who are 
called to public trust, they are most obliged, in regard of God and 
men, to deny themselves. It is notable, the self-denial of Joseph, 
though he were a great officer in Egypt, yet his family ran the 
same lot with other tribes. And Joshua, in the division of the land,?^ 
he took his own lot and share last, Joshua xix. 49. Men in public] 
places are most liable to mind private interest, to the neglect of 
the public ; but they ought not to feather their nests with public 

So for men of private stations. It is not the duty of public persons 
only, all conditions are liable to self-seeking ; many times your private 
callings may be against the public interest, either of religion or civil 
welfare, as they that made shrines for Diana, when the gospel came, 
and reformation likely to be wrought, Acts xix. 24, they cried, ' Our 
gain will be gone/ Therefore in this case you should be content to 
sink and to suffer loss, as the lighter elements descend to conserve the 
universe. Or, it may be, you have thriven by iniquity of traffic ; now 
you are to deny yourselves by making restitution : Luke xix. 8, ' I will 
restore fourfold, and give to the poor/ Kestitution is a hard duty, but j 
a necessary one ; and you must vomit up your sweet morsels where 
with you have surefeited, or else conscience will not be healthy. And 
so for other callings and relations : minister and people. Ministers, of 
all men, had most need to practise this duty. We are to deny our 
own ends. How many carnal ends may a man promote by his service 
in the ministry ? Fame, applause, the satisfying of our necessity ; 
we are not to preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord. We are 
to deny ourselves in our learning and parts ; we are debtors to the 
learned and unlearned, we are to become all things to all ; and Christ 
hath lambs as well as sheep. We must be content to go hack ten 
degrees, that we may condescend to all, not to soar aloft in speculation ; 
possibly this may be more for our fame and repute of learning, but less 
for profit. So for people : in hearing you must deny the curiosity of 
the ear, that others may profit by plainer lessons, and that every one 
may have his portion in due season. It is a great part of self-denial 
to suffer the words of exhortation, (ruilt is apt to recoil when tender 
parts are touched. Now you are to deny yourselves, to love the reproof 


as well as the comfort, and count it precious oil. Consider the submis 
sion that was in Hezekiah when the prophet came with the bitter 
threatening of a curse that should cleave to his posterity ( Good is 
the word of the Lord ! ' a sweet submission of a sanctified judgment, 
Tsa. xxxix. 8. All that was good in it was, that it should not come in 
his days. So also for all sexes : it is a duty for men ; not only for 
men, who are called out to public actions, but for women also, they 
are to deny themselves in their delicacies of life, that they may exer 
cise themselves in the grave duties of religion, that they may not wax 
wanton. It is necessary also in all duties; to instance in those two 
great ones which do divide and take up the whole Christian life, prayer 
and praise, both of them should be practised with self-denial. When 
we come for grace, we should deny our own merit Lord, not for 
our own righteousness. And when grace is received, when we come 
to praise God, self must vanish, that God may have all the praise, Mat. 
16. When the good servant gives an account of his faithfulness, he 
saith, ' Not my industry, but thy pound hath gained ten pounds ; ' he 
gives it all to grace. So 1 Cor. xv. 10, the apostle checks himself, as 
if he had spoken unbeseeming ' I laboured more than you all, yet not 
I, but the grace of God that was with me ; ' so Gal. ii. 20, ' I live,' 
then presently draws in his words again, ' not I, but Christ liveth in 
me/ As the elders throw their crowns at the Lamb's feet, so all our 
excellences must be laid at the feet of Christ ; as the stars disappear 
when the sun. ariseth, so we must shrink into nothing in our own 
thoughts. When Joab had conquered Kabba, he sent for David to 
take the garland of honour ; so when we have done anything by grace, 
we must send for Christ to take the honour. Prayer is the humble 
appeal to mercy, disclaiming of merit ; and praise is the setting of the 
crown upon Christ's head; not I, but the grace of God that is wrought 
in me. 

To apply this, all men are to practise this duty, in all things, at all 
times, and with all their hearts. 

[l.j All men are to practise it. Ohl do not put it off to others ; 
no man can exempt himself. Usually, when these duties are pressed, 
we think they are calculated for men in great places, and rich men ; 
but it is a duty that lies upon all, all are apt to seek themselves. 
When Christ spake something concerning Peter, it is said, 'Peter 
looked about on the disciple Jesus loved.' So we are apt to look about 
to others. Look for it, before you die you will be eminently called to 
this service. Never Christian went out of this world, but, one time or 
other, God tried him in some eminent point of self-denial. As it is 
said, God tempted Abraham, tried him in that difficult point of offer 
ing his son, Gen. xxii. 1 ; so Christ trie'd the young man ' Go, sell all 
that thou hast, and give to the poor,' Mat. xxii. 

[2.] For the object in all things. Let not your self-denial be 
partial and halting ; as Saul slew some of the cattle, but spared the 
fat, and Agag. Many can deny themselves in many things, but they 
are loth to give up all to God without bounds and reservations. As 
Joshua deposed all the kings of Canaan, so every lust is to be cast out 
of the throne. He that denies himself only in some things, really he 
denies himself in none. Jehu put Baal's priests to death, but con- 


tinned the calves in Dan and Bethel, out of interest and reasons of state. 
Herod denied himself in many things, but could not part with hisHerodias. 

[3.] You must deny yourself always ; it must not be temporary and 
vanishing. In a good mood we can give up and renounce all, and be 
humble, and ascribe all to grace. We may hang the head for a day 
like a bulrush, Isa. Iviii. There should be a constant sense of our 
unworthiness kept up, and a purpose of renouncing all and giving up 
all. It is not enough to deny a man's self in a thing wherein there is 
no pleasure, and when his soul abhors dainty food, but it must be in 
things which are desirable, and this must be constantly practised too. 
Ahab humbled himself for a few days. 

[4.] It must be with all our heart. Which signifies that it must 
not be done by a mere constraint of providence, as a mariner in a storm 
casts away his goods by force, but as a bride leaves her father's house : 
Ps. xlv. 10, ' Forget thy father's house ; ' it must be out of a prin 
ciple of grace, and out of love to Christ. Now you must not do 
it politicly, but with your whole heart. There is no such great self- 
seeking as is carried on usually under the colour of self-denial. As 
the apostle speaks of some, 2 Cor. xi. 12, that would preach the gos 
pel freely, to shame and cast contempt upon Paul. The devil dis- 
guiseth himself into all forms and shapes. As Jacob put on Esau's 
clothes that he might appear rough and hairy, and so get the blessing ; 
so many seem to deny themselves of the comforts of life, but it is but 
for their own praise. The Pharisees were liberal in alms ; they could 
deny themselves in giving, which others could not do ; but it was to 
be seen of men. Therefore this self-denial must not be self-seeking, 
carried on under a pretence, for that is abominable to God. Thus 
for the extent of the duty. 

Secondly, I come to handle some reasons, with the most effectual 
enforcements. It is the duty of all that would be Christ's disciples to 
deny themselves j I shall prove it by several grounds. 

1. We cannot else be conformed to our great Master. Jesus Christ 
came from heaven on purpose to teach us the lesson of self-denial ; 
his birth, his life, his death, was a pattern of self-denial. His birth, 
it was a great step from God's bosom into the virgin's lap ; a great 
condescension : 2 Cor. viii. 9, ' When he was rich, he became poor, 
that we might be rich/ None can deny themselves so much as Christ 
did, because none was so rich as he. We may talk of flocks and herds, 
and the poor ornaments and supplies of a frail life ; but he had the 
possession of a perfect happiness and glory in the divine nature, he 
was rich indeed. He needed not to have the respect of the creature 
to make him more happy ; he was the lord of glory, and heir of all 
things. Yet when he was thus rich he made himself poor. He did 
not only subject himself to the law, and abject condition of the creature, 
but came in a poor, mean way, not in pomp, not in a princely equipage. 
As soon as he took our nature, he would have a feeling of our wants 
and miseries, therefore was born in a mean, obscure way. Born of a 
poor mother, in a poor pi ace, wrapt up in cheap and unworthy swaddling- 
clothes, the fellow of God, the heir of all things, the lord of angels, he 
is thrust out among beasts in a stable. Christ would not come in 
pomp, but with slender provision and furniture, to put a disgrace upon 


worldly greatness and bravery. He would overturn the idol of the 
world, not only by power, but by the choice of his life. And as his 
birth, so was his life ; he was exercised with sorrows and labours. 
Christ was not a man of pleasure, but a man of sorrow. Kom. xv. 3, 
the apostle saith, ' Christ pleased not himself,' neither in the choice of 
his own life, nor in any delights that he could propose to himself of 
his own profit and advantage, he was happy enough without them, 
So in his death. If any had reason or cause to love his natural life, 
Jesus Christ had. His soul dwelt with God in such a fellowship as 
we are not capable of; and yet he gave up himself to redeem us from 
the present world, Gal i. 4 It is but ridiculous to profess Jesus Christ 
to be our master, and not to conform to his example. We have no 
reason to be more tender and delicate of our interest than Christ was. 
What is our self to Christ's self ? We are poor creatures under a 
law ; Christ was God over all, blessed for ever. The disciple is not 
above his master, nor the servant above his lord ' It is enough for 
the disciple to be as his master, the servant as his lord. If they have 
called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call 
them of his household ! ' Mark x. 25. We should not murmur, we 
cannot be worse used than Christ was , we have no cause to complain 
if we be reduced to a coarse robe, when we remember Christ's swad 
dling clothes ; to complain of a hard bed or prison, when Christ was 
laid in a manger. Certainly an innocent poverty is more comfortable 
than all the pomp in the world, if we would but choose what Christ 
chose. Christ was a pattern of suffering from the cradle to the cross. 
They that caress themselves in all the delights of the world seem to 
profess another master than Christ. We are of a base condition, but 
two or three degrees distant from dust and nothing. The sun can go 
back ten degrees ; Christ, the Lord of glory, might go back ten degrees, 
but we have not so much to lose. 

12= This hath been practised, not only by the master, but by all the 
fellows in the same school. Christ set the first copy, and all the saints 
have written after it, some better, some worse : Rom. xiv. 7, ' None of 
us liveth to himself, and none dieth to himself , for whether we 
live, we live to the Lord , and whether we die, we die unto 
the Lord.' In the context the apostle speaks of the difference 
of weak and strong believers; some weak, some strong, but they 
all agree in this, none of us, not one that hath given up his 
name to Christ, is allowedly a self-seeker; none live to them 
selves. The example of the saints is to be considered, lest we should 
think it exceeds the capacity of the creature, and that only Christ 
could practise it. We find the children of God, those among them 
that have made the highest progress in Christ's school, they have had 
lowest thoughts of self. Paul, that was a glorious apostle, yet he 
saith in one place, 1 Tim. i. 15, that * he was the greatest of sinners ; ' 
and in another place, Eph. iii. 8, that ' he was less than the least of 
saints.' A man would have thought that Paul, with more congruity 
of speech, might have said, the greatest of saints and least of sinners, 
but he saith, the greatest of sinners, and the least of saints ; not to 
lessen grace, but still to lessen self, and put a disgrace upon it. They 
that are the best scholars in this school most abhor self-conceit 


and self-seeking. As the laden boughs hang the head and bend 
downward, so do the children of God that have been most fruitful in the 
Christian course; as the sun, the higher it is, doth cast the least 
shadows; so for self-seeking. I wonder how a man can look upon 
these two great instances of Moses and Paul without blushing. Of Moses : 
Num. xxxii. 32, * Blot me out of thy book/ upon condition he would 
save the people ; as if he could take no comfort in his great spiritual 
privileges, when the glory of God should suffer loss by the loss of his 
people. So Kom. ix. 3, * Let me be accursed from Christ, for my 
brethren that are in the flesh/ Paul, in an excess of zeal, could be 
willing to bear the common punishment for a common good. We, 
that are so tender of our honour and respect, so wedded to our ease 
and private interests, how can we look upon these without shame ? 
Can Paul and Moses wish to be a common sacrifice for God's glory, 
and for the redemption of others, and we be so tender to our own 
respects? Moses speaketh to God himself, and Paul calls God to 
witness ' I lie not : ' Rom. ix. 1, 'I speak the truth in Christ, I lie 
not, my conscience also beareth me witness in the Holy Ghost/ There 
is a treble oath and asseveration 'I speak the truth,' 'I lie not,' 
' the Spirit bears witness with my conscience/ Or rather, there is a 
double asseveration, with an appeal to two witnesses, both to the Spirit 
and conscience. Not as if they could wish for hardness of heart ; but 
with an excess of zeal they were carried so high in imitation of Christ, 
to part with their own happiness for a public good. 

3. Jesus Christ may justly require it; all the idols of the world! 
expect it from their votaries. In nature we are sensible that all respects 
to divine powers are commended by self-denial. We see it in pagans ; 
when Baal was silent, his priests gashed themselves, 1 Kings xviii. 28 ; 
they cut themselves, after their manner, with knives and lances, so that 
the blood gushed out ; to gratify their idol, they would not spare their 
own blood. So those hypocrites, Micah vi. 6-8, see how liberal they 
are ' Shall I give the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? thousands 
of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil/ &c. To part with a beast in sacri 
fice, they thought it was not self-denial enough ; they devise something 
more costly, all their flocks and herds, their children, the fruit of their 
womb, their whole substance. So superstitious votaries among the 
papists, they mangle their flesh with scourges and whips, use excessive 
tasting and abstinence from meat, pinch their own flesh. And we 
fatten and feed ourselves, and cannot deny ourselves for Christ. See 
the instance in spiritual idols, how worldly and carnal men can deny 
themselves to compass their ends : Ps. cxxvii. 2, 'They rise early, go to 
bed late, eat the bread of sorrow ; ' they can deny themselves of sleep, 
and food, and rest, and all in a devotion to worldly interests : Eccles. iv. 
8, ' He bereaves his soul of all good/ There is no end of their toil ; 
with an unwearied patience they lay out their strength in vain pursuits. 
Many a covetous man doth shame many a godly man. Religion is a 
better thing ; shall lust do more with them than the love of Christ 
with thee ? Lust that will make a man labour in the very fire, though 
it be but for a thing of nought, to deny himself of the necessary support 
and conveniences of life. Consider the tyranny of worldly affection. 
Certainly we should have a stronger impulse, for we have a better 


reward ; we are acted with a more mighty spirit. It is true, in carnal 
men it is not self-denial so much as the obstinacy of self-will and 
stomach. The kingdom of Satan is divided ; self-will is set up against 
self-delight or ease. Nay, in pleasure, which doth seem of all vanities 
to be most soft and effeminate, yet men can deny themselves for their 
pleasure, their credit, estate, their conscience, and all sacrificed to the 
gullet of that great idol and Moloch-god, their belly, 
j 4. Because self is the greatest enemy both to God and man. (1.) It 
(robs God of his honour. Self, it is a near and dear word to man ; it 
4 is both the idol and the idolater. It receives the worshipwhich^ it 
perforineth j a^ trie shore, and "tnlrTsucFs 

them in again. Self is made a god, and then god is made an idol ; 
Phil. iii. 20, ' Whose god is their belly.' All their toil and labour is 
to feed and delight themselves, and to exalt themselves. Self hath 
such sacrifices and devotions as God requires. Self hath solemn 
worship. A carnal man prays, and what then? He makes God the 
object, and self the end ; so that self is the god. So self hath private 
and closet duties, vain thoughts, and musings, in which we lift up our 
selves in our own conceit ' Is not this great Babel that I have built?' 
Some time of the day we consecrate to the great idol self, to puff up 
ourselves with the conceit of our own worth. This is a more secret 
worship of self. The public worship of self is in self-seeking, and the 
private in self-conceit, when we feast and entertain our spirits with 
whispers of vanity, and suppositions of our own excellency and greatness. 
(2.) As it is God's, so it is man's enemy. Self parts itself against 
itself, and is its own greatest enemy. Not only they of a man's own 
house are his enemies, as Christ speaks, but his own heart is his enemy ; 
self-will, self-wit are the greatest foes you have in the world. Look, 
as the ape doth crush out the bowels of her young ones while she 
embraceth them, so man wrongs himself when he overloves himself ; 
a man need fear and suspect no creature in the world so much as 
himself, and that when we most respect self. The world^^J-JJjftjifiSLl 
mj^ trouble thee, but cannot hurt thee without thyself. No enemy can 
Kurt us so much as we hurt ourselves; therefore, if we would take revenge of 
them that hate us most, we should begin with our own hearts. Men trust 
their hearts as their best friends, and so they are deceived. . It is the 
greatest judgment that God can lay upon any creature, to give him 
up to himself: Ps. Ixxxi. 12, ' So I gave them up to their own 
heart's 'lusts, and they walked in their own counsels.' Oh ! it is a sad 
doom to be given up to self. On the other side, it is the greatest 
conquest that can be, to conquer self ; it is an enemy that will hardly be 
subdued : Prov. xvi. 32, ' Better is he that overcometh himself than he 
that conquereth a city;' i.e., he that is able to conquer the masterless 
bosom enemy, self, that is so apt to betray us. 

I 5. Because those that are Christ's disciples are not their own men : 
JRom. xiv. 6, ' We are not our own, but the Lord's.' Our will should 
Ttot be our own law, nor our profit our aim, because we are not our own. 
There are many relations between us and Christ which take away all 
the property we have in ourselves. We cannot say that our tongues 
are our own, to speak what we please, nor our works our own, nor our 
interests our own ; no, thy tongue when thou speakest, it is cot thine, 


but Christ's ; and so thy estate when thou tradest, remember it is not 
thine, but Christ's ; thy prayer, thy public service, they are not thine, 
but Christ's. Kemember, thy strength is not thine own when thou art 
wasting it in lust and vanity ; it is not thine, but Christ's. So our 
several relations. I have showed you before the title God hath to us ; 
now let me open the several relations. We are but servants ; now 
servants are not sui juris, masters of their own will, but subject to the 
will of another, by whose command and for whose profit they are to 
act. The property of servants, saith Aristotle, is not to do their own 
will and pleasure ; they have given up themselves to another. So we 
are children, and God is our Father, and children are under govern 
ment, they are to be guided by their father. Then the most honourable 
relation is that of a spouse, 1 Tim. ii. 12. Now the woman, saith the 
apostle, must riot rule over her own head ; we are to be guided and 
directed by him. The most honourable relations put us upon self- 

6. Because it is the most gainful project in the world, therefore we| 
must deny self. Self-denial is the true way of self-advancing. Leave} 
as much as you can for Christ, you will lose nothing ' He that loseth 
his life shall find it : ' Mark x. 29, 30, ' Jesus answered and said, Verily 
I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or 
sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake 
and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundred-fold now in this time, 
houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mother, and children, and lands, 
with persecution, and in the world to come, eternal life/ Though wej 
n*ave iFnoFnTspecie, in kind, we shall have it over and above in value.) 
God will not weary us with expecting too much. Here we have peace 
of conscience, and hereafter life eternal ; others do but gain a shadow 
to the loss of the substance. They have neither quiet of conscience nor 
the hopes of glory ; Mat. xvi. 26, ' What is a man profited if he should 
gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ? ' &c. And the evangelist 
Luke hath it, chap. ix. 25, ' Lose himself/' To seek the good of our 
souls, that is indeed to seek ourselves. Every man's mind, his soul, is 
himself ; to lose his soul, that is indeed to lose himself ; and when we 
lose ourselves, we lose all. When a man hath most need, riches fly 
away ; you cannot bribe divine justice, nor keep the soul from hell. 
Therefore if you would seek yourselves indeed, seek yourselves in 

7. Because otherwise a man can be nothing in religion, neither dot 
nor suffer ; and therefore we must resolve either to deny ourselves or toi 
deny Christ. Before we go out of the world, we shall be put upon the 
trial. Peter denied his master, because he could not deny himself. 
All duties in religion put us upon self-denial private duties upon the 
denial of lusts, and public upon the denial of interests ; therefore we 
read of ' denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,' Titus ii. 12. In 
private duties : whenever you go to pray, private duties are contrary to 
the inclinations and dispositions of the heart, which are for ease and 
pleasure, and the gratifications of the flesh. If thou hast no self-denial, 
thou wilt never bring thy heart to God in them. Then in public duties 
we must look for opposition. Advancers of public good are usually 
exposed to public hatred, they are sure to be spoken against ; when 


the devil cannot prevail with instruments to slacken the work of God, 
{then he stirs up the world against it. That must be a complete action 
fwherein malice cannot find fault. It is true, we are not always exposed 
to persecution, but always to censure. Many that have neither heart 
nor hands to do good, yet have tongues to censure those that do it, 
magistrates and ministers. Therefore we must look for trouble, if not 
from malice, yet from envy. Who can stand before envy ? If perse 
cutors be under restraint, yet carnal professors will be apt to blemish 
what is not done by themselves. Therefore whosoever would be a 
disciple to God and Christ, this is his first lesson ; this is the A B C of 
religion. We shall never digest the inconveniences of a spiritual life 
till we resolve upon it. We must make over our interests in our lives, 
and whatever is dear to .us, reckon the charges, Luke xiv. 26. A 
builder spends cheerfully as long as his charges are within his allowance ; 
but when that is exceeded, and he goes beyond what he hath reckoned 
upon, then every penny is disbursed with grudging. Most resolve upon 
little or no trouble in religion, and from thence it comes to pass that 
when they are crossed, they prove faint-hearted. Therefore put your 
life in your hand, and resolve to follow Christ wheresoever he goeth. 
| 8. Every one must deny himself, because it is a special part of faith, 
j Faith looks upon God's mercy in Christ, not only as true, but as good ; 
better than life, and better than all the contentments of it, else it is not 
faith : 1 Tim. i. 15, ' This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all accep 
tation/ It doth not only look upon it as a wise and faithful saying, but 
as a thing of choice. There is not only assent to what is true, but there 
is consent and choice. Faith is an inclination of the soul to true worth, 
and therefore, with a resting upon the mercies of Christ there is a 
renouncing of interest ; Mat. xiii. 46, the merchant that found the rich 
pearl 'went and sold all to buy it. 1 This is faith, to come and 
traffic with God for his mercy in Christ, to part with all, whatever is 
pleasant and profitable in the world, rather than be deprived of his 
grace : Luke xiv. 27-29, ' He that hates not his father and mother, 
yea, and his own life, cannot be my disciple;' and then our Lord brings 
the similitude of a man that goes about to build, and sits him down 
and counts the charge. In faith there is a sitting down and account 
ing the charges, or considering what it is to take Christ. The comforts 
of Christianity we prize much, but they are only necessary to be pro 
pounded in case of distress of conscience. But he that desires to be a 
Christian indeed is seriously to cast up his reckoning, what is required 
athishands, thoroughly to examine whether he be willing to forego such 
hopes and contentments as are incompatible with the life he seeketh, 
or to endure all crosses and calamities wherewith he may be encum 
bered. The builder that goes hand over head to work, lays the founda 
tion of his disgrace in the loss of his cost. Men labour to fortify their 
actual persuasion of the mercies of Christ before the carnal life be 
renounced. It is a mistake to look to faith first, and the settling our 
particular assurance, as if that were the difficultest thing in religion. 
I The great difficulty lies in self-denial. As Christ put the young man 
1 in Mat. xix. 26, upon the trial, Canst thou leave all, and follow me ? 
so we are to put ourselves upon the trial, otherwise our application to 
God's mercy, and settling our particular persuasion, will be but a rash 


confidence. Every one hath some tender parts, and usually at first 
conviction our tender parts are touched. When God begins to work 
upon the heart, we should say, Soul, thou hast busied thyself in a wrong 
way, there is one thing necessary : come out of that way, or thou shalt 
never be happy. Forsake thy father's house : we are apt to stick at 
this, we are not able to renounce all for him. As when God called 
Abraham, he called him from his father's house ; so when we are called 
to God, we are called from something pleasant and profitable to self. 

Thirdly, The notes and signs of self-denial. There are exclusive 
and inclusive marks. Exclusive marks will show us when self is not 
denied ; then inclusive marks follow, wherein we may take comfort. 

1. Exclusive notes for conviction, how we may know when self is 
iu dominion and sovereignty. It is a sign self is exalted and in 

[1.] When a man did never set himself to thwart his own desires. Car-L 
nal indulgence makes lust a wanton. When we cocker our lusts, they! 
grow contumacious and stubborn. They that gratify their senses 
and wallow in all fleshly delights, never knew what it was to be exer 
cised in Christ's school ; a man that cannot deny his ease and pleasure 
is not fit for Christ : Eccles. ii. 11, ' Whatever my eyes desired, I kept 
not from them ; I withheld not my heart from any joy/ When men 
can remit nothing of their vanity and luxury they make Christianity to 
be but a notion and an empty pretence ; they are men and women of 
pleasure, when Jesus Christ was a man of sorrows. The children of 
God are always wont to cross themselves in things which they most 
affect ; as David poured out the water of Bethlehem when lie longed 
for it. It is good sometimes to make such an experiment upon our 
selves ; we may find out many images of jealousy, if we would try 
whether we could deny ourselves in what we most affect. 

[2.] By an impatiency in our natures when we are crossed by others.! 
Self seems to be a very delicate and tender thing ; we cannot endure* 
to be crossed in our opinions and interests, or in the accomplishment 
of our lusts. Hamari is sick, and cast upon his bed, because he wanted 
Mordecai's knee. Always our affliction argues the greatness of our 
affection. It should be the eXd^io-rov, f the smallest thing,' as the apostle 
saith, ' to be judged of men/ 1 Cor. iv. 3. When men have set a high 
price and value upon themselves, they are vexed when others will not 
come up to their price. John died for crossing Herod in his Herodias ; 
Jonah made his gourd to be a piece of himself, he prized it too much, 
as appears by his great vexation when God had smitten it. Fretting 
and murmuring show what is the tender nart of our souls, and what 
we have made as part of ourselves. 

[3.] When a man is loath to be a loser . Some are of cheap! 

and vile spirits, they love a gospel withoi *he apostle speaks,' 

1 Cor. ix. 18, can be content to serv, y may be at no 

expense for God. Look, as we should count and reckon upon the 
charges before we profess religion ; so after profession we should ask 
conscience what it hath cost us to be godly, at what expense we have 
been at for Jesus Christ, since we have espoused Christ and religion. 
David would not serve God with that which cost him nought. If a 
man were told that his way to such a place is encumbered with briers 



and thorns, and that he must ride through many dirty lanes, and must 
look for scratching brambles, and many miry places, now when he seeth 
nothing but a green and pleasant path, he would think he had mis 
taken and lost his way ; so when you are told your way to heaven is a 
strait way, and that religion will put you upon self-denial of your 
pleasure, profit, and carnal desires, and yet you never wrestled with 
your lusts, nor quitted anything for Christ, and meet with nothing, but 
pleasure, profit and delight in the profession of religion, you may well 
think that you are mistaken in the way, and it is a great sign you 
are yet to seek in the duty which Christ's scholars must practise. 

![4.] When the heart is grieved for the good of others, it is a sign 
self is then in dominion. Many can rejoice and please themselves when 
God hath been glorified by some act of their own, but they are grieved 
when the work is done by others ; selfish and carnal men would fain 
make a monopoly of religion. Oh ! consider, such a temper is a sign 
that self is too dear and near to us. We should be as glad if God be 
glorified by others as when ourselves are the instruments of his glory. 
Luther said, Si nos nonsumus digni, fiat per alios My design is, that 
the work of God may be done ; and if I be not worthy, let the work 
of God be done by others. So Paul ; Phil. i. 15, 16, Many preach 
the gospel, supposing to add affliction to my bonds ; yet if the gospel 
is preached, I therein rejoice, and will rejoice. It is a Pharisee's spirit 
to malign and envy the good of others : John xii. 19, ' Behold, all the 
world goes after him, and we prevail nothing ; ' they were vexed Christ 
had so much of the respects of the people. Men would monopolise all 
respect to their faction, and keep up a devotion to their interest ; this 
made the elder brother envy at the prodigal's return, Luke xv. When 
we envy the gifts and graces of others, and their esteem in the world, 
it is a sign self remains in sovereignty and dominion. Many, because 
they would shine alone, are apt to blast and censure the repute of others, 
and malign the grace wrought in them, whereas we should rather re 
joice therein. 

| [5.] When men care not how it goeth with the public so they may 
| promote their private interest. I mention this because, as self is to be 
denied for God's sake, so it is to be denied for the good of others. There 
is self in opposition to God, and self in opposition to the good of others : 
1 Cor. x. 14, ' Let no man seek his own, but every one the good of 
others ;' as we are bound to promote the glory of God, so the good of 
one another too, especially the public good. Therefore the children of 
God have no heart or regard to their private conveniences with the 
loss of the public. Moses, when God promiseth to prefer him, Exod. 
xxxii. 10, 11, ' Let me alone, do not beseech me for this people, and 1 
will make of thee a great nation.' God offers him a composition, if he 
would cease his prayers, and tells him the holy seed should be continued 
in his line, instead of the line of Abraham, and all the rest of the tribes 
should be abolished ; yet it is said, Moses besought the Lord, and desired 
mercy for the people, Lord, let not thine anger kindle against thy 
heritage ; it is no matter what becometh of me, so the people be safe. 
So Neh. v. 18, ' I took not the bread of the governor, because the bon 
dage was heavy on the people; ' he would not take the necessary sup 
port and maintenance whereby the greatness of his place might be borne 


out, because there was affliction upon the children of God. But now 
carnal men care not how they embroil a nation, nor how it goes with 
the public affairs, so they may promote their own interest, and set up 
self in place and honour. The children of God are wont to yield up 
all their own interest for a public good : Jonah i. 10, ' Cast me into 
the sea ; ' so the tempest may be still, no matter what becomes of me. 
So Nazianzen, when there was a great trouble and contest about his 
place ' Doth my honour trouble you ? Let me go aside in obscure 
silence, and live neglected, and die, and my bones be thrown into the 
dark, where they may not be found nor known/ 

2. As there are exclusive marks, so there are inclusive also. I shall 
name but three. 

[1.] When a man in all his purposes, in every actual choice, is swayed j 
by reasons of conscience rather than by reasons of interest ; when he \ 
is contented to be anything, so as he may be serviceable to God's glory,! 
and Jesus Christ may be all in all. Thus Paul, when he was in a$ 
strait whether to be dissolved or stay in the flesh, it is no matter which 
it be, so Christ be magnified, whether it be by life or death, Phil. i. 23. 
If my body be spent with labour, or fall as a burnt-offering in martyr 
dom, it is no matter, so Christ still be magnified ; when we are con 
tented that self should vanish, so as Christ may appear, and shine in 
all his glory. As when the sun displays its beams the stars vanish ; 
when we are put upon any choice of life, whether we shall do this or 
that, still we are to measure it, not by self-interest, but with respect to 
God's glory. Seneca saith, A magnanimous man cares not, doth not 
look, where he may live most safely, but most honestly. A child of 
God looks, in the disposal of his affairs, where he may have most work, 
and do most service, and not merely to provide for ease and safety. As 
a traveller, when two ways are proposed to him, one pleasant, the other 
very craggy and dangerous, he doth not look which way is most pleas 
ant, but which way conduceth to his journey's end ; so a child of God 
doth not look to what is most grateful to the flesh, but how he may do 
most work and service, and glorify God upon earth. 

[2.] By an humble submission to God's will. It is a great conquest j 
over ourselves when we can conquer our own will. Now the children! 
of God speak as if they had no will of their own at all. Before provi 
dence is past, they absolutely give up themselves to God's disposal, 
either for deliverance or trouble. In 2 Sam. xv. 25, 26, ' The king 
said unto Zadock, Carry back the ark of God into the city ; if I shall 
find favour in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again, and show 
me both it and his habitation ; but if he thus say, I have no delight in 
thee, behold, here am I, let him do to me, as seemeth good unto him.' 
David speaks as if he had no will of his own, and gives up himself to 
the disposal of God. So also after the event, when God hath declared 
his will, they silence all the murmuring of their spirits: 1 Sam. iii. 18, 
' It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good.' There is 
enough to calm all the discontent of their mind, there is God in the 
providence. A child of God can lose nothing by force. Men may take 
away his estate by violence, but he resigns it to God. God may take 
away his friends, but he resigns them, they are taken away by the con 
sent and resignation of a sanctified will. So for their lives, they resign 


themselves up to God. Therefore it is notable, when the scripture 
speaks of wicked men, it is said, ' What hope hath the hypocrite, when 
God shall take away his soul? ' and Luke xii. 19, ' This night shall 
thy soul be required of thee.' The children of God consent to give up 
their souls, estates, and friends, upon the call of providence. There is 
a subscription to God's will ' It is the Lord.' Nay, there is not only 
patience, but they can even bless God, because his will is accomplished : 
Job i. 21, ' The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed 
be the name of the Lord.' They can see as much cause of blessing God, 
not only when he doth enrich them, but when he doth impoverish them, 
and lays his hand upon them ; this is to cause our wills to be swallowed 
up in the will of God, and this is to be like the great pattern Christ 
himself ' Not my will, but thine be done ; ' we should not be like 
our great master if we did riot this. Christ indeed prays against 
affliction, so may we. We should not have known the greatness of 
his self-denial if he had not manifested his natural desires, but he re 
fers himself to God. And so must we also. 

[3.] When a man is vile in his own eyes, and reflecteth with most 
[indignation upon his own sins. There are none that pass a severer 
doom than the children of God do upon themselves when they have 
ginned against God; they need no other judge than their own con 
sciences to pass a sentence upon them. Men naturally are apt to 
favour themselves ; they are slight in self-humiliation, and deep in 
censure of others. With indignation they reflect upon the sins of others, 
but with indulgence upon their own. As Judah, when it was told 
him, ' Tamar thy daughter hath played the harlot ; and also, behold, 
she is with child by whoredom. Judah said, bring her forth, and let 
her be burnt/ Gen. xxxviii. 24. But when she showed him the tokens, 
and that he had defiled her, then he was calm enough. It is otherwise 
with God's children, no sins so odious to them as their own : 1 Tim. 
i. 15, 'Jesus Christ came to save sinners, of whom I am chief.' Oh, 
there is no such sinner in the world as I am, saith Paul. So Prov. 
xxx. 2, ' Surely I am more brutish than any man, and I have not the 
understanding of a man.' How could a godly man say so ? It is the 
fruit of spiritual indignation. A godly man spends the most of his 
revenge and spiritual indignation upon himself. Oh, there cannot be 
a more brutish person than I have been, that have sinned against so 
many mercies, so many obligations, and so much light ! These are 
not compliments, but they speak them with bitter feeling. Saith 
Chrysostom, They do not only speak it in humility, but in truth. They 
can but know the sins of others by guess and imagination, but they 
feel their own sins, they know them by sense. As in sorrow we are 
apt to say, There is none like mine. Why ? Because we feel the 
gripes of our own pains. So the children of God, they feel how griev 
ously they have sinned against God. Saith David, Ps. Ixxiii. 23, ' I 
was as a beast before thee.' They know they have more mercies than 
others, and more obligations than others, therefore their offences seem 
to them to be more grievous. Well, if the heart be brought to this 
pass, that the heat of indignation is spent upon thy own sins, and these 
things be spoken not by rote and imitation, but out of deep sense and 
feeling, it is a comfortable sign that self is dethroned in thee. 


Fourthly, To give you the means of self-denial, whereby this work 
may be made more easy. 

1. If you would deny yourselves, lessen your esteem and your affec-l 
tion to worldly things. I join them together because affection follows? 
esteem. If you would deny yourself for Christ, you must prize the 
worst of Christ before the best of the world. See Ps. Ixxxiv. 10, ' I 
had rather/ saith David, ' be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, 
than to dwell in the tents of wickedness/ When an earthen pitcher 
is broken, a man is not troubled at it, because he hath not set his esteem 
and heart upon it, being but a trifle. What made Moses so eminent 
for self-denial that he could refuse all the honours of Pharaoh's court, 
and choose rather ' to surfer affliction with the people of God, than to 
enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ' ? It is said, ' He esteemed the 
reproach of Christ to be greater riches, than the treasures of Egypt,' 
Heb. xi. 25. Moses' esteem was set right. Again, lessen the affection ; 
the greatness of our affection causeth the greatness of our affliction. 
Therefore we are so troubled to part with things, because our hearts 
are too much set upon th m. We greaten the things of the world in 
our esteem and affection ; then it is a trouble to part with them for 
Christ's sake. Alas ! all these outward things, they serve but to prop 
up a tabernacle that is always falling. But how shall we lessen our 
esteem and affection ; is that in our power ? I answer, You may do 
much, deny lusts in their first motion, ere they grow upon your esteem 
and affection, and prevail by delight in the soul. When anything be 
gins to sit too close and too near the heart, it is good for a Christian 
then to be wary, and ask this question, How shall 1 deny this for God ? 
1 Cor. vi. 12, 'I would not be brought under the power of anything.' 
Though the objects you converse withal be lawful, yet when they en-j 
croach upon thy spirit, then deny them. And then take heed what 
thou dost account thyself. It is a great part of Christian prudence to 
know what is ourselves. Do not count sin thyself. See how the apostle 
parts it, Rom. vii. 17, ' It is no more I, but sin that dwelleth in me.' 
Thou shouldst be able to say concerning all carnal desires, It is not I, 
but sin. There is an old and corrupt self So thou shouldst not couut 
the world thyself, that is none of thee : Luke xii. 15, ' Take heed, and 
beware of covetousness.' What is the reason ? ' For man's life con- 
sisteth not in the abundance of what he possessetb/ It is not thy 
self, thou are neither further from the grave nor the nearer to true 
contentment ; I may be happy without this. 

2. Seek self in God, this is an innocent diversion. When we cannot j 
weaken the affection, let us change the object. What is it that is so-1 
near to thee? Is it honour? seek honour in God. Do but change- 
vain glory for eternal glory. That is a lawful seeking of self when we 
seek it in God : John v. 44, ' How can ye believe that receive honour 
one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God ? ' 
You may change your desires from vain glory into everlasting glory : 
John xii. 43, ' For they loved the praise of men more than the praise 
of God.' If a man did desire praise, where can we have better than 
to be praised with God's own mouth, in the face of all the world, at 
the great day of accounts, when Christ shall proclaim you to be an 
heir of the crown of heaven ? So for pleasure ; if thy soul be drawn 


out to it, oh ! remember, there are no pleasures like to those chaste 
delights thou mightest enjoy by communion with God, the pleasures 
which are at his right hand for evermore. Affections are not abrogated, 
but preferred ; and we transplant our desires, that they may flourish 
in a better soil. If thou desirest riches, turn out thy heart toward the 
good treasure God hath opened in the covenant, to be rich in grace, 
rich towards God. 

i 3. If thou wouldst deny thyself, resolve upon the worst, to please God, 
j though it be with the displeasure of yourselves and all the world.' 

* Usually we do not sit down and count the charges, we do not make 
our resolution large enough. When we take up the profession of 

\ religion, we look for but little trouble, therefore are soon discouraged. 
' Usually we give God but small allowance ; we do not carry our lives 
and our estates in our hands, as we should do, when we take religion 
upon us. A man never comes to Christ rightly, unless he gives up 
himself and friends, and bids Christ take all. Till it comes to such a 
resolution as Nazianzen had concerning his human learning I never 
affected riches, nor greatness in the world, only I have affected a little 
eloquence, and I will tell you how far I have affected it, that I have 
something of value to esteem as nothing for Christ. So men should 
give Christ liberal allowance ; then when it comes to trial, thou wilt 
riot be grudging ; it is that thou didst count upon, to part with for 
Christ's sake. 

I 4. Take heed of confining thy welfare to outward means, as if thou 
fcouldst not be happy without such an estate, without so many hun- 
fdreds in the world ; beware of binding up thy life and contentment 
with the creature, for when we come to part with it, we can as soon 
part with our lives. The children of God resolve, ' Though the fig-tree 
do not blossom, and the labour of the olive fail, yet to rejoice in the 
Lord,' Hab. ii 17, 18. This should be a Christian's resolution, not to 
trust to the creatures, but in God, though all these things are gone. 
This is a holy independency, when our hearts are taken off from the 
creature. The men of the world have only a candle which is soon 
blown out, an estate that may easily be blasted : but the children of 
God have the sun, which can stead them without a candle. The Lord 
saith, Hosea ii. 11, 12, ' I will cause their mirth to cease,' speaking of 
the carnal Jews. Why? ' I will destroy her vines and her fig-trees/ 
All the wicked man's happiness is bound up with the vine and fig-tree, 
with his estate. Consider, your happiness doth not lie within your 
selves, nor in any other creature, but in God alone. God in himself 
is much better than God in the creature; now carnal men, they prize 
God in the creature, but not God in himself. And therefore the first 
thing we must depend upon is that God is an all-sufficient God in him 
self ; not God in friends, not God in wealth, but God in himself. We 
cannot see how it can be well without friends, and wealth, and liberty, 
therefore our hearts are glued to them. Oh, take heed of this. All 
these things are but several pipes to deliver and convey to us the influ 
ence of the supreme cause ; therefore still prize God in himself before 
God in the creature. 

* 5. Direction : often act faith, and look within the veil. Send thy 
I thoughts as spies and messengers into the land of promise. A man 


will better quit that he hath upon earth when he hath strong expecta 
tions of heaven, Bom. viii. 18. When a man seeth that God hath 
laid up a more excellent glory for him, he will reckon these things 
are not to be named the same day: 2 Cor. iv. 16, 'For which cause 
we faint not: but though our outward man perish, yet the inward 
man is renewed day by day. Tor our light affliction, which is but for 
a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of 
glory, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things 
which are not seen.' The apostle gives an account of his valour and 
resolution ; how he was able to withstand the discouragements of the 
world * We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things 
which are unseen.' Heaven will satisfy all losses and then the world 
is quitted with ease. Look, as the woman left her pitcher when she 
was acquainted with Christ ; so when a man is acquainted with better 
things, his heart is taken off from these outward things. When Christ 
said to Zaccheus, salvation is come to thy house, then he presently added, 
* Half of my goods I give to the poor.' When the heart is much in 
heaven, the earth will seem a small thing. When we look upon the 
stars, they seem but as so many sparks and spangles ; but if we were 
above the earth, the world would seem but like a little black spot. 

6. In all debates between conscience and interest, be sure to observe 3 
God's special providence to thyself. When conscience and interest are j 
a struggling, consider, whence hadst thou that which thou art so 
unwilling to part withal, but from the Lord ? Distrust is the ground 
of self-seeking. We do not consider the providence of God to us, and 
that all changes are in his hands, and therefore we cannot deny our 
selves. Who is that which gave thee such an estate that thou art loth 
1o lose ? or such a comfort thou art unwilling to part withal ? When 
Amaziah the king of Judah was admonished by the prophet not to let 
the army of Israel go with him, ' What shall I do/ saith he, ' for the 
hundred talents ? ' 2 Chron. xxv. 9, the sum for which he had hired 
them ; and the man of God answered, * The Lord is able to give thee 
much more than this.' So when thou art troubled, How shall I do toj 
live ? what shall I do for an estate ? The Lord is able to give theef 
more than this. It is God's blessing that maketh rich, and he can: 
supply thee with a great deal more if he see fit. Men think it is their 
own providence that doth all, and so they are loth to part with what 
they have. Consider, thou couldst not have this if God had not given 
it thee. So when men are loth to lose their friends, when, by the pro 
fession of religion, they may be in danger thereof, remember who 
brought them to be thy friends. Prov. xvi 7, ' When a man's ways 
please the Lord, he makes his very enemies to be his friends.' Piety 
will do more than carnal compliance. Thou mayst by this hazard God 
and thy friends too. 

