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

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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. 













SERMON UPON MARK ii. 17, . . . . . 3 

PSALM viii. 2, . , , , .13 

JOSHUA vi. 26, . , . .29 

MICAH vi. 5, , , . . 40 

ISAIAH 1. 10, . . . .51 

2 SAMUEL vii. 27, . , . . . 62 

PSALM 1. 5, . , , . .74 

,. PSALM cxxvii. 3, . . . . . 85 

PHILIPPIANS iv. 8, . . . . 96 

LUKE xix. 14, . . . . . 104 

LUKE ii. 52, . . . .116 

PHILIPPIANS ii. 7, . . . .124 

1 CORINTHIANS viii. 3, . ,. . .134 

PSALM Ixxxiv. 10, , . . .146 

SERMONS UPON LUKE xix. 10, . . . .155 

PSALM xc. 1, . . , . 171 

SERMON UPON 1 TIMOTHY vi. 9, . . , . .189 

1 PETER i. 12, , , . . 202 

GALATIANS v. 5, . . . . .216 

2 PETER iii. 9, . . .226 

ROMANS x. 5-9, . . . . 236 

ROMANS x. 10, . , . . 249 

1 CORINTHIANS viii. 6, . . . 259 

2 CORINTHIANS iv. 18, . 274 



SERMON UPON LUKE xvi. 25, . . , . 295 

1 CORINTHIANS xiii. 4-8, .... 306 

PSALM Ixxxiv. 7, . . . . . . 314 

1 CORINTHIANS xi. 26, . . . 326 

. MALACHI iii. 17, . . . . ^ 337 

,,2 TIMOTHY ii. 19, . . . . . 348 

ACTS xxiv. 25, . . . . 357 

PROVERBS iiL 17, . . . . . 367 

PROVERBS iii. 31, 32, . . . .376 

SERMONS UPON PROVERBS x. 20, . . ., . . 387 

SERMON UPON ACTS x. 34, 35, . . . . . . 405 

MARK iv. 24, . . . . . 420 

HEBREWsii.il, . . ,. . . 430 

HEBREWS xiii. 5, . v . . , 443 

1 THESSALONIANS v. 8, . . r~L . 453 

PROVERBS xiv. 14, . . . . 464 

SERMONS UPON JOHN i. 29, . . . . . . 475 






When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no 
need of the physician, but they that are sick : I come not to call 
the righteous, but sinners to repentance. MAKE ii. 17. 

THE words are Christ s apology for eating with publicans and sinners. 
They thought no Jew was to eat or drink or converse with publicans, 
whom they looked upon as the vilest sort of men. Publicans are often 
joined with sinners in the Jewish scorn; thereby is intended sinners 
of the gentiles/ Gal. ii. 15, publicans and heathens, Mat. xviii. 17 ; 
because by reason of their calling they conversed often with gentiles. 
Their calling was counted sordid ; hiring or farming the tributes. It 
is an Hebrew proverb, Take not a wife out of a family in which is a 
publican, because they are all thieves. They were wicked sinners in 
common repute. Now for Christ to be entertained in the house of a 
publican, and to converse so familiarly with publicans, this the phari- 
saical strictness and rigorous institution could not endure. The cavil 
was brought to his disciples and followers. They muttered and whis 
pered about them words that tended to disprove this familiar converse, 
as not becoming the person which Christ took upon himself. The oM 
hypocrites deal not directly with the master himself, but the young 
converts. Christ, when he heard it, vindicates his practice 

1. By representing the agreeableness of this converse to his office ; 
represented in a proverb, The whole have no need of the physician, 
but the sick. Two things are herein represented 

[1.] That sin is a sore sickness; a disease not of the body, but the 
soul. A mortal disease it will at length prove, unless it be in time 
cured ; and the disease is the more grievous because we are so insensible 
of it. 

[2.] That Christ alone is the true physician of souls. He knoweth 
our malady and our remedy, and is ready, and offereth his help to cure, 
if we will but submit to his prescriptions. Now both make up his 
argument : Where doth the physician s work lie but among the sick ? 

2. From the end of his commission. I came not to call the right 
eous, but sinners to repentance. Where observe 

[1.] The persons with whom he hath to do, Not the righteous, 
but sinners. 

[2.] The way that he taketh, He calleth. 

[3.] The end, or means of cure on their parts, Kepentance. 


fl.l The persons concerned. 

(1) Negatively, Not the righteous. A man may be righteous 
really or putatively. Eeally there are none such before the tribunal of 
God of the sons -of Adam. Either men must disclaim their stock 
or own their guilt Putatively there are many such ; they have a con 
ceit that they are righteous. The pharisees trusted in themselves 
that they were righteous/ Luke xviii. 9. Now men puffed up with a 
spiritual pride, and a vain opinion of their own goodness and right 
eousness are altogether unfit to yield obedience to Christ s call, whereby 
he calleth them out of their sins. They are so good and holy already, 
they need no repentance. The heart-whole need not the physician ; he 
hath no work to do among them. They have no need of his skill; 
they do not value him, they care not for him. 

(2.) Positively and affirmatively, But sinners. Those that are 
really so, and so in their own opinion and estimation ; these Christ 
calleth for ; these have work for him to do. 

[2.] The way which he taketh for their cure, He calleth ; as a teacher 
from heaven he thus acquainteth them with the way of their recovery. 
Christ hath a double relation, for the discharge of which he came into 
the world as an high priest and apostle, Heb. iii. 1. Both agree in 
this, that they concern our recovery, or the remedying -of our lapsed 
estate ; and that for the discharge of both these offices he came into 
the world. Both are the highest officer in both -churches : Luke xix. 
10, The Son of man is come to seek and save that which was lost ; 
1 Tim. i. 15, This is a true -and faithful saying, that Jesus Christ 
came to save sinners, of whom I am chief. But they differ that the 
work of the one office lieth with God, the other with man. The one 
respects the reconciling God to us ; -so as an high priest he made our 
peace with God by the merit of his sacrifice: Col. i. 20, By the blood 
of his cross making peace. The other concerneth the reconciling us 
to God by the change of our hearts. This he manageth by a call and 
invitation ; partly by himself in person, as a teacher from heaven dis 
covering the way how we may get again into the favour of God, and be 
restored to his service ; partly by his ministers, whom he employeth in 
his stead: 2 Cor. v. 18-20, And all things are of God, who hath 
reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given unto 
us the ministry of reconciliation ; to wit, that God was in Christ, re 
conciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto 
them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now 
then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you 
by us; we pray you in Christ s stead, be reconciled to God. The 
function and office, *X^cre&>? ei9 fterdvouiv, of calling men to repent 
ance, belonged to his apostolical office, as a messenger sent from the 
bosom of God to acquaint us with his heart, how he standeth affected 
to our recovery. This latter is here spoken of. This he doth by 

[3.] The work, or means of cure which he prescribeth, is Eepent- 
ance. Our misery lay in sin, and we begin our happiness by repent 
ance. Christ did not come to give liberty to any to live in sin ; this is 
to turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, Jude 4. As he came to 
die for sinners and to save sinners, so he came to call sinners to 


repentance; the one as a priest, the other as a king, the last as a 

Doct. That the special business for which Christ was sent into the 
world as the great teacher of the church, was to remedy the collapsed 
state of sinners by calling them to repentance. 

I shall prove three things (1.) That we are all sinners in a lapsed 
estate ; (2.) That he recovereth us out of this lapsed estate by calling 
us ; (3.) The way or means is by repentance. 

I. That his work lieth with sinners, when he interposed as a 
mediator between God and men. This I shall discover in three 

1. That man is now in a lapsed or fallen estate from his primitive 
integrity, and none are righteous till Christ calleth them. That men 
are fallen from their primitive integrity, and become sinners, is a 
truth evidenced by scripture and experience. Scripture : Kom. iii. 23, 
We have all sinned, and are come short of the glory of God ; that 
is, his glorious image : 1 Cor. xi. 8, He is the image and glory of 
God, as the woman is the glory of the man; 2 Cor. iiL 18, But we 
all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord ; that 
for the term glory. So Eccles. vii. 29, God made man upright, but 
he sought out many inventions. Man, as he came out of God s hands, 
was an holy and happy creature, created with a disposition which did 
enable and incline him to love, please, and obey God; but Adam had 
his inventions, and his posterity theirs. They would not be at God s 
finding, but their own, and so plunged themselves in all manner of sin 
and misery. Thus the sun that shone in the dawning of our creation 
was soon eclipsed. But experience showeth us this as well as scripture : 
there is a greater proneness in us to evil than to good, and a mani 
fest disproportion in our faculties to things carnal and spiritual, and 
this both universal and very early, which is a plain evidence of the 
degeneration of mankind ; and from thence results, as all disorders in 
conversation, so misery and death. Certainly if we did often and 
seriously consider what a sinful womb we came from, how deformed 
and ugly in the sight of God we came from it, how we began our life 
with crying and weeping, and are all our days obnoxious to wrath and 
condemnation, and, whatever hath been our portion in the world, yet 
shortly we must die, and sink into the pit eternally, it would more 
awaken us. In the general, this is enough to our purpose, that man 
is in. a lapsed estate, under the guilt of sin and desert of punishment. 

2. That out of this misery man is unable to deliver and recover 
himself. Not able to reconcile or propitiate God to himself, or himself 
to God ; not able to redeem himself, or give a sufficient ransom or 
recompense to God s provoked justice : Ps. xlix. 8, For the redemp 
tion of the soul is precious, and ceaseth for ever. There is but one 
way of coming to this, which is by the death of the Messiah. Not 
able to change his own heart : Job xiv. 4, Who can bring a clean 
thing out of an unclean ? not one. All that we do savoureth of our 
unclean original. We cannot cure and remedy this evil; otherwise 
Christ needed not to have died for us. If man had been by other 
means cured, the heavenly physician needed not come to save them. 
It is denied to all the living. 


3. Those who are sensible of this are nextly called ; not sinners as 
sinners, but sensible sinners. Those that know themselves to be so ; 
sensible sinners, who are willing to return to their obedience to God, 
expecting their help and discharge from God s grace in Christ. It is 
opposed to such as are righteous in their own eyes; such as do in 
some measure feel their sins, are humbled for them, desirous to be 
freed from them; lost sinners, broken-hearted, and grieved, and 
wounded for their transgressions, these are respected in Christ s com 
mission: Isa. Ixi. 1, 2, The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, 
because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the 
meek ; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, proclaim liberty 
to the captives, and the opening the prison doors to them that are 
bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Here is Christ s 
calling to his ministry, and the exercise of his prophetical office de 
scribed : Sent to preach the spiritual deliverance from sin and Satan. 
But to whom? To such as are humbled,and thoroughly touched with 
a lively sense of their sin ; for which purpose God maketh use of legal 
sorrow to awaken sinners and prepare them before conversion. 

II. That Christ recovereth us out of this lapsed estate by calling. 
There is a twofold calling of Christ by which he calleth men (1.) 
Outward; (2.) Inward. 

1. Outwardly, by the ministry of the word, by which he inviteth 
men to come out of their sins, offering grace and salvation in the out 
ward means. Thus John preached repentance : Mat. iii. 20, Kepent, 
for the kingdom of God is at hand. When the kingdom of grace was 
about to be set up by the gospel, the great duty called for was repent 
ance ; for the gospel findeth men involved in an evil way, like mad 
men out of their wits, and they must return to their wits again if they 
would be capable of it. Now they must change their course if they 
will receive benefit by it. Thus John preached, and Jesus Christ 
came with the same form of proclamation : Mark i. 15, The kingdom 
of God is at hand ; repent and believe the gospel. The great business 
to which he called was to be willing to own the benefit offered by 
Christ, and to return to the duty which they owed to their creator. So 
his apostles, when sent abroad by him, spake to men in the same note : 
Acts ii. 38, Eepent and be baptized every one of you, for the remis 
sion of sins ; and Acts iii. 19, Repent, that your sins may be blotted 
out. They offered pardon and life upon these terms. 

2. Inwardly, by the effectual working of the blessed Spirit, inclin 
ing and moving their hearts to obey that outward calling in forsaking 
their sins; and turning to the Lord by true repentance. We have 
need of a Saviour to help us to repentance as well as to help us to par 
don, and God hath exalted him to such an end : Acts iii. 26, God 
having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away 
every one of you from his iniquities ; Acts v. 31, Him hath God 
exalted with his right hand to be a prince and a saviour, to give 
repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. He by the gospel giveth 
leave to repent : Acts xi. 18, And when they heard these things, they 
held their peace, and glorified God, saying, That then God also to the 
gentiles granted repentance to life, which is a great mercy. The law 
doth not say, I will not the death of a sinner, but that he turn and 


live ; but the Lord saith, Do and live, sin and die. This favour was 
not vouchsafed to angels : Heb. ii. 16, For verily he took not on him 
the nature of angels, ov yap SrjTrov ayy&av 67n\ajji{3dveTai he took 
not hold of angels. That he giveth us space to repent, as well as leave ; 
that by his providence he may do, and doth, to many that perish : Kev. 
ii. 21, I gave her space to repent, and she repented not/ God is not 
quick and severe upon every miscarriage. He might have cut us off 
betimes, as we crush serpents in the egg, and destroy venomous 
creatures when they are young. But this is not all ; he giveth grace 
to repent, yea, repentance itself, whereby man s heart is changed. This 
is by his Spirit : 2 Tim. ii. 25, If God peradventure will give them 
repentance, to the acknowledging of the truth. The evangelical call 
carries its own blessing with it. 

III. The means of application, or the duty on man s part, is repent 
ance ; for to that he calleth them here. 

Here let me show you these four things (1.) What repentance 
is ; (2.) The kinds of it ; (3.) That this is the way of our recovery ; 
(4.) The suitableness of this qualification to the grace of the new 

1. What repentance is. It is turning of the whole heart from sin 
and Satan to serve God in newness of life ; or a turning from sin 
because God hath forbidden it, to that which is good because God 
hath commanded it. There are in it, as in every action, two terms, 
a quo and ad quern. We turn from something, and we turn to some 

[1.] The terminus a quo ; we turn from something. From sin : 
Acts viii. 22, Kepent of thy wickedness/ airo TT}? /ca/cta? ; from thy 
wickedness, and from dead works, Heb. vi. 1 ; from Satan. Satan 
is sometimes made the term, because the sinner falleth to his share : 
Acts xxvi. 18, To turn them from darkness to light, and from the 
power of Satan to God. 

[2.] The terminus ad quern is to God, Acts xx. 21 ; to the truth : 
2 Tim. ii. 25, et9 eTriyvaxriv a\f}deia<$, Kepentance to the acknow 
ledgment of the truth ; to holiness and newness of life, Kom. vi. 
4 ; to life : Acts xi. 18, Then hath God also to the gentiles granted 
repentance unto life. 

2. The kinds of it. There is a general repentance, which consists in 
the putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, Col. ii. 11, when a 
man renounceth all sin, and devoteth himself to God ; and there is a 
particular repentance for any provoking sin : Acts viii. 22, Repent 
and pray, that, if it be possible, the thought of thy heart may be for 
given thee. Again, there is a repentance at our first conversion, 
which is our passing from death to life, or our entrance by the strait 
gate, Mat. vii. 14 ; and there is a repentance afterwards, which be- 
longeth to our walking in the narrow way; for after conversion we 
need it still, and not in our natural estate only. It is not only 
necessary for a sinner yet unregenerate, yet unreconciled to God, 
without which he cannot expect any peace with God or benefit by the 
new covenant, but also for a believer till his full and final recovery. This 
repentance after conversion is either occasional or constant. 

[1.] Occasional, after any offence given, or breach between us and 


God, repentance is necessary to obtain pardon of sins after justifica 
tion, as well as before it. God saith to the church of Ephesus, Eev. 
ii. 5, Repent, and do thy first works. So ver. 19, Whom I love I 
rebuke and chasten ; be zealous therefore, and repent ; where repent 
ance is put for a necessary means of removing God s rebuke and quarrel 
from them whom he loveth. The promise is made to believers : 1 
John i. 9, If we confess and forsake our sins, he is just and faithful to 
forgive us our sins. When he wrote to believers, he put himself in 
the roll : * If we confess. Experience of the saints confirmeth the 
same : Ps. xxxii. 5, I acknowledged my sin unto thee. God was 
angry with Job s friends till they humbled themselves : Job xlii. 8. 
Solomon beggeth pardon for the people of God on these terms : 1 
Kings viii. 47, 48, Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land 
whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication 
unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We 
have sinned and done perversely, we have committed wickedness ; and 
so return unto thee with all their heart and with all their soul, in the 
land of their enemies which led them away captive, and pray unto 
thee towards their land which thou gavest their fathers, the city which 
thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name. 
The Lord assenteth to the articles : 2 Chron. vii. 13, 14, If I shut 
up heaven that there be no rain, if my people shall humble themselves, 
and pray, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from 
heaven, &c. God s children may fall into miscarriages whereby they 
may displease God, though their persons be justified. 

[2.] Constant. When we first begin with God, we bind ourselves 
to forsake all known sin, and to live to God. In grown persons this 
is confirmed by baptism. Our obligation continueth with our lives. 
And therefore we must spend our whole time in repentance. And 
our necessity inferreth it, as well as our obligation. Original corrup 
tion remaineth with the regenerate, and we frequently feel the rebel 
lions of the flesh : Rom. vii. 24, wretched man that I am ! who 
shall deliver me from this body of death ? So long as a man is a 
sinner, he is called to repentance, and must use this means till his full 
recovery. Besides, too, it is necessary with respect to our growth. 
We must grow daily in humiliation and self-abhorrence, and reform 
the errors of our ways more and more ; and therefore we must look 
upon Christ still calling us to repentance, that, walking in a constant 
mortifying of sin, he may still lead us to salvation. And by these 
calls he more and more killeth and weakeneth corruption in us. There 
fore as they said, because of the difficulties of the outward reformation, 
Ezra x. 13, This is not a work of one day or two, so inward repent 
ance is not the work of one, but all our days. 

3. That this is the way of our recovery, in order to the enjoyment of 
the privileges of the new covenant. God and Christ agreed that 
salvation should be dispensed upon these terms, and the whole frame 
of the gospel is to invite sinners to repentance. God sent him to heal 
the broken-hearted, Mat xi. 28. He interposed as mediator to make 
way fqr this. 

[1.] This appeareth by the doctrine of the covenant. He hath 
made a covenant wherein he hath offered pardon and life to the 
penitent believer : Luke xxiv. 47, And that repentance and remission 


of sins should be preached in his name to all nations ; with Mark xvi. 
6, He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. Kepentance 
putteth us within the reach of the promise, which speaketh pardon to 
none but those which repent. Some dispute whether it be an equal 
condition with faith. It is as necessary ; but faith hath its special use 
for some respects. As repentance is a return to the love and obedience 
of our God, so faith is a thankful acceptance of the benefit of our 
Redeemer: Acts xx. 21, Repentance towards God, and faith in our 
Lord Jesus Christ. The closing act is faith or acceptance of Christ, 
yet the person must be penitent. As in marriage, the hearing of the 
proposal, believing what is heard, the liking the party, living in con 
jugal society, are terms, but the solemn taking one another is the 
nuptial knot ; so here, consent to take Christ is the closing act of faith, 
and then there must be a living in obedience afterward. 

[2.] The sacraments or seals of the covenant bind to it. Baptism 
implieth it : Mat. iii. 11, I baptize you with water unto repent 
ance ; that is, to seal up the covenant of repentance, whereby the 
party baptized is obliged to his duty, and hath the promise of God to 
supply us with grace to repent. The Lord s supper also binds to it. 
The main benefit there offered is remission of sins, Mat. xxvi. 28, 
which cannot be had without repentance. We are bound in baptism, 
but men forget that they were purged from their old sins. There 
fore earnest resolutions against sin need often to be renewed, lest we 
become cold and remiss in them ; therefore a special repentance is 
required before we come to the Lord s table. 

4. The suitableness of the qualification. 

[1.] It is much for the honour of God. Christ hath purchased the 
effects of his grace, to be communicated to us in a way becoming his 
wisdom as well as his justice. Now it would not be for the glory of 
God, nor preserve his law and government, if we should be pardoned 
without submissive confession of past sins, or a resolution of future 
obedience. Common reason will tell us that our case is not com- 
passionable without it. Who will pity those in misery that are 
unwilling to come out of it ? Repentance is called a giving glory to 
God : Mai. ii. 2, I will curse your blessings, because ye will not lay 
it to heart, and give glory to my name ; Josh. vii. 14, My son, 
give glory to the God of Israel, and make confession to him ; Rev. 
xvi. 9, They repented not to give glory to God. Repentance repaireth 
God in point of honour, giveth him the glory of the justness of his 
laws and providence. The self-condemning sinner subscribeth to all 
this ; therefore it is suitable to the wisdom of God that a penitent 
sinner should have pardon rather than an impenitent, or one that con- 
tinueth securely in his sins, and despiseth both the curse of the law 
and the grace of the gospel. 

[2.] The duty of the creature is secured when he is so firmly bound 
unto future obedience. Therefore surely a converting repentance is 
the fittest condition, such as may induce a hatred of sin repented of, 
and a love to God and holiness. Now our first hearty consent for the 
future to live in the love, obedience, and service of our creator, with 
a detestation of our former ways, is most conducible to this end ; 
besides the obligation of the vow itself, or bond of the holy oath into 


which they are entered, and the circumstances accompanying it, 
because this vow and promise is made partly in our anguish, when we 
feel the smart of sin, then for the soul to resign itself to God : Acts 
ix. 6, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ? And partly when we 
are in the deepest and freshest sense of his pardoning mercy, when we 
see at how dear a rate he is content to save us, and upon what free 
terms to pardon all our wrongs ; surely they that are brought back 
from the grave, and fetched up from the gates of hell, and from under 
a sentence of condemnation, will be engaged more to love God : Ps. 
cxxx. 4, But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou shouldst 
be feared. The woman loved much who had much forgiven her, 
Luke vii. 47. 

[3.] It is most for the comfort of the creature that a stated certain 
course or remedy should be appointed for our peace, which may leave 
the greatest evidence upon our consciences. Now what is likely to do 
so much as this first and apparent change, whereby we utterly renounce, 
and bitterly bewail, our former folly, and solemnly give up ourselves to 
God by Christ ? Things are evident to the feeling which are serious, 
advised, difficult, have a notable delight accompanying them ; all 
which concur here. This is the most important action of our lives, the 
settling of our pardon and eternal interest ; a sense of sin, if deep and 
thorough, will ever stick with us. The heart is hardly brought to this, 
to submit to God s appointed course : Kom. x. 3, For they being igno 
rant of God s righteousness, and going about to establish their own 
righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. And 
it is rewarded with some notable tastes of God s love ; for he reviveth 
the hearts of his contrite ones, Isa. Ivii. 15, and restoreth comfort to 
his mourners/ ver. 17. 

Use.^ Let us obey Christ, and continually carry on the work of repent 
ance with more seriousness. Sin is not hated enough, nor God loved 
enough, and therefore we have so small a taste of the comforts of 
Christianity. Groans unutterable make way for joys that are unspeak 


1. The unquestionable necessity of the duty should move us. Christ s 
authority is absolute. He telleth us, I came to call sinners to repent- 
tance. If he saith so, contradiction must be silent, hesitation satisfied, 
all cavils laid aside, and we must address ourselves to his work, and 
never cease till we are past repentance, and that is only when we have 
no more sin in us, which will never be till we die. 

2. The profit should move. It is a duty of great use. By repent 
ance we are put into a capacity to serve and please God; for new 
creatures are set in joint again, who were disordered by the fall Eph 
11. 10; and Titus iii. 5; 2 Tim. ii. 2; and by it we are put into a 
capacity to enjoy God: Acts xxvi. 18, To open their eyes, and turn 
them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. 

3. Nothing can be excepted against this course. (1.) The plea of 
unworthmess hath no place. It is not the applying a privilege, but 
the performance of a duty we invite you to. If we did directly call 
you to accept a pardon, you might question our doctrine. Perhaps 
you may think you are unworthy to be pardoned, but God is worthy to 


be obeyed. Christ calleth you to repentance. (2.) You cannot object 
the greatness of your sins. Did Christ come from heaven only to 
cure a cut finger, and not a deadly wound ? He calleth sinners, and 
sinners without exception ; sinners of all sorts and sizes. This thought 
often cometh into our mind, that Christ is a saviour, but not of those 
who are fallen into such heinous and enormous offences as we have 
done ; as if any disease were beyond the skill of the spiritual physician ; 
as if he could cure a cold or a slight ague, but not the leprosy and the 
plague. All sinners are called. 

4. The plea of weakness doth not lie against the duty neither ; for 
he calleth the things that are not as though they were, Eom. iv. 17 ; 
1 Lazarus, come forth, John xi. 47. Why doth he speak to a dead 
man ? So to the man with the withered hand, Stretch forth thy hand, 
Mat. xii. 13. Do not say, Lord, this I cannot do. No ; go forth in 
the strength of Christ s call. He calleth not only by the ministry of 
the word, but the inward operation of his Spirit. 

Now for means, 

1. Examine thiae own heart to find out thy particular sins : Ps. 
cxix. 59, I thought on my ways, and turned my feet into thy testi 
monies ; Lam. iii. 40, Search and try your ways, and turn to the 
Lord. Kepentance usually beginneth with serious soul-searching; 
otherwise we spend our indignation upon a notion. Particulars are 
most affecting. Sin is the common packhorse to bear every man s 
burden ; but sin must be particularly confessed, forsaken, and morti 
fied, that it may be pardoned. 

2. Labour to work thy heart to godly sorrow for them : Lam. iii. 
20, My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled within 
me. We should humble ourselves greatly: Job xlii. 6, I repent and 
abhor myself ha dust and ashes ; Mat. xi. 21, Repented in dust and 
ashes. This is spoken according to their national customs. Men 
most abased are most serious. But our repentance generally is not 
deep and serious enough, so as will become offences and dishonours 
done to God by such weak creatures as we are, and so deeply engaged 
to him. There is not that self-loathing, nor such a measure of godly 
sorrow, as may either make Christ sweet or sin bitter to us. If it 
affect the heart so as sin becometh hateful, and there is a price and 
value put upon God s grace in Christ, then it is right. Oh ! therefore, 
bemoan yourselves to God as Ephraim did, Jer. xxxi. 18. 

3. Lay them open before God in humble confession : 1 John i. 9, 
If we confess sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins ; 
Jer. iii. 13, Only acknowledge thine iniquities, that thou hast trans 
gressed against the Lord thy God ; and set apart some special time 
to do it. 

4. Crave and sue earnestly for the pardon of them in Christ s name 
and for Christ s sake : Eph. iv. 32, As God for Christ s sake hath for 
given you ; 1 John ii. 12, I write unto you, little children, because 
your sins are forgiven you for his name s sake. All benefits must be 
asked in his name ; much more this, which is the great fruit of his 
redemption. God himself has taught us to pray for pardon, and to 
say, c Take away all iniquity, Hosea xiv. 4. And take the sacramental 
pledges out of God s hand for this end. 


5. There must be an unfeigned purpose and endeavour to forsake 
them : Prov. xxviii. 13, He that covereth his sins shall not prosper, 
but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy ; Ezek. iii. 
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, for why will ye die, house of Israel ? Hosea xiv. 8, 
Ephraiin shall say, What have I to do any more with idols ? Isa. 
xxx. 22, Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of 
silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold ; thou shalt 
cast them away as a menstruous cloth ; thou shalt say unto it, Get 
thee hence/ 


Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength 
because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and 
avenger. Ps. viii. 2. 

THE scope of this psalm is to glorify God for the singular dignity he 
hath put upon man above all his works. The expressions literally 
and apparently refer to God s works of creation and providence about 
him ; but in a divine and more spiritual sense tbe mysteries of redemp 
tion are intended, and secretly couched under them, as appeareth by 
the frequent quotations of this psalm in the New Testament. 
There is a double honour put upon mankind 

1. That God hath ordained man, that feeble and weak creature, to 
subdue and conquer his enemies. 

2. That God hath made him lord of all his other creatures ; both 
which concern not only man in general, but especially Jesus Christ, 
God made man, and therefore both are applied to him. The first 
when the children welcome him with the acclamations proper to the 
Messiah: Mat. xxi. 15,16, When the chief priests and scribes saw 
the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the 
temple, Hosanna to the son of David, they were sore displeased, and 
said unto him, Hearest thou what these say ? and Jesus saith unto 
them, Yea ; have ye never read, Out of the mouths of babes and 
sucklings thou hast perfected praise ? The other in many places, 
especially Heb. ii. 6-8, But one in a certain place testified, saying, 
What is man, that thou art mindful of him ? or the son of man, that 
thou visitest him ? Thou hast made him little lower than the angels ; 
thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over 
the works of thy hands ; thou hast put all things in subjection under 
his feet : for in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing 
that is not put under him. So that man is both his champion and 
his deputy. He is his deputy : ver. 6, * Thou hast made him to have 
dominion over the works of thy hands ; thou hast put all things under 
his feet/ His champion, in the text: Out of the mouths of babes 
and sucklings hast thou ordained strength/ &c. 

In explaining these words, I shall inquire (1.) Who are these 
babes and sucklings ? (2.) Who is the enemy and avenger ? (3.) 
What is the miracle and wonder that raised the prophet s admiration, 
and moved him to praise God for this ? 

I. Who are these babes .and sucklings ? 


1. Man in general, \vho springeth from so weak and poor a begin 
ning as that of babes and sucklings, yet is at length advanced to such 
power as to grapple with and overcome the enemy and the avenger. ^ 

2. David in particular, who being but a ruddy youth, God used him 
as an instrument to discomfit Goliah of Gath. 

3. More especially our Lord Jesus Christ, who assuming our nature 
and all the sinless infirmities of it, and submitting to the weakness of 
an infant, and after dying, is gone in the same nature to reign in 
heaven, till he hath brought all his enemies under his feet, Ps. ex. 1 ; 
and 1 Cor. xv. 27, For he hath put all things under his feet ; but 
when he saith he hath put all things under him, it is manifest that he 
is excepted which did put all things under him. Then was our 
human nature exalted above all other creatures, when the Son of God 
was made of a woman, carried in the womb as long a time as other 
infants are, Luke ii. 6 ; sucked as a babe, and afterwards died, and 
was received unto glory. 

4. The apostles, who to outward appearance were despicable, in a 
manner children and sucklings in comparison of the great ones of the 
world, poor despised creatures, yet principal instruments of God s ser 
vice and glory. Therefore it is notable that when Christ glorifieth his 
Father for the wise and free dispensation of his saving grace, Mat. xi. 
25, he saith, I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because 
thou hast hid those things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed 
them unto babes; so called from the meanness of their condition. 
Compare the parallel places, Luke x. 21, and you shall see it was 
spoken when the disciples were sent abroad, and had power given 
them over unclean spirits : In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and 
said, I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast 
hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them 
unto babes. This he acknowledged to be an act of infinite condescen 
sion in God. 

5. Those children that cried hosanna to Christ make up part of the 
sense, Mat. xxi. 16 ; for Christ defendeth their practice by this scripture, 
when he was condemned by the wisest and greatest and proudest men 
in the world, such as were the scribes and pharisees at that time, 
he was praised and welcomed as the Messiah or son of David by the 

6. Not only the apostles, but all those that fight under Christ s ban 
ner and are lifted into his confederacy may be called babes and suck 
lings (1.) Because of their condition ; (2.) Their disposition. 

P.] Because of their condition. God is pleased often to make choice 
of the meanest and lowest : 1 Cor. i. 27, 28, But God hath chosen 
the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath 
chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are 
mighty ; and the base things of the world, and things which are 
despised, hath God chosen ; yea, and things which are not, to bring to 
nought things that are ; that is, God in the government of the world 
is pleased to subdue the enemies of his kingdom by weak and despised 

[2.] Because of their disposition ; they are most humble spirited. 
We are told, Mat. xviiL 3, Except ye be converted, and become as 


little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of God. As if he 
had said, you strive for pre-eminence and worldly greatness in my 
kingdom ; I tell you my kingdom is a kingdom of babes, and con- 
taineth none but the humble, and such as are little in their own eyes, 
and are contented to be small and despised in the eyes of others, and so 
do not seek after great matters in the world. A young child knoweth 
not what striving or state meaneth ; and therefore, by an emblem and 
visible representation of a child set in the midst of them, Christ would 
take them off from the expectation of a carnal kingdom. 

II. Who is the enemy and the avenger ? In the letter Goliath, in 
the mystery the devil and his agents and instruments. He is 6 e^dpof, 
the enemy of God and man : Mat. xiii. 39, The enemy that 
soweth them is the devil ; and with him all the seed of the serpent, 
Gen. iii. 15. These are wicked men : John viii. 44, For ye are of 
your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do ; 1 John 
iv. 4, Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because 
greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. The war is 
carried on between two heads and two seeds. 

III. What is the miracle and wonder that raised the heart of the 
psalmist to praise God ? It lieth in three things (1.) That God hath 
ordained strength ; (2.) That this lieth in their mouth ; (3.) That this 
strength is sufficient to still the enemy and the avenger. 

1. That there is strength in such weak creatures. Christ himself to 
outward appearance was a mean and despicable person, scorned, scourged, 
crucified, yet made perfect through sufferings, and crowned with glory 
and honour : Heb. ii. 9, 10, But we see Jesus, who was made a little 
lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory 
and honour, that he by the grace of God should taste death for every 
man. For it became him, for whom are all things, a-nd by whom are 
all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of our 
salvation perfect through sufferings. And he hath strength enough 
to remove the impediments of our salvation, and doth powerfully 
conquer and subdue all his and our enemies. Christians are in them 
selves weak creatures, but there is strength ordained for them to do 
and suffer all things that belong to their duty, or may befall them in 
the way of their duty. As Phil. iv. 13, I can do all things through 
Christ that strengthened me, and When I am weak, then am I 
strong, 1 Cor. xii. 10. And this strength is said to be ordained, or 
founded, because it standeth upon a good foundation, the everlasting 
merit of the Son of God, who came out from God s bosom to reduce 
and call us to the dignity of his servants. The angels, those glorious 
creatures, when they fell by pride, were never restored, but are be 
come the enemies of God and mankind. They usurped the honour 
due to God, and plunged man into their apostasy, but God hath 
ordained strength to recover man out of this thraldom, and vindicate 
his own glory, that mankind might not be wholly lost to him, Col. ii. 
15, Having spoiled principalities and powers, that is, spoiled them of 
their prey, on his cross. And afterwards by the power of his grace 
rescueth man : Col. i. 13, Who hath delivered us from the power of 
darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. 

2. That this strength cometh out of the mouth ; that is, it is not 


by the power of the long sword, or by visible force and might, but by 
the breath of his mouth ; that is to say 

[1.] By the word preached. Therefore it is said that he shall 
consume antichrist by the breath of his mouth, 2 Thes. ii. 8 ; and 
Kev. xix. 15, Out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, wherewith he 
should smite the nations ; and Isa. xi. 4, He shall smite the earth 
with the rod of his mouth/ that is, subdue and vanquish opposition 
by his wonderful word ; therefore the word is called the rod of his 
strength, Ps. ex. 2. 

[2.] By confessing his name: Bom. x. 9, 10, If thou shalt confess 
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God 
raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart 
man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is 
made to salvation. And this is one means of conviction, especially 
when this confession is accompanied with self-denial : Eev. xii. 11, 
They overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their 
testimony ; not loving their lives to the death. This bold confession 
is the fruit both of the word preached, and the spirit of faith given to 
them, 2 Cor. iv. 13, and also of Christ s actual assistance : Luke xxi. 
15, I will give you a mouth and wisdom which your adversaries 
shall not be able to gainsay. Now that by such means the kingdom 
of sin, Satan, and antichrist should be ruined in the world, this is 
and should be matter of admiration and praise. 

[3. J The effect, to still the enemy and the avenger ; either by brid 
ling their rage : Ps. Ixxvi. 10, Surely the wrath of man shall praise 
thee, and the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain ; or silencing their 
contradiction: Acts vi. 10, They were not able to resist the wisdom 
and spirit by which he spake ; Acts viii. 13, Simon wondered, be 
holding the signs and miracles that were done; or changing their 
hearts, as Paul s, Acts ix. 6, and making him to be instrumental in 
changing others, Acts xxvi. 18, and determining interests, that the 
church hath liberty and opportunity to worship God : Acts ix. 31, 
Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea and Galilee and 
Samaria, and were edified, walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the 
comforts of the Holy Ghost. Nay, the kingdom of Satan and his 
adherents plainly and apparently goeth to wreck. The devil, that 
proud and rebellious enemy of God and goodness, is by this means 
subdued and brought down ; first cast out of a great part of his king 
dom in men s hearts, none but obdurate sinners being left to him: 
John xii. 31, 32, Now is the judgment of this world, now is the prince 
of this world cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will 
draw all men unto me ; that is, the kingdom of Satan shall be de 
stroyed, and a great part of the world brought to believe in me. And 
at last he shall be utterly confounded and destroyed : 1 Cor. xv. 24-27, 
He hath put all things under his feet ; all enemies, not one excepted, 
but shall be subdued to Christ. 

Doct. That victory over Satan in our nature is matter of great praise 
and thankfulness to God, that the same nature that was lately foiled 
should yet be victorious. 

1. I take this for granted, that Satan is the enemy and avenger; 
for the text speaks of an enemy and enemies, one chief ; for so the 


devil is said to be, Mat. xiii. 39, The enemy that soweth them is the 
devil. He is an enemy to God and man. To God, as he affected 
and usurped divine honour, and for his pride was cast out of heaven 
into the torments of hell ; falling by pride is therefore called the con 
demnation of the devil, 1 Tim. iii. 6, so James iii. 15, Sensual, earthly, 
devilish. The glorious condition in which he was created tempted 
him to aspire higher than he was ; and all ambition is devilish wisdom, 
called so from his sin. Also he is an enemy to mankind, because by 
his temptation came our fall and misery, and therefore lie is said to 
be a murderer from the beginning. A malicious, proud, and bloody 
murderer of soul and body, and still he seeketh our destruction : 1 
.Peter v. 8, The devil like a roaring lion goeth about seeking whom 
he may devour. In the text he is not only called the enemy and the 
avenger, but thine enemies. The word thine showeth that he is 
an enemy to God, and all goodness, and all good men who belong to 
God. And the plural expression, enemies, noteth either the multi 
tude of evil spirits who are with Satan, and are set to ruin mankind, 
or those their confederate party in the world, who are also many, and 
usually great and powerful. For the conflict is not only between the 
chiefs, but also the instruments on either side ; between Satan on the 
one side, the head and father of the wicked, and Christ on the other, 
the captain of our salvation, Heb. ii. 10 ; or between the seed of the 
woman and the seed of the serpent : Gen. jii. 15, I will put enmity 
between thy seed and her seed, and it shall bruise thy head, and thou 
Bhalt bruise his heel. The seeds are concerned in this enmity as well 
as the chiefs. 

2. The nature of this enmity. It is double; as on Satan s part, 
both of nature and design, so on Christ s part, both of nature and 

[1.] There is a perfect enmity between the nature of Christ and 
the nature of the devil. The nature of Satan is sinful, murderous, 
and destructive, for it is said he was a liar and murderer from the 
beginning, as before. So 1 John iii. 8, He that committeth sin is 
from the devil, and the devil sinneth from the beginning; ver. 12, 
Cain was of that wicked one who slew his brother. It is the devil s 
work to do all the hurt and mischief that he can to the bodies and 
souls of men, but the nature of Christ is quite contrary. It is his 
work to do good, and only good : Acts x. 38, God anointed Jesus of 
Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power, who went about doing 
good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was 
with him. Christ did nothing by way of malice and revenge; he 
used not the power that he had to make men blind, or lame, or to kill 
any ; no, not his worst enemies ; but he went up and down doing 
good, giving sight to the blind, limbs to the lame, health to the sick, 
life to the dead ; he rebuked his disciples when they called for fire 
from heaven to consume those that despised them, telling them they 
knew not what spirit they were of, Luke ix. 55, 56. No; all his 
miracles were acts of relief and succour, not pompous and destructive ; 
bating only the blasting of the unfruitful fig-tree, which was an 
emblematical warning to the Jews, and his permitting the devil to 
enter into the herd of swine, which was a necessary demonstration of 



the devil s malice and destructive cruelty, who, if he could not afflict 
men, would destroy swine. 

[2.] An enmity of design; for Christ came to destroy the works 
of the devil, 1 John iii. 8, as the devil seeketh to oppose the kingdom 
of Christ. Christ was set up to dissolve that sin and misery which 
Satan had brought upon the world ; and the devil sought to keep it 
up and hinder our salvation. The devil is the disturber of the 
creation, and Christ the repairer of it ; and these two, salvation and 
destruction, are perfectly opposite. 

Now such an enmity as there is between Christ and Satan, such 
there is also between the confederates on either side. 

(1.) An enmity or contrariety of nature. The seed of the serpent 
inherits his venomous qualities ; for as they are an estate opposite to 
God, so they are to the people of God. All people of a false religion, 
whether infidels, or idolaters, or heretics, are of bloody and desperate 
principles, partly by the influence of their great guide and leader, 
partly because their false religion efferateth their minds, and stirreth 
them up into a blind, bitter zeal : These go in the way of Cain/ Jude 
11. On the other side, Christ conveyeth his holy, meek, ^ and lamb 
like nature to his sincere worshippers and followers. Their righteous 
souls are vexed indeed with the impure conversations of the wicked, 
but so as to stir them up, not to passion, but compassion. They are 
grieved to see people go by droves to hell, and would fain rescue them 
out of the snares of the devil, but aim not at their destruction : Jude 
22, 23, And of some have compassion, making a difference ; and 
others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire ; hating even the 
garment spotted with the flesh. i . 

(2.) There is an enmity of design, seeking to pull down what Satan 
would set up, all that sin, idolatry, error, and superstition whereby the 
world is corrupted : 2 Cor. x. 4, 5, For the weapons of our warfare 
are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong 
holds, and casting down imaginations, and every high thing that 
exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into cap 
tivity every thought to the obedience of Christ ; that is, to bring down 
all the disputings and reasonings and prejudices which are raised 
up against the power of the gospel, and hinder the acknowledgment 
and practice of the truth. Satan s end is to draw men into sin and 
damnation, and to dishonour God; theirs, to glorify God in the 
world, and save their own souls, and the souls of all about them. 

3. This enmity of Satan and his instruments is carried On, both 
against Christ and his people, with much rage and fury : I will put 
enmity between thy seed and her seed ; it shall bruise thy head, and thou 
shalt bruise his heel, Gen. iii. 15. There is something common to both ; 
for the word bruised is used mutually both of the seed of the woman 
and the seed of the serpent. In this war, as usually in all other, there 
are wounds given on both sides. The devil bruiseth Christ, and 
Christ bruiseth Satan ; only Christ s heel is bruised, but the devil s 
head is crushed ; that is, he is finally destroyed. 

[1.] Certain it is that Christ himself was bruised in the enterprise 
of redeeming poor captive souls, which showeth how much we should 
value our salvation, since it cost so dear. The Lord Jesus thought 


not his whole humiliation from first to last too much, nor any price 
top dear, for overthrowing the devil s kingdom, and rescuing us into the 
liberty of God s children. But how was he bruised by the serpent ? 
Certain it is on the one side that Christ s sufferings were the effects of 
man s sin, and a demonstration of God s holiness and governing justice. 
Therefore it is said, Isa. liii. 10, 11, It pleased the Father to bruise 
him. Unless it had pleased the Lord to bruise him, Satan could never 
have bruised him. But, on the other side, they were also the effects 
of the malice and rage of the devil and his instruments. In his whole 
life he was tempted by Satan, often vexed with his instruments. There 
fore he saith, Ye are of your father the devil. But the closing stroke 
was at his death, Satan then doing the worst he could against him. 
When Judas contrived the plot, it is said the devil entered into him, 
Luke xxii. 3. When the high priest s servants came to take him, 
ver. 53, he telleth them, This is your hour, and the power of dark 
ness. They did prevail at last to cause his shameful death ; this was 
all they could do ; this was the time the devil and they were permitted 
to work their wills upon him. 

[2.] No Christians are exempted from trials of their sincerity. God 
will have all obedience to be tried and honoured by opposition, and 
sometimes by grievous and sharp opposition : Kev. ii. 10, The devil 
shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried. Thus Job 
was permitted to be vexed by Satan for his trial, Job i. 12 ; and Paul 
had his messenger of Satan to try him, to see what shift he could make 
with sufficient internal grace against outward and vexatious evils,. 
2 Cor. xii. 7, 8. Now it is better to undergo the fiery trial than the fiery 
torment. Tried we are then, but not destroyed ; yea, sometimes hurried 
to death, and yet we overcome, Kev. xii. 11. Christ doth prevail upon 
opposition and by opposition. When Satan s instruments were killing 
Christians, they were pulling down Satan s throne and advancing 
Christ s; and when they were butchered and slaughtered, yet they 

4. The means and manner of victory is to be considered. 

[1.] Christ overcometh this enmity by taking our nature. He 
might have destroyed him by his divine power, but the conquerer is 
the seed of the woman, or the Son of God incarnate. He conquered 
in the same nature that was so lately foiled, and thereby Satan s main 
design is crossed and counter-worked, which was double partly to 
make man jealous of God, as if he were envious of our happiness, and 
by this false representation to alienate our hearts, and make a breach 
between us and him : Gen. iii. 5, God knoweth that in the day ye eat 
thereof ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. This way would 
he weaken the esteem of God in our hearts ; but hereby we have a 
fuller manifestation of his love to make him the more amiable to us : 
Rom. v. 8, But God commended his love to us, that when we were 
sinners, Christ died for us ; and John iii. 16, God so loved the world, 
that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him 
should not perish, but have everlasting life ; and 1 John iv. 9, 10, In 
this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent 
his only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him : 
herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent 


his Son to be a propitiation for our sins. We would be as God, and 
Christ would be as man. Partly to depress the nature of man, which 
in innocency stood so near to God ; that was the end of his malicious 
suggestion. But now it is advanced, and set up far above the angelical 
nature, and admitted to dwell with God In a personal union : Heb. ii. 
16, For verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took 
on him the seed of Abraham. The nature of man being only assumed 
by Christ, the angels are not concerned in it immediately. Man had 
the benefit and honour put upon him, especially in his glorified estate, 
Eph. i. 20, 21. 

[2.] By his passion or death on the cross : Heb. ii. 14, Forasmuch 
as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself took 
part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had 
the power of death, that is, the devil. Christ would not only take 
our nature, but also suffer in it, so to frustrate and make void the 
devil s design, which was to keep men for ever under the power of death, 
wherein he had involved him. He had brought sin upon us, and by 
sin, death, and in this condition, as the executioner of God s curse, he 
would still have held us, but that Christ came to put us into a condi 
tion of holiness and happiness, and so make us capable of eternal life. 
The devil did not conquer Christ by death, but Christ did conquer the 
devil. When the Koman soldiers were parting and spoiling his garments, 
he was spoiling principalities and powers. 

[3.] By his resurrection and ascension. After he had been a sacri 
fice for sin, by his resurrection he overcame death, hell, and sin, and 
soon after he ascended into heaven, that he might triumph over the 
devil, and lead captivity captive, Eph. iv. 8. His enemies were foiled 
upon the cross, but his triumph over them was at his ascension, where 
by he hath assured the world of his conquest, that he hath carried the 
day, and gained an absolute and complete victory ; for our Lord in 
heaven is out of the reach of enemies, as having done his work ; we 
are only left behind to scatter the relics of the battle. 

[4.] By his sitting at the right hand of God he doth two things 
(1.) He poureth out the Spirit, endowing his messengers with all gifts 
and graces, ordinary and extraordinary, to preach the gospel to the 
heathen world, whereby the old religion by which the devil s kingdom 
was supported went to wreck everywhere ; his oracles were silenced, 
his superstitions suppressed ; no more the same temples, the same rites, 
the same gods ; all fell before God as worshipped in Christ : John 
xvi. 11, The Spirit shall convince the world of judgment, because the 
prince of this world is judged. It is true, in- some parts of the world 
Satan yet reigneth, where Christ hath not pursued him with his gospel, 
or withdrawn his gospel for the ingratitude of men ; but where it 
cometh, it prevaileth mightily, and the world cannot resist its convin 
cing power. 

[5.] By his secret and invisible providence he defendeth his people, 
and stilleth the enemy and avenger. Christ, as God incarnate, having 
the grant of a kingdom, is every way furnished with power to maintain 
it by means proper to the mediatory dispensation; by his word, 
Spirit, and providence. This last we are upon. All judgment is put 
into his hands, John v. 22. Though there be many vicissitudes and 


changes in the outward condition of the church, yet by invisible ways 
God doth notably defeat Satan and his instruments. And though 
there be ebbings and flowings of the two kingdoms, yet we have much 
experience that Christ is upon the throne, by his protecting, strengthen 
ing, and assisting his faithful people, and prospering their just 
endeavours for the advancing of his kingdom. Sometimes he destroyeth 
enemies : Isa. xxvii. 4, Who would set the briars and thorns against 
me in battle, I would go through them, and burn them together. 
Sometimes he infatuateth their counsels : Job v. 12, 13, He dis- 
appointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot per 
form their enterprise. He taketh the wise in his own craftiness, and 
the counsel of the froward is carried headlong. Sometimes he hideth 
his people in the secret of his presence, Ps. xxxi. 20. Sometimes he 
blasts all their prosperity by an invisible curse : Job xx. 26, A fire 
not blown shall consume them. Or else he divides them, as you may 
read in 2 Chron. xx. 

5. The degree of the success. How far is the enemy and avenger 
stilled ? I answer 

[1.] Non ratione essentice ; not to take away his life and being. 
No ; there is a devil still, and shall be when the whole work of Christ s 
redemption is finished ; for it is said of that time, Bev. xx. 10, That 
the devil was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast 
and the false prophet shall be tormented day and night for ever and 
for ever. So Mat. xxv. 41, Hell was prepared for the devil and his 
angels. Then eternal judgment is executed on the head of the wicked 
state. Sentence was passed before, and the devil feareth it : Mat. viii. 29, 
Art thou come to torment us before the time ? He was condemned 
before, but then the sentence is fully executed upon him ; he is finally 
punished, and shall for ever remain among the damned. 

[2.] Non ratione malitice, not in regard of malice and enmity, for 
the enmity ever continueth between the two seeds, and Satan will ever 
be doing, though it be to his loss : 1 John iii. 8, He sinneth from 
the beginning ; and therefore he is not so destroyed as if he desired 
not the ruin and destruction of men. He is as malicious as ever. He 
is always at the old trade of destroying souls, and watcheth all advan 
tages to that end and purpose : 2 Peter v. 8, The devil like a roaring 
lion goeth about seeking whom he may devour. 

[3.] Then affirmatively, it remaineth that it is ratione potentice, in 
regard of power. But how far is his power destroyed ? for still he 
governeth the wicked, and possesseth a great part of the world. The 
devils are called, Eph. vi. 12, ^Rulers of the darkness of this world ; 
the gods of the heathen, idolatrous, superstitious world. And still he 
molesteth the godly, whether considered singly and apart, or in their 
communities and societies. Singly he may sometimes trouble them, 
and sorely shake them, as wheat is tossed to and fro when it is win 
nowed in a sieve, Luke xxii. 31 ; or in their communities and societies 
the devil by his instruments may sorely distress them: Ps. cxxix. 1, 2, 
Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth upward ; that is, 
from the beginning of their being a people unto God ; or else corrupts 
them : 1 Cor. xi. 3, I fear lest by any means Satan should corrupt 
you ; and therefore we must see how far his power is destroyed. 


I answer It may be considered either (1.) With respect to Christ, 
the author of our deliverance ; or, (2.) With respect to men, who are 
the subjects of this deliverance, or the persons delivered. 

First, With respect to Christ our deliverer. 

1. There is enough done by way of merit to break the power of 
Satan, or that whole kingdom of darkness which is united under one 
head, called the devil. The price and ransom is fully paid for captive 
souls, and there needeth no more to be done by way of merit and 
satisfaction to dissolve that woful work which Satan hath introduced 
into the world : Col. ii. 15, He hath spoiled principalities and powers, 
triumphing over them on his cross ; 1 John iii. 8, For this purpose 
the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of 
the devil. Both these places show there is enough done for the 
benefit of particular believers, and for the success of the gospel over 
false religions. He hath divested evil spirits of their power, thrown 
them out of their temples, silenced their oracles; he hath made it 
publicly discernible by the success of the Christian religion in the 
world ; he hath purchased the power of recovering souls out of their 
apostasy at a dear rate : 1 Peter i. 18, We are not redeemed with 
corruptible things, such as silver and gold, but with the precious 
blood of the Son of God. Well, then, the value of the blood of Christ 
is sufficient. 

2. Christ is upon the thronef and we are under his protection ; 
therefore the devil cannot totally prevail over those that have an in 
terest in him, either as to single believers : John x. 28, And I give 
unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any 
pluck them out of my hand ; or to their communities and societies : 
Mat. xvi. 18, Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates 
of hell shall not prevail against it. The gates of hell signify their 
power and policy; there was their armoury, and there they sat in 
council. Christ expecteth their most fierce and furious assaults, but 
all should be to no purpose, but as the dashing of the waves against a 
rock, which ends in foam, and the shame of the oppressors and assail 
ants. So that besides . his merit on the cross, there is his power in 
heaven, where he is to rule in the midst of his adversaries : Ps. ex. 1, 
Sit at my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool. There he 
is exalted, in that human nature which he had assumed, to the highest 
pitch of glory, majesty, and authority. 

3. Though there be not a total destruction of the kingdom of 
Satan, yet it remaineth in an absolute subjection to the throne of the 
mediator. The kingdom of sin and Satan are so far destroyed, as not 
to hinder God s great design, the demonstration of mercy to the elect, 
and to be subservient to the demonstration of his justice towards others, 
who either contemn or neglect the remedy offered ; that the elect 
may obtain, though the rest be hardened : 2 Thes. ii. 9, 13, Even him 
whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs, 
and lying wonders, &c. But we are bound to give thanks always to 
God for you, brethren, because God hath from the beginning chosen 
you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the 

4. Christ will in time destroy all opposite reigns and kingdoms, 


some sooner, others later ; but there will be an universal and absolute 
subjection to Christ at the day of judgment, when infernal spirits 
shall bow the knee to him : Isa. xlv. 23, compared with Phil. ii. 10, 
He hath given him a name above every name, that at the name of 
Jesus every knee should bow ; and Eom. xiv. 10, 11. The mystery 
of iniquity will then be finished, and come to nothing ; and the saints 
shall judge the evil angels, 1 Cor. vi. 3 ; that is, when they are 
crowned, they shall pass sentence against the evil spirits. But in the 
meantime you will say, We are assaulted. Therefore 

Secondly, With respect to men who are to be delivered, so Satan s 
power may be considered with respect to single persons, or his interest 
in the corrupt world. 

1. As to single and individual persons ; so Satan s power over them 
is by reason of sin, which was introduced into the world by his subtlety 
and malice. Now these may be considered with respect to conversion 
and confirmation. 

[1.] Conversion. When the reign of sin is broken, they are rescued 
out of Satan s hands : Col. i. 13, Who hath delivered us from the 
power of Satan, and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son ; 
and Acts xxvi. 18, To turn us from darkness to light, and from the 
power of Satan to God; Luke xi. 22, When a stronger than he 
shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his 
armour wherein he trusted. It is the fruit of his victorious grace. 
As long as sin reigneth, Satan is in peaceable possession ; for when he 
had lost his seat in heaven, he affected to set up a throne in the 
hearts of men, and to lord it over them as his slaves ; but now the 
reign of sin is broken, w,hen he puts an enmity into your hearts against 
it. Sin dieth when the love to it dieth. All that are converted to 
God are possessed with an enmity to Satan and his ways, such as they 
had not before, when they remained in the degenerate state. They 
have a new heart and a new spirit ; not the spirit of the world, but 
the Spirit of God. The natural spirit, that spirit that dwelleth in us, 
is the spirit of the world, the spirit that inclineth us to worldly and 
sensual satisfactions ; but the Spirit maketh them look after the things 
promised by Christ and required by Christ : 1 Cor. ii. 12, For we 
have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of 
God. The natural spirit was a spirit that lusteth to envy, James 
iv. 5 ; and so the satanical spirit. But this is a Spirit of love to God 
and man, that maketh us to seek his glory, and the good of others. 
Till this Spirit be planted in us, we have not changed masters. 

[2.] As to confirmation and perseverance, Christ will not lose the 
prey that he hath recovered out of the hands of Satan. Indeed, while 
anything of sin remaineth, there is somewhat of Satan left, which he 
worketh upon. There is a remnant of his seed in the best. The 
godly are yet in the way, but not at the end of the journey ; therefore 
Satan hath leave to assault them while they are here, but Christ will 
perfect the conquest which he hath begun, and the very being of sin 
shall at length be taken away. At death sin is totally disannulled : 
Jude 24, And tp present you faultless before the presence of his 
glory ; Eph. v. 27, That he may present it to himself a glorious church, 
not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be 


holy, and without blemish. When the veil of the flesh is rent once, 
there is a ceasing from sin. The physician of souls will then 
perfect the cure, and finish the work. The question then is, How 
far Satan s power is destroyed as to the converted ? I answer Nega 
tively, not so far as to exclude our duties or trials ; but affirmatively, 
the victory is secured by promise to the striving Christian. 

(1.) Negatively, not to exclude our duty. There is still room left 
for prayer, watchfulness, sobriety, serious resistance, that we may use 
the means appointed for our safety. 

(1st.) There is required of us sobriety, or an holy moderation of the 
comforts and delights of the present life. The devil, the flesh, and the 
world join in conspiracy against us. By the baits of the world 
Satan enticeth our flesh to a neglect of God and heavenly things, there 
fore we must be sober, 1 Peter v. 8, use the world as not abusing it, 
1 Cor. vii. 31, that our hearts be not depressed and disabled from 
looking after our great end and happiness. 

(2J.) Vigilance and watchfulness is necessary, that we may stand upon 
our guard, avoiding snares, forecasting hazards, lest we fall as a ready 
prey into the mouth of the tempter : 1 Cor. xvi. 13, Watch ye, stand 
ye fast in the faith ; quit you like men, and be strong. The first point 
of a Christian soldier is to watch. Conscience must stand porter at the 
door of the soul, examining what goeth in and what cometh out. 
The devil watcheth all advantages against us to espy where we are 
weakest. Men that have no great tenderness of conscience fear not 
much the loss of their souls, and are most easily wrought upon by 
Satan : Eph. iv. 27, Neither give place to the devil. If you but set 
open the door to Satan, the capital enemy of man s salvation, he will 
re-enter his old possession, and seek to exercise his old tyranny ; there 
fore watch. 

(3d) A steadfast resistance : Whom resist, steadfast in the faith. 
When we are yielding, Satan gets ground, but he is discouraged by 
steadfast resistance. This must be in the faith, or by a close adherence 
to God s word: 1 John ii. 14, I have written to you, young men, 
because you are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye 
have overcome the wicked one. Adhering to the privileges of the 
gospel as our happiness, and persevering in the duties as our work, 
or resolving by a constant continuance in well-doing to wait for Christ s 

(4th.) We are also to pray earnestly : Ps. cxix. 133, Order my steps 
in thy word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me. We had 
need to pray earnestly, because sin will put strongly for the throne 
again ; therefore beg direction. 

(5th.) All is bound upon the conscience by continual mindfulness of 
our baptismal vow and covenant, which must be often called to remem 
brance: Horn. vi. 11, Likewise also reckon yourselves dead unto sin, 
and alive unto God ; Horn. viii. 12, We are debtors, not to the flesh! 
to live after the flesh. If Christ had so destroyed the devil as to 
exclude our endeavours and our duty, the whole gospel would be in 
vain, and the promises and precepts of it to no purpose, and all that 
furniture of grace which he hath provided for us lost and useless. 
Surely the enemy and avenger is not so stilled but that we need to 


be sober and watchful, and steadfast in the faith, and much in prayer, 
and ever mindful of our covenant and vowed death to sin. A man that 
is-baptized, he hath a debt and bond upon him. Secondly, Christ hath 
not so stilled the enemy and the avenger to exempt us from trials of 
our sincerity. God will have all obedience to be tried and honoured 
by opposition, and sometimes sharp and grievous opposition : Rev. ii. 
10, The devil shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be 
tried. Job was permitted to Satan for his trial, Job i. 12. Paul had 
his messenger of Satan for his trial, to see what shift he could make, 
with sufficient internal grace, under outward and vexatious evils, 2 
Cor. xii. 7-10. Now it is better to undergo the fiery trial than the 
fiery torment : tried we are, but not destroyed, exercised with tempta 
tion, but not overwhelmed. 

(2.) Affirmatively. (1st.) It is so far broken and destroyed, that we 
have necessary assistance provided for us : 2 Cor. xii. 9, My grace is 
sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Per 
fect, that is, manifested to be perfect. When the world is of Satan s 
side, God is of our side: 2 Tim. iv. 17, Notwithstanding the Lord 
stood with me, and strengthened me; 1 Cor. x. 13, But God is 
faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are 
able, but will with the temptation make a way to escape. (2<i) The 
final victory is secured by promise to the striving Christian : Rom. xvi. 
20, The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. 

2. As to his interest in the corrupt world, the kingdom of Satan is 
more and more subdued ; for Christ must divide the spoil with the 
strong, Isa. liii. 12. Christ prevails upon opposition, and against oppo 
sition, and by opposition. For 

[1.] Christ having a grant of a kingdom over the nations, is every 
way furnished with power to obtain it, by means proper to the medi 
atory dispensation. His kingdom is to be a spiritual kingdom, there 
fore his means are suited his Spirit, his word, his providence. 

(1.) His sweet but powerful Spirit, convincing men of the truth of his 
religion. And what can stand before the all- conquering force of it ? 
John xvi. 8-11, And when he is come, he shall reprove the world of 
sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment : of sin, because they believe 
not on me : of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me 
no more : of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 
He shall demonstrate to the world that Christ was the Messiah ; and 
therefore they are guilty of great sin who will not believe on him, 
that he was a righteous and innocent person, and no seducer, because 
he rose from the dead, and went to the Father ; that he was an exalted 
prince above Satan, or whatever was looked upon as divine powers, 
because he converted most parts of the habitable world, and brought 
home sinners from their idolatries to repentance and change of 

(2.) His word, which is called the rod of his strength, Ps. ex. 2, 
and the power of God to salvation, Rom. i. 16. These weapons are 
not carnal, but mighty through God. The world cannot resist its con 
vincing power : 2 Cor. x. 4, For the weapons of our warfare are not 
carnal, but mighty, through God, to the pulling down of strongholds. 
Those that feel it not, fear it : John iii. 20, Every one that doeth evil 


hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be 

(3.) His providence. All judgment is put into his hands, John v. 
22. All events that fall out in the world, they are not left to an 
uncertain contingency, but under the government of a supreme provi 
dence, which is in Christ s hands. 

[2.] In the external management of the mediatorial kingdom there 
are many vicissitudes and cnanges of the outward condition of the 
church. The harmony of providence requireth it, for the punishment 
of the unthankful, for the trial of the sincere, for the reward of the 
faithful, and destruction of the ungodly. Sometimes God doth notably 
defeat Satan and his instruments, and the devil s kingdom visibly goeth 
to wreck ; as at the first promulgation of the gospel, though the whole 
world lay in wickedness, and Satan everywhere had his temples 
wherein he was worshipped, his oracles resorted to with great rever 
ence ; he ate the fat of their sacrifices, drank the wine of their drink- 
offerings, yea, often the blood of their sons and daughters was offered 
to him ; yet all his strongholds were demolished, the idols whom their 
fathers prayed to in their adversity and distresses, and blessed in their 
prosperity, are on a sudden set at nought. 

[3.] Why this is great matter of praise and thankful acknowledg 

(1.) Because this is the great instance of the favour God hath put 
upon man ; his dignifying of them above other creatures ; that he 
would not wholly desert us in our fallen estate, when the devil had 
overthrown us by sin ; that the Son of God must come from heaven 
to deliver us from the bondage Satan had led us into. There was 
<]>i\av0pa)7ria, a love to man/ in our redemption : Titus iii. 4, After 
that the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man appeared. 
Surely this is a great mystery, 1 Tim. iii. 16. Christ made man, died 
for men, rose again, carried our nature into heaven, reigneth there over 
all his enemies as God incarnate. What will raise your hearts in 
thanksgiving, if these things do not ? They are plain points ; they 
need no descants, more than a diamond doth painting. 

(2.) The many benefits that result to us thereby. 

(1st.) A capacity to serve and please God ; the most considerable 
part of the creation had been else out of joint. God was robbed of the 
use and service of mankind : Luke i. 74, 75, That he would grant 
unto us that we, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, 
might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, 
all the days of our life. We were, in our natural estate, governed 
and ruled by Satan, Eph. ii. 3, 4, easily taken captive by him, working 
upon the desires of our flesh, 2 Tim. ii. 26. We had no remorse for 
it, nor desire to change our condition, Luke xi. 21, 22 ; all was in a 
sinful quiet and peace, as when wind and tide go together ; but now 
this carnal security is disturbed, we are recovered and changed, and 
made meet to serve and please God. 

(2d) A right to the privileges of the new covenant, which are 
pardon and life : Acts xxvi. 18, To open their eyes, and to turn them 
from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that 
they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them 


which are sanctified; and Col. i. 12-14, Giving thanks unto the 
Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance 
of the saints in light, who hath delivered us from the power of dark 
ness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son, in 
whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness 
of sins/ 

(3d.) The honour that redoundeth to God thereby. By weak and 
despised means God brings about the ends of his glory. The party 
delivered was fallen man, who gave up at first assault ; the deliverer 
is Christ, found in fashion as another man : 1 Cor. i. 25, The weak 
ness of God is stronger than men. That which in man s opinion hath 
least wisdom, strength, and virtue in it, that doeth all ; by man and 
man crucified. 

Use 1. If it be so great a mercy, see that you be partakers of it ; see 
that Satan s power be destroyed as to your souls. Christ doth not only 
enter upon the world by conquest, but hath much to do with every 
individual person before he can settle his kingdom in their hearts. 
There is a combat between Christ and Satan for the rescue of every 
sinner, and we are not easily brought to change masters. It is long 
ere we awaken : 2 Tim. ii. 26, That they may recover themselves out 
of the snare of the devil. And after we are awakened, ere we consent 
to part with our .beloved lusts. Now yield to him ; suffer him to save 
you. You look to the outward interest of Christ in the world, and 
you do well ; but it is easier to bring men to own the true religion, 
than to bring them under the power of it. The victory we are con 
cerned in is the taming our own flesh, and overcoming the corruptions 
and carnal inclinations, or to set up Christ s government in the heart 
where once Satan ruled. The kingdom of Christ within us is most 
comfortable to us, Luke xvii. 20, 21. If once you are Christ s, you will 
most really be for his interest in the world, and there is an enmity 
put into you : Gen. iii. 15, I will put enmity between the two 

2. If it be so great a mercy, then do not lose it, but use the means 
appointed for your safety. 

[1.] By baptism you are engaged, for you are listed under Christ s 
banner ; we take an oath to be true to the captain of our salvation : 
Kom. vi. 13, Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unright 
eousness unto sin, but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive 
from- the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness 
unto God. 

[2.] In the Lord s supper we come to quicken our zeal, and renew 
our holy resolutions to adhere and cleave to Christ, renouncing Satan, 
that we may steadfastly persevere in the duties of our heavenly calling. 
There our baptismal vow is ratified ; we are apt to forget it. 

3. The armour is faith, hope, and love : 1 Thes. v. 8, Putting on 
the breastplate of faith and love, and for an helmet the hope of salva 
tion. Faith owns Christ to be what he is, and so breedeth a constant 
adherence to him. Love casteth out fear of persecution, and rnaketh 
us delight in him ; and hope waiteth for the eternal reward. 

4. The manner of using this armour ; it must be with sobriety and 
watchfulness : 1 Peter v. 8, Be sober, be vigilant. 


[1.] Sobriety, or moderation as to the good things of the present 
world, lest we be enticed to a neglect of God and heavenly things. 

[2.] Vigilancy noteth tenderness of conscience, when conscience 
standeth porter at the door, examining what goeth in and what cometh 
out. Men that have no great tenderness of conscience fear not 
much the loss of their souls, and are most easily wrought on by 


Cursed be the man before the Lord that riseth up and buildeth this 
city Jericho : lie shall lay the foundation thereof in his first 
born, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates thereof. 
JOSH. vi. 26. 

THESE words relate to the history of Jericho s destruction. In which, 
the place and the manner of its being destroyed are notable. 

1. The place, Jericho, was (1.) A strong and well-fenced city ; one 
of those which frightened the spies who were sent to view the land. To 
appearance it seemed impregnable. (2.) It was a frontier, a key to let 
in all or stop all that entered into the land of Canaan on that side. 
(3.) A wicked place and people above others ; deliciousness of the 
situation contributing to the luxury of the inhabitants. 

2. The manner of its destruction. It was by the marching of 
Israel about the city seven days, and the priests going before them 
blowing with rams horns ; a type of God s blessing on the labours of 
his ministers, in stirring up his people against the kingdom of sin, 
Satan, and antichrist But faith must use such means as God hath 
appointed, though to appearance they be never so despicable. Against 
Midian Gideon useth the stratagem of lamps in pitchers, which the 
apostle calleth treasure in earthen vessels, 2 Cor. iv. 7 ; so here, by 
the blast of the rams horns, the walls of this seemingly impregnable 
city fell flat to the ground : 2 Cor. x. 4, For the weapons of our 
warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God in the pulling down 
of strongholds. 

The text giveth an account of what Joshua did and said on this 
occasion. What he did, in the beginning of the verse, He adjured the 
people at that time ; that is, exacted this oath or solemn consent from 
them, to submit themselves and their posterity to the imprecation or 
curse denounced by him in the name of the Lord. What he said, in 
the curse itself, Cursed be the man before the Lord that riseth up 
and buildeth this city Jericho. 

So that in the words you have a terrible denunciation (1.) Gene 
rally propounded ; (2.) Particularly exemplified. 

[1.] Generally expressed, Cursed be the man before the Lord that 
riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho. Where (1.) The crime, 
That riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho ; that is, that shall 
presume and take the boldness to build the walls of this city. (2.) 
The punishment, Cursed be he before the Lord ; that is, the Lord 


seeing, ratifying, and appointing this doom and sentence. For it is 
not a passionate imprecation, but a prophetical prediction, coming not 
from any private motion, but the inspiration of God ; and therefore 
it is called the word of the Lord spoken by Joshua, 1 Kings xvi. 34. 

But why is such a curse interminated against those that shall build 
this city? 

I answer Though we are not to render a reason of God s counsels, 
yet this seemeth to be the cause : it was the first city of all Canaan 
that was destroyed, and that miraculously ; and God would have the 
ruins remain as a monument to posterity of his power, justice, and 
goodness ; for whilst this spectacle, the rubbish of the ruined walls, 
remained, it encouraged their faith, and upbraided their unthankful- 
ness to God who had wrought so wonderfully for them ; of his justice 
on the Canaanites, and his grace and goodness towards his people. 

[2.] It is particularly explained, He shall lay the foundation thereof 
in his first-born, and in his youngest son he shall set up the gates 
thereof ; that is, he shall be punished for his presumption in this act 
by the death of his two sons ; the first in the beginning of the work, 
the second in the finishing thereof ; the setting up of the gates being 
the last thing. Others probably understand, he shall be punished with 
the loss of all his children, from the eldest to the youngest ; so that 
the curse is, his posterity shall be rooted out. 

Now, for a long time none had the boldness to attempt this work upon 
which so fearful a curse was imposed ; till at length, some hundreds of 
years afterwards, in Abab s time, one Hiel the Bethelite audaciously 
sets upon it ; and accordingly this curse was verified in him, to the 
utter overthrow of his family : 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. Strange that, seeing his first son drop away, he desisted not 
from that design; but such is the precipice of bad projects and engage 
ments, once step in, and seldom stop in the way of wickedness. 

This history teacheth us two lessons 

(1.) That it is dangerous to slight God s threatenings. The curse 
denounced many hundred years before took place. The force and 
virtue of the prediction was not worn out and antiquated, though the 
attempt was long after it was first pronounced. 

(2.) How dangerous it is to build again what God hath or would 
have to be ruined and destroyed. This latter lesson I shall insist upon, 
and observe 

Doct. That to seek to erect what God hath and would have 
destroyed involveth us in a fearful curse. 

In following which point, I shall show (1.) What God hath and 
would destroy ; (2.) The reasons; (3.) The use. 

First, What it is that God hath and will destroy. The question is 
large, but I will restrain it to the matter I intend. And because the 
accommodation of scripture to particular cases needeth to proceed 
upon good evidence, that right may be done, I shall state it in these 

1. Certain it is that the kingdom which God will erect and establish 


is the kingdom of the Mediator, and the kingdom which God will 
destroy is the kingdom of the devil. I put it in this copulate axiom 
or- double proposition, because the one immediately dependeth upon 
the other, and the one cannot be done without the other. The king 
dom of Christ as mediator cannot be set up unless the kingdom of the 
devil be destroyed. 

Now that this is the purpose of God, to erect the one and destroy 
the other, is evident by scripture : Ps. ex. 1, The Lord said unto my 
Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy foot 
stool. Christ upon the throne hath enemies, but in due time they shall 
be his footstool. He shall gain upon opposition, and against opposition, 
and by opposition. They shall be so far from overturning his throne, 
that they shall be a step to it, as the footstool is to the throna ; and 1 
John iii. 8, For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he 
might destroy the works of the devil, Iva \vary. To unravel all that 
Satan hath been a-weaving for the captivating and deceiving of the 
world. Christ having a grant of a kingdom over the nations, his design 
is to conquer them, and subdue them to himself, and to recover them 
to himself. This was the meaning of Gen. iii. 15, I will put enmity 
between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed ; it shall 
bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 

2. To know these two kingdoms we must consider the quality of 

[1.] The gospel kingdom is a kingdom of light, life, and love. 

Of light, because the drift of it is to give men a true knowledge of 
God : Acts xxvi. 18, To open their eyes, and turn them from darkness 
to light, and from the power of Satan to God. The devil s kingdom 
is the kingdom of darkness. The devils are said to be rulers of the 
darkness of this world, Eph. vi. 12. And those that are called from 
one kingdom to another are called from darkness to light : Col. i. 13, 
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated 
us into the kingdom of his dear Son. 

It is a kingdom of life ; as men that were before dead in sins may 
be made alive unto God : John x. 10,. I am come that they might have 
life, and that they might have it more abundantly. For heathens, 
and all men in their natural estate, are alienated from the life of 
God, Eph. iv. 18. But by faith in Christ we live in God and to God : 
Gal. ii. 20, I am crucified with Christ ; nevertheless I live ; yet not I, 
but Christ liveth in me : and the life that I now live in the flesh, I 
live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself 
for me ; Gal. v. 6, In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth 
anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith, which worketh by love/ As 
it worketh by love, we are inclined to God, and do his will, and seek 
his glory, and our happiness in the everlasting fruition of him. 

And of love. It is a kingdom of love, as it possesseth us with a 
fervent charity to God and men : 1 John iv. 8, He that loveth not, 
knoweth not God ; for God is love ; Acts xxiv. 16, Herein do I 
exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward 
God and toward men. 

Now opposite to light is ignorance and error ; to life, a religion that 
consists of shows and dead ceremonies; to love, uncharitableness, 


malice, and hatred of the power of godliness, and persecution ; and 
wherever these eminently prevail, there is an opposite kingdom set up 
to the kingdom of Christ ; which may be done by two sorts of persons 
or people 

(1.) Those that continue in the old apostasy and defection from God, 
as eminently was done 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 reigneth, instead of 
that spirit of love and goodness which the gospel would produce. 

(2.) It may be done by a second falling away, which is foretold 
2 Thes. ii. 3, For that day shall not come, except there come 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 know 
ledge, as if it were a dangerous thing ; as if the height of Christian 
faith and devotion did consist in a blind obedience, and a believing 
what men could impose upon them by their bare authority; and 
instead of life, men place their whole religion in some superstitious rites 
and ceremonies, and trifling acts of devotion, or exterior mortifications ; 
and instead of love to God and souls, all things are sacrificed to private 
ambition, and consciences are forced by the highest penalties and 
persecutions to submit to their corruptions of the Christian faith and 
worship. Where this obtaineth, there is a manifest perversion of the 
interests of Christ s kingdom. 

Both these apostasies, the general apostasy from God, and the special 
apostasy from Christ, may be upheld by the authority, power, and 
interest of several nations ; and though the name of God and of Christ 
be retained in either for a cloak, yet clearly we may see they are 
revolted from the kingdom of God and of Christ. 

[2.] The devil s kingdom. Surely he hath a great hand in all the 
corruptions of mankind, especially in antichrist s kingdom. As the 
apostle telleth us, his coming shall be by or after the working of 
Satan, 2 Thes. ii. 9. He is the raiser and support of that estate, as 
will appear by what is ascribed to the devil in the scriptures. 

(1.) Ignorance, and error, and seduction. For it is said, John viii. 
44, that he abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him : 
when he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own ; for he is a liar, and 
the father of lies. And therefore in that society of professed Christians 
where ignorance not only reigneth, but is countenanced, and means of 
grace suppressed, and most errors and corruptions in doctrine have 
been introduced, there Satan hath great influence : 2 Cor. iv. 4, In 
whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which 
believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the 
image of God, should shine unto them. 

(2.) Idolatry. This was his first and great endeavour for perverting 
the world, to bring men to worship another god, or the true God by an 
idol. The devil is e^Xo^a/*/?, a delighter in idols.* He was the con 
triver of the idols of the gentiles ; therefore they are said to sacri 
fice their sons and daughters unto devils, Ps. cvi. 37 ; and Deut. xxxii. 
17, They sacrificed unto devils, and not unto God. They meant it 
to God, but the Lord saith it was to devils. Aaron saith to Jehovah ; 



so saith Jeroboam. Now, where the devil can get such a party in the 
church as shall not only set up, but be mad upon image- worship, who 
do more visibly promote his interest than they ? 

(3.) That which is ascribed to Satan is bloody cruelty, or seeking the 
destruction of Christ s most faithful servants ; for he is called a 
murderer from the beginning John viii. 44 ; and Cain is said to be 
of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he 
him ? because his own works were evil, and his brother s righteous, 
1 John iii. 12. Enmity to the power of godliness came from 
Satan; and wherever it is encouraged and notoriously practised, 
they are a party and confederacy of men governed and influenced 
by Satan. Now where shall we find this character but in anti 
christ s confederacy ? Kev. xiii. 15, He caused that as many as 
would not worship the image of the beast should be killed ; and again, 
Kev. xvii. 5, 6, the woman whose name was Mystery was drunken with 
the blood of the saints, and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And 
it hath been eminently fulfilled in the bloodshed of Germany, France, 
England, and other nations ; and all this to extinguish the light and 
suppress the truth of Christ. Oh, how many seeming Christians hath 
Satan employed in these works of cruelty ! When oncahe had seduced 
the church to errors, and corrupted the doctrine and worship of Christ, 
he presently maketh the erroneous party instruments of as cruel and 
bloody persecutions as were ever commenced by infidels and Mahome 
tans. Witness their murders upon so many thousands of the Walden- 
ses and Albigenses, whom they not only spoiled, but slaughtered with 
all manner of hellish cruelty. Some of their own bishops complained 
they could not find lime and stone enough to build prisons for them, 
nor defray the charges of their food. The world was even amazed at 
their unheard of cruelties ; smoking and burning thousands of men, 
women, and children, some in caves, others at the stake ; and many 
other ways butchering them, proclaiming crusades against them, and 
preaching the merit of paradise to such bloody butchers as had a mind 
to root them out ; driving also multitudes to perish in snowy moun 
tains. What desolations they wrought in Bohemia ; what horrible 
massacres in France ! What fires they kindled in England ; what 
cruelties they executed in Ireland and Piedmont ! If we should be 
silent, history will speak, and tell all generations to come how little 
this faction of Christians have of the lamb-like spirit of Christ Jesus, 
and how insatiable their thirst is for the blood of upright righteous 
men. And then consider where the satanical spirit ruleth, and whether 
we have cause to be enamoured of blood, and fire, and inquisitions ? 

(4.) That which is ascribed to Satan is that he is the god of this 
world, 2 Cor. iv. 4 ; and again, the prince of this world/ John xii. 31, 
John xvi. 11. He playeth the god and prince here, and sensual and 
worldly souls are easily seduced by him. The riches, honours, and 
wealth of this world are the great instruments of his kingdom ; and the 
men of this world, whose portion is in this life, are his proper subjects. 
As Christ is head of the saints, so is Satan of the wicked, ungodly, am 
bitious world. St Austin distinguished of two cities of Jerusalem 
the city of God, and Babylon which is the incorporation which belong- 
eth to Satan. And therefore, when you find any party of Christians who 



are of the world, speak of the world, and the world heareth them, 1 
John iv. 5, they that are to try the spirits may soon see what to choose 
and what to forsake. Certainly the case is not doubtful where the 
head of that state, without any warrant from Christ, and with the ap 
parent detriment and loss of Christianity, exalteth himself above all that 
is called God, and affecteth an ambitious tyranny and domineering over 
the Christian world, both princes, pastors, and people ; and to uphold 
this tyranny, careth not what havoc he maketh of the churches of 
Christ ; and where the whole frame of their religion is calculated for 
secular honour, worldly pomp, and greatness. 

3. That it is God s purpose to set up one kingdom and demolish the 
other, not only in the hearts of particular men, but in kingdoms and 
nations and public societies. Jesus Christ was appointed to be not 
only king of saints/ Rev. xv. 3, but king of nations, Jer. x. 7 ; and 
therefore not only erect to himself a throne and a government in the 
hearts of his people, but to have his religion owned and countenanced, 
and supported by nations and kingdoms and public societies of men. 
When Christ was promised to Abraham, it was said, Gen. xviii. 18, 
All the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him ; not only 
persons, but nations. So Isa. Iv. 5, Nations that knew not thee shall 
run to thee ; Isa. Ix. 12, The nations and kingdoms that would not 
serve thee shall perish ; Rev. xi. 15, The kingdoms of the world are 
become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ. When Christ 
sent abroad the apostles, he said, Mat. xxviii. 19, Go, teach .all nations. 
They were not only to gain upon single persons, but bring nations 
to a public owning of Christ. There is a personal acknowledgment of 
Christ when we receive him into our hearts : John i. 12, To as many 
as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God. 
An ecclesiastical acknowledgment of Christ, when the church as a 
society is in visible covenant with him : E^ek. xvi. 8, I sware unto 
thee, and entered _ into covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and 
thou becamest mine. A national acknowledgment of Christ, when 
his religion is countenanced and supported by nations, and befriended 
with the laws and constitutions of civil government. This is a great 
advantage. Christ prayed for it : John xvii. 21, 23, That they may 
all be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also 
may be one in us : that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 
I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one ; 
and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved 
them as thou hast loved me. By believing there is meant common 
conviction. He had promised it before : John xvi. 8, When he is 
come, he will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judg 
ment. It is a great advantage when the potentates of the earth set 
open the doors to Christ, and are careful of his interest in the world 

4 When true religion is thus received, such an advantage should 
not be lost or carelessly looked after. Partly because it is with much 
ado that Christ gets up in the world ; not only by the labours of his 
servants but by their deep sufferings. As the chief captain said to 
Paul With a great sum obtained I this freedom, Acts xxii. 28: so 
this liberty was not only purchased by the blood of Christ, 1 Peter 
i. 18, 19, but with the expense of many of his servants lives, who 


counted not their interest dear to them, to bring the world to this 
pass, and to recover the truths and interests of Christ s kingdom out 
of the common apostasy. Partly because it is unreasonable that 
should be lost in an instant that hath been so long a-gaining, and 
wantonly thrown away which with so many years care hath been 
brought to this effect ; so that the work of Christ is set back in the 
world. After the second apostasy, God doth by degrees bring down 
the kingdom of Satan, and recover the kingdom of the Mediator: 
Eev. xi. 13, The tenth part of the city fell, and the remnant were 
affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven; Ps. lix. 11, Slay 
them not, lest my people forget : scatter them in thy power, and bring 
them down. To put Christ to do again what hath been done already, 
is such a presuming on his providence as will cost dear. Partly also 
because the present age is a kind of trustee for the next. We are 
God s witnesses to the present age : Isa, xliii. 10, Ye are my wit 
nesses, saith the Lord. And we are God s trustees for future genera 
tions, and should take care we do not entail prejudices upon them, 
and leave them to grapple with insuperable difficulties, to find out 
their way to heaven : Horn. iii. 2, The oracles of God were committed 
to the Jews. So 2 Tim. ii. 2, The things which thou hast heard of 
me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, 
who shall be able to teach others also. Now we must see that we be 
faithful in our trust. And we are bound to this zeal, if we remember 
our ancestors, or remember our posterity. Partly also because God 
severely threateneth them that play the wanton with religion, because 
they were not bitten with the inconveniences under which former gene 
rations smarted. And therefore, as Samuel dealt with the Israelites, 
when they would cast off the theocracy, or God s government, under 
which they had been well and safely governed, that they might be like 
the nations round about them ; Samuel telleth them by God s appoint 
ment, l The manner of the king that shall reign over them, 1 Sam. 
viii. 11-13, He shall take your sons, and appoint them for him 
self, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen, and some shall run before 
his chariots ; and he will take your daughters to be his confectionaries, 
and to be cooks and bakers, &c. ; so if such a wanton humour should 
possess us that we must have the religion of the nations round about 
us, consider whom you receive spiritually to reign over you ; one that 
will lord it over your consciences, obtrude upon you his damnable 
errors, and pestilent superstitions, and bold usurpations on the 
authority of Christ ; or else burn you with temporal fire, or excom 
municate you, and cast out your name, as one that is to be condemned 
to that which is eternal. And then you will see the difference between 
the blessed yoke of Christ and the iron yoke of antichrist. 

Secondly, Keasons. 

1. It is ingratitude to build again what God hath destroyed, as if 
his mercies were not worth the having. God prefaces the law, Exod. 
xx. 2, I am the Lord thy God, that brought thee out of the land of 
Egypt, out of the house of bondage/ Now God took it heinously 
when ever and anon they were making to themselves a captain to 
return again to Egypt ; as if he had done them wrong to knock off their 
shackles and to free them from the brick-kilns, when their cry, because 


of the anguish of their souls, came up to heaven. So in the new testa 
ment Gal v 1, Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath 
made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 
The servility of legal observances was so great and so unprofitable, 
that they could not be thankful enough for their liberty ; and there 
fore it should be dearer to us than to part with it for trifles, or to take 
on the yoke again, when God hath freed us from it. 

2. It is an affront to the God of heaven, or a contempt of his 
power ; an entering into the list with the almighty God, as if we could 
keep up what he hath a mind to destroy. It is not a simple sin to 
stand out against Christ, and not to open the gates to him is a great 
evil. If his anger be but kindled a little, what can we do, the greatest, 
the wisest, the most powerful amongst us? Ps. ii. 12, Kiss the Son, 
lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, when his wrath is kindled 
but a little. But it is an aggravated sin to turn him out after he is 
entered. Alas ! how horrible a contempt is that of Christ ! It is a 
vile scorn put upon the majesty of God. Better never have owned 
him than to be cold, indifferent, and negligent in his interests. If the 
business had been to introduce a religion, it had been another matter ; 
but this is to preserve what is already introduced. 

3. It is unbelief. Such persons regard not the threatenings of God : 
I<iam. L 9, She remembered not her last end, therefore she came down 
wonderfully ; Deut. xxxii. 29, Oh, that they were wise, that they 
understood this, that they would consider their latter end. Mischief 
and ruin attendeth these attempts : Hosea xiii. 1, When Ephraim 
offended in Baal, he died. But people little mind these things. 

4. How heinously God taketh this. See how he declareth the 
cause: Jer. ii. 9-13, I will plead with you, saith the Lord, and 
with your children s children will I plead. For pass over the isles of 
Chittim, and see ; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see 
if there be such a thing. Hath a nation changed their gods, which yet 
are no gods ? but my people have changed their glory for that which 
doth not profit. Be astonished, ye heavens, at this, and be horribly 
afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lord. For my people have 
committed two evils ; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living 
waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no 
water. God will make you know, and your children s children know, 
that it is the basest thing in the world that he should lose ground in 
your days, and that people should sit loose in matters of religion, not care 
much which end goeth forward, when he hath done such great things 
for them. But what is God s plea ? let them produce any people in 
any part of the world then commonly known that had dealt with their 
idols as they had done with him, the true and living God. Then, ver. 
12, Be astonished, ye heavens ! God would have the sun look pale 
on such a wickedness, and the spheres to hurl out their stars, and all the 
creatures to stand amazed at such a folly, such transcendant and 
matchless impiety. Elsewhere God complaineth, Isa. xliii. 22, Thou 
hast not called upon me, Jacob ; thou hast been weary of me, O 
Israel. To be weary of God is as great a charge as can be brought 
against a people. Then it is just with God to take away religion, that 
the want may make us more sensible of the worth of it 


5. It bringeth a scandal and ill report on God in the world. There 
fore he standeth upon his vindication : Micah vi. 3-5, my people ! 
what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? 
Testify against me. For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, 
and redeemed thee out of the house of servants, and I sent before thee 
Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. O my people ! remember now what Balak 
king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered 
him from Shittim unto Gilgal, that ye may know the righteousness of 
the Lord/ That strangers receive him not is not so bad, but that a 
people acquainted with him should cast him out after trial. God 
calleth upon the mountains and strong foundations of the earth, who 
keep still their obediential subjection to their creator, to witness 
against the ingratitude and stupidness of his people. What injury 
have we found in God ? ver. 2, Hear, ye mountains, the Lord s 
controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth; for the Lord 
hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel. 

Use. We must neither build the walls of Jericho again, nor, as much 
as in us lieth, suffer others to build them. Every one in his place is 
to hinder the work. If religion were uncertain, it were another 
matter. But did Christ come to establish the works of the devil ? If 
Joshua saith, Cursed be he before the Lord that riseth up and 
buildeth this city Jericho ; if Paul said, Gal. i. 8, If an angel from 
heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have 
preached unto you, let him be accursed ; if others bestir themselves 
and by clancular and base artifices go to build these walls again, we 
should be the more zealous for God : Micah iv. 5, For all people shall 
walk in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of our 
God. But what must we do ? 

1. Let us not only profess the true religion, but come under the 
power of it. The heart is best established by grace. The bias of 
men s corrupt hearts doth easily prevail against the light of their minds. 
Few are corrupted in opinion but that are first false at heart. The 
regenerate have advantages above other men : 1 John ii. 20, Ye 
have an unction from the Holy One, and know all things. Most rot 
ten opinions in the world are against the gust and sense of the new 
nature. But on the other side, men soon lose their zeal for truth that 
are addicted to a worldly sensual life. Therefore see that Christ s 
kingdom be set up in our hearts : Luke xvii. 21, The kingdom of God 
is within you ; and that there we build not again the things we have 
destroyed/ Gal. ii. 18. After we have devoted ourselves to God, we 
must not fall off from him ; till Christ s kingdom be set up in our 
hearts, we shall never sincerely care for his interests in the world ; for 
all carnal men seek their own things. Men may bustle for a while for 
the interest of their several factions and opinions, but have not a true 
pure zeal for Christ s kingdom. 

2. Let us pray ; that will do much. Christ hath taught us to pray 
for the coming of his kingdom : Mat. vi. 10, Thy kingdom come ! 
David, in his penitential psalm, could not forget the welfare of the 
church, when so deeply concerned as to his own particular, for the 
recovering of his own peace : Ps. Ii. 18, Do good in thy good pleasure 
unto Zion : build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Walls of Zion, 


not of Jericho or Babylon. It is God s interest; spread it before 

3. Be thankful to God for these deliverances. Prayer gets blessings, 
but thankfulness keepeth them ; for God is careful to preserve them 
to such who count it a benefit, and are mindful of it. We have mani 
fold cause to bless God. 

[1.] For former deliverance out of the house of bondage so early. 

[2.J That he hath so often defeated the attempts of those who would 
bring us back thither. 

[3.] For the good we have many years enjoyed under the reformed 
religion, which God hath blessed to the converting, strengthening, and 
comforting many a precious soul. 

[4.] For continuing still the liberty of the gospel and means of grace 
under a protestant king. 

[5.] For the quiet we now enjoy ; when other parts of Christendom 
are in a combustion, we are untouched, and enjoy safety. We are 
querulous, and apt to complain ; but all things reckoned, we have much 
more cause to give thanks. 

4. Let such deliverances as this enkindle our love and zeal to that 
religion which God hath owned and defended. Partly because when 
men are persuaded of the truth, such providences as these are so many 
attestations to it: Ps. xli. 11, By this I know that thou favourest me, 
because mine enemy doth not triumph over me/ Partly because God 
will spew those out of his mouth that are neither hot nor cold. Partly 
because zeal discourageth the factors and abettors of the kingdom of 
darkness. The fear of the people restrained the pharisees. 

5. Prize the means of grace, and encourage them. Jericho s walls 
fell by the blast of the rams horns ; this kingdom falleth by the preach 
ing of the gospel : 2 Thes. ii. 8, Whom the Lord will consume with 
the spirit of his mouth. Whoever hinders that, promotes the devil s 
kingdom : 2 Cor. iv. 4, In whom the god of this world hath blinded 
the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious 
gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them/ 
Owls fly in the dark ; this kingdom is maintained by darkness, blind 
ness, and ignorance of the truth. 

6. Let us not give encouragement by our divisions to our adver 
saries. The more we labour for unity, the more we establish religion : 
Kom. xvi. 17, Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary 
to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them/ When 
passengers in a boat fall a-quarrelling and pushing one another, they 
endanger the sinking of the boat. When Christ s army is scattered, 
antichrist will prevail. Keep up the common Christianity. It may 
be peaceful endeavours signify nothing in a factious and divided time, 
yet we must unite every one in the things that are right and owned by 
God : James iii. 17, The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then 
peaceable; provided we touch no unclean thing. Here we must 
separate : 2 Cor. vi. 17, Come out from among them, and be ye 
separate, saith the Lord, and touch no unclean thing, and I will receive 

7. Eecommend religion by a holy life, partly because gross sins, 
under the profession of a reformed religion, provoke God to remove 


our candlestick from us ; partly because, with all understanding be 
holders, the fruits of love, peace, and holiness will justify your religion: 
Mat. xi. 19, Wisdom is justified of her children. 

8. Practise the virtues contrary to the vices of the opposite kingdom. 
Theirs is a bloody religion ; ours a meek one. Be zealous to reduce 
them from their errors. Let there be a hatred of popery, and a pity to 
papists ; a hatred of abomination, but not a hatred of enmity : Prov. 
xxix. 27, An unjust man is an abomination to the just, and he that is 
upright in the way is abomination to the wicked. 


my people ! remember now what Balak king of Modb consulted, 
and wliat Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim 
unto Gilgal ; tliat ye may know the righteousness of the Lord. 
MICAH vi. 5. 

THESE words are a part of God s plea against Israel for their ingratitude 
in departing from their obedience to him. Their backsliding had 
raised an evil report upon God, as if he were harsh and severe, and 
had not dealt well with them ; therefore God justifieth his providence ; 
what injury had he done to them ? wherein had he wearied them ? 
what had they to lay to his charge ? ver. 3, my people ! what 
have I done to thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? Testify 
against me. The matter concerneth us, for the general sin of this 
nation is, that we are grown weary of God ; but we have as little reason 
as they had. Injuries he had done none to them, but, on the contrary, 
vouchsafed many rare and singular favours. He instanceth first in his 
redeeming them from Egypt, where they were dealt with as slaves and 
bondsmen : ver. 4, For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, 
and redeemed thee out of the house of servants. Surely a deliverance 
from spiritual or temporal bondage should be an eternal bond upon 
us to be for God. The second instance is his conduct of them in the 
wilderness under Moses and Aaron : ver. 4, c And I sent before thee 
Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. When God giveth a people such gover 
nors both in church and state, who do not only adhere to true religion, 
but countenance it in others, yea, set their whole heart to propagate 
it, it is a great mercy, not to be forgotten. The third instance is that 
in the text, his bringing them into Canaan, notwithstanding the 
designs to root them out by the way : my people ! remember now 
what Balak king of Moab consulted/ &c. 
In which words 

1. Observe the matter, what is recommended to their remembrance, 
in two things 

[1.] The plot betwixt Balak and Balaam. 

[2.] The many good things that fell out between Shittim and Gilgal. 

2. The end why it is recommended to their remembrance, That ye 
may know the righteousness of the Lord. 

First, For the matter. 

[1.] The plot between Balak and Balaam. 

1 Preached November 5, 167G, 


[1.] What Balak consulted ; how to ruin Israel, and bereave them of 
God s favour and protection. Therefore he sent for Balaam to curse 
them, hoping that by this wizard s enchantments and predictions the 
matter would be easy. 

[2.] What Balaam answered (1.) Somewhat by way of prophecy; 
(2.) Somewhat by way of counsel. (1st.) By way of prophecy, he 
found that to curse Israel was a fruitless endeavour, and God over 
ruled his tongue to bless them ; (2<i) By way of counsel, he persuaded 
Balak to feast them, to induce them to idolatry and fornication. 

2. The second part of the matter which is commended to their 
remembrance is, what happened between Shittim and Gilgal. Shittim 
was the place where they went astray after Baal-peor, Num. xxv. 1, 
and the place where they did abide until after Moses death ; and 
from whence Joshua removed them to Jordan, where they passed over 
to Gilgal, and there the Lord renewed his covenant with them by 
circumcision, Josh. v. 2. Therefore the Lord willeth his people here to 
remember the things that befell them from Shittim to Gilgal. What 
these things were may be seen by the history following (1.) Though 
many warped, and committed such heinous whoredoms with Baal-peor, 
the state and body of the church was still preserved ; (2.) That God 
led them on dry foot through Jordan, and at length brought them into 
Canaan, the land of promise ; (3.) There anew confirmeth his covenant 
with them ; and (4.) The slaying of Balaam, their pernicious enemy, 
in the interval between their going from Shittim to Gilgal: Num. 
xxxi. 8, Balaam also, the son of Beor, they slew with the sword. 

Secondly, The end, That ye may know the righteousness of the 
Lord. It implieth here both his mercy and his fidelity. His mercy, 
which strove with their wickedness, and overcame their evil with his 
goodness. His faithfulness, in keeping his covenant and his promises ; 
for though some of the people did perish for that they fell into this 
wickedness with Baal-peor, yet those that cleaved to the Lord re 
mained alive. This was just as they were entering into the promised 

Doct. That old mercies, especially national mercies, should not be 
forgotten, that AVO may know God s uprightness in keeping his cove 
nant and gracious promises. 

1. I shall give you an account of this instance of mercy which the 
text offereth. 

2. What observations may be thence deduced. 

3. Why such kind of mercies should not be forgotten. 

First, To give an account of this instance of mercy in the text. 

1. What Balak consulted. Let us state his design ; for this plot 
that he laid was most dangerous and wicked, and the most likely to 
obtain his desire ; for if he could have obtained from God a curse 
upon Israel, he might soon have vanquished them. There are many 
ways which the devil s instruments take to mischief religion. Some 
times by fomenting and promoting divisions among themselves, that 
they may first ruin one another, and then become a prey to their 
common adversaries : Gal. v. 15, If ye bite and devour one another, 
take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. It beginneth in 
caluminating and defaming one another, and then within a while it 


breaks out into open feuds, and that breedeth mischief and per 
secution. The devil hath a hand in all this, and many times his 
instruments, as Sanballat and Tobiah set tip a party among the 
Jews to weaken their hands in the work, Neh. vi. Sometimes 
by sowing divisions between them and their rulers. The devil 
knoweth what an advantage it is to religion to have the countenance 
of princes, and, on the other side, how jealous they are of their autho 
rity and prerogatives ; therefore by his instruments he seeketh to 
prejudice and prepossess them against those that profess religion in 
strictness and power. Thus Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent to 
Jeroboam, the king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee 
in the midst of the house of Israel, and the land is not able to bear 
all his words/ Amos vii. 10 ; as if he had enticed the people from their 
duty, and made them enemies to his authority ; and this by claucular 
insinuation, when Amos was neither called nor heard. So Saul against 
David : 1 Sam. xxiv. 9, Wherefore nearest thou men s words, saying, 
Behold, David seeketh thy hurt? So Haman against the Jews: 
Esther iii. 8, There is a people scattered abroad, and dispersed among 
the people, in all the provinces of thy kingdom ; and their laws are 
diverse from all people, neither keep they the king s laws ; therefore it 
is not for the king s profit to suffer them/ Thus whisperers make 
princes conceive an ill opinion of religious men. But the devil will 
soar an higher flight yet, to divide between them and God, and to 
disengage him from the protection of his people. What else is the 
meaning of all his temptations ? But most eminently this was the 
plot now in hand. The Israelites could not be overcome as long as 
God was with them, and how shall they do to get away God from them ? 
God was not, as the gods of the heathens, to be called out by sacrifices 
and enchantments; as they used, before they warred against any 
people, to endeavour by certain charms and rites to get away their 
tutelar gods from them. Macrobius hath a chapter De ritu evocandi 
deos ; and if they conquered any country, they ascribed it to the 
departure of their gods. Excessere omnes, adytis arisque relictis, 
dii quibus imperium Jioc steterat. Balak, according to the custom of 
the nations, would try this ; but they were now to deal with the God 
of Israel, who could not be charmed away from his people. And 
though Balaam was of great repute and esteem among that people, 
and though it was misery enough to be blasted with his curse, and 
happiness enough to be blessed by his mouth : Num. xxii. 6, He 
whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed 
indeed ; even as Simon Magus was esteemed the great power of 
God/ Acts viii. 10 ; yet this would not take effect. Therefore 

2. Let us see what Balaam answered him, 

[1.] By way of prediction. He came to curse them, but he uttereth 
many prophecies concerning the happiness of Israel : Num. xxiii. 8, 
How shall I curse whom God hath not cursed, or how shall I defy 
whom the Lord hath not defied? He showeth that no inferior 
power is able to hurt without leave from God ; yea, he pronounceth a 
great blessing upon Israel, as those that were happy both in life and 
death : ver. 10, Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my 
last end be like his/ And further showeth the stableness of God s 


love to his people : ver. 19, 20, God is not a man, that he should lie, 
nor the son of man, that he should repent : hath he said, and 
shall he not do it ? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good ? 
Behold, I have received commandment to bless, and he hath blessed, 
and I cannot reverse it. All the powers of the world are not able to 
separate them from his love and blessings in Christ And then pro- 
phesieth of Christ, insomuch that Balak entreateth him to give over : 
ver. 25, Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all. Since he 
could do no evil to Israel, he would hinder him from doing good. But 
yet he would make another trial ; but still it pleased the Lord to over 
rule his tongue to bless Israel, and the truth and constancy of his 
love appeared, against whose will the more he struggleth the stronger 
he is resisted, Num. xxiv. 3. He taketh up a new parable, blessing 
Israel once again, which puts Balak all into a rage and indignation, 
and he driveth away the false prophet from his sight, who sought after 
honour and riches as the wages of his unrighteousness, but is sent 
home with ignominy and shame. But Balaam s mind is still hanker 
ing after the reward, and therefore, when he could not hurt them by 
any prophetical curse, he seeketh to do it by his pestilent counsel. 