7. Consider the right God hath in all that is thine ; he hath a natural 
right, and a right by contract. A natural right to all thou hast : he 
made it, and he gave it thee. No creature can be sui juris, at his own 
power and disposal. Riches are not thy own, but God's bounty to 
thee. Foolish men account all that they have their own, they think 
they may do with it as they list : Ps. xii. 4, ' Our tongues are our own, 
who is Lord over us ? ' Consider, thy tongue is not thy own, for it was 


not made by thee ; and when it is blasted, thou canst not repair it. A 
prodigal that is not able to deny his pleasure, speak to him about it, 
and he will answer, I hope that which I spend is my own. Thy estate 
is not thy own, to spend it as thou pleasest. So covetous men think 
they are absolute lords of what they have : 1 Sam. xxv. 11, 'Shall I 
take my bread, and my drink, and give it to strangers ? ' Goods must 
be laid out according to the owner's will, else it is robbery. Now all 
that thou hast is God's, therefore thou art to part with every interest 
and concernment of thine, as it may be for his glory. God hath a 
right also by contract : thou hast given up thyself, and all that is 
thine, to God, Rom. xii. 1 ; and do but consider the danger of alien 
ating things that are once consecrated. Consider, what was the end of 
Ananias and Sapphira. 

Before I come to the particular kinds of self-denial, take some obser 
vations concerning this duty. 

If you would deny yourselves, 

[1.] Every one must observe hisjemper, and the particular constitu 
tion of his own soul. There are several ways of sinning ; let every one 
look to his own way, Isa. liii. 6. God knows, we are all out of the way, 
but usually there is some particular way of sin into which our hearts 
do wander and digress. Now when God tries any man, he tries him 
in his Isaac ; therefore self-denial must be considered according to the 
kind of self-love. Which way doth self-love most of all bend and 
incline your souls. The observation is necessary, because there may 
be some kind of shadow of self-denial in carnal men. Lusts are 
obstinate, and because their contrariety will not give way one to the 
other, therefore, for the convenience of the grand lust, a man may deny 
himself in something. A covetous man bereaves his soul of good, and 
may be rigid and sullen to his nature, yet he may not deny himself. 
He may deny himself of pleasure, but not of worldly profit. Others, 
that are of a dreggy and voluptuous constitution of spirit, they may 
be slight as to worldly profit, when their hearts are caught by another 
snare : Ps. xviii. 23, ' I kept myself from mine iniquity/ Usually there 
is some special sin, which, by the frequency of temptation that often 
occurs, and our desires that way, we may call our sin. Now herein is 
our uprightness tried, when we can deny our sin, 

[2.] Many may deny themselves in purpose, that yet fail when they 
come to act. Certainly, in purpose we must deny ourselves. Whenever 
we come to Christ, we must bring our lives and our comforts in our 
hands ; we must come with a resolution to part with all. Though every 
Christian be not a martyr in effect and act, yet he must be in vow and 
purpose, and resolve to renounce all upon the just and convenient 
reasons of religion, Now the trial is when we are put upon these 
particular cases. We cannot so well judge of an affection by its single 
exercise, as when it is brought to a direct conflict and trial The things 
of religion, in the absence of a temptation, may seem best to the soul ; 
but the spirit is never discovered till we come to an actual choice, and 
particulars are compared with particulars; then desires, which before lay 
hid and dormant, rouse themselves, and oppugn grace in the civil wars 
of the soul. When there is a conflict between conscience and interest, 
then are we tried. Now you need not wish for these cases, for before 


you go out of the world you will find they will come fast enough. 
Many cases will happen when duty is without encouragement, and all 
self-respects fail ; nay, when for conscience' sake you are put upon visible 
disadvantage, Kev. xii. 11. It is said of the children of God, that ' they 
loved not their lives to the death/ When it came to this pinch, that 
either they must deny life or deny Christ, then they loved not their 
lives. Many may in a prodigality of resolution, seem to lay all at 
Christ's feet, as Peter in his confidence talked high ' I will not deny 
thee/ but yet afterward they may fail, when they come to resist unto 
blood : Heb. xii. 4, * Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against 
sin.' When you must make choice of the world or Christ, then are 
the best discoveries made. 

[3.] They are nothing in religion that cannot deny pleasure and the | 
delicacy of life. For this is the constant and private self-denial of as I 
Christian, which is always necessary. All sin is rooted in a love of 
pleasure more than of God ; for therefore do we sin, because of the 
contentment we do imagine to be in sin, that draws on the heart to the 
practice of it. Now he that cannot abjure his contentment is nothing : 
JProv. xxv. 28, ' He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city 
that is broken down, and without walls.' The meaning is, he that- 
cannot subdue his inclination to pleasure, doth lie open to every 
temptation. As an unwalled town in time of war receives every army 
that comes ; so is his soul, it lies obvious to temptation. And besides, 
pleasures will necessarily bring a brawn upon the heart, they are so- 
contrary to the severity of religion. Seneca said, Certainly, it is- 
necessary that he should have low thoughts of duty that hath high, 
thoughts of pleasure, and to gratify his senses. If God had required 
nothing of us but the perfection of reason, if we were only to show our 
selves men, there must be a bridle upon appetite and sensual desires. 
There is an old quarrel between appetite and reason. Nature itself 
would suggest such arguments to us as would put us upon the mortifi 
cation of the senses. 

[4.] We must deny ourselves in point of desire as well as in point J 
of enjoyment: Titus ii. 12, 'Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts/ 1 
The great part of this duty consists in mortifying and subduing worldly 
lusts, that we may be content with our portion, though but a little of 
the world, if God seeth us fit for no more. It is a high point of self- 
denial, not only to part with what we have, but to be content with 
what we have ; when the soul comes to this, to say, I have enough r 
because I have as much as God allotteth me, and because God seeth 
it fit I should have no more. To be content with a little of the world, 
and not to desire more, it is the poor man's duty as well as the rich. 
As a rich man is to quit his possessions when God calls him, so a poor 
man is to quit, mortify, and subdue his desires. Covetousness, when- 
once it prevails upon the heart, it desires, it grasps, it aims at the whole 
world ; therefore Christ saith, Mat. xvi. 26, ' If a man should gain the 
whole world/ implying, that is in the aims of men. When a man's- 
corruptions break out that way, he will never be satisfied. Solomon 
saith, Eccles. v. 10, ' He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with 
silver/ The heart of man is largely drawn out, so that like the grave, 
we shall never be able to say, It is enough. To enjoy complacency in 


our portion, it is a great part of self-denial. To desire more, it is but 
to desire more snares. If I had more, I should have more trouble, 
more snares, more duty ; greater gates do but open to more care ; I 
should have more to account for, more time, and more opportunity ; 
and alas ! I cannot answer for what I have already. If a plant be 
starved in the valleys, it will never thrive on the mountains ; so if in a 
low condition we are not able to conquer the temptation of it, what 
shall we do if we had more, if we cannot be responsible to God for what 
we have ? 

I [5.] Vainglory is as sordid a piece of self, and as much to be denied, 
as affectation of riches and worldly greatness. Covetousness, that carries 
a man to another object, but vainglory to another end ; the one makes 
us idolaters, and the other hypocrites ; an idolater sets up another God, 
and a hypocrite denies the true God. For mark, God, by reason of 
the excellency of his being, is to be the highest object of our respect; 
and because he is the supreme cause, he is to be the ultimate end of 
all our actions ; and when we set up another end, we deny God his 

[6.] We are to deny ourselves, not only in case of temptation to 
direct sin, when either we must thus deny ourselves or actually sin, 
but also for the general advantage of duty and obedience, and the con- 
veniency of a holy life ; for instance, I am to deny my pleasure, not 
only when reason may be grossly discomposed, not only by refusing such 
works of the flesh as stink in the nostrils of nature, but lest I be unfit 
ted for duty, lest insensibly I contract a distemper and brawn upon 
my heart. And so I am to deny riches, not only not to seek them by 
unlawful means, and when I cannot keep them with a good conscience, 
but not to lay out the strength of my spirits in the pursuit of the world, 
that it may not intercept the vigour and strength of my soul, which should 
be reserved for communion with God. So I am to deny honours, that 
is, not only ambitious affectation of them, but when they will make 
me to lose the pleasant opportunity of devout retirement, and a religi 
ous privacy with God. And riches are to be denied, not only when 
they choke conscience, but when they choke the word. 

[7.] In the work of self-denial there must special regard be had to 
the seasons wherein we live, in several cases. 

(1.) In doubtful times when God seems to threaten judgment, then 
our heart must be more loose from worldly comforts than at other times, 
and we must deny ourselves of those comforts which at other times a 
man may take. Our Saviour reproacheth the scribes and pharisees 
for not discerning the seasons. It is a great fault of Christians when 
they do not regard the season and time of God's displeasure ; for in 
stance . Jer, xlv, 4, 5, ' That which I have built will 1 break down, and 
that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land. And 
seekest thou great things for thyself ? Seek them not.' I am pulling 
down, saith God, and plucking up, and for men to mind worldly great 
ness, and honours, and the conveniences of the outward life, when the 
face of the times looks towards a judgment, when we may see a storm 
in the black clouds, then to think of building, planting, and advancing 
ourselves, it is most unseasonable and horrid security. This the Spirit 
of God takes notice of in the men that lived in the days of Noah : it 


is said, ' They ate and drank, and married.' All these things, you know, 
are necessary for the supportation of mankind ; but when they minded 
these things, and had no regard to the season, did not see the storm 
in the clouds, at such a time when God seems to begin his controversy 
with a nation, whatever we do, we should do it with caution and 
fear ; for the more we busy ourselves in the world, the more snares do 
we draw upon ourselves. God looketh, that we should be observant of 
the season, and not seek after honours, and ease, and plenty. When 
judgments are coming, our hearts should be most wearied then, when 
the'face of the sky doth begin to lower and thicken towards a storm. 

(2.) Wnen we are like to put a stumbling-block in the way of a new 
convert, 2 Kings v. 26. The prophet speaking to Gehazi, when he ran 
after l^aaman for a gift ' Is this a time/ saith the prophet, ' to receive 
money, and to think of vineyards and olive-yards, and sheep and oxen, 
and men-servants and maid-servants ? ' Simply to receive a gift had not 
been unlawful, but Elisha was resolved to take none, to show he did not 
make a trade of miracles for his private gain, but it was God's honour he 
aimed at ; it was enough for him that the God of Israel was acknow 
ledged by Naaman the Syrian to be the true God, he would allure him 
by the freeness of the gift. The prophet doth not so much rebuke 
Gehazi for the lie, as for the unseasonableness of the motion, that it 
might bring disgrace upon the honour and highcallingof the prophet, and 
dishonour the God of Israel. We must depart from our own conveniency 
in such cases ; it is a great sturnbling-block to the world when they 
that pretend to reformation seek honours, profits, great places, and 
preferments for themselves and their families. All pious designs must 
have a suitable carriage. In Austin's time it was a scandal against 
the Christians, and the heathens soon took up that reproach, that they 
overturned the idols, not out of any piety or devotion, but covetousness, 
that they might have the gold. Reformers of all men should be con 
tent with the goodness of the action. 

(3.) In prosperous times of the church there is much self-denial to 
be practised. I confess, self-denial is chiefly for suffering times, for 
so it is in the text 'Let him deny himself, and take up the cross;' 
these two are coupled together, that when a cross meets us in our way, 
which we cannot avoid without some hazard of conscience, then we 
must deny ourselves. But, however, it is a duty that is always in season. 
I shall show you wherein this self-denial is to be practised in pros 
perous times. 

1st. We must deny ourselves in charity, and in a constant improve 
ment of our substance to God's glory. Charity, it is the constant vent 
of Christian affection, a holy emptying out of self in liberal and charit 
able distributions, and it is the only cure and preservative we can have 
against self-seeking, if done out of sincere aims : Mark x. 31, ' Go sell 
all that thou hast/ saith Christ to the young man, and ' give to the 
poor, and come and follow me, taking up thy cross/ but he was sad 
at that saying. There is somewhat extraordinary in that trial, ' Go, 
sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor.' This is the self-denial 
Christ calleth for. Can we trust him upon a bill of exchange to be 
paid in heaven ? How much is to be given is hard to define, some 
what must be done worthy of the gospel, and that you may have more 


comfort within yourselves, otherwise you may be as great a self-seeker 
as those that get goods by rapine, when you possess them with avarice. 
He is not only a covetous self-seeker that takes away other men's goods, 
but he that penuriously keeps his own, if he holdeth more than is meet ; 
we are to go back some degrees in pomp and pleasure. Take the ex 
ample of Jesus Christ, how many degrees he went back: 2 Cor. viii. 
9, * When he was rich, he became poor, that we might be rich.' 

2d. In obedience to the word in the strictest inward duties. Many 
duties go against the bent of a carnal heart, as inward mortification, 
meditation, self-examination. There is no outward glory in these 
things, and they are painful and distasteful to flesh and blood. Now 
in this case you must deny yourselves, for the free practice of these- 
holy duties. Cornelius, when he came to Peter, he and his family, say 
they, Acts x. 33, ' Here we are all before the Lord, to hear all things 
that are commanded thee of God ; ' we are contented to hear whatever 
God will be pleased to teach. The ministers of the gospel are factors 
for heaven, they drive God's bargain and covenant with the world. 
Now the Lord cannot endure any reservation, and withdrawing the 
shoulder from any known duties ; how contrary and distasteful soever 
they are to flesh and blood, you must practise them. We are all 
afraid of sins against conscience, and certainly they will be very clam 
orous. But now the world is mistaken in sins against light and con 
science; we think that sins of commission are only sins against conscience j 
as when a man commits adultery, tells a lie against a check of conscience ; 
but, oh ! let me tell you, sins of omission may be sins against conscience 
too: James iv. 17, mark, the .apostle doth not say, To him that knows- 
it is evil, it is sin ; but ' He that knoweth to do good, and doth it not, 
to him it is sin ; ' when you are convinced of any duty, and do not 
practise it ; you are not come up to Christ's rules. Sins of omission 
are sins against knowledge, as well as sins of commission. 

3d In the uprightness of our aims, to see that we be not guided by 
aims that flow from self-love. A man had more need to fear his heart 
in prosperous times than in times of persecution, that he be not led 
with perverse respects, with the outward countenance of religion ,. 
with respect to his own interest, that you be not lovers of yourselves, 
under ' a form of godliness/ as the apostle speaks, 2 Tim. iii. 1. That 
you do not merely hold out a pretence of religion, upon those undue 
motives. There are no greater enemies to Christ than those that pro 
fess Christ upon self-interest, Phil. iii. 18, 19. The apostle speaks of 
some that preached Christ crucified, whose God is their belly, and who 
minded earthly things , all their aim was to flow in abundance of 
wealth and pleasure. They really oppose the virtue and power of his 
cross, as much as those that openly do call him a seducer. 

4th. In prosperous times you are to deny yourselves, in mortifying 
earthly pleasures and carnal desires, how dear soever they be to the 
soul, though our lusts be as near and dear as the right hand and the 
right eye. In times of danger God takes away the fuel of our lusts ; 
but in times of peace we are to take away the desires and lusts them 
selves ; and indeed that is hardest. It is easier to quit life than one 
lust for Christ ; these being more rooted in our nature, are more hardly 
overcome j enduring of hardships is nothing to the overcoming of lusts. 


We are to crucify and deaden these desires to the world, how sweet 
soever they be. Men think there can be no pleasure, but in the ac 
complishment of their carnal desires. It is pleasant, no doubt, to a 
woman with child, to have what she longs for ; but yet it is more 
pleasant not to be troubled with those longings ; so when these lusts 
are gone, it will be exceeding pleasant and comfortable to the soul. 
Your great work then is to take heed that you do not live as those 
that are debtors to the flesh, Eom. viii. 12. You owe no suit and ser 
vice to your carnal desires. We are bound to clothe and feed the body, 
that it may be an instrument to serve God, but no farther ; you are 
not debtors to it, you owe it nothing : and therefore if those desires 
-encroach upon you, you must renounce them. The conveniences of the 
present life, these things serve only as ballast to a ship in the passage, 
we are bound for a city whose commodities cannot be purchased for 
gold or silver. You cannot buy repentance, faith, pardon, or glory, 
with gold or silver, 

5th. This public self-denial is required of you in seeking to promote 
the common salvation and public benefit of the saints, without any 
partial respect to your own interest and opinion. Usually this is the 
fault of the children of God, saith Nazianzen, when they begin to grow 
well, then they are factious and divided, as green timber that lies in 
the sunshine is apt to warp ; so when we enjoy the sunshine of pros 
perity, we are apt to divide and grow turbulent: Rom. xv. 2, the 
apostle saith, ; Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good, 
to edification.' We are not to please ourselves, not to look to the 
gratification of our own opinions, not to be privately urging our own, 
opinions to the tormenting of interests and the breach of Christian 
charity ; it is a most spiritual kind of self-denial to be ever ruled by 
respects to the general interests of religion more than by private affec 
tion to our own party. Look, as the elements leave their proper motion, 
the water will ascend, and the air descend, to conserve the universe, and 
that there may be no vacuum and emptiness in the world ; so it is 
good not to be partial to our own private interest, and at least to for 
bear censures and exasperations, and drawing everything to the height. 

Secondly, Having handled the doctrine of self-denial in general, I 
come to the kinds and subjective parts of it ; self must be denied so 
far as it is opposite to God, or put in the place of God ; and therefore 
we may judge of the kinds of self-denial according to the distinct privi 
leges of the Godhead, 

1. As God is the first cause, upon whom all things depend in their 
hcing and operation, and so we are to deny self, that is, self; dependence. 

2. God is the chief est good, and therefore to be valued above all 
beings, interests and concernments in the world, and so we are to deny 
self, that is, self-love. 

3. God is, and he alone, the highest lord and most absolute sovereign, 
who swayeth all things by his laws and providence, and so we are to 
deny self, that is, self-will, by a willing and full obedience to his laws, 
and by an absolute^ subjection to the dominion of his providence ; the 
one is holiness, and the other is patience; the one relateth to his 
governing, the other to his disposing will. 

4. God h> the last end, in which all things do at length terminate, 


and so we are to deny self, that is, self-seeking. According to these 
considerations is the doctrine of self-denial. 

As God is the first cause, so he would keep up the respects of the 
world to his majesty by dependence and trust. It is the ambition of 
man to affect an independency, to be a god to himself, sufficient to his 
own happiness. Now nothing can be to God more hateful than this. 
The main thing that preserves and maintains our allegiance and respect 
to the crown of heaven, is a constant dependence upon God for all 
things. For we find by experience that the heart is never kept in a 
right frame but when we look for our all from God. And therefore it 
is notable that in the covenant of grace, wherein the Lord would repair 
the ruins of the fall, and bring the creature into a new obligation to 
himself, God represents himself as all-sufficient, when he came to make 
a covenant with Abraham : Gen. xvii. 1, ' I am God all-sufficient ; ' we 
bring nothing to the covenant but all-necessity, and we come to meet 
with all-sufficiency in God. Now a great part of self-denial is to work 
us off from all other dependencies. We are marvellously apt to depend 
upon our own righteousness, our own wit and wisdom, our own spirit 
ual strength, arid the supplies of outward life. Therefore I shall in 
the succeeding discourse, seek to draw off the heart from these things, 
that so our trust and dependence may entirely be fixed upon God himself. 

That which I shall first persuade you unto is 

First, To deny our own righteousness. For this we have a pregnant 
example, and that is the example of the apostle Paul : Phil. iii. 9, ' I 
count all things but dung and dross, that I may be found in him, not 
having mine own righteousness.' Look into the context, and you will 
find it express to the purpose. In the 4th ver. he saith, ' If any might 
have confidence in the flesh, I might much more.' It is no great matter 
for those to deny themselves that have nothing to trust to ; but now, 
who could display such a banner of his own excellency as Paul could ? 
Besides his other external privileges, take notice of his moral qualifica 
tion : ver. 6, ' That he was, touching the righteousness of the law, 
blameless ; ' that is, whilst a pharisee, he was a man of a strict and 
severe life, for outward confortmity and righteousness of life altogether 
blameless. Who so strict, so just, and temperate as Paul ? Nay, after 
he was a Christian : ver. 8, ' I have suffered the loss of all things for 
Christ ; ' credit and interest, honours among the Jews, friends, country, 
all things, in the behalf of the gospel. Now what is his judgment upon 
all ? See ver. 7, ' Those things which were gain to me I counted loss.' 
Naturally, he was apt to count those things gain, to look upon them as 
rare and singular grounds of confidence. If any might expect to be 
saved, certainly Paul might ; you would have wished your soul in his 
soul's stead, if you had been acquainted with him. But saith Paul, ' I 
counted them to be loss,' that is, through the treachery of my heart 
would prove hindrances from closing with Christ, and dangerous 
allurements to hypocrisy and self-confidence. Nay, he repeats it again 
in the 8th ver. for the greater emphasis ' Yea, doubtless, and I do 
account all things but loss/ to show that he made this judgment, not 
only upon his Jewish observances, but upon his actions as a Christian, 
upon his good works after faith ; though he had converted many thou 
sands to God, and done and suffered much for Christ, ' yet I do to this 


day count it to be a loss, I count them to be cncv[Ba\a, dog's meat ; notl 
that he repented of anything that lie had done and suffered, but as they* 
might hinder the application of the merit of Christ, but as things that 
his heart was apt to plead before God's tribunal. It is all nothing, it 
is loss, it is dung, it is dogs' meat. And why ? ' That I might gain 
him, and be found in him/ &c. All was to make way for the greater 
esteem of Jesus Christ. 

Now, upon this eminent example, let me press you to this kind of 
self-denial, to draw off your hearts from your own righteousness. My 
method shall be this 

1. J shall show you how hard a matter it is to bring men off from 
dependence upon our own righteousness. 

2. The danger of leaning upon our own righteousness. 

3. Some discoveries of those that are taken in this snare of death, that 
are carried away by a vain trust and presumption of righteousness in 

4. Some remedies and cures. 

[1.] I shall show it is a very hard matter to bring men off from a 
dependence upon their own righteousness. 

(1.) Because by nature it is incident to all men. This is an evil 
that is natural to us. Works are our natural copy and tenure. ' Do 
this, and live,' it was the covenant made with Adam, and it is written 
upon the heart of all men. We all seek to be saved by doing. There 
fore upon conviction, as soon as we begin to be serious, as soon as the 
conscience is awakened, the first question is, ' What shall I do to be 
saved ? ' John vi. '28, ' What shall we do, that we may work the works 
of God ? ' They imagined that life eternal might be gained by the 
works of the law, without Christ. Now this natural disposition is con 
firmed and strengthened, partly by ignorance and security. Men do not 
know what is necessary to true righteousness : Kom. x^ 3, ' Being- 
ignorant of the righteousness of God, and going about to establish 
their own righteousness, they have not submitted to the righteousness 
of Christ.' They do not know what is necessary to the justifying of a 
soul in God's sight. None are so apt to rest in their own righteousness 
as those that have least reason viz, persons ignorant and formal. St 
Paul saith, Phil. iii. 4, ' If any might have confidence in the flesh, 
much more I/ As those that have little learning will be showing of 
it on all occasions ; so persons that do but regard the outside of 
religion, and practise formal duties, are most apt to rest in them. 
Why ? For formal duties do not discover weakness, and so puff men 
up. Carnal men search little, and blind conscience is soon pacified ; 
usually, men that are ignorant, and go on in a dead course without 
feeling defects and needing the supplies of heaven, they are most con 
fident. So partly by natural pride and self-conceit. Man is a proud 
creature, and loth to be beholden to another. A russet coat patched 
of our own seems better than a silken garment that is borrowed. Our 
righteousness ! What a poor, filthy, tattered thing it is ! Yet our hearts 
run upon it more than on the righteousness of Christ, that is so excellent 
and glorious. We are loth to submit and yield to this borrowed right 
eousness. That is the reason why the apostle useth that expression, 
Rom. x. 3, ' They have not submitted to the righteousness of God.' 


It needs a great deal of submission and condescension to be content to 
be beholden to divine grace. Men would fain maintain the dignity of 
works, and are loth to stoop and sue in forma, pauperis, to come as 
beggars to God ; we would rather come as creditors, to challenge a 
debt which we suppose he oweth to us. And partly, it is confirmed 
and strengthened by natural ease and laziness. That which is our own 
costs no waiting. Paul saith, Phil. iii. 8, ' I have suffered the loss of 
.all things, that I might win Christ.' Ere Paul could be secured against 
his own fears, he ran through a great many hazards, he suffered much. 
We have not the comfort of Christ's righteousness, but after much 
waiting and prayer. But now, when we seek it in ourselves, blind con 
science will take hold of anything. And partly too, because God doth 
I follow such kind of men with prosperity in this world ; therefore they 
f think the Lord is well pleased with them, till the hour of death comes, 
^ then they find ail to be but froth, and that no man is a loser by God. 
Outward religion bringeth outward blessing. Dogs have crumbs that 
fall from the table ; they have the offals of mercy ; therefore they that 
depend upon their own righteousness cannot say God is in their debt, 
for they have outward prosperity . 

(2.) It is most incident to persons after first conviction. When 
conscience is first opened, men fetch their comfort from their own 
duties. The law leaves them wounded and low, and they lick them 
selves whole again by some offers and resolutions of obedience. Usually, 
observe it, carnal men are only sensible of, or careful about religion 
upon some gripes of conscience ; they use duties as men do strong- 
j waters in a pang. Nature is more prone to a sin-offering than to a 
| thank-offering. Duties should be a thank-offering, and they make 
fthem a sin-offering. As in an outward case, when men have offended 
their superiors, for a while they become more pliant and obsequious, 
that they may redeem their fault by their after diligence , so it is here, 
when conscience comes and arrests men in the name of God, then men 
will run to duties till conscience be asleep again. Therefore it is good 
in all gripes of conscience, and whenever we come to settle our peace, 
to observe from whence you fetch your comfort, and how it grows upon 
you : Ps. xcii. 19, &c., ' In the midst of my sad thoughts, thy com 
forts delight my soul.' It is very sweet when a Christian can see he 
hath fetched his comfort from Christ, arid not merely from some out 
ward observances and formal duties. Inquire how thou didst come to 
be satisfied with thy estate. Usually when conviction is not very deep, 
men blind and choke conscience with their own endeavours, and their 
resolution of growing better. When they are wounded with sin, then 
they are apt to run to self for a plaster. 

(3.) After conversion the children of God are very subject to it, to 
lessen their esteem of Christ by overvaluing their own righteousness. 
f As long as we live in the world we are apt to set up a righteousness of 
j our own. When the apostle would give us a catalogue of sins, pride 
of life is last mentioned, because, when other sins are subdued, pride 
remains, it grows upon the ruin of other sins. Now of all the pieces of 
pride, this is the most dangerous, to pride ourselves in our own right 
eousness. The apostle Paul doth not only say, I count my righteous 
ness, when a pharisee, loss; but now that I am a Christian, I yet 


1 account all things loss/ It is storied of Mr Fox, that he was wont toi 
say he was more afraid of his graces than of his sins, as being in danger] 
to be puffed up, lest they should tempt him to a self-confidence. OurJ 
Saviour prescribes it as a general rule, whenever we have done any 
thing for God, he would still have us cherish thoughts of our own 
nothingness : Luke xiii. 10, ' When you have done all, say you are un 
profitable servants ; ' herein I have merited nothing. And that pos 
sibly may be the reason, why the children of God, in the fairest view 
of their graces, do so solemnly disclaim their own righteousness ; as 
1 Cor. iv. 4, the apostle Paul saith, ' I know nothing by myself, yet am I 
not thereby justified.' Paul knew no unfaithfulness and no negligence 
in himself in the work of the ministry, yet am ' I not justified for this 
before God.' When you have done your utmost, still run to grace, 
and make grace your claim : Neb. xiii. 22, ' I caused the Levites to 
sanctify themselves ; remember me, my God, concerning this also, 
and spare me, according to the greatness of thy mercy.' It was an 
excellent work, ' yet spare me/ saith he, ' according to the greatness of 
thy mercy.' 

[2.] I shall show how dangerous it is to lean upon our own right 

(1.) We shall not prize Jesus Christ ; Christ is outed of the heartf 
by the confidence that men have in their works. Because Paul dis-* 
esteemed works and counted ' all tilings dung/ the more excellent did 
Jesus Christ seem to him ' All is dung for the excellency of the 
knowledge of my Lord/ So, on the contrary, when men esteem works, 
they are sure to disesteem Christ. Now it is the highest profaneness 
in the world not to esteem Christ. It is not only profaneness to be 
drunk, commit adultery, or steal, but not to prize the Lord Jesus 
Christ. And when the apostle speaks of not prizing Christ, 1 Cor. 
xvi. 22, saith he, ' Let him be accursed till the Lord come ; " and Heb. 
xii. 15, ' Let there be no profane person, as was Esau, who despised 
the birthright.' The birthright, it was a pledge of the grace we have 
by Christ, and therein lay Esau's profaneness, he did despise his 
spiritual privileges ; therefore nothing is mere dangerous than the con 
ceit of our own righteousness. 

(2.) It will certainly be a great loss to you ; it will deprive you of 
many precious experiences. God is very tender of the trust of the 
creature ; when men stand upon their own bottom, they turn the back 
upon their own mercies, they will soon grow dead and careless, and re 
ligion will not be carried on in such a sweet and sensible way, because 
grace is obstructed, for that you depend upon yourselves. But now by 
disclaiming works you will lose nothing, but you will gain Christ, and 
in him find comfort and grace. When once we are interested in thei 
righteousness of Christ, then we shall have the proof and virtue of the j 
Spirit of Christ for the mortifying of sin and quickening the soul 
to holiness : see Phil. iii. 10, ' That I may know him, and the power 
of his resurrection/ 

(3.) Dependence upon our own righteousness, it will draw the heart 
to demure hypocrisy, by making men contented with an imperfect re 
semblance and dead picture of righteousness. There are none that 
trust more in works than those that are most defective in them. If 

VOL. xv. o 


we come to perform duties indeed, we cannot but be sensible of the 
weakness of them, and so we shall fly to mercy. None are so truly 
godly as those that cast their whole dependence upon grace ; none per 
form duties with more care, and overlook them with more self-denial ; 
none have greater care of duty, and lower thoughts of it when it is 
performed. Who more strict and laborious than Paul? yet all is 
nothing but dung and dog's meat. In the scheme of judgment, and at 
the last day, Mat. xxv. 37, when Christ saith to the sheep, ' Stand on 
my right hand, you have fed me,' &e., they say, ' Lord, when saw we 
thee an hungry, and fed thee ? ' &c. They wondered that God should 
' take notice of such worthless services. The goats were apt to plead for 
themselves, but the sheep admire at God's thoughts of their charity. 
Carnal men, when they are pressed to strict duties, they choke con 
science with maxims of grace ; but when they look for blessing, then 
they build upon works. Now the godly are quite contrary, they work 
as if there were no grace ; and yet they expect all from grace, as if 
there were no works. 

(4.) It will make the promise to be of no effect to you. All our 
comfort lies in the acceptance of the gospel, we are undone by the old 
law. Now when you depend upon works, you cut off yourselves from 
those hopes, and are obnoxious to the rigour of the law. God puts it to 
your choice at what court you will stand ; will you plead at the tri 
bunal of justice, or of grace? Kom. xi. 6, 'If it be of works, it is no 
more of grace ; and if of grace, it is no more of works.' Either it must 
be wholly of grace or wholly of works. So Gal. iii. 18 ; if you build 
upon the law, you will evacuate and make void the promise to you. 
The covenant will not be mixed, no more than gold or clay, no tem 
pering of these things. Gal. v. 2-4, those that would establish 
works, the apostle tells them they are * fallen from grace,' are ' debtors 
to the whole law,' and that 'Christ profits them nothing.' God doth 
not love a patched righteousness. New cloth upon an old garment 
will make the rent worse. Your souls must be entirely carried out to 
the righteousness of Christ. 

(5.) We shall best know the danger of self-dependence when wrath 
doth actually make pursuit after sinners, either in pangs of conscience, 
or in the hour of death, or at the day of judgment. Phil. iii. 9, ' 
that I might be found in him ; ' the expression ' found' implies that 
there is a time when God will search Jerusalem with candles. When 
wrath makes inquisition for sinners, oh, it is an excellent thing to be 
sheltered under the buckler of grace ! Merit-mongers are best confuted 
by experience. Certainly, they that cry up works seldom look into 
their own conscience. However men may babble in the schools, yet 
when they come to plead with God, then they will see there is no claim 
will serve their turn but the righteousness of Christ. They may dis 
pute with men such as themselves, but when they come to dispute with 
their own consciences in the agonies of death, then they will cry out it 
is best to lean upon the merit of Christ. Let a man plead with God, 
Give me not a crumb of mercy, unless I be found worthy ; do not save 
and justify me, unless I deserve it. Yet, when conscience arrests men, 
and cites them before the tribunal of God, then they tremblingly fly 
to the horns of God's mercy, and to his free acceptation in Jesus 


Christ. Therefore this will be comfortable to you in the hour of death. 
You cannot have a better winding-sheet than to be wrapt up in Christ's 
righteousness ; it is only that will bear you out. Therefore say, Hor- 
reo quicquid de meo est, ut sim meus. 

[3.] To give some discoveries of the depending upon our own right 
eousness. Because men are doctrinally right, and disclaim the opinion 
of merit and works, they do not discern this secret vein of guilt that 
runs throughout the soul. There are practical papists, as well as prac 
tical atheists. Thou shalt not be judged by thy naked opinion, but 
by the disposition of thine heart. A man may own grace in pretence, I 
yet trust in himself all the while. Luke xviii. 9, compared with the 
llth. verse. In the 9th verse it is said, 'Jesus spake this parable 
against those that trusted in themselves that they were righteous ; ' 
there he brings the instance of the Pharisee ; yet in verse 11, he saith, 
' God, I thank thee ; ' he talks of grace, of blessing God and owning 
God, but he was proud and puffed up by the conceit of his own right 
eousness, his secret confidence was built upon his own works. So Deut. 
ix. 4, ' Say not in thine heart, this is for my righteousness/ Though 
we do not say it with the tongue, and plead for merit, yet there may 
be a saying in the heart ; there is a language which God understands, 
in the secret dispositions of the soul. All thoughts are not explicite, 
and impressed upon the conscience ; some are impUcite. thoughts by 
interpretation. How shall we find this difference out ? 

(1.) When there is a secret blessing of ourselves in our performance 
of good duties, without humiliation for defects. The children of God, 
the more they do, the more they abhor themselves and hunger after 
Christ. It is a notable passage of Nehemiah, chap. xiii. 22, ' And I 
commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that 
they should sanctify the sabbath-day. Remember me, my God, con 
cerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy/ 
It was an excellent work he had done here, to put them upon sanctify 
ing the sabbath, yet * spare me/ When the children of God do any 
thing worthy and excellent, they the more hunger after grace as having 
sensible experience of their own defects, whenever they come into 
God's presence. They have more cause to be humbled than lifted up, 
though carried on with much activity and life in a holy service. There 
is much weakness, much want of zeal, and want of affection or atten 
tion ; therefore they have still cause to reflect even upon their holy 
things. But now, when there is no actual humiliation, when men per 
form duties, and grow more proud and conceited, their duties prove 
loss to them, not gain. This is one advantage we have by holy ordin 
ances, to grow more vile in our own eyes. Nothing makes the children 
of God to abhor themselves so much as their duties, because there they 
converse with a holy God, and that puts them upon the remembrance 
of their defects, and there they discern the weakness of their graces. 
As we feel the lameness of the arm in labour and exercise, so in those 
spiritual exercises they discern the feebleness of their graces. Nay, 
there their corruptions are irritated, and make resistance, and therefore 
they come to see that their natures are full of sin and their services 
are full of weakness. And so they cry out with David, Ps. cxliii. 2, 
' Enter not into judgment with thy servant, Lord I ' He doth not 


say with thy enemies, with unbelievers, but with ' thy servant/ Self- 
conceit then is a sure argument of self-dependence. When men think 
much of what they have done for God, and do not break out into 
actual humiliation, certainly it is a sign their hearts do run upon the 
merit of their actions. Secretly they say in their hearts, This is my 
righteousness, which is against the standing rule of Christ : Luke 
xvii. 10, ' When you have done all you can, say you are unprofitable 

(2.) When men grow vain and wanton after solemn duties, as if 
their former strictness should bear them out : Ezek. xiii. 33, ' He that 
trusts to his righteousness, and commits iniquity/ &c. Usually men that 
trust to their righteousness indulge themselves in vanity and sin with 
the more licence and boldness, as if one part of obedience would recom 
pense and make amends for the defect of another. This is grossly 
done by carnal men ; as the Jews hoped to repair their want of mercy, 
by the multitude of their sacrifices, as if that would make amends for 
their defect in the weighty things of the law, by tithing mint and 
cummin. It is true the children of God may be surprised, as good 
Josiah was, his breach with God was after he had prepared the temple, 
2 Chron. xxxv. 20, when he went out to fight against Necho, king of 
Egypt. Now suitably, and like to this, is when the indulgence goes- 
before the duty ; it is all one, only it is more carnal, as when men give 
up themselves to a greater liberty in sinning, out of pretence that their 
repentance shall make amends for all. As those in the primitive times 
that delayed their baptism, When I am baptized, I will leave off my 
vicious course of life ; or, as men give up themselves to youthful follies 
upon a dream of a religious old age, and upon a pretence of a devout 
retirement and that hereafter they will sequester themselves from the 

j (3.) When men would have some worth in themselves before they 
come to God for mercy. He comes to God most worthy that conies- 
most sensible of his airworthiness, Luke xviii. 9. Bead the parable 
that Christ spake against those that were ' righteous in themselves ; " 
the one would come to God with something of his own, the other would 
come as a beggar ' God be merciful to me a sinner ; ' the one appeals 
to justice, the other to mercy. It is contrary to the gospel, however 
disguised it seems ; it seems to be humility, yet indeed it is but pride. 
When men will not look after the comforts of the gospel because they 
are not worthy, this is contrary to the tenor of the gospel ; for where 
fore is Christ a Saviour, but for sinners, 1 Tim. i. 15. It is but a 
humble pride when men would have some worth in themselves before 
they would come to God. 

(4.) When men murmur if God doth not hear their prayers, and 
come in at their times and seasons : Isa. Iviii. 3, ' Wherefore have we 
fasted, and thou regardest not ? ' When men will come arid challenge 
God as if he were in debt to them, it is a sign their hearts secretly run 
upon their own righteousness. Murmuring is a fruit of merit. If 
God be not a debtor, why should we complain where nothing is due ? 
Therefore the complainers speak perversely against the providence of 
God. It is a sign they think they have deserved better. Those 
that prescribe to God ascribe too much to themselves. Proud hypo- 


crites think God is beholden to them, that he is bound to hear them, 
therefore they murmur if they have not what they expect. They en 
tertain crosses with anger, and blessings with disdain. Mai. i. 2, when 
Ood loved them, they count slight of his mercy and say,' ' Wherein 
hast thou loved us ? ' The children of God wonder why the Lord 
should show them any mercy at all ; they wonder anything should be 
theirs but vengeance and punishment, since nothing is theirs but sin. 
4 What am I ! ' saith David, 2 Sam. vii. 18. Whence is it that God 
should be so merciful and gracious t6 me ? Nothing can be little to 
them, because they know their sins are so great and their deserts so 
small. And if God lay affliction upon them, they are humble and 
quiet, knowing it is but the fruit of their doings. 

(5.) When men go on in a track of duty and outward observances, 
a.nd never look after the interest of their persons, this is a sign they 
would be accepted for their works 5 sake. It is God's method to accept! 
of the person before the work. And all that are God's are driven to * 
take hold of the covenant, driven out of themselves to run to the ' hope 
that God hath set before them,' as it is said of the heirs of promise, 
Heb. vi. 18. There was never a man that belonged to God but one 
time or other he was driven to run to the covenant of grace ; therefore 
when men never breathe out those desires to be found in Christ, it is 
a sign their hearts do secretly build upon their own righteousness. 

(6.) If the person of Christ be not exceeding precious to your souls, 
and always kept in the eye of your faith and in the arms of your love, 
you have not a due sense of your own state and actions : Cant. i. 13, 
* A bundle of myrrh is my beloved.' The children of God always keep 
up an esteem for Christ in their hearts, and strive to keep in the fire 
of love to their dearest Lord. Paul groans fearfully under the 
relics of sin, Kom. vii. 22 , but saith he, ' Blessed be God for Jesus 
Christ : ' Your hearts will be breaking out in thanksgiving if you have 
a due sense of the nothingness of your own works. 

[4.] For the helps and remedies to take you off from depending up 
on your own righteousness. 

. (1.) Meditate much upon the nature of God; it is such that his 
children are ashamed to appear in his presence. Job saith, chap. xlii. 
5, 6, ' I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine 
eye seeth thee ; wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and 
ashes/ Oh! consider, you have to do with a holy God, that can en 
dure no imperfection because of the holiness of his nature, and that 
will not release his law because of the severity of his justice : Ps. cxL 
3, ' In thy sight shall no flesh living be justified/ Alas ! we can scarce 
keep up a fair show before men ; a discerning man may soon look 
through the veil of our profession, How shall we do to appear before 
the holy God ? We need to have a better robe than our own if we 
would be comely in God's sight, for our ' righteousness is but as filthy 

(2.) Extenuate no sin, for that will lessen your esteem of Jesus 
Christ. Have true and proper thoughts of the least sin. See how 
God hath been displeased with the lesser sins of his people : one pas 
sionate fit of anger kept Moses out of Canaan ; Adam was thrown out 
of Paradise for eating an apple ; and the angels of heaven for a thought, 


aspiring to God's greatness and majesty. Therefore extenuate no sin, 
and this will make Christ exceeding precious. 

(3.) Consider the greatness of God's love, and the infiniteness of 
the reward that he hath provided for us. If we did oftener think of 
this we should be ashamed of our weak requital, and should run to the 
merit of Christ 

(4.) Eemember that we have all from God. Whenever we have 
done anything with which the heart is apt to be tickled, remember 
how many considerations there are to humble you. In every holy 
service, if there be anything that is good in it, it is from God ' Of 
thine own, Lord, have we given thee.' Shall we be proud because 
we have received more from God than others ? A servant that trades 
with his master's money doth but his duty, and deserves nothing All 
we do in holy things, it is upon the expense and cost of divine grace. 

(5.) Consider how much evil and weakness is in every service. 
Certainly that cannot merit glory that needs pardon itself. Though 
whatever we do in holy things be by divine grace, yet all that passes 
through our hands receives some soil and filth from our hearts like 
pure water that runs through a dirty channel. 

(6.) Whatever we can do for God, it is due to him, so that the pay 
ment of new debts will not quit old scores. 

Secondly, I corne to work you off from dependence upon your own 
wisdom, a matter necessarily to be regarded in this argument. Christ 
had foretold his sufferings, and Peter, out of carnal wisdom, dissuadeth 
him from the cross, and suffering himself to be so used ; and upon this 
occasion Christ saith, ' If any man will come after me, he must deny 
himself/ that is, he must not, with Peter, follow his own carnal reason 
and understanding, as if such kind of counsel and advice were best. 
Thereupon, in the 25th verse, as a help to self-denial, our Lord lays 
down a conclusion that is quite contradictory to the judgment of carnal 
sense ' He that will save his life must lose it ; ' implying that we 
must have other thoughts, we are not to be guided by the judgment of 
our own sense and reason, but by maxims and principles of faith. 
Therefore we have that dissuasive, Prov. iii. 5, ' Trust in the Lord 
with all thy heart, and lean not to thine own understanding ; ' where 
Solomon shows that dependence upon our own understanding and wis 
dom is wholly inconsistent with a trust in God. 

In the managing of this argument 

1. I shall state the matter, how far we are to deny our own wisdom. 

2. Show how hard and difficult a matter it is to bring men off from 
leaning upon their own understanding. 

3. The signs whereby leaning to our own wisdom is discovered. 

4. Dissuasives or reasons to take us off from such a dependence. 

5. The directions that are proper in this case. 

[1.] How far we are to deny our own wisdom. It concerns us both 
in doctrinals and practicals, 

1. In doctrinals. To wave such discourse as is controversial, I shall 
lay down two propositions. 

1st. Keason must not be heard against scripture. 

2d Scripture cannot be understood or applied without the Spirit. 

[1st] Keason must not be heard against scripture, or be set upas the 


highest judge in matters of religion ; otherwise we shall soon shift off 
many of the chief est principles and articles of faith, as the incarnation 
of Christ, the resurrection of the body, the mystery of the trinity, &c. 
Who, by his own wisdom, can see God veiled under the curtain of flesh, 
the root of the vine growing upon one of his own grapes ? Who can 
see that life must be fetched out of death ? or that one man must be 
healed by another's stripes ? that the morsels of worms are parcels of 
the resurrection ? Therefore the first work of grace is to captivate the 
pride of our thoughts and our prejudices against religion : 2 Cor. x. 5, 
' Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself 
against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every high 
thought to the obedience of Christ ; ' captivating every high thought, 
the inward reasonings of the mind, to the obedience of Jesus Christ. 
There is vTrafcor) Tr/crrect)?, an obedience of faith. Reason must be cap 
tivated to faith, though not to fancy ; and if it be revealed, we must 
believe it, how absurd soever and unlikely it seems to nature. At first 
conversion our prejudices must strike sail to religion. When our 
Saviour speaks of the first conversion, he saith, Mat. xviii. 3, that 
' whosoever receives the kingdom of God, he must receive it as a little 
child.' A little child believes as he is taught ; so must we, as we are 
taught, I mean by God, and not by men. You are never fit for 
heaven nor the understanding of heavenly things, till you have denied 
your own wisdom ; that which is above reason cannot be comprehended 
by reason. All lights must keep their place. There are three lights 
sense, reason, and faith. Sense, that is the light of beasts ; reason, 
that is the light of men ; faith, that is the light of the church ; 
all these must keep their place. To consult with nature in super 
natural things is all one as if you should seek the judgment of reason 
among the beasts, and determine of human affairs by brutish instinct. 
If carnal men should but have liberty to let nature work, and set down 
a divinity of their own, what a goodly religion should we have in the 
world ! A very comely chimera ! For practicals, I am sure it would 
be large enough ; natural conscience hates fetters and restraints. And 
in doctriuals it would be absurd enough ; man can never take a right 
draught and image of God. We cannot empty the ocean with a cockle 
shell ; so neither can we exhaust the divine perfections by the shallow 
discourse of our reason. The heathens that were most profound in the 
researches and inquiry of reason, they sate abrood, and thought of 
hatching of an excellent religion ; but what was the issue ?<Rom. i. 22, 
' Professing themselves wise, they became fools/ All that they pro 
duced was fables, and high strains of folly mixed with popular rites and 
customs. There are many things that are necessary to religion, which 
the very angels themselves could not know if it had not been revealed 
to them : Eph. iii. 10, 'That to the principalities and powers in heavenly 
places might be known, by the church, the manifold wisdom of God/ 
The way of salvation by Christ is such a mystery as that it could not 
have entered into the heart of any creature, no, not of an angel. If an 
angel had been, to set down which way man should be saved ; nay, if all 
the cherubim and seraphim, thrones, dominions, and powers, if they 
all had met together in a synod and council, it would have posed 
nil the world and the united consultation of angels, to have found 


out such a way. Therefore in those things that are revealed we 
must believe God upon his word ; we must believe above and without 

[2d] The scripture cannot be understood nor applied without the 
Spirit. A blind man cannot see the sun, though it shine ever so clearly ; 
and so, till the inward light meet with the outward, we cannot appre 
hend God's mind We shall be ' ever learning, and never come to the 
knowledge of the truth.' As the eunuch said to Philip, Acts viii. 32, 
Philip saith to him, * Understandest thou what thou readest ? And 
he said, How can I, except some man should guide me.' Whenever 
you go to the word of God, you must not be your own interpreter ; it 
must be interpreted by the same Spirit by which it was indited. It is 
very notable, when Christ himself was the preacher (and certainly none 
can interpret as Christ could), he expounded the scriptures. But it is 
'said, Luke xxiv. 45, ' Then opened he their understanding, that they 
might understand the scripture/ Christ, as an external minister, first 
opened the scriptures, and then, as the author of grace, he opened their 
understandings, without which they would have been veiled up in 
clouds and darkness. Mere flesh and blood are apt to stumble in God's 
plainest ways, and when we rest in the strength of our own reason we 
shall soon make a contrary and indiscreet use of truth : Hosea xiv. 9, 
* Who is wise, and he shall understand these things ? prudent, and he 
shall know them ? The ways of the Lord are right, the just shall 
walk in them ; but the transgressor shall err therein.' The ways of 
the Lord become an occasion of ruin to the wicked ; they shall undo 
themselves by their own apprehensions. Carnal reason turneth all to 
a carnal purpose ; as the sea turneth the dews of heaven and the tribute 
of the rivers into salt water. But they are plain to them that are 
enlightened by a heavenly light. As the sun draws out a stench from 
carrion, and a sweet savour from flowers ; or as the pillar of the cloud 
was ' light to the Israelites, and ' darkness to the Egyptians ; ' so are 
the ways of God ' the savour of life unto life ' to them that believe ; 
but unto the other the ' savour of death unto death,' 2 Cor. ii. 16. 
So Solomon saith, Prov. xvi. 29, 'As a thorn goeth up into the hand of 
a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of a fool.' The Jews were 
wont to sew their garments with thorns ; now when he would sew, he 
wounds and goreth himself, because his spirits are disturbed. Natural 

more strict ' Let them that have wives be as though they had none/ 
G. There is his inference. Now compare it with 1 Cor. xv. 37 ; 
the epicure draws another inference ' The time is short/ What then ? 
Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall die/ The apostle 
presseth strictness, and he presseth jollity. The commonest truth in 
practical divinity is a mystery, and it must be divinely understood. 

(2.) As it holds in doctrinals, so also in practicals , there we are to 
cease from our own understanding. 

1st. We must not take counsel of human and fleshly wisdom. Folly 
is bound up in the heart of a man, and it is the more dangerous because 
it goes under the disguise of wisdom ; so that we think none are wise 


but those that are fleshly wise. Now the apostle saith, Eom. viii. 7, 
' The wisdom of the flesh is enmity to God.' An enemy may be recon-| 
ciled, but enmity cannot. A vicious man may become virtuous, but 
vice cannot become virtue. Do but observe what a contradiction there 
is between the wisdom of the flesh and the wisdom of the Spirit This 
eaith, The way 'to be exalted, is to abase ourselves;' the way to 
become first is to be last ; the way to be strong is to be weak ; the way 
to live is to die ; the way to be wise is to be a fool : 1 Cor. iii. 18, ' He 
that would be wise must be a fool, that he may be wise ; ' that is, 
renounce his own wisdom that he may be taught of God. It is a high 
point of wisdom to be one of the world's fools, to take such a course as 
that the world counts us fools. To save life, we must lose it ; so con 
sequently of estate, and other appendages of life. That which the 
flesh would call saving, the Spirit calls losing ; that which the flesh 
would call wisdom, the Spirit calls folly. So on the contrary, the flesh 
is quit with the Spirit. That which the Spirit calls strictness, the flesh 
calls folly and preciseness ; that it is cowardice and disgrace to love 
enemies and to put up with wrongs ; and to pardon inj uries a servility 
of spirit ; and that charity is prodigality. As astronomers call the 
glorious stars by the names of lions and bears, the dragon's tail, &c ; 
carnal reason miscalls the graces of God's Spirit. To renounce 
present delights and advantages there is not a course more foolish in 
the eye of natural reason : 1 Cor. ii. 14, ' The natural man receiveth 
not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him ; 
neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned/ 
These things are folly to him ; and our heart will be apt to say, when 
any begin to be strict, We shall have you turn fool now. Fervent zeal 
seeemeth peevishness and frowardness, and strictness mere scrupulosity 
and niceness. To be severe and strict in religion, to do or suffer, or to 
quit visible conveniences for invisible rewards, to renounce interests, to 
mortify carnal affections, all this is folly in the judgment of sense : Isa. 
v. 20, 21, 'Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put 
light for darkness, and darkness for light ; that put bitter for sweet, 
and sweet for bitter.' It is a strange perverseness to confound the names 
arid nature of things. We would count him a madman that would call 
night day, and day night; yet so distorted and depraved is our reason. 
A man that is blind cannot distinguish between night and day ; he 
may suppose it is night when it is day, yet he cannot take darkness 
itself for light. Now, what is the reason of all ? It is rendered in the 
21st verse, ' Woe to them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent 
in their own sight/ When men lean upon their own wisdom, they 
can expect to make no better judgment. Reason is not only blind, but 
mad ; and therefore see who you make your counsellors. We shall 
never be good subjects to God as long as we give fleshly wisdom the 
hearing. Abraham, when he offered Isaac, did not acquaint Sarah,| 
lest she should dissuade him ; so in all cases of religion consult not with 
flesh and blood. Every sin hath a thousand shifts and fig-leaves. 
There is no sinner but he is like Solomon's sluggard, that is ' wiser in 
his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason,' Prov. xxvi. 
16. I confess in a doubtful case a man is to deliberate ; but in the! 
wisdom of the flesh interest hath the casting voice, rather than conscience j 
and religion. Therefore take heed of making your bosom your oracle,! 


and neglecting constant application to God for wisdom and direction 
in all cases, especially as to religion. 

2d. We must not rest in our own private and sanctified light ; how 
good soever it be, it must not puff us up and take off our dependence 
from God, though we have knowledge, wisdom, parts, and learning. It 
is a high contempt of God, when you make your bosom your oracle ; you 
take his work out of his hands. Christ is the great counsellor, Isa. ix. 
6. And we are to go to him for advice. It is God's prerogative, which 
he will not part with : Prov. iii. 6, ' Acknowledge him in all thy ways, 
and then he shall guide thy path.' This keeps in the fire of religion, 
and maintains a commerce betwixt us and heaven. All nations that 
have been touched with the sense of a deity have granted a necessity of 
consulting with a divine power. The very pagans had their sibyls and 
oracles that they consulted with. And certainly the people of God 
dare not resolve upon any design till they have first asked counsel of 
God. Next to depending upon our own righteousness, this is the greatest 
evil. God is very jealous of the creature's trust ; for trust is the 
acknowledgment of his sovereignty, and sets the crown upon his head : 
Judges ix. 15, ' The bramble said unto the trees, If in truth you anoint 
me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow ; ' where 
trust is made an acknowledgment of sovereignty. Therefore if we 
would acknowledge God, we must make him our oracle and counsellor, 
and that in three cases. 

[1st.] In the general choice of thy life, both for opinion and practice. 
David had made God his portion : Ps. xvi. 6, 7, ' The lines are fallen 
to me in pleasant places ; yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless 
fthe Lord who hath given me counsel ; my reins also instruct me in 
jthe night season ; ' as if he had said, Lord, if I had been left to the 
counsel of my own heart, I should have been as wicked a wretch as 
others are ; I have as vile a heart, that doth as much delight in flesh and 
the pleasures of sin as any do. Oh, whither should I have gone ? What 
would have been my course and way if the Lord had not given me 
counsel ? How should I have been hardened in ways of sin and carnal 
pleasures ! There are many who have more wisdom than I have, yet 
they have taken a wrong course, and are prejudiced against the ways 
of the Lord. Oh, blessed be God that I have received counsel in my 
reins : Ps. xxv. 10, ' What man is he that feareth the Lord ; him shall 
he teach in the way that he shall choose.' They that think to be 
religious upon their own choice and wit prove stark fools, and are justly 
hardened by their own prejudices. It was the corrupt doctrine of the 
heathens. Quod vivamus, deorum munus est; quod bene vivamus, 
nostrum, Seneca saith, That we live, we owe to the gods ; that we live 
well, we owe it to ourselves. So Tully, Judicium hoc est omnium 
mortcdium, &c. This is the judgment of all men, that prosperity is to 
be sought of God, but wisdom is to be taken from ourselves. This is 
to rob God, to enrich man ; and that is the highest sacrilege, to rob 
God of his glory. God must not only give thee heaven, but he must 
give thee counsel. Thou mayst resolve and purpose, and yet still thou 
shalt be set back till God give thee direction. As a picture must be 
seen m its proper light, so the ways of God are never lovely till they 
are discerned by his own beam and light. 

I'M.] In the management of the whole spiritual life, still we need 


counsel and direction. Our own wisdom is an empty lamp ; we shall 
soon stumble if we have not new counsel and direction from God. 
Mark the apostle's speech in 2 Thes. ii, 5, ' The Lord direct your 
hearts into the love of God, and the patient waiting for Christ.' We 
know not how to exercise love, nor how to fix our patience, nor how to 
dispense the exercise of every grace in an orderly manner, without 
counsel from God. When a ship is rigged, yet it needs a pilot ; so 
when the soul is furnished with grace, still we need direction how to 
exercise grace, otherwise religion will degenerate into a fondness and 
superstition, and patience will be turned into blockishness ; zeal into an 
indiscreet heat, and constancy into humorous stiffness. There are many 
nice and critical cases in religion which we shall not understand with 
out the continual direction of the Spirit. Let me instance in those 
rules : Eccles. vii. 16-18, * Be not righteous overmuch, neither make 
thyself overwise. Why shouldst thou destroy thyself ? Be not 
overmuch wicked, neither be thou foolish. Why shouldst thou die 
before thy time ? It is good that thou shouldst take hold of this ;.yea, 
also from this withdraw not thy hand ; for he that feareth God shall 
come forth from them all/ How shall we know how to take the 
middle way, that we may neither hazard conscience nor endanger our 
selves by a sullen and rigid obstinacy ? God will direct us how to 
temper zeal with prudence ' He that feareth God shall come out of 
them all/ Through false appearances and the weakness of grace we 
are apt to miscarry ' Fear God,' that is, acknowledge him, and he 
will decide the case. 

[3d] In all your particular actions and affairs self-wit is very confi 
dent and presumptuous, and we speak as if all were in our own hands : I 
will carry on this business, and thus and thus order my affairs. But 
alas ! where we seem most wise we are most infatuated. Pharaoh was 
never such a fool in his life as when he said, ' Let us go wisely to work/ 
Exod. i. 10. God loves to confute men in their vain confidences ; and 
when they lean to their own understanding, they seldom prove success 
ful ; for then we entrench upon God's prerogative, and God will have 
the creature know that all their actions are in his power, and the success 
depends upon his blessing. This is the bridle God hath on the world, 
the disposal of their affairs : Prov. xx. 24, ' Man's goings are of the 
Lord ; how can a man then understand his own way ? ' We cannot 
see the event of things in the course of our lives, what is expedient, and 
what not, therefore we must ask counsel of God. Man would fain work 
out his own happiness, and like a spider, climb up by a thread of his 
own weaving; but it is gone with a breath ' The hope of the hypocrite is 
like a spider's web/ Men that will be their own carvers, they seldom 
carve out a good portion to themselves. God will have us daily to 
acknowledge the dominion of his providence, and live in a continual 
dependence, that so there may be a constant respect between us and 
him 'Lord, teach me,' saith David, 'on thee do I wait all the day 
long : ' PH. xxv. 4, * Show me thy way, Lord ; teach me thy paths/ 
David would not give over his dependence, no, not for a moment. 
Thus I have shown how far we should not lean upon our own 

[2.] I shall show you how hard a matter it is to draw men off from 


dependence upon their own wisdom. It is natural to us all, but 
especially it is incident to young Christians, who are hugely given to dog 
matise, because their notions, being hasty and fervorous, are accompanied 
I with more confidence, though with less reason. They are peevish and 
obstinate in their sense, and none so humorously conceited of what 
they hold as they. It is incident also to men of great parts. Simple 
iinen that are not able to raise doubts and objections are more credu 
lous < The simple believeth every word ; ' but these, that have such 
tin high claim and title to the exercise of reason, are wont to scoff at 
matters of faith, to lose the reverence and respects of religion, at least 
are not so soon won to close with the simplicity of the gospel. But I say 
it is naturally incident to us all, and truly, hardly cured, for several 
reasons. Partly, because the evil is so close and spiritual. Christians 
do not easily fall to open idolatry, to worship a stock and a stone, but 
they easily idolise their own understanding, and so their respects to 
-God are intercepted, or but coldly rendered. We are not so sensible 
of the defects and weakness in the understanding as we are of dis 
tempers in the will. Distempers of the will are always cum lucid, 
accompanied with some combat and strife, by which they are exposed 
to the view and notice of conscience ; but the distempers of the under 
standing are more silent, and when we are convinced of them, they 
seem more pardonable, because they do not work such disturbance as 
other sins do ; it is a secret and sly evil. And partly, because a natural 
wit befriends carnal desires. There is a league and a conspiracy 
between the soul and the spirit, between the understanding arid the 
carnal desires : Heb. iv. 12, 'The word of God is quick and powerful, 
and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing 
asunder of the soul arid the spirit ; ' it can dissolve the cursed league 
a.nd conspiracy between a carnal understanding and a carnal heart. 
It is an easy matter to deceive him that will be deceived. We love 
our understanding, for there bad counsel hath more credit than the 
best and most sacred suggestions of the Holy Ghost. Oar wit is fore 
stalled by affection, so that we are willingly directed by the dictates of 
our own hearts, and it is troublesome to us so much as to suspect them. 
And partly through pride. Natural wit is very confident. It is no 
easy tiling for a man to pluck the eyes out of his own head, and to 
give his hand to another to lead him which, way he pleaseth. Man is 
loath to have the leading part of his soul to be debased. By our 
understandings we are distinguished from the beasts, and therefore we 
cannot endure to cease from resting in our own understanding and 
parts. That man is extremely proud of his understanding, appears by 
iwo sensible experiences or observations. 

(1.) We rather would be accounted wicked than weak ; sooner own a 
wickedness in morals than a weakness in intellectuals. In wickedness 
there seems to be somewhat of bravery and choice ; we all affect the 
repute of wisdom : Job xi. 12, ' Vain man would be accounted wise, 
though he be born as the wild ass's colt.' Though man be foolish 
and gross of conceit, yet he would fain be accounted wise : Gen. iii. 5, 
* Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.' Ever since the fall we 
catch at knowledge. The pharisees were mighty angry with our 
Saviour when he charged them with blindness : John ix. 40, * Are we 


blind also ? ' Will you say we are ignorant that are the great rabbis, 
and doctors of the people ? 

(2.) Another observation is, that errors are more touchy than vices. 
Men do with greater patience bear with declamations against sin than 
convictions of error, which may arise partly from this, because erroneous 
persons usually take up their errors out of interest, and men cannot 
endure the voice of a hated truth. But chiefly, and the most universal 
reason, is our natural pride ; men are conceited of the sufficiency of 
their understanding, and so become impatient when they are convinced 
of their mistake. 

[3.] The signs whereby leaning to our own understanding is dis 

(1.) When men are puffed up with a conceit of their knowledge, it 
is a sign they lean upon it. Why ? For esteem and admiration is tin- 
inseparable evidence of trust. Therefore the scriptures that do dis 
suade us from leaning upon our own understanding, dissuade us also 
from being wise in our own eyes, or conceit : Rom. xii. 6, * Be not wise in 
thy own conceit ; ; and Prov. iii. 7, ' Be not wise in thy own eyes ; fear 
the Lord, and depart from evil.' These two always go together, self- 
conceit and self-dependence : 1 Cor. viii. 2, ' Knowledge puffeth up ; ' 
and, ' If any man thinks he knows anything, he knows nothing as he- 
ought to know.' Our ignorance is never cured till we come to heaven, 
and it is a good progress in grace to be sensible of it. When men think 
they are above ordinances, they know as much as men can teach them ; 
for substance, they know nothing. It is a sign they have never waded 
into the depth of the scripture. Menedemus was wont to say of them | 
that went to Athens to study the first year, he thought they were* 
wise men ; the second year, philosophers ; the third year, orators that f 
could talk of wisdom; the next year that they were plebeians, that; 
they understood nothing but their own ignorance. Usually thus it is* 
in growth in scriptural knowledge. Young Christians are very opinion 
ated, but when they look into the breadth of the commandment, then 
they see their own ignorance that ' they know nothing.' This is the 
reason why the children of God have such a low opinion of their 
understandings. A man would wonder at their expressions : Prov. xxx.. 
2. 3, ' Surely I am more brutish than any man, I have not the under 
standing of a man ; I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge 
of the holy.' The more he saw, the more he was acquainted with his 
ignorance ; so that he durst not attribute any wisdom to himself. 
None are so sensible of their ignorance as those that abound in 
knowledge. Look, as when the sun appears, the light of the candle 
seemeth nothing; so when God comes and enlightens their mind, oh, 
what a brutish creature was I ! But now, self-admiring argues great 

(2.) When men dare undertake anything without asking counsel 
from God: Prov. iii. 6, 'In all thy ways acknowledge him/ We are 
not to lessen our dependence, no, not for a moment. Whenever you 
go forth in the strength of human counsel and reason, you do, as it 
were, say, In this business I can do well enough without God. It is 
a great contempt to put upon God when in the things of the family, 
church, or commonwealth we do not seek him earnestly. Not only in. 


doubtful and difficult cases, which are wholly above our strength and 
wit to decide, but in all your ways God must be sought and acknow 
ledged. The prophet Jeremiah speaks as one that was sensible of his 
dependence : Jer. x. 23, ' Lord, I know the way of man is not in him 
self ; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.' There should 
be such an actual sense and feeling upon the soul. So David said, 
Ps. xxv. 4, ' Show me thy ways, Lord ; on thee do I wait all the 
day/ A Christian dares not to go into the study, shop, nor into the 
assembly or council, without God, Mr Greenham, when one came to 

f ask his advice in a business, he answered, Friend, you and I have not 

{prayed yet. 

(3.) If thou wert never moved to bless God for making Christ to be 
wisdom. You know what the apostle saith, 1 Cor. i. 30, ' He is made 
to us of God wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemp 
tion/ I observe, many bless God because Christ was made redemption 
and sanctification, for natural conscience is sensible of the sad conse 
quences of sin ; but usually we lean upon our own understanding, we 
do not bless him for being made wisdom to us : John xiv. 6 > ( I am 
the way, the truth, and the life/ Many may bless him for life, for the 
hopes of glory ; but hast thou blessed him, because he hath been a 
prophet to teach thee ? This is always the first work of grace, to con 
vince us of our brutishness and folly as Paul, when he was converted, 
was made blind that we may prize Christ the more, that we may say 
to Christ, as Moses to Hobab, his father-in-law, Num. x. 31, ' Leave us 
not, I pray thee, that thou mayst be to us instead of eyes ; ; that thou 
mayst run to Christ for eye-salve : Kev. iii. 17, 18, ' Because thou sayest 
I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and 
knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, 
and naked. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou 
mayest be rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and 
that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear, and anoint thy eyes 
with eye-salve/ &c. When men are never convinced of their natural 
blindness, they do not prize Christ in all his offices ; it is no small 
matter that he is a prophet to guide thee ; the truth, as well as the 
way and the life. 

(4.) When men cite God before the tribunal of their own reason, 
this is a sign that the word and counsel of God was never exalted in 
their judgments. In matters of faith, worship, and obedience, we are 
to fetch our light from the scripture. And we would set up an higher 
tribunal, and fetch all from our reason, and give laws to heaven. Usually 
men will dispute against the righteousness of God's decrees, the sim 
plicity of his ordinances, the mysteries of faith : Kom. ix. 20, ' Who 
art thou, man, that disputest against God ? ' When men are apt 
to pick quarrels with religion, to cavil and snarl at God's ways, to dis 
pute away duties rather than practise them, it is an ill sign. All* the 
ways of God seem unjust and incredible to the carnal reason of men ; 
they cannot believe how Christ should be God and man in one person ; 
how it should be just that by one man's transgression all should be 
made sinners, and why God should elect some, and leave others in their 
corruption. Ah, foolish man ! who art thou, that disputest against 
God ? They cannot believe the same body shall rise again ; suppose 


it be thrown into the sea, and eaten up by fishes, and those fishes de 
voured by men, and those men torn with wild beasts, they cannot see 
how it is possible God should restore to every body his own substance : 
Mat. xxii. 17, * Ye err, not knowing the scriptures, and the power of 
God : ' the power of God showeth that it may be so ; the scripture that 
it is so. There is the rule and ground of truth. So men will dispute 
against the simplicity of the ordinances : 2 Kings v. 11, 12, ' Are not 
Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of 
Israel ? ' They cannot see but reading at home may be as effectual as 
the public ministry. So they cannot see why men should pray, since 
God's decrees are past, and his decrees are unalterable ; if he will, he 
may give mercy and salvation without their prayers ; and if he will 
not, he cannot be won to it by their importunity. Who art thou, 
man, that repliest against God ? 

(5.) When men despise the advice and help of other Christians. The 
Lord will have us to profit by one another. He withdraws himself 
many times to this end and purpose, that we may be endeared one to 
another, as well as engaged to himself. Certainly the head cannot 
say, I have no need of the foot. As God would establish a dependence 
between himself and us, so he would establish a dependence between 
Christians among themselves ; therefore grace doth not only come from 
God, but we receive it in part through the means of the body : Col. ii. 19, 
' And not holding the head, from which all the body, by joints 
and bands, having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increas- 
eth with the increase of God.' The admonitions of the weakest Chris 
tian, they may be of great use to enkindle zeal, if not to better our 
knowledge ; as a wisp of straw may enkindle a great block. Now when 
a man thinks his own wit sufficient, and that he need not be taught of 
any, it is an evil sign : Prov. xxvi. 12, ' Seest thou a man wise in his 
own eyes, there is more hope of a fool than of him.' A fool will rather 
be counselled than one given to self-conceit. You cannot put wine, or 
any other liquor, into. a blown bladder till the wind be voided, and the 
bladder rid of it, so here such puffed bladders are in a sad condition, 
can receive nothing, they can make no progress in grace. 

[4.] In the next place I must join dissuasives and directions together. 
If you would cease from your own understanding 

(1.) Be sensible of the utter impotency of nature : 1 Cor. ii. 14, 
' The natural man understands not the things that are of God.' He is 
not only actually ignorant, but unable to conceive ; not only through 
negligence, but weakness ; not only will not, but cannot ; there is a pre 
judice and positive enmity in the heart. The mind of man is not white 
paper, but it is prepossessed with carnal principles, atheism, unbelief, 
profaneness, libertinism. As the stomach that is ill-affected with 
choler casts up all the food it receiveth as soon as it is swallowed, so we 
reject all holy doctrine. Though we may like generalities, yet when 
we are pressed to practice, carnal reason will discover itself. We are apt 
to think ourselves angels, but we are but beasts : Eccles. iii. 1 8, ' 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.' 
Nay, after regeneration we have great cause still to suspect ourselves. 
There are two voices, flesh and spirit. And our wisdom that we have, 


is often enthralled, and made a prisoner to sinful passions and affections. 
Therefore when we go about any business, especially when we come to 
the word, we should never do it without lifting up our souls to God for 
the spirit of wisdom and revelation : Eph. i. 17, 18, ' That the God of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the 
spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of him ; the eyes of 
your understanding being enlightened, that we may know what is the 
hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance 
in the saints.' 

(2.) Consider the mischief of self-conceit, or dependence upon our 
own wisdom. Most men in the world are ruined by it ; of Babylon 
is said, * Thy understanding hath undone thee.' Who would choose 
him for a pilot that drowns every vessel that he governeth ? it is as 
inconsistent with salvation, as trusting 'in wealth. It is true, the object 
is more excellent, but therefore the temptation is the more dangerous. 
Now, ' It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than 
for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God,' Mat. xix. 24. Con 
sider, what a great folly it is ; Bis desipit, qui sibi sapit He that is 
wise in his own eyes is twice a fool ; a fool by having but a little 
knowledge, and by his great conceit of it. And then it is the ground 
of all the creature's miscarriages. Apostasy from religion, whence 
comes it ? From, idolising self- wit, John vi. 65. Christ had spoken 
something which they understood not, of eating his flesh ' From that 
time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him/ 
because they could not fathom it by the line and plummet of their 
reason. It is the usual rise of heresy ; then a man is ripe to breed 
monstrous opinions in the church. When men will have the mysteries 
of faith demonstrated by the law of reason, like a sick man who will 
not swallow his pills, but chew them ; when he tastes the bitterness, 
he presently bringeth them up, and so loseth a wholesome remedy. 
Then it is the ground of all corruption in life, the lust of covetousness, 
it is rooted upon self-conceit, Prov. xxiii. 4. When Solomon dissuadeth 
from covetousness, ' Labour not to be rich,' then presently, ' Cease from 
thy own wisdom.' See how these two precepts are coupled, as if the 
Spirit of God should say, if you hearken to carnal wisdom, that will 
tell you of honour, great pleasure, and of flourishing in your family ; 
that you shall want nothing ; but be not wise in your own eyes, that 
will be a means to keep you from labouring to be rich, from prostituting 
your precious time, care, and strength, only to advance secular interests. 

Thirdly, I come now to speak of dependence upon our spiritual 
strength, and grace received : Gal. ii. 20, ' I live ; yet not I, but Christ 
liveth in me/ where there is an abnegation of all his own strength with 
respect to the spiritual life. The work of the inferior agent is 
denied, that the supreme may have all the glory: not I, but Jesus 

1. I shall show you the consequence and weight of this part of self- 

2. How far forth our spiritual strength is to be denied. 

3. W^hat are the signs whereby dependence upon our own strength 
may be discovered and found out. 

[1.] For the consequence and weight of this : I shall show you in 


several considerations, that certainly this is a necessary part of self- 

(1.) Because dependence maintains the commerce between God and 
man ; it is the ground of the creature's respect to God. A proud 
creature is loath to be beholden, to come out of itself, and to fetch all 
from another. We had rather keep the stock ourselves. When the 
prodigal had his portion in his own hands, away he goes from his father. 
We would be strangers to the throne of grace were it not that there 
were a continual dependence upon God for the supply of grace. Those 
two great duties of prayer and praise are built upon dependence. So 
that in effect the whole spiritual life is but a profession of our depend 
ence upon God. 

1st. To instance in prayer. If we did not depend upon God for 
daily receiving, the Lord would seldom hear from us. Most of the 
prayers in the apostle's writings are for a supply of grace : 2 Thes. i. 
11, ' Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count 
you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his good 
ness, and the work of faith with power ; ' and Eph. iii. 14-17, ' I bow 
my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he would grant 
you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with all 
might, by his Spirit in the inner man/ &c. This was the reason, why 
Paul prayed for others, and why the saints pray for themselves, that 
they may have new strength from God in the inward man. So Heb. 
xiii. 20, ' Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead 
our Lord Jesus Christ, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the 
blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work 
to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight.' 
This is the great cause of Christ's intercession, to maintain the life 
which we have received. God would oblige us to continual visits and 
intercourse with himself by keeping grace in his own hands. 

2d. For the duty of praise. Self loves to divide the glory with free 
grace ; and truly, if we be not sensible of our dependence upon God, 
we shall never think of setting the crown upon grace's head. The 
saints that are kept humble, are also kept thankful ; they see they 
can do nothing themselves, and therefore they come and give God the 
glory: Luke xix. 16, ' Thy pound' saith the faithful servant, 'hath 
gained ten pounds ;' as if he had said, It was not my industry, but 
thy pound. This makes the children of God to come with ingenious 
acknowledgments ' Not I,' said Paul, ' but Christ that liveth in me.' 
Alas I I do little in the spiritual life, it is Christ that doth all. I live, 
there is some concurrence ; but mine is nothing to what Christ doth. 
So 1 Cor. xv. 10, ' I laboured more than they all ; yet not I, but the 
grace of God which was with me.' They take off the crown from the 
head of self, and lay it at the feet of Christ. As Joab sent for David 
when he had conquered Kabbah, to take the honour of the victory ; so 
when they have done anything through grace, they send for God to take 
the honour. They know whence their supplies come, and that makes 
them thankful. 

(2.) It is a very great sin to rest in ourselves ; it crosseth the very 
end of the covenant, and robs Christ of his free grace. In all God's 
dispensations to the creature, his aim is to magnify his own grace ; 
and the great end of our being Christians is to be to the ' praise of his 



glorious grace,' Eph. i. 12. When we come to heaven, it is a great 
question which we shall most admire, grace or glory. Certainly when 
our affections are wrought up to the pitch of the glorified estate, we 
shall value glory for grace's sake ; for this is God's great end, that 
grace may have the glory. Therefore it is a necessary part of a 
Christian's work, to keep his heart still sensible of his dependence upon 
grace; therefore self-sufficiency after grace received is a great sin. 
The more we rest in self, the more we rob grace. Carnal men, they 
are hardly sensible of foul and gross sins ; but a Christian is sensible 
of spiritual evils, and of these chiefly. When we humble ourselves for 
want of life and quickening, there may be something of hypocrisy in 
that ; because quickening serves the pride of parts, and we would all 
discover gifts with applause. Now it is a sign of grace to be humbled 
for depending upon our own strength and endeavours, because we would 
not rob Christ of his chiefest honour and glory. 

(3.) It is a sin not only foul in its nature, but severely punished by 
God. The saints have never so foully miscarried as by their self-confi 
dence. Who would have thought that Lot who was pure and chaste 
in Sodom, should have committed incest in the mountain, when there 
was none but he and his own daughters ? Though he avoided the 
filthiness of Sodom, where there was a multitude to draw him to evil, 
yet he fell foully when there was none but his own family. In the 
dreadful falls of God's children we may see that nature is but a sorry 
undertaker. No man knows how far his heart will carry him till it 
comes to the trial. Who would have thought that Peter's high 
resolution would end in curses and blasphemy, and denying of Christ ? 
The man of God, that spake against the altar of Bethel, could deny the 
king's request, but could not deny the old prophet to turn back and eat ; 
1 Kings xiii. 8. compared with the 19th ver. ; when grace had left him, 
then he falls. The prophet saith of Ephraim, that ' he was a cake not 
turned,' baked but of one side ; for a great while we may stand fast ; 
but when once we grow secure, we may sadly miscarry. Hezekiah knew 
how to be sick, but. not how to be well. The Spirit of God will not 
flatter us in our vain confidences ; when we proudly trust in ourselves, 
the Lord, to punish pride, will deny his assisting grace, and so we 
soon feel the disappointment of a trust misplaced. When God framed 
us and renewed us by grace, he doth still reserve a dominion over par 
ticular acts of grace. Grace is but a creature ; if we rest in it, we 
may make grace an idol ; it is not an independent thing, but dependeth 
in, esse, conservari et operari. There is a constant concurrence 
necessary to strengthen the habit as well as to produce the act, without 
which habits are dead and useless. 

[2.] How far ^ spiritual strength is to be denied. The question is 
needful, lest while we seek to establish devotion we lay a ground for 
laziness ; therefore I shall show it in four propositions 

(1.) That there is somewhat in a Christian which we may call spiri 
tual strength ; 

(2.) That this strength is to be maintained and supported ; and 

(3.) To be drawn out in constant exercise ; yet 

(4.) Not to be rested in, for several reasons. 

1st. There is somewhat in a Christian which we may call spiritual 
strength. The famiiists sav. That errace is Christ himself work! no- in 


us, and that there are no habits of grace ; that it is not we that repent 
and believe, but Christ. But certainly this is false and foolish ; there 
is something poured out upon a Christian : Zech. xii. 10, ' I will pour 
out upon them a spirit of grace and supplication ; ' and there is 
something that remains in them, called the ' seed of God,' 1 John iii. 
9, which cannot be Christ or the Spirit, because it is called the new 
creature and the inward man, that is created after God. And a good 
treasure, that a Christian hath of his own, a good stock God hath be 
stowed upon him : Mat. xii. 53, 'A good man out of his good treasure,' 
&c. There is a stock of grace conveyed into the soul which may be 
increased ; therefore we are said, 2 Peter iii. 18, 'To grow in grace.' 
All which things are not compatible to the Spirit ; nay plainly, the 
fruits of the Spirit, which are the created habits of grace, are distinguished 
from the Spirit himself : Gal. v. 22, ' Now the fruits of the Spirit are 
these, love, faith, gentleness,' &c ; so 2 Tim. i. 5, ' The unfeigned faith 
that is in thee.' In regeneration there is introduced into the soul a 
stock of knowledge, a whole frame of grace, faith, and patience, and 
love, and hope, and these abide upon the heart. They are not transient 
operations of the Holy Ghost, nor the Holy Ghost himself, but such 
habits as abide still in the heart. Besides, if in acts of grace there were 
nothing but an operation of the Holy Ghost, and a man were a mere 
patient, then all our defects, and the faintness of our operation, were 
to be charged on the Spirit ; as a ship is an innocent piece of timber, 
therefore the splitting thereof is not charged upon the ship, but the pilot. 

2d. This strength is with diligence to be maintained and supported ; 
we are to be very careful that we do not waste our stock, and prove 
bankrupts with grace received. When we embezzle our habitual trea 
sure, God is exceeding angry, and then he withdraws his actual 
influence. By gross sins we maim and distemper the new nature, and 
it is a long time ere it can be set right again. It cost David much 
labour and travail of soul to get a right spirit within him : Ps. li, 
' Lord create in me a clean heart ; ' it was a creating work. It must 
be constantly maintained, for we may easily embezzle and weaken it in 
a great measure. 

3d It must be stirred up and improved to holy actions c A good 
man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good things/ 
God hath given us a treasure to trade withal. Grace teacheth no man 
to be lazy. The doctrine of dependence on Christ doth not take us off 
from endeavours, but from resting in them. But you will say, What 
can we do with habitual grace, if there be not some predetermining 
influence ? I answer 

[1st] Some small power there is to an act, otherwise what difference 
were there between a regenerate and an unregenerate man, if a renewed 
man were totally disabled ? The days of our unregeneracy are thus 
described, Kom. v., ' Then were we without strength;' but certainly, 
when we are taken to grace, there is some kind of power ; God's image 
is repaired in such persons ; they have renewed faculties, Eph. iv. 23. 
God hath given us gifts and abilities to work which are not altogether 
in vain ; motion and operation followeth : Col. ii. 6, ' As you have 
received Christ, so walk in him.' Something you may do by virtue 
of the new nature. Thou mayst call upon thy soul, and awaken it ; 
it is thy work to quicken habitual grace, and to do what thou canst to 


bring it forth : 2 Tim. i. 6, ' Stir up the gift of God, which is in thee.' 
It is an allusion to the priest that kept in the fire of the altar ; so we 
are to stir up ourselves as much as we can. Isa. Ixiv. 7, The Lord 
complains, ' There is none that stirs up himself.' As we are men, we 
have understanding and memory, and can revive truth upon the con 
science in an outward and literal way ; but as we are renewed men, so 
we have a sanctified understanding and memory, and that is more, 
and a greater advantage ; so we may call upon the soul and stir it up, 
and grieve for deadness. 

[2d.] I answer, all the moral actions of the regenerate are com 
manded by God : though the principle of motion be but natural, yet 
we are under a command to be doing ; want of predetermining grace 
will be no excuse. God may do what he will as to matter of assistance, 
but I must do what I am commanded in matter of duty. God is at 
liberty to act, but we are not; we are bound, but the Spirit is free. 
Therefore, putting forth the exercise of grace, being a moral thing, and 
that which falls under a command, we are obliged to it. 

[3d] It is God's way to meet with his creatures in the midst of 
their endeavours : Kom. viii. 26, ' The Spirit helpeth our infirmities.' 
Helpeth together the word importeth such help as when another 
steppeth it, to sustain the burden that lieth too heavy upon us. When 
we wrestle and strive in a way of duty, God will come in with his assist 
ance. We know not the counsel of God ; he may join with us, but we 
refuse his help and put it away if we act not. tip and be doing, and 
the Lord will be with thee. Within there must be a habit of grace ; 
without, there is an assisting grace. We must be doing, and leave 
alone God with his own gracious work. 

[4th.] This strength, though it must be improved and stirred up to 
action, yet it must not be rested in. When God frames the new 
creature, he doth not leave us as a clock to go of ourselves. God 
hath reserved the dominion over particular acts of grace to himself, 
that so he may keep the creature in a constant dependence. Not only 
the seed, but the tree ; and not only the tree, but the fruit, dependeth 
upon grace. We are not only the planting of the Lord, grow in his 
courts, but our fruit is found in .him : Hosea xiv. 8, ' In me is thy 
fruit found/ Grace is not only seen in renewing the faculty and 
strengthening the habit, but also in quickening it to bring forth fruit. 
Because this is the matter in hand, I shall lay down several reasons 
and considerations to enforce it. 

[1st.] Because though we are renewed, yet it is but in part. The 
maim of nature is not fully recovered till we come to heaven ; we still 
halt of the old fall ; our nature is not altered of a sudden, but still 
tasteth of the old leaven ; there is a constant weakness while we are in 
the world. Many would flatter nature, and say of it as Christ said of 
the damsel, she is * not dead, but sleepeth,' as if original corruption 
were not a deadly maim, but only a swoon and languish ment. After 
grace is put into the heart, we still find that our graces are weak and 
feeble. The children of God complain, Gal. v. 17, ' The flesh lusteth 
against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary 
one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.' We 
cannot act with such freedom and courage as we would in the holy life. 
So Paul, personating a regenerate man, saith, Kora. vii. 18, ' To will is 


present, but how to perform that which is good, I find not/ The new 
nature may purpose and will, but we cannot perform a good work 
without a new concurrence. 

[2d] Because the habit of grace is but a creature, it is not an in 
dependent thing, like the {Spirit of God himself. If we rest in it, we 
may make grace an idol. There is need of the concurrence of grace, 
to strengthen the habit and produce the act, without which the habits 
will be but dead and useless. This is that the apostle intimates when 
he saith in the 2 Thes. i. 11, ' We pray always that God would count 
you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his good 
ness, and the work of faith with power.' Grace is a creature, therefore 
depending, as all other creatures, upon God, and cannot stir or move 
without God. The apostle saith, Acts xvii. 18, ' That in him we live, 
and move, and have our being ; ' we are moved and acted by him. If 
God should but suspend his influence, the creature cannot move, nor stir 
a joint or arm. If God should but ' let loose his hand,' as it is expressed, 
Job vi. 9, all creatures would fall into nothing. There is a provi 
dential assistance that is necessary to all created agents ; as the fire 
could not burn the three children, though the property was not destroyed, 
but because God's influence was suspended ; all things would fall into 
nothing if he should let loose his hand. I produce these things for 
demonstration ; for in the exercise of every grace God doth not only 
work by a general concurrence, as a universal cause, but by special aid 
and assistance. Every act is from God, as the author of nature, and 
graciousness of the act is also from God, as the author of grace. There 
is a great deal of difference between the natural elevation of the faculty 
and the gracious exercise of it. As the apostle saith, 2 Cor. iii. 5, ' Not 
that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but 
our sufficiency is of God.' As the apostle saith, 2 Cor. iii. 5, ' Of our 
selves we are not able to think a good thought.' We are so far from 
a good work that we cannot so much as think without an influence of 
providence. Nor can we think graciously without the influence of 
grace. Therefore to the resistance of any sin, or to the performance 
of any holy duty, there must be some concurrence from God. We can 
not rest in any creature or created thing, but still look up to him as 
the independent cause that sends forth his influence. Nay, this holds 
in the very angels ; grace is always necessary every moment to the 
angels, to prevent possible sins, and to stir up actual rejoicing in God ; 
they had need of a continual influence from their creator, so have we. 