[2.] What he answered him by way of advice : Num. xxiv. 4, 
Come now, and I will advertise thee what thou shalt do. Moses 
doth not express the counsel given, because it was whispered secretly 
into Balak s ear ; you see the sense is imperfect in that place ; and 
what it was may be known by the effect, and by other places. By the 
effect, Num. xxv. Balaam gave counsel to Balak and the princes of 
Midian to put a stumbling-block before the Israelites, to see if they 
could withdraw the people from the love, fear, and obedience of the 
Lord their God, that so God might be provoked to withdraw his 
favour and blessing from them ; and so Israel s sinning might bring 
themselves into the curse which Balaam with all his enchantments 
could not bring upon them. By this wicked counsel they prevailed 
against many, to the death of twenty-four thousand Israelites. That 
Balaam was the author of all this mischief appeareth, Num. xxxi. 16, 
Behold these (that is, the Midianitish women) caused the children of 
Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against 
the Lord in the matter of Peor. And it is said, Kev. ii. 14, that 
Balaam taught Balak to cast a stumbling-block before the children of 
Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication. 
This was the plot, to send some beautiful women of the Midianites to 
wander about the camp of Israel, to tempt their lusty youth and 
martial men, first to uncleanness, and then to idolatry, that so God 
might be provoked against them; a design pernicious and full of 
refined malice. 

3. What befell them between Shittim and Gilgal. 

[1.] In Shittim they miscarried foully by the effect of Balaam s 
counsel. The intended war of Moab against Israel was turned into a 
pretended peace and feigned amity, and their fair women were sent 
about the camp to defile the bodies and souls of men with whoredom 
and idolatry. And so a people that had such experience of God s 
power and goodness in the wilderness, and were just now ready to 
enter into the promised land, are here prevented and overthrown in 


the wilderness, and God s anger was kindled against them, and twenty- 
four thousand were destroyed among the people, Num. xxv. 9. It 
seems one thousand slain by the judges, and twenty-three thousand 
by God s own hand ; that is, by a plague : 1 Cor. x. 8, Neither com 
mit fornication, as some of them also committed, and fell in one day 
three and twenty thousand. But after that God was atoned to them, 
and his judgment was executed upon the malefactors, and the plague 

[2.] They are sent against the Midianites, who had vexed them with 
their wiles, that is, with their deceits and feigned amity ; and there 
they light on Balaam, and slew him, Num. xxxi. 8. This wretch died 
not the death of the righteous, as he seemed to desire; but his 
iniquity found him out, for, among others, he was slain with the sword. 

[3.] After this God appears among them again, and they are led 
into Canaan with a miracle ; an argument of a great favour on God s 
part, and an awe of those things that befell them at Shittim ; and now 
they are very tender of provoking God again : Josh. xxii. 17, Is the 
iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until 
this day ? They had tasted of the bitter waters. 

[4.] God s covenant is renewed at Gilgal, to show that he would 
still be their God, and bless them as formerly, Josh. v. 2, 3. 

Secondly, The observations that may be hence deduced. For cer 
tainly it was a special act of God s mere love : Deut. xxiii. 4, 5, They 
hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor to curse thee ; nevertheless 
the Lord thy God would not hearken to Balaam, but the Lord thy 
God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the Lord thy 
God loved thee. So Josh. xxiv. 9, 10, And Balak the son of Zippor, 
king of Moab, arose, and warred against Israel, and sent and called 
Balaam the son of Beor to curse you : but I would not hearken to 
Balaam ; therefore he blessed you still : so I delivered you out of his 

1. That wicked men cannot hurt the godly but when God permit- 
teth : Gen. xxxi. 7, Your father hath deceived me, and changed my 
wages ten times, but God suffered him not to hurt me. So Laban 
saith, ver. 29, It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt ; but the 
God of your fathers spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed 
that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. God hath the power 
of blessing and cursing in his own hand, however men are disposed. 
The king sought by all means possible and devisable to bring God s 
curse upon them, but God changed it into a glorious blessing. Men s 
hearts are not in their own hands, and if they find their hearts, success 
is not at their command. God disappointed the plots and practice of 
Balak and Balaam. Balaam returned as he came, and could not curse 
Israel, but denounced woes against their enemies. 

2. That God can protect us against the fraud as well as the violence 
of enemies. The devil assaults us with wiles and darts, Eph. vi. 11, 
16 ; so do his instruments assault us ; they vex us with their wiles, 
and pursue us with their open hostility and persecution ; but we may 
trust God with our safety. A remedy may possibly be prepared against 
violence, when no man by his own foresight can find out all the snares 
laid for him. But this is the comfort of God s people, that nothing is 


hidden from God. He is wise, and he is watchful ; wise to foresee the 
draught of his own providence : Ps. xxxvii. 12, 13, The wicked plot- 
teth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth : the Lord 
shall laugh at him, for he seeth that the day is coming. And as God 
is wise, so he is watchful : Ps. cxxi. 4, He that keepeth Israel shall 
neither slumber nor sleep. God is privy to their most secret designs. 

3. That God s providence is especially interested when the design is 
to corrupt religion. Balaam was right in pronouncing blessings on 
the children of Israel whilst they kept true to their religion ; but his 
advice was to feast and entertain Israel kindly, to induce them to for 
sake their God, and then the Lord interposed, and defeated this 
malicious purpose. Many times God doth that for the sake of religion 
which a people that profess religion deserve not : Isa. iv. 5, And the 
Lord will create upon every dwelling-place of Mount Sion, and upon 
her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flam 
ing fire by night ; for upon all the glory shall be a defence. Particular 
persons fell by those wars, but religion was secured and kept safe. 

4. That God can make our very enemies befriend us. Thus he over 
ruled the heart of Balaam to bless Israel and curse their enemies : 
Prov. xvi. 7, When a man s ways please the Lord, he maketh even 
his enemies to be at peace with him. It is a proverb, not a promise, 
and must be interpreted that God can if he will, and oftentimes doth 
it for the most part ; for proverbs are taken from what is usual and 
common. Thus he made the keeper of the prison kind to Joseph : 
Gen. xxxix. 21, The Lord was with Joseph, and showed him mercy, 
nnd gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And 
Laban was smoothed by the way when he pursued after Jacob : Gen. 
xxxi. 29, The God of your fathers spake unto me yesternight, saying, 
Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. 
And Esau was kind to him when Jacob feared him : Gen. xxxiii. 4, 
He ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell upon his neck, and 
kissed him. But above all, take the instance of the text. Balaam 
came contrary to God s warning, having an eager desire after the 
reward; his hostile mind continued still, yet he blesseth instead of 
cursing, by the overruling power of God. God hath several ways to 
accomplish this ; either by bridling their rage, or putting convictions 
on their consciences, or changing their hearts, or determining their 
interests. It cannot be imagined but that the Creator is able to rule 
his creature one way or other ; therefore we should cease from man, 
who is not sovereign master of his own affections. When all is 
thoroughly considered, God will be found to be the most desirable 
friend and dreadful adversary. 

5. That we cannot lie open to the plots and snares of those that 
hate us till we have provoked our shadow and defence to depart from 
us ; for till there was an apostasy from the truth and the right ways 
of God, Balaam with all his wiles could have no advantage against 
Israel. Balaam s counsel did more hurt than his curse. When we 
once contemn God s law, and turn to the wicked, we forfeit our protec 
tion, both against open violence and secret machinations. Many things 
are contrived against us in the dark that we know not and see not ; 
but God watcheth for us : Isa. viii. 10, Take counsel together, and 


it shall come to nought, speak the word, and it shall not stand ; for 
God is with us. Keep God with you, and you are safe. All the plots 
of the enemies were to separate between them and God ; do not gratify 
them herein. 

6. Observe God s just judgments on violent and fraudulent enemies. 
Balak and Balaam designed a mischief against Israel, but it fell upon 
their own pates. Balak lost a considerable part of his territories, 
which was allotted as a portion to the tribe of Keuben ; Balaam was 
elain by the sword. And thus it usually falls out in the course of God s 
providence : Ps. vii. 15, 16, He made a pit, and digged it, and is 
fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon 
his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own 
pate. They are taken in the pit they digged for others ; their treacher 
ous designs and attempts return upon themselves, to their own 
destruction ; as iron, when it is overheated in the fire, burneth their 
fingers which hold it; or like an arrow shot up against heaven, it 
cometh down most piercingly upon their own heads : they are taken 
in their own pit, poisoned in their own cup ; so that in the issue it 
appeareth they laid a snare for themselves ; all is converted to their 
own ruin. 

7. That God s mercy is not wholly made void to his people, notwith 
standing their many sins and failings. He spareth some though he 
punisheth others, and remembereth his covenant when our sins deserve 
it should be broken off. Alas ! whosoever readeth the carriage of this 
people in the wilderness towards God, he shall still find grace striving 
with sin, and the goodness of God overcoming the evil of man, and 
his fidelity prevailing above their unthankfulness and unfaithfulness. 
And the character of this people in the wilderness is just our own in 
travelling to heaven. How often do we forfeit the blessing of God s 
presence ! But he is not severe upon every failing, and upon repent 
ance he is willing to renew covenant with us, and set us in joint again. 
Nothing hurteth us more than the sinful provocations of God s people. 
Have no hand in them, or if you have been accessory to public guilt, 
bemoan it, and humble yourselves before God, and be more aweful 
and tender for the future, and you will find God to be a merciful 

Thirdly, Why such kind of mercies should not be forgotten. Here 
I will prove 

1. That man is apt to forget the great mercies of God, especially 
national mercies. 

2. That yet these mercies should not be forgotten, both because of 
God s command, and the profit of remembering them. 

1. That man is marvellous apt to forget these benefits ; therefore 
there are so many cautions that we forget them not. In private 
mercies : Ps. ciii. 2, Bless the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his 
benefits ; Deut. yiii. 11, Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy 
God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his 
statutes, which I command thee this day; and ver. 14, That thy 
heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought 
thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. So we 
have many precepts : Deut, viii. 2, Thou shalt remember all the way 


which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years ; 1 Chron. xvi. 12, 
Remember his marvellous works which he hath done, his wonders, 
and the judgments of his mouth. And so many charges and com 
plaints : Judges viii. 34, The children of Israel remembered not the 
Lord their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of their 
enemies on every side ; Ps. Ixxviii. 11, They forgot his works and 
his wonders that he had showed them ; and Ps. cvi. 13, They soon 
forgot his works. And all this is no more than needeth ; for man s 
memory is a bad friend to benefits. Injuries are written in marble, 
but benefits in the water. Now, as these cautions, charges, and 
accusations do respect all mercies, so especially more eminent mercies ; 
for it is said, He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered, 
Ps. cxi. 4. The great miraculous works of his providence should 
make such impression upon men as never to be forgotten, but recorded 
and reported for ever. As for great deliverances, God hath appointed 
ordinances for a memorial, such as the passover, or the Lord s supper, 
to remember our redemption by Christ ; for by these works God 
maketh himself a name, by doing great things for his people, 2 Sam. 
vii. 23. Eedemption from the tyranny of antichrist is not to be 

2. That yet these mercies should not be forgotten, partly because 
God hath commanded the contrary, as we have seen. It is not only 
a sin to forget his word, but his works ; and partly also because of 
the profit. 

[1.] That we may be more deeply possessed of the goodness of God. 
The ear doth not affect the heart so much as the eye, and what is 
felt leaveth a greater impression upon us than what is talked of, for 
experience giveth us a more intimate perception of things. The king 
of Syria said, We have heard that the kings of the house of Israel 
are merciful kings, 1 Kings xx. 31. A rumour and report giveth 
encouragement, but actual experience silenceth all contradiction. 
When I can say, I know God is not unmindful of his people, but 
relieveth them in their great straits, and watcheth over their welfare. 
As the apostle : Acts x. 34, Of a truth I perceive that God is no 
respecter of persons ; Ps. cxl. 12, I know that the Lord will maintain 
the right of the poor, and the cause of the afflicted. Unquestionably 
God will undertake the patronage of his distressed servants when all 
other hopes fail them ; meaning, when God did signally defend them 
and watch over them. 

[2.] To encourage us to walk in his ways. It is our forgetfulness 
of God s goodness that maketh us so disobedient and unthankful to 
him : Ps. Ixxviii. 7, That they might set their hope in God, and not 
forget the works of God, but keep his commandments. Nothing 
breedeth a careful uniform obedience to his commands so much as a 
grateful remembrance of his mercies. Alas! as our thankfulness is 
abated, so is our obedience. God s authority sways the conscience, but 
God s love inclines the heart. Therefore mercies should be remem 

[3.] To fortify us against all oppositions and temptations: Deut. 
vii. 18, Thou shalt not be afraid of them, but shalt well remember 
what the Lord thy God did unto Pharaoh and unto all Egypt. It is 


a great comfort to faith to look back upon the former manifestations 
of God s power and good-will towards his people. We have manifold 
fears and infirmities upon us when we see the power ^ or suspect the 
craft of our enemies ; but let us remember former experiences, and that 
will be an allay to them. When we see the continuance of his judg 
ments so many years, and in so many forms frequently varied, but 
still lying upon us, we are filled with many sad thoughts and reason 
ing of unbelief ; but we may soon suppress and silence them by the 
thoughts of God s power and love heretofore, and the evidences of his 
love and good-will and fidelity to all that depend upon him. Former 
dealings raise our hearts to the expectation of future mercies. 
Use. To press us to this remembrance 

1. Of the great Christian mercies that concern the whole common 
wealth of believers ; such as the birth, death, resurrection, and ascen 
sion, and intercession of the Lord Jesus. These are the standing 
dishes at a believer s table, the constant food for our faith, mercies 
never out of season ; these are mercies so general and beneficial, that they 
should never be forgotten, but remembered before God. We should 
always bless God for Jesus Christ, and desire that the knowledge of 
these things may be perpetuated to after ages : Eph. iii. 21, Unto him 
be glory in the church by Jesus Christ, throughout all ages, world 
without end. Amen. 

2. For national mercies, so far as they concern either the first plant 
ing or the restoring of Christ s religion, or the maintenance of it against 
the eminent open attempts or secret plots of antichristian adversaries. 
These should be remembered by us ; partly to awaken our zeal, that 
religion thus owned may not die upon our hands ; partly to show our 
esteem both of the religion and the mercy of God in owning it ; partly 
that we may beg the continuance of it, for every thanksgiving is an 
implicit prayer ; partly that we may embolden ourselves against all 
the difficulties we may be exposed to in owning the true profession, 
and depend on the same God still, and continue faithful to him. 

3. Old personal mercies ; though we have new ones daily, yet they 
must not jostle out the old. David saith, Ps. ciii. 2, Forget not all 
his benefits. 1 

[1.] The smallest mercy should not be despised, partly because 
they all come from a great God. A small remembrance from a 
prince or potentate we esteem as a great favour ; why not from God 
much more ? Ps. cxiii. 6, Who humbleth himself to behold the 
things that are in heaven and in the earth. But the invisible hand 
that reacheth out our mercies to us is little noted or observed, partly 
because they come from the same love the great ones do. You see all 
along in the 136th Psalm, For his mercy endureth for ever; ver. 
25, Who giveth food to all flesh, for his mercy endureth for ever. 
Daily bread as well as those mighty wonders flow from the same 
mercy. Nothing should be small where nothing is deserved. And 
partly because he that is not faithful in a little will not be faithful in 
much ; as in point of sin, he that doth not make conscience of small 
sins, will fall into greater. The lesser commands are a rail about the 
greater ; so a constant neglect of mercies breedeth a senseless stupidity. 

But whose memory is so vast as to carry all matters away with it ? 


Answer There is an habitual remembrance and an actual com 

(1.) An habitual remembrance is necessary as to all God s acts of 
mercy, not only of the more eminent and signal providences, but of 
every day s kindnesses. This habitual remembrance is caused by 
taking notice of mercies as they come to us, that by observation of the 
multitude of them we may be possessed with an higher esteem of God s 
never-failing compassions, and may love him more, and serve him 
better. Every experience is as fuel added to the fire, as it increaseth 
our love to God, and our trust and dependence upon him. 

(2.) An actual commemoration is impossible as to every single mercy ; 
it would require that we should live over as long again as we have 
done in the world, for God s mercies may be reckoned by the minutes 
of our lives. 

[2.] In the more eminent passages of our lives, as much as may be 
we should be more express and particular ; for particulars are more 
affective, such as are awakening opportunities, deliverances in great 
dangers and fears, or notable mercies vouchsafed. God helpeth weak 
eyes, that cannot see his goodness in a lesser print, by a greater, when 
he sets forth his love, power, and goodness in a larger character. To 
neglect or forget these showeth that we will little mind the dealings of 
God. In short, if we cannot recall the single acts, recollect the sorts 
of mercies ; as painters, when they draw a crowd, paint a cluster of 
heads. We cannot reckon up all the mercies of God in order : Ps. xl. 
5, Many, Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast 
done, and thy thoughts which are to us-wards, they cannot be reckoned 
up in order unto thee : if I would declare and speak of them, they are 
more than can be numbered. If we do not always actually remember, 
yet still cherish an habitual remembrance, or a constant sense of the 
Lord s goodness to us ; this will help us against our distrustful fears : 
Ps. Ixxvii. 10, And I said, This is my infirmity : but I will remember 
the years of the right hand of the Most High. David s former experi 
ences were a great relief to him. So against discontent and murmur 
ing : Job ii. 10, Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and not 
evil ? This will be a check to sin : Ezra ix. 13, 14, 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, and hast given us such deliverance as this, should we again 
break thy commandments ? And a strong impulsion to obedience : 
Josh. xxiv. 31, And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, 
and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which 

I had known all the works of the Lord that he had done for 
Directions. 1. Be affected with mercies if you would remember 
them ; for deep affections leave a print upon us which cannot easily 
be defaced ; men remember what they care for. 
2. But the special way to remember them is to improve them, to 
grow better for them, to increase in faith, love, and obedience ; then 
Christians will remember them by a good token. If you let them pass 
as common accidents, no wonder the impression such providences 
make is soon worn off. A man that hath well profited by a sermon 


will not easily forget it : Ps. cxix. 93, I will never forget thy precepts, 
for with them thou hast quickened me. 

3. You should often call yourselves to an account : Ps. cxxxix. 17, 
How precious are thy thoughts to me, Lord ! how great is the 
sum of them ! By the thoughts of God he meaneth the various dispen 
sations of his providence. The variety of mercies is infinite, that it is 
impossible for us to get to the bottom of them ; when we come to a 
reckoning we are amazed. 

4. Consider our ingratitude is aggravated by every mercy received, 
especially eminent and signal mercies. This is the ground of God s 
plea and controversy against his people in the text ; and 1 Kings, xi. 
9, And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was 
turned away from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared to him 
twice. If your hearts decline, and depart from God after many en 
couragements to cleave to him, how just will your condemnation be ! 
But God will add mercy to mercy when you are thankful for former 


Wlio is among you that fearetk 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 upon his God. ISAIAH 

IN the words there are three propositions 

1. God s people may sometimes be in such a condition as to walk 
in darkness and see no light. 

2. In the most sinking and dark times their great duty is to trust 
in the Lord. 

3. They that fear God and obey him are most encouraged to trust 
in him. 

For the first point, that God s people may sometimes be in such a 
condition as to walk in darkness and see no light. 

First, I will open this helpless and hopeless condition, which is here 
expressed by walking in darkness/ and seeing no light. 

1. In the general, it noteth great afflictions and dangers, which 
light upon the church and people of God ; as Lam. iii. 2, He hath led 
me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light ; that is, into a 
very afflicted condition. 

2. It noteth the continuance and increase of affliction, when our 
night still groweth darker, and all means of relief are utterly invisible 
to us : Isa. lix. 9, We wait for light, but behold obscurity ; for bright 
ness, but we walk in darkness. It doth not only overtake them, but 
they had waited long for a change of condition. 

/ 3. When we are perplexed and embrangled in our troubles, and miss 
^the true way of support under them. We are said to walk in darkness 
when we want either the light of direction or consolation. 

[1.] The light of direction; and this with respect either to the 
understanding of our outward and common affairs, or with respect to 
our duty towards God under such afflictions. 

(1.) As to the understanding or right management of our common 
affairs ; being troubled and amazed, we are not able to take any good 
counsel and advice : Isa. lix. 10, We grope for the wall like the blind, 
and we grope as if we had no eyes ; we stumble at noon-day as in the 
night. So Job v. 14, They met with darkness in the day-time, and 
grope in the noon-day as in the night/ It is a great judgment of God 
upon a people when counsel is perished from them, and they have not 


the judgment of ordinary men. It is threatened as a punishment on 
the disobedient : Deut. xxviii. 29, Thou shalt grope at noon-day as 
the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways, 
and thou shalt only be oppressed and spoiled evermore, and none shall 
save thee. Now thus it often befalleth the people of God for their 
disobedience ; they know not what course to take for their common 

(2.) The next is a greater evil, when we understand not our duty 
towards God, and the reason of our troubles. It is some comfort to a 
child of God when he kuoweth his duty under such a condition ; a 
speaking rod, though it be siart, is more comfortable than a dumb 
rod : Ps. xciv. 12, Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, and 
teachest him out of thy law. Our advantage cometh not by being 
{afflicted, but by being instructed in our afflictions, when the rod 
maketh us tractable and pliable to God s counsel: Job xxxvi. 10, 
He openeth their ears to discipline ; and ver. 15, He openeth their 
ears in oppression. It is the property of beasts to feel the smart of 
the rod, but men especially. Good men should know the use of the 
rod. Our condition is not altogether dark when God hath humbled 
and instructed his people under his chastenings, that they may get 
good by their chastenings ; but when they are still in the dark as to the 
reason and end of their troubles, it is the more grievous. 

[2.] When we want the light of consolation, and that two ways 
either by present experience of God s love, or hopes of future 

(1.) As to present experience of God s love: Bom. v. 3-5, And 
not only so, but we glory in tribulation also, knowing that tribulation 
worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope ; and 
hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in 
our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us/ It is promised 
to the upright that light shall arise to them in obscurity : Ps. cxii. 4, 
Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness. Now it is very 
sad and afflicting to them when they cannot get a comfortable and 
satisfactory sight of God s love to them, or presence with them, or mind- 
fulness of them in their afflictions, but he hideth himself from them. 
This is the bitterest ingredient in their sorrows, that God hideth 
his face from them; they should not else resent so much other 
sorrows. The favour of God is the godly man s choice : Ps. iv. 6, 7, 
* Lord, lift up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put 
gladness in my heart, more than in the time when their corn and wine 
increased. And their life : Ps. xxx. 5, In his favour is life ; and 
therefore they cannot but be most affected with the sense of the want 
of it. This is the trouble of their trouble, and maketh their darkness 
to become thick darkness. 

(2.) As to future deliverance, when they cannot look through the 
cloud of present trouble with any hope of relief, or have not any pro 
bable appearance of any good issue : Ps. Ixxiv. 9, We see not our 
signs ; there is no more any prophet, neither is there among us any 
that knoweth how long. This is very sad. Troubles that have an 
end are the better borne ; but when we are altogether puzzled when we 
think of a remedy and an escape, then we are overwhelmed, like a 


man shipwrecked and swimming for life in the vast ocean, and sees no 
banks or land near. 

Secondly, The reasons why this may befall the people of God. 
There are reasons on man s part, and on God s part. 

First, On man s part. 

1. The astonishing power of sore troubles : Ps. Ix. 3, Thou hast 
showed thy people hard things, thou hast made us to drink of the wine 
of astonishment. They are amazed with afflictions, like unto a man 
that hath drunk some intoxicating drink which had put him beside him 
self. They are in the dark about God s mind in such dispensations, 
and wonder why God suffereth his people, whom he hath chosen and 
loved, to go to ruin, especially by the malignity of instruments more 
wicked than themselves : When the wicked devoureth the man that 
is more righteous than he, Hab. ii. 13. 

2. From that weakness, bondage, and legal dejection which yet re- 
maineth upon their spirits, so that they are not able to look beyond 
their present condition ; and if it be evil, they make it worse by their 
own apprehensions and diffidence. It is dark now, and therefore they 
think it will never be day ; they see not God for the present, and 
therefore they conclude they shall not see him. As in prosperity 
God s children are apt to promise themselves too great a stability and 
continuance: Ps. xxx. 6, In my prosperity I said, I shall never be 
moved ; so in adversity they are no less ready to heighten their trouble 
by fearful apprehensions of the perpetuity thereof : Ps. Ixxvii. 7-9, 
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 ? 
hath God forgot to be gracious ? hath he in anger shut up his tender 
mercies ? Trouble of our own making breedeth the greatest dejection. 
They mistake God s dispensation, and make their present condition 
sadder and worse than indeed it is. It would ease us of our greatest 
pressures if we would look off a little from the present, and consider 
how God can work contrary to our probabilities and fears. Contrary 
to our probabilities : Zech. viii. 6, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, If 
it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these 
days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes, saith the Lord of 
hosts ? And contrary to our fears : Isa. li. 12, 13, I, even I, am he 
that comforteth you : who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of 
a man that shall die, and of the son of man, which shall be made as 
grass ; and forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth 
the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth ; and hast feared 
continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he 
were ready to destroy ? and where is the fury of the oppressor ? 

Secondly, On God s part ; he bringeth us into such a condition 
1. To show his sovereignty, and that he is Lord both of light and 
darkness : Job xxxiv. 29, When he giveth quietness, who then can 
make trouble ? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? 
whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only. Our 
weal and woe is in his hand : Isa. xlv. 7, ( I form the light, and create 
darkness ; I make peace, and create evil : I the Lord do all these 
things. All is at God s disposing, to give it to whom he will. Some 
times he giveth light and peace, nor will a dog move the tongue. So 


long as he pleaseth, neither policy nor power will be able to make his 
gift void, either as to nations or persons. He hath a negative voice : 
men would trouble, devils would trouble, but if God say, No, all is 
quiet in kingdoms, families, or souls. If he justifieth, who can con 
demn ? So when, for the punishment of sin or trial of faith, he lets 
out trouble, who can help it? So he may desert nations, and leave 
them without counsel or strength. So when God deserts a person, all 
his comfort and quietness is gone. Men under trouble are in a sad 
and hopeless plight as to any help, till God help them ; and if he hide 
his face, who shall ease them of their trouble, till God himself shine 
through that cloud ? All the favour of men will not do it till God 

2. To check our curiosity. We look to events rather than duties ; 
we would be lazy, not labour, if we knew our succeeding mercies ; or 
we should be overwhelmed with grief if we had a foresight of all our 
trials which are to come. Therefore God puts a veil upon his provi 
dence, and will not let us look to the end of his designs : Isa. xlviii. 7, 
Lest thou shouldst say, Behold,.! knew them. Therefore we are in 
the dark, know not the particular issues and events of things, and can 
scarce support ourselves with the general promises ; and so walk in 
darkness and see no light. 

Thirdly, That God may thereby promote the ends of his providence, 
which is to humble his people, and try them, and to do them good. 

1. For the greater humiliation. When Christ was humbled for our 
sins he was at a non plus, as if he knew not what to say or do : John 
xii. 27, Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say ? So to 
humble his people thoroughly, he driveth them to an utter exigence ; 
all their hopes and probabilities are spent, and they know not what to 
do or say ; as in Jehoshaphat s instance : 2 Chron. xx. 12, We know 
not what to do, but our eyes are unto thee. God s children may be 
shut up on all hands from any imaginable hope of a good issue, yea, 
or any sight of God and token of his love. 

2. To try them, their faith, and love, and patience. Their faith, 
which is never put to a sound trial till all their common probabilities 
be spent. Faith is the evidence of things not seen, Heb. xi. 1. 
When God is out of sight, and comfort is out of sight, and deliverance 
is out of sight, then is a time to depend upon God : Micah vii. 8, 
When I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. Depen 
dence upon an unseen God, resolute adherence to a withdrawn God, is 
the flower and glory of faith. When we are left to a naked faith, and 
a naked word or promise of God, yet then to adhere to him, and wait 
upon him for what is contradicted by sense, this is to believe in hope 
against hope. So for the trial of our love ; to run to him when he 
seemeth to cast us off ; to fear him for his mercies : Hosea iii. 5,- They 
shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days ; and praise 
him for his judgments: Isa. xxvi. 8, In the way of thy judgments, 
Lord, we have waited for thee ; the desire of our soul is to thy name, 
and to the remembrance of thee ; to rejoice in him when he maketh 
all things desolate about us : Hab. iii. 17, 18, Although the fig-tree shall 
not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines ; the labour of the olive 
shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat ; the flock shall be cut off 


from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stall ; yet will I rejoice 
in .the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. To own him as a 
good God when we are under his strokes, and as a gracious father 
when he frowneth as well as when he smileth, here is faith indeed. 
So our patience is never tried in a twilight so much as in utter dark 
ness : James i. 4, Let patience have epyov re\eiov, its perfect work. 
Patience is not tried as long as we have worldly supports to bear us 
up; but in great, long, and sharp afflictions it is patience indeed. 
While we can make up ourselves another way, our submission to God 
is not fully tried. 

3. To do us good, God would reach our corruptions so as to purge 
them out : Isa. xxvii. 9, By this shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged, 
and this is all the fruit to take away his sin. We would have no 
trial but that which should touch none of our sins and corruptions ; 
for we would not have the flesh displeased, or, if it be, yet but a little. 
Now trial will not do us good unless it vex our corruptions. A sound 
purge will carry away our pride, sensuality, worldliness ; a light purge 
doth but gently move it. When the vexing trials come, then we are 
like a wild bull in a net/ Isa. li. 20. Till we see no way to escape, 
we overlook our case. Yea, God s children are not humbled for their 
spiritual pride till trouble be so confounding that God is missed, and 
they left in the dark in their distress. Now, to be so far misted as to 
lose a sight of God under trouble, that is an humbling dispensation 

JJse 1. If God s people may be in such a condition, let us bless God 
that he dealeth more gently with us. If our natural comforts be 
lessened, yet they are not wholly gone. Let us bless God that in the 
midst of judgment he remembereth mercy: Hab. ii. 3, For 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/ That he measureth our burdens by our strength and ability 
to bear them : 1 Cor. x. 13, There hath no temptation taken you but 
euch as is common to man : but God is faithful, who will not suffer 
you to be tempted above that you are able ; but will with the tempta 
tion also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it. 
That he refresheth our souls with his love when his chastenings are 
upon us : 2 Cor. i. 5, For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so 
our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. That he smileth when the 
world frowneth ; that it is not an evil, and an only evil, but there are 
strange intermixtures of blessings with our crosses ; that he doth not 
forsake us utterly : Job xx. 26, All darkness shall be hid in his secret 
places/ speaking of the wicked ; that it is not wholly and altogether 
darkness, without any light, or comfort, or counsel for the present, or 
hope of issue for the future. 

Use 2. Let us prepare for such a time ; for none of us can promise 
ourselves a total exemption from such kind of providences. 

But what preparations must we make ? 

I answer Stock the heart with some maxims or holy truths, which 
may be a support to you. 

1. That in our darkest condition God seeth us, though we do not see 
him. So the psalmist found by experience: Fs. Ixxiii. 22, 23, So 


foolish was I, and ignorant; I was as a beast before thee : neverthe 
less I am continually with thee ; thou hast holden me by the right 
hand. David could not see God, for he had brutish thoughts of 
providence, as he acknowledged there ; that God was indifferent to 
good and evil, did no more care for the one than for the other ; yet 
God took care of him, and held him in the arms of his providence 
when he questioned it. So Job xxiii. 8-10, Behold, I go forward, 
but he is not there ; and backward, but I cannot perceive him : on 
the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him : he 
hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him. But he 
knoweth the way that I take : when he hath tried me, I shall come 
forth as gold. Job had lost the sight of God, but God had not lost 
the sight of Job, for he knew his sincerity, and would in time clear it 
to his comfort. So that many times we are like the blind man ; though 
he could not see Christ, yet he never left calling upon the Son of David, 
till he answered to his name, and came and cured him. 

2. That in our distresses we are apt to foster groundless mistakes 
about God s love, and so darken our own estate more than needeth. 
Sense maketh lies of God, and our hearts will be made to recant what 
they say in their haste, as. David often found in his experience: Ps. 
xxxi. 22, I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes ; 
nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried 
unto thee. God looketh not after me, but leaveth me to inevitable 
ruin ; and at that very time God was about to give him audience : Ps. 
cxvi. 10-12, I was greatly afflicted : I said in my haste, All men are 
liars. What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits towards me ? 
He referreth to the messages brought him from godly Samuel, and 
Nathan, and other prophets ; and being far from the effects of them, 
he began to suspect the truth of them. Thus do our calamities trans 
port us with fears and irregular thoughts and apprehensions of God s 
dealings with us : but we must not judge of our condition by our 
temptations, but God s promises ; and faith must shut our eyes against 
whatsoever would breed mistakes and quarrels against God s provi 

3. That a dark hour is many times the forerunner of a comfortable 
morning, and great and growing difficulties may be made means of a 
greater good to us. For God loveth to bring light out of darkness, 
and to give the valley of Achor for a door of hope, and to give meat 
out of the eater, and sweetness out of the strong, and to bring about 
his people s mercies by means very improbable and contrary, that he 
may train^ us up to hope against hope. Deliverance, when it is 
a-coming, it is not always in sight ; rather all appearances are contrary. 
He will call for water when he intendeth to give wine, and rebuke her 
as a dog whom he meanethto treat as a daughter of Abraham: Isa. 
xlv. 15, Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, God of Israel, 
the saviour. Though a saviour, yet he hideth himself under a cloud 
and veil of difficulties and contrary appearances. 

4. That however matters go, it will certainly be well with them 
that fear God, even because they fear him^ were there no other 
evidence and proof of it, as it will be ill with the wicked, even though 
they prosper: Eccles. viii. 11, 12, Because sentence against an evil 


work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men 
is .fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner do evil an hundred 
times," and his days be prolonged ; yet surely I know that it shall be 
well with them that fear God, which fear before him ; Isa. iii. 10, 11, 
Say ye to the righteous that it shall be well with him, for they shall / h< 
eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked ! it shall be ill with 
him, for the reward of his hands shall be given him/ If this be 
believed, we need fear nothing, if we keep the way of the Lord, and do 
continue waiting and depending upon him. We cannot absolutely 
promise you temporal deliverance, nor all those spiritual things which 
you desire, as to the degree ; but this we can promise you, it shall be 
well with them that fear God, and well with the righteous. Temporal 
things are not of that moment that we should be much troubled about 
them ; we have an hope above them, and our happiness lieth not at 
stake when they are in danger. If God will bring us safe to glory, 
as he will those that continue with patience in well-doing, it is enough ; 
nothing can go amiss to him that is found in the way of his duty : 
though the way be foul and narrow, if it leadeth unto glory, it is 
enough ; it will be well in the issue. 

5. That we must not dote upon sensible consolation. The merciful 
nature of God should be a support to us, though we see notning of the 
effects of it in the course of his dealings with us ; and we should believe 
his love when we do not actually feel it : Job x. 13, And these things 
hast thou hid in thine heart ; I know that this is with thee/ He 
speaketh of his favourable inclination to show pity to his creatures. 
We are not able always to reconcile his present dispensations with his 
gracious nature, nor our former experience of his goodness ; yet faith 
must not quit its holdfast, but we must see what is hid in God s heart, 
and comfort ourselves with concealed favour and mercy, when we 
cannot comfort ourselves with felt favour and mercy. Though 
mercies be not visible and obvious to sense, yet the disposition and 
inclination is ever in God unchangeable and sure. A withdrawn God 
is a merciful God still. 

, 6. That God can draw light out of darkness, and give light in 
darkness, and turn darkness into light. God can draw light out of 
darkness : Gen. i. 2, 3, The earth was without form, and void, and 
darkness was upon the face of the deep ; and the Spirit of God moved 
upon the face of the waters, and God said, Let there be light, and 
there was light/ He can give light in darkness : Exod. x. 22, 23, 
And there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days ; 
and they saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three 
days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings ; 
Ps. xviii. 28, For thou wilt light my candle : the Lord my God will 
enlighten my darkness/ And he can turn darkness into light, that is, 
change and alter our condition : Isa. ix. 2, The people that have 
walked in darkness have seen a great light ; they that dwell in the 
land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined ; Eph. 
v. 8, Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord/ 

7. When you cannot interpret the promises of God by his providen 
tial dealing with you, you must interpret his dealing by his promises : 
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. - His promises are as the light part of the cloud, his provi 
dential dealings as the dark part of the cloud. 

8. You must distinguish between a part of God s work and the whole 
entire frame of it. The taking of a watch asunder to mend it, an 
unskilful man, when he seeth every pin and wheel taken out, will think 
this is undoing ; but the skilful artist knoweth this is mending and 
repairing : Zech. xiv. 7, But it shall be one day, which shall be known 
unto the 3 Lord, not day nor night; but it shall come to pass that at 
evening-time it shall be light. After the longest suspense there is 
comfort at the end. 

9. That is not best for us which we think best : Mat. xvii. 4, It is 
good for us to be here. We think it best to be at the top, and have 
an inspection over affairs, in ease, and in an uninterrupted prosperity. 
Peter was upon Mount Tabor, but Christ saw it fit to bring him thence, 
and expose him to the winnowings of Satan, and to penitential weeping, 
that is wholesome to the soul ; and afterwards to employ him in the 
labours of the gospel, and then to die a cruel death. Paul thought 
it best to be rid of the thorn in the flesh, but God thought not so : 
2 Cor. xii. 9, My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made 
perfect in weakness. When we are lowest, we are most humble. 
God s thoughts are not as our thoughts. 

10. That God s greatest severity to his people is consistent with his 
covenant love : Ps. Ixxxix. 32, 33, Then will I visit their transgressions 
with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my loving- 
kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness 
to fail. There is no contradiction between covenant kindness and 
hard dispensations ; they may be easily reconciled. 

For the second point, that in dark and gloomy times our great 
duty is to trust in the Lord. This is prescribed here, and in other 
places commended to us : Isa. viii. 17, I will wait upon the Lord, 
that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. 
We should not give over seeking for a withdrawn God, but seek, and 
wait, and look for him. If you keep his place warm in your hearts by 
your estimation and affection, he will come again : Job xxxv. 14, 
Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before 
him ; therefore trust thou in him. Times may come when the saints 
may say they do not see, yea, they shall not see him ; yet they must 
resolve to lie at God s door till relief come. Trust then in him : Job 
xiii. 15, Though he slay me, yet I will trust in him. Though they be 
under sad dispensations already, and look for sadder, yet they resolve 
to keep up their dependence, and will not be beaten off from God by 
any rebukes of providence. No trouble, how great soever, is a warrant 
to quit our faith. / Faith must not quit God when he seemeth to quit 
us, but must take him for a friend, and put a good construction upon 
his dealings when he showeth himself an enemy ; so that in a sinking, 
helpless, and hopeless condition this is a great remedy. 

The reasons are taken from the act and the object. The act is 
trusting and staying ; the object is God, or the name of God. The 
benefit we have by this act, the encouragement we have from this 


1. The utility and profit of trusting : 2 Chron. xx. 20, Believe in 
the Lord your God, so shall you be established/ If you would be 
delivered or supported, trust and stay upon the Lord. This allayeth 
our fears : Ps. Ivi. 3, At what time I am afraid, I will trust in thee ; 
Ps. cxii. 7, He shall not be afraid of evil tidings ; his heart is fixed, 
trusting in the Lord. A Christian is, or may be, immovable in all 
changes of condition. It overcometh our sorrows. There was a storm 
in David s spirit, how doth he calm it ? Ps. xlii. 5, Why art thou cast 
down, my soul ? and why art thou disquieted within me ? Hope thou 
in God, for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance ; and 
ver. 11, Why art thou cast down, my soul? and why art thou 
disquieted within me ? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him, 
who is the health of my countenance, and my God. He is at it again 
and again. It keepeth us from fretting : Ps. xxxvii. 7, Rest in the 
Lord, and wait patiently for him ; fret not thyself because of him who 
prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices 
to pass. It preserveth us from fainting : Ps. xxvii. 13, I had fainted, 
unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of 
the living. Yea, from defection and apostasy : Heb. iii. 12, Take 
heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, 
in departing from the living God. They that cannot trust God cannot 
be long true to him. 

2. There is much in the name of God to encourage trust : Ps. ix. 
10, They that know thy name will put their trust in thee. The 
name of God is anything by which he is made known. It compriseth 
two things what God is in himself, and what he will be to his 

[1.] What he is in himself ; a wise, powerful, and holy being : his 
three grand attributes are wisdom, goodness, and power. Now nothing 
can be amiss that is done by a God of infinite wisdom, power, and 
goodness ; and what may here not be expected from him ? He that 
can do all things can do whatever you stand in need of; he that 
knoweth all things can never be at a loss, either in preventing evil or 
bestowing good ; he that is so good will not be backward to pity 
and help us. Our choicest consolations are fetched out of God s nature ; 
in his works we see much of him, but in his nature we see an infinite 
sea of all perfections. 

[2.] Consider what God will be to his people, in his providence, in 
his covenant 

(1.) In his providence. In his works he discovereth his nature. 
As he is a powerful God, so nothing can be done but his leave and 
hand is in it, and it is governed by his counsel and will. Your per 
secutors cannot stir or move or breathe without him. The saints are 
in his hand : Deut. xxxiii. 3, Yea, he loved the people ; all his saints 
are in thy hand. We are in a friend s hand : John vi. 20, It is I, 
be not afraid. His goodness : God is concerned in th e condition of 
his people as well if not more than themselves ; they do not suffer 
but he sympathiseth : Isa. Ixiii. 9, In all their afflictions he is 
afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them ; in his love and in 
his pity he redeemed them, and he bare them, and carried them all 
the days of old ; Zech. ii. 8, He that toucheth you toucheth the apple 


of his eye. In short, he is full of tenderness and moderation. His 
wisdom : we may trust his wisdom in carving out a portion for us, 
better than our own understanding : Should it be according to thy 
mind ? Job xxxiv. 33. Men would have all things done according to 
their own will : no, better let God alone with it ; for he is a God 
of judgment, and guideth all things with great moderation and equity : 
Job xxxiv. 23, For he will not lay upon man more than right, that 
he should enter into judgment with God. He will not afflict above 
deserving : 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. We are in captivity ; 
we might have been in hell. Nor beyond strength : 1 Cor. x. 13, 
Who will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able. 
Above what he hath given, or is ready to give ; nor more than to do 
them good by it : Rom. viii. 28, All things shall work together for 
good to them that love God. Now, which is most just, that we 
should have the disposal of ourselves, or God ? He will do what he 
pleaseth, whether we be pleased or displeased. 

(2.) In his covenant, the foundation of Which is laid in the blood of 
Christ, and the benefits offered there are pardon .of sin and eternal 
life. Pardon of sin is a cure for our greatest and deepest trouble. 
Eternal life answereth all our desires; this light affliction is not 
comparable to it : 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. 

Use. Well, then 

1. Trust in the Lord against carnal reason, when carnal reason 
doth not befriend your trust. They that trust God no farther than 
they can see him, they do not trust God, but their outward probabi 
lities. God hath only the name. Yea, when carnal reason contradicts 
your trust and checketh all hope : Though he slay me, yet I will 
trust in him/ Job xiii. 15. 

2. Trust God against carnal affection; trust his wise and. holy 
government. We would fain interpose to save our lusts, which some 
times need a sharp cure. God s quarrel is not against your persons, 
but your sins ; he desireth not your destruction, but your humiliation 
and reformation. The dearest loss is your sin, and are you loath to 
spare that ? There is nothing so sad which befalleth the people of 
God but it tendeth to prevent something which is sadder, which 
would otherwise befall them : 1 Cor. xi. 32, But when we are 
judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be con 
demned with the world ; Ps. xciv. 12, 13, Blessed is the man 
whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law, that 
thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be 
digged for the wicked. 

3. Trust him upon his gospel assurance, even against the terms of 
his own law. We may change courts : Ps. cxxx. 3, 4, If thou 
shouldst mark iniquity, Lord, who shall stand? But there is 
forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared ; Ps. cxliii. 2, 
Enter not into judgment with thy servant, for in thy sight shall no 
man living be justified. 


For the third point, they that fear God and obey him are most 
encouraged to trust God. 

1. Because precepts and promises go hand in hand, so must our 
trust and obedience : Ps. cxlvii. 11, The Lord taketh pleasure in, 
them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy ; Ps. cxix. 166, 
Lord, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments. 

2. Sincerity giveth confidence and boldness, and helpeth our trust. 
They can delight in the Almighty, and lift up their face to God : 1 
John iii. 21, If our hearts condemn us not, then have we confidence 
towards God. 

3. The controversy is taken up when we desire to keep the way of 
obedience. Sin is the thorn in our sore which caused the first pain : 
Lam. iii. 39, Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the 
punishment of his sin ? God hath no quarrel with them, but about 
their sins. 

Use. Then, if we would trust ourselves with God s holy government, 
let us fear his name, and obey the voice of his servant, and return to 
the obedience we owe to our creator, and put ourselves into the hands 
of our redeemer. 


TJierefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray tJiis prayer 
unto thee. 2 SAM. vii. 27. 

THERE are several things remarkable in this context. 

1. David s thankful mind, ver. 1, 2. I may illustrate it by the 
opposite practice of Nebuchadnezzar : Dan. iv. 30, Is not this great 
Babylon, which I have built for the house of the kingdom, by the 
might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty ? And of the 
Israelites in their new dwellings at Jerusalem : Hag. i. 2-4, This 
people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord s house 
should be built. Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the 
prophet, saying, Is it a time for you, ye, to dwell in your ceiled 
nouses, and this house lie waste ? All our comforts are used accord 
ing to the temper of the party that enjoyeth them, either as an 
occasion to the flesh, or as incentives of godliness. A gracious 
spirit looketh upon common mercies as discovering their author, and 
pointing to their end ; they came from God, and must be used for 
God. A proper meditation for you when you enjoy commodious 
habitations, walk in your pleasant gardens, or get any repose and 
ease from troubles. In the midst of the plentiful accommodations of 
the present life, What have I done for God, who giveth me richly to 
enjoy all these things ? 

2. Nathan s innocent and pious mistake : ver. 3, Go, do all that is 
in thine heart, for the Lord is with thee. - This Nathan spake not by a 
prophetical, but private spirit. The prophets might err when they spake 
out of their own human spirit, but as moved by the Holy Ghost they 
erred not. The prophet is to be excused, because the intention of David s 
zeal was good, and a meet expression of his thankfulness to God. God 
himself liked the intention in itself : 1 Kings viii. 18, The Lord said 
unto David my father, Whereas it was in thy heart to build an house 
unto my name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart. And besides, 
he might tell him, The Lord is with thee, from former observation. 
God had accompanied David with his Spirit and blessing in all his 
enterprises. Well, then, this he said not by divine revelation, but of 
himself. Herein he was faulty, that he consulted not with God. And 
it teacheth us this lesson, that in all businesses of moment and concern 
ment to God s glory, we must ask God s leave, and counsel, and blessing: 
Prov. iii. 5, 6, Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to 


thine own understanding: in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he 
shall direct thy paths. 

3. The next thing observable is the Lord s rectifying the prophet s 
mistake by a special revelation, ver. 4-17, wherein the Lord recapitu- 
lateth the several favours and honours he had put upon his servant 
David, with promises of blessing upon his family ; but denieth him, 
this one honour of putting his designs in execution of building him an 
house, because that was reserved for his son, a more peaceable prince, 
and whose hands were not defiled with blood. And it teacheth us this 
lesson, that we should be content with those other honours and favours 
which we have received at God s hands, though he in his wise providence 
deny us the liberty of perfecting some enterprises which we have designed 
for his glory. If God cut us off in the midst of our service, or interrupt 
us in our work, he knoweth how to carry it on by others ; and it is a 
mercy that we have had his presence hitherto in former services. God 
had been with David whithersoever he went, but would not allow him 
to build him an house. 

4. David s carriage upon this message : ver. 18, He went and sat 
before the Lord, or abode in his presence, and expresseth himself both 
by way of praise and prayer. 

[1.] Praise, in the 18th, 19th, and 20th, to the end of the 24th verse ; 
acknowledging that all his goodness to him and his people came from 
his mercy and truth, for his word s sake, and according to his own heart, 
to fulfil his covenant, and his self-inclination to do good ; admiring 
the greatness of these favours to such an unworthy creature as himself : 
Who am I, Lord, and what is my house, that thou hast brought 
me hither ? &c. ; * And is this the manner of man, Lord God ? &c. 

[2.] Prayer, from the 25th verse to the end ; wherein he beggeth a 
performance of the things promised ; showing that he should not dare 
to ask and expect these things if God had not prevented him by his 
word : Thou hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee 
an house ; therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this 
prayer unto thee. 

In which words there is a directory for prayer. And (1.) The 
qualification of the person, Thy servant ; (2.) The sincerity of the 
prayer, Hath found in his heart ; (3.) The instance and vehemency 
of it, in the doubling of the words ; not simply to pray, but to pray 
this prayer: James v. 17, He prayed earnestly, Trpoa-evxfj irpocryv^aTo 
he prayed in his prayer. It is one thing to say a prayer, another to 
pray a prayer. (4.) His reverence, Unto thee ; or, as it is more 
emphatically repeated, 1 Chron. xvii. 25, Therefore thy servant hath 
found in his heart to pray before thee/ When we set ourselves as 
before the invisible God. And that may be part of the meaning of 
the phrase used, ver. 18, He sat before the Lord. 

But the main circumstance which I shall insist upon is that, 
Found in his heart. 

Doct. That the birthplace or proper rise of prayer is in the heart; 
or, whatever prayer we pray to God must be found in our hearts before 
it be uttered with our tongues. 

First, I shall inquire concerning the sense and meaning of this 
expression, what it is to find a prayer in our hearts. That implieth 


two things when we pray as inclined, and pray as encouraged. And 
so David must be interpreted here : I have found in my heart ; that 
is, I am inclined by a due esteem and desire of the blessing promised ; 
for he admireth it, and was exceedingly ravished with the thought of 
it, that God should have such respect to his house and family. Again, 
I have found in my heart ; that is, I am encouraged by the Lord s 
goodness, and the experience of his blessing, and the assurance of his 
promises. So in every general case, all that would pray must find in 
their hearts to pray to God ; that is, be inclined, and be encouraged. 

1. We are inclined or stirred up to pray for such good things as we 
ask of God. 

[1.] By a sense of our wants : James, i. 5, If any man lack wisdom, 
let him ask of God ; and Heb. iv. 16, Let us come boldly to the throne 
of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in a time 
of need. Our addresses to God must begin in a broken-hearted sense 
of our own wants, otherwise it is but an empty, careless, formal way of 
praying. We have a quick and tender feeling in all bodily necessities ; 
the worst will express themselves sensibly enough in such cases : Hosea 
vii. 14, They have not cried unto me with their hearts when they howled 
upon their beds ; they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they 
rebel against me. Those that rebelled against God howled upon their 
beds for corn and wine, as beasts will make their moan when pinched 
with hunger ; but in soul-necessities we are not so sensible ; and prayers 
put up without sense of want and need are but dead and lazy. Many 
think their condition so good that they need not trouble God about it, 
but they can manage it well enough themselves, and therefore either 
pray not at all, or without poverty of spirit, and their prayers are but 
an empty compliment to God. But now a godly man is sensible of 
his daily necessities ; he is kept poor in spirit, and seeth that he can 
not subsist a minute without God, and that he is environed with 
dangers, and obliged to a multitude of duties, which require assistance 
from above ; that Satan is continually tempting, and he is continually 
sinning ; and so he needs daily pardon, and daily sustentation, as well 
as daily bread : Give us arj/j,epov, this day our daily bread, Mat. vi. 11 ; 
and that if he should forget to pray to God, he should forget to bid 
himself good-morrow or good-day. In short, the more men exercise 
themselves unto godliness, the more their necessities and wants will 
be discovered to them. Painted fire needeth no fuel, but real fire must 
still be supplied with matter for it to feed upon. 

[2.] An esteem and value of the blessings asked. All such as pray 
aright must have a high estimation of what they seek ; for if we do 
not set a value upon it, we shall neither seek it earnestly, nor will God 
care to give it us ; for he will not thrust spiritual comforts upon them 
that despise them. Paul was so earnest to have Christ and his benefits, 
because he counted all things but dung and dross that he might win 
Christ, and be found in him, &c., Phil. iii. 7-9. David prized com 
munion with God, therefore sought it so earnestly : Ps. xxvii. 4, One 
thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I might 
dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. Temporal 
things are usually overprized, therefore these things are dispensed with 
a looser providence, without prayer, and many times to those that never 


pray ; and to the godly by way of overplus, to direct us to value spirit 
ual blessings, and to seek them in the first place : Mat. vi. 33, Seek 
first the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof, and all these 
things shall be added to you. First in our prayers, as well as first in 
our endeavours. 

[3.] Desire ; that must urge us to ask, and doth both open our mouths 
wide, and put life and vehemency into our requests and supplications. 
There is a good rule, that will be of general use to us : Desire nothing 
in your hearts but what you can pray for, and pray for nothing but 
what you desire. The former part checketh both worldly and fleshly 
lusts. Have I, or can I have, so little reverence for the Godhead as 
apparently to ask meat for my lusts, so much by the year, such dishes 
at my table, so much in lands and honours ? But the latter checks 
formality and deadness in prayer. Desire must go before and all along 
with the request, and the heart must be the fountain of the words ; 
otherwise it is but a vain babbling. Much speaking is not praying. 
Words are but the body, desires are the soul of prayer ; as the body 
without the soul is dead, so are words without a spirit of desire. There 
fore we should be more careful of affections than words : Eccles. v. 1, 2, 
Be not hasty to utter anything before God, <fec. The prayer must be 
framed in such words as we can ; but our chief business is to awaken 
and call in our affections from wandering after worldly things, or to set 
our hearts to seek the Lord. The Spirit s help in prayer is not seen 
in the flow of words, but in a-revciy/Aol? a\a\ijroi<;, Groanings that 
cannot be uttered, Horn. viii. 26 ; holy ardours and groans to God, and 
desires of his help. A prayer without life and affection is tlmribulum 
sine prunis a censer without fire. 

[4.] Prayer must not only come from the present desires, but from 
the habitual inclination of the mind and heart towards God and 
heavenly things, which is the great effect of healing and sanctifying 
grace : Ps. cxix. 36, Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to 
covetousness. This is the radical inclination of grace, to be carried 
out to God, and all things that belong to God, as they more or less lead 
to him, more than to honours, pleasures, profits. As prayer is not a 
lip-labour, so it is not a work of the mere human spirit, or a fruit of 
memory and invention, but an exercise of grace. A man may exercise 
his natural faculties in prayer, when he doth not exercise the graces of 
the Spirit in prayer. Grace is given as the remote preparation to 
prayer : . Zech. xii. 10, I will pour upon the house of David, and upon 
the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplication ; and 
they shall look on him whom they have pierced, &c. We oftener pray 
from our memories than our consciences, and from our consciences than 
our affections, and from our affections as presently stirred, but soon 
checked and controlled, than from a fixed bent and inclination of heart 
towards heavenly things. A man may have wit and memory to pray 
when he hath not a conscience of praying. He may have an enlight 
ened conscience when not a renewed heart, which may put us upon 
asking what we ought rather than what we really desire ; as Augustine 
speaketh of interlining his prayers with an A t noli modo ; timebam 
enim ne me eocaudiret Deus Not yet, Lord ; and I feared lest the Lord 
should hear me. Or from a present affection stirring, when yet there 

VOL. xviii. E 


is not a rooted inclination: John vi. 34, Evermore give us of this bread/ 
compared with ver. 66, Many of his disciples went back, and walked 
no more with him. Many desire pardon, desire the Spirit ; but these 
desires are controlled by other desires, soon put out of the humour, and 
carried off by other things. 

2. We are encouraged in prayer, and so we find it in our hearts to 
pray, by several things 

[1.] God s merciful nature : 2 Sam. vii. 21, According to thine own 
heart hast thou done all these great things. Ex mero motu. God 
fetcheth not his reasons from without, but from his own bowels. His 
own self-inclination to do good doth sufficiently provoke him to it. 
Now God is the same to others that he was to David. His readiness 
to hear and to forgive doth encourage poor creatures to come to him. 
The full breast desireth to be sucked, as much as the hungry child to 
suck : Ps. Ixv. 2, thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh 
come. God is ready to give audience, and doth wait for the coming 
of the humble supplicant, that mercy may be obtained in his own way. 

[2.] His great love, showed to the world in Christ : Eph. iii. 12, In 
whom we have boldness, and access with confidence ; Heb. x. 19, 
Having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. God 
out of Christ is inaccessible, but in Christ propitious. Now in the 
days of the gospel God doth not keep state as in the Jewish times : 
Num. i. 53, The Levites shall pitch round about the tabernacle of 
testimony, that there be no wrath against the congregation of the 
children of Israel ; Num. iv. 15, The sons of Kohath shall not touch 
any holy thing, lest they die ; and ver. 20, They shall not go in to 
see when the holy things are covered, lest they die ; the way to the 
sanctuary being not yet open. The people murmur at it : Num. xvii. 
12, 13, The children of Israel spake unto Moses, saying, Behold we 
die, we perish, we all perish : whosoever cometh anything near unto 
the tabernacle of the Lord shall die : shall we be consumed with 
dying ? It was a grievous thing to them. But now the throne of 
grace is always open ; God keepeth not terms of special days of 
audience ; God in Christ is near to us, and we are near unto God in 
and by him, which much increaseth our love and confidence, and giveth 
us more familiar thoughts of God, who seemed before to be at an inac 
cessible distance. He hath taken the human nature unto himself. 
This should wonderfully reconcile the heart to God, and make our 
thoughts of him sweet and acceptable, when we come to pray to him. 
Christ will not be strange to his own flesh, as we are bidden, Not to 
hide ourselves from our own flesh, Isa. Iviii. 7. 

[3.] His bountiful providence. His former kindness to David is 
mentioned all along the chapter, both by the Lord himself and also by 
David. God, that hath been good, will be good ; for he wasteth not 
by giving, but is where he was : James i. 5, If any lack wisdom, let 
him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, 
and it shall be given him ; as the fountain remaineth as full as ever, 
though it overflow and sendeth forth its streams. God delighteth that 
former mercies should be improved to future trust : 2 Cor. i. 10, Who 
delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver ; in whom we 
trust that he will yet deliver us ; and to prayer : Phil. iv. 6, In 


everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your re 
quests be made known unto God. Promises should not lie by us as a 
dead stock : Ps. cxvi. 2, Because he hath inclined his ear to me, 
therefore will I call upon him as long as I live/ Deus promittendo et 
donando debet God is a debtor both by his promises and by his 
gifts. He loveth to crown his own mercies, and to follow gift with 
gift ; for he is not weary of giving. 

[4.] His promises. The promises to encourage prayer are very large. 

(1.) There are indefinite promises of audience : Ps. 1. 15, Call upon 
me in the day of trouble ; I will deliver thee ; Job xxii. 27, Thou 
shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt 
pay thy vows. So Isa. xlv. 19, I said not to the seed of Jacob, Seek 
me in vain. Now these are mighty encouragements, and show us that 
it is not labour in vain to seek God ; so that if there be not a command 
ment in our way to stop our requests, we have all the engagements in 
the world to come and acquaint God with all our desires, griefs, fears, 
wants, requests. We may find in our hearts to be dealing with him 
upon these encouragements ; for what cannot God do ? and what will 
not prayer do with a good God, who is readily inclined to his people, 
and able to do what he pleaseth, and hath promised to do what we 
desire ? 

(2.) There are promises of general universal concernment, that God 
will not only hear prayer, but do all that we desire of him. As John 
xiv. 14, If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it ; and Mat. 
xxi. 22, And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, 
ye shall receive; Paxxxvii. 4, Delight thyself in the Lord, and he shall 
give thee the desires of thy heart ; and many such expressions. Not 
that men have a lawless liberty allowed them to ask what they will, 
and God s power shall lackey after their vain fancies and appetites. 
No ; these large and universal offers admit of a limitation propounded 
in scripture, and that then when these universal particles are mentioned 
these limitations are to be regarded, that you may not make promises 
to yourselves, and set God a task by your self-conceitedness and vain 
fancies, and think him engaged beyond what he is pleased to bind him 
self unto. But what are the limitations ? 

(1st.) That we ask righteously according to the matter. So you 
have the limitation : 1 John v. 14, 15, And this is the confidence 
that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he 
heareth us : and if we know that he heareth us, whatsoever we ask, we 
know that we have the petitions that we desired of him/ All the 
business is, what is the meaning of these words, According to his 
will ? Ans. With conformity to his revealed will, and with submis 
sion to his secret will. Surely with conformity to his revealed or com 
manding will, that we ask nothing unjust, or sinful, and seek to bring 
God to our lure, as Balaam, when he built altars, and sought to God 
for leave to curse his people. And that we ask nothing but what is 
agreeable to his secret will. Many things are lawful, yea, and com 
manded, as for parents to ask the conversion of their children, and it 
is our duty to use the means in order to it, but we must refer the success 
to God; God must be judge what shall be most for his glory. In short, 
we must ask according to his commanding will, with due respect to his 


decreeing will : John xiv. 13, Whatever ye ask the Father in rny 
name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. What 
ever belongeth to our duty and the glory of God we must do ; but for 
the event, how -God will be glorified by either, we must submit it to 
God. So for lawful things : grace puts a restraint upon the will of a 
reneweM man, that he seeketh nothing but what may be for the glory 
of God and his good. If he asketh other things and to other ends, he 
is prompted thereunto by his flesh, which maketh him lust after vain, 
empty, carnal satisfactions, to please his flesh. 

(2d) The next limitation is to the manner. If we ask them fer 
vently, and with that life and seriousness which finding a prayer in the 
heart doth require. So Mat. vii. 7, Ask, and it shall be given you ; 
seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you? Prayers 
are not answered if the spirit of prayer be wanting, or that liveliness 
which is necessary to make it prayer, though the form and fashion of it 
be kept up. Men may pray, but that life which their necessity calleth. 
for may be far to seek. When we set our face to seek the Lord God 
with prayer and supplication : Dan. ix. 3, I set my face unto the 
Lord God to seek by prayer and supplication ; Jer. xxix. 13, Ye shall 
seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 
This sets the spirit of prayer a-work. 

(3d) The next qualification is of the person, as in the text, Thy 
servant ; so in other places : 1 John iii. 22, And whatsoever we ask, 
we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those 
things which are pleasing in his sight ; that is, we are as certain we 
shall receive as if we had it already. If prayer should be performed 
with the greatest earnestness, and the greatest faith and confidence, yet 
if the consciences of men reprove them of any looseness and lightness 
of spirit, or that they have served God by halves, and are off and on 
with him in their practice, and look for good things from God, while 
they neglect their own duty and what is required of them, they cannot 
think that God should do it for them ; they cannot look that God 
should be engaged any further than he hath engaged himself. So John 
xv. 7, If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask 
what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. If you be solicitous about 
the word of Christ, and the matters of duty contained therein, you have 
a great advantage at the throne of grace. So Ps. Ixvi. 18, If I regard 
iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me/ Many that pray are 
as ice, a little thawed above, but hard at bottom ; they have not such 
a strong settled resolution to walk more closely and orderly with God ; 
but allow some secret lust, and so mar their own audience and accep 
tance with God. 

Secondly, For reasons. 

1. With respect to God (1.) His observance ; (2.) His acceptance. 

[1.] With respect to God s observance. He is an all-seeing spirit, 
and therefore will not be mocked with a vain appearance or a little 
bodily exercise ; but the prayers we make to him we must find them 
in oui- hearts : 1 Sam. xvi. 7, For God seeth not as man seeth ; for 
man looketh on the outward appearance, but God looketh on the heart. 
We may act the parrot before men, but God looks to what there is in 
the heart : 1 Chron. xxviii. 9, Know thou the God of thy father, and 


serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind ; for the Lord 
searchelh all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the 
thoughts. A man up in the air seeth the spring as well as the river 
and its course ; we that stand by see the course, but not the spring. God 
understandeth whether we are inclined and encouraged, whether we are 
habitually inclined to God : Jer. v. 3, Lord, are not thine eyes on 
the truth ? Bom. viii. 27, And he that searcheth the heart knoweth 
what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the 
saints according to the will of God. He knows a belch of the flesh 
from a groan of the spirit. He understandeth our desires as well as 
our words ; so whether we are encouraged by the grace of the new 
covenant and sense of our own qualification : 1 John iii. 20, 21, If our 
heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 
Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards 

[2.] With respect to God s acceptance. God granteth not our 
prayers till our hearts be fixedly bent towards him : Ps. x. 17, Lord, 
thou hast heard the desire of the humble ; thou wilt prepare their heart ; 
thou wilt cause thine ear to hear. When God hath put it into their 
hearts to pray, and awakened their desires, then he will hear : Dan. x. 
12, From the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, 
and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard. God 
hath accepted the heart without the tongue, but never accepted the 
tongue without the heart. Moses cried to God when he spake not one 
word, Exod. viii. 12, and God heard him. 

2. With respect to us. 

[L] The part which the heart beareth in all human actions. It is 
fans actionum ad extra, and it is terminus actionum ad intra. In our 
actings towards God : Prov. iv. 23, Keep thy heart with all diligence, 
for out of it are the issues of life ; and in our receipts from God this is 
the thing that God aimeth at : Kom. vi. 17, Ye have obeyed from the 
heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Prayer is not a 
receiving duty, as hearing. In praying the heart begins ; in hearing it 
ends the duty. 

[2.] With respect to our carriage in prayer. We do not conceive a 
prayer, but impose a prayer upon ourselves, if the tongue guide the 
heart rather than the heart the tongue ; like children that cast stones 
into the mine, but do not draw ore out of the mine : Acts ii. 26, There 
fore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad. 

Use 1. Information. 

1. What need is there of recollection before we come to pray, that 
we may not force upon ourselves what chance offereth, but may have a 
prayer in our hearts before we have it on our tongues : Ps. xlv. 1, My 
heart is inditing a good matter ; I speak of the things which I have 
made touching the king ; my tongue is as the pen of a ready writer. 
Usually we offer to God a dough-baked sacrifice. Only, that I may 
not grate upon a tender conscience, there is a habitual preparation and 
an actual preparation. 

The habitual preparation lieth in a broken-hearted sense of our wants, 
radiated inclination or bent of heart towards God and heavenly things, 

d in a confidence and liberty towards God. 


The actual preparation lieth in such a sense of our necessities as the 
present case doth deserve ; such a quickening of our desires after 
heavenly things as may fill us with life ; such a remembrance of the 
grace of God in Christ, and our own sincerity, that our hearts may not 
reproach us when dealing with God as a father. 

Again, I distinguish that our requests are ordinary or extraordinary. 

Ordinary, when we ask daily supplies of grace, having no particular 
strait, temptation, difficulty, or business of moment then in hand. Here 
the habitual preparation, with little or no actual preparation, serveth in 
our daily prayers for necessary blessings. 

Extraordinary, as in some notable trial, difficult strait, conflict, 
temptation, or when we seek some special benefit, and upon eminent 
occasions ; then, as our necessities are greater, so our acts of prayer are 
more earnest : Ps. cix. 4, For my love they are my adversaries, but I 
give myself unto prayer. Our Lord Jesus Christ, being in an agony, 
prayed more earnestly/ etcreviarepov, Luke xxii. 44. And so it resolveth 
this case, What if I have not such a feeling of strong and earnest desire, 
or the overruling bent of the general inclination ? Yet keep not off 
from prayer. (1.) Good desires are to be asked of God. (2.) Such 
desires as you have must be expressed. (3.) Prayer is the usual way 
to quicken and increase them. (4.) Turning away from God is the 
means to kill them. 

2. It informeth us what need we have of more help than our own, if 
we must find every prayer in our hearts which we utter with our 
tongues. Three things are necessary in prayer ; the human spirit 
or natural faculty, that I may by my understanding work on my will ; 
the new nature, faith, hope, and love, to believe in God, and set him 
before me, to incline me to God as my chief good, and to hope for 
benefit from him ; the divine Spirit to excite these graces : Jude 20, 
Praying in the Holy Ghost ; Rom. viii. 26, The Spirit itself also 
helpeth our infirmities ; for we know not what we should pray for as 
we ought, but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groan- 
ings that cannot be uttered. The Spirit works not on us as blocks, 
but as rational creatures ; nor does it blow on a dead coal. 

Use 2. Caution. Do not take everything for prayer which looks 
like it 

1. Bodily exercise. Many, by the agitation of the bodily spirits, 
work themselves into some vehemency ; their voice is heard on high, 
but the heart is dead and cold, quibus arteriis opus est. These fill up 
only a little time with words ; they pray for fashion s sake, but sit 
down with the work wrought ; they pray, but do not look after the 
answer of prayers, as children shoot away their arrows, but mind not 
where they fall. They find it in their tongues, but not in their hearts. 

2. Carnal vehemency. Men may lust and long, but do not pray : 
James iv. 2, Ye lust, and have not. Motions of lust are violent and 
rapid : Ps. Ixxviii. 18, They tempted God in their hearts by asking 
meat for their lust. These ask things unlawful, or lawful things to a 
carnal purpose. Here is no gracious bent, for they do not prefer the 
best things in their desires : Mat. vi. 33, Seek ye first the kingdom 
of God, and the righteousness thereof. 

3. The fluency of gifts. These make prayer the work of invention 


and memory. The tongue exciteth the fancy, but the heart hangeth 
off from God. They that are carnal may come behind in no gift, but 
the affections do not keep pace with the expressions. These may 
personate faith, hope, and love ; but they have not that real inclination, 
that meekness and humility, which is necessary for the addresses of a 
sinful creature to God. 

4. Natural fervency. 

[1.] They may be instant and earnest for temporal blessings. They 
have no more to do with God, but only that he would deliver them 
from their troubles : Jer. ii. 27, In the time of their trouble, they 
will say, Arise and save us ; Exod. x. 17, Entreat the Lord your 
God, that he may take away this death only. It is the temporal 
inconvenience they mind, more than the removal of sin ; and they 
pray more to get ease of their trouble, than repent of their sins which 
procured them. 

[2.] If they pray for spiritual things, it is but a dictate of conscience, 
not a desire of the renewed heart, and such as is seconded with con 
stant endeavours to obtain what we ask of God, and submission to 
the means and terms upon which the suit may be granted. 

[3.] They soon grow weary, and give over, if they be not speedily 
relieved : Isa. Iviii. 3, Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou 
seest not, &c. ; Mai. iii. 13, Your words have been stout against me, 
saith the Lord ; yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against 
thee ? 2 Kings vi. 33, He said, This evil is of the Lord ; what 
should I wait for the Lord any longer ? 

[4.] And usually there is more of murmuring than of prayer in 
their addresses to God. And that fervency which seemeth to be in 
them floweth not from humility, love, and hope, but from pride, 
bitterness, and diffidence ; their prayers are muddy, full of passions, 
doubts, and fears. 

Use 3. To exhort us to find in our hearts whatever prayer we make 
to God. 

1. In private prayer. Let us come as inclined by love, as encou 
raged by faith and hope. 

[1.] As inclined by love. So we ask of God all things in order to 
God. We first pray to God for God, and next for the grace of the 
Redeemer, and then for all other subordinate blessings : Ps. Ixxiii. 25, 
Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there is none upon earth 
that I desire besides thee. Whatever quiets us in the neglect of God, 
or want of God, is esteemed more than God. 

[2.] As encouraged by faith and hope. 

(1.) By faith ; believing the being and bountiful nature of God : 
Heb. xi. 6, He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that 
he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him/ And believing 
his many promises, which are Yea and Amen in Christ : 2 Cor. i. 20, 
For all the promises of God are in him Yea, and in him Amen. 
Believing his gracious relation to those in covenant with him : John 
xx. 17, I ascend to my Father and your Father, and to my God 
and your God ; Mat. vi. 32, Your heavenly Father knoweth you 
have need of these things ; Luke xii. 32, Fear not, little flock ; it 
is your Father s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 


(2.) By hope, which is a certain and desirous expectation of the 
asked and promised blessing. None can come to God aright but 
those that hope to be the better for coming. Christ has taught us 
how to pray, and not to faint/ Luke xviii. 1 ; Luke xi. 7-9, with 
11-13. God s not answering us is no call to us to give over, but 
to go on still. There is hope in waiting, however matters go. It is 
best to resolve to lie at Christ s door, ra.ther than take our answer and 
go away. Our perseverance should show how we are affected with 
our wants, and how resolvedly we adhere unto and depend upon God ; 
though he seem not to pity us, but to pursue us with his strokes. 

2. In prayer with others. If either God direct their tongues to 
speak to our case, or in general requests suited to the necessity of all 
Christians, we must find it in our hearts, or else we are under a 
distemper. Prayer is nothing else but the language of faith, love, and 
hope ; of faith, a believing of God s being and bounty, that he is will 
ing and able to succour us ; of love, which directeth us to the prime 
fountain of all the good we have and would have, and to the end, the 
glory of God, and regulateth all our choices by it, and to those means 
which conduce to the enjoying of God; and of hope, which is a 
desirous expectation of the promised blessing. If we have a holy 
fervour, a confidence in the power and goodness of God, a sense of 
need, and hope in his mercy, we cannot but find it in our hearts. 
Prayer is the language of an upright heart feeling its own wants, and 
craving a supply of God. Prayer is a work of the inner man, not 
lifting up the voice, but the heart to God ; it is the yearning of the 
Spirit : Rom. viii. 26, The Spirit itself maketh intercession in us, 
erreiwy/Jot? aAaX^rot?, with groanings that cannot be uttered. Hannah 
spake in her heart, only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard, 
1 Sam. i. 13. The cry of the lips doth not pierce the clouds : Eccles. 
v. 2, Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thy heart be hasty to 
utter anything before God. Have a care of raw, tumultuary, 
undigested thoughts. A man should beforehand meditate on his 
wants and the necessities of others, that he may be affected with 
them. Certainly prayer must be gone about with reverence. Some 
rush upon prayer profanely, others carelessly. (1.) Some profanely ; 
they go from their pots to prayer. They let loose their hearts, eat and 
drink without fear and sobriety, profane their mouths with light and 
unfruitful speech, and yet presently call to prayer, as if every frame 
of spirit were fit for this work. (2.) Others carelessly ; prayer is gone 
about with little or no reverence at all ; some talking, some trifling, 
some working, some toying till the very instant of prayer, yea, till he 
that prayeth in the name of the rest be upon his knees, and hath 
begun the prayer, which is offered up to God in all their names ; as if 
they had their hearts at command in a moment. Oh ! how can they 
come before God with that confidence, reverence, humility, and fervency 
that is required in holy prayer, when they come reeking hot from 
their worldly occasions ? Then for the matter of these prayers. There 
are certain common blessings which we and others continually stand 
in need of, and for which we are continually to pray ; as the increase 
of faith, patience, meekness, love, and the like. Do you desire these 
things ? God will not reject the desires of an humble, contrite heart 


Many things we desire, and lawfully may desire, which are not 
matters of that moment that we should acquaint God with them, or 
seek to interest providence in them. We do not expect, nor is it need- 
ful to require, any special work of his for the performance of them ; it 
is not seemly so to do ; as in a lawful game, a man may desire to win 
rather than to lose, but it is not fit he should make a prayer for it. 

Object. But if another pray, and I join with him, how do I find it in 
my heart ? 

Ans. This is principally meant of personal secret prayer, when we 
uncover our own sore, confess the plague of our own heart/ 1 Kings 
viii. 38. Then the rule is, we must fit and proportion our words to 
.our matter, and both matter and words to our minds and hearts. 


Gather my saints together, those that have made a covenant with 
me by sacrifice. Ps. 1. 5. 

THIS whole psalm setteth forth the erection of the gospel church, 
and the ordinances thereof. Though the gospel kingdom came not 
with observation, that is, with external pomp and glory, yet much of 
the majesty of the divine presence was discernible in it. 

Clearly in the frame of the psalm you may observe a rejection of 
the legal worship, and an establishment of the Christian service, and 
the spiritual oblations which belong thereunto. Yet the expressions 
do rather represent Christ as coming in the majesty of a judge than 
a lawgiver ; for three reasons, I suppose 

1. Because there was judgment exercised on the Jews for refusing 
to submit to Christ and enter into the gospel state. 

2. Because in the prophetical writings the two comings of Christ 
are frequently mixed, his first coming in humility with his last com 
ing in glory to judge the world. 

3. Because those laws and ordinances which were given by Christ 
at the erection of the gospel kingdom will be the matter about which 
we shall be judged at the last and universal day of doom. For these, 
and other reasons, is Christ represented as a judge, summoning the 
world into his presence, that the actions of men, good or bad, may be 
examined ; that it may be known who have resisted and despised the 
Messias, and who have subjected themselves to him ; that the former 
may be punished, and the other rewarded. We shall all one day be 
brought into the judgment about the covenant we have made with God 
by sacrifice. So much is intimated in the context. 

In the words observe (1.) God s charge to his officers to summon the 
court, Gather my saints together. (2.) The description of the parties 
who are to appear in the judgment, My saints that have made a cove 
nant with me by sacrifice. 

1. His charge to his officers, whether angels or others. None can 
hide themselves, but they must all appear before the tribunal of Christ; 
for God will have them all brought together from the four winds or 
corners of the earth. 

2. The description, That have made a covenant. The word sig- 
nifieth, cut a covenant. In covenants the sacrifices were cut asunder, 
and the persons contracting went between the divided parts. As God 


bid Abraham take an heifer, and a ram, and a she-goat, Gen. xv. 10, 
And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and 
laid each piece one against another ; and at evening, ver. 17, a smok 
ing furnace and a burning lamp passed between those pieces. And 
Jer. xxxiv. 18, They have not performed the words of the covenant 
which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and 
passed between the parts thereof. The meaning of this rite was an 
imprecation : So let them be cut asunder that shall break this covenant. 
The heathens : Sic a Jove feriatur is, qui sanctum hoc fregerit fcedus, 
ut ego hunc porcum ferio Let Jupiter strike him dead that breaks 
this holy covenant, as I strike this swine. Thus are we said to cut a 
covenant with God. 

Now this covenant is said to be made by sacrifice ; for (1.) There 
is no covenanting between God and sinful man without a sacrifice ; 
and (2.) No sacrifice will serve the turn to make the covenant 
effectual, but only the blood of Christ, by which his justice is satisfied, 
and wrath appeased. 

Doct. That God s people or saints are such as have made a cove 
nant with him by sacrifice ; for so they are described here. 

Two things I must speak to (1.) About making a covenant with 
God ; (2.) Why no covenant can be made with God without the inter 
posing of or respect unto a sacrifice. 

First, About making a covenant with God. Sometimes a covenant is 
said to be made by God, and sometimes made by us. It is made by 
God as he hath appointed it, and stated the terms of it, and unalter 
ably fixed them. Though there be a condescension in the covenant 
form, and therein God carrieth himself as a God of grace ; yet in fix 
ing the term so unalterably, God carrieth himself as a sovereign : Ps. 
cxi. 9, He hath commanded his covenant for ever/ We must take 
the covenant as God hath left it, not bring it down to our fancies and 
humours. Our making covenant respects our stipulation, or binding 
ourselves to perform the conditions required on our part, when we 
heartily accept the covenant as stated by God. 

In every covenant there is ratio dati et accepti, something given, 
and something taken. God will be our God, and we must be his people : 
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 
mind, and write them in their hearts ; and I will be to them a God, 
and they shall be to me a people. 

Now God makes this covenant (1.) With respect to himself ; (2.) 
With respect to us ; (3.) With respect both to himself and us. 

1. With respect to himself, to show the freeness and sureness of his 

[1.] The freeness of his grace. He might have required obedience 
from us out of his sovereignty, as he is our creator and we are his 
creatures ; and given no other reason of his commands but this, I am 
the Lord ; without any promises or contract made with us. But the 
absolute command of God, though it might exact obedience from us, 
yet it doth not carry such motives in its bosom to encourage us to per 
form it as the covenant. There was so much of grace in the first 
covenant: though the condition of it was perfect obedience, and the 


reward had a respect to our personal righteousness, yet God would 
covenant withal, and enter into bonds and terms of agreement with 
man, who was not his equal, but the work of. his hands ; and give his 
word to him to make him sure of eternal life, in case of perfect 
obedience. But the last covenant hath the honour, by way of eminency, 
to be styled a covenant of grace ; as being made with us after a breach, 
with man fallen ; so it is called a covenant of peace/ Isa. liv. 10, My 
covenant of peace shall not be removed, saith the Lord, that hath mercy 
on thee ; and because therein God hath manifested the glory of his 
redeeming grace and pardoning mercy : Eph. i. 6, To the praise of the 
glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved ; 
and because the terms are so gracious, that God will accept of our im 
perfect obedience, if it be sincere ; it is called a covenant of grace. In 
short, when God was displeased with man for the breach of the first 
covenant, yet he would enter into a new covenant, to show the riches 
of his grace and mercy ; and he giveth notice to fallen man, and send- 
eth him word, that if he will put himself under this law of grace, he 
shall be loosed from the curse : Luke i. 77-79, To give knowledge 
of salvation unto his people, by the remission of their sins, through the 
tender mercy of our God ; whereby the day-spring from on high hath 
visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow 
of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. And if we once enter 
into it, from first to last he dealeth with us upon gracious terms. 

[2.] The sureness of his mercy. We are now at a certainty, and may 
know what to expect from God ; for he is pleased to enter into bonds, 
and to make himself a debtor by his own promises. Mercy and truth 
are the Jachin and Boaz : Micah vii. 20, Thou wilt perform the truth 
to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our 
fathers from the days of old. It was mercy to Abraham, with whom 
the covenant was made ; truth to Jacob, to whom it was made good. 
So Ps. xxv. 10, All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth to such 
as keep his covenant and his testimonies. We may enter our plea and 
claim , and therefore we are said to take hold of his covenant, Isa, 
Ivi. 4 ; Heb. vi. 18, That by two immutable things, in which it was 
impossible for God to lie, we may have strong consolation, who have 
fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us. Here is our sure 
stay and encouragement, and we may challenge the privilege as ours 
by God s donation. 

2. With respect to us. 

[1.] To leave the greater bond and obligation upon us ; for there is, 
besides his right, our own consent. Therefore he would deal with us 
in the way of a covenant rather than in the way of absolute sove 
reignty. God seeth how slippery and unstable our hearts are, that we 
love to wander ; and therefore he will bind us to our duty by a solemn 
covenant, which every one of us is personally to make for himself to 
God : Ezek. xx. 37, I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will 
bring you into the bond of the covenant. We pass under God s rod, 
as sheep were told going out of the fold. And we enter into the bond 
of the covenant, that we may be bound to God the faster. God taketh 
us to be firmly obliged to him, and it is dangerous to break with him 
after such consent. 


[2.] To make us more willing ; therefore we enter upon his service 
by choice. We are not at liberty to engage or not engage ; but God 
chooseth to rule us by consent rather than by force, with a sceptre of 
mercy rather than a rod of iron : Isa. Ivi. 4, Thus saith the Lord to 
the eunuchs, that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please 
me, and take hold of my covenant. And God taketh this way as 
suiting best, partly with the nature of a reasonable creature, who is 
to be led rather than driven ; to be drawn by his own consent : Hosea 
xi. 4, I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love. And 
partly as suiting with the tenor of his gospel dispensation. Gospel 
grace useth no force : it is not extorted, but willing obedience which 
God now looketh for : Ps. ex: 3, Thy people shall be willing in the 
day of thy power. 

[3.] To put an honour upon his creatures. Surely it is an honour to 
be God s confederates, an honour vouchsafed to his people above all 
others : Deut. xxvi. 18, 19, The Lord hath avouched thee this day 
to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou 
shouldst keep all his commandments ; and to make thee high above 
all the nations that he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in 
honour ; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the Lord thy 
God, as he hath spoken. Surely it is the glory of any people to be in, 
covenant with God. The meanest relation to him is above all the 
privileges in the world. God s honourable relation attends this cove 
nant interest. They are his children : John i. 12, As many as received 
him, to them he gave power to become the sons of God ; 1 John iii. 1, 
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that 
we should be called the sons of God. They are his friends : James ii. 
23, Abraham was called the friend of God; John xv. 14, Ye are 
my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. It is a covenant of 
amity ; they are his friends, his dear children. Surely this is a great 

3. With respect to both parties. That both parties might be en 
gaged to each other by mutual consent. Without it God is not bound 
to us, nor can we be knit and tied to the Lord. We are said to be 
joined to the Lord by this covenant: Jer. 1. 5, Come and let us join 
ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant, that shall not be for 
gotten ; and to cleave to him as a girdle cleaveth about the loins of a 
man : Jer. xiii. 11, For as a girdle cleaveth unto the loins of a man, 
so have I caused the whole house of Israel, and the whole house of 
Judah, to cleave to me, saith the Lord ; that they might be to me for 
a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory. God is 
not bound to us, as he is not to any creature, no, not to the angels in 
heaven ; yea, he is altogether free before the contract ; but is pleased, 
for our good and benefit, to enter into bonds, and is pleased to bind 
himself to bless us. And it was not fit we should be possessed of such 
benefits without being bound to God, and coming into some nearness 
to him. For in the covenant God doth manifest himself in the most 
familiar way to his people, and therefore will have this mutual bond 
to precede, that he and his creatures might come near to each other 
with the greatest familiarity, and bind themselves to each other by 
reciprocal engagements and consents. 


Secondly, That no covenant can be made with God without the 
interposing of and respect unto a sacrifice. 

1. In the old church, when Israel entered into covenant with God, 
there were solemn sacrifices. The manner you have described Exod. 
xxiv. 10, and explained by the apostle Heb. ix. 19, 20, When Moses 
had spoken every precept unto all the people according to the law, he 
took the blood of calves and of goats, with water and scarlet wool and 
hyssop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people, saying, This is 
the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. In 
this action you may observe that, after the writing of the law, Moses 
built an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the 
twelve tribes of Israel, Exod. xxiv. 4. The altar represented God, 
the first and chief party in the covenant, and the twelve pillars of stone 
represented the other confederate party, the people of Israel, who were 
to come before the Lord as his obedient people. Now both the parties 
were not only there by dead representation, or in image and figure, but 
there were also lively types of the glory and presence of the God of 
Israel ; for it is said, ver. 10, They saw the God of Israel, and there 
was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as 
it were the body of heaven for clearness. God was there in great 
majesty to solemnise the covenant. You know heaven is his throne, 
and the church his footstool ; therefore, when the church was desolate, 
it is said, Lam. ii, 1, God remembered not his footstool in the day of 
his anger. On Israel s part there were present Moses and Aaron, and 
Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel ; and they were 
to worship afar off, ver. 1, to express their reverence to this great 
God who was to enter into covenant with them. Moses alone was 
to come up to Jehovah, but the elders went up but half way. Moses 
went up unto the top of the mount in a dark cloud as the mediator, 
and the people abode beneath at the foot of the mount, and the elders 
went up but half way. Well, then, the covenant is propounded to the 
people : Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, 
and all the judgments ; and they make answer, All the words which 
the Lord hath said will we do, ver. 3. But before the full confirmation 
of his covenant you read that Moses sent the young men of the 
children of Israel, who offered burnt-offerings, and sacrificed peace- 
offerings of oxen unto the Lord, ver. 5. The young men, that is, the 
first-born, who had the right of priesthood, before the Levites were 
chosen, and taken instead of the first-born of Israel, Num. iii. 41. 
And by their burnt-offerings and peace-offerings it was declared that 
we cannot enter into covenant with God without sacrifices. These 
sacrifices did figure the death of Christ, and the benefits thence 
accruing to us. There were burnt-offerings to show the means of their 
propitiation with God, and peace-offerings to show their thankfulness 
for the peace and salvation which by it they obtained. The next thing 
in this action was that Moses took half the blood, and put it in basons, 
and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar, ver. 6. And then he 
* took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people, 
and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient, 
ver. 7. Then he took the rest of the blood, and sprinkled it on the 
people. He sprinkled it on the altar to show that God topk upon him 


an obligation to bless. And the reading of the book of the covenant in 
the audience of the people showeth that those that will enter into cove 
nant with God should understand their duty, and be ready to fulfil it. 
Then he took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Be 
hold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you con 
cerning all these words, ver. 8. The blood sprinkled on the people may 
be meant of the twelve pillars set up to represent the people ; they take 
an obligation to obey ; one party is not bound and the other free, but 
both bound to each other. 

Thus the first covenant was not dedicated without the blood of a 
sacrifice. Well, then, God is the principal party covenanting, and 
binding himself to the people by his promises ; and the people binding 
themselves to his precepts, that they might avoid the penalty threat 
ened, and obtain the blessings promised ; and this covenant was con 
firmed by blood, and this blood sprinkled, and so made inviolable. 

There is but one circumstance more, and that is, ver. 11, And upon 
the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand ; also they 
saw God, and did eat and drink ; that is, these select and chosen 
men, the elders spoken of before, were not hurt and affrighted by God, 
and did feast in his presence, in token of their reconciliation with him, 
and joy in his grace. This was the way of entrance by the Jewish 
church, all which are mysterious and typical. God, that otherwise 
driveth a sinner from him, is made propitious to us, that we need not 
be affrighted at his presence ; yea, may hope for all good things from 
him ; yea, we may feast cheerfully in his presence. 

2. The Christian church doth also make a covenant with him by 
sacrifice. This will appear in three things (1.) That Christ s death 
hath the true notion and virtue of a sacrifice ; (2.) That this sacri 
fice hath respect to the covenant of grace; (3.) That our manner 
of entering into covenant with God is by the same moral acts by 
which they were to be conversant about a sacrifice. 

[1.] That Christ s death hath the true notion and full virtue of a 

(1.) The true notion : Eph. v. 2, He hath loved us, and hath given 
himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling 
savour. His death is a mediatory sacrifice, a propitiatory sacrifice, 
for the expiation of the sins of his people. In all the sacrifices of the 
law there was shedding of blood, without which was no remission of 
sins. All were killed, flayed ; some were burnt, some roasted, some 
fried on coals, some seethed in pots ; all which were but shadows of the 
painful sufferings of our Lord Christ, which he endured for our sins. 
Christ is the only true and real sacrifice wherein provoked justice doth 
rest satisfied. Christ in this sacrifice was the priest, who, as God, did 
offer up himself: Heb. ix. 14, Who through the eternal Spirit offered 
himself without spot to God. As man, he was the sacrifice : Heb. x. 
10, By the which will we are sanctified, though the offering of the body 
of Jesus Christ once for all. We may add also, that he was the altar 
whereupon this sacrifice was offered ; for as the altar doth sanctify 
the gift, Mat. xxiii. 11, so doth his godhead add an infinite value to 
his sufferings : Acts xx. 28, Feed the church of God, which he hath 
purchased with his own blood. 

80 SER310N UPON PSALM L. 5. 

(2.) It hath the full virtue of a sacrifice. For sacrifices had a 
threefold respect to God, to sin, and to man. God is pacified, sin 
expiated, and man delivered and freed. All these concur in Christ. 

(1st.) As to God, who in the mystery of redemption is considered 
as the supreme and universal judge, he is pacified and satisfied by the 
sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the party offended. So he pitied 
man, found out a ransom and sacrifice for our atonement. As the 
supreme lawgiver and judge of mankind, so he is to receive the ransom, 
sacrifice, and satisfaction, or else to punish us as we have deserved ; 
for before this supreme judge man standeth guilty and liable to death. 
But Christ made his soul an offering for sin, Isa. liii. 10. He under 
took the penalty due to us for sin ; and therefore he is said to give 
himself for us as a propitiation: 1 John ii. 2, And he is the pro 
pitiation for our sins. And God intended him as such : Horn. iii. 25, 
Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his 
blood ; 1 John iv. 10, Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that 
he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Now 
propitiation implieth his being pacified and appeased, so as to become 
propitious and merciful for ever to sinful man, submitting to the terms 
of his covenant. 

(2d) As to sin ; so he is said to expiate, abolish, and purge it : Heb. i. 
3, When he had by himself purged our sins, he sat down on the right 
hand of the majesty on high. As God would not be appeased without 
a sacrifice or satisfaction, so sin could not be purged without bearing 
the punishment. When the sacrifice was offered and made on behalf 
of sinful man, then was sin purged, or expiated, or made removable, 
upon certain terms determined by God, our supreme judge and law 
giver. The blood of Christ hath done that which will remove the 
guilt and pollution of it when rightly applied. 

(3d) As to the sinner, he is delivered and freed from sin ; that is, the 
sinning party, making use of God s remedy, is reconciled to God : Col. 
i. 21, 22, And you who were sometimes alienated, and enemies in 
your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, in the body 
of his flesh through death. The sin is not reconciled to God, but the 
sinner is ; and being reconciled, is pardoned : Eph. i. 7, In whom we 
have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins. And also 
sanctified : Heb. xiii. 12, Wherefore Jesus, that he might sanctify 
the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate; that is, there 
is enough done to sanctify the party, and consecrate him to God. Yea, 
perfected : Heb. x. 14, By one offering he hath perfected for ever 
them that are sanctified. There needeth no other sacrifice, no other 
satisfaction ; for by this sacrifice he hath obtained all things necessary 
to salvation. There needeth no more to satisfy justice, or to procure 
salvation for his people, in the way of a sacrifice. 

[2.] That the new covenant is made and confirmed by virtue of 
this sacrifice, and without it there is no admission to the grace of it. 

(1.) By it Christ is authorized to offer the terms and dispense the 
benefits of it : Heb. xiii. 20, The God of peace, that brought again 
from the dead the Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through 
the blood of the everlasting covenant. That blood of the everlasting 
covenant hath a double reference there to the God of peace, which is 


the title of God : God s wrath was appeased and his justice satisfied 
by the full recompense which was made for our offences through the 
blood of the covenant ; so he is the God of peace ; and also to- his 
bringing back Christ again from the dead, as having done his work, 
and satisfied to the uttermost farthing ; and so God investeth him with 
his office, as being the great shepherd of the sheep ; that is, a power of 
saving that which was lost, or recovering the poor stray sheep out of 
the power of the wolf, that they may be brought again into the pas 
ture, and enjoy the privileges of God s flock. 

(2.) By this sacrifice the benefits of the new covenant are sealed, 
ratified, and conveyed to us. As is evident from the words of our 
Saviour in the institution of the Lord s supper : This cup is the new 
testament in my blood, which is shed for you, Luke xxii. 20 ; or, 
This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many, for 
the remission of sins, Mat. xxvi. 28. Wherefore we have the new 
covenant, the blood confirming this new covenant, which is the blood, 
of Christ, shed for the remission of sins, as the principal blessing of 
the new covenant ; which promise had been in vain if Christ s blood 
had not been shed to satisfy divine justice ; so that this is the firm and 
immutable basis upon which this covenant is fixed, otherwise a cove 
nant between God and sinful man had not been stable. So in other 
places : Zech. ix. 11, By the blood of thy covenant, I have sent forth 
thy prisoners out of the pit, in which is no water. All our deliver 
ance cometh by the covenant, and by the blood of, the covenant ; not 
only as a promised, but as a purchased blessing. It is by the blood of 
the covenant that we are pardoned, by the blood ; of the covenant that 
we are sanctified, by the blood of the covenant that we are perfected 
for ever. 

[3.] That our manner of entering or renewing covenant with God 
is by the same moral acts by which they were conversant about the 
sacrifices. To understand this, let us see what the sacrifices did 

(1.) They were glasses to represent their misery, and the debt conr 
tracted by sin. And therefore the apostle calleth them the hand 
writing of ordinances that was against us, and was contrary to us, Col. 
ii. 14 : for by the killing of the beast it was testified that they deserved 
to die themselves. Their sacrifices were a public testification of their 
guilt, an acknowledgment of the debt rather than an acquittance ; so 
Heb. x. 3, In those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of 
sins every year. And that is the reason why it is said, Ps. li. 17, The 
sacrifices of God are a brokenJieart. Every one that offered sacrifice was 
in a broken-hearted manner to profess and acknowledge that he was 
worthy to die for his sins. And doth not the same obligation lie upon 
us, if we would make a covenant with God, by virtue of the great sacri 
fice of atonement offered to God for the whole congregation of God s 
people ? Surely the curse of the law bindeth us over to eternal wrath. 
And this must be assented unto, and subscribed by every man s con 
science, with much brokenness of heart. Cold thoughts of sin beget 
but cold thoughts of Christ ; for every man s value and esteem of the 
remedy is according to his sense of the misery. If we are not deeply 
affected with our lost condition, Christ is of little use to us. It is the 



contrite and broken heart which doth most relish the grace of the 
Redeemer. . , 

(2.) Sacrifices were figures of the mercy of God and the merit of 
Christ, viz., of his death and obedience : Heb. ix. 13 14, If the blood 
of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer, sprinkling the unclean 
sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood 
of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to 
God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the hying God ? 
So Heb x 5-7 Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith, 
Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared 
me in burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hadst no pleasure. 
Then said I, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. So that the sacrifices 
were to represent Christ to them, without which they did little else than 
qualify for legal privileges. Therefore it behoved every one that would 
make covenant with God to own the promised Messiah, the surety who 
died for sin, and the great sacrifice of atonement, the Lord Jesus Christ. 
And is not this incumbent upon us, who would make and renew cove 
nant with God ? What is required of us in the eucharist but to bless 
God for all his mercies, especially the gift of his Son to die for us ? 
That which was promised and prefigured is now accomplished. Surely 
the death of Jesus Christ is the only true means of redemption and 
propitiation for sin, which must be acknowledged with all joy and 

(3.) They were obligations to duty, and that worship and obedience 
which we owe to God ; for a man by offering a beast did in effect 
devote himself and all his power and strength to God ; the worshipper 
was to consecrate himself wholly to his service. So Bom. xii. 1, I be 
seech you by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living 
sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 
This was the interpretation of the rites of the law, and the reasonable 
part of that worship. And are not we to give up ourselves to God, 
with a sincere firm resolution of new obedience ? Thus for our humi 
liation the sacrifices revealed our misery ; for our consolation they pro 
pounded the remedy of grace ; and in order to our sanctification they 
taught us gratitude and new obedience. But their chief and first re 
lation was to Christ, without whom our misery had been in vain dis 
covered, and holiness of life to little purpose required, for we have all 
from him. 

Use. To press you to enter into covenant with God^ especially being 
encouraged thereunto by the atonement and reconciliation made by 
Christ. You have no benefit by it till you personally enter into the 
bond of it. It is true, God being pacified by Christ, offereth pardon 
and acceptance on the conditions of the gospel, but we do not actually 
partake of the benefit till we perform those conditions. Though the 
price be paid by Christ, accepted by the Father, yet we have not an 
actual interest, through our own default, for not accepting God s cove 
nant. The covenant of nature lieth upon us whether we consent or 
no, because that is a law, but this is a privilege ; and therefore we must 
man by man make out our title and claim. What shall we do ? 

1. Bless God for this grace, that when man had irreparably broken 
the first covenant, and fallen from his state of life, and all the world 


left under guilt and a curse : Eom. iii. 19, All the world is become 
guilty before God ; that God took occasion by this misery to open a 
door of hope to us by Christ : 2 Cor. v. 19, God was in Christ, recon 
ciling the world unto himself; and hath set up a new court of 
righteousness and life, where sinners may appear, where grace taketh 
the throne, and the judge is Christ, and the rule of proceeding is the 
gospel, and.upon faith and sincere obedience we may be accepted. Oh ! 
let us run for refuge to this court, take sanctuary at this grace : Heb. 
vi.^18, Who have fled for refuge, to lay hold upon the hope set before 
us. The Lord standetfc with arms open to receive us, if we will 
but acknowledge our iniquities : Jer. iii. 13, * Only acknowledge thine 
iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God ; 1 
John i. 9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us 
our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness ; judge and condemn 
ourselves for them : 1 Cor. xi. 31, If we would judge ourselves, we 
should not be judged. With penitent and contrite hearts ; the self- 
condemning sinner is acquitted : Luke xviii. 13, 14, The publican, 
standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but 
smote on his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell 
you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other : 
for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth 
himself shall be exalted. 

2. Own Christ as the Son of God, and the Redeemer of the world, and 
the fountain of your life and peace ; for till we own the mediator of the 
covenant, we have not the benefit of the covenant. Though his blood 
be shed, it is not sprinkled on us : Heb. xii. 24, And to Jesus, the 
mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that 
speaketh better things than the blood of Abel. Nor can it be pleaded 
by us with any comfort and satisfaction. Therefore you must own 
him: John xx. 28, My Lord and my God. At least prize and 
esteem him : Phil. iii. 8, I count all things but loss for the excellency 
of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. And use him to the ends 
for which God hath appointed him : John i. 16, Of his fulness have 
all we received, and grace for grace; and 1 Cor. i. 30, But of him 
are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and 
righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. Let him be to you 
what God hath appointed him to be, and do for you what God hath 
appointed him to do for poor sinners : Micah v. 5, This man shall be 
the peace ; that is, in him alone will we seek it ; this is the blood of 
the covenant. 

_ 3. Devote yourselves to God, to serve him and please him : Isa. xliv. 

5, One shall say, I am the Lord s; and another shall call himself by the 

name of Jacob ; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the 

Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel ; and Ezek. xvi. 8, 

I entered into a covenant with thee, and thou becamest mine. Now 

this must be done sincerely ; not only with a moral sincerity not to 

isemble, but with a supernatural sincerity : Deut. v. 29, Oh ! that 

there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep 

1 my commandments always. It is done to God, who will not be 

mocked. And every consecration implieth an execration. But for the 

present, see no lust be reserved. If you live, or resolve to live, in any 


known sin, or do not resolve against it, God will say, What hast thou 
to do to take my covenant in thy mouth, Ps. 1. 16. If there be any 
insincerity, the covenant is marred in the making: Ps. Ixxviii. 37, 
Their heart was not right with him, neither were they steadfast in his 
covenant. If there be any partial reserve, the heart is not right. All 
former vanities must actually be renounced. 

4. Having made covenant with him, you must be exact in keeping 
it : Ps. xxv. 10, All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth to such 
as keep his covenant and his testimonies. Therefore be ever mindful 
of it : 1 Chron. xvi. 15, Be ye mindful always of his covenant ; Deut. 
iv. 23, Take heed to yourselves lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord 
your God/ Do not deal falsely in it, upon any temptation whatsoever : 
Ps. xliv. 17, All this is come upon us, yet have we not forgotten thee, 
neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant. 

5. Take heed of an unmortified heart. For an unmortified professor 
will never be faithful with God : Every sacrifice shall be salted with 
salt, Mark ix. 49. Kemember God s judgments upon those that have 
broken his covenant : Lev. xxvi. 25, I will bring a sword upon you, 
that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant ; Isa. xiv. 5, The eartli 
also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof, because they have trans 
gressed the laws, they have broken the everlasting covenant. Entering 
into covenant is called entering into a curse : Neh. x. 29, They clave 
to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an 
oath to walk in God s law, and to observe and do all the commandments 
of the Lord our God, and his judgments, and his statutes. 


Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the 
womb is his reward. Ps. cxxvii. 3. 