[3d] Because of the several indispositions of the saints. We are 
always weak, but sometimes we lie more wind-bound and suspended 
than at other times, and are not able to move and stir. The children 
of God find a great many corruptions, a loathness and shyness of God's 
presence, especially after long guilt, and there needs a ' day of power 
to make them willing,' Ps. ex. 3. So also they find deadness ; when 
they have given content to the flesh, their hearts are apt to grow flat 
and dead, and they lose the savouriness of their spirits ; therefore David 
begs for quickening : Ps. cxix. 37, * Turn away mine eyes from behold 
ing vanity, and quicken thou me in thy way.' And sometimes they 
are in straits, they are bound up and suspended. The mind is like 
the eye, which is a very tender part, soon offended and out of temper 
Men, you know, are very seldom indisposed for bodily labour ; but now 


the affairs of the Christian life, being wholly spiritual, there will be 
much unfitness and distemper as to them ; the soul will soon be 

[4th.] A fourth reason is the sovereignty of God, who keepeth grace 
in his own hand, and gives it out at pleasure, that he may make the 
creature beholden to him. God delights to have men and angels to 
be his debtors, and therefore he exerciseth all his dispensations to them 
with a liberty and freedom * He giveth the will and the deed, accord 
ing to his good pleasure,' Phil. ii. 3. He gives the power and the 
faculty, and the act ; he suspends and enlargeth the acts of the under 
standings and affections of men according to his own pleasure. We 
cannot be masters of any one good act without grace. He will be 
master of his mercies, that he may keep the power in his own hands, 
that we might wait upon him by a humble and actual trust. 

[5th.] The necessity of a continued influence from Christ. Grace 
is in his keeping : 2 Tim. ii. 1. * Thou therefore, my son, be strong in 
the grace that is in Christ Jesus.' That grace which makes us to 
work strongly in duty, and with good effect, it is in Christ not in our 
selves : John xv. 5, ' Without me you can do nothing ; ' separated from 
Christ, we can act nothing. Members divided from their head, they 
cannot live ; so out of our mystical head we cannot live and act. There 
is not one individual act of grace but Christ is interested in it, as the 
soul is in the motion of every member. There must not only be a 
constant union, but a continual animation and influence: Phil. iv. 13, 
* I can do all things, through Christ that strengthened me,' not only 
hath strengthened, but strengtheneth by a constant influence. You 
saw Adam was an ill keeper of his best jewels ; and because Christ is 
a good steward, he knows the value of spiritual privileges; therefore all 
is put in his keeping ; it is put into safe hands, that we may be sure to 
find it when we have need. But you will say, If we can do nothing 
without Christ, what difference is there then between the state of nature 
and the state of grace ? I answer, By grace we have new faculties, 
which have some small power, though we can be confident of little 
success. Before conversion we were wholly passive, there was no 
co-operation ; but now we have renewed faculties, there is a sub-opera 
tion ; we act as instruments, in the virtue of the principal agent ; we 
have a will to close with the things of God, and an understanding to 
judge aright of them as moved by God ; how we may carry out the 
work of God, and act as instruments in his hand, by virtue of the prin 
cipal and supreme cause. 

[6th.] Another consideration to press you to a continual dependence 
upon God in the exercise of your spiritual strength, is the sad experi 
ence of God's children whenever they have been left to themselves. I 
need not instance in the angels, which did ' excel in strength ; ' yet 
when left, they fell. I need not speak of Adam in innocency, how he 
fell when God left him, when he left him, I say, to the freedom of his 
own will. But let us speak of holy men of God that are under the 
same dispensation we are, the most holy and sanctified men of God : 2 
Chron. xxxii. 31, it is said of Hezekiah that ' the Lord left him, that so 
he might know what was in his heart/ God will show us what we are in 
ourselves ; if he should but suspend grace and spiritual influences but 
for a moment, what poor chaff are we before the blast of every tempta- 


tion ! As when a glass is shaken then the dregs appear, so it is with 
us. I now come to give you the signs. 

[3.] The signs of depending on our spiritual strength. 

(1.) If you would know whether you do so, observe the frame of the 
heart both before and after duty. (I.) Before duty, and every address 
to God ; whenever we come to worship, we should have actual thoughts 
of our own weakness. When we come to pray, Lord, we know not how 
to pray, how to act faith, and how to draw forth grace ; we should 
still be * poor in spirit,' that is a grace of constant use. But now, when 
men are full of parts and gifts, and think ' to go forth and shake them 
selves as at other times,' as it is said of Samson when his strength was 
gone ; when we think to find the same savouriness and smartness of 
expression, God will make us see how much we are mistaken. There 
fore when we have not actual thoughts of our own weakness when we 
come to perform any holy exercise, it is a sign we are too full of our 
own gifts and abilities. (2.) After the duty, art thou moved to bless 
God for the supplies of his grace, especially if gifts have been discovered 
with applause ? Art thou able to say with David, ' Lord, of thine own 
have I given thee ? ' canst thou cast the crown at the feet of Christ ? 
canst thou take all thy excellency, and lay it down at Christ's feet ? 
If it be not thus with us, it is a sign we depend too much on our own 

(2.) Another note is a confident presumption of the success of future 
actions and undertakings, without taking God along with us in our 
resolution. Thus Peter, he was a sad instance of leaning upon him 
self : Mat. xxvi. 74, " Though all men should deny thee, yet I will not 
deny thee.' The confidence of the children of God is built upon the ex 
pectation of grace ; and if God will undertake for them, then they can 
be confident of the success of their endeavours : Ps. cxix. 32, ' I will run 
the way of thy commandments when thou shalt enlarge my heart.' 
Look to the ground, whether it be built upon thy own resolution, or 
the expectation of his grace. 

(3.) When man dare venture upon occasions of sinning and tempta 
tions, certainly this is a great confidence, and it cannot proceed from 
divine grace , for God when he keeps us, he will keep us in his ways, 
not when we tempt his providence. Therefore when men can delight 
in carnal company, and put themselves upon such a snare, it is a sign 
they depend not upon God. For what is the fruit of depending upon 
God ? avoiding all occasions of evil. Therefore when men dally with 
temptation, it is a sign they place confidence in their own strength. 

(4.) Despising of ordinances. These are the pipes by which God 
conveys his influences to us, and by which the habits of grace are 
strengthened, by the power that goes out in them. There must be 
dependence upon God in the use of means if we would maintain grace : 
Luke xviii. 8, * Take heed what you hear, for to him that hath shall be 
given.' Attend upon ordinances. Why ? for otherwise you will lose 
the flush of gifts which puff you up. Many despise hearing when they 
have got a little knowledge. 

(5.) It is a sign of dependence upon ourselves when we contemp 
tuously insult over others that are weaker than ourselves ; for if we did 
acknowledge all to be from grace, how could we be proud ? Who 


would dare to be proud of that which is but borrowed ? Who could 
be proud because he is most in debt ? If we have more gifts than they, 
we are more obliged to God, and this keeps the hearts of God's people 
humbled : 1 Cor. iv. 7, ' For who maketh thee to differ from another ? 
And what hast thou, that thou didst not receive ? Now if thou didst 
receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it ? ' Thy 
merit is no more than theirs, and in thyself thou art as incapable of 
spiritual blessings as they are, and in holy duties thou canst do no 
more than they can ; for what dost thou add to duty ? Nothing but 
what will lessen the value of it ; they can add corruptions and weak 
ness of their own, so canst thou. The pharisee, you know, that con 
demned the publican, he speaks of grace in pretence * God be thanked, 
I am not as other men,' &c. ; but because ' he despised others/ Christ 
spake that parable. When men are proud and confident of their own 
abilities, and despise others, there is a depending upon themselves ; 
they have much cause of thankfulness, but none of pride. 

Fourthly, I come to speak of the fourth head viz., Dependence 
upon the supplies of the outward life. And 

1. To show that there is such a sin. 

2. How evil and heinous it is, that it is capable of the highest 

3. What are the notes and evidences by which this secret vein of 
guilt may be traced and found out in the soul. 

4. The proper cure and remedy. 

[1.] That there is such a sin appears by the testimony of scripture, 
and by experience. 

(1.) By the testimony of scripture, which is the best judge of the 
heart : Mark x. 23, 24, ' And Jesus looked round about him, and said 
to his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the 
kingdom of God 1 ' Now because this seemed harsh unto the disciples, 
who were leavened with the conceit of a pompous Messiah, therefore, 
ver. 24, it is said, ' The disciples were astonished at his words. And 
Jesus answered and said, How hard it is for them that trust in riches 
to enter into the kingdom of God ! ' Christ allays the wonder, it is 
not simply impossible for a rich person, a man that possesseth wealth, 
to be saved , poor Lazarus sleeps in the bosom of rich Abraham ; there 
may be godly rich as well as godly poor ; but it is impossible for them 
that ' trust in riches/ Our Lord shows how irreconcilable it is with 
the hope of salvation, as impossible as for a camel to go through the 
eye of a needle. That place showeth that there is such a sin, a sin 
that we may easily commit when we have anything in the world. And 
because men think light of spiritual sins, that do not end in a gross and 
foul act, he showeth how irreconcilable it is with all hopes of salvation 
when it reigneth. So Job, when he doth protest his own innocency : 
Job xxxi. 24, ' If I have made my gold my hope, or said to the fine 
gold, Thou art my confidence. If I have rejoiced because my wealth 
is great, and because my hand hath gotten much/ Job, to vindi 
cate himself from- hypocrisy, reckoneth up the usual sins of hypo 
crites, and among the rest this is one, To make gold our hope, and 
fine gold our confidence. He had before named extortion and 
oppression, and now carnal confidence. It is not enough that our 


wealth be not gotten by fraud, cozenage, and extortion ; but we must 
not trust in it, nor make it our confidence, Luke xii. 15-21. The rich 
man is not charged, that he had gotten his goods wickedly, but that he 
had trusted in them ' Soul, eat, drink, and be merry, thou hast goods 
laid up for many years.' Men think them to be the staff of their lives, 
and the stay of their posterity ; therefore it is said, ' The rich man's 
wealth is his tower,' as elsewhere it is said, * The name of the Lord is 
fi strong tower ; the righteous run to it and are safe.' A godly man 
thinks himself never safe till he be gotten within the verge of the cov 
enant, till he be within the munition of the rocks that God hath pro 
vided for the safety of his soul. But the rich man, till he be walled 
and entrenched within his wealth, he never thinks he is safe and secured 
against all the changes and chances of this present life ; and so God is 
laid aside, ' not the name of the Lord,' but his wealth is his * strong 
tower.' Therefore is covetousness called idolatry, and a covetous 
person an idolater, Eph. v. 5. It is not so much because of his love to 
money, as because of his trust in money. The glutton loveth his 
gullet, and the gratifications of his appetite ; he makes his ' belly his 
god,' but he doth not trust in his belly-cheer, thinks not to be protected 
by it, as the covetous person doth by his estate, and so becometh an 
idolater, making the ' creature his god.' The covetous man is an 
idolater, because he robs God of the chiefest respect the creature can 
show to him, which is confidence and trust ; he thinks he is the better 
and safer, because of the abundance of his goods. 

(2.) By experience, I shall prove first it is incident to all men, and 
that they are ensnared who are least sensible of it. 

1st. It is incident to all men. Every man is naturally an idolater, 
and he makes the creature his god ; few or none are free from this 
idolatry ; we all stick to the creature too much. The rich, the poor, 
all sorts of men, may be comprised under this censure. The poor can 
not be exempted, for those that have not wealth idolise it too much in 
fancy and conceit, they imagine what a happy thing it is to be in such 
a case oh, had they wealth, this vyere enough to make them happy ! 
and because they have not, therefore they trust in those that have it, 
which is idolatry upon idolatry ; therefore it is said, Ps. Ixii. 9, 'Surely 
men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie ; ' there 
fore a lie, because they disappoint those that trust in them, to the wrong 
of God. To appearance, men of low degree can do little or nothing, 
but men of high degree are a lie. It supposeth a promise, and a breach 
of promise. Men of high degree tempt us to trust in them, and then 
they will surely prove a lie. The miscarriages of the poor are by a 
servile dependence on such as have not power to hurt or help them, if 
God will not ; they are apt to say, I shall lose such a friend, hazard 
his frowns and displeasure, all their hopes are built upon his favour, so 
they come to displease God. But chiefly this sin is incident to the 
rich: Ps. Ixii. 10, 'If riches increase, set not your heart upon them.' 
Usually, as our estate grows, so doth our confidence, the distemper is 
bred up in us by degrees. Great men, their minds are secretly and 
unawares enchanted with their estates, and delight in the fruition of 
them, and from thenceforward we begin to date our happiness, and so 
grow secure, and neglectful of God and holy things. Many that are in 


want despise wealth, and live in actual dependence upon the providence 
of God ; but as soon as they begin to have somewhat of the creature, 
their hearts begin to value their estates, as if they could live alone, and 
without God, and then they are altogether intent about increasing their 
store, or keeping and retaining that which they have gotten. As 
Antigoims's soldier, who had a grievous disease upon him, yet fought 
valorously, but when cured, became as timorous as others, because 
then he began to prize his body ; so when we are poor our hearts may 
be taken from the creature, but when riches increase, we begin to think 
that our 'mountain stands strong ; ' and that now we are secure against 
all the strokes and changes of providence. 

2d It is a secret sin that is found in those that are least sensible of it. 
We are blinded with foolish and gross conceits, and are apt to think that 
a man doth not make money his idol if he doth not pray and offer sacri 
fice to it, and adore his gold with outward ceremonies, as the heathens 
did their idols of gold and silver ; whereas the sin is to be determined, 
non exhibitione ceremoniarum, sed oblatione concupiscentiarum, saith 
Gregory not by formal rites of worship, but by the working of the 
heart towards it. Many carnal Christians are idolaters in affection ; 
though not by external rites of worship, yet in the inward workings of 
their heart. We smile at the vanity of the heathens that worshipped 
stocks and stones, and onions and garlic, and yet we do worse, though 
more spiritually ; we worship the creature, and set it up instead of God. 
Though we do not actually say to gold, ' Thou art my confidence,' or 
use such gross language to riches as, You shall deliver me, or, I will 
put my trust in you ; yet our hearts do secretly say so when we make 
it our main care to get or gain wealth. Therefore it is not enough that 
you break not out into such actual thoughts. Kemember, there are 
implicit as well as explicit thoughts ; this is the interpretation of our 
actions when we do not make God our portion, but trust in the abun 
dance of our wealth ; our hearts say so, Thou art our confidence, and 
we do not perceive it. Many declaim against the vanity of outward things, 
and yet their hearts secretly trust in them. There is a difference 
between speaking as an orator and acting as a Christian. Many may 
make it their common theme and common place ; they grant the crea 
ture is vain, and wealth but an unstable possession, because they are in 
judgment convinced of the vanity of them. Men will say, We know 
well enough money is but refined earth, and we esteem as basely of it 
as others do ; but their hearts work towards it, and they are loath to 
part with it. Their ' inward thought is that their houses shall endure 
for ever/ Ps. xlix. 12. This is not the fruit of habituated meditation, 
or mature deliberation, still money hath thy heart and trust, and thou 
thinkest thou canst not be happy without it. He that gives God good 
words is not said to trust in him ; so he that gives the world bad words, 
that can speak contemptuously of the creature, yet he may trust in the 
creature all the while. 

[2.] I will endeavour to show you the evil of the sin, and how great 
it is. 

(1.) Job saith, chap. xxxi. 24. it is a denying of God, to make gold 
his confidence. You take away God's honour, and wholly lay him aside. 
Do not flatter yourselves, a man cannot trust in God and riches too : 


Jonah ii. 8, ' And they that observe lying vanities forsake their own 
mercy.' You renounce God by trusting in wealth. The same altar 
will never serve God and Dagon ; the Philistines could riot bring it to 
pass, do what they could ; nor will the same heart serve for God and 
the world. Now consider what dishonour this is to leave God for the 
creature ; it is as if a woman should leave her husband, and dote upon 
her slave, or as if a fool should throw away his treasure, and fill his 
chest with coals ; or take away his precious garments, and fill his ward 
robe with dung. 

(2.) And then it is idolatry, the setting up of another God. "We 
first commit adultery, by diverting our love and esteem from the true 
God, and then we commit idolatry, by fixing our hope and expectation 
in the creature. Trust is only due to God. Now by trusting in worldly 
pelf you dethrone God, and put money in his place ; therefore it is said, 
Col. iii. 5, * coveteousness which is idolatry ; ' and there is a parallel ex 
pression : Eph. v. 5, ' Nor covetous man, who is an idolater.' Mammon is 
the idol, and the worldling the priest. The inward worship is esteem and 
trust, and the outward care and endeavour is to wallow in wealth. All 
their care is about their present accomodations, whereas a man's main 
care should be for heaven and grace, and for other things he should 
refer himself to God's allowance. 

(3.) This must needs be a very great sin, for it is the ground of all 
miscarriage in practice. When men think they cannot be happy with 
out money, they dare not obey God, for fear of offending mammon ; 
they shall lose their wealth, which is their happiness : 1 John v. 3-5, 
' For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments, and his 
commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God, over- 
cometh the world : and this is the victory that overcometh the world, 
even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world but he that be- 
lieveth that Jesus Christ is the son of God?' It is notable, when the Spirit 
of God speaks of ' keeping the commandments,' he presently speaks of 
'victory over the world.' What is the connexion and contexture 
between these two sentences ? The world, that is the great hindrance 
of keeping the commandment ; it hinders the soul from looking after 
heavenly things. It is impossible a man should fix his heart on things 
above, unless he be weaned from trust in the world. All our esteem 
of riches comes from the trust in them. If men were truly persuaded 
that all things were vain, they would make out after other satisfactions ; 
but men think there is no want in their condition, therefore they 
neglect heaven. 

(4.) It is the ground of all disquiet and discontent of mind. If a 
man would live a happy life, let him but seek a fit object for his trust, 
and he would be safe ; we lose the equal poise of our spirits, because we 
bind up our life and happiness with the life and presence of 
the creature. David saith, Ps. xxx. 6, 7, ' I said in my pro 
sperity, I shall never be moved, my mountain standeth strong. 
Thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled/ When once we 
begin to think of a strong mountain, and set up our hopes and 
heart here, it doth but make way for a great deal of trouble. A man 
shall never want trouble that misplaceth his trust ; he will always be 
up and down as the creature is. Whereas a Christian whose heart is 
fixed in God is like the nave and centre of a wheel, it is still in its own 


place and posture, though the wheel move up and down ; such Christians 
keep their spirits in an equal balance in all providences. A child of 
of God whose heart is fixed on God, though there be a great change 
made in his condition, he is where he was still ; but a wicked man, his 
hope and comfort ebbs and flows with his estate ; when his estate is 
gone, his confidence is gone. It is a sad thing to have our hopes fixed 
upon that which is subject to so many casualties, the waves, the wind, 
the fire, the wrath of man, the undermining of thieves, the unfaithful 
ness of a debtor. Certainly we shall never have peace till our confidence 
be rightly placed. Ps. cxii. 7, it is said of a godly man, ' He shall not be 
afraid of evil tidings.' Why ? Because ' his heart is fixed, trusting in 
the Lord. 5 Though there come messenger upon messenger, as to Job, 
one bringing him news of a bad debt, another of a loss at 
sea, another of an accident by fire, a tempest, an earthquake, 
or it may be of the violence of thieves, or robbers, he is not 
' afraid of evil tidings, his heart is fixed,' trusting in God. As 
Job, he was equally poised and equally balanced in spirit, his 
joy doth not ebb and flow with the news that is brought to him. 
But now see the contrary in wicked men : Jer. xlix. 23, they have 
heard evil tidings, therefore their heart fainteth. The enemy was 
broken into the country, all their estate that lay upon the borders was 
lost, for of that the prophet speaks ; this causeth faintness and trem 
bling at the heart. It is a sad thing to put your joy and your content 
ment under the creature's power. Now till your trust be rightly 
placed, so it will be. 

[3.] The third thing is, to give you the signs by which this confidence 
may be discovered. I will give you but three plain evidences : by your 
care to get wealth ; by your thoughtfulness in the possession of it ; and 
by your grief for the losing of it. 

(1.) By your carking care in getting an estate ; when men cumber 
themselves with much business, and have confidence in the means, with 
neglect of God, it is a sign we think we cannot live without an estate. 
A man that is always getting crutches showeth that he cannot go alone. 
There is a lawful labour. Wealth may be sought for the necessaries of 
life, and for the exercise of good works ; but when men make it their 
main aim to get an estate, it is a sign they place their happiness in it ; 
they make it their chiefest good, and utmost end. Now because it is 
hard to distinguish honest labour from worldly care, you must examine 
it by the disproportion of your endeavours in spiritual and heavenly 
things. Our Saviour concludeth his parable against trusting in riches : 
Luke xii. 21, ' So is he that heapeth up treasures to himself, and is not 
rich towards God.' Men make most provision for the world, and a 
little slender care serves for heaven. They have no care to provide 
suitably for their souls ; all their endeavours are to leave their posterity 
an estate, but they are not so careful to see grace in their hearts. That 
which they desire is to see them well matched, well provided for, but 
are not troubled about their carnal or unregenerate estate. They can be 
contented with slight assurance in the matter of heaven, but all things 
seem too little to settle their estate upon earth. A little degree of sancti- 
fication serves the turn, but in the world they would still have more and 
more, join house to house, and field to field, not faith to faith, and virtue 
to virtue. They have a lean soul, and a fat estate ; they suffer the 


lean kine to devour the fat when they suffer worldly cares to eat up 
all their vigour and strength, which they should reserve for communion 
with God. Bernard saith, Felix domus ubi Martha queritur de Maria 
Oh that is a blessed family where Martha can complain of Mary 1 
Luke x. 40. She complains Mary was too much in spiritual things. 
But alas ! it is usually quite contrary : Mary may complain of Martha 
all our care and endeavours are spent in the world, and we content 
ourselves with some drowsy devotion towards God. When there is 
such a disproportion, this is a sign men had rather enjoy wealth than 
God. Heavenly things should have the first place, and our principal 
strength : Mat. vi. 37, ' Seek first the kingdom oi God ; ' but you are 
all for the fatness of an outward portion, neglect heavenly things, and 
are for that which would perpetuate your names on earth. 

(2.) When in possessing wealth you look upon it as the surety and 
pledge of your happiness and felicity, you then place the chief stay and 
trust of your souls in the things of this life. When a man hath gotten 
an estate, then he grows proud, and drunk with temporal happiness, 
as if he were above fate, and all the changes to which the creatures are 
obnoxious : this is a sign men dote upon their wealth, and make a god 
of it. Vain admiration always ends in vain expectation. We think 
we are above the control of providence, we have enough for us and ours : 
Luke xii. 19, ' Soul, take thy ease, thou hast goods laid up for many 
years.' When God gives us an estate, we think we have enough to 
make ourselves and children happy. Oh, it is good to keep the heart 
sensible of the changes of providence every moment ; and when we 
glitter most in the splendour of an outward estate, let us remember man 
at his best estate is but vanity. Many times we cannot roast that 
which we have got in hunting ; God may blast all in an instant. But 
especially if this security put you upon injurious practices, when a man 
dares venture upon a sin in a confidence that his greatness and wealth 
shall bear him out. When men wax insolent to God, and proud and 
injurious to men, and all upon confidence of their present greatness, 
as if they were sufficiently secured and fenced against all changes 
whatsoever when they grow fat and wanton against God and men, as 
Deut. xxxii. 15, this is that the Spirit of God speaks against, Ps. Ixii. 
10, ' Trust not in oppression, be not vain in robbery ; ' when men care 
not what wrong they do to their inferiors because they are sure and 
safe, as if God could not bring them down, surely and certainly, and 
suddenly and wonderfully, by strange and unexpected means. 

(3.) When we are loath to let them go upon just and convenient 
reasons. As suppose, if they be taken away by providence, men's hearts 
are so depressed as if all their happiness were gone. Job was other 
wise ; he had messenger upon messenger of evil tidings, yet blessed 
God. It was Gregory's observation, Sine dolore amisit, quia sinel 
amore possidet ; Job lost his estate without grief, because he possessed 
it without love and trust. His heart was not fixed upon his estate, 
therefore he parts witk it most easily. Carnal men are troubled when 
their riches take wing, because they are their god. Their hearts are 
depressed beneath the heart of man, because their happiness is gone ; 
as Micah said, ' Ye ask me what aileth me, when ye have taken away 
my gods/ Or else they are loath to let them go voluntarily, upon any 
good occasion. A carnal man, he holds his life by them, he cannot be 


happy without them ; therefore he dares not dispose of them for holy 
uses, or for his own relief. 

[4.] To give you the remedies and cures of this distemper. 
(1.) God only can do it thoroughly, and to purpose. We read, 
Mark x. 23, that ' Jesus looked round about, and said unto his disciples, 
How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of 
God !' and ver. 24, The disciples were astonished at his words.' But 
Jesus ariswereth again, and saith unto them, ' Children, how hard is 
it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God. It 
is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich 
man to enter into the kingdom of God.' Then it is said, ver. 26, ' And 
they were astonished out of measure, and said, Who then can be saved ? 

| And Jesus said, With God all things are possible.' It is impossible to 
enter and trust ; it is as impossible almost to have it and not to trust 
in it. This blessing then is to be sought of God with greater care 
and diligence ; you should put up more frequent prayers for this grace 
than you do for wealth and life. To have a competent measure, and 
not to trust in it, it is a greater blessing than the greatest abundance 
in the world. Therefore let this be one of your constant prayers, 

I ' Lord, let not my heart be set upon these things/ 

(2.) Man must use endeavours, for we confute our prayers by 
idleness ; for when a man doth not use the means, he shows his designs 
are not hearty. Now the means to attain this are these following 

I 1st. Frequent practices of charity * we should be as careful to em 
ploy wealth to charitable uses, as worldlings are to gather wealth : 
Luke xii. 33, ' Sell that you have, and give alms. Provide for your 
selves bags that wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, 
where no thief approacheth, and moth corrupteth not/ There is no 
remedy nor cure, but only in laying them out, and then they will be 
ours for ever. This is a real profession, you look upon all these things 
as vanity, and only useful as you have a further opportunity of service 
of doing good. There is no means to prevent the danger of trust and 
confidence, but a constant exercise of good works ; these are the true 
riches. The way of destroying idols was by crumbling them to pieces. 
It is better to be a steward than a treasurer ; to have them in our 
hands, that we may give them to others, than to have them in our 
hearts, that we may adore them ourselves ; therefore while thou pos- 

j sessest them, it is not thou that art rich, but thy chest ; but when thou 
distributes! them, and art rich in good works, these are the riches that 
can never be lost. 

2d. Make but suppositions, and see how thou canst bear the loss of 
all things when but represented in conceit and imagination If God 
should blast my estate, if such a friend should prove unfaithful, such a 
debtor defraud me. The church, Hab. iii. 17, 18, doth make a sup- 

j position ' Though the fig-tree should not blossom, neither shall fruit 
be in the vine, and the labour of the olive should fail, and the fields 
shall yield no meat, the flocks shall be cut off from the fold, and there 
shall be no herd in the stalls, yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy 
in the God of my salvation/ Suppose that God should send a dear 
year, and there should be scarcity in all things, what then ? Can I 
comfort myself in these things ? The fool in the Gospel durst not sup- 


pose what might fall out that night ; it would discompose all his mirth 
to have thought of a sudden stroke that night, Luke xii. 19, 20. He 
dreams of many years. This would keep your souls in an equal poise, 
either to keep or forego an estate. Men do not acquaint their souls 
with suppositions of loss and danger, and so grow secure. 

3d Meditate upon the vanity of the creature. Talk hardeneth andj 
deludeth men, but meditation leaveth deep effects. There is a moral! 
efficacy in constant and serious thoughts ; the world puts fair titles on 
them, and calls them goods, treasure, and substance ; but God calls it 
shadows, lies, running after shadows. How different are the notions 
of the word from those of the world ; the word looks upon it as a vain 
shadow : Ps. xxxix. 6, ' Surely every man walketh in a vain show, 
surely they are disquieted in vain ;' the word shows they are not only 
vanity, but lies :' Ps. Ixii. 9, ' Surely men of low degree are vanity, and 
men of high degree are a lie.' The creatures lie by our own thought, 
they abuse us by our trust, and they will surely prove a lie. A man 
should not rest in any creature, unless he hath a mind to be deceived ; 
now no man would be deceived. Nay, the scripture speaks of them as 
if they were nothing : Prov. xxiii. 5, ' Wilt thou cast thine eyes upon 
that which is not ? ' In comparison of better things, they are rather 
said not to be than to be. And consider, riches take to themselves 
wings ; the thief, the sea, the displeasure of the magistrate, the violence 
of the soldier, and our own unadvised words many times are wings to 
riches, that make them fly away from us ; but the more ' enduring sub 
stance' is in heaven, Heb. x. 34. 

4th. Improve experiences to this end and purpose ; it is a lesson God 
hath taught us now in these times. Men were never more greedy of 
the world, and God never more showed us the vanity thereof ; the 
greatest men have proved a lie to their dependents ; how many have 
experience of these things ! They, and their fathers and grandfathers, 
have laid out all their wit, labour, and toil to get a great estate, and 
are deprived of it all in a moment, and now it is bestowed upon others. 
Thou hast known many great ones who are now no more thought of ; 
either they are dead and gone, and others enjoy their places ; or if a- 
live, their flower is gone, they live like a neglected stalk. How often 
hath God stained all worldly glory, and the world will do so still ; it 
will forget thee, as it hath forgotten many others. How many in 
these times have had heirs that they never thought of, those that have 
been strangers to their blood and family ! Job xxvii. 17, ' Though he 
heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay ; he may 
prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide 
the silver.' They may provide and heap up a great estate, and think 
now they and their families are ennobled for ever ; but riches take wing, 
and God bestows them upon others that we never dreamed of. 

5th. Lay up several gracious maxims and principles in the soul. 

1. None ever trusted in the world, but they had cause to complain. 
Mammon's drudges have hard work, and worse hire and wages ; as 
Jacob after he served seven years, and when he expected beautiful 
Rachel, he receives Leah. Riches will surely disappoint the trust you 
put in them ; they promise contentment, but that promise is but a lie ; 
they do but distract the head and heart with cares. They promise 
peace, plenty, and security, which they can neves bring to you. They 


are called ' deceitful riches/ A man should not trust in any creature, 
unless he had a mind to be deceived. At death especially we shall see 
how the world hath beguiled us : Job xxvii. 8, ' What is the hope of 
the hypocrite, when God shall take away his soul ? ' a sorry gain and 
purchase. When our service is ended, we see what kind of wages 
mammon giveth us in the day of wrath : Zeph. i. 18, ' Neither their 
silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the 
Lord's wrath.' Justice will not be bribed with money, we cannot buy 
a pardon. Consider, if a man had taken a long voyage to the Indies, 
and had brought many commodities with him, and not one fit for the 
traffic of that place; just so it is here, we are bound for a city where 
gold and silver will make no traffic, thou canst not buy one hour for 
repentence. Consider how justly the saints and blessed angels may 
laugh at thee when thy foolish trust is disappointed Lo, this is the 
man that trusted in his riches, and would not make the Lord his por 
tion. (2.) The more wealth, the more danger. In a net, when great 
fishes are taken, the lesser escape ; so it is in public calamities, they 
that are the poorest, many times have- the best portion. A tree that 
hath largeness and thickness, being loaden with boughs, provoketh 
others to lop it, or else it falleth by its own weight. Nebuchadnezzar, 
when he had forced Jerusalem, he carries away the princes and noble 
captains, but the poor were left in the land. Therefore never believe 
the world, it promiseth life, continuance, advancement of families, but 
no man can assure himself to hold his wealth one night ; remember, 
you have to do with a cheater. (3.) Thy estate, it is not thy life. 
Thy life and happiness is not bound up with thy estate ; Luke xii. 15, 
it lies not in abundance, but in the providence of God. (4.) Remember, 
God is the author of all the wealth we enjoy. This will draw off the 
heart from the creature, that it may with more entire trust fix and 
fasten upon God himself. In want and distresses we see the creature 
is vain, but few will own this in abundance : Prov. x. 22, ' It is the 
blessing of the Lord that maketh rich.' By what means soever thou 
hast thy estate ; if it comes to thee by inheritance, yet it is God that 
gave it to thee ; it is of God's grace, that a man was born of such rich 
friends, not of beggars. If thy estate comes by gift, remember, the 
hearts of men are in God's hands, and it is he that can make them 
able and willing. If thy estate comes by industry and skill, and dili 
gence in thy calling, bless God that gives thee thy skill and success ; 
many have not the skill, and many have not the success that have as 
great skill as thyself. 

I now come to speak to that branch of denying, self-will. As God 
is the supreme lord and law-giver, so we are to deny our self-will. 
Now our submission to God is double, to his laws, and to his provid 
ence ; we submit to his laws by holiness or obedience ; we submit to 
his providence by patience. 

First, We submit to his laws by obedience. Our will is to give 
place to the will of God : Col. iv. 12, ' That you may be perfect and 
complete in all the will of God.' This was the prayer of Epaphras, 
and this should be the aim of every Christian, to bring his will to a 
perfect conformity to the will of God. 

1. I shall show the difficulty of this part of self-deniaL 


2. Give some motives to enforce it. 

3. Give some rules, which may serve both for direction and trial. 
First, For the difficulty of this part of self-denial ; that will appear 

if we do but consider 

1. That man's will is the proudest enemy that Christ hath on this 
side hell, it resisteth Christ in all his offices. In his kingly office and 
reign : Luke xix. 14, * We will not have this man to reign over us.' 
God hath set up Christ as king, and the world votes it in the nega 
tive ' We will not have this man/ The great contest between us and 
God is, whose will shall stand, God's or ours. The soul cannot endure 
to hear of another king and another sovereign, because it affects a 
supremacy, and it cannot endure that any should lord it over us : Ps. 
xii. 4, ' Our tongues are our own ; who is lord over us ? ' Man would 
have the command of his own actions. A proud creature cannot en 
dure to hear of fetters and restraints. The rebellion of the world 
against Christ was 'to cast away his bands and cords/ Ps. ii. ; so Jer. 
ii. 31, ' We are lords, we will not come at thee/ They would be 
absolute, and without God. This is so rooted in our nature that Satan, 
when he sets heretics at work, he puts them upon holding out this bait 
of worldly liberty and freedom from the reign and sovereignty of God : 
2 Peter ii. 18, ' They promise liberty, but are themselves servants of 
corruption/ The great rage and tumult of the world is to break the 
bands and cords, and to loosen us from our obedience to God. The 
proud will of man cannot endure to hear of an higher lord ; this 
hindereth his reign in the heart, and slighteth the offers of his grace : 
John v. 40, ' You will not come to me, that you might have life/ 
Christ comes with riches of grace, and desires entertainment, and we 
neglect him, and are taken with the basest creatures. If a king should 
come to a subject's house and desire entertainment, and he should ne 
glect him, and talk with base fellows, this were a mighty affront put 
upon him. Yet this is our disposition towards Christ; he comes to 
dispense comforts and graces, and we will not entertain him, but are 
taken up with the creature. All that Christ hath done is, to us, lost 
for want of our consent. All things are ready prepared, decreed in 
heaven, only the guests are not ready, they will not come, will not con 
sent, and ratify the decrees of heaven. In short, this is the cause of 
all sin, and of all the disorder of the creature : James i. 14, ' Every 
man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts, and enticed/ 
Man taketh himself to be lord over his own actions, and enacts con 
trary laws to God, in the court of his own heart, and is so wedded to 
his own affections, that he accounts his lusts himself, and can as well 
endure to have his sin reproved as a member of his body to be cut off. 

2. The difficulty of it will appear again if we consider, the will is 
far more corrupted than any other faculty of the soul. The under 
standing is much blinded, but the will is more depraved and averse 
from God. The mind of a carnal man hath a little light, which is apt 
to suggest some good motion. As Job's messenger said, ' I alone am 
escaped to tell thee ; ' so may conscience say, I alone am escaped out 
of the ruins of the fall to suggest some good motion to thee. But now 
the will doth more abhor and refuse good than the understanding is 
ignorant of it ; there is some light in the understanding, but there is 

VOL. xv. Q 


nothing but sin in the will. Many a man is often convinced, his un 
derstanding is gained before he is converted ; they see better things, 
see what is good, before they choose them. The last fort Christ gains 
in the heart is the will of man. 

3. Consider, the will is not subdued by all the methods and external 
arts of grace which God useth to gain the soul. The Lord makes a 
challenge in Isa. v, 3, 4, * Judge between me and my people, what 
could be done more for my vineyard than I have done ? ' What could 
God do more than to provide a Christ, a gospel, a gracious covenant ? 
and yet all this doth not gain with man. There we have the highest 
motives to allure us, the strongest arguments to persuade us, the 
greatest terrors to affright us, yet the soul will not yield. Oh, what 
sweet motives have we to come in to God : the offer of Christ ; the 
promise of heaven and glory ! God outbids all the world. What will 
you have more ? You have my Son to die for you, my grace to help 
you, heaven to reward you. God hath contrived a sweet plot of grace, 
but the will of man slights all. The devil, he cannot bid so fair for 
your heart, yet men give up their souls to him. He cannot promise 
you everlasting glory. Can Satan give you such recompenses as God ? 
The world cannot assure you of everlasting happiness. You may die, 
or these things may fly away from you. The devil was never buffeted 
for you ; he endured no agonies, shed no blood for you ; he seeks to 
undo you all he can, therefore ' Come to me,' says Christ. But the 
sum of all is in Mat. xxiii. 37, ' I would, but you would not.' When 
God comes with external offers, with fit accommodation of means, with 
all necessary circumstances and methods of grace, yet the sinner turns 
back. Christ renews messengers, yet the proud will of man saith, ' I 
will not : ' Ps. Iviii. 5, ' They will not hearken to the voice of the 
charmer, charm he never so wisely/ All the charms of grace will not 
prevail, they stop their ears ; Christ's blood may stand as cheap as 
common blood for all this, if God did not come in with an act of 
power. Nay, further, if he should threaten and inflict judgment, yet 
all will not work to soften the heart and subdue the will of man, with 
out an almighty efficacy and influence. The greatest terrors are of no 
force. Judgment may break the back, but not the heart. Pharaoh 
was crossed again and again, God multiplies plague upon plague, yet 
his will stood out ' I will not let the people go/ When God knocks 
upon us by the hammer of judgment, yet it will not break the flint and 
the rock and adamant that is in our will. The bad thief had one foot 
in hell, yet he blasphemes still. Not only the standers-by, but one of 
the thieves derideth Christ on the cross. 

4. When the will is in part renewed and cured, yet still it is apt to 
recoil and return back again to its old bondage. How often do the 
children of God complain of weariness, deadness, and straits, continual 
reluctation of the flesh : Gal. v, 17, ' The flesh lusteth against the spirit, 
so that you cannot do what you would/ A child of God cannot do what 
he would ; when his will begins to be set towards heaven, it is very 
much broken and distracted : Eom. vii. 18, 'To will is present with 
me ; but how to perform that which is good, I find not/ When we 
are gone out of Sodom, we are apt to look back again. And this will 
be our condition till we come to heaven : the flesh will rise up in arms 


against every holy motion, and our fetters hang upon us, till we come 
into Christ's arms. We are not only at first conversion like a bullock 
unaccustomed to the yoke ; but afterward still we find there is an unruly 
will, not fixed with obedience to the will of God. 

Secondly, To give you motives and arguments to enforce this kind of 

1. The soul is never renewed till the will be tamed and subdued to 
God. The soul can never be said to be regenerated till the will be 
renewed. The new creature begins in the mind, but is never perfected 
till it come to the heart, till we ' put off the old man with his lusts/ 
Eph. iv. 22, 23. Till our natural inclinations be altered till grace be 
placed in the centre of the heart, corruptions will recoil. When the 
bird's wings are broken, then it can fly no longer ; so when once the 
will is broken, then the sinner is subdued, and taken captive by grace. 
The mind is only the counsellor, the will is the monarch ; till this be 
done, you cannot look upon yourselves as new creatures. 

2. Because no creature can be sui juris at his own dispose, and to 
live according to its own pleasure. If any might plead exemption, then 
certainly Christ, as man, might, because of the glorious fellowship that 
was between the human and divine nature. But see, when Christ took 
human nature, he was bound to submit his human will to the Godhead ; 
when he took our nature, he took our obligation upon himself, and 
therefore he saith, Heb. x. 9, ' Lo, 1 come to do thy will, God/ 
When Christ came into the world, this was his work, to do his Father's 
will. He brought himself into the condition of a creature, and then, 
.having taken our nature, he was to take our obligation upon himself, 
which Christ performed. Christ and his Father had but one will 
between them both : John v. 30, ' I seek not my own will, but the will 
of my Father that sent me ; ' there was a perfect resignation. Christ 
did so obey as if he had no private human will of his own, but only the 
will of his Father. Christ did not look to his own ends, to the safety 
and conveniency of his human nature, but to what was his Father's 
will. And wilt thou stand upon terms with God ? And dost thou 
think thou art too great to submit and stoop to God ? Nay, consider 
the holy angels, that have many privileges above man, yet they have 
no exemption from duty and homage; they have many privileges, 
freedom from troubles, sicknesses, diseases, and from all the infirmities 
and clogs of the flesh, but they are not freed from obedience ' They 
obey his commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word/ Ps. ciii. 
23. The Psalmist speaks of the angels there, they still owe homage to 
their creator. Those courtiers of heaven are servants of God, and 
followers with us in the same obedience. Now Christ in his prayer, 
Mat. vi., hath referred us to the example of his angels ' Thy will be 
done on earth, as it is in heaven/ You upon earth are not held to a 
harder law than they are in heaven ; they obey his will, and so must 
you. Certainly, no men are too good nor too great to obey God. If the 
example of the angels be too high, then look to all the creatures, they 
obey God, and somtimes contrary to their natural tendency and motion, 
as the sun stood still ; and it is said in the Gospel, Mat. viii. that ' the 
winds and seas obeyed him/ Man only is eccentric and exorbitant in 
his motions ; they glorify God in their way. The sun shall rise up in 


judgment against many a carnal wretch. God hath set to them a 
decree, beyond which they shall not pass ; and they obey the laws of 
their creation, but we are disobedient, and break through all restraints. 

3. Consider the right God hath to us, as we are his creatures, and as 
we are new creatures ; as we are bare creatures, we hold our being and 
all that we have continually from God. Now you know, the more a 
man holds of a lord, the more homage he is bound to perform. Thou 
boldest thy life and all thy comforts by his allowance ; the more thou 
hast, the more is due, though usually it be quite contrary : the more 
we have from God, the more we slight him. Qui majores terras pos- 
sident, minores census solvunt Many times, they that hold the greatest 
lands pay the least rent ; so the more we hold from God, the less care 
ful we are to give in returns of obedience to him : Jer. v. 5, ' I went to 
the great men, but they have altogether broken the yoke.' Those that 
have more means of instruction, that have higher breeding, have greater 
obligations upon them ; but these usually are the worst. A horse that 
is kept low is easily ruled by his rider ; but when he grows lusty and 
fat, he lifts up the heel against him, and will not suffer the bit ; so when 
men grow great and prosperous, when God hath fenced them with pros 
perity, then they wax wanton and disobedient. And as we are new 
creatures : 1 Peter iv. 2, ' 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.' The 
great aim of grace is to cure the disorders of the will, and to bring us 
into a stricter bond of service to the Lord ; therefore usually at con 
version this is made explicit by our own solemn vow. A good heart 
is contracted to Christ, as an evil heart is to the world: Cant. ii. 16, 
' My beloved is mine.' All that is thine is God's ; you have no will of 
your own, you have given up yourselves to another ; take heed of re 
tracting the vows of your solemn covenant and fealty that you have 
sworn to God. 

4. There is a great deal of reason our wills should be given up to 
the will of God, because we are not able to manage them ourselves. 
By the laws and customs of all nations fools and madmen are to be 
ruled by their kindred, not to be left to their own wills, but to the will 
of another ; now naturally we are mad fools, as Titus iii. 3, ' Foolish 
and disobedient,' and have not the guidance of our own will ; therefore 
it is not fit that it should be left in our power, but given up to God. 
If we be our own pilots, we shall soon shipwreck ourselves. When God 
requires the resignation of our will, it is but the taking a sword out of 
a madman's hands. A man's own will, it is the cause of all the mis 
chief that comes to him, and, at last, of his ruin. Tolle voluntatem, 
tolle infcrnum, saith Bernard There would be no hell were it not for 
the perverseness of a man's will. It is Chrysostom's position, Nemo 
Iceditur, nisi a seipso Man could never be hurt were it not for him 
self and his own will ; others may trouble us, but cannot hurt us ; the 
devil may tempt us, but not hurt us till we consent ; theworld may 
frown upon us, but it cannot harm us ; so the apostle intimates, 1 Peter 
iii. 13, ' Who can harm you if you be followers of that which is good ? ' 
It is presently added in the next verse, 'But and if ye suffer for 
righteousness' sake, happy are ye, and be not afraid of their terror, 
neither be troubled.' Men may trouble and molest you, but cannot 


harm you without your own consent. Now since none can harm us 
but our own will, and since we are unfit guides, it is fit we should have 
a guardian, and who is wiser than God ? The merchant, though he 
hath stored the ship with goods, yet because he hath no skill in the 
art of navigation, therefore suffers the pilot to steer it ; so though the 
will be ours, let us give it to God, to manage it according to his good 

5. It is a very great condescension and blessing that God will take 
the charge of our will. The strictest rules of religion are to be reck 
oned among our privileges. It is the greatest judgment that God can 
lay upon any creature to give him up to his own will, and to the sway 
of his own heart ; the Lord threatens it when other means are in 
effectual : Ps. Ixxxi. 12, he saith, ' So I gave them up to their own 
counsel, and to their own heart's lust ; ' that is a dreadful punishment. 
So Kom. i. 24, it is said, ' The Lord gave them up to uncleanness ; ' 
and ver. 26, ' Their own vile affections/ It is worse to be given up to 
a man's own heart than to be given up to Satan ; for a man that is so 
given up may be recovered again : 1 Cor. v. 5, ' Deliver such a one to 
Satan, for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in 
the day of the Lord ; ' this may be for his exercise and trial ; but when 
once a man is given up to himself, to the sway of his own heart, there 
cannot be a greater judgment. When the sentence of obduration is 
passed upon us, it is as much as to say, Give him up to hell and utter 
judgment, as an irrecoverable sinner. 

6. It will be great pleasure to us in the issue when once we can get 
the victory over our own will. There is none have more joy and greater 
happiness than the angels and spirits of just men made perfect, and yet 
none have less of their own wills. The angels and blessed spirits per 
fectly accomplish the will of God, therefore are completely happy. Why 
should we account that a sad work which is a part of our happiness in 
heaven ? The saints and angels complain not of any burden ; yet they 
have no velle and nolle of their own, they will and nill as God doth. 
We think it is a happy thing to have our carnal desires accomplished, 
and wonder how any can be contented without them ; they fancy such 
great felicity in their way ; therefore the world wondereth at the 
children of God : 1 Peter i. 4, * They think it strange that you do not 
run with them into the same excess of riot/ It is pleasant to a woman 
with child -to have what she longs for, but it is much more pleasant to 
be without the trouble of such longings ; so the world thinks it pleasant 
to have their carnal desires satisfied, but it is a great deal more pleasant 
to have those desires mortified. Drink is very pleasant to a man in a 
fever ; but who would put himself into a fever to taste the pleasure of 
drink ? Certainly, if a man would be completely happy, he must re 
nounce his own carnal desires. If you would but trust Christ upon 
his word, you would find it is not so burdensome and grievous as you 
imagine ; you would find ' his yoke to be an easy yoke/ Mat. xi. 28, 
not only as you have help from God, but the very delight and content 
ment we enjoy would make it easy. Certainly it will be far better to 
give up our wills to God, than to the devil. How hard is his yoke, 
and how small are his wages ? A little pleasure here, and eternal pains 


Thirdly, In the next place, I shall give you some rules which will 
serve both for direction and trial ; it is very needful, for men are apt 
to flatter themselves with a pretence of obedience ; they cry, Lord, Lord ! 
but do not do his commandments. Many will give good words, and 
because they do not break out into such an actual contest with God, 
as those rebellious and obstinate wretches, 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 ; ' or as those, Jer. 
xliv. 16, 17, 'As for the word thou hast spoken unto us in the name 
of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee, but will certainly do what 
soever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth,' &c., if they do not 
break out into such an obstinate and gross contest with God, they think 
they are safe ; but you know, Mat. xxi. 28, Christ spake a parable for 
the discovering of such a hypocritical profession of the two sons ; the 
one said, ' I go sir, and went not ; ' the other, ' I will not ; but after 
ward he repented and went.' Our Saviour puts the question, ' Whether 
of the twain did the will of his father ? ' He that said, I will, but did 
not, was the worst, because the understanding is somewhat better than 
the will ; therefore men will give God good words. This rebellion is 
disguised with a promise and pretence of obedience ; therefore I shall 
give some rules which you must observe in denying your own will, and 
by which you may try your estate. 

1. If you will obey God there must be some solemn time when you 
make this resignation to him. Naturally we are averse, arid therefore 
whosoever is brought in to God, he comes humbly, and like a pardoned 
rebel, and lays down the weapons of defiance. God, as creator, hath 
a right to your wills, to your obedience ; but he will have his right 
confirmed by your grant and consent : Rom. xii. 1, ' I beseech you, by 
the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, 
acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.' There can be 
no more acceptable sacrifice to God than the entire resignation of our 
wills to him. So Acts ix. 6, Paul comes and lays down the buckler, 
and gives God the key of his own heart ' Lord, what wilt thou have 
me to do ? ' Grace had so melted him that he that had done nothing 
before but breathe out threatening, now comes humbly, crying out, 
' Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ? ' This is that our Saviour 
intends in that expression, Mat. xi. 28, ' Take my yoke upon you.' 
Jesus Christ will force it upon none, he requires the consent of your 
own will. In matrimonial contract consent is not to be forced ; so 
Christ doth not force his spouse against her own consent, but she is to 
make an actual resignation of her own self to God. You must desire 
God to come and take possession of your hearts. 

2. When you give up yourselves to God, it must be without bounds 
and reservations : Col. iv, 12, ' I pray that you may be perfect and 
complete in the whole will of God ; ' you must not pick and choose, 
but take all the will of God as your rule to walk by. So Acts xiii. 22, 
' My servant David, he shall fulfil all my will/ Whatever God will 
signify to be his pleasure, that will David fulfil. We should so per-* 
fectly obey as if we had no will of our own, not reserving a propriety* 
in the least motion or faculty of ours. The least sin, when it is' 
allowed, is a pledge of the devil's interest and right to us. If a man? 


hath bid a thousand pounds for an excellent jewel, will he stand for a 
penny more ? And as we thus entirely resign ourselves at first, so 
afterwards we must make good our vows ; we must remember every 
action of ours, it is given up to God ; every motion, every glance, it is 
under a rule ; and in every lesser action we should say, will God have 
this to be done or no, and in this manner ? and if not, let us not do it 
for a thousand worlds. Especially in praying Do I pray as the Lord 
would have me? Is it with such reverence, with such submission, 
such affection ? I gave up myself to do his whole will, to do the duty, 
and in that manner which God requires. So in eating and drinking, 
in all actions you should do all in obedience, in that manner, and to 
that end that God requires. Every glance of the eye is under a rule : 
Mat. v. 28, ' Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath 
committed adultery with her already in his heart/ We must use our 
sight in obedience to God, and so also our hearing. 

3. There are some special things which God hath willed, and our 
master hath given us a special charge about ; those things must be 
done, how distasteful soever to flesh and blood, or prejudicial to our 
interests. There are three things that have his stamp and seal upon 
them ' This is God's will.' So it is said of holiness and sanctifica- 
tion : 1 Thes. iv. 3, ' This is the will of God, even your sanctification ; ' 
so of duties of relation, obedience to magistrates, parents and masters : 
1 Peter ii. 15, ' Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man, ... for 
so is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silencer the 
ignorance of foolish men/ So of the duty of thanksgiving * In every 
thing give thanks to God, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus 
concerning you ; ' concerning these things we have the express pleasure 
of God. Now it is great rebellion and disobedience not to obey God's 
solemn charges. Holiness, it is irksome to nature, and we are apt to 
forget thankfulness, and we are sensibly tried in duties of relations. 
God hath expressed his will concerning all these. 

4. In all these things we must not only do what God wills, but we 
must do it, because he wills it ; this is pure obedience. The bare 
signification of God's will and pleasure, it should be reason and motive 
strong enough. You read, Lev. xix, where God enacteth sundry laws ; 
this is the reason for obedience ' I am the Lord/ The Lord wills, 
that is enough to engage the obedience of the creature. So in these 
places before mentioned, wherein holiness and thanksgiving, and duties 
of relation are enjoined, this is the reason alleged ' for this is the 
will of God/ The angels have no other motive^ Ps. ciii. 22, ' They 
do his will, hearkening to the voice of his word/ This is that which 
is motive enough to the angels, God hath signified his will ; and we 
should captivate all our thoughts, and not allow of disputes 'Have 
not I commanded thee? ' saith God to Joshua. So we should plead 
with ourselves : when we are slack and sluggish to any duty, say, Hath 
not the Lord commanded thee ? What needeth any farther argument ? 

5. We must not only do what we know, but we must search that 
we may know more. This is a great sign of an obedient heart, when 
we are willing to inquire what duty further God requires : Rom. xii. 
2, ' That ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect 
will of God/ A man that hath given up himself to God must make 


it his constant practice ; we shall be accountable for ignorance as well 
as neglect. Many times there may be somewhat of will in ignorance. 
When men have no mind to practise, certainly they have no heart to 
know and search : Eph. v. 17, 'Be not unwise, but understanding 
what is the will of God/ Men are loath to sift out truth to the bottom, 
lest it should prove to their disadvantage ; when they do not under 
stand, or have a confused notion that what God commands is contrary 
to their lusts, they will not know it distinctly ; these do not err in 
their minds so much as in their hearts. Some err in their mind, out 
of simple ignorance ; others in their heart, they have no mind to know ; 
in such their negligence there is deceit. Therefore search and find out 
what is the acceptable will of God, that you may have a clearer light 
and ground for practice. The angels are always hearkening for a 
new command, Ps. ciii. 22, so should we be hearkening still. As the 
beasts, in the Revelation, that stood before the throne : Rev. iv. 6, 
' They had eyes on either side,' that they might see what God would 
have them to do ; so we should be always searching that we may be 
perfectly instructed in the will of God. 

6. Our obedience is chiefly to be tried by keeping ourselves from 
our sin, i. e., that sin, which our corrupt will had wedded and espoused. 
So David : Ps. xviii. 23, ' I was upright before thee, and I kept my 
self from mine iniquity.' Herein is our subjection to the will of God 
chiefly tried, in keeping ourselves from our own sin, which is most 
vehement and passionate ; thy worldliness, thy sensuality, thy pride, 
according as the corruption runs out, for we are apt to deceive ourselves 
in generals. God hath left some particular lust for trial ; we are to 
'deny all ungodliness/ but chiefly this bosom sin. If men were 
acquainted with their own hearts they would find there is some sin for 
which conscience smiteth most ; a sin, to which temptations are most 
frequent, of most usual residence and recourse, that is proper to their 
constitution and course of life. Certainly he is not acquainted with 
his own heart that doth not know this sin ; and he is not acquainted 
with the work of grace that doth not resist and mortify it. Therefore, 
though it be never so dear and pleasant, yet herein God will try thy 
obedience, Mat. v. 29, 30. Oar Saviour expresseth it ' by cutting off 
the right hand, and plucking out the right eye.' Though it be as 
dear and precious to us as a member of the body, as useful as a right 
hand, or as pleasant as a right eye, yet it must be plucked out ; as 
men to preserve life will cut off a gangrened joint, though it be a right 
hand ; so must our bosom lust be mortified. 

7. Because there cannot be an exact conformity to the will of God, 
our obedience will be discovered by the general bent and course of 
our lives. A godly man hath set his face towards heaven ; it is true, 
sometimes he may be turned out of the way, but the course of his life, 
the bent and care of his soul, is to bring up his heart to a conformity 
to the will of God. A ship that sails to the east or to the west, may 
be driven back by a storm, but it makes way again towards the haven ; 
so a man may be overborne by the violence of a temptation, but makes 
way again, seeks to recover the harbour to which he aims. A godly 
man is troubled for the breach of God's will above all things ; sin is 
most contrary to the divine will ; therefore our obedience will be 


best known by our care to avoid all sin, and by our grief for com 
mitting it. 

Secondly, I come now to speak to the second branch, submitting to 
tLe providence of God. 

As God is the supreme lord and law-giver, so we are to deny our 
self-will by a subjection to his laws, which is holiness, and by a sub 
mission to his providence, which is patience. In renouncing the 
dominion of the will, it is not enough to do what God commandeth, 
but to suffer what he inflicteth. His will is declared in his providence 
as well as in his law. Now, murmuring is an anti-providence, a re 
nouncing of God's sovereignty, as well as open sins and rebellion against 
his laws ; therefore when God's will is declared, though against our 
dearest comforts and nearest relations, this should be enough. In 
stating this submission I shall show 

1. How far we are to submit to the will of God in providence. 

2. What are the grounds of this submission. 

3. The helps to it. 

First, How far we are to submit to the will of God in providence. 
That will be discovered in several propositions. 

1. The lowest degree is, we must be quiet and silent. When a 
vessel is much shaken, it is apt to plash over; and so usually we give 
vent to strong passions, and to the grievances of the mind, by murmur 
ing and complaint. There is a quick intercourse between the tongue 
and the heart ; and therefore when the heart is burdened and over 
charged, it seeks ease and vent by the tongue. The first degree then 
of the patience of the children of God is to keep silence : Ps. xxxix. 
10, saith David, ' I was dumb, and opened not my mouth, because thou 
didst it ; ' it is God, and therefore the least repining thought must not 
be allowed ; when he saw God in the providence, he durst not speak 
one word that might savour of discontent. So Lev. x. 3, when Aaron 
had two children taken away by a judgment, and a strange stroke of 
God's providence, it is said Aaron held his peace. Now this quietness 
and silence must be, not only in suppressing words of pet and passion, 
but in calming the affections. When an oven is stopt up, it is more 
hot within. When David kept his tongue as with a bridle, yet musing 
made the fire burn and his heart boil against God, Ps. xxxix. 3. And 
therefore there must be a quiet contentation of the mind and submission 
of the heart, how grievous soever the affliction be. A stormy mind is 
as bad, though not as scandalous, as a virulent tongue. You must 
be contented in your very souls, you should not dare to quarrel with 
God, nor enter a plea against providence. Thoughts are as words 
with God ; therefore take heed of private disputings. We must obey 
God with silence and quietness. Believing will give us ease, when 
disputing cannot. 

2. We must not only quietly submit to God, but willingly, and 
approve and accept the providence. Patience perforce is no grace. 
God is not glorified, till there be a subscription of the judgment and 
a consent of the will. A subscription of the judgment, that the provi 
dence is good, because God wills it ; as Hezekiah said, Isa. xxxix. 8, 
' Good is the word of the Lord which thou hast spoken.' Look into 
the context, and you will find it was a heavy sentence that intimated 


the transportation of his issue and posterity into Babylon, yet his sancti 
fied judgment calls it good good, because God would have it so. 
That is best which God wills. We murmur, we set up an anti-provi 
dence, and censure the acts and dispensations of God, as if we could 
correct them, and do better and fitter for the government of the world. 
A heathen could say, If this be pleasing to God, let it be, that is best 
which pleaseth him. And so there must be a consent of the will : Lev. 
xxvi. 41, ' If then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they 
then accept of the punishment of their iniquity/ Mark that place : 
it is not said, if the} 7 shall bear the punishment, but ' accept the pun 
ishment of their iniquity ; ' kiss the rod, and welcome the providence. 
There must be a perfect correspondence between our wills and the 
dispensations of God. Look, as the patient doth willingly take bitter 
pills that make for his health ; so should we swallow with willingness 
and contentment the hardest accidents. We should not take the 
providences of God as a drench, but as a potion ; not as a thing that 
is enforced upon us, but that to which our sanctified judgment consents. 
Heathens, if their lives were as good as their works, may shame many 
Christians ; they would always be of the same mind with God. Seneca 
saith, I yield to providence, not out of necessity, but choice. It is 
best, saith he, because God wills it ; if he bless, it is good ; if he afflict, 
it is good ; his will is the highest wisdom and reason ; therefore faith 
welcometh all providences, as well as submitteth to them. Kabbi 
Gamzeth said, This dispensation is good, and this too, because it comes 
from God. God hath a supreme right to dispose of us according to 
his own pleasure : Job ix. 22, ' Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder 
him ? and who can say, What dost thou ? ' Will you resist him 
in the disposal of what is his own ? Which is more equal, that your 
will should stoop to God's, or God's will be brought down to yours ? 
How little good will it do us to murmur ! it is better to submit. 

3. We are not only to submit to God, but to love him when he seems 
to deal most hardly with us. You know in the gospel we are bidden 
to love our enemies, though they be really so, though they be our 
fellow-creatures, and we do not depend upon them as we do upon 
God; therefore much more are we to love God when he only appeareth 
as an enemy. The Lord Jesus in the height of his sufferings loved 
his Father, yea, he loved the cross for his Father's sake : John xviii. 
11, ' The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink of it? ' 
Christ loved the elect when he suffered most for them, and loved his 
Father when he suffered most from him It is a bitter cup, but it is 
of my Father's sending. Our love should glow most to God in our 
affliction, so the church professeth, Isa. xxvi. 8, 'In the way of thy 
judgments, Lord, have we waited for thee; the desire of our souls 
is to thy name ; ' then did their desires burn and glow towards God. 
Many pretend to love God when he blesseth them, when they abound 
in ease and all kind of comfort, but storm as soon as they are touched 
in the skin. Look, as the heliotrope turns after the sun, not only in a 
shining but in a cloudy day ; so in most gloomy days the bent of our 
hearts and desires should be after God. So also among the creatures ; 
the dog loves his master that beats him, and many times when he is 
half dead he will run after his master. Look, as God sends Israel to 


the ox, because they did not love him for his kindness ' The ox 
knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib ; but Israel doth not 
know ; my people doth not consider,' Isa. i. 3 ; so we may send you to 
the dogs for not loving of God when he beats you ; we should the 
rather love him then, because God loves us when he doth correct us 
* He loves whom he chastens.' A man may give entertainment to 
strangers, but he gives chastisement only to those of his own family. 
We are of God's household, a part of the charge of God, and therefore 
are under the discipline of his house. And that is some argument of 
God's love, that he doth not let us alone. You are put to your trial 
before men and angels, whether you can love him, when he exerciseth 
you with sharp afflictions. 

4. We must not only love God for the dispensation, but entertain 
it with cheerfulness and thanksgiving. This should be enough to 
the creature, that God's will may be fulfilled, though with their loss 
and smart: Job i. 22, 'The Lord hath given, the Lord hath taken 
away, blessed be the name of the Lord.' A child of God is of a differ 
ent temper from other men ; he can fear God for his mercies, and 
praise him for his justice. We are bound to bless him for taking as 
well as giving. All God's corrections to his children are administra 
tions belonging to the covenant of grace, evidences of God's faithfulness, 
and means of good to the saints, and therefore deserve to be reckoned 
in the roll of mercies. Oh, what a good God do we serve, when we can 
even bless him for afflictions ! A Christian can sing in winter as well 
as in the spring. In outward things we can thank a physician for a 
bitter potion. We can pay a surgeon for cutting off an arm or a leg 
in a gangrene, and therefore much more have we cause to bless God 
for his faithfulness to us, for taking as well as giving ; but if there 
were no advantage, it is enough that God's will is accomplished, this 
is matter of praise. See the instance of David, 2 Sam. xii. 20, when 
he understood that the child was dead, ' He arose from the earth, and 
washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came in 
to the house of God, and worshipped. Then he came into his own 
house; and they set bread before him, and he did eat.' Before, he 
would not rise from the earth nor eat bread, but sat mourning ; but 
when God's pleasure was declared, he goes with praise into God's 
house, and with cheerfulness to his own, because he would not seem to 
oppose or cross God's will, but would bear it with cheerfulness and 
patience. It is more than enough to thee that it pleaseth God, whose 
pleasure thouart bound to fulfil, how dear soever it should cost thee. 

5. This submission must be manifested, whatever the cross be. 
As in obedience there must be no reservation, they were not to leave 
a hoof in Egypt ; so in the cross we must make no exceptions, but 
give God a blank paper, and let him write what he will. I know there 
is a gradation in our miseries, some are greater and some are less, though 
every one thinks his own to be most burdensome, because he is under 
sense and feeling ' No sorrow like my sorrow.' There is a great deal 
of difference between afflictions. Those miseries that light upon the 
outward estate, they do not sit so close as those that light upon the 
body ; and those that light upon the body are nothing so terrible as 
those that light upon the soul ' The spirit of a man can bear his in- 


firmities, but a wounded spirit, who can bear ?' Common generousness 
will bear up under an outward cross ; yet all must be borne with 
patience and submission. The apostle enumerates sundry sorts of 
afflictions : 2 Cor. xii. 10, c Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in 
reproaches, in necessities, in persecution, in distresses, for Christ's 
sake ; ' if it be racking pains of the body, or if it be reproaches that 
enter into the very soul ; if it be want, calamity, infamy, loss of goods, 
loss of children or husband, of all dear relations, we must not be our 
own carvers, but we must take up our cross, as Christ saith. God 
himself will choose the rod ; we are not bound to seek, or choose, tir 
make the cross, but to bear, and take it up, when it is laid upon us. 
We are not to fill the cup ourselves, but drink that which God 
tempers in the cup with his own hand. It is not a cup of our own 
brewing ; it is a deceit to say I could bear such and such an affliction 
with cheerfulness, and patiently, if it were not the loss of dearest and 
nearest relations. But God knows how to strike in the right vein. 
The world would soon become an. emptiness and solitude if every 
ignorant creature might be his own physician, and prescribe his own 
potion. Those that would have a cross of their own carving do not 
submit to God, but to their own wills. Pride of will shows itself in 
providence as well as worship, when men cannot bear the cross that 
God hath laid upon them. Impatience is as great a sin as supersti 
tion. Look, as it is superstition to carve to ourselves such worship as 
pleaseth us, so it is a breach of God's law, an entrenchment upon the 
sovereignty and wisdom of providence, when we would carve out our 
own cross. How grievous soever the affliction be, we must submit. 
Suppose it be a submission to death itself, it is not by chance, but by 
God's disposing hand ; God doth but call us back to our old dust, and 
by the same sovereignty bring us to the grave by which he brought us 
out of the womb : Ps. xc. 3, ' Thou turnest men to destruction, and 
sayest, Keturn, ye children of men/ 

6. This submission must be manifested by preparing ourselves to 
suffer yet more than we feel for the present in vow and purpose. A 
Christian resigns up himself to the will of God, he hath no will of his 
own, Lord, turn me into what condition thou pleasest, as David, 2 Sam. 
xv. 26, ' Here I am, do to me as seems good in thine own eyes/ A 
believer sets his name to a blank, that God may write what he pleaseth ; 
this is to reserve no will of our own. Patience is a very high grace ; 
it doth not only consent to known articles, but refers itself for the 
future to God. It is a question which is most worthy, obedience or 
patience ; obedience hath a stated rule, all the articles of the covenant 
are absolutely set down, what God hath required ; but patience refer- 
eth itself for the future to God, let God write what he will ; I am thy 
creature, it submits to whatever future trial God will appoint. So 
Acts xxi. 13, the apostle Paul speaks of greater sufferings ' I am ready, 
not only to be bound, but to die for the Lord Jesus/ If it were a 
heavier burden, even death itself, I am ready to bear it, I have given 
up my will to God. So Heb. xii. 4, ' You have not yet resisted unto 
blood, striving against sin ; ' intimating they should prepare themselves 
for greater sufferings. The persecution already borne was as nothing ; 
this makes the lesser suffering to be more tolerable. Kesolution for 


the worst that can come, it is a great degree of submission, and will be 
a very great help, when you are resolved to bear whatever God will 
inflict ; alas ! otherwise we shall soon faint and murmur. 

7. It is a very high degree of submission to submit to God's dis 
pensation in spiritual wants and troubles. We should not be troubled 
at whatever we may want without sin, and therefore you should bear 
spiritual evil with a sweet submission to and acquiescency in the will 
of God.' I shall instance but in three things to be borne, the want of 
sensible consolation, spiritual desertion, and many times God's not 
hearing of our prayers. 

[1.] Want of suavities in religion, or of sensible consolation. These 
are a mere preferment in grace, and we must tarry till the Master of 
the feast hath bid us sit higher. All the sin is if the comforts of the 
Holy Ghost be despised, not if they be not enjoyed, when we have low 
and cheap thoughts of them ; it is not the want, but the contempt. 
Such things as are mere dispensations, and proposed as rewards are 
different from duties. To want grace, though it be God's gift, that is 
a sin, because the creature is under a moral obligation ; but not to 
want sensible comfort, because that is merely given, but not required ; 
and therefore when we want these things, we are to be patient. Eemem- 
ber, Christ himself parted with these for a while : when he was in the 
midst of his agonies, he said, ' Not my will, but thine be done ; ' it hath 
relation to the sensible consolations of the Godhead, which Christ felt 
by virtue of the glorious fellowship ' Not my will, but thine be done ; ' 
this may be God's will to keep us from pride. Therefore when Chris 
tians would have those redundancies and overflowings of Christ's love 
at the beck of their own desires, it is a sign they have riot learned to 
submit to God ; it argues impatiency, or conceit of merit. Kemember, 
in these sensible consolations there may be more of self-love, and of 
indulgence to our own appetite, than of obedience. We praise God 
best when we are contented with what he gives, and contented with 
what he doth, though it be with our loss. But when men cannot love 
God nor serve God, unless they be feasted with love and fed with these 
sensible consolations, it is like peevish children, that will not be quiet 
till pleased with some bait and sweetness ; it is not the Father's will 
that quiets them, but the apple, or some such external satisfaction. 
It is an act of obedience to submit to God's mere will. 

[2.] In matter of desertion it is good to be sensible of God's with- 
drawments. But we should be rather troubled about the fault than 
the punishment, that which causeth God to withdraw the comfort of 
his presence, for herein God will have his sovereignty and pleasure 
acknowledged : Phil. ii. 13, it is said, ' He giveth both to will and to 
do, according to his own pleasure/ I confess this is a bitter cup ; but 
remember, Jesus Christ himself hath been our taster. He complains 
of desertion : Mat. xxvii. 46, ' My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken 
me ? ' and we do not deserve to be handled more softly than the Son 
of God. He complaineth of desertion, to manifest his sense of the 
evil ; but still he saith, ' Not my will, but thine be done.' God may 
make use of this to humble us for our self-conceits, and for our pride 
and thoughts of merit, or having an obligation upon God. It is good 
sometimes to be left to ourselves, and stand upon our own legs, that so 


we may know ourselves ; as God left Hezekiah, that he might show 
him the pride of his heart. That we might be kept low and empty, 
and that grace may be exalted, these dispensations are very necessary. 

[3.] When God doth not always sensibly hear our prayers. Though 
this is a very sad case, to go away from God without a token for good, 
without any sensible effect of his love, yet God will show us that prayer 
deserves nothing ; therefore when we have wrestled mightily at the 
throne of grace, yet we may miss. Why ? that we may know,- though 
Christ be full and God willing, yet we must have * grace for grace/ 
John i. 16 ; that is, grace for grace's sake, freely. God will make us 
see we are but unprofitable servants, and he will not give blessings to 
us but in and through Christ, when we rely upon him. Or else we 
may ask too coldly, or without esteem of those spiritual blessings, or 
else thou hast been too earnest for temporal blessings, and God will 
not give thee poisoned weapons to offend thyself. God knows what is 
best, and his will must be submitted to. 

Secondly, For the grounds upon which we are to renounce our own 

1. The absolute sovereignty of God, and his supreme right and do 
minion over the creatures, to dispose of them according to his own 
pleasure. He can destroy and annihilate, and no man can call him to 
account : Job ix. 12, ' Behold he taketh away and who can hinder 
him ? and who can say, What dost thou ? ' Before what tribunal will 
you cite God ? And where shall he give an account of his dispensa 
tions ? When he takes away, who can say, Lord, what dost thou do ? 
Every man may do with his own what he pleaseth, why not God ? thou 
art as ' clay in the hand of the potter : ' Rom. ix. 20, ' Nay but, man, 
who art thou that repliest against God ? Shall the thing formed say 
to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus ? ' Why should 
we deny God the common privilege of all proprietors ? If God use us 
according to his own pleasure, he doth but use that which is his own. 
A man may cut out his own cloth as he pleaseth. Why should we 
confine the right of God to narrow limits ? If he make us sick, pained, 
infamous, if he humble us with want, if he should take away our 
relations, where will you cite God to give an account of this matter ? 
It is injurious to resist a man in the disposal of his own goods ; why 
should we resist God, that hath such a supreme and absolute right 
over the creature ? 1 Sam. iii. 18, saith Eli, ' It is the Lord,' it is he 
that is the supreme and absolute lord. ' Let him do whatsoever he 
pleaseth/ It is good to be satisfied with the will of God, and sit down and 
say no more ; it is the Lord, and he may do with his own as he pleaseth. 

2. God can take away nothing from us but what he gave us at the 
first ; we do but return him his own, and we should do it with thanks. 
When he taketh anything from us, he doth but demand his own goods. 
Job, chap. i. 22, saith, ' the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, 
blessed be his name/ He that hath taken, gave first. And Seneca hath 
just such another passage, abslulit, sed et dedit God hath taken ; ay ! 
but he gave first, it was his own. So Job ii. 12, ' Shall we receive good 
at the hands of God, and not evil ? ' If God hath left blessings and 
comforts with us, shall we be grudging when he comes and demands 
them again, when he did but lend them to us for awhile ? Kemember, 


God takes but a part that gave all, and it is his mercy that he hath 
left thee anything, 

3. The excellency of God's will. God is infinitely good, wise, and 
powerful ; he knows what is better for us than we do for ourselves. 
Unless we will blaspheme God, and count him evil, or ignorant, or 
impotent and weak, why should we murmur ? Alas 1 we are poor, 
short-sighted, narrow- witted creatures ; it is best to leave our condition 
to the wisdom of providence. Say, when thou goest to murmur and 
repine against God, when God takes away thy comforts, estates, 
relations, Who am I, that I should prefer my will and my judgment 
before God's ? We pray daily ' Thy will be done/ and shall we con 
fute our own prayers ? consider, which is more equal, that thy will 
should be conformed to God's or God's stoop down to thine ? It is 
the child's happiness that the father's will is his rule, not his own. 
God's will is more safe. We usually make our reason the highest 
court, and enact laws, and then would have God bound by them. 
Should the sheep choose their pasture, or the shepherd ? God shapeth 
your condition, and cutteth out your allowance. 

4. Ground : the honour the Lord doth us, that he should take us in 
hand, though it be to correct us ; Job speaks of it with admiration, 
Job vii. 17, 18, 'Lord, what is man, that thou shouldest magnify him, 
and that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every 
moment ? ' It is meant of corrective dispensations, that God should 
spend his thoughts upon such an unworthy creature, that God should 
try him in a way of affliction ; how grievous soever the chastisement 
be, yet that God should look after him is wonderful. If a king should 
undertake to form the manners of a mean subject, it is a great 
abasement ; so that God should look down upon us from the height 
of his imperial glory : Job xiv. 2, 3, ' Man cometh forth like a flower, 
and is cut down ; he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not ; and 
dost thou open thy eyes upon such a one, and bringest me into judg 
ment with thee ? ' ' What is man ? ' saith he. Man is but a vapour, 
and ' dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one ? ' Wilt thou look 
upon such a shadow of clay ? upon such an unclean sinful creature ? 
We are unworthy of the very anger of God, as a beggar is unworthy 
the anger of a prince, or a worm of the indignation of an angel. 

5. Whatever God doth to his children, it is with aims of good ; he 
is goodness itself, more apt to do us good than the fire to burn or the 
sun to shine. Consider, God's nature is most alien from other courses, 
he doth not ' willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.' It is for 
our sakes that he puts on this rigour ; the scripture speaks of it as a 
forced dispensation. If a friend should undertake a business that is 
contrary to his nature and disposition to pleasure us, we are the more 
obliged to him : so it is God's great condescension that he should take 
the rod in his hand, and that he should use it to our profit, we are 
bound to acknowledge it. If God doth punish, it is not that he 
delighteth in punishment ; but he doth punish us here that he may not 
punish us for ever. Who would not rejoice, that, if when he owed a debt 
of a thousand pound, the creditor should require but twenty shillings? 
It is God's mercy that we shall suffer in this world, that we may not 
suffer in the world to come : 1 Cor. xi. 32, ' When we are judged, we 


are chastened of the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the 
world.' There is often a great deal of mercy in affliction. After the 
sin of Adam, there could not be a more gracious nor more wise invention 
than affliction to wean our affections from the delight of the senses, 
and to meeken the spirit. And if God should not deal thus with us, 
we had cause to complain, as if he were too gentle ; as we have cause 
to complain of that physician that lets his patient die, because he will 
not put him to the trouble of physic ; or as Eli's children had cause 
to complain of their father, because he was so indulgent ; and Amnon 
of David. It is a great judgment to be let alone. When God was 
angry with Ephraim, what is his sentence ? Hosea iv. 17, ' Ephraim 
is joined to idols, let him alone.' It is an honour that God is mindful 
of us, that he will give us suitable corrections. If a man see a serpent 
creeping upon another while he is asleep, though he give him a great 
blow, yet it is a courtesy to him to kill that serpent that would destroy 
him : so God doth but kill that serpent that would kill us. We arc 
chastised, but it is only to destroy and kill sin. But suppose we could 
see no good in the affliction, yet we are bound to believe there is good 
in it, and not to have hard thoughts of God. Alexander, when his 
physician was accused that he would poison him in such a potion, takes 
the letter in one hand, and shows it his physician, and drinks off the 
potion in confidence of his trust and fidelity. Distrust will make lies 
of God, as if he meant to hurt and wrong us ; but we should say as 
Christ did, ' The cup that my Father hath given me, shall I not drink 
it ? ' We should trust God's potion. We are dearer to God than we 
can be to ourselves ; he is more solicitous for our good, than we are for 
our own. God loves the lowest saint infinitely more than the highest 
angels love God. 

6. Impatience doth not lessen the evil, but double and increase it : 
takes not away the bitterness of the affliction, but makes it bitterer, 
and is the wormwood and gall of it. All the evils in the world consist 
in the disorder of the will, in the disagreement that is between the 
object and the appetite. Man's will is the cause of all his misery ; we 
are troubled because it falls out otherwise than we would have it. 
He that wills what God wills may have somewhat to exercise him, but 
hath nothing to trouble him. All the evils that we meet with in the 
world come merely from our own will. 

Thirdly, for the helps by which we might bring our hearts to yield 
to the will of God. 

1. See God in all things. This is the first principle of submission : 
Ps. xxxix. 10, ' I was dumb, and opened not my mouth, because thou 
didst it ; ' that made David quiet and altogether silent. So Hezekiah 
speaks of his patient submission to his disease and the sentence of 
death : Isa. xxxviii. 15, ' What shall I say ? he hath both spoken unto 
me, and himself hath done it.' That passage, though it be in the song 
of thanksgiving, relates not to the deliverance, but to the affliction. 
As soon as we see God in the providence, it is the duty of a Christian 
to cease and say no more ; as he answered the king, I have learned not 
to dispute with him that can command legions. .Why should we con 
tend with the Lord of hosts, unless we can make good our quarrel ? 
Every wheel works according to the motion of the first mover. Creatures 


are but subordinate instruments of providence. We break our teeth 
in biting at the nearest link of the chain. Oh ! look to the supreme 
mover, it is God that hath fastened all the links. David was so far 
from opposing God that he bears the very contumacy of the instrument : 
2 Sam. xvi. 11, * Let him alone, and let him curse : for the Lord hath 
bidden him/ This was spoken when Shimei cursed him, and one of 
the captains would have taken off his head ; that was a time rather 
for humiliation than revenge. As a magistrate, he might have punished 
him ; but ' Let him alone ' saith he, I see God in it. Consider, it is 
God that chooseth men to be instruments of his justice, that by them 
he may admonish us of our duty. To resist a lower officer of state is 
to contemn that authority with which he is armed. Consider, instru 
ments are set a-work by God ; they could not wag their tongue without 
God. It is good to see God at the end of causes. Do not think God 
sits idle in the heavens ; providence hath no vacancy. Christ saith, 
' My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.' God is always working, 
in and by the operation of the creature. We look no higher than the 
creature, and so are apt to murmur. 

2. Wait for changes. Evils foreseen are the better digested and 
borne ; it is like the fitting of the burden before we put it upon our 
backs. Hereby the cross is made more portable ' The evil I feared/ 
saith Job, ' is come upon me.' It is good to look for changes ; it is 
good to look for the affliction before it finds us out, and to keep our 
rnind and heart loose from all comforts. We have great reason to 
think of changes : we cannot elude the course which God hath set ; 
the cause of suffering is born and bred up with us. We were born in 
sin, and sin grows as we grow, and therefore the cross, which is the 
consequent of sin, shall not be taken away till we are taken out of the 
place of sinning. God might have translated us to heaven presently, 
without trouble, but there is a method in all his works. He might 
have caused the earth to bring forth bread as well as an ear of corn ; 
but he would have it first to grow, then to be threshed, then ground, 
then baked, and so fitted for man's use ; so there are many preparative 
changes to fit us for heaven, as the stones were squared before they 
were set in the temple. He were a madman that should expect his 
bread to grow out of the ground before the corn were cleansed by the 
flail, or bruised by the mill-stone, or baked in an oven; or should 
expect the stones of a building to come together by chance ; so it is a 
great madness to think to go to heaven without changes and afflictions. 
We must expect to ' enter into the kingdom of God by much tribula 

3. Moderate and lessen your carnal desires. Our afflictions are very 
much heightened by our affections. We set up a court of providence 
ill our own hearts, enact laws there, and speak of what we would do 
and do not reserve the exceptions of God's providence. Oh! it is 
very hard to repeal the decrees and sentence of our own will when once 
it is set and determined ; when we have decreed that thus we will do, 
this we will have, then we are vexed if God will not let it stand ; this 
causeth storms and murmurs against the will of God : Jer. xlv. 5, * And 
seekest thou great things for thyself ? seek them not.' When men's 
desires are for great things, especially in uncertain times, they do but 

VOL. xv. B 


dress up a trouble and sorrow for themselves. Self-love and self-seek 
ing always make way for self-trouble ; and therefore keep your desires 
low. It is far easier to add than to subtract ; and it is far better to 
rise with providence, when the master of the feast ' bids us sit higher/ 
than to be compelled to descend and lie in the dust. Therefore till 
God's will be declared it is good to keep the heart in an equal poise 
for all providences, and not let our will outstart God's : as David said, 
2 Sam. xv, 26, ' If the Lord hath any pleasure in me, he will bring me 
back again ; if not, here I am, let him do with me what pleaseth him.' 
He did not dare to pass his vote first, but gives providence the preced 
ency ; so should we. 

4. Consider, what little cause you have to indulge your own mur 
muring ; guilt is enough to silence any creature. Thou art a creature, 
and a guilty creature, and God is the sovereign Lord of heaven and 
earth ; let this stop thy mouth. There is always cause from God, and 
we may still say, as in Ezra ix. 13, ' Thou hast punished us less than our 
iniquities have deserved.' . We are now in Babylon, and we might have 
been in hell. Consider, God is too just to do us wrong. Certainly 
there is a cause ; if he will exchange hell for Babylon ; there is much 
of mercy, but nothing of injustice. But suppose there were no cause 
visible, God may resolve the reason of his actions into his own will. 
God is under no law, and thou hast no tie and engagement on him ; 
why should he give an account of his matters ? If affliction is not 
deserved from men, it is to be borne more cheerfully. Whose cross 
would we bear, the cross of Christ or the thieves ? When we suffer 
as malefactors, we bear the thieves' cross. There is no cause why we 
should allow our murmuring. Consider the evil of murmuring, search 
it to the head, and you will find it always comes from pride. The 
devil is the proudest creature, and the most discontented with his con 
dition. Murmuring is always a fruit of supposed merit, we think we 
have deserved better. Alas ! we are worthy of nothing, and if we have 
ever so little, we have cause enough to be content. Though you can 
not fare as others though you have not such good trading though 
you have not houses so well furnished, yet what have you deserved ? 

5. Do but interpret your murmuring, what is it ? It is but a taxing 
of God, and it is an high presumption for creatures to tax their creator, 
as if they were wiser than he ; it is, in effect, to say, this is not well 
done ; there is an error in providence, which we would fain correct. 
If it be good, and best, why should we repine ? 

6. Consider, what little good will murmuring do us ? We should 
never argue against providence, because we cannot counterwork it. It 
is best to do that voluntarily which we must otherwise do by force. 
Submit to God ; God will have the better in all contests with the 
creature : Job ix. 22, ' Who can hinder him ? ' Your comforts, and 
children, and estates, are in his hands ; if he will take them away, 
who can hinder him ? Therefore why should we murmur against him. 

The next branch of self-denial is denying self-love. God is the chief est 
good and highest object of the creature's respect, and therefore we are 
to deny self, that is, self-love. A necessary doctrine. It is said, ' In the 
latter times, that men should be lovers of themselves/ 2 Tim. iii. 1 


Men have been always lovers of themselves, in every age of the church ; 
but in the lees and dregs of time this evil shall most reign and prevail. 
The latter times are inflamed with wars, and so all love to our neigh 
bour is devoured ; and with heresies, and so God is neglected, and then 
there remains nothing but self to be respected and adored. In the 
abbreviation of divinity, or in a moral consideration, there are made 
to be but three general persons or beings, God, thy neighbour, and 
thyself. Now when men have lost their reverence to God, and their 
charity to their neighbour, self is only left to devour all the respect of 
the creature. 

In treating of self-love we must 

1, See how far it is criminal. 

2. Then speak of the branches and kinds of criminal self-love. 
First, How far self-love is criminal. To love ourselves is a dictate 

of nature, and not disallowed by grace. We read not that man is 
expressly commanded to love himself, because every man is naturally 
inclined to it ' No man hath ever hated his own flesh, but loveth it, 
and cherisheth it/ Eph. v 29. By natural instinct all creatures move 
and act to their own good and preservation. But though there be not 
an express command, yet there is an allowance, it is implied in that 
precept ' Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself/ The thing 
enforced is love to our neighbour, but the thing implied is love to our 
selves. There is an innocent affection planted in nature moving every 
man to procure his own welfare. In procuring this welfare we have a 
liberal allowance ; nature aimeth only at things necessary, but in 
grace God hath been indulgent, enlarging the bounds of allowance, 
and besides necessaries, hath afforded us the conveniences and moderate 
pleasures and delights of the present life. Therefore the motions of 
self-love are regular and tolerable as long as they do not entrench upon 
the privilege of God, but are subject to his will and the laws of sancti 
fied reason. 