THIS psalm beareth title, A song of degrees for Solomon. In the 
margin it is of Solomon, or concerning Solomon, that is, spoken in 
the spirit of prophecy concerning him. Indeed, the passages are in 
their intrinsic meaning applicable to him. He was a builder of the 
temple, and an enlarger of the state and dominion of the Jews. There 
is a plain allusion to his name, Jedidiah, and Solomon, in the latter 
end of the second verse : For so he giveth his beloved sleep. For 
Jedidiah, see 2 Sam. xii. 24, 25, She bare a son, and he called his 
name Solomon ; and the Lord loved him : and he sent by the hand of 
Nathan the prophet, and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the 
Lord, i.e., beloved of the Lord. And for his other name, Solomon, see 

1 Chron. xxii. 9, 10, Behold a son shall be born to thee, and he shall 
be a man of rest ; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round 
about ; for his name shall be Solomon (i.e., peaceable), and I will give 
peace and quietness in his days. He shall build an house for my name, 
and I will be his father, and he shall be my son ; and I will establish 
the throne of his kingdom for ever. Well, now, it is in vain for you, 
Absalom and Adonijah, to set your wits on the rack, to torture your 
selves with your own ambition. God will give Jedidiah the kingdom, 
and he shall be Solomon, have rest and peace. We read in the history, 

2 Sam. xv. 2, Absalom rose early in the morning, and stood in the 
gate, to salute every one that passed by. Adonijah made a great 
bustle. But God s will concerning Jedidiah shall stand. He was to 
be the builder, he was to be the son by whom the succession of the 
regal line was to be continued. Upon this David comforteth himself, 
and acknowledgeth God s mercy : Lo, children are an heritage of the 
Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 

In the words, children are represented as a blessing. In which are 
two things (1.) The author from whom children come, From the 
Lord ; (2.) The quality in which we receive this blessing, set forth by 
a double notion (1st.) As an heritage; (2d.) As a reward. 

The word heritage 1 is often, by an Hebraism, put for a man s por 
tion, be it good or bad. It is used in a bad sense, as Job xx. 29, This 
is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed 


unto him by God. In the good sense, Isa. liv. 17, This is the heri 
tage of the servants of the Lord. 

Keward is put for any gift that cometh by promise, or with respect 
unto obedience ; because in a promise there is a contract implied ; if 
we will do so and so, God will do so and so for us. 

Doct. It is a blessing that we have from God, and so it should be 
accounted, that we have children born of our loins. 

It is not only a bare gift, so it is to the wicked ; but a blessing, one 
of the temporal mercies of the covenant : Ps. cxxviii. 1, Blessed is 
every one that feareth the Lord, that walketh in his ways. One of the 
blessings is, ver. 3, Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of 
thy house, thy children like olive plants round about thy table. This 
is a part of our portion and heritage ; the saints have so acknowledged 
it : Gen. xxxiii. 5, Who are these with thee ? And he said, The 
children which the Lord hath graciously given thy servant. Jacob 
speaketh like a father, and like a godly father. Not only given, but 
graciously given. As a father he acknowledged it a gift ; as a godly 
father, coming from mere grace. 

This may be gathered from the story of Job. Compare chap. i. ver. 
2, 3, with 18, 19. Observe, when his blessings are reckoned up, first 
his numerous issue is mentioned before his great estate. The chief 
part of a man s wealth and prosperity are his children ; the choicest of 
outward blessings. Children are first mentioned. But observe again, 
in the 18th and 19th verses, the loss of children is mentioned as the 
greatest affliction ; to put the top-stone upon his trial, the last afflic 
tion is the saddest, and so giveth the dead stroke. 

1. There is much of God s providence exercised in and about children. 

[1.] In giving strength to conceive. It is not every one s mercy. 
Sarah obtained it by faith : Heb xi. 11, Through faith Sarah received 
strength to conceive seed. Though bringing forth children be accord 
ing to the course of nature, yet God hath a great hand in it. Many 
godly parents have been denied the benefit of children, and need other 
promises to make up that want : Isa. Ivi. 4, 5, Thus saith the Lord 
unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that 
please me, and take hold of my covenant. Even unto them will I give 
in mine house, and within my walls, a place and a name better than 
of sons and of daughters, I will give them an everlasting name, that 
shall not be cut off. 

[2.] In framing the child in the womb. It is not the parents, but 
God. The parents cannot tell whether it be male or female, beautiful 
or deformed; they know not the number of the veins and arteries, 
bones and muscles. See Ps. cxxxix. 13-16, * For thou hast possessed 
my reins ; thou hast covered me in my mother s womb. I will praise 
thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ; marvellous are thy 
works, and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not 
hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in 
the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet 
being unperfect, and in thy book all my members were written, which 
in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. 
There is a great deal of workmanship in the body of man ; it is a curious 
piece of embroidery. Angels sang at man s creation : Job xxxviii. 7, 


When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted 
for joy ; and they admire at his resurrection. What is God about 
to do ? 

[3.] In giving strength to bring forth. The heathens had a goddess 
which presided over this work. His providence reacheth to the beasts. 
It is by the Lord that hinds do calve : Ps. xxix. 9, l The voice of the 
Lord maketh the hinds to calve ; and there is a promise to them 
that fear him, 1 Tim. ii. 15, She shall be saved in child-bearing, if 
they continue in faith and charity, and holiness with sobriety. It 
must be understood, as all temporal promises are, with the exception of 
his will ; but thus much we gather, that it is a blessing which falleth 
under the care of his providence ; and that by promise, so far as God 
seeth fit to make it good. Rachel died in this case; every godly 
woman hath not this deliverance. So did Phinehas wife, 1 Sam. iv. 
20. God might have taken this advantage against you,, to have cut 
you off. If deliverance were not so ordinary, it would 1 be accounted 
miraculous. The sorrows and pains of travail are a monument of God s 
displeasure : Gen. iii. 16, Unto the woman he said, I will greatly 
multiply thy sorrow and thy conception ; in sorrow shalt thou bring 
forth children/ Women s pains are more grievous than the females of 
any kind, to preserve a weak vessel in great danger ; and for the child, 
a sentence of death waylaid it as it was coming into the world. 

[4.] The circumstances of deliverance. In every birth there are 
some new circumstances to awaken our stupid thoughts to consider the 
work of God ; for God doth all his works with some variety, lest we 
should be cloyed with the commonness of them. 

2. They are a great blessing in themselves ; and the more of them 
the greater blessing ; and therefore should they be acknowledged and 
improved as blessings. Certainly there is a more special favour showed 
us in our relations than in our possessions : Prov. xix. 14, House and 
riches are the inheritance of fathers, but a good wife is from the Lord. 
So for children. By them the parent is continued and multiplied : 
they are a part of himself, and in them he liveth when he is dead and 
gone. It is a shadow of eternity, nodosa eternitas ; therefore the out 
ward appurtenances of life are not so valuable as children. Besides, 
they are capable of the image of God. By them the world is replen 
ished, the church multiplied, a people continued, to know, love, and 
serve God, when we are dead and gone. We read of Christ s rejoic 
ing in the habitable parts of the earth, and his delights were with the 
sons of men, Prov. viii. 31. In the habitable parts of the world there 
are great whales; but men were Christ s delight. Especially to God s 
confederates, or parents in covenant with God, are children a greater 
mercy. David was such an one ; there are sons and daughters born 
to him, Ezek. xvi. 20. These are visibly the children of God, and in a 
most proper sense an heritage from the Lord. It is said, Gen. vi. 12, 
The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and 
they took them wives of all which they choose." Seth begat sons and 
daughters to God. See Gen. x. 21, Unto Shem also, the father of 
the children of Eber, the brother of Japhet the elder, even to him 
were born children. The Persians, Lydians, Assyrians, Syrians, those 
who were possessed of the empire of the world, and all the rich spices 


and treasures of the east, he hath not his denomination from them, but 
from the children of Eber ; a people a long time kept under, before 
they could grow into a nation, but they were the people of God, who 
retained his true worship ; theirs were the promises, the adoption, and 
the glory. See that place, 1 Cor. vii. 14, For the unbelieving husband 
is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the 
husband ; else were your children unholy ; but now are they holy. 
Reasons are a notioribus, from some things plainer than the things 
they are to prove. The scope of it is to hold forth some privilege to 
believers not common to others who are infidels ; for it is for the be 
liever s sake that the other is sanctified. If it were a common privi 
lege, the unbelieving husband had been as much sanctified in himself 
as in his wife. Well, then, it is some special privilege, not common to 
the marriage of an unbelieving couple. Again, whatever this privilege 
be, it is something of importance ; for therefore is it mentioned neg 
atively and positively, which the Holy Ghost useth not to do but in 
weighty cases. Negatively, they are not as other children, unclean ; 
but positively, they are holy. Again, mark the gradation: The 
unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving 
wife is sanctified by the husband ; else were your children unholy, but 
now are they holy. To be sanctified is more than to be lawful, and 
to be holy is more than to be sanctified. All things, as meats, drink, 
marriage, estate, are lawful to an infidel, but not sanctified, for they 
are sanctified by the word and prayer ; and many things are sanctified 
which are not holy ; as gold, silver, goat s hair, when they were dedi 
cated to God ; they were changed in use, not in nature. The unbeliev 
ing husband, to whom all things are impure, he is sanctified, that is, 
set apart to serve God s providence to this holy end and use, that the 
believing wife may bring forth children to God; as a nobleman 
marrying a beggar conveyeth nobility to the children. Now, having 
laid this foundation, let us see what is the meaning of not being 
unclean, but holy. The unclean under the law were those that might 
not come into the sanctuary or into the temple. Holiness qualified 
for worship, and made capable of ordinances: What God hath 
cleansed call not thou common or unclean/ Acts x. 15, saith God to 
Peter, speaking of the gentiles as capable of gospel privileges. And 
so we have found out the sense. The children are holy ; though sinners 
by nature, yet dedicated to God, and by virtue of the parents covenant 
accepted into the visible church. This agreeth with the exact rules 
of friendship, to be a friend to us and our families ; as David was to 
Mephibosheth, for Jonathan s sake : 2 Sam. ix. 7, Fear not, for I will 
show thee kindness for Jonathan thy father s sake. So Kom. xi. 28, 
As concering the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but as touch 
ing the election they are beloved for the fathers sake. For so many 
thousand years. This is a friendship like God, whose kindness is 
expressed in a way becoming himself. Well, then, every child is 
capable of dedication to God in the solemn way of an ordinance. It 
was a grief to Gehazi to have the leprosy cleave to him and his posterity ; 
it is a comfort to you that your children are holy ; another leper was 
born of him, another child is born to God of you. 
More especially when the covenant breaketh out, then children are 


a blessing indeed, an heritage from the Lord : Gen. ix. 25, 26, Cursed 
be Canaan ; a servant of servants shall he be to his brethren. And he 
said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem. Ham is cursed in the person 
of Canaan, whose progeny was excluded from the grace of the ordin 
ances. Instead of blessing Shem, as he had cursed Ham, Noah blesseth 
and praiseth God : Blessed be the Lord God of Shem/ God is his 
God ; that is happiness enough, which is to be ascribed to his grace. 
But to return r God hath implanted an affection in parents to their 
children ; he hath a Son himself, and he knoweth how he loveth him, 
and he loveth him for his holiness: Heb. i. 9, Thou hast loved 
righteousness and hated iniquity ; therefore God, even thy God, hath 
anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. So many 
times, in a condescension -to good parents, he bestoweth this privilege, 
that they shall have godly children. Look, as to a minister, those 
whom he converts to God, they are his glory and his joy, and his 
crown of rejoicing at the day of the Lord, 1 Thes. ii. 19, 20; so as to 
those whom we have been a means to bring into the world, if they are 
in the covenant of grace, it is a greater blessing than to see them mon- 
archs of the world. 

3. It is a gift and a blessing dispensed as a reward and heritage, 
with respect to the obedience or disobedience of their parents. God 
would by all ways and means engage us to godliness. Now because 
our temporal happiness or misery much dependeth upon our relations 
and children, he would make this one motive to invite us to walk in 
his ways. This is one way or means to let in happiness or trouble 
upon us. Sometimes he promiseth children, and flourishing children, 
as a reward of piety ; and threateneth no children, or unhappy 
children, as a punishment of disobedience. See Job v. 4, compared 
with 25. Of the wicked it is said, ver. 4, His children are far from 
safety ; they are crushed in the gate, and there is none to deliver them. 
It is promised to the godly, ver. 25, Thou shalt know also that thy 
seed shall be great, and thine offspring shall be as the grass of the 
earth. So the second commandment : Exod. xx. 5,6, I the Lord 
thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon 
the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate 
me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep 
my commandments ; and many other places. Though not all the 
godly, and only they, have the gift of prosperity, and a successful 
posterity, yet God is pleased in express terms to adopt this blessing 
into the covenant. "Wicked parents are ordinarily great snares and 
plagues to their children, and the godly prove great blessings. Because 
this is an argument often pressed in scripture, I shall a little state it, 
how far wicked parents may procure a judgment, and godly parents a 
blessing, to their children. 

[1.] How far wicked parents may procure a judgment to their 
children. Ans. Punishments are either temporal or eternal. For 
eternal, no man is punished with eternal punishment for another s sins 
properly and directly ; there we stand upon our own personal account : 
occasionally a child may be punished eternally for his father s sin, as 
being deprived of the means of grace by the parent s revolt from the 
true religion. As for external means, the parents, who are a kind of 


trustees, may put away the means of grace from their families. 
When God cometh to tender grace to them, he tendereth it to them 
in the name of their whole house : Luke xix. 9, This day is salvation 
come to this house, forasmuch also as he is the son of Abraham. As 
a believer, he had an interest in Abraham s promises : Gen. xvii. 7, 
I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after 
thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God 
unto thee, and thy seed after thee. So Acts xvi. 31, Believe on the 
Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house ; that 
is, put in a way of salvation. If a family reject the strictness of 
profession, and give up themselves to cursing, swearing, uncleanness, 
gaming, hatred of reformation and of a lively ministry, the children 
bora in the family may be justly left to be wicked by these examples, 
and prejudiced against the ways of God. 

For temporal punishments. These may be supposed to come botli 
on those that continue in their wicked parents paths and courses, or on 
those who do break them off by repentance. 

(1.) If they continue in them, then both parents and children are 
considered as one body and society . Isa. Ixv. 6, 7, I will recompense, 
even recompense into their bosom, your iniquities, and the iniquities 
of 3 r our fathers together. There is a cup still filling ; and when we 
add more water, then it runneth over. As by a figure added to a 
number already set, the value is increased to a much greater sum than 
the single figure would bear if it stood alone, so the personal sins of 
the child are made much more heinous by the foregoing offences of the 
parents ; or, as a fire that is already kindled, when it meeteth with 
more combustible matter, the flame is the more increased, so by the 
addition of the children s sins to their ancestors , the judgment is made 
more exemplary and remarkable ; nay, it may be the judgment may 
begin with the children, when the parents in this world do escape and 
go unpunished. The parents kindle the fire, and the children come and 
cast in more fuel ; and then no wonder if the burning be the greater. 

(2.) If they be godly. The judgments may continue, though they 
be sanctified, to their holy posterity. Thus God s quarrel for the sins 
of Manasseh continued in the days of good Josiah : 2 Kings xxiii. 26, 
The Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, where 
with his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provoca 
tions wherewith Manasseh had provoked him. Thus godly children 
may bear in their bodies the fruits of their parents uncleanness and 
intemperance ; and their estates, which they had from their parents, 
may moulder away in their hands. And this may teach parents, as 
they love their children, to beware of leaving such sad debts upon the 
heads of their posterity. Their children shall smart for the fruits of 
their sin. We often see that the godly children of wicked parents are 
ruined for the sins of their families, both in their persons and estates. 
If you ask, For what sins ? Perversion of God s worship, as in the 
second commandment ; persecution of God s children ; so Ahab s pos 
terity was rooted out : 1 Kings xxi. 29, I will bring the evil in his 
son s days. Ill getting an estate : hcereditates transeunt cum onere 
the inheritance passeth with its burden. There is a curse goeth along 
with it. Parents sell their own souls to make their children great, and 


God will show the fallacy of it by blasting that greatness : Job xx. 10, 
Hjs children shall seek to please the poor, and his hands shall restore 
their goods. 

[2.] How far godly parents are blessed in their posterity. 

(1.) Good men convey many a temporal blessing to their relations ; 
as God blessed Ishmael for Abraham s sake : Gen. xvi. 10, And the 
angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, 
that it shall not be numbered for multitude ; Gen. xxi. 13, And also 
of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy 
seed. They have the blessing of Ishmael, if not the blessing of Isaac. 

(2.) They are without scruple children of the covenant, in visible re 
lation to God, and in better case than the seed of infidels ; not merely 
as the offspring of your bodies, nor as deriving grace from you by 
generation ; but because you have dedicated yourselves and all that 
you have to God. They are capable of ordinances : Eom. ix. 16, For 
if the first-fruit be holy, the lump also is holy ; and if the root be holy, 
so are the branches. 

(3.) If they die before they come to the use of reason, you have no 
cause to doubt of their salvation, God is their God . Gen. xvii. 7, I 
will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after 
thee in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God 
unto thee, and to thy seed after thee ; compared with Gal. iii. 14, That 
the blessing of Abraham might come on the gentiles through Jesus 
Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith/ 
And they never lived to disinherit themselves. As we judge of the 
slip according to the stock, till it live to bring forth fruit of its own, 
so here. 

(4.) If they live to years of discretion, they have greater advantages 
of being godly than others. Partly as your dedication doth oblige you 
to greater care in their education : Eph. vi. 4, Ye fathers, provoke 
not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and 
admonition of the Lord. Partly as God tendereth them more means 
with respect unto the covenant : Acts iii. 25, 26, Ye are the children 
of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, 
saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the 
earth be blessed; unto you first, God having raised up his son Jesus, 
sent him to bless you. You are children of the covenant, therefore 
unto you first, &c. Partly as the grace of the covenant runneth most 
kindly in the channel of the covenant : Horn. xi. 24, How much more 
shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own 
olive-tree ? 

(5.) If they take to their parents covenant, and fear and love God, 
their blessings are increased. David urgeth that : Ps. cxvi. 16, 
Lord, truly I am thy servant : I am thy servant, and the son of thine 
handmaid. When they are serious, they have a greater holdfast upon 
God : 2 Chron. vi. 42, Remember the mercies of David thy servant. 

Well, then, out of all, you see it is such a blessing as is dispensed in 
the way of a reward, yet it is such a blessing as may be turned into a 
curse. It is a door whereby God may let in blessing or cursing upon 
us ; and though they are an happiness, yet not our main happiness, but 
dispensed sometimes as rewards and sometimes as punishments. 


Use 1. To reprove those who are not thankful for children, but do 
grudge, and look upon it as a burden, when God blesseth them with a 
numerous issue. These murmur at that which is in itself a mercy. 
When we want them, we value them ; when we are full of children, we 
are full of distrust and murmuring. It was counted an honour to be 
a father in Israel. Surely those that fear God should not count an 
happiness to be a burden : Ps. cxxviii. 3, 4, Thy wife shall be as a 
fruitful vine by the sides of thine house, thy children like olive plants 
round about thy table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed that 
feareth the Lord. God maketh his people families like a flock, Ps. 
cvii. 41. 

Use 2. Reproof to those who do not acknowledge and improve this 

1. Those who do not acknowledge this mercy. Surely parents should 
acknowledge God in every child given to them. Much of his provi 
dence is seen in giving and withholding children. We have songs of 
thanksgiving very frequent in scripture upon this occasion. It is a 
thing wherein God will have his bounty taken notice of by solemn 
praises ; and for every child God should have a new honour from you. 
What hath been done to the Lord for this ? Therefore do not look 
upon the birth of a child as a natural thing ; see God in it. When 
Rachel fell out with Jacob about her barrenness, Am I, saith he, in 
God s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb ? 
Gen. xxx. 2. Specially confederate parents should acknowledge this 
mercy. It is a mercy that, when a sinner is taken into favour, God will 
acceptof our actions, which are the fruit of our souls, that the evil that is 
in all these should not outweigh the little goodness which is in them ; nay, 
that they should not only be accepted, but rewarded. But further, that 
he should make a covenant with the fruit of our body, if you consider 
your natural sinfulness, it is wonderful that your children should be 
holy and God s portion. Grace, like a mighty river, will be pent within 
no banks, but overflow all that a man hath. God loveth not to take a 
single person, but grace cometh to our houses : Acts xvi. 31, Believe 
in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house. Doth 
the faith of the master -of the family save the family ? Occasionally it 
doth, as it giveth a title to the means of grace. Therefore this should 
be acknowledged with all thankfulness : 2 Sam. vii. 19, Thou hast 
spoken also concerning thy servant s house, for a great while to corne. 

2. Those that do not improve the mercy, nor endeavour to make 
children blessings indeed, by an holy education. Oh ! it will be a 
great happiness to be parents to such as shall be heirs of glory 1 As 
children ought to be looked upon as a great mercy, so also as a great 
trust, which as it is managed may occasion much joy or much grief. 
If parents doat upon them, they make them idols, not servants of the 
Lord. If they neglect education, they will surely prove crosses and 
curses to them, or if they taint them by their example. Young ones 
are very apt to follow the example of those they see or converse with, 
or are related to them. Those forty-two children, 2 Kings ii. 23, 24, 
that were devoured of two she-bears, and cried bald-pate to the prophet 
of the Lord, were children of Bethel, which was a nest of idolatry. 
Therefore parents had need see what example they give, or suffer to be 


given, to their children, in contemning the servants of the Lord, or in 
any other kind of sin. 

3. Reproof to children born of godly parents, and, notwithstanding 
dedication and education, break out into unseemly and wicked courses. 
For children born in a godly family to be naught is the greatest de 
generation that can be. Ungodly children of godly parents, these wrest 
themselves out of the arms of mercy, and instead of a blessing, become 
a burden and a curse. They cast off their father s God : Prov. xxvii. 
10, Thine own friend and thy father s friend forsake not. But what 
shall be said of them that forsake their father s God ? They break 
off and interrupt the course of the blessing : Jer. ii. 12, 13, Be aston 
ished, ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, 
saith the Lord ; for my people hath committed two evils, they have for 
saken me, the fountain of living water, and hewed them out cisterns, 
broken cisterns, that will hold no water. He would have the sun to 
look pale, the spheres to cast out their stars. Wilt thou be a traitor 
to thy father s God ? Solomon continued alliance with Hiram because 
he had been a friend to David ; and wilt thou break off the grace of 
the covenant ? Cain excommunicated himself : Gen. iv. 16, Cain went 
out from the presence of the Lord. Ishmael, for scoffing malignity 
against the power of godliness, was cast out of Abraham s family, 
Gen. xxi. 9 ; Esau for sensual profaneness, Heb. xii. 15, despising 
spiritual privileges for sensual satisfactions. The Jews were cast off 
rf) dina-Tia, for unbelief, JR om. xi. 20, or positive rejection of the 
gospel. Christ made them the first offer. 

Use 3. To exhort parents to bring up their children for God ; for 
if they be an heritage from the Lord, they must be an heritage to the 
Lord. Give them up to him again, as you had them from him at first ; 
for whatever is from him must be improved for him. Dedicate them 
to God, and educate them for God, and he will take possession of them 
in due time. Hannah, though her son were a Levite born, and her 
eldest son, yet she solemnly dedicateth him to God : 2" Sam. i. 27, 
28, I prayed for this child, and the Lord hath given me my petition 
which I asked of him, therefore I have lent him to the Lord; as 
long as he liveth, he shall be lent to the Lord. Give God his por 
tion. Now, if the dedication be sound, it will engage you to a serious 
education. God dealeth with us as Pharaoh s daughter did with Moses 
mother : Exod. ii. 9, Take this child away, and nurse it for me. 


1. The express charge of God, who hath made it your duty : Eph. 
vi. 4, Fathers, bring up your children in the nurture and admonition 
of the Lord ; Deut. vi. 7, These words shalt thou teach diligently 
unto thy children , and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine 
house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, 
and when thou risest up ; Prov. xxii. 6, Train up a child in the way 
he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Now we 
should make conscience of these commands, as we will answer it to 
God another day. 

2. The example of the saints,, who have been careful to discharge 
this trust. God presumeth it of Abraham : Gen. xviii. 19, For I 
know him, that he will command his children and his household after 


him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judg 
ment, that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath 
spoken of him. Observe, God reckoneth upon it ; and disappointment 
is the worst vexation. And it is a means to obtain the promise and 
the blessing : 2 Tim. iii. 15, And that a-rro fipefavs, from a child, thou 
hast known the holy scriptures. How? By his grandmother Lois and 
mother Eunice, as is expressed elsewhere. Surely they are unworthy 
to have children that do not take care that Christ may have an interest 
in them. 

3. The importance of this duty. Next to the preaching of the word, 
the education of children is one of the greatest duties in the world ; 
for the service of Christ and of the church and state dependeth upon 
it. Families are the seminaries of church and commonwealth. Keligion 
dwelt first in families, and as they grew into numerous societies, they 
grew into churches. As religion was first hatched there, so there the 
devil seeketh to crush it. The families of the patriarchs were all the 
churches God had in the world ; and therefore when Cain went out of 
Adam s family, he is said to go out from the presence of the Lord/ 
Gen. iv. 16. If the devil can subvert families, other societies and com 
munities will not long flourish. Towns and nations are made up of 
families. A fault in the first concoction is not easily mended in the 
second ; here is the first making or marring. And Solomon telleth us, 
Prov. xx. 11, that even a child is known by his doings. 

4. To countermine Satan, who hath ever envied the succession of 
churches, and the growth and progress of Christ s kingdom, and there 
fore seeketh to crush it in the egg, by seeking to pervert persons while 
they are young, and, like .wax, capable of any form and impression. 
As Pharaoh would destroy the Israelites by killing their yev n g ones, 
so Satan, who hath a great spite at the kingdom of Christ, knoweth. 
there is no such compendious way to subvert and overcome it as by per 
verting youth and supplanting family duties. He knoweth that this 
is a blow at the root. Therefore what care should parents take to 
season children with holy principles, that they may overcome the 
wicked one by the word of God abiding in them : 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. And 
cleanse their hearts by a regard to scripture direction: Ps. cxix. 9, 
Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way ? by taking heed 
thereto, according to thy word. They are defiled already, not as 
vessels taken out of the potter s shop, but as vessels tainted and 

5. To make good your dedication of them to God in baptism. It is 
a mockery to dedicate them to God, and to breed them up for the 
devil, the world, and the flesh. God complaineth, Ezek. xvi. 20, Thou 
hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, which thou hast born to me, 
and these thou hast sacrificed unto them to be devoured. It is as 
disingenuous to offer them to God, and train them up for the world or the 
flesh. If they prove openly sensual, we are troubled ; but if they 
secretly please the flesh, we mind it not, but rather are secretly helpful 
to them in it ; if worldly, we applaud them. Thus do we betray those 
souls which we should be a means to save. 



6. If they prove naught, the affliction will be double if you have not 
used the means to prevent it, if by your carnal fondness you have 
borne with their sin, and given them their wills, or indulge it by 
the evil example of your careless walking, or out of sloth have 
neglected unwearied endeavours to instruct them in godliness. But 
when YOU have done your part, you can the better submit to the will 
of God. 


Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are 
honest, whatsoever things are just, ivliatsoever things are pure, 
tvhatsoever things are lovely, lohatsoever things are of good report ; 
if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these 
things. PHIL. iv. 8. 

HEKE is a general rule for the regulating of our conversations. In it 

1. The bounds of our duty are fixed, in seven 1 things true, just, 
honest, pure, lovely, of good report, if any virtue, or if any praise. 

2. The accuracy and care that we should use not to transgress these 
bounds : Think on these things, ravra Xtxyt^ecrfle ; diligently take 
heed to them, that you may practise them. 

Doct. That Christianity doth adopt moralities, or precepts of good 
manners, into its frame and constitution. 

Here I shall inquire (1.) What these moralities are, as they are 
here set forth to us in the text; (2.) In what manner Christianity 
doth enforce them ; (3.) For what reasons. 

First, What are these moralities? 

1. Whatsoever things are true, d\r)6f). This concerneth both our 
speeches and our actions. 

[1.] For our speeches ; that they be free from lying and falsehood : 
Eph. iv. 25, Wherefore, putting away lying, speak every man truth 
with his neighbour, fgr we are members one of another. Lying is 
when men wittingly and willingly, and with a purpose to deceive, 
speak that which is false. The matter of a lie is falsehood, and the 
formality of it is an intention to> deceive. Now this we may do two 
ways either by way of assertion or promise. The lying assertion is 
concerning what is past and present ; thus Ananias lied to the Holy 
Ghost when he brought part of the price instead of all : Acts v. 3, 
But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to 
the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land ? The 
promissory lie is when we promise that which we mean not to perform : 
rrov. xix. 22, The desire of a man is his kindness, and a poor man 
is better than a liar. That which men should desire is to be in a 
capacity to show kindness or do good ; for greatness in the world is 
valuable upon this account, as it giveth a man a power to show kind 
ness to others. But many that covet the praise and reputation of it are 

1 Eight. ED. 


very forward in promises, but fail in performance. Now a poor man 
that loveth you, and will do his best, is a surer friend than such great 
men as only give you good words, and sprinkle you with a little court 
holy water. But this should be far from a Christian, for he is to keep 
his word, though it be to his hurt : Ps. xv. 4, In whose eyes a vile 
person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord : he 
that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not/ Lying is a sin most 
contrary to the nature of God, who is truth itself ; but the devil is 
called the father of lies. And it is most contrary to the new nature : 
Eph. iv. 24, 25, And that ye put on the new man, which after God is 
created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore, putting away 
lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour ; Isa. Ixiii. 8, And 
he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie. It is 
most contrary to human society, for commerce is kept up by truth. 

[2.] For truth in actions. We should always keep the integrity of a 
good conscience : Ps. xxxii. 2, Blessed is the man unto whom the 
Lord imputeth not iniquity, in whose spirit there is no guile ; 2 Cor. 
i. 12, For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that 
in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the 
grace of God, we have had our conversations in the world, and more 
especially to you-ward. And truth, sincerity, and candour should be 
seen in all that we do. Satan assaults you with wiles, but your strength 
lieth in downright honesty : Eph. vi. 14, Stand, therefore, having 
your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of right 
eousness. This will give you courage in the day of sore trial, and 
comfort in the very agonies of death : Isa. xxxviii. 2, 3, And Hezekiah 
turned his face towards the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, and said, 
Eemember now, Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before 
thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is 
good in thy sight. Therefore we must carry ourselves sincerely, free 
from hypocrisy and dissimulation, whether to wards God or men. 

2. The next boundary is, Whatsoever things are honest/ a-epva, 
grave and venerable, free from scurrility, lightness and vanity, in word 
or in deed. Beligion is a serious thing, and accordingly leaveth an im 
pression upon the heart, and maketh them serious that profess it. The 
apostle would have the Christian women to carry themselves as women 
professing godliness : 1 Tim. ii. 9, 10, In like manner also, that 
women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and 
sobriety; not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array, but 
(which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. And 
surely all Christians should be of a modest and good behaviour. A 
garish levity will not become them that live in constant communion 
with a great God. This cannot but make the heart more aweful and 
serious, especially in the more aged : Titus ii. 2, That the aged men 
be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. 

3. Whatsoever things are just, Sticaia, giving to every one what is 
due, and doing to others as we would be dealt with ourselves. There 
fore we must defraud no man of his right ; whether superiors : Mat. 
xxii. 21, Bender therefore unto Caasar the things which are Caesar s, 
and unto God the things that are God s. Or inferiors : Col. iv. 1, 
Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal, know- 



ing that ye have a master in heaven. So also to equals, not invading 
each other s rights, not detaining from them anything that is theirs : 
Horn. xiii. 8, Owe no man anything, but to love one another ; for he 
that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. That is a debt still owing, 
and still to be paid : Mat. vii. 12, Therefore all things whatsoever ye 
would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them ; for this is 
the law and the prophets. The rule of justice, of doing to others as 
you would they should do to you, standeth on these suppositions : The 
actual equality of all men by nature ; did not he that made you make 
them ? And the possible equality by providential disposure ; you may 
stand in need of them as they do of you, and be under them as they 
are under you. 

4. Whatsoever things are pure ; therefore nothing that is obscene 
or unchaste should be seen in or heard from a Christian. "Ayva signi- 
fieth chaste and clean, as well as pure : Eph. iv. 29, Let no corrupt 
communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to 
the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers. Kotten 
communication argueth a naughty heart, as a stinking breath doth 
rotten and putrid lungs. So also for actions ; nothing filthy or unclean 
should be done by us : Eph. v. 12, For it is a shame even to speak 
of those things which are done of them in secret. A Christian is 
ashamed to speak what others are not ashamed to do ; but God seeth 
in secret, and his law is our rule, and his eye should be enough. 

5. Whatsoever things are lovely, 7rpoa^\rj. There are certain 
things which are not only commanded by God, but are grateful and 
acceptable to men. Such are a loving, affable carriage, peaceable be 
haviour, meekness, lowliness of mind, charity, usefulness : Rom. v. 7, 
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet peradventure for a 
good man some would even dare to die. The apostle telleth us of 
some things which are acceptable to God and approved of men, Rom. 
xiv. 18. Now these things a Christian must make conscience of : Eom. 
xii. 17, Kecompense to no man evil for evil ; provide things honest 
in the sight of all men. What are those ? To live charitably and 
peaceably : 1 Thes. v. 15, See that none render evil for evil unto any 
man, but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and 
to all men. As in the body there is something that is lovely, and 
appeareth so to all men, so in the soul. Now these are things which 
we should look after. When the disciples lived christianly and in 
peace and charity, they had favour with all the people : Acts ii. 46, 47, 
And they continued daily with one accord in the temple, and break 
ing bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and 
singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. 
Therefore by this lovely carriage we should commend our profession to 
the world. 

6. Whatsoever things are of good report, ev<f>r)(jia. This is another 
boundary ; for there are some things which have no express evil in 
them, but they are not of good fame, as generally condemned by the 
wise and sober. Now a Christian is first to look to his conscience ; but 
because the honour of God and the credit of his profession is concerned, 
he must avoid those things which have an appearance of evil : 1 Thes. 
v. 22, Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the rather because 


they are not over-tender of their conscience who are lavish of their 
name. Indeed a Christian is not to hunt after the applause of men, yet 
he is to do his duty, so that the holy profession be not blamed, nor evil 
spoken of for his sake. It is a good and short decision of Aquinas, 
Gloria humana bene contemnitur, nihil male agenda propter ipsam, et 
bene appetitur, nihil male agenda contra ipsam. Then we rightly 
contemn the applause of men when we do nothing ill to gain it; 
and then we rightly desire it when we do nothing ill to forfeit it. 
It is to be contemned if we must do evil to gain it : 2 Cor. vi. 8, By 
honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report, as deceivers,, 
and yet true. Be contented with the glory that cometh of God only, 
else we do not believe in Christ : John v. 44, How can ye believe,, 
which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that 
cometh from God only ? You cannot be the servants of Christ if 
you honour men. As for our own credit, we must be content to be 
evil-spoken of for the gospel s sake and our duties sake* And it is, 
well deserved by doing nothing on our part to hazard it. So 1 Peter 
ii. 12, Having your conversation honest among the gentiles ; that 
whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, they may by your good 
works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation, 
We are to stop the mouth of iniquity, and to put to silence the ignor 
ance of foolish men ; not justly to cause our names to stink and be 
unsavoury, but live down the reproaches of the world, as much as in us. 
lieth, and bring the holy ways of God into request. 

7. The last limitation is, If there be any virtue, or any praise. I 
join both these things together, because they are linked to one another,. 
That is, if they found anything praised and esteemed in the world, 
provided it be a virtue. Many things gain applause in the world 
which yet are not virtuous and praiseworthy ; as the revenging of an 
injury, zeal for a man s faction : Gal. i. 10, For do I now persuade men 
or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I 
should not be the servant of Christ. So for peaceable compliance 
with sin, and good-fellowship : Luke xvi. 15, And he said unto them, 
Ye are they which justify yourselves before men, but God knoweth 
your hearts ; for that which is highly esteemed amongst men is an 
abomination in the sight of God. Now Christians should abhor such 
things, though never so much cried up in the world : there is a praise 
of such things, but they are not virtues. Or else you may understand 
this limitation thus : If there be any virtue, that is, something lower 
than grace, any good thing among the heathens with whom they 
conversed, they should take it up, and adorn religion with it. So if 
there be any praise : Among good things some are more eminent ; 
others, as they are not disproved, so they are not praised. Now any 
such praiseworthy or commendable action they should imitate, and 
adorn their profession with it. The gifts of the Holy Ghost are called 
graces, but these commendable actions are called virtues. 

Well, then, these are the general heads of Christian duties, which 
they should seriously think upon, and propose them to themselves for 
the regulation of their conversations, that they might do nothing but 
what ^ was agreeable to truth, equity, sobriety, exact justice, purity, 
chastity, and virtue. This for the first question. 


Secondly, In what manner Christianity doth enforce them. This is 
to be regarded, because there is a great deal of do about morality, 
which some press to the neglect of faith and the love of God. Some 
make their whole religion to be a mere morality, and so turn Chris 
tianity into morality ; whereas a good Christian turneth his morality 
into religion, all his second-table duties into first-table duties : Heb. 
xiii. 16, But to do good and to communicate forget not, for with such 
sacrifices God is well pleased. Sacrifice is a duty of the first table, yet 
alms is called a sacrifice well-pleasing unto God. But to make this 
more fully appear, let me show you 

1. That Christianity deriveth all good conversation from the highest 
fountain, the Spirit of God. 

2. From the truest principles, faith in Christ and love to God. 

3. It directeth it by the highest rule, the will of God. 

4. And to the highest end, the glorifying and enjoying of God. All 
else is but bastard morality, apocryphal holiness, that is not thus 

1. It deriveth all these things from the highest fountain, the Spirit 
of sanctification, by which we are fitted for all these duties : Eph. v. 9, 
For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness and truth/ 
These commendable virtues are also in a Christian, as the fruits of the 
Spirit : Gal. v. 22, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long- 
suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. And till 
we live in the Spirit, we are altogether unfit to do anything acceptably 
to God. No virtue is truly saving and acceptable but what floweth 
from the grace of regeneration. 

2. It maketh them to grow out of their proper principles, faith in 
Christ and love to God. 

[1.] Faith in Christ. The apostle telleth us, Heb. xi. 6, c Without 
faith it is impossible to please God. Not only without the general faith 
of God s being and bounty, but also without faith in Christ : Rom. vii. 4, 
We are married to Christ, that we may bring forth fruit unto God. 
As the children that are born before marriage are illegitimate, so all 
that justice, temperance, and charity, which doth not flow from faith in 
Christ, is but mock grace and bastard holiness. 

[2.] Love to God : GaL v. 6, Faith worketh by love, and therefore 
maketh us tender of doing anything that may displease or dishonour 
God : Titus ii. 11, 12, The grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath 
appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly 
lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world. 
If you understand it of objective grace, then the gospel teaching is by way 
of instruction, as a man teacheth a learner ; or if of subjective grace, it is 
by way of persuasion and powerful excitement, or both ; that morality 
is not kindly unless founded on the gospel, and never so thoroughly 
promoted as by the principles laid down there. Now, no wonder they 
that never felt the force of faith in Christ and love to God upon their 
souls do so much cry up bare morality. Well, then, Christ healeth our 
souls by his Spirit, and the Spirit worketh by faith and love, which are 
the true principles of grace in the heart. 

3. It directeth it by the highest rule, which is God s mind revealed 
in his word, the absolute rule of right and wrong. Alas ! what partial 


directions are there elsewhere ! but Ps. xix. 7, The law of the Lord is 
perfect, converting the soul. Others have, epyov vcipov, The work of 
the law written in their hearts/ Horn. ii. 15. What cold enforcements 1 
Now they that cry up right reason in defiance of scripture, and would 
refer us to another rule, they are not thankful for this blessed revelation. 

4. It is aimed at the highest end, the glorifying of God and the 
enjoying of God. The pleasing and glorifying of God : 1 Cor. x. 31, 
Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of 
God ; Phil. i. 11, Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are 
by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God. And the enjoying 
of God : Acts xxiv. 14-16, l 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 unjust. 
And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of 
offence toward God and toward men/ They have a care of alt this 
justice, charity, temperance, in order to the attainment of everlasting 
happiness in the vision and fruition of God. Others mind nothing but 
their interests in the world : Acts xxiv. 26, He hoped also that money 
should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him : therefore 
he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him/ 

Thirdly, For what reasons. 

1. Because grace doth not abolish so much of nature as is good, but 
refines and sublimates it, by causing us to act from higher principles 
and to higher ends. As the apostle saith that Onesimus was dear to 
Philemon, both in the flesh and in the Lord/ Philem. 16, so if any 
thing be pure, good, lovely, praiseworthy in the eye of nature, Christianity 
doth not abolish, but establish it. Therefore a Christian should come 
behind none in these praiseworthy qualities. The law of God requireth 
this at our hands on better terms. He that sinneth against nature and 
grace too is worse than an infidel : 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 wc-rse than an infidel ; Eom. xiv. 17, 18, For the 
kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, 
and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ, 
is acceptable to God, and approved of men. 

2. Because these conduce to the honour of religion. The credit of 
religion- dependeth much on the credit of the persons that profess it : 
Ezek. xxxvi. 20, 21 , And when they entered unto the heathen whither 
they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, 
These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of his land. 
But I had pity for my holy name, which the house of Israel had pro 
faned among the heathen ; 2 Sam. xii. 14, Howbeit because by this 
deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to 
blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die ; 2 
Peter ii. 2, And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of 
whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. If they should be false, 
unjust, turbulent, unclean, what will men think of God and Christ, and 
the religion which he hath established ? Christiane, ubi Deus tuus f 
Christian ! where is thy God ? said a heathen to a Christian when 


committing uncleanness. Titus ii. 10, Not purloining, but showing all 
good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in 
all things." 

3. Our peace and safety is concerned in it ; partly because the world 
is least irritated by a peaceable, just, and good conversation; it doth 
mollify their spirits and mitigate their fury : 1 Peter iii. 13, And who 
is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good ? 
That is, when he bridleth his tongue, seeketh peace, and doeth good. 
And partly because God puts a conviction upon the consciences of 
wicked men : 1 Sam. xxiv. 17, And he said to David, Thou art more 
righteous than I ; for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have re 
warded thee evil. And so wicked men are restrained by reverence, 
and are afraid to meddle with unstained innocency. And partly be- 
-cause when we do not bring trouble upon ourselves by our own im 
moralities, God taketh us into his special protection. It f olloweth upon 
the text, ver. 9, These things which ye have both learned, and heard, 
-and seen of me, do, and the God of peace shall be with you/ You may 
expect much -of God s gracious presence when your conversations -are so 
harmless and innocent ; and he will free you from many external vexa 
tions, or give you inward tranquillity of mind. 

4. Because these things flow from that internal principle of grace 
which is planted in our hearts by regeneration : Mat. iii. 8, Bring 
forth fruits therefore meet for repentance ; Acts xxvi. 20, That they 
should repent, and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. 
What is regeneration on God s part is repentance on ours. Now there 
are certain effects proper to this change, and that is the grave, just, 
temperate, and holy living. And certainly where those effects are not, 
there the cause itself is wanting ; for how can we evidence that our con 
version and repentance is real and sound, unless we bring forth fruits 
answerable ? What evidence can we have of the new nature but by 
newness of conversation ? or of a change of mind, but by a change of 
life ? We judge of others by their external works, for the tree is known 
by its fruits ; and we judge of ourselves by the internal and external 
works together. If within there be a love of God, faith in Christ, hatred 
of evil, delight in that which is good, a deep sense of the world to come ; 
and all this discovered in an holy, sober, and grave conversation, this 
completeth the evidence, and raaketh it more satisfying. 

5. All the disorders contrary to these limits and bounds, by which 
our conversations are regulated, are condemned by the holy and right 
eous law of God, which is the rule of the new creature ; and therefore 
they ought to be avoided by a good Christian, who hath a tenderness 
upon him -of offending God in the least thing : Ps. cxix. 161, My 
heart standeth in awe of thy word ; Prov. xiii. 13, Whoso despiseth 
the word shall be destroyed, but he that feareth the commandment 
shall be rewarded. They dare not transgress in the least things : Mat. 
v. 19, Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments, and 
shall teach men so to do, shall be called the least in the kingdom of 
heaven. As not in their spiritual duties, so not in moralities : Mat. 
xxiii. 23, Woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites t for ye pay 
tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier 
matters of the law, judgment, and mercy, and faith : these things ought 


ye to do, and not to leave the other undone. Hypocrites make a busi 
ness about small matters, and neglect weighty duties. Yet the sincere, 
by .the discharge of greater duties, are not freed from the obligation to 
do the smallest duties ; both stand by the same authority. 

6. These moralities are not small things; the glory of God, the 
safety of his people, the good of human society, and the evidence of our 
own sincerity being concerned in them. The apostle chargeth atheism 
and disrespect of God on the neglecters of these things : 1 John iii. 
10, Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God ; neither he that 
loveth not his brother ; Gal. v. 14, For all the law is fulfilled in one 
word, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself/ 

Use 1. If religion doth adopt moralities into its frame and consti 
tution, we must not leave them out of our practice and conversations ; 
for we are the epistle of Christ, 2 Cor. iii. 3. We are to hold forth 
the word of life ; Phil. ii. 26. That which is just must be suitable 
to the rule : Titus iii. 8, This is a faithful saying, and these things I 
will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God 
might be careful to maintain good works ; these things are good and 
profitable unto men. God would not have us omit any part of his 

Use 2. Here is an answer to those that ask, Wherein must we be 
holy, and show our obedience unto God ? Besides what concerneth the 
sanctification of the heart, here we are told plainly what concerneth 
the regulating of the conversation. When the heart is once renewed, 
then moralities must have their place and our exact care. 

Use 3. That Christians should be known to be the best sort of men 
in the world, abstaining not only from those things which the law of 
God forbiddeth, but the custom of nations, that no blemish may lie 
upon our profession. 


But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We 
will not Jiave this man to reign over us. LUKE xix. 14. 

THESE words are part of a parable uttered by our Lord Jesus when he 
came nigh to Jerusalem, where they thought he would assume the regal 
power, and reign among them in great pomp and glory. To prevent 
this misconceit, he puts forth this parable, wherein by the nobleman 
he intendeth himself; by his servants, all believers, especially the 
teachers and ministers of his church ; by the pounds given to them, 
spiritual gifts and graces ; by his going into a far country to receive a 
kingdom, his ascension into heaven, and sitting down at the right hand 
of majesty ; by his own citizens that tumultuated during his absence, 
the stiff-necked Jews, and by consequence all other people that refuse 
his government ; by his return, his last coming to judgment, when he 
shall reward every one according to his works. My purpose only ob- 
ligeth me to insist upon that clause which expresseth the unwilling 
ness of men to be subject to Christ, But his citizens hated him, and 
sent a message after him, &c. 
In which words take notice of 

1. The crime, We will not have this man, &c. 

2. The persons guilty, His citizens ; John i. 11, fie came to his 
own, and they received him not. 

3. The internal moving cause, They hated him. Hatred is a 
malicious dislike notwithstanding conviction : John xv. 23, He that 
hateth me, hateth my Father also. They did disclaim and renounce 
all subjection to Christ, though they had enough to convince them of 
his being the Messiah. In carnal and wicked men there is not only a 
neglect of Christ, but an hatred of Christ ; partly because from neglect 
the passage is easy to contempt and hatred ; partly because their 
hearts being bestowed elsewhere, they have no affection to him, that 
would reduce and reclaim them: John iii. 19, This is the condemna 
tion, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather 
than light, because their deeds are evil ; and partly because they 
count him as one that condemneth that course of life which they 
affect : John iii. 20, For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, 
neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 

4. The manner of expressing their hatred : they sent a message 
after him. This must be understood with respect to the parable; 
therefore this message they sent after him is nothing else but the perse- 


cution of the Christian faith, and the disciples that professed Christ s 
name, which is as it were an open bidding defiance to Christ in heaven, 
a sending a message after him. The apostle Paul saith of the Jews, 
1 Thes. ii. 15, Who both killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, 
and have persecuted us ; and they please not God, and are contrary to 
all men. 

5. The crime, which is wilful refusal of subjection to Christ : We 
will not have this man to rule over us ; and here 

[1.] The thing refused is his reign. Where Christ cometh he will 
be lord and sovereign. His kingdom is that administration which 
requireth spiritual obedience from us ; this the licentious world cannot 

[2.] The manner of refusing ; it is wilful, ov de\o/j,ev, We will not. 
They allege no lawful reason, but wilfully and contumaciously reject 
his government ; and so it taxeth the obstinacy of the Jews, standing 
out unreasonably against the faith. 

Doct. That it is the spiritual kingdom of Christ which is most 
opposed by the carnal world. 

The Jews disclaimed him from being their king ; their whole car 
riage towards him and his messengers speak this language, We will 
not have this man to reign over us. When he was present, they 
contemned and slighted his person, calling him This man by way of 
contempt ; yet in the parable he is represented as a nobleman, and heir 
of a kingdom. When absent, and gone to receive a kingdom, they 
abused his messengers. The rebellious world maketh defection from 
Christ, because he is out of sight ; they will not be controlled by an 
invisible king. But it was not the sin of the Jews only, but of the 
gentiles also ; for why did the gentiles rage against the Lord and his 
anointed ? Ps. ii. 3, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away 
their cords from us. All the business of the rebellious world is to 
cast away Christ s yoke, to dissolve the bonds of loyalty and obedience 
to him. 

I will prove (1.) That Christ hath a kingdom ; (2.) That in all 
reason this kingdom should be submitted unto ; (3.) What moveth and 
induceth men so much to dislike his kingly office. 

I. That Christ hath a spiritual kingdom , for all things concur here 
which belong to a kingdom : here is a monarch, which is Christ ; a 
law, which is the gospel ; subjects, which are penitent believers ; rewards 
and punishments, eternal life and eternal torment. 

1. Here is a monarch, the mediator, whose kingdom it is. Origin 
ally it belongeth to God as God, but derivatively to Christ as mediator : 
Ps. ii. 6, I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion; Phil. ii. 10, 
11, That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in 
heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth ; and that every 
tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God 
the Father. This kingdom, which is exercised by a Kedeemer, doth 
not vacate or make void our duty to God. No ; this new dominion is 
not destructive of the former, but accumulative ; that is, it doth not 
abolish the power and right which God hath to govern ; that continu- 
eth still, and will continue as long as man receiveth his being from God, 
and the continuance of his being by daily providence and preservation ; 


but this is superadded to the former. Christ is Lord to the glory of 
God the Father : the right of governing is still in God, but the actual 
administration is by Christ. 

2. There are subjects. Before I tell you who they are, I must pre 
mise that there is a double consideration of subjects. Some are subjects 
by the grant of God, others are subjects not only by the grant of God, 
but their own consent. By divine donation all things are put into the 
hands of Christ, and under the power of, the Son ^ of God and our 
Redeemer -, so no creature is exempted from his dominion ; no, not the 
devils themselves, though revolters and rebels against God : Eph. i. 22, 
And hath put all things under his feet, and given him to be head over 
all things to the church. Whether they will or no, they are bound 
to his absolute dominion and sovereign authority ; and so all men are 
subjects of Christ s kingdom, partly by divine obligation bound to be 
so, and partly by his overruling providence they are forced to submit 
to his disposing will. There is a passive submission to his power, 
though not a voluntary subjection to his laws ; but of this we speak ndt 
now. The other sort is of those who are subjects by consent, who 
willingly give up themselves to the Redeemer, to be saved upon his 
terms : 2 Cor. viii. 5, But first gave their own selves to the Lord, and 
unto us by the will of God. And so the subjects of this kingdom are 
penitent believers. Devils and wicked men are his subjects whether 
they will or no ; but all Christ s people are his by a voluntary subjec 
tion and consent, or yield up themselves to him by covenant. Now 
these I call penitent believers, because both faith and repentance is 
necessary to our entrance into this subjection. 

[1.] Repentance, that we may lay down our former hostility, and so 
enter into confederation and covenant with him. Therefore often 
preaching repentance is called preaching the kingdom of God : Mat. 
iv. 17, From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent, 
for the kingdom of heaven is at hand ; Mark i. 14, 15, Jesus came 
into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, 
The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand ; repent ye and 
believe the gospel. 

[2.] Faith is required ; for receiving of Christ is made equivalent 
with believing : John i. 12, To as many as received him, to them gave 
he power to become the sons of God, even to as many as believe in his 
name. Now what is receiving of Christ ? To entertain him to the 
end for which he was sent of God ; or, in short, to own him as lord 
and king; as is explained by the apostle, Col. ii. 6, * As ye have there 
fore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him. 

3. The law of commerce between this sovereign and these subjects 
(for all kingdoms are governed by laws). Now the law of Christ is 
the gospel or new covenant, which is both a rule of duty to show what 
is due from us to Christ, and a charter of grace to show what we may 
expect from him upon account of his merit and mercy, if we be duly 
qualified ; therefore the whole design of the gospel is to bring us to an 
humble submission and obedience to Christ s healing and saving 
methods ; all the doctrines, precepts, and promises of the gospel tend 
to this. The gospel is not only a promise, but a law : Rom. iii. 27, 
called a law of faith ; and requireth not only confidence, but obed- 


ience : 2 Thes. i. 8, In flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that 
know not God, and obey not the gospel ; 1 Peter iv. 17, What 
shall be the end of them that obey not the gospel of God ? It is 
not enough to profess the gospel, but we must obey the gospel. Some 
of the precepts of the gospel are mystical, such as believing in Christ : 
1 John iii. 23, And this is his commandment, that we should believe 
on the name of his son Jesus Christ/ Some moral, viz., the primitive 
duty we owe to God : 1 Cor. ix. 21, Being not without law to God, 
but under the law to Christ. Not ai/o/io? but ewo/io<?. 

4. Kewards and punishments. 

[1.] For punishments. Though the proper intent and business of 
the gospel is to bless, and not to curse, yet, if men wilfully refuse the 
benefit of this dispensation, they are involved in the greatest curse that 
can be thought of : John iii. 19, This is the condemnation, that light 
is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because 
their deeds are evil ; Heb. x. 29, Of how much sorer punishment, 
suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot 
the Son -of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith 
ye were sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite to the Spirit 
of grace? It will be more grievous to sin against our remedy than 
our bare duty. More aggravating circumstances are in it ; and there 
fore, the more it increaseth our torment, not only on God s part inflict 
ing, but on our part reflecting upon our sin and ingratitude. 

[2.] Kewards. The privileges of Christ s kingdom are exceeding 

(1.) For the present, pardon and peace are obtained, both in the 
way of justification ; as, Rom. v. 1, Being justified by faith, we 
have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. And also of 
sanctification : Gal. vi. 16, As many as walk according to this rule, 
peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. This is 
the entertainment God giveth to the obedient soul, and the fruit of 
Christ s internal government. 

(2.) Hereafter, eternal happiness, or an immutable state of glory : 
Mat. xxv. 34, Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand, 
Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you 
from the foundation of the world. That is the consummation of the 
kingdom of God ; and it shall be the portion of all those that obey 
Christ, how despicable soever their condition be in this world : James 
ii. 5, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and 
heirs -of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love 

II. That in all reason this kingdom should be submitted unto 

1. Because of the right which Christ hath to govern. He hath 
an unquestionable title by the grant of God : Acts ii. 36, Let all 
the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made the same 
Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. And his own 
merit and purchase : Bom. xiv. 9, For to this end Christ both died, 
and rose again, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead 
and living ; which should silence and quiet all rebellious motions. 
Hath not God a right to dispose of you : and shall Christ lay down 
his life to be head of the renewed estate, and at length be deprived of 


that honour, and that merely by the rebellious obstinacy of the 
creature ? There can be no hope of exemption. His we must be, 
whether we will or no. Our consent and willingness doth not add to 
the validity of his title, only aggravateth our sin if we refuse or prove 
unfaithful, or maketh our obedience acceptable if we be sincere in it. 
Now God is tender of his grant, and Christ of his acquired right and 
purchase, that he may not lose the fruit of his death and sufferings. 

2. This new right and title is comfortable and beneficial to us. It 
was the fruit of God s pity to mankind, to set up a new government, 
which might be remedial of our misery, but not destructive of our 
duty. It is a full remedy for our misery; for the purpose of it is 
to effect man s cure and recovery to God. The scripture always 
epeaketh of it as medicinal and restorative : Acts x. 38, God anointed 
Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power ; who went 
about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil ; 
for God was with him. Preaching peace in his name, for he is Lord 
of all. So Acts v. 31, Exalted to be a prince and saviour, to give 
repentance, and remission of sins, that we might enjoy God s favour, 
and live in his obedience. In this new remedial dispensation, God 
aimed at the healing of our natures, and the restoring our peace and 
comfort, that we might serve him with pleasure and delight, who 
otherwise could not think of him without fear and horror, much less 
set ourselves to please him with any hope of acceptation. 

3. It is by his kingly office that all Christ s benefits are applied to 
us. As a priest, he purchased them for us ; as a prophet, he giveth 
us the knowledge of these mysteries ; but as a king, he conveyeth them 
to us, overcoming our enemies, changing our natures, and inclining us 
to believe in him, love him, and obey him : for he doth .not only 
convey the benefits, giving us remission of sins, but he worketh in us 
the qualifications, giving as well as requiring repentance : Acts v. 31, 
He hath exalted him to be a prince and saviour, to give repent 
ance. Well, then, since his executive power attendeth upon his kingly 
office, we have no reason to dislike it, but to bless God for this part of 
his administration. The fruit and effect of it is the gift of the Spirit, 
by which all is applied to us ; so that the communication to us is done 
this way : His work as a priest lieth with God ; and as a prophet and 
king, with us. As a prophet, he maketh way by giving us the good 
knowledge of God through the remission of sins ; but he actually 
communicateth his benefits to us as our quickening head and king. 

4. Our actual personal title to- all the benefits intended to us is 
mainly evidenced by our subjection to his regal authority. Certainly 
without it we can have no benefit by Christ : Heb. v. 9, And being 
made perfect, he is become the author of eternal salvation to them 
that obey him. And that agreeth not only with his doctrine, but 
example : ver. 8, Though he was a son, yet he learned obedience by 
the things he suffered. Now, till this be cleared, we have no rest to 
our souls : Mat. xi. 29, Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for 
I am meek and lowly, and you shall find rest for your souls. It is 
good to believe his doctrine as a prophet, to depend upon his merit as 
a priest, but if we refuse to obey him, our qualification is not complete, 
and other acts are but counterfeit and pretended. For none know 



him aright but those that obey him ; none depend upon his merit but 
those that trust him in his own way, and submit to his healing and 
instructing methods. And it is the great mercy and wisdom of God 
to state the terms so that poor tender consciences may sooner come 
to ease and rest ; for no man, unless strangely infatuated, and slight 
in settling his eternal interests, will question his obligation to duties, 
but every serious soul will question their claim to privileges, unless 
they see good ground and warrant. Now when we plainly demon 
strate unto them that their all dependeth upon their receiving Christ 
the Lord, and framing themselves to his obedience, they will more 
easily hearken to us ; and resigning up themselves to him by covenant, 
they more readily put themselves in the way of getting a solid and 
unquestionable peace, and so by following their duty are sooner freed 
from scruples about their interest ; for if this work be minded, it will 
interpret itself, and make itself evident. 

5. We shall be unwillingly subject to his kingdom of power if we 
be not willingly subject to his kingdom of grace. God s decree is 
passed that every knee must bow to Christ, by force and constraint, 
or willingly and readily. If by constraint we are subjects, it is our 
ruin and destruction ; if willingly, we have our reward. Christ will 
utterly destroy the obstinate ; they shall feel the effects of his merely 
regal, not his pastoral power : He will break them with a rod of iron, 
Ps. ii. 9. But his pastoral rod and staff are a comfort to his people, 
Ps. xxiii. 4, for he ruleth them with a saving and gentle government. 
Now you are left to your choice ; which pleaseth you best, his iron rod 
or his pastoral rod ? to perish with the obdurate world, or to be con 
ducted to heavenly glory ? to refuse your remedy, or submit to the 
motions of his preventing grace ? Or let me thus express it : Christ, 
who is set upon the throne for the exercise of his regal power, hath a 
sword and a sceptre in his hand, to subdue his enemies and rule his 
people. The sword is his all-powerful providence ; the sceptre is 
his all-conquering Spirit. Now it is better to be in the number of 
humble and obedient Christians than to continue his obstinate and 
spiteful enemies; to consecrate ourselves and all that we have to 
him, than to fall a sacrifice to his justice, and the revenges of his 

6. This government, which we so much stick at, is a blessed govern 
ment. Christ himself pleadeth this, Mat. xi. 30, My yoke is easy, 
and my burden is light. It is sweet in itself, and sweet in the issue. 
It concerneth us much to have good thoughts of Christ s reign and 
government, for he doth not rule us for our hurt, or by needless laws, 
that have no respect to our good and safety. Look upon them in them 
selves ; what hath he required but such a sincere obedience as consists 
in purity and charity ? Both which oppress not human nature, but 
perfect it, and put an excellency upon us, which others have not : 
Prov. xii. 26, The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour; 
Ps. xvi. 3, But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excel 
lent, in whom is all my delight. And look upon them in their event 
and issue ; all that he hath required is in order to our happiness. If 
repentance and faith, it is in order to our pardon and peace : Acts iii. 
19, Kepent, that your sins may be blotted out when times of refresh- 


ment shall come from the presence of the Lord. If moral obedience, 
it is that by holiness he may lead us unto God, without which we 
cannot see him and enjoy him, Heb. xii. 14. So that if our sinful 
customs have not made us incompetent judges, this government should 
be submitted unto and chosen, before liberty and freedom from it ; 
for all these things are for our good. 

III. What moveth and induceth men so much to dislike Christ s 
reign and government. 

1. The evil constitution of men s souls. This government is contrary 
to men s carnal and brutish affections. Now the flesh is loath to be 
restrained and curbed, and therefore the carnal mind is enmity against 
God, Kom. viii. 7. Part of this opposition remaineth in the re 
generate : Kom. vii. 23, I see a law in my members warring against 
the law of my mind ; and Gal. v. 17, For 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. There 
fore no wonder if wicked men shake ofi" that yoke which they cannot 
endure, and galleth them upon all occasions when they would fulfil 
their lusts. Hence is it they refuse to be subject to Christ. 

2. It comes from an affectation of liberty. Men would be at their 
own dispose, and do whatsoever pleaseth them, without any to call 
them to an account : Ps. xii. 4, Who have said, With our tongue we 
will prevail ; our lips are our own ; who is lord over us ? They 
cannot endure strictly to consider what they should say and do. So 
they may please themselves, and advantage themselves, they will take 
no notice of what is right or wrong, or any superior to whom they 
are accountable. I remember it is said, Judges xxi. 25, In those days 
there was no king in Israel ; every man did that which was right in his 
own eyes. So it is true here. Man, that is prone to all sin and wicked 
ness, would have no king or lord over him, be under no government ; 
therefore We will not have this man to reign over us/ There is a 
false notion of liberty possesseth all our hearts. We take it to be a 
power to do what we list, not a power to do what we ought. The ab 
surdity of it would soon appear if we considered the mischiefs it would 
produce in man s government. If men were under no rule and order, 
what monsters of wickedness would they grow ! And the world would 
soon prove a stage to act all manner of villanies upon. And the false 
hood of it will more appear if we consider man in his relation to God. 
He hath no true liberty but such as becometh a creature, whose abso 
lute dependence doth necessarily infer his subjection to God, to whom 
he is accountable for all his actions. So that his true liberty lieth in 
a readiness to obey his proper lord : Ps. cxix. 45, I will walk at 
liberty, for I seek thy precepts ; to will and do things pleasing to our 
creator, preserver, and redeemer. Again, if man have a liberty, it must 
be such a liberty as leaveth him in a capacity to pursue his chief good 
and last end. The more we are restrained from this, the more we are 
in bondage ; the less, the more free. Certainly the reasonable nature 
is under a defect, as it is restrained and disabled from the fruition of 
God, or seeking after it ; for man was made for this end, and is so far 
fettered as he is kept from it. But this is little minded ; all our desire 
is to live at large, and to have none to control us. 


3. It proceeds from the nature of Christ s laws (1.) They are 
spiritual ; (2.) They require self-denial. 

[1.] They are strict and spiritual precepts, which require the subjec 
tion of the whole man to Christ ; thoughts, desires, inclinations, as well 
as actions ; The law is spiritual, but I am carnal, saith the apostle, 
Horn. vii. 14 ; that is, it requireth inward purity as well as external 
conformity. Now men will rather endure any external burdens, how 
heavy and hard soever, than Christ s spiritual yoke. Take for an in 
stance the pharisaical institutions and Christ s law. For the one, it is 
said, Mat. xxiii. 4, They bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, 
and lay them on men s shoulders. They had little compassion on the 
people, and therefore imposed rigorous and severe ordinances upon 
them. But, Mat. xi. 30, Christ saith, My yoke is easy, and my burden 
is light. Yet at that time there were more proselyted to the sect of 
the pharisees than embraced the doctrine of Christ. Men will part 
with anything sooner than their lusts, Micah vi. 6, 7 ; perform costly 
sacrifices, deny many of the feelings of nature, and all that they may 
keep their beloved sins. The sensual nature of man is such that it is loath 
to be crossed, which produceth profaneness and dissoluteness, and men 
engulph themselves in all manner of sensualities, because they are loath 
to deny their natural appetites and desires, and to row against the 
stream of flesh and blood. So the young man is said to walk in the 
ways of his own heart and the sight of his eyes, Eccles. xi. 9. But if 
nature be to be crossed a little, it is done by some only for a while, and 
in some slight manner, and this produceth hypocrisy: Isa. Iviii. 5, 
To bow down the head for a day like a bulrush. If this will not 
quiet conscience, we are apt to exceed in outward observances and 
rigorous impositions, or macerating the body by some by-laws of our 
own, and this produceth superstition: Col. ii. 21, Touch not, taste not, 
handle not. We place our religion in abstinence from such meats, or 
in such penances and exterior mortifications, and so lie bound in chains 
of our own making. Thus these three great evils, profaneness, 
hypocrisy, and superstition, grow upon the same stem and root. But 
when Christ requireth us to serve God in the spirit, to subdue the 
heart to him, this we cannot endure. Therefore in all these ways of 
religion wherein men walk who would not have Christ to reign over 
them, you may still observe they check at his spiritual laws. 

[2.] Christ by his laws requireth self-denial : Mat. xvi. 24, If any 
man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and 
follow me. We are to deny our own wit and our own will. Our own 
wit or wisdom, so far as it is contrary to Christianity : 1 Cor. iii. 18, Let 
no man deceive himself : if any man among you seemeth to be wise in 
this world, let him be a fool that he may be wise. To condemn our 
own former life wherein we so much pleased ourselves, our own will ; 
for none are longer to be at their own dispose : 1 Cor. vi. 19, What! 
know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is 
in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own ? Now men 
are so averse from this, that it is a kind of a miracle that any are 
brought to deny themselves, and subject all their thoughts and desires 
to Christ. 

Use 1. Information. 


1. It showeth us whence all the contentions arise which are raised 
about religion in the world. Some may ignorantly mistake things, 
and some proud wits may oppose Christ s prophetical office, contradict 
the mysteries of our most holy faith; some may lessen the merit of his 
sacrifice, but the most general error is, men will not have him to reign 
over them. All the corrupt part of the world oppose his kingly office. 
Many that are right in doctrine are yet carnal as to practice. They 
acknowledge the redemption of Christ, and justification by faith, but 
will not make straight steps to their feet, and live by Christ s laws. I 
am sure this is the great damning sin in the orthodox. And as to 
doctrine in the reformed part of the world, alas ! what will it avail 
you to cry up his merits, while you cannot endure his strict spiritual 
precepts ? This is to set the saviour against the lawgiver, the priest 
against the king. 

2. It informeth us how much they disserve Christianity that will 
hear of no injunctions of duty, or mention of the law of faith, or of the 
new covenant as a law. Besides that they take part with the carnal 
world, who cannot endure Christ s reign and government, they blot out 
all religion with one dash. If there be no law, there is no government, 
nor governor, no duty, no sin, no punishment nor reward ; for these 
things necessarily infer one another. A governor inferreth a govern 
ment, and all regular government is by law ; how shall the subjects 
else know what is sin and duty ? for Verum est index sui et obliqui. 
The law that stateth duty doth give us the knowledge of sin, and with 
out a sanction of penalties and rewards all is but an arbitrary direction, 
which we may observe or neglect at our pleasure, and no harm or 
good come of it. Now these are horrid and uncouth notions, that stab 
religion at the very heart. 

3. It informeth us what a difficult thing it is to seat Christ in his 
spiritual throne, namely, in the hearts of all faithful Christians. The 
voice of corrupt nature is, We will not have this man to reign over 
us; and till we are brought under the government of Christ, other lords 
have dominion over us ; as the prophet speaketh, Isa. xxvi. 13 ; and 
they will not easily quit their possession. We are ruled by the devil, 
the flesh, and the world. The devil, and we must be rescued from him 
before we can be brought into the kingdom of Christ, Col. i. 13. Now 
there is old tugging and wrestling to rescue the prey out of Satan s 
hands. The world ; Christ s ransom respected that : Gal. i. 4, Who 
gave himself that he might deliver us from this present evil world. 
And so doth the application of this salvation by the Spirit ; for till we 
get rid of the worldly spirit we are not fit for Christ : 1 Cor. ii. 12, 
Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the spirit of 
God/ So much as the spirit of the world is deadened in us, so far doth 
Christ prevail upon us. So for the flesh. Men are given up to their 
own hearts lusts till God changeth them, and care not for God, nor 
Christ and his salvation ; brutish appetite and sense governeth them. 
But what will be the issue of these things ? See Horn. viii. 13, If ye 
live after the flesh, ye shall die. Well, then, to bring us back again 
to God, that we may totally resign up ourselves to him, you see what 
a power is necessary to vanquish the devil, and save us from the world, 
and change our own flesh by his Spirit. 


4. It informeth us of the reason why so many nations shut the door 
against Christ, or else grow weary of him. You see frequently men 
can bear any religion rather than Christianity in its power ; sottish 
superstitions, such as were practised and in vogue among the gentiles ; 
popery, which is palliated atheism, or gentilism tricked up in a Christian 
dress and form, half Christianity ; the form, not the power ; privileges, 
not the duties. The world disputeth it with Christ by inches. What 
is the reason ? His spiritual kingdom, which is not calculated for the 
interest of the carnal world, and altogether draweth us to an heavenly 
life and state ; those that submit to it, or would speak of it, exasperate 
the world against them, as upbraiding their course of life. 

5. It informeth us how ill they deal with Christ who have only 
notional opinions about his authority, but never practically submit to 
it. Many will say, We must receive Christ as a king, as well as a 
priest and prophet ; but do we live accordingly ? Luke vi. 46, Why 
call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say ? Professed 
opinions, unless followed with suitable actions, are but a mockage of 
Christ, and a cheat and fallacy that we put upon ourselves. A mock- 
age of Christ : Cui res nomini subjecta negatur, is nomine illuditur 
He that wants the thing signified by the name is deceived by the name. 
They did little honour to Christ who buffeted him and spit upon him, 
and all the while cried, Hail, king of the Jews ; so whilst we call 
him lord and king, but make little conscience of his precepts, we deny 
him the honour in deeds which in words we ascribe to him. So that a 
practical sense of Christ s authority and right to govern should be 
deeply impressed upon our hearts. When is it practical ? When it 
breedeth an awe upon us, and checketh sin ; as the Eechabites were 
afraid to transgress the commandment of their father : Jer. xxxv. 6, 
They said, We will drink no wine ; for Jonadab the son of Kechab, 
our father, commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, 
nor your sons for ever. So Joseph, Gen. xxxix. 9, when tempted by his 
mistress to lie with her, he repels the temptation, saying, How^can I 
do this great wickedness, and sin against God ? So all that have a 
reverence of their supreme Lord, you shall find that it works upon all 
occasions. If tempted to fleshly lusts, Do this to please thy flesh, they 
answer as the apostle Paul, Rom. viii. 12, We are debtors, not to the 
flesh, to live after the flesh/ If they be assaulted by the persecutions 
of the world, still they have the authority of the great Lord. If threat 
ened for speaking in his name, and commanded not to speak at all, or 
teach in the name of Jesus, as the apostles Peter and John answered, 
Acts iv. 19, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto 
you more than unto God, judge ye ; so I dare not obey the wills of 
men, or the inclinations of the flesh, but my great Lord. If Satan would 
draw you to any inconvenience, answer as Christ himself did to Peter, 
dissuading him from suffering : Mat. xvi. 23, Get thee behind me, 
Satan, for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that 
be of men. When there is something that doth constrain within us, 
and urgeth us to a constant obedience ; for Christ, that requireth us to 
die unto sin, doth also require us to live unto righteousness ; when the 
sense of this becomes as an habit or new nature in us, or the principle 
of our course of living, it puts the soul upon obedience ; it constraineth 



us most powerfully to live in him and to him : Col. ii. 6, As ye 
have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him ; 
ver. 10, Ye are complete in him and Bom. vi. 16, Know ye not 
that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are 
to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto 
righteousness ? 

Use 2. Exhortation. If we would distinguish ourselves from the 
carnal world, let us resolve upon a thorough course of Christianity, own 
ing Christ s authority in all things. 

1. If we be to begin, and have hitherto stood against Christ, oh ! let 
us repent and reform, and return to our obedience : Mat. xviii. 3, 
Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter 
into the kingdom of heaven. 

2. Kemember that faith is a great part of your works from first to 
last : John vi. 27, Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the 
work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. All the 
grace and mercy of the new covenant is begun, kept up, and carried 
on by faith. We are sincerely to believe on him before we can rightly 
obey him. 

3. Your obedience must be delightful, and such as cometh from love: 
1 John v. 3, For this is the love of God, that we keep his command 
ments. Believers are not called to the obedience of slaves, nor to be 
acted only by the fear of hell, but to the obedience of sons and children, 
that you may obey with love and delight. Forced motives endure not 
long ; fears will abate, and then your duty be neglected. Love should 
be as a new nature, and the habitual constitution of our souls ; and you 
should act not as driven to obedience, but as inclined to it, and delighted 
in it: Ps. xl. 8, I delight to do thy will, God ; for this is a sove 
reignty, not forced upon us, but consented unto. 

4. Your obedience must be very circumspect and accurate: Heb. xii. 
28, Having received a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have 
grace, that we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly 
fear. A kingdom may be received, either by a king to govern, or sub 
jects to be governed. A king to govern : Luke xix. 12, A certain 
nobleman went into a far country to receive a kingdom. Or subjects 
to be governed, when we submit to the sovereign, to enjoy the privileges 
which belong to that kingdom. So we must serve him with reverence 
and godly fear ; for boldness in sinning, and coldness in duty, is a 
depreciation of his majesty. He is a great king/ as God pleadeth 
it when they brought a corrupt thing for a sacrifice, Mai. i 13. No 
terrors comparable to his frowns, no comforts to his smiles. So Ps. ii. 
11, Serve the Lord with fear, rejoice with trembling. Obey him 
most circumspectly, with all carefulness, watchfulness and diligence, 
making it your chief business to please him. 

5. It is a considerable part of our work to look for our wages, or 
expect the endless blessedness to which we are appointed: Titus ii. 13, 
Looking for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearance of the 
great God ; Col. iii. 1, 2, If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things 
which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God : set 
your affection upon things above, and not upon the earth ; Phil. iii. 20, 
1 But our conversation is in heaven, from whence we look for a Saviour, 



the Lord Jesus Christ. That we may see that we have considerable 
motives to do what Christ require th of us. It is for our master s honour ; 
and besides, it puts life into our work, and maketh our painful 
obedience comfortable and sweet to us ; for all this is but the way to 
eternal life. 

6. The reign of Christ doth not only establish your duty, but is the 
ground of your safety ; for he is set down upon the throne of majesty, 
to protect his subjects and destroy his enemies. Besides the endless 
reward in another world, there are many evidences of his goodness, and 
signal preservations and deliverances in this world ; at least peaceable 
opportunities of serving him, while he hath a mind to employ us. He 
can powerfully support us against all our enemies : Isa. xxxiii. 22, 
The Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king ; 
he will save us. As a sovereign protects his subjects that continue 
loyal to him, so will Christ be our sovereign. Upon this confidence 
must we carry on our obedience, notwithstanding opposition : 1 Tim, 
iv. 10, For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we 
trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of 
those that believe/ 

7. One part of our obedience helpeth another, sets the soul in a right 
posture ; as in the wheels of a watch, the whole motion is hindered 
by a defect in a part : the less complete you are in all the will of God, 
the more difficult will it be. 


And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with 
God and men. LUKE ii. 52. 

THESE words are spoken of our Lord Jesus Christ. In them two things 
are observable (1.) Christ s growth ; (2.) The consequent of it. 

1. Christ s growth, both as to body and soul : He increased in wisdom 
and stature. 

2. The consequent of it : He attracted the love of God and men. 
The point I am to speak of is this 

Doct. Jesus Christ himself, in respect of his human nature, which 
consisteth of body and soul, did grow and improve. 

1. Let us state this growth of Christ. 

2. Give you the reasons of it. For stating it 

[1.] Certain it is that there are two distinct natures in the person of 
Christ, divine and human ; the one infinite and uncreated ; the other 
created and finite ; for he is Emmanuel, God with us, Mat. i. 23 ; 
Of the seed of David, and yet declared to be the Son of God with power, 
Eom. i. 3, 4 ; The Word was made flesh, John i. 14 ; The man God s 
fellow, Zech. xiii. 7 ; A child, yet the everlasting Father, Isa. ix. 
6 ; born at Bethlehem, yet his goings forth were from everlasting, 
Micah v. 2 ; The bud of the Lord, and the fruit of the earth, Isa. iv. 2. 
Now according to this double nature, so must his growth be determined : 
surely not of the divine nature ; for to the perfection of it nothing can 
be added ; an infinite thing cannot increase. So his knowledge is in 
finite ; he knew God, and all things. 

[2.] In his human nature there are two parts his body and his soul. 
The text saith he grew in both. As to his body, and growing in stature, 
there is no difficulty. As to his soul, the doubt is whether he grew 
really, or in manifestation only. I think really his soul improved in 
wisdom, as his body in stature ; as others of his age are wont to ripen 
by degrees. In the same sense that he is said to increase in stature, he 
is said also to increase in wisdom, for both are coupled together ; and 
he increased in stature really, in deed and in truth ; so that he daily 
became a more eminent person in the eyes of all. 

[3.] It is not said he grew in grace, but in wisdom. To want degrees 
of grace cannot be without sin. And our high priest was holy, harm 
less, undefiled, separate from sinners, Heb. vii. 26 ; yet his knowledge 
as man was perfected by degrees. We always grow in knowledge: 


Follow on to know the Lord. He was ignorant of some things, as the 
day of judgment ; for in Mark xiii. 32, it is said, But of that day and 
hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither 
the Son, but the Father. His divine nature was ignorant of nothing ; 
but as to his human, he was ignorant of it. Some say he knew it not 
to reveal it ; so the Father may be said not to know it as well as the 
Son. This simple nescience was no sin. 

[4.] This knowledge or wisdom wherein Christ grew may be under 
stood thus 

(1.) There is the habitual knowledge, and the actual apprehension of 
things. Christ had the foundation and root of all knowledge when 
conceived by the Spirit, from his very conception ; but the actual know 
ledge came afterwards. He had the spirit of wisdom and promptness 
of understanding, but the act of knowing is as occasion is offered. 

(2.) There is a knowledge of generals, when singulars arc not 
actually known. So Christ was deceived in the fig-tree, Mat. xxi. 19 ; 
and he inquireth for Lazarus grave : John xi. 34, And he said, 
Where have ye laid him ? 

(3.) There is a knowledge intensive and extensive. Intensive, a clear 
knowledge ; extensive, to more objects. Christ grew in both. He grew 
as to clearness of apprehension, and as he knew more objects. 

(4.) There is a knowledge infused and experimental ; so Christ knew 
more by experience : 2 Cor. v. 21, Who knew no sin ; that is, by 
experience in himself ; and Heb v. 8, He learned obedience by the 
things which he suffered. 

2. For confirmation (1.) By scripture ; (2.) By reason. 

[1.] By scripture. Next the text take that, Isa. vii. 14-16, Behold, 
a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name 
Immanuel : butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse 
the evil and choose the good : for before the child shall know to refuse 
the evil and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be for 
saken of both her kings. The child spoken of should not be any 
fantastical appearance, or mere imaginary matter, but a very man-child, 
fed and brought up with such food as other children were, that by 
growing up he may come to years of discretion. He should have such 
notice of good and evil as children usually have when the use of reason 
and understanding begins first to put out and exercise itself ; as Deut. 
i. 39, Your children which in that day had no knowledge between good 
and evil ; that is, had no ability to discern the one from the other. So 
that Christ was as other infants, bating only his nearness, to the godhead. 
The sun is the sun still, at morning or at high noon ; yet at first rising 
it is more glorious than any other creature. Well, then, the gift of the 
Holy Ghost showed himself in him, and was acted and discovered 
according to the progress of his age, and the increase of bodily strength. 
At twelve years old he disputed with the doctors. 

[2.] By reason. 

(1.) He every way made himself like man, except sin : Heb. iv. 15, 
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feel 
ing of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet 
without sin. He was carried nine months in the womb of the blessed 


(2.) As his capacity was enlarged, so his wisdom discovered itself ; 
and the power that was in him showed forth itself. In us, as the body 
increaseth, so the powers of the reasonable soul are increased also. 

(3.) The effects of the personal union were communicated to the 
human nature, non necessitate naturce, sed Ubertate voluntatis ; not by 
necessity, but free dispensation. As to all creatures, God considereth 
what is profitable, and may make them useful in the state wherein he 
will employ them. So to Christ ; he knew all things that were necessary 
for the execution of his office. So God hid from or revealed to his 
human nature according to his pleasure. 

(4.) The divine nature did by degrees show itself in him, lest before 
the time it should be too prodigious, and not so suiting to the dispen 
sation of the gospel, which is a dispensation of faith, not of sense, and 
so hinder the beautiful order of it, which from inconspicuous beginnings 
was to be carried on to a great increase. His kingdom was from a 
grain of mustard-seed to grow up into a tree ; so in his person, he was 
from a state of childhood to grow up into the stature of a perfect man, 
and then to suffer and die ; which might have been impeded and 
hindered if those things which were to be done by him as a man were 
done by him as a child. 

(5.) There was need of a continual growth, that there might be a 
distinction between the state of his humiliation and exaltation. As in 
us, we know now but in part, but then that which is perfect will come, 
1 Cor. xiii. 9, 10 ; so in Christ, he was to know somewhat as a child, 
more as a man. And there is a distinction between what he knew as a 
man in the state of his humiliation, and what he knoweth now in the 
state of his exaltation. He still knew what was necessary to his office : 
John v. 27, And he hath given him authority to execute judgment 
also, because he is the Son of man. He exerciseth lordship over all 
things, therefore his knowledge is as vast as his empire. In Judea he 
knew those he conversed withal, yea, he knew their hearts ; but now all 
judgment is put in his hand. And herein is nothing asserted unworthy 
of Christ ; for as the divine nature did ia some manner shut up and 
conceal and hide its majesty in itself during the humiliation of the Son 
of God, that it might not discover that dignity which appeared in his 
exaltation, so the spirit of wisdom was held in and restrained, that it 
might not presently put forth its perfections, but by little and little 
according to the state of Christ. 

Use 1, Is to teach us to admire the condescension of the Son of 
God, who submitted to all our sinless infirmities, and would grow, and 
be improved in soul as well as body. 

1. The oftener we think of this, the more should our hearts be filled 
with reverence at this stupendous mystery. It is without controversy 
great, that the Son of God should be as other infants ; be carried nine 
months in the womb, be suckled, swaddled, brought up as other 
children, and grow in wisdom and stature as they do. Is this the 
great God that made all things, and governeth all things at his plea 
sure ? Is this the fountain of wisdom, and the author of all perfec 
tion ? Yes, it is he. But this abasing is for our sakes. The begin 
ning of his humiliation was in the very womb, the progress of it from 
the cradle to the grave. 


2. If Christ grew in wisdom, so must we : 2 Peter iii. 18, But 
grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ. We have not only incapacity, but the veil of ignorance. It 
is little we know of God at our best. Therefore let us open and ripen 
by degrees, from good going on to better, that we may be best at last. 
When it is declining time with the outward man, yet the inward man 
may be renewed day by day, 2 Cor. iv. 6. Long use of means and 
many experiences should perfect us. Therefore let there be a continual 
progress in grace and knowledge, till we grow to a perfect man in 
Christ Jesus, Eph. iv. 13. To be a child of days is as monstrous a 
thing as to keep to the stature of a child when thirty or forty years 
old. So it is in Christianity : Heb. v. 12, When for the time ye ought 
to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again the first prin 
ciples of the oracles of God. When God hath given us means to 
improve our knowledge, it is inexcusable to be ignorant. 

3. It informeth us that ignorance from natural defect and imper 
fection is no sin ; for Christ was ignorant of some things, especially 
in his childhood. Ignorance may arise from several causes 

[1.] From want of revelation. We are not bound to know a 
thing never revealed to us : Deut. xxix. 29, The secret things belong 
to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us 
and our children for ever. 

[2.] From the sublimity or excellency of the matter to be known. 
It is above our capacity : Ps. cxxxi. 1, I do not exercise myself in 
things that are too high for me/ We are to understand what is 
revealed, and must improve ourselves more and more. 

[3.] From neglect of the means God hath given man to improve 
his knowledge. This will be charged on man as a great crime, 
especially of things necessary, or such as concern our everlasting 
salvation, or conduce thereunto. Many have time and teaching 
enough, but they wofully misspend it, and are ignorant of the principles 
upon which the knowledge of other things doth depend, and so are 
incapable of farther instruction, or the higher points of the gospel. 
This doth not excuse, but is a great sin. 

[4.] From natural defect ; as in mad folks and naturals, and for a 
time children. Now this is not culpable, and is not charged upon 
man at his. last trial ; for God accepteth according to what a man hath, 
and not according to what a man hath not : 2 Cor. viii. 12, For if 
there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man 
hath, and not according to that he hath not. 

II. The consequence ; as he increased in wisdom and stature, so he 
increased in favour with God and man ; that is, he obtained a testi 
mony of the favour of God, and the general love and good-will of 
men. The same is said of Samuel : 1 Sam. ii. 26, And the child 
Samuel grew, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with 
men ; that is, he was acceptable to God and men. God s favour is 
that by which he loveth his image. The more conspicuous the image 
of God is in any creature, the more is God delighted in that creature. 
Now there was more of the image of God to be seen in Christ a 
youth than in Christ a child ; which is no more unworthy of Christ 
than to be a child. 


Doct. The more true and saving wisdom men have, the more 
acceptable they are to God, and many times to men also. 

Prov. iii. 4, So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in 
the sight of God and man ; that is, acceptation and good success. So 
it is said of the primitive Christians, whilst Christianity was in its 
simplicity, Acts ii. 47, That they praised God, and had favour with 
all the people. They praised God, as being acceptable to him, and 
received his blessing ; and men had reverence and esteem for them : 
Prov. xxii. 11, He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips 
the king shall be his friend ; that is, a man that keepeth exactly to his 
duty, he hath an holy boldness, and a grace in his speeches, which many 
times, by the blessing of God, procureth him favour with great ones. 

But a question or two must be considered. 

Quest. 1. How is it possible to please God and men, since they that 
please God are hated by the world ? John v. 19, Because ye are not 
of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the 
world hateth you ; and 2 Tim. iii. 12, All that will live godly in 
Christ Jesus must suffer persecution ; and they that please the world 
cannot be the servants of God, Gal. i. 10. 

Ans. 1. We ought to carry it so that our life may be pleasing to 
God and approved of men. That is our duty, whatever the event be : 
Acts xxiv. 16, And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a 
conscience void of offence towards God and towards men ; 2 Cor. 
viii. 21, Providing for honest things in the sight of the Lord and in 
the sight of men. Just and holy things must we provide, that evil 
men may have no cause to reproach us, and good men may be edified 
by our example. A life then it must be that is pleasing to God, and 
deserveth to be approved of men, that if they hate us, we may not be 
in fault : 1 Cor. x. 32, Give no offence, neither to Jews nor to gentiles, 
nor to the church of God. Many times men bring trouble upon 
themselves by their own folly. 

2. There is a difference between convincing men and having a 
testimony in their consciences, and humouring them in their sin. It 
is humouring them in their sin which is man-pleasing, inconsistent 
with the pleasing of God. But to be made manifest first to God, and 
then in their consciences, is another thing, 2 Cor. v. 11. We must not 
please them by joining with them in their sin. We buy the approba 
tion of men at too dear a rate, if we buy it by the breach or neglect of 
our duty to God. 

3. Though men like not the way of godliness so as to embrace it 
and follow it, yet they admire it : Prov. xii. 26, The righteous is more 
excellent than his neighbour ; and Mark vi. 20, Herod feared John, 
knowing that he was a just man and an holy. The evidence of their 
consciences doth compel them to approve and honour them. 

Quest. 2. How far is it lawful to mind the approbation of men, or 
to make it any motive to us ? Since it is said, John v. 44, How can 
ye believe, that receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour 
that cometh of God only ? 

Ans. 1. We are not to cast off all respects to a good name, because 
it is an excellent blessing : Prov. xxii. 1, A good name is rather to be 
chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and 


gold. It is of great use for our service and safety. The credit of 
religion dependeth much on the credit of those that profess it. Now, 
that we may not be a disgrace to Christ, nor act as blemished instru 
ments, we must endeavour to preserve a good name. A pastor of the 
church must be one that hath a good report of them that are without, 
lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil, Sta/SoXo?, the 
slanderer, 1 Tim. iii. 7. The rather must we mind this, because men 
first make shipwreck of a good name, and then a good conscience ; 
and he that is lavish of his credit is very seldom tender of his con 
science. And it is of great use for our safety. Infamy cast upon the 
people of God is a forerunner of more trouble, and showers of slanders 
are a forerunner of the grievous storms of mischief and persecution. 
The devil is first a liar and then a murderer, John viii. 41. In the 
primitive times they did invest Christians with bear-skins, and then 
bait them as bears ; first count them offenders, and then prosecute 
them as such. The devil is afraid to meddle with unstained innocence. 
Valens the emperor spared Paulinus out of reverence to the unspot- 
tedness of his life. Therefore, since it is a great part of our security 
and protection against violence, it must not be slighted. 

2. This must not be our first and chief motive ; that is the favour 
of God : 2 Cor. v. 11, But we are made manifest unto God, and I 
trust also are made manifest in your consciences. The approbation 
of God must be chiefly sought after ; we are not sincere without it ; 
for sincerity is a straight and sincere purpose to please God in all 
things. The approbation of men must rather follow than be aimed 
at. Laus humana non appeti debet, sed sequi. This is the consequent 
of well-doing, not our proper scope. Gloria bene appetitur, niliil male 
agenda contra ipsam, et bene appetitur, 1 nihil male agenda propter 
ipsam. Credit is well sought when we do nothing ill against it, and 
when we do nothing ill to obtain it. 

3. The favour of men may be sought when we take it as the fruit of 
the favour of God ; for all good cometh from his favour. He giveth 
it us by his secret influence on the hearts and counsels of men : Prov. 
xvi. 7, When a man s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his 
enemies to be at peace with him. He made Laban and Esau kind to 
Jacob. God can procure unthought-of favour by . his Spirit ; either 
bridle their rage, or dispose them to show you favour. Sometimes he 
casts a terror into the hearts of enemies, and sometimes inclineth them 
to show favour ; as Jacob when he met with Esau : Gen. xxxiii. 4, 
Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and 
kissed him. So Joseph found favour with Potiphar, Gen. xxxix. It is 
God that maketh friends for us, when we seem to be destitute and lost 
in ourselves. It is not our merits, much less our compliances, that 
procures it. 

4. It is the glory of God, and the honour of the gospel, and the 
safety of religion, which should be our chiefest aim and scope in all 
these things : Mat. v. 16, Let your light so shine before men that they 
may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in 
heaven ; and 1 Peter ii. 12, That they may by your good works, 
which they shall behold, glorify God. And because it is not our main 

1 Qu. contemnitur ? ED. 


aim, if it come, we should not be over-affected with it. If it come not, 
we should not be over-troubled ; but in good and bad report we should 
approve ourselves to be the faithful servants of the Lord, 2 Cor. vi. 6. 
Man s judgment is not to be stood upon ; God will not ask their vote 
and suffrage for our admission into eternal glory. As we must not 
forfeit it by any fault of our own, so we must not desire it as our great 
happiness ; in this, as well as in other temporal things, we must refer 
all to God. 

Quest. 3. But what wisdom is requisite that we may increase in 
favour with God and man ? 

Ans. 1. In the general, an innocent holy conversation is that which 
procureth a good name, and respect with God and man. It will 
certainly be accepted with God ; and as to men, you cut off occasion 
from them that do desire occasion : 1 Peter iii. 16, Having a good 
conscience, that whereas they speak evil of you as evil-doers, they may 
be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. Live 
down reproaches by a clear innocency. 

2. More particularly, by making conscience of morals rather than 
rituals: Horn. xiv. 18, He that in these things serveth Christ is 
acceptable to God and approved of men. The weighty matters, piety, 
justice, charity, these carry their own evidence with them, and bespeak 
their references in the consciences of men. Will the world value a man 
for his zeal for or against ceremonies, when other things do not answer ? 
Suppose he be in the right, yet who will regard a man purely for his 
Tightness in opinion ? It is hypocrisy, condemned of God, and not 
very well liked of man, to tithe mint and cummin, and not very well 
regard the weightier things of the law : Mat. xxiii. 23, Woe unto you, 
scribes and pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye pay tithe of mint, anise, and 
cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, 
mercy, and faith : these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the 
other undone. 

3. Yet more particularly, though men care not for piety, yet they 
care for righteousness and duties of the second table. We have more 
light in things that are inferioris hemisphcerii, of the lower orb and 
rank ; and though we are not to neglect the other, yet these must have 
a chief part in our practice : Horn. xii. 17, * Providing things honest 
in the sight of men. There justice, truth, equity are regarded as 
conducible to the good of human society, and men are wise in their 
own matters. 

4. Once more, love, kindness, gentleness are very taking in the 
world, and our religion excludeth them not, but recommendeth them 
to us : Kom. v. 7, For scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet 
for a good man some would even dare to die. For a man of a rigid 
innocency scarce any would die, but for a good and bountiful man 
some would even dare to die. The contrary is observed of the Jews, 
who had a .bitter zeal : 2 Thes. ii. 15, They please not God/and are 
contrary to all men. Therefore we should study to excel in those 
things that are good. To be good should be our constitution, and to 
do good the business of our lives. 

Use. To press us to get and increase in this heavenly wisdom, 
whereby we may get the favour of God and men. 


1. We must seek to get the favour of God above all things, which 
is the life of our lives and the joy of our hearts : Ps. xxx. 5, In his 
favour is life ; and Ps. iv. 6, 7, Lord, lift up the light of thy coun 
tenance : thou hast put gladness into my heart, more than in the time 
when their corn and wine increased. That should be our chief care ; 
direction, preservation, blessing do all depend upon it. The favour of 
God is either mercy or grace. Oh ! seek this, in the first place, that 
you may have the love of God and the comfortable effects of it : Kom. 
ii. 29, Whose praise is not of men, but God/ 

2. Seek also the favour of men. Let us be careful not to offend 
them, but seek their favour, and that both of the good and bad. The 
good, that they may help you in the way to heaven, and you may be 
edified by them ; the bad : Col. iv. 5, Walk in wisdom towards them 
that are without, redeeming the time. There is great wisdom 
required in a Christian s carriage towards the carnal and profane, lest 
we scare them from Christ, or give them occasion to speak evil of 
religion : 1 Tim. v. 14, Give no occasion to the adversary to speak 
reproachfully ; and 2 Cor. vl 3, Giving no offence in anything, that 
the ministry be not blamed. 


But made himself of no reputation. PHIL. ii. 7. 

THE apostle, to cure their pride, which was the cause of their divi 
sions, urgeth Christ s example. His lowliness and humility is set forth 
by two things terminus a quo and ad quern, or the height of eleva 
tion wherein he stood, and the depth of humiliation to which he conde 
scended. The former, ver. 6, the latter in the 7th and 8th verses. 

1. The height wherein he stood : ver. 6, Who being in the form of 
God, thought it no robbery to be equal with God. That phrase is to 
be regarded, vTrdp^ov ev pop^y 0eov, being in the form of God. By 
the form of God is meant the divine essence, as clothed with glory and 
majesty. As the form of a servant is really a servant, so his being in 
the form of God showeth that he was from all eternity true God, 
adorned with divine splendour, glory, and majesty. The other phrase, 
ov% apTrcvy/jbov r)<yrj(TaTo TO elvai laa @e<w, he thought it no robbery to be 
equal with God, signified that this doth justly and naturally belong to 
him, and was not usurped by him. The devils were thrown out of 
heaven for usurping divine honour : 2 Peter ii. 4, God spared not the 
angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into 
chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment ; and Jude 6, And 
the angels, that kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, 
he hath reserved to everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judg 
ment of the great day. They were not contented with the place they 
were in, but would be independent of themselves, equal to God, by 
usurpation and robbery ; and so, instead of angels, became devils. But 
Christ is not God by usurpation, but God by nature; he was not 
thrust down, but came down. 

2. His exinanition and abasement, which is (1.) Generally set 
forth ; (2.) Particulars are mentioned. 

[1.] Generally, efcevaa-ev eavrbv, He made himself of no reputation, 
in the text ; eraTreivwo-ev eavrov, He humbled himself, ver. 8. 

[2.] The particulars are his incarnation, mean life, and accursed 
death. Let us stand a little, and consider this condescension by com 
paring the terms. That the creator should stoop so low as to become 
a creature, and go down from the form of God to the form of a servant, 
from equality with God to subjection to men, from being Lord of all 
to a state of obedience, and that obedience carried on in the way of 
the most perfect self-denial, Obedient to the death, and that death 


clothed with all the circumstances that might make it grievous, it was 
painful, ignominious, and accursed. 

I shall insist only on the general description of it, eKevaxrev eavrbv, 
He made himself of no reputation ; emptied himself, lessened him 
self ; in the next verse, humbled himself/ 

Doct. That the Lord Jesus did for our sakes empty, lessen, and 
humble himself. 

I shall open three things (1.) How far Christ was lessened; 
(2.) That this was his own voluntary act ; (3.) That this was for our 

I. How far Christ was lessened. It chiefly lieth in these two 
things (1.) Obscuring his godhead ; (2.) Abatement of his dignity. 

1. His godhead was obscured by the interposing veil of our flesh. He 
did empty himself of that divine glory, splendour, and majesty which 
before he had ; not by ceasing to be what he was, but by assuming some 
thing to himself which he was not before, viz., the infirmity of the human 
nature, which did for a time hide his divine glory, so that little of it did 
appear, and that to some few only that narrowly observed him : John 
i. 14, We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the 
Father. To the generality it was otherwise : Isa. liii. 2, He shall 
grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground , 
he hath no form or comeliness, and when we shall see him, there is no 
beauty that we should desire him. As the covering in a dark lantern 
hideth the light from shining forth, so did the human nature obscure 
his divine glory : for he assumed not this nature as it shall be in heaven, 
perfectly glorified, but as it is now since sin entered into the world, 
clothed with manifold infirmities. He came in the form of a servant, 
not of a glorified saint. The apostle, Bom. viii. 3, calleth it, The 
likeness of sinful flesh. The estate and condition of his assumed flesh 
was exposed to all those infirmities which in us are the punishment of 
sin. Though he continued still infinite, eternal, and omnipotent, and 
in his greatest abasement was still the Lord of glory, yet his exter 
nal habit and appearance was that of a mean afflicted man ; and the 
divinity, though not separated, withheld its influence, to leave the 
human nature to suffer whatever the humanity was capable of. As it 
exposed the soul to desertion, so the body to all manner of sufferings, 
and death itself. 

2. His dignity was lessened, and there was a depression of the 
glory of his former state, that which the Komans called capitis 
diminutio, a lessening of state and condition. The eternal Word set 
himself at nought, lessened and humbled himself from the condition 
of being Lord of all to that of a subject and ordinary man : Gal. iv. 4, 
But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made 
of a woman, made under the law. From a judge of the world he be 
came a party. It was a condescension of God to take notice of man s 
misery : Ps. cxiii. 6, Who humbleth himself to behold the things that 
are in heaven and in the earth. Much more to make a party in it, 
and to be found among the miserable. 

Three steps of condescension we may eminently take notice of 

[1.] That Christ, who thought it no robbery to be equal with God, 
is made less than God : John xiv. 28, My Father is greater than I ; 


compared with John x. 30, I and my Father are one/ As mediator 
incarnate, he undertook an office designed him by God, and obeyed 
him in all things. They are one in essence, yet the Father was 
greater than he ; not as he was God, but man and mediator, and in 
his present state of humiliation. For he bringeth it there to prove 
that, by departing out of the world then, he should be exalted to a 
more glorious estate than that in which he was during his abode upon 
earth, because the veil should then be laid aside, and that glory which 
he had with God before the world was made should fully appear : 
John xvii. 5, And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, 
with the glory which I had with thee before the world was/ 

[2.] That he was not only lesser than God, but lesser than the 
angels, rjKarrwcras avrov ftpa^v n Trap ayyeXovs, Heb. ii. 7, Thou 
madest him a little lower than the angels, or for a little time, the 
time that he spent here on earth. Man is inferior to an angel, as 
man, in the order of being ; much more as mortal, for the angels never 
die ; therefore his very incarnation and liableness to death was a great 
lessening of his dignity. Though the incarnation of Christ was the 
exaltation of our nature, yet it was the depression and humiliation of 
the Son of God. God could stoop no lower than to become man, and 
man could be advanced no higher than to be united to God. 

[3.] That in the human nature he was depressed beyond the ordinary 
condition of man. For he came in such a form and course of life as 
was beneath the ordinary rate of mankind : Ps. xxii. 6, I am a worm, 
and no man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people/ So Isa. 
liii. 3, He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and 
acquainted with griefs, and we hid as it were our faces from him ; he 
was despised, and we esteemed him not ; as a vile and abominable 
creature, both despised, and rejected, scarce deemed worthy the name 
of a man, or to have any converse and fellowship with them. It is in 
Hebrew, D^TT bin the leaving off of a man; as if we should say, the 
very list and fag-end of mankind ; so low and mean that the nature of 
man can hardly descend lower : Mark ix. 12, The Son of man must 
suffer many things, and be set at nought ; it is egovSevadfj, made 
nought worth, or nothing. Thus did he appear in the meanest and 
most abject form of mankind, not in any glorious estate and majesty. 
Survey the whole course of his life ; he was born of a poor virgin, and, 
instead of a better place, laid in an inn ; which probably being taken up 
by persons of great quality, he was laid in the basest place of the inn, 
in a manger. His birth was revealed to poor shepherds, not to em 
perors and kings, not to Csesar at Home. Presently after his birth he 
was banished together with his mother into Egypt, and exposed to the 
troubles and toils of a long journey into a strange country for refuge. 
Afterward, till he appeared in his ministry, we read little of him. His 
supposed father a carpenter, and he himself called so : Mark vi. 3, Is 
not this the carpenter ? He made yokes and ploughs, saith Justin 
Martyr. Certainly it is probable that, as he submitted to other parts 
of the curse, so this : In the sweat of thy brows shalt thou eat thy 
bread. In the course of his ministry he suffered many affronts and 
reproachea Surely his life was a life of sorrows. We find him beg 
ging water when thirsty, John iv. 9 ; that a fish paid tribute for 


nim, Mat. xvii. 27. He had little money, and had no certain resi 
dence and place of abode, but lived by contribution : Mat. viii. 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. . At his death, never was 
child of God under so much misery as Christ himself. His own 
heavens, his own Father, his own godhead, did hide their face and 
consolation from him. God s wrath pressed the weight of punish 
ment, with the full power of justice, both upon his soul and body. 
Those for whom he died despised him. He himself, being emptied of 
all things which make men respected in the world, was depressed lower 
than any man, and was as a worm to be trod upon. He was made a 
matter of common talk and reproach in all men s mouths, condemned 
by the ruling part of the world, and set at nought by the basest of the 
people, derided and scorned in his most holy behaviour, his bitter 
sufferings made matter of sport and laughter, malice feeding itself 
with pleasure upon his pain and misery, and expressing itself with the 
basest signs of mocking which disdain could devise, flouting at his 
saving doctrine, and insulting over him as if he had neither been the 
Son of God nor an honest man ; and all this was counted little enough 
for satisfaction of justice, exacting of him the due punishment of our 

II. That this was his own voluntary act. He made himself of no 
reputation. You may read that men set him at nought : Acts iv. 11, 
This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders. Nay, 
we read, Heb. ii. 7, Thou madest him a little lower than the angels. 
It was an act of God himself ; yet on Christ s part it was voluntary, 
undertaken for the glory of God and the good of men. It was not 
imposed upon him by constraint, without his consent, or against his 
will. An act of love and an act of obedience are truly consistent. A 
punishment is imposed upon us against our will, but here was a volun 
tary susception of our burden. None of this was due to him upon his 
own account, but ours. It was no punishment for his self-exalting, 
but an act of gracious condescension. This appeareth in scripture two 

1. In that what he was to do and undergo was proposed to him, 
and he willingly accepted of the terms and conditions. When no 
kind of sacrifices and offerings were sufficient to take away sin and 
save sinners, then he said, Lo, I come to do thy will, Heb. x. 6, 7. 
It was told him what it would cost him if he would deliver and save 
mankind ; all was written down in God s book ; that he must be made 
under the law, take upon him the form of a servant, make his soul an 
offering for sin. How did he like these conditions ? I was not, saith 
he, rebellious, neither turned away back, Isa. 1. 5. No ; he refused 
not the terms, but cheerfully submitted to them : I delight to do thy 
will, God. He delighted in the thoughts of it long ere it came 
about: Prov. viii. 31, Rejoicing in the habitable part of the earth, 
and my delights were with the sons of men. And when it was to be 
actually done, he repented not. 

2. The scripture assigneth this work unto the love and condescen 
sion of Christ himself, as the next and immediate cause of his engage- 
ing in it, and performance of it : Gal. ii. 20, I live by the faith of the 


Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me ; Eph. v. 25, 
26, Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might 
sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word ; Kev. 
i. 5, 6, Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his 
own blood/ The apostle telleth us, 2 Cor. viii. 9, Ye know the grace 
of our Lord Jesus, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he 
became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. He con 
descended to a poor and low condition, and suffered therein for our 
good, that we might be partakers of the riches of the grace of God. 

III. That this was for our sakes. Christ hath a double relation 
(1.) As our mediator, redeemer, and saviour ; (2.) As the pattern and 
example of holiness in our nature. Both ways it was for our sakes. 

1. As our mediator. So he emptied himself that we might be filled 
with all grace. He was born of a woman that we might be born of 
God : Gal. iv. 4, 5, When the fulness of time was come, God sent 
forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them 
that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons ; 
2 Cor. v. 21 , He was made sin for us that knew no sin, that we might 
be made the righteousness of God in him. He was made a curse 
that we might have the blessing: Gal. iii. 13, 14, Christ hath 
redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us ; 
for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. That 
the blessing of Abraham might come on the gentiles through Jesus 
Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 
He was forsaken for a while that we might be received for ever. And, 
to speak to the very case, 2 Cor. viii. 9, He was made poor for us, 
that we through his poverty might be rich. There are some things 
in the mediation of Christ which belong to ministry, others to authority. 
Those which belong to ministry, as to be in the form of a servant, and 
die ; he must be a man for that. Some things belong to authority, 
as to bring us back to God, to make our peace with God, to convey 
the Spirit, to vanquish Satan, to raise the dead, to deliver us from hell, 
to make us everlastingly blessed ; he must be a God for that ; but so 
as first that which is necessary to be done by his manhood be. done 
for us ; first the merit of his humiliation was to be interposed before 
we could be acquainted with the power of his exaltation. God took 
this way, partly because we were to be restored in a way contrary to 
that by which we fell. We fell by pride, and we must be restored by 
humility. We would be as God, not in a way of blessed conformity, 
but cursed self-sufficiency. Therefore, to expiate this pride, God 
must become like man, take our nature, and suffer in it Once man, 
in the pride of his heart, attempted to be like God ; and God by a 
mystery of humility became like man, that he might bring man into 
a nearer degree of likeness to God. Partly because the honour of his 
justice required it. Keconciliation supposeth satisfaction ; for we are 
not at peace with God till his justice be appeased. And the Spirit of 
God had not been sent if God had not been at peace with us, for this 
is the token of his friendship. And till the Spirit be given to change 
both our natures and estate, we have no title to the pardon of sin and 
eternal life. Therefore the merit of Christ s humiliation is at the 
bottom of all the good we expect from God. Partly because he 


delightetli to carry on our salvation by contraries. Christ emptied 
himself to fill all things, became poor that we might be rich, brought 
life out of death, covered his glory, wherewith he would enrich the 
world, under shame and disgrace. In the same way that Christ pur 
chased it we obtain it. A Christian is tossed with tempests, and yet 
the peace of God preserveth his heart. He hath nothing, and yet 
hath all things ; was disgraced in the world, and yet approved of God. 
There was nothing stronger than Christ s seeming weakness ; in his 
lowest abasement he discovered the greatest power of his godhead. 
He satisfied the justice of God, overcame death and his Father s wrath, 
triumphed over. Satan, crushed his head when he bruised his heel. The 
apostle telleth us, 1 Cor. i. 25, The foolishness of God is wiser than 
men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men, TO papov ical TO 
aaOeves. The foolish part and the weak part, that which in man s 
opinion hath least wisdom or strength in it. Nothing is such a 
glorious act of wisdom and power as salvation by Christ dying, Christ 
abased ; as also to bring a Christian to heaven by afflictions, rather 
than to suffer him to be prosperous in the world. 

2. By way of pattern and example. Christ, that came to set open 
the way to heaven, would also teach us the way to heaven, not only 
by his doctrine, but example. Christ made himself of no reputation, 
and therefore we should be dead to the reputation and grandeur of 
the world, which is the great diversion and hindrance to the heavenly 
life. The apostle, when he bringeth this instance, he saith, Let the 
same mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus, Phil. ii. 5. This 
very thing is propounded to our imitation. The Son of God had 
wisdom to choose, right to enjoy, power to procure, the best condition 
which the world affordeth ; but yet he chose a mean state of life, 
subject to many afflictions and sorrows. Here I shall show (1.) The 
power of Christ s example in the general ; (2.) What he teacheth us 
by emptying himself, or making himself of no reputation, 

First, His example hath an alluring power, or great force in moving ; 
this is the example, not of an equal or inferior, but of a great person, 
one far above us. This great person is Jesus Christ our Lord, the great 
messenger of the God of heaven, who came to reclaim mankind from 
their vain courses, and to instruct them in the way of life. 

[1.] His example is a perfect and unerring pattern ; for his life is 
religion exemplified, a visible commentary on God s word. He came 
not only to restore us to God s favour by his merit, but to set us an 
example : 1 Cor. xi. 1, Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ. 
Then you cannot err, if you follow Christ in his imitable actions. 

[2.] It is an engaging pattern. Christ s submission to a duty 
should make it lovely to us. The disciple is not above his lord, nor 
the servant above his master : If I then, your Lord and master, have 
washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another s feet, John xiii. 14. 
Shall we decline to follow such a leader ? 1 John ii. 6, He that saith 
he abideth in him, ought himself also so to walk even as he walked. 
Alexander, conqueror of the world, achieved most of his great exploits 
by his example. When hardly beset, he would make the first in every 
danger and desperate action ; when his army grew sluggish, as laden 
with spoils of their enemies, he commanded all his carriages to be 

VOL. xvm. I 


fired ; and when they saw their king devote his rich treasures to the 
flame, they could not murmur if their mite and pittance were con 
sumed also. If Christ had only taught us contempt of the world, and 
not given us an instance of it, his doctrine would be less powerful. 

[3.] It is an effectual pattern. The Spirit of Christ goeth along 
with it, as well as his doctrine : 2 Cor. iii. 18, We are changed into 
the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 
His steps drop fatness. He hath left a blessing behind in all the way 
that he hath trodden before us, and sanctified it to us, that we may 
follow after him with comfort. 

[4.] It is a very encouraging pattern ; for he sympathiseth with us in 
all our difficulties, having entendered his own heart by experience : 
Heb. ii. 18, In that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able 
to succour them that are tempted ; Heb. iv. 15, We have not an 
high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, 
but was in all points tempted like as we are. He knoweth the weak 
nesses and reluctances of human nature in our hardest duties, and will 
pity and pardon our infirmities. 

[5.] The example of Christ will be armour of proof against all 
temptations. The apostle saith here, ver. 5, Let the same mind be in 
you which was in Christ Jesus ; and in 1 Peter iv. 1, Forasmuch then 
as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with 
the same mind/ If this mind be in you, temptations will have little 
force upon you. 

Secondly, What he teacheth us hereby. 

[1.] Patience under all the indignities we undergo for God s sake in 
the course of our pilgrimage : 1 Peter ii. 21, it is said, Christ suffered 
for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps. So 
Heb. xii. 2, Looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, 
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising 
the shame. Let us be contented to be abased for him. He descended 
from heaven to the grave, as low as he could, for us ; therefore let us 
submit to any condition for his glory. Some that profess his name 
will suffer nothing for him. If they may enjoy him or his ways in 
peace and quietness, well and good ; but if trouble arise for the gospel s 
sake, immediately they fall off. The most, yea, the best, have a secret 
loathness and unwillingness to condescend to a condition of trouble 
and distress for the gospel. Now to these I will but propound these 
three considerations 

(1.) If Christ had been unwilling to die for us and suffer for us, if 
the same mind had been in Christ, what had been our estate and con 
dition to all eternity ? Without his sufferings we should have suffered 
eternal misery. If you would not have Christ of another mind, let the 
same mind be in you. 

(2.) We cannot lose for him as much as he hath done for us : 2 Cor. 
viii. 9, Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he 
was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we through his 
poverty might be rich. 

(3.) We are gainers by him if we part with all the world for his sake : 
Mark x. 29, 30, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or 
eisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake 


and the gospel, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, 
houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, 
with persecutions ; and in the world to come eternal life. Oh ! then, 
do not stand upon terms. The same mind or spirit answerable to Christ 
was that of David : 2 Sam. vi. 22, I will be yet more vile than thus. 
Christ became vile for us, made himself of no reputation ; and shall 
we be flouted out of our religion ? If he had disdained to endure grief 
and sorrows, and stood upon befitting terms, what had become of us ? 

[2.] Humility. We are far inferior to Christ, and shall we stand so 
much upon our reputation? Mat. xi. 29, Learn of me, for I am 
ineek, and lowly in heart. Learn of me, not to make worlds or work 
miracles, but to be contented with the lowest place, the meanest service, 
to be anything and do anything to bring glory to God ; and that not 
out of necessity, but choice : Mat. xx. 28, Even as the Son of man 
came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. It is brought to 
check aspiring or affecting domination in the church. They that love 
the pre-eminence, would be great and high, seem to dislike Christ s pro 
ceeding ; especially those that rend and tear all to advance themselves 
or to grow greater in the world. See that magnificent preface to the 
history of Christ s washing his disciples feet : John xiii. 3, Jesus, 
knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that 
he was come from God, and went to God. Poor worms ! that are but 
three degrees distant from dust and nothing, how do we stand upon 
our terms ! Christ, when his own thoughts were most filled with his 
own glory, doth the meanest office. Surely, considering Christ s 
humility, we should no more over-value ourselves, nor desire high 
esteem with others, nor affect pre-eminence, nor undervalue and despise 

[3.] More exact obedience. Christ s condescension was a special act 
of grace and love, but it was also a signal act of obedience. It is so 
called in the 8th verse, He humbled himself, and became obedient to 
death, even the death of the cross. It was done in pursuance of the 
Father s command ; and elsewhere, Heb. v. 8, 9, Though he were a 
son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered ; and 
being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all 
them that obey him. By the multiplicity of his sufferings he learned 
obedience ; and the impression is according to the stamp and seal. 
Christ came to be the leader of an obeying people. 

[4.] Self-denial as well as obedience. Preferring a public interest, 
the glory of God, and the good of souls, before his own glory as God, 
and the interests of that natural life that he assumed : Rom. xv. 3, 
Christ pleased not himself; and John xii. 27, 28, Now is my soul 
troubled, and what shall I say ? Father, save me from this hour ; but 
for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name/ That 
was enough, if God was glorified. Every Christian should be thus 
affected: Phil. i. 20, That Christ may be magnified in my body, 
whether it be by life or by death. 

[5.] The last lesson is contempt of the world and all the glory thereof. 
Christ teacheth us this lesson by making himself of no reputation two 

(1.) The example of his own choice. The Lord of heaven and earth 


despised and neglected the glory and riches of this world. He passed 
through the world to sanctify it as a place of service ; but chose not 
pomp of living, nor the happiness of it, lest we should choose it as our 
rest and portion : They are not of the world, as I ain not of the world, 
John xvii. 16. Those that are dearest unto God must look by crosses and 
trials to be fitted for another world. If a man say never so much for 
contempt of the world, yet live in the love of it, his saying is nothing. 
But Christ would be a pattern of his own doctrine. Contempt of 
the world is a lesson of great consequence ; salvation lieth upon it : 
1 John ii. 15-1 7, Love not the world, neither the things that are 
in the world : if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not 
in him ; for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye 
and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world ; and the 
world passeth away, and the lust thereof, but he that doeth the will 
of God abideth for ever. Whether we are high or low, full or kept 
bare, it concerneth us all to learn it. Though we flow in wealth, we 
should be as having nothing, and sit loose from the creature. If we 
are poor, we must count grace a preferment : James i. 9, 10, Let 
the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted ; but the rich, in 
that he is made low, because as the flower of the grass he shall pass 
away. There is required of all an hearty preparation for, when they 
are not called to a patient enduring of, afflictions for Christ s name : 
Phil. iv. 12, I know both how to be abased, and I know how to 
abound ; everywhere and in all things I am instructed, both to be 
full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. This is of 
a hard digestion to a natural man. Now Christ s example is a great 
help to us to check our worldly desires ; let us not affect greater emin- 
ency in the world than Christ had; and to check the vanity of fulness, 
or our carnal complacency, that it may not be a snare to us : 1 Tim. 
v. 6, The woman that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. 
Christ was a man of sorrows ; do you profess Christ, and yet are you 
addicted to vain pleasures, and not able to deny them ? 

(2.) As it is an argument to confirm us in the certainty of the 
happiness of the world to come. It were best to choose the easiest life 
here if we did not believe eternity, to live a life of pomp and ease. 
The troubles and miseries of the godly have been counted a sure argu 
ment to confirm it : 1 Cor. xv. 19, If in this life only we have hope in 
Christ, we are of all men most miserable. God would not make us 
miserable by our duty. And 2 Thes. i. 5, evBet^f^a, rfjs Siicaias Kpto-eas 
rov @eo{), It is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God. 
If the consideration of godly men s sufferings in this world be of 
moment to such an inference, much more the sufferings of Christ, who 
was not only a man good and innocent beyond example, instructing 
the souls, curing the bodies of so many men, but also the Son of God. 
His exaltation is a pledge of our happiness, and his humiliation an 
argument he is gone there as our forerunner. 

Application to the Sacrament. This duty bindeth us both to the 
mediatory and moral consideration of Christ s abasement. 

1. The mediatory consideration of Christ s abasement. That we 
may grow in faith and love, we remember the death and sufferings of 
the Lord Jesus for the increase of faith and love. 


[1.] Faith. Here is the foundation laid of all our happiness, and 
deliverance from sin and misery. Here is a merit and a price full 
enough to purchase all needful graces. He became poor that we might 
be rich, and not have a slender measure of grace : John i. 16, Of his 
fulness we all receive, and grace for grace. He was emptied that we 
might be filled : Eph. iv. 10, He that descended is the same also that 
ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things ; and 
1 Cor. iii. 22, 23, All things are yours, and ye are Christ s, and 
Christ is God s ; John x. 10, I am come that they might have life, 
and that they might have it more abundantly ; Titus iii. 5, 6, He 
saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy 
Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our 
Saviour. What may we not promise ourselves from God made man, 
made sin, made a curse for us ? Surely a larger and plentiful measure 
of the gifts and graces of the Spirit. 

[2.] His great love to lost sinners ; for he made himself of no reputa 
tion for our sakes. Such was the inconceivable love of our Lord Jesus 
Christ to the souls of men, that he was willing to condescend to any 
condition for their good and salvation. Some will do a kindness, so 
as themselves may not be the worse, nor the poorer, nor disgraced, 
nor adventure the displeasure of others ; but Christ hath filled us by 
emptying himself, taken our nature, and was subject to misery, out of 
love to the salvation of lost sinners. He did willingly lay aside his 
glory, which he had with the Father before the world was, to suffer in 
his human nature the utmost of misery and grief which the malice of 
men and devils could inflict, and which seemed good to the Father to 
order and appoint for a satisfaction to provoked justice. Quanta vilior, 
tanto charior Bernard. So much -more vile as Christ was, so much 
dearer should he be to us. 

2. Let us improve the moral consideration of Christ s being a pattern 
and example to us. We feed upon Christ that we may be like him. 
Other food is assimilated and changed into our substance, but here we 
are changed into it. We who give up our names to Christ must expect 
to enjoy the fruits of his obedience in the same steps wherein he walked 
before us. If we can condemn the world, be content to be of no repu 
tation that we may glorify God and finally save our souls, then are we 
like Christ. We come to arm ourselves with the same mind which 
was in Jesus, to get above the hopes and fears, pains and pleasures, 
honours and profits, of the present world ; ovSevfteya ; nothing in this 
world should be great to us. These things are transitory, soon conveyed 
out of sight, the basest and vilest of men are capable of them, the most 
generous are above them. Therefore we should be weaning our hearts 
more and more from this world, and drawing them off to another world ; 
for we profess ourselves to be followers of a poor Saviour. 


If any man love God, tlie same is "known of him. 1 COB. viii. 3. 

THE apostle is reasoning in the context against them that abused the 
knowledge of their liberty by Christ, to the offence and scandal of others ; 
and showeth that we ought to join charity with our knowledge of God. 
His arguments are three 

1. Bare knowledge without charity is windy and puffing. The flesh 
may serve itself even of the knowledge of divine mysteries, as it giveth 
men occasion to be proud and despise others : Knowledge puffeth up, 
but charity edifieth/ ver. 1. 

2. That it is not knowledge unless it be joined with love. Other 
wise it is only a talking after others by rote, not the effect of divine 
illumination : ver. 2, And if any man think that he knoweth anything, 
he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. For the Spirit of light 
and life is also a Spirit of love. Bare knowledge sufficeth where the 
matter requireth no more ; but Christianity is a practical, effective 
knowledge, tending to make us good rather than learned ; and there 
fore the profit of our knowledge is lost, it is as no knowledge, unless it 
produce love. God never intended a religion to try the sharpness of 
men s wits, but to draw their hearts to himself. As God can neither 
be loved, obeyed, nor trusted without knowledge, for without know 
ledge the heart is not good ; so knowledge is not knowledge unless we 
know him so as to love him : John iv. 10, If thou knewest the gift of 
God, and who it is that saith unto thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldst 
have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. Know 
him so as to trust in him : Ps. ix. 10, They that know thy name will 
put their trust in thee. Know him so as to please him and serve him : 
1 John ii. 4, He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his com 
mandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 

3. God knoweth such as rightly know him, with a knowledge joined 
with love. He knoweth them, that is, doth acknowledge them for his 
faithful servants, as will be demonstrated by the effects. So in the 
text, If any man love God, the same is known of him. 

But in this argument the apostle seemeth to forget his purpose, and 
to alter the terms of the dispute in hand ; for instead of charity towards 
our neighbour, he puts in love to God ; and instead of our knowledge 
of God, he puts in God s knowledge of us ; and so seemeth to be carried 
besides his purpose. 

I answer No such matter, for he doth it with good advice. 


[1.] Though using our knowledge with charity to our neighbour be 
the matter in question, yet loving our neighbour is the fruit of our love to 
God, and both these go together : 1 John iv. 20, If a man say, I love 
God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar ; for he that loveth not his 
brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God, whom he hath not 
seen ? And they prove one the other: 1 John v. 1,2, Every one that 
loveth him that begat, loveth also him that is begotten of him : by this 
we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep 
his commandments. So that it must be expounded thus : If any man 
love God, and consequently his neighbour for God s sake. Therefore 
the master of the sentences well defined charity thus, Charitas estdilectio, 
qua diligitur Deus propter se, et proximus propter Deum, vel in Deo 
it is such a love by which we love God for himself, and our neighbour 
for God s sake. We love them either for God s command, or because 
of God s image in them, or with respect to his glory, that we may not 
offend them, but gain them to God. And so the apostle diverteth not 
from his scope, only puts the cause for the effect, love to God as pro 
ductive of love to our neighbour. 

[2.] Neither is the apostle besides his purpose in the latter clause ; 
for God s knowledge of us is the cause of our knowledge of him : John 
x. 14, I know my sheep, and am known of mine. First he knoweth 
us, and then we know him ; for divine illumination or saving knowledge 
is the fruit of his love to the elect ; they are chosen by God, therefore 
taught of -God; and he giveth us grace to know, acknowledge, and 
love him. 

Doct. They that know God so as to love him in sincerity are known 
of God. 

1. What is this sincere love to God. 

2. How God is said to know such. 

3. The reasons. 

I What is this sincere love to God ? 

Here is (1.) An object ; (2.) An act ; (3.) The qualification of the 

First, The object is God, who is considered (1.) As amiable ; 
(2.) As beneficial. 

1. God is amiable for the excellency of his nature and glorious 
attributes, as infinite wisdom, -goodness, and power. Surely God is to 
be loved, not only for the goodness that floweth from him, but for the 
goodness that is in himself, as he is a lovely being. I prove it by these 

[1.] Love is founded in estimation. Now the excellencies of God 
are the ground of our esteem, We value nothing but what we account 
excellent and glorious. Therefore the essential goodness of his being, 
and his moral goodness, or his holiness, have an influence on our love, 
as well as his benefits. These things are worthy of esteem in the 
creature, and attract our love ; as in the saints : Ps. xvi. 3, But to the 
saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my 
delight ; Ps. xv. 4, In whose eyes a vile person is contemned, but he 
honoureth them that fear the Lord. Why not in God and his law ? 
Ps. cxix. 140, Thy word is very pure, therefore thy servant loveth it. 

[2.] We are not only to bless God, but to praise him : Ps. cxlv. 10, 


All thy works shall praise thee, Lord, and thy saints shall bless thee. 
Blessing relateth to his benefits, praise to his excellencies. We bless 
him for what he is to us, we praise him for what he is in himself. Now, 
whether we bless him or praise him, it is still to increase our love to 
him and delight in him, for God is not affected with the flattery of 
empty praises ; yet this is an especial duty, which is of use to you, as 
all other duties are. It doth you good to consider him as an infinite 
and eternal being, and of glorious and incomprehensible majesty. It is 
pleasant and profitable to us : Ps. cxxxv. 3, Praise ye the Lord, for 
the Lord is good ; sing praises unto his name, for it is pleasant. 

[3.] A great effect of love is imitation. We imitate what we love 
and delight in as good ; we take delight to transcribe it into our own 
manners, because we are affected with it : Eph. v. 1, Be ye therefore 
followers of God, as dear children ; in whatever he hath made amiable 
and lovely by his example. Love doth imply such a value and esteem 
of God, that we count it our happiness to be like him, to be merciful 
as he is merciful, and holy as he is holy. We value it as a perfection 
in God, and desire the impression of it upon our own hearts. It is the 
greatest demonstration of God s love to us to make us like himself : 1 
John iii. 2, Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet 
appear what we shall be ; but this we know, that when he shall appear, 
we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. It is the greatest 
demonstration of our love to God, to desire and to endeavour after it : 
Ps. xvii. 15, As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I 
shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness/ Now like him we 
must be, not only in benignity, but in holiness and purity. 

2. God is beneficial, as he hath been good, or may be good to us. 

[1.] In creation. He made us out of nothing, after his own image : 
Eccles. xii. 1, Kemember thy creator in the days of thy youth. We 
must remember him so as to love him, please him, serve him. Verba 
notitice connotant qffectus Words of knowledge import affection. And 
in youth, whilst the prints of his creating bounty are fresh upon us. 
In age we carry about the fruits and monuments of our unthankful- 
ness, that we have no more improved our time and strength for God. 
It is charged on Israel, Deut. xxxii. 15, He forsook God which made 
him, and lightly esteemed the rock of his salvation. Many never 
think who made them, nor why ; whose creatures are we, who gave us 
all that we have ? How can we look upon our bodies without thoughts 
of God, whose workmanship it is? or think of the soul without thinking 
of God, whose image and superscription it beareth? Bender unto 
Cassar the things that are Cesar s, and to God the things that are 
God s/ Mat. xxiii. 21. 

[2.] In redemption. There is the truest representation of the 
goodness and benignity of God : 1 John iv. 10, Herein is love, not 
that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the 
propitiation for our sins; Rom. v. 8, God commendeth his love 
towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God 
commendeth his love to us by these wonders of his grace, and set it 
before our eyes, that we must either question the truth, or else we 
cannot resist the force of this love : 1 John iv. 19, We love him 
because he first loved us. God loveth first, best, and most. 


[3.] The mercies of daily providence in sustaining our being : Dent, 
xxx. 20, That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou 
mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave to him ; for he is 
thy life, and the length of thy days/ How thankful are we to him 
that restoreth the use of an eye or of decayed limbs ! Is nothing due to 
God, who preserveth all these things to us, yea, continueth life itself, 
and defendeth and protecteth us against all dangers ? Ps. xxxi. 23, 
love the Lord, all ye his saints ; for the Lord preserveth the 
faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. Many times, when 
they have no friends to uphold them, God standeth by them, to pre 
serve them against the powers of oppression. So he heareth prayers : 
Ps. cxvi. 1, I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my 
supplication. Every answer is a new engagement, and new fuel 
to kindle this holy fire. Surely his constant mindfulness of us should 
induce us heartily to love God and admire his goodness. 

[4.] The rewards of grace which are provided for them that love him, 
many blessed comforts and supports here in the world, and the happiness 
of the world to come : 1 Cor. ii. 9, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, 
neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath 
prepared for them that love him ; 1 John iii. 1, 2, Behold what 
manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be 
called the sons of God ! therefore the world knoweth us not, because 
it knew not him. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth 
not yet appear what we shall be ; but we know that when he shall 
appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Thus is God 
propounded to us as an object of our love, as amiable and as beneficial. 
In short, to have life and being, and all kind of benefits which may 
sweeten life ; to be freed from sin, which is the ground of all our trouble, 
and the wrath of God, which is so deservedly terrible ; to have our 
natures sanctified and healed, and at length to be brought into that 
happy estate, when we shall be brought nigh to God, and be made 
companions of the holy angels, and for ever behold our glorified 
Redeemer ; and our own nature united to the godhead, and have the 
greatest and nearest intuition of God that we are capable of, and live 
in the fullest love to him and delight in him : what can be said more ? 

Secondly, The act, love. Love to God is taken largely or strictly. 

1. Largely, for all the duties of the upper hemisphere of religion, or 
first table ; as when Christ distinguished the duties of the two tables 
into love to God and love to our neighbour : Mat. xxii. 37-39, Jesus 
said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, 
and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and 
great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love 
thy neighbour as thyself. So it is confounded with faith, repentance, 
new obedience ; for all religion is but love acted. Faith is a loving 
and thankful acceptance of Christ and his grace. Kepentance is a 
mourning love, because of the wrongs done to our beloved, and the loss 
accruing to ourselves. Obedience is but pleasing love. A Christian, 
if he fear, it is to offend him whom his soul loveth ; if he hope, it is to 
see and possess him who is the joy and delight of his soul ; if he rejoice, 
it is because he is united to him ; if afflicted, it is because he is 
separated from him. 


2. More strictly it implieth that particular grace which is distinct 
from faith and hope: 1 Cor. xiii. 13, And now abideth faith, hope, 
charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity. Which, 
because of its various operations, is diversely spoken of in scripture 
(1.) Sometimes as a seeking and desiring love ; (2.) Sometimes as a 
complacential and delighting love; (3.) Sometimes as the love of 
gratitude or returning love. 

[1.] Sometimes it is put in scripture for that which is properly 
called a desiring, seeking love, which is our great duty in this life, 
because here we are in via, in the way to home, in an estate of imper 
fect fruition ; therefore our love mostly venteth itself by desires, or 
by an earnest seeking after God. This love is desiderium unionis, a 
desire of his presence, or an affection of union. It is often set forth 
in scripture : Ps. xlii. 1, As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, 
so panteth my soul after thee, God ; Ps. Ixiii. 1, God, thou art 
my God ; early will I seek thee ; my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh 
longeth for thee. So Ps. Ixxxiv. 2, My soul longeth, yea, even 
fainteth for the courts of the Lord ; my heart and my flesh crieth out 
for the living God. It noteth such vehement affections as left an 
impression upon the body. So Isa. xxvi. 9, With my soul have I 
desired thee in the night, yea, with my spirit within me will I seek 
thee right early. Thus do the saints express their desires to enjoy 
God and his grace. Now 

(1.) This desire is acted towards his sanctifying grace and Spirit, 
called an hungering and thirsting after righteousness : Mat. v. 6, 
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they 
shall be filled. Or the comfort and effect of ordinances and holy 
duties, that they may get more of God and holiness into their hearts : 
1 Peter ii. 2, As new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, 
that ye may grow thereby ; Ps. Ixxxiv. 2, My soul longeth, yea, even 
fainteth for the courts of the Lord ; my heart and my flesh crieth out 
for the living God/ Not the formality of an ordinance, but to see thy 
power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary, Ps. 
Ixiii. 2. They would not go from God without him. The sanctifying 
Spirit is the sure pledge of God s love ; and they do so earnestly desire 
to be like God in purity and holiness, that they are instant and 
assiduous in calling upon God, and using all holy means whereby they 
may obtain more of his Spirit. This doth show us most of God him 
self, for we know his love by his Spirit ; and doth most help us to love 
him : Prov. iv. 7, Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom, 
and with all thy getting, get understanding. Wealth, honour, and 
secular learning, or whatever serveth the interest of the flesh, may be 
an hindrance and impediment in the ascending of our hearts and 
minds to God. These things often keep us from God, and allure us 
to please the flesh ; but saving grace, as it immediately cometh from 
God, so it carrieth us to him. 

(2.) The perpetual vision of God hereafter : Phil. i. 23, I am in a 
strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, 
which is far better ; 2 Cor. v. 6, 8, Knowing that, whilst we are at 
home in the body, we are absent from the Lord : we are confident 
and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the 
Lord. They have a great natural love to the body, and would cot to bp. 


unclothed ; but this natural love is overcome by an higher love, the 
longings of their soul after the Lord, so that they groan, and wait, and 
in the meantime endeavour to make it sure that they shall be accepted 
of the Lord into this blessed estate ; all which is comprised in this 
desiring and seeking love. 

[2.] There is the complacential and delighting love. Divines use to 
distinguish of a twofold love love of benevolence and love of compla 
cency. Love of benevolence is desiring the felicity of another; love of com 
placency is the pleasedness of the soul in a suitable good. Apply this 
to the love of God to us ; he loveth us both these ways. Amore 
benevolentice, with a love of benevolence or good- will : John iii. 16, 
God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that 
whosoever belie veth him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
And amore complacentice, with a love of complacency or delight : 
Zeph. iii. 17, The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty ; he 
will save ; he will rejoice over thee with joy ; he will rest in his love ; 
he will joy over thee with singing ; Prov. xi. 20, They that are of a 
fro ward heart are abomination to the Lord, but such as are upright in 
their way are his delight ; and Prov. xii. 22, Lying lips are abomina 
tion to the Lord, but they that deal truly are his delight. But now 
the question is whether one or both of these be compatible with our love 
to God. With the love of delight, certainly we may and should love 
him : Ps. xvi. 6, 7, The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places, 
yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless the Lord, who hath given 
me counsel ; my reins also instruct me in the night season. But as 
to the love of benevolence, he is above our injuries and benefits, and 
needeth nothing from us to add to his felicity ; unless improperly, when 
we desire his glory and the advancement of his kingdom and interest 
in the world. But there is no scruple as to the love of complacency : 
Ps. xxxvii. 4, Delight thyself in the Lord, and he shall give thee the 
desires of thine heart. There is a joy and pleasure of mind in think 
ing of him : Ps. civ. 34, My meditation of him shall be sweet ; I will 
be glad in the Lord. Much more in enjoying of him in part here : 
Ps. iv. 6, 7, Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us : 
thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their 
corn and their wine increased. But most of all in our full enjoyment 
of him : Ps. xvi. 11, Thou wilt show me the path of life ; in thy pre 
sence is fulness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for ever 
more. 1 The soul is well pleased in God as an all-sufficient portion. 
It is good to observe what puts gladness into our hearts. Joy in heaven 
is our everlasting portion ; but there is joy by the way as we are going 

[3.] The returning love, or the love of gratitude or thankfulness : 1 
John iv. 19, We love him because he first loved us ; 2 Cor. v. 14, 
The love of Christ constraineth us ; as fire begetteth fire, or as the 
echo returneth what it receiveth ; it is a reflection, a reverberation, or a 
beating back of God s own beam upon himself. Thus we love God, as 
willing to be reconciled to us in Christ, so as we devote ourselves to his 
service, will, and honour, to serve him with all our power, and to use 
all our mercies for his glory. We consecrate ourselves to him : Rom. 
xii. 1, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that 


ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, 
which is } T our reasonable service. We use ourselves for him : 1 Cor. 
vi. 20, Ye are bought with a price ; therefore glorify God in your body 
and in your spirit, which are God s. 

Thirdly, The qualification of the act, if we sincerely love him. The 
sincerity of our love to God is seen in two things (1.) The eminency 
of the degree ; (2.) The genuine and proper effect. Both together dis 
cover the sincerity of love. 

1. For the degree, God must be loved above all, so as he may have 
no rival and competitor in the soul : Ps. Ixxiii. 25, Whom have I in 
heaven but thee ? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides 
thee. There is a partial half love to God, when a greater love is to 
other things. This cannot be consistent with sincerity ; for then religion, 
will be an underling, and God s interest least minded. Our Lord telleth 
us, Mat. x. 37, He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not 
worthy of me ; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not 
worthy of me. If anything be nearer and dearer to us than God, and 
any advantages we expect from men be preferred before our duty to 
him, we are no way fit for Christ s service, or qualified for our duty to 
him, because these worldly interests will soon draw us to some unbe 
coming practice or action contrary to our fidelity to him. Therefore 
the saints are ever liberal in professing how much they value his favour 
above all things : Ps. Ixiii. 3, Thy loving-kindness is better than life. 
There is nothing so comfortable in this world that we should prefer 
before the feeling, or the hope of feeling, of God s love to us. 

2. The genuine and proper effect of this love, which is a ready obey 
ing of his will, or making it our chief care to please God and keep his 
commandments: John xiv. 21, He that hath my commandments and 
keepeth them, he it is that loveth me ; and 1 John v. 3, This is the 
love of God, that we keep his commandments. Our love is a love of 
duty, as God s love is a love of bounty ; for it is not the love of a supe 
rior to an inferior or equal, but like the love of a wife to a husband, 
of children to parents, of subjects to their benign lord ; all which rela 
tions infer a dutiful subjection on our part. 

II. What it is to be known of God. 

1. In scripture, it importeth his eternal election before all time : 
Horn. viii. 29, Whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate ; 2 
Tim. ii. 19, The foundation of the Lord standeth sure, having this seal, 
the Lord knoweth them that are his/ God s love made inquisition for 
us whilst as yet we lay in the confused heap of nothing, and singled us 
out from the rest of the corrupted mass of mankind. And so it may 
make a good sense here. Whosoever loveth God is known of God. 
He did not prevent God, but God prevented him, knew him, and loved 
him long before he knew and loved God. 

2. His gracious conversion in time. So God is said to know us 
when he calleth us to faith in Christ : Gal. iv. 9, But now after that 
ye have known God, or rather were known of God ; that is, after ye 
were converted to Christ, or rather prevented by God. In an uncon 
verted estate, God taketh no notice or knowledge of us, so as to be 
familiar with us, or communicate any saving blessings to us ; therefore 
to be known of God is to receive special mercy from him, as a conse- 


quent of our former election. Our sins stopped not the current of his 
love and mercy to us ; but he first gave us being, then gave us grace. 
He maketh that amiable which he is pleased to set his love upon, and 
doth esteem us for what he puts into us : Eph. i. 6, To the praise 
of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the 
Beloved, e^aplrwcrev. 

3. His particular notice of them in the course of his providence. 
[1.] Before conversion, with respect to his elective love : Jer. i. 5, 

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee, and before thou earnest 
forth out of the womb I sanctified thee ; noting God s eternal desig 
nation of him to the office of a prophet, to which he at length called 
him. Before he was bred or born, God set him apart for this work, 
and had him in mind, and took special notice of him as one to be thus 
employed. So God said of Moses, Exod. xxxiii. 12, I knew thee by 
name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight ; in a special and 
particular manner. So Gal. i. 15, It pleased God, who separated me 
from my mother s womb, and called me by his grace. He dateth God s 
care from that time, because the decree began then to take place : this 
child is a vessel of mercy, to be employed in an especial manner for 
God s glory. Now this is common to all the faithful. Christ calleth 
his sheep by name/ John x. 3. He knoweth all his flock particularly, 
their names and number, by head and poll, even to the meanest of 
God s creatures that belong to his election, and seeketh them out in all 
the places of their dispersion, and hath a special care of them, that they 
may not die in their unregeneracy. 

[2.] After conversion God taketh notice of their persons and condi 
tions. He hath a special affection to them and care of them : Ps. i. 
6, The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, but the way of the 
ungodly shall perish ; - that is, he seeth and beholdeth them with 
mercy, he knoweth their persons, and knoweth their necessities and 
straits : Mat. vi. 32, Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have 
need of these things ; who wanteth food, raiment, protection, and 
deliverance. His business in heaven is to order his providence for their 
good : 2 Chron. xvi. 9, The eyes of the Lord run to and fro through 
out the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose 
heart is perfect towards him. Not always to give them such things 
as they desire, but to turn all for good : Kom. viii. 28, All things 
work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the 
called according to his purpose. 

4. The intimate familiarity that is between God and them in holy 
ordinances, and the whole course of their conversations. They know 
God, and God knoweth them, and there is much familiar intercourse 
between them : 1 John i. 7, If we walk in the light, as he is in the 
light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus 
Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. In holy duties none have 
cause to say, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is 
passed over from my God, Isa. xl. 27 ; he doth nothing in my case. 
It is a sad thing to come to an empty ordinance. Cain was sensible 
of this, and affected with it ; his countenance fell when God testified 
not of his gifts : Gen. iv. 6, Why art thou wroth ? and why is thy 
countenance Mien ? God threateneth it, Hosea v. 6, They shall 


go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the Lord, but they 
shall not find him ; he hath withdrawn himself from them. And 
executed it upon Saul : 1 Sam. xxviii. 6, And when Saul inquired 
of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams nor by 
Urim, nor by prophets. They are the shell of ordinances, but not the 

5. At the last day they shall be known and owned : Kev. iii. 5, He 
that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment ; and I 
will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his 
name before my Father, and before his angels. Christ will own him, 
and present him before God : This is one of mine. Others shall be 
discovered, 1 how great a name soever they have borne in the church : 
Mat. vii. 23, I never knew you ; depart from me, ye that work ini 
quity. Oh, how sad is that ! 

III. Seasons. 

1. This is like God s knowledge of himself and of us. 

[1.] Of himself. God s whole happiness consists in knowing and 
loving himself, and having infinite contentment in his own nature. 
Surely then our happiness consists in knowing and loving God. 

[2.] Of us. The knowledge whereby God knoweth us that we are 
his is not a bare and barren knowledge, but accompanied with love, 
and care, and blessing. So likewise our knowledge ought to be ; we 
must know as we are known, 1 Cor. xiii. 12. In heaven we shall 
know him perfectly, and come to a full communion and conjunction 
with him ; here in some measure. Thus the scripture compareth God s 
knowledge of us with our knowledge of God. God s knowing of us is 
operative, never without effect ; therefore our knowledge of him should 
be lively, saving, and effectual. 

2. This knowledge is like the knowledge of heaven. Faith and im 
perfect love here answereth to vision and complete love there. The 
sight and love of God is our felicity in heaven, therefore it should be 
our business on earth ; for here we do but train up ourselves for a more 
perfect estate, and Christ would make our work and reward suit. To 
see God and love him is our business now, and it is our happiness here 
after. Here we follow the light of faith, there the light of glory. The 
understanding must see the truth it believeth, and the will possess the 
good it loveth. He that seeketh God is happy, and he that perfectly 
loveth him cannot be miserable. There we have no other employment 
than to behold and love God. The divine essence would be a torment 
to the blessed if the understanding transmitted it not to their will. 

3. God rewardeth love with love : Prov. viiL 17, I love them that 
love me ; and John xiv. 21, He that loveth me shall be loved of my 
Father, and I will love him. And those whom he loveth he will not 
be unmindful of, for he knoweth them. 

4. None know God so much as they that love him ; for the affection 
sharpeneth judgment. Therefore the pure in heart shall see God : 
Mat. v. 8, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God ; as 
being purified from the dregs of sin, and having their minds cleansed. 

5. Till we refer all that we know and believe to the true practice of 
the love of God, we are not sincere : 1 Cor. xiii. 1-3, Though I speak 
with the tongues of men and angels, and have not charity, I am become 

1 Qu. disowned ? ED. 


as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal : and though I have the gift of 
prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though 
I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have no charity, 
I am nothing : and though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and 
though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth 
me nothing. A man may be burnt in the flames, and yet not at all 
acceptable to God ; dive into all mysteries of religion, yet not be affec 
ted with them ; cast out devils, yet be cast out among devils ; give his 
goods to the poor, yet have his soul full of vainglory ; speak eloquently 
and accurately of God and Christ, yet not have his heart subdued to 
God. Yet a man cannot have charity and be upon ill terms with 
Christ ; all that love him are beloved of him. 

Use 1. Is of exhortation, to join with your knowledge of God love to 

Motives. 1. From the reward and benefit. Is it not a great mercy 
to be known of God, and to be approved in the sentence of his word ? 
Gal. v. 6, In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor 
uncircumcision, but faith, which worketh by love. To be chosen, ac 
cepted, and avouched to be his peculiar people : 1 Cor. xvi. 22, If any 
man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema maranatha ; 
compared with Eph. vi. 24, Grace be with all them that love our Lord 
Jesus Christ in sincerity. To be owned in his ordinances ; the great 
feast of the gospel is prepared for such : 1 Cor. ii. 9, Eye hath not 
seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the 
things which God hath prepared for them that love him. To be re 
garded in his providence above all the dwellers on earth : Ps. Ivi. 8, 
Thou tellest my wanderings : put thou my tears into thy bottle ; are 
they not in thy book ? Though they seem base and vile in the eyes 
of men, can scarce cleanse themselves, yet they are accepted of God. 
Our friends will not know us in adversity, and the rich will not know 
the poor; yet God knoweth them and ownet^i them, how despicable 
soever they be : Ps. xxxiv. 6, This poor man cried, and the Lord heard 
him, and saved him out of all his troubles. God s approbation is more 
worth than the approbation of all the world : 2 Cor. x. 18, Not he that 
commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth. 
And at the last day, when every man shall receive his final doom and 
sentence, they shall be admitted to glory : James i. 12, Blessed is the 
man that endureth temptation ; for when he is tried, he shall receive 
ohe crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love 
him ; James ii. 5, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich 
in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that 
love him ? 

2. From the duty. 

[1.] There is no true knowledge else. We do but talk like parrots 
of God and Christ, though with never so much subtlety and accuracy, 
till we love him : Judges xvi. 15, How canst thou say, I love thee, 
when thy heart is not with me ? Eom. ii. 20, An instructor of the 
foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge, and of 
the truth in the law ; 2 Tim. iii. 5, Having a form of godliness, but 
denying the power thereof. 

[2.] The design of the scripture is to teach us the holy art of loving 


God. It is a book written of love, wherein is recommended the love of 
God to us, in creation, providence, redemption, and final glorification ; 
that by hearing, reading, meditating therein, there may be begotten in 
us love to God again : 1 Tim. i. 5, The end of the commandment is 
charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith un 

[3.] The love of Christ is the vigour and life of all that grace that 
is wrought in us by the Spirit : 2 Tim. i. 7, God hath not given us the 
spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind. 

[4.] The whole work of a Christian is a work of love, to love God 
and be like to him : Deut. x. 12, What doth the Lord thy God re 
quire of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, 
and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and 
all thy soul ? A Christian is rewarded as a lover rather than as a ser 
vant, not as doing work, but as doing work out of love. 

Use 2. Examination. Do we know God so as to love him ? Many 
will say, God forbid we should live else, if we do not love God. But 
do you indeed love him ? Christ puts Peter to the question thrice : 
John xxi. 15-17, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, 
lovest thou me more than these ? &c. Others, on the other side, will 
say, How can we know that we love God ? Burning fire cannot be 
hidden ; do what you can, you cannot conceal it. If you really love 
any person, there will not need many signs to discern it. No ; you 
will betray it on all occasions, by looks, speeches, gestures, thoughts, 
and endeavours to please. Or if you love things, will not a covetous 
man betray his love of money, an ambitious man his love of honour, a 
voluptuous man his delight in pleasures? Let him conceal it if he 
can. But it is not love, but the sincerity of love, that is so difficult to 
be found out. Well, then, that is known partly by the degree, partly 
by the proper effect. 

1. By the degree. If you love God, you will love him above all. 
All things must give way to his love : Ps. Ixiii. 3, Because thy loving 
kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. You will be 
content to do and suffer anything rather than displease God and 
lose his favour ; for that is your all. But alas ! how far are we from 
the love of God, who are so addicted to self-love and carnal desires, and 
governed by the relishes of the flesh, and entangled in earthly and 
worldly things ! Can we adhere to him in time of danger and 
temptation ? 

2. By the proper effect, which is obedience, doing his will, seeking 
his glory, promoting his interest. Many think it is love if they keep 
solemn feasts in his memory, seem to be very devout at certain set times, 
at Christmas and Easter. No ; it is a constant respect in those that 
profess his name, and an obedience to his commands. Others think 
they love him if they languish after comforts. No ; ready obedience is 
all. Then love hath done its work : 1 John ii. 5, Whoso keepeth his 
word, in him verily is the love of God perfected : hereby know we that 
we are in him. 

Use 3. Direction to us in the Lord s supper. Let us rouse up our 
selves in this duty, this holy and mystical supper, which Christ, depart 
ing out of the world, ordained to be a memorial of his death and passion. 


(1.) Eeasons why we should now express our love ; (2.) How we 
should exercise love in this duty. 

1- Why. 

[1.] Because his death flowed from his love : Gal. ii. 20, Who loved 
me, and gave himself for me ; Eph. v. 2, 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 ; Rev. i. 5, Unto him that loved 
us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. And therefore we 
never felt the principal effect of this duty unless we find this love 
enkindled in us ; we do not observe it as we ought. 

[2.] Because his intent is to convey and apply his love to us. It is 
applied outwardly by the word and sacraments, inwardly by his Spirit : 
Eom. v. 5, The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy 
Ghost, which is given unto us ; John vi. 51, And the bread that I 
will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. It is 
given in pretium, in pabulum, for price and for food. His blood, 
which was shed for our redemption, now is poured out for our refec 
tion, to cheer our souls, that, eating his flesh and drinking his blood, 
we may become one spirit, and he may live in us and we in him, and 
that nothing may separate us from his love. All the dainties here set 
before us taste and savour of nothing but love. Our meat is seasoned 
with love, and our drink is squeezed into our cup out of the wine-press 
of love, And God intendeth union : Cant. ii. 4, He brought me to 
the banqueting-house, and his banner over me was love. Christ con- 
ducteth his spouse in state to the solemn participation of his benefits, 
and receiveth her with a banner or canopy. This banner is displayed 
in the gospel, the whole doctrine of which is to show us the love of 
our Saviour towards mankind. But then in the sacrament we are 
brought into the house of wine, we come to taste of the satisfying and 
comfortable blessings which are to be found in Christ. 

[3.] If we do not bring love with us, we shall not be welcome to God ; 
for he that loveth God is known of him. Others are not owned in 
an ordinance, but dismissed as they came. God will not fail the 
loving soul. 

2. How we should exercise love in this duty. 

[1.] In ardent desires of Christ s benefits. We can neither live nor 
die without him, therefore we must desire his grace, his righteousness, 
and Spirit : Luke i. 53, He hath filled the hungry with good things ; 
Ps. xxvii. 4, One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek 
after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, 
to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple/ 

2. In an holy joy and rejoicing in him : Cant. i. 4, We will be glad, 
and rejoice in thee. Christ hath a special way of communicating the 
sense of his love to a believer. Now when we are admitted to what we 
long for, we must express our gratitude. 

3. We must not restrain the benefit to the act of receiving ; no, our 
future profit is to be regarded, that for the time to come we may live 
to no other purpose in the world but to obey and honour Christ, even 
at the dearest rates. We must from henceforth live as those that are 
the Lord s : 2 Cor. v. 15, And that he died for all, that they that live 
should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died 
for them, and rose again. 



For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a 
door-keeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of 
wickedness. Ps. Ixxxiv. 10. 

IN these words is set forth David s esteem of the ordinances and means 
of grace. 

Here is (1.) A general proposition, A day in thy courts is better 
than a thousand ; (2.) A particular application to the man of God s 
own judgment and sentiment in the case, I had rather be a door-keeper 
in the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness. The 
one sets forth the excellency of the thing itself; the other David s, and, 
in his person, every godly man s, sense and opinion of it. Things may 
incomparably differ, yet every one hath not the eyes to see it. In the 
general proposition, the comparison is made with any earthly thing 
whatsoever ; in the particular application to David, with the pleasures 
of sin. Both must be considered. 

In the general proposition, A day in thy courts is better than a 
thousand ; i.e., a day or hour spent in thy worship is better than a 
thousand spent among worldlings and about worldly business. Eternal 
things, and all things conducing thereunto, must be preferred before 
temporal, and communion with God above all the pomp and glory of 
the most splendid worldly condition. 

But then, in the particular application, temporal things are con 
sidered as enjoyed with sin; as also Heb. xi. 25, Choosing rather to 
suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of 
sin for a season. However, there you may observe (1.) God s worst, 
I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God ; (2.) Sin s 
best, Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. Where observe 

First, The terms, in which one condition is opposed to the other 

1. On the one side, the meanest, lowest office about God is mentioned, 
to be a door-keeper, or, as the Hebrew signifieth, to sit at the threshold ; 
a phrase often used to express the office of the Levites, or sons of Korah, 
who were keepers of the gates or thresholds of the tabernacle, 1 Chron. 
ix. 19, and theEefore called porters, ver. 17. And to these was this psalm 
committed ; for the title saith, it was A psalm for the sons of Korah ; 
and to encourage them in their office, David useth such an expression. 
He had rather be in the meanest condition, wherein he might daily 
worship God. 


2. On the other side, here was dwelling in the tents of wickedness ; 
that is, in the stateliest habitations of the great ones of the world, 
wherein wickedness reigneth. Possibly he alludeth to the wild Arabians, 
who lived by prey, and lived in tents which were black without and 
rich within. Therefore the church is compared to tents of Kedar : 
Cant. i. 5, I am black, but comely, as the tents of Kedar ; as else 
where he saith, God is more glorious and excellent than the mountains 
of prey, Ps. Ixxvi. 4 ; preferring God s strength above theirs that dwelt 
in the mountains, and lurked there for prey. And this suiteth with 
his condition, who, in his exile from the temple, was forced to live as 
a wild Kedarene or Ishmaelite : Ps. cxx. 5, Woe is me that I sojourn 
in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar ; meaning the Arabian 
tents, the barbarous people of Arabia that were called Scenitae ; for 
their manner of living, he then resembled them. 

Secondly, Observe how the terms are framed to suit the preference 

1. On the one side, here is sitting at the threshold ; on the other 
side, dwelling in the tents. He had distinguished before the travellers 
to the house of God and the dwellers in the house of God, ver. 4, &c. 
Here a day in God s courts, and a perpetual service in God s house. 
The lowest degree and place about God is more honourable for one day,, 
though they die the next, as Kimehi, than to have a perpetual abode- 
in the tents of wickedness. 

2. He calleth the one the house of God, the other but a tent, to show 
the stability of their estate who live in communion with God, and the 
uncertainty of their happiness who are strangers to him ; they live but 
in a tent, a movable habitation. 

3. He ealleth the one the house of my God/ as challenging an interest 
in him ; and so the place of his presence, power, and habitation, being 
the more dear to him, as everything that relateth to God is mad 
precious for his sake. But he calleth the other * tents of wickedness. 
There was great wealth, but nothing but profaneness and corruption*. 
Well, then, you see that David speaketh as a man that had a mind to- 
prefer the one before the other. One day in God s courts ; not in atriis 
suis ccelestibtis, in his court of heaven, as some of the ancients would 
carry it ; but here in his church. A few hours spent with God were 
more than the longest life without him. 

Doct. 1. That God s people have a great value and an high esteem 
for his Ordinances. 

Doct. 2. They do not only value them, but value them and esteem 
them above other things. 

1. The esteem and value they have for his ordinances simply con 
sidered. This is a reason of the context, why there was such longing 
desire on his own part, such earnest pressing forward on the people s 
part, who came up to worship at Jerusalem : For a day in thy 
courts," &c. 

Keasons of it. 

Point 1. Nature, or a spiritual instinct. All creatures naturally 
desire to preserve that life which they have ; and therefore, by a natural 
propension, run thither from whence they received it. Mere instinct 
without instruction carrieth the brute creatures to the teats of their 


dams ; and very effect looketh to the cause, to receive from it its last 
perfection. Trees, that receive life from the earth and the sun, send 
forth their branches to receive the sun, and spread their roots into the 
earth, which brought them forth. Fishes will not live out of the water 
that breedeth them. Chickens are no sooner out of the shell but they 
shroud themselves under the feathers of the hen by whom they were at 
first hatched. The little lamb runneth to the dam s teat, though there 
be a thousand sheep of the same wool and colour ; as if it said, Here I 
received that which I have, and here will I seek that which I want. 
By such a native inbred desire do the saints run to God, to seek a 
supply of strength and nourishment : 1 Peter ii.2, &>? dpTvyevwrjTa ftpefa, 
As new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may 
grow thereby. Young children are not taught to suck ; the young- 
born child runneth to the dug, not by instruction, but instinct : James 
i. 18, 19, Of his own will begat he us, by the word of truth, that 
we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my 
beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear. The same thing 
that teacheth the young lambs to suck, or new-born babes to draw the 
dug, or the chicken to seek a cherishing under the dam s wing, the 
same thing teacheth the children of God to prize the ordinances. The 
cause is- inbred appetite, not persuasion and discourse, but inclination. 
Grace is called a new nature, which hath an appetite joined with it 
after its proper supplies. 

2. The next cause of this value and esteem is experience. They find 
it so sweet that they long for more : 1 Peter ii. 2, 3, As new-born babes 
desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby ; if so 
be that ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Certainly a man 
that hath had any taste of communion with God will desire a fuller 
measure ; as by tasting of excellent meats our appetite to them is not 
cloyed, but the more provoked. Carnal men do not know what it is to 
enjoy God in his ordinances, and therefore they do not long for them ; 
they never tasted the sweetness of the word, nor of God s love in Christ. 
David says, Ps. xix. 10, The statutes of the Lord are more to be 
desired than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than the 
honey or the honey-comb/ The children of God find more true 
pleasure in the ordinances of God than in all things in the world. 
What is the reason that to carnal men they are but as dry chips, 
burdensome exercises, melancholy interruptions, but to the other nothing 
so sweet, more pleasurable than the richest and choicest sensualities, 
that are most eagerly pursued and gustfully enjoyed by us ? The reason 
is given in the llth verse, Moreover by them is thy servant warned, 
and in keeping them there is great reward. There we come to learn 
wisdom against our spiritual dangers, and there we learn the way of 
godliness and obedience, which, besides its own sweetness, heapeth 
upon us the richest rewards, as having the promises of this life and 
that which is to come. He commendeth the word from his own ex 
perience. He had felt the effects and good use of it in his own heart ; 
he had his broken heart bound up. They find that Christ doth heal 
their souls, remove their anguish, sanctify their natures, give them the 
promised help in temptations, warn them of sins and snares, relieve 
them in distress, bridle their corruptions. So Ps. Ixiii. 1, 2, God, 


thou art my God ; early will I seek thee : my soul thirsteth for thee, 
my flesh longeth for thee ; in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is : 
to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen, thee in the sanctuary. 
He that once hath had a sight of God, and a taste of God, would not be 
long out of his company. He compareth his desire of communion with 
God with hunger and thirst, and maketh it greater than the hunger 
and thirst which men suffer in a dry wilderness, where there is no re 
freshment to be- had. He had seen God, and would fain see him again ; 
the remembrance of the pleasures of the sanctuary revived his desires ; 
so that besides nature there is experience. 

3. There is yet a third cause, and that is necessity. We should 
take delight in the means of grace and ordinances of God, though, we 
stood in no need of them, because they carry such a suitableness with 
the new nature, and because they are- means to exhibit more of God to 
us. But our imperfection is great, and this is the only way to get it 
supplied. Decays are very incident to us, and how else shall they be 
prevented ? 1 The& v. 19, 20, Quench not the Spirit ; despise not 
prophesying. Our spiritual vigour is soon quenched, our spiritual 
strength soon abated, our spiritual gust and delight soon lost,, if once 
we despise ordinances. Every graee, when it is wrought, needeth 
support and increase. There is something lacking to faith, and some 
thing lacking to love, and something lacking to knowledge ; and if 
that which is lacking be not supplied,, we shall lose what is wrought in 
us. For it fareth with a man, going to heaven as it doth with a man 
rowing against the stream ; if he doth not go forward, he goeth back 
ward. Surely they that are acquainted with the spiritual life cannot 
live without ordinances. Painted fire Beedeth no fuel, but true fire 
will go out unless it be fed and maintained. Wherever there is life, 
because of the depastion of the natural heat upon the natural moisture, 
though the stomach be never so- full for the present, yet anon they will 
be hungry again. So because of the constant combat between the flesh 
and the spirit, divine love and carnal concupiscence ; wherever there 
is spiritual life, there is a necessity it should be fed with new supplies 
of grace, ministered by the ordinances. An hungry conscience must 
have satisfaction. 

4. Utility and profit. That maketh the children of God value the 
ordinances. They get more here in one day than they get in the 
world in a thousand. A man may moil in the world all the days of 
his life, and what gets he ? Many times his labour for his pains : Ps. 
cxxvii. 2, It is in vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat 
the bread of sorrows. The Lord doth justly punish the painfulness 
of some, who toil like infidels in the use of means, with a sad disap 
pointment. They work their hearts out, and nothing cometh of it. 
Whereas those who have God s blessing thrive insensibly, and are 
very prosperous. But in case they have the world at will, what will it 
profit them when they come to die ? Job xxvii. 8, What is the hope 
of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his 
soul ? They have a sad bargain of it who have spent all their days 
in heaping up wealth, and have hunted for that which they shall never 
roast. Or if they wallow in sensual felicity, yet it must be left at 
length. But now by the ordinances men get God for their portion ; 


and he is an everlasting portion. They are a means to help us to the 
fruition of God : Prov. viii. 34, 35, Blessed is the man that heareth 
me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors ; for 
whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord. 
Spiritual wisdom is more than all worldly riches, and to find Christ is 
to find life. Now this is obtained by waiting at his gates, and at the 
posts of his doors; that is, by a daily attendance upon the means 
of grace. 

Point 2. That God s people do not only value and esteem his 
ordinances, but they value and esteem them above all worldly things. 
We have given you some reasons of their respect to ordinances simply 
considered, now comparatively. For it is not enough to constitute us 
religious, that we have some respect for God, his ways, and ordinances, 
when we have a greater respect for other things ; to be a little for God 
and more for the world. No ; it must be your great business to wait 
upon God, and to redeem time for spiritual uses, counting an. hour 
spent with him to be your sweetest time, and the meanest service about 
him to be your greatest preferment, and to enjoy his love more than to 
enjoy the greatest treasures in the world. 

Season I. Worldly things cannot give out so much of God to us as 
the ordinances do, and therefore they are incomparably better than any 
earthly things whatsoever. 

1. They give out more of God for the present than any earthly thing 
can. We taste God in the creatures.; they are sanctified to the heirs 
of promise : 1 Tim. iv. 4. 5, Every creature of God is good, and 
nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving ; for it is 
sanctified by the word of God and prayer/ They are a glass wherein 
to see our creator s goodness and wisdom and power. But the creatures, 
besides their spiritual use, have a natural use; to maintain the present 
life. But the ordinances have wholly a spiritual use. The creatures, and 
earthly comforts which we enjoy, do not so immediately tend to the 
glory of God ; their immediate use is to comfort man during his pilgrim 
age, and to enable him to serve God ; but ultimately and terminatively 
they tend to the glory of God. Though man be not to use them merely 
for himself, and to sacrifice them to his own will and pleasure, or to 
satisfy his own fleshly mind, yet their natural use is for his comfort, and 
to enable him to serve God. But there is more of God discovered in 
the ordinances than in the creatures, and they do more immediately 
tend to God. 

2. These are the means of our eternal felicity. Earthly things are 
given us as an invitation ; spiritual things as an evidence. Earthly 
things are not given us in the first place, but as an additional supply : 
Mat. vi. 33, Seek ye first the -kingdom of God, and his righteousness, 
and all these things shall be added unto you ; Eccles. vii. 11, Wisdom 
is good with an inheritance. Well, then, surely ordinances, if we have 
the effect of them, are a more blessed evidence of God s favour : Ps. 
Ixv. 4, Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach 
unto thee, that he may dwell in thy -court ; we shall be satisfied with 
the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple. By this means 
God pursueth his eternal love, and bringeth us to eternal glory and 
blessedness. One beam of the light of God s countenance is more worth 



than all the world, what then is the eternal enjoyment of God ? Now 
the ordinances are a means to this end, to bring us to the everlasting 
fruition of God : Ps. Ixxiii. 25, Whom have I in heaven but thee ? 
and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee/ 

Reason 2. God is not loved unless he be loved with a trans- 
cendant, superlative love ; and this must proportionably descend 
upon other things as they relate to God, for everything is good 
according to its vicinity and nearness to the chiefest good and last 
end. There is a fourfold rank of good things. The first is of that 
which is loved and desired only for itself and for no other, and all 
other things for its sake ; so God only is good. The second rank is of 
those things that are desired for themselves and the sake of some other 
thing also ; as knowledge, grace, and virtue. The third rank is of those 
good things which are merely desired for some other good s sake ; as 
the supplies of the outward life, estate, and the like ; in order to service, 
these may be desired. The fourth rank is of those things which are 
evil in themselves, and good only by accident, in order to some greater 
good which may be procured by them ; as war, to make way for a 
lasting quiet and peace ; the cutting off an arm or leg, to preserve the 
rest of the body ; burning the harvest to starve an enemy. In a 
theological consideration, afflictions have this use, which are not things 
to be desired and chosen, but endured and suffered when sent by the 
wise God for our good. Well, now, a Christian should love all things 
according to their value, and as they approach nearer to his last end 
and chief good. He valueth all things as they more or less let out 
God to him; the nearer means more than the remote subservient 
helps. Thus he delighteth in the ordinances more than the creatures, 
because the ordinances discover more of God and exhibit more of God 
to him. He valueth graces more than ordinances, because by the 
graces of the Spirit he is brought into more conformity to God, and 
communion with him, than by the bare formality of a duty. And he 
delighteth in Jesus Christ more than in created graces, as being by 
him nearer to. God, and God nearer to us. Here is the method and 
order of our value and esteem then: first God, next Christ as 
mediator, next the graces of the Spirit, next the ordinances, next the 
creatures and comforts of this life. 

3. A godly man s judgment is rectified about the difference between 
things spiritual and temporal : Prov. xxiii. 4, Labour not to be rich ; 
cease from thine own wisdom ; 1 Cor. ii. 12, We have received, not the 
spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know 
the things that are freely given to us of God ; Ps. xvi. 7, I will bless 
the Lord, who hath given me counsel ; my reins also instruct me in 
the night season. He counteth that condition best wherein he may 
be most serviceable to God, and best helped to heaven. The natural 
understanding valueth all things by the interest of the flesh, for it 
looketh only to present things ; it is the spirit of the world. But one 
to whom God hath given counsel, he is of another temper, seeth things 
by another light, and liveth to another end and scope. His end en- 
lighteneth him, and the Spirit of God enlighteneth him. The Spirit 
showeth him the reality and worth of heavenly things : Eph. i. 17, 18, 
1 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 understandingbeing enlightened, that ye may know what 
is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheri 
tance in the saints/ There is no prospect of the other world by the 
light of a natural spirit, but by faith : 2 Peter i. 9, He that lacketh 
these things is blind, and cannot see afar off. A mere natural man 
acteth at little higher rate than a beast. A beast seeth things before 
him, tastes what is comfortable to his senses, is guided by fancy and 
appetite ; but the spirit of faith maketh a man live as in the sight of 
God, and under a sense of another world. His end enlighteneth him ; 
for, Mat. vi. 22, The light of the body is the eye ; if thine eye be single, 
thy whole body shall be full of light. When a man hath fixed his 
end, he will the sooner understand his way. Finis est mensura mediorum 
The end is the measure of the means. A good end and scope en 
lighteneth and governeth a man in his whole course. As a man s end 
is, so he judgeth of happiness and misery. If a man s end be to live 
well in the world, then happy are the people that are in such a case. 
If his end be to enjoy God, then happy is the people whose God is 
the Lord, Ps. cxliv. 15. It is a blessed opportunity to be waiting upon 
him. So he judgeth of liberty and bondage. If his end be to please 
God, then corruption is his yoke ; if to please the flesh, duty is his 
yoke. So he judgeth of wisdom and folly. A carnal man counteth 
himself wise when he has made a good bargain ; then he applaudeth 
himself : Ps. x. 3, The wicked boasteth of his heart s desire, and bless- 
eth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth/ The godly man then 
counteth himself wise, when he has redeemed time for spiritual uses : 
Eph. v. 15, 16, Not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because 
the days are evil. And the eunuch, when he was instructed by Philip, 
went on his way rejoicing, Acts viii. 39. 

Use 1. If these things be so, then it informeth us how cheerfully 
we should pass through our sabbath duties: Isa. Iviii. 13, If thou 
turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my 
holy day, and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honour 
able, and shalt honour him, not doing thine own work, not finding 
thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words/ &c. It followeth 
naturally from the point in hand ; for if a day in God s house be better 
than a thousand elsewhere, then a Christian should be in his element 
when he is wholly at leisure for God. His sabbath time should not 
hang upon his hands, nor should he count this day as a melancholy inter 
ruption. Few are of this spirit ; they are out of their course : Amos viii. 
5, When will the sabbath be gone, that we may set forth wheat? 
They are weary of sacred meetings, and long to have them over, that 
they might follow their gain, and satisfy their worldly humour. They 
make the world and their gain their great errand, and look upon 
attendance upon God as a matter by the by, and therefore are soon 
weary of it. 

Use 2. Let us reflect the light of this truth upon our own hearts. 
Have we this love and affection to the means of grace ? If we profess 
it, the truth of it is best known to God; but in some measure it 
should be known to ourselves also, if we would take comfort in it. 
Therefore let us a little state it. 


1. This affection and respect to ordinances is to them as pure; 
to those meetings where God is sincerely and purely worshipped, 
As new-born babes desire \o<yiKov aSo\,ov <yd\a, the sincere milk 
of the word/ 1 Peter ii. 2. The new nature is suited to God s 
institutions. As the puking infant, when he sucketh a stranger, doth 
in effect say, This is not my mother s milk. Christ is there where he is 
worshipped in his own way : Mat. xxviii. 20, Teaching them all 
things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you 
alway, even unto the end of the world. The church hath nothing to 
do about ordaining or instituting, but only about ordering the natural 
circumstances of worship. 

2. It is not the empty formality which the saints prize, but meeting 
with God : Ps. Ixxxiv. 1, 2, How amiable are thy tabernacles, Lord 
of hosts ! my soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord ; 
my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. The profane 
blind world neither careth for the duty, nor for God in the duty; the 
formal hypocritical part of the world is for the outward duty, and rests 
satisfied with the bare ordinance, but the sincere Christian would meet 
with God there. They do not only serve him, but seek him, to find God 
in the means, and his lively operation upon their hearts ; and therefore 
they would not go from him without him : Gen. xxxii. 26, I will not 
let thee go except thou bless me/ They must have somewhat of God ; 
this is what they long for, some new warmth, and comfort, and 

3. Those ordinances are prized where many of the servants of God 
meet together. It is comfortable to enjoy God in secret, such duties 
are rewarded with an open blessing : Mat. vi. 6, But thou, when thou 
prayest, enter into thy closet, and shut thy door, and pray unto thy 
Father which is in secret, and thy Father, which seeth in secret, will re 
ward thee openly. But here it is God s court. David could thus enjoy 
God in the wilderness : Ps. xlii. 4, I had gone with the multitude ; I 
went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, 
with the multitude that kept holy-day. It is a comfort certainly to 
meet with our everlasting companions, joining in concert with them, and 
beginning our everlasting work. God s people have but one spirit, one 
divine nature; are led by the same principles, rules, and ends ; have 
the same hopes, desires, and joys : to have multitudes of these joining 
with us in lifting up the same God, in the same solemn worship, pray 
ing together, hearing together, sitting down at the same table, and 
glorifying the same God and Father with the same heart and mouth : 
Acts i. 14, These all continued with one accord in prayer and suppli 
cation; Ps. xxii. 22, In the midst of the congregation will I praise thee; 
and ver. 25, My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation ; I 
will pay my vows before them that fear him. 

4. It must be to the ordinances, though under reproach, disgrace, 
persecution : Heb. xi. 26, Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater 
riches than the treasures of Egypt/ Though the service of God 
expose us to the lowest and most painful condition of life, as a door 
keeper, if joined with any measure of communion with God : 2 Sam. 
vi. 22, I will be yet more vile than thus. It is better to suffer afflic 
tion with the people of God, than to enjoy the most easy, sumptuous, 


and plentiful condition of life with wicked men. Few are content to 
serve a poor Christ. 

5. It is a constant affection, not for a pang. Herod ^Sew? tftcova-e 
Heard John Baptist gladly/ Mark vi. 20 ; and John v. 35, He was 
a burning and a shining light, and ye were willing for a season to 
rejoice in his light ; for a season, while ordinances are novel things, 
or during some qualm of conscience ; but it is from a constant inbred 
appetite, common to all the saints. 

6. This value and esteem must vent itself by a strong desire : Ps. 
xlii. 1, 2, As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul 
after thee, God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God : 
when shall I come and appear before God ? The lively believer 
doth earnestly, and above all other things, seek after communion with 
God : Ps. xxvii. 4, One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I 
seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of 
my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. 
There were other things which David might desire, but this one thing 
was his heart set upon, that he might live in constant communion with 
God. Not to be settled in his regal throne, which he sought not yet 
to be, but to enjoy that transcendant pleasure of conversing daily and 
frequently with God ; and the spirit worketh uniformly in the saints. 

7. The end of our attendance on ordinances must be God s glory and 
our own profit. God s glory : Ps. xxvii. 4, To behold the beauty of God. 
God is infinitely worthy of all honour and praise from his creatures ; 
love to God hath an influence on it : Ps. xxvi. 8, Lord, I have loved 
the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth. 
Our profit : 1 Peter ii. 2, As new-born babes desire the sincere milk of 
the word, that ye may grow thereby ; that we may have some increase 
of light and life : Ps. Ixxxiv. 7, They go from strength to strength ; 
every one in Sion appeareth before God. 



For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. 

LUKE xix. 10. 

THIS is given as a reason why Christ came to invite himself to Zaccheus* 
house, who was a publican. We find, ver. 7, The people murmured, 
saying, That he was gone to be a guest with a man that is a sinner. 
Christ defendeth his practice by his commission, or the errand for which 
he came into the world, For the Son of man/ &c. 
In which words 

1. The person, or the character by which he was described, The Son 
of man. Christ is called so, not to deny his godhead, but to express 
the verity of his human nature, and that he was of our stock and lineage. 
He might have been a true man though he had not come of Adam, but 
his human nature had been framed out of the dust of the ground, as 
Adam s was, or created out of nothing : But he that sanctifieth and 
they that are sanctified are of one ; for which cause he is not ashamed 
to call them brethren/ Heb. i>i. 11. He would be of the mass and stock 
with us. 

2. His work, He is come to seek and to save. The first word, to 
seek/ showeth his diligence ; he leaveth no place unsought where his 
hidden ones are. The second word, to save/ showeth his sufficiency 
of merit and power ; both show his kindness and good- will to mankind, 
to recover us out of our lapsed estate. 

3. The object of this grace and favour, That which was lost. The 
object of Christ s salvation is man lost and undone. 

Doct. That the great end and business of Christ s coming is to seek 
and save that which is lost. 

Here I shall inquire two things by way of explication. 

1. In what sense we are said to be lost. 

2. How Christ Cometh to seek and save such. 

I. In what sense we are said to be lost ; two ways, really and indeed, 
or in our own sense and apprehension. 

1. Keally and indeed ; so we are lost to God and lost to ourselves. 
As to God, he hath no glory, love, and service from tas, and so is de 
prived and robbed of the honour of his creation. The father in the 
parable, by whom God is resembled, saith, Luke xv. 24, This my son 
was lost and is found. Lost as to themselves, so they are said to be 
lost, as they are out of the way to true happiness, and as they are in the 


way to everlasting destruction. In the former respect we are compared 
to lost sheep, who when they are once out of the way, know not how to 
find it again : Ps. xiv. 3, They are all gone aside ; and Isa. liii. 6, 
All we like sheep have gone astray. Swine and other creatures, if they 
wander all day, will easily find the way home again ; but we are gone 
astray like sheep. Domine, errare per me potui, redire non polui 
Lord, I have wandered of myself, but I cannot return of myself. In 
the second respect, as they are in the way to destruction ; so we are 
compared to the lost son, who undid himself, and wasted his substance 
with riotous living, Luke xv. 13. So we are lost by reason of original 
sin, or the corruption introduced by Adam s first sin, hereditarily 
derived to us from our first parents : Ps. li. 5, Behold, I was shapen 
in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. And also by 
reason of actual sins, whereby we involve ourselves more and more in 
the wrath and curse of God : Eph. ii. 1, 2, And you hath he quickened, 
who were dead in trespasses and sins ; wherein in times past ye walked 
according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the 
power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of dis 
obedience ; and ver. 3, We were by nature the children of wrath, 
even as others. Take one distinction more ; some are lost totally, and 
others totally and finally too. All men in their natural estate, whether 
they be sensible or insensible of it, are lost totally : Isa. liii. 6, All 
we like sheep have gone astray, not one exeepted L the elect, though 
for the present they are totally lost, yet they are not finally lost. But 
those that still continue in their impenitency and unbelief are both 
totally and finally lost, justly given over and designed to everlasting 
perdition and destruction. In which sense Judas is called the son of 
perdition : John xvii. 12, Those which thou hast given me, I have 
kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition. Unbelief per 
sisted in is a sign of perdition*. Therefore the apostle saith, 2 Cor. iv. 
3, If our gospel be hid, it is hid to those that are lost. Well, then, 
such as refuse the gospel are in an actual state of perdition, and while 
they continue to repel and refuse the benefit of the gospel, there is no 
hope of them. Thus we are really and indeed lost. 

2. Some are lost and undone in their own sense and feeling. All by 
reason of sin are in a lost state,, but some are apprehensive of it ; when 
the soul is made sensible of its utter perishing condition, and fear of its 
aggravated punishment by reason of actual sin \ as the lost son appre 
hended his perishing for want of bread : Luke xv. 17, And when he 
came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father s have 
bread enough, and to spare, and I perish with hunger I Thus would 
Christ represent the sensible sinner, that is apprehensive of his con 
dition. Now such a sense is necessary to prepare us for a more broken 
hearted and thankful acceptance of the grace of the gospel. 

S..] Because the scripture speaketh of an awakening before conversion: 
. v. 14, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and 
Christ shall give thee light. While we are asleep, we are neither sen 
sible of our misery, nor care for our remedy, but please ourselves with 
dreams and fancies ; but when a man s conscience doth rouse him up 
out of the sleep of sin, and awaken him to some sight and sense of his 
miserable condition, he is in a good measure prepared to hearken to the 


offers of the gospel, and to be affected with and entertain the grace of 
Christ : so Ps. xxii. 27, All the nations of the earth shall remember 
and turn to the Lord ; first remember, then turn. They are like men 
sleeping and distracted before ; they do not consider whence they are, 
what they are doing, whither they are going, what shall become of them 
to all eternity. 

[2.] Till we are sensible of our lost estate, we have not that trouble 
for sin, that hunger and thirst for grace, which the scripture express- 
eth everywhere in the calls and invitations of the gospel : as Mat. ix. 
12, 13, The whole need not the physician, but they that are sick : I 
came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance ; and Mat. xi. 
28, Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will 
give you rest ; Isa. Iv. 1, Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to 
the waters ; Heb. vi. 18, Who have fled for refuge, to lay hold of 
the hope set before us. They that are heart-whole will not value the 
spiritual physician, neither will they that feel not their load care for 
offers of ease. None will prize bread but the hungry, nor come to the 
waters but the thirsty, nor make haste to the city of refuge but those 
that see an avenger of blood at their heels. Or to divest these things 
of their metaphor ; sin unseen grieveth not ; that which the eye seeth 
not the heart rueth not ; it is the hungry conscience that cannot be 
satisfied without Christ s renewing and reconciling grace ; it is the 
curse driveth us to the promise, and the tribunal of God s justice to the 
throne of grace ; one covenant to another^ None do with such sighs 
and groans mourn and wait in the use of means till they obtain mercy 
as those who have a sight and sense of their lost estate, or their sad and 
miserable case by nature. 

[3.] It appeareth by the types, the deliverance of the children of Israel 
out of Egypt and. Babylon, which figured our restoration by Christ. 
Now God would not deliver his people out of Egypt till they sighed 
and groaned out of the anguish of their spirits for their cruel bondage : 
Exod. iii. 7, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are 
in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their task-masters, for 
I know their sorrows. So God delivered them not out of their captivity 
of Babylon till they were sensible of their being ready to perish under 
it : Ezek. xxxvii. 11, Behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our 
hope is lost ; we are cut off for our parts. Now the great truth figured 
hereby is our perishing condition under the captivity of sin before the 
Spirit of life entereth into us. 

[4.] By experience it appeareth that Christ is not valued, nor his 
grace so highly prized, till men have a sensible awakening knowledge 
of their own misery and lost estate by reason of sin. When sin is sin 
indeed, then grace is grace indeed and Christ is Christ indeed. If men, 
have a superficial sense of sin, they have a superficial faith in Christ. 
The slight person doth the work of an age in a breath. We are all 
sinners, but God is merciful. Christ died for sinners, and there is an 
end both of their law and gospel work. If men have a doctrinal and 
speculative knowledge of sin, they have also a doctrinal opinionative 
faith in Christ. Always according to our sense of the disease so is our 
carriage about the cure and remedy. It must needs be so, for God 
by the one will advance the other, that where sin aboundeth, grace 


might much more abound, Kom. v. 26 ; that is, rather in our sense 
and feeling than in our practice ; so that one wounded for sin will 
more earnestly look after a cure. Others may dispute for the gospel, 
but they feel not the comfort of it. Well, then, I have proved to you 
that every man is in a lost condition, sensible or insensible of it, and 
that we ought to have a deep sense of this upon our hearts, to count 
ourselves lost and undone, that we may be more prepared and fitted to 
entertain the offers and calls of the gospel, and prize our Kedeemer s 

II. In what sense Christ is said to seek and save such. Here is a 
double work seeking and saving. 

1. What is his seeking ? It implieth 

[1.] His pity to us in our lost estate, and providing means for us, in 
that he doth not leave us to our wanderings, or our own heart s counsels, 
but taketh care that we be brought back again to God: John x. 16, 
Other sheep have I, which are not of this fold ; them also I must 
bring, and they shall hear my voice. It is spoken of his care to bring 
in his own among the gentiles ; he will in due time convert and bring 
in all that belong to the election of grace. Christ hath not only a 
care of those that are already brought in, but of those who are yet to 
be brought in ; they are his sheep, though yet unconverted, in respect 
of his eternal purpose ; and his heart is upon them, when they little 
think of him, and his love to them. So the Lord Jesus appeared in 
the vision to Paul : Acts xviii. 10, Fear not, I am with thee, and no 
man shall set on thee to hurt thee ; for I have much people in this city. 
He doth not say, There are much people, Corinth was a populous city, 
and it is good casting out the net where there are store of fish ; but, / 
have much people. It is not meant of those Corinthians that were 
already converted to God, for at that time there were few or none, for 
all those at Corinth that were converted were converted by Paul : 1 
Cor. iv. 15, Though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet 
have ye not many fathers ; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you 
through the gospel. Or if some few were already converted, Paul was 
not afraid of them. But there are much people, viz., who were elected 
by God, redeemed by Christ, though yet wallowing in their sins ; such 
as these he findeth out in their wanderings. 

[2.] His seeking implieth his diligence and pains to reduce them : 
Luke xv. 4, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose 
one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and 
seeketh after that which was lost till he find it? It requireth time 
and pains to find them, and gain their consent. A lost soul is not so 
easily recovered and reduced from his straying ; there is many a warn 
ing slighted, many a conviction smothered, and tenders of grace made 
in vain, till they are taken in their month : Isa. Ixv. 2, I have spread 
out my hands all the day long unto a rebellious people, as requiring 

I evidence this two ways 

(1.) Christ is said to seek after us by his word and Spirit. 

(1st.) By his word, he cometh as a teacher from heaven, to recall 
sinners from their wanderings. At first he came in person : I am not 
come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, Mat. ix. 13. 


Besides his giving repentance as prince and lord of the renewed estate, 
or dispenser of the grace of the gospel, there is his calling to repent 
ance ; and Christ was very painful in it, going up and down, and seek 
ing all occasions to bring home poor creatures to God. Thus he was 
now calling home to God Zaccheus, a publican ; so the woman of 
Samaria, when he was faint and hungry, John iv. 34, he telleth her 
his meat was to do the will of him that sent him, and to finish his work/ 
To seek and save lost souls was meat and drink to Christ. So still 
he doth send ministers, giving them gifts, and inspiring them with a 
zeal for God s glory and compassion over souls, that with all meekness 
they may instruct those that oppose themselves, if peradventure God 
will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, &c., 2 
Tim. ii. 25, 26. Now these are to be instant in season and out of 
season, 2 Tim. iv. 2 ; as the woman lighted a candle to seek her lost 
groat, Luke xv. 8. So Christ causeth the candlestick of the church 
to be furnished with burning and shining lights, men of prudence, zeal, 
and holiness, and compassion over souls, that he may at length gain on 
a people. And indeed Christ never lights a candle but he hath some 
lost groat to seek. 

(2d.) By his Spirit striving against and overcoming the obstinacy 
and contradiction of our souls. By his call in the word he inviteth us 
to holiness, but by his powerful grace he inclineth us. Man is averse 
from God ; he resists not only external offers, but internal motions, till 
by his invincible grace he changeth our hearts, and so in the day of his 
power we become a willing people : Ps. ex. 3, Thy people are willing 
in the day of thy power. It is the good shepherd that bringeth home 
the sheep upon his own shoulders rejoicing, Luke xv. 5. 

(2.) This seeking is absolutely necessary ; if he did not seek them, 
they would never seek him. It is our great duty to seek after God ; 
the scripture calleth for it everywhere : Isa. Iv. 6, Seek ye the Lord 
while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. By the 
motions of his Spirit he urgeth us thereunto : Ps. xxvii. 8, When thou 
saidst, Seek ye my face. The course of his providence inviteth us ; both 
afflictions : Hosea v. 15, In their afflictions they will seek me early ; 
and mercies : Acts xvii. 27, 28, That they should seek the Lord, if 
haply they might feel after him and find him, though he be not far 
from every one of us : for in him we live and move, and have our being/ 
And his people are described to be a generation of them that seek him, 
Ps. xxiv. 6. Yet if Christ had not by his preventing grace sought us, 
we could never seek after him : Isa. Ixv. 1, I am found of them that 
sought me not. I prevented their seeking of me, by sending and seek 
ing after mine own first. Christ beginneth with us first : 1 John iv. 19, 
We love him, because he first loved us. He chooseth us before we 
choose him : John xv. 16, Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen 
you/ He seeketh us first before we seek him ; for we are fugitives and 
exiles, our hearts are averse from God, and there is a legal exclusion in 
the way. Sweetly Bernard to this purpose, Nemo te qucerere potest, 
nisi qui prius invenerit ; vis inveniri ut quceraris, quceri ut inveniaris ; 
potes quidem inveniri, non tamen prceveniri. God will be sought 
that he may be found, and found that he may be sought. We cannot 
seek him till we find him ; we may return to him, but we cannot 


prevent him ; for he pitied our misery, and sought us, when we had 
neither mind nor heart to seek him. 

2. To save them. Two ways is Christ a saviour merito et 
efficacia, by merit and by power. We are sometimes said to be 
saved by his death, and sometimes to be saved by his life : Eom. v. 10, 
If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of 
his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 
There is the merit of his humiliation, and the efficacy and power of his 
exaltation. He procureth salvation for us by his meritorious satisfac 
tion, and then applieth it to us by his effectual and invincible power. 

Here I shall do two things (1.) I shall show why it is so ; (2.) I 
shall prove that this was Christ s great end and business. 

First, Why it is so. 

1. With respect to the parties concerned. In saving lost crea 
tures, Christ hath to do with three parties God, man, and Satan. 

[1.] With God. God s wrath was to be pacified by the blood of his 
cross : Col. i. 20, Having made peace through the blood of his cross, 
by him to reconcile all things to himself. His blood was to be shed 
on earth, and represented and pleaded in heaven. Now thus he came 
to save us, that is, to die for us, and give his life a ransom for many 
here upon earth : Mat. xx. 28, x The Son of man is come not to be 
ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for 
many. In heaven it is represented: Heb. ix. 24, For Christ is not 
entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of 
the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God 
for us. 

[2.] The next party is man, who is to be saved, who is guilty and 
unholy. His guilt is removed by Christ s substituting himself in man s 
stead, and bearing his sins. But man by a foolish obstinacy is apt to 
turn the back upon his own mercies, so that there needeth the efficacy 
of the Spirit of Christ to gain his consent, as well as the merit and 
mediatorial sacrifice of Christ to reconcile him to God. We are so 
prepossessed with a false happiness, and biassed by sinful inclinations, 
so indisposed for the waiting for and receiving of the offered mercy in 
that humble and submissive way wherein God will dispense it, that 
unless Christ save us by a strong hand we are not likely to be the 
better for the tender of the gospel to us : John vi. 44, No man can 
come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him ; and 
ver. 65, No man can come to me, except it were given him of my 
Father ; and John v. 40, Ye will not come unto me that you might have 
life. So that as we are deservedly cut off by the law, so also we are 
become morally impotent, and averse to the undeserved, free, and 
gracious tenders of the gospel ; and having wilfully pulled upon our 
selves just misery, we do obstinately reject free niercy tendered to us 
upon the terms of the gospel. We are lost before, unless Christ satisfy 
the old covenant, and we are lost again, unless he qualify us for the 
privileges of the gospel. And as the gospel transcends the law, so our 
disobedience to the gospel doth so far exceed in evil our disobedience 
to the law ; so that We are doubly lost, utterly lost, unless Christ help 

[3.] With Satan, who is a tempter and an accuser ; as an accuser 


not a whisperer, but KaTfaopos, accuser ; Kev. xii. 10, For the 
accuser of the brethren is cast down, which accused them before God 
day and night. And avriSiKcx; an adversary ; 1 Peter v. 8, Because 
your adversary the devil, like a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking 
whom he may devour. As a tempter, by the baits of the world he 
doth solicit and entice our flesh to a rebellion against God; his 
assaults are daily and assiduous, and the baits presented are pleasing 
to our flesh. So that to begin an interest for God, or to keep it alive, 
and maintain it in ourselves, the divine power is necessary. As to 
begin it : Col. i. 13, Who hath delivered us from the power of dark 
ness, and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son ; Luke xi. 21, 
22, When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in 
peace ; but when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and over 
come him, he taketh from him all his armour, wherein he trusted, and 
divideth the spoil. So to maintain and keep it still alive : 1 Peter i. 5, 
Who are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation ; 
1 John iv. 4, Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them, 
because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. 
Nothing else, nothing less, can do it than the power of Christ. 

2. With respect to the parts of salvation. There is redemption and 
conversion, the one by way of impetration, the other by way of appli 
cation. It is not enough that we are redeemed, that is done without 
us upon the cross ; but we must also be converted, that is real redemp 
tion applied to us. We must again recover God s favour and image ; 
his image was first lost, and then his favour : so is our recovery ; first 
we recover his image : Titus iii. 5, He hath saved us by the washing 
of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost ; that is, put us 
into the way of salvation. Sanctification is spoken of as a principal 
branch of our salvation : Mat. i. 21, Thou shalt call his name Jesus, 
for he shall save his people from their sins ; he hath his name and 
office for that use. And then, recovering the image of God, we also 
recover his favour, are adopted into his family, are justified and freed 
from the guilt of sin : Eph. ii. 8, By grace ye are saved, through faith, 
and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. 

3. With respect to eternal salvation, which is the result of all, that 
is to say, it is the effect of Christ s merit and of our regeneration ; for 
in regeneration that life is begun in us which is perfected in heaven. 
With respect to our justification, for thereby the sentence of death is 
taken off, and he that is justified shall not come into condemnation, 
but is passed from death to life, John v. 24. Yea, our sanctification is 
acted in obedience performed upon the encouragements and hopes of 
gospel grace, before we are capable of eternal happiness ; for the apostle 
telleth us, Heb. v. 9, that Christ is become the author of eternal salva 
tion to them that obey him/ He bringeth us at length to live in those 
eternal mansions which he hath prepared for us. This is the salvation, 
from whence Christ is chiefly denominated our Saviour, and that which 
we are to endeavour and look after throughout our whole life. 



For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost 

LUKE xix. 10. 

SECONDLY, I am to prove that this was Christ s great end and business. 

1. It is certain that Christ was sent to man in a lapsed and fallen 
estate, not to preserve us as innocent, but to recover us as fallen. The 
good angels are preserved and confirmed in their first estate, they are 
kept from perishing and being lost. And so would Adam have been 
saved, if God had kept him still in a state of innocency ; but our salva 
tion is a recovery and restoration, being lost and undone by the fall : 
Horn. iii. 23, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God ; 
that is, lost the perfection of our nature and the consequent privileges. 

2. Out of this misery man is unable to deliver and recover himself. 
Not able to reconcile or propitiate God to himself, by giving a suffi 
cient ransom to provoked justice : Ps. xlix. 8, For the redemption of 
the soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever ; that is, if it should lie 
upon our hands. And man cannot change his own heart : Who can 
bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? Not one, Job xiv. 4. There 
is no sound part left in us to mend the rest, this is a work for the 
spiritual physician. We have need of a saviour to help us to repent 
ance, as well as to help us to pardon. 

3. We being utterly unable, God, in pity to us, that the creation of 
man for his glory might not be frustrated, hath sent us Christ. First, 
he was from the love of God predestinated to this end from all eternity, 
to remedy our lapsed estate : John iii. 16, * God so loved the world, that 
he sent his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not 
perish, but have everlasting life/ He was from all eternity appointed 
by the Father to save sinners. Secondly, he was spoken of and pro 
mised for this end in paradise, presently after the fall : Gen. iii. 15, The 
seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent s head. Thirdly, he was 
shadowed forth in the sacrifices and the other figures of the law ; 
therefore said to be the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, 
Eev. xiii. 8. Fourthly, he was prophesied of by the prophets, as one 
that should make his soul an offering for sin, Isa. liii. 10 ; as the 
anointed one that should be cut off, not for himself, but to make an end 
of sins, and make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting 
righteousness, Dan. ix. 27-29. Fifthly, he was waited for by all the 
faithful, before his coming, as the consolation of Israel : Luke ii. 25, 
And behold there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, 
and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of 
Israel; John viii. 56, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, 
and he saw it, and was glad ; 1 Peter i. 10, Of which salvation the 
prophets have inquired, and searched diligently, who prophesied of the 
grace that should come unto you. Sixthly, in the fulness of time the 
Son of man came, not at first to judge or sentence any, but to save the 
lost world : Luke ix. 56, For the Son of man is not come to destroy 
men s lives, but to save them ; John iii. 17, God sent not his Son into 
the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might 


be saved. The errand of his first coming was to offer salvation to the 
lost world, and not only to offer it, but to purchase it for them : John 
xii. 47, I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. All 
these places show that at his first coming he laid aside the quality of 
a judge, and took the office of a saviour and a mediator ; as a prophet, 
to reveal the way of salvation ; as a priest, to procure it for us by the 
merit of his sacrifice ; as a king, powerfully to bring us to the enjoy 
ment of it. He did not come down to punish the ungodly world ; as 
Gen. xviii. 21, I will go down now and see whether they have done 
altogether according to the cry of it which is come up unto me ; and 
so to put an end to transgression. But he would come with an offer of 
peace and salvation, and during this whole dispensation leaves room 
for faith and repentance. Seventhly, when he was upon earth, you 
find him conversing with sinners, as the physician with the sick, to heal 
their souls ; and when the pharisees excepted against this familiarity, 
as if it were against decency that so great a prophet should converse 
with the poorest and worst, he showeth it was needful for their cure. 
When they objected, Luke xv. 2, This man receiveth sinners, and 
eateth with them, he defendeth himself by the parable of the lost sheep, 
and lost groat, and lost son. So here, when they murmur at him 
for being Zaccheus guest, he pleadeth his commission and great errand 
into the world. So when a woman that was a sinner washed his feet with 
her tears, he preferreth her before Simon a pharisee, Luke vii. 44-47. 
He pleadeth his being a physician of souls when he sat at meat with 
Matthew a publican, Mat. ix. 12. So those that would have the adul 
teress stoned, he said to them, John viii. 7, He that is without sin 
among you, let him cast the first stone at her. He spake many par 
ables against those that were conceited of their righteousness and de 
spised sinners, Luke xviii. 9 ; the parable of the two sons, Mat. xxi. 
28-31. Now all these show that his great work was to bring lost sinners 
to repentance, that they might be saved. Eighthly, after he had offered 
himself through the eternal Spirit, that he might purge our consciences 
from dead works, he went to heaven, and sat down at the right hand 
of God, that he might powerfully apply his salvation. Therefore it is 
said, 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. So that still he is upon the saving dispensation till he come to 
judgment ; then all are in termino, in their final estate, where they 
shall remain for ever. Ninthly, the ministry and gospel was appointed 
to give notice of this : 1 John iv. 14, And we have seen, and do tes 
tify, that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Well, 
then, if Christ had not been willing to save us, he would never have 
laid down his life to open a way for our salvation, nor would he have 
sent his ambassadors to pray and beseech us to accept of his help. 

Use 1. Information. 

1. How contrary to the temper of Christ they are who are careless 
of souls. We should learn of Christ to be diligent and industrious, to 
reduce the meanest person upon earth that is in a course of any danger 
of ruin to the soul. Surely this care of seeking and searching out and 
reducing sinners to repentance should be imitated of all. These words 
are spoken by Christ upon another occasion, why his little ones should 


not be despised : Mat. xviii. 11, For the Son of man is come to save 
that which was lost. He came to redeem the meanest believer. Now 
his little ones are despised by laying stumbling-blocks in their way, or 
neglecting the means by which they may be reduced to God, as if their 
souls were not worth the looking after. Hath the minister no poor 
ignorant creature to instruct ? or the father of the family no children 
or servants to bring home to God ? Or the good Christian no brothers, 
nor sisters, nor neighbours, who walk in a soul-destroying course ? How 
can we think ourselves to belong to Christ when we are so unlike him ? 
Oh ! seek and save that which is lost; do what you can to pluck them out 
of the fire ; they are lost and undone for ever if they continue in their 
carnal and flesh-pleasing course. Be they never so mean, you must 
seek to save them, for you must not have the faith of our Lord Jesus 
Christ in respect of persons. 

2. How much they obstruct the end of Christ s coming who hinder 
the salvation of lost souls, either by depriving them of the means of 
grace, as the pharisees, who would neither enter into the kingdom of 
God themselves, nor suffer them that were entering to go in/ Mat. xxiii. 
13 ; but seek all means to divert them ; or else by clogging his grace 
with unnecessary conditions or preparations, and so shut up the way 
to the city of refuge, which was to be smoothed or made plain, Deut. 
xix. 2, 3, that nothing might hinder him that fled thither, no stop, nor 
stumbling-block, no hill, nor dale, nor river without convenient passage. 
It is enough they are sensible that they are lost creatures. And it is 
not the deepness of the wound is to be regarded, but the soundness of 
the cure : they have a sense of sin and misery, Christ seeketh such to 
save and cure. Some exclude all conditions and means ; he must look 
to nothing in himself to make out his claim, but only to Christ s blood 
shed for the expiation of his sins. Alas ! Christ came to seek and to 
save that which was lost, not only as a priest, but as a prophet and as 
a king ; not only to die for sins, but to call us to repentance, and to 
work it in us by his Spirit. He findeth us lost sinners, but he doth 
not leave us so. And conversion is a part of his salvation, as well as 
redemption. He saveth us by renewing God s image in us, as well as 
procuring his favour for us. To be saved from our sins is salvation, 
Mat. i. 21 ; to be regenerated is salvation, as well as to be reconciled 
to God ; and so the scripture speaketh of it. 

3. It informeth us that, if men be not saved, the fault is their own, 
for Christ doth what belongeth to him ; he came to seek and to save 
what is lost ; but we do not what belongeth to us, we are not willing 
to be saved. The scripture chargeth it upon our will, we will not 
submit to his saving and healing methods : Mat. xxiii. 37, I would 
have gathered thee as an hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, 
but ye would not. Christ would, but we will not. So John v. 40, Ye 
will not come to me, that you might have life. You complain of want 
of power, when ye are not willing to leave your sins. You say, I cannot 
save myself, when thou art not willing that Christ should save thee ; 
thou wilt not receive the grace and help offered to thee. Possibly thou 
wouldst be freed from the flames of hell, but thou wouldst not leave 
thy sins. There is no man perisheth in his sins, but because he would 
not be saved. Is not Christ able to help thee ? Yes ; the doubt lieth 



not there. Is he not willing to help thee ? Say it if thou canst. Why 
did he die for thee ? Why did he send means to offer his help ? Why 
did he bear with thee so long, and warn thee so often of thy danger, 
when thou thoughtest not of it? If he were not willing to help thee 
out of thy misery, why doth he so often tender thee his saving grace ? 
Surely the defect is in thy will, not in Christ s ; thou art in love with 
the sensual pleasures of sin, loath to exchange them for the salvation 
Christ offereth. Christ inviteth thee, and thy excuse is, I cannot ; 
when the truth is thou wilt not come to him. The business is not 
whether thou canst save thyself, but whether thou art willing Christ 
should save thee ? Christ is not unwilling to do that which he seeketh 
after with so much diligence and care. Say not then in thy heart, I 
know Christ can save me if he will. Why, he is as willing as able to 
save thee ; but he will not save thee by force, against thy will, or with 
out or besides thy consent. Certainly none perish in their sins but 
because they would not be saved ; they refuse the help which God 
offereth, and will not improve the power which he hath given. They 
refuse his help : I would have purged thee, but thou wouldst not be 
purged, Ezek. xxiv. 13. They do not use the power they have, for there 
is no wicked man but might do more than he doth. They are slothful 
servants that hide their talents in a napkin, Mat. xxv. 26. They put 
off the word, quench their convictions, will not bestir themselves, nor 
hearken to Christ s offers. If others had these helps, they would have 
repented long ago: Mat. xi. 21, 22, Woe unto thee, Chorazin ! woe 
unto thee, Bethsaida ! for if the mighty works which are done in you 
had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago 
in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable 
for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 

Use 2. To press you to accept of this grace, and deal with Christ as 
a saviour. This title is not a title of terror and dread, but of life and 
comfort. Oh ! submit then to his healing methods, and suffer Christ 
to save you in his own way. 

Arguments to press you to accept of this grace. 

1. Consider the misery of a lost condition. We were all lost in 
Adam, and can only be recovered by Christ ; we fell from God by his 
first transgression, and so were estranged from the womb, and went 
astray as soon as we were born : Ps. Iviii. 3, The wicked are estranged 
from the womb ; they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. 
And every sin that we commit is a farther loss of ourselves, for every 
wicked man doth more undo himself, and plunge himself into farther 
perdition ; for our sins make a greater distance between God and us : 
Isa. lix. 2, Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, 
and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. And 
what will be the issue but the wrath of God, and miseries in this life, 
together with the everlasting torments of the damned in hell ? These 
are the due effects and punishment of sin : Horn. ii. 9, Tribulation 
and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, 
and also of the Gentiles/ Now this must be thought on seriously by 
every one that will believe in Christ ; he came to recover us out of these 
losses. Many have been recovered, and many shall be so ; but then 
you must submit to him, otherwise the wrath of God abideth on you : 


John iii. 36, He that belie veth not the Son shall not see life, but the 
wrath of God abideth on him. 

2. Think of the excellency and reality of salvation by 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. It is worthy to be 
credited, worthy to be embraced. There is in us a defect in point of 
assent, and also in point of acceptance ; if we were persuaded of the 
truth and worth of this salvation, we would not slight it and neglect 
it as we do ; it allay eth our fears, and satisfieth our desires. Oh ! then, 
let us receive it with a firm assent, and with our dearest and choicest 
affections. It is vile ingratitude that we are no more affected with it. 
If it were a dream, or a doctrine not suited to our soul-necessities, then 
our carelessness might be the better excused. Usually we talk of it 
like men in jest, or hear it like stale news. Surely we do not regard 
it as lost and undone creatures should do, that have this only remedy 
to free us from eternal misery, or bring us to eternal happiness, nor 
with that hearty welcome which so necessary and important a truth 
doth require. 