But when are they vicious and sinful ? I answer, when they go 
beyond the limits prescribed, when self-love encroacheth upon the 
love of God, or the love of our neighbour, when a man loves no other 
but himself, and makes religion and all to stoop to his private com 
modities or pleasure. Aristotle in his ' Ethics/ defining self-love, 
saith, ' he is a lover of himself that doth all he doth for his own sake, 
and with respect to himself, to his own pleasure and profit/ But let 
us rather take the description from the apostle, in two places : Phil. iL 
21, 'Those that seek their own things and not the things of Jesus 
Christ ; ' and 1 Cor. x. 24, ( That seek their own, and not another's 
welfare/ Who mind the conveniency of their own life, and their own 
private profit, without any respect to the glory of God and the salva 
tion of others. This is self-love that is prejudicial both to God and our 
neighbour, when a man makes himself the centre of all his actions, with 
out any respect to God or the good of others. But because par 
ticulars are most sensible, therefore let me tell you 

Secondly, This self-love is twofold to our persons and to our interests. 
I told you before that self is a capacious word, and doth not only involve 
us, but that which is ours. (1.) To our persons : we manifest that by 
doting upon ourselves, and by the admiration of ourselves, and so it is 


contrary to true humility and lowliness of mind. And then (2.) To 
our interests and enjoyments: we manifest self-love, by an inor 
dinate zeal and care of our interests, preferring them before the 
conscience of our duty to God and our neighbour, being loath to part 
with anything that is ours for God's sake. This I principally intend 
to treat of, as being contrary to God's privilege of being the chiefest 
good ; for this is a preferring something before him, when we can 
neglect his glory, or our obedience to his commands out of a zeal to 
our own interests. 

First, The first kind of self-love is shown by doting upon or 
admiring our own persons. Self-conceit must be renounced, as well as 
self-interest. When a man thinks of himself beyond what is meet, 
and admires his own gifts and excellences, this is to be in love with 
his own shadow, to become our own parasites and flatterers. 

Here I shall show you 

1. To what kind of persons this evil is incident. 

2. How it discovers itself. 

3. How odious it is. 

4. Some remedies. 

[1.] To whom it is incident ? To all men by nature. By long 
conversation and acquaintance, a man becomes enamoured of himself, 
and hath high thoughts and opinions of his own excellency ; as Goliath 
admired his own stature, and Nebuchadnezzar his own Babel, ' That he 
had built for the honour of his majesty.' There is a natural disposi 
tion this way, and there are none of the sons of Adam to be excluded. 
But usually and mostly it is incident 

(1.) To those that are most ignorant of the state of their own hearts : 
Eev. iii. 17, 18, 'Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with 
goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art 
wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, I counsel 
thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich.' 
The church of Laodicea doted upon itself; she thought herself rich, 
and wanted nothing, when they wanted all things, though blind and 
unclean, yet miserably conceited. In a transparent glass the least 
motes are seen ; but in a thick bottle we cannot discern the grossest 
dregs and sediment. Certainly those that have most light, they have 
lowest thoughts of themselves. He that knows himself best loves 
himself least of all. Love is always blind, especially self-love ; it is 
but a fond fancy of that which is not : Bom. vii. 9, ' For I was alive 
without the law once ; but when the commandment came, sin revived, 
and I died/ When Paul had but little knowledge, he had great 
conceit of himself. A short exposition of the law would beget a large 
opinion of our own righteousness. Usually what is wanting in the 
light of reason is made up in the pride of reason. 

(2.) It is incident to men that by their own industry have raised 
themselves to any excellency, either in estate, or learning, or other 
endowments ; there are none so apt to be puffed up and conceited of 
themselves as they are, for they look upon themselves as makers of their 
own fortune ; they are not only drunk with their felicity and attainments, 
but admire their own prudence and diligence, by which they have 
compassed worldly greatness and excellency. It is a question who are 


most apt to dote on their own excellency, those that have been 
perpetually happy, or those lifted up out of misery and a low estate. 
In a perpetual hereditary happiness there is little of our own acquest 
and purchase to be seen ; but those that have raised themselves out of 
a low condition are apt to be puffed up upon a double ground, their 
happiness and their diligence ; they are happy, and they have made 
themselves so, as they think, and so dote upon their own prudence and 
diligence, as well as their felicity and acquests. 

(3.) It is incident to men of great gifts, especially after some public 
performance and exercise of them. It is hard to discover gifts with 
applause, and not to be proud. Our minds are secretly enchanted 
with self-love, and the music of our own praise. Therefore the apostle 
forbiddeth novices, those that were newly begotten to Christ, young 
men, to be put into the ministry, but very mortified persons : 1 Tim. 
iii. 6, ' Lest being lifted up with pride, they fall into the condemnation 
of the devil/ Men of great gifts and unmortified spirits are very apt 
to fall into pride, and so into condemnation ; in a strong wind it is 
hard to sail steady. It is a question not easily decided, which duties 
are most difficult, public or private. In private duties there seems to 
be some difficulty, because there we have no other witness but God, 
and so we are tempted to slightness, for every one cannot see God ; 
and in public duties there we are tempted to pride and self-conceit in 
the exercise of our parts. 

(4.) It is incident to good Christians ; they are in danger to be 
enamoured of their own goodness. Pride once got into heaven itself 
among the angels, it crept into paradise, and the best heart can hardly 
keep it out. When men have withstood the ' lusts of the flesh,' and 
' the lusts of the eye,' yet they may be overcome with ' pride of life/ 
Look, as a castle, when it cannot be taken by assault, many times it is 
blown up ; so when the devil cannot surprise and take us by other 
stratagems, by open assault, he seeks to puff and blow up the heart. 
Paul was like to ' be puffed up with the abundance of his revelations/ 
2 Cor. xii. 7, though he were a sanctified vessel, and though his enjoy 
ments were not of an earthly nature. It is a sin very incident to the 
children of God to be lifted up with a vain conceit of their own worth, 
others are not liable to it so much as they are. It is no wonder for a 
beggar to call himself poor, or a drunkard to have such low thoughts 
of himself, they are not in such danger as you are. And it is a sin got 
out with a great deal of difficulty ; God is forced to punish it with 
other sins. For common sins, God useth the discipline of affliction ; 
but for this he punisheth sin with sin, and gives us up to some 
scandalous fall, that so we might know what is in our own hearts. 

[2.] How it bewrays itself ; I shall mention but two marks. 

(1.) By admiring thoughts and reflections upon our own excellency. 
A man is apt to entertain his spirit with privy whispers of vanity, and 
to court himself, as it were, with suppositions of applause and honour 
in the world : Luke i. 51, ' He scattereth the proud in the imagination 
of their heart/ Proud men are full of imaginations and musings upon 
their own worth, greatness, and excellency. This is the courtship that 
self-love shakes to itself, when men muse upon the excellency of their 
gifts, and how far they excel others. As the strutting king, Dan. iv. 


30, as he walked on the palace of Babylon, he is musing upon the 
vastness of his dominion and empire : ' Is not this great Babel that I 
have built for the honour of my majesty and the glory of my magnifi 
cence ? ' When men make an idol of self, they are wont to come and 
solemnly worship it, to dote and gaze upon their own excellences and 
achievements ; but a sincere Christian's heart is taken up with admiration 
of Christ and the riches of the covenant, as Abraham walked through 
the land of promise, Gen xiii. and said, ' All this is mine.' So carnal 
men are wont to take a survey of their gifts and excellences, how far 
they excel others in parts, prudence, and estate, and so play the parasites 
with their own hearts. 

(2.) It discovers itself by partiality to their own failings. Man is a 
very favourable judge to himself ; men favour their own sins, but with 
bitter censure comment upon the actions of others : Prov. xvi. 2, ' All 
the ways of a man seem right in his own eyes, but God weighs the 
spirits ; ' mark, it is in his own eyes. Man is apt to be partial in his 
own cause, blinded with self-love ; when he comes to weigh his own 
actions, self-love takes hold of the scale, and so there is no right done. 
There is a great deal of difference between our balance and the balance 
of the sanctuary. Men are loath to see an evil in themselves ; they can 
see motes in the eyes of others, severely censure their failings, but can 
not see beams in their own, Mat. vii. 3. A sincere heart is most severe 
against his own sins, and flings the first stone at himself; but self-love 
is blind and partial. The apostle saith, that ' love covers a multitude 
of sins.' It should do so in our neighbour, but it doth cover that 
which is in ourselves. The cases of Judah and David were very 
famous. Judah, when he was to sit judge upon Tamar, would have 
burned her because she had committed adultery, Gen. xxxviii. 34 ; but 
when he saw the bracelets, ring, and staff, when he understood his own 
guilt, he becomes more favourable and mild. So David, 2 Sam. xii. 
5, when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone in to 
Bathsheba, and represents the case to him, it is said, ' David's anger 
was greatly kindled against the man. And he said to Nathan, As the 
Lord liveth, the man that hath done this shall die, die without mercy.' 
But when David was found to be the person, and the prophet tells him, 
* Thou art the man/ then he was not so severe, his mind was more 
calm. In a disease we think our pain the sharpest ; so when truly 
cured of self-love, we think no sins like our own. The apostle Paul 
counted himself ' the chief est of sinners/ and certainly a person so 
sanctified would not lie. 

[3.] Let me come to the odiousness of this sin. This is prejudicial 
to God, to your neighbours, to yourselves. 

(1.) To God it is flat sacrilege ; we detract from God, and rob him 
of the praise of his gifts, that we may set the crown upon our own head : 
Hab. i. 16, ' They sacrifice to their net, and burn incense to their own 
drag/ Instead of acknowledging God, in their greatness they cry up 
their prudence, valour, and understanding. When we intercept God's 
praise, this is to deify ourselves, and put ourselves in the place of God. 
Trust and praise are God's own privileges ; it is the rent which God, 
as the great landlord of the world, expects from us. He hath leased 
out mercies and comforts to the world upon this condition, that we 


should give him the acknowledgment of praise. To intercept the praise 
due to him is to rob him of his rent and revenue. All creatures are 
bound to exalt and magnify God. 

(2.) It is prejudicial to others. Self-love makes men envious and 
slanderous. When men would shine alone, and would have all the 
world else to serve for their foils, to set them off, therefore they blast 
their gifts with censure, aggravate their failings, and load them with 
prejudice, that upon the ruins of their good name, they might erect a 
fabric of praise to themselves. Self-lovers are always bitter censurers ; 
they are so indulgent to their own faults, that they must spend their 
zeal abroad. And therefore, observe it, the apostles, when they would 
dissuade from the pride of censuring, they always bid us to consider 
ourselves : Gal. vi. 1, ' If any brother be fallen, restore such a one with 
the spirit of meekness, considering yourselves.' Do not set up a high 
conceit of yourselves, and so blemish others, and make an advantage 
of their failings. So James iii. 1, ' Be not many masters, knowing that 
we shall receive the greater condemnation/ If men would look inward, 
they might judge freely, with more profit and less sin. 

(3.) It is prejudicial to ourselves. Inordinate self-love was the ruin 
of angels, arid it will prove the confusion of men ; he is the best friend 
to himself who loveth himself least. Carnal self-love is indeed but 
self-murder ; properly, it is the hatred of thy soul which is truly thy 
self. As the ape which hugs her young ones with too much earnest 
ness, crusheth them, and thrusts out their bowels ; so this self-hugging 
will be your ruin. It hinders us from the love of God ; and those that 
love not God shall never be happy ; and it is the cause of all sin, 2 
Tim. iii. 2, ' Men shall be lovers of themselves.' It is set in the first 
place, as the mother of all the rest ' They shall be lovers of them 
selves, then covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to 
parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers ; ' 
lovers of themselves, therefore ' covetous ' seeking to increase their own 
store, though the means be never so unjust and irregular. They ' shall 
be lovers of themselves/ therefore proud, as it is common for such men 
to gaze upon their own excellency, and the idol they set up in their 
own hearts. They ' shall be lovers of themselves/ therefore * boasters/ 
Men use to draw others to the worship of their own idols, insulting 
over others, because they deify themselves, loving pleasure more than 
God, gratifying their private appetites, though with the displeasure of 
God. ' Fierce, incontinent/ It were easy to derive their pedigree. But 
to instance in a sensible inconvenience, self-love is a ground of self- 
trouble and discontent. When men set an high price upon themselves, 
and others will not come up to it, then they are troubled and vexed. 
He that is low in his own eyes is secured against the contempt of 
others ; they cannot think worse of him- than he doth of himself. It 
is true, a self-loving man may set himself low in his own expression, 
speak as if he were a vile creature ; but that is but an artifice of pride, 
to beat self down that it may rebound the higher. If others should 
think of him as he speaks of himself, he would be much troubled. 

[4.] To give you some remedies against this self-love. If you would 
not dote upon yourselves, consider 

(1.) The vileness of your original ; it is good to remember * the hole 


i of the pit, out of which we were digged.' Agathocles, a potter's son, 
I afterward king of Sicily, would be served in earthen dishes, that he 
j might be put in mind of his first condition. We should all consider 
the baseness of our original. Why should we be proud of our own 
worth? We have been infamous from our birth, tainted in our blood, 
prisoners to Satan, defiled in nature, guilty of high treason against God. 
What a pitiful creature is man by nature ! Certainly the angels, if 
they could be touched with such kind of passions and afflictions, they 
cannot choose but laugh at us, to see us dote upon ourselves ; it is as 
if a leper should be conceited of the comeliness of his own face, and 
think every scar a pearl or ruby. We still halt of the fall and maim 
of nature all our lives ; and the longer we live in the world, we are the 
more sensible of it. A man that hath been sick, and begins to walk, 
he feels the aches in his bones ; so after we are recovered, we feel the 
disorder of nature 'We cannot do the things that we would/ Gal. v. 
17 : and Kom. vii. 18, ' For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) 
dwelleth no good thing ; for to will is present with me, but how to 
perform that which is good, I find not.' 

(2.) Consider the purity of God. Much acquaintance with God in 
our thoughts would make us loathe ourselves. How did Job cure his 
self-love ? Job xlii. 6, ' Mine eyes see thee, and therefore I abhor my 
self, and repent in dust and ashes/ The only way to loathe and abhor 
ourselves is to think often of God's holiness. To this God must we be 
like in holiness ; and when this holy God corneth with his impartial 
balance to weigh the spirits of men, and I come to give an account to 
him, what a loathsome creature shall I appear ! Whenever your 
thoughts begin to be tickled, and your hearts enchanted with self- 
admiration ; when you begin to muse how much you excel others in 
parts and prudence, turn your thoughts upon the excellency of God, 
and then thou wilt cry out, vile, unclean, and unworthy creature I 
As the prophet Isaiah, when he saw God in vision : Isa. vi. 5, ' Then 
said I, Woe is me ! for I am undone ; because I am a man of unclean 
lips ; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts/ When you 
think of the immaculate purity of the holy God, all your proud thoughts 
will vanish. Daniel saith, Dan. viii. 10, ' I saw this great vision, and 
there remained no strength in me ; for my comeliness was turned in 
me into corruption, and I retained no strength.' Men are self-con 
ceited, because God and their thoughts are mere strangers. The stars 
shine most, the further off they are from the sun ; the less light there 
is, the more they will shine, as at night ; one seemeth to exceed an 
other * One star differeth from another in glory/ 1 Cor. xv, 41. But 
when the day comes, all the differences of the stars vanish, none 
shineth; the heaven seems to be as if there were no star at all. So 
when God ariseth in all his glory, those that are apt to think them 
selves to be better than others, they see that all is nothing but dark 
ness and mere imperfection in comparison of him. 

(3.) Consider the greatness of thy obligation. A man hath no cause 
to love himself the more because he hath more gifts than others, but 
to love God the more ; great gifts do not argue a good man, but a good 
God. The apostle saith, 1 Cor. iv. 7, ' Who hath made thee to differ?' 
If thou excellest others, consider, who must have the praise and glory 


of this. Must thou dote upon thyself, or love God that made thee to 
differ ? The more thou hast received from him, the more thou art in 
debt to him. A man should be humble, not only for his sins, but for 
his gifts and excellences. The greater our gifts, the greater must our 
account be. Gifts and excellences lay a greater obligation upon us. 
It is not the greatness of gifts, but well using of them is the glory of 
the receiver ; and that is from God too. If thou shouldst be gracious 
and better than others, yet who made thee better ? It is an evidence 
thou hast gifts with a curse if they puff thee up. 

(4.) After every duty there is enough to keep thee humble. When 
thou hast done the duty, either conscience works and smites for some 
failing, or it doth not work. If conscience should not work, there is 
enough to keep thee humble : 1 Cor. iv. 4, ' I know nothing by myself, 
yet I am not thereby justified.' If conscience should not smite thee 
for one straggling thought in prayer, one carnal glance and reflection, 
yet still you. must say, ' I am not hereby justified.' God knows the 
secret working of my heart, to which I am not privy. I am apt to be 
partial in my own cause ; this will not quit me before the tribunal of 
God. So, Luke xvi. 15, ' Ye are they which justify yourselves before 
men, but God knoweth your hearts ; for that which is highly esteemed 
among men is an abomination in the sight of God/ He doth not only 
say that which is 'esteemed' among men, but that which is 'highly 
esteemed ; ' and then he doth not say, God may not have such high 
thoughts of it, but it is ' abomination in the sight of God. That which 
men call a rose may be found a nettle when it comes to God's judg 
ment ; that you call spice may be dung when God comes to make a 
judgment ; and thy sacrifices may be carrion. But if conscience should 
work, and smite thee for failings, then there is enough to humble thee, 
and keep down these high thoughts that self-love is apt to put forth : 
1 John iii. 20, 'If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our 
heart, and knoweth all things.' My heart now smites me, that I have 
had some vain thoughts and carnal reflections while I have been doing 
something for God ; but will not God much more ? God seeth with a 
more clear light. What is the light of my conscience to the pure eyes 
of his glory ? God hath an ocean-hatred against sin, I have but a 
drop ; I may hate sin because it is against my interest, but God 
hates it, because it is against his nature ; his holiness sets him against 
it. God knows the privy turnings of heart. The duty seems to be 
a strange duty wherein you will not find some matter of humiliation. 

(5.) Get this advantage of thy failing, that thou mayest be the more 
out of love with thyself. Oh, what odious creatures should we appear, 
if we did but keep a catalogue and roll of every day's miscarriage if 
all the errors of our life were but drawn up together ! Now whenever 
you put yourselves in the balance, graces in the one scale, sins in the 
other, your evils will much overweigh ' Few and evil are the days of 
my pilgrimage,' saith Jacob. We have but a few days in the world, a 
short life, yet it is long enough for thousands of sins and evils. Our 
sins are more than our graces, because in every act of grace there is 
some fleshly adherence. We think well of ourselves. Why ? because 
we only take notice of our worth and excellency, and not of our defects, 
as if the reflexive light were nothing else but to see the good that is in 


us. Consider, conscience was made to censure the evil as well as to 
approve the good : Kom. ii. 15, ' Their conscience also bearing witness, 
and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing, or else excusing, one 
another.' It should be translated thus, accusing and excusing by 
turns ; accusing must take its turn. You are bound not only to know 
your knowledge, but your ignorance ; not only to reflect upon your 
graces, but your sin. It is an easy matter to know our graces, but it 
requires a great deal of grace to get a humble sense of our continual 
fail <.d-ri. 

Secondly, I come now to the second kind of self-love, and that is 
self-love to our interests and enjoyments. 

There is a lawful respect to the safety and convenience of our lives. 
As we are bound to love ourselves, so we are bound to love our interests 
and our relations. The service of Christ requires no violation of the 
laws of God and nature, but still the great interest must be preserved. 
We are bound to love ourselves, but we must love God more than our 
selves. He is a true disciple that doth not seek himself, but the honour 
of his master. Now the place of scripture for this, is Luke xiv. 26, 
' If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother, wife and 
children, or brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life, he cannot be 
my disciple.' To all these relations the scripture enforceth a dear and 
tender love ; and yet in such cases where such love is incompatible 
with the love of Christ, we should rather hate than love. Hatred there 
is the same with denial in this scripture ; hate, that is, to deny his own 
life ; all must be renounced for Christ's sake, because there is a higher 
obligation. We are more obliged to our Creator than to our parents, 
and we owe more service to our Kedeemer than to our greatest friends 
and benefactors in the world. Let him not ' love father and mother 
above me,' for so it is Mat. x. 37. And pray, mark again, all these 
relations are mentioned because one time or other they may prove a 
snare. The frowns of a father or mother, it is an ordinary temptation. 
When a child takes to religion, he exposeth himself to the displeasure 
and brow-beating of a carnal father and mother. And so the insinu 
ation of a wife, of one that lies in the bosom, it is a great snare ; so 
provision for our children and family ; so brothers and sisters ; loss of 
familiarity between them, when we are to lose our commerce, it is a 
great temptation. Then love to our own lives. Life, it is the great 
possession of the creature, by which we hold other things ; these are 
known temptations. Well then, it is a faulty self-love when we love 
anything that is ours, and prefer it before the conscience of our duty 
to God ; when we are loath to part with our lives, with our relations, 
anything that is ours, for Christ's sake, or the just reasons of religion. 

Concerning this self-love, I shall observe 

1. That we mistake our own identity, and think self to lie more in 
the conveniences of the body than of the soul. A man hath a body 
and a soul too, and he is to seek the welfare of both. Now we love 
the body, and seek the conveniences of the body ; that is the reason 
why so often in scripture self is expressed by the body : Eph. v. 25, 
' So ought husbands to love their wives, even as their own body/ be 
cause naturally our love runs out that way. Man loves this life rather 
than the next, and his body rather than his soul, and pleasure more 


than the body ; they waste and harass the body in hunting after riches, 
pleasure, and honour, and profit, and such-like appurtenances of the 
outward life ; now these are mere mistakes. The self we are to pre 
serve and maintain is soul and body, in a convenient state and consti 
tution, to perform duty to God, and to attain to true happiness. Now 
when we love the body, we do not love that which is properly ourselves. 
The body hath more affinity with the beasts, as our souls have with 
the angels ; our souls are ourselves f What shall it profit a man to 
gain the whole world and lose his soul ? * In another evangelist it is, 
4 If he shall lose himself.' Our souls were chiefly regarded by Christ ; 
in the work of redemption he poured out * his soul to death' for our 
souls ; therefore in denying thy self this must be distinguished. 
Whatever thou dost with the body, or the conveniences of the body, 
do nothing to prejudice the soul and eternal happiness. I ground this 
observation upon this very context. Christ had spoken something of 
his bodily sufferings ; and saith Peter unto his master ; ' Favour thy 
self/ Mat. xvi. 23 ; and then Christ giveth this lesson in the text, 
* Deny thyself/ and take up thy cross ' If any man will come after 
me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me ; for 
whosoever will save his life shall lose it. and whosoever will lose his 
life for my sake shall find it ; ' and then explains it, ver. 26, * For what 
is a man profited, if he should gain the whole world and lose his own 
soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ? ; We lose 
by saving the body. He that makes his body himself, and the appur 
tenances and conveniences of the temporal life himself, he will deny 
Christ, but will never deny himself. You must reckon upon and dis 
cern this first, what is yourself. 

2. We misplace self as well as mistake it. He that loves himself 
more than God lays God aside, and sets self on the throne in his heart , 
now this is a great crime in the eye of nature. There is a natural 
reverence to what we conceive to be of divine power. Every one will 
say, I love God best ; God forbid, I should love anything above God. 
We cry out against the Jews for preferring Barabbas before Christ, 
yet we do the like every day, when we prefer a carnal satisfaction before 
communion with God. We think the Gadarenes were vile men, that 
could be content to part with Christ, and preferred their swine before 
him ; yet we, that profess to believe the dignity of his person, do many 
times little less. We look upon it as a great scorn in the Philistines 
that they should set up Dagon above the ark ; yet this is done by 
carnal persons, and they are not sensible of it, because it is done (as 
idolatry is, under this light we enjoy) spiritually. Look, as a man 
may give the devil bad words, yet hold the crown upon his head, that 
doth not exempt us from his power and dominion many that defy 
the devil in their words, yet defy him not with their heart so empty 
professions do not satisfy. This self-love is not to be measured by 
naked professions, but real experiences. If your heart be carried out] 
more to the creature than to God, and the strength of our spirit run 
out to pleasure, arid we spend whole hours and days that way, and can 
find no time for God, we love the creature more than God, though we 
do not say so much in gross language. 

But here a question will arise, What are those usual experiences, by 


which this disposition is to be measured ? I shall answer it in several 

1. The comparison of affection with affection is the best way to dis 
cover the temper and strength of our love ; that is, when we compare 
our affection to Christ with our affection to other matters ; for we can 
not judge of any affection by its single exercises, what it doth alone as 
to one object, as well as by observing the difference and disproportion 
of our respect to several objects. If you observe the vein of marks 
and signs in scripture, they always put us upon this compounded trial, 
the disproportion of our respect to God and to the world ; as to instance 
both in the pleasure and profit of the world. In the pleasure of the 
world, 2 Tim. iv, 3, there is a description of very carnal men ' Lovers 
of pleasure more than lovers of God.' Simply and apart, a man can 
not be so well tried, either by his love to God or by his love to pleasure ; 
not by his love to God, because there is in all men a pretence of devo 
tion and service to God ; nor by his love to pleasure, because there is a 
lawful allowance of taking pleasure in the creatures, provided they do 
not take and overcome our hearts. But now, when you compare 
affection with affection, when the strength of a man's heart is carried 
out to the use of worldly comforts and pleasures, and God is neglected, 
and we cannot find any delight in the exercises of religion and the 
way of communion, God hath established between himself and us ; 
this is an ill note, and shows that we are ' lovers of pleasure more than 
lovers of God.' So for the profit of the world, Luke xii. 21, Christ 
spake a parable, to find out who is the covetous man, and concludes it 
thus ' And so is he that lays up treasures to himself, and is not rich 
towards God.' Simply, man cannot be tried by laying up of treasures, 
by hoarding up worldly provision, and by getting increase in the world. 
Why ? because we are allowed to be active and cheerful in the way of 
our calling, and God may bless our industry. And besides, on the 
other hand, a man may think he hath made some provision for heaven, 
because he waits upon God in some duties of religion, and because of 
some cold and faint operations, some devout and cold actings and 
workings of his soul. But now compare care with care * He that 
lays up treasures to himself, and is not rich towards God ; ' that is, 
when a man is all for getting wealth for himself, and is not so earnest 
to get grace and get a covenant interest for himself, to be enriched 
with spiritual and heavenly exercises ; when men follow after spiritual 
things in a formal and careless manner, and after earthly things with 
the greatest earnestness and strength that may be ; when respects to 
the world are accompanied with the neglect of heaven ; when men can 
be content with a lean soul, so they may have a fat estate ; when all 
their care is to join land to land, and not lay up evidences for heaven; 
this is a sign the heart is naught, and grossly covetous. 

2. Though comparison be the best way to discover love, yet this 
love is not to be measured by the lively stirring acts of love so much 
as by the solid esteem and constitution of the spirit. Why ? because 
the act may be more lively where the love is less firm and rooted in 
the heart. The passions of suitors are greater than the love of the 
husband, yet not so deeply rooted. The commotion may be greater 
in less love, but esteem and solid complacency is always a fruit of the 


greater love. Men laugh many times most when they are not always 
best pleased. A man may laugh at a toy, yet he cannot be said to 
rejoice more in that toy than in other things, because the act of his 
joy is more lively than it would be in a solid, serious matter. We 
laugh more at a trifle, but are better pleased at a great courtesy. The 
commotion of the body, and spirits, and humours, depends much upon 
the strength of fancy ; and fancy depends much upon the sense and the 
presence of the object, so that sensible things do much affect and urge us 
in the present state to which we are subjected ; we are masses of flesh 
and blood, and it is our infirmity introduced by sin, that the senses and 
vital and animal spirits are affected with sensible things rather than 
spiritual. For instance, a man may have more affectionate expressions 
upon the loss of a child or an estate, than at God's dishonour. A man 
may weep more for a temporal loss than for sin. Why ? because in 
spiritual things grief doth not always keep the road, and vent itself by 
the eyes. So a man may seem to have more lively joy in sensible 
blessings than in spiritual, and yet he cannot be concluded to be carnal - 
Why ? because of the solid estimation of his heart ; he could rather 
part with all these things than offend God ; had rather want this and 
that comfort than want the favour of God. David longed and fainted for 
the waters of Bethlehem, as strongly as the spouse that was sick of love, 
longed for Christ. But he would not have refused the consolations of 
the Spirit, as he refused, pouring out the waters of Bethlehem. The 
affections may be violently carried out to a present good, which though 
it be not without some weakness and sin, yet it doth not argue a state 
of sin. Therefore the judgment you are to make upon your heart, 
whether you love your relations and contentments more than God, is 
not to be determined by the rapid motion, but by the constant stream 
and bent of the heart. Your affections may be more vehemently 
stirred up to outward objects, because two streams meeting in one 
channel run more vehemently and strongly than one stream. It is a 
duty required of us by nature and grace moderately to prize these 
things, children and friends, outward delights and comforts ; nature 
craves a part, and grace judgeth it to be convenient ; there may be 
more sensible stirring in the one though the solid complacency and 
esteem of the soul be set right. 

3. As our affection to outward things is not to be judged by the 
vigorous motion and titillation of the spirits, so neither altogether by 
the time and care that we lay out upon them. A man may spend 
more time in the world than in prayer with God, yet he cannot be 
said to love the world more than God. Why? Because bodily 
necessities are more pressing than spiritual. In the proportions of 
time, we see that God allowed six days for man to labour, and ap 
propriated only the seventh to himself, which is an intimation at least 
that the supply of bodily necessities will require more time than 
spiritual. I do not speak this, as if in the week a man were free whether 
he would serve God or no. For as we may do works of necessity on the 
sabbath day, to preserve ourselves, so we must in the week redeem 
seasons for duty. But I speak this to show that the great proportions 
of time spent in the world do not argue disproportion of affection to 
God and the world. The body must be maintained. Nature and 


grace hath laid a law upon us so to do, and it cannot be maintained 
without active diligence in our calling ; and therefore, though I should 
give God but two hours in the day for immediate service, and spend 
the other in my calling, and necessary refreshment, yet I cannot be 
said to love God less and the world more, provided it be with these 
two cautions 

[1.] That I go about the duties of my calling in obedience, and 
upon a principle, and for ends of religion. If a Christian were wise, 
he might give God all his time, not only that which he spends in the 
closet, but that which he spendeth in the shop ; when you go about 
your worldly business with a heavenly mind, and do it as God's work, 
to the end of his glory. Those that live by handy labour, they must 
labour, not merely to sustain themselves, but to glorify God, and da 
good to their neighbours : Eph. iv. 28, ' Let him that stole, steal no 
more, but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing that 
is good, that he may give to him that needs.' Mark, if a man were in 
such necessity, if he hath but from hand to mouth, if a man live by 
handy labour, yet he is to have a gracious end, to bring glory to God, 
to be useful to his neighbour, to give to him that needs. So that in 
effect God hath the most work, though grace be exercised rather about 
temporal than spiritual employments; for the difference is not so much 
in the proportion of time as in the materials of grace. In our callings 
grace is to work there ; grace works to keep the heart right in worldly 
employments ; and in duties of worship, grace works to keep the heart 
right in spiritual employments. That in worldly business we may 
have a heavenly, mind, and that in spiritual business we may not have 
carnal minds ; that now and then you may send a glance to heaven ; 
and in duties, that you may not straggle into the world. 

[2.] My next proviso is that you will sometimes make the world 
give way to grace, and rather encroach upon your temporal than spiri 
tual necessities. Too, too often we find the * lean kine devour the fat.' 
Now it is good sometimes to take revenge, and let grace encroach upon 
the world, for special and solemn duties. Look, as it is a sin to feed 
without fear, so it is a sin to trade without fear, lest we should be too 
much in the world. Eemember, ' we are debtors, not to the flesh/ 
Kom. viii. 12. Did we promise we would be all for the flesh ? No, 
but rather we are ' debtors to the Spirit/ we have entered into covenant 
to gain all opportunities for heaven. It is better to make business 
give way to duty, than duty to business. Bernard hath a pretty ex 
pression, Felix ilia domus u~bi Martha queritur de Maria That is 
a happy family where Martha is complaining of Mary ; when the world 
complains of duty, rather than duty complains of the world, for the 
greatest part of our time and care should be spent in the work of God. 

4. The great trial of our esteem and love to God is when duty and 
interest are utterly severed. When we are put upon an exigency or 
strait either to deny ourselves or Christ ; as in the similitude of the 
dog following his master, when two walk together in company, we do 
not know whose he is ; but when they part, the matter is tried. God 
and mammon may sometimes walk together, but when they part 
company, you are put to your choice, whether you. will leave God or 
the company of mammon. I leave all upon this decision, because such 


straits and cases are called SoKirjias, trials { Knowing the trial of your 
faith worketh patience;' and 'count it all joy when ye fall into divers 
trials/ James i. Our affections are brought into the lists, and God 
and angels sit as spectators to behold the combat. Here are deliber 
ate debates ; and when in a deliberate debate the world gets the victory 
of conscience, it is an ill sign ; here you show whether your esteem 
and a solid complacency be in God or no. The things of religion, in 
the absence of a temptation, seem best, but when you are brought to an 
actual choice, either of duty or sin when duty is left without sensible 
encouragement, or loaded with sensible discouragement, what will you 
do then ? which will you prefer ? Kev. xii. 11, * They loved not their 
lives unto the death ; ' when it came to the pinch. A temptation, 
represented in fancy and speculation, is nothing so terrible as it is in 
its own appearance. We may be of great confidence in fancy, as Peter 
was ; but when we are called out to death itself, then not to love our 
friends or lives, to hazard the frowns of a father, the familiarity of 
kindred, provisions for your children, it is a sign your love to God is 
real. It is true, in such a case as this is, a child of God may be over 
borne by the violence of such a temptation, but speedily he retracts his 
error. Here is the great trial, when we are called out (as first or last 
we are) to break a law or hazard an interest, to please men or to please 
God ; then are we put to it, to see if we will deny ourselves or Christ. 
The high priest under the law had the names of the tribes upon 
his breast, but the name of God on his front or forehead Exod. xxviii. 
29, compared with 37 to show that he was to love the people, but to 
honour God ; an emblem of every Christian, if his relations be on his 
breast, yet the honour of God must be on his forehead. That interest 
must be chief and predominant ; when we can venture upon the dis 
pleasure of God to gratify our interest, this is to love ourselves more 
than God. 

But you will say, Many of us are still left in the dark, every one is 
not called to martyrdom and public contests. How shall we judge of 
our own hearts, and know whether we have this kind of faulty self- 
love ? whether we mistake and misplace ourselves, or not ? I answer, 
We need not wish for these cases, they will come fast enough, before 
we come to heaven. But if they come not, there are a great many 
other cases by which you may try your souls cases that do not belong 
to martyrdom. I shall (1.) Show what are the acts of self-love ; (2.) 
What showeth the reign and state of it ; (3.) Give some remedies. 

1. The acts of this kind of self-love are many. All sins are a conversion 
from God to the creature ; and so far as we sin, we prefer the creature 
before God. But there are some special acts of sin that are to be taxed 
and censured upon this occasion. When a man can break a law to 
salve an interest, and makes duty to give way to relations, this is to 
venture on God's displeasure to gratify a friend. No affection to the 
creature should draw us to offend God. So it is said to Eli : 1 Sam. 
ii. 29, ' Thou honourest thy sons above me.' Eli did not think so, in 
his heart ; but this was the interpretation of his act. By virtue of his 
office he should have put them by the priesthood ; but he chose rather 
to please his sons than God, and was more careful of the credit of his 
sons than of the credit of God's worship, which was extremely scand- 


alised. When parents prefer their children to spiritual employments, 
or continue them there for their maintenance, though otherwise unfit 
and unworthy, this is to honour their sons above God. God is to have 
the highest honour and respect. 

[2.] When we can part with spiritual prerogatives for a more free 
enjoyment of carnal pleasures. When we make pleasures to be the 
business of our lives, and are carried out with great affection thereunto, 
but are cold and careless in the service of God, this is to love them 
more than God, 2 Tim. iii. 4. It is a sin not to be stroked with a 
gentle censure. There is much of profaneness shown, when duty and 
pleasure come in competition ; and we cannot find any contentment in 
communion with God, but can part with that to gratify the senses. 
The temptation is so low, that the sin riseth the higher. When the 
consolations of God are exchanged for the pleasures of sin, it is a sorry 
exchange ; like Esau's selling his birthright for a mess of pottage, Heb. 
xii. 16. When the temptation is small, and yet prevalent, it is a sign 
the natural inclinations are very great ; they are carried downwards, 
as heavy bodies, by their own weight ; they are not forced, but inclined. 
A little sinful delight and satisfaction draweth them out of the way, 
and maketh them hazard the love of God, the consolations of the Spirit, 
and whatsoever is dear and precious to Christ. Now this is aggravated, 
when upon serious debates and stragglings of conscience men do not 
what is best, but what is sweetest, it is a very shrewd symptom of this 
evil, for resolution or debate argueth something of choice and full con 
sent ; not only a doing of evil, but a preferring of it. 

[3.] When men have an actual conviction upon them, and out of 
carnal reasons think of delays ; Mat. xxii. 5, ' They made light of it, 
and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise ; ' 
and so, Luke xiv. 18, they are loath to part from these things. Christ 
calleth, not only from sin, but from the world ; they do not send a 
denial, but an excuse ; some neglect, others oppose. They do not kill 
the preachers, yet they prefer these paltry matters before the king's 
grace tendered to them. When their hearts are affixed on worldly 
affairs, they will not leave them for heavenly offers. An overgreat care 
for the business of the world worketh a neglect of God : Heb. ii. 3, 
' How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation ? ' Though 
we do not contemn or oppose, yet if we neglect, we think the world 
better, and will not be called off to higher things. 

[4.] When men have a greater savour in worldly gain than in the 
ordinances of God, when they think all time is lost that is spent in 
duty : Amos viii. 5, those wretches that said, ' When will the new 
moon be gone, that we may sell corn ; and the Sabbath be over, that 
we may set forth wheat ? ' It was a hindrance and a loss to them to 
lose a day ; it was irksome to fast from gain. It is a profane spirit 
that grudgeth God his time, and to think that all is lost that is spent 
in duty and service to him ; this is to love the world more than God. 
This savour is bewrayed by self-denial, when we can deny ourselves 
more for pleasure than for God ; it is an ill sign when we count noth 
ing too much for our lusts, and everything too much for God. When 
we spend whole days in the world, Ps. cxxvii. 2, or in pleasure, count 
ing it a pleasure to riot in the day-time, 2 Pet. ii. 13 ; in effect and 


necessary interpretation, this is to ' love pleasure more than God/ 
When we cut God short of his necessary allowance, and do not keep 
the soul healthy, and are loath to redeem time for ordinances, and can 
spend it freely and without remorse in pleasures, and this is our joy 
and rejoicing ; when men can rack their brains and waste their 
strength in worldly business, yet will not take pains in a godly life, it 
shows that the world, not God, is uppermost in the heart. 

[5.] When for the favour and countenance of men, and our ambition 
to attain them, we do many things that are contrary to the conscience 
of our duty to God. It is an ill sign when men cannot satisfy them 
selves in the approbation of Christ ; he should be instead of all. It 
were a great folly in a race to make the people judges, and neglect the 
aycovoOer'rjs ; it is no matter what standers-by say, so the judge of the 
race do approve. Yet thus too many do ; they are convinced of the 
excellency of the ways of God, yet dare not profess them, lest they 
should ' lose the praise of men/ John xii. 42, 43. Their consciences 
were sufficiently convinced, but their heart was not subdued and 
weaned from self-respect. In all controverted cases, thus it falls out ; 
men are hardened, not so much for want of light, as want of love to 
God ; they will not veil to truth. Such a spirit, in the reign of it, is 
wholly inconsistent with grace, for so Christ chargeth it : John v, 44, 
' How can ye believe, when ye seek honour one of another ? ' Men are 
loath to lose credit with their own party ; so Paul, Gal. i. 10, ' For do 
I persuade men, or God ? or, do I seek to please men ? For if I yet 
pleased men, I should not have been the servant of Jesus Christ.' 
Paul, when a pharisee, was carried with a wild zeal, and animated 
with a false fire. 

[6.] When we find more complacency in outward enjoyments, and 
are more satisfied with them than in God's love and favour; when 
men cannot find any sweetness in communion with God, but are 
wonderfully drawn out in fleshly delights. This is contrary to the dis 
positions of God's people : Ps. Ixxxiv. 10, ' One day in thy courts is 
better than a thousand elsewhere/ Oh, that is a day of a thousand 
that is spent in free access to God in his ordinances ! Wherever there 
is a new heart, it must have new desires and new delights. But carnal 
men, like swine, find more pleasure in swill than in better food. It is 
irksome to converse with God in duties, they find no more pleasure than 
in the white of an egg. As those, Mai. i. 13, that brought the sick lamb, 
and the lame, yet they did count it a great burthen, and they say, 
' What a weariness is it ! ' They puffed and blowed, and said, How 
weary am I with bringing this sacrifice ! This is an ill note, and dotli 
in effect proclaim that the life of pleasures is more excellent and satis 
fying than that which is spent in the exercises of religion. 

[7.] It argueth a spice of this carnal self-love when men envy them 
that have outward increase, as if they had the better portion. This it* 
an evil with which the children of God may be surprised when Satan 
is at their elbows. They may have admiring thoughts of the world, 
and think it a brave thing to milk out the breasts of worldly consola 
tions: Ps. cxliv. 15, 'Happy is the people that is in such a case.' 
But this is but like a nod in case of drowsiness, they awake with more 
vigour and life ; yea, rather, ' Happy is that people whose God is the 
VOL. xv. s 


Lord/ The ground of this trial is because God in the ordinances is 
much more sweet than God in the creature, even as much as grace 
excelleth nature. Now, the best that wicked and carnal men have is 
but God in the creature. You prize a carnal self when you look lean 
upon their mercies ; you have a true self, that is more advanced and 
ennobled ; but you prize a carnal self, as if this would make you more 
happy than those privileges you have, and the comforts you enjoy with 
a good conscience. For the aggravating of this evil, consider, the deyil 
himself is not taken with material things, with carnal pleasure, and 
with the delight of the senses. Why ? because he is a spiritual essence. 
Christians, they are made partakers of a divine nature ; therefore when 
carnal men increase in wealth, or grow fat, and flourish in outward 
pleasure, they should not envy them. The people of God have always 
disclaimed this evil, as the Psalmist doth, in Ps. vi. 7, * Thou hast put 
more gladness into my heart than when corn, and oil, and wine in 
creased/ If they grow fat upon common mercies, should I wax lean 
upon spiritual mercies ? So Ps. xvii. 15, ' As for me, I will behold 
thy face in righteousness, I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy 
likeness.' Those that bear down all before them with violence, they 
.may be filled with treasures, they may provide for their babes, but I 
envy them not their portion ; I have a better self, that is provided for 
' When I awake, 1 shall be satisfied with thy image and likeness/ 

[8.] When men are more troubled for worldly losses than they are 
for sins against God, this is also to love the creature more than God, 
All affection follows love, and so doth grief ; and therefore it is notable, 
John xi. 35, it is said, 'Jesus wept,' and then it followeth, ' They 
said, Behold, how he loved him/ The greatness of our grief will 
bewray the greatness of our love ; therefore when we grieve more for 
worldly losses than for sins, this is an act of self-love. I confess, in 
crosses there may be a greater commotion, but there should not be a 
more solid grief. A Christian's sorrow is consecrated, it is water for 
the uses of the sanctuary ; we should not lavish out our tears, but 
reserve them. m Men may spend their affections on carnal matters, and 
then, when they should mourn for sin, they have no tenderness left. 
Most of our grief should be for the affront we put upon God's grace. 
It is an argument men love the creature more than God, when they 
can grieve more for a temporal loss than for departure of God. 

2. ^ Then for the state of it. Most of the marks already given are 
convincing , yet you must know a man is not tried by what he doth 
in a temptation in all these things ; but a man is to be measured by 
the constant course of his life. When a man maketh pleasures and 
earthly advantages to be the scope of his life rather than God's service, 
andletteth go all care of heaven, and constantly consults with flesh and 
blood, and is ruled and guided by the love of the creature and respect 
to his own interest, rather than the love of God, this argues the state. 
Many a man, in fact, and by the interpretation of his action, may be 
said to love the creature more than God. But the state is to be 
measured by the esteem and solid constitution of the soul; when 
men's bent is to the carnal life, and they are prejudiced against the 
strict part of religion, and have neither hope, nor desire, nor estirna- 1 
tion for Christ, as the pearl of greatest price. And therefore, when- 


ever they are put to the trial, they fall off from Christ to the ' present 
world/ as 2 Tim. iv. 10. They seek to provide for their safety and 
profit rather than peace of conscience, and never, or but in a slight 
manner, look after their true self, and I may add, are not grieved for 
the failings in act. This showeth it is an habituated disposition ; self 
is in the throne, and not God. 