3. You have the means ; you have the offer made to you : Isa. xxviL 
13, And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet 
shall be blown, and they shall come which are ready to perish in the 
land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and they shall 
worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem. Some apply this 
to Cyrus s proclamation for the return of God s own people from their 
captivity into their own country to worship God. The ten tribes had 
been carried captive into the land of Assyria, many had fled into 
Egypt, but the ten tribes returned not on Cyrus s proclamation. How 
ever it hath a spiritual meaning and use. Others make it an allusion 
to the year of jubilee, and the trumpet which then sounded, wherein 
men were set free, and returned each one to his inheritance and pos 
session again, Lev. xxv. 9, 10 ; a type of the evangelical trumpet 
under the Messiah, whereby God s elect are called out of their spiritual 
thraldom under sin and Satan, to inherit a share in the kingdom of 
grace : Isa. Ixi. 1, 2, The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because 
the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek : he 
hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the 
captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound ; to 
proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of 
our God, to comfort all that mourn. Time was when Christ was sent 
only to the lost sheep of Israel : Mat. xv. 24, I am not sent but to the 
lost sheep of the house of Israel ; but now to people of all lands 
and countries : Kev. v. 9, Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us 
to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, 
and nation. 

4. If you continue in your impenitency and unbelief, it is a shrewd 
presumption that you are lost, not only in the sentence of God s law, 
but in the purpose of his decree : 2 Cor. iv. 3, For if our gospel be 
hid, it is hid to them that are lost ; that is, passed by, as those to 
whom the gospel will do no good. Certainly such as refuse the gospel 
are in an actual state of perdition, lost, undone, destroyed. We speak 
upon supposition, if they continue so, they are castaways. It is not an 


immediate absolute prediction. We cannot give out copies of God s 
decrees, or seal them up to final perdition ; but we can reason from 
the rules of the gospel : Mark xvi. 16, He that believeth not shall be 
damned. It is not a peremptory sentence ; but we must warn you of 
your danger, though we do not pronounce God s doom that you are 
reprobates ; that may come afterwards. 

But what must we do ? 

Directions. 1. Do not resist or refuse Christ s help, but when the 
waters are stirred, put in for cure. As we are to wait upon God 
diligently in the use of means for the saving of our souls, so we are to 
entertain and improve the offers, and to give serious regard to the 
friendly convictions and motions of the Spirit of God, not smothering 
or quenching them, lest our last estate be worse than the first. No 
water so soon freezeth in cold weather as that which hath been once 
heated ; no iron so hard as that which hath been oft heated and oft 
quenched ; therefore set in with such strivings of the Spirit. Christ 
hath sought thee out, and found thee in these preparative convictions, 
-and now he cometh to save thee ; having made thee sensible of thy 
wound, let him go on with the cure, If we refuse his help, or delay it, 
as Felix, Acts xxiv. 25, When I have a more convenient season I will 
send for thee, we lose this advantage. Therefore when Christ 
knocketh, open to him ; when he draweth, run after him ; when the 
wind blows, put forth the sails. One time or another God meeteth 
with every man that liveth under the gospel, so that his heart saith, I 
must be another man, or I shall be undone and lost for ever ; then 
Christ cometh to seek after thee and save thee in particular. Oh ! 
give way and welcome to his saving and healing work ; if you resist 
this grace by obstinacy and hardness of heart, or elude the importunity 
of it by neglect and delay, you lose an advantage which will not be 
easily had again, and so put away your own mercy. 

2. Seek an effectual cure ; seek not only to be saved from wrath, but 
to be saved from sin. He doth not only procure it for us by his merit, 
but worketh it in us by his Spirit, and giveth a penitent heart, as well 
as absolution from sin. Man s misery consists of two parts sin and 
condemnation for sin ; man s salvation therefore must have two parts 
opposite to these evils sanctification, which is salvation from sin, and 
pardon of sin and justification, whereby a man is delivered from guilt 
And condemnation. These two are inseparable ; we must have both or 
none : 1 Cor. i. 30, But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is 
made unto us wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification, and redemp 
tion ; 1 Cor. vi. 11, ; Such were some of you ; but ye are washed, but 
ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
and by the Spirit of our God. Man s justification is not the cause of 
his sanctification, nor his sanctification the cause of his justification, 
but Christ is the cause of both ; but yet he is first sanctified, then 
justified. First we recover his image, then his favour, then his fellow 
ship. Now you must look after both these, not to be eased of the fear 
of hell only, but to be fitted for God. The penitent heart seeketh both : 
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. He were a 
foolish man that, having his leg broken, should only seek to be eased 


of the smart, and not to have his leg set right again. Sin is the mire 
that carnal persons stick in, and are unwilling to be drawn out of it. 
Therefore you are rightly affected when you seek not the one only, but 
the other also ; to have sin subdued as well as pardoned. 

3. Being justified and sanctified, you must live to the glory of God. 
For you were not only lost to yourselves, but to God ; and you must be 
recovered not to yourselves only, but to God also. You are redeemed 
to God : Thou hast redeemed us to God ; Rev. v. 9 ; and this redemp 
tion is applied to you : Heb. ix. 14, How much more shall the blood 
of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot 
to God, purge your consciences from dead works, to serve the living 
God. You are mortified to the law : Gal. ii. 19, I through the law 
am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. You are married to 
Christ : Kom. vii. 4, That you should be married to another, even to 
him who is raised from the dead, that ye should bring forth fruit unto 
God. In short, as we are under the new covenant, we are obliged to 
live unto God; as we are justified and pardoned, we are encouraged to 
live unto God ; as we are sanctified, we have a principle of grace to 
incline us to live unto God ; and we shall have, besides this habitual 
principle, his Spirit to work in us what is pleasing in his sight. 

4. You must continue with patience in well-doing till you come to 
live with God. Till then Christ s salvation is not perfect; he hath not 
saved us to the uttermost ; nor is our recovery perfect ; we are not 
fully cleansed from all sin, nor do we serve God perfectly, nor enjoy full 
communion with him. Here Christ seeketh, and there he saveth us ; 
indeed here he puts us into the way of salvation, but then are we com 
pletely saved. A wicked man is gone out of the way, losing himself 
more and more ; but the regenerate person, though he be put into the 
way, yet he is not come to the end of the journey, and therefore now 
we are but expecting and waiting for the salvation of God. It is said, 
fleb. ix. 28, That unto them that look for him shall he appear the 
second time, without sin, unto salvation. Then he will reward all his 
faithful servants that look for him. Heretofore he came to purchase 
salvation, then to confer and bestow salvation. Then man shall be 
delivered from all sin, and all the sad and woful consequents of sin, 
and that for ever. Now this is that we look for and wait for, and that 
in the way of well-doing ; for when Christ hath sought us out and 
brought us home, we must wander no more. Well, then, being 
renewed and justified, we must wait for the time when we shall be rid 
and freed from sin and sorrow for ever. 

Use 3. Is to press us to thanksgiving that the Son of God should 
come from heaven to seek and save those that are lost, and us in par 
ticular. Thankfulness for redemption and salvation by Christ being 
the great duty of Christians, I shall a little enlarge upon it. 

1. Consider how sad was thy condition in thy lost estate. You were 
fallen from God, and become an enemy to him in thy mind by evil 
works : Col. i. 21, And you, that were sometimes alienated, and 
enemies in your minds by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled ; 
and were a wretched bondslave to Satan, led captive by him at his 
will : 2 Tim. ii. 26, And that they may recover themselves out of the 
snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. And thy 


work was to pursue vain pleasures, suitable to thy fleshly mind : Titus 
iii. 3, Serving divers lusts and pleasures; running with the rest of the 
wicked world into all manner of sin: Eph. ii. 2, Wherein in times 
past ye walked, according to the course of this world, according to the 
prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the 
children of disobedience. And all this while thou wert under a 
sentence of condemnation : John iii. 18, He that believeth not is 
condemned already. And there was nothing but the slender thread 
of a frail life between thee and execution, and the wrath of the eternal 
God ready ever and anon to break out upon thee: John iii. 36, He 
that believeth not the Son of God, shall not see life, but the wrath of 
God abideth on him. Surely we that were lost were not worth the 
looking after. Now, that God should, with so much ado, and so much 
care, seek to save such wretched creatures, oh! how should we be 
affected with the mercy ! Which of you, having a servant that ran 
away from you sound and healthy, but afterwards is become blind, 
deformed, and diseased, will seek after him, and cure him with costly 
medicines and much care, and bring him into the family, and receive 
him with so much tenderness, as if all this had not been ? And yet 
this, and much more, is the case between us and God. 

2. Consider how many thousands there are in the world whom God 
hath passed by, and left them in their impenitency and carnal security, 
under the bondage of sin and the vassalage of Satan ; and how few 
there are that shall be saved, in comparison of the multitude that shall 
be eternally destroyed ; and that God should call thee with an holy 
calling, and bring thee in, to be one of that little flock that is under 
that good shepherd s care ; and that when there is but, as it were, one of 
a family and two of a tribe, that thou shouldst be singled out from the 
rest, and chosen, when they are left. What mere grace, and astonish 
ing distinguishing mercy is this ! Who maketh thee to differ from 
another ? and what hast thou that thou hast not received ? 1 Cor. 
iv. 7. The Lord hath passed by thousands and ten thousands who, for 
deserts, were all as good, and, for outward respects, much better than 
us. We were as deep in original sin as they, and for actual sin, it may 
be, more foul and gross ; and for dignity in the world, many more rich, 
more honourable, more wise, are left in a state of sin to perish eter 
nally. And that thou shouldst be as a brand plucked out of the 
burning ; that God should reform thy crooked, perverse spirit, and 
pardon all thy sins, and lead thee in the way of righteousness unto 
eternal glory : how should thy heart and mouth be filled with the high 
praises of God ! and how should you say, Blessed be the Lord God of 
Israel, for he hath visited and redeemed my soul ! 

3. Consider what preventing grace God used towards you ; how he 
sought you out, when you sought not him, that he might save you. 
As this saving mercy was not deserved by you, so it was not so much 
as desired by you. The Lord pitied thee when thou hadst not an 
heart to pity thyself, and prevented thee with his goodness. It is good 
to observe the circumstances of our first awakening, or reducement 
from our wanderings. The apostle speaketh of the called Kara 
Trpodeaiv, according to his purpose, Horn. viii. 28. Not the purpose 
of them that are converted, but the purpose of God : For whom he 


did foreknow he also did predestinate, and whom he did predestinate, 
them he also called, ver. 30. Many come to a duty with careless 
and slight spirits, or by a mere chance ; as Paul s infidel : 1 Cor. xiv. 
24, 25, But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believe th not, 
or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all : and thus 
are the secrets of the heart made manifest ; and so falling down on his 
face, he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth/ 
Oh ! how many do thus stumble upon grace unawares, as not minding 
or desiring any such matter ! Yet God directeth a seasonable word, 
that pierceth into their very hearts. Sometimes when opposing and 
persecuting, as Paul, Acts ix. Many that come to scoff: I have 
seen his ways ; I will heal him, Isa, Ivii. 18. Some are leavened with 
prejudice, loath to come, drawn against their consent: John i. 46, 
Nathanael saith to Philip, Can any good come out of Nazareth? 
Philip saith unto him, Come and see ; yet there he met with Christ. 
Various circumstances there are which show Christ s vigilancy and 
care in seeking after lost souls. 

4. That he hath made the cure effectual, notwithstanding the reluc- 
tancies of our carnal hearts. We are all of us full of the wisdom of 
the flesh, and that is enmity to God : Rom. viii. 7, Because the carnal 
mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, 
neither indeed can be. Now, that our hearts should be quite changed, 
and have another bias and inclination put upon them, this is the Lord s 
doing, and it should be marvellous in our eyes : John iii. 6, That 
which is born of flesh is flesh, but that which is born of the Spirit is 
spirit. That we should be so quite altered as now to mind serious, 
spiritual, and heavenly things, surely nothing could do this but the 
almighty Spirit of Christ, or that efficacy which is proper to the 


Lord, tJwu Ttast been our divelling-place in all generations. Ps. xc. 1. 

IN a time of danger, we would all be glad if we could get a safe place 
of retreat or a secure habitation, where the evil might not come nigh 
us. The text will direct you to one, if you have an heart to make use 
of it. f 

This psalm was penned by Moses, the man of God, as the title 
showeth. Its reflection is mainly upon the state of those times wherein 
he lived, when the children of God wandered up and down in the 
wilderness, and were sorely afflicted by sundry plagues, and great mul 
titudes of them cut off by untimely death for their provocations. 

The psalm is said to be a Prayer of Moses. He beginneth his 
prayer with an acknowledgment of God s goodness and gracious pro 
tection. In the howling wilderness, and in all former ages, he had 
been their habitation ; and this giveth him confidence to ask and 
expect other things from God s hand. From hence we may learn to 
express faith in prayer before we express desire, and give God glory in 
believing before we lay forth our own wants. So doth Moses, the man 
of God : Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations. 

Dock That God is his people s habitation or dwelling-place. 

I shall deliver the sum of this point in these considerations 

First, The first shall be a general truth, that true and lively faith 
doth apprehend all things as present in God which it wanteth in the 
creature. When they wandered up and down in the wilderness, God 
was their habitation. As the life of sense is a flat contradiction to 
faith, so is the life of faith to the life of sense. Faith is supported by 
two things God s all-sufficiency and gracious covenant; the one 
showeth what may be, the other what shall be. As God hath a 
double knowledge, scientia simpticis intelligentice et visionis; by the 
former he knows all things that may be, in his own all-sufficiency ; 
by the latter he knows all things that shall be, in his own decree ; so 
faith sees all things made up in God. This can be, because God is 
able to bring it to pass ; this shall be, because God hath promised it. 
His promise is as good as performance ; therefore a believer, in the want 
of all things, doth not only make a shift to live, but groweth 
rich : 2 Cor. vi. 10, As poor, yet making many rich ; as having 
nothing, and yet possessing all things. Nothing in the view of sense, 
but all things in God that are good for him. As God was as a fixed 
habitation to them that were in the wilderness, so he promiseth, Ezek. 


xi. 16, Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and 
although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to 
them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come. 
A Christian that hath learned to live by faith above sense, he can never 
want anything ; he hath it in God ; and can see, not only pardon and 
righteousness forthcoming out of the covenant, but food and raiment, 
protection and maintenance, house and home, and all things, even 
then when they are most destitute. It is not only an act of love that 
God is instead of all these things, but an act of faith. As to love, 
1 Sam. i. 8, Am I not better to thee than ten sons ? God is not only 
better than all to a believer, but he is all. 

Secondly, God s people may be reduced to such exigencies that they 
may have no house nor habitation on this side God ; as now the 
people of God were in a wandering condition : 1 Peter i. 1, Peter 
directs his epistle, To the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, 
Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia ; strangers not only in 
affection, but condition. Exile and separation from their outward 
comforts and privileges may be the lot of the people that are dearest 
to the Lord of any on earth besides : Heb. xi. 37, They wandered 
about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tor 
mented ; ver. 38, They wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and 
in dens, and in caves of the earth. So 1 Cor. iv. 11, We both 
hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no cer 
tain dwelling-place. This God doth 

1. Partly to correct and humble them for the abuse of their mer 
cies and the dishonours done to him in their dwellings. God hath 
reserved in the covenant a liberty to correct his wanton children : Ps. 
Ixxxix. 30-33, If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my 
judgments, if they break my statutes, and keep not my command 
ments, then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their 
iniquity with stripes, &c. ; and by Moses law the rebellious son was 
to be put out of doors. This kind of correction God himself useth for 
great sins. Mark the emphatical phrases of scripture. Sometimes 
our dwellings are said to cast us out, Jer. ix. 19 ; sometimes he is 
said to sling out the inhabitants of the land out of their dwellings/ 
Jer. x. 18, as easily, readily, and irresistibly as a stone is cast out of a 
sling ; sometimes God is said to pluck us out : Ps. lii. 5, He shall 
take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling-place. We are 
apt to root there, and to dream of such a fixing as not to be moved. 
Sometimes to spew us out : Lev. xviii. 28, That the land spew not 
you out also when ye defile it, as it spewed out the nations that were 
before you. Surely it is a great offence which provoketh a loving 
father to turn a child out of doora God did not turn Adam out of 
paradise for eating an apple, as ignorant people talk. There is a long 
bill brought in by divines. Or if not for great sins, yet God thus 
punishes them, though in some more moderate way, for lesser sins ; 
as for their little sense of God s love, and merciful provision of so 
great a comfort as an habitation for them. Surely we should show 
more thankfulness when we enjoy the effects of God s bounty in this 
kind, that he should give us any repose, or place to rest in, not vouch 
safed to Christ : Mat. viii. 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. 
He had no certain place of residence, not so much as a fox s hole or 
a bird s nest. So, considering our condition, God s people are strangers, 
-and so must look to be ill-treated by the men of the world. Rdigio 
scit se peregrinam esse in terris Eeligion is a stranger in the 
earth : Kuth ii. 10, Why have I found grace in thy sight, that thou 
shouldst take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger ? a kind word 
was much. Now, that God should give us a resting-place in our pil 
grimage is a great mercy, and if we are not thankful for it, God may 
make us to wander. Or their little compassion to other exiled and 
shiftless ones provokes God that he thus corrects them, and maketh 
their abode more uncertain. Till we have felt misery ourselves we 
cannot pity others. Israel learned to pity strangers by being a 
stranger in the land of Egypt : Exod. xxiii. 9, Also thou shalt not 
oppress a stranger ; for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were 
strangers in the land of Egypt. Experience showeth us more than 
guess and imagination. 

2. For their trial ; to see how they will bear it for God s sake, and 
when God s will and pleasure is so ; as those in the Hebrews. God 
trieth the strength of our resignation : Mark x. 29, 30, 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, but he shall 
receive an hundredfold in this life, houses and brethren, &c. Not in 
kind, as Porphyry and Julian scoffed, but in value. The fortitude 
and courage of God s children is seen upon those occasions when they 
are shiftless and harbourless, or threatened by men to be cast forth of 
house and home : 1 Cor. iv. 13, We are made as the filth of the world, 
and are the off-scouring of all things to this day, nepityyfjui /cal 
TrepiKaddpfjiara, the sweeping of the city. The apostle saith, Heb. 
xiii. 13, Let us go forth unto him without the camp, bearing his 
reproach. The good Levites left their possessions : 2 Chron. xi. 
14, The Levites left their suburbs, and their possession, and came 
to Judah and Jerusalem ; for Jeroboam and his sons had cast 
them off from executing the priest s office unto the Lord. When 
we are thrust forth contemptibly, and rejected of the world, let us 
bear it with patience. Eudoxia threatened Chryspstom with banish 
ment; he replied, Nihil timeo nisi peccatum 1 fear nothing but 
sin. The earth is the Lord s, and the fulness thereof ; God is our 
habitation. An heathen could say, Ibi exilium, ubi virtuti non est 
locus There is banishment where there is no place for virtue ; where 
a man hath no service to do, and no opportunity to own or glorify 

3. Sometimes to show his sovereignty over us, and all our temporal 
interests and concernments. So by noisome diseases God sees fit to 
drive us for a while from our dwellings, and we are exposed to sad 
scatterings ; as in the case of the leper : Lev. xiii. 46, All the days 
wherein the plague shall be in him, he shall be defiled ; he is unclean, 
he shall dwell alone ; without the camp shall his habitation be. 

4. Sometimes to spread knowledge, to scatter the seeds of the word 
among those that are strangers to God. The good figs were put into 
the basket to be carried out of the country for food, Jer. xxiv. 5. The 


disciples that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the- 
word, Acts viii. 1. God scattereth his enemies as smoke is scattered 
by the wind, but he scattereth his people as corn is scattered by the 
hand of the sower : Micah v. 7, The remnant of Jacob shall be in 
the midst of many people, as dew from the Lord ; to refresh and make 
others fruitful towards God. So Zech. x. 9, I will sow them among 
the people, and they shall remember me in far countries. God would 
make their scattering to be a means to bring in the fulness of the 
Gentiles. Well, then, this may be, and often is, the condition of the 
people of God. 

Thirdly, In this appellation and title a metaphor is ascribed to God, 
and so there is implied, that whatever may be expected from an habi 
tation and dwelling-place, that may be and eminently is found in God. 
An house serveth for three uses (1.) For our defence and shelter from 
the storms ; (2.) It is the seat of our blessings, and the storehouse of 
our comforts ; (3.) It is the place of our rest and repose. Now all these 
a believer findeth in God ; protection, provision, and peace, and com 
fort ; yea, whatever a soul can wish for : therefore here a child of God 
may and must dwell. 

1. Here is defence, or the warm and comfortable protection of God 
Almighty. We have many enemies, spiritual and bodily ; we need a 
defence, and God alone is the only proper object for our trust for this 

[1.] Because he hath undertaken to keep us, and guard us from all 
evil. See Gen. xv. 1, Fear not, Abraham ; I am thy shield, and thy 
exceeding great reward ; Ps. Ixxxiv. 11, The Lord God is a sun and 
a shield. The removal of evil belongeth to his covenant, as well as the 
bestowing of all manner of blessings. The blessings of the covenant 
are privative and positive. His providence is mainly seen in our pil 
grimage in keeping off evils. Plures sunt gratice privativce There are 
more privative blessings here, in keeping from sin, temptation, and 
danger. In the world to come we know more of the positive blessings. 
See also that promise, Zech. ii. 5, I will be unto her a wall of fire 
round about/ Pray mark the promise, for every word is emphatical. 
It was spoken when the returning Jews were discouraged with the small 
number they had wherewith to people their country and man their 
towns against their enemies. Now, after a promise of future increase, 
God for the present telleth them that he would be to her a wall of fire 
round about. The words are so precious, it is a pity a syllable should 
be lost. There are two promises included in this one promise 

(1.) That God will be a wall. There is a distinct promise for that : 
Isa. xxvi. 1, *We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for 
walls and bulwarks round about her. So Ps. cxxv. 2, As the moun 
tains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people 
from henceforth even for ever. God will be instead of all guards. 

(2.) Then a wall of fire ; not of brass or of stone, but of fire. Qui 
comminus arceat et eminus terreat. They made fires about them to 
keep off the wild beasts. Here is enough for a refuge, and to stay our 
hearts on the Lord s keeping. Would God speak at this rate, and not 
be a shelter to us ? If we did make use of him, we should find the 
benefit. These promises show that we have leave to dwell in God as 


our fortress, and that we shall not be refused lodging, nor thrust out 
when we enter into him for that end and purpose. Yea, they give us 
confidence as well as leave that we shall have the benefits we expect, 
or a benefit every way as good or better. 

[2.] Because he alone will keep us, and every part of us, and all that 
belongeth to us ; our souls, our bodies, our names, and our estates. 

(1.) Our souls : Ps. cxxi. 7, The Lord shall preserve thee from all 
evil, he shall preserve thy soul. If a believer lose anything by 
trouble, he shall not lose what is most precious, he shall not lose his 
soul. In a fire, a man careth not so much though his lumber be burnt, 
if he can preserve his money and his jewels. Our soul is in more 
danger than the body, and needs more keeping. Our body is in danger 
of men, but our soul of spiritual and ghostly enemies. If God suspend 
the keeping of the soul, how soon doth man fall and lose himself I 
Now God preserveth the souls of the saints : Ps. xxii. 20, Deliver my 
soul from the sword, and my darling from the power of the dog. 

(2.) Our bodies are not left to the wills of men, but are under the 
special care and protection of God : Ps. xxxiv. 20, He keepeth all his 
bones, not one of them is broken. They are not left to the will of 
instruments in their trouble. In our Lord Christ was this promise 
fulfilled. Nay, the excrementitious parts are taken care of : Mat. x. 30, 
The very hairs of your head are all numbered. He hath a care, not 
only of the essential parts, body and soul, and of their integral parts, 
any joint or limb, but of their excrementitious parts, which are the 
least things about them, and serve for ornament rather than for use. 

(3.) So for all their concernments and estates : Job i. 10, Hast not 
thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all 
that he hath on every side ? Not only about him, but his children, 
servants, horses, oxen, asses ; Satan could not find a gap or breach 
whereby to enter and work him any annoyance. Such an invisible 
guard there is upon the saints. It is true there is a difference. God 
hath absolutely promised to save the souls of his people, but life and 
the comforts of it, so far as shall be expedient for his glory and our 
good ; upon which terms we must trust all in his hands. 

(4.) I had almost forgotten our name : Ps. xxxi. 20, Thou shalt 
keep them secretly, as in a pavilion, from the strife of tongues. Slander 
and detraction is an arrow that flieth in secret, and so we are often 
struck with a blow that smarteth not. Calumnies and false accusa 
tions are privily whispered to our wrong and prejudice. Now it is a 
comfort to remember that God hath the keeping of our credit as well 
as of other things. He will not only keep us from being smitten, from 
the fist of wickedness, but from the strife of tongues. 

[3.] Because he can shelter us from all sorts of enemies. All our 
enemies and dangers, they are all under God and at his disposal. There 
fore we are said, Ps. xci. 1, to dwell in the secret place of the Most 
High, and to abide under the shadow of the Almighty. God is most 
high and almighty, and the enemies of yoiir salvation are something 
under God, whether men or devils. Men are but poor instruments in 
God s hands. They can do no more than God pleaseth. When you 
are in their hands, they are in God s hands : Acts iv. 28, To do 
whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be 


done. Devils are not exempted from the dominion and government 
of his providence ; they can do nothing without leave, whether as 
enemies of your bodies or of your souls. Pests are thought to be an 
effect of his malice : Ps. xci. 3, He shall deliver thee from the snare 
of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. See Job s case 
chap. ii. 7, So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and 
smote Job with sore boils, from the sole of his foot unto his crown/ 
The devils are princes of the power of the air, but God is most high. 
They must have leave ; if the devil could not enter into the herd of 
swine without leave, surely he cannot afflict the bodies of men without 
leave. Oh ! could we dwell above in God, all the frightful things in 
the world would seem less to us. Though we are in the midst of a 
thousand dangers, what should we fear, that dwell above in the bosom 
of the almighty God ? Things the more remote, the less they seem, 
and the nearer they are, the greater. We that inhabit the earth judge 
the mountains that are before our eyes to be of an unmeasurable big 
ness, and the stars, that are distant from us, seem but little sparks and 
spangles ; but if we could ascend into heaven, then we should see those 
globes of light to be of an incredible bigness, and all our Alps and 
Pyrenees to be but like little spots. Those that converse above, that 
dwell in the secret place of the Most High, the difficulties and dangers 
of the world seem as nothing to them. They can despise this anthill 
of the world, as a poor little sandy heap, that is soon spurned into dust. 
But God s help seemeth greater, and therefore they are not troubled nor 
afraid. They can say, Kom. viii. 31, If God be for us, who can be 
against us ? Goliath frighted all the hosts of Israel, but David went 
forth against him in the name of the Lord : 1 Sam. xvii. 45, Thou 
comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield ; but I 
come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies 
of Israel, whom thou hast defied. David could despise the giant, as 
much as the giant despised David. Compare any of the children of 
this world with a servant of God, that dwelleth in the shadow of the 
Almighty, and what a difference will you find ! One dismayed with 
every danger, troubled with every petty loss ; why so ? Because he 
dwelleth in the earth, and converseth only with created things, and so 
small things seem great to him. But now take any of the servants of 
God, who live in God, as the martyrs ; they are not daunted with fires, 
swords, wheels, gibbets, beasts ; they are as a flea-biting. They are 
acquainted with things truly great ; nay, many of the evils we feel 
come from God himself, from his immediate hand ; as pestilence and 
famine. None are affected with these things more than a child of God, 
as they are tokens of his Father s displeasure. He is not stupid and 
foolhardy ; none hath such a tender sense of the events and effects of 
providence as he hath. He looketh upon them with an eye of nature 
and of grace, and seeth God in them ; yet none are less discomposed in 
such cases. They know none can withdraw himself from God, or lie 
hid from his eye, when he maketh inquisition for sinners. Quia tefugit, 
quo fugiet nisi a te irato, ad te pacatum f He that flies from thee, 
whither shall he fly, but from thee as angry to thee as appeased ? There 
is no way to avoid his justice but by flying to his mercy. Kings and 
potentates of the earth, their wrath may be escaped ; their eyes cannot 


see all, nor their hands reach all ; but none can hide themselves from 
him that filleth heaven and earth with his presence. There is no hiding 
from God but in God. 

[4.] Because of the manner of his defence and protection. It is 
everywhere expressed as a secret invisible thing, that cannot be seen 
with bodily eyes. So Job xxix. 4, The secret of the Lord was upon 
my tabernacle/ Meaning his gracious protection. So Ps. xxxi. 20, 
Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride 
of man ; thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife 
of tongues. So Ps. xci. 1, He that dwelleth in the secret place of 
the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. This 
keeping is not liable to the view of sense. A man is kept nobody 
knoweth how ; abroad, yet hidden in God. Natural men cannot 
discern the way of it. When to appearance they are laid in com 
mon with others, yet they are distinguished from others by the special 
care of God s providence, God s truth, power, grace, and goodness, 
whereon faith doth fix itself. It is a riddle and a mystery to the 
world, which carnal reason knoweth not to improve to any satisfaction 
and comfort. However it teacheth us to depend upon the providence 
of God, whether there be any appearance of the benefit we look for, 
yea or no. The name of the Lord is a strong tower, but it is an 
invisible tower, only found out by faith, and entered into by faith. 
Therefore he that would take up his dwelling-place in God must not 
govern himself by probabilities of sense, but by maxims of faith. 

2. An house is the seat of our blessings, and the place where we 
lay up our comforts ; and so God is our habitation, as we expect all 
our supplies and provisions from him. So the saints have God for 
their storehouse, and his all-sufficiency for their portion, out of which 
they fetch not only peace, and grace, and righteousness, but food and 
raiment : Ps. xxiii. 1, The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want ; 
Ps. xxxiv. 1, fear the Lord, ye his saints, for there is no want to 
them that fear him ; Ps. Ixxxiv. 11, For the Lord God 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. We must not 
prescribe at what rate we will be maintained, for that is to ask meat 
for our lusts, and to set providence a task which it will not comply 
withal. But that which is good for us he will not deny unto us. He 
that satisfieth the desire of every living thing cannot be unkind to his 
people: Ps. cxlv. 16, Thou openest thy hand, and satisfiest the 
desire of every living thing; compared with ver. 18, 19, The 
Lord is nigh unto all that call upon him, to all that call upon him in 
truth ; he will fulfil the desire of them that fear him ; he also will 
hear when they cry, and will save them. He that provideth not for 
his own is worse than an infidel ; and can unbelief paint out God as so 
negligent and careless ? Christ taxeth them as of little faith : Mat 
yi. 30, Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field, that to-day 
is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he clothe 
you, ye of little faith ? Shall we pretend to believe in God for 
eternal life, and not trust in him for daily bread ? 

3. The house is the place of our abode and rest ; so in God we have 
consolation, as well as protection and provision. It is blustering 



weather abroad, but in the bosom of God we may repose ourselves : 
John xvi. 33, These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye 
might have rest : in the world ye shall have tribulation ; but be of 
good cheer, I have overcome the world. As it is comfortable to be 
within, and hear the rattling of the storm on the tiles, so it is to have 
inward peace in outward trouble : 2 Cor. i. 5, As the sufferings of 
Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 
Abroad a Christian hath his labours and sorrows, but in God is his rest ; 
when he has recourse thither, he is at ease : 1 Sam. xxx. 6, David 
encouraged himself in the Lord his God. 

Well, then, we have the effect of a house in God ; in him we may 
dwell quietly, as in a secure, safe, and comfortable place, and need not 
fear any danger whatsoever. Thus much for the metaphorical reflec 
tion upon these words, which is the third consideration. 

4. I observe, this title hath a special respect to that particular 
mercy of a dwelling-place, and to God s providence in and about our 
habitations. And so it is of use to us (1.) When we want a dwelling- 
place ; or, (2.) When we have one. 

[1.] When we want a dwelling-place, or such an one as may be safe 
and commodious for us. A child of God should not be dismayed, 
nor altogether without hope, as if God could not provide a dwelling- 
place for him. Now, now is the time for God to show himself most 
eminently to be an habitation. Neither through ignorance and unbe 
lief should we conclude ourselves to be forgotten and forsaken of him. 
We are very apt to do so ; and it is a great temptation when we are 
shiftless and harbourless : Isa. xlix. 14, Zion said, The Lord hath 
forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me/ Therefore I shall lay 
down some considerations. 

(1.) Consider God s general providence. The apostle telleth us, 
that he hath determined concerning all men the times before 
appointed, and the bounds of their habitation, Acts xvii. 26 ; when 
and where men shall live. They do not flit up and down by chance, 
but by God s providence. They are not born by chance, nor do they 
die by chance, nor live here and there by chance ; some in this climate, 
some in that, in Europe, or Asia, or America. That one possesseth 
so much, another so little ; all is under God s guidance and direction. 
As God divided the land of Canaan by lot, which is a kind of appeal 
to God, Josh. xiv. 2, so the whole world is carved out by God s direction. 
He enlargeth and straiteneth nations and persons according to his own 
pleasure. The generality of men, indeed, are spilt upon the great 
common of the earth by a looser providence ; but there is a more 
especial care about his people. They are the salt of the earth, and 
the light of the world, Mat. v. 13, 14. God sprinkleth them, and 
scattereth them here and there, for use and service. They are his 
jewels ; a man is more careful of them than of ordinary and common 
utensils : and among them, as any are more useful, so they are more 
under his special care ; as the journeys of the apostles were guided by 
the Spirit, as well as their doctrine. The Spirit moved them, or the 
Spirit suffered them not : Acts xvii. 7, They essayed to go into 
Bithynia, but the Spirit suffered them not. Therefore certainly God 
taketh notice of their condition ; and in every place where they are 
scattered he will provide subsistence for them while he hath service 


and work for them to do, and will follow them in all the places of 
their dispersion with the testimonies of his love and respect : Ps. xcix. 
14, For the Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake 
his inheritance. Men often cast them off, as unworthy to be members 
of the church or any civil corporation, yet God will not cast them 
off. He may suffer them to be exercised and tried, but, because of 
his interest in them, he will take care of them. 

(2.) Consider his covenant and promise. God offereth to be his 
people s dwelling-place, and they choose him and use him as such. 
The covenant is both expressive of God s grace and our duty, what 
God is, and what the saints should make him to be, how they should 
use him and employ him. God undertaketh to be our habitation, 
and we accordingly must address ourselves to him for this benefit. 
See Ps. xci. 1, He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High 
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. The qualification 
and the privilege are both expressed there, almost in the same terms, 
implying that if we will take God to be to us what he offereth to be, 
and what he hath promised to be, we shall find him actually and 
indeed to be so when need shall require it, and we make use of him 
for that end. Therefore why should a believer doubt of safety, comfort, 
and rest ? It is not any other privilege that is promised, viz., that he 
that dwelleth in God shall have more grace, or heaven at last. No ; 
but he shall dwell in God. Nor is it any other qualification that is 
required, whether love, or fear, or exact obedience, but he that 
dwelleth in God. Now when this duty and this privilege are suited, 
use God as an habitation, and he becometh so. As delight is rewarded 
with delight : Isa. Iviii. 13, 14, If thou turn away thy foot from the 
sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and call the sabbath 
a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable, &c., then shalt thou 
delight thyself in the Lord ; and courage or strength of heart is 
rewarded with strength of heart : Ps. xxvii. 14, Wait on the Lord, 
be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thy heart ; Ps. xxxi. 
24, Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye 
that hope in the Lord ; so dwelling in God is rewarded with dwelling 
in God ; for God loveth to make good the undertaking of faith, and 
will every way answer his people s expectation. Surely this should 
encourage us that our privilege and our duty are so near of kin, and 
that God promiseth much and requireth little, only that we should 
own him by faith to be what he is, and what he hath promised to be. 
Dwell in God, and you shall dwell in God; in all dangers and 
distresses you shall have a safe and comfortable lodging in him. Our 
dangers that compass us about are great, and every day grow more 
and greater, and therefore will easily invite us to seek a safe refuge. 
God Almighty only requireth that he may be this refuge ; trust him, 
and you shall have all that trust can expect from him. Among men, 
protection costs dear ; every private man, that he may be protected by 
the government he liveth under, is willing to support it with a good 
part of his estate. God, that protects our soul and body, desireth 
only that he may be trusted with the keeping of both ; and then he 
will be to us whatsoever faith will have him to be. Use God as your 
habitation, and he becometh so. 

(3.) Consider the constant experience of the saints ; in the text, Thou 


hast been our dwelling-place in all generations. He hath been so to his 
people living in every place and in every age. When their fathers were 
travellers in a strange country, God wa.s a dwelling-place to them ; to 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, when they were in Egypt, when in Gerar, 
and when in Padan-aram. By one means or other they were still 
driven up and down in the world ; sometimes by special command, some 
times by some judgment, as by famine ; but still God provided a place 
of shelter for them. So for themselves, in all their troubles and travels ; 
in Egypt there was a Goshen provided for them there ; in the wilder 
ness they had tents, and quails, and manna, that fell round about them ; 
God kept a market for them in the wilderness, and sent in provisions 
from heaven. Now they gather confidence in their remaining troubles, 
and that God s people cannot be houseless and harbourless : Exod. 
xxxiii. 14, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. 
Under his defence they dwell safe and sound in the wilderness. The 
Shekinah, or God s majestic presence, went along with them, though 
they had not an opportunity to build an house ; therefore God supposed 
they would not forget this, even when they had built to themselves 
goodly houses, Deut. viii. 12-16. Now God once gracious is ever 
gracious, for God is always like himself. If he was so to former saints, 
or his people living in former ages, he will ever be so ; we may lay 
claim to the same privileges, the same mediator, the same covenant, 
the same terms of grace. The Lord s kindness to his people is alike 
in all ages. 

[2.] It is of use to us when we have an house ; God is still to be 
owned as our habitation. A Christian should always make use of God, 
and look beyond the creature, whatever his condition be. There are 
two notions of a refuge and of an habitation : Ps. xci. 9, Because 
thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy 
habitation. A refuge is the place of our retreat in a time of danger ; 
an habitation is the place of our residence in a time of peace. Most 
men make use of God in their straits and the time of adversity, when 
they are beaten to him, and have no other place of retreat God is 
their refuge, but he is not their habitation. They are frightened into 
a little religiousness when they are in trouble, and their life and tem 
poral comforts are in hazard. They use God as men in a city do a porch 
or penthouse, or as men in a journey do a broad and well-spread tree ; 
they run to it in a storm, but do not fix their residence there. The 
psalmist speaketh of dwelling and abiding : Ps. XCL 1, He that 
dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the 
shadow of the Almighty. He doth not say, he that hopeth or trusteth 
in the Most High ; but he that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most 
High. We must not run to God s help, as we run to a tree or pent 
house, to use it only for a time, or for a turn, and by compulsion, against 
our wills. Many seem to beg God s help in prayer, but are not protected 
by him ; they seek it only in a storm, and when all other means and 
refuges fail them. But a Christian must maintain constant communion 
with God ; must dwell in God, not run to him now and then. It is an 
everlasting truth, Thou art our habitation. In this respect a snail 
may be an emblem of a Christian ; they carry their houses about with 
them ; and though they wander here and there, yet still they are at 


home. God is not to be used for a turn, but for every good thing his 
people need, and he is to be acknowledged iu all things which we have ; 
not for one day only, but there must be a constant recourse to him : 
Ps. Ixxi. 3, Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continu 
ally resort. 

Lord, ihou Jiast been our diuelling-pla.ce in all generations. Ps. xc. 1. 

WE must make use of God daily, owning him in all things that we 
have. Therefore, whether we have or want an house, he is still our 
habitation. How when we have an house ? 

1. Whatsoever comfort aud safety we have in an outward dwelling 
must be owned as the effect of his bounty, who ruleth in all our affairs, 
and giveth and taketh these things at his own pleasure. So it is said, 
Exod. i. 21, Because the midwives feared God, that he made them 
houses. It is the Lord s providence that we enjoy anything in this kind, 
an house, health, peace, and safety therein : Ps. iii. 5, I laid me down 
and slept ; I awaked, for the Lord sustained me. So Ps. iv. 8, I will 
both lay me down in peace, and sleep; for thou, Lord, only makest me 
dwell in safety. So that the habitation of our habitation is God himself. 
Alas ! without him the noblest dwelling will be but a comfortless place. 
All the world are but tenants-at-will to God, who is our great landlord, 
and putteth into possession, and turneth out of possession, as he pleaseth : 
I gave thee thy master s house/ saith God to David, 2 Sam. xii. 8. 
God is called the possessor of heaven and earth, Gen. xiv. 19. Not 
only the creator, but the possessor ; because he still disposeth of all 
things here below. We are but his tenants-at-will, received by him. 
into those places he seeth convenient for us, and entertained by him 
during our abode there. He is the preserver of us and our dwellings 
against what evil might otherwise befall us by men or devils, or any 
kind of accident. He keepeth off the violence of men. When the males 
go up to worship at Jerusalem, the enemy shall not desire their land. 
He keepeth off diseases. When dangers are near, A thousand shall fall 
at thy side, and ten thousands at thy right hand ; it shall not come nigh 
thee, Ps. xci. 7, and ver. 10, The plague shall not come nigh thy 
dwelling/ This must be acknowledged then when we dwell in safety. 

2. God must not be displeased or dishonoured in our houses, but 
glorified, served, and obeyed. A practical acknowledgment giveth God 
more glory than *a verbal acknowledgment ; and we destroy our own 
happiness, and cannot depend upon him with that comfort for the con 
tinuance of our mercies, if we do not honour, and love him, and serve 
him. We saw before how sin maketh men s dwellings to spew them 
out and cast them out ; they will soon grow weary of us if we do not 
pay our great landlord the constant rent of duty, service, and worship. 
Surely if we would comfortably enjoy God there, we must walk up 
rightly and glorify God there : Ps. ci. 2, I will walk in my house wiih 


a perfect heart. There his domestical carriage is described, and how 
he would purge his house from all impurity : Ps. xxx, the title, A 
psalm of David at the dedication of his house. We should enter upon 
our houses in a religious manner, and consecrate ourselves and houses 
to him. It is good to observe the different carriage of men in their 
houses. Nebuchadnezzar, when he walked in the palace of Babylon, 
Dan. iv. 30, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house 
of the kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honour of my 
majesty ? Pride of heart came .upon him. Those Jews that dwelt in 
ceiled houses were well and at ease, therefore neglected God : Hag. i. 
2, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord s 
house should be built David : 2 Sam. vii. 2, See now, I dwell in an 
house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. Nebu 
chadnezzar was proud, the Jews careless, David zealous. Say then, What 
have I done for God, who hath done so much for me ? It was a saying 
of Parisiensis, Qui majores terras possident, minores census tulerunt 
Those that possessed great estates paid the least taxes. In many great 
houses how little is God owned ! God hath many times more prayers 
from a smoky cottage than from great men s houses. The revenues of 
heaven do more arise from a few poor broken-hearted Christians, that 
have little in the world, than from great ones, that have altogether 
broken the yoke. 

3. We must inure the soul to the thoughts of a change, and live in 
the midst of the abundance of worldly comforts with greater weaned- 
ness and looseness of heart, as remembering that temporal enjoyments 
are not our happiness, that here God will exercise us with much uncer 
tainty, and that surely every man at his best estate is altogether 
vanity, Ps. xxxix. 5. When we seem most settled, to rest secure 
upon temporal things is but to raise a fabric or structure upon the ice. 
God can soon remove us, not only by the great remove of death, but 
by many intervening accidents during life. When we have surest 
tenures, strongest dwellings, clearest air, best accommodations, how 
soon can the Lord blast all these things, and break in upon us by his 
judgments ! There were two types, leaven in their thank-offerings, 
and dwelling in booths at the feast of tabernacles, Deut. xvi. 13, 14, 
with Lev. xxiii. 42. After they had gathered in their corn and wine, 
and their houses were full of all the blessings of the earth, then they 
were to dwell in tents. They that are secure, as if above changes, God 
will soon show them the vanity of all earthly enjoyments : Ps. xxx. 6, 
7, In my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved. Lord, by thy 
favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong ; thou didst hide 
thy face and I was troubled. No man ever slept well on a carnal 
pillow, but his rest was disturbed before his night was spent. 

4. Be content with God s allowance. God is our habitation, and 
doth appoint to us how much or how little we shall have of these com 
forts. He is, as to temporal things, a larger habitation to some than to 
others. If he be but an hiding-place to us, though not a palace, we 
must be contented : Ps. cxix. 114, Thou art my shield and my 
hiding-place. David took notice of that as a great mercy. We are 
not to seek great things for ourselves. If we have any tolerable safety, 
or any tolerable condition of life, and opportunity of service, it is 


enough. The degree of enjoying these comforts must be left to God 
himself. Promises were not made to suffice covetousness, but to 
encourage us in our want: Heb. xiii. 5, Let your conversation be 
without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have ; 
for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake tbee. Purge the 
soul from worldly desires, and then there will be room and place for 
the exercise of faith. 

5. If God be our habitation, the heart must not be fixed in the creature, 
nor diverted from the everlasting enjoyment of him. For the present, 
your dwelling is in God himself. Now God is enjoyed three ways 
in the creature, in the ordinances, and in heaven. These three ways of 
enjoying God must not clash one with another, but be subordinate. To be 
satisfied in the enjoyment of God, so far as the creature or outward things 
can let him out to us, is a sign of a carnal heart. David was otherwise 
minded ; his great thing in this world was to enjoy God in his ordinances. 
See Ps. xxvii. 4, One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek 
after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to 
behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple ; that is, 
to enjoy God in the ordinances. Now those that desire thus to enjoy 
God in the ordinances will long to see his face in heaven ; for these 
are but part of his ways, a taste, to make us long for more. Besides, 
God is never so much, so truly an house to us, as in heaven : 2 Cor. 
v. 1, For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were 
dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, 
eternal in the heavens. That house should be mainly desired. 
Therefore all that we enjoy here should but quicken our desires after 
more in heaven ; for if God be our habitation, he is there all in all : 
Heb. xi. 14, For they that say such things, declare plainly that they 
seek a country ; and ver. 16, Now they desire a better country, that 
is, an heavenly. There is our inheritance, which is immortal, eternal, 
and undefiled ; there is our Father, and the best of our kindred. If 
the creature were only our habitation, then it were good to be here 
still ; but since God is, we must strive to be there where we shall have 
most of him. And therefore, as to the creature, and any outward 
comforts resulting from thence, we must carry ourselves as strangers 
and pilgrims. The life of faith is heaven anticipated, and heaven is 
but the life of faith perfected. Here we must be contented to be 
strangers and pilgrims. So was Abraham, who had the best right: 
Heb. xi. 9, By faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange 
country. So was David, who had most possession : Ps. xxxix. 12, 1 
am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. He 
that had so full a right to an opulent powerful kingdom ; not only 
when he was chased like a flea or partridge on the mountains, but in 
his full glory and prosperity, when he offered many cart-loads of gold 
and silver : 1 Chron. xxix. 15, For we are strangers before thee, and 
sojourners, as were all our fathers. Jesus Christ, who was Lord 
paramount, complains, Ps. Ixix. 8, I am become a stranger to my 
brethren, and an alien to my mother s children. He that was Lord of 
all had neither house nor home. He telleth us, John xvii. 16, I am 
not of this world. He passed through the world to sanctify it as a 
place of service, but his heart and constant residence was not here, to 


fix in it as a place of rest. All that are Christ s have the spirit of 
Christ.- Tr\v <yrjv ov Karoiicovpev, a\\a Trapoifcovfjiev, saith Chryso- 
stom We pass through, but do not inhabit this world. Here we 
are absent from our own country, yea, from our God, who is our 
house and home : 2 Cor. v. 6, Whilst we are at home in the body, we 
are absent from the Lord. We are at home there where we may enjoy 
the full of God. Our hearts should be still homeward, and we should 
take little and moderate pleasure in the delights that offer themselves 
in the course of our pilgrimage, and esteem it an honour if we may get 
a little leave and respite to do any piece of service to God while we are 
upon our journey. 

Use of all. To press us to dwell in God. This is the happiness and 
honour of the people of God, that they dwell in God, and God dwelleth 
in them. He holdeth comfortable communion with them by the 
influences of his grace, and they have free recourse to him upon all 
occasions. Oh ! how sweet and comfortable is it to have a lodging in 
God s heart, to take up our mansion-house in his all-sufficiency, and to 
find there protection, provision, and all manner of consolation ! I 
shall (1.) Press you to it by some motives ; (2.) Show you what it 
is, and in what manner it is done. 
1. To press you to it. 

[1.] Nothing else will be a sure refuge and dwelling-place for us on 
this side God. 

(1.) Will you dwell ia your own wit? How soon can God turn 
that into folly, and bring you to such exigencies as you know not what 
to do nor say. Many skilful men have perished : Job v. 13, He 
taketh the wise in their own craftiness, and the counsel of the froward 
is carried headlong/ 

(2.) Will you dwell in your own wealth ? It is a usual sin. A man 
is known by his trust ; his constitution of mind and heart is according 
to it : Ps. cxv. 8, So is every one that trusts in them. That this is 
a usual sin, see Prov. xviii. 10, 11, The name of the Lord is a strong 
tower ; the righteous runneth into it and is safe : the rich . man s 
wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit. 
What the name of the Lord is to the one, that a man s wealth is to 
the other ; by it he thinks to repel all evil and obtain all good. They 
promise themselves all happiness ; they can shift and run from God. 
This is a great sin : Eph. v. 3, But fornication, and all uncleanness 
and coveteousness, let it not be once named among you ; Mark x. 24, 
How hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom 
of God ! Yet hardly avoidable. Therefore that caution given, Ps. 
Ixii. 10, If riches increase, set not your heart upon them. As soon 
as we have anything in the world, we are apt presently to build our 
hopes upon it, to the wrong of God and our own souls ; but all things 
on this side God will prove a ruinous habitation, ready to fall on the 
head of the inhabitant: 1 Tim. vi. 17, Charge them that are rich in 
this world that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches. 
These pass from hand to hand and from house to house ; those whom 
they seem to make happy one day, they leave empty and naked the next. 
To promise ourselves a long enjoyment of them is to play the fool : 
Luke xii. 19, Thou fool 1 this night thy soul shall be required of 


thee ; then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided ? 
Kiches profit not in the day of wrath/ Prov. xi. 4. They will not 
allay the displeasure of God, nor keep off a noisome disease ; they 
cannot purchase a pardon, buy health, or prolong life for one day. 

(3.) Will you dwell in, or trust in strength of body, good constitu 
tion, natural beauty ? Ps. xxxix. 5, Verily every man at his best 
estate is altogether vanity. Alas 1 how soon can God arm the humours 
of your own body against you ; bring on a noisome disease, while 
you are in your prime, and turn this beautiful body into a loathsome 
carcase ! 

(4.) Will you dwell in honour and greatness ? A king confuted 
his flatterers, that told him what a mighty prince he was, what a great 
command he had by sea and land, by causing his chair to be set near 
the waves upon the sand. It will not keep off one wave, not a sickness, 
nor approaches of death. How soon can God lay your honour in the 
dust ! Ps. cxlvi. 4, His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth ; 
in that very day his thoughts perish ; Ps. xlix. 20, Man, that is in 
honour and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish ; a house 
of clay soon crumbled into dust. How many may stand on their 
fathers graves, and say, Where is all the glory and honour they once 
enjoyed ? Now what good have their pleasures and prosperity done 
them ? when he that dwelleth in God is on a sure foundation. 

(5.) Will you dwell in friends ? This is a great blessing ; but if it 
withdraw the heart from God, it is a great snare. Friends, in many 
cases, can only do us good by their wishes. God can send noisome 
diseases, when friends and lovers stand afar off, and our kindred stand 
aloof from us, Ps. xxxviii. 11. Friends are mutable : 2 Sam. xvi. 4, 
Then said the king to Ziba, Behold, thine are all that pertained unto 
Mephibosheth. A sentence unworthy so just a king towards the son of 
his dearest Jonathan, to whom he was so strongly engaged for his true 
worth, incomparable love, singular favours, yea, by oath and covenant, 
so solemnly made again and again in the presence of God. Keason of 
state and jealousy are incident to empire. Men are but men ; they 
die : 1 Kings i. 21, It shall come to pass, when my lord the king 
shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be 
counted offenders/ Those that dwell in God have better protection 
than the minions of princes : Ps. cxviii. 8, 9, It is better to trust in the 
Lord than to put confidence in men : it is better to trust in the Lord 
than to put confidence in princes/ In greatest extremities, nothing 
more frail than an arm of flesh, though now never so rich and powerful. 

(6.) Will you dwell in your own righteousness ? None trust in their 
own righteousness so much as they that have least cause. Alas ! 
what will this do, if God enter into judgment with you ? Ps. cxliii. 2, 
Enter not into judgment with thy servant, for in thy sight shall no 
man living be justified/ 

[2.] You will not be refused lodging, nor thrust out when you come 
to him, seriously, humbly, and penitently, whatsoever your condition 
be. Jure venit cultos ad sibi quisque deos All come for relief to 
their gods : Jonah i. 6, Arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God 
will think upon us, that we perish not ; Kuth ii. 12, A full reward 
be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art 


come to trust. There is no exception against you because of your 
outward condition : Ps. xci. 1, He that dwelleth in the secret place of 
the Most High, &c. It is spoken indefinitely, whosoever he be, high 
or low, rich or poor, young or old ; for God is no accepter of persons, 
but is rich to all that call upon him. Among men it falleth out other 
wise ; the poor, who most need protection and cherishing, have least 
share of it. Men are obnoxious to many wants and weaknesses, there 
fore barter with their kindnesses, and give harbour and entertainment 
where they may receive it again. But this is a general and common 
promise, that excludeth no sort of men. Here is no distinction of high 
or low, prince or subject, nobles or common people ; whoso cometh to 
seek a hiding in God is welcome, if he cometh in faith. The bosom 
of providence is open to receive persons of all ages, sexes, degrees, and 
state of life. It is the fashion of the world to respect great ones. If 
a rich or noble man should invite himself to our houses, we take it for 
a great favour ; we strain ourselves to give him suitable entertainment ; 
the more free they are with us, the more we give them thanks ; if they 
eat heartily of the provisions we have made for them, we take ourselves 
to be obliged by a new benefit ; which boldness, if a poor man should 
take, we look upon it as a saucy intrusion, and we rate him away with 
a frown. They are the rich that are respected, the rich are entertained, 
their causes and suits are dispatched, when the poor can hardly get 
access and audience. As all floods run to the sea, so doth the respect 
of the world to the rich and mighty. Where they expect a return, 
there they bestow their courtesies. But God respecteth all, for he 
needeth none ; he is present with all, provideth for all, supplieth all, 
protecteth all that fly unto him in their tribulation : Ps. xxxiv. 6, 
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of 
all his troubles. Prayers in cottages are as acceptable to him as 
prayers in palaces. 

[3.] When once you are received and admitted into this habitation, 
you need not fear any calamity in the world, because none can endam- 
age your spiritual interest, nor frustrate your great hopes. Whatever 
become of the man, the Christian is safe. So that you may keep up 
not only patience and constancy of mind, but joy of heart : Horn. viii. 
38, Neither height nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able 
to separate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus my Lord. 
Nothing shall be able to drive you out of your hiding-place. You lie 
fairer for temporal safety than others do, and are more likely to have 
it ; and if anything fall out otherwise than well, it shall be sanctified. 
You have a God that is fully inclined to do you good ; and he hath 
all-sufficient power, and hath engaged it by his infallible truth, to set it 
a-work for you, so far as it shall be for his glory and your good. Why 
then should you be afraid ? Take up your habitation in God, and you 
are safe, especially as to your main interest 

2. What it is, and in what manner this is done. 

[1.] There must be a solemn reconciliation with God in Christ. 
For we enter into God as an habitation, to seek our comfort, and 
safety, and happiness in him, only by Christ ; for till sin be pardoned, 
and God reconciled to the soul, what blessing or comfort can we expect 
from him whose nature engageth him to loath us, and justice to punish 


us ? Man by sin is become an odious creature to the holy God : Hab. 
i. 13, Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look 
on iniquity. And being an unthankful rebel, is liable to the process 
of his revenging justice and severe punishment. Therefore when wrath 
maketh inquisition for sinners, there is no hiding-place till found in 
Christ : Phil. iii. 9, And be found in him, not having my own right- 
ousness. There must be an atonement, not only made, but applied, 
before we can delight in God, and have comfortable communion with 
him, or have any right to the blessings of his providence : Bom. v. 11, 
We joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we 
have received the atonement. It is applied on God s part by the Spirit. 
And 1 John iv. 13, Hereby know we that we are in him, and he in us, 
because he hath given us of his Spirit. And on our part by broken 
hearted, penitent, believing addresses to him, or by breaking off our 
sins, and giving up ourselves to him in an everlasting covenant not to 
be forgotten. This must be renewed as often as there is a breach on 
our part, for all occasions of breach must be removed ; or when God is 
executing judgment on his part, for then he seemeth to put the bond 
in suit, which we must deprecate by flying humbly to the throne of 
grace : Ps. Ivii. 1, In the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge; 
Ps. Ixi. 4, I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever ; I will trust in the 
covert of thy wings. He joineth the wings of God with the tabernacle : 
Ps. xxxvi. 7, 8, How excellent is thy loving-kindness, God ! there 
fore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy 
wings; they shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house. 
He speaketh of the goodness of God in his house. 

[2.] There must be an actual dependence upon God, and trust in 
him for what he hath provided and we stand in need of, or a firm ad 
herence unto him according to his promise. It is dependence breedeth 
observance. The soul that doth not trust in God cannot be true to 
him. Faith and faithfulness are not so near akin in sound as they are 
in nature. Nothing is more engaging than the great bond and tie of 
our obedience : Ps. cxxiii. 2, Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto 
the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of 
her mistress ; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he 
have mercy upon us ; Phil. ii. 12, 13, Work out your salvation with 
fear and trembling ; for it is God that worketh in you to will and to 
do of his own good pleasure. Therefore is trust so often called for : 
Ps. Ixii. 8, Trust in him at all times, ye people ; Ps. Ixxxvi. 2, Save 
thy servant that trusteth in thee ; Isa. xxvi. 3, Thou wilt keep him 
in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in 
thee. We are without distraction of mind and thoughts when we 
refer all to the all-sufficient God, as being persuaded that he will cast 
things for the best. See the application David maketh of that great 
truth : Ps. xci. 1, 2, He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most 
High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty : I will say of 
the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God ; in him will I 
trust. You must keep up the thoughts of his goodness and all- 

[3.] There must be supplication and earnest fervent prayer for his 
powerful and gracious protection. This is the acting of our trust, and God 


will have all blessings sought out this way, that we may take them imme 
diately out of his hands : Jer. xxix. 11, Then shall ye call upon me, 
and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you ; 
Ezek. xxxvi. 37, Yet for this will I be inquired of by the house of 
Israel, to do it for them. There faith is exercised, hope is declared, 
desires are expressed in a solemn manner : Ps. Ixii. 8, Trust in him at 
all times, ye people, pour out your hearts before him ; God is a refuge 
for us, Selah. It is a means to ease us of our cares and fears, and of 
laying down our burden at God s feet, and it reviveth the sense of our 

[4.] Holy walking is necessary, because none can make a comfortable 
claim to this privilege but those that are sincerely God s people. He 
is their habitation. Others, whatever indulgence they have by God s 
common providence, can have no certain hope or comfortable claim : 
Ps. Ixxxiv. 11, Tor the Lord God is a sun and a shield, the Lord will 
give grace and glory : no good thing will he withhold from them that 
walk uprightly ; those that fear him, love him, choose him for their 
portion. Others build castles in the air. They do not dwell in the 
secret place of God that live in their sins, and yet lean upon the Lord. 
By sin you run out of your dwelling-place and weaken your trust : 
1 John iii. 21, Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we 
confidence towards God. 

[5.] Constant communion with God : Job xxii. 21, Acquaint now 
thyself with him, and be at peace, thereby good shall come unto thee. 
We must not run to God as we run to a shelter, with a mind to depart 
thence as soon as the storm ceaseth. Our habitation is a place of 
constant residence. So we must make use of God not when we are in 
straits only, to serve our turn, but abide and dwell in him as our 


But they that loill be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and many 
foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and 
perdition. 1 TIM. vi. 9. 

IN these words we may observe 

1. The parties described, They that will be rich. 

2. Their danger ; represented in two things (1.) That they lie 
open to temptation ; (2.) Fall into a snare. 

Some think it an hendiadys, et? ireipaa-iMov ical TrayiSa, for ? TrarylSa 
Treipaa-ftov, the snare of temptation. But the considerations are dis 
tinct, the one being a degree of the other. Temptation showeth how 
the devil taketh them captive; snare/ how he keepeth or holdeth 
them captive. So he that fixeth this as his purpose doth lay himself 
open to the devil, yea, give up himself captive to him. Men are 
first tempted, drawn to delight in or admire these things ; secondly, 
snared, cannot get out of the entanglings of the world. 

Now in the text, the general nature of this snare is represented. It 
is lusts, sinful and unlawful affections and dispositions of heart. 
(1.) The number or quantity of them, Many lusts. (2.) The quality, 
kind and sort of them, Foolish and hurtful lusts. (3.) The result and 
issue of them, Which drown men in destruction and perdition. In 
the main of which, Paul doth not speak of what doth often fall out, 
but what doth constantly and necessarily fall out. 

Doct, That a will to be rich is the occasion of much mischief to 
those that cherish it and allow it in their own souls, 

The point will be best opened by laying forth the circumstances of 
the text. 

I. What it is to have a will to be rich. When we make it our 
scope and our work, our epyov. Mark, it is not he that is rich, but 
he that will be rich. Kiches in themselves are God s gift, not the 
cause of the evils mentioned ; but our love and lust to them, though a 
man be otherwise poor, according to that of Peter, Corruption that is 
in the world through lust/ 2 Peter i. 4. Here it is, They that will be 
rich, that fix it as their scope, that make it their business. For the 
bent of the will is bewrayed by two things intention and industrious 

1. Those that fix it as their scope, are wholly intent upon getting 
wealth, that give up their hearts to find out and follow after ways of 
worldly increase. This is to set wealth in the place of God ; for 


that is interpretatively a man s god which is the last end of his actions, 
and upon which his care, and thoughts, and endeavours do run most ; 
whether it be belly, world, credit, friends, or whatever else : Phil. iii. 
18, For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you 
even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ; whose 
end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in 
their shame, who mind earthly things/ And then we can never act 
regularly. Christ and religion will be taken up upon worldly ends 
and advantages. All stoopeth to the chief end, religion, and con 
science, and all, when we fix this as our intention and the designed 
scope of our lives. It is elsewhere expressed : Prov. xxviii. 20, He 
that rnaketh haste to be rich cannot be innocent. A man that fixeth 
this as his end will not care what means he useth, leap over hedge 
and ditch, and cannot be content to travel the long road of providence 
to come to his journey s end. There are many such, that will be rich, 
whether God will or no, say what he will, and almost do what he can 
to hinder them ; when their ways are shut up, not only by a com 
mandment, but the hedge of God s providence : though disappointed 
in their projects, yet they will through ; if they can take faith and a 
good conscience along with them, they will ; but if not, they will be 
rich without them. 

2. Those that make it their epyov, their work and business in the 
world : Prov. xxiii. 4, Labour not to be rich ; cease from thine own 
wisdom. Make themselves servants of mammon : Mat. vi. 24, We can 
not serve God and mammon/ Both masters have work enough, and 
their commands are contrary. When two consent to employ one man 
in the same business and service, though two men, they are but one 
master ; but to execute the wills of men that are different in their 
designs, and have a several and full interest in our labours and actions, 
this is as impossible as to move two contrary ways at once. This is 
the case here. Mammon and Christ have full work for us, and their 
designs are contrary. Our main work of right is to please God and 
serve God. but our work by choice is to serve mammon. All our labour 
and travail is to be rich, which cannot be without the prejudice a-nd 
wrong of religion, which should have the pre-eminence ; Mat. vi. 33, 
First seek the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof, and 
these things shall be added/ Keligion cannot have all, because of our 
bodily necessities ; but it must have the chiefest. But now, when the 
strength of our endeavours runneth out another way, our hearts are 
taken off from God and his service ; and so Hagar croweth it over 
Sarah. That is a happy family where Sarah rules and Hagar serves ; 
But alas ! usually it is otherwise. The lean kine devour the fat, and 
religion goeth to the wall ; the world engrosseth men s time, and heads, 
and hearts, that they are wholly taken off from better things, and the 
edge of their affections is abated ; their time and heart diverted ; Prov. 
xxiii. 4, Labour not to be rich/ Some translate it, Weary not thyself 
to be rich ; as they that trouble their minds with it with too great eager 
ness, they have no time nor heart for communion with God, and the 
great necessities of their souls ; no time for God, no heart for God, and 
so the most necessary work is jostled out of doors, viz., the one thing 
necessary. They should first seek the kingdom of God, and they do 


not seek it at all ; at least not with that zeal and liveliness as they 

II. The danger is represented. 

1. That they fall into temptation. The devil hath them upon the 
hip, and is ready to give them a fall. Though a man s intentions 
should be never so innocent at first, yet they lie obvious to a tempta 
tion. Now we pray daily against temptation, therefore we should not 
come into the mouth of it. Certainly he that will ride into the enemy s 
camp and quarters cannot long be safe. When the mind is set upon the 
getting of wealth, and enchanted with the savour of worldly greatness, 
he runneth into the devil s quarters, and doth but bespeak a temptation, 
for he is prepared and ready for every carnal suggestion. Many had 
no thought at first to be so bad as afterward they prove, but they give 
the devil an advantage. Judas loved the bag, John xii. 6, and then 
Satan entered into him, and then he betrayed his master. 

2. And a snare. The devil hath them where he would have them ; 
he observeth which way the tree leaneth, and so presseth it downward. 
While they are only liable to temptation, the devil is out of sight ; 
but when they are caught in the snare, then he appeareth in his own 
colours. Many think no harm at first ; but their hearts are set upon 
the world, then tempted, and afterwards snared, and so deeply entangled, 
that they know not how to get out again. As in uncleanness, many 
have no impure thoughts at first, but they delight to be with women ; 
whilst they play about the temptation, they are taken captive by Satan, 
and after drawn into filthiness. So many would have a little more of 
the world, that they may serve God without distraction, and if they 
had but such a proportion, they would care for no more ; but if their 
desires be granted, then they find themselves entangled, and their hearts 
deceived ; and still they must have more and more, and so settle in a 
worldly love and a worldly course. As a river, the greater it groweth 
by receiving in little brooks, the wider and deeper it weareth the 
channel ; so outward things, the more they increase, the more they 
enlarge our desires according to their own proportion. This is an usual 
experiment of the deceitfulness of riches ; men would be a little higher 
in the world, a little better accommodated ; but when they have that, 
they must have a little more, and then a little more ; and so seize on 
all things within their grasp and reach, joining field to field, and house 
to house, Isa. v. 8. Then they are past the devil s temptation, and are 
gotten into the devil s snare. 

III. The danger is represented by the nature of the snare ; many 
foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in perdition and de 

1. The number, many lusts. There is none cometh unkindly to a 
worldly heart : Titus iii. 3, Serving divers lusts and pleasures. Quot 
habet Dominos, quiunum habere non vult? He that forsaketh the Lord, 
and is given up to his own lusts, hath many masters to please ; some 
times riot, sometimes pride, sometimes contempt of God, or oppression 
of the poor. It is the opinion of some that there are several devils, 
that have as it were their several wards and quarters ; as the heathens 
had several gods, which were indeed devils : Bacchus, the god of riot 
or good-fellowship ; Venus, a patroness of love and wantonness ; Mars, 


of revengeful angry spirits ; Mammon, of wealth. The devils have, as 
it were, several quarters, some to humour the proud, or entice the wanton, 
or draw men to drunkenness, as agents in taverns and tippling-houses, 
others lay liegers about the revengeful. In the same heart sins take 
the throne by turns. No lust cometh unwelcome to a carnal heart, as 
the posture of their interests and temptations lieth. Yea, one lust 
giveth way to another, as some weeds and vermin destroy others, and 
devils go out by compact. But many evils are incident to the worldly ; 
their heart is a rank soil, capable of any seed but that which is good, 
which is soon choked there. 

2. Their quality. 

[1.] Foolish lusts. Every carnal man is a fool. 

(1.) He is so in the judgment of God: Ps. xlix. 13, This their way 
is folly. And he will be so in the judgment of his own heart when he 
is serious. In two cases a man is serious: when convinced by the 
Spirit : 1 Cor. iii. 18, Let him become a fool that he may be wise. 
The first thing the Spirit of God doth is to show us our folly in forsaking 
the fountain of living waters. A child of God, that recovereth out of 
a temptation, is sensible of his folly : Ps. Ixxiii. 22, So foolish was I, 
and ignorant ; Titus iii. 3, We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, 
avcnjroi. When he cometh to die : Thou fool, this night shall thy 
soul be required of thee, Luke xii. 20. Then he finds himself a fool, 
because everything is provided for but that which should be most pro 
vided for, his precious soul : Jer. xvii. 11, At his end shall be a fool. 
Death bloweth away our vain conceits and fancies, for then our carnal 
projects leave us in the dirt. How will you value the world when it 
is parting from you and you parting from it ? When no hope of life, 
vain deceitful world ! then you cry out, Train eyevoftrjv, teal ovSev 
e!></>6i\eTo. What is all this to me, that am presently to leave all 
things, and to appear before God ? Job xxvii. 8, What is the hope 
of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his 
soul ? Man in innocency was a wise creature, but then he hearkened 
to the devil, and so became a fool. 

(2.) He is so by plain demonstration in respect of his choice. A 
wise merchant selleth all for the pearl of price, Mat. xiii., But these 
part with heaven for trifles, prefer an apple or a rattle before a jewel. 
Certainly they that prefer a particular good before a general, a temporal 
before an eternal, that which is superfluous before that which is neces 
sary, they are fools ; but so do all worldly and carnal men, therefore their 
lusts are foolish lusts ; they that are careless in matters of greatest 
danger, and make no provision for that world wherein we live longest ; 
they that dig for iron with mattocks of gold, that forfeit their souls 
for the world, that disquiet themselves for a vain show, Ps. xxxix. 6, 
that neglect the substance to hunt after the shadow, that toil themselves 
for they know not who. All these are points of folly. 

[2.] Hurtful lusts. The hurt they do for the present concerneth 
either the peaceable or gracious frame and estate of our souls. 

(1.) Hurtful, as they destroy our peace : * They pierce through 
themselves with many Sorrows, ver. 10, and so macerate and waste 
their strength. Who liveth the noble and comfortable life, above all 
changes, but the heavenly-minded and mortified man ? But others, 


to what biting cares are they exposed ! How do they rack their spirits, 
vex their brains, and weary their minds, and waste the body ! Ps. 
cxxvii. 2, It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the 
bread of sorrow ; and so but entangle themselves in a life of misery 
and labours ; who fret at their own disappointments, are eaten up with 
envy at the advancement of others, afflicted overmuch with losses and 
wrongs. There is no end of all their labours. Some have died of it, 
others been distracted and put out of their wits ; so that you are never 
like to see good days as long as you cherish the love of the world, but 
will still lie under self-tormenting care and trouble of mind, by which 
a man grateth on his own flesh. 

(2.) Hurtful as to grace. The spirit is debased by a carnal aim, 
and made a slave to all sort of sins : The love of money is the root 
of all evil/ ver. 10. Nothing breedeth baseness of mind so much as 
the love of money. Those that make their belly their god are men of 
an abject spirit ; such a person can never act with resolution. Yet of 
the two the covetous is the more vile, and serveth the baser god: 
Phil. iii. 19, Whose end is destruction ; whose god is their belly, and 
whose glory is in their shame ; who mind earthly things/ For the 
life and belly, for which food is necessary, are better than food ; and 
yet food for the belly is the best part of riches, and that which alone 
Adam in innocency stood in need of ; so that, serving so base a god, 
they cannot but be of a base low spirit, and so can do nothing worthily 
in their generation. To provide for the body above the soul is but to 
overvalue the appendages of a worldly life. 

3. The result and final tendency of these lusts : Which drown men 
in destruction and perdition. By destruction is meant death temporal ; 
by perdition, death eternal : ruin in this world, and hereafter eternal 
damnation ; drown men as with a millstone about their necks. 

[1.] Destruction or ruin in this world. How many lose their lives 
to have wherewith to live, and live poor that they may die rich ; others, 
by aspiring projects, lose all their designed advantages, and come to 
utter ruin. The love of the world brought Judas first to the halter, 
and then to his own place. 

[2.] Perdition or eternal damnation : Mat. xvi. 26, What is a 
man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul ? 
The soul is lost, not in a natural sense, so as to be no more heard of, 
but lost in a legal sense. A wicked man said, He that will not ven 
ture his body is never valiant ; he that will not venture his soul, 
never rich. But it is a sad venture to give the soul for a little tem 
poral pelf, which we must leave we know not to whom. 

Use 1. It informeth us of a twofold deceitfulness of heart that men 
are conscious unto. The first is this, many think they will follow the 
world as hard as they can for a while, and then dream of a devout 
retirement. Thus foolishly do men presume, first upon life, and then 
upon grace, both which are in God s hands ; whereas they shorten 
their days by their inordinate cares, and entangle their hearts ; so that 
they are over head and ears in the world, drowned in noisome and 
hurtful lusts, that they cannot easily get out again. Alas ! the world 
is a very deceitful thing ; if once we are taken in the love of it, more 
and more it will get in with us, and steal away our hearts, ere we can 
think of it. 



2. The next deceit of the heart, akin to the former, is this, that if 
men had such a proportion of estate, they should be content with 
their portion, and serve God cheerfully. Alas ! when you have it, the 
lust will grow with the possession. Covetousness is a fire that in- 
creaseth the more wood you put thereon : Eccles. v. 10, He that 
loveth silver will never be satisfied with silver, nor he that loveth 
abundance with increase. And therefore we should rather seek to 
bring our minds to our estates, than our estates to our minds. Be 
content now with such things as ye have, or else ye will not be coa- 
tent hereafter. Non augendce res, sed minuendce cupiditates We 
should not seek so much to increase our estates, as to abate our desires. 
We go the wrong way when we think more estate would do it, if 
grace doth not do it. As in some diseases, -non opus habent impletione, 
sed purgatione ; a man is still hungry though he has eaten enough, 
and still thirsty though drunk enough. As in the bulimy and dropsy, 
purging is better than impletion ; in an ordinary fever we are not to 
quench the burning thirst by filling the patient s belly full of drink, 
but to better the heat by purging and opening a vein ; so it is not 
wealth, but grace ; the way is not to increase our substance, but mode 
rate our desires. As long as love terminateth on outward things, we 
shall never be satisfied, but still exercised with foolish and hurtful 
lusts. Contentment cometh not from the things, but the mind ; a 
little grace would show us that we had enough already to be better 

Use 2. This point will give us satisfaction as to that question, 
whether -we may pray for and desire riches, or anything beyond food 
and raiment ? I answer 

1. By distinction. Outward things are either necessary, or sufficient, 
or superfluous. The first degree of riches is to have what is neces 
sary ; the next to have what is enough ; the next above that, what is 
more than enough. 

[1.] Necessary. Necessity is either natural, civil, or religious. 

(1.) Natural ; that which will barely suffice nature, and support 
life, though meanly, hardly. These necessities are easily supplied. 
Though our fare be hard and our raiment coarse, yet we may make a 
hard shift to preserve life. This certainly we may desire and labour 
after ; for every man must maintain himself as an instrument of 
providence, and to see that he be not chargeable to others ; and if, in 
a fair way of providence, we can get no more, we must be content : 
ver. 8, Having food and raiment, let us be therewith content. 
Though we be but a degree above beggary and extreme want, it is 
more than God owes us, and it is enough to sustain life whilst we lay 
a foundation for eternity. 

(2.) Civil. Two things are here to be considered (1.) Our estate 
and calling. An honourable calling requireth a fuller supply of tem 
poral blessings than a private and inferior ; a king than a subject ; a 
nobleman than one of an inferior rank. Though quoad necessitates 
natures they are equal, yet quoad decentiam status they are unequal : 
Prov. xxx. 8, Give me neither poverty nor riches ; feed me with food 
convenient for me. (2.) Our charge. A master of a family requireth 
more than a single person ; he hath more to provide for, viz., wife and 


children : 1 Tim. v. 8, If any provide not for his own, and specially 
for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than 
an infidel ; 2 Cor. xii. 14, Behold, the third time I am ready to come 
to you, and I will not be burdensome to you, for I seek not yours, 
but you : for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but 
the parents for the children ; Prov. xiii. 22, A good man leaveth an 
inheritance to his children s children." Jacob : Gen. xxx. 30, When 
shall I provide for mine own house also ? Solomon complaineth : 
Eccles. iv. 8, There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he 
hath neither child nor brother, yet is there no end of all his labour, 
neither is his eye satisfied with riches, neither saith he, For whom do 
I labour, and bereave my soul of food ? This is also vanity, yea, it is 
a sore travail. 

(3.) Moral. For life, not lust; to cure infirmities, not to cause 
them" ; to sustain nature, not to pamper it. Many pretend they seek 
a conveniency, to be without want ; but it is to fare deliciously every 
day, to flaunt in pride, to be built up a story higher in the world. 
This is not conveniency, but covetousness. Nature is content with a 
little, Christ fed a multitude with barley loaves and a few fishes, and 
gave thanks, John vi. 11, with 23. We may provide for our neces 
sities, present, future. That is reputed necessary which in some short 
time may have some present use. And therefore, though a man 
should be content, though after the use of means God giveth him 
only from hand to mouth, yet he may seek a competency for their 
relief that survive after he is dead ; he may ask it of God with sub 
mission to his will. The sluggard is sent, Prov. vi. 6, to the ant, that 
gathereth her meat in summer, and food in the harvest ; and Prov. 
xiii. 22, A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children s children. 
A supply of all visible necessities we may ask of God, though without 
carking and distrust. Hitherto we have spoken but of bare necessity, 
either for supply of nature, or maintaining that good state wherein 
God hath set us ; that which is necessary to support nature, or our 
vocation and charge, and nothing to spare. 

[2.] Sufficient. And that we are said to have when we have some 
reasonable plenty ; not only slender provisions, wherewith to hold life 
and soul together, but may be helpful to others, and are in a capacity 
to give rather than to receive. This sufficiency may be asked of God, 
though it be more than bare necessity. For it is a condition more 
happy than that of want : Acts xx. 35, It is more blessed to give 
than to receive. And maketh a man more diffusively useful in his 
generation, both for the advancing of public good and the relief of 
private necessities : Eph. iv. 28, Let him that stole steal no more, but 
rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, 
that he may have to give to him that needeth. We are often pressed 
to works of mercy ; and though it bindeth the poor only in affection 
and disposition of mind, yet the acting of this grace is very comfort 
able; and therefore this sufficiency and convenient plenty may be 
asked, so it be with moderation ; and this sufficiency be judged, not 
by the affection of the covetous, but the moderate and sober rate of 
Christian desires, and rather referred to God than determined by our 
selves. As Agur desires God to carve out his allowance, not prescrib- 


ing a measure to him, but that which he knoweth to be meet and 
necessary for us ; cast yourselves upon God s allowance. And if it be 
asked with submission ; for it is a temporal promise : Deut. xxviii. 11, 
The Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, 
and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the 
land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee. The will 
to be rich that is here condemned is an obstinate and unsubmissive 

[3.] Abundance is more than is fit for his place and calling, or than, 
he can and will employ for good uses ; or without which the life of a 
man, or his good estate and service in the world, may be well preserved. 
The desire of worldly greatness cometh from lust, or eager affection to 
worldly things. Men would shine alone : Isa. v. 8, Woe unto them 
that join house to house, and lay field to field, till there be no place, 
that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth. And 
argueth diffidence in the providence of God. They would have 
wherewith to subsist without him. And is contrary to the laws of 
Christian moderation. The king was not to multiply horses, and gold, 
and silver, Deut. xvii. 16, 17 ; whereas our desire of estate must pro 
ceed not from a love of riches, or to make us and ours great, but a 
conscience of our duty to God, that we may be useful and serviceable ; 
and must be kept within bounds, and ever must we maintain our 
confidence in him. 

2. I answer in these propositions 

[1.] We can lawfully desire no more than we can pray for ; for it 
is a certain rule that those desires and workings of spirit are unlawful, 
which we dare not express to God in prayer. If we must be modest 
in our prayers, we should be as modest in our desires and aims. Would 
we say, Food and raiment is not enough ; we must have a fuller estate; 
so much coming in by the year ; such portions for our children ; they 
must be maintained at such a rate, &c. ? Durst we fill our censers with 
such dross and dung as this is? Why then do we cherish such thoughts 
and desires in our hearts ? Prayer is but an empty compliment unless 
it express our desires. 

[2.] The prayers of God s children are always modest, and suited to 
their trust and great hopes. So it was with Agur : Prov. xxx. 7, 8, 
Two things have I required of thee ; deny me them -not before I die. 
Eemove far from me vanity and lies ; give me neither poverty nor 
riches; feed me with food convenient for me. And Jacob: Gen. 
xxviii. 20, Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and 
will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and 
raiment to put on, &c. Carnal wretches prescribe God a task which 
he never meaneth to perform : Ps. Ixxviii. 18, They tempted God in 
their hearts by asking meat for their lust. 

[3.] The reality of this modesty in prayer concerning outward 
supplies is evidenced by the frame of our hearts and the course of our 

(1.) The frame of our hearts is seen both in the want and in the 
enjoyment of our outward things. 

(1st.) In the want of them. If we be content with God s allowance, 
who hath determined to every man the course of his service, and the 


bounds of his habitation, Acts xvii. 26 ; how much of the world every 
one shall enjoy, what land, what estate ; you are content with what 
you have, Heb. xiii. 5. If our portion be more strait than others, it is 
what God hath allotted to us. If we be kept poor and low, we shall 
have enough for that service and honour that God expecteth from us, 
and to carry us through that little time that we have to spend in the 
world. It is not abundance that we need, but a contented heart. Be 
contented with a little, if God giveth no more. Diseased persons need 
more attendance than the healthy. It is our disease multiplieth our 

(2<i) In the enjoyment of outward things. If they come by God s 
providence, the heart must be guarded ; it must not be set upon them : 
Ps. Ixii. 10, If riches increase, set not your heart upon them. We 
may delight in them as they are our portion, as tokens from God, and 
fruits of his bounty : Deut. xxvi. 11, Thou shalt rejoice in every good 
thing which the Lord thy God giveth thee. But they must not 
possess and take up our hearts so as to cause us to forget God, and 
to make us raven after more ; and the lust riseth with the increase, 
and so the heart is the more entangled. 

(2.) The course of our actions in getting and using. 

(1st.) In getting. When we are not immoderate in labouring after 
them ; when men toil and labour to load themselves with thick clay, 
Hab. ii. 6. They promise themselves much contentment and happi 
ness ; but it doth but draw off the heart from God, and burden and 
pollute the sinner : Ps. cxxvii. 2, It is vain for you to rise up early, 
to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrow ; Hab. ii. 13, Behold, is it 
not of the Lord of hosts, that the people shall labour in the very fire, 
and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity ? 

(2d) In using. Eiches in themselves considered are neither good 
nor evil ; all is as they are used. We are to use them as instruments 
of piety and charity, and for the furtherance of our great account ; so 
that it is not wealth so much that we beg, as a blessing upon our 
labours, that we may have wherewith to serve God. We must so use 
and possess what we have as that the use and possession may tend to 
God s glory and the good of our souls. As 

(1st.) The maintenance of our own good estate and condition : 
Eccles. v. 18, It is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to 
enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the 
days of his life which God giveth him, for it is his portion. It is God s 
allowance, that we should live comfortably upon what he hath sent us ; 
yea, not only his allowance, but his gift : ver. 19, Every man also, to 
whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power 
to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour, this 
is the gift of God. 

(2d.) The good of others that depend upon us ; as our family and 
kindred, 1 Tim. v. 8, That they may not be burdensome to the 

(3d.) The relief of the poor : Eph. iv. 28, Let him that stole steal 
no more ; but rather let him labour, working with his hands the 
thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 
We shall be no losers by that : Prov. xi. 24, There is that scattereth 


and yet increaseth ; John vi. 13, Therefore they gathered them to 
gether, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley 
loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten/ 

(4th.) The maintenance of true religion and the church of God : 
Prov. iii. 9, Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first- 
fruits of thy increase. 

(5th.) Good of the commonwealth : Rom. xiii. 7, Bender therefore 
to all their dues, tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom 
custom, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour ; and Mat. xxii. 
21, Render to Ca3sar the things that are Caesar s, and unto God the 
things which are God s. 

Thus is a man tried, when he hath an estate, how he useth it. A 
leaky vessel is not discerned when it is empty; but when it is full, then 
it discovereth itself. So when we are kept low, there is not such a 
trial of our spirits as when we abound in all things, how we will use 
and improve this trial, what we discover then, grace or corruption. 
Want is a trial, and so is fulness ; and therefore we should look to 
ourselves. If self be ravenous, and devour all that portion which God 
should have, and the poor should have, and friends should have, we 
do not use it aright, not to the ends for which God hath given it. 

Use 3. To press us to mortify this inordinate inclination. If once 
men affect and love riches, it becometh the root of all evil. It is not 
the having, but the affecting of great things, that is sinful. What 
God casteth upon us, walking within the compass of our duty, we are 
with thankfulness to embrace, and to improve to his glory. Yet this 
inordinate desire is very natural to us, born and bred with us ; and 
because riches do all in the world, it is increased upon us. Therefore 
we need the more to look to our hearts and consider 

1. The comfort of our lives lieth not in abundance : Luke xii. 15, 
Take heed, and beware of covetousness ; for a man s life consisteth 
not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. They are 
extrinsical to our being and happiness. When you have the world at 
will, you can get no more than bodily food and bodily clothing ; the 
poorest may attain to that. It is no great matter whether our dung 
and excrement be of finer matter or coarser, nor what a gay show we 
make in our apparel, whether fewer or more dishes at our table. Too 
much oil puts out the lamp. When men have troubled themselves 
and the world to make themselves great, what a sorry happiness have 
they ! Ps. xvii. 14, From men which are thy hand, Lord, from men 
of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly 
thou fillest with thy hid treasure ; they are full of children, and leave 
the rest of their substance to their babes ; Hab. i. 16, They sacrifice 
unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag, because by them 
their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous. A little good cheer 
and a merry life is all they have. They that want it live as well as 
they, and have more contentment ; they are no nearer to true comfort, 
nor the further from the grave. 

2. There is danger in abundance. The moon is never eclipsed but 
when it is at full. An estate may be too great, as a shoe too big, or 
armour too great, as Saul s armour for David, 1 Sam. xvii. 39. It is 
harder for a rich man to go to heaven : Mat. xix. 24, 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. A moderate estate is freest from tempta 
tions.- Abundance of all things, without any want, disposeth to a for- 
getfulness of God ; as perpetual want, without any taste of God s good 
ness, on the other side, disposeth the soul to atheism, which are the 
two extremes, whereof the one starveth religion, the other choketh it. 
The middle sort of men carry away heaven and graces, while others 
disregard God. Both poverty and riches, in the extremities, have their 
temptations ; the middle estate is freest from danger, both of sin and 
misery. Fertile ground is apt to breed weeds. Oh ! that men would 
often think of the worthlessness and insufficiency of worldly things ! I 
shall not be more safe, nor happy, nor acceptable to God, nor more 
comfortable in myself. It is grace does all in poverty and riches ; arid 
so all men are upon the same level : James i. 9, 10, Let the brother 
of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted ; but the rich in that he is 
made low. 

3. Greater estates lie open to greater cares and troubles : Eccles. v. 
11, When goods increase they are increased that eat them ; and what 
good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with 
their eyes ? True they have more attendance ; but then more pro 
vision is required for them. The charge of family and retinue will 
increase likewise ; there are more bellies to be filled, more backs to be 
clothed ; in that which is real, others have their comforts as well as he. 

4. Greater estates must give greater accounts. We are God s 
stewards, and we must give an account of our stewardship, Luke xvi. 
2. You do but seek a greater trust, and you cannot discharge that you 
have already : Luke xii. 48, 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. We must give an account for more time, 
more opportunities to do good ; the more mercy, the more plenty ; 
there is a greater reckoning to make. 

5. When we come to die, it is not the possession, but the use will 
comfort us. We can carry nothing with us into the other world, but 
the comfort of a good conscience : Eccles. v. 15, As he came forth of 
his mother s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall 
take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand. 
Kiches cannot go with us into the other world. A godly man can 
carry his happiness with him, which another leaveth behind him. A 
worldly, wealthy man hath made his will, and left all his estate ; to such 
a son such an inheritance, to such a daughter such a portion, to such a 
friend such a legacy : what hath the poor man left for himself? If he 
hath not grace, what hath he left to carry with him but the anguish 
and misery of a guilty conscience, and the expectation of worse to 
come ? poor miserable creature ! when all things take their 
leave, what a sorry comfort will that be that he hath once possessed! 
but if he hath used it well, their works follow them : Luke xvi. 9, 
Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that 
when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. 

Well, then, use diversion. 

[1.] Let your desires be set on other blessings. I must and will have 
grace. Pitch your desires on the great blessings of the covenant. I 


must and will have grace and heaven. Valde protestatus sum, saith 
Luther, me nolle sic a Deo satiari: Ps. cvi. 45, Remember me, O 
Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people ; visit me 
with thy salvation, that I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may 
rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine 
inheritance. Give me the favour of thy people. There is no danger, 
nor no snare in that. I will not be put off with other things : Who 
soever will, let him take the water of life freely, Rev. xxii. 17. All 
our business with you is to bring you to this resolute bent of heart as 
to your spiritual and eternal enjoyments. These are the blessings of 
his people. Christ gave his Spirit to the faithful apostles, and his 
purse to Judas. As Jacob would take no nay, he must have the 
blessing ; so a Christian, Lord, I must have Christ, and I must have 
faith. This is holy impudence : Luke xi. 8, Sia rrjv avaibeiav, 
Though he will not rise, and give him, because he is his friend ; yet 
because of his importunity, he will rise and give him as many as he 

[2.] Choose other business. One that maketh it his business to go to 
heaven, and to serve and please God, will not so easily be surprised by 
the love of the world ; he will measure himself by thriving in grace, 
not in estate : Ps. cxix. 14, I have rejoiced in the way of thy testi 
monies, as much as in all riches. Every man is as his business is : 
John vi. 27, Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that 
meat which endureth unto everlasting life ; 1 Tim. iv. 7, Exercise 
thyself unto godliness. The main business of your life is for earth or 
heaven, to please God or to get the world ; which way is your labour 
and care carried out ? You should be most careful to get God s love, 
and work out your salvation. 

Use 4. To observe and examine whether this disposition be in us, 
yea or no. This will be known (1.) By the frequency of your 
thoughts ; (2.) By the vehemency of your desires ; (3.) By the drift 
and course of your lives. 

1. By the working of the thoughts and debates of the heart. If 
the heart be still exercised with covetous projects, if you have your 
wits set a-work how to get in more, this shows you would be rich. 
Thoughts are the genuine issue and birth of the soul, and do discover 
the temper of it. When their minds do run only upon earthly things : 
Phil. iii. 19, Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and 
whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. Such a pro 
ject and course of gain, James iv. 13, and that with a savour and 
sweetness. Still catering and contriving, not how to grow good and 
gracious, but great and high in the world. The worldling in the 
gospel is brought in musing : Luke xii. 17, 18, And he thought 
within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where 
to bestow my fruits ? And he said, This will I do, I will pull down 
my barns, and build greater, and there will I bestow all my fruits 
and goods. I will do thus and thus, teal SieXoyi^ero, verbum mire 
appositum, saith Beza. For a worldly man is always framing dialogues 
within himself, and asking and answering his soul ; and his heart is so 
encumbered with these thoughts that he cannot get it off in holy duties : 
Ezek. xxxiii. 31, They come unto thee as the people cometh, and they 
sit before thee as thy people, and they hear thy words, bat they will 


not do them ; for with their mouth they will show much love, but their 
heart goeth after their covetousness. Other sins distract us in duty, 
but- none so often as this, by vain musings upon worldly advantages j 
this always runneth in the mind night and day when alone. 

2. By the vehemency of your desires. Unnatural predatorious 
heats argue a distemper. We may lawfully desire earthly things ; we 
carry about earthly bodies, that stand in need of earthly sustentation. 
We have an earthly house to support, 2 Cor. v. 1, and are subject to 
the common necessities of an earthly life ; and therefore surely God, 
that hath given us these earthly bodies, doth allow us to seek earthly 
things in a moderate way. But now when these desires are so vehement, 
that they grow to a perturbation and impatiency of check, they argue 
this immodest will to be rich. Rachel might lawfully have desired 
children ; but when it cometh to, Give me children, or I die, then the 
desire is depraved and inordinate. So when we are disquieted by our 
desires, and are full of murmurings if we want, and of envious repining 
at those that have worldly things, and they always solicit us to more, 
and one degree of estate draweth us on to more, it is an evil disease, 
and it must be looked to in time, or else it will be baneful to the soul. 
Then you are gainthirsty, as the expression is, Ps. x., when there is 
such an eager pursuit after it, and you are so greedy upon worldly 
things. Desires are but vigorous motions of the will, and do discover 
the bent and purpose of it. They are the pulses of the soul. As 
physicians judge by appetite, so may you by desires ; when the soul is 
carried out by such an unsatisfitd thirst, and like the horse-leech s 
daughter, crieth, Give, give/ Prov. xxx. God s people, as an argument 
of their sincerity, plead their desires, and the longings of their souls 
after God : Our desires are to the remembrance of thy name. . Now 
your desires run another way, and still they increase upon you with 
your enjoyments. 

3. By the uniformity and constancy of your endeavours. A serious, 
choice and bent of will is always accompanied with invincible resolu 
tions ; they will use all means, and break through all difficulties ; wit, 
and time, and strength is all engaged upon this design, that you may 
compass an estate. That argueth the fixed bent of their heart : Luke 
xvi. 8, The children of this world are wiser in their generation than 
the children of light. By wisdom in their generation is meant a 
dexterous prosecution of their ends and purposes. Now, when men 
are dull, and slow, and backward in holy things, but their whole souls 
run out upon temporal profits, it is the sphere of their activity, and 
the business that their hearts are set upon ; here men turn and wind, 
and try every course, and so it is constantly with them. A good man 
is unwearied and diligent in the pursuit of heavenly things : Phil. iii. 
11, If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 
He goeth from this ordinance to that, and is ever waiting upon God, 
and is sagacious to spy out advantages of spiritual increase ; this is the 
sphere of his activity ; he is conferring, praying, reading, hearing, 
meditating. But now a worldly man is always exercised in covetous 
practices : 2 Peter ii. 14, Having eyes full of adultery, and that 
cannot cease from sin, beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have 
exercised with covetous practices. What a stir and a bustle do they 
make to increase their estates ! They have the spirit of the world. 


Which things the angels desire to look into. 1 PETER i. 12. 

THERE are two things for which the doctrine of the gospel is com 
mended to us the truth and the worth of it : 1 Tim. i. 15, verum et 
bonum, This is a true and faithful saying, and worthy of all accepta 
tion. The happiness of the intellect lieth in the contemplation of truth, 
and the happiness of the will in the enjoyment of good. In innocency 
this was represented by the tree of life and the free of knowledge, and 
possibly under the law by the candlestick and the table of showbread. 
I shall not now speak of the truth of the gospel, but of the worth of it 
The scope of the context is to show the worth of that salvation which 
is the end of the Christian faith. To commend it the apostle produceth 
the instance of the prophets and of the angels. 

1. -Of the prophets : ver. 10-12, Of which salvation the prophets 
have inquired, and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace 
that should come unto you : searching what, or what manner of time, 
the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified 
beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 
Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they 
did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that 
have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from 
heaven. When the prophets foretold it, they viewed and reviewed 
their own prophecies, that they might be more thoroughly acquainted 
both with the thing and the time. They prophesied of other things, 
the rise and downfall of great and mighty monarchies and kingdoms ; 
but these were not the things they inquired after so diligently, but the 
sufferings of Christ, and the glory which shall come to us. Well, 
then, if those to whom the Holy Ghost did dictate these mysteries did 
so accurately search into them, what should we delight in and study 
upon but the gospel ? 

2. Angels themselves did look into the excellency of this grace and 
salvation offered to us in Christ ; they can never be satisfied with 
the contemplation of it, nor wonder at it enough ; nor rejoice at it 
enough : Which things the angels desire to look into. TiapaKv^rai 
signifieth to bow the head and stoop that we may take a more narrow 
view of the thing which we would see : Luke xxiv. 12, Peter ran unto 
the sepulchre, and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes lying 


by themselves. So John xx. 5, real TrapaKvtyas /BXeTrei Keipeva TO, 
odovia, And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen clothes 
lying; and in the llth verse, Mary Trapeicv^rev 19 TO jjivrj^flov ; we 
render it, She stooped down and looked into the sepulchre. And 
probably there is an allusion to the type of the two cherubims over 
the mercy-seat, which were figured bending their faces towards it : 
Exod. xxv. 20, Their faces shall look one to another ; toward the 
mercy-seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. As desiring to pry 
into the mysteries represented there. 

Doct, That the mystery of redemption by Christ is an object worthy 
of the contemplation and admiration of the angels themselves. 

I shall illustrate this argument by examining these circumstances 
(1.) Who; (2.) What; (3.) How; (4.) Why. 

I. Who desired? The text saith, the angels. There are two 
sorts of them, some good and some bad ; some that fell away, and 
stood not in the truth, others that are called the elect angels, 1 Tim. 
v. 21. Now which of these are we to understand? Not the evil 
angels to be sure, for since the fall they are called devils, not angels 
singly, without a note of distinction. This was an holy desire of an 
holy object, of which those damned spirits are not capable. It is a 
burden to them to think of God and Christ ; they abhor their own 
thoughts of God : James ii. 19, The devils also believe and tremble. 
And Christ s presence was a torment to them: Mat. viii. 29, What 
have we to do with thee, Jesus thou Son of God ? art thou come to 
torment us before the time ? They cannot please themselves, nor 
find such a delight and full satisfaction in the view of these truths. 
Therefore it is meant of those good angels that behold the face of God 
and minister in his presence ; they are beholding, wondering, and 
rejoicing at the mysteries of the gospel. There are two kinds of crea 
tures made after the likeness of God angels and men ; and they are 
seated and placed in v the two extremities of the world ; the one in 
heaven, and the other on earth, in the highest and lowest story of the 
universe, that at both ends of the creation there might be some to 
glorify him and acknowledge his excellencies. Alas ! here with us in 
the lower part of the world, how few take notice of the glorious dis 
coveries of God in any of his works, especially in the work of redemption ! 
so that all God s preparations and expenses seem lost, as to the honour 
and service which he might justly expect from us. But there is 
another world, where this mystery, that is so little regarded here, 
is more thought of, and better studied ; even by the blessed angels, 
creatures more excellent and more numerous than mankind, who are 
always glorifying God, and admiring his excellencies upon this account. 
As we behold the sun that shineth to us from their part of the world, 
so do they behold the sun of righteousness from our part of the world, 
even Jesus Christ the Lord, in all the acts of his mediation : 1 Tim. 
iii. 16, Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness ; God 
was manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels; that 
is, beheld with wonder and reverence. God needeth not to court us 
with such importunity ; he hath creatures enough to glorify him, ten 
thousand times ten thousand angels, that stand before his throne, and 
know more of God than we do, and are more ready to praise him. 


II. What ? The text telleth us, which things ; that is, those 
things spoken of in the context. 

1. The person of the Kedeemer, the most glorious object that can 
be looked upon, or taken into the thoughts of any creature. The vi&w 
of this is now our comfort, and will be our happiness to all eternity : 
John xvii. 24, Father, I will that they whom thou hast given me be 
with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast 
given me. When we are in heaven, on the other side of the world, 
that will be our work and our happiness ; but it must not be wholly 
omitted here. So the angels delight in the person of the Kedeemer ; 
it is their rejoicing to look upon Christ, in whom the glory of God 
shineth forth more admirably than in any other of his works. Yea, I 
shall go one strain higher ; God himself delighteth in looking upon 
Christ : Prov. viii. 30, There was I by him, as one brought up with 
him ; I was daily his delight. In the Hebrew it is day, day, one 
day after another. God never satisfieth himself enough in this. Yea, 
God delighteth in Christ as mediator: Mat. iii. 17, This is my 
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; Isa. xlii. 1, Behold my 
servant, whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth. 
It is the ground of his gracious aspect upon us as holy. He delighted 
in all his works, and was refreshed at the view of them : Gen. i. 31 r 

* And God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very 
good ; compared with Exod. xxxi. 17, In six days the Lord made 
heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed. 
Well, then, this is one thing which the angels look upon, the person 
of Christ, the most lovely object to be thought of, figured in the mercy- 
seat or cover of the ark, who interposed between the law and God. 
Christ is called l\a<TTijpiov, the propitiation, that is, Christ incarnate. 

2. The way of redemption : ver. 11, The sufferings of Christ and 
the glory that should follow. And therein the sweet harmony and 
concord between infinite mercy and infinite justice, that both might 
have full satisfaction. This is figured in the mercy-seat, God s recon 
ciling himself to man by Christ : Bom. iii. 24-26, Being justified freely 
by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom 
God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, 
to declare his righteousness, for the remission of sins that are past, 
through the forbearance of God. To declare, I say, at this time his 
righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which 
believeth in Jesus. 

3. Another thing spoken of in the context is, The grace that should 
come to us, ver. 10, God s keeping familiar correspondence and com 
munion with poor creatures in and through Christ : 1 John i. 3> 

* And truly our communion is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus 
Christ. The dwelling of our nature with God in a personal union, a 
thing which angels may wonder at, since God abaseth himself to 
behold things in heaven or things on earth : Ps. cxiii. 6, Who 
humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the 
earth. His majesty and all-sufficiency is so great, that he might justly 
despise the angels, of whom he standeth in no need. Now, that he 
should stoop so low as to look after poor crawling worms, and admit 
them to such intimacy with himself, this commerce between God and 


the inhabitants of the lower world is matter of wondrous delight 
to the angels. 

4. The mission of the Spirit, here just before the text, The Holy 
Ghost sent down from heaven ; and then presently it followeth, 
Which things the angels desire to look into/ viz., the copious effusion 
of gospel grace. Before the price was paid, when God gave out 
grace upon trust, it was more sparingly dispensed, but now more 
plentifully since the price of redemption is actually paid. The angels 
are ascending and descending, present with the churches in their holy 
worship. When the Spirit was first poured out, the men that were 
conscious to it were all surprised with wonder : Acts ii. 7, They were 
all amazed, and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all 
these that speak Galileans? And surely the angels see cause to 
glorify God for his gifts and graces bestowed on the church. It 
was done in the sight of angels : Eph. iv. 8, When he ascended on 
high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men ; compared 
with Col. ii. 15, And having spoiled principalities and powers, he 
made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 

5. The gracious providences of God in leading on the church to 
their eternal happiness : 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/ 7ro\v7r6iKt\o$ a-o^ia ; 
that curious variety and interweavings of providence in bringing poor 
creatures to glory. When we are on the top of the mount, and we 
shall know as we are known, then shall we see how variously he did 
confound the wisdom of men and devils, and led the saints to 
glory. The angels see more of God in this than in any of his other 
works; the state of the church here upon earth is the great glass 
wherein God discovereth his wisdom, power, goodness, and truth. 

6. The final glorious estate of the saints. Christ shall be admired 
in them : 2 Thes. i. 10, When he shall come to be glorified in his 
saints, and to be admired in all them that believe. For poor dust to 
shine as stars, and to be admitted with Christ to judge the world, 
even evil angels. All men shall be at last owned or disowned by 
Christ, confessed or denied before the angels, as those that look after 
these things : Luke xii. 8, 9, Whosoever shall confess me before 
men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of 
God ; but he that denieth me before men, shall be denied before the 
angels of God ; Kev. iii. 5, I will confess his name before my Father, 
and his angels/ We may admire at these things : 1 John iii. 1, 2, 
Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that 
we should be called the sons of God. Behold, now we are the sons 
of God ; and it doth not appear what we shall be, but we know that 
when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is/ 

III. The manner how ? Eiridv/JLovcnv Trapavutyai, they desire to 
look into. 

1. It noteth an accurate inspection, to look towards, so as to look 
through. They understand more of these mysteries than we do, 
having no mass of flesh to clog them, and obstruct the operations of 
these spirits ; as having no secular vanities to divert them, as being so 
near God, so entirely loving him ; because of the excellency of their 


natures they have more advantage than we ; as the world wherein we 
dwell is more known to them than to us, yet they are prying; and 
should not we follow on to know the Lord ? Hosea vi. 3. 

2. It is earnest and affectionate, 7ri0v/j,ova-iv ; they desire; their 
hearts are in it. 

Object. Desire argueth a defect, and the angels, that are in the pre 
sence of God, are in statu perfecto, in a perfect state. 

Ans. 1. In many things this mystery exceedeth their understand 
ings, therefore they desire to know it more and more. There is in the 
angels understanding, and knowledge natural, supernatural, and experi 
mental. Their natural knowledge reacheth to things that are belong 
ing to the perfection and happiness of their nature. In supernatural 
things, that depend upon the mere favour of God, angels know no 
more than God is pleased to manifest to them, and so are ignorant 
of those things which God will not reveal, and cannot be found out by 
any created understanding. Their experimental knowledge is by the 
accomplishment of prophecies, and what is foretold concerning the 
state of the church here upon earth ; as Christ learned obedience by 
the things he suffered/ Heb v. 8, so might angels learn more 
when they saw Christ born, die, and rise again, the Spirit poured out, 
the devil dispossessed, the gospel kingdom erected. 

2. Some defects are perfective ; as hungering and thirsting after 
righteousness proveth blessedness : Mat. v. 6, Blessed are they that 
hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. As 
Gregory, Et satiantur, et sitiunt ; ne enim sit in desiderio anxietas, 
desiderantes satiantur; ne sit in satietate fastidium, satiati desiderant. 
They are satisfied with what they desire, to prevent anxiety and 
trouble ; and they desire that with which they are satisfied, to prevent 
satiety and loathing. It is a sweet thirst, not a painful dissatisfaction; 
such as quickens, but not pains. Desire is an act of love ; the object 
of it is dear and esteemed. So the angels, they are desiring and enjoy 
ing. Sitientes satiabimur, et satiati sitiemus ; as in heaven the saints 
desire more of God, because they are not weary of him. 

3. They look upon it so as to be ready to discharge their ministry 
about it. As the cherubims were figured with outstretched wings 
over the mercy-seat, as ready to be employed in God s errand, so the 
angels look into these things. We find them ever ministering about 
Christ in his temptations and agonies, in his grave and at his ascension ; 
so are they ministering about the saints, whom these things do concern : 
Eeb. i. 14, Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister 
for them who shall be heirs of salvation ? The angels do so look 
into the things purchased for us by Christ, that they are helpful to u& 
in them, according to the will of God. 

IV. The reasons. 

1. Negatively. 

[1.] Not curiosity ; that cannot be imagined in these blessed spirits. 
Now curiosity is either (1.) In the matter, when we pry into secret 
things, which we cannot, nor ought we to see into : Col. ii. 18, 
Intruding into those things which he hath not seen ; those things 
wherein the mind of God is not known or understood. But God 
revealed himself to the angels concerning the salvation of man, they 


being so often employed in the prediction and discovery of those things 
that concerned the coming of Christ and salvation by him. They 
were the messengers to carry the glad tidings of it to the patriarchs 
and prophets. Gabriel informed Daniel, and talked with him concern 
ing the seventy weeks, Dan. ix. 21-24, after which the Messiah 
should be cut off. God used their ministry to instruct the church in 
all the acts of his mediation. The angels comforted Christ in his 
temptations and agonies ; the angels brought news of his birth : Luke 
ii. 10, And the angel said unto them, Fear not ; I bring you good 
tidings, &c. When tempted, they ministered to him : Mat. iv. 11, 
Then the devil leaveth him, and behold angels came and ministered 
to him/ In his agonies they strengthen him : Luke xxii. 43, There 
appeared an angel to him from heaven, strengthening him. When 
he was buried, and in his grave, they rolled away the stone : Mat. 
xxviii. 2, The angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and rolled 
back the stone from the door. Where he lay in the sepulchre, there 
were two angels in white, sitting, the one at the head, and the other at 
the feet, where the body of Jesus had been, John xx. 12. At his 
ascension, Acts i. 10, 11, Two men stood by them in white apparel, 
which also said, Ye men of Galilee ! why stand ye gazing up into 
heaven ? &c. Therefore this was not a thing which God would keep 
secret from them. What the church knoweth the angels know in 
some measure. Or (2.) In the end, only to know. They did not 
know merely that they might know. To know that we may be know 
ing 1 is arrogancy ; to know that we may gain by our knowledge is 
covetousness and self-seeking ; to know that we may know is curiosity ; 
but to know that we may adore and worship God, this is religion and 
godliness. This was their end, that they might the more admire God 
in the discoveries of himself to the creatures. 

[2.] Not total ignorance of this mystery before it was brought about. 
They had some knowledge of it ; but now to their natural and super 
natural knowledge there is added experimental knowledge, which is 
daily increased in them. 

2. Affirmatively. 

[1.] They have such a deep sense of the worth of these things that 
they desire to know more : 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. By principalities and powers 
are meant angels, so called because Godmaketh use of them in govern 
ing the world, and because of their great power and strength. By 
principalities and powers in heavenly places are meant good angels. 
Now these glorious creatures see more of the wisdom of God by his 
gracious dispensations to the church ; they improve and come to a more 
full knowledge by observing and looking unto the tenor of the gospel, 
and the providences that do accompany it ; though their present state 
of happiness doth give them full satisfaction for the time, yet it is 
capable of some additions, and shall be perfected more fully at the 
last day, when the torments of the fallen angels are also full : 2 Peter 
ii. 4, God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to 
hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto 
judgment. It is true they are in termino, not in via ; there can be 

1 Qu. known ? ED. 


no change of their state ; yet as to the degree they have not their full 
happiness till then. There are some things in this mystery which 
they know not ; it is a deep treasure of wisdom, and the angels cannot 
see to the bottom of it. 

[2.] In other things which they know they delight themselves in the 
view of them. It is a sweet and comfortable speculation, with the 
thoughts of which their hearts are ravished. They desire to look into 
these things out of the delight which they take therein. 

But why do the angels so much delight in the mystery of redemp 
tion. (1.) Because of the glory of God discovered therein. (2.) The 
good of man procured thereby. Both are laid down in the angel s song : 
Luke ii. 14, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good- 
will towards men. 

(1.) For the glory of God. They see their creator gets a great deal 
of honour. God was but half discovered in the creation of the world, 
but now more fully in the redemption of the world. In the creation he 
showed his power, wisdom, and goodness ; but now he discovers more 
attributes, and these in a greater latitude, as his truth, holiness, and 
justice. His truth in that this is the greatest promise ; his holiness, 
for here is the greatest instance of his hatred of evil ; and his justice 
in the agonies, and sufferings, and shame of the Son of God. In the 
work of redemption God discovers his power in dissolving the works 
of the devil, overpowering the resistance of man. It is true, in the 
creation there was nothing to help, but there was nothing to let and 
hinder. His goodness : Rom. iv. 8, But God commended his love 
towards us, in that, while we were j r et sinners, Christ died for us. 
God commendeth his love to us in loving such unworthy creatures, 
and with such a love. So the apostle : Titus iii. 4, But after that 
the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man appeared. 
His wisdom, not in ordering the creatures, but reconciling his attri 
butes. When God embraced such unworthy, polluted creatures, this is 
that the angels are taken with, to see the wisdom, power, and justice 
of God shining forth in the person of our Redeemer and in the work 
of our redemption ; this is an admirable looking-glass wherein to see 
these things. 

(2.) For the good of man. The angels are without envy ; they re 
joice at our welfare, when the nature of man is so much preferred before 
theirs. They are brought in rejoicing when man was made : Job 
xxxviii. 7, When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons 
of God shouted for joy. When Christ was born: Luke ii. 13, And 
suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host 
praising God. When man is converted : Luke xv. 7, Joy shall 
be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth. They rejoice in our 

Use 1. Information. It showeth us 

1. The sublimity of gospel mysteries ; they are speculations that 
befit angels ; the angels that behold the face of God admire at them. 
Oh ! how should we admire the love of God in Christ, that he hath 
provided such things for us in Christ that angels wonder at ! The 
business of our salvation is called a mystery : Eph. iii. 4, Whereby, 


when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of 
Christ ; Eom. xvi. 25, According to the revelation of the mystery, 
which was kept secret since the world began ; 1 Tim. iii. 16, With 
out controversy great is the mystery of godliness. A holy secret, 
transcending the reach of ordinary knowledge, such as nothing of it 
could be known by man or angel before it was revealed ; and after it 
is revealed it is a thing hidden from carnal men in the spiritual beauty 
of it, and in a great measure from believers themselves, if their know 
ledge be compared with what it shall be hereafter : 1 Cor. xiii. 12, 
Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face ; now I know 
in part, then I shall know even as also I am known. Many are scan 
dalised at the scriptures because of the simplicity of them, as contain 
ing only a few plain truths ; but there are mysteries which take up 
the mind and study of angels, and they think them worthy their best 

2. The goodness of them. The angels are delighted in this study. 
It is a pleasant, sweet, ravishing frame of truths ; the more we know 
them aright, the more inquisitive shall we be, and the more diligent 
to know more. Those know nothing of Christ savourily who are 
so soon gospel-glutted and Christ-glutted, and look upon these 
discoveries and discourses of God s grace in Christ as dry chips and 
withered flowers, and hear them without any joy and thankfulness : 
Kev. xix. 10, The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. What 
should we delight in, and busy our heads and hearts about, but with 
God in Christ reconciling the world to himself ? This takes off our 
delight from vain trifles. Many of you gentlemen, that leave this study 
to divines, you lose much of the comfort and sweetness of your lives, 
because you do no more warm your hearts with these thoughts. 
Gentlemen, leave off the reading vain books and romances ; they 
that have found the saving effects of God s love will do so : Eph. iii. 
18, 19, That ye may be able to comprehend with all saints what is 
the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love 
of Christ, which passeth knowledge. This will be for our comfort : 
Rom. v. 5, Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by 
the Holy Ghost given to us. It will quicken us to holiness, if ever we 
feel the love of God : 2 Cor. v. 14, The love of Christ constraineth us. 

3. It informeth us of the harmony between the churches, between 
the old testament church and the Christian church: John viii. 56, 
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was 
glad ; Luke x. 24, I tell you that many prophets and kings have 
desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them, and 
to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. The 
times of the gospel would to them have been a sweet sight : they 
ardently desired to see Christ in the flesh. And between the church 
militant and the church triumphant ; they join together in admiring 
Christ. Saints and angels have one beatitude, beholding the face of 
God ; therefore they join in one duty, looking on Christ. We shall 
one day meet in one assembly, Heb. xii. 23. We hope to be, Luke 
xx. 36, 10-0776X04, Like the angels. J We should do as they do if we 
would be as they be. 

VOL. xvui. o 


4. That creatures busy their thoughts as they are affected. Base 
spirits are busied about light matters; but eagles will not stoop to 
catch flies, nor angels employ themselves in inferior and mean specu 
lations, but thsy have a great delight in acknowledging the manifold 
wisdom of God in the work of redemption. Great spirits are taken up 
with things of great weight and importance : Acts xvii. 11, These 
were more noble than they of Thessalonica, in that they received the 
word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, 
whether these things were so. Whilst others quench their souls in 
sensualities, they are for the divine study. These were evyevea-Tepoi. 
It is not meant of natural nobility, but spiritual true nobility and 
excellency, which lieth in a care of salvation ; not in wearing fine 
clothes or enjoying plentiful revenues or good descent, but in the 
study of Christ ; not in greatness of birth, but diligence in searching 
out the mysteries of salvation ; that is nobility indeed, not to enslave 
ourselves to the opinions of men and their customs : 1 Cor. vii. 23, 
Ye are bought with a price ; be not ye the servants of men/ Not to 
wallow in earthly pleasure, but seek things above : Col. iii. 1, If ye 
then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where 
Ohrist sitteth on the right hand of God ; Phil. iii. 20, For our con 
versation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the 
Lord Jesus Christ. Not to be overcome by a man s passions and 
corrupt affections : Prov. xvi. 32, He that is slow to anger is better 
than the mighty, and he that ruleth his own spirit than he that taketh 
a city ; Prov. xxv. 28, He that hath no rule over his own spirit, is 
like a city that is broken dowa and without walls. These noble 
spirits will not yield to lusts. 

Use 2. To reprove 

1. The slightness of men, and to confound us with shame that we 
do no more take care to look after this happiness, that we do so unwill 
ingly think of these things, or set apart ourselves for the study of 
them. Shall we slight these things which angels wonder at ? Some 
will scarce vouchsafe to look into these things, scarce think or talk 
seriously of them, whilst their minds and discourses are taken up with 
baubles and trifles. Angels are more noble beings, nearer to God ; 
they are not the parties interested ; we have particular benefit by 
them : Mat. xxii. 5, But they made light of it. They would not let 
it enter into their care and thoughts. We are bound to this under 
pain of damnation ; it is not a thing arbitrary : Heb. ii. 3, How shall 
we escape if we neglect so great salvation ? Bewail your stupidness 
that you have so slight a sense of these things. Meditation I know 
is painful work ; it is very difficult ; but the sweetness of the argu 
ment should persuade us to it. 

2. It reproveth that satiety that is apt to creep upon us. Why 
should we be weary of searching into these holy mysteries ? What is 
the reason .of this satiety ? (1.) We search for them out of curiosity, 
or content ourselves -with mere speculations, which is an adulterous 
love to truth, not to get an interest in them : John iv. 10, If thou 
knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to 
drink, thou wouldst have asked, and he would have given thee living 
water. (2.) We do not look upon them with the eye of faith : Eph. 


iii. 17, 18, That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, 
being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with 
all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and 
to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge. Our embracing 
by faith is a good means to make this study effectual. (3.) They 
content themselves with a superficial view, but do not make an accu 
rate inspection. We do not know it so as to stand wondering at it in 
all its dimensions : Eph. iii. 18, That ye may be able to comprehend 
with all saints what is the breadth; and length, and depth, and height. 
Breadth, whereby it is extended to men of all ages and ranks : Mat. 
xxviii. 20, Lo, I am with you always, to the end of the world ; 
1 Tim. ii. 4, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the 
knowledge of the truth. Length, whereby it reacheth from eternity to 
eternity : Ps. ciii. 17, The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to 
everlasting/ Depth ; it stoopeth to our lowest misery. Christ deli 
vered us from the depths of misery and sin: Ps. Ixxxvi. 13, Thou 
hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. And there is height in 
it, whereby it reacheth to heavenly joys and happiness : John xiv. 3, 
If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive 
you to myself, that where I am, there ye may be also. Study those 
several respects and ways wherein it is manifested, till you are ravished 
with the thoughts of it ; draw solid comfort, hope, and quickening from 
it : Ps. xxxix. 3, While I was musing the fire burned. 

3. It reproves those that only study it, but do not get an interest 
and experience of the comfort of it, otherwise it is a cold story : 
1 Peter ii. 3, If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. There 
is Christ revealed to us and Christ revealed in us ; then is there sweet 
ness in these truths : Gal. i. 16, It pleased God to reveal his Son 
in me. 

4. It reproves those that mar their savour with fleshly lusts, and are 
distracted with hunting after the pleasures and profits of the world : 
Eom. viii. 5, For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of 
the flesh. They that were invited to the feast, They made light of 
it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise, 
Mat. xxii. 5. They do not value the glory of God and the true inte 
rest of their own souls. 

Use 3. Is to persuade us to search into and meditate upon these 
blessed and glorious mysteries. Surely if the angels desire to look into 
these things, they much more are propounded to our admiration and 
delight, because we have more need, by reason of the imperfection of 
our knowledge, and these things do more concern us, because we are 
the parties interested. Needless speculations we may well spare ; the 
things which concern our redemption by Christ are our own affairs, 
and our greatest and most necessary affairs. To know our threatened 
. misery to prevent it, and our promised happiness to obtain it, what wo 
must do, and what we must be for ever, is that business which we 
must most attend upon. 

Here I shall inquire (1.) What; (2.) How; (3.) Why. 

First, What ? The person of our Eedeemer and the work of redemp 

1. The person of our Eedeemer is a point of great concernment, to 


be often thought upon. The frame of nature is set as a glass, wherein 
to behold and admire God: Kom. i. 20, For the invisible things of 
him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood 
by the things that are made, even his eternal power and godhead. 
Much more the person of our Eedeemer, for we best behold God in 
the face of Jesus Christ : 2 Cor. iv. 6, God, who commanded the light 
to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light 
of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ ; 
wherein we see God in our nature, and as head over all things to the 
church, and as our Lord and Saviour. God is most honoured in his 
greatest works, as the sun doth more honour him than a star, and a 
star than a plant or herb and pile of grass ; so the person of Christ 
doth more set forth God than either man or angel, or anything be 
sides : Heb. i. 3, Who being airavyacrpa rfc 86^, the brightness 
of his glory, and the express image of his person. As God sets forth 
more of his glory in him, so he expecteth it from him and by him. 
We are always looking at our own benefit, but we do not look at God s 
glory, nor what of God is discovered in Christ, in whom his goodness, 
wisdom, and power doth eminently shine forth. Certainly the know 
ledge of Christ is the Christian s wisdom, the true and proper feast of 
a rational mind. Two things are most considerable in Christ his 
relation to God, and his relation to the universal church. 

[1.] His relation to God, as the express image of his person. So 
the angels delight to look upon him. Those holy creatures do not 
consider their own benefit so much as their Creator s glory. Where 
they find most of God, there they are most ravished, therefore they 
greatly delight themselves when they consider the wisdom, power, and 
goodness of God as manifested in Christ. The contemplation of these 
things is their happiness. Now, shall the angels pay this rent of glory 
to God, and shall not we ? Surely God should be as dear to us as to 

[2.] His relation to the universal church. It is more to be the 
church s head and Saviour than ours in particular. The angels adore 
him for the excellency of his office, and his transcendant glory and 
dignity. It doth us a double good to reflect upon this ; partly to make 
our affection more public, and that we may consider the common 
good ; for a narrow private spirit maketh Christians self-seeking and 
unpeaceable. Christ mainly is the head and saviour of the body: 
Eph. v. 23, Christ is the head of the church, and he is the saviour of 
the body. When you see that he is head of all saints, under what 
form and denomination whatsoever, your affections are less liable to 
partiality, for then all Christians will be dear to you, as they are 
united to you in him, and you will be more tender of the prosperity 
of the church, of which Christ is the head. And partly to fortify you 
against the splendour of all created glory ; for, Eph. i. 21, Christ is 
exalted far above all principalities, and powers, and might, and 
dominion, and every name that is named ; not only in this world, but 
also in that which is to come. The glory and splendour of earthly 
things doth often dazzle our eyes ; now it is good to divert our minds 
by considering the glory and excellency of Christ. Kings and em 
perors are nothing to him, less than the light of a candle compared with 



the sun. The angels see him far above them, and we should see him 
far above all created power and glory, and so hearten ourselves against 
all discouragements. 

2. The work of our redemption, which is double 

[1.] In reconciling us to God : 2 Cor. v. 19, God was in Christ 
reconciling the world to himself/ We should always ravish our hearts 
with this speculation : Heb. iii. 1, Consider the apostle and high 
priest of our profession, Christ Jesus. He is our high priest as 
dealing with God, and our apostle as dealing with man. God thought 
it worthy of his eternal thoughts, and therefore we should more set 
our minds a-work about it. Eedemption by Christ is so much slighted, 
because we do not consider the high and excellent ends thereof. 
Certainly every faculty must be exercised in praising God, mind as 
well as heart ; and this is the proper object to exercise our minds, as 
it doth the angelical contemplation, and by our minds our hearts. 

[2.] In vanquishing our enemies, and removing the impediments 
of our salvation. By merit Christ did it on the cross : Col. ii. 15, 
Having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them 
openly, triumphing over them in it ; that is, on the cross. Satan 
triumphed visibly, Christ invisibly. It was the hour of the power of 
darkness, and yet of the conquest of the Son of God. Representative 
he did it in his ascension: Eph. iv. 8, When he ascended up on high, 
he led captivity captive ; he foiled his enemies on the cross, and he 
triumphed over them at his ascension ; but it was before the tribunal 
of God, in the sight of angels and our faith. But then there is an 
actual conquest and triumph. The conquest is still carrying on till 
his kingdom be complete: Ps. ex. 1, The Lord said unto my Lord, 
Sit thou on my right hand till I make thy enemies thy footstool. 
The effects are discerned, as Christ casteth the devil out of his temples 
and territories, and out of the hearts of men. The triumph is gloriously 
visible and sensible, and open to the view of all at the last day. In 
both these things the angels are concerned. In his conquests, as Christ 
doth confound the wisdom of men and devils in maintaining and 
preserving his church. They are a part of Christ s army, and have a 
great respect to his church : Heb. i. 13, 14, But to which of the 
angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand until I make thine 
enemies thy footstool ? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth 
to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? They are some 
of God s messengers, that help to restore and recover man from the 
power of the devil, and disdain not the service Christ appoints them 
for lost sinners, but have a great respect to his church and the assem 
blies of his people : 1 Cor. xi. 10, For this cause ought the woman to 
have power on her head, because of the angels ; 1 Tim. v. 21, I 
charge thee before God, and the elect angels. For his triumph ; 
with them Christ will appear at the end of the world, when he hath 
won the field, and cometh in triumph to confound his conquered 
enemies : 2 Thes. i. 7, The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from hea 
ven with his mighty angels. These things the angels pry into, so 
should we. 

Secondly, How? 

1. Accurately and seriously. Usually we content ourselves with 


running cursory thoughts, never sit and pause with ourselves what 
manner of saviour and salvation this is, what is required of them that 
would be partakers of it, and so content ourselves with a superficial 
view, without an accurate inspection. Slight and shallow apprehen 
sions leave no impression on the soul. The hen that often straggleth 
from her nest suffereth her eggs to chill. We should dwell upon these 
things till they produce a clearer knowledge, a firmer belief, an higher 
estimation, a greater admiration ; for this is to resemble angels : Eph. 
iii. 18, That we may comprehend with all saints the depth, and 
length, and breadth, and height; all which begets solid comforts. 
When the mind is wholly taken up with other things, the soundest 
knowledge worketh not. 

2. Spiritually, profitably, practically. Our business is not so much 
to know new truths about the gospel, as to know them in a more use 
ful manner. Let us pry into these things as the angels do, not to 
satisfy our curiosity with a little notional knowledge, or out of pride, 
that we may pertinently discourse of them, or hold up an argument 
about them, but that God may be glorified and admired in the person 
of the Eedeemer, and our souls delighted for our comfort and quicken 
ing, and weaned from the vanities of the world : ver. 13, Wherefore 
gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end, for the 
grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ/ 

Thirdly, Why ? 

1. Because it is an honourable employment to look into the mysteries 
of salvation, and to be much conversant about them. It will be a 
great part of our happiness and work in heaven to behold Christ s 
glory : John xvii. 24, Father, I will that those whom thou hast given 
me may be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory. 
All our faith, hope, and labour tendeth to this. The queen of Sheba 
took a long journey to behold the glory of Solomon, which did so 
ravish her that her spirit even fainted within her ; and yet that was 
but an earthly, temporal, fading glory. But to behold the majesty and 
greatness which Christ our Kedeemer hath at the right hand of God 
is the great work which we have to do to all eternity ; therefore now 
we should busy ourselves about these things, that our mouths may be 
filled with praise and thanksgiving. 

2. Because it is delightful to gracious hearts. God findeth a delight 
in Christ, and shall not we? There is more in the gospel than a 
vulgar eye taketh notice of, or our first apprehensions represent unto us. 
Shall angels wonder at these things, joy and delight in these things, 
andshall we slight them ? Paul counted all things dung in compa 
rison of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, Phil. iii. 8 ; and 1 
Cor. ii. 2, I determined to know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ, 
and him crucified/ Surely unless our thoughts are lawfully diverted 
or suspended we should think of no other thing. Austin cast away 
Tully quia nomen Christinon erat ibi, because the name of Christ was 
not in it. 

3. It is useful. 

[1.] That all created glory may wax dim, and be more obscured in 
our eyes ; their power is nothing, their loveliness is nothing in com 
parison of Christ; this should take up thy soul, and draw off thy 



observation from deluding vanities, such as riches, and honours, and 
pleasures. As the light of a candle is scarce seen when the sun 
shineth brightly, so all the tempting baits of the flesh are nothing 
when the glories of Christ are considered by us. See ver. 13, Where 
fore gird up the loins of your mind, and be sober, and hope to the end 
for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus 
Christ. So for affrighting terrors ; what are potentates and powers to- 
him ? All authorities and powers, lawful or usurped, must be sub 
ject to Christ : 1 Peter iii. 22, Who is gone into heaven, and is at the 
right hand of God, angels, and authorities, and powers being made 
subject unto him. This promoteth the joy and constancy of believers 
under sufferings. 

2. To draw out our hearts after him : John iv. 10, If thou knewest 
the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, 
thou wouldst have asked, and he would have given thee living water. 
Looking after these things is in order to choice: Mat. xiii. 45, 46, The 
kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant-man seeking goodly pearls, 
who, when he hath found one pearl of great price, he went and sold 
all that he had, and bought it/ What are all things in the world if 
set against Christ and his salvation ? 

3. That we should converse with him in holy duties with more reve 
rence : Heb. xii. 25, See that ye refuse not him that speaketh ; for 
if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more 
shall not we escape if we turn away from him that speaketh from 
heaven ; Heb. ii. 3, How shall we escape if we neglect so great 
salvation ? which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and 
was confirmed unto us by them that heard him. Now, shall we 
scarce vouchsafe these things a serious thought? The angels are 
concerned in a way of duty, not in a way of benefit ; it is their duty 
to worship Christ : Heb. i. 6, And again, when he brought his first- 
begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God wor 
ship him ; but not by way of recovery ; and yet they desire to look 
into this glorious mystery. 


For we through tlie Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by 
faith. GAL. v. 5. 

IN the context the apostle persuadeth the Galatians to stand fast in 
the liberty of the gospel, and not to be entangled again in the bon 
dage of legal ceremonies, as if they were necessary to justification or 
acceptance with God. He is earnest in the case, for the glory of his 
master and the good of souls was concerned ; and therefore useth 
divers motives. (1.) They lose all benefit by Christ, ver. 2. (2.) 
They are debtors to the whole law, ver. 3. (3.) They are fallen from 
grace, ver. 4. And now, in the fourth place, the consent of the 
Christian gospel church, who, upon justification by faith, expect 
remission of sins and eternal life. Their judgment is the more to be 
esteemed because they are taught by the Spirit of God to renounce 
the legal covenant, and expect their acceptance with God by faith 
only : For we, &c. 

In these words observe (1.) The end, scope, and blessedness of a 
Christian, in the word Hope/ (2.) The firm ground of it, The 
righteousness of faith. (3.) The carriage of Christians, We wait. 
(4.) The inward moving cause of waiting for this hope in this way, 
Through the Spirit. They are taught by him, inclined by him, so 
to do. 

1. The blessedness of a Christian is implied in the word Hope. 
For hope is taken two ways in scripture for the thing hoped for, and 
for the affection or act of him that hopeth. Here it is taken in the 
first sense, for the thing hoped for. As also Titus ii. 1 3, Looking 
for the blessed hope. So Col. i. 5, For the hope which is laid up 
for us in heaven. 

2. The ground and foundation of this hope, The righteousness of 
faith. What it is I will show you by-and-by. Only here it is 
opposed, partly to the covenant of works, which could not give life ; 
partly to the legal observances ; for it presently followeth, Neither 
circumcision, nor uncircumcision, &c. But by no means is it opposed 
to evangelical obedience ; for the whole new testament obedience is 
comprised in this term, The righteousness of faith ; as appeareth 
by the apostle s explication in the next verse, But faith, which works 
by love. 

3. The duty of a Christian, We wait. De jure, we ought ; de 
facto, we do. All true Christians wait for the mercy of God and life 


everlasting. And he calleth it waiting, because a believer hath not 
so much in possession as in expectation. And this waiting is not a 
devout sloth, but implieth diligence in the use of all means whereby 
we may obtain this hope. 

4. The inward efficient cause, Through the Spirit. We are taught 
by the Spirit, inclined by the Spirit so to do. 

[1.] Taught; for the doctrine is mystical : flesh and blood revealeth 
it not to us, but the Holy Ghost, Mat. xvi. 17. 

[2.] Inclined to this spiritual course of life, wherein we obtain this 
blessed hope, by the same Spirit ; for this holy and humble way is 
contrary to the interest of the flesh. And we are told afterward, Gal. 
v. 25, that we live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit. 

So that in effect here is all Christianity abridged. Our blessed 
ness, the way to it ; our help, or how we are brought to walk in that 

Doct. That by the Spirit all true Christians are inclined to pursue 
after the hope built upon the righteousness of faith. 

1. What is the righteousness of faith ? 

2. What is the hope built upon it ? 

3. What is the interest and work of the Spirit in bringing us to 
wait for this hope ? 

I. What is the righteousness of faith ? We told you before it is 
opposed either to the law of works or the ceremonial observances of 
the law of Moses. But more particularly it may be determined (1.) 
Either with respect to the object of faith ; or (2.) To the act or grace 
of faith itself; (3.) With respect to the rule and warrant of faith, 
which is the gospel or new covenant. 

1. This righteousness of faith may be considered with respect to 
the object of faith ; and the proper and principal object of faith is 
Jesus Christ and his merits ; and so the righteousness of faith is the 
obedience and death of Christ, which, because it is apprehended by 
faith, it is sometimes called the righteousness of Christ, and sometimes 
the righteousness of faith : Phil. iii. 9, And be found in him, not 
having mine own righteousness, which is by the law, but that which is 
by the faith of Christ, even the righteousness which is of God by 
faith. This certainly is the ground of our acceptance with God, and 
therefore the bottom and foundation of all our hope : Rom. v. 19, By 
the obedience of one shall many be made righteous ; that is, by 
Christ s merit and obedience ; and 2 Cor. v. 21, He was made sin 
for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 
This is it we rely upon, as the only meritorious cause of whatever 
benefit we obtain by the new covenant. 

2. With respect to faith itself, whereby the merits of Christ s 
obedience and death are applied and made beneficial to us. When 
we believe, we are qualified ; and therefore it is said that Abraham 
believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness, Rom. iv. 3 ; 
that is, God accepted him as righteous for Christ s sake. And so he 
doth every one that believeth ; for, Rom. iii. 22, The righteousness of 
God is by faith of Christ Jesus, unto all, and upon all them that 
believe ; without any difference. If Abraham was justified by faith, 
we are justified by faith. Now, if you ask me what kind of believer is 


qualified and accepted as righteous, I answer It is the penitent 
believer and the working believer. 

[1.] The penitent believer; for faith and repentance are insepar 
able companions : Mark i. 15, Eepent, and believe the gospel ; Acts 
xii. 38, Repent, and be baptized everyone of you, in the name of 
Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of 
the Holy Ghost ; Acts xi. 21, The hand of the Lord was with them, 
and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. These two 
cannot be severed ; for till we are affected with that miserable estate 
whereunto we have plunged ourselves by our sins, and there be an 
hearty sorrow for them, and a perfect hatred and detestation of them, 
and a full and peremptory resolution to forsake them, that we may 
turn to the Lord and live in his obedience, we will not prize Christ 
nor his benefits, nor see such a need of the spiritual physician to heal 
our wounded souls ; nor will God accept us as righteous while we con 
tinue in our unrighteousness. So that, though it be righteousness 
of faith, and the believer be only accepted as righteous, yet it is the 
penitent believer whose heart and mind is changed, and is willing by 
Christ to come to God. 

[2.] It is the working believer ; for so it is explained in the next 
verse, Faith working by love ; and so expressed elsewhere : Heb. xi. 
7, By faith, Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved 
with fear, prepared an ark, to the saving of his house, by which he 
became an heir of the righteousness which is by faith. Observe there, 
the saving of Noah from the flood is a type and shadow of salvation by 
Christ. The flood drowned and destroyed the impenitent world, but 
Noah and his family were saved in the ark. We are warned of the 
eternal penalties threatened by God ; if we do not repent and believe, 
we shall not be saved from wrath ; but if we believe, and prepare an 
ark, diligently use the means appointed for our safety, then we become 
heirs of the righteousness of faith, are accepted by God, and have a 
right to all the benefits which depend thereupon. It was a business of 
vast charge, and an eminent piece of self-denying obedience, to prepare 
an ark. So true faith showeth itself by obedience. We read of the 
Obedience of faith, Kom. xvi. 26, as the fruit of the gospel. 

3. With respect to its rule and warrant, and that is the gospel and 
new covenant, called the word of faith, Kom. x. 8 ; The hearing of 
faith, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hear 
ing of faith ? Gal. iii. 2 ; The law of faith, Bom. iii. 27. This is the 
doctrine which is believed. Now all that the new covenant requireth 
may be called the righteousness of faith. For look, as to be justified 
by the law, or works required by the law, is all one ; so to be justified 
by faith, and to be justified by the new covenant, is all one also. And 
therefore, whatever the new covenant requireth as our duty, that we 
may be capable of the privileges thereof, is a part of the righteousness 
of faith. Now it requireth repentance from dead works : Acts xvii. 30, 
He hath commanded all men to repent, because he will judge the 
world in righteousness. We are to repent in order to the judgment, 
which will be either of condemnation or justification. So the new 
covenant requireth faith in our Lord Jesus Christ : John v. 24, He 
that believeth in Christ shall not come into condemnation. So it 


requireth new obedience : Heb. v. 9, He is become the author of eternal 
salvation to them that obey him. None are qualified for eternal life 
but those who perform sincere obedience to his commands. It is not 
absolutely perfect obedience that is required, but only sincere and 
upright. And there is a necessity that we should be sincerely holy, 
not only in order to salvation, but pardon : 1 John i. 7, If we walk 
in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, 
and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin/ And 
in order to the application of the blood of Christ to our souls, or to 
the obtaining of the gift of the Spirit, or any new-covenant gift : Acts 
v. 32, We are his witnesses of these things, and so is also the holy 
Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. 

Well, then, these are the conditions to be found in us before we are 
made partakers of the full benefit of Christ s merit ; repentance towards 
God, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and new obedience. And all 
these are comprised in the expression, The righteousness of faith ; 
for faith receiveth Christ, and the promises made to us in Christ, upon 
the terms and conditions required in the gospel. Only these things 
are of a different nature, and concur differently. The obedience of 
Christ in a way by itself of merit and satisfaction ; faith, repentance, 
and our obedience, only in a way of application. And in the applica 
tion, the introduction is by faith and repentance, and the continuance 
of our right by new obedience. Yea, in the introduction repentance 
respects God and faith Christ : Acts xx. 21, Testifying both to Jews, 
and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our 
Lord Jesus Christ. We return to God, as our chief good and sove 
reign Lord, that we may love, serve, and obey him, and be happy in 
his love. Faith respects Christ as redeemer and mediator, who hath 
opened the way for our return by his merit and satisfaction, or recon 
ciliation wrought between us and God, and given us an heart to return 
by the renewing grace of his Spirit. Coming to God and being accepted 
with God is our end ; Christ is our way ; and indeed in the righteous 
ness of faith the chiefest part belongeth to him, who by his blood hath 
procured this covenant for us, for whose sake only God giveth us grace 
to repent, believe, and obey ; and after we have done our duty, doth 
for his sake only accept of us and give us our reward. These are not 
co-ordinate causes, but he is the supreme cause ; all that we do is sub 
ordinate to his merit and obedience. 

II. What is the hope built upon it, or the things hoped for by virtue 
of this righteousness ? and they are pardon and life. 

1. Certainly pardon of sins is intended in the righteousness of faith, 
as appeareth by that of the apostle : Kom. iv. 6-8, David describeth 
the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness 
without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, 
and whose sins are covered ; blessed is the man unto whom the Lord 
will not impute sin. If this be the description of the righteousness of 
faith, or the privileges which belong thereunto (for now we are upon 
the hope of the righteousness of faith), then certainly remission of sins 
is a special branch of this felicity. 

2. There is also in it salvation or eternal life : Titus iii. 7, That 
being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs, according to the 


hope of eternal life. The crown of glory is for the justified, called 
therefore the crown of righteousness, 2 Tim. iv. 8. You have both 
together : Acts xxvi. 18, That they may receive forgiveness of sins, 
an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith/ These two 
benefits are most necessary, the one to allay the fears of the guilty 
creature, the other to gratify his desires of happiness. Therefore the 
apostles, when they planted the gospel, they propounded this motive 
of forgiveness of sins : Acts xiii. 38, * Through this man is preached 
unto you the forgiveness of sins ; and also the other of life eternal : 
2 Tim. i. 10, That Christ hath brought life and immortality to light 
through the gospel. 

These two benefits give us the greatest support and comfort against 
all kind of troubles. Our troubles are either inward or outward. 
Against troubles of mind, or inward troubles, we are supported by the 
pardon of our sins : Mat. ix. 2, Son, be of good cheer ; thy sins be 
forgiven thee. Against outward troubles we are supported by the 
hopes of a better life being secured to us : 2 Cor. iv. 17, 18, 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. Again, both are eminently accomplished at the last judgment, 
when the righteousness of faith standeth us in most stead : Acts iii. 19, 
Kepent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted 
out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the 
Lord. Then by the one we are freed from the guilt of sin, and so have 
deliverance from eternal death ; by the other we have not only right, 
but entrance into eternal glory. What is our whole scope but to be 
absolved by Christ at last, and enter into eternal life ? 

Finally, These two are to be regarded, to obviate their mistake who 
think indeed that faith, and it may be repentance, is necessary to 
pardon, or to dissolve our obligation to punishment, but not new obed 
ience. But in their place all the conditions are necessary. They think 
new obedience is necessary to salvation or eternal life, but not to justi 
fication. But salvation is as gracious an act of mercy, as free and 
undeserved a gift, as pardon : Rom. vi. 23, The wages of sin is death, 
but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
Eternal life is not oifrwvtov, wages, but %apt9 Oeov, the gift of God. 
It is as much merited by Christ as the other ; and therefore as proper 
a part, yea, the chief part of the hope of righteousness by faith, and 
that which is only waited for, and not enjoyed. 

III. What is the work of the Spirit in this business, in urging 
believers to wait for the hope of righteousness by faith ? 

I answer The work of the Spirit doth either concern the duties of 
the new covenant or the privileges of the new covenant, or what is 
common to them both. I begin with the latter. 

1. What is common to them both. He doth convince us of the 
truth of the gospel, both of means and end ; that there is such an hope, 
and the righteousness of faith is the only way to obtain it. Now this 
he doth externally and internally. 

[1.] Externally, and by way of objective evidence. All the certainty 


that we have of the gospel is by the Spirit : Acts v. 32, We are 
witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Ghost, which he hath given 
to them that obey him, and John xv. 26, 27, When the Comforter 
is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of 
truth which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me ; and 
ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with m.e from the be 
ginning/ Mark, in both these places the two solemn witnesses are the 
Spirit and the apostles ; the one principal, the other ministerial ; the 
one declaring doctrine and matter of fact, the other assuring the world 
of the truth of their testimony. The apostles testified of Christ s say 
ings and doings, and the Holy Ghost, which came down upon them 
and the rest that consorted with them, and was given in some measure 
to those that obeyed their doctrine, was an undoubted evidence that 
God owned it from heaven. Here was enough to open men s eyes, and to 
give them a right understanding of his person and doctrine, that it was 
of God. The visible gifts of the Holy Ghost, and his powerful working 
in the hearts of men, in order to their conversion unto God, these admir 
able gifts and graces shed abroad upon men were a notable conviction 
to the world that Christ was a teacher sent from God, to teach men 
the way to eternal life and happiness. This did afford sufficient matter 
of confirmation and conviction, by the Spirit shed abroad and poured 
forth on the Christian church. 

[2.] Internally, enlightening their minds and inclining their hearts 
to embrace the truth ; which maketh the former testimony effectual. 
So the apostle prayeth, Eph. i. 17, For the Spirit of wisdom and 
revelation, in the knowledge of Christ, tlie eyes of their understanding 
being enlightened, that they might know what is the hope of his call 
ing, and the riches of the glory of the inheritance of the saints in 
light. To the sight of anything these things are necessary an object, 
a medium, and a faculty. As in outward sight, an object that may be 
seen ; a convenient light to represent it and make the object perspi 
cuous ; an organ or faculty of seeing in the eye. Unless there be an 
object, you bid a man see nothing. Unless there be a medium, a due 
light to represent it, as in a fog, or at midnight, the sharpest sight 
can see nothing. Unless there be a faculty, neither the object nor 
medium will avail ; a blind man cannot see anything at noonday. 
Now here is an object, the way of salvation by Christ ; a convenient 
light, it is represented in the gospel ; and the faculty is prepared, for 
the eyes of the mind are opened by the Spirit, that we may see both 
way and end, the necessity of holiness, and the reality of future glory 
and blessedness. Alas ! without this sight we busy ourselves about 
vanities and childish toys, and never mind the things which are most 
necessary. Certainly we can have no saving understanding of spiri 
tual truths, neither what is the benefit of Christianity or the blessed 
condition of God s people, nor what are the duties of Christianity, so as 
our hearts may be held to them, or how we may behave ourselves as 
true believers. 

2. The work of the Spirit as to the duties of the new covenant. 
He doth not only convince us of the reality and the necessity of Christ s 
obedience and our holiness, but by his powerful operation frameth 
and inclineth our hearts to the duties required of us. Faith itself is 


wrought in us by this holy Spirit, for it is the gift of God, Eph. ii. 
8 ; and so is repentance and obedience : Heb. viii. 10, I will write 
my laws upon their hearts, and put them into their minds. Moses 
law was written on tables of stone, as a rule without them ; but 
Christ s law on the heart and mind, as drawing and inclining them to 
obey it. The renewing grace of the Spirit of God doth prepare us 
and fit us, and his exciting grace doth quicken us, that we may do 
what is pleasing in his sight. And therefore, if we profess to live 
under the new covenant, we are inexcusable if we do not bestir our 
selves, and accomplish the work of faith with power, and obey from 
the heart the doctrine delivered to us. Indeed the Spirit doth most 
naturally put us upon spiritual worship and spiritual holiness ; these 
things agree most with his being and nature. The observances of the 
law were carnal, yet as long as God s command continued, the Spirit 
inclined to obedience to them ; but a better law being enacted by 
Christ, the Spirit, that proceedeth from the Father and the Son, 
suiteth his operations accordingly ; for he cometh into us as Christ s 
Spirit : He shall take of mine and glorify me, John xvi. 14. All 
that he doth accordeth with Christ, as Christ s will doth with the 

3. The work of the Spirit as to the privileges of the new covenant, 
which are pardon and life. 

[1.] As to pardon, he is the Comforter. He cometh into our hearts 
as the pledge of our atonement ; we receive it when we receive the 
Spirit, Rom. v. 11 ; and his sanctifying work is the sure evidence that 
God is at peace with us : 1 Thes. v. 23, The God of peace sanctify 
you wholly. And doth engage us to wait on God in the way of well 
doing, till our pardon be pronounced, and we be absolved by our 
judge s own mouth, in the hearing of all the world. In the mean 
time, applieth to us the blood of Christ for the pacifying of our con 
sciences, and the comforts of the pardoning covenant, that our peace 
with God may be more firmly settled. 

[2.] As to life, he doth three things 

(1.) Prepareth us and fitteth us for it: 2 Cor. v. 5, He that hath 
wrought us for this very thing is God, who also hath given us the 
earnest of the Spirit. None are received into glory but those that are 
prepared for glory: Kom. ix. 23, Vessels of mercy which he had 
before prepared unto glory. He giveth us the heavenly mind, or a 
heart working up to God and heaven, and purifieth us more and more 
for that blessed estate. 

(2.) He assureth us of it : 2 Cor. i. 22, Who hath anointed us, and 
sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. The 
beginning of holiness and love to God is a pledge and assurance of the 
eight of God, and our complete vision of him and love to him ; for 
God would not so against nature plant such dispositions in us, if he 
meant not to perfect them ; nor print his image upon us if he intended 
not a more full conformity to himself in another and better world. 

(3.) He comforteth us, and raiseth our longing after this blessed 
estate ; for the beginnings we have here are called also the first-fruits, 
Kom. viii. 23. The beginnings are sweet ; what will the completion 
be ? As he is the earnest to confirm our hopes, the first-fruits to 


raise our affections, that we may be diligent and serious in the pursuit 
of it. 

Ifse of att. I. Here you see your scope, what you should look for 
and hope for the forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among the 

2. Here you see your work, and what you should now seek after, 
The righteousness of faith. 

3. Here you see your help, and what will enable you to obtain, 
Through the Spirit. Oh ! let these things be more in your thoughts. 

[1.] For your happiness, or the great privileges which you should 
most value and hope for 

First, The forgiveness of sins. I shall only suggest these two things 
to you 

(1.) Till sin be forgiven, you can never have found peace within 
yourselves, but still God will be matter of fear and terror to you. 
Adam, as soon as he had sinned, he was afraid : Gen. iii. 10, I heard 
thy voice in the garden, and was afraid, and hid myself. In the 
morning of that day he was made by the hand of God, and in a few- 
hours runneth away from his maker as afraid of him. So Isa. xxxiii. 
14, * The sinners in Sion are afraid ; as unable to abide the presence 
of God. Now we, that have so much to do with God, to depend upon 
him every moment for all that we are, have, and want, surely it would 
be a comfortable thing to us to hear not only that sin may be pardoned, 
but is pardoned: Isa. xl. 1, 2, Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, 
saith the Lord ; speak comfortably unto Jerusalem ; cry to her, that 
her warfare is accomplished, her sin is pardoned. There is the true 
ground of comfort, to have sin forgiven. Other comforts tickle the 
senses, but this soaketh into the heart. 

(2.) By waiting on the duties of the gospel, this comfort is more 
and more settled in the heart. With the serious, it is not an easy 
thing to get this comfort settled ; for the conscience of sin is not so 
soon laid aside. We have wronged God, and incurred his displeasure ; 
but now to believe that he is appeased is not so soon done as spoken. 
Some are guilty and senseless, but yet no sound peace : Heb. ii. 14, 
Subject to bondage ; though they feel it not. Others are sensible, 
and have a fear of God s wrath. It is a great while ere they can get 
their hearts to settle on the possible pardon or reconciliation offered 
in the covenant. When they do, it is but, It may be : Joel ii. 14, Who 
knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind 
him ? Zeph. ii. 3, It may be ye shall be hid in the day of the 
Lord s anger. But to judge of the sincerity of our qualification, so as 
to say, Ps. ciii. 3, Who pardoneth all thy sins, and healeth all thy 
diseases, this cometh not by-and-by. The case is this : God is angry ; 
his anger is ratified by the sentence of his law, and conscience is privy 
to our own disobedience, and applieth the sentence of his righteous 
law to itself. Some part of the anger may break out in his providence. 
Our duties and addresses to God about pardon are very imperfect, 
therefore it is difficult to have pardon settled ; yet by acquaintance 
with God, in the exercise of faith, repentance, and new obedience, we 
come to get the peace established: Job xxii. 21, Acquaint thyself 
with him, habitually converse with him, and be at peace. 


[2.] For eternal life. Oh ! let it be your great hope to be translated 
into the glory and joys of heaven when you flit out of this world. 
This life will not always last ; you must die, but you do not wholly 
perish when you die. Now what shall become of you to all eternity ? 
Would it not be a blessed thing to be assured that, when you appear 
before the bar of your judge, you shall not come into condemnation, 
but obtain eternal life ? Surely happiness is desired by all. The 
young man that cheapened the pearl of the gospel, but was loath to 
go to the price, said, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal 
life ? Markx. 17. Surely this is the question which all serious people 
should busy themselves about. The jailer did so : Acts xvi. 30, 
Sirs, what must I do to be saved ? Alas ! other things do not touch 
us so near. Not, how shall I do to live in the world ? but, how shall 
I do to live with God for ever ? let your hearts be upon that : Ps. 
xxiv. 3, Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord ? who shall stand 
in his holy place ? 

Having spoke to your hope and scope, let me, secondly, now speak 
to your work, what you must seek after, and that is, The righteousness 
of faith. To enforce this consider 

1. There is no appearing before God without some righteousness of 
one sort or another. Why ? Because it is an holy and just God be 
fore whom we appear ; and shall not the judge of all the earth do 
right ? Gen. xviii. 25 ; and 1 Sam. vi. 20, Who is able to stand 
before this holy Lord God ? If not now in the time of his patience, 
how then in the time of his recompense ? His holiness inclineth him 
to hate sin, and his justice to punish it. Again, it is an holy law, 
according to which the process of that day shall be guided/ A law 
that is clean and pure, which alloweth not the least evil : Thy law is 
exceeding pure/ Ps. cxix. 140. The gospel abateth nothing of the 
purity of it Now when we appear before an holy God, and must be 
judged by an holy law, surely we must have holiness and righteousness 
answerable, or how can we stand in the judgment ? It is an holy God 
before whose tribunal we must appear, and an holy law that we must 
be judged bj ; therefore, if we be destitute of all kind of righteousness, 
what shall we do ? 

2. No other righteousness will serve the turn but the righteousness 
of faith ; and therefore, till we submit to the new covenant, we are in 
a woful case. Now the righteousness of the new covenant is supreme 
or subordinate; the supreme by way of merit and satisfaction, the 
subordinate by way of application and qualification on our parts. 

[1.] The supreme is the righteousness or obedience of Christ, which 
can alone deliver us from hell : Job xxxiii. 24, Deliver him from going 
down to the pit, for I have found a ransom. There is no deliverance 
from eternal destruction, which our sins deserve, but only by the ransom 
which he hath paid. Till his justice be satisfied by Christ, no good 
can come unto us. 

[2.] The subordinate righteousness, which qualifieth us, and giveth 
us an interest, is faith, repentance, and new obedience ; all which are 
hugely necessary, convenient, and gracious terms. 

(1.) Faith, by which we own and acknowledge our Kedeemer, with 
love, thankfulness, dependence, and hearty subjection to him. Certainly 


love and thankfulness is due to him who hath endured so much, and 
procured such great benefits for us. Would we have the blessings 
instated on us. and not know from what hand they come? And 
acceptance is due ; for should Christ save us without our wills and 
against our consent ? Dependence is due. Should they have benefit 
by Christ s merits who question the force and efficacy of them ? 
Therefore God hath set him forth to be a propitiation through faith 
in his blood, Horn. iii. 25. 

(2.) Kepentance is necessary. Would we have God to pardon us 
while we continue in our rebellion, without sorrow for it or purpose to 
leave it ? The case of the obstinate is not compassionable : Jer. iii. 
13, Only acknowledge thine iniquity, and I am gracious, and to 
acknowledge an offence and continue in it is to condemn ourselves. 

(3.) New obedience. That was due before to our Creator, and our 
Kedeemer strengtheneth the bond, and maketh it more comfortable ; 
for we have a new Lord by right of redemption : Kom. xiv. 9, For to 
this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be 
Lord both of the dead and living. A Lord that hath paid dear for 
our souls. 

3. This righteousness is every way sufficient, that we may venture 
our eternal well-being upon it ; for what is appointed by God will be 
accepted by God. And though there be many defects in our faith, 
repentance, and obedience, yet there is an intrinsic value in the obed 
ience and death of Christ besides the institution : Heb. ix. 14, How 
much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit 
offered up himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead 
works to serve the living God ? And 1 Peter i. 18, 19, " Forasmuch 
as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver 
and gold, from your vain conversation, received by tradition from your 
fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without 
blemish and without spot. 

Lastly, See your help. The Spirit is the great new-covenant gift 
purchased by Christ, that it might be dispensed to us the more abun 
dantly : John i. 16, And of his fulness have all we received, and grace 
for grace ; Titus iii. 5, 6, By the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which 
he shed on us. By his sanctifying and renewing grace we are enabled 
for all this duty. We have it by the hearing of faith, Gal. iii. 2 ; 
and the whole dispensation of the gospel is called the ministration of 
the Spirit, 2 Cor. v. 8. Therefore if a sluggish heart did not possess 
Christians, they might do more than they do. 

YOL. xvm. 


The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count 
slackness ; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any 
should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 PETER 
iii. 9. 

THE apostle, in answer to the cavil and exception of the mockers of 
religion, is taking off the scandal of the delay of Christ s coming. 
Three considerations are produced to satisfy the godly 

1. The true measure of speed or delay is the eternity of God. which 
admits of no beginning, succession, and ending, but consists in a con 
stant presentness to all that which to us seemeth past or to come ; 
and we must judge as he judge th. This is laid down, ver. 8. 

2. The end of this delay, which is the conversion of sinners. It 
proceedeth not from any culpable slackness in God, but only his 
patience towards the elect. God is not slack, but we hasty. Our 
temper requireth time and patience to work upon us, and bring us under 
the power of grace. This is in the text. 

3. The manner of coming, which is sudden and unexpected, like the 
coming of a thief upon a sleepy family, ver. 10 ; therefore we should 
rather prepare for it than complain of slackness. 

We are upon the second consideration. Wherein 

1. The false cause of this delay is removed, The Lord is not slack 
concerning his promise, as some men count slackness. 

2. The true cause assigned, But is long suffering to us-ward. 

3. The end of this long-suffering propounded (1.) Negatively, 
Not willing that any should perish ; (2.) Positively, But that all 
should come to repentance. Wherein the way to escape ruin is 
intimated, which is repentance. 

The only doubt is about the sense of the words, how that is to be 
understood, that God would not have any perish, but all come to 
repentance ; for we see many do yet perish, all do not come to repen 
tance ; and is God frustrated of his end ? 

Ans. To this doubt three answers are given, and all solid, though I 
prefer the two first. 

1. The patience of God, according to its nature, hath that use and 
end, to invite all sinners to repentance : Rom. ii. 4, Despisest thou 
the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering, not know- 


ing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance ? God s 
continuing forfeited mercies, and tarrying the sinner s leisure, givetli 
us an hope that he is willing to be reconciled ; and if we do not seek 
his favour, and turn to him by repentance, it is long of ourselves ; the 
fault is our own, because we do not improve this hope. 

2. The apostle in this place hath special reference to the elect, who 
are concerned more especially in the promise of Christ s coming, to 
put an end to their sufferings, and to render them an eternal reward. 
Certain it is that the apostle speaketh to Christians, reckoneth himself 
in that number : Is long-suffering towards us. Now all these are 
not born at once nor converted at once. If the judgment should be 
hastened, many of the elect would be found in their natural condition. 
Now God would have none of these to perish, but that all in their time 
should by congruous means be brought to repentance. All things are 
for the elect s sake ; if their number were completed, time would be no 
more, and the present state of things would be dissolved. 

3. The third answer is by distinguishing a twofold will in God. 
There is voluntas signi and voluntas beneplaciti. The will of his good 
pleasure, and his will declared by some sign, command, decree. The 
one concerneth our duty, the other the event. It is all men s duty to 
repent : 1 Tim. ii. 4, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come 
to the knowledge of the truth. Not as to the event : God doth not 
will it so as it shall fall out so ; but this is their duty. His approving 
will is meant. Some scoff at this distinction, but the thing is as 
evident as daylight. It is one thing to will that this thing shall be or 
not be ; another thing, this is good or evil ; one respects existence, the 
other moral regulation. The one showeth what shall be, the other 
what should be ; the one what God will do, the other what we should 
do. His command must be distinguished from his decree ; some 
things are willed only by one, not both ; as the selling of Joseph, the 
crucifying of Christ ; God willed them voluntate beneplaciti, but not 
signi ; he declared no such will as a rule to the creatures. Some 
things he willeth voluntate signi, not beneplaciti ; as the conversion 
of all that live within the hearing of the gospel ; he doth not purpose 
it in his decree. Sometimes he willeth the same things by both ; as 
the conversion of the gentiles to the faith of Christ; God purposed it 
in his decree, and required it in the gospel. This is a truth applicable 
to other scriptures, and in part to this. But I stick to the former 
answers. By his secret and everlasting decree he chooseth whom he 
thinketh good, and appoints the preaching of the gospel, by which all 
are invited. God would not have any one to perish by his directive and 
approving will : Ezek. xxxiii. 11, I have no pleasure in the death of 
the wicked. Turn ye, &c. Yet will not have all to be saved, not all 
by his secret and appointing will. 

Doct. The great end of God s continuing the world and the present 
state of things is to bring men to repentance. 

I shall not handle curious questions, therefore I shall show you 
(1.) What is repentance; (2.) That this is God s end in continuing 
the world and the present state of things ; (3.) What encouragement 
there is from God s long-suffering to induce men to repentance. 

I. What is repentance ? It lieth in three things 


1. A sensible sight of sin and deserved wrath. There must be a 
sight of sin, for it is sinners only who are called to repentance : Mat. 
ix. 13, I came to call sinners to repentance. Those who know them 
selves to be so and feel themselves to be so, these are most ready to 
correct their errors, and to unravel that web which they have been 
weaving for a snare to themselves. Others carry it as though they 
needed no repentance. And also a sight of wrath ; for repentance is a 
flight from wrath, a turning from God angry to God reconciled ; as 
appeareth by Mat. iii. 7, Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath 
to come ? Who will take care to run into his city of refuge who hath 
not an avenger of blood at his heels ? Heb. vi. 18, That by two 
immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might 
have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon 
the hope set before us. Therefore God s first work is to awaken the 
stupid and careless sinner, and to make him see his sinful and lost 

2. Such an apprehension of God s mercy in Christ as maketh them 
turn to him. The apprehension of God s mercy is the great induce 
ment to repentance: Joel ii. 13, Turn to the Lord your God, for he 
is gracious and merciful. The former branch ariseth from appre 
hended future wrath, this from the hope of . future mercy. Indeed 
there is a continued repentance which followeth pardon, a melting of 
heart and self-loathing, that floweth from felt love ; as Luke viL 47, 
The woman wept much because she loved much ; And she loved 
much because much was forgiven her ; Ezek. xvi. 63, That thou 
mayest remember and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any 
more ; because of thy shame, when I am pacified towards thee, for all 
that thou hast done, saith the Lord God; Ezek. xxxvi. 31, Then 
shall you remember your own evil ways and your doings that were not 
good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities, 
and for your abominations. But the first repentance floweth not from 
felt received mercy, but from mercy hoped for : Acts ii. 38, 39, 
Kepent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, 
for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy 
Ghost; for the promise is unto you, and to your children/ &c. A 
desire and love of the grace which we expect from God putteth us 
upon this repentance. 

3. In a grieving for and forsaking of our sins, and giving up our 
selves to his service. Grief for sin there will be ; for, 2 Cor. vii. 10, 
Godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, not to be repented 
of. This is necessary to check the sensitive inclination, or the love of 
pleasure, which is the root of sin. Not only a grieving for, but a for 
saking of our sins : Prov. xxviii. 13, He that confesseth and forsaketh 
his sin shall find mercy. It is but a brabble with sin, not a repentance, 
unless the love and power of it be weakened in the heart ; and there 
fore repentance is not to be judged by the horror, the sorrow, the grief, 
but by the change it worketh in heart and life; if sin becometh 
hateful, if the person be humbled in himself, if he be brought to esteem 
of and put a price upon God s grace in Jesus Christ ; if it be his con 
stant care and study to please God, and he getteth some victory over 
the sins he repenteth of ; and after all this, there is a devotedness to 


God, or a living to his glory and service, called often in scripture a 
living to God, or a bringing forth fruit unto God. 

II. That this is God s end in continuing the world and the present 
state of things. This I shall prove 

1. By removing false causes. To appearance there is a slackness. 
Whence cometh it ? 

[1.] It is not want of kindness, or backwardness to our good, that 
he doth delay our reward and the introduction of the everlasting estate. 
A man may defer and not be slack. He is slack who doth not come 
at the due and appointed time. The time is set, though unknown to 
us, and accordingly it shall be kept. God puts not off his coming, not 
an hour after the time : Heb. x. 37, out of Hab. ii. 3, Yet a little 
while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. How 
much ? how much ? ocrov, ocrov. He will not stay a moment after 
the time appointed. 

[2.] It is not ignorance, as not knowing the fittest time when to put 
a period to the course of the world or of our lives. That cannot be 
imagined, for his waiting is guided by judgment : Isa. xxx. 18, He 
waiteth that he may be gracious ; for he is a God of judgment. He 
delayeth till the fit time come of putting an end to the troubles of the 
faithful and the sins of the wicked ; for he guideth all things with 
wisdom, and will take hold of the fittest season and occasion of putting 
his designs in action. 

[3.] It is not from forgetfulness of his promise, For he is ever 
mindful of his holy covenant, Ps. cxi. 5. He hath promised to come, 
to accomplish the deliverance of his own, and the punishment of the 
wicked, and he doth not forget what he hath promised. 

[4.] Not from change of counsel ; for he is Jehovah, that changeth 
not. Men change out of the mutability of their nature, or because 
they have not a due foresight of all possible difficulties ; but, 1 Sam. 
xv. 29, The strength of Israel will not lie nor repent ; for he is not a 
man that he should repent. 

[5.] Not from impotency and weakness, as if he could not execute 
what he hath promised. That among men is the cause of delay. 
Men must do as they can. Sometimes they must be patient perforce; 
they want strength to punish when they have a just cause, and a 
good mind to it ; as when David had a strong mind to punish and put 
Joab to death for the murdering of Abner, but Joab was too potent : 
2 Sam. iii. 39, I am this day weak, though anointed king ; and these 
men the sons of Zeruiah are too hard for me/ They had too strong a 
party in the army and among the soldiers. But this case is not 
incident to God, who is able to dissolve all things in an instant, at the 
beck and nod of his will. 

2. By assignment of the true cause why the world and the present 
state of things is not dissolved. 

[1.] Many that belong to the purposes of God s grace are not yet 
born and come into the world ; and all things in the world are con 
tinued and preserved with a subserviency to God s decrees. This you 
shall find in that sometimes providences are shortened : Mat. xxiv. 22, 
For the elect s sake those days shall be shortened ; that the nation 
might not wholly be wasted and worn out, that they might not have 


too great a trial. God had elect among them, whom he would pre 
serve ; the chosen among the Jews whom God would gather in the 
appointed time. But, on the contrary, here in the text, time is 
enlarged for their sakes. All particular providences wherein they are 
concerned are dispensed with this reference, Rom. viii. 28 ; and all 
that act under God are carried on with this encouragement. For the 
apostle saith, 2 Tim. ii. 10, Wherefore I endure all things for the 
elect s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ 
Jesus with eternal glory. Surely the apostle knew what was his 
master s business, and for what end the gospel was to be preached, 
whatever became of the messengers : I endure all things for the elect s 
sake/ Providence being continued for their sakes, he was to continue 
his labours in the gospel, whatever entertainment he met with. 

[2.] Many of them are not yet converted. They are as yet brands 
lying in the burning, hidden in the polluted mass of mankind, and God 
will draw them forth ; for, John vi. 27, All that the Father giveth me 
shall come to me. And God will draw them forth in a way suitable 
to his glory and their temper as men ; which requireth time till they 
come to years of discretion, and pains to work upon their souls by 
commands, threatenings, and promises, and alluring motives, and 
sometimes disappointments in their worldly concernments ; and every 
one of these multiplied one after another ; and after many refusals of 
his renewed offers, and slighting means, they are at length gained and 
overcome by his powerful love. 

Observe here two things 

(1.) That God gaineth the elect by the same means which are pro 
pounded to the reprobate. He dealeth in common with mankind in 
the external means, showing no more favour to the one than to the 
other. They both, it may be, live under the same ministry, yet one is 
taken and the other is left. 

(2.) That it is long ere many of the elect are gained. They may 
withstand many a call, both from God s word and providence; but 
because it is night for the present, we cannot say that it will never be 
day. And then when they are gained, it requireth some time to bring 
them to that measure of grace that God hath intended to work in 
them, that he may fit them for glory, and we may grow into that 
perfect age which we are appointed unto in Christ: Eph. iv. 13, Till 
we all come to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the 
fulness of Christ. The edification of the body of Christ is a work 
that is still kept afoot, until all that are given to Christ of the Father 
be effectually called, and united with Christ the head, and every one of 
them attain to their full and perfect measure of spiritual growth ; and 
so long the world endureth. 

[3.] The wicked by this forbearance of God are rendered more 

(1.) Because while they are in this life there is place for repentance. 
It is a great mercy that they are not presently cut off and destroyed, 
but that God giveth them opportunities of breaking off their sin by 
repentance : Eev. ii. 21, I gave her space to repent, and she repented 
not/ If God doth not suddenly execute judgment upon them, their 
crime is the greater. It was a favour not vouchsafed to the angels; 


they were executed quickly : 2 Peter ii. 4, God spared not the angels 
that . sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into 
chains of darkness, to be reserved unto the judgment. The angels 
were the most glorious creatures, yet when they sinned against God 
they were presently in termino, in their final estate. Man is yet in via, 
in the way to a better estate. For God to batter to pieces vessels of 
gold, as soon as they had the least crack and flaw in them, and spare 
earthen vessels, this is the wonder of his mercy. Therefore it should 
be esteemed as a great favour and indulgence that he doth not pre 
sently thrust down sinners to hell as soon they do provoke him ; much 
more that he hath provided a remedy, and ofFereth pardon to them, 
and hath not secluded them from all possibility and hopes of recovery 
for ever. 

(2.) God provideth great helps and means of repentance for them ; 
for he hath sent his messengers into all parts of the earth, and com 
manded every one to repent and prepare for the judgment : Acts xvii. 
30, And the times of their ignorance God winked at, but now com- 
mandeth all men everywhere to repent, because he hath appointed a 
day, &c. ; so that the world now perisheth, for rejecting the means 
tending to recover them. The sins of the nations were not so great 
till God sent them the means. When the Lord giveth any people the 
means to repent, their sin is the more aggravated, and their judgment 
is the greater ; for the rejection of the means is a sin not only against 
our duty but our remedy, and a vile ingratitude and obstinacy, which 
hath no cloak and colour of excuse. For though men have an im po 
tency of nature, and cannot convert themselves without the internal 
efficacy and power of the Holy Ghost, yet the impotency of nature doth 
not necessitate men to wallow in a course of sin against the light of 
conscience, and to put away the means by which they might be 

III. What encouragement there is from God s long-suffering to 
induce men to repentance. And 

1. God s forbearance, and continuing of some grace to us, possesseth 
all men s minds with this apprehension, that he is gracious, merciful, 
willing to be reconciled, if we will but accept of terms agreeable to his 
glory and our good. Therefore it is said that the goodness of God 
leadeth to repentance, Kom. ii. 4 ; for wherefore should he defer ven 
geance, and forbear so long to punish thy sinful course, but only that 
thou mayest bethink thyself and make thy peace ? He could destroy 
thee in an instant ; and why doth he not, but to see if thou wilt yet 
repent, and love him, and serve him ? If a man were under a sentence 
of death, and the execution were delayed and put off from day to day, 
would not he think it were a fit time to interpose by supplication, and 
obtain his pardon ? Surely we should gather the like conclusion, and 
make supplication to our judge. 

2. The encouragement is the greater, that we have not only time 
and life, but many mercies, forfeited mercies, continued to us ; such as 
food, raiment, friends, house, liberties, health, peace. What do all 
these do but invite us to God ? For whosoever hath the heart of a 
man would be thankful to his benefactor. Yea, the very beasts express 
a gratitude in their kind to them that feed them : Isa. i. 3, The ox 


knoweth his owner, and the ass his master s crib. The dullest of the 
brute beasts will take notice of such as feed them and make much of 
them, and shall not we take notice of God, and be obsequious to him, 
from whom we have received all our supplies, our Lord and owner, 
who hath fed us and most kindly entreated us ? Hosea xi. 4, I drew 
them with the cords of a man, the bands of love/ Unless we renounce 
humanity, we cannot but look upon ourselves as having strong bands 
upon us, obliging us to duty and mindfulness of God. 

3. These mercies do not harden in their own nature, but merely by 
the sinner s abuse of them ; for in their own nature they have a fitness 
and tendency to recover men to the love and service of God, but through 
our abuse they become snares, and entangle us in the service of the 
flesh. In the creature there is something good to lead us up to God, 
who is the first and chief good ; something imperfect, uncertain, and 
unsatisfactory, to drive us off from itself. Is there anything comfort 
able in the creature ? Whence came it ? who put it there ? Common 
mercies point to their author, if we would recollect ourselves, and 
receive them with thanksgiving. Is there vanity and vexation in it ? 
why is it, but that the creatures may not detain us from God, that we 
may not sit on the threshold when we may come before the throne ? 
Our great fault is loving the creature above the Creator. Now the 
creature is embittered, and is an occasion of so much vexation and 
trouble, that we may not rest in itself. All the good that is in the 
creature is an image of that perfect good which is in God. Now, who 
would leave the substance to follow the shadow ? As if a virgin wooed 
should fall in love with the messengers of a great king, and despise the 
person himself. There is a sweetness in these things mixed with im 
perfection ; the sweetness to draw us to God, the imperfection to drive 
us off from the creatures, to make us look higher. They do as it were 
say to us, We cannot satisfy you ; you must seek for happiness in that 
God that made us and you. Now men are inexcusable if, after all 
this, they forsake God for the creature : Jer. ii. 13, My people have 
committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of. living 
waters, and have hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can 
hold no water. 

4. God hath provided a remedy for us by Christ, whereby he would 
astonishingly oblige men to seek after his own salvation : John iii. 16> 
God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son> that 
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting 
life. There is love to the world in it ; there is man-kindness in it : 
Titus iii. 4, After that the kindness and love of God our Saviour 
toward man appeared." A propitiation for the whole world : 1 John 
ii. 2, He is the propitiation for our sins ; and not for ours only, but 
for the sins of the whole world. Here is a sufficient foundation for 
this truth, that whosoever believeth shall be saved. If, after all this, 
man shall be negligent, vain, careless, unmindful of his misery or 
remedy, his own conscience will bear witness against him that the 
cause of his sin and the hindrance of his recovery is from himself, and 
from his own obstinacy and impenitency : Hosea xiii. 9, O Israel, 
thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy hope. God is not to be 
blamed for our destruction ; it is of our own procuring. There was 
help in God, but they would not accept it. 


5. Affected scruples whether this be intended to us, are a sin, and 
do not disoblige us from our duty. They are a sin, because secret 
things do not belong to us, but the open declarations of God concern 
ing our duty : Deut. xxix. 29, Secret things belong unto the Lord - r 
but those things which are revealed belong unto us and our children/ 
Let us perform our duty, and the secret purposes of God will be no bar 
and hindrance to us. To betray a known duty by a scruple is the part 
of an erring and deceitful heart. God may do what he pleaseth, but 
we must do what he hath commanded. This is the only true principle 
that will enable us to carry our work through to the last. 

6. God hath appointed means, which during the time of his 
patience are liberally vouchsafed to us ; and we being commanded to 
use these means in order to our recovery, should lie at the pool and 
wait for mercy. If we refuse the helps and the means, our condemna 
tion is just ; we even pass it upon ourselves : Acts xiii. 46, Since ye 
put away the word of God from you, ye judge yourselves unworthy 
of everlasting life ; and become incapable and unworthy of any 
benefit by the gospel. The giving of these manifold helps and means 
on God s part showeth a great hopefulness of success, and such as may 
encourage us cheerfully to perform our duty, and carry it through with 
the expectation of a blessing ; but the refusal of these helps and 
means on our part showeth we are intractable and disobedient, and 
perish by our own obstinacy. 

7. Because common mercies are our ruin, and our table a snare, and 
our welfare a trap, and the ease and prosperity of fools slayeth them, 
Prov. i. 32; therefore God warneth us of danger of the abuse of 
these mercies, telleth us of the corruption that is in the world through 
lust, commandeth us and entreateth us to use them better, and to 
remember him who giveth us comfortably and richly to enjoy these 
things, 1 Tim. vi. 17, 18 ; sometimes taketh them out of our hands, as 
a father would do a sharp knife out of the hands of a child ; prayeth 
us that we will not love a perishing world, and forsake our own mercies ; 
that we will not hazard eternal things for trifles. And after all these 
warnings, who is to blame ? 

8. God doth not presently give over dealing with the despisers of 
his grace, or those that reject or neglect his blessed offers, but doth 
defer punishment, draw out his patience towards them to the fullest 
length. He yet tarrieth longer, to see if yet they will be in a better 
mind : 1 Peter iii. 10, The long-suffering of God waited in the days 
of Noah. If, after all this, we be disobedient and incorrigible, what 
place is fit for us but the prison of hell ? 

Use 1. It showeth how cross to God s design they act who delay 
repentance because God delay eth vengeance : Eccles. viii. 11, Because- 
sentence against an evil work is not speedily executed, therefore the- 
heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Men are apt 
to do so, partly because they measure things by present sense. If it 
be not ill with them for the present, they think to-morrow shall be as 
yesterday. Partly because they think they shall have time enough to 
repent at last, and so can be contented that God be longer dishonoured, 
provided that they at length may repent and be saved ; though God 
delayeth that you may take the season, not let it slip. Partly because 


they abuse God s patience to atheism ; either denying providence, 
saying, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil, Zeph. i. 
12 ; as if God had forgotten the care of the world ; or else think 
that God approveth their sin because they continue in health, peace, and 
prosperity : Ps. 1. 21, These things hast thou done, and I kept silence ; 
thou thoughtest, &c. ; and so grow sensual and secure, and their hearts 
more hard and impenitent, because God spareth them. This is to 
turn the grace of God into wantonness, and to treasure up wrath, 
Bom. ii. 5. But though God bear long, he will not bear always. The 
chimney long foul and not swept taketh fire at length: Ps. Ixviii. 21, 
But he will wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of 
every one that goeth on in sin. Forbearance is not remission. Sentence 
is past (John iii. 18, He that believeth not is condemned already ), 
though not executed : Eccles. viii. 11, Because sentence is not speedily 
executed, &c. God may give sinners a long day, but reckoneth with 
them at last : Rom. ix. 22, What if God, willing to show his wrath, 
and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering 
the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction ? There is suffering, long- 
suffering, and much long-suffering ; yet all this while fitted for destruc 
tion. When you have but a little space given you, will you frolic it 
away in sins and carnal pleasures ? God is bending his bow, whetting 
his sword, if they turn not ; he is angry with the wicked every day, Ps. 
vii. 11, 12; and at length his anger will break out if they turn not. 

Use 2. What reason all of us have to bless God for his forbearance and 
long-suffering, and to acknowledge it as a great mercy ; for his long- 
suffering tendeth to repentance, either the beginning or the perfecting 
of it. Now this mercy is the more enhanced when we consider 

1. What we have done against God. A good man cannot tell how 
often he offendeth : Ps. xix. 12, Who can understand his errors ? Ps. 
xl. 12, Innumerable evils have compassed me about ; they are more 
than the hairs of my head. God s people have cause to wonder at his 
patience, as well as others. 

2. What is the desert of sin in the general : Rom. vi. 23, . The 
wages of sin is death. 

3. The instances of those who have been taken away in their sins. 
Zimri and Cosbi unloaded their lives and their lusts together. Lot s 
wife in her looking back was turned into a pillar of salt : Luke xvii. 
32, * Remember Lot s wife ; a lasting monument of rebellion against 
God. Gehazi blasted with leprosy. Korah, Dathan and Abiram, the 
earth swallowed them. 

4. With how much ease God can do the like to you : 1 Sam. xxiv. 
19, If a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away ? when 
he has a fair opportunity to satisfy his wrath. God can easily do 
this : Job vi. 9, That he would loose his hand and cut me off/ With 
one beck of his will he can turn us into our first nothing. 

5. With how much justice and honour he might have taken us 
&way long since, and have shut us up in chains of darkness, for a 
monument to the careless world ! Sometimes God maketh instances 
in every table : Rom. i. 18, The wrath of God is revealed from 
heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold 
the truth in unrighteousness In every law, both by way of omission 


and commission. Why might not I have served for one of these 
instances ? 

6. How many mercies have been vouchsafed to you in the time of 
God s long-suffering ? The mercies of daily providence : Ps. Ixviii. 
19, Who loadeth us daily with his benefits. Especially deliverances 
out of imminent dangers, when you were snatched as a brand out of 
the burning/ Amos iv. 11 ; and preserved in a general destruction : 
Lam. iii. 22, It is of the Lord s mercies that we are not consumed, 
because his compassions fail not. Or when some disease hath been 
upon you, that you thought you should have gone down to the chambers 
of death : Ps. Ixxviii. 38, He being full of compassion, forgave their 
iniquity, and destroyed them not ; that is, he respited his vengeance. 
It is a kind of a pardon when God remitteth some measure of the 
deserved punishment: so far as any part of the punishment is remitted, 
so far is the same pardoned. Sometimes God seemeth to put the bond 
in suit, but spareth upon our intercession. Now this should be taken 
notice of, and notably improved. A man is sick, afraid to be damned, 
but he recovers again. Now, though it be not a total pardon, we 
cannot say it is none at all ; for God took such a one out of the jaws 
of hell for that time. So Mat. xviii. 32, the debt was forgiven, yet 
required afterwards : the meaning is, he was spared for the present ; 
he did not obtain that full pardon which amounteth to justification, 
yet he was recovered out of sickness, misery, and apparent danger, and 
that upon his cry to God. 

7. If you are continued till you have some experience of the grace 
of Christ, then much more have you cause to bless God for his long- 
suffering. How ill would it have been for your souls if you had died 
in your sins ! God may say to you, as he did to his people, Isa. xliii. 
24, 25, Thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied 
me with thine iniquities. I, even I, am he that blotteth out your 
transgressions, for my own sake, and will not remember thy sins. If 
God had been quick with us, where should we have been ? We are 
of an hot and eager nature, cannot bear affronts or despiteful usage : 
Luke ix. 54, Lord, wilt thou that we call for fire from heaven to con 
sume them, as did Elias ? This was James and John, beloved dis 
ciples, K\KrS)v eK^e/cTOTepot. The fury of rash zeal appeared in the 
best, even in the disciple of love ; but God does not deal so with us. 

Use 3. To exhort to repentance. If a malefactor arraigned at the 
bar of justice should perceive by any speech, or word, or gesture, sign, 
or token, any inclination in the judge to mercy, how would he work 
upon that advantage to get a reprieve and the execution put off ! 
So should we improve God s forbearance and long-suffering to sue out 
a pardon. 


For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, that the 
man which doth those things shall live by them. But the right 
eousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine 
heart, Who shall ascend into heaven! (that is, to bring Christ 
down from above) ; or, Who shall descend into the deep ? (that is, 
to bring up Christ again from the dead). But what saith it? 
The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart ; that 
is, the word of faith which we preach. That if thou shalt confess 
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart 
that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 
KOM. x. 5-9. 

THESE words which I have now read need both vindication and expli 
cation. My first work shall be 

First, Vindication, or reconciling Paul with Moses. That seemeth 
difficult, because in the allegation some things are changed, some 
things added, some things omitted, as appeareth by the collation of the 
places, the text and Deut. xxx. 12-14, It is not in heaven, that thou 
shouldst say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, 
that we may hear it, and do it ? neither is it beyond the sea, that thou 
shouldst say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto 
us, that we may hear it, and do it ? But the word is very nigh unto 
thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. 

To avoid the difficulty, some say these words are alleged sensu tran- 
sumptivo, only by way of allusion and accommodation ; not as inter 
preting Moses, but as fitting them to his own purpose. But this I 
cannot yield to, for these reasons 

1. From the scope of the apostle, which is to draw off the Jews 
and Judaising brethren from sticking to the law of Moses as necessary 
to justification. To do it thoroughly, he bringeth an argument from 
Moses himself, who doth in his writings give a clear distinction 
between the righteousness of the law and the righteousness of faith, 
and so, by consequence, between the tenor of the covenant of works 
and the covenant of grace. Now, if it were an allusion only, the 
apostle would produce a bare illustration, not a cogent argument, and 
so would rather explain than convince. 

2. The exposition itself is so clear, that we need not make it an 


allusion, if we consider the place whence these passages are taken, Deut. 
xxx. The whole chapter is a sermon of evangelical repentance ; see 
the 1st and 2d verses, And it shall come to pass, when all these things 
are come upon thee, the blesssing and the curse, which I have set 
before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations 
whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, and shalt return unto 
the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice, according to all that 
I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart 
and with all thy soul. This was spoken of a time which the Jews 
themselves confess to belong to the kingdom of the Messiah ; and 
reason showeth it. For the words were spoken by Moses as referring 
to such a time when the Israelites were dispersed among all nations, 
which happened not till after Christ s ascension and the preaching of 
the gospel, and doth yet remain, and will remain until the conversion 
of the Jews, of which the apostle will speak in the next chapter. So 
that Moses words are applicable to them when the gospel dispensation 
was set on foot ; that was the word which was nigh them. The 
great prejudice of the Jews against Christ s being the Messiah was, 
because he came not in a way agreeable to their carnal conceits, or 
with such pomp and visible demonstration of authority as to satisfy 
all his own countrymen ; therefore they were prejudiced, and would 
not own him, nor receive the grace tendered by him, but looked for 
that as afar off which was nigh them and among them ; and therefore 
the apostle doth apply the words of Moses to them, to bring them to 
embrace the new covenant. 

3. From the nature of the thing. 

[1.] Certain it is to us Christians that Moses wrote of Christ ; for 
our Lord saith, John v. 46, Had you believed Moses, you would have 
believed me ; for he wrote of me. 

[2.] If he wrote more obscurely, we must consider he was a prophet, 
not an apostle. 

[3.] That he wrote of Christ in this place, the apostle s authority 
is sufficient, for he was a good interpreter. If he, being infallibly 
assisted, saw more in it than we do, we are not to cavil at his autho 
rity, but with reverence to receive this light ; not vex the citation by 
nice disputes, but humbly receive the interpretation he giveth of it. 

You will say the words are altered. 

But the apostles usually in quoting minded the sense rather than the 
words. And Moses drift was to persuade them to take notice of the 
divine revelation made to them at that time when these things befell 
them, the destroying of the temple and city, and these dispersions among 
the nations. 

Secondly, For explication. The words show us two things (1.) 
What is the tenor of the legal covenant ; (2.) What is the tenor of the 
righteousness of faith. 

First, What is the tenor of the legal covenant ? Ver. 5, For 
Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, that the man 
which doeth those things shall live by them/ For, understanding his 
drift, you must consider this, that at the first promulgation of the 
gospel, both Jews and gentiles were rivals for the favour and mercy of 
Ood. They did both at the same time start and set forth as two racers, 


striving who should win the goal or carry away the prize of justifica 
tion. So the apostle represents them, Kom. ix. 30-32, What shall we 
say then ? that the gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, 
have attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith ; 
but Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not 
attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore ? Because they 
sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law ; for they 
stumbled at that stumbling-stone. It is agreed among the learned 
that the terms there used are agonistical, and that there is an allusion 
to racers. The approbation or mercy of God was the prize that all 
ran for, both Jews and gentiles; these were the two competitors. And 
as in all racing, they had a law prescribed which they were to ob 
serve, so both took their several ways. Now, who got the goal? The 
Jews strained themselves all that they could to get it by their law, 
and the gentiles by the law of faith. The business is, who would 
soonest come to the goal, or be accounted favourites of God ? the 
gentiles, upon faith and repentance, though formerly they had been 
idolaters.; or the Jews, that would be justified by the observances of 
their law, rejecting Christianity ? The apostle determineth that the 
Jews, though they did most earnestly contend to be justified by the law, 
yet did not outrun the gentiles, so as to get to the goal, or obtain the 
prize of justification from them. Why ? Because they sought it not 
by the evangelical way, and could not endure it when it was revealed 
to them, but thought their legal observances would commend them to 
God, and so stumbled in the very midst of their race, out of impatiency 
that their law should be abolished, and they levelled with the gentiles, 
and required to believe in a Messiah who lived and died in a mean 
condition ; and so they utterly miscarried in their pursuit of justifica 
tion and acceptance with God. These were the two litigant parties, 
and the case in debate at that time. Now, to take off the Jews from 
this vain and dangerous attempt, the apostle bringcth the two ways to 
a fair hearing, and proveth that the law can be no way to justify sinners, 
even from Moses himself, whose authority they so much cried up. He 
proveth it from his description of the righteousness which is by the law. 
The sum of his argument is this, there is no justification but either by 
the law or by faith ; you must forego the one, and cleave to the other, 
for you cannot hold by both. Now you are left to your choice, which 
way you will take to run to the goal and obtain the prize. If you will 
hearken to Moses, he himself propoundeth two ways of justification 
by the law and by faith. What he saith of the righteousness of faith 
we shall see by-and-by ; but what he saith of the righteousness of the 
law is evident : The man that doeth these things shall live by them/ 
The law is no way to justify sinners, for by the law you are accursed 
if you sin ; we cannot live if we do not all that is required of us and 
contained in the law. Now, we that are conscious to so many frailties 
have no reason to be fond of justification by the law, which exacteth 
such a strict, rigid obedience in all moral duties, even to the least 
tittle, and addeth so many burdensome ceremonies. The law promiseth 
life on doing all that was required of them to do, and threatened a 
curse on them that did it not, without allowing repentance ; but in the 
law of faith, sure mercy and pardon is provided for the penitent believer. 


And therefore justification is not put upon such impossible and diffi 
cult terms. It dependeth upon what Christ did for us, as he died, and 
rose again ; and what we are to do ourselves is plain and easy : plain 
to be understood, and easy by grace to perform. 

Secondly, What is the tenor of the righteousness of faith ? This is 
set forth negatively and positively ; what it saith not, and what it 

1. Negatively, what it saith not : ver. 6, 7, But the righteousness 
which is of faith speaketh on this wise : Say not in thy heart, Who 
shall ascend into heaven ? (that is, to bring down Christ from above) ; 
or, Who shall descend into the deep ? (that is, to bring up Christ 
again from the dead). 

Here two questions are removed, as inconsistent with or improper to 
the righteousness of faith 

[1.] The first, question, Who shall ascend into heaven ? that is, to 
fetch the knowledge thence of heavenly mysteries, or to bring down 
Christ from above ; as if he had never been on earth to make known 
the doctrine of salvation, but were as yet to be called from heaven for 
this purpose. No ; that is sufficiently done already : John iii. 13, No 
man hath ascended up into heaven but he that came down from heaven, 
even the Son of man, which is in heaven. To comprehend heavenly 
mysteries is Christ s prerogative, who came from the bosom of the 
Father in our nature to communicate this knowledge to us, and to show 
us upon what terms we may be justified before God, and enjoy his grace 
and favour. 

[2.] The second question is in the 7th verse, or, Who shall descend 
into the deep ? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead). In- 
Moses it is, Deut. xxx. 13, Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou 
shouldst say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that 
we may hear it, and do it ? But the sea is sometimes considered for 
its latitude and breadth, and sometimes for its profundity and depth ; 
and so is often put in scripture for the bottomless pit, as opposite to- 
heaven, heaven being highest, and the bottom of the sea lowest ; and is 
frequently used for the bottomless pit, or the state of the dead. Tile- 
meaning is, You need not say, Who shall bring up Christ again from 
the dead ? as if he were yet in the grave, and all hopes of salvation- 
were buried with him, since long ago he is risen from the dead, and 
ascended into heaven, and hath sent abroad his messengers to pro 
selytise the world, endowing them with power from on high for this 

2. Positively, But what saith it? Where take notice of (1.) The* 
words ; (2.) The sense. 

[1.] What words are put into the mouth of the righteousness whicli 
is by faith : ver. 8, The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in 
thy heart. It is in thy mouth, to know it and speak of it ; it is in 
thy heart/ as written there by the Spirit, that we may do the duty it 
requireth of us with ease and sweetness. It is in thy mouth to con 
fess, and in thy heart to believe and practise. When the new cove 
nant is spoken of as opposite to the covenant made with them when 
they came out of Egypt, it is said sometimes to be put into the mouth, 
and sometimes in the heart. The words are, Isa. lix. 21, As for me, 


This is my covenant with them, saith the Lord ; My Spirit that is 
upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not 
depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of 
the mouth of thy seed s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for 
ever. Meaning thereby that his Spirit and word shall continue with 
them as a church, to direct them in all necessary things. This for the 
mouth. Now for the heart. See another promise : Jer. xxxi. 33, 
And this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of 
Israel ; I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their 
hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Well, 
then, the excellency of the gospel dispensation is set forth by two 

(1.) It is more easy to be known and understood, and carried in the 
memory ; for the word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth. The drift 
of Moses speech tendeth to show that they should have a new cove 
nant, the tenor of which was known, and easy to be expressed by all 
those who were acquainted with it. 

(2.) It is more easy to be practised. It is not in our mouths only, 
but in our hearts ; which are inclined by the Holy Spirit to obey 
it; so that the new creature may undertake the duty it requireth of 
us by the assistance of God, and do it sincerely, though not exactly. 

[2.] The sense of what it saith. It is explained and exemplified. 

(1.) Explained: ver. 8, This is the word which we preach; 
namely, the doctrine of repentance and remission of sins by Jesus 

(2.) Exemplified : ver. 9, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth 
the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised 
him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Confession with the mouth 
there answers to the word is in thy mouth : believe with thine heart, 
that implieth faith ; and Christ s being raised from the dead is in 
stanced in, rather than any other article of faith, because that proveth 
all the rest, and is the great evidence of the truth of Christianity. 

Doct. That the way of acceptance with God, or obtaining salvation, 
is so clearly stated in the gospel, that we need not be in doubtful sus 
pense, or seek out another religion wherein to find it, or other satisfac 
tion than God hath given us in his word. 

The sense of this point I shall give you in these propositions 
First, That it is the weightiest matter in the world to know how to 
be accepted with God as to pardon and life. Man, being a guilty 
creature, needeth pardon ; and the soul dying not with the body, we 
desire to know, the way of life, or what shall become of us when this 
frail life is at an end. Certain it is that we are haunted with guilty 
fears ; for we are through the fear of death all our lifetime subject to 
bondage, Heb. ii. 15. There are some troubles of mind in all of us 
about our acceptance with God; not always felt indeed, but soon 
awakened. Trembling souls, who know what God is, and what 
themselves are, and are conscious to former guilt and present un- 
worthiness, cannot easily settle in a confidence of God s mercy to them, 
especially when they come to die. The fear of death raised our 
trouble before, but when death cometh indeed, these stings are 
increased : 1 Cor. xv. 56, The sting of death is sin ; and these stings 


of conscience are justified by the highest reason, which is the law of 
God ; not occasioned by our melancholy conceits only. It is an 
amazing consideration to us to think of entering into an unknown 
world, and to stand before the righteous bar of an impartial judge. 
That it is very hard to undergo death with a steady confidence, and to 
encourage our fearful and doubtful minds to launch out into eternity, 
common experience verifieth. I pray, consider, Christians, that our 
present condition is a state of darkness and fear ; and these fears are 
caused by sin, and justified by the law of God, and revived by death 
and the thoughts of the other world. And therefore there is not a 
weightier business than to establish our fearful and doubtful minds in 
peace, that we may comfortably wait for the mercy of God unta eternal 

Secondly, That is the best religion which doth most provide for this 
peace and rest of soul. So that if a man were at liberty to choose, and 
were consulting what religion he should choose, this consideration 
must guide him where he can find true peace and rest for his anxious 
soul. So the prophet directeth them : Jer. vi. Ifr, Stand ye in the 
ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way ? and 
walk therein, and you shall find rest for your souls. And by this 
argument Christ inviteth us to himself : Mat. xi. 28, 29, Come unto 
me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me ; for I am meek and lowly in 
heart ; and ye shall find rest unto your souls/ And the apostle com- 
mendeth the gospel upon this account : Kom. v. 1, Therefore, being 
justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus. 
It is easy to lull conscience asleep for a while ; either (1.) By carnal 
pleasures : Prov. ix. 17, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in 
secret is pleasant. For a while they seem so, but the virtue of that 
opium is soon spent. Or (2.) By a false religion ; but within a while 
we shall soon find that is so far from being our cure, that it is a great 
part of our disease ; no false religion^is consistent with right thoughts 
of God. Therefore the woman of Samaria, as soon as she began to 
have an awakened conscience, inquires after the true religion : John 
iv. 20, Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and ye say in Jeru 
salem is the place where men ought to- worship. An awakened con 
science will be careful to lay the groundwork of religion sure. A false 
way of religion always breedeth scruples, and is accompanied with no 
sound peace. Or (3.) In the superficial observances of a true religion : 
Mat. xix. 20, All these things have I kept from my youth up. What 
lack I yet ? A false righteousness will not give true quietness to the 
conscience; there is something lacking, and the soul sits uneasy. 
Therefore nothing but coming under the power of the true religion 
will give rest and quiet to the soul. 

Thirdly, That the Christian religion doth abundantly provide for 
true peace of conscience and ease of mind (1.) Because it disco vereth 
the matter of true peace ; (2.) The way how it may be attained. 

1. The matter of true peace is pardon and life, or sufficient pro 
vision to appease our guilty fears and satisfy our desires of happiness. 

[1.] Man being God s creature, and therefore his subject, and having 
faulted in his obedience and subjection to him, and knowing the 



judgment of God, counteth himself worthy of death, Kom. i. 32. 
And this fear of death and vengeance -that ensueth is BO engrained 
and implanted in the conscience, that unless some fit course of pardon 
and justification be propounded, and that with good authority, man is 
always restless and troubled, and knoweth not what to do to get rid 
of the sin of his soul : Micah vi. 7, Shall I give my first-born for my 
transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul ? Now the 
great design which the scriptures travail with is, to set forth a grant 
of pardon upon gracious and commodious terms, if sinners will but 
accept of it. It is the /excellency of the Christian religion above all 
other religions : Micah vii. 18, Who is a God like unto thee, that 

Sardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of 
is heritage ? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth 
in mercy. If the question were put to you, which was put to the 
spouse, Cant. v. 9, What is thy beloved more than another beloved ? 
what is there in Christ above other gods of the nations, that you make 
so much ado about him ? what is it draweth your hearts, so to love 
him, and cleave to him, in the greatest hazards and extremities ? 
this you might answer, He hath set afoot a pardoning covenant, so 
suited to the necessities of man and the nature of God, that all the 
world cannot show the like. 

[2.] For the other matter of our peace, a fit happiness to satisfy 
our desires. Man, having an immortal spirit, gropeth about for an 
immortal and eternal good, Acts xvii. 27, or such an estate in the other 
world as may comfort him against the labours and sorrows and the 
frailty and shortness of the present life. All nations have a conceit of 
the immortality of the soul ; if at any time they doubt of it, they 
cannot wholly blot the sense of it out of their hearts. Surely all desire 
it, and it would give much ease to their mind if it might be indubi 
tably made out to them that there is such an immortal estate. They 
that fully knew it not were pleased with the shadow of it, and sought 
it in fame ; they would not have their memory die with them. As those 
that want children take pleasure in little dogs and cats, so did they 
embrace a poor shadow for the substance. To be sure, most men die 
anxious, and when they leap into eternity, they know not where their 
feet shall light ; but now it is said, 2 Tim. i. 10, that Christ hath 
abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light 
through the gospel. He hath made a clear revelation of that which 
was not so certainly known before. The heathens guessed at it ; some 
times they seemed to see it, and sometimes doubted of it; as men 
travelling sometimes see a spire of a steeple before them at a distance, 
and anon they lose the sight of it again, and so cannot tell certainly 
whether they see it, yea or no. The law, like a dumb man, made many 
signs, and set forth eternity by long life, and heaven by Canaan ; but 
now the gospel clearly speaketh it out, and scattereth all the mists and 
clouds about eternity. 

2. The way how we surely may be made partakers of pardon and 
life; and there it telleth us (1.) What Christ hath done; (2.) 
What we must do. Christ hath sufficiently laid the foundation, and 
all that we must do is but to apply what he hath purchased and 
provided for us. 


[].] What Christ hath done. The word that is nigh thee* refer- 
reth to things already done for us Christ s death and resurrection. 

(1.) His incarnation and death ; for Christ needeth not to be 
brought down from heaven any more. He once descended from 
heaven, and was made flesh, and dwelt among us, for a double end 
partly to reveal these things to us, and the way how to obtain them, 
with sufficient evidence and certainty. One great errand that he had 
in the world was to reveal the will of God to lost mankind for their 
recovery, and to bring them to the fuller knowledge of God, and the 
pardon of sins, and the truth of the unseen world, and the way there 
unto : Luke i. 77, To give knowledge of salvation unto his people, 
by the remission of their sins. And not only so, but partly also to 
be a mediator and reconciler between God and man, and lay down 
his life as a sacrifice for sin and a ransom for souls : Eph. v. 2, Who 
hath given himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God ; Mat. 
xx. 28, He gave his life a ransom for many. We have both, Heb. 
iii. 1, Consider the apostle and high priest of our profession, Jesus 
Christ. Well, then, herein lay the advantage of the gospel above the 
law ; that required all to be done by us, but the gospel referreth us to 
things already done for us by another, who was sent from God to 
reveal his Father s will to us, and to redeem us to God. He suffered 
the penalty due for our breach of the law ; there is nothing required 
of us but our thankful acceptance and hearty consent to follow Christ s 
conduct and direction. Well, then, he needeth not to be brought 
down from heaven any more, or descend to help and redeem the 

(2.) His resurrection and ascension ; for that is the second ques 
tion: W T ho shall descend into the deep, to bring up Christ again 
from the dead ? No ; that needeth not. He is risen already, and 
gone again to heaven, to assure us of the truth of his doctrine, and the 
value of his sacrifice, and the reality of the other world ; for he him 
self is entered into the glory he spake of, and so giveth us a visible 
demonstration of the truth and reality of it ; and also he is set down 
at the right hand of God, that he might apply salvation to us by his 
powerful and all-conquering Spirit. But it is the resurrection we 
must chiefly insist upon ; for God by raising him from the dead hath 
declared him to be a sufficiently authorised messenger, and set him 
forth to be the person to be believed in, heard, and obeyed in his 
name. When Christ was crucified and buried, though a gravestone 
was sealed, and a guard of soldiers set to watch it, yet angels appeared 
and rolled away the stone, and spake to those that inquired after him. 
Yea, Christ himself often appeared to his disciples, conversed with 
them forty days, instructed them in things pertaining to the kingdom 
of God, and then went to heaven, and poured out the Spirit ; and for 
an hansel to the new gospel, by Peter s exhortation three thousand were 
converted at once, and afterwards evidenced the truth of their doctrine 
by miracles. There is no need that Christ should rise again in the 
eye and view of all those that would believe in him. Here is ground 
enough in that which was once already done. 

[2.] What we must do: ver. 9, Confess with the mouth, and 
believe with the heart; that is, be really persuaded of the truth of 


what is done for us, and thankfully own it and acknowledge it to the 
world, resigning up ourselves to the discipline of his Spirit, whatever 
it costs us. This is all that is required of us. But though these two 
only be mentioned, we must understand those things which belong to 
either of them. 

(1.) To begin with that first mentioned : If thou wilt confess with 
thy mouth. There is a confession both in word and deed ; the one 
must not contradict the other. The apostle telleth us of some that 
profess they know God, but in works they deny him, Titus i. 16. 
So it is true of confessing Christ, or holiness of life. Works are a 
part of profession or confession ; as also invocation is a branch of this 
confession, as appeareth by the 13th verse, For whosoever shall call 
upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Confession, then, implieth 
all visible godliness and holiness of life, for the holy, thankful life is a 
constant hymn to God, or a practical acknowledgment of the benefits 
we have by Christ ; and so all Christianity is a confession. It is neces 
sary also that this confession be made in spite of all persecutions and 
danger : Heb. iv. 14, Let us hold fast our profession. In those days, 
believing with the heart was not so costly as confession with the mouth. 
It exposed them to great troubles ; yet a Christian must be resolute, 
and trust Christ with all : Dan. vi. 10, Now when Daniel knew that 
the writing was signed, he went into his house, and his window being 
open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three 
times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did 

(2.) So for the other. Believing with the heart implieth not a dead 
faith, but operative: James ii. 20, Faith without works is dead/ Not 
a cold opinion, but such as worketh by love, Gal. v. 6. Not a gene 
ral assent, but an applicative faith : Gal. ii. 20, Who loved me, and 
gave himself for me ; 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. Owning him as our Lord and Saviour. Do this, 
and then you believe with the heart to righteousness, and confess with 
the mouth to salvation ; that is, you are so pardoned that at length you 
are saved. They that could thus take Christ, and venture all upon the 
security of his word, and wholly resign up themselves to God upon 
these hopes, were in a safe condition, or a state of peace. 

Fourthly, The gospel so clearly stating these things, there is no 
reason of doubtful suspense. All demurring must be upon one of these 
two reasons either the difficulty of the thing, or want of certainty; but 
neither of them is just in this case. 

1. Not the difficulty of the conditions ; for believing with the heart 
and confessing with the mouth are easy to be understood and easy to 
be observed, by the power of the Spirit ; for the gospel is the power 
of God to salvation, Rom. i. 16. If God will put this into our heart and 
mouth, and give what he requireth, why should we snuff at these condi 
tions as unreasonable and troublesome ? What more reasonable than to 
own him with the greatest hazard from whom we expect such benefits 
as pardon and life, and to consent to follow his direction, who will bring 
us out of our misery to perfect happiness ? and to venture all for 
him who, by a condescending a ct of astonishing love, stooped so low 


for us ? It is true, confession may be costly, but it is not an impos 
sible thing. We should be willing to suffer the loss of all things for 
his sake ; especially when God is ready powerfully to assist and help 
us : Phil. iv. 13, I can do all things through Christ, which strength- 
eneth me. 

2. Want of certainty. We do not know whether this be the way of 
God, yea or no ? I answer 

[1.] There is no doubt that reasonably can be urged. Either this 
is the way of God, or none. The way of heathenism is sottish and fabu 
lous : 1 Cor. viii, 5, They have lords many and gods many. And 
the way of the Jews yieldeth no relief, if the gospel be excluded. The 
way of the Mahometans is ridiculous and beareth no dispute. There 
fore this is the way, or none. 