3. I come now to offer some remedies. Herein I shall speak some 
thing by way of consideration, and something by way of means. I 
shall be brief, because prevented in the general part. To inform the 
judgment is not so necessary, every one will confess that it is not fit 
the creature should be preferred before God ; but to impress an awe 
upon the heart, and to awaken faith and meditation. 

[1.] Consider, how much thou differest from the temper of God's 
children, when thou preferrest self before God, and esteemest the out 
ward appendages of life rather than that which is properly thyself. The 
children of God count the worst part of godliness better than the best 
of worldly pleasures. Take Christ at the worst ; when obedience puts 
us upon inward trouble or outward suffering, yet they think it is fit he 
should have the preferment ; they count the groans of prayer better 
than the acclamations of the theatre. The very tears of God's children 
are blessed, and they look upon the most burdensome and difficult 
duties as sweet. They cannot only say, ' Thy loves are better than 
wine,' as Cant. i. 3 ; the manifestations of his grace are more choice 
than the best refreshments of the creature ; but, * One day in thy 
courts is better than a thousand/ Ps. Ixxxiv. Galeacius Carracciolus 
said, Cursed be the man that thinks all the world worth one hour's 
communion with God. Now when thou preferrest thy pleasure and 
contentment, what a vast difference is there between thee and them ! 
It is recorded of Moses, Heb. xi. 26, that ' he esteemed the reproaches 
of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.' He looks upon 
that as the most glorious passage of his life. And Thuanus saith of 
Lewis Marsae, a French nobleman, when he was condemned to suffer 
for religion, and because of the nobility of his blood was not bound 
with ropes, as others were, Cur non et me torque donas, &c. Give 
me my chain also, and make me a knight too of this excellent order. 
The reproaches of Christ are better than all the pleasures of the world. 

[2.] Consider, how wilt thou be able to look Jesus Christ in the 
face on the day of recompenses, when you have such cheap and low 
thoughts of him for trifles, when you are content to part with God 
and Christ, and all the comfort and hope of the Spirit, for a trifle, for 
worldly concernments, base and dreggy pleasures. The day of judg 
ment is one of the enforcements of self-denial When Christ had laid 
down this doctrine of self-denial, ver, 27, saith he, 'For the Son of 
Man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels, and then 
he shall reward every man according to his works.' The devil will 
insult over you, because you would forsake Christ' upon so small a 
temptation, and would sell all the excellent things of religion for a toy, 
a matter of nothing. And how will you look the blessed companions 
of Christ in the face, angels, and those self-denying saints that could 
give up every concernment, and counted not their lives dear ? You 
become the scorn of saints and angels : Ps. Hi. 7, ' Lo, this is the man 


that made not God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his 
riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness/ This is the man 
that would not make God his portion, that preferred his body before 
his soul, and his wealth and pleasure before Christ ; this is he that 
would not part with a little comfort in the world for Christ's sake. 

[3.] Consider, if we would love ourselves, we should love our best 
self. The dignity of the soul requires the chiefest care to keep and 
save it. The body was made to be the soul's instrument to work by, 
therefore it is inferior to it ; we should look principally to the safety 
of the soul. Besides, the bodily life may be lost, but the soul endures 
to eternity ; the bodily life may be repaired, while the soul is sick. 
Therefore it is best to secure the soul in the hands of Christ, and 
then thou canst not miscarry. Alas ! the body is but the case, but 
the vessel, as Anaxarchus said, Tunde vasculum, &c. When he was 
put into a great mortar, and pounded with brazen pestles, he cried out 
to his tormentor, Beat on, beat on the bag of Anaxarchus, thou canst 
not hurt himself. Now who would preserve the case, and lose the 
treasure ? 

[4.] You may seek self with more allowance and leave from God 
and conscience, yea, and with more success, when the better part of 
self is once secured and made safe. Self-love is not abrogated and 
disannulled by grace, but overruled and put in its proper place. By 
the law of nature we are first to look after the necessities, and then the 
conveniences of life. We are bound to look after the necessities and 
conveniences of the body, but first we must look to the soul : Luke x. 
42, * One thing is necessary ; ' it is a necessary thing to secure the 
soul. It should be the main care of a Christian to state what is neces 
sary for the salvation of his soul ; this will stead you in life and death. 
This one thing is simply necessary ; one thing is necessary for itself, 
all other things necessary in order to it. Thou art to maintain thy 
body, that it may be an instrument for thy soul while thou actest and 
workest toward true happiness. ' Seek first the kingdom of God,' Mat. 
vi. 33 ; that is, first seek to get into a state of grace. The kingdom 
of God is put for all the whole state of evangelical grace. The first 
thing the Israelites did in the morning was to seek manna ; this kept 
them alive. So the first thing, and thy chiefest care and work should 
be to secure thy soul, and then all other things will be added, so far as 
they are convenient. 

[5.] The very motives and reasons that draw us to self-love do draw 
us to better things, for he that loveth anything would love the best of 
the kind ; and therefore, if we love anything that is good, let us love 
that which is eternally good. What do we love ? is it friends, life, 
glory, pleasure, substance ? When we love friends, let us love the 
best of friends, an eternal friend, such as God is. We should please 
them most with whom we are to live longest. If we love long life, let 
us love eternity ; if glory and praise, remember that there is no praise 
like that which is given us before God and angels, out of Christ's own 
mouth ; vain glory, it is nothing to everlasting glory. If we love plea 
sure, let us love the best of the kind ; those ' pleasures which are at 
God's right hand ; ' the nearer the fountain, the sweeter the water. 
If we love wealth, let us love ' enduring substance/ Heb. x. 34, the 


joy of heaven is Celled ' enduring substance.' All earthly things are 
'but perishing movables. 

[6.] Consider, what reason we have to love God above all things ; 
not only in point of desert, we are more obliged to God than to all 
things in the world, and not only in point of law and duty, which we 
shall be responsible for, but in point of natural reason. All the crea 
tures are but the image and shadow of that goodness which is in God. 
The good of the creature is but splendor summi ~boni a ray or beam 
of the chief est good. God hath parcelled out his goodness, these are 
but bro'ken pieces. Why should we dote upon the image, and neglect 
the substance ? Why should we love other things, and not God much 
more ? and, with the dog, catch after the shadow, and let go the sub 
stance ? It is true, in the creature there are some draughts and strict 
ures of God's goodness which serve to put us in mind of God ; not to 
intercept our affections, but to proclaim to us that God is more worthy 
of our respect and esteem. God hath parcelled out his goodness in all 
the creatures, to admonish us, and not to satisfy us. Consider, all these 
things stand in need of God to preserve them, they need other things. 
But now, God alone is enough, and he himself, without the creature, 
can satisfy thee ; he that hath God hath all things ; he that possesseth 
him, ' possesseth all things,' 1 Cor. iii. 18, and they are more thine when 
thou hast them not, than when thoti dost enjoy them without God, for 
then they are a less snare to thee. So then say with indignation to all 
other loves, ' Whom have I in heaven but thee/ &c. Ps. Ixxiii. 25. 

[7.] It is a very great honour when thou art called out to any actual 
trial, to show how much thou lovest God above the creature. There 
is no cause of grief in such a case, if our eyes were opened and our 
affections mortified. Certainly it is better to give up our concernments 
to God freely than to have them taken away from us by force ; to offer 
them up to God, than to have them snatched from us. It is a great 
honour that God will have our will exercised, and our loyalty mani 
fested ; he might take away our pleasant things by the dominion of his 
providence, and so they may be taken away in punishment. It is an 
honour when we can sacrifice them by way of thanksgiving ; death 
will take us from them, and God may take them from us. It is an 
honour that we may resign them before we die, and that by an act of 
choice and consent we may render them to God for the sake of a good 
conscience. ' To you, it is given to suffer,' saith the apostle ; your gain 
will be more than your loss. The means that may enable you to obtain 
this self-denial, follow. 

(1.) See that you take heed of complicating and folding up thyself 
with the creature. We are apt to make ourselves too large ; take heed, 
what thou countest thyself. There is an old and corrupt self, which 
we should not own. Consider thy comfort, thy safety, thy value and 
acceptation with God, doth not depend upon these things, Luke xii. 
15 ; thy safety doth not lie in them ; these things are but pipes to con 
vey the blessing of God to thee. Thou dost not live upon abundance, 
but upon providence ; otherwise thy bread would be as a turf of earth 
to thee, not thy comfort. A man may have happiness enough in a 
single God, without the creature, Hab. iii. 18. In heaven, it is our 
privilege that there God is ' all in all/ without the intervention of 


means and creatures. It is a dark way to enjoy God in the creature ; 
the highest way is to enjoy him alone, separate from these outward 
things. Neither thy value and esteem with God, nor thy eternal life, 
doth lie in it. God loves thee, though naked, stripped of all temporal 
gifts and favours ; he doth not love thine, but thee. Jesus Christ died 
not for thy goods and estate, but for thy person. And when God looks 
for thee in heaven, he doth not look that thou shouldst come with a 
train of outward comforts ; for when we go to the grave we go naked, 
and leave these things behind us. 

(2.) Act faith, partly upon the blessed recompenses. What is the 
reason men dote upon the creature ? Because they are not acquainted 
with a higher glory. Carnal men are purblind, they cannot ' see afar 
off/ 2 Peter i. 9 ; they look upon the things of heaven as golden dreams, 
as pleasing delusions ; therefore cannot be divorced, nor separate their 
affections from present comforts. It is notable, when Christ said to 
Zaccheus, ' Salvation is come to thy house,' presently he saith, ' Half 
of my goods I give to the poor.' As good almost bid men pluck them 
selves asunder, as press them to such a thing ; it is as to rend the 
body from itself ; yet the sight of heaven will do this. 

(3.) Then faith must be employed to judge aright of present 
sufferings and encumbrances : faith must count losses to be savings. 
As we are not to believe reason, so not sense, against the articles of 
faith. Why do we believe the glorious mystery of the trinity, three 
in one ? Because Christ hath revealed it to us. The same Jesus hath 
revealed, ' Blessed are they that suffer persecution ; and he that loseth 
shall save/ Why should we count that grievous which Christ hath 
called blessedness ? Why should we count that loss which indeed is 
the greatest gain ? We are as much bound to believe persecutions 
will make us blessed, and losing will be saving, as we are bound to 
believe that God is three in one, and that there is a union of the two 
natures in the person of Christ. Faith is as much seen in practicals 
as it is in speculative principles ; there it is oftener tried ; the other 
is but in special temptations. 

(4.) Let us love ourselves, and all things else, in God, and for God's 
sake. When God is made ours, we love ourselves in loving God. We 
should love nothing but for God's sake ; do all to his glory, and with 
aims and ends of religion. Certainly God doth all things for himself. 
We should not love any other, no, not ourselves, but for God's sake, and 
the accomplishing of his holy will. If we Jove the godly, we should 
love them because they bear his image. Our enemies we should love, 
because of God's command, and our relations and comforts as they are 
God's gifts to us. God must have all the heart ; and in those affections 
that are carried out to other things, the supreme reason must be taken 
from God. That is the law still in force : Deut. vi. 5, ' Thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy 
might. The Lord our God is but one.' And it is often repeated in 
the new testament. We are to reserve no part for idols, for creatures ; 
all is too little for so great a God, though it be more than we can per 
form. When a great prince in his progress comes to an inn, he takes 
up all the rooms in the house, not holding it to stand with his state to 
have a stranger to be sharer with him. All our respect must either be 


carried out to God, or to other things for God's sake. Certainly this 
will be a means to keep ourselves from such a degree of affection to 
them, as may alienate and divide our souls from God ; yea, in whatever 
we love, it will make us tend to the service and glory of God. Look, 
as when one foot of the compass is fixed in the centre, it gives strength 
and direction to the other part that moves about the circumference ; so 
when the heart is fixed in God, resolved to love God alone, we shall 
receive strength and direction from him, our love will be rightly set 
The saints and angels above love God with all their hearts and all their 
souls, therefore they cannot sin. Love is all the rule and guide they 
have, they can do nothing inordinately ; so should we, in our measures, 
labour to come up to this, and it would be an exceeding great 
regulation of our love. Self-interest may come in as accessory, but the 
principal and original cause of all is God alone. We should love our 
selves united with God by Jesus Christ ; love God's servants as those 
that are dignified and beautified with his image ; our relations, as they 
may be tokens to us of God's love. 

THE fourth branch is against self-seeking, by which I mean a denial 
of our own ends, for God must be the utmost end of all the creatures 

Here I shall show 

1. What this self-seeking is. 

2. The evidences how it bewrays itself. 

3. How necessary it is to handle it. 

4. How difficult it is to deny this part of self. 

5. Some remedies by way of consideration and practice. 

First, What it is. Self-seeking is a sin, by which men refer all they 
do or can do, to their own glory and advancement. There is a double 
self-seeking, contrary to the double end of the creature's being and 
operation ; one, by which we aim at our own profit ; and another, by 
which we aim at our own glory. For the two great ends of the crea 
ture's being are, that we may enjoy God ; and then that we may glorify 

1. Our great aim should be to enjoy God ; that is the happiness to 
which we are poised and inclined by the bent of nature. An immortal 
soul was made for an eternal good ; nothing beneath God will satisfy 
it ; and the heaven that we expect is nothing else but the filling up the 
soul with God. There is a great controversy in the world between God 
and self while we are here ; but now in heaven the quarrel is taken up, 
and we and God are united in the nearest and closest way of union 
and communion, that we may enjoy him forever. Now when we rest 
in any low enjoyment, and are satisfied with it without God, that is 
self-seeking ; in effect it is self-destroying, self-losing. But the scripture 
speaks according to our aim and intention ; we intend to seek ourselves, 
though in effect, we do but lose ourselves. Of this the scripture speaks 
' All seek their own, and not that which is Jesus Christ's/ In effect, 
neither their own, nor Christ's, but the carnal and corrupt heart of a 
man counts nothing our own things, but the concernments of the flesh. 
Of this kind of self-seeking they are guilty that do God's work, but not 
with God's end ; not to enjoy him, but to enjoy the world ; they make 


a mere merchandise of obedience ; if they have worldly gain, they are 
satisfied ; for other things they will give God a bill of discharge : Mat. 
vi. 12, * They have their reward/ They will acquit and release God 
of all the grant and promise that he hath made of heaven to them in 
the covenant of grace, if God will give them a patent to enjoy as much 
of the world as they can, which argues a sordid and base spirit : Rom. 
xvi. 18, ' They are such as serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their 
own belly, and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of 
the simple.' The apostle speaks of false teachers, that did not make God 
their end, but were wholly bent upon their secular profit ; that reprove 
not for, but soothe men up in, their sin. In their preaching there is no 
salt, and in their private visits there is a great deal of worldly com 
pliance, and all because they have set up another God, such a base 
thing as the belly, instead of Christ. 

2. The next aim of the creature should be to glorify God in all the 
motions and operations of the soul. This must be the settled frame 
and constitution of souls, to enjoy God, that is our happiness ; to 
glorify God, that is our work ; and therefore, when the aim of the 
heart is at our own glory and praise, this is self-seeking. Now, that 
you may discern it the better, and see when the soul is guilty of it, I 
shall show you how far we are to intend the glory of God in every 
action of ours ; I shall do it in these propositions 

[1.] This must be the end that we must propose to ourselves in all 
our civil actions ; though the action be civil, yet the end must be 
religious, that I may glorify God, and do good to others, 1 Cor. x. 31, 
though it be but in such a natural action, as eating and drinking ; this 
must be the fixed aim, ' to do all to the glory of God,' otherwise you 
set up another God, Moloch instead of God. When merely you eat to 
gratify your own flesh, it may be a meat-offering and drink-offering 
to appetite. So also for your traffic ; if it be merely for wealth, it 
is but consecrating yourselves to mammon, and setting the world in 
the place of God. This is the great mercy of God, that, considering 
our necessity, he hath so wisely ordered it that he might lose no part 
of our time. Our very natural actions may be religious. Works of 
nature may become acts of grace, and our traffic may be a kind of 
worship when our ends are to glorify him ; otherwise we set up self 
in his place. Your very eating is idolatry when it is merely to please 
and gratify self. Your table it is a table of devils ' Whose God is the 
belly/ Phil. iii. 18. And then, as for your traffic : when you trade in 
the world merely to grow rich, and have not an aim at the glory and 
service of God, you set up another god ; mammon is your God, Mat. 
vi. 24, ' No man can serve two masters ; ye cannot serve God and 
mammon/ But here ariseth a question worthy to be discussed, 
Whether in every action we are bound actually to intend God's glory ? 
I answer, We should labour as much as we can to make our thoughts 
actual ; this is the very vitality and vigour of the spiritual life, when all 
our natural actions are raised up to a supernatural intention. As a 
Christian is not to have evil aims, so he is not -to be like a blind archer, 
to shoot at random and without a mark. Why should we forget God 
at any time, that doth always remember us ? There is not a moment 
that passeth but God looks after thee, or else thou couldst not live ; 


nay, he doth remember us, as if he had forgotten all others, and had 
none else to care for in the world. There is not a good thought of 
thine forgotten. The spiritual life seemeth to be as asleep when we do 
not think of God. In gratitude we seem to be obliged. And consider 
again, certainly an actual elevation of the soul is of no great labour 
and trouble, because thoughts are quick and sudden ; and it will not 
hinder us, or be a burden to us, to look up with the eye of our soul, but 
it would be of great profit, it would make the actions of the mind more 
acceptable to God ; and the soul will the better be kept upright ; this 
will be as a golden crown upon the head of every action, and will be an 
excellent means to prevent carnal injections. However, because of our 
infirmities in the lesser actions of life, the habitual intention sufficeth ; 
as an arrow may fly to the mark, though the archer hath ceased to 
think of it ; or rather, as a man travelling homeward may not always 
think of home, yet he is journeying thither ; so a Christian may not 
always actually think of heaven, yet his heart is set that way. We 
should at least renew this every morning. And in the noble actions of 
life that require more labour and difficulty, there our thoughts should 
be explicit, and the reason is, because Satan is ready to blast every 
serious duty with the injection of carnal thoughts. The devil is not 
only with you in the shop, but in the closet, and at duty ; and many 
times, though we * begin in the spirit/ yet we are apt ' to end in the 
flesh.' Self recoils upon us : Gen. xv. Abraham when he had quartered 
the sacrifices ' The fowls came down, but he drove them away.' So 
when we think of offering duty to God, carnal thoughts are apt to rush 
into the mind ; so that without this actual intention we may easily 
begin for God, and yet end for self-interest notwithstanding. 

[2.] In actions sacred, and in the higher operations of the soul, be 
they either internal or external, the utmost end must be the glory of 
God. (1.) In internal actions, in desires of grace and salvation, our 
end must not be self. Our motions are then regular, when they are 
conformed to God, when we have the same end and aim as God hath. 
Now whatsoever God doth, both within and without, in creation and 
grace, it is for himself : Prov. xvi. 4, ' The Lord hath made all things 
for himself/ Well then, we should seek grace and glory with the sama 
aim that God gives it : Eph. i. 6, ' He hath accepted us in the Beloved, 
to the praise of the glory of his grace ; ' that is God's aim, that grace 
may be glorified in thy salvation, and in thy acceptance of Jesus Christ. 
I desire my salvation, but I should not rest there ; but this should be 
my utmost aim, that God may be glorified in my salvation. Some 
make a question whether or no we may look to the reward ; but those 
that make it seem to mistake heaven, and they have a carnal notion of 
the reward of the gospel, and dream of the heaven of the alcaron, and 
not the heaven of the gospel. What is the heaven of the gospel, but 
to enjoy God for ever, in the way of a blessed and holy communion ? 
Now can any man be so irrational to conceive I should not aim at the 
inheritance of the saints in light, as well as at the vision and fruition of 
God? This must needs be a high act of grace, to seek my own 
happiness in the highest way of communion with God. They mistake 
the nature of the covenant, or the way with which God would deal with 
men, for God hath invested his precept with a promise, and men would 


seem wiser than God. We may use the Spirit's motives without sin, 
as the saints have done. It was a foolish modesty in Ahaz, when God 
' bade him ask/ and ' he would not ask a sign/ Isa. vii. 10-12 ; so it is 
a foolish modesty, when men will not act their faith upon the reward 
and the blessed recompenses. Christ used this way : Heb. xii. 2, It is 
said, ' for the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, and 
despised the shame/ &c. And truly all creatures, as they are now 
made, must needs take this course, look to the glory, that they may 
discharge the duty and endure the cross. No created agent can rest 
merely in the beauty and goodness of his own action. It is a folly to 
say that virtue is a reward to itself, if you speak of eternal reward ; it 
is God's covenant way. We are not only to regard duty, but the 
encouragement of duty. But then the reward must not be the chief 
cause, but the encouragement ; the ultimate reason must be the glory 
of God. When we make the reward the ultimate end of all we desire, 
this is to respect self above God ; the glory of God must be the main 
spring of all our desires and hopes. To look after happiness is an 
innocent aim of nature, but to glorify God is the aim of grace. Now 
only to aim at happiness is the mere motion of nature, and of our own 
will ; but it is our duty to have a further aim at the glory of God. By 
the law of our creation we were bound to aim at the glory of God, 
though our happiness were not subordinate to it, for ' God made all 
things for himself/ (2.) In external actions, and in duties of worship, 
we must have a good aim. It is dangerous in sacred things to look 
a- squint, and by the temple to serve the concernments of the shop ; this 
is to put dung in God's own cup ; this is to make God serve with our 
iniquities ; and to use worship as a pretence and cover to interest. When 
we pervert things from their proper use, we do them an injury. If a 
cup were made for a king to drink in, and we should use it as a vessel 
to keep dung and excrements, it were a high affront ; yet nature doth 
not design such things to such an use, but art, and the will of man. 
Duty is made for the special honour of God, by his appointment, 
therefore it should have no end beneath itself. 

[3.] In all conditions of life, a Christian should be indifferent to 
every estate, so God may be glorified ; to be like a die in the hand of 
God, let providence cast him high or low, as it pleaseth God : Phil. i. 21, 
' So be it, that Christ may be magnified in my body, whether it be 
by life or death ; ' I am indifferent, my aim only is to magnify Christ. 
This is the temper of a Christian ; things may fall out, not as we think, 
but always as we would, if our general aim be to God's glory, for in 
providence we are required only to be passive. There is nothing left 
to our choice ; we are to resign up our wills to his good pleasure ; our 
duty is submission ; events must be left to God himself, and in these 
things he will provide for his own glory. Well then, whether your condi 
tion be prosperous or adverse, pleasing or displeasing, if it be for God's 
glory, it should be all one to you. A traveller, when he asks the way, 
it is all one to him if you direct him to the right hand or left, so he may 
accomplish his journey ; so it is to a Christian ; whether his way to heaven 
lies by sickness or health, by quiet or trouble, by living at home or by 
exile and banishment, abased or abounding, by estate or poverty, a 
Christian is content, so God may be glorified. Thus should we, in all 


conditions of life, submit ourselves to the disposal of God, that he might 
be glorified upon us. Some dispute whether we are not to be at such 
a pass for the eternal state of our souls, whether he will damn us or 
save us, so he may be glorified. I answer, No ; this seems to be 
extremely harsh, and God doth not put us upon that trial, the laying 
down our souls to the disposal of God ; that is only required of Christ, 
that he should lay down his soul as to the consolations of the Godhead, 
for a while. It would put a creature into an inditferency in point of 
duty, or into despair in point of hope ; whereas God in his covenant 
seeks to draw on the creatures to be earnest for the everlasting welfare 
of their souls, rather than to leave it at his disposal. By this you may 
see what is self-seeking ; we do not make it our aim to enjoy God and 
glorify him in this manner. 

Secondly, To give you the signs by which a self-seeker may be dis 
covered. The best judge is his own conscience. Yet to revive guilt 
by a note or two. 

1. A man is guilty of this self-seeking when he puts himself upon 
the profession of godliness, out of the promise of some worldly advantage. 
Gen. xxxiv. 22-24, observe the argument of the Shechemites, they would 
yield to circumcision upon this supposition ' Shall not all their cattle, 
and all that they have be ours ? ' A brutish argument ; and yet this is 
very usual, especially in times of public changes. It is usual for men 
to follow a dying church for a legacy, as vultures for a carcase ; the 
change may be good, but their end is stark naught. It was a complaint 
made, Nonpietate everterunt idola, sed avaritid. There may be a great 
idol in their own hearts. Men may follow Christ ' for the loaves,' John 
vi. 26 ; they did not value his person, but they would live at ease, and 
be fed with miracle. Vix diligitur Jesus propter Jesum Seldom is 
Jesus valued for his own sake. Men seek temporal conveniences in 
the practice and profession of the gospel, ease, peace, wealth, credit, and 
so they appropriate Jesus Christ to secular uses. It was an inestim 
able mercy that God should send his Son, yet they look no further than 
the loaves. 

2. When a man cannot endure to be crossed for his religion. Carnal 
professors are ' enemies to Christ's cross,' Phil, iii. 18 ; their lamp 
will not burn, unless it be fed with the oil of praise and profit. A 
godly man is contented to be neglected and abased for Christ, and yet 
still is satisfied with his work : 2 Sam. ii. 22, ' I will be yet more vile.' 
Blessed be God, I can suffer this for his sake. A horse that hath a 
nail in his foot may travel well upon soft ground ; but in a hard and 
gravelly way there he halteth. So men as long as religion is accom 
panied with conveniency, then they may like it, but are ' enemies to 
the cross of Christ ; ' then hirelings will soon prove changelings : Job 
ii. 9, ' Dost thou yet retain thine integrity ? ' When men are delicate 
and tender, and cannot endure the cross, it is a sign they had other 
aims of credit and profit in their profession. 

3. By envying others in the same profession ; we should rejoice in 
their gifts and graces, and be glad that God may be honoured by 
others as well as ourselves ; but proud men would shine alone, they envy 
the gifts and graces of others ; this is a sure note of self-seeking. It 
is not grace they look after, but carnal advantage. This is the practice 


of the elder brother, which Christ taxeth in the 15th of Luke ; he that 
is truly gracious, desires that others may partake of the same grace, for he 
knows that God is thereby the more glorified. But when we are covetous 
of reputation, and design our own honour, then the fewer, the greater is 
our advantage. These men know that their stream will suffer some 
loss, when it is diffused into so many channels. It is notable, that of 
the apostle, Gal. v. 26, ' Let us not be desirous of vainglory, envying 
one another, provoking one another/ Self-seeking puts men upon 
passions and envy ; they are touchy, because they are jealous of their 
own interest ; and they are envious, because they think the common 
ness of gifts and graces detracteth from their esteem. 

Thirdly, To show you how necessary it is that you should practise, 
and that we should preach, this part of self-denial. How necessary it 
is appeareth enough already ; but yet further, it may be added that 
you should regard it. (1.) Partly, that you may not rob God of his 
essential honour. There is nothing that alienates a man from God so 
much as self-seeking. Devotion and service are preserved when we 
make God our paymaster ; but when men look to the world and the 
approbation of men, they do not care for God 'If any man love the 
world, the love of the Father is not in him,' 1 John ii. 16. Christ is 
troublesome to such, not welcome, because of the interest he hath in 
conscience. Brethren, it is no small matter I am speaking about; self- 
seeking abuseth God exceedingly. It is one of his prerogatives to be 
the utmost end of the creature's being and operation, and you usurp 
that which is proper to God ; when self hath a pre-eminence above him, 
God is kept out of the throne. Pharaoh only reserved this, to be 
greater in the throne than Joseph ; you may do much that is good, 
clothe the naked, feed the hungry, give your body to be burnt, but, all 
this while, self is greater than God in the throne. (2.) This is very 
necessary, that you may not rob him of his tribute from the creatures. 
God hath given us many things, only reserved this ' My glory will I 
not give to another.' He hath given us the profit, that we may give 
him the glory. God hath given us a lease of the comforts of the world, 
only this he hath reserved as his rent and acknowledgment that he 
will be glorified in all our actions and honoured in all our blessings. 
God hath made us, and hath a right and title to us. He that planted 
the tree, hath a right in the fruit. God that made us, certainly expects 
some fruit from us. God gave us talents to this purpose, or rather 
lends us ; we are but servants, to employ the talents to our master's use. 
A Christian hath given himself up to God a ' living sacrifice/ Horn. xii. 
1. You are not your own, God hath a right and title to you, therefore 
do not rob him of his glory ; a sacrifice under the law was no more his 
that offered it, but the Lord's. 

And as it is necessary you should practise it, so it is necessary we 
should press it again and again upon you. Self-seeking is a close evil, 
as well as a dangerous and heinous one. Two things I observe (1.) 
That the greatest self-seeking usually is carried on under the colour of 
self-denial, As the Gibeonites put on old shoes and old garments to 
make a league with Joshua ; so many pretend mortification and self- 
denial to endear themselves to others, for worldly profit and advantage, 
as those the apostle speaks of, in 2 Cor. xi., that to gain credit, entrance, 


and applause, would take no maintenance. All the carnal designs of 
men have been carried on under a pretence and veil of religion. Herod, 
under a pretence of worship, would have Christ to be destroyed, Mat. ii. 
8 ; and Jezabel proclaims a fast to destroy Naboth, 1 Kings xxi. 9 ; so 
Simeon and Levi pressed the Shechemites to be circumcised out of 
revenge. A crocodile weepeth, and then maketh a prey. Carnal ends 
are often shrouded under religious pretences. (2.) That we are more 
apt to accuse others out of envy than to reflect upon ourselves. Many 
think self-seeking is a sin only incident to them that are called to public 
employment, either in the church or common-wealth. We may 
warn others, but we cannot judge of them ; for self-seeking lies in the 
aim of the spirit, and is liable to the censure and judgment of God 
alone. When the action was fair, Job i. 9, it was Satan's accusation, 
* Doth Job serve God for nought ? ' You should not out of envy ac 
cuse others, but reflect on thy own heart. We may not have such 
opportunity as they to enrich ourselves, and that may put us upon 
envy ; but art not thou a self-seeker so far as thou canst reach within 
thy grasp ? Oh, the envy that is in our hearts, and the pride that'is in 
our prayers and conferences which we do not take notice of! Wouldst 
thou be thought well of in thy place, as Simon Magus, would be 
peyas, ' some great one ; ' thou mayest be guilty of simony, as they may 
be guilty of hypocrisy, bribery, and purloining from the public. 

Fourthly, It is a difficult and hard piece of self-denial. It is natural 
to us 'All men seek their own things,' Phil. ii. 21. All our mark, 
naturally, is at some aim of our own, at our own profit and credit. It 
is very hardly laid aside, for base and unworthy desires are very im 
portunate, and do recoil upon us after mortification, and after resolu 
tions to the contrary. We often find that we begin well ; we aim at 
the glory of God, it is our habituated aim, but thoughts of pride grow 
upon us, in the very middle of the action, or else after it is ended. It 
is an impudent sin, that will assault us again and again. 

Fifthly, Let me give you some remedies against this sin, by way of 
consideration and practice. 

1. By way of consideration. 

[1.] Self is a base and unworthy mark to be aimed at. He that 
shoots at a shrub, will never aim so high as he that shoots at a star. 
That service must needs be base that doth not intend Christ, and cen 
tre in him. All actions savour of their end. How low-spirited are 
they that seek themselves ! How soon they are apt to warp ! It doth 
but expose you to temptation. They that have an ill end will not 
scruple at an ill way. He that hath a right mark in his eye will 
hardly miscarry so much as he that takes a wrong mark. 

[2.] Consider the greatness of the sin in making other things our 
end besides God ; you use the name of God that you may enjoy the 
world ; you make him a minister of sin. You make religion a bait, 
and Christ a means to accomplish your carnal purposes. It is a ques 
tion who sins more, he that makes use of wrong means, or he that pro- 
poseth a wrong end. He that makes use of wrong means makes the 
devil serve God ; but he that hath a wrong end makes God serve the 
devil. You make the end serve the means ; nay, though it be but in a 
glance and in a thought, it is a degree of whoredom. God would 


have Israel to have the ' law written upon the fringes of their gar 
ments/ Num. xv. 39, that they might look upon it, and remember the 
commandments of the Lord, and * do them ; ' and that ye seek not after 
your own heart and your own eyes, after which you used to go ' a- 
whoring.' You know the glance of the eye outwardly, and a thought 
in the heart, it is whoredom * He that looks on a woman to lust after 
her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart/ Evil 
suggestions that draw us away from God, are whoredom ; you break 
the vows of loyal love and affection to Christ. As a man may be an 
adulterer in thought, so he may be a spiritual adulterer too : James iv. 
4, ' Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of 
the world is enmity with God ? ' The devil for one sin of thought, for 
aspiring after the dignity of God, was turned out of heaven. Now in 
your own thoughts you make your own praise your end. 

[3.] It is an ill sign. To know the end doth distinguish a man from 
a beast, and to choose the end doth distinguish man from man. Survey 
all the world, wherever the name of Christian is heard, you will find, 
here is the great difference between man and man, in what they make 
their utmost end and chiefest good , therefore when you make self your 
end, it is an ill character and sign. 

[4.] No man doth less enjoy himself than he that doth most seek him 
self. Self-seeking is always attended with self-losing, for we cannot expect 
wages from God and mammon too. And worldly rewards are very 
uncertain ; God is wont to disappoint carnal aims, and the event is not 
suitable to the intention. 

[5.] You shall have the greater judgment ; Mat. xxiii. 14, 'Woe un 
to you scribes and pharisees, hypocrites I for ye devour widows' houses, 
and for a pretence make long prayers, therefore ye shall receive the 
greater damnation/ The pharisees, that they might be counted great 
devotionaries, would make long prayers, that they might have the dis 
posing of orphans, and be trusted with widows' portions. All sin is 
out of measure sinful, yours especially ; your very pretence, when you 
would seem to be good, and are stark nought, it aggravates the sin be 
fore God. If we would be accounted good when we have an evil aim 
within ourselves, when we take up religion for an ill purpose, and for 
a cloak only, the sin is the greater, and so will the judgment be also. 

[6.] Consider the dishonour that comes to Christ by self-seeking. 
There are no greater enemies to the gospel than self-seeking Christians : 
Phil. iii. 18, 19, ' For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and 
now tell you, even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of 
Christ, whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly/ None 
greater enemies than they that make a god of their belly. What is 
the reason few or none are now converted, that ordinances are not so 
powerful as they were wont to be, but because many shroud themselves 
under the name of Christians, and yet mind nothing but their own pro 
fit and gain ? Testify against them we must, though with grief, that 
we may keep up the honour and repute of religion, that is mightily 
stained by them. It is an honour to God when we serve him out of 
pure love, not for pay and gain. But when men merely make a market 
of religion, Satan and his instruments make an advantage of this ; they 
will say they profess religion, only to get great places. God may have 


servants enough upon such terms : Job i. 9, ' Doth Job serve God for 
nought ? ' It is true, Job is diligent and zealous, but doth Job lose 
by his profession ? So carnal men will say, Is it for nought ? They 
hunt after great places and preferments in the world. It was an old 
complaint of the gentiles, Lo, say the heathens, those that talk of their 
being freed from the tyranny of the devil, that they are dead to the 
world and alive to Christ, yet we see them to be as base and self-seek 
ing as any. In vain do they talk of baptism and the Holy Ghost (by 
which they think they are ruled in all their actions) , and of the gospel, 
when their whole life is nothing else but a contradiction to the rules of 
the gospel. It is a mighty prejudice to religion, and a dishonour 
to God, when men shroud themselves under the name of Christian and 
zealous persons, and secretly aim at their private commodity and 

2. But to remedy this evil by way of practice, be more frequent in 
prayer and praise. Frequent in prayer, to be purged from all self- 
seeking and sinister respects . carnal affection will be importunate. 
Then for praises, cast the honour upon God himself. As when they 
would have given the apostles divine houour, they cried out, ' We are 
men of like passions with yourselves. Why gaze ye upon us ? ' so 
when we meet with applause in the world, and are apt to be puffed up, we 
should cast it back, and remember that God is to have this praise. As 
Joab sent for David that he might have honour in taking the royal city, 
so should you give God all the glory and praise. 

Having handled self-denial in reference to God, I shall now speak 
of it with respect to our neighbour. 

As there is a carnal self in opposition to God, so there is also a 
carnal self in opposition to the good of others, to the duty we owe to 
our neighbour. In a moral consideration there are three general beings, 
God, thy neighbour, and thyself. Now self is ravenous, and devoureth 
the respects due to both. It seeks to intercept and usurp the rights of 
the Godhead, and to divert and engross the respects that are due to our 
neighbour. Well then, I shall now speak of self-denial with reference 
to our neighbour, and the rather because it is established by God's law, 
and that in the next place to our respects of God: John iv. 21, ' And 
this commandment we have from him, that he which loveth God, should 
love his brother also.' The scripture speaketh very little of love to our 
selves, because of the strong bent of nature that way ; there is some 
what of allowance, but nothing of precept. Self-love is not commanded 
in scripture, but regulated. The commandment takes notice of our 
love to God, and then of our love to our neighbour. This grant we 
have, that we should love ourselves ; but this by commandment, to love 
our neighbour. 

1. Because love to our neighbour is a means to preserve our respects 
to God ; partly because he trieth us by this sensible way. God needeth 
nothing from us. He is elevated far above our bounty and kindness ; 
and therefore it is easy to pretend love to God, if God had not 
devolved his own right upon our brethren, and made them the proxies 
to receive those respects, that we cannot so well bestow upon God 
himself. God needs not our love, but his servants do. Therefore it 
is made the test of our love to God that we love our brother : 1 John 
iv. 20, ' If a man say I love God. and hateth his brother he is a liar ; ' 


so 1 John iii. 17, ' If a man loveth not his brother, how dwelleth the love 
of God in him ? ' We cannot love God aright, without loving our 
brother, and cannot love our brother aright if we love not God ; we 
must love our brother for God's sake. Therefore our pretensions are 
but mere lies when we pretend to be open to God, and our bowels are 
shut against our brethren, whom he hath made his proxies. And justly, 
because by sensible objects God would wean us from a devotion to our 
selves, that so we may be made more fit for respects to objects spiritual 
and invisible. We are naturally moved to respect things or beings that 
are visible to our senses, and communicate with us in nature and blood, 
for so far they are nearer to self, and therefore God required the more 
respects to man, that we might be prepared for respects to his essence, 
which is more remote. Thus God argueth : 1 John iv. 20, 'If he love 
not his brother, whom he hath seen, how can he love God, whom he 
hath not seen ? ' By the senses, we see man partake with us in the 
same communion, and similitude, and nature ; and if objects sensible 
do not work upon us, how shall we be moved to do anything for God, 
that is invisible, and more remote? If things that have a greater 
similitude with us, if visible things, of the truth of whose being we have 
certain proofs, do not work upon us, how will our respects be elevated 
to God, who differeth more from us, of whose being we are apt to doubt, 
because he is invisible ? If we have no natural love, how can we be 
supposed to have that which is supernatural ? So that we see God 
would make advantage of this natural love, and by our respects to 
man fit us to love himself. It is necessary then to state this kind of 
self-denial. Now that you may see how far we are to deny ourselves 
in reference to the good of others, let me lay down some propositions, 
and then close all with application. 

[1.] A man is bound with many engagements to love his neighbour. 

[2.] To love his neighbour as himself. 

[3.] In some cases, more than himself. 

(1.) A man is by many engagements bound to love his neighbour ; 
no man is born for himself. Nature teacheth it, and grace doth estab 
lish this dictate of nature. There is no one thing pressed in scripture so 
earnestly as the love of our neighbour : Gal. v. 14, ' For all the law is 
fulfilled in this one word, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.' 
How can the apostle say, ' All the law ? ' There are respects due to 
God that are established by the law, as well as to man. The meaning 
is, all the civil part of the law, the whole second table ; or else, all the 
law, as we obey God in loving man, for God's sake, so we turn the 
duties of the second table into duties of the first, and make commerce 
to be a kind of worship. Besides, this is Christ's solemn command : 
1 John xv. 17, ' These things I command, that you love one an 
other. This is the sum of Christ's charge to his disciples. By 
way of special charge, it is ranked with faith : 1 John iii. 28, 
'And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the 
name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us 
commandment.' Here is the great commandment, faith in God, 
and love of the brethren, the great charge of Christ, which he left 
at his death. It is a legacy as well as a precept. Speeches of dying- 
men are wont to be received with most veneration and reverence, but 
especially the charge of dying friends. It is notable, the brethren of 


Joseph, when they were afraid he would remember the injuries they had 
shown to his person, they sent messengers unto Joseph ; Gen. 1. 16, 
saying, ' Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye 
say unto Joseph, forgive the trespass,' &c. Oh, let us fulfil the will of 
dead. When Jesus Christ took his leave of his disciples, this was 
that he gave in charge, that we should have special respect to the good 
of one another. Therefore, when thou art wont to quarrel with, or to 
neglect others, say, What love do I bear to Christ, since I do forget the 
solemn charge the dying Jesus left to his disciples, John xiii. 34. 
Christ calls this his new commandment ' A new commandment give 
I unto you, that ye love one another.' How could he say so, since it 
was as old as the moral law, or the law of nature ? New, because it 
is excellent, as a new song among the Hebrews is an excellent song ; 
or rather, new, because solemnly and specially renewed by him, and 
commended to their care. New things and laws are much esteemed 
and prized ; so let this my new commandment, let it be highly in 
esteem and regard. Nay, let me add farther, one reason why Christ 
oame from heaven was to propound to us a pattern of charity ; as to 
repair and preserve the notions of the Godhead, that the glory of God 
might suffer no loss by the greatness of his sufferings, so to show us a 
pattern of charity. To elevate duty between man and man ; and 
therefore is his example so often urged in this case : John xiii. 34, 

* That ye love one another, as I have loved you ; ' and Eph, v. 2, 

* We ought to walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath 
given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet- 
smelling savour.' Christ would come from heaven to show us the 
highest pattern of self-denial. He would discover to us the love of 
his Father : John xv. 19, 'As the Father hath loved me, so have I 
loved you.' The Father loved him with an infinite love, yet parted 
with him for the salvation of mankind ; he parted with- his dear Son 
out of his own bosom to be unworthily treated in the world for our sakes. 
And Jesus Christ parted with himself and all, to raise our love to God 
and men ; therefore we ought to ' walk in love/ as Christ hath loved 

(2.) The ordinary measure of our respect to our neighbour is that 
love that we bear to ourselves : James ii. 8, * If ye fulfil the royal law, 
according to the scriptures, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye 
do well.' This is the royal law, the solemn standard of equity, and 
the measure of all respects between man and man, like the king's high 
way, and road of duty. Self and neighbour being equal in the balance, 
therefore they are to have the same respect. Now this rule, ' Thou 
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,' implies two things (1.) And 
principally, that I am to do them no more hurt than I would do to 
myself : Mat. vii. 12, ' Whatsoever you would others should to you, do 
you the same to them, for this is the law and the prophets/ that is, this 
is the sum of the whole word concerning moral duties. As I would not 
have them to injure me, so must not I injure them ; wish them no more 
hurt than to my own soul. I must hide their defects and infirmities, 
as I would hide and conceal my own. And in all contracts and acts 
of converse I am to put my soul in their soul's stead ; in short, to wish 
or do them no more evil, than by a regular act of self-love I would wish 

VOL. xv. T 


or do to myself. Then (2.) It implies that I am as really to promote 
their good as my own : 1 Cor. x. 24, ' Let no man seek his own things, 
but every man another's wealth ; ' not seek his own, so as to exclude 
another. It is not to be understood simply, apart and by itself, but 
in sensu conjuncto, for I am to seek my own things ; but let him not 
seek his own things, so as to neglect his care of another's welfare. We 
are to perform all offices of humanity suitably, and convenient to their 
necessities ; we are to wish them all spiritual graces and eternal bless 
ings, as we would to ourselves i Acts xxvi. 29. * Would to God all that 
hear me this day were altogether such as I am/ And we are not only 
to wish but to procure their good by all means possible, only this cau 
tion is to be observed, that our endeavours may be more for our own 
good than the good of others ; and yet I cannot be said to love myself 
more than others, because the expression notes only the reality of that 
affection that I should bear to them. I am to love them as myself. 
But in expressing the effects of this love, by industry > care, and bounty, 
there is a method, an order prescribed by God ; and so I am first to 
love my own body ; next, my near relations, the wife of my bosom and 
children , then neighbours, then strangers, then enemies : Eph. v. 28, 
1 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies/ It is made 
the rule of conjugal society, therefore there must be a subordination : 
first wife, then children, then kindred, then neighbours ; therefore the 
apostle saith, 1 Tim. v. 8, * But if any provide not for his own, and 
especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is 
worse than an infidel.' The Hebrews preferred the men of their own 
nation before the Grecians in their daily ministration. The effects of 
bounty and love are to be dispensed according to the urgency of neces 
sities. They that dwell about us, and are more frequent with us, their 
necessities provoke us more to acts and expressions of love towards 

(3.) In some cases a man is bound to love his neighbour more than 
himself. In the law it is, ' Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; ' 
hut in the gospel we have an higher pattern : John xiii. 34, ' As I 
have loved you, so ought you also to love one another/' Now the Lord 
Jesus hath loved us with an high love, he hath laid down his life for 
us. And it is no strain to apply this in some cases to love to our 
neighbours ; 1 John iii. 16 ? Hereby perceive we the love of God, because 
he laid down his life for us ; and we ought to lay down our lives for 
the brethren/ He shed his precious blood, which was more valuable 
than all the world, therefore we should not stick at anything, not life, 
which is our most precious possession. Life and all must go for our 
neighbour's sake. But you will say, In what cases ? First my single 
life, to save the whole community and society. It is a constant rule 
that all private things must give way to public; for God's glory is 
more promoted and concerned in a public good than in any private ; 
therefore a public good is better and more considerable in itself, than 
any particular happiness of ours. In the whole business of self-denial, 
the great question is, which shall take place, God's glory, or the creature's 
profit. Thus Jonah, to save the company, saith, * Cast me into the sea.' 
It was not only an act of patience and submission to the sentence of 
God when he was discovered and found out by lot ; but it was an act 


of charity, to save those that sailed with him. Men should be contented 
to be sacrificed for a real public good. The creatures, they will leave 
their private bent to preserve the universe. 