Object. But why do you hesitate ? You did not see Christ in the 

A ns. But we may love him for all that, and believe in him, though 
we never saw him : 1 Peter i. 8, Whom, having not seen, ye love, in 
whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice. He must 
not be fetched out of heaven again, nor raised from the dead again. 
It is not necessary to our faith that we should see Christ with bodily 
eyes, when we have most certain and firm arguments by which his 
resurrection may be proved. 

Object. But we live not in the age of miracles, oracles, and visions, 
which people had in former times. 

Ans. Man is apt to indent with God, and to prescribe to God that 
he may believe upon terms of his own making : Let him now come 
down from the cross, then we will believe him/ Mat. xxvii. 42 ; Can 
he prepare a table in the wilderness ? Ps. Ixxviii. 19 ; If thou be 
the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread/ Mat. iv. 3. 
We are not to think that God should be at our beck, and do what we 
require. Many require new apostles and miracles ; that rnaketh them 
turn sceptics and atheists. We must not prescribe to God how he 
shall reveal his mind to men, but submit to the way he seeth best and 
fittest for us. 

[2.] There lie more prejudices by far against any way of our own 
devising than the course God hath taken. The people slighted Moses, 
and would hear God himself speak ; but when it thundered upon the 
mount, they cried out, Exod. xx. 19, * Speak thou with us, and we will 
hear ; but let not God speak with us, lest we die. We would have 
miracles, but thereby the simplicity of Christianity is lost, and it would 
lay us open to the juggling tricks of wonder-mongers, and that would 
be little for our safety. We would have one from the dead, Luke xvi. 
30 ; but they are out of the sphere of our commerce ; that is no 
familiar way, nor so fit to instil faith and reduce men to obedience to 
God. And if we should learn our religion from ghosts and apparitions, 
we should never be free from delusion : Gal. i. 8, But though we or 
an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which 
we have preached unto you, let him be accursed/ 

[3.] Extraordinary means will do no good where ordinary prevail 
not. But man is never satisfied with the present dispensation : Pa 
Ixxviii. 22, 23, But they believed not in God, and trusted not in his 


salvation, though he had commanded the clouds from above, and 
opened the doors of heaven. Whatever means God useth, man is 
man still. There were carnal wretches when there were miracles, and 
so there will be still. When the heart is out of order, bare means will 
not set it in frame. 

[4.] Though we live not in the age of miracles and oracles, yet if we 
have valuable testimony of them, it is enough to beget faith : Ps. 
Ixxviii. 5-7, He commanded our fathers that they should make them 
known to their children, that the generation to come might know them, 
even the children that should be born, who should arise and declare 
them to their children, that they might set their hope in God. 1 It 
were endless to attest former miracles with a new supportation of 
miracles ; report is enough to convey them to us ; and if we cannot 
contradict them, why do we not believe ? 

Use I. To check the dream of the efficacy of extraordinary means 
above the ordinary, which God seeth fit to give us. Our Lord imper- 
sonateth our thoughts : Luke xvi. 30, 31, If one went unto them 
from the dead they would repent. And he said unto them, They 
have Moses and the prophets ; if they hear not them, neither will 
they be persuaded though one rose from the dead. We think the 
word is an antiquated, stale dispensation, that hath lost all its force. 
If God would assure us and invite us to faith and repentance some 
other way, it would be more successful ; as if one came from the other 
world, or an extraordinary messenger from heaven or hell. Let us 
argue the case. It must be either because he is supposed to bring a 
more necessary doctrine to work men to faith and repentance, or can 
urge better arguments, or with more persuasiveness, or propound these 
truths with more certainty, or convey a power greater than is ordinarily 
dispensed by the word. It must be one of these four things, but 
neither the one nor the other can be. 

1. Not a doctrine more necessary to convince men of their misery 
and remedy, sin and duty. The Son of God is a sufficient teacher of 
all divine things, for he lay in the bosom of God/ John i. 18 ; and 
he came on purpose to reveal what was necessary to man s salvation. 

2. Not better arguments to enforce it. What ! would we have an 
hotter hell or a better heaven, more direful threatenings, or sweeter 
promises, or more powerful motives ? Surely nothing can be added. 
What is beyond eternal misery or eternal happiness ? 

3. Not propound these things with more certainty ; for these things 
are offered to our understandings by a full and fair credibility. Christ 
being fore- described by prophecies, authorised by miracles, mightily 
declared to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead, 
requiring nothing of us but what is suited to God s nature and our 
necessity. What certainty would a spectre, or ghost, or an angel, or 
apparition give above this ? 

4. Nor convey a greater power and force to affect the heart of man. 
What is of greater efficacy than the Spirit of God ? Surely he is able 
to change the heart of man when nothing else can. Now the gospel 
is the ministration of the Spirit, 2 Cor. iii. 8. [See these heads more 
enlarged in the Sermon on Luke xvi. 30, 31.] 

Use 2. If God hath so settled the way of salvation in the new cove- 


nant as to leave no cause or occasion of doubting, or suspecting of the 
truth or certainty of these blessings he hath promised to us, then we 
should not live in jealousies and doubtfulness, as if we were not upon 
sure terms with God. If we transact with another about certain 
benefits, the transaction may prove to no purpose if the matter about 
which we contract with them hath no being, or the terms be impos 
sible, or the conveyance be not so firm and strong as to hold good in 
law. Now none of these can be imagined in our entering into covenant 
with God. For 

1. Eternal life is not a chimera, or a thing that hath no being: 
then you might run uncertainly, 1 Cor. ix. 26, if it were a dream, 
or a well-devised fable. No ; it is the greatest reality that can be 
thought of : John xiv. 2, In my Father s house are many mansions ; 
if it were not so, I would have told you : I go to prepare a place for 
you/ Christ would not flatter us into a fool s paradise. 

2. It is not upon impossible terms, but such as are performable by 
the grace of God ; as faith : Eph. ii. 8, For by grace ye are saved, 
through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. And 
the apostle telleth us, Kom. iv. 16, Therefore it is of faith, that it 
might be by grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the 
seed. Consider the conditions that concern either the making or 
keeping covenant. The conditions for making covenant : Jer. xxiv. 7, 
I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord, and they 
shall be my people, and I will be their God ; for they shall return unto 
me with their whole heart ; and Ezek. xxxvi. 26, A new heart will I 
give you, and a new spirit will I put within you ; and I will take 
away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of 
flesh. Then for keeping covenant ; for this is a covenant that keepeth 
us, as well as we keep it : Jer. xxxii. 40, 41, I will make an everlast 
ing covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do 
them good ; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not 
depart from me. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and 
I will plant them in this land assuredly, with my whole heart, and with 
my whole soul. So there is a promise of influences, to prevent danger 
of discovenanting : Ezek. xxxvi. 27, I will put my spirit within you, 
and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments 
and do them. 

3. If the conveyance be not so strong and firm to make a plea in 
law ; but this is conveyed by God s word, and confirmed by his oath : 
Heb. vi. 17, 18, Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show 
unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it 
by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible 
for God to lie, we might have strong consolation. It is assured to us 
by his own Son : Luke xii. 32, Fear not, little flock ; for it is your 
Father s good pleasure to give you the kingdom ; and sealed to us by 
Christ s Spirit : 2 Cor. i. 22, Who hath also sealed us, and given the 
earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. Therefore the conveyance will bear 
a plea, both now in prayer and before the tribunal of God. If there 
be any room of doubting, it must be as to our qualification, and there 
fore that you must make more explicit; but as to that, remember 
that all the qualifications of the gospel must be evangelically interpreted, 


not legally ; not in absolute perfection, but in a prevalent degree : our 
graces must be tried by the touchstone, not by the balance ; that they 
be of the right kind, though they are not full weight. 

Use 3. If the Christian religion be true, then we must love Christ 
and live to him, obey his precepts and depend on his promises. Sal 
vation is brought home to our doors. God hath left it to our choice. 
The word is nigh thee ; the way is plain, clear, and open. Do you 
therefore choose it 


For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the 
mouth confession is made to salvation. EOM. x. 10. 

MANY complain that, through the multitude of directions, religion is 
made long and tedious ; therefore it is good sometimes to bring it into 
a narrower compass. We need both methods a larger delineation of 
Christianity, that we may know a Christian in his full length and 
stature ; and at other times a shorter view, or tablet, that we may 
know him, if not by the whole body, yet at least by his face. The 
text is of the latter sort, a summary or abridgment of Christianity, and 
therefore deserveth to be the more narrowly weighed by us. There 
are two great concernments of mankind as they stand in relation 
to God righteousness and salvation ; and this text discovereth how 
you may obtain both by believing and confession. By believing we 
obtain righteousness, and by confession we obtain salvation. It is a 
pity we should miss of such great benefits when such easy and com 
fortable conditions are required of us. The one of these acts is said 
to be done with the heart, the other with the tongue and mouth : 
For with the heart man believeth/ &c. 

In the words two duties are mentioned, and two privileges. 

The apostle had before attributed salvation to both : ver. 9, * If 
tbou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe 
in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be 
saved. Now here he maketh a partition, a,nd distributeth the effects ; 
ascribing righteousness to faith, and salvation to confession ; which is 
done partly for the elegancy of speech, that the period may run more 
roundly ; partly because there is a reason in the thing itself ; for our 
right to justification is begun by faith, and continued by confession 
unto salvation. As soon as we heartily believe in Christ, we are 
accepted as righteous with God, and continuing in the confession of 
this faith, we at length attain salvation. Faith is a means to be 
justified, and confession is a means to be saved. And look, what con 
fession is to faith, the same is salvation to righteousness. Confession 
is the fruit and effect of faith ; for the tongue confesseth what the 
heart first believeth. So the fruit and effect of righteousness is sal 
vation ; for it is said, The gift of righteousness shall reign in life. 
And justification is called, Justification unto life/ Bom. v. 17, 18. 
Eternal life is the completion of justification. If the fruit and effect 
doth not follow faith, neither will the fruit and effect follow righteous- 


ness. As soon as we believe, God pardoneth our sins, and giveth us a 
right to salvation ; but he doth not presently give us salvation itself, 
to leave a time for faith to produce its fruits and effects, and to show 
our gratitude for so great a benefit done unto us by all holy conversa 
tion and godliness. 

Well, then, these two, faith and confession, they (1.) Agree in 
their object ; for the same truth is both believed and confessed, that 
the Lord Jesus is the Saviour of the world, who died for our offences, 
and rose again for our justification. But (2.) They differ in their 
proper seat and subject. The subject of faith is the heart, and the 
subject of confession is the mouth, or outward man. (3.) They some 
what differ in the benefits to which they are referred ; faith to 
righteousness, and confession to salvation. The connection between 
both is appointed by God s order. (4.) They somewhat differ also in 
their nature and use. Faith is the beginning of Christianity, and con 
fession our perseverance in the profession and solid practice of it. 
Faith is our first consent to become Christ s disciples ; confession is a 
declaration of our faith, or an open performance of what we have con 
sented unto. Both make a Christian complete. All the heart-work is 
implied in faith, and all the life-work is implied in confession ; for it 
containeth in itself many acts of godliness. In short, here is embrac 
ing the Christian religion, and living answerably. God hath made it 
necessary that by a cordial faith we should obtain righteousness and 
justification ; and being justified, we should go on to obtain eternal 

You will say, If this be all that is required to make us Christians, 
then Christianity is easy indeed. I answer 

1. We have no reason to represent it burdensome ; but yet both 
these duties have their difficulties. Believing with the heart, a doc 
trine so strange to flesh and blood, and of such an holy and heavenly 
nature, is no slight thing ; therefore God giveth us this grace : Eph. 
ii. 8, By grace ye are saved, through faith ; and it is the gift of God. 
And confessing with the mouth is no easy task neither, especially 
when the fear of man is apt to check it, and this confession exposeth 
us to hazards and dangers. To believe and suffer is another special 
gift of God : Phil. i. 29, For to you it is given, in the behalf of 
Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. If 
confession be a cheaper duty now, it is God s mercy to spare us. We 
know not how soon it may become more hard and hazardous. 

2. The duties always have their difficulty, if rightly understood ; 
for if we believe so as to be affected with what we believe, so as to be 
drawn off from what we love, confess so as to practise what we confess, 
and be true to it, nothing can be added. The scripture supposeth 
that we are rational creatures, that we will act as we understand, and 
that we are sincere in our profession, and that we will do what we 
confess we are bound to do. 

Doct. All that would be accepted with God unto righteousness and 
life must be such as believe in Christ with the heart, and openly con 
fess with the mouth that he is the Son of God and the Saviour of the 

I shall do these three things 


1. Open the nature of faith and confession. 

2. Show the respect between them. 

3. That God hath established faith as the means to be justified, and 
confession as the means to be saved. 

I. To open the nature of faith and confession. 

First, Faith is such a knowledge of Christ as doth not hover in the 
brain, but is seated in the heart ; and may be determined, partly by 
the object or matter believed, partly by the subject of it, or the acts of 
the soul towards it. 

1. The object, or matter believed, is in short this : that there is a 
God, Heb. xi. 6. That God, having made man, he hath right and 
power over him, to govern him by his laws : James iv. 12, There is 
one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. That man, failing 
in his obedience, he and all his posterity are subject to the wrath and 
vindictive justice of God : Kom. iii. 19, That all the world may 
become guilty before God ; Eph. ii. 3, And were by nature children 
of wrath, even as others. That such was God s love, that, to recover 
man out of this wretched condition, he sent his own Son into the world, 
John iii. 16 ; That Jesus Christ, who was the Son of God, died for 
our offences, and rose again for our justification/ Kom. iv. 25 ; that 
is, died to expiate our sins, and rose again to convince the unbelieving 
world of the authority and dignity of his person and offices, and also 
of the truth of his law and covenant ; that having died and rose again, 
he hath acquired novum jits imperil, a new right of command and 
empire over the world : Kom. xiv. 9, For this cause he both died, and 
rose again, and revived, that he might be Lord of dead and living ; 
that is, have full power and dominion to dispose of us, dead and living. 
That Christ, having this full power and dominion over all flesh, hath 
established and enacted a law of grace, or new covenant, wherein par 
don and righteousness, or title to life, is assured to penitent believers : 
Mark xvi. 16, Whosoever belie veth shall be saved; and Luke 
xxiv. 47, And that repentance and remission of sins be preached in 
his name to all nations. And shall actually be bestowed upon all 
that obey him, Heb. v. 9. But those that refuse this Christ shall be 
eternally miserable : John iii. 19, This is the condemnation, that 
light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, 
because their deeds are evil/ This is the sum of what is to be 

2. It may be determined partly by the subject of it, or the acts of 
the soul about it. The subject is the heart, both understanding and will. 
The understanding assents to all this as true, both what is said of the 
person of the Kedeemer and his covenant, and accordingly disposeth 
the heart of man to carry itself towards both. 

[1.] To the person of the Kedeemer. We thankfully and broken- 
heartedly receive him to the ends of the gospel, or to be to us what 
God hath appointed him to be, and do that for us that God hath 
appointed him to do for poor sinners. To be our Lord and Saviour, 
John i. 12, Col. ii. 6, as Lord to obey him, and as Saviour to depend 
upon him, and trust ourselves in his hands for our happiness, what 
ever befalleth us : 2 Tim. i. 12, I know whom I have believed, and 
am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed 
unto him against that day. 


[2.] Towards the covenant, which he hath appointed as the law or 
rule of commerce between us and God. There are promises and 
precepts, commands and offers of grace. (1.) For the promises, you 
heartily accept them as the greatest happiness that can be bestowed 
upon you, and depend upon them as things that surely will be per 
formed ; for there comes in the consideration of true and good : 1 Tim. 
i. 15, This is a true and faithful saying ; Eph. i. 13, In whom ye 
trusted after ye heard the word of truth ; as true, doubts are opposite 
to them ; as good, carnal inclinations. (2.) For the precepts and 
duties required ; you bind yourselves to perform them upon these 
hopes, whatever it cost you ; and there comes into the nature of faith 
sincere resolution and absolute self-denial ; sincere resolution to per 
form what God hath required, that you may obtain what he hath offered, 
which is called a giving up of ourselves to the Lord, 2 Cor. viii. 5 ; 
and absolute self-denial, or selling all for the pearl of price, Mat. xiii. 
46 ; and so that faith, which is made such a difficult thing to explain, 
as it were, a bugbear to affright poor Christians from all thoughts and 
study about it, is made easy and facile to the understandings of the 
meanest Christians, who must live by it, and be saved by it. This then 
is believing with the heart. 

Secondly, What is confession with the mouth ? A solemn outward 
declaration that we take Christ for our Lord and Saviour, or that we 
believe what is revealed to us concerning God and Christ, and our duty 
to him. This is necessary, because the promises of the new covenant 
run in both strains ; of putting the word in our heart, Jer. xxxi. 37, 
and putting it in our mouths, Isa. lix. 21. The saints prayers are, that 
God would not take it out of their hearts, Ps. cxix. 36, nor out of 
their mouths : ver. 43, Take not the word of truth utterly out of 
my mouth. And the nature of their duty to God requireth it ; for a 
man is first to embrace the true religion, to receive it with his heart, 
and then he is to profess it, or express it with his mouth ; for no man is 
to conceal and keep his religion to himself. Our tongues and our bodies 
were given us to show forth that acknowledgment and adoration of 
God which is in our hearts. He that denieth God or Christ with the 
heart, doth not believe in him or worship him with the heart. So he 
doth not worship God with his tongue and life who doth not outwardly 
profess and honour him. As he hath given us an understanding that 
we may know him, so he hath prepared for us a body wherewithal to 
profess him, and our esteem of him : Isa. xlv. 23, To me every knee 
shall bow, and every tongue shall swear ; which is again repeated 
and established as our duty in the gospel: Phil. ii. 10, 11, At the 
name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every tongue confess that 
Jesus Christ is Lord. 

But more distinctly to open this confession with the mouth. 

1. The matter to be confessed is the great truths which we do 
believe God, Christ, the covenant of grace, eternal glory and happiness; 
and the lesser truths in their season at other times : Rom. xiv. 22, 
Hast thou faith ? have it to thyself before God. It is not meant of 
the necessary articles of the Christian belief, but things of a doubtful 
disputation. If we know more than others in these things, yet we 
must not needlessly trouble the church, or offend the weak to the 


danger of their souls and hindrance of greater truths ; and yet in these 
things, you must not deny the smallest truth : 2 Cor. xiii. 8, We can 
do nothing against the truth, but for the truth ; for though the thing 
we contend for be small, yet sincerity is a great matter, and to profess 
our assent and consent to what we neither count true nor can well approve 
of, is to come under a fellowship of the guilt of undermining truth and 

2. The ways by which we make this profession. The mouth is only 
mentioned in the text, but that implieth other things. Briefly this 
confession is made either in word or deed. 

[1.] Verbal and in word, by a constant owning of Christ, and our 
hopes by him, both publicly and upon all occasions by private con 
ference, or taking all meet opportunities to discover ourselves that we 
are Christians. So the apostle saith of Timothy, 1 Tim. viii. 12, Lay 
hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed 
a good profession before many witnesses. He had openly confessed the 
name of Christ. And the apostle telleth us, 1 John iv. 15, Whoso 
ever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him 
and he in God. He meaneth it of times wherein this primitive and 
fundamental truth was mainly contradicted and opposed in the world. 
Then for a man to declare himself a Christian was hazardous, and 
argued a great degree of self-denial ; and especially it is spoken in 
opposition to the Gnostics and Nicolaitans, who accounted it sufficient 
to believe with the heart, taking a liberty to confess what they listed. 
See how they are taxed : John xii. 42, 43, 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. 

[2.1 Eeal or indeed ; and that was either by action or passion. 

(1.) By action, and that is twofold either more public or private. 

(1st.) More public, by submission to God s appointed ordinances, as 
hearing of the word, baptism, and the Lord s supper. Christ instituted 
these visible duties to make the profession of his name public and 
open : Mark xvi. 16, He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. 
In the Lord s supper we commemorate his death : 1 Cor. xi. 26, 
As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show 
forth the Lord s death till he come ; that is, we publicly com 
memorate it, and show it forth as the ground of our hopes. So in 
all the other duties which we observe in the assemblies of the faith 
ful, they are a keeping up of our confession, or a testimony that 
we are not ashamed of Christ. As Heb. x. 23, Let us hold fast 
the profession of our faith without wavering ; for he is faithful that 
hath promised. Now this profession is solemnly made by our com 
munion with God s people in their public assemblies ; as it followeth, 
ver. 25, Not forsaking the assembling ourselves together, as the 
manner of some is. The assembling ourselves, that is, with the 
Christians and their assemblies, wherein they did meet together to 
serve and worship God, and mutually to promote their own salvation. 
Now it is not enough to have our private devotions in our families 
and closets, but we must entertain public converse with God, to 
testify our union and agreement with the people of God in the same 


faith and worship. Now, it was the manner of some to forsake these 
conventions and meetings, which was a grievous sin, and of very ill 
consequence ; not only as they deprived themselves of the benefit of 
these societies, but as they seemed to love their life, goods, or quiet 
and peace, and reputation, and liberty more than Christ ; and though 
they were convinced of the truth of Christianity, yet could not be noted 
as open professors of it. 

(2d) More private and personal, by holy conversation and godliness ; 
for we are to confess and glorify Christ both in word and deed. Con 
fession indeed is a life of love and praise, in perpetual acknowledg 
ment of this incomparable benefit which we have by Christ. This 
confession is always necessary to true Christians, that their works be 
holy and agreeable to their faith ; for thereby they signify that they 
do believe in Christ, and expect eternal glory by him ; that he that is 
raised up by God from the dead at length will come again to bring us to 
himself. As without faith there is no righteousness, so without this 
confession there is no salvation ; for this distinguisheth the Christian 
from the hypocrite : Titus i. 16, They profess to know God, but in 
their works they deny him. They confess fair, but their lives show 
they believe nothing. The very devils confessed Christ to be the Son 
of the most high God, Mark iv. 7 ; but it profited them nothing, 
because it was a confession extorted, and they were creatures in 
rebellion against God. Therefore holiness of life is one means of our 
confession ; otherwise we deny the Lord that bought us : Mat. v. 16, 
Let your light so shine before men, that others, seeing your good 
works, may glorify your Father which is in heaven ; and 1 Peter ii. 9, 
That you may show forth the praises of him who hath called you out 
of darkness into his marvellous light. Works are a sign as well as 
words ; the surer sign of the two, of the faith which is in our hearts. 
For it is a sign that faith prevaileth in us when we do things consen 
taneous, and agreeable tq ;our faith. Our profession in words may be 
contradicted by our works, and that is interpretatively a denial of the 
faith : 1 Tim. v. 8, If any provide not for his own, he hath denied 
the faith/ It is an act of uncharitableness or dishonesty. What ! 
profess Christ to be our Lord, and live in such rebellion and disobedience 
to him ? It is as if you should assure a prince of your loyalty, and yet 
actually be in arms against him. This confession is never out of 
season, and is our surest evidence. 

(2.) By passion or suffering, enduring the hardest things that can 
befall you in the world for his sake. Of this our Lord speaketh: 
Mat. x. 31, 32, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I 
confess before my Father in heaven ; but whosoever will deny me, him. 
will I deny before my Father in heaven. His name, his truth, his 
ways must be avowed before all the world, whatever it cost us. We 
cannot honour Christ so much as he will honour us, and therefore we 
must contemn the hatred of the world, and all the pleasures and profits 
of this life, that we may be faithful to him. Confession is a harder 
matter than usually we take it to be, and requireth good preparation : 
1 Peter iii. 15, Be ready always to give an answer to every man that 
asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, &c. Not ready in 
point of knowledge only, to argue for the faith, but ready as to courage, 


fortitude, and resolution of mind. ^0701; is not an account of the 
reasons, but of the nature and tenor of our Christian faith. "ETOI/AOI, 
be ready, is the same with erot/xeo? e^&>, as St Paul saith, Acts xxi. 13, 
I am ready not to be bound only, but to die also at Jerusalem, &c. 
And 6Toi/j,aaia, Eph. vi. 15, Shod with the preparation of the gospel 
of peace. 

II. The respect that is between these two, faith and profession. 
There is a double respect, such as between 

1. The cause and effect. First, We believe and then confess. Our 
faith is the cause of our confession : 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. David was sore 
afflicted, and yet professed his faith in God ; he could not suppress his 
boasting of the promises in his greatest distresses; so we believe in 
Christ, and therefore cannot but in word and deed express our confi 
dence in him. When such a spirit of faith cometh upon us, there will 
not need many enforcements or excitements publicly to own Christ ; 
for this spirit of faith cannot be shut up in the heart, but will break 
out into confession. There cannot be a true and lively faith without 
confession, nor a true confession without faith ; for the effect cannot be 
without the cause, nor such a powerful cause without the effect. 

2. Such as there is between the sign and the thing signified. Faith 
hath always confession and obedience joined with it, as its proper sign. 
As flame or smoke is of fire, or breathing of life, so is confession with 
the mouth, or an holy life, an individual 1 companion and note of true 
faith, by which it is demonstrated to be sincere and real : Show me 
thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by rny 
works, James ii. 18. Men know not our hearts, whether we believe 
in God, yea or no, or what we believe of him, till they hear and see it 
in our profession and actions ; here is the sign, the proof of it. Look, 
as an evil principle bewrayeth itself by its proper signs ; as atheism 
by men s ungodly and unholy lives (Ps. xxxvi. 1, The transgression 
of the wicked saith within my heart, There is no fear of God before 
his eyes. What could they do more in a way of sin or less in a way 
of duty if there were no God ? The current of a man s life and actions 
doth best expound and interpret his heart ; any considerate man may 
conclude from their manner of living that they have no sense of the 
being of God, nor ever expect to be accountable to him) so for the 
belief of Christianity ; it is discovered by owning Christ in the greatest 
dangers, by a ready obedience to his precepts, that seem to be most 
cross to the inclination and interest of the flesh ; or by an holy and 
heavenly life. It is a sign we believe those blessed, sublime, and 
weighty truths which are contained in the gospel. In short, we judge 
others by external works alone, for the tree is known by its fruits, Mat. 
vii. 16. We judge of ourselves by external and internal together ; 
both by the belief of the heart and the confession of the mouth also. 

III. The order God hath established ; appointing faith as a means 
to be justified, and confession as a means to be saved. 

1. Let us speak of what is requisite to righteousness ; so faith is 
the means whereby this righteousness is applied, received, and freely 
given us. 

1 Tha*, is, indivisible or inseparable. ED. 


To explain this I shall inquire (1.) What is righteousness; (2.) 
Show you that this righteousness is applied by faith ; (3.) That the 
cordial and heart believer is the penitent, working believer. 

[1.] What is righteousness ? It is here taken in a legal and judicial 
sense, not for a disposition of mind and heart to please God, but for 
the ground of a plea before the tribunal of God, that we may be 
exempted from the punishments threatened, and obtain the grace 
offered, or a right to the reward promised : Rom. v. 18, As by the 
offence of one judgment came upon all to condemnation, even so by 
the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men to justifica 
tion of life. 

[2.] That we are qualified for this righteousness by faith. So it is 
said, Eom. iii. 24, 25, Being justified freely by his grace, through the 
redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God hath set forth to be a 
propitiation throughfaith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the 
remission of sins. We get absolution from sin by free pardon, through 
the merit of Christ, and are accepted as righteous before God, when 
we enter into the new covenant, taking God for our Lord and happiness, 
Christ for our redeemer and saviour, the Holy Ghost for our sanctifier 
and comforter. More especially with respect to Christ, when we 
subject ourselves to him as our Lord, and depend upon the merit of 
his death and intercession for our acceptance with God. Now that 
this believing with the heart is required in order to righteousness is 
everywhere manifested in the scriptures. Therefore the new covenant 
righteousness is called the righteousness of faith, Bom. ix. 30, The 
gentiles have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which 
is of faith. So Gal. v. 5, We through the Spirit wait for the hope 
of righteousness by faith ; because faith qualifieth us for it. A right 
eousness we must have, that we may be exempted from wrath, which 
sin hath made our due, and that we may be accepted with God unto 
eternal life, which they that are destitute of all righteousness can never 
attain unto. A righteousness of our own according to the law of 
works we are far from. The legal way, therefore, can never stead us. 
We must only run for refuge to the evangelical course or way set down 
in the gospel ; namely, that upon the account of the merit and 
obedience of Christ God will pardon the sins of all penitent believers, 
and accept them to grace and favour. Well, then, it is by faith that 
Christ s death and obedience are applied and made beneficial to us : 
Bom. iii. 22, The righteousness of God is by the faith of Jesus Christ, 
unto all and upon all that believe, and there is no difference. Well, 
then, every believer is qualified. If you ask me therefore 

[3.] What kind of believer is qualified and accepted as righteous, I 
answer (1.) The penitent believer ; (2.) The working believer. 

(1.) The penitent believer ; for faith and repentance are inseparable 
companions, and always go together in our first introduction or 
entrance into the new covenant : Mark i. 15, Bepent and believe the 
gospel ; and Acts ii. 38, Bepent and be baptized, for the remission of 
sins. When we depend upon Christ for pardon, we are willing to 
return to God and live in his obedience, hating and detesting our 
former ways wherein we wandered from him. Well, then, though 
the righteousness be only the righteousness of faith, and the believer 


be only accepted as righteous, yet it is the penitent believer whose 
heart and life is changed, and who is willing by Christ to come to 

(2.) It is the working believer ; so it is explained. What is in Gal. 
v. 5, called The righteousness of faith/ is, ver. 6, called Faith 
working by love. Not all that is called by that name, but the work 
ing faith. And so it is expressed elsewhere: Heb. xi. 7, By faith 
Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with 
fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house, by which he became 
an heir of the righteousness which is by faith. The saving of Noah 
from the flood is a type and shadow of salvation by Christ. The flood 
drowned and destroyed the impenitent world, but Noah and his family 
were saved in the ark. We are warned of the eternal penalties 
threatened by God. If we do not repent and believe, we shall not be 
saved from wrath ; but if we believe and prepare an ark, that is, 
diligently use the means appointed for our safety, then we become 
heirs of the righteousness which is by faith. Noah showed himself a 
believer indeed, to prepare an ark with such vast charge in the face of 
the scorning world, which was an eminent piece of self-denial and 
obedience ; but such will the true faith put us upon. Look, as to be 
justified by the law, or works required by the law, is all one, so to be 
justified by faith or the new covenant is all one also. Whatever there 
fore the new covenant requireth as our duty that we may be capable of 
the privileges thereof, that must be done by the sincere believer. It 
is not the idle, but the working faith. 

2. That confession with the mouth is required unto salvation, for 
God is not glorified, nor others edified, nor ourselves comforted, but 
by such a believing with the heart as hath confession going along 
with it. 

[1.] God is most glorified when faith breaketh out into confession 
either in word or deed, suffering or obedience: 2 Thes. i. 11, 12, 
* Wherefore we pray always that God would count you worthy of his 
calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of 
faith with power ; that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glori 
fied in you. By the work of faith there, is not meant, the internal, elicit 
or heart acts, such as assent, consent, and affiance; thus we may honour 
God in ourselves, but not before others ; but the external act of con 
fession, which is made either by patient sufferings or holiness of life ; 
so we honour God before others. Our deeds must answer our faith ; 
for the truest confession is made by deeds rather than words, for words 
are cheaper than deeds. The world therefore believe th deeds more. 
In short, a Christian that desireth. to magnify Christ in his soul, 
desireth also to magnify him in his body : Phil. i. 20, So Christ be 
magnified in my body, whether by life, or by death ; so 1 Cor. vi. 20, 
Glorify God in your bodies and souls, which are God s/ 

[2.] Others are edified; for that which is secret is no means to 
profit them : they cannot see our faith ; but they may see our good 
works : Mat. v. 16, Let your light so shine before men, that they may 
see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven ; 
and 1 Peter ii. 12, That they may by your good works, which they 
shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation ; and a holy life is 



required for their sates, that we may be a means to bring them home 
to God. 

[3.] We are most comforted ; for it is the practical, operative faith 
which giveth a right to salvation, and breedeth assurance of it in our 
souls. That is but the image and shadow of grace that lurketh and 
lieth hid and idle in the soul : James ii. 14, What doth it profit, my 
brethren, if a man say he hath faith, and hath not works ? Can faith 
save him ? You do not look for salvation by Christ if you do not take 
the way that leadeth to it ; but a fruitful faith evidenceth itself, and 
confirmeth our interest and increaseth our joy. 

Use. To press you 

1. To mark the order of the benefits first righteousness, then 

[1.] We can never have found peace ; there is no appearing before 
God without some righteousness, of one sort or other. God is holy 
and just, therefore somewhat we must have to stand before this holy 

[2.] No other righteousness will serve the turn but the righteousness 
of faith. We are in a wof ul case till we get an interest in the right 
eousness of Christ : Job xxxiii. 24, Then he is gracious to him, and 
saith, Deliver him from going down into the pit, for I have found a 

[3.] Till we heartily and sincerely believe or enter into this cove 
nant, we have not this interest : Phil. iii. 9, And be found in him, 
not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which 
is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by 
faith. Then for salvation, is this all your hope and desire, that your 
soul may be saved in the day of the Lord ? Then let not lesser pur 
suits divert you : Acts xvi. 30, The jailer said to Paul and Silas, Sirs, 
what must I do to be saved ? It . doth not touch us so near, how we 
shall live in this world, as how to live in the other. 

2. Mark the order of duties first faith, then confession. Hear, and 
your souls shall live. First hear, then live. There must be a believ 
ing with the heart, and a confession with the mouth ; both go together : 
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the 
mouth confession is made unto salvation. 


But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, 
and we in him; and one Jesus Christ, by ivhom are all things, 
and we by him. 1 COB. viii. 6. 

IN the text, there is a perfect antithesis or opposition to the fabulous 
devices of the pagan religion. Among the pagans there were 6eou 
TToXXol, many gods, and /cvpiot -jroXKol, many lords/ ver. 5. By 
gods, meaning the supreme deities ; by lords, middle powers, or 
gods of an inferior order, supposed to be mediators and agents between 
the supreme gods and mortal men ; called by the orientals Baalim, 
lords, as gods here by the apostles. By the Greeks Sai/zoi/e?. So 
Plato in his Sympos. : Bta SaifAovlcov iraad eariv f] 6/uXia Kal -fj 
StaXe/cT09 Oeols Trpos avOpayirovs All the commerce and intercourse 
between gods and men is performed by demons. Now the Christian 
religion doth herein agree with the pagan, that there is a supreme God 
and a mediator ; but it differeth in that they had a plurality in both 
sorts of their gods, we but one in each ; and so the Christian religion 
is distinguished from all others by one God and one Lord. To 
us, that is, to us Christians, there is but et9 @eo?, one sovereign 
God, from whom, as supreme, we derive all our graces, and to whom, 
as supreme, we direct all our services. * And one Lord, that is, one 
mediator, by whom, as through a golden pipe, all mercies are conveyed 
to us, and by whom also we have access to God : But to us there is 
but one God, &c. 

In the words observe 

1. What is said of the supreme and most high God. 

[1.] The unity of his essence, that though he be distinguished into 
three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, yet there is but one, the 
only and true God. 

[2.] He is represented by his relation to the creatures, the Father/ 
It is not taken vTroaraTiKco^, personally, but oucrtwSw?, essentially, 
as often in scripture ; as Isa. Ixiii. 16, Doubtless thou art our 
Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us ; meaning not only the 
first person, but all the rest; and Mat. v. 16, Glorify your Father 
which is in heaven; and Mat. vi. 9, Our Father which art in heaven; 
James iii. 9, * Therefore we bless God, even the Father. In all these 
and many other places, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is the only true 
God, and called Father. 

[3.] He is set forth by his dignity and pre-eminence, as the first 


cause and last end : For from him are all things, and we in him, etV, 
dvTov, i.e., to him and for him. I take the marginal reading. So Rom. 
xi. 36, For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things. 

2. What is said of the mediator. He is described 

[1.] By his person or name, signifying his person, Jesus Christ : 
There is no other name given under heaven, Acts iv. 12, &c. 

[2.] By his dignity, Lord, that is, mediator. Christ is often set 
forth by this term or title : Acts ii. 36, God has made that same Jesus 
whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ. He is Lord over all 
creatures, and over the house of God : Phil. ii. 11, And that every 
tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God 
the Father/ He died for that end and purpose : Kom. xiv. 9, To 
this end Christ both died, and rose again, and revived, that he might 
be Lord both of dead and living. Therefore we should own him as 
such : John xx. 28, My Lord and my God ; both in word and deed. 
In word: Phil. ii. 11, That every tongue should confess that Jesus 
Christ is Lord. In deed, in worship : Ps. xlv. 11, He is thy Lord ; wor 
ship thou him/ In ordinary practice and conversation, loving, serving, 
studying to please him in all things : Luke vi. 46, Why call you me 
Lord, and do not the things which I say ? Col. i. 10, Walk worthy 
of the Lord in all pleasing/ It is our comfort that he is head over all 
things, Eph. i. 22. So he is able to subject the church to, himself by 
his Spirit, to vanquish its enemies, and defend us by his power. And 
it is both our comfort and duty that he is our Lord : He purchased 
us by his blood/ Acts xx. 28, and Eph. i. 14. Therefore the church 
is given him as an inheritance, Ps. ii. 8. We are married to him in 
the covenant of grace. Therefore he appeaseth the wrath of God by 
his passion and intercession. He cherisheth and takes care of us. 

[3.] The appropriation of this office and dignity to him alone : One 
Lord, Jesus Christ/ To set up other lords of our faith, or other 
mediators between God and us, is a wrong to Christ. There is but one 
Mediator, either of redemption or intercession, and no saints or angels 
share in this honour : 1 Tim. ii. 5, For there is one God, and one 
Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus ; Eph. iv. 5, 
One Lord ; without partner or substitute. He will communicate 
this glory and dominion over his church to no other, in whole or in 

[4.] The distinctness of his operation as mediator, from what was 
said concerning the Father. It is said of the Father, Of whom, and 
for whom, are all things ; but of the Mediator it is said, By whom 
are all things, and we by him/ God is the fountain of all heavenly 
gifts, James i. 17 ; and Christ is the pipe and conveyance. God is 
the ultimate object of our worship, and by the Mediator do we make 
our addresses and applications to him : Eph. ii. 18, For through him 
we both have an access by one Spirit unto the Father/ From God all 
things have their being, as from their spring and cause, both in a way 
of nature and grace ; so all things by the Mediator. 

Doct. That the owning and worshipping God by the Mediator, 
Jesus Christ, is the sum of the Christian religion. 

Natural religion owneth a God, but the Christian religion owneth a 
Mediator ; and Father, Son, and Holy Ghost for that only true God, 


and Jesus Christ for that Mediator. See other scriptures : John xvii. 
3, i And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true 
God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent/ There is the sum of what 
is necessary to life eternal, that God is to be known, loved, obeyed, 
worshipped, and enjoyed, and the Lord Jesus as our Kedeemer and 
Saviour, to bring us home to God, and to procure for us the gifts of 
pardon and life, and this life to be begun here and perfected in heaven. 
So 1 Tim. ii. 5, For there is but one God, and one Mediator between 
God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Here are the two great points 
of the Christian religion one God, in whom is all our trust and con 
fidence ; and one Lord Jesus, the only Mediator for the restoration and 
reconciliation of man with God. 

Here I shall show you (1.) The necessity of a mediator ; (2.) 
The fitness of Christ for this office ; (3.) The benefit and fruit of it ; 
(4.) Who are the parties interested in these comforts, and most con 
cerned in these duties. 

I. The necessity of a mediator in this lapsed and fallen estate of 
mankind. Two things infer and enforce this necessity distance and 
difference. Distance by reason of impurity, and difference by reason 
of enmity ; both these occur in the case between God and men. God 
is a God of glorious majesty, and we are poor creatures. God is an 
holy God, a God of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and we are 
sinful creatures. As creatures, we are unworthy of immediate access 
to God ; as lapsed, and under the guilt of sin and desert of punishment, 
and unable to deliver ourselves, we cannot draw nigh to him with any 

1. Our distance, which is so great that it is a condescension for God 
to take notice that there are such creatures in the world : Ps. cxiii. 6, 
Who humbleth himself to behold the things which are in heaven and 
earth. The excellency and majesty of God is so great that either 
angels or men are unworthy to approach his presence. Now, as 
inferior and mean people dare not approach the presence of a great 
prince but by some powerful friend and intercessor at court, so our 
distance produceth our fears and estrangedness, and backwardness to 
draw nigh unto God, and so hindereth our love and confidence in him. 
Well, then, to depend upon one so far above us, that he will take 
notice of us, take care of us, relieving us in our necessities and straits, 
and help us out of all our miseries, and finally save us, requireth a 
mediator ; one that is more near and dear to God than we are, which 
can be no other than Jesus Christ, as I shall show by-and-by. When 
a sinner looketh only at God as in himself, he is confounded and 
amazed, as quite out of the reach of his commerce. 

2. Difference. A mediator is chiefly one used between disagreeing 
parties : Gal. iii. 20, Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but 
God is one. There must be two parties, and usually two differing 
parties. There is God angry, and man guilty. Conscience of guilt 
presents God terrible, and taketh away all confidence from the guilty 
sinner, so that of ourselves we cannot approach in a friendly manner 
to an offended and provoked God : Heb. xii. 29, For our God is a 
consuming fire ; and Who can dwell with devouring burnings ? 
Isa. xxxiii. 14. Who shall interpose and stand between God and us, 


the power of his wrath, and our weakness and obnoxiousness to his 
righteous vengeance. 

II. That none but Christ is fit for this high office, that, though God 
be high, and just, and holy, yet poor creatures and sinners may have 
access to him. A mediator must be one that can take off the distance, 
and compromise the difference between us and God : that there 
were, saith Job, a day s-man between us, that might lay his hands 
upon both ! Job ix. 33. Now, considering this, Jesus Christ is the 
only fit interposing party ; therefore he is called the Mediator of the 
new covenant, Heb. xii. 24, And to Jesus, the Mediator of the new 
covenant, and The Mediator of a better covenant, Heb. viii. 6. 

1. As to the distance; so in his person he is God-man. Our media 
tor must be one in whom God doth condescend to man, and by whom, 
man may be encouraged to ascend to God. Now in Christ God is 
nearer to man than he was before, and so we may have more familiar 
thoughts of God. The pure deity is at so vast a distance from us 
while we are in the flesh, that we are amazed and confounded, cannot 
imagine that he should look after us, concern himself in us and our 
affairs, love us, show us his free grace and favour. Now it is a 
mighty help to think of God manifested in our flesh, 1 Tim. iii. 16 ; 
The Word made flesh/ John i. 14. So that while we are here in the 
flesh, yet we may have commerce with God. It is a mighty en 
couragement to consider how near God is come to us in Christ, and 
how he hath taken the human nature into his own person ; for surely 
he will not hide himself from his own flesh, Isa. Iviii. 7. He came 
down into our flesh that he might be man, and familiar with man. 
This wonderfully reconcileth the heart of man to God, and maketh 
the thoughts of him comfortable and acceptable to us, so that we may 
encourage ourselves in free access to God. 

2. As the person of the Kedeemer, so his work ; which is to take 
away the difference and quarrel between us and God. To understand 
this, observe, that the mediation between the two differing parties 
must be carried on so that God, who is the supreme and offended 
party, may be satisfied. Now God stood upon these terms that the 
honour of his governing justice should be secured : Kom. iii. 25, 
* Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his 
blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins. And 
that the repentance and reformation of sinful man should be carried 
on : Acts v. 31, Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a 
prince and saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of 
sins. These must be done, otherwise man must lie under his eternal 
displeasure. If the one be done and not the other done, no recon 
ciliation can ensue. Therefore we must not look to Christ s mediation 
with God so as to overlook his work with man, nor so look to his 
work with man as to overlook his mediation with God : Heb. iii. 1, 
Consider the apostle and high priest of our profession, Jesus Christ. 
We have both here. The work of an apostle lieth with men; the 
work of an high priest with God. He hath an office with God and 
man, and both are necessary to bring about our salvation. And 
Christ cannot be a complete Saviour without doing both. To be 
barely a prophet would not serve the turn, but he must be a priest to 


gatisfy God s justice also by the merit of his sacrifice. In short, his 
work with God is that of a priest; his work with man is that of a 
prophet and king. 

[1.] His work as a priest is to pacify God s wrath, procure his 
grace, love, and favour for us ; and this he doth under two relations 
as a sponsor and intercessor. 

(1.) As a sponsor and surety. He was the surety of a better testa 
ment : Heb. vii. 22, By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better 
testament/ So 

(1st.) By way of satisfaction, he undertook something to be paid 
and performed for us. He undertaketh to satisfy God s justice by 
the sacrifice of himself, and so make way for his mercy on easy terms. 
The pacifying of God s justice was a great part of his mediation : 
Heb. ix. 15, For this cause he is the Mediator of the new testament, 
that, by means of death for the redemption of the transgressions that 
were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the 
promise of eternal inheritance ; that is, that penitent and believing 
sinners might be acquitted from the curse due to them by the first 
covenant, and so made capable of eternal life. What they owe he hath 

(2d.) By way of caution, undertaking for those whom he reconciled 
to God that they shall perform what God requireth of them in the 
new covenant. Having purchased the Spirit, he hath enabled them 
to repent, and believe, and mortify and crucify the flesh, and obey the 
gospel: Horn. vi. 6, Knowing that our old man is crucified with 
him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we 
should not serve sin. 

(2.) As an intercessor. He is in heaven dealing with God in our 
behalf. He hath not cast oft his relation or affection to his people 
upon his advancement: Heb. viii. 2, A minister of the sanctuary, 
and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. In 
all his glory he is the church s agent, appearing for us as our attorney 
in court, Heb. ix. 24 ; pleading for us, and answering all accusations 
as our advocate : 1 John ii. 1, And if any man sin, we have an 
advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And main 
taining a correspondency between us and God, as an ambassador 
between two states, promoting our desires and prayers : Kev. viii. 3, 
And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden 
censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should 
offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was 
before the throne. And obtaining all necessary graces for us. 

[2.] His work with men, as a prophet and king. 

As a prophet, and so as a messenger of the covenant, Mai. 
iii. 11. He showeth us the way how we may be reconciled with God, 
persuading us also to be so reconciled to God. For we are ignorant 
and obstinate, loath to part with sin and submit to God s terms ; 
therefore he revealeth, and persuadeth us to accept, the conditions of 
the new covenant, and to cast away all our rebellion against God, and 
enter into his peace : 2 Cor. v. 20, Now then we are ambassadors for 
Christ ; as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you, in Christ s 
stead, be ye reconciled to God. They plead in his name, and by 
virtue of his power. 


(2.) As a king and lord ; so lie maketh these terms part of the 
new law for the remedying of lapsed mankind : Heb. v. 8, Though 
he were a son, yet he learned obedience by the things he suffered. 
And not only so, but he subdueth us to himself, Luke xi. 21 ; by 
strong hand rescueth us out of the power of the devil, and giveth us 
grace to serve him acceptably, Heb. xii. 28 ; and taketh us into his 
care, and ruleth us and protecteth us, till we enter into everlasting 
life. His lordship is a great part of his mediation. 

III. The comforts and duties thence resulting, namely, from 
Christ s being constituted as mediator, as they are laid forth in the 

1. I observe, that the Father s honour and glory is still secured, 
and preserved safe and entire, notwithstanding the giving the glory 
to Christ as the Lord of the new creation. The glory of the Mediator 
doth no way impair and infringe the Father s glory. That is apparent, 
partly because all the good we have is from the Father, but only by 
Christ ; for when the Father is spoken of, it is said, From him are all 
things ; but when the Mediator, then it is said, By him ; which 
notes a subordinate operation or administration, as lord- deputy under 
the Father ; and therefore, in the subjection of the creature unto 
Christ, the glory of the Father is expressly reserved : Phil. ii. 11, 
That every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of 
the Father. Again, it is apparent, because it is said, We are to 
him, or for him. The Mediator does not lead us off from God, but 
to him. Therefore both our love to God and subjection to him must 
still be preserved. 

[1.] Our love. You must not think of the Father that he is all 
wrath, severe and inexorable, and his favour not to be gained but 
upon hard terms. No ; if he himself had not loved us, we could never 
have had Christ for our Kedeemer. All things are of him, not only 
in a way of creation, but redemption ; and one great end of sending 
Christ was to show the amiableness of the divine nature. Christ 
himself was sent by the Father : John iii. 16, God so loved the 
world, that he sent his only-begotten Son ; 2 Cor. v. 19, God was 
in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their 
trespasses to them ; Rom. viii. 32, God spared not his own Son, 
but delivered him up for us all. 

(2.) Our subjection and obedience : Rev. v. 9, Thou hast redeemed 
us to God by thy blood. His ancient right in us is not disannulled, 
but promoted. We are redeemed to his service and obedience. See 
1 Cor. vi. 19, 20, Which are God s, viz., by a right beneficial, as a 
further obligation. God is the efficient and final cause of all things ; 
therefore, still our subjection to God and love to God must be pre 

2. I observe, that the expressions here used imply returns as well 
as receipts. Look to the expressions in both clauses, either concerning 
the one God or the one Mediator. The one God : From him are all 
things, and we by him, or for him. As from his bounty and good 
ness, so for his honour and service : Prov. xvi. 4, God hath made all 
things for himself ; 1 Cor. x. 31, Whether ye eat or drink, or what 
soever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Whether it be in a way of 


nature or grace, all things come of God. These words do especially 
concern Christians. All matters of grace come from the Father to us 
for "his glory ; all things that belong to the new creation, as appeareth 
by the last clause ; we by him, et? dvrbv, or for him. See Eph. i. 12, 
That we should be to the praise of his glory. So for what is said of 
the Mediator ; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things ; 
that is, which we receive from God ; and we by him ; that is, all 
the services which we return to God again. Not only blessings come 
from the Father to us, but we also must return duty and service to 
God by the same Mediator. Receipts come from God by Christ, and 
returns go back by Chris* to God. Which is to be noted by them 
who are all for receipts, but think not of returns ; and also by them 
who own God in their mercies, but make returns in their own name. 
No ; all that duty which we perform to God is by the Mediator. All 
Christianity is a coming to God by Christ, Heb. vii. 25. If we believe 
in God, it is by him : 1 Peter i. 2, By whom we believe in God. I 
we love God, it is in Christ. If we pray to God, it is in and through 
him : Eph. ii. 18, For through him we both have an access by one 
Spirit unto the Father. If we praise God, it is in and by Christ : 
Phil. i. 11, Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are 
by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Otherwise our 
duties are not acceptable and pleasing to him. 

3. I observe, that in the receipts we expect from God there is great 
encouragement to expect them ; for God is represented as a fountain of 
grace, as a father, as a God and father, that acts by a mediator, whose 
merit is expressed as large as the Father s power. 

[1.] As a fountain of grace. He is the supreme cause of all things, 
from whom all creatures have their life and being ; a fountain ever- 
flowing, and overflowing. What can we ask of him which he is not 
able to do ? Ps. Ivii. 2, I will cry unto God most high, unto God that 
performeth all things for me/ If it be pardon of sin or the gift of the- 
Spirit, if subduing enemies or everlasting salvation, he is able to give 
it you. If it be strength against temptations, or grace to serve him 
acceptably, you come to a God from whom are all things. When a man 
seriously worshippeth God, he turneth his back upon all other things, 
and turneth his face to God as the supreme lord and fountain of all happi 
ness. You may with confidence present your petitions to him that can 
perform all things. 

[2.] -You come to God as a father. If you take it personally, it is 
comfortable to come to him as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Eph. 
iii. 14 ; or essentially, as a father of the whole family of the faithful, 
He loveth us dearly. We have the supreme God for our father, and 
shall not we trust in him ? 2 Cor. vi. 18, And I will be a Father unto 
you, and you shall be my sons and daughters. Who would distrust a 
father, and an omnipotent father ? When we remember not only his 
sufficiency, but his love to us and our interest in him, we make our 
addresses to him with confidence. Who may be confident if not the 
children of such a father ? 

[3.] This fatherly goodness and all-sufficiency is engaged for our 
relief by the Mediator. As all things are from the Father, so all things 
are by him ; that is, purchased and bought by his merit. The extent 


and virtue of his merit is expressed as largely as the Father s power. 
If we believe in God as an all-sufncient fountain of grace, we believe in 
Christ as an all-sufficient mediator : John xiv. 1, Let not your hearts 
be troubled ; ye believe in God, believe also in me ; 1 John ii. 23, 
He that acknowledged the Son hath the Father also/ Besides this, 
Hhe veil of Christ s flesh doth break the beams of his terror to those that 
behold his excellencies and rejoice in them. By that we are encouraged 
to come to God for the Mediator s blessing, which is the pardon of our 
sins : Mat. i. 21 , He shall save his people from their sins ; and Acts 
iii. 26, God hath sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of 
you from your sins. One great petition which we have to put up to 
God is for the pardon of sin. This is a principal suit, which sinful 
man hath daily to present to God. Now, when we are sensible of sin, 
how comfortable is it to come to God in the name of this Lord and 
Mediator, who came on purpose to take away sin, and hath satisfied 
"God s justice, and merited God s favour and mercy for us, and liveth in 
heaven to plead the merit of his sacrifice ? 

[4.] As we are encouraged greatly to expect the graces and favours 
needful, so we are as deeply engaged to the returns of love, service, and 
obedience ; and that not only as obliged in point of gratitude, but as 
inclined, suited, and fitted; for as we are for God, so we are by him. 
I say, we are obliged in gratitude for the many blessings which are pro- 
cured and conveyed to us by the Mediator. If we have all things from 
God, and all things by him, and we Christians, more than ordinary 
creatures, surely we should in a singular manner fulfil his will and seek 
his glory : 2 Cor. v. 14, 15, For the love of Christ constraineth us ; 
because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and 
that he died for all, that they that live should not henceforth live unto 
themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. And 
not only are we obliged, but enabled and inclined. We for him ; 
there is our duty in the first clause ; we by him, there is our help : 
Eph. ii. 10, We are his workmanship in Christ Jesus, created unto 

food works. Not only by him/ so as to perform it acceptably, but 
y him so as to perform it cheerfully and with all readiness of mind. 
It relateth to our assistance as well as our acceptance. There is the 
Spirit to help our infirmities, which is shed on us abundantly, through 
Jesus Christ our Lord, Titus iii. 6. So we are by him/ that is, 
are fitted for the service of God, and put into a capacity to please 

IV. Who are the parties interested in these comforts, and most con 
cerned in these duties. 

The apostle saith here, To us there is but one, God and one Lord; 
meaning to us Christians; all those that own God, and worship God by 
the Mediator : Heb. vii. 25, Wherefore he is able also to save them 
to the uttermost that come unto God by him/ Who are they ? Some 
will not come to God ; others, not by him. They, and they only, are 
the persons that enjoy the benefit of this mediation, who come to God 
by him ; and that two ways 

1. They come to God by him who take upon them the profession of 
being his servants, and obedient subjects in Christ. The bare profes 
sion bringeth us somewhat nearer to God. Thus the people of Israel 


are said to be a people nigh unto God, Ps. cxlviii. 14. They were a 
step nearer to God than the Gentiles. So the profession of Christianity 
bringeth us near unto God : Who were sometime afar off, but now 
are made near by the blood of Christ/ Eph. ii. 13. Before they were 
afar off from God, from his church, his covenant, and communion with 
him in his ordinances. Surely it is some advantage to come so near to 
God by Christ as to have union and communion with the visible church 
of Christ. They a*e in that society and community of men who are 
under God s special care and government above the rest of the world, 
and where they enjoy the means of salvation, and such ordinarily by 
which God useth to convey his choicest blessings. These have a bene 
fit above those who are wholly without the church, as having an offer 
of the gospel-benefits, though not a right to them. They are nearer 
at hand, and in grace s way, and may sooner understand that Christ is 
a means chosen and used by God to bring home sinners to himself ; 
and by the Christian doctrine current amongst them, which they know 
and profess to believe, have a dogmatical faith, at least, that God is the 
supreme fountain of all happiness, and Christ the only way to him ; 
and have the common, conditional, pardoning covenant sounding in 
their ears continually, wherein God offereth to be a God and Father 
to them in Christ, and telleth them what he will be and do, to and 
for all those that do come in and submit to this covenant. 

2. Those come to God by him who really enter into the evangelic 
estate, and are converted by an unfeigned repentance towards God, and 
faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, Acts xx. 21. Kepentance respects 
God as our supreme Lord -and chief happiness, and faith our Lord 
Jesus Christ as the only one Mediator. When you turn from sin, self, 
and Satan unto God, then you come to him ; for certainly the farther 
we depart from sin, the nearer we come to God. Now this coming is 
by Christ. The sinner that is turned from the creature to God, and 
from sin to holiness, is also turned from self to Christ, who is the only 
means of our recovery, by his merit and efficacy reconciling us to God, 
and changing our hearts : by the one restoring us to his favour, by the 
other to his image. Therefore a turning ourselves from our sins, with 
a resolution to forsake them, without a reflection upon Christ, is but a 
natural religion, not evangelical. The evangelical religion is a coming 
to God by Christ, or, as it is described by the apostle, Heb. x. 22, * A 
drawing nigh with a true heart, and in full assurance of faith, having 
our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed 
with pure water. Those that are justified by the merit and sanctified 
by the Spirit of Christ, and fully resolving entirely and unfeignedly upon 
the duties of the gospel, depending upon the promises thereof, these 
indeed have one God for their Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ for 
their Redeemer and Saviour. Till a man be renewed and reconciled, 
sanctified and pardoned, he is unfit for God, and incapable of salvation, 
or any present communion with God. What can we expect from him, 
and how insufficient are we for either of these two works, to renew our 
souls and reconcile them to God ? What can we do to satisfy justice, 
or break the love of sin in our souls ? Therefore the Lord Jesus hath 
undertaken the office of being the Redeemer and Saviour of the world, 
by his sacrifice, merit, and intercession. We must be pardoned and 


accepted, and only by him must we come to God. If your repentance 
towards God and your faith in him be sincere, you shall have all the 
blessings of the new covenant. In short, obedience and the love of God 
was the primitive holiness for which we were created, and from which 
we fell. We, by repentance, are willing to return to this again, and 
therefore depend upon a saviour and sanctifier, that we may be recon 
ciled and renewed, and so are said, in this general sense, to come to God 
by him. 

Secondly, More particularly we are said to come to God by Christ 
three ways 

1. In the exercise of our graces. I shall instance in the three 
radical ones, which constitute the new creature faith, hope, and love ^ 
for in the exercise of these communion with God doth consist. 

[1.] Faith seeth God in Christ, as sitting upon a throne of grace, 
ready to give out all manner of grace, and seasonable relief to penitent 
believers in all their necessities and temptations and duties. Well, then, 
boldly trust him and depend upon him. Thus we come to God by 
Christ : 2 Cor. iii. 4, Such trust have we through Christ to God-ward ; 
1 Peter i. 21, By him we believe in God. This is living by faith in 
Christ, so often spoken of in scripture. When you make use of him 
in all your wants, duties, and difficulties, expecting your Father s love 
and blessing to come to you through him alone, and the Spirit that 
must help you and assist you in all your infirmities and temptations, 
as coming from the Father and the Son ; not only procured, but given 
by him your head. In all your doubts, fears, and wants, you go to 
him in the Spirit, and to the Father by him, and by him alone ; this is 
living by Christ. 

[2.] Love, which vents itself in a desire of full communion with 
God and delights in him. Desire is a coming to God, or a following 
hard after him ; delight is an adherence to him, as satisfied with so 
much as we enjoy of him. Our enjoyments here are partial, and 
therefore our delight is very imperfect ; but yet, such as it is, it begets 
a study to please God and fear to offend him. Our Father is in heaven, 
but on earth we have a glimpse of him, enough to make him amiable 
to the soul : Ps. xvii. 15, As for me, I will behold thy face in right 
eousness ; I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness. Thus 
we love him through Christ or in Christ ; for we study Christ to see 
the goodness and amiableness and love of God in him : Eph. iii. 17-19, 
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, being rooted 
and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what 
is the breadth and length, and depth and height, and to know the love 
of Christ, which passeth knowledge ; that ye might be filled with all 
the fulness of God/ A condemning God is not so loved as a gracious 
and pardoning God. Surely we love him more as a father than as a 
judge. And it is the Spirit of Christ which maketh us cry Abba, 
Father ; not only thereby expressing our confidence and dependence, 
but affection : Gal. iv. 6, Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth 
the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 

[3.] Hope. We come to God as we longingly expect the full fruition 
of him. Love puts us upon seeking after God. But alas ! upon earth 
we do but seek ; in heaven we expect to find. Hope causeth us to hold 


on, seeking till we find, and get nearer to him, and maketh us resolve 
that it is better to be a seeker than a wanderer ; to wait till the delight 
of love be perfect, than to turn the back upon God and his ways. We 
cannot have Mount Zion in the wilderness. For the present, Christ 
doth but guide us to the land of promise ; we have a refreshing by 
the way, manna in the wilderness ; but not Canaan in the wilderness. 
Earth at the best will not be heaven. Our perfect blessedness is when 
God is all in all. For the present, as God is seen but as in a glass, so 
he is proportionably enjoyed. The devil, the world, and the flesh, are 
not perfectly overcome, and therefore we have but little of God. And 
the ordinances cannot convey him all to us, while his interest is so 
crowded up in our hearts, but we wait, and look, and long till we have 
more. Our only coming now to him is by hope, and that partial enjoy 
ment of his love which we attain unto makes us look for more. The 
new nature inclineth us to hope ; for they that love God will desire to 
be more like him, and to get more of him. And our experience quick- 
eneth our hope, Kom. v. 4. But all is by Christ. The apostle saith, 
The Lord Jesus himself hath given us everlasting consolation, and 
good hope through grace, 2 Thes. ii. 16. As at first he inclined us 
to set our hearts on another world, and lay up our hopes in heaven, 
and to part with all things seen for that God and glory which we 
never saw, which otherwise, by reason of unbelief and sensuality, we 
should never have done ; so still he inclineth us to hope and wait in 
the midst of difficulties and disappointments, and encourageth us by 
his tenderness and constant pity: Jude 21, Keep yourselves in the 
love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto 
everlasting life. 

2. This coming to God is by all divine ordinances or acts of worship. 
The use of our liberty to approach to him in these duties is one special 
way of corning to him by Christ. To come to him in the word as our 
teacher, in the Lord s Supper as the master of the feast, in prayer as our 
king and almighty helper, is a very great privilege and comfort. 
Certainly if at any time, then we come to God. We come to him in 
worship ; for then we turn our backs upon all things else, that we may 
present ourselves before his throne. But now thus we can only come 
by Jesus Christ. t If we come to receive a blessing in the word, we 
come to receive the fruits of his purchase : John xvii. 19, And for 
their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified through 
the truth ; Eph. v 26, That he might sanctify and cleanse it with 
the washing of water by the word. If we come to the Lord s Supper, 
that duty was instituted for the remembrance of Christ, that his flesh 
might be meat indeed, and his blood drink indeed. But especially in 
invocation or solemn calling upon God in a way of prayer or praise, 
into which all duties issue themselves. 

[1.] In a way of prayer. The mediation of Christ doth especially 
respect that duty, and you must put your suits into his hand if you 
mean to speed : John xvi. 23, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father 
in my name, he will give it you. There is no speaking to God or 
hoping for anything from God but by Christ. Having such a mediator 
to present our desires and requests, we may come boldly to him. The 
Father is well pleased with these requests. We cannot have sufficient 
sense enough of our unworthiness and his worth and merit. 


[2.] In a way of praise : Col. iii. 17, Whatsoever ye do in word or 
deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and 
the Father by him/ All the success of our lawful undertakings or 
expectations is to be ascribed to God through Christ. All good things 
derived to us from God as the prime author is by Christ s media 
tion : Eph. v. 20, Giving thanks always for all things unto God and 
the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ/ For all things, 
temporal, spiritual ; success of all ordinances, providences. His merit 
procured the mercy, and maketh the duty acceptable. 

3. We come to God in the practice of all commanded duties. A 
Christian is always with God ; he liveth with him, and walketh with 
him. He that is a stranger with God in his ordinary conversation can 
never be familiar with him in his worship ; and the grace of faith, hope, 
and love are acted, not only in worship, but ordinary practice. Whilst 
having a deep sense of an invisible God, and a constant aim at an in 
visible world, love doth level and direct all our actions, that we may 
please this God, and attain the happiness of that unseen world. Every 
righteous action is done in obedience to God and an aim at heaven, 
either by a noted thought or the unobserved act of a potent habit. 
Sure I am that a great part of our communion with God is carried on 
in our ordinary conversation : 1 John i. 7, But if we walk in the light, 
as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another/ And every 
holy action is a step towards heaven, as every sinful one is in itself 
a step to hell. Now this can only be by Christ. Unless we are in 
him, and be assisted by his Spirit, how can we bring forth fruit unto 
God ? Phil. i. 11, Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which 
are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God/ He is the root 
of your life, and you live as upon him and by his life. The apostle saith 
in one clause that we are for him, in the other that we are by him ; 
whole we, not only some actions of ours, but God hath put our life 
into his hands ; and because he liveth, we live also/ John xiv. 19. 
We do not use Christ only at our need, but as the branches the root, 
or the members the head. We can do nothing apart from him, but 
in all businesses and in all conditions we must live in him to God. 
Now this is to come to God by Christ. 

Use 1. To press us to improve this for our comfort and use. 

1. It is an encouragement in our expectations from God, and those- 
communications of grace which he exhibiteth to us in the covenant of 
grace ; for here is one God and Father, from whom are all things, and 
one Lord Jesus, by whom are all things/ God is set before you as an 
all-sufficient fountain of grace, and Christ as an all-powerful mediator. 

[1.] Here is one God and Father, from whom are all things/ 
Where shall we find comfort if not in God ? He can supply all our 
wants, cure all our diseases, overcome all enemies, deliver us out of all 
dangers. God in the new covenant is represented under the notion of 
God all-sufficient, Gen. xvii. 1. He offereth himself under that notion 
to engage us to trust him alone. The people of God gather it from 
their covenant interest : Ps. xxiii. 1, The Lord is my shepherd, I shall 
not want/ So elsewhere there is an infinite latitude in the object of faith. 
This one God and Father is every way sufficient to do us good. No 
pain so great but he can mitigate and remove it ; no danger so dreadful, 


so likely, but he can prevent ; no misery so deep but he can deliver us 
from it ; no enemies so strong but he can vanquish them ; no want 
that he cannot supply. When we have a want God cannot supply, or 
a sickness that God cannot cure, or a danger that he cannot prevent, or a 
misery that he cannot remove, or enemies that are too hard for him, 
then you may yield to despondency of heart. Choose God for your 
portion and chief happiness, and you shall want nothing ; whatever 
faileth, we have an all-sufficient God still to rejoice in and depend 
upon. See how largely God expresseth himself in the offers of his 
grace: Ps. Ixxxiv. 11, For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the 
Lord will give grace and glory : no good thing will he withhold from 
them that walk uprightly/ We are subject to dangers and perils from 
enemies bodily and spiritual ; he is our shield. We want all manner 
of blessings ; now he will give us all things that truly belong to our 
happiness ; he will be a sun to us : a shield here, a sun hereafter : I am 
thy shield, and exceeding great reward. If he be a reward, and a great 
reward, it cannot come short of heaven s glory, and that eternal happi 
ness which is an aggregation of all blessings. Then our sun shall be 
in his meridian, and shall fully and for ever shine upon the saints. It 
followeth there, Grace and glory will he give. He will restore what 
we lost in Adam, the image of God, the favour of God, and fellowship 
with God, and bestow upon us a blessedness which possibly we should 
not have had if Adam had stood eternal life and rest in heaven, grace 
to bear our expenses to heaven, and glory at the end of the way : all 
manner of light, life, and comfort. See one place more : 2 Peter i. 3, 
According to his divine power hath he given unto us all things that 
pertain to life and godliness. Whatever pertaineth to life, that is, life 
spiritual, the substance of every saving grace, though not the full 
measure ; also a right to what may enable us to honour God in practice,, 
either to an holy heart or an holy life. 

[2.] Here is a complete and powerful mediator. And 

(1.) Hereby we see God in our nature, and so nearer at hand, and 
ready to help us. God is become our neighbour, yea, as one of us, bone 
of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. That made Laban kind to Jacob, 
Gen. xxix. 14. Though he hath removed his dwelling into heaven 
again, yet it is for our sakes and for our benefit ; our nature remaineth 
there at the right hand of God : Heb. iv. 14, Seeing then that we 
have a great high priest that is passed into the heavens, &c. 

(2.) God in our nature was abased, crucified, made sin, made a 
curse for us, that he might pacify the justice of God, and reconcile us 
to him. So that, besides the infinite mercy and power of God, there is 
the infinite righteousness and everlasting redemption of a mediator. 
God offended with man is fully satisfied with the ransom paid for 
sinners by Christ : Mat. iii. 17, This is my well-beloved Son, in whom 
I am well pleased. 

(3.) God, having laid such a foundation, and bestowed so great a 
gift upon us, will not stick at anything which is necessarily required to 
make us fully and eternally happy : Kom. viii. 32, He that spared not 
his own Son, but gave him up, &c., shall he not with him freely give us 
all things ? Here in the text it is said, All things are by him ; such 
abundant provision hath he made for man s salvation. Surely here is 


a broad foundation for our comfort and hope. Here is God appeased, 
the works of the devil dissolved, our wounded natures healed, our 
enemies vanquished by him as the captain of our salvation, the church 
defended and maintained by him as supreme head and pastor, all kept 
quiet by him between God and us as our agent and advocate ; and, 
finally, he will bring us into the immediate presence of God, that we 
may remain with him for evermore. 

(4.) Besides the dignity of his person, consider the suitableness of 
his office to our necessity. The dignity of his person must not be over 
looked, for he is God-man, and therefore he is accepted by the Father, 
and may be relied upon by us : Heb. ix. 14, How much more shall the 
blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without 
spot to God, purge your consciences from dead works, to serve the 
living God ? Besides the institution there is an intrinsic value, Acts 
xx. 28, it is called the blood of God. But what a suitable as well 
as valuable a remedy do his offices of king, priest, and prophet make 
him I By these three offices he exerciseth the office of mediator. The 
three offices are alluded unto : John xiv. 6, I am the way, the truth, 
and the life. The way as a priest, truth as a prophet, life as a king. 
The way, because he hath removed the legal exclusion ; we were fugitives 
exiled. And then truth to direct us, and give us the knowledge of God s 
nature and will. The life, to begin a life of grace in us by his Spirit, 
which shall be perfected in heaven. So 1 Cor. i. 30, But of him are ye 
in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, 
and sanctification, and redemption. All the offices of Christ are there 
expressed with a suitableness to our misery. Wisdom as a prophet to 
cure our ignorance and folly. We had no true sense of the evil we 
deserved, nor the good we wanted, nor of the way to remove the one or 
obtain the other, but he convinceth and instructeth us in all these things. 
We lie also under the guilt and power of sin ; that is our second 
necessity ; and so Christ is made righteousness and sanctification as a 
priest ; for he gave himself to cleanse us from sin, Eph. v. 26. We are 
also liable to many miseries introduced by sin, yea, under a necessity of 
dying and perishing for ever ; therefore Christ is made redemption 
as a king, and as captain of our salvation at length fully redeemed us 
from all evil : Kom. viii. 23, And not only they, but ourselves also, 
which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within 
ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit the redemption of our bodies ; 
Luke xxi. 28, And when these things begin to come to pass, then lift 
up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh : Eph. iv. 30, And 
grieve not the Holy Spirit, whereby ye are sealed to the day of redemp 
tion. Thus you see how amply we are provided for in Christ. It may 
as well be said, By him are all things, as it may be said of the 
Father, From whom are all things/ 

2. Another improvement is to engage and encourage us to make 
those returns of love, worship, and obedience, service and glory, which 
are expected and required of us. There is something which reflecteth 
from us upon God, from all this grace and mercy, which God dispensed 
by the Mediator. We must be for him, and we must be by him. It 
is more than if it were said, We must serve him, glorify him. We in 
our whole capacity ; we must be whatever we are, and do whatever 
we dc, to God, and for God, by the Mediator. 


[1.] We must enter into covenant with him, and give the hand to 
the Lord, and consent to be his : Isa, xliv. 5, One shall say, I am the 
Lord s ; another shall call himself by the name of Jacob ; and another 
shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord. They should enter 
their names to God to be entered into his muster-roll, or listed among 
the faithful that belong to him, and are listed for his service; a 
member of that body whereof Christ is head, a subject of that kingdom 
whereof Christ is king : 2 Cor. viii. 5, it is said, But first gave their 
own selves unto the Lord ; Bom. xii. 1, Present your bodies a living 
sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 
Christ gave himself a sin-offering, and we give up ourselves a thank- 

[2.] There must be a strong love to God ever at work in our hearts, 
levelling and directing all our actions to his glory ; and this love must 
be an impression of the love showed to us by Christ, a thankful sense 
of his mercies and benefits : 1 John iv. 19, We love him, because he 
loved us first ; 2 Cor. v. 14, The love of Christ constraineth us. Love 
is an earnest bent and inclination of heart towards our chief good and 
last end, and its effect and work is to devote ourselves to his service, 
will, and honour, longing after more of God, and continually seeking 
for it : Ps. Ixiii. 1, God, thou art my God ; early will I seek thee : 
my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and 
thirsty land where no water is. A soul that hath chosen God for its 
portion cannot want him, nor be long without him, nor satisfied with 
any partial enjoyment of him, therefore still seeketh for more. The 
main work of this life is a desirous seeking after God, and getting 
nearer to their last end by all the means which God hath appointed us 
to use. 

[3.] There must be a constant study and care to please, honour, and 
glorify this God : Acts xxvii. 23, Whose I am, and whom I serve. 
If we be dedicated to Godj there must be conscience of our dedication, 
that we may live unto God : and this not now and then, but in our 
whole course. All our faculties, bodies, souls : 1 Cor. vi. 1,9, 20, 
What ! know ye net that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost 
which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 
ye are bought with a price ; therefore glorify God in your body and 
in your spirit, which are God s. Estates : Kom. xiv. 7-9i, For none of 
us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself : for whether we live, 
we live unto the Lord ; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: 
whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord s. For to this end 
Christ both died, and rose again, and revived, that he might be Lord 
both of dead and living ; Phil. i. 21, To me to live is Christ. All 
our actions, not only in solemn acts of worship, but in our ordinary 
conversations, must be directed to him : Zech. xiv. 20, 21, In that 
day there shall be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness to the Lord ; 
and the pots in the Lord s house shall be like the bowls before the 
altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness to 
the Lord of hosts. 



Wliile we look not at the things luhich 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. 2 COR. iv. 18. 

IN the context the apostle is giving an account why he fainted not 
under the labours and afflictions of the gospel. There is a threefold 
reason given 

1. The present benefit of afflictions, ver. 16. As much as these 
labours and afflictions did diminish and infringe the comforts of the 
animal life, so much the state of the spiritual life was advanced and 
increased. Oh ! it is a blessed thing when the inward man groweth 
more fresh and lively. 

2. Because those afflictions did increase the hope of the life of glory, 
and were a blessed means to make it more sure and nearer ; where 
there is a perfect opposition between the present and future state. 
Here an affliction for a moment ; there an eternal weight of glory. 
Here afflictions are light; there it is /3apo? SO^T;?, a state that will 
bear weight, V7rep(3o\r]v el? vTrep@o\r)v, an excellently excellent : * A 
far more exceeding and eternal weight of glbry. 

3. The third reason is taken from the subject, as the former respec 
ted the object. His mind was wholly intent upon better things ; not 
upon temporal and visible, but upon heavenly and eternal : While 
we look not at the things which are seen, but the things which are 
not seen ; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things 
which are not seen are eternal. 

Wherein you may observe- 

1. A distinction between two sorts of things ; some seen, some not 

2. A suitable respect to either. There is an overlooking of the one, 
a looking to the other. 

3. The reason of this different respect : For the things that are seen 
are temporal ; and the things that are not seen are eternal. 

1. The distinction may be explained thus (1.) The things seen are 
such as are liable to present sense ; and they are of two sorts either 
comfortable to the present life, or uncomfortable. Comfortable, as 
riches, pleasure, and honours ; uncomfortable, as poverty, disgrace, 
pain, torment, persecution. In short, either the allurements or affright- 
ments of sense. (2.) There are things unseen. Some things are 
invisible by reason of their nature, some by reason of their distance. 


Some by reason of their nature, as God and all spiritual things ; some 
by reason of their distance, as the recompense of reward or eternal life ; 
these latter chiefly. God, who maketh the promise, is unseen, and the 
time when the promise of eternal life shall be made good is to come ; 
and there are many difficulties between hoping and having ; yet these 
things, the joys of the other world, were the objects of the apostle s faith 
and hope. 

2. The different respect to either. The respect is denied to things 
seen, We look not/ &c., but strongly asserted as to things unseen, We 
look at things that are not seen. There is a despising or not thinking 
of the world and the comforts thereof, the losses and sufferings thereof, 
but an earnest thinking of the world to come. The word is CTKOTTOVVTWV, 
which implieth not only a looking, or minding of them, but a making 
of them our scope, our last end, and the mark which we aim at. 
Only note, that the act is not simply denied as to things seen, but 
comparatively, in comparison of that heavenly joy and glory which is 
promised. So we look not at these things ; the world s honour or dis 
honour, the commodities or discommodities of this life, which we daily 
see before our eyes, have little influence upon us, 1 Cor. vii. 29-31. 
So all our acts are non-acts. To mourn for sin as if we mourned not, 
to rejoice in Christ as if we rejoiced not, to use ordinances as if we used 
them not, is a great fault ; for these are the things we should look to, 
as the way to heaven. But to mourn 1 for worldly losses, or rejoice in 
worldly comforts, to use this life as not over-using it, that is a great 
duty and a blessed frame of spirit. Open the eye of faith, but shut that 
of sense. 

3. The reason of this different respect the one temporal, the other 
eternal, TO, /3Xe7ro/iem, -irpoa-Kaipa ; as Heb. xi. 25, Trpoo-tcaipov a?roX- 
ava-iv, The pleasures of sin for a season. The good things of 
the world are temporal, both as to their continuance and their use. 
To their continuance ; the good and evil of the world is soon over, and 
therefore should have little influence upon us. The evil : This light 
affliction, which is but for a moment. The good, Heb. xi. 25, they 
are but for a season, and nothing that is but for a season can satisfy a 
gracious heart. They are temporary as to their use. The use of all the 
good things in this world is only to be serviceable to a man in his passage 
to eternity : Deut. xxiii. 24, When thou comest into thy neighbour s 
vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill, at thine own pleasure ; 
but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel ; 1 Tim. vi. 7, * We brought 
nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out ; 
Eccles. v. 15, He shall take nothing of his labour which he may carry 
away in his hand. And on the other side, ra ^ fZXeiropeva alavia, 

The things which are not seen are eternal; and so, so much as 
eternity exceedeth time, these blessed things exceed temporal trifles, 
and therefore should be more valued by us. The greatness of heavenly 
things is expressed in the former verse ; here, the duration of them. 
We can part with nothing here equal to what we expect hereafter. 

Doct. A man can easily do and suffer anything for God who hath 
made things unseen and eternal his great scope and aim. 

Here I shall inquire (1.) What it is to make these eternal things 
our scope and aim ; (2.) Give you the reasons why such an one hath 

1 Qu. not to mourn ? ED. 


an advantage above other men, and can more easily do and suffer great 
things for God. 

First, Let us open this looking. 

First, It implieth faith, or a believing the reality of these invisible 
things, that there are eternal and glorious things to be enjoyed after 
this life. Certainly an object, though never so glorious, cannot be 
seen without eyes. Now faith is the eye of the soul, without which 
we can have no prospect of the world to come. Therefore faith is 
defined to be, Heb. xi. 1, The substance of things hoped for, and the 
evidence of things not seen. Without faith, reason is shortsighted, 
and there is a deep mist upon eternity, 2 Peter i. 9. Keason is acute 
enough in discerning what is noxious and comfortable to the present 
life, good for back and belly ; but it seeth little of anythiog beyond 
this present world, so as to quicken us to make any preparation for 
death and eternity. The mind hath no eyes to look beyond the mists 
and clouds of this lower world, but such as the Spirit of wisdom and 
revelation is pleased to give us, and cannot believe the reality of the 
unseen glory until in his light we see light, Eph. i. 17, 18. Alas ! 
the wisest part of mankind are taken up with toys and childish trifles 
in comparison of these invisible things. The sweetness of honour, 
wealth, and pleasure is known easily by feeling, and therefore known 
easily, and known^ by all ; but few can see the reality and worth of 
these unseen things. Though heaven and glory be talked of in their 
hearing, yet they know it not It is quite another thing when it is 
represented to us in the light of the Spirit. None discern the worth 
of these things but those that have the eagle eye of faith, that can 
pierce above the clouds to the seat of the blessed. Faith is like a 
prospective-glass, by which we see things at a distance. Others only 
mind things at hand, things that may be seen and felt. Compare 
lumen fidei y the light of faith, with the light of sense. That one 
degree of light, the light of sense, can only discern things near us, 
present with us, and before our eyes. Those things which lie out of 
the view of sense make no impression upon them. They see nothing 
but these corporal things, which even dogs and horses see as well as 
they ; as, for instance, that it is good to eat well, and drink well, and 
sleep well, to be at liberty and enjoy our pleasure, or mind our busi 
ness here in the world, and thrive and prosper, and do well according 
to heart s desire ; but the light of faith will discover that there is no 
such danger as perishing for ever, no such worth in anything as there 
is in salvation by Christ, no such business of importance as seeking 
after eternal life ; that all the gay things of sense are but as so many 
May-games to this happiness, all the terrible things in the world but 
as a flea-biting, all the business of the world but as a little childish 
sport at push-pin in comparison of working out our salvation with fear 
and trembling. Much of Christianity lieth in opening the eye of faith 
and shutting that of sense. Faith can look through all the clouds 
and changes of this world to those eternal, perpetual, solid good things 
which God hath prepared for them that love him, and so can the better 
contemn all those perishing vanities which the world doteth upon. 
This is that which is called in the text looking and not looking, &c. 
The next degree of light is lumen rationis. Reason can only guess 


at future contingencies, or at best see things in their causes, and that 
it is probable, if nothing letteth, that such and such things will fall 
out ; but faith can look through all distance both of time and place, 
and the mist of contrary appearances, to things promised, with such 
certainty and sure persuasion as if the things we are persuaded of 
were at hand: 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, and confessed that they were strangers and 
pilgrims on the earth ; John viii. 56, Your father Abraham rejoiced 
to see my day, and he saw it and was glad. Still it can believe in 
hope against hope, and see sunshine at the back of the storm, and 
heaven and happiness in the midst of deep afflictions. Compare the 
lumen fidei with the lumen prophetice, Rev. xx. 12. They agree in 
the common object, such things as are revealed by God ; they agree 
in the same common nature, that they see things future and to come 
with such clearness and certainty as if they were in being ; they differ, 
because faith goeth upon the common revelation which God hath 
made to all the saints in scripture ; the other, some special revelation, 
made to certain chosen persons. The light of faith affects the heart 
with great joy and comfort; the other is usually accompanied with rap 
ture and ecstasy. Yea, let us compare it with lumen glorioe, the beati 
fical vision, that worketh a change in body and soul, 1 John iii. 2. This 
in soul, 2 Cor. iii. 18. There we see him face to face, 1 Cor. xiii. 12 ; 
here as in a glass. Though we are not so highly affected with the light 
of faith, yet as truly: that nullifieth all sin and misery; this exaspera- 
teth the heart against sin, and fortifieth it against misery. Though the 
light of faith giveth not as full an enjoyment of God, yet as sure, and 
proportionably affecteth the heart, as if we saw Christ in the midst of 
his holy ones, and Paul with his crown of righteousness. It puts the 
believer s head above the clouds, in the midst of the glory of the world 
to come. Once more, this lumen fidei is somewhat like that sight 
which God hath of things scientia visionis et simplicis intelligentice. 
God seeth all things that may be in his own all-sufficiency, all things 
that shall be in his own decree. Faith acts proportionably ; it showeth 
all things that may be in the all-sufficiency of God, and though it be 
not sure of the event, yet our God is able, Dan. iii. 17, 18. It seeth 
all things that shall be in the promises of the gospel, wherein his 
decree is manifested ; it realiseth them as if they were already ; 
they have a pledge of the blessing when they have the promise. 
Now, if we had such a faith, could thus look to things unseen, it 
would produce notable effects; a man would be another manner of 

Secondly, It implieth an earnest hope as well as a lively faith. Hope 
irnplieth two things (1.) A frequent meditation ; (2.) A desirous 

1. Frequent meditation ; for faith is acted by serious thoughts. 
Carnal men are described to be those who mind earthly things/ Phil, 
iii. 19 ; and again, Who mind the things of the flesh, Rom. viii. 5. 
As a man is in the constitution of his heart, so are his musings and 
meditations ; for thoughts, being the genuine birth and immediate 
offspring of the soul, do discover the temper of it. But those that are of 


an heavenly temper and frame do often exercise their minds in heavenly 
things. Their happiness lieth there, and their business tendeth thither. 
Our Lord telleth us, That where the treasure is, there the heart will 
be," Mat. vi. 21. A man s treasure draweth his heart after it ; and 
therefore if his treasure be laid up in him, his heart will be there also. 
The mind is wholly taken up by these great things, that other things 
are little minded by them. But alas ! it is otherwise with the generality 
of men. Our thoughts of heavenly blessedness are few and cold. Oh ! 
that we should throng our hearts with all manner of vanity, when we 
have eternity to think upon ; that all the day long we should be regard 
ing this perplexing business, that carnal vanity and delight, and 
thoughts of heavenly things should be such strangers to us ! Is this 
looking to things not seen ? We are continually thinking of what we 
love ; worldly men, of gathering and increasing wealth, Luke xii. 17, 
18 ; ambitious men, of preferment and applause ; voluptuaries, of 
sports and pastimes. Philopcemen, wherever he walked, was thinking 
of battles : if he should be assaulted on such a piece of ground, how he 
would model and dispose his army for his defence. A Christian should 
be thinking of heaven, how he may get thither, and what he shall 
enjoy there. They who do not think often, earnestly, and warmly of 
heaven and heavenly things, surely have little expectation this way. 
They are transported with pleasing sensualities, and have cold thoughts 
of the hope of the glory of God. 

2. A desirous expectation. Looking is often made the act of hope 
in scripture ; as Titus ii. 13, Looking for the blessed hope ; and Phil, 
iii. 20, Our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for 
the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ/ And so to look to things unseen 
noteth an affectionate and desirous expectation of them. A man may 
believe things terrible, and yet he cannot be said to look to them ; that 
is, longingly to wait for them. Therefore this looking hath the earnest 
ness of hope in it, as well as the firm persuasion of faith. There is a 
vehement longing and desire after the actual possession of these things, 
without which faith is a dead opinion or a speculative assent ; our hope 
is but a few cold ineffectual thoughts, or an hasty wish or a slight 
desire, not that earnest looking which the scripture calleth for : Col. 
iii. 2, Set your affections on things above, not on things on earth. 
There must be lively affections; there must be groaning earnestly, 
2 Cor. v. 2 ; longing, and desiring to be with Christ, Phil. i. 23. Affec 
tions add a strong bent and poise to the will. 

Thirdly, This looking argueth a fixing of the mind upon these things 
as our aim and scope, O-KOTTOVVTVWV ; that is the word used. That is our 
scope which influences all our actions ; when we do all things to eternal 
ends, either nextly or ultimately. That we may obtain eternal life, 
that is the great drift, purpose, and business of a Christian. This is 
the end of our faith, 1 Peter i. 9 ; the end of our diligence, and of all 
our service and waiting upon God, and that which sets us a-work in 
our general and particular calling : Acts xxvi. 7, Unto which promise 
our twelve tribes, serving God day and night, hope to come. This is 
our great ambition, the end of all our labours, 2 Cor. v. 9 ; still to 
drive on a trade for heaven, this is the end of our sufferings : 1 Tim. 
iv. 12, Therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust 


in the living God. He head spoken of godliness having the promise of 
this .life and that which is to come ; therefore this is our aim and scope. 
I now come to show you 

Secondly, Why such have an advantage above other men, and can 
more easily do and suffer great things for God. This appeareth 

1. From the object. They that look to things unseen and eternal 
are acquainted with greater things than those are whose thoughts, and 
projects, and designs, are confined within the narrow bounds of time. 
Every one hath a choiceness, greatness, and excellency of spirit, 
according to the objects he most converseth withal. We count them 
children of mean spirit who converse only with pins and points, and 
toys and rattles ; we count those of a meaner spirit that have only a 
cow to milk, or a field to till, or a lute to play upon, than those that 
have a commonwealth to manage, or to make a little city great. So 
those that are gotten upon the mount of eternity can look upon the 
most serious business of the world as a mere May-game in comparison 
of enjoying God, and living for ever in delightful communion with 
him. They that have made eternal things their choice and scope have 
this advantage above other men, that they are acquainted with such 
excellent things as will darken the glory of all worldly things, and 
lessen them in their opinion, estimation, and affection (as a man that 
hath looked upon the sun in its brightness, for a while can look upon 
nothing else, as being dazzled with the splendour and brightness of 
it) ; things invisible, whether present or future, either because of nature 
or distance. They can set God against the creature, the terrors of God 
against all the terrors of sense, and the everlasting enjoyment of God 
against all the delights of sense. 

[1.] Things invisible, because of their essence and nature. There 
is an eternal God against a poor creature whose breath is in his nostrils, 
a God who is all in all, and a creature who is nothing. Nothing in 
opposition or contrariety to God or his people : Isa. xli. 11, Behold, 
they that are incensed against thee shall be as nothing. Nothing in 
comparison with God : Isa. xl. 17, All nations before him are as 
nothing ; they are accounted less than nothing and vanity ; Dan. iv. 
35, The inhabitants of the earth are reputed before him as nothing. 
Nothing by way of exclusion of God ; as the sunbeam is. nothing when 
the sun withdraweth, or the sound is nothing when the musician taketh 
away his mouth from the pipe or instrument : Thou takest away their 
breath, and they die. The creature beareth a big bulk in the eye of 
sense, seemeth not only to be something, but all things ; and so long 
as we look to things visible, what hope or comfort have we to fasten 
upon ? but to a man that looketh to things invisible, the amiableness 
and frightfulness of the creature vanisheth into nothing : Heb. xi. 27, 
By faith Moses forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king ; for 
he endured, as seeing him that is invisible ; that is, with loss of all 
attempted to bring the people out of Egypt. He saw him not by the 
eye of sense, but faith. And then all the princes and powers of the 
world are as nothing. Alas ! when we see great and most enraged 
enemies, our hearts fail within us ; but faith, by closing the eye of 
sense, winketh the creature into nothing. On the other side, if a man 
had a due sense of God s being, the tempting baits of the world would 


scarce be seen ; riches, and honours, and pleasures, would be forgotten, 
as if they were not, Prov. xxiii. 5 ; all things would be as nothing in 
comparison of him. 

{2.] Things invisible because of their distance, as they are future ; so 
a believer hath the advantage of other men. They that look to things 
invisible and eternal see something to outweigh all carnal allectives or 
terrors, and so have more incitations to piety than the world can 
afford temptations to the contrary. Take the terrors of sense ; what 
is a prison to hell ? the fire wherein God s servants are burnt to ashes, 
to the -fire that shall never be quenched and the worm that shall never 
die ? Luke x. 4. So take the delights and allurements of sense ; what 
are those to the pleasures at God s right hand for evermore ? A man 
that looketh to things unseen seeth that the terrors and delights of 
faith are far greater than the terrors and delights of sense, and are 
more sure and certain. Alas ! the pleasures of the world are but as 
dung and dog s-meat to Christ, Phil. iii. 7-9. All the evils are but 
as a flea-biting in comparison of the promised glory : Horn. viii. 18, 
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy 
to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us ; and 
2 Cor. iv. 17, Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh 
for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory ; Heb. x. 34, 
Ye took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves 
that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. They 
were liable to violence and rapine, brought before tribunals, &c., yet 
all this was nothing to these greater things. As it darkens the glory 
of worldly things, so it lesseneth the evil of them. 

2. From the subject. They that make eternal things their scope, 
they have a new temper of heart. The soul naturally doth run out 
upon present things, as the greatest and only realities : That which 
is born of flesh is flesh, John iii. 6. Yea, all the while the soul 
dwelleth in flesh, and worketh by the senses, these present things will 
be a temptation to us. But there is a new bias and bent put upon 
them by grace ; there is an eternal principle that carrieth them to 
eternal ends. It is called The seed of God/ 1 John iii. 9 ; The divine 
nature, which maketh us escape the corruption that is in the world 
. Jirough lust, .2 Peter i. 4. Such a nature as giveth eternal riches a due 
nralue and esteem. It is an immortal seed, 1 Peter i. 22. Eternal life 
is begun in all that shall be saved ; it is working towards its final per 
fection. The apostle telleth us, That he that hateth his brother hath 
not eternal life abiding in him/ 1 John iii. 15 ; implying that he that 
loveth his brother, or hath any grace, hath eternal life begun in him 
which is working towards perfection. 

3. From the slightness of temptations, when a man once groweth 
dead to the impressions of sense. The corrupt heart of man is all for 
present satisfactions, and though the pleasures of sin be short and 
inconsiderable, yet, because they are near at hand, they take more with 
us than the joys of heaven, which are future and absent : 2 Tim. iv. 10, 
Demas hath forsaken us, and loved the present world. Esau for one 
morsel of meat sold hi^ birthright, Heb. xii. 16. When lust impor 
tunately craved a present satisfaction, all future considerations were 
laid aside. A little ease, honour, gain, and preferment in the world 


makes men part with all that is sacred. Surely the presentness of 
things is a great snare ; therefore do afflictions seem too grievous, Heb. 
xii. 11, and temptations so pressing. We can taste the delights of the 
creature, and feel the pleasures of the flesh ; the happiness of the world 
to come is unseen and unknown. Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow 
we shall die, is the language of every carnal heart ; therefore it will 
not venture upon the practice of duties difficult and distasteful to present 
affections, and forego what we see and enjoy upon the uncertain hopes 
of what is to come. Present things have more advantage to pervert 
the mind than good things at a distance to draw it to God. Here lieth 
the root of all temptations ; the inconveniencies of a strict religion are 
present, and the rewards are future. Well, this advantage is nothing 
to those that can overlook present things, and have their hearts wholly 
taken up about things to come. Sense and faith are the two opposite 
leaders and captains in the spiritual warfare. All the forces of the 
regenerate part are led up by faith ; sense on the other side, marshalleth 
all the temptations of the world and the flesh. Sense is all for enjoy 
ment and actual possession. To meet it, faith giveth a substance and 
being to things to come, and maketh the soul seek out other satisfac 
tions and contentments. The strength of the renewed part and success 
of the spiritual battle lieth in the liveliness of hope and the certainty 
of faith, which maketh these things present which sense would judge 
absent. It forestalleth the joys of heaven, that restraints from present 
delights may. seem less irksome ; so that a little profit or present 
pleasure cannot prevail over that deep sense of everlasting joys and 
pleasures that are to come. Take, for instance, Moses : Heb. xi. 24- 
26, By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called 
the son of Pharaoh s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with 
the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ; 
esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in 
Egypt, for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. Faith 
showeth we shall lose nothing in this world, but we shall have much 
better in the other world. Looking to these things sweetens the 
bitterness of all crosses, and weakeneth the strength of all temptations : 
Horn. viii. 18, For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are 
not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 

4. From the nature of the scope and end. It is a measure and a 

[1.] It is a measure to direct us how to use all things. When a 
man hath fixed his end, he will the sooner understand his way. The 
intention is as the eye of the body: Mat. vii. 22, The light of the body 
is the eye ; if a man s eye be single, the whole body is full of light. 
Every man is made wise by his end, for the end is the measure of the 
means. Now, above all other ends, eternity must needs make us wise, 
because it is the last end, the most noble end which we can propound 
to ourselves ; and so thereby can understand the true measure and value 
of all things, in things evil or good. 

In things evil, it showeth how really evil things really evil are ; as 
in. The weight and grievousness of sin is best known by those eternal 
torments which are appointed for the punishment thereof. Present 
punishments do somewhat discover it : Now know that it is an evil 


thing, and a bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, Jer. ii. 
19. Briars and thorns, and sensible smart, will teach us that which 
bare contemplation doth not. But if the temporal punishment rnaketh 
us know, What an evil thing and a bitter it is, what will eternal do ? 
Go ask the damned in hell whether it be a light thing to sin against 
God : Mark ix. 44, Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not 

Here is the great aggravation of sin, that for temporal trifles they 
have lost eternal joys, and run the hazard of eternal pains for the ease, 
mirth, and pleasure of a moment. And then for things evil in opinion, 
it showeth how falsely we are deluded ; as afflictions, sufferings, and 
losses for Christ, death, &c. It much concerneth us to have a true notion 
of these things. For afflictions, it showeth that they are not so bad 
as the world taketh them to be. They are tedious for the present, but 
it is but for a season : 1 Peter i. 6, Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though 
now for a season (if need be) ye are in heaviness through manifold 
temptations, All things are lessened by having eternity in our minds, 
the delights of the world, and the sorrows of the world, 1 Cor. vii. 29. 
Since the world passeth away, and the fashion thereof, we should rejoice 
as if we rejoiced not, mourn as if we mourned not ; the good and evil 
will be soon over. We cry out, How long ? but it is not for ever. It 
is grievous, but it is not eternal, it is not hell ; yea, they maybe good : 
Ps. cxix. 71, It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might 
learn thy statutes. All things are good as they help on a blessed eter 
nity ; so afflictions may be good. That part of the world that is led 
by sense will never endure this, but that part which is led by faith will 
easily assent to it. The world is led by sense. Say to a covetous man 
that the loss of an estate is good, to a worldly rich man that poverty is 
good, to an ambitious man that it is good to be despised and contemned, 
to a voluptuous man that it is good to be in pain, to afflict the body 
for the good of the soul, they will never believe you. But go to them 
that measure all things by eternity, and they will tell you that poverty 
maketh way for the true riches, mourning for the true glory, want for 
fulness of pleasure at God s right hand, that misery mortifieth sin : 1 
Cor. xi. 32, When we are judged we are chastened of the Lord, that 
we should not be condemned with the world. Sufferings for Christ : 
if we win eternity with the loss of all the world, we are no losers ; for 
The world passeth away, and the lusts thereof, but he that doeth the 
will of God abideth for ever, 1 John ii. 17. But, on the contrary, it 
is a sorry bargain to lose eternity for the enjoyment of all the world : 
Mat. xvi. 26, For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole 
world and lose his own soul ? Or what shall a man give in exchange 
for his soul ? And then death, the king of terrors; yet it is not feared 
by a Christian, because it is an entrance into eternal life ; when he 
dieth, then shall he live : John xi. 25, 26, I am the resurrection and 
the life ; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he 
live ; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. 
Believest thou this ? If we have a sense of this, why should we be 
troubled to be unclothed, that we may be clothed upon with immortal 
ity and glory ? It separateth us from our worldly friends and benefits, 
but bringeth us to God, with whom we shall abide for ever ; it puts an 


end to time, that we may enter into eternity ; so that death is ours, 1 
Cor. iii. 22 ; a friend, not an enemy ; it maketh an end of sin and sorrow, 
to make way for blessedness and glory. 

For things good ; good seeming, or good real. Good seeming : There 
are many things which the vain deceived world doteth upon, which are 
i in pertinencies to our great end; as foolish sports and recreations: 
Eccles. ii. 2, I said of laughter, It is mad, and of mirth, What doetb 
it ? There are other things which are mere inconsistencies ; as many 
evils which we commit for a little temporal happiness. Then real good 
things; duties, ordinances, graces, Christ, the favour of God. We 
know how to value these things by looking to eternity. The good 
things of this world are not valuable only upon a natural account, but 
as they are helps to heaven. If they be diversions from eternity, they 
are the worst things that can befall us. To be condemned to this kind 
of felicity is a part of God s curse : Jer. xvii. 13, They that forsake 
thee shall be written in the earth. On the contrary, to have our names 
written in heaven is a great blessing : Luke x. 20, Notwithstanding 
in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you ; but rather 
rejoice because your names are written in heaven. It is better to 
enjoy a little as a help to heaven than a great deal as a hindrance 
to it. Oh ! blessed is the man that taketh no further content in the 
comforts of this life than they may further his soul to eternity t If an 
estate increase upon you, it is most valuable as you may be rich in good 
works, and take hold of eternal life, 1 Tim. vi. 18. When your hearts 
rest in them without subordination to eternal things, your estate 
becometh a snare. Whatever the heart is set upon, if it be not in 
order to this end and scope, it is cursed to thee. The spiritual blessing 
of all our natural comforts is in order to this last end. But then for 
duties ; time spent with God in order to eternity is the best part of 
your lives, Acts xxvi. 7. When we are employed in the world, we 
make provision but for a few months or days, it may be hours ; but in 
converse with God you lay up for everlasting : the throne of grace will 
be the more sweet because it is the porch of heaven : ordinances and 
public means of grace, a child of God valueth them more than the 
greatest worldly advantages : Ps. Ixxxiv. 12, One day in thy courts 
is better than a thousand : I had rather be a door-keeper in the house 
of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. But why ? 
Because there is trading for eternity ; there he gets a prospect into 
heaven, and heareth news of his long home. And then graces ; they 
are glorious things, because they are the seed and earnest of eternal 
glory. It is called immortal seed, 1 Peter i. 23. When this state is 
begun, it cannot be dissolved. And it is called the earnest of the 
Spirit : graces as well as comforts are his earnest. By all these things 
the Holy Ghost is preparing us for eternity, Kom. ix. 23 ; assuring us 
of eternity, Eph. i. 13, 14. And then Christ is valued as the author of 
eternal salvation, Heb. v. 9 ; as the means of coming to God, Phil, 
iii. 810. Things seen are vilified and contemned by them. Lastly, 
the favour of God, that we enjoy here. It is valuable in itself, and as 
it is a taste and pledge of our everlasting communion with him : Ps. 
xvi. 11, In thy presence is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand 
pleasures for evermore ; Ps. xvii. 15, As for me, I will behold thy 


face in righteousness ; I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy 
likeness. Our taste now assure th us of our everlasting satisfaction. 
Thus you see eternity giveth us the true measure whereby to know the 
worth and weight of everything. 

[2.] It is our motive to quicken us to be more diligent, more exact, 
and to pursue after those things with greater vigilancy, industry, and 
self-denial. Industry ; a man that will be rich in the world chooseth 
apt means, learneth all the ways of thrift, and dexterously pursueth his 
purpose ; rising early, going to bed late, piercing himself through with 
many sorrows: he beareth it all patiently, because it is his end. A man 
given to pleasures chooseth that course of life wherein he may most 
enjoy them ; sacrificeth his time, credit, estate, to gratify his end. So 
one addicted to honours and advancement ; he tortureth himself with 
many carking thoughts and tedious attendances, and projects how to 
rise, and to be built a story higher. So a man that rnaketh things 
unseen his scope taketh God s way to enjoy them, laboureth for these 
things : John vi. 27, Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for 
that meat which endureth unto everlasting life ; and Phil. ii. 12, Work 
out your own salvation with fear and trembling. And then we must 
use vigilancy, that our lives may not be filled up with impertinencies 
and inconsistencies : Eph. v. 15, See then that ye walk circumspectly, 
not as fools, but as wise ; Heh. iv. 1, Let us therefore fear, lest a pro 
mise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to 
come short of it. And then we must exercise self-denial, denying our 
selves in our interests, comforts, ease, peace, life, and all that is dear and 
precious to us. The Thessalonians are said to suffer for the kingdom of 
God, because in the midst of tribulations and troubles they look for a 
future rest : 2 Thes. i. 5, with 7. And so it is said, Heb. xi. 35, They 
were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better 
resurrection/ They might have been freed from those cruel pains on 
certain conditions, but they would rather wait for God s deliverance 
than accept of man s, though it were invisible, and yet so long to come. 
They knew in the resurrection God would give them an immortal, 
glorious, and blessed life, for a short and miserable one, and recompense 
their cruel pains with eternal pleasures. 

Use 1. To press us to get this heavenly frame and temper of spirit ; 
to look to things invisible as sure and near, and to make them our 
great scope ; that all which we do may tend thereunto, and be subor 
dinate to eternal life. 

1. Kemember we were made for eternity ; for God hath given us 
an immortal spirit, which cannot be content with anything that hath 
an end. If we had souls that would perish, it would be more justifiable 
to look after things that perish. No ; they will eternally survive these 
present things : Eccles. xii. 7, Then shall the dust return to the earth 
as it was, and the spirit to God that gave it. Here we fly away as a 
shadow upon the mountains,, come to act our part up" on the stage of 
the world, and are gone ; what is this to endless eternity ? Surely 
that estate should be most in our eyes. How do you imagine you 
shall live after this life ? When you die, all the thoughts that con 
cern the present world perish, and if you did perish too, it were no 
such great matter ; but still you live, and enter eternity, and it is sad 


when you have no happiness to enjoy. It is good often to consider 
what the soul shall do when it shall be turned out of doors : Luke 
xvi . 9, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, 
that when you fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations ; 
that it may not be left shiftless and harbourless. 

2. Eternity is made known to us Christians, and clearly set before 
us, 2 Tim. i. 10. What is the drift of the religion which you profess 
but to draw us off to another world, 1 Cor. ii. 12. Wherefore were 
you baptized but in order to eternity. Then you began your months 
of purification. Therefore it is said, 2 Peter i. 9, He that lacketh 
these things is blind and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that 
he was purged from his old sins. What is the notion of a Christian ? 
Strangers and pilgrims : 1 Peter ii. 11, Dearly beloved I beseech you, 
as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against 
the soul. Christ came not here to settle us in a state of prosperity, 
nor to make the world our rest and portion. No ; he came to bring 
up our hearts first, and then ourselves, to a better world, which he 
calleth upon us to seek and make sure of. He came to save us from 
the present evil world, Gal. i. 4 ; ndt to fix upon it. 

3. We are already involved in an eternal misery, and stand under a 
sentence binding us over to the curse and wrath of God : John iii. 18, 
Condemned already. Nothing but the slender thread of a frail life 
between us and execution. How can we sleep in sin so near eternity, 
and laugh and dance over the brink of hell, and trifle away our times 
before we have taken a sure way to escape this misery ! The scriptures 
show us the way of escaping this misery and attaining to eternal blessed 
ness. Oh, flee from wrath to come ! Mat. iii. Run for refuge. A 
man cannot be soon enough out of the state of sin and wrath. 

4. You shall be shortly summoned to your account : Luke xvi. 2, 
Give an account of thy stewardship, for thou mayest be no Ibnger 
steward. You have received so much from me, such riches, such 
honours, such parts, such sufficiencies, what have you done with them ? 
What will the poor carnal wretch answer in that day when the diligent 
shall be rewarded with everlasting life and the negligent be cast into 
everlasting fire ? In the present time, you either win or lose eternity. 

5. Consider what poor deluded souls, that are in the everlasting 
estate, would give if they might be trusted with a little time again, 
that they might provide for eternity. How happy would they think 
themselves if God would but try them once more ! Their remembrance 
of their past folly and evil choice is a part of their perpetual torment, 
matter for the gnawing worm to feed upon, Mark ix. 44. If carnal, 
careless creatures would but anticipate the thoughts of another world, 
they would sooner discern their mistake. How miserably will you 
bewail yourselves when you have lost eternity for poor temporal things. 
What comfort will it be to you that you have been merry, lived in 
pomp and ease ? It is better to believe than try, to prevent the misery 
than experiment it. Now for means to help you 

[1.] Use frequent recollection, for thereby you come to yourselves : 
Luke xv. 17, And when he came to himself he said, How many 
hired servants of my father s have bread enough and to spare, and I 
perish with hunger? Many are so busy about their vanities, that 


they cannot find that they are men, or think what business they have 
to do in the world, nor where they must dwell for ever. Self-commun 
ing would .be a hopeful means to undeceive them : Isa. xlvi. 8, 
Remember this, and show yourselves men ; bring it again to mind, 
ye transgressors/ And elsewhere the prophet showeth what reasonings 
we should use with ourselves, Isa. Iv. 2. Surely this would be one 
means to wean you from carnal vanities, and to deaden the gust and 
taste of them to your souls. Most men debase their reason to the 
service of their appetites and lusts ; their pleasure and business is the 
pleasing and gratifying of the flesh, Rom. xiii. 14. All their care is to 
eat well and drink well, to be well fed and well clad, and to make a 
fair show in the flesh, and live in worldly pomp. All their business is 
to gather in provision for the satisfying of their present lusts. They 
spend their days and cares for nothing else, which is that living after 
the flesh, Rom. viii. 13, that sowing to the flesh, Gal. v. 8, which the 
scripture condemnetk And what is the reason of all this ? Because 
they are inconsiderate ; never consider, Whence am I, whither am I a- 
going ? what shall become of me to all eternity ? Ps. cxix. 59, I 
thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. They 
are like children hunting after butterflies; and when they have them, 
their gaudy wings melt away in their hands, and there remaineth 
nothing but an ugly worm, the worm of conscience, the worm of disap 
pointment. recollect thyself ! is this to make eternal things our 
scope ? 

[2.] Let us often compare together the condition of the present and 
of the future life. All things that are liable to the view of sense soon 
pass away, whether comforts or crosses. The good and evil of the 
present world are soon over ; accordingly should be our carriage 
towards them, 1 Cor. vii. 29-31. Now consider how unreasonable it is 
the soul should be drawn away by transitory things from those which 
are eternal. The things we doat upon are not worthy to be compared 
with the greatness and duration of those things to which we are invited 
by the promises of the gospel. It may be you have health and strength 
and wealth now, but how long will you have it ? We are not sure of 
the enjoyment of these things the next day. How soon may they be 
withered ! the prosperity of the wicked is cut down as grass, withered 
as the green herb, Ps. xxxvii. 2 ; but things unseen will be yours to 
all eternity. God is an everlasting portion : Ps. Ixxiii. 26, My flesh 
and my heart faileth ; but God is the strength of my heart, and my 
portion for ever. Christ s redemption is an everlasting redemption : 
Heb. ix. 12, He entered ia once into the holy place, having obtained 
eternal redemption for us. God and Christ will be yours to-day, and 
will be yours to all eternity. Those things which are seen, if they do 
not perish, may be taken from you, Mat. vi. 1 9, 20. We are not sure to get 
it, but you are sure to leave it, Job i. 21, but these other things cannot 
be taken from you : Luke x. 42, One thing is needful, and Mary hath 
chosen that good part which shall not be taken from her. The devil 
cannot and God will not take it from you. 

[3.] Improve your experience of the vanity of this world : Ps. cxix 
96, I have seen an end of all perfection, but thy commandments are 
exceeding broad. Vain, light hearts pass over these things, and get 


no profit by them ; they find the creature vanity and vexation of 
spirit, yet run out as greedily after it as they did before : Ps. xlix. 13, 
This their way is their folly, yet their posterity approve their 
sayings. They are sensible of the folly of their ancestors, but are not 
mended by it ; they have eyes to see, but not an heart to see : Deut 
xxix. 2-4, Ye have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the 
land of Egypt, unto Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land : 
the great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those 
great miracles : yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, 
and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. 

[4.] Be sure when you are tempted to revive this meditation upon 
your hearts, that things seen are temporal, and things unseen are 
eternal. As (1.) When any temptation cometh to draw your hearts 
to give contentment to the flesh for a season ; as for instance, when 
you are tempted to please your eye, your taste, your sensual desire, or 
to wrong your souls, for wealth and honour ; remember these are not 
eternal pleasures, riches, honours ; and shall I dare run the hazard of 
wronging God or my soul for a little present satisfaction ? leave my 
fatness and sweetness to rule over the trees ? What ! hazard eternal 
things for temporal trifles ? (2.) When tempted by the bitterness 
of the cross to relent in God s cause, say, as Basil s forty martyrs, that 
were kept naked in the open air in a cold night, to be burned next 
day : Sharp is the cold, but sweet is paradise ; troublesome is the 
way, but pleasant is the end of the journey : let us endure a little 
cold, and the patriarch s bosom will soon warm us. Stephen saw 
heaven opened, and that fortified him against the showers of stones 
from the people, Acts vii. 51. It is for such a season. 

[5.] Beg the light of the Spirit. It is necessary for us both with 
respect to things seen and unseen. (1.) Seen, that we may apprehend 
the vanity of the creature : Ps. xe. 92, So teach us to number our 
days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom ; Ps. xlix. 4, I will 
incline mine ear to a parable ; I will open my dark saying upon the 
harp. David is describing the vanity of worldly prosperity. And 
also to see things unseen : 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 ye may know what is the hope 
of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the 
saints: Our wisdom natural is .carnal and sensual, James iii. 15. 
Either for riches, pleasures, or honours : Prov. xxiii. 4, Labour not 
to be rich ; cease from thine own wisdom. Keason catereth for the 
body, true wisdom is from above. 

[6.] Do not only seek the light of the Spirit, but wait for his renew 
ing grace, that you may make things unseen your felicity and portion : 
John iii. 6, That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which 
is born of the Spirit is spirit. Naturally there is in us a foolish 
inordinate desire after the dignities, honours, and pleasures of the 
world ; but we should earnestly desire the new birth : 1 Peter ii. 3, 
As new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may 
grow thereby ; 1 John v. 4, Whatsoever is born of God overcometh 
the world ; and 2 Peter i. 4, * Whereby are given unto us exceeding 


great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of 
the divine nature. That we may have a deep sense of and respect to 
the other world. 

[7.] Think often and seriously what a value eternity puts upon 
things small, much more upon things great in themselves. 

(1.) That eternity puts a value upon things in themselves small, 
whether good or evil : evil, as what a torment would an everlasting 
toothache be ? Though the pain be not very great nor mortal, yet the 
eternal length, and duration maketh it intolerable. So in things good, 
if a man might have a cottage but for an hundred years, he would 
prize it more than to have liberty to walk in a glorious palace for one 
day ; so that things which are eternal do much more excel those things 
which are temporal, though there be otherwise a difference between 
the things themselves. As the toothache is not a mortal disease, but 
every man would die presently rather than live under an everlasting 
toothache. A cottage is not to be compared to a palace, yet the inherit 
ance of a cottage is much better than the liberty of a walk in a palace 
for an hour or a day. A small thing is greatened by eternity, much 
more a greater. Well, then, since things unseen do so far exceed things 
seen, and the one are temporal and the other eternal, why should man 
be so fooli&h and perverse as to prefer the one above the other? 
Whatever hurts is but a flea-biting ; whatever delights is but a May- 
game. The good and evil of the world is not to be compared with 
the foretaste of the good and evil of the world to come, horrors of con 
science or joy in the Holy Ghost. Horrors of conscience : Prov. xviii. 
14, The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity ;. but a wounded 
spirit who can bear ? Joy in the Holy Ghost : 1 Peter i. 2, Whom 
having not seen ye love ; in whom, though now you see him not, yet 
believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory. Horror 
of conscience is a greater pain than any pain ; and joy in the Holy 
Ghost is a greater joy than any joy. Now eternity cometh and addeth 
a greater weight to it, as to the horrors of the wicked or the joys of 
the blessed. If these horrors be so burdensome, what is it to lie under 
them for evermore ? If we cannot sleep one whole night (as to a man 
in a fever a night is an year, though he lie in a soft bed), how do we long 
for day ! how tedious is it then to lie under eternal darkness, and to 
despair of ever seeing day more ! so for the joys of the blessed ; if a 
day in God s courts be better than a thousand elsewhere, what is a 
month ? what is an year ? what are an hundred years ? what is six 
hundred ? what a thousand ? what is eternity ? everything in the 
other world, as it is great, so it is eternal ; there is an eternity in the 
evil part of it. The bodies of men are eternal, their souls eternal, the 
fire never goeth out, for the fuel never ceaseth ; the prison in which 
they are kept is eternal, the torment is eternal, because the judge is 
eternal, and his sentence shall never be reversed, Heb. x. 31, so the 
joys, as they are unspeakable and glorious, so eternal. The crown of 
glory is an incorruptible crown,.! Peter v. 4, the inheritance an incorrupt 
ible inheritance. The vision- f God is not by snatches, but everlasting, 
the fruition of God is uninterrupted ; all is great, and all is eternal. 
(2.) This must be seriously considered by us, and often and deeply. 
If we did so, what helo should we. then have against temptations I 


It would make us obey God s commandments more cheerfully, sub 
due the desires of the flesh, and make us more ready to every good 
work, to consider that eternity ensueth, that everlasting woe and weal 
is in the case. Meat well chewed nourisheth the more, but being 
swallowed whole, breedeth crudities, burdeneth the stomach, and 
defileth the body ; so to hear of eternity, and swallow it without 
rumination and due consideration, maketh these things lose their force, 
so that they do not excite our diligence, nor break the force of temp 
tations : Oh, that they were wise, and would consider their latter 
end 1 Deut. xxix. ; And my people do not consider/ Isa. i. 3. It is 
our carelessness and inconsideration that undoeth us. We read in 
story (which also hath been repeated in a late instance), but originally 
it is recorded of Agrippina and Nero, that when a prodigal prince had 
given away a huge sum, they laid all the money in a heap before him, 
that he might see and consider what he had given away ; to bring him 
to retract, or in part to lessen the grant. So it is good for us to consider 
what we lose in losing eternity, what we part with for these vile and 
perishing things. Invisible things, if they are small, yet they are 
eternal ; but they are great and eternal too ; but these other things are 
small and temporal. 

[8.] Consider how certain and sure these invisible things are which 
lie in the other world. There wanteth nothing but this to strike the 
temptation dead which ariseth from temporal things ; for since these 
invisible things are greater and more durable, why should they not 
prevail more with us ? The reason is, we see, feel, taste the one ; but 
the other lie out of sight in an unknown world, and so we doubt of 
them, or our persuasions about them are very weak. But to check 
this disease, consider what help is offered to you (1.) By the light of 
nature, which showeth it may be ; (2.) The light of Christianity, which 
showeth it shall be. 

(1.) The light of nature will offer proof enough to make us more 
serious than ever we have been ; for 

(1st.) If there be not a world to come, and a state of invisible happi 
ness and unseen glory, why is it that such a conceit hath been rooted 
in the minds of men of all nations and religions ? not only Greeks 
and Komans, but barbarians and people least civilised. Herodotus 
telleth us that the ancient Getes thought their souls perished not 
when they died, but went to Tamolxis ; and Diodorus Siculus, of the 
Egyptians, that their parents and friends went to some eternal habita 
tion ; and the modern heathens, but newly discovered, hold the con 
dition of men and beasts different ; that they subsist after life, and 
have a being, is their firm persuasion ; and therefore are wont to 
assign to the dead part of the goods which they possessed. And Acosta 
telleth us that in Peru they are wont to kill some of their slaves to 
attend the dead in the world to come. Thus in a manner all nations 
have received this tradition from hand to hand, from their ancestors ; 
and the nearer to the first original of mankind, the more clear and 
pressing hath been the conceit hereof. Lapse of time, which decayeth 
all things, hath not been able to deface it out of the minds of men, who 
though they have been gradually depraved and degenerated, according 
to the distance by which they have been removed from their first 



originals, yet they could never blot out the sense of an estate after 
this life. An universal tradition is some argument, when there can 
be no solid and indubitable reasons brought to convince it of falsity. 
Now such is this, spread throughout the universe, and with extreme 
forwardness received of all nations, and hath borne up against all the 
encounters of time, and constantly maintained itself in the midst of so 
many revolutions of human affairs, by which many other things were lost. 

(2<i) All men have believed that there is a God, and very few- 
doubted but that he is a re warder of virtue and punisher of vice. 
Now neither the one nor the other is fully accomplished in this world, 
even in the judgment of those who have no great knowledge of the 
nature of sin, nor what punishment is competent thereunto. There 
fore there must be some state after this life, in which this retributive 
justice of punishing the bad and rewarding the good shall be mani 
fested ; for here providence seemeth to be darkened, and the world is 
offended with the calamities of the good and prosperity of the wicked : 
1 Cor. xv. 19, If in this life only we have hope in Christ Jesus, we 
.are of all men most miserable. 

(3d.) If there be an end of man when he dieth, why is man afraid 
of torments after death? Heb. ii. 15, Deliver them who, through 
fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Men fear 
death, not as a natural evil, as it terminateth our present comforts, 
but as a penal evil, as it is an -entrance to unknown sorrows : 1 Cor. 
xv. 56, The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 
What is the reason of these stings of conscience, which are never so 
sensible and quick as when they approach near death, or behold them 
selves in some imminent danger ? What are these but presaging fears, 
which anticipate miseries after this life ? If there were an utter end 
of men, these troubles should in reason then vanish ; but this is the 
time when these alarms are redoubled and those tempests increase 
their violence. 

(2.) The light of Christianity doth much more discover it. That 
is properly a doctrine of things unseen ; that telleth us of a prison 
where are the spirits of wicked men, 1 Peter iii. 19 ; of a palace or 
mansions in our Father s house, where are the spirits of just men 
made perfect, Heb. xii. 23. On the one hand it telleth us of a worm 
that never dieth, of a fire that shall never be quenched, Mark ix. 44 ; 
on the other side, of joys that are at the right hand of God for ever 
more, Ps. xvi. 11 ; that Christ died to free us from the wrath to come, 
1 Thes. i. -10, and purchased heaven for us, 1 Thes. v. 10, and is 
gone to heaven to seize upon it in our name, John xiv. 2, 3, having 
first left a sure promise of eternal life to all that believe in him, 
1 John ii. 25; which promise was outwardly confirmed by divers 
miracles accompanying them that went abroad to make this offer in 
his name, Heb. ii. 3, 4. Inwardly in the hearts of his people, by 
giving them the first-fruits of this everlasting estate in their union 
with himself, CoL i. 27, and the joys of his Spirit, which are therefore 
said to be full of glory, 1 Peter i.,8. These are truths interweaved 
throughout the whole body of Christianity. Now discourse but with 
yourselves (1.) Partly concerning the thing itself ; (2.) Partly con 
cerning the certainty of your hope. 


(1st.) Concerning the certainty of the thing itself. Is the whole 
scripture false, the gospel a fable? Are all the oracles of the prophets, 
the doctrine of Christ, his miracles, resurrection, ascension, but a 
dream ? Were they all deceived that followed Christ upon these 
hopes, that took such pains in subduing the flesh, and hazarding their 
interests freely upon the hopes of another world ? Are the wisest 
sort of men the world ever saw such fools? all the ordinances of 
Christ a customary superstition? Is grace a fancy, the joys of the 
Spirit delusions or fantastical impressions ? these rejoicings and fore 
tastes of the children of God, a mere deceit and imposture ? Surely 
it cannot be that all this solemnity should be used to establish a vain 

(2d) Excite and work up your own faith and hope. Is there not 
a state of blessedness reserved for me in the heavens ? invisible and 
glorious things, which I am bound to seek after ? Thou hast not 
possession, but thou hast the grant, the deed of gift sealed ; thou hast 
the conveyance to show ; God s own word and promise to assure thee. 
Yea, it is not nudum pactum. God hath given thee the earnest of a 
greater sum : 2 Cor. i. 22, Who hath also sealed us, and given the 
earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. What should I do, then, but 
look for it, long for it, and earnestly seek after it ? 

Use 2. Is for reproof 

1. To the incredulous and unbelieving, to whom all invisible things 
seem a fancy. Scoffing atheists, they will not believe there is an 
heaven or an hell till they see them. In the face of the visible church 
there may be such, and in the latter times there shall be many such, 
2 Peter iii. 4 ; but in hell there are none such, because then matters 
of faith are matters of feeling, and to their bitter cost they find the 
truth of what they doubted of. To these I shall say, God hath always 
tried his people, and distinguished them from others, by respect to 
things not seen : Heb. xi. 7, By faith Noah, being warned of God of 
things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the 
saving of his house ; by the which he condemned the world, and 
became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. By this he con 
demned the world, by his costly industry and care to frame an ark ; 
but whilst he provided for his safety, they perished in their sins. 
Must everything be seen before we fear it or hope for it? Why 
then do men provide for time to come so long beforehand? Why 
for old age in youth ? why for winter in summer ? As the industry 
of the ant is recommended for our imitation, Prov. vi. 6-8, Go to the 
ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways, and be wise, which, having no 
guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and 
gathereth her food in the harvest. It is uncertain we shall live to 
old age or see another winter, but it is certain we shall live for ever in 
heaven or hell. Keason and conscience and scripture assureth us of 
that. Atheists think the people of God are a sort of credulous fools, 
as Celsus objected that faith and credulity brought in error. None 
so credulous as the atheists, who hearken to every foolish fancy, and 
cavil against the light of the universal tradition of mankind and the 
evidence of scripture, which God hath so often owned and confirmed. 

2. The inconsiderate and brutish part of mankind, who come into 


the world they know not why, and then go out of the world they know 
not whither ; these live in the world as in an house of smoke ; as they 
see nothing out of it, so scarce see the things they converse with 
in it. These mistake their banishment for their country, the sea for 
their haven, and themselves for beasts instead of men Oh 1 let 
these consider 

[1.] Why they came into the world. Not to eat, and drink, and 
sleep, and sport. We were made for eternal things, not for temporal. 
Not for the world, nor for ourselves, nor for anything less than God, 
to glorify him and enjoy him ; and all other things to serve as helps 
to heaven. Surely we were not made in vain, nor by chance brought 
forth into light. The least things have their appointed ends; and 
surely man, that hath an immortal spirit, was never made for a mortal 
happiness. Oh! then, that men should be so senseless as never to 
regard whether there be an eternity, yea or no; that they should 
suffer the beast to ride the man, should live merely to live, use their 
bodies only as a strainer or a channel for meat and drink to pass 
through ; that they should only employ their souls about trifles and 
carnal satisfactions : John xviii. 37, To this end was I born, and for 
this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the 
truth. All is for some 6fcd. 

[2.] The next thing to be considered is, what will be their state 
when they go out of the world. We daily draw near to our long 
home, but we little think of it till we come to our journey s end, fear 
not the pit till we are plunged into it, prize not our time till it be 
lost and gone : Eccles. ix. 12, Man knoweth not his time ; as the 
fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught 
in the snare, so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it 
falleth suddenly upon them. Death and calamity befalleth a man 
when he little dreameth of it, as the fish and the bird* go with much 
hope and promise of good to themselves to the bait and the snare. 
Hence the beasts are more excusable than we ; they cannot foresee the 
end, but are guided by instinct and appetite to present things that are 
good for them. Oh, that men are entering upon eternity, and yet 
never think of it ! Oh, excite yourselves ; consider what will become 
of you when you die. You die but once, and there is no mending of 
your errors when you awake in flames. A merchant may lose in one 
ship, but the next venture may repair him, and make him amends 
again; an orator may lose fame and reputation in one speech and 
action, and the next may restore it, and recover it again with advan 
tage ; but if a man die ill, the loss is irrevocable ; but if well, the gain 
is immortal : therefore surely we should prepare more for an entrance 
upon our eternal estate. 

3. To negligent and sensual worldlings, who wholly busy themselves 
about the matters of this life, and are hurried hither and thither : Ps. 
xxxix. 6, Surely every man walketh in a vain show ; they are dis 
quieted in vain. Our life is but a picture, image, shadow, or dream of 
life ; it vanisheth in a trice. All must be suddenly parted with here, 
all the riches and honours ; and yet we cark and labour and turmoil to 
get these transitory things, as if they would continue with us to all 
eternity, and had some durable satisfaction in them. Present pleasures 


and profits cloud our minds, and till we can get this veil drawn aside, 
this cloud scattered, we do not discern our mistake. Oh, consider 
who would redeem the short pleasure of a dream with the torment of 
many days 1 Our days upon earth are as a shadow, and yet this shadow 
do we cleave to instead of the substance, and though earthly things be 
short in their continuance, and uncomfortable in their end, yet these 
take up our life, and love, and care, and thoughts. Just as those that 
want children take pleasure in keeping little dogs and cats, so do 
they embrace the shadow for the substance, vainglory for eternal glory, 
a little pelf for the true riches, a little paltry business for the great 
work and end of our lives ; and when all is done, it is but a spider s 
web, Job viii. 14. The trust of the carnal man shall be but as the 
spider s web. As the spider out of his own bowels weaveth a web to 
catch flies, and frameth it with a great deal of art, but it is gone with 
the turn of the besom, so is the fruit of all their plots, and cares, and 
labours, and running up arid down, when in the meantime we are 
unmindful of eternity. Oh, when will these distracting worldlings find 
a time for God and everlasting happiness ? Childhood is not serious 
enough, youth must take their pleasure, manly age is too full of business, 
and old age is too feeble. 

4. It reproveth God s children, who are too lazy, and have not that 
life and seriousness in a spiritual business which they have in an 
earthly. If eternity be your aim, why are you so dead and dull in a 
course of holiness ? The apostle biddeth Timothy to follow after holi 
ness : To fight the good fight, to lay hold on eternal life, 1 Tim. vi. 
12 ; implying if the one were his aim, he would do the other. If we 
press towards the mark, why are we so frozen and cold in our zeal for 
God, so inclinable to every motion of sin, so easily overcome by temp 
tations ? Alas ! making eternal things our scope is but a notion, unless 
we provide forthwith with greater care, exactness, and diligence. 
There should be a suitableness and proportion between the exactness 
of our conversation and the greatness of our hopes: 1 Thes. ii. 12, 
Walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and 
glory. That worthiness is the worthiness of condignity, congruity, 
and condecency. But alas ! do we labour as for eternity ? so follow 
after righteousness, so fight the good fight of faith, so despise the world, 
deny ourselves, run through all straits, triumph over all difficulties, 
mortify and subdue our own carpal inclinations? Alas! we are so 
bold in sinning, so cold in holy things, and do so little exercise ourselves 
unto godliness, as if we had no such great matters in view and chase ; 
and carry it so as if our hopes were only in this world, and not as if 
the eternal God had promised these eternal things to us. Surely if 
our belief of them were stronger we should be other persons than we 
are, in all holy conversation and godliness, 2 Peter iii. 11. 

5. The sottish despairing carnal person. As there is a raging 
despair, so a sottish despair : 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 saidst 
there is no hope ; no, for I have loved strangers, and after them I will 
go/ Give over all endeavours. If I be saved, I shall be saved ; if 
damned, who can help it ? I will bear it as well as I can. Bear it ! 


What wilt thou bear ? What ! endure the loss of heaven ? endure 
the wrath of almighty God ? Poor wretch ! thou knowest not what 
eternity meaneth. For the loss, thou wilt apprehend it to be another 
thing when thy soul cometh to see but a glimpse of what heaven is, 
and shall see others sitting down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, 
and thyself shut out. They are admitted, and thou art excluded ; this 
will cause weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth for evermore, 
Mat. viii. 12. If Kachel could not endure the loss of her children, nor 
Jacob the supposed loss of Joseph, when all his sons and daughters 
rose up to comfort him, I will go to the grave to my son mourning, 
Gen. xxxvii. 35 ; if Achitophel could not endure the rejectment of his 
counsel, and Haman could not endure to be slighted by Mordecai, and 
many cannot endure the loss of a beloved child ; how wilt thou endure 
the loss of eternity ? The disciples wept bitterly when Paul said, Ye 
shall see my face no more, Acts xxviii. 38. What will you do when 
God shall say, See my face no more ? Thou carest not for the fruition 
of God now, because thou believest not the reality of this blessedness, 
hast other comforts and affairs to divert thee ; but when thou shalt be 
set apart from all thy comforts, and hast nothing to divert thee, thou 
shalt know what eternal life is. 

For the other : how canst thou endure the wrath of God, thou that 
canst not endure to be scorched a day or two in feverish flames, thou 
that canst not endure the acute pains of stone or gout, when God 
armeth the humours of thine own body against thee ? that canst not 
endure the scalding of a little gunpowder casually blown up, the pain 
of a broken arm or leg ; how wilt thou endure when God himself shall 
fall upon thee ? God himself puts the question, Ezek. xxii. 14. In 
the other world, God is all in all. 


Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, 
and likewise Lazarus evil things ; but now he is comforted, and 
thou art tormented. LUKE xvi. 25. 

THESE words are part of a parable, the contrivance of which is so 
exactly framed according to the reality and truth which is represented, 
that it hath been disputed whether it be a parable or an history. 
The two persons chiefly concerned in this parable are the rich glutton 
and Lazarus the beggar. The rich man is not represented under any 
proper name, as the beggar is ; partly to avoid offence, and partly to 
show that the wicked are of no name, account, or reckoning with God : 
2 Tim. ii. 19, The Lord knoweth them that are his ; John x. 3, 
He calleth his own sheep by name. A rich man of this world you 
cannot miss of his name in the subsidy book, but in the book of life the 
beggar hath a name when the rich hath not. The rich glutton is 
described by the course of his life, which was pleasant and luxurious ; 
he was clad with the best, and fared of the best ; he was clothed with 
purple and fine linen ; there is his winter and summer garment ; and 
fared sumptuously every day, ver. 19. With him every day was a 
festival. On the other side, the beggar is described by his piety, 
intimated by his name, Lazarus, the Lord was his help ; by his afflic 
tions ; of want, for he was a beggar, lying at the rich man s door ; of 
sickness, full of sores ; by his modesty, he desired only the crumbs 
which fell from the rich man s table, Luke xvi. 21. In time both died, 
for rich and poor must both die : Job iii. 19, The small and the great 
are there. It is said of the poor man that he died and was carried 
by the angels into Abraham s bosom ; but of the rich, he died and 
was buried, ver. 22. Nothing is said of the burial of the poor man ; 
the other had a pompous funeral, according to the custom of the 
world ; but the carcase of the poor man was little regarded, it may be 
cast to the dunghill. However in the state of their souls there was 
great difference. Though the body of the one was conducted to the grave 
in state, yet his soul was in wof ul plight ; for he died and was buried, 
and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, ver. 23. But for 
the other, his body was neglected, but his soul was of precious account 
with God, for it was carried by the angels into Abraham s bosom, ver. 
22. The rich man is too late, sensible of his misery and the happiness 
of the despised beggar : And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in 
torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom, ver. 


23. He had hoped for better things ; for this rich man was not an infidel, 
but one of Abraham s children, as the beggar also was ; but he was of 
Abraham s children according to the flesh, but not according to the 
spirit : Mat. iii. 9, Think not to say within yourselves, We have 
Abraham to our father. Carnal confidences in external prerogatives 
will at length wofully deceive us. But what doth he beg of Abraham ? 
That Lazarus may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool his tongue, 
ver. 24. Desideravit guttam, qui non dedit micam He that would 
not give a crumb now desireth a drop. God will be even with sinners, 
and retaliate their oppressions and uncharitableness into their bosoms. 

In the text you have part of Abraham s answer : But Abraham said, 
Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, 
and likewise Lazarus evil things ; but now he is comforted, and thou 
art tormented. 

In the words is set forth the different estate of the rich man and the 
beggar in this life and in the world to come. 

1. In this life, Remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy 
good things, and Lazarus evil things/ 

2. In the world to come, where you see how perfectly the tables are 
turned : Now he is comforted, and thou art tormented, 

1. In this life. On the rich man s side 

[1.] There is his prosperity and worldly happiness ; he had received 
Good things. 

[2.] The suitableness of his heart to this kind of happiness, or his 
well-pleasedness with it : Thy good things. His, not only by posses 
sion, but by estimation and choice : Ps. iv. 7, Thou hast put gladness 
in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine 
increased. They place their happiness in them. 

So, on the other side, Lazarus evil things ; as the rich man had 
abundance of ease, pleasure, and prosperity, so Lazarus had his portion 
of afflictions. 

2. In the world to come. Mark 

[1.] The time; presently upon death, now. The sleep of the soul 
is a vain figment. 

[2.] The different recompenses ; in the words, comforted and tor 

[3.] The order in both ; the beggar had first temporal evils, and 
then eternal good things ; but the rich man had first temporal good 
things, and then eternal evil things ; as many that do well here in 
this world fare full ill in the world to come ; the one hath his bliss, 
and the other his torment, and both without any allay and mixture. 

Doct. That it is the greatest misery that can light upon men to be 
condemned to worldly happiness. 

The rich man s disposition is but intimated, but his condition is 
expressed as the ground of his misery, that in his lifetime he had 
received his good things. Gregory professed that he could never read 
this scripture without trembling, as being afraid to have his portion in 
this world, or his happiness here. And what is here represented in 
the scheme and draught of a parable is elsewhere positively asserted in 
plainer scriptures ; as Luke vi. 24, Woe unto you that are rich, for ye 
have received your consolation. You have all that you can look for ; 


you shall not have a double heaven, here and hereafter : Jer. xvii. 13, 
They that depart from me shall be written in the earth; Luke 
xii. 20, Thou fool ! this night thy soul shall be required of thee, 
and then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided ? 
Ps. xvii. 14, From men which are thy hand, Lord, from men of 
the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou 
fillest with thy hid treasure ; they are full of children, and leave the 
rest of their substance to their babes. Not as if all that live prosper 
ously here in this world shall be eternally miserable ; or, on the contrary, 
that all that live miserably here shall be comforted hereafter. No ; it 
is not the condition, but the disposition which is regarded. For 

1. Eiches are in themselves God s blessings : Prov. x. 22, The 
blessing of the Lord maketh rich ; and are promised to his people : 
Ps. cxii. 3, Wealth and riches shall be in his house ; and accord 
ingly bestowed upon some of them, as upon Abraham : Gen. xxiv. 35, 
The Lord hath blessed my master greatly, and he is become great. 
So was Job, chap. i. 3 ; he was the greatest of all the men in the 
East. So David, Solomon, Lazarus of Bethany, Joseph of Arimathea, 
and others. By these instances God showeth that he can and will 
give wealth to his people, if it were for their good. Some godly men 
may be rich, and wicked men calamitous ; the Lord giveth to both a 
taste of their future condition. Godliness hath the promises of this 
life, and ungodliness forfeiteth them. 

2. It is not the having, but the abuse. The apostle speaketh, 2 
Peter i. 4, of the corruption that is in the world through lust, or our 
own unmortified corruptions ; the poison is not in the flower, but the 
spider. That carnal disposition that is in us maketh us drown our 
mind, our time, and our affections in the world, and the cares and 
pleasures thereof, and to be ensnared thereby, and hindered from looking 
after heavenly happiness. To blame riches simply is to blame him 
that made them, and distributeth them according to his will, as if he 
did bait his hook with seeming blessings, and did set golden snares to 
entangle the souls of men. The good things of this world are profitable 
to them that make a good use of them, if we use wealth well, or want 
it patiently. It is no matter what part we act in the world, so we act 
it well. As in a choir of voices, some sing the bass, some the treble ; 
it is no discommendation to sing either part, so we sing it well ; so 
some are poor, some are rich. If we carry a full cup without spilling, 
we may honour God by being rich ; if we patiently bear the burden 
imposed upon us, we may honour God with a meek and humble poverty. 
Dormit pauper Lazarus in sinu Abrahami divitis. Poor Lazarus slept 
in rich Abraham s bosom. The rich man was not condemned because 
he had wealth, and ease, and prosperity, but that he was puffed up 
with these things. He wholly gave up himself to pride and luxury, 
neglecting piety and charity ; but Lazarus believed God s promises, 
bore the burden imposed upon him patiently, and by the obedience of 
faith wholly submitted himself to God s will. 

3. However, a full condition is apt to be a snare, and must be 
watched with the greater caution. That context is very notable, Mark 
x. 23-27, And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, 
How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God ! 


And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answered 
again, and saith unto htem, 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. And they were astonished out of measure, 
saying among themselves, Who then can be saved ? And Jesus look 
ing upon them, saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God ; for 
with God all things are possible. That discourse between Christ and 
his disciples showeth us three things (1.) That it is impossible to 
trust in riches and enter into the kingdom of God ; (2.) That it is 
impossible for man to have them and not to trust in them; (3.) And 
that the special assistance of the divine grace can only cure this evil. 
It is very hard to enjoy ease, and idleness, and pleasures here, and to 
be exercised with no affliction, and yet keep right with God : Prov. 
i. 32, The prosperity of fools shall destroy them. Men being drunk 
with prosperity are forgetful of their duty. A rank soil is apt to breed 
many weeds. And on the other side, afflictions are an help to the 
godly, to make them profit in piety. 

But having obviated this difficulty, I shall show three things 

1. That God useth to give many temporal good things to carnal 

2. That those carnal men whose hearts are taken up with these 
good things as their only and chief happiness, while they continue so, 
can look for no more at God s hand, but are condemned to worldly 

3. That their misery is great before death, at death, and after death. 
I. God useth to give many temporal good things to carnal men, for 

several reasons 

1. Because he will be behindhand with none of his creatures, but all 
that are made by him shall know him to be a good God, and have 
some taste of his bounty. It is said, Ps. cxlv. 9, The Lord is good 
to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works. He is good to 
all creatures, much more to all men, the wicked not excepted ; though 
some men are but as a wiser sort of beasts, as they cater more for the 
flesh, and wholly value their happiness by the body and the interests 
of the bodily life. They shall not want invitations to lead them to God ; 
though they love their bodies above their souls, yet they shall not want 
arguments to love God, who giveth them food and gladness, and fruitful 
seasons, and plentiful estates, and many of these common mercies, which 
point to their author and discover their end : Acts xiv. 17, Nevertheless 
he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us 
rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and 
gladness. These mercies, where they are bestowed, argue not a good 
people, but a good God. 

2. That he may reward some good in them, and mortify the 
remaining evil in his people by afflictions. None shall be a loser by 
God ; they that cannot tarry for the heavenly reward shall have a tem 
poral one, such as they prize and affect : Mat. vi. 2, Therefore when thou 
doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites 
do, in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of 
men : verily I say unto you, they have their reward. So for prayer, 


ver. 5, and for fasting, ver. 16, aTre^ovcrt TOV pia-dbv avr&v. The word 
ttTre^ouoY, they have, signifieth an acquittance or discharge ; they 
acquit God of other things ; they have a reward suitable to their affec 
tions and their work; their affections are altogether upon temporal 
things. The spirit of an heir and the spirit of an hired servant differ. 
An heir can patiently tarry till the inheritance falleth, but an hired 
servant must have wages from day to day, or from quarter to quarter. 
So worldly men must have something in hand ; they have not a lively 
hope of blessedness to come, and cannot tarry for the eternal recom 
pense. So, suitable to the work, which is external, a mere outside duty ; 
so is their reward proportionable. Nebuchadnezzar did God some ser 
vice, and God had his reward for him, enlargement of greatness and 
empire : Jer. xxvii. 6, And now have I given all these lands into the 
hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant. So Ezek. 
xxix. 18-20, The word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, 
Nebuchadnezzar king of Bayblon caused his army to serve a great 
service against Tyrus : every head was made bald, and every shoulder 
was peeled (by carrying baskets of earth to fill up the channel between 
it and the mainland), yet he had no wages, nor his army for Tyrus, 
for the service which he had served against it. Therefore thus saith 
the Lord God, Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchad 
nezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take her multitude, and take her 
spoil, and take her prey, and it shall be the wages for his army. I have 
given him the land of Egypt for his labour, wherewith he served 
against it, because they wrought for me, saith the Lord. The Lord 
thought of rewarding this ambitious man for his hard labours and 
toils : Mai. i. 10, Who is there among you that would shut the doors 
for nought? neither do ye kindle fire upon mine altar for nought. 
God s service is good service, even to those who do but outwardly and 
grudgingly perform it. Levites and porters had their allowance ; and 
superficial work meeteth with an external reward. 

3. To show that these are not the chief good things by which his 
special love is manifested unto us. God will not now govern the world 
by sense, but by faith ; and therefore prosperity and adversity of them 
selves do not clear up a man s estate before God, and are not perfect 
demonstrations of his love and hatred, nor can a man judge of his 
acceptance with God by his outward condition, nor should we quarrel 
with the wicked about their outward condition, which are their 
portion, not ours : Eccles. ix. 1, 2, No man knoweth either love or 
hatred by all that is before them : all things come alike to all ; 
there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked. For these 
things are promiscuously dispensed without any difference, evil things to 
good men, and good things to evil men. Josiah died in battle as well 
as Ahab. Is Abraham rich ? so is Nabal. Is Solomon wise ? so is 
Achitophel. Is Joseph honoured by Pharaoh ? so is Doeg by Saul. 
Hath Demetrius a good report of all men ? 3 John v. 12 ; so had some 
false teachers, that complied with men s lusts and humours: Luke vi. 
26, Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you. Had Caleb 
health and strength ? Josh. xiv. 11 ; so have wicked ones : Ps. Ixxiii. 4, 
There are no bands in their death, but their strength is firm. Hath 
Moses beauty ? so hath Absalom, 2 Sam. xiv. 20. Learning and 


wisdom is given to the Egyptians as well as to Moses, Acts vii. 22, and 
Daniel, chap. i. 17. Ishmael had long life, Gen. xxv. 17, as well as 
Isaac, Gen. xxxv. 29. Is greatness and powerful reign given to David ? 
so to infidels. So that nothing hence can be concluded. To bring us 
to look after more distinguishing mercies, these are given to others as 
well as to his children. 

II. Who are those carnal men to whom God will give no more than 
carnal felicity ? In the general, those that choose these things for their 
portion. Men have according to their choice : THY GOOD THINGS : 
choose, and have. It absolutely holdeth good in spiritual things : Luke 
x. 42, Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken away 
from her. But it is not always so in carnal things, though many times 
it is. Here a man may choose, and not have ; they that choose worldly 
greatness, and the wealth and credit of the world, cannot always have 
their choice. God denieth it to some in mercy, that they may look 
higher ; but sometimes he giveth it to others in wrath. God giveth 
them their heart s desire in judgment. These are their good things, 
the only things suitable to their hearts ; the world is all they care for, 
let God keep his heaven, and his Spirit to himself. It is good to observe 
what our heart calleth ours ; as Nabal : 1 Sam. xxv. 11, Shall I take 
my bread, and my water, and my flesh which I have killed for my 
shearers ? and Laban to Jacob : Gen. xxxi. 43, These daughters are 
my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle 
are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine. A carnal man with a 
lively gust and relish calleth these things his things ; a godly man 
owneth them as coming from God, and referreth them to him : 1 Chron. 
xxix. 14, All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given 
thee. Well, then, how just is God in giving every man his good 
things, and in letting them take their own choice, and heaping worldly 
things upon them who have placed their felicity in them ! 

But how shall we know that men count these things their good things, 
and have chosen them for their portion ? 

1. Our choice is known by our use. They that abuse these things 
to the satisfaction of their own lusts, and with too free a license let loose 
their hearts to worldly things, these count them their good things. 
They would have their heaven here and their happiness here, as this 
rich man altogether lived voluptuously, and fared deliriously every day. 
The world is to be used sparingly : 1 Cor. vii. 29-31, But this I say, 
brethren, the time is short ; it remaineth, that both they that have 
wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though 
they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; 
and they that buy, as though they possessed not ; and they that use 
this world, as not abusing it : for the fashion of this world passeth 
away. We stay here but a while : 1 Peter ii. 11, Dearly beloved, I 
beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts ; 
James v. 5, Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth. The place of 
our exile and separation from God. If we converse not with weaned- 
ness and sobriety (which is necessary for the heirs of promise, who 
expect their heaven and happiness elsewhere), it is a plain argument 
we would make the best of the present world, and would please and 
gratify the flesh, as if all the happiness of the world to come were but 


a fancy. We are upon a journey homeward, and we must abstain from 
everything which may hinder us in it. The delights of the way over- 
freely used, show we have no mind to get home ; as the flesh-pots of 
Egypt stuck in the Israelites minds, and diverted them from Canaan, 
and they were ready to run back at every turn. Well, now, those that 
abuse the good things of this life are cut off from better : Luke xvi. 
11, If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, 
who shall commit to your trust the true riches ? 

2. Our choice is known by the end of our lives. This rich man 
lived to himself, and not unto G-od ; satisfying his lusts, and not mind 
ing his duty. The good things given him by God were spent upon 
himself, without any regard to God s glory and the good of others. If 
we have these things only for ourselves, we place our felicity in them : 
Luke xii. 21, So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not 
rich towards God ; that is, that maketh no other use of his increase and 
plenty but only to possess it, or to provide for himself by it, never 
thinking of employing that he hath to spare for the service of God or 
the relief of the destitute. The apostle giveth it in charge to them 
that be rich in this world : 1 Tim. v. 18, That they do good, that they 
be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate. 
Our happiness is to be reckoned by the use and improvement of an 
estate, rather than by the enjoyment of it ; if so, then * we may lay 
hold on eternal life, ver. 19. For the comfort of the use continueth 
with us in the other world ; our works follow us, but our wealth doth 
not. And therefore, if we love the world, and seek the world for its 
own sake, and not as a means to higher things, we take up with present 
things. In all our enjoyments, our end should be to glorify God and 
be useful to others. A Christian should still mind eternal ends ; and 
therefore, to mind the enriching of ourselves and ours, and not to do 
God service, implieth a loving of the world for its own sake, whereas 
all should be improved for God ; we must use them as his good things, 
rather than our own. 

3. When all their bustle and their stir is about their good things 
here : Ps. cxxvii. 2, They rise early, and sit up late, and eat the bread 
of sorrows ; and all to get a larger supply of the comforts of the 
worldly life ; but heavenly things are neglected, or sought after in an 
overly and careless manner. Our main care should be about other 
things : Mat. vi. 33, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his right 
eousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. 

4. When thy heart is satisfied with these things, not looking nor 
longing for an higher happiness : Luke xii. 19, Soul, thou hast much 
goods laid up for many years : take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 
Though we be not greedy to get more, yet we take too much com 
placency in what we have already. Worldliness venteth itself by greedy 
desires and carnal delight ; chiefly by the latter. Delight, or a well- 
pleasedness of mind, is the supreme act of love ; it belongeth to God as 
the chief good. The world is not our felicity, but an appendage to our 
felicity, an overplus to the great blessings of the covenant ; and there 
fore not first to be sought, nor first delighted in. Now to be satisfied, 
or sit down contented with honours, riches, and pleasures without God, 
or in the want of better things, is a great evil The scripture dis- 


suadeth from this : Ps. Ixii. 10, If riches increase, set not your hearts 
upon them. Let not your hearts be set on them so as to seek no 
farther : Mark x. 24, How hard is it for them that trust in riches to 
enter into the kingdom of God/ Trust is quies animi, the repose of 
the soul in the midst of soul dangers. The scripture telleth us of God s 
children, how much more they delight in God than in other things : Ps. 
iv. 6,7, There be many that say, Who will show us any good ? Lord, 
lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put 
gladness into my heart, more than in the time when their corn and 
their wine increased ; and Ps. cxix. 14, I have rejoiced in the way of 
thy testimonies as much as in all riches ; ver. 72, The law of thy 
mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver. They are 
still longing and looking out for an higher happiness, professing they 
will not be put off with these things, but they desire pardon and grace, 
that they may taste the incomparable delights of being in the number 
of God s favourites : Ps. cvi. 4-7, Eemember me, Lord, with the 
favour that thou bearest unto thy people ; visit me with thy salva 
tion, that I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the 
gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance ; Ps. 
cxix. 132, Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou 
usest to do unto those that love thy name. 

5. Our good things are known by our unwillingness to part with 
them. Many profess they would not get the world with the loss of 
heaven, but that is not so close and present a trial; but are you con 
tent to lose the world, so you may have heaven at last ? The trial 
will rather lie here, for here it pincheth the sorest ; if you can sell all 
for the pearl of price, Mat. xiii. 44 ; if you can take joyfully the 
spoiling of your goods, Heb. x. 34 ; if you faint not, but bear up with 
hope and patience under all pressures and afflictions : 2 Cor. iv. 16-18, 
For this 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. You can be 
contented and choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, 
than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, Heb. xi. 25. God puts 
us sensibly to the trial, which are our good things, the recompense of 
reward, or our present interests ? 

III. The misery is great before death, at death, and after death. 

1. Before death, upon a twofold account 

[1.] Because of the uncertainty of their happiness : Prov. xxiii. 5, 
Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not ? for riches certainly 
make themselves wings, they flee away as an eagle towards heaven/ 
They may be gone or we may be gone : Luke xii. 20, Thou fool ! this 
night thy soul shall be required of thee/ They are called uncertain 
riches, 1 Tim. vi. 17. A man can never dwell securely in an house 
built upon the ice ; and he that hath not made sure of a better portion 
than the world can yield to him, he is upon the brink of hell and ever 
lasting destruction. In short, a broken cistern will soon fail, and 
deceive those that look for refreshment in it Death and the grave 


will soon put an end to all their happiness, if it should continue with 
them so long. They are posting apace to their eternal misery, and one 
moment puts an end to all their joy for ever. 

[2.] Because prosperity is a plague and a snare to a wicked man ; 
and the greater his prosperity is, his snare is the greater : Ps. Ixix. 22, 
Let their table become a snare before them ; and that which should 
have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. When God sufiereth 
men s corrupt affections and suitable temptations and objects to meet, 
it is a snare to them ; as Judas, that was a thief, had the bag, John 
xii. 6. The carnal heart is the more entangled and besotted the less 
they are restrained from the desire of their hearts. As the sea turneth 
all things that fall or flow into it into salt water, so do they make all 
their mercies an occasion unto the flesh ; so that in the very height of 
their prosperity they are but miserable, as sin is the worst misery of 
all. It is worse to be Nebuchadnezzar among the beasts, than to be 
Daniel in the lions den ; the one was the fruit of his own madness, the 
other of the violence of others. Elijah was poor, and Ahab was rich ; 
who was the more miserable man ? So Paul, that holy man, was in 
prison, and Nero at the same time emperor of the world ; who was the 
happier man think you ? and in whose case would you be, of Nero the 
emperor, or Paul the prisoner ? Christ, that gave his Spirit to the 
rest of the apostles, gave the bag to Judas. Riches and the bag are 
not in such esteem with Christ, but that the basest of his followers 
may have them in keeping and under their power. Now whose lot 
would you choose, that of Judas or of the rest of the apostles ? Nay, 
Jesus Christ himself, that had the Spirit without measure, chose a 
poor estate. He that made a fish pay him tribute could as well have 
made men do so ; he that multiplied the five loaves could have in 
creased his stock at pleasure ; he that built the world could have 
built himself stately palaces ; but when he was rich, he became poor 
for our sakes, 2 Cor. viii. 9, that he might sanctify holy poverty in his 
own person, and honour it by his own example, and teach us that sin 
is misery, but grace is happiness and preferment, whatever our external 
condition be. And therefore he usually cuts his own people short, 
that he may prevent their snares and impediments, when wicked men 
live in plenty ; but certainly the rich wicked man is in a worse con 
dition than the godly man who is kept low and bare ; as a child may 
be strictly dieted for his health, while the servants are left to a freer 
and larger allowance. More particularly 

(1.) Riches are apt to breed atheism and contempt of God. 

(2.) They are not so broken-hearted as others, to see their need of 

(3.) If they take to the serious profession of religion, they cannot 
hold it. 

(4.) It makes men apt to take up their rest here. 

(5.) They are apt to wax proud, and scornful, and impatient of 

(6.) They grow wanton and sensual. 

(7.) The more rich they are, the more they are wedded to a worldly 
prosecution. [See Sermon on Mark x. 23]. 

2. At death. The approach of it openeth our eyes, and maketh our 


vain conceits vanish. Our imaginary happiness is soon at an end, and 
as we are entering into the other world, our mirth beginneth to be 
marred ; and though formerly we only thought these to be the good 
things, and desired these things, and delighted in these things, and 
placed all our confidence in these things, yet we now see they cannot 
stead us in our extremity. All our worldly advantages will afford us 
no solid hope, when death cometh upon us : Job xxvii. 8, What is the 
hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away 
his soul ? If the carnal designs of wicked men succeed, and God 
answers them according to the idol of their hearts, whatever presump 
tuous dreams they had before, approaching death is the great touchstone 
of men s hopes. He is not really willing to die, but God taketh away 
his soul by force : Luke xii. 20, This night thy soul shall be required 
of thee ; Jer. xvii. 11, He that getteth riches, and not by right, shall 
leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool ; 
that is, he shall appear to be so in the judgment of his own heart. Well, 
then, if you choose wealth, ease, pleasure, credit, for your portion and 
happiness, you are not sure to get it ; but if you do get it, you are sure 
to leave it. All that the world can afford you shall be taken from you ; 
you must go naked out of the world, as you came naked into it. The 
world will cast you off in your extremity, and the despairing soul must 
bid a sad farewell to all the comforts you doated upon, and laboured 
for, and delighted in. All your cup of pleasures is now drunk up, and 
there is no more left. Honour, and company, and sports, and pomps 
are all gone, and you must fall into the hands of an unreconciled God, 
to answer for the abuse of these things. 

3. After death, then the misery will appear indeed. If you have 
gotten so much hardness of heart that you did not apprehend God s 
anger against you, nor see any hazard upon the back of death, yet then 
you enter into your eternal misery, and one moment puts an end to all 
your joy for ever. When the saints, who having chosen God for their 
portion, are comforted, you are tormented. Their condition may be sad 
here in the world, but yours is sad for ever. Three things torment the 
wicked, and they are all in this parable 

[1.] There is memoria prceteritorum, the remembrance of our former 
good estate in the world, and the ill use we made of it, Son, remember 
that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things. Where are now 
his fine garments, stately houses, and sweet odour of his fragrant oint 
ments, his lustful meats, and dainty, rich, and sprightly wines, and 
artificial sauces, with all the costlyaccomrnodations of his pomp and 
pleasure ? The things are gone, but the remembrance of them is a sting 
to his soul for ever. 

[2.] There is sensus prcesentium, a sense of his present misery : 
ver. 25, I am tormented in this flame. There is a bitter sense 
of the wrath of God, and nothing to allay it, or divert the mind 
from it. 

[3.] There is metus futurorum, a fear of what is to come : ver. 26, 
Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed. They are in termino, 
in their final state, and there must abide ; there is no passing from 
death to life more : nothing remaineth but a fearful looking for of 
judgment and fiery indignation/ Heb. x. 27. 


Use 1. Information to teach us 

1* What little reason the people of God have to envy wicked men 
their portion. We should rather pity them. Alas ! this is all they 
get ; they have this and no more, this and everlasting destruction at 
the back of it. God suffereth them to clamber up to the height of 
wealth and honour, that their fall may be the more terrible. Worldly 
wealth and prosperity is not of so much worth and excellency as many 
think. If it were the conduit wherein God conveyeth his special love, 
it were another matter (though we should be satisfied in God s order 
ing), but it is not so. If it were so, it would be dispensed otherwise 
than it is ; the wicked would not have so much of it, nor the godly want 
it so much. The godly want it the rather, because they think so highly 
of it, and God is more gracious than to give it to them when they are 
in a frame so ready to abuse it. 

2. How contented the people of God should be in a mean condition, 
if God reduce them thereunto. [See Sermon on Mark x. 23.] 

Use 2. Is caution to us all. Now we must turn Abraham s memento, 
* remember, into a cave, c beware. Beware that you do not receive 
your good things in this life. I must turn the exprobration into counsel 
and admonition. Prevention is better than remembrance. 

1. Be satisfied with nothing which may stand with the hatred of an 
eternal God. The enjoyment of all the world may, but sanctifying grace 
cannot. The highest worldly happiness may consist with God s hatred, 
and the greatest adversity of the saints with his love. The first is verified 
in Christ s supposition : Mat. xvi. 24, If any man will come after me, 
let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. And the 
latter is verified by that of the apostle : Kom. viii. 35-39, Who shall 
separate us from the love of Christ ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or 
persecution, or famine, nakedness, or peril, or sword ? As it is written, 
for thy sake we are killed all the day long, we are accounted as sheep 
for the slaughter. 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 Christ Jesus 
our Lord. A man may rejoice in the love of Christ in the want of 
other things. 

2. Be satisfied with nothing but what will stead thee, and serve thy 
turn in the other world ; for all must be measured with respect to 
eternity : 1 Tim. vi. 19, Laying up in store a good foundation for 
themselves, against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal 
life ; and Mat. vi. 19-21, Lay not up for yourselves treasures 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 nor steal For where your treasure is, there will your 
heart be also/ 



Charity suffereih long, and is kind; charity envieih not; charity 
vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, 
seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 
rejoicetli not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all 
things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 
Cltarity never faileth : but ivhether there be prophecies, they shall 
fail ; whether there be tongues, they shall cease ; whether there 
be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 1 COB. xiii. 4-8. 

I HAVE a long time had a desire to open the nature of this divine and 
heavenly grace of charity. I know not how the argument will relish 
with you, but my aim is rather to profit than to please. We are 
defective in our duties to God, the Lord knoweth ; but what and if I 
show that we are as defective in our duties to man, wherein we think 
natural conscience is a sufficient guide to us. A little serious reflection 
upon this scripture will discover it. In the context observe, 

1. The excellency and necessity of charity above all other gifts. 

2. The nature and properties of it. 

1. For the excellency and necessity of charity. Gifts are of several 
sorts, as on the same tree grow leaves, flowers, fruit. None adpompam, 
for show, but all ad usum, for use. But in the gifts for use, some make us 
profitable, others acceptable. Though they have their use, yet they profit 
not to salvation : Though I speak with the tongue of men and angels, 
and have not charity, I am become as a sounding brass or a tinkling 
cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all 
mysteries, and all knowledge ; and though I have faith, so that I could 
remove mountains, and have no charity, I am nothing. And though I 
bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to 
be burnt, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing/ A man may 
sacrifice a stout body to a stubborn mind, yet if it be not for God s 
glory, and to edify others, it availeth not. 

2. The nature and properties of it, in the text ; where the properties 
of this excellent grace of charity are reckoned up : Charity suffereth 
long, and is land, and envieth not, vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 
doth not behave itself unseemly, &c. 

In all these predications there is a metonymy, either of the subject 
or of the effect. Of the subject ; charity doth thus, that is, the man 
endowed with this heavenly gift or grace. If of the effect, then the 


meaning is, that where this habit is impressed and rooted, it is the 
cause that these effects ensue ; that a man is long-suffering, kind, &c. 

It is all one in which sense we expound the apostle, for all cometh 
to the same issue. This premised, let us next explain the several 

1. Charity suffereth long, fjbaXpoOvjjiei ; that is, maketh a man long- 
suffering. This being the first and principal act of charity, it con- 
cerneth us to state it aright ; and so it meaneth that where Christian 
love prevaileth in the heart of any, he doth not presently break out 
into anger when he is injured by another, but patiently expecteth his 
repentance, and his own deliverance by the Lord. This pafcpoOvfAia, 
long-suffering, signifieth a slowness to anger : James i. 19, Be 
slow to wrath. This agreeth with the pattern : Kom. ix. 22, What 
if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, 
endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruc 
tion ? And it agreeth with the nature of love ; for we are not easily 
offended with those whom we love. Love and anger are contrary; 
love would profit, anger would hurt and offend others ; therefore love 
will not easily give place to its contrary. Charity doth pass by and 
wink at causes of offence ; and therefore a quick resentment of injuries 
is quite opposite to Christian love. Paul requireth of the servant of 
the Lord, that he be patient, tiuxj-tfoaicvv, 2 Tim. ii. 24, The servant 
of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, 
patient ; to which he adds, ver. 25, In meekness instructing those 
that oppose themselves/ And in the context here he speaketh of 
using gifts in an edifying manner, but to all Christians he saith, 
Charity suffereth long. It is meant that they should be long-suffer 
ing, not easily drawn to a fury or revenge of injuries. So that this 
first property of charity is, that it restraineth wrath and a desire of 
revenge, notwithstanding reproaches and injuries: Kom. xiii. 19, 
* Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto 
wrath ; that is, bear with it ; leave it to God, who will in time con 
vince the party of his wrong, or recompense it unto him ; which is 
according to the example of the Lord Jesus : 1 Peter ii. 23, Who, 
when he was reviled, reviled not again ; when he suffered, he threatened 
not, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously. When 
foul crimes were laid to his charge, he did not give the least ill word 
for the worst usage, but only resigned himself to his righteous Father, 
to deal with him and his persecutors as he saw fitting. Now therefore 
we should be patient, and long patient. Alas! how many injuries 
doth God put up at our hands ! Whence is it that he hath not long 
since dissolved the world, and put an end to the wickedness of man ? 
We can only render the reason of the text, Love suffereth long. If 
we cannot suffer long, we are like that naughty servant that, when his 
Lord had forgiven ten thousand talents, and his fellow-servant, 
to whom he owed an hundred pence, said, /jLaKpodv^aov eV epol, 
Mat. xviii. 29, Have patience with me ; that is, setting aside thy 
present anger, bear a little, and see what I can do to pacify thee. An 
instance of this rash anger, which is contrary to this suffering long, we 
have in David : 1 Sam. xxv. 22, God do so to me, and more also, if I 
leave off all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth 


against the wall/ But he behaved himself better towards Saul, whom 
he spared when he had him in his power ; which was not the manner 
of men in those times, as Saul confesseth : 1 Sam. xxiv. 18, For if a 
man find his enemy, will he let him go well away ? 

2. And is kind, ^^crrevera; that is, tender and compassionate, ready 
to do good. We have a pattern of both in God, not only of forbear 
ance, but of goodness. Therefore it is said, Rom. ii. 4, Or despisest 
thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering, not 
knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance ? Now, 
charity, that is of divine original, infuseth into man s nature a benig 
nity which moveth a man to consider others as well as himself, that he 
may do good to them. It is a godlike quality : 1 Peter ii. 3, If so 
be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious/ on ^p^oro?, that he is 
kind. This is a quality by which they are inclined and ready to do 
good to every one, even to enemies. Well, then, it is not enough 
lj,aKpoOvp,elv, to bear long, and not to hurt, but xprja-Teverai, it disposeth 
us to do good. This is fitly coupled to the former. The perfection 
and strength of Christianity lieth in these two things mala pati, et 
bona agere ; to suffer evil, and do good for it. To return good for 
good, and evil for evil, the heathens knew this, and publicans will do 
this. To render evil for good is the property of the devils, and men 
inspired by them ; but to do good for evil, and to overcome evil with 
good, this is proper to Christians. And therefore by these two pro 
perties doth heavenly charity bewray itself, by long-suffering and 
kindness. Therefore if you would know whether the love of God doth 
dwell in your hearts, are you made ready to suffer, and to do anything 
for the glory of God, and the salvation of your neighbour ? If so, then 
you are sincere with God. He that loveth, suffereth long ; he that 
loveth, is kind, and doth all the good he can to others, delights in 
doing good ; and that not only to friends, in which there is nothing 
eximious ; they do nothing but what the carnal world would do : Mat. 
v. 46, 47, For if you love them that love you, what reward have ye ? 
do not even the publicans the same ? And if you salute your brethren 
only, what do ye more than others ? do not the publicans so ? But 
to those that deal frowardly with us, as Joseph to his brethren, 
Gen. xlv. 

3. Charity envieth not/ ov tyjhoi. Nothing is more adverse to 
the goodness commended to us than envy, which cannot bear the 
good of another, and therefore is very far from procuring it and pro 
moting it. Such was the envy of Cain, who taking notice that his 
brother s offerings pleased God more than his own, he could not bear 
it, and at length slew him : 1 John iii. 12, Not as Cain, who was of 
that wicked one, and slew his brother : and wherefore slew he him ? 
because his own works were evil, and his brother s righteous/ Emula 
tion and malignity at those that are better than ourselves is the very 
poison and venom which the devil hath infused into human nature ; 
the affection which put Cain upon killing his brother, and puts the 
world upon persecuting serious Christians, when at the bottom they have 
no other quarrel against them, but because they excel in the simplicity 
of the Christian faith, and holiness, and obedience. Such were Joseph s 
brethren, whose virtue was an eyesore to them, and therefore endea- 


voured his destruction, Gen. xxxvii. Such were the Jews in the time 
of the apostles, who, despising the gospel, could not endure it should 
be preached unto the gentiles : Acts xiii. 45, But when the Jews saw 
the multitude, they were filled with envy, and spake against those 
things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming/ 
Therefore well doth the apostle James call this Bitter envying, 
James iii. 14. It is like gall, which corrupts good food, and maketh 
it unprofitable. So doth this bitter zeal corrupt all their actions whom 
it doth possess. Well, then, Charity envieth not. Those whom we 
love sincerely, we will rejoice in their gifts and graces as in our own, 
their success and prosperity as in our own, and be well pleased with 
their happiness. But where envy prevaileth, charity hath no place ; 
their praises are our disgrace, their success is our lessening ; and few 
there be that can say, with John the Baptist, He must increase, but I 
must decrease/ John iii. 30 ; that is, in splendour and fame. Alas ! 
as placid and well-contented as many seem without, envy burneth 
within, and if it be not checked, will soon produce mischievous effects. 

4. Charity vaunteth not itself/ ov irepirepeverai ; that is, it doth 
nothing pragmatically and foolish in word or deed ; where it possesseth 
the hearts of men, they do not arrogantly speak of themselves, or 
what they have done or can do. Hesychius telleth us the meaning of 
the word is //.era /SXa/ceta? e Traipopevos, one that is lifted up with 
folly, as giddy proud fools are wont to vaunt or strut themselves, so 
that their own pride rendereth them ridiculous. And so it forbids 
arrogancy and external ostentation, as internal pride and self-conceit 
is touched in the next property. Now charity is contrary to more 
vices than one ; to pride, as it manifests itself by contemptuous and 
scornful carriage, which irritate th others rather than edifieth them. 

5. Is not puffed up/ ov fyvcnovra. He had told us, 1 Cor. viii. 1, 
that Charity edifieth, but knowledge puffeth up ; that is, with a 
vain conceit of our own worth, despising others. Now though know 
ledge may beget this through the fault of him that receiveth that gift, 
yet charity serveth all, despiseth none ; therefore pride and insolency 
showed in despising others or overvaluing ourselves is far from the 
temper of this heavenly grace. Poor empty bubbles are soon blown 
up, contemning those that are beneath them in honours, favours, 
riches, knowledge, and some external services which look like grace : 
Luke xviii. 11, God, I thank thee I am not as other men are, extor 
tioners, -unjust, adulterers, or as this publican/ This condemneth 
that pride, whereby we thus conceit of our own good estate above 
others. Whereas brotherly love would persuade us in honour to 
prefer one another, Horn. xii. 10; and in humility to think others 
better than ourselves, Phil. ii. 3 ; not with our lips only, setting on a 
show of humility, but with our hearts ; for there is no man so great 
that is not in some things beneath those whom he despiseth. And we 
are conscious to our own infirmities, and should have a modest esteem 
of our own graces and virtues ; for the true excellency of a Christian 
lieth in a mean esteem of himself. For the great business of his 
religion is to represent to him his own sinfulness, and the undeserved 
goodness of God ; and therefore he seeketh no other esteem with 
others than God fairly alloweth him, and dareth not set too high a 
price upon himself, nor is troubled if others come not up to his price. 


6. It doth not behave itself unseemly, OVK aa-^povel. This fol- 
loweth well on the former ; for men puffed up transgress the rules 
of all decency in setting out themselves, not giving others the respect 
due to them. Therefore it must needs be one of the properties of 
charity to make men do that which will become meekness, modesty, 
and godliness, and to abstain from all things that may be an offence 
and scandal to others in words, deeds, gesture, clothing, generally in 
all parts of conversation. Whatever may expose us to the contempt 
of others, or may argue a contempt of them, or may be a just offence, 
charity will mind us to forbear it : Phil. iv. 8, Whatsoever things are 
lovely, think on these things. 

7. Seeketh not her own," ov ^rjret ra eavrfjs. Self-love prompteth 
us merely to seek our own things, but charity seeketh the profit of 
others. It doth not drive on a self-seeking trade, or mind, these things 
which make for our own advantage, but the welfare of others, and is 
as sensible and zealous for other men s good as of its own. To take 
care of their safety, ra erepav tyjTetv, Phil. ii. 4, Look every man 
to the things of others. To maintain our neighbour s good estate in 
his profit, honour, fame. Spiritual blessings should be aimed at by us 
by the same accuracy and diligence that we use in reference to our 
selves. The law of charity here is, that we study not our own private 
profit so as to neglect others, or that any damage should thereby arise 
to others. Paul often presseth this: 1 Cor. x. 24, Let no man mind 
his own, but every man another s wealth. Not so seek his private 
profit as to neglect the public. A man must mind his own affairs, 
but not with the neglect and damage of others ; first, in the use of his 
Christian liberty ; secondly, in his calling ; wherein they sin greatly 
who seek to draw all to themselves. 

8. It is not easily provoked, ov Trapo^vverai. If differences 
arise, it handleth them peaceably. It doth not draw on things to 
fervour, and acerbity of contention. A paroxysm is the sharp fit of a 
fever, and signifieth when anger is boiled to a height. But charity 
is not exasperated, or highly provoked to anger, or embittered into 
wrath and passion. This property is to show that it tempereth just 
anger, that men fall not into immoderate violent distempers of passion 
upon whatever provocation. It is hard to abstain from all anger 
when we meet with so many occasions of it in the course of our lives, 
but the violence is corrected by love. There was a hot fit between 
Paul and Barnabas : Acts xv. 39, And the contention was so sharp 
between them, that they parted asunder one from the other. Paul s 
cause was more just. Those that love one another may find a temp 
tation, but love should allay these bitter gusts, for we should always 
remember that, Be angry and sin not ; that is, if ye be angry, beware 
of sin, Eph. iv. 26. 

9. Thinketh no evil, ov \oyi^erai TO icatcbv. The word signi 
fieth two things to think or design, to impute or reckon. In the first 
acceptation the sense is that a charitable person plotteth not in his 
mind how he shall do his neighbour any evil. Now designing evil is 
so vile a thing, and so abhorred by heathens, that the apostle would 
not mention the forbearing of that as an effect of divine charity ; 
therefore most probably we must pitch upon the latter sense ; not for 


not contriving hurt to others, but not to reckon or impute it to them. 
And. so it is the property of charity not rashly to impute evil to any 
man. It suspects no evil in others, as long as their actions are capable 
of a good interpretation, or while other good is mingled with it. Envy 
and detraction, like a fly, pitcheth on the sore place ; but charity doth 
not easily think evil of its neighbour, but interpreteth doubtful things 
in the better part. If wronged by others, they rather impute it to 
their inconsideration than their malice ; and if it cannot be excused, 
they do not impute, charge, or upbraid them with it, as brawling 
people do. 

10. It rejoiceth not in evil/ ov %aipet eVt rfj d&iteia. Nothing 
is more abhorrent from the nature of charity than eTu^aipe/ca/aa, 
rejoicing in the hurt of another. Now this may happen on two 
occasions (1.) When any one doth that which is unjust ; (2.) When 
injustice is done to any one. In the first case, charity rejoiceth not 
that others fall into sin, which indeed is a pleasure to them that hate 
them, but charity will make a man heartily mourn and grieve for any 
sin that is committed by another. It is a joy to see others discharge 
their duty, but a grief that they offend God. The second case is, if 
our enemy be injured by others, we boastingly say, Oh, how well is 
this man served ! Now thus to rejoice in or applaud the misery of 
others will not stand with charity, which seeketh the reformation of 
others, not their ruin and disgrace. David, when he heard of the 
death of Saul, he rent his clothes and wept and fasted : 2 Sam. i. 11, 12, 
And David took hold of his clothes and rent them, and all the men 
that were with him ; and they mourned and wept, and fasted until 
evening for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the 
Lord, and for the house of Israel, because they were fallen by the edge 
of the sword. And Job saith, chap. xxxi. 39, If I rejoiced at the 
destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found 
him; neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse 
to his soul. Revenge is sweet to a carnal nature, but divine love 
checketh it, and purgeth out this old leaven of malice more and more. 

11. But rejoiceth in the truth, crv^aipei, Se rfj d\r)0ela. .Truth 
is taken for sincerity of goodness. Charity wisheth those that displease 
us were better than they are, and that they did nothing but what is 
right, just, and good ; rejoices at any good that befalleth others, 
especially at the holy and virtuous actions performed by them, and 
their integrity and sincerity. This is a good note ; for what a man 
really is, he desireth others should be. 

12. It beareth all things/ The word is irav-ra a-rejet,, covereth all 
things, which the Greek word also signifieth ; and so there is a 
tautology avoided ; for the last clause of this verse is endureth all 
things/ Now the meaning of this clause is, that charity doth not 
easily divulge the crimes of others : Prov. x. 12, Hatred stirreth up 
strife, but love covereth all sins/ None of us can expect to live in the 
world but we shall meet with many failings and wrongs in the best of 
God s children. These will need the cover of love, that we may 
neither shame our brethren nor disgrace our religion. Therefore one 
property of this grace is to hide and conceal the evil we know by 
another, as far as it is for his good, and not contrary to the greater 


good of others ; for then a greater charity obligeth us to reveal it. As 
if a man be a seducer, or if one profess to do religion a mischief, it is 
our duty to reveal it ; but otherwise it is an offence to speak all we 
know of others, though it be true ; for all evil must not be divulged, 
but sometimes covered with the cloak of love. There may be malice 
in reporting truth ; for an eager desire to spread a fault wanteth not 
sin : Jer. xx. 10, Keport say they, and we will report it/ Nay ; if 
there be no ill intent, such prattle will come under the charge of idle 
words, unless it be for discovering a hypocrite, that others may not 
be deceived nor ensnared. 

13. It believeth all things, ndvra irurrevei ; not such things as are 
apparently false, but hath no prejudice against that which others 
profess, if not prevalently contradicted. It desireth others should be 
good, and therefore easily believeth them according to the profession 
which they make, and whilst things are any way credible, and not 
manifestly false. It dareth not harbour an ill conceit of others, inter 
preting all things to the best as long as the contrary appeareth not, 
and whatever can be said for the mitigation of a fault. It is easily 
persuaded, James iii. 17. It doth not indulge unwarrantable suspicions, 
and as long as it can taketh all things in good part that are said or 
done by others ; for till it hath an idoneous proof, it had rather be 
deceived in thinking well of others than suspecting evil. It is a 
malignity to fasten an evil sense on a speech or action that may bear a 
good one. 

14. Hopeth all things, iravra eA,7rtei. This is added because what 
charity cannot believe it hopeth for. When nothing is said by way of 
defence and excuse, it hopeth the best the matter is capable of ; if not 
for the present, it despaireth not that, being fallen, they will rise again ; 
they despair not of their repentance, nor give over the use of all probable 
means to reclaim them. 

15. It endureth all things, nrdvra vTroperei ; that is, suffereth 
injuries done to itself, for peace s sake, without revenging itself. 
They can endure much pain, and trouble, and loss to procure a greater 
good to others ; that is, greater than the pain we suffer ourselves ; and 
therefore it meditateth not revenge. 

16. And lastly, Charity never faileth, ouSe-Trore eKTriTrrei ; that is, 
never ceaseth in this life to bring forth these fruits ; neither shall it 
cease in the life to come. There the love of God and our brethren 
abideth and is perfect. Men die, but charity liveth, and is exercised 
by us in another world. It is not a grace out of date in heaven. Here 
it is not weary, Gal. vi. 9 ; there it shall not cease, 1 Cor. xiii. 13. 
The duties are other, but the grace is the same. 

Use 1. Let me beseech you, as Chrysostom did his hearers, often 
to ruminate on this description of charity. Kemember it is a discrim 
inating grace, not an arbitrary thing, that we are speaking of. The 
business is whether you are something in religion or nothing. They 
that cannot bridle their passions, but live in enmity, malice, pride, and 
covetousness, and have not charity, are nothing. 

2. What reason we have to deprecate God s strict judgment, and 
clear up the business of our sincerity. Alas ! without an evangelical 
interpretation what would become of us ? It is true we break not into 


gross enormities, but how many infirmities stick to us ! Though a 
Christian cannot wholly subdue them, he must in some measure over 
come them. Anger will stir when we are provoked, but by the 
ordinary assistance of God s grace we may keep off from running out 
into furious words and actions, or cursing or swearing, or striking or 
reviling. An envious thought may arise against our brother because he 
is preferred before us, but we hate it, labour to keep it under, chide 
ourselves for it, do not let our envy break out into a malignant detrac 
tion from their worth, or blemishing their gifts and graces. A child of 
God may feel the ticklings of pride, yet he will not suffer it to break 
out into boasting language ; some motions of revenge, but they do not 
break out into mischievous contradiction. 

3. What need there is of constant mortification. How else can we 
exercise this love, we being so covetous, proud, passionate, and self- 
seeking ? the 7ra#77 and &ri0VfjUcu, affections and lusts, must be both 
broken : Gal. v. 24, They that are Christ s have crucified the flesh, with 
the affections and lusts thereof. 

4. What a friend Christianity is to human society ; for how peace 
able might we live together if this love did more rule in our hearts ! 

5. How perverse man is, who accounts this duty irksome, when he 
will do much more for his lusts and ambition : ver. 7, Beareth all 
things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 
Easily will men bear this task for their worldly ends. 

6. How much love in the Spirit differeth from ordinary love. This 
is a fruit of love to God : 1 John v. 1, Every one that loveth him that 
begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him ; and of faith in Christ : 
John xv. 12, This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I 
have loved you ; and hopes of eternal life, in the text 


They go from strength to strength ; every one of them in Zion appeareth 
before God. Ps. Ixxxiv. 7. 

THIS psalm was penned by David in his exile, as is most probable ; 
for therein he professeth his longing after the courts of God, or his 
wonted access to the ark of the covenant and public ordinances. 
Being deprived of that benefit, he expresseth his value of it. Such 
privileges are best understood carendo magis quam fruendo, by want 
rather than enjoyment. In which of his flights and persecutions it is 
not easy to determine, whether those by Saul or by Absalom ; rather 
those by Absalom, for then the ark was upon Zion hill, 2 Sam. vi. 12 ; 
but in Saul s time the ark was at Kirjath-jearim, 1 Sam. vii. 1 ; and 
when he fled from Absalom was his solemn parting from the ark : 2 Sam. 
xv. 25, 26, And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God 
into the city : if I shall find favour in the eyes of God, 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 I am, let him do to me as 
seemeth good unto him. In the psalm 

1. He professeth his value and esteem of the public worship, or 
enjoying God in the ordinances and means of grace : How amiable 
are thy tabernacles, Lord of hosts ! ; ver. 1. Then his earnest 
desire of this privilege of free wonted access to the house of God : ver. 
2, My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord ; my 
heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. There was soul, and 
heart, and flesh in it, as to extension ; and crying out, longing, fainting, 
and all for the courts of God, as to intention. 

2. He compareth his condition with the swallows and sparrows, that 
had liberty of flying and building their nests about the altars of God. 
It is a notable poetical strain, as passionate lovers are wont to express 
themselves upon like occasions : ver. 3, Yea, the sparrow hath found 
an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her 
young, even thine altars, Lord of hosts, my king and my God. 

3. Then he compareth himself 

[1.] With the priests and Levites, whose constant residence was 
in the temple : ver. 4, Blessed are they that dwell in thy house ; they 
will be still praising thee, Selah. Those that are always in God s 
house, constantly allowed the privilege of his solemn service or sacred 
assemblies, beholding the symbols of his presence, the ark of the cove- 


nant, upon which God sat, and gave answers of grace, blessed they 
indeed ! 

[2.] With the people, that went up to worship three times of the year 
at Jerusalem, to keep the solemn feasts, according to the ordinance of 
God : Exod. xxiii. 17, Three times in the year all thy males shall 
appear before the Lord God. They were to journey afoot to the 
tabernacle, there to appear before the Lord. Their condition was 
blessed in comparison of David s, who was now debarred of all access 
to God s courts. These are described (1.) By their earnest desire 
and resolution to take this journey, though they dwelt far off from the 
tabernacle : ver. 5, Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee, in 
whose heart are the ways of them. Their hearts were set upon the 
ways that led to the courts of God. (2.) By their painful passage, and 
yet some refreshments by the way : ver. 6, Who passing through the 
valley of Baca make it a well ; the rain also filleth the pools. Their 
way to the tabernacle, now seated upon the hill of Zion, lay through 
dry and comfortless places, through the valley of Baca, or of mulberry- 
trees, as the margin readeth it ; that is, through dry and sandy deserts, 
in which those trees grow. It may be the place mentioned 2 Sam. v. 
23, 24, the valley of Kephaim, where mulberry-trees grew, and where 
David smote the Philistines J3ept. efc rrjv KoL\d8a TOV K\,vv0fi(ovo<;, the 
valley of tears. The want of water in those hot countries was very 
-troublesome. Where great multitudes with store of cattle travelled 
towards Zion upon these solemn occasions, they had their difficulties 
and discouragements by the way, but their ardent zeal and strong 
affection overcame all. And as they had their difficulties, so they had 
their comforts ; sometimes they met with a well, and sometimes with 
a pond filled with rain; sometimes with more, sometimes with less 
refreshments. (3.) They are described by their constant progress, till 
they came to the place they aimed at ; that is, in the text, They go 
from strength to strength ; every one of them in Zion appeareth before 
God; that is, having found some refreshment and reparation of 
strength, they are encouraged to go on their way, till they appear before 
God in the holy feast, and have communion with him in his public 
worship ; and then cheerful, joyful souls they ! 

In which words (1.) Their progress is described ; (2.) The term 
and end of their journey. 

I. Their progress, They go from strength to strength ; that is, they 
are always gathering new strength and courage, notwithstanding their 
difficulties. It is avaStVXtucri? avgrjriKr), that is, increasing their power 
and strength yet more and more ; so far are they from being" weary, 
faint, and discouraged ; as Rom. i. 17, The righteousness of God is 
revealed from faith to faith ; that is, our faith still increasing ; and 
a-Tro BO^TJ<; ek Sogav, from glory to glory, 2 Cor. iii. 18; that is, our glory 
increasing more and more. So they go from strength to strength ; that 
is, they increase in strength and courage. Some read from company to 
company, or from troop to troop or squadron to squadron. As the 
word signifieth strength in the general, so sometimes a troop of men. 
It was their fashion to repair to these feasts in great troops. For 
David saith, Ps. xlii. 4, I had gone with the multitude ; I went with 
them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a 


multitude that kept holy day ; Luke ii. 44, They supposing him to 
be in the company, went a day s journey, and they sought him among 
their kinsfolk and acquaintance/ The crowd was so great that Christ 
was lost in the throng. So they go from troop to troop, from one of 
these companies to another, the later overtaking the foremost, which 
showeth their alacrity in this journey. But we may keep our reading, 
etc uyayiiea>? et? Svvafuv, from strength to strength. 

II. The term and end of the journey : Every one of them in Zion 
appeareth before God. At length they come to the tabernacle, the 
type of Christ s promised incarnation, God s pitching his tent in human 
flesh ; and so these godly travellers reap the benefit of their long trouble, 
and enjoy the pleasure of God s public worship. The Sept. read 
o<J>0r)<reTai 6 @eo9 rfav 6ewv ev Slow, the God of gods shall be seen in 

The words are opened. Now the use of them is double, as Zion was 
a figure of the church, or as it is a figure of heaven. 

1. As Zion was a figure of the church, so it doth express the zeaJLof 
Gad s children to join themselves to his militant church in this world> 
and to make after the ordinances, there to enjoy Christ, notwithstand 
ing all difficulties with which such a purpose is encumbered. Those 
that may have comfortable communion with God in his holy worship 
must expect troubles ; and yet they many times meet with a spring or 
a pool by the way, some mitigations of providence, and refreshments 
in their miseries ; at length they shall obtain their desire. 

2. As Zion is a figure of heaven, of Jerusalem that is above, the city 
that hath foundations ; and so it doth notably express the condition of 
those that aspire after the triumphant church in heaven ; and all things 
in this psalm concerning these passengers are sweetly applicable to this. 
David compareth himself to two sort of Israelites : ver. 4, Blessed are 
they that dwell in thy house ; they shall be still praising tb.ee/ Some 
saints are at home already, dwelling with God, and praising him is their 
perpetual exercise. These are in patria, in their country : others in 
via, in the way ; travellers home. 

[1.] T.heir hearts are in the ways thereof ; their whole time, care, 
thoughts, and affections are set upon this, how they may get home : 
Phil. iii. 20, Our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look 
for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ ; Mat. vi. 20, 21, Lay up for 
yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, 
and where thieves do not break through nor steal ; for where your 
treasure is, there will your heart be also/ 

[2.] These have a wilderness to get through, and a comfortless valley 
full of discouragements ; for through manifold tribulations we must 
enter into the kingdom of God, Acts xiv. 22. , Only now and then God 
giveth them a little refreshing, a spring by the way, or a pool ; some 
times inward, sometimes outward comforts and supports, that they may 
not be afflicted above measure, and beyond what they are able to bear. 

[3.] In this valley of tears, and in the midst of sorrows, they find 
strength renewed to them, and supports given, so that the further they 
go the more cheerful they are. 

[4.] At length our troublesome pilgrimage in this world is rewarded 
with the beatifical vision of God in a better world ; and then we shall 


find that all our pains, though never so great, are well bestowed, when 
the God of gods is seen in Zion. 

First, Those whose hearts are set upon the ways of God, and do in the 
midst of all difficulties hope to come before him in Zion, that is above, 
it is their privilege and duty to go on from strength to strength. 

Secondly, Those that go from strength to strength shall at length 
appear before God in a blessed and heavenly estate. 

Doct. 1. Those whose hearts are set upon the ways of God, and do 
in the midst of all difficulties hope to come before him in Zion, it is 
their privilege and duty to go on from strength to strength. 

1. It is their privilege as they grow older to grow better, wiser, and 
stronger : Isa. xl. 31, They that wait on the Lord shall renew their 
strength ; they shall mount up with wings as eagles ; they shall run, 
and not be weary ; they shall walk, and not faint/ They that wait on 
the Lord, that do with patience expect the performance of his promises, 
shall still have a new supply of strength, enabling them to bear up 
when they seem to be clean spent, so as to mount as on eagles wings, 
which are fowls that fly strongly and swiftly, and renew their youth : 
Ps. ciii. 5, Thy youth is renewed like the eagles. Whether as those 
fowls are famous for long life, vigorous and healthful, as if always 
young, or it respects some particular qualities of the eagle. Some say 
the eagle by casting her feathers reneweth her youth; as Micah i. 16, 
* Enlarge thy baldness as the eagle. Some by casting her bill, when 
the upper beak groweth crooked with age, and shutteth up the lower. 
Well, then, this is the privilege of God s servants; so Ps. xcii. 13, 14, 
* Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the 
courts of our God ; they shall bring forth fruit in old age ; they shall 
be fat and flourishing. Those plants which our heavenly Father 
hath planted, in the midst of all their troubles and difficulties, they 
flourish, as trees stand all weathers, and are helped by them ; yea, the 
courts of God are such a kindly soil, that they bring forth fruit in old 
age, so moistened by the dews of heaven and fountain of the gardens, 
which is the Spirit. The decay of the outward man shall not hinder 
the renewing of the inward man, but the last work is better than the 
first. Their bodies, when ruinous, are yet the temples of the Holy 
Ohost ; then are they kept fresh and lively, and shall have great delight 
in God, and be fertile to the last. So Prov. x. 29, The way of the Lord 
is strength to the upright. A man that is sincere and upright with 
God; the more he walketh with God the more encouragement he hath, 
more peace of conscience, more freedom from sin, greater readiness 
and ability for God s service ; there is a power that increaseth with 
very duty ; as the more a man swimmeth, or writeth, or playeth on an 
instrument, the facility is increased. Many are ready to faint, and 
think they shall never hold out in the midst of the difficulties they 
meet with in the valley of Baca, but every new difficulty bringeth new 
strength with it. These promises serve to encourage us to continue 
with patience in well-doing ; there shall constantly be a renewed supply 
of grace and strength. 

2. It is their duty to go on from strength to strength ; that, as a 
river, the farther it runneth the broader and deeper it groweth ; it doth 
not lose, but get, by a further accession of waters ; the fountain is 


small, as to the head and first rise, in comparison of the stream ; so a 
Christian is to go on from one degree of righteousness unto another, 
and still grow stronger in the graces of the Spirit : John iv. ] 4, Who 
soever shall drink 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. And abound more in all 
holy actions. Paul s instance : Phil. iii. 13, 14, Forgetting the things 
that are behind, and reaching forth to the things that are before, I 
press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in 
Christ Jesus. As a runner in a race doth not say, There is so much 
of the way already past, now I may slacken my pace ; but there is so 
much yet to come, and therefore run still ; so a Christian says, There 
are so many sins to be mortified, so many graces to be attained, such 
difficulties to be encountered, still I must hold on my course, or else I 
shall come short of the goal. 
Keasons why we must go on. 

1. That we may recover what we have lost. We have lost in Adam 
complete and perfect innocency, and surely we should not cease till it 
be made up in Christ. He is more able to save than Adam to destroy : 
Kom. v. 17, For if by one man s offence death reigned by one, much 
more they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of right 
eousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Adam was a public 
person by institution ; Christ was not only instituted, but had an 
intrinsic value ; he was God-man. 

2. To preserve what we have. If we do not grow better, we grow 
worse : Heb. vi. 1, * Let us go on to perfection ; and then presently he 
treateth of apostasy, ver. 4, &c. So 2 Peter iii. 17, 18, Seeing ye 
know these things before, beware lest ye also, being lead away with the 
error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness ; but grow in 
grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 
We cannot keep that which we have received if we do not labour to 
increase it : Mat xxv. 29, Unto every one that hath shall be given, 
and he shall have abundance ; but from him that hath not shall be 
taken away even that which he hath. They that row against the 
stream, or he that goeth up a sandy hill, if they do not go forward 
they go backward. We are either ascending or descending, continually 
in motion. When a tree leaveth off to grow, it decayeth. Man goeth 
backward in his estate if he have constant expenses and no gettings. 
If we would maintain that measure of grace which we have, we must go 

3. That we may attain to what is promised. God hath promised 
absolute holiness : 1 Thes. v. 23, 24, The very God of peace sanctify 
you wholly ; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be 
preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faith 
ful is he that calleth you, who will also do it/ When he had prayed, 
he groundeth his confidence on God s faithfulness : Eph. v. 27, That 
he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or 
wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy, and without 
blemish. Christ died to bring us to a state of perfection ; and being 
told so, we expect it. We do not put off all our filthy garments at 
once, but there is a body of sin cleaveth to the best ; and therefore 


this work is done by degrees. So Col. i. 22, To present you holy, and 
unblamable, and unreprovable in his sight; Jude 24, Now unto 
him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless 
before the presence of his glory, &c. This work is undertaken by 
Christ, and he is to carry it on from one degree to another, till it be com 
pleted at death. These expressions would be in vain if there were not 
a going on from strength to strength and a constant increase. /orn 
doth not grow in the barn, but in the field. 

4. That we may perform what is required. The law of God ia 
perfect, and alloweth no sin or sinful weakness, therefore we should 
allow none. The perfection of the law is so far still in force (1.) 
As that we should be ashamed of our defects in holiness, and mourn 
over them : Horn. vii. 14, The law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold 
unders in. Alas ! poor captive ! I cannot do what I would. (2.) We 
should be unsatisfied with our present measure of holiness, and still 
be longing and striving after more : Phil. iii. 12, Not as though I 
had already attained, either were already perfect, but I follow after it, 
that I may apprehend that for which I am apprehended of Christ 
Jesus. The perfection of the law is of this use, that we may be kept 
humble, and aspire after further growth, and make further progress 
every day. Perfection in holiness is not attainable in this life, yet we 
are to aim at no less. Christ took hold of us in effectual calling for 
this end ; and we are not sincere with God, if it be not so. 

5. That we may answer the patterns set before us. The saints in 
scripture are all set forth for an example ; Abraham in faith, Konu 
iv. 20 ; Job in patience, James v. 11 ; Timothy in sobriety ; Paul in zeal 
and diligence. We are to take the prophets for an example ; and 
Paul biddeth us follow him, as he followed Christ : 1 Cor. xi. 1, Be 
ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. These holy men had 
the same nature, the same interests and concernments ; we have the 
same helps and encouragements, the same God, and Christ, and Spirit, 
and rule, and hopes, and comfort, and glory, which should shame us 
to come short of them. Therefore you must be agoing from strength 
to strength. Yea, the angels : Mat. vi. 10, Thy will be done on earth, 
as it is in heaven. It is but reason that they that would be like them 
for privileges should be like them for service and duty. If the angels, 
that are out of gunshot and harm s way, hold on in God s service, 
much more should we. Wicked men think everything in religion 
enough; and that we make more ado than needeth, but Christ referreth 
us to the angels : yea, to God himself : 1 Peter i. 15, Be ye holy, as 
he that has called you is holy ; Mat. v. 48, Be ye perfect, as your 
heavenly Father is perfect. Now therefore we must by degrees be 
growing up unto this estate. The holiest upon earth are not a sufficient 
copy to us. God is essentially holy, infinitely holy, originally holy. 
Now wherein must we imitate him ? We must be immutably holy ; 
we should aim at that state, when we shall be in some sort so. God 
is universally holy in all his ways and works ; we should get nearer 
and nearer to this pattern. 

6. That we may answer our many experiences. There is no man of 
any long standing in the profession of godliness but he hath many 
experiences of the bitterness of sin, when he hath been meddling with 


forbidden fruit ; and of the vanity of the creature, when he hath doted 
upon it, and at length he findeth that there is a lie in his right hand : 
Eccles. i. 14, I have seen all the works that are done under the sun, and 
behold all is vanity and vexation of spirit. Of the comfort of duty ; 
when done all things for God, there is a sweetness accompanieth it : 
Micah ii. 7, Do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly ? 
Of the help of God in his difficulties and straits : Ps. xlvi. 1, God is 
our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Of the truth 
of his promises : Ps. xviii. 30, As for God, his way is perfect ; the word 
of the Lord is tried ; he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. Of 
answer of prayers : Ps. cxvi. 1, 2, I love the Lord because he hath 
heard my voice and my supplication ; because he hath inclined his ear 
unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. Of the 
enterprises of Satan : 2 Cor. ii. 11, Lest Satan should get an advantage 
of us, for we are not ignorant of his devices. Now to have all these 
experiences, and to be nothing improved and bettered, is very sad: 
Deut. xxix. 4, Yet the Lord hath not given them an heart to perceive, 
nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear, unto this day. To be nothing better, 
nothing wiser, is an argument of spiritual stupidness and folly. 

7. To answer all the means, and the care and cost that God hath 
been at with us and for us. God expecteth growth where he has 
afforded the means of growth in great plenty: Luke xiii. 7, He said 
to the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I came seeking 
fruit on this fig-tree, and find none ; cut it down, why cumbereth it the 
ground ? It must be understood dejure, not de facto, of what God 
might expect, for God cannot be disappointed : Have I been thus long 
with you, and hast thou not known me ? John xiv. 9. It was a 
grief to Christ when they were not grown under the means of grace : 
Luke xii. 48, Where much is given, much is required. It is grie 
vous to the Spirit of God when we are no better for all that is done 
to us. 


1. As it is a privilege of the sincere Christian whose heart is set 
heavenward, so it is for his encouragement : They go from strength 
to strength. If there be new troubles, there is new strength. Many 
are ready to faint in the valley of Baca, and think they shall never 
hold out. There is a continual supply : Kom. ii. 7, To them who, by 
patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and honour, and 
immortality, eternal life ; Luke viii. 15, The good ground bringeth 
forth fruit with patience. They have present support, and shall have 
final deliverance : Ps. cxxxviii. 3, In the day when I cried thou 
answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul. 
God gives a power to bear up your spirit in all your burdens. God is 
no Pharaoh ; you shall have strength with your work, strength with 
your trials, strength with your difficulties. A good man will not 
overburden his beast ; and God will give final deliverance ; your 
troublesome journey will not last long ; it will be over in a little time, 
and then you shall appear before God in Zion. There is rest : Kev. 
xiv. 13, That they may rest from their labours, and their works 
follow them. In heaven you have nothing to do but to bless God, and 
praise God, and admire God to all eternity. Therefore be encouraged ; 


go in the strength of your present refreshings, and God will find new 
grace for you, while you continue upright with him. 

2. As it is a duty. 

Use 1. It showeth the folly of them who count an earnest pursuance 
of eternal life to be more than needs, and that a little holiness will 
serve the turn. Oh no ! A Christian should always be growing and 
always improving, still pressing nearer and nearer towards the mark, 
going on from strength to strength. There is no nimium in holiness ; 
you cannot have too much holiness, or too much of the love of God, 
nor of the fear of God, nor of faith in him. There are many that come 
near and never enter : Luke xiii. 24, Strive to enter in at the strait 
gate ; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be 
able. Certainly he that knoweth what was lost in Adam, and must 
be recovered in Christ, cannot think he can do enough or too much. 
How hard a matter is it to keep what we have ! Such is the vanity, 
lightness, and inconstancy of our hearts in good, and so furious are the 
assaults of sundry temptations, and so great is our impotency to resist 
them ; our proneness to turn from the ways of God so great ; so strong, 
subtle and assiduous are our spiritual adversaries ; so many are those 
difficulties, discouragements, diversions, and hindrances which we have 
to wrestle with and overcome in the way to heaven, that it concerneth 
us to give all diligence to advance in our Christian course. Once more, 
there is so much promised, that certainly a man knoweth not what 
Christianity meaneth if he striveth not to be more holy. So exact is 
our rule, and strict, so holy is our God, so great are our obligations 
from all the means and providences of God, that such a vain conceit 
cannot possess the soul of a serious Christian. 

Use 2. It reproveth those who, if they have gotten such a measure 
of grace, whereby they think they may be assured they are in a state 
of grace, they never look further, but set up their rest, and think here 
after Christ will make them perfect when they die. Consider 

1. They hazard their claim of sincerity that do not aim at perfection ; 
for where there is true grace, there will be a desire of the greatest 
perfection ; as a small seed will seek to grow up into a tree. He that 
is truly good will be growing from good to better, and so is best at 
last ; the more his light and love is increased, the more he is troubled 
about the relics of sin, and grieved at his heart that he can serve God 
no more perfectly. 

2. All promises are accomplished by degrees ; and so far as we hope 
for anything, we will be endeavouring it : 1 John iii. 3, Every man 
that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as he is pure. 

3. According to the degrees of grace so will our glory be. The 
vessel is filled according to its capacity. They that are growing here 
have more in heaven. He that improved ten talents hath a reward 
proportionable, and so he that improved five, Mat. xxv. As our 
measures of grace are, so will our measures of glory be, all according 
to their size and receptivity. As there are degrees of punishments in 
hell, so of rewards in heaven. He that loved God more on earth has 
more of his love in heaven. 

Use 3. It showeth the miserable estate of them that do not go 
from strength to strength, but from weakness to weakness ; that waste 



their strength by sin, that are fallen back, and have lost the savouriness 
of their spirits, and their delight in communion with God, and grow 
more careless and neglectful of holy things, weak in faith, impatient 
under the cross, formal in holy duties ; their heart is not watched, 
their tongue is not bridled, their conversation is more vain, they wax 
worse and worse. Oh ! take heed of such a declining estate. When 
men fall from their first love : Eev. ii. 4, I have somewhat against 
thee, because thou hast left thy first love. First faith : 1 Tim. 
v. 12, Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. 
Or first obedience : 2 Chron. xvii. 3, The Lord was with Jehoshapbat, 
because he walked in the first ways of his father David. David in his 
later time fell into scandalous crimes. 

Use 4. Is to persuade you to go on from strength to strength. It 
is the gift of God s free grace, and the work of the Spirit : Eph. iii. 
16, That he would grant you to be strengthened with might by his 
Spirit in the inner man. By maintaining and actuating grace, notwith 
standing all difficulties. 


1. What a monstrous thing is it to be always babes and infants in 
grace ! Heb. v. 12, 13, For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, 
ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of 
the oracles of God, and are become such as have need of milk, and not 
of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the 
word of righteousness ; for he is a babe. After many years of growing, 
to be a babe still, an infant still, is monstrous. 

2. Besides your entrance into Christianity, there must be a progress. 
There is the gate and the way : Mat. vii. 14, Strait is the gate, and 
narrow is the way, that leadeth unto life. Will you always keep at 
the door and entrance ? It is not enough to begin, but you must 
finish what you have begun, in the way of mortification, heavenly- 
mindedness, and self-denial. 

3. All the ordinances promote your growth ; it is the work of the 
Spirit, but the Spirit doth it by the means of grace. We must not be 
idle and negligent, but use the means ; as the word : 1 Peter ii. 2, As 
new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may 
grow thereby. Every duty giveth Christ a more hearty welcome into 
your souls, but especially the Lord s supper. At the table of the Lord 
we have our spiritual refreshings. Our initiation was by baptism, but 
our growth by this ordinance. How doth this do it ? Partly as it 
increaseth our assurance of God s love, and so encourageth us in his 
service ; partly as we do more solemnly make use of Christ, who is our 
sanctification, 1 Cor. i. 30 ; partly as it doth excite unto more fruitful- 
ness, we being planted in the courts of God, and feasted at his table, 
and taking our meal and viaticum to encourage us in our journey to 

4. How many have thriven by less means ! Twice Christ marvelled ; 
at the faith of the centurion : Mat. viii. 10, He marvelled and said, I 
have not found so great faith, no not in Israel ; and at the unbelief 
of his own countrymen : Mark vi. 6, He marvelled because of their 
unbelief. One had so great a faith, and so little means ; the other so- 
little faith, and so great means. 


5. You might more convert the world if you had more grace and 
holiness in your hearts, and did discover it more in your conversations. 
By "your purity : Mat. v. 16, Let your light so shine before men, that 
they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in 
heaven. The more we live holily, the more we commend our profes 
sion. So by your constancy and courage : 1 Peter iv. 14, If ye be 
reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye ; for the Spirit of glory 
and of God resteth upon you. On their part he is evil spoken of, but 
on your part he is glorified. By your deadness to the pleasures of the 
flesh : 1 Peter iv. 4, 5, Wherein they think it strange that you run 
not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you. Who 
shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the 
dead. By your fidelity in your relations. The apostle, speaking of the 
faithful behaviour of servants, saith, Titus ii. 10, Showing all good 
fidelity, that ye may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things/ 
What is the reason that the hearts of men are not more freely drawn 
out to the doctrine of Christ ? Doubtless one reason is it wanteth 
adorning and beautifying by the carriage of its professors. They that 
carry themselves holily in their relations, they make religion a beauti 
ful lovely thing in the eyes of the world: 1 Peter iii. 1, Likewise, ye 
wives, be in subjection to your own husbands, that if any obey not the 
word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of 
the wives ; that is, preparatively induce