Case 2. We ought to help on one another's spiritual good with the 
loss of our temporals, and to venture person and estate for the propa 
gation of the gospel. Paul's glorious excess of charity is in some degree 
to be imitated, Kom. ix. 3, who could wish himself ' to be cursed from 
Christ for his brethren and kinsmen in the flesh ; ' and Moses, Exod. 
xxxii., ' To blot his name out of the book of life/ if God would spare 
his people. In some degree they are to be imitated ; with our loss we 
are to promote the spiritual good of others. We have an high instance 
in our Lord Jesus Christ : 2 Cor. viii. 9, ' For ye know the grace of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he 
became poor, that ye, through his poverty, might be rich.' When he 
was rich, rich in the glory of the Godhead, yet he would come in the 
form of a servant. But alas I who becomes poor for Christ now ? 
Who is willing to go back any degree of his own pomp and pleasure, 
that he may advance the public good, and promote the glory of Christ ? 
Public spiritual good is far more valuable than any temporal good. 

3. It is a necessary act of our love to God, we may expose ourselves 
to uncertain dangers, to hinder another's certain danger. If a man 
were assaulted by thieves and ruffians, to prevent murder, I am bound 
to endanger my own life. If I may possibly contribute help, by the 
laws of God I am to help the wronged party, though it be to my own 
hazard. Thus Esther. ' If I perish, I perish,' when she went into the 
king. There was a double ground of that resolution ; one was, she 
preferred the public good before her own private life ; the other ground 
was because the cause was only hazardous, though likely. Now this 
case is the more binding, if it be the life of a public person, of a 
minister or magistrate. A subject is bound to preserve the life of a 
magistrate more than his own. The hand will put up itself to save 
the head ; so ministers, as Kom. xvi. 4, For my sake they laid down 
their own necks/ He speaks of Aquila and Priscilla, they exposed 
themselves to danger of death to save Paul in some tumult ; and there 
fore, saith he, I do not only give them thanks, but all the churches of 
Christ. Nay, if it be but the life of a private friend that is in danger, 
I am bound to expose myself to some hazard for his sake : John xv. 
13, * Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life 
for his friends.' Christ speaks of it as an act of love and friendship. 
For though simply my life and his be of a like value, and mine may 
be more dear to myself than his, yet my duty to him and his life, 
must oversway, especially if the case be but hazardous, as to rescue 
him from an assassin. 

I shall conclude all with a word of use, which is to condemn two 
sorts of persons, self-lovers and self-seekers. 

First, Self-lovers. There are several sorts of them. 

1. When men seek their own contentment above the public benefit. 
They care not how it goes with the public, so their private interest 
flourish. The sin is more aggravated, if it be in times of public hazard, 
if men be neglectful. Among the Eomans, men would leave their shops 
and trade, and venture all for the common good. But when in dangerous 


cases men are diverted from public service by a zeal to private interest, 
this is a foolish course ; like to those that would look to their own cabins, 
when the vessel itself is in danger. Judges v. 16, those that were want 
ing to public duty, were blasted with infamy and shame. ' Gad, Dan, 
and Ashur, that had their country near the sea ; and felt not the yoke ; ' 
and Reuben, that lived on the other side Jordan, stayed at home 
unworthily, to tend their cattle and flocks, and were more affected with 
the bleating of the sheep, than with the groans and complaints of their 
brethren, under the oppression of Jabin.. Those that ' did not come 
out for the help of God, they are cursed,' ver. 23. So they are counted of 
a base and degenerate spirit, who are mentioned : 1 Chron. iv. 22, 23, 
'They dwelt among plants and hedges ; there they dwelt with the 
king for his work ; ' these were ancient things. Some that came of a 
noble extraction, yet because they remained in Babylon, and would not 
venture with the people of God, and go up and build the temple, they 
are marked out as men unworthy of their extraction. 

2. When men in the course of their lives do only mind their own 
things, and are wholly taken up in fulfilling their own wills and desires. 
This is the temper of most men, they are of a narrow private heart, and 
do not seek the welfare of others. It is both against nature and grace. 
Against nature : no man is born for himself, his country hath a share 
in him ; his friends, and the persons with whom he lives, have a share ; 
for by nature man was made to be helpful to others. Man by nature 
is a sociable creature, made for commerce. If man could live of him 
self, he might live to himself. Now human society is built upon com 
munion and commerce. The eye cannot say to the foot, I have no 
need of thee ; and we cannot say of the meanest person, We have no 
need of thee. It is the wisdom of providence to cast the frame of the 
world into mountains and valleys, to make some poor and some rich. 
The poor are as necessary for manual labour, for corporal and hard 
services, as are the rich ; therefore it is against nature when men wholly 
live to themselves. So it is also against grace, which casts us into one 
mystical body. And the apostle, Rom. xii. 5, hath a notable expres 
sion, ' So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one 
members one of another.' There is a great self we are to regard, and 
that is the societies to which we do belong and we are members of ; 
and the welfare of this great body must we seek and promote. As in 
a clock, one wheel moveth another, each part gives and receives help, 
and one from the other ; so should every one be serviceable, and put 
his heart, hand, and head to the common good, and be sensible of the 
common evil As in the natural body there is no disaster happens to 
any one member, but all the rest are affected therewith. The tongue 
cries out when we tread upon the toe, You have hurt me ; or if the 
foot be pricked with a thorn, the rest of the members will testify their 
compassion. The tongue complaineth, the eyes shed tears, the head 
studieth to recover it, and find out the grievance, and the hands will 
assist. There are three ways wherein we are to be specially serviceable 
one to another : by prayers, by counsel, and by outward actions of 
relief. (1.) We are to mind in our prayers the good of one another, and 
labour for it with God, as we would seek his face for our ^ own souls. 
This is a cheap act of charity, it costs us nothing but a little breath 


and expense of spirit, and it is an advantage to us, as well as benefit 
to them, that we have an occasion to go to God. David, you know, 
fasted for his enemies, Ps. xxv, and Abraham prayed for Sodom ; but 
alas ! few are nowadays touched with the miseries of others. If we 
be free from trouble, we care not what others suffer. Now the apostle 
saith, Heb. xiii. 3,. ' Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with 
them ; and them which suffer adversities, as being yourselves also in 
the body.' We tbat are at liberty, must not forget them that are in 
bonds, but esteem them as our own, till God set them free. Canst thou 
be a member, and not be affected ? The children of God, when they 
have been in a flourishing condition themselves, have always laid to 
heart the miseries of others of God's children that have been in a suf 
fering condition. Nehemiah was a favourite at court, the king's cup 
bearer, yet he is sensible of the affliction of his country, chap. i. And 
Daniel, a great prince in Babylon, yet how affectionately doth he plead 
with God for Sion : we are to implead their case with God, though 
we are never so well. (2.) Another way is by counsel. Thou art 
not to suffer sin upon thy brother, no more than upon thy own soul, 
for every man is made his brother's guardian and keeper : Heb. iii. 13, 
'Exhort one another daily while it is called to-day, lest you be 
hardened through the deceitfulness of sin/ Take heed not only 
lest you yourselves, but lest any of your body and society be hardened 
through the deceitfulness of sin. It is true, we have charge and trust 
enough of ourselves, but yet God hath laid this duty upon us too, 
therefore we should be much in spiritual counsel, though we spend 
ourselves, and be spent ; it is a great part of self-denial, that is required 
of us. John iv., Jesus Christ was weary, yet he treats with the woman 
of Samaria about conversion. (3.) This love is to be manifested by 
sensible acts of charity and relief. You had need be much in 
this, for Christ takes notice of it as done to himself. If Christ lay 
languishing upon his bed, we all pretend we would go and visit him. 
' What you do to these little ones, you do to me/ saith Christ He 
tries the young man by that, Mark x. 31, ' Go, sell all that thou hast, 
and give to the poor.' It is the doctrine of self-denial to the young 
man, as if self-denial and giving to the poor were terms equivalent. I 
press it the rather because men love a cheap religion, pretend to pray 
for others, but yet stick at those costly acts of charity ; can give good 
words and counsel, but will not relieve and clothe; but we cannot 
satisfy God with mere words, as you cannot pay debts with the noise 
of money ; there must be some real bounty, by which you should ap 
prove your heart to God. It is the main thing Christ taketh notice of 
in the day of judgment. 

3. When in acts of charity to others men only regard their own re 
lations and friends. This is but a natural love, because relations and 
friends, they are but self-multiplied, and dilated, and * If you only love 
them that love you, what reward have you ? ' Mat. v. 46. Who will 
give you thanks for this ; for the mere motion of nature. But it is 
according to the pattern, when you can ' love enemies/ and love those 
that wrong you. Christ loved us when we were his enemies, and 
children of wrath ; and when we had offended God, he loved us, and 
gave his soul as a propitiation for our sins. Therefore you are not 


only to love your own relations and allies, but enemies may come in as 
your neighbour, Luke x. 29. It is a high prerogative to be a forgiven 
Therefore let us not lose this crown of honour. Let us try which will 
be most weary, they in offending, or we in pardoning. 
Secondly, It reproves self-seekers. And here 

1. They are guilty that seek their private benefit, though it be with 
the public loss : that make a prey and merchandise of the calamity of 
the times ; that trouble the water, that they may fish in it ; that 
feather their own nests with public spoils ; set an house on fire to roast 
theit eggs : set on foot innovations to promote themselves. Men had 
need look to themselves in such cases. We read, Nehem. v. 14, though 
by the allowance of the king of Persia, Nehemiah had a standing course 
of diet allowed for him and his friends, yet, saith he, * I took not the 
bread of the governor.' We should not carve out such large portions 
to ourselves, in times of distress and calamity. We see Joseph had a 
great trust in Egypt, yet he had made no provision for himself. There 
fore it is the glory of a man in a public place rather to depart from 
his own right, than to make a merchandise of the times, and a prey of 
his brethren. 

2. When men make merchandises of their private courtesies, and 
aim only at their own praise ; when men eye self in all they do, and 
have an aim only to advance themselves in the esteem of others, in all 
the public good they do, these are self-seekers indeed. The heathen 
poet could say, that is no alms, which we use as a way of trade and 
exchange, that it will bring no profit to you at all. Still we must look 
to the pattern, Jesus Christ \ when he loved us, ' He pleased not him 
self/ Born. xv. 3. Therefore there should be nothing of self and 
.private reflection upon our own interest or our own charity. 

3. Persons envious, those that would have a monopoly of gifts to set 
of themselves, and envy the gifts and graces of others. Whereas God 
would have us rejoice in each other's grace and labours. What is theirs 
by labour, is ours by love, by virtue of the mystical body ; whatever 
members do, the glory and good rebounds to all. We being in the body, 
we should not envy them, as the foot doth not envy the eye, because it 
is seated in a higher place. Envious persons are not members of the 
body, but wens, that grow monstrous by sucking, they seek to draw 
all to themselves, therefore cannot rejoice in the good of others. 







But thou hast not called upon me, Jacob ; but thou hast been iveary 
of me, Israel ISA. xliii. 22. 

IN the front of the text there is an exceptive particle which referreth 
to the context But. Now, if you consider the context before or after 
it, it containeth promises of mercy, of God's forming them into a state 
and people ; of forgiving their iniquities for his name's sake, &c. 
'But' God promiseth mercy, though they had deserved judgment. 
The Lord was resolved for once, to make use of his prerogative, and 
to save them out of the mere and free motion of his own grace. Thus 
doth God sometimes work out of order and course, and show mercy 
when the state of a people is most sinful. He promiseth to restore 
Israel when they had neglected him, and were ready to cast him off. 
Such instances we have in like cases, 1 Cor. xi. 25. In the very night 
in which Christ was betrayed, he instituted the Lord's Supper ; he 
was consigning to the Church the food of life, when the world was 
designing and plotting against him a cruel death. So God was giving 
the law in the mount, while the people were worshipping the calf in 
the valley. Whilst Paul was persecuting the church, Christ appeareth 
from heaven to convert him, and make him an apostle, Acts ix. Free 
grace doth often step out of the way and beaten road to meet sinners 
in their wanderings. So here, God promiseth them great mercies ; 
yet he chargeth them with their sin and shameful neglect of him : ' But 
thou hast not called upon me, Jacob ; but thou hast been weary of 
me, Israel.' 

For the verse, there are two distinct charges 

1. A neglect of prayer. 

2. Growing weary of God. 

I shall now insist upon the former, though not excluding the latter 
also. The point is this 

Doct. People are at a dangerous pass when they begin to neglect 

Eliphaz layeth it as an heavy charge upon Job, chap. xv. 4t, ' Surely 
thou restrainest prayer before God.' When conscience is clamorous, 
wants pressing, and yet men cannot find the heart to go to God, it is 
a sad case. Kestraint noteth the keeping in of a thing that would 
fain break out. So the heathen are described to be the families that 
all not upon his name, Jer. x. 25 ; that is, that do not acknowledge 
and worship him. So Ps. xiv. 4, ' The workers of iniquity/ of what 


religion soever they profess themselves to loe, ' they call not upon the 
Lord.' The evil of this will appear if we consider 

1. The ends why this duty was appointed. 

2. The causes why this is neglected. 

First, Why the duty was appointed. God's command is reason 
enough for the practice of any duty. There needeth no other argu 
ment to a gracious heart than this is the will of the Lord concerning 
you ; but all God's institutions are full of reason, and in a condescen 
sion to us ; he requireth nothing by way of mere task. The duties 
of religion are not a task, but a means to do us good ; so is this among 
the rest. 

1. It is a notable part of God's worship, or a serious calling to mind 
his presence and attributes, It is a sin, not only to deny God, but to 
forget him, Ps. ix. 17. Now we are apt to forget God, who is an 
invisible being, though we have all things from him, and he be 
necessary to us continually. Therefore in prayer we present ourselves 
before him that we may solemnly remember God, and inure ourselves 
to a reverence of his majesty. Therefore they that neglect prayer are 
said to forget God : Jer. ii. 31, 32, ' We are lords, we will come no 
more unto thee. Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her 
attire ? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number/ 
They carry themselves as if they had no need of God's support ; they 
do not regard him, nor preserve any reverence of him in their minds. 
To withdraw from prayer is to withdraw from God ; and to be 
unwilling to pray is to be unwilling to draw nigh to God, or to have 
any serious thoughts of his being and attributes. 

2. It is a profession of our dependence. We do not enjoy our 
mercies by chance, or by good fortune (as we speak), but by the 
indulgence and gift of God. Now, that we may not be ignorant of the 
nature of our tenure, God will have us pray, that we may acknowledge 
his right and grant in all that we possess and enjoy. Thus, Mat. vi., 
God biddeth us ask ' our daily bread ; ' the bread you eat is not your 
own, but God's. You entrench upon his prerogative when you use it 
without his leave ; as when we take anything that is our neighbour's, 
without asking his leave, we are thieves and robbers. To use the 
creatures without prayer is robbery ; and without praise, is sacrilege : 
therefore it is said, 1 Tim. iv. 5, ' That every creature is sanctified by 
the word and prayer.' In the word we know our liberty ; in prayer 
we ask God's leave and blessing ; therein we acknowledge the donor 
of all we have and hope for : Ps. Ixii. 8, ' Trust in the Lord at all 
times, pour out your heart before him/ If we depend upon God, we 
must pray to him, and seek for a relief in all our troubles. Those that 
depend upon his relief will earnestly beg it of him, and apply them 
selves to him by prayer. 

3. It is a duty wherein the mysteries of our most holy faith are 
reduced to practice. There are two great mysteries in the Christian 
religion the doctrine of the trinity, and the mediation of the Son of 
God. We have the comfort of both in prayer ; and we never practi 
cally and experimentally discern the benefit of it so much as there. 
(1.) The mystery of the trinity. It seemeth a profound speculation, 
till we find the use of it in our addresses to God: Eph. ii. 18, 


'Through him we have access by one Spirit unto the Father/ The 
mystery is unriddled when a poor soul cometh to God through Christ 
by the Spirit. When a needy and guilty soul would have any gift 
and benefit from God, he is discouraged till he reflect upon the merit 
and mediation of Jesus Christ, and put his cause into his hands ; and 
yet he knoweth not whether Christ will tender his suit, or regard it 
yea or no, until he be encouraged by the Spirit. The whole process 
of soul affairs, or the workings of a needy guilty soul towards God, 
may be put into this short issue : God, as a lawgiver and judge, which ' 
is our first apprehension of him, by the spirit of bondage driveth us 
to Christ as mediator ; Christ, as mediator, by the spirit of adoption 
bringeth us back again to God as a father, or one that is able and 
willing to show mercy. When we first think of God, his terror and 
majesty oppress our hearts with fears ; but we must have grace, or 
we are undone for ever ; but there is no grace, no salvation, in any 
other but Jesus Christ, who hath procured us welcome and audience. 
He giveth us leave to come to God, having opened the door by his 
merit and intercession ; and the spirit and heart to come. (2.) The 
mediation of Jesus Christ. He died to bring us to God, 1 Peter iii. 
18 ; and our great duty is coming to God by him, Heb. vii. 25. But 
where do we so sensibly find this as in the duty of prayer, wherein 
we have experience how Christ bringeth us to God ? He doth, in 
effect, there take us by the hand, and lead us to God, and hideth our 
sins, and procureth our acceptance, and presenteth us amiable to his 
Father, having justified and sanctified us, and cleansed us from those 
pollutions which rendered us loathsome and abominable in his sight. 
Do you know, Christians, what you neglect, when you neglect prayer, 
one of the most concerning acts of your religion ? If you omit it 
wholly, you do not deserve the name of Christians ; if you perform it 
rarely and unfrequently, you are not serious Christians ; or if you put 
off God with a few frozen and heartless words, you are not lively 

4. One special end of prayer is to nourish communion and familiarity 
between God and us ; for it is the converse of a loving soul with God, 
between whom there is a mutual complacency. God delighteth in us, 
and we delight in God ; it is the nearest familiarity that man in flesh 
can have with God, and therefore called ' an acquainting ourselves with 
God: ' Job xxii. 21, * Acquaint thyself with God, and good shall come 
unto thee.' Acquaintance among men groweth by frequent commerce 
and intercourse, when they often meet and speak one to another ; so 
by this holy commerce with God we grow acquainted with him. So a 
visit of God : Isa. xxvi. 16, ' In trouble have they visited thee.' In 
prayer we give God a visit. Well then, when you neglect prayer, you 
neglect to give God a visit, or to preserve an acquaintance between him 
and you ; and it is as if a man were weary of the presence of his dear 
est friend. Should we stand off from this work, or go to it as a bear 
to the stake, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, or an ox to 
the yoke ? Now this familiarity is the more to be prized, because it is 
said, that c thereby good shall come unto us ; ' and that upon a double 
account. (1.) Partly, as it giveth boldness in our present distresses. 
When God and you are grown strange, you cannot come with that 


freedom and sweetness ; as to a familiar friend we are wont to pour 
out our complaints into his bosom upon all occasions. Men are soon 
weary of their friends out of satiety or penury, their stock is soon spent, 
they waste by giving : Prov. xxv. 17, ' Withdraw thy foot from thy 
neighbour's house, lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.' But it 
is not so with our heavenly friend, the oftener we come to him, the 
welcomer. He bids us pray continually, 1 Thes. v. 17. Now though 
mere love should put us upon this commerce with God, yet (2.) 
There is another advantage which accrueth to us. A man that hath 
been frequently entertained by God, and accepted with him, and had 
his prayers heard and granted, hath a great encouragement in the hour 
of death to go to him for help. It is a dreadful thing for a man to go 
out of the world who hath had no comfortable knowledge of God, no 
skill to pray to him, no encouragement to expect acceptance from him ; 
to appear before a God whom they never heartily loved, nor ever were 
acquainted with as to any intimate communion. I leave it to consider 
what the condition of a man is who, in the greatest distress, must have 
recourse to an unknown friend, to whose favour he can pretend no merit 
and title ; or of whose kindness he hath never had experience ; yea, into 
whose presence he is forced against his will. Alas, how soon will the 
time come upon us, when those that despise prayer will betake them 
selves to it when it is too late ; that will cry, Lord, Lord, when anguish 
and terror seize upon them ; when prayer that should be the fruit of 
faith, love, and hope, shall be only the product of despair and horror ! 
When we shall challenge acquaintance with Christ ; but he shall say, 
' I know ye not, ye are workers of iniquity.' 

5. Prayer is required to preserve in us a sense of our duty, and to 
keep the heart in better frame. They had need be careful who come 
often into God's presence : I Peter i. 17, ' If ye call on the Father, who 
without respect of persons judgeth every one according to his works, 
pass the time of your sojourning in godly fear ; ' and Lev. x. 3, c I will be 
sanctified in all that draw nigh unto me/ So 2 Tim. ii. 22, ' Whosoever 
nameth the name of Christ, let him depart from iniquity.' We that 
so often draw nigh to God should be afraid to offend him ; as men are 
afraid to offend those upon whom they depend, and into whose presence 
they must often come ; or, as those who minister in the presence of 
princes must be seemly clad, and always appear in neat and comely 
apparel. Communion between God and us is interrupted by wilful sin 
1 Peter iii. 7, ' That your prayers be not hindered.' A Christian is 
still to take heed that his access to God be not spoiled ; either broken 
off, or carried on carelessly and formally. God will stand at a distance 
from us, or the heart will stand at a distance from God ; God is pro 
voked to withdraw by our disorderly walking ; or else the heart will 
grow shy of God as Adam hid himself when he had sinned. If we 
give way to pride, and passion, and lust, and worldly-mindedness, how 
shall we pray at night, and look God in the face with any confidence ? 
1 John iii. 21. How wilt thou keep his favour, when thou hast grieved 
his Spirit ? who would distemper himself with drink that is to plead his 
cause in a case of life and death ? By constant prayer God layeth an 
obligation upon us to be strict, and holy. 

6. To engage our affections to heavenly things. We wrestle with 


God to catch an heat ourselves. God needeth not importunity ; our 
heavenly Father knoweth what we have need of ; he is not moved with 
the charms of rhetoric, why then doth God require striving and arguing 
in prayer ? Partly to increase our faith. Every argument which we 
use in prayer is a new ground of hope drawn forth in the view of con 
science. Partly to engage our desires and affections. The more 
earnestly we beg anything of God, the more zealously we are engaged 
to seek after it ; for God will warn us of our duty hy our own requests. 
We present our desires before God, and plead them with him. Now 
these desires are either pretended or real. If pretended, then our 
prayer is no prayer, but a mockery, and formal and customary devo 
tion ; and God will not be mocked, it will cost us dear to personate and 
act a part in his presence, and to complain of burdens that we feel not, 
or express desires which we have not. If real, then they are actuated 
and animated by the apprehensions of his observing presence ; so that 
in speaking to God, we speak to ourselves ; our prayers are so many 
exhortations to the fear and love of God, and the forsaking of sin, and 
to seek the glory of God, and the peace and welfare of the church, or 
whatever the request be, Nay. not only an exhortation, but a kind of 
engagement, an implicit vow ; we bind ourselves to our duty by our 
requests. When we desire that his name may be hallowed, or his will 
be done, we are bound to do what in us lieth to glorify his name, to 
promote his kingdom, to subject ourselves to his will, honestly to seek 
our daily bread in our vocation and calling, and to take the appointed 
course to obtain the pardon of our sins, and strength against tempta 
tions. It is not only a sermon preached to ourselves in God's hearing, 
but a solemn vow and engagement to use all the appointed means 
whereby we may obtain these blessings ; and if we falter we are the 
more criminal, because we neglect, or turn away from that which we 
profess to be our desire and happiness. 

7. To be a means of comfort and spiritual refreshing. The soul is 
disburdened of trouble by this kind of vent and utterance. To pour 
out our complaints into a friend's bosom, who will only pity us, though 
we do not expect succour and redress from him, will give us some ease ; 
much more to open our hearts to one who is able and willing to help 
us : Job xvi. 20, ' My friends scorn me, but mine eye poureth out tears 
to God/ To bring our complaint and request before the throne of 
grace, must needs yield comfort and solace to the soul. Certainly none 
ever made conscience of prayer but he carried away some comfort with 
him. There is a pacifying virtue in this duty, as the opening of a 
vein cooleth the blood. Many of David's psalms begin with anguish 
and bitter complaints, and end with assurance and rejoicing ; as if in 
the midst of prayer his affairs were altered, and one had brought him 
news, and all things went according to his own heart and mind. The 
very conferring with God bringeth some refreshment, your burden is 
east off, and devolved upon the Lord: 1 Peter v. 7, 'Cast your care 
upon God,' saith the apostle, ' for he careth for you.' How do^we cast 
our care upon God ? Another place will inform you : Phil. iv. 6, 7, 
1 Be careful for nothing ; but in everything by prayer and supplication, 
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.' &c. It 
is no more dishonour for God to bear our cares than it was for Christ 


to bear our sins ; and what is the effect ? ' The peace of God, which 
passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through 
Christ/ &c. Look, as when the air is imprisoned in the earth, there 
are shakings, and convulsions, and earthquakes, till it get a vent, but 
then all is quiet ; so the soul is tossed and turmoiled with many tor 
menting thoughts, till we acquaint God with the matter, then all is 
quiet. When Hannah had commended her suit to God she went away, 
and her countenance was no more sad, 1 Sam. i. 8. How often do the 
children of God come away with triumph from the throne of grace, and 
leave their sorrows and their fears behind them ! Well, then, thou that 
neglectest prayer, neglectest the comfortablest and sweetest part of 
God's worship, a duty that is not burdensome, but pleasant, and con- 
duceth to the comfort, and quiet, and ease of the soul, as well as to 
God's honour ; a duty wherein you have liberty to beg the greatest 
mercies, to deprecate his most grievous judgment, to treat with him 
about the most important business in the world, which is the saving of 
your own souls. Surely it is no tedious task for a needy soul to beg 
of God, who is so ready to relieve him, and show him grace and 

Secondly, The causes why men neglect it. 

1. Out of atheism, that is at the root. When men neglect prayer, 
either they believe there is no God, or no providence ; for did we be 
lieve that there was a God who made all things, and doth sustain 
all things, and that we do depend upon his goodness for all that we 
are and have, we would be more frequent in prayer ; for necessity 
compelleth us to worship him whom we take to be God ; and to im 
plore his help who giveth all manner of blessings, and ordereth all 
things which fall out in the world. The pagan mariners in a storm 
called every man upon his God : Jonah i. 6. Jure venit cultus ad sibi 
quisque deos. The gentiles that acknowledge a God, have also 
acknowledged a necessity of prayer and supplication to him. Plato 
and^Proclus have written books irepl Trpoa-evyfis, concerning prayer, and 
have given directions how to pray, though they were heathens. Cer 
tainly whatever profession men make, they are not better than atheists, 
who do not make conscience of prayer, public in assemblies, private in 
families, personal and secret in closets. When the eyes of all things 
look to him for a supply of their wants, should not we own him and 
acknowledge him ? Eliphaz chargeth Job deeply : Job xv. 4, ' Thou 
castest off fear, thou restrainest prayer before God/ As if the restraint 
of prayer did argue a casting away of all reverence and fear of God. 
Many content themselves with public worship, are never with God in 
private. Have they any sense of providence, any fear and respect of 
God ? David maketh the not calling upon God to be the special 
character of an atheist : Ps. xiv. 1, 'The fool hath said in his heart, 
There is no God.' How doth he prove it ? ver. 4, ' They call not upon 
the Lord/ they do not seek after him. This sign is sure, and will not 
fail. Thou hast need to suspect thyself when thou neglectest to pray 
in thy family, in thy closet ; thou dost not think God is there. 

2. Security. The creature's address to God beginneth in a sense of 
his own wants ; for surely they that are deeply affected with their own 
wants, and persuaded of God's readiness to supply them, will pray ; 


but men slight God when they do not need him : Jer. ii. 31, ' We are 
lords, and will not come at thee.' In sickness or extreme danger, 
hypocrites will pray : Job xxvii. 10, ' Will he delight himself in the 
Almighty ? will he always call upon God ? ' The sincere cannot be 
long away from God ; for they delight in his company; and they look 
not to things seen, but to God's invisible conduct, upon which all 
their happiness dependeth ; and are sensible of their own weakness 
and frailty, and therefore their commerce with God is constant. They 
need daily pardon, daily grace, as well as daily bread. But hypo 
crites never care for prayer, till extreme necessity put them upon it. 
At other times they are secure and careless. Their duties are forced 
from them, like water out of a still, not like water out of a fountain : 
Isa. xx vi. 16, 'In trouble they will visit thee, they will pour out a 
prayer when distress is upon them.' In their straits, then they howl ; 
when God visits them, then they visit God. A drop of prayer is much 
at other times ; then they pour it out by buckets : as where water is 
precious, they spare it not to quench a fire: Hosea v. 16, 'In their 
afflictions they will seek me early ; ' at other times they turn back 
upon the mercy-seat. Carnal men use their duties, as we do strong 
waters, not for' a constant drink or diet, but to help in a pang, after 
long neglects, or upon some great trouble. But a gracious heart is 
sensible of its constant necessity ; and they that are carried on with 
a constant delight in God, do not run to him, as men do to a tree in a 
storm, which otherwise they would pass by and take no notice of. 
Surely those that have felt the weight, and smart, and sting of sin, 
will cry for mercy and healing. They know that the soul is a tender 
thing, like the eye, soon offended and out of order ; they know it is 
more exposed to danger than the body, though generally it be less 
cared for. Though man's body be never so strong, and of such an 
athletic constitution, yet no man will follow his labour so as to omit 
to take his necessary food, or necessary rest, that he may keep it in 
good plight. So whatever good estate the soul is in, we must not 
omit to pray, to keep the soul in good plight. 

3. Out of coldness in religion, and weariness of God, as in the 
latter clause ; and then his service groweth burdensome. Man is an 
unstable creature, and loveth shift and change ; for a while zealous, 
but when his first heats are spent, falleth off ; and religion is laid by ; 
closet duties are thrown out of doors, family duties go next after, and 
then public duties are little regarded, or used only for custom and 
fashion's sake. They lose their first love, and then leave off their first 
works, Eev. iii. 3, 4. It is base ingratitude, since God gives us so 
little cause for it : Jer. ii. 5, ' What iniquity did you find in me ? ' 
What hurt did the worship of God do you and your families ? So 
Micah vi. 3. But men are of another spirit, and so God is neglected. 
Certain it is, carnal pleasures will make men weary of prayer, or 
prayer will make men weary of carnal pleasures. They take the worse 

4. Want of peace breeds loathness and backwardness, as David hung 
off, Ps. xxxii. 3, till he had recovered his peace. Men have no comfort 
in God when they come to him as an angry judge rather than a gra 
cious father, 1 John iii. 27. Every duty is a new arraignment, a very 


penance, and a reviving of their fears. Certainly you should have more 
comfortable thoughts of God. Get a conscience better established ; 
improve the death and intercession of Christ more, that you may come 
with boldness, Helx iv. 16, and x. 19. 

5, Want of spiritual strength. He that hath lame joints cannot de 
light in exercise, which is a pleasure to them that are strong and 
healthy. Prayer groweth a burden to men of weak and wandering 
thoughts, lean and barren understandings, and dead affections. You 
should get the distemper removed, but not neglect the duty. God hath 
provided help for prayer, and fitness cometh by use. You should 
rouse up yourselves : Isa. Ixiv. 7, ' There is none that calleth upon thy 
name that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee/ If you will not 
stir up yourselves, this dulness, deadness, and barrenness will increase 
upon you. 

Use. Oh I then, let us begin to bethink ourselves. It is a dangerous 
case when men begin to slacken in prayer, and this daily commerce 
with God, when there is less frequency and less complacency in this 
work. Time was when thou couldst not be content until thou hadst 
given God a visit, and must consult with him upon all occasions ; but 
now thou beginnest to lose thy tenderness, thou art a stranger to thy 
self, and therefore grown a stranger to thy God, as if thou hadst no 
business with him. Thou wert wont to keep a continual correspond 
ence with the God of heaven, and to maintain a sweet intercourse be 
tween him and thy soul. How came these fervours to be spent ? ' Ye 
ran well, who hindered you ? ' Have you found any discouragement 
in God that your delight in him is lessened, and your care of duty 
lost ? Many do it out of carnal affection their affections leak out to 
the world ; others out of rotten, corrupt; and base principles. As for 

1. Some think they need not pray, they cannot alter God. So Maximus 
Tyrius, the Platonist> reasoned. God hath set the course of his counsels, 
importunity will not prevail with him to alter them. I answer Though 
we can make no change and alteration in God, yet it bettereth our hearts 
and increase th our trust. Rev, xxii., : I come. Even so, come, Lord Jesus, 
come quickly/ Elias knew God would give rain, then setteth himself 
a praying.. We pray not that God's will may be altered, but accom 
plished in his own way, God will have it brought about by this means 
that he may do a people good upon his own terms, in the way of 
entreaty and supplication ; Jer. xxix, 11. 12, 'I know the thoughts 
which I think towards you, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give 
you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and go and pray 
to me, and I will hearken/ So Ezek. xxxvi. 37, ' I will yet for this be 
inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them/ So when Daniel 
understood by books Dan. ix. 3, ' I set my face unto the Lord God by 
prayer and supplication,' Daniel goeth to work in good earnest. 

2. Others think they are above prayer ; look upon it as an inferior 
duty for men of their standing and growth. I answer Surely on this 
side eternity we must be always praying. God's children are called his 
' supplicants,' Zepk v. 10 ; ' the generation of them that seek him/ 
Ps. xxiv. 2. Here are necessities of the church, yea, and personal 
necessities of our own, to put us upon it. Jesus Christ himself was 


frequent in the practice of it, and chose places of solitude and retire 
ment, spent whole nights in prayer, see Mat. xiv. 23, 24. When the 
disciples go to sea, Christ goeth unto the mountain to pray. If he that 
had the fulness of grace prayed to the Father with such fervour, should 
we think ourselves above prayer that are poor indigent creatures, and 
have nothing but what we receive by begging ? 

3. Some will not pray but when the Spirit moveth them, not in a 
constant stated course. I answer This is as if we should never come 
to God but when he doth expressly send for us. But the suspension of 
the Spirit's influence is often a punishment of our neglect in this kind. 
He withholdeth grace because we do not seek it in his own way. We 
are to stir up the grace received, 1 Tim. i. 6 ; indisposition doth not 
excuse us. Though I find nothing but deadness in my heart, yet I 
am to pray, because my weakness and impotency doth not dissolve my 
obligation to duty. And God hath promised to be with us when we 
are up and doing. The influence of grace is not the rule of duty, but 
the help. God's command is the reason and rule of duty. ' Howbeit 
at his command/ &c., Luke v. 5. Whether disposed or indisposed, we 
are bound to obey. God may do what he pleaseth, we must do what 
he hath commanded. Our impotency is sinful ; a drunken servant is 
a servant still. The outward act of a duty is under a command, though 
we do it not so spiritually. ' Take with you words/ Hosea xiv. 2. 

4. Others think there is no need of such frequent praying. They 
use it as physic, not as a diet. Ans. The hours of duty are not 
determined ; but the expressions wherein they are enjoined are large 
and comprehensive : 1 Thes. v. 17, ' Pray without ceasing.' There 
must be a constant correspondence between us and God. When 
there are such gaps between duty and duty we lose ground in the 
spiritual life ; we must be frequent in it if fervent : a key seldom 
turned rusteth in the lock ; a man gaineth fitness by degrees. A 
gracious heart seeth reason enough to be much and often with God. 

5. Some say it is in vain to serve the Lord and attend upon his 
worship ; as Mai. iii. 14 ; and then everything is begrudged : Mai. 
i. 13, ' What a weariness is it ! ' But these are not acquainted with 
God who rewardeth perfunctory services, much more those which 
are real, as Ahab's counterfeit humiliation. These are drowned in 
sense, and therefore observe not what cometh from above, and reckon 
not of prayer, because they question the being of God and his provi 
dence, Ps. xv. 2. Surely his people can give you many experiences 
of God's hearing and answering their prayers. 

Here is the second charge ' But thou hast been weary of me, O 
Israel/ To be weary of God, is to be weary of his worship and 

Doct. That it is as sad a character as can be given, either of persons, 
or of a people, to say that they are weary of God. 

To represent this to you I shall show ; 

1. The nature of the sin. 

2. That it is incident sometimes to a people considered in their 
community ; sometimes to persons considered in their single capacity. 

3. The causes of it. 

4. The effects. 



5. What a sad charge this is. 

First, The nature of the sin To be weary of God. Weariness in 
the body noteth a deficiency of strength, no more mind to work ; in 
the soul a falling from God, and we have no mind to his service, 
which is either partial or total. 

1. Partial. When the heart is more alienated from God than 
before, and all our respects to him grow burdensome and grievous, 
and the heart begins to repine at everything we do for him : Mai. i. 
13, 'Ye said also, What a weariness is it ! and ye have snuffed at it, 
saith the Lord of hosts ; and ye brought also that which was torn, 
and lame, and sick : thus ye brought an offering. Should I accept 
this at your hands, saith the Lord of hosts ? ' There is a tediousness 
and irksomeness in God's service, be it never so slight. They that 
brought a sickly lamb for an offering, yet puffed as if they were tired 
with some great burden and labour : Amos viii. 5, ' When will the 
new moon be gone, that we may sell corn, and the sabbath that we 
may set forth wheat ? ' As if all were lost that were laid out upon 
God. And so he is neglected and begrudged as an unwelcome 

2. Total. When not only the power of religion is abated, but the 
very profession of it is cast off ; and so, being weary of God, is a 
plain revolt or departure from him, and the obedience we owe to 
him : Heb. iii. 12, ' Take heed lest there be in any of you an evil heart 
of unbelief in departing from the living God/ The evil is departing 
from God by a formal and direct apostasy, or denying and forsaking 
that which they formerly professed ; and the cause of it is the evil 
heart of unbelief, expecting no good by that way. It is an evil heart, 
because the heart which inclineth to this apostasy hath a malignant 
quality in it, not infirmity only, but malignity and unbelief in the 
cause of it, or a doubt of the happiness offered by Christ. 

Secondly, That it is incident sometimes to persons considered in 
their single capacity ; sometimes to a people considered in their com 

1. To persons considered apart and in their single capacity. A 
more common sin it is than we are aware of, for all by nature are 
inclined to it. 

[1.] Partly out of natural adverseness to God : Kom. viii. 7, ' The 
wisdom of the flesh is enmity to God ; ' and Col. i. 21, ' Enemies by 
your minds in evil works/ This enmity manifesteth itself by a back 
wardness to that which is good, by a proneness to that which is evil. 
And it is enmity against God because of his law. It is not subject, 
nor can it be. In the law there is a precept and a sanction. The 
precept showeth what is due from us to God ; and the sanction what 
is due from God to us, the debitum pcence what punishment is 
due to us ; for reward we can expect none, having faulted in our 
duty. Now both breed a strangeness and enmity between us and 
God. We hate him as a lawgiver, and we fear him as an avenger, Isa. 
lix. 2. We are as shy of God as God hath reason to loathe us. Ever 
since Adam first sinned, and then ran to the bushes, this disposition 
remaineth in us. Our forefather was first a fugitive, and then an exile. 
This is the disposition of all his posterity. We will not come to God, 


or not keep with him. The natural aversion from our duty is hardly 
cured, we having temptations of sense to feed it, Jam. i. 14. And 
our legal bondage, because of the sanction and curse, breedeth in us 
a shyness of God, Genesis iii. 10. And after we have seemed to con 
sent to the invitations of his grace, yet it is hard to settle in a 
thorough love in his majesty, and delight in him. 

[2.] Partly because of the fickleness and changeableness of man, 
who is unstable as water : a restless creature that loveth to shift and 
change. In his comforts, the very delights of nature by continuance 
grow burdensome to us, and pleasures need to be relieved and refreshed 
by other pleasures. In his opinions and notions about religion, light 
chaff is taken up by every wind, Eph. iv. 14. In his affections: 
John v. 35, 'Ye rejoiced in his, light for a season.' And curiosity, 
an adulterous affection to truth, loveth it while new. The frame of 
our hearts is soon changed ; sometimes we are zealous, anon cold and 
flat ; now humble, then proud ; now devout, anon vain ; now meek, 
and soon after passionate. In the choice and course of our lives no 
creature so unlike itself as man is. When our first heats are spent 
we flag and grow weary : Gal. v. 7, ' Ye did run well ; who did 
hinder you, that you should not obey the truth ? ' Sometimes they 
show great forwardness in embracing the truth ; and though they 
have no satisfying reason for their defection from it ; yet mere levity 
diverts their affection and zeal, and they grow cold and careless in it, 
yea, quite alter the course of their religion and profession, and their 
former zeal and sufferings tend to no other effect but the disgrace of 
the gospel. Jehu's pace for a while often endeth in Demas' choice. 
' Demas hath forsaken us, having loved this present world. ' So ver 
satile and fickle is man's heart. 

But more distinctly ; particular persons may be ranged under two 

(1.) Common and ordinary professors ; and there is little doubt of 
them, but that they who are only acquainted with the toil of religion, 
and never knew the comfort of it, th